"I love you."

I can do it. I will do it!

"Not as a friend but… more. You're the most important person in my life. You've been since the very long time, so… will you date with me?!"

"E-Eren, what are you talking about?" the shaking voice and confused face of the blond made Eren froze. It happened.

No way.

It had truly happened.

I can't believe!

He risked… and lost.

Armin was laying on his bunk among sleeping comrades. There was coming up another sleepless night.

How much time have passed? 2-3 weeks?

Few weeks ago his best friend confessed to him. Armin tried to smile and turn it into a joke. But it wasn't joke—Armin knew it. Since Armin grew apart from Eren. He tried to act as if nothing had happened, but it didn't work. Nothing could be the same as before. Each time when Armin was looking at his friend's face he saw his expression when his lips rolled 'I love you'. And he couldn't stand the fact he'd rejected him. His best, loyal friend. The one who had saved his life, the one who always was protecting him…

He just couldn't feel back.

Armin knew there's nothing to feel guilty—he just didn't feel the same way as his friend did. It's not like he didn't like boys (he was aware of his orientation for since years) but he would never ever thought that he can be confessed by Eren. Armin was always thinking that he can do anything for his friend, but it appeared he cannot. And awareness of Eren's sacrifices didn't help him—he was feeling more and more guilty. He saw how much Eren had changed during last weeks, and knew it was his fault.

Not only did Eren experience the rejection hardly, he also was lonely and miserable because he lost his precious friend. Once and forever. Armin was acting with reserve and he couldn't blame him for that. But lack of his companion had bad effect on Eren and his 'skills'.

Armin felt horrible and was constantly thinking about how useless and helpless he is. But what he could do about it? His rejection was caused not only by the way he felt… but also the fact that he was in relationship. With Corporal Levi.

No, he couldn't tell his friend about it—it'd broke Eren utterly. Armin was wondering if he had told Eren he's dating Levi at the very beginning of their relationship maybe then Eren wouldn't have confessed to him? But still, Eren was under Levi's protection. He was the one (next to Hanji) who was leading his titan-training, and this information would mess between their relations for sure. And trainee quarreling with his superior would certainly mess with exploring Eren's skills. And that wouldn't help humanity's decreasing population. Not mentioning about atmosphere in Scouting Legion.

Armin shifted on his bed and looked at the midnight-blue sky. He sighed, recalling whole day which wasn't any different from others lately. Day after day that same monotonous scheme:

Eren goes to breakfast like a shadow or rather ghost, and doesn't pay any attention to anything. Jean from time to time teases him and tries to make him mad, but it doesn't work as usual–Eren doesn't reply with barks and violence, he just mutters some kind of reply and turns back or even… ignores it! Then he disappears for whole day with Levi and Hanji, and trains his titan skills or, if he's told to do something else, he works away from the group—pensive and broken.

During each meal he keeps his silence, and occasionally glances toward Armin, but quickly turns his sight away with kind of painful sigh. But Armin can see Eren's wistful eyes on himself dozen times over whole day. The brunet wants to talk to him, but he doesn't dare. He doesn't dare to make interaction almost with anybody. He spends his days on avoiding everyone—especially Armin.

Mikasa was helpless, and Armin could only watch his determined and powerful best friend turning more and more into blank shadow.

Will something break this monotony? Anything! Oh, yes…

Today at dinner Armin got a message; Levi wants to meet him tomorrow because of very important issue.

"You gotta start going out with the titan-brat." Levi could always get baldly to the point.

"Excuse me?!" Armin's eyes widened and mouth stayed half-open.

"I said, you two must be lovey-dovey gay as a rainbow to make that shitty brat be enjoyed with live and start him to practice."

"Eren doesn't practice?" the blond couldn't believe what he heard. "But why? He was—"

"… mad about killing all the titans? Yes, he was. But now he is not! At least, he hasn't got as strong motivation as he had before." Levi sat next to the blond. He was staring at the floor for a while with crossed arms on his chest and then said with personal tone, "It's said he confessed to you."

Armin didn't response but nodded.

"And that's why did he get so fucking dump in the downs?"

"I'd rejected him." said, looking fondly at Levi. "How possibly could I say 'yes' when I don't feel like that and… and of course because of us."

Levi released a sigh and after a while he took up with official tone. "I don't care how you feel or not. You're a soldier who was vowing freedom to humanity, and to achieve the freedom we need titan skills of that brat. So your duty is to make him feel better to be good-working. It'll be your contribution into sake of humanity. And you don't wanna disappoint whole humanity, do you?"

Armin went speechless. How can he ask me for something like that?

"But! A-a-aren't we… dating?" he spilt out after longer while.

"Armin Arlert, there're some higher priorities than our fancies. Everyone has to sacrifice something if we want to live out of this cage." From slight change of his voice the boy concluded that Levi also wasn't content with this situation. But he was right. Utility above everything.

