Chapter 1: He's my husband
The OBNTS universe will always hold a special place in my heart. Thus, this happened.
There won't be much, if there are any, plot in this one, 'coz I don't think I can handle the pressure. Lol.
Yes, it will be multi-chapter, but I'm marking it "finished" 'coz I don't know when the next update might be.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Oh my fucking..." Eren trailed-off, not out of exasperation, but out of awe.
The view of the ocean from this vantage point was nothing short of breathtaking.
Levi, on the other hand, meticulously checked every nook and corner of the abode and was pleasantly surprised that whatever small lapses he has spotted were something that couldn't be fixed with some light dusting. By the time he found the cleaning supplies closet, he was in love. He was ready to marry that fucking mop right then and there.
The place was perfect.
Not once would they ever have thought that the last days of their honeymoon would double as house-hunting. It wasn't on their plans. Not on their itinerary.
But when Eren absently talked about needing to get a job soon and mentioned how most of the better choices were located in Sina (in fact, a friend of his already recommended him to a place), it spurred Levi to action. He's not usually the type to be impulsive. But there was no way in hell he'd settle with having to stay at Trost while Eren was miles, miles away somewhere in Sina.
Because it would be pretty damn ironic how they would have to be apart just when they were finally married to each other.
It took longer than they both anticipated – days, even – trying to consider every detail from location to space to layout to scenery to practicality (which, to the newlyweds' vocabulary, would mean viable sex wherever possible) to price, and everything in between. Of course, the people in the brunet's system also had a say in the decision-making. They weren't as fussy as the two (mostly Levi) though, and they really can't complain much when their "honeymoon" got extended.
"Holy shit, Levi! I think I may have just committed adultery." Eren exclaimed as soon as he saw the raven step into the bedroom where he had been standing the entire time, while said raven actually surveyed the entire house.
"Please don't tell me you sticked your dick in the tissue box." Levi deadpanned, uncaring how their conversation was currently making their house agent uncomfortable.
"Close, but no." The brunet merely shrugged. "I just eye-fucked the entire room." He added in a stage whisper.
Levi just looked at him blankly. He, himself, may as well have been humping the mop he found earlier, so Eren's confession doesn't really come close.
"I'm guessing you liked it?" The agent awkwardly cleared her throat and made her presence known once again.
"Yes. Very." The brunet eagerly confirmed with all smiles and cute bobbing of his head.
Levi didn't miss the slight tinting of her cheeks as the brunet beamed up at her.
"We're very much considering it." He butted in, diverting her attention.
And he also didn't miss how the hues darkened as she stared at him.
"Fine. Alright, Sasha. We're checking the kitchen." Eren suddenly sighed and stomped out of view, rendering the agent utterly confused in his wake.
"Shall we discuss prices, then?" Levi spoke up once again to prevent whatever wrong idea was currently building up in her head.
Talking about prices and payments effectively unhinged the brunet's jaw throughout the discussion. He knew such purchase was going to be worth a fortune, but actually seeing the exact figures was just unbelievable.
However, Levi's train of thought was stuck along the lines of, "at least Kenny's shit would be put to good use."
"We'll take it." He blurted out.
"Wait, what?" Eren piped up. "Levi, we're talking about a king's ransom here. Surely you've learned about that in business school." He pointed out.
As if the raven needed that reminder.
"Brat, I know what I'm talking about." Levi responded tightly. And when the younger attempted to open his mouth again, he beat him to it. "Don't worry much about the cost. I got it covered."
"What?! No, no. Oh no, no, no, no, no. If we're going to purchase something together, we might as well split it in half. It's rather unfair for you." Eren protested.
"Brat, you're still looking for a job." Levi pointed out. "If you really want to contribute in the financial department, you could do it after you had your own steady flow of income."
"That still doesn't make it fair!" The brunet waved his hands in the air.
"Would you rather pass up this opportunity and wait 'til someone else gets this offer?"
They continued bickering for a while longer. Eren feeling very much like a parasite from letting the raven handle most of the cost. He really didn't have much stashed up in his savings. And he thinks whatever he had would probably just scratch the surface of the price that was laid on the table. He already felt like he'd been leeching off the raven from constantly staying at his apartment since they started dating. Of course he wanted to stand in equal footing now that they were married.
But Levi was also adamant that he'd handle the costs for now. He kept making valid points to rebutt the younger's arguments and was only getting more convincing the more he talked. Of course the price would burn a hole in his pocket, but it wasn't like he hadn't been planning to have his own house ever since "inheriting" a portion of Kenny's fortune. It was just even more of a bonus that he'd be sharing it with his other half.
"Okay, fine, fine! You win." Eren finally conceded. "All of you are against me, and I'm developing a migraine from all this ruckus in my head. I'm just gonna go get some fresh air." He sighed and stood up and away from the scene.
Levi just regarded him for a moment, trying to see if he'd be fine, before turning his attention back after confirmation.
"That was quite the debate." The agent remarked with a fond smile, albeit a bit confused by the brunet's last words. "You two must be really close if you could fight like that and still be friends at the end of the day." She giggled.
The raven took a moment to just stare at her blankly.
"He's my husband." He responded just as stolid.
"Ohhhh..." The poor woman replied with an almost horrified expression. "I'm so sorry. I thought... I didn't... You two just didn't look like... I'm sorry, that was really stupid of me."
'It was.' would have been the raven's response had he not been too busy giving her the catatonic look of disbelief.
It wasn't the first time Levi had to point that out to people, mostly women, during the span of their honeymoon. There was that waitress, the hotel receptionist, that random dude who played beach volley with Eren once (which he, of course, just had to show-off afterwards), the group of girls who approached them one night, and that little boy whom he had the pleasure of educating that two guys can, indeed, love each other and get married (that's one less potential homophobe in his books). Why people think they weren't married to each other – or at least, dating, if being fresh out of the ceremony is any sort of leeway – is beyond him.
Wasn't it fucking obvious? Should he be waving their rings in front of their noses, or nail their marriage certificate on to their foreheads? Should he make out with the brunet as greeting to strangers? Because hey, that last idea doesn't sound so bad.
But long story short, that was how they got themselves their very own house located in Stohess, one of the suburbs in Sina.
Now to plan the moving.
Even though it was a heat of the moment decision to purchase their very own hearthstone, Levi didn't fail to consider that he'd have to ask for a workplace relocation as well. The house's location was within reasonable distance from the main branch of Survey Corps in Sina, and Eren's potential workplace (more closer to Eren's, really, but he's not complaining).
He's still quite uncertain that his request would get approved, but he'd sure as hell try, especially since his boss is practically his best man for the wedding.
"Well, this is... surprising." Erwin began, not unlike how he did when the raven first asked to take a leave from work. He once joked to himself that said raven might end up resigning from his job if he asked him to take a vacation. And even though Levi may not have submitted his resignation or him having to personally ask the other to take a leave, the situation was still eerily close to what he once thought.
For once, he was glad he was wrong.
"Are you saying 'no'?" Levi asked, tone seemingly impassive, though Erwin knew he was secretly as apprehensive as he was the first time they met.
Erwin just chuckled before giving his answer. "Actually, I'm granting you the permission to relocate. If anything, I'm glad I'll still be seeing you, albeit, at Sina."
"What?" The raven couldn't help asking dumbly.
"I've just been recently promoted and will be managing things from Sina. Mr. Keith Shadis had submitted his resignation and asked me to take over. I should be surprised you haven't heard the news yet. But I really am not." He smiled that fucking infuriating smile.
Levi's mind was reeling from this information. That explains why people have kept congratulating Erwin throughout the day. He really didn't think much of it since he had been away from work for quite a while, and hearing news of the blond's success is as common as seeing stars at night.
Said news was both a blessing – 'cause Erwin is still his boss – and a curse... 'cause Erwin is still his fucking boss.
"May I ask where in Sina you've found a place?"
"No, you may not." Levi instantly declined.
"Mike and I will be going back in the district of Orvud. You could come visit if you want." The blond continued, unperturbed.
He's not yet very much familiar with the twists and turns in Sina, but Levi could vaguely tell Orvud is at least a car ride away from Stohess. That's good.
"Though Hanji resides somewhere near Stohess. I'm just telling you ahead since we both know what could happen."
Well, what the fuck?
"You've got to be shitting me."
That was one detail Levi failed to consider all along. And with that reaction, Erwin knew where the raven's new love nest was generally located.
It took a couple of days before the couple finally settled in their new home. Though Eren had been ecstatic, it was mostly Reiner and Annie who helped in the packing and unpacking. Mikasa mostly took care of giving a new home to what very few stuffs they bothered to take.
When she was carrying a box – the box – towards their new bedroom, Levi noticed her stopping for a moment to check the contents. Of course, with the key always dangling by their neck, it was almost impossible to lose it.
Their journal and album have been progressively filled throughout the time, ever since Levi had given it to them. Safe to say, most of the pictures that filled it were mostly of the raven. Though Eren had added another content to fill the box. A picture frame with interlapping white and blue wings (in the same design as on the journal and the photo album) design on its top-right corner.
Levi couldn't help noticing Mikasa was looking at the frame with fond eyes, and a soft smile gracing her lips. He wasn't quite sure if that was due to Eren's influence, or just really her own emotions showing. He would like to think it was the latter.
After all, Mikasa was staring at their wedding photo.
With Levi's support and guidance, Eren and co. also managed to lessen the stress that comes with applying for a job. Though Eren already got a recommendation from a friend for a certain establishment, the brunet couldn't help his nerves getting the best of him. Thankfully, Jean and Reiner went to the rescue, and together, they managed to land a position.
Despite the small hiccups they encountered along the way, things were going well for the two. Despite having to go away from the proximity of friends slash family, they were loving their new home more and more each day.
Well, how could they not, really, when every corner and surface they could find was very much sex-feasible?
It was to the others' (in the system) adversity since they would always have to be suspicious about every single thing they were about to touch around the house.
