Chapter 1: Prologue - The One That Got Away
Thunder roared and lightning flashed in the night sky as rain poured down heavily in the town of Shiganshina. The glum weather displayed the inner turmoil of the raven haired male who sat stiff, almost scared to even breathe. Three consequent knocks rapped at the front door and Levi jolted up from the couch in panic. He slowly walked up to the entrance way and stood unsteady staring at the door, hesitant to answer it. Tightening his grip on the door knob, Levi wiped the nervous look off his face and took a deep breath before slowly opening the door.
Standing infront of him was the person he’d been dreading to meet. As Levi regarded the boy closely, he took notice of his disheveled appearance; head and shirt pelted with rain, brown hair plastered to his forehead as droplets of water dripped down from the locks to his face. Levi noticed that the brunette didn’t look to be any more rested than he was. His heart sunk when a pair of smoky eyes met his own steel grey ones – the usual bright viridian irises that Levi loved so much and got lost in often enough, dull and empty. And there was no one to blame for that but himself. Levi hurt his lover. Did I even deserve to call him that after what I had done? As he stared at the perfect specimen in front of him, Levi wondered once more – Was he even worthy of Eren’s love to begin with?
A year into their relationship and yet it had always been a secret. Not one soul suspected a thing because Levi never gave anyone a chance to even raise a question. He wasn’t ready to come out to the world, let alone his family. Still, Levi was somewhat in denial. He was pretty sure he was straight; Eren being the only exception. No way in hell was Levi Ackerman gay. That was what he always believed. How naive was I! The raven-haired male knew his decision was selfish; nonetheless, Eren went along with it. Eren never questioned or forced him. Levi had his own reasons and Eren had respected that.
And now because of his stubbornness, pretty much everything was going downhill.
Levi had always been afraid to let down his walls and show his fears for the world to see. And ever since the day he saw Eren, it became difficult for him to hold on to his beliefs. It began slowly slipping away from him and clouding his mind. So to prove to himself and to his friends who were starting to question his sexuality because he never had a girlfriend and always seem to be with the brunette, he made a decision in his drunken state which had been the worst decision ever, leading to his biggest mistake and greatest regret.
Even though he was inebriated, Levi could still picture it clear as a day – the look on Eren’s face when he saw the raven haired male kissing some girl in the corner of a club; the emotion in the brunette’s eyes that Levi never thought to be possible. Pain. It seemed insane, that such cheerful, bright eyes could also hold such deep sorrow and chaos.
Levi was happy with Eren. He couldn't have asked for more. And he had to go and ruined it for himself. He had carved his own future in stone and it looked absolutely desolate.
“Can I come in?” Eren’s voice brought him out of his thoughts.
Levi gulped and opened the door farther to let him in. Eren walked inside and closed the door behind them. The brunette glanced around the room before facing him.
“I’m sorry.” Levi blurted out before Eren could speak. The raven-haired male began apologizing profusely while Eren gave him a downcast expression. Levi could see that the brunette appeared conflicted with himself but seemed to have opted against questioning the shorter male. Looking up at Eren, he was never more aware of the difference in their sizes. The brunette stood a good head taller than him.
“I’m sorry!” Levi whispered again, trying and failing miserably to hold back his tears, not knowing what else to say other than apologize. He waited for his lover to lash out on him. However, as seconds and minutes ticked by, not one word left the brunette’s lips.
Eren looked broken, his eyes blood shot red but he simply gave him a sad smile. "I understand, Levi.” He racked his fingers through his wet hair as his eyes bore into Levi’s. The raven haired male felt as though the boy could see right through him, could see his soul. “I'm sorry for not being what you wanted."
No. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear.
"No.” Levi screamed, widening his eyes. He was painfully aware where the boy was leading their conversation to and he didn’t want that. “No. You are everything I want and need. Please don't leave me." Panic engulfed his entire being and he clung to Eren, arms around the boy’s neck in a vice-like grip. He began trembling like a leaf and Levi was sure Eren felt it too.
Life without Eren seemed bleak. Just thinking about it hurt his heart. Violent sobs racked through his body and Levi felt all his energy slipping away. No matter, he held onto the brunette like his life depended on it.
When Eren began to slowly pull away, the raven haired male clutched the front of his shirt tightly and stared up at him, pleadingly. The brunette wiped the tears rolling down Levi's cheeks. "I'm sorry!" he whispered apologetically. No! Eren then placed a trembling kiss to his forehead, "Take care of yourself."
Releasing himself from Levi’s tight grip, the brunette broke things off with him and walked out the door without even a glance. After standing in shock for a full minute, Levi chased after the boy. However, by the time he climbed down the stairs and reached the lobby, Eren was already driving off the street.
“Eren!” Levi whisper-yelled in horror. His knees hit the ground hard, not even caring for the pain or dirt. He yanked his hair roughly as he cried, feeling vulnerable. Because he couldn’t make up his damn mind; because he took Eren’s love for granted, Eren left him.
"Eren, you can’t... No... Please!” His pleas went unheard. Staring in the direction the boy had disappeared, Levi hoped by some miracle Eren would return to him. "Please don't leave me. Please come back. Eren! Oh God, what have I done! I'm so sorry, Eren. Please..." He sobbed uncontrollably as the painful realization dawned on him. Eren had really left him.
Running back to his apartment, Levi snatched his phone from the table and dialed Eren’s number. As expected, the brunette had turned off his phone. Still, Levi kept calling in hopes that Eren would switch on his phone at some point of the night.
But he didn’t.
After a year of patiently waiting for Levi to come to terms with himself, Eren had finally given up. Levi couldn’t blame or hate him for it. After all, there was only so much a heart could take. Levi felt his heart shatter and reality hit home. The love of his life was gone. And it was all his own damn fault.
Chapter 2: Ghost From The Past
You guys...thank you for the comments and the kudos. :) It certainly made my day. Enjoy the read and do keep the reviews coming! ;)
Five Years Later
Never in a million years would Levi Ackerman have thought such to happen – stranded and lost in a new city. To add to his woes, he accidentally deleted the message his friend had sent him, containing the address to the apartment. Apparently, Armin had an important seminar to attend so he was unable to pick Levi up from the airport.
Great! Just fucking great...Damn you Coconut Head!
Levi gingerly wove his way through the busy streets of Trost packed with people and cars slowly passing by. He wandered around aimlessly for almost an hour and just when he was about to give in to his barely reserved frustration, the shrill sound of his phone reached his ear. He violently fished it out from his pocket and a small wave of relief flooded within him when he saw the familiar name illuminating on the screen.
Levi answered with a growl. “Armin!”
‘Hey Levi, the seminar just got over. Where are you?’
“Nowhere.” He snapped.
‘Nowhere?’ He could hear the frown in Armin’s voice.
“You shitty coconut head, I’m lost. I don’t know where I am, fucking thanks to you...”
‘Hey, how is that my fau...‘
“So if you don’t come and pick me up now, I swear to God I will flush you down the fucking toilet.”
Armin’s sigh came through the phone. ‘Fine, fine. Do you see any shops nearby?’
Levi looked around and noticed a decent-looking café just across the street. He squinted his eyes to read the name written on the board above. “Yeah. There’s a café. The Hideout.”
Some whooshing noise could be heard from the other end as Armin spoke. ‘That’s not very far from where I am. I’m on my way.’
“Tch! You better receive me to a sparkling apartment for all the fucking trouble I’m going through today."
His blonde friend chuckled. “Sure. See you in ten.”
The raven haired male let out a breath of relief. Hoisting his duffel bag more comfortably onto his shoulder, Levi waited for the crosswalk light, and then power walked towards the café. Just as he crossed the street, he caught a familiar sight out of the corner of his eyes. Levi snapped his head to the side so fast he could’ve sworn he pulled a nerve on his neck.
Heart pounding against his chest, Levi unconsciously clutched the shoulder strap tightly while his eyes frantically swept across all the unfamiliar faces on the crowded pavement. His gaze finally landed on the person; however, before he could take a proper look at their face, the person slipped inside a car and drove off.
After what seemed only like a second, a honk sounded beside him and broke him out of his daze. Apparently Levi had spent ten minutes staring into space, seeing as Armin was already there. The blonde leaned over the passenger seat to look out the window and glanced up at the raven-haired male.
“Well? Get in.” Still quite in a haze, Levi got inside the car without a word. With a questioning look, Armin took the bag from Levi’s clutches and placed it in the back seat.
Levi numbly stared ahead, unable to speak even when Armin addressed him with worry. “Are you okay?”
Meanwhile, his mind tried to piece together the thoughts running wild within. Levi didn’t realize when they started moving or even noticed the confounding look Armin was sending him. Levi bet he must have look like he had seen a ghost. A ghost from his past.
