I apologize a zillion times ~ that hiatus was completely unintentional - I'm going to try to get back on track with my writing - this is relatively short - I wanted to write more but I'm feeling kinda eh - I apologize again ~ I hope you can look forward to more chapters despite my absence ~ Thank you everyone 3
Levi pinched his bottom lip and chin between his pointer, middle and thumb. His ring and pinky fingers in a curled position under his chin as he stared at the screen before him. He had doubled checked over and over again for errors, and even though he found none, and knew he would not find any, he continued to scan through. Now that he was glancing over the lines of code he had written over the past few weeks, he contemplated whether or not he could go through with this. Perhaps that was the cause of his insistent checking. He was delaying the inevitable.
To anyone else who didn't program, it would look like nothing more than endless lines of gibberish, but if they were able to decipher it…
Pinching his lip a little more forcefully he recalled just whom this program was for and just what he intended to do with it. Erwin Smith had proved to be a truly frightening man. Someone with such a strong sense of justice that would ignore all else in favor of the greater good. Just as he was willing to turn a blind eye to Levi's past and even his present sins, he was a man willing to sacrifice as needed and carefully use every piece on the board as carefully as possible to his advantage. For Levi himself, to become a pawn in his game, good will or not, had it not been for Eren, he would have rather taken his chances; accepting Erwin's challenge of locking him away.
But of all the things running through Levi's mind when Erwin had proposed his 'terms', this was one he would have never predicted. He had assumed his intentions would be far less than nobile for certain, and while Levi didn't agree with the way this man planned to go about it, he couldn't deny that his reasoning wasn't just.
Reacting faster than his mind could register just who the voice even belonged to, his hand was already on the mouse and closing out of the program. He was being ridiculous, he thought after he realized he reacted on impulse. Even considering the fact that he taught Eren how to program, without seeing more than a few lines of code he'd never be able to figure it out, especially not something so complex. He was completely on edge regardless.
He blamed it partly on the exhaustion and partly on his frayed nerves. Because he knew, no matter how much he contemplated it, no matter how much he question whether it was right or wrong, he would do it. He would do it because it was for Eren. He would do it for Eren. To keep him safe, and to keep him by his side.
In any other circumstance, it wouldn't have even been a question. He would fight Erwin against his threats. He would challenge him on every front and dare him to pin him on any charges. But this situation wasn't one he was willing to take risks. No matter how slim the chance, he would never gamble when it came to Eren.
Rubbing his eyes with a tired sigh, he spun the chair around.
Levi caught the shift of weight as Eren rested on his other foot as his right hand rubbed and squeezed his left elbow when he peeled his eyes back open. The uncomfortable stance just another reminder that Eren still didn't know what to make of the recent revelation of their past and what Levi had done. Over the past few weeks, it had been as if Eren was always watching, but more so calculating than before. As if he was trying to find hidden truths that he previously overlooked. Anytime Levi had caught his stare, Eren's own had guiltily glanced off, and this only proved that in some way and on some level, Eren was afraid of him.
It was the only conclusion he could draw. There was no other explanation for this tense atmosphere, and thus, involuntarily and voluntarily, Levi had kept a small distance between them. As much as it pained him, he gave Eren extra boundaries; his own little bubble, and until he felt Eren trusted him again, until Eren knew he would never harm him in any such way, it needed to stay that way.
"I just…. When are you coming to bed?"
Levi frowned at how soft Eren's question was. It only solidified the fact, in his mind, that Eren was weary of him. It pained him, as it always did whenever Eren became timid around him. It wasn't something he was used to, and it was something he never wanted to get accustomed to.
Glancing off to the clock in the corner of his monitor, he did indeed find it edging closer to three am. Turning his head back to Eren, he cracked his neck as he stood with a small moan as some of the tension left.
"I'll go wash up. Go on ahead, back to the room, you looked exhausted."
The brunette opened his mouth to speak, but ultimately clamped his lips closed and nodded before heading back to the room.
Levi took his time washing his face and brushing his teeth. He tried his best to avoid his own reflection but his line of sight aligned against his will. The dark rings under his eyes were all but glaring back at him in the mirror. He damn near looked like a raccoon. The sunken circles almost bruised in appearance as the blue-ish hue stood out against his, otherwise, pale skin.
Scowling at the image, he rinsed his mouth and turned off the water, a bit more forcefully than was necessary, before exiting to the bedroom.
The small lump under the comforter had Levi rolling his eyes, but a softer expression filtered onto his features as he drew near. The temptation to poke at the lump, locate Eren's sides and tickle him until he burst out in unruly laughter was almost too great to pass up. Almost.
