The sound of sheets rumpling pierced the hazy veil that clouded Eren's mind. He blinked away the fog, the obscurity clearing out into detail as he sat up, a dull ache spiking up his thighs. Blue-green eyes dimmed as he straightened, the soft blanket falling off his body, revealing a body laden with bitemarks and bruises.
He turned to the clock atop his bedside table, 02:11 AM flashing at him. When he heard the tell-tale zippering sound of jeans being closed, Eren finally stole a look at the figure covered in darkness, save the small slither of light from the barely curtained window.
He plastered a smile on his face, his chest heavy with something fiercely painful. "Not staying for breakfast?"
Levi continued buttoning up his now-wrinkled dress shirt, eyes on his fingers as he spoke out a casual, apathetic "No."
Eren knew he should be used to this by now, should have become indifferent to the way Levi always takes and takes, and Eren just gives and gives.
He drew his eyes away as Levi sat down on the edge of the bed, searching for his boots—the ones he kicked off so haphazardly hours ago as his hands clawed at Eren's clothes, mouth insistent against the younger man's neck.
"Armin's inviting me over later for pizza. He bought a new video game and I wanted to try it out." Eren spoke, struggling to break the awkward silence, struggling to cover up the words, to silence the Please stay please stay just for once please stay.
Levi did not respond. He never did.
Eren felt his throat tighten as the older man stood, looking prim and proper and unreachable and not his—save for the wrinkles on his shirt—as if he did not just rip Eren's pants in two, as if he did not just push Eren into the wall and bite his neck until it bled, as if he did not just fuck Eren into the bed's headboard.
As if he did not just rip Eren's heart in two—like he always did.
As if Eren did not just give out his heart willingly to be shattered—like he always did.
"Take care, okay?" A whisper, just a feather above silence, and Eren curled into himself, bringing the sheet back up to cover his exhausted, bruised body and tried to ignore the stab of pain—he really should become used to it by now—as Levi gave no response, no indication that he had heard, and simply left, the bedroom door ajar.
The stench of sweat, sex and a broken heart accompanied Eren back to sleep.
It began on a cold day of December.
Eren was a photographer. He liked to capture moments, he liked to frame time—second for second, the clicking of the shutter an easy, intimate noise in his ears—he liked to engrave life into a thin sheet of paper, colour and light and focus melding into a beautiful replica of an ephemeral point in time. The tuning of the focus, the pressing of the shutter, the beeping noise that signaled the capture of a photo: they all came easy to him as breathing.
It was on a cold day of December that Eren met Levi. The rain was falling fast on busy Nathan road, people flocking to stalls and shops alongside the street, seeking refuge under canopies and roofs. The morning traffic went on, undeterred by the pitter-patter against the windows of passing buses and cars. Eren had stood under one of those decorative window roofs of restaurants, camera in hand, eye parallel to the viewfinder, finger pressing relentlessly as he snapped photo after photo of the rain-drenched street.
A little girl in a bright yellow raincoat jumped around in joy, her mother hollering for her to come back under her umbrella. Eren grinned, tuning the focus on the little girl.
He knew photography had rules and codes and that it was an offense to photograph someone without their consent, but Eren chose to ignore that as he continued to click and click and click.
A black Audi speeding down the street, splashing past a large puddle, causing the people nearby to curse and complain. Click.
A high school student flinging his backpack over his head as he ran across the street. Click.
A couple leaving a coffeeshop, Styrofoam cups in hand as they made their way to a hotel. Click.
He smiled to himself, viewing the photos on the camera's live screen, deleting ones he didn't like. Looking up again, Eren spotted a man in a grey trenchcoat, face looking towards the side.
He angled his camera, adjusted the focus. Click.
The man turned his head towards Eren.
Eren froze a bit before putting his camera down and waving his hand at the man, a slight smile on his face.
The man merely stared, then fully turned to him and began walking his way. Eren swallowed.
He wondered if the man was angry at him—he certainly did look angry, what with the sharp eyes, deep frown and slightly raised brow—he wondered if the man would report him to authority or ask Eren to delete the photo or—
"Hello." The man spoke when he had finally reached Eren, a bit shorter but no less intimidating.
