There's a frost nipping at his toes and stinging his fingertips. No matter how hard he digs his hands into his chilled body, he can't keep the warmth in his hands. His knees are draw to his chest, scraps of newspaper and cardboard under his ass, trying to prevent the cold pavement from freezing his rump, arms wrapped so tightly around himself it hurts. His clothing's too thin to prevent the cold air from seeping in to kiss his goose pimpled skin.
He should go home, he knows this, knows that despite the waft of alcohol and filth, it's warm there. At the very least, he wouldn't freeze to death, but the idea of his keeper, he wouldn't dare call him a father, willed him to take the risk. A couple more hours and the man would be laid out. He could sneak in then, quiet and perhaps even hide when he woke.
There is a convenient little access to a crawl space, tucked away in the back of his closet. The previous owners more than likely cut out the section of wall to get to plumbing, he however, dubbed it his safe haven. He was lucky he was tinier than most, it wasn't the most comfortable place to hide, and of course it was dirty, but his father didn't know about it. He filled his closet the best he could to distract attention from the two by two square cut into the closet's side wall, and so far it had been a sanctuary if things went south.
Once home, if his father woke he could easily make his retreat, making it seem like he never came home the night before. It wouldn't be the first time he had fooled that man into thinking he wasn't there. Anything so he could escape his hands, his fist, his…
He didn't finish the thought, a strange noise, from his suppressed whimper low in his throat, reached his ears. It only served to upset him, beside himself with embarrassment. He's alerted to the sound of someone passing by, or at least he hopes they will walk past the alley. But his luck was always as fresh as a week old dog shit.
His breath stills as he hears foot falls growing louder, and he pushes himself further against the brick wall of the tiny alley, praying the bags of garbage hid him well enough so he couldn't be seen.
You never knew who would stumble through these narrow passages, nor would one want to find out. He was young, but he wasn't stupid. At only fifteen, he was well versed in the grotesque nature of mankind. The way they thought, processed, desired and craved, especially when there was no one to judge their actions. Unbridled thoughts becoming realized, much in the way people hid behind technology.
Anyone could be anything, say anything, without much consequence. Anonymity, was a frightening steroid for those repressed by society. It wasn't always a problem, most of the time it was innocent curiosity, but in turn it could just as well be brutal, vicious, and unrelenting.
The footsteps stop short a few feet away, and he holds his breath. He hears a cooing, something being set down, whispered mournful words, heartbroken and rushed, and he feels his heart drop from his chest at the sound of a small gargled giggle. He hears the rustling of fabric before feet make their way hurriedly out of the alley.
Then he hears it. Hears the small sniffle slowly transform into a pitched wail. He doesn't waste time in jumping up, his bones creak and pop at the force of movement after being still for so long. He ignores the ache, stumbling over his numb feet. He looks to the end of the alley to find it empty, whoever was there gone. He turns to face the bundle in a makeshift box, his heart nearly shattering at the cruelty of it all.
It's not that this doesn't happen. These things do happen, too much to justify in this area, despite the poverty and depravity that ran ramped. He carefully bends down, lifting the bundle at arm's length in front of his eyes. The small hand knitted blanket falls over the babies shoulder, the child ceasing its tears as wet wide eyes lock onto his own. In the poor light he can't make out the exact color, but he thinks they're hazel or golden brown. The boys tears forgotten he smiles with his tongue out, innocent and unaware of his own abandonment.
A tiny hand tries to clasp itself around his thumbs, when proving fruitless the child chuckles and slaps at them playfully before scratching at them. Tears are still wet on the baby's plump pink cheeks, his toothy grin moist from either snot or drool, perhaps even a combination of both, and despite how disgusting the little soiled shit is, he can't help but think he's cute.
He's found children a couple times before, but never this young. He'd brought the police more than a fair share of toddlers, lost or abandoned, only to have them thrown into new families or homes. Some ended up better than others, but most he didn't have the slightest what became of them. It was enough to know they were warm and feed, whether that meant adoption or a group home.
He even tried to turn himself in, but once they found his father all his truths were a child's elaborate lies and the beating he would be subjected to make those frail attempts few and far between before completely becoming nonexistent.
He pulls the baby closer, balancing himself so he can use his worn sleeve to wipe away some of the nasty shit the kid secreted off the baby's face. The infant makes an odd 'gah-eeeaa' like sound, similar to a grunt, face twisting akin to annoyance before relaxing his scrunched up features and reaching out to hold his own chilled cheeks.
