(I finally know the way your heart beats)

AN: I know, I know! It's been ages—decades even—since I last wrote, but university life and my thesis has been kicking me in the ass. At least, my thesis is done now so I don't have much to worry about. I apologize for any spelling and/or grammatical errors since I haven't proofread this (and I cannot write to save my own life). I'm actually quite excited for this since dystopian-themed stories are one of my absolute guilty pleasures.

There is a certain safety in rules, in knowing the line between what one is capable of and what one should not be capable of. Rules are placed for a reason: order, functionality, survival. A society governed by rules survive, otherwise it falls into chaos and destroys itself from within. Productivity is heightened when people follow certain laws, specific policies—almost a societal manifestation of homeostasis. The world functions better when there are rules. Life is better when there are rules.

It is by these rules that Eren Jaeger—junior programmer—wakes up at exactly six-thirty in the morning every day. It is by these rules that his breakfast is routine: a bowl of wheat flakes, a glass of milk and a slice of fruit. It is by these rules that he dresses for work at exactly ten minutes to seven, a black tie hugging his neck beneath the white dress shirt, black shoes impeccably glinting the light off the leather, black slacks leading upwards.

It is by these rules that Eren Jaeger exits his apartment, walks down the white marble hallway and enters the elevator, sharing the cab with similarly dressed people, all staring blankly ahead. He glances to the side, notices the blinking "34F"—his floor—across the screen and he retracts the hand he was about to push the button with. He simply stares ahead, like the others, and watches the silver doors close. His reflection stares back at him—human, in every sense of the word.

Eren works at the thirty-fourth floor, a programmer among a thousand others. His job is nothing special, nothing amazing to boast about because it's like so many of the others. It's operable, provides him a steady income and it benefits the society. His division is focused on the maintenance of the intercommunication system within the building. He receives reports from many sectors of the building—a varying pile of troubleshooting, crash reports and connectivity failures—and it's his job to reroute the reports to the proper departments.

The thirty-fourth floor is mostly utilized by Eren's department; however a part of it is cordoned off for the accountancy department.

Eren travels by their aisles before reaching his cubicle. His eyes look around the many cubicles, all similar and utilitarian, only the sound of fingers tapping against plastic keys ringing in his ears. He almost stops, prevented only by muscle memory, when his eyes spot a cubicle that happened to be empty for the past few days.

Except, today, it isn't.

There's someone occupying it: a man, from the looks of the short, dark hair peeking from the cubicle walls. When Eren got closer, he turned his head slightly, taking the man's slightly shorter stature, the way his back sat ramrod straight.

His eyes glanced towards the tiny, LCD screen built on the upper portion of the cubicle wall: 0182, Accountancy.

Eren would have stopped, curious, if it were not for the sight of the department manager making his rounds. He took his eyes away from the accountant and entered the programming area of the floor.

His co-worker, owner of the cubicle next to his, Jean Kirschtein, simply flicked his eyes at Eren before returning them to his monitor screen. That was all the acknowledgement he would ever get from Jean.

In fact, that was all the acknowledgement he would ever get from anyone.

Silence occupies the majority of life. Rules have enforced that speech prohibits productivity, produces strife and disease and is therefore a social epidemic that ought to be exterminated.

It had been forty-eight years since the rules had been instated. Eren had never heard a human voice in all his life.

He placed his hand over the keyboard, the sensors detecting his identity and booting up his workstation. 07:28 AM blinked across the screen. His day had begun.

For all of Eren's twenty-four years of existence, he had never tired of his orderly existence. Or rather, he had never felt the need to rebel against it. He woke up, did his job, ate his lunch like everyone else, went back to work, went home and did the entire thing all over again. It was functional, easy and it was the only life he had ever known.

He's heard of the stories, of the few ones that couldn't handle the routine, who broke against the norms. He's heard of the stories of those who disobeyed the rules against speech, against communication and he's heard of the stories of how they were there one day, and gone the next.


He never understood, not really, why they needed to break away from what was orderly, what was functional. It was one of the things he would type up, ask, when the e-mail for the weekly evaluation appeared in his inbox. He would write his questions, doubts and concerns.