Eren gave a smile, a bit panicky. "Hi, there. I'm really sorry for doing that. I'll delete it immediately."
"No, it's no problem." Eren's fingers stilled, eyes trained on the man. Intensely dark blue eyes looked at him, something smouldering in their depths—something that left Eren suddenly hot and tense.
"I'm Eren. Eren Jaeger."
Perhaps, taking a photo of Levi in that cold day of December was Eren's first mistake.
His second was letting the man into his life.
Looking back, Eren realized that he had been blind all along. Perhaps it was his young, naive self that was curious of who Levi was that blinded Eren from the man's intentions. Perhaps it was some form of admiration for the man and his wiry beauty that made Eren overlook what spurned Levi to talk to him that cold day of December.
It had started off easy and well, two strangers getting to know one another: a freelance photographer and a ballet dancer having coffee at a cafe. Eren was infatuated—mesmerized—by Levi. From the way he spoke, the slow, sensual curvature of his lips as he smirked, the deep baritone voice that echoed in Eren's ears and pooled heat in between his legs, the dark gaze that left Eren paralyzed with tension and longing as he gripped the arms of the chair tightly, feeling warmth flood his cheeks.
"So...you dance ballet, huh?" Eren croaked, embarrassed at the squeak in his voice. Levi raised one perfect brow, amusement dancing in his eyes.
"I believe we have established that already, Eren." The way his name slipped off Levi's tongue made Eren grip the chair's arms tighter, his knuckles turning white. He feared he would actually break the arms off.
Still, it was too much for an eighteen year old boy like him. Levi was a panther, sensuality running through his veins, and Eren lay open like a pig before the predator, ready to be devoured. Hours later, he found himself in his shower, the water pelting down his back as his hand trailed down to between his legs and he groaned, a needy Levi escaping his lips.
When he had finished feeling hot liquid drip down his clenched fingers and washed away by the cold water, Eren knew he had fallen headfirst off the cliff.
He had tried to cover up his feelings as he and Levi continued to meet. He would often smile wide and flashy, pretending to ignore the feel of Levi's leg slightly touching his, resisting the urge to slump down in his seat and just rub himself off the man's knee. Sometimes, he would look away as Levi took off his coat before sitting down, not wanting to give himself away as the white shirt stretched snug across the man's chest, lean muscles straining so well.
Sometimes, though—sometimes, Eren would catch Levi looking at him with that gaze: blue eyes ablaze with something sensual that Eren felt like he was doused in flames. Sometimes, he would catch Levi staring at his neck or at his hands or at his chest. Sometimes, he would feel the man's leg slightly graze against his and Eren had to purse his lips, bite his tongue because moaning aloud in a busy cafe was really inappropriate.
Sometimes, when they talk, he would notice the way Levi spoke lower, voice growing deeper and Eren felt himself getting more and more excited and tense and plain aroused.
Back then, Eren should have realized that it was all Levi wanted to take from him, and Eren was just the fool willing enough to give himself over.
"You look like shit." Eren's brow twitched before pushing past his best friend, letting Armin close the door in his wake.
"Didn't get much sleep last night. Levi was with me." He muttered through clenched teeth, still feeling that spike of pain in his chest at the way Levi simply left.
What happened to getting used to it, Jaeger? His traitorous mind whispered.
"Why do you still keep on letting him push you around like that?" Armin asked once he had sat down next to Eren on the couch.
Armin's apartment was small, like its owner, but it was home, even for Eren. Ever since they were young, Eren and Armin had been inseparable—getting past childhood, the bullying (on Armin's part), puberty. When they had grown old enough to get jobs, they left for the city, two young, innocent boys taking on the world by themselves.
Eren doesn't answer Armin's question. He can't.
They play the video game that Armin had bought, a typical zombie survival game that seemed like a rip-off of the Resident Evil franchise. Still, they had fun and it made Eren forget, even for just a while, Levi and the way he looked at Eren and made his heart soar and crumble at the same time.
When six turned to nine and nine turned to eleven, Armin managed to not only convince Eren to stay the night, but also to empty three bottles of alcohol and his perception was beginning to turn hazy and surreal.
"Hey, Armin," Eren slurred, gazing at his blond friend (who seemed to become two in Eren's gaze).
