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Three years ago...

 

It had become somewhat of a normal thing for Eren to swing by Levi's flat, although the raven could not remember when that sort of thing had started for the life of him. Eren sort of started to bleed into different elements of Levi's life, first with their walking home together and now with it seeming perfectly natural for the eager brat to turn up on his doorstep.

What the hell was happening with his life?

Isabel absolutely adored having Eren over (which was probably one of the main reasons that the teal-eyed twerp had for coming back again and again) and the two of them got on like a house on fire. It turned out that the boy was as good with kids as Levi's red-headed maniac of an almost sister, which was something that had been discovered when Isabel had brought one of her little brats home to babysit.

In actuality, it was probably a miracle that had sent Eren there that particular afternoon because if the brunette hadn't turned up then Levi would probably be in jail right now paying a life sentence for brutally murdering a child. In his defence, this was more of a demon than a child (at least in the raven's eyes). The tiny twit would. Not. Stop. Screaming. No matter what it was doing, be it angrily demanding for someone to play with it or squealing in happiness, the miniature brat might as well have had a megaphone. Levi's headache started the moment Isabel had walked in with the tiny thing in her arms and it had steadily grown over two hours until a knock sounded at the door. The raven had had just enough time to wonder whether or not the Police had read his mind and found all the murderous thoughts directed at Isabel's 'guest' and had come to arrest him, before Farlan tugged the door open.

Standing just outside was a grinning brunette and Levi might have groaned further had the teal-eyed teen not managed to send their troublesome toddler to sleep half an hour later. It turned out that Eren had done quite a bit of baby-sitting himself and was well-trained in the art of tuckering out children with games and stories.

Levi was so happy to have peace and quiet again that he wondered if he actually might cry.

After that point, the raven was a lot less begrudging about Eren's frequent visits.

Together, the brunette and Farlan would waste hours playing video games that Eren brought over. The trio were still being as careful as they could with their money, but after Farlan had spent an afternoon at Eren's house messing around with video games he had his heart set on having his own set-up at the flat. Levi had been against the idea, stating that they weren't rich big shots who could blow money on whatever they wanted.

Eren ended up giving some of his old gear to Farlan instead, at which point the two became thick as thieves. Which was rich, considering that Levi, Farlan and Isabel really were thick as thieves, having had to steal to survive before they had managed to secure a life under the sun.

But Eren didn't need to know that.

 

Levi started hearing rumours that his employer was in the shit and planning to abandon ship sooner rather than later. When the rumours continued to build, the raven quit his job before the hand that fed him could turn traitor and slap him in the face with a termination of employment letter.

The Omega was only unemployed for a week, after which he managed to land a new job. Bartender this time around, the raven had been quick to learn how to pull beers and mix drinks. Levi thanked his lucky stars that no one properly qualified for the position had turned up for the interviews or else he would still be unemployed. Somehow he had managed to impress the manager of The Sina Rose Club, receiving instructions to come in again the next day to get his licence for serving alcohol before he could be given actual shifts.

And that was that; the Omega had a steady source of income once again and his life felt firmly under control.

Two days after the raven was hired, Sina Council closed their next construction campaign with announcements of 'budget cuts'. Five hundred and three individuals found themselves without a job and Levi thanked his lucky stars that he had been paranoid enough to pay attention to those rumours.

His new place of employment, The Sina Rose Club, was a surprisingly classy joint despite its outer appearance. The building was large, sure, but it was practically a big charcoal block plopped smack dab in the middle of finer restaurants and an art gallery. Its name was written in large, gold font, boasting splendour yet simplicity with its bold font and gleaming colour. The interior had a black and red theme that Levi secretly loved; the walls were painted black with the occasional strip of burgundy to liven things up. Brilliant fiery red lights were built into the walls, snaking along the blackness like molten rock and casting a glow over the rooms.

The bar that Levi worked behind most nights fit right in with the inner volcano thing that the rest of the place had going on, with the neon lights creeping their way up from the floor to merge with the glowing red counter that rested atop black wood. Even the lights in the refrigerators were shades of red and the Omega had to wonder who thought up this whole scheme of colour in the first place. Whoever it was, they had been dedicated.

Levi didn't mind working at Sina Rose, he found himself impressed with the establishment's policies. They had exotic dancers who would perform strip teases, and despite the raven's concerns nothing ever got vulgar. The patrons were respectable and left good tips and Levi had only had to throw one gentleman out so far for harassing another patron.

This was nothing like the raven could have expected, not even if he had dreamed for a hundred years. There were strippers in the underground too, of course, but most of them doubled as whores just to get enough money to put food on the table. Isabel had almost fallen into that trade herself before she, Levi and Farlan had met. It was a horrid world they did live in, and yet...above the ground and out of the shadows...life was so different.

Up here there was sun and respect, honourable living, dreams to be chased down...and tan-skinned, teal-eyed embodiments of all those things.

Speaking of Eren...

The teen had been disappointed to learn that Levi would no longer be waiting for him on weekdays and the way the brunette had tried so hard to play it cool made something uncomfortable pull at the raven's chest.

Sometimes Levi would go out of his way to meet the kid after 3:15PM. After all, his shifts were after 6:00PM and the raven didn't have much to do during the days, unless he was working an odd job or obsessively scrubbing the flat to pass the time. It was worth going out of his way to see the brunette's face light up.

Levi had no idea why that smile meant so much to his peace of mind.

 

Life was strangely good. The bills were paid with relative ease, the past was remaining solidly in the past, and working at the club really livened up a lot of the raven's nights.

One month in and Levi got promoted to bouncer. Personally, the raven found the thought hilarious; anyone who looked at him would laugh if they heard he was paid to keep unruly patrons under control. Size didn't matter to the raven, especially if it meant that people would underestimate him. That would be their mistake and it only made his job easier.

Curious patrons weren't always a bad thing, but they were an unwanted hassle. Levi learned this one night after an encounter with an...interesting client. The raven had known that this guy would be a talker from the very first glance, feeling the scrutiny, the curiosity, behind that inquisitive blue stare. The man didn't look too much older than Levi, but he was dressed in a grey suit that spoke volumes of difference.

“You don't look like a bouncer.”

Not exactly the most flattering of words for a first encounter, but the raven took them in stride.

“Is that a fact?” Levi glared pointedly up at the stupidly tall man who had paused to speak to him.

This man didn't look like he wanted to start anything, there was no confrontation in his eyes or his stance. The curiosity was a little off-putting, but Levi looked past it in order to deal with the guy and get him to move his sorry ass along.

“I could always prove you wrong?” The raven suggested, arching a brow in challenge.

The big man only smiled, his crisp blue eyes seeming to dance with amusement as he observed the petite spitfire leaning against the wall. It wasn't every day that one found an Omega who bit back.

“I apologise if I came across too strong,” the man rumbled in a deep voice that suited the blonde perfectly, a curl of authority licking at the tone, “it was not my intention to start any trouble.”

Running his tongue across the back of his top row of teeth, the raven eyed the larger male carefully. “Oh yeah?”

Levi inhaled discreetly, but he already suspected that this guy had to be an Alpha. It was in the way he held himself, so full of casual authority that the raven had to bite back the urge to sneer. He chewed the inside of his cheek to hold back any unfriendly expressions, or worse – comments, that might have otherwise slipped through his mask.

“You gonna stand there all night?” Levi questioned dryly.

The patron swept one of his giant hands up through his blonde hair, somehow managing not to mess up the immaculate styling, and another knowing smile crossed his lips.

“I was just intrigued to find an Omega working security;” the man informed Levi, a spark of honest interest glowing in the blonde's eyes, “that isn't something I can say I've ever seen before.”

“Well you've seen it now. Congratulations. Cross that off your bucket list and go and enjoy your night already. I'm busy.”

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

“That's a shame, I was going to suggest that you join me for a drink.”

Levi hesitated, blinking. An odd sensation swept his body, like a call he wasn't sure how to source or respond to. Licking his lips to wet them, the raven hoped that his scent didn't give away his anxiousness.

“I'm working.”

“So I can see. Well, if you're on duty, I guess I'll just have to pester you some other time.”