And every time he sent his questions, he would always get the same reply.

To question is to doubt the policy. Refrain from these thoughts, Mr. Jaeger.

After the twenty-third e-mail containing the same, single-line response, Eren had stopped asking questions. Kept them to himself. Slowly, he learned to forget, learned to just blend in and let the flow of life carry him.

Until a troubleshoot report popped up in his e-mail, bearing the sender address: Levi Rivaille 0182

He opens the e-mail. It's about an error with one of the accounting programs and it messed up 0182's records. Eren replied with one of the generic, company-made response templates and he forwarded the complaint to the IT department. It's all textbook work.

He does not expect the second e-mail, still from Levi, bearing a simple message. Thank you.

Eren blinks. Before he even knew what he was doing, he had already deleted the message. He could feel the beating of his heart quicken. That was completely unexpected. He glanced to his side—a bit afraid that Kirschtein might have noticed. He almost sighed in relief when his co-worker did not even give him the tiniest of attention. He turned back to his screen, feeling the sweat beneath his fingertips.

Then, with hands a bit shaking, he opened up a new template—completely blank, the usual logo of the company absent and before he could chicken out, he had replied.

You're welcome.

Later, when five-thirty rolled in and his monitor automatically saved his progress and shut down, Eren left his floor. In the middle of the act of pressing the button to his apartment, he hesitated. The man beside him turned to look at him curiously, and Eren pressed a different button.

Ten floors down, he found himself in front of the public archives, sifting through the aisles, looking at the titles gleaming from their electronic chambers. A word caught his eye and he paused.

An hour later, he found himself in his apartment, poring over the book on his bed, the white sheets translucent in the moonlight shining through the glass windows.

His eyes took in every word, every detail, every sentence and in the rush of his imagination, in the buzzing of his mind of a world once alive with human noise, two simple words kept ringing.

Thank you.

Days turned to weeks and Eren's life continued without any interruption—the interruption that he secretly craved, the interruption in the form of a blank e-mail bearing the address Levi Rivaille 0182 .

He had feared that something might have happened, that the higher-ups (the ominous higher-ups) had known of that anomaly, of that slight deviation from the rules and had disposed of it, eradicated it, erased it. But, when the next day came and Eren arrived at his floor at seven twenty-four and saw the short, spiky dark hair protruding from the cubicle wall, 0182 glaring at him from the top, he couldn't help the easing of his chest, the lightening of the burden across his shoulders. Levi was still there.

He passed, content to make his way unseen but when his fingers trailed across the back of Levi's chair, Eren felt rather than saw the man's head turn a few inches, a dark blue eye peeking at him before turning back to the screen.

Eren's heart started beating faster again.

Eren begun to notice that Levi, 0182, started to go out of his way just to acknowledge Eren's presence. Aside from turning his head to look at him every time Eren passes by his cubicle, he would also notice the shorter man turn to look at him across the floor when he needed to relieve himself in the restroom.

When Eren would get crash reports from Levi, there would often be an accompanying message bearing the same two words: thank you. It terrified and scared Eren to skirt around the rules like this, to circumvent what should not be circumvented and dance along the gray area between what was right and what was wrong.

True, the man was being unconventional, going out of his way to send Eren messages that were not only unnecessary but also discouraged. However, it wasn't like the man was talking, as in literally talking to him. It wasn't stated explicitly in the policies that other, non-vocal ways of conversation were discouraged.

Still, Eren couldn't help but fear for him whenever he receives the thank you message, when the messages started developing from therein.

How are you?

Eren froze when he read the message. He felt his back straighten and his head turned sharply to the side when he saw his manager walking towards him. His hands started to sweat, and he could feel his pulse rising. He quickly minimized the message, and opened up the crash report he was reading and he willed himself not to make a single sound.

The manager walked past him and down the aisle, and Eren wanted so bad to breathe in relief but he withheld, fearing it would somehow draw attention. He resolved to ignore the message, and continue his work.

Hours later, when Eren was almost done and lunch seemed to be within reach, he remembered the message and he panicked.

Should he reply? Should he delete it? Should he ignore it and pray it would go away?