“I...I think I saw...” Levi tried, only for his voice to get caught in his throat, along with his heart.
The image of the person popped up in his head again. He swallowed hard, shaking his head. Surely that man wasn’t really. . . There was no way that could have been him. Could it?
“Saw who?” Armin asked, snapping Levi out of his thoughts.
He shook his head again, more so to convince himself. “Nevermind.” Maybe he was just overthinking. Levi was sure it wasn’t him. He knew he wasn’t that lucky to have fate smile upon him after what he had done. Unpleasant memories of the past flashed through his head and he tried to will it away.
“Are you sure?” From the peripheral of his eyes, Levi could see Armin chancing his worried glances at him then back to the road ahead.
The raven finally regrouped and smiled at Armin reassuringly. “Yeah.”
“You haven’t changed at all.” Armin commented to which Levi smirked. “Neither have you.” The blonde visibly relaxed in his seat as Levi did the same.
It had been years since the last time they had seen each other. A happy feeling settled within Levi. He met Armin during his high school days in Shiganshina. Armin was a class lower than him then so Levi never had a chance to interact with the blond genius initially. But because the boy was an academically talented student, Armin was allowed to skip a grade and transferred to Levi’s class. It was at that time Levi was going through a vulnerable time and Armin had seen right through his cold and distant exterior from their first greeting.
Over time, they grew up quite close to each other. However, Armin had to move away after his grandfather, his only family, passed away. The blonde had been living in the city with his cousin ever since, who had taken him in. Eventually, Armin got into one of the finest college in Trost while Levi dropped out of college due to his family’s financial problems. Levi never knew who his father was. His whole life, he and his mother had been living with his uncle who had supported them in any way he could. But it got to the point where his uncle’s pay alone wasn’t enough any longer. When Armin learned about his struggles, the blonde had cried over the phone much to Levi’s discomfort. It took him nearly an hour and some threatening to calm the boy down. So sue him! Levi didn’t know how to console a crying person.
Shortly after, Armin suggested the raven-haired male to move to the city. His cousin had bought him an apartment near his university – since their home was a little farther away from his institute – the blonde complained that his place was too big for just one person and insisted Levi live with him. And what’s more, Armin had gone beyond and found him a job to work as a barista at a renowned café with pay beyond his expectations, whose owners were friends’ of his cousin. To say Levi was overwhelmed was quite an understatement. If it wasn’t for his best friend, Levi doubted he could’ve found a decent job himself. God only knew how many times had he been rejected or refused to be given a job because of his unpleasant and cold demeanor.
Levi owed the boy his life, really. Now that he was there, he would work his ass off to make ends meet without having to rely on his uncle. Levi won’t be mooching off on Armin either. He would pay his share of the rent as well as sent money to his family.
Kenny and Kuchel couldn’t be any happier and prouder of Levi for standing on his own feet. A small smile graced his lips as he recalled the time he hesitantly told his uncle and mother about his sexuality. Scared that they would be disgusted of him or worse – disown him. But they had taken in everything calmly and, loved and accepted Levi for what and who he was.
If only I had realized sooner, Levi thought solemnly, his smile replaced by a frown.
His thoughts and the comfortable silence inside the car were disrupted by the ringing of Armin’s phone. Tapping the answer button, Armin set it on speaker mode and placed his hands back on the wheel.
‘It’s me.” The voice answered and somehow it sounded familiar to Levi. Brushing it aside, he smiled when he saw his friend’s face light up like a fucking Christmas tree.
“Ani!” Armin exclaimed. A deep chuckle traveled through the phone and filled the air inside the car. Levi gulped because wow! What a sound!
‘How was the seminar, peanut? I’m sorry I couldn’t make it. Meeting ran long.’ And as if to emphasize his point, both boys heard the man release a long, tired sigh.
“It went great. And that’s okay.” Armin drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “Are you coming today?”
‘Ah! That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I have another meeting in an hour so have to return back now. Introduce me to your friend some other time, yeah?’
Armin pouted but agreed. “Okay.”
The man chuckled again. ‘I can hear you pout, peanut! Don’t worry. I’ll be visiting again.’ Multiple voices came from his end of the phone. ‘I gotta go now. I’ll see you soon.’
As Armin disconnect the call, Levi spoke with amusement laced in his voice. “Peanut? Really?”
“Sh-Shut up!” The blonde blushed causing Levi to laugh louder.
“So that was your cousin huh?” Levi asked, wiping away his mirth tears. Seeing the blonde give an enthusiastic nod, Levi smiled, genuinely happy for his friend. Small talks were exchanged their entire way. Sometime later, they finally reached the apartment and Armin helped Levi settle in their new home. The raven haired male couldn’t have asked for more. He was about to start a new life and he hoped it would be smooth sailing henceforth.
Chapter 3: The First Encounter
They finally cross paths after five long years.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Fuck… He was late! So late...
With a cup of coffee held tight like his lifeline, Levi hurried down the street in a fast pace with strides as long as his short legs could take. He was all about punctuality but having overslept that not-so-fine morning because his alarm decided to malfunction, he was running twenty minutes late for his work.
Just fucking great!
Levi supposed he could have skipped preparing the coffee at home and saved at least a few minutes, seeing as he could always get it at the café he worked at. But no way was drinking that late going to kick-start its magic before the flow of customers even begun. Levi wasn’t going to get his day started without at least a cup or two of black coffee. To deal with all those shitty customers without even a single drop of caffeine in my system? No thank you. That was totally out of the question.
So there he was, pacing down the road like a maniac – glaring at anyone who so much as glanced his way or blocked his path. Intentionally or not.
It had been over two weeks Levi had started working at the famous café, The Red Box. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Blouse, and all the staffs had welcomed him with open arms making Levi feel like he belonged. And regardless of the super rushed hours – which were almost every day, especially during noon – Levi tolerated working there. The place even exceeded his cleanliness level. And that was saying a lot coming from him. Armin could attest to that. Levi wasn’t quite sure how or when but he had also gotten quite fond of two of the workers there. Isabel and Farlan were a couple and they had stuck to the raven haired male like fucking glue from the very first day despite Levi trying to scare them away with his glare and potty mouth.
Once again lost in his thought – he was doing that a lot recently – and mindlessly marching down the street, Levi didn’t notice someone walking past him. Next thing he knew he had run into the person, smacking against a firm chest.
All ready to lash out at the person with his glare full on, he looked up only to freeze and gape at the man in disbelief.
Levi wondered how it had come to such predicament. One minute, he was stomping down the pavement, caught up in his thought. And then there he stood staring, more like gaping, at the man before him. Whom he had literally crashed into and spilled coffee all over said man and his expensive-looking suit.
If someone had told Levi that morning that he’d be seeing the love of his love again when he stepped out of his apartment under such circumstances, Levi would've punched them hard in their goddamn face.
Standing in front of Levi was Eren fucking Jaeger in all his glory. The man looked like he had been lost in his phone conversation judging by the way he was holding his phone an inch away from his ear and looking down at his stained suit with furrowed brows.
Levi was enamored. No actually, he felt all things at once. Tears brimmed at the corner of his eyes as his heart went into an overdrive. Eren was infront of him, just an arm length away. If I could just reach out and... Voice stuck at his throat, he blinked his eyes rapidly to stop the tears from falling. Trying to focus on anything but the past which triggered Levi’s emotional bone, the shorter male let his eyes rove over the brunette for the first time in a very long time.
The man was still achingly good-looking. Like, Armani-model good-looking. Like he just stepped out of a fashion magazine. He looked all business-like, clad in a fitted dark grey suit jacket that clung to his skin, a white button-up shirt underneath and a thin black tie fastened around his slender neck, with tight suit slack and feet adorning a pair of black dress shoes. The man with the delicious caramel skin was a good head and then some taller than Levi now, with broad shoulders and in a perfect shape, clearly taking good care of his body. The raven-haired male couldn’t help but appreciate his fine physique. His body was fit as fuck with muscles ripping from underneath his expensive suit. He had sharp jawline now, a pair of sunglasses perched on his straight nose and his dark brown locks perfectly slicked sideways.
Eren Jaeger was beautiful. Levi wondered if it was because of the existence of such beauty that inspired the authors and poets to write about waiting for the perfect man. This perfect man who clearly put Adonis to shame. Well fuck, if he was becoming another Shakespeare.
Eren slowly removed his shades and stared at him with the oh-so-familiar pair of emerald green eyes that Levi loved so much. It always reminded him of the ocean.
After a brief moment of confusion, a look of recognition finally crossed Eren’s face.
"I'll call you back later." Eren muttered into his phone before disconnecting the call. He then regarded the raven haired male, shifting his gaze from him to the coffee mug still clutched tightly in his hands, then back at him.
