Actions

Work Header

Diamonds made of Dragon Tears

Chapter Text

Huddled on the stable floor, Eren was finally safe from the rain. His body sickly from lack of food, and his clothes far too small, and in tatters from living on the streets. It hadn't always been that way, but since the end of the last Great War with Marley, poverty had run rampant through the small island nation of Eldia. Resources and taxes were at an all-time high, as citizen moral was at an all-time low. In the time of noble King Smith's rule, thousands of men had defended Eldia's shores, and not just from Marley, but from the kingdom of Draecia that lay along the long peninsula to the north of the island. The dragons and their riders had long abandoned the ways of war, having entered a peace treaty of sorts that promised to stay clear of both Eldia and Marley on the provision both nations extended them the same courtesy. For the most part, the treaty had been kept, though, in every generation, there were those who would seek to destroy the uneasy peace, on both sides of the borders. Dragon blood and scales could fetch a high price, by those less pure of heart. Bones were often used by magic casters of Marley and Eldia, and having their supply cut had seen in an increase in illegal dragon hunting and culls. Of course, none of this mattered to the wasting form of Eren. Knowing this wouldn't put food in his starving belly, nor would it give him a warm and safe place to sleep... something he hadn't in last two years.

Things hadn't always been this way. He'd once had a loving mother, and absent, though caring father. He'd had an adoptive sister, Mikasa, who'd always been there to baby him and to prevent him reaching his full potential. He'd had a best friend named Armin, who lightning fast intellect... but when Marley had used captured dragons to destroy the southern side of the kingdoms outer wall, everything had gone to shit in a heartbeat. His father had deserted him. His mother was crushed underfoot by a dragon so large, the sky had turned black above him. Some days he sorely wished he'd died with her, instead of being rescued by a royal guard. He was alive, but not for much longer. Mikasa and Armin had both found paths in the aftermath of devastation, where Eren hadn't. Mikasa was training to be a knight, her commander had never seen such a naturally skilled soldier. While Armin was training to be a royal diplomat, both now residing in the Royal keep... who's stables in which, Eren was currently hiding. It'd hurt to leave his friends, to lie and say he'd found a modest job at a small butcher shop. He'd done no such thing. No one wanting to be responsible for a rat with such a fiery temper, or that's was what they said. It'd been fine, to begin with. Living on the streets had been like some kind of adventure until it hadn't been.

In all the known kingdoms, omegas were the only ones capable of using magic. Upon presentation, they were sent to sanctuaries to train in the ways of attending in a royal court. Never before had a magic user come along, that hadn't presented an omega... and yet... only weeks before his home had fallen, Eren had. It started with a crackling sensation, like pins and needles in his fingers. From there it spread to small white sparks flaring from his fingers and wrapping around his hands. Terrified, he'd run to his mother for help. His mother just as mortified as she wrapped his tender hands, which had seemed to contain his newly forming magic. From there, the power had spread through his whole body. His senses growing so sharp that he could hear the neighbours down the road fighting, or taste an incoming storm in the wind, hours before it finally rolled in. For days he'd fevered, even bringing snowfall down on his bed, but before his mother could consult with his father, everything had gone to hell. Eldia had signed it's stupid treaty with Marley, and he'd become just another nameless face in those whose lives had been ruined by the upheaval. He couldn't tell anyone about his powers, lest the send him away from Armin and Mikasa, but he also couldn't hold down a job either. He hadn't even presented and yet, there he was. Likely to start a fire completely by accident, if the wrong word should be said in his direction.

The stables had been his last safe haven. With Mikasa so distinguished, he'd been granted limited access to the keep, in order to meet with his sister. The guards at the gatehouse knew as well as he did, that Mikasa was off training in the countries north, but he supposed they taken pity on him given the fact he looked as if to die and the weather wasn't easing up. Mikasa and Armin never knew of his true condition. He'd stolen clothes each time he'd come to visit them, before washing and return them to the line in which he'd taken them. It'd been tempting as hell to keep them, but each time he couldn't. Everyone was working so hard to survive, it wasn't fair to cost them any more. If he'd had control of his powers, he liked to believe he could have found a real job, until he turned 15, which was the accepted age of entrance into the kingdoms military branches. In equal parts, it annoyed him and impressed him that Mikasa was the youngest soldier to enter at the age of 10 and that everyone expected big things of her... but he couldn't understand, why that couldn't have been him. Coughing, sparks danced around his body, as blood dribbled down from the corner of his mouth. He'd been sick for so long, he didn't remember what it was to be well. Drawing his thin legs to his chest, he coughed into his knees, his lungs rattled as he tried to draw breath between the wet coughs. If he knew magic, he could help himself. If he knew how to control his magic, he could build himself a fire, and wouldn't have to freeze in his soaked clothes. But the stable was the warmest place he'd had in days. The smell didn't matter, nor did the dampness of they hay around him... and while it'd been nice to pretend he'd see Mikasa again... he'd really just been looking for somewhere safe to die.

*
Riding into the castle keep, Levi was ignoring Erwin. His blond bear of a friend was an arsehole and the last of the royal bloodline. Though they'd met several extremely long years ago, Levi still wondered how he'd ended up living the lie of a prince. Right now, he was wondering what the ramifications of him killing his "bodyguard" would be.

Living on the streets, Levi's life hadn't been easy. Him, along with his two best friends, had been the most feared group of the city that resided under the royal capital. If anyone had been asked, Levi was a wild gutter rat, destined to live a life of petty crime and murder. Yet, there he was. Playing Prince Erwin, heir to the Kingdom of Eldia, in a game that made no sense to him. It'd all begun with the assassination of the former King and Queen, also know as Erwin's parents. It was a common practice for royal children to be sent away, to live as commoners and to live without even knowing the truth of their existence. Poisoned wine had been delivered, a gift from supposed allies, that caused the royal capital descended into chaos as the word went out. Rumours of a reward offered to those with information on the murder, but Levi had his eyes on a bigger prize. The young prince, that was Erwin. After all, if not for rumours, the underground would have been too boring for words. Sneaking above ground was easy, as was stealing horses. It was all laughably easy... only, it wasn't until he laid eyes on Erwin, that he found the young prince had expected something along such lines to happen. Erwin knew exactly who he was, and what Levi was there to do. Instead of ordering his execution, Erwin had proposed a simple deal. Levi to play him, and in reward, his two best friends would be given the right to live in the palace. It was a foolish scheme Levi had never thought would work, but the underground had grown boring. The daily murders no long elicited any sympathy from its inhabitants. Figuring he was going to die anyway, he'd accepted the prince's proposal... somehow, Erwin had managed to convince the royal court that Levi was, in fact, the best person to play the role of the orphaned prince. The royal court agreeing to prevent the death of the royal line... and that was how he became Prince Erwin to the outside world. Despite not resembling the royal line, in any other way than having dark hair like Erwin's mother had.

Dismounting his horse outside the stables, Levi scowled at Erwin who was still laughing. It was hardly his fault strange women proclaimed their love for him each time he set foot outside the castle keep. He didn't want a single one of them. He'd met hundreds of parents hoping he'd marry their offspring, yet, Levi didn't want to marry purely because of his position. He wasn't the "king-to-be", he was Erwin's bodyguard without an ounce of tact. The woman who'd professed her love today had learned that the hard way as Levi had ridden off the moment he'd seen the red rose in her hand
"Are you done with your shitty laughing?"
"Not quite, Prince Erwin. You really should be more refined, your highness"
"And you really should pluck those overgrown brows of yours. I have no idea how you even see past them"
"Leave my eyebrows alone. You're going to end up assassinated before you even ascend to the throne"
"I'd like to see them try. It'd make a nice change from dealing with you"
Leading his horse over, Erwin gathered up the reins of Levi's horse
"I'll have the stable hands deal with them"
"No. Those shitty arseholes are only good for shovelling shit. I'll clean my own tack"
"What's the point of having servants, if you don't make the most of them?"
"What's the point of having servants, if they're all useless?"
Erwin rolled his eyes, yet didn't vocalise his disagreement. The death caused by the man's parents had left everyone bowing and scraping as they tried to fill the chasm left. He and Erwin knew nothing about ruling a country, yet there they were. And now they were practically puppets to Marley. Tugging his reins back, Levi led his horse towards her stall. The hulking black beast was his pride and joy, and nothing like the prissy white stead Erwin had chosen for himself.

Left alone in the stables, Levi was curry combining down his stead, when the smell of burning hay caught his attention. There was no reason for the hay to be alight. Thanks to the magic of the court, all the lights within the castle grounds were powered by shining stones. Patting his horse, he abandoned her grooming, in favour of solving the mystery of the burning hay. Checking stall after stall, it wasn't until he reached the one closest to the stable entrance that he found the source. A small child curled into a ball, admits a blackened circle of hay. The child clearly didn't belong there, dressed in rags and stinking to high hell. Slipping into the stall, he prayed the kid wasn't dead. He didn't particularly feel like explaining that one. With his nose wrinkled in disgust, he poked the kid in the side with the tip of his boot. The child coughing so hard, that Levi momentarily felt a spark of pity
"Oi, brat. What the fuck is going on here?"
With each cough, small plumes of smoke would rise from the hay. Levi finally putting two and two together. The kid was an omega. The whole world knew that only omegas could use magic... Just fucking great. Squatting down, he was glad he'd left his gloves on as he shook the filthy mess by the shoulder
"Oi. Brat, are you alright?"
The kid definitely wasn't alright. He could feel how thin the child was. Coughing, the boy tried to shy from his touch
"You can't sleep here"
"... didn't come here to sleep..."
So he could talk?
"Then get up. You're stinking up the stables"
Coughing as the kid tried to rise, red blood splattered with watery vomit onto the burnt hay. Whimpering, the kid collapsed face first into his own mess
"Brat?"
Wheezing, the child was fading before his eyes. Struck by unwanted thoughts of the underground, Levi acted before his brain could stop him. As if made of glass, he took the child into his arms. He was so, stupidly light... and his smell... so very sweet, despite being hidden beneath the stench of poverty
"Alright. You're not dying in my castle keep"

In his arms, the child's eyelashes fluttered, Levi, leaving the stable gate open as he began towards the castle. The omega whining softly as his eyes opened. Levi momentarily left shocked at the greenest eyes he'd ever seen. Inside of him, a whirlwind of emotions was stirred into life. At 22ish, he was late to present, but then again, Erwin hadn't yet either and the man was twice his size... but all it took was one look at those pained eyes, and he was filled with a need to help and protect the kid
"Are you an angel? Come to collect me? I hardly deserve it..."
If he was an angel, it was an angel of death and destruction
"I'm not leaving you to die or to burn my stables down. What's your name?"
In his arms, the kid's eyes slipped closed before he could reply. The space between them filling with the sound of harsh breathing, which was way too uncomfortably close to a death rattle. Levi's stride hastening as he marched across the still wet courtyard, not caring how many shitty puddled he stepped in on the way. He couldn't understand what he was feeling, only that he had absolutely had to help the frail life in his hold.

Kicking in the door to the infirmary may have been overkill, yet Levi couldn't exactly open it with his arms filled with an unconscious child
"We need a healer!"
"Yes, my lord"
Laying the kid down on the first available bed, small sparks crackled and danced as Levi broke his hold
"He's an omega! We need someone here to restrain his powers!"
Levi didn't like the sound of that, he was even less impressed as the head matron took him by the arm
"Sir, you cannot be in here. We do not know what this child is afflicted with"
"I don't give a damn"
"Sir, he could be contagious. You must go wash, then burn your clothes. We cannot lose another member of the royal family"
"I..."
"You must go. I will send a healer to find you in your chambers. Please reframe from allowing anyone in until you've been seen to"
He didn't want to fucking go. The kid all but melted into the thin hospital mattress, and as he watched a healer stripping away the kid's shirt, he felt himself since at the sight. For the first time in his life, he turned away. Unable to bear the sight of bruised and torn skin, nor the clearly infected bites across it. Wherever the omega was from, he'd had a hard life. But now, he'd be taken into a sanctuary... unless he'd run from one as it was. Omegas stayed in sanctuaries until their first heat. That was when they made the trip to the capital city, where they swore their allegiance to the crown. He'd never seen the ceremonies, as he'd never been interested, but monthly reports from the various regions had made there was across Erwin's desk... his desk... their desk. Erwin filling him on the details of anything actually important. Confused and annoyed, he departed the infirmary. The child was just a brat, so why was he so caught up in him? He'd seen many a child like that below ground... that must have been it. An ugly ghost of his childhood rearing its ugly head and making him confused... Once declared uninfected, Erwin would scold him, and he'd forget the child. Their lives would fall back into a normal routine, and the kid would... the kid would be sent to a sanctuary until he came of age. That was the only thing for the child, and the best offer Levi could give.

*
Reaching his quarters, Levi shooed off the guards. He hated their constant hovering, and hated the way the knelt before him... and they always came back, no matter how many times he dismissed them. Stripping off his riding cloak, Levi had no issues with burning the horrible thing. The traditional colours of the Eldia empire had been a forest green, whose pigments were only found on Paradis island. Since Marley moved in, they'd been stripped of it. The kingdom colours now a silvery grey, deep navy, and white. Wearing Eldia green was now seen as treason by Marley... which, was in Levi's opinion, a total load of shit. Throwing the riding coat into the hearth, it was satisfying to see the ugly grey thing burn. Next came his grey tunic, then blue trousers, until he stood naked. His boots and belt the only thing to escape the flames. Rubbing his arms, he felt uncomfortably warm as he walked across his room and into his private bathroom. His bathroom was the only true place he could have a moment of peace to himself. The maids finally taking the hint after the hundredth time he'd told them he was taking a shit. Still, everything that came into his bathroom had to be checked, right down to the soap. He'd tried buying his own, but the maids had binned it... so then he'd hired the market stall holder to supply the whole castle. It was practically the only perk of being a prince.

By the time Levi had finished bathing, the healer had arrived, as had Erwin. Barely stuffed into his own pants, the fabric scratched against his skin. Someone had obviously failed at their job when it came to washing them. Normally he'd let it slide, but he was far too irritated too. Walking into his room, Erwin was poking at the fire in the hearth, with the healer frowning at his half-naked appearance
"Leave the fire alone, Levi"
God. It was hard to keep the lie up. He didn't know who knew what anymore, so with a witness, Erwin was now Levi
"I heard you picked up a stray?"
Moving to stand in the middle of the room, he nodded to the healer, to begin with his magic shit. He couldn't deny magic existed, but he wasn't particularly fond of it, given he'd grown up without it. Ignoring the woman, he sighed at Erwin
"I found a kid in the stables. It wasn't like I picked him up off the streets"
"I heard the infirmary caught fire"
"The kid can use magic. It happens"
"If you'd left him there, he would have died"
"And the stables would have burned down"
Fuck. He hated the feel of magic. It was as if his body was rejecting it with every fibre that it was made of. Humming, the woman looked him up and down, before lowering herself to one knee. Levi ignoring her, as Erwin continued
"Was that all there was to it?"
"You know magic users have trouble using their magic when ill"
"Which is exactly why you should have left him there. The kid is violently ill. Even with the help of healers, he'll be here for a week at least. His blood poisoned, caused by infected flea bite, and his heat has begun"
Levi perked up slightly at Erwin's words. The Omega would be here for a week?
"Erwin, you cannot afford to become attached"
"I am not attached. I just didn't want to lose the stables. Now. Healer, am I fine? Is that all?"
The woman rose
"Sir, you're rut is beginning. Your health, perfect. This is a joyous day for the kingdom. We'd feared you to be a beta, but the word must go through the castle at once. Our prince is an alpha!"
Great. Just... great. A rut. He knew exactly went on during a rut... and the palace soldiers were hardly covert at hiding theirs. Suppressants could be taken and were actually mandatory after signing with Marley, but as far as he knew, he couldn't start them until after his first rut had passed
"You may leave us. Make preparations for suppressants once the rut has passed"
"Very well, Sir"

Drawing up her long blue robes, the healer left them be. Almost every single omega born was female, males making up less than three percent, and most of them were barren. Groaning as he dragged himself to his bed, Levi flopped down stomach first
"An alpha? I thought it was too late for you to present"
"You're really going to give me shit over this, aren't you?"
"You're small and rather delicate. Your stature, at a glance, would be more than enough for people to think you omega"
"We can't all be huge arseholes like you"
"At least now I know why you've been in a rotten mood all day"
"I'm a fucking ray of sunshine. Now piss off"
"Once you tell me what is to become of the omega?"
"Send him to a sanctuary, once he's healed. He's not to be around alphas and the usual shit. If they want to be arses over it, tell them it's a royal decree"
"You won't be keeping him?"
He could hear the implications in Erwin's voice. He was an alpha in a rut, while Eren was an omega in heat... logically, they'd be thrown together, despite the kid's young age. It wasn't happening. The idea of sleeping with a prepubescent kid was absolutely revolting, and he was having nothing to do with it
"No. The kid will be sent to an omega sanctuary until it's time for him to pledge his allegiance to the kingdom"
"Very well. I'll pass your message on..."
"Good. Now go away. Apparently, I have a rut to deal with, and there's nothing about you that I find desirable..."
Erwin laughed, though listened. His steps moving towards the doorway
"I'll have you know I'm pretty desirable"
"I've heard more than I ever needed to about that"
"You're already an insufferable arsehole. Maybe this rut will mellow you out?"
"And maybe if you plucked your eyebrows, you'd hear me telling you to leave"
"Haha. Have fun!"

Levi liked to think there were a fair few things he knew, and one of them was that there was going to be nothing fun about this rut.

Chapter Text

It'd been five years since Eren had last stepped foot in Mitras, and now he was finally coming "home". It wasn't Shinganshima, but over the last five years, Eren had had a lot of time to think. Ultimately, he'd decided that home was where your family was, and for him, that meant returning home to Mikasa and Armin. And it also meant it was finally time for him to vow his allegiance to the country of Eldia. He knew he should be nervous, for what the ritual would entail, but seeing Mikasa was what truly scared him. He'd disappeared so suddenly from her and Armin's lives, leaving her without a word for the first two months he'd spent at the omega sanctuary. Since then, they'd traded letters back and forth, yet it wasn't the same. It wasn't the same as being by their sides. It wasn't the same as experiencing everything together as they'd done as small children. The paths they'd walked were now so far apart, that he didn't know how they'd ever reconcile.

Watching out the carriage window, nervous energy bubbled in his stomach. His magic flaring slightly as his mood affected his control. Normal omegas only gained their magic after their first heat, where as his, had come before his heat. The head sorcerers of the sanctuary had never encountered an omega as troublesome as he was. More than once his heat had caused his bed to burn, or for the water in the baths to freeze. He'd even levitated everything as he'd slept, waking to find himself face to face with ceiling. Every attempt they'd made to help, resulted in much the same. His magic didn't respond how it was supposed to. Each time they tried to restrain the power within him, it would react violently. Until they finally were forced to enchant the bracelets he wore around both wrists. The shining gold accessories acted like a limiter, and helped to regulate his magical flow. It was all very complicated and boring... meaning, he hadn't really paid attention. They refused to teach him magic until he pledged his allegiance to Eldia, but wouldn't allow him to give his age. With limited options, he'd found his own cures and remedies from the herbs that surrounded the sanctuary. He spent hours mixing them in an attempt to hide his true nature, or at least squash the shit out of it. Heats were the absolute worse, and he loathed then with a passion. He didn't care if the concoctions carried horrible side effects, they were still better than suffering through a heat, or being a freak for being there after he'd presented.

Drawing into the royal courtyard, it was funny how the memories came flooding back. Mikasa training hard on her swordplay, taking on experiences soldiers three times her size. Armin watching it all, assisting in developing training styles specifically for each solider. Eren watching on from the sidelines, trying not to feel so jealous over being left out. It was also the place he'd come to die, only to be saved by a mysterious stranger. He'd come so far from there, and not far at all. Opening the carriage for himself, Eren attempted to appear refined and graceful, as his long grey robes threatened to trip him at any moment. White robes were reserved for the highest levels of casters, the symbols on the right breast denoting their status. Blue robes meant your were in the employment of the kingdom. Again, the symbols they wore denoted their status, while the shade told everyone which branch you belonged to. Grey robes like his were for the bottom of the rung omegas, the kind yet to take their vows, or make a name for themselves. He'd made plenty of names for himself, but "nuisance" wasn't a title he wished to go by. It wasn't his fault that the old geezers had been completely wrong about everything, and had no concept of fun. Taking a moment for himself, he spun slowly. He'd noticed the castles decorations, but now he could see the spells at work, and also the fact they were preparing for some kind of celebration, which suited him just fine. He'd had to stop taking his homemade medicines, as he needed his heat to come for the oath. Bodily fluids had a ridiculously huge amount of power in casting, by offering himself in his entirety, the magic that bound his allegiance became one with him. Again. He hadn't really listened... now, he kind of wished he had.

"Eren?!"
Spinning on the spot, Eren didn't recognise Armin as his friend rushed towards him. It was Mikasa, at Armin's side, that he recognised. How she could possibly run while decked in royal armour, he'd never know. The long sword on her hips and the glare in her eyes had him stepping away from the pair
"G-guys?"
His nervous question didn't stop them as they launched themselves on him. Around them, his magic crackled. A bolt shooting off hitting the courtyard before he could stop it
"Eren! What were you thinking?! Taking off like that, then sending that letter!"
Mikasa's anger annoyed him. It wasn't like he'd asked to be sent away. Nor had he asked for his adopted sister to start scent marking him
"I'm sorry, guys. But the sanctuary was the only safe place for me"
"You didn't say anything! I couldn't believe it when you sent that letter, explaining you were an omega. I was so sure you'd present as an alpha"
"I'm sorry, Armin. At least you presented as a beta..."
What was he supposed to say? He didn't want to be an omega, but he did want to play with his magic...
"And Mikasa as an alpha, but everyone in the castle knew that was coming"
Eren nodded, backing out of the hold of his friends. Mikasa' scent was provoking his magic, and that was a risk he really couldn't afford
"Yeah. You both look so good. Now. I have no idea where I'm supposed to go, can either of you direct me?"
Mikasa shook her head
"I have to inspect my squad before the Ball tonight. His Royal Shortness expects us all to work like dogs, while he's off sulking somewhere in the castle"
Armin gasped
"You can't talk about Prince Erwin like that!"
"Just because you have a thing for his bodyguard Levi, doesn't make the prince a decent guy"
Armin's cheeks turned a brilliant red
"I don't have a thing for him... I just admire his mind"
"You should see him, Eren. Every time he's in a room with him, he turns into a mess"
Eren let out a forced laugh. It really was good to see them, even if he'd fast realised things definitely weren't the same anymore.
"You'll have to introduce me"
"I... they're over there"
Armin's sentence ended within a squeak, and Eren found himself a human shield as his friend turned him in order to hide behind his back. Walking across the courtyard of the keep, a tall blond and a rather short ravenette, were engaged in what seemed to be a rather animated discussion over something. Behind him, Mikasa piped up
"The blond one is Levi, and the short one is Prince Erwin"
"Mikasa!"
Frowning, Eren tried to wrack his brain. The shorter one seemed so familiar, he felt he should know him... especially given the way his body started to tingle with just one look at him
"I don't know why, but they're both familiar"
"Probably because you played here with us when we were kids? It would have been strange not to have seen them"
"Maybe... I have to introduce myself..."
If everything went smoothly, Eren was hoping for a job at the palace, rather than being stationed out in the empire. He knew his magic was rather unusual, but he also knew that he desperately wanted to stay with Mikasa and Armin. He wasn't the same small kid that had been stuck out on the streets, rummaging through bins just to find his next meal
"No! Don't... don't call them over..."
Armin really did have it bad for the blond. It was kind of sweet in its own way. His friends were growing, developing crushes and planning for their future...

It turned out that they didn't have to call the pair over. The blond of Armin's affections catching sight of their trio before the pair clearly changed direction to wander over to them. Eren's heart gave a small jump, while his stomach flipped. Fuck. He'd trained for this. Kneel. That was right. He had to kneel... Sinking down, he brought a close fist to his chest as he bowed his head, staring at one pair of boots that looked seconds from dying from filth, and another set so clean they confused him
"A friend of yours, Armin?"
"This is Eren. We grew up together, he's is a magic user"
Above him came a sigh
"You don't have to fucking kneel in this shitty place. Stand up already"
Rising to his feet, he couldn't help but be nervous under the gaze of the crown prince. His scowling face, and crossed arms, made it hard to feel welcomed... but there was just something about him. Something beyond the harsh exterior... and something more in the way Erwin seemed taken back when their eyes met. Erwin immediately broke the moment, looking to Levi as if shocked
"Sir?"
"It's nothing. Eren, was it?"
"Yes, sir. I've been sent by the sanctuary to take my vows here"
"I am just Erwin's bodyguard, there is no need to call me anything other than "Levi". How long were you at the sanctuary?"
"Since the age of twelve. Normally omegas are tested for at the age 10, and then they're sent to sanctuaries until they actually present. Or that's what the people running the places say. It makes no sense, honestly. You're not supposed to have more than one heat before taking your vows, but that doesn't always apply. Then there are different laws for omegas that can use magic and those who prefer home life to anything else. Then there are different rules for different sanctuaries. It's honestly quite the shambles"
His nerves left his mouth running, as Erwin turned his gaze back to him. The man was gorgeous. Not a conventional kind of beauty, but beautiful none the less. Levi let out a soft laugh
"As no magic users, we will have to take your word for it. Do you know when your ceremony will be?"
"No. It depends on when my heat comes. I've heard it can get quite... extreme. Of course, I won't know anything until I find where I'm actually supposed to go"
"Arlert, take your friend down to see the mages. Ackerman, I do believe you have troops to inspect. Eren. Until such time as your vow is taken, you are to help Arlert in the kitchens. We have dignitaries from Marley joining us tonight, so try not to fuck things up"
Erwin wasn't what he'd expected from a prince. At all. The man was surprisingly short and crass, and carried himself with an air of "I'm only going to say this once"... no. Now the thought about it, he supposed the man didn't have to play favourites with his own court
"Yes, sir"

It wasn't until Erwin and Levi left that Eren felt like he could breathe again. His fingers tingling from his magic. Shaking his hands, small sparks flew. His emotions too shaken to bring them back under control, and all he could think about was the fact that if he hadn't had his bracelets in place, things would have been so much worse
"Eren?"
"So that was the prince?"
"Yep. Don't worry, he's like that with everyone. We should head down to the mages"
"Yeah. Though I doubt the kitchen's the best place for me"
"You'll be fine"
"Armin, you do remember this Eren. He once tried to eat a whole raw potato"
"Oh..."
Turning back to his friends, Eren clenched his fists
"Yeah. Anyway, I'm sorry for interrupting your plans, Armin. I guess you're stuck babysitting me?"
"You say that like it's a bad thing. You better go Mika', or they're going to reach your squad before you do"
Mikasa nodded, before pulling Eren into a fierce hug
"I might not have been able to protect you as a child, but I'm an alpha now, Eren. I will protect you forever"
Nuzzling into his neck felt way too intimate for a simple "sibling" hug. If Mikasa was intending for more, she was about to have the shock of her life. Through sex, vows and trust were deepened. He was to sleep with the one who'd teach him magic, and through their bond, they'd share and replenish their magic by feeding off each other. At least, that was the rumour of the sanctuary, and without rumours that place would have been too dull to stomach. He could only hope it wasn't completely true. He'd like to at least know who he was sleeping with beforehand... though the fact that he had to be in heat would strongly indicate the rumour was true. Ugh. All this thinking made his head hurt, and Mikasa's scent wasn't helping. Either Erwin, or Levi had smelt of fresh black tea, and now he wanted nothing more than a cup of tea, and to sleep until his heat came
"Alright, let him go. He's not going anywhere for a while"
Armin pulled Mikasa off him, Mikasa nodding before dashing off to the leave the pair alone
"She's really missed you"
"I missed you guys too..."
Armin bit his lip, his face darkening for a moment, before perking up and grabbing him by the elbow. Eren left to jog as his friend rushed them from the courtyards
"What's wrong?"
"You are back? Right? You're not leaving again?"
Stumbling, Eren brought them both to a halt
"I'm not going anywhere. Not until I receive my official orders at any rate"
"You're sure?"
Eren's expression softened. It hadn't just been hard for him, it'd been hard for Armin
"Armin, I know I disappeared to a sanctuary, and I'm sorry I was gone. But, no. I don't intend to leave again. I came back here because I missed you guys... and... I was kind of hoping we could be a family again"
Armin's smile made his awkward words worth it
"Thanks, Eren. Mika might need some more time, but we've really missed you. We better get you to the mages?"
"Yeah... though we don't call them mages"
"We do here. Erwin got tired of calling them "magic users" or "people who can do magic"... of course, there were a lot more uses of the word "shitty" in those sentences"
"That sounds about right... I still swear I know him"
"Maybe you do? I don't know. He didn't visit the sanctuary did he?"
"No. We're not allowed outside visitors. Even royalty. Apparently there was a time royals used to pick their harem from them. But the Smith's abolished that. I think that's why no one really knows what to do with so many omegas and potential omegas in one place"
"Maybe Levi could talk to Erwin about it?"
Eren elbowed Armin softly as they started off again
"Or maybe you want to talk to Levi all about it?"
"No! Not you, too!"
"He is rather good looking"
Armin let out a groan
"Though you kind of look like him..."
"Eren. No"
"You could call him daddy"
"Nooooo"
"It is possible. All they'd need is a little bit of blood... and..."
"No. He would have been 9 when I was conceived..."
"It's still possible. Hmmm. I can picture it. "Daddy Levi", can I have a treat"
"Eren, shut up!"
"I'm sorry, Armin. I'm seriously happy for you, and I really hope it can turn into something. Once my magic is under control, I'll do a reading for you"
"A reading?"
"A kind of compatibility test"
"I don't know if I want to know"
"Then are you going to make a move?"
"Nooo. He's an alpha, and I'm a beta. We can't even have children"
"Not the conventional way. But..."
"Nope. I'm going to leave you here if you keep talking about it"
Maybe he'd teased Armin too much...
"I'm sorry. I'll behave. Please, Armin, can you take me to your mages?"
"That's better..."
With both of them giggling, Eren hadn't felt so light in such a long time. May it was good to be back home? They couldn't turn back time, but maybe everything would just fine.

*
Levi loathed parties. He loathed playing Prince Erwin, and he loathed watching everyone running around in an attempt to make Marley happy. Marley would never be happy. He wasn't allowed to ascend the throne of the kingdom, due to the specifics of the treated forced upon them by Marley, leaving the whole kingdom in unrest. The people needed a ruler, yet Marley had crushed that, and if they wished to avoid war, Eldia would never be naming a new king. Yet his annoyance at all of that, barely registered when it came to his loathing for Marley's prince. His royal pompous arsehole, Prince Zeke. The guy was an insufferable arsehole. His mind always working, and always scheming about how to manipulate every situation. He loathed having to play nice with the man, even more given they were both alphas.

Having spent the morning arguing with those decorating the palace entrance hall, Levi's morning had only proceeded to get worse. Retrieving him from his duties, Erwin was all smiles as he informed him he was required to check the guards for the party that night. He may be the commander of the guard, given his royal title, but each time he faced them, all he could feel is jealousy. Life would have been so much easier if he could have been a simple nameless face. Crossing through the keep courtyard, it was Erwin who first noticed the tall, slim figure, dressed in grey robes. Another fucking mage. The kid had turned up at the worst time possible. He didn't have the time or patience to deal with him. Despite knowing this, Erwin steered them over to the stranger, Levi catching the scent of rain coming from the omega. It wasn't the usual shitty sweetness, but it was one of his favourite scents. The rain washed away the filthy, cleaning the world as it did. Something stirred inside of him, his alpha sure they recognised the scent, yet couldn't place it. No. It wasn't until he saw the eyes of the stranger that he knew it was the child from that day. Those fucking eyes. He'd never forgot them. He could barely remember the child, but those eyes... When his rut had hit, he'd been kept in his room. By the time he'd recovered, the omega had been taken to the sanctuary, and his attention was needed elsewhere. Especially as Erwin's own rut had hit just a few days after his own. The paperwork had piled up, and it'd been one big headache. Introduced to Eren, he hated how interested he was in the omega. He was a good couple of inches taller than him, with such expressive eyes that it was hard to believe the kid had ever been in the stables, looking for a place to die. With his mind going blank, he recalled nothing of the conversation, other than his name was "Eren".

Continuing on with Erwin, Levi sighed deeply. Erwin jumping on it immediately
"I know that sigh"
"Of course you do. Go ahead, enlighten me"
"You're interested. After all, he is the omega from that day, is he not?"
"I'm purely interested because he survived. I never thought I'd see him again"
"Mhmm"
"What the shit is that supposed to mean?"
"It just means it's rare to find you interested"
"The kid survived. That is all there is to it"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm fucking sure. Now go fuck off, and try to be reborn as something better"
Erwin laughed, as Levi scolded himself. He wasn't interested in Eren, like that. Their social positions made it impossible as it was... He was approaching the age where he'd more than likely be forced into an arranged marriage. There was no time to be playing such childish games
"You know that made no sense"
"No. Your eyebrows make no sense. Besides, you know neither of us is in a position to be looking for prospective spouses. Marley will no doubt arrange marriages for both of us"
Erwin sighed
"Some days I wish I'd been able to prevent the advisors signing the treaty. It's been nothing but disadvantageous to us"
"That's true, and that reminds me, don't you dare leave me to deal with Zeke alone tonight"
"Afraid of the Marley Prince?"
"More afraid he's going to become separated from his head, with that smart mouth of his"
"Well, red is the colour of the Marley royal family"
"He's so full of shit, he'd probably bleed brown. I'm serious, Erwin. Tonight has to go without a hitch"
"You don't have to tell me that"
"Good. Now, what the fuck were we supposed to be doing?"
"Inspecting the guards"
Levi sighed, running a hand through his hair as he did. They'd be hosting Marley for the next week... It was going to be a very long week.

With the guards inspected, the castle decorated, and the party underway, Levi was bored shitless. The "before ball feast", had been for the aristocracy of Eldia, and the dignitaries from Marley, including their personal bodyguards, which were apparently pigs in armour. Despite the Ball being a more open, and he no longer having to tolerate sloppy manners, Levi was too disgusted to relax. The wine was spilt across the table, as the food was shovelled down without pause for breath, before the demand of more. Zeke didn't give two shit about his men. Instead, he spent the whole dinner insulting every meal by comparing it to Marley food. Marley only had the better food, because the finest of Eldia's crops were sent there. Coming to his side, Erwin cleared his throat
"What?"
"Are you going to socialise?"
Sitting on the throne of the prince, that was a nope. He was busy watching over the flock of mindless, socialising sheep
"Prince Erwin, Zeke has been watching you for some time"
"If he wants to dance, I'd be happy to throw them all on a pit coals to watch them escape"
"You can't do that, but you should at least mingle"
"I'm way too sober for this"
"Well, I think your night is about to get better"
Looking first to Erwin, Levi then looked across to the hall doors. He hadn't remembered the mages being invited...
"Tonight's entertainment"
"You know how I feel about magic"
"I do, but Eren is there..."
Rising to his feet, Erwin was indeed right. Though towards the back, Eren's tall figure was draped in ocean green robes, that seemed to shimmer with every step. All eyes on the creature as he followed the neat lines of court mages, taking a place towards the end. Given he hadn't taken his vows, he wouldn't be participating in whatever this was
"Are we supposed to be having a magic show?"
"It was on the schedule. To welcome Marley"
Levi sank back down in his chair, nodding to the head Mage. He usually left the mages to themselves. It wasn't like he knew anything about Magic, and as long as they hadn't destroyed the castle, that was fine. As the magic began, Eren drew away. The kid looking painfully lost, until Arlert appeared by his side
"You're frowning"
"I was thinking"
Too much about Eren. Way too much about Eren...
"About Eren? He looks lost"
For a moment he was worried that Levi had mentioned it out loud. He knew how awkward it could be to be at one of these parties, and the kid had only arrived that day. Playing it cool, Levi waved his hand, dismissing Erwin. He didn't care what he did, he just didn't want to talk about Eren anymore. The kid was in his past, not his future
"Then go save him, yourself"

Erwin, the arsehole that he was, did just that. Leaving his side, Zeke saw his chance to pounce
"Prince Erwin. A splendid display of magic"
Ignoring royal protocol, Zeke dropped to sit in what was the king's throne. It was hard to swallow down and stomach the insult
"Indeed. Our mages have always been particularly talented"
Miniature explosions of colours left the crowd in the Ball room gasping, as they fluttered like snowflakes, before vanishing. It was pretty, in its own way. Wherever Isabel was, she was no doubt gasping in awe
"Still, not on the same level as Marley. I suppose that's what happens when you isolate yourself from the mainland cultures for so long"
It was hardly his fault, or Erwin's, that the island of Paradis hadn't enjoyed open trade with the rest of the world. Marley saw to that. He bit down his insult
"Eldia is still finding its feet again... perhaps one day it's time will come"
"Perhaps... who is that?"
Following Zeke's gaze, he found the man staring at Erwin, Armin and Eren
"A new mage. He has come to vow himself to Eldia"
"Oh yes. Your traditions. You island people still cling to the past"
It was better than a future with Marley...

Stopping in front of them, Eren and Armin knelt. Erwin moving to stand by the throne
"Your Highness?"
Kneeling before him, Eren's robe shimmered. The shade perfect for the omega, as it seemed to illuminate his bright green eyes, and contrasted nicely against his tanned skin. Zeke rose, staring down at the omega
"What is your name?"
"Eren, sir?"
"Eren...?"
"Just, Eren"
"Well, Just Eren. Perhaps you can inform me as to why you failed to participate in the display"
"I am new here, sir. This is my first day, and until I undo training and have taken my vows, I am not permitted to use magic"
Zeke sighed
"How boring. Though I have noticed that you were bands upon your wrists. Are they gold?"
"Y-yes, sir"
"Give me one"
Eren looked horrified, as Zeke held his hand out
"I'm sorry, I cannot. I must wear them until my vows"
"You dare to say no to the Prince of Marley? You will give me one, omega"
Eren's eyes narrowed, his scent turning to the stink of scorched fields
"I'm sorry, but I cannot"
Reaching down, Zeke grabbed Eren by the right arm, using his free hand to tear a bracelet off his wrist. Perhaps because he wasn't paying attention, the alpha failed to notice the small sparks dancing around Eren's fingers. Clearing his throat, Levi rose
"That is unacceptable behaviour towards one of our mages"
"I am only affording him the respect an Eldian deserves, though an omega like him would make a fine breeder, in Marley"
That wasn't going to happen, and this conversation was over
"Arlert, please show Eren to the kitchens. I'm sure they'll appreciate the extra hands"
Eren looked pissed but nodded
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry to have insulted you, Prince Zeke"

Left by Armin and Eren, Erwin forced him down to sit. Probably because he wanted to fucking deck Zeke. Spinning the bracelet in his hold, Zeke looked disgustingly smug
"So, that was a mage..."
Slipping Eren's golden bracelet into his pocket, Zeke spoke was his back towards him
"You need to keep a tighter leash on your people. You'll never command a kingdom if you allow yourself to be walked over"
Descending the three steps down to the party, Levi was tempted to see how far he could throw his sword
"Let him go"
"He has a disgusting lack of respect"
"We already knew this. Shall I see about retrieving Eren's bracelet?"
"No. Find me another, I'll use it as an apology, and pray he doesn't destroy the castle over it"
"I doubt Eren would do that"
"Did you not see the way his magic flared?"
"It did?"
Levi snorted
"So much for being my bodyguard. If it wasn't for the casualties, I'd burn that stinking treaty"
"You can't do that. It's the only that holds off Marley and Draecia"
"And yet. Marley continues to kills Draecia's dragons, while we have to suffer their consequences. Things would be so much easier if Draecia renounced their vow of non-interference. With a horde of dragons, Marley could be gone in seconds"
"As true as that is, we're unfortunately stuck. I'll see what I can do to replace Eren's bracelet"
Erwin stepped from his side, saluting him
"And find me something to drink!"
"Socialise, it'll be good for you"

Needless to say. It wasn't good for him.

Chapter Text

Stopping with his homemade concoction, Eren seemed to have the whole world's worth of time on his hands. The mages didn't wish to train him until he'd taken his vow, and his heat was taking its sweet time to come. With the castle his new home, he'd done a little exploring, but he understood why Levi had sent him to the royal kitchens. It was the best place in the whole castle. His skills left much to be desired, and the loss of a bracelet had made it harder to keep his magic in control, but he had his own quarters in the castle. He had a warm bed, though it wasn't particularly comfortable, and each time he helped in the kitchen, he earned himself a little extra food. And the most interesting things happened in the kitchen, as he heard all the gossip as Armin knew everyone. The blond could sit, and talk for hours to everyone down there... helping to distract them all from the way Eren butcher the potatoes he was supposed to be peeling.

Seated at the room long oak table, the omega was doing just that as Armin came rushing in. Throwing himself down beside Eren, the blond's books went flying across the table. Ruining his nice pile of potato skins he'd spent the morning accumulating
"Armin!"
Reaching out, Armin scooped the pile back together
"I'm sorry. I just came from classes"
It'd be nice if he could join in, but Armin was so far above him with all that, he might have been speaking a different language
"I gathered that much from the pile of books. It doesn't tell me why my potatoes had to suffer for it"
"There's a rumour going around the castle. Prince Erwin's bodyguard was seen talking to a gold merchant. Rumour says that the Prince had finally decided to marry!"
Whisper yelling, Armin was clearly excited. Eren didn't know what to say. He didn't know the Prince, yet, because of him he'd lost a precious bracelet
"So?"
"So?! He's 27. Everyone thought he'd end up in an arranged marriage instead"
"Armin, I don't care"
"But he's the prince!"
Slamming his hands down, Armin drew the attention of the head cook, Nicollo
"Armin, we'll have none of that in the kitchen. But if you're interested in the Prince, you could take him and Prince Zeke, his afternoon tea. Give me a moment to load the trays. It'll be easier than the carts"
"Nicollo, relax. We both know you're just as curious"
"That may be so, but simply because things here are so different from Marley. Take Eren with you. He's been murdering our potatoes all morning"
Eren pouted at Nicollo
"We both know it's not my fault"
"You set the kitchen on fire"
Eren rolled his eyes. With the loss of his bracelet and anger at Zeke, his magic had flared slightly, causing the fire in the hearth to flare
"The fire was already lit, and it wouldn't have been a problem if the prince wasn't such a dick"
"Eren..."
"Armin, he literally pulled a bracelet off my arm. He's lucky my magic didn't turn him to a crisp"
"Still. You can't say things like that. They're still our guests and will be until the end of the week"
"That's only another 2 days"
"A lot can happen in two days"
"Enough bickering. Take the trays straight up to the sunroom, Prince Erwin will not tolerate cold tea"
Stupid Armin. He'd been fine peeling potatoes, and now he had to go wandering the ridiculously large castle. He couldn't wait to take his vows.

Armin knocked and waited to be invited into the sunroom. Following behind him, Eren tried to keep a lid on his temper. Prince Zeke was casually leaning against the wall, staring out across the city surrounding the castle, while Prince Erwin sat a small and neat desk, his bodyguard smiling as they approached
"On the desk will be fine"
Following Armin's lead, he did as requested. Stepping back, he didn't know what came next
"Anything else, sir?"
Erwin sighed with disinterest
"No, that will be all for now"
"Yes, sir"

The encounter lasted all of a minute, Eren eager to leave the princes behind. Reaching the doorway, he jumped when his name was called
"Eren. Can you please come to the throne room after dinner? The Prince and I have something wish to discuss with you"
Turning to face Levi, Eren nodded
"Yes, sir. Please excuse me, I must return to the kitchens"
"Of course. Eren. Arlert"
God. His heart couldn't take all this... whatever this was. He wasn't used to things in the castle, and now he was in trouble because of it. He was sure if it. Thanks to Levi, the rest of the afternoon was spent in a nervous state.

*
Levi was ready to jump off the castle's tallest tower. Prince Zeke had asked questions of him, knowing full well that he couldn't answer them. It was bad enough dealing with the man, and now a rumour was circulating that he had an intended bride-to-be in mind. He didn't. All we wanted was a simple gold bracelet to replace the one taken by Eren, but even the royal goldsmith had taken to believing it was a gift for his chosen, insisting on forcing upon him jewellery he neither wanted or needed. It was a headache and a half for the alpha. And also raised another issue... he didn't know how to approach Eren casually. He didn't want the omega to think he was interested, when he wasn't. He didn't want him to think the bracelet a courting gift, or anything other than compensation for the one stolen. Being the prince, he could have just approached him, but Eren was still new there, and no doubt found the castle overwhelming. He hadn't seen the omega since the Ball, and had been doing his best to forget him. And... now... he had to speak to him without scaring him off. Stupid, Erwin.

Zeke chose to sup with his Marley guard that night, while Levi took his dinner in the dining room alone, apart from Erwin. He'd planned to talk to Eren about the bracelet, and now he had to have a completely different conversation. Zeke had made his interest in breeding Eren known. Marley's magic had been fading, it was an open secret. If Marley got their hands on the power of a mage as strong as Eren seemed to be, it'd be trouble for them. He needed to understand more about Eren's vows. If there was something in particular that gave Eldia such power, he may be able to barter that information for something useful. Not that they wanted Marley any more powerful than they were. Retiring from dinner to the throne room, he was surprised to find Eren already waiting. The omega standing off to one side as he seemed to be studying the castles architecture.

Levi waited until he was seated before clearing his throat, then stifling a laugh as Eren jumped
"Your Majesty!"
"Relax, Eren. Please approach"
Walking over to him, the grey robes that Eren now wore again, did nothing for him at all. He looked just like any other magic user. Kneeling, Levi signed at Eren
"You do not need to kneel every time we talk"
"I feel like it's the proper thing to do"
"It probably is, but I called you here to talk"
Eren rose to stand
"To talk?"
Levi nodded to Erwin
"Levi, if you will"
Sliding a blue pouch from his chest pocket, Erwin walked down the steps to Eren, before sliding the bracelet from the pouch, and presenting it to the omega
"What is this?"
"A bracelet. To replace the one taken by Prince Zeke"
Eren gaped at them both
"Is something wrong?"
Quickly, he recovered
"No, sir. It's just... I feel no magic from this one"
"Was the old one magical?"
He was confused... Eren wasn't meant to be handling magical objects yet...
"Yes, sir. My magic is a little unorthodox. I wear these bracelets to keep it inline until my vows"
Ohhh... so they weren't decorative?
"I was unaware. You do not need to accept it, if you're not inclined"
"I'm sorry, sir. I meant no disrespect"
"It's quite fine. Whether you accept the bracelet or not is up to you. But I do have another matter to discuss"
Eren passed the bracelet back to Erwin. They'd have to see about having it enchanted or whatever it was, to help with Eren's magic. Or he could try swapping it with the one Zeke had taken...
"Sir?"
"Prince Zeke has become rather interested in you. I know you came to take your vows, but he is a rather persistent man. At the advice of my bodyguard, he has suggested I take you into my services until the vow can be completed, or until Zeke has returned to Marley"
Eren froze, then let out a laugh
"Are you fucking serious?"
Erwin growled, while Levi found it refreshing
"Yes, I'm fucking serious. It'll be a few weeks at the very maximum, wouldn't it, Levi?"
Erwin nodded
"Indeed. You job will be to purely stay within our sights. It's possible Prince Zeke will approach you in an attempt to buy your loyalty to Marley, given that you are new to court"
"Then shouldn't I be out there so he can?"
"We thought about that, but we both feel you're incapable of protecting yourself from the forces of Marley at the moment. And given Zeke is interested, it is entirely possible he will be more open to negotiations with you in the room"
"You all need your eyes checked. I'm merely an omega, who returned to the castle to be with his family"
Levi raised an eyebrow
"Your family?"
"My two friends who are as close as family, though Mikasa is technically my adopted sister"
"Mikasa, as in the squad leader?"
Eren nodded proudly
"Mikasa Ackerman. And Armin Arlert, was as close as brother as we grew up together in Shinganshima"
Mikasa was... a force to be reckoned with. There was no denying she was skilled, but she was also prone to bouts of recklessness. He was barely on social terms with her. Employing Eren would only lead to more trouble with her... but if Zeke made a move on Eren... they might just find a way to loosen the noose around the kingdoms neck...
"Right. As of tomorrow, you'll be following us under the pretext of learning what being a royal mage entitles. You haven't been assigned actual duties, have you?"
"No. The mages won't teach me until I take my vow, and that must fall during my heat"
Levi frowned at that. Letting a powerful magical user wander the castle without training didn't seem particularly smart... They'd had more than half a dozen omegas take their vows in the last decade, but he had no idea if that was actually normal. He had no idea what level of the populist could do magic, and he was sure each person's skill level had to vary... Because he wasn't a magic user, he'd simply let things continue... so why was it so hard to allow the same thing to happen to Eren?
"Do you know anything else about the vow ceremony?"
"It's a ceremony to forge a bond to the deepest parts of the soul. I will be mounted by the one who will teach me magic, and through that bond, we will renew and strengthen each other..."
Mounted. What? Hold up. What? How could Eren possibly be ok with that? He'd be out of his mind with his heat... and... what? He didn't even sound mad about it all...
"Sir?"
Erwin stepped in to save Eren from Levi's confusion induced anger
"It's quite alright, Eren. As non-magic users, we tend to leave those decisions to the court mages. Tomorrow morning, I will come to collect you. Please be prepared, and please wear something a little more suitable. I do not imagine robes are always practical for walking muddy streets or riding"
Eren looked to his feet
"These are the only clothes I have..."
"Then we shall find you something to wear. If anything happens between you and any of the Marley party, we need to know. No matter how small a detail it is. We're not in the business of letting insults towards Eldia citizens slide"
"I... thank you, sirs. May I retire now?"
"Indeed. We shall both see you tomorrow"

When Eren left, Levi breathed a sigh of relief. The kid was too fucking pure for his own good. Which was probably exactly why Zeke seemed to be so attracted to him
"Are you sure about this, Levi?"
"Zeke can't be trusted. It would be easier if Eren had already sworn himself to Eldia, but this will have to do"
"I meant about Eren taking his vows"
"The kid has to. You better talk to Hanji though. I don't like this idea of any omega being forced to have sex"
"Eren didn't seem to mind"
"He's probably built it up in his head that sex is a wonderful and magical thing... I want to know before tomorrow morning just what this vow is"
"I'll ask around, but I can't give you a certain answer. You should probably retire to your rooms before Zeke comes looking for you"
"Can't we take him hunting, then accidentally shoot him?"
"We could, as we are due to hunt tomorrow... but I'm sure he'd find a way to survive"
Hunting. Great. Riding around on horses shooting at things wasn't his idea of a great time...
"He's worse than a shitty cockroach. I bet if you cut all his limbs off, he'd grow them back just to be spiteful"
Erwin chuckled as Levi gathered himself up
"I'm sure he would too"

*
Eren didn't sleep well that night, suffering agonising cramps and bleeding from coming off his medicine, and coughing due to the cold weather rolling in. Whenever winter came, his health would always decline. There was supposedly some kind of scarring in his lungs from youth, and the castle lacked the warm steam rooms of the sanctuary. When morning's rays trickled through the slip of a window, Eren dragged himself up. He might not have a private bathroom, but he did have a bucket filled with water that never seemed to cool. It wasn't as nice as the baths of the sanctuary, but it was private, and he could take his time to make sure nothing seemed out of the ordinary with him. He'd never expected to be moved into Levi's command, or to be treated like a pawn so soon. He didn't relish the idea of being a "pretty thing" dangled in front of Zeke. He was hardly pretty.

Levi brought him clothes, before leaving to wait outside the door as Eren dressed. The pants were a little too tight around his thighs and hips, and were stupidly white. The worst colour to wear while bleeding, but the tunic was much nicer. A deep blue, and soft fabric. The belt and boots provided were that of the Eldia's military garb. Black leather, with shining silver adornments. At the sanctuary, they'd been all about robes and being one with nature, he'd freakin' missed pants. Even ones that felt criminally tight. Smoothing his shirt out, he didn't bother about trying to wrangle his hair into something manageable, it always seemed to have a mind of its own. Triple checking his bracelets were in place, Eren headed out to join Levi in the hall
"Do I pass?"
Looking him up and down, Levi's scent shifted into something akin to appreciation, before settling back down
"Yes. I'm sorry you've already become a part of this"
"Is that why my pants are so damn tight?"
"Part of it. It's only for two more days, and it's the only way we can keep you safe for now"
"Is Zeke really that bad?"
"Unfortunately. But don't mention it too loudly. This castle has ears"
"And spells. So many spells"
"Spells? You can see them?"
Eren hummed with a nod
"They're like purple spiderwebs"
"Can you tell who cast them? Or why?"
"No. I'm not trained, remember"
Levi started moving away from Eren's door, Eren quickly falling in step beside the tall blond
"But you've had magic from a young age?"
Eren actually hissed, not expecting such a question
"Did I offend you?"
"No. No. I just don't like to talk about it. But yes"
"And you used to play in the castle keep, did you not?"
"I hope you don't mind. Mikasa and Armin..."
What? He'd already told him and the prince that they'd been childhood friends. What was there to add to that?
"Nothing. I was just remembering a child that our prince helped some years ago. A small omega had entered our stables. The boy so sickly that they didn't know if he'd survive. He was lucky that Prince Erwin was there to help him. After that, he was sent to a sanctuary. Erwin often wondered what happened to him"
Levi looked down at him, Eren getting the distinct feeling that the man knew it was him
"He was lucky indeed. Can I ask what we'll be doing today?"
"Hunting. It's the day before the Marley party is due to depart. What we catch will be dinner tonight"
Eren coughed, unable to stop the tickle in his throat
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, sorry. Are you sure hunting will be appropriate with the storm coming?"
"There is no storm forecast"
"Is that so?"
"You think otherwise"
Yes. He knew otherwise... but then again, he wasn't supposed to know anything
"Perhaps..."
"I'm sure the weather will be just fine, unlike Prince Erwin's mood. He can be... rather a handful"
"He does seem to look angry"
Levi snorted
"That's one way of looking at it. Try not to take any of it personally"
"I suppose it's hard to be a prince. Hot water, hot meals, a warm bed..."
"Enemies everywhere, a country facing oppression and a never ending pile of paperwork"
Ok. So maybe Levi wasn't such an arsehole
"I can see why that would put anyone in a bad mood... Levi, if we're going hunting, does that mean we'll be riding horses"
"Yes..."
"Err... I've never ridden a horse before"
Levi pinched the brow of his nose
"Alright. We'll organise something... Perhaps Prince Zeke will allow you to ride with him?"
Ew... the idea of Prince Zeke being that close sent a shiver of revulsion through him
"And perhaps he'll fall off his horse"
"Stop it. It's scary how close to Prince Erwin you sound"
Yeah. He liked Levi well enough... and the banter was easing his nerves and feeling about the coming trouble from the storm
"Don't say things like that"
"Eren, you'll be fine. We'll have you ride behind Erwin and Zeke. As long as you stay on your horse, there shouldn't be much drama"
Eren looked to his hands, his gloves slightly singed from his magic, but he was much more comfortable having them covered, and hopefully, they'd prevent him setting his horse on fire
"Levi, there will be other mages there, won't there?"
"Yes, as well as Mikasa and her squad"
That could be a problem. Mikasa knew he had magic, but after she'd scented him the other day, he had the feeling she'd be staying uncomfortably close to him
"Is this a problem, Eren?"
"No... just... if my magic flares, make sure to keep both Prince's away. You'd think I could control it by now, but it has a mind of its own"
"Like your hair?"
"I thought about smoothing it down, but yes, it does"
"It's fine. Wait until you see Marley's party again. A few stray hairs is nothing"

*
Mounting up in the courtyard, Levi was struggling not to laugh. Eren had clearly never ridden before, instead the omega stood there with his forehead against the small painted mare he'd be riding, for a good 5 minutes, before barely being able to pull himself into his saddle. Beneath him, Levi's black gypsy cob shuffled, as if also laughing at the teen. Waiting for everyone to mount up, Erwin gave the command to move out, leaving Zeke to follow with his Marley party. Bouncing in his saddle, Eren wasn't going to have a fun time, but fuck, this was some quality entertainment.

Before every hunting expedition, Levi called into the "royal hunters". Also known as Farlan and Isabel. They, along with a small handful of people throughout the land, monitored animal populations to prevent over hunting of certain species. Isabel was wonderful with animals, while Farlan was more than skilled with traps and knives. At first, they'd lived inside the castle walls, but now they ran a small shop on the outskirts of Mitras. It supplied its furs and meat to the castle and prevented Isabel and Farlan from having to live on the streets. It'd been a way for Levi to gift them the freedom of coming and going throughout the kingdom with no questions asked.

Prince Zeke was in no mood to stop in town, the fellow alpha grumbling as Levi dismounted in front of the store. Erwin taking his reins with no question, though Eren seemed plenty curious enough as he leaned in to ask the man what was going on. Leaving the party out the front, he smiled as he headed into the brightly lit shop, Isabel rushing from behind the counter
"Big Brother?!"
Hugging Isabel as she threw herself on him, Farlan appeared from the back stock room
"Erwin"
"You two look well. Did you enjoy the Ball?"
"It was amazing! All that magic!"
"I'm happy you enjoyed it. Farlan, we're taking Prince Zeke hunting. Marley will be using guns, so where do you recommend?"
"There's been some trouble in the east forests. Try the north. Rabbits have been getting out of hand up there, and wolves have been encroaching on the lower forest"
"What's happening in the east?"
"There's been a drop in game. Isabel and I are heading out to check on it next week"
"Do you need reinforcements?"
Farlan rolled his eyes
"All those idiots are good for, is wasting perfectly good suits of armour"
"I can't say I don't agree. But I don't want anything happening to you"
Isabel squeezed him tightly, before releasing him
"Nothing is going to happen to us. You trained us after all, and nothing could be as strong as you"
"Thanks, but we both know there are things out there that are. Make sure you stay clear of any dragon corpses"
"We know. We leave them for Draecia"
"Good. Take care of yourselves"
"You too, big brother. I don't like the look of Prince Zeke"
"Neither do I. But my hands are bound for now"

Returning to the group, Levi swung himself into his saddle with practised ease. Zeke had moved closer to Erwin and Eren in his absence. The omega trying his best to both stay on his horse and hide from the alpha
"Erwin?"
"We'll be heading into the North forest. They're having problems with wolves and rabbits"
"You expect us to hunt rabbits?"
Zeke sounded insulted
"There's many other creatures in the forests, perhaps rabbits are too small and fast for your Marley guns?"
"Nothing is better than Marley weaponry. Soon, even dragons will fall before us"
Levi filed that sliver of information away. If Marley went after Draecia, they could use that to side with the dragon kingdom against Marley, but that was only if Marley was called out on it. As it was, in Eldia, they practised leaving fallen dragons for Draecia's dragon riders to find. The dragons had called the island home long before they had. Marley, on the other hand, argued that if dragons fell on their land, their corpses became their property... even when they were assisted in their demise... as they'd suspected for some time
"Let's put that to the test? Your methods versus ours?"
Zeke laughed
"You're on. Eren, come ride by me. Today you shall be my good luck charm"
Eren whispered something to Erwin, Erwin nodding and smiling. Apparently, he'd missed Eren and Erwin becoming best friends... what he hadn't missed was the small pang of jealousy over it
"Thank you, Prince Zeke. But I'm afraid I won't be much luck. It's all I can do to stay on this horse"
"Nonsense. False modesty doesn't suit you, and I will not tolerate lying. You shall ride by me. Unless there is something wrong with that?"
"No, sir. I just felt you should know I cannot ride"
"Then it is settled. Eren and I shall team up against you and your bodyguard Levi. Lead the way, Prince Erwin"

Riding with Erwin by his side, Levi was trying not to push their horses too hard, lest Eren fell off and Zeke decided to take it as some offence. The man had already taken Eren's reins from him, tying them to the side of his own saddle in a move Levi considered idiotic. The ground was still damp from the rains, and he wasn't familiar with horse Eren was using. If the horse was to shy from the muddier patches, Eren risked being thrown. They may have healers with them, but the bruising to Zeke's pride had no easy cure. Pushing on, they reached the forest in good time, the dogs being released the moment the roads were swallowed by growth. Eren's adopted sister was giving him a particularly nasty glare as if he was to blame for Zeke's interest in Eren. The last thing he needed was for their youngest squad leader to cause a war thanks to a little bit of petty jealousy. She surely knew that the Marley party would be leaving tomorrow. She just needed to keep her temper until then
"Prince Erwin?"
Looking to Erwin, Levi nodded
"The handlers shall remain here, as shall the troops. Two healers shall accompany us. If anything happens, use your red smoke flares to notify the party. The first to thirty shall we say?"
Zeke frowned deeply
"What are our men to do?"
"Wait? I believe this was a friendly competition between princes"
"I did not bring my men for them to sit on the sidelines. They must be permitted to hunt"
"There wolves in the lower forest..."
"They're no amateurs. They will hunt, and so shall we"
That was so like Marley. To come in and completely wipe out everything in front of them. As it was, Eldia observed strict rules on their hunts, to make sure they didn't hunt to extinction
"If they are to hunt, they are not to hunt the young. No fawns to be harmed, nor wolf or fox cub. The same for bird species"
"They will hunt as they please. Unless you wish to upset Marley"
"No. I'm simply ensuring there is enough to go around. Now, Levi, if you'll please take point"
Eren cast them both a timid look. This wasn't what the omega had signed up for at all... but Levi was interested to see how he handled himself. If the brat was more than a pretty face, he wished to see it for himself.

*
Zeke was an arse. Eren already knew so, but the man seemed to be truly stupid as he shot at anything that moved. With his reins tied to Zeke's saddle, he couldn't even move away from the alpha. This wasn't his first time being in the forest. He vaguely remembered gathering wood as a child, and so many useful herbs passed him by. If it'd been Prince Erwin, he would have asked permission to gather some, but Prince Zeke didn't care as his horse trampled them to pieces. In the forest, he felt connected to the lives around him. He could smell the storm growing ever closer, the chill of the tree shadows seeping into him as the cold rain would. Coughing, he clung to his saddle pathetically. Light headed to the point he was sure he'd fall at any moment. Behind them, he could feel Levi's eyes on him
"You're disturbing the game"
Wiping his palm on his tunic, Eren cleared his throat
"I'm sorry. It's the storm coming. The chill in the air affects my lungs"
"I didn't ask for your life story, only for your silence"
Eren hung his head at Zeke's words. He may not have used an alpha command on him, but he had upset his omega enough that it complied the best it could
"Better. And don't be ridiculous. There is no storm coming"
Zeke was in for a surprise. By Eren's nose, it'd be there within the hour.

Getting lucky, Zeke had the first kill. Well, the first kill that wasn't a bird. The death of the large grey wolf hurt to see, as it quickly followed by two of her pups. To him, it was pointless death. The wolves were only doing as they'd always had, and now they were dead with the third pup growling at Zeke, despite its runt size. When Zeke booted the poor little thing, Eren saw red. Jumping off his horse, he rushed to the cubs side
"Stand aside, Eren"
"No"
"Stand aside. Its mother is dead, it is kinder to put it out its misery. Besides, I'm the mood for a new scabbard. The fur is a little darker than I would like"
Kneeling down, the wolf pup snapped at his fingers. It's front right leg was clearly injured, and the poor thing had to be in tremendous pain. Smiling at the pup, he didn't let the little thing frighten him
"That's it. Come here..."
Cautiously, the pup sniffed at him. Eren's smile growing. He nearly had the pup in his hold, when a shot rang out, and blood began to pour from the pups side. Gathering the small creature up, Eren's eyes filled with tears. The look of betrayal on the animals face had hurt
"Why would you that?!"
"I saved it from starving"
"You didn't need to kill it!"
Stroking the dying pup, Eren tried to gather his magic. His fingers crackling, but his magic wouldn't flow
"Put it down, Eren!"
"No! How could you!? It wasn't doing you any harm!"
The small pup was so very soft and warm in his hold. The bleeding wouldn't stop, no matter how much he mentally begged it to
"Eren, you put it down!"
A fucking command. It hurt to fight against it, but he didn't want the pup to die.

"What's going on here?"
Being ahead of Levi and Erwin, they'd been close but not really together. With teary eyes, he looked to Levi and Prince Erwin
"It needs help"
Prince Erwin opened his mouth, but Levi patted his shoulder
"Eren, it's too late"
"No. No. There has to be a way..."
Stroking the pups fur, the tiny thing gave a shudder before its chest failed to rise again. Sitting there in the pups blood, Eren cried bitter tears
"Why did you do it?! You didn't have to kill it!"
"It would have starved with no mother to feed it... now stand up"
"No"
Glaring at Zeke, his magic seemed to grow
"Stand up, Eren. You're being foolish"
"Prince Zeke, perhaps you should deal with your kill?"
Zeke returned Eren's glare with one of his own
"Who'd have thought Eldian's were so weak. I find my appetite for hunting has been ruined by this omega's snivelling"
As Zeke walked away, Levi came to him. Squatting down in front of him, Levi placed one hand on his shoulder and another over his left hand
"Can you stand?"
"Y-yes"
"Good. We should leave"
"But..."
"Eren, it has already died"
"It's not fair. He had no reason to do that"
"Unfortunately, life isn't fair. Let me take the pup. Then you can ride back with me"

Blood had ruined Eren's white pants. Bundled up in front of Levi, Eren felt stupid and small. He knew the wolf pup would have died without its mother, but that didn't mean he was ready to admit Zeke was right. The alpha didn't even seem to care he was no longer by his side, as Eren's horse now carried the dead wolves upon its back, while Zeke continued boasting about his new wolf fur scabbard, yet talking about how Eldia pelts were so inferior. If they were inferior, why did he go ahead and kill the wolves?
"Eren?"
"I'm alright. It was just a shock"
"I was about to warn you that you were right about that storm"
Looking up, the weather matched his mood
"I told you. Just don't expect me to do anything about it"
His body was still trying to obey Zeke, by not coughing. Each time he needed to, his chest ached as it got stuck. Zeke's actual command had lost its control when Levi had removed the wolf from his lap. Probably because the object of the command was gone
"I'm not asking you to. Are you ok, though? You were coughing before"
"It's the cold weather, it affects my lungs"
Behind him, he felt Erwin moving, the man's thick cloak was draped over his shoulders
"No, I couldn't..."
"You've had a shock as it is. We cannot allow our newest mage to become ill"
"I'm sorry for getting angry with Zeke. He has no respect for the forest... and I got a little mad"
"I noticed. It's fine... He's too busy bragging about his hunt"
"I know... but I still should have kept my mouth shut"
"He's probably never had anyone yell at him before"
"He deserved it. Alphas that rely on commands to get their own way aren't real alphas"
Levi sighed, Eren wondering if he'd somehow insulted the man
"Whatever commands he's given, you can forget them. He's not an Eldian"
"It doesn't work that way, but thank you anyway"
"How long do you think before the rain hits?"
Was Levi trying to give him a way out? If so, he appreciated it
"Oh... um... not long"
Nudging the sides of his horse, Eren would have fallen if not for Levi wrapping his arm around his waist. The alphas touch wasn't exactly welcome, but it was nicer than being trampled to death by the animal. When Mikasa was young, she'd always made horse riding look so easy, and even if it was an important skill to learn, he felt like walking was more his forte.

The heavens opened as they regrouped with Mikasa's squad. Forgetting her place, his adopted sister rushed to him
"Eren?! What happened to you?! Why are you on a horse with Levi?"
"Oh. I'm alright. Prince Zeke needed my horse for his kill"
"There's blood on your pants!"
"It's not mine..."
She was being so very embarrassing, as if it wasn't embarrassing enough that he was draped in Levi's huge cloak... and trapped between his legs on the horse. Around them, rain pattered down on the leaves. The members of the Marley party returned with the hunting dogs, empty handed, which helped to distract from the rain. Zeke yelling at his soldiers, while Mikasa scowled at the group
"Squad leader Ackerman, is your squad ready to leave?"
"Yes, sir. Would you prefer Eren rode with us?"
"No. He's fine where he is. Prince Zeke seems to have his eye on him. Return to your squad, have them ready to leave immediately"
Mikasa saluted Levi, before marching away as if she had a pole up her arse
"Oh dear. I fear I've upset her"
"It doesn't take much. She's never stopped treating me like I'm her child"
"So I shouldn't have mentioned Zeke?"
"Probably not. Prince Erwin looks annoyed"
"He's not particularly fond of the rain, unfortunately, we have to wait until Marley gets its act together"
"Does that mean we're stuck here forever?"
Levi let out a hearty laugh, the horse shifting beneath Eren disconcertingly
"Possibly. I think you're going to fit in just fine here"
"Thanks. I'm not sure about that"
Not if it meant horse riding...
"We've never been particularly close with our magic users, and the alpha that oversees them is quite eccentric. Prince Erwin tends to leave that to them, as he knows nothing about magic. Perhaps you'll be able to branch that gap"
"That sounds like a case of the blind leading the blind. I know I have it, but I've got no idea what to do with it"
"With time, I'm sure you'll figure it out. I know it would ease both our minds to know what spells are on the castle"
"I can look into it, but are you sure you should be this nice to me? I haven't taken my vows"
"You yourself said that you can't work your magic, I'm sure the mages could restrain you if necessary"
There was something in Levi's tone that told him it wasn't completely a joke. Eren opting not to reply... he didn't particularly like the idea of being kept in a damp basement. It was a reminder he was letting his guard down too much. Erwin and Levi were both alphas, and he was just a lowly magic user... he needed to remember that. They couldn't possibly ever be on the same page.

Chapter Text

Drenched from the storm, the hunting party had barely made it back to the castle before it'd turned into a pounding torrent of water that'd rained all afternoon, and night. Levi wasn't thrilled by it, but he was even less thrilled by how sick Eren had seemed to be. The moment they'd arrived back at the keep, the teen had slumped in Erwin's arms, before being whisked away by the castle healers. Zeke had watched the scene unfold, before commenting over how "omegas didn't need strength if they did their job and spent their lives on their backs". The pigs from Marley had laughed, while Levi had to stop himself from decking the fellow prince. He'd seen how hurt Eren was over the death of the wolf pup and had felt awkward over the whole thing, as he hadn't known what to say to make the teen feel better. He was only there to entertain Zeke, then Zeke had pulled a stunt like that. That evening, when Eren failed to join them at dinner, Levi had gone looking for the teen. Outside the omegas door, two guards had been posted with orders from the court mages not to let anyone in, including him.

Zeke had been less than impressed when Eren wasn't in the castle keep to wave the Marley party goodbye, while Levi felt it was for the best. If Eren was sick, his magic would be unpredictable. He just didn't realise how unpredictable it would be. Feeling some guilt over the previous day, and concern that the teen was possibly sick because of the favour he'd done for the kingdom, Levi once again found himself outside of Eren's room, this time not taking "no" for an answer as he let himself and Erwin into the room. It was quite a sight to see. Everything inside the room was levitating, including Eren. With four mages standing at the corners of the omegas bed, Erwin stepped up to cover up the fact he wasn't quite sure how to ask what the fuck was happening
"Prince Erwin would like to know the condition of our newest mage?"
The fifth mage at the end of Eren's bed sank to kneel on one knee
"Sir, you should not be here. His magic is quite unstable"
"I can see. What's wrong with him?"
"He's burning with fever, no doubt the result of being soaked to the bone yesterday"
"Has he been creating fires?"
The mage sighed
"That's not the all of it. As you can see, everything in this room is levitating. It'd been strong enough to affect the walls"
Levi raised an eyebrow
"The window, sire. It wasn't quite as large before"
Levi looked to the window, but he didn't know what he was supposed to be seeing. It looked like every other castle window he'd seen
"Can it be brought back further under control?"
"Not until his vows are taken, or his fever breaks"
"I do not see a cool cloth upon his forehead"
"The fabric burst into flame each time it was placed near him"
"Give me a cloth"
"Sir?"
"Give me a cloth, I have dealt with this kind of thing before"
For all of five minutes, as a teen himself. Rising, the mage pulled a cloth from their sleeve, passing it to Levi. He'd never get used to magic. The cloth was almost like ice. Leaving Erwin's side, he walked around to the side of Eren's bed. No kid should be rasping for breath like he was, nor should he look so sick. His skin pale, sheets drenched in sweat, while his lips were speckled with what seemed to be blood. Reaching out, he jumped as Erwin spoke
"Prince, perhaps you shouldn't touch him"
"It's fine. It's a mere cold"
"Erwin"
"Mind your place, Levi"
Reaching out, he placed his hand on Eren's forehead. The kid was fucking burning up. Whining, Eren pitifully called for relief... from an alpha. The brat was as much a slave to his own dynamic as any of them were
"Shitty brat, this wasn't supposed to happen"
Under his touch, Eren grew warmer, as he gasped down a breath. Then all at once, everything fell back into place with loud thuds, no longer levitating, as Eren was no longer levitating. Placing the cloth over the omegas forehead, Eren let out a weak sigh
"Sir?"
Levi raised his gaze, all five mages and Erwin staring at him
"Don't look at me. I don't know what that was. Keep me updated on his condition, and make sure he doesn't burn my castle down"
"Yes, sir"

Flustered by what had happened, Levi swept from Eren's room. Erwin jogging after him, his stupidly long legs meaning he caught him in no time
"What was that?"
"I don't know"
"Cut the shit. How did you know that would work?"
"I didn't. I... When he was a child, he set fire to the hay in the stables, but when he was touched, it seemed to calm his power"
"Erwin"
"Don't "Erwin" me. I have no idea how this magic thing works, but it looked like none of them were going to step up and touch him"
"You're fond of him"
"I am not fond of that omega. I don't even know him"
"You took him out of the castle grounds. You had him by your side, and you attempted to replace his bracelet taken by Zeke"
"You're the one telling me to be nicer"
"You're not acting like yourself. Is this because of how you remember him? Near death and in your arms?"
"I barely remember him. I was attempting to repay him because Zeke is a dick. Nothing more and nothing less"
"So you wouldn't care to know that the mages were talking about him earlier"
"They were?"
Levi bit the moment the words left Erwin's mouth. He couldn't even play it off cool
"No"
"You're a douche"
"Possibly. It does worry me to see you like this"
"You don't need to worry"
"Is it because he's a street kid? An orphan like us? Do you see yourself when you look at him?"
"I. No. Yes. Maybe. I don't know and that's what makes this so hard. Stop asking me what I don't know"
Erwin finally stopped pestering him, but they'd only made it a few more steps when it seemed to start raining from the ceiling along the corridor. Groaning, Levi broke into a jog, relieved to find the next hallway dry
"Was that Eren?"
"Possibly. Probably. Those shitty mages need to get him under control. Have you talked to her, about this?"
"Hanji is anxious to meet Eren. You could try talking to her. We know magic has been becoming weaker with every generation. The fact that Eren's magic is so strong, has sent her off spiralling with the possibilities. We know mages of old could raise a castle from the ground, or destroy it with just a whim"
"You don't need to tell me that. You have no idea how many letters used to cross the desk over the use of dragon items to strengthen the kingdom's magic"
"You do remember I'm the one who reads everything first"
"Then why are you telling me things I already know?"
"To make sure you understand that Eren could be a powerful weapon"
"I know that, but he is also a child. Who can't even ride or protect himself from an alpha"
"Now that Zeke has left, we don't need him to stay close"
"No. What shall we have him do? The fact he can't ride will hinder us if we fall back into war with Marley"
"How many of our mage forces can? If they've all come from sanctuaries..."
"Their training is up to their masters. Most see it as a practical skill"
"Do we know who will take Eren?"
"Not yet. It's decided during the ceremony. Hanji may be in charge of the mages, but she is more interested in combining magic with science. Science does seem to be the future"
"Useless Shitty Glasses. Fine. Have him help the maids
Levi rubbed at his face. He hoped Eren knew how much of a pain in the arse he was being
"You can't keep him in the kitchens"
"I'm pretty sure I can. We'll reassess his training and usefulness once he can actually do magic"
"Because a raining ceiling doesn't count as magic"
"You know damn well what I mean"
"I'll see that it's done"

*
Eren was sure he was being punished for being ill and for being a dick to Zeke. Just like the sanctuary mages, the castle mages couldn't handle his uncontrolled powers, and the moment his fever had broken, he'd been sent to the castle healers. Once recovered enough to be useful, he was put back to work in the kitchens. They couldn't really make use of him elsewhere around the castle. He ran the risk of accidentally setting the washing on fire. He couldn't play gofer, because he didn't know the castle. He couldn't go to Armin's classes, because he had no idea about them, and he couldn't go watch Mikasa train, because that meant a lecture over being wet and sick. Like that was his fault. He'd thought his heat would have hit by now, and he was frankly growing impatient over it not. There were herbs he could take, that would speed up the process, but he didn't know if that would be acceptable for the ritual, or if it had to be a natural heat.

Stealing some time for himself, Eren was sitting on the windowsill as he watched the soldiers running drills. The sun felt good against his skin, while the bricks seemed to absorb the warmth. He'd heard of magic users that could change their shapes into any number of things, and couldn't help but think it'd be nice to be a fat cat on a day like today. Maybe once his vows had been taken, his master could teach him such things. Lost in his own thoughts, he didn't hear Levi approaching
"Eren?"
Nearly falling out the window, he was narrowly saved as Levi grabbed him by the arm
"Whoa! Everything ok?"
"You scared the shit out of me, if that's what you're asking"
Pulling himself together, Eren hoped he didn't look too dishevelled. They hadn't replaced the pants he'd worn for the hunt, so it was back to his grey robes
"I'm sorry. I didn't expect you to be sitting here alone"
"I was just watching the soldiers training"
Levi leaned over him, the man peering out the window
"I see that. What's on your mind?"
"Nothing much important"
"So you admit something is. You can speak freely to me"
Eren sighed, figuring he was well
"I was thinking about my vow ceremony. I hate sitting and being useless"
"No heat yet?"
"No. It's quite frustrating"
"As long as your heat doesn't come, you won't be mounted, right?"
He didn't want to think about that bit, it showed in his scent
"Eren, do you not want to take your vows?"
"I do. I just wish I knew who would be my master. It may be silly, but I'd like to know who I'm about to sleep with and know more about them than just their dick"
Leaning back, Levi moved to lean against the windowsill
"You have no idea?"
"None at all. I know blood, slick and semen can all be used in spells. But... I don't just sleep with anyone. Despite what people may think of omegas"
"I don't think that of you. I tried asking our head of sciences, but she had no idea either. Ceremonies are only known to those invited, and despite being our magic liaison, she never has been"
"That just makes it sound even worse. It's stupid, isn't it? To want to know who you're being forced to show your body too?"
"I don't think so. It is your body after all"
"I've been waiting for this moment for so long, that I guess with it looming over me, it's a little overwhelming"
"Is that why you're not in the kitchens?"
"That, and Nicollo says I have no talent for the culinary arts"
"I'm sure your wait won't be much longer"
"I really do hope so. What about you? What are you doing? I don't see Prince Erwin with you"
"Some of our newer soldiers decided it would be funny to steal meat from our stores. Prince Erwin is supervising their punishment"
Eren let out a whistle
"Damn. I don't want to be them"
"Would you like to come to watch?"
"No. Thank you, but I fear I shall only get in the way"
"Alright. Take care of yourself, Eren"
"And you, Levi"

*
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Levi let out a long breath. In his left hand was a letter fresh from the leg of a Marley eagle. Prince Zeke was intending another visit, this time for a month or so, the following month. There had been a delay in a shipment from Eldia, so the prince has decided to return to the island to make sure they weren't intentionally withholding anything. Once again, they'd need to throw a lavish Ball, conduct festivals and check the details of the delayed shipment. Across the desk in front of him, was a hundred more requests that all required his time. The imitation prince let his mind wander, wondering if anyone noticed if he placed a training dummy in his place and took off to see Farlan and Isabel. He was anxious for news on the forests, and to make sure they were both alright. He hadn't heard hide, or, hair of them, and had no time to check in. Raising his head at the knock at the door, Erwin walked in, looking rather concerned
"What's the matter? Do you need to take a shit?"
"Eren's heat has started. The ceremony will be performed tonight"
It'd only taken a month to happen...
"About time"
"You're not worried?"
Erwin had shared Eren's worry over who'd he be sleeping with. The omega had a right to decide for himself, but having never seen a ceremony, he didn't know little choice Eren would have
"Where is he?"
"Being washed and made ready for tonight"
Placing Marley's letter down, Levi then crossed his arms as he stared down Erwin
"I know you're scheming something"
"Well, we're at the age where we really should know what's happening on our own castle. Eren said the whole place is covered in magic"
"We are a magical nation"
"Yes, but think about it. We have no way of seeing those spells. If anyone was plotting against us, we'd never see them coming"
"Admit it. You're purely curious"
"A little. I'm also worried for Eren. He put on a brave face, but he's terrified. As you're so fond of bringing up, he is a child"
"And how do you suppose we see this ritual? It's supposed to be limited to magic users only"
"You're the crown prince. They cannot say no to you. Besides, the masters that teach omegas magic are alphas. So I'm guessing that they will be the ones that choose Eren's new master"
Levi's stomach performed an uncomfortable flop. Eren wasn't his, but just the mere idea of someone else touching him was enough to annoy him. Given the fact Eren would have no control over his own body, being in heat and all that
"You're glaring"
"You're making me think about things I don't want to. We can't just walk in looking like this. Find someone to talk to discreetly, and we'll need something to cover our scents... and faces. This is shitty plan"
"You didn't have to say yes"
"You wouldn't give me a moment's peace if I didn't. You've got that disapproving dad look on your face. You normally don't give two shits about the omegas coming here"
"Normally they don't have so much magic, and normally they don't catch the attention of Prince Zeke. If Zeke has an interest in Eren, we need to have one too"
"Speaking of Little Dick, Marley wants to come over for a month and inspect our shipping rosters. Delivery was late they're up in arms"
"That hardly warrants a month long visit"
"No. I have the feeling they're going to be checking over every single part of our shitty defences, and they'll probably bring their own mages this time"
Erwin nodded, his mind clearly already creating his own counter scenes for possible scenarios
"Go think somewhere else. I don't want to wipe your brains up off the floor. It'd be a waste of cleaning supplies"
"That it would. If he wants to inspect our military, we need to make sure they're in shape"
"What's that supposed to mean? We all know round is a shape, unfortunately, most of them fall in now that we can't make a move"
"Exactly. Let me talk to Ackerman. Her and Kirstein have been..."
"Wait. Which one is Kirstein? Is he in her squad?"
"Yes. The one with the two tone hair"
"The one that looks like a horse? Is it safe to let him think?"
Erwin continued as if he hadn't been interrupted
"... looking at new formations and drills. Perhaps it's time to expand them throughout the guard, and into the regiment?"
"We both know you plan all our military formations, drills and training. Talk to them. I have a sudden desire to leave the castle for a good three months"
"You can't leave for three, but once Eren's heat is over, we'll take him and his master with us on extended training"
"Why? He's perfectly safe at the castle"
"It's possible Zeke has bought off members within the walls. After his heat and vows, Eren will be able to use this magic. Coming out of his heat, he's going to be weak and disoriented, making it the perfect time for him to go missing"
"God. I'm sick of talking about him. That's it. Conversation over. Go do whatever it is you do. I need to finish all of this"
Erwin usually read everything first, but the Marley letter had Levi now hunting for the shipping manifests, amongst all the other incoming letters. He didn't know what the man had or hadn't read, so that meant first sorting and organising. He needed a goddamn assistant for this shit. Maybe Arlert? Erwin seemed sweet on him. But it was likely the kid's ridiculous hair cut would get on his nerves too much. He didn't understand why it had to be so... coconutty.

*
Levi thought he and Erwin had explored every inch of the castle until they found themselves walking down a never-ending corridor, that stretched further than was actually possible for a castle tunnel to stretch. With the keep and the mote, the place should have been flooded with water, yet the walls were clean and dry. Tool marks giving the implication that it was dug by man, rather than by magic. Every few metres was an old fashion oil lamp, that offered limited lighting. Probably to throw them off. No sane person wouldn't be wandering around under the castle like this, nor would they have thought to even go around digging random tunnels. Erwin's ancestors had a lot to fucking answer for. Levi could practically feel the eye of spiders and other uninvited critters on them as they walked. The whole place was revolting. Couldn't they have magicked up some nice stone walls? A proper path? Real lighting? Or better yet? Found themselves somewhere outside to conduct this magic crap. He felt like he was an intruder in his own castle. Erwin's castle. Whatever. He didn't like it.

Dressed in a black robe with his eyes obscured by a mask, Levi had thought Erwin was messing with him, right up until they'd entered the underground chamber that the ritual would be conducted in. Beneath their robes, they were naked, which was the bit he'd thought Erwin was messing with him over. He didn't understand why he had to be naked when the damn robe thing dwarfed him completely, and let him tripping on every third step. But inside the chamber, he realised everyone was dressed just the same, as they circled a rough stone altar where Eren laid naked. On the walls behind the altar, carved reliefs depicted nymphs and dragons frolicking. As well as a number of unknown mythical creatures. The altar itself was rather unremarkable in comparison. It glowed and pulsed like the walls of the cavern, but honestly looked like a big fat boulder that had been halved, and not some mystic sight. Across the brunettes skin, marking and symbols in Eldia green were painted. Eren somehow managing to lay there, despite his painfully hard erection, and the waves of needy heat wafting off of him. There were more than a few affected in the crowd. Alphas and their omega wards stank of arousal, making it easy to hide both his and Erwin's scents in the mix as they slipped through the crowd to stand opposite the altar.

Under the glow of the strange rocks that lit the kingdom, the ceremony began suddenly. The master of the ceremony being an omega woman, who was alarmingly old and alarmingly naked. There were things he didn't need to see. Her saggy naked bits were definitely one of those things. It was hard enough not to concentrate on Eren, so he didn't need old fluffy bits looking at him as he tried to avert his eyes. Everything in Eren's scent was sending his alpha crazy.

As the woman began to speak, four hooded and shadowy figures appeared around the edge of the cavern. Standing tall enough to reach the ceiling, they were easily 10 metres tall. Long, thin, purple lines tracing over the ceiling as the glow of the stones all turned purple to match. Now it was starting to feel like some kind of mystical ceremony. Praying to some god that she obviously believed in, a goblet appeared in her hand. It would have been cooler had it magically appeared, and not just been passed to her. But that was just Levi's opinion. Walking to Eren, the woman cupped the back of Eren's head, raising him enough to sip from the goblet. Something suspiciously red poured down Eren's face as he eagerly drank it down. Once drained, the goblet was removed, and Eren helped to kneel
"Brothers and sisters, today a new mage joins us for the glory of Eldia!"
Magic rippled through the air, while Levi didn't know what to think. He wanted to March right over there and claim Eren. All of this seemed a tad ridiculous, but he of all people should know not to step on the kingdom's rituals. Marley was stripping away every part of Eldia's culture. Even the use of Eldian green was a hangable offence, but it was obviously an important part of this ritual
"The first semen shall spill, let his magic be known"
What now?"

Bringing forth a long black thing, the woman presented it to Eren. Erwin leaned over his shoulder to inform him it was a dragon horn. Levi had only ever seen them in the royal gallery, and that was before they returned them to Draecia. He had a vague idea of what would come, but he wasn't prepared for the things it was doing to his dick. With no shyness at all, Eren sucked the black horn eagerly. Now free to move, one hand worked his erection, while he moaned around the horn. God. How Levi wished he was in Eren's mouth. Pulling the horn from his mouth, the omega ran the tip down his body, his hand abandoning his dick in favour of running precum along the markings covering his skin. Between his legs, Levi felt as if he'd gain three pounds. His dick felt so swollen and heavy, that even the slightest touch would send him over the edge. He knew he shouldn't be this aroused, but Eren was driving him crazy. He wanted to push the omega down and fuck his pert little arse until he couldn't walk for a month. He wanted to sink his teeth into the teen's nape. Instead, he could only watch as Eren moved to sit the horn in an indent he hasn't noticed before.

Mounting the horn, the omega let out a long primal growl. It's thick girth looked painful to take, yet Eren took it in its entirety. Above him, black clouds gathered, everyone, taking a step back as Eren began to fuck himself openly and desperately on the horn. The cloud crackled with lightning, sparks flying up to hit the purple lines across the cavern roof, as the storm above him built. With his head lolled back, Eren's hands roamed his body, his moans and mews growing louder, almost as if surprised by how good he was feeling. The whole process took minutes, but Levi felt as if he'd been watching him for hours. He could watch the sight before him all damn day. Without realising, his hand had slipped to his dick. The firm hold around the base the only thing keeping him from spilling his seed as he rocked into his hand. Letting out a feral cry, Eren came across the altar, yet not stopping his desperate fucking of the horn until the small spurts semen turned to mere trickles from his spent dick. Looking right at him, the teen's eyes were completely black, a smirk on his lips as if he knew exactly who Levi was, and all of it a show just for him
"The first semen had been spent. He vows himself to the kingdom! Who shall take upon this child of destruction?"
Rising to his knees, Eren slid from the horn. The omega so thoroughly soaked, his slick had spread to seep into most of the stone altar top. As the horn was removed, Eren moved to present himself. His back arching as he pressed his chest to the table. Levi's willpower snapped. Striding forward, he growled as he approached Eren. Fuck rituals and traditions, the omega had singled him out, now Levi was going to show the brat exactly why he was the only alpha suitable to tame him
"Second semen must be spilt to forge the loyalty"
The old hag could take her bonds and stick them where the sun didn't shine. Hell be damned, if any other alpha thought they were claiming Eren. His own alpha was going fucking crazy. He wanted to mate. He wanted to breed. He wanted to mark and claim. And he stupidly hadn't realised that every single person in the room was either in heat or rut, triggering his own. His world had shrunk down to Eren, and his leaking opening.

Climbing onto the altar, Levi growled as he freed his lower half from his robe. He wanted everyone to see what he was doing, and for them all to know he was the one taking Eren. Reduced to base instinct, and given how fucking loose Eren's hold looked, he needed no prep. Levi took himself in one hand, before lining up to sink into Eren's heat. Throwing his head back, he had no words for how it felt. His fingers rushed to grab Eren's hips in a bruisingly tight hold. Despite popular belief, he'd never just gone off and had sex, as Erwin did. Or so many of the soldiers in their command. There was too much danger of creating an "heir", that he'd just relied on his hands. Being buried in Eren's warm wet heat felt amazing, as did Eren's cries as Levi began to fuck him as his instincts dictated. A little sloppy and out rhythm from never having mated before, but his alpha surged, controlling his actions. Riding Eren hard, the omega cried out for more, and god did Levi want to give him more. Releasing his hold on Eren's hips, he slipped his hand down to jerk Eren off at the same time. His other hand snaked up Eren's chest, pulling the omega up into his lap. His fingers sliding through the wet marks, blurring the patterns so carefully painted on Eren's perfect body. Had Eren always been so warm and soft? Feeling his orgasm rushing to hit, he growled and grunted, biting Eren's back as he came, his knot not catching as Eren rose with a cry. Leaving his cum dribbling down his dick and balls as it mixed with Eren's slick, spilling down onto the altars stone surface. Above them, the purple became blue, the marks growing warm beneath his splayed fingers
"Second semen is spilt. Loyalty is assured"
Eren's neck started to glow, the omega dipping his head as strange green and glowing marks appeared across his nape. Levi's alpha instantly hating it. It severely limited the places he could mark the omega
"This child shall serve Eldia, let him carry out the words of royalty, and bring victory to Eldia!"
"For Eldia!"
As the marks faded, Eren slumped down against him. His knot forced down uncomfortably, he was still coming inside Eren. Trying to rearrange the teen, Eren whined against him
"Alpha?"
"Shhh..."
"Need more. Never felt sooo good, master"
Master. Fuck yes. He could support that. He'd never felt a rush like he had at hearing that one word from Eren's lips
"I've got you"

Lost to his instincts, and lost to the pheromones filling the chamber, Levi laid Eren down on the altar. Wide black eyes turning to its normal intoxicating green stared up at him, as long arms reached to pull him into his embrace. When Levi's lips met Eren's, a shock ran through the pair of them. The sound of thunder clapping above. He didn't care for the blood on Eren's lips, yet it failed to make Eren's kiss any less as sweet. He could feel Eren's magic seeping into him, yet it wasn't entirely unwanted. Three long kisses didn't feel long enough, Levi jerking back as the woman yelled
"Third semen for the bond!"
So this was meant to happen? He was meant to knot Eren? He could definitely do that. Especially with how Eren was looking at him as if he was everything the omega could ever want. Having not knotted inside Eren, as his knot started to deflate, he pushed back in. Eren's back arching as he let out a long moan. Taking Eren's legs by the backs of this thighs, he spread the omegas legs wide. The sight beneath him intoxicating. His alpha wanted to take it slow, but Eren was growing tired. Guiding himself in slowly, Levi growled. He could happily stay buried inside Eren. Pulling back until just his tip was buried, he slammed back in. Eren's fingers scrambling to find some kind of purchase as he whined. With the need to breed in mind, he fucked Eren just as hard as he had from behind, his half-formed knot flaring all too soon as his seed flooded the omega. Eren's hands flew to his stomach, arching his back as he moaned and thanked him for filling him
"The bond is forged! He had earned his place! Like us, he is no more and no less! We are all equal! And the bonds were share will never die!
The light lines shifted again, now to a warm yellow-white gold
A cry of "Eldia" went around the room... Levi blind to near orgy happening around him. As Eren started to drift off, he assumed the ceremony was over. Everyone else was busy getting busy. Lifting the omega, he got the barely conscious Eren to sling his arms over his shoulders, as he wrapped his legs around his waist. From somewhere, a black cloak was produced and wrapped around Eren's shoulders. At least someone had the brains not to be busy fucking. Eren had to be cold. The cold of the altar had started soaking into him, Eren feeling so warm as sat chest to chest. He could feel the omega's heart racing just as hard as his. Rubbing Eren's back, the omega hadn't skinned himself on the stone, thankfully. He didn't know if he could forgive them if he'd been hurt.

As Levi's sanity returned, he was hit by guilt. He'd just knotted and fucked Eren in front of everyone. And thoroughly enjoyed everyone seeing him making Eren his. And while it felt fucking amazingly natural and right... Eren had been scared over the whole process. The omega may have wanted someone he knew to mount him... but Levi knew nothing about magic. With his knot still firmly inside Eren, the omega nosed at his neck and started to purr. This was definitely not how the night was supposed to go. He wasn't supposed to have his arms filled with this pretty creature. It wasn't his to claim. He wasn't his to claim... even if he sure as hell smelt like he was. Letting out a sleepy sigh, Eren kissed his neck
"Mmm... my alpha"
No. Levi wasn't Eren's. Eren would never be his.

Carrying Eren up from the cavern, Levi had lost track of Erwin. He was instead engaged in a bitter battle of wills with his alpha. His alpha wanted to continued what had begun on the altar, while he, himself, wanted to make sure Eren was safe and warm during his heat. What had transpired never should have. Eren had come to be claimed by a Master of Magic, not by an imposter prince with a boner. He could only hope he hadn't fucked the youth's future up. He wasn't really the prince of the kingdom, and he was destined for an arranged marriage. He couldn't possibly have developed feelings for Eren... so... he'd deny him. That would be for the best. He'd deny everything between them.

Chapter Text

Levi's rut was unusual. He'd thought he'd become used to them since he'd presented, but this rut was completely different from the others. Leaving Eren in his own quarters had been hard. He'd stationed two beta soldiers to watch over the teen and to prevent any alphas touching him in such a vulnerable condition. Separated from Eren, the only thing that eased his rut was the black robe he'd worn when he'd mounted the omega. Eren's sweet smell fading too fast for his alphas liking. It wasn't the unbearable pain of this rut that made it unusual, but the never-ending flower petals that rained down from the ceiling during it. No doubt it was Eren's magic in effect. No one else would dare cover every surface of his chambers with white rose petals. They'd said a bond was formed on that altar, and as much as he tried to deny it, the flowers seemed to make it true.

Coming out of his rut, he was in a foul mood. The waves of need, and the feeling of never being satisfied hadn't faded at all. His dick hurt like hell, as he forced himself into his pants though that was preferable to taking a piss. That had felt like pissing razor blades. After cleaning up, he'd stoked the fire in the heart, then spent hours tracking down every single stupid rose petal to burn all evidence. When he finally surfaced from his room, Erwin was there to annoy him. His guards were gone and hopefully hadn't seen the rose petals. There were more than enough rumours about him
"You look like shit"
"Fucking charming, aren't you? Why is it I come out of my rut and have to stare at your ugly mug?"
"I only just came out of my own rut"
Levi growled softly
"Not a word about it"
"I haven't said anything, but there's um... been a few Eren caused incidents"
Of course, there fucking had been
"You better fill me in then"
"It might be easier to show you"
"Spit it out. I'm not in the mood for this"
"No. You need to see this to believe this"

Unfortunately, seeing was believing. In the centre of the courtyard, was an apple tree of impressive portions. An apple tree that hadn't been there before. With its branches ladened with fruit, and the happiness of the castle citizens, it made it hard to be mad at Eren for it
"We have an apple tree?"
"We do. From what I heard, Eren's room was filled with flowers. But I haven't seen him. I came to collect you first"
Eren was probably exhausted. And Levi had no idea what he'd tell him...
"Leave him be. The tree will need to come down, though"
The omega conducting the ceremony had called Eren a "child of destruction". How did an apple tree fit into that? It'd been so long since they'd had fresh apples in the keep, let alone apples straight from the tree
"Are you sure? You made a bond with him"
"I'm about as magical as a caterpillar. I can't teach him anything, and we never should have gone"
"None the less, Eren has a bond with you..."
"Then have Hanji teach him"
"L-Prince Erwin. Are you sure that's the best idea?"
"Yes. He came here to learn magic. Not to be fucked by the prince. Have Hanji teach him"
"And what will you tell him?"
"Nothing. He was so out of it, I doubt he'll remember it was me"
"I saw you with him. I smelt how much you wanted him..."
"It was simply the effects of being surrounded by so many horny omegas and alphas. Anyone would have wanted him"
"He was certainly... captivating"
Erwin had no idea. Levi couldn't get the image of Eren riding the horn out of his mind. The way the markings on his skin moved each time he rose as fell. The sweetness of Eren's bloodied lips. The warmth between Eren's long legs. The way he cried out of for more. The look of pure pleasure as he came. He couldn't forget any of it, even if he'd wanted to
"To an infuriating degree. Let them harvest the apples, then the tree shall be felled. I want reports on anything usual happening in the castle. Whether it be from Eren or our other mages. And discretely assess the situation with the omegas. The last thing we need is to lose half our force to pregnancy"
"Does that include Eren?"
Levi paled. He'd knotted Eren while he'd been in heat... he hadn't thought of pregnancy, despite his alpha screaming at him to breed him
"Yes. Make sure it's dealt with before the thought crosses his mind. We don't need a royal bastard"
"Not when we have you for a prince"
Levi scowled at Erwin as he turned from the apple true
"You're not funny"
"I'm a little bit funny. Eren appreciates my humour"
"Well, he is rather unusual. I'm heading to the sunroom. I'll take breakfast there"
"Very well, I'll see to it. No doubt the correspondence would have piled up"
"Don't remind me. The last thing I want to deal with is that right now"

*
Coming out of his heat, Eren was exhausted. Nothing had provided relief, and his room had filled with stupid vines of rambling roses while he'd been preoccupied. His whole body felt weird, as if he'd woken from a long dream. His magic finally calming its self, yet then proving it's self completely useless when he'd tried to magic the roses gone. Starving, he'd been craving fresh fruit, in particular, apples, as the sanctuary had had a rather nice orchard of them. From his limited exploration of the castle, he hadn't seen anything remotely like a grove, or orchard. He hadn't even seen fresh herbs or fruiting vines. He knew they had to be about. A majority of medicines were plant-based, but they hadn't shown him any of that. Hopefully, they would now...

