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Armin Arlert had had jobs before. Since the year he turned 16, he‘d held down small jobs around the neighborhood expertly. He served as a dog walker, lawn trimmer, house sitter, you name it, and he’d probably done it. Once those jobs became dull though, he decided to embark on a new adventure: customer service.

That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two was fooling himself into believing he could actually survive working in a drive-in restaurant where food was required to be delivered on skates.

It was no secret that Armin wasn’t athletic or particularly coordinated, yet he’d somehow convinced himself that he could manage just fine, and lied on the application saying he knew exactly how to balance on wheels while carrying trays of food which probably weighed more than he did.

Boy, was he full of crap.

By some form of a miracle, if one could call it a miracle, Armin was hired as a carhop at Sasha’s Place just a week after submitting the application.

The owner had been a sweet girl. A little overly enthusiastic and seemingly always hungry, but sweet nonetheless. Apparently, Armin had been just the type of employee she was looking for: driven and quiet about her eating habits.

He took the compliment for what it was worth.

 

He started three days after being hired.

Training was a crash course that took place within a time span of five minutes, led by Sasha, toting a small carton of fries, and a small blonde woman with a drive-thru speaker wrapped around the shell of her ear. Historia, her name tag read.

She did most of the talking while Sasha nodded along enthusiastically.

“Alright, Armin,” Historia spoke quietly, but her voice carried a sort of power that demanded respect. Armin liked her from the start. “There’s not really much to this job. You’ll be doing two things primarily.” She motioned the contraption on her ear. “You’ll be taking orders and delivering them. That’s your entire job description.”

Leaning forward, she wrapped her hand around Armin’s thin wrist and tilted her head towards the door that led into what Armin thought to be the kitchen. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to everyone, okay? And don’t look so nervous,” she smiled and nodded enthusiastically, “you’re gonna be great.”

Ten painful minutes later, Armin found himself with his arms filled with a brand new apron and skates just his size. His stomach squeezed until it was approximately the size of a pea. 

Regret.

He felt regret.

 

The start of his shift was mercifully uneventful, and mostly filled with him wobbling around the minuscule indoor dining area, clutching tables, chairs, and trashcans to narrowly avoid death every time his feet slipped from under him.

The bliss of the morning calm came to an abrupt end once the lunch crowd began, showing up in droves. Cars peeled into the over-sized parking lot of Sasha's in parades. It was a relatively new establishment and hadn't yet lost it's appeal as a hot spot in town.

Unfortunately.

The kitchen exploded into a bustling, frantic madhouse as soon as orders began pouring in. Waiters and waitresses maneuvered the crowded floor with ease, speaking to customers through their headsets in chipper voices as they took orders as though it was their second nature.

Armin felt perfectly fine just watching the others work around one another. They worked like clockwork. They carried their weight evenly like a colony of ants sharing a common goal. It was comfortable to watch.

He felt his heart drop somewhere between his knees when his own headset buzzed. 

Was it too late to quit?

"H-Hello?"

He spoke quietly into the mic positioned just below his mouth. He worked his lower lip nervously between violently gnawing teeth.

"Hey, man," the reply he received was pleasant, riding on the tail end of a soft chuckle. 

"How can I, uh, are you ready to order?"

Armin could feel his face rapidly heating. A nervous sweat had broken out just under her hairline. He could practically feel the smirk on the other end of the mic. 

"I am," the man said, pretending Armin was good at his job. 

As he ordered, Armin quickly wrote on the pad before him in neat, looping letters. The list felt like it went on forever, and with each new item Armin wanted to ask how exactly the customer figured he'd be able to carry it all. 

Wisely, he kept his mouth closed until the mile long receipt came to an end. 

"Um, is- that'll be all then?" He struggled to find secure footing as he received an affirmative from his first customer. 

Sliding to the kitchen proved to be simple enough, receipt firmly placed in hand. Placing the receipt where Historia had told him to also proved to be an easy task as well. Watching the colossal man behind the grill  and his fellow servers eased his mind slightly.

If they can do it, I can to, right? I can be like them. His inner voice spoke firmly . He lifted his chin slightly higher and stood a little straighter when a particularly angry looking man, Reiner, handed off two trays of food with a concerned glint in his eyes.

"You sure you got all this, kid?" His question was harmless, but the imaginary confidence Armin had built for himself felt the sting of doubt.

"Yeah!" He tried to sound more gleeful than irritated. "I can do this. Thanks though. I appreciate the concern." He nodded, offered a smile, and spun (wiggled) around to face the exit door.

I can be like them, he reminded himself. Plastering a painfully toothy smile on his face and he tried his best to glide gracefully out of the establishment. 

 

It was going so well.

It was going so damn well. 

He'd made it past the bump of the doors threshold, over the bumpy sidewalk, and he'd even managed to get over the curb of the sidewalk seemingly effortlessly. Everything went to hell when he looked up and caught a glimpse of the man waiting for him, car window wide open with his head sticking out. He wore a bright smile as he waved Armin over. The female in the passengers seat seemed less than thrilled to be seated beside the spectacle. 

It was a pebble that caused his ultimate demise. It had lodged itself right in the spokes of one of his eight wheels and stopped him dead in his tracks. 