When Levi woke up one day, the brunet was already up and about. He went through the, now, familiar motion of prepping himself for work. There have been rare cases where Eren would resort to nagging at him to get up at times when he was treading dangerously close to being late. The brunet was surprisingly an early bird, courtesy to the other people in the system who were as such. In his defense though, it was the brunet's fucking libido that kept him burned-out (yet sated) at the end of the day.
It didn't take long for him to realize that it was Mikasa who was currently out and making breakfast with Sasha's help. The system has been working hard on improving their communication, and was gradually reaping the results. Somehow, they could kind of control who gets to switch out and when. It does help tremendously to let Annie out in the morning to help the body get some exercise (which, sometimes, she'll argue that the body had been getting more than enough exercise with all the physical exertions the couple does), followed by Sasha who'll cook and make them lunchboxes, and Eren would have to be out for work. That doesn't mean that Mikasa and the others don't get their own times out since downtimes after or outside of work would be spared for them, if they want it.
Also, with the fact that it was Mikasa who was currently out, that also doesn't mean that the planned routine works all the time.
Levi had also inquired about the possibilities of switching during working hours, which does happen. But as Jean had answered, it wasn't like that they had no idea what to do, anyways. Besides, they did went to school as a system. Of course he had to mention it would, arguably, have to be Eren fronting during working hours that the raven have to worry about.
"Good to see you're up. I was prepared to pour this kettle on you. Tea in bed and all." Mikasa spoke up, teapot in hand, when she turned around to find the raven already fresh and dressed.
"Well, it's such a shame, isn't it?" Levi shot back, sitting down in his place at the table.
They ate breakfast in relative silence. As always whenever they were together, really. Levi goes to work earlier than the brunet does (with his destination farther than Eren's), yet he always picks up his husband on his way back home. Depending on the situation and who was fronting, sometimes, they would end up stopping by some other place or just driving around the city before going back home.
"I'll be heading out now." Levi bade as he put on his shoes by the doorway.
"Your lunch." Mikasa reminded and handed him the lunchbox she co-prepared with Sasha. When she noticed the raven's tie was slightly off, she also took care of that without saying a word.
"Thanks." Levi said before pulling her down to plant a kiss on her forehead. "I'm off."
Had it been Eren who was out, it would have been a peck on the lips. But when it comes to the girls, it was either the forehead or the cheek. And when it comes to the guys, well... a simple wave would suffice.
By the time Levi was picking up his husband on his way back, the brunet wasn't where he usually would be waiting for him. The brunet would usually already be waiting for him at the waiting area just outside the building where he works.
"Sori. Had 2 take care of sumthing real quick. Be out n a bit. W8 4 me pls <3 -E"
As if he had a choice.
Waiting in the car wasn't exactly ideal for him, so Levi parked directly outside of Eren's building (after making sure it was allowed) and got out, leaned back on the car with crossed arms, and waited.
It took some moments, so he fished out his phone for entertainment, as well as checking for any updates on the man-brat. And when the brunet finally stepped outside, the raven couldn't help his brows meeting at the sight of a very familiar mahogany hair walking beside his husband. Actually, there were two people currently chatting with the younger, the guy and a girl with short, cherry brown hair. But he could hardly give two shits about the latter.
Just by looking from a distance, Levi could tell it was Eren who was out (unless Sasha was was putting on her masked performance), and it was Eren who was currently immersed in whatever interesting topic they were on, if his animated movements was anything to go by.
In fact, he was so engrossed that he didn't even realize his husband was just a few meters in front of him. Though it seemed like that lady did.
The girl with cherry brown hair, Nifa, was the first to notice the raven staring intently at their direction. She didn't think much of it first, but when his eyes never wavered and she could somehow trace it to the guys beside her, especially Eren, she had a bad feeling about it.
She was just one of the very few people the brunet entrusted with the information of his condition. Actually, she and Hanji have been friends in college so she could sympathize with people who have quite some interesting conditions that society does not easily open up to. Another one was Floch whom the brunet was currently interacting with.
The way the raven was staring at the brunet made her think that perhaps Eren had done something to the man (which may be beyond his knowledge), and thus, took initiative of defending or apologizing in the brunet's place. She may not exactly know the difficulties Eren had faced, and keep facing in his life, but at the very least she wanted to help lessen whatever load he may carry. Even if they've only known each other for a couple of months, she does like the brunet and was actually grateful they were friends.
She approached the man with alacrity, and he didn't even bother sparing her some attention until she spoke up.
"Excuse me, sir." She started politely. "My name's Nifa, and I work here. I noticed you've been waiting here for a while now. Is there something you may need help with?"
"I'm here for Eren." was his terse response.
The way he said it only made her believe that her hunch was correct.
"I'm sorry, but may I ask... did Eren do something?" She decided to ask tentatively.
"He's my husband." He answered flatly.
"Haha. That's very funny, sir." She couldn't help letting out an awkward laugh. Barely two minutes into the conversation, and she already couldn't understand this man's sense of humor.
But when the raven kept his silence and redirected his gaze on her, she started to have second thoughts.
"Leeeviii!" Eren's voice broke through the budding tension between them.
In a flash, the brunet had launched himself on to the shorter man, and gave him a kiss on the lips without any trace of hesitation.
"I didn't notice you were waiting here. I thought you'd stay by the waiting area." He continued enthusiastically. Where he gets all that energy even after work was beyond Levi.
"You're welcome." was the only response he could bring to spare.
"Oh, and I see you've met Nifa." Eren flashed the girl a grin, still clinging unto the raven.
"I... uhhh... so you weren't..." She couldn't even finish her thought, too busy battling with the onslaught of shock at what just happened.
"Is something wrong?" The brunet couldn't help asking.
"Oh, gosh. I'm so sorry. I thought... I thought you were just kidding when you said you were his husband." She finally managed to utter out, completely flustered with her mistake.
Eren just laughed, realizing the situation. "If you thought Levi here was a mafia boss who's out for my head, then you wouldn't be the first one." He jested. "Lucky for me, Levi's only a grumpy kitten who's held my heart hostage." He nuzzled the side of the shorter's head.
"You should be embarrassed by the shits you say out loud." Levi grumbled. He was feeling secondhand embarrassment by the cheesy lines the younger just spouted.
He really shouldn't complain much since Eren kept making him feel that they were still freshly married. But expressing it shamelessly in front of other people was another matter.
"Ah, Levi. Long time no see. I'm not even sure if you remember me." The other guy finally approached them.
"Floch." The raven acknowledged briefly.
They continued chatting for another couple of minutes before Levi and Eren finally excused themselves to go home.
"Let me guess, that friend you said who recommended you to the job... that was Floch, wasn't it?" Levi initiated on the drive back.
"Yep. And if you were wondering why he wasn't at the wedding, that was because he was already out in Sina applying for a job."
'Well, it could be that... or it could be for a wholly different reason.'
Not that Levi really cared about his attendance. Whether he had been present or not was a thought unworthy of being fret over. In the end, the fact that Eren is his husband was something he could write on his ass and parade it all around that guy's line of sight. Just in case he still hasn't taken the hint.
"Oh my gosh, that was really embarrassing!" Nifa squeaked out the moment the car went in motion.
"Why? What happened?" Floch asked curiously.
"I just... I thought that guy didn't mean it when he said Eren was his husband. I mean... no offense, but it just didn't look like it at first. I would have thought that Eren's husband was more of the... well, more like him, I guess." She tried to explain. "But then again, I guess that just proves that opposites do attract."
"Unfortunately." Floch may have responded a bit glumly.
Like I said, just Levi and Eren and co. shenanigans.
Anyone who thought of episode 1 - season 3 during the Levi and Nifa interaction, you got it.
Chapter 2: Guess who? (pt. 1)
First off, I wasn't aware Ao3 had made some changes with regards to writing the text of the story. I'm not even sure which one I prefer more.
But anyway, this was supposed to be a whole chapter, but it got out of hand. So I decided to post it into two parts. (Mostly because I've yet to finish the other half and am looking for motivation to do so).
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"I've figured out a way to settle this." Eren started somberly, fixing everyone with a serious gaze. He was sitting on his bunk in their headquarters, hands clasped together where his chin rested, his elbows planted on his knees.
"Can you skip the dramatics and just tell us already? It's hard enough to maintain this concentration for all of us to be gathered here together. Especially not with your brain." Jean groaned in complaint, leaning back with crossed arms on the bunk where Annie and Sasha made themselves comfortable, opposite to where Eren's is located with Mikasa and Reiner at his sides.
Eren was about to tell him off somewhere on the lines of neighing horses being the ones that makes things difficult to focus when Reiner graciously intercepted the argument before it even began.
"Not that I intend to take sides, but I kind of agree with Jean here." He started, and immediately followed it up with his reason of doing so, partly scared Eren would take it the wrong way and mean it to refer to his brain capability. "I mean, since we're all gathered here, I'm not sure who's exactly out right now. Though I am betting it could either be a combination of a couple of us, or a giant blob of all of us."
"Or it might just be one of us who's staring blankly at one spot as we're speaking." Annie suggested.
"If the body's looking stupid as it does that, no doubt it's Eren." Jean smirked.
"Have you ever seen yourself in the mirror, horse-face? Or have you ever only looked at your reflection in the pond where you graze at?" Eren shot back.
"Guys, please. We don't want to have that flash of migraine now, do we?" Sasha whined, clutching the sides of her head as if that would prevent it from happening.
"Thank you, Sasha." Reiner sighed, glad somebody was taking his side.
They were currently having a headspace conversation in a rare occurrence where everyone of them was present. The last time they attempted it, it was nothing more than to simply try and see if it could be possible for their system. And it was, though not for long as when Eren and Jean's bickering got out of hand, everyone else acquired a headache from it.
But right now, they were all gathered for a very important reason. One that involves around who gets to decide where their next week-long vacation to celebrate their anniversary would be.
That's right, the Ackerman-Jaeger's third wedding anniversary was approaching. How time flies, really. It still seems like they have just been married three years ago. (When Eren cracked this joke to his husband, Levi just looked at him blankly. "Blankly" as in contemplating on what compelled him to marry this idiot in the first place).
