Oh my God I know it's been forever since I've updated this so I don't know if anyone really cares anymore BUT I really want to to finish writing this story soo...

More boring plot stuff but I promise it will get better.

Once he had arrived back at his lavish home Levi immediately kicked off his shoes in the doorway and carelessly threw his black denim jacket on the coat rack before hurrying up the stairs to take a much needed shower. Normally he was meticulous about where things were placed, but with the sticky sensation of sweat and the scent of alcohol clinging to his skin, Levi opted to put tidying up off until tomorrow. The second floor of his home contained the bathroom, two bedrooms (one of which he used as an office) and a storage closet. The hallway was long, dark, and ominous, even if Levi was reluctant to believe in such ludicrous things as ghosts or guys with masks waiting around the corner to jump out at him.

He ran his hand over the smooth white walls to search for the light switch to illuminate the hallway. Luckily it was only the few paintings that he'd deemed worthy of adorning his walls that greeted him.

The night hadn't gone according to plan by any means, but it certainly wasn't nearly as disastrous as it could have been. He'd managed to interact with Eren the entire night without being discovered AND retrieved the ring without being caught. The only downside was that he'd racked up quite a drink bill. He could live with that; or Erwin could, considering the bastard wiped his ass with hundred dollar bills.

A quiet sigh of relief escaped Levi's lips when he entered perhaps the most luxurious room in the place; the bathroom, complete with a massive walk-in bathtub, automatic shower that saved his preferred settings and a toilet that could probably pass for a throne. The porcelain fixtures were dazzlingly white, accented with crimson colored plush bath mats and hand towels, and everything was sparkling clean and pristine, as he did a thorough deep clean on a weekly basis whether the rooms needed it or not. The lights were purposely set to be dim for a more relaxing atmosphere, and Levi had made sure to move into a place where there were no windows in the bathroom, because seriously, why the fuck would you want that unless you were some kind of exhibitionist.

A giant mirror spanned the length of the wall above the sink and Levi could see himself as he approached the tub. His hair was a bit mussed, and he was pale as usual, the dark circles under his eyes having become old friends after staying so many years. Erwin had been the one to insist on having the mirror installed for less than pure reasons. Levi also had to deal with a full length mirror in the bedroom for the same reasons, although he always made a point to bitch about it when Erwin insisted they put on a show for themselves in the reflective glass. He didn't like looking at himself naked, so being naked AND having Erwin's dick up his ass was just adding insult to injury.

Levi wasted no time in approaching the glorious tub, eyes alight. Bath time was a ritual for him, one that if everyone knew what was good for them would not be interrupted unless the place was on fire or something. Even then he might opt to just duck in the water till the flames consumed the rest of the penthouse.

Levi leaned over and turned on both faucets, adjusting the water to a comfortable temperature and plugging up the lavish tub to allow it to fill. The tub itself was large enough to have steps that allowed him to walk down into the water about three feet, and the faucets were intricately carved with fanciful designs. A large assortment of scented oils, body washes, bubbles and candles sat around the edge; Levi selected the lavender and vanilla scented oil and poured a generous amount into the running water until a pleasant floral scent filled the now humid air.

Levi grabbed his favorite fluffy purple towel and sat it within reaching distance of the tub. Once he was satisfied with the water level, Levi stripped down and tentatively stuck a foot into the warm liquid, pleased when it was at just the right temperature. Without any more hesitation Levi sunk down into the scented bathwater and leaned back against the tub, letting out a pleased sigh as the warm water eased his sore muscles. It was miraculous how a bit of soap and some quality alone time could leave him feeling like new. As often happened with any shower or bath, Levi became relaxed enough to let his mind wander while his body was pampered.

The first image that popped into his head was the pitiful look that Eren had given him as the taxi carted him off back home, almost like he was an abandoned puppy or something. Despite Levi's less than gentle treatment Eren had almost seemed to enjoy the time he spent being babysat by the older male. Of course, the brat was shitfaced the entire time, but still, Levi was surprised to find that Eren didn't seem to hate him by the end of the night.