Armin lost his grip on the trays as he instinctively grabbed the young man's car for support.

For one torturous second that lasted lightyears too long, he and the customer made eye contact. His eyes, the color of sea foam, stared at him in wide eyed shock.

"It's my first-" Though his fingers clasped the open window firmly, he failed to stay in place as the devil pebble fell away from his skates and he slipped, once again, allowing him to fall face first onto the pavement. "It's my first day..." 

His groan was lost midst the sea of laughter, shouting, and the sound of an army of skating figures coming to his rescue. He was pretty sure he could feel blood trickling from his nose as he was hoisted onto his feet by Reiner and the freckled boy who's name started with an M or was it a C? He couldn't remember. His right cheek hurt a lot worse than it ordinarily did.

Embarrassment clutched at him. The realization that he wasn't as good as his colleagues gripped him, squeezing every ounce of drive out of him like a vice as he was dragged back into the safety of Sasha's. Despite his better judgement, Armin looked back at the car, now covered in food and soft drinks and winced. The passenger had apparently taken control and was speaking to Sasha as Armin was rolled away. The exchange seemed peaceful enough, the driver remained steadfast in his seat, arms folded over his face, eyebrows titled downward in intense concentration. Suddenly, though, he looked upright, those eyes pierced straight through Armin and he covered his face quickly, shuffling inside as fast as his aching body would let him.

In the back of his mind, he cursed himself for his bad luck and lack of coordination. He also crushed his own self worth by considering how absolutely stupid it was for him to even consider a job like this. A job where people depended on him. He was so stupid. 

Stupid. Worthless. Nearly literal dead weight. 

With resignation in mind, Armin began to tug at the strings on the back of his apron when there was a heavy thump on the table he sat at.

Through bleary eyes, he looked up slowly. Sasha smirked down at him, snack in hand. He instantly recognized the item in her hand and scrunched his nose.

"Sasha, w-where did you get that?"

She giggled, "I didn't pick it up off the ground, if that's what you're wondering." She bit into the flour tortilla and spoke past the food, "this was a salvaged item. Saved by chance because it stayed on a tray."

They sat in silence for prolonged moments. Armin fiddling with the edged of his, now scuffed, name tag as Sasha laid back on the table she'd plopped down on, staring at the ceiling.

"You shouldn't feel bad, you know," she said, followed by a forced swallowing noise. "Everyone messes up at some point. I mean, come on, you're on wheels. Shit's hard."

Armin nodded both in agreement and in an attempt to prove her was listening without having to speak. His throat felt too constricted for all that. He didn't want to cry. Not on his first day. That last time he'd cried at work was when his neighbor's dog had broken into a run and dragged him into a murky pond. He was not having a repeat of that episode.

"You're not fired if that's what you're worried about." She sat up immediately, her wide brown eyes stared straight ahead, focused on nothing in particular aside from the large neon menu. "And, if that's not what you're worried about, I'm gonna need you to cheer up by tomorrow. We don't need any Sulky Sallys around here. Got me?"

Armin nodded again, a little reluctantly, before making eye contact with his boss once again. "You're sure you want to keep me? I mean I understand if you let me go; I m-"

He was interrupted by a hand snaking its way into his hair, ruffling it in a friendly manner. "Shut up, man," she smiled and pounced off the table, landing lightly on her feet, pony tail bobbing on impact. "See you tomorrow, bright and early, yeah?"

Humming, Armin stripped himself of his skates and apron. "Tomorrow," he agreed.

His heart sank at the thought of having to return.

 

Though he wouldn't admit to it, he'd spent the entire night mulling over three things, how incredibly lucky he was to have Sasha as a merciful god, how much practicing wouldn't actually help him fend against rogue pebbles, and how vividly he remembered the intensity in those sea foam green eyes.

The walk to work was mental torture, and standing by the time clock with his punch card in hand was the very definition or miserable hell.

While fighting the urge to bash his head against the nearest wall, Historia glided towards him effortlessly, seemingly floating along the ground like some sort of angel. 

"Hey there, Armin," her smile was dazzling and her voice was soft in a friendly sort of way. He could've melted into that voice and the comfort in it. 

He barely managed a wave past is mortification. It was impossible to actually look at her directly knowing she'd seen his entire scene unfold. 

She pressed a hand firmly on his back and pressed her lips together. "It gets better. You know, before I had this job, I worked as a waitress at a fish restaurant. Well, I tripped once when I was serving a table, and spilled an entire pot of coffee right into this older woman's purse. I got to learn that it was real leather, because it didn't drip a single drop. Instead, it was swelled up to the size of the Goodyear blimp."

Armin found himself smiling and rubbed at his eyes half heartedly. 

"The point is," she continued, "that you just keep getting better. You move on. You mess up and you accept it and you move on. That's the only way to get anywhere."

She swiped her time card and pulled him by the wrist into the kitchen where Bertholdt greeted them with a timid wave. In return, she gave him a massive hug and a cheeky smile. "Good morning, Bertl."

They spoke animatedly as others began to filter in, all of them avoiding mentioning any kind of kitchen mishaps, spills and otherwise.

Armin was so unbelievably grateful to them all. 