Should he report Levi to his manager?

He stilled. Not once, in all these tiny interactions they had, did he ever think of reporting Levi. Not once did he ever think of sending a complaint for misconduct whenever he receives the familiar thank-you e-mail.

Did he even want to report Levi?

And before he could even process what he was doing, he had sent a reply.

I'm alright. You?

He groaned silently.

Later, at night, while Eren is laying on his bed, eyes trained on the white ceiling, sleep is the furthest thing from his reach as Levi's reply continues to circle his mind.

I am now.

Their conversation over e-mail continued, and Eren ironically found it refreshing. The fear was still there, the burgeoning fear that they could both be detected and God knows what would happen to them—but that fear? It was drowning under the thrill and the excitement he felt whenever he received a new e-mail from Levi.

From a simple greeting to a question on how his day went to what his favorite color was, Eren slowly started getting to know Levi.

Levi hated mornings, but he forced himself through it because of his job. He liked the color black, and he had this adoration for dogs (some sort of four-legged domestic animal Eren thinks), saying that his grandfather used to have one before the rules and how Levi would play with the dog until he collapsed from sheer exhaustion.

The mental image of a younger, smiling Levi amused Eren to no end. It's been so long since he last saw someone smile (his mother).

How old are you, Eren?

Eren grins a bit.


You're not fucking kidding me, right? Twenty-three? Seriously?

He rolls his eyes.

I'm not, honest! What's wrong with my age?

That would make you seven years younger than me. I call bullshit.

Wait, you're thirty? Aren't you supposed to be, I don't know, a little taller at that age?

He sits back, satisfied.

You are dead, kid.

Eren's fingers paused in the middle of his reply, unable to help the small chuckle bubbling in his chest. He couldn't help it, he laughed—a wispy, almost silent one but it was real—and it was only a mere few seconds later that he realized what he did wrong.

Kirschtein had turned in his seat, eyes wide at Eren.

Silence lingers between them, and Kirschtein is turning back to his monitor and Eren's heart is beating so loud it's ringing in his ears. He could hear the faint noise of a pen scratching against paper and he really has no idea what is happening and Kirschtein is turning back to him in his seat and he thrusts a piece of paper into Eren's hands.

Keep it quiet, or they'll take you out.

Eren swallowed, eyes locking with Kirschtein—Jean, his name is Jean, Eren thinks. There was a bit of anger, a bit of uncertainty and a bit of fear in them, but what struck Eren was the understanding he saw.

Not knowing what to do, Eren simply nodded before turning back to his screen. He crumpled the paper in his hand and he deleted the messages.

He vowed never to talk to Levi again.

It was for his own good, Eren reasoned to himself. He just hopes that Levi understood.

Hey, Eren, are you there?


What's wrong?


Eren, what's going on?


Talk to me, kid. You've been ignoring me for days.


Don't do this.


I know you're reading this. You just forwarded my crash report a while ago.


By the way, there was nothing wrong with my system.


Eren, please.

Eren read the single line and he felt the weight on his chest grow heavier. It was hard, so hard, to not reply to Levi's messages. It was so hard not to open up a new template and scroll down the recipient addresses and click Levi Rivaille 0182 and just talk. It was extremely difficult, and Levi was not making things easier.

How was he supposed to avoid Levi when the man was so persistent? It was almost like being chased by a dog (inwardly, Eren snorted at the irony of the reference).

Unable to take the most recent one, Eren pressed Delete and stood up. He made his way to the communal washroom at the far end of the floor, taking care not to glance to the side, knowing that if he did, he would make eye-contact with Levi and he just couldn't handle that.

Once he entered the washroom, he made his way to the farthest station. He locked the door, pulled down the toilet cover and sat, his head in his hands.

What the hell was he doing?

This wasn't right. He should stop talking to Levi. He had stopped talking to Levi and that was the right thing to do…right? Then why does his chest hurt every single time he presses the delete button. Why does he stay awake at night, something unpleasant clawing at him from the inside every time he imagines the disappointment running across Levi's face when he doesn't reply?

Why doesn't it feel right?

