dedication: to freshia! because wow, have you guys read her stories yet? they will end you. (in a good way, i promise.)
i think it's safe to say that this pairing has done more than enough to ruin my life.





{ children of the universe }





you are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.






Eren wakes up in an unfamiliar place.

Mind in a state of disarray, like a snow globe turned upside down and shaken up, he gradually pushes up from his seat at a table; all the pieces swirl around, drift slowly down to settle at the bottom in a layer of white. Everything is white.

Blinking, once, twice, he massages his stiff neck and glances around with two fingers on his forehead.

(He likes to play a game by himself, from time to time: wake up and find out where in the world he might be.)

Books. Shelves. Chairs. There are people, too, but no one seems to notice him (except the guy at the check-out desk, who eyes him strangely before his attention flickers back to the book in his hand). He leans a cheek into his open palm.

The library. He's in the library.

It's quiet.

Eren lets his eyes drift closed, lies his head back down, and breathes. Just breathes.

When he opens them again, he doesn't know how much time has passed but does notice two details with a foggy mind:

It is bright outside.

And there is a book placed in front of him that wasn't there before.

He blinks the haze from his eyes, trained on the old, loosely bound journal, and stands up to stretch his legs.

Eren glances at the book with caution and uncertainty, but he does not leave without it.




"You weren't in class this morning."

Eren looks at Armin from the corner of his eye and shrugs at the comment floating in the air. He shoves both hands into the pockets of his jeans, throws his head back to the clouds, and quickens his strides just a little.

Armin keeps up anyway.

"I was in the library," he comments casually, answering the unspoken question that hung around his friend's very presence. Armin raises a brow that this.

"What were you doing in the library?" Eren almost rolls his eyes at the disbelief laced in Armin's curiosity. You'd think he'd get more credit than that.

"Baking cookies—I don't know, Armin, what do people usually do at the library?"

Armin only gives him a knowing look. "Sleep. You were sleeping, weren't you?"

Eren tries to look remotely offended. He tries. And then he contemplates a number of rude remarks to return but eventually decides on a nice, mature, "Whatever, shut up."

He immediately tunes the rest of the conversation out when Armin launches into a recap of everything that had occurred in World History that morning, meaning he actually went and repeated every single word that had left the professor's mouth like a tape recorder. Eren purses his lips into a thin line, suddenly finding the cracks in the cement rather interesting...

Then, something strange happens. And it happens so fast, so subtly, that Eren almost doesn't notice.

A blur of black strolls by, all smooth hair, dark eyes, half a foot shorter, wrapped up in a package that practically exudes bad attitudes and angry glares and 'go away you are breathing my air'.

Eren pauses in his gait, letting his gaze linger on the stranger's retreating form, only to quickly avert his eyes when Armin asks if he's okay and if he forgot something at the library. Eren shakes his head, brown hair swaying.

They stay like that for another two minutes, him standing so still and silent like he's frozen in ice, Armin a mixture of concerned and tentative and confused.

The bell chimes.

Eren snaps back to reality with a start, jumping like he's electrified, and is then pulled along by a riled up Armin, who takes the liberty of lecturing his best friend on the negative repercussions of repeated tardiness, to which Eren just half-listens and half-sings a song stuck in his head.

The book, sitting squished between folders and notebooks in his backpack, is forgotten.




He has lunch off-campus with Mikasa, who is visiting during a break from her out-of-state university. They sit outside despite the chilly autumn air nipping at their flushed-pink cheeks.

Between spoonfuls of steaming hot clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl (because she is his sister, and she deserves so much better than McDonald's or Jack-in-the-Box during such a rare visit) and 'Mikasa, you have to try this' and her stubborn insistence to scrutinize every aspect of his wellbeing, Eren feels content.

(He ignores the fact that he has suddenly become overly-aware of anything that is the color black.)

"...which I thought was weird, and—Eren, are you listening?"

His eyes, turquoise-green, flicker to Mikasa's face, expression split down the middle between genuine concern and hints of annoyance.

"Yeah, go on," he mumbles into the hand his chin is leaning on.

It isn't a complete lie.




Eren wakes up to his phone vibrating, screen lighting up with several texts from Armin.

"Wake up!
You have a paper due in 2 days.
Stop procrastinating!"

Eren rubs the heaviness from his eyes, feeling drowsier and shittier than usual. How the hell Armin knew he had been napping was far beyond him. Not in the mood to respond, he locks his phone and tosses it somewhere, anywhere, before shoving his face even further into the pillow.

"Your sleeping habits are simply astounding."

Eren tries to be annoyed. He tries, but he can't find it in himself to be angry at Reiner Braun, because he kind of owes it to the guy for always being cool with Eren playing his music particularly loud on days when he just needs it, or when he stays up late (like 5AM late, no joke) on school nights playing Grand Theft Auto V and Mass Effect and Skyrim, or when he gets the nods while using the toilet at night and ends up falling asleep in the bathroom, effectively scaring the shit out of Reiner some mornings.