"But… don't you think if Eren finds out that my affection is only a mirage he would be disappointed even more?"

"Find out?" Levi snorted loudly. "The guy who can't notice that his equipment got rusty and disturbs him in his training, is supposed to find out something like that? Unless you tell him it face to face he won't suspect anything. Anyway, even if he can do this, it's your duty to prevent him from getting wind of something."

The blond was sitting alone at the stables and gathering his thoughts after conversation with Levi. He thought that he knows now exactly how Eren had felt.

So we… have broken up? He didn't say it directly, but if I'm supposed to be Eren's boyfriend… No! That's ridiculous! How can I force myself to like someone in a way I don't feel?! That's something worse than rejection! I'm not okay with this what I've done to Eren, so how I could hurt him even more? . . .Or maybe Levi's right? If I act in a proper way he won't realize anything. And then he'll see we not match this way, and we'll sever, and we'll be able be friends again!

Armin smiled under his breath. This plan was perfect. Just few weeks and everything would be okay. He stood up, filled with the willingness to act.

So now I have to find Eren. And learn how to lie…

The boy went into one of the common rooms—it was the third one where he hoped to find Eren. And finally he did. Eren was alienating himself in a secluded and quiet place. He was finishing cleaning the windows, standing with his back to Armin (fortunately!). The blond was afraid that Eren would run away and disappear somewhere if he noticed him approaching.

Eren groaned loudly, throwing a rag into bucked with water, wiped his forehead with his hand and sat (or rather fell) on the branch. Only then did he realize he was not alone.

"Hi, Eren!" said Armin with a smile, and sat next to the brunet.

"H-hey, Armin." respond a bit confused, not looking even at the blond one.

"Eren, listen, I want to talk to you about… something important." he started a bit hesitantly.

"What's wrong?" Eren lit up like a shepherd's dog which sniffed wolf upcoming to a sheep.

"Everything's fine, don't worry. I just want to ask you about this… what you've told me some weeks ago."

"Armin, don't force yourself to talk about… this." his voice was monotonous again. "It's okay, I understand."

"No, listen. I want to tell you that I-I'm sorry for my behavior then. And what's more, I do apologize for that what I've said to you, I… didn't mean it. Umm, I was just shocked and too scared to think about it, your confession was… so sudden that I completely freaked out. But now, when I thought about it with calm-mind, I want you to know t-that…" Armin took a deep breath to calm his shaking voice. Eren was watching him with widened eyes—neither of them could believe it was happening for real. "It'd be pleasure to be your… boyfriend. If your proposition is current."

The blond was watching Eren's eyes got widened and mouth half-open. Silence in the room was growing and growing. Armin got nervous. He felt that thick air would suffocate him if the silence lasted a bit longer.

"Are you serious?" asked finally the brunet, looking with sparkling, emerald eyes at Armin.

It's the biggest and the most disgusting lie in my life… "Yes, Eren. I-I love you." said, sheepishly looking down.

The miserable aura around Eren suddenly snapped away, and his usual energy and passion got back in a second. Armin felt strong arms of his friend wrapping around him, and the heat of his body very next to his torso.

"I'm so glad" whispered to the blonde's ear. "I'll make you the happiest person in the world, Armin! I knew we're meant to each other. We've always been."

"Uh, sure." said with a smile and felt more comfortable. What could be difference between Eren-friend and Eren-boyfriend? He and Armin have always been close friends. Now Eren probably would want some hug or a kiss from time to time, but he won't insist on Armin because he knows that he's sensitive and shy. Yeah, it can't be so hard. Just few weeks and everything will be same all.

Armin was reading in the library, sipping once in a time warm tea. He was about taking another sip when he almost spilled out the tea, as he jerked hearing behind his back, "Reading again?"

"Ah! Eren? You scared me."

"Sorry, sorry…" the brunet reached to his pocket and hid his hands behind his back. "I got something for you~" said playfully and placed a muffin on the desk.

Armin eyes widened. "Eren, did you steal it from the kitchen?"

"Being friends with Sasha has some grants." he shrugged without any bother and grinned.

Armin frowned in worry. "It's forbidden, if you got caught with it you would get troubles."

"So you better eat it up quickly." said, leaning over the boy and kissing his cheek. "Don't be so panicked, I usually get in trouble. And being punished for something what made you happy would be a pure pleasure."

Armin blushed and glanced at the muffin. "Y-you did it because of me?" asked hesitantly.

"You're my precious boyfriend, aren't you?" whispered, looking at Armin tenderly. "And 'cause I though it matches with tea, and… I hope you'll be entertained while my training. I'll be back at the evening."

Armin nodded, as Eren kissed his cheek once again and went out of the library, looking back with a warm smile at the blond.

Armin sipped some tea and bit the muffin. Divinely sweetness spread in his mouth making him smile. He thought Eren's act was really cute. Well, they were always friends, and Eren was making from time to time some surprises… but now he felt the situation was a bit different. Eren knew Armin likes sweets, but he hadn't risked getting him some cookies before only because it can make Armin happy and 'it matches to tea'.