He bangs his head against the door, feeling the sharp pain run through his skull as skin comes in contact with metal repeatedly.

What the hell was he doing?

Knowing that his absence would become suspicious if he doesn't return to his workstation now, Eren stood and unlocked the cubicle. Slipping out, he does not expect to meet Levi, face-to-face.

Eren stops, taking in the man standing before him. For every time he had seen Levi, it wasn't as completely as this. The man was either already at his cubicle, or leaving the floor and all Eren would get to glimpse is the white of his shirt and the black of his hair.

He knew Levi was short, but not exceedingly so, just an inch or two shorter than Eren, in fact. From the way the shirt clung to his upper frame, Eren could see the lithe but strong muscles wired under. But what drew Eren, most of all, were Levi's eyes.

He's made eye-contact with them a lot, yes, but it's different when you're standing, face-to-face, and looking into them.

They were a blue so dark, almost obsidian, and it just sucked Eren in. Anger was bursting at the seams in Levi's obsidian gaze and Eren almost cowered into himself, unused to such display of emotion. Of any emotion, in fact.

When Levi stepped closer, Eren could see the confusion bubbling under the anger, the resounding, silent question of Why? and Eren felt so guilty—that was it, that was the unpleasantness eating him alive—that he did the only thing he knew: he ran past Levi.

Just as he was about to burst through the doors, Levi turned and Eren felt his blood turn cold.

"Eren, please."

Eren shut the door behind him. He rushed past the aisles and went back to his workstation, his form trembling. Beside him, Jean made a tapping sound with his pen and Eren slowly counted from a hundred to one, telling himself to get a grip on it.

He didn't dare raise his eyes, especially when he saw from the corner of his eyes Levi's figure returning to his own workstation.

A minute later, an e-mail appeared.

We need to talk.

Eren swallowed, recalling the way his name rolled off Levi's lips.


Later, Eren jerks himself to sleep, the sheets a mess and sweat trickling down his body. His mouth opens in a silent gasp and the echo of Levi's voice calling for him amplifies and he sees white.

He feels a prickling in his eyes and wetness drip down his cheeks. He falls asleep, the tear tracks still shining in the night.

It happens on a Wednesday, two weeks after the incident at the washroom and Eren is back to happily (miserably) ignoring Levi and his consistent messages. He's had the habit of deleting them without even bothering to read them, always making sure to get rid of all traces of communication.

It gets hassling from time-to-time, making sure to avoid being in a room alone with Levi. He's had to relieve himself in the washroom as quickly as he can and only when there are others as well. Once, he stepped out of the cubicle and saw Levi enter the washroom. He was about to open his mouth, talk if it weren't for janitor cleaning in the corner. Eren kept his head down, eyes on the ground, as he made his way to the door. Levi stepped to the side to let him through, but not before trailing his fingers across Eren's.

At night, Eren comes to the sound of his own name, the baritone voice reverberating in his head. He cries himself to sleep, a silent, soundless litany.

It happens on a Wednesday, two weeks after the incident at the washroom and Eren is typing up a report, struggling to finish it before the four-thirty deadline when he notices two policemen exit the elevator. He knows he's not the only one who notices, as the other workers start looking up, curious.

Eren continues with his report, slowly, making sure to follow the police as subtly as he can. They're making their way towards the programming sector of the floor and Eren feels his hands suffuse with sweat. There's a drumming in his ears and he's not sure if it's from the outside or from the inside, but all he knows is that his blood has turned to ice.

The two policemen enter his aisle, their black boots thumping heavily against the marble floor. Their eyes are cold, almost robotic and Eren spies shock-rods in their grasps and he's beginning to panic. He knows why they are here.

They know.

They know.

His eyes lock with Levi's across the room. The man's own blue eyes are wide. He shakes his head, almost imperceptibly.

The two policemen stand behind him. Eren could feel their gazes bore into his back, and he feels his hands starting to shake. He continues to type the report, trying to stay calm.

