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You Know What They Say About Freckles?

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                Levi’s not sure that he’s ever seen someone so beautiful before. He almost feels like he needs to kneel down before His Highness, but Levi has several things stopping him from doing so. One being, he has a little dignity. Two being, he doesn’t even know this fucker’s name. Three being, he won’t be able to see His Highnesses’ face as clearly if he’s on the floor.

                His Highness sits his butt down right next to Levi, on the bench just a few inches over. It’s almost suffocating, how close he is - Levi hasn’t known him for more than thirty seconds, and yet he’s already making Levi melt under his mere presence. Levi can feel his heart racing, and his legs refuse to sit still, his toes curling inside his shoes as he crosses his arms over his chest and leans back.

                Levi’s never been a particularly big fan of sitting in the park on a hot day, waiting for his friend, Hanji, to take her sweet time in buying him some ice cream, but he might just have to change his mind about that if this is what he’s been missing out on.

                The boy in particular who’s caught Levi’s eye is, by no stretch of the imagination, stunning. Levi’s surprised that girls and boys alike aren’t throwing themselves all over him, he looks fine enough. He has long, shapely legs that flow perfectly across his lower half, leading into an equally as perfect rear - which, Levi might not be able to see as well, considering His Highness is sitting down, but if it looks so nice and round even in this position, there’s not doubt that it would be heavenly when he’s completely upright. His upper body is nothing to scoff at, either - he’s wearing a loose white t-shirt, so thin that Levi can see the tanness of his upper arms and lower back through it. There’s a logo on the front, but Levi has no clue what it’s supposed to represent.

                His Highness, seeming to take no notice of Levi, lifts up his shirt just high enough to expose the rough contours of his gorgeous chest. He wipes his face with the fabric, and it’s only once the shirt’s back down does Levi take in what his face looks like - besides just looking like the most divine creature that Levi’s ever laid his eyes on, he has a soft nose, a jaw perfectly outlined with his bones, and eyes that could kill.

                But, above all, he has freckles.

                The freckles run over the expanse of his cheeks, decorating his skin like paint splatters. Some are larger than others, and some are so small that Levi fears that he’d need a microscope to see them. His nose has a few here and there over the bridge, and the lightest of his freckles are under his ear. His face is red and his hair is damp, likely because it’s so fucking hot outside - Levi, too, has half a mind to tear his shirt off and punch Hanji in the face for taking so long. She shouldn’t be taking so long, she’s been gone for nearly fifteen minutes now - there’s an ice cream stand not five minutes away, and the line wasn’t even that long when they passed by it together as they made their way through the park. Levi could just as easily look back and see what’s taking her so long, but ever since he caught sight of His Highness, he’s found it just a little hard to draw his eyes away.

                Levi shouldn’t do this. He should just let him go, let His Highness go about his ways, let him go wherever he’s trying to go and do whatever it is that he wants. Levi’s not even too sure what comes over him that wills his hand up to grab His Highnesses’ shirt as he stands, ready to walk away from Levi and proceed about his day, but nevertheless, Levi finds himself with his arm outstretched and a very confused angel looking down at him.

                His angel doesn’t speak, however he does turn around and raise his eyebrows at him. Levi lets go of his shirt - it’s disgustingly moist with sweat, anyways - and sits up a little straighter, clearing his throat.

                “Can I help you?” Levi asks, narrowing his eyes. He then mentally slaps himself - could he be any stupider?

                “Hah- Uh, um, no, I’m sorry?” Levi’s angel stutters, “You- You were the one who grabbed me, weren’t you? Or-”

                “No, no, it was me,” Levi sighs, hoping that he doesn’t come off too pretentious and all around weird. “I just want to know your name.”

                “My name?”

                “Mhm.”

                “Uh, it’s- Ah, why should I give you my name? I don’t think I know you,” he mutters the last part, and how is he so cute when he’s so confused? It should be illegal to look so ravishing. Levi could just eat him up, via his definitely perfect ass, that is.

                He’s not very proud of having had that thought cross through his head.

                “You don’t,” Levi shrugs, “But if you tell me your name, we could get to know each other.”

                His Highness blinks, standing awkwardly with his head tilted down to look at Levi - who’s still sitting - and he rubs his arms. He pulls the sleeves of his shirt up as his hands glide over his shoulders, and Levi now sees that he also has freckles on his upper arms, too.

                Levi can’t help but wonder whether his angel is hiding little freckles in other places too, maybe on his lower back or on that attractive rear end of his. Levi’s never found freckles to be so beautiful before, but then again, Levi’s never seen someone this handsome in his entire lifetime.

                “Are you- Ah, I don’t know how to ask this," the freckled angel murmurs, looking a little dazed.

                “Spit it out.”

                “Are you a serial killer?”

                Levi glares at him, knitting his eyebrows together. His Highness shrinks back immediately, taking a step away from Levi, averting his eyes as he realizes that he’s so obviously said something out of place. Levi can’t blame him, too much - Levi is fully aware of his cold, hardened face, but to have someone state it to him so indirectly, yet all the same so directly, catches Levi a little off-guard.

                “No, I’m not,” Levi says, his eyes still narrowed, “Why do you ask?”

                “No reason, it’s just, my sister’s always told me that if a stranger asks for my number, I should just assume that they’re a murderer.”

                “I didn’t ask for your number.”

                “No, but you asked for my name. It’s not that different.”

                “It’s completely different.”

                “No, it’s not.”

                “Yes, it is.”

                “No-”

                “How about this?” Levi offers, standing up and spreading himself out so that his now apparent shorter stature means nothing between the two of them, “We can debate this later, over dinner.

                “Dinner?

                “Mhm. Meet me here tomorrow at five and we’ll go together.”

                “Are you asking me on a date?”

                “No,” Levi rolls his eyes, “I’m trying to bring you aside to murder you, yeah?”

                “I knew it,” His Highness says, his mesmerizing green eyes widening, “You are a serial killer.”

                “It was a joke.”

                “Hah? A bad one, then.”

                Levi doesn’t lighten up on his glare. He can see that it’s affecting his angel, in how he still has his hands over his arms, warming himself with the friction despite previously needing to use his shirt to wipe the sweat from his forehead.

                “Dinner, or no?” Levi asks once more, a sudden wave of fear washing over him - Hanji could show up at any moment and ruin everything. Hopefully whatever has her preoccupied keeps her preoccupied for at least five more minutes.

                “I- Yeah, I guess,” His Highness gives a little nod, “I don’t have anything else to do. My name’s Eren, by the way. I’m sorry for calling you a serial killer.”

                “Levi,” Levi introduces himself, “And I don’t care.”

                “You don’t?”

                “Not really.”

                “Ah.”

                Eren stares at him for a moment longer, before flashing Levi the smallest of smiles. It’s cute, it’s too cute, Levi feels like he might explode if he stares at it for any longer. His freckles are accentuated perfectly by the grin, and Levi subconsciously finds himself counting the little circles across Eren’s cheeks.

                “Um, Levi?”

                “Yes?”

                “Promise me that you’ll be here tomorrow?”

                “Right here. By this bench,” Levi says.

                “Promise?

                “I promise.”

                Eren’s smile grows wider as he turns to walk away, and Levi finds himself disappointed that he’d only been able to count up to seventeen on his nose. But, then again, Levi had only managed to count what was on one half of his nose before Eren had turned around and headed away, and many of Eren's freckles are too light to be able to count from a distance.

                Levi feels a little weight fall off his shoulders - it’s as if Eren had put him under some sort of love spell, because Levi’s never fallen head over heels for someone so quickly. He’s never found himself immediately drawn to beautiful tan skin, indulgent green eyes, freckles - Levi had even found his voice and the nervousness in him to be appealing. Levi has a feeling that it was his cold eyes that made Eren so uneasy, but Levi doesn’t really like the thought that he’d nearly scared off his angel with just his face.

                Levi stays standing up, long after Eren’s gone, and he waits, glancing around. Hanji can’t take too much longer, she’s been gone for nearly twenty minutes, right? Levi doesn’t have a watch, and he couldn’t be bothered to pull his phone out. Levi doesn’t even care about having ice cream anymore, he just wants Hanji to come back so that he can leave.

                “Levi!” he hears, and Levi mentally prepares himself for-

                “Ack- Hello, Hanji,” Levi groans, feeling a pair of long arms wrap around his chest and pull him into a big hug. He sees that she did, in fact, manage to buy the ice cream, though it took her nearly forever.

                Levi’s known Hanji ever since they were little, which is a hell of a long time to be with someone so eccentric, as Hanji is. She was his neighbor when they were young, and apparently, when she takes a liking to something, she refuses to let go. Hence why Levi’s still her friend, though he’d only dare to call her an acquaintance out loud.

                “Levi, I’m so sorry,” she rushes out her apology, “I ran into Erwin on the way to get the ice cream, remember him? No? You don’t?

                “I-”

                “He told me about his new dog,” Hanji says, letting go of Levi and handing him the ice cream she’d bought him. It’s melting, and Levi scrunches his nose in disgust as a trail of warm milky dessert coats his palm.

                Levi has no idea who or what she’s talking about, but he decides to let her go on her rant about Erwin’s new puppy, and the two of them start walking in the direction opposite where Eren had gone. Levi finds himself glancing back that way occasionally to see if he can get one more glimpse of his angel before the day ends.

                Levi’s suddenly really glad that Hanji had taken him to the park today. She’d nearly busted down his apartment door and dragged him out of his house before Levi even had time to put on a pair of pants, and Levi had to knee her in the gut to escape her clutches so that he could run back and grab some clothing before he got arrested.

                Levi wishes he’d had more time to get himself ready, if he’d known that he would soon be faced with pure, unadulterated beauty before the day ends. But if he hadn’t had time to prepare himself today, he’ll sure as hell make sure that he has time to prepare himself before tomorrow. Maybe he’ll even get Hanji to help - she’s surprisingly good at fixing up hair, and Levi wonders if that’s why she keeps hers long and a natural brown.

                “And then,” Hanji says, in the midst of her tale, “Erwin told me that his puppy slipped while walking up the steps to his house. Can you believe that, Levi?”

                “Uh-huh.”

                “If I had a puppy, I’d make sure that he’d never fall, no matter where he went. Maybe- Oh! Maybe I should make Erwin’s puppy some robotic legs?”