They haven't really done much on their first, seeing as they were still recovering from the financials of purchasing their new home. But Eren was more than content with the simple candlelit dinner they shared in their abode, amplified by the wild sex they had afterwards.
The second one they spent in Disneyland. Levi really wasn't as enthusiastic about it at first, but the insane rides lifted his mood up considerably. The cheesy, overly-used kiss under the fireworks wasn't bad either. And of course, Eren had another kind of ride before the night ended.
And now for their third, Eren was now generously letting his alters decide where they were going to spend it. Even though it was technically him and Levi who was married, he knew his alters also deserved their own vacation. Something that had been a bit difficult to achieve from focusing on their job.
Levi had no qualms about that, understanding the fact that their anniversary was a justifiable reason to ask for a leave of vacation. Erwin might have been more than glad to shoo him away from spending everyday at his desk, anniversary or not, but Eren was adamant on being the best employee he could be. Something that concerns with making up for his mental health issues, which Levi then and there refuted and demanded to give him the names of whoever it was that was ignorantly using such reasons against him.
Other than that, Levi also couldn't help finding it ironic how the brunet used to berate him from overexerting himself on doing his job, but is now treading into that same habit himself. Granted, he may not be overdoing it as he did, but the fact that he was so invested in his work might lead him to do just that if left unchecked. He could sense Eren has the same insecurities as he did with regards to keeping a job, after all. And he's not going to let that happen.
Which is also why he let the brunet decide where they were going to spend their yearly honeymoon. It really doesn't matter much to him as long as Eren is happy. And since his husband had told him he was letting his alters have this vacation for themselves too, Levi had no objection as long as they'd get to have sex before the conclusion. More than once would be preferable.
So, everything was smoothed over between the husbands. But the same could not be said between the alters.
Apparently, they had different opinions on what constitutes as a vacation that they would thoroughly enjoy themselves. Different ideas with different places they wouldn't be able to fit going to in a span of a week. Or even if that was possible, they wouldn't be able to savor it thoroughly if they were to hop from one place to another.
So, in order to resolve this, Eren had so carefully, strategically thought of a way on how he'll decide which opinion to follow.
"We've been a system for more than half my life now." He started, sitting up straight to better gauge the others' reactions. "And I assume that's more than enough time for you to practice being in my shoes. Literally."
"What the hell are you implying?" Jean narrowed his eyes. He has a feeling he's not going to like what the brunet was about to say. Then again, that's hardly unusual.
"Are you saying we pretend to be you?" Mikasa asked with confusion. That was something they had been doing for the majority of their existence, so it was weird that Eren was asking them of that now.
"Yes, but it's not as simple as that." Eren grinned mischievously. "I want you to make Levi believe you were me without him recognizing one of you has taken my place. If you get to front for an entire day without him noticing anything, then you win. Of course, it has to be on a weekend where we get to be with Levi all day."
They were silent at that proposal, thinking to themselves if that was even possible. It's Levi they were talking about here and that guy seems to be able to look inside their head to determine who exactly it was that was conversing with him. Granted, they haven't really tried after the raven became aware about their condition – hell, they didn't even really give it their best shot even before meeting him, which then left Eren to deal with the confusion of the shit other people gave him – but they really couldn't help but wonder if duping Levi like that could even be done. That would be an insanely difficult feat to achieve. Perhaps which is why Eren so generously proposed it.
"What if we switch out mid-day or something?" Mikasa pointed out.
Eren took his time to mull over that possibilty. "I suggest we should just stay at home then where we feel utmost security, and avoid anything that could possibly trigger someone else out. But since chances of that happening are relatively high, then maybe I'll shorten the required time to over 12 hours or something. It's important that Levi thinks he's with me before he goes to sleep at night."
"What if Levi uses the triggers?" Annie added in.
"Well, if he'll do it on purpose, then wouldn't that mean he already knows it's not me who's fronting? Besides, he's hardly done that to us." He shrugged.
"And if none of us could fool him?" Sasha asked, knowing that even though she was considered to be the best Eren impersonator, Levi still called her out every single time.
"Then I guess I'll just have to decide for all of us." Eren shrugged again, grin still plastered on his face.
"You little shit. Of course you'll propose it since you damn well knew that's going to be impossible." Jean groused once again.
"Technically, it's supposed to be mine and Levi's wedding anniversary, but here I am, graciously offering the planned vacation to you." Eren glared at his direction. "And with that in mind, I think it's only fair if the challenge I give you also revolves around your abilities to take my place on a day, or a week, that I should be spending with my husband."
Again, silence took over them. Eren may seem like an idiot, but he could get very creative with his ideas if he really wanted to.
If he really wanted to piss someone off, especially. And it's currently working wonders for Jean.
"He has a point." Reiner sighed after giving it a thought.
"Are you really accepting that reason? 'Coz I still think it's just a waste of time since he'd still get to decide things in the end." Jean scoffed.
"Of course, we could already cross out Jean's chances of pulling it off. Basically, this is a contest between just the four of you." Eren continued, smirking smugly.
Jean's brow twitched at that. "Listen here, you fucking bastard..."
"Oi, brat. You okay?" Levi gently put an arm on the brunet's shoulder after said brunet had buried his head on his arms at the table they were sitting at.
He had noticed his husband staring off blankly into space for a while now and decided to just let him be, having pretty much gotten used to it by now. He was perfectly fine waiting until the brunet snapped out of it, but seeing him looking like his brain was being hammered was another thing.
It took a moment, but the brunet soon hummed in response that Levi had to wonder if it was even directed to him at all.
"Head. Arguing. Again." The brunet mumbled the broken words out, not lifting his head up.
Levi couldn't tell who it was that was speaking, but he could damn well determine who might be arguing inside his head again. He just had to wonder what it's about this time.
Annie stared at herself (or Eren for that matter) in the mirror, taking in deep breaths as she closed her eyes. She had purposely feigned slumber and let the raven get out of bed first to mentally prepare herself for the day. She was going to do this.
She never really felt compelled to act exactly like Eren before, deeming it to be unnecessary and awkward. As long as she just kept her distance and her silence, then she wouldn't have to worry much about entertaining other people with an energy that was on par with their host.
And now that she was compelled to do just that... it had to be with the most difficult person to convince.
She really was tempted to just fuck it and accept defeat, but with the prospect of an actual vacation in the outside world, she figured she could at least try her luck.
It was quite daring to attempt it at the start of the day, though, since Eren said it was important that Levi goes to bed at night without any suspicions. But in her opinion, it'd be easier if Levi thought he was with Eren first thing in the morning, and it would also give her a kickstart to be in-character if her mentality was set on to it as the day started.
She took in another deep breath as her hand landed on the doorknob. And another one before she turned to open it. She could tell Levi was in the kitchen from all the noises he was making.
"Morning, babe." She greeted huskily, wrapping her arms from behind. Somehow, that felt way more cringey than she thought it would, and if Levi would ask about anything unusual, she could write it off to having just woken up.
Levi stiffened for a second, probably out of surprise, before turning around. Just as she feared, he took his time just looking at her, scrutinizing her features for something.
Annie tucked a loose strand of hair to the back of her ear, glad she hadn't bothered to fix their bed hair as it gave her hands something to do. She made sure to remember to specifically use her right hand all the time.
"What?" She asked, smiling sheepishly like she knew Eren would when the raven continued to keep silent.
"What're you doing, Annie?"
She could've just stopped there and then, knowing if she kept this up, she'll just embarrass herself to the grave. But for some reason, she felt like she couldn't give up just like that, and was glad she processed all these thoughts within a second.
"What're you talking about? I've just woken up to romantically greet you like how a husband should, and you're thinking about Annie?" She huffed indignantly, pouting with her arms crossed.
Damn, why did Eren have to be such a brat?
Levi stared at her blankly for another moment, but made no comment to address that. Instead, he just moved on like nothing was wrong.
"We're having bacon and eggs for breakfast. I'd appreciate it if you could help prepare the table while I brew our drinks up."
"Okay. Thanks, love!" She bounced happily and stepping on to the task.
Damn, not even 10 minutes in, and she was already drained from trying to match their host's enthusiasm. Not only that, all these pet names are internally difficult to spit out, but she knew she had to say them knowing Eren had a habit of doing so, especially in early mornings when he was still feeling fuzzy in every way she was not.
And as if to put her out of her misery, Levi suddenly called her attention.
"Catch." was all the warning she got before the raven hurled an apple in her direction.
Annie was quick to react, and she found the apple on her hand before she even knew she caught it. Her left hand.
"So again, what're you doing, Annie?" Levi repeated, an amused smile curling his lips.
At this, Annie frowned, knowing she was fighting an already lost battle. "How the hell did you know?" She decided to ask.
"Well, for one, Eren's hugs are different. Yours, obviously, has more strength in it. And Eren doesn't really have a habit of tucking his hair away, especially in the early mornings even though he's practically eating it." The raven pointed out, going back to finish brewing their beverages.
Annie just sighed and sat defeated at the table, waiting for the raven to finish up so they could eat and she could just sleep the day off.
"What's with the sudden interest in impersonating Eren?" Levi asked as he settled the steaming mug of hot cocoa in front of her and carried his to his own place.
Annie didn't bother with an answer and just shoveled up food in her mouth. She already feels downright embarrassed by her attempt and she didn't want to talk to him to make it worse.
"Are you gonna keep the pet names? 'Coz I sure enjoyed hearing them from you." Levi smirked before taking a sip of his own drink.
"Fuck you." She muttered out, having half a mind to throw the apple back on that smug face of his.
It wasn't long after that when Annie decided to go in hiding, and Reiner thought it was a good time to make his attempt. After all, Levi wouldn't think he was getting duped twice in a row, right? Surely he would be expecting Eren to front now.
After showering, he was no longer surprised to find the raven already starting up with the chores. He felt the urge to utter a, "Hey, Levi" or something, but figured at the last second that that would be weird since that would also mean he was greeting Levi again when Annie already did earlier.
