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Rain, Honey, Smoke, Fire

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The return of the Survey Corps from its latest expedition was without fanfare, and considerably more subdued than its departure early the previous morning. And more often than not, each return was marked by scowls, sullen silence, or accusing voices rising from the back of the crowd that gathered inside the gates. Sometimes those things seemed almost harder to endure than the wails and tears of those whose loved ones had died and were never coming home. This time, the light rain made it seem even gloomier. It hadn’t been falling for long, but it seemed like the heavens themselves were determined to pass judgment on you all as well.

After leaving your horse in the stables, you trudged back to the castle and through the halls, offering a word of encouragement here, a hand on a soldier’s shoulder there, as was your habit as a squad leader. You weren’t very hungry, so you merely grabbed a small loaf of bread from the mess hall and headed straight for your office and the quarters that were attached to it.

Some kind person -- probably one of the regular staff who’d stayed behind -- had come into your office to start a fire before your return, and you were grateful for the warm room. You closed the door, sighed heavily, then sat down in a worn but comfortable armchair to pull your boots off, placing them and your cloak near the fire to dry out. With a groan of relief, you peeled off your jacket and harness too, and went into your quarters to wash up.

You had a reason to feel better about this expedition than usual. Your squad had all made it back in one piece, more or less. Only one member had suffered a real injury, and the two cadets left from last year’s training class had managed themselves well. Previous expeditions hadn’t been so fortunate for those under your command. You’d only been a squad leader for a year, but it already felt like an eternity.

You returned to your office clean and wearing a simple shirt and trousers, sinking back into the armchair and closing your eyes. You’d been in the Survey Corps for longer than everyone but your fellow officers and a dozen or so old-timers, and you wondered how many more years you had left in you -- assuming you weren’t killed first. Further speculation was cut off by the sound of a knock at your door: three solid taps, then silence.

You thought you knew who it was, but you responded anyway with an inquiring “Yes?”

“It’s Levi,” came the response in his usual monotone.

Right. You allowed yourself the barest smile. “Come in.”

He opened the door so swiftly that he must’ve had his hand on the doorknob in anticipation of your reply, which made you smile even more, although he couldn’t see your face. By the time he’d moved around your chair and sat down in the matching one opposite, you’d already rearranged your expression.

“I heard that moron Anders nearly got his leg bitten off,” Levi commented with characteristic bluntness. “Was he showing off again?”

“No, Levi, he wasn’t. He knows better than to try anything that stupid when we’re outside the Walls.”

Tch.” Levi tilted his head back against the armchair, his voice lined with vague disgust. “I just heard him in the infirmary telling a nurse all about it, as if he took those two Titans down himself.”

You smiled. “That does sound like Anders.”

He continued, “I know it was actually you, though. I heard someone else talking about it.”

“I’m just glad I got there before he did get eaten.”

“I also heard you didn’t lose any of your squad this time. Congratulations on not coming back dead, yourself,” he added, as if amazed by the fact.

Your mouth curled wryly at his tone, then something Levi had said came back to you. “Why were you in the infirmary? Are you hurt?” You tried to keep the anxiety out of your voice. “What about your squad?”

He rolled his eyes. “I’m fine. I was just passing by there. And nobody from my squad got hurt either, actually. Gunther almost fell out of a tree sneezing his head off, though. Guess he’s allergic to some kind of shitty plant out there.”

“There was a lot of pollen in the air which’ll wash away since it’s been raining, though it doesn’t matter now that we’re back here.”

Levi was quiet for a minute, then said in his usual flat voice, “I was going down to get a drink. Want to join me?” He didn't look at you.

“As a matter of fact, yes. Oh, I just remembered, I’ve even got...” You stood up and walked around to your desk. Even though you weren't looking at him, you could feel his gaze as he peered over the top of the armchair to watch you. You reached into a lower desk drawer and pulled out a small jar, then went back over to Levi and held it out to him.

He took it from you, eyeing it critically. “Shit, that’s even more expensive than booze. Where’d you get it?”

“My family has an orchard, remember? This is some of last year’s honey from our hives. I was going to get some tea to put it in, but liquor sounds better right now. Besides,” you added, with a smile you let him see this time, “we should celebrate the fact that both my squad and yours had no casualties today.”

Tch. You spendthrift,” he scoffed, though you knew he wasn’t serious.

“It’s worth it.“ Your voice fell. “After all, this might be the only time we ever get to drink to that.”

Levi turned the jar over in his hands, watching the golden liquid slowly moving inside. Then he nodded. “Right. Let’s go see what’s in the cabinet downstairs.”

* * * * *

You were already in the Corps when Levi and his friends joined, and had watched him from afar with curiosity and interest, but hadn’t gotten to know him until some time later. By then, Isabel and Furlan were dead, and so were more than half the people you’d trained with as a cadet. Somehow you'd gravitated to each other, and you became friends with the rude, cold-eyed Levi with an ease that seemed shocking later when you realized how he tended to put off most other people.

