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Don't Die Before I Do

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Eren loves sleeping. He spends most of the day in bed, and only wakes up to draw, and for all those basic necessities that people have in order to stay alive.

The reason he likes to sleep is because of him. Eren has no idea who he is, but it's someone Eren can only see when he dreams, and he is in most of Eren's dreams, since he surrounds himself with images of him all the time. So Eren keeps on dreaming, sleeping his life away.

Eren knows every inch of his face, grey-blue eyes that look bored at first sight, but when you pay attention, you can see how much he expresses himself through them. His nose, slightly upturned, the shape of his face. He is beautiful, and Eren can only hope he's doing him at least some justice with his drawings.

He draws him in every way he can think of, standing, sitting, sleeping. He can't draw him smiling though, whenever he tries, it looks weird, like a smile doesn't belong in his face, and this makes Eren sad.

His room is practically wallpapered with the drawings, and Eren stares at them as he falls asleep every time. He craves the dreams, even though they also make him sad, most of the time. Because the man has such a despairing look on his face as he chokes the life out of Eren. Eren knows he doesn't want to do that, he can see it. But he does it anyway, and Eren dies by his hands every time.

Eren feels so sorry for the man as he is asphyxiated by him that he cries, he cries in his sleep and wakes up gasping for air and with his tears on his pillow. He has no idea why the man has to kill him. Maybe he was a criminal in that dream world, and the man was the executioner. Even if the method of execution is a little unusual, it makes sense, somewhat. What doesn't make sense are the dreams themselves, why does Eren have them.

But he doesn't think about this anymore, he loves them, he can't live without them. Without him.

More often than not, it is the choking dream, but sometimes they are different. Sometimes they're just together, talking, about what, Eren has no idea. He laughs sometimes in the dream, the man does not.

After many attempts at finding a psychiatrist that could actually do something for him, his parents somewhat gave up on him, leaving him in the care of his older brother Zeke. And his brother does take care of him, feeds him, brings him art supplies, patches him up when he hurts himself.

The few times Eren is lucid enough to talk to him, he always apologizes for being a hindrance, and Zeke always tells him he isn't, that he's there for Eren, for whatever he may need.

He's given up on getting Eren to come out of the house, after the last time when he forced him to take one step out of the door and Eren emptied his stomach all over himself. This time, it was Zeke apologizing, over and over to Eren, who just wanted to go back to bed. He just dumped his soiled clothes by his bed and crawled back under the covers.

At least he eats, is Zeke's only consolation. He doesn't know what he'll do if Eren decides his dream world is too important to wake up and eat every once in a while.

Eren's drawings weren't good at all in the beginning, a little more than stick figures. But he was so determined to reproduce the man's image so he could see him even when he was awake, that with every drawing, he improved a little more.

Now… now his drawings could be worthy of their own art exhibition. Zeke doesn't know if he's being biased, but it's what he thinks. Although it would be an exhibition with a very specific theme.

Zeke has a… maybe not hatred, but a severe annoyance towards the man, that man neither of them even know if really exists. For putting Eren through all this, but even if he does exist, Zeke still knows it can't be his fault. He can't explain the dreams, but it has to be something with an esoteric explanation he'll never know.

He's taken some of the best drawings, scanned and printed them, showed them around, tried face recognition software, but there was no sign of the man anywhere. Maybe he really didn't exist, created by Eren's mind somehow.

He watches his brother's peaceful sleep turn into turmoil as his hands clench and grasp around his own neck. That happens almost every time, and he knows he can't disturb him, it would just upset Eren even more. He knows because he's tried.

If only there was something he could do to help him.

 

He's picking up Eren's meds in the hospital when something catches his eye. Someone.

The guy has his longish hair tied up in a ponytail, unlike the short hair and undercut in Eren's drawings. But the face is exactly the same. He's sure of it, even if he's too far away. He's been looking at it for so long, he probably knows it as well as Eren.

He's too far, and when his legs finally start moving and he goes after the guy, he isn't anywhere. And he doesn't have the drawings with him to show around this time. He didn't pay attention to his clothes, couldn't see if he was a doctor, patient, visitor or what. He looks all around the hospital, getting angry glares as he peers inside rooms, but the guy's vanished.

The next day, he's back there with drawings in tow. He shows them in the reception, but the receptionists barely glance at them, busy with phones and computers. He goes from doctor to doctor, nurse to nurse, but no one can tell him who that guy is.

Then he remembers. The hospital's psychiatric wing is on an entirely different building. He hasn't been to it in a while, and forgot about it.

The receptionists are friendlier there, and one of them immediately says she knows the man from the drawings, even if his hair is different. She remembers his face, she says with a blush, but unfortunately can't give out any information regarding him, hospital rules.

No matter how much he insists, to them, to doctors, no one can divulge information about other patients.

So he's a patient. That's at least something.

He has to be careful with his words as he tells Eren.

"Would you leave the house if you could meet him?"

Eren looks at him as if he just spoke a foreign language. So he tries again. "The man. I think I saw him at the hospital. No, I know I did. He's a patient there. They can't give me any information, but if you went there with me, maybe you could see him."