“You do that.”

“Have a good night, Levi.” The blonde said, his eyes flickering between the raven's name tag and his face briefly.

What a smooth motherfucker, Levi thought to himself as the blonde-haired man turned on his heel and began to stroll away like he'd never stopped to chat in the first place.

“My shift ends at one.” The Omega found himself stating before he could properly think it through.

Glancing back over his shoulder as he walked, the blonde gave a small smile and nodded to acknowledge that he had heard.

The night seemed to fly by and before Levi knew it he was strolling out the front door of the club. He was surprised to find that same patron waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.

Well then. The Omega wasn't quite sure how to proceed, but he promptly decided not to bother with any pleasantries. This man was a stranger, if he wanted Levi's respect then he would have to earn it.

Strutting ever-so-casually down the steps, the raven let his eyes appraise the Alpha. He was a tall-ass motherfucker, but if it came down to it Levi would fight him. There was no fear in the Omega at the thought, only an inconvenience. So far, however, this Alpha had displayed no hostility towards him.

“I didn't get your name.” Levi stated bluntly, meeting the taller man's eyes once he reached the bottom of the steps.

The man smiled, his lips curving up pleasantly. “Erwin,” the blonde stated, “Erwin Smith.”

Erwin held out his hand in a friendly gesture, as if he planned to shake the raven's hand in greeting. A delayed introduction. The blonde's massive paw practically swallowed up Levi's hand when the petite male reached out.

Erwin lifted the raven's hand to his lips, brushing them against pale skin in a chaste kiss. “And you?”

Levi swallowed, unsure what to make of the oddly intimate gesture. So he responded harshly, as always.

“You can call me Levi.” The raven muttered, extracting his hand elegantly and folding his arms loosely over his chest. “When you drop me back home in one piece, maybe you'll get to know my last name.”

Maybe dishing out the diva act wasn't the best of ideas, but this Erwin didn't seem put off by the raven's attitude. If anything, he seemed intrigued.

“A compromise?” The blonde behemoth murmured in query, waiting for Levi's nod before he continued. “I see, well then I'd best get you home. My car is just around the corner.”

They walked together, side by side but Levi let the blonde lead the way a little. The guy kept up a casual conversation, mostly simple questions to get the raven talking.

In all honesty, Levi had expected some funny business. This guy, this Erwin, was too smooth to be real. The raven kept waiting for the man to attack him, but they made it to his shiny Maserati just fine. Erwin even held the door open for the Omega, how fucking quaint. Levi rolled his eyes at the display.

On the drive back to his apartment the smaller male kept a sharp eye on both Erwin and his surroundings, waiting for the blonde to accidentally take a wrong turn, park in some alley, and jump him.

It never happened.

Even when they finally pulled up in front of Levi's apartment complex, after Erwin opened the door for him and walked him to the fucking door...there was nothing. No sly comments, no suggestive banter, not even accidental contact.

It was weird...but a relief nonetheless.

“Well then...I guess I should thank you.”

“It was no trouble.” The man smiled, glancing around. “I didn't think you would live in such a humble place.”

Levi barked a laugh at that, smirking up at the complex. “Are you saying that you thought I'd be a rich, poncy scumbag or that you now think I'm street trash?” The raven asked with dry amusement, folding his arms over his chest as he waited.

To his credit, Erwin looked thoroughly surprised. “Neither.” He assured quickly. “But the cheap end of town isn't where I would have expected someone like you to dwell in.”

Levi's smirk grew lopsided. “Someone like me?”

The blonde opened his mouth to respond, but paused. He sighed instead. “Are you always on the offensive?”

The raven scoffed a quiet laugh. “That depends,” he glanced up at the taller man, “are you always politely insulting?”

There was a noticeable pause before the blonde exhaled his amusement, shaking his head.

“That's an interesting thought.” Erwin murmured, regarding the raven.

Levi nodded to himself. “I'll take that as a yes.”

Erwin smiled, holding the Omega's gaze. “Will you tell me your name now?” The big man asked, his eyes dancing under the street lights. “Or do I have to earn it some other way?”

The raven brought a hand up, tapping a finger against his lips as if in contemplation.

“Hmm...now that you mention it, I never promised to tell you.”

Levi had never played any sort of games like this before, he'd never had the chance, and the Omega didn't see any harm in drawing out this process. Maybe he would get to know Erwin. Maybe he would be a good man.

Maybe not. The point was that now he had the time to mess about a little. He might as well catch up on missed fun.

Something amused swam in Erwin's ice-blue orbs, like he had anticipated something of this ilk from the raven. Was this all just some strange game to him? Was he actually willing to mess about? The man certainly seemed to be waiting for something, so the raven tossed his head and started up the steps to the complex foyer.

“I'll tell you what,” the Omega began, turning on his heel at the top of the stairs, “meet me at the Sina Rose after my shift ends tomorrow and I'll tell you my name.”

It wasn't a promise of anything other than what the raven had said, but they could always barter for further...compromises.

Erwin's eyes flashed with something akin to triumph, but he managed not to smirk.

“The same time?” The Alpha's deep voice rumbled.

“Hn.” Levi nodded, making a sound of confirmation.

This time Erwin allowed himself to smile, giving an odd little bow of his head. “I'll see you then, Levi.”

“Sure, fancy pants.” The Omega muttered, clicking his tongue as he stared down at the other man. “Don't keep me waiting.”

And with that, the two went their separate ways for the night.

 

Levi hadn't thought much of the previous night's encounter when he had gone inside and headed for bed. The raven had had a pleasant, dreamless sleep and an uneventful day up until the point when he walked down to wait outside the Braus Bakery for a certain eager brat.

“Levi!”

Sure as a sunrise, the brunette came tearing up the pavement, waving like a manic like the raven could possibly have missed him in passing. The twerp was already a good ten or eleven centimetres taller than the Omega, and still growing. And besides, there was no way to miss something that bright.

The raven handed the breathless brat a sandwich when the kid skidded to a stop almost close enough for Levi to worry about a collision.

Eren grinned, still panting for breath from running, as he accepted the food. “Buying me food now?”

“Shut up. I know for a fact that you don't bother packing lunches, you lazy shit.” Levi muttered, shooting the twerp an accusing look before turning on his heel.

The brunette's grin morphed into a pout and he whined as the raven started walking again.

“Don't tell my mom?” The boy pleaded, tugging on the older male's sleeve with his free hand.

Grey eyes rolled. “If I was going to tell Carla, why would I bother making you a sandwich?” The raven asked, shaking his head at the brunette.

“Out of the kindness of your heart maybe?” Eren replied, smiling before the realisation set in. “Wait, you made this?” The kid took a bite, chewing for a moment. “It's good!”

“Yes, I made it. No need to sound surprised.” The Omega cast the younger male a smirk, shrugging. “It's cheaper than buying a pre-made sandwich. Probably nicer too.”

Eren nodded fervently in agreement as he trotted alongside the raven.

“You can say that again.” The younger male uttered around another mouthful, giving an appreciative groan. “Fucking marry me.”

Levi gave a snort. “Brat. Where's my ring? What a shitty proposal.”

“Well excuse me for being poor.” Eren muttered, but when Levi glanced over the brunette was beginning to grin. “I'll give you my Ipod instead and meet you at the altar, then?”

The brunette yelped in shock when the smaller male smacked him up the back of the head.

“You're too young to be married, idiot.”

Eren only shrugged. “I'm not hearing a 'no'.”

Grey eyes rolled sardonically, not for the first time. “I'm not accepting some shitty Ipod in place of a ring.”

“But you'd accept a ring?” The brunette pressed, teasing.

“Yes.” The Omega said, freezing when he realised his mistake. “Fuck-no, that's not what I-”

Too late though, as the boy was already strolling along smugly.

“That was easy.” Eren said, turning to grin at the raven. “Well I'll see you in church on Sunday. I'll be the man in white. Don't forget your dress.”

Gunmetal orbs narrowed to slits. “Fucker!”

Levi swiped at the boy, just barely missing his shoulder when the brunette ducked and started to run for it, laughing as he went.

