You and Your Smiles

His smiles ended some time after he had lost his mother. Mikasa had noticed it when he announced time after time that he'd slaughter all the titans. It scared her a little on the inside but she knew Eren really wouldn't stop being the person he was. Armin was a little slower at noticing the difference, but Mikasa just reminded herself that the blond had more of a photographic memory, which was always put to better use. And he didn't witness his mother get eaten alive.

Lance corporal Levi, however, was a completely different story.

He never knew who Eren was before he was found to be a titan and put under his care. He never knew who Eren was before and after his mother's death. The only Eren Jaeger he knew was the one who was titled 'Humanity's Greatest Hope' and who served in the Survey Corps with a solid goal. He knew the strong boy that hid his tears well.

Sometimes, though, Levi found himself wondering who he could possibly get closer to the teenage boy. He was never one to create relationships with others, but this kid was much more important than anyone else. Levi couldn't really explain what exactly he felt for this boy, but he at least knew that it was much more than a military work relationship.

But he was not as important as Petra was; and that was a fact.

The day Mikasa came up to him willingly was the day he thought he was truly going to die. It was no secret that the girl didn't like him since he hurt Eren like he did, but people didn't understand that she actually intimidated Levi on the inside. She walked up to him one day right after breakfast, took his wrist into her strong grip and almost dragged the man outside. He regained his footing and dusted his sleeve off. "What it it, Ackerman?"

"What is Eren to you?"

Oh, that was new. Levi cleared his throat as he felt the stutter enter. "He's just another brat that commander Erwin made me—"

"Bullshit," Mikasa interjected. "You like him, I can see that. You don't even know him."

"He's Eren Jaeger—"

"No. Eren Jaeger was a small boy that lived a happy life before the colossal titan attacked. He was a boy that smiled everyday and meant it." Levi's breath hitched as the woman looked down. "Eren doesn't even smile anymore now that his mother's dead. I want to see him happy again, lance corporal."

"And what makes you think that I'm the perfect person to do the job?"

"Because you two are so in love that it makes me sick."

Eren chose that moment to walk out of the mess hall. "Mikasa?" the girl turned to face him, who smiled softly. Levi noticed that Mikasa was right; the facial gesture looked completely forced. It made the soldier's hear drop a little. "Oh good, you two haven't killed each other."

Mikasa ran up to the boy and took his hand, making him squeak out, "Mikasa!" as she took him away. Levi stood in his place and thought about what the younger woman had told him about liking the brunet.

Levi knew without a doubt that she was right.

Commander Erwin Smith knew that there was something wrong that next day when the entirety of the Corps lined up after breakfast for a quick briefing. Perhaps the person he was looking for was there and just behind other people, or maybe he was speaking with someone else, but when Erwin did a double take he noticed everyone else was there. Maybe he was still sleeping.

Actually, no. That didn't sound right. Lance corporal Levi would never sleep in. He was so punctual that it was really scary. It had to be something else. The blond commander looked over that the titan shifter and noticed his worried gaze.

The relationship between the two soldiers was strange. They didn't hate each other, but at the same time, they weren't completely in love with each other. At least, they didn't look completely in love. Erwin quickly explained the day's events, dismissed everyone, and watched Hanji bounce up to Eren and whisper something into his ear. They left in a hurry, heading for Hanji's science lab. Knowing the crazy titan druggie, she was probably going to perform some weird experiments on him again.

But he never usually went with her so willingly...

Erwin shook his head and started back to his quarters. Whatever problems these two men had needed to end as soon as possible.

Levi sat in his bed, covers over his body as a candle burned on his nightstand. He held one of his many patches in his hand, his deep steel eyes staring at the fading colors. It had been long since Petra's death, and yet his mind still couldn't grasp the seriousness of the situation.

A knock sounded on the door and he looked up as it opened, allowing the young brunet to walk in, emerald eyes wide in confusion. "Sir? Is everything alright? You weren't at breakfast or at the briefing," he said, closing the door behind him but not moving closer.

"I'm alright," Levi replied, quickly putting the patch away under the covers. "Why are you all the way over there, Eren?"

"Oh—uh—what?" Eren seemed relatively surprised. Why was Levi being so nice to him all of a sudden? He swallowed thickly.

"Come over here," he repeated, patting the mattress. Eren took a few hesitant steps forward, right to the foot of the superior soldier's bed. "So why are you here?"

"Um—well, you weren't really at the mess hall earlier this morning," he said carefully, "and Hanji came up after the briefing and told me that she was worried about you. And I kinda was too, so I just figured..."

Levi hummed in response, feeling the patch between his fingers. He didn't normally drink but this was when he desperately wanted to. It hurt his heart to know that someone truly cared about him like this. Petra was the same; and she lost her life fighting for humanity's sake. She lost her life fighting for Levi's life. And that was the last thing he wanted was to lose Eren when he had just busted past his walls that lined his heart. "This candle is like a human life," Levi suddenly said, gesturing to the stick of wax on his nightstand.

"Excuse me?" Eren rested his hands against the frame of the bed.

"Human lives are like a burning candle. The smallest breeze can make it go out, however you still need to use some force." To prove his point, he blew out the candle, making the small room go black. Eren's breath caught in his throat as the sheets rustled and something grabbed his wrist and dragged him into a solid chest. Arms wrapped around his body as a breathy voice whispered, "Please don't get blown out, Eren."

The titan shifter reached over for a match and lit the candle again, noticing the Survey Corps patch by Levi's hip. His eyes widened. "Petra was really important to you, wasn't she?"

Levi froze. "She was. My entire squad was."

"I'm sorry, Levi."

"Why are you apologizing, brat?"

Eren shrugged with a guilty look in his eyes. "If I had become a titan instead of hesitating, maybe they'd still be alive. I don't care if I'd die but—"

Levi pushed his mouth against Eren's effectively shutting the teenager up. At first, Eren didn't really know how to react. His superior officer, the same man that he'd fallen in love with, was suddenly kissing him! The shock subsided and Eren pushed back, deepening the kiss and making the shorter man groan softly. They separated and Levi buried his head in the younger boy's chest, surprising the brunet. "Don't ever say that you want to die. I haven't even seen you smile yet."

Eren chuckled; another forced gesture, Levi noticed. "I always smile."

"Not for real," Levi fought back. Eren's smile faded. "It's always a faux smile. And it pisses me off. I love you and I want you to smile." He covered his mouth. He really fucked up this time.

Eren tilted his head up by the chin and kissed him softly, pulling back and smiling. "You're the one that makes me smile, Levi. I can't force myself around the man I love." Levi smiled softly, and reached up to kiss Eren again. "By the way, what were you and Mikasa talking about?"

"You and your smiles." Levi kissed the boy's hand.

"My beautiful smiles?"

"Just that."

Yay! I'm done! As per usual, considering this is an AoT fic, it was written on a giant sheet of paper. If you like Eternal White Rose on facebook, maybe you'll see the picture! Please review!