When Eren doesn't make an effort to retort, it is assumed that he probably doesn't have anything nice to say anyway. Reiner chuckles, all easygoing and good-natured.

"What time is it?" His voice is severely muffled by the pillow, but Reiner hears it anyway, plain as day.

"Almost eight."

"Ew... PM?"

Another laugh. "No shit."

Eren groans, slowly pushing himself into a sitting position, grimacing when his arms feel like jelly and putty and everything not nice. He attempts to fix his disheveled hair, sticking up in awkward places, but he soon gives up, sighs, and dubs it a lost cause.

Then Reiner decides to make an announcement (sort of). "So Bertholdt's droppin' by in a bit."

Eren pauses at the mention of the name. Reiner doesn't notice.

"It's cool if you wanna stay. We're just gonna watch some shit on Netflix, maybe play some Call of Duty—hey, have you seen CoD, by the way?"

You'll be doing more than just that, runs through his mind, but of course Eren bites back that unnecessarily snide comment.

"Nah, s'all good. I got a paper to bullshit anyway." He quickly throws his laptop, extra clothes, and a chocolate bar haphazardly into his backpack, slings it over his shoulder, and stops short to add, "Sorry, haven't seen it."

Reiner stares long into his eyes, a more serious expression etched into his facial features. And then he says, in a low and sincere voice, "Thanks, Eren. Y'know, for always bein' so cool with Bertl... comin' over."

Eren gets it.

With a slanted smile and a lazy wave, he leaves, shutting the door behind him. (He also doesn't mention the slight detail about how he might have gone and sold Call of Duty back to GameStop the other week, oops.)

He makes a mental note, reminding himself not to return to his dorm room until it's late, if at all.

Eren hums (because he can't whistle) a melody as he saunters down the hallway, mind racing with what to do, where to go, and why him. He clicks tongue, jabs the 'down' button, and waits for the elevator.

Maybe Armin's is a good idea.




Minutes later, Eren discovers that Armin's most certainly is not a good idea.

He had originally planned to work on his assignment there, where his best friend could maybe be a best friend and help him, and maybe he could fit in a chocolate bar somewhere along the way (which is, honestly, why he brought it in the first place).

What he did not accommodate for is Jean answering the door after many, many, many knocks of all beats and patterns and secret codes (although he will admit that his patience wore thin near the end, hence the suddenly obnoxious slams on the door), looking confused and very irritated.

He was also shirtless, so there's that.

When Jean's furious eyes finally land on Eren, he immediately sputters and chokes on all the unpleasantries held in the back of his throat, settling for motioning his hands in a wringing sort of action, clearly conveying exactly what he wants to do to Eren for having the gall to just stand there looking bored after causing the disturbance of a lifetime.

"Armin—" Eren starts, before Jean immediately interrupts him.

"He's not here."

"Then where—"

"Not here."

Eren blinks. And then he slowly allows a shit-eating grin to wiggle its way onto his face, relishing in Jean's discomfort, expression seemingly darker than before.

"Oh. Okay. Well, say 'hi' to Marco for me—"

And before he can even finish, Jean slams the door with unnecessary force, shouting "Fuck off, Jaeger!"

Eren snickers to himself, takes this time to shoot Armin with a much needed text.

"ey. where the hell are you even."

Armin doesn't reply right away, and Eren assumes he's either dead or buried under books somewhere.

He sighs and pockets his phone, turning to walk somewhere, anywhere. So much for his original plan.




He ends up at the library.

It's funny because until just this morning Eren had no idea a university-exclusive library even existed, much less knew where it was.

Eren runs a hand through his hair and shrugs off his backpack, coincidentally choosing to sit at the same table he slept at earlier in the day. Pulling out his laptop and powering it on, he cracks his knuckles, stretches his arms, and preps his neck for a night of torture. There aren't as many students as there are when it's still bright out, and Eren finds that he likes the atmosphere.

It's quiet.

And maybe the soft, lulling tapping of his fingers lethargically hitting the keyboard is somehow calming, or perhaps the cool air in the library just feels so good (and in all seriousness, he probably should put a cap on how late he stays up playing games when he knows he has 8AM classes the next day). Eren lets his eyes slide shut, lets his head sink down, and breathes. Just breathes.

When he wakes up, with a start, Eren notices two things with a hazy mind:

It is bright outside.

And typed directly under his progress on the unfinished word document is a short, unfamiliar message:

Are you homeless? Stop coming to the library just to sleep.




It bothers him. Eren knows he should be a big boy about things and not let petty little words from a stranger get him so worked up, but still. It bothers him.

Mulling it over for a second longer, he slides his finger to unlock his phone and reads the texts from Armin he received sometime during the night.