“You shit!” The Omega hissed. “Get back here!”

“Not a chance,” the brunette called over his shoulder, excitement etched on his face, “you'll have to catch me!”

The Omega chased Eren halfway home, giving up on his mock-threats of murder in favour of just running. Somewhere along the line it became a race and the two males collapsed on the front lawn of the Jaeger home after leaping the fence.

“Who won?” Eren gasped, his chest heaving with every breath he sucked in.

“Fuck...knows...” the raven panted, reaching over to shove at the younger male's shoulder playfully.

“Draw?” The brunette suggested, turning to meet the Omega's gaze.

“Agreed.”

The pair shook on it before Eren had to go inside and Levi had to head home to shower and prepare for work. Walking at a leisurely pace after running so far, the Omega made it to his flat with plenty of time to spare. He made it through the shower in five minutes, got dressed in three, and was heading down to The Sina Rose in no time.

“In early today, Levi?” The raven's boss, Pixis, greeted the Omega when he strolled in.

“It would seem so.” Levi agreed.

“Well if you want to start early, I'll see to it that you're paid extra.” The bald man stated, catching the raven's attention. “The dancers are going on early today due to an...incident on the weekend.”

Grey eyes narrowed in thought, spying the few individuals rushing about to prepare for an early show.

“I see.”

Levi didn't do weekend shifts usually, so he had not been present for whatever incident that had occurred. But he did know most of the dancers there by now, it paid to be able to recognise his colleagues, and they were quite friendly. For someone who had spent most of his life protecting himself and his family, the raven was less than pleased to hear about some fuckwit trying something with any of his work peers.

“We'll also be maintaining this change in the schedule.” Pixis informed the Omega, who nodded.

“That's probably for the best.” Levi agreed, promising himself that he would talk with the dancers after this. Sour puss or not, the raven cared. In his own way. “In that case, would you be happier if I came in earlier from now on?”

Pixis glanced at the raven, managing a smile. “If it won't be a bother. I'll increase your pay to include the new hours.”

“Of course, Sir.”

This loyalty and dedication to his work was one of the reasons why Pixis had hired Levi in the first place. He would drop everything to be there if needed. It was a rare quality to come by.

“You wouldn't, by any chance, want to join the show?” The manager asked.

Levi smirked. “How many times are you going to ask me that, you old pervert?”

Pixis was a schemer and always tried to plan ahead. In Levi's case, there were a whole lot of things that the raven could contribute to the establishment. He was smart and a quick learner, which had gotten the Omega hired. Levi was tough, strong enough to crack skulls together if the situation called for it, which had gotten him promoted. But the raven was also attractive in his own way and the aging manager was certain that there would be people out there amongst their patrons that would pay good money to see this boy strut.

But the man laughed and patted the raven's back at his knowing smirk.

“Hey, I'm just thinking of today's youth.” Pixis chuckled, determined but not enough to force the raven into anything. He doubted that he could if he tried. “I'm sure you'd pull in all sorts of customers.”

Ah, Dot Pixis. Honest as honest came, if he had a thought he wouldn't hesitate to inform the one it was directed at. That was something that Levi rather liked about his boss.

Levi gave a snort at the older man's comment, shaking his head. “No one wants to stare at a scowling motherfucker in a few strips of cheap leather.”

“Hey now,” Pixis chuckled, “it's not cheap leather.”

It was enough to draw a huff of a laugh from the raven, which was more than he usually displayed.

“Some other time, Sir.” The raven hummed, heading for the main room.

“I'll keep asking, boy!” Pixis called.

“I'm sure you will.”

The best form of a pep talk that Levi could give the dancers at least seemed to cheer them up. Knowing that they had Levi's support should something go wrong was definitely a comfort.

Work went by smoothly, with not an incident going awry. By the time the raven was leaving The Sina Rose after his shift ended, the last thing on his mind was potential suitors. Until, of course, his eyes landed on one Erwin Smith waiting ever-so-patiently by his car right outside the club. Another suit donned the blonde, suave as the first time the raven had seen him.

“Oh.” The raven said, pausing halfway down the stairs. “I didn't think you'd show.”

Erwin raised an eyebrow. “I said I would, didn't I?”

True enough, but Levi had learned a long time ago that a man's word couldn't be trusted without trust being earned.

“Guess so.” The Omega agreed at last.

That seemed enough of a response for the blonde as he started speaking shortly afterwards.

“So, Levi,” Erwin began, “if it would be acceptable...I'd like to take you home.”

Levi's eyebrows rose up at the other man's words, trying to interpret the tone behind them. There was a hidden playfulness to the suggestion, which made the raven wonder.

“Home, huh?” The Omega muttered, biting the inside of his cheek in thought. “Yours or mine?”

An approving smile curved the Alpha's lips at the raven's response. “I'd prefer mine.” The blonde admitted. “But if you ask, I'll drive you to your flat.”

Well that was fucking generous.

“Leaving the choice up to me?” Grey eyes flickered up and down the larger male's form, his features blank as ever. “What a gentleman.”

“I would like to know your name, though.” Erwin said, offering a friendly smile.

Still after a name. Were guys like this even real?

“Ackerman.” The raven supplied, trotting down the last few steps.

Blue eyes watched him approach, sharp and meticulous in their scrutiny.

“Levi Ackerman?” The Alpha tested the name out, offering a smile that could charm birds right out of the trees. “Well then, would you be opposed to coming back to my place?”

It was then that the Omega began to realise why he hadn't put much thought into the notion of Erwin actually showing up. Even if he did show, it was pre-meditated. There was no real surprise in something like that; if Erwin showed up, then he showed up, but if he hadn't shown up that would have been acceptable too. They were both strangers after all.

Levi wasn't sure if he wanted calm planning after the haphazard life he had lived, and he was sure that that was what the blonde was offering with his invitation to come to his home.

“I really don't think that would be a good idea.” The raven replied, clicking his tongue in thought. “I'm not exactly fine company.”

Erwin offered him a casual smile. “Let me be the judge of that.”

“I'm telling you now, bozo,” Levi said sharply, “we'd make a shitty couple.”

This guy needed to know that he wasn't about to have some sunflower and daisies picnic with your run of the mill submissive. Levi might smell like an Omega, but he wasn't some doe-eyed puppy ready to roll over and take orders.

The blonde was frowning a little, just a tiny furrowing of his brow. “Why would you think that?”

“You're a dominant.” The smaller man stated simply.

For a long moment the blonde was quiet, but Levi almost smirked at the confused look that crossed Erwin's face. Victory for the raven to have made that colossal dork wear an expression other than amusement or calculation. There was a long moment of quiet between the two.

“I don't see your point.” The blonde finally said. For whatever reason, the raven suspected that Erwin Smith didn't say that sort of thing often. “Is that a problem?”

“Damn right it is.” The raven said.

Erwin only looked further confused. “I don't understand.” He said again. “Could it be that you don't like dominants? Are you saving yourself for your mate?”

Gunmetal eyes rolled. “I've given up believing in such romanticised things.”

“That's a shame.” The blonde murmured, sounding oddly genuine. “I'm sure they believe in you, wherever they might be.”

“That's enough children's stories for now.” The Omega muttered, growing tired of the conversation. “I don't like Alphas, never have. You might as well know that since you're so determined to chat me up.”

“You're an Omega, Levi,” Erwin reminded the smaller man, “surely there will be some middle ground upon which we can agree.”

Levi found himself fighting back a smirk as he thought up the proper response. “I might be an Omega, but that doesn't mean I'll lie down and be your good little bitch.”

Nailed it. The raven found himself suddenly realising exactly what he was doing in responding to this man's invitations. It really was a game, playing to see how far this dominant would be willing to go after learning that Levi was a fighter. He was going to roll over and take whatever some dominant planned to dish out, nor was he going to let anyone push him around. That would be the real challenge here and the raven found himself tingling in excited eagerness to begin this game.

But first he needed a response.

“I think I'll take my chances.” Erwin uttered after a moment.

Levi found himself smirking as he looked at the ground and gave a nod.

