While All The Vultures Feed – A LevixPetra fanfiction
Disclaimer: I do not own Shingeki no Kyojin or any of its characters/themes!
Please see end for notes :)
Chapter 12: Revenge Is Sweet and Smells Like Pale Ale
Petra was going to shoot Hanji and Nanaba both in the foot when she saw them next. She couldn't believe they'd set her up... actually she could believe it, now that she thought about it. She supposed she had made it a little too easy for them as well. She had discussed her worries with Hanji. Petra had been so caught up in her strange dreams and her cases that she had forgotten one very important thing when it came to her friendship with the brunette: never tell Hanji anything that was mildly personal, because she would find a way to 'help'. Hanji's meddling fingers had sunk in the moment she'd seen Petra interact with Levi at The Legion, and she'd decided to let Nanaba have a taste of the sweet splendour that came with intruding in another person's life. And Nanaba – sweet, lovely and innocent Nanaba – had happily jumped into it. The two women had spun a brilliant plan from within the constantly ticking jungle of Hanji's mind, and Petra had walked right into it. The question now was how to get back at them. She was startled out of her plotting when a schooner of pale ale was planted in front of her. She looked at Levi questioningly, noticing that he'd ordered the same.
"You got me a beer?"
"Call it a hunch, but you don't look like the Strawberry Daiquiri sort," Levi explained sarcastically as he sat down. Petra scoffed good naturedly in response, refusing to give him the satisfaction of being proven right. She was very much a beer and spirits girl. She took a sip, enjoying the cool, tangy flavour.
"So, how's life been treating you?" she began. Levi looked at her blankly over the lip of his beer.
"20 questions? Really?" he replied. Petra huffed.
"I'm assuming you're in the same boat as I am when it comes to a nonexistent social life?" Levi nodded after a moment, waiting to see where Petra was headed. "From a dating perspective, we're kind of considered washed up, boring and unexciting people. I figured 20 questions would be up the 'lame' aisle, as entrenched in it as we are."
"Right. Well, the brats are good and work is okay. I've got nothing to really bitch about. And you?" he asked, eyes flicking to the still healing cut on Petra's forehead. She shrugged, reaching up to self-consciously tug a lock of her hair over the blemish, hiding it from view.
"It hasn't been too bad. The usual, really. Well, the usual for a homicide detective anyway."
"Hanji's having a fucking field day."
"You have no idea." There was a quiet pause before they both snorted with laughter.
"Christ, I can't believe they set us up," Levi said. "Do me a favour and shoot Hanji for me when you see her next."
"Any spot in particular?"
"The tit, because she's acting like one."
"Done." A shrill buzzing noise breached the quiet murmuring of the pub suddenly. Petra glanced around, wondering where it was coming from, when Levi pulled his mobile from his pocket. He glanced at the caller I.D. and clicked his tongue, annoyed. He hit the decline button and then placed his phone on the table. Petra felt a small smile form on her lips. The fact that Levi was actively ignoring calls and messages was a good sign that he was at least interested as to what and where this entire arrangement was going. She took another sip of beer, amused when Levi's mobile began jittering across the wooden booth table.
"You going to answer that?" she asked, lightly teasing. Levi looked down at his phone, eyes suddenly very hard and cold.
"It's rude to answer your phone when you're talking to someone," he replied flatly. The phone stopped, and Levi's expression relaxed slightly. And then it started buzzing again. Petra swore that Levi's eyes could have melted glass with the look that crossed his face. "Sorry," he said before he snatched up his phone. "Fuck off. I'm busy," he snapped curtly before hanging up. He shoved his phone into his jacket pocket then, glowering still.
"You just told your boss to fuck off?"
"Are you insane?!"
"That fact that Hanji is my closest friend should be answer enough."
"Touché," Petra snickered, taking another pull of her beer. "So, how did you and Hanji meet?" She nearly laughed when a distressed expression swam over Levi's face. "That horrifying?"
"It's Hanji. Would you expect any less?" he replied. He took a massive swig of his drink, as if the mere thought of what had happened was something he could only discuss whilst drunk. Petra waited patiently, and smiled when Levi set his glass down, a tormented look in his eyes. "I met her when she was teaching at med school. We crashed into each other when she was transporting body parts to the lab she was working in. It... wasn't pretty," he explained. Petra felt her entire face freeze up in disgusted horror. "Easily the most fucked up first impression I've ever had. She came into the shop a few days later asking for some ink, and we kind of bonded. She also promised an extra tip for the whole 'intestines in the face' thing. That was about seven years ago."
"Wow, and I thought my first meeting with her was weird and mentally scaring," Petra muttered. "I walked into the morgue on my first homicide case and found her getting changed in a room full of dead bodies," she said after spotting Levi's interested look. He coughed, hiding a derisive snort.
