Disclaimer: I don't own Shingeki No Kyojin, or any of the characters, or the cover image.

"I think it's cute," argued Petra, but she wasn't focusing on her husband. Her eyes glimmered with amusement as she watched her adoptive daughter pull her scarf up to cover her blushing face.

Levi, however, was scowling as he watched their neighbor's son Eren chatter excitedly. His eyes narrowed, focusing in on their target as though to burn the oblivious boy to the ground of their front yard. Didn't he see Mikasa trailing after him with a lovestruck look on her face? Was he purposely leading her on? If he was, the little brat had better watch his back or Levi would-

"Hey. Stop worrying so much," smiled Petra, nudging her husband with her elbow. "Her crush won't last forever. And Eren is a perfectly nice boy."

"Perfectly nice, my ass," grumbled Levi as Petra rolled her eyes with a fond smile.

"He gave her his scarf. Isn't that adorable?" she gushed, purposely bothering Levi and laughing as his eye twitched. "C'mon. I'll make coffee," she offered, and Levi's face softened. But his expression hardened a second later.

"Can't fucking leave our daughter alone with that little brat," he mumbled, a frown firmly set in place.

Petra laughed openly, attracting the attention of the 8-year-olds.

"Mrs. Ackerman!" exclaimed Eren, his eyes lighting up. He had taken a liking to Petra as soon as they moved in, won over instantly when she announced that she had baked cookies.

"Hi, Eren," beamed Petra. "Do you want some ice-cream?"


Mikasa followed, tugging on the ends of her fraying red scarf. "What kind of ice-cream?" she asked.

"Colossal Chocolate and Sina Strawberry - your favorite," answered Petra, scooping up Eren like her own son, trying not to make a noise of discomfort as she realized just how big and heavy he'd become; it had been so much easier to carry him when he was 4 or 5 years old.

Mikasa tugged at her father's shirt until, with a long-suffering sigh, Levi picked her up. She curled into him and he fought a smile.

"Armin couldn't make it today?" Petra asked, shifting Eren in her arms as she struggled to reach her keys.

Eren shook his head mournfully. "He wanted to talk to Annie," he informed Petra, wiggling slightly in disappointment. "She just moved in next to him."

Petra remembered Annie – the smart but distrustful girl with the fair blond hair and the surprisingly piercing yet deadpan blue eyes. She tried to imagine her becoming close friends with shy, naive, and too-nice-for-his-own-good Armin, one of her daughter's best friends. "Oh, maybe they could become as close as you and Mikasa," she suggested as Levi made a slight noise of discontent in the back of his throat. Eren wrinkled his nose.

"Annie's scary," he announced. "Right, Mikasa?"

Mikasa flushed pink. She shook her head slightly, causing Eren to pout. Mikasa blushed even redder and Levi glared at the boy, who was wriggling out of Petra's arms to run around the spotless house (Levi never let anything get dirty or out of place in his household).

Mikasa tumbled out of Levi's arms suddenly and he jerked back as she hopped to her feet and, pushing her scarf up to her nose, followed Eren dutifully. Petra smiled, amused at the scene, and headed for the kitchen to get some ice-cream from the freezer.

"That little shit," grumbled Levi, reaching for bowls. "Fooling around with Mikasa like that…"

Petra slapped him lightly, taking the bowls from his hands and shaking her head patronizingly. "No cursing in front of the kids," she chastised. "Look."

So Levi turned to look at the two children sitting at the table, Eren swinging his legs and Mikasa as unmoving as a stone statue. Eren was jabbering on and on about a new game he got featuring giant human-like monsters, and Mikasa was soaking up his words like she'd be tested on them later.

"So?" he demanded, turning back to his wife, who smiled fondly.

"She acts just like you did in college," replied Petra, scooping out some chocolate ice-cream.

Confused and with a frown set firmly in place, Levi turned to survey his adopted daughter's face. She seemed mostly apathetic, save for her schoolgirl blushes and rapt attention to Eren. But then he saw the look in her eyes, the way she looked at Eren like he hung the stars in the sky of her life. And there was a tiny, almost unnoticeable smile on her pale lips. It was the kind of look he saw on his face in the mirror when he was around Petra. That was kind of fucked up.

And then he looked at Eren, really looked, and he saw Eren's eyes constantly darting to his daughter, as though to be sure that she was paying attention. And the flush on his face that Levi assumed was from running around so much – it deepened whenever he met Mikasa's steady gaze.

"See?" Petra's voice interrupted his thoughts, a smile tugging at her lips.

Levi turned away, scowling. "No," he snapped, pink just barely tinting his cheeks as his wife laughed. But he made no comment on Eren for the rest of the week, not even when Mrs. Jaeger called for her son and the little brat kissed his daughter's cheek suddenly before racing out of the house.

Nope, not a word.

Well, not out loud, at least.