 

This day went much like the previous one before the great disaster, except instead of sitting around watching the others, Armin did his best to keep up with the rest. He still slipped up occasionally and found himself clutching countertops and hanging racks to save himself from hitting the hard tile floor, but he was getting slightly better. He felt slightly less like a useless bump on the log. 

Mess up, accept it, move on. That was his motto of the day.

It repeated in his head and reverberated through his skull every time he made a mistake and could spot the well hidden irritation in his co workers faces. When lunch orders began to pile in, the real threat of crumbling set in. Armin basically remained strapped to Historia's side as he waited for his own impending doom, a buzz on his earpiece.

As he waited, he listened contently to the buzzing coming from the smaller girl's own drive-thru set up. When her face contorted though, Armin made a point to actually listen to the conversation that was taking place.

"Can I put in a special request?" The customer's voice crackled over the line as a sudden gust of wind ripped past the speaker, still Armin could make out his words well enough.

"I suppose so, sir. What would you like?"

There was a slight pause. Armin's earpiece finally buzzed. He ignored it like a model employee always should.

"I want the blonde boy to bring it out. If that's alright."

Historia cracked a smile as wide as the Nile. 

Armin stepped back instantly.

"I'll see what I can do," the ever present smile in her voice became even more giddy.

Armin pretended to have no idea what was happening. The customer buzzed in again. As Armin reached for his headset to begin taking orders, Historia swiped it off of his ear with ease, shaking her head. Armin raked his fingers through the hair he knew was now severely misplaced.

"Special order," she quipped, wheeling him to the pick up window to retrieve a tray of food, haphazardly thrown about the empty space. "Space A13. They want you to deliver."

"That's really a terrible idea, I think I shouldn't really be doing this-"

She shrugged. "Customer's request. Go on then," she gave him a vague hand gesture meant to shoo him away before talking on the headset that was previously attached to his person. 

 

"Alright, Arlert," his pep talk began as he heaved the tray up to rest evenly on his forearm, "you can do this. Don't you dare spill this one too. You know you can't afford to pay for all the food. You can be as good as everyone else, right? Right? Probably not. But you can fool yourself into believing it like you believed you could actually handle this job."

He stopped blabbering when he caught sight of the car which waited on him. A fiery red sedan with the windows rolled all the way down. The same man stared at him through the open passenger window. The girl was no where to be seen. He offered a wave which Armin ignored in favor of watching the ground until he arrived safely by the car.

"That'll be $14.85," he said, uncharacteristically short. 

The man, probably only a year or two older than Armin at the most, smirked and nodded, lifting his hips in order to tug a worn wallet from his back pocket. Armin averted his eyes from the interior of the car. 

"Hey," the customer said, leaning over the armrest and opening the door which Armin stood firmly behind, skates planted steadfast on the pavement.  "I have a question for you," he stated as he pushed the door open slightly. 

Armin looked at him questioningly.

"Well, get in," he motioned.

"I can't," Armin responded just a heartbeat too quickly.

The man leaned back in his seat, hands folded behind his head casually. "Can't, huh? Why so?"

"I'm working," he cleared his throat, eyes focusing anywhere but on the other man. "Um, yeah, so, $14.85, please."

"Fine, just one question and I'll save the rest for later, alright?"

Armin eyed him suspiciously, hands clutching the tray firmly until his knuckles were bleached white.

"What's your name?" He asked finally, deep green eyes looking up curiously. His face was a soft pallet of warm colors aside from the intensity of those green eyes. Armin found himself having trouble speaking. 

He looked down to where his name tag should have been before realizing he'd left it at home when he'd washed his apron to remove remaining gravel and dirt. "I-My name is Armin." He said with finality, sliding the tray, which was slowly becoming heavier in his grasp, through the open window.

The boy took it, slipping a folded twenty dollar bill into Armin's open palm.

"That's different," he commented, a small smile had found itself on his lips. "I didn't get to read it before you fell through my window yesterday," he chuckled light-heartedly. "I give you an 8 out of 10 for the landing though."

Armin could feel himself blushing. He hated it. He needed to leave.

"How much change would you like?" His question cut off the other's string of consciousness.

"Keep it," he gave a vague wave of the hand and moved to reach for the window's controls, "I'll see you soon, Armin."

Armin didn't even take the time to respond, instead he took the liberty of fleeing from the parking lot without sparing a single look back. That didn't help the feeling of eyes boring into his back.

 

He and the boy were the topic of choice in the buzzing kitchen. Historia kindly smiled at him and gave him a wide eyed knowing look, Reiner winked, Marco asked if they knew one another, even Sasha joined in once the crowd of customers had died down, commenting on how he was a cute kid. Armin's head was swimming with thoughts of the customer by the end of his shift.

Those thoughts were not alleviated when he walked out of the front door and noticed a rather familiar sedan parked in the A13 slot. 

In his head, a war waged. Should he walk faster, head down, should he stop and be polite, or, the most appealing option, should he run back inside and hide under a counter until the coast was clear and he could leave. Just as he began to turn, a voice called out. 

"Hey!" It was friendly and inviting, yet Armin still shied away from it. "I told you I'd see you soon, didn't I?"

