This epilogue is cheesy and clichéd and I won't apologize for it.
I hope you enjoy this last chapter!
Epilogue: This is Our Future
Late, late, late.
Oh… he was so fucking late…
Armin would understand though, right?
Luckily, when Eren arrived at their usual café, Armin was still there. Though the half eaten sandwich in front of him suggested he'd been waiting there for longer than he should have. Eren ran over sheepishly, avoiding the annoyed glares his friend was sending him over the pages of his book. As Eren closed in, Armin placed his bookmark in and set the book down.
"Well, it's about time," Armin teased.
"I know, I know! I'm sorry!" Eren chanted as he sat down across from Armin. His usual sandwich in front of him, that Armin must have ordered for him. Eagerly, Eren began digging in. "The signing lasted longer than I thought it would. There were kids in line that were just so cute!"
"There are kids reading Attack on Titan?" Armin wasn't sure to be amused to horrified, and his mixed expression showed it.
"Their faces were too cute to question." Eren shrugged, then frowned. "But now that I'm free of their adorable stares I'm starting to question it too…"
"Well, at least it was a hit, so you can't complain too much." Corrupted kids were the parent's problem, not theirs. "Other than that how did the book signing go?"
"Surprisingly well despite the amount of time it took. Although I do think my wrist is broken." Eren twisted his hand around, rolling his wrist. "I think you can hear it cracking…"
"Is Hanji still thinking about that book tour?"
Mild horror left Eren cradling his wrist carefully. "Dear God I hope not. At least not anytime in the near future. My wrist wouldn't be able to handle it! She still has to get it through Erwin, anyway, so as long as I remember how Erwin works, he'll want to wait until the official full length game comes out until any tours happen." Eren returned to his food, now that the horror had past. "How is he, by the way? I'm always stuck with Hanji so I never see him."
Armin shrugged. "He's doing good. Much better now that sales are picking up, thanks to you. Or… at least from what I see he's doing well."
Eren kicked Armin gently under the table. "Trouble in paradise?" he teased.
"Not really. My internship is just taking up all of my time so I can't really do much else. Any time I do see him, it's usually because I've snuck over to sleep because his bed is so much more comfortable than mine and closer to work," Armin confessed guiltily.
"But everything relationship wise is going good?" Come on, spill those dirty details.
"Well…" Armin bit his lip, but the grin showed through. He unfolded his hands and spread his fingers to properly show off the ring.
Eren gasped so loudly he attracted the attention of half the café and nearly fell off his chair. "OH MY GOD! Armin! How could you not open with that! Don't talk to me about my book signing when you're fucking engaged how could you keep this from me?!" Hastily, Eren yanked Armin's hand forward, getting a closer look.
"Calm down!" Armin whispered, the stares slowly looking away making his a little more than self-conscious. "It's not… a big thing."
Eren didn't get the hint, though, as he continued to yell. "Not a big thing?! You're engaged! That's fucking huge! Do you guys have a date picked out yet?"
"Eren, stop!" Armin laughed and pulled his hand away, staring at the ring thoughtfully. "Seriously, it's not as big as you think. We don't have a date picked out because it's more of a… precaution."
"A precaution?" Eren wasn't convinced.
"Yeah. Erwin gave me this ring saying he knew he'd want to marry me eventually, but we don't know what'll happen in the future and we're far too busy now so… We're just going to see where this goes, and if circumstances allow it, we'll marry." Really, in Armin's opinion, it was just an over glorified way of saying they were dating, but he'd be lying if he'd said that he didn't like it.
Eren shook his head at his naïve, adorable friend. "He's staking a claim 'cause he knew all those other interns would be crushing on you."
Armin closed his eyes, trying to block out the truth. "Eren…"
Eren shrugged and grinned. "The man knows what he wants, and wanted everyone else to know what he wanted was you."
"You're taking all the romance out of it…" Armin groaned, slumping in his seat.