“Don't say I didn't warn you.”

 

One month later...

One weekday afternoon found Eren strolling along on the way to his home. He was in a good mood, even though Levi hadn't met him at the bakery today. The raven must have had something to do, he was there most days with his dry comments and cheeky banter. Levi seemed to have taken it upon himself to bring the brunette food, even though Eren assured the Omega that he was taking his lunches with him. It was no lie either, but the teen was quite pleased with the attention.

This particular afternoon Eren kept walking past the turn he would usually take to head home and continued on. He had a message to deliver to Levi and his friends, which would have been easier to tell the raven and let him communicate it to Isabel and Farlan. But since the Omega was not there, Eren figured he would just have to seek him out. He knew the way to Levi's flat, having been there plenty of times by now. Sometimes he would help Isabel mind the toddlers she brought home, other times it was to play video games with Farlan. And other times...it was just to see Levi. The brunette didn't mind the insults or the glowering stares whenever he was being a cheeky shit. It was just nice to be there, Eren didn't know why and he didn't care. Being around Levi gave the boy a warm feeling, like being around his friends or his mum. There was no way that something like that could be a bad thing.

Trotting up the steps to the raven's apartment complex, the brunette hoped that at least one of the trio was home. Not that the exercise of walking all this way for nothing would kill him, but Eren would still be disappointed nonetheless if the flat was empty.

It took no time at all to climb the few flights of stairs and come to stand outside the correct door, reaching out to rap at the faded wood. The brunette could hear chattering inside, filling him with relief at the knowledge that someone was home. The loud thunder of eager feet soon reached Eren's ears and he smiled to himself, instantly knowing that it would be Isabel to answer the door.

The brunette was not wrong, greeted by a wild mop of red hair and brilliant eyes similar to his own.

“Eren!” The girl greeted merrily, springing forth to wrap the boy in a crushing embrace. “Good to see you, squirt.”

“I'm not a little kid, Issy. Please don't call me that.”

“Aw, but it suits you.”

Eren made to laugh, opening his mouth to make some sort of response, when his attention was caught by an odd shape further in the apartment. It was the sofa that had the brunette puzzled and as he looked, the problem made itself clear.

The usual occupants of the little couch were usually Levi and Farlan, the pair most often arguing over the TV. That made one blonde and one raven, which there was currently.

Only...Farlan was nowhere to be seen. So who was the newcomer?

More importantly...what was he doing so close to the Omega?

Teal eyes seemed to both widen and narrow in the same instant, zeroing in on the enormous blonde stranger in Levi's flat...and the all too comfortable way the raven was nestled in the newcomer's lap. Familiar, comfortable. Clearly this man and Levi were no strangers, it was only Eren out of the loop.

“Who's..?” Was all the boy managed to get out.

Pulling back, Isabel looked confused.

“Huh?” She asked, glancing in the direction the male was looking. “Oh, that's Erwin. Levi's new boyfriend-fuck-buddy or whatever. No idea why they're both here, usually Levi goes over to rich boy's place.” The red-head shrugged.

The sting that whipped its way through the brunette's gut was undeniably recognisable: jealousy. It was no secret to any of the trio that Eren liked Levi, he had already made one attempt at asking the raven out, but even the brunette was shocked at just how awful he felt seeing the Omega in another man's arms. His gut was tying itself in knots, his chest tightening uncomfortably and Eren felt his throat close up.

What surprised the boy next was the knowledge that hurt wasn't the only thing he felt.

There was something more, something that clawed its way to the surface and threatened to tear its way right out of the brunette's throat. White-hot blinding rage. Eren couldn't even begin to explain the feral rage that crawled just under his skin, promising violence, maybe even bloodshed...and all from seeing Levi with another man.

Sniffing the air, the teal-eyed teen barely held back a growl at the scent of a strange Alpha in the flat. The brunette wanted to tear this bastard's burly arms off for even touching Levi, he wanted to rip those calm blue eyes right out of their sockets just for having laid eyes on the raven. Eren wanted to do terrible, awful things to this man, this stranger, but he had no idea where the beastly instincts came from...

...and it scared the hell out of him.

“Eren?”

Blinking back in Isabel's direction managed to pull the teen from his frightening train of thought and the brunette found the redhead waving her hand in front of his face.

“Huh..?” Eren managed, realising with a start that he was trembling a little.

His hands were shaking slightly and his legs felt like they might give out. Was that how strong his anger had been? What would he have done had Isabel not distracted him?

Thankfully, the girl was still talking. “Whoa, you spaced right out on me for a second there.”

She didn't know the half of it.

Shaking his head to clear it, Eren pressed the heel of one palm to his left temple. “Sorry. I've just been distracted today, I guess.”

His head was throbbing with the surge of sudden rage that had all but consumed him a moment ago and suddenly the boy didn't feel so good.

“Aren't you going to come in?” Isabel questioned, frowning her confusion.

“I...” the brunette hesitated, suppressing a near-overwhelming urge to stare back at Levi and his new pal, swallowing to stop himself from snarling under his breath, “...actually I was just stopping by to let you know that my mom is having some kind of end of summer celebration...” the boy mumbled, this being the news he had planned to tell Levi, “and she wanted to know if you three would want to come along? It's the least we can offer after all the work you guys did on the house.”

Isabel's eyes lit up like the fourth of July. “A party?” She lunged forward to grip the brunette's shoulders. “We'll definitely come along to your celebration!” Wrenching her head back around to look over one shoulder, the redhead called out. “Right, Levi?”

The raven finally looked up from his place on the couch, confusion written across his brow like he hadn't even noticed that someone had been at the door.

“What?” Levi muttered.

Isabel was bouncing from foot to foot in her excitement. “We'll definitely go to Mrs. Jaeger's celebration, won't we?”

Grey eyes flickered over to meet teal for a moment, wondering at the odd look swimming in those starlight orbs.

“I'm not the party-going type.” Levi answered after a brief pause.

Eh? But Leviiiiiiiiiiiiiii!” Isabel whined out the man's name.

“Quiet already,” the raven complained, pinching the bridge of his nose, “I said I don't want to go. You can go if you want.”

“But Carla has invited us!” The red-head continued to argue, not ready to take no for an answer. “She even sent Eren here to tell us!”

“It's okay, Isabel.” Eren murmured, managing a smile when the girl turned back with her eyes wide. “You and Farlan are still welcome to come if Levi isn't feeling up to socialising.” The brunette swallowed thickly. “I understand. I can explain to mom.”

It took some convincing to get Isabel to calm down. The brunette wasn't sure why he bothered easing her distress, it would have served Levi right to have had to deal with the girl's berating. But he was, unfortunately, a nice person.

Nice enough to calm a distressed friend for another friend's sake.

Nice enough not to make a scene.

Yes, Eren decided to be a nice person that day, but it didn't stop him from leaving the flat with a sour taste in his mouth. So much for a good day.

 

Eren stopped visiting the flat; Farlan went over to the Jaeger house for game nights nowadays. Things were still busy at the trio's flat and a certain Omega was craving a breath of fresh air. One that a simple walk around the block would not satisfy.

“I think it would be best if I moved out.” Levi stated one morning.

The trio were enjoying their morning coffee, none of them in any rush to get some place due to the fact that it was a weekend. Farlan and Isabel's heads snapped up at the comment, however.

Eh?” Isabel's incredulous eyes turned from Farlan to Levi several times as her features twisted in confusion. “You're really leaving, bro?”

“It's getting crowded here with all your toddlers and Erwin, heck even Eren comes by often enough that I wonder whether we should give him a damned key.” The raven sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. At least Eren used to come round a lot, there had been a lapse of late. “I'm not trying to make you upset, so hear me out. We all make a good living and we aren't drowning just by trying to get by any more. I've met some of Erwin's friends who are thinking of getting a share house close to the university.”

Farlan's brow smoothed out a little in relief. “That's not too far away at least.”

“Exactly.” Levi replied with a nod. “It's not like I'm going to pack up and move to Africa. I just want a change. The place they're looking at is pretty close to Sina Rose, too, so it would be a convenient move.”