"Sorry, Eren, I was with a study group!
I stayed over at Connie's because... yeah.
Don't hate me D:"

His lip twitches involuntarily. He hums, sending back a quick reply, just to show that he's still alive at least.

"yeah, i found out for myself when i went to your room.
you owe me a sandwich btw."

"I don't see why, but okay, princess...
What're you doing now?"

"going to class"

"Wait... NO WAY.
You've only gone to that class like what a total of 2 times!?
What class is it again?"

"music appreciation.


"bitch shut up"


Eren decides against any further texts as it would escalate to a stupid emoticon war anyway. Pocketing his phone, he briskly speed-walks the rest of his way back to the dorm in an attempt to freshen up faster than ever before in his life. In his flurry of teeth-brushing while peeling off and throwing on clean clothes (or clothes that seemed to be clean), he almost forgets about the message left on his laptop that morning. Almost.




Halfway through the lecture, Eren remembers exactly why he never attends this terrible class. He also mentally notes that he should make some friends that could possibly warn him when there's a pop quiz or something important happening, sweeping his eyes across the myriad of bored expressions. Wow, out of all these students, he doesn't know any—

Oh, wait, there's Hanji.

When he reviews his contact list for her name, finding nothing even remotely similar, he sets his lips into a thin line. Glancing over at her (not) surprisingly cheery face, all smiles and sparkly eyes, he settles for staring laser beams into the side of her head in the slightly pathetic hope that she would feel it and notice him without Eren actually having to speak up.

She doesn't.


And then Eren notices the person sitting next to her, eyes going wide, breath hitching, heart racing. It's the guy who had passed by him yesterday, the one with a pretty face and an obvious attitude problem. His eyes are focused on the professor, arms crossed indignantly, sitting upright in his seat.

Oh. He seems to notice Eren's unabashed staring.

Their eyes meet like magnetic energy, and Eren ignores a prodding feeling in his chest. The guy gives him the dirtiest look he's ever seen and then drags his bored, hooded eyes back towards the front like nothing just happened. Like there wasn't a moment just now between them.

Or, maybe that's just Eren being Eren.

He tears his attention away (or at least tries to) but quickly finds himself stealing peeks and glimpses out of the corner of his eye. The other male would somehow feel his gaze, glare at him, and then turn away to ignore him once again. This cycle repeats many times before the professor finally dismisses everyone.

By the time Eren looks up from his backpack, he is already gone.




Eren almost dies of a heart attack when Hanji jumps on him on his way out of the classroom, crushing him with a rib-breaking hug.

She raves on and on, something about never seeing him anymore and why didn't he tell her they had class together and was he even in this class from the beginning of the semester, to which Eren just pats her head endearingly. He doesn't mean to half-ignore everything that spews out of her mouth. It's just that he's too distracted, eyes trained on the same guy from class, the same guy who passed him by, the same guy who is making his heart thunder and jump up into his throat, who is standing some feet away (probably waiting for Hanji). His expression tells a story that he's been contemplating just leaving her there.

When their eyes meet, sea-green clashes with metallic-gray, and Eren finds himself looking away first, breaking the connection.

Hanji smiles that weirdly knowing grin of hers, glancing between the two males, and says, "Oh, right! Eren this is Levi. Levi, Eren."

He blinks. Levi is all black boots, black jeans, gray jacket, and white scarf, topped off with a pretty face and perfect hair, and Eren can't help but feel self-conscious, somewhat regretting his decision to just throw on whatever was not obviously dirty.

When neither make a move to do something, anything, Hanji claps her hand together, shouting, "Who wants Starbuck's!"

And so they go.

The situation doesn't change much. Only now, Eren has coffee to distract himself with, and fortunately, Hanji had decided to end the marathon of silence by launching into a monologue about her experiments (what a science major), and Eren is pretty sure that neither he nor Levi are really listening.

"... Anyway, and yeah, so Eren, have you done the concert reports yet?"

He almost chokes on his drink (hothothot), fans his tongue, and gives her a look of absolute horror. Hanji only gives him a hearty laugh.

"By that reaction, I'm guessing you have not."

There are a million and some things he wants to ask, but all that he manages to choke out is a strangled "Concert report!?"

"Professor Pixis has been mentioning it for weeks now. Eren, how many times have you actually been to class?"


"Well, I'm sure you'll be fine," she pats his back jovially. "You have 'bout a week anyway. I'm already done, but—oh! Levi still hasn't finished his. Why don't you guys work on it together?"

Something tells him his face is nothing short of fear and dread and what the hell Hanji what are you even saying

"I don't mind."

Eren freezes and blinks at the other male, sipping his coffee nonchalantly. Even Hanji is surprised by how easily he had accepted her offer, which Eren suspects probably wasn't even a serious suggestion.

Levi only watches Eren, eyes boring into his own, and Eren is torn between how pretty he is and how much he seems to like his voice (since that is the first thing he has said since he's met him).