Armin didn't turn around. He heard a car door slamming shut and shuffling footsteps across the parking lot growing nearer and nearer. 

"So, you're not working anymore," the boy commented from behind.

He should've never changed out of his work uniform. Slowly, he turned to face the other boy. He tried his best not to gawk, but he was really, really attractive. So attractive, in fact, that he'd literally fallen head over heels upon first seeing him.

Armin shook his head. "No, I'm- I'm off now."

"Great!" He received a clap on the back that nearly sent him hurdling forward. He was strong despite his lanky appearance. "Now you have time for my other questions."

"I don't understand what you want with me," Armin spoke unsurely, gripping his uniform closer to his chest.

In return, the boy shot him a confused glance. There was a twinge of something else there, though. Something that looked painful. He gripped the slender coffee cup in his hands just a tad tighter.

He shrugged. "So, about your name," he began walking away, and before Armin realized what his feet were doing, he followed. "it's a unique one."

"Yes," Armin answered cautiously. "It's a family name. It's a variation of Herman, so really, I think I got lucky."

The man hummed softly and leaned against the side of his car. The red paint glimmered in the heat of the sun. 

"Well, Armin, how about I take you home?"

"I, but- I, I don't really know you, and I'd hate to be any trouble, and that'd waste gas, and I'm really okay with walking. I am." He stuttered badly. Tripping over words and phrases that became lodged in his throat. Mortified, he began to step aside.

"Hey, now there's an idea," The other man leaned against the car door heavily, smirk stained permanently on his stupidly handsome face. "How about you get to know me, and I get to know you." The smirk morphed into a wide grin. His eyes were electrified with life and confidence. "How about a date?"

"A date?" Armin asked incredulously, eyebrows knit together in cautious doubt.

"A date," the man said in confirmation.

Armin studied the parking lot carefully, noting that they were the only two to be seen. Still, he asked, "with me?"

He earned a soft laugh and a slow nod. "With you."

Armin wasn't sure how to react or what to think. He only stood frozen in place, coherent thought shot into oblivion.

"W-when?" Armin managed.

"Now!" Came the short reply. "What do you say?"

"I say you don't strike me as the kind of person who's into boys."

That sly smile snaked its way onto the man's lips and he lowered his coffee slightly. "Well, I didn't think I was either. And then you stumbled along." 

He raised the carry-out cup to his lips and smiled into the lip of it before taking a large gulp to smother the laughter that threatened him over his own joke. 

"You're hilarious," Armin muttered, kicking stray rocks with the toe of his shoe. 

"Come on," Eren said softly before tugging the receipt pad off the top of Armin's pile of work supplies. He quickly took to work scribbling on the top sheet before setting it nicely back in its place.

Armin looked at him with withdrawn confusion. 

"My name, age, weight, address, and tag number," the man clarified with his eyes trained on the page. "If anything goes wrong and you feel threatened with me, you use that information as you see fit. You can trust me."

Armin studied him frantically before his eyes found the page of information regarding this strange man. "Eren Jaeger?"

"That's me," He stuck his thumb in chest chest to signify that he was, in fact, speaking about himself.

Despite himself, Armin found that Eren's smile was infectious, and he grinned as his eyes scanned the small, rectangular sheet.

"What are these numbers here on the bottom?" He asked quietly. His stomach was doing flips and his brain had all but ripped itself apart.

"My phone number," Eren said wistfully, pulling the passenger's door open and ushering Armin in with a wide sweeping motion of his arm. Armin wiggled in as Eren rounded the car and slipped into the driver's seat, his bold demeanor cracked slightly when he blushed. "For good measure."

With a strangled giggle and a little uncertainty, Armin found himself closing the car door and strapping himself beside his strange, but ultimately unfailingly perfect, date.

 

The ride was mostly silent. Armin nervously knotted his fingers together repeatedly as Eren drummed his fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of whatever was playing over the radio. It was mercifully a short ride though before the pair found themselves in the heart of downtown Trost. 

"Pick wherever you'd like to go," Eren said, pulled his seatbelt to the side. "Dad's paying anyway."

He half jogged around the car and pulled Armin's door open wide before he even got the chance.

Armin felt his face heat. He kept his eyes glued to the ground. 

"I don't really know where to begin," he muttered self consciously with a shrug, "I don't really get out much."

Eren paused and rubbed his hands together, squinting into the bustling city. It was five thirty in the afternoon and the night had barely begun to consume the small hub. 

"Well," he slid his hands into his jean pockets. The tee-shirt he worse clung against his skin nicely, "what kinds of things do you like?"

Armin ripped his gaze from the other man's chest and stomach to meet his eyes. Eren arched an eyebrow but said nothing.

"Reading," Armin replied softly, "writing, astronomy, geography, um," he paused and smiled sheepishly, "I think my one true love is the ocean though."

"The ocean! I know where we need to go," Eren grabbed Armin's hand unthinkingly and dragged him through the crowds of people and across highways riddled with halted traffic.

When they arrived at the aquarium, Armin could only look on in awe. He'd never actually been to the ocean. He'd seen it in pictures and studied it tremendously. But seeing all the creatures in person was something entirely different. His heart swelled.