He was actually experiencing quite a bit of guilt over deceiving Eren, but he knew that it was necessary. Well, maybe not, but Levi would keep telling himself that. Besides, the kid had gotten treated to free drinks AND a lap dance, which usually cost half a paycheck for most of the slobs stumbling in through the club doors. He ought to be grateful. He rarely did private dances anymore, even to the patrons that had more than enough money to blow, because he'd become disgusted with the amount of groping and asking to meet around the back of the club that it put him off for quite a while. Of course he wasn't one hundred percent sure he would have minded all that much if Eren's hands had wandered a bit.

The thought brought his mind back to something that had been nagging at him all night.

Levi wasn't one to believe in such idealistic bullshit as soul mates, but there was no denying that there had been…something between him and Eren during their encounter. It took a lot for him to really feel anything these days besides annoyance, depression or boredom. Yet the fumbling, nervous touches and unsure looks that the brunette had bestowed upon him while he'd danced had moved him somewhat. It reminded Levi that although he'd seen the shitty side of the world in his day, there was still a shred of unsullied innocence left within it.

Perhaps it was just him getting way too attached to people who went out of their way to show him kindness. Was he so pathetic that he'd latch onto the kid just because he was a good worker that sought his approval and valued his opinion? How sad he was to get so emotional over someone who probably thought of him as nothing more than his boss. A pair of pretty eyes and sun kissed skin that deserved so much better than the aging, pale, nearly vampiric looking bundle of emotional baggage that was Levi.

A true case of beauty and the beast, heh.

Levi inhaled deeply the scent of lavender, feeling it soothe his mind and body, his muscles relaxing as he forced himself to stop dwelling on things that would never come to pass. He wished the water could melt away his worries permanently, but alas it was just an ordinary tub, not a fountain of miracles. Pushing his own unsorted feelings aside, he would still have to worry that Eren and his obnoxious playmates might revisit Club Voodoo, or that Eren may sober up and realize what had transpired the night before. Perhaps he would have to take a break from dancing for a while…

Tch. That would certainly make Erwin happier than a pig in mud. It's almost worth it to get caught just to see the pissed off look on his freakishly flawless face.

No, he wouldn't, he couldn't stop dancing; it was one of the few things he had left that made him feel truly alive in this world. It was one of the few things keeping him sane…although the list seemed to be growing lately. Should he be ashamed to admit that seeing Eren's bright eyed, cheerful expression in the mornings actually put a little sunshine into his otherwise gloomy day?

If so, then let the shame come, because he didn't want anything taking that shitty little ray of sunshine away.

The next morning was sunny and mild, a few puffy white clouds hanging around in the clear blue sky, birds singing their annoyingly cheerful little tunes and the sounds of nature filling in the air. The temperature was comfortable if a little cool, but it certainly was a welcome break from the sweltering days of summer. Leaves have begun falling more frequently now, coppers and browns and the occasional yellow maples fluttering down to litter the sidewalk. The air smelled of autumn, with all its promises of cooler temperatures, holidays with family, and the slow transition into winter. It was a picture perfect day to be sure.

But to Eren Jaeger it was pure hell.

The sound of birds chirping rung in his ears like jackhammers and the sun was blindingly bright, making him wince in pain the moment he opened his eyes. He usually never left his blinds open, but apparently someone had seen fit to try to torture him with sunshine and happiness as he woke up groggy and feeling like each of his limbs weighed a hundred pounds. Not to mention his head felt like someone had laid it beneath the tire of a truck and backed over it several times.

Somehow he'd actually made it home the night before, the taxi driver being kind enough to escort him to the porch after finding the right address. Armin had come rushing out in a frenzy the moment he'd heard a knock on the door, tears threatening to fall from the corners of his eyes; he'd been worried sick ever since Eren had stopped answering his texts and calls, and he had been just about to call the club looking for him when the cab finally pulled into the driveway. Even though Eren had sobered up a bit when he'd arrived he was still dazed and confused and incapable of climbing stairs so Armin had to lead him like a blind horse to avoid injury.

Jean and Marco had come stumbling in after him, too wasted to give the driver proper directions to their respective houses, and so Armin had agreed to let them stay the night, Jean sleeping on the sofa and Marco in a spare bedroom downstairs. Armin had mustered up all his strength to get a limp, drunken Eren up the stairs to his bedroom and lay him down on the bed, thinking ahead to grab a trash can, a glass of water and some tissues to sit on the nightstand just in case. He'd scurried back and forth between different rooms of the house grabbing washcloths, a thermometer and his cellphone just in case he needed to call for help.