The touch is warm, soft, and the thin nails bite a little uncomfortably at his skin but he welcomes it with a barely there smile twitching at his lips. The boy coos at him, an impossibly wide smile of gums and giggles. There's something different about this one. Maybe it's just the night, maybe it's just his vulnerability as of late, or perhaps he's at a point where he needs to have a real reason to live, a purpose. To become the hope for this child without a future. He knows he's making an impossibly irresponsible decision, but his mind dismisses the thought of changing it.
"It's Levi you little shit machine."
"Breeeleee," the infant responds and Levi's smile is more than just a tiny twitch.
"Not bad, we'll work on it."
(*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノ
It proves more difficult than he could have ever imagined to keep the boy safe. Levi hides the boy in his usual hiding place in his home, but that leaves himself vulnerable. His old man is rarely ever at home, but when he is he makes his presence known. Levi lost count of the welts and bruises littered over himself, it's miraculous that the man hadn't found out about the boy so far. Though in retrospect, you have to be coherent to put two and two together. He was glad they lived in an apartment, at least this way he could pass off any tell-tale sounds as the neighbors.
It had only been a couple weeks since he found the brat. More often than not, to be safer, he took the child out of the home and to the local stores to sit in the food courts and lobbies. The brat proved useful in receiving small handouts from strangers that would pass by but stop to fawn over the little tike. He had to lie when they asked how old the child was, he really didn't know, but he had settled to the response of just under a year. He would usually end up telling them a lie and say they were waiting for their parents to finish shopping, or finish working. It was enough to dismiss the more suspicious ones.
Though he could go without the praise of being such a good older brother, and he certainly could go without the jaw gritting irritation at how they interacted with his "little brother", but that aside the food and drinks were nice so he, begrudged or not, accepted them as politely as he could manage.
He would return late in the evening when the shops closed. It was too cold to stay outside, and though he knew he could tolerate it, he refused to put his little shit minion in danger. Taking care of him, outside of just hiding him, proved to be more than a chore. He made make shift diapers, which made him feel unbelievably guilty. He had to wash them in the sink, with little more than dish soap. It was appalling for him to have to scrub them by hand, but he couldn't risk his father seeing shit and piss covered cloth in their wash.
Baby food provided much easier to steal, or obtain, than diapers, so he kept a little stash under his bed. Sometimes he could convince customers at the stores to buy it for him with a made up story.
'I lost the money mom gave me to buy my brother food,' he would say pitifully.
Even though it nearly killed him to have to do so, if it was for the little rug rat he would tolerate it.
Though the pressing need to be free of his guardian's grasp and move to a safer more conducive environment for the kid, was at the fore front of his mind. The big question was how exactly to go about it? He was a year too young to get a job, unless he could find something under the table, but even then he didn't have anyone to watch the kid, so that was out. If he could find someone to watch him, perhaps a day care?
Which would be perfect if he had some cash. The real conundrum was getting cash so he could get a job to make cash, and there was no guarantee he could even find the work he needed right away.
He didn't really have any material possessions he could pawn, neither did his father. Though, his father's wallet was another thing all together. He was sure he didn't carry large sums of money, but it was possible he could pinch a few bucks here and there and get what he needed. He knew the man collected unemployment and child support, which was usually deposited directly into his account. Every time the man went out he pulled some cash. His favorite bar to frequent was cash only, the only problem lie in the inconsistency.
Flawed as it was, Levi did as he so hap hazardously planned. Over the next couple weeks, he waited till his old man was out cold before locating his wallet and pocketing a few bills. It went well in the beginning, thee oh so responsible parent too hung-over in the mornings to remember how much he had spent the nights before.
But his luck was bound to run out, after all, it always did.
The same day he secured an interview with a local shop owner for the following day, shit hit the fan. He only need a couple more dollars, just a couple more to have enough for the day care to watch the brat for him. He was as careful as always, heel to toe as he distributed his weight as carefully as possible. The second he reached the wallet, the very instant his hand felt the worn cool leather material, a vice grip nearly crushed his wrist and his eyes turned on his old man with shock.
It all happened to quickly after that. He struggled, guarded against what hits he could, making sure to protect his head if nothing else. It wasn't until he was dragged to his room that his throat seized. He knew what would happen, and he forced himself not to look at the closet, praying he could keep silent enough not to stir the younger. A word of praise for his compliance as his wrists were bound by a belt, his stomach knotting in response.