“Levi! What a pleasant surprise!” Surprise quickly dissipated before a small smile adorned his face. Levi’s heart did a fucking flip; he loved the way his name sounded falling from the man's lips.
The man cleared his throat and Levi realized with a start that Eren was talking to him whilst he was busy checking him out. And all Levi could manage to utter was an undignified 'huh?’
“Are you okay?” The brunette asked.
Nodding, Levi turned into a blushing mess, embarrassed for losing his composure and getting caught ogling the man by said man himself. Though Eren seemed unaffected. Either he was too oblivious or he just didn’t care. Levi guessed the latter. Well, he figured. With a face like that, he must be stared at a lot.
And Levi was proven right. People, male and female both, stumbled in their tracks and stared at the man when they walked by them – not even chancing a glance at the shorter male – looking at the sex god with nonchalant gaze and shy smile with blushes on their cheeks. Sexual preferences be damned. Although the man’s attention was zeroed in on Levi, not giving two shits about the lustful and longing gazes directed at him. Levi watched in half amusement and half irritation as a girl, walking ahead with her eyes glued on the man, head-butted a post.
Eren let out a soft hum and began taking off his drenched jacket. That definitely snapped Levi out of his embarrassment as he hastily took out a tissue from his pocket and began wiping the stain on the brunette’s shirt profusely – which made it even worse as he was smearing it more. “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.” Levi apologized.
“Don’t worry about it.” Eren assured the frantic boy. Slipping a hand into his trouser pocket, the brunette titled his head. Cute. “So what are you doing here in Trost?” He asked with genuine curiosity.
“I-I work here.” Levi’s reply was short and fast. He didn’t want the small talks. Levi had more important things to say, questions to ask. But before he could make the man aware of what was in his mind, Eren was distracted by his phone again.
Staring at the screen of the sleek black device in his hold, Eren’s brows pulled together into a frown before looking back at Levi apologetically. “I’m sorry but I have to get going. I have some urgent matter that needs to be attended. It was great seeing you though, Levi. I’ll see you around.” And with that said, Eren fucking Jaeger walked away from him once again before he could even utter out a reply.
Staring at the retreating back of the man who had stolen his heart and watching him slip inside a car and disappear from his line of sight, all Levi could think was I didn’t even get to say I love you.
I wrote this chapter in a hurry since I'm going away for some days and I wanted to post this atleast before I go. I'm sorry if it seemed sort of rushed. Anyway, I'll try to update more on time.
Chapter 4: Count On You
A friend in him.
All about Levi and Armin.
I'm back, guys. :) Earlier than planned. To be honest, I could've finished this chapter sooner but every time I was like "I'm gonna finish this today", I ended up dancing (awfully) on my bed to BTS songs. And because I cannot write without music which resulted in the delay. You cannot blame me. Their songs are just awesome. They are awesome.
But man, thank you all for the kudos and comments. :)
Levi didn’t particularly felt like going to work but Armin was away for yet another convention and he was less than enthusiastic about returning to an empty apartment and mop around. So Levi chose to bury himself in work instead. But when work wasn’t doing its fucking job and distracting him, the sour feeling inside his gut began bubbling up and the raven-haired male wondered what would happen if he upchucked in one of the costumer’s food. Definitely fired. And maybe sued.
His mind wandered back to Eren again. It really was him and Levi couldn’t help but note that the brunette hadn’t seemed nervous much less affected as he had been. Had he moved on? Levi wouldn’t be surprised if he had. Actually he was quite sure. After all, what man would still be hung up on someone who cheated on him? Still Levi wished he had stopped Eren earlier. He had so many things to ask him, so many things to tell him, and so many more things he wanted to do with him. He needed him. Maybe next time when I see him.
If he saw him, his mind corrected him.
Sighing for the umpteenth time, he once again dodged the worried questions from Farlan and Isabel, and mumbled out some half-assed excuse. Levi knew his persistent friends weren’t gonna buy that shit much longer so he was glad when closing time finally rolled in. Putting on his jacket, Levi was quick to slip away from the crowd before the couple decided to follow and pester him with more unnecessary questions. He wasn’t ready to talk to them about his past. Though Levi had become quite close with them in the past few weeks, they hadn’t quite reached the stage where he’d share his deepest and darkest secrets. Perhaps one day he might tell them. But right now, Levi needed his best friend. He needed Armin.
After a long and tiring day, Levi wearily walked inside the apartment he shared with Armin. He was both mentally and physically exhausted. Sauntering into the living room, Levi heard Armin moving about in their very modern, spacious kitchen and smelled the aroma of coffee. “Hey!” Levi called out before slumping down on the couch.
“Hey!” The blonde joined and seated himself next to Levi. “Here.” Armin offered him a steaming cup of coffee which, to Levi’s delight, was his source of energy. I could just hug the life out of him.
“Thank you. What would I do without you?!” It was more of a statement than a question and Armin knew that. Ergo the smug look on his face. Bastard.
“You look exhausted.” Armin remarked. “How was your day?”
Levi took a sip of his drink and exhaled jadedly. “I’m spent. My alarm broke, I got late for work and . . .” He trailed off before giving his head a little shake. “. . . and as usual, I had to listen to Izzy and Farlan bicker about whatnot.”
Armin snorted in amusement. “Yeah. Quite the handful pair.” He then stared at Levi dubiously. “Are you okay?”
“Huh? Yeah. Why do you ask?” Levi avoided eye contact with the blonde, staring down as his finger traced the rim of his cup. The raven haired male knew his best friend was too perceptive for his own good. The only person who could see right through him apart from Eren was Armin. To others, Levi might seem cold, detached and blunt but his best friend knew better. It was scary how well the boy knew him and could read him like an open book.
Levi felt his friend lean back on the couch beside him. “Are you gonna tell me what’s bothering you or do I have to pull out the big guns?”
Turning to face his friend, he snorted unpleasantly and started to speak. Before he could, however, Levi was full-on smacked by those big, round shimmering puppy-dog eyes and pursed lip.
“That’s not playing fair!” Levi groaned out loud. But when the blonde’s lower lip began quivering, Levi knew he had lost whatever game they were playing. “Ugh! Fine, fine. I’ll tell you.”
His bastard of a best friend’s whole facade changed as soon as Levi conceded. Smirking triumphantly, Armin fully turned towards him and raised his brows when Levi glared at him.
The carefree air around them suddenly became tensed. Levi furrowed his brows and pondered on how and where to start; it wasn’t easy to talk about his past. He noticed the blonde patiently waiting while he fought with his inner turmoil. Inhaling a lungful of air, Levi finally came to a resolve.
“I saw him today.” He whispered so low Armin wouldn’t have heard it if his whole being wasn’t focused on Levi.
“You don’t mean. . .” Armin muttered with widened eyes and Levi gave a jerky nod. Keeping his tears at bay the whole day had been a tough feat. His eyes were stinging, his throat felt tight and finally those stubborn tears began streaking down his pale cheeks.
Armin was aware of his past relation with Eren. Though Levi never mentioned the brunette’s name to him. Shiganshina was a small town where everybody knew everyone and the raven haired male could bet his entire year’s salary that Armin knew his past lover. Was it so wrong that Levi wanted to keep the little secret of the identity of the person who stole his heart and never returned to himself? I think not. Levi liked to think he atleast deserved that. And perhaps there was more to it but Levi didn’t want to dwell on the fact that he was terrified once Armin realized who his ex really was, he’d look at him with pity for chasing away a great guy like Eren – the way his own reflection in the mirror would on those dreadful nights and still did. He was being silly, he was aware. Levi knew his best friend like the back of his hand; that Armin was better than that and would never judge him. Still, self-pity always consumed him when he so much as tried to talk to Armin to lift a bit of the burden off his chest. It also didn’t take a genius to guess that Armin knew the raven-haired male was only partially telling him the truth but Levi was glad the blonde never pestered him about it. Sometimes it baffled him to think how much his best friend and the love of his life had in common.
“Oh Levi...” Winding his arms tightly around Levi, Armin whispered tearfully and Levi just knew his best friend was crying too. It was still quite a mystery to him as to why Armin always cried along whenever Levi so much as let a tear slip. The blonde had said it was because Levi was his best friend and he loved him like his own brother. Still, hard to decipher. It was hardly a secret that Levi wasn’t good at dealing with feelings and shit.
“You know I’m all ears if you wanna talk about it.” Armin assured to which Levi nodded gratefully. A bout of silence engulfed them, only disturbed by the vague honks of the cars passing by in the distant streets.
Sniffling, he rubbed his tear-stained eyes with the heel of his palm and groaned. “I’m pathetic.”
