Author's Note: To the anon who threatened to strangle me because the last few chapters were angsty, you should be ashamed of yourself. I don't care if it was a joke because violent threats are NOT funny. Either apologize and start leaving respectful comments or gtfo, because I will NOT tolerate that crap.
"Could you get the door for me, baby?"
"I got it!"
The little boy rushed to the front door of the Jaeger family home and opened it wide, stepping out of the way when his daddy walked inside. Of course, Eren would normally open the door for himself, but he was carrying quite a bit of precious cargo on that early afternoon.
"Alright, up we go," he said as he climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. His son closed the front door behind him and ran to the kitchen while he settled Levi in bed. The shorter immediately relaxed into the fluffy pillows and soft sheets, so thankful to be home. He had only spent two nights in the hospital, but they had been two of the most uncomfortable nights of his life, and that was coming from a person who had slept on the ground outside the Walls for weeks on end and had once carried a baby who would often decide that the middle of the night was playtime. Levi made a satisfied grunting sound as Eren pulled the sheets up over his chest and kissed his forehead.
"Thanks," he murmured, turning his head towards his husband. Eren leaned down and kissed his lips.
"Anything for you," the taller murmured back, kissing him again. "Can I get you anything?"
"Papa!" their son called as he appeared in the bedroom with a plate and cup. "I brought you some bread and water in case you were hungry!"
Levi smiled. "That was so thoughtful of you, baby, thank you. Bring it here." With his good hand, he took the plate from his cheerful son and slowly began eating.
Levi's condition, while still serious, had improved significantly overnight. He had eaten every last bite of Sasha's stew for dinner, and all of the healthy ingredients in it must have worked because he felt much better afterwards. Between that, having his spirits lifted from his family's visit, and the long (yet still uncomfortable) sleep he had had that night, he had been cleared to go home when he woke up the next morning.
"Levi still needs plenty of medication, rest, and care, but he should be fine," the doctor said to Eren. "I'll have a nurse come by every morning for the next two weeks or so to make sure he's healing properly. I must say though, I've never had a patient respond this well to medication this quickly."
Eren frowned. "What do you mean?"
The doctor fixed his glasses and looked over the notes spread out on his desk. "I've seen all sorts of Titan injuries over the years. Granted, most of them have been much more serious than this. Levi is very lucky that, who was it, Mikasa Ackerman?, killed the Titan before it could bite him all the way through. Had she not, he'd be dead right now. That being said, the injury is still serious, and it's going to take a while for him to recover. Still, I received word from Ms. Hanji Zoe that you were able to stop all the bleeding relatively quickly, is that right?"
"Hanji was here?" Eren asked.
The doctor nodded. "Yes, early yesterday morning before you got here. Levi was still unconscious, but she wasn't interested in visiting him. She wanted to talk to me about what the Survey Corps medical team was able to do before you returned to the Walls."
Eren narrowed his eyes out of confusion. "Um, yes, they were able to stop the worst of the bleeding before we returned. The bleeding stopped entirely by the time we were back inside the Walls, right?"
The doctor nodded again. "I was just a little surprised is all. But it's also true that Levi is very healthy and in great shape, so his body is probably more resilient than the average soldier's. Oh well, I don't want to dwell on it too much, especially when there's so much good news to tell. I'm sure he'd love to go home as soon as possible, and I'm sure you'd love to have him home."
Eren grinned. "Our son will be so happy. He misses his papa so much."
"Oh, that was the other thing Ms. Hanji Zoe wanted to talk about," the doctor said as he pulled another sheet of paper from his desk. "Ah yes, here we go. She requested that we take a few blood samples from Levi while she was here yesterday morning. They were quite small, nothing to worry about. She took most of them back to her lab, but we kept one here for a certain test. I don't know if this counts as good news or not, but, in case you were wondering, Levi was not pregnant."
Eren flushed slightly as he looked away. Leave it to Hanji to ask the doctor to perform such a test, but this was the same man who had suggested Levi's pregnancy the first time around, so Eren wasn't as embarrassed. Still, mixed emotions bubbled inside him. As happy as he was that they hadn't lost a baby, he was a bit confused as to why Levi was having such a hard time getting pregnant again. Maybe it was time he talked to the midwives about it.