There was some envious muttering when Levi had been promoted to captain of the Special Operations Squad a relatively short time after his joining the Corps. But you knew he deserved it, and stared down or reprimanded anybody who implied otherwise. You later discovered that being of similar rank made things less awkward after you admitted to yourself how attracted you were to him, and realized the feeling seemed to be mutual. It stopped being awkward altogether once you both finally acted on it.

You’d never really had the inclination for anything resembling a relationship before. Whatever this was which you and Levi shared was uncharted territory for you. Although neither of you ever mentioned past lovers, you suspected that, at least as far as feelings went, it might be the same for him, too.

As the two of you left your office and headed down to the first floor where the officers’ lounge was, you started to think about what might happen later that evening. Neither of you were injured, and Levi seemed to have the ability to fight all day and fuck all night before needing a rest, from what you’d personally experienced. The thought of seeing him undressed and feeling his solid, warm body against yours was an especially welcome one. But first things first.

No one was in the lounge -- which was more like a somewhat worn but comfortable sitting room -- when you entered, although a fire had been started there as well. You went to the locked cabinet where the officers stored liquor and other carefully hoarded luxuries, away from the pilfering hands of young soldiers. Levi found two glasses somewhere and tsk’d with disapproval before going to the kitchen to wash them. While you waited for him to come back, you built up the dwindling fire, then sat down on a sofa with the honey jar and a whiskey bottle on the table before it.

He came back shortly after, holding a small tray bearing the glasses and two spoons. “I see you’re already getting familiar with my stash of alcohol.”

“Hange drank the last of mine. I haven’t had the chance to buy more,” you reminded him as he sat down beside you. “Besides, I’m letting you have some of my honey.”

A beat passed, then Levi said calmly, “Are you, now?” He turned his head to look at you with amusement -- and the spark of something else -- in his steel-colored eyes, made silvery by the light of the now-roaring fire. A smirk made its way onto your face.

“Allow me.” You opened the bottle and poured a healthy amount into Levi’s glass, then a matching amount into your own. Picking up the jar, you took off the lid and dipped a spoon into it, pausing as you held it over Levi’s glass. “How much do you want?”

“As much as you’ll give me,” he said, deadpan, and you restrained a laugh. You let a spoonful drip slowly into the whiskey, catching the last drop with your finger before it could fall onto the table, and stirring with the spoon. Passing him the glass, you brought your other hand to your lips and licked the sticky honey from your fingers, conscious of Levi’s eyes on you.

He took a cautious drink before sitting back on the sofa. “You were right. This isn’t bad.”

“Told you.” You moved your own glass nearer and repeated your actions with the jar and your own spoon, this time holding your hand out to him with honey glistening on your fingertips. “Want some more?”

He made no reply but reached out and grasped your wrist, bringing you closer so that you were leaning towards him. Levi locked eyes with you as he licked the honey off your fingers, then let go, his gaze dropping to your lips and back up again. A familiar heat rose through your body, and to distract yourself, you took a drink from your glass. The smoky taste of the whiskey, enhanced by the honey’s sweetness, warmed you from the inside out. You sighed with satisfaction, scooting over so that you were sitting next to him, the outside of your thigh barely touching his.

“It’s really good,” you said. “Thanks for sharing.”

“Likewise,” he muttered, taking another slow sip and evidently enjoying it. You sat like that for some time, talking quietly while you drank. When your glasses were empty, Levi filled them again. The sound of footsteps occasionally came and went in the hall outside, but no one else entered the room.

Before your second drink was finished, you had grown more affectionate than usual. Levi had buried his face in the junction of your neck and shoulder, his lips pressed close but not quite kissing your skin, and his fingers weaving slowly through your loose hair. “You smell good. Clean, even.” His highest praise. You laughed softly.

“It’s the soap I got in town last week.” Your hand rested on top of Levi’s thigh, idly tracing patterns with your fingers. “I figured, why not? If I was possibly going to be killed yesterday or today, at least I’d die smelling nice.”

“For what? So some fucking Titan can have the taste of flowers in its gross mouth?” Levi grumbled, which made you laugh again. His voice sounded husky, whether from the alcohol, the desire slowly building between you, or both, you weren’t sure. “You are a spendthrift.” he accused.

“I’m not. Most of my salary goes to my parents. They're getting older and need to hire more help to run the orchard.” You turned towards him, bringing your hand up to comb gently through his hair. “What’s left is mine to use as I please. Since I might die at any time, I should at least enjoy what I can have while I’m still here.” You paused, then added in a low voice, “That includes you.”

At that, Levi went completely still. For a second you thought you’d actually shocked him or pissed him off somehow. He sat up, a strange expression flickering across his face -- something made of both longing and pain -- but it went away as suddenly as it had appeared. He reached up to grasp your hand before bringing you closer.

“Can’t argue with that,” he murmured, and kissed you until you were out of breath.

* * * * *

The two of you made for Levi’s quarters because they were closer than yours. You felt somewhat buzzed but mostly in control of yourself, and Levi hardly seemed affected at all by the whiskey he’d drunk. He practically dragged you through the halls, and though his expression stayed as stoic as ever, the haste he made was a testament to how much he wanted you.

