It has been a rough week, for both of them.
Levi was sitting in room 5 of the ER, at 11:24 PM on a Friday night, efficiently stitching a deep cut on a girl’s knee. His last patient, apparently.
That was surreal, eerily quiet for a Friday night. Anytime in the 6 minutes between him and the end of his shift, he was sure some metaphorical shit was more than ready to hit the fan; a pack of ambulances would crush into the parking lot, vomiting a handful of jackasses that decided it was a great idea to try and see if opening beer cans with a chainsaw was as efficient and badass as it sounded.
True enough, at 11:28 sharp, as soon as he let the young lady in her girlfriend’s care, blue and red lights approached in the distance.
He sighed and cursed loudly. They were prepared, they knew it: doctor Levi Ackerman, emergency surgeon, on a Friday ER night shift, was pure, distilled bad luck.
This time though, something seemed different: Hange and Moblit, surgery and general medicine, Jean, Marco and Bertolt, nurses, were all staring at Armin, resident emergency surgeon, bursting on the ramp outside. The blond boy signaled two fingers at them, phone tucked between cheek and shoulder, shouting something, out of which they only got “-ake Eren!”.
Bertolt moved on autopilot, dashing towards him through the entrance with a stretcher, followed by Jean and Marco pulling another one, Hange in tow.
His heart stuttered.
Eren was on duty tonight.
They decided to trade shifts at their respective works to be able to both have the whole weekend and Monday morning off, since they didn’t saw each other home at the same time for four weeks.
The engine’s deafening roar that boomed into the hall didn’t faze him because his brain was busy processing ahead.
That was not an ambulance. That was a firefighter truck.
He recognized the ID code of the vehicle: S-845-WM.
His boyfriend’s truck: Eren’s bloody fucking truck.
As Moblitt slammed the doors open, his brain was kicked back into the present with shivering force.
The doctor rushed to the firefighter running his way, immediately focusing on a splash of crimson blood and black ash smeared across his left cheek and nose, making his wonderful jade-teal eyes even more vivid and shining. The smoke stench engulfed him.
“Sasha’s” Eren dismissed as soon as he saw the raven open his mouth to ask “Broken nose, she coughed while I was relocating it. Connie got slamme-”
The stretchers galloped by, Eren’s teammates on them: Sasha, weakly mewling to Armin, Jean and Marco on both sides; Connie out cold with Hange, Moblit and Bert. The firefighter stopped talking and looked anxiously at them, making a move to follow. Levi blocked the way, grabbing both his arms.
“Are you okay?” he asked, checking for any sign of injury or discomfort: the idiot managed to hide a dislocated shoulder one time. Fooled him once, it was not happening again. Ever.
“The scream Connie let out, Levi. Goddamnit.” Eren bit his lower lip shivering, but Levi knew it wasn’t pain: he was afraid. Probably angry, blaming himself for whichever shit they went through.
“I thought Sasha cracked her head open.” He whined, shutting his eyes, grappling his hands.
“Eren” he called gently, brushing lightly the tip of his fingers on the bridge of his nose “They’re in good hands, they’ll be fine. Check, now. Come with me.”
When they arrived, the house had been burning for a while and was already a golden, raging madness.
They were called by the neighbors but nobody actually knew if there was someone inside, leaving them on a crazy, desperate, treacherous goose chase. Throwing themselves face first into the smoke of the fierce fire, they scouted the scorching nightmare, coughing smoke and pain, shouting over the rumble of the collapsing house, finding no one. A small mercy, because the ceiling had been making alarming noises all along: they were running out of time.
Eren was barreling through the living room, hopping among burning furniture and roof pieces when he heard the metallic snapping and a terrified shout, turning around to see Connie shove Sasha forward, out of the trajectory of a giant, molten steel chandelier crashing down. He will remember for the rest of his life Connie’s piercing cry slice the boiling air.
He was dragging him out the front hole which was once the entrance when a rafter missed him by a breath, smashing on Sasha’s helmet. He felt the pain watching her deflating on the black floor like a lifeless puppet.
