"Aaah… It's so hot out…" A sweet voice rings out, and while the statement is true-the one speaking it does not seem to regret the weather like the words would otherwise convey. Though blond hair wanted to stick to skin that felt slightly damp; they did not. The locks glimmered under the sun, swayed with each movement, but did not stick to radiant skin. Armin was not sweating yet, but he knew if he did anything too vigorous in this weather-he soon would be. As of now, he was simply training on horseback. The boy ran the exercises with the other Survey recruits, those that hadn't yet quit under the hot noonday sun.

Sure, the horses could handle the amount of running, trotting, and other tightly controlled turning maneuvers; they were bred for this after all. And though Armin was loath to admit it; he however, was not. Or rather, without the proper training he would not be. It was a matter of weeks before he could get over the vertigo that the 3D maneuvering gear brought on. Now he was graceful on it, and fast—but Armin knew he lacked the power that his comrades had. It troubled him greatly, and that was why he worked heavily on such evasive measures—because if he couldn't kill like Reiner, or Bertholdt, then he would at least be the best distraction possible. He knew that with his intelligence at least, he would (with high success rate) be able to remain intact while supplying his team with the valuable time they would need.

"You're spacing out again, Armin."

"Am I? Sorry!" The blond waves apologetically at Jean who remained with Armin, Reiner was just behind the fenced yard they were in. Rubbing down his horse, but watching them at intervals-though now he spoke up.

"You have been out here since the morning Armin, Jean. It is hot."

"You did it just now, it has not gotten any hotter in ten minutes." Armin tugs the reigns of his horse, it turns away from where Reiner is. Jean had finished picking up the barrel Armin had knocked over, he hadn't reacted fast enough to turn around it and the horse had kicked it over.

"Try again." Jean tells him after mounting his horse again and trotting it back to Armin's start position. Ready to keep count of Armin's time. The boy could complete it at a slower speed, but what Armin needed was a consistent, high speed with consistent low time. The barrels were spaced only a meter or two away in a triangle and Armin was to weave around each, back and forth.


At Jean's yell, Armin spurs his horse on. The starting point was far enough away that he could hit a high speed. The first barrel he rounded was a success-passing close enough that he made it vibrate with the stomping of the horse's hooves. He crosses diagonal to the next, shouting out in triumph as this one too he commands the horse fast enough and makes it around to the third barrel. Reiner smirks as he watches Armin head for it, proud of being shown up again by the boy. Armin's horse swerves around the barrel, heads back towards his starting position and with a masterful pull kicks up dust as the horse slides to accommodate the sudden need to stop. When at standstill, it stomps its front hooves and tosses its head and mane. Armin grips to its neck tightly, grinning from ear to ear. "Finally, we did it! I did it!" Jean and Reiner only have slight smiles to show for the endeavor. Meaning Armin did pass the timed count.

Now, it had been several hours since Levi had finished his training with the new recruits. The morning sun had already risen, and had just begun it's steady fall - and he'd spent all these hours locked away in his private chambers with nothing but report after report to read and sign. He let the raven-feather quill rest in it's ink vial and shuffled his papers into a neat pile. Standing, he moved towards the immaculately-clean window and peered down to the three students still training. He let free a sigh after recognizing the three to be Reiner, Armin, and Jean, but he had to open his window in order to do so. He stood, leaning against the stone wall with his feet against the windowsill and simply watched. His dark eyes glued almost naturally to Armin. He watched the blonde steer the horse to left - to the right - to the left once more and finally around the third barrel. The proud ruckus he caused afterwards elicited a 'tch' from Levi's lips.

"Child's play." He muttered, voice dripping with… nothing?

When Armin goes to slide off the horse, he stumbles as soon as his feet hit the ground. A deep ache rides between his thighs-and while this is nothing new, he'd forgotten about the pain he'd been hiding. Jean was forced to catch him—the reaction completely automatic. Reiner jumps the fence. "Armin? Are you okay?" He helps Jean to get Armin back on his feet, the soft blond can feel his legs trembling, and sweat finally had broken across his face now; but he knows the damp feeling between his legs is anything but. "Your thighs, Armin…" Luckily, the color of his pants do not allow the color of blood to spot through.

