White. White trees. White ground. White-topped buildings. White marshmallows in hot chocolate. White wrapping paper and ribbon. White balls of fur tied to the ends of hats and belts and shoe laces. Everybody associates Christmas with red and green or even yellow. But I've always thought Christmas was the holiday for white; purity, cleanliness, fresh starts.
My own shoes were turning white as they continue to get covered in snow. The thick leather was doing a good job of keeping my toes dry, but I still couldn't help but stare at the small crystals of ice cling to my souls as I walked through the thick snow fall.
The blizzard came in last night, strong and hard and loud. The castle had been freezing all night, no amount of blankets seemed to keep the cold at bay; or at least, that's what I had been told. I wouldn't really know, as all night I had been curled up around the body of my small but incredibly warm lover, my head resting on his chest and my sock covered toes pressed against his legs. His strong arms wrapped around me helped my body temperature stay normal, and my own unexplainable heat meant Levi was more than happy to be a little more affectionate towards me.
"Stop looking at your feet, moron," I hear the certain man I was just thinking of say. I should've known before I had even woken up that the soft side of Levi I had encountered last night certainly wouldn't transcend into the day. The blizzard had slowed early morning and was completely gone by the time the sun came up. But because of the storm, there was a lot of excess snow around; which only meant a lot of excess work.
I lifted my head, taking in the surroundings. The trees were absolutely blanketed, the roof of the stables unrecognisable, the court yard covered in a thick layer of snow. I might've groaned at the sight of all that snow, at the thought of having to shovel it away and hope that it hadn't frozen into one huge, brick of ice yet. I might've groaned, except that I was too happy with the sudden change of atmosphere to care.
I hadn't realised how contagious the festive spirit could be. It had all began with Sasha, with her asking Mikasa to help her lug in a huge pine tree from outside into Squad Levi's living room. When we had all asked what the thing was for (except to make the place smell as fresh as a forest itself), Sasha had brought out ribbons covered with glitter and rings of nicely shaped leaves, exclaiming that just because we had all had a rough year, didn't mean she was going to let Christmas pass without celebrating the holiday.
Soon, Connie had gotten into the whole ordeal as well, making a point of pinning mistletoe to almost every doorway of the house, forcing girls and guys to kiss if he caught them passing through it together. I had to admit, I had taken a lot of joy in teasing Jean about how much 'action' he was getting lately compared to the rest of the year.
Then Armin had taken it upon himself to light a fire, Historia had started using different seasonings in her cooking, even Mikasa had gone to the markets for a moment to bring back socks ten times too big for us, saying they were actually stockings to be filled with gifts. We all had a fun evening, taking lessons from Historia and sewing our names into the wool, hanging them up over the fire afterwards.
Levi had returned from a meeting with the Commander to a Christmas invested household. He was disgruntled with the sudden change, and even more so about all the pine needles littering the foyer, but he didn't make a point of telling us to stop. I think he didn't mind our activities so long as they didn't get in the way of our work. Though I did see him staring at the stocking beside mine, running his fingers over the 'L-E-V-I' I had very carefully woven into the green material. He didn't say anything about it, but I sure woke up more sore than usual the next morning.
"The snow sure is pretty," I commented idly, watching my breath escape in puffs of frozen air.
"It's frozen rain, Eren. There's nothing pretty about it," Levi barked, pulling his hood even higher up over his head, burying his face in the soft, white fur that rimmed the edges.
"I think you're just annoyed that the snow made a mess of your once, tidy courtyard," I told him.
"No," Levi's voice was deep and scathing. "I'm annoyed because all this fucking frozen rain has been dumped on our doorstep, almost killing our horses and livestock, and now we're going to have to spend the day clearing it out of the doorways so we can get into the fucking stables."
I only frowned at him, knowing there was nothing I'd be able to say to rid him of his disgruntled tone.
I stopped short of the stables themselves, hearing the horses inside protest to still being shut in despite it obviously being breakfast time. Levi continued ahead of me, gripping the shovels he held in his hand. I could see the wood splinter under his grip.