Mikasa dropped the hose she was drenching the flames outside with to rush inside; out of sheer force and anger alone, they made it to the truck.
The ride to the hospital has been a painful, shining blur. Mikasa drove like a batshit crazy harpoon, Eren’s hand shaking so bad while he was talking to Armin that he almost dropped the phone twice.
Sasha’s concussion ended up being a mild one thanks to the helmet, and she came out with her nose broken, four cracked ribs on her right side and a sprained wrist.
Connie won a dislocated collarbone and a compound fractured shoulder blade, complete of a third-degree burn; thank goodness he didn’t get his lung pierced.
After having the two firefighters stabilized, which took up almost until dawn, they stumbled into Levi’s car and Eren mysteriously managed to reach home and drag them both into the shower. He almost fell asleep while scrubbing sweat, soot and blood from his and his boyfriend’s skin. Crawling under the comforter, he clutched Levi’s waist, burying the nose in the crook of his neck, Levi’s arms caging him there.
They were out before their still damp heads touched the pillows.
Eren woke up first around noon, his bladder screeching for clemency: his beloved, damned, awesome, terrifying soulmate found a way to move around and sleep with all of his weight on it.
Stumbling into the living room, he focused on the world outside.
Dim light, rain, clouds trapped low among the trees, washing away the world in a pearlescent hue. It was so peaceful it almost hurt.
A bit cold maybe, but nothing that a hoodie and a pair of sweats couldn’t face. Smiling, Eren approached the kitchen area. Despite wanting to go back to sleep, the atmosphere was perfect for some Pu-erh, desperately calling for it almost; they both needed it. Him because he found the eastern brewing meditative and soothing, grounding. Levi because yes.
Pierce in three spots, like you were pointing the vertices of a triangle
Eren cautiously laid the paper envelope of the dark tea cake on the counter, turning the white electric kettle on after having it filled with mineral water.
Don’t freak out, it’s not going anywhere. The only thing it’s gonna be stabbed it’s you if you use too much force
Eren opened it, letting the strong, dry, earthy scent curl into his nostrils. Brandishing the tea knife, he approached the spot Levi already shaved during the past week, focusing on the brown leaves finely pressed. The rain’s steadily prickling the big floor-to-ceiling window doors of the open space filled the air.
Let the leaves guide the knife, doesn’t matter if you’ll have to shave twice or more. The goal is trying not to damage them too much
Taking a huge, calm breath, Eren guided the pointed blade into one of the layers. Sure enough, with very little effort, the knife sank almost to the hilt’s golden band. Eren applied a bit of leverage, detaching the leaves up to a soft cracking noise. That was his queue to attack from another angle.
Try not to scratch around too much. Don’t rush, gentle and steady. You’re gonna let too much oxygen in it otherwise, and then I’ll definitely have to kill you
He turned slightly the cake, repeating.
The rain kept falling down in a clear, silver rhythm, lavishing him with its delicate symphony.
After a couple of minutes, he looked triumphantly at three scales of tea cake on a paper napkin. Putting it back into the sheathing, he stored the utensil into the drawer by the sink, then wrapped the cake back and store it in the cupboard behind him. Looking briefly over the flock of teacups on the level below, he pulled one of Levi’s out, closing the shutter.
A medium-sized Japanese hand made glazed cream cup, a vibrant green band of paint around the brim, three inches inside and outside, finger-modeled in the central section for a natural, comfortable grip. Not exactly useful in Levi’s case, but the rim was a tad thicker, broader and curved than the average, enough to not get him burned by the heat of the ceramic when he was holding it.
It was an utter mismatch with the red Yixing clay teapot, finely decorated with a gorgeous bas-relief of a kingfish peeking curiously among chrysanthemums.