"What? No it's not that, look at my horse-he's drenched. It's just our sweat, it's mixed." He manages to make his eyes shine along with his smile. He takes the reigns of his horse again. "I'm going to rub my horse down and then wash up, okay?" He's turns and jogs out of their site, his face scrunched up as he hides the pain. He couldn't let them see, so he did not limp though the pain was hard to ignore.

Despite how hopeless Levi felt his newest members were, he saw something in that Armin brat. Admittedly more than he saw even in the Titan-boy. The blonde was lacking in combat skill, speed, and endurance but he was strategic, patient, and with logic to spare. Levi then tapped a finger to his chin, watched the trio until they disappeared into the stables, then turned and exited his room.

At the stables, Armin was rubbing his horse down, blanketed it, and made sure it had plenty of luke-warm water and a little fill of pellets. After wards, he snuck as best as he could through the abandoned castle that was now serving as their headquarters. Armin managed to obtain a new, cleaner uniform from his quarters and also managed to sneak to the bathing chambers unchallenged. He drew himself a bucket of water, brought up a stool to sit gingerly on before he began peeling off his clothes. Naked on the stool, he dabs with the cool wet washcloth at his thighs. Wanting to be rid of the evidence that he was not used to all the horse riding and chaffing it brought on. At this rate-he would probably be late to dinner because it was some time before he was able to use a new cloth to clean the rest of his body.

With boots echoing through the hollow castle walls, empty and silent – it was just how Levi preferred them, until he neared the cafeteria. The rhythmic clicking of his soles upon stone was washed out by the talking of students and staff and the clanking of dishes. His face bunched in sour disdain at the scent of 'food'. He could nearly taste the salty-shit they fed these recruits. Still, he walked through the slim aisles and passed the tables.

Sunken eyes searched, and searched, and searched some more. It wasn't until a good half an hour later that he realized what - or who - he was in search of, and this realization occurred because that person was nowhere to be found.

The short, although well-built, man wheeled about on his heels and clamped his hands behind his back. He gave yet a final bitter look to the cast of characters he'd been assigned and made his exit. This time, however, he did not return to his somber bed chambers, and instead began wandering about the castle.

The Lance Corporal marched down the boy's dormitories, checked their rooms briefly and found nothing. Then he took a turn and inspected the women's dormitories - in the event that the youth was more perverse than he seemed - and once more, found nothing. He huffed, and had just begun to turn back and return to his own quarters when he heard water sloshing about. Levi, making no attempt at being subtle or sneaking, made his way towards the bathing room.

The sloshing of water was Armin dumping his bucket of used water into a drainage area. At the time the towel was wrapped around his waist, but as soon as his bucket was rinsed out-he gave his hair one last drying muse before he began pulling on the tight trousers of their uniform. He did not want to linger any longer on his wounds-the skinning was not too bad, not so that a scar would be left, but he found the bruising on his light skin and the spotting of blood a little ridiculous. The only good thing about the trousers at this point would be that the flexible material would not rub too terribly.

He tucks the beige button up quickly into the trousers, but not sloppily so; the skill of someone neat and of practiced motions. The suspenders assure that it will not easily be taken off or fall off. His boots are laced up loosely since he would be taking them off soon. Armin only dressed this way because he knew he would have to go to dinner late-and walking around during light hours without a uniform would certainly have him accosted. He really was trying to leave a good impression however. Even though it was only in bookish fields-he really wanted to prove himself to the superiors that he wasn't weak. He just wasn't! Armin's fist clenches, but with a practiced breath calms himself down that very second. His hair is mused, a little wild in its damp state. Even still it manages to billow in a fine wave when he turns on his heels. However, before opening the cracked door-his keen ears picked up the sound of boots walking his way. Or rather-towards the bathroom which was just where he happened to be. It would not due to have someone asking him questions… What would the best course of action be? 'The truth'. He hears running through his brain, "or… some of it anyways…" he mumbles to himself. Armin supposed it depended on who this person was; he'd have to appeal to them to avoid trouble. It was pretty late to be bathing.. Armin hated having to plan on such short notices, or even on the go. But he would not delay it, when he pushes the door open and steps out—he had not been prepared for that person to have actually been heading for the bathing chambers… meaning he actually bumped into this person before he could jerk himself back. He winced minutely at the brief flicker between his thighs when stepping so heavily backwards.

