Chapter 5
The Enigma


The next few weeks were a complete blur.

Petra quickly fell into a steady routine. She would wake with the sun, slip into her starched, white nurse's uniform and fasten her green cape around her neck before heading to the room that had been set up as their kitchen. The first morning, she had been surprised to find out that she was the only one awake. Around here, it seemed, people went to sleep late and rose even later. As she would later learn, this was because much of their operations tended to transpire at night time, so everyone had simply developed a routine of it. That morning, Petra had made a large pot of strong tea and sat there in the quiet solitude of the morning – something she didn't even realised she enjoyed until she had come to this hectic place.

After her tea Petra would wander up to the infirmary and check on those that were admitted to her care. Hange was very rarely awake at this point. Instead she would be where she had fallen asleep the night before. Usually this was at the table in the corner of the infirmary, with a small stream of dribble pooling on her piles of notes. Even as Petra made her way to each soldier, rousing them to feed them their breakfast, change their bandages, check their stitches and see if there was anything that they required, Hange slept. Petra didn't mind that all of these jobs fell on her. It was not entirely different from what she was used to doing at her hospital, which gave her a sense of familiarity. And Hange worked hard enough to be allowed a break.

Hange had continuously surprised Petra. The woman, at first glance, seemed maniacal, unprofessional and unorthodox, yet her knowledge, skill and her ability to stay in control under pressure was something that any man would be in awe of. Petra had also learnt infinite amounts in the short time she'd been under her charge. Much more than she would ever have learnt in the hospital. Hange would pull Petra over to where she was working and talk her through the procedure that typically only a doctor would be taught. Petra was quickly learning how to recognise symptoms and diagnose the patients, and she was quite proud of the fact that she was good at it.

The doctor seemed to enjoy her company too, Petra thought happily. She would smile up at her when Petra would slowly shake her out of her slumber just before midday with a fresh pot of tea and make her a cup just that way she liked it – black and strong, with at least five sugars. Petra thought that her preference for tea seemed to sum up her mentor quite nicely. Hange would always close her eyes and beam up at Petra as she inhaled the strong scent, declaring Petra an angel. She often mused about how she'd managed to survive without her, and Petra often wondered that too.

Aside from being completely unorganised in her sleeping patterns, Hange was just about the messiest person that Petra had ever encountered in her life. One of her first ports of call was to organise the infirmary. She wasn't going to tolerate having to rifle through half-empty suitcases and trunks to look for the bleach or the disinfecting alcohol. She cleaned the place up, scrubbed it from floor to ceiling and organised all of the implements into particular trunks and lined them up along the walls, where they wouldn't be a tripping hazard. Petra was by no means an extraordinarily neat or clean person but this was as close to a hospital as they were going to get, and she was going to make damn sure that it was up to the hygiene standards of a regular hospital.

Her biggest surprise came on her second day as she was returned to the infirmary with a fresh cup of tea ready to rouse Hange from her sleep. When she arrived, however, she saw that Hange was already awake, and leaning against the doorframe, a lopsided smile on her face as she looked into the infirmary. Spotting her, Hange raised a finger to her lips, warning her to be silent and motioned her over. Petra came to stand by the Doctor's side, and her mouth dropped open slightly at the sight before her.

Levi, the man who only the night before had been so willing to beat one of her patients – one of his subordinates – was seated in a chair, beside the cot of an unconscious soldier. Petra recognised him as one of the men that had returned from the previous days failed mission worse for wear. Levi leaned forward towards the soldier, his elbows were propped up on top his knees and he was murmuring to the man, despite his inability to comprehend anything.

Petra looked over at Hange; her eyebrows raised high onto her forehead in question. Hange grinned cheekily and stifled a yawn.

"He does this whenever someone ends up here after a mission," she whispered conspiratorially and took the proffered teacup from Petra. "He'd never admit it, but I think he feels like it's his own fault when things like this happen. Such a pussy."

Petra's brow furrowed. "He can't help the way some things turn out though. What happened couldn't be considered his fault."