With his room filled with pulled down vine, Eren didn't know what to do with them all. Leaving them there seemed wrong, but it wasn't like he could just throw the evidence out the window. Hopefully, his master would be able to tell him what to do, their mark born on his neck, in what felt like a raised scar... though he couldn't actually remember who it was. He thought they'd spend a whole heat together, to forge deeper bonds. Now he had to wander around the castle and hope someone picked him up, or pointed him in the right direction. Maybe his magic would even tell him who he was supposed to belong with? It felt calmer now. Stray sparks not jumping from his fingertips anymore.

Heading down to the kitchen, Eren found it a flurry of activity. Along the oak table, wooden boxes laden with shiny red apples. Famished from his heat, Eren dived into the first box. Grabbing an apple from the box, he bit through its red flesh. Moaning at the fresh, crisp taste. The whole of the flesh of the apple demolished in the three bites. Grabbing another one, he paused before he bit into the flesh, catching sight of Nicollo
"Eren!"
"Hi, Nicollo. What's with all the apples?"
"We should be asking you, or so I hear"
Eren was confused. Sure, he'd wanted an apple, but what did that have to do with anything
"Me?"
"There's a massive tree now in the centre of the castle courtyard. We'll be having apples and cider for months"
"And you think I did it?"
"You took your vows, then bam! Apple tree. It was you, wasn't it?"
So he hadn't just filled his room with a rambling rose, he'd magicked up an apple tree...
"I don't know. I've never been able to use my magic for anything constructive"
Nicollo snorted
"You're telling me. If you could magic up a few herbs, that'd be great"
"I think I want to see this tree"
Nicollo pointed to the door
"Head on out. Help yourself to as many apples as you'd like"
"Uh. Thanks..."
"No. Thank you. We haven't had fresh apples in so long"
Well... that was something. He'd created something actually useful for a change...

Nicollo was right. The tree was absolutely massive. It's trunk the thickest trunk of a tree he'd ever seen. All he'd wanted was an apple, and now there was a whole damn tree full. He couldn't believe his eyes. Walking over to the tree, Eren placed his hand on the trunk. He didn't feel anything magical from it. It was just... a tree. Across the courtyard, he caught the sound of someone talking animatedly. A stranger called "Moblit" was having his name yelled repeatedly. Turning, he watched the pair come closer, then found the yelling stranger running over to him
"Eren!"
Oh fuck. Here it came. Someone was going to tell him off. Stepping back, the strangers stepped slowed
"You're Eren, right? This tree is incredible! How did you do it? Can we run tests?! Your magic is amazing!"
Catching up with the strange woman, the man named Moblit gave a sigh
"Sorry about that. This is Hanji. She is in charge of the science and magic within the castle. Hanji, we've talked about this. You can't just go running off when you get excited"
The strange woman clutched Moblit's arm
"But Moblit, it's Eren!"
"And Eren knows who he is. Eren, Hanji is going to be teaching you magic. She's a tad enthused as she's never had a student before"
That made Hanji his master? He thought he'd feel something from the woman. Other than the certainty that he didn't want to have sex with her
"Oh. Nice to meet you"
"Can you grow another apple tree?"
"I... don't know how I grew the first one"
Hanji's face fell slightly for a moment, before her bright grin returned
"I'm sure we'll figure it out. Do you know any spells or anything?"
"No. My magic tends to do it's own thing"
"Excellent! We're going to have so much fun. There's so many things I want to do, and try. Do you have any talents? Or interests? Hobbies?"
No. Not really...
"I... like herbs, I guess"
"Herbs?"
Was that the wrong thing to say?
"Yeah..."
"That's a bit boring. How do feel about science!?"
"I don't know that much"
Could this be over with already? He just wanted to learn, not answer a million questions
"We need to change that. Have you been to the royal library?"
"Not that I know of. I've been working in the kitchen..."
He really didn't want to be sent back to the kitchen
"Cooking and I haven't always seen eye to eye. The library..."
"Hanji, have you forgotten you've been banned from the library?"
"I won't tell if you don't..."
Hanji sighed dramatically
"You accidentally start a fire near the rare tomes, and they never let you forget it"

For the first time since meeting Hanji, a real smile formed on his lips
"I know what you mean. I accidentally made the fire in the kitchen flare, and Nicollo won't let me forget it"
Hanji pulled away from Moblit to throw her arms around him
"Oh, Eren! We're going to have so much fun!"
"Great. Now there's two of them"
"Don't be like that Moblit! Imagine if Eren could do something even bigger! They say the mages raised the castle with one spell!"
"I don't think I can do anything like that"
"We'll never know, not until we understand your magic"
Eren parroted her words in confusion
"Understand my magic?"
"Well. You know how some magic users are healers. We have some in the armed forces and some that work in construction. Some have silly magic that simply makes things float or glow. Every user has a different affinity. Yours seems to be when it comes to plants, so for now, we'll concentrate on everything not plant-based"
That had to be a huge list... Hanji was nothing like what he expected from a master. She seemed like she had no real experience at all. After waiting for so long, maybe that was why he was so let down? He needed to be happy. He needed to be positive. He was going to finally learn how to use his magic!

Chapter Text

Hanji knew nothing about magic, but that didn't stop the woman. Over the following month, he found himself being dragged all over the place as he "helped" the woman with her experiments. Sure, he'd learned a few things. Omegas were the only ones who could read the runes in the books of magic, and their alpha masters treated them like lackies because of it. Alphas were only really there in order to command the omegas over what not to do. He had no talent for healing. Not once did a healing spell work the way he wanted it to. He could stop the blood flowing... but he had a better chance of healing an injury with traditional medicine. Hanji was practically useless. Yep, all that and that he'd accident upset the prince, who wasn't actually the prince at all. That was the biggest thing he'd learned from Hanji. For some stupid reason, Levi was only playing the part of Prince Erwin, or Erwin was playing the part of Levi's bodyguard. It had something to do with the way the King and Queen had died. The moment Hanji had let the secret slip, she'd used an alpha command to silence him over it.

As it turned out, Hanji had nearly daily run-ins with Erwin and Levi. It was so incredibly stupid, but each time they met, Eren secretly hoped for Levi to look at him. It depressed him to think that the prince didn't want him in the castle, and the only thing that came to mind as to why the man would be displeased was due to the apple tree incident. He'd apologised, and been brushed aside. Hanji had told him not to take it personally, but how could he not? He hadn't intended to cause any trouble at all, and he'd been much better at controlling his magic. Even when Hanji was finished with him, he'd head down to small woodland behind the training oval and practice until his nose bled. He couldn't form another tree, no matter how much he tried, but his battle magic had been getting better. He could now summon razor-sharp winds... that had succeeded in cutting his arms to shreds, and not much else. He felt as if he'd had a real master, he would have been further in his studies.

As the second visit by the Marley forces drew closer, Hanji had less time to spend training him. Armin had been full of enthusiasm over helping him, but even his friend had been drawn into helping around the castle. He could have turned to Mikasa, they'd often eat dinner together as Hanji at with the castle soldiers, but Mikasa had grown on his nerves. She wanted more from him than what he was prepared to give. She'd attempt to scent mark him every chance she got, claiming he didn't know the effect he had on the soldiers. The first time had really hurt him to hear that strangers only saw him as sex ok legs. When he'd returned to his room, he'd begun back on his homemade suppressants. He was omega, but he was also a person who'd sworn their life to Eldia. He didn't need to be a soldier to be strong. Not now that he could use his magic. He just needed to practice, and more herbs.

Having been shopping with Hanji, Eren had learned that most places were happy to bill the castle for supplies. Dressed in his pants and tunic, Eren looked just like everyone else in the market place. Hanji had laughed at the impracticality of his robes and insisted he wore pants. They weren't even the tight white pants of soldiers either, these were black and gave him a little more space to move. Plus, his bleeds or slicking didn't show. With a smile on his face, Eren took his time to savour the sights and sounds of the market row. Children played games in the street, carefree and ignorant of the world around them, or the lack of freedom the whole country was suffering. As he walked, he nodded to the various stall holders he'd met through Hanji. The store he wanted was the apothecary at the end of the road, so it wasn't technically part of the market row, but inside was just as chaotic as if it had been. Bundles of hundreds of herbs hung from the ceiling, their ground counterparts filling jars that barely seemed to hold them. If he hadn't had magic, he would have liked to be a stall holder. He would have liked to hear the stories of the hundreds of residents of the capital city. But alas, he'd always be on the outside. Stopping off at his favourite fruit stall, the owner tossed him a fresh apple. With too many apples at the castle, they'd traded the stall owner for potatoes
"Having a good day, Eren?"
"Excellent. And you?"
"Can't complain. Hey. Is it true those thugs from Marley are returning?"
"I wouldn't call them thugs, but yes?"
The man looked genuinely annoyed, ruining Eren's apple for him before he'd even bitten into it
"Did something happen?"
"Nah. Nothing you types would be interested in"
"Types"? What type was that? He hadn't been born into royalty. It was only by luck that he was training at the castle
"I'm plenty interested. What happened?"
"Bunch of them stole from us before they took off. Couldn't do nothing to them, being honoured guests and all"
That wasn't right or fair
"Did you notify Prince Erwin?"
"Kid's had a silver spoon in his mouth since he was born"
"I've talked with Prince Erwin, I'm sure if you notified him, he'd repay you"
"It's not worth the effort. Now get on with you. You're scaring my customers away"
Eren nodded
"Thanks for the apple"

Continuing along the market, he ran into his second conversation of the day. Coming out with his arms loaded with fur L-Erwin could barely see over the pile. It was going to take him a while to get used to the farce being played out. Whenever he saw the big blond man, his mind jumped to Levi. And now he wasn't. When Erwin stumbled, Eren jogged over to him. Steadying the pile of furs as they carried it to the waiting cart. Loading them into the back, Erwin smiled down at him
"Thanks for that. Are you out shopping?"
"Yes, though not for quite as much as you are"
"Prince Zeke wants fur cloaks for his entourage. These furs are being taken to be adjusted by our tailors"
"Ugh. Of course, he does"
Pelts this soft would make such a nice blanket to sleep under on cold days
"Yes. He's quite the handful. It feels like some time since we were able to last speak. How are things going with Hanji?"
"She's no master of magic. That's for sure, but she tries"
"Your magic is coming along, then?"
"Slowly. I feel no bond with her though. Not like the one I'd expected. But I've found that dreams can be quite different to reality"
"I'm sorry to hear that. I know how excited you were. Would you like a ride back to the castle?"
"No. I'm alright. I still haven't visited the apothecary yet. I would have expected the castle to grow their own herbs, or at least have the ones I need"
"Have you thought about growing them yourself?"
"No. Yes. But after sprouting a tree by accident, I don't know how safe it would be to let me grow more"
"We do have glass rooms set up for plant propagation. Compile a list of seeds, and I'll pass them on to the mages"
"That would make things so much easier, thank you. This might seem rather bold, but I wouldn't mind attempting to grow them myself. I would like to try my magic on them, and not herbs that everyone in the castle depends upon"
Levi might be the fake prince, but Erwin held the real power...
"Do you have some idea where?"
"Close to the woods by the training grounds, so as to be close without encroaching on the soldiers"
"Very well. Draft up some idea, then I'll see that it gets to the prince"
"Thank you, very much"
"You're welcome. And thank you for the help with the furs. I'll leave you to it"
Eren gave Erwin the best smile he could, before hurrying off towards the apothecary. Erwin seemed to still like him well enough, which meant he'd insulted Levi somehow... It confused him, then annoyed him, then pissed him right off. He hadn't done anything to Levi for him to be mad. It'd be one thing if he had, but the real prince of the kingdom wasn't mad at him.

Entering the apothecary, the whole process only took a few minutes as he knew what he wanted and needed. A dozen herbs later, the cloud of depression around him lifted. Remembering he was sending the bill to the castle, he added a few more herbs to his own list as a jab at Levi. If the man was going to be mad, he might as make him really mad. Leaving the apothecary store, he found Erwin waiting for him
"Weren't you returning to the castle?"
"I am. I didn't feel right about leaving you here to walk back"
Starting to walk towards the fur cart, Eren fell into step with him
"I would have been just fine. I did walk down here myself"
"I know you frequent the market with Hanji, but the market can be a dangerous place for an omega. Less desirable people make a game of hunting mages and magic users. You really shouldn't be down here by yourself"
Why hadn't Erwin said that before? Had he missed something happening? Had Erwin needed to step in and save him? He hoped not
"I'm sorry..."
"No. It's not your fault. Since Marley came into the scene under this peace treaty, things have grown hard for the residents of the city. This is not your fault"
"Why can't you do anything?"
"Because Marley will cry war. Being on the mainland, they have a number of allies. Unfortunately, Eldia suffers. The Prince doesn't like it, but... it's either people dying senseless deaths in war or us trying to find some balance and protecting all we can"
He didn't expect such a heavy answer. Maybe Erwin was more than a pretty face?
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to saddle you with this?"
Eren shook his head quickly
"I don't mind. I did come to the castle to be of use after I took my vow"
"I shall keep that in mind. Would you like some help getting up?"
Eren's face reddened as his mind immediately went to sex with Erwin comment, instead of help into the wagon. Before he answered, Erwin, lifted him like he weighed nothing, settling him on the front driver's seat, before climbing up beside him
"There wasn't anything else you needed, was there?"
"No, just the herbs. Thank you"

*
Erwin was taking too long for Levi's liking. Standing in the castle courtyard, the stump of the apple tree had been turned into the base of an anvil, a blacksmith working on a horseshoe as he stared down at it. It'd been a truly impressive tree, and he was almost sad to see it gone. It'd provided the keep with shade and seemed to make the whole space less sticky and humid. But it also provided far too many shadows for would-be assassins. Grumbling under his breath, he heard Erwin before he saw him. The alpha laughing heartedly as he drove the cart into the keep. Riding beside him was Eren, the teen laughing just as hard as Erwin pulled up near the service entrance just short of the walkway Levi was glaring at the world from. Jumping down, Erwin said something that Eren raising his hands in protest. It didn't stop Erwin from rounding the cart and lifting Eren down. The whole interaction pissed him off. Erwin had kept him waiting all damn morning, just so he could play hooky with Eren. Passing small wrapped parcels to Eren, lessened his annoyance. Erwin must have given the omega lift back to the castle. Though what Eren was doing out on his own, he didn't know. It wasn't safe for omegas to just be walking around, confirming his thoughts that kid was a naive brat. He'd already copped a lecture from squad leader Ackerman about it and had an hour-long "talk" with Hanji over Eren's progress. Hanji felt that because Eren didn't understand his powers, he wasn't able to tap into completely. Whatever. It wasn't his problem anyway. He had no reason for talking to the omega now that Zeke wasn't there. There was nothing between them, not even the pull of the bond formed on the altar.

It was another few days of annoyance and upset routine before he literally ran into Eren again. Rushing through the castle, the young omega hadn't been paying attention at all, as he ran straight into him. Bouncing back, Eren hit the floor with a thud, while Levi's hand had flown to his sword. Normally people paid much more attention, instead of being shitty idiots
"Eren? Are you alright?"
"I'm so sorry, sirs. I was supposed to meet with court mages this morning, but Hanji only just passed the message on"
The woman was a damn menace. Reaching down, Erwin pulled Eren from the floor
"You'd better get along then"
"Yes. I'm so sorry"
Both of them stepped aside, leaving a path for Eren between them. Levi drew his brow in concern as the scent coming off Eren. He didn't smell like himself, and he left the trace hints of blood behind. Taking two steps, Levi knelt down, reaching out to touch the place where Eren had landed. His fingertips coming back dry, apart from the tiny specks of blood
"Is everything ok?"
"Eren's bleeding"
"Bleeding?"
Rising, he showed his fingers to Erwin
"That does seem to be blood. But it could be entirely natural"
"It's not natural for male omegas to bleed... If he's sick, it could mean trouble"
"And if he's not, you'll be embarrassing him"
"Then have a word with the head healer. Have them make sure the kid hadn't contracted something contagious. His scent was wrong too"
"You know his scent now?"
"It smells of rain. Today, he smelt blank. If his magic flared again, he may just bring down the castle"
Marley would be there in just a couple more days. Everything had been made perfect for Prince Pin-Dick's arrival
"I'll see what can be done. But Levi, if Eren's powers are causing you so much worry, wouldn't it be better to send him from the castle?"
Did he want to send Eren from the castle? Something inside him fiercely hated the thought... his alpha sore over him not wanting to pursue the omega, yet... He couldn't bring himself to dismiss Eren completely. Each time he caught a whiff of the omegas scent, or a caught a glance of him rushing through the castle... or even just the thought of Eren being under the same roof as him, he'd find himself scrambling to push the omega from his mind, then scrambling for excuses as to why Eren couldn't leave
"No. He may fall into the hands of the enemy. Plus, Zeke may not be impressed at the lack of Eren being there"
"Do you think he'd care about Eren, after this time apart?"
"Probably. Because it's him and he just wants to be an arsehole. Their rooms are ready, correct?"
"Yes. I've checked them myself. We've withstood Zeke before, and we will again"
"And the entertainment?"
"The finest musicians have been called to the castle. The mages have been given their orders, and they've promised a sky show to remember"
"And you've got the updated hunting maps?"
"Picked them up with the furs. Arrangements have been made for an extended hunting trip. Tents and camp organised for the forest to the south"
He'd prefer not to hunt in the south, but Isabel and Farlan had found signs of illegal poaching, and thanks to shitty Marley messing with his schedule, he hadn't been able to ride out and check it. No doubt, Zeke was sure to blame his ineptness for the poachers
"Very well. Everything must go smoothly"
"You're worrying too much"
Levi glared at Erwin
"You're not worried enough. Go make sure Eren is alright, and make go check with Shitty Glasses about his training. If she can't bring his magic under control, we need to find someone more appropriate"
"Hanji isn't going to like that"
"Between her and the castle, I choose the castle"
"Of course you do. Just don't forget you need to check in with the kitchen over the menu for Marley's stay, and you need to be there for gear inspection..."
"I know. You take care of your job, and I'll take care of mine"

*
Eren was sure he was in trouble. Hanji had signed off on his small shopping trip, though asked that in future he went through her over the herbs he needed. That wasn't happening. He didn't want to be a burden on her, not when she had so much to do around the castle as it was. Not being a magic user or master, Hanji didn't know about the classes some mages had access to. Eren didn't even know about it until he was summoned down to meet with one of the older omegas who was in charge of entertainment while Marley was there. Three or four masters had come together to train their omegas in broader magic uses, but perhaps more exciting than forcing his way into those classes was that he got to take part in the sky show being planned to wow Marley. It was so last moment, he didn't know how it'd happened, yet he was thrilled to be of some use. All his life, Eren had thought that complex magic spells were required for magic, yet the runes in the books were more ideas and suggestions. It was rather weird to read about spells, then have mental images stab at his brain over it. The clearer the mental image, the clearer the results from the spells. For all her ramblings and excitement, Hanji had never told him that. Instead, it'd taken a few snarky comments from older mages, who had decided he was particularly useless because he couldn't create a shower of magical sparks like they could. Still. A strong imagination didn't mean a strong spell, necessarily. It was just the first step of the race, and Eren seemed to be on a completely different playing field.

Spending hours with the mages, Eren was growing more and more frustrated. He could make a small shower of sparkles appear... around his fingers and that was that. He felt sick to his stomach, exhausted and uncomfortably hot. He didn't understand why it was so easy for everyone else. He'd taken his vows. He was taking his studies with an unusual and almost fanatical devotion, yet all he seemed to be able to do was produce small party tricks. When he closed his eyes, he could focus on what he wanted. A whole sky lit up bright in a shower of silver and blue. He'd done what he was told to do... which had to mean, he was the problem. Had he taken his vows too soon? Or was it because his magic had been useless for so long? Swaying on the spot, he dropped to his knees. Why couldn't he do what everyone else could do?!

Left to sit where he'd fallen, one of the other masters took pity of him. Heaving him up by his arm, the man wrapped an arm around his waist as he gave a sniff. Slightly offended, Eren tried to stand alone, but his knees would support him
"Stop it. You're liable to give yourself an aneurysm with all this straining"
Glaring at the man, he seemed to tower over him, by at least a head
"What would you know?"
"I know you're learning nothing under Hanji"
"Hanji is my master"
"Is she?"
Eren's scowl deepened
"Don't be like that, I know you've suspected as much. The only one who can draw the magic out of you, is your master"
Eren was sick of feeling insulted and sick of feeling sick. His head was starting to throb in time with his stomach, his tongue getting the better of him as he angrily hissed
"And who are you?! How do you seem to magically know what's happening between Hanji and me?! She is my master!"
"We both know you were mounted by a male alpha, not a female"
"I..."
He didn't remember the ritual. Once the blood of those in the cavern had been drunk, he couldn't remember anything that happened after it. Only a feeling of being right where he was supposed to be, and a feeling of being held warm and safe
"Who are you?"
"My name is Reiner. I am a master here and have been since Marley signed the treaty with Eldia"
So Reiner came from Marley? Why the fuck was he working as a master here then? Marley had their own mages...
"Well, Reiner. Then I must be a magic user who's master regretted mounting me. Would you care to go ahead and laugh?"
"I would never laugh. Instead, I shall give you a piece of advice. Seek out your true master, and whatever herbs you are taking for your... condition, stop. Being a magic user requires you to be in tune with yourself and your master. Your master gives you strength through the bonds formed each time you lay together"
Eren pursed his lips. Reiner wasn't like he'd expected. The alpha hadn't been insulted by his snappy retorts
"And how do you suppose I do that?"
"You should feel it. When you're in the company of him, you shall feel it"
"And what if I don't?"
"Then there's always a spell. Employ the use of a scrying circle. Concentrate on the thought of your master and the answer should be revealed"
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because you remind me of myself. Stuck with no way out, except to live up to someone else's expectations. That apple tree you rose, was just a small sliver of the power you have, and we all have high hopes for you"

Mulling Reiner's words over in his mind, he let himself be helped back up to the castle. Parting with Reiner, Eren didn't know how he felt about the man. Everyone else had left him, yet Reiner had sought him out to tell him he needed to find his proper master. What happened when he did? Why had they turned their backs on him, and left him to Hanji? He knew he could be loud, but only because he so desperately wanted to be useful. Was that so wrong? And could he possibly solve his dilemma? If Hanji was lying to him, who else was? And why? Wrapping his arms around himself, he suddenly felt very much alone, and incredibly small. He'd thought he was making friends here... but maybe Armin and Mikasa were his only friends? He didn't really know the people of the castle. Even Erwin and Levi weren't who they said they were. How much of all of this was actually a lie?

Chapter Text

Eren's mood worsened as he tried to distance himself from everyone. He realised how dependant on those around him he'd become over the last few months. Nicollo had a sharp tongue, but cared for those whole appreciated his cooking. Hanji was crazy interested in science, and how science and magic could better the world. Moblit was ever loyal to Hanji, often acting as the counterweight to keep her from going off the deep end. Both Armin and Mikasa always seemed genuinely happy to see him at dinner time, or the times they'd bump into each other within the castle... and Erwin. He'd known they couldn't be friends, yet the man had been kind to him since his arrival. By their nature, omegas were more social than betas and alphas. "Relationships" and "families" were formed within the confines of a sanctuary. Or they had at the one he'd been at, but then again, omegas didn't usually spend 5 years there. And now that he thought of it, there was no reason he shouldn't have taken his vows sooner... Why had Levi even sent him to the sanctuary? Was it his fault he was forced to stay there so long? Did the man hate him for sneaking into his stables that day? Outside his window, the sky show for the Marley party rained down. It was too beautiful for words, especially with Eren having no part of it. All the omega could do was sit in the frame of his window, watching the small pitiful sparks dance in his palm.

Reiner had mentioned using a scrying spell, yet once he knew, he couldn't un-know. With all the festivities, no one would notice his absence. No one would be coming to check him or notice if he stole in the magical stores to steal some chalk and a scrying crystal. Yet he'd never done a scrying spell before. If his magic flared or got out of hand, he could potentially injure his master, or even worse, summon them right into his bedroom... and how was he supposed to explain that? How was he supposed to admit that he knew Hanji wasn't his master? Everyone around him wanted to believe that so, so he had to pretend too. No matter how much it sucked and hurt. He'd rather have stayed at the sanctuary or begged to have a normal non-magical life than to be denied by the one who was supposed to share his soul and magic with.

*
Levi was on his forth goblet of wine already, and the feast had only just begun. The Marley party had only arrived a few hours before hand, but Zeke was on his nerves. This time the alpha was accompanied by a tall woman with a perpetual silencing glare on her face. It was as if she was being contaminated for merely setting foot on their island. The fact Zeke had brought with him more soldiers than last time was hard to ignore, as was the way Zeke seemed to be scanning the feast as if looking for someone in particular. He didn't know, and he couldn't be bothered caring. Erwin had already left his side as he'd been roped into dancing within the U-spaded tables of the feast, and even watching the man making a fool of himself had failed to lift his mood. He didn't know why he felt so depressed, only that he was tired of it keeping him up at night
"Erwin, your mood is most unbecoming of a prince. Is something wrong within the kingdom?"
It took Levi a moment to realise he was being talked to. Zeke had been busy talking to a Marley soldier last time he'd looked to him
"No. No, all is well. I was simply lost in thought over Levi's dancing"
"He is quite terrible"
"Usually he is much better. There must be something distracting him"
"And hence, it is distracting you. It rather ruins the food to see the prince so sour"
"I'm sorry. That wasn't my intent"
"Perhaps I could lend an ear? Is it trouble of the heart? You are really at the age where you must present an heir"
"What's the good of having an heir, if no one can ascend the throne?"
"This is why you're such a difficult nation to negotiate with. Tell me, do you plan to wed soon? There are many a lovely lady in Marley, or perhaps it's a male omega that takes your fancy"
What? No. He didn't like Eren. He didn't know the boy... Why was he thinking of Eren?
"It is. I can see the look upon your face. Is it someone I happen to know"
Levi drained his goblet, holding up to be refilled by his attendant
"It's nothing like that. Running this kingdom doesn't exactly leave time for romance"
"One does not need romance to create an heir. As an alpha, you should know that well. I hear you recently went through your rut. Did you spend it alone?"
Levi bit down a growl. No well-mannered person would ask that
"Why does that concern, Marley?"
"Like I said. We have many a nice woman, and omega in Marley... yet, I suppose there are one or two attractive enough omegas in your court. You could have them all, that is your right as a ruler"
Zeke clicked his fingers, one of his female attendants rising from the floor behind them, gathering her robes up, she climbed into his lap
"See. This one knows. Her belly will soon be swollen with child, and she is not the only one. We are the ones who shall rule the world. While fine breeding is important, spares are also necessary..."
Zeke was unpleasant enough. He didn't want to think about the alphas offspring. Kissing the girl, she giggled as she climbed from his lap. Zeke slapping her arse with a laugh, before she returned to her place on the floor
"You're the prince of a kingdom Erwin. It is time you started acting like one"
Levi sighed heavily. He didn't want to breed an "army" of spares. Having lost his virginity to Eren had brought up enough strange emotions as it was, and certain frustrations that could only be calmed in the dead of night. He was just lucky he hadn't been forced to spend any extended time with the teen. As far as he could tell, the teen hadn't been amongst the mages sky show, leaving him to hope Zeke hadn't noticed. But if Zeke was so open with his attendants, then it would be doubtful he'd still be perusing Eren.

After the unpleasant feast, Levi woke with a hangover the size of the island. Thankfully, he saw no signs of having dragged anyone into it, even in his drunken state. With a chill in the air, bathing wasn't as pleasant as it normally was. The fire in his hearth refusing to stay lit, the water for shaving was cold to the point of frigid. Dressing and donning his thickest fur coat, his irritation increasing when he found his room was the only one affected. He felt like a fool for wearing such thick clothes as he entered the dining hall, for all eyes to fall upon him. Stupid Erwin wasn't there, but Prince Bitch was. Striding over to take his place at the table, Zeke was all smiles
"Prince Erwin! How are we this morning?"
"Fine. Yourself?"
"Never better. Eager to start this hunt you have planned"
Right. The stupid hunt. Why they had to head out so soon, he didn't know. At least he knew where the real prince was
"I was talking to the staff. None of them seems to know where that pet mage of yours is"
"I do not have a pet mage"
"That's not what I've heard. Apparently, his magic was strong enough to grow a quite magnificent apple tree. The warm cider from it has proven to be quite flavoursome. Perhaps we should have him teach our magic users? It'd be a shame for him to waste here"
So not only had Zeke not forgotten Eren, someone had opened their mouths over the strength of Eren's magic...
"Our mages have always been strong. The achievement of one mage, hardly matters"
"Really?"
"Yes. Now, I wish to eat my breakfast"
Zeke gave him a long look, that Levi didn't like one bit. His smile far too wide to be genuine
"Eat, eat. A good hunt is always better with a full stomach"
It'd be even better if he had an actual appetite. His alpha was angered over such casual talk of Eren. Zeke couldn't take Eren from Eldia as it was. The teen had vowed himself to the empire and had his nape marked so. If Zeke openly took Eren, he was sure the consequences weren't going to be pleasant for anyone. Not understanding magic had been a majorly idiotic idea.

When Levi and Zeke finally headed out to join the ranks, Erwin decided to finally join them. The scent of rain faintly in the background of his scent. Levi's heart gave a small flip when he saw Eren climbing into a supply cart. He'd been hoping the teen would be remaining at the castle, under Hanji's care and that a few weeks of extended distance would cause his thoughts to abandon those of Eren. They were unhealthy, and unwanted, and not unnoticed by Zeke. Too consumed in glaring, he didn't smell the way his scent shifted to possessive, nor did he see the smile on Zeke's lips over it. If he'd realised, he would have realised that everyone but him, knew he had more than just a passing "thing" for the omega.

*
Eren wanted to be left alone. The previous night had been one of the worst he'd had in a while and just wanted to forget how lonely he'd felt. He was still curled up in bed when a loud knock landed against his door. Sorely tempted to hide away and to tell them to fuck off, he covered his head with his pillow
"Eren?! It's, Levi. Are you awake?"
"No!"
He couldn't very well ignore the prince, especially as he listened to his door creak open
"Eren?"
Pulling the pillow away, he rolled to look at Erwin. Unexpected concern on the man's face
"Is everything alright?"
Why did he care? Did he know that Eren knew his "little" secret
"Huh? What?"
"We did not see you last night, so I was wondering if you're ok?"
"I'm sorry. I had a headache, and we all know my magic is..."
He trailed off with a weak shake of his hand
"Ah. Right. No doubt you know Prince Zeke has returned"
"Really? I hadn't noticed"
Erwin crossed his arms, giving Eren his best "unimpressed dad" look
"Sorry. I didn't have the best nights sleep"
"Today we will be leading an expedition south to go hunting, and we'll be taking Moblit with us. Hanji has her hands full back here. As Hanji's student, you'll be required to join us"
But he wasn't "hers", she wasn't his true master
"Are you sure? I do not wish to be in the way"
"You won't be. You previously expressed an interest in herbs, and it was mentioned that you came from the south"
"Shinganshima, sir"
"I am sorry to hear that, is that where you lost your parents?"
"It was. Will we be near Shinganshima?"
"As you know, under our treaty, we were unable to resettle in Shinganshima. But yes, we shall be passing close to them, and into the forests of the southwest tip of the island"
"And you want me to come with?"
"Indeed. I believe there are herbs that only grow in that area. Ackerman will also be there..."
Ugh. Mikasa was going to "mum" him...
"Um... can I ask a question?"
"Just one?"
Now who was being immature?!
"I was wondering about sleeping arrangements?"
"You will be sharing a tent. The mages sleep with their masters to prevent anything happening, which means you shall be sharing with Moblit. Don't worry though, the tents are quite spacious, and reinforced with magic as we'll be there for some time"
More magic he couldn't do
"Do I have to ride a horse?"
"You'll be with Moblit. While we hunt, you'll be helping him with herbs"
"And no Zeke?"
He sounded pathetically hopeful
"I cannot say. We rarely hunt the South East forest, so despite the hunt supposedly taking up the next two weeks, don't be alarmed if it doesn't"
"I guess I'll get ready then"
"Of course. Make sure you eat before you join us"
"I will, thank you"
Erwin raised one of his huge bushy brows
"What are you thanking me for?"
"I don't know. It seemed the thing to do"
Erwin gave a soft laugh, before sweeping out his room and leaving the damn door open. Groaning, Eren flopped back on his bed. What the hell was this shit?! Why couldn't he stay at the castle? If Hanji was his master, he should be here. Not teaching Moblit about herbs, when the man probably knew better than he did.

It was a little over two hours later that Eren found himself sitting beside Moblit. Travelling sandwiched between the two parties of soldiers, Moblit hadn't bothered trying to talk him out of his bad mood. They'd exchanged pleasantries when he'd climbed up into the cart, but that was it. Moblit looked as happy as Eren felt. Neither of them had asked to be riding across the countryside at the whims of two stupid Princes and an imposter, and Eren had been keeping his distance from the man since "figuring out" that Hanji was indeed not his master. He knew it wasn't Erwin. He felt something when around the man, but now that he knew what his lack of feelings around Hanji actually was, he knew the same thing applied to the prince. Moblit also wasn't his master. So far, he'd crossed only a handful of people off his list. Moblit. Hanji. Erwin. Levi. Armin. Nicollo, and Mikasa. And Reiner, though something felt off about him... Perhaps because he was from Marley? All this fresh air and sunshine left him with far too much time to think this all through. It had to be someone "up" in the castle, in order to get Hanji to comply. Or it could have been a simple soldier, to limit his powers so Hanji could run her experiments. He'd seen half the army, and they were big men... but no men he wanted inside of him. Whoever had held him, had made him feel warm and safe... something he longed to feel again.

Chapter Text

Setting up camp in the south forest, Eren stayed out of everyone's way. He'd shared a tent with Moblit for the night, and learned the hard way that the man could snore with the best of them. It was almost impressive how loud and nasally his snores were. Unable to sleep, he'd slipped from his tent to watch the moon. They said that swearing on the moon was an act of an insincere man. He didn't understand how it could be. There was magic in the moons sliver lights, and life was afoot under it. The trees all but glowed, as if absorbing the magic around them, while small creatures darted around the camp. Sitting in the grass, he was able to dig into the soil, to feel it against his fingers and feel the humming heartbeat of the ground. He felt so connected to everything and closing his eyes only strengthened it. That's how he was able to tell he was being watched. Fear spiked within him, sparks of his magic shooting into the soil. As this happened, whoever was watching silently withdrew, and it wasn't until the presence had left entirely that Eren scrambled up and rushed back to his tent. At least with Moblit, he had no worries of being attacked.

Reaching the place to be their forest base, the following day, Eren left everyone unpacking in order to walk a short distance from camp. The air has always been so much sweeter and nicer to the south. He'd thought it just a memory created by telling himself that, yet as he stood in the breeze, he felt as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Staring up at the branches of towering oaks, he marvelled at nature. From tiny seeds, these towering trees grew.

It was all too soon that he was joined. He felt the alpha coming up behind him before he'd seen him
"Eren?"
Zeke... ugh. Couldn't he have this? No. He needed to be nice. Forcing the nicest smile he could, he knelt as he turned
"Your, Royal Highness?"
"I thought I recognised you, but Prince Erwin insisted you wouldn't be joining us"
"I'm sorry, sir. I was not made aware that I would be either"
"Is this not part of your training?"
"Uh. Yes... I mean. Kind of"
"What is it, omega? Explain yourself"
"I am here to collect herbs for the castle, sir"
Bending down, Zeke took his hand and pulled him to his feet
"Eren, I must apologise for my actions the last hunt. I do not regret what I have done, but it's haunted me since it happened, and I feel I now understand how you must have felt. I do hope we can put that ugliness behind us"
Hold up. What? Zeke was apologising? Was this a dream? And what the hell was Zeke doing with his hand? The alphas thumb was rubbing circles against his hand. The man staring at him as he had his full attentions. Oh. He needed to reply
"Yes. I would like that very much. I'm sorry I showed you such a bad sight"
"Then let us talk. I hear you have taken your vows?"
"Yes, sir. I have a new master now, and I have been learning the ways of magical arts"
Being nice was hard. He had to hold his tongue and be annoyingly weak before Zeke
"A new master you say? Did they happen to mark your nape?"
"In a way"
"That is such a shame. An omega like you should have your choice of alpha"
What a load of bullshit. An omega like him?! He was tall and gangly. His hips and thighs much too feminine, and his arse... He frowned at Zeke
"Perhaps I have misspoken. It's just... I have often found myself thinking of you. It would please me greatly to know more about you"
"There really isn't that much to know, sir"
"Come now. I'm sure you have more than a few secrets. Like how you rose such a large apple tree?"
"I don't know..."
How long was Zeke going to hold his hand? It felt weird, and more than that, it made the marks on the back of his neck itchy. He had the feeling that he needed to scratch his nape as if his skin was unnatural
"You don't know?"
"Magic is unpredictable, sir"
"Ah. Still, I expect we'll yet see your powers before our hunt is over"

"Prince Zeke!"
A tall woman who he couldn't remember seeing before called out to Zeke, the prince finally releasing his hand
"Alas, a Prince's duty is never done. You must join us tonight for dinner"
Zeke stayed there as Eren swallowed awkwardly as he nodded. Why couldn't he just be left alone to sulk? And why was Zeke trying to be "nice" to him?! He hated the man and didn't particularly want to be caught up in whatever he was planning.

*
The first few days of the hunt passed with deer and small game being caught. Eren had only had small and limited chances to collect herbs each time an animal was felled. Zeke was more than happy to trample the forest, which left Eren more annoyed than the man's continued "pursuit" of him. Each time Zeke killed something, he was sure to ask Eren what he thought or to brag about his alpha strength in a strangely sidewards manner, as if it was his secondary objective. Still. Zeke had brought him herbs one nice, then let him explain the uses of each one without even interrupting him. There was nothing overly important about the herbs as they were fairly common throughout the kingdom.

Slipping out in the middle of the night was easy, as was slipping out at breakfast time when everyone was busy. Eren wanting to spend some time to settle himself before he was forced along to follow Zeke. Still taking his home made suppressants, he'd bled in his sleep, so this morning was a mission to hide the evidence. He'd had the head healer ask him once before if he was alright, and that'd been embarrassing enough. He didn't wish to imagine the embarrassment that would come with having both Princes and Levi finding out. Wandering into the forest, he found a place to bury his nightshirt, before being distracted by herbs. Not meaning to, his steps grew further and further away from camp, until he found himself lost. Well. Fuck... he couldn't retrace his steps with such a thick layer of leaves across the forest floor, and he didn't want to be the idiot omega who'd gotten lost. Turning around, he attempted to retrace his steps, only to find himself finding the forest thinning. Feeling sure it must be the way back to clearing they'd set up camp in, he was taken back with an audible gasp when he realised the clearing he'd found was caused by a fallen dragon. It's corpse the largest thing he'd ever seen. At least animal wise. Walking closer, he could feel his magic flaring, as his heart began to pound. From it's skeletal remains, it was clear the dragon had been there for some time... waiting for Draecian riders to bring it home. It hurt to see such a magnificent beast reduced to this, and tears welled in his eyes as he hoped the poor thing had died quickly, rather than spending its last seconds of life alone. From kneeling, he sat. Wanting to offer proper respect to the dragon, he took the herbs he'd collected and began to weave them together. It wasn't much, but it felt right to him to offer the fallen beast a token of his respect. Dragons were used so openly in magic, yet so many people were desperate to stay their hands on their remains for the money they'd bring. Ensuring the wreath was perfect, he said a small prayer to the gods of the Draecia people, and prayer that they'd find the dragon soon.

Carrying the wreath to the skull of the dragon, Eren placed it between the two massive horns upon its head, before resting his forehead against the skull. He could almost feel the pain the dragon had been through and mumbled another prayer for peace during his journey to the after growth. No wonder the herbs in the area had grown so fiercely, as the dragon rotted, its magic had seeped into the soil. Stepping back, he placed his palm against the skull, and thanked the dragon for its life
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?!"

Jumping at having his moment of respect ruined, Eren whipped around to find Levi standing there. Behind him, Erwin had his brow drawn in confusion
"Get the fuck away from that corpse right now. How could you betray us like this? All dragons are to be left to Draecia to find"
Obediently, Eren moved from the dragon. He hadn't meant any disrespect at all. He'd simply wanted to honour the dragon, and offer prayers for its return home. Not moving fast enough, Levi marched over and grabbed him by the arm. The alpha growling as his tugging caused Eren to fall to his knees
"What did you do?! Did you take anything? Did you take horn or diamond?! Answer me!"
Something inside Eren hurt. It hurt hard enough that he started to cry. He hadn't taken anything, and now he was being yelled at
"Prince Erwin..."
"Silence, Levi!"
Fuck. Levi was angry enough to be yelling at the real prince. But as angry as he was, Eren didn't expect the hard slapping blow across his face, sending him sprawling onto the grass. The crack seemed to each through the space. Eren physically feeling a pain in his heart that he'd never felt before
"Were you born stupid? Were you dropped on your head at birth?! Answer me! There isn't a single citizen in the kingdom that doesn't know desecration of a dragons final resting place is a grave crime! Levi, check his person. Make sure this omega hasn't stole anything from the dragon! God. How am I supposed to explain this?!"
Burying his face in his hands, Eren stayed laying on the grass as he wept in anger. He'd never take a dragons tears. Dragons cried diamonds, and Draecia held the world's monopoly of them, but dragons only cried diamonds as they died or at the death of their rider, meaning they'd never part with them. The skull and the tears were revered in their culture. He knew the fake prince hadn't liked him, but the words coming from Levi felt like more physical blows to his body. His omega was melting down over it all, and now that he was crying, he simply couldn't stop.

When Levi said no more, Erwin moved in to take him by the shoulders. Shaking his head, Eren didn't want to hear it. He couldn't calm himself down, and he could feel his fingers burning with magic
"Eren?"
Taking his have face in his hands, Erwin forced him to stare up and at his face
"Deep breaths. He acted out of anger, and never gave you a chance to reply"
No fucking shit. Hiccuping, he tried to reply to the prince
"I... was... trying... to-show-proper-respect-by-offering-a-prayer"
"You were offering a prayer?"
Eren nodded, sniffling as he did
"The poor thing is waiting to go home..."
"Did you take anything from its body?"
Eren shook his head quickly
"Was leaving a wreath and prayer... I felt it's magic and it's sadness"
"It's magic?"
"J-just because it died, doesn't mean it doesn't hold magic. It's lonely"
"You know you're not supposed to touch the body"
Eren nodded
"I only touched the skull to leave a prayer in respect, and the wreath. I swear!"
His magic crackled, Erwin letting him go
"Ok. Just stay away from Erwin"
"You... don't need to keep calling him that. I know. But I won't tell anyone..."
Erwin's face grew fierce, Eren drawing back
"How?"
"H-Hanji slipped up... but I won't tell. I just want you to know that you don't have to pretend with me"
"Eren, you will never tell anyone the truth, ever. Even if they command you"
First the shit with Levi and now such a strong alpha command from Erwin. Whining in fear, he mentally kicked himself. He was so stupid. Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut?
"Do you understand?"
Eren nodded under control of the command being forced upon him. Perhaps realising he'd gone too far, Erwin's face softened as he sighed lightly
"Good. Let's get you up, and back to camp. Zeke will be wondering where we are"

*
Leaving Erwin to deal with Eren, Levi stalked back to camp, absolutely livid with the teen. How was he supposed to explain to Draecia that someone had been handling dragon remains? Or that they'd possibly even removed the diamonds from it. How could Eren be so incredibly stupid?! First running away from camp, and causing Moblit grief, then playing with a fucking dragon corpse. Did the brat not give two shits about the possible political fallout? And what if someone from Marley had found the skeleton? Or seen Eren with it? Zeke would have taken whatever he could have, and then they'd have been left with the fall out.

Still. As angry as Levi was at Eren, he was just as angry with himself. He almost couldn't believe he'd struck the omega, nor could he believe the pain he'd felt at the blow. It'd been like striking himself, no doubt thanks bond he'd forced upon the mage. And the look in Eren's eyes... the omega had been so hurt and confused, as if Levi had committed an unforgivable deed. He'd barely been able to keep character as his heart plummeted and he wished to comfort the teen. Upsetting both Draecia and Marley could spell the end of the kingdom. Sinking down on the side of his bed, Levi buried his face in his hands. They'd only been ok the hunt for a few days, and now he'd upset Eren, and most probably Erwin while he'd been at it. Now he just needed to set Zeke off, and he'd have the trifecta.

When Erwin finally made an appearance, the man was wearing what Levi liked to call his "dad" scowl. It wasn't like hadn't spent the last half hour internally angsting over the mornings events, and Erwin of all people should know he would be. Leading his horse over to Levi's side, Levi pulled himself into his saddle before looking to Erwin expectantly
"You fucked up"
"The only fuck up here, was to bring Eren with us. He took something from the dragon, didn't he?"
"Actually, he didn't. Which he might have been able to tell you, if you hadn't slapped him across the face like that"
"You know as well as I do, that we do not touch dragon corpses"
"And you know as well as I do, that dragons have magic"
"So, what? The shit was stealing magic?"
Fuck... how was he supposed to explain that one? "Oh, yeah. We had an idiot of a mage with us, who can't control his powers. So, whoops? Sorry? Our bad?". That would go over about as well as a lump of shit in a catapult
"Why are you always so eager to jump to the worst case scenario when it comes to him?"
"You know exactly why. Now tell me what he did, and how the fuck we're going to fix it"
"We don't have to fix anything. Eren didn't take anything from the corpse. No diamonds, or bones, were on him"
"He was touching the corpse"
"He was saying a prayer for it, and leaving a wreath of respect and in offering. It's a magic user thing"
Levi couldn't keep his skepticism in check. The kid was off the streets. He had no money as a a beginner mage, nor did he have any forms of luxuries. Eren's life was very basic, as was the life of all new mages. With successes and complete training, Eren would then begin receiving a wage... in other words, he'd get paid when he actually did something worth paying him over. With diamonds and bones, there was no way Eren wouldn't jump at the chance to make a pretty penny, finally he replied sarcastically
"Really. Nothing at all? If he took nothing, than I'm a fairy godmother"
"I always thought you'd look good in a dress, and yes. He hadn't taken a single thing. He could feel the magic of the dragon and prayed for it to return home soon. I checked him myself"
"Did you check him? Or did you take his word for it?"
"He had no pockets in his pants or shirt. He wasn't wearing his boots, and there was no where else to hide anything upon him. You did however leave him with a rather nasty bruise on his face and arm"
Leaning in, Levi jabbed Erwin with his finger as he hissed
"Everyone knows not to touch a dragons corpse!"
"Eren isn't everyone. He was empathising with the dragon. He didn't touch the corpse to be malicious, and I doubt he'll ever be offering prayers again. If anyone from Draecia says anything about it, I will deal with myself"
"He's going to get us all killed"
"No. You're going to get us killed. You upset him to the point that his magic flared up"
Erwin rolled his sleeves down, small holes peppered them where the fabric had been burnt. Eren did love his fire...
"And how is that my fault?"
"You mounted him. You forged that bond with him. And now you're the one denying him"
"You agreed with me!"
"I did, but I think we need to rethink things"
"No. What we need is as much distance between him and I as possible. Today only reconfirmed that the brat is an idiot"
"It's obvious he's upset, and his training with Hanji has barely amounted to anything..."
"I'm not having this conversation"
"He knows about us. And for a while from what I can tell. If we..."
Was Erwin really going to be as stupid to admit their identities out loud? Especially with Zeke's forces around them? And if Eren knew the truth, why hadn't he been silenced already?
"If we what? All of this has been organised by you. Everyone here is playing a role, just because you deemed it so. My role is to lead the people. Don't forget who made that call"
"Yes, sir"

The hunt for that day was somewhat sad. Levi and Erwin barely speaking in favour of glaring at each other. Three large does, and a lone buck. Zeke wasn't impressed, as his kills had been the does, rather than the buck Levi had shot down. He'd expected Zeke to complain, yet when he'd looked to the alpha, he'd found him in conversation with Eren. The Omega had a basket filled with herbs and didn't seem to be shying away from Zeke. Inside him, there was a maelstrom of feelings swirling. He was angered that Eren was responding to the attention from Zeke, and jealous for it. Eren hadn't liked the man before, yet he stood tall as he spoke with the prince as if on friendly terms... and for Zeke's part, Zeke wasn't dismissing him... as he had. He didn't like to believe that Eren would mention the dragon to Zeke. But he'd need to keep a close eye on the hunt, and it's progression.

By the end of the first week of the hunt, Levi was liable to explode with anger. Every time he turned around, Eren was conversing with Zeke. He wasn't the only one feeling the same way, about whatever was budding between the two of them. Eren's adopted sister had confronted him over the closeness between the pair, the female alpha not impressed that the omega she seemed to so clearly wish to claim, was now being all but courted by Prince Zeke. She seemed under the mistaken expression that his words had sway with the foreign prince and that he also held some sway over Eren. He wasn't about to walk up to the omega and tell him who he could, and who he couldn't talk to... especially when they had to be so careful with Zeke. If Eren was happy to play babysitter, then let him.

*
Eren was over hunting. He was over humouring Zeke and he was over the looks Levi kept sending his way. Each time the alpha did, Eren's heart decided it stupidly needed to start racing. Upping his daily doses had left him weakened and chronically dizzy, but Zeke didn't seem to be able to smell his annoyance over the constant attention directed his way. It wasn't just Zeke's attentions, it seemed as if the whole Marley party was now taking notice of him. The tall woman by Zeke's side was named Yelena, and he really didn't like her at all. Even when she smiled, it was like a viper eyeing off a rat. She was scheming, which meant Zeke was scheming with her, leaving him with an awful feeling something was going to happen to Erwin or Levi in the near future. Zeke was clearly an ambitious ruler, made to live the royal life, and not caring for those under his rule. He knew nothing of the man's parents, but if they were to befall the same "incident" that the Smith's had, Eren wouldn't be surprised.

After a week of hunting, it was relieving to know he'd be returning to the castle ahead of schedule. With the pelts and skins of the kills needing to be attended to, Moblit had secured permission for them to return. Levi, most probably still mad over his approaching of the dragon corpse, had readily agreed that Moblit should take the wagon and return to the castle without the slightest pausing to consider all options and what being down a wagon would mean. Having collected enough herbs to last for the next few months, as well as seeds to plant near the castle, he'd accomplished his own private mission. Now he just wanted a hot bath and to sleep in a room absent of Moblit's snoring.

Leaving the majority of the soldiers with the prince's, the pair had three accompanying them. Stripped of its royal bunting, he and Moblit looked like two simple peasants, and the soldiers had shed their armour to appear the same. The security measure seemed overkill until it suddenly wasn't. Reaching the edges of the ruined Shinganshima, they camped on the edge of the inner walls. No one was allowed to resettle in the town, so Moblit had believed it safe.

Laying on his bedroll, Eren had been dozing fitfully. Missing the first signs of something wrong. A whizzing has passed over head, followed by shouts and the omega found himself being dragged behind the cart. Confused, he struggled against the hold of the soldier
"What's happening?!"
"Keep your head down! Bandits have attacked"
Bandits? Not convinced, he went to rise as a dull "thunk" hit above him. The soldier standing over him, pitched forward. His weight dragging him down as something warm and wet covered his chest. Pushing the man off, an arrow was embedded in his eye. A second and third embedded in his back... ok... they might actually be in trouble here.

When the arrows failed to fall again, there was the sound of yelling, followed by the sound of clashing steel. Having been dragged from his bed and forced down, he had no idea how Moblit was, or if he was safe. He desperately wanted to yell out to the man... his hand barely covering his mouth as he went to without thinking it through. They might not have noticed Moblit, and his yells might bring the whole band of bandits down on him. As quiet as a mouse, he freed the lower half of his body from under the soldier, before climbing under the cart. The light of the fire so dim that he could barely tell what was happening. His heart was racing so hard he could hear it. His stomach rolling at the smell of so much blood in the air, and though he should fear for his own life, all he could worry about was Moblit. Whining, he pressed his hand harder to his mouth. This couldn't possibly be happening! Who'd want a cart of pelts and skins?! They didn't have anything valuable on them. Their party only consisted of one scientist, a useless mage and three soldiers! They were barely a threat!

At the end of the cart, a man was cut down with a cry. Laying face down, their eyes met as bloody spittle exploded from his mouth, a sword savagely plunged into the man's back as he made to reach towards him for help. He needed to help! He was supposed to have magic. He was supposed to be able to help! From behind him, he failed to realise how many members within the group of bandits. A strong hand grabbing his ankle and tearing him out from under the cart as Eren's fingers dug into the soil, trying to claw his way out of the man's hold. Dragged clear of the cart, Eren was flipped over, attempting to kick at his attacker as he did
"Whoa! This one's a lively one. Look at those eyes..."
"Let me go, you beast!"
"Not until we've relieved you of what you're carrying"
"We don't have anything! Just the pelts and skins!"
With a thwack, an arrow landed beside his head
"Come now. We won't know that until we've checked you from top to bottom"
The man released his leg, drawing the sword from his belt as he did. Scrambling backwards, Eren knew he was well and truly fucked. If they were going after him, then the three soldiers with him had to be dead
"I don't have anything!"
"And I don't care"
Hitting something solid, he looked up, finding himself against the legs of the biggest man he'd ever seen. Even the guy's muscles had muscles. Grabbing him by the scruff off his shirt, he was pulled up to be thrown again
"Who are you?! Why do you travel with a guard?"
"I'm no one"
A heavy boot hit his side, Eren crying out in pain. His magic was starting to build, in a way that could only lead to trouble. Screaming, he clenched his fists, trying to rein his magic in
"Get away from me!"
He wanted them dead, but he didn't want to deal the killing blow... No one would ever trust him again if he did
"I don't think so..."
"Look at him. He's an omega"
"He doesn't smell like one"
"Look at his fingers you fool"
"Well I'll be... a genuine pampered little mage. Do you think it's true, their masters fuck them?"
"That's what they say. He looks pretty tight... we could get a good deal of beer money for him"
He'd seen his fill of thugs on the streets. Most liked to take their frustrations out on him with their firsts. No matter how hard he fought, they were always bigger than him. But thankfully, they'd never laid a figure on him outside of the beatings...
"I said, get the fuck away from me!"
Small wind scythes formed around his hands, swirling up his cold arms and tearing into his skin
"No. You're going to do as we say. You have no soldiers and no protection. No one is coming to save you"
If Moblit was still around, he might have felt better about his predicament. Moblit might be a scientists, but the man was smart. He'd know what to do. From the right side, another two figures can out the darkness, both armed with bows, and swords on their hips
"What's this?"
"We found ourselves one those mages from the palace. Stupid boy hurt himself with his own magic"
Eren's eyes narrowed. The pain making it easier to focus. He wanted them gone. He wanted them dead... baring his teeth, he let his magic grow. With a snarl, the leader of the group swung his sword, so the tip rested just short of Eren's chest
"You will cooperate"
"Get fucked"

What happened next, Eren didn't know. The power building in him as he grabbed the blade with both hands
"I said, fuck off!"
There was a blinding red light, a swirling wind, and an ear piercing shriek. Around him, the whole world grow, as his everything seemed to distort just out of focus. The whole process took only seconds, yet when it was over, Eren was breathless and bloodied. His nose pouring blood, while the blood of his cut hands crystallised. Scrambling away from the sword, he clutched at his chest. Confused and scared by what he'd done. The bandit men now frozen in place, as if they'd been stone statues all along. Stumbling to the cart, he vomited, snort and tears rolling down his face as he did. He'd wanted them to stop. He'd wanted them dead... and now they were. He'd never done anything like this before... What had he done?!

"Eren?!"
Swaying on the spot with relief, he was caught by Moblit. The man's face was dirty and bloody, but he'd never been happier to see him
"M-Moblit... W-what did I do?!"
"I don't know. We need to get out of here"
"I... but, they..."
"There's nothing we can do. We need to get back to the castle"
"I killed them..."
"They were going to kill us. We don't know if they're more around"
With a distressed whine, Eren wrung his bleeding hands, trying to wipe his own blood off as he spilt more
"Eren. We need to move"
"I... I killed them, Moblit"
His whole body wouldn't stop shaking. He felt so incredibly cold and drained. Moblit guided him to the driver's seat of the cart and forced him up. What about the guards? Had anyone else survived? Turning to look, Moblit stopped him
"It's better you don't"
God. They were all dead... and he couldn't remember how it happened.

Chapter Text

Levi was preparing for bed when he noticed something wrong. It started with a fear that filled his stomach, then progressed to pain in his hands. Dropping his blankets, he cried out in surprise as long thick wounds appeared in his palms
"Erwin?"
Turning from his bed, he raised his hands to show Erwin. Rushing to him, Erwin took his hands, as Levi sank down on the edge of the bed
"What happened?"
"I don't know... It's freezing"
It felt as if his whole body had plunged into a frozen lake. Shivering, he only seemed to grow colder
"We need a healer!"
Opening his mouth to contradict Erwin, Levi choked. Coughing and hacking hard, something seemed to be lodged in his throat. Pulling his hand from Erwin's, he shoved his fingers down his throat, trying to catch the edge of whatever was there
"We needed a healer in here!"
His whole frame heaved as he finally caught the foreign object, coughing as he pulled it from his throat, lubricated as he vomited. Across from them, there was a flurry of movement. Erwin grabbing whatever was in his hand as the royal healers rushed to his side.

Fussed over, the healers couldn't tell him what was wrong with him. His hands were healed by magic, but the chill wouldn't leave. Bundled up in thick furs, he was finally left to rest in peace when he started snapping over how shitty he felt. If someone had wanted to kill him, wasn't there a nicer way to do so? Like a simple sword to heart? Or a good old fashioned decapitation? Not freezing him and choking him to death, like a goddamn coward. Sitting up on his bed, he glared at Erwin. The man was supposed to be his bodyguard... and he hadn't stopped whatever attack this was from happening, instead the man had backed off and had been staring at his hand rather intently for the past hour. Coughing, his chest hurt from the effort. His voice a rasp
"What the hell are you looking at?"
Holding up the diamond-shaped object, it was about an inch long, and as thin as a hair. Sparkling in the light, he could make out the colour green
"What is it?"
"A dragon scale"
Why the fuck would he be coughing up dragon scales?! How the hell did that even happen?! Eren... They'd only encountered one dragon, and the damn thing had been dead
"That little shit. I'm going to fucking kill him"
"L-Erwin. What do you mean?"
Dragging himself out of bed, he shuffled over to snatch the scale out of Erwin's hold. The sharp edges of the scale cut into his palm. His scent filling with anger as growled
"First Eren's playing with a dead dragon, now I'm coughing up a dragon scale! I'm going to kill him"
"We don't know..."
"Oh come off it. There's something wrong with him! This stinks of him and his fucked up fucking magic!"
Dissolving into coughs, Erwin rose from his bed, lifting him like he was a child and carrying him back over to his bed
"We don't know this was Eren. Zeke has his own mages"
"You think Zeke tried to kill me?"
"Or a spell went wrong?"
"It's a dragon scale!"
"Keep your voice down. It's suspicious enough that Zeke didn't come to see what the noise was about"
"This is clearly Eren getting his revenge for being sent away"
His throat hurt like a bitch, dragon scales weren't exactly small or blunt
"Do you really think he's so vindictive?"
"He's gone and I'm coughing up a fucking scale"
"Stop saying "fucking". It makes it hard to have a civilised conversation"
"Some bodyguard you are. The brat tried to kill me"
"You may be a tremendous arsehole, but I doubt Eren would try to kill you. He took his vows to the kingdom, and for him to against your word is to go against the kingdom. Which would cost him his life. No. I think there's something more than that. We should cut the hunt short and head back to the castle as soon as possible"
"And how do you intend to pull Prince Zeke from his hunt? No. Our healers won't mention this, and the hunt shall continue as if nothing happened. We'll watch and wait... if Eren thinks I'm dying from one shit scale, the kid has another thing coming"
Erwin sighed heavily
"You're not going to budge, are you?"
"Would you? If this is Zeke, he may well have formed a plan to kill me. If this is Eren, I won't give him the satisfaction of me ending the hunt"
"You're a thoroughly unpleasant man"
"I am your prince. You will do this"
"Fine. But I still don't think Eren is responsible"
"For his sake, he better not be"

The hunt continued another three days before Zeke declared he was bored with the lack of game. The alpha had enquired after his health the morning after his choking incident, which he had played down as his bodyguard completely overreacting after he'd accidentally caught his hand on his sword. The alpha had laughed at him, and mocked him over his "boo-boo", but didn't seem to have been involved. In a lot of ways, Zeke was a brilliant actor, yet his surprise seemed genuine enough, reinforcing his belief that Eren was involved. The kid was in for a major arse kicking once he got back to the castle.

*
The castle was still standing when they returned. Hanji and Moblit were waiting to greet them, along with one of the mages of the castle. He wasn't in the mood to deal with anything that wasn't a hot cup of tea, or a warm soapy bath, but Hanji wouldn't even allow him that. Climbing off his horse, she was lead away before he could even protest. Hanji waiting until he moved towards the castle doors, before falling into step with him
"We have a situation"
"I gathered by your greeting. What happened?"
"Moblit and Eren were attacked"
"Of course they were. No offence Moblit, but Eren is trouble"
"It wasn't Eren's fault. There were bandits near Shinganshima"
Levi came to a stop. Hanji may be in control when both he and Erwin were absent from the castle, and she knew she was supposed to report shit like that immediately. Beside her, Moblit looked pained. An arm wrapped around his waist as he looked to his feet
"If bandits were an issue, why have I heard nothing?"
"Because they were taken care of. Moblit was there"
"Moblit, speak"
The man cleared his throat
"We were attacked in the inner walls, passing near Shinganshima on our way back to the castle. Archers felled the first soldier, the other two fighting while filled with arrows. Eren was hiding under the cart when he was pulled free..."
Moblit looked to Hanji, then over to Zeke and his party
"Is this something we should be discussing inside?"
"Most definitely"
"Talk while we walk. I need a hot shower"

Hanji and Moblit kept their silence until they entered Levi's chambers. The sheets and blankets had been freshly changed, while a warm fire burned in the hearth
"Now. Explain this attack. And Eren's part"
"Eren killed them all"
Hanji covered her mouth as if it took back her outburst. Groaning, Levi could feel an Eren induced headache forming
"How? Why? What happened to the soldiers?"
"All three died. One gave his life to push Eren out the way. I'd left to relieve myself, they'd attacked in my absences. Eren and the group were exchanging words... but they refused to heed his warning to leave him alone"
"Moblit, you're starting to sound like Hanji. What did Eren do?"
"He turned them to stone. The man who seemed to be the leader pointed his blade at him. Eren wrapped his hands around it, then the world shook. The sky turned red as wind built around him..."
"So he used his magic to turn them stone?"
"He doesn't remember doing so, but there was something more to it. I'm not a magic user, but even I felt the sinister presence in his magic"
"Sinister?"
"His eyes glowed black. It was the dead of night, yet it was as clear as day. His eyes grew black as his body seemed to flicker for a moment. When the spell faded, the bandits were stone"
Levi sighed, moving his hands to massage at his temples with his fingers
"And you?"
"Copped a blast of what seemed to be wind magic as I tried to move closer to Eren. It is nothing more than an uncomfortable bruise"
"That's good. It was smart of you not to make yourself known"
Hanji nodded, starting excitedly
"We have the statues moved here, and Levi, it's the most incredible thing. Their whole bodies are stone. Their clothes. Their weapons. Their boots and belts. They all look as if they were carved from stone"
"And the no longer live?"
"Definitely not"
"How can you be so sure?"
"One lost its head during transport. That's how we know the inside is also stone"
Eren certainly didn't do things in moderation
"And where is Eren?"
"He's locked himself in his quarters and won't come out"
Levi closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. Holding it, he counted to three before releasing it
"Why?"
"Because he's scared of his magic. He knows I'm not his actual master, and begged to be locked away where he couldn't hurt anyone"
"And you did?"
"He was quite agitated. His magic kept flaring and he was hurting himself"
"How? Was it sparks of fire again?"
"It started as spinning winds slicing at his arms... but..."
Hanji sucked her lips in, trying to school her features
"Spit it out"
Letting out a snorting laugh, Hanji was all smiles
"He accidentally created a thunderstorm that hovered over his head and small bolts kept zapping him. It was hilarious"
"It was only hilarious until Eren accident zapped her with it"
"Well, duh. It's not like I want him to be hurt, but it was his own personal storm"
Levi had a fair idea of what that was like. He'd seen it when mounting the teen, the way the storm had appeared from nothing, and the way the lightning strikes had flared out across the room
"Moblit, when did this happen?"
"The night we left camp. He passed out on the way back to the castle. I'll never forget how cold he was"
Cursing under his breath, he straightened himself up
"I'll need the report delivered to me. And not a word of this to Marley. Did you send a dragon to Draecia?"
"Yes, sir. They sent a falcon thanking us, and have collected the skull and diamonds"
They did? They'd been right there in the forest, yet he hadn't seen any dragons or heard anything out of the ordinary...
"Did they say anything?"
"No. I still can't believe there was a dragon corpse that far south"
"You and me both, Moblit"
Moblit was the only one he trusted to send a message through to Draecia. If they hadn't said anything, then nothing had been missing from the remains. Erwin had been right. He'd been too hard on Eren without knowing what happened
"You're both dismissed. Leave Eren where he is for now. If his magic is out of control, it's better he can't unleash it on the castle, or its inhabitants"
"Levi, what are you going to do? He needs a real master to draw out his powers. This isn't working"
"I'll think of something... right now, I wish to bathe. Our tents might be expanded with magic, and have basic facilities, but nothing compared to clean bath and bathroom"

Bathing until his skin had turned pruney, Levi loved the feeling of being clean. What he didn't love was knowing he'd have to face Eren. He didn't see why the teen would be so upset over the death of trash. Erwin wasn't waiting for him when he left his room, so Levi was left to walk through the castle alone, ignoring the maids and servants that bowed as he passed. He might have been playing the prince for over a decade, but he still didn't enjoy people bowing at him, or addressing him as "sir". It wasn't until he was on the servant's side of the castle, that he realised he couldn't actually remember where Eren's room was, with one hundred per cent certainty, and as the prince, he wasn't about to suffer through a bout of embarrassment for choosing the wrong room. Every shitty hallway looked the same with its smooth stone walls and red carpets. If he wasn't so pissed off at the omega, he might have been able to stop and take a breath, then realise he wasn't even on the same floor as the teen. Where was Shitty Sir Fluffybrows when he needed him? Closing his eyes, it slowly dawned on him, he was supposed to have a bond with Eren... which meant he should be able to find the kid... what else was this stupid bond useful for? Right. Now... Eren.

It was weird and uncomfortable, Levi standing in the hallway long enough to fell well and truly stupid as he tried to concentrate on the kid. There was a slight tingling in his nape, a cold feeling in his chest and a whole lot of no idea where he was going as he took his first step back down the hall. Letting the tight self-control he had slip was hard, as was ignoring his instincts to follow something that seemed so stupid to him. After another dozen set of halls and a set of stairs down, he finally found himself out the omegas door. The tingling had spread to a warmth, though his lungs still seemed as if someone had shovelled ice cubes down his throat. Knocking on Eren's door, he raised himself to stand taller, to play the role of the prince he was supposed to be. When the omega didn't answer, Levi sighed to himself as he tried the door handle, finding it locked as Hanji had said
"Open up!"
He could feel Eren on the other side of the door. He knew the brat could hear him
"Eren, open this door at once! Or I'll kick it down"
Trying the handle again, this time it gave. The shit could have at least opened it. Opening Eren's door, he let himself into the dark room, before closing the door behind him.

Sitting in the frame of his window, Eren was wrapped in a thin blanket. The kid staring out across the castle grounds, as he pointedly ignored looking Levi's way. Filled with discomfort, his alpha was demanding the attention of the omega
"I heard about the attack. You have my thanks for saving the life of Moblit"
That sounded princely enough, didn't it?
"Eren, I hear you've locked yourself away. Why?"
Looking at him, Eren's eyes were blank. The kid looked deathly ill, with such a pale complexion and deep bags under his eyes
"If you are ill, why..."
"I don't care anymore"
Sliding from the window frame, Eren sagged. Rushing to him, Eren swung out before he could him
"Eren..."
"No. I'm a magic user without a master. I killed those men... That wasn't what I came here to do"
"So you're throwing a tantrum?"
"I figured it out... it must have been fun..."
Coughing, Levi could smell the blood in the air as Eren covered his mouth with a wrapped hand, the bandages a dirty creamed, striped with way too much brown-red. The omega was seriously ill... Why hadn't anyone noticed? Why hadn't Eren tried to help himself?
"Why! Why do you hate me?! I never hurt you... you took it all away... why couldn't you let me die?"

As Eren's eyes rolled back, Levi hefted him into his hold
"You stupid brat. This isn't easy for me either..."
Using his knees to balance Eren, Levi moved an arm up over his shoulder, tucking the omega's face to his neck
"It's not like I don't feel anything for you... but I can't... I can't give you what you want from me. I can't give you love, or open affection you fool"
Why was he explaining when Eren was unconscious and couldn't hear him? Probably for just that fact. He was too much of a coward to tell the teen to his face that he was the one who was supposed to be his master, and that each time he was with Zeke, he felt jealousy burning inside of him. He was a puppet prince. Only a stand-in until either war came, or the people who'd killed Erwin's parents and their associates were bought to light. He owned no land of his own. His name was forced upon the real prince. All he had with his temper, and the power to make Erwin's words into reality. That was it. He couldn't give Eren anything, or everything he wanted and needed. Plus. Whoever he took as a lover wouldn't stay secret. They'd be expected to take their role by his side... He couldn't give the people a false princess, or prince in this case... which was even if Marley approved the relationship, something the doubted Zeke would do given the man's own interests in Eren.

*
Taking Eren to his chamber, the guards both stared as he sent them to find both Erwin and a healer. In his arms, Eren still hadn't regained consciousness. The omega felt way too fucking light, and as if he were to let go, the teen would simply fade away. Laying Eren down on his bed, he pulled his furs up to cover him, before pulling his hands free. He needed to see the damage. He needed to know what Eren had been trying to hide from Hanji and Moblit. Starting with Eren's left hand, the smell from the wounds was putrid. Small open sores oozed, but the sword wound in the teen's palm looked revolting. Angry red lines ran from it, infection had clearly set in. The stupid boy should have been healed when he'd returned the castle, as Moblit should have known better than to allow the kid to tend to them himself. Or maybe Eren had told Moblit that he would heal himself? He'd prefer to think that Eren had tried to heal himself, rather than that the kid felt he deserved the pain and injuries.

"Is that Eren?"
Looking to Erwin, Levi realised he probably looked suspicious as he knelt by Eren's right side. Attending to unwrapping Eren's right hand, he'd had to move to the other side of his bed, and climb up
"Throw the bandages in the fire. And is the healer coming?"
Erwin wrinkled his nose as he took the two piles of soiled bandage away from Eren's side, to throw them in the hearth
"What happened?"
"He left his wounds to fester. Clear sword cuts, in the same places as mine"
"Shouldn't he have been healed?"
"Apparently not. I thought he would have been too. And it's not just his hands"
Seeing a scratch on Eren's wrist, he'd slid the sleeves of Eren's thin tunic up, to find them running right up both his arms
"Why did you bring him here?"
"Because he knows. Or suspects... he asked me why I didn't let him die, and why I did this to him"
Erwin returned to the side of Levi's bed, sinking down to turn Eren's left-hand palm up. The man staring at Eren's wound as he spoke
"What will you do?"
"I don't know. You know the situation"
"And you know how I feel"
"Do you?"
"You're allowed to develop feelings"
"Feelings are a luxury that will only lead to danger"
"Then take him as a lover"
"I couldn't do that. You know as well as I do, why"
"I'm not telling you to marry him"
"And if Zeke were to find out, can you imagine how that would go down? He'd stop at nothing to destroy him"
"You're making excuses"
"Because I seem to be the only one who's thought this through"
"He's your omega through the vow of magic"
"And how does that affect him? Does that mean he could never choose a normal lover? Never have a normal family? I'm sure his adoptive sister feels more for him than that"
"Court mages have both their masters and families..."
Levi growled. Erwin was the prince! He should understand why it couldn't be!
"And how would that work? Him being treated like a whore by the prince, and going home to his real family at the end of each day"
"He cares about you, and you care about him"
"He couldn't give two shits about me. He hates me..."
"He knows it was you saved him"
"And he knows I fucking bonded with him and then passed him on to Hanji. You're not stupid"

"Sirs?"
Interrupted by the healers, Levi and Erwin both moved back from Eren
"Eren requires healing. He's wounded and quite ill"
The head healer walked to Eren's side, taking Eren's left hand with both hands
"He was seen to after the incident. These wounds should have healed"
"You saw to him?"
"He was seen to. Magic put in place to heal his injuries, but these wounds have been infected by magic"
"Infected?"
"Mmm, yes. His own magic turning against the healing magic"
Levi sighed to himself. Magic was so fucking confusing
"His magic has never been stable"
"His master should be seeing to that"
Which would technically be him... he didn't know how to go about asking what he wanted to know, without giving the old healer a heart attack
"How would his master do that? As you know, both the prince and I aren't magic users"
"I know our ways seem strange to you, but with wounds like this, his master should be feeling effects. I need to examine him completely before I can tell you exactly what is wrong with him. Shall we remove him from your chambers, sir?"
Yes. No. He didn't want Eren to be moved from his bed, not when the kid wasn't alright. Eren was liable to faze him out completely if Levi let him be moved from his side
"No. He has a stubborn streak, deeper than any mule. I know his master, so you will report the best course of action to us"
"Very good, sir"

Erwin had his "dad" look on his face as they stood outside his door. Levi turning his back to the man, before turning back to him
"I don't want to hear it"
"I said nothing"
"I don't know what comes next"
"And we won't until the healers pass their decision"
"I can't give him anything..."
"Has he asked for anything?"
"No. But... this feeling thing is shit"
"Well, why did you mount him? What did your alpha tell you?"
"What every alpha thinks of an omega in heat, to breed him. To make him mine... he even fucking called me his alpha"
"When I saw Eren, I admit I wanted to fuck him, but I didn't feel that he was mine"
"Don't..."
"Levi, you can't deny it. He started your first rut"
"What bit of "don't", didn't you understand? Besides, he started yours too"
"And as sweet, and charming as he is, I haven't ever once had the thought that he should be mine"
Levi's eyes narrowed as he hissed
"We can't be a thing!"
"It's not unusual for an alpha to take an omega to relieve their urges"
"You really have a way of butchering words"
"Maybe that's why you're so short? Height deprivation through sexual frustration"
"And that's why you're so tall? Because you fuck everything you can?"
Erwin shrugged
"I'm careful, and there's no reason to deny pleasure if it's safe and consensual"
Levi didn't like to admit he didn't know how safe sex with Eren would work. He didn't know if Eren was fertile... Shit... he didn't know how to do the do... would it be awkward if... or what if... what if it was bad and Eren didn't like it... what if he didn't like it? What if he did something wrong? What if Eren's magic hurt either of them?
"You're panicking"
"Shut it"
"You have fucked someone before, haven't you?"
"Yes!"
Seething, and defensive, his scent flared with his anger. He'd fucked Eren. Twice... and had wanted to do it a whole lot more. Did dreams count? Because he'd definitely had some pretty intense dreams about Eren too... Oh, fuck... he really did have it bad for the brat with the bright green eyes... How could this have happened?! He usually kept such a level head... He knew his role. He knew he had to be the prince everyone wanted him to be... and now he was in love?! Love?! Hold up. Was it love? He didn't know Eren all that well... shouldn't he know him... better? And know more about him than his magic was crazy, and his arse felt like it was made for him?! Pfft... he couldn't be in love... was he?
"Then what are you worried about?"
"Just shut up!"
Erwin chuckled lightly, enjoying his discomfort. Levi's heart was racing so stupidly hard, he couldn't stop himself as he slid down the wall to the floor, gripping his hair as he continued to mentally freak out. He wasn't supposed to be falling for Eren!
"Hey..."
"Don't. Ok. I can't right now. We need to wait for the mages to tell us what to do next"

Chapter Text

Eren was sleeping when Levi and Erwin were called back into Levi's chambers. The teen still looked deathly ill, but even Levi could see the magic in effect as Eren's body was covered with a soft yellow glow. The furs had been removed, so as Eren's clothes could be removed, then pulled back up to give him some privacy. The teen's pants, laid across the end of Levi's bed, were ruined with blood that Levi hadn't noticed before, having not felt it as he'd balanced the teen on his knee, or as he'd carried him. If Eren had spent the whole time since the incident in the hallway, until now bleeding, then the omega was far sicker than he'd known.

Resisting his urges to move to Eren's side, Levi set his face. His mind was racing over his possible failure to have helped the teen at an earlier date, while his alpha was scratching at the back of his brain, trying to make its own anger at him know. He well and truly got it. He'd fucked up
"What is wrong with him?"
The healer bowed
"He has poisoned himself. He has been taking a concoction of his own making to suppress his own omega side. In small doses, the herbs are quite effective and safe, and commonly used by omegas in society"
"Why would he be taking so much?"
A fine tremor of anger ran through him. Eren had to know the herbs were making him sick. Within the castle walls, no one would dare attack him. All omegas enjoyed that freedom. Every day, and every week, somewhere in the castle a heat came and went...
"I cannot say. Perhaps at the wish of his master? Eren's magic is destructive in nature, perhaps the herbs were administered as a means to bring the magic lower? As he is a fresh user. It is clear that his pairing with his master isn't being respected"
Hanji wouldn't want Eren dosing himself to point it was causing this... whatever this was. The healers words only continued to make him feel Even sicker and angrier that the teen would go so far. Eren had been within the castle walls for months now, he had to know that everyone knew who he was and that he was an omega. There was no point to any of this
"And that's what caused the bleeding?"
The healer nodded, gesturing to Eren
"It would seem that Eren is fertile. There is no lasting damage, nor are there signs of sex. His magic has been building and festering without his sharing of his bond through his master"
Why couldn't they just call "sex", sex?
"Sharing his bond... as in sex?"
"Through sex, Eren forges the bond, his magic flows through him and his master, binding them together in a way that runs soul deep. It is through that, that a master will gain a sense of the magic held within, and help to guide and shape the user. His master hasn't partaken in sharing Eren's magic, leaving it to accumulate in his system and cause him to lose control. Until he is regularly bonding with his master, his powers will not grow or stabilise. Omegas wield the power, while the alphas are the spears that guide it. Still, his master is rather lucky"
Lucky?! How the fuck was he lucky?! Eren was suffering and he didn't know. He fucking stuttered, feeling like he must look like a freshly caught fish pulled ashore. His mouth opening and closing, without a whole lot happening
"H-how?"
"Everything Eren has been doing to suppress his omega with herbs, has meant that they haven't suffered his pain or pain of their own from neglecting their bond. Unless Eren cast a particularly strong spell, the effect of Eren's tainted magic wouldn't be felt"
So Eren losing control and casting a spell that turned the bandits to stone, might not have been his intent? He hadn't been able to protect himself properly, and they'd both suffered for it... He hadn't understood just what being a master meant. Erwin placed his hand on Levi's shoulder, Levi forcing himself not to punch the man in the face. His alpha was too agitated to be allowing another alpha to touch him, especially when Eren was laying in his bed, the blond's concern clear as he spoke
"If this continued, would it be life threatening?"
"Definitely. For both him and his master"
"Is there a way for the bond to be severed?"
The healer looked ready to keel over on the spot. Their scent filling with both fear and insult
"I misspoke. Does there come a time when master no longer needs to sleep with their user?"
"Eventually. Possibly. All castle magic users have lives separate from their masters, though most chose to remain childless and to devote themselves to their master. It's akin to finding your fated mate. Your magic finds a the one most compatible, and calls out to them. Many masters merely start out as students until they present as alphas. Though, on the battle field, a master isn't required as they would have done all they could to have the magic user ready before hand"
This was all making his head hurt. Alpha masters were cowards that sent their omegas to battle alone... What dicks. He had no idea
"Thank you. Eren will make a full recovery, will he not?"
"Yes. He will also sleep for some time, and he needs to start bonding with his master soon. His heat will also be affected by his master"
The healer hovered, having said their piece, and clearly wanted to bolt from the two idiots in the room
"Thank you. You are dismissed for now"

Levi waited until it was just him, Eren, and Erwin in the room before groaning. He should have just kept his dick in his pants... robes... whatever the stupid black thing had been. He needed to talk things through with Eren now, and apparently, he needed to start sleeping with Eren. Sleeping he could do. He could easily climb into the furs of his bed and sleep, especially with the day he'd had. But sleeping with Eren...
"What do you intend to do?"
Talk to him. He had to sit Eren down and talk to him...
"We'll talk to him together"
"Are you sure that's wise? He's going to be embarrassed enough that he's in your bed naked"
"If he's going to be my... omega..."
Levi hated the way his heart leapt at that
"... he's going to need to know everything. We need to make the decision together. The three of us I mean"
"That's, unexpectedly, mature of you"
"Seriously. Don't start. This day has been shit, and you fucking took off to do whatever the hell it is you do"
"You should know our work is never done. The Marley party wish to hold a tournament of sorts. Nothing fancy or formal, just training between us and them... with spectators to boost their egos"
He'd heard nothing of this
"Fucking Pin-dick. When did this shit happen?"
"More of the Marley party arrived while we were hunting"
Levi's expression darkened
"I can't imagine that being necessary or by "accident"."
"Neither can I. It was only a small party of around 8, Hanji said, but still. Having them roam the castle halls, doesn't bode well"
"It's as if they're sizing the castle up for when Zeke comes to power"
"If that is the case, war with Marley will be arriving a whole lot sooner"
Fuck Zeke. Fuck Marley. Fuck Erwin's parents for dying. Just. Fuck
"Alright. You're dismissed for now. I need to think this all through"
"Are you sure you wish to be alone?"
"I'm not actually alone, am I?"
"You know what I mean"
"I do. Just allow me the luxury of a few hours free from Zeke to get my thoughts organised. Tell him he can have his stupid training day thing... and I suppose we actually have to throw another proper Ball... organise that for the last night of Zeke's stay. Barons, aristocracy, all those fancy people with more coins than brains, not just the daughters either. Zeke seems to be just as into women as he is men. And check in with our squad leaders. I want to know every rumour within the ranks..."
"Very well. I'll return to fetch you for dinner"
"Thank you"

*
With Eren still sleeping in his bed, Levi left him to it. Zeke had questioned where he'd disappeared to all day, to which he'd answered with vague words of conducting duties in the castle. The man should know better than to question that. He had his own royal duties in Marley and had to know how much work went into keeping the castle running smoothly. Dozing in his chair by the fireplace, the first sign that Eren was awake was a long whine of confusion. Scrambling out of his chair, the fur blanket he was using nearly ended up in the hearth due to his haste. The last thing they needed was for him to burn the castle down. Ensuring the blanket wasn't smouldering, he laid it over the plush chair he'd been napping in. He'd had hours to figure out what to say to Eren, yet nothing came to mind as he moved to sit on the edge of his bed, by Eren's side.

"P-prince?"
Eren's wide green eyes were still filled with sleep. The teen pulling himself up to sit, as he started to cough. Unsure what to do, his hand hovered awkwardly until Eren held up his own hand to tell him to wait. His coughing subsiding slowly before the omega nodded
"Sorry, sir. My lungs are damaged, and the cold air aggravates it"
Levi's chambers were warm, though his bed was directly between two windows, to ensure a constant flow of fresh air
"We should talk"
"May I please have some water? And why am I in your bed?"
Water. Of course, Eren would want water. How stupid could he be?! Rising, he retrieved a glass of water for the youth, Eren's hands shaking at he took it. The wounds had finally begun to heal, leaving rough scars in the palms of Eren's hands
"I think we both know why you are in my chambers"
"Because you're my master?"
Levi nodded, running his fingers through his hair
"How did you work it out?"
"It had to be someone with more power than Hanji, and it wasn't... Levi"
"You may refer to him as Erwin when it just us. I never meant to restrict your powers. Though, you're to blame too. What were you thinking? Taking enough herbs to poison yourself, why would you do such a thoroughly careless thing?!"
Eren looked down to the glass in his hands, his scent filling with guilt. Levi taking a deep breath and slowly releasing it
"I want to understand how this happened. Why didn't you notify anyone that you were so ill?"
"B-because... what's the point? You claimed me as your student, then passed me off to someone else. Each time you looked to me, you were always so angry. Especially with the dragon. I... the only attention I got was from Prince Zeke. And I was told to keep the peace. If he could smell me, he'd be mad and might take that out on Eldia. On you and him.. I didn't want to be seen as a weak omega, even if my lungs aren't strong. I don't like people smelling me, and I presented so young that I never knew what it was like to be more than my dynamic"

Eren's eyes filled with tears, the kid wiping them away quickly, dismissing them with a shake of his head. He really needed to remember Eren was only doing what he thought he must in order to survive
"You probably wouldn't understand. It was shit living on the streets and pretending it was alright. Mikasa was a genius with horse riding and weapon skills. Armin is a genius at studies. They both had direction in their life"
Levi pinched the bridge of his nose
"You were taking the herbs so Zeke wouldn't get mad?"
Eren's voice dropped to a whisper
"I don't like him very much. He's... very disrespectful towards Eldia"
"That he is. But he is not worth hurting yourself over. I am sorry for the pain our request caused you"
Eren coughed again, Levi discomforted by the omegas pain
"Is there really nothing they can do to help your breathing?"
"At the sanctuary, they had steam rooms, which helped. But they cannot undo the scarring. It must be rather unappealing"
"I'm sorry, Eren. I really had no idea what you were going through, or what you've been through. But I do agree, life on the streets is horrible. That's why I asked for you to be moved to a sanctuary. I thought your life would be better there than on the streets"
"I frustrated me at first. I felt as if I knew you, yet couldn't place it. I suppose you realised who I was immediately?"
"The shitty brat that nearly burned my stables down? It was your eyes. Even after all that time, they were still as bright as they were that day"
"I'm sorry..."
"You were a scared kid. You also asked if I was an angel"
Eren's cheeks reddened, the omega mumbling
"You're an angel of arseholery"
"I probably am. I claimed you with a vow, then ran from you"
"Wh-why? I've thought about it over and over, and I cannot understand why you would do this"
"Erwin was worried for you and suggested we be there to make sure you didn't suffer. When I saw you, I was consumed with lust and the need to take you. I didn't realise the way things would unfold"
"You did say that you both knew nothing about magic, and you aren't alone. I was at the sanctuary for so long..."
"Did you know nothing?"
"Not really. You don't know what happens in a sanctuary do you?"
"No. I'm afraid not"
"Children suspected to be omegas are sent to sanctuaries. They generally spend one heat in the care of the sanctuary before being sent here to take their vows when their next heat starts. It also depends on if they're magic users, and home life, and such. I'm the only one who has been at a sanctuary for so long..."
Levi pursed his lips, feeling slightly attacked
"Does... does that make you mad?"
"Confused. Like why did I come here? Why wouldn't you tell me the truth? Why did you wait until I was 17 before I returned? Do you hate me? And what happens now?"
"Eren, I know you know about the situation between Erwin and I. I am not free to love, to take a public lover or offer you anything. I do not own a single thing of my own. And to be your master would place you in danger. Yet now I find, we both need each other. Your herbs have prevented me from feeling the unrest in our bond, and that was unfair. You do not need to suppress yourself and as for Zeke, I will not allow him to raise a hand against you. In magical terms alone, Marley has never had the strength to match us"
"What comes next?"
"I don't know. You stop taking those herbs for one thing..."
"But..."
"Eren. No more herbs to suppress your omega. I will deal with Zeke. And we'll find a way to deal with your magic"
"Does that mean... I'll be forming bonds with you?"
"If you mean sex, I would like at least like to know who you are, though the healer has made it abundantly clear that we need to be fucking, or we'll both fall ill"
"And that's all it will be?"
The kid sounded so hopeful. Hadn't e been listening?
"I can't offer you love and a public relationship. All I can offer is pleasure and the understanding that I'm sorry. When I saw you on the altar, all I knew is that I wanted you. When I held you... I've never felt anything like it. Leaving you through your heat was hard. So to answer your question. I do not hate you. I am just not in a position love or court you"
Eren nodded slowly
"I understand"
"I would still like to get to know you better. You do not need to fear being an omega here. Everyone knows better than to touch an omega within our walls"
"You can say that, because you've never been an omega"
"No, I haven't. I can also say that because we have a firm intolerance to that kind of thing. Also, I'll be having your quarters moved to be closer to mine. And we shall need to see about your attire. Do you prefer robes or pants?"
"P-pant?"
"You don't need to sound so confused, brat. Erwin will see to it all. I am completely shit with that kind of thing. Now that you're awake, you will go bathe. I'll send a guard to fetch food for you. You are not to put me through this again"
"S-sorry, sir"
"When it just us... actually, Erwin would be better. You can be rather loud"
"Yes, Erwin"
"Make no mistake Eren, you will not make us worry like this again"

*
Bathing in Levi's spacious bath was like the hot springs bath at the sanctuary. The man had many vials of soaps and oils, with cleanliness and hygiene both clearly high on his list, leaving Eren impressed. He'd always thought Levi had a much cleaner appearance than most. The way his black buttoned coat always seemed to be clear of any dust and hairs, was something he'd attributed to man's maids. It was now obvious to him that it was Levi who both dressed and took the extra care to make sure he was always presentable, despite the situation. In Levi's bath, Eren couldn't help but feel small. He'd only had a slight hunch that Levi was his master, calling him out on it and expecting the alpha to deny it. He'd had sex with the prince! Sinking under the bubbles, he felt like screaming. Being both incredibly relieved that Levi had talked openly and honestly with him, and scared for what came next. They couldn't be in a relationship. Not that Eren had expected one. He knew his role was to remain in the shadows and to strengthen him with the use of his magic... but for his master to be the prince... it was almost too much. He'd been so sure Levi hated him, especially after the day with dragon corpse. Yet the alpha had denied hating him. His omega was way too excited over that fact, acting as if the act of sex could lead to love. It didn't work that way. Having sex was easy by societies standards. To fuck, and to fuck off. He knew that and needed to keep a tighter rein on his omega side. Levi had told them there'd never be a relationship, and he needed to accept that wholly... Besides! He was angry at Levi. He couldn't suddenly be in love with him! The man had forced him onto Hanji, and he'd left him to humour Zeke. Zeke was about as humorous as being eaten alive by a swarm of... a swarm of something horrible and nasty, with a grating noise attacking your ears at happened. There was no way that Zeke wouldn't have been able to smell his dislike without his herbs.

Staying in the bath until the water started to cool, Eren climbed out realising that he had nothing to change into, nor had Levi told him what towel he should. Taking a deep blue towel from the cabinet below the wash basin, Eren nearly melted into the softness and thickness of the fabric. Omegas were made to like the softer things in life, and this was like heaven against his body. The rich really did live in a whole other world. Towelling down and drying off, he wrapped the towel around his waist, nervous to face Levi with so much skin showing. Something he'd have to overcome if he was expected to sleep with the man. Objectively, Levi was gorgeous. His fine light skin, soft silkily hair. The curve of his lips and the way his arse looked in his pants... gorgeous. None the less, it was Levi's eyes that held his attention. Sometimes grey, sometimes so dark they were nearly black. He would have had to be blind not to notice the man... and the sex... It must have been good if Levi was entertaining sleeping with him again. He could remember how warm Levi's hold had been... Oh fuck... Did he... did he actually like Levi more than he thought he did?! No. Nope. No. It was sex. Just sex. He could handle just sex. He'd prepared himself before he'd taken his vows...

With as much courage as he could muster, Eren wandered out the bathroom. On Levi's bed lay a fresh new uniform, that was very much like the puppet-princes, except the jacket was that of the military. Lacking the gold threads and buttons of Levi's own jacket, all of which silver instead. He'd never owned a jacket so nice
"Erwin sent them, thinking they might fit. Whatever doesn't can be returned"
Levi's cheeks were red as his eyes raked over Eren's body before the man turned away
"Just put some clothes on"
"Uh... thank you"
"What are you thanking me for?"
"For... I don't really know. For admitting the truth? Maybe?"
"Don't thank me. This will be hard a hard road for both of us. Only made harder by me"
"You... I want to believe your intentions were pure, and that is why you both were there for my vows... it's just, a lot to think about"
Something he hadn't stopped thinking about while locked away in his quarters. That his own disgust at his actions. Walking to the bed, he took the pants into his hold. Black. Black was a good colour for him... it hid the bleeds and slick...
"You'll stop with the herbs, right?"
Quickly pulling the pants on, Eren nodded before remembering Levi wasn't facing him
"Yes. I would like to continue the herbs that work to prevent pregnancy. I feel that best"
"Yes, but consult with the healers"
"If you insist"
"I do. Now you must eat, and I must go. Prince Zeke will be wondering why I failed to join him at breakfast"
He knew it was mid-morning at least. Levi had far nicer windows than his room has had
"What do I do?"
"Rest. You're recovering and healing. Work out any questions you may have for me? I don't know what you usually do"
"I usually fail miserably at magic while Hanji laughs"
"No more of that. Your spells are your thing. I have no idea how they work, or how to teach you"
This wasn't going to be a fun ride... Levi really did know nothing about magic
"I... I think there are books in the royal library or gallery. I mean, there are books in the common library too, but maybe there is something in the royal library?"
"I'll leave that to you. I'm placing trust in you"
"I cannot access the royal library, I'm a beginner mage, remember?"
Levi sighed, turning to face him as Eren was gathering up the blue shirt Erwin had chosen. Despite what Levi had said, Erwin had a good eye when it came to clothes his size
"If anyone stops you, tell them you have my permission"
Eren wasn't sure it worked like that but nodded. It wasn't like he could spend the whole day in Levi's chambers
"Yes, sir"
Levi sighed
"I told you it's not necessary to call me "sir". Make sure you eat, and I want to see you before you go to bed tonight"
"My room?"
"Your be moved to this floor. I have to go. Take your time, the guards have better things to do then pester you or ask questions. Though we both know what a rumour mill this place is"
Speaking of rumours
"Uh... um, the bandits...?"
"You face no punishment. You saved Moblit's life, and whatever punishment I deal, it's nowhere near whatever you've been putting yourself through, like an idiot. Make no mistake. They were monsters in human skin, not worth sympathy. No one will be missing them, understood?"
"Yes..."
"Good. I will see you later"

Eating in Levi's chambers was lonely. The scent of the alpha lingered in the rooms, and Eren couldn't help himself as he crawled back into Levi's bed once done eating. He didn't wish to look through Levi's things, but he did want to feel closer to him. The alpha's scent was calming, and as he nuzzled into the softness of Levi's furs, he started to purr in content. He might not have been able to hug the man, but soft warm furs that smelt of him were almost just as nice, especially when he was so fatigued that he could barely keep his eyes open.

Chapter Text

It was dark when Eren next woke, embarrassed that he'd been drooling all over Levi's pillow, as he wiped at his still wet mouth corner. He hadn't intended to nap for so long, but Levi's scent made him feel so calm, that it felt as if he'd taken a tonic for nerves. The man didn't want him to continue taking his herbs and seemed angered that he'd been pushing himself. He really hadn't meant to take it so far, but Levi couldn't understand what it was like to slick over an alpha you were repulsed by. Slick happened, whether he wanted it to or not, and around Zeke, that was most certainly a not. With a regretful sigh, he forced himself out of Levi's bed. The man had no doubt been thinking he'd made himself useful and busy in the library by now, which meant he needed to leave the comfort of his master's room.

The loss of Levi's prominent scent left Eren feeling weak and drained. His omega angered that they'd left the room that smelt so wonderful, in favour of the cold halls of the castle. Eren still hadn't gotten used to the castle, the purple threads of spells occasionally sparking and causing dots to dance across his vision. Through the use of magic, the building was much larger on the inside than the out, though it was incredibly massive as it was. The spell casters long gone, but their magic so potent that it'd live long into the future... The omegas of old would probably be appalled by how far magic had fallen. Ancient and mythical creatures told in tales, had become just that. Or at least on the island they had. Eldia Giants were long extinct before Eren was born, and the colonies on the mainland were racing towards extinction. The world was moving past the age of magic, and into the realm of science.

Finding the library, Eren faced his next hurdle. Thanks to the red cord hung across the doorway, he couldn't just walk in, and the two guards seemed annoyed that he was even near the room. Levi had said he had permission, so... he needed to man up. Walking up to the red cord, he was stopped as he lifted the cord's hook
"And what do you think you're doing?"
"I have permission"
Snorting, the guard placed his hands on his hips. His long face and two-toned hair made Eren want to punch him in the face. Dressed in his military garb, it seemed like over kill. What was he going to do? Slay a mouse with the sword on his hip?
"And I'm the prince. This area is only open to the royal family. It's not for the likes of you"
From sarcasm to anger, the man glared. Eren glaring back just as hard
"Prince Erwin granted permission for me to browse the books..."
He'd known this was going to happen... Leaning in, the guard poked him hard in the chest with his pointer finger
"Why would he do that? You don't look like you belong here"
"I belong here more than you do. You're a guard, in the castle. What are you going to do? Stab me with your sword if I go in there?!"
"If I have to. Now go away"
"I'm not going away. The prince has given me permission"
"And I'm telling you, you're entering. You could be anyone"
"I'm not anyone. I'm Eren!"
If he couldn't go through the cord poles, then he'd go over. Pushing the whole lot down, he stepped over the mess. His hand barely touching the library door before he was hurled backwards
"You're not allowed in there"
"I am too! Stop braying horseface, and get out of my way!"
"What did you call me?!"
"A horsefaced bastard! I have permission!"
"And I see no evidence of that!"
"Then go and ask the prince!"
"Why should I ask the prince? You're obviously lying!"
"I'm not lying! You're being a jackass!"
"I thought I was a horse?"
"You're both!"
Above him, small black clouds started to form. Grabbing the guard by the shirt, he raised his fist to punch him, as the man did the same. Both of them glaring at each other so hard, that there were more sparks flying between them than what was in the forming storm cloud above them
"What are you doing?! Stop that"
"I'm a magic user! I was sent here by the prince to look something up for him. I'm just trying to do my job!"
"And I'm doing mine!"

The second guard who'd stayed out of the argument so far, sighed deeply
"Do you have any food?"
"Sasha!"
"Jean. He, like, knows magic..."
So this bastard was Jean?! And why did she want to know if he had food!?
"I don't have any food... like I said, I just need to look a few things up for the prince"
"He seems pretty sincere to me, even if he doesn't have anything to eat"
"Sasha! You don't know that. That's why you're inside the castle. They can't afford to send you out in the field, because you eat all the food"
"If she's inside for that, than what about you?"
The next thing Eren knew, Jean had punched him squarely in the nose. The stupid storm cloud he'd gathered, crackled, a spark striking Jean as Eren stumbled back
"Ah! What the fuck?! Did you just zap me?!"
"You had it coming, you dumb arsehole!"
The second guard, Sasha, was howling with laughter. Jean looked murderous, and Eren wanted to punch him back just as hard. His nose was bleeding thanks to the man, and he doubted it would go over too well with Levi. If Mikasa had to work with the man, he sympathised for his adoptive sister.

