I own none of these characters
It had been very subtle.
The way she crossed her arms and turned away whenever he spoke. The black glares he felt burning into his skull when she spotted him from a distance. The way she shifted her body protectively between himself and Eren or Armin. The way she left the table whenever he sat down.
Like she had this morning.
But he was anything if a keen observer. He'd noticed Mikasa's antagonism towards him since the first day.
Well, there was someone else who had the thoroughness he possessed, despite her deceivingly erratic behavior. "Don't think Ackerman likes you very much." Hanji observed astutely, her grin a little teasing as she sat across the table.
He drank his tea. "Does anyone?"
Hanji laughed a little, wiping the corner of her mouth of crumbs. "There's a difference, Levi. She looks at you the way you all look at titans. Hate-filled, enraged, a little blood lust." She shrugged as she swallowed another mouthful of her food. "Or, well, sometimes."
He took another sip of tea and looked out the window disinterestedly. "Sometimes?"
Hanji nodded, enthused by his slight encouragement. "Sometimes she looks at you as if she doesn't understand. Which, she obviously doesn't—I mean, who does really get you?—but she is like you. Sometimes I think that her dislike of you stems from that." She chewed thoughtfully. "You're both a bit aloof and protective. Intense and a bit intimidating. Ruthless fighters. You wrap up your emotions and hide them. She sees herself in you and it unsettles her the way people who don't like their looks hate looking in the mirror."
Levi thought for a moment. Were they really similar? He looked out the window to see Mikasa petting her horse stiffly. The horse shifted away and Mikasa scowled a little.
"You aren't intimidated by me."
She grinned at him. "That's because I know you're a softy."
Levi finished his tea and stood.
"Don't you want to hear the rest of what I have to say?"
Levi gave her head a sympathetic pat as he left the room.
"You aren't very comfortable around the horses."
Mikasa stiffened at the sound of his voice. So he'd noticed her uneasiness with the horses, she thought in irritation. She could ride and ride well, but she was always a bit nervous of the large beasts, afraid of a sudden kick or bite. They seemed to sense that about her, backing away when she reached for them.
Eren and Armin could hug them without qualm.
Levi leaned against the trunk of the tree and observed her for a few moments before he spoke again. "You aren't very comfortable around me, either."
She inhaled deeply. "No, I'm not."
"Are you petty enough to still be angry over that?" He lifted a brow at her superciliously. "Even the brat's forgiven me."
She lifted her head and looked at him head on. "You did what you had to to save him, and a part of me is grateful." She scanned his impassive features, the hardness of his jaw, his straight nose and narrow eyes. "You've even saved me. But it doesn't change the fact that I had to watch you beat Eren while he was helplessly chained." It was one of the worst moments of my life and…and I've had plenty.
He sighed drearily. "You really are like me."
She frowned and before she could ask he bent and grabbed a small sack, reaching into it. He walked over to her and grabbed her wrist, ignoring the way she stepped away. He turned her palm up and unclenched his other fist, pouring a handful of oats into her hand.
Startled, she held still.
The horse inhaled sharply and stepped forward, nuzzling their hands. Levi's pale long fingers remained firm around her wrist, holding it steady as the horse began to eat the oats off her palm. Mikasa watched the horse with a bit of trepidation, her pulse thrumming.
But it was gentle as it ate and after a few silent moments she relaxed and reached up with her other hand, stroking his mane soothingly.
"They feed off your energy. If you are calm and comfortable around them they'll be so around you. In order for you to establish a comfortable and calm aura with them you need to touch them more often, spend more time around them." The horse finished the oats and backed away, swishing its tail happily. "Try to make an effort to not see them as simple beasts. They'll be grateful for you effort. You'll work together much better if you attempt to understand each other a little more."
Still, he didn't release her hand.
She hadn't really realized how close they were standing.
She saw his gaze latch briefly onto her mouth.
"Thank you." Her voice felt a little raspy.
His grip tightened briefly but he nodded curtly.
She pulled away and he released her hand. He grimaced at the saliva coating his fingers. "This is disgusting."
She smirked a little, walking towards the retreating horse a little more confidently.
"Take it back before it shits everywhere, Ackerman."
Her smirk deepened as she tugged up her scarf. "Yes, Heichou."
As Levi scrubbed his hand, he let his mind wander.
Mikasa had her charm, he supposed. Her skin had felt soft, the slight impression of his fingers blushed red on her pale wrist. He recalled thinking he'd never seen eyes so large and dark, curiously mystifying.
He'd never really noticed her mouth much before either.
He sighed and dried his hands.
He hadn't thought he'd have such a strong impulse to pull her nearer.
But he'd seen her reaction to him. He'd felt her pulse quicken beneath his fingers, saw the way her soft pink lips parted as she inhaled. He saw the way she'd looked at him, heat wrapped in confusion.
Yes, her reaction had been subtle.
But he was most definitely a keen observer.
A/N-I actually really wanted to make this multichapter, but since this is my first time writing Rivamika I kind of restrained myself.
My fingertips keep tapping them up despite these self-imposed restraints.
I'll do a multichapter Rivamika eventually or I'll just extend this one.