"Yeah?" Armin responded, still more sober than drunk and was becoming more and more amused at Eren.
"What do you do when the person you love doesn't give a-a fuck about you?"
"Is this about Levi?" Armin asks, chewing quietly on a nacho chip.
Under normal circumstances—well, as normal as Eren's life right now can be—he wouldn't have asked anything. If he had been sober and clear-headed, he would have never even mentioned the slightest thing about Levi or anything pertaining to the dancer. But, right now, the alcohol was messing with his inhibitions and with the walls around his head and heart, and hey, Armin has always been smart. So he blinks past the alcohol and mutters a "Yeah."
Armin is silent, save for the munching on chips. Eren lolls his head to the side, alcohol-induced blue-green eyes staring at his bestfriend. Armin's always been there, through thick and thin, and Eren had no idea how he could have ever made it this far without him.
"I don't know, Eren. I guess we just have to be content with it."
"Yeah?" Eren asks.
"Yeah," Armin nods.
"Even when it hurts?" His voice now is small and quiet, and Eren feels something heavy on his chest and something sharp his eyes and he's sure that it's not the alcohol.
"Even when it hurts."
There are times where Eren knows he should put a limit, should have said stop somewhere between Levi's hot kisses on his chin and the sound of the condom wrapper being ripped open. He knows that he has every right to push Levi away, to scream at him, to talk, to ask, to question. He has every right to do anything other than let his heart get broken over and over as the dancer pushes into him and leaves right after he's done.
He has every right to not feel like he was just a toy, only getting recognition when Levi wants to play.
But, there are also times where Levi acts like he does care, as if Eren was something more than just some naive kid who was a little bit (too much) in love with a ballet dancer with the darkest, bluest eyes he had ever seen.
Maybe that's because Eren's fallen way too deep now. It wasn't like the beginning, where curiousity made him test out the waters and he could just jump back if he wanted to. Now, he just couldn't stop whenever Levi took and took and he just kept on giving and giving. His head is above the water and he's breathing, but deep inside, maybe Eren wanted to drown all along.
Sometimes, when they talk, when they're at the cafe they always frequent, when it's Eren on the left and Levi on the right, and Eren spills a little on his brand new shirt and Levi reaches across the table to wipe it off with a tissue, leans back and follows it up with a so clumsy and a smirk, Eren could pretend that Levi wasn't that blind to everything.
There are times, when they walk down the street and towards Eren's apartment—and it'll always be Eren's apartment and not towards Levi's home—and Eren trips on a wayward stone and Levi catches his wrist, pulls the younger man into him, an arm secure around his waist.
Levi would say "Watch where you're going or you'll break your neck," and Eren would simply nod, eyes wide with surprise as he feels warmth spread from where Levi's hand rests near his hip.
Times, where, after Levi had pounded Eren so hard and so rough that he feared he couldn't walk properly for a week, Levi would pull out and collapse next to the other, their ragged breathing echoing in the quiet room. Levi would then rise a bit, hand searching for his pants on the floor—and Eren would feel the hurt and fear run amok in his chest and he prays that Levi will stay, just this once—and grabs his handkerchief, turns back to Eren and wipes his own essence off his chest.
Moments like these, Eren could almost pretend that Levi was also a little bit in love with him.
Sometimes, though, the moments where Levi just doesn't care outweigh the others and Eren is left to pick up the pieces of his own broken heart.
When he was younger, Eren had always thought that falling in love would have been a wondrous, beautiful thing. He thought it would put everything in perspective, placing the world back in orbit and returning clarity to everything. He thought that falling in love would be filled with butterflies and flowers and dates in fancy restaurants and stolen kisses behind walls and notebooks.
He didn't expect to feel the ground disappearing under his feet, didn't expect to hurt like someone took a knife and stabbed him in the heart, didn't expect to feel like everything that he was just wilted and withered.
He really didn't expect it to feel so horrible, so when he caught sight of Levi one day, leaving the dance studio with another taller blond man with the steeliest eyes Eren has ever seen, when he stood and watched as he saw the man bend down and kissed Levi, and how Levi responded with great ardour—short of rubbing himself on the man—it was all Eren could do not to turn around and disappear off the face of the planet.