As much as Eren had been walking on eggshells with him, and as much as he hated that, he found himself doing just the was just a small bit of hope that Eren felt the same way about that. He hoped Eren was as frustrated by the distance between them as he was. Though, if he were honest, it would be of little comfort. Even if Eren did feel that way, it didn't change the current dynamic between them. It didn't change the fact that conversations, were once again, stiff. He even felt that touching was taboo in a way. Whether Eren acknowledged that or not, he didn't miss the moments of hesitation when he would reach out to him or the way his eyes, involuntarily or not, watched him.
No matter how aggravating the situation was, he wasn't willing to damage their relationship in the long run.
Carefully, he pulled the blanket back just enough of the cover to slip under. Careful not to stir Eren and rouse him from his sleep, he laid down and brought the blankets up to his chin, rolling onto his side. The second his head touched his pillow, he knew he wasn't by far, going to be capable of falling asleep. His mind was going to too many directions at once, there was no way he'd capable of shutting it off.
The dull ring that accompanied the silence, alongside the ticks and creaks of house, did little to help his attempt at shutting himself down. He felt hyper aware of every sound in the night. Each thought that passed felt an tangible as the mattress beneath him; prickling his skin and itching at his bones. Thoughts of Eren, Erwin, what he must do, what was working, what was failing, and with his position between the both of them bringing the heaviness that smothered him more so than anything else…
Ah, so he wasn't asleep.
"You should sleep."
A small break between them. The silence was hard to bear after that melodious voice broke through. Levi, without realizing, held his breath to listen to what Eren would say next, for what he was waiting for he didn't know. Perhaps he wouldn't say anything. Maybe, he just chose to obey and was forcing himself back to sleep rather than bothering to respond. The raven's feet fidgeted against themselves as the quiet air settled around them. He was too high strung, maybe he should take a bath. Something, anything to help sooth this, near maddening, tension.
"... I don't want to sleep…..I want…."
Eren trailed off, contemplating what to say next, or so he thought. When he didn't hear anything further Levi rolled over to face him. It was too dark in the room to make out his features completely, but he was sure Eren was chewing his lips between his teeth. His expression appeared torn, as if debating whether or not to speak again, and for the moment, Levi thought he was going to give up. He should have known, Eren was always full of surprises, and now would be no exception.
A pause and Levi's eyebrows rose.
Eren huffed and looked off to the side, seeming annoyed but quickly turning back to face Levi with a stronger wave of determination.
"You haven't touched me.. not like… not like last time. You're avoiding me," he accused, and truly Levi could not deny that.
"I have my reasons," Levi started stiffly; weary of the childish tone Eren was taking with him. He knew this was not a conversation to be had without consequence.
"I told you before. Everything I do," he began, slowly, "I do for you. Understand?"
"No, obviously I don't."
The snippy tone was enough to make the raven grimace. It was times like these he was blatantly reminded of Eren's age; stubborn and temperamental. He was still a teenager. Still too wet behind the ears and lacking in experience to read into underlying meaning rather than taking his words at face value.
Sitting up, Eren took it upon himself to take Levi's hand and place it over his heart.
"I don't understand. I don't get why you won't kiss me, why you won't touch me. You barely leave that room and you won't tell me what you're working on, and ever since…"
"Ever since what, Eren?"
He was losing his patience. He was tired, exhausted beyond belief and very much at the end of his rope. There was too much stress, too much worry, too much doubt and too much fear. To throw even this in his face without any forethought into why he kept silent; questioning what he was doing and not. Eren, justified in his curiousness or not, did little to keep him from wanting to snap. At this pace he knew he couldn't keep his head level.
"It doesn't matter, don't answer that. You're not ready, end of discussion. Get some sleep."
He didn't even get the chance to completely roll over before Eren voice ripped forth another comeback.
"So I was only ready when you fucked me the first time and now you think what? I'm a kid again? Just what are you…..!"
With a growl, low in his throat, Levi pushed Eren back against the bed quick enough for the boy to release a startled gasp. Pinning him by his shoulder, he silenced any protest with his lips, pushing his tongue into his mouth when Eren attempted opening to try and retort.
Levi felt Eren's hands, palms flat against his chest, try and push him away but he wasn't having any of it. As Eren's palms dug deeper into his chest, he claimed Eren's merciously. He nipped whenever the brunette denied him access, forcing his tongue inside as he traced his lips and divulged further. The hand that held his shoulder grew heavier, placing more weight into it to keep Eren from jolting up or knocking him away.