"What the fuck is going on here?!"

"Sir!"
"Sir!"
Both guards snapped to attention as Eren cursed. His nose was bleeding, his appearance dishevelled thanks to Jackass Jean
"What is going on here?! Eren, why are you bleeding? And why is there a cloud above your head?"
Stupid Levi. What was he even doing there?!
"Jean was so kindly informing me I don't have any right to check the books of the royal library, while I was trying to explain that I had your permission"
"And how did that devolve to this?"
"Sir, he had no evidence of having your permission"
Levi looked to Erwin, Erwin nodding
"Kirstein, Blouse, this is Eren. He is conducting research on the prince's behalf, and has permission to enter the library and gallery at his discretion. Understood?"
Both guards saluted, synchronised as they both cried "Yes, sir". Pulling a handkerchief from his pocket, Levi passed it over to him
"Stop bleeding on my floors, and do something about that cloud"
Jean snickered, turning it into a very fake cough, Levi shooting him with such an icy glare that Jean seemed to stop breathing. Eren was secretly pleased, covering his nose and lowering his head
"Sorry, sir"
"I had hoped you would have made some progress by now, but it'll have to wait. Levi has prepared new quarters for you"
"Yes, sir"
"And you, horseface. Stop snickering. I hear you have quite the crush on Ackerman, Eren is her adoptive brother"
Levi's words were slow and deliberate, the look of Jean's face was just... he wished he could have captured it forever. Eren hadn't expected Levi to say something like that, but he'd definitely hit Jean where it hurt
"Isn't that right, Eren?"
"Yes, sir. My family adopted Mikasa when we were 7"
It was either 7 or 8. He couldn't actually remember, only that she'd almost always been there to be annoying. Gaping at them, Jean was a broken man. Nodding to Jean and Sasha, Levi began moving down the hall, Erwin and Eren falling in behind him. Was this how it would be now? Him tagging along like the third wheel? And when were they all going to sit down and discuss that Erwin was the real prince? He still couldn't vocalise Levi's name, in other way than addressing Erwin. The man's command still firmly in place, even though Levi knew that he knew the truth. Somehow Eren severely doubted that Levi would like him moaning Erwin's name, as Levi mounted him.

Jean and Sasha were on duty in front of the royal library when Eren returned the following day, Levi personally dropping him off to prevent any more misunderstandings. He'd been smacked up the back the head for being hurt, then shown to his room three doors down from Levi's... because that wasn't awkward, or tempting, at all. Even Erwin's personal room was further down the hall than Eren's, though Eren had the feeling the room was for the maid that should be personally attending to Levi. It didn't have a huge shower, or a huge bath, or even an overly large bed, but it did have a rather nice window with an amazing view over the training grounds. The window then proved to be an annoying dick, come morning, as there were no curtains. Erwin fucking sucked at picking rooms... especially for the omega that would be sleeping with the prince. His mental grumbling an awkward joke in an attempt to deal with everything happening, and a way to deal with how crap not taking his herbs made him feel. Walking through the stacks of books, he hoped he'd find something in here that would make him useful to Levi... and not make the man regret bonding him even more than he already seemed to.

*
Levi was bored. He'd completely phased out during his conversation with Zeke, and hadn't been able to focus back in on the man as they walked through the market place. Zeke's party were hardly being respectful towards the vendors, one of the man's smashing a vase then stepping over it as if nothing was wrong. Sending Erwin to take list of the vendors that had suffered, the man mentioned something about it not being the first time it had happened. He didn't understand why they bothered coming to the market then. If Zeke's men found it boring, they could have easily found entertainment at the castle in the form of wine. That wouldn't be a first time either.

Still, the time in the market wasn't a complete waste. Levi making a small purchase that his stomach filled with the fluttering of a million butterflies. Pausing at a jewellery vendor, a small gemmed broach had caught his eye. It wasn't fancy, nor was it fine jewellery, a simple blue glass gem with an etched silver circle surrounding it, but something about it reminded him of Eren. It wasn't the first time in his life he'd purchased jewellery, nor was it the first time he'd purchased jewellery for Eren, but it was the first time he truly hoped the gift would be appreciated. It wouldn't be easy on Eren, this agreement of theirs, so he wanted the omega to know that he did at least think of him as more than just... someone to sleep with. By some small miracle, Zeke said nothing about the purchase, and Erwin didn't either. Though Erwin probably thought the purchase was for Isabel. He liked to pick up small trinkets for the girl, while Farlan preferred fine clove cigarettes. The first cigarette that hadn't been tainted by the stench of the sewer, had made the man cry. He'd never forget that...

Spending the morning walking the market, they returned to the castle for lunch. The brooch weighing heavily is jacket pocket, reminding him that he actually needed to pluck up the courage to gift it to Eren, who was still probably pouring over the books of the royal library. Personally, Levi had never spent more time in the room than necessary. It wasn't that he didn't like books, or didn't appreciate literature, but most of the books there were about Erwin's ancestors, and the history of the kingdom's main families of power. Though Royal in blood, Erwin's family was actually a branch family, the last of the main family dying nearly 50 years before the birth of hiding prince, incapable of bearing heirs. There had been a lot of controversy over it all, but as it didn't affect Levi, he couldn't be bothered researching it further. He didn't actually know what Eren hoped to find, yet he'd learned his lesson. The kid was filled with surprises. Asking Erwin to retrieve Eren from the library, to join them for lunch, Erwin suggested Eren be left to research in private. Which may have been due to the woman the prince had pulled from the market place and kept by his side. The silly girl was clearly imagining a future with a rich prince. If he could have saved her from Zeke, he would have, and he could only pray she wasn't stupid enough to open her legs for the man. Not that he expected the prince to sleep with her. He'd probably claim he didn't want whatever "diseases" Eldia people carried, and disown any bastard he may plant in her womb. Erwin was right. It was better to keep Eren from Zeke, lest the omega find himself in a compromising position.

Forced to babysit Zeke all afternoon, both princes spent rest of the day going over shipping logs and attempting to pinpoint non-existent discrepancies. Zeke wanting them to up their shipments on mineral sands, not thinking about the long term effects such mining efforts would cause. While Levi was planning how to bury Zeke in said sands, no against boxing the man in the sand, and shipping him far, far away. Failing to come to an agreement over shipping quotas, Levi suggested "they sleep on it", to which Zeke replied, "his opinion wouldn't be changed". Parting company with the prince, Levi found himself seeking out Eren. Knowing if he didn't present the teen with the brooch before returning to his chambers for the night, he'd lose his nerve.

Entering the royal library, Levi would never get used to the silence of the room. His boot heels clipping on the tiles floor, as he moved towards the reading desks where he could see Eren hunched over. Being a teen, he'd expected the kid to have run out of patience and left already. His dedication made Levi feel slightly proud of the youth. Eren really was dedicated to mastering magic. Unbuttoning his jacket as he walked, the room was much colder than the outer hall, Eren's lungs had probably been giving him grief, yet there was no fire in the hearth. Gently, he pulled his jacket off, draping it over Eren's shoulders as the teen jumped, bringing a smile to Levi's lips
"Relax, brat. It's just me"
Pulling out the chair next to Eren, Levi sat. Eren staring at him as if he'd grown a second head
"Sir?"
"You don't need to call me "sir", we're alone. I thought perhaps you were cold?"
Eren nodded, pulling Levi's jacket down to sit better around his thin frame
"Thank you. I wasn't game to light a fire, in case my magic caused it to flare"
Levi sighed, gesturing to the rows of books around them
"With all these unread books in here, they'd probably be happier used as fire fodder"
"From rocks and walls, we moved to stones and tablets, from that to scrolls and finally books. You shouldn't underestimate the knowledge of our ancestors"
Levi raised his eyebrow at such a grown-up response. Yawning Eren leaned back in his chair and continued
"Or so they tell me. Most of this about the royal family. Once you get past the 15th war of the giants, they all start sounding the same"
"15 wars?"
"King Nugget took King Bucket's favourite club"
Levi snorted
"I'm pretty sure that wasn't their names"
"No, but it's as close of a translation I can make out"
"It must have been an impressive club"
"It was. Blessed by nymphs in the waters of Ymir. It was said not even a dragon stood a chance about it. But enough about that, I can see your eyes glassing over"
"Most of the royal history is boring as bat shit. How are you going?"
"I've been reading... but that doesn't explain why you're here. Hiding from Prince Zeke, perhaps"
"The man is insufferable. He wants to mine our resources, without thinking about the future"
Eren nodded, Levi's jacket slipping as the omega scratched the back of his neck
"I can see that. I don't envy you"

A silence fell between them, Eren continuing to scratch at his nape. When a moment passed to two, then to three, Levi growled
"What are you scratching at?!"
"Sorry. The back of my neck has been itchy lately"
"W-would you like me to take a look?"
"No. I'm fine, thank you. I'm sure you actually have duties to do"
"Look, brat. I wouldn't offer if I didn't mean it"
"Are you sure?"
"If it'll stop you scratching"
Eren ducked his head, the omegas cheeks slightly red
"That would be nice, thank you"
Rising to his feet, Levi moved to stand behind Eren, hoping the kid didn't have feels. Brushing Eren's hair back from his nape, a small thrill ran through him. Like touching Eren was the right thing to be doing
"S-sir?"
Right. He couldn't just stand there with Eren's hair along the back and side of his hand. Pulling the teens colour down, he frowned at the raised red and peeling skin. Tracing his fingers over the raised lines, Eren let out a breathy moan, before clamping his hand over his mouth as scent filled with embarrassment. Levi's own face flushed red, finding the moan not entirely disagreeable. Leaving his fingers on the last symbol, he kept his tone even, enjoying the warmth seeping into his finger tips
"The lines are your vows, aren't they?"
Eren nodded quickly
"They look painful, all red and raised. I'm sorry, I don't know what to say"
Running his fingers back over the letters, he was struck with the sudden urge to kiss the mark. Heading into dangerous territory, Levi pulled his fingers back. Eren letting out a small whimper as the contact broke. Sitting back down, the teen was staring at his lap
"I... uh. I have something for you, in the breast pocket of the jacket"
"Y-you do?"
"Yes. Don't make this any more awkward than it is"
Levi's voice was gruffer than intended as he forced the boundary between them back up
"I..."
"Don't thank me until you've seen it. It's a silly little thing from the market that reminded me of you"

Eren was clumsy as he pulled the brooch from Levi's jacket, the kid's face lighting up, before falling
"Do you not like it?"
"I don't have anything to give you in return"
"You don't need to. The gem is glass, but the colour is nice"
"It is. It reminds me of a storm. Are you sure you want to gift this to me?"
"You're making this hard. Just accept it already!"
Despite his anger, Eren's smile was bright
"You're a really awkward person, aren't you?"
"Shut up. You don't have to wear the stupid thing"
"No. No. Thank you. It's beautiful. I honestly wasn't expecting anything"
"It's the least I can do for messing your life up"
Eren's happiness fell again
"Is that all this is for?"
No. It wasn't. But he couldn't admit that out loud
"I think you know the answer to that. Have you eaten? Zeke has given me enough of a headache that I told him I was retiring early"
"Oh. What? Huh... no. I was caught up reading"
"Then you're joining me for dinner. You need to take care of yourself"
"Sorry, sir. I haven't come across anything about changing masters yet..."
"It's fine. I mean... Just come along"
How did one teenager have the power to confuse him so badly?! It was just sex, and they hadn't even done that yet... God give him strength
"Alright. Let me put these books away"
"Are you done with them?"
"No..."
"Then stack them neatly..."
He didn't trust Eren to put them away properly. Everything in the royal library had its own place
"Oh. Ok"
"I'll be waiting near the door"

Sending a guard to notify the kitchen that he'd be dining in his room with company, Eren trailed half a step behind, like a lost puppy. The omega's nervousness feeding his own. Reaching his room, Eren hesitated before following him in, staying by the door as Levi loosened his cravat
"Stop it, brat. I'm not about to throw myself on you"
"I... didn't say anything"
"No. But you're also clogging up the doorway. Take a seat, dinner should be here shortly. I'm going to freshen up"

Freshen up consisted on showering. Levi needing to calm down mentally before facing Eren again. He could still feel Eren's warm skin beneath his fingers. Clenching his hands, he stared at them. Calloused from swords work and leather reins, his hands were nowhere as smooth as Eren's. Waiting until he was sure he wasn't going to say or do anything he regretted, he changed into his casual clothes before walking out into his bedroom. Eren was sitting on the edge of his bed, the teens fingers tangled in the fur rug at the end of it
"Everything alright?"
Jumping, Eren nodded quickly
"I'm sorry. I wasn't sure where to sit"
"It's fine. It's not as if I frequently have company in here"
"Then why am I here?"
"I told you before, you need to take care of yourself. If you don't, you're only going to cause more trouble for all of us in the long run"
Eren nodded, still stroking the fur
"Is your room warm enough? I usually would have inspected it, but I left it to Fluffybrows"
Eren laughed lightly at the name for Erwin
"It's fine. It's... it has a nicer window than my old room"
"And your bed?"
"It's fine"
Levi doubted he was hearing the full story. He'd have to investigate it for himself
"Stop acting so nervous"
"I can't help it. I don't know what to say"
"You're not the only one"
"In some ways, I still can't believe you're my master"
"In a lot of ways, I can't believe it either. Did you find any books on magic?"
"A few. Though nothing impressive"
"Says the beginner mage"
"I'm sorry. I don't think it's necessary to know how to make frogs jump higher"
Levi raised an eyebrow
"Frogs?"
"Yes. Seriously, they already jump perfectly fine. Can you imagine it for the poor frog? He goes to jump, and the next thing he's flying. It must be a crazy ride"
Levi struggled not to smile. When Eren relaxed, he had a great "all or nothing" way of talking
"What else did you learn?"
"About the giant wars. About Draecia and Eldia. They used to be the same country, until Marley came into the picture"
"I'm not surprised. Marley is great like that"
Eren hummed
"I think there is still some things belonging to Draecia here. Did you know?"
"No. How do you know?"
"I can kind of feel it. Like the feeling from the dragon corpse... I don't really know how to explain it"
"I... I'm sorry for striking you. Everything dragon related is related to Draecia, and with the perilous position we find ourselves in with Marley, the country wouldn't survive if it we were to go to war with both of them"
"I get it. I'm someone you don't know. I was living on the streets. Then I just showed up again... it wasn't a great feeling though"
"It's not that..."
"It is. It's ok. Zeke brings out the worst in everyone. Let's leave it there"
"That he does. I'd rather not talk about him"
Realising he was still standing, Levi walked over to the small table and chairs, set up for when Erwin decided to invite himself to his quarters. Sitting, he looked to Eren on his bed. The first time he'd slept on a bed of furs, it'd felt like a dream. It probably felt like a dream to teen
"Do you have furs on your bed?"
"No. Just blankets"
He definitely needed to see Eren's room...

Falling silent, the silence remained until dinner was brought to them. Coming to sit opposite him, Eren's eyes went straight to the apples on the tray
"You like apples?"
"Yes?"
"Is that why you magicked up the tree?"
Eren groaned
"I'm never going to live that down"
"No. It was a rather impressive tree. How did you do it?"
Setting about pouring them both a cup of tea, Levi then went about slicing the bread, as Eren sighed
"I honestly don't know. I was in heat and was craving a fresh apple. I never expected to make a whole tree grow"
"Did it live up to your expectations?"
"Is it wrong if I say yes?"
"No. You made a lot of people very happy. Marley has been praising the cider made"
"Is it that good?"
"It's better than that wine they ship here in barrels. I prefer tea"
"Tea? Couldn't you have your choice of drink?"
"I prefer tea. Alcohol comes with the job, but alcohol also dulls the senses"
"Sometimes its better for the senses to be dulled"
"From personal experience?"
"Something like that"
"I'll remember to moderate your intake"
"Where's the fun in that?"
This kid was going to be the death of him. Scowling, Levi passed Eren his cup of tea, and the few slices of bread he'd sliced off
"Help yourself to the meat and cheese. No apples until you do"
"What are you? My father?"
"I would hope not. After dinner, you need to rest. You're still not recovered. And don't dare tell me you are"
"Maybe I am a little tired..."
"Dinner, then bed. You can continue your research tomorrow"
"Ah... what happens with Hanji?"
"That's already taken care of. She may call upon you, but if she's being too annoying, let me know"
"Okay..."

Chapter Text

Darting through the castle, Eren felt as if he was being watched as he rushed through the halls. Having spent days researching, then spending a few moments with Levi each day, his fondness for the man had grown. He found himself not growing angry when Levi ordered lunch to be brought to him or called by to see how his reading was going. He wasn't allowed to research today, throwing his routine out of whack, as they were having a friendly tournament upon the training oval. The court mages had spent the night setting up a magical arena, complete with seating and banners of blue for Eldia. Both Levi and Erwin were going to be competing, which shattered his nerves. The cherry on top being Mikasa also competing. Even if the Eldia forces may be taking it all in good fun, Marley probably had no idea what fun was. Staying up late to lament the possible fates of his friends, had caused him to oversleep. That an a particularly steamy dream about Levi.

Breathing easier as he escaped the castle confines, he raced over to where Armin was waiting for him
"I'm sorry!"
"You're late, Eren!"
"I know, I know. I'm sorry"
Reaching Armin, his friend immediately noticed the brooch on his shoulder. His friend reaching out to touch it, as Eren slapped him off
"Leave it alone"
Armin pouted
"It's pretty"
"I know it is, and it was also a gift"
"Oooooh. Someone's got a secret admirer"
Eren rolled his eyes, linking arms with Armin in order to drag him off towards the arena
"It's not like that at all. It was payment for a favour"
"From who?"
"None of your business"
"Ereeeeen. You know I live for gossip"
"There's no gossip here. Just a magic thing"
"You're so lucky. I would love to know magic"
"It's not as fun as you think..."
Eren's mind went to the statues of the bandits... He still wasn't ok with what happened
"I can't believe you. Most people would kill for that power"
A power he couldn't use. Yeah. Right. He and Levi were still dancing around the topic of what came next
"Enough about me. Have you seen him yet?"
Armin stumbled, shooting him a glare
"I don't know who you can possibly mean. I have seen Mikasa, though. She's in full armour"
"It's best she is. This might be for fun, but that's only if no one dies"
"Mikasa won't die. And I think she's eager to show you what she can do"
"Don't say it like that..."
"Say it like what?"
"You know damn well"
"I'm just saying, this is the first time you'll see her combat skills properly. She's really quite amazing"
"Oh! Do you know two guards, called Jean and Sasha?"
"I do. They're kind of my friends. What happened?"
"Nothing happened, but Jean is a dick"
"Jean reminds me a lot of you"
"You don't know me at all. I'm nothing like that horsefaced arsehole"
"How do you know he's a horsefaced arsehole, if nothing happened?"
"Don't you use your logic on me. The day is beautiful, let's enjoy this"
"I'm so happy they're doing this..."
"You just want to see your precious blonde knight"
Armin spluttered, ultimately not denying so, before falling silent.

Taking their seats, Eren was able to get them better seats by being a mage. Though they weren't exactly great, they were the third row back, and on the bendy bit of the row, the arena being a giant oval in shape. Eldia banners of deep blue alternated with Marley banners of blood red, both fluttering in the wind. It was all far more grand than Eren had thought it would be. Citizens had come from town, with aristocracy taking the best seats in the front row. Personally, Eren didn't want to be in the front row. Now with horses, swords and possible blood flying. Even in the third row, he had an almost death grip on Armin's hands. He didn't want anything to happen to Mikasa, and he doubly didn't want anything to happen to Levi. Erwin... was nice and all, and while he didn't want anything happening to him, he was definitely third on the list
"Eren... your hands"
Looking to Armin's lap, he realised he was creating sparks. Hastily he forced himself to let go
"Sorry! I can't control this stupid magic of mine"
"It's fine. It didn't hurt, but do we need to be so worried?"
"I can't help it. Mikasa could be hurt"
Thank god for Mikasa. He couldn't openly admit his worry for Levi
"She'll be fine. Oh, look. It's starting"

"Starting" meant a trailing speech from Zeke on the greatness of Marley. Levi standing beside the man with a forced smile on his lips. For someone so antisocial, Levi must have been uncomfortable as fuck. He hoped the alpha could tell he was there, and that he wasn't alone... even if things were weird and he didn't know what to call this thing between them. Both Marley's and Eldia's competing soldiers walked onto the field in full garb. Armin excitedly pointing out Mikasa, who wore a fierce look on her face. There were quite a few female soldiers on the Eldia side, where Marley only had the tall woman who followed Zeke around. Clapping with the rest of the crowd, Eren's heart was in his throat.

The first round of the tournament was horse skills. Mikasa doing marvellously, as he'd expected. Only a few soldiers took place in the demonstration, as they weaved in and out of obstacles while performing jumps and collecting ribbons held in the air by magic, and all within a certain time limit. When the event was over, a large blue shower of sparks burst above the stadium, signalling the first round went to Eldia. Eren's nervousness started to bleed away. No one had been hurt, and they'd all looked incredibly graceful upon their horses, even while in armour.

The next round was horseback fighting. For some unknown reason, Mikasa didn't take place in it. Which was probably why Marley won that round, and an Eldia soldier had to be stretchered off the field as he'd been thrown when a sword was swung at the legs of his horse.

The third round was archery, first on foot than by horse. Competitors shooting at magical targets. Arrows and bows were still a tender topic for Eren, so he didn't end up watching the round at all. He didn't want to suddenly turn any of the soldiers to stone.

The forth round was the longest. Two fighters stood in the middle of the arena, one from Eldia and one from Marley. Eren didn't know what to call it, but as one soldier fell, they were replaced. The wounds non-lethal, but everything else seemed to go. Marley wasn't afraid to fight dirty, their soldier taking down three Eldian's before finally being taken down by and Eldian. Back and forth competitors fell, each fight aggressive and beautiful like a dance. When the last Eldia competitor came out, Armin nearly jumped into his lap
"I can't watch!"
It was hard to tell, but for Armin to be so scared, it must have been Erwin. The figure was far too large to be Mikasa
"He's going to be fine"
"But he's up against Zeke's body guard, Yelena!"
"He's going to be fine. Stop hiding"

Erwin and Yelena seemed to be pretty evenly matched. Their fight has everyone on the edge of their seats. Unlike the previous competitors, they made the most of the arena. It was positively thrilling, only ending when both Yelena's and Erwin's swords broke. Eren was in absolute awe over it. He'd never be on the same level as the pair of him... and that sucked. His amazement soon turned to self-hatred. If he hadn't been born an omega, he might very well be out there. He might be aiding in the fight for Eldia, and not being protected by everyone around him. Coming back to the centre of the arena, Zeke was all smiles as he clapped
"Ladies and Gentlemen, it would appear to be a draw! Both our countries are indeed brave! To close the event, Prince Erwin and I shall face off in a friendly battle. No matter who wins or loses, we, your princes, vow to bring glory on our kingdoms!"
Oh... fucking fuck-fuck. Zeke was too much of an arsehole to take a loss well, and Levi... could Levi even swing a sword. He must have been able to... and the man was strong... but he was only human. Closing his eyes, he prayed harder than he'd ever prayed before. He didn't want Levi hurt. He didn't know what to do if the man was...
"Eren?"
Opening his eyes, Eren realised he was being stared at
"Prince Zeke... look"
At the end of the stairs down to the first layer of seats, Zeke stood staring at him. Pointing at him, the man beckoned him down. Flushed with embarrassment, Eren was shaking as he rose from his seat and approached Zeke, bowing once close enough
"Sir?"
"A kiss for good luck"
He didn't want to kiss the man! Not in front of everyone. This had to be divine punishment!
"S-sir?"
"You must give me a kiss for good luck"
His threat went unsaid. He'd be insulted if Eren didn't. Leaning in, Eren's lips brushed Zeke's. Nearly choking as Zeke pushed his tongue into his mouth. It felt so wrong... but he still had to keep calm and smile as the kiss broke. Giving him a wink, Zeke turned and drew his sword, holding it high as he walked back to the centre of the ring. Racing back to his seat, there were far too many glares directed his way
"What was that?!?"
Dropping into his seat, Eren grabbed Armin's shirt to wipe his mouth off with
"Revolting"
"You and the prince?"
"There's no "me and Zeke". He's taken an interest because I'm an omega. He thinks I'm something to fuck"
Armin tugged his shirt back, softly admitting
"I didn't think about that"
"Don't let it concern you. Nothing has happened with that man. Let's just watch the fight"
"I'm still sorry"
"You don't need to be. You're not like that, and our prince isn't like that either"
Armin giggled
"No. Can you imagine Prince Erwin kissing anyone? He'd probably glare the whole time"
"How dare your lips be against mine"
Eren snorted, resting his head against Armin's shoulder. Levi wouldn't fall to Zeke...

Hiding against Armin's shoulder, each time his friend gasped or jumped, he flinched. Peeking through his fingers, the fight between alphas was frightening. Levi was incredible to watch, but it was all so scary. Being an exhibition rather than an actual battle, they were using training swords. But a training sword could still break bones and leave nasty bruises and scrapes. Choosing the wrong moment to hide his face completely Eren almost screamed at the pain that assaulted his chest. His magic flaring as he gasped and coughed. Immediately alarmed, Armin was pulling him from his seat, and from the arena. Eren in too much pain to thank his friend, and exceptionally grateful that Armin had heeded his warnings over how volatile his magic could be.

Dragged outside the arena, Eren collapsed onto the grass. His coughing growing into hard hacks, as he started to claw at his throat, feeling as if something was stuck there. Kneeling in front of him, Armin grabbed his hands
"Eren?! Eren, what's happening?!"
How could he communicate? He couldn't get a breath in. Pulling his hands back, he less than gently shoved his right hand in his throat, catching the feeling of something with the tips of his fingers
"Oh my god. Are you choking?! Here, move, let me"
Pulling his hand free, Armin held his mouth open with one hand, while he moved to remove whatever was choking him. Drooling and with tears in his eyes, Eren seriously felt as if he was dying
"Holy fuck!"
Hacking harshly as whatever Armin was drawing out, he nearly passed out from relief once it was free. That wasn't an experience he'd like to ever have again. Gasping for air, he rasped out between pants
"What... the... fuck... was... that...?"
"I... I think someone tried to poison you"

Falling back to sit on the grass. A few very long moments passed between Eren and Armin. Eren's chest and lungs still hurt like a bitch, so he had to be careful not to take deep breaths. Finally recovering enough, he reached out and took the stem from Armin's hold
"Belladonna?"
He already knew the answer. Even without the flowers or berries, he'd know the plant anywhere
"Yes... Eren..."
"I'm ok"
"You... Eren, you could have choked to death!"
"It... was probably my magic"
Armin's eyes widened
"Don't look so surprised. I can't control it yet"
"But why?! Why would you do this to yourself?!"
"It's not intentional. My dislike and anger at Zeke for kissing me, probably lead to my magic reacting..."
"Wow..."
Both teens stared at the herb. Eren had no idea why it'd happened, but wasn't eager to scare Armin any more than he had
"Thank you. If you hadn't got me out of there, people could have been hurt"
"I... you were casting sparks again. And your coughing..."
"My lungs aren't great, Armin. Come winter, I usually fall quite ill. They can't do anything about it, there's just too much scar tissue or something. It's not worth worrying about"
Armin let out a soft cry as he launched himself on Eren
"I'm sorry! We never knew you were suffering. You always seemed so happy when you came to play. I never knew how bad it was for you"
"Hey now. No. I didn't want you and Mikasa to worry. You both make me so proud. You're both truly amazing and I'm proud you guys are my family"
"I'm still sorry!"
"Armin, it's ok. I'm ok. I was sent to a sanctuary remember? The one I was at was a little old fashioned, but you would have loved it there. It was a good life, and a safe life"
"I missed you, Eren!"
"I missed you too"
With Armin squeezing him so tightly, Eren tried to withstand the pain. He wasn't feeling any better, and people were starting to leave the arena
"Can you help me to my room?"
"Oh? Of course..."

*
Zeke was lucky they'd been using training swords, or the man would have lost his head. Calling Eren out like that, then fucking kissing him... it'd done all kinds of things to Levi's alpha that left him less than amused. He could feel Eren's upset and discomfort over the incident, and that fuelled his anger during their fight. Despite being bigger than him, Levi knew how to move his body in a way that was no match for Zeke's large frame. He'd nearly claimed victory, when Zeke swung a low and dirty blow, first blinding him with sand than smacking him in the ribs with enough force that he was sure something was broken. The look of disgust on Zeke's lips when he'd managed to remain standing had almost made the hit worth it. The man knew he wasn't going to go down easily, and now Levi had called him out on it in front of everyone. Soon after that, Zeke announced it a draw.

Ushered from the field by Erwin, Levi was still simmering with rage. If only they could poison the stupid prince and be done with this shit. He couldn't calm down, and he had the overwhelming urge to seek out Eren. Instead, he was forced to sit by Erwin as his armour was removed. The alpha wincing as his tunic was rolled up to reveal a three-inch long split across his lower ribs on the left side. The colouring already a deep dark purple
"You've broken your ribs"
Levi rolled his eyes
"No shit. That arsehole has a lot of strength for a pin-dick"
Healers were already coming into the tented area, Erwin stepping back
"Go find Eren. Make sure he's not too rattled from what happened today"
"And you?"
"I'll be fine"
He really was more worried about Eren than he was himself. Taking his scolding from healers, he forced himself to be patient, knowing that in the opposite side of the arena, Zeke would be being healed for the exact same thing... no one had ever said that he fought fairly in battle...

With the healing spells in place, Levi shrugged off the offer of help as he returned to his quarters. Erwin hadn't returned, nor had Levi been able to catch a glimpse of Eren in the crowds around the arena. Politely declining tokens of affections, and declarations of love, he would have liked nothing more than to yell at all of them to fuck off. He needed to know Eren was ok, and that Zeke hadn't physically hurt Eren in some way. The man had been smiling like the cat that got the cream, when the kiss had broken. As if he knew there was something happening between himself and Eren, despite there not yet being...

Reaching his chambers, Levi peeled his clothes off, before forcing himself to ignore his need to shower. He was supposed to be resting and allowing the magic to set his ribs back in place properly, but through his bond to Eren, he swore he could feel the kid in pain. Easing himself down on his bed, it was only a few moments before he was proven right. Supported by Erwin, Eren was curled in around, hunching to cover the left side of his chest
"I found him. Armin was helping him back to his room. He foolishly thought he could skip being healed"
Levi shot up at once, before immediately regretting it and sinking back down against his pillows
"Left ribs are bruised, and Armin was quite distressed. Apparently he also coughed up belladonna"
Eren let out a long sigh, his scent was just as pained as it was annoyed
"He's overreacting"
Led to Levi's bed, Erwin sat Eren down on the edge of it
"You coughed up belladonna?"
"It was probably my magic being a dick. I was on my way to my room to rest, when I was kidnapped by Fluffybrows"
Levi wanted to laugh at the expression on Erwin's face. The man not pleased that Levi's name for him had caught on. But he couldn't bring the smile to his lips, and he'd spent the fight thinking how much easier it would have been if Zeke was poisoned, only for Eren to actually cough up a poisonous plant
"I'm fine... my lungs and throat are agitated from the plant, but I'm ok"
Erwin sighed and shook his head
"Neither of you are ok. Levi, you're to stay in bed until your ribs have healed completely. Eren, you are to make sure he does. Levi, Eren has significant bruising, make sure he doesn't cough up blood"
"So you're basically make us watch each other?"
"Yes. I'll take care of what needs to be done. You two, please just figure this out"
Eren nodded, looking to his hands as he did
"Can I ask that you please let Armin know I'm ok. He was really distressed"
"I'll see to it. I expect better from you two"

Erwin swept from the room, Levi waiting until he'd slammed the door behind him, before sighing
"I hate it when he goes into "dad" mode"
"I know. It's not a great feeling... were you really hurt?"
Eren seemed so sad, that Levi felt he had no choice but to be honest. Pushing himself up, to pull down the furs of his bed. Exposing the site to Eren
"He laid a blow against my ribs. Magic is already in place to heal it. You?"
Pulling his shirt up, Eren nodded. The purple bruising looking horrible and undeserved on Eren's soft skin
"It's just bruising. No breaks like you suffered. I... I was so scared when you were fighting Zeke"
Lowering his shirt, Eren was shaking ever so slightly as he wiped his palms on his pants
"Did he hurt you? When he kissed you?"
The teen shook his head
"No. But it felt wrong. It made me so mad and I felt sick to the bottom of my stomach. He had no right to do that"
Clenching his hands, Eren's fists clutched his pants
"No. He didn't. I suspect he did so to annoy me. I feel he must think there is something going on between us"
"But there isn't! It's one thing to insult me face to face, but it's quite another to force a kiss on me, where I couldn't refuse him"

Lifting the blankets beside him, Levi desperately wanted to comfort Eren. Perhaps as a means to make himself feel better, but to also reassure the teen that they were both ok. He knew how choking felt, thanks to Eren's magic, and it hadn't been fun or great... but he hadn't coughed up a potentially lethal plant, or part of one
"Come here"
Patting the spot, Eren looked to him in confusion
"I'm not going to bite. You look like you need a hug"
"Are you sure?"
"I wouldn't have offered if I wasn't. Just make sure to take your boots off"
Eren struggled his boots off, before shyly climbing up to sit beside him on the furs, rather than the space he'd made
"Thank you... a hug would be really nice"
"Then come closer"
Coaxing the omega into his hold, Eren felt amazing against him. The omega not asking permission as he hid his face against Levi's neck
"I was so scared something would happen to you"
"I may not look it, but I'm actually rather battle hardened"
"I know. I mean. I've heard rumours, but Zeke is a beast"
"He does rather lack in the social graces expected of someone with royal blood"
"He makes me so mad"
"Then how about we talk about something else?"
"I don't know what to say?"
Ignoring the pain in his left side, Levi moved to cup Eren's face with his left hand. The teen's cheek wet as he guided it from his neck. Rubbing the tear streak, he smiled at Eren the best he could
"You do not need to cry. I'm just fine"
"I feel today has been too much for me... I'm trying my hardest not to think of him, but I still feel his lips on mine"
Levi's alpha didn't like that one bit. His jealousy flaring as his anger toward Zeke returned in a blazing inferno. He'd scared Eren with such an action. Eren, who's lips only his should be touching. Before he could think, he pushed a solid kiss to Eren's lips. A little awkward on both sides, Eren slowed kissed him back, before breaking the kiss. Levi shocked he'd actually kissed Eren
"I'm sorry. I didn't think..."
"No. I'm ok..."
"No. You were just saying how you could feel Zeke... and I wanted to..."
"You don't need to explain. I mean. Some warning would have been nice, but your kiss was much nicer"
"I really didn't mean to make you feel pressured"
"I didn't. I don't..."
The redness in Eren's cheeks was quite cute, as was the way he bit his lower lip. Levi drawn in by the allure of such plump and sweet lips
"Do you mind?"
"No..."
As his lips found Eren's again, Levi moved his right wrist up to scent mark Eren's neck. He was skating on dangerously thin ice, but he couldn't stop himself. After a month of stubbornly deny his uses as anything other than a pawn, then a month and half of trying to hide he'd mounted Eren, he was now having to admit he'd been wrong about the kid. Eren was hard working. He was honest and friendly to all those he came across. The small visits which involved checking on Eren's progress in the library had become a highlight in his day... he was on thin ice, and rapidly developing some kind of feelings for the teen.

As the kiss broke, Eren was desperate for more. His lips smashing against Levi's as the omega moved into his lap, sitting across just above Levi's knees so as to not cause pain in the alpha's chest. Inside of him, lust was starting to form in his belly. His heart racing with each kiss, as his dick began to harden. Breaking the kiss, he searched Eren's face for some kind of meaning, his left hand sliding down Eren's cheek as he moved to run his thumb over Eren's lips
"Eren..."
"Master..."
A thrill ran through his whole body at that one word
"I... I can't offer you a relationship"
"I know. But right now, all I can think about is your lips against mine, and your hands across my body"
Levi's voice was husky, the alpha coughing slightly to clear his throat. He could smell Eren's permission and the sweetness of his body
"Take your shirt off. I want to see you"
Eren nodded, his hands shaking as he moved to comply. The bruising on his side had faded significantly in the last few minutes. Magic really was kind of amazing. Dropping his shirt off the side of Levi's bed, Eren sat there. Patient as Levi's hands moved to run up the omegas sides
"You're beautiful"
Speaking without meaning, he didn't take the statement back. Like Eren's skin, his nipples were soft and brown. Bringing his hands down, he tugged at the drawstrings of Eren's pants, Eren moaning as his hand brushed over the teen's tenting erection
"I want to see you"
Nodding, Eren rose, stepped off the bed to strip as Levi shimmied his underwear down. Both of them more than a little nervous as Eren climbed back into his lap. For an omega, the teen was well built. A small amount of puppyfat still clung to the boy, but it wasn't unappealing in the slightest. With the omega's pants gone, Levi's hands ran over the teen's hips, slightly wider than normal given his secondary dynamic and ability to bear children. Taking Levi's left hand in his right, Eren nuzzled into his palm, before finally making eye contact again
"I want to kiss you and to feel you"
"You don't need to ask permission"
Leaning in, Eren's hands mirrored his. The kiss starting small, before Eren deepened it with a moan. Interlacing their fingers, Eren wriggled up his a lap a little. The omega slicking like crazy as Levi hissed into the kiss. Feeling Eren's erection rubbing against his, only made him want to hurry up and be buried inside his omega... the omega. Sliding a hand down Eren's side and back, his hand slipped lower, fingers dipping between his arse cheeks, and finding the objective of his exploration. Having never done this, he slowly rubbed at the loosening ring of muscle, Eren mewing into his mouth. He was obviously doing something right.

Working his way into Eren's heat, Eren opened beautifully for him. The omega's face dropping to his shoulder as he panted against him. The teen's hands working both of them as Eren rolled his hips to grind down on Levi's fingers, whimpering when the digits were pulled from his body
"Are you ready?"
Nodding, Eren sat up straighter, his eyes so filled with lust and arousal they appeared black. With a slight slip and a growl, Levi failed on his first attempt, Eren so wet that he was forced to take himself in the hand, as the teen rose to make it easier. Lowering himself down, Eren let out a long breathy moan, which Levi agreed with completely. He felt no pain at all from his broken ribs and bruising. He felt nothing but right. Clumsily, Eren changed position, before beginning to ride him. His hands on Levi's shoulders for support as he started to chant some prayer to the gods. It was only a few moments before Eren came, his lips parted as he tensed, as if trying to draw Levi deeper. He'd never seen anything as beautiful. Growling, he firmly took Eren by the hips, holding him just above him as he thrust up, his knot racing to form
"Eren, do you want me to knot you?"
The teen nodded quickly
"Please... please, master. I need it... so badly"
Driving into Eren twice more, Eren gasped as Levi's knot caught, Eren's second orgasm washing over him, as Levi came so hard he screamed Eren's name. Sparks of magic flared around them, Levi feeling a flood of warm tingling that he instantly knew to be Eren's magic. Rushing into him, it filled every part of him, relieving all aches and pains, even the ones he'd had for years. Falling into each other's embrace, Eren nuzzled into his neck, the teen rocking against him as Levi continued to thrust lightly, his seed still rushing to fill the teen. Fuck. It felt like a volcano had erupted from his balls.

The pair of them remained like that, panting and fighting to regain their breaths, until Eren sat up. Whining softly as Levi's knot jostled, the teen's hands went to Levi's chest, before Eren's right hand dipped further. Mumbling something, Eren drew across Levi's lower stomach with his semen
"What are you doing?"
"Saying a prayer for you. Semen has powerful properties in magic"
"Oh yeah? What are you praying for?"
"For strength for you"
"I'm already strong"
"I know you are. This is more for mental strength"
"Are you saying you're going to be hard to deal with?"
"No, silly. It's a prayer to give you strength with no matter how you deal with. Not just me"
Finishing his drawing, Eren smiled happily. Nowhere near as embarrassed over what had happened as Levi had thought he would be
"Are you ok?"
Eren nodded quickly
"I can't remember the last time I felt so ok. I could feel my magic rushing into you. Your side has healed already, and the bags beneath your eyes are gone"
Levi peered down to his ribs, Eren indeed right. The wound healed without the slightest trace of ever being there
"Magic really is something"
"Mhmm... I found a few books, that I'd like you to learn from. With your permission"
Levi let out a soft chuckle. Only Eren could sit in his lap and ask such things while looking thoroughly fucked
"Did I say something wrong?"
"No. Not at all. I don't know how to read those books"
"Only omegas can. And I haven't seen the books themselves, they're held in the royal gallery beneath the castle"
"There's a gallery beneath the castle?"
"You really should know more about your own castle, but yes"
If they were down in storage, wouldn't that make them dangerous? His alpha jumping right in to tell him "to shut the fuck up with this thinking business, when he had such a young and supple omega in their lap"...
"Don't worry. I can see you thinking. I don't intend to act without your permission. You are my master after all"
"We will look at them together. But I do not have time for classes now"
"No. Not with Zeke"
Thrusting up at Zeke's name, Eren's eyes widened
"Fuck... I know I should feel ashamed, but I feel content. As if being in your lap is the greatest thing in the world. I can feel your life force, and I can feel my magic"
"Does that mean you might be able to bring those sparks of yours under control?"
Rolling his hips, Levi loved the way Eren's mouth hung open as he squeaked out mews
"Mmm... I'll show you a trick, if you stop teasing"
Levi stopped, and Eren pouted
"You said to stop teasing"
"This is true"
Moving both his hands to sit palm to between them, a small glow began in Eren's left hand. Letting it turn into a light about as big as a candle light, the teen took his right hand, drawing the flame into a long thin line. When the line was about a metre long, Eren blew on it softly, extinguishing the flame a long fine sword now sat in Eren's hands
"How the fuck did you do that?"
"Carbon is in the air, and iron is in the blood and traces linger in the air. Sitting here, it came to mind as I looked at you. I've never accomplished anything like this before"
Carefully, Levi lifted the sword from Eren's hands. Being so thin, it was hardly sturdy, but he could see how proud Eren was of himself
"This is amazing"
"I know. We truly must be sexually compatible for you to be able to bring my powers under control so easily. Even with my bracelets, I never had such control before"
"Speaking of your bracelets, I noticed you no longer wear them"
"Since the vow, my magic has actually need a lot better. I suppose you can't imagine so..."
"Honestly, I don't know how I would have coped before"
"It was... tricky. May I?"
Taking the thin sword back, it glowed as Eren moved to shape the metal into something new. He knew there was only a finite amount of iron in the human body, and no way was it healthy to lose so much. It was truly incredible to watch the sword be shaped into something circular. Eren seemed to almost come into himself as he worked. In just a few minutes, he'd turned the sword into a very wonky crown, which he placed on Levi's head
"Ok. I might need to work on my magic"
"Only "might"?"
"Hush you. I suppose we need to dress?"

Levi was confused, why did he need to get dressed?
"Dress?"
"The thing you do when you put your clothes on"
"We don't need to dress..."
"You need to make a show of healing. It'll lift palace spirits"
"And what will you do?"
"Research?"
"I can think of something else we could be doing first"
Gathering Eren up, the omega wrapped his long legs around Levi's waist, giggling as Levi laid him down
"Mmm... don't hold back"
"As if I would, you truly are beautiful in your own way, Eren"
"As are you, my master"

Chapter Text

Sneaking around the castle, Levi felt young again. All of Marley had been surprised to see him up and about after the tournament, especially Zeke. The man had been propped up during dinner, favouring his left side, while trying to hide his pain. Levi had no such problem. He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt so relaxed, or refreshed. If this was what sex with Eren was like, he could see why the alphas of the court never looked displeased with their omega charges. It was slightly thrilling to have a younger lover, and slightly thrilling to let himself have said, lover. It was so completely out of character for him, that even if their "secret" was to get out, no one could possibly believe it.

Over the next few days, each time they met in the library, Levi would steal a few moments for himself with Eren. Whether it be brushing the teen's hair back, so he could read over Eren's shoulder, or covering him with his jacket as Eren hadn't worn warm enough clothes, it all made him feel at peace. For a purely sexual relationship, it was tough to remember that... especially when they seemed to be so compatible, now that he'd finally allowed Eren in.

It was now the night of the Ball, and Levi was surrounded by young women and men professing their love. Each hoping for the elevation of status wedding a "royal" would bring, yet none of them prepared for what being a "royal" truly meant. Eren was different though. He showed him respect but wasn't after money or title. He didn't suck up to him, nor ask for favours, and most importantly, he had no expectations of more than what they had. He'd seen Eren at the opening of the Castle for the event, the brat's magic shining brighter than every other mages, but he'd soon lost sight of him once the sky show was complete. It'd been at least an hour, and Levi couldn't rid his gut of the feeling something was wrong. He couldn't move though. Zeke had once again occupied the king's throne and was entertaining his own circle of blushing women. While Levi was flittering around the Ball room with his crowd, attempting to find Eren, and attempting to avoid a rather persistent thorn in his side. Somehow, Zeke had met Petra Ral, an accomplished female soldier of the Eldia army, and somehow, Zeke had managed to make her think that Levi had an interest in her. Petra had always been pleasant enough to deal with. Her and the squad she worked with were stationed down as dock security, to the south of the island. They'd been summoned the castle by Erwin to discuss the discrepancies in shipping and had stayed to compete in the tournament. Unfortunately for Petra, Levi really couldn't be bothered with her. Petra didn't know that he wasn't the crown prince, or that he was now a package deal with Eren. They'd only had sex twice, that day of the tournament, but they'd stolen small kisses in the hall, and Levi's heart had leapt each time.

Sidestepping Petra, Levi nearly walked straight into Olou, another member of the dock squad. The man's goblet of wine spilling as Petra pushed him out the way and grabbed Levi's arm in the process. Could she be any more obvious? Her touch against his sleeve completely unwanted
"Oh no. You didn't get any on you, did you, Erwin?"
"No, though I can't say the same about you, Petra"
Olou's wine had spilt down the side of Petra's deep green dress. It was barely noticeable, but Petra looked upset
"Olou!"
"You should have been watching where you were going. You're a soldier and need to conduct yourself as such"
Right. Olou was annoying like that. If the man stepped back and stopped trying to sound like the perfect soldier, he'd be more pleasant to deal with. Not that the man wasn't an exemplary soldier. That's why he was in the dock squad
"Petra, why don't you have one of the mages see if they can lift the stain. Olou, why don't you accompany her? I am sorry, but I do need to greet others"
"It's fine..."
"No, no. I insist"

Pulling his black sleeve free from the woman, he brushed it off as he practically ran from her. Women could be scarily persistent. When he saw Hanji, he actually sought her company out in order to save himself from Petra. Reaching Hanji and Moblit, Hanji pushed a drink into his hand as she smiled
"You look like you need it"
Nodding, Levi drained it. He was so done, and the party had only just begun
"You have no idea. Have either of you seen Eren?"
"Lose him already?"
Levi scowled. Shitty Glasses should know better than that
"It's not like that. Zeke is planning something, and Eren has gone missing. I can't go find him, thanks to Zeke"
"Oh... No. I can't say I've seen him. Have you, Moblit?"
Moblit shook his head
"Would you like me to go have a look?"
"No. No. Just keep an eye on Zeke's people... I can't help feeling like something..."
Levi's sentence trailed off, the alpha turning as he felt Eren's presence. The teen was clutching his robes awkwardly, while looking panicked
"Is he ok?"
"I don't know..."
Eren didn't seem ok. Levi could put his finger on what it was, but it was just... something was off
"What do we do?"
"Take him to my quarters and have the guards make sure he doesn't leave. Something's not right"
"Your quarters?"
"Even if I'm not in my room, there are still guards in the hall"
"Ok. We'll stay with him"
"Thanks. But make sure you don't put yourselves in any danger..."
"Pfft. I'm careful as can be"
"Says the woman who once blew her own lab up. Moblit, I'm trusting you to keep them both in line"
"Whaaa... you're so mean!"
Why didn't Hanji get that if Zeke was moving, things could go from bad to worse in a heartbeat?! Pushing between the pair, he angrily snapped
"Hanji. This isn't a joke!"

*
Eren had had an eventful night, and now he was stuck waiting for Levi to return to his room. It'd all started with sky show. He'd been intending to join the crowd in the Ballroom when he'd caught sight of Zeke's men walking the castle halls. Naturally, his curiosity had gotten the better of him, and he'd found himself creeping through the castle until he'd found himself in an area he hadn't been in. Watching the soldier entering the room, the castle had been left understaffed with all the attention being on the Ball.

It was only a few moments later, that two trunks were moved out the room. Eren growling to himself over how easily all of this had been. There was a reason guards were supposed to be stationed throughout the castle, and it was to prevent blatant disrespecting this. Whatever they were retrieving had been prepared by someone before time, the soldiers laughing to themselves over how clueless Eldia was. Both trunks were the kind that all the Marley party were using, and the kind stacked near the servant's entry to be packed in the morning, before Zeke's party headed out. Concentrating his magic, Eren tried to get a read on the contents, but he hadn't mastered any of that yet. Walking through the steps as he thought a book would, he came up with nothing... and it was rather frustrating to realise that everything he'd been learning since "bonding" with Levi, came up short. He was trying his hardest. Levi couldn't teach him, the man far too busy, but he supported him the only way he could, by making sure he didn't over do it. He'd been proud to see his skills slowly growing. Each small spell that worked, made him want to rush to Levi to show him. To show him that the faith he'd placed in him wasn't misplaced and that he really was working hard to be useful around the castle.

Following the soldiers carrying the trunk, Eren didn't even think to silence his moves, or to do something about the rustling of his stupid robes. All he was focused on was solving the mystery of what Marley had been up to. He was young and he was stupid. He was one mage, in a part of the castle he didn't know, thinking himself smarter than four trained soldiers with a plan. Losing sight of them as they moved the trunks around the corner, he rushed forward. The blow landing across the face dropped him before he knew what was happening. His magic flaring around him, as he became a human kicking bag to the laughing soldiers. Silently he cried out to Levi, but at the same time prayed the alpha wouldn't come. He didn't want to be the cause of an international incident. He was just a mage, and not someone worth jeopardising hundreds of lives for.

At some point he must have passed out, his magic working to heal him while he was unconscious. Angered, he dragged himself off the floor, definitely feeling the throb of still healing wounds, as he pushed himself forward. Marley had made the wrong move thinking he'd take his beating then move on. He wasn't going to let them steal from anything else from Eldia.

Evidently the Marley soldiers didn't think Eren would be missed or would wake any time soon. By the time he reached the trunks, the smell of the alphas had grown faint, but that may have also been because it'd taken far longer than expected to de-lose himself in the never-ending passages. There had to be a trick to it all, or no one would ever get anywhere. Finding the trunks, he then had to open them all to find what Marley had attempted to steal, and that sent his anger nearly over the edge. Thrown in with no padding or care, the first trunk contained a fossilised dragon egg, while the second contained a nasty looking sword. He had no idea why Marley wanted both items, but Zeke was going to be in for a nasty surprise when he got home, Eren not even pausing to think as he awkwardly hid the pair in his robes, knowing full well that if Levi or Erwin knew of the item's existence, they'd do the right thing and return them to Draecia. He'd fucking suspected dragon items were in the castle. There was too much talk of them in the royal books for there not to have been. Still, he didn't know if they were approved items, which meant seeking Levi out and clearing things with him.

Being a magic user, Eren had never really swung a sword around before, but the sword beneath his robes felt as light as a feather, it was just the length that made it awkward. The real bitch was the weight of the dragon's egg. It was only about as big as his head, yet felt like it weighed a horse. If his previous attempts to be stealthy had been clumsy and misguided, he hated to think what people thought as he made his way to the Ballroom, trying to stay on the edge of halls and doorways, lest those idiots from Marley figure out he was conscious. Reaching the Ballroom, he called out mentally to Levi, praying the man would notice him. His heart leapt the moment he did. He knew things with Levi weren't supposed to go into the realm of feelings, but Levi made him feel better about everything... which lead to a moment of disappointment when Hanji and Moblit started towards him, and Levi walked away. The man was the "prince", of course, he couldn't just drop everything and come to him.

Escorted by the pair to Levi's quarters, Hanji was pestering to know where he'd been, while Moblit kept apologising, and hovering at his side. Yes, Eren was exhausted, and barely still on his feet, but he didn't want to create a scene with the pair over magical items. Hanji would wish to experiment, and Moblit would pull and Erwin, scolding him in that dad tone that hurt to hear.

It was a long and awkward wait for Levi to return to his quarters. Hanji had gotten bored and started going through Levi's things, while Moblit sat at the dining table, with the look of "I shouldn't be here", on his face. Sweeping into the room, Levi let out a feral sounding growl. Hanji immediately frowning at him
"Is everything alright?"
"It's fucking fine. Just... prince shit. Thank you both for watching over Eren"
"Um... ok?"
"The party is still going, feel free to go enjoy yourselves"
"If..."
"Hanji, I am so not in the mood right now. Zeke sicked Petra onto me, for the whole fucking night. He's finally drunk enough not to notice I'm not there. Go enjoy yourselves"
Hanji opened her mouth, but clearly thought better of it, as she cast Eren a sympathetic glance
"Hanji, we should go"
"Yep. We're totally going. Eren, don't let him boss you around"
Levi growled, causing Hanji to give a nervous laugh as she walked almost comically fast towards the door, grabbing Moblit's arm as she did. When the door closed, Levi's anger seemed to deflate. Eren growing nervous about talking about his find. Both item still hidden in his robes
"Do I want to know what happened tonight?"
"Um... I'm not gonna lie. It's going to make you mad"
"Great. Just... let me get changed, then we'll talk"

While Levi was in his bathroom, Eren moved to place the sword and the egg on the bed, before covering both with Levi's furs and hoping Levi had calmed by the time he'd come out. Pulling off his boots, he hissed at the few bruises his magic hadn't healed. He was dying for a drink of water, but too nervous to move. When Levi came out, his face grew angry as he marched over to him, grabbing him by the upper arm
"Someone hurt you"
"Y-yeah..."
"Eren. Did you see a healer?"
"My magic healed what it could"
"What do you mean, "what it could?"?"
"I... I'm sorry"
"Show me"
"It's just a few bruises"
"Eren, show me"

Levi helped him out his robes, the alphas fingers soft as they ran over the bruises on his back and stomach
"What the fuck happened?! Who did this?"
Levi's anger moved him to tears. He'd had no one ever be angry for him when he'd been beaten on the streets
"I'm sorry..."
Wiping at his face, he felt pathetic. The anger in Levi's scent turned to concern, the man guiding him down to sit
"I couldn't let them get away with it. You're going to be so mad..."
"Hey. Stop crying..."
Moving to sit next to him, Levi promptly shot back up. The man pulling back the furs to reveal the sword and the egg. There was a strain in Levi's tone as he tried to keep his voice even
"Eren, why the fuck is there a sword and a dragon egg in my bed?!"
"I... I couldn't let Marley take them"
"You better explain everything right now"
Eren couldn't help but react to Levi's anger. The man's hands had been so soft, and now Levi sounded as he was nearing apocalyptic rage. After being beaten by four alphas, his nerves were shot now he was safe
"C-can I please have a drink of water?"
"Shit, brat. Hold on. I'm trying not to be mad, but at the same time, these are dragon relics"
Eren nodded quickly, his voice muffled as he tried to hold his head high
"I know"
Levi moved to pour him some water from the jug beside his bed
"And they look to be royal relics"
"I think they are..."

Draining the glass of water, Eren nodded to Levi when he was ready to begin. It was scary to watch Levi's anger grow as Eren explained everything that had happened since the sky show. By the time he was done, he didn't know just what Levi was going to do. The man had started pacing half way through Eren's retelling and was still pacing when he'd finished. Another few moments passed before Levi stopped
"I don't know what the fuck to say"
Drawing his knees up, Eren waited to be struck. A whimper coming from the teen as his mind went to less than pleasant places
"No. Fuck. No, Eren. I'm not mad you at. Well, I am. But there are other people I'm fucking mad at. Zeke dared come into this castle, to steal from us. The guards were supposed to be on fucking duty. Me. I knew something was wrong, but Zeke was watching me and I guess we fucking know why. And those fucking Marley pigs who bashed the shit out of you. And fuck, fucking Fluffybrows. I'm proud of you trying to stand up for Eldia. Marley has taken too much for us. But I have no idea what the fuck comes next. Are you sure you're healed enough to be up and moving?"
"M-my magic has been better since we... you know..."
Walking back towards the bed, Eren flinched as Levi raised his hand. He didn't expect Levi to place his hand on his shoulder as he squatted down to look him in the eye
"I'm not going to hurt you. They really did a number on you, didn't they"
"I think my magic hurt them, which only made them angrier. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause so much trouble"
"I know you didn't. No. You didn't cause this, or deserve this. Do you want to take a shower or a bath might be better?"
"May I please have a bath?"
The idea of the warm water and bubbles sounded amazing, given how sore he knew he was going to be
"Sure. You know where everything is. I'm not going to use a command on you, but I need to know what you told Hanji?"
"Nothing. I hid them egg and the sword on in my robes... the stupid thing finally had a use"
"Ok. I'm going to send a guard to get E-Levi. Have you eaten?"
"I'm not really hungry"
"You should still eat. I'll have something brought up. It's safer you stay in my room for now"
That was good. He really didn't feel like dragging himself to his own room
"Thank you. I'm really sorry"
"Stop apologising. Tonight, you were as brave as any soldier. Well. The ones who do their fucking shitty jobs"
Eren snorted through his nose. Kind of feeling proud again
"Seriously though. Nothing is worth nearly losing your life over"
"I'm just relieved I didn't turn them to stone"
"There's that too. When he comes, we'll all talk about it. We need to be careful too. If they got that far into the castle, then they may have had help"
"I tried to stay out of sight as much as I could..."
"Don't worry about to too much. Just go take that bath"

Chapter Text

Erwin had been "busy" when the guards finally tracked him down. Eren had finished with his bath and was dozing under Levi's fur blankets by the time the man finally arrived, stinking of whatever alpha he'd been busy with. For just once, he'd like the man to keep it in his pants. Or at least until Zeke was gone. Carefully extracting himself from his hold around Eren, the teen mumbled in his sleep. Levi strongly suspected Eren wasn't as ok with being attacked as he was making out to be, which was just another reason the teen would be sleeping in his bed that night... or at least, that's how he justified it to himself, though no one was questioning him over it. Retrieving the sword and egg, Levi placed both on his small dining table. Erwin immediately sobering as he saw the two items
"Where did they come from?"
"In the castle. Do you know anything about them?"
"No. I've never seen them..."
Moving to them, Erwin lifted the egg
"How does Eren fit into this?"
"He caught Marley soldiers attempting to steal them and copped a beating for it"
Erwin frowned
"Marley shouldn't even know about them..."
"And yet, there they are. Do you think Draecia knows they're here?"
"Possibly. I'd have to check the records to know. Is he alright?"
"His magic healed him for the most part, but I think it's brought up a lot of issues from his past. He was scared to tell me"
"Perhaps because you reacted so strongly over the dragon's corpse?"
"Possibly. But what do we do about this? Someone had to informed Marley about the items being here. Then there's the possible fall out. Zeke's goons are probably waiting to tell him they dealt with Eren..."
"Even if they do, they can't say anything about it. Zeke can't admit that he was stealing from us"
"It worries me though. Eren said he checked the trunks, but this was all he found. Still, there was the last time he was here, and anything he had sent ahead"
Erwin sighed deeply, placing the egg down carefully
"We'll need to inventory the galleries. Check to see what's there. And the storage rooms"
"Eren said he wasn't about to let Marley take anything else from Eldia"
"He's a brave kid"
"He is. Though his bravery have shown the lack of castle security"
"That it has. For now, we need to secure the sword and the egg"
"I'll see to it. I'll see an eagle up to Draecia once Zeke has left. If we have a dragon showing up here while Zeke's around, he's bound to misinterpret things"
"Alright. I know I'll be leaving Eren to you too. Make sure you use a command on him"
Levi glared openly. The idea of using a command angered him
"It's for his safety as well as ours"
"He can keep his mouth shut"
"But he can't disobey a command. I'm not in the mood to argue this with you"
"You're the one who said to put faith in him and to trust him"
"As far as needed to fuck him. I assume you have been"
Levi's alpha growled. How dare they talk about Eren like that! The kid had risked his life for Eldia, and all Erwin cared about was if they were fucking. Levi's tone was several degrees cooler as he snarked
"That's none of your business"
"It is when it could ruin everything we've built"
"I'll deal with Eren, Levi. You just make sure not to get yourself killed in the mean time"
"Erwin, I'm just saying..."
"I am well aware of my position. I was the one who mounted Eren, and I'm the one who put us all in this position. I know. Now. I've spent the night under Zeke's gaze and Petra's continual flirting. I am tired. I have two relics to deal with. And a regretful early breakfast with the soldiers who attacked Eren. I know what's at stake"
"I'm only speaking out concern"
"I know. If you have any troubles, wake me. Also, Hanji and Moblit will need a story too. I had them watch Eren"
"I'll tell them he had a less than desirable run-in with some drunk Eldia soldiers. Make..."
"Make sure you use a command. I know"
"It really is for his safety"
He'd have to talk to Eren about it. He'd prefer not to, but it if Eren though it safer, he would. He just hated alphas who preferred to jump right to dominating and downgrading omegas in such way.

When Erwin left, Levi half climbed under his solid fourposter to hide the sword and egg against the wall. He'd learned from a young age that nobody could be bothered with the effort of cleaning all the way under the stupidly huge bed. With all its draping fabrics and small trees for legs, the thing was ridiculous, especially when it came to keeping it clean. Climbing back up, he found Eren was awake. Green eyes blinking at him as he yawned softly
"What did I miss?"
"Nothing much. Levi was busy screwing around, but he's going to look into a few things. How do you feel?"
"Your bed is so comfortable"
"I didn't ask how my bed felt"
Climbing in next to Eren, the omega slipped an arm around his waist, nuzzling into Levi's shoulder
"I'm sorry if I got you into trouble"
"It's fine. We have a few things to talk about, but first, how do you feel?"
"A little stiff and sore, but I'll be alright"
"Can I do anything to help?"
"No... but do you mind if I hug you?"
"Usually people don't want to hug me"
"They're missing o-out"
Eren yawned again mid-sentence, his scent even and calming
"Only you would say that"
"I don't know. I smelt female beta on you before"
"That's what happens when you have to be polite"
Levi was tempted to ask Eren if he was jealous, but couldn't bring himself to do so knowing it was simply to stroke his own ego. Sliding down under the covers, Eren hissed slightly as he did the same
"Should I call a healer?"
"No. Are you sure you don't mind me sleeping here?"
"It's fine, besides if you're here, I know you're not in trouble"
"I didn't mean to get into trouble"
Yet he did. It felt like each time he took his eyes off Eren, Eren ended up in trouble
"You have a talent for it"
"At least I have some form of talent"
Rolling in Eren's hold, Levi draped his arm around the teen
"That magic of yours is quite the talent"
"It's come along"
"I know those biggest sparkles tonight were yours"
"I think I used up too much... that's why I'm healing so slowly"
"I wonder why I wasn't affected?"
"Possibly because I had enough magic to start healing straight away?"
"You make it sound like you don't always have magic"
"It's not like that. It's more like... maybe I have a store of magic I can control?"
"Are you angry, that your training is slightly different from everyone else's?"
"No. Sometimes. I felt useless tonight because I couldn't get a sense of what was in those trunks. I tried to put the spell together in my head the way I thought it would be written, but nothing happened"
"What do you mean? Aren't the books filled with spells?"
"Not how you think"
"Tell me then"
"Well... when you think of a candle, what do you think of?"
A candle?
"Flame?"
"When you read a spell, it like... paints a guide in your head. To light a candle, it's not just flame you think of. First, you think of the wax, then the wick. Then you think of the holder if it's in one. From there you build the flame. Fire, heat, small, light, burning, all around the tip of the wick. The books give you a guide of how to think, but it's your imagination and intuition that builds the spell from there"
That was far more complex than he thought
"I always thought you magic users were chanting lines in your heads and waving your hands about"
"I guess we are, just not the way everyone else thinks. I didn't know why my powers wouldn't work before, but it was because I didn't know the right way to think about it"
"Your fire's always worked"
"I can't work out why. I know my moods affect my magic, but as I've told you a hundred times before, it has a mind of its own"
Shifting his head, Levi's lips were millimetres from Eren's
"And what about you? Do you have a mind of your own?"
"I know what I want and what I don't want. If that's what you mean?"
"And what do you want?"
"You to fuck me. When it comes to sex, I was scared. But inside I can feel the change in me. Being my master, you settle my magic. You narrow my thoughts into a single focus. I thought I would feel embarrassment and shame, having never slept with anyone else before, but with you, I don't. I don't know if I should be scared, or nervous. You strip me back to my base desire, and it feels liberating. Outside of sex, I'm a nervous wreck of constant worry"
If Eren was a nervous wreck, he hated to think of how the teen must see straight through his carefully crafted facade
"That sounds like one hell of a confession"
"I confess I like the pleasure I feel with you. We're extremely compatible"
Pressing his lips to Eren's, Levi rolled the omega back as he moved between his legs. Eren was only wearing the sleep shirt he'd leant the teen for the night, thankful at the time that it was long enough to give Eren some modesty. Running his left hand down Eren's thigh, the omega moaned into his mouth, his magic already beginning to seep into Levi. Breaking the kiss, he kept his lips to Eren's
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I want to feel it"
"I... haven't slept with a lot of people"
"I'm not surprised. I understand your position. This is simply pleasure. I'm yours to command, and you are my master"
How Eren could remain so calm, he had no idea. Taking his hand from Eren's leg, he fumbled pulled the drawstring of his pants undone. Taking his half hard dick in his hand, he pumped himself slowly to erect, as his lips met Eren's again. God. He could lose himself in Eren's sweet kisses, and die a happy man. Breaking the kiss, Eren spread his legs wider
"Feel how wet I am for you, my master"
Releasing his dick, Levi took a breath to calm himself. He couldn't just push into Eren's heat, and that was the omegas gentle reminder of the fact. Running his hand down Eren's thigh, he brushed past the omega's testicles in favour of the thick slick as sought Eren's opening. It was amazing how wet Eren got. He'd never get used to the magic of his body. Finding his lover's opening, he pushed two fingertips into Eren tightness, the omega gasping as his back arched and magic crackled
"Too much?"
"Slower"
Sliding both fingertips out, he started with his pointer finger. This time taking it slowly to open Eren, when the omega started to whine with impatience, he took it to mean he was ready for the next finger. Squirming, it took Eren a little longer to grow accustomed to three fingers, Levi making sure he could move easily enough before pulling free, and coating his erection with the slick clinging to them
"Are you ready?"
Eren let out a breathy moan, his mage smelt incredible. It was as if the scents of a whole storm had hit, finished with the floral-honey sweet scent of slick
"Yes"
Learning from his mistakes the first time, he guided himself into Eren's opening, only removing his hand once the tip had breached the teen. Drawing synchronous moans from them both, Eren leaned up, to pull him down into a hungry kiss as Levi buried himself completely. Fuck. He could feel each ripple of Eren's muscles. He could feel the way Eren's body was trying to draw him deeper. He could feel Eren's magic flooding through him, and clouding his brain. Everything felt so much better when they were like this. Even the worries of the castle faded to mute.

That night, both of them were lost in each other. There was no awkwardness as they napped in each other's hold, and fucked as they felt like it, Eren a whimpering mess as Levi made sure to thoroughly knot the mage each time. Levi would never usually allow his bed to fall into such a dishevelled state, even when rutting, but to clean would mean to release Eren, and he just couldn't do that. Not when the mage had woken startled and scared, vulnerable as he immediately searched for him. Levi having shifted back slightly in his sleep. When morning came, he could have sworn Eren was glowing. The early morning sun catching and playing on his soft skin as his chest rose and fell rhythmically. Resting his head against Eren's chest, Levi let himself fall back into a doze. He knew he should feel exhausted, but all he felt was peaceful. Eren's mage had eased the pains of his heart and body while healing both of them back to perfect health.

When Eren woke, they rose. After a quick hard fuck with Eren bent over the bathroom counter, he found Eren was almost as bad as he was when it came to personal hygiene. Letting Eren take the first shower, the teen scrubbed himself down and cleaned himself out as if Levi wasn't watching his every move. He hadn't meant to stay, but his alpha was struggling with letting Eren wash their scent away, the moment Eren stepped out the shower, Levi had snapped, scent marking the omegas neck as Eren rolled his eyes. The action didn't impress his alpha, but the mage the kissed the tip of his nose and walked off to retrieve a towel as if everything was ok. It wasn't ok. Levi's cheeks were burning red, feeling every bit of awkwardness possible, and further understanding Eren's words from the previous night. Sex really was easy. It was everything else that he was embarrassed over. He didn't know how to act or what to say, with Eren's scent across his skin, and slick dried to his thighs. Falling into bed with Eren was easy as if he'd waited his whole life to meet the mage. He was flustered as hell, and he hadn't even left his room yet. There were so many sides to Eren, and he was only just beginning to scratch the surface.

By the time Levi finished in the bathroom, Eren was dressed and sitting on the ledge of the windowsill. The teen's eyes closed as he basked in the sun
"I thought we should air the room. I can still smell the sex and feel the lingering magic"
"Good idea. How do you feel? Are you sore?"
"No. You prepped me, and my magic healed any discomfort there might have been. Are you?"
"I feel fine... I know I should be tired, but I honestly feel refreshed"
Opening his eyes, Eren turned to smile at him
"That's good. This is what a proper bond is supposed to feel like"
"It's almost addictive"
A blush crept into Eren's cheeks
"You're really good in bed"
Levi's alpha ego swelled. Eren was so open and honest about what he liked and how he felt when Levi was buried inside of him. Still, it was nice to hear that his awkwardness hadn't ruined anything for Eren
"You're not too bad yourself"
"I know. I am hungry though, but I suppose I should stay out of sight until Zeke has left. And you said we needed to talk"
It seemed as if sex was just sex for Eren. The teen doing a better job of compartmentalising the two aspects of their relationship better than he was
"We do"
Climbing from the windowsill, Eren walked over to sit at the dining table, indicating he should across from him. Such rudeness normally wouldn't be tolerated, as Levi couldn't allow himself to ever be seen as weak.

Settling down, he paused, feeling as if he was about to make a horribly dick move
"Spit it out"
"Shitty Brat. Ok. Last night when Erwin was here, he suggested something and I want to know your thoughts on it"
"Go on"
"He told me to use an alpha command on you. I don't personally like them"
Eren sighed
"Let me guess. A command to keep everything a secret?"
Levi's eyes widened a fraction
"You're ok with that?"
"No. I hate them. Especially when they're intentionally cruel. However, last night needs to remain a secret. We cannot risk a public embarrassment like lacking in the castle guard and being stolen from. I understand the need for secrecy, and the need for our bond to remain a secret. You have my permission to use a command"
Levi was taken back by such direct words. It'd barely been an hour since he'd been buried inside Eren as Eren begged sweetly for more. That such sweet moans and such strong words could come from the mage felt weird
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I understand the situation, and you sought my permission, which is odd, but nice. I appreciate it"
"You're a weird kid"
Eren shrugged
"Probably, but go ahead"
Rising to his feet, Levi moved to stare down the teen. Trying to remember what an actual command felt like
"You will not tell anyone of last night. You will not tell anyone about the egg, the sword, or any dragon items within the castle. You will only talk to me, and Erwin about such things, in private. You will not tell anyone about our bond, or that I am your master. You will continue your training and you will master magic. You will be useful to Eldia, and always act with respect towards its people and leaders, unless your life is in danger, and at such times, you will protect yourself. You will tell me if you are hurt or harmed, and you will not hide your injuries, illness or heat from me. This relationship of sex between us will only work with honesty. I cannot love you, or declare you my lover. Do I make myself understood, omega?!"
Eren nodded quickly
"Yes, master"
Levi let out a long breath
"I think that was everything... if it's not, we can work it out together. If the command becomes too much, I want to know"
Reaching out, Eren pulled Levi to him. His forehead against Levi's stomach as sighed softly
"I'm sorry, sir. I'm being selfish, but an alpha has never put my welfare first. Thank you"
"You don't need to thank me. It's because of me that all of this happened. I know if you'd found anything about changing masters or cancelling the vow, you would have told me"
"Still... I'm... out of everyone I've met. I'm relieved it was you. I was... I wasn't ok with the idea of being mounted by someone I didn't know, and I'm well aware I do not know you that well, and that there are more than a few aspects of your life that you can never share with me, but I hope you know, I am working hard to be useful. I want to be useful. I want to use my magic to help people"
"I know you do. But don't forget you're also a teenager, your life has barely begun. I want you to spend time with your friends, and to be yourself"
Fuck... it sounded dangerously too close to something he might tell a boyfriend, not a fuck buddy... he needed to get his head on straight, but Eren made that so hard
"Thank you"
Patting Eren's hair, the omega released him
"You need to attend breakfast as nothing is wrong. I'll stay here until it's all over"
"E-Levi will come and collect me when it's time. Then the maids will be in to collect the laundry"
That's was about all they were allowed to do. If they let him in the laundry room, he'd probably never leave
"That's probably for the best... do you want help to strip the bed?"
"No. It's fine. Maybe you can magic up another trick?"
"I see the crown I made, made it to the does head"
Above the mantel place was taxidermy that Levi loathed. He never understood stuffing and mounting an animal, but it'd come with the room. The crown Eren had crafted barely caught the light, except when the fire in the hearth was roaring. He didn't know what to do with the crown, only that he didn't want to part with Eren's gift
"It's safest there"
"Mmm. There is a spell I want to try"
"Is it safe?"
"I think so? The windows open, so it would be much easier"
"Then go ahead, I'll start on the bed"

Eren's little spell resulted in a white rose bush blooming in the middle of the room, the teen laughing too hard at Levi's raised eyebrow. Apparently, the teen had wanted to summon a single flower, but his magic was stronger than he'd expected. If the kid failed at being a court mage, he'd make a mint growing and selling his own plants... though Levi wasn't sure why Eren kept associating him with white roses. He'd spilt enough blood in his lifetime to paint a rose field red. Yet, again, he couldn't help but find it sweet... and yet, again, he needed to remind himself that this was purely sex.

Chapter Text

Dressed and sitting next to Zeke for breakfast, Zeke seemed to be in a particularly good mood. Erwin hadn't said much as they'd walked, only enough to ensure he'd used a command to silence Eren. He could almost see the cogs working in Erwin's mind, but being kept out the loop was annoying. Erwin had asked Eren to appear in the courtyard as Zeke was preparing to leave, but wouldn't explain his reasoning. Levi left wondering if that was so he wouldn't accidentally let something slip during the last meal he'd be spending with Zeke. Not that he would. If they could dine in silence, that would be heaven. He couldn't wait for the man to leave.

When Levi had come into the dining room, he'd once again been set up by the prince, as while Zeke was on his right, Petra was on his left. Where Erwin would usually sit. Each time their arms would brush, Petra would blush, while Levi wanted to slap her away. He didn't like having the woman forced upon him, or the comments made by Zeke on "how good they looked together". Petra was unnaturally giggly and giddy, thanking him as her scent turned happy. Nope. No. None of that shit at his breakfast table. They didn't. He couldn't see it all. Frankly, he was also insulted that the man didn't think he could choose someone appropriate to marry, on his own. He wasn't looking to marry anyone. Nor did he know if he really believed in marriage, or love so deeply for someone, that you wanted them in your life forever. Outside of "family love" that he had for Isabel and Farlan, of course. He doubly wasn't looking to wed when a meeting with Draecia was soon to take place. Draecia knew he personally respected their culture and cultural ways, but they may direct their anger towards the kingdom... and they'd never survive that. Draecia may even expect a wedding to one of their court members, in order to gain access to all their dragon related items, which they would happily hand over anyway... with absolutely no marriage required. Stabbing at his soft boiled egg moodily, Levi was not in the mood for this shit at all. He wanted Zeke gone. He wanted to know what was on Erwin's mind, and he wanted to know Eren wasn't in any danger thanks to man.

*
Leaving Levi's quarters, Eren had sought out Armin. He was nervous over whatever Erwin had planned, but the previous night and morning had felt incredible. He knew what Levi and he had between the sheets ended there. He knew they'd never be anything more. Buuuuuut... it was liberating to know that Levi felt free enough to give himself over to the pleasure that their sex brought. The feel of the alpha's knot, the moans and pants, and the sweet kisses. It all made him feel like he could be just as honest back. Eren had meant his words when he'd told Levi he was grateful it'd been him that mounted him, even when Levi had used his command on him, he'd been careful to make sure it wasn't a discomfort. Not like Erwin's stupid command, that had been forced on him from nowhere.

Finding Armin eating breakfast in the kitchen, Eren was more than happy to join him. He was absolutely starving. Magic may have healed all his wounds, but sex had left him famished, as had not eaten the previous night as Levi had told him to
"Why are you in such a good mood?"
Humming, Eren poked at his apple cake. He didn't intend to share his secret, so the command wasn't forcing him into submission
"It's just a good morning. I was thinking of taking a walk into the city. Can you come with me?"
Armin rolled his eyes at him, sighing deeply as he did
"Eren, you know I have classes. And Mikasa is looking for you"
"That doesn't sound good"
"She missed you last night at the Ball, then there was talk of Hanji and Moblit escorting you somewhere. She's worried"
"She doesn't need to be. I'm fine"
"Can you tell me what happened?"
"It was just a little run-in with a few alphas. You know what it was like. Alcohol was everywhere"
Armin dropped his fork
"They didn't... you know?"
"No! No... nothing like that. No, they just don't like omegas that much"
"So you're alright?"
"I'm fine, Armin. I've got my magic, remember"
"And how is that working out for you?"
"Awesome. I've been practising"
"Can you show me?"

"Don't even think about it. Eren, there will be no magic in the kitchen"

Nicollo's words brought a smile to Eren's lips
"Are you sure? I've gotten better"
"I'm certain. Now both of you need to hurry up. The dishes from upstairs will be brought down soon, and I would like actually have some space to place them down"
"You have the whole kitchen"
Armin jabbed him in the ribs with his elbow, Eren's magic healing the site before he could actually feel any pain
"Eren, don't be rude"
"Nicollo appreciates my humour"
"I'm pretty sure he doesn't"
"Armin's right"
Eren pouted
"Nicollo, I thought we bonded over those potatoes"
"You butchered those potatoes. Now. Hurry up"

Armin walked Eren out to meet Mikasa near the blacksmith of the castle. His adopted sister as looking fierce as she watched her horse being shod. Tapping her on the shoulder, he jumped back as she growled. Raising his hands in surrender, he wondered if he had to report his own sister to Levi
"You idiot! Where were you?! Do you know how worried I was?"
Throwing her arms around him, Mikasa growled again as she pushed him away. Her hands digging into his shoulders
"Who the fuck scented you?!"
"Calm down. It wasn't like that"
"Bullshit. I can't take my eyes off you for a second without you getting into trouble. Here, hold still"
Using her left wrist, she aggressively tried to scent mark him, which thankfully his magic rejected. Sparks forcing her to step back. His omega rejecting the angry scent, and forcing him to remember being bashed
"I'm sorry, Mikasa. I'm fine, really. There was a small incident with the Marley alphas. When I was talking with Levi, Prince Erwin was there. He let me curl into his furs until I'd calmed down"
"Who was it? I'll kill them. I'll kill anyone who hurts you"
He didn't want to kill people, or for people to die because of him.
Internally he winced as he tried to keep his voice even. Mikasa wouldn't appreciate the fact that Levi had sexed him better
"It was just a brush in. I'm fine. I'm not hurt at all"
"Eren..."
"Seriously, I'm fine. I come all this way to make sure you're not worried, and you're getting angry over nothing. It's all taken care of. Which reminds me. I hear Jean has a thing for you"
"I don't care if he does or doesn't. We're talking about you. Mum asked me to watch over you"
"I'm an adult, Mikasa. I'm 17, and..."
"You spent 5 years in a sanctuary. You don't know how the real world works"
"I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of what's happening by now. Just because you're a soldier, don't hold me to your standards"
"I've seen things you couldn't imagine"
"And so have I!"
Eren's magic gathered around him. His eyes cold as he threw his hands up in annoyance
"You're not mum. Mum and dad are gone. I have my own life, and I have my own magic now"
"You can't even stop alphas from annoying you. You have no idea how many have their eyes on you"
"And I don't want any of them. I don't have time for an alpha. I want to study magic"
"Eren... all I want is you to be safe. I'm worried you're not taking the proper precautions..."
Now, what the hell was she going on about? He was lost
"What proper precautions?"
"They say mage masters..."
"Ew. No. I'm not having the sex talk with you"
"You have to be careful! What happens if you fall pregnant?! Will they take responsibility? Are they... respectful towards you? You don't feel obligated do you?"
"Oh my god. You didn't just go there. I take my herbs. I'm not about to fall pregnant to the first alpha that I... I'm not talking about this"
Mikasa's eyes filled with tears. She really wasn't happy that he was having sex. Her scent was screaming at him that no one but her should touch him
"Eren. You don't have to sleep with them. You can say no"
"I know that. Look. I don't want this coming between us, but your horse's new shoe is on. Are you going out today?"
"Escorting the royal party back to the port"
He didn't envy her, and he didn't want anything happening to her
"Oh... be careful...."
"Eren, I can take care of myself"
So it was fine for her to say that? She wasn't that much older than him...
"Just be careful. You are my sister, I don't want anything happening to you"
Mikasa wiped her eyes and nodded
"I will be safe. There are more of us, than of them. And I'll take them all down if I have to"
He didn't doubt that... Mikasa was stronger than everyone else he knew, except for Levi.

Standing by Mikasa's horse, Marley's soldiers were all jovial as they spilt from the castle. Their horses organised by the groomsmen of the castle. Keeping hidden, he waited until he caught snippets of Zeke's voice. Stepping around the horrible animal, Eren tried to be as casual as possible as Zeke caught sight of him. Besides the alpha, Yelena leaned in to whisper something. Zeke not looking pleased at all. He didn't know what Erwin had hoped to accomplish, but seeing Zeke's displeasure made him feel great
"Eren. Prince Zeke didn't..."
"He didn't do anything. I think he's mad that he lost at the tournament. I need to go. But be on your guard"
"You too. I know Jean can be overwhelming, but you can rely on him"
"He's a jackass"
Mikasa stomped on his foot. Her solid boots heavy enough to hurt, even with his own boots on
"You shouldn't talk like that"
"It doesn't make it any less true"
"Eren"
"Mikasa, it's fine. Now climb up on that devil beast, and do your job"
"It's called a horse"
"It's demonic"
"Just because you can't..."
"That has nothing to do with it. I'll see you when you return"
"Stay safe"
"You too"

Meeting Levi and Erwin at the top of the castle steps, Eren was dying to find out what that had been about. Both men were quiet as they headed to the royal library, rather than to Levi's room where he'd thought they were going. Closing the door behind them, Erwin checked the rows of books as Levi walked to sit at Eren's usual table. For a moment, he wondered if he should have placed away the books he'd been reading, but Levi didn't seem to mind, so hopefully, Erwin didn't either. Sitting down, the teen's was a ball of nervous energy
"Stop that"
"Sorry. I just want to know what's going on... Did you see the look on his face?"
"He looked like he'd just torn his arse taking a giant shit"
Eren laughed
"He really did"
Moving to join them, Erwin sat on the opposite side of the table
"Thank you, Eren. That was very helpful. It confirmed Zeke had knowledge of what happened last night"
Couldn't Erwin have just told them that?!
"And it confirms there may have been previous thefts that we aren't aware of. I've been through the display gallery and nothing seems to be gone. Not that we would expect anything on display to be taken"
"There's still the storage rooms, as well as the room from last night. And the royal gallery"
Sometimes it was like Levi was reading his every thought. And sometimes it was like he was reading Levi's. Levi had wanted to kill Zeke with belladonna, and he'd gone and choked on a stem of it. He could only put it down to their bond as master and mage. It made sense in a way. What better way to make sure you and your "weapon" were actually in synch with each other
"Eren. You're the only one we can actually ask to help us, because you will not speak of this. We need to know more about why they chose those two items, and if they were specifically targeting them, or if they happened to just be caught mid theft. Is there some kind of magic you can use on them?"
He didn't want to use magic on dragon items. The thought made him uncomfortable. Placing his hand on Eren's leg, Levi squeezed softly, giving him strength
"What about Draecia?"
"The items will be returned to them. I just want to know if there is anything special about them"
"The sword was way too light for its size, and the egg was heavy... I didn't feel any life in the egg. It was definitely fossilised and not hatching any time soon. And I don't know. I don't know if I want to touch the sword again"
Erwin let out a soft growl, Eren rushing to cover himself. He really didn't want to start a fight. They were all feeling the stress
"I didn't say I wouldn't. You don't need to be angry. I know what's at stake here"
"No. You only think you know. You haven't even been here for three months. Don't allow yourself to believe that sleeping with Levi gives you special privileges"
Eren felt as if he'd been slapped. He'd forgotten how sharp Erwin's tongue could be. First Erwin had been forced to be nice due to Zeke, now he was forced to be nice because whether the man liked it or not, he was connected to Levi. Erwin had been at the ritual. He could have stopped Levi at any point. But he hadn't and that wasn't Eren's fault
"I don't expect special privileges! I've spent days looking through these books, trying to find an answer to save both your arses because he stuck his dick in me. I just wanted to take my vows and learn magic here. I am trying my hardest to figure all of this out, and it was you who asked I play my part. I did and I have. I drugged myself up with herbs so as to not upset Zeke. If I really was as terrible as you thought I was, I could have hidden the items and sold them. Even as decorations, they would have been worth a lot"
Laughing, Eren turned to watch Levi. It was so rare to hear such a thing or to see the man so happy. He knew he shouldn't be feeling butterflies in his stomach, but he couldn't help what Levi did to him. The man was amazing, even if Levi found himself lacking. No one could normally have kept up a charade for so long, or even let themselves be involved in it, to begin with. Levi hadn't told him how it'd happened, and probably never would. Eren respected that. It showed the great level of trust between the two alphas, and it wasn't something he wanted to cause friction between
"Thanks, brat. I needed that. He's right. He's done everything we have asked of him. Now you're asking for a favour, then insulting him just moments later. Let Eren do his thing. We both don't know magic. Hanji would want to experiment on the egg and the sword, if she knew about them. You could turn to the mages, but we obviously have traitors in our midst"
Erwin sighed, interlacing his fingers and placing them behind his head as he leaned back in his chair
"As you would say, "this is a fine pile of shit we find ourselves in""
"Because it is. Eren, let us know if you find anything at all. Especially if you find something like an inventory of the castle property"
"Wouldn't that be in the king's chambers?"
"Why would you say that?"
"Because it's got a list of, like, everything in the castle? Wouldn't that be too important to leave lying around?"
Levi tilted his head
"He's right"
"No. It makes more sense for it to be here, with the rest of the royal documents"
Eren didn't understand why Erwin was getting so defensive
"There aren't anything like that here, that I've come across. It's almost all royal history, stupid wars, or family history. If you go together, no one's going to question it"
"You've barely scratched the surface here. They're here somewhere"
"I don't think so"
Erwin shot up. His chair scrapping painfully loudly as he did
"They're here somewhere, and you will find them. And you will notify us when you do"

Marching off, Erwin left them. Though not said with the usual dominance of an alpha command, Eren felt the force behind his words
"His parents are a sore subject. Don't let it get to you"
How could he not? He'd just been ordered to check the whole room for something he was sure wasn't there. Nodding, he gathered himself to stand
"I'll get started. You should make he's ok"
"Eren..."
"It's ok. We're all under pressure right now. I'll be fine here. I'm just a little shaken"
He didn't think Levi's command would make him confess that he wasn't ok, like that. He'd thought it would only be in extreme situations... yet, he didn't mind that Levi knew
"Alright. Just don't work too hard. I'll be sure not to move the egg or the sword for now"
"Ok... I didn't mean to make him mad"
"It's not you. It's Zeke. Don't forget, if anything happens, use your magic to protect yourself"
Eren nodded quickly, Levi made him feel so much better, and the man hadn't even done anything
"I will"

*
The next few days passed slowly for Levi. Erwin was constantly by his side as they walked the entirety of the top floors of the castle, and caught up on the mountain of paperwork that had accumulated thanks to Prince Pin-dick. He was annoyed with Erwin's behaviour, and tired of being tired. Erwin still refused to enter his parent's bedroom, insisting that his father wouldn't have kept important documents within his room. The man's parents had been dead for the last decade, he didn't understand why Erwin has such an aversion to their room. He didn't even have the time to check in with Eren, but it wasn't like Eren had checked in with him either. It was the third night after the morning Erwin had sent the teen on his new mission, when Levi started coughing. He'd been plagued by a headache all day, and burning eyes as if sleep deprived. Sitting in the sun room, it'd started as a niggling in his throat, before turning to a full blown coughing fit, in which he realised he was choking. Retching as his body tried to heave up the object, Levi was less than impressed to find himself in the same position again. He felt stupid, despite having done nothing to warrant such a fit. He wasn't Eren, he didn't choke on thin air. Getting his fingers down deep enough, he was a drooling mess as hacked, finally dislodging the object enough to pull it free. On the other side of his desk, Erwin stood watching everything unwind. Fucking wanker... he could have easily reached over the desk. Flinging the offending object to the floor, he pushed himself back from his desk as he retched, vomiting up spit and a small amount of dinner between his feet. Whatever magic bullshit this was. He was over it. Taking a few very long moments, he regained control of his breathing, hand moving to grip his chest as he sat up, and fixed Erwin with the best glare his watery eyes could manage
"Thanks... for... the-help..."
"You had it under control. What did you choke on?"
Levi waved his hand towards where he'd thrown whatever it was. Shaking his head over it all. Fucking revolting. Though not as revolting as Erwin walking over to retrieve the item
"It's the corner from a book"
"It felt like the whole fucking book"
Slowly his mind put two and two together. There was only one brat in the castle that could have possibly been responsible with that crazy magic of his
"I'm going to check on Eren"
Erwin scowled at him disapprovingly
"You still have work to do"
"Then consider this me taking a break. I've been reading these papers all fucking day. Now you tell me a page from a book just tried to kill me. I'm more than done with paper for today"
"You can't shirk your responsibilities to check on Eren every five minutes"
"I haven't checked in with him, since you sent him to look for castle records"
"And yet... He hasn't notified us that he has"
"Are you implying he hasn't been searching?"
"I didn't say that at all. I'm just saying, you're nearly done with the paperwork, you might as well finish"
Fucking hell. He was in no mood for this bullshit
"I have a headache and I just about died. I'm done for the night. You can take over. Why you haven't just taken care of it all is beyond me"
"Then what do I have you for?"
"I ask myself that every day. Make sure you call a maid to clean this mess up. Fuck... I don't think I'll ever get used to that feeling"
"Well then, it's a good thing Eren won't be by your side forever"
Levi's alpha didn't appreciate the thought being thrust upon them. Eren's life was his choice, and there would come a time for them to part, but Erwin had practically ordered him to sleep with the mage... and now that he was, he had no reason to be shitty about it all. Levi's work performance hadn't slipped since Eren came into their lives, if anything, it'd improved. Especially after sex. But even being around the teen made him feel better... other than this choking shit. That had to stop. Coughing slightly, he pushed his chair further back and rose
"I'm going to check on Eren and call it a night. I suggest you figure out what is, and isn't important, amongst this waste of trees"

Stopping by his quarters on his way down to the royal library, Levi freshened up. He looked like shit warmed up and walking, which Eren would realise right away. Despite not feeling the omega close, he checked Eren's room to make sure he wasn't there. The bed and space neat and tidy, but his scent was faint as if he hadn't been there at all since the maids had cleaned. With Zeke's absence, he'd told himself that Eren was safe and just as busy as he was, and while Erwin had given him a task, he should still be making time to rest and sleep. Eren having not been in his room left him unsettled and unimpressed. He'd specifically told the omega he needed to take better care of himself, especially given that despite his fiery personality, he had weak lungs.

Heading to the library, Levi couldn't see Eren as he opened the doors. Normally the omega used the desk in line with the doors as he studied, but the desks were laden with books. Closing the door behind him, he picked up the scents of distress and exhaustion in the air
"Eren?!"
Jogging past the first few stacks of books, his steps dropped to a walk as he caught sight of Eren. The teen was sitting against a far rack. A thick pile of books beside the clearly upset boy
"Hey, Eren..."
Not raising his head, Levi frowned at the teen as he walked over to him, and moved to sit in front of Eren. Pulling the book from Eren's hands, the omega sniffled as he looked up to him. Eren's eyes were bloodshot, his colour an unhealthy grey, and his smell... Levi didn't have the words for how much Eren stank. This wasn't like the omega at all
"Eren, what's going on? Here, take a break. When's the last time you ate or slept?"
"E-Levi gave me a command..."
"Erwin gave you a command?"
"T-to do this..."
The mage's voice was raspy, Eren coughing weakly. Why would Eren let himself get so run down?
"Why didn't you come to tell me you weren't feeling well?"
"He told me I had to do this..."
Breaking off coughing, Levi abandoned the book in his hands to place a palm against Eren's forehead. The teen feeling warm to the touch
"He might have asked you to look, but why didn't you take a break? You could have come and found me"
"He gave me a command. I haven't found anything"
Levi's heart clenched
"Eren, have you been here since then? In the library this whole time?"
With sad eyes, Eren nodded slowly
"Eren, that wasn't a command. Did it really sound and feel like a command to you?"
Again, another nod. Eren had been working his arse off until his body had physically given out. The kid had probably felt compelled that he hadn't eaten, drunk or even slept. It probably really did feel like books were going to be the death of him
"Shit, brat. No wonder you feel sick... Fucking Fluffybrow arsehole. Yes, this is important, but not if you're going to end up sick like this. Erwin wouldn't want this either. I don't know if I can remove the command, but I can tell you it definitely didn't sound like a command to me. Can you stand?"
Shaking his head, Eren broke down coughing
"Ok. I've got you, and I'll talk to Erwin. He's had me going through other rooms with him, and working on everything I couldn't while Zeke was here. I'm so sorry I didn't come to check on you"

Levi was kicking himself as he lifted into his hold, the omega whimpering softly as he did
"I suppose your magic did all it could?"
"C-can't heal my lungs"
"Your lungs are playing up?"
Eren nodded, as he hid his face against Levi's neck
"Storm's coming, and this room is so cold"
"You couldn't magic up a fire?"
"Wasn't game to try... don't feel good"
"I know you don't. You don't smell great either. You can take a warm bath in my bathroom, then you're eating and your drinking, and getting some sleep"
"Need to keep looking"
Stupid shitty Fluffybrow. He didn't know how to comfort Eren, or to make him see it wasn't even a command in the first place... With his bravery, it was easy to forget that he'd grown up without alphas around
"You're not breaking the command. You can't keep searching if you're not feeling well"
"I'm sorry"

Falling asleep in his arms, Eren didn't wake as Levi lowered him down into the bathtub. He didn't like to strip Eren without his permission, but his clothes were fucking pungent. Deciding that making sure Eren was clean was more of a priority than the mages' modesty, Levi carefully stripping Eren down, then starting the bath. Half of him wanted to fetch Erwin and show him what his shitty commands had done, and show him how hard Eren had worked for them, while the other half wanted to keep the mage to himself. He wanted to be the one to clean Eren and to nurse him back to health. He liked the idea of the omega relying on him alone, more than he could admit out loud, and much more than he should.

Eren's magic sparkled around Levi as he got the mage cleaned then out the bathtub. Unlike his fire sparks, this magic felt as if it was trying to thank him for looking after Eren. Not that he was doing any of this for the thanks. He probably wouldn't have made it down to check on Eren, if he hadn't coughed up the paper. Drying Eren down, he tucked the omega up in his bed, not worrying about a nightshirt, as it wasn't as if he hadn't seen Eren naked before. Fetching a cold cloth, laying it across Eren's forehead, was the final touch. Levi nodding to himself as he walked to his door and poked his head out to send a guard for food and water.

The storm Eren mentioned hit the following morning. The rain pouring as lightning flashed outside the window. The thunder booming so loud that Levi didn't know how Eren continued to sleep, coughing every so often as he curled or tossed beneath the furs. Blowing Erwin off, Levi chose to spend the morning cleaning his room in an attempt to distract himself from his concern for Eren. If magic couldn't heal his lungs, then Levi would offer the only thing he could. A warm bed, and a safe place to recover.

When Erwin came to find him, Levi was forced from Eren's side. He'd wanted to at least stay until Eren had woken, but as always, there was paperwork that couldn't wait... even if they couldn't send any of it out thanks to the storm. Thinking he was free to return to Eren, when he'd finally reached the end of his paperwork, he was disappointed to find himself searching the royal library with Erwin. Erwin insisting on checking the piles of books left on the desks. It wasn't the first time in the alpha's life that he wished he'd remained illiterate and ignorant.

A few hours passed, before the door to the library opened. Eren carrying a tray of food and tea as he walked in as if he hadn't been sick. Rising, Levi walked to meet him halfway, taking the tray from the omega as Eren blushed. He was either blushing or feverish, but given his cheeks had seemed to redden when he saw Levi, the alpha felt it was more likely to be a blush
"You're supposed to be resting"
"I was. I need to keep looking"
"No. You're going to sit"
"I'm fine"
Eren's coughing ruined his words
"You're not fine. I thought to call a healer, but if you're magic can't heal you, then I doubt they can"
"They can't... Thank you though. And thank you for the use of your bed... but clothes would have been nice"
Levi looked Eren up and down. The mage was dressed in a standard pair of white pants and grey tunic. He couldn't remember seeing Eren in pants that weren't black
"Are those from my dresser?"
"Nope. I borrowed a fur blanket to return to my room. Though why you didn't dump me off there, I don't know"
"Because you're sick"
"It's fine... I'm only a little nauseous and headachey"
Carrying the tray back, Levi placed it down in the gap of books Erwin had made
"It's not fine. Erwin, take the stupid command off him"
"What command?"
"The command you put on him so he'd search every shitty book in this place. He worked himself to the point of collapsing"
"I didn't use a command"
"You did. He spent three days stuck in this place"
He'd explained all this to Erwin, and Erwin had insisted he hadn't used a command, despite what Eren had said. Looking to Eren, he wasn't impressed that the mage was back to trying to help again
"Eren, how many commands are you under at the moment?"
"Both of yours... so three"
Eren's voice was strained as he admitted he was under three. Levi was both confused and furious that there was more than just his forcing the teen to obey
"Is one regarding the library?"
Nodding, Eren crossed his arms in a self-hug. Erwin huffed a sigh
"I release you from the command regarding the library. Though it never was a command"
Eren took a deep breath, before shaking his head, dismissing his own words before speaking. Levi wanted Erwin to know he'd fucked up
"No. What were you going to say?"
"That it felt like a command to me. Even if that wasn't the intent"
Raising an eyebrow, Erwin seemed to find all of it humorous
"If searching the library was a command, you would have known it"
That made no sense to Levi. Eren did "know it". Releasing the mage was still standing, he gestured for Eren to sit as he took his own seat
"I suppose you haven't eaten?"
"I wanted to make sure you both had"
"You need to sit and eat, Brat. We talked about you taking better care of your health"
"I'm sorry... I didn't intend to cause any inconvenience"
"So making Levi nearly choke to death wasn't planned?"
Levi glared daggers at Erwin
"I... what? How?"
"He coughed up a piece of paper. It's the second time you've caused something like that"
"I... I'm so sorry. I didn't know. Are you ok now?"
"I'm fine. If I hadn't choked on the paper, I wouldn't have known you needed help"
Eren moved to look down at his left hand
"Stupid magic. It plays up when I'm sick"
"Then what was the excuse the first time?"
"Erwin, that's enough"
"No. I'm interested to know why you first coughed up a dragon scale. Eren wasn't sick when left to return with Moblit"
"You coughed up a dragon scale?!"
"Relax. I'm fine. The healers made sure"
"I... why didn't you tell me it was a scale?"
"Because I thought it was a one off. I thought you were angry over the dragon corpse. Since then, we have gotten to know each other better and I know it wasn't malicious"
Eren frowned and shook his head
"I was hurt and angry that you didn't listen to what I was trying to tell you. But I have no idea why it would be a dragon scale"
"It was probably your magic trying to tell me you needed help"
"How does that work? I coughed up belladonna?"
"While I was thinking about how I should have poisoned Zeke"
"It's still weird. I mean, I have a theory, but I never found anything to confirm it"
Erwin interjected
"You have a theory?"
Eren nodded slowly, looking uncomfortable about everything
"I think it's our bond. Masters guide mages, and what's a better way of knowing what each other is thinking, than literally "coughing it up". I mean. It's just a theory, and you could ask the other castle mages about it... but it could also be my messed up magic. It's gotten better, but then again, I don't really know. I have nothing to compare it with... and now I'm talking too much"
"You're fine. It at least gives us something to consider. Now. I want you to eat and have some tea. It'll help soothe your throat"
"I only brought two teacups"
"Then use mine. I'm fine for the moment"
"I couldn't..."
"Eren. I said it's fine. Erwin, stop staring. You're the one who wants to go through every book here"
"I've been through the ones on the table..."
"Then we'll go through them again. We need answers"
Levi had no idea what Erwin's problem was, but he was well and truly sick of his attitude towards Eren. He'd never gone out of his way to harass anyone that Erwin had fucked. He expected more from the man. Placing his hand on Eren's leg, the mage moved to place his hand over it. Seemingly disregarding Erwin's words, and not rising to bite
"Alright. With the three of us, we should be able to get through everything much faster"
It amazed Levi each time Eren stepped up to be the most mature one in the room. Erwin should know better, yet Eren was the one showing him infinite patience and wisdom beyond his years. He was proud of the mage, no matter what Erwin said.