                “I don’t think he’d use them.”

                “Why not?”

                “Who the hell puts robotic legs on their dog?”

                “Erwin might.”

                Levi rolls his eyes, and he and Hanji exit the park together. Levi hadn’t managed to see Eren again, which makes him wonder exactly what Eren was doing there and why he’d sat down next to Levi, why he was so nervous, why his sister had drilled it into his head that all strangers are murderers.

                Maybe he’ll save those questions for when he’s at dinner with him.

                                                                                                             ~|~

                “I think you’d look nice with your hair pulled back,” Hanji suggests, “You know, maybe add some hair gel?”

                “Hair gel is disgusting.”

                “Maybe we could put some hair clips in it, then.”

                “What do I look like, a five year old?”

                “No, but you do look like a grumpy old man who’s getting flustered over a little date.”

                “I’m not old,” Levi mutters.

                “But you are grumpy and getting flustered-”

                “Just fix my fucking hair up," Levi interrupts, shooting her daggers with his eyes.

                Hanji giggles, and she goes to stand behind Levi in his kitchen. Levi doesn’t have a particularly big apartment, but his kitchen is wide enough for Hanji to have set up a chair by the counters - a chair in which Levi now sits - with a small mirror perched up for Levi to be able to assess his appearance as Hanji alters it.

                “So what do you think he’d like?” Hanji asks, “Maybe he likes the bad boy type. Eyeliner, maybe? Or perhaps we should throw all your hair to one side, you do have the undercut for it.”

                Levi raises his eyebrows, not giving her a direct answer. Hanji taps her foot against the floor for a moment, before deciding on what she should experiment with.

                Levi has an hour before he has to meet up with Eren - it had taken some time for him to work up the courage to admit to Hanji what he’d done, but she seemed incredibly supportive when she found out. Levi supposes that this shouldn’t surprise him - Hanji would be supportive even if Levi had committed some sort of heinous crime against humanity.

                Levi watches through the mirror as Hanji runs her fingers through Levi’s hair, flipping it over so that it’s all facing eastward. A few strands fall away from position, and Hanji has to run into Levi’s bathroom to grab a bottle of hairspray to keep the hair in place. She does a fine job with it, Levi must admit - it feels heavy on his head, but he does look a little less like, ah, a serial killer.

                “So, about the outfit,” Hanji says once she decides that his hair looks as good as it’s going to get - the undercut on the right side of his head is hidden, but on the left it’s in full view, his dark hair shining under the lighting of the room. “I’m thinking that you dress up, but not too much, you know? Actually, I’ll pick out the clothing. Wait here.”

                Levi doesn’t say anything, listening as she jolts across the room and leaves, on her way to Levi’s bedroom.

                Levi, admittedly, is nervous - Eren could so easily just not show up, and while that shouldn’t upset Levi, it does. He knows nearly nothing about Eren, but the prospect of never getting to know more about his angel hurts. He wants to listen to a freckled face talk to him about the weather outside, maybe finally get a chance to finish counting how many freckles are on his face. And, once he’s done with his face, he’ll move on to his shoulders and down his back, and who knows? Maybe he has freckles on his legs.

                Levi wants to kiss them, he wants to kiss Eren. He wants to get to know him better and find out if his personality is as luxurious as his voice and his cheeks are.

                “Ah, Levi,” Hanji says, coming back into the room with her arms full of clothing, “I couldn’t decide on one outfit, so I want you to try on all of these.”

                “You’re fucking kidding me, Hanji.”

                “No, I’m not,” she pleads, “Look, okay? Here’s the first outfit - it’s not my favorite, but I love the shirt, and I think you’d look great in it. You have the right kind of shoulders for it.”

                Levi twists his body around to face her, only paying half of his attention as Hanji holds up the outfit in question. Levi begrudgingly stands up from his seat in the center of the kitchen, and he walks over to her, snatching the outfit from her hands. His time is dwindling, and he only has so long before he has to meet up with Eren for their date. He doesn’t have time to sit around with Hanji and be incredibly picky about what he wears, so he just has high hopes that this outfit doesn’t look like shit.

                Levi, carrying the clothing in his arms, makes the short trek over to his bathroom to change. He shuts the door behind him and locks it, not bothering to check and see what Hanji’s doing - quite frankly, he doesn’t he care what she’s doing as long as it doesn’t involve setting his apartment on fire.

                Levi switches out his current outfit, struggling with the buttons as he puts on the one that Hanji had prepared - it’s a plain white dress shirt with sleeves that reach his elbows, loose around his waist but tighter on his upper body. The pants are a little more form fitting, and Levi’s a little surprised to find, as he looks in the mirror hanging on the back of his bathroom door, he actually likes what Hanji’s chosen. Maybe it shouldn’t leave him so aghast as it does, though - Hanji’s full of different talents and abilities.

                Levi’s heart races a little faster as his mind wanders off and starts to imagine what Eren will be wearing, what Levi’s angel is able to find in his closet and drape over his wonderful curves. His hips, they looked so grabbable, his legs just begging to have a certain dark-haired man placed right between them, his freckles perfect for kissing over and over and over again.

                Levi can’t wait to see Eren again. He can’t wait to find out, once and for all, if the worrying and stressing that he’s been doing for the past twenty-four hours has been worth it, if Eren’s worth taking out on another date or two.

                If Eren’s worth dating again, then hell if Levi won’t do everything in his power to claim Eren and his beautiful freckles as his.

                                                                                                             ~|~

                Levi, much to his pleasure, approaches the park bench to find that Eren’s already there. He sits there, his ankles crossed in front of him, hands clutching at the fabric of his shirt as he anxiously picks at the cloth. Levi almost hesitates for a moment, afraid that if he interrupts such bliss, Eren will skitter away like a frightened kitten.

                But Eren’s not a cat, and they’ve already established that Levi’s not a serial killer, so there’s no reason for Eren to be afraid of him.

                Levi steps up to him, thumbs in his pockets. Eren looks up at him immediately, his emerald eyes bright with a sort of nervousness and a sort of hope in them. He looks different than he had yesterday - his cheeks are a lighter pink, and his skin isn’t wet with sweat. He either must’ve just arrived, or he’s been doing a much better job today than he had yesterday at keeping himself dry.

                Eren’s wearing another t-shirt, and his pants are a deep black, tight across his legs. Levi would start drooling at the sight if he didn’t have any sort of pride in himself - if Eren’s legs looked incredible yesterday, they’re dropdead stunning today. As Eren stands up, Levi can’t help but lock his sights on the lush curves of his body and the way that his pants prevent him from walking quite right due to their tightness. He waddles a bit like a penguin, it's almost laughable.

                “Levi?” Eren asks, his fingers grasping the collar of his own t-shirt, as if he honestly hadn’t expected Levi to show up, despite being the one who asked Eren out.

                “Shithead?” Levi shoots back teasingly, raising his eyebrows. Eren gives him a small smile.

                “That’s kind of rude,” Eren murmurs, “Already insulting me? We’re only on the first date, aren’t we?”

                “When’s the appropriate time to start insulting you?”

                “Maybe when we’ve been married for several years.”

                “Married?” Levi feigns shock as he motions for Eren to follow him - he’d taken the last few minutes he had with Hanji to figure out where he should take Eren for dinner, and the closest place to them now is only about ten minutes away by walking if they don’t stall. “Already thinking about marriage?

                “No,” Eren shoves his shoulder, taunting him as he trails a step or two behind. “I was just saying.”

                “Just saying that you want to marry me, right?”

                “No, that’s not what I was saying at all.”

                “I’m kidding, Eren.”

                Eren’s silent for a second, and Levi glances back to see that he’s pouting. He has his lower lip jutted out, his arms crossed and less freckles visible than usual - though that could just be a result of Eren’s cheeks not being as red as they had been.

                Eren meets eyes with Levi, and he sticks his tongue out, accentuating the pout. Levi turns his head back forward, shaking it slightly - this has to be his imagination. There’s just no way that someone that Levi’s just met can be so enthralling. This has to be some sort of dream. It doesn’t make sense, and for said beauty to accept Levi’s offering of a date? Normal people would rear back their arms and punch him right in the jaw. Levi certainly deserves it, for looking at Eren like he’s a piece of meat before considering the personality that lies within. It comes naturally, though, for him to judge a person based on their appearance before he judges based on personality. But, hopefully, Eren has enough personality to go around. Levi might go on a date with a cutie with freckles, but if said cutie is as entertaining as a brick wall, then freckles be damned.

                Levi leads Eren down the path to their destination - he struggles to remember the way that he’s supposed to go, his only guide being the street names that he vaguely remembers. Occasionally, he looks back to make sure that Eren hasn’t, for whatever reason, run away - Eren stays by his side, or rather, a few steps behind, the entire trip, hands clutching his arms and hair falling over his forehead like little feathers. Angel feathers.

                Eren tries to keep up the small talk, much to Levi’s delight. They say little more than comments here and there about how their days have been going thus far, but it’s enough to keep Levi and Eren both preoccupied until they’re finally walking up the steps to the little diner that Levi - and, technically, Hanji - have decided to take Eren to.

                Levi, in an attempt to look a little gentlemanly, opens the front door for Eren, letting him enter first. His hand slips on the handle, though, and he ends up hitting Eren’s back with the closing door, shoving Eren forward a few steps and forcing him to take a moment to regain his balance. Eren tries to glare at Levi as Levi enters after him and scrambles up to his side to make sure that he’s alright, but Levi can tell from the smile on Eren’s lips that Eren’s not actually mad.

                Levi, once he’s done triple-checking that Eren’s fine, he didn’t fall, he’s not mad at Levi, Eren’s not going to leave, takes control and demands the lady at the front for a table near a window. It’s not necessarily a requirement, but he wants to make Eren happy, he wants Eren to feel special. A window seat is as close to special as they’re going to get, at least for now - and, besides, the sun seems to work wonders for Eren's tanned skin and his dark freckles.

                Levi feels a hand wrap around his wrist, and he looks back to see a sheepish, blushing Eren tentatively grabbing at Levi’s arm. Levi, wanting to appease Eren, squirms out of his weak hold and switches it so that they’re holding hands instead. Eren’s face turns even redder, his eyes widening, and Levi sort of really likes the way that his freckles become highlighted under the blush.