Then again, he supposed that should be normal since the raven already called out Annie earlier, and that he was supposed to be pretending Eren had come out for real this time. Only, Eren would do it in a much more... expressive way that might involve hugs and kisses.
"Hi, love!" He beamed and went in to try and hug the raven when he was stopped by said raven holding a hand up.
"Just a sec." Levi muttered out without even sparing him a glance, before bending over to vacuum under the coffee table.
But after doing that, he turned off the vacuum and turned around to face him with an expression Reiner could only describe as confusion. So, without dwelling too much about it and giving the raven time to think and observe him too much, he decided to go in and hug the man in a way he knew Eren would.
"Can I help you? I'm bored being on my own and I want you to finish soon so we could cuddle." He whined.
Holy shit! Reiner can't believe he actually said that. Pretending to be Eren shouldn't be this hard, but it's a whole lot of another story when it comes to the husband. Hell, he's already dreading the "cuddle time" he proposed himself.
He kept clinging on to the shorter man so he could avoid looking at him directly in the eyes in that creepily fascinating way he does to determine who was currently out.
"How about you finish up here and I'll go start with the garage?" Levi finally proposed after a while.
"Okay! And then we'll cuddle, right?" He beamed again, smiling widely it was splitting his face. He's probably overdoing it, but Eren could be overly enthusiastic when he's promised with something he loves.
"Yes." The raven responded after a second's hesitation.
"Yes!" Reiner cheered before setting on to do his assigned task, taking the vacuum away from the older man.
Levi didn't immediately move away from his spot though, and Reiner could feel his eyes burning at the back of his skull. So before it could unnerve him further and break him out of character, he decided to shoo the raven away to do his own chores.
"Come on, Levi. Stop slacking around so we could finish this as soon as possible." He pouted, planting a hand on his hip with his other one still holding the vacuum.
Levi took another second to look at him before muttering out a, "Right" and going on his merry way, finally giving Reiner the chance to sigh out in relief. So far, Levi seemed suspicious but he hadn't called him out so he figured that was a good sign.
After finishing his job and even double-checking to make sure it was at least on par with Eren's, Reiner steeled himself to follow the raven in the garage knowing it would make sense that Eren would do it considering his clingy nature. When he arrived, Levi was busy rearranging heavy-looking boxes and dusting shelves, and just looking at him, Reiner felt the urge to offer assistance.
"Do you need help?" He asked tentatively. Surely, Eren would always offer to help his husband in this situation.
"I'm fine. These boxes are as heavy as they look. I don't want you burning yourself out and whining to me afterwards." Levi declined, not once pausing from his work.
"I could do the dusting then?" Reiner tried again. At this point, Eren wouldn't really push things, especially when it comes to cleaning. But Reiner's instincts are just screaming at him to help.
"I'm pretty sure that's one thing you despise doing." The raven continued nonchalantly.
Does Eren despise dust? Damn, why doesn't he know about that himself? He never really bothered to ask such mundane things like that since cleaning hasn't really been instilled in the brunet before they started dating years ago.
So, what is Reiner supposed to do now? Just watch the raven do all the work? Eren might be able to do that since he'll just use the opportunity to gawk at his husband uninterrupted. Besides, Levi telling him that he could skip doing a particular chore is practically bliss for the brunet. But for Reiner, standing still and not helping someone who clearly needs help is torture.
Not only that, but Levi seems to be throwing curious glances his way as he does his task. He really didn't think much about it at first. Maybe Levi was just checking if they were still there standing stupidly at the doorway. But when the raven shot him another look while he heaved a particularly heavy-looking box Reiner definitely knew would be difficult to do alone, he couldn't stay still anymore and went over to help him carry it to where he intended it to.
"Oh, I'm actually just putting it down here." Levi said as he set the box down on the floor together with the younger. "Just wanted to see how much you're willing to stand by and do nothing, Reiner." He smirked deviously.
Reiner groaned, dry washing his face with his palms. "How'd you know it was me?"
"First off, nothing would stop Eren from assaulting me with his hugs. Not even me. So when you stopped at that simple gesture, I immediately knew you weren't Eren. Also, Eren would've pestered me to cuddle first over offering to help with the chores. And only you would take over an equipment from me. The others would've gotten their own and started with something else, leaving me to finish what I started." He explained, all the while dusting the shelves like how he was supposed to.
"How do you know all of these?" Reiner couldn't help furrowing his brows. Seriously, the raven should've been a detective with these skills instead of a businessman.
"After... what? Six years of being together and almost three years of being married, it would be a shame for me if I didn't." Levi blurted out, then immediately followed it up with, "Now put these boxes back where they belong." and moving over to the next chore.
Reiner knew he was just covering up his embarrassment for that statement by suddenly bossing him around. Nonetheless, he was pleasantly touched that Levi was still trying to be a good husband when Eren already found him to be the best.
Then again, he just had to wonder: is duping the husband really possible?
Well, do you think it's possible to dupe the husband? Who do you think could do it?
Chapter 3: Guess who? (pt. 2)
Have you already placed your bets on an alter? Let's find out who managed to win the seemingly impossible game.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After much deliberation, Mikasa finally decided to give it her shot at this game. Surely, being the longest alter who has been with Eren (now that Ymir's integrated, of course), she should know Eren best, including all his subtle perks and nuances.
And she does, but trying to imitate it is a completely different matter. It's like when you're watching people dancing; you could learn the moves by heart, but you could never quite execute it in the exact same way they could. You think what they're doing is so easy, but you end up looking like a convulsing penguin when you do it yourself.
Nonetheless, there's really nothing to it if she'll give it a try. Even Annie had attempted to do it, so why shouldn't she?
Making up her mind, she assessed their current situation to determine how she's going to execute her act. Levi was currently occupied with his laptop on the couch, his glasses sitting snugly on the bridge of his nose, eyes focused on whatever it was he was working on.
How long had he been like this? If Mikasa only knew, she would've went with the typical nagging Eren act. But that only happens when Levi's clearly burning himself out again. And so far, he seems relatively fine.
Which means... she'll have to go with the typical clingy Eren act. The hardest one, too.
Deep breaths. Here it goes...
"Leeeviiii." She whined, diving on the couch and hugging the raven's middle immediately.
"What?" He didn't even spare her a glance, though his hand instinctively moved to stroke her head, which was rather soothing.
"I'm tired. My head hurts." She mumbled through the fabric of his shirt. Something that isn't completely a lie. Doing this act requires serious mental and physical strain.
"What have you been doing?" The raven continued nonchalantly.
"Work." Mikasa lied easily.
The raven just hummed, but didn't say anything else. Mikasa started to wonder if this is the part where she should whine until she gets his attention. But thinking about it, once she does get his attention, the extremely difficult part begins.
So, she decided to take another approach. Surely Levi wouldn't notice anything unusual if she just stay like that for a few minutes. Of course, she also made sure to squirm every now and then. Details and all.
And that seemed to do the trick. After a while, she heard Levi sigh and closed his laptop. "Brat, what do you want?" He took off his glasses to rub at his eyes.
Mikasa's brain worked double-time to determine what exactly would Eren ask in this situation. The most obvious choice would be to hog all of Levi's time. But she didn't want to give the raven ample time to observe her and raise suspicions. This is an endurance test, after all.
"Ice cream." She blurted out, raising her head to beam up at the raven like how Eren would do.
Again, Levi sighed. "Fine. Double chocolate or whatever, right?" He rolled his eyes before sparing the brunet a quick look of feigned botheration.
And then doing a double-take.
Mikasa scrambled her brain for something, anything, to wipe that look off the raven's face. But before she could come up with even a single letter...
"Or would you prefer Matcha?" He added afterwards.
Mikasa's heart dropped, but fuck it all if she let it show on her face. "Of course, chocolate. Only you and Mikasa like that green thing." She scoffed, sitting up straight and crossing her arms.
"Right." Levi responded after a beat. "Exactly." He added under his breath.
She clearly heard that last part, but decided to pretend she missed it. "I'm sorry?"
Levi seemed to mull over his next words and Mikasa dreaded if he was gonna call her out already. She could deny it all she wants though, and she hasn't even really done anything that could truly expose her. Then again, she just had to wonder what prompted Levi to be suspicious. She could've sworn she had him when Levi listed off Eren's preference for ice creams, but all it took was one look and it's like he knew she wasn't Eren.
"I'm just thinking maybe you should go buy it yourself. After all, you're gonna need the exercise if you're going to consume that much calories. Don't tell me you're gonna let Annie take that burden again?" The raven finally spoke out. "And by the way, you look like shit so might as well fix yourself up before you scare people outside. It's too early for Halloween." He added before turning away and opening his laptop again.
Contrary to popular belief, Mikasa may seem like a generally calm person, but she actually shares Eren's short fuse. Unlike Eren though, she doesn't lash out and is rather passive-agressive. However, in accordance to popular belief, she is very, very protective with Eren. One wrong word about him and you'd successfully tick her off.
Or in this case, congratulations to the one and only Levi Ackerman-Jaeger.
"Excuse me? I'm your fucking husband." She seethed.
"I know that, and I love you. Which is why I can't lie about that."
The effort it takes not to scowl too hard – or better yet, slam that smug face of his on the table – is real.
"If you're such a good husband, you're supposed to be saying I'm always good-looking in your eyes despite my state of appearance." She tried again.
"I didn't marry you because you're the prettiest person in all the planet." He rolled his eyes again. "And I certainly didn't marry you because one of your alters has the tendency to scare all the other bachelors out there. You know, the one who glared too much she could keep even the rodents out of the house for good." He smirked.
Mikasa couldn't help her jaw unhinging at that remark. "How dare you!" She raised her hand, fully intending to at least get a slap in on that mug of his.
But Levi swiftly caught the offending limb and expertly maneuvered her around so she was trapped in his arms. She squirmed and writhed, but whether it was Eren's strength or her own, it wasn't enough to overpower the raven's.
"I was just messing with you." Levi spoke up again after Mikasa finally accepted that fighting back was useless.
"Fuck you." She muttered out.