"Zeke… how is this possible? Are you telling me he's real?" He starts breathing heavily, and Zeke reaches for a glass of water, handing it to him.

"Breathe, Eren, everything is okay. I know what I saw. But listen. We might not see him the first time, we might have to keep going back. And he… there's always the possibility he won't speak to you."

"Doesn't matter!" The Eren speaking now seems completely different from the one a few moments ago, the miserable despondent Eren he's so used to. Now he has that determination in his eyes he hasn't seen in so long, almost making them glow. "If I can see him in the flesh, that… that would be so much better than a dream. Let's-- I have to take a shower first, and--"

"Eren, calm down. We can't go now, it's late. Tomorrow at visiting hours, alright?"

Eren reluctantly agrees.

That night, he can't sleep. As much as he keeps his eyes closed, sleep evades him for once, and he sighs, looking at his walls filled from top to bottom with images of the man.

Will he really see him? And what are the odds that he's here, in the same town as him, going to the same hospital he'd once been to, even if he barely spoke two words to the doctor.

He never talked to the psychiatrists because he was afraid they would cure him. And he would stop dreaming about the man. He didn't want that. He wanted to dream about him forever, even if it made him depressed all the time. He just couldn't let go.

What if it wasn't him? What if was someone that just looked like him?

No, he couldn't think about that, he had to try, he was going to, no matter what.

When the first rays of light shine through his window, he gets up and showers, not having slept a wink. He slips on the wet floor and doesn't hit his head on the sink by a miracle. He washes his face thoroughly, but the fall was enough to keep him well awake. In the mirror, he notices he looks like a character in a Rob Zombie movie, so he shaves, wondering if maybe he shouldn't cut his hair a little, it's going way past his shoulders.

With his brother's help, he cuts it just about chin length. Zeke approves his decision to shave, but still notices the bags under his eyes. Ironic, considering Eren's eyes were usually puffy from sleeping too much.

Eyeing the door with reluctance, Eren knows he can leave the house, but he has to take at least a couple of folders filled with his drawings, can't bear to stay away from them.

When the sun touches his skin, he feels like a vampire, almost believing it'll set him on fire as it hits his pale complexion. He used to tan so easily and now he's white as a corpse. How long did he stay inside? His legs are weak, and Zeke has to walk slowly so he can follow him. Years and years of isolation transformed him drastically, but he knows it's not a permanent change. If everything works out… he knows he can be healthy again.

They walk around the hospital, Eren looking around everywhere, his wide eyes making him look like an owl. Zeke talks to the doctors again, telling them about Eren, but it doesn't change a thing. The only thing they say about the patient is that he specifically requested not to be bothered. He wouldn't receive anyone, wasn't expecting any visitors and just wanted to be left alone. When in the past week someone had come to visit him and they let him know, he threw a food tray at the doctor.

They stay, though. It's not like anyone could force them to leave. They just weren't allowed past the door that would lead to the patients rooms. Eren looks at his drawings over and over, unable to spend more than a few minutes without looking at him.

But eventually they have to leave, and Eren tells the receptionists he'll come back tomorrow. He'll keep coming back until he sees him.

Back home, Eren falls on his bed, and is fast asleep in the next second.

He goes to the hospital again the next day, alone because his brother can't keep missing work days just to accompany him. The receptionists and even a nurse feel bad for him, but there's nothing they can do to help him.

 

It's been ten days since his first visit, and he's been going every day now. Every time he goes and just sits there, waiting for a least a glance of the man, he continues examining his drawings, and suddenly has an idea. He'll leave some of them with the receptionist, and maybe she could show them to the guy if she ever saw him again. With a guilty look on her face, she says she did see him once, and even told him someone was looking for him, but he only reinforced that he didn't want to be bothered. Eren knows she was trying to help, and even smiles at her a little, despite the fact that she tells him after that, he never left his room again.

Eren keeps going, and he's better now, his legs don't hurt anymore, he's almost back to his normal weight, and some of the color's even back on his skin. He doesn't feel dependent on his brother as much as he's been ever since they started living together, and even offers to help with household chores. He's starting to feel like a human being, and he hasn't even seen the guy yet. But the prospect that he'll eventually be able to if he perseveres, is enough to fuel his determination. He doesn't want to be seen as a piece of human trash by him if it ever happens.

He still sleeps more than usual, though, and his constitution isn't all that great, he realises when he catches a cold. Zeke forbids him from leaving the house, even though he's much better than he's been the past few years, Eren's still too weak, and he just doesn't want to risk it.

When he finally gets better and goes to the hospital, he's terrified the man simply left when he wasn't there, but as soon as he sets his feet in the psychiatric ward

 

He sees him.

 

He's standing by the reception desk with Eren's drawings on his hands. He's slightly shorter than Eren himself, and his hair is long, unlike in the dreams, but none of this is important, the only thing that matters is that it's really him.

He's wearing a long sleeved white shirt and black pants, and Eren thinks it suits him perfectly. He takes several deep breaths, but it does nothing to calm his heart. He thinks he might die, it's never beaten this fast before, but if he's going to, at least he'll make it worth it.

He approaches the man slowly, feeling like his legs aren't his own, his mind in shambles, and he has no idea what he'll do or say. His eyes never leave the man's perfect profile.