                Levi, following the lady that he might have given death threats to in his desperation for a table near a window, shows Eren to their seats. Levi sits himself across from Eren, their table small and only bearing enough space for their meals and, if they’re lucky, maybe enough room for them to hold hands. If Levi’s lucky, that is.              

                “What do you like to eat?” Levi asks, not even bothering to look down at his menu. Eren picks his up, however, and opens it, eyes skimming over his selection.

                Levi’s never been to this particular eatery before, and neither has Eren, by the looks of it. He’d only chosen this place because it was close to where they were meeting at, though he doesn’t regret it - the diner doesn’t look too bad. It has a very tacky color scheme, but other than that, it seems relatively clean.

                “Ah, I don’t really care,” Eren murmurs, “Uh, maybe the- No, I don’t like peanuts. Um.”

                Levi sighs, picking up his own menu and looking down at it. He doesn’t actually care what he eats - he’s not picky. He decides on his dish long before Eren does, who sits there nearly in tears as he stresses over what to eat. Levi’s never thought that one single person could have so much difficulty in making a decision on what to eat, so when the waitress walks by and asks for their orders, Levi has to pick something for Eren, because if he doesn’t, then Eren would be here for hours and, likely, be sobbing over his menu.

                He’s picked out a sort of pasta dish for Eren - he doesn’t know the exact details of it, and really, all he knows is that he and Eren are going to be eating the same thing. Eren seems happy that Levi’s taken the initiative, though.

                “Mm, Levi?”

                “Huh?”

                “Why did you ask me out? On a date?”

                Levi, the table now empty with the exception of his elbows, looks up at Eren. His eyes are open wide and glassy, his cheeks still flushed pink. After several seconds staring at Levi, Eren averts his gaze away, shrinking under the pressure and looking obviously embarrassed.

                Levi can’t help but find this odd - why is Eren cowering away from him? Why is Eren, who’s dressed so confidently, so completely nervous? Eren’s still hugging himself, and he looks like he’s about to burst into tears if he utters another word. When he’d asked his question, his voice had come out fairly evenly, but his face tells a completely different story.

                “I think you’re hot, why?” Levi states bluntly, lifting an arm to rest his chin against his knuckles.

                “I- Ah, no reason. Just wondering.”

                “Really?”

                “Yeah.”

                Levi feels like there’s more going on here, but he doesn’t say anything. Not because he doesn’t care, no, he cares a little too much - angels shouldn’t cry, and Eren is the most angelic thing that Levi’s ever seen. No, the only real reason that Levi doesn’t push the subject further is because their food arrives right then. A little surprising, considering Levi could've sworn that they just took their order a few minutes ago.

                Levi waits until the waitress is gone and their plates and drinks are set out before them before taking the first bite - it’s no wonder that their food took no time at all to arrive, it’s cold as hell and tastes like shit. Hopefully Eren isn’t as picky as he came off as, though.

                “Eren?” Levi says, pretending that the food doesn’t make his gut twist.

                “Yeah?”

                “How old are you?” It’s a simple question, but entirely necessary. Levi would rather not have to find out later, months down the road, that he’s been dating a fifteen year old who looks twenty.

                “Twenty-one. You?”

                “Thirty.”

                “Oh.”

                “Oh?”

                “I didn’t know that I was going on a date with a grandpa.”

                Levi feels like he’s been stabbed in the gut. His heart was already pounding fast due to being on a date with Eren, but now he feels insulted. He, of course, probably deserves it, having had greeted Eren by calling him a shithead, but that doesn’t lessen the sting of the words. Levi’s strong, though, so he forces himself to not think too much on Eren’s words. Hanji had called him old, too, just before he'd left for his date, hadn’t she?

                “And I didn’t know that I was going on a date with a preschooler,” Levi shoots back, picking up his drink by the very top of the glass and taking a sip from it, trying to look nonchalant.

                “But I’m in my twenties,” Eren whines, “I’m old enough to drink alcohol.”

                “Doesn’t mean anything.”

                “You suck, Levi.”

                Levi puts his glass down. “Is that your best insult?”

                “Besides ‘grandpa?’ Yeah.”

                “What’s your name, kid?”

                “Kid?” Eren raises his eyebrows, “I’m really not that much younger, Levi. And you already know my name.”

                “Your last name,” Levi says, “Dumbass.”

                “Ah, what is that? The third name you’ve called me tonight?”

                “Don’t act like you don’t like it.”

                “I wouldn’t like it, if it weren’t you,” Eren flutters his eyelashes teasingly, “And my last name is Jaeger.

                “Ah? Sounds sexy.”

                “Mm, thank you. I mean, I didn’t really have any control over it, but.”

                “Maybe it’s just that it’s your last name that makes it sexy.”

                “Huh- Oh, god, Levi, I’m blushing.

                And that he is - Levi’s not sure that Eren could get any more red. He places his elbows on the table on either side of his hardly touched meal, using his fingers to cover as much of his face as possible. Levi feels tempted to reach out and swat Eren’s hands away so that Levi can take in the sight of his flushed face and those freckles, but he remains in his seat because Eren does exactly what Levi was hoping for just then - Eren removes his hands from his face, putting them back under the table.

                “Um, what’s your last name?” Eren asks, an obvious attempt to divert attention away from his blushing cheeks.

                “Ackerman.”

                “You’re lying.”

                “Excuse me?”

                Eren looks surprised to hear Levi’s last name, his mouth slightly parted and his irises turning a brighter shade of green. Levi wishes that the room had better lighting, because he’s almost certain that he could lose himself in those eyes if he stares for too long.

                “That’s my sister’s last name,” Eren explains, “Well, she’s actually my adoptive sister, but. Same thing.”

                “Same one who told you that all strangers were serial killers?”

                “Yeah,” Eren sighs. “Her name’s Mikasa. I think you two would get along.”

                “Really?”

                “Mm. Maybe not. She doesn’t really like any of the guys that I date.”

                “Why not?”

                “I think it’s just a sibling thing,” Eren picks up the fork on his plate, training his sights on it. He twirls it around aimlessly, scooping up a small bit of food and biting onto it.

                “Maybe," Levi agrees.

                “Tell me a joke, Levi Ackerman.

                “Why?”

                “I can’t date someone who doesn’t have a good sense of humor.”

                Levi blinks, thinking - he really doesn’t spend much time trying to improve his jokes. In fact, he hasn’t told a joke in what feels like years. Eren’s young, what kind of jokes do young people like? Levi’s at a bit of a loss.

                Maybe he really is getting old.

                “Uh. Eren?”

                “Yeah?”

                “Have you seen the movie Constipated?”

                “Um, no?”

                “That’s because it hasn’t come out yet.”

                Eren stares at him for a moment, and Levi stares right back. Levi watches as Eren slowly starts to get the joke, and once it hits him, Eren actually laughs. Hard. Levi doesn’t think that it was too good of a joke, he’d thought of it on the spot, but Eren looks like he’s dying.

                Eren lowers his head, burying it in his hands as he laughs. It’s a loud laugh, and Eren honestly looks like he’s about to choke on himself, his back heaving up and down as he finally understands the joke.

                “Levi,” Eren moans, lifting his head back up, his cheeks a deep scarlet, “Fuck, Levi.

                “It wasn’t that funny.”

                “You’re right,” Eren takes a moment to calm himself, a hand clutching his chest. “It sucked, actually.”

                “Then why the hell are you laughing so hard?”

                “I don’t know,” Eren rubs his fingers over his face, trying to relax his jaw. “I think it was the delivery.”

                “What was wrong with it?”

                “Nothing,” Eren insists, waving his hand in the air, “It was perfect. You looked so serious, you know?”

                Levi tilts his head slightly, a silent acknowledgement of what Eren’s said. He has to switch which way that his head’s leaning, though, as he realizes a little too late that his hair’s still all piled on one side of his head. Some strands of hair fall down, but Levi couldn’t be bothered to push them back into place.

                “Tell me a joke this time, Eren,” Levi proposes, pushing his plate away from his body to give himself more room to prop his elbows up.

                “Um. Okay, give me a minute.”

                Levi bites onto his lip, raising his eyebrows expectantly. He cracks his knuckles, watching as Eren furrows his eyebrows in deep thought. He doesn’t eat anymore, though he does continue to swirl the fork around on his plate, pushing aside the shit that they’ve been served.

                “Alright,” Eren lays his utensil down, preparing himself. “Did you know that sea otters hold hands when they sleep so that they don’t drift apart?”

                Levi waits, his eyebrows still raised, expecting some sort of punchline or twist to the joke. When nothing comes, he gives Eren an odd look and says, “And?

                “What do you mean?”

                “What’s the joke?”

                “Ah. Oh. Well, uh, I couldn’t think of one. So I gave you a trivia fact instead.”

                “Eren.

                Eren laughs again, the melody of his voice flooding Levi’s ears and making Eren just that much more beautiful. Even his other laughter - which resembled something like a donkey - was utterly satisfying, in an odd way. Levi feels like he could sit back and just listen to Eren laugh all day, it’s so relaxing. It’s reassuring, too, in that it’s a happy noise. Levi might die if he ever sees Eren sad.

                “Are we done, then, Levi?” Eren asks, eyeing their hardly-eaten dishes. Eren looks so genuinely sad to say such a thing, and Levi feels an urge to hug him and tell him that it never has to end if he doesn’t want it to.

                Levi, though, doesn’t want to come off as too clingy. Yet.

                “I guess so,” he says while standing up. Eren follows suit, watching Levi for his cue on what to do next. “Eren, wait outside. I’ll go pay for this shit.”

                Eren nods, and as Levi turns to leave, Eren grips his shoulder and turns him back around. Levi stumbles a little, having not expected it, and it catches him completely off-guard when he feels Eren peck a fast kiss to his cheek. It’s a warm kiss, Eren’s lips sending sensations down to every limb of Levi’s body - if just a cheek kiss feels this good, Levi can’t wait to find out how good a real kiss from Eren feels.

                “What was that for?” Levi asks, his voice coming out harsher than he’d meant for it to.

                Eren looks taken aback by Levi’s tone, and he says, “I, uh, I’m sorry, I just thought-”

                “No, it’s fine.”