Chapter Text

Despite their best efforts, the royal library yielded no results for anything even vaguely inventory like. Levi had insisted he'd rest, while he'd stubbornly insisted he'd be fine. Falling asleep at the desk, he woke to find he'd been sleeping against Levi's shoulder, and that Erwin had left them some time before. The man's anger lingering in the air. He didn't understand what he'd done to make Erwin dislike him so much, but then supposed it was the fact he was always in restricted places of the castle. It was hardly the natural place for a new mage, so when they finished checking the books for an inventory, he moved his self-study to the normal library after checking the egg and sword. He didn't like the feeling the sword gave him, so Levi told him not to bother. They'd contact Draecia about it all, once Erwin got around to checking the royal gallery and storage rooms... which he wasn't invited to join in on.

Even when he moved to study in the library, things between him and Levi didn't change. It was exciting as he'd "bump" into Levi, then end up dragged into a random room for a quick fuck, and he was especially liking that the alpha has asked to spend his heat with him, given Levi's rut fell at the same time. It wasn't uncommon for an alpha to take an omega during a rut, Levi mentioning that sometimes Erwin took two betas to bed with him during a rut, or an alpha if he felt so inclined. Levi had always spent his ruts alone, and Eren his heats alone... now, he'd have an alpha to give him what he needed, while Levi's rut would be soothed by being able to actually fuck out his urges into something other than his hand. To prevent against an accidental mark, they'd both be wearing collars, which Erwin had the keys for... though Eren was sure if he really wanted, he could just magic them off. But as Levi didn't want more than a sexual relationship, he resolved not to give in to the desire to be marked.

It was just days before his heat hit that Eren's world was sent spinning. Sitting in the library, he'd been reading about protective magic. Levi kept insisting he needed to know how to protect himself, so Eren had started learning to place the man's mind at ease. Immersed in his book, he jumped as hard object crashed into him, and tilted the bench he was sitting on
"Eren!"
Gathering himself up, he tried not to appear like Armin had just scared the ever living daylights out of him
"Can't you ever just sit?"
"Is it true?"
"Is what true?"
"About Prince Erwin and Petra?!"
Confused, Eren placed his book down
"What about the Prince and Petra?"
He didn't even know who Petra was...
"They say they're to be wed! It's all over the castle!"
What now?! What? The teen's heart was thundering in his chest. Levi hadn't said anything about marriage... Not when he'd seen him the previous night...
"You didn't know?"
"No. I had no idea"
Armin's eyes were wide with excitement, sparkling with innocence as he had no idea he'd just broken Eren's world
"Can you believe it? Petra is a renown soldier in her own right. She's received numerous accolades for her part in the last Great War... I wonder if Mikasa knows more?! She is in the military after all... Do you think they'll hold a public wedding? With a festival?"
Levi was Prince Erwin. Levi was his master. He only enjoyed sex with the man, outside of that, he had no right to say what happened in the man's life... But what happened now? Would Petra understand? Would she be mad? Would she expect him to find a new master, even though he couldn't find a way to transfer the vow? Petra would... Would Petra carry and bare Levi's children?! Did she know Levi and Erwin's secret? Why hadn't Levi told him any of this? Smacked in the face with such news, he gasped as a telltale cramp flared through his stomach as his arse grew uncomfortably wet
"Eren?"
Not realising his eyes had filled with tears, he wrapped his arm around Armin, pulling him up as he abandoned his things
"Armin... I need to get out of here"
"What?!"
"My heat... is starting. It's early"
"Oh, shit. What do I do?"
"I need to get out of here. There are too many alphas here"
Too many alphas and too many alphas named "Levi" in particular...
"Ok. Ok. We've got this. Do you want to go back to your room?"
His room was too close to Levi's for the man not to notice. But what if Levi did notice? They'd intended to spend it together... this wasn't supposed to be happening...
"I... yes. I've got herbs there"
"Ok"
Pulling his cloak off, Armin wrapped it around him, before rubbing at his neck
"I don't know if this is helping"
"I don't know how to help"
"You're doing plenty already. I just need some help back to my room"
"And then what?"

Dragging him along, Eren wanted to tell Armin he couldn't walk too fast because of his heat, but also didn't want to be on display to the whole castle. By the time they made it to his room, Eren's magic was starting to spiral out of control. Armin nearly copping burns as his magic forced the two of them apart. He hated leaving his friend hurt and confused, but it was the best thing for Armin. He'd never forgive himself if his friend was grievously wounded or killed because of him. Of course Armin wouldn't listen, rushing to where Eren collapsed by his bed
"Eren?"
"Armin, get out of here. I can't control my magic right now"
"But..."
"I'll be ok. Thank you"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah... I've been through this before. Please, I don't want to hurt you accidentally"
With his chest feeling as if his heart was breaking, his omega angered and hurt, and his magic playing up, anything was likely to happen. He didn't love Levi and he didn't not love him. The man felt like he was the only one he could rely on... even when he'd been told from the start Levi didn't have feelings for him... and once his heat passed, he didn't know what came next. Levi would have a fiancée, and he'd always just be the "bit of fun" and "dark secret". He'd been stupid enough to let Levi into his heart, and now he was paying for it. His soft sobs turning into full body wails of pain as his heart broke and his cramps continued to grow. He needed Levi in so many ways... but Levi had never needed to him.

*
Reading the document in his hands, Levi's face went through a myriad of emotions, before settling on a blank look that he reserved for the times when he was most disgusted. Fucking Zeke. Fucking Zeke and his fucking bullshit. Fucking Zeke and his fucking meddling, life destroying and reputation ruining, bullshit. There was no way on Ymir's green Earth, that he'd be marrying Petra Ral. None. Zero. Negative zero. Whatever the largest number known to exist was, that was the amount of "nopes" he had towards this wedding. He didn't need this. He was spending his rut with Eren, then had planned to surprise Eren with a trip up north to visit Draecia. The Omega had lunchtimerespect for dragons, which might be useful with the return of the egg and sword. And now... this... Even Erwin was worried over this.

After what seemed hours of silence, it was broken as Levi tore the declaration to shreds, angrily pushing his chair back, in order to storm over to the fireplace and throw shitty bits of paper into the fire, where the fire hungrily consumed them
"That doesn't make the issue go away"
"I'm not getting married!"
"Levi..."
"I am not marrying, Petra! I've always done as you wished. I've followed your words, and you've given Isabel and Farlan a good life, but this is too fucking far"
"I..."
"What does he think he's fucking playing at?! I have no interest in her, and now I'm supposed to marry her! Her reputation is going to be fucking ruined when word gets out that we aren't wedding! And me. What the fuck am I supposed to do?! I have other obligations. I have my rut coming, then my trip to Draecia with Eren. I don't have time for this wedding shit!"
"L-..."
"No. I would rather go to war than let Marley force this upon us! I am not marrying her!"
"Would you shut up! I've been trying to tell you that you won't have to marry Petra, at least not for the next 6 months"
"6 months?"
"You didn't get past the top header, did you? The wedding is planned for summer"
And they were about to hit winter
"I'm not marrying her. I will ride out and tell her myself that it's not happening"
"Just wait..."
"I'm not marrying her!"
What was so hard for Erwin to comprehend?! He had given up so many things and played his part so well. This though...
"Let me consult the court advisors, and see if there is anything in the treaty that allows this. For now..."
"No. No for now. I refuse to marry her. That's all there is to it"
"I'll summon her to the castle so we can talk about this. I know Zeke was rather insistent on you two spending time together"
"This is just him being a dick. We took his fucking toys away, so he's forcing his on me, knowing there's no one I want to marry. Besides, I already have Eren in my charge. We can't break or shift the vow, so what am I supposed to tell him? Sorry. I know we're purely physical, but... I'm going to be married to a woman I don't even like soon. Can you imagine that?"
"Eren knew from the start that the two of you could never wed"
"That's beside the point"
"Sometimes I wonder if you remember that is the point"
Levi growled, baring his teeth
"What?!"
"You have feelings for him. We both know every moment you can be with him, you are"
"So what if I am"
"You're falling for him"
"I'm not falling for him. I have a measure of admiration for him..."
His strong words became rather weak with his denial... and maybe, slightly, hopeful... if they were as close as Erwin was making it sound, then maybe Eren would be able to think things through and come up with a plan... Maybe the teen wouldn't be too mad? He was better at separating their sex life from their daily lives... God. Hopefully, this wouldn't get out. He wanted to be the one to sit Eren down and talk to him about it.

Only, Levi didn't get the chance to tell his lover before things started going to shit, or rather, became shittier. It wasn't even lunch time, yet as he walked through the castle in search of Eren, random strangers whose names he should know, were congratulating him. Levi's heart sinking with each step. Each of them seemed so genuinely happy that he'd found someone to wed, even though he was miserable. He just didn't have those kind of feelings for Petra, and it wasn't fair that she'd gotten pulled into his spat with Zeke. Checking the library, he found it void of Eren, yet every single person within it turned towards him. They knew... and if they knew, Eren had to have also heard. Pivoting, he bolted from the doorway, the word "no" repeating nonstop as he ran. It wasn't supposed to be like this at all. He wanted to sit Eren down and talk to him. He wanted the teen to understand nothing was going to change between them, and that he didn't intend to wed...

As Levi ran, the pain in his chest grew. Using his bond with Eren, the closer he got to the teen, the more it hurt until he was left to stagger the last few steps to Eren's door. Knocking, he tried the handle, finding it locked. Really? The omega wasn't going to let him explain?
"Eren! Eren, please we can talk about this"
Knocking harder, Eren continued to ignore him. Pausing to place his ear against the door, he could hear the sobs of the young mage. Fuck. This was the worst possible scenario playing out right here. Eren had become so much more affectionate with his heat approaching. Last night had been pretty amazing, but Eren had fallen asleep atop of him, purring softly as he nuzzled into his shoulder, which had felt so nice. He'd had a shit day, and Eren hadn't pushed to him to talk. He'd wrapped his arms around him, then guided him to bed, simply snuggling into him until he couldn't help with feel better
"Eren?! Please. Just let me explain. I know you're in there"
Starting to pound on the door with his palms, Eren continued to stay locked away
"Eren! I don't want to get my keys out and force my way in, but I will! I'm not getting married! Please! Just hear me out! I had nothing to do with this! You know I don't want to marry! You know I don't want kids!"
Thank fuck he'd sent the guards from his room away... He was fucking begging here. Over something that wasn't even his fault. Growling, he started to grow angry at Eren's sudden refusal to be reasonable
"Come on! You know I wouldn't just fucking drop this shit on you! We're supposed to be fucking going to Draecia! I said I'd help with your fucking heat! So stop with this, and let me see you!"

Beneath Levi's palms, the door grew warm
"Don't you dare use your magic! I want to talk!"
The warmth growing into a fierce heat, forcing Levi to step back. Dismay filling his face as the door to Eren's room turned to solid stone before his eyes. Snarling, he lashed out, throwing a punch at the space where the fucking door was supposed to be
"Eren! You better open this..."
Well it wasn't a door anymore
"... wall! We need to talk!"

"Prince Erwin, is something wrong?"
Regretting punching the door, Eren's magic had already started healing him. Returning to slamming his hands against the wall, no matter how hard hit, or how much it hurt, Eren's magic just kept healing him
"Eren!"
Striding down the hallway, Levi found himself lifted off his feet and thrown over Erwin's shoulder
"Put me the fuck down!"
"You're making a fool of yourself"
"Eren fucking knows. He's shut himself in his fucking room... He's crying. He doesn't just cry. He gets teary, but he doesn't break down into sobs if things aren't bad... he's in so much pain right now. His heats coming. His emotions are all over the place, and now he's completely rejecting me"
He just wanted to explain things to Eren. The kid had lost everyone, and been forced into all of this. He'd told Eren to be completely truthful with him, and he owed him that much. They'd... they'd been growing closer. Eren was trying so hard for the sake of Eldia. And he'd always approached things so maturely... other than his storm cloud, that he couldn't control. Levi wasn't blind to the effort Eren was making, or blind to his attempts to improve himself. He could have gotten mad over Erwin dismissing him from searching for missing items. Instead, he brushed himself off. He attended to his herb patch. He respected his health limits, but still kept himself fit and clean. He'd set himself a new task to conquer with his magic, and... now it was like he'd given up.

Carried into his room, Erwin through him down on his bed. The blond running both hands through his hair
"Listen. I ran into Armin while you were running around the castle. Eren's gone into heat early. You need to stay away from him"
"But..."
"He's emotional, and his magic is out of control. Armin's got a new cut on his face because of it. As upset as he may be, he's probably trying to distance himself right now. You need to respect that"
He'd told Eren he'd help him through his heat... and he'd planned to surprise him with the trip to Draecia. Now, he'd gone and yelled a whole heap of shit, that had probably just made Eren feel even worse... In the back of his brain, his alpha was wounded. He'd never shared a rut with anyone or had anyone he'd ever wanted to spend it with. He'd planned it all in his head. How he'd take care of Eren... The mage had been both excited and nervous over it. They'd talked about precautions and made sure that Eren had enough herbs to get through. He'd even said he was grateful not to spend his heat alone because of the pain. Yet, he'd just found out the alpha who'd promised him all of this, was to be wed to someone else. No wonder Eren was devastated. Maybe if he hadn't started yelling, Eren would have let him in?
"He... he has painful heats..."
"Which I'm sure his magic will help to ease, now that he seems to have some measure of control over it. I know you're angry, but you need to calm down. I can smell your rut starting"
Probably because Eren's heat had
"I've drafted a letter to Petra, asking her to come to discuss the marriage. I had wanted to continue our conversation, but that shall have to wait. Would you like me to push back the trip to Draecia?"
"No. It'll go ahead... you should leave now. I need to prepare"
"Very well. For what it's worth, Eren is the one being immature"
"His reaction is justified. Please ask the guards to stay away. I don't think I can stand to have them in the hall"
"You can't go unguarded"
"I will be fine. It's them who are in danger. Eren's in heat down the hall. His magic out of control, as you said, and anything could happen. You'll also need to find another room for this week"
"Do you really think that's necessary?"
Levi gave a firm nod. His alpha was on edge. His emotions a mess, even before moving close enough to feel Eren's pain clearly. The mage was more than likely going to cast during his whole heat
"Yes"
"Very well"

*
Outside the castle, Eren had cast a storm cloud large enough to cover the whole castle grounds by accident. The rain falling in a steady gloomy drizzle that matched the tears that ran down the brunettes face, while lightning struck at the aged stonework as he writhed and cried out in pain, over his heat pains rising at the start of each of his waves. With his nose buried in the fur blanket Levi had allowed him to keep, nothing gave him relief. His touches weren't Levi's firm touches. His moans and cries weren't in pleasure from being filled by the man. Nothing he did eased his pains, with each thought of Levi bringing fresh tears to his eyes. He felt so fucking guilty over his shitty behaviour. He'd punched himself in the face in an attempt to finish his crybaby self off. Levi had been so angry, yet he hadn't used a command. He'd come to him, thinking Eren would let him in and talk to him. He'd heard him knocking. He'd felt the pull of their bond and the pain of breaking a command. He could feel both each time Levi struck the wall, his magic rushing to heal Levi. But... he couldn't let him in. It wasn't safe to let him in. If he saw Levi, he wouldn't be able to keep his head, and both of them could end up in an even worse situation.

Plunging into a heat driven fever of delirium, Eren had no way of knowing he was only just reaching the peak of his heat. Day three of five. It'd felt like years since it'd begun. His magic not only limited to outside the castle anymore, as the floor of his room now covered in thick snow, while his body felt as if it were burning. Levitating above his bed, his chapped lips moved in silent prayers, as deep whines came from his throat, calling for Levi to come to his side and for the man to save him. The worst of the sensations was the skin across his cheeks and nape, it felt as if it was peeling from the heat, almost the same way a butterfly emerged from a cocoon, yet the splitting seemed to repeat over and over. Every bone in his body throbbed, his muscles cramping and spasming. But even passing out had been denied to him by his magic. It was working nonstop to keep him from waking completely and feeling the full extent of his pain. He was awake and yet not. He knew what was happening, yet didn't. He could see his mother there, yet knew she'd passed. He could hear Levi's voice reassuring him that he'd be alright as he stroked his hair as he sometimes did. The slick from between his legs was no longer there, shifting from its opaque honey as it defied gravity to run up his body. The bright red liquid covering his skin in a series of marks that slid across his skin with each movement of his lips, making it seem as if he'd bathed in blood. Something was abundantly wrong with him and wrong with this particular heat.

*
Levi could feel something wrong moments before the windows in his room exploded inwards. By the yells and screams, his weren't the only ones to go. The storm over the castle was gaining in momentum, the wind gusts a swirling grey that tore at the brickwork. Across the castle came the series of "pops" as each window went, yet for those experiencing it, the sound of the glass breaking was akin to that of a hand grenade blowing up just metres from your face. Levi knew Eren wouldn't be casting such potentially lethal magic if he'd been in his right mind, which had to mean the mage wasn't. Even in the peak of his rut, Eren's magic was so strong that Levi's pain wasn't there. Giving how many times he'd jacked off, he should be feeling something more than tired.

Forced from his room by the storm winds, Levi staggered down to Eren's room. The wall still firmly in place, but as he placed his hands on the wall, it gave beneath his fingers, like it was made of mud and not stone. Jerking back, the space in front of him shimmered
"Eren?!? It's Levi! Please! Let me in! I'm worried about you"
And the state of his castle... No doubt there would be more than a little damage with all the rain, and now the exploding windows... He needed to see Eren. He needed to calm the omega and see for his own eyes that the beautiful mage hadn't transformed into some wicked beast.

Watching the stone melt away, Levi was relieved. He didn't know if it was Eren or his magic that recognised the alpha was standing there, but he gasped at the sight of Eren's room. It'd turned into a kind of winter wonderland. Thick snow covered the floor, while icicles hung from the room. For someone who grew ill in the cold, the room was Eren's personal hell made real. Forcing himself forward, the cold of the snow bit at Levi's bare feet, but where he stepped began to melt as if he'd brought spring upon the room. With Eren's room being so much smaller than his own, he reached Eren's side in a handful of well-placed steps. He'd never seen anything like this before. Sure. He'd seen Eren floating when sleeping. That seemed to be a particularly ingrained quirk of the brat, but the marking across his skin and the steam rising from it... It scared him. Even his alpha shied away from the desire to touch the teen in favour of strongly recommending he didn't. Levi, of course, ignore the voice in the back of his head. Reaching out, he "lifted" Eren into his arms. Eren immediately falling into his hold with his full weight, as the markings on the omegas skin, rushed to disappear upwards towards Eren's hair, with haste so fast Levi was surprised they didn't make a "whoosh" as they went.

Carrying Eren from his room and back to his, Levi didn't have any particular plan. Eren had finally let him in, but was at his mid-heat peak, probably not even conscious of what he was doing. He smelt divine, and Levi was only human... but what he'd seen scared him. The best he could do was to carry Eren to his bed, climbing on top and pulling Eren into his hold. He didn't care that the door was open, or that they were both naked. Eren had been suffering, while making sure Levi was alright, despite how he must feel towards him. The omega had let himself fall into this state because he was young and scared. He really was a kid at the end of the day and needed more care and attention than he'd ever admit. There probably times where their quickies across the castle had left the teen feeling hurt that as soon as the moment ended, Levi had to return to his princely duties. He needed time and attention. Maybe they could leave earlier for Draecia? It'd give Eren the chance to explore beyond the walls around them... Levi was well and truly over his head, as each stroke of Eren's soft hair only drove that fact home. He was starting to fall in love with a man 10 years his junior, when they'd never be able to openly be together. That was probably why Erwin had been so cold towards Eren, attempting to drive a wedge between them, knowing it could only end in pain... but... Levi didn't care. He wanted to know Eren. He wanted to know every part of him, and show him the sights of the world he'd seen since being liberated from life underground. The Eren in his arms deserved the whole fucking world...

Levi had no idea how long they laid tangled in each other, until Eren woke. Whining softly, the teen nuzzled his neck as he rolled his hips forward
"Eren?"
"Alpha..."
Never shy it when it came to sex, Eren seemed to have recovered enough to know what he wanted. Pushing forward, Levi was forced onto his back as Eren climbed into his lap. He didn't have to think as Eren's hand wrapped around his dick, pumping him as his lover's lips found his. Hungrily, Levi's hands came to Eren's hair, as he deepened the kiss, Eren moaning into his mouth as the teen released his hold, in favour of putting both hands on Levi's chest. Breaking the kiss, their lips were against each other's
"Eren..."
"I need you. I need you... My master. My alpha"
If Eren could use his name, and identity that he was with him rather than some other alpha... Then that's all the permission Levi need. Sitting up, his hands slid from Eren's hair to the mages hands, intertwining their fingers as Eren repositioned himself. Stuttered moans left their lips, as the omega slow sank down, his heat just as warm and tight as Levi expected it to be. He was quite certain he could never tired of this feeling.

Riding him hard and fast, Eren's orgasm hit as Levi's was starting to build. Releasing his hands in order to grab his shoulders, the mage slumped back in his hold, allowing Levi to push him down before he could recover. Taking Eren's hips in a bruising grip, his lover wrapped his legs around him, chanting "master" as Levi fucked him as hard and rough as he could. He had to fill him. He had to breed him. He wanted Eren to carry his children. Then to fill him and breed him all over again. No matter what he did, Eren's arms were always open to him. The teen's love so pure that it was the sweetest treat in the kingdom. Feeling his knot start to form, his rhythm grew even sloppier, the wet sounds between them growing louder as the storm outside began to calm. With a primal cry, his orgasm hit. Relief flooding his system in a way that had been denied to him for days as tried to continue fucking Eren despite his knot catching. Eren's spent dick dribbled come as Levi pulled him back up and into his lap, peppering kisses and nips along Eren's collarbone. The alpha quite proud of himself for not marking the teen. Catching their breaths, Eren hid his face against Levi's shoulder, Levi knowing that he'd still be coming down from his wave of need and needing a few moments to regain himself.

"Eren? Can you talk to me?"
Eren shook his head, tears dripping onto Levi's shoulder. He'd heard an omegas emotions were all over the place during a heat, but it wasn't a great feeling. Coughing, Eren rolled and clenched around him, drawing a hiss from Levi's lips at the sensations
"Y-you're engaged"
Eren's tone was off, almost cold
"No. No, I'm not marrying her"
"There's something wrong with me"
"What... no. No. This was Zeke's doing. He planned all of this. Even Erwin knew nothing"
"You have to marry her. You'll be happy with her"
"Eren, no. I won't be"
"You will..."
"You're not listening"
"This things between us will be over"
"Don't say that"
"It will be. You'll have a wife and children. You'll be happy"
"Eren. No. I don't love her"
"You can learn too. I'm sure you'll find happiness"
"I'm happy with you"
"This isn't happiness Levi. This isn't love, it's simply lust and magic"
"Don't... don't belittle what I feel"
"You don't know what you feel"
"Stop being like this! I don't want to marry her! I am not in love with her. I don't care if we go to war with Marley over this. This is too important"
"No love is worth war"
This didn't sound like his Eren at all
"Don't you see... I... I think I'm falling for you"
"We can't be together"
"Please, Eren... Just give me a chance"
"I don't want to be hurt anymore"
"I wanted to tell you myself. I wanted you to know there is nothing between me and her"
"It's political... you can't say no"
"I can and I have. This is too important to go with the flow"
"If it prevents war, you can only say yes"
"The royal advisors are checking through the treaty. We're going to find a way to stop this. I'm... I don't want to wed, and I don't know what this thing between us, only that right now, this is what I want"
"Then for now, this is what you have"

Chapter Text

Eren's heat was a beautiful thing, the omega so soft and warm in his hold. Sleeping in his arms, Levi couldn't stop himself from stealing soft touches. Eren's smooth and soft stomach was distended with his seed, the swell barely noticeable, yet drove his alpha wild. The way Eren moved. The way his magic wrapped around them as if creating a world in which only the two of them existed. The soft whispers of "thank you", "my master", and declarations of "my alpha". He didn't want their time to end. He didn't want to return to life outside their room. There were so many things to do, and he and Eren had barely talked.

Perhaps because of their combined heats and ruts starting early, or their compatibility, instead of 5 days it lasted for a full seven. Having fallen asleep in Eren's arms, the last thing he'd expected was to wake alone with sunshine streaming through the windows... which had been repaired. He doubted Eren knew the chaos or damaged he'd caused in his fevered state, but he also hadn't expected to be waking alone... or to feel so incredibly lonely because of it. It was ridiculous. He was a grown alpha, yet when he woke, he'd felt for a moment like he was back on the streets starving and neglected.

Checking the bathroom, he found Eren had showered before he left. That probably meant Eren was ok then. Cleaning himself up, Levi hated washing Eren from his skin, and he bitterly regretted not sinking his teeth into the teen's nape. Eren had offered his neck up so many times, but each time Levi had fought down the desire as he reminded himself that there was a whole world out there that Eren had yet to see. In a way, they were trying as good as bonded anyway, but not the way he wanted to be bonded with Eren in the future.

*
Eren was busy... hiding from Levi in his original room. He wasn't embarrassed over sharing his heat with Levi. Just everything else that had come after it. His heart was still racing and his mind was scattered over by everything that had happened since waking to find glass across Levi's quarters, then finding most windows covered when he stuck his head outside in an attempt to figure out what had happened. He'd use his magic to repair what he could in the castle, absolutely mortified to think about what his loss of control has caused, and equally as mortified that he'd given up so easily. Levi was getting married. The man had said that he was what he needed "right now". Right now wasn't the future and Eren's future was in doubt. Using Levi's personal bathroom, Eren had been shocked to see himself in the mirror of the man's bathroom. Along both cheeks, beneath his eyes, were two fine lines of small green and silver scales, that glittered and changed colours depending on the angles. While peering at them, he'd noticed a small amount of dried blood on his nape. Rubbing the peeling skin across his nape had revealed even more scales in the shape of the vow there. There were no words for the panic he felt at the sight, nor the confusion. He didn't know why scales would appear across his flesh, but they appeared to be the only ones on his body. And nothing else had changed in his appearance. He still had the scars of his misspent youth. His hair was still shaggy, not quite long, and not quite short. His eyes were still the same green they'd always been. He'd even checked his teeth and nails, relieved to find they hadn't turned into something monstrous. But he was so fucking scared by the way he looked... and sure Levi would take one look and be disgusted. He couldn't face the man. Not until he found some way to cover them, and had some kind of answer for why they'd grown.

Despite his hiding, Levi found him. Probably using their bond to track him through the castle. Staying buried in the thin sheets of his old room, Levi had been annoyingly concerned about him. If he wasn't so scared of his new appearance, he would have wrapped his arms around the alpha and soaked in his comforting touch. With the command in place, it was hard to find a way to tell Levi he just needed time to recover after his heat, without lying about his current medical health... or admitting to Levi that he may have done something awful. Making him promise to talk later, Levi left him to wallow over his earlier choice to send a letter to Draecia. Scales had to be dragon related... and he vaguely remembered Levi saying something about them visiting Draecia before losing himself to whatever his magic had decided to put him through. Part of him wondered if it was because he'd touched the dragon's corpse, or the egg and sword without showing proper respect. He didn't want to be alone, not after being the centre of Levi's word for the last few days, but what else could he do? Levi was to be wed, and now he was some kind of freak.

*
Sitting in the sunroom, life seemed to particularly dislike Levi. The court advisors hadn't found anything about marriage arrangements made by Marley being legal and binding, but every aspect of the castle's day to day running had been affected by Eren's storm. The court mages had done what they could to repair the castle, but the wild winds had torn through their magic, with most inhabitants forced to take shelter in rooms without windows, such as the library.

The problem was the woman sitting across from him, with her father. Erwin had been pissy enough about the damage to his castle, though Eren had repaired some of it. As was he pissy that the militaries training oval was now a field of sprawling white roses... so standing behind him, he could hear the constant grating of Erwin's teeth as he tried to keep his cool. Of all the days Petra has to come, it'd been the afternoon he'd come out of his rut and into the shit storm. Petra's father had already decided the wedding would be going ahead, mentioning that the woman intended to give herself to him. Petra had blushed deeply but hadn't denied it. The woman dressed in the finest deep blue dress she owned, or so Levi guessed. He wasn't particularly into clothes and fashion, with his interests limited to the face he couldn't deny he preferred Eren wearing none. He'd hoped to have the four of them sit down to speak, yet there they were. The wrong four of them in an awkward silence that still hung from Levi saying he didn't wish to be wed.

"Are you saying my daughter isn't good enough?! Are you implying there's something wrong with her?!"
Pushing his chair back, the old man looked almost desperate as he slammed his hands down on Levi's desk. Petra was trying to keep it together, but Levi could smell the pain in her scent, and see the fine twitch in her cheeks
"I never said there was anything wrong with Petra. I am merely not in the position to marry. I'm sorry you were given the wrong idea, but this was arranged by Prince Zeke of Marley, without my knowledge or permission"
"Then why... Why did you tell him that you liked her?! I met the Prince, and he assured me that you..."
Petra placed her hand on her father's arm
"The decision has been made, father"
"But Petra, your reputation..."
"If the crown prince finds me lacking in some way, then that is all there is to it"
"The whole kingdom knows you are to be wed! You! You've destroyed my daughter's honour and reputation! Is this just a game to you?! To destroy everything Petra has worked hard to achieve!"
Levi had had enough. Rising to his feet, he fought down a growl
"Your daughter has fallen victim to an unfortunate rumour and misinformation. I may have expressed admiration for her skills, but I assure you that was all there was to it"
"Surely..."
"I have a lover already! I am sorry this is not what you want to hear, but you are free to stay within the castle until the situation is sorted"
Erwin and Eren were both going to scold him for letting it slip...
"If you have a lover, why would you ruin my daughter like this? What man will her marry her now?"
Or woman. Really, there was no end to those who'd heard of Petra's bravery in battle
"I had no say in this decision. It was made by Prince Zeke and if you are seeking some form of restitution, then you need to write to him. Petra, I am sorry you've made this journey to hear this news, but I had intended to contact you before the storm hit and threw everything into chaos"
Petra swallowed hard, her eyes slightly wet as she nodded
"I appreciate your honesty and hospitality. My father and I would be grateful to accept"
"Good. Levi, please see that they are made comfortable. I have my own letter to Prince Zeke to pen"
Actually, he didn't. Erwin wouldn't let him express his anger via letter, but he needed to bring the meeting to a close before he ended up making things worse. Plus, he wanted to check back in with Eren. Erwin had said Eren wasn't in his room, so it'd taken trekking through the castle under the pretence of checking for damages, to track the mage down to his old room. His tall blonde bodyguard hadn't been impressed to find he'd been tricked. The whole atmosphere between them had been odd. He'd made Eren promise to talk to him, but he'd never be able to make it through the day unless he made sure the omega was actually alright. Clearing his throat, Erwin moved around the desk, gesturing to the door
"Yes, Prince Erwin. Please, won't you both make yourselves comfortable in the sitting parlour. The maids will bring you whatever you need, and notify you once your quarters have been made ready"

Collecting herself, Petra adjusted her tight dress, leaning forward as she did as if a pair of tits to the face, was going to change anything at all
"Prince Erwin, I trust this won't affect my military rank or position?"
"No, Miss Ral"
"Thank you. I guess we shall see you for dinner?"
"Indeed. Once again, I am sorry for this"
"As am I"
What the hell was he supposed to say to that? Her "sorry" was most definitely not the same as his, and though he'd made the offer for her, and her father, to stay, he hadn't actually wanted her to... he just thought it was what he was supposed to do. Watching the trio leave, Levi was just about ready to kick the old man through the door. It was if he thought dragging his wrinkly old arse slowly, was magically going to change Levi's mind. He was wrong on too many levels for the human mind to comprehend. By the time the door closed behind them, Levi swore he'd grown at least a dozen grey hairs. Gathering up his papers, he didn't want it to appear as if he'd bolted from the responsibility the first chance he got, even though he technically was... but then again, Eren was his responsibility. And they could hardly afford another storm. Which was all the more reason he needed to figure out what Eren was hiding from him.

Rushing from his room, Levi smacked squarely into a solid form. With everything happening, he'd forgotten that Farlan and Isabel lived in the royal capital, and that they would have heard of his royal engagement. Caught in Isabel's hold, Levi was like a fly in a web. There was no way he was getting out of this one without some kind of miracle. A miracle that didn't come.

*
Levi kept his word and didn't come to visit him until long after the sun had set. Covering the glow stone in his room with a blanket, the light in Eren's room was just enough to move without tripping. The Omega had napped, then spent most of his time staring out his window at the world. He'd tried to lift the scales from his face, clawing at them until blood had mixed with his tears, the mess rolling down his cheeks as he cried over the futile struggle. He couldn't get his nails beneath them, and the tiny scales at the edges that did lift, left him screaming with the pain lifting them tried to bring. He felt disgusting. He felt like his whole life had been some kind of lie. That the person he'd been before they'd formed, had tricked everyone into liking the monster he didn't even know he was. Sitting on the window frame, Eren was wrapped in another blanket, jumping when Levi knocked, despite knowing the man was coming. Clearing his throat, he didn't know what to say
"Eren?"
"Come in"

Listening to the door creak open, then closed. Eren's heart started to race. There was anger in Levi's scent, but he could tell it wasn't directed towards him
"Eren?"
"Sorry. I'm just feeling a bit down right now"
"I was hoping we could talk"
"About what?"
"You and me? I know it's not the best, but Petra came to the castle and I've told her I don't intend to marry her"
There couldn't be a "you and me". Eren doubted that Zeke would let Levi just walk away from the marriage... and he could be with Levi while he looked like this
"Eren, please. Will you look at me?"
"I'm sorry..."
Levi's boots clicked as he approached, Eren not expecting it when Levi wrapped his arms around him from behind. Letting out a sob, he lashed out, pushing Levi away as he screamed
"Don't touch me!"
Despite his outburst, his magic didn't flare. He couldn't hurt Levi. He just couldn't do it... he'd tricked Levi and seduced him...
"Eren? What's wrong? Are you hurt? Did someone hurt you?"
God. Why did Levi have to care?
"I'm... I'm a monster..."
"Your magic went a little crazy, but the castle's been taken care of. And most of the windows probably needed replacing"
"No. Me! I'm wrong. I'm a monster, Levi. We can't ever be together. You need to marry Petra, or Zeke might..."
"I don't need to marry her"
"You do. You deserve a normal life"
"There's nothing normal about my life, and I've made my choice. I want to date you... I've fallen for you"
Eren hated how happy that made him. He couldn't be happy. When Levi saw his face, he wouldn't understand
"Y-you're wrong. It's lust, not love. Even if you don't love Petra, you could make it work. You're a strong man, Levi. Maybe even the strongest in all of humanity"
Rejecting Levi, felt like he was cutting off a limb. The man had become his support, but now he was cutting his own leg off
"But we aren't a thing. We don't have feelings for each other. You are my master, and that is all it is"
It hurt to hurt Levi, and it hurt to fight the command on him. Sinking down, he covered his face. He'd told himself that he wouldn't cry. That pushing Levi away was for Levi's own sake...
"If that was true, you wouldn't be so pained..."
Striding over, Levi tore the blanket off the glow stone, Eren letting out a cry as he tried to hide his face
"... and if it is true, I want to look into your eyes. No one is as bad at lying as you are"
Moving to squat in front of him, Levi wrapped his hands around his wrists
"Don't! Don't look at me! Please. Please, don't... please"
"Why? What are you hiding?"
"I'm disgusting! I'm disgusting... I'm disgusting..."
"You're not disgusting. Just show me your face"
"I don't want to... please don't make me"
Levi tugged on him, so Eren was almost in his lap
"Eren. Hey. Nothing about you is disgusting. If someone hurt you, or if someone hurt you, I need to know"
"God! No. No one hurt me. Please, don't look at me. I don't want to fight"
"I don't want to fight either. But you're all I've thought about it. You and I. I told Erwin that I have feelings for you. I do. I don't expect to jump right into courting, or anything more than you want to give. I... I want to date you. I want to see where this goes"
"It ends with you marrying Petra"
"Get it through that thick skull of yours, I'm not marrying her!"
"You don't have a choice! If not her, Zeke will keep going! He hates me! I stopped them taking the egg and the sword, and this is his revenge. Taking the man I'm fucking out of the picture"
"I don't care if he does! We can..."
"Go to war?! How many people died in the last war?! My mother was killed! My father went missing! Armin lost his grandfather and that was just us! Every day, people will die. Eldia isn't strong enough to repel an attack, and it's not just us. Draecia will be drawn into it. Eldia has dragon items that Marley's after..."
This was bigger than him and Levi. This was thousands of lives, both on the island and the mainland...
"I don't care. Now, show me. Nothing you show me is going to make me hate you"
"You can't know that"
He was wavering. He'd steeled his heart and tried to lock his growing affections away
"I do. Now show me"

Letting Levi pull his hands from his face, Levi swore softly
"What happened?! You've got blood across your cheeks... you're filthy with it"
"I couldn't get them off"
"Get what off?"
Could Levi not see them?!
"T-the scales"
"Scales? You know what, enough. We can't talk here, like this"
"S-sir?"
"Don't start with that "sir" shit. We're going back to my quarters, and we're going to talk all of this out"
"I don't think I should"
Eren was exhausted from crying. He couldn't remember the last time he'd cried so much, and he hated himself for it. He just... he'd let himself fall for Levi, now the man engaged, and Eren had just found out he was a monster who'd grown scales and half destroyed the castle. It was... a lot, especially with his hormones all over the place from his heat.

Levi wouldn't let him walk, no matter how many times Eren tried to. Brought into the man's bathroom, he'd hid his face from the guards, who had to know more about their sex life than they'd ever imagined. Sat on the edge of the bath, Levi retrieved a cloth, wetting it then taking to his face to scrub at it. Whatever Levi was feeling, he knew his expression neutral until the blood was gone. With the silence between them too much, Eren let out a shaky breath
"Do they look bad?"
"No. No, they don't..."
"I'm a monster, aren't I?"
"You're not a monster. These are just... unexpected. When did you notice them?"
"When I used your shower. They're on my neck too"
Leaning forward, Eren pushed his hair out the way so Levi could see
"Your whole vow is made of them"
"I know... what does this mean?"
"I have no idea. I assume you didn't do this intentionally?"
"No. I... I can't get them off"
"Sit up properly so I can take a look"
"I'm sorry. I didn't know I wasn't... right. I didn't mean to trick you"
"You think you tricked me?"
"I tricked everyone, didn't I? I thought I was a mage, but it turns out I'm a monster"
"You're not a monster. Let me ask you a question. Did you know about this?"
"No"
"Then you didn't trick anyone and you didn't lie"
"But what am I?"
"I have a suspicion, but I won't know for sure until I send a letter out"
Eren shot up in shock. He didn't expect Levi to have the slightest idea, yet the man did!
"You've seen this before?! Please! I need to know! I wrote to Draecia, but I haven't heard anything!"
"Calm down. You wrote to Draecia"
"I... I wanted answers. I didn't know what to do"
"And you didn't think to talk to me?"
"And say what? I broke the castle, but it's ok because I'm a freak"
"If you insult yourself one more time, I'm going to lock you in a room with Erwin"
"Don't even joke about that. I don't know what to say to him. I blew out the windows, and then there's the whole thunderstorm..."
"And the rose field. Don't forget the rose field"
"What rose field?"
What the fuck was with him and roses?! And what rose field? There was no rose field on castle grounds. He definitely would have noticed if there was...
"It doesn't matter. You were feverish from your heat"
"It matters to me. Anyway, stop changing the topic, what are these scales? How do I get rid of them?"
"Dragon riders from Draecia have similar. Though theirs are usually larger and look more like gemstones than scales. They match their dragon"
"They do?"
Reaching out, Levi ran his fingertips lightly across Eren's face
"Yeah, along here, then where their hairline starts, just here..."
Levi tapped the place Eren's temples lightly
"... they flare into a large scale. It diverts the wind from hitting their ears when they fly. There's usually a few smaller scales in front. Their teeth are also sharper than ours, and their sense of smell is incredible. The first time I saw one, it scared the crap out of me"
Eren had read the descriptions, but he'd never found an image of one in the castle libraries. Not that he'd gone out of his way to search for them
"They're scary?"
"They're built bigger than both of us. Even the women are taller, around the same height as Erwin, but thinner. Muscles and strength are prized attributes. They also have a longer lifespan"
"Wow..."
Levi let out a soft laugh. Eren's heart skipping a beat at the pure sound, as Eren blushed. Levi probably thought him stupid as hell for not knowing anything about their neighbours to the north
"Trust me, they're scary as fuck, but if you show them respect, they'll return it"
"I think I was polite in my letter..."
He'd introduced himself and explained that scales had formed on his face and neck. And that he was a mage... that shouldn't be too bad? He was as polite as he could be, possibly to the point of rambling
"I guess we'll find out. Even if they don't reply, we're headed up to Draecia in a few days"
"We're" as in we. He and Levi... and probably Erwin. Would Erwin permit him to visit a place like Draecia? The idea of seeing the man was scary to him, as it had been to show Levi his scales
"You said something about that before?"
"You remember? I shouldn't be surprised. But yes. I told them I was bringing a young mage with me to return the sword and egg. I just didn't expect you'd suddenly sprout scales"
Moving his hands back down, Levi ran the pads of his thumbs across the fine layer of scales
"Don't be like that. I didn't either..."
"I wish you'd told me. I want you to rely on me"
It was too dangerous to keep relying on Levi... The man was usually so down to Earth, that he'd understand why saying "no" to this wedding would only lead to trouble. He couldn't afford to believe Levi's words, no matter what he and his omega felt for the man. He was young and naive, while Levi had been through hell and survived. Other than extremely compatible sex, what did they really have in common? Nothing... With the news of his engagement so new, he shouldn't expect the shock to have worn off so quickly. Once Levi's mind had cleared, he'd see that he only had on choice.

Chapter Text

Eren was still shaken over his scales. The teen continually touching then or hiding his face in his hands as Levi guided him out the bathroom and into his bedroom. Never had expected for Eren to develop scales, and he had absolutely no idea why. Dragon riders and dragons stayed in Draecia. That was just the way of the world, yet here was Eren with scales that looked suspicious Draecian in origin. No wonder the poor kid had freaked out, if anyone other than him had found him, it was likely the whole castle would have been made aware by now, and that was a complication he didn't need. Isabel and Farlan hadn't let up with the teasing until dinner time, where the pair joined him as backup. Then promptly spent the time looking from him to Petra and elbowing each other. Then, when he'd thought himself clear of it all, he'd been pulled aside by Hanji. Hanji was a menace to his mental health. The woman wanted access to Eren, for what seemed to be a never-ending string of experiments. Even Moblit hadn't been able to quell the woman, instead, the poor man was left there with his arms around her waist as she refused to be silenced or pulled away until Erwin scolded her making a scene in front of their guests. He'd just about thought he was home free, when Petra's father piped up, that both he and Petra didn't consent to the dissolution of the declaration. Which meant he needed to do some creative truthing once he finally found Eren. He wasn't going to marry Petra. Even if she was pulling this shit.

So, by the time he'd finally sought Eren out again, he'd wanted nothing more than to be held in the omega's arms, like a child running to their mother... only, Eren had yet another issue for him to sort out, and this one seemed suddenly so much larger than all of the other issues combined. He'd seen it in his eyes when Levi had pulled his hands down. Complete and genuine fear of what he was. He'd seen the look on many a soldier's face before, those making their first kill and taking a human life for the first time. The haunted look that stayed with them throughout the battle as they wondered how things had come to this. Eren was far too young for such a look. Even if the military enrolment age was even younger. Gathering Eren close to him, Levi led him to his bed
"You're exhausted, and overtired. I can smell it on you. Everything's a bit much right now, but I'm not mad at you"
"I... went against your command"
"Yes, but I understand why and I'm not going to punish you for it. But I do want you to remember that I put that command in place for your safety and welfare. I don't like putting restrictions on you, Eren. I didn't take you so I could control your life. I don't want you to suffer, and it must have hurt to try and fight the command. Have you eaten?"
"No... and are you sure you don't want to punish me?"
"I'm not going to punish you. It's a bit late to be sending someone down to the kitchen, but I've got some apples thanks to Fluffybrow, and I know you like them"
"Why do you call him Fluffybrow when we're alone?"
"Because honestly, I don't want you calling anyone "Levi", other than me. My alpha hates it, despite the situation we're in. And also, I see the way your lips twitch with a smile each time I do"
"He's going to be so mad..."
"He likes to micromanage almost every aspect of this situation. But I've made my feelings known. For the second time in my life, I have found someone who accepts me, and someone I want to protect"
"Second?"
"The first being Isabel and Farlan, my family. Though I don't love you the way I love them. Let me get you that apple?"

Eren was quite after they ate, the teen stripping down to his shirt to sleep without prompting. Levi had no doubt that Eren was overthinking everything again as he followed the omega's lead, though he stripped off completely, sliding into his bed naked then pulling Eren into his hold
"I can hear you thinking"
"I'm just..."
"Over thinking"
Kissing Eren's nape, the mage sighed softly
"Yeah. Probably"
"You know, I know a way to stop those thoughts"
Sliding his hand down between Eren's legs, Eren gasped as his fingers wrapped around his dick. He hadn't intended to do anything other than sleep, but Eren smelt so fucking good. He knew he was hungry for him, to the point he was almost desperate. Eren had done this to him. He made him feel powerful, and in control. Not something he felt often thanks to not actually being a real prince. Everything he said or did, was always later picked apart by Erwin
"We just spent a heat together"
"I don't care. I don't think you know how much I want you. You're beautiful Eren. The most beautiful man I've ever met"
Pumping Eren slowly, Eren moaned as he scooted back against him, slick smearing in Levi's crotch as he did
"Fuck... you're so wet for me..."
"Master... fuck me?"
Levi snorted through his nose
"Your wish is my command. I want you from behind. Place your hands on the bedhead for me, and don't take them off"

Eating Eren out was new for them. Eren usually couldn't wait to be knotted, and Levi was eager to please... but sucking and licking as he eagerly drank down Eren's slick, that was new. The liquid tasted better than any expensive alcohol in the kingdom and even better than the most expensive and rare brands of tea. He could spend hours drinking, and it still wouldn't be enough. Never in his life did he think he'd be placing his lips against someone's arsehole, or fucking them there with his tongue, but shit... he was dizzy with desire and Eren's slick never seemed to end. By the time Levi finally stopped abusing Eren's opening, it was gaping and twitching. Eren was panting and shaking with effort, the teen having kept his hands against the bedhead, despite it not being a command. Running his hands up Eren's side, he easily pushed into his heat as his rose to his knee, Eren shuddering the moment Levi was balls deep
"Alpha... it hurts"
"What hurts?"
"I need to come..."
Resting his chin on Eren's shoulder, Levi's breath fell across Eren's ear
"You've done so well for me, omega. Going to fuck you and knot you, and you're going to come with me buried in you. I'm the only one who's allowed to make you come"
Eren nodded quickly
"Yes, master. Please... I've taken my herbs. It's safe. I need it... I've been good"
"Good boy"

Both of them couldn't last, everything so intense for Eren that his first orgasm hit with Levi's second thrust, his second hit with Levi's knot, as did a third dry orgasm on the heels of that one that had Eren whimpering and trying to pull away. There was no way sex with Petra could feel this good. He didn't even know what he was supposed to do with a vagina... They seemed "complicated". And sex with Petra would only be to provide the kingdom with heirs, despite the fact they should be Erwin's children. Pulling Eren down, he held him tightly with one arm, as he manoeuvred them back so into the position they'd been in before. Eren was out like a light the moment his head hit the pillow, while Levi wasn't that far behind him, still flooding his lover with his seed. No. He couldn't sleep with anyone but Eren. Even if the teen was a stubborn little brat who insisted on thinking about the bigger picture. He loved holding Eren, and the teen's magic seemed to trust that he only wanted the best for him.

Wrapped around Eren, Levi slept so deeply that when he woke, he had no clue as to what the hell was happening. Letting out a cry, Eren was ripped from his hold. Pushing Eren up against the wall, Eren whimpered as Erwin towered over him
"What the fuck did you do?!"
Scrambling off his bed, Levi snarled
"Let him go!"
"Do you know what he's done?! Do you?! We have two riders and dragons from Draecia here! And surprise, surprise, they're looking for Eren!"
Shaking Eren, the mage let out a cry. Angered, Levi strode across the room, grabbing Erwin by the arm. Erwin snarling at him as Eren's magic formed winds around his hands
"We know! Ok. He wrote to Draecia!"
"Why the fuck would you do that?! Answer me!"
Eren was too scared to answer. He'd literally just been torn off Levi's dick. He wasn't ashamed to admit that he'd knotted Eren in his sleep, otherwise the bed would have been even more of a mess
"Because he's part dragon rider!"
Shoving Eren against the wall, Erwin backed up to sink down on the edge of Levi's bed, as Levi rushed to Eren. The alpha looked as if he'd been gut-punched, while Eren was starting to cough as he shook. Rubbing the mages back, Eren struggled to catch his breath
"He's part dragon rider... He wrote to Draecia to ask for advice. Even so, you had no right to lay hands on my omega like that"
"He's... part dragon rider?"
Erwin let out a laugh
"Do you really expect me to believe that?"
"Yes, I do. He's got the scales on his face and nape. If you hadn't just stormed in here and ripped him out of bed, we could have talked about this"
"They're demanding to see him. I've already had to settle the troops, they thought we were being attacked"
Half the shit stains never would have seen one before, let alone two
"And they'll be waiting even longer now. Fetch him a clean uniform from his room, while I get us both ready"
Levi was seething with rage. Eren's coughing wasn't easing. Small amounts of blood hovered in the air. Even if Eren's magic was healing him, he never should have been hurt in the first place
"I..."
"Get the fuck out of here, before I tear your throat out with my teeth"

Pulling Eren up towards the bathroom, the teen shook his head as Erwin left. Gasping down a few breaths, Eren's magic finally lessened once the bathroom door closed behind them
"What the fuck is his problem?"
"Probably the two huge dragons sitting outside. Draecia... doesn't generally visit the castle. Usually, we go to them, and as far as I know, this is the second time in since I became prince that they're here. Knowing him, he leapt right to the worst-case scenario"
Eren sighed softly, letting out a few small coughs before sighing again
"I think your dick broke my arse"
"Next time I'll remember to pull out before a mad man hurls you out of bed"
"That would be nice. Thank you"
Giving him a half smile, Eren groaned as he stretched up, cracking his back, then slumped back against him
"I'm getting old"
"Yes. You're fucking ancient. But seriously, are you ok? You hit the wall hard"
"My magic's working on it... I hit my head, and well, with Erwin's anger, it freaked my omega a bit. I feel a little clingy, and a whole lot nervous"
"Fucking Erwin..."
"I'll be ok"
"You shouldn't have to be ok. I get that he panicked, but he had no right to lay hands on you in such a way"
Moving to stand in front of Eren, he gathered him into a proper hug, Eren slowly returning the embrace
"Master. Just... you'll be there, right? I have no idea how to address official people. Zeke came onto me, and I don't have the most conventional relationship with you... So I can keep my mouth shut, right?"
This little shit. God. He was perfect. Kissing Eren cheek, he nodded
"Yes, I'll be right there. But do you know how to keep your mouth shut? And what do you mean Zeke came onto you?"
"I mean you left me entertaining him. And I can be quiet, not like you last night. The whole castle probably heard us"
"Let them"
Eren huffed, pushing him off
"Or not. Help me shower? My emotions are being stupid, and it's making it hard to control my magic"
"Should I be worried?"
"How do you feel about Erwin being set on fire?"
"I think it's going to stink. Let's not set him on fire in here"
"Great. Well, if he's dead, you get to be the prince for real..."
"Don't even joke about it. You have no idea how much paperwork there is. And how much arse kissing goes on behind the scenes"
Eren laughed, but the sound seemed forced
"Don't lie to me, we both know you love arse kissing"
"Purely yours. Now we behave, we have a meeting to attend and we both need to be on our best behaviour"
"You need to be on your best behaviour, I need to keep my mouth shut"
Somehow, Levi doubted it would play out like that.

*
Erwin was still in a mood as he followed Eren and Levi through the castle and out to the training grounds. The field of roses crushed beneath the giant beasts that filled the space. Eren insisted he was fine, but the omega was fooling no one with his anxious scent. Levi had found one of his fur cloak's that was long enough not to look stupid on Eren's tall frame, and it seemed to the alpha that the mage was trying to disappear into it. Normally matters of the state would be discussed in the sunroom, as it was one of the nicer rooms of the castle, but the two dragon riders from Draecia had preferred to stay outside with their dragons. Gasping, Eren was adorable as his mouth hung open at the sight of the two dragons, one white with pink through its scales, obviously younger than the second older grey and grizzled dragon that had clearly seen more than a few battles in its time. Leaning in, Erwin whispered
"Don't do anything to embarrass us"
"He won't. Eren, do you need a moment"
"You could give me a fucking lifetime and I wouldn't be ready for this. Couldn't they have just sent a letter back?! They're massive!"
"The first time I saw a dragon, I fainted"
He hadn't really, though it'd been pretty damn close. The huge black beast which was the head dragon at the time had looked like something sent from hell to claim his soul. It's twisting horns had been a reddy-black, giving it the appearance as if it's just gored something to death. As a young teen, he'd nearly pissed in fear
"That doesn't actually make me feel better... fuck... I'm not ready for this"
"Just bow and smile. That's all you can do"
"I can feel them... I don't think they like me"
"You think no one likes you"

Stopping on the edge of the rose field, the two riders walked through as if there went hundreds of thorn covered rose stems. With a smile on her face, the smaller of two riders seemed much more approachable. Her pink scales were more appealing than the grey scales of her partner. Striding right up to them, the pink scaled blond smiled widely
"Prince Erwin, thank you for seeing us. I am Princess Historia, and this is my sister Princess Freya"
The pair bowed, Levi and Eren bowing back
"Thank you for making the long journey down to see us. We had intended to visit soon"
"We know, but the thought of one of our own suffering with no answers, we felt we needed to come right away. Do you mind if our dragons join us?"
"Not at all"
Eren damn near leapt into his arms as both dragons morphed into people. Not all dragons had such abilities, only the dragons of the royal family, or of advanced age. The original dragon riders had been dragons that had taken human form, but as the centuries passed, they'd become two different species as dragon riders couldn't turn into dragons. As it turned out, Historia's dragon was a female named Ymir, while Freya's was an angry looking man who didn't give his name. Wrapping her arms around Historia, Ymir looked Eren up and down
"So he's the one. His scales are off"
"I'm sorry about Ymir. She's nothing if not brutally honest. Eren, may I look upon your scales?"
"Y-yes, your majesty"
Historia giggled. The girl really wasn't like the past dragon riders he'd met, who must have been the parents of the pair
"Historia is fine. This won't hurt at all"

Eren nervously passed Levi's cloak to him, as Historia closed the distance. Placing her hands on Eren's cheeks, she ran her thumbs over his omega's scales. Levi's alpha deciding now would be an appropriate time to be a jealous shit over it all
"Do you have scales elsewhere?"
"Across my nape"
"May I?"
Half kneeling, Eren exposed his nape to the princess. Levi nearly imploding as the woman's fingers softly traced the lines of the vow
"Simply beautiful"
Yes. Eren was. But what did that have to do with anything?!
"And you say these appeared after your last heat?"
"Indeed. My magic went out of control, and it took my master to bring it back in line"
Historia nodded, Ymir pulling her close as if also jealous
"You may rise"
Standing, Eren looked to Historia
"Do you know what this is?"
"I have a very fair idea. But we'll need to use the oracle's altar to confirm. Is that alright with you, Prince Erwin?"
"Yes, of course. We are most anxious to understand what is happening to Eren"
"Excellent. Well then, we'll let you lead the way"
Lead the way... he had no fucking idea how to get back to that shiny cave...
"Of course, my bodyguard Levi is more than happy to lead the way"
It was nowhere near enough payback from the anger that Erwin had demonstrated against Eren, but it was a start. He doubted Erwin could actually remember the way down to the glowing cave, and though he may be embarrassed when the man got them lost, it was worth. Erwin was going to be paying for his little stunt for a long time coming.

Erwin was lost, but Eren saved the man from the embarrassment by guiding Levi with small covert touches, and somehow the alpha seemed to know what he as happening, despite walking in front of them. Leading them down to the altar, the room was just as glowy and weird as it'd been the night of Eren's heat... though there were significantly less horny alphas and omegas. Walking up to the altar, Eren ran his finger over the top of it, drinking in everything he'd been too horny to see last time
"What do you need me to do?"
"We'll have you remove your boots and cloak. Also, Prince Erwin and Levi, we'll need you to stand back. It may look strange, or if Eren is pained, but I assure you that he will be most comfortable throughout it"
Levi wasn't "assured" over anything. He'd seen Eren the last time he'd been on the altar, and that wasn't a sight he wanted to share with 4 strangers and the alpha Arse formally named Erwin
"What will you do?"
"We'll summon Eren's true magic to the surface"
"True magic?"
Historia gave him a sympathetic look as if she knew he was completely magically inept
"Every magic user has a natural affinity to some aspect. Freya's speciality lies in metals and metal manipulation. Mine is in life forces and healing"
"They said Eren's was destructive..."
"Yes, well. No offence, but Eldia magic isn't as potent as Dragon magic. Eren, if you please. This won't take long at all"
Passing his cloak and boots to Levi, Eren gave him a firm nod. The mage had more faith in the strangers from Draecia than he did.

Laying on the altar, Historia stood at the end with her hands on Eren's ankles, while Freya stood at the other with her hands in Eren's hair. It was hardly as magical as the ritual had been. The cave was bright, there weren't any mysterious figures, and Eren had his clothes on. So no. Nowhere near as magical
"Are you ready?"
"I guess so?"
"Just relax. Remember, nothing you see can hurt you"
"That's not very reassuring"
"I'm sorry Eren. But I promise we'll give you all the answers you need once we confirm this"
"It's ok. I mean, I did write to you asking for answers"

Historia was passable, at least she tried to make an effort with Eren, unlike Freya who just looked annoyed. Nodding at her sister, Eren's body arched, both women holding him down as his trademark storm formed above them, brewing to the same intensity as it had been during his ritual. Beside him, Ymir let out a low whistle, the woman leaning on his shoulder like he wasn't supposed to be a prince
"Your little boy toy's a storm dragon"
"A what?"
Ymir dragged out each syllable of her reply
"A storm dragon. Am I speaking slowly enough for you?"
"He's human"
"Right? Just like you're not screwing him. We all know. You two smell like rabbits in heat. He's kind of dorky looking, don't you think? Still, you did pick yourself a hard one. Storm dragons never last long"
Levi turned to Ymir with a glare on his face, the woman shrugging
"What? Why?"
"He's a tiny little human, with a whole lot of power. Even Freya's worried"
"Worried about what?"
"Eren. Are you stupid? Were you dropped on your head? I'm sorry that your education system failed you"
Levi didn't give two shits that she was a dragon. Her annoying freckled face and shit-eating grin were grating on his nerves
"You're thoroughly unpleasant"
"And you're tiny. Do you need to use a stepping stool to pee in the toilet like a real man?"
Levi spluttered. He had no idea what to say!
"Calm down, it's just about over. You'll have your precious lover back soon"
"How does Historia tolerate you?"
"Don't let her appearance fool you. Historia is part of the new age of royals. Draecia isn't the quiet meek country you think they are"
"Don't confuse us with Marley"
"I thought you two were best friends"
"Despite your horrible attitude, I'd still rather have you at our royal dining table, than Prince Pin-dick"
Ymir burst into laughter, straightening up and slapping Levi on the back
"You might be small, but, fuck. I think I might just like you"
Leaning in, Erwin glared at both of them
"Is it really appropriate to be laughing?"
"Relax Big Brows, Historia and Freya are done"
"How do you know that?"
"Well, that magic storm is shrinking, and your mage boy is sitting up"

Eren was sitting up, Levi having missed it as he faced Ymir to talk. Sliding himself off the altar, he looked the best out of the three. Walking over to Eren to return the cloak and shoes, he hunched as he coughed
"Are you ok?"
"I'm fine. I didn't feel anything... did you?"
"No. I mean, I know your magic formed, but I didn't feel anything"
Slipping the cloak around Eren's shoulders, Eren whispered
"I think Historia was in my mind... I remembered some things"
"Are you alright? With what you remembered?"
"Yeah... I got a good reading of them too. We can trust them"
Eren went about putting his boots on, Levi's whisper raising as he turned back to being the prince he was supposed to be
"That's something. Historia, Freya, can you tell us what you've learned?"
Historia smiled, Ymir had moved to her side while Levi had tended to Eren. Leaning into Ymir, the pair looked genuinely happy together. He'd heard the bond between rider and dragon was something entirely on another level, and it was easy to see why. Though, Freya's dragon didn't move to her side
"Yes. Though perhaps we should go, somewhere we can sit down and talk. This may be a lot"
"Of course. The sunroom, perhaps?"
Historia gave a quick nod, before kissing Ymir on the cheek. She really wasn't like the dragon riders in the stories
"That sounds excellent. I can feel a lot of dragon magic within this castle. I would love to consult with your magic users over it"
"Naturally. We recently discovered dragon relics within the storage rooms, which we would like to return"
"We have plenty of time to discuss the times of interest, but let us solve the mystery of Eren first?"

Chapter Text

Seated next to Levi, Eren was waiting for Historia to begin her explanation. On his other side, Erwin was gripping the arm of the sofa so hard, that Eren was surprised it hadn't broken. Despite knowing Levi wouldn't hurt him, Erwin's actions had been what he'd expected from Levi over his newly formed scales. Since meeting the Draecia pair, and their dragons, he'd felt so incredibly nervous that his stomach was rolling rather ominously... and this silence wasn't helping anything. He didn't care if Historia needed to pick her words, he just wanted some kind of answer about what he was. His distress was slowly rising to panic, and while Levi's scent was warm and calming, Erwin's angry scent left him waiting to be thrown down on the floor.

The silence between the seven of them wasn't broke until two of the maids came up with the smart cart from the kitchen. On it was two teapots, several cups and an apple pie that smelt divine. Serving them, the maids left when they were done. Erwin finally breaking the silence as the man reached for his cup of tea
"I assure you it isn't poisoned"
Historia nodded brightly
"I know. I can smell no traces of poison. I'm sorry, I was just lost in my own mind. Eren, can you tell me about your childhood? When did you first discover your magic?"
The mage didn't like being the centre of attention, even if he'd warmed up to Historia. Nervously, his thigh rubbed against Levi's as he sat straighter, he desperately wanted to sink into Levi's side but didn't want to do anything that may be considered an insult. The alpha not shying away as he placed his hand on Eren's knee, lit a flame inside him as a small amount of courage started to swell at the touch. Levi hadn't deserted him, even though he was less than human by the looks of it. As if reading his mind, Levi smiled softly at him
"It's alright. No matter what you say, we won't judge you"
Levi might not, but Erwin would... Still, the two princesses had travelled so far to be there, so needed to be open and honest
"It was rather normal. I lived with my father, Grisha Yeager, and my mother, Carla Yeager. When I was about 7, we adopted Mikasa Ackerman after the death of her parents at the hands of bandits. I was ten when I first noticed my magic. It was... um, small sparks of fire around my hands and fingers. I had no control over it, so I'd wear gloves. My mother died when Marley invaded Eldia from the south, and my father went missing soon after that. Mikasa, and our friend Armin, both found places here, within the castles, while I lived on the streets for the next two years. While living on the streets, I developed a life-threatening infection in my lungs. I was starving, and riddled with infected and weeping bug bites and bruises. The winter of my 12th year had been particularly brutal. The streets were clogged with rain and rubbish, and I knew I was dying. I was simply too sick, each time I coughed there was blood and gunk. It'd been raining, and I wanted somewhere dry to... to die. I wanted to be with my family when I did, but I was so weak I collapsed in the stables, and so scared of what they'd say... so I decided I just wanted to be near them. It was there that Prince Erwin found me. I was so sick that my first heat hit, aged 12. The castle healers healed me the best they could, then I spent 5 years in an omega sanctuary, until returning here to vow myself to the kingdom around 4 months ago"
Historia nodded, leaving in to take her teacup into her hold
"And you couldn't control your magic all before your heat?"
"No. It was simply sparks, after my first heat... well... I have no idea how it happened, but it had a mind of its own. I'd levitate, cast wind, fire and storms, all before my vows were taken. The sanctuary guardians had never seen such a problem child"
"And after your heat, and your vows?"
"I couldn't practice and learn as my master didn't have the time to train me. I read the books, but my magic wouldn't work. It wasn't until we both suffered effects from it, that he stepped into his role. Since then, I've had a lot more control"
"Except for his last heat. He cast a storm that lasted for days, and winds that broke every window in the castle"
Historia pursed her lips, pausing as she raised the cup towards her lips. Ymir glaring at Erwin, as she wrapped an arm around Historia's shoulders
"These questions are directed to Eren, not to you. Please do not interrupt her royal highness when we are here about your kingdom's mage"
Ymir he liked. Eren decided that right there and then
"Levi is right. I attempted to spend my heat alone, and lost complete control of my magic, with no memory of what happened. I was fevered and delirious, which didn't ease until my master came for me"
"And you and your master have suffered symptoms? Can you explain?"
"The first time was that he coughed up a dragon scale. The second time, I coughed up a stem of belladonna. The third time he coughed up paper. Also, when I was injured, the marks appeared on him. He felt my pain, and bled for me"
"Have you had times when extreme power welled inside of you?"
Eren's heart sank... he really wasn't human
"Y-yes. I try to keep it under control, but it's affected by mood. I was travelling with a court scientist when we were attacked to bandits. I don't know how it occurred, but I turned them to stone"
Historia sipped her tea, the smile never leaving her lips
"What else have you done?"
"He's filled rooms with white roses and petals. Caused the largest apple tree ever seen to appear in the castle courtyard. Grown the field of roses you landed on. Reconfigured castle hallways..."
"Levi. That's enough. Eren can speak for himself"
Erwin sounded like a child anxious to dob a sibling in for their bad behaviour. Eren nodded, feeling a braver as he pushed closer to Levi and having Levi allowed it
"I've also cast fire from air, then used the iron in my blood and in the air to produce a sword, which I turned into a crown. I've filled rooms with rain and snow, and I've been practising summoning winds in defence. They're hard, and usually, slice my arms up, but I think I'm getting there"
"Your powers are excellent. Just what we'd expect of a storm dragon"

A what now? He couldn't be a dragon... he was human... -ish?

"There's no need to look so confused. Like Ymir, you are a storm dragon. Ymir's an earth dragon, so maybe not just "like". It's not overly rare, I mean, no. No, new dragons have been born to the Paradis island population in generations, but as you must know, Marley, Draecia and Eldia all used to be a combined empire. Storm dragons are the rarest of all, as they are generally born weak. This is why your lungs won't heal, despite your magic"
"I'm not a dragon"
Historia giggled
"Yes, you are. Your flames came young, but they came. And though I can't say how far back it was, there was a rider or original dragon in your bloodline. You have also inherited magic from one of your parents"
If he was a dragon, he couldn't stay by Levi... he'd have to leave...
"I'm... not a dragon"
Historia's smile widened further
"You may repeat that as many times as you like, but you are. You're also being limited in this castle. Your true magic suppressed by your Eldia magic user side. If you stay here, your powers will grow, but you'll never be able to use them to your full potential. And without training to control your dragon magic, you will die"
Now her smile disappeared, her face becoming firm. Eren blinked a few times in disbelief
"I'll die?"
"Yes. Dragon magic is old and absolute. It's also incredibly dangerous to its wielder without proper and thorough training"
He didn't want to die. He didn't want to do that to Levi... Yes, he'd been preparing to find a way to leave the man so he could wed Petra, but if he died, Levi would be hurt and blame himself
"But... I have a master"
"Yes, the Prince. And while he helps to channel your magic flow, you will need proper training"
"How can you know all of this?"
Historia sighed
"I know a great many things. Like the truth that the three of you carry. I have no wish to cause a scene, but as Eren is part dragon, he falls under international laws governing dragons. It is also for his own protection that we request he comes with us"
"But, my bond. He's my master"
"Eren, he's more than that. As a youth, he saved your life and imprinted on you. The lingering affections you feel is because you chose him to be your rider, with no idea you'd done so. I assure you, time apart will be painful, but it is far better than being taken and cut to pieces for your body parts. Even with the small levels of dragon blood in your veins, you're still valuable to the wrong people. I do not wish to scare you, but you need to be prepared"

Eren felt himself growing teary. Wiping his cheeks, he shook his head to deny it all
"I'm just an omega..."
Pulling him close to him, Levi rubbed his arm
"You're a lot just an omega. Is he truly in danger?"
"Yes. Recently more and more of our kind are being wounded. Now Marley has started moving, there is a threat on that front. They have created cannons capable of harpooning dragons and dragging them from the sky"
"I thought you guys didn't like war?"
"We don't. We honour ways and traditions of accepting all those of dragon blood"
Why did he have to be part dragon? It made no sense to him. He was just a mage with a major problem
"I think you've scared him, Historia"
Eren didn't know if he liked Ymir now that she pointed out something that didn't need to be said, though he did like the fact she didn't seem to have a filter on her mouth. It was a lot to take in. Like everything else over the last week had been, and he knew he was being childish over it. He did like the woman. He felt something warm from her, and a familiarity though they'd never met
"Can I have some time to think?"
"Of course you can. We wouldn't dream of tearing you from your home without talking. Besides, if you came with us, we wouldn't expect you to do so alone. The prince cannot join us, but perhaps you can think of someone else who would ease your loneliness?"
"Eren isn't going anywhere without me"
Sighing, Eren wished that was true, turning back to the alpha he placed his hand on Levi's
"You cannot give up your kingdom. Marley would see it as you siding with Draecia without them"
"I don't care"
How selfish could Levi be?! Again, he knew he was blowing it out of proportion, but he'd seen so much messed up shit on the streets. Eldia couldn't survive another war
"Well, I do! God. It's the Petra argument all over again. You have to consider all aspects of this"
Behind him, Erwin grabbed his shoulder
"Eren. Know your place"
Erwin could fuck off. Actually. Everyone could. Apart from Historia. He didn't care about protocol and not insulting anyone anymore. He'd come to the castle to be with Armin and Mikasa, ended up falling for the public prince, who was to be wed, and now he had to leave his home, all while dealing with coming out of his heat
"Princess Historia, may we speak in private? I have a few more questions"
Historia took the out, smiling again
"I would be delighted to"
Climbing to his feet, Levi grabbed his hands. The man staring up at him, his eyes filled with pain and a silent plea to stay
"I need to converse with Historia. I cannot make an informed decision until I do. Perhaps you can take this time to fill Princess Freya and her dragon in on the incident with Prince Zeke and the dragon egg? Would that be alright?"
Freya clicked her fingers, and Eren's eyes widened in shock as the fossilised egg appeared in her lap. That was so fucking cool! He'd never heard of a spell that could be done mentally and have such instantaneous results
"I would say that is a yes. Shall we walk as we talk?"
Not wanting to force Historia to be alone or uncomfortable, Eren gestured to Ymir
"I would like that. Ymir, will you be joining us?"
"No. Ymir will be remaining here. I am sure you have some rather personal questions to ask, such as about your heat and a dragon's pregnancy?"
Eren's face paled. His herbs were for human omegas... which he wasn't. Maybe Levi should be there? If they were going to discuss pregnancy
"Relax, you are not with child. Dragon pregnancies last for two years and given your human nature, and a pure blooded human partner, the birth would be of a child rather than an egg"
The dragon egg was huge. His arse clenching at the thought of hours spent in labours to birth something so large. Maybe if they were smaller? Shaking his head, he hurried around the side of the coffee table. And two years?! And how many children would he carry? And if it was eggs, how many eggs? He could probably carry a fair few, but how would he explain that to Levi? Birthing a whole clutch in the alpha's bed seemed a bit extreme, though also appealing. God. No. He didn't want to birth eggs out his arsehole like he was some kind of chicken... This was a conversation liable to send both he and Levi into a meltdown
"Yes. Well. We can discuss this as we walk"

*
Eren felt as if his head was going to explode from everything he'd learned during his talk with Historia. Historia couldn't explain everything to him, as he hadn't agreed to leave, but he was strongly swayed toward accepting her offer. The magic the princess could do was beautiful. Their walk had lead them back out to the rose field for privacy, Historia impressed over the field, while Eren wasn't as much. He didn't know how to remove the roses, without ruining the training field. Historia did. Before his eyes, the plants slowly "ungrowing"?, or "growing in reverse". He wasn't sure what to call it, but bit by bit, they sank back into the soil, leaving behind a dusting of rose petals across the field. Raising her hands, Historia called up a wind, the petals swirling into the middle of them, before coming together to form a small white dragon, then rushing up and disappearing into the clouds. He had no words for how dainty and light her magic seemed to be, and it felt so warm and calming that he wanted to throw his arms around her. Laughing happily at the look of amazement on his face, Historia suggested they cast while they talked.

From their mid-morning meeting, until late afternoon, the pair of them discussed their magic. Historia taking the time to walk him through spells the Draecian way, with him echoing it back to her in what he understood of the Eldian way. With her hands over his, she helped to mould his magic into something he never knew he could do. To have someone who practised magic and wanted to discuss things with him was exciting, he wasn't just casting what Hanji wanted him to try. He wasn't fumbling in the dark. He wasn't being snubbed by other castle mages and their masters. He'd thought it would be like the sanctuary, with the mages of the castles learning together, but they seemed to do their own thing, which he was on the outside of. He'd learned well enough on the streets when he wasn't wanted.

Fetched by Erwin for dinner, the three of them had returned to the castle in silence. Eren growing more and more nervous as he found himself nearing Levi. Just thinking of the alpha sent his thoughts scattering and his heart racing, leaving him wavering over leaving. He'd thrown Levi's life into chaos, and now he was preparing to leave him behind... How cruel could he be? By the time they reached the dining room, Eren was ready to run. Erwin strode into the room ahead of them, Historia following while the mage was struck by the woman at the table he didn't know by face, but knew by smell, and hence by name. Petra. Seated to the left of what was Erwin's seat, the woman's eyes were firmly on Levi. All it took was that instant for the omega to know, Petra had her eye on Levi. The woman had feelings for his lover, and he didn't like it one bit. With shaky steps, he moved to take his seat between Historia and Levi, a seat he didn't feel he had to right to take, given he wasn't royalty. Waiting until he was seated, Levi gave a small smile that matched his worried scent
"How was your talk?"
Historia nudged him with her elbow, Eren wishing she'd answer instead, but that wasn't happening
"Informative. Princess Historia's magic is simply incredible"
"And Princess Historia, how is our mage? Does he meet your standards?"
"Well and truly. Eren's magic may have an Eldian twist, but it's strong and I believe he'll make an exceptionally talented caster"
Eren shook his head
"Your magic is so light, I've never felt anything as warm and accepting as it is"
"That's because you're yet to learn yours completely. We would very much like to take him with us"
Levi's smile slipped
"Eren and I will need to discuss this"
"Of course. I wouldn't remove him from your court, and side, without doing so"

Historia had no idea she'd misspoken in front of Petra. With Erwin's command in place, he hadn't been able to fully explain the situation in his own words. All she knew was what she'd seen in her mind, and that he was under command not to speak of it. Looking to her sister, Freya sighed at her
"The egg?"
"You read my mind"
"It's dead. It contains no sparks of life and very little magical residue, but we'll be taking it with us. It's from the clutch of Obsydin. Most likely taken before he was slain, soon after it was birthed. It had no time to absorb his powers or life force. Thankfully it won't be hatching"
Eren had never thought a dragon rider would be happy over an egg that'd never hatch. Looking to Historia, she patted his arm
"It's for the best. He... he was a dragon who lost his way. Though this was about 300 years ago before Marley, Eldia and Draecia went their separate way. It was the royal family who managed to slay him with a sword through his heart. Everything made of him was burned into nothingness, including his clutch and kin, his sins so great. They say the last thing he did was curse the whole world, but you can't have a good story for the generations without a curse or two"
"I've read something about something similar to that. In it, the knight was a smithy. He'd been drafted and found himself in a situation he wasn't prepared for, managing to slay a great black dragon that shook the world and blackened the sky, with a cheap shot to the heart by sacrificing his men. It said he became the first "Smith", using the name to never forget his humble beginnings"
Historia giggled lightly
"I think your story has been given some embellishments, but I wouldn't be surprised. Royal history is all about making themselves look good"
Levi sighed as he raised his fresh cup of tea, the maids going about serving them, while Eren was hoping he wasn't coming across as an idiot to Freya and her dragon
"I quite agree. I'm sure Eren will be able to show the book with the tale inside. He's quite well read"
"That would be excellent. Though we do not intend to impose for long. One or two more days. I'm sure you must understand that there are things we have to attend to"
"Yes, unfortunately, our work is never done"
"That is very true"
"If you need anything at all, please don't hesitate to ask the guards at your rooms or the maids. You have come such a long way, the least we can do is make sure you are comfortable"
"Thank you. I'm sure we shall"

Dinner was mostly conversation back and forth between Erwin and the Princesses. Ymir providing the occasional snark at the man, and Levi joining in when talked to. Beneath the table, Levi had engaged the teen in a game of footsies, which Eren was trying hard not to let show. It wasn't exactly easy then Levi's boot would slip sometimes and the man would temporarily lose, leaving Eren feeling like laughing, despite the angry looks that Petra kept sending his way. Levi had already noticed the silent exchange, that's what had led to their childish game.

When dinner wound up, they retired for the night. Historia and Freya were both tired, and being the polite person he was, Levi insisted on showing them to their room, with Erwin by their side. Only he and Petra were left behind, and Eren didn't really want to end up yelled at. Yet, he wasn't fast enough. Turning to walk towards Levi's room, Petra sidestepped around him, forcing him to stop. Glaring up at him, Eren wondered how the woman would feel if he picked her up and moved her aside
"What is your relationship to the prince?"
Be nice. Be nice. Be nice...
"I'm sorry... I don't believe we have formally met. I'm Eren, a court mage"
Extending his hand, it was ignored
"I'm Petra, the prince's fiancée"
"It's nice to meet you"
"Don't give me that. You're sleeping with the prince and that will stop"
"Excuse me?"
"You've come from nothing. Don't think that it hasn't been noticed how you've wormed your way into the good graces of Prince Erwin"
Beee niiiice...
"I..."
"You're a dirty whore. Prince Zeke informed me of how you've been trying seduced the prince with your magic. It is by royal decree that I shall be marrying Prince Erwin"
Eren wanted to laugh, but he was also slightly scared of the woman. Being nice wasn't working. She may look soft and petite, but the sword on her hip wasn't
"That's not what Prince Erwin has said"
There was an almighty slap across his face
"You will not ruin this for me! I have loved him for years, and I will not have a gold-stealing whore ruining everything"
"I'm sorry, but you have no idea what you're on about"
"I demand you leave him alone"
"Oh, you don't have to worry about that, you nasty bitch. The prince has voiced out loud that he has no intention of ever loving or marrying you. Even if I am leaving, that doesn't open him up to you. He is his own person. He deserves to find love for himself. You need to realise he doesn't want to marry you"
"How dare you! When I'm the princess..."
"How dare me? You literally only just met me, yet you are hurling abuse at me without knowing anything. You went out of your way, to stake a claim on a man that's above both of us. Now, I am retiring to my quarters. I would strongly suggest you do the same, lest you hear something you don't wish to"
If he was leaving Levi, he wanted to have one more night with him, because once he left, he didn't know if he could return. And more importantly, what would be between them when he did.

*
Levi wasn't at his quarters when Eren reached them. Letting himself in, he stripped and showered before waiting on Levi's bed. The moment the door opened, the teen rushed to alpha, pulling him into the room as Levi kicked the door closed, their lips already against each other as Eren drew Levi to bed. Pushing him down, Levi's smile was soft and genuine
"Did you miss me?"
"You have no idea"
Eyeing Eren's already hard dick, Levi raised an eyebrow
"I think I have some"
"It's your fault. Do you know how hard it was to behave at dinner? Each touch went straight to my dick"
"Well then. I must take responsibilities for my actions. Show me how much you want me as I strip"

Spreading his legs, Eren moaned as he slowly fucked himself with his fingers. He shouldn't need Levi as much as he did, but having his master between his legs was all he wanted. When Levi finally climbed into bed, the alpha's lips went straight to his neck
"So beautiful... you have no idea"
Wrapping his legs around Levi, Levi moved to slowly sheath himself in Eren's heat, both moaning at the sensation
"Fuck... Eren... you're perfect"
Laughing, Eren took Levi's face in his hands, sitting up to kiss the alpha happily. Rolling his hips forward, Eren let out a groan, breaking the kiss
"Less talking, more moving"
"So demanding, my little dragon"
"Mmm... you're my rider, so ride me"
Levi let out a laugh, grabbing him by the hips and pulling him up
"As you wish"

The sex was soft and warm, Levi always placing his comfort before his own. His touches infuriatingly loving and caring, when all Eren wanted to be was fucked. They had the rest of the night to enjoy each other's bodies. Growling at how slow the alpha was going, Levi stopped completely
"What?! Don't stop"
"Don't growl"
"Don't tease me. I won't break"
"I know you won't, but maybe I want to savour every moment with you"
"Then savour it faster... or lay down and let me fuck myself"
"You're so impatient..."
Levi slowly pulled out, before pushing back in hard. Eren letting out a strangled cry. Stupid and unwanted tears welled in his eyes
"Brat?"
"Please, Master... I don't know how much longer I can stay by your side... I want to feel you..."
"Hey... if you think I'm letting you, you're sorely wrong"
"I'm a dragon"
"And I'm in love with you. These are just facts of life. My affections aren't going to vanish so easily"
"Really?"
"Yes, now let me love you"
"I don't want to hurt you"
"I could see it on your face when you returned. How happy you felt... I'm a selfish prince. I won't let you die"
Unwrapping Eren's legs, Levi took him by the thighs and spread them wide as he peppered kisses near his knees. The man taking his time to fuck him slowly into a weeping mess. When Levi knotted him, the alpha pulled him up into his lap, Eren nuzzling into Levi's neck as he tried to remember what breathing was
"I had feelings and affections for you before you discovered you were part dragon. That hasn't changed. And I hope as you complete your training, you'll remember me fondly"
"Remember you? I'm going to write every day, I can... I don't want to be in love with you. I wanted to separate from you, without hurting you. But I can't..."
"We're bonded. You're my dragon, and I'm your rider"
"You're not mad?"
"How could I be? The affections of such a beautiful omega, who happens to be part dragon. And cares so deeply for those Eldia have failed. I'm a lucky man. I just wish we didn't have to hide"
"Historia knows. I didn't talk about it"
Levi kissed his neck, nodding softly as his thumbs massaged Eren's hip bones. He could smell a second round starting, despite Levi still knotted and coming
"I figured as much. Don't let it worry you"
"But it does. So much. I don't want Eldia to fall into war. I don't want the people to suffer, or you to be held accountable"
"Hey. We'll figure something out. We always do"
"Petra knows"
Levi pulled back, his thumbs digging into Eren's hips
"She what?"
"Historia misspoke. Petra knows. She... she loves you"
"I don't love her"
"She won't let you go so easily"
"Then I'll tell her over and over until she understands"
"Maybe... maybe there's something going on with her?"
"It doesn't matter. I don't love her"
"But you'll talk to her? I mean, probably not alone, she's desperate... I feel like something is going on with her"
"Petra is a professional"
"But..."
"Eren, I'm tired of talking about her, when I'm in you"
Eren snorted, moving to kiss his master. Levi was right. He was talking too much
"I'm sorry. There's just so..."
"You're about to start again. Stop it"
"Make me"

Hefting him up, Eren screeched and clung to Levi
"What are you doing?"
"Taking you to the shower and fucking you there. Then bending you over the bathroom counter, and maybe on the floor... I'm not letting you forget my touch so soon"
"I feel like we didn't just spend five days in bed together"
"It's not enough. Before you, I'd never had sex. I was so nervous I wouldn't be any good, but you make me feel amazing"
Staring down at Levi, the man's eyes were filled with too much love for him. How could the man easily accept that him leaving would mean months apart?! And how could he be ok with Eren following his dream in this new direction?
"You're the only one I've slept with... the only one I want to. Even if... even if you have to marry Petra and have children..."
"You're getting stuck in your head again"
Reaching the bathroom door, Levi pinned him up against it. The man's lips sucking possessive hickies along his collarbone. He was young and stupid, so he didn't know what Levi's excuse for being in love with him was
"Then give me a night I can be stuck in forever. Each night's going to be long and lonely without you"
"Don't worry, little omega. I'll light a fire in you that never goes out"

Levi delivered on his promise, though insisted on taking his time each time. The two lovers ending up laying on a fur blanket in front of the fire. Eren felt stupidly loved up as he purred into Levi's chest, the alpha playing with his hair absentmindedly. Both of them were exhausted, but neither of them wanted to waste a moment together. Across Levi's stomach, Eren had written every protective prayer he could think of in their come. It felt as if once he was gone from his sight, everything would fall apart. Levi and Erwin had a whole kingdom to run, while he would be in Draecia, surrounded by people he didn't know. Rubbing his cheek against Levi's chest, Levi's right hand found his left, their fingers intertwining
"You're worrying"
"You know me too well"
"You're honest and easy to read. Though I'm hurt you're not blissed out to the point where you can't think"
"I'm plenty blissed out. I was just thinking about Draecia. It's... going to be a lot"
"You won't be alone"
"I doubt Historia will have time to be with me"
"No. I mean. You're not the only one who's thought about this. I'm sending Mikasa and Armin with you"
"You... why?"
"Mikasa to guard you, while I can't be there, and Armin to guide you with your studies"
"But they..."
"They both have their own duties. Armin's getting a promotion to our official liaison with Draecia. Erwin's always saying how much talent he has, and how smart he is. If he stays here, he'll never see the outside world. Mikasa is getting a promotion to your bodyguard. Because honestly, she scares me and I'm scared of the fall out of letting you go without her"
Eren snorted, before pressing three kisses to Levi's smooth chest
"She scares me too. I'm scared to be alone up there, but I don't want to die"
"You fought so hard to live. And I'm sure you're going to have the time of your life up there"
"I still don't know about my magic. I don't know if I can control it without you"
"You will learn. You could have taken an easy life and chosen to be wed. You could have slacked off on your studies, but you didn't. I have faith in you"
"You know... I thought you were an arsehole. I actually liked Fluffybrow's more than you... but I think he hates me now"
"Erwin is stressed. He didn't think our secret would spread from the four of us knowing it, to an omega who'd only just arrived. It's not really personal, he's just worried for the kingdom. Zeke has been stealing from us and visiting more often. He insults our ways of life and uses the throne of the king without respect. We can't have a king, as per the treaty. We can't even call Marley out on its shit publicly. We can't deny staff sent to use by Marley, and we're being taxed to the point of economic collapse. It's... also the first time I've ever started developing feelings for someone. I've had hundreds of women and men declare their love for me, but none of them ever caught my attention the way you did"
"What would you have done if I'd died in your stables?"
"Been mad at you for stinking the place up. Seriously. You were a wreck, and you fucking stank"
Eren pouted
"You try finding someone who'll let you take a bath with soap while on the streets..."
Leaning up, Levi kissed his hair, before dropping back with a groan, as if the movement had really been exhausting
"I wish I'd known. Though it's easier to say that now. Eldia was in such a bad state, far too many people were caught up in the fallout. It's not much better, but at least we're not under siege"
"Mmm. I don't want to think about it"
"You brought it up"
"I know. Speaking of up... do you think they'd notice if we didn't get up?"
"I think someone would come to find us. Besides, you've got to talk with Historia about that sword. Talking to Freya... made my headache"
"She does seem rather stoic"
"You try having her dragon, whose name I still don't know, and Ymir looking at like you like your an idiot"
"You're not an idiot. Ok. Maybe falling into bed with me wasn't that smart, buuut, you're smart and strong. You'll do what's needed for Eldia"
Levi's voice crackled slightly
"How can you have so much faith in me?"
"Because you seem to have faith in me. I mean, even with the power to command me, you only did it with my health and interests in mind. And you could have said anything at all"
"Do you want me to release you? Before you leave? I don't want it to be hard for you?"
"No... it's ok. I mean, I like this being between us. Just us"
"If you change your mind, I'll come"
"I won't"
"You're still very young. There's a whole world out there"
"And Eldia will always be my home"
"Eren, I'm serious"
"I know... I know you would"
"Good. I don't know how this will affect our bond or your vow, but I trust you not to go against the kingdom, and if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are, then come home"
"I will. I'll come back to you, more powerful than you can imagine"
Sliding up and into Levi's lap, Eren kissed Levi deeply, trying to convey everything he was feeling. Sharing a dozen long, languid kisses, Eren smiled as he stroked Levi's hair. He'd been through so much, but it truly felt like Levi would be waiting for him. Maybe they were being stupid and unrealistic, but he couldn't find it in himself to worry right now. It was just a bubble of him and Levi, where dreams were allowed to be spoken out loud
"And I'll be waiting"

Chapter Text

Draecia was complicated. Not at all what Eren expected, though he hadn't known what he had expected. The laws were absolute, as were their magic, and their customs made his head spin. Unlike in Eldia, betas and alphas could also cast magic, both male and female dragons could give birth, and most dragons stayed in their human forms. It was hard to tell who was who, and who he was supposed to show proper respect to. Eren had blundered more than once, which everyone seemed to find funny. They also didn't have a royal palace, instead, it was stretching manor house that their royal family called home. Eren, Mikasa, and Armin sharing a small log cabin on the property grounds, and Eren spent his heats in an underground chamber like the one in Eldia. Without Levi there, there was no relief, but Zeke had returned to Eldia when Levi declined the marriage to Petra. Levi had used some very colourful language over it all, which had left Eren in stitches as he'd read the man's letter. Petra was still keen to be married, resulting in an ultimatum for Levi between marriage and war, but he'd said they'd talk about when the met face to face. Levi had wanted to come be with him during his heat, but Eren felt his resolve would melt the moment he saw the man. He was in Draecia to learn, not to lament the distance between him and his lover. And there was a whole lot to learn. Their devotion to dragons and their oneness with magic took his breath away, and even after a year in their care, he still had no idea what they thought of him, Mikasa and Armin. Freya and the rest of the royal family ignored them for the most part, but Historia and Ymir had become firm friends, while Mikasa wasn't that keen on Ymir because she kept preventing her making a move on him. His relationship with Levi was still a secret, even to Armin. Ymir didn't get it, but she loved Historia and followed her lead. Besides, if the word got out that Draecia was harbouring the lover of the crown prince of Eldia, Zeke would be pissed. His letters from Levi were safely hidden away in Historia's room, and all letters passed through her hands to prevent prying eyes finding out. It was hard to believe a whole year had passed since leaving Levi. In that time, his magic had grown and he could now take shape in the form of a dragon, as well as a few other smaller creatures. His health had also improved, thanks to Draecia's climate being warmer than that in the centre of Paradis. He'd still fallen ill, but for the most part, his lungs seemed to appreciate the ocean air.

Having spent a year under the protection of Historia's family, the Reiss family, Eren was nervous for the upcoming festivities being held at the royal manor, due to begin the following week. Dragons were sacred, and the festival was to pay homage to them... including him, especially him. He had to be a storm dragon and all rare and stuff. If Eren had the choice, he'd spend the week like he spent every other, at home reading and comparing notes with Armin, while Mikasa practised her sword work. When he'd first arrived in Draecia, he'd been mistaken to think all the world's dragons lived there. They didn't. There were dragons that lived in mountains, in snow-covered peaks, and dragons that lived in deserts. There were even dragons that had chosen to reject having a rider and preferred to live in self-imposed isolation. As Levi was his rider, the man would be making the trip to pay tribute to him, which usually meant expensive gifts. The stories had been right, dragons really didn't seem to be able to help themselves when it came to shiny treasures. Ymir's room had so much gold in it, he'd been sure it was all the gold in the world the first time he'd seen it. All he had was the brooch from Levi, and honestly, he wouldn't trade Ymir's riches for it. He'd also told Levi that he showed up with gold, he'd be sleeping alone. As it was, Levi was bringing the up the sword found with the egg, because they'd become sidetracked searching for other dragon items in the castle vaults. For the most part, the items were small, made from teeth or claws and so old the magic had leached from them. Diamonds had also been found, and a trunk filled with infant dragon skeletons, which left him sobbing for the tiny lives snuffed out. The diamond and dragon bodies had been returned to Draecia. Feeling stupid for forgetting about it, Historia waved his concerns about the sword off, as she trusted Levi to keep it safe for the simple fact he trusted Levi.

To give the dragon's and their riders privacy, cabins across the Reiss land had prepared for all invited dragons. Magicked into existence, by his and Historia's hands. His magic was still a little shaky, his Eldia magic fought his dragon magic until Historia had preferred some ceremony with the help of half a dozen other dragons of the Reiss line to realign his magic. They all had different names for it, so he'd given up trying to follow. Armin could explain it all, but living with his best friends wasn't quite the happy, carefree life he'd imagined. Both his friends liked to hover, and Armin was as bad as Hanji with wanting to perform experiments, while Mikasa still seemed to want more from him, offering to spent his heats with him, which was a big fat no. He hadn't abstained for so long, just to sleep with her of all people.

*
Standing in the grassy field behind the Reiss manor, Eren was in his human form, next to Ymir as they waited for the Eldia party to arrive. There were half a dozen other Draecia dragons there, Historia and Freya, as well as Armin and Mikasa. But honestly, no one was really registering in his mind. Watching as two hulking dragons came sweeping down, his breath caught as his heart started to race. Levi. He could smell him. He'd really come to see him. He wanted to run to the alpha and throw his arms around him, but he needed to appear refined and civil, and not bring shame on the Reiss family.

Landing with a solid thud, both dragons lowered their necks so their passengers could dismount. Levi being the second one to do so, with the assistant of the red dragon's rider. His name was something boringly common, like Chad, Eren had had a small private laugh over it all. A huge dragon rider, with arms as thick as Eren's waist, named Chad. He couldn't get his head around it. God. It was so good to see Levi again... it was even nice to see Erwin again. He knew Erwin and Armin exchanged letters, and Eren had promised to provide Armin with that compatibility reading he'd mentioned so long ago.

Walking towards them, Levi's black uniform only made the alpha look even more handsome. The insignia on his epaulettes sparkled in the sun, while his open jacket hid the stops of the scabbards for the two ceremonial swords he wore on his hips. The man was every bit as breathtaking as he remembered, and a blush crept onto his cheeks as he began slicking for the man. 4 heats alone were really too many for his liking. Finally reaching them, Eren could just about purr with happiness. Bowing to the party, Levi didn't even look at him. Eren's heart stinking... and leaving him feeling stupid. He had been so excited to see Levi, and now... He knew there was protocol, but even a glance was have been enough
"Prince Erwin, thank you so much for coming"
"Princess Historia, thank you for your kind invitation"
"It'd hardly be appropriate to conduct the festival without you here. We have prepared a morning tea up at the manor to mark your arrival"
"That will be most nice, thank you. I'm afraid Levi isn't the hardiest flyer"
Erwin really did look pale and shaken, Eren feeling happier because of it. Not everyone took well to flying, Levi looked flawless which was a good sign. He'd never survive riding on Eren's shoulders if he couldn't handle a five-minute flight from Paradis island
"Flying is not for everyone. We have an excellent herb that will help settle your stomach in no time"
Erwin gave a weary sigh, he'd grown even paler in the few moments Erwin had been talking with Historia. If he thought that was bad, he was in for a deep shock when he met Rod Reiss. The man was one loose bolt off being a complete nut
"Thank you"

Falling into step at the back of the group, Eren walked beside Ymir unhappily. Even as they'd fallen into line, Levi still hadn't looked at him. Was he the only one who'd actually missed his lover? Levi had said he missed him in his letters, but those were just words, and reality was so much harder. He'd been so excited to see Levi again, he'd worked so hard and kept his dragon form hidden from Armin and Mikasa as he wanted Levi to see him before they did. With dragons always around, he could easily blend into the crowd. Even if they'd seen him, they wouldn't have known it was him. Glumly, he sighed to himself
"I thought you'd be happier"
It took Eren a moment to realise Ymir was talking to him
"What's to say I'm not?"
"I can smell it. We all can"
Stupid super senses
"I'm sorry. I was looking forward to seeing him, and I know he has to follow protocol. But now that he's here, I want to run"
"What's stopping you?"
Eren stopped, turning to face the woman
"I mean. Your honey's ignoring you. He probably wouldn't notice if you did leave"
"I'm supposed to be here"
"Your friends Armin and Mikasa have it under control. Go. Run. Be free"
"I..."
Looking back to Levi, he was engaged in conversation with Historia. Ymir was right. He wouldn't notice him gone
"I think I might..."
"You'll need to be at dinner tonight. It's formal attire"
"We both know I'm going to need to magic up something to wear"
"Then go sulk elsewhere until sundown. Hell. You can go yell at the soldiers carrying trunks, if you want"
"That's more your style"
Ymir shrugged
"What can I say? I hate those mindless sheep. Now go stink up the country somewhere far from here. I have to protect my Historia from your tiny pipsqueak"
"He'd lose his shit if he knew you were calling him that"
"And how is it my problem if people can't handle the truth"
Leaving him with that line, Ymir strode up to the group, easily reaching Historia's side. At least their love was public and accepted... he and Levi, were still a dirty secret. Maybe that's why Levi had come in person? It wasn't the festival at all, but that he wanted to release him from his command and leave him here. The nervousness gnawing at his stomach was only growing worse. His omega hated him for leaving Levi in the first place, and now he was turning his back on him again.