Even with the taste of Eren of his lips and tongue. Even with the whimpers and panting that Eren couldn't hold back, he felt no arousal. This wasn't pleasure for him. He hated Eren's knee jerk reaction to push him away. He hated forcing himself onto Eren. He hated that this was what he felt needed to be done in order for Eren to understand why. This wasn't what he wanted, not in the least, it was purely to prove a point.
He knew Eren was stubborn. Words would only work so well with him, therefore, he would drive his point home through example, whether he liked it or not.
His other hand moved over Eren's neck, trailing over his collar bone to pass over his chest and stomach. His fingers and palm dragging the skin uncomfortably under the pressure. Even so, he wasted no time in pushing his hand downward till he cupped Eren's flaccid member through the cotton night pants he wore.
The second his hand touched his skin, Eren visibly tensed, and just as his hand had cupped him, Eren's own had shot out to grab his wrist stopping short before twitching and settling back on the bed. It stung. It stung witnessing what he already knew to be true. Eren was afraid of him.
He couldn't hold back the frown that pulled at his lips as he let out a quick aggravated sigh and let the hand once holding his shoulder to snatch Eren's wrists and pin them above his head. He couldn't bring himself to look into the wide green eyes above him. Instead, he kept his gaze low, allowing his teeth stealing a small bite here or there as he moved down the column of the brunette's neck. He could hear the rush of air pushing and pulling from Eren's lungs in rapid succession. Hell, he could feel it. Damp, rapid, erratic. Levi could feel his heart clenching in his chest. Thoughts bubbling to the surface of his own past edging at his consciousness as he tried to push them further back.
He had to do this.
Eren wouldn't listen.
He wouldn't listen.
He wouldn't take this too far, just far enough to understand. Far enough for him to grasp the root of the problem between them. A growing lack of trust and the festering growth of fear.
Eren wouldn't listen to reason so this had to be done. But, how far would be going too far?
His hand continued to wander lower, massaging his fingers over the thin cotton barrier. With a jerk, Eren gasped and attempted to squirm away with a breathless protest but Levi only pressed a bit more firmly. Alternating his hand around his thigh, entrance and length, he let his fingers press, brush and knead slowly, though there was little tenderness as he did so.
Silencing him with a harsh kiss, he nipped at his lips before pulling back just far enough for him to speak.
"You're not hard at all. Isn't this what you wanted? Am I still treating you like a kid?"
He watched Eren's lips part, shaking as he made a fruitless effort to speak. His eyes worrying over Levi's face as they blurred with yet unshed tears. It wasn't until their eyes caught each other that a sob escaped from Eren's lips despite himself. With the echo of that sound resounding in their room, Eren turned his head immediately and Levi had to fight against himself not to turn his; disgusted with his own actions as he were.
Levi's grip loosened enough for Eren to pull his wrist away and hide himself behind his arm. His chest rose and fell sharply as he took each choked breath. the raven hoped that eren understood his actions for what they were. Though even if he did, it didn't ebb away the guilt.
Leaning back on his heels, Levi released Eren completely. His hands curling as his sides as his face twisted in disgust over himself.
The drop of a tear marred the brunette's reddened cheek as another broken sob was choked out from trembling lips. Try and fight it as he may, once the first had dropped more easily followed.
"You're not ready…," Levi's voice was stern as he repeated this fact.
A reminder. A warning. A lesson.
Eren knew Levi better than anyone else. No. Perhaps he was the only one who could understand him at all. He only hoped he could understand this as well. It was for his own good, so they could realize both their short comings between each other and face what truly was to blame…. Although, the line seemed to blur, even for him. It didn't sit right in his gut. It ate at him as he watched Eren struggle to calm himself down. His fists twitched, near releasing their grip in favor of peeling away Eren's arm and comforting him.
Instead, he withdrew from the bed. Walking to Eren's bedside he pulled the covers over him, delivering a gentle kiss, as close to an apology as he could offer, to the top of the brown mop of hair.
"Get some sleep."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Ah, Levi, it's good to see you."
Levi eyed the offered hand with a scowl, not caring in the least for his clipped response.
"Forget the formalities. I'd like to get this over with quickly."
Smith smiled easily as Levi's fingers strummed over the flash drive in his pocket, his nerves wearing thin.
"Have you completed our little project?"
"Yours," he corrected immediately, "Not ours. It's not my project," Levi glared before glancing off to the side, tossing around the drive in his pocket between his fingers, "I'd rather have nothing to do with this."
"I'm well aware," Erwin mused as he gestured to sit.
Levi obeyed, more so to be over and done with this. The less he questioned, the quicker they could run through these motions and the faster he could get the hell out of here and back to Eren. He wanted nothing more than to bury this in his memory and leave it untouched; back home where he could lead the life he had with Eren before all this disruption.