Somewhere between their random fits of staring, neither blinking first, Hanji slips her hand into Eren's jacket pocket and expertly retrieves his cellphone. She types in her number, mentions something about how he should think about setting up a pass code. It's only when Levi holds out his hand, palm face up, and Hanji gives him the phone, does Eren inwardly admit that his heartbeat should not be this erratic, and his head should not be spinning. He blames it on the caffeine.

Eren stares, starry-eyed, at the name on his screen and the series of digits that follows and resists the urge to smile like an idiot for some odd and off-putting reason. Instead, he taps on 'New Message' and quickly sends a text.


Levi's phone buzzes from across the table, and the three of them fall into another comfortable silence. (Hanji doesn't even mention that Eren has yet to send her a text for his number, just sits with her chin in her hands and smiles.)





Eren glances up at Levi for the hundredth time and wonders how this even happened.

(It was just a simple text. He wasn't even planning on Levi answering him, much less agreeing. He was just bored, and he knew he had to work, but then again he didn't want to work, so in the end he went and did it.

"hey, wanna work at my place right now?"

He didn't expect his phone to vibrate less than a minute later, and he really didn't expect to see the name 'Levi' flash across his screen.


It was just one word, ONE WORD, but it sent Eren in a miniature panic attack as he scrambled to pick up anything and everything off the floor, wiped off his desk, made his bed, and all the while Reiner watched on from his side of the room, looking amused.

"Wipe that smile off your face, Reiner—it's creepy." Eren wrinkled his nose, taking aim and firing a pair of jeans at his dorm mate.

Reiner even laughed out loud, ignoring the whipping the pants had inflicted, and made up some bullshit excuse about going out with Bertholdt for lunch (and Eren did not want details on that, no thanks), before grabbing a jacket and promptly heading out the door. His implications were painfully obvious.

Then Levi showed up in front of his room ten minutes later, after several miffed texts to Eren like, 'Are you going to tell me where you live or do I have to read your fucking mind,' further reinforcing Eren's initial impression of the other male.)

"Why don't you stop gawking for two seconds and actually get some shit done." Levi shoots him a disparaging look from his seat across Eren's bed.

(He took two steps into the room and almost spun on heels to leave, and Eren was left to survive a barrage of 'clean up your shit once in your life' and 'I feel like I'm going to catch something weird just breathing the air in here.' He finally settled for sitting on one of Eren's clean shirts draped on the bed.)

Eren jumps at the voice, stares into the eyes that he didn't even notice were staring back. Mumbling a feeble 'sorry,' he scrolls through the music library on his laptop, hoping to whomever his face wasn't the most unflattering shade of vermilion.

"Meh, I don't feel like working right now." He brushes it off with a wave of his hand.

Levi's face remains bored, not amused. "Is it because you know your writing is absolute shit, and you don't want me to read it?"

Eren sends him a half-hearted glare but doesn't deny the accusation. Music starts to flow from his speakers, and he wordlessly listens. Just listens.

The other suddenly pauses in his typing, scowling at nothing in particular in an inquisitive fashion.

Eren notices, quickly starting with concern, "'Sup...?"

"You like Fleetwood Mac?"

He blinks at the question, once, twice, and raises an eyebrow. "Yeah?"

For a while, Levi only stares at him, hard in eyes, and Eren doesn't find it in himself to look away. And then he asks, "What's your favorite song?"

"Rhiannon. Or Sara, that one's newer."

Eren bites his tongue and pushes away the static and noise in his mind: ohshitohshitohshit he totally thinks I'm lame.

"What a girl," is Levi's comment, but he looks slightly amused (though it's hard to tell), eyes gliding back to his laptop screen. "Not bad," is added a second later, so quiet, he almost doesn't hear it.

Eren doesn't miss the barely-there curve of Levi's lips, flushes with heat in his cheeks, and forgets about everything else in the world.




He shows up to World History the next morning.

Armin is almost surprised to see him, almost, but instead holds out his hand expectantly and demands the right to read over his best friend's paper. Eren complies begrudgingly, rolling his eyes at every grimace and wrinkle of Armin's nose, and just hurry up already I wrote it in like two hours okay.

"Wait." He glances over to where Armin has a finger pointing at a line in his writing. "What's that all about?"

Eren squints, leaning in, and what are you talking about I don't see


Are you homeless? Stop coming to the library to sleep.

Eren glares at the offensive words, mentally smashing his face against the desk for accidentally leaving it in there.

Then he takes his time scribbling over the line, nearly ripping the printer paper with the absurd number of times his pen runs over the surface. A short scar of pitch black forms on the page, and Eren sighs.

Resting his head in his arms, he lets his mind wander to something else equally rude and even shorter.




He sits with Hanji and Levi in Music Appreciation.

Eren decides that he likes playing a new game by himself (kind of): see how many times he can get Levi to look at him during class.