When he is only one step away, the man turns around, and their eyes meet.

"Eren." His voice is smooth and just as beautiful as he is, and Eren heart beats even faster.

"Levi." He reaches out his hand, feels like he's known Levi's name all along, and Levi takes his hand, pulling him to a hug. Arms clutch around each other, and Levi's chin is on his shoulder. Eren smells his hair, and despite being in a hospital for god knows how long, it smells of sunlight and freshly picked flowers. Maybe he's imagining it, but he doesn't care.

Eren stays in his arms forever, dies and is reborn in them, and when Levi moves slightly away from him, he touches Eren's face with a cold hand, but Eren can feel its warmth. "I don't know who you are."

Eren's heart speeds up even more, and he feels like he's about to cry, but he realizes he's being stupid. Because he doesn't know who Levi is either, not really. "How… how did you know my name? How did I know yours?"

"I don't know that either, Eren. I don't know anything. But it came to me the moment I saw your face. We--" He stops and looks around and Eren does the same, the warm bubble of joy around them suddenly popping. They have a whole audience of receptionists, a couple of nurses and even a doctor. "Come to my room with me." He takes Eren's hand to get him to follow.

Levi's words sends a swarm of butterflies to Eren's stomach, and he thinks about all the times he's touched himself thinking about him. The worst part of it all, he can feel his face burning. Levi's going to chide him for it.

But Levi just looks back at him, turns around and keeps walking. When Eren notices how red his ears are, it just serves to make him blush even harder.

Levi closes the door behind them and motions for Eren to sit on the bed. He's still holding the drawings, and he leafs through them and sits beside Eren. "Did you make these?"

Eren is still taking deep breaths, and even if his heart doesn't stop hammering in his chest, it serves to keep his voice steady. "Yeah. I've been… I've been dreaming almost every night about you for over five years. I don't know why, they just started one day. And I wanted to draw you, so I would never forget you." Surprisingly, he chuckles. "Even though I don't remember you."

"They're really good. Way better than the real deal." Eren opens his mouth to disagree, but Levi stops him. "I dreamed about you too, not every night. Every now and then. I dreamed--" He stops talking abruptly, and if Eren hadn't been watching him without blinking, he might have missed the flash of embarrassment that crossed Levi's eyes for a moment. "We lived together."

Eren widens his eyes. "What? This… this is… in my dreams, you…" He doesn't know how to tell him, but he does it anyway. "You always kill me." Levi's expression mimics his, and he continues. "I never held a grudge against you, though. It was pretty obvious every time that you didn't have a choice. It was like someone made you do it."

Levi looks skeptically at him. "Those were your dreams and you still drew pictures of me?"

Eren's face burns again, and he didn't even know he had stopped blushing until it happened again. He stumbles over his words while he tries to get his point across. "I… I really like your face. And I knew you didn't mean to do it. It wasn't your fault. And I liked how unusual this thing was, to have these dreams over and over, so I wanted to replicate it. You. But… but our dreams aren't even the same. And… and… I like yours better."

"Eren…" Levi puts the drawings on the nightstand and takes Eren's hands on both of his. "What should we make of this? What does it mean?"

Eren just about dies again, but tries to keep it together. "I really don't know, Levi. But I do want it to mean something. You're all that's been on my mind these past years." I haven't lived, he wants to say. I have only dreamed, and it was all I wanted to do. And now his dream has come true, somewhat, and he has no idea what it all means. One question does pop into his mind. "Why are you here? Do you live here?"

"No, I… I don't know. With every dream, it felt like you were calling to me. And I followed your voice to this place." He sighs, letting go of Eren's hands. "I got into this place on my own, the hospital, because I just couldn't deal with all this weird shit anymore." When he sees Eren's dejected face, he takes it in his hands. "It's not your fault, Eren. It's not the first time I've admitted myself into a psychiatric hospital either. I just… don't know what to do. How to react to all of this. I never thought it could actually be real and yet, here you are. I don't know what to do, Eren. Tell me what you think."

Eren gathers all of his courage, because he'll tell Levi exactly what he thinks. "I… I think I love you."

Levi looks… Eren doesn't know. Surprised? Disappointed? Probably a bit of both. "Don't say that. We don't know each other. Or are you telling me you're in love with my face?"

"No! I--" Eren doesn't know what to say. Because deep down, he knows Levi is right. They don't know anything about one another, there's no way he could be in love. It's pure infatuation. Bordering on obsession. Or maybe not even bordering. He sighs, and his heart finally starts to want to go back to a more normal pace. "I don't know, Levi. I'm sorry."

Levi gives him a half smile and sits further up on the bed, leaning against the headboard. "Okay, then. Here's what I think we should do. It might sound wild, but bear with me. Let's get to know each other. Forget about the dreams. Focus on the real world, Eren. What if I'm a fucking asshole that just hates all the things that you like? How could you love me then?"

Eren shakes his head. "You're not an asshole, I--"

Levi grins at him. "Oh, I definitely am. You don't know me, Eren. And I don't know you. I'm not gonna lie, I'm kind of infatuated with you too, that's why I want to do this. Whatever it was that brought us together, it was for a reason, and I think we should make something out of it. But I just don't want to half-ass it."