“No you aren’t.”
Levi scoffed lightly. “You should’ve seen him, Ar. He completely changed but still seemed the same, you get what I mean? And he didn’t seem bothered at all to see me . . .” There was a slight pause before he continued. “. . . which should make me happy because he didn’t scream and run for the hills like I expected him to. Still . . . he didn’t even seem nervous at all considering our past history.”
Hands gripped his shoulders and shook him slightly. “You cannot expect him or anyone for that matter to hate you simply because you were confused at quite a young age, Levi.” Leave it to his best friend to hit the nail straight on the head. Unknown to his friend, Levi had nightmares that Eren hated him and it left him gasping awake in the middle of some nights. “We have all gone through that phase. Trust me, I did too and I bet he wasn’t any different.” Yes, Armin’s gay too and has a boyfriend. Biting the inside of his cheek, the raven-haired male listened as Armin continued. “If he really is smart like you make him out to be, I know he understood your problems. The world doesn’t accept us entirely for who and what we are yet. That doesn’t mean we have to hide our true self for eternity. But we also have a choice when and if we want to come out and live without any worries. And if he doesn’t understand that then, well, you were wrong and he’s just dumb and stupid really.”
A hoarse chuckle escaped Levi’s lips at his friend’s comment and he gave a slight nod. “You’re right. And I didn’t really detect any hatred when he talked to me.”
“See?” Armin smiled broadly like he just solved a mystery. Levi was glad for his best friend. The blonde just knew how to calm him down. “And trust me, I have a feeling you’ll see him again.”
“I hope you’re right!” Returning the smile, Levi got up from the couch and collected the empty mugs before heading to the kitchen. It was an indication to end their conversation about his past and Armin knew that. Levi wasn’t one to pour feelings out and cry about it.
After a moment, he heard Armin call out over the running water. “Levi, what are you doing tomorrow?”
“Nothing. It’s my day off tomorrow. Why?”
When Levi walked out the kitchen after washing the mugs, Armin was on his phone finishing up a call. “Okay. Love you. Bye.” He whispered so low but Levi had heard him alright. Leaning against the kitchen door frame, Levi smirked knowingly when the blonde looked up at him.
“Erwin?” Levi asked, still smirking.
When he saw Armin blushing, Levi couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tease the blonde. If he remembered it right, the boy had always emotionally manipulated him like he had earlier to get Levi to spill about anything. “You shit! You call me your best friend and yet you haven’t told me anything about him apart from the useless stuff. Yes Armin, I know your boyfriend is a ‘guy’ – Uh! Duh! – and he eats and shits like any normal human being. Well, no shit man! What else?” Armin placed a hand on his chest and mocked hurt before roaring out with laughter. The corner of Levi’s lip twitched slightly in amusement before glaring pointedly at the blonde. “You dare put me in the same category as others!”
Barely catching himself before toppling from laughing, Armin grinned gleefully. “Let’s go out for a drink tomorrow.” Levi raised his brows in question at the sudden suggestion. “You can’t say no. We haven’t been able to go out even once after you came here. We need to celebrate.”
“I don’t think so!”
“Come on Levi! My treat!”
Levi sighed, giving in. “Should we invite Izzy and Far?”
Armin seemed hesitant. “Is it okay if it’s just us?” He asked doubtfully.
“Is this your way of asking me out on a date? If so, I’m not impressed at all.” Levi joked. Shaking his head, Armin laughed. “So?” The raven-haired male raised his brow in question.
“Because.” Armin answered matter-of-factly, like it explained everything. He must have seen that Levi wasn’t convinced at all with his one-word reply. Sighing, Armin said. ”Erwin will be there and uh. . .”
Ah! Levi understood why the blonde was hesitant. Armin didn’t hide about his relationship with his boyfriend but he didn’t like going about it openly either. No one knew about them except Levi, Armin’s cousin and family, and some of his close friends.
“Finally!” Levi stated with a nod before yawning. “I’ll hit the sack first. Very tired.”
Armin nodded. “I’ll sleep a little later. Got some work to do. Goodnight!”
“M’kay. Night!” Levi murmured sleepily on his way to his bedroom. After a quick shower and change of clothes, Levi slumped down onto his bed and drifted off to slumber with Eren in the dark corners of his mind.
Chapter 5: The Second Encounter
That unexpected meeting that changes your life.
The following evening, come six o’clock, the two were already dressed and out the apartment; now standing outside a club – which, by the way, was one of the most expensive and difficult places to get in. It had ‘Route 09’ written in big illuminated letters above the door. The club looked large, decent and of a high standard. It didn't look like a place where anyone could enter at leisure. Levi really didn’t feel like he belonged there.
“Come on.” Armin announced.
There were many waiting in line outside the club. Armin passed the long queue ignoring the yells thrown at them and approached the two huge bouncers stationed at the door, who were giving the dead serious look to anyone who even tried bullshitting with them.
Once they saw Armin, their whole scary demeanor changed to one smiling and welcoming. Talk about bipolar.
“Good evening, Armin. Long time no see.” One of the bouncers hollered excitedly.
“Good evening, guys.” Armin greeted excitedly before pointing at Levi behind him. “He’s with me.”
Giving a smile, the other bouncer nodded and the two parted like a sliding door for entrance. “Alright, in you go guys.”
There were distinct shouts of ‘Hey’ from the background but one glare from the larger of the two hulks and silenced followed. Chuckling, Levi followed Armin inside.
The club was quite different from the regular ones Levi rarely frequented; the ground level had a spacious dance floor in the heart of the club and a long bar surrounding it. An entrance at the far corner of the club was barricaded by velvet ropes that led to the higher level. Armin explained that only selected VIPs with club cards were allowed beyond the partition. It wasn’t unnecessarily loud or noisy unlike those typical nightclubs – music playing in the background, which was thankfully not a pain to hear.
They made their way to the bar and sat on the unoccupied stools. Armin waved at the bartender behind the counter. “Can I get two beers?”
Soon after, their drinks were set infront of them. Levi reached out and took a tentative sip. He wasn’t much of a drinker. “I heard it’s quite hard to get in here.”
Eyes clued to his phone screen, Armin hummed half-heartedly. After a short pause, he said. “They’re going to be a little late.” The blonde expelled a breath. “Oh well, might as well get started.”
Armin took a gulp of his beer and nodded, “My cousin is coming too.”
“Mr. Jay’s coming?” An excited voice from behind startled the two. With a low squeak, Armin turned around and frowned upon seeing the resident horseface, although not surprised by his presence.
“Did you activate my phone GPS again? Or was it just another coincidence that you happen to be here the night I decided to visit?” Armin glared at Jean.
Confused as to what was going on but nonetheless amused, Levi watched the two bicker back and forth.
“Hey Levi.” The freckled Jesus addressed Levi; casually ignoring his friends’ going at each other’s throat like it was a daily occurrence.
“Hey!” Levi tilted his chin towards the bickering duo. “What’s this about?”
Before Marco could reply, Connie snickered loudly. “Jean’s totally got the hots for Mr. Jay!”
Jean halted mid-sentence in shock and turned beetroot. “I-I do not.”
“Do too!” Sasha, the daughter of Mr. Blouse, Levi’s boss, exclaimed with her mouth stuffed with food and a plate of nachos already on her grip.
“Although...” Connie chugged down his drink and smirked. “... In Jean’s defense, Mr. Jay is hot!” Levi was amused to see Marco and Sasha nodding vigorously in agreement and Armin groaning in annoyance. The raven-haired male needed to see the man in person and see if he were as good as they say he was.
As the night progressed, the group talked about their plans for the upcoming break. Armin and Erwin were planning on spending it together. No surprises there. Levi might as well go in search of Eren and declare his undying affections for the man. I wonder if I’ll ever meet him again. Shaking his head, Levi drove the absurd thoughts out of his head and listened to Armin talk relentlessly. Somehow the conversation steered to job hunting.
“Do you think Carlcorp will provide internship? I’d love to work there.” Marco stared questioningly at Armin with twinkling eyes.
The blonde shrugged. “Don’t know. We don’t talk much about work at home.”
“Oh I really hope they do!” Sasha clasped her hands together.
Levi raised his brow in slight surprise. “Oh? Your cousin works at Carlcorp?” He was impressed. Almost everyone dreamt of working at Carlcorp Enterprises. But rumors were that people hardly got in – lots of criteria need to be met in order to even get a chance for an interview there. After all, it was one of the top five leading companies in the world according to Forbes.
“Well, I guess you can say that.” Armin scratched his cheek. “He’s the CEO and President of Carlcorp Enterprises.”
Levi spat out his drink unceremoniously. “Wha-“ Coughing, he stared at the blonde dumbfounded while the rest laughed at his reaction. “Are you shitting with me right now?”
