Levi took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of fresh sheets and the unique scent that belonged to the young man sleeping right next to him. Eren's hair was tickling his nose but he didn't give a damn. He carefully moved his head to take a peek at the digital clock on the nightstand. It was just barely after six in the morning.
Levi was happy that his eyesight had normalized during the last three weeks and he hoped that in the upcoming weeks the blurriness would be all but a forgotten memory.
Eren shifted in his sleep but did not show any signs of waking up. Normally Levi would get up and make breakfast, get the newspaper and read it before Eren got up but now Levi could not give a damn about such things. He did not want to leave the bed just yet.
He listened to the soft breathes of Eren for who knows how long. He could hear his mother moving about in the apartment but even that did not arouse his interest to leave Eren's side.
It was an hour later that there was a soft knock on the bedroom door and Lucy peeked in. "I made some breakfast and tea if you are interested," she said quietly, noticing that Eren was still sleeping. She closed the door with a soft click, leaving the two men alone once more.
Levi really liked the idea of having a full course breakfast made by his mother. It had been a while since he had had the pleasure to enjoy it. He should visit her more often. He made a note to do so in the future. He was sure Eren would not mind a trip to the countryside to be spoiled by Lucy's cooking and garden. Levi was briefly flooded by sweet memories of spending summers in that lush garden while eating every meal out in the warmth of the sun. He really missed the place.
But now he had another thing to worry about and that was how to wake Eren up efficiently before the food got cold.
"Eren," he said, nudging on the young man's shoulder.
Eren just buried himself deeper under the covers.
"Eren," he tried again this time with a softer tone.
Eren wrapped his arms tighter around him.
"E-re-n," Levi stretched his name in a sing-song tone and let his fingers tickle at the bare skin on Eren's hip.
This time he got a long mewl out of the young man. "Stop, that tickles," Eren mumbled, his face still hidden from view.
Levi nudged his hips towards Eren and that did the trick. Eren was sitting up in a flash.
"No," Eren said and looked at the clock. "It's too early in the morning for games." The young man got up and Levi followed suit but he found himself sitting back on the edge of the bed as a dizzy spell hit him. Eren noticed that something was not right right away. "Are you alright?" he hurried to ask.
Levi nodded, holding his hand up, telling Eren to wait. The dizziness passed and Eren helped him up. For a moment they just stood there and luckily the dizzy feeling didn't return.
"I'll get dressed. Wait for me, okay?" Eren asked gently, worry evident in his voice.
The older man just nodded and waited for Eren to pull on more clothes than was necessary obviously feeling too modest to go out there in just a pair of boxers. Levi was happy to notice that Eren was wearing the ones that he had called ridiculous or something among those lines. Eren's butt looked cute and that was something Levi could not deny. He could not understand what the big deal was about?
Levi's inner debate over the issue came to halt when Eren took hold of his hand and led the way to the kitchen. Levi hoped that Eren would not mention anything to his mother about the dizziness. Lucy didn't need to worry about that as well. It was enough that he made Eren worry which he didn't like one bit.
Eren was curled up at Levi's side on the couch when his phone bleeped.
"What the fuck?" Eren asked out loud as he looked at the message re-reading it a few times. "Listen to this," he spoke to Levi. "Reiner send me a text message saying and I quote: I found the love of my life. I am sorry that I ever bothered you two." Eren lowered the phone dumbfounded by the message before he raised it again to read the message one more time. "Am I hallucinating? Look, do you see that?" He asked, showing the text to Levi who could confirm that it was real.
Eren saw Levi nodding. "Holy shit," the young man said. "Reiner has it bad if he sends something like this."
Levi could not really agree or disagree with that statement. He did not know the blond man that well. But he hoped that what Eren said was true and he certainly hoped that the what the text message said was true too. Levi was just not so optimistic about such things. Better to stay alert than be lulled into believing that everything was alright. He would believe Reiner was in love when he saw it with his own eyes.
"I hope he does leave us alone from now on. He was sorry in the hospital, by the way. He said that he did not intend for you to get harmed that seriously. The accident really spooked him I think," Eren spoke calmly and quietly so that Lucy would not overhear him. He was not sure how much Lucy knew about the accident and what had led to it. It might be better if she did not know the whole truth.
Levi patted Eren's arm as his gaze had returned to the TV screen. They were watching some super hero movie which name Levi could not remember and he did not really care either way. He noticed half way through it that he was not sure what had happened at the beginning of it anyway.
Lucy was washing the dishes of their lunch. She had made an amazing potato salad and french fries. The combo had sounded odd to Eren but he had really enjoyed the both cold and warm version of potato. Lucy had mixed a killer spice mix for the fries that she had sprinkled on top before serving them.