He would half-whisper, half-snort a joke about Pixis to Hanji, who would then giggle loudly into her hand like a mad woman. And periodically, Eren would catch Levi's subtle peeks and glimpses, well-hidden and secretive, whenever Hanji would laugh particularly loud.

At first, the game is easy. In between snorts and giggles, Eren would look up in time to find Levi's attention trained solely on him, and two would continue to stare at each other as if battling for dominance, before Hanji would recover and slap Eren's back with praises and 'that was a good one'. Levi would turn back away, and the cycle would repeat.

Then it gets a little harder. Each and every one of Levi's stares gets more and more intense, so much that Eren finds himself tearing his eyes away sooner and sooner, trying hard to hide the color on his cheeks by burying his chin even further into the hand it leaned on.

It's only when Eren hears something suspiciously similar to a laugh, strangled and muffled (a quiet 'pfft,' really), coming from Levi's general direction and the telltale hand over his mouth to silence any possible noises from escaping an otherwise blank expression, does he realize that Levi had been in on his little 'game' all along.

Eren feels the heat rise to his cheeks, thinking pleasepleasplease don't be red.

The look on Levi's face as he stares at him one more time is nothing short of declaring 'I win.'




Eren sits at his computer chair, feeling somewhat relieved that Levi has evolved past sitting on his clean clothes and now settles for his bed alone.

He watches Levi work, the usual bored expression evident save for the slight furrow of his brows, something Eren now recognizes as his 'concentrating, do not fucking disturb' look. He doesn't know when it started (maybe from the first moment he saw him), but he always makes a habit of observing Levi's face: his sharp jaw, nose not too pointed, stormy and tempestuous eyes despite his normally blank mask. He would stare, get lost, but still stare.

Eren exhales a breath that he did not realize he had been holding and taps along to the song on the guitar tucked under his arm. When he begins to strum, playing softly along with Aruarian Dance, Levi stops typing and glances up at him with an unreadable expression.

"Sorry, was I bothering you?" Eren halts his playing, flashing an apologetic look.

Levi only stares at him. "You can play?"

He nods slowly, "A little."

Levi gives him a once over before frowning. "Don't tell me you're one of those douchebags that walk around with a guitar, as if the ability to play the first ten seconds of an obnoxious song is gonna get you laid."

Eren chokes on nothing, sputtering an exasperated, "No! Hell no!"

"Good. Don't ever be one of those guys, you shitty brat."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

He leaves out the fact that Levi is the only one to ever hear him play other than Mikasa and Armin.




They walk to a mini-mart some blocks away from campus.

It's cold outside, but the streets are still somewhat crowded, and Levi is pressed up against Eren's side. Warmth radiates through his thin jacket, as Levi pulls up his scarf to cover the bottom of his chin, pale cheeks flushed just slightly in the wind.

Their fingers brush, and with a heartbeat like thunder, Eren vaguely thinks he wouldn't mind walking for miles.

They arrive at their destination sooner than he would have liked. But his disappointment is quickly replaced by childish excitement upon filling his arms with all sorts of snacks and junk food.

Until Levi's face happens.

Eren raises a concerned brow, depositing all his loot into the basket held up by the shorter male.

"What's wrong with you?"

Levi shrugs, hooded eyes fixed on the various assortments of cookies and confections. "Oh, you know, just thinkin' about how much I hate people."


A glare is thrown his way. "What."

"Nothing, you absolute bundle of joy." Eren smiles sarcastically in good humor.

"Yeah, well fuck you, too."

"Is that a promise?" He gives him a sidelong glance, wiggling his eyebrows obnoxiously as he tosses another box of Pocky into the basket. It almost misses, saved only by quick and skillful maneuvering courtesy of Levi, who shoots the brunette a dirty look.

"Shut up, you stupid child. Don't make me Vulcan-jump-kick you in the throat." Levi scoffs before forcefully shoving the basket into Eren's chest. He accepts it with a grunt.

"Did you..." A shit-eating grin gradually emerges onto Eren's face before he continues, "Did you just make a Star Trek reference?"

"No," Levi denies, deadpan. "Stop talking right now—and don't you dare even think about quoting a single line, Eren."

"What, you mean like how hitting on you would be 'to boldly go where no man has—akh!"

His defiance is immediately silenced by two cold fingers squeezing his windpipe.

"You're paying for everything, by the way, you little shit."




"Do you ever feel like you know a person, even though you've never talked to them before?"

He doesn't mean to blurt out such a strange question so suddenly, but it sort of slips out, flies around, like his mind is a hurricane of questions without answers.

Levi doesn't say anything, only stares at him with cloudy eyes, from beside him on the couch.

(It's Eren's first time in Levi's dorm, and he's kind of nervous but even more baffled as to how he managed to snag a one-person room.

That and the fact that he practically went through a security check to prevent any dirt or grime from being tracked into his pristine sanctuary. Apparently, Levi is a hardcore clean freak (which is most likely an understatement), and Eren should 'feel special that his filthy ass is even allowed to sit upon his spotless furniture.')