                “It is?”

                “Mhm. Here, lean forward.”

                Eren, still looking a tad dazed, hunches forward, making his head level with Levi’s. Levi feels a bit of resentment - he’s not that short. He really isn’t. But seeing how far Eren has to bend down to make himself the same height as Levi makes him feel insecure.

                Levi, pushing aside his own issues, returns the kiss that Eren had given him, on the opposite cheek. Levi makes sure to place his lips over as many freckles as he can with one kiss, so he goes for a spot close to Eren’s eye and near his ear. It’s where his freckles are smaller, but are compacted as many dark dots over his skin. It’s beautiful, really.

                Eren pulls away as soon as Levi leaves his skin, and he stands up straight. Levi takes a sort of pride in the expression over Eren’s face - Levi apparently is very capable of making Eren surprised, as this isn’t the first time that he’s seen this sort of look on Eren’s face this evening.

                “Levi?” Eren says, his voice low.

                “Yes?”

                “Can you walk me home tonight?”

                “I don’t see why not. Sea otters, right?” Levi suggests.

                “Huh?”

                “Sea otters hold each other’s hands while they nap so that they don’t drift apart and get lost. By walking you home, I’m making sure that you don’t get hurt, aren’t I?”

                Eren smiles. “That’s right.”

                                                                                                             ~|~

                “So how did it go, Levi?” Hanji asks from Levi’s living room, perched in front of his coffee table. She’s on her knees, sketching out plans for robotic dog legs on a large piece of blue paper with white pencil markings all over it.

                “What, the date?”

                “Yeah. I did a little research on him while you were gone, did you know that there are thirteen different Eren’s in this area? They’re spelled differently, though. There are four that are spelled with two A’s in the front and an O before the N. How does your Eren spell his name? One of the Eren’s was convicted with a charge for child pornography.”

                “I don’t think it’s the same Eren, Hanji.”

                “You never know.”

                “The date was fine,” Levi says, changing the subject. “But why are you still here?”

                Levi, finally home, drags his hands through his hair, ruining all of the work that Hanji had put into it. It falls down into it’s usual position, bangs over his undercut, though some hairs refuse to be tamed and fly astray. Levi doesn’t care too much, though, because it’ll be all fixed by the time that he gets around to taking a shower.

                “I like it here,” Hanji says, switching to a different pencil, now placing black lead scratches over her plans.

                She must’ve been here the entire time that Levi was gone - once Hanji gets set on something, it takes brutal force to pull her away from it. And if she’s been working on her robotic dog legs ever since Levi left for his date, then there’s no doubting that she’s probably been working on it the whole time.

                Levi’s just arrived home, though he’s had enough time to not only peer over Hanji’s shoulder and see what she’s working on, but he’s also had time to prepare himself a cup of tea. He actually didn’t make the tea - Hanji did, and he was lucky that she hadn’t drank it all before he arrived. It's dark outside now, so Levi can only assume that he's been missing for a while.

                “How long have I been gone?” Levi asks, standing behind Hanji as she works. He holds his tea hesitantly, knowing that if he doesn’t have a firm grip on it, Hanji will end up knocking it from his grasp, or worse, the cup itself will break and Levi will have to clean up an even bigger mess - emotionally and physically. Levi loves his teacups, he feels a little betrayed when one of them breaks in his own hands.

                “About two hours, maybe?” Hanji says, distracted by her dog plans. She has a laptop open beside her, and she types away furiously, doing research. Levi can’t read what it says on the screen from where he stands - fuck, he really is old - but he has a feeling that it wouldn’t matter if he could see it. Hanji often uses very technical terms in her Internet searches.

                “Hanji?” Levi asks, trying to get her attention.

                “Yeah?”

                “Do you think that you could help me prepare for another date?”

                Levi can tell that he’s hit a button. Hanji’s head whips backwards, a huge, open-mouthed smile forming on her face. She shoots up, dropping her pencils and knocking her laptop back.

                “When is it? Tomorrow? Levi, we have to go shopping, you need a new outfit! Is it a themed place? Maybe we should dress you up as a knight, did you know that-”

                “No, Hanji,” Levi holds his hands up, pushing her away from where she was getting just a little too close to his face. “It’s this weekend.”

                “Even better! That gives us more time.”

                “We’re going on a picnic.”

                “A picnic?” she gasps, “Who’s making the food? Is it you? I hope not. I’ve eaten your food before, Levi, and I’m sorry, but it’s not that good.”

                Levi narrows his eyes at her. “Well, fuck you, too.”

                “I said I’m sorry!”

                “Is that supposed to stop me from feeling bad?”

                “Yes!”

                Levi rolls his eyes. He and Eren had decided on the picnic idea just as Eren had stopped Levi, telling him that they were at his house. It was a pretty nice house, though it was hard for Levi to judge it too intensely due to the dark sky and the fact that he was a little more preoccupied admiring Eren’s face. He’d tried to count the freckles again, but couldn’t finish before Eren had turned away and started heading up the driveway to his front door.

                But, he did manage to get to the number thirty - it’s the amount of freckles that reside on Eren’s cheek, in the cluster that Levi had kissed. Levi has a feeling that he miscounted, though, because Eren kept moving his head and blushing.

                Levi honestly can’t wait until he can see Eren again. He’d managed to steal Eren’s phone number from him, which gives him hope that maybe he’ll hear his voice again before the weekend rolls around. The weekend isn’t for another three days, but Levi feels like that’s too long to be separated from someone so attractive, someone so pleasing to be around, someone so angelic.

                “Where’s the picnic going to be?” Hanji asks, slowly lowering herself back down to the ground to clean up the mess that she’d made.

                “The park down the street,” Levi says, setting his tea down on the edge of the coffee table, in the only corner not covered by Hanji’s immense amounts of paper. Normally he’d be upset at her lack of organization, but he can’t bring himself to be mad, especially not after he’s gotten nearly two hours of pure euphoria.

                “The one that I ran into Erwin at?” Hanji asks.

                “That’s the one.”

                “Oh, Levi! That’s perfect. Can I come with you?”

                “No.”

                “Why not?”

                “It’s a date, Hanji. You can meet him later.

                “But what if I want to meet him now?

                “I don’t give a shit what you want.

                Levi walks over to head into his kitchen, and he glances back to see that Hanji’s pouting. He shoots her the middle finger and walks away, hearing her cry out in protest as he turns from her.

                Levi’s still not too sure who Erwin is, or why Hanji’s so preoccupied with making his dog robot legs, or if Erwin is even aware that she’s doing it for him. But he’ll let her have her fun, because she’s letting him have his fun. Hanji could, essentially, ruin his date if she wanted to. She’s smart enough. She’s talented enough.

                She seems to understand, though, that Levi felt something click when he met Eren. Levi’s not normally one for grabbing strangers and asking them out on dates, but Eren was different. Eren was beautiful. He had freckles and legs and fingers and tanned skin, he had a laugh that drew Levi in and locked him in place. It’s almost as if he’s chained to Eren, because Levi’s positive that if he lost Eren now, a part of him would break. He hardly knows Eren, but he truly feels like there’s something different about him.

                Maybe Levi’s finally going insane, though. It’s about time. He’s old, isn’t he?

                But maybe as long as he can be with Eren by his side and an eccentric Hanji in the room over, he’ll be fine with being insane. And old.

                                                                                                             ~|~

                “You made the food?” Levi asks, settling himself down on the bench next to Eren.

                “Nah,” he says, sitting beside him. He pulls his legs up onto the seat, sitting crosslegged with a large portion of his body hanging off of the seat. He seems unfazed by it, though. “Mikasa did.”

                “Mikasa’s your sister?”

                “Mhm.”

                Levi picks up the little basket that Eren had brought, and he digs through the selection. He pulls out two sandwiches wrapped in clear plastic, handing one to Eren and saving the other for himself. He then pulls out two water bottles, and he does the same - he hands one to Eren and saves the other for himself.

                Levi puts the basket on the grass beside them, and he scoots a little closer to Eren on the bench, throwing an arm across the back and idly curling his fingers against the rough metal of the seat.

                “Mikasa’s a cook, you know?” Eren says, unwrapping his food and taking a bite from it.

                “How old is she?”

                “My age. About a month older, though.”

                “That’s convenient.”

                “I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not.”

                “Do I look like I’m being serious?”

                Eren looks at Levi’s face for a moment, and Eren’s only able to contain his smile for about ten seconds before his face is a bright red and he’s trying to hide his mouth.

                “You always look like you’re being serious. Even when you made that stupid joke on our last date.”

                “You remember that?”

                “How could I not? It gets funnier every time I think about it.”

                “Really?”

                “Yeah,” Eren says, taking another bite of his sandwich. Levi decides that it’s finally time that he, too, starts eating, so he lifts his arm from the back of the bench and uses it to peel the plastic away from the food in his hands. “It’s like, it’s so bad, it’s funny. You know?”

                “I suppose I get it," Levi says.

                Eren shifts his position, leaning forward a little and resting his elbows on his leg to hold himself up. He waves his sandwich around as he talks, as if there’s just no possibility that he could ever slip and drop the food, what with how he waves it around back and forth.

                “Levi?”

                “Hm?”

                “Do you, ah- Ah, nevermind.”

                “What is it?”

                “Nevermind.”

                “Eren?”

                “It’s stupid.”

                “I don’t care. Just tell me.”

                “It’s not important.”

                “I don’t care.”

                “No, I changed my mind. Can we move on?”

                “No.”

                “Levi, please.”

                “Tell me what you were going to say.”

                Eren hesitates, speaking quickly and staring down at his sandwich as he talks. “I was just going to ask if you like my face, I mean, it has freckles on it, you know?”

                “What’s wrong with that?”

                Eren shields his face, and Levi can’t tell what Eren looks like right now - his head is being blocked by his hair, which falls just low enough to cover him as he holds his head down.

                “Most people don’t like freckles. They’re like, a skin defect, aren’t they?” Eren says, his voice coming out strained.

                “I love them.”

                Eren peers up at Levi, using a hand to pull the hair away from his forehead. His eyes are a lit up as a rich green, indulgent and loving, a hint of wonder in them. Levi feels like his little sentence has somehow strengthened their bond together, but then again, that could just be his hopeful side speaking. Or the side that’s growing desperate in his old - he’s not old - age. Maybe they're one in the same, though.