“And...we'll be able to come visit you, right bro?” Isabel asked, directing big eyes brimming with tears at the raven.

“Christ, don't cry.” The Omega pleaded, letting the girl practically throw herself at him in an embrace. “Of course you can visit. I wouldn't abandon you guys for anything.”

“We know.” Farlan offered the raven a smile, always less dramatic than their third comrade. “I guess we're obliged to help you pack, though?”

Levi regarded his friend, taking in the familiar lopsided smile and the cheeky brow arched up playfully. Trust Farlan to make light of things to break the tension. It was a quality that Levi had always admired.

“Thank you for understanding.” The raven murmured, low and reverent.

Farlan smiled. “What is family for?”

 

The day of Carla's festivities had arrived and Eren was miserable. He had been visited by Farlan and Isabel several times, both of them promising to convince their surly friend to make an appearance. At this point the brunette wasn't sure if he even wanted it to happen or not, but the boy had convinced himself that the raven wouldn't show up.

Maybe that would be for the best. The teen's heart ached bad enough without him seeing Levi, he had no desire to feel any worse pain.

Eren pulled on his faded ripped jeans, letting out a colossal sigh as he pulled white converse sneakers onto each foot.

It had been a stupid idea to let those two try to convince Levi to come. Of course the raven would decline, having his shiny, new, larger than life boyfriend to fawn over. Just thinking of the blonde made Eren's stomach twist uncomfortably.

Maybe he would just tell Carla that he felt like crap and stay in his room all day? No, that would never work. A lot of his friends would be over for his mother's famous food and there was no way those guys would let him mope alone.

Getting dressed and heading downstairs seemed like the only option left, so Eren hauled himself off of his bed with a groan and went looking for a shirt. The boy grabbed a white long-sleeve shirt, tugging the soft material over his head with a grunt. There, at least he was halfway presentable now, Carla would have no reason to screech at him.

Making his way sullenly downstairs, the brunette made his way to the living room where his mother was already talking to the first guests. A few relatives, neighbours and a bunch of his school friends had already turned up. Bertholdt was there with Reiner by his side, they had brought their pal Annie along. Jean and Marco had also arrived, as well as Connie and Sasha.

“I should have known you'd be here, Jean.” Eren rolled his eyes at the ashen-haired lad stuffing his face with the snack food that had been placed out.

In truth, Sasha had probably eaten more of the food than anyone else but the ashbrown usually copped the brunt of the brunette's sass.

Jean grinned with his mouth full, probably on purpose. “Anyone who's had your mom's cooking is going to be here, man.”

True enough, if the grins Eren was receiving from Sasha and Connie were anything to go by.

“Eren, don't just stand there,” Carla turned suddenly, sending her son a smile that meant she wanted help, “be a good boy and get some more pastries from the kitchen?”

The brunette sighed, but nodded. “Yes, ma.”

“And the punch isn't quite right, would you check on it for me?”

“Sure thing.”

The boy headed for the kitchen, snatching up an array of plates filled with mini-pies and sausage rolls, skewered meat and fruit and some apple turnovers. These were just starters, the main meals would be brought out later in the day. For now, Carla only wanted snacks set out. These Eren balanced carefully with his arms and transported them to the living room where he was greeted by a round of cheers.

“God bless Eren Jaeger!” Sasha cried, barely holding herself back from pouncing on the brunette carrying the offering of fresh food.

“You should be a waiter!” Connie announced with a grin. “No one else could balance so many plates.”

Marco and Annie were kind enough to help Eren unload the plates and he thanked them profusely.

Heading back for the kitchen, the brunette paused at the sound of his mother greeting some new guests. He sighed. Great, more people to feed. Eren decided that he had better get new plates from the kitchen if there would be even more mouths to feed, silently thankful that his mother made so much food for gatherings like this.

“Oh, Levi?” Carla's voice sounded, and down the hallway Eren froze in his tracks.

What? Was...was he really..?

“This is a bit of a surprise,” his mother's voice continued, lighthearted and welcoming, “my son seemed sure that you wouldn't be coming along today.”

It couldn't honestly be happening, could it? Had Levi really come? Was he really there?

“I wouldn't want to insult you or Eren by declining an invitation when it was extended so politely.” A voice that was definitely Levi's floated down the hall, reaching the brunette's ears and making him stiffen further.

The boy wasn't sure if he was excited or panicking. It sure felt like panic.

“Politely?” The sound of Carla's bubbly laughter floated down the hall. “Are you sure it was my Eren that you were talking to?”

Eren heard Levi chuckle.

“Unless he has a clone or a twin I don't know about?”

“You must have made an impression on him then.”

It hurt to hear the amusement in Levi's voice, like everything was the same as it had been when the raven had come over to paint their house only to end up bickering and chasing Eren around the back yard.

Another voice joined the mix and the teal-eyed youth felt his face fall at the sound of one Erwin Smith being introduced to his mother. At least Eren knew the guy's last name now, having heard it fall from the man's own mouth just a moment ago and echo down the hall. Along with Levi's voice. Erwin and Levi...fucking grand.

Biting his lip hard, the brunette turned on his heel and strode off in the direction of the kitchen. Maybe he would help with that punch after all, anything would be better than facing blondey-Mc-douchebag right about now.

Ignoring the ache in his chest, Eren went straight to the enormous bowl of his ma's famous punch. He tasted a little from a spoon, coming to the conclusion that it needed more sweetener. The citrus was too strong otherwise.

“Has anyone seen Eren?”

The brunette's shoulders slumped at the sound of his mother's voice. She was looking for him...which had to mean that-

“He's in here, Carla.”

-she wanted him to come and greet the new guests.

Turning, teal eyes landed on the form of the petite raven leaning against the doorway.

“Levi.” Eren greeted, nodding towards the Omega.

Levi's mouth curved up into what could have been a smirk, but could also...maybe...pass for a smile.

“Hey, squirt.” The raven greeted.

If anything could get a mopey Eren to stop pouting, it was a pet name like 'squirt'.

“Not you too!” The brunette groaned.

Levi's smirk grew.

Even the time between when they had last seen each other had allowed the boy to change. The kid had gotten taller again, dammit, where did he get time to sprout up like that? His eyes were magnificent as ever, if a little dull. Levi wondered what had the kid so down to make him look like that.

“Long time, no see. What the hell happened?” The raven asked, crossing his arms. “You just disappeared.”

Eren swallowed. “I was around.” He replied vaguely, watching the Omega's face carefully.

If anything, Levi looked almost confused...if that's what that shade of blankness on his face translated as. The smaller male opened his mouth to speak, but it was Carla's voice that sounded.

“Eren? Could you bring the bread rolls please?”

“Yes, ma!” The brunette called, scooping up the basket of rolls in question and ducking out past the raven.

Dropping off the new food, Eren snatched a can of soda from the table before heading outside. He didn't look at many people, avoiding the mountain that was Erwin like his life depended on it, and trudged out front towards his tree house. He needed some space, some air, some music that he didn't understand a word of because what words could matter with the hollow ache in his chest.

Radio playing softly, Eren let the day go by. Some of his friends came out to see what was going on, moving back and forth until the brunette managed to convince them all that he wasn't lonely, he didn't need more food and he was fine with the drink he had.

Just what the fuck was wrong with him? Getting this worked up over someone who was clearly in a relationship was stupid, so why couldn't he stop aching? Eren knew that there was nothing he could do; Levi had rejected him before and would probably do it again if he asked. He knew that...and yet he still couldn't give up.

The brunette threw an arm over his eyes dramatically and groaned. “Fuck...”

Taking a long sip of his soda, the boy was completely prepared to mope for the rest of the day. If only the day were willing to be wasted.

“Keeping all the good jams to yourself, hmm?”

Levi's voice sounded so suddenly that Eren managed to both choke on his mouthful of soda and simultaneously almost upend himself from the hammock.

Steady at last, the brunette shot a vicious glare at the raven.

“Dude!” The younger male snapped. “You nearly killed me! Twice!”

Scoffing, the petite raven's lips quirked up a little to one side, lending him a crooked smirk. “I doubt even you're talented enough to die twice so easily.”

