Perhaps he should have called.

But then again, wouldn't that completely defeat the point of making this a surprise? It's not often that someone gets to catch Levi off guard, after all.

In a good way, of course. Or at least, he hopes it'll be a good surprise. Nothing would suck more than going through great lengths to convince his family—or Mikasa, really. Maybe just Mikasa—only to find himself getting kicked out less than three hours later.

Levi's late.

Is he always this late?

Not that he'd know. Levi was the one who always went through the effort to fit into his schedule, not the other way around.

Maybe this is a bad idea.

Or maybe overthinking things is the bad idea.

Eren waits, because there isn't much else to do. He takes out the handkerchief that he's gotten used to carrying along with him ever since he finds himself privy to Levi's company and puts in on a spot beside the door before he sits.

It's 10pm.

Levi drags himself home at around 1am after Hanji screams at him through the phone, telling him about her latest discovery and oh, is he still in the office because if he is she'll be right there to show instead of tell.

He packs up his suitcase pretty quickly after that. Never mind the fact that she might already be on the way there; anything's better than hanging out with Hanji when she's in one of her moods.

He comes home to a door blocked by a brat sleeping near the entrance. There's a handkerchief somewhere beneath him that shows that the brat was probably sitting by the door before.

Thanks to his obviously unsightly sleeping habits, though, Eren's now all over the filthy floor.

Levi frowns and clicks his tongue; no way in hell is he going to let Eren anywhere near his bed in that condition.

He then notices the moderately sized duffle bag Eren is using as his pillow.

Levi walks towards the boy and pinches his cheek, though not with much effort.

"Brat," he calls out, "Did your old man kick you out? Just so you know, my house isn't a refuge."

Eren stirs in his sleep and slowly gets one eye partially open, but he hardly seems awake. He does still manage to give Levi a loopy grin, though.

"Didn't get thrown out," he replies with something that sounds like a mid yawn, choosing to nuzzle his cheek against Levi's fingers instead of protesting, the damn brat.

"So you're homeless by choice," Levi says wryly, but knows better than to expect a coherent answer.

He grabs a key from his front pocket and turns it in the keyhole before heaving Eren's body upright, slinging one of the boy's arms around his shoulder and slowly making his way inside the house. Levi briefly considers dropping Eren on the couch and getting him to clean after himself tomorrow—serves him right for just dropping by out of nowhere.

He changes his mind, though, when Eren unconsciously leans closer to his ear and mumbles in his sleep.

"Welcome home."

The older man pauses in his tracks and scoffs.

"You're just adding to my chores, brat."

But he does decide to drag Eren's body all the way to his bed. He already planned to change the sheets the next day, anyways.

He wakes up to see Eren staring at him.

"Do that again and you're gonna give someone a heart attack."

"You don't seem very surprised, though," Eren points out, smiling cheekily.

It's probably because Levi's used to Eren's weirdness by now, but that isn't really something he feels like saying so he simply settles for an unintelligible noise as a response.

"Get lost, kid."

"Urm, well."

The brief moment of hesitation brings his attention over to Eren, who's now gingerly reaching for the thing quilt and nervously clenching and unclenching his hold around it.

"So you did get disowned."

"What? No," the boy retorts, frowning in annoyance. "Stop assuming that. You say it every time I stay over."

"Because I don't get how people cope with your shit," Levi steadily replies. "And you brought a bag over this time."

He moves his head slightly towards the duffel bag in the corner of the room, already wiped and cleaned.

"Freak," Eren breathes, but bites his lips when Levi gives him a look.

"You were saying?"

"I'm staying over," he quickly changes the topic, "For the summer, I mean."

Levi stares at him like he'd just grown another pair of hands, raising one of his eyebrows in suspicion.

"I do have permission, I swear," Eren insists stubbornly, slightly frustrated now. "You can ask Dad if you really don't believe me. Or Mikasa."

Though he kind of hopes he won't, because Mikasa wasn't exactly what Eren would call pleased when he left.

Levi sighs.

"Telling me to speak to a parent just reminds me of how much of a kid you are."

"Well it'll help if you can stop treating me like one," Eren snaps, but leans closer towards him when Levi makes no move to kick him out of the bed.

"You're filthy," is what comes out of his mouth instead.

"Yeah, okay. I'll clean up later," Eren says half-seriously, but doesn't move an inch. Levi rolls his eyes. "Maybe you should give me your spare keys, since we're living together and all."


Not because he doesn't want to—though he personally doesn't think that handing out spare keys to a high school student is the smartest thing to do—but because he doesn't have any. Levi makes a mental note to drop by the keysmith's when he has the time.