Still, that wasn't what was important. "Well, thanks for confirming that," he said, a smile returning to his face. "So we can take him home this afternoon?"
Levi finished the last of his snack and leaned back against his pillow. "Ugh, I needed that, thank you, baby."
His son grinned. "You're welcome. Since you're gonna be in bed for a while, Daddy asked me to be his little helper. So Daddy and I are gonna take care of you!"
Levi smiled slightly. "Well, that's nice of you, but-"
"No buts," Eren said, leaning over as cupping his husband's face. "Your only job right now is to get better. You're always working so hard for us. You make all the meals, do almost all the shopping, do all the cleaning-"
"All three of us clean."
"But you do the most! So just relax for a while, okay? Let us take care of you for a change."
Levi went to speak but stopped. He knew he couldn't win. He could barely stand on his own without feeling pain, so he wasn't going to be much help with anything. Hell, Eren had just carried him from the cart they borrowed from the hospital up to their room, as he had been unable to sit up straight without help. So he just sighed and gently closed his eyes. "Fine, you win. But the moment I get better is when I'm back in charge, you hear me? I can't let you have free reign over this house for too long; the damn place will go to hell."
Eren laughed. "Deal." And he kissed his husband once more. "C'mon, baby, let's let Papa sleep for a while."
"No, he can stay," Levi murmured, eyes still closed. "As long as he stays on my uninjured side, he'll be fine. It's getting close to his nap time anyway."
Without a moment's hesitation, the little boy jumped into the bed and curled up on his papa's side, only to jump down a moment later and run into his room. He quickly returned with his Titan plush and jumped back into the master bed. "We made up," he explained as he snuggled up with his papa, the toy gently clutched in his arms. "It wasn't his fault Papa got hurt, and it wasn't yours either, Daddy, I'm sorry."
Eren smiled. "Thank you, I'm glad to hear that," he said. "Have a nice nap." He kissed both the loves of his life again and headed downstairs to see what was available for dinner.
Eren looked up from scrubbing vegetables over the sink when he heard the knock at the front door about two hours later. He quickly dried his hands and opened the door, only for his eyes to widen. Standing on his front step were Armin, Mikasa, Hanji, and a few other high-ranking soldiers from the Survey Corps.
His voice was unsure when he spoke. "…Guys?"
"We heard that Levi is back home," Armin said, smiling. "That's great."
"Are you all here to visit him?"
"Sort of," Hanji replied, pushing her glasses up on her nose. "Sorry to come over unannounced so soon and all, but we really need to discuss what happened on the expedition with both of you. Is Levi awake? Can he talk?"
At that moment, the littlest member of the Jaeger family came down the stairs, rubbing his eyes and yawning, "Daddy? Who's at the door?"
"Oh! Um, baby, is Papa awake?"
His son nodded. "Yeah, why? …Why is everyone here?"
Eren bit his lip. "…Can you play downstairs for a while?"
"Huh?" Now the child was wide awake. "Wait, no, are they here to take Papa back? Papa can't go out yet! No, go away, Papa has to stay at home!"
"No, they're not here to take Papa away, don't worry," Eren said as he bent down to the child's level. "We just need to talk about what happened on the expedition. I promise that Papa won't leave his bed, okay? Please, I just…I don't want you getting scared. It's been a rough few days, and I don't want you to be sad anymore, so could you stay down here while we talk?" He looked back up at the group. "It won't take too long, will it?"
Hanji sighed. "That depends but I don't think it'll take too long."
The child flinched at Hanji's words but reluctantly nodded anyway.
Eren kissed his forehead. "Good boy, go grab some of your toys and come back down here."
After another moment of hesitation, the child ran back upstairs. He stopped momentarily to tell Levi about the visitors and then headed downstairs with his Titan plush, a rag doll, and a few toy soldiers. He didn't say a word as the real soldiers climbed the stairs, but he did smile back when Armin, who carried a backpack with him, and Mikasa smiled and waved at him.