The raven let out an amused snort before planting a kiss on the top of her head. "So, you want Matcha, right?"
Mikasa kept mum, still restrained by strong arms and thumbs caressing the skin they could reach. By now, it was pretty evident she blew it off, so might as well accept defeat.
"Yes." She mumbled out, yet refused to budge when the raven made a move to stand up.
Later that day, Levi just had to wonder why these brats are even doing this.
There was Mikasa, calmly watching TV on the couch beside him, a bored expression on her face.
Or more accurately, there was painfully subpar Mikasa. 'Coz Eren's doing a shit job at it.
"Why do you keep fidgeting?" Levi decided to ask, already hinting that he's aware of who he's really with. Yet also already knowing the hint would go over the brunet's head.
"This couch is uncomfortable." He answered monotonously.
"And you say that after years of having your ass pressed on the same exact cushions your sitting on."
"I'm kind enough not to bitch about it, okay?" He scoffed and rolled his eyes with a ridiculous amount of sass.
Damn. If Mikasa should be offended, then it should be by Eren's crummy attempt at impersonating her. He even wore a scarf and all, despite it being blindingly obvious he was already feeling hot even without its help.
As for Eren, the reason why he was joining in this game he came up with was so that it was fair for everyone. Well, it was only fair if he also knew just how difficult it is to do this particular job as an alter. And since, technically, he was the host and the owner of the body, he had no need to exert any sort of effort to act like himself.
He hadn't had the need to act like his alters like they do with him. As a result, he only needed to pick which one he'd like to impersonate instead of trying to do them all.
Jean was definitely a no-go. He definitely doesn't have the capability to nicker like he does.
Reiner was okay. Then again, he really can't trust his own mouth not to blurt out things that aren't in the range of being nice. Also, he's not that industrious to volunteer to help out if Levi does decide to do something.
Annie was fine too. But unlike her who could be ambidextrous, Eren definitely have least control with his left hand. He also couldn't be bothered to work out, even as just a charade. And if Levi decides to hurl an apple again, it might end up smashing his face.
Sasha was the better option. They were practically on the same wavelength, and even their mannerisms match up most of the time. But then, the problem would always lie on the food. If Levi forces a carrot on him again, he might probably die.
So it was down to Mikasa. She was generally calm and composed, and only inimical when rubbed the wrong way. But with Levi, her displays of hostility towards him had dwindled throughout the years, though of course, she's not above giving him the cold shoulder if he starts being more of an ass (since he already is the way she sees it).
That shouldn't be too difficult right? If anything, he could also avoid Levi like how Mikasa tended to, and it would just all work in his favor since that'll give Levi lesser chances of noticing anything amiss. Not only that, earlier, Mikasa had also came out before him, so that only made things a lot easier for him and harder for the raven.
He really shouldn't underestimate his own husband.
"You should really take that off now." Levi sighed when the brunet tried to loosen the scarf on his neck again.
Eren just snubbed him, though he really was starting to get dizzy from the heat.
"Eren, I already know you're an idiot. You don't have to prove it anymore. So don't do this." Levi shook his head.
"Did you just call m— Eren an idiot? How dare you? After years of being married, this is how you treat m— him?" He scoffed overdramatically. "And why are you accusing me as being Eren? Can't you see I'm Mikasa? See this glare?" He pointed at his eyes. "See this scarf?" He wiggled the tail end of the fabric. "I'm fucking Mikasa, alright?"
"That's just insulting to her, you know?" Levi responded, unamused.
"What're you talking about? I'm her... I'm Mikasa! You can't prove it otherwise." He huffed.
Levi just continued to stare at him, partly wondering how in the hell did he fall in love with this moron? But putting that thought aside, he can actually prove it otherwise.
"Have you seen this video of Latte yet?" He whipped out his phone and scrolled through his gallery. That successfully perked up the brunet's attention, yet he pretended not to notice it. Tapping on the particular video, he showed it to the already glowing eyes of the brunet.
It was Latte who was chasing the remote controlled mouse toy they bought for her some time ago. Obviously, Levi was the one handling the remote and letting the cat run around in circles until she trips on her feet and start over again. Sometimes, Levi would stop until the cat would hunch down on the floor then wiggle its butt, ready to pounce, before running back again.
Latte isn't always this hyperactive. But Levi may have used some catnip, more so to entertain himself as well.
"That's soooo cute!" Eren squealed, taking the phone from the raven's hand so he could watch it better.
Levi stopped the mouse at one corner, waiting for Latte to tackle it. And when she did, the mouse instantly started to move and the cat had slipped on the floor until she ran onto the wall headfirst.
"You're mean." Eren chuckled, replaying the clip all over again.
"I am." Levi agreed, and took the opportunity to take off the scarf from the brunet's neck before planting a kiss on the side of his head.
After the multiple failed attempts of multiple alters, Sasha decided to show them how it's done. Granted she may not have really fooled Levi yet, that doesn't mean she's still not the best Eren impersonator in the system. Therefore, she has the best chances of coming out the victor in this little game of theirs.
She started it off with playing with Latte; cuddling, and cooing, and squeezing, and squealing at the poor cat. Of course, purposely done within the raven's peripheral. It's the little touches that completes the picture, after all.
After that, she tried to lightly bother Levi while he was doing the laundry; clinging on to him and refusing to let go when told to. She tried her best to avoid looking directly in his eyes as she did so, knowing Levi had this uncanny ability to tell who it was by scrutinizing their eyes. Or at least that's what it seemed to her.
"Any preference for lunch?" The raven asked when lunchtime was nearing.
Ah, shit. Here comes the most difficult part of this charade. But Sasha had steeled her mind for this particular moment.
"Well... I... uhh... I'm not exactly hungry." She mumbled out hesitantly, avoiding the raven's eyes, having practiced this line to perfection.
"Brat, that's not what I asked." Levi responded with a tinge of warning in his tone.
Sasha groaned and hid behind the throw pillow she picked up from the couch. A perfect touch to the act, and a perfect excuse to temporarily hide from those steel gray eyes.
"I'll have whatever you'll cook." Her voice came out muffled with every trace of unwillingness draping her tone.
She didn't know what expression Levi was currently wearing, and she refuse to take a peek. She was certain she hadn't done anything wrong, but she can't help internally panicking when the raven didn't respond right away.
Levi couldn't be contemplating on calling her out yet.
"Fine." He muttered out and stepped away.
Sasha held her breath for a couple of seconds, and only when she heard the telltale signs of pots and pans clanging did she release it. Damn. She doesn't even know if Levi bought that. But since he hadn't said anything about it, that must mean she's still in the game.
And when Levi ended up serving something within the range of Eren's edibles, Sasha wanted to cry out and just announce her victory. Nevermind the fact that it was still too early to celebrate. She couldn't even mind how the raven seemed to pay a lot of attention to her while they were eating at the table since he tends to do that when he knows Eren, himself, was the one who was actually eating.
But he wasn't. And Sasha wanted to slap her own back repeatedly for that.
When hours passed and Levi still didn't seem to be suspicious of who he's with, Sasha was just itching to go back in and give them the "hah!" dithyramb. If only nighttime would come soon. Then again, since she was on a roll in this game of masquerade, she was confident enough that she could last 'til bedtime.
Until Levi just had to make things even harder for her.
"What's that?" She asked curiously when the raven returned home from a short trip to the store.
"Takoyaki." He idly held up the bag he was carrying. "Sorry, I didn't bring you any. But it's not like you'd want one, anyway. You might just end up wasting it."
"Right." Sasha responded numbly. "Sasha may have wanted some, though." She tried to throw in casually.
"Well, she's not here now, is she?" Levi dismissed, stepping forward to return to his position on the couch.
Sasha didn't immediately follow him, knowing she'll be put in critical condition if she stays within his vicinity. Then again, she can't possibly avoid him now since that'll only make things suspicious.
She doesn't have that much problems during mealtimes since Levi would always insist Eren to eat. She just hadn't considered the possibility that Levi would be buying snacks for himself.
Taking a deep breath, Sasha steeled herself once again. She has to do this.
Retracing her steps back to the living area, she found the raven already lounging on the couch in front of the television, those mouth-watering balls (get your head out the gutter) at hand. She tried to ignore that little detail and proceeded to return to her position on the couch beside the raven's.
It was a good move of hers to feign working on their laptop since that'd make a good reason to avoid being all over the raven in the meantime. Especially since he had Pandora's balls in his hands.
She viciously tried to remind herself never to take a glance in his direction. But the smel wafting through her nose and the fact that she could still see the raven pop those balls in his mouth (again, get your head out the gutter) out of her periphery makes things incredibly difficult to endure.
This is torture. This is worse than torture!
As means to counter the temptation of looking up and instantly drooling, Sasha had to constantly remind herself why she was doing this. That's right, a week-long vacation. An entire week where she could go wherever she wants and splurge their savings on whatever she wants. A few minutes of agony is nothing compared to an entire week of paradise. That's right. She could do this.
She felt her resolve indurating as she repeated that thought over and over, and she couldn't help finding herself silly for thinking the situation was more difficult than how it really is. Surely she could look at Levi and...
Find him intently looking back at her with an amused expression on his face.
Sasha couldn't help staring right back at him, whether it was out of curiosity or shock, she couldn't tell. And when the raven popped in another ball without breaking eye contact, Sasha wanted to wail out in despair then and there.
"You already know, don't you?" She asked numbly instead.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Levi smirked.
"Yes, you do."
"No, Sasha. I don't."
"But HOW?!" She finally howled in distress. "When did you find out?"
"When I noticed you couldn't quite look at me in the eye." He shrugged simply.
Sasha groaned out in misery. If looking at Levi in the eye would give him the opportunity to scrutinize them, and avoiding to look at him in the eye would make him suspicious, then how in the world would it be possible to deceive him?!
"And all this time, you were the one fooling me to believe I had you." She sighed despondently. "My pride as an alter... gone." She added dramatically.