Eren seems disappointed, but hides it behind a pillow two seconds later.

"It's still early. I'm going back to sleep."

But Levi pries the pillow away from under his face, tugging his body with just enough force to cause Eren to look in his direction.

"Holy shit, are you one of those people with weird waking up rules because that's seriously—"

"Eren," Levi cuts him off, "Shut up."

And then the older man kisses him senseless.

"Oh," Eren manages to say.

And as Levi's lips begins tracing the side of his neck, Eren thinks that maybe Levi is happy after all.

The first few nights that Eren spends at Levi's place passes by uneventfully. On the fourth night, though, he's rudely woken up by a piece of cloth shoved into his mouth.

He wakes up with a start, spits it out and nearly sputters before he remembers Levi's obsessive cleaning streak, and refrains himself. He wishes he'd just gone ahead and do it, though, when he sees the hint of amusement in Levi's face.

"You could have choked me to death!"

"I would've saved you at the last second," Levi corrects, as if it's supposed to make him feel better, "And it's your fault for drooling."

Because apparently drooling is a good enough reason to warrant a murder attempt. Eren pulls a face. Levi can be a real sadist at times.

The older man, already dressed up in a white collared shirt and a pair of matching pants, is buttoning up the cuffs of his sleeves. Eren settles back down on the bed and watches sleepily. Levi has this strange habit of waking him up right before he sets off for work, though he never claims to do it on purpose.

Eren thinks he just wants someone to send him off, even if it's from the bed, and finds that to be really cute. Of course, they'll go to hell and back before either of them admits anything to the other.

"Make sure you clean up."

"I know," he mutters.

He's done more cleaning in the last four days than he ever did throughout his life.

"Cram school?"

"Starts tomorrow."

"You're going to need breakfast then."

"You do too," Eren tells him offhandedly, "And I can make something on my own. Would've done something for you too, if you'd actually bothered to tell me what time you go off for work."

"It's your fourth day here. Figure that out yourself."

Levi starts ruffling his hair, and Eren makes a big fuss but doesn't really go out of his way to avoid it.

"Keys are in the drawer."

"What time are you coming back?"

"Late." Something must have shown on his face, because Levi quickly adds, "I'll try to get out fast."

He looks away when Eren gives him a bright smile, turning around and walking towards the door.

"Stay safe. Come back soon."

Levi stiffens, obviously not used to this. Eren finds that cute too.

"Yeah, okay."

Whatever half-truths he had fed his dad during his mission to try to haul his ass away from home, Mikasa is obviously having none of it.

"Come home, Eren," she pesters again in cram school.

Eren handles it like how he always does; by blatantly ignoring her words and focusing his attention on Armin instead. Luckily the other boy is much more understanding, and gives Eren a supportive smile.

"She's been irritated the whole time while you're not around."

"God, Mikasa," Eren starts, frustrated, "You're not my keeper."

He's really getting sick of being treated like a child. And Mikasa's, what, just a few months older than him? At least with Levi he could blame it on the age gap.

"I don't trust that shrimp."

"You don't even know him!"

Mikasa sends a sharp glare his way.

That might have been his fault. He's never actually told them that he and Levi are sleeping together, but since he spends so much time with the two and they've already known him for more than half of the seventeen years of his life, it doesn't take a lot of effort for them to put two and two together.

Seeing as she had to figure it out on her own rather than through Eren coming clean with her, Mikasa arrives to the conclusion that Levi is obviously a bad influence and had converted her darling little brother to becoming an unreasonable liar.

Eren calls it the 'Mikasa logic'. Armin tells him that her worries are founded, even though she's probably making a bigger fuss about it than what it's worth.

"For the record, though, I think he's good for you."

Eren didn't have a chance to ask what he meant by it, too distraught over the fact that his two best friends actually make it their duty to know who he sleeps with.

Or maybe they're just worried, since Levi's name is first on the list. That still doesn't mean that he'll agree to Mikasa's meddling.

"Maybe I should move next door," Mikasa contemplates.

"And how on earth would you manage that?"

"I can," she says simply, and Eren doesn't question because he has the sinking feeling that Mikasa will actually succeed if she puts her mind to it. Even Armin looks a bit worried.

It's not the first time she decides to take drastic measures when it comes to matters concerning him.

"Listen. I call you every day, don't I? Can't you please give me a chance?"

Armin smiles despite himself, because though Mikasa might be overly protective of Eren, it's also no secret that she has a very soft spot for him.

Not that Eren knows. He's always too busy being irritated to notice much at all.

Mikasa responds with a noncommittal noise. Eren bites his bottom lip and frowns, unsure if he's actually getting through to her.

