Chapter 18

"And so basically, he won't talk to me or look at me now." Levi said, finishing his recap of the frustrating events from that morning. The story had taken a whole forty-eight seconds, and yet Erwin and Hanji were practically at the edge of their seats.

"Did he seem more on the angry side or more on the embarrassed side?" Hanji questioned with both eyebrows raised. She was pretty certain she knew why Eren was behaving the way he was, but she wanted to try and get as many specific details as possible- just to be sure.

"I don't fucking know," Levi spit out as he fell back against his chair. "It's like I said, he was kind of stuttering for a bit, and then he just got up, said he was going to walk to school, and then left." He pressed his palms against his eyes and let out a loud groan; he was frustrated and worried and afraid and a little bit angry, and surely that many emotions coursing through his body all at once was bad for his health.

As if on cue, his head chose that exact moment to throb, and he slid one hand up until his palm was pressing against his forehead. Yea, this was definitely bad for his health.

"Are you alright?" Erwin asked upon noticing the pained expression on his friend's face.

"No." Levi stood from his chair, walking around his desk and across the room until he stopped to face a framed painting hanging on his wall. The painting wasn't put there by his choice- Erwin had bought it for him as some kind of office gift or some shit.

It showed a man standing in the middle of the painting with a rather deadpanned expression on his face. And all around him were duplicates of himself wearing different expressions in darker colors. One of the duplicates was crying while clutching at his chest. Another duplicate was on his knees with his fingers tugging at his disheveled hair. There was one that was red in the face with furrowed brows- this one appeared to be screaming. One towards the right of the painting was wearing a frightened expression while biting at his finger nails. Another smaller one towards the back was standing lazily sporting some stupid lopsided grin while having one hand pressed against his cheek- and his cheeks appeared to have a faint blush to them.

Levi's eyes darted among the many different expressions, and he sighed while shaking his head because this painting was annoyingly similar to how he was feeling right now.

"Levi?"

The shorter man could hear the concern in Erwin's voice. "Have you ever felt multiple feelings at once?" Levi asked suddenly- still standing in front of the painting with his back to his friends.

"Of course," Hanji answered with a good amount of sass in her voice, making it seem as if that was the most obvious answer in the world. "That's just how human emotions work."

"So," Levi began, turning slowly on his heel until he was facing the brunette, "it's normal to feel mad, and frustrated, and worried, and afraid all at the same time?"

Hanji tilted her chin down slightly, peering over her glasses at the shorter man. "Yes, and I can assume that all of those emotions center around Eren."

Levi's eyes dropped to the floor. Of course.

Of course it's Eren.

Everything he had felt the past few months had been because of Eren. The damn brat was practically taking over his life, but he was kind of, really okay with that. He truly wanted to be with Eren- that's why he was so concerned with the boy's actions. That's why he was slightly angry at the boy's actions, and why he was frustrated with the boy's actions, and why he was feeling afraid- he had apparently developed a huge fear of losing Eren.

'Holy shit.' Levi thought to himself- face sporting a rather shocked expression.

A knock on the door had the three turning towards the sound, and Levi called out for the knocker to come in before moving back to his desk. A store manager walked in, requesting Erwin's presence, and Erwin stood, making his way towards the door. He stopped just as he stepped through the doorway, turning to look over his shoulder at his two friends. "Shall we continue this at lunch? It's been a while since we've all had lunch together."

"No," Levi muttered, but his words were drowned out by the loud "Yes!" from Hanji.

"Alright then," Erwin started, "we'll meet back here at noon." And with that said, he exited the room completely, disappearing down the hallway.

The room fell into an uncomfortable silence, and Hanji took that as her cue to leave. "I should be on my way," she began as she hopped to her feet, "got some assistant stuff to do!" She spun on her heel and strolled out of the room, leaving Levi alone with his very loud and very frustrating thoughts.


Eren's first class was going exactly as he expected it would. Anytime he glanced at Jean, he was greeted with an annoyed stare. But when he looked at other people, they would quickly turn away as if they were afraid of him.

And the freaking whispering- that was the worst. It was like his other classmates didn't even try to make it look like they weren't talking about him. Apparently he wasn't very good at the whole being invisible act.

But, even with everyone treating him as if he were a monster, there were still some people who acted as if nothing had happened- like Armin. Armin had entered the classroom and marched right up to him and smiled, and it was a genuine smile. It wasn't one of this bullshit pity smiles some of the teachers had given him as he walked to his class.

And he had returned the smile, feeling instantly relieved. But, some girl chose that exact moment to walk by, and she gave Eren a disgusted look before glancing up at Armin. And Armin had given that girl a smile that may have seemed normal from a distance, but up close, it was rather frightening, and Eren literally witnessed the fear wash over the girl's face before she bolted to the front of the row.