Hange simply shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. "He's got the weight of The Allies resting on his shoulders. With a lot of responsibility comes a lot of burden, Little Dove."

Petra didn't say anything, but turned back to look at the scene before her. It confused her. She had thought she'd made her mind up on the Captain. She'd assumed that he was the typical, power crazy commander, so ready to abuse his position and intimidate those around him. She assumed him to be a brute- jaded and war weary. He seemed like he was rough and gruff and didn't care for anything but his own wellbeing.

But perhaps he was just rough around the edges, and not quite as she imagined. She felt guilt weigh her down, for judging a man so willingly before she had even grown to know him. She turned left the infirmary feeling incredibly confused.

The man was an enigma that she wondered if she would ever come to fully understand.


It was on her fifth morning that word got out that she could make a cup of tea better than anyone else there.

She'd dressed and come down to their dining hall to make a cup for herself before she started her usual rounds of the soldiers in the infirmary. That morning however, the hall was not empty as it usually was. Sitting at the long wooden table were two very tall, very blonde men that Petra had never seen before. They seemed deep in conversation and didn't notice that they had an addition to their party. The first man was the scruffier of the two. His sandy blonde hair in a slight disarray, and mousy coloured stubble scattered across his jawline and upper lip. If his large, Roman nose didn't give him away, then his thick Greek accent told Petra where he was from. He was leaning back in his chair, his arms stretched out and resting on the back of his neck as he nodded along to what the other man was saying.

The second man's expression was stony and serious and his heavyset eyebrows were furrowed in concentration. He lent his elbows forward on the table and ran his hands over his face, sighing and talking in a low and tired voice. He wore the usual regalia of the soldiers around here, but a heavy green travelling cloak, the same shade of green as her own, fastened around his neck suggested that he'd only just arrived. And the man himself was huge, not just in height but in build. His shoulders alone were almost twice as broad as Petra's. She was sure she couldn't even get both of her hands around the circumference of his biceps if she tried; even his jaw was thick and chiselled. Her eyes were drawn to him and she seemed unable to look away. He dominated attention.

A noise behind her made her jump, and she looked over her shoulder to see a sleepy looking Oluo closing the door of the dining room behind him. His sandy hair dishevelled and his shirt, quite unkemptly creased, was only half tucked in. He yawned widely, stretching his free arm up in the air, his other injured arm staying tacked firmly at his side in a sling.

"M- M- Mornin', Petra," he managed through the yawn. "You're looking pretty this morning." Petra rolled her eyes at him and offered him a bright smile in return. Such phrases had become his standard greeting. She was flattered by it, but all of his advances were futile. She was here to work, not to fraternize, so for the most part, she just ignored him.

"You're up earl-" he stopped mid-sentence, his eyes drifting over her shoulder to the two men behind her. He spluttered something in his native Norwegian that she could not comprehend, but could only assume was an expletive. He turned his back to the rest of them and frantically attempted to tuck his shirt into his pants properly with his one good arm before turning back to everyone and saluting towards the two men. Petra's brow furrowed and she whipped her head around to look at them again. Both men had left the table and were now staring at her and Oluo, amusement dancing in their eyes. The larger of the two men raised an eyebrow as his eyes roved over Oluo's dishevelled form.

"General Erwin!" Oluo managed to splutter out, his salute stiffening with formality.

"At ease, Oluo." The man said with a nod and a small smile. His title and broad Australian accent revealed to Petra just who he was.

Petra was standing before General Erwin Smith.

Behind her, Petra felt Oluo relax slightly, though she could still sense the tension in the air. Erwin and the other man stood up and headed over to the two of them. The Mediterranean man walked straight over to Oluo and slapped his arm tightly around Oluo's shoulder, causing him to wince in the pain of the pressure placed on his still-mending bullet wound. Erwin came to a stop at her side, and glanced down at her. Though she didn't particularly find him an intimidating man in the way that Levi was intimidating, his sheer size and status felt her feel insignificant – she only came up to his shoulder.

