Eren was born into a world of color and feeling and art, a world that sang and danced and laughed. He loved this world. He loved watching the sun rise each morning, the way the clouds looked like smoke at night, drifting across the endless darkness. He even loved the rain, maybe even most of all.
That's how they met. Because Eren was always a child and Levi hadn't cracked a smile in what felt like months. He was grinning up at the raining sky, his arms spread and his head tilted back, and Eren looked completely and utterly free. A tiny laugh escaped his lips as he caught a raindrop on his tongue. Disgusting, Levi thought, and yet he could not look away.
And then Eren turned his head to see the man beside him, and a tiny gasp escaped Levi's pale lips as their eyes met, because never had he seen anything as bright as those sparkling turquoise eyes.
He watched as the kid's eyes widened and his cheeks were suddenly dusted with rose, and Levi's heart stuttered. And he smiled, unable to control his body.
"Hello," Eren said, his eyes still wide. A tiny smile graced his lips.
"Hi," Levi answers, unable to get rid of his smile. That's how it all began, like a stiff ink drawing smattered with watercolor. The cold unfeeling man began to see the world that Eren loved with his whole being.
*** at a park bench at night, months later
"Eren." Levi has an expression on his face like he's solving a difficult math problem, and Eren finds it ridiculously cute. "Why do you paint?"
It's a strange question, and Eren has to think about it for a long time. It's the first time he's been asked this. Levi watches him stare up at the clouds as he grasps for an answer. "I guess… Because I've always seen the beauty in everyday life, but not everyone stops to pay attention to the little details. I paint to show what I love. What I want others to take notice of. I like… looking at the colors that I find beautiful and deciphering what they're made of. Finding the right techniques to use for the textures, and the right brushes. It's like solving a puzzle."
He meets Levi's eyes again, and his bright eyes are so passionate and beautiful in that moment that Levi's heart positively swells with emotion. Eren smiles at him, and there's so much joy in his expression. They've been dancing around each other for months, and Levi kisses him without a second thought, knowing immediately that this is the right moment, and that this feeling will never fade.
*** in the middle of winter
There is snow everywhere. And while Levi loves the snow, it's the one part of nature that Eren can't stand. He has a low tolerance for the cold, so Levi isn't surprised when Eren stumbles into their apartment, bundled in a thick jacket and scarf, his face as white as a sheet, cheeks and nose flushed red from the cold. It's been a frustrating day, he can tell by the thin set of Eren's lips and the way his eyes are slightly narrowed, little white snowflakes caught in his thick eyelashes.
He's grumbling to himself about snow getting in his eyes and how winter is stupid, and it's so adorable that Levi can't help but laugh a little. His anger is ridiculous when he's wearing so many layers of clothing, and it gets even cuter when Eren rips off his hat and his hair is a mess of tangles.
He's so preoccupied with taking off his scarf and boots that he doesn't even see Levi approaching him, an amused glint in his eyes. "Eren," Levi says softly, grabbing the collar of his jacket. Eren finally meets his eyes, looking slightly less grumpy. "Are you forgetting something?"
He opens his mouth to explain, flinching back a little, but Levi pulls him in and kisses him before he can do anything. His body relaxes, and Levi rips off that damn coat that's keeping him from feeling Eren's warmth. The kiss grows more and more heated, and when Levi pulls away, Eren's face is flushed, his eyes lit up with desire. The look takes his breath away. How did he ever come to be with someone so beautiful?
"I'll warm you up," Levi whispers in his ear, and Eren decides that snow isn't so bad after all.
*** about a year later
Levi has only been home for a few minutes when Eren bursts through the door, breathless with excitement. "Levi! There was a sale and I got a whole set of watercolors!"
Despite how tired he is, seeing Eren so excited makes him smile. "Are you going to teach me?"
It was a joke, but in a matter of minutes, Levi is in front of an easel wondering why he ever opened his mouth, and Eren is buzzing around the apartment like an excited puppy, grabbing random things- a jar full of water, plates, towels, an apron. Levi demands he get a more raggedy towel before they start.
"You can't get anything else dirty, you hear me?" Levi shoots him a reproachful look.
"Of course." Eren winks at him teasingly, and he knows that this kid will be the death of him.