Eren had given his compliments to her and Lucy had just dismissed it. "This is nothing special," she had said. Eren wished she would teach him a thing or two about cooking. Maybe he could lure Levi into visiting her some time for a longer period of time. Not only because she had chatted his ear off after breakfast about her house and the surrounding gardens. Eren had been genuinely interested and he had listened intently, painting a picture of the place in his mind.
But now he was relaxing on the couch watching Iron Man with Levi. Eren had been wanting to ask if Levi was alright since normally the man would comment something but now there was complete silence. Not even the curse word left the man's lips. Eren had given a few secret glances to Levi's direction and the man had seemed unfocused on whatever was happening on the screen.
It was not long after that the older man excused himself by gently slipping off the couch. Eren thought nothing of it.
Levi walked into the kitchen where Lucy was still cleaning in her own calm pace, taking her time. Levi stopped by the doorway, his hand touching his forehead. There was a nasty type of headache raging on and he wasn't sure if he had time to take medication or not.
Lucy stopped what she was doing. "Maybe you should go to the bathroom," she suggested. She could see the expression on Levi's face that spoke of nausea. "I'll bring your medication there so you can take them when you feel a bit better."
Levi's actions spoke louder than his words would have as he stalked his way into the bathroom. By the time Lucy followed a minute later with the medicine Levi was already being sick into the toilet.
"You didn't take the pills when you felt the first waves of a headache, am I right?" she asked gently, not accusing him. She didn't need to add to the pain any more.
Levi nodded feeling stupid that he had not taken the damn pills when he felt the headache creep over him half an hour ago. He would not make this mistake again. Especially after he saw Eren standing at the bathroom door, looking concerned. Seeing those green eyes filled with worry made him hate himself.
Eren was about to say something, taking a step towards his boyfriend but Levi held his hand up to stop him.
There was a silence between them. Eren didn't know how to express his concern when Levi brushed him off like that. What could he say? Levi obviously didn't want him there.
The older man was sitting down on the floor, shuddering from waves of nausea while Lucy offered pills and a glass of water to him.
"Take only a sip to keep those pills down as long as possible. Too much water might trigger the vomiting again.," Lucy spoke calmly, her hand resting on Levi's shoulder.
Eren left the two alone in the bathroom. He doubted that Levi wanted him there to watch. He returned to the living room and stopped the movie. He didn't feel like watching it anymore.
Eren was leaning back on the couch, eyes closed. He heard Lucy's low and calm voice talking to Levi but he could not make out what she was saying. Around twenty minutes passed when he heard Levi coming into the living room. There was a light tap on his shoulder.
Eren opened his eyes to see Levi settling down next to him with the whiteboard in his hands.
I'm sorry. I'll take my meds like a good boy from now on.
That brought a smile on Eren's lips. Lucy must have said something to Levi. Maybe the older man received a lecture from her?
"I'm not mad," Eren said, his voice even and tired. "I'm worried and hurt that you don't let me help you."
You can't puke for me.
Eren laughed a little but it lacked energy. "I know." He took a good look at Levi. The man looked pale but he was no longer shuddering or looking nauseous. "I could hold up your hair for you," Eren offered half kidding.
"Do you mean it?"
"Then it's fine. Everything is fine." Eren patted Levi's knee gently. He meant what he said. Eren was not angry at Levi. No, he just felt powerless to help him even more so when the man himself pushed him away with such simple gestures.
I'll accept that for now.
That was a confusing thing to say. What did Levi mean by that?
Eren had no time to linger on it when he heard Lucy's voice calling for him, "Eren, dear, could you come and help me in the kitchen for a bit?"
Eren was reluctant to leave. He wanted Levi to explain himself but he should not make Lucy wait.
As soon as he entered the kitchen Lucy was giving him orders, "I'll need help with the flour so come here and take this." She hold out a cup for him.
Eren didn't know what she was making but he surely could take orders. So he ended up standing next to the counter where Lucy was mixing eggs and sugar.
"I'll make something sweet for you two to munch on when you feel like it. After those are done we are going to make pizza for dinner," she told him as she applied things into the bowl with practiced ease.
Eren's interest picked up on the word pizza. "I've never had home made pizza."
"About time you do!" Lucy injected happily. "Put three cups of flour in this," she said as she went to the fridge to get something she forgot to take out on the first time. "I pestered Levi already about this subject but what are your intentions towards my son?" Lucy asked offhandedly.
"For heaven's sake, men are so stubborn. Marriage! Are you going to get married or not?"
Eren didn't know exactly what to say. He felt he needed to talk to Levi about that before he went and said anything to his mother.
Lucy saw him hesitate. "Listen, darling, saying you don't want to get married is fine. Marriage is not for everyone." Her tone indicated that she knew what she was talking about.