                “You do?”

                “Absolutely,” Levi confirms, “They’re my favorite part of your face.”

                “Really?

                “Mhm. Why, did someone tell you that they didn’t look good?”

                “I- No, no, that’s not it,” Eren says, his voice low. He suddenly raises his volume a lot higher, wiping his face clear of any emotion as he lifts his head back up to stare Levi in the eyes and say, “Did you know that sea otters can live their entire lives without ever leaving the water?”

                “Hah?”

                “It’s true,” Eren says, playing with the plastic wrap around his sandwich. He raises his eyebrows, as if he expects Levi to have some sort of response to his useless fact about sea otters.

                “I mean, I bet it is, but-”

                “Sea otters are my favorite sea animal,” Eren mentions, and Levi decides to play along. Whatever it is that Eren’s trying to avoid, it’s best not to talk about right now. Levi’s sure that if it really bothers Eren like he suspects it does, as proven by how he’d practically begged for a subject change, then it’ll be something best talked about alone, something best not spoken about in such a public area. There are people around, though they all stand a fair distance away, giving Levi and Eren their beloved space.

                “Sea otters are cute,” Levi comments, and, thinking that he’s so clever, adds, “But they aren’t nearly as cute as you.”

                “Levi, I’m blushing,” Eren whines, covering his face with his free hand.

                Levi reaches out and grabs onto Eren’s wrist, pulling it away from his face to reveal the redness the paints his cheeks, the freckles that are ten times more noticeable than they had been a minute ago. It’s like the flush of Eren’s cheeks is a lightswitch, and the freckles become just that much brighter when they’re against a pink backdrop.

                “Don’t hide it, Sea Otter," Levi says, "You look fine.”

                “Sea Otter? What happened to Shithead?

                “I’ll call you whatever the hell I want to, dipshit. It depends on my mood.”

                “What’s your mood right now?”

                “Mm. I don’t know. Maybe happy?”

                Eren smiles, and Levi’s not too sure that his freckles can possibly get any more beautiful. It’s like his face has been splattered with paint, a light brown sort of paint that makes him unique, it makes him stand out against the others.

                “I’m happy, too, Levi,” Eren murmurs, then, without the smile falling from his lips, he says, “Can I kiss you, Levi?”

                “Get the fuck over here, Sea Otter.”

                Eren leans forward on cue, and Levi waits as Eren works up the courage. It takes him nearly half a minute, eyes shifting from Levi’s lips to his nose to his eyes, and he finally tilts his head slightly and connects their mouths together. Levi feels Eren’s hand against the back of his head, warm fingers tracing patterns into his undercut and threading through the longer strands of his hair. He feels Eren twirl a finger around a lock of it, tugging on him, and Levi, wanting to return this sort of pleasure, places his hands on Eren’s thighs, trying to pull him closer. He feels Eren flinch under him, but he doesn’t think much of it - he’s too focused on the elation of having Eren’s lips press so tightly against his, moving slowly with him. Eren’s fingers burn into his head, and every now and then, Eren’s nose rubs up against Levi’s, and Levi feels like he might faint. Eren’s soft, freckled skin, touching Levi’s clearer complexion - it’s too perfect.

                Eren pulls away after a while, his breaths coming out faster than usual. Levi lightens his hold on Eren’s outer thighs, moving his hands away so that they’re only holding onto his knees, now. He sees Eren relax a little, his shoulders drooping, his jaw not so tight.

                “Eren?”

                “Yeah, Levi?”

                “Do you think that I could take you home tonight?" Levi offers, "To my place?”

                Eren stares at him for a moment, blinking slowly before pursing his lips together and nodding. “I would love that.”

                Levi feels like he’s truly hit the jackpot with Eren. Not only is he so undeniably beautiful, but he’s cute, the way he acts is so alluring. He could probably use a confidence boost, sure, but Levi finds an odd liking to how anxious Eren gets, how flustered and red his cheeks turn when Levi so much as touches him.

                Eren’s gorgeous, inside and out, as proven by the two dates that they’ve been on. Levi had also been able to summon the bravery to give Eren a call, though he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do it until it was just a day before their picnic together was due. They hadn’t talked about much, on the phone, but just hearing Eren’s voice talk to him about pointless things and murmur words of teasing to him - it was worth it. Levi’s almost upset that he hadn’t called earlier, but it’s too late to change anything now.

                Levi thinks that he’s found the right one. The right one to wake up next to, the right one to be able to walk into the kitchen and stand next to while he makes breakfast, the right one to look forward to seeing after a particularly hard day. Levi has no doubt that Eren would gladly hold his arms out for him and give him a hug at the end of the day.

                Eren’s perfect. He has just the right amount of sass inside of him, just the right amount of cuteness and oddity. Levi could see himself doing the things he already does today, except with a certain freckled angel right next to him. A certain freckled sea otter right next to him.

                Levi just hopes that Hanji’s not at his apartment when he arrives. She wasn’t there when he left, but knowing her, if she really wants in, she’ll find a way. And Levi’s not too keen on having her drive his new lover away with accusations of him distributing child pornography. Levi likes Hanji well enough, but she can be a little overbearing sometimes.

                Hanji had, though, done as she’d told him that she would do - she took him out and helped him go clothes shopping to find the right sort of thing to wear on his date. Levi wonders if Eren has the same sort of thing in his home - someone who will aid him in dressing himself up for a picnic, someone who’s willing to be excited for him getting a new date. He’d mentioned that his sister, Mikasa, had prepared their meal for them, but wasn’t she also the one who’d mentioned that all strangers are serial killers?

                Maybe Eren hasn’t told anyone about Levi yet. Levi’s fine with that, though, he doesn’t care, as long as Eren’s staying faithful to him. As long as he can keep seeing those freckles light up with a blush. As long as he can keep holding hands with his little sea otter.

                Eren crinkles up the plastic wrap in his hands, having finished his sandwich. His bottle is relatively untouched, still full of water as he picks up the basket from where Levi had set it aside and puts the bottle inside it. Levi does the same - they hadn’t eaten much, but Levi himself isn’t too hungry. At least, not for actual food. A freckled body, well, maybe Levi could see himself on top of. Maybe.

                “Hey, Levi?” Eren tries for his attention.

                “Hm?”

                “Wanna go for a walk?”

                “I don’t see why not. It’ll pass time until tonight.”

                “Exactly what I was thinking,” Eren says, standing up. He holds the basket, arms behind his back and a small smile over his face. The freckles dance over his skin like artwork, and as Eren takes the lead a step ahead, Levi notices that he has freckles on the back of his neck, just below where his hair ends. It’s not nearly as many as are on his cheeks, but it’s still a fair amount.

                Levi loves it.

                Levi loves Eren.

                                                                                                             ~|~

                “Wait out here for two seconds, Eren.”

                Levi steps inside his apartment, and he rushes through every room, making sure that Hanji hasn’t, for whatever reason, decided to break in and reside in his place until his return. Much to Levi’s delight, she doesn’t seem to be around anywhere - however, when he checks his phone, he finds that she’d called him three times in the last hour. Levi would call back and ask if it’s important, but he knows it’s not because if it were, Hanji would’ve used her highly advanced technological skills to hunt out Levi’s location and tell him the news in person. She’s probably just wanting to know where he is and how the date’s going.

                Levi runs back to the front door, holding it open for Eren. He takes the basket from his hands and, with a palm to Eren’s lower back, guides Eren into the living room, kicking the front door shut behind him with a foot.

                “I like your apartment,” Eren murmurs, his tanned fingers clutching onto his t-shirt tightly. His knuckles go white under the pressure he’s applying, which makes Levi wonder if Eren’s feeling alright.

                “Thank you,” Levi mutters, “Have a seat.”

                Eren does so, sitting on the couch beside the coffee table. Levi places the basket on it, suddenly glad that Hanji is good at cleaning up. She might make a mess when she gets set on making an idea a reality, but she also knows how to make it as if the mess had never been there in the first place. There aren’t any loose pieces of blue paper anywhere in sight, and Levi has yet to step on a white pencil - Hanji’s been working on her robotic dog legs at Levi’s place for several days now. Levi doesn’t mind, though. She actually seems to be making good progress on it.

                Levi places himself on the couch next to Eren. Eren looks a little awkward, his hands tugging at the knees of his jeans, his hair falling over his ears and forehead as he stares down at the corner of the coffee table.

                “Hey, Sea Otter," Levi says.

                “Mm?”

                “What’s wrong?”

                Eren looks over at Levi, forcing a smile on his lips. He clears his throat, and Levi can see that he’s blushing a light pink. It’s a subtle pink, and Levi wouldn’t have been able to notice it if he weren’t right next to Eren on the cushions.

                “It’s just, nobody’s ever taken me to their home after a date before,” Eren explains, “I guess I don’t really know what to expect.”

                “I won’t hurt you.”

                “Promise?”

                “Who could ever hurt a sea otter? That’s just cruel.”

                Eren laughs, and he leans over, fitting his head in the crook of Levi’s neck. Levi wraps an arm around Eren’s shoulder blades, pulling him back so that they’re snuggled up together, practically lying down. Levi uses two fingers, and he reaches down, pulling Eren’s hair away from his face slowly to reveal as much skin as he can. Levi feels like a child opening Christmas presents as he gradually unravels more and more freckles - he finds that Eren has freckles just behind and just below his ears, light freckles that wouldn’t be noticeable from a distance.

                Eren closes his eyes, resting on Levi’s shoulder. Levi can feel his breaths coming out against his collarbones, and Levi, once all of the hair is away from Eren’s face, switches to petting him. Eren’s hair is soft and fluffy, smooth locks that flow easily with Levi’s fingers. Levi tries twisting Eren’s hair around much like Eren had done to him during their kiss, and Eren lets out a pleasured sigh at that. Levi loves the sound of it, so he keeps twirling Eren’s hair around.

                Levi, guided by Eren’s breaths against his collar, allows their breathing to fall in sync. He feels so overwhelmed, having all of Eren on only one half of himself, but all the same does he want more. He wants Eren in his lap, he wants Eren to pepper him with kisses, he wants to run his hands up and down Eren’s spine, he wants to wrap their legs together and count each and every freckle on Eren's lithe body. He wants more of those sighs, happy sighs flooding the room and arms around Levi’s back.