I bent down to brush my hand through the ice, white collecting on my leather gloves and sparkling against the black of my hand. I smiled, remembering snow ball fights from when I was young. It had been years since I had a snow ball fight. I could remember mum wrapping me up in scarves and thick coats before she finally allowed me to go out and join the neighbourhood kids in an all-out war against each other. I remembered how happy I would be when I finally came back home, my cheeks and ears tinged pink and my hair wet from all the snow that had gotten caught and melted into the strands.
Thinking back on my usually good mood after any snowball fight, having either won or lost, I used both hands to gather up the snow under my fingertips, shaping it into a loose ball so as not to compact it too much. Many a concussion had been caused because I had forgotten about this rule, having thrown a sphere shaped, ice brick at Armin's head and shocked to see his head split open, not the snow ball itself.
Levi's back was still turned to me, his shoulders hunched as he started digging his shovel into the ice and discarding it over to the side. I was sure to aim for Levi's back, not his head, swinging my arm back and bringing it forward, watching it fly through the air.
The ball of ice crashed right on target, right over the Scouting Legion's emblem emblazoned on Levi's back. Levi himself stopped his actions immediately, slowly turning towards me to show me his face. I cringed at the look, at his dark eyes and turned-down lips, at his furrowed eyebrows and his overall expression that meant hell for me. I instantly regretted trying to start a snowball fight with my captain, with my very angry captain.
"Are you done?" I heard Levi call angrily. I nodded, hiding my head in shame as I approached him, taking up my shovel and starting to help with the durable task we had ahead of us.
Moments passed in relative silence, the only sound was of metal breaking through ice and shoving it away. It was a few hours before we got rid of enough snow for us to be able to enter the stables again. Luckily, all of the horses seemed okay, and Levi and I got down to feeding them immediately.
I was just passing the stall Levi was occupying, who was brushing down his own horse to rid it of any dust that might have accumulated overnight, when the sight of Levi's bare neck seemed awfully interesting all of a sudden. I put down the bucket of oats I had been carrying, scooping up a pile of snow into my arms while I was still facing the ground.
Carefully, I entered the stall, making sure not to disturb any of the straw, slowly making my way over to Levi. He was humming a mindless tune to keep his horse from getting too skittish, repeatedly sliding the brush over its fur, changing the angle of his strokes depending on which was its fur was heading.
I got closer and closer to Levi's neck, taking care to move a little faster now, as the snow was melting into my clothes and I didn't feel like dealing with a wet jacket for the rest of the morning. When I was an arm's length away, I reached out my arms and prepared to let the collection of ice in my hands fall down the back of Levi's shirt, when the man himself turned suddenly, taking a hold of my wrist and slamming his other hand into my elbow, forcing me to bend it suddenly, flinging the snow into my own face.
I coughed and spluttered, blinking the ice out of my eyes and brushing it off my face before it could freeze my cheekbones. I wiped it off my clothes as well, making sure to get any ice that had fallen down my shirt.
I looked at Levi, the scowl still evident on his face, and gave him a huge grin, laughing loudly at the backfired prank. Levi could only raise an eyebrow at me.
"Are you ill?" he asked.
"Wh-what? No!" I gasped out, wiping the tears out of my eyes and clutching my stomach.
"Don't laugh when you've just had snow thrown in your face."
I couldn't tell if that was an order or just an irritated suggestion, but I stopped anyway and held my breath, though I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. Levi only grunted at me once more before shoving me aside so he could continue to feed the next horse. I followed after him, holding back my giggles.
It was a few hours before we finally cleared the stables, fed the horses and made sure they were all happy. It wouldn't have taken as long if I hadn't been doing the chores with Levi, his meticulous attention to detail prolonging the already tedious task, but I didn't mind spending the time with him.
As we made our way back to the house, the snow still as thick as ever, I noticed Levi was still wearing that scowl on his face. Nobody else would've tried so hard to cheer him up, but nobody else was in a relationship with him. I had never liked seeing Levi in a bad mood, even before we were together, but now that we were, I took it upon myself to make sure Levi was always in high spirits (though, of course, he never showed when he was).
