Author's Note: Several people (too many to list here) requested to see Levi have nightmares, so, if you requested that, here you go. You'll also get another nightmare scene in a future chapter.
Also, this chapter contains some hinted spoilers regarding Levi for the most recent manga chapters. (I'm announcing these spoilers because they haven't been compiled in the American release of the manga at this time.)
"Levi, Levi, Levi, what a disappointment you are."
No, I'm not.
"You can't even do the bare minimum of what's expected of you."
I do everything I can.
"Do you even remember anything I taught you?"
I've tried to suppress all my memories of you.
"I don't know why that idiotic brat stays with you."
Shut up, I'm the only one allowed to call Eren a brat.
"And YOU'RE a selfish, spoiled brat nowadays, too."
There's nothing wrong with demanding quality.
"You won't even let me…"
GET AWAY FROM HIM.
"…see my cute grandson."
Levi's eyes flooded with light as soon as they snapped open. He thought that he felt pain at the sudden bright burst, but he was too frozen in place to think too much of it. Slowly the world came into focus. He was lying on something soft…okay, that was his bed. He could recognize the sheets, mattress, and pillows. Above him was a well-put together ceiling. Connected to that were four walls, right? One, two, three, yup, all four were there. He was lying in his bed in his bedroom in his house in Zhiganshina, which was part of Wall Maria. And that was Eren looking down at him. Right, that was his beloved husband with whom he shared all this.
Eren's face was tense until Levi started breathing normally, then it softened. He gently brushed Levi's cheek with his fingers and said in a calming, pleasant voice, "You sounded like you were having a nightmare."
Levi's voice was slightly shaky. "I was."
Eren frowned and leaned forward to kiss his husband's forehead. "It's okay," he said, "it wasn't real. You're safe, I'm safe, everyone is safe." He paused and then said, "Do you want to tell me what happened?"
The serial killer who raised me and turned me into the disgusting garbage I am today came back from the dead and tortured me with his words and fists and then blew our son into a million pieces with his anti-human guns.
Eren nodded and kissed Levi's forehead again. "Okay, whatever makes you feel better."
I really don't think I deserve to feel better.
Eren smiled and moved down to Levi's lips, which he kissed lovingly. Levi kissed back and the kisses were soft at first, purely affectionate. Eren then set a slightly more passionate pace, but that only lasted for a few seconds. He momentarily pulled away to catch his breath, and that was when Levi said, "We have company."
Eren knew what he meant. They were both facing away from the door, but they heard it creak slightly. Eren pulled himself away and got up, and the door closed as soon as he did. He stood in front of it for just a moment, turned back to wink at Levi, and then quickly opened the door and grabbed the little devil standing just outside. His son squealed loudly and kicked his little legs wildly as Eren began his cuddly assault. The squealing quickly turned into giggles, and the boy shouted, "Papa! It's a Tickle Titan surprise attack!"
"OH GOD, NO," Levi declared, hoisting the bedsheets above his head. "You're on your own, Soldier Jaeger, it's the Captain's day off."
"NOOOOOOOO!" the boy cried out, laughing hysterically as Eren carried him into the bedroom, kissing wherever he could before unceremoniously dumping him on the bed next to his papa. The boy took a moment to catch his breath, still giggling somewhat, and then pulled the sheets off Levi's head. "Attack's over, Papa, the Tickle Titan got through the Walls."
Levi sighed heavily. "Oh well, might as well make friends, huh? Not like he's leaving any time soon. Maybe we can train him to clean."
Eren grinned. "Don't worry, this Titan comes fully trained! Be right back." And he headed downstairs.
Levi rolled his eyes. "What's that ridiculous daddy of yours up to?"
His question was answered about a minute later, when Eren came rushing back upstairs into their room with a tray in his hands. "Ta-da! Breakfast in bed!"
Levi sat up, eyes wide with both horror and curiosity. "Wait, what? When did you…?"
"Just now. I thought I'd do something nice for you since you had a nightmare."
"Papa had a nightmare?!"
"It's okay, baby, I'm fine. Eren, are you serious? I am not sleeping in a pile of crumbs toni—!" Levi stopped short when he saw the sad eyes his husband and son were giving him. Crap, crap, crap, those big, beautiful, green eyes were irresistible! Levi groaned loudly and leaned back against the bed's headboard. "Fine," he sighed, prompting gleeful looks from his family, "guess we're doing laundry today."
Why is Eren so wonderful to me when I clearly don't deserve it?