"That does not surprise me in the least. How long you been in the force?"
"Nearly six years now. I've only been part of homicide for three though. Still considered the rookie," she grumbled the last part.
"Heh. You won't live it down till they bring in fresh meat."
"Don't remind me," she sighed. "What about you? You have to apprentice with someone, right?"
"More or less. Mine happened before I moved to Sina. The guy who was teaching me knew what he was doing but was a real ass about it. Used to skive off my pay to fund his drug habit. He also hated my portfolio work. Why he kept me on still confuses me."
"What didn't he like about your art?"
"I only draw things that interest me, Petra," he said. "I guess someone as jaded as he was couldn't get his head around it."
"Will you show me?"
"Show me your art. Show me what interests you. I want to see it," Petra said excitedly, leaning forward. Levi blinked, a little taken aback by her eagerness. He stared at her, trying to gage the sincerity of her request. Pretty amber green eyes, wide with curiosity, were fixed on the sketchbook lying mere centimetres from his fingertips.
"So strange," he mumbled, a smile flickering into being as he reached for the book. He flipped it open to a random page and set it in front of her. Petra just about it snatched it in her excitement. It was covered in a variety of pencil and pen sketches – silvery black lines blending in with red and blue, like an intricate pattern of coloured lace and spider webs. She recognised the lattice work on the fencing from the fire escape on her apartment building, a half finished sketch of Mikasa and Eren asleep on a sofa, a mandala, a bird's eye view of Sina city, and a painfully detailed portrait of a middle aged woman wearing a high necked, long sleeved lace dress. Her sharp eyes held a soft yet detached emotion in them.
"These are amazing," she said, fingers creeping softly across the drawings. She particularly liked the one of Eren and Mikasa. They were bundled up in blankets, arms curled loosely around each other. Levi took a rather long drag of his beer, choosing to say nothing. Petra turned the page, finding this one to be littered with scarily realistic bones, muscles and tendons. In the far corner of the page was a small thumbnail of a woman's back. There was a hazardously doodled spine running up the sketch. It looked like the bones had suddenly burst from the woman's flesh.
"Quick sketch for Hanji. She wants her spine done next," Levi explained. Petra nodded, eyes still fixed on the drawings as she took a sip of her drink.
"I just... wow! I can't believe you're going to put that on someone's skin. These are incredible. You're incredible."
"Not really. Most people would say that what you do is incredible, Petra," Levi replied. Petra flushed a little at the praise, hoping that the redness would be attributed to the alcohol. She took another swig of her drink in an attempt to keep a silly smile off her face. She glanced down at the drawings again, spotting a twisting line of stylised flowers, something she knew was called Art Nouveau
"I keep telling myself that I should get something done," she said. "I was thinking something small, like a rose or a daisy."
"Roses are overused and such a bore to ink," Levi said automatically. "So are cherry blossoms and lotus flowers. Always make sure your first ink is something that matters to you, otherwise you'll end up regretting it."
"What was your first?" she asked. Levi actually froze up, his entire body tensing as if he was bracing himself for an attack. Petra's brows rose, pondering the strange reaction. "You don't have to tell me if-"
"I got these done when I was sixteen," he said quickly, holding up his curled fists. Printed across his knuckles in gothic letters where the words 'stay sane'. They were a little faded now, blurred around the edges, but still held their elegance.
"I see- wait! You got these when you were sixteen? How'd you manage that?"
"My parents were in the trade. I met up with one of their artists and he did them for me as a birthday gift."
"A painful gift?"
"If you see it that way, then yes. It was painful, but worth it."
"Any particular reason for those words?" Petra asked, eyes narrowing slightly with probing scrutiny. Levi merely smirked. "You're not going to tell me, are you," she pouted. "Spoil sport," she added. Levi snorted, fingers flexing back around his beer.
"Eh, maybe after a few more of these."
"We shall see."
After several more drinks, Petra had noticeably loosened up, and, to her amusement, so had Levi. They were now walking down Avenue Maria, coffees in hand, free fingers hidden in their coat sleeves and jeans pockets. A biting chill grasped their necks, and Petra pulled the collar of her plum coat higher about her freezing skin. She really should have brought a scarf like Levi. Come to think of it, she didn't think she'd ever seen him without it. He hadn't even taken it off inside 3D Gears. Perhaps it was a gift from someone special to him, or something he'd simply grown attached to. He was far more sentimental than first appeared, she mused. She filed her observations away, choosing to focus in on what her 'date' was almost animatedly talking about.
"... anyway, I've just started the ink and then this guy just sort of spasms and goes still. I freaked because he's jolted my hand and fucked up my lines, and the boss was going to be so pissed. And then I noticed the guy wasn't breathing. Turns out he had a heart attack and snuffed it."