"Mildly possessive boyfriends can be romantic. Just admit it. You're engaged. It's okay to be engaged. I should know." Hell, he'd been engaged for damn near 20 years. If anything, Eren was the expert on being engaged.
Armin gave a grumpy sigh, but the smile hinted that he wasn't as upset as he pretended. "Fine… I'm engaged."
"Be sure to tell all your coworkers that too."
Eren laughed, then grew gravely serious. "By the way, I'm demanding to be your best man. I don't care when it happens or where I am. You could tell me the day before while I'm on the other side of the world, but it won't matter. I'll fly up to your wedding, and Levi will let me. You know that."
"Of course!" Armin rolled his eyes. "I could tell you an hour before and you'd probably end up inventing teleportation via pure anger alone…"
Eren should not have been so smug after hearing that, but he was. "You know me too well. I like your ring, too," he added, poking at the ring. "It's much better than mine, anyway."
Armin merely shook his head. "Only you could have an engagement ring worth hundreds of millions of dollars made nearly entirely out of diamond and think mine is better."
"It's simpler! I like simple!"
"Speaking of engagements and domestic life, how's house hunting?"
"Ugh!" Eren's head dropped face first on the table with a reasonably loud thud, just barely missing the mostly empty plate.
Armin raise an eyebrow. "That good?"
Eren lifted his head back up, but the frustration remained. "When Levi said we would finally be moving out of that fucking mansion, I leapt for joy! Now I'm just crawling back because staying there just seems a hell of a lot easier."
"What's wrong with it?"
"If I let Levi pick a house, it never ends up being a house. It's always a fucking castle! Like seriously? We do not need that much space! Stop looking at already! But every time I pick a house, it's always 'too small' or 'a hobbit hole' or any other variation of those two. I don't understand it! He hardly ever uses any other rooms besides the bedroom and study, so why all the extra space?" Eren gave another loud groan, then sipped angrily at his drink.
"He did grow up in a mansion, you know."
"And yet," Eren started as if he was explaining some strange conspiracy, "in the 30 odd years he's lived there, I bet he's never actually seen all of the rooms. His closet was so big, the most I've ever seen it filled was at half full! When I moved in! And they had like… six spare rooms that were never used! He probably never would have gone into the spare room I used had I never shown up there at all. And it was right across the hall!"
Armin stared at Eren as he ranted, only half listening. After a moment, and Eren had paused to breath, he blurted out, "How badly does it weird you out that you and Levi just had your two year anniversary and you're still living in his grandparents' house?"
All emotion fled from Eren's face, and he responded in a deadened voice. "More than I want to think about right now." There was something incredibly awkward about being married and living with your in-laws. The walls were supposed to be mostly soundproof, and yet every time it was like they just knew. "Uugh… And we're supposed to be moving out but all we're doing is bickering over space… We don't even have that much stuff yet!"
Armin laughed, then swore as he glanced at his phone. "Oh shit… I gotta run. My lunch break is almost over." He started gathering up his stuff.
Eren waved, but stayed where he was, picking at the last of his fries. "That's fine. I'm meeting up with Levi in a bit, anyway. He says he has to show me something but refuses to tell me what it is. Fuck… if it's another mega mansion castle, just know that the screams you might hear at work are me."
Armin smiled sympathetically. "Good luck!"
Eren just groaned.
"Levi… You know I like surprises and blindfolds, but do you really need to go all out for this? You're just going to take it off once we get to the house."
"You don't know what I'm going to show you," Levi's calm voice reached Eren's ears, and Eren could only assume he was smiling.
Eren sighed. "Levi. The last three times you did this, you were showing me a house. Or rather, a fucking mansion."
"I just want you to be completely surprised by it."
"So it is a mansion."
A pause. "Just a small one."
"Levi, we both know your definition of small and mine are two completely different things."
"Trust me, I really think you're going to like this one."
"You said that about the last one."