Then, without warning, the two policemen lash out and strike the back of Jean's head. A cry of pain—clear, rough and natural—breaks through the silence and the two policemen are beating Jean against his desk. He hears the zapping of the electricity running through the rods as Jean is struck repeatedly. Eren's eyes are wide, his entire frame frozen as the two policemen pick up his co-worker's unconscious body and drag him out of the aisle. Heads turn to follow the blue uniforms as they pull Jean into the elevator, the silver doors closing behind them.

Eren's eyes are unseeing, staring at his monitor. His hands are not shaking. His entire body seemed to have forgotten what it was like to move. He couldn't even make himself breathe because he knows that he would never see Jean Kirschtein ever again.

He goes files a leave of absence for a day, stating that he is physically unwell. A medical doctor is sent to investigate him, and the man pierces him with a small, thin device meant to keep track of the body's condition. The doctor approves his request, the reason being that his stress levels are unnaturally high and that he should take the rest of the day off to recuperate.

He nods, pushes the chair back into the cubicle and he half-stumbles, half-walks to the elevator. A few heads turn to look at him, but one persists to make sure Eren reaches the elevators safely before turning back to his monitor screen.

He presses the button for his apartment, his eyes locking with Levi's before the doors close.

When he gets home, what he first does is run to the bathroom, kneels beside the toilet and vomits. He retches and retches and retches until he has nothing to retch anymore. The tiles are cold beneath him, but they couldn't compare to the icy dread coursing through his body. He doesn't bother flushing the contents of his breakfast down the drain. Instead, he turns on the faucet and fills the bathtub up with water.

He does not wait to take his clothes off or the bathtub to be filled. He throws himself into it, the water submerging him—clothes, emptiness and all—within its grasp.

He lays his head against the rest, the overhead light blurring in his vision—moistened by the water and by tears and God knows what else.

He closes his eyes, couldn't handle the stark whiteness of the bathroom. It was all so unnatural, so unreal and so…dead.

In his mind, all he hears is the sound of the electricity running through the rods and Jean's cries of pain—the timbre of his voice belying the fact that Jean had been using his voice for quite some time now. He could hear the pitch, the subtle hitches as his vocal cords work their way to express the pain of the electricity tearing through the man's body.

Eren doesn't leave the bathtub for the rest of the day.

Seven twenty-four the next morning, Eren is on his way up to his floor. He managed to crawl his way out of the bathtub yesterday, put some pathetic excuse of a dinner into his stomach and sleep the night off on the floor. He managed to get ready just in time to get back to work.

He knows he should be expecting someone else to take the cubicle next to his. It's always been that way whenever the disappearances happen. When one is taken out, another takes its place. Productivity at its finest.

When the elevator reaches his floor, he steps out and walks down the aisles. His eyes, by habit, flick to Levi's cubicle and he almost chokes on his own breath. There's a sinking feeling in his chest as his eyes take in the empty cubicle. Levi isn't in his cubicle.

It was only the feeling of someone else brushing past him that made Eren move. He willed himself to ignore the empty cubicle and move his legs, forcing them to take step by step until he reached his cubicle. Beside his, there's someone else. Female. Black hair, cut short just past her chin.

He sits down, dimly aware that the monitor in front of him had already booted itself on. He doesn't even bother to turn to his new co-worker, to see her name on the brand new LCD screen atop her own desk. All Eren sees is the absence of an obsidian gaze directed at him from across the room.

Hours pass and lunch comes and still no sign of Levi. The sinking feeling inside Eren had transformed into a gorge, dread crashing through him.

No, please no. Eren thinks.

He opens a new template, and types in the address Levi Rivaille 0182 and he waits, and waits.

The address doesn't appear.

Shaking, he opens up the registry log and enters Levi's employee code into the log.

Employee does not exist!

Eren's always wondered how it would feel like if someone deposited a bucketful of lead down his throat.

He now knows.

He doesn't know how he gets through the entire day without breaking down, he honestly doesn't know. He tells himself that he's lived twenty-three years without Levi, and he can certainly live beyond those twenty-three years even when he's gone, but the thought sinks his heart like an anchor. He really doesn't know when his entire life started revolving around the man, when every scrap of conversation they had starting becoming the highlight of his day, when the thought of the man's eyes would sent shivers down his spine and the sound of his name coming out of those lips would plunge him into oblivion.