It's… it's definitely not how Eren thought this would go. He likes it, though. What Levi is suggesting sounds much better than the dreamy ideas he had, where they would confess to each other and fall madly in love immediately, and kiss, and have sex, and be together forever. He does like Levi's face, he can't deny it, he is completely in love with it, but he really wants to know everything there is to know about the man himself. He wants to be in love with all of him. And he wants Levi to feel the same.

They talk for hours, and Eren does try to let go of his infatuation so he can get to know the real Levi. But he just loves everything Levi tells him, can't find faults in the man. Even the things he says that Eren knows should make him see him in a bad light, he just likes them too.

"I used to gamble a lot, gamble and drink. There wasn't a single night I wouldn't leave the hole in the wall I'd choose to indulge in almost falling on my ass. And I'd get into fights too, because not everyone believed my skills. I'd put half the bar in the hospital one night, until I felt this hot fucking pain in my arm where someone was holding it. My uncle. My mom had heard of the bar brawls, and had sent him to put a muzzle on me or something. Because I was nothing but a mad dog then. I was still punching people with a broken arm, and hadn't felt it because I was so drunk. Got sent from the hospital straight to rehab." He sighs, not too thrilled about reviving his past. "I don't thank them enough, for pulling me out while there was still time. My uncle's an asshole, but he means well. My mom's a goddamn saint. I'm a fuckup for making her worry." Eren can relate all too well to that feeling.

"I love spending time with my mom," Levi continues, and it makes Eren remember all the times he fell asleep with his mother's arms around him. Back when he wasn't such an annoying, broken wretch of a man and liked spending time with her. It makes him feel guilty. It makes him realise how much he's driven his own family away.

Eren doesn't blame his parents for giving up on him, he never could. He knows they've always wanted the best for him, and he's never cooperated. He burns to talk to them, to apologize. The way Levi talks about his own mother, about how much they love each other, makes him crave his own mother's hugs.

Eventually, he does start to see Levi a little more like a normal person. He's still standing tall on a pedestal, though, so Eren knows it's still not enough. At least he knows it.

The lights dim suddenly, and Levi scoffs. "It's bedtime. And you're still here."

"Oh. Fuck. I guess if I call my brother--"

"Stay here. We can talk more in the morning." He lies down on the pillow, offering Eren half of it.

Eren feels conflicted. He wants to stay because being close to Levi is perfect, no matter the circumstances. He's just afraid of what will happen. He hasn't slept anywhere besides his room for so long, and he's afraid of what will happen if he has a night terror, they happen so often that he's practically sure he'll have one. But he stays. It feels a little more than unreal. And when Levi's arms close around him, he's even more lost inside his mind, wondering about what is okay to do and what isn't. In the end, he just decides not to move for the whole night.

Before he falls asleep, he catches Levi on the phone, apparently telling reception that if Eren's brother comes looking for him, that he is okay. When he hangs up, he tells Eren his brother did come by, but reception explained everything to him.

Eren falls asleep breathing down on Levi's neck, and he doesn't even think Levi minds.

He wakes up to Levi's grey eyes widely staring at him. "I think I had your dream, Eren."

When he blinks, he can remember his own dream, where he lives happily with Levi in a secluded hut in the middle of nowhere. It's the first time he's had this one. "I'm sorry. I know it's brutal, but it's okay. I know it was not your fault."

"But Eren…" He reaches for Eren's face, and when Eren remembers they're sharing the same pillow, he blushes. "The thing is, I didn't kill you. I just pretended I did."

Eren's eyes widen at his confession. "W-what?"

"I… I choked you, until you passed out. But you weren't dead. I could tell you weren't. Your pulse was right under my fingers. They left me to dispose of your body. And I took you away. To a place no one would know us, where no one would ever find us. And then it became the dream I'm used to, where we live together."

"Levi…" Eren is so lost, he has no idea what to do. He wants to keep following Levi's idea of getting to know each other. "Go on a date with me."

Levi's lips curl up as he watches Eren. "A date? I… never had one. I know I'm old as balls, but…" He stops and glares at Eren. "Listen, Eren. I've never done nothing of the sort before. Never had sex, never kissed anyone and never wanted to. Just never felt like it, it looked gross. You're not going to get much out of it if I go on a date with you. I'm not gonna want to do it just because it's you either, you know."

Eren smiles genuinely at him, surprised but happy that if anything should happen, he'll be Levi's first (and hopefully only), just as Levi will be his first and only. "That's okay, I've never been on a date either. Never… never been with anyone. I'm the same as you. So go on a date with me."

He still feels like Levi is something out of his reach, a dream, a memory, even as his hand touches Levi's face. And when he agrees to the date, Eren's heart starts to hammer in his chest again.

He has to say goodbye. To go back home and prepare for the date. What should he do? All he can think about is kisses. Goodbye kisses.

But then he gets up, and Levi pushes him out of the room, telling him to meet at the mall around 7 in the afternoon, and Eren doesn't have to think about anything anymore.

Eren tells Zeke all about Levi, and Zeke's really happy for him, still can't believe it's real, how they actually randomly found him, but as long as Eren is happy, it doesn't matter.

