A few things I previously did not mention in the first chapter...
This is actually based on an on going rp between a friend and I.
Warning: ...? I guess it's not going to be as sweet as you all will want it to be. It'll be a bit cruel and rough at first. It is also a work in progress.
I'm sorry for any mistakes since I have to rearrange due to rp format. you know? So enjoy.
The next morning, Armin and the rest of his friends ate early in the dining hall. Often times, red faced Armin would feed a few bites of meat or bread to Eren from his hand or fork. As the boy seemed allowed to join them occasionally, and trained with them. And Armin did wonder, 'is this what the Corporal thinks of and sees?' And when Mikasa joined them, she wouldn't feed Eren, no matter the expression he gave, doe like or puppy like. Armin could only giggle when trying to image such an expression on the titan form. Eren and Mikasa could only look at their friend fondly when he did so.
When it was time to go outside, he helped Eren with his horse. The boy was a bit crude, and often his hands told his horse something different from the feet. And so when helping Eren put all the horses gear on properly and securely, he helped reposition his hands on the rein, and helped him figure out how to point his toes. He had time to do so, because he was efficient and quick in these areas.
As one group, that one having Eren and a few others from their trainee squad, walked around the fenced course for a warm up, Armin was saddling his own dark horse. Testing the bit, stirrups, and saddle straps before he walked it from the stable and under the sun. He brought him to the line of other trainee's whom were doing similar exercises with their gear, watching them, their application and eyeing the differences between theoretical and actual application.
He looked up towards the sun as it continued to rise, glad mornings were never hot-judging the time before he turned towards his horse. There was a puff of cloud in the distance, Armin thought they would make for a pleasant cool down and good shade.
Yet the Special Operations squad had awoken several hours before daybreak and before the recruits were woken up. They, including Levi, had been monitoring the castle grounds which including the dense forest surrounding the old building. They emerged from the thick line of trees just as the trainees began saddling and mounting their own horses. Levi lifted a hand to command his squadron to slow, and then motioned again to signal their dismissal.
Immediately after the Special Ops group had disappeared to the stables, Levi and his brown steed trotted towards the recruits. His horse panted and huffed and its coat glistened from sweat-… yet not a drop could be seen on Levi's skin.
"All ready? It's almost time." Armin received a snort and a hoof stamp. "This time I won't hold to you so tightly with my thighs. That didn't end up well for me, did it?" Almost in reply the horse shook out it's mane at him, nudging his shoulder in search of treats.
"Recruits." Levi spoke, which grabbed their attention better than any scream could. "Today you will work. I was, over all, disappointed with the results of yesterdays practice." He looked to Jean and Reiner as if to make them an exception, but ignored Armin coldly. "Treat today as if it were a test. Should you disappoint me again, you'll fail and go without supper tonight or breakfast tomorrow." He shot Sasha a glance then turned his steed about to pace the other direction. "To warm up, I want every recruit to run the barrels twice - without any flaws. Then I want you to dismount and practice using your 3D maneuver gear on a flat surface. My squad will be on the grounds to help those who desperately need it. I will be watching over." He paused, and then waved his hand to dismiss the recruits.
Reiner and Jean casted side long glances at each other, knowing then they had been spied-but unimpressed the same acknowledgment had not been bestowed to Armin. As soon as they were told to move, Reiner and Jean of course did, as well as Sasha—who was masterful with animals anyways though still whined at the threat. Simple as she was, she was not too worried about failing though.
Levi dismounted his steed and took hold of the reins and walked directly to Armin. His dark, beady stare locked onto the boy the entire time. "Arlert, you seem hesitant this morning." He shot a glance towards the boy's legs, suggesting that he knew of Armin's condition. Because Levi had spoken to him—Armin had remained where he was. And already felt the seed of fear which had been planted in his stomach start to tear open. Yet he still struck the salute, stiff as he was. A proper one this time with his knees not as bent and trembling as the last time-though his spine had shivers running its length repeatedly.
"Let me help you." The suggestion was not a suggestion at all, and was rather a command. Levi was going to help Armin into his saddle whether or not he wanted or needed it. Levi released his hold upon the horses reins, but clicked his tongue to demand that the animal not move an inch - and it did not. He approached Armin slowly, almost agonizingly so, just to send the boy's mind into a frenzy. The idea of making him literally crazy was more than amusing to the Corporal. And suddenly Armin felt a little sick, Levi was moving like a predator descending on his prey. The stance Armin held dropped as soon as Levi spoke of lifting him. His face flooded red once again in his presence, and suddenly looking him in the face was very hard. No! In public he would humiliate him like this?
