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Something of an Accident

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Homecoming is next week and their new English teacher, a Ms. Petra Ral, decides now would be a good time for cultivating classroom harmony. A joint presentation with random pairs is not Eren's idea of fun, but it's okay because he's paired with Bertholdt, who's really good at English. Mikasa's with Krista, who's practically an angel, so that's okay too, but Armin, poor Armin, is stuck with Jean Kirstein, resident asshole. Eren has vowed a long time ago to protect his friends but no matter how much he begs or whines, Ms. Ral won't change the groups.

"I appreciate the effort, but it's fine. Really!" Armin tries to reassure him, rolling his pencil back and forth on his desk, seemingly unaffected. He is way too cool about this, Eren thinks, gritting his teeth at his friend's words.

"Jean's really not that bad once you get to know him."

"And just exactly have you been 'getting to know him'?" He asks, eyes narrowed suspiciously and the blond just laughs.

"We talk sometimes since we're next to each other in chemistry and math. You do know we've been going to the same school since 5th grade, right? He's funny."

The brunette shakes his head violently. "No. No, Jean is not funny."

---

Armin doesn't tell Eren but maybe he's got the teeniest tiniest crush on Jean. He's smart, funny, good-looking, athletic, and kind. Most of the time. There's something about his eyes that make him sigh a little, something about his smile that pulls at him, something about the way he says his name that just makes him melt. And maybe it's a little more than teeny tiny since it's been persisting like a bad itch since freshman year. So when Jean texts him asking to meet at the library for their project, he nearly jumps out of his skin before he has to remind himself that this is for a mandatory homework assignment and Jean's only doing this because he has to. Still, it doesn't keep him from agonizing over his outfit for the hour leading up to their meeting time. Discussing The Great Gatsby is difficult when he's so thoroughly distracted. Nick's problems can wait. Jean has nice hands, he finds himself thinking as the brunette outlines their main topics, staring just a little, and he blushes when he feels a gentle tap on his forehead.

"Sorry," he mumbles quickly and the other just laughs, handing him a pencil. Jean has a nice laugh, one that makes him feel comfortable. He feels his heart stop a little bit then smiles back quickly before ducking his head, willing himself not to blush because he's most definitely not falling in love with the star quarterback of Rose High.

---

Still, it hurts when he sees him dancing with one of the cheerleaders at the homecoming dance, sneaking out the back door with their hands entertwined.

---

It's the fourth quarter and they're just one touchdown away from winning the state championship but Connie is a far better wide receiver than he is a quarterback. He fumbles and they haven't gotten a first down yet. Jean is watching the field with a desperate look in his eyes and Armin can't help but sigh as he makes his way to the brunette and begins taping up his knee.

"Armin, what?" He splutters, nearly jerking his leg away in surprise. Armin keeps his eyes focused on the bandages.

"I wouldn't do anything too crazy and I can't make any promises, but this should give you a few minutes," he says quietly and the smile that lights up on Jean's face makes his heart do sommersaults.

"You're amazing," the other breathes and Armin talks Coach Smith into subbing him in for the last five minutes. He can barely stand to watch, clutching at his hands until his knuckles turn white because this could have been an awful decision, the absolute worst, but Jean's got that determined expression that just dares fate to disagree. And when they win, Jean pushes his way off of the field toward the blond and pulls him into a crushing hug. He smells like sweat, grass, spearmint, and Jean. Armin smiles into his shirt, cheeks flushed, and whispers a congratulations in his ear. Hopefully, Eren is too preoccupied with the trophy to pull them apart.

---

The next week is a blur of interviews and school assemblies and the whole state now knows the name of Rose High.

Party at Ymir's tonight! You need a ride?

Armin shows up fashionably late, thanks to a flat tire and Eren's refusal to call Mikasa for help (something about male pride), tugging nervously at the collar of his tshirt. Sasha shoves a red cup into his hands, a dark liquid sloshing over the side, and he stares at it for a moment before draining the contents. After all, he's thirsty and everybody knows by now he's not that good with alcohol. He follows his friend into the living room where he discusses politics with Bertholdt over some chips and dip (he hadn't even known there was a vice-vice president) before wandering into a back room.

"Dude, what did you give him?"

"I just gave him what everybody else was drinking."