Eren helped Levi sit up as straight as he could as the crowd gathered around him. It felt strange to have so many people in his bedroom, especially while Levi was in bed, but there was no way around it, as he didn't want to move Levi again so soon after bringing him home. So Eren sat at the end of the bed while everyone else was content to stand.
Hanji was the first to speak. "How are you feeling?"
"How the hell do you think, four eyes?"
"Yep, you're fine."
Eren almost laughed.
Hanji cleared her throat and sighed, pulling a notebook from her jacket pocket and flipping through the pages. "I don't know how much you remember or what you know now, but we have quite a situation on our hands. You're expected to appear in court once you're better. Twice. Once for the suspects from the Military Police and another for Annie Leonhart."
The room suddenly became very quiet, a dark, tense atmosphere hanging in the air. Hanji narrowed her eyes as she studied the look of confused shock on Levi's face. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Eren's hands ball into fists, but the man remained silent, as did everyone else. Armin kept his gaze on the ground while Mikasa looked like she was about to murder someone.
Hanji cleared her throat again and said, "While the expedition itself was legitimate, spies were hidden amongst our troops. Leftovers from when the Military Police was corrupt, not that it isn't nowadays, but whatever. There were three of them, and we've been questioning them since we got back. Can't believe how quick they were to spill the beans, but, hey, the Military Police has never been known for bravery."
"The hell are you talking about?"
"There are people in this world who want to take your son away from you."
"Levi, their target was you."
"Coming up to a Titan Forest on the left, keep an eye out!"
The expedition itself was going okay so far. A few hours into it with the horses galloping at top speed and not a single Titan had been spotted. Eren was beginning to wonder just how far they could go. Perhaps the Survey Corps truly had killed enough Titans to create its first permanent settlement. He glanced at Levi on his left side and smiled slightly at the thought of living outside the Walls with him and their son. What a wonderful life that would be.
Levi didn't share his optimism. As they came closer towards the forest, he heard a few horses behind him start galloping faster, as if the riders wanted to stay close to him. Rookies weren't supposed to be situated near him in this formation, but he was too focused on going forward to check. After all, it wasn't unusual for even seasoned veterans to want to stick around him.
Suddenly, a scream.
Two 14 meter class jumped out from behind the trees and swiped at the soldiers, the horses frantically dodging and, unfortunately, bumping into each other. "Crap!" Eren hissed. "Just when I thought this would be a nice place to live!"
"Damn, we've still got a long way to go," Levi muttered, unsheathing one of his blades as a 7 meter class waddled out from behind the two 14 meter class.
In the midst of confusion and terror, most of the soldiers scattered while Levi and Mikasa jumped off their horses and flew around the Titans so they could see their backs. Jean, Connie, Reiner, and Ymir were right behind them while Armin and Hanji screamed out, "INCOMING!" just as a 4 meter class reached out for the nearby Historia. Bertholdt jumped up and quickly spun around, slashing its neck before it could touch her. He caught Ymir's gaze and nodded at her as if to say that he had the situation under control. Eren, as usual, had to stay back in case his Titan powers were needed, but that didn't stop him from rushing forward when he spotted another 7 meter class just as Reiner killed the first one.
Despite how big the Titan was, it moved rather quickly, trying to grab at Levi's gear wires. The man quickly changed his trajectory and spun around, dragging his blade all the way up the Titan's spine to the nape of its neck, where he promptly slashed both blades. Just as the monster started to fall, a 15 meter class appeared behind it. In the midst of the battle, between Jean killing the second 7 meter class and the horses charging away from the fight, Levi only heard it when it was close enough to grab at him. Just when it was about to get a grip on him, he hooked his wires onto a nearby tree branch and jumped up.
Someone crashed into him.
The last thing Levi felt before losing consciousness was the pain of powerful, flat teeth chewing at his right side, and the last thing he heard was the roar of Eren's Titan form.