He'd been far too worried about Eren drowning in his own vomit to leave him unsupervised for long and so he had made himself comfortable on the foot of the bed and remained ever vigilant throughout the night, worriedly checking to see that the brunette was still breathing every five minutes. Luckily Eren had crashed the minute his head hit the pillow, and after Armin manipulated him so that he was lying on his side, he managed not to throw up and slept soundly, snoring loud enough to wake the dead and keep the blonde from getting any real rest himself. He would doze off every now and then, but would immediately be jolted awake by a sound akin to a buzzsaw when Eren would inhale.

When morning came and the sun rose just enough to come glaring into his window with furious intensity, Eren awoke with a pounding headache. He squinted and looked around the room which he finally realized was his own after spotting his TV and desk in the corner, along with smelling the familiar scent of his own bed. He looked around bleary eyed and spotted a person curled up on the foot of the bed, seemingly asleep. It took his brain a minute to register who it was, the mop of blonde hair setting off bells in his head.

"Armin…?" Eren croaked out, his voice hoarse and strained, and he rose up slowly on his elbows to keep his head from spinning. Armin was a notoriously light sleeper, and when he heard Eren say his name he stirred in his sleep, forcing an eye open to see that the brunette had finally woken up. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that other than looking like death warmed over, Eren was okay.

Well, until he tried to sit up way too fast and the world nearly went black, his head spinning.

"Oh my God…" Eren groaned, holding his head between his hands and regretting the decision to try and move. Armin immediately snapped out of his drowsy state as he heard the pained noise and rushed over to push Eren back down gently onto the pillows. They weren't the most luxurious money could buy, but their softness felt like heaven when Eren's head hit them.

"Don't move too much, Eren, I don't want you passing out again. Just stay put and I'll get you some pills," Armin ordered like a worried mother hen, rushing out of the room to grab some head ache pills from the medicine cabinet in their bathroom. Eren didn't argue, running a hand through his messy brown locks and sighing. What the fuck had he been thinking, letting Jean coax him into getting trashed like that? And how had he ended up back in his room, and….he peeked under the covers to see that he had been stripped down to his boxers and immediately he was overcome with shame.

Hurried footsteps thudded in the hallway and soon Armin reappeared carrying a box of pills and a fresh glass of water. Eren's guilt was doubled when he saw Armin's frazzled look; blonde hair mussed and sticking out in several different directions, dark circles under his big blue eyes and huffing to catch his breath as he approached the bedside.

"Here-these might help…" he popped two white capsules out of the foil container and into his palm and offered them to Eren with a tired smile. The brunette grimaced as his head throbbed painfully and gladly took the medicine, taking the glass of water and downing it all in one gulp. The cold liquid tasted delicious on his dry, cottony tongue and he thanked whatever Gods existed that he had such a caring, thoughtful person watching over him.

Armin sat on the foot of the bed again, a cute little crease forming between his eyes as he furrowed his brow with worry.

"Um…I know I probably shouldn't ask but…how much did you have to drink last night? I'm not trying to judge you…I'm just kinda worried about alcohol poisoning…" Armin trailed off, concern etched on his tired features. Luckily Eren seemed to be completely sober and recovering, but the thought that he may need medical attention loomed in the back of his mind. And really, wasn't he supposed to be the one to pick them up? How on earth had any of them been sober enough to think of calling a cab?

Eren desperately tried to recall how many shots he'd downed in his stupid contest with Jean, which they'd ultimately forgotten about, and frowned when he couldn't remember anything past number six. Something about the drinks being on the house…

He sighed, mind and body utterly fatigued. "I don't know…God, Armin, I'm so stupid…I never should have gotten that drunk…and then I made you worry…" Eren berated himself, throwing his arm over his eyes and wallowing in self-hatred. Armin deserved so much more than having to babysit his drunken adoptive brother. Eren was older, he was supposed to be more responsible and set a good example, even if Armin was past the age of being easily impressionable. Armin had already been through so much bullshit after losing his grandfather and dealing with heartless relatives; he didn't need to have to worry about the one person who was supposed to be looking out for him.