"That was fast," he hears soft discussion above him and the sound of shushing, but he's pressed up against a warm body, arm wrapped around his waist, and nothing really matters. It's comfortable. He can hear a soft heartbeat and wonders why his cheeks feel like they're burning. He wakes up the next morning on an unfamiliar couch with a headache and a jacket thrown on him, legs tangled with a certain brunette. From this angle, he can see mused short hair and a smear of lipstick. It feels like his chest is being squeezed and his cheeks still feel hot.

On Monday, Eren and Mikasa corner him at lunch and he looks up apprehensively at his childhood friends.

"So," Eren starts by staring unwaveringly into blue eyes. "What is up with you and the horse? You two have been awfully chummy lately."

Armin chokes on his egg salad, hastily wiping at his mouth. "Nothing is going on between me and Jean. He has a name, Eren. It would be nice of you to use it."

He receives a suspicious glare for his response and shrugs, returning to his carrot sticks which he crunches loudly, hoping Eren will get the hint. He doesn't. "I already told you. He's really not that bad."

"I saw you sleeping with him at the pa-" Eren begins but he's cut off by the sound of a water bottle being placed onto a table with much more force than necessary. Armin's cheeks are blotched with red. "A-Armin?"

"Eren. Mikasa. I'm serious. There's nothing going on." His voice is oddly strangled and high-pitched, his eyes look slightly lost and they drop the issue. For the time being.

---

"This movie is stupid," Connie whispers not-so-quietly and Sasha giggles. Somebody, most likely Ymir, throws popcorn at them. "I mean, did you just see that? Stupid."

Armin sneaks a glance at Jean, who's watching the television intently, the tips of his ears red, and he hides a smile because he knows who picked tonight's movie. When it's over and Eren complains loudly about what a waste of two hours that way, the blond shrugs and casually comments. "It was alright. I liked it."

"You did?" Jean asks eagerly with that stupid lopsided grin and he's got butterflies.

"Of course he didn't, asshole," Eren snarls, pushing his way between the two. "Come on, what else is on Netflix?"

---

One day, when Eren and Mikasa are out of school for dentist appointments, Jean offers him a ride home and Armin tentatively agrees, unable to stop the smile that spreads across his face when he takes a seat in a beat up red Chevy. The brunette gets them hopelessly lost and they're both hungry so he pulls into a McDonalds up ahead and orders burgers. They talk about TV shows and favourite foods and the radio plays softly in the background. Armin licks the salt off his fingers and laughs when the other finally pulls out his phone to search for directions because what city is this, even?

It's dark by the time Jean finally drops him off at home and he gets out, wondering if he should say something. "I had fun tonight," tumbles out of his mouth before he can stop it and Jean smiles back. "Me too."

It's not a date, it's not a date, he tells himself over and over as he skips up the stairs two at a time to his room. He falls onto his bed, clutching his pillow to his chest and buries his face in it as he inhales deeply. It's a school night, so he should sleep soon, but he can't bring himself to care. Armin grins widely, squeezing his arms around himself and it feels like his heart's about to burst. It's not a date.

---

Sometimes, Eren catches Jean looking at Armin funny in class and he wonders if he needs to intervene (with his fists) before something, he doesn't know what, happens.

---

With winter break only a few days away, there's suddenly a flurry of last minute projects and holiday plans. Armin sips a peppermint latte while listening to Eren and Connie argue, feeling just the slightest bit sentimental as snow begins to fall in gentle flurries from the grey heavens. "Look, it's snowing."

Eren breaks into a large grin. "Finally," he exhales. "I was thinking we wouldn't get a white Christmas this year."

"You're not even religious," Mikasa notes, dropping her bag and joining them by the window. "We don't celebrate Christmas."

"We still get gifts though, right? Wait, Mikasa, did you not get me a gift this year?!"

They're bickering when Armin notices Jean watching them (him?), and he fights a blush as he smiles a little, beckoning him over. Jean pulls up a chair and puts his elbows on his desk. "Hey."

"Hey." He pauses for a moment, just looking at the blond. "You know, I was thinki-"

"What are you even doing here? Your seat is on the other side of the classroom." Eren interrupts just as Mr. Zacharius walks in, sniffing the air intently as always.

"I'll catch you later," Jean mumbles, shooting a glare at Eren as he returns to his seat. It's hard to pay attention and the blond breathes a small sigh of relief when the bell finally rings. His latte is cold.