Levi slowly turned Armin around then placed his hands against the young boy's slim hips. Levi cornered Armin between the horse and himself so he could press his front into the boy's rear. His fingers pressed into Armin's hips and flesh. The horse's body of course stopped Armin from retreating any more backwards-the invasive hands were on him again. Turning him, and he could barely resist. The heady scent of the horses hide filled his nose, its warmth pressing him from the front, Levi's from the back. He found himself suddenly breathing quickly and a little frantically through his mouth. "S-sir..!"
"I pray you slept well, Arlert, and I hope your legs aren't too sore." Again he leaned closer, now breathing against the back of the boy's neck. "You'll be needing both strength and energy today. I've got another assignment for you after this that will test your endurance." He placed a surprisingly soft kiss against the other's pale skin. "When you have finished your training, you will report immediately to my chambers." The sweet kiss did nothing but raise the soft, little blond hairs at the back of his neck. It also sent his head spinning and breath hot and heavy. "Your… Chambers?" Oh God… His knees almost buckled, sagging briefly in that man's arms before he regained himself.
Levi hoisted Armin into his saddle finally and took several steps back. Armin reached for the saddle to help pull himself on. "Do not disobey me, Arlert. Arrive even a minute late and I'll have you hung by your ankles from the tallest tree in the middle of the forest without clothes or weaponry." He mounted his own horse then and trotted away. Blue eyes glistened a little wetter than usual, glad that Levi did not make him answer as he watched the man mount again and trot a distance away.
Armin turns his horse shakily, it side steps a few times for rearing its front legs to stomp them and then kick off in a lope to the rest of the group. Jean's horse pulls up to his side, the only reason Armin is taller at this point is due to his raised position to avoid scraping his thighs too hard against the horse. "What the hell was that Armin?"
"I just… messed up on an exercise too bad yesterday."
"He'll be all over you if you mess up now too."
Armin turns red, though a little in anger. "I can pull my own weight, you saw."
His feet spur on his horse along with a few rapid clicks of his tongue. Pulling up to the start as Sasha's horse came trotting back, a victorious expression on her face and her horse practically prancing.
"Twice 'round. No mistakes. You freaking watch…" He growls to himself, scrubs his eyes with his forearm before gripping his horses reigns lightly and lowering himself closer to the horse.
Connie is the one that shouts the start, and Armin kicks up dust. Just like yesterday he runs the course hard, tucked in-his small form not interfering with the horse at all and his commands sure. He had perfected this yesterday. He refused to disappoint-and he did not. His eyes determined and his doll lips pulled into a serious expression that was almost a frown. He was a little angry, but it abated when his horse came to complete stop back at the start line. It heaved, panted and then pranced and kicked its back legs a few times before it settled. He drew away, to join the others that were handing off their horses.
Levi Rivaille, now in the stables had removed the heavy leather gear from his horse and hung it away in the tack room. He brushed the chestnut coat and mane, then wiped the horse down with a wet cloth. Levi pats the beast's side then left, locking the gate behind him. Before he made his way to the training grounds to watch over his students, he first went to the castle. He walked swiftly and with purpose, scaling the wooden spiral-stairs with ease and then entering his private quarters. Levi placed a palm against the cold stonewall and leaned into it. His other hand stroked his face in an exasperated manner. Growling to himself, "What am I doing?" He pushed off the wall only to approach, then throw himself into his chair. Levi pulled himself closer to his desk and held his face in his hands. "I'm a sick bastard." Tossing a looked to his bed, which was unkempt - oddly enough - and remembered last night, how he pleasured himself to the idea of Armin. This elicited another growl. He sat up then and once more rubbed his face then cupped his hands together and just thought. About all his sick fantasies - or the ones that included that blonde brat, and he thought about the stark difference in age between himself and the kid. Then he stood up, and he walked to his bed and he cleaned it up, and just before he turned to exit his room he shrugged and said, "I can't even pretend to care."
Minutes later, Levi reappeared on the training grounds where the recruits were just approaching themselves. He looked out on the field, then to their faces, with the same look of absolute disdain. Again, he stood erect - feet shoulder width apart, hands clamped behind his back, and chin held high. He did not look for Armin until the first round of pupils had begun their training.
Lance Corporal Levi began pacing, now, watching as student after student tried - and failed - the training course. -And although he wore an emotionless mask, he was boiling with rage on the inside. They were all idiots- imbeciles! The lot of them. How could they've even passed the training course? How could they've been assigned to his regiment? Under his watch? Briefly, he returned his focus to the course and after watching Eren Jager try - and fail - and then burst into a fit of screaming - he looked away again.