Armin smiled gently and waved off his concerns like the good natured boy he was. "Don't worry about it, its fine. I'm just glad you're home, safe and sound." Armin crawled up until he was lying on the other side of the brunette and curled up next to him, burying his face in the pillow and letting out a contented sigh. Now that Eren was awake and capable of movement he no longer had to keep a constant eye on him, and that meant that maybe he could get a few hours of much needed rest. Luckily he was still in his favorite blue striped pair of hand me down pajama bottoms and a loose, comfy white t-shirt so he felt himself settling down to sleep in no time.

Eren turned to face the blonde, a pained look on his face that made Armin's heart feel like it was being constricted in his chest.

The brunette's voice was strained and hoarse, and full of regret. "No, it's not fine. First I make you worry that I'm dead or something then I show up shitfaced and expect you to drop everything and take of me. I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't even think about you sitting at home by yourself, worrying about me. What kind of shitty family am I?"

Armin's expression softened and he threw his arms around Eren's neck, pulling him close, and Eren was a little taken aback at the sudden affection, but returned it nonetheless.

Armin was laughing, a light, musical sound that made Eren's spirits lift just a bit. "Eren, you're so dumb. You talk like you're an old man, ya know? But you're not. You're twenty-one, and you're not my dad, you're my sort of brother, so stop beating yourself up for going out and having fun like someone your age should. Besides, no matter how hard you try, you can't watch over me 24/7," he spoke into Eren's chest, nuzzling into him like they used to when they were small and they tried to comfort each other. Eren remembered holding Armin's hand and sleeping next to him on the many nights that he would spend crying about missing his grandfather, and little Eren had felt so powerless, so helpless to do anything, so he did the only thing he could, and he held Armin like he was the most fragile thing in the universe. His mother would always pat his head and ruffle his hair when he was sad, and so he also passed that down to Armin, who would get flustered and push his hand away and tell him to stop treating him like a little kid, even if he was one.

The thought of their childhood conjured up an image of Mikasa, who would surely punish him if she knew Eren had been so irresponsible...the brunette shuddered at the thought.

"Hey, um...I know it isn't right to ask this, but...can you not tell Mikasa that I came home drunk?"

"As long as you don't tell her I'm the one who drove you to the bar in the first place then my lips are sealed."

Eren couldn't help but smile as he rested his chin on the top of Armin's head, the familiar warmth of the blonde comforting him in a way that no words ever could. His soft blonde locks smelled like eucalyptus, meaning he'd been using Eren's shampoo again. Normally he'd be a little upset because an entire bottle cost him an ungodly amount, but there was no way he could be angry now, not when Armin was cuddled up to him like some kind of cute little animal.

Maybe it was weird for boys their age to be cuddling, especially since they were kind of family, but Eren really didn't care. There was no one around to judge them, and so he happily held onto the blonde, smiling gently and forgetting about the relentless pounding in his head. Armin was always the victim of bullying when he was younger, mostly because he had no parents and looked different and kids were malicious little shit heads that sunk low enough to call him names for something he had no control over. Of course Eren stood up for him, even if it resulted in him getting his ass kicked more than once, but most of the time Mikasa would be not too far behind to bail out the both of them.

"Eren..." Armin said sleepily, fighting to stay awake.


"You're grounded. No more going out without letting me know you're not dead every now and then, okay?" Armin hugged him tight, half joking, half serious. A pang of guilt gnawed at Eren again, but he forced himself to smile through it.

"Now who sounds like an old man, huh?" he teased, leaning back to look down at Armin's face, surprised to find that his eyes were closed and his chest was rising and falling in a steady rhythm and he had a tiny smile on his lips as he drifted off into a much needed sleep. It was only when Eren saw Armin sleeping so peacefully that the full intensity of his hangover hit him once again like a ton of bricks. He winced as a wave of nausea hit him, and he wriggled out of Armin's grasp to sprint to the restroom, making it just in time to rid himself of his remaining stomach contents into the waiting porcelain toilet.

Once he felt like he had heaved hard enough to make his body turn inside out, Eren wiped his mouth on a towel and flushed the toilet, shambling over to the sink and turning on the cold water to splash his face. The icy cold droplets jolted him awake, and after he wiped the moisture from his face he took a look in the mirror, confirming his assumption that he looked like utter shit. There were dark circles under his eyes, his complexion was pallid and his hair was an absolute mess. Alcohol had a seemingly magical way of making you look terrible while making the rest of the world look beautiful at the same time.