He insists that Levi paints the clouds, because it's a good starting point for him, and it's immediately annoying. These paints are runny and impossible to control. The colors from the tubes aren't the same color as the sky. He tells Eren this, who laughs.
"You can't use them straight from the tube. You have to mix colors. That's the fun part." He points to their reference. "Look at the orange, it's got hues of pink and brown in it. Careful, don't make it too dark, just in case it isn't the right- Levi, are you listening to me? Alright, that's better, but add a little more purple…"
"This is orange, why does it need purple at all?" He argues, but adds it anyways, and is frustrated when Eren turns out to be exactly right.
Eren tries to hide a smile as he takes Levi's hand. "Here, if you continue this motion with the brush, it gives the cloud a softer appearance around the edges."
Two hours later, they're both covered in paint. Levi wonders how on Earth anybody has the patience to paint, while Eren smiles fondly at their painting. "It's beautiful."
"It's messy." His arms are smeared with orange and purple. "I don't know how you can do this every day. Don't you get bored?"
Eren shakes his head with a smile. "It calms me down." His smile grows more mischievous. "You look cute when you paint."
"Shut up." Levi rolls his eyes, but Eren squeezes his hand. When he meets his gaze curiously, the brunette looks serious, a hint of nervousness visible in his shaky breaths.
"I'm serious," he says, quietly, then slightly louder, "I love you."
Levi stares at him, and it feels very very hot all of a sudden. Eren is fidgeting, running his hands through his hair, his eyes huge.
"I-It's okay if you don't say it back, I don't want to make you nervous or any-" he stumbles over his words anxiously, but Levi interrupts him with a kiss and he shuts up, kissing him back. His hands are trembling.
Eren pulls away, gazing hopefully into his lover's eyes, and he says very softly, "I love you too."
It feels like he's won the entire world, and Eren kisses him more passionately than he ever has before. Levi can feel Eren smiling against his lips, and it feels like his heart is about to burst. I never want to be alone again.
*** A few weeks later(nervous Heichou)
Levi feels like his hands are about to fall off. He's been painting for the entire day and it still isn't perfect. He has no idea how Eren's graceful hands create such beautiful artwork, but he's certain he'll never have that ability.
He's thought about how to propose for months, searched for rings for months, because Eren's has to be absolutely perfect. He even consulted his stupid friends about it, and Hanji made a huge deal about it, just as he expected her to.
What is he even going to say? It had to be beyond perfect, and Levi was never good with expressing how he felt. His paintbrush fell to the ground as he buried his face in his hands. What if Eren said no? What if he didn't even love him, what if he just stuck around out of pity?
"God," Levi muttered as he stared at the canvas. His clouds were smudged, too dark in some places, and the colors hadn't blended together like he wanted them to at all.
"Levi?" The sound of the door opening jolted him out of his thoughts. Eren stepped in, his gaze falling instantly on the frozen man in front of him. His eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "What are you doing?"
"I…" They stared at each other for a moment, both apprehensive. "I wanted to… paint you something."
"It's not a special day is it, did I forget something?" The apprehensive look fades into anxiety. "Oh God, Levi, I'm so sorry, I-"
"Marry me," he blurts out without even thinking.
Eren stares at him without blinking, gasping softly. He blushes furiously. "Did you… Do you really mean that?"
This is it. Don't you dare mess this up. "I wanted to surprise you. I love you, Eren. More than anything. Enough to paint for you." He cracks a smile, though he's extremely beyond nervous and his hands are shaking and he has no idea what Eren is thinking right now. "I want to marry you."
There are tears shining in Eren's eyes, and Levi is so relieved that this kid is smiling, because he can finally relax now. He pulls Eren in and kisses him, taking the ring from his pocket and slipping it onto his finger.
"I love you," Eren whispers the moment they pull away. He kisses his jaw, his neck, his collarbone. "God, I was so scared that you would get tired of me, Levi. I love you so much."
He can't force the words out, that Eren is the best thing that ever happened to him, that he was so sure that he'd be left behind, that Eren never let him down. So instead he kisses him softly and slowly, hoping that he'll understand.
I'll tell you everything someday. But we have plenty of time for that.