Hanji sighed heavily and turned a page in her notebook. "Mikasa killed the other 14 meter class right before you were bitten, and she was close enough to you that she could kill the 15 meter class before it could bite through you. Then, ugh, everything just fell into chaos. You fell out of the dead Titan's mouth, and another Military Police spy tried to grab you, but Connie got to him first, throwing him to the ground. Mikasa then grabbed you and safely brought you to one of the supply carts. You were bleeding badly, but we couldn't administer first aid right away since even more Titans appeared from the forest. Eren ran into the forest as a Titan to fight, and he ended up going berserk and killing every single one of them in the area, but that wasn't before Jean caught a glimpse of you. The moment he saw your bitten right half, he just lost it. He screamed and lost control of his gear, causing him to fall while still flying forward. Ymir grabbed him before he could land and angled him just enough so that his head, neck, and spine were spared. He landed roughly on his right side and suffered from a dislocated shoulder and some bad bruising. What was worse though was how badly he was shaking and sweating, and he screamed so loud and hard that he made himself sick. He didn't stop even as we turned around and returned to the Walls, and we had to restrain him to keep him from hurting himself further. Ugh, it wasn't pretty, especially after Eren exhausted himself and crawled out of his Titan form. He couldn't fight anymore, but he was all hysterical looking for you. We had to restrain him, too, but he calmed down as soon as we put you two in the same cart together. By this time, we were applying first aid."
Levi stared at Hanji with wide, disbelieving eyes, and his bread snack from earlier threatened to make a return. Slowly but surely, the memories started returning to his mind. Not the details of course, but he could vaguely remember Mikasa grabbing onto him and placing him in a cart. He momentarily stared at his husband, wondering how he had managed to keep himself together over the past forty-eight hours between going berserk in Titan form and staying up all night with their son. Normally, he needed several hours of rest to compose himself after taking on his Titan form, so the poor man had to still be exhausted. And now Eren was going to run the household while Levi just sat in bed? The thought left a horrid taste in his mouth.
"I'm still confused as to why there were so many Titans hiding in the forest," Eren interrupted, crossing his arms. "And they all jumped out at once. Why was that?
"Titans have the ability to learn," Armin replied, looking up. "They might not be intelligent, but, if they see a human in one of those overgrown trees, they'll try to climb it. This seems a little too intelligent though, plotting an ambush against us like that. Or maybe they just really have become more intelligent over time."
"Basically, those three Military Police spies were waiting for the perfect opportunity to kill or at least injure you, Levi," Hanji continued. "They were also willing to die to make sure that happened. But these weren't ordinary Military Police soldiers. They were associated with the religious conservatives."
"The guys who worship the Walls?!" Eren shot back, voice stunned and eyes wide. "Wait, Historia said-!"
Hanji shook her head. "Not them. Another group. One devoted entirely to killing your family."
"MY SON IS INNOCENT," Levi suddenly shouted, startling everyone. His face was pale, and his eyes were dark, casting a murderous glance across the room. "Innocent," he repeated a bit quieter but no less firmly. "They tried to kill me so they could take my son away? What about Eren?"
Hanji bit her lip. "They were hoping he'd be imprisoned for going berserk in Titan form and be deemed unsuitable to raise him. Since you're both Survey Corps members, your son would probably be put under Military Police custody."
"WHY IN THE HELL-!"
"Think about it, Levi! You gave birth to your son. You! A man! You were impregnated by a Titan Shifter and gave birth to a child. The religious conservatives ultimately want your son dead! They believe that, with your strength and Eren's Titan form, he could become the most powerful Titan humanity has ever seen and-"
"Shut your goddamn mouth."
Hanji did just that and glanced at Eren, who was shaking with anger, eyes furious and a poisonous shade of green. She then glanced in the opposite direction at Mikasa, who refused to look up as she wrapped her arms around her own waist and bit her lip so hard it bled. Hanji sighed and looked back down at her notes. She hated sharing this information, but everyone had to know. In fact, she was thankful that the Military Police spies had told her so much. "If nothing else," she said cautiously, "now you know, so you can protect him better."
"I'll kill anyone who touches so much as a single hair on his head," Eren growled, voice deep and rough and sounding quite similar to his Titan roar. He shook his head and continued, "No, anyone who even so much as THINKS about touching a single hair on his head. Anyone. Everyone. I'll kill them all."
No one had to hear him speak to know that Levi was thinking the exact same thing.