"You're- this is brilliant," Armin finally managed to say after standing in the entrance for around a decade. "This is truly just perfect. Really."

Eren only chuckled as he pulled him inside to pay for tickets.

 

"So," Eren began as they followed the massive tide of people which flowed through the narrow aquarium, "tell me about yourself." His hands had found their rightful places in the front pockets of his jeans.

"Uh, there's nothing interesting to say," Armin's eyes stayed glued to the tanks of fish distractedly, "unless of course you want me to write down my weight and street address for you as well."

Eren rolled his eyes, "come on, there are plenty of interesting things to say. I can go first if you like."

Armin made a soft noise to accompany his nodding.

"Okay, well, I'm Eren, pronouned Eren not Aaron."

Armin gave him a sideways glance which earned a smile. 

"I'm 19, and I graduated from Shinganshina High last year. I'm supposed to be in college, but I'm not smart or dedicated enough, so I'm living at home and currently harassing pretty carhops into coming on dates with me." He jabbed Armin in the side playfully.

"I don't really do much aside from play video games these days. When I was in high school, I was pretty athletic though. I guess I can be pretty competitive. My dad's a doctor, my mom's dead now, and I have a sister."

Sister, Armin thought. "She doesn't look much like you," he commented, dissecting Eren's current sentence right in two. 

He laughed. "We shouldn't. She is Asian after all. And no, dad's not whoring around, I doubt he's been laid in well, 19 years. She's adopted."

"Oh," he mouthed as a form of response.

"Now it's your turn," Eren whispered, leading them into a more secluded part of the aquarium where only a few stragglers found themselves. It was dark there, and deep sea fish kept a watchful eye over the human intruders.

"Well, um, I'm Armin. Pronounced like Armin."

He earned a chuckle out of Eren which was enough encouragement to continue speaking despite lacking any kind of humor at all.

"I'm not particularly good at anything, I guess. I was never popular in high school. I was just that really smart kid who got locked in supply closets and shoved into lockers," he gave a shrug and a smile, "I learned to keep a book close by at all times so I'd having something to do until someone found me. The science teacher I had always came looking for me at the end of the day to make sure I was able to go home. She was basically my best friend," he paused, "we even went danced together at prom. I had one friend though, his name was Jean. He kind of reminds me of you, really. Though I feel like he wouldn't appreciate that. He always wanted to be the best around, no one was allowed to be as great as Jean Kirschtein."

Eren wrinkled his nose. "Even his name makes him sound like an ass."

Armin shrugged, "he was good to me."

There was a long pause as Eren stared into the tanks without seeing.

"I'm glad," he finally managed, reaching out a hand to take Armin's. He almost pulled away, but Eren was like a force of nature. He was a riptide. He was composed of everything Armin loved, and he sucked him in almost immediately, with no warning and even less hesitation.

He let their fingers intertwine. 

 

Once the impromptu date came to an end, and Eren had brought Armin safely back home, he couldn't help but smile. As he exited the car, Eren grabbed his arm gently and looked him in the eye. "You know, we can do this again some other time. If- if you want to I mean."

Armin gave no response. He felt hot all over. His skin probably burned to the touch. Eren seemed to notice, dropping his arm with a thoughtful grin.

"Just think about it, okay?"

When Armin saw that the car had pulled completely out of his neighborhood, he dropped his work clothes in a heap on the sidewalk, allowing a skate to roll off into that road, and covered his mouth with both hands. He giggled softly and swayed where he stood, eyes glued to the place where the car had vanished.

His chest felt as though it was on fire. His stomach was twisted in knots as he retrieved his belongings from the street and raced to his room with a somewhat pleasant greeting to his grandfather as he passed. 

He heaved his work uniform onto his bed and fished out the crumpled yellow receipt which held all of Eren's personal information, and with shaking fingers he entered Eren's number into his cell. After minutes of deliberation, Armin called.

The answer came before the second ring. "Yeah?" A familiar voice on the end of the line greeted him.

Armin squinted his eyes. What a peculiar way to answer a phone call. He wanted to say a million things, but the words just wouldn't come. Instead, he settled on three words which worked perfectly.

"I want to."

The line was silent until soft, husky laughter filled the void. Armin could almost hear that cocky, lopsided grin Eren constantly wore.

"Good."

 

The usual routine of work began to form over the following two months. Armin learned how not to spill food in people's cars. He learned how to take orders as he delivered them. He learned how to handle rude customers, and how to accept the fault of orders gone wrong. But, most importantly, he learned to wait for the red sedan in space A13 because it came every day without fail along with the wonderful young owner. 

As they spent more time together, the dates became more regular, the conversation came more naturally, they worked together in an unnaturally smooth rhythm despite their drastic differences.

Armin had excepted the butterflies to go away as time passed, but every time he saw Eren, they seemed to multiply tenfold.

He was in so deep, and he had never been happier.

 

At 2:15 on a Sunday afternoon, thirty minutes before Armin's shift came to an end, the car he'd been hoping to see pealed into the lot and waited in its usual space. He took off out the front door in a hurry, order pad in hand. He pretended not to hear the soft snickering and whispered gossip coming from the kitchen.