---

They bump into each other, literally, outside the mall on Christmas Eve and Armin nearly drops the packages he's holding.

"Last minute shopping?" Jean asks, pointing at the wrapped boxes and the blond just nods. He holds up a bag of his own. "Me too. Mum kept on complaining about how all I got her last year was a spatula, so thought I'd step it up this year."

Armin laughs and somehow they end up getting coffee together. They wander the streets for a while, admiring the lights and decorations, chatting offhandedly.

"Well, my car's here," Armin says somewhat reluctantly, and then Jean is close, really close. He squeezes his eyes shut, tensing slightly, but then a cold hand brushes at his cheek. He slowly opens his eyes and looks up at the other.

"Sorry. You had an eyelash."

A nod is all he can manage, trying his best not to look too disappointed. What had he been expecting anyway? He shifts the boxes in his arms. "Well, I-I'll see you around then."

Jean nods and walks away, pausing to shout a Merry Christmas over his shoulder before he's gone and Armin sits in his car with the engine off for a long time.

---

It's a new year but nothing seems new. It's the same old grey sky Armin stares at as he sips his Earl Grey and rereads an old favourite. He turns the pages slowly and stretches out a little. The house is quiet save for the occasional creak of aged floorboards and he keeps an eye on his phone even though he's not exactly expecting anything. He's probably waiting in vain. He should give it up. After all, the new year is a time to start over.

That night, he dreams of warm, gentle hands and soft lips that claim him. A familiar voice whispers his name over and over again and he tangles their fingers together. It makes his heart race, makes him forget everything. His chest feels tight. He wakes with a start, cheeks thoroughly flushed, and blames the romcom he watched last night. It's hard to look him in the eye when he walks into the classroom the next day and he lets his head fall onto his desk, ignoring the sounds of concern his friends make around him.

Winter is slow, cold, wet. It drags him down. Scraping off his car windshield is tiring and he's sick of gingerbread and cinnamon. Armin longs for spring, for warm weather and budding branches and birds. Time feels as if it's stuck in molasses and he spends more time staring out the window than listening to lecture.

---

Valentine's is next week and he fantasizes about confessing as he walks down the aisles of the local drugstore, surrounded by pink hearts and glitter. It's supposed to be romantic. He pauses for a moment, staring down at a box of chocolates wrapped in gold paper and almost buys it. He chastizes himself mentally on the way home, hands stuffed into his pockets. He's just being silly about this.

Krista brings everybody homemade heart-shaped cookies and Armin is munching on one thoughtfully when Jean practically throws himself into the seat next to his. "Hello?" He ventures, crumbs around his mouth. Jean takes one look at him, lets out a short laugh, and quickly swipes his thumb across his lips. He doesn't seem to notice the way Armin burns up at the gesture, instead leaning back in his chair and heaving a great sigh.

"You've got... A little something. All over your face." He pauses. "This is a shitty holiday."

He doesn't elaborate but the blond nods a little, offering a quizzical smile. Jean grunts, his face in his hands. "You know, I keep thinking I'm gonna spend this day with someone special but it's been 16 years."

Armin can't help but laugh a little. The blond fiddles his thumbs and wonders if he should have purchased those chocolates. "I never thought of you as a romantic. You were looking for that special someone ever since you were a baby?"

"You know what I mean," he says, grinning. "I'm waxing poetic here. Cut me some slack. Hey, you wanna come over tonight? Play some video games or something. I mean, only if you want to though." "Y-yes! I do!" Armin hopes he doesn't sound too eager but Jean doesn't seem to care.

---

After Jean beats him at some fighting game for the fourth time, he gives up, moaning as he flops back against the couch, nearly knocking over a soda. "I suck at video games."

Placing his controller to the side, Jean laughs as he grabs some chips from a nearby bowl and crunches them loudly. "Come on, it wasn't that bad. You almost got me the second time."

"Because your hand slipped," the blond growls, rolling over so that they were facing each other, a pout on his face. "Don't give me any of that pity crap."

Jean tries not to laugh and feeds him a chip as he changes the channel to a movie. He watches it for a moment, but the discovery of the pyramids isn't really all that interesting to him. "Hey."

"Hey," he replies, swallowing. "What's up?"