He meets Levi at the mall, and Levi has cut his hair and now looks exactly like he did in the dreams, undercut and all. Eren has to gather all of his strength so he won't start crying at the sight. They watch a movie, which ends up being a less than romantic experience, as neither of them can ignore how stupidly hilarious the movie is, and end up cackling the entire time.

Levi has held his hand during the whole movie, and when the credits start to roll, Eren is thinking about kisses again.

"Levi… can I kiss you?"

Levi tightens the hold he has on his hand, but doesn't look at him. "No." After a few heartbeats of Eren's broken heart, he turns to look at him. "Why? Why now? Is this a special moment?" He doesn't let go of Eren's hand.

"I… I thought so? Clearly it isn't, though. Fuck."

"No, it isn't, Eren. Look, I know shit about romance. But I know about timing, and place. Kissing you in the middle of a bunch of random assholes is not in my plans. And you shouldn't ask, you should do it. Although, if you had done it now, I'd probably would have stopped you."

Eren can't tell if he's hurt, angry or if he understands Levi's point of view. Maybe all of them. "Then… then how about this. When you feel it's the right time, you kiss me."

Levi glares at him a little more. "Didn't I tell you I find it disgusting?"

"I'm sure it isn't." Eren is quick to reply as soon as the question leaves Levi's mouth. "Besides, you'll only know for sure if you do it."

After a little more glaring, Levi gets up, still unwilling to let go of Eren's hand. "Fine. Don't keep your hopes up, though."

Eren tries to tell himself he doesn't, but the way Levi laces their fingers together as they walk make that decision very difficult for him.

"Let me walk you to your house." It's not a big city, so everything is somewhat close. Eren leads the way, and they get there way too soon for his taste. Levi strengthens the hold on his hand once more and lets go, and Eren feels like he just stuck his hand in a bag of ice when he does. "Well, bye, Eren."

"Wait! Um, so when will I see you again?"

Levi gives him a half smile. "I know where you live." And he's gone.

Eren has told Levi he doesn't have a job, and he just stays home all day. He isn't proud of this, but there isn't much he can do about it. He dropped out of high school when the dreams started, and he's never worked before. And he doesn't feel particularly inclined to go after a job now, since it seems Levi might show up unannounced at any moment.

Zeke suggests he tries drawing something else other than Levi, and despite not really feeling like it, he tries. He draws his brother, and when Zeke sees it, he cries. Eren thinks he might be an okay artist after all.

Levi comes by a few days later, in the middle of the day, and is surprised to see Eren's drawings, since Eren told him he's ever only drew him.

Eren took down all of his Levi drawings from his walls after the date, because he didn't want to look like a creep more than he already did, and put them all in folders. After Zeke's suggestion, he started drawing other things besides Levi, including some self portraits and random things he found at his house, like the couch or a corner of the bathroom.

He can draw anything in a realistic style that looks fresh and unique. Levi examines his folders carefully before voicing his opinion. "You really are good at this, Eren. But have you ever drawn anything… don't take this the wrong way, I'm not a critic or anything. This is just a question. Have you ever drawn anything original?"

Eren doesn't take it the wrong way. Because he's thought about it. He's only ever drawn things he's seen, in dreams or otherwise. He has drawings of his brother, his mother and father, and he's thought about creating something original. He's just never done it.

"I've thought about it." He sits down on the couch he drew last night, eyeing Levi as he watches him from the kitchen counter.

"So why haven't you done it?"

"I… I don't know. What should I draw even?"

"Something you like?" When Eren just gawks at him, Levi rolls his eyes. "Something you like besides my face." He shakes his head. "It's such a weird face too, Eren. I don't think I understand you."

Eren seems appalled by Levi's words. "Wha-what do you mean, weird? You're beautiful!"

Levi frowns at him. "Beautiful? You really must be infatuated. People are usually scared of me."

"That's because you always look like you want to kill everybody! It doesn't detract from the fact that you have a very nice looking face. Very, um, attractive."

Levi approaches Eren with an unreadable look on his sometimes psychotic looking face. "Eren." He touches Eren's face with one cold hand, and Eren just about melts from the heat.

"Yeah?"

He gets close enough that their noses are almost touching. "Your tastes suck." He lets go of Eren's face and sits down on the couch opposite of him. The whole interaction leaves Eren speechless, because Levi just fucking teased him, and it's Levi who has to bring the conversation back up again. "What if I told you what to draw?"

"Th-th-" Eren takes a deep breath, looking away from Levi. "That could work. Let me just go get my stuff." He takes the sketchbook he left in his bed and a pencil, still his favorite tool. "Alright, then, shoot."

"I want you to… draw me a cat holding a broken beer bottle while he prepares to fight a bunch of rabid raccoons."

Eren isn't sure he heard Levi right, but the idea is so ludicrous that he couldn't have imagined it. "Alright, give me a few minutes."

He starts to imagine the picture, and in a few moments, he's quickly drawing it. Soon, he has a rough sketch of it, and Levi gets up and sits beside him to see. "Not b-- actually, it's really good. You can do it, Eren. You can draw anything you want."