He wanted to spit, curse, yell, but this wasn't new. It hadn't come to this is such a long time. Levi's eyes squeezed shut as he tried to think of anything else other than the hands tearing at his clothing and the sickening man breathing heavy from alcohol and what he chose not to put a name on. The only thought prominent on his mind, circled and repeated, 'your own child. Doing this to your own child.'
Try as he might he couldn't bare the pain that ripped him raw. The scream that tore through his throat just as agonizing as the pain that tore at him below.
Soon following his heart froze in his chest. Not at the man on top of him, no. No, it was the shrill scream of the child he hid. It was the moment his 'father' stopped, perplexed at the too familiar sound. It was when the male shoved himself off Levi and stalked closer to the noise that he felt a rush through his body, a strength he never knew he had. His mind supplying him only one command, Protect him.
His father didn't even manage to get his hand on the door knob before he launched himself at the man. He looped his arms over his head and took his bound wrists against the man's throat, shoving his foot into the back of his head when he felt back against the floor. It was a strange angle but Levi pulled back on his arms and pushed forward with his foot as hard as he could, using his other leg to help push against his shoulder.
He watched the man convulse and try to pull at the belted wrists at his neck, but Levi only leant backwards to put more force into it.
He wasn't sure when the man stopped. The fifteen year old only hearing the blood pumping in his ears and the fast heavy gasps of air from his own lungs. He didn't know how much time he stayed like that after he asphyxiated the older man. It was only after the ringing in his ears died down that he heard the boy's cries and rushed to him, the adrenaline allowing him a reprieve from the pain.
Once he reached him, once he pulled the baby in his arms and let his body sink against the wall, he relaxed with a choked sort of chuckle. The boy that lay, now silent and content, on his chest threading his little fingers into his chest. Levi sighed, told the kid he was ok, they would be ok, and despite knowing full well he was neck deep in shit and then some, he actually felt like it might just turn out fine.
(*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノ
Disposing of the body wasn't easy. He couldn't dump it. He was using the man's credit and debit cards till he managed to make his own money. Thankfully, he had some time left before the renewal of unemployment and food stamps, and a couple years' worth of support checks. Only problem being, if someone found the man glass eyed and pant less, there was really no way he could explain it, and he would easily lose the money, lose his freedom, lose the kid, and he couldn't allow that.
He was no Jeffery Dahmr, but he'd be lying if he said the man didn't give him ideas on how to go about this. The details are completely unnecessary, it's just simpler to summarize that the man was reduced to resemble ground beef. Who would question throwing away bad meat?
The aftermath, the trauma of it, because no one in their right mind could possibly stomach what he had to do without some type of mental scars, he cleaned. He bleached and scrubbed and wiped down every surface within reach. Levi didn't stop until the apartment was bare, white, sparkling. It was only when the boy, free to crawl to his hearts' content, whined for his attention that he stopped.
Levi picked him up and smiled softly. The only creature alive able to draw out such a rare expression from him. The boy grabbed his noise and cooed a broken rendition of his name.
"Ah," Levi mumbled, "I guess it's about time you go by a name other than brat huh you little shit?"
The boy only giggled, batting his hand at Levi's nose playfully. Levi in response squinting his eyes and chuckling back.
"Well aren't you just vicious," he scrunched up his nose and wiggled it against the small hand.
"How about Eren."
The boy giggled and squirmed and Levi took that as an affirmative, not that the kid really had a choice. Saint, he believed it meant, if he remembered correctly. It was true that Eren suited the boy. And Eren to him was indeed a saint. Innocent, untainted and pure, unlike him. Unlike Levi, Eren hadn't had to face the harshness of the world. Too young to know pain, resentment, fear.
As far as Levi was concerned he would never allow Eren to be exposed to such things. All he needed now in this world was Eren, and Levi would provide Eren with all he needed. A possessiveness gripped hold of his heart, the desire to protect him driving this feeling home. Eren was his, and he was Eren's. He kissed his forehead gently, tilting his head slightly to the side, laughing softly when Eren mimicked him as well.
"I let anyone hurt you."
(*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノ
Eren grows up fairly quickly. Levi's grateful the days of diapers are done with. Over the past five years he managed to do well for them. As soon as he was able, he stopped taking Eren to the day care center. One incident with another younger child was enough of a warning for Levi that he could not handle Eren being bullied, even by another toddler.
He got the phone call a few weeks prior, apparently Eren wanted to share a toy and a young boy, whose language was little more than shit foaming through his teeth, shoved Eren away and told him to play elsewhere. Eren not understanding the conflict stood there confused. The other boy called him a few names, in that ever so refined language of his, and threw the toy at Eren. Eren, full of tears, grabbed the toy and threw it back as hard as he could. The staff ended up pulling the two apart in the end.