"You're a lot different than I thought you were," Jean admits. Armin doesn't know what to think about the statement so he stays quiet. The other looks like he's struggling with words and he leans forward a little so that their hands touch just slightly. He cocks his head, smiling in what he hopes is a reassuring manner. Jean tangles their fingers together and squeezes gently. "I don't get it."

"Don't get what?" His heart is racing at a thousand miles an hour and he hopes his palms aren't sweaty. He's never held someone's hand before, not like this, and Jean just makes him nervous in general. The brunette looks away, running his hand through his hair and he groans.

"I don't even know." It comes out as a whisper and he's shaking just a little bit, but so is Armin. He pulls them together, face buried in golden locks and they stay like that in silence. Armin raises his free hand and clutches Jean's sweatshirt desperately, hoping he can't hear his heart pounding. "I don't know, Armin."

---

He can't stop thinking about it, can still smell Jean's cologne, can still feel the way he trembled. They had held each other until past midnight, when Jean's mother had complained about how loud the television was and they had finally pulled away. It had been cold, so Jean loaned him a jacket before driving him home, hands still linked. He had wished him goodnight and let go. Armin's sprawled out on the floor, still in his borrowed jacket, wondering what to do now. His head is spinning and he's scared, because he wasn't ever supposed to fall this bad. It was only a little crush and now it's spiraled so far out of control he doesn't even know how he feels anymore, just knows that maybe, just maybe, he wants him.

---

When he sees him at school on Monday, he panics and hides behind the vending machines. He's clutching a plastic bag with a washed sweatshirt in it and wonders how he should face him. There are heavy circles under his eyes because he hasn't spent the weekend agonizing over what happened. Technically, nothing happened, but something happened, right? He doesn't know what to say, how to act, and everything's all messed up and wrong.

In the end, he chickens out and asks Reiner to deliver it to him. Who knew falling in love was so complicated?

Chapter Text

Things have been awkward since Valentine's. He and Jean still talk but it's different. It's small talk between classes, morning greetings, things that don't really matter. Not anymore, at least. It's difficult because Armin's not sure what to do because he gets these little anxiety attacks when he sees the brunette's gaze directed his way and he clams up. He's just too nervous. He doesn't know what to do with all these feelings when he's not sure how Jean feels about him. Armin needs an instruction manual, a step-by-step process on how to properly fall for someone and start a relationship, plus some tips on how to deal with his raging teenage hormones. He can't just do things and hope for the best because that's just not the person he is. He's gotten himself into this sticky mess and - honestly, what if Jean doesn't even like him that way? It scares him half to death, the idea that he's just over-thinking, that he's too smitten to see an obvious truth. He replays all of their conversations in his head over and over, desperate for the slightest hint of what the brunette is thinking, but it escapes him.

"Are you avoiding me?"

Armin's heart nearly stops. He lets out a shrill shriek and promptly drops an armful of books, immediately falling to his knees in an attempt to catch them. A hand reaches out to help gather them and the blond looks up into a worried expression, his heart leaping into his throat. He shakes his head violently, inching back slightly. Jean's too close, but the other doesn't get the hint and he leans forward until their noses are practically touching. He can't look away.

"Really?"

"J-Jean.. Really!"

Jean sighs loudly as a wave of relief passes over him and he smiles widely before finally backing off. "Good."

Armin doesn't know what to say, so he focuses on dusting off his texts, the tips of his ears bright red. When he stands up, he nearly trips over Jean's feet with another unmanly cry and ends up spilling his things again. He feels like dying but the brunette chuckles kindly and picks them up. When he hands them over, their fingers brush and Armin makes a strangled squeak, moving to pull away but the other holds on. His voice comes out softer than he expects. "Jean?"

"I missed you, you know?" He mumbles, staring pointedly at a spot behind the blond. His voice is hoarse and Armin can already feel himself melting. He has absolutely no defenses against him. He doesn't trust himself to speak, so instead he just nods and the taller takes this as a sign to pull him into his arms. He smells like that minty cologne Armin likes and he inhales deeply, shakily, unable to process the situation. He faintly notes that the edge of his binder is digging into his ribs uncomfortably but there are more important matters at hand. After a moment, Jean pulls away and smiles sheepishly, hands dropping to his sides. "Sorry. I... Yeah. Sorry."

"No, it's uhm, it's fine."

There's heavy silence and then they're both blushing and trying to talk over each other. Armin's the first to break into jittery giggles punctuated by hiccups and Jean follows, his laughs more high pitched than usual, but then everything's okay again.