Mikasa came back from her run through the course, dusty from the dirt and a little bruised from rocks that had been in the way. Armin had not paid much attention to anyone running through it, they weren't able to get far enough off the ground to be able to fully utilize the equipment. The failure rate was staggering. So first he spoke with Mikasa after asking Reiner and his ever constant companion to wait before going. He examined her equipment quickly, then after checking over her boots, looked at his own. It wasn't until Mikasa Ackerman stepped up to the plate and, surprisingly, made it through that Levi began to feel a bit more calm - although he was anything but happy. Still, he decided not to call off the training yet and returned to watching the grounds with his full attention.
He didn't even shift or seem phased when Armin was next in line. Truthfully, Levi expected an absolute failure from the kid. Smart as Armin was, Levi knew that this course would challenge him to the fullest. He would have to be fast and analytical all at once - the course was compatible with the theoretical capability of the 3DMG. If Armin was as intelligent as they all boasted, he would see that and be able to manipulate that.
"I mean, there would have to be vast modifications to our equipment that might slow us down but…" Armin was thinking critically when he was done speaking with Mikasa. Raking back his hair from his was watching him closely. "What are you concocting this time, Armin?"
The boy was about to explain, already beginning with a hand motion before he simply waved it and sighed. "I don't know how to explain it in theory, but just watch my lead and try to improve where I fail." Reiner put a hand on the boys less broad shoulders. "Or, you could not fail so we could learn from your success." The boy stared back, abashed, but nodded. "I'll try.."
Levi had been spaced out in some imaginary world for a moment or two before Armin caught his eye once more.
Armin was turning out of the hold Reiner had him in towards the start of the course. Immediately pulling out his triggers. He did not connect the blades however in fear of accident. Leaning back for a higher aim he ejects the reinforced coils and retracts them a fraction to get a feel for the pull. He leans back further and judges the distance between obstacles. Levi took a step forwards, then a half step more, burning with a secret curiosity that not even his body language showed. Inwardly, Levi felt his jaw drop (though it did not do so physically). The blonde leaned back dramatically and his barbs connected to the highest point of the pole. Then Armin releases completely and zips forward, his heels kicking up dust as they dig into the dirt and spray it in either direction. It was hard, it made his thighs burn with the effort, but he remained balanced and up right. Roars from the trainees could be heard, but he couldn't let that distract him, he needed every ounce of concentration and thought for success. His eyes turn for escape as the obstacle before closes in, he jumps, his body being whipped forward even faster, he spins, fires off the 3DMG again and is jerked in a sharp, arch to the right. He hits the ground in a roll before able to pull his limbs in so he slides along on his bottom, fighting to get back to his heels. He succeeds. Only to have to throw himself in the opposite direction, this one is a low hanging hurdle which he shot the coil beneath and slide kicks under.
Levi stood perfectly straight, and his eyes almost burned with delight because - Armin… ARMIN… was going to finish the course perfectly! His heart pumped blood at an immeasurable speed, his skin felt sweaty and clammy to himself and in truth he was excited. The last obstacle was in sight, and it was a tricky one, but the kid had managed to execute the most flawless moves the entire squadron - including Levi - had seen thus far.
Armin remains dragged on his back due to how low he had to aim, but his next target comes into view, a planted wooden trunk, he can't seem to arch his hips high enough though from his dragged position and when the barbs connected to the trunk all the excitement in Levi died like a doused fire. They were far too low, and Armin was moving far too quickly. He wouldn't clear the coarse. Levi slumped his shoulders, closed his eyes and sighed loudly. Armin pulls himself up, and then is thrown forward. It was all he could to shift his body sideways against the momentum that when he collided with the trunk, it was with his sturdier, upper back. He didn't even need to watch- the sick thud followed by boyish groaning, then the bustle and concern of the students said every word the picture was worth.
"Uugh…" Armin groans, his curled position loosens just as Bertholdt made it to him and began helping him up. "Ow…" He whimpers, and then turns to the course only to see he was an obstacle away from completion… "No…" The heels of his boots were shorn down, and the parts of his uniform were thinned from this effort.
Levi whipped around on his heels, causing his emerald Scouting Legion cloak to flap, and made a hasty exit. To put it lightly, he was pissed. His recruits were pathetic. Only one managed to successfully clear the grounds, and only one other made it close. He tried desperately not to think about the horrible failures of the other students, especially not Jaeger's, lest he become even more irate.