Once the child's mother and himself were called in and informed of the incident Levi's blood boiled. It took all his will not the kick the little bastard straight into his mother's, ungracefully aging, face.
They're young, she told him, and kids' behave that way. Though, twenty or not and probably no less than ten years this mother's junior, he told her what he thought was the more likely theory. Needless to say, telling a woman, in front of the staff no less, that the most useful part of her son's personality was the shit stain she left on her oversized drawers, didn't fly over so well.
He didn't mind pulling Eren from the day care, he actually preferred it. After the money started to run out, Levi had already taken the necessary steps in securing a job. He bought a computer, not brand new, some chump didn't know how to repair a simple error, so he posted it on craigslist for cheap thinking it was broken. He obviously didn't know much about computers at first, but shortly after his father's untimely death, he dove into as many tutorials and books as he could.
Youtube really was a wonder. He spent hours reading over how to write code, memorized the syntax, then moved on to learn the math, physics, and science behind it all. He managed to freelance work at a small company while Eren was being watched at the day care. But now he had enough money and knowledge to move his office back home.
The prospect of staying home with Levi all day had overwhelmed the brat. Despite knowing better to keep things clean and tidy, Eren jumped up and down on their bed the following morning, excitedly giggling and playing with Levi's face.
They spent that morning carefree. Levi grumbling out of his interrupted sleep and rising abruptly, arms raised out in front of him locked and wrists limp. Eren let out a gasp of surprise, whispering his name to ask if he was ok. Levi just groaned and shifted his cool grey orbs to Eren's bright eyes.
The one word was moaned as Levi pretended to stumble forward to grab Eren in his arms, the boy squeaking with laughter as Levi grabbed hold of him and pretended to chomp on his tummy.
"Ah ha No, No Leevi, you can't eat my tummy!"
Levi stopped and look up at the boy blinking, "No?"
He paused as if in thought, "…. Well what about… your feet!"
Eren burst out laughing as Levi pulled his lips over his teeth and made more munching noises as he gently and playfully chewed on his feet.
"Leeeeeeeeeeevi you can't," he huffed between his laughter having to stop ever so often, "You have to eat cereal! Ha ha you can't eat meeeeeee."
Levi stopped again and raised a brow releasing Eren's heel from his mouth, "Huh, that so?"
"Are you sure, because your feet are tasty."
"Leeeeeevi," the boy whined, smile still evident on his face.
"Alright, alright," he set the boy down on the bed and ruffled his hair. Eren just scrunched his shoulders and bowed with weight of the hand in his hair, smile wider than ever.
(*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノ
Five more years pass in the blink of an eye. They have a new home now. It's spacious, new, and cleaner than he could ever get the apartment they grew up in no matter how much copious amounts of bleach he had at his disposal.
Eren's ten now, and rambunctious as ever, and just as curious. Levi chose to home school Eren, obtaining all the necessary permissions. He spends less and less time at his own computer, having developed an OS (operating system) that was fairly successful on the market. Whenever he had some time to himself, usually the times Eren watched TV or went to sleep, he would make a couple apps and sell those as well. At this point in their lives they were never in any need, and had he not found Eren the way he did, he probably would've never gotten to this position in life on his own.
Eren gave him a continuously growing sense of purpose. He was happy in his new life with Eren, and he was happier that Eren himself was happy just being with him. Eren never called him dad, thank heavens, his heart couldn't take that. Though on few occasions he did call him big brother. For the most part Levi tolerated this, in a sense he supposed he was like a big brother. He was over protective, and he supported the brat in everything he could, more so even. He never had a sibling himself, thus nothing to compare Eren and himself too, but he supposed it was close enough if not more ideal than typical siblings.
"Are you ever going to pronounce that correctly?"
Eren's eyes scrunched up in mirth, "But I like calling you Leevi, Leevi!"
The boy tugged on his shirt and sighed, "I want a bath."
Levi scoffed and batted away Eren's hand, though not in a very convincing manner to actually dismiss him, "You know where the tub is."
"I want a bath with big brother!"
"Aren't you getting a little too old for this," he teased but he honestly hated that it was the truth. Eren was getting older, growing up, and he was only growing older. Eren admittedly was a very complacent child, though he did have his moments of frustration, but they were just as endearing, albeit after the fact, as his obedience.
"I'll never be too old to take a bath with you," Eren pouted, actually offended at the notion.