Ice-cold fingers found their way under the dark green hoodie over bare skin. He felt the thermal shock knocking rapidly the air out of his lungs. The not so subtle tugging and twisting made him chuckle, while the groper snaked his way under the fabric, pressing himself on his back. Sleepy hands followed the lines of his muscles, climbing up his ribcage to the left pectoral; having the hoodie zipped up only to cover his abdomen, he was able to see them spread slowly over his heart, pale arms crossing his torso.
The combination of a freezing nose and warm breath on his spine sent a dark shiver through.
Scraping back his way down Eren’s sides, Levi’s raven mop popped out from under his right armpit, pressing on his chest, eyes still closed, pinkish nose and flushed cheeks. Eren was pretty sure he’ll get paralysis from how much he was smiling, stargazing at the man’s fierce beauty.
Blowing stray hair away from the other’s forehead, he pressed his lips lightly on the skin, lingering a handful of seconds. When he started to pull away, Levi faintly growled, following the movement to not break contact, gently clawing around his navel. Eren obliged with a short shower of butterfly kisses on Levi’s eyebrows, eyelids and nose bridge, until the heard the kettle turning off with a clack.
After filling the teapot and cup with water to warm them up, he returned his attention back while putting down the instrument.
Steel gray-blue eyes greeted him with a tired, adoring smile.
In the rain muffled whisper, Eren craned his head down, gently embracing him through the fabric, a wild lock escaping the loose bun at the back of his head. They tenderly brushed their foreheads and noses together, over cheeks and jaws in delicate caresses, Levi lightly pecking Eren’s neck when he reached for his right collarbone, exposed by the oversized gray sleep shirt.
With the gentlest nip on the skin, Eren pulled back and returned briefly his focus to the teapot while the raven leaned in, grazing the small of his back with the left hand and brushing circles on his left hip with the right thumb.
The brunette discarded the water through the in-made clay filter, together with the cup. He then moved the tea inside the teapot, filling it up to the rim, closing it with the lid and immediately draining. The clear liquid slowly tinted to a reddish tone while flowing into the sink.
You’ll need to wash these leaves before drinking or the tea will taste of melted asphalt and despite how much I enjoy watching your face pinch whenever you screw up the brewing, messing up with Pu-erh is a crime
Eren could feel Levi’s eyes checking his movements as he refilled the pot and waited 15 seconds before pouring the tea into the cup. Putting the teapot down on the counter, he lifted the lid, balancing it between the rim and the handle, to avoid overcooking the leaves with the heat, leaving them ready for the next infusions. The dark red-brown fluid released swaying steaming curls in the air.
Levi scratched lightly his hip in silent approval, gazing up at him with a proud smirk; Eren felt ecstatic, sporting a thousand-watt grin to the shorter man, sliding the cream and green cup towards them, resting his hands on his sides.
Seconds ticked by, neither of them moving; Levi turned his attention to the cup, then to Eren, then to the cup and back to Eren again. It dawned on him when the taller one lovingly nuzzled the crown of his head while gently coaxing him completely upfront in an attentive hug, pulling his back flush to his chest and abdomen.
The raven exhaled a blissed hum sipping the black tea: perfect brewing, the woody, hazelnut-hull flavor filling his nostrils and mouth with a velvet tone.
Eren drew a trail of lengthy, open-mouthed kisses along the left side of Levi’s neck, tongue languidly lapping at his pulse point. Levi closed his eyes and leaned into the touch, basking in the attention, until he emptied the cup, putting it down near the teapot. He turned around, slowly cradling Eren’s chin and nape to guide him down and plant feather pecks on his left temple and jaw, lingering to let him feel the heat of his lips, twirling the brown stray lock in his fingers.
Eren cuddled a bit tighter, running his fingers through jet-black hair, feeling tears prickle his eyes from the sweet and delicate ministration.
They stayed like that, silently relaxing, Levi drinking peacefully the next two brews between long, warm, doting kisses, Eren occasionally stealing sips, stroking his back, shoulders and hips with reverent adoration.
In the afternoon haze, they gazed from time to time at the storm outside, white fog flowing in the misty rain through the pine maze, feeling their love sink deep into each other skin.