Eren freezes when Levi sits beside him, but an idea strikes him, and he has to take it. "I… I think I just thought of something original. Go back to the other couch, I can't draw with you here."

He takes a moment to get up though, and Eren doesn't know what to make of it. "Sure."

He takes longer in this drawing. It's something he's never seen, and he doesn't want to half ass it. So he gets up and picks up his eraser, using it whenever he needs. It's only when he's finished that he realises he doesn't know if he can show it to Levi.

But the option gets taken from him as Levi gets up and sits beside him once again when he looks like he's done.

"Let me see."

Eren shows it to him.

Eren has a one track mind.

Levi stares at the picture and smirks. "Really, Eren?"

Eren shrugs and looks away from him.

"No, don't do that. Look at me." When Eren does, red as a tomato, Levi changes his mind. "Actually, close your eyes."

When Eren does, Levi leans over him and copies the picture he just made, pursing his lips and crushing them against Eren's. It doesn't feel gross, but then again, he's not planning on using his tongue. He's not even thinking about opening his mouth.

But still, it's anything but disgusting. He actually likes the feel of Eren's mouth against his, although he isn't sure how long it should be before he pulls back. So he does, before he starts to think too much about it. And he speaks, before Eren can.

"I do like you, Eren. You're a fuckup. And because I am one too, I can relate. If you don't mind continuing like this, then yeah, sure, let's be boyfriend and boyfriend. That's what I came here to tell you anyway before your fucking subtle drawing. This is going to move at a snail's pace, but I don't think I want to let you go."

Years later, when Eren can finally move, he responds, clenching his arms under Levi's, head resting on his chest. "I wouldn't ask for anything more."

Eren's parents talk to him, thrilled to hear about his progress, about how well grounded he sounds when he talks to them, although when he mentions he's actually dating the man from his dreams, Zeke has to intervene and explain the whole story to them, still unsure how to explain the whole thing actually came true.

On their fourth date, Levi kisses him again. They're in a coffee shop, and the waitress just brought their orders. When Eren drank from Levi's tea cup instead of his own mocha, Levi felt the urge to kiss him. "How dare you?" He actually sounds serious at first, but when he looks at Eren's confused face, he kisses him softly, tasting his tea on his lips, and enjoying it immensely.

Eren gets him into a heated discussion about movies and movie directors, and they talk for god knows how long. Eren slaps Levi's arm, and Levi grabs his shirt to talk at his face. They kiss again.

Levi opens his mouth.

Eren does the same.

After all those years, Levi feels like he's drunk once again, when his tongue is inside Eren's mouth. Eren feels like he's completely intoxicated. They end up licking each other's tongues, moving them around unsure if that's actually how a kiss is supposed to go, but all that Levi cares about is that he doesn't find it disgusting at all. He's swapping spit with Eren and it feels fucking glorious.

Eren almost stops because he's out of breath, then he notices Levi is doing fine, and realizes he can breathe while kissing. He tries to suppress all of his noises, deadly afraid of Levi pulling back, but when a tiny moan escapes his throat, Levi just swallows it like it was nothing, and continues sucking on his tongue and Eren just about dies. Saliva gathers in his mouth and he unconsciously swallows while his tongue keeps on twirling around Levi's.

Levi stops suddenly, biting on Eren's lower lip before he speaks. "You know, you don't taste gross at all."

"Um, thank you. Same."

Levi watches him for another moment before he realizes they should be home by now. According to Zeke's curfew. He's suddenly not sure he agrees with Zeke's curfew, but now's not the time to discuss it, so he just takes Eren home and goes back to the hospital.

Because of his absolute love for cleaning, he's found a job in a school as a janitor, and he's looking for an apartment he can rent in town, no reason to keep his appointment in the hospital for now, and he feels bad about taking his mother's money, even if she insists on paying whenever he needs to talk about his problems with a professional. Whenever Eren shouts at him for something, whether it's his opinion on a random subject or because he used a certain item in a certain racing game, whenever they discuss about something for hours until reaching an agreement, whenever Eren smiles at him, he finds himself falling more and more for Eren.

Eren is not infatuated anymore, and neither is he. They just like each other for the flawed people they are. And it makes Levi really happy.

When he rents an apartment, he asks Eren to spend the first night with him, and Eren doesn't even blush when he agrees. Because he knows it's going to be a night of kisses and hugs and cuddles and nothing weird that none of them are used to. It takes him a while, but he convinces Zeke to pull up the curfew.

The second night is like that too. And the third. And in the fourth maybe he wants to taste a little bit more other than Eren's lips.

He tries his neck. It feels good. According to Eren's noises, it feels good for him too. Levi sucks on it, and Eren stops him and warns him about how aroused he is, he thinks Levi should know.

"It feels really good, Levi."

It feels really good for him too, so he continues, sucking marks all over Eren's neck and drinking in his moans, loving how his fingers move over his hair.

Before he realizes, Levi's hard, and he's panting in his boyfriend's ear, and his boyfriend is dying in his arms.

Maybe things aren't moving as slow as he thought they would.

"You can do anything you want with me, Levi."

His words stop Levi in his tracks. "Have your opinion about me not changed at all, Eren?"