“No. I’m not. He started the firm when he was 23.” Armin answered with pride.
Wow. I didn’t see that coming.
Marco chuckled seeing the bewildered expression on Levi’s face. “I’m gathering you didn’t know?”
“Someone forgot to mention his brother is a big shot business tycoon.” Levi glared at Armin who merely shrugged.
“It’s no big deal!”
Jean snorted. “No big deal my ass!” And the two began arguing again.
After about half an hour and one too many drinks, Armin jumped up from his seat and beamed as a tall blonde who looked like Captain America approached the group. The resemblance was fucking uncanny!
“Hey! Sorry I’m late. Meeting ran late.” The man pecked Armin on his lips and held him in an embrace.
So this is Erwin!
The inebriated blonde craned his neck up to look at Erwin and smiled shyly. “It’s alright.”
Erwin’s gaze shifted towards the group and sent them a charming smile, nodding at them in acknowledgment and the group greeted simultaneously in response. Finally noticing the new member, Erwin reached his hand out to Levi. “You must be Levi. It’s nice to finally meet you. I’m Erwin.”
Levi shook his hand and smiled. “It’s nice to meet you too.”
Nodding, Captain America turned his attention back to his boyfriend. “How many of these have you had?” Erwin motioned towards the drinks on the counter in front of them.
“Hm. One, two....five.” Armin drawled out. Levi would’ve laughed if he wasn’t feeling light-headed himself. Can’t blame him for being a cheap drunk.
“Where is Mr. Jay?” Jean asked anxiously.
“He’s taking a call outside. He’ll be right in.”
Armin glanced at Jean with mild irritation before smirking and looking back at Erwin. “He still thinks he has a shot.”
“Oh?!” Erwin quirked a single thick brow and grinned. He stared at Jean then back at Armin. “He’s a persistent one, isn’t he?”
Levi chuckled along with the rest. Jean was only a feet away from the couple and they were talking as if he wasn’t even there.
“Hey! I’m right here, you know.” Jean grunted.
“Ah! There he is.” Levi heard Erwin say.
Looking up, Levi followed their line of sight. A tall brunette in a white cotton shirt with a jacket and a pair of black jeans strolled inside the bar casually like he owned the place while talking on the phone. Levi couldn’t make out his face in the dark.
The man shoved his phone inside his pocket and slowly made his way towards the group. When he finally looked up, Levi instantly recognized the sparkling green eyes even in the dim light. The shorter male let out a gasp in surprise.
Don’t tell me he’s... Is that...?
Yep. Eren fucking Jaeger. The love of Levi’s life. The one that got away. Infront of him. Again. God help him!
Chapter 6: Fate Will Find A Way
And the stammering of his heart became even more vigorous as the evening progressed.
If someone had told Levi that he’d be seeing his Eren again under such circumstances, Levi would've punched them right in their goddamn face. And maybe kissed them after. Levi had never been so confused whether to laugh or cry.
As the man walked ahead and stopped in front of them, Armin grinned at the brunette. “Eren.” Definitely him...
“Hey sport!” Eren ruffled Armin’s hair.
The barman, upon seeing him, quickly rushed forward. “Good evening, sir. The usual?” He asked nervously. Eren gave a firm nod. Everyone could see the waiter’s tense posture.
“Stop being so intimidating, Ani!” Armin giggled to which Eren smirked.
“Hello, Mr. Jay!” Jean squeaked out the man’s name, grabbing the group’s attention.
Eren looked amused as he acknowledged the boy. “Ah, Kirschtein! It’s good to see you.” Jean was practically wheezing out smoke from his ear and turning ten shades of red, muttering about how the man pronounced his name right.
There was amusement in Erwin’s eyes as he leaned in and whispered conspicuously in Eren’s ear. To add to Jean’s embarrassment, Armin outright laughed and the horseface glared at him. Or atleast he tried to. He only looked downright constipated in Levi’s opinion. The rest then called out their hellos and scattered off, pulling a stiff, embarrassed Jean along.
After the group walked away, Levi gulped and stared at his drink. Dammit Levi, get your shit together! Nodding to himself, Levi slowly glanced the man’s way. And in that instant, the brunette turned and caught Levi’s eyes. The raven-haired male realized with a start that Eren Jaeger was staring right back at him with those calculating and hypnotizing eyes. Fuck! I forgot how intimidating those eyes were.
Armin and Captain America were busy talking to each other to notice the intense staring going on between the two of them. A look of slight surprise crossed Eren’s face. Praying to whatever God looking down on him, Levi wished Eren wouldn’t acknowledge him with familiarity infront of the rest. Levi wasn’t ready yet. Everything was happening so fast.
“Ani...this is Levi.” Armin’s voice startled Levi out of his daze.
The man must have noticed Levi’s dread because Eren only hummed and nodded at Levi with a smile; took the shorter male’s hand, giving it a firm shake. Levi almost turned into a puddle of goo. “Nice to meet you, Levi."
Hand burning from the contact, Levi’s heart thumped. The man's hand was warm, strong and huge, and Levi almost popped a boner, imagining the same firm hold on him but on a more private part of his body. Levi involuntarily shuddered. And he could've sworn Eren noticed him shiver because the sex god was full-on smirking at him now – which shouldn't make Levi more aroused but fuck if it didn't.
God, did it do things to him! It should be illegal to look that sexy.
His mouth was almost too dry to speak out. Levi swallowed and then croaked out. "N-Nice to meet you too."
Fuck! Did I just stutter?
Eren was still smirking and Levi turned into a blushing mess. From the corner of his eyes, Levi could see Erwin chuckling and Armin's amused expression, pressing his lips together while his shoulders shook violently.
Thankfully, Levi was saved from further embarrassment by another tall brunette’s interruption. Both men were now talking to the man when Armin leaned in close and whispered to him. "Dude, you're drooling!"
Mortified, Levi wiped away the drool. Definitely drunk! He quickly regained his composure and hissed at the blonde. "Shut up!"
Mike then introduced himself to the raven-haired male, trying to sniff him as subtly as possible making Levi feel uneasy.
“Don’t mind him!” Armin remarked casually to which Levi stared at the blonde like he had gone mad.
Erwin and Armin returned to their bubble and Levi shifted his gaze back to the man who had totally caught his attention.
Eren was conversing with Mike and Levi shamelessly continued racking his eyes over the man, taking in as much as he could. He wasn’t sure where the confidence came rushing from but he wasn’t complaining. Levi licked his lips wanting to run his tongue all over the man's body. Judging by his physique, he guessed Eren was huge down there as well. Levi wondered if it would fit in his hole let alone his mouth.
Levi heard someone clearing their throat then so he glanced up to see Eren looking at him. "Are you alright? You look flushed!" The sex god commented with a sly smirk.
“I...N-No. I’m fine.” Shit. Shit. Stop stuttering! Stop blushing! In haste, Levi gulped down the rest of his drink unceremoniously and choked on it. It was the second time he had been caught ogling the man by said man himself.
“Careful now, kid.” Eren smiled.
“I’m not a kid.” Levi pouted before groaning silently. If Armin saw him pouting, his blonde friend would never let him live it down.
“Hn.” Eren took a sip of his drink and shifted his gaze back at the rest. “Let’s go up.” He said, already on his way towards the partition.
Erwin and Mike rose in step with Eren and Levi followed Armin behind the trio. There was another bouncer standing near the doorway of the partition. Levi expected Eren to show his card – because clearly he was a VIP – but he simply walked past the guy, who was stuttering out a greeting to him, and straight up the stairs.
“Doesn’t he need to show a card or something?” Levi asked Armin in confusion.
“But I thought you said only VIP with some kind of club card were allowed in here?”
“He doesn’t need it.” Armin answered like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Okay, so he must be a VVIP!
Seeing the confusion written on Levi’s face, Armin chuckled. “He owns the club.” Marco answered in the blonde’s stead. Turning sideways, Levi noticed the group had joined them. Where did they come from?
Levi muttered a weak ‘Oh’ in amazement. Ofcourse he does!
Up on the balcony, Eren steered them to a large vacant compartment and settled down on a padded leather seat. Erwin slid inside a couch, next to Eren’s seat, and Armin followed, dragging Levi in with him. As the rest settled down, the group watched in amusement as Jean scurried off towards the seat beside the sex god much to Levi’s annoyance.
Shortly after watching Jean trying to flirt with Eren but failing miserably, Levi noticed a girl in a scanty dress approach and come to a stop infront of their booth.
“Mr. Jaeger.” She smiled seductively at the man. Then glanced at the two men and nodded before staring back at Eren.