Mikasa doesn't bring up the subject again for the rest of the day. Eren tries to convince himself that he's safe, at least for the time being.

Eren starts packing him sandwiches so he'll stop missing breakfast.

It doesn't taste all that good or anything—borders between 'beginner level' and 'acceptable', probably something you'd expect from a high school brat. Levi figures he deserves that much at least, especially after all the death threats Mikasa had casually thrown his way.

He's not even going to ask how she managed to get a hold of his phone number. Doesn't expect Eren knows about it either, cause if he did he probably would have gone charging home in a rage.

Hanji takes one look at the packed food he brings along with him and squeals without even bothering with a greeting.

"Leviiiiiii~" she screeches, earning her a frown, "You've landed yourself a woman!"

Levi 'hmm's in reply as Hanji shamelessly helps herself to a serving.

"Whoever it is, they need more practice!" Hanji laughs, but grabs another piece anyway.

Levi's pretty much used to Hanji's antics by now, so he pays no mind when she treats his food like her own (after making sure she's washed her hands, of course.) Grits his teeth through it when Petra and Mike pays him a visit as well.

But when even Irvin drops by for a bite, no doubt spurred by whatever bullshit Hanji has spread around the office by now, he glares.

"Get your own food," he snaps, and keeps the thing away from everyone's stupid prying eyes.

"Hey, don't blame us for being curious!" Hanji retorts, "It's not everyday we get to see you pampered."

"It's none of your goddamned business."

The knowing smiles plastered on each of their faces just annoy him more.

When he gets home, he tells Eren that he'll have breakfast at home before going to work. Eren peers at him curiously.

"Why?" he asks.

"Does it matter?"

"No. But I thought you liked to be early."

"Look, brat, it's fine as long as I don't skip the meal, right?"


"Then stop being so picky."

Levi spends most days slaving away in his office, so when he mentions that he's getting a day off tomorrow, Eren is understandably pleased.

But of course someone like Levi would ask for leave to clean, out of all things, instead of doing it to spend more time with him.

But in a way he supposes they are spending time together… though Eren feels more like a slave than anything else.

"Redo everything," Levi says, eyeing the bedroom with distaste.

"You're kidding, right?"

Except he's not, and Eren groans.

"Have I ever pointed out your freakishness to you? Because that's what you are. A freak."

Times like these serve as a painful reminder that he's actually dating a troublesome teenager. As if the world didn't have any other options.

"Very mature, brat," he replies, stoic. "But it still doesn't change the fact that you have to do it again."

"I hate you so much."

The problem isn't with Eren's cleaning abilities; it's with Levi's absurdly high standards. He not-so-politely points that out to him when Levi comes to criticise his work on the bathroom.

"I didn't ask you to stay," is what he gets in response, and it pisses Eren off so much that he decides to dump a bucket filled with water on Levi's head.

… A bucked filled with dirty water.

He regrets his decision two seconds later, because even though Eren might whine and complain a lot around Levi, he still takes extra care not to overstep his bounds. An angry Levi is not pleasant, and to be honest, Eren might be kind of scared of him…

Before he can even think, Levi grabs his collar and throws him into the partially full bathtub.

The water's not dirty, thankfully, and it seems like a pretty meager punishment at best. But it's not like Levi can do any worse, unless he plans on killing him… which does seem like something he's about to do.

"I'm sorry!" Eren yelps, scrambling to get on his feet when he sees Levi picking up a mop and swinging it around like a weapon.

Levi says nothing, making Eren fear for his life because it also means that no amount of begging will reach his ears.

And then Levi slams his mop down at the place where Eren had been mere seconds before.


After minutes of running, begging and forcing the mop away from Levi, the man lets him off after he promises to re-clean the whole house twice. Levi wordlessly storms off and slams the bathroom door behind him. Eren sighs in relief.

He never complains about Cleaning Day again.

He's not used to this.

(Waiting in front of the door of his own apartment for someone to open it for him annoys him somewhat, especially if he has to ring the doorbell.

"I'll leave the door unlocked then," Eren tells him.

Levi presses his knuckles to Eren's head.

"Hasn't anyone ever told you about safety precautions?"

"I'll watch over the house!"

It's you I'm worried about.

Eren sleeps like the dead, after all.)

There's also the time when Eren misplaces the keys. And the remote. And the fucking phone receiver. Basically anything smaller than his own head.

("I told you I was sorry," Eren mutters, showering him with kisses, "I'm sorry, okay?"

Levi entangles his fingers in Eren's hair and fondly messes it up.)