"Don't get me wrong, you are quite excellent in pretending to be Eren. And you do pose quite a challenge for me as opposed to the others." Levi started. "But you seem to forget I've known you for years now. And though it might not be as long as what someone would expect, that doesn't mean I didn't get to spend the past years getting to know everything about you."
As much as Sasha accepts that reasoning, she still couldn't help getting sulky at the fact that she lost in the game she should do best in. If anyone else in the system would be able to pull it off, she's not sure how she'll feel about it.
"I left your share on the counter, by the way." Levi threw in, popping in another mouthful of the treat and redirecting his attention back to the show he was watching.
And just like that, he made the brunette feel that losing the game was still somehow worth it.
As the day (or week) of the anniversary threatens to draw near and none of them had yet to bamboozle the husband, Eren decided to be munificent and cut off the required time from "maybe dinnertime until bedtime". However, only Sasha and Reiner attempted for another time, yet they still couldn't win over the insane observation skills of the raven.
Out of everyone in the system, there was still that one alter who had yet to make an attempt. And that one time Jean was pushed to the front, he didn't even bother with any sort of simulating.
They started to wonder if Jean would ever try his luck, but they also wouldn't be surprised if he decided not to take part in it. Eren could care less about that, though. If he wasn't going to try, then by default, Eren would win in his own game.
Like Jean would let that happen, though.
It seems like everyone forgot that Jean is actually smart. He may not be the best at impersonating Eren, but that's only because he finds it extremely awkward to do so, most especially when he's doing all those disgusting shit he does with his husband. Really, who wouldn't feel embarrassed pretending to be a total dumbass like Eren? Other than that, he really has no desire attaining that particular feat. Let Sasha bask in that achievement. He hardly has a fuck to spare.
Then again, Jean could not just back down from a challenge, especially if it's imposed by the dumbass. He may not have shown any interest towards it, but that's exactly the point of why he was not doing anything. He wanted everyone to believe he wouldn't take part in the game. Notably Levi, since for sure, he probably already figured out what they were trying to do.
Not only that, but he was also taking notes from the others' attempts and failures. He wanted to find out how exactly Levi determines each alter, and what particular signs and subtleties he looks out with regards to Eren.
Problem is, it seems like the raven had an infinite array of observations, and one wrong blink of the eye would instantly make him suspicious. He doesn't even know how that was possible, but he could only imagine how invested Levi must have been ever since he discovered their little condition.
Plainly acting like Eren might not be enough, and once Levi starts feeling hinky about the situation, it would be pretty damn difficult to shake him off.
Good thing he spent enough time to think of a solution.
Summoning all his willpower, Jean joined the raven on the couch and instantly curled up next to him. He willed his (or Eren's) body not to be too rigid and make things pellucid. All those time he spent mentally preparing for such measures should not be put to waste.
As expected, Levi absently started to stroke his hair, but his attention was glued to the screen of his phone. He wasn't even looking at something particularly interesting and was rather just scrolling through whatever was available on social media. So Jean decided to join him on that as well.
"What does 'je t'aime' mean?" He asked when he read the particular phrase in passing.
"'I love you'." Levi responded accordingly.
"Awww. I love you too, kitten." He grinned at him cheekily.
Oh good heavens, can he just keel over and die already?
Jean would never be able to live this moment down, and he could never get rid of that taste in his tongue.
However, seeing that Levi just looked like he wanted to put a front of being indifferent, yet couldn't do anything to conceal the amusement in his eyes, that at least put a huge consolation to his internal turmoil. He started to dwell on the realization that maybe the eyes really are the windows to the soul since it's almost impossible to hide anything behind them.
Was it a wrong move to look directly into the raven's eyes then? He knew Sasha could never get pass him whenever she wouldn't do it. Then again, Levi would also, somehow, be able to determine if Eren really was out if he stares into their eyes.
But... considering he did just that, why didn't he get any sort of reaction from Levi? Is he hiding it? That couldn't be the case since he didn't see any flash of recognition or something in his features.
"Something wrong?" The raven suddenly asked.
Catching himself, Jean realized he must have been frowning from thinking too much, or in Levi's words, he "looked constipated". Right, being Eren means you don't have to think too much since his meager brain wouldn't be able to handle the pressure.
"Nothing. Just feeling out of it."
And that's exactly the excuse he'll be using for this entire game. The solution to shaking off Levi's possible suspicions. If he pretends he was feeling dissociated, Levi would think someone was close and influencing "Eren" to act in a certain way.
After all, Eren never mentioned any particular rule on what methods they could resort to when enduring this game. So surely, that wouldn't be considered cheating.
As the clock continued to tick away, Levi had a nagging feeling at the back of his mind. One that tells him something isn't quite right. The more he tries to ignore it, the more it bothers him. And when his instincts are like this, it usually has something to do with the brunet.
Is the brat hiding something from him? He really couldn't tell. Is it really Eren who was out and with him? Again, he really couldn't tell. As far as he knows, his husband had been feeling out of it for quite a while now, so his sense of identity might currently be hazy.
The brunet wasn't also avoiding to look at him in the eye. And when Levi does look into those ocean green orbs, nothing seems to be amiss. Whenever one of his alters was out, there was always a subtle – sometimes very subtle – change in the way their eyes looked. Somehow, he could easily spot that certain change whenever Mikasa or Annie was out.
But then, Jean was the exception.
He didn't know why, but he couldn't spot any difference whenever Jean was out. He tried to find something, anything, that could make Jean stand out, but other than his refusal to pretend to be Eren as much as possible – along with his subpar acting skills – there really isn't much to go by, appearance-wise.
Jean also has a different vibe, though. Maybe that's where he was getting that unsettling feeling from. But it would be wrong to accuse the brunet of something he really has no solid proof of. After all, maybe Jean was just close instead of out.
Or is he?
"Hey, can you read this for me? I can't seem to find my glasses." The raven asked just after they finished with dinner.
'Shit!' Jean internally panicked, racking his brain for a plausible excuse that Levi would believe. A little more time and they'd be going to bed soon. He was so goddamn close! He can't possibly fail now.
"Oi, brat. Did you hear me?" Levi prompted when the younger failed to respond.
Jean made a show of snapping out of it and rapidly blinking his eyes. "Huh? Sorry, Lee. What were you saying?" He rubbed at his eyes.
Levi stared at him for a moment, trying to determine if a switch had occured, or the brunet was just spacing out again. He was equally torn between those two possibilities.
"Can you read this for me?" He repeated, handing a sheet of paper.
"Of course." The younger beamed up at him. "Why though? Is your age catching up with you?" He added cheekily.
"Shut up." Levi muttered out. "That little shit must have played with my glasses again. It's not where I left it."
"Why don't you borrow Jean's?"
"Why don't you just read it since you're here?"
"Fine, grumpy pants." Jean rolled his eyes. Here goes nothing.
"Don't tell me your eyes are getting bad, too?" Levi spoke when he noticed the brunet squinting to get a better view at the words.
"Fuck, I hope not." He frowned. "Horse-face might be close, though. I just sincerely hope that was the case."
He couldn't really tell, but perhaps Levi accepted that excuse considering his lack of response. And fucking hell was that a fucking huge relief for him.
When bedtime finally rolled around, Jean felt like hyperventilating from all the pent-up emotions he had to keep holding back until the day was over. Once the raven drifts off to sleep, his victory would finally be secured.
Granted, Levi might not have specifically addressed him as "Eren" and was rather settling with "brat" or "hey" or "oi", but the fact that he hadn't specifically called him out should be enough reason for his win.
The final hurdle was to just snuggle up against the raven until he falls asleep. Levi was still freshening up in the bathroom and would be joining him any minute now. He could use that time to calm himself down and just breeze through this final step.
By the time Levi joined him in bed though, all of his preparations came spiraling down. He had failed to consider Levi would be the one who'll snuggle behind him... peppering kisses all over his shoulder up to his jaw.
He hadn't even closed his eyes yet, and he was already having a nightmare.
"Stop, Lee. We still have work tomorrow." He tried to shake him off, letting out a small (nervous) giggle, and hoping to all fuck his heartbeat isn't as loud as he could hear it.
"And you're complaining now?" The raven shot back before resuming those butterfly kisses on his shoulders.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
So this is why Eren made it "important" that Levi should think he was with him before he goes to sleep. That fucking bastard made it sure they would all get caught in this moment. So much for his fucking "generosity". He was just dangling them for his own entertainment!
How could he have forgotten how the couple shares goodnight kisses every single time before they go to sleep? Or worse... ugh! He doesn't even want to think about it. Fucking hell, he has to find a way out of this Gehenna.
"Really, love. We still have an important report to do tomorrow. I can't go to work looking all fucked-out." He tried again, each word another thorn in his tongue.
"Why not? That doesn't sound so bad." Levi rebutted.
"How about this... if the whole report thing goes well tomorrow, we could do a little celebration at night?" He proposed, praying to the goddamn walls he wouldn't break character.
"And if it doesn't?" The raven arched a brow.
"Then... you'd know how to make me feel better, don't you?" He smirked suggestively.
Levi narrowed his eyes on him, trying to determine if that was a good enough reason, and deciding whatever his doubts are, he really had no choice in the matter.
"Fine." He grumbled out. "But I'm topping since you made me wait."
Jean tried his damnedest not to cringe at that. "Of course." He continued to smile instead.
And this is when the most crucial point happens.
Jean leaned over to kiss the husband.
Unfortunately, it shouldn't just be a quick peck, 'coz their bedtime kisses are never quick pecks. It should be at least a minute long of horrendous spit sharing and tongue dancing. A minute long of pure torture.
He finally found a good use of Eren's motormouth. That dipshit never let any detail pass, especially when he was trying to get on his nerves. But goddamn, none of those sensations he described came any close to how it actually feels: Fucking horrible.
And when they finally broke apart, Levi continued staring at him. Jean couldn't tell what expression he must be wearing with the dim lighting, and he really didn't wanna know. All he wanted was to go back in their inner world and never resurface again.
"Goodnight, Lee." He almost whispered and immediately cuddled up on the older man's chest to avoid further conversations.
Somebody bury him already.