He had no idea when he started falling in love with Levi, but it was pointless now. He'd never see Levi again.

He didn't even get to say goodbye.

Anger, pain, sorrow—whatever emotion replaced the blood in his veins—moved him and Eren shut the door of his apartment behind his back. The slam echoed in the silence of the room and Eren bit his lips, wanting to cry but not knowing how.

His eyes prickle again and he pushes the bottom of his hand against them to just make them stop.

Frustrated, Eren hits the wall, feeling the burn bite his skin as his fist connects with the concrete.

The sound of the door opening makes Eren look up, and he's stunned.

Levi is standing by the door, his confused blue eyes taking in the sight of Eren punching the wall.

"Eren, what—?" He ends his question, not really knowing what to say.

And before Eren knew it, he's hurtling past the space between them and his arms are suddenly around Levi, gripping him for all he is worth. He's shaking and trembling and his head and heart hurts so much and he just—

He just doesn't know how to deal, so he just lets it out. He sobs, silent cries wracking his frame as he buries his head into the crook of Levi's shoulder. He inhales a spicy cinnamon scent and he could care less about how much he's shaking because he's so afraid, so goddamn afraid that he had lost the only person who had shown him a life beyond what he knew.

"Hey, hey, it's okay. It's okay. Just let it out, baby." Levi's voice is soft, like sinful velvet, like the lower keys of a piano, like the whisper of a promise in the night and Eren feels Levi's fingers combing through his hair, his arms holding him just as tight and his lips tracing the shell of his ear lobe.

He raises his head, unashamed to show Levi how devastated and happy he is, the red blotchiness of his cheeks and the puffed, blown-out look of his eyes.

He wants Levi to hear him say it. He wants to, not because it would make Levi proud. Not because it would make them even. No, Eren wants Levi to hear it because Eren doesn't know if he'll ever get another chance as good as this.

He doesn't know if he'll ever get another moment like this.

He opens his mouth and he tries. He tries as hard as he can, the muscles in his throat working hard to do something they were meant to do but were denied because of a societal need for order. Now, Eren is wheezing, desperate to make his voice work.

"Le—" He breathes deeply, finding it difficult to get past the first syllable. His voice is no louder than a whisper, but he tries.

He doesn't know if he'll ever get another chance to do this.

"Le…vi." It's quiet, soft and so quick that it was almost as if it never happened—but it did, and when a smile so wide stretched across Levi's lips and the obsidian gaze lightened to a bright blue, Eren knew it was worth it.

Then, Levi's lips were on him, like fire on ice. They were burning, fiery and passionate and Eren felt lost in the whirlwind of emotions inside him. He kissed back, wanting to envelope himself in the heat. It felt so safe, so strong and he doesn't want to return to a life of grey, not anymore, now that he's got a taste of what it feels like to be alive.

"Levi. Levi. Levi." He whispers, like a prayer. It felt liberating, felt like he was finally being human as Levi continued to kiss him, pushing past his lips and—God, Levi just knows how to use that tongue. It felt like salvation.

"Eren. Oh God, Eren. I need you. So much, baby." And with every word that Levi spoke, with the hitches in his voice and the shaking of his lips and Eren was nodding, saying yes in all the ways he knows how because he needed Levi, too. So much that it hurt something fierce.

Eren lost track of time, or when Levi's lips had left his own and started marking his skin. It was almost like Levi wanted to mark him all over, and for reasons he couldn't fathom, Eren had no problem with that. Hands trailed across shoulders and backs, pulling at the seams of the shirts that impeded their way. Eren gripped the collar of Levi's shirt, pulling it apart—the buttons flying all over and the way Levi moaned as he ran his hands all over the muscled frame showed that he had no problem with it.

Levi's skin was hot, feverish and Eren felt faint with all the sensations he was feeling: Levi's lips as he bit at Eren's shoulder, Levi's hands as he gripped Eren's waist tightly and God the way Levi rubbed himself against Eren had him seeing black and white.