"Well, if it isn't my favorite customer," Armin said playfully, skidding to a stop and leaning into the open window.

"Ah, aren't I the luckiest man here."

Armin cocked his head in minor confusion.

"I get the best looking carhop," Eren clarified, eyes blazing and lively.

Armin could practically feel himself redden. That was only increased when Eren lifted himself to press a chaste kiss on his lips.

"I, uh- I need to, y know-" Armin tapped his pencil to his order pad when words failed him.

"Just two drinks," Eren said casually, tipping his seat back and watching as Armin wrote.

"Two? Mikasa isn't here today though," he sputtered.

"Like I would buy anything for her anyway," came the retort. "It's not for her, nerd. It's for you. We should hang out after your shift."

Armin gnawed his lip and flipped his wrist around, examining the time in a thoughtless daze.

"Give me twenty minutes?" He asked quietly.

Eren nodded and leaned back against the headrest, closing those brilliant eyes. "I've got all the time in the world."

 

Inside the restaurant, Armin watched the clock dutifully, growing more and more impatient with each passing second.

"You look like you have to take a piss, squirming around like that," Reiner commented, chewing on something in his right hand.

"No," Armin shot back defensively, "I just- I don't know. I have no good defense." He sighed reluctantly.

Sasha nodded and patted Reiner on the back. "He's right. You look about 10 seconds away from peeing yourself."

Her eyes wandered to the clock. Five minutes of his shift remained.

"Oh my God, Arlert," she laughed, "just clock out already. We'll survive without you."

"No it's okay- It's fine really. I don't want to be any trouble," he stubbornly stayed rooted in place.

Sasha laughed. "Go," she waved him away, "go or I'll fire you."

As she passed, Sasha clapped her hand firmly on his shoulder and squeezed fondly. 

There was a laugh from somewhere deep within the kitchen which he instantly recognized as the new guy, Connie. "Be sure to tell him he's looking extra beautiful today."

Armin waited for back up, but all he got was a few laughs and a few comments saying "he's not wrong."

When he darted out the back door with a change of clothes in hand, the crowd inside cheered. Armin reluctantly smiled when he heard Marco trying to politely remind everyone to mind their own business. He needed to remember to thank Marco for existing at some point.

 

Armin knocked on the closed window once, and watched as Eren snapped into red alert, eyes wide but unfocused. When he turned to see the disturbance though, his eyes softened and he unlocked the door without a word. 

Before he even had time to mutter a word, Eren had his face between his hands, planting of soft kiss on parted lips.

Armin pulled back slowly, eyes wide, "you're especially affectionate today."

He shrugged and turned the ignition over. "Is it cool if we just hang around my place today?"

"Uh, yeah. That works. Yeah." Armin nodded and felt the same nervousness of their first date flood in his stomach. 

"We don't have to," Eren replied quickly, eyes glued to the steering wheel, "if you're not comfortable we don't have to."

"I-" Armin paused and considered his words thoughtfully, "I've said it once, and I'll say it again. I want to."

There was a comfortable lack of conversation before Eren smiled and nodded while whispering, "Good."

 

The Jaeger household was massive to say the least. His father had to be a seriously fantastic surgeon. Armin had no doubts about that now.

As usual, Eren rounded the car and opened Armin's door while extending a hand for him to hold. As Armin exited the vehicle he felt a new kind of cold nervousness grip at his gut.

"Hey, uh, does, does your family know about, well, you know," his gaze dropped to their hands suspended in midair. 

He rubbed his mouth with his free hand. "Well, dad just wants me to have a friend who isn't Mikasa. I doubt he'll care that we occasionally kiss. My sister on the other hand is probably the one you should worry about. She's really, uh, protective? I guess. I can fend for myself though." His face hardened.

Armin squeezed the other's hand softly. "I know you can," he muttered in what he hoped to be at least somewhat comforting.

The brunette smiled fondly and began walking, dragging the blonde behind. "Well, come on then. Meet the family."

As they climbed the brick stairs leading to the entry way of the three story home, Eren reached for a key tied around his neck to unlock the front door.

Armin giggled. "Why don't you just put it on your keychain?" He bumped his hip against Eren's gently.

Eren smirked and squeezed the key firmly in his palm. "Dad gave this one to me right before mom died. It's a special key, and it reminds me of her. And besides," he slipped it back under his shirt, "it's kinda pretty to look at, so it needs a special place." He patted his chest.

"Of course, Eren," Armin replied in an airy sigh.

 

Eren gave Armin a full tour of the empty house, apparently his father and sister were both out doing things around town, leaving them the entire house to do with as they pleased. Naturally, Eren took the opportunity to test just how loud the home theater surround sound could go. Armin adored his child like wonder, and thought he could probably bask in it for days.

"How about a movie?" he asked as he made his way to a large bookshelf filled completely with hundreds of dvds. Eren climbed to the top of the case expertly. 

"Transformers?" he asked hopefully, bright eyes peering back over his shoulder to study Armin.

The boy laughed and nodded enthusiastically. "Romantic. Good choice."

Eren smirked and tossed some blu-ray cases onto the floor before pouncing down from his perch and landing in a tumbling heap on the couch. "I thought so too," he planted a kiss on Armin's cheek before crawling across the floor with his newly cultivated stack of movies stuck between his arms.