I'm torn on when Eren and I actually met. I saw him that one early evening in Trost, when the Survey Corps had just returned to Wall Rose due to the emergency there. I saw him but I didn't know who he was or what that Titan carcass in front of the boulder at the gate was or what the hell was even going on. It wasn't until the Military Police finally let us see him days later that I got a good look at him. Our gazes met and I told Erwin that I would look after him despite not trusting him.
That was a lie. I trusted him. From the moment I looked into his eyes, I trusted him. He had a good look on his face, one of determination and sincerity, and his eyes told me that he would never look back after making a decision. I liked that. We needed more people with that kind of resolve in the Survey Corps.
But I had also never seen eyes so vibrantly green before. I hadn't known that such a green existed.
I like to skip over the next part, but it still boggles my mind that Eren didn't resent me for beating the ever-loving crap out of him in that courtroom. When he told me that he understood why I had needed to do it, my heart felt light. It wasn't because I was in love with him though, as I didn't truly fall in love until much later, but I was overjoyed that I didn't have to add him to the list of people who hated me.
That was also a lie. I was in love with him at the time. Whenever people ask, he says that we fell in love slowly. Maybe he did. Maybe his love started out as hero worship and eventually evolved into true love, but I fell in love the moment I looked into his eyes in that jail cell underneath the courthouse. I just didn't know it. Or maybe I did and just didn't admit it to myself, perhaps out of pride or because the situation at hand was more pressing or because I told myself I didn't deserve him. I couldn't have him anyway. Even if we both had been unimportant civilians, I still couldn't have had him. I was in my thirties at the time. I was a grown-ass man, and he was a baby in comparison. He was fifteen at the time, just beginning to hit puberty. I couldn't have him, and I would never have him. I kept telling myself this, but I wanted him. I wanted him so badly it hurt.
So on that horrible day when I thought he had died, all my feelings and everything I had been thinking came rushing to the front of my mind.
Damn that ape.
I was badly injured. Blood was rushing down my face, ugly bruises were already forming on my back and near my hips, my left ankle was twisted, and my vision was hazy at best. But I still got up. I got up and ran as fast as I could to the steaming Titan lying in that field. Did the rest of the world even exist in that moment? I'm not sure, as I only focused on how Eren wasn't crawling out of his Titan.
Somewhere in the chaos of all this, Mikasa and Armin appeared, and all three of us had to cut him out. Most of him had fused with the Titan's flesh, so, when we finally got him out, both of his arms and legs were gone, and his torso and head looked as if some sort of parasite had eaten away at them. This imagine still haunts me today.
Everything else happened so quickly. I was the first one to say "I love you." At least I think I was. Mikasa, Armin, and I barely left his bedside in the hospital. Neither one of them questioned why I was there, and I was grateful. It's disgustingly selfish of me, but I was so happy that Eren woke up while the two of them were out. I was the first person he saw, and I barely gave him any time to think before I said those three words.
It truly was a whirlwind romance several years in the making. Immediately after Eren turned eighteen, we moved into our own house in Zhiganshina together, and we got married on June 10th, barely two and a half months later. Being newlyweds was incredible. It almost felt like my wish to have Eren all to myself came true, as we spent nearly every moment, both awake and asleep, together. At times it even felt like there were no Walls surrounding us or even that we had no neighbors. It was just me and the brat, who wasn't so much of a brat anymore. The fact that Eren had grown into a 6'5" man with a strong jaw, nicely developed muscles, and somewhat grown out hair certainly was a nice perk.
So when I discovered that I was pregnant with his baby about two years later, a million thoughts ran through my mind about how I had more of Eren to love and how I could finally give him something in return for all that he had given me.
It was hell. A painful, disgusting hell. I had never been so sick in my entire life. Not even the sewer water I had been forced to drink as a child had ever made me so ill. I don't know if knowing now why I was so sick makes it better or worse, but, even at the time, I knew that there was a reason why I was sick. It wasn't like it was pointless. My body was changing and adapting so it could safely give birth to Eren's child, and that helped me get through those hellish months. Eren, too. He doesn't realize how much he helped me. He was there by my side at all hours, cooking multiple versions of whatever I had a chance of keeping down, cleaning up after me every time I got sick (yes, EVERY time), carrying me and helping me when I was too weak to even take a damn bath on my own, massaging my feet, back, and shoulders when my stomach started to grow, and telling me that he loved me. That was the kicker. Every single time he did something for me, he told me that he loved me and that he would do anything for me, that I could do anything to him and he'd still love me. Labor was the worst physical pain I've ever experienced, and, even when I damn near ripped Eren's hand off, he still told me that he loved me (and that it was okay if I ripped his hand off because, hell, it would just grow back). I thought to myself, "What did I do to deserve someone so perfect?"