I jogged a little off to the side, feeling Levi's dark glare on my back, probably made from the fact that I was keeping him from taking off his boots and making a warm cup of tea.
"Hey, Levi!" I called to him, just to make sure I had his attention. "Watch this!"
I spread out my arms, kept my legs as straight as I could and fell back, letting the snow cushion my fall. As soon as I had made a large imprint of myself into the snow, I started to swing my legs and arms in a wide arc. Snow was now creeping its way down the back of my coat and into my boots, but I knew it would be worth it if I could make Levi happy.
I carefully removed myself, standing up and shaking the white out of my hair and shoulders, turning to see Levi approach me, wanting a closer look at my creation.
"Snow angel!" I declared, admiring my work.
I watched Levi's face, watched his eyes flicker slightly. I waited for his reaction expectantly.
Then Levi surprised me by bending down, picking up a stick and going up to the head of my angel imprint, drawing curves coming out of its head. He then proceeded to edit the wings, curving the bottoms of them and adding a few extra lines, effectively making them look like bat wings.
"There, I fixed it," he claimed. "Snow devil."
I couldn't help the pout that took over my face, glaring at him as best I could with my lip jutted out at him.
He came back over to me, chuckling at my face and pushing himself up on his toes to kiss my bottom lip in apology, though I knew he wasn't sorry at all. I continued to pout at him for only a moment before relaxing and giving him a small smile; at least he was in a better mood.
I leant down to return the kiss, lightly grazing my lips over his, feeling him lean into my touch. We stood there for a moment, nothing else touching except for the soothing warmth of our lips on each other's, moving our mouths against one another, lightly touching tongues towards the end.
When I pulled back, I could see that Levi's cheeks were tinted a nice pink and his eyes were sparkling brighter now. I breathed a sigh of relief, touching my nose to his once more and watching his lips twitch into a smile.
Our fingers were strongly intertwined when we returned to the house, only letting go when it was time to shrug our coats off. While I was removing my boots, Levi headed into the kitchen to make something warm for us. I went through the rest of the house, trying to find the others, though all the rooms were empty.
"Where is everyone?" I asked Levi as I went to join him in the kitchen.
"Doing their assigned chores, hopefully," he replied, mixing the brown liquid in the cups with a spoon. "That Blause girl has been procrastinating from cleaning out the wood shed all week: it's extremely hard to burn wet wood."
He ushered me into the living room, where I followed and joined him on the couch. I sat as close to him as I could, our thighs pressed together and our shoulders bumping as he handed me my drink. It wasn't really a secret that the both of us were dating (it was kind of hard to keep it a secret when we were in each other's arms every other minute), but living in such close quarters meant we didn't get as much alone time together as we used to.
I rested my hand on Levi's leg while I sipped at the warm drink, humming at the sweet taste of the marshmallows mixing in with the lovely, bitterness of the dark chocolate. Levi didn't let any of us have sweets very often, something about 'not wanting to give the children sugar rushes', but he had let Armin request we have dark chocolate at least for the holiday.
"When do you think the others will be back?" I asked Levi, squeezing his leg and putting down my empty cup on the coffee table.
"Does it matter? We're not making out," he answered bluntly, not even turning to face me. I let out a sound somewhere between an indignant squeak and a protesting cough.
"I wasn't going to suggest that," I told him, though it was really only half true. I had definitely been thinking about the possibility. "I was genuinely asking."
"Why are you so curious for us to have our alone time interrupted? Don't you want to spend time with me?" Levi asked, resting his head on my shoulder and looking up at me with wide eyes, fluttering his eyelashes at me. I scowled at his sarcasm.
"You don't want to make out but you don't want the others to come back either? Make up your mind!"
Levi sat up straight again and drank the last of his drink. He opened his mouth wider around the rim and I watched his last marshmallow disappear in his mouth. Now you know you're sexually frustrated when you're jealous of a marshmallow.