Still coughing soda out of his lungs, Eren watched begrudgingly as the Omega plopped himself down on the grass at the other end of his hammock. Levi stretched, letting out a little huff as he settled, and reached to fiddle with one of the dials on Eren's old radio absently.

“You really should throw this thing out.” The older male muttered, prodding at the offending piece of technology with a pale digit. “It's practically ancient.”

Apparently the Omega would not be ignored or avoided. Thanks, universe, thank you very much.

“I'll throw it out when it dies.” The brunette mumbled.

Levi only scoffed out a laugh, shaking his head. “I don't think so.” He shook his head, smirking away. “Not even then, you'll have this thing until you die.”

Teal eyes rolled. “What a charming subject.”

The raven was dead right, though. Eren was never going to throw away that radio, not when it had been such a loyal friend over the years.

“Well if you'd rather focus on the music?” Levi offered, his tone bordering on playful.

“I would, actually.” Eren huffed, folding his arms over his chest as he laid back, listening as the raven switched channels. “I didn't even know you liked k-pop.” The brunette murmured, wondering why his tone came out so accusing.

Levi glanced up with a little frown of confusion, probably wondering the very same thing, but he returned his gaze to the radio shortly.

“I didn't even know what the fuck it was,” the raven confessed, exhaling deeply and leaning back on his hands, closing his eyes, “but then some brat kept playing shitty love songs in my flat, not to mention wasting the internet I paid for to find them in the first place,” one grey eye opened to stare accusingly at the suddenly sheepish brunette, before the orbs closed again, “until one day the shitty songs stopped being shitty.”

The raven gave a longwinded sigh that seemed too big to have fit in his small frame to begin with, and Levi let himself slump onto his back on the grass, blowing a puff of air upwards to shift his fringe out of his eyes.

“And now here we are, a couple of idiots under a tree listening to foreign music. Such bonding, much connection.”

The words would have seemed so utterly and completely wrong coming from the raven, if not for the dryness of his tone as the older male drawled out his words sarcastically. It might have been enough to make Eren laugh under normal circumstances, but the brunette was currently wondering just what Levi was doing hanging around him when he had gone to the trouble of bringing his boyfriend along.

It didn't make sense for the Omega to abandon his partner to a house full of strangers just to hang out with a teenager...but Eren wasn't complaining.

“It's not as lame as you make it sound.” The brunette defended.

Levi gave a dry chuckle. “Isn't it?” He challenged, raising a sceptical brow. “I know the fucking lyrics to this shit.”

The pair sat discussing each other's taste in music, even singing a few of the songs that came on. It was weird as hell hearing Levi the stone-faced wonder singing along to BigBang's 'Bad Boy' but Eren didn't complain, choosing instead to commit the sight and sound to memory.

Levi explained to the brunette that he was moving out of the old flat.

“You're moving out?” Eren gaped at the smaller male in disbelief.

“Yeah,” the raven confirmed, flicking some speck of dirt from his pants that only the Omega could see, “I want to be able to give the guys some extra space. Besides, a change of scenery will be nice.”

Nodding in understanding, the brunette gave a hum. “So you told them then?”

“Ages ago.” Levi confirmed with a nod, looking up at the boy. “I've even got a place in mind. I'll be moving in at the end of next month with some of Erwin's acquaintances.”

The boy's face fell a little at the mention of the raven's shiny new boyfriend and he sighed.

“I guess it will be nice...you know,” Eren mumbled, picking at the edge of the hammock, “for you and Erwin to have space to hang out. And...other things.”

Another lick of jealousy tore its way up the brunette's spine and he shivered.

“Don't sound so down, Christ.” Levi said, glancing at his feet where they were folded in front of him. “Besides, I don't see it lasting between Erwin and me.”

It took a little while for the raven's words to properly sink in, but the second Eren understood he turned on the Omega with a wild fiery hope in his eyes.

“Eh?!” The brunette all but exclaimed in his shock.

Levi flinched at the sound, casting a quick glance at the house to see if anyone had heard the commotion. When no one appeared immediately, the Omega turned on the brunette with a snarl.

“Keep your voice down!” The raven hissed, rubbing his ear and scowling.

“What happened with Erwin?” Eren hissed back, mindful to keep from shouting this time around.

He did almost topple out of his hammock in an attempt to switch ends and sit closer to the raven.

Levi shrugged, ignoring the brunette's flailing. “A lot of things. I mean, the sex is great,” Eren felt himself turn red all the way to his ears, “but it gets a little repetitive when douchey-mc-eyebrows doesn't want to liven things up. At all.” The raven let a sigh rustle free from his lungs. “Guess I got bored.”

Eren hated the way his heart skipped a beat at that, the aching in his chest evaporating to be replaced with the flame of hope. Levi was bored with Erwin and he didn't seem like the kind of guy to stick around with someone who was a bad fit for him. The thought that a man like Erwin could be a bad match for anyone made a rush of smug glee wash over the brunette.

If things continued to unfold in this promising matter, then the boy's moping days would be over.

“Bored with what?” The younger male prompted curiously, leaning precariously over the edge of the hammock.

He had to know, had to find out what Erwin had done to make the Omega grow tired of him.

Clicking his tongue, Levi inhaled. “Honestly? Everything. I'm sick of everything being planned out meticulously. There's no mystery to that guy whatsoever, no matter how much all the fancy thought and strategy might trick you into believing otherwise. Erwin...he plans everything. There are no on the spot decisions, no in the moment actions. He's just not very...spontaneous.” The raven sighed, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

The brunette grinned down at him. “Not like me?” He teased.

The Omega huffed a weary laugh. “No, not like you. Christ, Jaeger spontaneity is enough to give me a heart attack most days.”

Eren couldn't do anything but beam, feeling lighter than he had in ages.

“Hey, better than Commander Boring.” The boy reminded, leaning over with a cheeky grin. “Better than nothing.”

Levi couldn't disagree, so he just nodded with a wistful little smile.

“Yeah, better than nothing.” He murmured, prodding the brat between the eyes to send him flopping back onto the hammock with a rather undignified giggle.

Seeing that dorky smile back on the brunette's face had Levi wanting to smile too. For some reason, the world seemed right again.

“Levi?”

The two males looked up at the sound of a new voice, Eren's features twisting into a sneer when he spotted Erwin leaning out of the side door.

“Is something wrong, Eren?” The blonde asked, concern lining his brow as he stepped outside.

“No, he always looks like that.” The raven replied casually as he pushed up from the ground, leaving the brunette to sputter indignantly behind him.

“And what were you two up to?” Erwin asked, a little smile beginning to curve his lips as the raven drew nearer to him.

Levi rolled out a one-shouldered shrug. “Nothing much. Did something happen?”

“Mrs Jaeger was wondering where her son got to.” The blonde informed the two. “I offered to seek him out.”

“Of course you did.” The Omega sighed, running a hand up over his face and into his hair.

“I'm surprised to find you here,” Erwin commented, his blue eyes flickering between the raven and the boy still over by the tree, “and socialising at that?”

True enough, it was a rare thing for Levi to go looking for anyone, especially to seek company.

“What can I say?” He shrugged again. “It happens.”

“With teenagers?” Erwin continued, arching a brow.

“Fuck up.” Levi muttered, his tone clipped. “One teenager who I've had the misfortune to have known for several years isn't going to drastically change any assumptions you've made about me.”

Both of the blonde's eyebrows rose as the smaller male's almost hissy-fit, the big man still having not adjusted to an Omega with the spine for disobedience.

“I see.” Erwin murmured in that deep tenor of his. “So you do take time to warm up to people? I suspected as much.”

Levi groaned, smacking a hand against his forehead.

“Analysing again? Hurray for me. Honestly, two brats is almost more than I can manage.” The Omega rolled his eyes and let go of a deep sigh, glancing over his shoulder. “Oi, Eren, you coming?”

Attention caught at the mention of his name, not to mention the raven's voice calling it, Eren huffed petulantly. It was a reluctant brunette who heaved himself off the hammock to follow after the raven, but he followed nonetheless.

