Here it is! The conclusion :D Hope you have enjoyed! NEW WARNING: SUICIDAL THOUGHTS/ACTIONS! Levi is like seriously OOC in this chapter but that's how we wanted it. I mean how would you be in his situation?
Fair Warnings: Detailed depiction of sickness and injuries, Levi has language and there is violence as well - it's rated for a reason! Also there will probably be some OOC moments (quite a few).
ALSO THIS FEATURES AN ESTABLISHED RIREN (Levi/Revaille and Eren) RELATIONSHIP - Don't like? Then this isn't a tale for you.
Attack on Titan / Shingeki no Kyojin belongs to Hajime Isayama, not us!
It took a moment for everything to set in - for everyone to gather what had just happened. Eren...had taken his last breath. His chest was not moving. His pale lips were still. The ragged wheezes that marked his continuous fight ceased. There was nothing more of Eren Jaeger.
Armin was the first to break, tears immediately pouring down his cheeks and loud hiccupping gasps choking through his throat. Mikasa was frightfully silent. Her tears were quiet and mournful as she patted Armin's back and stared blankly - bleakly - at her lifeless brother; he was all she'd had.
All who were present cried. The worst of them all being Humanity's Strongest, Corporal Levi Ackerman.
He gasped loudly as Eren's breathing faded out. His hand tightened around the shifter's hoping against all odds to feel him grip back. But there was only nothing - that was all there had ever been. Levi was born with nothing and he would end the same. The knife tucked into his uniform pants felt sickly cold against his skin, a sudden, eerie reminder of the promise he had made to himself if Eren were to die. If he dies, I am nothing more.
He'd wait till the burial, maybe. Say goodbye to his brat one last time before going to join him in the afterlife. Although, he was unsure he could even wait that long with the wretched pain in his chest. No, he'd do it tonight - or even now. Eren died among friends, maybe he should do the same? The knife scraped painfully against his waist. I can't take it anymore. Levi grit his teeth in shame. He couldn't look at Eren's body any longer. He had to leave. He had to do it now.
He stood abruptly from his chair, warranting the attention of those still alive.
"Levi...?" was Hanji's sob-slurred question. Anything else was hard to say.
"I'm sorry," he choked, "I just can't do this anymore."
He walked toward the door, feeling frantically for the blade in his pocket. I'll be with you again soon, Eren. Levi smiled to himself.
A hand was on his arm as he reached the knob. He twisted it anyway, shrugging off the weak grip. Levi peered behind him to glare at its owner.
"Corporal, please don't. The corps needs you. Eren...h-he wouldn't have wanted this! Don't..." a sorrowful tear slipped from Mikasa's dark eyes.
Levi blinked. He couldn't remember a single time the cadet had ever talked to him without a sneer in her tone. It boiled his blood-more pent up anger seeping to the surface and rearing its ugly head. Who was she to say what Eren would've wanted? He pulled her hand away from him and pushed her away roughly.
"Don't talk to me," he growled.
"Levi...please." Hanji this time.
"Corporal Levi I know you think you're doing him a service by committing but it won't mean a thing! Eren wouldn't have wanted this! He loved you, dammit, so why won't you respect his damn wishes?!" Mikasa fumed.
And that was it. All Levi's self control went out the window at that. He stopped in his tracks, a perpetual wave to putrid anger washing over him. "What the fuck did you just say?" his voice was strangely calm, to the point of being absolutely fearful for the others present.
Mikasa's brow furrowed, "If you really loved my brother then you'd know what this would do to him."
Levi resisted the slight urge to jump on her and stab the knife into her chest first - he was simply too tired for this. Instead, he pulled the knife from his pocket and placed it at his throat. There was a collective gasp of nerve and then harrowing silence.
"He's dead, Mikasa. It doesn't matter what he thinks now. H-he's gone," he stuttered. Damn it not now, I can't crack now.
"Levi don't!" Hanji yelled. His grip on the knife tightened.
"Corporal..! This is just illogical!" Armin blared through gasping sobs. The sharp edge drew a pinprick of blood.
"Please...Eren...he..." Mikasa was starting to break.
No more, Levi thought, I can't live without him. His muscles tensed at the thought of dragging the smooth blade across his vitals. Fast and deep.
Then there was a sudden inhale and everyone's heads snapped to the presumably dead shifter. Eren...was dead wasn't he? Or maybe...?
The knife clattered to the floor and Hanji rushed to pick it up and stuff it up her sleeve. Suicide was no longer Levi's priority - it was now the unreal signs of life coming from his young lover.
"Eren?" his eyes brimmed with hot tears.
Levi tucked his fingers under Eren's chin to gauge a pulse. He could feel a fluttering rhythm against the scarred digits; a light, yet strong bum-BUMP, bum-BUMP, bum-BUMP.
He wasn't dead. No - he was alive and growing stronger. Levi began to cry in utter relief.
Eren was alive.
Levi remained posted at Eren's bedside, no one had the heart to tear him away. He was the embodiment of anxiety.