Levi resigned himself, he wouldn't mind a hot bath really. He ruffled Eren's hair as he passed, making note that he would need to trim the unruly brown locks soon.
"One could only hope," he waved his hand backwards, "Hurry up I won't wait for you."
"Coming," Eren shouted excitedly bounding past him to the bathroom.
Once in the tub, much to his annoyance and oddly enough relief, Eren asked him to clean his hair and wash him off. He was grateful that he could still take this time to lavish the kid with attention. He always loved splashing in the tub with Eren when he was younger. So much so he didn't mind having to mop the floors from all the water that escaped the tub, and he loved taking the time to clean him thoroughly. It gave him a sense of pride to wipe off any offensive dirt or grime clinging to Eren. It comforted him immensely, there was nothing more to it than what he assumed was his awful development of OCD.
The thought that in a couple years this too would be deemed inappropriate caused him to frown as he continued to wash the boy's arms and back. It wasn't that there was anything behind their baths. They weren't blood related but that didn't make a difference in terms of their relationship. He was the care taker and Eren was the child in his care. Nothing more, nothing less. He would never subject Eren to anything, he himself, was forced to experience early on in life. Would never even dream of it. It was just a shame that society would deem such an innocent activity as inappropriate when the age gap conflicted.
Even now, at ten and twenty five, he was sure people would find it strange, but they were both comfortable. Levi simply decided he would continue as they were until Eren grew uncomfortable with it.
They sometimes bathed together, like they were now. They shared a bed, it was a king sized mattress that damn near took up his whole room, but Eren insisted he wouldn't sleep without Levi, so the man felt obligated to buy a bigger mattress to fit the two of them plus room to toss and turn. It wasn't often that they argued, but when they did the space was appreciated, not that it mattered by morning. No matter how upset Eren was with him, he would always wake up with the brat curled to his stomach.
"Leevi," Eren said softly, sitting in front of Levi Indian style in the tub with his hands on his ankles, head and neck arched backwards while the other male scrubbed suds into his hair. Levi prompted him to continue with a low 'hmm'.
"Promise we can always be like this."
"I promise," it was soft, firm, and without hesitation, because he truly hoped that nothing would ever change between them. Could never fathom the two of them growing apart in anyway.
A warm smile spread across Eren's still slightly plump cheeks, "Love you Leevi."
Levi's hands only stuttered for a second as his own uncharacteristic smile wormed its way on his lips, "You too brat."
(*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノ
Five more years, five more years and Eren turned fifteen, things began to change. It was subtle at first, nervous gestures, outbursts or not matching his gaze altogether. Curiosity had sparked in the young boy, innocent in nature, but not in the reality of it. Levi woke, half out of his sleep in the middle of the night and went stiff. It wasn't abnormal to have Eren still latch onto him when they slept, but it was an entirely different matter when the boys' fingers wandered over his bare chest, tracing the outlines of muscle. It wasn't until the fingers moved to his hip that he had finally spoken up. Eren freezing as he apologized with some lame excuse before laying his hand flat on Levi's stomach and wishing him a good night's sleep.
They didn't breach that topic the next day. At least not until he woke up to the rather disturbing sounds of Eren, at the other end of the bed, pleasuring himself. It crossed a line then, it crossed it the moment he came with Levi's name husky on his breath. Silently sneaking his way to the bathroom, trying not to wake Levi up, unaware that the male was very much awake, back facing the boy but eyes wide staring at the digital screen of his alarm clock.
Levi was disturbed at what he just over heard and more so disgusted with himself at the reaction it evoked in him.
It wasn't long after that Levi would find himself sleeping on the couch at times, unable to handle the hormonal teen. Their relationship became a bit strained, but he tried to keep it as normal as possible. Bathing together was an absolute no no at this point, he honestly didn't feel comfortable even changing in front of him anymore.
Ever since that night it was easy to see the lingering stare of Eren's green eyes examining him. Becoming hyper sensitive to noticing how Eren would find any excuse to linger closer to him. Touching his arm when he spoke, letting his head rest in his lap while Levi was reading, and physical contact was met at every opportunity, the brunette made sure of that. While Levi would have accepted that before as a quirk of their relationship, now the normality of it was gone. He hated that it came to this, and that things were warped and couldn't revert back.