If love felt like that, he would never want to fall in love ever again.
A week passes by before they see each other again. Levi texts Eren to meet him, not at the cafe they're always at, but at the dance studio. Eren—having never been brought to Levi's workplace—immediately said yes and arranged a date.
Not like I can refuse anymore, he thought bitterly as he remembers the tall man Levi was with.
Lately, it's just been giving and giving and Eren's starting to wonder if he'll have anything to keep for himself by the end of this. He wonders if he'll still be able to fix himself after this.
They meet when the Sun has just set, and the sky is painted a thick orange, streaks of reds and yellows slathered across the expanse like frozen flames. Levi is standing outside the studio, dressed in black leotard and—God, he really is just perfect, Eren thinks—there is a cigarette perched between his lips, a wisp of smoke fleeting as it trails upwards.
The wind picks up and Levi's hair flutters, his eyes turning to focus on Eren as he approaches and, then, he sees it.
A small smile playing on Levi's lips.
Eren swallows, wanting to ingrain the image into his head forever as his heart throbs something fierce inside him.
"Hey," he starts. Levi tosses the cigarette into a nearby trash bin and he prowls—there is no other way to describe it—towards Eren and Eren has no idea what was going to happen, no chance as his eyes widen as Levi grips his shirt, pulls him close and smashes their lips together.
Eren tastes nicotine and Levi and he's drugged and gone, like he always was. His heart jogs in his chest, and he feels his hands take hold of Levi's hips, pulls him closer and Eren wishes he could stay like this forever.
Levi pulls back and Eren catches a second of air before Levi is back again, and he groans in need as the other bites his lower lip, bites it enough to mark, enough to draw blood but not too much to cause Eren great pain.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Eren thinks that Levi could run him through with a sword now and it would be nowhere near as painful as never being able to call Levi his.
"Come on," Levi whispers, fingers tightening around Eren's wrist and he's pulled into the studio. Levi turns his head a bit as they make their way towards the dance hall, something light and warm glinting in his dark gaze and Eren feels himself sinking deep into the waters.
They're alone in the studio, Levi says. Asked the director if he could stay a little bit longer to "practice" and that he'd lock up after himself. Levi says this as he pushes Eren down to the floor, pausing a bit to nip at his ear, sending shivers down the younger man's spine.
"What am I doing here then?" Eren asks because this place, this is studio, this is a part of Levi that he had never shown Eren. He had no idea why Levi wanted him to be here, was completely flabbergasted because this is the first time he had seen great part of Levi.
"I want to show you something." Levi whispers, lips a mere centimetre away from Eren's. He closes the distance for a second before he pulls away, walking towards a small mixer at the side.
The music plays and Eren is captivated.
Levi dances like he was born to dance. He sees every perfect turn, every smooth glide, every elegant twirl. He sees the power of his limbs as he pirouettes around the hall, sees every muscle in his body rapt with passion and joy.
Eren's eyes follow Levi's lithe form, hearing every word Levi whispers as he performs step after step, a black swan gracefully twirling across the floor and even Eren forgets to breathe.
The accompanying violin in the music ascends into a crescendo and Levi begins to spin faster and faster, and maybe it's the shadows in the dim room, maybe it's the way Levi's reflection in the mirror perfectly replicates him, or maybe it's just that Eren's a little bit (too much) in love with Levi that he feels something prickle his eyes and suddenly Eren is crying because goddamn he really is beautiful.
Eren cries as Levi ends the dance and rushes to his side, face tense with alarm. He shakes his head at Levi's questioning glance and—despite how he wants to be stronger now, how he wants to long for Levi less—he simply buries his face into the crook of Levi's neck and whispers "You're beautiful" into his skin.
That night, they don't fuck. Instead, they make love on the floor of an empty dance studio.
Eren gasps as Levi sinks his teeth on to his nipple, his nails digging into the dancer's back. He closes his eyes, unable to control himself, as Levi rocks against him. Eren feels himself burn with need as the clothes are too constricting, too tight, too closed and he paws at them, whining when he can't get his own pants off of him.
Levi chuckles as he pulls back, fondness alight in his eyes and Eren's heart does a somersault even when it's fragile and broken. Elegant fingers entwine with his, and Levi leans down to kiss every inch of Eren's skin.