Instead, Levi turns up the volume, scrolls through his music, and eventually settles for an Isley Brothers' song, in the hopes of shutting Eren up.

It seems to work.

Until Eren suddenly throws his head back against the sofa, brown hair flying. He smiles up to the ceiling and then turns to Levi.

"I fucking love 80s beats."

Levi blinks, the corner of his lip twitching slightly.

"Lemme see your shit." Wordlessly, he drops his device in his awaiting hands, careful not to pull on the cords of the speakers. Eren browses the library with hungry eyes, randomly exclaiming 'ooh's and 'damns' and playing every single song he stops on, ranging from Evelyn King and Atlantic Starr to Kool & the Gang and The Deele. "Ugh, your taste is incredible."

"That's great," Levi gives him an pointed look. "Now can you pick a god damn song and maybe stick to it?"

When he finally decides on one, it's in a completely different genre: Open Arms by Journey. They listen without talking, and Eren stares at nothing with half-lidded eyes, feeling like a snow globe, shaken up and turned upside down. The stars in his eyes don't shine so bright, but he smiles a crooked grin and shrugs it off when he sees Levi and his unspoken question.

"Sorry, this song in particular just gets to me." Eren murmurs absently. Levi gives him a knowing look, just leans back and listens. "Even though we met just recently, even though I never spoke to you before—shit, before Hanji, I feel like I've known you my whole life, Levi."

Eren closes his eyes and lets the pieces in his mind float down and settle at the bottom in a blanket of white. "I really do," passes through his lips as barely a whisper.

When he opens his eyes again, he doesn't know how much time as passed but he does notice two things with a blurry mind:

It is dark outside.

And his head is resting in Levi's lap, whose eyes are shut, arms crossed, head limp and angled downward. Eren notes his long, straight lashes fanned out, his downturned lips, and his pitch dark hair falling across his forehead, the most vulnerable he has ever been.

With a heavy sigh and a hollow smile, Eren prays to anything and everything he isn't dreaming.




Eren stares at his phone with sleepless eyes, dull green. Unlocking his screen, he hovers a finger over the name before starting a new message.

"are you awake?"

And then he shakes his head, quickly deleting it.





"i can't sleep."


He hesitates, pausing briefly before typing something completely on a whim.

"i love you."

Sighing, he laughs bitterly under his breath and erases the message, closing his eyes to dream.




He wakes up on a Sunday morning, nearly screaming, half from an unexpected surprise and half from inexplicable happiness. Relaxing his shoulders upon realizing that Reiner is no where to be seen, he fights the goofy smile on his face and stares at his phone.

"How eloquent."

...Okay. That makes sense. Eren mouths a 'wtf' at the screen before scrolling up and—


"iiii lojoise yyyoooyyy"

—was, apparently, sent from his phone to Levi's sometime in the middle of the night. Eren scowls, tilts his head back, and thinks hard. What was he trying to say? What was it? What—?

Shit. Wasn't it that woefully pathetic and untimely 'i love you' he was about to send in his random bout of late-night-depression? He was so sure he deleted that message. Shrugging, he starts a reply.


...Okay, no, that sounds way too gay. Eren groans, shoving his face in his blankets for accidentally pressing 'Send.' His phone vibrates a minute later, and he scrambles to unlock it, almost dropping it in the process.

"Who do you think you are sending me unintelligible texts at 4 in the morning"

"uh. yeah. sorry! was gonna text you something moderately important probably but i fell asleep and i guess my fingers love you."

"Well do you at least remember what was so god damn important?"




"Stfu, I don't do emotes."


Levi stops answering him after that, and Eren can't stop his heart rate from shooting up because shiiiiiiiit did he just mess up so bad just now? But then his phone vibrates again a few moments before he is about to undergo a miniature mental breakdown, much to his relief.

Instead of a text, Levi had send him a picture attached to a wordless message. As it loads, Eren finds himself smiling harder and harder, until he is outright laughing at the image which is simply Levi's hand flipping the camera off.

Tongue sticking out in concentration, Eren positions his own phone to take the perfect shot, making the most exaggerated sobbing face humanly possible, all frowns and downturned lips and squinted eyes to the max. Heartbeat erratic, Eren grins and sends the photo.

This time, Levi replies with a text:


(His heart skips a beat at that, but he would never admit it.)

"your turn!
lemme see that pretty face before the make up"

"Fuck off.
I'd sooner send you a picture of my foot up your ass."

"ew. pervert."

"Sorry, I forgot this conversation was rated PG for Princess Eren."

"fine, you wanna see rated R? here's a hint: it rhymes with 'morning wood'"

"I swear, Eren, if you send me a dick pic I will fucking end you."




Eren has no idea how it ended up this way.