And then I realized that I didn't and still don't deserve him.
I have a theory about the relationship between the sun and the moon. When one disappears, the other one comes out, but where does the first one go? It must look out over the rest of the world, meaning that the world beyond these Walls must be massive, bigger than any territory that could ever fit inside any wall. The sun goes and spreads its warmth over another part of the world, while the moon comes out to watch over us while we sleep. But then, why does the moon shine? Why does it not shine as brightly as the sun? The sun must never truly disappear, and its light must reflect off the moon, making it only look like it shines.
Eren and I are the same way. He's so big and bright and full of life, and he radiates warmth and happiness. Even his looks are sunny, with his bronze skin and jewel tone eyes. He smiles so easily despite all the pain he's known, and I'm glad that people are awake to experience it. He's my sun. His light reflects off me, so I only look like I shine. And, even if I look like I shine, it's never as brightly as he. I'm pale and stiff with harsh, narrow eyes and inky black hair. I don't radiate anything. I'm cold and barren like the moon. And, just like how people are asleep whenever the moon is out, people shouldn't see me. Eren should upstage me every time, because any light that I have is a lie. It's only because of my sun that I look like I have any life at all.
I try so hard to make it up to him for giving me some of his light. I cook. I clean. I gave birth to his child. But is that enough? Will it ever be enough?
I can't even give him another baby to love.
Eren is in his twenties. He's in the prime of his life. He should be with a young, gorgeous woman who can give him a big family. I don't know why he wastes his time with me. Me, an old man who can't give him anything and yet selfishly hangs onto him. I don't know what I'd do without him. I don't think I could live without Eren now that I know his love. He's my sun. He's the only reason I look like I shine.
It would be so easy for me to wallow in this misery, and, for a while, I did. I laid in our bed for a week thinking about everything I didn't deserve. How dare I, a thug, a thief, a murderer, a piece of trash from the underground, think that it was okay for me to have any happiness?
And then my son walked into the room.
And I realized that one choice had already been made for me, but there was another choice I had the power to make.
I could lie there in bed feeling sorry for myself and wishing for death, or I could be the best husband and parent I could possibly be to the people I loved most. I could work on paying Eren back for all he's done for me, and I could raise our son with nothing but love into a great man. I could make that choice. I had that power. I even had the power to bring love into the lives of so many other people.
But I'm still the filthiest, most selfish crap that ever existed.
When the time comes, please let me die first so I never again have to live in a world without Eren Jaeger. The world was so ugly before he was born, and now that I've seen how beautiful it is with him, I can't bear to think about a world without him. Don't let him die soon after me. The world needs as much of him as it can possibly get. I'll wait patiently, only hoping that we can be together in our next lives.
Our son will cry. I know he will. But I can only hope that he inherited enough of Eren. I hope that he's more like Eren, spreading his own bright light as the world watches. He must be a sun, and I hope that the world quietly forgets about me. There will be no moons among future Jaegers.
Please allow me this one last selfish wish.
Levi looked up from buttering a piece of bread and smiled softly. "I'm fine," he said, "just lost in thought." He popped the bread in his mouth and ripped another small piece off a roll. "Want me to butter a piece for you, baby?"
"Yes, please!" the boy replied before taking a long gulp of his juice.
Eren finished pouring the tea and set one cup in front of Levi. "Here you go, I hope it's okay."
Levi passed the bread piece to their son and took a sip of the hot tea. He looked at it thoughtfully and then took another sip. He shrugged. "Not bad."
"Yes, I did it!" Eren cheered. "I made tea that didn't suck!"
Levi's smile widened slightly, and he leaned back against the bed headboard, teacup in hand. He sipped at the hot liquid slowly, savoring its taste and soaking up the moment. Next to him, Eren sliced an apple into equal pieces and set on a plate to share. Their son munched on his bread. If the joy Levi felt at that moment meant washing crumbs out of the sheets, it was worth it. He glanced out the nearby window at the gorgeously sunny day outside and sighed quietly. How beautiful everything was.
Levi looked at his son. "Hmm? What is it, baby?"
The boy smiled cheerfully. "I like this better than when you were in here by yourself. I'm really happy."
Levi smiled back at him, a tinge of sadness in his expression.
"I am, too, baby, I am, too."