“Miss Dreyse.” Eren stood to his feet and accepted her long outstretched fingers as she leaned in and kissed his cheek. Levi felt a twinge of jealousy as he watched the girl in a close proximity with Eren.
“I haven’t seen you in forever so I thought I’d say hello when I heard you were here tonight.”
“I hope you didn’t follow us here.” Erwin remarked as a joke with a tight smile.
Miss Dreyse giggled a little too forcefully and unattractively. “Nonsense. Why would I do that?” Unquestionably a stalker!
Eren shared a look with an irritated Erwin and an amused Mike before giving a small smile to the girl. “Well, I needed a drink.”
“Likewise. Well then...” She muttered uneasily, aware of the three pairs of eyes glaring daggers at her – belonging to Levi, Armin and Jean. If looks could kill, she’d be long dead. “I’ll have to catch up with you some other time. When you’re alone.” The girl said suggestively. Eren only huffed out a breath of laughter as she winked at him and sashayed away.
“Still a whore as ever!” Armin stated through gritted teeth and Levi had to agree. What a whore!
Eren gracefully settled down on his seat before sending Armin a reprimanding look. “Language!”
Levi then noticed the lipstick stain on the man’s cheek. Infuriated, his hands twitched to reach out and wipe the stain off. Apparently Erwin had seen it too as he gestured towards his cheek. “You got lipstick stain.” He said, containing his laughter.
Eren rolled his eyes at his friend’s amused tone and took out a handkerchief from his pocket. The stain was removed only after some serious wiping, almost chafing his beautiful tan skin. Tch! What kind of permanent paint does she apply on her lips?!
Soon after, the group began chatting lightly. A while later, Jean and the rest decided to head home since it was getting late. It was funny watching Jean turn a sputtering mess as Marco dragged the poor guy along even when the horseface was clearly protesting, wanting to spent more time with Eren. Good riddance!
“So Armin.” Eren’s deep voice pulled Levi out of his thoughts and he directed his attention towards the man. “What’s the plan for Saturday?”
What plan? The raven-haired male stared at Armin as the blonde answered. “I was thinking of throwing the party here? Is it possible?” What party?
Armin gazed at Eren with the biggest puppy-dog eyes Levi had ever seen, putting the ones the blonde pulled out on him to shame. And to add to his amusement, Levi watched it worked like a charm on the usually conserved and intimidating man.
“Anything you want, peanut!” Eren replied whole-heartedly.
Cheering, Armin turned away from the men discussing for the upcoming party and towards Levi, answering his unasked question. “I’m graduating next week so I’m throwing a party here. Make yourself free next weekend.” No please. It was an order from the majesty.
Nodding, Levi darted his eyes towards Eren for a split second before staring back at Armin to see him with a smirk.
“Don’t even!” Levi warned the blonde from spilling shit through his mouth. With a grin, Armin leaned against Erwin and sighed blissfully as Captain America softly pecked on his temple.
“Ani, Kasa will be coming too, right?” He asked Eren.
The man gave his rarest loving smile to the blonde and nodded. “Ofcourse. She wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Levi observed the happiness radiating off his blonde friend at Eren’s statement. Armin seemed genuinely happy and Levi wished nothing would take the bright smile away from the boy’s face.
The rest of the evening flew by as the group chatted animatedly. Though, Levi couldn’t build up the courage to have a proper conversation with Eren, he was enjoying his time in the presence of the brunette. Levi could count the number of times he was genuinely happy on the fingers of one hand. And that night was one of them. Maybe fate did chance a smile upon him after all.
Chapter 7: A Game Of Hearts
Their fate was decided and happily decided. All they had to do was read it carefully, see what was before them and express their resignation to it.
Thank you to each and every one of you for the comments and kudos. I hope you enjoy reading this chapter.
As the evening progressed, Armin had placed himself on the larger blonde’s lap and was giggling like a high school chick. While Erwin laughed at Eren as the man gently scolded Armin for drinking beyond his limit, muttering under his breath about grounding his “peanut” for atleast a week.
Levi was aware he, too, was getting totally wasted. He tried to tell himself it’s because it was his first weekend out with his best friend after he moved into the city but knew it wasn’t true. He knew it had everything to do with a certain brunette sitting few meters away from him.
Talking about Eren, Levi was mentally preparing to start a conversation with the man. After the epic departure of their resident horseface, Levi thought he’d finally have a chance to talk with the brunette. However, his best friend decided to be a killjoy and started discussing at length about his upcoming party. Once the blonde was down to a giggling mess, Levi jumped to the opportunity to talk to Eren but before he could get a word out, the shrill sound of the man’s phone interrupted much like on their first encounter. Eren had to attend the call so he left the group for a while. By then, Levi was barely containing his annoyance and by the time Eren returned, he was on his way down to become a slobbering mess as well.
Levi’s irritated grumbles came to a halt when Armin nudged him to stand muttering the word ‘restroom’ repeatedly. Levi did as he was told and watched as Erwin held a wobbling Armin and guided him towards the restroom.
Suddenly, Levi felt the whole world moving and right when his face was about to greet the concrete floor, he felt an arm wrap around him. Warm breath tickled his neck making Levi shiver and the light hair on his arm to stand. Knowing who his savior was, Levi turned only to come face to chest with the man. Looking up, he bit his lower lip to hold back a gasp as Eren tightened his hold around his waist.
“You okay?” Eren asked. Humming, Levi let Eren guide him towards the seat.
Levi half-heartedly listened as Eren hollered at a waiter for a glass of water. He was more aware of the man’s warm presence beside him and his arm still wrapped around him.
“Are you even old enough to drink?” Eren quipped, shaking him out of his daze. Levi knew Eren was only teasing but that didn’t stop the pout from forming.
Levi frowned. “I’m twenty-one, for your information.”
Eren chuckled. “Just checking.” The waiter arrived with the water and handed it to Eren. “Here.” The man offered. Levi writhed underneath his intense gaze nervously and took the offered glass.
“Drink.” Eren ordered again. The man with his authoritative voice did wonders to Levi.
Taking a sip, Levi felt eyes on me. He turned to face Eren and leveled him with an equally scrutinizing stare.
“How have you been, Levi?” asked Eren with genuine curiosity laced in his voice.
“Been better now.” Levi murmured feebly.
“Such a small world huh!” Eren muttered more to himself as he took a swig of his drink. Humming weakly, once again, Levi’s gaze slowly traveled down from the man’s eyes to his mouth and unintentionally bit his lip.
Out the window went the thought of talking to Eren.
Taking the advantage of his half sober mind and a shell-shocked Eren, Levi began climbing onto his lap and stared at the man with half-lidded eyes. What was he thinking? Inside, he was panicking. But Levi found that he couldn’t find it in himself to stop.
Unlike Levi however, Eren had regained his composure and looked totally unruffled, though still a bit of confusion crossed his face. Heart caught up in his throat, Levi slowly leaned in and tentatively brushed his lips against Eren’s.
Before he could enjoy the feeling, however, Eren was slowly pushing him away. “Levi...” He whispered.
Unable to take the rejection, Levi let out a sob and went in to steal another kiss. “Please!” He pleaded.
Levi wounded his arms around the man’s neck and sloppily kissed him with fervor. Eren’s lips were so soft and he tasted sweet mixed with the slight tinge of his drink in his breath. Moaning, Levi tugged his surprisingly soft hair as Eren grabbed his shoulders. Realizing that Eren wasn’t returning the kiss, more racking sobs ripped through him like a violent attack.
He felt his heart slowly crack at the clear rejection. How he wished it was just a bad dream!
Fingers clutched the man’s shirt in a tight grip as Levi pressed his face against Eren’s chest and cried uncontrollably. He knew his tears were staining the man’s shirt but Levi couldn’t remove himself from the brunette.
“Levi...” Eren called softly as he caressed Levi’s back. “Please stop crying. Look at me!” He sounded guilty and Levi wondered why.
Shaking his head, Levi wounded his arms around Eren’s neck and refused to let go. He was aware he was being clingy but if that was all he could have that moment, Levi would stay clingy for all he cared.
“Would you please talk to me?” Voice drowned out by his sobs, Levi barely heard Eren speak.
Levi suddenly felt tired. Taking a wrecked breath, the smaller male felt his whole body go slack. After such a frenetic night, Levi sagged with exhaustion.
“Don’t leave me.” Eyes drooping, Levi hazily muttered. “Eren, I love you!” His voice but a whisper dying on his lips as he drowsed off against Eren’s chest.
“Eren?” A familiar voice shook Eren out of the surprise caused by Levi’s faint confession.
Looking up, Eren saw Erwin staring at the sight of Levi on the man’s lap with a questioning look. The blond male himself had the smaller blonde snoring in his arms. Eren kept his gaze on Erwin as he noted the realization slowly dawn on the blonde.