Levi loves black tea… he thought, and immediately felt horrible. Eren is his boyfriend now, he behaves as if Armin was his princess. For last few days there was no single one when Eren didn't bring him a flower or a candy, like today, or wake up earlier to drag out from the dungeons to the dorms at floor, and wake Armin up with caress. Subtle touches when he was around and secretly holding hands were now a normal part of every day, though Armin wasn't used to it still. Eren was also doing a lot of things Armin had never suspected his friend is able to do. He was acting like a real novelistic lover, and Armin hated himself for that–even when Eren does this everything for him, he still dares to think about Levi?

"I'm the worst!" whispered under his breath, staring at the bitten muffin. But he knew it can't be helped—pretending Eren's boyfriend wasn't his will, but part (a very indirect part) of humanity's deliverance.

Armin decided to distract himself by eating away the muffin. It helped. Temporary.

At the evening after shower, as Armin walked into his room, he saw another surprise—Eren himself.

"Eren?" said startled. "Shouldn't you be in your quarter already?" Only if a dungeon lock you can call by 'quarter'.

"Ah, and there's you again with 'following the rules' stuff?" Eren smiled, approaching to Armin and wrapped his arms around his waist. "I wanted to say goodnight to my boyfriend, which I couldn't see at dinner because of my lingered training."

Armin smiled warmly and put his forehead on the brunet's shoulder. "You work so hard. I believe someday you'll be the one who get all of us out of these walls."

"Me too." whispered and looked at the boy. "Armin, can I kiss you?"

The blond froze. As far as now Eren had kissed him just in cheek or forehead. He knew what's Eren up to. He had actually no reason to refuse—kissing is something what couples do at the very beginning, and even if they were 'officially' dating for only 5 days they knew each other very well, so there was no reason to feel uncomfortable and refuse.

Armin nodded, blushing, and felt Eren's hand on his cheek. A moment later Eren's lips brushed against Armin's. The crystal-blue eyed shuddered, but not because of the shyness. He felt… nothing. When he and Levi was kissing the hot wave and drills were running through his body, and sensation of desire was taking over him. But there was nothing of it. And triviality of this act shook Armin.

"Don't be scared. It's not big deal." Eren smiled and connected their lips once again. Armin released a soft moan. "So, good night, my dear." said and went out, not wanting to push the pureness his boyfriend too much.

Armin laid on bed worried about what the future can bring. He hoped that Eren wouldn't be too fast, but what if he starts giving him signs that he wants go with him to bed? Actually, kisses are the first step to do it… But maybe they would break up 'till Eren got to that base?

Oh God, it's not even a full week, and I'm already afraid if can I deal with it more than a month.

"Enter." said Levi, sitting behind his desk as he heard knocking to the door.

The blond figure went in, and in the twinkling of an eye it was leaning over through the width of the wooden surface with its lips pressed to the short man's ones.

Levi pushed the boy away gently but firmly. "What are you doing? Eren is supposed to be here any minute to go for the training."

"I know. I-I'm sorry… but I've missed you." said with face of a lonely puppy.

Levi released a sigh and sat the blond on his lap, as he walked round the desk. "How it goes? That brat doesn't satisfy you?" murmured.

"It's not like that thoughtfully…"

"C'mon! You're together almost 2 weeks, gimme some gossips. Best spicy ones."

"Don't pretend you want to listen to this, it'd be awkward." Armin sent Levi a glimpse and sighed. "His kisses are not bad, but I know that sooner or later, he'll ask me for… THIS. Not mentioning he's a virgin and thinks I am one too."

"And you're afraid of unexperienced dominate-one? Or him being astonished with your skills in that matters despite you're a 'virgin'?"

"I was feeling horrible with all these lies but thank you, you gave me another worries." said with juicy sarcasm and groaned quietly. In fact Armin was about to ask if he really should go to bed with Eren. But this answer of Levi's gave him no more doubts about permission.

"You're taking it too seriously."

"Sorry that I'm not playing with affection of my best friend with delight!"

Levi raised his eyebrow. "Have you… snorted? You're getting to be cynical, Arlert." He drew closer to the boy's face and smirked. "I like it. Sarcasm makes you sexier."

"I'm not in mood on your flirty-jokes, Levi! … ekhm, sir." Armin corrected himself and stepped back from Levi, as he heard a soft rush beyond the door. The moment after, at the door resounded a single knock and without waiting for answer Eren went in.

"Corporal Levi, I'm ready to goo~…" sang, looking once at Levi once at Armin.

The raven-haired man handed Armin a file of papers saying, "Assort it as I asked." Then he took his green coat and walked toward exit. "Better you be more hardworking today, brat."

"Yes, sir!" the emerald-eyed exclaimed cheerfully, and gave the blond wide grin with a flirty blink before he disappeared following his superior.