Spending his day down by the lake, Eren cursed the sky as the sun started to set. He liked the lake. He liked watching the water dragons bathing, or fishing for their riders. Technically it wasn't a lake, but the river mouth that was left of an ancient river system, that had been left dry in a great dragon battle. When heavy rains hit, the levee broke and seawater filled the space. Through careful conservation, the fish that came in with the waves were farmed year round, with ice dragons calling it home through the winter. Whenever Eren needed to think, he came to the red and real pagoda overlooking the space, spending hours just losing himself in his thoughts, until Armin would come and get at him, or Mikasa would come and yell at him for wandering around without protection. It wasn't like anyone here wanted him dead. There were many dragons much more powerful than he was. As far as he was concerned, she was overreacting.

Leaving for the party, Eren stopped by the cabin to shower first, before changing into his robes. Formal wear for dragons meant robes. His archenemy rearing its ugly head again, though these were nicer than the Eldia robes. Draecia robes had magic woven into them. The white robes Eren wore, were patterned with golden flowers that swayed lightly as if in a breeze, and on the back was a storm, showing his magical affinity. Brushing his hair out, he wore it down because it decided it didn't want to be pulled back into a neat bun. Eying himself in his mirror, he sighed at his appearance, exhausted already and he hadn't even seen Levi. Another downside to robes was the lack of anything under them, meaning his junk would probably be cold before the night was out, and meaning that the slick that was sure to spill the moment he saw Levi, was sure to be smelt. Even if such scents were smelt, it was ill manners to draw attention to them, but he still found it super embarrassing.

With heavy steps, Eren walked up to the manor house. Mikasa and Armin were both waiting for him out the front. Mikasa looked annoyed, but that was pretty much the norm, while Armin's excitement was barely containable
"Where were you?! Ymir said you had dragon things to take care of, but you were gone all day"
"Sorry, Armin I was down the lake. Why aren't you in there eyeing Levi off?"
Armin blushed, Eren moving to loop his arm around Armin's, squeezing his hand
"Don't tease me. While Erwin met with the family, Mikasa and I were left to fill him in"
That sounded about as fun as picking every single scale off an angry dragon. Starting up the manor steps, Eren pulled Armin with him
"Well, you can relax now. Let's have some wine, eat some expensive food and enjoy ourselves"
As they strategically avoided Levi and the way the man made him feel. Continuing into the manor, then into the grand dining room, Mikasa attached herself to his other side. Eren forced along by his friends when his steps had come to a stop at the sight of Levi at the far end of the room. Nursing a glass of wine, the man seemed to be happy enough, causing jealousy to flare in his gut. They'd been apart for a year, and Levi hadn't even sought him out in the hours since his arrival... it was a good thing the wine would be plentiful, or he'd never make it through the night with so many butterflies in his stomach.

Dinner was loud, Rod Reiss couldn't hold his alcohol well, so with each sentence he grew louder, while Historia looked embarrassed. Though Armin had wanted to sit closer to Erwin, Eren had sat at the very end of the table, forcing the beta to sit beside him and away from his crush. Through the whole dinner, Eren could feel Levi's eyes on him, leading to Eren drinking much more wine than he'd intended. He'd found he handled his alcohol far too well, so by the time he started to feel a slight buzz, he was 6 glasses in, which would have been 7, had Mikasa not cut him off with a comment that he had the whole night ahead of him. That was exactly why he needed the wine!

While the others retired to the sitting room to mingle, Eren made a run for it, by excusing himself to the bathroom. He couldn't leave the manor without being rude, so he sought out solitude on a second story balcony. What was he supposed to say to Levi? That he was sorry for running away? The man had wanted him to pursue his dreams, and now... What were they? Outside of a dragon and his rider... Levi had assured him he missed him, and still held affections... Why the fuck couldn't he just man up and face Levi?! He was right there. Just down the stairs! He could feel him...

"Eren?"
Eren's heart leapt into his throat. Levi was right behind him. He hadn't even heard the man approaching. Panicking, what he did next didn't make sense to anyone, not even himself. Hoisting himself up, he leapt off the balcony and took off running
"Eren?!"
Racing down the grassy slope where they'd met the Eldia party earlier, Eren had no idea where he was going
"Eren?! Would you stop running!?"
Looking over his shoulder, he found Levi chasing after him
"Go away!"
"No! Why are you running?!"
"I don't know!"
"Then stop!"
"I've already committed to this!"
"Well stop it!"
"Too late! It's happening!"
No one had ever said he was smart. Not looking where he was going, the teen tripped spectacularly over a tree root as he plunged into the forest at the end of the clearing. Knocked to the ground and winded, he groaned as he rolled over. Catching up to him, Levi panted, his palms on his hands as he sucked in deep breaths, a few moments passed before Levi groaned out
"What the hell was that?!"
Covering his face with his hands, Eren shook his head. Stupid shitty nature
"I don't know"
"Why did you run?"
"I don't know!"
Walking over to him, Levi took his arm and pulled him to his feet
"Now we've got that out the way, why don't you actually look at me?"
Eren shook his head again. God. He'd stacked it. Sprawled out with his robes everywhere and no underwear on... how was he supposed to recover from that? And now, on top of that, he was completely alone with Levi...
"I'm scared"
"You're scared?"
"You... didn't look at me... today"
"Oh, brat. I thought you would have learned to get out of your head by now. I wanted nothing more than to rush over and scoop you into my arms"
"I know it's your job, but I missed you. It's been so hard"
As he started to cry, Levi pulled his hands from his face
"It's been hard for me too. So many times I wanted to ignore your wishes and come"
"I... I was scared you'd come to end everything"
"No. No, Eren. I came because I couldn't take another day without seeing you"
Eren sniffled, wiping at his face
"I'm sorry... I started running and felt so stupid I didn't want you to catch me"
"I'm glad you tripped, I never would have otherwise"
"I'm not... it didn't feel great"
"Then you shouldn't have run. Where are we?"
"In the forest between the manor and the lake..."
"Is there someplace we can go and talk?"
"You want to talk to me?"
"No. I came all this way up here for no reason at all"
"I... I've missed you"
Levi pulled him into his arms, Eren melting into his hold
"I missed you too. Erwin said I've been an insufferable arsehole. More than once he threatened to have me boxed up and shipped here"
"I'm glad he didn't... I never would have learned anything"
"So your magic? It didn't go out of control?"
"It went completely nuts, without you. They had to realign it for me... and my heats... so many times I wanted to go back home to you"
"I'm here now"
"I know, here, come with me"

Creating a small fire wisp to guide them, Eren led Levi to the pagoda he'd spent the day hiding at. Below them, the night sky was painted in the smooth water of the lake. Without the dragon's there, the whole place was ghostly quiet and scarily intimate. Leaning on the pagoda's railing, Eren looked at out the view as Levi's arms wrapped around him from behind
"It's beautiful here"
"It is. This is my favourite place in all of Draecia. The ice dragons are really something else"
"It's only beautiful because you're here"
Turning in Levi's hold, Eren sighed softly. There were so many things he wanted to tell Levi. So many things he wanted to show him...
"I still can't believe you're here. I..."
Leaning up, Levi's lips found his, silencing him. After a year apart, neither of them could stand it any longer. Sliding his knee up between Eren's legs, Eren moaned into the touch. Talking could wait. Eagerly and hungrily kissing his alpha, Eren's hands fumbled Levi's pants undone. The alpha groaning as he took Levi's dick into his hand. As Levi's head lolled back, and alpha moaned, Eren latched to Levi's neck, mouthing sloppily with excitement
"Fuck... Eren... I can't wait"
"I can't either. My lips. My fingers. My skin and my heart can't wait"
"Turn around for me, beautiful"
Eren was grateful for his robes, as he turned in Levi's arms. Placing his hands on the pagoda rail, Levi ran his hands up his legs to hold his hips, Eren's robes gathering around his waist, slicking so hard it'd already run down his thighs to reach his knees
"I don't need prepping, I've been waiting for this all day"
"Only all day?"
"I've been waiting since the moment I... argh... nmm... fuck..."
Pushing into his heat, the stretch burnt, but he welcomed it. This was Levi. His Levi. He wanted to feel it all
"Shit... you're so fucking tight"
Pulling back, Levi slammed back in, Eren crying out in pleasure
"M-Master!"
"I can't hold back"
"Don't! Don't you dare!"
Reduced to open-mouthed gasps and moans, Eren felt as if he'd lost his mind as Levi abused his sweet spot
"I'm gonna... I'm... I'm gonna..."
Levi's knot flared, Eren coming down the inside of his robes, a second orgasm hitting on the heels of the first, his knees giving out as his body shook
"Fuck... fuck... god..."
Eren nodded in agreement with Levi. The alpha had slumped against him, kissing his back as nuzzled into him
"Shit..."
Eren giggled as he regained his breath, his giggle turning to a moan as Levi's hands slipped to his stomach, rocking slightly harder against him and jostling the man's knot
"Someone's eager"
"You weren't the only one waiting... please tell me there's somewhere we can spend time alone?"
"First you want to be alone to talk, now you want to be alone to fuck. Such a demanding prince"
"I expected you to realise I'm going to demand all of your time now I've caught you"
"Unfortunately, I do have other duties to attend to"
Levi growled and bit his back playfully
"Let's sit. There's a perfectly good bench here, and no one's going to come close"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah... they're all pretty respectful over sex here, and really open about it at the same time. You kind of just walk past it and that's it..."
"Oh?"
"Yeah... there's like zero shame"
"Sounds like you've been having fun"
"Watching everyone else in the arms of those they love, while you were so far away..."
Eren's scent filled with loneliness. Now that he was in Levi's arms, he could admit how lonely he felt
"I wrote when I could"
"I know. I still... really missed you"
"Here, come here"
Guided back, Levi sank down onto the pagoda bench, Eren sitting in his lap as they interlaced fingers. Letting his head rest on Levi's shoulder, he summoned up a dozen small fires to hover around the top of the pagoda, bathing the area in soft light
"They're new"
"They are. I've really learned a lot"
"And they've treated you well?"
"Yeah. Rod and his wife are a bit... weird, but Freya and Historia are looking toward the future..."
"And you?"
"Me what?"
"Are you looking toward the future?"
"In my own way. I do have a gift for you, but you have to wait until the festival for it"
"I have a gift for you too. I asked Historia for more details on the festival"
Eren sighed. Historia hadn't told him, but he wasn't surprised to hear that
"Of course you did"
"I wanted to make sure I showed the right respect"
"I don't need nice things"
"What's the point of being a prince if I can't?"
"I'm serious"
"I know. It's nothing too fancy"
Eren doubted that... It had been a year, after all
"You don't know my dragon form, so I'm not afraid to snob you if you try to gift me too much"
"You wouldn't"
"I just might. There's going to be so many dragons, you won't be able to tell us apart"
"I'd know you anywhere"
"Mmm. I don't know about that. And Historia has prepared a cover story, because you're human and the prince, you'll be looking after me as I'm from your kingdom. Mikasa has been quite mad about it all"
"Oh?"
"Yeah. But we can talk about that later... I'm just really happy to be in your arms again"
"And I'm happy to hold you. I really hadn't planned on jumping you"
"I know. It relieving to know that after a year, we're still just as compatible"
"It is. I was so nervous I'd fuck it up"
"I couldn't even tell. Historia won't be expecting us back, neither will Ymir. Can you stay? I want to share this view with you"
"Erwin will cover. I mean, I do need to debrief with you over your training"
Turning to kiss his alpha, he smiled
"Mmm. Make sure you debrief me nice and slowly, and thoroughly"
"I think I can do that"
"I'm a little slow, you might need to repeat yourself"
"I'm going to repeat myself so many times that you won't be forgetting any time soon"
"Good. I've been told I'm stubborn"
Levi's lips were against his as his master nodded
"You're the most stubborn brat I know, and I love it"

Chapter Text

Annoyingly, Levi found he couldn't get a moment alone with Eren after their first night together. Eren was working hard with Historia on the festival, while Urklyn Reiss was in charge of giving them a tour of Draecia. There really wasn't much he was interested in, though the architecture was kind of nice. In the centre of the main city was a museum housing dragon relics, though it seemed more a shrine or altar than a museum, with fresh offerings left by the descendants of the dragons within. It was all very prim and proper, not a single flower petal out of place, and Levi struggled to pay attention to it all... He just wanted to spend time with Eren before the festival began. He didn't know if Eren was coming back to Eldia once the festival was done, or if the omega intended to stay. He hoped Eren would be coming home, the castle wasn't nearly as full of life when he wasn't there, and he was still stuck with Petra living there. As usual, Eren had been right. There was more to the story and Petra had a reason for wanting to marry into the royal family. Her father was ill and she couldn't afford the medicine, or that was what she said when he'd found her in his chambers, waiting for him. Thankfully, he hadn't walked into the room without the guard stationed at the doorway, or she may have tried to pull something even more brazen. Zeke had just about exploded with anger of him declining his engagement, and that Eren was no longer in Eldia. Demanding answers, Levi told Zeke to write to Draecia and had heard through one of Historia's letters that the man had demanded to come and visit them. Her father didn't take well to demands, and Zeke had been denied entry. Levi had wished he could have seen the look on his face. He liked to imagine Zeke throwing a tantrum like a toddler, complete with throwing himself on the floor and screaming. First Eren had stopped him taking dragon relics, then Draecia had emptied the castle of the ones that could cause actual damage, and finally, the mage he'd wanted for his own was now gone. Levi couldn't deny disappointing Zeke had become the highlight of his life since Eren left. The omega had held up his end of things, writing regularly, but with each letter, it grew harder to open them. He missed the shitty brat far more than he'd thought he would, or could.

When the morning of the festival rolled around, Levi found himself sent up to the manor by Historia to prepare, as his military dress uniform wouldn't be enough for the opening ceremony. Everything that morning was overseen by maids, from bathing to dressing and eating. Not used to being fawned over so closely, Levi was forced to keep a tight rein in his emotions. These weren't the maids at the castle, they didn't know he could take care of himself and had accomplished dressing him over two and a half decades earlier. When he was adequately ready, he was lead through to a small sitting room, where Eren was waiting for him. Dressed in robes, Eren smiled as he walked in
"You look perfect. And pissed. I take it you were well attended to"
Walking over to the first plush chair, Levi threw himself down into it
"You might say that"
"If it makes you feel better, it's not just you who had to go through that, though Draecia's dragon riders are used to it. It's a purification ceremony thing. The water in the bath was blessed with spells, then herbs to keep the impurities away"
"Blessings... right"
"Don't knock the blessings. Especially not within Draecia, and nor within a house filled with dragons and riders"
"I'm not knocking the blessings... but I'm nearly 30. I can dress myself"
"I know you can, but you're not quite ready yet"
Levi groaned. He didn't want to be poked at again. He was finally alone with Eren, he wanted to cuddle into his omega... or at least mess his robes up again
"There's more?"
"Just two more things..."
Retrieving the box from the windowsill by him, Eren nodded to himself before continuing as he walked over to him
"Because you're human, and not a born dragon rider"
Placing the box in his hands, Eren stepped back. The omega smelling anxious about whatever was in there
"Open it"

Inside the box was a crown of scales. Each scale was various shades of green, and styled to mimic the natural scale structures dragon riders had. Levi was speechless... though not full dragon, the amount of scales in the box was enough for the teen to live a life of luxury
"Eren... how?"
"It's made with my scales and will keep you safe while on my back. Let's just say, learning to fly was an experience that ended with me crashing repeatedly. Depth perception is hard when you're not used to having such strong eyesight or a body the size of a building"
"Still... I don't know what to say"
He really didn't. It made his small gifts seem stupid
"Just put it on. Then I'll give you your second gift"
"I don't know if I can accept a second one, not with a gift like this"
"Stop making it more complicated than it is. You need protection while on my back, and I wasn't giving my scales to anyone other than you"
Levi definitely didn't want anyone else having Eren's scales, but his mind was still blown over how incredible the crown was... Lifting it from its black box, Levi placed it on his head. Sliding down into place, it was a weird sensation. The crown he wore in Eldia was heavy with gold and gems and didn't cover his face or ears. Instinctively, he wanted to push it up so it wasn't rubbing on his cheeks, but even without him there, Eren had managed to get every measurement correct
"It's not that bad is it?"
"No. It's different though"
"It's the face bit, isn't it? I tried my best..."
Eren looked disappointed in himself, and Levi didn't like it. The teen had gone to so much effort to create the crown, then imbue it with magic
"Eren, I love it. I didn't mean to look disappointed, or annoyed. I'm just not used to having something constantly against my cheeks. Plus, I don't know how I look"
He didn't want to look stupid in front of everyone. This was a very important day for Eren, and his tiny stature meant he was the smallest dragon rider of the group
"I'm still nervous. It took months to get it just right. Dragon scales are horribly sharp and don't like being forced into shape with magic, even when it's your own. I'm relieved it didn't cut your ears off... that would have been really awkward"
"I'm relieved my ears are still in place too. Do I wear this all day?"
"Yep. It identifies you belonging with me, so no other dragons or riders will mess with you"
Levi raised an eyebrow, he thought dragons were above such things
"They'd mess with a prince?"
"I totally wouldn't put it past them. Especially Ymir. She loves her practically jokes. One time, she put glue in Freya's face cream. Freya lost her shit over it"
"And what about you? What trouble have you need in?"
"Hmmm... my fair share. Mostly because I didn't want to talk about you. Anyway. Gift number two"
"I still don't know why I'm receiving gifts"
"Because I want to. And because I said so. And the crown is really more for protection, so I made you another gift"

His second gift was in a much smaller box. Drawing it from his robes, Eren didn't seem as nervous with this gift. Handing him the box, he flipped it open. Inside was a stylised brooch, much like the silver one he'd gifted Eren. Circular in shape, one of Eren's scales was seated in a central gold moulding, with small diamonds in the rim
"Eren... I thought you said no gold"
"It's not pure gold, it's an alloy with copper and silver"
"Still..."
"Don't still me. I was testing the skills I've been taught about metal manipulation, by Freya. The diamonds are clouded, so they're not worth much, and the scale contains magic for a charm"
"What's the charm?"
"Basically the scale holds a small portion of my magic and life force. If you're hurt, my magic will come from the scale and heal you. As long as we're together, it'll stay charged"
"It's not going to hurt you, is it?"
"Nope. But this doesn't mean you get to go hurt yourself"
"I have no intention. It's beautiful, brat"
"Sometimes I think you say beautiful too much"
"I'm a simple man. If it's beautiful, I'll say so. Is it ok to wear it?"
"That was the point of making it. Because I'm mostly human, my tears are cloudy"
Levi paused in the process of taking it out the box
"These are your tears?"
"Yeah. My first time turning into a dragon was intense..."
From what he could remember, Eren had said it was liberating. Though in saying that, he totally hadn't read and reread each of Eren's letters until they were memorised. Pinning the brooch to his shirt, he felt the pull of Eren's magic as it drew his natural aches and pains from his body
"Does it look alright?"
"You look perfect. Now, I have to go. I have to be there for before the ceremony bit"
Levi's heart sank. He didn't know anything much about the ceremony, or what he was supposed to do... Maybe Eren was supposed to have explained it to him? Or maybe they'd all gotten so caught up in everything, they'd forgotten he knew nothing about the ceremony or festival
"I have no idea what I'm supposed to do"
"You don't have to do much of anything, to begin with. Like with the tournament thing with Zeke, there's a huge arena. You'll be seated with the royal family, while we dragons fly over head. Then each of us gives small demonstrations of our power, which is channelled into this massive dragon egg. It's not a real egg, but a statue thing, and as each of use channels power into it, it grows a scale to represent us. Like how I had to take my vow in Eldia, this is my vow not to abuse my dragon power as Obsydin did. This takes up most the day... tonight we go for a night flight, where you'll help serve dinner to us dragons. Though they'll probably get you to stay sitting because you're royalty"
"And what happens after that?"
"After that, the festival is over for the day, so we spend the night together. Tomorrow, the arena will be gone, apart from the egg, and dragons open small stalls and such. It turns into a huge market place"
Why would it turn into a market place? They all lived in the spot... he knew how a market worked, but they didn't farm massive crops, and couldn't they just magic for things?
"Look. Let's just get through today? It's going to be pretty long"
"So I just need to do what everyone else does"
"Yep. Now give me a kiss"
Levi was happy to oblige the demand. Eren giving him a small kiss before pulling back when he tried to deepen it
"Let's save that for tonight, or I'm never going to make it to the festival and I'll be an insult. Last year, I only got to watch because I was new"
"You'll be great"
"I hope so. At least there are plenty of other dragons there to fix up anything I might fuck up"
"You're not going. Now go be a dragon"
Eren gave him a firm nod
"For Eldia"
Levi wanted things to go smoothly for Eren's sake, not for Eldia's, but it was so like Eren to be putting the kingdom first. Smiling up at his omega, he nodded
"For Eldia"

*
Sitting in the stadium, Historia was kind enough to sit at the end of her family so she was on the right side of him. Eren had come to her for advice on making a crown for him, but she hadn't seen the final product, the woman had gushed over the beauty of it, and how well it suited him. With her comments, he didn't feel quite so stupid, even when Erwin had raised a Fluffybrow at the crown. Eren had crafted it with love, just for him. And once he was out in the arena with all the other dragon riders he more or less blended in, while Erwin, Armin, Mikasa looked completely out of place as humans.

There wasn't a formal opening to the ceremony, only a kind of wooshing and gathering of winds as the skies darkened. Slowly every party of the sky was covered with dragons in every colour of the world. Now Levi understood why the arena was decked in flowers, each flower seemed to match a dragon above them. It was an awe inspiring sight, from a military point of view it was clear that Draecia well and truly had the power to destroy the world if they chose. Leaning in, Historia whispered
"It's amazing, isn't it? They'll do a few flight overs, then each dragon will bless the egg"
"Can you see Eren?"
"Yep. But I'm not going to point him out. You should be able to tell who he is the moment he gives his blessing, and he wanted to see if you could figure it out for yourself"
"He's going to be ok, right?"
"He'll be fine. He knows what to do"
That was easy for her to say, despite all their colours, the blended together so he couldn't tell one green dragon from another, and he had no idea if Eren's Eldia magic would affect his blessing. Narrowing his eyes, he tried his hardest to focus on the green dragons, but that was assuming that Eren was actually green. His face and nape scales were a green-silver, but the crown was made from both green and silver scales that made it hard to guess what his main colour would be. Coming together, what seemed to be hundreds of dragons formed a larger one, that twisted and danced on the wind, before the group split to land along the top rails of the arena. Despite the fact that each dragon must weigh hundreds of kilograms, the arena took the weight with no signs of straining. It was slightly disconcerting to be surrounded by such powerful beasts
"The royal dragons give their blessings first, so they can rest. Other than Ymir, they're all really old"
"Can you say that about a dragon and not insult them?"
"You can say it when you mean it with love. There's no real order after that, each dragon will give its blessings, then the next group will move in. Not all the dragon's of the world could attend, and some have chosen to live as humans instead. I think we only have about a hundred here"
Only a hundred? He could have sword there were so many more than that
"It seems like thousands"
"It does when you see them up there. It's not as if they're small"
"No. They're most definitely not. The only two you'll know is my "Ymir" and Freya's "Steege". Steege had to be that grey arsehole who didn't say a thing but glared the whole time the party had been Eldia. At least he had a name for him, though he'd probably forget it.

Steege came before Ymir, the dragon circling the arena before opening its mouth and unleashing what Levi could only call grey fire. Beside him, Erwin clutched at the armrest of his chair, causing Historia to giggle
"His magic lies in metal. None of the magic will hurt you. At the moment, he's drawn in the iron, copper, silver, and other metal dust from the air, which is why his breath looks grey"
"That's his breath? It looks like fire"
"A dragon's breath is all to do with the nature of its magic. Watch when Ymir comes up. Her magic will look like a white-yellow fire, which is the colour of our healing magic"
"So you're saying all dragons have bad breath?"
Historia's laughter stopped, her glare turning cold as she leaned forward to look at Erwin
"Never insult a dragon's breath. Even if you are an outsider who meant no harm, it's an insult"
Erwin squirmed uncomfortably
"I am sorry. I meant no disrespect"
"Good. Don't let it happen again"
Leaning back, Historia moved to whisper into his ear
"Most dragons have made the same joke, but he upset Eren. Forgive me?"
Levi nodded quickly, not knowing when Erwin had upset his boyfriend again, but he deserved the awkward moment
"Thanks"

Ymir's breath had been beautiful. Historia hadn't mentioned it, but there was a kind of shimmer in it that looked like snowflakes. As her breath hit the egg, one of its scales glowed, turning her pink and white colouring, and once done, she lowered her head in a bow, before flying back up to perch on the arena railing again. Not all blessings and breaths were the same, Levi soon learned. Some dragons turned the sky red as they gave their blessings with fire, which was actually fire. Thank god for Historia's explanations. While others caused small amounts to snow. He could see why Eren liked the ice dragons, for the most part they were so white they had an otherworldly green glow. Their breath was pure white snow or ice, and instead of a roaring sound accompanying their breath, it was a piercing and haunting sound, as if a soft flute was being played in the background.

With each dragon taking a few minutes to perform their blessings, the whole ceremony took all day. Once one group of dragons had completed their blessings, they rose one by one, flying a loop around the arena before flying off as the next group took their place. One by one they gave their blessings and Levi began to grow worried he'd missed Eren until a large grey-silver dragon flew up to give its blessing. With each move of its powerful body, its scales rippled, green flashing through their beasts body like tall grass blowing in a field. He didn't know how he knew, but he knew it had to be Eren. Sitting up straighter, goosebumps erupted across Levi's flesh, every hair on his body standing on air as the atmosphere filled with electricity. Holding his breath, he watched storm clouds gather over his boyfriend as sparks of lightening seemed to shoot from his body. Opening his mouth, a breath of cold wind hit the egg, when Levi squinted, he could see small sparks of fire and flakes of snow twirling in it
"To be a storm dragon is to control all the elements. Without the storm, there's no new life. That's what makes them so grand, and causes such a strain on their bodies. Their lives are shorter than most dragons but long for you humans"
As Eren's breath continued, it changed to fire then to a green mist, before his blessing came to an end
"Why the green mist?"
"Nature. The life born after fire and rain. Isn't his magic gorgeous?"
"It is"
Looping the stadium Eren's storm gathered behind him, Eren made it look so easy to be so big, Levi's eyes followed his boyfriend's every move until he sat back upon the railing, looking almost a silvery-blue from the distance, while his storm disappeared entirely. How the fuck Historia had known him apart from all the other dragons, he had no idea
"He did well. His blessings were accepted, so make sure to tell him so. It's important to honour this fact"
"I will... so were his storms always his dragon magic?"
"Indeed. Those and the sparks of fire from his fingers. He couldn't control his storms as he couldn't control his dragon magic"
"And how've his studies gone?"
"Excellent. Once we sorted out his magic for him. He put the hard work in, and he's finally at the start of his journey"
Levi nodded, not trusting himself to speak as he looked upon the next dragon giving its blessings. If Eren was only at the start of his journey, then he wouldn't be coming home anytime soon. They could have talked about it that first night, but Eren was so sweet in his arms that they simply talked about what came to mind, in between bouts of sex. God. He was such an idiot... of course, Eren had to stay. He needed to see his dream through...

Levi had slipped into a depressed slump as he'd watched through the end of the ceremony. When it came to reuniting with Eren down on the field, he didn't know what he'd say. He wanted him to come home. He wanted to announce to the world he was his... but that was being him being selfish. Parting from his side, Historia ran off to Ymir, while Levi was left to find Eren alone. The teen's scales had appeared green, silver and blue... of course, the teen couldn't just pick one colour. Eyeing the field of dragons, they all appeared regal as their riders climbed onto their shoulder, it wasn't until he was nudged in the back that he realised Eren hadn't even been in that direction. Straightening himself up, he turned to his omega, Eren giving a bottom wiggle like a cat preparing to pounce. Headbutting him again, if dragons could smile, he'd be sure Eren was smiling
"Hey, brat. This is you, right? I'm not flirting with a random dragon"
Sticking the tip of his tongue out, Eren licked his cheek
"Ok! Ok! It's you... you look incredible, and your blessing was perfect"
He didn't want to say beautiful again, and Historia had said to praise Eren...
"I guess I'm supposed to climb on your back, but I have no idea how I'm supposed to do that..."
He swore Eren huffed at him, his eyes were black, not the electric green he'd expected, but that didn't stop Eren from rolling them at him
"Don't sass me. This is all a lot to take in"
Lowering himself right down, Eren titled his head. It took Levi a few moments to figure it out. He could use Eren's two large horns like a ladder when combined with the ruffle of scales along Eren's nape
"I'm sorry if I hurt you. I've never had to climb up on my own before"
Eren moved his front foot, adding a lower level for him to first step up to
"Ok. I'm short. You don't need to rub it in"
Letting out a small growl, Levi glared at Eren
"Don't you laugh at me. And I swear to god, if I fall off, I'm never going to forgive you"

Approaching Eren's foot, his claws were as long as Levi was tall, by spreading his fingers? Levi was able to step onto the webbing then up onto the top of Eren's foot. Raising his foot up to give Levi less distance, the alpha mumbled a "thank you", Eren clearly loving how hard he had to work to get onto his back. Taking a firm hold on Eren's first horn, he felt moronic as he stepped up on the first ruffle. It was like a ladder, and a normal sized dragon rider would have no problems, but again, he only had short legs. Beneath him, Eren huffed
"Look here, you little shit. I'm trying my hardest but you're so damn big! You're tall enough in your normal form"
Eren's tail thudded against the ground as his whole body shook. His lover was definitely laughing at him. Getting himself seated, Eren straightened up, nearly undoing his hard work. Grasping both of Eren's horns, he found that there were two smaller ones that seemed to have only just become visible thanks to how his scales sat. Moving to take hold of them, Eren nodded his head
"A head's up would have been nice. Just go slow... you don't have a harness on you, or a ladder and I'm old"
The way he was sat, it was like he was in a saddle without stirrups... the thing he needed the most.

Levi left his stomach on the ground as Eren lifted. Clutching Eren's horns tightly, the alpha hung on for dear life as he kept his eyes scrunched closed. As Eren evened out, Levi gradually opened his eyes to find himself far higher than he was expecting, the scales of the crown made by Eren really did indeed keep the wind from filling his ears. As long as he didn't look down, the feeling filling him was almost euphoric, like this was where he was meant to be. Nudging his heels into Eren's sides, his boyfriend twisted his body, arcing sharply and leaving him scrambling, but before he could stop Eren from whatever he had planned, the omega spiralled, mimicking dragons in front of them. Levi had been sure he was about to fall off, but as Eren spam upside down, he found he didn't leave his seat at all, nor did his crown fall. Coming out of the spiralling movement, Levi groaned. Flying he could deal with, aerial acrobatics apparently not so much. Beneath him, Eren dove downwards, Levi about to scold him until he realised all the other dragons were doing the same thing, their claws ghosting over the sea beneath them and Eldia appeared on the horizon. Everything was happening way too fast for Levi to keep up. A few of the dragons pulled from the flock? Was it a flock of dragons? He had no idea, but as they disappeared under the waves, he assumed they were water dragons. Reappearing with a burst of speed, droplets of water were sent flying into the sky, creating a rainbow for a moment before arching up to fly higher than the rest of them. If it wasn't for cats not liking water, he'd say they were all like playful kittens, especially with the way Eren had wriggled his arse. Completing a loop of the ocean, the group turned back, heading to one the tall peaks of Draecia.

As dragon's landed, they shifted back to human form, walking with their riders into a sinister looking cave. Pulling up alongside Ymir, on the small landing in front of the cave, Levi realised the cave was decorated with carved figures, and obviously important to Draecia's religious beliefs. Beneath him, Eren tilted his whole body sideways, letting Levi practically slide off, his leg feeling like jelly from the flight. Taking two steps, he landed on his arse, while Eren shifted back to his human form
"Prince Erwin?"
Shaking his head, he raised a hand to stop whatever Historia was going to say. Eren was laughing far too hard over everything. Wrapping her arm around Historia, Ymir peered down at him
"I think he needs a moment. We could just leave him here"
"We're not just leaving him. Eren, stop laughing"
Dissolving into coughs, Eren jogged over to him, coughing into one hand as he shook his head
"I'm sorry. I got a bit carried away"
Reaching down, Eren pulled him to his feet
"A bit? I thought I was going to die"
"As if I'd let that happen. It wasn't too bad, was it?"
"I think my stomach's back on the field... I don't think I'm up to all those tricks yet"
"Well, its food time now"
Wrapping his arm around Levi's waist, Eren kissed his cheek
"And then we get to go for another fly"
Food and flying?! What could possibly go wrong with that?!
"Oh good. I can't wait"
Ymir snickered
"We could just leave you up here. There's no path down, and I'd like to see you last a year up here without found and water"
"Ymir, don't pick on him"
"Come on, Eren. I can smell you're upset because he didn't like the flight"
"I'm not upset... I think he did very well for his time"
Levi felt as if he was a child whose mother was awkwardly protecting his honour. He hadn't meant to hurt Eren. He just hadn't known what to expect
"Whatever. Let's head in. You're lucky you're a human"
Falling back with Eren, he took his boyfriend's hand pulling away from the cavern entrance and towards the tiny bit of space available that was out of the way of the landing dragons. Looking back over his shoulder, Eren had a firm frown on his face
"We're supposed to be heading in"
"And we will. But I want to talk to you first"
"About what?"
"I. Look. I didn't mean to insult you or upset you"
Eren's head whipped around
"Don't worry about it"
"No. Look. What I meant to say is that I wasn't used to the feeling, but when you were soaring up there, it felt amazing. It was just the spiralling bit, but only because I'm not used to it. You did nothing wrong"
"I... I didn't mean to upset you. It just looked like fun"
"And I'm sure once we get used to it, together, it will be. I've never ridden without some kind of harness before. So just go easy on me?"
"Alright. I guess I got caught up with it all"
Eren still looked upset, biting his lip he looked away
"Hey... come here"
Pulling Eren to him, he kissed his boyfriend
"You did nothing wrong, and it hasn't put me off you at all. I can't wait to explore what we can do together"
"Ok. I was so nervous..."
Nuzzling into Eren's face, Levi kissed him again
"Don't be. You're incredible, and I'm so proud of you"
"Tonight, can we find some time together?"
"I'd like that"
"Good... because I think you're going to have your hands full"
"Oh?"
"Yeah. The wine tonight is special, and uh... it's designed to make us horny"
"What?!"
"I won't drink it, but you should know"
"No... no. Historia never warned me"
"It's all about the bonds tonight. Today we gave our blessings, and tonight is about closeness. Dragons take their riders away somewhere private"
"Do you now?"
"Mhmm"
Eren's kiss was less than innocent, a promise of what was to come. He just needed to survive dinner first
"We better head in"
"Yeah..."

Levi found his seat beside Eren easily. It was the only one with padding, and once again he felt as if his small height was being judged. Just because he was a few centimetres shorter than Historia, meant nothing. Eren shook as he tried not to laugh at his cushioned seat, earning him a swift sideways kick the shin. One thing he was fast learning about Draecia is that they didn't have the annoying urge to announce everything happening, giving him time to observe his around. What he'd thought had been a cavern, was a temple carved into the mountain. After a short walk through a carved passage, it opened into a huge open aired space. Small lights, in every colour of the rainbow, like the ones Eren had summoned floated around the island in the centre of the space, where a lavish horseshoe shaped dining table was set up. None of the dragons or riders seemed to mind the inch or so of turquoise water that surrounded the island, though hesitant about stepping in, he found himself walking on it... He'd take it. It was so much nicer than wet boots. At the far end of the space, two dragon reliefs had their front legs looped, holding a goblet between them. Around the outer edges, stalagmites and stalactites hard formed from years of water erosion and mineral deposits. With the night growing so dark, it was hard to make out the top of the deep space, even with the lightning. In the middle of the table was a small fountain, of what seemed to be a naked woman holding up and overflowing cup. Around the table, everyone else was dragons, their riders standing just behind them and slightly to the side, Levi felt as if he should be standing and attending to Eren, but Eren calmly took his hand, leaning over to whisper
"They all know you're the prince of Eldia and my rider. It's a dragon thing"
"I feel like I should be serving you"
"It's fine. Historia had to fight Rod so she could serve Ymir. That's why Freya isn't serving Steege, and why Rose isn't serving Urklyn..."
Being on the opposite side of the table, Levi hadn't actually noticed it. He wasn't sure if he was relieved or not. Rod was kind of a selfish arsehole, and Levi really wasn't the prince...
"Just relax, and smile"
"I'm sorry. I'm actually nervous"
"I can tell, but it's ok. You're safe and welcome here"
"I don't want to fuck up and embarrass you"
"Then I should probably tell you, that everyone in this space can hear you because you've stopped whispering"
Levi swallowed hard as they all turned to look at him. He wanted to be there for Eren. He knew how important the night was to him. And the little shit hadn't told him he was making all of this into a public discussion
"You could have told me"
"No. It's sweet how much you care"
"You're lucky you're the centre of my affections"
"I know. I couldn't ask for a better rider"
As the dragon's around them went back to their own conversations, Levi wanted to sink to the floor and hide. That had been far too intense for the old alpha's heart.

Historia ended up serving both him and Eren, the princess proud to do so. As the wine started to flow, the intensity that Levi had felt slipped away. Dragons pulling their riders into their laps, feeding the fruit from their plates, or offering them sips of wine while sharing soft whispers. Levi wasn't sure about it all until Eren moved to sit in his lap, pushing a hard kiss to his lips. The taste of the fruity wine they'd been enjoying, playing on their tongues, as their kiss turned to four before Eren hid his face against his neck. Wrapping his arms around the teen, Eren purred
"I'm so happy you came"
"I think you're drunk"
Raising his hand, Eren bopped him on the nose with his pointer finger
"Doesn't make it any less true. I missed you and heats really sucked"
"Is that so?"
"Mhmm... missed you so much"
Tapping his shoulder, Ymir leaned in
"We're all heading off now. You'll fly with us for a bit before Eren will take you somewhere you can fuck"
In her arms, Historia gasped
"You didn't have to word it like that"
Nipping at Historia's earlobe, Ymir tugged lightly
"Why not? It's what every single person in this room is going to do tonight"
"Still..."
"Stop being so prim and proper, I'm going to drive you crazy tonight and we both know it"
He didn't need to know that, especially while Eren was wriggling in his lap
"Master, can we go?"
"Yeah, are you going to be ok to fly?"
"I'm fine! Totally sober-ish... kind of... I just want to fu-mmmph"
Covering Eren's mouth, his boyfriend didn't need to announce how horny he was to the whole room. Licking his hand, Levi wrinkled his face as he pulled his hand away
"That was revolting"
"Ok, you two. Let's go. There's enough dragons that no one's gonna mind us slipping off first"
"Ymir's right. I'd bet money that some couples won't even leave the cave"
That was double gross. He didn't need to think about people fucking on the table they'd just eaten off of. Lifting Eren, the omega wrapped his legs around his waist, starting to lick and nip at Levi's neck. As much as he wanted to be buried in Eren, he still has to pretend he had some semblance of control left.

Reaching the ledge, Ymir and Eren transformed. Eren dropping to his stomach and rubbing his head against the rocky outcrop while his tail thumped
"Dragons like being scratched between the horns. Do you need a hand up?"
"No. I think I've got this. I suppose I'll see you tomorrow"
"Tomorrow mornings pretty cruisy. There's no rush to return to the manor grounds, but I'd say try to be back by lunch"
"I think he's still going to be sleeping all of this off"
"Then drag him home drunk... we'll see you then"
"See you..."
He wasn't about to say "have fun" when both couples knew they were off to have sex. Walking over to his omega, Eren sprung to his feet, running his tongue up Levi's whole front
"Down boy. You need to fly us out of here first"
Huffing, Eren nodded
"Good. Now lower yourself down, otherwise, I'm never getting up there"
He was feeling the wine, it'd created a pleasant warm buzz through his body.

Dropping down again, Eren rolled onto his side again. Climbing up was clumsy, Levi barely making into Eren's saddle?, before Eren was up on his feet, and leaping off the ledge. Suddenly flying a drunk dragon across the country seemed like a stupid idea. Eren couldn't even fly a straight line
"Do you even know where you're going?"
Letting out a huge fiery breath in response, Levi promptly shut his mouth. He'd just have to have faith that Eren did.

After nearly crash landing, Eren shifted forms before Levi could climb off his back. Landing on the teen, Eren's hands were all over him, while Levi had no idea where they were. There'd been ocean waves at some point, and now there was a grassy field. Mouthing his neck, Eren's hands went to his pants
"Eren... slow down"
"Don't wanna. Need your thick dick... need you to fuck me"
"And I will, just slow down"
"Don't wanna. Want your big hard dick fucking my arse"
Growling, Levi let out a surprised oof as Eren slipped them over, almost tearing his pants apart in his haste
"Need you so fucking bad. I'm so wet... my pussy is dripping for you"
He was drowning in Eren's aroused scent but didn't want to hurt him.... or his "pussy". When Eren had his pants undone, the mage giggled as he summoned up small lights, before leaning up to push clumsy, drunk kisses to his lips between his words
"You're so fucking gorgeous, master ... need to see it all"
Dragging a finger down Levi's chest, Eren cut through his shirt and jacket, humming as he nodded. Eren would probably be furious if he knew how hard it was not to laugh
"My alpha... fuck... I'm getting pregnant looking at you"
"Is that so?"
"Mhmm. Gonna fuck myself on that big dick of yours. Going to make you come. I'm going to be so good for you"
Levi fought harder as he tried not to laugh. Eren continued his running commentary on how big Levi's dick was and how wet he was. Hiking up his robes, Eren tried to mount him, getting angry when Levi's erection slipped up against his arse thanks to how wet he was
"Eren..."
"Shhh..."
"Just..."
"Nope. I'm doing it. Watch me"
Rearranging himself, Eren brought his legs up so he was on his feet rather than his knees, biting his lip adorably, Eren finally lowered himself down, barely breaching himself with the tip of Levi's dick before dropping down with his whole weight. Beaming, his omega looked smug
"Told you!"
"You did"
Rising up and dropping, Eren moaned, starting to build a rhythm as a hand went to his dick. His young lover starting to jerk himself off
"Mhmm... watch me"
"I am"
"Good. I like it when you watch me. Watch you fill me. Gonna get so big before morning. Big swollen belly, filled with your seed"

Drunk Eren had no filter, nor did appreciate Levi's laughter over the things he was saying. Levi couldn't help himself. Ending up cuddled on the grass, Eren casting magic was a great idea, magicking up stick figures of the things he saw in the stars, some of them hilarious, but none came close to the howls of drunken laughter as Eren "found" Erwin's eyebrows, drawing them with his fingertip. Morphing his drawing into caterpillar cocoons, then butterflies, giggling out "be free!". Sitting up, Eren blew sloppily at his drawing making both butterflies flutter away, then collapsed down next to him. Eren's laughter was Levi's favourite sound. The alpha would happily spend forever in Eren's arms if he could hear it every day.

Chapter Text

Eren and Levi were both late back the following morning. Eren had flown them back over to Eldia for their private night together, where they'd spent the night near the Draecia peninsula. Come morning, Eren had tried to hide away from the sun. Neither of them were hung over, but they were a mess, and neither wished to return to reality or the company of others... Eren woke in a playful mood, happy to take "advantage" of the fact Levi's clothes were ruined from where he'd slice them off with his magic. It took a bath in the ocean and Eren's magic to make them both look presentable again, and not like they'd spent the whole night doing less than respectable things. Flying them back to the Reiss manor, Erwin was waiting on the field near the cabins. The moment they'd landed, the man was lecturing him on his disappearance. It wasn't like Erwin hadn't known there was a chance of him not returning for the night. Levi wished he could follow Eren's lead by not being human. Eren hadn't shifted back, instead, he was standing tall behind Levi, almost daring Erwin to say something about his appearance. Erwin didn't, but unfortunately, Levi couldn't stay "hidden" behind his omega's protection forever. Kissing Eren's forehead goodbye, he promised to see the mage later.

Erwin had prepared an overly lengthy lecture for him, the blond didn't stop talking, even once they'd arrived back at the cabin the Eldia party was using. It was only him, Erwin and two guards, so it wasn't like they needed lavish rooms. All he really needed was a bed and somewhere to bathe. He'd thought everything that was happening with the festival would be planned down to the very last second, instead, it seemed they very much went with the flow. He and Eren weren't even the last pair back.

After his scolding from Erwin, and showering, it was time for breakfast and Levi was famished. Eren was a very demanding lover after all. And Levi loved being the one to make Eren fall apart beneath him. Grabbing a full loaf of fresh bread, butter and jam, he then brewed himself a fresh pot of tea and settled himself down at the kitchen table, sighing heavily as he did
"Is there more I should know?"
Pulling the opposite chair out, Erwin sat, launching right back into it
"Mikasa and Armin wanted to know where both you and Eren had gone. It would seem Mikasa has feelings for Eren"
No fucking shit
"That's old news"
"She's intending on asking for Eren's hand"
Choking on the sip of tea he'd taken, Levi glared at the mug. Ok. He knew she held deep affections, but surely she must know Eren wasn't interested
"She has no chance"
"And how are you going to break this to her?"
"Me? It's not my issue. If you haven't forgotten, I'm still engaged to Petra. I'm not the best person to be going to over relationship advice"
"I didn't expect you and Eren to return to fucking quite so fast. It would problematic if everyone was to find out"
"Everyone who?"
"Everyone. We don't know if there are Marley based dragons here... I hope you kept things under wraps last night"
"They all already know"
Slamming his hands down on the table, Erwin rose
"You idiot! Is he really worth all of this?!"
"Erwin, you knew damn well it would be out in the public once we arrived here. Historia and Freya both knew with just one look. It's a dragon thing"
Sinking down, the blond shook his head
"I let you come up here, under the provision you didn't allow things to get out of hand"
"You let me? That's rich. You know how much I missed him"
"That doesn't mean you need to throw yourself all over him"
"I've been carrying out my royal duty. I've been on all the walks and to all the sites the Reiss family wanted to show us, and since we've arrived, I've only spent two nights with Eren"
"Without your bodyguard even knowing where you were"
"Well, the first night we screwed down by the lake. Last night, we took a quick trip back to Eldia and went at it like rabbits near the beach. Is that what you want to hear? Or do you want to know how many times I knotted him? Or how many times I made him come?"
"Why must you be so crass?!"
"Because you're picking a fight over something so incredibly stupid. This festival is important to Eren and important to me. Draecia is important..."
"Why can't you listen to what I'm telling you?! I want you to be careful. We don't know if there may be a possible enemy here, and you've let your guard down as you're back with Eren. What if something had happened last night?"
Levi tapped the brooch he'd attached on his fresh shirt
"Eren has placed a portion of his magic inside this. This scale is one of his, and if anything happens, his magic will kick in"
"That doesn't mean anything! Some poisons kill you in an instant"
"I was surrounded by dragons and dragon riders. I couldn't have been safer"
Could he be flattering himself to believe that Erwin wasn't being a dick for the sake of being a dick, but out of actual concern
"You still should have told me. I heard nothing from you at all"
"There wasn't exactly time, and other then when we returned Eldia, Eren and I were supervised"
"He never should have taken you back to Eldia"
"Eldia is special to him. All he wants is for the people of Eldia to be safe and happy. He knows the potential outcome of Zeke learning about his dragon status and his relationship with me"
"So you two are still in a relationship?"
Levi blinked. Yes? Was that not feeling obvious?
"I'm serious when it comes to Eren. My affections for him hasn't changed in the least, despite our time apart"
"Have you explained to him that Petra still resides at the castle, and your engagement is still in effect"
"You don't need to keep harping on about it. You make it sound as if Eren and I have never had a serious conversation over the future. He hasn't openly talked about it, nor has he tried to rub it in anyone's face. We've been careful, and Eren takes herbs to prevent pregnancy, even with a dragon pregnancy lasting for two years. He understands the situation, and he only wants what's best for Eldia"
Eren had explained in length what a dragon pregnancy entailed, after his talk with Historia and before he'd left Eldia. They weren't rushing things, even if they'd fallen into bed so fast, or at least, Levi didn't feel as if they were rushing things. They'd spent a year apart, with only letters between them, and still wanted to be with each other
"Eldia can't afford to lose you... I can't afford to lose you"
Placing down the piece of bread Levi had been buttering, he sighed deeply
"I'm continuing to play my role, and I'm being cautious about it. Still, it isn't enough for you. Your puppet prince is doing his job, and you know it"
"Levi"
"No. That is enough. I wish to eat my breakfast in peace before I have to return to the manor"
"The manor? Again?"
"Yes. I found myself unprepared yesterday, so today I'm going to talk with Historia about the rest of the festival"
"Does that mean I'll be spending the day with Mikasa and Armin again?"
"Does that bother you?"
Erwin groaned, Levi, enjoying the sound of pain
"Mikasa is a tad forceful..."
Snorting, he nodded. Understatement of the century right there
"She is just that. That's why she's here, as Eren's bodyguard. So we didn't have to suffer her anger of them being separated"
"She's bright, but she's far too focused on Eren's personal life. You won't be able to hide things between you and Eren, from her, for much longer"
Levi already knew about just how invested in Eren, Mikasa was. He'd been enraged when Eren had written that she'd offered to share his heat with him. As far as Levi was concerned that was his right, as Eren's boyfriend. Spending four heats/ruts apart had been bad enough at it was, his ruts had been nearly unbearable without his partner to soothe the pain, and to take care of
"Then I'll talk to her when the time comes. Even if she challenges me for Eren's hand, it is his decision in the end"
"Is there any chance that Draecia will oppose your relationship?"
Levi's alpha roared in the back of his mind. His eyes narrowing as his tone grew icy. Erwin had sounded fucking hopeful, and it hadn't gone missed
"No. Because they actually fucking respect relationships around here. I am Eren's alpha. I am his master. I am his boyfriend. And I am his dragon rider. We are bonded by the vow taken upon the altar, but we were bonded before even that. I am so fucking sick of this. I get it. You hate him. You only want him around when it serves your purposes. He has proven himself time and time again, and that he has Eldia's best interests in heart. Why we must keep having these petty and ridiculous arguments, I do not know. But I am absolutely sick and tired of it. Never once has he placed anything in jeopardy. He is strong and he is brave. And I am proud of him"
"We keep having these arguments because you keep putting yourself in danger!"
"I do not!"
"You're intimate with him. You were so, even when he couldn't control his magic"
"His magic has never hurt me. Even when he was a child, and on death's door, he didn't hurt me. Even when he lost control mid-heat, he didn't hurt me. He doesn't want to hurt me. He doesn't want to hurt anyone!"
"No one is that perfect. He turned those bandits to stone"
Erwin was grasping at straws. He'd tried to give the man leeway, chalking things up to stress. Even over the past year, he'd found himself making excuses to excuse Erwin's behaviour. It wasn't easy living in the castle where your parents were murdered and being the last of the Smith line, nor was it easy to watch your country fall more and more under Marley control, when you didn't have the forces to resist. But god. He was so tired of it all...
"The bandits who killed the royal guard and tried to force themselves upon him. If it was either of us, we would have slaughtered them. The only difference is that he used magic, where we would run our swords through them! Now that my breakfast has been ruined, you can fuck right off to babysit Mikasa and Armin. I do not want to see you for the rest of the day"
"You can't do that! I am your bodyguard"
"No. I am yours. I'm the public face the kingdom hates. I am the one with the target on my back. And I am the one who is going to spend the afternoon being educated by Historia because Draecia is an important ally and I don't want to turn them into an enemy"
Rising from his seat, Levi left Erwin sitting there. He was so tired of fighting. Why couldn't he just have this time with Eren? They'd both been high on aphrodisiac wine, which had made having a serious conversation too hard, and he hadn't been able to ask when Eren was finally coming home.

Marching up to the manor, the days in Draecia were so much warmer than Eldia. The sky bright and clear, apart from the dragons coming and going. There was little wonder as to why Eren's health had improved, despite falling pretty much along the same line of latitude, the air seemed to be so much fresher, and everything so much more green. No doubt dragon magic was responsible for that, but he did feel some shame in the fact that Eldia wasn't doing quite so well. By the time he'd reached the manor, sweat beads rolled down his back uncomfortably, leaving him feeling like he must look horribly dishevelled. In the heat of the sun, any other colour to black would have been preferable, but appearances must be kept up, and once inside the manor, he found the temperature much more agreeable.

Historia was busy for most of the morning, so Levi made a pest of himself by settling down in the Reiss family's library, and reading. It was either that, or go back to Erwin., and that was liable to end in a fight. How could they possibly have the same fight almost every single day for over a year, and Erwin still think that Eren was bad for him? No one else who knew about them seemed to feel the same way... by that, he meant Historia and Ymir.

Chapter Text

Eren and Levi were both late back the following morning. Eren had flown them back over to Eldia for their private night together, where they'd spent the night near the Draecia peninsula. Come morning, Eren had tried to hide away from the sun. Neither of them was hung over, but they were a mess, and neither wished to return to reality or the company of others... Eren woke in a playful mood, happy to take "advantage" of the fact Levi's clothes were ruined from where he'd slice them off with his magic. It took a bath in the ocean and Eren's magic to make them both look presentable again, and not like they'd spent the whole night doing less than respectable things. Flying them back to the Reiss manor, Erwin was waiting on the field near the cabins. The moment they'd landed, the man was lecturing him on his disappearance. It wasn't like Erwin hadn't known there was a chance of him not returning for the night. Levi wished he could follow Eren's lead by not being human. Eren hadn't shifted back, instead he was was standing tall behind Levi, almost daring Erwin to say something about his appearance. Erwin didn't, but unfortunately, Levi couldn't stay "hidden" behind his omega's protection forever. Kissing Eren's forehead goodbye, he promised to see the mage later.

Erwin had prepared an overly lengthy lecture for him, the blond didn't stop talking, even once they'd arrived back at the cabin the Eldia party was using. It was only him, Erwin and two guards, so it wasn't like they needed lavish rooms. All he really needed was a bed and somewhere to bathe. He'd thought everything that was happening with the festival would be planned down to the very last second, instead, it seemed they very much went with the flow. He and Eren weren't even the last pair back.

After his scolding from Erwin, and showering, it was time for breakfast and Levi was famished. Eren was a very demanding lover after all. And Levi loved being the one to make Eren fall apart beneath him. Grabbing a full loaf of fresh bread, butter and jam, he then brewed himself a fresh pot of tea and settled himself down at the kitchen table, sighing heavily as he did
"Is there more I should know?"
Pulling the opposite chair out, Erwin sat, launching right back into it
"Mikasa and Armin wanted to know where both you and Eren had gone. It would seem Mikasa has feelings for Eren"
No fucking shit
"That's old news"
"She's intending on asking for Eren's hand"
Choking on the sip of tea he'd taken, Levi glared at the mug. Ok. He knew she held deep affections, but surely she must know Eren wasn't interested
"She has no chance"
"And how are you going to break this to her?"
"Me? It's not my issue. If you haven't forgotten, I'm still engaged to Petra. I'm not the best person to be going to over relationship advice"
"I didn't expect you and Eren to return to fucking quite so fast. It would problematic if everyone was to find out"
"Everyone who?"
"Everyone. We don't know if there are Marley based dragons here... I hope you kept things under wraps last night"
"They all already know"
Slamming his hands down on the table, Erwin rose
"You idiot! Is he really worth all of this?!"
"Erwin, you knew damn well it would be out in the public once we arrived here. Historia and Freya both knew with just one look. It's a dragon thing"
Sinking down, the blond shook his head
"I let you come up here, under the provision you didn't allow things to get out of hand"
"You let me? That's rich. You know how much I missed him"
"That doesn't mean you need to throw yourself all over him"
"I've been carrying out my royal duty. I've been on all the walks and to all the sites the Reiss family wanted to show us, and since we've arrived, I've only spent two nights with Eren"
"Without your bodyguard even knowing where you were"
"Well, the first night we screwed down by the lake. Last night, we took a quick trip back to Eldia and went at it like rabbits near the beach. Is that what you want to hear? Or do you want to know how many times I knotted him? Or how many times I made him come?"
"Why must you be so crass?!"
"Because you're picking a fight over something so incredibly stupid. This festival is important to Eren and important to me. Draecia is important..."
"Why can't you listen to what I'm telling you?! I want you to be careful. We don't know if there may be a possible enemy here, and you've let your guard down as you're back with Eren. What if something had happened last night?"
Levi tapped the brooch he'd attached on his fresh shirt
"Eren has placed a portion of his magic inside this. This scale is one of his, and if anything happens, his magic will kick in"
"That doesn't mean anything! Some poisons kill you in an instant"
"I was surrounded by dragons and dragon riders. I couldn't have been safer"
Could he be flattering himself to believe that Erwin wasn't being a dick for the sake of being a dick, but out of actual concern
"You still should have told me. I heard nothing from you at all"
"There wasn't exactly time, and other then when we returned Eldia, Eren and I were supervised"
"He never should have taken you back to Eldia"
"Eldia is special to him. All he wants is for the people of Eldia to be safe and happy. He knows the potential outcome of Zeke learning about his dragon status and his relationship with me"
"So you two are still in a relationship?"
Levi blinked. Yes? Was that not feeling obvious?
"I'm serious when it comes to Eren. My affections for him hasn't changed in the least, despite our time apart"
"Have you explained to him that Petra still resides at the castle, and your engagement is still in effect"
"You don't need to keep harping on about it. You make it sound as if Eren and I have never had a serious conversation over the future. He hasn't openly talked about it, nor has he tried to rub it in anyone's face. We've been careful, and Eren takes herbs to prevent pregnancy, even with a dragon pregnancy lasting for two years. He understands the situation, and he only wants what's best for Eldia"
Eren had explained in length what a dragon pregnancy entailed, after his talk with Historia and before he'd left Eldia. They weren't rushing things, even if they'd fallen into bed so fast, or at least, Levi didn't feel as if they were rushing things. They'd spent a year apart, with only letters between them, and still wanted to be with each other
"Eldia can't afford to lose you... I can't afford to lose you"
Placing down the piece of bread Levi had been buttering, he sighed deeply
"I'm continuing to play my role, and I'm being cautious about it. Still, it isn't enough for you. Your puppet prince is doing his job, and you know it"
"Levi"
"No. That is enough. I wish to eat my breakfast in peace before I have to return to the manor"
"The manor? Again?"
"Yes. I found myself unprepared yesterday, so today I'm going to talk with Historia about the rest of the festival"
"Does that mean I'll be spending the day with Mikasa and Armin again?"
"Does that bother you?"
Erwin groaned, Levi, enjoying the sound of pain
"Mikasa is a tad forceful..."
Snorting, he nodded. Understatement of the century right there
"She is just that. That's why she's here, as Eren's bodyguard. So we didn't have to suffer her anger of them being separated"
"She's bright, but she's far too focused on Eren's personal life. You won't be able to hide things between you and Eren, from her, for much longer"
Levi already knew about just how invested in Eren, Mikasa was. He'd been enraged when Eren had written that she'd offered to share his heat with him. As far as Levi was concerned that was his right, as Eren's boyfriend. Spending four heats/ruts apart had been bad enough at it was, his ruts had been nearly unbearable without his partner to soothe the pain, and to take care of
"Then I'll talk to her when the time comes. Even if she challenges me for Eren's hand, it is his decision in the end"
"Is there any chance that Draecia will oppose your relationship?"
Levi's alpha roared in the back of his mind. His eyes narrowing as his tone grew icy. Erwin had sounded fucking hopeful, and it hadn't gone missed
"No. Because they actually fucking respect relationships around here. I am Eren's alpha. I am his master. I am his boyfriend. And I am his dragon rider. We are bonded by the vow taken upon the altar, but we were bonded before even that. I am so fucking sick of this. I get it. You hate him. You only want him around when it serves your purposes. He has proven himself time and time again, and that he has Eldia's best interests in heart. Why we must keep having these petty and ridiculous arguments, I do not know. But I am absolutely sick and tired of it. Never once has he placed anything in jeopardy. He is strong and he is brave. And I am proud of him"
"We keep having these arguments because you keep putting yourself in danger!"
"I do not!"
"You're intimate with him. You were so, even when he couldn't control his magic"
"His magic has never hurt me. Even when he was a child, and on death's door, he didn't hurt me. Even when he lost control mid-heat, he didn't hurt me. He doesn't want to hurt me. He doesn't want to hurt anyone!"
"No one is that perfect. He turned those bandits to stone"
Erwin was grasping at straws. He'd tried to give the man leeway, chalking things up to stress. Even over the past year, he'd found himself making excuses to excuse Erwin's behaviour. It wasn't easy living in the castle where your parents were murdered and being the last of the Smith line, nor was it easy to watch your country fall more and more under Marley control, when you didn't have the forces to resist. But god. He was so tired of it all...
"The bandits who killed the royal guards and tried to force themselves upon him. If it was either of us, we would have slaughtered them. The only difference is that he used magic, where we would run our swords through them! Now that my breakfast has been ruined, you can fuck right off to babysit Mikasa and Armin. I do not want to see you for the rest of the day"
"You can't do that! I am your bodyguard"
"No. I am yours. I'm the public face the kingdom hates. I am the one with the target on my back. And I am the one who is going to spend the afternoon being educated by Historia because Draecia is an important ally and I don't want to turn them into an enemy"
Rising from his seat, Levi left Erwin sitting there. He was so tired of fighting. Why couldn't he just have this time with Eren? They'd both been high on aphrodisiac wine, which had made having a serious conversation too hard, and he hadn't been able to ask when Eren was finally coming home.

Marching up to the manor, the days in Draecia were so much warmer than Eldia. The sky bright and clear, apart from the dragons coming and going. There was little wonder as to why Eren's health had improved, despite falling pretty much along the same line of latitude, the air seemed to be so much fresher, and everything so much more green. No doubt dragon magic was responsible for that, but he did feel some shame in the fact that Eldia wasn't doing quite so well. By the time he'd reached the manor, sweat beads rolled down his back uncomfortably, leaving him feeling like he must look horribly dishevelled. In the heat of the sun, any other colour to black would have been preferable, but appearances must be kept up, and once inside the manor, he found the temperature much more agreeable.

Historia was busy for most of the morning, so Levi made a pest of himself by settling down in the Reiss family's library, and reading. It was either that, or go back to Erwin., and that was liable to end in a fight. How could they possibly have the same fight almost every single day for over a year, and Erwin still think that Eren was bad for him? No one else who knew about them seemed to feel the same way... by that, he meant Historia and Ymir... and they'd been by Eren's side when he couldn't be... it was just... exhausting.

Historia appeared around lunchtime with lunch, the blonde bright and bubbly as she came to sit across from him on the plush floral sofa, placing a tray filled with sandwiches, fresh tea, and cups, down on the table between them
"I'm sorry, you know how It can be..."
Waving her hand towards the door, Levi smiled as she blew a raspberry at it
"I do, very much so"
"My father and stepmother are stubbornly set in their ways. They wish to keep with this policy of non-interference, even with Marley developing weapons to shoot down dragons. They say if they fall, then that's on them... it's a load of shit"
Pouting and swearing. He'd never thought he'd see Historia do both so easily
"Has that been happening often?"
"As far as I'm concerned, for it to even happen once since the treaty, is far too often. And then you inform of us Marley attempting to gather dragon relics. It's as if he doesn't care if Draecia is wiped out"
"I'm sorry to hear that"
"I'm complaining far too much. Tell me what brings you up to the manor"
Taking a cup from the tray, Levi poured himself a cup of tea
"Would you believe I'm hiding from Erwin?"
"Oh, no! Eren did say that Erwin didn't seem to approve of your relationship"
"No. He doesn't. He sees no issue with using Eren like a pawn, or for jobs, he doesn't want to do for himself, but it's tiring to hear how much he disapproves of our relationship"
"Do you want me to put a little magic on him?"
"No. He'd lose his shit, so you really shouldn't tempt me"
Historia giggled
"Aw... if you change your mind, I know an excellent spell that leaves him itchy down there"
Levi snorted so hard he nearly split his tea
"Don't tempt me! He's a man of questionable bedroom morals... I think he'd declare it a crisis if he were to develop an itch"
"Now you make me wish to try the spell even more"
Sharing a small laugh, Levi leaned back into the sofa
"Maybe I should keep it in mind. Actually, aside from Erwin, I wanted to ask if there is more I should be doing during this festival. I thought everything would be thoroughly planned, and down to the second given how respectful every dragon and dragon rider I've met has been"
"Normally, it is a little more structured. Father... he had a falling out with some dragons and things happened. It sought of spiralled from there. But honestly, we dragons and dragon riders prefer to let things come as they may. It is much more natural that way, and if you haven't realised, we are very much about nature"
"I've noticed. Still... last night, I felt as if I should have been standing... and Eren was far too intoxicated to make much sense"
"You're doing just fine. Simply being here with him, shows great respect in everyone's eyes, and it's clear you both adore each other. That's the main thing. Everyone knows you're human, and that it'll take time to learn things, so they don't actually care. Of course, we have to look like we do, because that's what been told to us as young children. No. You've proven yourself already when you didn't abandon him"
Levi wasn't expecting that... he was sure he must have insulted more than a few people
"Then... when do I give him his gifts?"
Historia smiled broadly
"Tonight. See, not all dragons can stay for the length of the festival, so we get all that out the way first. The markets being run today are mostly to trade wares from all over the world, and a last chance to buy a gift. The markets will be open for the whole duration, but as I said, some dragons need to return early"
"I was quite surprised to find that not all dragons lived here"
"Well, it'd be cramped if we all did. Some have established themselves as healers, using magic to hide their nature and walk among normal populations as simple magic users. Some dragons need the heat, while some need the cold. We don't usually tell anyone, as it makes them prey for less than desirable people. You're an exception as Eren is your partner and your dragon"
"I have no intention of telling anyone your secrets"
"You couldn't, even if you wished to. Eren would lose his shit"
"That's very true. So tonight, I give him his gifts?"
"Yes. And I know how much you love flying, so be prepared for another flight"
"Over to the ocean again?"
"Not quite... I don't want to spoil the surprise"
"Erwin's going to be angry. He was mad I didn't inform him of my whereabouts last night"
"Upset he wasn't invited?"
"I probably would have killed him if he'd found a way to show his face. That fancy wine of yours certainly works"
"Like you two need any prompting. Anyway, once lunch is finished, would you like to come with me? I'm not sure if Eren will be there, but I need to go retrieve Ymir, or she'll try and escape tonight's ceremony"
"Are gifts not her thing?"
"Oh, no. She loves gifts. She loves giving me gifts, it's receiving them..."
Historia sighed, picking at a sandwich
"... she had a hard past before she finally became mine. You should see how much gold she has already, dragons adore gold. For every gift I give her, she gives me five back. It's actually really sweet, but then I have to sneak everything back into her room. Dragons are super picky about their spaces"
"That doesn't sound like Eren"
"I'm sure he doesn't know how to accept gifts without expecting something to be wrong. If that makes sense. Like a gift for a service... not that he thinks like that with you. It was just hard for him. He's lucky you found him that day"
Levi had never thought of it like that. He'd known plenty of skeezy men who'd lured young children in with gifts. Just the thought of someone hurting him... He'd never told Eren that he'd also been on the streets because he knew the shit that happened there. Eren had been so young, so it was better he forgot all he went through
"He won't let me spoil him... I want to though, and I did bring smaller items..."
"I'm sure whatever you have chosen for him, he will adore. He doesn't let the brooch you gifted him out of sight"
"I hadn't expected him to like it so much"
"Of course he does. It's a gift from you"
Levi shook his head
"I'm a good decade older than you, yet here you are, consoling me"
Rolling her eyes, Historia gave him a very "Eren" look
"I'm not consoling you. I'm educating you. There's a big difference"
"I stand corrected"
"Actually, you're sitting. But who's splitting hairs. Now, I need to feed my face. I'm starving and on my feet all morning"

Chatting back and forth over lunch, Levi joined Historia as she headed off to find Ymir, and from the feeling of it, Eren too. Walking a well-worn path through the forest, Historia sighed as she looked up towards the top of the hill, where a series of loud thuds drifted down from
"Something wrong?"
"No. Just our dragons being idiots. Stay close to me. Ymir will probably want to play"
Confused and curious, Levi followed Historia up the hill, unable to stop himself from shaking his head as he watched what Ymir and Eren were up to. The two of them had, what could be described as a boulder, between them, using both their feet and their tails to smack it at each other, running around and chasing each other while ignoring the clearing they were ruining in the process. Watching the boulder come to a stop, Eren wriggled his butt, practically pouncing in it, before swatting at it with his feet. Racing across the space, Ymir stole the boulder from Eren, Eren jumping backwards before pouncing on her. Kicking him off, Ymir rolled the boulder away, smugly turning to place a clawed foot above it. Eren once again shaking his arse as he lined up his prey
"He's like a damn kitten with a ball of yarn"
"Yes. Yes, they are. I told Ymir to magic up a ball in future, but they pop them too fast"
"They pop them?"
"They get so into their own little game, they forget everything else..."
So magical balls could be popped? Ok... he didn't know why he needed to know that, but if Historia said so
"Ymir! Eren!"
Eren's pounce went sideways as Historia yelled his name, Levi cringing as Eren landed on his head. The kid still a total klutz... Ymir, on the other hand, wasn't done playing. With a swipe of her foot, the boulder was sent flying straight at them. Throwing himself sideways, Levi ducked and covered, waiting for an impact that never came. Cautiously opening his eyes, he watched as Historia sent the boulder rolling back up to the playful dragons
"What the hell was that?"
Historia doubled over laughing, shaking as she staggered over to offer him a hand up
"Ymir. She knew I'd step in. You didn't have to dive like that"
Letting himself be pulled up, his face felt warm...
"I'm sorry. I'm not used to flying boulders coming right at me"
"Eren wouldn't let anything happen to you"
Catching the boulder, Eren brought on foot down on it, smashing it to pieces, Ymir barrelling into him as he did
"Are they sane? And is that safe?"
"All dragons love playing, or at least young ones do. Eren is no exception. Ymir, however, knows I've come to get her and doesn't want the game to end"
"I think Eren just saw to that"
"He did. He probably didn't take too kindly to Ymir sending the boulder down. Now, how you recovered?"
"I'm fine"
He sounded pouty, and completely unprincely
"Good. Let's head up""

Shifting her form, Ymir came running when Historia was close enough. Catching her dragon, Historia smiled. Looking to Eren, his boyfriend walked over to him, nudging him with his nose
"Hello to you too. I thought you had serious dragon things to attend to"
"Our game was totally serious. Until Eren decided to ruin it"
"You did smack the boulder towards us"
"I wasn't expecting the prince to run away"
"I didn't run away. You try being human and having a massive boulder coming towards you"
Eren huffed, shifting back and wrapping his arms around him possessively
"Ymir knows she's not supposed to send the boulders flying"
"You're just upset your prince ran like a girl. Oh! What's that?! Historia's a girl and she didn't run? Maybe he's a chicken?"
"No. It means you're just a sore loser"
"I'm pretty sure I'm winning. Have you seen my Historia?"
"I'd rather my Lee!"
"You can have him"
"Good. You're fixing the field today. Levi and I have things to talk about"
"Noooo. You destroyed the boulder! The rules are "whoever destroys the boulder, fixes the field!""
Releasing his hold around Levi's waist with his right arm, Eren waved his hand. The damage and the boulder dissolving away as the grass went about regrowing. It was kind of amazing... and over in seconds. He had no idea why they'd act like it was the hardest job in the world
"Very nice, Eren. Your magic has come along beautifully"
Ymir shot Eren a dirty look, Eren was sickly sweet as he replied
"Thank you, Historia. It takes a delicate hand"
"Oh, blow it out your arse, Storm Dragon. You wish your magic was as delicate as ours"
"Mmmm. I do. It always feels so warm"
"Your storms always smell nice too. That's enough niceness, let's go, Historia"

Levi wasn't completely sure how the conversation ended in compliments, but as Historia and Ymir left, Eren nuzzled into his neck
"It's fine. It's a dragon thing"
"I don't think I'll ever understand. She didn't hurt you, did she?"
"Maybe a few scales, but it's all fun and games"
"It... was scary to watch. You two just jump on each other like it's nothing"
Mouthing at his neck, Eren was a little shit
"I didn't mean to make you worry. I'm honestly fine"
Turning in his boyfriend's arms, Levi slung his own over the teen's shoulders, leaning up to kiss him
"You're more than fine"
Sharing a deep kiss, it was warm and affectionate, and not matching the horny way Eren had been mouthing at his neck. Breaking the kiss, he stared up into Eren's bright eyes
"So... we have all afternoon"
"We do. I was thinking we could talk?"
"Normally you want sex"
"You make it sound like that's all I want"
"Not all. But talking would be nice"
"Good. I want to show you my room"
"Only your room?"
"I might show you more... like the kitchen"
"Does that mean you'll cook for me?"
Eren shook his head
"It means you're cooking for me. It's hard being that big"
Breaking their hug, Eren looked across the field. Holding one hand out, the grass seemed to grow, and seemed to get even greener? Arching an eyebrow, Levi looked to Eren in confusion
"What was that?"
"My scales being absorbed by the ground. Ymir likes to give her scales to Historia. I would have given mine to you, but they're only quite small. I hope you don't mind..."
"No. They're your scales. Does it help the ground?"
"Does it help the ground?" Obviously, it had to help the ground. God. That wasn't what he meant to ask
"Oh, yes. You probably can see how green Draecia is. It's because of all the magic in the soil. Ymir and I play here quite often, so I like to give back to the earth"
"That's very like you"
"I'm a visitor here. It'd be rude not to repay Draecia"
Taking his hand, Eren lead him towards the forest path
"Speaking of that... I was wondering when you planned to come home?"
"I thought I'd told you? Once the festival is done, I can come back. I mean, obviously I need to come back to Draecia from time to time, but it's time for me to go and explore the world"
Way too happy, Levi pulled Eren against him a little too hard. The alpha landing on his back, with Eren's knee dangerously close to his crotch. Both of them looking down and letting out a sigh of relief
"What are you sighing about?"
"I don't want to break your dick with my knee. How would I even explain that?!"
"I thought your magic fixed everything"
"I'd prefer not to hurt you, or that wonderful dick of yours. Now, why did you pull me down in a fit of passion?"
"Because you didn't tell me you were coming home! I've been stressing over this"
"I thought I did"
"No"
"Oops. Hey, Lee. Guess what? I'm coming home soon"
"Really? Thanks for letting me know. I'll have to get your room organised, no one's been inside since you left"
"That's creepy"
"It didn't feel right... but... if you're coming home, you can stay in my bed until your room's ready"
"Oh? Really? Is that so?"
Growling softly, Levi flipped them over, nuzzling at Eren's chest, as Eren laughed. Finally. Finally his boyfriend was coming back home
"Yes. You and this sweet little arse of yours is mine"
"Mmm... this sweet little arse is all yours"
"Good... now, we're going to go talk. And you're going to pack"
Eren nodded, his smile dropping on the edges of his mouth
"We're staying... until the end of the festival, right?"
"Of course. I don't want to take this away from you"
Throwing his arms around him, Eren's happy scent flooded into his nose
"I love you! Thank you!"
"You're welcome, brat"
As the pair of them detangled from each other, Levi's heart was racing as he panicked. Eren had told him he loved him! Without the influence of sex, or his knot, or wine... it may have been a slip of the tongue, but the elation he felt... it was scary...
"Master? Are you ok? Your scent..."
"I'm fine, brat. Just imagining the lecture Erwin is going to give me for disappearing again"
"Then we better get you back. Mikasa's probably going to lecture me too... I swear. I'm an adult. I don't need to tell her everything"
Climbing to his feet, Levi brushed himself off
"You're an adult? When did that happen?"
Eren faked a pained look, as he pushed himself up
"You wound me"
"Then let me kiss it better"
"Nope. We're behaving"
"We are?"
"Yep. At least until you've fed me"
Slinging his arm back around Levi's waist, they started back down the hill, Levi mumbling to himself
"So demanding"
"I know I am"
"You weren't supposed to hear that"
"Then remember I've got super hearing, and super sight, and super smell... I'm really the complete package"
"I already knew that"

*
Letting Levi into the cabin Eren shared with Armin and Mikasa, he hadn't expected his two roommates to be, or for Erwin to be there. Eren had hoped that it'd be just him and Levi, as he really did want to sit down and talk with his boyfriend. Careful to wait until Levi was inside before stepping in, Eren cleared his throat
"I found Prince Erwin on my way back"
Armin rose to bow at Levi, while Mikasa rushed from her chair to grab Eren by his shoulders. Great. Here came her lecture... right in front of Levi... He was fine. Mikasa should have known he was fine. She'd seen the previous year's ceremony and known how much he'd wanted to join in. Leaning in, she sniffed at him
"Where have you been? You stink!"
"Excuse you. I've been off doing dragon things, and then I was with Ymir"
He could smell the anger in Mikasa's scent, and he could smell Levi on him. It was probably for the best they hadn't had sex, or he'd never hear the end of that one
"You smell like alpha"
"Probably because Ymir and I have been out in the fields around the manor, all day. There are people everywhere, and you know that"
Moving to scent his neck, Eren dodged his adoptive sister
"Mikasa, you don't need to scent me. I don't mind the scent. It's not gross to me, and you know I've got a great sense of smell"
"And I'm telling you that you stink. Just let me scent you"
"I don't want to be scented by my sister, so stop it. You're embarrassing me in front of the Prince"
Mikasa crossed her arms
"You're too trusting. Anyone here could be an enemy"
"No one's going to hurt me! We're the only humans here! I'm part dragon and you need to accept that"
"Do I?! You're also an omega! If anyone attacked you... you could fall pregnant"
"I'm not going to fall pregnant! You're being too paranoid! Go hit something with a sword or something. Maybe you could train with the guards the prince brought with him?"
"Stop changing the topic"
Though Levi was standing in front of him, he could almost feel the alpha giving him a look of sympathy. Erwin's lectures were probably just as annoying, but at least they didn't occur in front of Levi's best friends
"I'm not. I've been busy since the ceremony yesterday. I came back to take a shower, then Prince Erwin, Levi and I will be talking about what magic I've learned since coming here and how it could help Eldia. I'm sure Armin would be happy to explain what he's learned while I do"

Brushing past Levi, Eren headed towards his room. He didn't want to come across as rude, but he really couldn't deal with Mikasa. Every moment of every day, he wanted to be by Levi
"Eren, wait"
"I'm going to shower, Mikasa"
"Wait... I want to talk to you"
Pausing as he grabbed his door handle, he looked to Mikasa
"What is it?"
"At tonight's ceremony, am I allowed to give you a gift?"
"You want to give me a gift?"
"I know you've been with the prince because of his status, but Eren, to me..."
"Mikasa, I'm sorry. I really need to shower. As far as I know, the prince is the only one who can give me a gift. I'm sorry, that's just the way it is"
"But we're family"
"I know. You're my sister, and you'll always be my sister. We're heading back to Eldia in a few days, why don't you make the most of the time we have left here?"
Darting into his room before Mikasa could reply, Eren wished he could be harder on her. He didn't want to upset her, but shit. His boyfriend was just outside the hallway. He'd probably even heard... Sometimes he wished Erwin's stupid command wasn't still in place. It was probably a good thing it was, but he couldn't even call Levi's name as they had sex. The closest he got was "Lee", and even that strained the command. He wanted Levi to know that he saw him as more than the stand-in-prince. That he saw the man for who he was, without the titles or formality... and he'd wanted to talk to Levi about everything he'd done and seen since coming to Draecia. He wanted to show Levi how his magic had grown, and he wanted to show Levi that everything they'd given up in their time apart had had some kind of meaning. He loved Levi...

Showering and rejoining the four in the kitchen, Eren nearly melted at Levi's scent. In their time apart, he'd thought he'd imagined the effect it'd had on him. He'd thought he imaged the smell of warm tea and safety, but each time he smelt it... it made him feel the luckiest man alive. Sure, there were traces of annoyance, probably at Erwin being there, and the fact their private conversation was over before it could begin, but he could tell his alpha was happy beneath it all, and that in turn made him happy
"Sorry for the wait. I'm ready now"
Dressed in another set of robes, Eren knew he looked good. These robes started out a deep blue-green and faded up to a blue, like the water of the peninsula between Eldia and Draecia. He'd dressed carefully, given he had to look presentable before Levi gave him his gifts, and he'd dressed knowing he'd drive Levi crazy. Standing, his boyfriend's chair scraped slightly in his rush
"Ah, Eren. Very good, I'm sorry, but we need to go now"
Smooth. His boyfriend was an idiot, in the best kind of way. Eren nearly laughed at how flustered he'd made his alpha, without even touching him. Rising to his feet much slower, Erwin sighed, probably not happy to be babysitting the couple
"Thank you, Armin. You've been most insightful since our arrival"
The blush on Armin's face was soft, his friend giving Erwin the biggest smile he'd ever seen on the beta's face. Mikasa rolled her eyes with a huff. While he'd been secretly pining for Levi, Armin had voiced his excitement to see "Levi" again... repeatedly. Counting down since Eren notified them, and notified them that they'd be returning home. He'd been sure he'd told Levi in his last letter, though after their rough reunion, he'd been nervous to bring the topic up... then got swept up in the festival
"It was nothing. I'm just happy to be of help"
"And you were"
He could see it on Armin's face, this must have been the greatest day of his life. Now. If he managed to get his hands on some of Erwin's hair, he'd be able to give Armin news of his compatibility with the alpha
"Eren, maybe I should come with you?"
Oh god. No. Babysitter Erwin was enough. He didn't need both of them harping on, and he didn't need Mikasa finding out that he was dating Levi in private
"Mikasa, I'm perfectly safe. Levi will be there to guard us. Go enjoy yourself. Take Armin to the marketplace... have fun. You know once we go back home, it'll be straight back to work"
"I'd feel much better if I knew what you were up to and where you were"
"You're insulting Levi. He's the prince's bodyguard, and you're insulting Historia's hospitality. I'm perfectly safe, so please, go enjoy yourselves. We'll meet you once we've talked"

Mikasa kept with her insisting until Erwin either grew tired of it or acted out of pity and assured the alpha that he would be safe and under his supervision the whole time. Being under his supervision is exactly what Eren didn't want, and worst of all, he was starving. As the trio made their way over to the cabin the Eldia party was using, Eren's stomach rumbled nonstop, Levi laughing softly as he promised to make him lunch, and Erwin repeatedly sighing at the pair of them, probably for being too open with their affections, not that they cared. It was safe to love here, and they both wanted to enjoy that before the inevitable awkwardness and sneaking returned as they tried to rediscover a balance once back in Eldia.

Surprisingly, Levi made him lunch. It wasn't anything fancy, just a half dozen jam sandwiches and tea, which he demolished to the amazement of his boyfriend. He would have felt self-conscious if Levi hadn't seen how large his dragon form was. When you were running around and being a dragon, you didn't tend to notice how hungry it made you, until after you'd returned to your human form and it felt as if your stomach was eating itself. He wasn't sure if being part human helped, or not. He could easily eat as much as Ymir, only to feel sick after because of it. Ymir wasn't the type to let a weakness show, so he'd been doomed to never knowing...

When finished with lunch, Eren used his magic to fill the sink and move the dishes to them. He was totally ready for a nap, preferably in the sun, but he supposed he really should talk about his magic with Levi and Erwin. Like his love for Levi, some things just couldn't be discussed out loud in Eldia. Knowing Erwin was probably going to be a dick about it all, Eren rubbed at his face
"Let's do this. What do you want to talk about?"
Levi raised an eyebrow at him, Eren shaking his head. He knew exactly what his boyfriend wanted to "talk" about, and that would be about the gift ceremony, not what came next for them
"Not you. I mean, like, we should probably talk about stuff before we go back to Eldia"
Erwin cleared his throat, giving them both a disapproving look
"We have the sword to return, but before we do, Eren, I'd like you to take a look at it. You should be able to tell us something about it now, right? Such as why Zeke was so desperate to steal it"
"Maybe..."
Maybe it would better to just return it to Historia? Eren was pretty sure Historia would know be the better choice given her healing magic gave her a certain measure of ability to read something or someone with just a touch, or even Freya. From what he could remember, there was metal on the hilt of the sword. She'd be able to tell where the metal it came from and how long ago it'd been forged... Erwin didn't give him enough time to collect his thoughts, or for him to get his point across
"Or did you waste this last year?"
"No. I was going to say, that Historia would be able to tell you more about what the sword was forged for, while Freya can tell you more about when it was forged and from what"
"Or, you could take a look. Given that you've supposedly spent a year "training""
Walking over to the kitchen sink, Levi rolled his sleeves up. For someone who was supposed to be "princely", Levi seemed more at home making lunch, or washing dishes... Something he could never picture Erwin doing...
"Erwin, leave him alone"
"I did train. I was just suggesting that they'd understand it better the swords history better than I would. And, why are you doing the dishes?"
"Because neither of you were. Putting them in the water, doesn't equal washing them, and while you might want to live like pigs, I'd rather not. Now. Erwin, if you want Eren to take a look at the sword, go get the stupid thing. Eren, I have faith in your powers, and if you still believe we should ask Historia before returning it, we will. God knows Rod Reiss isn't exactly the most mentally stable person, or ruler. It already seems as if he leaves most of his daily duties to his wife and children, and out of them, the only one I have any measure of confidence in, is Historia. If Historia decides it's safer we take it back with us, we will. Or we'll destroy the stupid thing..."
"We're not destroying the sword"
It was nice that Levi had opened up to Historia, but it didn't change the fact that Rod was in charge within Draecia. It felt wrong to hide this from him...
"Eren, there has so be a reason Zeke was after that sword"
"I know. I'm not saying that, but there are they royal vaults. Dragon magic is strong, and if there is something wrong with the sword, we'll get to the bottom of it, the right way"
Erwin finally made himself useful, taking his angry scowl with him. Watching as the alpha left, Eren jumped when something soft landed on his head. Ripping it off with a growl, the mage eyed the piece of fabric in his hands. His face reddening as he realised he'd just growled at a flying tea towel. Glaring at his alpha, Levi's smile grew, his boyfriend flicking soapy water in his direction
"If I'm washing, you're drying"
"I just wanted to lay in your arms and talk, and now I'm actually having to do things... the effort... I'm sooo old"
"You're ancient"
Pushing himself out of his chair, Eren walked over to his boyfriend, resting him chin on Levi's shoulder as he kissed the alpha's cheek
"I am! You have no idea how much energy it takes to be that big..."
"Yes. Poor you. Forced to learn magic and chase your dream"
"My dream is be useful to Eldia"
"In that case, you can do the dishes that I washed"
Pressing another kiss to Levi's cheek, Eren sighed in defeat, moving to pick up the plate his lunch had been on
"Don't give me that, brat. I'll let you lay in my arms, tonight"
"That's hours away..."
"Than we'll both have to do our best until then"
If only it was that easy... at least while he dried the dishes, he wouldn't have to listen to Erwin dribbling shit or having a go at him. He could pretend he and Levi were just normal lovers, splitting the housework like normal people would. It was probably the closest they'd ever be to being normal... And he couldn't help but feel a little better when he gave Levi a smile, which his boyfriend returned. Maybe Levi thought the same? That they both should enjoy these small moments, because they had no idea how many more they'd get... even once they were home. Behind them, Erwin cleared his throat and Eren's heart flopped. He'd poured all his energy into learning absolutely everything he could... For someone magically ignorant, such as Erwin, he should appreciate the fact that he was even invited onto Draecia land. It never would have happened if not for Eren's dragon heritage. It was hard not to be sorely tired of the alpha, and bitterly annoyed that his magic wasn't being recognised for the force it was. One day Erwin would need his magic, or he'd be forced to play a pawn again, yet he was being a dick. He was just lucky he was a bigger man than him.

Chapter Text

Ignoring Erwin and the sword until the dishes were dried, Eren now stood at the kitchen table, staring down at the sword. It still gave him a bad feeling, and he still didn't particularly want to touch it. Despite the fact it was wrapped in thick furs and was yet to be unwrapped
"It's just a sword"
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes at Erwin, Eren wished he could voice his inner thoughts. If it was just a sword, then the three of them wouldn't be standing around the table and staring at it
"It's uncomfortable"
"For God's sake. Get out the way"
Snatching up the bundled item, Erwin pulled the furs from the scabbard, before placing the sword down on the table much harder than was necessary. The teen was almost tempted to ask which God, Erwin was referring too. They all swore to god, but that changed from region to region and from religion to religion... Eren would have liked to think he'd have asked, if a pungent smell hadn't filled the room once the sword was unwrapped. Gagging, he turned from it, fanning his face in an attempt to dilute the stink. It was somewhere between fish left to rot in the sun for days, and the stink of a body left in a street to rot. But sickly sweet and nauseating at the same time
"Eren?"
Looking to his boyfriend, Levi's face was filled with concern
"Sorry. It's just the smell... it's revolting"
"What smell?"
Taking a step away from the sword, he waved his hand at the offensive item. Picking the sword up, Levi sniffed at it, before shaking his head
"I don't smell anything too bad... other than the dust. Is it really that bad?"
"We're taking it to Historia. I don't care what you say, there's something not right about it"
"Enough of these dramatics. You're a royal mage in employment by the court of Eldia, I command you to look at the sword"
Levi growled at Erwin, the alpha looked ready to deck him, while Eren's stomach clenched so hard he hunched over in pain
"Undo the command! You have no right to put a command on my omega!"
"I can when he's ignoring what he's told. Look, I'll even make it easier for you"
Taking the scabbard, Erwin ripped the thin leather ties off from around the hilt, drawing the blade as Eren screamed
"Don't!"

The effect was immediate, the moment the sword left its sheath. The blade began to shake, sending out a rhythmic pulse that Eren could only describe as the thud of a heart. Joining the pulsing, a sweet sharp melody seemed to play through the air, Erwin crying out in rage and pain, trying to release the sword, only to find his hand turning a deep blood red. Extending from his hand, long red tendrils began snaking their way up the alpha's arm, as if there were actual snakes beneath his skin, the skin bursting and cracking audibly as they pushed their way forward. As Levi grabbed for the sword, Eren's magic rose without his control. The power within him desperate to protect his rider and his alpha from the sinister danger. He had no control as he swung his hand out. His eyes were black as the world around the three of them exploded outwards. Containing in within a shimmering bubble of volatile magic, his fingers glowing red at the tips, as a large disc of wind severed Erwin's arm just above the elbow, sending a bloodied spiral spraying across the insides of the bubble. The blood rushed to clash against his magic, black weeping openings forming as his magic rose further to keep the substance contained. Clutching the stump of his arm, Erwin swayed on the spot. The blood gushing from the wound would kill the man at this rate. Tearing Erwin's hand from away, the omega pushed his fingers forward, sealing the open wound, in much the same way he'd sliced through Levi's clothes. Taking off the very outer layer of stump and cauterising the flesh as Erwin howled in pain, finding enough strength to backhand him so hard, Eren crashed into Levi. The contact from his rider, rushed to pull him back to reality, as the bubble of magic they were in, swirled and swept up the blood, forming a dozen differently sized, yet perfectly shaped black balls which fell to the floor... or at least what was left of the floor... in his altered state, the cabin had been completely destroyed, as had everything else in a 10 foot ring around where the building stood. But none of that mattered to him, all that mattered was the man beneath him.

Scrambling off Levi, Eren snatched the sword up. Levi had managed to get most of if back within the scabbard, enough that he shouldn't look so worried. Sliding it in completely, his boyfriend's eyes widened
"Le..."
Fucking command! Something was wrong with his alpha, his own emotions so overwhelming he couldn't feel like as deeply as he usually could... dropping the sword, Eren's voice trembled
"Master?"
"I... got his blood... in my mouth"
Turning as he pushed himself up, Levi's whole body clenched, his boyfriend heaving and clawing at the ground as black vomit splattered between his hand. Not giving two shits about possible infection, Eren threw himself back at Levi, his alpha throwing out a hand to stop him as he scrambled
"Get back..."
"No..."
"Eren, get back!"
"No! No... let me see..."
He could see his magic trying to work, but on Levi's hands where the vomit has splashed up, festering wounds were beginning to form. Tearing his hand from Eren's line of sight, Eren's eyes filled with tears as black blood dribbled down Levi's chin, a smile appearing across his lover's lips that wasn't his own. It only lasted for a fraction of a second, before reality seemed to hit, everything that had happened in a few moments felt like it'd taken hours to transpire. Above them, the sky grew dark as Levi slumped forward, his body fitting and seizing on the ground.

Still blind to all that had happened around them, Eren started fighting as an arm wrapped around his waist, pulling him from Levi's side. Snarling, he clawed at the unwelcome hold, not caring who it was, only that they were taking him from Levi's side
"Eren! Snap out of it!"
Historia's soft voice came from beside his ear, Ymir grabbing the sword off the ground
"Steege's got him. I'll grab the big stupid one, you make sure he doesn't lose control again"
"Eren, we need to move. Can you stop crying for me? I need to know what happened?"
The teen's breath hitched, shaking his head as he tried to fight Historia again. "Levi was hurt". "Levi is dying". The two sentences played on repeat. Their bond felt wrong, and Eren couldn't stop ugly crying if he'd wanted to... Coming to Levi, Steege hurled him up and over his shoulder, like Levi was a sack of flour and not the love of Eren's life
"Lee!"
"Eren..."
Sobbing and grabbing for Levi, Historia hefted Eren off his feet. She might be slight and quite petite for a dragon rider, but she had the strength to lift him and carry him as if he were a toddler
"Lee!"
"We've got him. We've got him, Eren. I need you to breathe for me"
Fuck breathing. He wanted Levi! He wanted his alpha! Levi was in so much pain... and it was all his fault. If he'd thought. If he hadn't used his magic. If he'd insisted on calling Historia... If... if he'd been better... He knew there was something wrong with the sword! He'd known it!
"Eren, calm down. You're not making sense. We've got you, and the prince. We're taking you up to the house"
He didn't know if he was saying everything out loud or if Historia was using her magic to get a feel for what he was going through, but he knew he needed Levi
"Need... him. I can't lose him... I can't..."

Hauled up to the manor, Eren still couldn't bring himself back under control. Taken beneath the manor house, he had no idea where Levi had been taken. No. Instead of being with his suffering lover, he was stuck in a medium-sized room used for overflow staff, with Historia, Ymir and Erwin. Forced to sit on the edge of one of the single beds, Eren dissolved past sobs and into whimpers and whines. Sitting beside him, Historia gathered him into her arms, whispering words of comfort as her magic went to work soothing him. He couldn't get the image of Levi's skin rotting, or that revolting black vomit ruining his alpha's beautiful face.

Holding him until he was finally calmed enough to collect his thoughts, he still felt immensely ill. His skin had begun to itch, while fever was starting to set in. Neither his nor Historia's magic seemed to be making a difference. Sitting herself down on the other side of her mate, Ymir held the stupid sword that had started it all. Erwin was now out cold, snoring in the bed across from them. Most probably a spell to make him sleep, so he wouldn't feel any extra pain from his wound. Kissing his temple, Historia rubbed his arm softly
"Eren? Can you tell me what happened?"
"It's all my fault... Historia, it's all my fault"
"Can you tell me what happened? What do you know about this sword?"
Sniffling, Eren shook his head
"It was the sword Zeke wanted"
"The one with the egg?"
"Y-yeah... I wanted to bring it to you, but he... he commanded me to look at it... I didn't... it smelled so bad. I didn't want to, but when he drew the blade... I'm going to be sick"
As Eren threw up on the floor, Historia held him upright
"Ymir, can you please retrieve Freya. I need her help to stabilise Eren. Also, make sure my father doesn't know about the sword"
"Historia, he destroyed the whole cabin. Rod's going to want an explanation"
"I don't care. Right now, we have a gravely ill rider and a dragon responding to his condition. We also have a prince who's now lost an arm, and absolutely no explanation as to why all of this happened, other than this sword. Erwin wouldn't be able to describe things as accurately as Eren can, but I can't stabilise him without Freya"

*
Slipping into a fevered state, Eren didn't respond to anything Freya or Historia tried. He felt as if he were dying, and if he was to die, he wanted to see Levi one last time. Still, beneath the manor, he had no need to worry about Mikasa and Armin. They'd be taken care of, he knew Historia would see to that, as would Erwin. The prince had already been moved to another room, for which Eren was grateful. He hated the man seeing him writhing in pain from the fever and the never-ceasing burning of his skin. He couldn't eat, he couldn't drink, his temperature wouldn't lower and he no longer had control of most of his bodily functions. Each cough he gave was wet and bloody, his lungs not having been this bad for years. All he wanted was to see Levi again.

When Ymir took Historia's place beside his bed, Eren knew he'd have a better chance at seeing Levi again. Being a dragon, she knew the love they felt towards their riders. She knew the desperate need to be by her riders side. Coughing as he fought to push himself up, Ymir scowled down at him
"Quit moving, you idiot"
"Need... to... see... him"
The rattling in his lungs was so dry that even Ymir looked uncomfortable. It wasn't like she never showed emotion, she just usually limited it to all things Historia
"No one's allowed to see him"
"P-please... Ymir"
It was useless trying to be playful, or jokingly fluttering his eyelashes. He could see on her face that she was waiting for him to die. Sighing exaggeratedly, Ymir dusted herself off as she rose
"If you get your blood on me, I'm not going to forgive you"
"Sorry... I can't make any promi..."
His coughs cut him off, so did Ymir as gathered him up
"You fucking stink. I hope you know that. Rod's absolutely livid. Freya's been out of it since she did a reading on that sword of yours, and the shitty Eldia prince is making demands to. He wants to see Levi, but that's not happening. Oh! Oh! Your little friends refuse to leave, and now I have to share my Historia. You lying down here dying is probably the safest place in the whole manor"
If he could have laughed, he would have. Despite her harsh words, there was no real bite in them, it was just how Ymir was... There was probably more than a few questions over what had happened, and they were lucky that the incident had been contained. If the visiting dragons and their riders had been affected, the whole dragon populace would have been in threat.

Chained to the oracle's altar beneath the manor, Levi had been left alone. Feeling anger flaring as his magic jerked back from their boyfriend, Eren didn't care. It didn't matter if Levi was under the effects of whatever happened, he was still the man he'd fallen for. Approaching his alpha, it was clear the curse had hit Levi ten times worse than him. His boyfriend rose to kneel, snarling and hissing as they came closer, tugging on his chains
"Put me down"
"Eren, he's not right in the mind"
"It's ok, Ymir"
If Levi wanted to kill him, that was ok. If his blood on Levi's hands was what it took to calm his alpha, that was also ok. Wobbling as the blankets fell from his shaking frame, Eren tried not to let his fear show. This was his Levi... just a little different from normal
"Eren?"
"It's fine, Ymir. You can leave us"
"But..."
"It's ok... it's what I want"
Thank god for heightened senses. He could barely hear his own words, but Ymir heard, cursing him as she left. Making it to the altar, Levi laughed a cruel high laugh. Not his alpha at all. Collapsing forward, Eren grabbed the altar, engulfed by a sick feeling. Reaching out, Levi grabbed him by the throat, pulling him in to sniff deeply. With each movement, Levi's joints seemed to crack, the sores across his face popping and running as Levi held his gaze
"You pitiful thing. You're dying and they do nothing"
Sniffing louder, Levi pulled him up upon the altar by his throat, growling and clicking with his tongue, when Eren tried to help himself up. Flopping uselessly on the altar, Levi moved to straddle him. This wasn't his Levi, but how could he look at the man and think of anything other than his lover. Moving his free hand to his forehead, a blissfully cold feeling flooded his burning body, Levi's voice filled with annoyance
"You're the one who heals this body but couldn't heal yourself. You stupid fool"
How was he supposed to heal something he didn't understand, and something Historia didn't understand. If she, a healer, couldn't figure it out, what chance did he have?!
"Still. You're not without your charms... Sleep"

Sleep was not kindly gifted. Levi's hand squeezing his throat so he couldn't breathe. His chest shook as he choked on his own coughs... this wasn't his boyfriend. Levi would never raise a hand to hurt him so. Left with no choice, all he could do was pass out beneath the man, wondering if he'd wake again.