Turning to Erwin with a smug little smirk, the raven leaned close.

“At least one of you knows when to follow an order, instead of just dishing them out.”

 

Levi ended things with Erwin a couple of weeks before he moved house. It had been something that the petite man had been expecting to happen for a while, but he had given Erwin one last shot. The guy wasn't an idiot, usually anyway, and he was easily capable of taking care of the raven for the foreseeable future. But the raven was constantly pushing at boundaries, it was just how he had always been. And Erwin didn't like that. The Omega had given the relationship as much as he could, but in the end the blonde Alpha had expected to be able to train Levi out of his so-called disrespectful behaviour. In the end, the raven told Erwin where to shove it and left his sorry ass. It was the most refreshing conversation they'd had in weeks.

Now the Omega could focus on moving into the share house that would serve as his home unless something better came along. He hadn't bothered to take much more than clothing and essentials to the new place, and so it only took a single trip to transport the raven's things to his new home. It was a house on the corner of Jensen Street that was currently full of busy college students who were also bringing their possessions. The Omega had already met the other occupants who would be living with him and he found that he liked them all. Hanji, Moblit, Petra, Erd and Mike were their names and Levi found himself getting along with all of them.

Furniture could be brought in later; Levi didn't mind sleeping on just a mattress for a few nights. If anything that would help him to settle in.

Two days after the move, Levi answered the door to find a familiar face that shouldn't have known how to find him yet.

“Oh, Levi, fancy seeing you here.”

But where there was an Eren Jaeger, there was a way.

Levi shouldn't have been surprised to see the grinning little shit, but he couldn't find a single word to respond with after opening the front door only to find one Eren Jaeger standing in the frame.

“Of all the stubborn brats...” the Omega muttered to himself, staring at the sky as if to question the choices of the heavens, but he let the kid inside anyway.

The brunette learned where Levi's new home was, of course he did. He then proceeded to stop by. Frequently. Not that the Omega could find it in himself to complain about the company.

The raven was astounded that the brunette had even bothered going to the trouble of finding out where his new dwelling was, although he heavily suspected that Isabel or Farlan had had a hand in it. Probably both of them.

Levi couldn't strictly blame Eren for stalking him or anything of that ilk, for as it happened the haphazard brunette was already acquainted with two of the residents of the share house. Moblit and Erd had both attended the same school that Eren had and the two knew Jaeger well from their days as seniors. The teal-eyed teen seemed all too comfortable lounging about in the house while Levi panicked to himself for no reason that he could identify.

The Omega supposed he was in a panic because Eren was there...so suddenly. No warning, no thought to the matter. He wanted to be there, so he came. There was the spontaneity that Erwin had lacked. No wonder the raven had found himself missing the presence of starlight eyes and sunny smiles in the weeks that Eren had been absent from his life.

Absent no longer. Levi had no lack of sunshine over the next few months.

 

Eren's seventeenth birthday came and went, after a couple of months that the brunette had spent away with relatives, marking another year gone and another one to come. Levi knew this because Isabel and Farlan had practically dragged him to the Jaeger household to celebrate, claiming that it was their present to the birthday boy to ensure that the Omega make an appearance. Truth be told, the raven only pretended to be disgruntled about coming, fussing because Eren's smile would be even brighter if he wasn't expecting Levi to come.

One relief of the situation was that the raven had already met quite a few of the people there, most of them being Eren's friends or relatives. The Kirschtein brat was there much to Levi's surprise, however the Omega was even more shocked to learn that Eren and Jean were actually quite good friends now. Even if they still got into arguments every couple of minutes. More twerps, like a little blonde boy who was constantly looking startled and a raven-haired girl who would. Not. Leave. Eren's. Side.

Even Levi got frustrated at the sight. Still, Eren seemed happy around them. But that was all after the raven's first impression of the brunette after seeing him again.

Carla seemed oddly invested in his relationship progress, giving him advice that he didn't need in that motherly way she did everything. The raven wondered why that made his heart ache the way it did.

“Don't worry about that Smith boy, dear,” Eren's mother smiled, squeezing the Omega's shoulder to comfort him, “he wasn't right for you.”

Levi managed a scathing sound at the memory of bringing Erwin here of all places, but smirked a little. “You're telling me.”

“Everything happens for a reason, though.” Carla continued, smiling gently like she were discussing a tale of stars and the lovers they smiled down on. “You were probably meant to take something away from it.”

“Financial security isn't everything?” The raven drawled sarcastically, taking a sip of his drink.

Carla actually laughed at that. “Maybe that's not quite the message you were meant to take away.” She beamed, honeyed eyes shining. “But happiness is better than being well off and miserable, wouldn't you agree?”

That was an interesting point...one that the raven wasn't so sure he was ready to answer.

Not yet anyway.

“I'll be sure to let you know if I find someone to be happy with.” Levi muttered dryly.

A smile was sent his way, motherly and all too knowing.

“You'll get there.” Carla promised him, as if she were imparting a great secret. “Probably sooner than you think.”

Levi might have said something to that, but it just so happened that his first sight of the bouncing brat of a birthday boy decided to walk into the kitchen at that moment.

The Omega's first thought upon seeing the brunette was something along the lines of 'Jesus Christ this brat got big'.

Eren had grown. Not just a little bit, a whole lot. The twerp's gangly limbs were even longer than the raven remembered, but just where the hell had that muscle come from? Sure, it had been a while since they had seen each other but seriously? The brunette wasn't ridiculously bulky or disproportionate, but the lean muscle he seemed to be made of now seemed infinitely more attractive under the teen's tanned skin. Those starlight eyes seemed to hide nothing, just like always. Eren Jaeger, the open book. He hadn't cut his hair in a while, Levi could tell, and the shaggy brown locks lent the youth a slightly wilder look.

As much as it burned the raven to admit it...Jaeger boy was hot.

“Fuck me...”

It was at that moment that the raven noticed the teal gaze regarding him.

“I, uh...I mean...” Levi tried to salvage that slip up, but opted for smacking his palm against his face and retreating down the hall and into the kitchen instead.

Carla certainly seemed a few shades paler than she had been a moment ago. Levi would make sure to apologise before he left.

The Omega was contemplating beating his head against the fridge when he heard someone come into the kitchen behind him.

“That was less than smooth. Not exactly what I thought you'd say when I saw you.” An amused voice sounded behind the raven.

Levi spun around, knowing already that it would be Eren who had followed him.

“You.” The Omega managed, blinking dumbly at his own ridiculousness.

“Me.” The brunette confirmed, a cheeky smirk pulling at his mouth before the expression softened some. “It's good to see you.”

Levi blinked. “Yeah?”

That smile didn't waver. “Yeah.”

The raven swallowed, glancing at the boy's feet to escape his eyes. “Likewise, I guess.”

Eren huffed out a laugh, shaking his head. “Same old Levi.” He grinned.

For a moment the two didn't speak. It was just Eren looking at Levi and Levi awkwardly wondering what the fuck to say to this not-so-little ball of confidence and model-worthy looks.

“So...seventeen?” The Omega managed in the end.

Christ he was smooth today. Eren seemed to think so too with the way he was beaming away.

“Yup.” The brunette grinned, strolling further into the kitchen to lean against the counter.

“You really shot up since I last saw you.” Levi admitted, not wanting to let silence creep back in.

“Mhmm.” Eren had this invigorated smile on his face, his eyes twinkling merrily. “A hundred and seventy-five glorious centimetres.” He informed the raven with glee.

“Glorious, huh?” Grey eyes roved over the youth playfully, indulging in the boy's game. “I suppose you're alright.”

Teal orbs flashed in mischief. “Dating material?” He asked, tongue in cheek.

Levi instantly felt the urge to roll his eyes. Eren may not look so much like a brat, but he hadn't changed a fucking bit. The sense of relief was staggering.

“You're really going to ask again?” The raven found himself asking, almost teasing.

No doubt they bother recalled how the boy's first time asking Levi out had gone. Yet here Eren was, very probably about to go for another attempt.

The brunette's eyes seemed to glint with something that the raven couldn't identify.

“I might.” Eren answered.