He knows, deep down, that this could be all gone by the time it was over. Eren knew that the playful spark in Levi's eyes could disappear once it was done. He knew it, and he knew that if that happened, he would be really broken beyond repair now because Eren's tired.
Eren is exhausted with pulling the pieces of his heart behind him, exhausted with hurting himself as he tries to put every sharp, bloody piece together. He's exhausted with all the holes and punctures in it, exhausted with mopping up the blood that flows, the endless nights and endless tears and the endless whispers of Please stay, give me a chance.
He knows he'll be destroyed by the end of this, destroyed by a beautiful, obsidian swan destined for greater things than him, but it was okay.
Eren's got nothing left to lose anymore. For now, he'll just pretend to himself that Levi loved him, and maybe, in the future, he'll be content with that lie.
"Is something wrong?" Levi asks, noting Eren's silence and the distant look in his normally bright blue-green eyes. He looks at Levi, sees the red paint of arousal across his cheeks and "No, no, no, everything's perfect".
And really, it really was, because even perfect can be imperfect, and maybe that's what makes it so perfect.
Love can hurt, and maybe that's why people love to love and are in love with the idea of being in love.
Eren pulls him down, erases the distance between them as he presses himself against Levi, panting as the dancer worms down a hand between them.
"Oh," Eren heaves as Levi traces his arousal beneath the thin cloth of his pants. "Levi, please."
Levi dives in again, drinking in the taste of Eren and he slowly unbuttons the younger man's pants, slowly pull it off Eren.
Eren's hands take refuge by Levi's hips, feeling the sheer texture of the leotard. He growled, wanting, needing to touch Levi, to feel his skin.
As if he could read the younger man's thoughts, Levi smiled against the kiss, sitting up to pull the clothing off.
Eren has seen Levi's body a hundred times, seen it when it's strained and coiled, seen it when it's relaxed but he could never stop staring, could never stop tracing every line of muscle, every inch of skin. Levi was beautiful, in every way possible.
His gaze comes up to the dancer's face and he sees the softness in his gaze and Eren is offering his heart again—there's not much left, just a pathetic shell of what it once was, but it's all he has left and he hopes it'll be enough—he's offering himself again and he pushes up to kiss the man, to feel the warm skin against his and it hurts but it feels so good.
Eren is stripped to nothing, and he blinks away tears because Levi is kissing every inch of skin, smooth lips stroking every expanse so faintly and so lovingly as if Eren was a precious gift and that Levi could not have enough. Eren thinks it should be the other way around, but he really can't think now, not with the way Levi takes all of him into his mouth and he sees stars and he sees swans and maybe he sees a little of heaven.
Arabesque is for the way Eren keens as Levi bobs his head up and down, his tongue stroking the underside of Eren's erection. It is for the way Levi teases the slit with his tongue and he hums around Eren and the younger man feels like he's balancing on wire with one foot and the other extends in the air behind him, a hair away from falling into an abyss the colour of the darkest blue he had ever seen. It is for the way the dancer looks up from between Eren's legs, the way his eyes mimic the embers of desire reflected in Eren's own blue-green.
Pas de bourrée couru is when Levi stops before Eren falls, and his lips are red and swollen from all the sucking but Eren still pulls the dancer close, a flow of kisses trailing down his forehead, down to his nose, to his lips, to his neck, to his collarbones and Eren gasps because he feels something enter him, and he realizes it's Levi and there's no condom, just raw and pure Levi. It is for the way Levi sheathes himself to the hilt and Eren is a mess—a tearful, heartbroken yet willing mess.
"I love you," Eren whispers, full and warm and painfully vulnerable. Levi looks at him with such intensity, with such strength in his gaze that Eren looks away, afraid of catching fire.
Soft, careful hands guide his face back to the dancer's and lips are on his again and Levi moves and Eren takes in pain and fear and love and he cries out stars and colours.
Levi rocks into him, a slow cadence of push and pull and Eren feels himself jump and land, to only fly up again as every nerve in his body is afire with ecstasy. He bites his own lip, tastes his own blood as he struggles to not wail litany after litany of the dancer's name.
