“Now class, has everyone decided on what they’re topics for their graduate project shall be?” Professor Pixis asked his class.
Most of the students nodded in affirmation, others avoided eye contact, and some frowned. It wasn’t uncommon for students to struggle on choosing a research topic. In fact, most of his students didn’t have any clue what they were going to study until a few months into the school year. As long as they had a finished product and it was to par with the graduation standards, Pixis really didn’t care about when they actually began the project itself.
However, he was concerned about one student in particular: Armin Arlert. Armin was arguably his smartest student and one he very much enjoyed teaching. Armin always had his homework done, he often read far in advance and made sure he knew everything about the topics he was studying. So for Armin not to make eye contact with Pixis when asked about his project was a little more than concerning. Pixis knew that Armin was planning on getting a double Ph. D in zoology and anthropology. Word amongst his professors and friends was it had something to do with a friend of his from childhood. No one other than his best friend, Mikasa Ackerman, knew what that was about though.
“Armin, may I have a word with you?” Pixis asked as he dismissed the class.
“Yes, professor?” Armin asked after the rest of the students had filed out of the classroom, giving them some privacy.
“You haven’t decided on your topic, have you, Armin?” Pixis’s question came out as more of a statement than a question.
“No, sir.” Armin looked at his feet, shame and embarrassment written all over his face.
“You are majoring in zoology and anthropology, are you not?”
“I think I may have just the opportunity for you.” Pixis smiled at the student.
“Really?!” Armin’s face instantly brightened at the prospect of having a topic to finally work on.
“Yes,” Pixis laughed at Armin’s dramatic shift in demeanor. “I think you will find it quite fascinating.”
“What is it about?”
“Have you ever heard of alpha, beta, omega dynamics?” Pixis was nearly positive Armin had but it never hurt to ask.
“Yes, we studied it in my third year.” Armin nodded his head, his hair falling across his face.
“Well, a friend of mine has some, how should I say it, intimate knowledge on the subject and may be a great resource in helping you with your project.”
“Are you sure it’s okay?” Armin asked. “Not much is known about the dynamics and it can be somewhat dangerous. Not many have been able to study it due to the dangerous and violent tendencies packs have towards humans.”
“Well, lets just say this friend of mine owes me a huge favor.” Pixis laughed at the memories that resulted in said favor. “He really would have no choice but to help you if I asked. Besides, if you’re going into a pack, he’s the most qualified to protect you.”
“Well, if he says okay then I would really love to be able to get inside to study the dynamics!” Armin nearly shouted at him in excitement.
“Of course,” Pixis laughed. “I’ll send him an e-mail tonight to see when he’d be available to meet with you.”
“Thank you, sir!”
“You’re welcome. Now, get to your next class.” Pixis smiled as he watched the blond haired genius leave the classroom, an added bounce in his step thanks to the knowledge that he finally had a project.
“Are you insane?!” A raven-haired man shouted. “You know what, don’t answer that question, I already know the answer. Yes, you are certifiably insane.”
“Now, Levi,” A much taller burnet laughed, good-naturedly. “You know we owe Pixis a favor. Or have you forgotten that one time all those years ago?”
“Fuck you.” Levi’s eye twitched in anger.
“You did,” The burnet snickered. “Last night in fact.”
“Shut up.” Levi grumbled. “Do you understand just how dangerous it is for us to allow a human inside our home, Eren?!”
“Yes, trust me I do.” Eren replied a little more somber. “But we owe Pixis a great deal. Besides, do you honestly think he’d put us in harm’s way?”
“No,” Levi admitted a little bitterly.
“Exactly,” Eren smiled at his small victory. “Maybe we can meet the kid before we allow him into our home. Would that make you feel more comfortable?”
“Yes,” Levi mumbled. “E-mail the old fart back and let him know that I want to meet him and the kid tomorrow at three at the usual spot. If I sense anything funny then I’m leaving. I don’t care if I owe him, if I’m not one hundred percent comfortable with this then I’m out.”
“Sounds reasonable.” Eren nodded his head. “Love you.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Levi grumbled knowing Eren knew what he truly meant.
The next day at exactly three o’clock, Levi and Eren were seated at a small table in the back of a secluded café. In all honesty, Levi only liked the café because it had decent tea, but that wasn’t the point. Eren grumbled about being forced to leave work early but one look from Levi sent him into silence.
“You’re late,” Levi huffed when Pixis and Armin finally arrived at the table.
“By one minute.” Pixis smirked not at all frazzled by the small man’s temper. Armin however was a completely different story.
“Late.” Levi’s glare never wavered.
“Hello,” Eren smiled and extended his hand towards Armin. “I’m Eren and this grumpy elf is my mate, Levi.”
“It’s a pleasure,” Armin smiled, his nervousness lessened by the Eren’s friendliness.
“I’m not an elf, you’re all giants.” Levi huffed shifting his glare to his mate.
“Whatever you say, dear.” Eren smiled and kissed Levi’s cheek.
“I will kill you.” Levi smacked the back of his head.
“Anyway,” Pixis interjected. “This here is my graduate student, Armin Arlert.”
“Hello,” Levi extended a hand towards Armin. Armin timidly shook the hand of the grumpy man. “Tell me, Armin, what are you majoring in?”
“I’m a double major currently working on my master’s. I’m majoring in zoology and anthropology.” Armin shifted in his seat, not entirely comfortable with all the attention being directed at him.
“Impressive.” Levi offered.
“Impressive?!” Eren looked almost offended at Levi’s statement. “It’s amazing! This kid is practically a genius!”
“Actually, he has a borderline genius IQ.” Pixis offered with a fond smile.
“Well then.” Levi’s eye’s widened slightly. “Tell me Mr. Almost-Genius, why are you interested in studying us?”
“Um, well,” Armin squirmed a little. “I’ve always held an interest in the dynamics. They’re so different and unique compared to the ‘normal’ human life. It’s fascinating to me.”
“Well it doesn’t seem like you have any ill intentions.” Eren said.
“Of course not!” Armin practically shouted. “I just want to learn, to understand. I want to learn everything there is to know.”
“Levi,” Eren whined. “I think we should let him. I mean look at him, he’s adorable!”
“Eren,” Levi pinched the bridge of his nose. “We can’t just let him in the packs just because he’s cute.”
“Oh, come on! He’s already studying us!” Eren pointed at him making Armin flush in embarrassment. He couldn’t help it; their interactions were so interesting. Almost as if Eren was a child and Levi was his voice of reason.
After a moment of contemplation, Levi finally spoke. “Alright, I’m on board.” Eren let out a wide smile, Pixis nodded as if he had no doubt, and Armin’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “On one condition. If I even feel threatened by him, he’s out, got it?”
“Got it.” Armin choked out.
“I’ll meet you back here in one week. Have all your stuff together because once you’re in, you aren’t getting back out until the end of this study, okay? It’s too dangerous to have you coming and going. I can’t put the pack at risk like that.” Levi told Armin sternly while Eren nodded with a firm expression.
“I understand. Thank you so much.” Armin said to the both of them.
“Also,” Eren added. “You should be prepared to have everything you’re taught to be wrong. Dynamics aren’t always what they seem and you should know that now.”
“Of course,” Armin nodded in understanding. “Thank you. Both of you.”