"No, I said you might like it. This one I'm almost positive you will."
"Almost? Why almost?"
"Just… just trust me."
No. Eren would not trust him. At least not without complaining the rest of the way there. He'd heard the same thing too many time for this time to be any different, so Eren grumbled quietly as he tried to peek discretely from under the blindfold. Just a little peek…
But a pinch on his arm reminded Eren that he wasn't exactly subtle about anything.
After what felt like forever, Eren could finally feel the car slowing down. They took a turn onto what Eren assumed was the driveway, paused at what Eren assumed was some kind of coded gate (another feature Levi so desperately wanted), then pulled in all the way. Eren crossed his arms over his chest as Levi parked and waited impatiently to see this new mansion Levi had picked out. Maybe next time, Eren would pick out one of those tiny homes people were so obsessed with nowadays, then blindfold Levi and tell him it was the greatest thing ever before showing him.
Maybe that'll teach him.
Reluctantly getting maneuvered out of the car, Eren felt himself being positioned in what Levi probably thought was the best place. The blindfold came undone and fell off. Eren opened his eyes and…
Eren didn't even have to look at Levi to know he was smirking.
Trees and vines and bricks with wood left the house feeling like a large cottage in the forest. Rugged and open, it was reminiscent of the cottage the Voclains already owned, but somehow entirely different. The trees lined the edges of the yard in a manner that felt more like a forest than planted. They were too sporadic for that. But even so, it left the front yard mostly empty save for the plush green grass currently under his feet.
Instantly and without even having to step inside, Eren could feel the house accept him, drawing him in closer. It felt warm and safe…
And even though it showed, and Eren knew that it showed, he crossed his arms and put on a cynical expression. He didn't want Levi to have the satisfaction so soon.
"I don't know…" Eren drawled. He gestured vaguely towards one side of the house. "That part of the house looks a little weird. Is it a-"
"Staircase. I thought it was weird at first, too, but it leads up to a fairly large upstairs patio. It overlooks the entire front yard." Shit. That cynical thing would be a whole lot harder to keep on than Eren thought. Levi, smirked smugly, holding his hand out to lead Eren forward. "Come on. I'll show you inside as well."
Eren pouted as he took Levi's hand.
Levi had been right, at least. It was a fairly small mansion. At least half the size of the Voclain mansion. But it was a mansion nonetheless, and Eren was sure there would be at least one downside.
There had to be.
Anything to wipe the infuriatingly smugness off Levi's face.
Levi explained everything as they walked, up the few steps of the porch and through the front doors. "So since you hated all of my choices because they were too big, and since I hated all of your choices because they were too small, I decided to pick a place that was too small for me and too big for you so neither of us were happy."
When they stepped into the foyer, Eren stifled a cry of joy. The lack of fancy polished marble was a very, very, very welcomed change as far as mansions went. Rather, the foyer and hallway was a tasteful mix of tiled stone and ceramic. Casual but classy. Even if a rug was thrown over it. Perfect.
The other rooms that Eren could see, however, had a dark wood flooring. He'd have to ask what it was.
According to Levi, who pointed out the rooms as they walked, the two rooms on opposite sides of the foyer were the dining room and study. Straight ahead was the living room. The hallway split there, and off to the left was the kitchen and family room (or as Eren like to call it, the fancy living room). But they didn't go over there. Instead they veered to the right, right past the-
"Of course," Eren grumbled, glaring at the offending room. "Can't have a mansion without a ballroom."
"It makes it easier to throw all those fancy parties we'll be forced to throw later," Levi reminded, heading over to a pair of doors off to the side, his steps echoing in the room.
"Uugh…" At least it was more hardwood rather than marble.
"We can call it the party room if you'd rather," Levi teased.
"Although, the library is right through the ballroom." Levi opened the double doors, showing off the rows and rows of empty shelves built into the room. "So it's not all bad."