Eren exhaled through his nose and decided that some caffeine might help him recover a bit faster, and coffee was probably the only thing that he could stomach without feeling sick. He headed back to his room to throw on a pair of red pajama pants before making his way (slowly) down the stairs, only remembering that Jean and Marco were still there when he spotted a mop of sandy blonde hair peeking out from underneath a blanket on the sofa.

Anger bubbled up inside of him as he laid eyes upon the mastermind, the one who had come up with the brilliant idea to get he and Marco piss drunk for his own entertainment, and like idiots, they had gone along with it. Fuming, Eren stomped over to the couch and angrily ripped the covers off of a snoring Jean, who was face planted into the couch cushions, a puddle of drool making a huge damp spot beneath him. His fury abated just a little when he also spotted Titan, their tiny little grey kitten, curled up between Jean's shoulder blades, sleeping happily on his makeshift bed.

He snatched up Titan, placing him on the floor before preparing to kick Jean off the couch. Just as he was about to give the dumbass a rude awakening, the tantalizing, aromatic scent of coffee invaded his nostrils, and immediately his plan for vengeance was forgotten in favor of securing a cup of the sweet nectar of the gods. He tossed the blanket carelessly back over Jean and headed to the kitchen, eyes widening when he saw that the one who had brewed the coffee was Marco, who was sitting at the dining table sipping some of the brown liquid out of a mug.

Annabelle, who had been lying underneath the table hoping for scraps of food that wasn't there, came rushing to greet him, circles his legs until he gave her a pat on the head. Marco looked up when he noticed Eren in the doorway and smiled, giving him a small wave.

"Good morning Eren. I hope you're feeling better," Marco greeted him cheerfully, his freckled face breaking into a cheery smile. "I hope you don't mind that I went ahead and used your coffee maker. I just figured when you and Jean woke up you might appreciate a cup."

God bless you, freckled angel.

Eren shook his head. "Oh, um…no, that's fine. It's just that…I wasn't expecting you to be up and about and…not sick," Eren trailed off, noticing the healthy color of Marco's skin and the lack of dark circles under his eyes; apparently he'd gotten a better night's sleep than anyone, and yet Eren remembered him drinking just as much, if not more than he did. Maybe the guy really was an angel.

Marco grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. "Oh, uh, yeah…I kind of…pushed some of my shots off onto whoever wanted them…I'm not that much of an alcohol enthusiast, but Jean just kept them coming so I did end up getting a little drunk," he forced a laugh, and Eren wished he'd gotten that idea, then maybe he wouldn't feel like a tiny man was playing the drums inside his brain.

"Thanks, Marco, you're a much better friend than the dumbass passed out on the couch," Eren gestured with his thumb over his shoulder pointing back towards the couch and Marco fought back a laugh. The brunette crossed the kitchen to grab his favorite chipped mug from the cabinet and poured himself a cup of coffee, leaving out his usual creamer and sugar so as not to dilute the murky brown liquid any further. He wished he could just get an IV kit and inject it straight into his veins, but alas. He took a seat across from Marco and blew on the steaming hot coffee, thankful that the freckled male had thought to close the blinds in the kitchen to spare him anymore pain.

"So uh…do you remember everything that happened last night?" Eren asked reluctantly, fearing the answer. His memory was murky, but there was no way he would be able to forget the mysterious dancer…for better or for worse. His cheeks flushed pink as some of the details came flooding back into his mind; the private dance, the scent of his cologne, the embarrassing series of events that followed ending with him being shoved into a cab and sent home. He had probably looked like a fucking tool, but it wasn't like he'd ever see that gorgeous stranger again, so he could rest easy…right?

Marco made a humming noise while sipping his coffee. "Most everything, yeah. Well, up until Jean dragged me off from the table to God knows where," he flushed a bit before looking back to Eren curiously, "why do you ask?"

"Oh, um…it's just that…" he leaned forward and looked around to make sure they were indeed alone before whispering, "can you not tell Armin about…you know…the dancers…"

Marco chuckled lightly and nodded. "Don't worry Eren, I don't plan on discussing what happened with anyone. I'm not exactly proud of myself…Jean, on the other hand…" he looked in the direction of the living room, the tiny look of concern on his face speaking volumes.