He missed the toddler he hid from his tormentor all those years ago. Missed the joy of watching Eren take his first steps, feed himself for the first time, talk for the first time, say he loved him for the first time. He missed all the little mannerisms and things in between. Most of all he missed when they were still innocent, and when he didn't think of them beyond that innocence. He truly wished he remained ignorant of the whole situation. If nothing else, if he could have any wish at all in this fucked up scenario, it would be not to realize that Eren's suggestiveness wasn't getting the better of him.
"We need to talk."
That short phrase would set off a series of events that would forever change the dynamics between the two.
The conversation was awkward. It was tip toed then abruptly shoved, and Eren did what any normal adolescent teen would do, he rebelled.
"It was never a problem before," Eren shouted with flushed cheeks and knotted shoulders, "stop treating me like a kid!"
"You are a kid Eren, and don't be stupid, you know damn well why it's a problem now," he schooled his rising temper into an authoritative tone trying not to let this blow to out of proportion.
"What's wrong with it," Eren cried, angry tears gathering in his eyes daring to step forward and grab hold of Levi's shirt. The fabric bunched between his clenched fingers.
"You're 'fifteen'," he annunciates Eren's age, his hands twitching at his sides, wanting to do nothing more than comfort the brat in front of him.
"So fucking what?!"
"Eren," his voice dropped a level. He watched the boy flinch at the tone causing a grimace to work its way across his face.
"I love you."
Eren's voice, hardly above a whisper, meek and delicate caught his ear. He kept repeating that damned phrase, over and over again, and each time Levi felt his heart squeezed more and more. He didn't want this for Eren. He didn't want the boy to ever feel hurt or hopeless, never wanted him to cry or feel at a loss, and he certainly never wanted himself to be the cause of it. He wanted to protect Eren with his life, with everything he had; whatever he had left and then some, but a boy so young. He couldn't do what Eren was asking, what Eren didn't realize he was asking for. He couldn't, no matter what effect those words now had on him.
"Leevi," the boy looked up pitifully and Levi swallowed the knot in his throat.
He beckoned for Eren to come closer, wrapping his arms around him, pressing his cheek against Eren's. He had grown so tall over the years, and Levi knew he would soon tower over him. It was embarrassing enough that he was already shorter than the kid, honestly having to tilt Eren's head forward a bit just to rest cheek to cheek, but he was his, freakishly tall or not.
"You don't understand what you're asking of me," Levi said this carefully and adding before Eren could interject, "You're all I have Eren, I love you, you know that. If you just used that noggin of yours you'd realize I'd do anything for you."
"Then why can't…"
"Anything Eren," Levi interrupted, offering a squeeze of his arms to punctuate the point, "But not that. I won't take that away from you."
Honestly, he was sure Eren didn't understand the implication. He knew, upset as he was, that things were not going in his favor and for now it would be best to drop the topic. Eren trusted Levi, knew that everything Levi did was for him, and there were reasons for each of his decisions. Frustrating or not, he knew better to question them, but he wasn't perfect and he wanted, knew he wanted, whatever this feeling was.
Not what he felt when he was younger, no longer did he want to consider Levi his big brother. His fondness of the older male changed at some point, not that he could pin point when. From simple admiration to a longing adoration, all he had known was Levi and all he wanted was Levi.
Time flew past the two, both stepping on eggs shells around each other. Wanting to remain close but trying to keep an appropriate distance. Eren soon moved into the spare room, and asked Levi if he could attend a public school.
He wasn't thrilled at the idea. He didn't like the possibility of ending up with Eren drifting further apart from him, but given the circumstances he didn't know what other choice he had. He frightened himself with the thought that he didn't want Eren to leave his sight. He didn't want Eren to look to anyone else, wanted to solely own the boys attention, Eren was all he needed and he wanted Eren to feel that way about him. However, with the complication of Eren's attraction to him, it could end up dangerous on his part. He couldn't leave to chance the possibility of his feelings for Eren becoming any more complex than they already were.
School could help Eren, would help him as well. At least that was his hope, and yet again he found the case to be exactly opposite.
A year went by then two. Eren gained two close friends over that time, Armin and Mikasa. Levi was happy to know they were very protective of Eren. If nothing else he had that solace. Though the closer the three became, the more they pried into their lifestyle, the more they dug under his skin, the more he had to admit to himself this foreign festering in the pit of his gut was jealousy.
Eren, of course, complained that he wasn't nice enough to his friends, and he was right to complain. Levi really had no reason, at least no logical reason for the way he was acting. But no matter how hard he tried to remain civil, he still perpetually frowned, still clipped his sentences short and often responded with little more than a grunt of affirmation. He could tell the girl didn't like him, always putting a mock show of respect. He had noticed on more than several occasions, due to how thin the walls were in the home, that she would sometimes question himself to Eren.