                Levi wants all of Eren. He wants to wake up next to freckles every day, he wants to watch cool emerald eyes open up and give him a sleepy kiss in the early hours, morning breath be damned.

                “Levi?” Eren murmurs, his eyes squinting open.

                “Yes?”

                “You like me, don’t you?”

                “Of course.”

                Eren nuzzles into his skin, nose pressing tightly to Levi’s neck. He whispers, “Thank you.”

                “Eren?”

                “Mhm?”

                “Is something wrong?”

                Levi almost regrets asking, because as soon as the words are out, Eren moves away from his neck and peers up at him. He’s slumped down, bent at the waist, his lower back arching so that he fits perfectly in with Levi’s side. Levi still has an arm around his shoulders, which prevents Eren from getting too far away, but Levi feels an urge to have Eren be as close as is humanly possible.

                “No, nothing’s wrong, why?” Eren says, his eyes wide and innocent.

                “Just wondering. You look a little sad, is all.”

                “Do I?”

                Levi presses a kiss to Eren’s forehead, right over a stray freckle that resides on his temple. Levi finds it hard to draw his lips away, and the kiss lasts longer than he’d originally meant for it to. Eren seems fine with it, though, and he even pushes himself up and kisses Levi back, his lips to Levi’s jaw.

                “You still look beautiful, though,” Levi says, wrapping his hand around Eren’s shoulder and squeezing it.

                “You think I’m beautiful?”

                “Stunning. The most beautiful sea otter that I’ve ever seen.”

                Eren looks like he’s about to cry. His eyes are wet, and he blinks fast, murmuring, “I’m so glad that I met you, Levi.”

                “Really?”

                “Yeah. I didn’t think that anybody thought that I was beautiful. Especially not with my, um, my freckles.

                “What?” Levi pulls his eyebrows together, a look of confusion flashing over his face. “Why wouldn’t you think that you’re beautiful?”

                “Ah. Um.”

                “You can tell me, Eren.”

                “It’s just," Eren takes a deep breath, readying himself, "My last boyfriend was five years ago. He broke up with me because he found someone else, and we kind of got into a fight when he was leaving me. He said I was horrible, and that nobody would ever, uh, want someone who looks as bad as I do. Then, um. After he left, my mom died, so I don’t really have her to talk to me anymore.”

                “Oh?”

                “Yeah. She used to call me beautiful all the time. I was bullied when I was really young, because of my freckles, you know? She used to reassure me and tell me that everything’s alright. But nobody’s ever actually told me that they liked my freckles, so I just assumed that they were ugly. And I kind of assumed that it was why my boyfriend left me.”

                Levi feels a pain in his chest. Eren, His Highness, his freckled angel, his little sea otter - he’s lived twenty years of feeling bad for having freckles? He’s lived so long, suppressing his self-loathing in an attempt to look like he’s fine, so that when Levi finally came around and swept him off his feet, Eren could’ve been on the verge of breaking.

                Fuck whoever Eren’s last boyfriend was. He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on. He doesn’t know the glorious sea creature that Eren’s become. He doesn’t know the freckled wonder that he’s grown up to be.

                Fuck whatever force cause Eren’s mother to pass away. He needs her, he needs someone to kiss him and tell him that he’s beautiful, that his freckles are adorable. He looks so sad as he speaks, he looks so depressed as he tells Levi of the hardships in his life.

                Eren’s here now, though. He’s with Levi. Levi can turn everything around. He can be the one to kiss Eren’s cheeks and tell him how much he’s worth. He can be the one to hug Eren before bed every night and make sure that Eren never again doubts how beautiful he is.

                “Keep talking to me, Eren," Levi murmurs.

                “Mm. My sister, she loves me and all, but I don’t think she realizes what’s wrong. I’m, well, you’re kind of the first person I’ve ever told this to. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t be saying any of this, but you know, I guess if you want to be my boyfriend, you should probably know how, ah, how fucked up I am.”

                “You’re not fucked up, Eren. You’re beautiful.”

                “I’m sorry. It’s just, it’s hard for me to believe that. I know I’m just being stupid by saying this, but after living my whole life like this, it’s hard.

                Levi lifts his free hand and rubs his thumb under Eren’s eyes, wiping away the tears. One slips out of his eyelids right after Levi’s thumb is finished running over Eren’s cheeks, so Levi goes back and clears that one off, too, and every other tear that follows.

                “You’re not being stupid. Tell me everything that’s wrong, Eren. I promise you, it won’t change the way I feel about you. At all.”

                “Um, okay, well. I mean, I don’t- Things just sort of happen, Levi. And when things happen, I feel bad about myself. I’ve hurt myself because of this before.”

                “You’ve what?

                “I told you, Levi. It hurts. It hurts, when someone tells me that I look like shit because of something that I can’t even fucking control. I’ve tried to cover my freckles up, before, but it’s never enough. Everybody already knows that I have them, so hiding them is pointless, and it just looks weird. I’ve tried different kinds of skin creams, they don’t work. I’ve tried wearing accessories to draw attention away from my face, but it never works. Nothing that I do works. I have too many freckles.”

                Eren’s crying harder than ever before, and Levi has to switch his position so that he can wipe both of Eren’s cheeks at the same time. He’s removed his arm from around Eren’s shoulders, and he sits up straight, clearing the water from Eren’s face as it falls from his eyes.

                “Don’t listen to anybody else, Eren. You’re perfect,” Levi insists, “Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.”

                It twists Levi’s gut, to see Eren so broken, his back heaving up and down, hiccupping as tears slip out of his eyes like small little waterfalls. Levi tries his best to calm him, pulling his face close and peppering him with kisses over the bridge of his nose. Eren’s eyes are squinted as he struggles to see past his tears, and his shoulders shake.

                “I’m not, though, Levi. Look at me.

                “I’m looking. I’ve never seen someone so perfect before.”

                “You’re lying.

                “I promise you, I’ve never been more truthful in my entire life,” Levi murmurs, pressing his lips right between Eren’s eyes.

                Eren pushes himself forward, shoving himself into Levi’s chest, his face wetting the front of Levi’s shirt. Levi instantly goes in for a hug, wrapping his arms around Eren’s upper back and running fingers through Eren’s hair.

                “Shh, Eren,” Levi whispers, “I’ll make sure that nobody ever hurts you again. And if somebody does, I’ll fuck them up for you.”

                “Really?”

                “Absolutely. Nobody’s ever going to lay a finger on my sea otter.”

                Eren looks up at Levi, his hands clutching Levi’s shirt, his face red and eyes puffy. “I’m starting to think that you’re the one who’s actually perfect here, Levi.”

                “I’m not the sea otter, though.”

                “Sea otters are perfect?”

                “Too perfect,” Levi says.

                Eren grins, his freckles dulled by his tears and his cheeks pink with the results of his crying. Eren’s shaking slightly in Levi’s arms, and Levi tightens his hold in an attempt to reassure Eren of his safety. Levi could never bear to hurt Eren - if he did, Levi himself would feel hurt. Just watching Eren cry was enough for Levi’s chest to ache, for his eyes to strain.

                “Eren?”

                “Yeah?”

                “You said that you hurt yourself,” Levi says, and he immediately regrets it - Eren’s face morphs into a frown, his mouth parted and his eyebrows knit together.

                “I did say that,” Eren says, his voice quiet, “Um. Do you, ah, do you want to see it?”

                “Only if you want to show me it.”

                “It’s ugly.”

                “I don’t care.”

                “Really ugly.”

                “I don’t care.”

                Eren hesitates, but he pushes away from Levi’s arms, sitting up. He then stands, and he faces away from Levi, slowly unbuckling the belt he’d been wearing and setting it on the couch. He slips his shoes off, kicking them off, where they land about a foot away. Next comes his pants, which hit the floor in a heap - he’s wearing cute, short strawberry patterned boxers, boxers that really don’t leave much to the imagination in terms of what lies beneath. If anything, Levi was right about him having a fine ass.

                Eren turns around and sits down by Levi again, in the same spot but a few inches over. He spreads his legs for him, and Levi sees immediately what he’d meant when he’d said that he’d hurt himself - Eren’s upper thighs are littered with deep, red cuts of varying directions. Some run vertical, some horizontal, some diagonal, up and down, left and right. There’s more scar than there is skin on his thighs, and truthfully, it is ugly.

                It hurts Levi. Levi’s heart pounds faster, looking down at each result of Eren’s hurting. So many questions flood into mind, but his tongue goes dry. He swallows roughly, and though his face may not show too much emotion, his body is flooding with all sorts of agony and pain.

                “How recent?” is all Levi can bring himself to ask.

                “Um, well, the most recent one is from last week.”

                “Last week?” Levi exclaims.

                “Yeah. I had an argument with my dad. He sort of turned to alcohol, after my mom died, and we haven’t gotten along since. It, um, it didn’t end well.”

                “What was the argument about?”

                “It was stupid. He was drunk, and I was mad because he’s always drunk, and I got upset and ended up cutting myself over it. Mikasa wasn’t around, she was at a concert with her friend.”

                Levi’s chest feels like it might explode. He can’t bear the idea of his freckled angel wanting to hurt himself, of his little sea otter pressing a blade to his skin thinking that there’s just no other option. There are other options. And Levi’s going to make sure that Eren never feels that way again, he’s going to do everything in his power to heal his broken thighs and his wounded heart.

                “I started cutting about two years ago, maybe?” Eren says, “I don’t know. It all starts to blend together.”

                “Why did you start?”

                “Ah, shit, it’s hard to remember. I think that was around the time that my best friend moved away. We were both bullied as kids, so I guess it kind of drew us together. But then he moved to another country, and I haven’t heard from him since. A part of me feels like he was glad to get away from me, because I always put myself first, and I feel like shit for it. I have his phone number, but he hasn’t called or even texted me once, and he won't respond to my texts. I hate it, Levi.”

                “So you cut yourself because you thought that you’d lost a friend?”