"How's your arm, malaka?" the second man asked Oluo, who suddenly seemed to only be able to communicate in foreign expletives.

Petra felt somewhat uncomfortable and out of her depth in the presence of Erwin, and she shifted awkwardly as she tried to not notice his intent gaze on her.

"You're the new nurse," he said suddenly to her. It wasn't a question. He knew the answer already; there was no need to enquire. She wouldn't have been entirely surprised if he knew every tiny thing that happened in his squad. "Petra Ral, correct?"

Not knowing what to do, Petra looked up and nodded at the towering man. However, gone was his serious expression from only moments earlier, replaced instead by a jovial grin. There was something about him, Petra noted, that made you feel secure. He made you feel that he was one hundred percent in control and that as long as that was the case, absolutely no harm would come to you. She could see why he was such a prolific figurehead of the Queen's Army.

"Sorry I wasn't here earlier to welcome you. Business got in the way." He said with a short glance in Oluo's direction, and Petra couldn't help but think it may have something to do with the incident of Oluo and the dress. He clapped a giant hand down reassuringly on her shoulder. "I've heard that you are incredibly skilled and a good asset to the team, though. So it's good to have you on board!" His accent was broad and cheerful.

"Ha. She's more than that. I've never seen Hange more organised in my life!" Oluo interjected, causing Petra to lower her head to hide the blush creeping up her cheeks. She didn't feel as though she deserved to be praised so highly. She certainly didn't feel like she was doing anything particularly special, but being appreciated caused a nice, warm sensation to creep up into her stomach and her chest swelled with pride.

"Don't let it go to your head, woman," a new voice called out, causing them all to look up as Levi entered the room. A large stack of papers tucked under his arm and the dark circles that usually resided under his eyes were noticeably more prominent than usual. He clearly hadn't had enough sleep, if any at all. He walked straight past them, threw the papers down on the table with slightly more intensity than necessary and turned back to them. "You're doing your job. There's nothing innately special about that."

She tried to not show it, but she was taken aback. She knew that he was correct. She shouldn't be praised for simply doing what her job description entailed, but being told in such a brazen manner wounded her ego. Her head sunk lower, but this time for shame, rather than embarrassment. The three other men stood there staring at him, their mouths slightly open in shock. Levi could be horrible, they all knew that, but it seemed that even this was too venomous for them. Mike was the first to speak.

"Oi! Pousti! How is it that you've turned into even more of an arsehole than when we last saw you? It's only been a week," he said, walking over to Levi and smacking him upside his head, eliciting a curse from the Captain. He then turned back to Petra and reached out for her. "I'm Mike Zacharius." He grabbed her hand to place a kiss on the back of it, provoking an annoyed click of the tongue from Levi. "Just ignore him. Let's get you a cup of tea, Agapimeni." He placed a hand on the small of her back and ushered her towards the table to sit.

"No, no. I'll do it!" Petra insisted, raising her hands in protest. "Please, everyone sit. I'll make a pot of tea," she said and turned to the small lit fireplace and began gathering the needed utensils.

Petra had never thought that she was particularly gifted when it came to making tea, but she had yet to meet a person that hadn't expressed how delicious they thought her brews were. Perhaps it was due to her ability to remember how people liked their tea and coffee made. She enjoyed treating people to a warm, comforting cup of tea, made exactly to their preference. There was nothing quite as enjoyable, especially in the bitter cold Swiss winter.

By the time the water had boiled on top of the fireplace and the tealeaves were brewing, Eldo had also joined them in the kitchen. She made her way over to the table with six mugs. She leant over the shoulder of each of the men, pouring and mixing various amounts of tea, sugar and milk, and asking those whose preference she wasn't sure of, admitting them to her long-term memory. Finally, she took a seat between Erwin and Eldo at the opposite end of the table from Levi, whose head was bowed as his eyes scanned the forms in front of him.

"Thanks for this, Love!" Eldo raised his teacup at her. "There's not much nicer than a good cup of tea of a morning, and you do make a smashing pot."