And then there's the time Levi wastes, doing stupid things that don't even mildly interest him.

(His eyes are trained on the television, but Levi isn't really watching. He's too busy noticing the hand that creeps closer towards his own, but never quite reaching them.

He sighs and shifts, placing his palm on top of the hand. Eren visibly stiffens for a moment, then relaxes when Levi fills up the interval between his fingers.

"You're not even watching, are you?" Levi asks casually, his gaze still focused on the screen.

"No," Eren admits, "Not at all."

Levi gently squeezes his hand.)

He's not used to any of it.

But then there's this.

("Welcome back," Eren greets him, slightly out of breath, "Sorry for the wait. I was in the shower."

There's food on the table: takeaway, as always, but Levi finds his favourite dish every single time. The living room looks untidy but used, a far cry from the empty room he's so used to coming back to. Eren leaves his schoolbook all over the table, filled with jots and scribbles. The television is left on.

Levi makes his way to the dining table, but Eren tugs on his shirt before he can move.

"You forgot to say something."

Not for the first time, Levi inwardly curses Eren and his love for cliché greetings. He ends up giving in anyway.

"… I'm home.")

And sometimes he thinks it might be worth getting used to.

("… What're you doing?" Eren asks, voice still husky from sleep.

Levi doesn't spare him a glance.


"This late?"

"Go back to sleep."

Because Eren is a shitty brat, he doesn't listen. Instead he makes himself comfortable in the chair beside Levi, rests his head on the dining table and yawns pathetically. His arm slowly stretches towards one of his physics textbook.

Levi smirks despite himself.

"You plan to read yourself to sleep?"

Eren frowns.

"I'm going to study."

"Whatever you say, kid."

"I am!"

He doesn't. The only outstanding thing Eren manages to do is to make the fat textbook appear like a fluffy pillow.

"You're really a fucking chore."

He grabs the quilt from the bedroom, covers Eren's body and takes occasional breaks from his work to poke fun at the kid's stupid face.)

All those stupid gestures and random moments.

(Eren begins to say something like "I lo—" but chokes on his words halfway through. He looks away, flustered, and mumbles, "Forget it."

Levi wonders what sparked the attempt. Eren usually never bothers with all the sappy stuffs out of the bedroom.

"I love you?" he tries, because he knows that Eren was about to say and likes to wind him up, "Me too."

Eren's face turns redder in response, but instead of being pleased he appears annoyed, swatting Levi's hand away. Levi frowns.

Teenagers are so damn complicated.)

Not bad. Not bad at all.

Sometimes either in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning when Eren thinks Levi's fast asleep, he'll snuggle closer to him and presses his ear against Levi's chest.

Most days, Levi will just stay still and pretends he doesn't notice until Eren gets up and goes to wash his face. Occasionally, when Eren clings to his shirt and his grip feels a tiny bit desperate, Levi drops the act and wraps his arm around the boy—slowly, of course, because if he does it too fast Eren will act all embarrassed and give Levi hell for treating him like a kid.

If he does it right, though, Eren just lets out a soft sigh.

"Sorry," he whispers, "I'm a wreck."

Levi says nothing, just places light kisses on Eren's forehead, his cheeks, his ears, the back of his wrist until the latter's quickened breathing settles.

Eren blames himself for a lot of things, and Levi figures it has something to do with being young. Youngsters think they have the power to change the world, after all, and it's not until they grow older and hit the ceiling of their dreams do they realise that most things that happen are really out of their control. Then people just stop trying so hard and settle for blaming the circumstances, something Levi finds to be a sign of weakness.

But he does wish Eren would stop killing himself over this.

Because no one would blame a boy for not noticing his mother dying in her sleep as he slept beside her. No one would blame a twelve-year-old kid for not being awake when she had that heart attack, especially when her medical records showed no history of anything like that ever happening.

Levi doesn't whisper sweet reassurances in his ear because he's not good with words and he doesn't make any promises he's not sure he's able to keep, but he doesn't let go until Eren is completely calm, doesn't get up even when it's way past the time for him to get ready.

"I'm okay," Eren tells him eventually, and repeats the word over and over as if he's convincing himself.

"Thank you," Eren will say later after they've had breakfast, with his gaze lowered and his voice barely above a whisper.

He doesn't say anything beyond that, but they both know what it's for.

Levi has an age complex.

Eren looks at him like he doesn't care. Levi didn't use to care either… until he's sleeping with someone almost twenty years his junior.

He understands why Mikasa acts so paranoid: the telltale signs are there. Little things like Levi not being that much younger than Eren's dad, for instance, or the fact that they met during a Career Day trip where Levi was supposed to be a projection of what Eren might be years down the future.