Armin watched contently as his boyfriend put in his first disc of choice. He made a point of sprinting back to the sofa and jumping onto it before the opening credits began, nearly plummeting into Armin in his crash landing.

"Can you do anything gently?" Armin laughed, carding his fingers through Eren's hair.

Eren paused, and seemed to consider his response cautiously. "Only the important things,"  he smiled, pressing an open palm to the side of Armin's face as if to emphasize a point.

The moment was broken though when he flopped over, resting haphazardly across Armin's narrow lap. He only rolled his eyes and settled for toying with Eren's soft locks as the movie played. He had no interest in the movie, but his cared immensely about Eren's happiness, so sitting and watching the movie didn't faze him at all.

Really, paying attention wasn't so hard until he felt Eren's hands begin to wander along his thighs. His breath was suddenly caught in the back of his throat. Involuntarily, he squirmed beneath the soft touches. Eren turned his head to study Armin's, that wickedly cocky smirk was plastered on his tanned face.

A knowing glint destroyed Eren's innocent demeanor as he caught onto Armin's sudden change, and it created a spark in his eyes that traveled directly down Armin's spine. 

Armin bit his lip violently and forced himself to view the over-sized screen.

Eren chuckled deeply. "You feeling alright?"

He dragged his fingertips higher on Armin's thigh, dangerously close to his slowly growing erection. 

"Yes," Armin squeaked, forcing long blonde locks behind his ears. He bit his tongue as curious hands reached higher. A slender finger slid along the zipper of his pants with a cruel pressure. Armin released a soft hissing sound against his will and instantly covered his mouth. His heart pulsed in his throat and he was deaf to any noise aside from the blood rushing in his ears. 

"That's a shame," Eren said, propping himself on his elbow, "I'd rather you be feeling better than alright, if-"

"Don't you dare say if I want to, Eren Jaeger. You know damn well I want to," Armin was surprised by his own confidence and the roughness in his voice. Eren seemed to shrink back for only half a second before grabbing Armin by his hair and forcing their mouths to collide. 

The harsh clicking of teeth could probably be heard throughout the entire house as they attacked one another with sliding tongues and wandering hands.

Eren palmed Armin cautiously at first until he could see and hear the pleasure radiating from the other male.

"Eren," he whimpered, thrusting his hips slightly. Internally, he knew he should feel mortified, but in that very moment he failed to care. He just needed some form of relief.

With clumsy fingers, he worked at the button of his jeans before his hands were swatted away and replaced by a much more steady set. His heart raced, and his blood boiled under his skin at the feeling of Eren's rough fingertips teasing trails along his bare skin.

He huffed slightly once the constricting denim had been removed before becoming hyper aware of how overly exposed he was, and how intensely dark Eren's gaze had become. He swallowed his nervous energy as best he could, but it was a released as a soft yelp when Eren's curious hands rubbed through his boxers. 

Armin became a shaking disaster under the new attention he was receiving. He felt Eren's gaze glued to face. He turned his head slightly pressing half of his face into the sofa's massive headrest. 

The didn't last long though as long fingers found his chin and turned his face back to the large theater screen. He cracked his eyes open slightly.

"Don't," Eren's tone sounded like a warning. Armin bit down on his lip and nodded helplessly.

Eren tapped on Armin's hip gently as an unspoken question to lift his hips. The blonde responded after a moment of hesitation and cringed when he felt the thin fabric begin pulled away.

"Stop pulling that face," Eren spoke softly. The smile in his voice could be heard plainly. Armin tried to let it sooth his frayed nerves. "You're far less pretty that way."

Armin tried to form a coherent response, but it all flooded away in a slurred groan when Eren swirled his tongue along the head of his erection. He emitted a sharp gasp as the other boy sank lower onto his member, bobbing he head slightly. The sounds of battle music from the movie mixed with Armin's hazy thoughts. 

By mistake, he gave a shallow thrust, but was promptly pinned into place by Eren's unforgiving strength.

A high pitched whine escaped parted lips when some restraint was lifted from his hips. The hand that had moved from his hips made a trip along his side, circled around his thigh, and finally stopped to toy with his balls unexpectedly.

"E-Eren," he panted, "you have to- I'm going to-"

The boy pulled back slowly, his hand trailed up the length and stroked slowly. His mouth remained steadfast on the head, working with his tongue expertly.

"Good," he muttered, sinking back down as far as he could manage.

Armin came with a garbled cry, fingers tangled in Eren's mop of wild hair. His hips fought helplessly against Eren's arm which still pinned him back against the couch. 

He lay back limply, gasping and panting, brow coated in a thin layer of sweat. He was only drawn back to reality when he felt the weight of Eren's chin propped against his quivering knee. Instantly, he grabbed the front of Eren's shirt and pulled him onto the sofa. Eren allowed him to effortlessly.

Fingers still trembling slightly, Armin worked Eren's jeans away from his person. Eren lifted his hips wordlessly. Though his mask of composure was astoundingly convincing, the heaving of his chest and the quiver in his breath gave his nervous excitement away. Armin relaxed into the new position of giving, and gave a nervous tug at the other man's length once his underwear had been stripped away. 