Levi just hummed and took a second to settle back on the bed. Silence ensued afterwards, and though Jean couldn't tell if he was asleep already, he didn't even have the strength left to care. He'll just drift off first then and escape this hell.
The most important thing is he won. He fucking showed that shitface that he was able to do the impossible. This achievement would be something he'll slap on that bastard's face. And he really had to recharge since he has a vacation to plan.
One day, Levi found his husband curled up on the couch with a constipated look on his face. He didn't even waste a breath and just proceeded to sit down beside him.
"What's wrong?" He asked directly.
"They're just pestering me to confirm who really won the game we were playing. You see, these past weeks, they've been trying to make you believe they were me for a day, or a couple of hours. Whoever wins would get to decide where our vacation would be." The brunet sighed.
Of course Levi had noticed the sudden interest of his alters in impersonating their host. But it was still nice to finally learn the reason behind it.
"Then wouldn't that be Jean?" Levi pointed out.
Eren let out a noise of distress at that. He really didn't want to acknowledge that fact. It was already bad that he had to bitch at that horse-face for actually kissing Levi, and Jean pointing out he was the one who left him with no other options in the first place. And what more, it was still, technically, Eren's lips that touched the raven's.
But then something clicked in his head.
"Hold on... how the hell did you know it was Jean?"
Levi lagged for a response, wondering if he should really tell his husband about it. But then, come to think about it, Eren is most probably already aware of the details of the time Jean last came out. And all things considered, he really couldn't lie to his husband.
He already had his suspicions that perhaps Jean might finally be trying his best to impersonate Eren like what his fellow alters had been doing. But there's really that one detail that sealed it for him.
"He kisses like a virgin." He deadpanned.
In the end, Levi took over the decision-making since he was the real winner in this whole game. And like the perfect fucking husband he is, he took them to a cruise he had been keeping an eye on for quite some time now, and satisfied every one of them.
Levi looking into Eren's eyes to determine if he was out was something he had been doing as far back as chapter 12 of OBNTS (yes, I checked). It's also why the edited "cover photo" (aka, the shitty edit on the summary) of that fic shows Levi doing that particular action to Eren.
On another note, remember how Jean used to be Eren's body-double in the canon universe, 'coz according to Armin, they had the "same menacing look in their eyes"? Well, guess who just milked that tiny detail?
Chapter 4: La La Latte
Me: Seriously brain?! You're giving me all these ideas for an appreciation chapter... of a cat?! Why are we even working on this? What about the other fic we've yet to upda—
Brain: Shhhhhhhhhhhhhut the fuck up and write.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was cold. It was dark.
She tried calling out for attention. She wanted to be let out.
But her pleas fell on deaf ears. She tried finding a way out, but the constant moving of the floor underneath her made it difficult to do so.
It's been a while since the darkness enveloped her. The cramped space surrounding her was something she should find comfort in. She kinda liked these sorts of enclosures, after all. But with the constant shifting, it was anything but that.
And when the movement stopped, she waited patiently to finally be let out. She started to call out for attention again when the human took more time than necessary. But again, she wasn't heard.
Popping her tiny head out of the enclosed box, she noticed that the human who carried her all the way here was no longer around. She doesn't even have an idea where she was right now. So she went back inside again and waited. Maybe the human will come back soon.
But they didn't.
She was starting to get hungry, and all she wanted was to curl up next to her mother again. She may have complained a little along the way, but she had been generally good throughout their travel.
Why would the human abandon her?
Trying her luck to find her way back home, she hopped out of the box and padded through the blanket of pure white snow. Nothing seemed to be familiar though; not the street, not that fence, not that house, or the one beside that, or the ones across from that. That doesn't even seem to be the same tree where she once chased a squirrel 'til she got stuck on one of the branches and had to cry out for help. Sniffing the air for any sign of familiarity was no use either. It only made her button of a nose hurt.
Her tiny feet kept padding forward. Each step only taking her to another area she doesn't recognize. She ran and hid when encountering a potential threat, until she learned to avoid walking in the open area and just keep to the sides where she can easily flee. Once, she helped herself to a house where a very enticing aroma was originating from. Sadly, she was promptly chased out by a scary-looking human.
Houses gradually turned into buildings. Tall buildings, some taller, some even more. Yet another sight that wasn't familiar to her in the slightest. The number of humans ambling around steadily multiplied. But no one paid her any heed; too caught up in their own bubbles. Had she been home, it would've been an honor for her to re-arrange all those human decorations that have littered all throughout the place. Those flashing lights, those hanging balls, those assortment of banners and garlands... they were too pretty not to be played with. But that wasn't something she could care of in her current state.
She was hungry. She was cold. So cold.
She stopped to rest at one spot. One that was void of humans and animals alike. Possibly abandoned. Just like her.
That was until footsteps she didn't notice approaching stopped in front of her. A human with ink black hair and narrow eyes, which were the only thing that could be seen by how far up he wrapped his scarf, was staring at her with curiosity. After a moment of just staring at each other, the human got down on his knees to take a closer look at her.
"Are you lost?" He asked through the fabric of his scarf.
"Meow ~" came her weak reply. She was so hungry she barely have much strength left in her.
The human started to look on both sides, and even the area behind him like he was searching for something. He redirected his gaze back at her with a seemingly conflicted look in those orbs.
"You're filthy." He mumbled out.
Well, of course she is considering everything she went through. Literally and figuratively.
"Meow ~" She called again, asking the human to at least just give her something for her empty stomach.
The human let out an audible sigh before extending his hesitant hands and picking her up. She didn't even squirm much since the heat radiating from the human was a lot better than the cold air she'd been enduring for how long now.
The human didn't give her anything to eat though. If anything, it only seemed like he was helping her with her aimless journey as he went around from door to door and asked, "Is this your cat?"
After the nth house and building they stopped by, the human seemed to have given up. She had no collar on, and unless there was a posted sign of a missing feline, it would be safe to assume she was a stray.
"Well, if no one's happy to take you in, then I know someone who'll shit his pants when he sees you. I'm sure you'll make him very happy – ecstatic, even – by just showing up." He said while idly stroking her head. "And who knows? Maybe you'll be my ticket to forgiveness."
And that was how she found herself taken into a warm apartment that was infinite times better than the cold world outside. It was void of all those flashy bric-a-brac though, compared to her former human's abode. Quite smaller, too. Not that that was important. She could – and she would – always find something else to play with.
The human took her to what seemed like his kitchen and had given her some milk he even heated up for her. It was so good it only took her a couple minutes to finish it all up and even ask for seconds.
"Damn, just how long have you been out there?" The human asked as he prepared her another bowl.
"Mreow ~" She responded a lot more cheerful this time, gradually regaining her strength.
"You're lucky you haven't turn into a popsicle yet by the time I found you, you know. Be grateful." The human muttered as he set down her second bowl. She just meowed her gratitude and instantly lapped at the milk once the bowl was settled on the floor.
"And you're lucky old man Pixis allowed me to keep you here. Just don't do something to change his mind."
She didn't bother responding to that. She could care less whoever that human is. He wasn't the one who rescued her, after all.
"You need a name." The human mused to himself. "Popsy." He blurted out. "Sort of like how you almost turned into a popsicle."
She didn't like that, at all. Why would this human name her into what she would've been... had she been dead?
"Not good, huh?" The human kept talking to her like he could actually understand her. "How about..." He trailed off as he racked his brain for better ones, eyes still trained on her own.
She could almost see how the gears in his brain worked until they clicked into place. A flash of "Eureka!" lighting his eyes for a second.
"Latte." He stated almost reverently, like it was some sort of a fond memory he secretly treasures.
She thinks that was better... whatever that means. Obviously, the human seemed to be fond of that name, so if he makes it her own, that would mean he'll also be fond of her. If he wasn't already.
"Right. From now on, you're Latte. I don't care if you like it or not, but that's going to be your name from now on." The human continued.
Right. Whatever, human. Call me whatever you like as long as you keep me.
As long as you don't abandon me once you got sick of me like my owner before you.
Soon enough, she was full. She was all warmed up. This human is, undoubtedly, her savior. She was sure nothing bad could ever happen again. She won't have to go through the suffering of being abandoned again. This human would take good care of her for the rest of her life. This human would become her new parent. This human would...
Give her a bath right after she was fed.
"Calm down, you little shit. Argh! Fuck! Hold sti— Ow! Stop that! You're not roaming around here until you're clean, you get tha— Ah, shit!"
If there was one thing she despises the most, it would be baths. It would always be baths. Baths were even worse than having to stay out in the freezing weather for days. She could never comprehend why humans would force her to have one when she could clean herself up. Maybe not as good as her mother could, but she's getting there.
"Fucking hell." The human muttered out as soon as he finally wrapped her up in a towel.
His eyes narrowed at the state of his wrists and arms. What once was an unblemished length of pale white, was now littered with streaks of pinks and reds. A true masterpiece if you'd ask her.
Suddenly, the human halted his actions of rubbing the fabric on her drenched fur.
"Shit." He mumbled under his breath. "I don't have any hairdryer."
She watched as the human's features contorted into one of irritation, or perhaps, of internal conflict. Seeing as he was no longer drying her off with the towel, she took three steps away from him and started licking her own fur dry. As much as she wanted to, she can't really go too far from the human. It was still too cold, she couldn't even help her tiny body from vibrating.
The human let out another sigh as he wordlessly wrapped her back up in the towel and carried her to another room. Back to the living area. Stopping in front of the room heater, the human sat down cross-legged and set her down in front of him. It was much warmer there, and the human was pretty smart for thinking about it.
Actually, he was pretty smart for taking her in in the first place.
Later that night, the human was going on about establishing house rules and something, but she was more interested in exploring her new home. Soon after that, lights were turned off and she followed the human to his bedroom.
"You're not allowed on the bed, got it?" He stated resolutely, donning on a stern expression. "I'll try and look for something you can sleep on some other time. Get you checked by a vet, too. But that'll have to wait. Holidays are a fucking pain in the ass." He droned on as he took to rearranging the pillows.