Eren seems surprised out of his mind by the question. "What? No, you're a fucking asshole, and sometimes I wanna kick your ass you make me so mad. But I'm really hard for you right now. All I want, if your fucking prissy ass isn't against it, is for you to fuck me hard against the bed. Is that too much to ask?"

Levi watches him, pelvis moving to rub against him. "I suppose it isn't."

"Do you, ah… do you still think it's gross, Levi? Sex?"

His hand moves down on Eren's body, stopping over his erection, where he grabs and gives it a squeeze. "I obviously don't." He leans back and pulls his shirt over his head, and Eren does the same before Levi dives in for a quick kiss. "This is gonna be a mess, though. Unless you know exactly what to do." He reaches under the bed with a sneaky smirk. "I did buy these, knowing your horny ass wouldn't leave me alone unless we fucked." It's a bag with condoms and lube.

"My horny ass? You haven't stopped grinding against me this whole time." Eren unbuttons Levi's pants and pushes him off, hoping he'll get the hint and get off of them. He does, but still keeps his boxers on. Eren's eyes don't stray away from the prize he's waited so patiently for a moment as he pulls his own pants down, lying completely naked in Levi's bed. Levi eyes him up, murmuring a soft 'fuck', and Eren reaches for the lube. "How about I start and you finish?" He gets it on one finger and brings it down on himself, rubbing his entrance a little before breaching in. "I've fingered myself before, you know. Thinking ah… thinking of you."

"Really." Levi has no idea what to say to that. He watches Eren's finger going in and out for a while, until he remembers he has something to do also. So he takes off his boxers, and Eren's hand stops moving for a moment as he watches it, reaching his other hand to him, which Levi bats away. "Do your own thing, I got this." He opens a condom, inspects it to see which side to roll it on. "Can't believe I'm doing this. I had no qualms about dying a virgin, you know."

Eren has switched to two fingers, and is having a difficult time focusing, watching Levi roll the condom. "Ah, we better get to it quickly then, you're not too far off right? From dying of old age?"

Eren pulls back his fingers and wipes them on the sheets, completely ignoring Levi's murderous glare as he opens Eren's legs more to situate himself between them. "Now, Eren, I clearly remember you saying you didn't give a shit how old I was. If you're gonna behave like a damn brat, I'm going to treat you like one. Roll over so I can spank you."

Eren giggles. "Really? Off to the kinky shit right from the start? I'm not against it, but I was kinda hoping for a more traditional first time." He pulls on Levi's arm, and Levi falls on him. He pecks his lips, still smiling a little. "What do you say?"

"I say you're still a little shit." He guides himself in, entering slowly as Eren relaxes around him. "But I love you anyway." Eren opens his eyes at that, gawking at Levi. Timing and place, huh. Levi's good at that.

"You, ah, you know I love you too, right?" The stretch stings, but doesn't really hurt. While Levi doesn't lack in girth, he's so careful, like he's done this before, and Eren feels completely at ease with him.

"No, I don't." Levi sounds composed, but Eren can still hear a little bit of strain in his voice. "You never told me that." He's fully in, and Eren's legs encircle him.

"What? Of course I-- ah… oh." When he said it, it wasn't true. It was his obsession speaking. "I love you, Levi."

Levi gives him the most beautiful smile Eren's ever seen, and his already speeding heart almost explodes from his chest. "Good. Okay, thank you. Can I move now?"

Eren feels the giggles coming back. "You really know shit about romance. Yeah, you can move now."

Levi moves, and the bantering falls to the back of their minds. But with Levi constantly moving about instead of setting for a steady rhythm, Eren has to wonder what he's doing.

"Isn't it obvious? I'm trying to get to your goddamn prostate."

"...Oh." Eren wonders if Levi's tried to learn about gay sex after they met, or it was some knowledge he already had but never put it to use. While he muses, Levi rubs over something inside him, and it makes him jump. "I-I think you found it."

"Yeah? Right here?" He keeps thrusting in the same angle, and Eren nods his head quickly.

Levi is in awe. It feels heavenly. It's sex. It's absurdly good sex coming from the person he identifies as his soulmate. "Ah, Eren…" He thrusts harder, following Eren's movements and he loves it. Eren feels perfect around him, so, so good. He thought this would probably be a one time thing, to get it off his mind, then maybe just go back to the cuddles. But now he knows they're doing this again, many, many more times.

It just…

He didn't know. He didn't know sex would feel like this. He just thought the whole thing was overrated and now… now he knows he was wrong. He doesn't know if it's because he's doing it with Eren, or if it's always like this, and he doesn't care to find out.

Eren comes first, moaning and calling his name, and it doesn't take him long after that. When he trembles inside Eren with a sigh, he's not sure what else to do, so he just pulls out slowly, planning on going to sleep.

He throws the condom away and lies down, pulling the covers over them. "Well, that was fucking tiring." Really, not a clue about romance. "I don't know what you have planned for next time, but I really, really wouldn't mind if you did all the work."

Eren thinks about it. He absolutely doesn't want to top, what they did just now was so, so good, and he hopes he isn't being selfish for not wanting to switch it up. "How about this. Next time, I sit on you and ride you like you're my own goddamn mechanic bull."