"Le—vi. Levi. Levi." Eren whispered, hands searching and Levi pulled back to kiss him. Eren whimpered, arousal and happiness and whatever emotion was bursting in him making him push Levi back, back into the room and down on the bed.

He found himself on top of Levi, kissing him like it was breathing, like it was the last time he'd ever get to do it. Hands trailed down his sides and gripped him tightly, not wanting to let go.

Clothes get ripped and Eren kisses every expanse of skin that he finds, from Levi's collarbones to the firm muscles of his chest, to the dark brown of his nipples. Suddenly, the tide is turned and Eren finds himself looking up at Levi and there's this burning warmth in his eyes and Eren finds himself shaking (not that he wasn't already).

There's a beat of silence and—

"Please." Eren whispers, because he needs Levi so much, so fucking much that all he wants to do is wrap himself around the man and never let go. Something softens in Levi's gaze and he slowly lowers his head to trail kisses down Eren's skin. It's different, the feeling is different. The passion is there, so is the neediness, but instead of the ferocity, there's a slow, almost appreciative quality to the way Levi traces his lips on Eren's skin.

It was almost like Levi was worshipping him and it left Eren feeling so needy and so hard and his body is just on fire with so many emotions for the man, and he just doesn't understand how his heart—his body—could hold this many feelings because he feels like he's about to combust and he's oddly okay with that.

He's fine with the idea of Levi destroying him in this slow, languid and loving manner.

He fucking loves this man so much.

Then, Levi is kissing him down there and Eren bucks and he feels himself gasping, feels the quivering of his legs and the way Levi uses that tongue is just maddening. All his sense are spiked with so many sensations that he's surprised he's not going insane with it.

When Levi enters him, it's almost like there's nothing but the two of them, and everything is just black and then the colors start pouring in, the redness in Levi's cheeks, the glow of the orange lamplight on their sweat-slicked chests and the blue of Levi's eyes.

When they both come, with Eren's name on Levi's lips, it's like Eren's hearing the world for the first time.

The sunlight pours through the white curtains, dimmed and soft as Eren mindlessly traces patterns across Levi's chest. The bustle of life, civilization is a quiet—almost like it's muffled—backdrop to the cadence of their breathing. 09:32 AM blinks from the digital clock sitting on top of the table next to the bed, and for the first time in his entire life, Eren doesn't care.

He feels Levi's arm tighten around him, feels the press of their legs closer and Eren smiles against Levi's neck, content to lay there until eternity and a day.

There's a quiet thumping, slowly growing louder, but Eren dismisses it. He doesn't feel afraid or regretful. He just feels happy and complete. Beside him, Levi continues to play with the hair at the back of Eren's neck.

"Have you been to the ocean?" He asks, and Eren looks up into those blue eyes that had captivated him for so long.

He shakes his head—thinks of a better way of answering—and says, "No."

Levi smiles, a crooked smile that leaves Eren feeling dizzy.

The thumping is louder now, and it's closer. Eren doesn't care.

"I guess I'll have to take you there someday, huh, kid?"

Eren chuckles, and he wants to elbow Levi for calling him a kid but he doesn't feel like it. "I'm twenty-three years old. I'm not a kid."

Levi's brows furrow as he pretends to frown. "Yeah, about that, I still call bullshit. There is no way that you are twenty-three."

The way Levi says it has Eren rolling his eyes. The man smirks, before leaning down to kiss him. Eren raises his head to respond. They aren't rushing, there's no need.

There's a knock on the door.

Eren breaks away and he's about to turn but Levi's hand catches his chin, forcing him to look at the man.

Another knock.

"I love you." Levi says, words quiet, eyes clear and warm. Eren grins, twining his hands with Levi's.

"I love you, too." It's hard to say, it's muffled, it's wispy and it's more breath than words but it's real.

The door is knocked open, and men in blue uniform flood into the room. All Eren sees is Levi's smiling eyes.

AN: ...and I cannot seem to write an Ereri story with a happy ending. Also, do you guys know that Ereri is acually my NOTP. Hahahahuhuhu yes. Eruri is actually my number one OTP but I CANNOT SEEM TO WRITE ANYTHING ABOUT THEM?! Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed it!