"Yeah. That was weird, explaining it to the cops and everything. I got out of a botched job because the client fucking died."
"I remember I was in the morgue once and one of the bodies that Hanji was about to cut open suddenly screamed and ran out the precinct, completely naked. Erd was convinced it was the first recorded zombie case in history," Petra said. Levi nearly choked on his coffee, desperately trying to keep his laughter in check. "It didn't help that Hanji and the guys from Narcotics totally played along. Erd stayed locked in the Unit offices until we caught the guy three days later."
"Yep. He got back at us afterwards by hiding our finished reports all over the precinct. I found one stuffed inside the gym's punching bag, and Gunter said his was stashed inside the rec room fridge. We never found Auruo's, so he had to rewrite his entirely."
"What a crafty shit. Speaking of which, how do you propose we get back at shitty-glasses for this set up?" Levi said. "I don't know about you, but I'm not content to let her sit pretty thinking she got away with it." Petra frowned, ideas mulling in her head like viscous gloop. Getting back at Hanji would be sweet, like the soft tang of pale ale that had yet to leave her taste buds.
"We could keep quiet about it. Not say anything about what happened," she suggested.
"That... fuck, that is brilliant," Levi said. There was a wickedly amused gleam in his eyes. "It'd drive her insane." Petra beamed at the mental image. It was the perfect way to get back at Hanji and Nanaba. Skiving off the details would make both women rip their hair out in frustration. And no amount of probing would make Petra give up the details. She was still grinning about it when they rounded the block that held their respective apartments. Levi had been interested in what Petra actually did as a Homicide Detective, and Petra had been happy to oblige, though she never spoke about the case details. Their conversation continued into the elevator and out into the corridor, until Petra arrived at her apartment door.
"I had fun tonight," she said, smiling brightly. The smile slid from her face when Levi quite suddenly leaned in and pressed a quick kiss to the side of her face, just below her eye. Petra's face turned seven shades of red, her ears burning, and eyes wide. She had not been expecting that. Levi seemed to sense her unease, because he stepped back.
"Was I too forward?" he asked.
"Uh, no. Sorry. You just surprised me, is all," she spluttered for a moment. She mentally slapped herself.
"If I haven't put you off, I'd like to do this again sometime," he said, glancing away for a moment. Petra could have sworn she saw a tinge of pink seep into his pale skin. It may have been the cold weather though.
"Yes. I'd like that too," she scrambled.
"So, is lunch on Friday good?"
"It should be. I'll clear my schedule."
"Right. Night, Petra."
"Goodnight, Levi." She turned then, fumbling a moment with her keys, watching from the corner of her eye as Levi made for his own apartment. She got her door open and quickly slipped inside, sparing him one last glance. She closed the door, a ridiculous smile lighting her face. A happy little squeak bubbled up from her lips, and she sashayed giddily into her kitchen, giggling quietly like a school girl. It had been her first date in over a year and it had been so good. She'd completely forgotten what it was like to go out and meet people. And the best part of the night, including that little kiss, was that Levi had been his crass, charming self, and Petra had not once felt uncomfortable in his presence. And he'd been open to another date. She couldn't forget that.
She glanced at her watch, noting with some surprise that it was just past twelve. She'd been out later than she realised. She wondered if she'd be able to sleep with the euphoria running through her veins. She'd have to try. Twenty minutes later and Petra was tucked in her bed, eyes closed, body slowly unwinding, dreams of bones and lace and two sleepy children beginning to take shape.
FACE KISSSES! YOU SEE WHAT I DID FOR YOU, ANA?
HOW DO YOU WRITE FIRST DATES?! I HAVE NEVER BEEN ON A DATE SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE RULES ARE. ARE THERE RULES? IS THERE SOME SORT OF DATING CREED THAT I DON'T KNOW ABOUT? JUST ASGDGHJKL! *gives up*
Levi is adorably awkward and I love him for it. Goddamnit! He's just no good with social stuff. Petra is allowed to have little girly freakouts because she can. They're both just awkward idiots.
This chapter was really painful to write. I couldn't get it to work. I rewrote it five times. It pissed me off that much. I couldn't make things fit where they were meant to go and just ugh! It's done now, and you guys will hopefully like it, so that's all that matters.
Anyway, I've been thinking that I would like to keep this AU alive after I finish this story, so I thought that I would write some drabbles and mini-fics for it afterwards. MikexNanaba goodness, kiddie shenanigans, sass-master!Hanji, and hilarious jaunts with the rest of the crew. Let me know what you guys think :) Yes, there will be more Rivetra goodness too XD
This will only occur after I start working on Sleepwalking again.
Love Your Way – Powderfinger
Your Body Is A Weapon – The Wombats
Heart Go Faster – The Davey Brothers
Sweet Nothing – Something For Kate (Triple J: Like A Version 9)