Eren thrust into the movement longingly, offering a soft pleased sound to coax Armin on. 

It worked. 

Armin spat into his open palm, working his way down the length once again. This time, he earned a much louder, and more extended, moan. He kept a steady rhythm, quickening his pace by gauging his boyfriend's reactions of longing mixed with shameless begging.

It was only a matter of a few strokes before Eren completely crumbled with Armin's name on his lips.

Armin could get used to this. He was sure of it.

 

The two boys laid lazilyfor a long while after hiding their shame behind pyjama pants that Eren had dug up; Armin sprawled out in a seated position and Eren draped across him. Both were content with watching the movie quietly, though Armin was completely lost to the plot. All he knew was that there was a lot of violence which kept his mind away from revisiting previous events.

"Hey," Eren's voice caught his attention immediately. He swiveled his head and studied him with wide eyes. Eren had propped himself up on his elbows.

Armin cleared his throat. "Yeah?"

"Mind if I ask a question?"

Armin giggled and shook his head, "I don't mind, you're always full of them."

Eren nodded knowingly. "What do you think about reincarnation?"

"What do you mean? You want to know how I feel about it, or if I believe in it, or the logistics behind it? There are a lot of ways I could answer that. I need a little more to go off of," Armin spoke quietly.

"Alright, Brainiac," Eren pushed himself into the upright seated position and tangled his fingers together in his lap. His legs were still stretched along Armin's lap, "I've been thinking," Eren said.

Armin raised his eyebrows in mock surprise.

"Shut up," he raked his fingers through his wild hair, "I mean, I don't want to scare you away, but something about this, about us, it feels natural. Like there was never any real effort to get to know each other. It was just there, hidden away, but still there. When I first saw you, something in my mind seemed to flip and I immediately knew I had to have you in some sort of way. It was strange, and it's only ever happened once in my life." He paused, studying the carpet furiously. "That was when I met Mikasa. It was just different. It was right."

"So, you're asking if I think we were reincarnated then?" Armin asked seriously. He refused to react jokingly to the situation because he saw the burning, hardened seriousness in his eyes and on his face. He wasn't joking.

Eren scowled. "It sounds stupid when you say it like that."

Armin laughed and pressed a firm hand to Eren's thigh. "It's not stupid, Eren, I was just clarifying."

A second passed with Eren studying Armin's face intensely before he sighed.

"Then yeah," he said uncharacteristically quiet, "yeah, that's what I'm asking."

Armin sat quietly, considering different responses before he finally settled on one. "I understand where you're coming from. There was something in your eyes that first day that caught me really off guard," Armin smiled, "but, no, I don't think there was any kind of past life for us."

Eren seemed to deflate, and Armin grabbed his hands instantly between both of his own.

"Not because what you feel isn't valid, but because generally, in common theory, people are reincarnated because of a tragic or traumatizing death or an unfinished life. I refuse to believe we deserved to die that way. I bet, if we did have a past life, we would have lived to be a really old with a luxury hut and acres of farm land. We probably even had at least like three cows and never left each other's side once. Not even to go pee in the outhouse. We were probably disgustingly dependent."

The brunette smiled though his eyes lingered on their pile of hands. "Maybe this time we'll get to live it out properly. With indoor plumbing and all." Eren rubbed small circles on the backside of Armin's hand in thoughtful contemplation.

"Armin, I know we're just dumb teenagers who are only capable of fucking, sleeping, and doing drugs, and emotions should the last things on our mind, but I want you to know I feel something for you. I don't know what it is. It's too early to say, but all I know is that I want you to stay."

Eren's face had grown brutally red. His ears burned and his face had lost his natural tan, having been entirely devoured by an angry red.

Armin combed his fingers through his hair lightly, watching as loose strands fell over his child like face.

His response was immediate and fueled by confidence and the overwhelming desire to cling to every part of Eren. He wanted to stay and claim him as his own. He wanted to watch Eren grow into an old grumpy man who yelled at small children. He want to see the way he was in every situation. He wanted to wake up beside him every morning and tolerate his morning breath and terrible bed head. He wanted to coax Eren through his worst, just as much as he revel in Eren's light when he was at his best.

They were young, barely coming upon the age of twenty, but Armin was so deeply involved in Eren that he just couldn't care. His presence was intoxicating, and his personality was a fatal drug that just kept reeling Armin in closer. He was an unforgiving character who was brash and protective and showed love in the most kind and unexpected ways.

He was exactly what Armin needed, and past life or not, he refused to let go of what they had without a fight.

In an instant, Armin found himself straddling Eren's lap and coating every visible inch of skin with soft kisses, his hands tangled in the soft mat of hair at the top of his head.

He buried his face deep into the cook of Eren's neck and shoulder, breathing him in. Taking in every part of him. 

"I want to," he whispered quietly, "Oh my God, do I want to."

Armin had been expecting his casual 'good' in response. But, what he got was so much better.

Eren's arms locked around Armin in an unforgiving embrace, fingernails biting into the soft skin on his back. His face was covered completely by Armin's chest.

"I am so glad," he voice shook and threatened to crack under the force behind it, "I am so, so glad."