Eren hadn't seen a ring on her finger so it made him wonder. "I hope I am not rude when I ask but have you ever been married?"
"No." Lucy was not phased by Eren's question.
"Why not?" he was truly interested to hear about what kind of past she had. It would shed some light to Levi's as well without prying into it too much.
Lucy sighed as she was done mixing the dough. "Levi has obviously not told you anything?"
"We haven't talked about our families that much," Eren bit his lip when he said that. He could still remember Levi asking about his father and how the man had handled that situation.
"I see." Lucy nodded. "There is no big secret concerning Levi. He doesn't talk about his father because he never knew him and as for me," she paused. "I did not want to marry someone to pretend to be his father."
"What happened to his father?" Eren was afraid to ask if there was some horrible story to be heard.
Lucy simply gave him a smile. "I was a wild young girl and I slept with tons of men until one day I noticed I was pregnant. I'm not proud of it but at least I had fun."
What a weird thing to say, Eren mused to himself.
"It was more trouble than worth to try to find the young man who had knocked me up and besides they would not have been able to provide for me anyway so instead I decided that I'd take care of my baby alone. I already knew by then that I was not good with men and relationships. I could not hold a man for more than a few weeks at a time." Lucy took out a some muffin molds and started scraping the dough into them.
"I know it might have been extremely selfish of me not to marry someone but I could not tie myself to someone who Levi might grow attached to and who might one day end up leaving both him and me." Lucy moved on to making another dough.
"Although I once met a man who was everything I could have ever wanted," she paused, looking troubled. "Needless to say I did not end up with him."
Eren wanted to ask for details but the subject of that man seemed touchy for her so he did not.
"Levi sometimes asked why he had no father like other kids of his age did. When he was older he lashed out accusing me of driving away his father. Bringing him up alone was not easy but I did not want to lie to him. When he was finally old enough to understand I told him the truth. He must have heard some pretty bad things being said about me. Heck, they even said them to me when I was a lonely young mother with a small boy and no man in sight."
Lucy brought the bowl closer to Eren. "Put four cups in this."
"People can be cruel," Eren said, knowing fully well exactly how cruel people could be.
"Yes, I know." Lucy offered him a smile of appreciation. "I did not care for what people said about me. I can only hope they never said a bad word about my son. When I was pregnant I decided that I Levi would be the only person I would never leave and I wanted to make sure that he would feel safe enough with me to do the same. Don't get me wrong, I respect his free will and choices. What I mean is that I wanted him to know that I will always welcome him home no matter what and vice versa."
"I'm sure he knows that."
"Good because he is the best thing I've achieved in my life. I'd never regret raising him up. Of course when he came out to me, telling that he was interested in boys rather than girls, was a shock at first. You know, I had these little fantasies that I'd have grandchildren running around me one day and maybe he could have that big family I never did. But in the end, his happiness is what comes first. Family comes first so my selfish hopes were meaningless compared to that."
Eren had to admire her. She had raised Levi all alone and she had no trouble talking about it with a smile on her face. Eren thought that she and Levi seemed to be more of friends than mother and son if their usual banter was anything to go by. They were not scared of hurting each other with their words. "You could still have grandchildren, you know, if Levi decides to adopt."
Lucy stopped to look at him with adoring eyes. "You are truly such a sweet young man," she said with a small tilt of her head.
Eren blushed. "I wouldn't know about that."
Lucy laughed at his embarrassment. "So tell me, have you thought about tying the knot with that stubborn son of mine?"
"I... I haven't given it any serious thought. I'm still young so..." he didn't want to say that things might still change or something like that. "We haven't been together for that long and I'd need to talk to Levi about it."
Lucy laughed again but this time her laughter rang truly happy. "You really are something. Not making any promises, eh?"
"I don't like to get my hopes up and marriage is a big step for someone like me."
"I understand. Don't worry." Lucy patted his shoulder with a hand covered with a hand towel so his shirt wouldn't get dirty. "It is okay to have doubts and not know for sure what you want exactly. I told Levi that he is old enough to know that already."
"What?" Eren asked horrified that Levi would pop the question to him some day. "It is way too early for marriage!" Eren hurried to say and caused Lucy to laugh again.
"Don't worry, darling. Levi might not see it the way you do but he won't force you to do anything you are not ready for or has he?"
"No," Eren said despite wanting to almost confess that Levi had kind of ruled over him when it came to moving in together but Eren did not regret his decision.
"Good. If he ever hurts you, tell me. It is still not too late for me to teach him a few things about life."
Eren's smile did not reach his eyes when he nodded. "I will."
Lucy made a note of that. Something had happened and she was determined to find out what.
AN: This is out two days earlier than normally because I'll be leaving on a trip abroad tomorrow morning. I'll be gone for almost two weeks. Chapter 35 should come out normally on 18th.