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Stranger in the Walls

Chapter Text

"That would be all. Good day, Smith."

The words echoes through Erwin's head as he blankly stared out the window. Put on a two month leave after his plane malfunctioned and nearly killed him, he decided to visit his father in his childhood home. It wasn't like he had anywhere else to stay, anyway.

Coming out of his daydreaming when the train stopped at the station, he quietly waited for the others to exit first, taking his time with his things. Carrying his bags of belongings on his back, Erwin was the last to leave the train, happy to find there wasn't a crowd at the station. 

Deciding to go by the bakery on the way home, Erwin purchased a bienenstich to share with his father. It had been months since they had seen one another, and it had become a sort of ritual to share dessert when he came home. 

Walking through the streets towards home, Erwin gazed at the stars from time to time. He couldn't recall the last time he'd looked at the night sky. The blond made a mental note to take time to enjoy the small things when he could. 

Feeling his heart skip a beat when his childhood home came to view, he crossed the bridge as he approached. The sound of rushing water, the smell of the white lotus flowers, the leaves crunching beneath him were complete bliss to him as he fought the smile on his lips. Walking as quickly as he could towards the house, he was sliding a hand along the fence in no time.

Unlocking the gate quietly, Erwin watched the windows of the home. His father seemed to be reading a book in the living room, making the blond chuckle. No matter what, he always had that same image of his father always had a book in most of Erwin's memories of him.

Brow furrowing for a moment, he realized his father seemed to be talking to someone. Figuring there were visitors or his father simple talking to himself, Erwin closed and locked the gate as quietly as it was opened. 

Walking up the walkway and onto the porch, Erwin gently knocked on the door, taking a moment to tidy his appearance. Waiting longer than usual for the door to open, he bit his lip, curious as to what was happening inside. 

Door opening before he decided to get too nosy, Erwin's eyes met those of his father's, whose features lit it upon seeing his child. Seeming relieved, Erwin didn't complain when his father pulled him into a hug, ignoring the pain from his bruised back.

"There you are, my boy! I've been worried about you," Augustine spoke, excitement in his voice, "I've been meaning to ask when the next visit would be."

"There's were some...well, complications, and they've put me on leave for the next two months," Erwin explained, handing the cake to his father while he adjusted the bags in his arms. 

"Well then, come in and settle back in! Tell me all about it," Augustine responded loudly, making the younger blond smile. His father seemed excited about the surprise visit, something he should try to do more often. 

Heading towards his room upstairs, Erwin was interrupted by his father. "Why are you on leave, specifically?"

Sighing bitterly, the younger male responded, "We were out on routine flights when a lose nail and lodged into the engine. My plane went down, but I was lucky enough to have a parachute. I have some injuries; major bruising. Nothing serious, but they put me off for safety reasons"

"My, that could have gone very wrong..." Augustine replied, worried as looking at Erwin while he scratched his beard, "I'm happy you've come home safe and sound," he beamed, happy for his child's safety.

Unsure how to respond, Erwin simply nodded. Turning back towards the stairs, he began going up, telling his father he'd be down for a meal after he had cleaned up. 

Dropping the bags of belonging at the foot of the bed, Erwin sat down, lazily pulling his boots off. Setting them aside, he began undressing, hanging his uniform in his wardrobe while he hummed to himself. Walking out of the room towards the restroom, he noticed the books on the shelves weren't in order. 

Arranging them quickly, he sighed quietly, smiling in thought. He didn't mind his father reading his books, just as long as they were reorganised afterwards. 

Walking down the hall towards the bathroom, Erwin found himself humming. It was simple, not any song in particular, but he decided he liked the pleasant tune. 

Closing the door behind him, Erwin let the water heat up while he undressed his remaining garments. Stepping into the hot water, he groaned as the warmth soothed his aching muscles. Taking his time to enjoy his first warm shower in months, Erwin became suddenly aware of how tense his body felt. Massaging the soreness away from wherever was stiff, he groaned to himself as his body began relaxing.

"I made you some dinner," Augustine turned to Erwin as he walked through the doorway, drying his wet hair in the towel around his shoulders. 

"Thank you," he responded, putting the damp towel on the back of a chair. Sitting across from one another, they exchanged simple small talk. Speaking of their time while apart, simple politics, and even plans about what they could do while Erwin was home, the younger blond set his plate in the sink as he washed it. 

Setting the plate on the rack to dry, Erwin nearly dropped it when a loud thump was heard upstairs. Looking back at his father, he was simply met by nonchalance. 

"Rats in the attic. Don't go up, there's traps. I don't want you getting rabies from those vermin," Augustine responded calmly, sipping from his cup of tea while he brought more plates to the table for the cake. 