"I'm glad you enjoy it," she said with a smile, pleased with herself.

She had found herself growing closer and closer to Eldo with every passing day. Not only because they originated from the same country, but also because he was simply a very easy man to get along with. As a matter of fact every person here – with the extreme exception of Levi – was very easy to get along with and had been very welcoming. If she didn't think about it, it became very easy to forget that they were in a very dangerous position in a war. In fact, for a place that was such a dangerous war zone, it seemed like an incredibly subdued place. Aside from Levi and Eldo disappearing in the middle of the night a few nights previous, the men didn't seem to do much besides train and sleep. Oh numerous occasions, she'd caught herself gazing out at the courtyard from the infirmary window to watch them.

"Love it!" Eldo said, cheerfully. "I'm pretty glad we've got you on board!" Petra waved her hand dismissively in his direction and took a sip of her own drink.

"I have heard that you've quickly become an essential asset to the team," Erwin said, his head dropped conspiratorially and his voice low for only herself to hear.

"I'm flattered that you think so, General," she said, slightly astonished. "But I've hardly been here a week. I'm not sure who told you so, but I think they're exaggerating."

"Ah, but on the contrary, Petra," Erwin pointed out, "I have excellent sources." Petra furrowed her brow in question, only to have Erwin smile at her and nod his head towards the end of the table, cheekily. Petra followed his gaze.

Levi.

"The Captain may be a hard man to please, but I've known him a long time, and he certainly does not mince his words. If he praises someone as highly as he has done you, then I have no doubt in my mind that you're just as exceptionally skilled as he claims." he said with a wink.

Petra could only stare at Erwin, her mouth open just the slightest in shock. For the second time in less than a week, her Captain had blindsided her. Again, what she thought was a crude, short-tempered little man who cared very little for anything other than his own hot-blooded emotions and who had most recently enraged them, was capable of appreciating those around him. Perhaps, she thought, he was simply not very good at addressing and dealing with anything but the most primal of emotions. She was very unsure of what to make of the man. He kept surprising her ever chance he got. She turned her gaze to the man in question and watched him as he signed form after form, completely oblivious to the attention she was giving him.

He was a complete enigma to her.


Today would mark two weeks since Petra arrived at the Head Quarters of the Survey Corps, and it was beginning to feel like home to her. The men – and Hange – were starting to feel like good friends, even family. They knew each other's habits and were comfortable around one another. Petra would give each man a kiss on the cheek in greeting each morning, as she would any other friend she may have. She knew all their preferences for tea and coffee. Eldo and Mike treated her like a little sister and Oluo certainly picked on her like he would a little sister, though Petra felt that it might be for an entirely different reason. Hange began to rely on her like a child would rely on a mother. Erwin, whenever he was there was polite and cordial to her, though he would never pass on the teasing, given the option. Levi treated her like he treated all the others: coldly.

Though, Petra knew now not to take it to heart.

Clasping a metal tray with a fresh pot of tea, a clean cup, some honey and some milk on it, Petra walked cautiously up the perilously old staircase that led to the upper levels of the old castle. The tray was raised high in the air with one hand, as she looked instead at her feet and the stairs, guided only by the candlestick she grasped in her hand. She knew her way back up to her room like the back of her hand now, during daylight hours. At night time, however, everything seemed exceedingly more difficult and dangerous, and on more than one occasion Petra had found herself sprawled on the ground, her shoe having caught on a stone that she could have sworn never jutted out like that before.

She heaved a sigh of relief as she reached the landing and lowered the tray, holding the candlestick out in front of her, allowing it to illuminate a small radius around her. Her eyes felt heavy with exhaustion, and she had to fight to keep them open. She longed for the now-familiar feel of her own cot after such a long day. And sleep. What she needed now more than anything was a good night's rest, though she doubted that she would ever get it, as something came to her attention.