Along with Armin, Marco had also treated him as if nothing had happened. And the two boys sat very close to him- Armin in front of him and Marco behind him. And in a way, that made Eren feel safe- almost as if the two boys served as shields from the mean stares and the harsh words.

A loud bell ringing from the intercom had Eren jumping to his feet. He quickly stuffed his books into his backpack before slinging the half-zipped bag over his shoulder. He was about to race towards the door when a hand gently latched onto his shoulder. He peered over his shoulder to see Armin staring at him with kind eyes while Marco and Jean stood behind him.

"Wh-what's up?" Eren asked, mentally cursing himself for sounding like a fucking idiot- something he's been doing a lot of recently.

"Do you want to come over to my house after school?" Armin asked, sporting a very inviting smile.

Eren found that his lips were having trouble forming words. "Uh…" 'Fuck!' There's the sounding like an idiot thing again.

"Connie and Sasha will be there too," Marco added.

Armin took a step back to jab his elbow into Jean's side, prompting the taller boy to speak. "Just come, Jaeger. It will be fun, I guess," Jean said with a shrug.

Eren stared at Jean, taking a second to notice the dark bruising around the boy's nose. He had done that just two day ago, and now the boy he did that to was telling him to go to Armin's with everyone after school.

"Uh… okay," he finally said- eyes widening as he was greeted with a hug from Armin. He cautiously lifted his arms up to wrap lightly around the smaller boy, and it oddly felt natural- like he and Armin had been friends forever or something.

"Thanks for agreeing to come!" Armin said as he let go of Eren. "Do you need to call Levi and tell him?"

'Levi.'

Eren took a wobbly step backwards. 'Levi.' He repeated in his head once more, and the dream came rushing at him like a fucking stampede. He could feel his cheeks starting to burn, and he dropped his head so his hair would hide his reddening face.

"Eren?"

Eren took a second to take in a few deep breaths, exhaling quietly. He needed to calm the fuck down. Now was definitely not the time to think about the dream- not while his friends were watching him. Shit. He probably looked like the biggest idiot right now.

"I'll need to call him," Eren finally said with a trembling voice, and he offered the three boys a small smile.

Armin nodded. "You can call him during lunch with my phone." He started towards the door. "For now, let's hurry before we are late to second period."

The four walked out of the room before parting ways. Eren made it to his art class just as the bell sounded, and he shot his teacher an apologetic smile before taking his seat- which, to his surprise, was the same seat he had before he got suspended.

"We saved your seat for you," Sasha whispered excitedly as Eren picked up the pencil lying on his easel.

"Thanks," he said softly before turning his attention towards the teacher.

"I'm in a good mood," Riko began, "so I want you to draw something that makes you happy. You have until the end of class."

Eren's mind went blank, and his hand started to move on its own. He started with the eyes- pencil moving in a curved motion. He then moved on to the nose- hand drawing the correct shape as if it were the hand of a professional artist. Then the lips- hand drawing with ease and perfection.

And this went on for the entire class time.

Eren was just finishing the shading on the hair when Riko called time. He set his pencil down while leaning back slightly to admire his work, and what the fuck?

Staring back at him was a portrait of Levi.

"Woah, Eren!" Connie, who had gotten up from his stool and moved to Eren's easel without Eren noticing, shouted while clasping his hand down onto Eren's shoulder.

"Woah indeed." Riko added as she approached Eren's easel. "Who might this be? He looks kind of familiar," Riko stated, tilting her head as she studied the portrait.

"He's…" Shit, Eren didn't know what to say.

Friend?

Temporary guardian?

He bit down on his lip… Boyfriend?

He shook his head lightly before turning to look up at Riko. "He's just someone that fits with the assignment you gave."

Riko nodded before moving on to the next person while Connie went back to his easel to pack up his things.

Eren retrieved his backpack, snatching up the portrait and carefully folding it until it was small enough to fit into the side pocket of his bag. He then started towards the door, stumbling as he felt an arm drape across his shoulders. He felt the arm tighten to keep him from falling, and he twisted his neck to see Connie smiling at him.

"Hey man, don't worry about Jean. He's not used to fighting with people stronger than him." Connie said just as Sasha ran up to the other side of Eren.

"Yea," Sasha agreed. "Oh! So Marco texted me to say that you are coming with us to Armin's tonight!" She squealed while clasping her hands together.

"Uh… Yea." Eren muttered, and Connie began laughing beside him.

"It will be fun," Connie said as a form of reassurance. "Everything is fun when I'm around," he called out as he turned on his heel, making his way to his locker.

Eren turned to Sasha, and she smiled at him and waved before heading off in Connie's direction.

He let out a light laugh before heading towards his locker.