Levi smiles lazily at him. "Deal. So long as you don't put quarters in my ass."

Eren rides him the next time, and the next, and the next. Levi's happy to just lie there and let him do as he pleases, loving the way Eren bounces on top of him, moaning his name and tightening around him. Except when he wants to do other things, like sucking him off, or when he surprises Eren with new ideas.

"Eren, do you know what a rimjob is?"

Eren is so glad he just put down his cup of tea. "Uh… hey, weren't you the guy who used to think sex was disgusting? And now you wanna shove your tongue up my ass?"

"Well," Levi sits besides Eren on the couch and pulls him to a kiss. "You're not disgusting." He kisses down his jaw and neck, starting to lie down on the couch, and Eren follows. "Plus, you'll shower first, won't you?"

Eren does shower first, and Levi asks him to lie down on his belly, not before removing the sheets from the bed, after the first time, they both decided it would be for the best. "Where are you getting these ideas anyway?"

As Levi kneels on the bed, he's quick to get between Eren's legs, his hands grabbing his thighs and sliding up until they're on his ass. "Internet, where else?" He spreads the cheeks and smiles. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to do this, but seeing Eren twitching like that for him made up his mind. He leans down and licks once and Eren moans in surprise.

"You could've warned me."

"I'm between your legs with each of your asscheeks on either of my hands. Okay, if you still need warning, hey Eren, I'm gonna eat your ass now."

"Oh, god." Eren hides his burning face on the pillow, but he's smiling. Levi's crass sense of humor is one of his favorite things about him.

And Levi does it, eats him up as he said, his tongue moving wildly, and Eren can only moan about it. He thinks it's one of his dreams, it feels way too good to be real.

Until Levi speaks again, that is. "It's like I'm making out with your ass."

His face burns even harder. "Levi, godamnit, shut your fuck up!"

Eren can feel Levi chuckling over him, and his tongue continuing its sinful job. But he knows he's not going to come from it, so he's really thankful when Levi starts fingering him. "We've fucked so many times and you're still so tight."

"That's… ah, that's a good thing, right?" Eren tries and fails not to hump the mattress.

"Yeah, it's fucking awesome." He opens his pants, reaching in the drawer for a condom, and Eren turns his head to look at him when he hears the crinkle of the wrapping being opened.

"I still haven't convinced you to go without it, huh?" He sounds exasperated. "Listen, I cleaned myself way more thoroughly than usual today, your tongue's been inside me, why can't your dick--"

"Eren." Levi smiles. "Okay, look, I'm putting the condom away, alright? Calm down." He makes it a show to put the condom back in the drawer and Eren rolls his eyes, but he's happy. "Now let's make some babies."

Eren shakes his head. "Seriously, I can never predict what kind of shit you're gonna say."

Levi hovers over Eren and enters him slowly. "Isn't that what makes me interesting?" The reply dies on Eren's tongue at the sensation of Levi inside of him with nothing else between them. And he isn't the only one enjoying the change. "You know what, I think I'm throwing those condoms away."

"Y-yeah, ah, you do that…"

Levi pulls Eren's hips up, thrusting faster now, and Eren takes the opportunity to stroke himself, moaning loudly and pushing back against Levi. The sounds they make every time their bodies meet brings another stroke of heat to his face, but he's not embarrassed, just even more turned on.

"Where do you want it, Eren?"

"I thought you wanted to make babies…? Inside… I want your come inside me, Levi." Eren's on the edge, but he waits until he feels Levi throbbing inside him to topple over it. Levi pulls out and lies beside Eren, both panting and sweating.

When Levi is almost falling asleep, he hears Eren asking him something. "What's that?"

"I asked what did you think about marriage. You know, uh, in general." Eren's hidden his face on the pillow.

Levi sighs, thinking about how to explain his feelings. "It's not my thing. I don't believe in marriage. I don't think a fucking priest or a piece of paper should tell me how I feel about the person I love." Eren turns to face him. "Don't be disappointed, Eren. That doesn't mean I don't intend to cherish and love you until I die. Whenever you're ready to come out from under your brother's wing, ready to get a job and face reality. When you're ready to live a normal, fucking mundane life and if you want to do this with me, I'll be right here waiting."

"Levi…" Eren tries to hold back tears, but one still escapes. He chuckles. "That's a much better reply than I was expecting. I'll do it. The moment I find a job, I'll… will you really let me live with you?"

"Mi casa es su casa, Eren. That reminds me, I gotta call my cousin tomorrow." He reaches a hand to Eren's face and wipes the tear away.

"Do you mean that?"

"Yeah, she's been nagging at me to introduce you to her for weeks now."

"No, I meant--"

"I do, Eren. It's a small apartment but it still fits the both of us, right?"

Eren pulls him close and holds him. "Yeah, especially with you occupying so little space. Y'know, 'cause you're short."

"Right back at you. Y'know, 'cause you're a little shit."

Eren nuzzles his hair with a smile. "Love you too."

With a smile of his own, Levi closes his eyes. "Go to sleep, Eren."

The dreams that brought them together are nothing but a fading memory, but they don't mind. Because they make new ones every day.