He is relieved to know that Levi still wants to hang out with him despite having no convenient reasons (like the concert reports which were completed and turned in a while back) other than the simple and pure desire to spend time together. What surprises him more so is the fact that he even put aside his killer clean-freak tendencies to work on various projects and papers at Eren's dorm (when they aren't at Levi's place) regardless of the incurable mess.

That morning had been particularly frigid, as the weather and climate adjusted to December. And Eren was pretty sure he would have suffered from hypothermia had he not been bundled up in a 'burrito' of five layers of sweaters, cardigans, and jackets.

It was in front of the door to the Music Appreciation class where he came across Levi, who was stoic as always even in the numbing cold, but one look at his barely shivering hands and twitching lips and Eren knew immediately the thoughts of 'nope' and 'i am so done with this shit' shining through those icy gray eyes.

And so the two blinked in silent understanding and promptly turned on their heels to head back to Eren's dorm, the closer of the two.

There, being as hospitable as he was raised to be (Mikasa would be so proud), Eren offered Levi a cup of coffee, to which the older male expressed his strong distaste for the substance. They eventually compromised and settled for hot tea and a bowl of instant ramen.

Now, they've been sitting and playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the neglected Wii, the one game Eren had always been so confident in being pretty good at. But here he is getting his ass practically handed to him as Levi effortlessly throws him off the edge, winning for the fifteenth time in a row.

"What. No! Again!" He demands, pressing the button repeatedly to start another rematch. Levi crosses his arms, looking bored, but when the game starts, he grabs the controller so fast it's a blur.

"Ugh, how do even you—shit!—do that combo!?" Eren panics, sticking his tongue out, determination radiating from his ocean-eyes.

Levi wordlessly leans over to show him a complicated combination of buttons he presses, but the other male only drops his jaw, scowling hard.

"The hell! How is a normal human being even supposed to do that," he grits his teeth, not giving up.

"The trick," Levi drawls, dragging his eyes sideways to give Eren a somewhat smug look. "Is to not suck."

Eren's cheeks flush just slightly. "Dude, shut up. You're kicking my ass using Kirby. Kirby. A god damn pink blob, I don't even know."

"Like I said—"

"NOPE. Kirby is definitely overpowered."

Levi rolls his eyes. "What a brat. You just don't know how to properly use Pikachu."

He gasps lightly, "Yes, I do!"

"Then maybe you shouldn't suck so bad."

"But Kirby—"

"Shut the fuck up. Do you even hear yourself? I'd kick your ass with Jigglypuff, too, okay. 'Overpowered' my ass."

This seems to silence Eren. He's all frowny brows and pouty lips, playing (and losing) without so much as a murmur. Levi glances over, looking partially concerned but mostly annoyed.

"Are you really gonna take this like bitch right now, Eren?"

He only glares at the older male, "No, I'm just trying to win, so shhh, leave me be."

Levi sighs, sips his tea. "If you win, will you stop moping around like a sad puppy?"

"Yes. Wait—no, what. Puppy?" Eren looks confused before realization sinks in, eyes growing wide. "Nonono, I want this to be on my own terms. So don't you dare let me win, Levi." He brandishes the pair of disposable chopsticks and ignores how naturally it feels to say his name, rolling off his tongue with a familiar tingle.

The corner of Levi's lip twitches. "You probably wouldn't be able to win even if I let you."

The glare is back, and Eren leans in to spit out, "Stop being such a dick."

"Stop being such a baby."

"Excuse you, I stopped being a baby when my mom died."

"Well, tough, my mom's dead, too."

"Doesn't mean you should be such an asshole about everything!"

Levi scowls and grabs the younger male's arm. "Eren, just calm the fuck down."

He scoffs, "No!" His arm pulls free. "Why don't you show some emotions once in a while! How are you even human!?"


"I know you're keeping all your shit bottled up inside. You're probably constipated, aren't you?" He laughs. It leaves a bitter after taste. "You're so uptight, hiding all your emotions deep down, that you can't even take a proper shit anymore!"

"Excuse you—"

"All that anger and sarcasm and cynicism probably stunted your growth. That's why you're so short, you know."


"All—all I'm saying is that you're not... You're not alone, okay? I mean, I'm here, and I have ears, so I can listen, y'know, if you ever need to talk or something. And I'm not saying that you have to, like, spill your fucking guts all over the floor. Just... Just open up a bit, even it's only a little." Eren grabs fistfuls of Levi's collar, staring into raging storms of gray with glassy, sea water eyes. "Stop hiding," he whispers, edging closer. "What are you hiding...?"

And in this moment, Eren swears he feels his heart clench painfully when a wave of emotions flashes in Levi's eyes: anger, frustration, confusion, pain, sorrow, even fear.

In this moment, Eren swears he feels two thousand years of Levi, and every single thing he's ever felt: broken bones, metal blades cutting flesh, tearing, ripping, shattering, and be strong, you have a duty to humanity.