Pinching his nose, Eren sighed woefully. “Let’s just take them to my place.” He suggested before standing up, adjusting Levi on his arms carefully and walking out the back exit. He could feel his friend’s curiosity even with his back turned to him and knew what the man’s question would be.
The blonde was aware of Eren’s past relationship with the raven-haired male. Years back, Eren had mentioned to him about a Levi who he had fallen head over heels for but things hadn’t worked out the way he wanted to. Never the one to blame others, the man had told Erwin that he was the one tying the boy down from what he truly wanted so he simply freed him from his shackles.
No matter how much Eren had tried to hide his pain, Erwin knew first-hand how the man silently suffered after he had broken up with Levi. And after taking so much time to reset his life, his friend finally moved on after years of hurting, only for the boy to show up again.
Fate. Such inevitable.
“So this is the Levi, huh?!” Erwin questioned in comprehension as he followed his boss and also best friend of years out the exit to the car.
He took Eren’s grunt as a confirmation. “Does Armin know?” Erwin questioned next.
Taking in the brunette’s silence as a no, Erwin sighed. Thought so! Wordlessly, he got inside the car back seat after the man himself holding his boyfriend carefully.
Thank God Eren brought his driver along.
Chapter 8: Sober Thoughts
A drunk mind speaks sober thoughts.
Soft rays of sunlight peeking through the window roused Levi from his deep slumber. The white lace curtains waved gently in the breeze causing him to sigh contently, his body feeling well rest. Sitting up, Levi rubbed his bleary eyes as he glanced at the illuminated numbers on an antique alarm clock sitting on the bedside table. 7 o'clock in the morning. With much reluctance, he sat up and peeled the soft, soft comforter away from his body. Shuffling his legs over the side of the bed, Levi looked around the spacious room, drinking in the unfamiliar surroundings.
Where the hell am I?
Fragments of memory from his night out with his best friend and meeting his past lover again flashed through his mind.
‘Are you alright? You look flushed!’
‘I...N-No. I’m fine.’
Groaning as he recalled his stuttering reply, Levi rubbed his face with his hands exasperatedly, chiding himself for drinking past his limit. Stupid! Stupid! He drew a blank as he tried to remember more details of the previous night. He really hoped he hadn’t done anything to embarrass himself in front of Eren more than he already had.
Deciding to dwell on that subject later, he stored it at the back of his mind. There was a more pressing matter at hand. Levi had no idea where he was. As he searched his brain for some explanation, a dreadful thought occurred to him that had his stomach churning in repulse. Did he let some stranger take him to their place? He widened his eyes in panic. His heart vehemently hammered against his chest, now painfully aware of his naked torso and his body clad only in his boxers. No. No. Levi shook his head to chase away the ridiculous thought. Ofcourse not. He would never willingly go with a stranger. And surely Eren wouldn’t allow that no matter the situation between them.
Scrambling to his feet, he looked around the room once again and noticed his shirt haphazardly lying on the floor and his jeans folded and neatly placed on a chair. Levi quickly collected his clothes and dressed up as he felt a new wave of panic building inside his gut. Just as he was about to start freaking out again, the door slowly opened and a mob of blonde hair poked in. Armin! And in an instant, his shoulders sagged in relief seeing his best friend.
“Hey, you’re awake!” Armin casually stood by the doorway. “Goodmorning!”
“Mornin’. Where are we?”
“My place. Eren brought us last night.” Armin replied with a grin. “Breakfast is ready. Freshen up and come downstairs.” Pointing towards a door on the left, Armin turned around and strolled away.
Hearing Eren’s name made Levi giddy and felt the butterflies fluttering about in his stomach. Calm down. He patted his face with both hands willing the blush to die down and made his way to the bathroom. Levi stopped in his track and gasped at the sight. The bathroom was massive with a vast marble vessel sink taking up an entire side and a Jacuzzi that could fit two people tucked in the far corner. The shower cubicle itself was the size of his old room back home.
Feeling light-headed, Levi absentmindedly picked up the new toothbrush from the vanity countertop and began brushing his teeth. He stared at his own reflection in the mirror before soon losing in his thoughts.
He’s here. Eren’s here. I’m at his place.
After quickly freshening up, he headed downstairs following his friend’s distant voice that led him straight to the kitchen. Armin sat by the island counter situated in the middle of the kitchen with a mug in his hand and talking animatedly to a middle-aged woman standing by the stove.
"...party at one of Ani’s clubs.” His excited voice traveled throughout the huge kitchen.
“Congratulations on your graduation, dear.” The woman turned and beamed at Armin. “I’m happy for you!”
Noticing Levi behind the blonde, the woman addressed him. “Ah! Goodmorning. You must be Mr. Arlert’s friend. Please take a seat. Is omelette and bacon okay for you?”
“Yes please.” Levi smiled bashfully.
“Levi, this is Mrs. Calman.” Armin stated with glee. “Mrs. C, this is my best friend, Levi Ackerman!”
Mrs. Calman nodded at Levi with a warm smile. “Mr. Ackerman, thank you for looking after Mr. Arlert!”
“Please, call me Levi.” The woman placed a plate of delicious food in front of him making his stomach growl. “Thank you, Mrs. Calman.”
“How many times do I have to tell you to call me by my name, Mrs. C!” Armin pouted making the woman chuckle before calling out a ‘Yes, dear!’
Satisfied with her reply, Armin turned to him with a grin. “Slept well?"
"Yes." He replied as he chowed down on his omelette and bacon, washing it down with the orange juice. He groaned as he savored the flavor.
Once done with his breakfast, Levi and Armin talked about the previous night, trying to fill in the gap. Apparently, the blonde was also sloshed and he only remembered going to the restroom with his boyfriend feeling sick to his stomach before he had lost consciousness. That would explain his vague recollection of stumbling into Eren’s arms when he had stood to give way to the blonde. And here he thought that was just a pleasant dream.
Ugh! How embarrassing!
Mid conversation, Levi heard a deep, authoritative voice coming from up the stairs and he waited with bated breath as the familiar voice slowly got closer.
"How much?" Hearing the man’s voice, Levi could feel his heart pounding once again. Is this continued, Levi suspected he would have a coronary soon.
There was a stretch of silence followed by a low mutter of indignant curses.
After a beat, the voice was heard again. Levi could clearly hear the anger laced in the man’s dark tone. "Reiner, keep an eye on Nile Dok until I come in. Do not let him out of your sight or the premises. Get Bert to call every other business firm, small or big, and make sure the motherfucker doesn't get a job anywhere. Is that clear?"
Levi glanced at Armin. Armin met his gaze.
“We’re going to suck him dry until he pays back every fucking penny.” Levi gulped audibly and widened his eyes at Armin who in turn shrugged and chuckled softly.
What the fuck just happened? Was he always this scary and intimidating?
Eren Jaeger finally made his appearance as he strode down the stairs to the kitchen with his hands shoved inside his pant pockets and a scary scowl on his face. Noticing the two guys looking at him, the brunette wiped his frown replacing it with a calm look. But Levi and Armin both knew otherwise.
At once, Levi racked his eyes over the man. With slightly damp hair giving him a wild sexy look, Eren was wearing yet another fitted designer black suit that made him look enticing and dangerous.
Armin quickly approached his brother and hugged him, "Everything okay?"
"Yes. Don’t worry about it!" He assured, giving one of his rare loving smile.
The elder woman seeing the man greeted him with so much respect mixed with a hint of nervousness in her voice. "Would you like something to drink, Mr. Jaeger?" Mrs. Calman offered, clearly noting the man’s foul mood.
When Eren shook his head no, the woman bowed before quickly disappearing into the hall. Seemed like Levi wasn’t the only one affected by Eren Jaeger. The brunette then shifted his gaze to Levi, making the latter squirm in his seat.
“Goodmorning Levi. I hope you had a pleasant night?”
“Yes, Sir.” Levi squeaked before choking in surprise at his own reply. Sir. Sir? Really, Levi?
Ears burning with humiliation, Levi cleared his throat before scowling at his idiot of a friend. Armin was obviously laughing at his expense, while Eren had a tight smile ghosting his lips. What was he thinking? Even the strange, curious look in his eyes gave nothing away.
Somehow, Levi recognized the look. His brain provided him images of the man giving him somewhat similar expression the previous night when they were left alone.
‘How have you been, Levi?’
‘Been better now.’
‘Such a small world huh!’
Such a small world, indeed! Levi never thought he would meet Eren Jaeger again.
Eren released a chuckle snapping Levi out of his reverie. The man looked like he was about to say something to him when his phone rang. He answered with a sharp 'Jaeger'.