Each time Eren would only laugh and tell her how she had nothing to worry about. That, for him, Levi was his most important person and they would do anything for each other. He would brag about his 'Leevi' till Mikasa or Armin would change the subject for him in favor of not having to hear him ramble on for hours on the topic.
He felt an overwhelming sense of pride in those moments, despite Eren using his little nickname with his friends. It almost buried the raging thought to toss the teens out of his house so he could have Eren all to himself again, almost, or perhaps it made it worse.
(*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノノ゛ (*゜▽゜ノ
Levi lowered himself in the tub of hot water with a loud sigh. Eren should be returning from school shortly, it was almost summer and he felt unbelievably grateful for it. The time Eren spent away left an empty void to open up in his being. He hated not having the brunette home, and it alarmed him just how dependent he realized he was on Eren being there with him.
He honestly considered, more times than he cared to admit, pulling Eren out of school to be home schooled again. Sharing hours of the day together, whether it was spent academically or not meant the world to him. Eren's presence alone soothed him and set his mind at ease. He needed that peace, he wondered if he could somehow talk Eren into it, and when the topic of college came up, he wondered if he could then to convince Eren to take online courses from home.
He was growing, and he was curious. He god damned well made it obvious that his curiousness was healthy. It was hard enough not having the boy next to him at night, the difficulty he had lately in finding sleep evident enough by the dark circles forming under his eyes, but he couldn't fathom Eren being gone.
Morbid thoughts of locking Eren away, somehow keeping him enclosed in this small space with himself for the rest of his life, made him shiver. Even more so when he actually considered doing just that. The ideas were prominent, more than ever before. Similar to the day he decided to take Eren home with him, or when he stole the life away from the man he had called his father to protect the brat, his state of mind whispered dangerously to him that it would be ok as long as it was to protect Eren; they needed each other and all they needed were one another. The more these gray areas expanded the less he felt he would be doing any wrong. Eren loved him after all.
Perhaps, Levi rested his head back against the cold porcelain tub, covering his face with his hands, "I need to protect him from myself," he finished the thought aloud.
He heard the sound of the front door opening and closing in the other room, along with the clink of keys against the counter. Footsteps edged closer to the bathroom door, along with the shuffling of paper; more than likely the mail.
"Leevi," the door edged open and Eren stepped in eyeing the mail envelopes in his hands, "a couple bills came in, and my grades too."
"You know where to put the bills, tell me your grades," Levi dropped his hands in the water and stared up at the ceiling. He debated on telling Eren to leave, but he was honesty to drained to put up a fight.
When he didn't hear the sound of the paper tearing and furrowed his brow and looked to the side, "What are you waitin…"
Eren pulled off his shirt, envelops neatly stacked and placed on the edge of the sink. He tossed the article in the laundry basket before tugging off his belt and slipping out of his pants. Levi caught himself staring at the movements. The muscles on Eren's body developed quite nicely, no baby fat left at all. He would be eighteen soon, give or take a month or so, and over these years Eren had filled out to be an attractive and well-built young man. He wasn't bulky, his chin wasn't completely squared, but he had a strong jaw line and compact muscle, he still held a boyish charm to him but he could easily pass for someone older.
Levi felt his cheeks warm at the prevailing thoughts invading his mind and forced himself to look up at Eren's face, "What do you think you're doing?"
"I had gym today. I could use a bath," he stated simply stripping himself of his boxers and moving towards the tub.
"It's fine, just like before ok? I wont…"
He didn't need to finish, but Levi himself was more worried about what he would or wouldn't do. Despite this he scouted back in the tub, in favor of having Eren submerge his lower half away from his eyes, who at the moment, were fighting a losing battle.
Levi scoffed as the boy had to sit with his knees pulled to his chest to fit in front of him.
"You really are too big for this you know," Levi said this and couldn't hide the crestfallen tone in his voice.
Whether on habit or not, even with his remark, he grabbed the sponge and began cleaning Eren's back moving to his arms. The boy let out a contented sigh as he let his head fall back.
Levi swallowed as he glanced over Eren's slightly parted lips and relaxed features. He really was handsome, more so by the day, and it bothered him to no end that he took note of that. It was one thing to refer to him as handsome, it was another to physically be bothered by that attractiveness. When Eren leaned further back and asked for Levi to clean his hair, it gave him a clear shot of his extended neck and throat.