Levi envelopes him in his arms and suddenly the world spins and Eren is now above the dancer. He looks at dark blue eyes, remembers how they had enslaved him the moment they first met, and then Levi is pleading, asking, begging.
And he finally understands. Eren takes the initiative this time, tasting Levi this time and he pushes his hips down, taking all of Levi and then pulling out and pushing in again and there's a rhythm, a dance, freefalling into nothing only to be pushed back up and down again as Eren rides the dancer. As he grinds down and Levi bucks his hips upward and Eren feels all of him, that is jeté entrelacé.
Levi's hands grip his hips tightly as he continues to rock into him, and Eren begins to feel a gradual, familiar boiling in the pit of his belly. He whispers out Levi's name over and over and the rocking hastens and he realizes that they are both close and are about to fall off the edge.
He falls atop the dancer as they continue to move and twist and turn and push and pull and Eren hears his own name gasped into his ears like a fervent prayer and suddenly, Eren sees white.
He sees majestic, resplendent white and he's spinning, he's spinning like crazy, spinning like he was a swan. His mind reels and his breathing falters and he lets go, and he feels Levi surrender, warmth flooding inside him.
They both stutter and heave and reel from their own fouetté en tournant, Levi's arms around him like a secure fortress.
Colour returns to his vision, and Eren's eyes trace in the light pastel vinyl sheeting of the floor, shadows it upward until he is looking back at himself, the mirror reflecting their intertwined bodies.
Levi's arms are still around him, and Eren really doesn't want to let go, really doesn't want to fall back and return to pretending, pretending that he was alright, pretending that he was content because now that he had that, now that he had finally made love, he didn't want to forfeit any of it.
But, deep down, he had to.
He tries to pull away, struggling to not let the tears fall but he's cut short as Levi wounds his arms around tighter and pulls him back into his embrace.
"No. Not this time. Not anymore." Levi says, and Eren stills. He realizes that the dancer hasn't pulled out of him yet, and it seems he has no inclination to do so anytime soon.
Levi looks at him, and Eren sees not the sensual man who knows how to play him; he doesn't see the perfect swan in all his glory. No, all Eren sees is a man with blue eyes alight with fear and hope and remorse and everything human.
"I break people, Eren." He whispers, a hand coming up to thumb the younger man's lips. "I look at them and I know I can control them and I take and take and take until there's nothing left to take and I leave. I destroy them."
Eren blinks, looking away. What Levi was saying, his words, they were hitting too close to home.
"I've taken so much from you, Eren. I've taken and I have never given anything in return."
Eren ducks his head because the truth, laid bare in front of him, is causing those holes in his heart to bleed again and he doesn't want to be left with nothing anymore.
"I'm selfish, I'm mean and I've broken your heart too many times to count but you're still here." Levi says, a tinge of disbelief amidst the flush of remorse in his voice.
"Yeah, I'm still here." Eren whispers. He closes his eyes and presses his face into the warmth of the hand, feels the thumb stroke his brow. "And I'll still be here even if you disappear and never look back."
It was the truth. He'll always be here, because Levi is Levi and Eren is probably a bit fucked up in the head and maybe that's why they've gotten to this point.
"I don't want to break you, Eren. But, I don't want to let go of you, too."
Eren looks up, "Then, don't."
Levi shakes his head. "I'm no good for anyone, darling."
Eren smiles, it's a shaky, crooked smile, but it's true. It's the first real smile he's had in a really long while, and perhaps it's because Levi is still inside him yet his eyes are beginning to fog with sleep and he's not letting go; perhaps it's because he has finally drowned and he's finally at peace; perhaps it's because he sees the camera—the same one that had started everything—peeking from his bag by the side and he remembers the beginning.
Or, perhaps, it's because Eren is a little bit (too much) in love with a ballet dancer with the darkest, bluest eyes he had ever seen—and, maybe, that ballet dancer is also just a little bit (too much) in love with him, too.
Whatever it is, he's content as he lays his head back and yawns out his reply. "Neither am I."
AN: Extremely cringe-worthy, much more so since I did not even proof read it. Also, I know next to nothing about ballet, thus my apologies. Thirdly, how do you write smut?! Oh, and Happy New Year!