Something else caught Eren's attention, though. Leaning over, Eren pointed past Levi's shoulder. "Is that a door leading to the backyard?"
"Yup," Levi nodded, then ushered them out of the rooms and back into the hallway. "But we'll look at that later. Now come on, let's go look at the rest of the house."
Next to the stairs was what was officially called the den, but Levi figured it could do well as Eren's personal study. To which Eren laughed. So Levi rolled his eyes and reminded him that he would in fact need a place to write, whether it was called a study or not. So Eren shut up.
Just before they were about to walk upstairs, Eren caught sight of something else.
"What about this door?" he asked, reaching out for the handle, but Levi grabbed his hand and began pulling him back upstairs. Eren raised an eyebrow. "A closet?"
"We'll get to it in a bit," Levi assured.
Eren grinned. "You just don't want me to see them 'cause you know I'll hate them. That's the downside isn't it? The almost? Is the backyard the size of a closet? The closet you won't show me is full of dead bodies?"
"Save your imagination for writing, you little shit. Now, upstairs is all bedrooms, including ours." Levi led them to the double doors on their right.
The entire second floor was carpet, including the master bedroom. It was a pretty large room with a slanted wall, just perfect enough for a bed.
"Ooh!" Eren wandered around the empty space. "I'm guessing the bed would go there?" He gestured towards the slanted wall and twisted around to the wall paralleling it, where the windows were. "So we could wake up each morning and get the best view of the backyard that… we can't see because you've closed the blinds?" Eren glared over at Levi who seemed unaffected by it.
"I told you, I'll show you the backyard later." That's when Levi led them out into the hallway. "There's also seven other guest rooms up here-"
"Seven?!" Eren stopped, horrified. Was that more than the spare bedrooms at the mansion? It might be… "Why the hell do we need seven spare bedrooms?"
"Why the hell do you need so many friends?" Levi countered.
Eren couldn't argue with that.
Levi sighed. "I just figured it was best to have enough rooms for them all considering how much they'll probably want to stay here."
"Why would they want to stay here?" Eren tilted his head curiously, before deadpanning. "Or, wait. Is this another 'I'll tell you in a bit' things?"
Levi smirked. "You're learning."
Levi waved his hand at the area down the hall. "At the end of the hallway down there is the front balcony. Oh, and there's also a balcony in the master bedroom. And… I know I shouldn't tell you this, because you'll abuse the hell out of it, but the balcony is right next to the roof of the veranda, so you could actually sit on the roof if you like."
Eren stared wide eyed at Levi, and, seeing his plans in Eren's eyes, Levi held fast onto Eren's arm just as he was about to sprint back into the bedroom.
"I thought you wanted to see the closet."
Damn that man was good. "Fine…" Eren agreed, allowing himself to be led back down the stairs.
They reached the door just at the bottom of the stairs and Eren waited impatiently for Levi to open the door.
"I figured… this would be your favorite room." Levi smirked smugly as he threw the door open. Eren's jaw dropped.
"A home theater. With enough seating for all of our friends. I was also thinking you could probably hook up your game stations in here too. The walls are soundproof. Completely. So just as long as I can't feel the vibrations through the walls, you can be as loud as you want."
"You couldn't have started out with this?! Fuck! This is the second time someone's held out important information from me today!"
The room itself was huge. It looked just like a movie theater would, with an entire wall empty for the screen or projection. Rows of couches and reclining chairs filled the rest of the room, and velvety curtains lined the other walls. Eren ran his hands carefully over the curtains, the chairs. Anything within reach. Completely awestruck.
"Haven't you ever heard of saving the best for last?" Levi chuckled. "Although… had I known you'd be this enthusiastic, I probably could have gone for a larger house."
"This is fine, thank you!"
"But there is one more thing we need to look at."