Hanji theorized that he wouldn't come back to himself until at last the titan shifter awoke. She had been checking in every half hour; half out of worry for Eren, more than half to make sure Levi was still stable. He was the strongest person she knew and to see him unravel in such a way had been something she never wanted to see again.
She was relieved to find him keeping vigil at his lover's bedside, nothing more. Hanji was quick to leave in case he spotted her spying on him… again.
Eren shifted on the bed, his head lolling a bit.
A small moan of discomfort sounded from the younger. He rolled his head a bit before his eyes began fluttering open. His gaze was confused as he peered to his bedside, finding Levi who was leaning forward in his seat. "...Le'i…" he croaked.
Levi hands hovered, as though he was afraid to touch the other, "Eren.."
He smiled up at his superior wearily, hand reaching up to grasp one of his Corporal's hands. His grip had strengthened some, his palm was no longer cold and clammy. There were so many improvements in such a short time period.
Finally Levi allowed himself to place a gentle hand on Eren's chest. He sunk to the bed, gaze focused on the rise and fall of the brunette's chest.
"Levi…?" came the curious call.
He shook his head in return. "Don't talk… you still need to rest. But.. just breathe for me, Eren. That's all I need…. just breathe."
A look of relative understanding lit up those teal eyes. Eren's other hand rose and placed itself over the warm one on his chest. He decided to do as his lover had asked, for once, with no questions asked. He took a few deep breaths as it seemed to help bring back the composure Levi normally exhibited.
His hand tightened on the one in his hold as he noted the minute tremble in Levi's grip. He pulled the man down onto the bed alongside him. "I'm alright," he whispered hoarsely.
"You died, Eren," came the harsh retort, "you were dead mere hours ago. You can't honestly expect me to think that you're fine."
The sheer amount of bitterness that Eren heard was quite astonishing. Nevermind that he had apparently died. Whatever had transpired, it had unsettled Levi. He was unsure of how to respond. "I'm sorry," he murmured, "I never meant to upset you."
Eren peered sorrowfully over at his lover. Levi was shutting him out - something that hadn't occurred since he had made the mistake of asking about Isabel and Farlan. It had taken two weeks for Levi to finally open up about it.
He didn't know what else to do so he huddled into the crook of Levi's neck, finding solace as the other's scent washed over him. A wave a fatigue hit him; exhaustion drawing him back to unconsciousness. But just as he fell back asleep, he registered the feeling of arms wrapping around him. It brought a smile to his face.
Eren's recovery was an incredibly slow process, considering how quickly he normally healed from things. Hanji became his own personal doctor during which time. Predominantly she monitored his wounds which were healing at a snail's pace; something that irritated Eren to no end.
Everyone remained supportive and helped out Eren's recovery where they could - whether it be by bringing him food, bringing him new clothes, keeping him company or just keeping him up to date on things that happened around headquarters. However it was Levi, of course, who was most active in the recuperation.
After a week and a half of regular pace healing, they began noticing the pick up of pace - Eren's titan healing abilities were back. His wounds sealed, his bruises faded and the majority of his other symptoms disappeared. Hanji finally decided that he was ready to start getting back on his feet. It would require physical therapy to a degree as his muscles had deteriorated so much in such a short time frame. Hanji and Levi were the most active helpers in helping Eren, while Mikasa and Armin came in at a close second.
Eren was always quick to get frustrated with himself. The occasional throwing up of a meal, the lack of strength, the moments of invertigo and his state of vulnerability in general... It made him feel inadequate. Levi seemed quick to pick up on those feelings whenever they appeared and he would quickly counteract the effects - it was another time when the younger realized how well the man knew him.
Two and a half weeks later and Eren's wounds were predominantly healed. He was still physically weak and suffering from mild after effects of the vicious poison that had been running rampant in his bloodstream. The scars from his stab wounds had yet to fade. Hanji believed it was because of the poison, she told him they might never fade. So he was left with visible scars from the event; scars that constantly haunted him and reminded him of the terrible event.
That was also when the nightmares started. Levi had had suspicions of bad dreams as he would often stay up to watch the other sleep - concern and sheer need to see his love continue breathing driving him on. But it was never clearly apparent until one night when Eren woke up screaming in absolute terror. It had taken him a full hour to calm down and tell Levi that he had dreamed of Allister coming in and killing everyone before finally killing him. It tortured Levi to no end as he couldn't protect his lover from dreams.
Yet, despite everything else, Eren was recovering. He had been broken and battered but he was healing. And that was something in itself.
The couple sat quietly side by side, enjoying the sunlight. It was one of the few times that they had deemed Eren strong enough to venture outside. Needless to say, the teen was relishing the moment.
The titan shifter was doing a bit better than he had been, even though bags were under his eyes from lack of sleep - either from gagging or nightmares that woke him in the midst of night. His color had started to return and some of his strength was back. Hanji had decided that in another week or so, if he was doing well enough, they would let him pick his gear back up.