Levi huffed as the blonde smacked into his front, but did not falter in the slightest. His footing was graceful and strict, he stood very proud and upright. Then his hand dusted his button-up shirt, removing dirt that simply wasn't there.

Crystal blue eyes shine bright in embarrassment, widening a slight fraction when he sees just who he collided with. "Lance Corporal, sir!" The gentle thud of his balled hand hitting his chest in salute, a slight clicking of the heels of the boots on the stone floor. Crap. Just the one person he had fat luck in meeting alone. The one man he managed to scrounge so little up on.

Those slim, black brows were aloft and his gaze quizzical and nearly scornful. He let his stare travel the young man's form in search of… something. Levi hadn't yet labeled exactly what he was seeking, but there was something in Armin his subconscious sought after.

"Arlert... Eren made quite a fuss looking for you during dinner,' He lied easily. "Why do I find you in the bath alone?" His stance relaxes some and with a waft of his hand, he motions for the other do to so as well. His hip is cocked and his hand rests idly at his side, fingers drumming against the taut fabric of his trousers. Levi's eyes never cease their silent inquisition.

"You've been training hard, surely you'd rather eat than wash." Levi's tone was anything but a question.

He moved his body subtly, so that he could lean against and block the doorway. His arms were now drawn across his chest, shoulder planted against the stone and body tilted ever so slightly. He crossed his ankles. Armin should have sidled to the side, not step back! He was internally berating himself of that, especially when clearly his corporal had made to box him in-a planned move as well. His internal mantra 'Do not show weakness, do not show weakness…' He tries as best not to show too much as he received permission to drop his stiff attention. He puts his feet closer together now, so that his thighs are touch-and while the added heat burns, they become pillars for each other.

Levi drew out his words, as if he was absolutely exasperated. "Bathing hours are over. You shouldn't be back here, Armin."

Now was his chance at appeal, and careful inquiries at the library as well as basic observational skills did not leave him completely unprepared. And his first current observation brought him to name usage-Levi had used his surname, and Eren's first. With two possible reasons and the first being; he was trying to seem uninterested in Armin, and the second being he really was fond of Eren. The two were forced to work more closely together after all. However, it was prior observations that would aid him now-so he filed away any hypothesis over name usage and instead deployed his mouth instead.

"I know bath time is over sir, but you are right. I was out training after hours. It's just…" The pause is completely fake, as though he were about to uncover something others wouldn't have previously known or thought of. "I absolutely hate going to bed without a bath, sir. The sheets aren't changed but every few days, and I have to sleep in that. It was always a peeve, sir!" Armin put personal hygiene to the front.

Those keen eyes of the Corporals begin analyzing the manner in which Armin stood. His knees weren't locked - perusal - instead they were bent and nearly quivering. Rivaille cocked his head to the side and peered for some time. Contrary to what his blank expression would advertise, Levi was bemused by the lad. -And while he was certainly onto the boy's lie, he didn't dare call him out yet. Instead, he'd toy with the teen.

"I watched you training not thirty minutes ago. You've improved your horsemanship already." He offered, eager to watch how Armin would try to dance around the truth. Even still, Levi was impressed by the blonde's drive to excel although that fact was implied vaguely.