*
A soft warm bed and the warmth of the sun were the first things Eren noticed. Groaning, the teen rolled over, nuzzling into the pillow in attempt to fall back to sleep. Feeling the bed dip, the omega whined his annoyance at whoever dared to wake him
"Eren?"
Levi?! That was Levi's voice! Shooting up, he headbutted his boyfriend in his hurry. Hissing, Levi rubbed his head as they both fell away from each other
"God! What the fuck was that?! Why is your head so fucking solid!?"
Rubbing at his forehead, his magic was already healing the impact, while his brain felt bruised
"L-m-master?"
Dragging himself back up, Eren looked to Levi. His eyes filling with tears as he did
"You scared us. You weren't getting better, then you slipped into a coma. We... we weren't sure if you'd wake"
A what now?! What? He'd been sick and Levi hadn't been Levi... They'd been down beneath the manor, and now... the sores were gone and Levi, Levi was looking human... not like the thing chained down on the altar. He was so confused...
"But... you? The sword? What happened?!"
This felt like his Levi... but not... but more than before... Levi sighed, turning to sit facing him
"We need to have a talk about that, but first..."
"No! Just... what happened? I remember being sick, and I remember you were sick. You were covered in sores, and vomiting black blood stuff... and Fluffybrows gave me a second command..."
"Calm down, you're talking a million miles an hour"
Maybe this was a dream?! Or was that the dream?! He'd headbutted Levi, and it'd hurt like hell... but he'd felt like he was dying. Confused, his scent flared as he drew his knees to his chest. He'd been sick... and now...
"Eren?"
"I don't understand"
Reaching out, Levi cupped his cheek, tilting his face up to look the alpha in the eyes. His touch was just as warm as he remembered... but Levi's eyes... there was a blackness in there that he didn't remember
"We need to talk, but first Historia has to make sure you're alright. A lot has happened while you were unconscious"
"You?"
"We'll talk. I'll be right outside that door"
What? No. He wasn't awake enough to be talking, let alone sorting his chaotic thoughts into something tangible. He'd woken up like two minutes ago, been headbutted and formed the words. And now Levi was leaving?!
"I... I don't want you to go"
"You'll be fine with Historia"

Leaving him, Eren felt as if Levi was dismissing him. Normally the alpha would have stayed, especially with the way his scent was at the moment. Rushing into his room, Historia seemed happier to see him awake than Levi had
"Eren! You scared me!"
"I'm sorry"
Dropping down in the same spot Levi had sat in, Historia smiled softly
"It's so nice to see you awake. We've all been so worried"
"Historia... what's going on. I... I'm so confused. He... he was coughing up black vomit... and now he won't talk about it"
"He's the most stubborn patient our healers have ever met"
"You're the predominant healer of the household"
"That's how I know. Now, let me have a little touch"
Reaching out her hand, Eren jerked back from her magic, taking them both by surprise
"I'm not going to hurt you..."
"I know. I'm sorry. I don't know what that was"
"I do. You're scared and confused. Don't worry, I just want to make sure your infection has passed"
"Infection?"
Placing her palm against his forehead, Historia sighed softly
"I think you're safe. You got quite ill there for a while, your magic was trying to heal you and causing you more harm than good"
"I don't know what happened... Erwin drew the sword, than everything went to shit... and Levi... he was chained up down on the oracle's altar, and it was him. It was him, but it wasn't him. Historia, what's going on?"
Sitting back, the princess closed her eyes. Eren knew she probably needed a moment to collect her thoughts, but he wasn't in the mood for any of this
"Please... Historia, please"
Opening her eyes, Historia pulled her hand back
"The sword they brought, it... it was made with a scale from Obsydin. Smith had sworn all of him had been burned, yet the man kept a sword made from his bone, fangs, tears and scale. I'm so sorry, Eren. If it'd stayed in Eldia, this never would have happened... if... if we'd just taken a look while were in Eldia. If we'd taken a look when Freya had examined the egg..."
Historia's blue eyes filled with tears, the princess seeming so very human as she wiped at her face. Obsydin was bad news, but now he... Was Levi infected by Erwin's blood? No. Levi had been infected by Erwin's blood... but it was just a sword. Erwin had said it was just a sword...
"Historia, you need to explain right now. I need to know what's wrong with my boyfriend. I need to know if everything actually happened, and why he's acting like nothing at all happened. I need to know what's going on"
Historia wiped her cheeks dry, though her eyes remained wet with fresh tears
"I'm sorry. You're right. Freya examined the sword, and it was indeed part of Obsydin. You know how dragon magic works, how it seeps into the soil, and how all things are connected. An egg and a clutch cannot hatch without it feeding from the magic of its parents. Obsydin's egg was devoid of that chance, but the sword..."
Eren nodded, with a heavy feeling in his stomach. It'd been part of the great dragon, imbued with all of his magic...
"Despite it's being locked away, there was magic left in the scale. If it'd been left down there for a few more decades, it would have become just a pretty ornament. Even with your magic in the castle. Here... here is where he lived. Where his clutch lived... his blood and their blood stains this soil"
It was like how he returned his scales to the ground, as an offering to Earth, only their offering hadn't been willingly given. They'd probably cursed Draecia as they burned... Dragon magic was unique to each dragon, and three hundred years ago, it would have been so much more pure. The bloodlines for dragons weren't as diluted as now... and for his clutch to be killed, he must have been carrying some impressive powers
"So the sword contained part of his soul?"
"This is what Freya said. We've examined the remains of Erwin's arm, it was infected by Obsydin's negative magic, and for a non-magic user, the power was too much. He would have lost his life had you not severed his arm"
"Don't say it like it makes anything better... It doesn't change that... My master is infected"
"Eren..."
"It's my fault. He grabbed the sword to save him... but then when I... his blood got in his mouth... I did this to him"
Eren felt as if he'd cried a lifetime's with of useless tears, yet more tears were stupidly forming as every part of him filled with guilt. Pulling him up against her, Historia rubbed his back gently as Eren broke down further
"No! No... this was King Smith's fault, and the fault of our ancestors for not making sure every fibre of Obsydin wasn't erased"
"It is. I told him I didn't want to do it. I told him it felt wrong... I should have done something. I should have..."
"You did what you could. Erwin is still alive, and so is Levi. That in its self is because of your magic. You contained the infection"
"It never should have happened... he... I couldn't even help him. He was acting like he had no idea. How do I help him? I can't undo time, none of us can... what's the point of having magic if I'm going to be so fucking useless when my alpha needs me"
"Levi's infected, we cannot change that, but we can research and we can see if we can find a way to help him"
"Help him, not cure him. I saw him Historia. I saw him on the altar. His skin was covered in wounds, they kept popping. Pus was running and oozing from Levi's face, while the sounds he was making... they weren't human. It... it was him, his body, but not my boyfriend... I can feel it... he's not himself anymore"
"He's still Levi, but he's just a little different around the edges, and a little cursed"
Jerking back, Eren half-screamed/half-sobbed in Historia's face
"Cursed?!"
"Infected. A little infected... He was unconscious for the first three days, but you took a full week to wake"
Letting Historia pull him back against her, the princess stroked his hair
"N-no... I remember. I was sick with a fever, and still underground. Ymir took me to see Levi and..."
"Eren, trust me. That didn't happen"
"But..."
"Freya and I couldn't stabilise you, and yes, you came down with fever as Levi did. But it broke. It broke and you've been unconscious since. Levi's been so worried that he hasn't left your side. Erwin also came to see how you were. Don't tell him, but I overheard him apologising to you"
"Are you sure? He'd never say that to my face"
"You were unconscious... He's having a hard time coming to terms with it all"

Whining miserably, Eren nuzzled into Historia's neck. Her scent was like jasmine in bloom on a warm summers night. It was nice, but it wasn't Levi and wasn't working to calm him like Levi's scent would. He knew Levi had moved from outside the bedroom door. The alpha was probably sick of being dragged around by him, and forced to feel all this shitty emotions
"Eren, I promise Erwin regrets it all"
It was a little late for regrets. He'd fucked up Levi's life, even if Levi forgave Erwin, Eren wasn't sure he could... and what happened between Draecia and Eldia? Erwin was the prince and he'd been harmed on Draecia soil... God. If they went to war, Eldia would be erased from the map in a matter of minutes... Rod didn't like having them there as it was, and if Eren was honest, the man scared him
"What happens now? What did Rod say?"
"We haven't told him. Not everything. Only that there was an accident in which the prince's bodyguard was injured, and that both you and Levi fell ill as a result. Luckily he was too busy with the festival. Now, we need to all sit down and have a talk. Steege and Maria have both been searching for any record of Obsydin's bloodline, though most of the records from that time were still an oral history. Freya's been tending to Levi, because Ymir lacks in bedside manners... it really is a bad habit for a healer to have"
"He... he must hate me"
"No. No, Levi doesn't hate you. He's worried about the effect of the infection"
"He left. The moment I woke up, he left me... he..."
Every good thing in his life had been taken away. His parents in the war with Marley. His desire to be a soldier by presenting as an omega. His place by Levi's side by being part dragon... and now... his place by Levi's side again, as his boyfriend suffered because of him...
"I can't even say his name to his face. Not once since this started..."
"I'm sure Erwin would lift the command"
"I'm not even supposed to talk about it all... it... pulls against the command when I do. I hate it... I hate stupid alpha commands. It's not fair... I don't want to lose him"
"You're not going to. I don't know how we're even going to untangle all of this. I have no idea how we're going to deal with any of it... None of us expected a relic of that time to still burn so brightly with life, and nothing like this has ever happened before..."

Sitting back, Eren wiped his face. He hated how he felt. He hated having his emotions so out of control, and out of everyone he'd ever met, it was only Levi who could mix him up in such a way... Not that he wanted his boyfriend to see such a messy sight
"You're not making me feel any better"
"I don't feel great either, but I feel better now you're awake. You really have no idea how worried I was"
"Did my magic go out of control?"
"A little to begin with, it settled when Levi came to your side"
"It always does... I wanted to be beside him every day I was here, and now... He came because of me"
"And he doesn't blame you. He wouldn't have spent four days by your side if he wasn't worried. He cares deeply for you, but he's also worried about what happened. You may have created a creator in the manor lawns"
"Seriously?"
"Yeah. You blew up the whole cabin, but I'd say that it was justified"
That wasn't good... Rod didn't like him at the best of times, let alone when he was going around blowing things up and making a scene
"No one was hurt, outside of you three. Mikasa and Armin have been quite upset, they've stayed in the sitting room nearly the whole time you've been unconscious. Erwin's managed to keep the peace. Honestly, being unconscious to it all has been the best place to be"
Eren's thoughts snapped back to what Ymir had said... in his dream? It hadn't felt like a dream...
"Eren?"
"Sorry, Historia. I just feel a bit out of it..."
"You look a little peaky, and you haven't eaten in nearly a week. Your poor stomach. It's just not healthy... Then you have me dumping all of this on you. How about I ask one of the maids to bring you up something to eat? You and Levi really need to talk, but right now, I think you just need some cuddles with your boyfriend"
Placing his hand on his stomach, Eren rubbed lightly... he felt nauseous thanks to the guilt echoing in his mind, but if he didn't eat, he'd only feel worse
"I think I'm hungry"
"I know you are. Sometimes you just need a cuddle with the one you love"
"I think you're the only one Ymir would cuddle with"
"She's not as prickly as she seems, you know that"
"I do... I'm just lashing out. I'm sorry"
"You're not lashing out. You're highly emotional right now, and it's understandable. You have a deep bond with Levi, and I'm sure we'll be able to figure this out"
Eren wasn't so sure... again, his emotions getting the better of him
"I hope so... he's... he's all I want, Historia. I don't care that he's not the real prince or that he isn't rich. I just care for him"
Historia gave him a small smile, nodding as she started climbing off the bed
"And you're all he wants. Trust in that"

Chapter Text

They said that "there's no rest for the wicked", and Eren felt that way. Levi had come back in when the maid had brought him something to eat, but as news of his awakening spread, so did the number of people in the bedroom. First came Levi, then came Mikasa and Armin, both lecturing him about his lack of carefulness, and finally to round out the group, Erwin appeared. Seeing the bandaged stump, was like another bitter blow, chasing his nonexistent appetite further away... especially when he was only one eating, with four sets of eyes on his every move. When he'd tried to place down the bowl of porridge he was playing with, both Levi and Mikasa glared at him until he finally forced himself to shovel it down. The two alphas were already engaged in a silent scent battle, Levi's scent had held a tinge of coolness, that had set Mikasa off, and now it was getting quite putrid. Even if they couldn't smell it themselves, his sensitive nose could, like he could smell a fresh herbal concoction coming from Erwin's stump. The only one not giving him grief was Armin, but the blond clearly hadn't slept. He looked almost as sickly as Eren felt, yet he couldn't offer Armin any comfort. If he did, he risked making Mikasa jealous, which would make Levi jealous, and Erwin would think even less of him.

When the maid came to collect his dishes, Eren nearly threw himself on her and begged to be taken away with the dishes. Shooting her a pleading look, it went ignored, leaving him, with no choice back to take things into his own hands. Pushing the blankets down, Eren wrinkled his nose at his own smell. He stank of sickness and fever, with touches of slick. It wasn't pleasant at all
"Eren, what are you doing?"
"I'm getting out of bed"
Placing her hand on his, Mikasa stared into his eyes
"You've just woken. You need your rest"
"I've woken to find out I caused a whole fuck load of issues, then found myself being watched as ate. Seriously, you all watched me eat, and it was silent. Nothing stopped you talking, nothing but yourselves. I'm healed physically, but I stink. I'm taking a shower, and don't even think about asking if I need help"
"Eren..."
"Mikasa, drop it. You should have been taking care of Armin. He looks exhausted, but I bet you didn't tell him he needed to rest. Prince Erwin, it's not proper for you to be here, and Levi, you should be resting. I may have been unconscious, but that didn't mean you all needed to fall apart over it. It's hardly needed, and frankly, it's a bit of an insult. I don't need you all holding my hand. None of us knows what's going on, and we won't until we sit down and discuss things in detail. I need to take a shower, and you all need to pull yourselves together"

Armin was the only one who didn't look mad over his outburst. Ignoring the three alpha's, Armin moved to "help" him off the bed, before giving him a quick hug
"You're right. I feel like I could sleep for a month. I'm really happy you're awake"
Hugging Armin, the moment passed in a few seconds
"Thanks, Armin. I'm sorry I made you worry"
"No, from what I understand, Prince Erwin and Levi were lucky you were there"
"I don't know about that. Now go rest, and take Mikasa with you"
"I'm going. Mika, we should go sleep"
"You go, I'll stay"
Half kneeling back on the bed, Armin grabbed Mikasa's hand
"If you want him to rest, then we need to leave him to it"
"But..."
"Armin is right. Both of you have been pushing yourselves so hard. Please go rest, I'll make sure you're notified if anything happens"
Levi's voice was smooth, and uncomfortable to hear. Or, to Eren it was. The man was always polite, but he had a completely different way of being polite. It was like there was a frostiness to his politeness, that rubbed both him, and his omega, the wrong way. He may have also been still sulking over Levi leaving him the moment woke, and that they had no time to talk before bombarded.

Showered thoroughly, Eren didn't even get a moment's peace in the bathroom. Historia had sent Steege in with a change of clothes, and the normally stoic dragon had decided that meant standing guard while a made scrubbed him from head to foot. He hated every second of it. Yes, he was weakened, and probably would have passed out had he showered alone, but an escort was annoying. It wasn't until he was dressed in fresh robes that he realised the reason he was being watched, was because he wasn't trusted. Moving to take the robe's top tie from the maid, the woman flinched away from him. Telling himself it was surprise, he ignored it, only for the woman to flinch away again when he went to help with the sash around his waist. He normally didn't wear robes this complicated, but these seemed to be a set of Steege's robes instead of his own. Thanking the woman was the final nail in his theory, she gave a small cry as his words, before rushing from the room... he'd scared them. He'd lost control of his magic and he'd scared them. Dragons acted with dignity and grace, while he'd continued to lose control of his magic and cause issues... from the moment he'd arrived there, he'd always managed to inconvenience someone, no matter how hard he worked or kept to himself. The maid had probably felt disgusted over washing his body like he was some kind of mutant thing... and if she though him so bad, it was probably thanks to Rod. He ruled his house staff with a tight leash when he wasn't drunk and chasing after the female maids... All of it was his fault. No matter what anyone else said. He'd been too weak to save his mum when Marley soldiers laid siege to Shinganshima, and he was just as weak now. He hadn't changed. He hadn't grown. He was still the same kid watching his mother being slaughtered.

Instead of returning to the bedroom, Steege led him through the house and to the first-floor library. Opening the door, the dragon revealed Freya, Historia, Erwin and Levi. The four of them staring down at the sword that had caused so much pain. Unintentionally meeting Levi's eye, the man was quick to look away, Eren's breath catching. Rising to her feet, Historia frowned at him as she went to raise her hand
"Eren? Are you ok?"
"I can't... I can't do this right now"
"You don't have to speak, but Freya..."
"I can't! I can't deal with Obsydin and his stupid cursed sword!"
Clamping a hand over his mouth, Eren shook his head. He hadn't meant to yell. He just... He couldn't do this. Not at the moment. Not until he'd sat down and got his emotions back under control. He could feel his magic responding to Levi's presence, urging him to move to the alpha's side. But he couldn't do it... He needed to regain control of himself, and the sparks forming at his fingertips. He needed to centre himself and pull himself out this unwanted flunk that plagued him... Turning, he ran. Well, he rushed the best he could, to get away from the room. He needed to think, something that was impossible with Levi right there.

Making it outside the manor, he shifted to his dragon form the moment he was far away enough from the manor to not cause damage. The effort and strain on his body was enormous, but as he took to the air, it felt right. With wings as large and as powerful as his, it only took minutes to make it to the peninsula between Draecia and Eldia. Landing on the Draecia, he stared across the exposed reef, as he shifted back to his human form. He didn't belong in Draecia, and he didn't belong in Eldia. He was a dragon with no home.

*
Watching Eren flee, Levi bit down his desire to chase the teen. It was no secret that they were all taking it hard, but unlike Eren, both he and Erwin had some time to talk and adjust to the new situation. For Levi, he couldn't remember anything after Eren's magic spiralling out of control, until he woke with a raging fever, the open sores across his body pushing out small rapidly forming scales due to Eren's magic. It'd felt like hell, or the closest Levi had ever been. Day after day they'd raced to form, before the wound bursting and the razor sharp scales being expelled. It wasn't until the morning of his third day suffering that that had finally passed, leaving him weakened and sleeping a solid 12 hours before waking to Erwin's ugly face. His first request had been to see Eren, despite everyone's insistence that he slept. He didn't want to sleep. His dreams were twisted and terrifying, Filled with flame and death, while the taste of ash and mud had seemingly taken up permanent residence in his mouth, as had a constant coldness that left his core chilled, no matter how many furs or blankets he bundled himself up in. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he took a long breath
"Aren't you going after him?"
He didn't need Historia's lecture. She'd already told him that Eren was emotional and blaming himself. Which he could feel bleeding through their bond, even though their bond felt slightly weird. Clearing his throat, Steege shook his head
"Eren's just left the manor grounds. I suggest you leave him be"
"Steege, will you go?"
Freya's voice was soft, whereas Levi wanted to order the dragon to. His temper wasn't helped by the constant throb at the base of his skull...
"There's no need. I'm sure his Highness would have heard Eren and dispatched someone to collect him"
Both Freya and Historia paled, Historia sinking back into her seat
"Princess?"
Looking to Erwin with fearful eyes, Historia didn't reply to him. Taking her hand, Freya gave a firm nod
"I'll go to father. I'll talk to him"
"But... This involves the magic of Obsydin. I don't know if he'll listen"
"He'll listen. I'll make sure he does"
"You know what he's like!"
"I do. That's exactly why I'll go. Please remain here with Erwin and Levi. I'm sure they have many questions"
"That's why Eren needs to be here to"
"Historia, father wouldn't dare risk breaking the peace in Draecia. I'll make him see sense"
From what Levi knew of Rod, that would be an uphill battle...
"Perhaps Erwin should go with you? And explain how this all came about"
"Father won't listen to an outsider, even the crown prince of Eldia"
Historia nodded at her sister's word, before looking to Steege again
"Steege, can you please see who father has sent? Maria may be prepared to listen, but Sina and Rose will act upon his wishes"
"Shall I ask Ymir to join you?"
"She's probably on her way up to scold Eren. This was all too much, too fast for him. No wonder he couldn't cope. First, he's sure that Levi hates him, and then he blames himself..."
"Don't forget father didn't want him left alone inside the manor"
Say what? Levi hadn't heard about that, but then again, he'd been by Eren's side, as had Historia when she could be, and Ymir during the night
"Eren is hardly a danger. I think it would have been hard to see any of us witnessing our riders go through what Levi had. Personally, I believe it was thanks to his quick thinking that things weren't even worse than they are. Erwin would have been killed by the spreading magic, and Levi's infection would have been so much worse if Eren hadn't thought to sheath the sword as fast as he had. If Levi had come in contact with the bone, fang or scale, he may have also died. And it was his magic that prevented Levi from falling under the full effects of the sword..."
If he wasn't experiencing the full effect, he didn't want to know how much worse it could have been. Shifting uncomfortably, he looked over to Steege who was still standing there. Pushing herself up lightly, Freya smiled at him. He had no fucking idea why, but he didn't like it... His alpha was starting to get angsty over their separation from Eren
"Of course. You're quite right, Levi. Steege and I shall take our leave. Historia, please stay with our visitors for now. Father should have no problems with you supervising two humans"
"I wasn't intending on leaving. I am well aware of what he can be like"

When Freya and Steege left, Historia gathered herself up on the sofa, plucking up the cushion into her hold
"Historia, what was this about Eren not being unsupervised?"
Levi was thankful that Erwin had his voice, his own seemed to have deserted him
"Just my father overreacting. Eren's magic is strong, and the destructive power exhibited by blowing up the cabin leads to a lot of questions. I firmly believe Eren did the right thing, but... My father insists it could be seen as an act of aggression against Eldia, and also as an act of aggression against Draecia. He's a coward, set in his ways"
"I assure you, this incident was a mistake on Eldia's behalf"
Something inside Levi snapped, the words coming from his lips without him being able to stop them
"A mistake on Eldia's behalf!? It was a mistake on your fucking behalf! Eren told you not to fuck around with the shitty sword, but you didn't listen. Now you've lost half your arm, you stupid bastard"
Erwin's scent jumped to defensive anger, the alpha practically hissing
"Really? I hadn't noticed"
"You know what your problem is, you're the first to jump to assumptions when it relates to Eren!"
"How do you expect me to trust him? Not when he seems to be one mystery after another, and rushing to climb back into bed with you"
"He's my fucking boyfriend! He hasn't talked about it with anyone"
"Don't you think he would have? If not for the command on him..."
"You put another command on him! How dare you!"
Grabbing Erwin by the shirt front, Levi snarled in the man's face. A wave of uncontrollable anger rising from deep inside of him, as he hurled the man up off the sofa, then off his feet with ease
"You will never place a command on him again. You will not touch him. You won't acknowledge him. You won't even be alone in the same room as him. That omega is mine"
"L-Levi... your face"
Smiling, Levi's eyes darkened as his teeth sharpened. His fingernails turning into long black claws as he hefted Erwin higher
"He is mine. I want to hear you say it"
"L-Levi..."

For Levi, it was as if his mind had completely disconnected from his body, like someone had thrown up a wall between them. He could see the fear on Erwin's face, he could feel the anger swirling through his bloodstream. It would be so easy to reach up his other hand and snap Erwin's neck... The man's skin looked so smooth, while the carotid artery in his neck pulsed in a way that drew his attention to it... if he lowered him, he could easily tear the life from Erwin, and not feel a shred of guilt. No one had the right to harm that omega. That pathetic beast was his alone. Snarling, he pulled Erwin down, so they were face to face
"Say it!"
Erwin stuttered, making Levi's toothy smile grow wider. If the man pissed himself, it would be perfect... and what he deserved
"I... Eren is yours. He's your omega and your mate. I'll remove the commands"
"Make sure you do. He's much too pretty to be wasted on the likes of you"
Dropping Erwin, the man fell to the sofa completely dishevelled. Behind him, a firm hand grabbed his shoulder
"That's enough"
Spinning to growl at Historia, Levi never saw Ymir's blow coming.

Knocked to the floor, Levi growled in confusion as he looked up to Ymir towering over him. The woman had just right hooked him, and he had no idea why... even if he was grateful she hadn't used her full strength or he'd probably be dead
"Ymir!"
"I won't have him threatening you, or his infection threatening you"
Grabbing Ymir's arm, Historia's voice was soft but firm
"There was no need to hit him like that"
"I meant to knock him out... at least he's gone back to looking human enough for now"
Back to human?
"What... just happened?"
Looking at his hands, they looked pretty human to him. His nails were a little longer than he'd normally kept them, but there wasn't any red streaks like Erwin's had had, nor were there scales
"You don't remember?"
Levi shook his head, pushing himself up and back onto the sofa
"You told Erwin that Eren was yours, and to remove the commands on him. Do you really not remember?"
"Save it, Historia. It's obviously a side effect of the infection and letting Eren run away. Seriously. What were you all thinking? You're supposed to be his boyfriend, but you've let him run off and take the blame for everything. Your not the same man you were when you arrived here. You've been aggressive towards everyone other than Eren, and now you're infected with the blood of a dragon who was so evil, they've tried to erase him from history. You've practically been cursed by it. There's no going back for you, so you need to suck it the hell up"
At least Ymir was speaking him to frankly. Though he wasn't sure he understood. He'd blacked out in a fit of angry? Was that it? Glaring at her girlfriend, Historia looked fierce
"Ymir!"
"What? He appreciates my honesty, everyone does. Erwin fucked up, now Levi is paying for it"
"We don't know that for sure!"
"I'm pretty sure we do. He had claws and his eyes were pitch black. Also, he lifted Erwin right off his feet, and I don't care how strong Shorty is, he lifted Eyebrows up here off the ground by his shirt alone"
Levi didn't like to brag how strong he was, and though slightly smaller, he could easily lift Eren and carry him around as if he weighed nothing... But Erwin, maybe. He'd never had cause to...
"Levi, it's ok if you don't remember. We don't know the full effects of this infection"
It wasn't ok with him. He could possibly hurt someone without realising... he could hurt Eren, without realising.

"Levi?"
Placing his hand on Levi's thigh, Erwin gave a firm squeeze
"You're not to blame"
No. Erwin was... and his ancestors for not destroying the sword. Why did they need to create such an abomination to begin with?
"I know I'm not. I wasn't blaming myself. I just... the idea of not remembering. Perhaps it's best I'm restrained for now"
The headache plaguing him had worsened, even as Eren's magic worked to heal him. Honestly, he was scared of himself. Blackouts were never a good thing, nor were blackouts caused by a three-hundred-year-old dragon's curse. Ymir was right. This was more than an infection. The rapidly scales alone had proven that now as he added up his symptoms in his head, he couldn't help but feel something was horribly wrong with him
"Levi, I don't think we need to resort to such things"
Ymir was quick to reply to her girlfriend
"What happens if he loses it again? We're strong because of our dragon blood, but Erwin is flesh and bone. He won't survive Levi if he was to lose his mind"
"I... then..."
The princess was conflicted, it was as plain as the nose on her face
"I think it is best I'm moved away from the rest of the manor's inhabitants. We cannot risk blowing this into an even bigger scene than it currently is"
"But.."
"Historia, I understand your position, but these are Levi's wishes..."
Erwin could fuck off. Even if he didn't remember what happened, the man never should have placed a command of silence on Eren. So many times he'd wanted to ask why Eren had never called his name or addressed his letters to him personally, and now he knew. It was cruel of Erwin to have left the command on Eren. The kid was a brat, who'd been through so much. He should have been freed from shackles of Eldia once he'd left it. Other than his vow, but Levi had been sure to tell him that his time here wouldn't go against the kingdom, as he'd feared Eren dying from betraying his vow. God. This whole thing was a headache and a half
"I think I know a room you can use, but the sword will be kept from you"
"That's fine"
He didn't want the stupid thing near him as it was... He'd destroy it if he could... but given neither Historia or her sister had, there was the possibility that they couldn't. Would be stuck with the blasted thing for the rest of his life? Cursed to keep it close, lest losing it lead to his death?
"Very well. I'll take you down. Steege will probably be able to hear us as it is, and he'll notify Freya on your change of location"
Levi gave a soft sigh. If only he'd stayed home and waited for Eren to return... or even better if only he'd insisted Erwin had left him and Eren alone for the day. They could have finished the festival. He would have been able to present Eren with the gold bracelets he'd brought over, a gentle joke over the ones he'd worn when he'd arrived at the castle, and the gold dragon hair clip he'd had fashioned for Eren's long hair. He'd wanted to do more, but Eren had said no gold. He'd also said no fancy gem stones, but that hadn't happened either. The bracelets all had small gems, that weren't overly expensive in order not to upset Eren, as had the dragon hair clip. Before this had all happened, he would have given Eren the world if he'd asked, but now he had nothing at all to give him, or to gift him. Most of their belongings had been damaged in the explosion, if not destroyed, and thanks to his condition, he hadn't been able to inspect what was left. Not that Erwin would tell him what was going on. He was the only one who hadn't lost consciousness for days like he and Eren had.

*
Sitting on the peninsula shore, Eren had only wanted a few moments before of peace. To sort his thoughts, and feelings before figuring out what came next for both him and Levi. Moping, tears and guilt, only got a person so far. It was actions that really counted, and he'd acted deplorably. Levi had accepted and loved him when his second nature as a dragon came to the surface, and now he was running from the man when he was probably just as lost and confused as Eren had been. Levi hadn't run from him, not like he'd run from Levi. He was probably the worst boyfriend in the world.

As the sky darkened over him, he momentarily thought he'd summoned the stupid storm over his head again, but the moment passed as he heard a solid thud, followed by a second. Looking back over his shoulder, Maria and Sina were standing there. Maria, he could deal with, she was more reasonable than Rose, but Sina had never liked him
"Eren"
"Maria"
Sighing softly, Maria nodded to the shell in his hands
"A quick trip to the beach?"
"Something like that"
Sina stepped forward, pulling out a pair of cuffs that Eren immediately baulked at. Sure, he'd like more time to think things through, but he'd never pick a fight with either dragon. He had too much respect for that
"Enough. Rod has ordered he be brought back to the manor, to answer for his actions"
"I'm coming. Those won't be necessary"
"Rod has said decided they are, and we follow his words"
"Sina..."
"Maria, do you know what he has done! Obsydin. The sinner. We all know what he did! And now, because of this outsider, everything is in jeopardy. Dragons have no right having a human rider, they're greedy and selfish, obsessed with power. Just because he's the prince, makes no difference. No, Maria. Rod is our leader, and we follow his words. Eren is to be detained, and those people from Eldia will be returning to their own country. They're lucky to keep their heads as it is. You're too soft, Maria. You always have been"

Coming closer, there was no escape from Sina and her cuffs. Rather, if he did, things would only go from bad to worse. None of this was how Levi's visit was supposed to go, and now the incident was tarnishing things with Eldia. Dropping the shell back down in the ocean, Eren brushed his pants off as he stood, before offering out his wrists for Sina. Sealed with her own scales, there wasn't anyone other than her or Rod that could release the magic within them. The moment they were in place, Eren dropped like a sack of potatoes. Sina's cuffs worked much like the golden bracelets he'd worn when he'd first visited the castle. They limited his powers the best they could, given those from the sanctuary had no idea of the true nature of his magic. Sina's... Sina's threw him off completely. His magic limited him right down to the point it felt as if he had no magic at all. Grabbing the chain between the cuffs, Sina pulled him to his feet
"Maria"
Shooting him a sympathetic glance, Maria shifted into her dragon form, leaving him to be hauled up into her saddle by Sina. All he'd wanted was a break so he could gather his thoughts, but that wasn't coming anytime soon. Feeling quite sad and sorry for himself, Eren kept his head hung and his mouth closed, knowing full well that Rod would be even worse to deal with.

Rod didn't meet them at the front of the manor, Sina hefting him down from Maria before he was dragged up to where Rose was waiting. Ugh. Standing there, her face was firm as the three of them approached
"Maria. Steege has been looking for you. He arrived moments after you'd left, and has returned to Historia's side"
Being the child of one of Rod's mistresses, the fact seemed to be a thorn in Rose's side. He didn't know her history, nor Sina, or Maria's, but he did know that Rose seemed to have a real problem with it. It was only when he sat down and gave it a hard think that he came up with Historia being an unknown element in the "perfectly" run household, that and Ymir was only nice to people she felt deserved it, which was... Historia and him, when she was busy. Led through the manor, Eren was taken down to underground holding room to wait.

Rose stood guard until Rod arrived and dismissed her. Sina having made herself scarce the moment she was satisfied he wasn't about to break free of her cuffs. The anger Rod felt had the whole man shaking, his face a ruddy red. Opening his mouth, Eren felt he needed to explain himself, but Rod wasn't having it. Marching over to him, the man struck him across the face
"Silence!"
Dropping, Eren landed hard on his knees. His magic unable to heal his throbbing face
"Do you know what you've done?! Do you?!"
Booting him in the face, something flew from his mouth. He'd expected Rod to scream and yell, but to be too much of a coward to raise a hand against a dragon like he did the human maids of the household... apparently, nothing was above the man
"It wasn't on purpose!"
"You were never one of us! I saw the way you came in and tainted my family! My Historia!"
His Historia... Eren would have laughed if he wasn't booted in the solarplex, whimpering as he was winded. Rod only cared for Historia as she was a dragon rider. That was it
"Obsydin! Obsydin! The sinner! And you brought him back into this world! Do you know what he did?! Do you know how many of our family he killed! How many dragons his dreams drove insane?! How many wasted dragons! Their bones couldn't even be saved! How many countries came to loathe dragons as he set the world ablaze!? Do you?! Do you know what it took for us to become this! I won't have some snivelling half-breed ruining this!"
Eren spat a glob bloody spit at Rod's feet, the man had no idea whatsoever what the fall out could have been
"Then run off to Marley! Complain to them! Prince Zeke tried to steal the sword"
Kicked in the mouth, Eren fell to his side... It'd been years since he'd experienced violence like this... Bullies were all the same. Deaf to what they didn't want to hear
"Silence!"
"No. Prince Zeke wanted the sword and his egg! Marley wanted his power! Marley who wants to go to war again, and who you let kill your dragons"
"Eldia..."
"Prince Erwin had no idea it existed! We wanted to return the sword!"
"It's too fucking late for your lies! This is an act of treason!"
Treason against who!? And how? It'd been a complete accident. Well, not a complete accident, but it'd definitely not been an intentional act of treason or war
"Make no mistake, Eldia will never be welcome on our soil again, and they won't be receiving any assistance from us. Not that Prince, or his body guard. Nor those nosy little friends of yours, and definitely not a monster like you. You are dead to us. And if you ever set foot in this country again, we will take our dragons to your shores"
How was what happened with Levi, worse than what would have happened if Zeke had gotten his hands on the sword. Erwin wasn't a magic user, but that wasn't to say other dragons hadn't been born into Marley population, like he'd been born into Eldia... If Zeke had gotten his hands on that kind of power, things could have been so much worse. Struggling up, Eren screamed as Rod kicked his elbow out with a crunch... bones were definitely not supposed to bend the way his arm did now
"This is what you deserve"

Chapter Text

Eren was sure Rod would have continued to vent his frustrations against him, if not for Maria. Knocking on the open room door, Rod snarled as he turned to her
"What?!"
"The lady of the house is calling for you"
"Fine"
Turning back to spit the word at him, Rod stalked from the room. Maria made to take a step towards him, only for Rod to growl
"Leave him. He brought this on himself"

Slamming the door behind him, Rod made it clear that any chance of civil conversation was off the table. Huddled and broken on the floor, Eren still wanted to find a way to discuss what had happened. Rod seemed blind to the danger that Marley posed, and if Zeke had stolen other items from the castle, there could be a whole shitstorm of trouble coming. Or, that's what he would be thinking about if he wasn't worried for Levi. He'd been so stupid... If he hadn't yelled, then Levi would be able to get help from Historia. He'd have a chance at... he didn't know what, but Historia would have been able to come up with something. She always did... and with Freya, and Ymir, maybe the could have even found a way to free Levi from his infection. Curling in on his pained body, small whimpers and whines came from the back of his throat with every movement. This wasn't the first time he'd taken a beaten, but it was the first time in a long time it'd hurt this badly. His dragon magic wasn't there to heal him, neither was his Eldia magic. Trapped and alone, all he could do was pray it wouldn't take too long to pass out from the pain.

*
Eren knew he was dreaming. The room before him was much like the throne room of Eldia castle, yet so much richer in colour. Banners of rich golds, reds and greens decorated the space, while a single throne sat at the end of a long red carpet. Upon it, Levi sat, yet it wasn't his boyfriend. Instead of Levi's warm smile, it felt cold and distant. Gripping the arms of the throne, Levi's hands were blackened, with long claw-like nails clicking as he tapped his pointer finger against the polished wood. Dragging his pain twisted body towards Levi, the alpha rising from his throne silently. Levi's black-clad form seemed even sleeker and more regal than Eren could ever remember, as he stumbled to a stop. Behind him, the alpha's black cloak rippled in an invisible wind, stopping just short of him, Eren licked his lips, trying to gather spit enough to speak
"Beautiful Beast. We meet again"
"You're not Levi"
"How very observant. You didn't seem to have noticed the first time"
Eren coughed, the taste of blood rolling down the back of his thrown was revolting, shying away from Levi's form in both fear and disgust with himself. Reaching out a clawed hand, the stranger gripped his chin
"Don't turn from me. Do me this one thing"
"Why? You're not Levi. Yet you wear my boyfriend's skin"
"Perhaps I find you pretty. It is rare to see such a tall omega, like yourself. You are the pretty thing that's caught my eye"
"Who.. are you?"
"I think we both know that, but I am neither him or your Levi, in entirely. Close your eyes child, what they have done to you is barbaric, but stay loyal by my side, and no harm will come to you"
"No harm? You're using my boyfriend's body"
"Not by choice... Though this is but a small sliver of my power. Now close your eyes"

With a click, the cuffs around his wrists dropped, Eren's magic flooding back through him. With a popping and clicking, his body twisted as wounds were knitted back together, and his broken bones realigned. Unable to stand, the teen slumped against the man who wasn't Levi or Obsydin, whimpering in pain. It wasn't the usual soft warm sensation, that bloomed when he was in Levi's arms, stroking his hair, Obsydin clicked his tongue
"No matter how time passes, there will always be those who enjoy the pain of others"
Eren wanted to point out the dragons own crimes, but didn't dare in case the dragon hurt Levi in some way
"Why...?"
"Why what? Why are scared people act so cruel? Why did I do it? Why am I in your lover's mind? What do I want from you! You ask too many questions"
Running his hand down from Eren's scalp, as long his cheek and then down his side to his arse, Obsydin squeezed firmly
"I am one with your lover. Even now I can see how you lust for his body"
Eren was certain he wasn't lusting for anything other than to see the real Levi
"You're not him"
"I am now"
"I don't want you"
"With time, that will change. You're shaking like a little forest animal in front of the big bad wolf. It is quite the tempting treat, but I fear if I devour it, I may gorge myself to oblivion between your legs. Return to your cell, but do not forget this. I am him and he is me. When he loses himself, I am there, to take the helm, slowly he will fall, they always do. As in the hours of wake, you are his, the hours of slumber make you mine"
Around his throat started to burn. Shoving not-Levi away, his fingers clawed at the boiling skin around his neck. Whatever was happening, the man was doing was using his own magic to create it, yet he couldn't stop it
"Wha..."
"Just a little something to show you are ours. Now go. I tire your questions"
Striking out, not-Levi's palm firmly hit his forehead. There was a moment of fearful falling, before he shot up in his cell gasping. Across the room, the door was open, while Sina's cuffs lay on the floor by his feet. Her light blue scales had been turned a smoky grey, most likely infected by Obsydin's manipulation. Slowly the teen gathered himself up, carefully stepping over the cuffs so as not to risk his own infection, though that seemed too late. This was the second time he'd met the dragon in Levi's mind... and both times... well, he'd helped him. With his fever, and now with the beating Rod delivered... but what he'd said last really stuck first and foremost in Eren's mind. When Levi lost himself or was sleeping, Obsydin rose... What did he mean by lost himself? Levi was Levi. He didn't like taking shit, but he cared about the freedom of Eldia deeply... If the ruling prince was to lose himself to madness, what happens then? And what happened to his Levi each time Obsydin reared his ugly head? He needed to find Levi... and Historia. Rod had made it clear that they weren't welcome, and it was possible Historia would catch a beating for "siding" with them.

Making his way through the halls beneath the manor, Eren followed the twinges of his weird bond with Levi, which seemed to be on the move closer to him. Each step disagreeing with his exhausted body, but he had to see if his boyfriend was alright... and, if there were any traces of the man he loved, in Levi's eyes. Wandering through the halls, he found he wasn't the only one. Rounding the corridor into the hall he was sure would lead to Levi, Historia rushed to him
"Eren! Oh my gosh, are you ok? You're covered in blood, here, let me help you"
"It's healing... where's Levi? I need to see him"
"Eren..."
"Historia, I know. Levi's not ok... please, I need to see him"
Looping her arm around his waist, Historia took most of his weight
"You're covered in blood. Please, Eren. What happened?"
He could lie... but at this stage, it was probably safer for Historia if she knew the truth
"I'm leaving. I'm sorry, but I don't know if we're safe here any longer"
"I..."
"It's alright. I'm alright. It was just Sina's cuffs and I had a run-in with the door"
"Eren, no door did this"
"Historia, please. I need to see Levi"
"He's... he's been restrained and seeing you, I can see why. He lost his temper and had to be restrained"
Eren's heart sunk
"It's in him. He's in him... I thought the first time was a dream, but this time... he's in him, Historia and he's planning something"
Historia stumbled at his words
"I think you may be right. After you left, Erwin admitted that he'd placed two commands on you. Levi... he wasn't Levi"
"Did he have dark claws? I mean... in my dreams he does"
"Indeed, and he was so angered of the commands. Ymir struck Levi, which seemed to bring him back to consciousness, and he agreed to be restrained, but then..."
"It's alright. I understand... I have to see him. I have to know if Levi's still in there"
"He's sleeping"
That was probably the worst thing possible right now. If Levi slept, Obsydin grew in power
"Eren?"
"I... need your help. Historia, I ran from him"
"You ran from everything we tried to push on you too fast, here, this is the room he is in. We had to move the sword from his sight when he lost his temper, he tried to get it from the sheath"
"Did the seal hold?"
"Yes, yet I fear it won't hold again"
Probably not. He hadn't been in control when he'd shoved the stupid thing back into its sheath. If Obsydin wanted the sword, that couldn't be a good thing.

Levi was changed to the bed with thick chains of magic, his lover's brow drenched in sweat. Sinking to sit beside Levi, his boyfriend roused. His pale grey eyes blinking at him, before a soft smile came to his lips
"Eren"
"Levi... how do you feel?"
"I've been better. I don't think... I'm ok"
"No. But you will be. I promise you that"
Trying to reach up to cup his face, Levi's movements were stopped by his chains, the alpha frowning at them, before looking back to Eren's face
"I... you're covered in blood. Did I...?"
"No. No. This wasn't you. I promise"
"Good. I couldn't live with myself if I had... but I will beat the living shit out of anyone who touches you"
"I'm ok... I'm healing..."
"It's not ok. I'm... I'm supposed to protect you, and yet, you've been dragged into this mess. Whatever this is. Perhaps it would be safer for you to stay here when we return to Eldia"
Eren shook his head
"No. I've been apart from you for so long"
"Eren. Please. I'm not me anymore"
"So?!"
"So... I would rather let you go, than risk causing you pain"
"Levi..."
"Do not think I haven't enjoyed my time with you, or that my affections weren't real. But this thing inside me, I cannot control it. So please..."
Eren shook his head firmly
"No. I will not leave you"
"Eren, you're young. You don't know..."
"I don't care! Now stop this"
"Well, I do! I'm a monster!"
Eren deflated, shaking his head as he lowered it to Levi's chest. Levi was scared. Just as scared as he had been when his scales grew. This time, he wouldn't run, even to clear his head
"You're not a monster. You're my boyfriend. My alpha and my rider"
"I have nothing to give you"
"I don't care"
"I can't even give you myself"
Tears welled in Eren's eyes, Levi was making everything sound so final
"I don't care!"
"Listen to me..."
"No! No. You're the one thing in my life that is good. It is not your fault that you were infected! It's mine... it was all mine... I hurt the man I love..."
"You didn't hurt me, but there is every chance I may hurt you"
"I don't care"
"Eren. My sweet omega..."
"I don't care, Levi. You're angry and hurt! And you're scared! I know. I know you are because I am too. But you didn't give up on me"
"You're not giving up on me. I am telling you to"
"No"
"Eren"
"I don't care! Why are we going around in circles over this?! Do you enjoy toying with my heart this way?! I love you"
"Historia!"
"Levi, no"
"Historia, please remove Eren"
Grabbing Levi's shirt, Eren buried his face against it
"No"
"Don't make me command you to leave"
"No!"
"Eren. I am ordering you to release me"
Fighting to hold onto Levi's shirt, Eren shook his head
"No! I don't care. We'll get through this together"
"We can't. I'm not the man..."
"And I'm not the omega you met! I have grown! I have worked so hard to master my magic! I worked so hard to be back by your side!"
"And at what cost? I never should have encouraged your affections"
Fighting the command hurt, his heart felt as if it was breaking. What had happened to his brave and strong boyfriend? It was barely a week ago that they were reconfirming their love
"No"
"Historia! Please remove Eren"
Placing a hand on his shoulder, Eren shrugged off Historia touch
"Levi, please don't do this"
"I'm blacking out and having dreams of death. I will not subject you to these fits"
"We'll find a way"
"You don't know that"
"I do!"
He wasn't letting Levi get rid of him that easily. He wasn't leaving his alpha to suffer alone. Levi had stood by his side, and now Eren would stand by both of his
"Eren, please. You're in pain, I can feel it. Let me help"
"No!"
"Historia! Take him now"
Growling, Levi's fingernails started to grow as his scent began to change to something akin to sulfur. Hurled back by Historia, Levi's back arched off the bed, his spine cracking painfully as a wide smile formed on his lips. Struggling out of Historia's hold, Eren launched himself back at Levi's form
"Give him back to me!"
"Hello, little omega... I'm afraid I can't do that just yet"
"Give him back! You don't belong in this world anymore! You're dead! Smith killed you!"
"And I'll kill him! The man who killed me with that cheap blow. He could never have taken me otherwise!"
Historia grabbed his arm
"Eren..."
"Why are you doing this!?"
"Why does anyone go to war? Now leave. He does not wish to see you"
"What does that mean?!"
Levi's eyes glowed, leaving up a snarl came from his boyfriend body, before an inhuman voice growled
"Leave!"
That was it for Historia. Almost crushing his arm in her hold, Eren was dragged from the room, Historia slamming the door closed behind them. Sinking down, Eren was shaking from head to toe. His omega was going crazy over their alpha's words. Whatever that was... Levi was still in there. Only his words could cut that deep, and with such ease... doubly so when Levi used a command. He'd promised... no commands. And now...
"Eren?"
"We have to help him. That. Levi is in there Historia. He's scared and he's alone. I don't care how much it hurts, and I don't care how much it costs me. I need your help. Please. There has to be a way to seal Obsydin. There has to be a way for Levi to be able to trust himself"
"My father told you to leave, didn't he?"
Eren nodded
"He did. I have been banished, so whether Levi likes it or not, I'll be returning to Eldia"
"What?! That's not fair!"
"Historia, it's fine. Just please tell me there is a way we can help him"
Historia extended her hand towards him
"Possibly. For now, we need to get you cleaned up. Levi's blackouts seem to happen when his emotions are heightened, and you're a frightful sight"
"I don't think your father will approve"
"Good thing he isn't down here with us. I have always played the part given to me, but this... I will not allow my friends to be harmed"
Taking Historia's hand, he let her pull him up
"You can't. I'm sorry. But once we've figured how to help Levi, you can't be further involved. I will not have anything happening to you, not after you've been so incredibly kind and patient"
"Eren"
"No. This is an issue affecting the ruling Prince of Eldia. I don't things to dissolve into war. I'm sorry for asking for your help as it is. I'm just sure... that there has to be a way to seal Obsydin away"
"Possibly. I'll consult with Freya, but as I said, first we need to get you cleaned up. These robes are a mess"
"Your father won't like it"
"Enough about my father. Come with me"

*
Cleaned of blood, Eren now found himself laying on the oracle's altar beneath the mansion. His heart was racing as he tried not to let his fear show. Upon emerging clean, Historia had taken control of the situation, the moment she'd seen his face and neck. Around his neck lay a collar of magic, that she couldn't remove, and the smaller of the scales beneath his eyes had been turned black. Levi's infection was spreading into him... Finally given a moment to sit and recover, Historia asked after his dreams, his two meetings with Obsydin. Eren had no idea what to make of it really, only that Obsydin had someone interest in him, which Historia made clear. Offspring. Obsydin's magic ran into dreams. Like the side effect of Historia's healing was her ability to read people, dragons back then were much more powerful, and though a storm dragon, he was able to make dreams a reality. He was able to use the nature of a dragon's magic, and bend it to his will. Through his bond with Levi, it was easy for the dragon's will to bleed into him. Now she was going to attempt to remove his infected scales, then use them as a base to seal the sword permanently. Neither of them knew it would actually work out that way, and Freya couldn't join them as she was working on keeping Rod from finding out what they were doing, by organising the packing of the Eldia parties possessions and making sure they were ready to leave once this was over

"Eren, are you sure?"
Nodding mutely, Eren's finger tips dug into the altar. Dragon scales were stubborn in human form, the power of the altar would help boost Historia's magic. Though there was another slight issue. They didn't know how it would work out, only that it would involve taking a part of his very soul
"You. If this goes wrong, you could never bare a clutch of your own"
"I know"
"Eren, are you sure. I know you wanted children"
This is why he'd wanted to keep his mouth closed... He may have wanted a clutch, but he wanted to support Levi more
"If this can help Levi, I'll live without a clutch"
"And you know if you are carrying, your eggs will pass with your next heat"
Or his child. Either. If he was pregnant, this would abort it, but thanks to dragon biology, he'd have to wait until his next heat to know. Being more human than dragon meant Historia could only guess at the side effects, and with Freya busy, and Ymir off with Erwin, it was just the two of them. The way Historia was staring down at him so sadly it hurt. He didn't want sympathy. He didn't want to start second-guessing his choice. He wasn't supposed to have been Levi's, to begin with, and when compared to the people of Eldia who needed their prince, he was no one
"I know"
"I..."
"Historia, please. You're the only one I trust to do this"
"I... I'm scared"
"If I can't carry, it's ok. Levi is the only one I love, and if Obsydin can make dreams into reality, isn't it best I can't birth his clutch?"
Dragon clutches were usually a dozen eggs, that fed off the parents magic. Not all eggs were viable but still formed as a form of magic nourishment for the egg within as it expanded in the later stages of pregnancy. When a clutch was miscarried or aborted, the eggs never broke down, and were left to pass. Draecia had a hatchery filled with eggs that would never hatch, and those abandoned for whatever reason. If the mother or father abandoned their eggs, it was still possible for the egg to hatch, by the bond of their destined rider. As an outsider, Rod really hadn't wanted him near the eggs or hatchery, nor had he been happy that Historia had explained how things worked to him. The way he and Levi had gone at it... it was entirely possible he was carrying. Thinking about it too much hurt. His omega mourned the loss, before it was even a real consideration for him and Levi
"I'm still sorry"
"I'm not. I can't be... You can start now"
Historia needed to start before he broke down. In his quiet moments, Eren had imagined what it would be like to carry Levi's child or a clutch. Even if their love couldn't be public, he still wanted that kind of future when the time was right... but with Levi scared of himself, they couldn't even have a relationship
"This is going to hurt"
"I know, but don't stop"
Closing his eyes, Eren dug his fingertips harder against the stone.

Eren didn't know if he, or Historia, was crying harder. Despite his best efforts, having his scales pried from his skin, one by one, hurt like a bitch. He couldn't pass out, or magic himself to sleep, given Obsydin would be there, so he could only focus on the pain and force his magic down. If Sina's tainted cuffs hadn't been tainted, they would have been perfect. Instead, he had to suffer through each agonising and bloody removal, while the magical collar around his neck grew tighter. The whole day had been fucked from beginning to end, and once this was over, he was tempted to pull another week-long coma... but only once he was back in Eldia when everyone he cared for was safe. Armin, Mikasa, and Historia included.

When the scales were removed, Historia gently wiped the blood from his face. She looked so wracked with guilt, Eren couldn't look her in the eye. They hadn't even started the more dangerous of the process, sealing the sword and attempting to find a way to stop Levi worsening. Pained to the point of physical sickness, Eren felt bad for disrespecting the altar by vomiting off the edge of it, but the pain was extreme, and forcing his magic to stay under control wasn't the smartest of ideas. Rubbing his back, Historia gave him a few moments, until Eren flopped back onto his back
"Eren, maybe we should stop. I've only removed the scales, but you've become so ill. It's not healthy to push yourself like this"
"It's our only option..."
At least his nape hadn't been infected with black scales... that was something
"Besides, if I can't overcome something like this, I'll never be able to stand in Levi's shadow again"
"But..."
"Historia, we agreed you wouldn't heal me. We agreed to do this. Please... just a little more and it'll be done"
"I'll retrieve the sword"
"Thank you"

Sealing the sword took most the night. Eren's magic slipping from his control, while his body was wracked by spasms. The strain was also affecting Historia, fine fluctuations in her magic were growing more and more frequent. If it hadn't been for Freya coming to find them when they hadn't returned or attending when Levi had started screaming, they probably would have failed. Adding a layer of restraint to his magic, Freya didn't fear infection, she also stepped into bluster Historia's magic, until the sword was finally sealed. The scale on the hilt cracking, while the removed scales first melded into the sheath, then up, as if forming a long egg around it, hardening into a solid mass in which prevented the blade ever being drawn. Eren could only hope that through their bond, Obsydin's hold on Levi was reduced. Boneless on the altar, Eren whimpered as Freya brushed his hair back from his burning forehead
"Eren?"
Coughing, Freya half kneaded to cradle him, moving closer to him to hear his whisper
"Levi... please"
"You want to go to Levi?"
That was all be wanted. He wanted to be in Levi's arms, and was too exhausted to move. Whining in pain as Freya moved to lift him, her touch reminded him so much of his mother's. He felt safe in her arms, but not as safe as he would in Levi's.

Freya carried him to Levi's room, helping him strip off the light tone he'd ruined during the ceremony. Whether it be screaming, or the effects of the ceremony, his alpha was fast asleep. Loosening the chains of magic binding Levi, he wasn't freed but freed enough to wrap his arms around Eren as Freya settled him down, without waking
"The preparations have been made. We'll come for you at first light"
Eren mumbled out a grunt of a "thank you", melting into Levi's arms. He couldn't give this up. Not Levi's warmth. Not his touch or soft breathing
"I'm just sorry it came to this. Sleep well"

*
Soft brown hair tickled his nose, as he breathed in Eren's scent. Nuzzling into Eren's shoulder, his hold on the teen tightened. He couldn't remember the last time he'd slept soundly, not since the last time he'd had Eren in his hold. He couldn't even find the effort to care about what came next. Whining softly, Eren wriggled back against him
"Mmm... Master?"
"I'm here"
Rolling in his arms, Eren gave him a dopey smile, before rolling completely to face him
"How do you feel?"
"I haven't slept that well in days"
"No bad dreams?"
"Not that I remember"
Brushing the teen's hair back from his face, Eren looked as if he needed a months worth of sleep
"How about you?"
"I don't think I dreamt at all... but if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up"
Running his hand down Eren's side, Levi realised Eren was naked. Not that he was complaining, but he was confused. He'd been restrained, but now he had enough space to twist and to hold Eren comfortably
"What happened?"
Yawning, Eren reached up to bop him on the tip of his nose. Something about his whole aura seemed to lift as he stared into Levi's eyes
"Magic. We're leaving today"
"We are?"
"Mhmm... You were sleeping so soundly, I didn't wish to wake you"
"And now?"
And what came now? He should really stop rubbing at Eren's arse and ask for answers, but Eren seemed so happy... even after the things he'd said... he'd come back to him
"Now, I want to tell you I love you"
"But..."
"Levi, it's going to be ok"
Searching Eren's eyes, Eren nodded
"How?"
"Magic. We'll talk once we've returned to Eldia"
"Can it wait that long?"
"It can. I promise. Your lack of bad dreams tells me it wasn't in vain... and the way you're rubbing my arse... it makes me want my boyfriend"
"I'm still your boyfriend? I acted..."
He was ashamed by how he'd acted. Eren pressed his lips to his, the kiss was soft and warm before it broke
"You acted as I did when I first grew scales. Scared and thinking that leaving was the best idea. But we're bonded, and I'm not ready to give up on that"
"I could hurt you"
"And I could hurt you. I could have hurt you a hundred times over"
Nudging his back, Eren climbed into his lap. The smell of sweet slick pouring out from under the disturbed blankets. His omega sitting up straight, exposing his perfect body and thick dick... God. He was beautiful. Everything about him was perfect. Running his hands up Eren's sides and down to his arse, he really wasn't sure...
"Eren"
"Don't. Please. Please, don't through me away. I'm not exactly human, and just because you're a little bit cursed, doesn't mean I don't care any less about you"
"But your magic..."
"I've taken precautions. I won't let him win, Levi. So please. Let me be with you"
Tugging the drawstrings of his pants undone, Levi rose his hips enough for Eren to free his hardening erection. He really shouldn't be doing this... but he couldn't find it in himself to deny Eren. It'd been hard enough the first time. His heart had felt as if it had shattered, and using a command... It was like he was betraying his love, but he knew how much of a stubborn shit Eren could be. He would risk everything, while not caring for himself. Starting to jerk him slowly, Levi let out a deep groan
"Eren..."
"Let me take care of you"
"We..."
Leaning down, Eren's kiss was hard and firm. His brat was leading him astray, and driving his rationality from his mind... and he knew it. Breaking the kiss with a smirk, Eren climbed back in his lap as he manoeuvred himself to sit with his back towards him. Looking over his shoulder, Eren leaned down, arching his back and pushing his arse out
"Master, you're my alpha. And as my alpha, you're supposed to take care of me. So... Fuck me, from behind"
There wasn't the slightest hint of shame... there never was when it came to sex. Even when Levi had to piss... but the sight in front of him...
"I never said we were having sex"
"After what I've been through, I could use a dose of your knot. I want to feel you. Our bond has been so weird. And this... is us. I want to feel you. I want you, master. No matter what. I want to be yours, and face the future with you... it's ok. You're not going to hurt me. I've made sure this is safe"
Which was what? How, even? What precautions had Eren taken? And what did his dreams have to do with anything? And was this a dream? He wouldn't be surprised. Eren was so soft and warm... everything his life had been missing
"What you've been through?"
"I'll tell you if you touch me"
"You're a cocky little shit"
"I'd rather your cock fucking me where I shit"
Wriggling, Eren presented him soaking wet arse
"Fuck, brat"
"Exactly..."

He gave in. He couldn't help himself. Buried in his omega's heat, it was hard, fast and messy as hell, Eren begging "for more" and for him "not to stop", the omega had no filter and Levi couldn't stop. Eren's magic flooded through both of them, their bond felt better and clearer than it had in days. Knotting his omega, Eren kept trying to ride him, even once they'd both come. Seated in his lap, Eren nuzzled into his cheek
"We should fuck more and talk less"
"No. You said you'd tell me what happened. Now start talking"
"It's complicated"
"If you've done something, I deserve to know. And while I'm at it. I'm sorry for yesterday. That command... it was cruel"
"You were scared. I'm scared too. But we found a way to lessen the effects of what's happening to you"
"I don't even know what's happening to me"
Eren sighed, taking Levi's hands and interlacing their fingers as he placed their hands on his stomach
"You were infected with Obsydin. Great big old cranky dragon of doom. Well. He's set up a castle in your head, so when you get overly emotional or sleeping, he comes to the surface. Basically, we found a way to pull the infection from our bond then use that to block him from fucking with you or the sword"
Eren kissed his cheek. How his brat made it sound so simple, he didn't know
"Now. All of this was thanks to Historia and Freya. Historia figured it out. Rod Reiss, however, doesn't want us here anymore. I've been banished and if I come back, Draecia will go to war with us. That's why we're leaving before Rod can lose his shit again"
Levi drew his brow... there was a certain fear in Eren's scent each time he said "Rod"
"Yesterday. You came here covered in blood"
"He and I had a disagreement over the fact Zeke wanted the sword. He didn't want to hear about the dangers"
Levi snarled, half going to rise before remembering he was buried in Eren, and that he was restrained
"That fucker"
"It's ok... I mean. It's taken care of"
"Eren, it's never ok. You don't need to be scared. You don't need to be worried about that... no. You shouldn't be worried about that. You deserve so much more. Nothing is ever, ever, worth your health"
"You are. And avoiding war is"
Going to war with Draecia was like begging to be erased from the map... Why did Eren have to care so much?
"Please. I'm scared I'll hurt you as it is"
"You won't, and if anything happens, I'll be by your side to help you deal with it"
"I don't know what will be waiting when we return home. Hanji is in command while we're gone. It was only supposed to be a 10-day trip"
"I'm sorry. I didn't plan for your plans to go awry"
"No. You're not to blame"
"I am"
There it was... Eren being an idiot again. This one... this issue was going to take a while for Eren to come to terms with, so if the brat was going to insist on remaining by his side, then he was going to have to admit that he wasn't to blame.

Chapter Text

Flying with a pack saddle was a weird sensation, as Eren had never worn one before. He and Levi had been mid-fuck when Maria came for them. The dragon had been kind enough to let them finish, though Eren was kind of pissed Levi didn't knot him a third time, if Levi hadn't insisted on eating his arse out as he rode the alpha's face, maybe he would have gotten knotted again... stupid hindsight. The teen didn't know how their containment spell would work once they returned to Eldia, and waking to find his boyfriend himself, he couldn't help be greedy and want a moment for themselves, without thinking about everything that had happened the previous day. He'd pushed himself so hard he'd nearly broken, so waking in Levi's arms, all he wanted was for Levi to kiss away his pain from losing his ability to bear a clutch. He wanted to reconfirm that Levi had been scared and that what they'd done had worked. The sex had been amazing, even with Levi's hands and ankles bound, it'd healed his body and removed his fatigue from the previous night while healing his heart over what had happened the previous day. Levi did want him, the alpha was just struggling with his fear and the uncertainty of the future. He was at the centre of everything but didn't understand. They'd need to talk but first came reconnecting in the manner that worked best for them. He also may have told his lover a small lie, that he hadn't dreamt. He had. He'd dreamt of Rod Reiss not stopping, mixed with the pain of having his scales torn from his skin. His dream had moved from Rod beating him, to Rod tearing the scales from his face as he was an "unworthy dragon"... All it took was Levi's warm hold to chase the fear away, and to anchor him to the moment.

Supplying them both with fresh robes, Maria had forced him to eat as they walked, though Levi and the others would have to wait until they reached the castle before eating. Which Eren wasn't happy about. Sure, he might have had an insanely long day, but he wasn't hungry. All it took was thinking about the secret he was now hiding from Levi, and the uncomfortable twinges of the command in place over being honest about his health... he was stuck mentally justifying his actions in order to find relief from the command. The best argument he could come up with was that it was best Levi didn't know he might be pregnant, only for the pregnancy to slip and hurt the man even more. Reaching the clearing near where the field of cabins had been, Ymir and Historia were waiting with the rest of the Eldia party. Ymir pinching her nose as they approached. They could probably smell the sex that clung to their skins. Levi's already complained that he couldn't shower, while Eren relished smelling like his boyfriend. Reaching the group, Historia's voice was a whisper
"I'm sorry you have to sneak off like this. It's hardly royal protocol"
Eren didn't even think about protocol as he replied to his friend
"It's ok. I'm just grateful I can thank you before we leave"
"We need no thanks. Especially with all that happened"
Giving him a quick hug, Ymir huffed in his direction as she released her nose. There was no real malice over Historia's hug, but she didn't look happy
"I suppose I'm going to miss you"
He knew he was going to miss her... He was going to miss all of them, except for Sina, and Rod. Privately, he'd hoped to see the lake again, but that was now impossible. He was going to miss watching the water dragons, and the sunsets across the water. Nope. He wasn't doing this. He had to hold his head up high and be normal
"Nah. You've got Historia, and besides, you guys are always welcome"
"That's a hell of a way to fly for a game of soccer"
Eren shrugged, playing down the small glimmer of hope that he may see them both again some day
"Then don't come. Make sure you take care of them"
Even if he couldn't see Ymir rolling her eyes in the dim light of the lantern Maria held, he knew she was
"Don't be like that. Eren, I know for a fact Ymir will miss you greatly. We packed everything carefully, and your trunk is labelled to help make sorting easier"
Meaning that the sealed sword wouldn't be known by Erwin and Levi. They'd considered destroying it but didn't know if that would cost Levi his life. Eren's plan was to stow it somewhere safe, where no human could ever find it
"Thank you, Historia. I know... Things might be awkward with your father, but know, Eldia will continue to notify you each time a dragon passes on our soil. And we don't want war, so we'll respect your father's wishes. It's for the good of both our countries that we do"
"Things won't always be this way"
"And when they change, know Eldia will welcome you with open arms. Right, sir?"
Levi cleared his throat, seemingly surprised he was being dragged into the conversation
"Indeed. I feel as if there are other reasons to be indebted to you, but I want to thank you for looking after Eren. And I want to thank you for the hospitality you showed me before... Well, in any case. Thank you. Thank the three of you. Eren is indeed correct. You will always be friends of Eldia"
"Ok. That's it for goodbyes. The others are waiting for Eren to shift so they can load the saddle up. Get out my country and stop looking at my Historia"
Ymir's words caused the teen to laugh softly
"Hurry up and marry her. You two are perfect together, and I can't wait to meet your children. I'm going to shift before Mikasa can start lecturing me, but once again, thank you"

The sun was creeping above the horizon by the time Eren was loaded with both cargo and his passengers. By some miracle the crown and brooch, he'd made Levi survived, while Armin had found and saved the one Levi had gifted him. His friend might not know how much it meant to him, but Eren was grateful. He was also sad to be returning home this way. He'd expected to be able to hold his head high, and not to be sneaking out in the cover of darkness. It made him feel like a petty criminal, while the cold air irritated his lungs. On his back, it felt weird to be carrying such a weight. The trunks were to the back of the saddle platform, placing pressure on his spine, and leaving him with the constant desire to "buck". He almost felt like a dog with a flea he needed to scratch off, and hoped to hell that this would never be necessary again. Maybe if he'd done this before, he wouldn't find it so annoying, but beggars couldn't be choosers and he wasn't risking another dragon's life over it all. Given his speed and wingspan, the whole flight back to the castle was over in under half an hour. After so long, the castle seemed so foreign to him, or maybe it was the new perspective he was seeing it from. Landing in the training field, he walked his massive form over to the edge closest to the castle to make unloading easier.

The soldiers that came to investigate, soon must have cursed their eagerness as they helped Erwin off his back, only for the man to vomit at their feet. He knew he shouldn't be laughing, but his tail thudded lightly against the grass while his body wiggled. The man would never make a dragon rider, even if he had two arms. Levi was fine, though it stung that he had to slip straight back into prince mode the moment his feet touched the ground. Mikasa and Armin naturally wouldn't leave him, Eren huffing in annoyance as they both leant on his face. For a mighty and ancient race, why had no one ever named the top part of the skull near his nostrils? Like, was it a "nose", or a "snout", or a "muzzle", or simply just "skull"? Whatever it was, he would have much preferred Levi's pats than being used as leaning post, especially when he had soldiers climbing up and down to unload the cargo on his back, all of which were clearly nervous, as their boots kept slipping on his scales.

Hanji was the first "official" in the castle to appear, coming running right up to Levi and Erwin, before throwing her arms around them. Erwin was sent falling back onto his arse, his stump flailing as he tried to prevent the fall. Once again, Eren knew he shouldn't find it funny, but once they stepped foot back in the castle Erwin would go back to being an arse... and probably even more so without his arm. And plus, if he was laughing, he didn't have to concentrate on how shit he still felt over slicing Erwin's arm off. Less than 24 hours ago, he'd come out of a coma and straight into a shit storm. Abandoning Levi and Erwin, Hanji's eyes widened, her mouth widening into a maniacal grin that screamed she was already scheming experiments. This was home. This was his home, with all the idiots that made up the castle staff. Now he was home again, hopefully, they could find some kind of normal.

*
There had been some changes while Levi had been gone, and he wasn't loving them. Petra had moved her quarters closer to his and had taken to undermining Hanji's authority by pulling the "I'll soon be the crown princess" card. She'd done a pretty terrible job, even demanding to be included in sorting the royal mail which was for Hanji's eyes only in their absence. Coming back find his personal desk in shambles, and Petra refusing to leave the sunroom, as she fussed over Erwin's missing arm. He, Eren and Erwin needed to sit down and talk. Eren had obviously done something drastic. His lack of symptoms, or rather the sudden lack of symptoms, was Eren's fault. His boyfriend has said as much, but whatever Eren did, was it safe? The lack of not knowing and the constant yammering of Petra had frayed his patience to the very end. Pinching the bridge of his nose, the woman was lucky he was above hitting women or willing to sacrifice a perfectly good teacup by throwing it at her
"For god's sake Petra. Enough. Will you please stop fussing over him, and go retrieve Eren"
"My Prince?"
That was another thing. Petra had started claiming him by that title... It only made him dislike his "bride-to-be" further. Pet names were only nice when they came from Eren... Which reminded him that Erwin was yet to release his commands on Eren
"Petra, please go find Eren and bring him here. Make sure he understands that he's in no trouble, and if he's resting, let him. God knows we could all use the rest"
"Then why are neither of you resting? Poor Levi has lost his arm. Surely that... surely the situation could have been resolved better than it was. I knew I should have come with you"
That had never been on the cards, to begin with. Once he'd received Eren's invitation, he'd notified everyone but Petra about his travel plans, then dropped it on her at the last moment so she wouldn't insist on coming
"Look, Petra. No, you being there would have not changed a single thing. With what happened the loss of his arm was the best possible outcome in the situation. It was a tragic accident. Now, please stop this carrying on"
"Well, what does Draecia say about this? Have they issued any form of compensation?"
Erwin could have jumped in at any time to save him from this, but the man chose to quietly sip at his second cup of peppermint tea
"Draecia is not to blame"
"How can you not blame them!? Your bodyguard has lost an arm! He'll need replacing! Levi may be skilled with a sword, but he is no longer fit to stand by your side"
"Levi will remain my bodyguard!"
"I will not have the crown prince protected by anyone less than the best! Your refusal is completely unsatisfactory. I will take it upon myself to find a replacement. Perhaps even looking at a bodyguard for both of us. Especially with the wedding..."
Pushing his chair back, Levi's voice dropped several degrees. The mess she'd made of his desk, and this fantasy she continued to entertain despite how many times he'd voiced his feelings on the matter... It pushed him right over the edge
"Petra. You know this marriage is being forced upon both of us under the threat of war. I told you that you could stay here because our healers have been making headway with your father's condition, and you are a distinguished soldier. From the very start, I have told you I have no intention of marrying you. With recent events, the engagement will be dissolved. Now. You can leave. You've caused enough problems for both Levi and I, by undermining Hanji's decisions"
"Prince Erwin?"
He could hear the wobble in Petra's voice. No doubt, she'd expected some glorious reunion where he declared his love. Like that shit would happen. His affections started and stopped with Eren. That was it. And even that was up in the air...
"I... I was trying to be of use to you. We are still to be wed. Prince Zeke has decreed it so, and... we've been engaged for over a year now. I thought..."
He didn't care what she thought. Nor did he care for her hurt scent
"No. I'm being serious here. There is a reason why Hanji is selected to act in our absence. She knows better than to rifle through documents that don't have anything to do with her. This is a reason why Levi is my right hand man, or left as it may be now. Draecia was not to blame for this incident. It was an accident caused by an Eldia on their soil... you will not pursue the matter and he will not be replaced. Now. I've had it with you. And I've had it with this mess. If you're not going to find Eren, I am. I need to talk with him about the incident that happened in Draecia. Levi, take yourself down to see the healers. Flying doesn't agree with you, and you should have just stayed down there. Petra. Just... don't be here when I return"
Gathering up his papers, he wasn't leaving them there for Petra to go through again. He knew he'd regret scrunching the paper once he got back to his quarters... but for everyone's sake, it was probably for the best that he didn't lose his temper further, less he black out again
"Erwin?"
"Let him go, Petra. Trust me on this"
Oh, look. Erwin could fucking talk. Clenching her fists, Petra leapt to her feet, daring to glare at him
"We aren't done talking. You were gone for twice as long as originally planned, and come back in a mood, and with Levi injured. Not only that. You failed to informed us that you would be bringing back... a magic user, as well as his two friends! Now. Tell me what is going on here! Do you not care about you kingdom?"
"Of course I fucking do! Leading this kingdom is what is fucking up my life! I don't want to be married to someone I don't love! I would love to see this all resolved peacefully with Zeke, but Marley has made a clear move of aggression, and once things have been discussed, the engagement will be dissolved. Or at least it will be if Zeke does not wish to make his intentions public knowledge. As for Eren. Yes. I know you know his name. He and his friends have returned. Squad leader Mikasa will be returning to her previous role. Her squad will continue their protection of the port. As for you. Confer with Levi. Your father's quality of care will not be impacted"
"Erwin?"
This time it was Erwin calling "his" name. He didn't seem to be losing control of himself, yet he hadn't realised when he had last time... perhaps he had and missed it?
"It's fine. Just take care of this"

Stopping by his quarters to drop his papers off before seeking out Eren, he'd felt their bond growing stronger with proximity, yet wasn't expecting it to be because the teen was curled up in his bed snoring. Levi had thought Eren would be in his own quarters at the end of the hall. He'd kept the room empty in the hopes that Eren would return soon, and when they'd landed, he'd mentioned it to Eren before dragging Hanji away from the teen in his dragon form. The woman was already enough of a menace, and while Eren seemed to love his dragon form, it'd probably taken a lot out of him, especially given their earlier activities. Moving to place the pile of papers onto his dining table, Levi then walked to his bed, sinking down on the edge in order to untie his boots. If Eren was here, he didn't need to go searching for him... and he couldn't deny he wasn't exhausted from the last few days. One night of dreamless sleep and a morning of "recharging" sex had been completely ruined by coming home. Shrugging his jacket off, Levi let out a soft sigh of relief. Since he'd come back in a robe, his image had taken a hit, and dressed in full garb after he'd showered, something he regretted on such a warm day, and even more so when the maid stoked the hearth in the sunroom. Burning documents was the only way for them to remain truly secret, once the contents had been digested. He'd normally have opened a window, but Petra was busy fussing over Erwin's health, and he hadn't wished to cause a scene... A fat lot of good that had done. Climbing up his bed, Eren was sleeping so soundly that he didn't hear Levi shift the blankets aside, nor did he feel Levi rearranging the pair of them so that Eren's head rested in his lap as he stroked his hair. Part of him wanted to shake the omega awake and demand a thorough explanation of absolutely everything that had transpired since Eren had bolted, but another part was scared that if he did, he might not like the answer. He felt cowardly as he left Eren to sleep. The Omega had bathed before climbing into his bed, and Levi was grateful for the consideration. Eren knew he tended to be a bit overly anal when it came how things had to be, yet he didn't laugh at him, nor did he hold it against him. If only he could marry him publicly. He was the kind of ruler that Eldia needed. The kind that put the people above lining their pockets. Not that Erwin was like that, but he also wasn't not like that. He refused to push higher taxes onto the society elite, out of fear of rebellion, even when that money could be used to better fund places such as orphanages. No. He let them keep their money, and he was rewarded with polite conversation to his face. As far as Levi was concerned, they were all fat pigs growing fatter... yet, he was no better than Erwin. He could force the tax issue, but if he did that and it turned to rebellion, it carried a risk of war and that was what he thought about. About all those people forced into the underground. The families torn apart. The smugness of Marley grinding Eldia to dust... He didn't know when his mindset began to change, only that it was now too late to change it. Not that he would allow himself to be walked over, as Eren would. The kid had... well, he didn't quite know. It sounded like Rod had struck him for disagreeing with him, but he distinctly remembered Eren being far too bloody for just a single hit, and the teen's magic would have healed him immediately. When Eren woke, he wasn't going to fall for the charms of his gloriously plump arse, nor for the charms of his thick thighs, and tight arse that was made for him. No. He was going to have that talk with Eren, and Eren wasn't worming his way out of it.

Letting Eren sleep, Levi nodded off. The pair of them were woken by solid knocking on Levi's door. Whining softly, Eren nuzzled into Levi's stomach
"I'm sorry, but I need to get up"
"You're comfy"
"I'm glad you think so"
As the knocking continued, Levi growing annoyed. What was the point of having guards if they weren't going to stop people from annoying him
"Who is it?!"
"It's Petra. May we please speak? Please?"
In his lap, Eren shot up
"Shit"
Levi couldn't help but smile at the teen's obvious panic
"It's ok. I told her I didn't want to talk to her"
"You can't avoid her"
"I may have snapped at her earlier. Erwin was supposed to be talking to her about it"
"Because Erwin is the most eloquent man in existence..."
"Prince Erwin?!"
"Not now, Petra!"
Eren frowned at him
"She's your fiancée"
"I told her were legally finding a way to dissolve it. I mean. I'm cursed. The last thing I need is to lose my temper and kill her"
"You won't kill her... wait... Did you tell her you're infected? Are you feeling symptoms?"
"Nope, and no"
Levi blinked in confusion as Eren grabbed his shoulders, staring straight into his eyes
"This is serious. Did you feel anything at all? Any anger? Any rage? Did you do anything?!"
Levi shook his head, taking Eren's into his. Eren's concern scared him. It made him question if there had been other times he'd blacked out without knowing...
"No. I mean. I was mad, but I don't think I blacked out. Petra no doubt would have said something, and if not her, Erwin"
Eren slumped with relief
"Ok. Ok. That's good. It means everything is working. But you need to tell me if you feel any symptoms at all. Headaches. Nightmares. Hallucinations. Even small things..."
"Eren. You need to tell me what you did. You said you did something to ease this, but what? I don't understand how. I'm infected with Obsydin. That's it, isn't it? That's why I'm blacking out. Why I'm getting angry. Why our bond felt strange... I'm infected and you did something about it. Now, I need to know what"
"It doesn't matter"
"Eren!"
Scrambling off Levi's bed, Eren threw his hands up
"It doesn't matter! I did what needed to be done. I sealed the sword, ok. Historia and I sealed it so it would never be drawn again. But I don't know if what we did will hold, so I need to know. I need to know that it's still in place... that it wasn't all for nothing!"
Climbing off his bed at a much slower pace, Levi kept his movements slow and deliberate, so as to not scare Eren
"Please, Eren. Just tell me. I'm not going to force you, and you can choose not to, but I won't be mad"
"I can't. Not this. Please let me keep this one to myself"
Wrapping his arms around his stomach, Eren's scent was growing distressed as he hunched over
"Hey... what's happening?"
"C-command. I'm going against your command..."
"No. No, you're not. I told you that you didn't have to tell. You can have this secret, for now. As long as your honest about why you appeared covered in blood. What happened?"
"You mean I didn't have to tell?"
Yes. Levi would love more than anything for Eren to tell... but if he got him talking, his omega might just let it slip
"Not right now"
Eren slipped back to the bed, just out of his hold. His body language yelling that he didn't want to be touched
"It was Rod. When I yelled about the sword, he heard... you know, about how we dragons and riders have super senses. He sent Sina after me... He... uh. Lost his head about everything and took it out on me"
"He hit you?"
"He did a bit more than that"
"I'm going to fucking kill him!"
"Wait... We can't. We can't go to war over something so pathetic"
"Pathetic? He hurt you. That's not ok. That's never ok"
"He just lashed out. It healed, and besides, he's a small man scrambling to control a dying race. He was scared!"
"He fucking hurt you! What did he do? Bash the fuck out of you!? Break a few bones?! Well that just magically makes it ok!"
Eren flinched away, just as a loud crack came

"Prince Erwin!"
Kicking open his door, Petra had her sword raised as she looked from him to Eren. Her face filling with anger and disgust, probably over the fact Eren was seated on his bed, which had clearly been slept in. Well, this was awkward. His lover, and his fiancée
"Petra! What do you think you're doing? These are my private quarters"
Sheathing her sword, she stood taller
"I heard yelling"
"As you can see, everything is just fine"
"It is not fine. What is all of this? An infection? Eren using his magic? What is with his face? Are those scales? Is he sick? Is he infected? Did he cause the incident in Draecia? The loss of Levi's arm?"
Levi loved the scales on Eren's face, the bright shimmering greens were beautiful. Growling, he moved to place himself between Eren and Petra
"None of this is your business or concern"
"I'm your fiancée!"
"No. You're just..."
Grabbing Levi's arm, Eren tugged him back
"What Prince Erwin means to say it that the matter of infection has been handled. Levi lost his arm due to his own carelessness. He knows it, we know it, and Draecia knows it. However, over that incident, Prince Erwin was not given a full explanation, which is why I am here. As you have noticed, I do have scales on my face, but I am not contagious. I would not place the Eldia people in danger over such a thing as a contagious infection. Now. The prince is tired. Draecia is a joyous, and free country, which may be hard to handle if you are not used to heights and flying. The Prince will have time to talk to you about all of this, but not today or tonight. Surely you must understand, from your time with soldiers who experience traumatic events, the mind needs time to heal. For now, that is the best thing for them"
"Then I expect you shall be leaving too?"
"Indeed. As you mentioned, we were yelling, but for now, things are sorted. The Prince has nothing to fear"
The shit. He'd taken Petra's game and turned it back on her, and for that, the woman looked livid. Not that Levi wasn't also mad. Eren had wriggled his way out of telling him everything again. Rising, Eren made towards the door, Levi grabbing him by the arm in a return of the gesture
"Actually Eren, there are a couple more things I could use your help with before you do leave. Just things to do with Draecia. Petra, please leave. As Eren said, I need to rest, so this will be short"

Petra glared for several long moments, before huffing and rushing out, slamming the door behind her. Pulling Eren up against him, Levi shook his head
"Don't let her walk over you"
"We need to be more careful"
"No..."
"People can't know about us, and even if you and I had been together before I left, can you imagine the fallout? Petra knew we were sleeping together, and she's probably going to make sure the whole castle knows before long"
"She wouldn't. Her pride would let her"
"We can't leave it like this. I really should be going"
Levi nuzzled into Eren's neck, he didn't want to be left alone, or Eren walking the castle alone. They'd never discussed the fact his marks would now be seen by the whole royal court. For two smart people, they'd acted like idiots. Levi had thought once Eren returned, things would just fall into place
"You can't keep running away from me"
"I'm not. It's just been a bit of a mess since I woke up"
"Now? Or when you woke from falling asleep in my bed? I was surprised to find you here"
Instead of nuzzling back, Eren just kept his face hidden against Levi's neck
"My old quarters weren't ready, so I told the guards I had permission from you to wait here. I really needed a shower, and your bed was right there... are you mad?"
"Not at all. You're welcome in this room at any time. I wish it was more permanently though"
"Don't say that... I really should leave though, Petra is probably waiting outside to make sure I do"
"Let her. I have honestly had enough of her shit. She talked and fussed over Erwin for two hours straight, and if that wasn't enough, she undermined all of Hanji's decisions while we were gone. The main reason I came down here was to escape her. I even brought my work here with me, though the papers may have ended up a little scrunched"
Eren snorted against him, pressing a kiss to his neck, before pulling away
"Then you should get started. My room should be ready by now"
"And if I asked you stay?"
"Will you do all your work?"
"Of course I will, brat. I'm not you"
Eren gave him a warm smile, his eyes sparkling with more happiness than he could remember seeing since... if sex didn't count, then the last time would have been before the sword incident
"Then I'll stay. But you have to do all of it"
"I know. Seriously. Petra has no idea the amount of work she's made for me"
"I think her intentions were in the right place"
"I'd really rather they weren't. Are you hungry? I can send for food"
"I could eat, but you're just trying to get out of work"
"I am not. I'm simply worried for you"
"You don't need to be, and please, don't worry about your own condition so much. I mean, I still need to know if symptoms present, but don't be afraid to be yourself"
"If I was myself, I wouldn't be in this situation, to begin with. But then again, it is because I am, that I met you. The centre of all my affections"
Eren gave him a quick kiss, before walking over to the bed and sprawling across it. His long legs slightly spread, but unfortunately covered by the pair of black pants he was wearing. Waving his hand towards the dining table, his voice took on a mocking "royal" tone
"And you are mine, my good sir. Now, get to work"

*
Falling back to sleep in Levi's bed, his boyfriend woke him when he joined him for the night, insisting he strip out of his tight pants and tunic in order "to be more comfortable", while Eren was sure that it was because his boyfriend was sexually insatiable. To Levi's credit, the man had poured over the paperwork, while Eren had offered suggestions and calmed him when his alpha grew annoyed or angered. Curling around him, Levi nuzzled at his neck, then promptly fell asleep. Eren would have laughed if it hadn't run the risk of waking his alpha. Sometimes Levi reminded him of a small child, especially with how peaceful he looked as he slept... but he couldn't help but wonder if they'd even be laying here like this if Levi knew the truth of what he'd done.

When the morning came, Eren slipped out from under Levi, in hopes of stealing the first shower given how much he'd slicked in his sleep. He'd barely stepped under the warm water when Levi was joining him. Biting his bottom lip lightly, Levi jerked his erection slowly as his eyes travelled down Eren's body
"See something you like?"
"Something like that"
"Only something?"
"I see a lot of what I like, and a sneaky little shit who crept out of bed"
"I slicked in my sleep"
"I know. The sheets are still wet with it"
Leaning in, the teen stole a quick kiss
"Are you going to punish me for it?"
"I think I might..."
"Then get on with it. I have a room to unpack and you have a kingdom to rule"
Releasing his erection, Levi stepped under the running water, pulling Eren close by his hips, both moaning into the heated kiss as Levi's hands slipped to grope his arse. Feeling the gently prompting with his fingers tips, he let himself be lifted by his arse, legs wrapping around his alpha's waist
"I'm going to fuck you so hard"
"Good..."

Pinned against the shower wall, Eren had come the moment Levi had pushed in, so aroused from whatever he'd been dreaming about. Laughing at him between kisses, Levi then took his time to thoroughly fuck him senseless, until he was literally boneless in his arms. The alpha had way too much stamina when it came to drawing out the pleasure and turning him into a babbling mess. Coming a second time, didn't slow Levi at all. Overstimulated and feeling full, Levi finally picked his pace up, knotting him a long grunt. Letting his legs go limp, he was held in place by Levi's panting form
"Eren?"
"Mmm"
"You ok?"
"Mhmm"
"Good"
"You?"
"Mhmm"
"Good. Fuck... Would it be rude if I spent the whole day in bed?"
Levi kissed his chest, before rubbing his cheek against the spot
"Do I get to spend it with you?"
"No. You've got to be princely"
"Then yes. Incredibly rude. So rude I don't know what to say"
"I'm not spending it in your bed..."
"That's even worse. I wanted to finish our conversation yesterday, but paperwork happened"
"What was left to talk about?"
Couldn't they just bask in the pleasant afterglow? He liked the afterglow. He liked the way Levi's knot was caught him, and the way his alpha's penis swelled to stretch him wide open as the alpha's seed flooded into him. He liked the way their bond felt stronger and how his magic loved the alpha just as much as he did. He didn't want to keep using his words
"About how certain you are over the sword being sealed? This relationship. What we're going to say about scales?"
Ugh. Adult responsibilities. He was tired of them. Maybe he'd find somewhere else to take a nap...
"I'm not ashamed of them, but I do know the danger. This relationship. I don't want to give it up. Or for anything to change. I'm a little bit dragon and you're a little bit cursed. If things change, I'll let you know. And if you change, we'll work it out. And the sword should be sealed for good. I've... placed it somewhere safe for now. To be honest, I think the magic should hold, but if anything were to go wrong, it would be during your rut, and I'm here with you. I'll do everything I can for you, so can you please just stop asking me questions while you're still coming in my arse and I'm too tired to human"
"Ok... I shouldn't have pushed"
"I love that you do. I just wish you'd trust that I care for you more than the rest of the world"
Levi shook his head, hiding his face
"I don't know how you can say such shit so easily"
"Because it's true. Or at least, that is how I feel. Let me turn your word into a sword, and help you lead this kingdom. The people need their prince, and I want to be the one to support you"
"What happens if you chose to leave one day?"
"You foolish prince, I left you alone, you'd fall to pieces. No. No matter what, I will do my best for you and for Eldia. I love you. I can't even say your name to tell you, but I do"
"Fucking commands"
"It's ok... it was the right thing to do to protect the kingdom..."
Eren regretted his wording. He needed to find a way to repair all of this between him, Levi and Erwin... Maybe he'd seek the man out later? If Erwin wasn't going to be the responsible one, he needed to step up. For the state of the kingdom, and for the sake of the one he loved.

After eating breakfast together, Eren and Levi went their separate ways. Eren to his room to unpack, while Levi had messages to send. Apparently, there had been some kind of trouble at the docks again, and Levi had to deal with it immediately, lest Zeke gets it in his head that he needed to visit again. Sitting in his small room, it felt tiny in comparison to the cabin he'd had in Draecia, and somehow he'd accumulated enough junk to fill the space, or it would have if he had unpacked. While he liked his room being so close to Levi's, perhaps it was time to ask if he may use another room, or even build a small cabin for himself near where his herb garden used to be. There were so many spells and herbal remedies he wanted to try now that he was back on home soil. His nap was going to have to wait. He needed to seek Erwin out, to ask his permission, so they may as well talk while he was at it. He also needed to check in with Armin, and make sure he hadn't ended up spending every moment since his return with Hanji. The only problem the teen has was his scales. Levi had smelt concerned over it, and he wanted to respect that, yet he couldn't hide the fact he wasn't quite human. Petra had seemed disgusted by them, which he felt was incredibly narrow-minded. She lived in a world filled with magic.

Wherever he went, there were whispers. New soldiers had no idea who he was, while old soldiers rolled their eyes as he passed. By the time he reached the kitchens, he was longing for a familiar face, which he found in Nicollo. Sitting at the familiar table, Eren smiled at the sight of the kitchen staff bustling around. He'd never been able to sit in the kitchen of the manor like this... watching Nicollo, it was worth it. The man visibly jumped as he turned around and caught sight of him. There was a brief tug at the corners of the man's lips before his facial features settled into a scowl
"You're back"
"I am"
"What's with your face?"
"I'm part dragon"
Nicollo huffed, putting his hands on his hips
"So that's why you destroyed my kitchen?"
Nicollo just couldn't let it go, and instead of being annoyed, it just drove home the feeling of how right it was to be here
"Yep. And I know the kitchens the real powerhouse of the castle..."
"You're back five minutes and you're already making trouble"
"I was just going to ask if you knew where Levi was"
"I think he's with the soldiers out on the training field. You're not planning on causing any more trouble are you?"
"Nope. I just need to talk to him, that's all"
Turning back to the saucepan he'd been hovering over when Eren walked in, Nicollo stopped him from leaving by casually dropping
"There's a rumour going 'round that there was some trouble in Draecia, and that you are the reason Levi lost his arm"
Oh. So it wasn't the scales... Everyone thought he was to blame for what happened... He couldn't help but feel that this was Petra's revenge for the previous afternoon. Nope. He wasn't going to stoop to her Levi, but he might as well spread a rumour of his own, especially when he didn't want to be treated like a freak
"No. Well, yes, but not like that. Levi messed around with something dangerous and it was either his arm or his life. It nearly cost both him and Prince Erwin their lives"
"Right. Off you go then"

The walk down to the training field gave him plenty of time to deal with the fact that Nicollo didn't believe him. The fact he was dragging his feet only prolonged the inevitable, though it did give him plenty of time to enjoy the scents around the place, other than the stink of the stables. Draecia felt so very different from Eldia that it was hard to process they were once part of the same empire. The magic here wasn't the same, nor was the land healed the way Draecia was. Maybe he'd sprinkle a few scales when they fell? Something to booster the magic here, and something to heal the land? He loved Eldia... and what was the point of having power if he couldn't use it? His internal thoughts continued until he reached Mikasa, as well as Petra and the people he guessed were her squad. Chatting away with them, Erwin had a smile on his face, patting the stump like it was an old war wound
"Eren!"
Leaping up from where the group was sitting on the grass, Mikasa strode over to him
"What are you doing here? Is it safe for you to be walking around?"
"I'm fine, Mikasa. I see you're right back at work"
"The stupid prince has decided that I'll be taking over my squad again, and we'll be moving to the port for the next few months. Levi came down with Petra to notify us. I don't see why she can't handle it, it was her post before she was engaged to the prince"
Eren hid his annoyance over his adoptive sister taking her anger out on his boyfriend. The port needed someone they could trust down there, and he was kind of proud that Mikasa was selected for such a role
"I heard there's been some trouble down there"
"How do you know that?"
"This castle is filled with rumours. Anyway, I actually came to talk to Levi"
"Why? What business do you have with him? Is this something to do with your coma? Because you never gave me an explanation over that, and then all of a sudden we were leaving"
"What happened was an accident, but I've been sworn to secrecy. Have you seen Armin?"
"Armin was with Squad Leader Hanji last night. I haven't seen him since. Are you sure you're ok? You smell different"
"I smell like Eldia soap, and I'm fine. I slept most of yesterday and last night. You worry too much"
"How can I not? You know I care for you, Eren. I..."
Nope... he wasn't going there today
"I know, I care for you too. I'm sorry, I really need to talk to Levi"
Eren raised his voice at "Levi" causing Erwin to pay attention. Helping him up, Petra remained by Erwin's side as the pair joined them
"Eren"
Forcing a smile at Petra, she looked as if she wanted to run him through with her sword
"What are you doing wandering around the castle grounds?"
"I needed to talk with Levi over something. I'm sorry for interrupting your... meeting"
"Levi..."
Erwin placed his good hand on Petra's shoulder
"Sure, shall we take a walk?"
"That'll be great. I'll see you later, Mikasa. Petra"
Dismissing both female alphas, both looked annoyed. Probably because he was an omega, acting like an alpha.

Walking away from the group, Eren found himself following Erwin towards the opposite end of the training field, the silence was weird, and there was only so much of it he could take
"Look. I want to talk. I don't want to start a fight, but I felt we should talk about what happened in Draecia"
Erwin nodded, though didn't offer any kind of verbal reply
"Um... your arm. Does it hurt?"
"No. I suppose I do need to thank you for acting so fast"
"I wish it didn't turn out like this, you know. I never wanted to... hurt you"
"I know. I've been waiting for you to tell me "I told you so""
"What good would that do now? The whole castle knows I'm to blame thanks to the latest round of rumours..."
Eren cut his own sentence off with a shake of his head
"No. This isn't what I want to say. I'm not happy about anything that happened between us in Draecia. I know you hate me, and I know you don't trust me, but I do want to help Eldia and to do that, we need to get along. The prince has a hard enough job, without worrying about if we are fighting or not"
"How unexpectedly mature of you"
"See. That's what I mean. I know you don't like me being with him. I know. But... I love him, and I love Eldia"
"He's engaged to be married to Petra"
"I know he is. I also know he's scared. I'm sure you know that too. His blackouts are being caused by Obsydin, and he fears what he is capable of"
"What is he capable of?"
"Obsydin... He was a dragon of amazing power, but kind of taboo to talk about. From what Historia told me, he has the powers of making dreams a reality. His madness rears when the prince loses his temper, or he sleeps"
Erwin sighed heavily, his steps coming to a stop
"Then what are we supposed to do?"
We? Since when were they a "we"?
"You? Nothing. Nothing changes for now"
Erwin growled as his scent filled with anger, Eren taking half a step back
"You can't be serious! What if he infects the castle?!"
Was that all Erwin cared about!? Not the man whose life he manipulated like he was a marionette
"He won't! Because unlike you, I've been doing everything I can to make sure that wouldn't happen!"
"What? What did you do? You ran away"
"I ran away and was picked up Rod's favourite dragon Sina. I told Rod about Zeke, and do you know what he did? He bashed the fuck out of me, broke my arm, and told me I'm banished from Draecia. He would have been happy for us to all die, but instead, we put a plan into place and got out of there alive. I've met the Obsydin in his mind. Twice he used my magic to heal me. He's the reason I'm alive. He saved me from the magical contamination that occurred when you drew the sword, then after Rod broke my body"
"So you've taken his side? Because he's a dragon, you don't care for him anymore"
Was it rude to punch a one-armed man?
"Can you just drop the fucking act? It's gotten old. I know you're under pressure to rule the kingdom. I know you're scared and now you've lost your arm, you stupid bastard. No. I haven't taken Obsydin's side. I love him, and I nearly died to help with sealing what I could of Obsydin away. He doesn't know, but I used my scales and part of my soul to make sure he was no longer suffering. I... I gave up my dream because he means that much to me. I don't care if you hate me. I don't care if you run around telling everyone I cut your arm off for now. I don't care because this isn't a popularity contest. Eldia needs the public prince, and I did what I could. Fuck. This wasn't what we were supposed to be talking about. Look. The engagement with Petra will have to wait. The real test of the magic Historia and I used will come when he enters his rut. Our bond is fully open then, and he's at one with his alpha and his desires. So, for the good of Eldia, can you please just back off"
It would be so much easier if he could just say Levi's name. Standing there with fists clenched, he was completely prepared to punch Erwin if he didn't agree. Swallowing, Erwin pinched the bridge of his nose before taking a deep breath and releasing it
"Look. I don't hate you. It's just... I've never seen him like this. Not unless it was Farlan or Isabel. He cares deeply for you, but he loses his composure when it comes to you"
"I know he does... but Erwin, the last thing I want is for this kingdom to fall back into war. I know I can't be his lover publicly, and I'm ok with that. I'm ok with being whatever he wants me to be"
"I don't think you understand"
"No. It's you who doesn't. I've entertained Zeke for you. I've told our prince over, and over, he can't go to war, and I told him he shouldn't dissolve his engagement because the country wouldn't survive another war. I studied everything I could while in Draecia and I want to use that to help the kingdom. I understand if you don't want a dragon in your castle, my magic was uncontrolled because it's more dragon than mage, but I've changed and I've grown. If you would like, I'll live out here, or in a room further away from his. Hell, I'll even leave the castle and go help wherever you need, but I'm serious about him"
"What did you give up?"
Eren raised an eyebrow
"What?"
"You said you gave up your dream. What was your dream?"
"I..."
His stupid omega flooded him with sadness
"Tell me what you gave up"
"Only if you don't tell him"
"I won't make that promise"
He couldn't get out of telling Erwin
"A clutch. I gave up on having children of my own. If I'm pregnant, the eggs inside of me will pass just before my next heat, but if they do, it's pretty much a sure sign that I'll never have children"
Setting his jaw, and grinding his teeth, the omega fought to keep his tears from forming
"Why would you that?"
"Because Eldia needs him... and he's the only one I could ever love. Besides. Obsydin makes dreams become reality. If he... if we... I could end up carrying his children, and I will not allow that to happen. Maybe someday we can find a way to defeat Obsydin completely, and maybe then I can undo the spell, but we don't know that, so this is what needed to happen"

Eren flinched as Erwin placed his hand on his shoulder
"You truly love him, don't you?"
"I do"
"I release you of the commands I put on you and place a new command on you. You will refer to us by our names, only when no one else is around. If you yell or shout, you shall call him "Erwin", and me "Levi". In public, and in front of anyone but us, I am "Levi", and he is "Erwin". If someone else asks, you will not tell them the truth, even if they use a command on you. If he gives you a command, you will follow it, and if your spell doesn't hold, you will tell me immediately. Understood?"
Eren nodded, Erwin's grip growing tighter until he figured out what the man wanted
"Yes, sir"
"Good. And yes. Your quarter's being so close to Levi's is causing an issue. We shall need to find new accommodation for you. It is not safe to let you stay outside the castle, but you and Levi are hardly quiet"
It wasn't his fault that being thoroughly drilled by Levi felt fucking amazing...
"I'm sorry"
"I'll look into it, and arrange new quarters. For now, I need to think. You are dismissed"
"Yes, sir. And... I really am sorry about your arm. When I saw what was happening, I lost my head. I didn't want Eldia to lose you, or to lose... well, you know"
"I know. It's not easy keeping up this charade and balancing the future of the kingdom"
"I don't envy you. Never forget, you're not alone"

When Erwin removed his hand, Eren started walking back towards the castle. He'd nearly said Levi's name, but he desperately wanted Levi to be the first one to hear him say it. He wasn't free from Erwin's commands, but it was a kinder command. With that thought in mind, Eren's pace hastened. He wanted to see Levi. He wanted to call him by his name, over and over. He wanted to make up for every time he'd moaned something other than Levi... The smile on his face was huge as he raced forward.