"Alright....must have been a huge rat," Erwin responded quietly, looking overhead. 

"About the size of opossums, they are. They'll be taken care of. Grab some silverware, won't you?"

Reaching into the drawer and grabbing two forks and a knife, Erwin went back to sitting at the table. 

"Any ladies, yet?" Augustine asked suddenly, handing Erwin a slice of cake. 

Smiling, Erwin ignored the sly look on his father's face. Cheeks suddenly warm, he replied honestly, "No. I've been too worried about work to worry about women."

Setting the plate on the table, they shared the dessert in a comfortable silence. 

Cleaning the plates after they finished breakfast, Erwin watched his father leave the room with a, "be right back." Glancing to the clock, he realized it was eleven. Letting his father get ready for bed, he wiped down the table while he planned what to make for breakfast; if he was the first to wake up, that is.

Putting the towel in the laundry room before he walked up the stairs, Erwin went to tell his father goodnight. Finding him closing the door to the office, Erwin walked down the hall to him, a hand running along the banister. 

"Wanted to say goodnight before I go the bed."

Smiling, Augustine nodded, hugging Erwin, "Well, Goodnight. I hope you sleep well, my boy."

"You too, Dad. Goodnight."

Walking down the hall to his room, Erwin closed the door behind him. Closing the blinds, he changed into loose pajama pants and a white t-shirt. Sitting on the bed as he put some socks on in the darkness, he froze, looking around. 

Getting the sudden sensation that he was being watched, it passed as soon as he took note of it. Sighing and rubbing his heavy eyes, Erwin pulled the covers over his form as he laid down. Almost instantly comfortable in an actual bed, it didn't take long until his gentle snores filled the room. 

"I can't have you slipping up like that. He's apart of the military. Luftwaffe. He can't know you're here," Augustine whispered, handing the girl a glass of water. 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it. The cup just-fell," she responded, cherishing the cold drink. 

Silence. That same damned silence again. Looking up, her eyes met his. There it was again, that pity. If she could do something about her situation, she would; but she  simply couldn't. Instead, here she is, being hidden by such a kind man.

Why did she have to drag him into this? Put him in so much danger? How long would this even last?

"He'll be home for two months. It's been three. We can get through this, (Y/n)," Augustine spoke quietly, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. 

Nodding, she set the cup on a blanket covering the dusty floor. Biting her lips, they sat in silence again. 

"I should get to bed before he gets suspicious. I'll try to run by the book store tomorrow, get you something to read. I'll leave the newspaper on the desk in my room, make sure you put it back," he told her, ruffling (Y/n)'s hair. 

Pausing before he closed the crawlspace, their eyes met, "I'll go by the mail tomorrow as well. See if I can get a letter from your brother. Hopefully we can resp-" 

Listening to the sound of someone walking up the stairs, they looked at one another again, exchanging a quiet goodnight as (Y/n) stood and quietly walked through the crawlspace, leaving Augustine to close the panel. 

Finally finding her bed in the maze of space in the walls, she sat on it as quietly as she could. Sighing silently, (Y/n) looked through a crack in the wall. From the inside of the room, the crack was partially hidden by furniture, but in the crawlspace, you could see almost everything out of it. 

(Y/n) saw a handsome young man, one that simply looked exhausted in her opinion. He had to have been Augustine's son. Looking away as he got dressed, she glanced back, finding him sitting on the edge of his bed, putting on socks. 

Wishing that she could simply come out and talk to him, the daydreams were cut short when he froze. Pulling away from the crack, she laid back in bed, pulling the blanket over her body carefully. Staring up at the ceiling as she listened to him getting settled in bed, (Y/n) became suddenly aware of how lonely she really was. 

Finding herself smiling when his gentle snoring met her ears, she couldn't help but steal another look at him. 

(Y/n) could see his face, the exhaustion missing from his gentle features as he faced the wall. Wishing that she would have the chance to talk to someone, anyone like him, she found herself mentally berating herself. 

Looking away and facing the other way, (Y/n) found herself lost in her own doubt once more. She looked around the dusty, dark room. It looked how she felt. Accepting that she would more than likely never be allowed to have a normal life like the man on the other side of the wall, she didn't fight the tears that escaped her eyes. 

This was how it usually went, crying herself to sleep. (Y/n) simply let them escape, keeping in mind her volume so she wouldn't wake Augustine's son. 

Holding the blanket closely, (Y/n) laid in a ball in the center of the bed. The only comfort she found was his snoring. She hadn't had that sort of comfort in almost two years. Always fearing the night, she decided to cherish it while she would be able to.

Sighing to herself, she pulled the the blanket even closer, closing her eyes as she tried to fall asleep.