                “Yeah. And once I started, I really couldn’t stop. Every little thing that upset me would make me want to cut myself. It’s calmed down a little, now, but. I hate it, so much, because they sting and they’re hideous, and I’ll never be able to get rid of them, and just thinking about them makes me want to hurt myself even more. I don’t even hurt myself because I want to die. It’s just a way to release stress, I guess.”

                Levi feels his heart drop with every sentence. He has to do something, he can’t let Eren hurt himself again. Eren’s too precious to get hurt. Eren’s too precious to hate himself. And over things that he can’t even control? Eren deserves to be treasured. He’s beautiful, all around, inside and out. He should never have to doubt that.

                “Lie back, Sea Otter,” Levi commands, keeping his face as even as he possibly can.

                Eren complies, his face still a deep red from having cried so hard. Levi’s willing to bet that he’d be crying right now, too, if he hadn’t spent all his tears on Levi’s shirt just a moment before.

                Levi, though, doesn’t want Eren’s tears to be anywhere else. He wants them on his shirt, on his shoulder, and nobody else’s. If Eren’s going to cry, Levi wants to be there to comfort him.

                Eren’s precious. Eren’s royalty. He’s a freckled angel.

                Eren’s a sea otter.

                Levi’s going to make sure that Eren never drifts away. He’ll be Eren’s water, he’ll be Eren’s home. Eren can build a trust in Levi, a den that Eren can always come to when he feels troubled, when he feels happy, when he feels angry, and, really, when he just feels.

                Levi climbs on top of Eren, situating himself between Eren’s legs. Eren’s watching him, and it’s actually he who wraps his legs around Levi’s neck. Levi places his fingers on the backs of Eren’s upper legs, lightly brushing over his tan skin - he looks down, and it’s almost no surprise when he finds that there are some freckles hidden between the scars on Eren’s legs. It’s like Eren had used the freckles as guidelines, as most of the freckles are tainted with cuts. Some, however, are salvaged, peeping out between the array of scars.

                Levi leans down - his back hurting a little at the position - pressing his lips to one of the freckles left undamaged on Eren’s legs. Eren gasps when Levi makes contact with his skin, his legs tightening around his back. Levi squeezes the back of his thigh as reassurance, and he moves on to the next unclaimed freckle, giving it a kiss.

                “Levi, why are you doing this?” Eren asks, breathlessly.

                Levi removes his lips after a particularly long kiss, looking up at Eren. Eren’s so beautiful, even when part of the view of his face is being obscured by his stomach and his shirt. Eren looks back down at him, his head tilted awkwardly to be able to see Levi. His freckles are still dulled, and Levi’s dying to find out how to make them light up again. He needs to achieve the right kind of blush, he needs to kill the puffiness that pulls at Eren’s eyes.

                “Because you’re my perfect little sea otter," Levi says, "Sea otters don’t deserve to be hurt.”

                Eren’s thighs are shaking in Levi’s hands, trembling with his nervousness. Levi tries to still them as best he can, increasing his grip on Eren’s legs and attaching his lips to a freckle a little higher up on his leg - Levi has to push some of the fabric of his boxers away to be able to reach it.

                Eren moans, a provocative noise that sends shivers down Levi’s back. It encourages Levi, and he pulls Eren’s right leg up, switching so that he can press a kiss to one of the freckles on the back of his leg. There are far more freckles on his backside than there were on the front, though Levi’s not sure if that’s just because there are less cuts on the back of his thighs or if it’s natural.

                “Hey, Levi?” Eren mutters.

                “Hm?”

                “Did you know that sea otters usually only live about ten to fifteen years in the wild?”

                “Huh,” Levi says, lifting himself from Eren’s skin, eyes searching for the next target, “Funny, because it seems that this sea otter’s a little different. He’s going to live a hell of a long time.”

                “Levi.

                “What? It’s true,” he murmurs, “You sure do know a lot about sea otters, don’t you?”

                “I did a research project on them during my senior year in high school. I spent months working on it, I guess I just retained some of the information.”

                “‘Retained?’” Levi lets out a huff of air, “That’s a pretty big word.”

                “I don’t know,” Eren giggles, “It has the same amount of letters as shithead.

                “You’re really never going to let that go, are you?”

                “Not if I can help it.”

                “You’re too cute, Eren.”

                “You’re cuter.”

                “What?” Levi lifts his head up to see Eren clearly, “Look at my face. This is cute?”

                “In a weird way. Like, it’s scary, but I kind of want to touch it.”

                Levi feels his shoulders relax. Eren must be feeling better, if he’s willing to laugh and joke with Levi now. His eyes still reflect a little sadness, but given a few more kisses, Levi’s certain that he can pull Eren into a laughing fit. Maybe Eren’s ticklish. Or maybe Levi can whip out another one of his signature bad jokes out on Eren.

                “You’re still cuter, Eren.”

                “Nuh-uh.”

                “Don’t fight it.”

                Levi moves one hand away from Eren’s thigh - his leg falls down to Levi’s waist, his knee bending and pulling Levi close. Levi moves his fingers up to Eren’s stomach, and he lifts Eren’s shirt up, placing a wet kiss on the center of his tummy, just above his belly button. Eren laughs at it, his hands going into Levi’s hair and threading through the strands until the back of Levi’s head is covered in Eren’s palms. He doesn’t have a tight hold on him, but Levi likes the way that Eren’s fingers feel, so he stays on Eren’s stomach, putting kisses on his abdomen instead of his legs now.

                “Tell me about you now, Levi,” Eren says just as Levi’s lifting his head from a kiss to Eren’s side. Eren still has one leg on Levi’s shoulder and one around his waist, locking him in place.

                “What do you want to know?”

                “I don’t care. Anything.”

                “Mm, let’s see. I have a friend-”

                “You have friends?

                “Why the hell is that so surprising?" Levi barks, "Shut up and let me finish.”

                Eren’s smile couldn’t be wider. Levi wiggles around, having to use a little force to push himself up high enough to be able to kiss Eren on the lips. Once close enough, he stays there, admiring the little freckles on his face - some are darker than others, some are rounded, some are bigger, some are smaller, and there’s even one that looks more like a square than anything else. Levi mentally declares that as his favorite - it’s right next to his nostril, just above Eren’s lip.

                “Well? Are you going to continue?” Eren asks, raising his eyebrows. He’s too cute.

                “I forgot where I was going with it.”

                Eren gives off a devilish laugh, and Levi smacks his leg teasingly. Eren laughs even harder at that, so Levi takes the opportunity of distraction to attack Eren’s face with kisses. He kisses him on his eyelids, on his eyebrows, below his ears, on his cheeks, and he definitely makes sure to get that little square freckle that he so adores.

                “Can I take you to my bedroom, Eren?” Levi whispers against his cheek.

                “Mm. I suppose,” Eren says with mock reluctance, “As long as you stay on top of me.”

                “Oh?

                “Don’t be perverted, old man. I meant, I want you to keep kissing me.”

                “I’m not old,” Levi mutters, but he scoops Eren up, standing and switching their positions so that he and Eren are both comfortable - he has his hands on Eren’s hips, and Eren wraps his arms and legs around Levi’s body to help himself stay upright. Levi carries him off, and Eren snuggles his face into the crook of Levi’s neck again, using the time to give him little neck kisses in return for all of the kisses Levi had put on his thighs.

                Levi, after making the trek over, tries to kick open the door to his bedroom, growing frustrated when it doesn’t open like he’d wanted it to. He’s forced to remove a hand from Eren’s rear so that he can twist the doorknob, and he sends Eren a deadly glare when Eren starts laughing at Levi’s failure. Levi’s not sure that Eren sees it, though, as he’s too busy shoving his face into the cloth of Levi’s shirt to muffle his giggling.

                “Does your sister know that you’re here?” Levi asks teasingly.

                “Mm, no, but who cares?” Eren says with a smile on his face as Levi places him on his bed, “I’ll explain everything to her later. Ready to meet my family, Levi?”

                Levi climbs back on top of him, giving Eren an amused smirk. He puts his hands under Eren’s arms and pulls him up higher on the bed so that his head is resting against the pillows, and Levi pulls his own shirt off, tossing it to the floor beside them.

                “Fuck, Levi, what are you? A bodybuilder?” Eren asks, eyeing Levi's now unclothed body.

                “Is that a compliment?”

                “Mm, very much,” Eren murmurs, his eyes glued to Levi’s chest. “Can I touch you?”

                “No.”

                “What?

                “I’m kidding, Eren. Touch me all you want.”

                Eren laughs again, and Levi can’t get enough of it. He loves the sound of Eren’s voice when it’s happy, it makes his heart leap in the best way possible, it encourages him as he goes back to kissing Eren’s freckles. His rubs his hands up and down Eren’s lower body, trying to touch as much as he can while his lips roam over Eren’s upper half, touching everything from his collarbones to his neck to his jaw to his forehead.

                “My friend,” Levi says between smooches, finally remembering what he was going to say before he’d carried Eren off, “You’ll probably get to see her soon. She hangs out here a lot. She’s building robotic dog legs.”

                “Robotic dog legs?

                “It’s a bit of a long story.”

                “I have plenty of time. I’m not going anywhere, Levi.”

                “Oh? Are you going to stay overnight?”

                “Of course,” Eren says, as if it’s the most obvious thing that he’s ever uttered, “Why wouldn’t I? I, uh, I don’t actually know my way home, so I don’t really have much of a choice.”   

                “You can’t use your phone to find your way?”

                “Do you want me to leave?”

                “No, not really,” Levi sighs, fingers squeezing Eren’s waist, “Even if you did leave, there’s no way I’d let you go home alone. I’ve told you, I’m going to make sure you never get hurt again, and I don’t trust you to be able to protect yourself if you get in trouble.”

                “Are you saying that I’m weak?”

                “I never said that.”

                “You’re implying it,” Eren accuses.

                Levi feels Eren’s hands on his shoulders, rubbing little patterns into them. His legs are back around Levi’s waist, and Levi buries his nails into Eren’s hips, wanting to claim Eren as his in every single way possible. He connects his lips to a spot just below Eren’s ear, where a light cluster of freckles resides, and he sucks on him, trying to leave a mark behind. Eren clutches Levi’s unclothed skin, moaning under the pressure.

                “It’s up for interpretation,” Levi says finally, moving away from the spot he’d just had his lips on.

                “So you are calling me weak.”