Eren knew that Jean would never keep his mouth shut, not without some kind of incentive. No, he would stroll into work on Monday bragging about his alcohol tolerance and how he'd had to fight the ladies off with a stick, even if neither one of them were true. He'd probably open his big stupid mouth about Eren liking lap dances from dudes or something equally incriminating, and then rumors would spread and eventually get back to the one person he didn't want hearing about his choice of weekend entertainment; Levi. Eren visibly flinched when he imagined the disappointed, disgusted look his boss would give him when he heard how his star employee had gotten trashed and risked ruining his credibility after he'd just placed enough faith in him to promote him.

Just when he'd proved himself a loyal, hardworking employee, after he'd gone through all the trouble of convincing Levi he wasn't an idiot…all of it could be ruined by one careless night of drinking. No, he couldn't risk it. Not when he was so close to building a better life for he and Armin.

There had to be a way to shut Jean up…the problem was, all of the things he did wrong at work were public knowledge, and tattling on him to management would make Eren look childish and like a desperate brown noser. Eren racked his brain as he took a sip of his scalding hot, bitter coffee. There had to be some way…

"Eren, is something wrong? You're being awfully quiet…"

Eren looked up to see Marco staring at him with those big brown eyes and long lashes, and a brilliant idea instantly popped into his mind; Marco was the key. He was Jean's weakness, with his soft, kind features and caring demeanor. Maybe, just maybe, he could use Marco's reliable kindness to his advantage…

Eren nonchalantly traced the rim of his mug with his index finger, trying to appear casual. "Hey Marco, can I ask you for a favor? I swear it's nothing big…well, not really, anyway."

Take the bait, do it, do it...

Marco's eyebrows raised a bit and he looked at Eren, slightly confused about his change in demeanor, but his curiosity on what Eren could possibly need from him took over. "Oh um…sure, Eren. I'm always happy to help a friend."

Sea green eyes fixed on the freckled male in front of him, and he gave Marco the most pitiful pleading expression he was capable of.

"Do you think you could somehow convince Jean to keep his mouth shut about the club at work? I don't really want it getting around that I got trashed and got..." Eren forced out the words, "a lap dance."

Marco's eyes widened a fraction when he saw Eren's flustered expression, and he nodded.

"Well, I could certainly try but Jean's so stubborn, I don't really think he'll listen to me."

Eren leaned forward and started whispering, paranoid that Jean would wake up and start eavesdropping at any moment.

"Give him a reason to. And please don't tell him I'm the one who put you up to this. Just tell him you'd rather keep it between friends because you're fairly new around the office and don't want a bad reputation as a party animal."

Guilt gnawed at Eren for manipulating poor Marco's feelings like this, but this was an important matter. He would be sure to make it up to him later, somehow.

"But how can I do that?" Marco took another sip of his coffee, trying and failing to think of a scenario in which Jean would willingly agree to not be a loudmouth.

"Do you like him?" Eren asked perhaps a little too directly judging by Marco's shocked reaction.

Marco choked on his coffee, sputtering and coughing as he struggled to regain his composure.

"W-what? Why do you ask?" Marco choked out; was scarlet now, and he had coffee stains all down his wrinkled white shirt. Eren would have to remember to pay his dry cleaning bill later.

"Come on Marco, I see the way you two flirt during lunchtime, and how your eyes light up when shit for brains enters the room. There's no way you don't want to get together, unless you already have..." Eren teased, giving Marco a knowing look and smirking devilishly. Damn he could be evil when he wanted.

Marco looked down at the table, utterly mortified. "Is it that obvious?"

"Listen I don't know how in the hell you could have a crush on someone like horse face over there, but if you like him then I think you should ask him out."

"But what does that have to do with-"

Eren interrupted him before he could say anything more. "Promise to go on a date with him if he keeps his mouth shut about last night."

Marco stared at him, slack jawed in disbelief. "Eren!"

Eren leaned forward and grabbed Marco's hands, holding them tightly in his own and as he begged shamelessly. "Please Marco, I'm begging you! Levi can't find out about last night or he'll definitely regret promoting me and my chances of moving up the company ladder will be zero. I've been trying to get promoted for months now, and Armin is so proud of me for moving up. I can't disappoint him, not now. Please Marco, I'll do anything you want, I'll be your slave for a month if you'll just please convince Jean to stay quiet!"