She just blinked at that and let the human settle himself on the bed. She lied down on the floor, still gazing up at him even though he already shut off the bedside lamp. Despite doing that, some light from outside the window still managed to sneak their way through. It was that time of year when humans like to bump up their electricity bills with flashing lights and a whole assortment of knick-knacks, after all.
Not this human, though.
When said human turned his head and saw her staring, he narrowed his eyes at her and, with clear reluctance, diverted his sights to the ceiling instead. She took that as her cue to join him in his sleep, lying comfortably on top of his chest.
"I said you're not allowed on the bed." The human frowned.
But technically, she wasn't really on the bed, was she?
She just blinked at him slowly, and feeling that comforting heat radiating from the human, she couldn't help purring.
"You little shit. Don't do that eye thing on me. I already have another brat who uses that to make me bend on his will."
She continued to stare at him, perhaps wondering what the human was going on about. The considerable darkness of the room was actually dilating her pupils and doing unexplainable sorts of things to the poor human.
"Fine. You can stay here." He finally conceded. "But in return, you're gonna have to help me reconcile with your human incarnate."
She still doesn't have an idea what he was talking about, but if he was asking for some sort of help, then she will certainly help him.
Eventually, she met her "human incarnate".
She actually liked him, despite the fact that he immediately started molesting her the moment he laid his eyes on her. He had pretty eyes and an equally pretty smile, and judging from the way he reacted when he first saw her, she was pretty sure this human would spoil her rotten.
And when he declared they were her new parents (when the first human certainly did not), that's when her fate was finally sealed. For good.
"You little fuck. Out of all the shit we bought for you, why in the fuck do you play with my glasses?" The human, her Daddy, grumbled, picking up the spectacles she had previously been batting on the floor.
"Tch. And don't think I haven't seen all those papers you swatted to the floor. You never learn, do you?" He narrowed his eyes at her. She just blinked back with wide eyes.
"Eren! You better get your cat here before I throw this shit out." He called out, sighing and walking away. Her Dada promptly took his place afterwards.
"Did you do something to upset your Daddy again?" The kinder parent cooed, picking her up to place her on his lap. "Don't worry, he doesn't mean what he said. Your Daddy loves you very much."
And to testify that, her Dada had actually walked-in to her Daddy one day, lying sideways on the kitchen floor next to her. Not wanting to disrupt the moment, her Dada hid behind the wall and strained his ears to catch whatever her Daddy had been telling her in such a low voice.
Turns out, her Daddy was just trying to re-instate why house rules were important and how she should stop being so bratty since he already had his hands full with six of 'em. When he was done with that, her Daddy went on asking her how it feels like being a cat and just what sort of things goes on her head. He also commented on how she and her Dada got along so well, it almost seemed like they shared the same brain (which her Dada still wonders if that was meant to be an insult or otherwise), all the while stroking her fur to her utmost content.
Her Dada knew that if he showed up, her Daddy would abruptly stop and make up a half-baked excuse on what he had been doing. So he didn't; fully content on listening from the other side of the wall and wishing he could record this moment.
And that was also one of the many, many reasons why Latte could never be threatened by her Daddy in one way or another. Hell, he'd probably have a heart attack if she so much get stuck on a high branch again. She knew her Dada almost did.
"Levi! Latte knocked over the coffee jar. Now she needs a thorough bath!" Her Dada had called out, carrying her by her sides while they both weaved through the rooms of the house in search of her Daddy.
Her Daddy soon popped out from his study, eyeglasses still on the bridge of his nose, his thin eyebrows already meeting in disapproval.
"Shit." was all he muttered out before letting out a deep, defeated sigh.
Her Daddy would never let her Dada handle her baths knowing how much she hated them and how much she likes to demonstrate that certain abhorrence. Her Daddy loves her Dada too much that even the slightest scratch would have him fussing.
"Give me it." He grumped out, extending his hands to carry her.
"Thanks, love." Her Dada beamed, giving him a loving kiss on the cheek. "Be nice to her, okay? It was an accident."
"I'm really not the one you should be saying that to."
And the dreadful baths would always be dreadful. Ever since then, her Daddy had thought better and wore gloves that almost reached his elbows whenever he would give her a bath. Of course, a pair could only last for a single use, and sometimes, her poor Daddy still managed to earn a few scratches.
"The next time this happens, I'm sticking you into the kettle and brew you." He had threatened as he dried her up with a towel.
Her Daddy tends to say the meanest things to her; calling her a little shit and every other name under the sun. He likes to accentuate his points with threats, too; telling her he'd disown her, throw her out, or give her to that terrifying human who was like a vet for humans. Apparently, that human was Dada's vet.
Why does her Daddy like to lie?
On the other hand, her Dada was like the perfect example of a stage mom. Most of the times, that is. There are other times when he acts like her Daddy, not in the sense of calling her names or dishing out empty threats, but in the sense that... he's not as gung ho of playing with her at times.
Her Dada is inconsistent. But she loves him all the same.
When winter came and humans started fussing over the holidays again, Latte was more than content to lounge in front of the fireplace and ignore the world around her. Ever since they lived in an actual house, her Dada had insisted they should at least do some decorating to somehow commemorate the season. Of course her Daddy could hardly say no when it comes to her Dada.
"Levi, do you think something's changed with Latte?" Eren asked as he lazed around with his husband on the couch that weekend.
"What do you mean?" The raven asked, taking a look at the feline in question.
"Don't you think she's gotten bigger?"
Levi snorted at that. "Of course she is. All she does is eat and barely do anything. She's fat and she's lazy. Why wouldn't you think she's gotten bigger?"
"It's not just that. I mean, think about it. Usually, she would've already attacked the tree by this point of time. But she hasn't. I haven't seen her messing with the decorations, too. And I think she might be eating more than usual." The brunet pointed out.
"Like I said, she's fat and she's lazy." Levi merely repeated with a shrug.
"Don't you think she's pregnant?" Eren suggested.
Dark brows furrowed at that. "What're you talking about? She hardly leaves the house."
"Well, it's true that we always see her whenever we're home. But what about whenever we're not? She's a cat, and we always keep a window open for her whenever she may want to go out. And maybe she didn't have to wander away from our lot. Maybe another cat is coming to meet her instead." He reasoned.
That got the raven to shut up and actually consider it. He spent a good few minutes of deep thinking, and Eren thought better than to interrupt him in his contemplation. And all too abruptly, he stood up.
"Get dressed. We're going to the vet." He announced unceremoniously.
"Now?" Eren asked dumbly, quite surprised by his husband's impulsiveness.
How long has it been, Eren couldn't tell. All he knows for sure is that his stomach hurts, he needed to breathe, and that he's already crying. In his defense, this was Pieck's, Latte's vet, fault.
Levi had been quite tense on the drive to her clinic, and Eren found it unusual of him to willingly weave his way through the busy streets of holiday season, just to find out if Latte really was pregnant. And as much as Eren likes Pieck since she takes really good care of Latte, not to mention she has a great sense of humor, she really is the one to blame for his current state... because of that particular sense of humor.
Pieck had a sombre air about her as they watched Latte's ultrasound. Even though Levi was keeping mum the entire time, Eren could tell he was at the edge of his seat just as he, himself, was. The fact that Pieck was being uncharacteristically silent was only feeding the tension.
"So, how is it, Pieck?" Eren had initiated to ask when the waiting was starting to kill him. He's not familiar with ultrasounds and is rather clueless about what exactly they were looking at in the monitor. He was quite sure the same also goes for Levi.
"Hmm... Nine." Pieck had responded cryptically.
"Nine? Nine what? Kittens?" Eren followed-up incredulously. Are cats even able to carry that much kittens?
"No. Nine chicken nuggets. Latte's not pregnant. She's just fat. Like, really fat. And happy." She announced with a shit-eating grin on her face.
And that was what led to Eren bursting out in laughter, failing miserably to rein it in even for his husband's sake. His husband who had kept a tight line on his lips even as he finally started to come down from his high.
"Shit, that was hilarious. I hate you, Pieck." Eren wheezed out, wiping the tears that have gathered in the corners of his eyes.
"Say that again, and you won't get special discounts anymore." Pieck threatened with no real venom.
"Well, Lee. Looks like it's still gonna be the three of us in the family." The brunet jested, gently nudging his husband by the shoulder to make sure he still functions.
"Right. Well... thank fuck." Levi muttered out, his tone betraying his words. Perhaps he really was looking forward to having more kittens.
Eventually, they thanked Pieck and went on their merry way back home, with Eren carrying Latte while Levi mechanically made his way back to the car, still unable to get over the pregnancy scare.
"Levi, did you really wanted Latte to be pregnant?" Eren decided to ask on the drive back home.
"I don't know." The raven sighed. "I mean, I'm not sure how we'll deal with more cats, but if she really was pregnant, then it's not like we could give those kittens away."
"Hmm, true. But at least now we could mentally prepare ourselves once that time comes."
"There's that." Levi agreed.
"Imagine if Latte really did have nine kittens though. We'd have enough names for a mini coffee shop's menu. Hannes would flip."
Levi couldn't help snorting and shaking his head at the thought. If they'd have Frappe or Cappuccino running around the house, people would definitely think they were running a business, or at the very least, think they were just a couple of caffeine enthusiasts. Which, all things considered, they are.
A couple of days after that incident, Eren found his husband on the kitchen floor again; sitting cross-legged with a yowling Latte in his hands.
"Zip it. Didn't you hear what your vet said? You're too fat and you need exercise. Be ashamed." The raven chided as he continued to help with the feline's exercise through simple stretches.
Eren had to slap a hand in his mouth when the cat continued to yowl in protest, clearly not a bit remorseful about her weight. For someone who complains a lot about keeping the cat, Levi sure do have his moments of contradiction. A lot of them, in fact.
Eren would very much like to join his husband on the floor by then, but knew he'd rather let them have this moment for the two of them to bond.
He is Latte's Daddy, after all.
Wow, what a filler chapter.
But is it, really? Or am I just setting the scene up for something major? Hmm...