Not once did Armin dare move a muscle while he spoke however-perhaps he remained too stiff. "I felt it was pertinent that I master all the necessary riding techniques to their ideal level, then I would bathe and take whatever was left in the luncheon hall." He did not add the line 'wouldn't you agree' to that however. He wanted to be defensive, but not to the point of giving himself away and not too evasive. While completely avoiding a deeper argument, or seeming confrontational.

The Corporal took but a half step closer, whilst his hand lingered on the door frame to keep his prey from fleeing. Levi felt very much the wolf and Armin the lamb, which caused his insides to ignite with a sickly strange desire. One that had been dormant since he'd joined the Survey Corps. Women aren't often flocking to his quarters like they used to. Perhaps because these reconnaissance missions leave him cold, detached, not to mention soaked in blood and sweat. -Or perhaps because he was nearly thirty-five in age. He shrugged inwardly and narrowed his gaze at the blonde once more.

"Back to the main… A peeve, you say?" He mused, voice lowering an octave. "Well it's a peeve of mine to have a rule disobeyed. Bathing is to be done directly after the set training hours, Arlert. No matter your drive to improve, or to succeed." Again he took a step forward, and as he did he kicked the iron-clad door shut. It slammed loudly and echoed through the wide bathing room.

Oh did he indeed run into the wrong person. Armin figured such a rule was made just so people like himself would get caught into it. The sudden clang of the door slamming made him jump-losing his musings and his reliable stance. He couldn't help but fall back a step further into the room. Armin feared a whipping, though he'd never seen one dolled out before-but having it added onto his skinning…

"-And I am not the sort of commander to let you walk free of punishment." Levi paused, drawing out his words again but with a different sort of emotion. Still, his face was barren of any feeling. Again, Levi stepped forwards and closed the space between them. There was but two or three inches of emptiness left between them. Levi stroked Armin's soft cheek with the back of his hand. "Tsk-tsk. I pray our most brilliant recruit didn't think himself so smart as to blatantly disobey /my/ rule and get off unscathed." He twirled a blonde strand about his finger, tugging just enough to cause the slightest bit of pain.

His scalp prickled at the pull, a red hot hue licks across his face, lights up the bridge of his nose and his soft cheeks. Only the Lance Corporal could praise someone and make them practically quiver in fear while doing it. To say the least, he was disarmed at what this 'punishment' was ending up being. He was a smart boy, no matter the age. While young, that didn't mean he was unfamiliar with all the hormones that ran through a boys body-surrounded by young adults as it were who were even more virile than himself..

"Armin Arlert… Such a passionate brat…Amuse me, what do you see in that Eren kid?" He clicks his tongue to the roof of his mouth while his second hand snake's around Armin's backside. Levi presses the hand into the small of the other's back, almost possessively. "You /do/ see something, don't you? The two of you are almost inseparable.' He pauses to take in a breath of air. "Pisses me off, frankly." Still, Rivaille leans closer, dangerously close. Enough to be tantalized by Armin's freshly cleaned scent. Levi's fingers slide lower, caressing the curve of the youth's rear end with an almost feather-light touch.

"Oh…" Is really the only thing Armin can bring to the tip of his tongue. "Oh…" His brain had shut down, though when he feels a hand slide to no longer cup his lower back-but his firm bottom; he jumps. Unwisely so, for it puts him against the Corporal. In trying to get away from the hand, he jumps right into the problem. And even having an inch over the man, he felt impossibly small right now. Levi's hands curled tighter around the firm rear he held, grabbing a decent chunk of flesh to hold and knead as he saw fit. Inwardly he laughed, and that humor was directed towards the boy's pathetic attempt to escape his grasp. Their bodies pressed together considerably tight, so that even air struggled to pass betwixt them, and Levi was quick to take advantage of this. With the softest of thrusts, he pressed his crotch to that of Armin's then used the hand cupping the lad's rear to pull Armin back against him.