Then Levi shifted, placing his arm around my shoulders and using my neck to bring me to him for an open mouthed kiss. I gasped, surprised, but quickly let my tongue join his, humming while trying not to grin happily at the taste of the sugary treat in his mouth. It made our mouths sticky and our tongues a melted, marshmallow mess but I didn't care in the least, cupping his face and forcing my tongue even deeper into his delicious tasting cavern.
There was also the sensation of Levi's hand trailing up my back that had my skin tingling, had me catching at his hair and moaning softly. The insistent tug at his black strands had Levi letting out a groan, had him raking his fingernails across my shirt and his other hand burying itself into the hair at the nape of my neck.
When Levi had skilfully pushed the rest of the marshmallow down my throat and I had somehow swallowed it without choking, he gave me a final nip on my bottom lip before pulling away. We were both panting, our foreheads touching, his arms still around me and my hands still in his hair.
"You're just full of contradictions," I muttered against his lips, kissing them lightly, though his hands forced me from getting too heated with him again.
"I thought you might get tired of being the girl in the relationship all the time," he drawled, his voice deep and slightly croaky from the tonsil workout we had just performed. "Besides, Springer said it's the rule to kiss under that god-forsaken weed."
I frowned at that, glancing up to notice mistletoe hanging from a hook in the ceiling, dangling their innocently. I chuckled at the thought of Connie being able to force anybody who sat on the couch to kiss, and made a mental note not to sit there anymore unless Levi was also occupying the space beneath the plant.
"That's right; you're a 'rules man', aren't you?" I inquired, running my fingers through his hair now, massaging the scalp.
"I do make it a point to follow them when necessary," Levi answered, pinching my hip.
I smiled at him, tilting my head and kissing him again, still able to taste some of the marshmallow on his tongue. I lapped at the sugar and held him tighter, while he gripped my hair and rubbed my hip firmly with his palm.
I don't know how long we stayed like that. I don't know at what point I threw my leg over his lap so he could continue caressing my thigh while I softly ran my tongue up and down his throat. I don't know at what point we ended up horizontal, Levi leaning over me, pinning my hands above my head and sucking at the base of my throat. But soon we heard the back door opening and the loud voice of Sasha complaining about spiders with Connie laughing loudly about having dropped one in her hair.
We both scrambled to stand up, fixing our clothes and hair and wiping anyway any excess spit before joining them in the kitchen. Though I think our pink faces (and the bruise on my neck probably didn't help) gave us away as I saw Mikasa's dark glare pass over us once she entered with today's load of firewood.
After that, we both got pretty busy planning for dinner and cleaning the rest of the living room, rearranging the furniture and just general afternoon activities. Levi ended up having a go at all of us because someone had tracked snow into the house and no one would own up to who it was. Connie ended up on the floor in stitches at having finally being able to force Mikasa and Jean to share a short kiss when they had mistakenly sat on the couch together, though I made it a point of a sitting right between them after and shooting Connie glares any time he started to say something about me having to share a kiss with either of them.
Finally, when the day was done and the only thing keeping us all awake was the thought of our cold rooms compared to the warmth of the fire, we ended up telling Christmas horror stories. Levi won by a land slide, having told a tale of how he watched someone get split down the middle by a falling stalactite last season, and how he was still alive for several minutes after the fact. With all of us thoroughly scarred, we decided to call it a night.
Everyone headed upstairs one at a time. When I tried to enter my room, Levi tugged me away towards his own room at the end of the hallway.
"But it's not storming tonight," I protested as I was dragged by my shirt collar, though I didn't honestly mind the thought of sharing a bed with him again.
"Yes, it is," Levi simply said, pushing open his room and shoving me inside. I took the opportunity to look out the window, at the star-lit clear sky and the silent, white world just beyond the window pane. I let out a small, content sigh, not saying anything else on the subject, and crawled into bed next to Levi, accepting his arms around me without any further protests, smiling against his chest as I drifted off to sleep in a warm haze.