A moment of silence passed between them and Marco's face cycled through a variety of emotions (fear, embarrassment, anxiety) before his expression finally softened and he looked at Eren with sympathy in his big, doe like eyes. The brunette really did seem like he legitimately needed his help, and he had gotten tired of waiting for Jean to make the first move in kick starting a serious relationship…

"Alright Eren, I'll do it, and I'll tell him it's because of me, not you. Sound good?"

Eren's face lit up like a Christmas tree and he immediately lunged forward to pull Marco into a crushing bear hug, more grateful than ever that he was blessed with such wonderful people in his life. Marco struggled to breathe as he patted Eren on the back, not wanting to be mean by prying him off too soon.

"Thank you freckled Jesus! You're my savior!"

Suddenly an angry growl came from the direction of the living room.

"Shut the fuck up in there, Jaeger, you dumb son of a bitch! My head is killing me..."

The threat came from none other than Jean, who was sitting up on the couch and clutching his head in his hands, looking even worse than Eren had when he'd first woken up. Normally the brunette would have gone in there and decked Jean in the face or at least cussed him out for being a douche, but for once in his life he was far too happy for violence.

Some time later, after Jean had sobered up enough to start trying to pick a fight with Eren, Marco decided that it was time to leave and drug his partner out of the front door, telling Eren to be sure and thank Armin for his kindness and letting them stay the night. Eren nodded and saw them to Jean's car which had been parked outside of the house for the night, flipping Jean off as they backed out of the driveway and drove off toward their destination. Eren sincerely hoped that Marco wouldn't waste any time trying to convince Jean to not be a blabber mouth, but they had one more day before returning to work, so surely that would be plenty of time...

Eren felt his phone buzz in his pocket, and when he pulled it out he was surprised to see that he'd received a text from an unfamiliar number.

?: Is this Eren Jaeger?

Confused, Eren typed his reply.

Eren: Um, yeah. Who is this?

The stranger typed his reply, the little dots at the bottom of the screen showing him in the process of responding.

?: Hey brat, this is your boss speaking. Don't forget that you have until the end of the month to find someone to sponsor. I expect you to be out and about scouting Monday morning, bright and early. You'll report to me first of course, got it?

Eren was thoroughly confused now. He didn't remember giving Levi his number, but he supposed it was probably on file somewhere so it would be easy enough to look up. He sighed as he read the reminder; of course he hadn't forgotten his most important duty as an Agent. The trouble was he had no idea where to begin looking for talent in Trost.

Eren: I remember. Got any ideas as to how to find decent models in this town?

Levi: Use your brain, grunt. Hold a talent show or something. Be creative.

Eren frowned at the insult but knew that Levi had a point; he need to come up with solutions to problems on his own if he was going to be valuable to Wall Rose. His thumbs raced over the screen, typing his reply in record time.

Eren: Right. Anyway, thanks for the reminder. See you bright and early on Monday!

Levi: Ditto.

Levi sighed as he stared at the text exchange between them. He'd been up most of the night wondering if the brat had made it home or was dead in a ditch somewhere, if only because he didn't want to feel responsible when they found his lifeless corpse. It would have been far too suspicious to ask how he was doing that morning, or if he was feeling any better, or any other leading questions like that, so he'd opted for a business conversation under the guise of a friendly reminder. He'd had to contact Hanji to get her to dig through the files and find Eren's phone number, and only on the condition that he bring her a salted caramel frappucino from the local coffee shop in exchange for having to drive to the office on a weekend, to which he'd grudgingly agreed.

A weight had been lifted off his shoulders now, knowing that Eren was safe, or so he assumed if the brat was coherent enough to answer a text message. Yes, that was all he had wanted, to see if Eren was still alive to avoid a legal case...

Levi looked out of his top floor window and saw that the beautiful sunshine that had been glaring in his eyes the entire morning was now covered by darkening clouds, signaling the arrival of rain. As much as he enjoyed the sound of rain coming down and the smell of freshly wet earth, sometimes he craved the warmth of the sun and its annoyingly bright rays.

Tomorrow is another day, I suppose. The sun will always be there, whether I like it or not. I guess I've come to look forward to it every morning. Monday...I wonder if the sun will shine brightly then or be hidden behind the clouds...