Eren doesn't care, but isn't that because he doesn't know he should? Levi's made a lot of stupid decisions when he was seventeen; he wouldn't trust his past self with something as important as choosing a life partner.

Then again, if he were even half as responsible as he makes himself to be, he would have ended this two years ago. Back when Eren was still a wide-eyed idealist and looked at Levi like he's the reincarnation of God; back when Levi really thought of him as nothing more than an obnoxious brat.

He's not going to achieve anything if he ends it after they've gone that far anyways. It's not like Eren will listen to reason. He'll just end up with a shorter temper.

Still, it doesn't take a genius to know which side to blame if anything ever goes wrong between them.

And there's also the more superficial aspect of things. The part where Levi and Eren neither read the same books nor listen to the same songs.

"What do brats nowadays do, anyway? The only ones I've seen are just uselessly loitering the streets."

"What do they do?" Eren repeats, appearing as confused Levi, "I don't know. Parties? Clubs?"

Levi stares at him. Eren blinks.

"What?" he asks, annoyed again.


Now he remembers why Eren would even settle for someone twice his age: the brat is obsessive, single-track minded… and just plain weird. Normal kids don't stay over the weekend to study.

Heck, normal kids would actually date people their age.

"Are you doing homework?"


"You're planning to finish it?"

"What's your point?"


Eren looks really irritated now.

"Quit it!" he snaps.

"The only thing young about you is your temper."

"What the fu—"

"Case in point."

Levi ruffles his hair again.

"For god's sake…" Eren mutters, but as usual he doesn't move an inch.

(Levi sometimes thinks Eren can read minds, because later that night when they're lying on the bed—exhausted but thoroughly sated—Eren gives him a long hard look, brows furrowed.

"I really like you," he says seriously, and Levi inwardly laughs because sex is probably the only thing that gets those out of him.

"I'd be concerned if you don't, after all we've done."

Eren doesn't take the bait, which only shows he has something else on his mind. Stupid brat can't focus on more than one thing at a time.

"It's not a whim."

"Isn't it?"

"If you'd just take me seriously for even one second—"

"I do take you seriously, you damn idiot."

Eren stares at him with those blinding green eyes of his and it's painful, somewhat, because even after two years Eren still looks at him like he's a godsend when all Levi's been trying to do is to not fuck everything up.

"It's not a whim," Eren repeats.

"I know."

Levi pushes him down, brings Eren's lips to his own, nibbles and sucks at every inch of his skin, watches as Eren revels in the sensations and thinks mine mine mine.)

Eren's cleaning without being told, but Levi can't find it in him to be pleased because it just means that Eren is packing up to leave.

And that's just stupid, because they're probably going to see each other tomorrow for lunch like how they always do before.

Shit, the brat's turning him into a sap.

At least Eren looks ten times more miserable than Levi does. If the kid is even trying to hide the expression on his face, he's failing miserably. Eren grabs the belongings he's laid down on the bed and carelessly flings it into his bag.

Levi doesn't bother to tell him off.

He sends Eren home in his car, but they end up taking the long way back. Even after they've arrived in front of the house, Eren shows no signs of moving.

Levi doesn't tell him to.

"Isn't it ironic that you finally take a day off for me on the day I'm going back?"

Yeah, well, at least Levi knows Eren will forever be a brat, regardless of whether they're staying together or not.

"You'd rather I didn't?"


"Then I don't get why you need to complain."

Eren glares in the manner he always does when Levi makes a perfectly valid point.

"I'm going," Eren says finally after what feels like hours of staying there doing nothing.


Eren gets out of the car, retrieves his bag from the boot and starts walking towards the gate of his own home. He's halfway there when he suddenly drops his bag on the floor, turns around and makes his way back.


"I forgot," Eren says, and then brings their lips together for the sloppiest kiss Levi's ever received.



Two years later, Eren knows he should have called.

Two years later, Levi finds the brat in front of his door again.

It's almost the exact same scene from before, except Eren's not sleeping this time, Levi arrives earlier, and Eren has two humongous bags left beside him.

"Back again?" Levi regards coolly, not at all surprised. "You could have said something when we met for lunch earlier."


"You're an idiot."

Eren grits his teeth. Just because he's older doesn't mean he's changed much, though he does try to keep his temper in check more often.

Levi unlocks the door and carries one of the bags inside.



"Shouldn't you give me the spare keys now?"

Levi grabs something from his back pocket and flings it in Eren's direction, who curses and scrambles in a panic to catch it before it falls.

It's about time, really. He's been carrying it around for the last two years.