---

Jean eats lunch with them sometimes. He's getting better at tuning out Eren, Armin notes with an amused smirk as his childhood friend stabs his green beans viciously from his other side. They talk about their classes, the latest television shows and the guitar Jean wants to buy while green eyes stare them down.

"Nobody cares," Eren moans, aggressively flicking bits of rice at the interloper and Armin elbows him in the stomach. "Ow, what was that for?!"

He ignores him, turning to Jean instead as their hands brush and knees bump under the table. He can feel his cheeks heating up.

---

"Hey Armin."

"Hello, Jean."

"Are you, uhm, free sometime soon? We could hang out or something, after school, you know?" The taller of the two scratches at the back of his neck anxiously, trying his best to look casual as he leans against Armin's locker.

"Yeah. I'd like that," he replies breathlessly, oblivious to the dark glares Eren is sending them from the far end of the hall. "Maybe Friday? You could come over. If you want."

Jean's face lights up like a Christmas tree and Armin can't help smiling back, a gentle ache settling into his chest. "Yeah. I definitely want to."

---

When Jean shows up to meet Armin after school, he sees not just the blond but what appears to be the whole football team and half the cheer leading squad. Mikasa and Eren are on either side of him, glaring like guard dogs. He inwardly groans and forces a smile although it comes out as a terrible grimace.

"Sorry," Armin whispers before they're split up into different cars. "They found out."

Sasha and Ymir are arguing in the back of his car all the way to the blue house on the corner and he rolls his eyes. Armin's in Eren's car and the running back sticks out his tongue when he passes him at the intersection. The living room is a little small, but they make it work and thankfully, Armin finds his way to his side and the sofa's too crowded for Eren to try breaking them up. He can't help but feel triumphant.

"Harry Potter? Again?"

"Come on, it's magical!"

"My ass, we've watched that for the past two movie nights!"

"There's more than one Harry Potter movie!"

It's not that bad of a night though, even though Connie whispers all of Ron's lines under his breath, not when Armin falls asleep against his shoulder, fingers curled gently around his arm. The look Eren gives him is enough to kill but he doesn't really care.

---

It's snowing again, only it's more like gallons of ice falling from the skies than soft snowflakes dancing from the heavens. Armin feels like a popsicle by the time he's finally done shoveling out the driveway and heads to the supermarket to buy some canned soup and pasta. There's no school tomorrow and if estimates are correct, there won't be any for the next few days. He can't help but feel a little relieved.

After dinner, he sits himself in front of the TV and watches crime shows until midnight with a bag of gummy bears and a bar of chocolate. He wonders what Jean's doing and fights the sudden urge to text him because he's getting way too hung up over a guy who was only supposed to be admired from a distance. Eren was right. He shouldn't have tangled with him. It's left him feeling thoroughly confused and all messed up inside, like all the pieces are put together wrong but he doesn't know what to do. For heaven's sake, he can't even talk to his best friend about it, and he hates how helpless he feels. It's not supposed to be like this.

He chokes on a mouthful of toothpaste when his phone goes off. It's the middle of the night and he can't imagine who would be calling him. Eren, having a midlife crisis? He rinses quickly and rushes to pick up the phone.

"Eren?"

There's a heavy pause on the other side. "Uh, no. It's me. Jean. Were you expecting a call from him?"

Armin chokes again. "N-no! No, I just thought, uhm, well, it's late and usually you know, only Eren calls around this time. But that isn't to say you can't call! Yes! Hello! This is Armin!"

"Uh, hi Armin. This is Jean."

Silence.

"Did you need something?" He ventures carefully, sitting down on his bed, worrying his pillowcase between his fingers and mentally berating himself for his inability to stay calm under stress.

"I just wanted to talk. To you. Nothing in particular. Couldn't sleep, I guess."

It's almost 4, Armin notes, and he smiles indulgently until he remembers Jean can't see him. "Yeah? What did you want to talk about?"

They talk until the sky begins to turn lighter and he feels his eyelids getting heavier. He snuggles deeper into the cocoon he's made out of thick comforters. He's mumbling his words when he hears Jean chortle softly. "Armin, you should go to bed."

"Not until you do," he grumbles, stubborn as always.

"Fine, I'll go too. Come on, you first."