Chapter Text

Swollen stomach, check. Puffy breasts, check. Random fits of emotional breakdown, check. Rubbing the bump of his belly, Eren was an omega with a dilemma. He was carrying a clutch, that was growing larger every day. An empty clutch which he'd birth in a little over a month and a half, and an empty clutch that he didn't think he could keep hiding from Levi for much longer. Robes had helped, as had his new quarters which were basically a whole tower of his own. He had his own private bathroom, and kitchen, as well as all the space he could ever want for his herbs and his books. With a little bit of magic, he'd extended the tower another two levels, giving him amazing views over Mitras. Levi hadn't been happy about his moving, or that the walk to the top of his tower involved dozens of stairs, but the tower was private. No one could hear him cry out in pleasure, as Levi fucked him senseless against whatever surface they felt like at the time. The sex had slowed since Eren had realised he was pregnant, and now he knew he had to go. All it would take would be a conversation with Erwin, who'd been much more civil since they'd spoken on the training field, and had extinguished the rumours of Eren being to blame for him losing his arm. Petra still hated him, she'd even sought him out to tell him "he was a nasty little slut, who she blamed completely for Levi's arm, and would never be welcome in her castle". At first, he'd been shaken and upset by her words, but then Erwin had given him his tower and Eren had been quite happy since, because let's face it, it was massive and far more impressive than Petra's quarters.

It'd been about four weeks after their return that Mikasa had moved out to the port, Armin going with her. Even though he wanted to go with his friends, no one had thought it safe. The argument he'd had with Levi had lasted two full days before the alpha admitted he was scared of what would happen if Eren wasn't there. That didn't stop Armin suggesting he could visit. With his growing problem, it might be the only way out of the situation. If he stayed in Mitras, Levi would see his changing body. He'd see the way the eggs filled him and pushed his skin taunt, hell, he'd probably even feel then as he fucked him. Eren felt them. They moved each time he did, while the weight of the growing clutch sat heavily on his prostate... God. The sex while pregnant felt amazing. He was coming twice as much, with dry orgasms from having his sweetspot milked by the eggs, while his magic soothed his fatigue... Naturally, it wasn't all pleasure. The growing clutch left his stomach squashed, generally resulting throwing up after he ate, and his omega was a complete mess over a clutch that wouldn't lead to children. He wanted them. He hadn't until he'd met his alpha. Now it wasn't an option anymore, he wanted them with Levi so fucking badly that he wished there had been another way... The pain probably wouldn't have been so bad if a clutch or a child would have been possible later in life. Shaking his head, Eren's hands dropped from his stomach. He could have all the regrets in the world, but it wouldn't change anything. He was going to have to birth what seemed like a larger sized clutch, and suffer through it all for nothing.

Even after being home for a month and a half, there were still whispers wherever he went. Today he wasn't in the mood for it all, it'd taken him weeks to get permission to head down to the marketplace, as Levi was concerned his new appearance would call unwanted attention. He'd been "forced" to grow his own herbs and food, like that, was punishment when you were a storm dragon, though that wasn't the reason he wanted to go out. He was bored, and he wanted to spend some time outside the castle grounds with normal people, with no Hanji. He loved Hanji and all, but he wasn't about to let her pick his scales free while he was in his human form. No matter what she said, it wasn't happening. He'd played at being diplomatic enough as it was, keeping Levi and Erwin in line when it came to Levi's marriage, Petra and Erwin's lack of arm was a headache and a half. The pair just... were complete magic morons. He'd talked to the mages, and they were less than impressed that he now kind of outranked him, with the whole dragon thing... He didn't ask to be part dragon, nor did he ask to have more magic than they did. All the alpha masters though, they all seemed to have time for him. He didn't like their intentions, nor did he like the fact they were only interested because he was an omega, and a dragon.

Meeting Levi, and Erwin, in the sunroom, his boyfriend looked as if he hadn't slept, while Erwin wore a deep frown on his face. He knew instantly that his shopping trip had been cancelled, causing tears to well in the corners of his eyes. His hormones ignoring the way he tried to pull himself together, as to not worry his alpha
"Is something wrong?"
"This idiot sent a message to Zeke over his marriage, now Zeke is coming to visit"
Eren groaned. They'd talked about this. They'd all agreed over this...
"Levi. Why? You said you'd wait until after your rut"
"He'll be visiting here in two weeks time, plenty of time before my rut"
"That doesn't make things better. What did you tell him?"
"That I was infected with a contagious disease and can't marry Petra because of it"
Closing his eyes, Eren could only shake his head. As long as Levi was engaged, there was stability within the nation
"Exactly. The last thing we need is Zeke here or another one of his royal decrees"
"What was I supposed to do? Marry her?"
"No. We all know you don't want that. It's just... never mind"
His emotions were so messed up, he couldn't even find it within him to be happy over the dissolving of the engagement. All he felt was nauseous
"You two need to discuss this. I'll return to my tower for now"
Levi sighed heavily
"I'm sorry. I know you were looking forward to going out today"
"It can't be helped... Maybe I'll write to Mikasa and Armin, they both want me to come for a visit down there"
Levi nodded, leaning back in his chair as he did. Eren smoothly working in his plan for escape
"They are your family. After a year together, they probably miss you as much you miss them"
"That's true. It feels weird not having Armin there, when I'm studying, that is. We spent quite a few hours discussing magic, and I still find myself turning to talk to him, only to find him gone"
Levi sighed, closing his eyes and sinking down in his seat. Eren took that as he cue to leave. Catching Erwin's eye, he gave a tiny jerk of his head towards the door
"Actually, before you go, can you help me bring a tray of tea up. It's gotten somewhat harder with one hand"
Opening his eyes, Levi scowled at Erwin
"Eren isn't your servant"
Smiling at his boyfriend, he was grateful the man hadn't ignored him. That would have just been awkward
"Levi, it's fine. It's just a tray of tea. You look like you need it, and you probably need a break from each other"
Since discovering he could now say his name, calling Levi "Levi", had been a great way to get what he wanted. Each time he used his lover's name, he was filled with warmth and happiness, and Levi would always give him a fond smile, before getting flustered
"Fine. I mean, go. But I expect a fresh pot of tea"
"Like I would bring you anything less"

Erwin followed him out into the hall, the pair walking down the hall until the reached first unguarded room before Eren was pulling Erwin inside, and double checking no one was listening. Amused, Erwin waited until Eren was done with check, before clearing his throat
"Do I want to know?"
"Probably not. I just needed to make sure no one was around"
"They're not. What's going on?"
"I... just look. It'll be easier"
Slipping open his robes, his pregnant belly sat proudly between the slits of them
"Eren... is that?"
"A clutch. I need permission to leave to deal with this, and I need Levi not to know"
Hiding his stomach, Eren retied his robes
"How long?"
"About 6 weeks. They're supposed to pass just before my heat. But I'm not sure. It seems quite large"
"And they're..."
"Barren. There's no life in them at all. Levi hasn't noticed, but if it makes you look at me like I'm sex on legs, you can imagine how attached he's going to be"
Erwin had the decency to look embarrassed
"I'm sorry. You're right. Alright. I will defer this to you, where would you like to go?"
"I don't know, maybe the port? I could meet up with Mikasa and Armin?"
"That would mean notifying them of your secret"
"I can play it off as a dragon thing. You know, lack of sex and upcoming heat. But if I go away before the birth, Levi won't have to know"
"No. It's not safe to let you give birth outside the castle"
"What? Why? It's an empty clutch. Any magic they would have had will disappear"
"Some people simply want things because of their association. Even if there's no magic, it would be rather awkward to explain"
This wasn't his plan. He was supposed to leave and come back like nothing had happened
"Then what am I supposed to do?!"
"Look. I don't know"
"Then let me go"
"I can't"
"It doesn't have to be for the full time, but my stomach will swell further, and it will be harder to hide it"
"Give me some time to think about this. Then I'll get back to you. For now, we have to retrieve that tray of tea"
Eren hung his head sadly
"I'm sorry for inconveniencing you like this"
"No. Yes. It is a pile of trouble, but Levi hasn't displayed any symptoms. I can only take that to mean that whatever you've done seems to have worked"
"I hope it continues to... you'll monitor him, won't you? While I'm gone?"
"Of course"
"Thank you, Erwin... God. I'm so messed up about this clutch as it is, if anything happened to him, I don't think I could ever recover"
"Messed up? How so?"
Erwin really didn't get it?
"I'm giving birth to a pile of eggs, that should be Levi's child, because I was pregnant to him when all of this started, and now they're all dead and I'll never carry again"
"Oh..."
"Yeah... I'm sorry. I can't talk about this. It's hard enough not running to Levi and admitting everything, but I can't let him find out. Not like this"
"I'll do what I can"
Sniffling, Eren nodded sadly as his hands moved to his stomach, caressing the swell lightly. Admitting things out loud only served to make them more real. He'd been pregnant and now it was ending like this... The pain he felt was deeper than Historia pulling his scales from his face. His omega was in constant morning, with his head was barely above water. He didn't want to give birth alone... but he couldn't hurt Levi like that.

*
Unable to secure safe passage for Eren, the omega found himself still stuck in the castle when Zeke arrived. His stomach has swollen rapidly to the point it was barely hidden by his robes. His tiny breasts now handfuls, with nipples so tender he could come from touching them alone. His sex life with Levi had become somewhere between sporadic and nonexistent, unless the light was off and Levi had mounted him from behind, resulting in most nights spent masturbating in order to find some relief, but even fucking himself on his fingers wasn't as satisfying as a thick fat knot. He was tired, cranky and horny. His scent so inviting that he'd had to use herbs to suppress his omega, or he'd have been a walking build board that demanded a good hard fuck. Even Erwin had looked tempting for a moment before he'd been disgusted at himself for even thinking so. He needed to get laid so fucking badly, that it was all he could think of as he watched Levi flittering around the castle's ballroom. He may have had far too much to drink at the party to welcome Zeke to back to Eldia, but he was completely miserable. Downing his goblet of wine, he'd reached his melting point when Levi's eyes caught his. Fuck. He was fucking gorgeous. That gorgeous alpha was all of his... made just for him. Letting out a small whine, thick slick gushed down his inner thighs, a whimper following as his body demanded its alpha's touch. He needed to get out of there, and in a hurry, lest someone else take the invitation, and find out his secret.

Rushing down the hall, Eren escaped into the first dimly lit storage room he found. Gathering up his robes, he gasped as his hand grasped his thickening dick, his thumb moving to rub at the slit as his legs began to shake. Closing his eyes, he could imagine Levi's hands on his body. The way he'd suckle at his breasts, or suck at his weeping dick as he drew out every drop of his seed. Lewdly wet sounds slowly started as his fingers found his arse, his opening sopping wet and gaping open without him touching it. Fuck... moaning openly, he roughly started moving, yet it wasn't enough. He needed...

Behind him, the door creaked open.
"Eren?"
Levi. He needed Levi
"Alpha... alpha, come fuck me... can't get my fingers deep enough..."
"Are you... Eren, are you ok?"
"Please..."
Sliding his fingers out his arse, Eren jerked himself harder to make up for the lack of stimuli
"Levi... fuck... I'm going to come. I'm so close. Please. Please, Levi. I need it... ahh, ahhh... ngh... watch me... watch me come"
Eren's nostrils flared as his toes curled, coming hard into his robes, his whole body trembled as he milked his dick. Letting out a growl, Levi stalked over to him, the man less than gentle as he tore apart his pants and shoved on with no warning.
"Fuck! Fuck, mmmngh... fuck... so good"
Crying out, he didn't wait as he started to fuck himself, his hips clumsy as his movements were hampered by his belly of clutch
"Shit, brat"
"Fuck me... fuck me... Levi, need it... need you to fill me..."
Gripping his hips, Levi pulled him back. Eren's stomach and breasts hanging heavier at the new angle while Levi hit his sweet spot, Eren screaming in pleasure
"Fuck! Right there! Don't you dare stop..."
"Not going to... you feel so fucking good. Your tight little cunt is made for me... so fucking hungry for my dick..."
Digging his fingertips in, Eren felt his second orgasm racing to the surface. He didn't even care about how Levi was describing his arse
"Yours... all yours... fuck... god... harder... need you to fill me... fuck... I can't stop... each thrust... more comes out"
With a snarl, Levi's next thrust left him scrambling for purchase against the shelving, his orgasm hitting unexpectedly, and so hard he lost control, pissing himself. If wasn't like he could go longer than 5 minutes without needing to piss at it was. But this was fuelled by alcohol
"Shit... you're even fucking tighter... I can feel it, feel you pissing while I fuck you... such a slut for me..."
"Only for you... don't stop. God... I'm still coming... I can't... mmmm... ah..."
Each time Levi thrust in, a fresh dribble of piss would free. The feeling like a constant orgasm, as his dick throbbed and pulsed, hanging between his legs so his mess spilt down his thigh
"Eren... mmm... gonna come..."
"Don't stop... need it... need it, Levi, fill me, knot me... knot me..."
Grabbing his leg, Eren was pushed up against the shelves as Levi slammed into him desperately. The space was filled with the sound of wet slapping skin, as his boyfriend's rhythm grew sloppier before Levi cried out and his knot rushed to form. Choking on pleasured pain, Eren ground back against his alpha, his hand sliding down to grip his erection, milking the exhausted organ while trying to get Levi deeper
"Don't stop... I need more"
"My knot..."
"Don't care... god... you're so fucking big, Levi. I feel so full... I want it... all your cum"
Rolling his hips, the tug felt more pleasure than pain, if he angled it just right, he could force Levi's knot to catch and force him wider, while Levi hissed, Eren kept chasing the sensation, milking out another orgasm before finally slowing
"Eren"
"Mmmm... fuck... you're so thick... I fucking love it..."
Nipping at Eren's back, Levi rocked up harder against him
"What's gotten into you?"
"Saw you in there, and all I could think was how badly I needed you to fuck me... so fucking gorgeous, Levi... you fill me so good... I wish I had a plug, so I could fuck myself while full of you"
"Shit..."

Levi continued to rock against him, working him back up they waited for his knot to deflate. The moment it'd deflated enough, his boyfriend was fucking him hard and fast all over again. Nearing completion, the door to the room was opened, Eren coming, while Levi came inside him, though failed to knot him. Whining, the omega glared at Erwin, not caring about anything other than his desperately needed fuck being ruined
"This better be good"
"You need to return to the party. Zeke is looking for you"
Levi snarled, while Eren was brought back to reality. His very pregnant form was probably completely on display for Erwin, thanks to the lightning. Having not knotted inside of him, Levi's orgasm passed quickly, the man pulling out and tidying himself up, as Eren slipped his robes down. Wrapping an arm around his upper chest, Levi pulled him down for an awkward kiss, the alpha then nuzzling into his cheek affectionately
"I'm sorry, Eren. Duty calls"
"Mmm... don't be... felt good"
"I'll call on you tonight?"
Eren yawned loudly, his libido and his body not on the same level
"Eren is going back to his tower to rest, while you are going to clean up, before seeing Zeke"

Letting his robes drop into place, Eren clenched his arse as he tried to keep his lover's seed in him for as long as possible. The kiss Levi gave him had his limp dick twitching
"I love you, brat"
"I love you too, so don't come tonight"
"But..."
"We shouldn't have done this, as it was. But I couldn't help it... I'll see you tomorrow"
Fleeing the room on shaky legs, Eren's arse was throbbing in time with his heart, the feeling left his whole body feeling good... and ready to be fucked again.

Making it back to his tower, Eren stumbled up to his bed, stripping as he went. Collapsing into the thick furs, he moaned as his sensitive dick rubbed against them. Grinding against the furs, he humped into them, as his fingers slipped gripped the furs tightly, letting out a small cry, he came again, passing out face down with a dopey smile on his face and his arse still in the air.

Sleeping fitfully, Eren woke to find himself now laying on his side, his stomach now so heavy and swollen, he could barely move. Groaning as he pushed himself up, he realised that beneath him was wet, and his stomach hurt like a bitch. As a wave of cramping pain rolled through, his right hand flew to clutch his stomach... fuck... fuck... it was too soon. Nearly a whole month too soon, yet he had no doubt he was in labour... fuck... He needed to make an appearance at breakfast, or Levi would worry and ask questions. He needed things to appear normal.

Stealing a quick shower, Eren could feel the eggs shifting inside of him, moving to be birthed. Breakfast was waiting and he couldn't cause a scene, so dressing in a thick fur coat and robes, he forced himself through the castle, while his contractions continued to grow worse. Reaching the dining room, Eren was the last to arrive, keeping his head low as he fought not to give birth right there, or to beg for Levi to fuck him so his magic took the pain away. Bundled up and wearing a thick scarf, his scent was practically mutes, while it seemed like Levi hadn't noticed anything wrong through their bond. Herbs were wonderful like that. Now. He just needed to make it through breakfast... Which he barely did, the egg stretching and teasing his opening like Levi's knot had, driving him to suppressed pleasure until he came into his robes. Thank fuck he was drugged up with herbs, and that Levi was distracted by Zeke. Just as quietly as he'd slipped in, he slipped out, one hand clutching his gravid stomach as his contractions continued to build, his body screaming at him for denying his instincts, while his omega yelled at him to find the first safe place to hide away and give birth.

It was as he shuffled up his tower stairs that he felt the need to push too hard to ignore. Barely making it up to his bedroom, he collapsed to his knees, crying out in pain as the first egg forced him open. Panting, his hands moved under his arse, pushing and straining as the egg teased his opening, not quite breaching him with its widest part. Pausing to gain his breath, he threw his head back and cried out as he bore down, the first egg of his clutch tearing as it was birthed from his body. Remaining kneeling, he slumped against the wall panting. No one had told him that was how labour would be, nor that the eggs would bring a feeling of euphoria once they passed. Knowing he wouldn't be able to move again if the next egg came soon, he gathered himself up and tried not to look at the bloodied fluid that the egg sat in. They also hadn't told him that his magic wouldn't heal him while in labour. Historia had made it all sound magical, maybe it was for someone not mostly human. With careful hands, he lifted his egg. The thing was long and green, and about as thick as his fist. Cradling it to his chest, he rose to his feet, staggering over to the bed where he placed it down carefully. This was his egg. His useless egg from his useless clutch. What kind of dragon couldn't even give birth to a proper clutch, let alone an omega giving birth to his alpha's children.

Crying into his pillow, Eren had birthed four eggs in the last five hours. He'd tried to go back down stairs, even making it out the tower and to the hall, but that was when the second egg had come, forcing him to birth the egg in the hall. Holding it just as carefully as the first, he'd made it back to his living area, where he'd passed out from the pain on the small sofa. When he'd come to, his body was still trying to birth his clutch, an egg firmly stuck in his birth canal as he tried to push... until finally, it slid free, only to be followed very shortly by the fourth... But now he couldn't do it, he was so fucking scared. It was all too soon. The pain of the contractions hadn't eased, but the fifth egg didn't seem to be ready to be birthed. He'd pushed and pushed, but each time he stopped, it would slide back up. Beneath him, his bed was covered in far too many fluids, the pain so bad he couldn't move, and the tearing from this egg had meant he'd lost a fair bit of blood. Sobbing harder, he grasped his stomach as his legs weakly "kicked" at the bed, his feet trying to find purchase as he tried to find the magical position to pass the egg.

That was how Levi found him, sobbing and writhing in pain. Swearing loudly, Levi had rushed to his side and rolled him onto his back, grabbing his hand as Eren tried to push, his brow soaked with fever
"Eren?! My love, talk to me!"
"It hurts... hurts so bad"
Gathering him up against him, Eren screamed as he tried to push again
"My love, Shhh..."
Wailing, his back arched off the bed
"I... I can't... it's stuck... it hurts..."
"Why didn't you tell me you were pregnant?"
"Because... they're not alive... they're all dead..."
Levi let out something like a pained whimper
"They're dead?"
Nodding against Levi, Eren buried his face in the crook of Levi's neck
"I can't... it won't come out..."
"Shhh. Let me help. Ok? I'm here. I'm here my sweet omega"

Getting up and kneeling with his hands against his bedhead, Levi had stripped down, his boyfriend kneeling behind him as Eren pushed with all his might. Rubbing his stomach, Levi's hands moved up to cup his small breasts, sending sparks of arousal through him
"Levi..."
"Shh... fuck..."
Shifting closer, Levi's erection rubbed at his arse, Eren's eyes widened
"No! It won't fit... it won't fit..."
"Let me worry about that"
Groping his breasts harder, Levi sank down to line himself, Eren screaming as his boyfriend pushed in
"Fuck... I feel them baby..."
The egg he'd tried so hard to birth was now forced up, his clutch moving as Levi began to fuck him
"Lee... Lee... please... please, I need to push, I need to push"
"You're so fucking sexy. God. This stomach of yours... going to fuck you while you birth our eggs"
"No! Please... I need to push"
Riding him hard, Eren's body didn't know what to do. His dick oozing precum from it angry red tip, while breasts began to weep as Levi mercilessly assaulted his nipples, letting his head hang, he panted through his contractions
"I can feel them moving, Eren. I feel them... feels so good inside you... god"
"Lee... Levi... please let me push"
"Just a little more baby, a little more"
Nodding, Levi pulled him down into his lap so he could move his hands rub to distended stomach,
"So fucking full... you have no idea how much I want to push you down and breed you with a real clutch"
Eren whined as he came. Coming from a hard slam that moved his egg to rub against his sweet spot, he didn't understand what was happing as Levi forced him back to kneeling
"Push for me"
Eren groaned, he was trying to push, but with Levi's dick there, it hurt so bad
"You... you're in me"
"I know, you're so open, my knot isn't even catching as I fill you, it's all just running down your thighs..."
Sliding his dick out, Eren felt the cum and slick flood down his thighs as he pushed weakly
"I can't... I can't do this"
"You can... you can do this"
Counting in his head as he tried to figure his contractions out with a hazy mind, he gave up and pushed. Bearing down, Eren screamed as the egg slowly began to move, Levi placed both hands on his stomach, pushing down firmly as Eren strained before slumping with a sob. Catching his breath, he barely had time to before he pushing again, the egg finally sliding from his body with a gush of fluid
"So good. You're doing so good"
He wanted to see his egg, but Levi had it now... his boyfriend knew...
"It hurts"
"I know. I know, shhh, come here"
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry... I love you, Levi..."
"I know. I know, here, I've got you"

Squatting was better, but the sixth and seventh eggs were large. He'd thought his clutch wouldn't be this big, or his eggs so well formed. He couldn't stop crying at the fact all of them were dead, or at the way that now Levi had gotten sex out of his system, he was busy holding him while he gave birth. He'd never wanted his alpha to see this... it was his dirty and shameful secret...

It took three days for the clutch to be birthed, Eren spending most of it unconscious towards the end, as in he'd slept like the dead after his ninth egg came, woke up twelve hours later, then birthed two more eggs, before passing out again, waking the following day to pass the last five eggs in quick procession. Levi stayed with him, a few times he felt his boyfriend jerking off, and suckling from his breasts, or they'd have sex between birthing eggs, but Eren was completely fucked. He'd never heard of a clutch being that large, ever. No doubt because his body was such a fucking failure. When he'd woken to find Levi had cleaned the bed and moved to the clutch into the centre so he'd been sleeping curled around it, his heart had broken. It wasn't fucking fair. He didn't know he was pregnant when he'd told Historia to take part of his soul. He'd taken his herbs, and wasn't supposed to fall pregnant the moment Levi came back into his life... even worse was that Levi wasn't there. The fire in his fireplace had grown quite low, indicating the man had been gone for some time. He'd probably realised how gross birthing a clutch was, not the erotic marvel that seemed to make his body completely irresistible to his alpha. Hurt and angered, Eren grabbed the blanket that his clutch lay on, bundled it up, before scrambling out of bed and hurling the lot into the hearth. The sudden impact nearly killed the fire, but with a wave of his hand, his eggs were engulfed, cracking and popping as they were reduced to nothingness. His grief smacked into him like a dragon, dropping him to the floor as howls of pain filled his room. His clutch was all gone, and he'd never have another one. Levi was gone. Mikasa and Armin were gone. Everyone was gone and he was alone again. Why did they always have to leave him behind? He tried to be what everyone needed. He tried so hard to be useful. Slowly, his howls turned to coughed sobs, he couldn't breathe and he couldn't calm. 16 eggs... a clutch to be proud of... and no doubt the reason his labour had hit ahead of time. Now they were all gone. Like they never existed.

*
Levi hadn't even noticed the change in Eren, not until he'd slipped from breakfast and disappeared completely. Thanks to Zeke, it wasn't until after dinner that he finally had time to go to his boyfriend, but he'd hardly expected the sight he'd seen. Eren was a weeping mess, hands clutching his clearly pregnant stomach, while a small clutch of eggs sat beside the teen. The sight shouldn't have been as erotic as it was, but Eren's sweet scent was calling for him, and his lover seemed to be in so much pain.

He'd intended to try and use Eren's magic to heal him like it did when they usually had sex, but the moment he'd pushed in and felt the eggs rolling against his dick, he'd lost his mind with the desire to fuck his mate senseless. It felt incredible, Eren completely wrecked from birth, while sucking in his erection so greedily. Fucking his mate, he came all too soon, his knot not even catching as he pulled out, his cum dribbling down Eren's thighs as his arse twitched and his opening bulged. Watching the egg slowly breach his love, Levi felt a surge of wonder and pride, leaving him greedy for more.

Each time he fucked Eren, his mate's stomach seemed to swell. Levi loving every moment of it, as the world outside the tower, ceased to exist. Spending his time either pleasuring his pregnant omega or helping him birth his clutch, Levi loved every second of it and felt kind of ripped off that his omega hadn't told him sooner. He loved the swell of Eren's stomach, the way he pushed just hard enough he could feel the eggs moving, he loved it just as much as when he felt the eggs being moved as slammed into Eren's thoroughly wrecked opening.

Slowly his lover's stomach grew less distended, and on the third day, Eren passed his eggs between actually begging him for sex. His omega so out of it, he passed out again as his stomach slowly flattened and his magic finally began to work to heal them both. Carrying Eren down to his bathroom, Levi prepared a bath for them both, tears rolling down Eren's cheeks, despite the ordeal now being over. Cradling him against him, Levi own tears came. Eren had said they were all dead eggs. His lover had laboured for three days, just to birth a clutch that would never see life. It confused him and confused him further given dragon pregnancies were supposed to last for two years, not two months. Nuzzling and peppering Eren's hair with kisses, Levi held him close. Eren must have been so scared, that had to why he'd asked to visit the port. He didn't want Levi to know he was losing whatever had grown inside of him.

When their bath was finished, Levi carried Eren back up to his bedroom, laying the teen down carefully on the fur rug that sat in front of the fireplace. He hadn't been sure about giving Eren so much space within the castle, especially in such an old tower that had definitely seen better days, but with magic and time, Eren had turned it into fine quarters. A space definitely befitting of a dragon, and a space probably the closest to home that Levi could really offer. He enjoyed the tower and leaving his worries at the door whenever he stole in. Making sure his omega was comfortable, he then went about stripping the bed and remaking it. Eren would need new furs, the furs he had were all older ones from various rooms in the castle that the maids insisted needed to be replaced. He'd wanted to buy his love new furs, to begin with, but Eren had insisted it was a waste not to make use of the ones set to be thrown out... and he was weak. Whenever Eren used his name, Levi couldn't help but feel the affection in it. He knew the cheeky shit was getting his way more often than not, but after being together so many times without Eren being able to call for him, he was addicted to hearing his name from Eren's pretty lips. Once the bed was made, Levi moved his boyfriend to the middle of it, before retrieving the clutch of green eggs. Most were about the size of a fist, with a smooth green shell, while the larger ones were a fist and a half, and had torn Eren the worst. 16 eggs made his clutch, leaving Levi to wonder if this had been a normal clutch, how many of them would have been children? Covering his love in a thick blanket, what Eren needed now was food and rest. He didn't want to leave his omega, but he needed to. Eren's kitchen may be fully equipped, but the last thing he felt like was cooking, it was probably the last thing Eren felt like doing either. Leaning down to kiss Eren's temple, his tears dripped onto his omega's face
"You did so good. I love you, and I'll be right back"

Reaching the door to the tower, Levi paused to compose himself. His clothes felt as if they were attempted to strangle him to death, while his alpha urged him to drop everything and return to Eren. Lifting the thick beam from the door, he sighed heavily as he opened it, finding Erwin sitting on the floor with a book in his hand, and a lantern beside him
"Erwin?"
Dropping the book, the alpha looked up to him
"Levi, how is he?"
Pushing himself up, Erwin caught him as his knees gave out, sobs wrecking through his body
"He was pregnant... and they're dead"
"Oh, Levi. I'm so sorry"
"It's not fair!"
Never had he cried against his friend like this, and never had Erwin held him close like this
"No. No, it's not. Is he ok? Should I check on him?"
Levi shook his head
"No. He's finally resting. He needs food and sleep, his magic didn't kick in until after the birth"
"I... how many..."
"16. You should have seen them, Erwin, he fought so hard to birth them"
"I know. He's a strong kid. Here, let's get some food organised? You'll also need to speak to Zeke. We told him your infection had flared up, but he's pretty angry over you not being around"
"Fuck him... I can't leave Eren like this"
"I'm not telling you to. Here"
Reaching past him, Erwin pulled the door to the tower closed
"We'll get him some food, and you some food. I'm betting you haven't eaten either"
"I couldn't. I had to be there for him"
"I can see that, we can move him down to your quarters later if that will help?"
Levi stiffened in Erwin's hold, pushing the man back
"You... you knew, didn't you?"
Opening his mouth, Levi cut him off
"You fucking knew! That's why you're being so nice! How long?! How long have you known?!"
Erwin sighed
"I saw when you fucking him in the supply closet. His robes were pushed up to expose his stomach"
"So... you knew he was pregnant?"
"Yes"
"And you didn't tell me?!"
"Would you have believed me if I had?! It was Eren's news to share with you!"
"I don't fucking believe this! You knew, and I didn't. I suppose you find this terribly funny"
"What? No. Levi. It really was between you and Eren. How was I supposed to know anything about it all? That you were the father, or that he was going to give birth so soon? Isn't that between you and him"
Covering his face with his hands, Levi slid them up then slid his fingers through his hair
"You're right. You're right. It was Eren's business... and how he went against his command to tell me, I have no idea. Right now, he needs rest and food, and I need to calm down"
"That's probably for the best. I really am sorry"

Chapter Text

Returning with a tray of food and tea for Eren, his omega was laying on the floor in front of the fireplace, coughing as wheezing as he clutched his chest. The heavy stink of distress and heartbreak tugged on Levi's heart. The clutch of eggs he'd helped birth was nowhere to be seen, and it didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened. Placing the tray down on the bedside table, Levi took a deep breath before moving to Eren's side, gathering him up against him and carrying him back to his bed. Sitting down with his omega in his lap, he rocked Eren as tears started to soak into the shirt he was wearing
"I've got you. I'm here"
"I thought you left me"
He would. The omegas emotions were clearly all over the place
"No, I was getting us some food. You need to eat"
"I'm not hungry"
"Eren, I know you've been through a lot, but you need your strength"
"W-why? They're gone..."
Crooning softly, Levi hugged Eren's trembling form tighter
"I know. I know, but we can have another clutch"
Eren shook his head with a distressed whimper, his breathing still too erratic for Levi's liking
"I know it hurts, but someday..."
"We... we can't! I can't give you children!"
Wailing, Eren tried to escape him. With one arm around his stomach, the teen didn't even make it out his lap
"Shhh... you need to calm down for me. You're confused and hurting"
"I can't! I can't have another clutch..."
"Eren"
"No! I... ugh... I'm a failure as a dragon. You should get rid of me"
Working himself up further, Eren started to choke as he tried to sob and cough at the same time. Normally the omega kept a kettle by the fireplace for when his lungs got bad, but Levi couldn't see it there
"Shhh. Shhh, calm down"
"How?! They're dead..."
At this rate, Eren was likely to pass out. Keeping his voice low, he hated it but it was necessary
"Eren, I command you to calm down and breathe"
The anger that flared in the omega's scent was like a smack to the face
"I'm sorry. Just please, you're going to make yourself sick"
"Fuck... you..."
Listening to Eren fighting to bring his breathing under control, the omega kept making small movements to escape him. He knew his love had been through a lot over the last few days, but it wasn't just Eren who'd been through it. And now, the omega was saying he couldn't have children? Bringing his breathing under control, Eren clutched at his chest
"Where's the kettle? I couldn't see it by the fireplace"
"K-kitchen"
"Stay here, I'll be back with it"

Eren's health had definitely taken a downward turn since they'd returned. His boyfriend insisted it was fine now that he could use the steam to ease his lungs, but Levi wasn't sure about it all. Returning with the full kettle, he hooked it into the hook in the fireplace. Small bits of fur had caught on the edge of the hearth, the only thing left of Eren destroying their clutch. In his absence, Eren had moved to sit hunched on the edge of his bed. Returning to him, Levi squatted down in front of him
"It's ok. The kettles over the fire. Just take deep breaths for me"
"Fuck you"
"Eren"
"You said... no commands"
"I'm sorry. I didn't like it, and I don't like betraying you, but you're having so much trouble breathing. I... I couldn't cope if something was to happen to you"
"You... should have let me die"
Levi flinched at Eren's words, forcing himself not to growl. Eren was hurting. He didn't mean it
"You know I can't. I love you"
"Why?"
"Why, what?"
"Why do you love me? What good have I ever brought you?"
"Eren..."
"No! I'm worthless. I couldn't give you a clutch, and I can never carry again"
"I don't care"
Eren screeched
"You don't care! You don't care that I was in labour?! You don't care that my dream of giving you children is gone!"
"I don't care because I love you"
"Stop it!"
"I love you"
"Stop it! Just stop being kind to me! I don't deserve it"
Dissolving into coughs, Eren would have fallen to the floor if Levi hadn't grabbed him. Moving him up to sit against the bedhead, his lover slumped sideways, the tears hitting his pillow turning to small diamonds as he did. Stroking Eren's hair, the omega drew in on himself. His stomach and breasts having already shrunk back to normal. When the whistle on the kettle started to shrill, Levi retrieved the kettle and the bowl, placing the bowl so it was supported by the edge of Eren's pillow and a small gathering of blankets. Covering his lover's face, and most of the bowl with a towel, he poured the boiling water from the kettle in until the bowl was 3/4 full, before covering the side so steam couldn't escape. Normally Eren would add herbs, but Levi didn't know which ones, and with all the herbs around the place, it was probably better he didn't.

Leaving the bowl in place until it started to cool, he removed it and the towel to the floor. Eren's breathing sounded better, though the look in his eyes was far from alright
"Eren..."
"I wish I was dead"
"No, you don't..."
"I can't have another clutch"
"You keep saying that, but I don't understand"
"That clutch was proof I can't carry another, ever"
"How do you know?"
"Because I do... it was supposed to come before my heat... but it was so big... and none of them lived"
"I mean... are you sure?"
Eren nodded, burying his face into his pillow as his hand gripped the fabric
"Yes... I'm infertile. I'm sorry!"
Levi really wasn't sure he understood, and could only chalk it down to a dragon thing, but he was also sure Eren had been fertile when he'd left Eldia
"I hate it, Levi. I hate it..."
"I know, brat"
"I didn't think it'd be like this... that it could hurt this bad"
"It was hard labour, but I'm here"
"I'm sorry..."
"No. Hey, no. Here, let me hold you"
Sliding up next to Eren, Levi pulled him into his arms as positioned Eren's face against his neck
"It hurts, but you're ok. You're ok, I've got you"

Falling asleep with Eren in his arms, Levi woke in a panic when his omega wasn't still there. Rushing downstairs, he found the teen sitting on his sofa, nursing a cold mug of tea while staring blankly at the dying fire in the hearth. Outside the tower, the sun had started to rise, which meant he needed to deal with Prince Pin-dick today, but he really didn't want to leave Eren alone. Walking over to the sofa, Levi lowered himself down as he wrapped his arm around his omega. Letting himself be pulled tight, Eren nuzzled into his arm
"Hey"
"Hey"
"How long have you been awake?"
"Just now. I woke up and you weren't there"
"I needed some time to think"
"I understand what. Do you want to talk about it?"
"No... I'm not ready"
"Ok. Can I tell you what I think?"
Eren nodded. Lifting the mug from Eren's hold, he placed it on the floor and wrapped his other arm around him
"I think you're brave and you're strong. I think you were trying to keep me from finding out about the clutch, but it hurts that you didn't tell me"
"I... I couldn't. I didn't want to hurt you or make me hate me"
Kissing Eren's soft hair, he could hate Eren
"I couldn't hate you. How long have you known?"
"About a fortnight after we came home... I noticed my stomach felt harder and was a little bigger... and my chest hurt. And you probably noticed I was horny as hell"
"I... I thought I told you to tell me honestly about your health"
"I didn't want to worry you, and you were worried about Rod hitting me... you said I could have this secret. You weren't supposed to see me like that... giving birth to that failure"
Shit. His words came back to haunt him... Eren must have been worried about it before he even knew he was carrying. It had to have been a dragon thing... was it his first clutch? Or had he had to pass other clutches since his dragon side had manifested
"Hey. I saw how hard you worked to give birth, and I am so fucking proud of you. I know I didn't exactly hold back, but you're beautiful Eren. You're my omega"
"I feel like the biggest fuck up of an omega ever. I can't love you in public. I can't give you children, or a house, or a... fucking family. I have all these things around me, but none of them can change this"
"I don't know. The tower is pretty homey. You've done an excellent job with it"
"Because everyone in the castle looks at me and thinks I'm a freak..."
Levi growled. No one was supposed to be disrespecting
"Who?"
"The mages don't like me because my magic is different. Petra doesn't like me because she's in love with you. The guards all look at me like I'm a freak because I have scales. I can't even go shopping in the market anymore, and my friends don't even live in the castle anymore, and I can't go visit them. Stupid Zeke is here... and right now, all I want to do is cling to you and not let go, but you need to go be a prince while I sit here and feel sorry for being such a sack of shit"
Eren always wore a smile on his face. He was always the first to help out, or offer his time. He was the first to try and find a diplomatic solution, and he... he was what Levi looked forward to most about his day
"I've met plenty of sacks of shit, and you're not one of them. Why don't we head down and visit your friends when Zeke leaves? We'll be travelling with the royal guards, and you'll be able to spend a few days with Mikasa and Armin"
Eren dug his chin into Levi's chest as he looked up at him with wide eyes
"Really? You'll let me go?"
"I'm coming with you. But I didn't want you to come home so you wound up little more than a political prisoner. I know you love Eldia, and I know you want to help its people. I want you to be a little more selfish"
"I already have my own tower, how much more selfish can I be"
Ymir had a bedroom of pure gold, and in his eyes, Eren was ten times better than the woman, so easily deserved much nicer things
"That you cleaned up from scratch. I know everything in here came from old rooms in the castle"
"There was no point getting anything new when it just needed to be fixed"
"My point is that you're not spoilt. Now, I do have to meet with Zeke today. Did you eat?"
"I tried but my body is still kind of eh"
"If you don't mind keeping me company, why don't you join us?"
"My scales?"
"I love them. He can't make a move against you while I'm with you"
"But he could try pull some other shit"
"Then we'll kill him and dump off a cliff somewhere. Tragic hunting accident"
Eren snorted softly
"Thanks, but I... I don't think I'll be good company... I'll probably ended up saying something wrong or stupid, or break down into tears again"
"Then have dinner with us? I want to make sure you at least eat one good meal"
"O-ok... I'm sorry..."
Dissolving back into soft sobs, Levi held Eren close until his boyfriend finally nodded and calmed enough to kick him out. This was going to be a dark stain on his lover's heart for some time to come.

*
Eren had penned a letter to Armin in his time apart from Levi, and that was all he'd accomplished. He'd wanted to write to Historia, but feared it would be intercepted before it made it to her hands. His clutch had come too soon, and now he feared his heat would also hit ahead of time. Spending most of his time in his bed, his dreams cruelly reminded him of the clutch he'd never have and increasing his longing for Levi... When he did wake, it was impossible to fall back to sleep. As the hours of fitfully tossing in bed passed, he grew more and more sure that Levi would have had enough time to process the incident and no longer want him. His heart was breaking all over again as he thought of Levi sitting down in the dining hall, where Petra would be on his arm. The woman would be laughing at his jokes, while stealing small touches, trying to hold on to an alpha who didn't want her. Erwin would be sitting on the other side, trying to eat with his just fork. Zeke would be there, with his gaggle of loud-mouthed Marley pig soldiers... Probably still pissed that Levi had been preoccupied with him... he'd probably even figured out their relationship, though it was more likely he'd known all along.

Stubbornly missing dinner, Eren moved from his bed and up to the top floor of his tower. He could still remember how amazed he'd been that glass was made from sand, and now he had a sky light through which he could watch the night sky. All of this was hitting him hard, and self-loathing was beginning to reach new heights beneath the heavens. Children and marriage weren't a guarantee for any relationship, no matter how much in love they were. He knew Levi need to stop being stubborn and making waves. Zeke had come out to hear why Levi wouldn't marry, and Levi had run off to watch his lover to give birth. It wasn't how things were supposed to be. He'd sworn to be stronger. If he wasn't stronger, he couldn't remain by Levi's side... if his boyfriend hadn't lied to him.

"Eren?! Hello?! Where are you?!"
Jumping at the sound of Hanji's voice, Eren's stupidly heightened senses were still taking a while to return, he hadn't even heard Hanji enter, or make her way up to his bedroom
"Up here!"
"You better be dressed!"
He was, but he didn't see the point in replying. When Hanji finally reached the top floor of his tower, the woman was carrying a tray piled up with food
"Oh my gosh... I don't know how you survive so many stairs"
"You get used to it"
He welcomed the stairs on most days. They helped keep him fit and active
"I don't think I want to. Anyway, Levi said you'd had some trouble with your lungs over the last few days, so couldn't join us to celebrate... whatever it was we're supposed to be celebrating"
"Prince Zeke's visit?"
"That's the one"
Carrying the tray over, Hanji sat it down on the floor in front of him, before sitting on the other side
"You know, I really should get you to work your magic on my lab. There is never enough space in there"
"That's because you've got way too much crap"
"Um. No. I'm not a dragon like you, and I can't make all this magicky things happen"
"The first three levels were already set up from when they were officers quarters, they were just hidden under a pile of crap"
Picking up a bowl of what seemed to be stew and rice, Eren really wasn't interested in it
"Sooooo... what's been going on?"
"What do you mean?"
Spearing a piece of carrot, he shoved the vegetable into his mouth to at least look like he was making an effort
"You've been "sick", and Levi's been "sick"... And now he's talking about cancelling his engagement"
"Whatever you're thinking, that's not it"
"But Eren, Erwin and Levi are being all secretive. He told me he lost his arm thanks to a sword accident, but won't tell me what that means. You've come back all dragony, but won't let do any more experiments, and Levi holed up here for the last three days. Are you pregnant? Is that why the engagement is over? Are we going to have a fake royal baby?"
Choking on his carrot, Eren shook his head as he coughed. The steam had helped, but he probably needed to boil the kettle again...
"Eren?"
Shaking his head, Eren reached for the cup of warm tea on the tray, downing it in three large gulps, before rasping
"No baby"
"Awww. You two would make the cutest children. Do you have children or eggs? You're like a human, and Levi's human... so... wait, never mind. But if it's not a baby, then I don't get it"
Picking up the knife from tray, Hanji shoved right into his heart. Or, that's what her words felt like. His voice dipping slightly as he tried to recover
"This is something that you need to talk to them about"
Hanji either missed the change of tone and scent, or she ignored it in favour of pouting
"Whenever I talk to them, they're always mad"
"They're not always mad, you're just obsessed with your experiments"
"Because we have an actual dragon like right here! They even took Armin away! He got to live in Draecia! With dragons!"
Really? There were dragons in Draecia?! Since when? Hanji was giving him a headache, and the stew wasn't sitting well in his stomach
"Armin wanted to move to the port with Mikasa, he's helping monitor shipments and make sure no one is getting ripped off. What happened to Moblit?"
"He's fine. I mean, he's there, but he says I have to behave because Zeke is here. I'm just so bored! I'm not allowed to do any big experiments until Zeke's gone, in case I blow the lab up. It only happened once! I want something to dooo"
"You're not the only one"
Hanji's face lit up, Eren shaking his head again. He really didn't want Hanji messing with his magic, not when there was a chance it would affect Levi, or cause Obsydin to rear his ugly head
"No experiments. They've said I can go visit Mikasa and Armin, when Zeke returns to Marley"
Throwing her hands up, Hanji flopped back onto her back, before sitting back up
"I wish I could! But apparently I cause too much of a disturbance"
"I'm pretty sure they'd rather you here to run things. I heard things didn't go so smoothly with Petra stepping in"
"Don't even go there. She's an amazing soldier, but when it comes to running the castle... she's merciless. I don't see why he can't just marry you. He's your master, and it's obvious in how you two look at each other"
He liked Hanji and all, but fuck... couldn't Levi have sent someone else up? Even Erwin was would have been preferred
"Because he's the prince and I'm a dragon?"
"So? Erwin's mother was a private tutor"
"Wait? What? I thought she'd be a Lady or a Baroness?"
"Oh, she was a lady of fine breeding. That's how they first met. Erwin's father tried to impress her, and some how ended up shooting him in the foot with an arrow, in front of one of her students"
"I didn't know Lady's could be tutors"
"She said "money didn't make the person""
"What went wrong with her son then?"
Hanji snickered
"Oh you know, he barely knew his parents, and then they're murdered. He couldn't take on being the prince without placing a target on his back... which is when Levi showed up. And running a castle isn't easy. I know you've been helping, but there's still so much to do to make sure everything runs smoothly. Every single day there's some other drama"
"Well it's either I'm here, or there. People are still uncomfortable with my face"
Reaching out, Hanji wriggled her fingers
"The maybe you should let me have some of those scales"
Dropping the bowl, Eren's hands shook slightly as he tried to clean the mess up
"Eren, I was only joking"
"Sorry Hanji, I'm still not feeling very well"
"I..."
His scales had helped seal the sword... If he hadn't been infected, he could have carried his clutch... He wanted his clutch... placing the bowl back on the tray, Eren picked at the food split across his pants so he didn't have to look Hanji in the eyes, given they were filling with tears again
"Can you please leave. I'll take care of this..."
"Eren, I didn't mean to upset you. Do you want me to take a look at your lungs? That's kind of why I'm here"
"No... It's just the cold air. I'll be fine, Hanji. I just need to get some sleep, my omega's being stupid from being sick"
"Eren, you know you can talk to me about anything, don't you?"
Not this... he couldn't talk to her about this... He couldn't really talk to Levi about it either. He wanted the man to be less caring, and less understanding... not accepting and loving him all the same
"I'm sorry, Hanji"
He wanted Armin... Someone who wasn't an alpha or an omega. Someone who was close and wouldn't ask too many questions. If he could have flown up to see Historia, that would have been even better. She'd know what to do and say, but he wasn't allowed to visit her...

When Hanji walked away, Eren felt like the biggest dick in the world. He couldn't do this. Not right now... Levi had said they'd go to visit Armin, and Mikasa, together, but he just couldn't stay right here. Taking the tray down to his kitchen area, he left it near the other one that needed to be returned to kitchens. Nicollo would probably be mad over the waste of food, but he was too sad to eat right now. The tower reminded him of his clutch. The sofa where he'd birthed his eggs, arse in the air and clutching the top of it while he pushed as hard as he could. His bed... The stairs near his room... The bathroom...

Stealing a horse wasn't his smartest plan ever, nor was taking off without mentioning anything to anyone. Unlike Draecia, he couldn't just fly off, or head down to the lake when he needed to think. A dragon was a little too obvious back home in Eldia. He'd still been debating the plan, even after he'd saddled the small mare, and after he'd walked her through the gates of the castle keep. It was a solid two days to reach the south port, and he hadn't even thought to pack. No one had said he was smart.

*
By some miracle, he reached the port. The royal insignia on the saddle blanket and branding on the saddles side pretty much gave him a free pass through each gate. He'd never travelled so far on his own before, yet he found no joy in it. His stomach was little more than a twisted knot. Levi was going to be so mad, and so disappointed in him. Each time he thought of his alpha, he only felt sorrier for himself... when the man found him, he wasn't going to be happy. Reaching the barracks by the port, he didn't know how to go about summoning Armin. This was probably the stupidest thing he'd ever done, but he couldn't go back now. Dismounting the horse, his legs were like jelly as he led her over to the soldier closest to the barrack gate
"Halt. Only authorised personal are allowed access here"
"I... found this horse. I just wanted to return it"
Keeping his hood up and his head low, he hoped the soldier had never been to the castle before
"You found this horse?"
"The royal insignia is on her saddle blanket, you'll take care of her, right?"
"I. Yes. What is your name, sir?"
"I... shouldn't be here"

Running from the barracks, the solider yelled out to him. Trying to run after riding hard was an absolutely idiotic idea, he barely made it a few streets before half collapsing in an alley. Stupid. He was so fucking stupid. He shouldn't have run. Levi lost his clutch too... Levi had held him through the birth and now he'd run... Fucking stupid... slamming one fist into the wall, his magic healed him straight away. He was sick of it. He didn't want to heal. He didn't even want to be... He couldn't even get back to Levi, and he didn't know where to find Armin... Throwing a "fit", he "bashed" the shit out of the alley wall like a crazy person, his temper tantrum not ending until he started coughing. He probably should find Mikasa or Armin, before he made everything worse... which was how he wound up sitting on the wall of the docks, staring out of over the ocean. Unlike Draecia, the docks stank of the hundreds of fish being dragged in by the trawlers. Crate after crate sat along the long wood jetties, workers yelling at each other, while seagulls squawked and swooped. Sitting with his chin on his knees, he didn't realise how much attention he was drawing by wearing his thick fur cloak, on such a hot day. Nor did he realised more than one person had complained about his presence
"Sir?"
He knew the touch as soon as Mikasa's hand met his shoulder. Pulling his hood down, he looked up at his sister
"Eren!"
"M-Mikasa..."
His bottom lip quivered. He'd sworn he wouldn't cry in front of her
"Eren, what's wrong?"
"I fucked up..."
"Here, come here"
That's exactly what Levi would say, before pulling him in for a hug. For an alpha, the man was incredibly soft and affectionate. Helping him stand, Eren's jelly legs shook
"Eren, what happened? Are you hurt? How did you get here?"
"Stole a horse... I left her at the barracks... Mikasa, I need Armin"
"You stole a horse? What were you thinking?"
"I kind of wasn't... everything's a mess"
Taking a step forward, Eren's legs gave out, Mikasa lifting him and causing his face to burn with shame
"This is why you should never leave my side. You always get yourself into trouble"
"T-thanks. Your pride in me is really touching"
He half a mind to force his way out of her hold and storm off, but he was too tired for such a stunt.

Mikasa and Armin were sharing a house just outside the barracks with the rest of her squad, standing him up so she could open the door. Hunched over the dining table, Armin had his nose his book, clearing her throat, the beta looked up
"Eren! Thank god! I've been so worried!"
"Armin..."
Pushing his chair back with a scrape, Armin rushed over to him as Eren stumbled forward to catch him
"Levi wrote to say you might turn up here, well, Prince Erwin did"
"Why didn't I hear about this?"
Nuzzling into Armin's neck, Eren clung to his friend, ignoring Mikasa in the background
"Levi's message arrived last night. You were working at the docks. Eren are you ok? He wrote that you were upset and missing"
"I fucked everything up"
"I'll take him to my room. Mikasa, can you let the castle know he's arrived safely?"
"But..."
"Mika, please. You're on duty and I won't let anything happen to him"
"Alright. But I want a full explanation when I return"
Eren felt Armin nod before his friend started guiding him through the small house. He could smell the scent of three other alphas. Led into Armin's room, his friend sat him down on his bed. Everything was just too much, the last brick holding the dam together breaking as Armin wrapped his arms around him
"Eren, you're scaring me. What is all this about?"
"I... can't have children"

*
Levi was going to kill him. He was going to find Eren, and he was going to kill him for making him worry. Hanji had come to seek him out shortly after he and Zeke had retired to the sitting room, with Levi, to inform him that Eren wasn't ok. He'd fucking known he wasn't, and that was exactly why he'd sent her loud mouth up to keep an eye on him. Despite having spent 5 days in the castle, Zeke was yet to mention the engagement, and Levi honestly felt like the man had only come to laugh at the state of affairs in Eldia. There were only two days left before they rode out to the port in the south, so why the fuck did Eren have to steal a horse and run off?! When he'd found the teen's tower devoid of him, his mind had leapt to the worse possible scenario, if Erwin hadn't been there, he probably would have done something incredibly stupid. It was Erwin who'd suggested that Eren had taken off to see Mikasa and Armin, while Levi felt as if he'd been gut-punched. He'd just learned his young lover could never have children, after watching him give birth. Eren wasn't the only one hurting over this, and yet, he hadn't let him in. He'd taken off and decided that leaving without a word of goodbye was the best course. If Eren needed time or space, they could organise something. Maybe Eren could have transformed and headed down to the port with Erwin... or Moblit... He needed Hanji here to keep the castle running. Now he had a wayward omega and no way to make sure he was ok.

It was two painful days since Eren disappeared, before he finally received word via Armin that Eren had turned up there. A second letter arriving a few hours later stating that Eren was malnourished, and exhausted, "in no fit condition to return". The alpha hating the jealousy that boiled to the surface, and his rage spilling over at breakfast. Erwin's "at least we know where he is and that he's ok", was muffled by how far the man's head was up his arse. Eren wasn't ok. He was young and had been through something traumatic, he was supposed to be here in the castle where Levi could take care of him. Sitting next to Zeke, his mood had been foul as the man started drinking himself stupid during breakfast. Zeke had drunk more than his fair share the previous night as they met with the royal advisors as Zeke had insisted on it. When Petra accidentally spilt her juice across the table and his lap, he snapped, rising to his feet and kicking the table hard enough to send the fine china spilling to the floor. Bemused, Zeke merely wiped at the corner of his lips with his napkin
"Is something wrong, Prince Erwin?"
He was going to kill him. If he hadn't had to tend to him, he could have been right by his boyfriend, where Eren needed him to be
"Is something wrong?! Are you fucking serious?! You came to speak of my engagement to Petra, yet no such meeting has occurred. You laugh as your men drink themselves stupid, and insult our soldiers, and you forced this woman upon me to keep the peace. So, yes. A lot is fucking wrong"
Zeke's smile grew
"Your engagement has not been dissolved"
"I am not marrying her! This marriage will bring nothing good for the kingdom. And I'm especially not because you want me to. If I marry, I will marry someone I truly love. And the same should apply to Petra. We are not puppets for you to play with"
"That is interesting, as I have heard rumours to the effect that you have been lying to Marley"
"About what?!"
"Not only are you keeping a dragon here, you are keeping a pregnant dragon here"
Levi stumbled back from the table. No one was supposed to know Eren was pregnant, he was sleeping with Eren and he hadn't even noticed
"You can't even lie to cover yourself. Dragon's are property of Draecia, yet you've armed yourself with one. That is a clear violation of international law"
"He's a child! And he is not pregnant!"
Not any more, at any rate
"Then where is he? I have not seen him within the castle the past few days"
"Because he's not here. He is aiding soldiers to the south, before that, he was ill"
"Oh, so you're happy to not only violate the treaty, but to allow a dragon to wander free. Then, you think to lecture me? Remember your place"
Zeke might be an alpha, his scent may have turned to anger, but Levi was also an alpha and he'd just lost his clutch and boyfriend. This pompous arsehole had broken the last of his self composure, and there was no going back
"My place?! I am the Prince of Eldia. He is a guest at my castle, as he was born in Eldia, making him an Eldian!"
"He was an Eldian, and now he is Draecian. But I am a fair man. He will give us his clutch, or his child, and that will be the end of it. Or, if he isn't pregnant, he will carry a child to be gifted to us. If he complies, your engagement will be firmly dissolved"
Like fuck that would ever happen, even if the clutch hadn't been dead
"He's not giving you anything!"
"I'm afraid it doesn't work that way, as I'm sure you're aware, you only enjoy this freedom because we gift it upon you"
"You gift us nothing! You tax us to breaking point, while stripping this land of value, and demand an outrageous and unsupportable array of resources!"
"He will give us his clutch, or he will be removed from Eldia! That is final"
Snarling, Levi bared his teeth. He felt as if he'd been smacked over the head. Snarling again, he grabbed the edge of the table so hard that his finger's began to crack the wood
"There is no clutch. He is not pregnant"
"He was seen. That intimate moment you two shared together in the storage closest, was seen by one of my soldiers. I heard his belly was quite swollen and prominent. Are you calling them a liar?"
They'd both been high off each other's pheromones that the whole royal court could have watched and Levi wouldn't have noticed
"He isn't pregnant"
"Do not lie to me!"
"He isn't pregnant as he is infertile! He cannot have children!"
Zeke sighed heavily
"This is a shame. Until I have examined himself, we will need to change our plan. We had hoped to have him wed to Marley master, but as he is no use, we will instead..."
"You won't touch him!"
Glaring coldly at Zeke, the man raised his hands
"Whoa..."
"You will not touch him. Your nasty lies, and attempt to release Obsydin back into the world with the sword failed. Yes. We know. How do you think the world would react to knowing Marley wanted to reawaken the terror from 300 years ago. Obsydin, who scorched the earth, and dried the seas. How is that for a treaty violation?! We know. Dissolve the engagement and leave, or we shall have no choice but to publish the truth"
"Like the world would believe such a weak country"
"It doesn't matter if they do not believe. Marley is disliked by most countries due to your barbaric ways. All it will take will be planting that seed of doubt, for them all to stop trade and export with you. No one said rumours needed to be true, for people to accept them as truth. I don't care if I damn Eldia in the process, we are strong and we shall rebuild. This engagement is over. You will not threaten us with war, and we will not expose your actions"
Zeke rose to his feet, his men looked ready to lop Levi's head off
"You are a thoroughly unpleasant man"
"From you, that is a compliment I shall cherish forever. Now. The engagement"
"The dragon can stay. He's useless without his ability to birth children, and the woman is free to return to work. If Eldia ever disobeys the Marley monarchy like this again, you will be crushed and absolved"
"Do you really wish to provoke us? I wonder if perhaps we should visit Marley? Inform your family of your desire to bring Obsydin back. We have let you play your game for far too long, because people believed it was the only way to bring peace"
"Your one dragon is hardly a match for our weaponry. Remember that"
"If a dragon is hardly a match for your weaponry, then you hardly needed to attempt to revive one. Now breakfast is finished, I do believe it is time to get you off our island"

Levi knew Erwin was waiting to scold him, so he gave the man no chance. Sending him to ride beside the carriage driver of Zeke's carriage, he had Petra's come for extra security, and so she couldn't take her anger out with ridiculous orders. It was an even longer journey in carriage than it was on horseback. Apparently, you couldn't just go from point A to point B. There was the publicity side of things, such as waving as they travelled the cobbled streets of each city, their route not decided upon until Erwin had taken his seat by the driver. It was the safest way. If no one knew the route, an assassination attempt could not be made.

Despite being scolded in front of his soldiers, and making his dislike clear, Zeke remained in high spirits as they travelled to the port. The man insisting on stopping to hunt, or to spend nights in taverns along the way where he'd flash his gold around, then spend his night with no end of companions. It occurred to Levi, being the royal prince, his sex life must be rather limited. He lived in the royal palace with his mother, father? and grandparents, probably forced to his knee before the rulers, his attitude would never hold sway in court. He probably couldn't even have a wank in private. Maybe his Pin-dick was too small to have any real fun with, and his companions just for show? Whatever it was, with Zeke making such a scene, Erwin still hadn't had time to lecture him. He'd lost his head completely over the thought of having Eren taken from him, or the teen being hurt. He wasn't supposed to be that way. His job was to keep a cold mask over his emotions and do what was best for the country... God... Eren was going to be pissed.

Reaching the Port Barracks, Levi was happy to dump Zeke off there. He played his part, complimenting troops, and all the shit. He needed to bring Eren back so that Zeke could see that Eren indeed wasn't pregnant. Erwin seemed to know his way to the quarters being occupied by Armin, and hence Eren, so after a quick changed into something more covert than royal garb, the pair set out. Leaving the barracks, Erwin waited until they were a short distance away before sighing dramatically
"Something wrong?"
"Zeke"
"I've been waiting for this lecture"
"You could have started a war"
"And if Zeke had let loose Obsydin, then what? At least it is now public knowledge"
"As is your relationship"
"That's what you wanted to talk about all along. It's honestly impressive you lasted this long"
"With Zeke..."
"There have been moments Zeke hasn't been around"
"Honestly, I was surprised that you lost your cool like that. But I guess, with what happened, it is understandable. You went through a major trauma"
"Then Eren fucking ran away. I thought my heart would stop, imagining everything bad that could have happened to him. He hated horses, and he couldn't ride. If he'd been hurt... I never would have forgiven myself..."
"He's ok"
"So Armin says. Why couldn't he have come to me?! I was there! I was with him, and yet... Am I really so untrustworthy? Is sex only as far as his affections go?"
"No. Eren genuinely cares for you. Perhaps it was the tower? I have never become a parent, but to be in the space where you lost your children..."
"He could... have come to my quarters"
"He wouldn't do that with Zeke in the castle. He cares more for your reputation than you do... but I guess as for your public lover, we will need to make sure he is treated with respect"
"He's going to hate the attention"
"Then maybe you should have held your tongue. Or denied any knowledge of Eren being pregnant. Though, with how hard you two were going for it, I wouldn't be surprised if someone had seen. You're not exactly quiet"
"It's not my fault he's a horny little tease"
"In this case, I would point out that omegas tend to be horny while pregnant, but, you two have always been loud"
The edges of Levi's lips turned upwards as he elbowed Erwin lightly in the side
"Is someone jealous?"
"No. Just try to keep it under control when you see Eren"
"I'm not about to jump him"
"I wouldn't put it past you"
Levi's smile dropped. He had no idea if Eren would even see him, or want to talk to him...
"I'm sure he's anxious to see you"
"I don't know. He left without a word, and now we have to bring him back to stand in front of Zeke to prove he isn't carrying"
"I still don't know how Zeke can tell if Eren is carrying or not"
"Dragon pregnancies last for two years. For Eren's stomach to be visible, he needs to be fair far along"
He didn't know how Eren formed a sudden clutch so large and numerous, but it wasn't like he could go back in time and ask. He could only put it down to being "a dragon thing"
"Oh... but Eren may have given birth?"
"His body is back to normal, there are no physical signs he was pregnant. I'm assuming even a dragon needs to suckle"
Erwin nodded. He didn't know what the man thought, but he had been "understanding" through it all. Perhaps whatever was between Erwin, and Eren, had passed? Or perhaps he'd given up caring?
"No signs at all?"
"Do you think Hanji would have let us have a moment of peace if there had been?"
Looking around, Levi realised he had no idea where he was. Vendors were up and down nearly every street
"Do you know where we are?"
"Of course. They are using military sanctioned housing"
"All these streets look the same"
"You really are hopeless above ground, aren't you?"
It'd been a long time since he'd been "Levi of the underground". If this was Mitras or any of the inner 8 towns, he'd be perfectly fine. The port, however, was always growing and expanding
"Not hopeless, just too busy doing your job for you"
"And deciding the next royal prince, or is it, princess?"
"I don't know. My words will only hold until Zeke comes up with his next idea. He may see fit to go after Eren for his scales, or he may go after Eren for offspring. He has no evidence Eren is infertile"
"If Eren says he is, then he is. That is all there is to it. We don't know anything about dragon physiology"
Levi wanted the conversation to end. He still couldn't believe it. They'd talked about Eren falling pregnant. Eren had drugged himself up with herbs... he didn't think Eren would lie about something this large
"This is true. We can only bring him before Zeke and see how things play out. It's a good thing the clutch was destroyed, as Eren's tower is hardly secure"
"You think Zeke would send someone to spy upon him? Don't bother answering, of course, he would. Eren's door was barred during his labour, no one could have witnessed that"
"Then there is no evidence..."
"I'm sorry, I can't do this. Not until I see him"
Erwin nodded, moving towards an alley running off the vendor street, Levi following silently as his nerves steadily grew worse.

The house the squad was occupying, was just another house in the street. Square and squat, it blended in so perfectly that no one would think royal soldiers were inside. The front yard area was over grown with weeds, giving it a desolate feel. Knocking, they door was opened by a worried looking Armin, beyond him, Eren was sitting at the kitchen table
"Prince Erwin, Levi. Please come in"
Looking up at his name, Eren's green eyes widened, the omega rushing from his seat and to throw himself into Levi's arms, breaking down into sobs
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I was stupid and scared"
Wrapping his arms around Eren, his left arm slipped around Eren's waist as his right hand moved to the back of Eren's head. His boyfriend's strong scent indicated he'd been just as nervous and anxious about their reunion as he had been
"I know"
"I'm so sorry!"
"Shhh, I'm here now. Here, we need to move from the doorway"
Pulling back, Eren wiped at his face as he sniffled
"Being in the tower... it was too much, and Hanji was talking about children. I ran without thinking. I fucked up. I fucked up so badly. I can't..."
Eren wasn't shutting up, so Levi made him with a solid kiss to the teen's lips. Armin let out a gasp, which Levi ignored as he used Eren's distraction to move further into the house. Breaking the kiss, he moved to rest his forehead against Eren's shoulder
"You scared the fuck out of me. When I found you were gone, all I could think was the worst had happened"
Letting his head drop to Levi's shoulder, Eren shook as he nuzzled into him, Levi quick to move to nuzzle his omega. He didn't care if they looked stupid, he'd missed Eren so much
"I'm sorry... I... I couldn't be there. It... I was going crazy. I was sure you must hate me"
"I did want to strangle the ever living shit out of you, but I don't. I don't. You're my omega. So brave and strong"
"It hurt so much... so much. I wanted to be with you, but I was so scared... I'm sorry"
"Hey, shhh. I've got you. I'm here, shhh"
Erwin tapped his shoulder, Levi growling in warning. Couldn't he see how upset Eren was?
"Perhaps we should sit? Young Armin here looks as if he's about to faint"
"I... Eren simply said he'd found he couldn't conceive, not that he was... with the prince"
Letting out a small curse, Eren pushed him away
"Fuck... I'm sorry. I didn't think. Armin won't tell. You can trust him. Please don't be mad. I was just so relieved to see you. I was so sure you'd be so mad... that you wouldn't come"
Erwin cleared his throat, Levi taking Eren's hands in his
"It's... It's been a long few days for both of us. Sitting may be best"

The sofa was lumpy and smelt of wet damp. Eren sat stiffly beside him, as he cradled his face in hands. If Eren wasn't going to talk about his mental condition, Levi would just have to go Armin, who was still clearly shocked
"Armin, I want to thank you for looking after Eren. How has he been?"
"I... your majesty..."
Levi tried his best to smile without it looking like things had gotten stuck mid-shit. Armin looked as if he was about to faint
"You may speak openly and honestly. Eren received a bad scare before leaving the castle, and I wish to know it affected him"
"Yes, sir. He's... not been good sir. He's been experiencing trouble sleeping, jumping at loud noises, vomiting up the little that he'll actually eat, and unsteady on his feet. He was especially worried when he heard you would be visiting. He worked himself up so much this morning, I was expecting him to be in serious trouble when you arrived"
"He's not in trouble"
"Sir... can I ask?"
"Can you ask what?"
"You and Eren? I mean... what?"
Levi snorted, reaching out, he wrapped an arm around Eren to draw him close. Nuzzling his hair, Eren sniffled against his chest
"I am his master and his dragon rider. I have been his master since his vow ceremony, and now he is my public lover"
Eren shot up, looking confused as he did, narrowly missing Levi's nose in the process
"What?! What did you do?!"
Levi opened his mouth, but Erwin cut in
"He and Prince Zeke had an argument. The prince wanted you wed to a Marley master, and he wanted your children. He wouldn't believe that you are not pregnant, and Prince Erwin ended up yelling at him in front of everyone at breakfast. The engagement between the prince and Petra has been dissolved, in return for silence over Zeke's plans"
"You idiot! Why would you pick a fight with him?!"
Levi winced, while Erwin chuckled. His boyfriend sounding like a scolding parent
"Don't give me that! Seriously, Eldia could be in serious danger because of this! I doubt Zeke will merely let this lie! What were you thinking?! Were you thinking?! I'm nothing. You can't make me your public lover. The kingdom expects an heir... I'm too useless to be able to even do that"
Levi exploded
"I was thinking about you, alright! You were hurt and scared as it was. Zeke wanted to sell you off and breed you! He wanted your clutch, so he'd have dragons of his own! I couldn't sit by and listen to him debase you. I've done things your way. I held my tongue with the engagement, but I will not stands by as he treats my boyfriend like property, to be fucked by whatever nasty pigs he commands! Especially after... after what you went through..."
Ending his yelling rather meekly, Eren dissolved back into small sobs as he shook his head
"You idiot. You stupid idiot. I'm not worth it"
"You are to me"
"I can't give you children"
"Then we'll talk about it. You're still very young, with time to grow. But it has to be you by my side. I can't do this without you"
"You got by for years without me. All I've caused is trouble and disaster"
"I got by. I stumbled my way through, but this is too important. You're too important to be treated like a whore"
Gathering Eren back against him, his omega cried against his shoulder, his voice a choked whisper
"You're so stupid. What would you have done if Zeke hadn't listened? You could have been killed. War could have broken out... He hates us all as it is... I can't believe he'll simply let things lie"
"Neither can we, but for now, he is leaving"
"I hate you so much..."
"You don't"
"No... M-master, I'm scared. I've been so empty and lonely"
"You don't need to be scared"
"I can't get them out of my head... h-how perfect they were"
Levi hadn't been able to either. He couldn't understand why the world would be so cruel to Eren. Rocking him, he rubbed his omega's back
"Shhhh. I know. I saw. You did so well. So strong"
"I'm sorry"
"I know. I know. God, brat. I feel as if I aged a decade without you"
"It was a perfect clutch... I want them back. I want my clutch back"
"It was... I'm sorry"
Eren's words were mumbled wetly against Levi's neck, and he was certain Armin had no idea what had happened to drive Eren to flee here. Nuzzling Eren's neck, he crooned softly
"You were so strong. So beautiful. I'm so sorry this happened, my love"
"I want them back"
"Shhh, I know. I love you"

Eren cried himself out in Levi's arms, Levi's own tears silent as he held his lover. He too wished to see the clutch again, even for a moment. He'd never smelt the hue of pain in Eren's scent each time he said the word "clutch", but it made his toes curl in his boots, as he tried to stay anchored to the floor in the flood of pain it brought. It wasn't much better through their bond. He wasn't sure if it was his pain that made his chest feel as if it was wrapped in thorns, or Eren's. Whatever it was, it was a horrible feeling. When Eren fell silent in his arms, Levi tilted his face back to stare at his omega. Deep bags hung under Eren's eyes, while his complexion was uncharacteristically pale. Small sparkles clung to Eren's eyelashes and cheeks, tiny shards of diamond. It seemed as if Eren's magic hadn't helped him through his mental anguish.

Piping up from his seat on the small coffee table, Armin's eyes were on Eren
"Is he asleep?"
"It would seem that way"
"Would you like to make use of my room? I... um... Eren has been sleeping in my bed with me. Not like that... or anything, he just... got upset when he was alone"
Levi's jealousy rose again, but Armin was Eren's best friend, and Eren wouldn't seek sexual comfort from him. He firmly believed that. It was probably just the need to cling as he'd told Levi. In his pain, he probably wanted nothing more than to be held and told "everything would be ok". Erwin shook his head
"Thank you, Armin. But we need to return to the barracks. Prince Zeke has it in his head that Eren is heavily pregnant, and wouldn't believe otherwise"
Armin scrunched his brow. The kid had always been smart, and now Levi wondered if he was putting together two and two
"Why would he think that?"
"There was a rumour at the castle, you know what it's like"
"But... he's not. He can't have kids"
"Perhaps it was because he was wearing robes during Zeke's visits. He's been having issues with his lungs of late, and it was suggested that robes wouldn't be as constricting as a shirt and undershirt"
That was so Erwin. His tongue smooth as the lies slid off it with practiced ease
"He has been coughing a fair bit since arriving... that combined with not eating or sleeping properly, has served to wear him out both physically and mentally. Most of the time he is awake, he insists on helping with shipping manifests or anything that will take his mind off whatever happened within the castle. It has been rather hard to convince Mikasa to go about her daily duties, especially after her fight with Eren"
Levi growled, causing Eren to whimper in his sleep. Luckily, he did not wake
"They fought?"
"He turned up saying he'd messed up badly, and promised to talk about it. Yet, he couldn't bring himself to tell Mikasa he was infertile. Mikasa had his best interests in mind, and I understand why he felt as if he couldn't tell her, but it wasn't an easy situation. Eren ended up yelling at her that "she wouldn't understand", and they've barely spoken since"
"Did you tell her?"
"No. This is Eren's... condition?, to share with whom he trusts"
"It's a little late for that. Prince Erwin made the announcement, at the same time that he announced he wouldn't be marrying Petra, and that Eren was his..."
Armin glared at him
"You may be his master, but you have no right to share facts of such a personal nature"
"Zeke wanted either a clutch or a child from Eren, he still wants me to present him to prove he isn't with child. If I'd simply told him Eren wasn't pregnant, I'm sure he would found a less than pleasant way to make that happen"
Armin's face fell
"He's valuable to all the wrong people"
"That he is. Thank you, Armin. For taking care of him. I should have been there for him, but my duties prevented me"
"Sir, can I ask what really happened? He was quite hysterical the first night"
"I'm sorry, I cannot discuss this, other than to say he grew very ill and had quite the scare at the same time. With the burden he places upon his shoulders, it is often easy to overlook how young he is"
"He'll be 19 soon, come March that is"
Levi didn't know how to keep his surprise from leaking into his voice. Eren didn't discuss birthdays with him
"Is that so?"
"Yes. March 30. Is that not something you should know?"
"He hadn't told me. I asked while he was in Draecia, but his reply was devoid of an answer. He often wrote of how he was proud to be there with you. He was saying the other day, that he kept turning to you while researching in his tower, only to find you were not there"
Armin's face glowed at the praise. Erwin's tongue may be smooth, but that didn't mean Levi's couldn't be as smooth when he felt inclination
"He has space to research in his tower? From what I remember, the towers were small, and kind of neglected since the treaty went through"
"He used magic to expand the space. He is, after all, a dragon and a guest within the castle. He's also stubborn and decided to live in slightly separated quarters to keep the peace within the castle walls. There have been a few issues it seems, with his scales, and other castle rumours"
"Ah. I can imagine. Dragon scales are valuable, and there he is with dozens of fine scales on his face and neck"
Nuzzling at Levi's shoulder, Eren sighed softly, Levi kissing Eren's hair. He loved Eren's scales. He loved all of Eren, and if people wanted to hate him, they could, provided they never raised a finger against him
"Yes, we're talking about you. Just rest for now, brat. I expect you shall be made to speak to Prince Zeke... and we will probably be having some kind of celebration at the barracks. Armin, would you care to join us?"
"Me?"
"You're Eren's best friend, free wine and fine food is the only measure of thanks I can physically offer"
"I don't need any thanks, but it might be interesting..."
"Excellent. Levi will lead the way, while I carry Eren"
"You're going to carry him?"
Armin sounded confused
"It's not that far"
"No. I just..."
The teen grew flustered, before mumbling
"I expected you'd be in a carriage, or something"
Levi snorted
"I do not enjoy riding around in carriages, and I fear it would draw rather a lot of attention"
"There is that... I should find something to wear... Eren needs something to wear. He probably needs a bath too, Jean got quite mad when he found there was someone else using the hot water up"
Jean, whoever he was, could go jump. Eren should be allowed as many baths or showers as he likes. Three days of writhing and scream as he gave birth pretty much gave him a free pass for everything. He'd never forget looking into Eren's pained eyes as brushed his fringe back from his fevered brow, as Eren panted through his contractions and held his hand for dear life. He was the most precious creature in existence. Levi could happily watch over Eren every second of every day, if the teen allowed it. Eren would most probably scold him for neglecting his work, or attempt to "bribe" him into behaving. Eren made him feel young and stupidly happy
"There is no need. We'll provide you with clothing suitable for tonight. Levi will see to it"
Eren had mentioned something about Armin having a crush on Erwin. Maybe an extended period of time together would make the teen happy? It would certainly keep them both out of the way while he kept watch over Eren
"Ah... ok... let me get Eren's cloak. It's got a hood so you'll be able to hide his face"
"That's probably for the best"

Chapter Text

No one was about to argue with the crown prince as Levi carried Eren through the gates of the barracks. Letting Erwin organise everything, they were shown through to their quarters for the duration of their stay. The room wasn't up to Levi's standards in terms of cleanliness, with the smell of clove cigarettes soaked into the fabrics of the room. Laying Eren down, Levi unclipped his fur coat, about to move away when Eren's hand grabbed his arm weakly. Turning back, he sank down onto the bed, reaching up to cup his boyfriend's cheek
"Hey, you. I thought you were sleeping"
"Mmm, was. Where are we?"
"At the barracks. Armin is with Erwin"
"That's good... I'm..."
"Don't say you're sorry. You have nothing to be sorry for"
"I ran away"
"Really? I hadn't noticed"
"I'm sorry for making you worry"
"I understand. It... it hurt you left, but when I talked with Erwin, he made me understand how hard it must have been for you to be there"
"I wanted to... ask Historia, but I didn't dare..."
Gently sliding his thumb across the tear mark on Eren's cheek, the omega nuzzled into the touch
"It hurt so much. M-my stupid magic wouldn't work... I thought I was going to die"
"There was so much blood, and your body so weak. I feared I'd lose you, but you fought so hard. I was so proud. I am so proud of you"
Eren grew teary again, turning his face away
"I'm sick of feeling like this... I'm sick of crying, but I can't stop thinking about them"
"They've been on my mind too. I had no idea what to do, except be there with you"
"That's all I need... but I understand if you no longer hold affection for me. You deserve children and someone who can give you them"
"Children aren't everything. I don't love you because you are supposed to be able to give birth. I love you because you're always giving your best, and trying your hardest for Eldia. You care more the people of the kingdom than yourself. Besides, you're now the public lover of the prince"
Eren groaned at him
"I still can't believe you did that. We agreed to keep this in the shadows, that we could never be more than what we were"
"Between Petra and Zeke, and your disappearance, I lost my head. Normally I am much more composed"
"I know... It's... it's been hard not being with you. I needed some time to recover, and I needed to think, but all I could think was that you were angry and disgusted with me"
"I thought you were beautiful as you fought to birth your clutch. I know it caused you pain, but your swollen stomach and small breasts, watching the eggs slide from you, dripping with my come... you... you're amazing"
Honestly, Levi had found the whole birth erotic. While he'd been scared for his lover, Eren's vulnerable state did all kinds of things to him that he didn't think possible. Rolling away, Eren pushed his face into the pillow
"I'll... I'll never be like that again"
Shit. He didn't think his reassuring words through
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean... I'm shit at this. What I'm trying to say is that I didn't find it disgusting"
"I feel so empty. I knew they were dead. I thought if I could just find somewhere to give birth, you'd never find out... I knew they were dead, Levi. I knew it... why can't I get over this?! Why am I so fucking weak?!"

Climbing over Eren, Levi spooned up behind him. Kissing his boyfriend's shoulder, he slid his right hand down Eren's arm until he found the omega's hand, interlacing their fingers
"You're not weak. You've just been through something heartbreaking. I know you don't cry unless something is truly wrong. These tears don't make me mad or make me care any less. If you'll remember, you weren't the only one to cry..."
"This is all my fault. I shouldn't... I shouldn't be like this, over what happened"
"Don't talk like that. Sometimes life isn't fair. Here, get some rest. Zeke is off doing his own thing until dinner, then you'll be on my arm"
"But... my face"
"Is beautiful"
"The scales make people uncomfortable"
"Fuck them. I dropped the ball when I didn't realise you were pregnant... you were right there... and I was so busy with work, I didn't know"
"No... no, I didn't want you to see... I didn't want to get your hopes up..."
Eren's breath hitched before he began to cough. He hated Eren's coughing fits, his lover seemed so pained each time, yet he couldn't do anything about it
"Shit, brat..."
"I don't feel very good"
"You're exhausted and you need to rest"
Eren's coughing continued into gagging, releasing his lover, Eren scrambled to sit on the edge of the bed, drooling and heaving until he finally threw up a tiny puddle of sick. Crawling to sit behind Eren, he rubbed his back gently
"Better?"
"Mmm... my stomach's felt off tender since..."
"Your magic hasn't healed it?"
"No... it's not like it's sore, just tender"
"Is that why you're not eating?"
"Kind of... the first few days... I was still... not in a good headspace"
"I'd say you're still not. If I have food brought to the room, will you eat?"
Eren sighed as he slumped back against him, both hands moving to rest on his stomach
"Maybe... being with you... it makes it better"
Levi's heart gave a funny little jump with happiness at Eren's words. There wasn't much to be happy about right now, but his lover wanted to be with him
"Something soft?"
"Porridge... but not too much"
"And some tea"
Eren nodded, rubbing his forehead against Levi's cheek
"You and your tea"
"You're the same. Just because it doesn't have your fancy herbs..."
"Ginger is good for an upset stomach... but just the thought of it makes me feel sick"
"Do you want to take a shower? Or a bath? These are the barrack leader's quarters, so there's both a private shower and bath"
"A shower... I don't think I'll stay awake if I have a bath"
"You can take as long as you like. No one expects to see us until tonight. Erwin's organising clothes for you and Armin"
"Levi, no offence, but I don't feel like sex"
"I didn't mean to make it sound like that was what I had in mind. I just wanted you to rest. Zeke wants to speak with you. There was a rumour that you're heavily pregnant, and now he wants to see if those rumours were true"
"I don't know if you told me or not... my head's really fuzzy"
"Try not to think too much about it. I'll take care of everything"
"I know you will. I'm going to take that shower now"

Eren managed to fall asleep standing in the shower, Levi growing concerned when the food he'd asked to be to brought up, arrived before Eren exited the bathroom. Slumped against the wall, Eren was snoring while the water ran down his back and dripped off his arse. Other than a slight widening of his hips, Levi couldn't see any signs of him having been pregnant. No stretch marks. No cute little breasts with engorged nipples. Shaking his head, Levi turned the water off, Eren mumbling something unintelligible as he just about tripped over his feet, turning towards him. Grabbing the top towel set out on the bathroom vanity, he bundled Eren up, before carrying him out to the bed, the teen a clingy mess as nuzzled into Levi's neck. He couldn't deny it. Clingy Eren was absolutely adorable... until the towel grew soaked and Eren grew cold. Drying him down, he had nothing for his boyfriend to wear, so wrapped him back up in his cloak, then settled them both down on the bed, the tray of food placed to sit beside them. Trying his luck at feeding Eren one handed, he managed to shove the spoon into Eren's nose, Eren laughing softly as he stretched against him
"You don't need to feed me"
"You're pretty much asleep, but you need to eat"
"Just let me handle it... wasn't I in the shower?"
"You fell asleep standing up. I didn't have clothes for you yet, so..."
"No. It's ok... you should have woken me properly"
"Maybe I wanted to try feeding you?"
He didn't know what he was supposed to do anymore. What the boundaries were, or what Eren was going to think once he wasn't off in la-la land
"My nose says otherwise"
Yawning, Eren wiped porridge against Levi's cheek as he tried to nuzzle him. The omega then letting out an unimpressed huff
"Fine feed yourself then, but you're sleeping once you've eaten"
Reaching for a napkin off the tray, by the time he'd turned back to Eren, the teen's head was lolled back as he let out a loud snore. God. What was he going to do with him?

*
Eren had been so sure Levi would no longer love him. He'd been an absolute mess as he pined for his alpha, and his lost clutch, leaving Armin trying to comfort him over something he knew nothing about. Convinced he'd lost both, he gave up completely, until Erwin sent word to Armin that Levi wished to see Eren. Well, Levi sent word to Armin that the Prince wished to see him. Now that Armin knew he was dating the prince, he didn't feel quite so shit about turning up on his door. The main issue now was how everyone else was going to take it, and by that, he meant Mikasa. The girl had wanted to be there for him, but she could conceive. She could still have children. She hadn't thrown away her chance to save her boyfriend's life, only for her boyfriend to be the sweetest and most understanding man in existence. Levi didn't blame him, and Eren couldn't bear to tell him that it had all been for him. Levi would be crushed, and if he wasn't angry at him now... he would be once he learned the real truth. It may have been cowardly, but as long as it was still a secret, he could remain by Levi's side... apparently publicly now. He couldn't believe his boyfriend had been so stupid, even if he was grateful he wasn't going to be handed to Marley where he'd be treated like dirt.

Armin and Erwin arrived about half an hour before they were due down at dinner. Despite having access to castle funds, and probably more clothes than Armin could imagine, he'd chosen simple black pants with a white shirt... like a mini-version of Erwin. Even their hair was styled similarly. Armin had it so bad for Erwin, that Eren didn't know he'd realised he'd mirrored the alpha, or if everything had been Erwin's suggestion. Whatever it was, it was sweet in its own way, leading him to find his first true smile in days.

Levi showered while Eren dressed, Armin and Erwin waiting outside for them. The omega had been given both a set of robes, and an outfit of black with silver accents. Remembering what Levi had said about Zeke, Eren chose the black outfit. The shirt clinging to his lean lines, leaving not much to the imagination, and clearly showing he wasn't pregnant. The pants were a little bit tight, his hips had seemed to grow, as had his arse. Nothing a little bit of magic didn't fix, but it wasn't a great feeling, given he was already feeling somewhat self-conscious about his body. After all, stupid Zeke wanted to look at him. Only Levi got to see him like that, and he wasn't in the mood for sex... which wasn't exactly normal when he was alone with Levi.

When Levi came out of the shower, his boyfriend whistled at him. Eren frowning back at his alpha, too nervous for flirty. All he could think about was Zeke wanting to marry him off to some stranger. Would it have even mattered who? Or would it have been anyone eager to fuck a slut of an omega... and if he did see Zeke, would the man expect him to strip? Would he believe he wasn't pregnant, and that there wasn't a clutch? How did he prove to a man like Zeke that he wasn't actually fertile? He only like Levi touching him, because no one else could ever compare
"Don't be like that. You look perfect"
"I don't feel perfect. Zeke's going to be watching me..."
Eren's hands went to his stomach pushing against the flat surface. Not even the slightest swell remained... just a chronic emptiness. His heat hadn't even come, and it'd been days... it wasn't like he could ask Armin about these things
"And if he does anything, I'll..."
"You can't do anything. You've probably wounded his pride so badly he's already plotting his next evil scheme against the kingdom!"
Shit. He'd snapped. He didn't mean to snap. He just felt so incredibly sick about what would come next. Dropping the towel, Levi stepped out of it, Eren blushing as he turned away. His new line of thought on Levi's body... It should be illegal to be that sexy. Levi's smooth white skin was marred with small scars from the war. His perfectly sculpted abs, and his long thick dick half hard, standing out from his neatly trimmed pubes... How was supposed to not be aroused by that?
"Something wrong?"
"Wha? No... you're supposed to be getting dressed"
Walking up behind him, Levi wrapped his arms around him
"Really? I can smell you. Your fear. You have nothing to be afraid of"
"I don't know, I'm being stabbed in the arse right now"
"I can't help myself, when I'm with the man I love, I can't help but to want to hold him"
"You can hold me all you like, but I'm not... ok with sex right now"
"I'm not asking for sex. I know you're nervous, so I wanted to hold you. To make you feel better... I don't know what I'm doing, it's usually you holding me"
Turning in Levi's arms, Eren sighed. Neither of them really knew what to do in a relationship. If it wasn't Levi calming him down, it was Eren reminding the alpha he couldn't go to war with all the idiots in the world
"I'm sorry. I'm nervous and snapping because of it. You being so sexy isn't helping either... can you please get dressed? I'm either going to faint with nerves or throw up again if we don't leave soon"
"Here, come here"
Led with Levi walked backwards, his boyfriend turned him at the last moment and pushed him down to sit. Kneeling down, Levi rubbed both wrists against his neck, scenting him
"You're mine. No one is going to touch you. Just stay by my side, and if you do get separated from me, go to Erwin or to Armin"
"I feel really pathetic right now"
"No. It's fine. Even I hate these dinner things. Everything has to be tasted first. All the staff need to be checked, as does everything coming in. We have to make sure that Prince Pin-dick is served Marley cuisine because Eldian food isn't good enough for him. Then we have to listen to his insults. You know, a fun filled night for all"
"And don't forget all their scents. It's a tad overwhelming sometimes. You can not smell when alphas are horny, or interested"
"If they touch you, I'll kill them"
"Don't talk about death so easily"
"Anyone who forces themselves upon another..."
Levi shook his head, pulling away as he moved to busy himself with dressing
"Levi?"
"It's fine. I won't let them hurt you"

Erwin and Armin were still waiting in the hall, Levi taking his hand to guide Eren through the halls. He didn't know how Levi could possibly be so calm, they were about to make their first public appearance together... as a couple. A dragon and a cursed prince. It was some kind of bad joke. As they walked, the noise of the crowd grew louder, Eren stumbling pathetically
"It's fine"
"It's not fine. This is a terrible idea"
He wished he had a sliver of Levi's confidence. Piping up from behind them, he could practically feel Armin nodding behind them as they walked
"Eren, you're dating the crown prince. No one is going to say anything"
"Armin, I have a face full of scales, and people think I'm pregnant. I think everyone's going to be saying something. Not to mention, I've been dating the prince, and Mikasa doesn't know"
Armin let out a less than comforting "oh", while Levi squeezed his hand. If Eren didn't know better, he'd say Levi was slightly scared of Mikasa. God. This wasn't going to be fun at all.

For some reason, the guard at the door felt the need to announce Levi's arrival as "Prince Erwin, and his consort, Eren". Well. It wasn't like he had a chance of entering unnoticed... but any chance that he might have prayed for disappeared. There was clapping, which he had no idea how to respond to, then everyone went back to what they were doing, which seemed to be talking about him. Led by Levi to the high dining table, his chair was pulled out by an attendant, seperate to the attendant attending to Levi. He hated eating in front of everyone, nor did he feel as if he was supposed to be sitting at the same table as Zeke and Levi... and Petra. On Levi's "side" of the table, it was Levi, Eren, Erwin, Armin, then Petra... something Petra looked quite sour over. Eren severely regretted having noticed Petra. Not only was Petra the ex-fiancée, she was now being forced to acknowledge Levi had taken him as his public lover. Scanning the room, he regretted his actions further when his eyes met Mikasa's. Hurt didn't come close to the emotions on her face, neither did confused. Placing his hand on his, Levi squeezed as he leaned in
"It'll all be ok. We can talk to her after dinner"
If he made it through dinner...

It was supposedly easy. You used the knife to cut your food, and your fork to guide the food from your plate to your mouth on a civilised way. Eren fucking choked. Staring down at the two objects in his hands, it was like he'd forgotten how to use them. Even though the rest of the room was making enough noise to hide any small slip ups, he kept catching pieces of conversation, which led to his plate accident being flooded with gravy, and peas being spilt to the floor. The topic of the night was "how the prince had taken a monster for a lover", and "how did they know that Eren hadn't bewitched the prince?". No one in the room trusted him. At the castle, the magic dulled the voices, but there was no such magic here. Further down the table, on Marley's side, a few of the soldiers were discussing how sex with a dragon would even work, and if Eren had more scales beneath his clothes. The worst was of all the voices, was the one he couldn't hear. Mikasa's squad had asked her about him, but when she'd told them she knew nothing, they'd all continued to pester her only to receive no reply. Yeah. Everything was just fucking fine.

Having failed the food part of dinner, it became the drinking part of dinner. Marley wine was made available to everyone, while Zeke bragged about the vineyards of Marley. Most of the grapes actually came from Eldia these days. Shipped to Marley to be turned to wine, then sold to Eldia at an inflated price. Silently excusing himself, Eren made for Mikasa, only for Mikasa to turn an make a beeline for the rooms double doors. Following her, her pain lingered in the air as she strode from the room, disappearing before he could reach the doorway.

Following his nose, he found Mikasa sitting on the ledge of a small bubbling fountain. In her hands was the scarf Eren had gifted her as children
"Mikasa?"
"Go away, Eren"
"Mikasa, please"
"I do not wish to speak to you"
It didn't stop him, walking over, he stopped a meter or so short of the female alpha
"Then listen to me. I didn't mean to hurt you"
"How long?"
So she did want to speak? Why did women have to be so confusing?
"He is my master. He has been since I took my vows"
"That was over a year ago"
"I know"
"Then why didn't you tell me?! You knew how I felt"
"I... did..."
"Was it a joke to you? Did you care at all?"
"Of course I did"
"Then why?! Why wouldn't you tell me? I'm your sister!"
"I couldn't..."
Mikasa growled, pulling the scarf so taunt Eren thought it tear
"Couldn't or wouldn't?!"
"I couldn't... He's the prince"
"And I'm your family! You lied to me! You lied to Armin! Did... did it make you feel better to lie to us?"
"What? No. And I couldn't. He's the Prince of Eldia. It's not like I expected this to become public"
"Did he threaten you? Did he force you into this? Force himself upon you?! I'll kill him!"
"Mikasa... it's not like that"
"Have you used protection?! Don't tell me you were stupid enough to believe him... Don't tell me this has become public because you're pregnant?!"
"I'm not pregnant"
"Then why?!"
Ouch. That hurt... was it really impossible that they could care for each other
"Why?!"
"Why, what?"
"Why him?! His engagement has barely dissolved, and you're in his bed!"
"Mikasa, you are being completely unreasonable!"
"Answer the question. Did you not care he was engaged?! Did you care at all about his fiancée as you spread your legs and let him fuck you"
Eren's hands dropped to his sides. Clenching them into fists, he shook with anger, letting his tongue get the better of him as he replied cooly
"I was fucking him before he was engaged. I was fucking him before we knew I was a dragon, and he never wanted to be engaged. And besides, it doesn't matter how many times he fucks me, I can't have children. I'm infertile Mikasa"
Mikasa's sent changed from anger to sorrow
"Eren... I didn't know"
"Of course you didn't. How was I supposed to tell you that I have heats, but can never have children? As if you could understand. You're an alpha, you don't have to deal with people want to fuck and breed you, simply because you're an omega"
"I..."
"No. I'm done Mikasa. I came out here because I wanted to make things right between us. You're my sister, and that won't change. Even while I was at the sanctuary, I used to think of you and Armin, the trouble we used to get into. I used to think we could have those days again. That we could get them back, but all I can do is keep moving forward. I never asked for Erwin's marriage to be dissolved. I urged him to wed to secure peace, but he made this choice for himself"
"He's taking advantage of you!"
"How?! How, Mikasa? Because I sleep with him? Because he looks after me, and makes sure I'm ok?! You've done nothing but take your anger out on me and make me feel like a slut, when the only person I've slept with is the man I chose to love"
"You're a dragon. Your magic and your scales..."
"He loves my scales. I was nervous to tell him I'd been invited to Draecia, but he knew how badly I wanted to go, so he let me. He made sure my time there wouldn't go against the vow to the kingdom I made"
"You're..."
"He makes me happy"
"If you're so happy, why are you here? Why did you spend the week having screaming nightmares, and clinging to Armin? If you're happy, why weren't you with him"
"Because I can't have children and I have a heat approaching. How would you feel if your partner was an omega who'd found they couldn't have children. That heats and ruts would never lead to a clutch or a child? How would your partner feel? I fell apart. I fell apart and I fucking ran from him. And you know what, he came here to make sure I was ok"

"Don't flatter yourself. He's here to see Prince Zeke off. Prince Zeke has requested your presence"
Fucking Petra. What could be worse than a woman scorned? Two women scorned. Two pissed off alphas... With his heartbeat racing in his eardrums, Eren shook his head quickly
"I am not having this argument with either of you. The prince has chosen me. And I am sorry you were both hurt. Petra, I believe you genuinely did love him. Mikasa, I am sorry I couldn't love you, for more than the most amazing sister I could ask for"
Leaving the area, Petra glared as he walked past. He hadn't wanted anyone to be hurt, and it was Petra's fault for clinging to a dream Levi had said would never happen. Trying to keep it together, he knew his scent was betraying him. It would have hurt far less if Mikasa had struck him, rather than seemed so disappointed in his choices. She wasn't his mother and she needed to stop acting as if she was. She needed to find her own paththink like he'd found his... though he'd ended up on his path by pure accident.