"E-eren?" He couldn't think past the warm hand that was touching him, and how very close this man was to him. He could feel his warm breath, could feel his warm body heat. It was not as hot as his titan shifting friend-but prevalent, and he knew his pale skin was soaking it up and blushing under such warmth as it usually did. "He's… He is…" Armin closed his eyes tightly, turning his head away slightly as he tried to think. "Eren is… I don't know…"

"Eren." Levi nods, almost in response to Armin's nervous stutters. "Yes, Eren-… You don't know?" He hums, as if in thought, and begins lightly - despite the trousers Armin wore - fingering the crevice of the boy's rear. That finger creeping up and down the small crevice of Armin's bottom made the muscles there harden as they flex under the touch. It was terribly hard to ignore, and sent his body shivering. Train of thought was difficult…Eren was always there for him, protecting him-but he didn't want to be a burden on him, Armin wanted to become strong so he could help Eren one day as well. But the warmth he felt for Eren was unnamable, just like what Levi had felt regarding Armin had been. Levi clicked his tongue and shook his head in disappointment. "I was expecting you to say something /more/. Perhaps you're not the genius I was made to believe. That's a real shame, too. Since you can't think under pressure…' He paused and once more ground his crotch into the boy's. '-And you can't very well fight either-… Do you understand where I'm going, Arlert?" Once more, although it might not have seemed possible, his voice lowered. "That makes you fodder for the Titans." His brows knit close together. He stood still, allowing time to stretch between them, but never allowing slack in their closeness.

Then it clicked in his head, everything the Corporal was saying. "You are… jealous of Eren and I?" Could a name really be placed on the invasive touches?

Levi snaps upright, then. Causing their bodies to collide almost brutally; it was true that Levi made up his lack of height in surplus of strength. The black haired man leans forwards and brushes strands of blonde hair behind Armin's ear with his free hand. He then runs his tongue along the curve of that exposed ear, before suckling at the lobe. Levi 'pops' off the ear, leaving it pinkish, and whispers, "Jealous of what, Arlert? You've nearly admitted that there was nothing between you and the Titan brat."

Armin felt his whole body alight with a rather unknown flame. Yes, he knew of passion and these actions, but application of them… Nonexistent but for the once or twice when he had time to get away and please himself. If he could call it that. The first time he'd tried-he had actually scared himself out of it. But when he finally managed through the end-he agreed it was nice, but not worth the time when an attack could be any moment. However, he was in a sensual position now, even with the Corporal talking down on him, while… rubbing… his dick still managed to spring up and harden against his pants. No matter the burning in his loins from Levi also rubbing against the shorn thighs. He still… Reacted strongly to the attention. His body shivered against Levi's, and the smallest whoosh of breath, punctuated by a high-quiet pitch escaped—then his lips were sealed tightly again when the lips left his ear.

The hold on Armin is released, and Levi pulls away completely. He wheels about on his heels; hands once more clasped behind his back, and prepares to exit the chambers. When he was finally released from the tight hold, the places touched by Levi felt exceedingly cold. It left a blooming heat in his gut, and his knees knocked together; it was all he could do to keep from falling to them with that man in the same room as him.

"A shame,' The Corporal intones very nonchalantly. 'It would have been fun to create a wedge between you two." He pauses in his tracks and mumbles something that might sound similar to, "I'll find a way." Levi hastily walks several steps and without ceasing calls back to admin, "Be ready for training tomorrow, Arlert! Be sure you don't stay up late tonight."

Armin hears the warning and quakes at it. Levi probably did not realize it, but he was more fearsome than those titans, and Armin figured he'd be fodder for Levi rather than those giants… He did fall to the floor when he was left alone, but he refused to cry though a few tears escaped.

"No one is allowed to decide anything about myself… except for myself. Lance Corporal Levi, not even you. Eren and Mikasa are alive because of some of my fast thinking… They said so… And some of my decisions saved squads, and even helped take back a wall…" He shivers to himself. "I'll show you like I showed them… I'm not fodder. I'll survive… You'll see…"

He muffled his hiccups at the ordeal and gently stroked the pain out of his thighs. He did not leave the bathroom until his pants fit him right again.