The raven bit hard on the inside of his lip to reprimand himself for the urge to bite down on the soft area of flesh. It couldn't kill the epiphany of, if he left a mark, if he claimed that throat for all to see, they would know Eren was taken. They would know that he was his, and his alone.
That single awareness turned his throat dry as his mind supplied him with the possibilities. If he bit down and sucked the skin of, not just his neck, but his arms, his back, his torso, his chest, his legs, it excited him, pitiful as he felt, knowing that when Eren would change in his gym class the evidence left behind would deter any pursuers. Would know that one look would declare every inch of Eren's was taken, every part of him his.
These notions troubled him, and he grew more distraught by his own enthusiasm. He shouldn't think like this, he shouldn't, he raised Eren, he watched him grow, this wasn't his intention, it wasn't what he thought he wanted for them. It wasn't right, it wasn't right.
Eren's brow furrowed and didn't move until he heard the command once more in a strained voice. The second time Eren sat up carefully and twisted his hips and head toward Levi, utter confusion written in his features.
Eren clamped his mouth shut as he scanned over how tense Levi was. His brows were tightly drawn together, his grey eyes focusing on the tiled wall, his cheeks were flushed and his lip caught between his teeth. Eren was at a loss until Levi, realizing Eren was analyzing him, briskly moving to cover himself, throwing a harsher command for Eren to leave him in the process.
Eren's own cheeks burned as he put two and two together. If Levi thought he was leaving now he was damn well bloody wrong. Instead Eren turned in the tub to his knees facing Levi in the limited space. He grabbed each of Levi's wrists to pull them apart which earned him a harsh glare. Levi himself hardly amused.
"Brat I wont…"
Eren leaned his weight on his wrists and leaned forward to place a kiss on Levi's neck. The raven raised his shoulders and shrugged his head to prevent the kiss.
"No, no its not. Eren this isn't Ok. How things are right now is not Ok."
"Levi why can't you just.."
"Just what Eren," Levi fumed as he reversed the hold on his wrists and forced Eren back in the tub, his weight shifting on top of him which only made matters worse in his current condition. He was too vulnerable, his emotions too raw, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Eren was just a kid, he was his, his only reason for living, but he was still just a kid. Any man at 32, especially one who raised said brat, would never dream of anything beyond a platonic relationship. There was something wrong with him, he knew, but he couldn't keep up his own façade.
"It's fine if its mutual isn't it? I'm seventeen now," Eren shot desperately, uncomfortable in his position but breath heating up at the proximity of their bodies, "I love you! I love you more than a brother, more than a parent, I want more than those measly titles. You feel it too don't you? Don't you love me the same way?"
He was falling into depravity he knew. He couldn't deny himself, couldn't deny Eren, he was failing at the thing he wanted to protect Eren from the most, his own yearning.
Without thinking he dove on Eren's neck, using taste, a sense he denied himself so many times over this past two years. He marked him, appreciating the new sounds that aroused from Eren's throat. Mesmerized by the soft whine and unfamiliar touch of Eren gripping his back, nails biting into his skin. He nipped at his collar bone and left the skin bruised there as well for good measure.
He was grounded when Eren threw his hips into his, stopping what he had begun he placed a hand at the back of Eren's head and placed their foreheads together in a way that allowed him to stare directly into his eyes.
"You are mine," Levi clarified, glancing at Eren expectantly.
"I was always yours."
Always his, would always be his. He translated this to Eren and so much more, spilled out every dirty desire of claiming him for his own. Every word elicited Eren's promises to him, reiterating every one of Levi's wishes, word for word. The possessiveness he felt, the need that stung him, the emptiness of not having Eren with him at all times. His obsession took Eren back, but he was happy, happy that Levi wanted him all to himself.
Levi pulled the boy into his lap and held him close, speaking into the side of his neck as he continued.
"If this happens. If I allow this, Eren you are mine. Only mine. You'll love only me, you'll grant any wish I make, and you'll give yourself to me the way I will continue to give myself to you. Live for me like I live for you. I love you Eren, more than you would ever know. Now tell me the same, tell me you'll love only me."
"I'll only love you Leevi," Eren wrapped his arms around Levi just the same, pressing as close as their bodies would allow as he wound his hands into Levi's hair.
"Tell me you're mine."
"I'm yours. I'll always be yours. I love you, I love you."
Levi knew he was done for, those words and phrases did things to his psyche that he would never be able to undo. Holding Eren in his arms he mused that fate had a funny way of working out, maybe this was meant to happen all along, and from this point on there was nothing left to hold him back.