He doesn't realize how close he's gotten until he feels Levi's breath fanning his face, smells the distinct scent of his hair, stares into those eyes that are speaking so much and at the same time nothing at all.

And before he knows what he's doing, Eren leans down and kisses Levi, and for a split second the world seems to freeze, nothing moves. Then, something lurches forward, and suddenly Levi is kissing back hard, hands snaking up to grab and pull at Eren's messy brown tresses. Tentatively, his shaky hands release the collar of Levi's cardigan to rest on the back of his neck, and all he can do is close his eyes and drown.

He drowns in Levi, feels his tongue brush his lips, feels his hands tug his hair, feels his finger trace his back, and his heart next to his. Eren is spinning in a hurricane of fragmented thoughts and this is wrong—

Who are you

I know you

Who are you

Who are


And as soon as it begins, Levi pulls back; Eren clings to his neck in silent contemplation, and an earsplitting silence befalls them like the calm before the storm. Eren feels a hand on his shoulder, squeezes his eyes shut, and thinks shitshitshitshitshit I messed up I messed up why why why.

"... I have to go." Levi's voice is barely louder than a whisper, but Eren hears it like thunder in his ears, nodding soundlessly in understanding. He doesn't make a move to get up, just sits and simmers in his regrets and turmoil and embarrassment, even as Levi gathers his belongings and turns to leave.

"Eren," He pauses at the doorway, craning his neck to look back at him. Electric eyes flicker in his direction before quickly darting away. "The book in your backpack," Eren stills even more, glancing hurriedly to where it sat near his bed. "Read it."

Before he can process all one hundred questions to be asked, Levi is already gone.

Eren puts his face, burning redredred, in his hands and nearly dies of awkwardness and oh my god holy shit did I really just do that.




He lies in bed that night, wishing with all his heart he could see the stars through the ceiling. (It isn't granted, but he already expects that.) Rolling over on his side, he palms for his phone and unlocks it, squinting at the brightness.


He thinks about it for a moment before deleting it and starting over.



"about earlier..."


"i love you."

Frustrated, the text is hastily erased, and he wants to laugh at himself for every single time he's ever done that.

Lying restlessly in bed for several more moments, Eren suddenly remembers the book and what Levi said, and it was in his backpack the whole time, and how the hell did he manage to forget. Unzipping his bag as silently as possible (to not wake Reiner), he digs around for what feels like ages, arms losing strength, in the graveyard of all schoolwork and papers and—ah, there it is.

Eren climbs back into bed, throws the blanket over his head, and flips open the ratty journal, shining his phone light on the old pages of the leather-bound book.

[ To You, 2000 Years From Now ]


Humanity remembered.

He reads until his eyes can't see, and his mind is numb; nothing makes sense, but then it does, and what is this book?

Eren dreams that night about people flying with wires, and man-eating giants, and green cloaks waving in the wind like flags declaring war, and two people hand in hand with the world at their feet.




Eren wakes up in an unfamiliar place.

Slowly, everything comes into focus: books, shelves, chairs.

The library. He's in the library.

Mind in a state of disarray, like a snow globe turned upside down and shaken up, he gradually pushes up from his seat at a table; all the pieces swirl around, drift slowly down to settle at the bottom in a layer of white. Everything is white.

It's quiet.

Blinking, once, twice, he massages his stiff neck and glances around, noticing two details with a foggy mind:

It is bright outside.

And Levi is sitting across from him, arms crossed, leaning back in his chair. He watches him carefully.

Eren smiles fondly, letting his lips curl and his cheeks lift. The older male flicks his gaze down to the old and tattered book clutched tightly in his hands, and Eren follows his stare before nodding rapidly as if answering an unspoken question.

"How was it?" Levi asks expectantly.

The brunette shrugs, resting his chin in his palm. "Personally, I think the writing could have been better."

There is a glint of amusement in Levi's eyes, and he replies, "Really now."

Eren grins, all smug and lopsided, and opens the book, flipping page after page until he reaches the very last one.

[That day...]

Humanity wins.

—Eren Jaeger, 865

"It was a pretty long book, but even I managed to finish it." He offers him a sheepish smirk and hands the journal to his outstretched palm across the table. "Sorry to have kept you waiting, Corporal."

"Shitty brat," comes as half a scoff, half muttered under his breath. There is a ghost of the fondest of smiles dusting Levi's lips as he says, "Took you long enough."




"i love you.
oh my GOD you have no idea how long i've been waiting to send that"

"Stfu, I've been waiting 2000 years."


"Also, stop sleeping in the library. You're not homeless."


"i love you too."





notes: okay, wow, i did not mean for this to get so freakishly long, eep.
also, i really don't know what i was thinking, sticking the whole reincarnation thing in there out of no where. i'm a sucker for those, and ugh. i couldn't help myself.
thanks for sticking around 'til the end! (i love you)

—this one's for you, ash