He breathed in deeply, enjoying the fresh air and the warm sun that peaked out from behind clouds overhead. His thoughts wandered endlessly, but they landed on a particular one that stood out from the others. "Hey Levi," he called suddenly.
He shifted his gaze in nervousness, "I was talking to Hanji earlier and she told me something from when I was... sick... But I wanted to ask you about it."
The older male looked at him suspiciously, "Alright. What is it?"
Eren fidgeted a bit before eventually speaking, "She said that when everyone thought I had died that you tried to kill yourself." His oceanic eyes sought out his lover anxiously, "Is that true? Would you really have gone through with that?"
Levi seemed to deliberate his answer before he nodded, "Yes. I suppose I would have."
"No," he said with a sharp tone, "I would have done it because I have realized that a life without you is not one I want to live. If the option were to exist without you or to die, then I would always choose death."
Eren was stunned by the sincerity he heard. He looked away, "But I'm not worth your life..."
Levi grabbed his chin and made him look up, "No... You're worth more than that."
"How can you say that?! Your life means so much to me!"
"And yours means more to me, especially now," he shot back. "You've managed to break past every single wall I made around myself and nestled yourself in my core. Now that you're there - there's no removing you."
Tears trickled down the brunette's cheeks, silenced by his lover's soft touch.
A hand grabbed Eren's own as the Corporal continued, "This incident has made me realize how much I need you with me. This world is hellish and life is fleeting; and even if you're some kind of magically healing little shit, death is still a real possibility for you." He gazed over imploringly at the titan shifter, suddenly doubtless of everything he had ever done, "I don't want to have either of us die with any regrets. Which is why…"
With confident motions, Levi stood from the log and knelt before the other, grasping his hand tightly.
Before he had been pondering if he would actually go through with it; but being there in that moment, he never felt so sure of anything else.
Eren gaped at him tearfully, "L-Levi…"
"Eren... You are everything to me and without you I have nothing." He made a face, "That sounded so fucking cheesy…."
The younger gave a wet laugh.
Levi refocused himself, "You're my brat and you will always be my brat. So I ask you to bear a ring that will show the world who you belong to."
He laughed again and wiped a bit at his face, "T-That was so romantic…"
"Oh shut up and marry me, shit head," his lover grumbled.
"Now that's more like you," Eren teased, "and of course I will."
He seemed mildly surprised. "You will?"
"...Just like that?"
"Just like that."
Levi allowed himself to smile uncharacteristically. It felt odd to smile, but upon seeing the blush Eren gave, he decided it wouldn't hurt to direct more small affections like that toward the other. A smile reserved for his brat and his brat alone.
In his flustered state, Eren managed to mumble out something that Levi didn't catch.
"What did you say, brat?"
"...You look cute when you smile…"
Immediately a scowl took his features as he stood from his kneeling position, "Don't you dare call me cute. I am not cute."
The brunette followed him up and smiled sheepishly, "To me you are."
A comfortable silence passed between them as Levi wordlessly slipped on the silver band onto Eren's ring finger. Their hands interlocked afterwards, an air of peace surrounding them.
Levi gave a smirk, "Eren Ackerman."
Eren hid his face in his hands as a blush took his face. He leaned into the other's shoulder to try and hide his embarrassment.
He sucked in a breath suddenly as a bolt of pain emanated from his shoulder.
"Eren," the shorter man called sharply.
He took a few breaths as it ebbed away, "Fine… just a little pain."
Those gunmetal gray eyes scrutinized him carefully, "We should go in then. You are still recovering."
Eren decided not to fight it and allowed his Corporal - his fiancé - to lead him back in. He smiled like a fool at the thought.
"What are you grinning about," Levi questioned with a narrowed gaze.
He smiled sweetly at him, "Eren Ackerman."
The other rolled his eyes as he continued leading them back inside. Though a possessive arm wrapped around Eren's waist as they walked.
"Shut the fuck up, adorable shit head."
The rest of the day passed rather blissfully for Eren. He was truly happy for the first time in a long time. As he thought more about it, he realized that despite everything he was going through and had gone through, Levi had stuck with him. His gaze softened as he peered down at the silver band that sat comfortably on his ring finger. And it seemed Levi was content to stick with him through it all.
Their dynamic had changed somehow, just so, and Eren hadn't even noticed until they laid down to sleep. They were closer, more connected to one another - if the affection he found in those gray eyes was any indication. Their eyes met and though nothing was said, the words they wished to say were conveyed.
His heart was light and at peace. He had Levi and Levi had him.
A hand reached out and placed itself just above his heart. He smiled tiredly and wrapped his own hand around it.
It was Levi's newfound habit, to have a hand on Eren's chest so that he could feel the steady rise and fall of his lover's breaths.
It served as a reassurance that he was alive - that he was breathing.
There we have it! Thank you guys so much for all the support and whatever else, we adore every one of you - even our darling guest reviewers! Tell us how we did and R&R if you want.
Hope you have enjoyed! This will not be the last work between myself and Aria, I'm sure. Make sure you check her out, I couldn't have written this fic without her :) Thank you again! 3