Taking his own seat, the taller man humbly ordered from the waitress after she approached. When asking for Levi's own order, he waved her off, but even after another refusal, Erwin chose to order for him anyway. With a small wink and flirty comment to the waitress, Erwin completed his order smoothly, as if the raven's bad attitude were non-existent entirely.
Levi watched the waitress smile too brightly before happily trotting off to fill their order, his irritation growing. Why here? Of all places to hand over an item such as this one. Why a cafe in the city? Granted, it wasn't the busiest spot, but neither was it inconspicuous.
When he thought on it, it didn't seem like a lapse in judgement. Erwin didn't seem the type to make a misstep. He was always several ahead of Levi himself in every encounter they've had thus far. He assumed, at that point, the idea was to hide in the open.
Regardless, this was not a meeting he could crave tea or crepes without turning his stomach.
Soon. Soon, he'd be over and done with it.
Eren played with the phone in his hand. Turning it over a few times before stroking the smooth surface with his thumb and repeating the action again. Levi had left a couple hours ago. Since that time he hadn't moved an inch from the bed. The moment he heard the click of the door he rose out of his rouse of sleep.
It wasn't that he was angry at Levi, rather, he was disappointed with himself. He would be lying if he said Levi's method wasn't harsh, frightening even, but he knew, in a way, he was asking for it. He was just too frustrated and too conflicted as to what to feel and what to do. He just wanted everything to go back to normal, but he couldn't shake the unease that had settled within him. Even worse, he had no one to talk to.
There was no where he could turn. No advice to be given. No comforting words or an ear to lend. There was only Levi.
His hand stilled at that thought. He only had Levi, there was no one else. There was a time that would have been enough, and in many ways it was, but now it felt… different?
He couldn't explain it, and this only served to aggravate his mounting frustrations. His mood darkening as thoughts of Levi and himself, of Armin, Mikasa, even Jean, and himself, plagued him.
Who could he trust? Even now he didn't know whether he could even trust his own decisions. He knew he was always the first one to storm in head first. He was stubborn and brash, but Levi usually managed to keep him in check for the most part, but with the way things were now….
He couldn't wrap his mind around any of the truths he had learned. Not about Levi's past, which he tried in vain to move back on the subject to try and better understand, but Levi always changed the topic. He was still keeping secrets, still hiding things. Even now and over the past few weeks, Levi was creating even more. What had he been working on? Who was it for and why wouldn't he tell him anything about it. Not only that, but suddenly things had grown quiet. He hadn't seen that noisy officer at all since their last meeting. Was it possible he dropped it entirely? But if that were the case, then why? Why was Levi continuing to be so secretive after large pieces of the puzzle had been revealed? And why was he taking off without any explanation whatsoever?
How the hell was he supposed to overcome this and trust Levi again as he had before all this if he wouldn't talk with him; if he wouldn't explain?
His anger shifted back and forth, over and over again. Who was to blame for this or that. But no matter how many circles his mind ran in, he knew, all he was doing was exhausting himself. He couldn't find answers alone, but he didn't have anyone to turn to.
With a shuddering breath, he steeled himself as he opened his phone and pushed through the short list contacts. He let his thumb hover over the send button and paused.
He supposed, if he would get no where with just himself… if he was careful then maybe…
Hitting the button a little harder than necessary he brought the phone to his ear as the dial tone echoed alongside his heartbeat.
This could be a mistake. This could make a bigger mess than what he was already in, but even so, he had to do something.
A sound and a hesitant voice pulled him away from his thoughts as the dial ceased.
He held his breath as the familiar voice reached his ears. He'd never admit that his eyes stung as a pain pierced him, not realizing until that moment just how much he missed them.
"Eren is.. is that you?"
He needed them now more than ever. Any regret he thought he may have had left him; simply replaced by a calming relief. With a soft rush of air passing his lips he leaned his head down with a growing smile as he dug the heel of his palm into his tired eyes.
"Yeah… Yeah, its me. I… I'm sorry… I just," too many things were whirling in his mind all at once but he stuffed them all down in favor for the most prominent of all, "Armin I uh… I miss you guys.."
so like... all that smut... and then that ending... did I just fuck with your mind because mines fucked now!
... sleep... gonna sleep...
Thank you all for the comments reviews kudos and support thus far! I love hearing from you guys and I'm happy you can enjoy this little train wreck with me! For news on updates and such - follow/track me on tumblr - I'm pretty good about putting previews and teasers as well
xoxstrifexox = user
xoxstrifexox fic: mine
snk fic: mine
Till next time!