Petra came to a halt at the thin beam of light that crossed her path, seeping out of the bottom of a door, her eyes following it to its source. Levi's room. The aching muscles of her body and her heavy lidded eyes begged her to keep going, return to her room, get into bed and fall asleep after a scalding hot cup of tea. The beam of light, however, blocked her path, like some sort of barrier, not allowing her to step over to continue as if she'd never seen it. Its iridescent illumination urged her conscious to scream a protest at her tiredness. With care, Petra manoeuvred her hand to lift up the clock that was strapped to the front of her nurse's uniform, just under the breast of her green cape. Three-forty in the morning. An ungodly hour. Everyone else was presumably fast asleep in his or her cots; though not Levi, it would seem.

She let out a defeated sigh and turned to face the door. Placing the candlestick on the tray, Petra raised her hand and knocked on the door of Levi's room. There was no sound on the other side, and for a moment, she assumed that Levi was in fact asleep, and her worry instead turned to the idea that she may have just disturbed him from said sleep. But as an exasperated "Quoi?!" was called out, Petra knew that he was simply relishing in his last moments of peace, and a part of her felt guilty for that.

Placing her hand on the latch, Petra pushed the door open with her hip and entered his office. She forced all signs of tiredness from her body and smiled down at the captain, who sat at his desk amongst piles of neatly stacked paperwork, a cigarette hanging languidly from his lips. He raised an eyebrow at her in question as she kicked the door shut behind her.

"I saw your light on, so I thought, seeing as it's so late, you might be in the need for a hot cup of tea," she lied. The tea had never been intended for Levi, but rather herself. She wasn't sure why she lied, but she looked forlornly down at the pot that her body craved and had to tell herself that she would simply have to make another one, Levi needed it more. "Heaven knows you need some caffeine if you are to be awake at this hour." She took the candlestick off of the tray and placed it down on his desk for safety. "Why are you awake, Captain? You, of all people need some rest."

"Did you seriously interrupt me just for that, Petra?" he asked, not even trying to mask his distain. His brow rose in question, and Levi was just as confused as to why Petra was up at such an hour, when normally she was the first to bed and the earliest, aside from himself, to rise. He also found himself feeling quite taken aback by her kind gesture to bring him tea, even grateful, but he pushed his appreciation aside, instead letting his annoyance take over. "Why the fuck are you even up?"

"Oh, well I had just finished doing a shift of watching some of the men. One of them had been recovering slower than all the others and Hange has been wanting to figure out why so she's had us-" Levi cut her off by raising his palm up in the air and leaned his elbows forward onto his desk, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Arrête! I apologise. I should not have asked when I actually don't give a shit why you're up." He ran a hand through his hair exasperatedly and took his cigarette out of his mouth, waving his hand languidly at the chair opposite him. "Sit." He motioned.

Petra shifted slightly from foot to foot momentarily. Tiredness itched at every inch of her body, screaming at her to place the tray down, leave and go and get some much-needed sleep, but something in the way that Levi looked up at her with his bored, grey expression told her that she should do as she told. There was, also, a part of her that told her that she should stay there with him, to keep him company. So, placing the tray down on the desk, Petra pulled the chair out slightly and sat down in it. She picked up the mug in one hand and the pot of tea in the other.

"You like it black, don't you, Captain? No sugar."

Levi nodded and dropped his eyes to Petra's hands as they worked to prepare the tea. The movements of her small hands were slow and heavy – very different to her usual spritely self – and as his eyes flicked up to her face, he noticed her jaw tighten and her face strain as she tried to stifle a yawn. Levi placed his cigarette back between his lips and pursed them in the tiniest sign of concern. Why was the stupid woman even here if she was so obviously tired? She would only slow down his work. Still, he leaned back in his chair and observed her, intrigued as to her reason for being here. If he were in her position, he wouldn't have thought twice about his wellbeing. Perhaps that was a definitive difference between the two of them.

"There's only one cup." Levi observed, bluntly.