Returning to the dining hall, the party was still underway. Zeke and Levi were engaged in what seemed to be a tense conversation without Erwin there to "keep the peace", Eren sighing to himself as he walked around the outside of the room, and stepped up onto the slightly raised level where the high table sat. Continuing along, he moved to stand just behind and between both alphas chairs
"I was informed you wished to speak to me?"
Zeke's smile didn't reach his eyes as he looked him up and down
"I've heard a rumour that you were pregnant"
"I'm sorry you've been misinformed, as you can see, I am not"
"I can't see"
Eren blinked a dozen times in confusion. What? He knew Zeke wasn't blind...
"What?"
"I cannot see. Take your shirt off"
Levi growled... This was probably Zeke's revenge for Levi shaming him, by shaming Eren in return
"How can I confirm he is indeed not carrying if I cannot see his stomach?"
"It's plain to everyone. The rumour in question stated that Eren was heavily pregnant, as you can see, he is not"
"I don't believe it, and I won't that easily. Remove your shirt"
Eren jumped and flinched as Levi slammed his hand down on the table
"He's not fucking pregnant!"
"Then prove it! Or is there some other reason why he should not remove his shirt? I have warned you, I will not take kindly to you lying to Marley over this. Either he takes his shirt off, or he admits he's carrying"
Eren sincerely wished he could magically turn Zeke to stone. The anger of the two men had drawn the attention of most of the room. Swallowing hard, his fingers shook as his hands moved to start unbuttoning his shirt
"Eren..."
Levi's voice was a warning growl, but if the two alphas continued to bicker, things could get a whole lot worse
"It's fine, your majesty. I'm not pregnant, and if this proves it, it's fine"

Zeke looked unbearable smug as Eren stripped off his shirt. The dining room seeming so much colder as goosebumps erupted across his bare skin. Rising from his seat, Zeke placed a hand on his stomach, Eren nearly vomiting at the touch. Pulling a crystal pendant from his pocket with his other hand, the man held it near his stomach
"What are you doing?! Get your hands off of him!"
Levi looked enraged, Zeke merely sighing as he looked to the pendant. Eren had no idea what the pendant meant, only that it glowed ever so faintly, before turning black
"What the fuck is that?"
"A little stone to confirm the truth. It seems he is indeed not pregnant"
No fucking shit... Levi growled softly
"Then you're done with this ridiculous line of enquiry!?"
"It would seem the case"
The way Zeke met his gaze, Eren felt as if that was very much not the "case". It was like he was seeing right through him, and like he knew about the clutch
"Put your shirt back on, you're causing a scene"
Pulling his hand away, Eren took half a step back as he sucked down a breath. Trying to do his buttons up, he gave a small whimper as his hand slipped. Having reappeared to Levi's side when Zeke had started making a scene, Erwin turned him from everyone trying eyes, pulling him half a step forward to make sure his chest was hidden from everyone watching by the high back of the wooden chair Levi was sitting in
"Eren?"
Like a knife and fork, he knew how stupid buttons worked
"Sorry. I can't seem to stop shaking"
"Buttons have become my mortal enemy with one arm. Take a deep breath and try again"
Breathing didn't help when it came to Zeke's scent. Eren wanting to scrub himself raw to remove it... getting most of the buttons into the right hole, he breathed a long sigh of relief
"See. Not so bad"
Eren looked to Levi's chair, at least he hadn't been dressed by his lover. He didn't think he could survive the embarrassment of that
"Go ahead. He was worried about you when you walked out"
"I don't know if I can... everyone is talking about us. I can hear them"
"Everyone is always going to find something to talk about. All you can do is hold your head high"
"I couldn't even eat dinner. I don't know the first thing about doing this. And of this... all I know how to do is smile and try fumble my way through everything"
"That's what we all do. Now that he's made all of this public, you'll be expected to attend more royal events"
Nooooo. He hated royal events. Something always seemed to fucking happen. He was a jinx... not to mention his scales
"Events? You guys want to let me out in public, like this?"
Erwin snorted
"You're fine. The first even his royal highness went to, he had to be restrained and removed from the room"
"What did he do?"

"I threatened to kill an aristocrat for being an idiot. If you're quite done whispering, you may rejoin the conversation"
That was so Levi. Absolutely no patience for anyone he considered stupid... yet for some stupid reason, he had all the patience in the world when it came to him
"Sorry, sir... Levi, are you joining us?"
"No, I'm afraid I let Armin with Mikasa"
Ugh...
"You should probably get back then... Armin stands no chance against a raging Mikasa"
"She was yelling at Petra when a soldier came to fetch me"
"Oh..."
At least they hadn't ganged up against him, and Levi... that was something, right?
"Yeah"
"Eren?"
Erwin shook his head lightly before leaving him, Eren taking the few small steps to his chair feeling awkward. He was ready to sit when Levi pulled him down into his lap
"Sir?!"
Squeaking in surprised, Levi wrapped his arm around him, while his other arm slipped under his legs, forcing Eren to sit in his lap with his legs over the side of the chair, and his side alone Levi's chest. He could smell the jealousy on his boyfriend... why did he have to get stuck between two alphas and their pissing match?! Eren was pretty sure, no prince had ever dragged their lover into their lap like Levi was doing now, but his warm hold was soothing his jumbled thoughts. Clicking his fingers, Zeke summoned his attendant to refill their goblets with wine, Eren's moved to sit beside Levi's as his face warmed. It felt so wrong to be waited on.

Over the next few hours, Eren worked his way through enough wine to feel a pleasant numbness, that stripped away his filter. Levi's scent had grown much more calmer once Zeke began doing the rounds of the room, leaving them to sit at the high table alone. With his head resting against his lover's shoulder, Eren let out a soft yawn, exhausted despite his nap, and slightly horny thanks to the alcohol dulling his racing mind. This public consort thing was mentally draining, and no doubt it would grow worse as word of his relationship with the prince spread. He just wanted to be normal. He wanted to stay in the shadows and support both Levi and Eldia the best he could, and now he'd been thrust into the limelight. Nuzzling Levi's neck, he yawned again, while Levi moved to kiss his forehead
"Sleepy?"
"A little"
"Let's go to bed. Zeke's busy being Zeke, and I want to make sure he didn't do anything to you"
"He didn't... nothing more than embarrass me"
"You have nothing to be embarrassed over. Everyone here wishes they were as beautiful as you are"
"I don't feel beautiful"
"You are. Hold on to me"
Looping his arms around Levi's neck, his boyfriend lifted him
"I can walk"
"Or, I can make it clear to everyone here that you are mine"
"I think it's been obvious since you announced it openly"
"Let this old man have his moment"
"You're hardly old"
"I'm glad you think so"
"I do... I'm sorry for my behaviour, I was incredibly nervous"
"I know, and there is no need to apologise. All of this was sprung upon you"
"You've got that right. You went broke all our arrangements in seconds"
"I don't regret it. It's one less secret to carry"
"We've both got plenty of them"
"Someday I might tell you mine, and you will tell me yours"
Eren laughed
"I might. If you're a good alpha"
"I don't know if I am. I feel as if I'm stumbling in the dark when it comes to negotiating a relationship"
"I know. The sex is amazing, but outside of that, I don't know what I'm doing"
Levi groaned at him, already starting towards the door
"How much have you had to drink?"
"Enough to silence the thoughts, and to block out the voices"
"Voices?"
Eren waved a hand towards the soldiers
"Dragon hearing. I could hear everything tonight"
"Anything, in particular, I should worry about?"
"Half of them thing I've bewitched you as I'm a monster, and the other half want to know what it's like to fuck a monster, and if my junk is normal"
Levi looked back towards the crowd with a growl
"Please... don't get mad. It's done and it's passed. I just want to go to bed with you"
"They're lucky you're so understanding"
"They're lucky they have a prince like you, that understands the soldiers here. I like the port, but I don't think I could handle being here full time"
"No?"
"No... the waves and the ocean are beautiful, but there are people suffering and struggling to make ends meet. It's... it feels a lot like it used to"
Too buzzed to know if he was making sense, he didn't care that Levi didn't reply.

Seated in Levi's lap, Eren hadn't been feeling very sexy until he'd found himself there. He couldn't quite remember reaching the room, then there had been small touches as they helped each other undress. Next thing he knew, he was seated in Levi's lap, kissing him desperately as Levi's hands groped his arse. He didn't think he was ready for sex, but slightly intoxicated Eren thought he knew best, and Levi's lips felt amazing against his. Breaking the kiss, Eren stared into his boyfriend's eyes
"You're so fucking big"
Levi's eyes widened before the alpha laughed
"With the way, you were looking at me, that wasn't what I was expecting"
"Do you want to fuck me? Even after what happened?"
"Of course I do"
"I feel so buzzed..."
"I noticed"
"I'm wet"
Levi nodded
"I can feel that. How do you want it?"
"From behind. Hard. I want that thick dick to fucking knot me"
"But what if I want to keep kissing you?"
"Now I want both... fuck me, then let me ride you? But I also want to suck that dick of yours... Drunk Eren doesn't know"
"Drunk Eren, can have everything he wants, as slightly Tipsy Levi wants to do it too"
"Then why aren't we doing it now?"
"I don't know..."
Yeah... alcohol was a not so great, great idea.

Finding a stash of spirits in the barrack commanders room, drinking seemed to be a great idea... and sex happened... Levi fell asleep knotted him in, while Eren fell asleep pinned beneath him, neither of them with a shred of modesty. Waking with a long moan, needed a moment to process that Levi fucking him sloppily, and he'd just come before waving. His boyfriend wasn't even completely awake, as peppered sloppy kisses to his chest and nuzzled nasally against him. God... so much for no sex for now... and no sex until he worked his mental health out. Grunting, Levi's knot caught, his boyfriend flopping back against him... a few moments passing before he started snoring again... Sober Eren was an idiot, and it took drunk Eren to prove it. He had a boyfriend who loved him to the moon and back and never would have let them get wasted if it wasn't for tipsy Eren's insistence... and god, how he'd insisted. Levi usually only drank enough to be polite, though he had confessed to him that he really didn't like drinking too much as alcohol dulled the mind... Drunk Eren had poured gin down his chest, for Levi to lick off of him... He'd fucked up. He'd just wanted to forget his depression. He'd just wanted the world outside to fuck off... to not have to think about their clutch. Trying to straighten his cramping legs, Eren whined as his muscles complained. His wriggling and stretching disturbing his boyfriend. New rule. He was going to stick to his word. No sex until his heat came... Second new rule. No more alcohol with Levi. They just had no self-control.

"Eren?"
"No more alcohol"
Levi laughed, his alpha dragging himself up to kneel between Eren's legs, sliding his hands up and down Eren's inner thigh, rolling his hips and jolting his knot... Someone was clearly in a great mood
"Given the sun's rising, that's pretty much a guarantee. How are you feeling beautiful?"
"Like Drunk Eren just taught Sober Eren an important lesson"
Humming, Levi leaned down to run his tongue along Eren's stomach lapping at the cum smeared there, his tongue tickling him as he did. Placing his hands on both sides of Levi's face, he pulled him up
"That I'm not ok... and that I was too far into my own head to pull myself out alone"
Levi's expression softened
"I shouldn't have let you drink"
"No... I didn't know what I needed. I don't think it was sex, but I do think it was being close to you"
Levi wriggled his hips
"I don't think my knot's going down"
"Probably not, you were very active in your sleep"
"I'm sorry... maybe you're right, no more alcohol"
"Just for now... I need to figure out things in my head"
"What can I do?"
"Keep me from falling too far into my own head"
"I know you didn't want to talk to Historia, but maybe send a letter to Ymir? She might be able to tell you why this happened?"
He wasn't awake enough for an in-depth conversation, no matter how deep in Levi may be. Releasing Levi's face, Eren looked away
"I know why it happened... I just don't know why I didn't go into heat because of it"
"Do you want to go into heat?"
With the mood he was in, his heat was the last thing he needed. As far as he was concerned, if his heat never came again, he'd never have to suffer through it for nothing
"What? No. Shut up. It's unfair to make me brain like this. And hurry up and go down, I need to pee"
"Then we need to shower, then there's breakfast. Erwin's probably organised a busy day for us"
Eren didn't want a busy day, his expression must have shown as much
"You don't need to come if you don't want to. You probably still need to rest"
"I just don't think I'm up to crowds yet. Is that ok?"
"Of course. Once Zeke leaves, we'll have time to ourselves. We can talk about this, about us. Maybe talk about what comes next?"
"Yeah. Sure..."

Eren couldn't get back to sleep after waking to find Levi had left, not with the sounds of the barracks, and not with Levi being off with Zeke. His boyfriend had sent him up breakfast while he'd been downstairs dining with Zeke, then returned to sit with him until he'd fallen asleep with Levi playing with his hair. Curled beneath the thin sheets, he wondered if he should maybe seek out Armin, or Mikasa. Mikasa had had a whole night to process everything, with Armin had been there to help her through it... unless he'd ended up in bed with Erwin. God... that was a mental image he didn't need. The alpha was massive, and poor Armin was a beta... his friend's arse would be completely destroyed. Wrinkling his eyes in an attempt to clear his mind only made it worse. His mind was happy to provide all the wrong kinds of mental images. All hopes of sleep were now gone, and Armin's virtue was in danger. He'd never done that stupid reading and could have set Armin up for heartbreak. He'd never imagined Levi could be the alpha for him, if anyone had suggested it before they started sleeping together, he would have thought them insane. He needed to find Armin and ensure he was alright, and maybe provide a little healing if his friend needed it. Opting for a set of robes given putting real clothes on seemed like too much effort, Eren dragged himself out of bed and dressed, stealing a pair of Levi's socks from his trunk as Eren hadn't any of his own... at least his feet felt snuggly.

Not knowing his way around the barracks, and with everyone running away before he even had the chance to open his mouth, Eren slipped into a scowl. Just because he was sleeping with Levi, didn't mean people needed to be scared of him. If anything, shouldn't they want to help their prince? Wandering downstairs, Eren found himself back at the same fountain at the previous night. Sitting in the same space he'd found Mikasa in, the teen closed his eyes, slightly jealous that everyone around him had things to do. Doing nothing didn't agree with him. Doing nothing while being in a place where no one trusted him... and thought of him just as Levi's companion... didn't agree with him at all. Sniffing the air, in an attempt to find any traces of Armin, he, unfortunately, got a deep breath of Zeke's scent, his eyes flying open as he hissed like a cat. The man standing and watching him from the arch in the brickwork at the opposite side of the courtyard area. Making the mistake of acknowledging him, Zeke took a step towards him, Eren standing and squaring his shoulders, trying not to be intimidated, or at least appear he wasn't. Striding up to him like the snobbish Prince Arsehole he was, Eren found the world gone and the blue sky above him as he landed backwards in the fountain, not even realising he'd been pushed until he was landing in the water. Extending his hand, Zeke laughed as he looked down at him
"It looks like you had a slight accident, come now. We can't have the Princess of Eldia looking so undignified"
Glaring as he took Zeke's hand, the thought to pull him into the water crossed his mind for a moment, before he abandoned it thanks to the fact Zeke was an alpha and strong enough not to fall for a such cheap trick. Pulled to his feet, Eren kept his temper. Zeke would be gone soon. If he made a scene, guards would be called, probably to take Zeke's side given Eren was supposedly a monster. Reining his angry magic in, Eren pushed a smile to his face, sickeningly polite
"Yes, it would seem that way, your royal highness. Thank you oh so much for your kind assistance"
Zeke raised an eyebrow, probably wondering if Eren had hit his head in the process of falling
"Allow me to escort you back to your quarters"
"I can walk myself, sir. I would hate to be of any inconvenience to you"
"Really? You just had a fall, and your precious prince was with his ex-fiancée the last I saw"
Eren set his jaw, giving a curt nod before turning. Ok. Fine. Be the bigger man. All it would take was a little magic and he'd be dry again, yet that would only serve to make Zeke angry.

Despite being half a step behind him, Zeke led the way back through the barracks and up to the room Eren was sharing with Levi
"You wait here"
"You think you can tell me what to do? What happened to the docile little creature near the fountain"
"I don't think his highness would appreciate another alpha in his quarters when I am there"
"And yet, here we are. Need I remind you, I am a prince and you are a worm. Open the door, or I shall be forced to open it for both of us"
Whoa. Watch out. Big threat right there. Oh no, opening a door? The prince might sprain his little finger. What a global tragedy. Letting them in, Eren walked over to the bed, before letting his magic take care of his wet robes
"Ah, magic. It must make things so much easier. It smells of sex in here, I suppose you're desperate to conceive, having birthed a clutch and all"
Eren was quick to jump to his own defence as his heart started racing. He'd only allowed the man into the room because he knew he could pick up traces of Levi's scent, and he needed Levi's scent to keep him grounded. That, and the whole "he's leaving soon don't give him a reason to stay longer" thing
"I haven't given birth"
"Don't lie to me"
"I'm not"
Zeke sighed deeply
"Eren, give me the clutch, or I will be forced to..."
"I haven't got a clutch! I haven't given birth!"
"Learn your place omega. Now. Where is that clutch?! Where is it!"
Well it was a good thing they closed the door, especially if there was going to be yelling... looking to Zeke in the face the best he could, he forced his tone into something more even
"There isn't one"
Striding over, Zeke backhanded him. The alpha hitting him so hard that the rings on his gloved hand cut through Eren's cheek. Fuck. Zeke was so fucking lucky he wasn't Levi. Levi would have probably decapitated the alpha, then realised he'd just cause an international incident. From what he could feel through his bond, Levi was somewhere on the barracks ground, but nowhere close enough to magically come across this situation
"I said, tell me"
"There isn't one! There are no eggs!"
Shoving his hand into his pants pocket, Zeke pulled the same crystal pendant out from the previous night
"This. This says otherwise"
"I don't even know what that is!"
"It's a little something our scientists have been working on. Made from part of a very interesting egg. You see, it glows when near dragons who had a clutch, or have recently birthed one..."
Moving his hand near Eren's stomach, the crystal pulsed with light before fading back to black
"... and it's telling me that you have"
"I don't have a clutch!"

Shoving the pendant back in his pocket with one hand, Zeke grabbed his hair with his other hand, pulling Eren down as he drove his knee up, hitting Eren squarely in the stomach and dropping him
"Don't lie to me!"
"I'm not lying! I can't have offspring!"
Kicking him back so Eren hit the side of the bed, the omega glared up at the sneering alpha. God. One good spell... he could do it... but then he'd be the monster everyone thought him
"Omega... tell me"
"There's no clutch!"
"You stubborn piece of shit! Just like him"
"Him" who? Levi? He was ok with that. Levi was strong, brave and courageous
"And you're a small and petty man"
"I command you to tell me what you did with your clutch!"
Eren shook his head
"There's no clutch"
"You gave birth, now I command you to tell me what you did with those eggs! Eldia will face the wrath of international law if you don't!"
He fucking hated commands... absolutely hated them... but thanks to Erwin, he knew how to bend then slightly
"The eggs don't exist"
"You're lying!"
"You gave me a command!"
"I command you to tell me what you did with those eggs!"
He'd thought he'd beaten Zeke for a moment... that was a no... His chest tightened as he tried to disobey the command
"I command you to obey my command! You're an omega, know your place!"
Giving a miserable whimper, Eren rolled, slamming his hand flat on the floor as sob bubbled up. He couldn't disobey
"They're gone..."
"I knew it. Now, tell me where they are"
"Gone"
"I command you to tell the truth. What do you mean, gone?"
Whimpering, Eren drew himself into a ball, shaking his head miserably
"They were all dead. I can't have children. The eggs were all dead, so I destroyed them with fire"
If Zeke hadn't been angry before, Eren was gagging on his anger now. It was as if someone was holding his mouth open and forcing the taste down his throat
"If you can't have children, you would never had a clutch, to begin with!"
"I'm more dragon than human... They performed a ceremony, on their oracle's altar... I can't have children. It's not part of my soul"
"Your soul...?"
"My magic! Whatever! I can't have children. Those eggs were dead. They never had any magic, to begin with! They grew just to rot... I can't have living children, or a clutch"
"So you're useless. What a fucking... shame"
As he paused mid-sentence, Zeke booted him in the side
"I'm sure I don't need to tell you that if you repeat this, your boyfriend will die. You've ruined our plans so far, but never again. Now, clean yourself up. You look repulsive"

Eren laid curled on the floor until long after Zeke had left. His magic had healed his physical wounds right up, but Eren felt as if his whole body had been contaminated with Zeke's scent. Stripping his robes, he used his magic to burn them in the rooms hearth, before stripping down the rest of the way and heading into the private bathroom. Looking himself in the mirror, he really did look pathetic. He had the magic to kill Zeke on the spot, yet he hadn't done anything. He'd let himself be beaten and responded to the man's commands. Dashing to toilet, he threw up his breakfast, nauseous with his own self loathing. This... this was the last time he was going to be upset. No more stupid tears. No more crying and no more thinking of his clutch. He'd be stronger. If he wasn't stronger, he couldn't stay by Levi's side. If he wasn't stronger, he wouldn't be of any use to the man. He had to be stronger. He had to be the kind of man Levi could rely on... no matter how it really made him feel. He'd bury those emotions and pretend he felt nothing. That's what Levi would do because he couldn't allow himself time to grieve. His job wouldn't allow that.

Scrubbing himself raw in the shower, his magic annoyingly kept healing him through the whole process. He wanted to hurt. To concentrate on something other than the miserable little bitch he was being. This wasn't him. He had to be better. He had to.

Chapter Text

Astarte Rose
1:08 PM (10 hours ago)
to

Levi had the feeling Eren was keeping something from him. They hadn't been physically intimate since getting drunk together, but he'd expected that. Eren had said he wasn't ready, and Levi respected his omega's needs. No. There was something else that was wrong. The way Eren's smile didn't quite meet his eyes. The way Eren seemed to drift out during conversations, and the way he'd wake with a start and whimper in the middle of the night, only to roll away from him when Levi tried to ask what was wrong. He knew Eren wasn't feeling all that great about the clutch, but this felt as if something else had happened and he had no idea what. The alpha could only think that it had happened while staying at the military barracks when he'd been forced to talk to Petra about her completely unacceptable behaviour. Petra had been in a position of power while at the port barracks, her words and her actions carried a lot of sway, so when her engagement to him dissolved and he appeared with a new lover, the soldiers had all looked to Eren in disgust... which Petra has encouraged. She'd encouraged them to ignore Eren completely, as he simply Levi's whore. Having heard all about the fight the alpha had had with Mikasa, Levi had thought Petra might pull her head in. Mikasa may have been mad at Eren, but she still loved him and hadn't taken too kindly to Petra trying to manipulate her against the teen. Petra hadn't appreciated being talked to in such a manor by Mikasa, and it'd very nearly turned into a sword fight over Eren's honour. Levi had been mid-conversation when a scratch had appeared on his cheek, Eren's magic had healed it the moment it appeared, and when he'd asked Eren, Eren had said he'd punched himself in the face as he'd pulled the blankets. Which was honestly a very Eren thing to do... yet... What if it hadn't been? The stomach ache that had felt like a knife to his gut, he blamed on possible lasting cramping from after the birth... but once again, what if it hadn't been? He didn't want to mention the cramping, in case he upset Eren over the clutch, or in case it was related to Eren's coming heat. Now that they were on their way back home, he really felt as if he should have. He was sure the moment had passed, and he'd been left behind.

The matter weighed heavily on Levi's mind as he carried out his duties. Erwin had organised a series of visits for them, and even a trip to the theatre to see some play that hadn't made a lick of sense to him. Eren had played his part beautifully on Levi's arm. The teen smiled, waved and was polite to everyone who spoke to them. Levi very much the proud alpha as his omega did, yet none of it felt right. When Eren fell asleep on his shoulder at the theatre, the teen had flinched and jumped away when Levi shook him awake. Mumbling out an apology, Eren moved to sink into his side, with a clear stiffness in his form. Maybe this was all too much too fast? He'd grown used to the pageantry of royalty and aristocracy, but Eren hadn't. He'd spent his crucial years in a sanctuary, then spent most of his time at the castle studying, before leaving to live with dragons. He hadn't had manners drilled into him or every aspect of high society interactions. Talking to Erwin, they agreed he needed some form of lessons. At least in dancing and dining. If Eren could hold his head high for both those tasks than everything else could be covered. It was also decided that Armin would return home with them, Mikasa and her squad to return after all their duties were transferred back to Petra and her squad, though he'd promoted squad member Eld to leader, in a petty move to punish Petra for her pettiness. Whatever was going on with Eren, he could only pray that the teen would either break down completely or open up and dump everything on him, as at the moment, it hurt to watch him silently suffering.

 

*
After Eren's run-in with Zeke, he'd forced himself back together and reassigned himself his original self-gifted mission of finding Armin. Again he'd walked through the barracks, and again he'd found himself ignored... until he finally found a semi-familiar face. He could never forget horsefaced Jean, his beard had made him somewhat better looking, but in Eren's eyes, he was still a braying arse... so, he turned his attention to Sasha. Smiling the best he could, he jogged over to the pair who engaged in conversation with their friend Connie. He liked Connie. Connie managed to always ruin his own arguments over how smart he was, yet it wasn't in an obnoxious way. It was because he was always talking big and bolstering his own ego, that he pushed himself much harder than most people. Reaching them, Sasha gave a bow with a giggle
"Your Majesty"
"I'm not the prince"
Giving him a wide grin, Sasha nodded
"I know, but you're like sleeping with him... which means you can get me more food, right?"
Snorting, Eren shook his head
"I doubt I have any kind of power there, but I can ask"
Jean crossed his arms with a huff
"I don't know what he sees in you, and those freaky scales"
"I'd rather my scales than your horseface. Sasha, have you seen Armin?"
Sasha hummed, raising her hand to her chin as she tapped her jawline with her pointer finger
"I think he was in the kitchens with Mikasa. All the meals have to be triply checked... I don't know why they wouldn't let me do it..."
"Probably because you'd eat the whole meal"
"I joined the military to eat new and yummy foods... but it's always rations. When are we going to get meat!?"
Sasha was practically drooling
"Sasha, can you show me to the kitchen's, please? I have no idea how everyone finds their way around here"
"We're not your soldiers. We didn't agree to give our lives for you"
Eren raised an eyebrow at Jean, reminding himself he needed to be strong and couldn't show any possible kind of weakness
"I'm not asking you to give your lives, I was asking Sasha if she could please help me find the kitchen"
"Will there be food?"
Was it so hard to do one small favour?"
"I can ask"
Sasha grabbed his arm, Eren forcing himself not to tear it out of her hold. Sasha wasn't about to beat the shit out of him just to make herself feel better
"You're the best!"

 

The cook refused to give Sasha extra food, as she was manhandled out the kitchen. It was a rather comical sight as she clung to the steamed potato she'd stolen. Sitting at the kitchen table, Armin brightened at the sight of him
"Eren, come sit with me"
Ignoring the unhappy cooks, Eren did just that. Armin seemed so very happy
"Did everything go well with Levi last night?"
"You have no idea. After what happened with Mikasa, Levi walked both of us home. He stayed for tea"
"The way you make it sound, it sounds like there was more than tea"
Armin blushed
"It wasn't like that. We talked about all sorts of things until we both realised we talked all night"
"Oh, Armin. I'm so happy for you"
"I... I have some of his hair. I found it once he left, on the back of the chair that is. I didn't just take it. You can do a test right? With some of his hair?"
"How do you know it's not yours? You're both blond"
"I don't... but no one else in the house has blond hair. It... won't cause an explosion, will it?"
The twinkle in Armin's eyes was filled with hope
"No. But I do need a few things for it to work"
Armin let out a kind of muffled squeak, before taking a deep breath
"What do you need?"
"A bowl of milk. Some blue ink, and a piece of chalk. As well as some of your hair and his"
"That's all? No crystals or herbs?"
"If I was using Eldia magic, it would be a whole lot more complicated. Historia taught me this because she thought I could use it to make money if living at the castle didn't work out"
"Really?"
"I didn't know if I'd be allowed to come back, or even move back in. Now, do you think you get everything?"
"I have chalk and inks in my bag... I just need a bowl of milk"
"Do I want to know why you have chalk and ink?"
"Sometimes you have to draw out things for dock workers to understand. Not all of them can read, then you need the ink because you have to fix the invoices"
"Armin, I was joking. You need to calm down. We don't know the outcome. It could say anything"
It was also a little bit late to be wondering if Erwin had any spells on him like the ones Eren placed on Levi. Though his were prayers and Eren's healing came through the brooch his boyfriend wore and their bond. But if there was something in place, it should have been activated when Obsydin infected him...
"Don't say that. Eren, he's so smart. He has so many ideas of how to improve things..."
"Ok. Ok. I know. I just don't want you to be hurt"
"How accurate is this?"
"Fairly. Most of the time. Things can affect it, like your friend dying of old age before you get me everything I need"

The cook didn't want them messing up her table, but Eren promised to clean it with magic. Drawing a medium-sized circle in front of them, he drew a small series of symbols inside of it
"What's that?"
"Purely decorative"
Armin elbowed him
"Then why are you drawing them?"
"Because I'm teasing you. I only need the outside circle"
Armin pouted at him, holding out his hand until Eren returned the chalk. Placing the bowl in the circle, Eren poured the milk in
"Why milk?"
"We all start our lives feeding on milk. Now, I need the hair"
Handing over the few hairs he'd collected, Eren dropped them in the bowl. Armin a little enthused as he pulled out way too much. Plucking out a few strands, he dropped them in
"Now the ink"
"What does the ink do?"
"It tells me what the answer is"
Adding three drops, it hardly looked like anything other than a mess
"Now what?"
"Now you let me work"

The spell worked by reading people like Historia did when she healed someone. His magic didn't work that way, so he was kind of reading more the intentions of Armin and Erwin. He didn't totally get it, but when he'd tried with Historia and Ymir it'd worked. Gently letting his magic seep into the bowl, the milk and ink began to boil
"Eren"
"It's fine"
Slowly the boiling settled, the ink still swirling. It was all very simple and made for even the stupidest person to read. A heart if they were meant to be, and a split heart if they weren't, so when it just came back as two separate little circles, Eren was confused
"Well?! What does it mean?"
"I don't know. I've never seen this before"
"Ereeeen"
"I don't know... maybe it means you're not meant to be together just yet? I mean, there's like two circles... and they're two of you..."
"Nooo. You were supposed to tell me"
"I'm sorry"
Armin sighed dramatically
"How will I ever know?"
"I don't know. I'm sorry. I'm not as good as Historia. She'd be able to do this with her eyes closed"
"This means I'll have to ask her"
"You still talk to her?"
"No... I want to though... I miss Draecia"
Sliding the bowl over to Armin, Eren cleaned the table down as he'd said he would. The whole mess dropping it's self in the scrap bucket, as he'd done a proper job of cleaning off everything ever spilt or soaked into the wood
"I miss it too, but I told you..."
"Yes, yes. Rod lost his shit and we got kicked out"
Eren hated having let Armin down. He'd been so hopeful that he'd be able to give his friend good news... He wasn't supposed to write to Historia... but... he couldn't let Armin be broken hearted like this. He wouldn't be responsible for another person he loved being hurt because of his actions. He'd rather take a hundred thousand beatings, than risk pissing Zeke or Rod off. Rod had a whole country of dragons at his disposal, while Zeke had the whole of Marley, and the Marley royal family who'd no doubt seek revenge if anything was to happen to the prince. This being nice and meek thing pissed him off. He was a dragon. He had powers that mages could only dream of... Powers that could erase Rod and Zeke from existence with just the click of his fingers, but it just wasn't worth it... Yet, seeing Armin's pain... he had to do something. Armin deserved love and to be happy.

Writing to Historia, Eren erased the tiny royal insignia from the leather pouch of the pigeon's leg that would carry his note to Historia. With a little bit of magic on her end, the tiny two inches, by half an inch note would grow to a full standard page. He'd explained everything in it. From the clutch to being Levi's public lover and then to the compatibility spell. Fuck, he missed her and Ymir. He missed playing in his dragon form and chasing those stupid boulders over the hills. More and more people were learning he was a dragon, which meant those less than desirable were bound to find out too. It was even more important that he didn't make any grand shows of his lineage or with his magic, lest he find himself chopped up into tiny pieces... Draecia was now feeling more and more like a dream and longed to return.

Trying his hardest to forget he'd written to Historia, the next few days were spent entertaining Zeke until they left. There were a great number of things he got to see as he walked at Levi's side, but the worst experience was their trip to the theatre. He'd never been to one before, so hadn't expected it to be so boring. The story was weird, jumping all over the place, with random singing that sent him to sleep. He'd been so excited for it, only to fall asleep against Levi. His boyfriend scaring the crap out of him as he shook him awake. It'd been months since he'd had a nightmare about his mother's death, and now he'd had three in the space of 4 nights... none of which were appreciated, and all of which left his magic sparkling in his fingers as he tried to save his mother from her death. Not even having Levi by his side calmed him down, which was unusual.

Historia's reply hadn't come until after Zeke and his party had left for Marley. The pigeon landing on the window ledge of the commander's room and cooing until Eren climbed out of bed to let it in. Returning to bed, Levi shuffled closer. His boyfriend nuzzling into his lap as he sleepy wrapped an arm around his waist, while Eren unfurled the small reply before his heart dropped and his stomach flipped. He had no idea how to deal with the contents of the letter, and could only pray that no one in Zeke's party had intercepted it before he'd had the chance to read it. If Historia was to be believed, he needed to seek Erwin out immediately, for Armin was in danger from outside forces. Well, all of them always were, but that's what the magic reading had said, and Historia would know best. She'd performed the reading hundreds of times for her and Ymir
"Mmm, Eren? Everything ok?"
He couldn't just up and leave with Levi cuddled into him
"Yeah. It's ok. Go back to sleep"
"' smell worried"
"I'm fine. Get some more sleep"
"'k"
Stroking Levi's hair, Eren felt bad over hiding the contents of the letter from his boyfriend, but as it contained information about the curse, he couldn't just show him the slip of paper. Historia was worried that the clutch had come so many weeks before his heat, and felt it was most likely because the spell hadn't worked the way they wanted. He wouldn't know for sure until Levi's rut hit, but she did warn him to be prepared for the worst. He didn't know how he'd deal with everything if the spell didn't hold. He didn't know how to tell Levi he'd done something incredibly desperate and ruined everything for them. He could only pray that it was because he was mostly human that that was why his heat hadn't come.

The teen didn't have a chance to speak to Erwin until after breakfast. Slipping the note into Erwin's hand while at breakfast had been a quiet feat. The alpha somewhat perplexed as to why Eren's hand was resting on his leg until he finally looked down to see the paper. Taking the note, Erwin pocketed it. Eren's heart was racing the whole time, even after he saw that Erwin was making no move to open it. God. It was all so much more complicated than he'd ever imagined it could be. When breakfast ended, Erwin excused himself, only to return a few moments later to ask for Eren's "help". Following the man out the dining room, he was shown into a small office of sorts, his nerves starting to betray his new "there's absolutely nothing wrong with me attitude", especially when Erwin produced the note and waved it in his face
"What is this?"
"What does it look like?"
"Don't test me Eren"
"I'm not aiming to. I wasn't going to contact her, but with the clutch and the weird reading..."
"You stole my hair?!"
"I didn't steal anything. Armin found them on the chair. He's been in love with you, since before I returned. I was trying to be a good friend"
"A good friend..."
"Yes! God. Do you think I knew you two were related?! Let alone..."
Erwin shoved his hand over his mouth
"This can't be true. I would know if I had a brother"
Raising his right hand, Eren pulled Erwin's hand off his mouth
"But would you? Really? Because as far as I remember, it was common practice to send children away to be raised as commoners, where they were safe"
Erwin glared at him coldly
"The royal advisors never mentioned anything"
"It's not my fault. I didn't know either"
"Does anyone know about this?!"
"What? No. I told Historia I did a test between two friends using their hair and got that result. She doesn't know it was you"
"Right..."
"I'm serious here. He is my best friend. We grew up together. He's more like a brother than a friend... and he's in love with you"
"I don't give a fuck. Did you tell Levi?"
"What?"
"Don't play stupid with me. Did you tell him?!"
"No! Why would I? I didn't know what to do, and I could hardly show him that letter. He has more than enough to worry about"
"About your failed spell. I knew..."
"You knew what? That I'm not trustworthy? That's what you're thinking, isn't it? I know better than to run around spreading state secrets, especially with the way things are. So no. You're the only one who's read that, other than me. Armin is your little brother. I don't know if it was by magic, or whatever, but I can't change that"
"You're not to tell him. I command you not to tell anyone about the contents of this letter"
Eren growled
"Stop with the fucking commands! Whenever you're scared, that's what you default to and I'm sick of it"
"Know your place..."
"My place?! Ha! You and Levi both decided my place needed to be made fucking public when I was more than happy in the shadows. I've been following your charade and do you know how much pain you've caused Levi!? His whole life is dictated as playing the prince you're too much of a coward to be"
"Shut your mouth"
"No. I'm doing everything I can for Levi, and all I ask is that you keep Armin close and safe"
"What you're doing is hardly good enough"
Slapping Erwin, Eren's eyes widened at his own actions. The alpha looked murderous
"I... I'm sorry"

Pushing past Erwin, Eren ran. He couldn't believe he'd lost his temper, but at the same time, this was Armin's life. His best friend... he'd never thought his reading would turn out like this. He never would have done anything if he'd suspected... how could he have suspected? It wasn't like every blond person in existence was related, and Armin's parents were supposed to have been adventurers who's hot air balloon had crashed. That was why he'd grown up with his grandfather. Had Grandpa Arlert know? And had Armin's mother really been his mother? With magic, a whole new person could be brought forth in the womb of another. Maybe the woman herself hadn't known? But no. Semen and blood were needed... as were highly trained mages. He couldn't fucking breathe. Blind to where he was running, he crashed right into Levi
"Eren!"
Starting to cough, he half collapsed into his alpha's arms
"Eren, what's wrong? Is it your lungs?"
Nodding, he felt miserable for lying. Especially when Levi lifted him
"You're ok. We'll get you down to the kitchen and get the kettle steaming"
Nodding, his lungs continued to protest oxygen.

Levi kept him on his lap as Eren breathed in the kettle steam. When the towel was removed, he collapsed back against the man
"Eren?"
"Better. I panicked, and couldn't breathe"
That bit was true
"I noticed. Do you know what set it off?"
"Yeah, but it's ok. I'm sorry for making a scene"
"No. Your lungs aren't your fault... as long as your ok now"
Why did Levi have to be so kind?
"I'm ok... just a little sleepy"
"We'll be leaving soon, do you want to head back home a little earlier?"
Eren shook his head, coughing lightly as he curled further into Levi. He had to be ok. He'd had a shock, but he'd covered it with a few carefully constructed words
"No. Don't cut your visit short because of me"
"We've fulfilled our duties, and honestly, I miss the cleanliness of the castle"
"Trust you to miss that. I bet what you really miss is your tea"
"You can't be too ill if you can tease me like that"
"I'm just sleepy"
"I noticed you've been having nightmares"
Of course, he had...
"It's fine. They're old dreams of my mother. I don't know why I've dreamt so much of her of late"
"Do you know where she's buried?"
"Probably in one of the pit graves of Shinganshima..."
It hurt to think of how many people were just piled into them to prevent disease spreading. Each and every one of them deserved a proper funeral, but it wasn't possible. In some cases, who families had been wiped out, so even if there had been a funeral, there was no one left to identify them or to grieve for them
"I'm sorry"
"It is what it is. I think I just need to take a nap"
"I'll come with you. I know these small episodes take a lot out of you"
"I'll be fine on my own. Make sure everything here is truly fine before we leave. It'll mean less paperwork"
Levi nuzzled into his hair, sighing softly as he did
"Trust you to be thinking of the kingdom. At least let me take you back to our room"
"I'll be fine"
"This is for my sake. I can't concentrate if I don't know for sure"
Why couldn't he have crashed into someone else?! Not Levi... almost anyone but Levi would have been better than this
"Fine, but you need to go to work"
"I will"

 

After that, they'd left earlier than scheduled. Erwin was avoiding him, and refused to meet his eye, while Armin was confused as to why he was coming home in the royal carriage with the three of them. On the way back to the castle, Eren practiced locking down his emotions. He went about all his new duties as gracefully as he could, though more than once his mask nearly slipped. He was an unknown element in the lives of those in Eldia. The Prince they so looked up to, was now walking around and sleeping with a scaly freak. Despite how widely he smiled, or how loudly he laughed, most of the population really wasn't sure about him. By the time they reached the castle, he'd hit his limit. Excusing himself and Armin, he dragged his best friend off to his tower, only to find it ransacked. Most likely by a master or two who were still loyal to Marley. Armin insisted they needed to tell the prince out of concern for Eren's safety, yet how could he go running to Levi over something so minor? He'd take one look at the destruction and know straight away that the perpetrator was looking for his clutch. Eren was so fucking tired of conflict. He just wanted Eldia safe. Lying and promising to tell the prince later, he and Armin then spent most of the day cleaning through the tower. The worst of the damage was in his bedroom, though he was lucky they hadn't stolen the gifts Levi had gifted him in Draecia. Well, gifted him after they'd returned from Draecia. Somehow they'd survived everything, and now we're hiding in a small alcove behind the picture frame that hung above his fireplace. Everything Levi gave him was his most precious of possessions, including his tower. If his boyfriend thought he was leaving his safe space, he had another thing coming.

Once the tower was clean, Eren cooked a small dinner for himself and Armin, before the pair of them showered and headed up to bed. He didn't even think to lock the door, which led to a very awkward wake up when Levi found him in bed with Armin. He didn't know who was louder, Levi as he demanded to know what was going on, or, Armin when promptly screamed at the sight of Levi at the end of the bed. Dobbed in by his best friend, Armin had explained how they'd spent the day cleaning the tower after finding it trashed, then both passed out from exhaustion. Never would Eren have guessed Levi would calmly accept Armin's words, then decide he was joining them. That was how Eren found himself sandwiched between Levi and Armin. Armin kind enough to sleep on his back so Eren could cuddle into his, they never would have fit otherwise. Despite the awkwardness and way Armin was trying not to laugh out of nerves, Eren fell asleep between the pair.

Chapter Text

As Eren's heat approached, the omega was busy getting everything ready in his tower. He didn't know what to expect from Levi, so he was planning for everything. Herbs had been ground into pastes for healing purposes, in case his magic stopped working. More herbs for aches and pains. Bandages in case they got a little too far into it, or in case Levi lost his mind and tried to hurt either of them. He knew he was worrying his boyfriend with his continued fussings, and hoardings, but he was terrified. He'd even pulled the sword from its hiding place to make sure the stupid thing was still sealed, which it was. Yet, he couldn't shift the feeling something was going to go wrong.

Eren was still fussing over his tower when his heat started. Levi was downstairs in the living room with Erwin, both alphas had come to talk to him about the way he'd been holed up in his tower for "too long". Feeling the first cramp roll through his belly as slick started to run, he started to panic. He and Levi hadn't been intimate in weeks, and now... Now everything was going to fall apart... Wrapping himself in his cloak, Eren wrapped an arm around his waist as he started towards the stairs that would lead him down to Levi.

Half falling off the last step, Levi smelt amazing... His boyfriend growling as he pushed himself off the sofa
"Out. Now"
Erwin nodded, not making a fuss as he walked over to the tower's door, before pausing
"Will you two be ok?"
No... God. Eren had no idea what was going to happen. His eyes were already filling with tears from the uncertainty, and the fact he could very well lose Levi
"No matter what happens, don't come in"
Erwin drew himself with a nod, then let himself out. Striding over to him, Levi swept him off his feet
"You smell distressed"
"Door. Need to lock the door"
Carried over to the door, Levi lowered him so he could move the thick beam into place. Weak-kneed, Eren leaned heavily against the wall, turning away from Levi as he wiped at his face. With a loud thud, the beam fell into place
"Eren?"
"I'm ok..."
"You're not. When we get up to bed, we need to talk"
Talking wasn't going to be possible. Levi's rut had started before he came down. He could almost taste how horny Levi was, despite his cool exterior. Pulling him back into his arms, this time his boyfriend lifted him by his arse to carry him up to his room.

Laying him down on the edge of the bed, Levi ran his hands up Eren's chest. The look in the man's eyes wolffish as he practically drooled. Covering his face with his hands, Eren couldn't stop the flood of emotion he was feeling, breaking down into small sobs. His stomach felt as a million knives were being stabbed into it, while his heart felt like it was in much the same condition. Undoing his legs from around his waist, Levi leaned down to pull him up to sit. His boyfriend squatting down to look him in the face as he cupped his cheeks
"Hey. Hey, no. Talk to me"
"I can't..."
"You can't or you won't?"
"I... I'm so fucking scared and it hurts already"
"Is this why you've been so preoccupied with making everything perfect?"
Eren shook his head
"I'm scared! I did something crazy and now I'm scared it's all for nothing. I'm not acting like myself. I slapped Erwin. I lost my head over Zeke. I lost my head over the clutch... I..."
He gulped down a desperate breath, feeling as if he was drowning in Levi's eyes
"I'm terrified I'm going to lose you"
"Eren, you're not going to lose me"
"We don't know that! This is your first rut since Draecia! Things could go wrong, and then everything I've done would have been for nothing!"
He was growing hysterical as his body was filled with hormones. Taking a deep breath, Eren could see the effort Levi was making to keep calm
"Are you scared I'll lose control during my rut?"
Sniffling, Eren nodded. He felt like he was betraying Levi to admit it
"Do you want me to go?"
"No! But I'm scared that the man I love won't be the same man at the end of this... I love you. I love you so much. I tried to be good. I tried to be everything expected of me since we came back, but every time I tell myself no more tears, or not to be so weak, I end up like this"
"Eren... I don't want to hurt you. And you. You don't need to be stronger. You are strong. Even the strongest of us have our moments. Maybe I should go?"
"No... please. I don't want you to leave me..."
He could feel his arse growing wetter, as slick forced was out with each cramp of need
"I need you Levi, but I'm scared the magic won't hold and everything will fall apart"
"If it does, I want you to run. I won't stay unless you promise me that"
Eren shook his head. There was no way he could let Levi go through this alone
"Levi"
"I can't hurt you, and you're the only one who has a chance of standing up to whatever this is"
His boyfriend smelt scared, yet Eren couldn't understand why he couldn't detect any anger in his scent. Levi should be angry. He'd told him everything would be ok... groaning in pain, he clutched at Levi's shirt
"Eren, promise me. When you get the chance to run, you will. I can't hurt you, and I can't stay if you don't promise"
"I..."
If he had the chance? Could he really commit to that? That would be the same as abandoning Levi
"I can't abandon you"
"You won't be. I was mostly sane, wasn't I?"
Eren nodded. Just because he had been, didn't guarantee he would be this time around...
"Yes..."
"Then if I lose my sanity, run. You're not abandoning me. Even in war, retreat can mean victory"
This wasn't war though. This was his boyfriend. He couldn't leave him to suffer alone, no matter what the outcome
"I love you, Levi"
"I love you too. Now promise me"
"I... promise"
"Thank you"

Laid out across their bed, Levi was warm and affectionate. Being filled with his lover's thick dick helped to some degree, as had being brought to orgasm with Levi's tongue and fingers before the man had mounted him. He loved Levi. He loved everything about him, and was attempting to commit every single piece of him to memory. Reaching up to wrap his arms around him, Levi responded by doing the same, pulling him up into his lap as he did. Nuzzling into his lover's neck, he couldn't stop himself from mouthing at the spot he wished to mark Levi. An omega could only mark one alpha, while an alpha could mark as many omegas at they wanted. Taking him by the hips, Levi began bouncing him up and down on his erection, Eren's teeth sinking into Levi's skin just enough not to break it. Should he though? Would Levi wish to mark him back? His heart felt as if it'd burst with the joy the silent wish brought
"Do it. You're the only one for me. I've known that since the moment I watched you fucking yourself on that dragon horn. Everything in my body told me to knot you. To mark and claim you... I trust you, with my everything"
This was his Levi. His Levi was telling him it was ok... This was his Levi still in control. He didn't want to mark Levi while Obsydin walked around in his body. Nodding, he bit down. Levi's warm blood flooded into his mouth as his alpha grunted, half shoving him down and bending him in two as he fucked him hard through the sudden flaring of his knot, and Eren's own orgasm. Riding out the way together, his arse felt completely wrecked in the best of ways. Withdrawing his teeth, Eren flopped back against his bed. His chest heaving like he'd run a marathon, while warm affection filled his heart. Levi was marked as his. Growling as he roughly tried to keep fucking him, Eren's magic rose around them, keeping him feeling too much pain, and healing Levi's neck into a neat scar. God. He loved the way his boyfriend's dick swelled to open him completely as he flooded his womb with seed. He loved that Levi felt so much and came so hard for him. Falling into a half daze, low purrs rumbled up as he closed his eyes. Levi was all his...

A few moments slowly began to pass before Eren shivered as he grew cold. Between his legs, Levi had stopped moving. Boneless from his first heat wave passing, he just wanted to fall asleep. Feeling something sharp against his hips, Eren let out an unimpressed whine, which morphed into a scream as something sharp was pushed in just next to both fronts of his hips bones, shooting half up, his eyes widened as the wide smile staring back at him. The eyes of the man he loved were as black as the night sky, while two long thumb claws were what was embedded in his hips
"Hello, Eren. It's been a while"
"No..."
"Yes. You silenced me for a whole three months. You should be proud"
"No! Argh!"
Screaming, his magic was trying to heal him, but Obsydin only smiled at his pain. The dragon pushing down harder with his claws, blood began to well before running down his groin
"You silenced me for three whole months, and you thought I wouldn't be angry? You were sorely mistaken if you thought I would accept such a thing"
"No! The spell..."
"Was a good idea. Taking part of your soul, but you didn't think things through. Your soul infected me. Just like I've infected your Levi..."
Opening his mouth, Eren's neck burnt so fiercely his back bowed. The magical collar placed on him all those months ago, forming into a collar of gold that fused into place with magic
"I don't want to hear you speak. You foolishly tied us together even deeper. My bond with you, every bit as deep as the one you share with your Levi. You gave up your clutch, just to make things even worse for yourself. Levi didn't even notice I was still in his mind. He didn't notice me as I scratched my way through your soul spell and back into his mind"
Pulling both claws from his belly, Obsydin licked the blood off them slowly and purposefully. Eren in such a deep state of shock, he couldn't move at all. His magic wasn't healing the stab wounds the way it normally would, instead, it was as if he could feel each fibre stitching it's self back together, with the speed of a snail
"It's a shame you wounded me like this. I had intended to protect you... now I wonder what he'll think to find you broken and bloodied at his own hands. Will he stay with you? Will he love you once he knows what you did? How you took his right of a clutch from him? That was very stupid of you. I simply wanted to destroy the Smith line, but now I find myself thinking how pretty a lying traitor like you would look bathed in your blood"
Tearing Levi's knot out from between his legs, Eren screamed silently. This was what he'd been afraid of. With him in heat, and Levi in rut, their bond was completely open. There was nothing at all that they wouldn't feel when connected in body entirely
"I'm not so sick as to sleep with another's lover. You do have appeal, but you are still a child, and even I have my own morals. No. I will break you. I will break you and leave him to find you. I will come to your dreams each night, and you will never be free of me. You only had to sit by my side until it was over, and now... Who knows if it shall ever be?"

 

 

*
Groaning deeply, Levi felt as if someone had stood on his head and stomped repeatedly. Groping around blindly, he couldn't even remember where he was or why he was there, only that he'd found whatever he was on to be damp, soggy, and completely revolting. Gripping his aching head, Levi dragged himself up as he opened his eyes, not prepared for the sight in front of him. Blood. Far too much blood. Even taking into consideration the bed he was on was ruined, as if a wild animal had torn it apart... Fuck... Oh fuck... Lowering his hands, they began to shook as stared at them... more blood... Climbing from the bed, there was a trail of blood leading from it, and no Eren in sight.

Following the trail down to Eren's bathroom, Eren was slumped against the wall. The teen frighteningly pale in contrast to blood across him, while the way he gripped his stomach was frightening. Staggering over to his boyfriend, Levi sank to his knees. His heart was racing with fear that once he placed his hand on Eren, he'd find him dead. Reaching out with both hands, he took Eren's face into his hands, Eren felt like ice but whimpered under his touch
"Eren? Eren, baby. It's Levi. I need you to open your eyes for me"
What the fuck had he done? He'd told Eren to run if something went wrong. Tapping Eren's cheek, his omega refused to rouse. He still smelt of fresh blood. Shit... releasing Eren's face, his hands went to Eren's, pulling them from the teens abandoned, blood poured from the hidden wounds. He wasn't healing. Why wasn't Eren healing?!
"Ok. Ok, baby. I've got you. I've got you..."

Grabbing out Eren's towels, he used two to stem the flow of blood. From what he could see the blood was coming from two wounds on Eren's hips that were clearly infected. Fuck. Why hadn't he gone for help?! It felt as if Levi's rut had passed, so how long had Eren been suffering? How long had he been laying there? Eren had been so scared, yet Levi had been sure it would all be ok. Not completely sure, but he'd placed his faith in Eren. Eren was the strongest magic user in the kingdom. If he couldn't do anything, then what chance did the mages stand?
"It's ok, beautiful. You're ok... I've got you. I've got you. You're going to be ok"

Levi gave no shits that he was practically naked as he carried Eren through the cast. The teen still not conscious, and it was wasn't until he lifted Eren into his arms that his omegas head lolled back, exposing a gold collar around Eren's neck. He couldn't see any seems on the thing, but he really wasn't looking. He was more concerned with getting Eren to a healer, than as to why there was a collar around Eren's perfect neck. Striding through the halls, he yelled at the first guards he came across to alert the healers, then the second lot to find Levi. He couldn't calm down, and his guilt was only growing worse by the second. He'd done this. Even if he couldn't remember it. It'd been his hands and his body responsible for Eren's pain. How was he supposed to look Eren in the eye? How was Eren supposed to look at him and not see Obsydin?!

Reaching the infirmary, Levi laid Eren out in the first bed. Thankfully the room was empty, other than the small healing and nursing team that the guards had alerted for him. Hovering as he pushed back from Eren's side, Levi nearly decked the small nurse between him as his omega, especially when the woman ignored his growl. Trying to edge around the side, he ended up squashed against the wall, while the thick scent of anger poured from him. Busy glaring at Eren as he channelled his own self-hatred at his lover, he didn't notice he was being talked to
"Sir!"
Having fingers clicked in the face was the height of rudeness, even if it did serve to make him focus
"What happened?"
"I don't know, and his magic isn't healing him"
How was he supposed to know what happened when everything over the last week was drawing a blank? He remembered Eren's fear, then... they had sex... and Eren marked him? But if Eren marked him, why couldn't he feel him? He should be able to feel something through their bond, but all he felt was sick to his stomach and fucking freezing
"Sir, if you're going to stay, you'll need to move. We need to see about taking this collar off. And we need someone to look at your wounds"
"I don't have any... this is all his blood"
"Alright, sir. But we still need you to move"
He couldn't move. He'd finally got back to Eren's side, even if they'd only spent a few moments apart... The nurse in front of him was pulled away, an older healer coming at him with a blanket
"Sir, it's inappropriate for you to be outside your quarters like this. Please, we need to work and you need to wash"
He didn't give two shits if it was inappropriate. This was Eren... Eren who's blood was all over his hands... Levi's knees folded, the healer with the blanket prepared as he was caught mid-descent. Moved away from Eren, his body started trembling. He'd done this. Obsydin had done this...

"Prince Erwin?"
Scrubbing his hands in the long pink water, Levi couldn't stop as Erwin came to his side. No matter how much he scrubbed, he could still feel Eren's blood on his hands
"Erwin, your hands a clean"
Shaking his head, Levi knew they weren't
"Yes. They are. You need to stop washing them"
"They're not clean!"
Taking the wash basin from him, Erwin grabbed a towel that the nurses had provided and took Levi's left hand into his
"Eren's going to be ok"
"He... The spell didn't hold. I don't remember anything..."
Erwin nodded slowly, trying his best to wipe Levi's hand
"Nothing?"
"Nothing at all. I... there was so much blood. He's not healing, and I can't remember"
"We knew there was a chance"
"He promised me he'd run. If things went wrong, he was supposed to run. He was against this bathroom wall. God... I didn't think he was breathing"
Levi was very close to forgetting how to breathe. He couldn't calm down, and his alpha was having a meltdown of its own over nothing able to feel Eren
"He'll be ok. You on the hand, look like shit warmed up. Hold still"

He had to "hold still", as Erwin decided he had to go into dad mode. The alpha taking over cleaning him up, wiping the blood from his face that Levi hadn't even known was there. Each time he'd attempt to look past the hulk of an alpha, Erwin would sidestep to cut his view from Eren off. It didn't matter to him how many times Erwin assured him Eren would be ok, it didn't make things magically ok. He'd be lucky if they were still talking when Eren woke, but then again, Eren was the kind of person who wouldn't blame him for what happened. He'd find some way to blame himself. Namely, the spell not holding. Now that Obsydin was back, he was going to be forced to write to Historia, as he doubted Eren would tell him everything he wanted to know. That's if he could tell him... Obsydin was a taboo. He doubted Rod would reply if he wrote him to inform him that Obsydin was back in the world. He'd probably just send his dragons to wipe them out, rather than trying to help them find some way to destroy Obsydin for the good of both Eldia and Draecia... If such a thing was possible
"What are you thinking? You're glaring, and I don't want to be left to explain your new wrinkles to Eren"
"If he fucking wakes up. His lungs are fucked. He's been stabbed by the look of it. He's got some fucking collar around his neck that I couldn't see an opening to, and his wounds are infected. Not to mention the tower was wet and cold, and as far as I know, he could have been like that for days"
"I'm trying not to think of that"
"Because he slapped you? He told me, though you didn't. Is that..."
"That has nothing to do with this. That issue is taken care of"
"And what issue could possibly lead to you being slapped. Actually, I can think of a few..."
A strange look passed over Erwin's face before he carefully chose his words
"I... I don't return Armin's affections, though I do enjoy his company"
"Oh"
Well, that would explain it. Though he was sure Erwin had been warming up to Armin...
"Yes. Well. As I have said, I talked to Armin"
"He should be notified about this... Armin really helped him after the clutch. Not that he knows. He just knows Eren was broken hearted over not being able to have children"
"Armin can wait until we know..."
Levi nearly said "until we know he isn't going to die", but stopped himself at the last moment.
"Until we know more"
"And you'll probably need to find some clothes too. That towel isn't doing much to cover much"
"I woke up with my underwear on, besides I had more pressing concerns. We'll need to make sure no one enters Eren's room. The last thing we need..."
Infection. Why hadn't he thought of that before? The colour drained from his face as he swayed
"What? Did you remember something?"
"I was infected through blood. What if I've infected Eren? He has magic... he could infect the healers... I shouldn't have brought him here"
Erwin swore softly, looking over his shoulder in Eren's direction
"Don't. We don't know for sure..."
"If this infection gets out... The kingdom will fall into ruin. We need to contact Historia immediately and limit contact with magic users until we know more. The healers need to leave, and you should leave too"
"There's no reason to leave. Just wait until we actually have news on what's happening with him"
"I'm not leaving. You are. It didn't cross my mind that the infection would possibly spread"
"I understand you're worried about him, but you're in no condition to look after him. And what if you lose control? Eren is in no condition to fight you off"
Fight him off... Oh god. What if Obsydin had forced himself upon Eren...? What if he was feeling no frustration from his rut, because Obsydin had taken over his mind, and forced Eren to suffer through his heat with him. This time when vomit rose, Levi barely turned in time to throw up into the wash basin. Haven not eaten much of anything, or not anything he could remember, his stomach cramped painfully as all he threw up was watery bile
"You can't think about it"
"You're the arsehole who brought it up..."
He couldn't cope with all of this. It was too much, too fast. He adored Eren, but he had no idea what happened. What if Eren feared him when he woke? What if he was too scared to want to stay by his side? Maybe it was for the best if they brought this thing between them to an end before Eren ended up tainted? He could give Eren a good life. He could set him up wherever he wanted and then walk away. Eren would be safer that way. He wouldn't have to live in constant fear of hurting him or the constant fear of Eren waking up one day and realising how much better he could do.

Spiralling into his thoughts, he found himself being pulled into an awkward hug from Erwin
"I'm sorry you must suffer for my foolishness. There is nothing I can do or change to fix what has happened. You need to rest, and I'll stay until we know more about Eren's condition"
"No. I can't rest. Not while he's like this"
"You're no good to him if you wear yourself out"
Levi let out a bitter laugh
"I've never been any good to him"
"Erwin..."
"I forced him to be my lover. I forced him to leave. I forced him to return. I forced this infection upon him... I may have even forced myself on him"
"You can't jump to conclusions like this"
"You didn't see... there was blood everywhere. He's not healing and he's so sick. He could die, and it would be my fault"
"It's Obsydin's fault"
"If your fucking ancestor hadn't forged that sword..."
"They were foolish. I was foolish. But he's a strong kid"
"When his magic is doing what it's supposed to. I can't even feel him. I can't feel our bond at all. I should be able to feel him. He's right fucking there!"
"Ok. You need to calm down. Anger won't solve this"
"And what is taking so fucking long!? Do you know what's wrong with him?! Do you?! You're supposed to be healers!"
Trying to pull out of Erwin's hold, the man was stupidly strong, even with one arm
"They're doing all they can"
"I need to know!"
"You need to rest"
"Don't treat me like a child"
"I'm treating you as a friend"
Levi shook his head
"If you were, you'd understand..."
"I'm not bonded, but that doesn't mean I've never loved, despite what you may think. Now rest. You don't have to sleep, but you should lay down. You've just come out of your rut and your judgement skills are practically nonexistent"
"I can't rest. So don't keep going on about it. I'll rest when I understand what Eren's condition"
Raising his voice again, Erwin sighed heavily at the alpha
"That's not going to make them work any faster. If anything, you're making everyone nervous"
"Then they should tell me what's going on"

"Your Highness, that's enough"
Coming to Erwin's side, the head healed scowled at him. Finally released from Erwin's hold, Levi glared at both of them
"I will not have you behaving like an insolent child, while we work on Eren"
"Then tell me how he is!"
"In a serious condition. His lungs are filled with fluid, most likely developing into pneumonia. He's been stabbed twice in the abdomen, by what, we cannot determine. They seem to be partially healed, though they have healed badly. The collar around his neck has fused to his skin with some kind of magic, that we can only assume is dragon in origin. His scales have changed colour, and there are raised pustules running across his shoulders and spine, that seem to form some kind of shape. There is also signs of sexual trauma, though the damage is at least a few days old. He's sick and he is weak, he is also now out of heat. He is not responding to the use of magic, so he will need to rely on the good old fashioned human methods of healing. Which means, he needs somewhere silent to heal and rest"
"I'm not leaving him"
"Then let us do our work"
"Then let me sit beside him. There was an incident in Draecia, where he came into contact with contaminated magic. It's possible this is related to that"
"And is that related to this boy giving birth?"
Levi stumbled on his words
"Who said he gave birth?"
"His hips are wider. There is healed scarring, and a rumour that he was pregnant"
"You're not to speak of it again. It's a dragon thing"
The healer rolled their eyes at him
"No offence your highness, but if you want us to do our jobs, we need to know everything"
"He healed after the incident. The initial incident saw him slip into a coma for a week. I need you to write a full list of everything you see, so Draecia may be contacted about it, and I need you to find me a chair because I'm staying by his side. As for magic users, all but the bare minimum should leave, in case he is infectious"
Though it was more likely Levi was the infectious one. He was bonded to the stupid sword and had a psychopathic dragon living in his head...
"Magic won't help here. The human nursing staff will stay. Levi, fetch the prince some food and something decent to wear. If we have to have him breathing down our necks, he'll be taken more seriously not glaring at us while only wearing his underwear"
It was like talking to an older version of Eren. Despite the situation, the healed was being a shit. He couldn't imagine how much of a stubborn shit Eren would be once he reached that age. If he reached that age...

 

*
Leaving Eren's back for last, the healers allowed Levi to clean Eren's bloodied body down. The wounds on the teen seemed to be mostly small scratches that his body had prioritised healing first. The punctures on his hips were very clearly infected, the nurse staying that they were requiring daily draining. To which Levi promptly gagged. He'd seen horrific things in war, but it was always different when you cared about the person. And he might, ever so slightly, care for Eren more than anyone else on existence. He'd even hoped to have Eren meet Farlan and Isabel properly after their combined rut and heat had passed. He was sure Eren and Isabel would adore each other, while Farlan would give him waves on endless shit over it all. Holding Eren's hand, his omega felt so cold and distant. Now clean, it was obvious the scales on his face had greyed to a murky-ashy green, though the larger more central ones still held hints of their vibrancy. Levi was certain that it had to mean Eren was infected. He'd seen the grey-black of Obsydin's scale on the sword, though he had composed himself enough after being allowed back by Eren's side, to pen a letter to Historia, which Erwin took care of posting. With that done, all he could do was watch his love. He dared not sleep, in case dreams came, or in case Eren took his last breath and he missed it.

When morning came the following day, new nursing staff came on. Discussing his condition, it was decided they would excise a pustule to gather if there was something inside them, or if they were simple sores. Rolling Eren onto his side, Levi was ready to grab the scalpel and go the first nurse to touch his naked lover. They didn't care about Eren's decency or modesty as the blankets slipped down to expose the omega's long lean curves and pert, perfect arse. Growling, he covered that part of Eren. The teen would be embarrassed if he knew everyone has seen him naked, even in a medical emergency. Taking a piece of paper and a pencil, one of the more junior nurses sketched out a rough copy of the design on Eren's back. On the smaller page, the pattern seemed to form a dragon, the effect lost across Eren's skin. Fucking Obsydin. The head nurse for the day was the one doing the actual cutting. Levi wincing and squeezing Eren's hand firmly as the blade sliced through Eren's flesh. They wanted to attempt to take as much of the risen flesh as possible, but they'd barely begun when the blade snapped. It was then that she changed plans, cutting across over the top of the pustule. The moment the skin was split, rancid gunk burst from the site as something black slid up. Fishing at it with a pair of tweezers, Eren's whole body tensed as the woman roughly ripped it out the wound, Levi having half risen and ready to tackle her if she didn't ease up. That was until he realised she'd removed a scale. He was sure the same thing had happened to him when he'd become infected. Pus-filled sores and scales... dropping back into the chair, Levi's heart felt as if it'd stopped. It wasn't just him carrying this burden now... As the woman went for the second sore, Levi found his voice
"Leave"
The command so loud that he jumped at the sound of his own voice
"Sire?"
"Leave. He's highly infectious. Now leave"
"Sir..."
"Leave the scale and leave"
"But..."
Narrowing his eyes, Levi's anger flared
"Leave, or it may cost you your lives!"
Apparently, death threats worked. His staff looking fearful as they placed down their medical equipment and backed away from him. He probably sounded insane, but he wasn't risking more people. Even if it meant hurting Eren by performing the procedure himself... Leaning down, Levi kissed Eren's cheek softly
"I'm so sorry. I know this is going to hurt... but this is what they did in Draecia for me, and it seemed to have helped... I love you so much. So very much, that I'd never wish the burden of this curse on you. I promise we will find a way, and I will set you free"

 

*
Watching Levi sleep, Eren couldn't stop his tears. He wasn't healing, but that didn't matter to the teen. What mattered was that since manifesting as Obsydin, Levi had fallen into an altered state. Obsydin didn't even need to lay a finger on him, his madness infecting Eren's mind as he played every painful moment of the youth's life on repeat until Eren had thought he would break. He tried his hardest to keep everything inside. To pretend his past was just that, the past. Yet Obsydin refused to let it rest until Eren lost control of himself and his magic. His magic had flared, slicing his skin open as he'd screamed in pain. He could feel the dragon in his mind, even when his eyes were open. He could hear the sounds of heavy breathing, right next to his ear, without anyone there. He could see shadows moving across his room, even in the dark of night. His heat was agonising, especially with his unconscious and unresponsive alpha laying in his bed. He knew he should get help or run as he'd promised, but he didn't know who to trust with Levi like this. He didn't even trust himself to leave the tower. Obsydin could easily put him into the same state Levi was in. Hell, he didn't even know if he was awake or asleep. This could all be a dream, yet feel so real because Obsydin wanted things this way. He was losing his grasp on reality and losing everything that made him, him.

When his body finally gave out, Eren woke to find himself in his bathroom, slumped over the side of the tub with a bloodied razor in his hands. He couldn't remember heading down to his bathroom, and the teen gagged at the sight in front of him. Flesh and scales had been carved from his body. His magic must have healed part of it, but his back ached as if the wounds were fresh. Tentatively, he raised a hand to his shoulder, sliding it down the blade as cried out. There was definitely something there... he could feel something wet and slippery... but couldn't make it out. Staggering off the floor and across the bathroom, he eyed his bathroom sink with as much confusion and disgust as he had the bathtub. Black-grey scales clogged the drain. Nearing hysteria all over again, Eren raised his face to look in the mirror. He looked as if he hadn't slept in a year, while his scales were... wrong. The smaller scales on the edges near his eyes were grey-green, while the rest looked brittle and unhealthy. Around his neck was a golden collar, which glowed as he ran his fingers over it. It was as if his own magic was rejecting the touch, his fingertips growing warm to point that if he hadn't pulled them back, he would have been burnt. He didn't want to see anymore, but he hadn't looked at his back. Turning, his body protested, his neck feeling incredibly stiff as he looked over his shoulders. Black scales now covered his shoulder blades and down what he could see of his back. The top ones looked as if they'd been hacked at, which would explain the blade. He'd fucked up. He'd fucked up so fucking badly...

"So this is where you are. You're defter than I gave you credit for, but alas, there's nowhere left for you to flee"
Eren whimpered at the sound of Obsydin's words from Levi's lips
"I never wanted this to be the way things turned out"
"Then why won't you give him back?!"
Choking on the question, Eren grabbed the bathroom sink before he could fall
"He is a means to an end. You are an obstacle. Why should I listen to an obstacle?"
"He's a human"
"Yes. His body is strong, but his mind... it's nearly as weak as yours. Do you want to know how many people your precious lover has killed?"
"Fuck off..."
With a wave of his hand, Eren was sent backwards into the wall. That answered that. This had to be a dream for Obsydin to be using any form of magic...
"I know you have manners. Swearing and cursing is no way to get what you want in life. It is the mark of a weak man, though I doubt you could get much weaker"
Striding over to him, Obsydin shoved one clawed hand straight into his belly. Eren screaming until the collar around his neck choked him into silence
"I thought you might be open. I thought you might understand. But you're just like the rest of them Eren Yeager. You spout that your actions are in peace, but in reality, you're a monster. Scared of the world despising you. They do. They hate you. They find you a freak, and what did you do that was so wrong? You merely existed. A life you never asked for. I saw your memories. Your friends don't even know you. Your lover doesn't even know you. I could have known you, but you're so pathetically human. Holding onto those weak mortal lives like they mean anything"
Eren grunted in pain as Obsydin pulled his claws from his stomach. His hands scrambling to cover the bleeding wounds
"Give up on this one. Walk away while you still can. When my true power awakens, he will cease to exist"
Stupidly, Eren still wanted to ask "why?". If Erwin was killed now, what did that change? It didn't bring Obsydin's family back. Nor did it bring him back to life. He was in a human body. The only magic he had access to was the sword, and Eren's through his dreams. So what good was this? It accomplished nothing at all. He just didn't get it. Obsydin didn't want a clutch. He didn't want world domination. He didn't seem to want anything but Erwin dead... Three years seemed an awfully long time to hold a grudge
"If you've seen my memories, and you've seen his, you know as a dragon I will never give up on my rider"
"Then there's nothing left to say. Humans were never meant to harness the power of the dragons. They are not your friends. Walk this path then you will die alone"
"Even if I die alone, I'll die knowing I did everything I could for the alpha I love"

Chapter Text

Snapping awake, Eren groaned as his aching head demanded he allow himself more than 5 seconds of dozing at a time. Levi was still unconscious. His boyfriend had been for the last week, since Eren had come out of his heat to find things in chaos. His body was burning, his dreams indeed made real. Wounds that refused to heal had grown infected across his stomach, while the new scales across his back felt tight and still. He'd bound his wounds, forced down herbal compounds, cleaned the best he could, but his heart was filled with concern for Levi. The alpha's fingers were long claws, his hair had grown slightly, and the look on his sleeping face was filled with pain. He'd written to Historia when he'd come out of his heat, yet that was a week and a half ago, with no word. Settling back down against Levi, Eren wrapped his arm back around his boyfriend's chest. Every day he'd spent hours just listening to Levi's heart beating, reconfirming that the man was still alive because he didn't know what else to do. He'd tried his magic, but nothing changed. He'd washed and bathed Levi. He'd forced water down his throat, and herbal teas to ease any pain his boyfriend might be feeling. He'd even tried sex... Levi had responded physically but hadn't roused. Eren felt ashamed for riding him, bringing him to climax and knot, without his magic flaring to heal or wake his alpha...

"Eren?"
Pushing himself up, Eren rearranged Levi into his lap protectively. Armin had been the first to seek them out when they hadn't left the tower after a week, he knew Armin wouldn't hurt Levi, but with the alpha so vulnerable, his instincts to protect his lover had gone haywire. With Eren not leaving Levi's side for longer then trips to the bathroom or trips to the kitchen to brew fresh teas, Armin was the one making sure he ate. His friend was angered that he wouldn't rest, but as long as he ate, he wasn't so bad
"No change?"
"No, he still won't wake..."
Carrying the tray of food he held over to the side of the bed, Armin placed it by Eren's side
"Levi was asking after him. The whole castle doesn't know what to do"
"I don't either. I've written to Historia. My magic does nothing... and I can't feel anything through our bond"
"You really should rest. You look terrible"
Eren groaned. They'd had this conversation. He didn't want to sleep because he didn't want to miss Levi waking, or to slip into the same state as his alpha. Who would help Levi if he wasn't there?
"I can't. You know I can't..."
"Sleeping when you collapse isn't ok. He wouldn't want this for you"
"Then he can fucking wake up and tell me that himself"
Sighing softly, Armin rubbed his face. He really shouldn't be taking his mood out on his friend. Armin had patiently listened as he'd explained that Levi was infected by bad magic, which had passed to him and caused the changes that had upset his friend so much... He'd also kept Erwin from sending healers in, and kept Mikasa at bay
"You've heard nothing from Historia"
"No. I don't know what to do anymore. I wake, sleep and pray for him to wake... I'm about ready to take him to Draecia and beg for their help. The kingdom needs their prince"
"And you need your alpha. You seriously look ill"
Grey dirtied his scales, while the ones on his back were grey. His complexion was sickly thanks to his messed up stomach. Without thinking, his free hand went to his stomach
"It's fine"
"Have you changed your bandages today?"
"No. I fell asleep..."
Armin rolled his eyes. Eren already knew how shit he looked and didn't need to be reminded
"Let me guess, you panicked the moment you woke?"
"Of course I fucking did! He's not getting better!"
Shaking his head, Eren regretted his second outburst. Armin being the Saint he was, simply brushed his mood off
"Look. Lay him back down. I'll get the dressings and ointments ready, then we'll do your bandages. I know you're worried, but you need to look after yourself"
Eren sighed at Armin, trying to make an attempt for his friend's sake
"Great. Now you're starting to sound like him"
"Maybe he's smarter than I gave him credit for... I really can't believe I didn't see it sooner. When I think about it, it was so obvious. All those looks. The way he lights up when with you. The time spent together in the royal library..."
"Armin, you're not making this better"
"I'm just saying... I don't know what I'm saying"
"That's obvious, and what happens when you spend too much time with Hanji"
"She's certainly... taxing. She's been wanting to visit. I told her you're keeping the door locked with magic. I don't think she believes me"
"Probably not. She has been in here before"
"Levi wants an update... Are you sure the castle mages can't do anything?"
"I'm certain. The only ones who can help are in Draecia"
He'd tried moving the sword closer to Levi in an act of desperation, but that hadn't worked either. He'd also thought of flying out to the peninsula in the hope of meeting with a dragon there that could relay a message to Historia, yet he didn't want to risk things getting back to Rod
"Then I'll write. I'll make Historia understand"
"Armin, Historia understands. If she can't come, it's because of her father. That means all we can do is wait for him to wake"
"Then I'll ask Levi... or Hanji. You're suffering Eren. You're my best friend and your suffering... it's not right"
Armin teared up, Eren wishing he wasn't the cause of his friend's pain. Armin didn't know it, but he'd do anything for him, even before he found out Armin was a prince
"It's ok. You're right. I should do my bandages, but I want to air the bed too. Can you help me move him? If he lays in bed, he risked bed sores. I need to do his exercises too, so he doesn't wake up even weaker"
"Of course. Anything you need"
What he needed was for Levi to wake, but the only person who could give him that was Levi himself.

*
It was hard not to give up hope. Eren had moved Levi back to his quarters, while the castle had descended into mourning, despite the fact Levi hadn't passed. The air in the castle felt colder, the days longer and the shadows more numerous. He couldn't remember the last time someone had laughed or smiled. He couldn't remember the last time the sun shone through the windows. Though he hadn't given up on his boyfriend, Eren had been forced to rest by Hanji. The cold of the castle and lingering infection in his wounds had led to him falling ill, as Armin had feared it would. Hanji had cried over the scarred and poorly healing wounds on his body, while Eren felt he couldn't feel anything about them anymore. He didn't understand it. No matter how many hours he spent sleeping, he couldn't connect to Levi or Obsydin. He was supposed to be bonded with them both, yet he couldn't find his way to them. Each day he spent was sitting beside Levi, holding his hand in a kind of daze. Hours would pass, and he wouldn't process a thing. Always jumping when he found either Hanji or Erwin sitting at the dining table watching them.

It'd been three long weeks of Levi sleeping before Historia finally came. The weather outside the castle matched his mood, the storm most probably summoned by his magic without his intent. Sitting with Levi propped up in his arms, he'd once again zoned out, not noticing Historia's presence until warm arms were thrown around him with a sob. Growling in warning, it was her scent finally filled his senses that he came too. His voice rough, and throat sore
"Historia?"
"I'm so sorry! I wanted to come much sooner, but I was unable to. Oh, Eren. I'm so sorry"
From feeling nothing, his emotions slammed into him like a brick wall. Awkwardly he pulled her closer as he started to cry. Finally. Finally, someone who could help Levi, unlike his useless self
"I'm so sorry. My father lost his mind, and I couldn't leave Draecia. Please, forgive me. I wanted to come the moment I got your letter"
"He won't wake... I can't reach him anymore"
"I know. Armin wrote, as did Erwin. Though his was somewhat harder to understand. I've brought Maria with me. Can we look at him?"
"Historia... I'm infected. The spell made everything worse... you can't use your magic on him"
"The light's too dim in here. Do you mind if we make things a little brighter?"
He didn't even realise it was night, his head felt foggy, while the tears wouldn't stop
"Historia..."
"It's ok. I can feel it. I understand. Maria, Eren's sick and wounded. Will you please see to him while I tend to Levi?"
Burying his face against Historia's neck, Eren shook his head. He didn't matter. Levi mattered
"Can't lose him, 'storia"
"I know. I know, and we're finally here. I'm sorry for arriving so late"

Maria lifted Levi out Eren's arms, while Historia helped Eren from the bed. His arse numb from the hours of sitting and holding Levi. Laying Levi down, Maria made sure the alpha was settled before giving Historia a nod. Standing awkwardly, Eren wanted to climb back into bed and curl into Levi's side. The warmth his lover still held was deeply missed, and without Levi in his arms, Eren felt incredibly small. His lover had been his world for the better part of the last month, and now he was being moved aside. Historia may be the answers to his prayers, but that didn't mean she held all the answers.

Casting lights to hover near the ceiling, Eren was sitting in front of the fireplace as Maria assessed the degree of infection. No. Infection wasn't the right world. This was a curse. Everything had gone to shit since the sword had been drawn. Starting with the gold collar around his neck, Maria was now touching the scales across his spine, her lack of comment did nothing for his nerves, nor did the way Historia was poking at Levi. He knew she wouldn't risk infection, but to him, it looked as if she was performing all the basic tests Hanji had. Tests that had led to nothing
"Eren, I need you to stay still"
He hadn't even realised he was moving
"Sorry, Maria. How bad does it look?"
"These scales aren't a good sign. The collar is clearly made with dragon magic, yet I can't get a feel for the spell in place. Have you noticed anything? Anything at all?"
"My magic won't heal either of us"
She hadn't made it to his stomach yet
"Yes. I gathered that much. I mean, have you noticed anything not quite right. Maybe hearing things? Or seeing things?"
Eren blinked, before nodding. He'd tried to forget it, in favour of worrying over Levi
"In Obsydin's dream during my heat. I thought I was going crazy. I still do. I can't tell if this is just him tormenting me in a new dream, or if I'm really awake. He showed me my mother dying, and some other things over and over..."
"You mentioned the spell made it worse?"
"Obsydin... He said I bound part of my soul to him. We managed to shut him away, but by doing so, Levi couldn't tell that the spell to hold him was growing weaker. At this stage, I'm just as infected as Levi, and the dream I gave up was for nothing"
Eren found himself pulled into Maria's hold. Maria was nicer than her sisters, but this felt like a hug from a mother, not a friend
"It wasn't for nothing. It was for love. As Historia said, we wished to come sooner, but Rod has been acting more and more unstable. I'm sorry for your clutch"
"What Maria means is, my father was caught beating one of the maids and yelling that he'd never given her orders, which he had. He's jumping at shadows and has locked the manor down, fearing that Obsydin will destroy Draecia. Now, for Levi, The infection has indeed grown worse. I fear without magic, I am unable to help him. But, I'm hesitant to try. Even with our combined magic, and that piece of your soul wasn't enough to fully restrain him"
"We can't leave him like this"
"I didn't say that. I want to see the wounds he inflicted on you"

Maria moved to Levi, while Historia had Eren stand so she could unwrap his bandaged stomach, cringing when the wounds were revealed
"Obsydin did all of these?"
"The smaller ones were done by me. They've healed more than the other ones, but nowhere near normal"
Moving him closer to the fire, Historia then pulled one of the small floating lights down, to illuminate the wounds better
"I can see shards of black in the dried blood. I think the reason you're not healing, is because traces of claw remain in the wounds"
"He said he'd leave me broken and bloodied. He was so fucking mad that I'd tried to seal him... but then he said he wouldn't lay with me, as he had no interest in laying with another's lover"
"He didn't want a clutch?"
"It doesn't seem like it. He wants to end the Smith line, but he easily could have done that already. I don't know what he wants"
"To be honest, I was sure it was a clutch. I was sure he was looking to be reborn"
"He said he'd be reborn in Levi, but a human body is no good to him. Levi can't do magic, though Obsydin can manipulate my magic in my dreams"
"And the sword?"
"It's still encased in the scales. Obsydin broke through when Levi knotted me at the start of... mating"
"This is confusing. Given we don't make notes as you do, we don't know his history. I do know of an older dragon, but he's been in isolation for years. His partner was killed by Marley, so he turned his back on humanity and now lives in a forest on the mainland. From what I've heard, he's nearly 250 years old, but that may just be a rumour, or he may have already passed"
"Could he help?"
"He's an earth dragon. Possibly his nature magic could ease the symptoms... We've never encountered anything like this, so it's all speculation"
"Historia, it's been three weeks. Everyone in the castle thinks he won't survive. I can't... I can't even keep up with the days anymore. My head just feels so empty. If not for Armin and Hanji forcing me to eat, I would forget to do that too"
"You feel empty because your rider is in a coma. I know he is the face of the prince, but it may be better if we removed him from the castle. Your mages have filled the place with their spells and magic, and traces of yours also linger. There may be magic in place to keep threats contained? But I'm not sure..."
It was weird to hear Historia so serious and disheartened. Normally she found a way back to optimism no matter what. He'd relied on her for help, and she had none to offer. Other than a potential waste of time
"Historia, if this dragon can help, then I have to go. He would do the same for me. I know he would. What other choice do we have? I can't connect with him in his dreams, nor is Obsydin talking to me. I'll visit every single dragon in the world if it means finding a way to save him"
"And what about you? Levi wouldn't like you to wear yourself out"
"I don't care. I just... I can't live like this. We spent a year apart, and since my return, everything has been one thing after another. I didn't come back, just for him to die. I lost my clutch, and he helped birth it. He stepped up and he helped. He held my hand, and did everything he could, even though I hurt him. He's always been there for me. Always encouraged me. Always let me do what I needed, no matter if it hurt him in the process. If I can't be there for him now, what good am I?"
"Eren, you're sweet and kind. You're also angry and quick to jump in when someone you care for is harmed, without considering all options. You know not all dragons welcome humans. Let alone two infected by the worst dragon to ever live"
"I don't care. If they won't listen, I'll make them listen. His people need him, and they need him more than he needs me"
"Maria, can you fetch Erwin from the hall. We all need to be present for this conversation. Also, I need a blade, hot water and towels. These wounds need to be opened so the scale particles can be removed"

Laying on the bed beside Levi, Eren was holding his alpha's hand as Historia and Maria whispered back and forth about the wounds on his stomach. It'd be easier if Eren was unconscious, but he didn't want to be put under. On Levi's other side, Erwin was staring down at the man, still processing the conversation they'd just had. Historia had shown him where to find the dragon she'd mentioned, but getting there would be a dangerous trip. They'd have to leave at night and risk flying over Marley unless they took the longer detour, which he wasn't prepared to do. The sooner they reached their destination, the sooner Levi could get help. Flinching as Historia made the first cut, Eren gripped Levi's hand tighter
"I know. I'm sorry"
"It's fine. It's for him, so it's fine"
Clearing his throat, Erwin's voice seemed to tremble slightly
"I thought Eren giving up his ability to have children made this spell permanent"
"No. We'd hoped so. Maybe if Levi's rut could have been suppressed, things may have been different"
"Well, what about the sword? Can't we just destroy it?"
"Not now that he's inside both Levi and Eren, and not with both their souls being tied to it. If it doesn't kill them outright, it may cause irreversible changes in them"
"So there's a chance it also might not?"
"Eren is likely to die. We took the part of his soul responsible for new life and tied it to the sword. It's part of him now, and the reason he's come down with black scales that cannot be removed. As the infection deepens, his green scales will blacken. As you've seen, his facial scales have already begun to grey"
"Eldia can't lose Levi"
"Then perhaps it's time you stepped into the role of prince. Even if dragons do offer aid, that doesn't mean the journey will be a short one, or an easy one"
"My parents..."
"Were killed. You spent your whole adult life looking for the culprits, only to find nothing. No move was made against Levi as prince. It's time to give up knowing the truth, and time to lead your people"
Eren was impressed Historia could call Erwin out like this. Erwin really must be worried for Levi to be listening to her so patiently
"I can't merely step into the role of prince"
"Then step in as acting prince in Levi's stead. Let me make this clear, if they cannot find a way to deal with this infection, Levi will die. His madness will infect the castle before people lose all control of themselves"
"All this, from a sword"
"From a sword made of slain dragon"
"It's a curse... Things have been shit since it was drawn"
Historia shot him a scowl
"You need to stay still"
"I'm sorry if it fucking hurts"
"You had your scales plucked from your face and your soul severed. You can survive a little stabbing"
"For a healer, your bedside manner is awful"
"We both know you appreciate the truth"
"The truth sucks"
"That it does. Now, Erwin, what will you do?"
"I don't know..."
"So you'll let your country fall apart?"
"Of course not"
"Then you'll take on being prince. Without a royal heir, the role would fall to you"
"It feels as if I'm disrespecting Levi. He's not even dead and we're moving on"
"Eldia needs a leader. Eren mentioned Zeke was less than impressed with everything during his last visit. If it's not seen as strong, they may use this time to launch an attack"
"I know that. Maybe if you'd come sooner, things would haven't escalated this far"
"Yes. Well. If we had come sooner, it's very likely my father would have destroyed your country by now. As it is, I had to leave Ymir at home so he wouldn't be suspicious"
Ah... so that's where Ymir was. He'd kind of hoped she'd be here as he missed her
"He doesn't know you're here?"
"No. He thinks Maria and I are busy elsewhere"
Which meant a whole lot of shit if Historia was caught sneaking back in. Eren sighed unhappily
"It's fine. I don't think I'll be infected provided I don't use my magic on your wounds"
"I didn't want you to get into trouble"
"And I told you no talking. The more you talk, the longer this will take"
"My magic isn't even trying to heal me. You've got plenty of time to cut me open"
"Yes, well. You can't make things easy, can you?"
"No"
"You'll need to pack too. Into something light, as you don't know how long you'll be gone for"
"Yeah... I've thought about that too..."

Hushing him, Historia went to work on his wounds, as he faded in and out. It hurt, but it grew to a very distant pain, though it was a pain that spread throughout his body. His head starting to throb as if he could feel his heartbeat in it
"Historia?"
"I'm nearly done"
"My head feels funny... something's wrong"
"Just hold on a little longer"
"I don't know if I can..."
"You can and you will"
"I don't think it works that way"
"Don't you dare fall asleep"
"I'm not going to"
"Good. I'm nearly done, and once I am, there's just one more thing to do"

Eren was confused. The increasing throbbing in his head was now being accompanied by a ringing in his ears. There was plenty left to do. He and Levi couldn't just leave. Feeling the pressure being lifted off his belly, Eren's eyes fluttered open. He couldn't even remember closing them, but it was much more likely he'd just passed out for a few moments
"Historia?"
Raising the blade above her head, Historia stabbed down so hard that the handle was forced into the wound
"You need to wake up"

Chapter Text

Levi was frustrated. He was frustrated with a certain male omega who'd been coughing nonstop in his sleep, yet hadn't woken. Sometimes Eren would moan or mumble in his sleep, but that was as close to waking as he'd come. Sitting by Eren's beside had grown tiresome. There were only so many times he could wipe Eren's fevered brow, or change the sweat-soaked sheets before it grew repetitive. Eren needed to wake the fuck up and tell him what the fuck was so good about dreaming for so damn long. It was rude and cruel, and Levi had had just about enough rudeness to last him a lifetime.

With Eren pulling his sleeping beauty stunt, Levi was left to adjust to things alone. After the first week in the infirmary, the teen had then been moved back to Levi's private quarters. The world didn't stop, just because Eren was sick, and Historia has seemingly abandoned them. Some kind of correspondence would have been appreciated. The teen's pneumonia wasn't getting better, the coughs wracking Eren's frail looking body while stinking up the space with the sickly-sweet stench of a sick omega. Thanks to his agitation, Levi's had changed, which could only be blamed on Obsydin. His fingernails were now permanently black, and no matter how many times he trimmed his hair, it'd always grow longer as he slept. Aside from that, he found himself hearing voices only to find no one was around, or he'd find himself freezing cold all of a sudden, with no reason at all. If Eren would just wake up already, the omega could tell him what the hell was going on.

 

*
Leaving Armin and Hanji watching Eren, Levi was mid-penning another letter to Historia when the sky outside the window darkened. Erwin rushing to the window before he'd even risen from his desk in the sunroom. It wasn't as if Levi liked leaving Eren to sleep alone, but if he didn't keep moving while he still could, he felt as if his chances would only grow smaller as the infection inside of him grew. It'd become harder and harder to stay focused upon paperwork for hours. Each time he grew agitated, the desire to burn the whole lot grew. Growling at Erwin for carelessly rushing to the window, Levi rose from behind his desk, walking over to the man before basically shoving him aside. Gripping the windowsill, he felt an anger swell inside of him at the sight of the dragon outside
"Levi?"
"What the fuck are they doing here?"
"You did write"
"To Historia. That is not Ymir. That's Rod's pet bitch, Maria"
The words came from his mouth without his control. Personally, he didn't actually mind Maria. She'd been of aid in Draecia
"Levi, maybe you should wait here while I greet them?"
"What? So you can bitch to her before they see me? This is my castle, Erwin. You made it this way, so you have no say over my actions"
"That's not it at all. You know you've changed, you know..."
"I am still me. If they're here to wake Eren up, I'm sure as fuck going to make sure they do their jobs"
As Erwin placed his hand on Levi's shoulder, Levi slapped him off. His nails catching across the back of the alpha's hand, tearing through the flesh easily. Looking to the wound with a tinge of guilt, Levi turned away quickly
"Do something about your hand, while I see what they think they're doing here"

By the time he reached the courtyard, Historia and Maria were there. Historia letting out a small gasp when she set eyes on him. He'd changed, but not that much... Then again, Historia could probably see every little change. Recovering herself, Historia held her head as she and Maria walked across the courtyard
"Prince Erwin, I'm sincerely sorry we couldn't come sooner"
Levi sighed. He wasn't in the mood for politeness
"I suppose you were too busy to come to the aid of someone like Eren. He's near death, you know"
Levi's tone was cold, but Historia didn't shy away
"As I said, I am sorry we couldn't come sooner. As it is, Ymir needed to say behind to keep the peace"
"Rod has been on edge since Obsydin was revived, finding his daughter was pregnant, didn't go over terribly well"
"Maria, this isn't about me. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry about the loss of Eren's clutch. I know how much he wanted children with you someday"
So Ymir had gone and knocked Historia up. Good for her... or congratulations... or whatever. It was just something else that he and Eren couldn't have...
"Yes. Well. He's barren, and we can't change that. He's currently in my quarters. Hanji or Armin is most likely tending to him"
"You haven't been?"
"There's not much I can do when he won't wake up. I still have a castle and kingdom to manage"
"He's your dragon"
"And he's been like this for weeks. He's still got pneumonia. He's still got wounds that won't heal. He still stinks of sickness and I have tried everything I can think of to wake him the fuck up. But I still need to keep the castle functioning. I need to keep the kingdom running. I can't sit there and play nursemaid to him when he obviously doesn't want to wake up"
"Levi. How long have you been like this?"
"Like what?"
"Cold. Eren is your dragon, yet you've left him to suffer alone. He'd never leave your side"
"Don't you think I know that?! But I can't waste my time sitting by his side, all day and every day"
The castle wasn't going to run its self. The soldiers weren't going to keep in line. The deliveries weren't going to magically keep running smoothly without the quality and quantity being triple checked before payment was made. He couldn't just stop replying to correspondence
"I understand. Please show us through to Eren"

Erwin hadn't stayed put in the sunroom like he was supposed to. Hanji and Armin had left, while the blond alpha was standing at the end of Levi's bed. Glaring at the man, Erwin ignored him
"Historia. Thank you for coming. We've all been worried about Eren"
"Thank you for having us. Maria and I can't stay very long, my father hasn't been himself since Obsydin... well, you know. But I couldn't turn my back on Eren"
"Our mages say his magic isn't healing him, and he's still suffering from pneumonia"
Who was Erwin, to be talking about Eren like they were on good terms?!
"I can feel his pain. Maria, can you help me here? I need to examine him"
"Is there anything I can do?"
Levi snorted
"You've got one arm. Just how do you intend to help?"
"Ignore him. He's been an absolute arsehole of late"
"Erwin, know your place. You should be in the sunroom dealing with the correspondence. I never told you to join us"
"Someone has to be here to talk to Historia. The only time you spend in this room is to sleep, or to glare at Eren"
"I wouldn't have to glare at him if he'd wake the fuck up"

"Gentlemen, I think I've had enough of both your attitudes. It's clear that Levi is being affected by Obsydin's personality, both physically and mentally. I can feel the malice coming for you. Prince Erwin, we may need to strip Eren naked, so for now, would mind please waiting in the hall? I wish to confer with you more, once we have assessed Eren's current situation"
"No worries at all, Maria. Please let me know if you change your mind"
Erwin brushed past him as he left, the man not caring when he growled. How long had they been alone? And had Erwin dared to touch Eren? If Erwin wanted to act like the fucking Prince, and just let himself into castle rooms, he could man up and be the damned prince
"Levi, can you please fetch some hot water and towels? Maria, we need some light in here. I'll be trusting your magic, as he does need healing by the feel of it"

Ignored by the two women as they got to work, Levi watched their every move. There wasn't much else he could do. Eren's back was covered in scales, which he knew. The teen had wounds across his stomach, which he knew. His scales on his face had shifted colour... which, again, he knew. Eren was sick. No. You don't fucking say. It was beginning to feel like a waste of time. They weren't telling him anything new at all. He couldn't fucking take it
"Well. What's wrong with him? Why isn't he waking?"
Historia looked up to him
"His mind is stuck. It's not as if he doesn't want to wake, it's that he can't"
That's what generally happened when someone was in a coma
"These wounds, have more appeared while he's been like this?"
"Not after the first week. There was a small explosion in the infirmary, then fresh marks appeared"
"He's in surprisingly good health despite everything else. I'm going to reach out and see if I can get more of a read on his mental state"
"What mental state? He's asleep"
"He's dreaming. We know Obsydin manipulates dreams. It's most likely that wherever Eren is, he believes himself to be awake"
"And you're going to wake him up? Aren't you supposed to be pregnant? This infection spreads"
"It's either that, or I give up. There's tainted magic clinging to the sores across his stomach. They'll need to be cleaned properly. Once they are, I'll focus my magic into giving him a little boost, which should hopefully align his dragon magic and allow him to wake"
So Historia was happy to push herself this far, and risk her clutch, for Eren? Were they really just friends? A year was a long time to be apart, and Eren had always written fondly of Historia
"Why would you go this far, for him?"
Scrunching her beautiful brow, Historia was clearly confused
"What do you mean?"
"Eren. He's my dragon, yet you're happy to risk your clutch for him"
"Eren went through a lot to try and seal the infection within the sword. I don't think anyone who witnessed his struggle would turn a blind eye"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It's a dragon thing"
"So you never slept with him?"
"Of course not. He is in love with you"
"You don't need to be in love to fuck"
"Levi, these thoughts are not your own. Eren would never cheat on you"
"Right. Just like he'd never suddenly be infertile. That clutch came out of nowhere. He hid it completely and didn't want me to know. Why else would he hide it, if he hadn't cheated?"
"That's not it at all!"
"Right. Sure. It's a dragon thing"
"It... it's complicated"
"What's so complicated about fucking someone else?"
A warm satisfaction came from the words leaving his lips. He didn't know where all this was stemming from, only that he didn't seem to be able to stop himself
"He never cheated on you"
"Like you'd tell me if he did. Whatever you do, try not to kill him off. He's the public lover of the prince. We need to keep appearances up"
"Levi, that's not it at all. Eren wanted children with you"
"Sure he did. That's why he left"
Historia climbed off the edge of the bed, looking about as scary as an angry kitten
"Historia..."
"No, Maria. I will not have him disrespecting Eren. Not after everything, Eren did for him"
"And what did he do for me? He failed at sealing the sword and got himself into trouble, only to lose the clutch"
"He didn't get himself into trouble. He didn't know he was pregnant"
Historia let out a small gasp, covering her mouth. Levi's eyes widened as he clenched his hands into fists. His nails cutting into his palms so deeply blood began to fill his hands
"That's not what I meant"
"He was pregnant"
"No. Yes. Please, it's not what you think. Can you wait until I've tended to him, then we can discuss this?"
"What's to discuss? I was fucking a whore"
Marching over to him, Historia slapped him hard across the face
"Eren gave up his clutch to seal the sword, you stupid bastard. He didn't know he was pregnant at the time, but he did it because it was for you and you're all he cares for. Now either shut up or leave us. Your presence here is too unsettling for such delicate magic"
Straightening up, Levi ran a bloody hand through his hair
"He gave up his clutch. What a load of shit"
"Historia speaks the truth. Eren broke part of his soul to seal the sword. He took his biggest dream and decided you meant more. That spell was sealed with his soul and should have held, but it didn't. You're infected and acting irrationally because of it, but Eren is also infected. He's trapped in his own head because he's infected. Yet you stand there, and you insult him while knowing nothing. It's because of you he can't have children. The magic aborted the clutch, yet they still grew inside of him. He wasn't hiding it from you to hurt you. He was hiding it from you to protect you"

Levi felt as if he'd been shoved back against the wall. His head smacking against it, yet he couldn't remember moving. Eren had done that... for him? His omega... had done that for him. He'd done that, but he didn't understand why it didn't hurt as bad as he felt it should. Raising a hand to grip his chest, his alpha was yelling at him to feel something. To do something. This was their ome