Hanji flipped another page in her notebook. "If I may continue, there is some good news. We know of several other Military Police members associated with these religious conservatives. Armin?"
The blond opened the backpack in his arms and pulled out several sheets of paper. "Here are the ones we know about, complete with physical descriptions."
"Where did you get those?" Eren asked, voice still angry but now more curious.
Armin frowned. "From Annie. Remember when your son ran to my place during your argument? She was there, too, and heard about the expedition. I didn't see her again until the night before the expedition, when she came to my house, stayed the night, and didn't take this backpack with her when she left early the next morning, before I got up. I only looked through it because I wanted to be sure she hadn't left anything valuable behind, but I found it was full of these papers. Guys, do you understand what this means? Annie spied on as many Military Police members as she could before we left because she thought the whole expedition was suspicious, and she left these papers with me to be sure we'd know who to watch out for. That was why Connie grabbed the second guy before he could grab you, Levi. Connie was at the gate early, so I only had time to share it with him."
Eren's jaw dropped. "Annie did that?"
Armin nodded. "But she also leaked Military Police information to the Survey Corps, so she was arrested, and she's still being held in a prison at the Military Police headquarters under suspicion that SHE plotted all this. Reiner, Bertholdt, and I were questioned, too, and-"
"Wait, YOU were questioned, too?" Eren asked. "When? Why?!"
Armin's cheeks flushed pink, and he shuffled a bit in his spot. "Before I visited Jean in the hospital yesterday and because I'm dating her. I was suspected of conspiring with her, along with Reiner and Bertholdt, but we were all released. Annie worked alone this time."
"And that's why you need to come to her hearing, too, Levi," Hanji finished. "She committed a crime, but she saved us and helped you and Eren protect your son. The Supreme Commander has decided that whether or not she'll be released depends entirely on you."
"Go home," Levi suddenly hissed, glaring at Hanji with deadly eyes. "Go home. All of you. Now."
Surprisingly enough, they all did. Hanji closed her notebook and led the group out of the room, her subordinated right behind her. Armin placed the papers in the backpack, closed it, and followed them. Mikasa was the last one to leave, only pausing for a moment to look at Eren with teary eyes that said so much. He looked back at her and felt his anger dissipate, only to be replaced with sadness.
As soon as they were all gone, Levi buried his face in his palms and slumped over, ignoring the pain aching throughout his injured side. "All I ever wanted," he whispered, "was for my son to be normal. That's all. I wanted him to have a normal childhood. I wanted him to be happy, smiling and laughing and playing like normal children do. Was that really so much to ask?"
The little angel himself appeared in the doorway, a concerned look on his face.
"Is your meeting over? Can I come back in?"
Levi nodded and outstretched his good arm. "Yes, it's over, baby, c'mere. All three of us will spend the rest of the day together, and you can even sleep in our bed tonight if you want."
Jean was surprised to hear a knock on his door that afternoon. He, too, had been released from the hospital that day, but he wasn't expecting visitors. He got up from his couch and opened the front door only to blush and lose the ability to form coherent sentences for a moment. Mikasa was standing on his front step.
"How are you feeling?" the woman asked quietly.
Jean stumbled over his words at first but then managed to say, "F-fine now! Yup, I'm good!"
"That's good. I was worried."
"Oh, um, thanks."
There was a pause before Mikasa spoke again. "I heard that, when you found Marco, the right half of his head and torso had been bitten off, am I right?"
Jean flinched and reluctantly nodded.
"So seeing Levi get bitten in the exact same place must have triggered your panic attack. I'm so sorry."
Jean went to speak but stopped.
He looked straight at her.
"If you…ever need someone to talk to, please come to me."
"I nearly lost my family for the third time two days ago," she said, "but we all nearly lost you, too. I suppose I should be thanking Ymir right now, but I just…I wanted to see you, and-"
"Whoa, whoa," Jean stopped her, waving his hands in front of himself, "what about Eren?"
"Eren has Levi. He has his own family now. You and I…we don't have anybody…"
She didn't have to say the rest. Jean knew what she was trying to tell him, and it made his heart throb in the most achingly pleasant way possible.
So maybe we could have each other.