Levi almost struggled as he tore Eren from the theater. Oh yes, that addition was well worth the wait for the perfect house. But hopefully, the next thing he showed Eren would seal the deal. Through the ballroom they went. There were doors leading to the backyard in there after all. And just as they set foot outside…
Levi grinned. "Gorgeous, right? There's a pool right over there, a fire pit and grill over there, we could probably build a gazebo over there for thunderstorm watching, too, if you like. But I thought you'd really like-"
"The tree sitting in the center of the backyard?" It was the first thing Eren saw, and he hadn't looked away. The thick trunk meant that it had been there for years, possibly hundreds. And it called to him.
Levi shrugged, following Eren as he made his way towards the tree. "I'm no expert on climbing trees, but this one looks good. Low, thick branches. A nice big ass tree for you to write under. Or in. Whichever you like."
Eren continued to smile as his reached the tree. He could feel the bark under his hands, and it pulsed with life.
Then he looked past the tree.
"Wait… is that a lake?"
Levi bit his lip. "You're probably not going to like this, but the entire lake would be ours too. Even the small cabin on the other side would be ours."
Eren's jaw dropped. The whole lake? That was a pretty big lake… "Good thinking on the bedrooms there… We'll never get them to leave…"
A short and soft chuckle left Levi, and he asked quietly. "So what do you think? You like it?"
At first, Eren said nothing. And just as Levi was about to ask again, Eren answered. "Do you ever see something and it feels so…"
"Suffocating?" Levi ventured nervously, though he sincerely hoped it wasn't.
"Right." Eren smiled. "It feels so right. I don't think there's another place out there that fits us as well as this one."
Internally, Levi released the breath he was holding. Externally, Levi smirked and headed back up to the back porch. "Good. Because I already bought it."
"What?!" Eren spun around and ran after Levi. "What do you mean you already bought it?! Levi, we're supposed to make joint decisions on this! That's what happens when you're married!" He wasn't actually that mad, but still.
Levi shook his head, sitting down on one of the couches surrounding the fire pit. "Relax, I put a bid on it so I'd be able to back out if for some reason you didn't like it, but considering the bid I placed, it's essentially ours. There… is one downside though…"
Eren paused, standing in front of Levi. "What?" he asked cautiously.
Levi sighed, remorse filling his voice. "The vents are too small for you to climb through."
"Oh, whatever!" Eren gasped, falling onto Levi's lap and curling up. "It was one time!"
Levi wrapped his arms around Eren's waist, keeping him close. "But you do like it?"
"Yes," Eren stressed, laughing. He rested his forehead against Levi's and let his arms drape themselves over Levi's shoulders. "I do. I actually think it's quite perfect. I can really see us living here…" His lips found Levi's in a chaste kiss. "Just you and me…"
Levi kissed him back, smiling.
"Just us in our kingdom."
Eren brought his hands up, cradling Levi's head gently, lips hovering mere centimeters apart….
"Just us in a world of our own."
And closed the distance.
Wow I… this is the end… this is literally the end of the story… I FINALLY FUCKING FINISHED A MULTICHAPTER FANFIC! And to be honest, it was not the story I was expecting to write, or even post. But I'm glad I got this out. To have an idea of mine finally see the light of day in its entirety… there's nothing more I could have wanted.
Honestly… I couldn't thank you all enough for taking the time to read this. It's not the shiniest story out there, but… it's still mine. And I love it and I love you all for loving it too! You're comments have always left me feeling happier and happier the more I read them. I really wish that I could… find each and every one of you and just… hug you or bake you cookies or anything that I could just to tell you that I've so appreciated you coming with me on this journey. I'm not the best at responding or making small talk either in person or online, so even if I never answered you review, please know that the fact that you kept reviewing, or even reviewed at all, is more than I ever could have hoped for. 3
Also, if anyone noticed, I ended this on the anniversary of the first chapter going up. :3
Well… because I'm awkward and very forgetful, I think that's all I have to say in the way of the clichéd and sentimental…
So… for the last time on this story… I hope you enjoyed reading this just as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to see you all in any future stories I'll post!