Levi nodded to himself, eyeing the taller male carefully.

“And what if the answer is still no?”

He had to ask. After all, just how stubborn could one brat be?”

Eren paused, chewing the inside of his cheek for a moment as he considered the raven's question.

“Then I guess I'll ask anyway.” The younger male replied. “And then I'll ask again next year.”

Very stubborn seemed to be the answer.

Levi managed a disbelieving chuckle, shaking his head at the situation.

“I admire your determination.” He admitted, feeling as though he owed it to the boy to tell him so. The Omega's tone seemed almost weary. “It's wasted on me.”

Eren shook his head once. “I don't think so.”

Clicking his tongue, Levi tossed his head. “You don't think. That's the problem.” He muttered.

“Will you go out with me?”

There it was again, out of the blue. Even though they had been discussing it a moment ago the raven felt surprised that Eren would actually put the question into words.

Levi found himself smirking.

“Just because it's your birthday doesn't mean I'm obliged to say yes.”

Eren shot his own cheeky smile right back.

“I know that.”

“Buy me a ring, Jaeger.” The Omega uttered, only half joking, as he felt an actual grin threatening to creep onto his face. He fought the urge back. “Until that happens...I guess there's only one thing I can say.”

“And that would be..?” The brunette waited, ever the hopeful twerp.

“...Happy Birthday, Eren.”

The taller male sent the raven an unamused look.

“Man. Getting my hopes up like that and then tossing a birthday wish at me? Not cool.”

Levi hid his grin behind a hand.

 

Two years ago...

Things had gotten hectic in Eren's life ever since he started his final year of school. Suddenly the twerp was all about studying and getting decent grades and the raven barely saw the kid.

Eren had turned eighteen a couple of months back, but the raven hadn't been able to attend thanks to a nasty cold that had snuck up on the Omega and left him bedridden for a week. He still heard about the kid from others, though. There were times when the brunette would disappear for several days at a time, locking himself up in his room. Levi didn't question it, sometimes a kid just needs space.

Although Eren was barely a kid any more. The teal-eyed adolescent had continued to grow, now standing at a whopping six feet according to Farlan. Levi had no idea where the brat was getting all those growth hormones from but it was almost intimidating to see him now. Hell, even Erwin might think twice about messing with the Jaeger boy now. Something about that thought made the Omega's gut twist...but not in a bad way.

Levi didn't think too much into it.

Living in the share house was becoming more familiar with every passing day. For the first few months Levi had felt strange staying in a house with more than two other human beings. Five house mates seemed like a lot at first, but the raven steadily grew accustomed to the new group.

One morning while the Omega was preparing coffee for everyone, one of said house mates stopped by the kitchen.

“Eren is coming over for game night.” Erd called as he passed by on the way to his room.

The raven gave a hum of acknowledgement.

It had been a long while since the brunette had had any time to visit for any longer than a few hours, mostly to play games with Erd, Mike and Hanji. The four of them would have contests and Levi found himself noticing that he missed their banter (not that he would admit that to anyone). It would be nice to have Eren stay for a night and bring his bright existence into their home for a while. Levi wondered how the kid was doing and whether or not the big dope had grown out of his bratty tendencies.

Probably not.

The day crawled on and as it did the raven's head began to develop an odd ache. It was gradual at first, but the longer it stayed the worse he would feel.

“Not this again.” The raven gritted his teeth.

Levi was beginning to get headaches. Not just the occasional one, most days his head would start throbbing at some point or other and the raven had no idea why. Yet another horrid ache had settled in the petite man's skull as he trudged into the kitchen, grunting in response to the bright greeting that Hanji gave him on the way past.

“You don't look so hot.” The brown-haired woman informed him, prodding the smaller human's shoulder. “What's up with you lately?”

He groaned in response, shoving the woman's hand away. “My fucking head is trying to kill me.”

“Oh?” Hanji grinned, nudging the male with her elbow. “On the grog last night, were you?”

The raven scoffed, padding over to the cabinet that held all of their medicine. Cold and Flu, painkillers, lozenges, the works; everything was available.

“No. I barely touch the stuff.” Levi wrinkled his nose at the thought. “Once you see the shit it does to patrons, alcohol starts to lose its appeal.”

“Huh...” the brown-haired woman wondered aloud, tapping a finger against her mouth, “do you usually get headaches?”

“No.” Levi replied, still searching through the packets and bottles in the cabinet.

“Have you been keeping hydrated?”

“Yes.”

“What about your sleep schedule?”

“It's fine.” The raven replied, rolling his eyes. “What does a guy have to do to get some paracetamol? Jesus Christ.”

Meanwhile, the bespectacled Beta leaned against the kitchen table, caught up in her thoughts. At last, an idea struck her.

“Do you take suppressants?” Hanji questioned after a moment, waiting for the Omega to look at her. “For your heat?”

Levi paused in his search, glancing over his shoulder at his friend. “Yeah.”

The woman smiled as if she had found a solution to an evasive problem. “How long have you been taking them?” She asked.

The Omega gave a sly smirk. “Well I used to steal them until I was seventeen.” He informed, watching intrigue light Hanji's eyes. “I've been paying for them since then, cross my heart.”

The brown-haired woman shot the raven a knowing smile, she didn't judge him. Survival wasn't a noble art and everybody knew that.

“So you've been taking them for how long?” She continued in her former line of enquiry.

Levi turned back to the cupboard. “Several years.”

“I see.” The bespectacled woman murmured, handing the petite raven a glass of water while he rummaged about in the medicine cabinet, finally pulling free what he was looking for.

“I don't understand why this is happening now.” Levi grumbled, tossing back a couple of painkillers and guzzling down the contents of his glass. “I've been taking them for years and nothing like this has occurred.”

Hanji gave a contemplative hum. “You might want to try going without for a few months, let yourself sweat it out so to speak.”

The Omega grimaced, recalling the last heat he had gone through. It had been a long time since then, but the memory was unpleasantly lodged in his brain. Still, he supposed that enduring a few cycles of heat would be less unpleasant than having a headache plague him every damn day.

“I'll guess that's not the worst idea I've ever heard.” Levi sighed at last.

“That's the spirit, honey.”

And so the Omega skipped taking his suppressants that evening, taking comfort in the knowledge that at least he could lock himself in his room for a week if by some awful chance he was struck with heat tomorrow.

Slipping into bed, the raven could only hope that a good night's sleep would cure him of his migraine.

 

Morning came with an unexpected alarm, this one with no sound whatsoever. It was a creeping smell, one that found its way into the raven's room gradually and pulled the Omega from his dreamless slumber.

Grey eyes blinked open blearily, the raven tossing and turning as his brain tried to catch up. It didn't take long.

That scent...it hit him like a truck going at forty miles an hour. Levi's eyes flew open and he had tumbled out of bed before he was fully aware of what was happening. Nostrils flaring, the Omega's head whipped about as he inhaled and there it was again. Rich and yet like lightning, the smell crept into his nose and flooded his senses, sizzling through his veins like he had been electrocuted. It was so unexpected that the raven staggered a little.

He caught himself on the door, turning the handle and shoving it open out of instinct. He had to know, had to see who owned that scent, had to understand why it was so important in his mind, in his blood.

Freezing, gunmetal orbs stared wide at the figure standing across the hall in the opposite doorway.

“Eren..?” Levi blinked in surprise.

Eyes full of starlight stared back with just as much shock, and the two males scented the air simultaneously. The raven's eyes grew wider still, more of that intoxicating scent pulled in through his nose as he finally understood why it was so familiar.

Eren's scent...it was Eren's scent that he was smelling. But there was something different, stronger and far more potent. Dominant. Eren finally smelled of something...and Levi couldn't believe what his entire being was telling him with that scent.

Alpha's scent...undeniably so...but unlike anything that the raven had experienced before.

Mate...Eren smelled of mate. Impossible.

Levi had found his Alpha. Eren...Alpha. Eren?

“Omega...” the brunette uttered suddenly, realisation settling in the boy's aurora orbs.

The raven's eyes narrowed in disbelief.

“Son of a bitch!