                “Sea otters can only get to be so strong, Eren.”

                Eren pouts, drawing his eyebrows close together. Levi releases an amused huff of air at the sight.

                Eren’s not weak. Despite what he’d just implied, Eren’s far from weak. He could’ve killed himself a long time ago, but he didn’t. He didn’t even want to. All he wanted was a way to let out his emotions. His self-loathing has resulted in the destruction of the breathtaking little freckles over his thighs, but if Levi can stop him from cutting himself ever again, then maybe the last of the dots on his legs and bottom can be saved.

                Eren’s strong, for being able to put up with years of bullying and watching the ones that he loves grow further apart. Levi’s going to do everything in his power to make sure that he doesn’t just become another one of Eren’s memories - he’s going to stay. He’s going to keep Eren from drifting off, he’s going to be Eren’s home. He’s going to make sure that Eren stays healthy, that those beautiful freckles never fade. And even if Eren decides to leave him one day, Levi’s fine with that, if it makes Eren happy.

                Eren’s not weak. He’s never been weak. Levi's not here to make him strong.

                All Levi’s going to do is make him stronger.

                                                                                                             ~|~

                Levi’s been awake for about an hour now. He can’t bring himself to stand up, though.

                Eren’s legs are intertwined with his, and Eren sits a little lower on the bed, forcing Levi to have to look down to see him. Eren’s arms are wrapped firmly around his waist, and his head is pressed to Levi’s chest, turned to the side so that he can breathe.

                Levi buries his face in Eren’s hair, inhaling his scent and feeling his warmth. Eren breathes steadily, obviously still in a deep slumber judging from the light snores escaping his body. They’d stayed up a good portion of the night, so it’s no wonder that Eren’s still asleep. Levi’s never been a particularly heavy sleeper, though, so he’s only gotten maybe two or three hours of sleep thus far.

                He doesn’t care, however. It gives him more time to look at his little freckled angel, snoozing beneath him.

                Levi carefully unwraps Eren’s arms from around him, and he gently sets Eren aside so that he can see his face. He untangles their legs, and he sits up in the bed, pulling the blankets up so that his waist is still covered. Morning light shines through the windows, perfectly enhancing the glow of Eren’s tanned skin and his captivating figure under the covers.

                Eren shifts, still sleeping, lying on his back now, arms splayed out beside him and legs taking up a little more room than is necessary. Levi reaches a hand out and grips Eren’s jaw, turning it so that Levi can look down at his face. Levi pulls back Eren’s hair so that he can see the top of his forehead.

                One. Two. Three. The freckles on the very top of his head.

                Thirty on his forehead altogether, and that’s not counting the ones that are nearly the same color as his skin - there are a few freckles that are so faded that they just barely stand out against Eren’s tanned tone.

                It’s going to Levi a lifetime to count all of the freckles on Eren’s body, but he’s up for a challenge. He spends most of his time awake, so he might as well put the hours that Eren’s asleep to good use. Maybe he’ll surprise him one day, maybe he’ll hug Eren from behind and tell him what he’s been doing the whole time that Eren’s been snoozing - counting freckles.

                Levi starts on Eren’s cheeks, but he loses count several times and has to start over. He nearly tears his hair out in frustration as he loses his place for the fifth time in fifteen minutes, and the only thing stopping him from punching the wall is the fact that his phone vibrates from where he’d put it on his bedside table. He’d taken it out of his pants last night when he’d been kissing Eren.

                Levi’s only in his underwear right now - he’d scrambled out of his pants last night when Eren suggested that they move things along a little faster. Levi had thought that maybe they’d take things a little slower, but hey, if Eren’s ready, Levi’s ready. Beyond ready.

                And, yes, Eren does have freckles on his lower back. Beautiful freckles. Light freckles.

                Eren wears even less clothing than Levi does - all he’s wearing is his t-shirt from yesterday. Levi had been kind enough to fold their other clothing up and set it on the bedside table right next to his phone, though Eren had complained that folding their clothing was tedious. Levi replied with a snide remark about the whole thing being tedious, which shut Eren up. For about five minutes, at least.

                Levi picks up his phone, and he hesitates before clicking the button to answer the call. He knows that, if he accepts, it’ll only be a matter of seconds before Eren’s awake and wondering who the hell is yelling so early in the morning, but Levi’s blown Hanji off for long enough. It’s about time he finally gives in to her incessant callings.

                “Hello?” he answers, readying his ears for the barrage of her voice.

                “Levi!” Hanji shouts, “Where have you been? Are you home?”

                “I am,” he mutters, holding the phone out at a distance to spare himself his hearing.

                “Can I come over?”

                “I’d rather you didn’t.”

                “Is that a yes?”

                “You can come over.”

                Hanji lets out a victory cry. “Give me fifteen minutes.”

                Levi sighs, hanging up on her. He has fifteen minutes - because Hanji’s never late - to wake Eren up, get them both dressed and ready to be faced with whatever Hanji’s going to do. Levi has a feeling that she’s going to attack Levi and Eren with questions about their date and, more so, Eren and who Eren is and whether or not he’s interested in robotic dog legs.

                “Eren?” Levi murmurs, turning over and shaking Eren’s shoulders lightly. Eren’s eyes open slowly, and he lets out a groan, twisting and hiding under the covers. “Eren.

                “The fuck do you want?”

                “Someone’s cranky. You need to at least get dressed.”

                “Why?”

                “Robotic Dog Legs is coming over.”

                Eren sighs, sitting up and pushing the blanket off of his body. Levi helps him by pulling him over to the end of the bed, and he tells him to wait as Levi goes to find him some clothing to wear. Eren could easily slip back into the clothing he had on last night, but that’s not very sanitary. And maybe Levi would like to see Eren in one of his sweaters.

                “Why is she coming over so early?” Eren yawns.

                “She always does this. She wakes up early, and I guess she just gets bored,” Levi shrugs, opening his closet door and quickly sorting through the shirts to find the perfect one for Eren.

                “She doesn’t like you, does she?” Eren asks, his voice still foggy with sleep.

                “Is someone jealous?” Levi taunts, taking out a shirt for himself and one for Eren. He closes the closet door behind himself and tosses the sweater over to Eren - it’s a light red with dark, horizontal stripes. It’s large, which Levi thinks would be adorable on someone like Eren. He wouldn’t dare to tell him that out loud, though he has a feeling that Eren might catch onto that fact, considering it’s blazing hot outside and Levi’s just handed him long sleeves.

                “No,” Eren says with a little attitude, fumbling with the cloth in his fingers. He strips himself of his other shirt, and he pulls the new one on over his body.

                “Don’t worry about her. She’s in love with science, not me.”

                Eren looks a little relieved at that, the sweater falling over his hips and bunching up over his fingers. Levi was right in thinking that Eren would look good in it - he’s almost reluctant to give Eren a pair of pants to match, because he could so easily pin Eren down and do what his body’s begging him to do - but, alas, Levi’s down to ten minutes until Hanji’s due for arrival, and it’ll take him at least that long to find pants that’ll fit Eren’s long legs. Eren might be stuck wearing the pants from last night after all.

                “Levi?”

                “What?”

                “You really like my freckles?”

                “More than I probably should.”

                “Really?

                “Without a doubt.”

                Levi, who was sorting through his dresser for trousers, looks over at Eren. He’s staring back, his eyes as beautiful as ever and his freckles bright under the lighting. Levi has an urge to kiss him again, so instead, he pulls out a pair of pants and chucks it at Eren’s face.

                “Ah, fuck you,” Eren laughs, pulling the clothing from his face. “But what about underwear?”

                Levi groans, but it’s not true frustration. Eren laughs even louder at that.

                Levi thinks that he’s made the right choice, in asking Eren out on a date. No, he’s definitely made the right choice, if this is what he has to look forward to now. A freckled face to greet him in the early hours, and the very same freckled face to hug him in the later hours - Levi couldn’t ask for better.

                Eren seems happy, too, if his constant laughter and teasing is any sign. He has extra spots on his body, dark marks that litter his entire figure, hickies and love bites placed by none other than Levi himself - and Levi, he's really starting to wonder why Eren's little imperfections are so perfect. The love bites only enhance the beauty of Eren's freckles, extra dots over his lovely body.

                Levi has trouble imagining why someone would ever want to see Eren upset. Eren’s beautiful, he’s funny, he’s cute, he’s not a bad person to be around. Some people are just bitter, though, and it hurts Levi to think that Eren’s been the outlet of others’ insecurities for so long.

                Things are going to change now. Eren’s going to meet Hanji and see a deeper part of Levi’s life, and in turn, Levi will eventually get to meet Eren’s family and see that part of his life. Maybe they’ll run into Eren’s shitty ex-boyfriend one day, and maybe it’ll just so happen to be the day that Levi carries a baseball bat around. And maybe it’ll also just so happen to be the day that Eren’s ex-boyfriend gets admitted in the hospital. Maybe.

                “Hey, Eren?” Levi says suddenly.

                “Yeah?”

                “You know what they say about freckles, right?”

                “No?”

                “They say that every freckle is a kiss from an angel.”

                Eren looks shocked, his eyebrows raising and his jaw dropping open. He opens and closes his mouth, struggling to find the right words.

                Levi, with a surge of confidence rushing through him at Eren’s speechlessness, says, “And you? You have so many freckles, it’s almost as if you’re an angel yourself.”

                Eren looks like he’s about to cry. Levi doesn’t feel bad for what he’s said, though. Not at all.

                “Get the fuck over here, Levi Ackerman."

                Levi drops the clothing he’d been holding, and he climbs onto the bed next to Eren, knowing exactly what to do. Levi kisses Eren with as much passion as he can muster in the early morning, hands going to clutch Eren’s sweater tightly and pull him close. It isn’t until Levi hears Hanji pounding on the front door, does Levi realize that he’s essentially wasted the last five minutes that he’s had to get ready.

                Except, it’s not wasted. It was worth it, even though neither he nor Eren have gotten around to so much as brushing their teeth yet.

                Everything with Eren is worth it. The kisses, the touches, the snarky comments, the tears - they’re worth it. Especially considering that Eren’s freckles seem to shift with each and every little emotion that passes through Eren’s body.

                Eren is Levi’s little sea otter.

                His freckled sea otter.