Levi could hear a muffled shrieking noise from the other end of the phone as Eren pulled it away from his ear momentarily with a flinch.
"Christ! Woman, slow down!" The man retorted in between the noises.
Was he always this domineering?
"Just moving out.....Cancel it.....No.....I don't have fucking time for dinner dates with you, Hanji."
Date? Levi frowned as his heart constricted in pain. Ofcourse, as good-looking as Eren was, he would have flocks of women and men alike chasing after him.
"No, you listen here woman.... Fuck!" Eren cursed as he removed the phone from his ear; glaring daggers at the innocent device like it had done something to offend the man.
Armin giggled in spite of the man’s aggravated mood. "Hung up on you again?"
A grunt fell from the man’s lips and Levi watched as Eren dragged his long fingers through his damp hair. Heart leapt to his throat when the man suddenly looked at him, catching his gaze. Yet another scrutinizing look crossed his face and Levi unintentionally bit his lower lip. Eren’s eyes glanced to his lips then back to his eyes. He then expertly wiped off the look, looking totally composed and turned to stare at his blonde friend.
Levi really loved his best friend and without a doubt, enjoyed spending time with him. But at that moment, he really wished Armin was somewhere else.
Like a truck had hit him, the memories from his night out suddenly flooded back. Bile rose to his throat and Levi widened his eyes as he recalled pleading the man to kiss him.
‘Levi.’ Eren had pushed him away. His pleading sobs and Eren’s rejection played in his mind like a broken record. ‘Please stop crying. Look at me!’ Eren didn’t return his kiss.
Too deep in his thoughts and feeling melancholy, Levi couldn’t hear what the two were talking about. Even if he did, he couldn’t care less. He was busy drowning in his misery.
‘Don’t leave me. Eren, I love you!’ Levi gasped, paling considerably. He couldn’t have confessed to the man. Surely it was just a dream. He couldn’t have...
Chancing a glance at the man yet again, Levi slowly studied him. He noticed Eren was more cautious with him around unlike the previous night. And judging by the curiosity in the man’s eyes when looking at him, Levi was now sure it wasn’t just a dream and it had really happened. He had confessed to Eren. It was like a bucket of ice had been dumped on him.
“I have to go to work now.” Eren’s voice drifted in his mind causing him to be aware of his surroundings. Levi watched as the man ruffled Armin’s blond, shiny hair. “Hannes will drop you back to your apartment.”
Eren then regarded Levi with a nod and a small smile. “It was great meeting you, Levi. See you soon.”
Distracted, Levi gave a nod and watched as the man walked away towards the foyer, disappearing from his sight. The distinct sound of the door shutting close made his gut tighten. The man was clearly trying to overlook everything that had transpired between them and pretending to be oblivious. The realization had him closing his eyes in agony.
The kiss. The rejection. The avoidance. Could his day get any worse?
Chapter 9: Fighting The Past
A glimpse inside Eren's mind.
Eren stood outside the moon-lit balcony of a hotel, swirling his drink and staring up at the starry night sky.
It had been a tiring day with back-to-back meetings and he simply wished to return home. Eren pulled out a cigarette pack from his pocket and put a stick between his lips. Lighting it, he took a long drag from the cigarette and blew out a puff of the smoke. He watched as the cloud of smoke floated up into the sky before dissipating.
Eren widened his eyes in surprise before letting out a groan. His grip on the railing tightened as his mind was suddenly filled with images he did not wish to recall. Why now? Unsteady fingers reached for his lips, remembering the touch of the boy’s lips against his. Frustrated, Eren gulped down his drink then drew in another lungful of smoke. Why now?
'Please!’ Images of the boy’s tearful face assaulted his conscious mind again.
“Stop!” Eren muttered, gritting his teeth. His gut began to constrict and he swallowed hard, trying to suppress the tension lodged in his throat.
'I love you!’
“I said, stop!” He yelled, clenching the glass on his hand with brute force causing it to shatter. Shards of glass fell to the floor along with the blood that trickled down his wounded palm. Why now?
“Eren!” Erwin rushed towards his friend in panic. The man’s shout had lured the blonde out of his room in urgency. Grabbing the injured hand, Erwin pulled out a handkerchief and pressed it against the bleeding palm. “What’s gotten into you?” He asked with worry.
Glancing up, Erwin was taken aback by the pained look on the brunette’s face. To say that he was shocked would be an understatement. Never in his life had he seen Eren Jaeger, the calm and collected businessman that everyone feared, in such disheveled state. But...what was the cause?
And as soon as the question arose, the answer rushed to his mind in an instant.
He exhaled a sigh. Levi huh?!
Without a word, Erwin guided the man to his room. Finding the first-aid kit in one of the drawers, he began treating the wound.
“You need to tell me what’s going on, Eren.” Erwin’s statement caught the brunette’s attention. “You haven’t been yourself lately. The staffs are pissing themselves saying you’re scarier now.” He added to lighten the mood.
Eren finally gave a smirk and relief flooded through the blonde’s body seeing as the man seemed to be back to normal.
“So?” Erwin raised his brow in question.
Averting the questioning gaze, Eren stared at his bandaged hand. “It’s nothing important.”
Erwin ignored his response. “Is it about Levi? You know you can talk to me, right?”
“There’s nothing to talk about.” Eren’s stubbornness knew no bounds and it reminded Erwin of his own boyfriend. The boy had the same streak which he clearly inherited from his older brother.
“I’m gonna take a shower.” Standing to his feet, Eren headed towards the bathroom. “We have an early start tomorrow. Go and sleep.”
Having nothing to say, Erwin nodded and made a move towards the door when Eren called to him. “Thank you.” Simple words but it spoke volume and they both knew. With a smile, Erwin gave a small wave before walking out and closing the door shut.
With a sigh, Eren ran his fingers through his unkempt hair. There was no point in questioning or mulling over the situation he was in right now. Eren knew what he needed to do. And he knew that he could never act on it and that he had to put an end to whatever was going on. Even if it meant hurting Levi. There was no way he could run back to his past. His future was already set in stone.
His decision pained him greatly. But it was something he knew he had to follow through.
Armin took a deep breath staring at the mahogany door in front of him. How long had he been standing there? He felt an overwhelming sense of deja vu. For three consecutive nights, he’d been rooted to the same spot unable to take a step further.
A sob rang in the darkness – a familiar noise that he’d constantly been hearing for the past few nights –reminding him why he’d been awake in the first place. He pulled out his phone from his pocket and checked the time. It was already way past midnight.
Armin leaned on the door frame and rubbed his face in distress.
As much as he tried to, he couldn’t find the courage to enter the room. If it had been like one of those usual nights where Levi would wake up screaming from a nightmare, he would have been already inside the room consoling his dear friend.
But that wasn’t the case, was it?
Armin was too perceptive for his own good and he was mindful of that. So it came as no surprise that he had caught on to the drastic change in his friend’s behavior immediately. From the time they left his brother’s home that morning, Levi had been acting strange. Ever since that day, Levi looked desolate and he would cry himself to sleep every night.
But Armin just couldn’t fathom why. Or was it that he just did not want to?
Armin had his doubts. He could not overlook Levi’s behavior like a lovesick puppy infront of Eren that night at the club. The raven-haired boy was usually a composed person who could school his expressions to give nothing away. And Armin was one of the very few who could see past his tough exterior.
However, that night, Levi seemed so vulnerable that the blonde wondered if anyone else had read the boy easily like he had. It wouldn’t surprise him in the least.
But what is Levi’s relationship with Eren?
Erwin once mentioned why Eren didn’t give a care about finding someone to be with. Though his boyfriend was reluctant at first saying it wasn’t his place to tell him about someone else’s private life – especially Eren’s at that. Therefore, Erwin had suggested he ask his brother himself if he was curious. But Armin knew the older Jaeger would never tell him about something so personal. So he pleaded his boyfriend. After much begging, Erwin hesitantly gave in and told him bits and pieces about Eren’s past relationship.
How Eren had been head over heels in love his partner but ended up being cheated on. But never one to blame others, he forgave them. Unable to handle the pain, Eren had ended up taking the flight back home and never to return or see the person again. And because of his past, he had become the person he was today. Reserved and impassive – someone who steered clear of feelings or emotions.
With all this in mind, Armin began connecting the dots. He put two and two together, and came to a conclusion – the only logical explanation that made sense.
Eren was the one that got away. The one Levi could never forget all these years.
Armin sighed sadly as another realization dawned on him. Eren was already engaged to marry.
Fate sure knows how to play tricks on us.
The continuous sobs reverberated through the silent living hall and Armin heart’s ached for his best friend. He did not want to think about what would happen when Levi finds out about Eren’s engagement.
And that fateful day was nearing.