"Oh. Yes, well, I hadn't- I hadn't intended on having… having one myself," Petra stumbled in an attempt to explain her impromptu visit. Levi just rolled his eyes and tutted at her before pulling out the draw of his desk and extracting one of the glass tumblers that he would usually drink whiskey out of and held it out for her to fill up, which she did reluctantly. Her stupidity frustrated him. If she was that tired and the tea wasn't even meant for him, then she shouldn't have bothered him in the first place; but he wasn't going to tell her to go to bed. He'd be damned if he was going to baby her. She was a grown woman, for fuck's sake.

He raised his glass of hot tea to his mouth, but paused before it reached his lips, starring over the top of it at her, as she sat there with her hands in her lap, looking down at the teapot and the half-filled mug. Her eyelids drooped heavily.

"Well, aren't you going to have any?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at her. Her head snapped up quickly and she nodded, apparently flustered having been broken out of her tired reverie. She picked up the mug, filling it up with the tea, topping it with a splash of milk and dropping a pinch of sugar into it. She stirred the drink languidly with the spoon. Levi watched as she raised her own glass to her lips, and took a sip of his own drunk. He squinted down at the glass, trying to figure out its properties.

"Did you put sugar in this?" he asked.

"No," Petra said, shaking her head. "Only a little bit of honey. I put it into the pot. Sorry, do you not like it?"

Levi stayed silent for a moment. "You need to stop saying sorry so much. It's annoying."

"Sorry," Petra said, instinctively, and Levi growled in annoyance.

"You're tired. Go to bed. You're only slowing me down," Levi said, blowing out the last puff of smoke from his cigarette and stubbing it out in the silver ashtray on his desk.

"No. I'm okay, Captain. I'll help you with your work. It'll be done quicker that way!" She said, forcing herself to sit up slightly straighter and take a sip from her tea with a strained smile on her face.

"Why are you here, Petra?" Levi asked, annoyed. "Really."

She pursed her lips momentarily before answering. She knew Levi saw straight through her. It was better to just answer truthfully. "I was making my way to bed when I saw your light on, so I thought I'd share my tea," she shrugged her shoulders finally.

"Why?"

"Because at twenty-to-four in the morning, your light is on. Because, even for you, this is late. Because, when I can't sleep, all I want is a little bit of company to cheer me up…"

Levi frowned and sat back, watching her as she tentatively sipped at her tea and blinked heavily, trying to stay awake. This woman confused him. Perhaps he had simply been around men for far too long, and wasn't used to such unadulterated kindness. The tea was not meant for him. She was forcing herself to sit up with him, despite struggling to even hold her head up, let alone hold a half decent conversation. And she did this simply because she wanted to. He really didn't know what to make of her.

She infuriated him for all the wrong reasons. She was so selflessly kind and caring– something that he wasn't sure he'd ever been able to be, it just wasn't in his nature. He'd watched her as she'd met everyone, and treated each and every one of them like they were the most wonderful people in the world, and that she would love nothing more to spend the rest of her time listening to their sorry stories. He wouldn't deny that the morale of everyone had been boosted since she had arrived; it was easy enough to see. Oluo's personality was reduced to that of an infatuated schoolboy; Hange had managed to stay organised and become more productive since she was placed under Petra's thumb; Eldo had come out of his shell, having someone from his own nation that he can identify with, and someone that reminded him of the caring, loving nature of the fiancée he'd left at home. Even Mike took a shining to her – something about her smelling glorious and Greek's being the only people to appreciate true beauty, something that he believed Petra possessed in abundance.

Levi didn't fucking know.

Everyone was smitten with the girl in front of him.

He refused to be one of them.

"You're wrong, then," he said, taking a sip of his tea before shutting his eyes and leaning his head back. Petra looked up at him quizzically. "I don't need someone to come in here to fucking coddle me, Petra."

"You're wrong, Captain," Petra said, her gaze sturdy on his, despite him not even looking at her. "Everyone needs that at some point. Even you." Levi opened his eyes just a crack to see her leaning forward on his desk, and raised an eyebrow at her. It caused a smile to slip across her face, illuminating the entire thing, leaving Levi confounded and unable to focus his mind on anything, let alone a retort. She thought she'd won. "Don't worry, Captain. I won't tell the others," she added with a cheeky wink.