"No, you," is all he gets out before he's asleep, phone still clutched in his hands.

---

It's getting really ridiculous, he thinks, because he's not some love struck fool and this sort of thing only happens in bad romance novels.

---

Spring break comes as a welcome relief and Armin sinks in to a week of no obligations and no early mornings. He sleeps well into afternoon on the first day, rolling out of bed and onto the floor. He spends the day curled up in his blankets in front of the television with the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes spread in front of him. When he next looks up, it's past dinner and he realizes that he's free to eat whatever he wants. He settles for a feast of cereal and when he's full, yawns and stretches out on the couch. The only downside is that there's still another seven days until he sees Jean again - wait, is he really keeping track?

"I like you," he groans to the empty room, nearly falling off of his sofa when his hands shoot up to cover his eyes. He's suddenly struck with the urge to talk to him and he grabs his phone. His hands are shaking and listening to the ringing on the other line is the most nerve-wracking experience in all his 16 years of existence. Finally, there's a click and - "Jean?!"

"Hello? ...Armin?"

"You picked up." He sounds a bit more stunned than he planned and he can't help the way his smile widens just at the sound of his voice.

"Did... Did you not want me to?"

"No!" He shouts in his haste. "No, uhm, please don't hang up."

"I won't."

There's something strangely comforting and familiar about Jean's voice that's got him absolutely hooked. He closes his eyes as he listens to the other talk about his day, resting his face on a pillow, and his heart is doing that aching thing again. Without really meaning to, he says the brunette's name out loud.

"Armin? Hey, I was wondering... If you're interested, want to go to that premier on Thursday with me? Marco was supposed to go with me, but he bailed - not that you're not my first choice! I just... Didn't know if you're into that stuff."

"Y-yeah, I definitely want to! If it's with you, I mean, i-is it a scary movie? I haven't heard of it."

"Nah, I don't think so. I'll pick you up at two then?"

Is this a date?

---

Maybe it's been too long since they last saw each other, but Jean looks good. Really good. He's wearing a red shirt and skinny black jeans and Armin has to remind himself not to stare as they enter the theater. They find a pair of seats quickly and when the lights dim, Jean places his hand over his lightly. Shyly, he laces their fingers together and it gets really hard to focus on the movie when Jean squeezes his hand gently.

Two hours later, they emerge with their hands still linked, and Jean suggests taking a walk. Armin wonders if the other's going to let go of his hand, but he doesn't, not even when people stare. There's a warm, fuzzy feeling in his chest and he gently nudges Jean's shoulder with his forehead to show his appreciation while the taller of the two buys a milkshake to share. All too soon, it's time to go home because his parents have just returned from a venture to Indonesia. Out of all the days to come home, they chose today, and Armin is somewhat sullen as Jean walks him to the door. He turns to pull out his keys, but a strong hand on his wrist stops him.

"Armin, I..." The brunette exhales heavily, then looks at Armin intently, his eyes wide and ernest. "I like you. Will you go out with me?"

He must be dreaming. Or hallucinating. This isn't actually happening, and a thoroughly confused Armin asks him to repeat the question.

"Will you go out with me?"

It takes a moment or two before Armin's grinning like he's won the lottery, cheeks pink, and yes, yes, yes, he will. Jean's smiling the sweetest smile he's ever seen and there's a hand cupping his cheek tentatively.

"Is it... Okay if I... You know, uhm, kiss you?" Jean whispers and the blond nods, closing his eyes as he feels something soft press gently against his lips. The feeling sends a shiver through his body and he can't help pressing in slightly. When Jean pulls away, he sighs his name and lifts himself up on his tiptoes to quickly peck his cheek, bracing himself by holding onto his shoulders tightly.

"Armin? Is that you? Aren't you coming in?" A voice calls from inside the house and the blond jumps. He'd forgotten there were people waiting for him.

"I'll... I'll see you on Monday then?" He asks, reluctantly pulling away. Jean nods and leans down to brush their lips together once more.

"Yeah. Good night," he murmurs into the kiss before leaving with a little wave. Armin is afraid his knees are going to give way and he watches until the headlights fade into the night, his fingertips touching his lips like he can't believe what's just happened.

Jean Kirstein just confessed to him. Jean Kirstein just asked him out. Jean Kirstein just kissed him. Twice.

He can't wait for school to start up again.