"I am sorry I failed to set a reasonable standard to follow."
Armin did truly look apologetic, but such men as Reiner were trying to figure out why. "You set a precedent though. It is okay to barely get through it with old techniques-but those caused a lot of damage. Revolutionizing maneuverability would be necessary. The rest of us that haven't gone yet will continue to work on it, the idea was good Armin." Mikasa was standing beside him, ever silent and listening to Reiner. "I will stay out here with Reiner and help instruct on this, Armin. Maybe you should have Hanji look over your… injuries." She was staring more intently at him than he was comfortable with.
Armin chuckled nervously, clasped both of his hands behind his back. "I'm sorry I could not be of more use." Jean only threw his hands up in the air, rolling his eyes and stalking away. The reaction made Eren growl before the boy turned to Armin and threw an arm over his shoulders—though he was careful in the process even if it wasn't easily seen. "I never would have thought of it." He received only a kind smile in return, everyone knew that Eren wasn't exceptionally bright, but at least he tried hard. "Make sure to keep working hard on it, okay Eren? Be careful. I need to go to the infirmary, but I'll see you at dinner. Alright?"
Eren raised a brow. "You said that before and were a no-show."
"I promise Eren." Eren got a warm smile from Armin, the kind that was capable of having the same effect Christa's did.
However, when Armin left he did not go to the infirmary. He went to the baths, drew water through an ever head pipe and let it rain warm over him. He remained crouched almost to his knees beneath the trickling however. Some of the skin on his back had been broken, but those were already become light scratches, it mostly just a motely of bruising that was coming up. And his thighs were looking better, though the skin was still dark with the burn and still bruised slightly. It was embarrassing. Though the scars from battle he wore with more pride-content not to show them however.
He did not spend any more time looking at his body though, the feeling of insufficiency compared to Bertholdt or Reiner would only make him sick. He washed, dressed crisply and dragged himself to the dining hall.
He was nervous, getting ridiculously nervous; practically ill with it. His stomach swarmed, his fingertips tingled. Moving his legs was hard. He did his best to sit with his friends and smile though. He drank the broth from his soup and ate the chunk of bread he was given-it was all he could stomach. He gave the rest to Eren. Mikasa said nothing, only hardening her stare at her plate while she gnawed her meat.
When Armin stood, Mikasa's sudden hard glare was askance of him. "I want to present some blueprints to the elite corps. Or at least draft them." He smiles at her, I'll see you later Eren, Mikasa!" He waves when backing away, plate in one hand-turns and strides off. Fast, nervous, jumping in each step. Looking around as though he thought he were being watched. He dumped the plate off at a point of service and left.
Levi sat in his private office, a platter of food before him on his desk, because he couldn't bear to see them in the dining halls. Leaning back in his chair, one leg crossed over the other and his fingers pressed together in a triangle shape. His gaze was cast to his window, watching the rain smear the world behind that glass. Levi was thankful for the rain, which served as the only thing to soothe him.
Unbeknownst to him, hours were passing. Bathing time turned to dinner time, and was speedily approaching the night hours in which the students were confined to their beds. Standing, and with his back to the door - hands clamped behind him - he awaited Armin Arlert, who would undoubtedly show. If Levi could not forget, Armin would've been brewing on tonight since those words invaded his mind. The thought of this brought a coy smile to Levi's lips.
When alone in the hall outside of the cafeteria, he leaned a shoulder against the wall and wrapped his arms around his stomach. Sick with nervousness. "I can't be late…" He whispers to himself, pushes off slowly and takes on the gait of someone defeated.
The Corporals room seemed further away than it should have been, and the walk there had been like a walk of shame to him. Armin's body had slowly taken on an intermittent tremble the further he got. Until finally, like his body was on fire in fear as he stood before the door. He knocked three times loudly, sucked in a deep breath, shook his head as though that would toss out his fear-and entered. The door shut behind him, his heels clicked as he immediately fell into salute. "Corporal Rivaille." He stares at the back offered to him. Finds it hard to keep his chin up and his hand is clenched over his heart much harder than it needed to be. The Lance Coropral turned his chin enough so that he could peer at the now-entering boy from the side. His eyes were narrow, but his face with otherwise void of expression.
"Arlert. I was beginning to worry; it felt like you weren't going to show." He then turned to glance at the sun to determine the approximate time. "Frankly, I would've enjoyed stripping you and hanging you from a tree… but I think tonight will be just as enjoyable." He turned, staring /hard/ at Armin. "After all, I'll still be stripping you."