Levi scowled at her.

"Tu m'exaspéres, woman."

He held her gaze intently, though while hers was strong and unwavering, Levi's became narrower with every passing moment, his defences flaring as the woman in front of him tried to tear through them. Eventually, he sighed dejectedly and put his empty cup down before lacing his fingers together and resting his chin on top of them.

"Bon, I guess I ought to tell you now. You'll find out in a few hours anyway, and it will mean that I don't have to debrief you tomorrow." He reached behind him to the pocket of his coat that hung on the back of his chair, and extracted a small tin case that contained all his utensils for rolling himself a cigarette. He began to work; not lifting his eyes from his pastime and began explaining to Petra.

"We are leaving for a mission tomorrow. I received an urgent message from Erwin a few hours ago. That is why I'm up. Because a war doesn't stop because I have some fucking paperwork I have to get done." Petra just blinked at him. Her initial shock of such excessive profanities used by everyone here disappeared quickly. It was just second nature to her ears now.

"It may be dangerous – well, more so than usual – so we're taking Hange with us, in case we need medical assistance. So for the time being, you'll be in charge of the infirmary." Petra nodded in understanding, her gaze still not faltering from his face. "This also means that I don't fucking care how tired you are from whatever experiment Hange was trying to run, I expect you to be up with the sun to see to those soldiers. No excuses."

"I have none," Petra said and raised her eyebrow in challenge. "I had every intention of doing just that anyway. Those men need to be cared for, and though Hange may save their lives every chance she can, she is not so skilled at nursing them back to health." Petra waved her hand in front of her body, emphasizing her nursing uniform. "I guess that's where I come in."

"Don't get cheeky with me, Ral." He said sternly. "I'm being quite serious. If anything should happen, you're in charge of all of those men. And I will not take kindly to any harm coming to them."

"Of course not, Captain," Petra said, suddenly, equally as stern. "I've taken my oath. I made a promise to do nothing but my best for those men. So don't you dare suggest that I would do anything otherwise." The look she gave him was stormy and in any other instance, Levi's anger would flare at such insolence.

And yet, against his better judgement, Levi felt his hard resolve to not take a liking to Petra dissolve. She was downright sweet for the most part, but she could also give any number of the men around here a run for their money in terms of wit and commitment. It was something Levi held in high regard. He sighed and finished rolling his cigarette, placing it between his lips and lighting it. He said nothing else to her. He simply watched her as they sat in silence while she finished her tea and he filled his lungs with that delicious tobacco that she often noted was very bad for his health. Even as she cleared their cups and excused herself for the night, Levi simply leant back in his chair and stared at her.

There was something about that woman that stumped him. Something, some simple trait that she possessed, affected him. Her kindness, cheer, unwavering sense of duty and complete and utter selflessness. It infected his senses until he was completely consumed and unable to resist the warmth that spread from the pit of his stomach at the mere sight of her auburn hair. Levi was not used to people like her. It bugged him to no end that he couldn't understand the exact reason why he was unable to do anything but return her smile as she murmured a gentle 'Sweet dreams, Captain,' and shut his office door behind her.

She was an enigma to him.


A/N:Sorry for the wait again, guys. Writers block got the better of me for this chapter. I'm back at Uni now, though, and so I have less time to write. but I'm going to try and stick to a schedule and have a chapter up every 2 weeks for you. We'll see how optimistic that is. Hold onto your hats, though, because you're going to be seeing a lot of action in the next few chapters (if I can figure out how to write it).

A really big thanks to Pammazola for proofreading this chapter for me. You great big sweetheart.

Reviewers get to have a cup of tea made by Petra and for Mike to kiss the back of your hand all day long.

Glossary.
Malaka – wanker (Greek)
Pousti – kinda like 'faggot'. (Greek)
Agapimeni – Sweetheart (Greek)
Tu m'exaspéres – You infuriate me/you are infuriating (French)