---

They're both still shy and a little unsure, so for now, they've decided to keep it a secret. Armin does his best not to sneak glances at the other when they're in class and Jean lets their hands brush when they pass in crowded hallways. As he enters third period, Marco gives him an infuriatingly knowing smirk.

They've survived the first week back to school and there's a party at Christa's tonight. After sending each other what are hopefully furtive glances over the drinks table, they bump into each other in a back hallway. "Armin, c'mere."

"Should we tell them? We should tell Eren at least," Armin muses, linking their fingers together as they sneak upstairs, giggling as they make their way into the guest bedroom. It feels awfully intimate as they sit side by side on the bed, pressed close together with tangled limbs and liquid courage surging through his veins. The muffled sounds of music and laughter can be heard even through the closed door and the blond hopes the neighbors won't call the police.

"Let's not," he murmurs and the blond laughs softly, leaning into broad shoulders. "Not like I care what he thinks anyways."

The shorter male sends him a stern look, frowning slightly and Jean reaches up to smooth out the wrinkle between his eyebrows, trailing his fingers down a pale face to tug gently at a high collar. "Eren's my best friend."

"I was just kidding," sighs the brunette, stroking circles against soft skin. Armin purrs, closing his eyes. "It's just harder than I thought it'd be."

"Yeah. I know."

For a moment, there's only the thump from the stereo downstairs before a quiet gasp as Jean presses their lips together.

"But, everybody...!"

"Nobody will look for us up here," he coddles, fishing for another kiss. Armin reluctantly allows it, closing his eyes after a beat and relishing the sensation that's still foreign to him. Jean's gentler than he had ever expected, touching timidly, pulling back at the slightest sign of discomfort. He lightly runs his tongue along the blond's lower lip, asking for permission, and he slowly opens his mouth, shivering at the sudden intrusion. The other pulls away looking sheepish. "Was that okay?"

Armin nods mutely and feels himself being pulled into another, deeper kiss, suddenly hyper aware of every brush, every rustle of cloth, every sigh. The noises from the party fade as he lets his hands curl into Jean's shirt, tongues tangling, and he forgets to breathe through his nose. Their movements grow more frantic, more wanting, and Armin blames the beer he'd been tricked into drinking earlier. His skin is on fire and he doesn't know if it's from the alcohol or from Jean. His boyfriend.

Boyfriend is such a new word, he thinks as said quarterback gently pushes him onto his back, staring at him intently. "Let me know if you're not okay with anything," he whispers as he presses kisses to his neck, hands resting on thin, denim-clad hips. He sucks on a sensitive spot and Armin lets out a noise he hadn't known he was capable of making, flushing violently. "I want to hear you."

"But it's emba - ahh! Jean!" He whimpers as cold fingers sneak up his shirt, running over his flat stomach. He shivers but can't help leaning into the touch, hands clutching desperately at sheets underneath him.

"Shh, it's okay," comes the reassuring whisper as warm lips claim his own, fingers slipping further up and -

"Armin?!"

He screams, pushing the brunette off with all his strength. A small crowd has gathered in the bedroom and he has never been so flustered in his life. There's a stunned silence, until Connie lets out a loud laugh. "Reiner, you owe me ten bucks!"

"You've been betting on us?!"

"Jean, I'm gonna kill you!"

"Is he forcing you?"

"How long has this been going on?"

"Eren, stop!"

A few scuffles and black eyes later, Armin and Jean are perched on kitchen stools as the blond gently presses an ice pack to the other's face. "You okay?"

He grunts, shrugging. "It's nothing. At least I managed to get him back. I can do this myself, Armin."

Armin makes a disapproving noise but doesn't say anything as he hands over the ice pack and sits back, leaning against the counter. Eren had, as per usual, charged at the quarterback before they could explain anything and it was only after he'd been put in a headlock that the blond was able to stammer out the nature of their relationship. There had been a stunned silence before Marco contratulated them and Ymir cheered.

"At least they know now?"

Jean can't help but laugh, pulling the blond closer. He murmurs his assent into his hair, leaning down for a quick kiss. "Yeah. And now you're mine."

"I'm yours," he chirps happily, wrapping his arms around the other's waist securely as he somehow manages to worm his way onto Jean's lap.

"You're both nasty," moans Eren from the doorway, but Armin pays him no heed as he snuggles into Jean, grinning widely. Turns out happy endings exist after all.