"Why do we have to eat lunch in my office?" Levi questioned- voice laced with annoyance. He watched with narrow eyes as Erwin and Hanji took their respective seats across his desk before placing two bags of food on the edge of his desk.

"Would you rather we talk in public about your relationship troubles?" Hanji asked, dodging the pen that Levi threw at her.

"There's nothing more to talk about," Levi snapped.

"No, there is!" Hanji shouted, dodging yet another pen that Levi threw with more force than the first one. "Listen for a second okay?" She stopped to make sure both boys were listening before continuing. "I think Eren may have had a rather," she paused, pondering her next word choice, "adult dream about you."

"That's absurd."

"That's fucking stupid."

Hanji's eyes darted between the two men. She let out a loud sigh before continuing. "It makes sense. He's young and in love. And, he's probably embarrassed. That's why he can't look at you or speak with you."

"Your reasoning is bullshit," Levi spit out before leaning back in his chair. "We kissed a few times, and that was it. There's no way that could be enough to warrant that kind of dream." He finished with a huff.

"Let's make a bet," Hanji began, ignoring the warning looks from Erwin. She pulled a five dollar bill out of her pocket and placed it on the middle of the desk. "I'm betting five dollars that sometime today Eren will call you and give you a reason as to why he won't be coming straight home."

Levi smirked, slapping a five down onto his desk. "Easy win," he said- voice strong and confident.

A sudden, blaring sound had Levi scrambling to grab his phone. He looked at the unfamiliar number with furrowed brows before flipping his phone open. "Levi Rivaille," he said into the phone.

"Levi..?"

Levi's narrow eyes widened at the sound of Eren's voice. The boy sounded nervous, and he was suddenly beginning to think that Hanji would win the bet after all. He briefly glanced up to see Erwin giving him a concerned look while Hanji had a big, stupid grin on her face.

"Eren. Are you okay?" Levi asked- the once confident tone was now dripping with concern.

"I'm fine. Uh… I was wondering if I could go to Armin's house after school."

Levi pinched the bridge of his nose. "You want to go to Armin's after school?"

"Yes!" Hanji screamed, snatching the money off of the table.

"Er, yea. What was that scream?"

"Just Hanji being a fucking idiot," Levi muttered while shaking his head at the brunette. "And, um…" Shit, this shouldn't be hard. All he had to do was tell Eren that he could go, but his lips wouldn't form the words. "Uh…" He said into the phone, shooting Erwin a panicked look.

"Levi? Are you mad? I don't have to go if you don't want me to."

"What? No! No." Levi started. "You… you can go," He said into the phone, practically whispering the last word.

"Thanks. I'll call you from Armin's phone if I need you."

Levi pulled the phone away from his ear as the call ended. "Okay," he started, leaning forward until his elbows were resting atop his desk, "So suppose you are right about the dream. What do I do?" His eyes shifted between Erwin and Hanji.

"Well, let's see…"


The rest of his school day seemed to fly by much to Eren's dismay. He was nervous about going to Armin's. He kept asking himself what ifs as the hours flew by.

'What if they want to talk about what happened to me?'

'What if they realize I'm a loser and don't want to hang out with me anymore?'

And one particular question that had been dancing around in his mind ever since lunch.

'What if Levi is seriously mad at me?'

He knew he could just tell Armin he's not feeling up to it- he felt that the blond would understand. But he wasn't sure if he was ready to face Levi. He was afraid of Levi being mad at him, and worried that Levi would be hurt because of his actions, and frustrated that he couldn't face Levi without looking like an idiot, and mad that he was acting so childish.

Each emotion was bolting through his body like lightening, and the solution was obvious- it was so fucking obvious that it might as well be written on a big sign in bold letters right in front of him. But how the hell was he supposed to bring up his dream to Levi? It's not exactly something that can just be casually brought up during a fucking dinner conversation.

"Are you ready, Eren?"

Eren's thoughts came to a halt as Armin appeared beside him, and when the hell did Armin get here? He certainly didn't remember noticing the blond walk up to him.

"Y…yea," He mumbled, and he and Armin started towards the school's exit.

Okay, so this was definitely not the solution to fixing all of his problems, but he figured maybe he could pull Armin aside at some point and ask him for advice.

And he continued to reassure himself that Armin would know what to do as they met up with the rest of the group.


Twenty-five minutes later, Eren and the others were all sitting in a circle on Armin's bedroom floor surrounded by unopened chip bags and full soda cans.

Connie opened his soda and took a long sip before shifting his eyes over each person in the room. "Alright, I was thinking truth or dare, but I'm still recovering from a week ago when I had to jump into a fucking ice cold lake naked," he stopped to glare at Jean, who was sporting the world's biggest smirk. "So," he started again, "how about some real talk?"

Ah, here's the next chapter. Random Sunday update.

Not much to say about the chapter so...

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