As soon as his office door closed, he had you pressed against it, turning the key in the lock as his lips sought yours. The kiss tasted like sweetness and smoke and him, and you forgot all of the day’s exertions in the heat of the moment.

You weren't much taller than Levi but he was much stronger, and he scooped you easily into his arms and carried you through his office to his bedroom, knocking the door open with his foot before passing through. You squirmed out of his grip and pushed the door shut, then reached to begin unbuttoning his shirt. The rain had finally stopped and the moonlight, coming through the window behind thin, skittering clouds, made his pale skin almost glow.

Levi unfastened a few buttons of your shirt before he impatiently pulled it up and over your head. You weren’t wearing anything beneath it, and he lost no time touching your breasts and rolling your nipples in his fingers as you moaned into yet another hungry kiss. Finally managing to get his shirt unbuttoned, you pulled it off his shoulders. He made an annoyed sound at having to let go of you for the short time it took to remove the garment, but when you threw your arms around his neck and pressed close to him, whatever complaints Levi had died away in the rapid breathing that began filling the room as you touched each other.

Without letting go, you made your slow way to the bed, the rest of your clothes coming off to be kicked or thrown aside. Levi’s mouth moved hotly against your neck, kissing and biting your skin until you squealed. You heard his low chuckle after a particularly intense bite that you knew would leave a livid mark. In retaliation, you let your hand glide down his body, from his firm chest to his chiseled abs, which you stroked teasingly before sucking hard on a spot just under his ear.

The sound Levi uttered sent a jolt of heat all the way down between your legs before he grabbed you and pulled you down onto the bed with him. He was always like this when you were together -- all fierce passion and intense focus -- but this time, there was something else behind it, something you'd been barely aware of for weeks now.

“As if I needed another reason...to come back alive each time,” he rasped as you continued kissing his throat, your hand moving down to touch his straining erection. “Fuck, I -- I’m shit at saying it or showing it, but -- “

He bit off his words with a low growl as your fingers encircled his cock, pumping him slowly. Before you could do anything else, he flipped you onto your back and began making his way down your body as if he wanted to touch every inch of your skin with his lips and hands. Your own hands blindly tried to find something to hold onto when his mouth finally reached the place you wanted it most, giving you long, teasing strokes of his tongue before attacking your clit with rapid licks. “Ahh! Levi!” you gasped, writhing despite his grip on your thighs.

You felt him hum in response, pleased with the sound of your cries getting louder and more strained, until you finally came with a shriek, bucking your hips into his face and twisting the sheets beneath you in your clutching hands. Levi moved back up to kiss you, letting you taste yourself as he drank in your moans while you came down from the high.

“You’re fucking delicious,” he breathed, his face flushed and his eyes full of lust. “I could eat you out for hours, but right now -- “ he ground himself into you, panting as his hard length rubbed your slick heat, “ -- I can’t wait to fuck you into the mattress.”

“Then don’t wait,” you told him, grinding upwards so that his cock rubbed along your slit again. He pinned you beneath him, found your entrance without needing a hand to guide himself, and thrust. The sensation of him filling your throbbing cunt made both of you gasp. “You feel so good,” you whispered, breathing hard. You slid your arms around his neck and brought your legs up around his waist, tightening your grip so that he sunk in even further. “Please, Levi.”

That soft plea was apparently his undoing. You could practically see what remained of his self-control snap as his eyes darkened further and his lips parted. Without a word, Levi pulled back then slammed into your core, wringing a near-scream from your throat. He did it again and again, and your body arched as you cried out his name. The bed creaked as he set a hard, steady rhythm, and his movements sped up when you raised your hips to meet his thrusts.

Your blood roared through your veins. Every cell in your body screamed alive, we're both alive, every nerve was alight with pleasure. Levi was openly moaning now, the sexy noises he made fueling the fire you’d lit in each other, and you couldn't keep quiet either. His hand slid behind your head, grasping a handful of your hair before he pulled you up for a rough kiss, teeth scraping your lower lip.

You could feel your body tightening, your second orgasm only a few thrusts away. “I’m gonna come -- Levi, I’m -- “

“Fuck yes. Come for me, let me feel it,” he ground out, as gave a particularly deep thrust. His fingers tightened in your hair; he was close, too. If you’d been capable of coherent thought, you’d have given thanks that the stone walls of the Survey Corps’ headquarters were thick and the wooden doors heavy so that you couldn’t be overheard.

You came so hard you nearly passed out, clinging to Levi with all four limbs and grinding up blindly against him. He pounded into you, shuddering as his rhythm fell apart before giving you one last, savage thrust. You heard your name, a jumble of curse words, and a long moan. Then silence filled the room, broken only by the sounds of the two of you trying to catch your breath.

After a minute, Levi rolled onto his back and you lay side by side, panting and gazing up at the ceiling. You were both covered in sweat despite the early spring chill in the air. “Holy shit,” he said at last, sounding faintly awed.

“That was…” You couldn’t finish your sentence.

“...yeah.”

There was a pause before Levi turned towards you, eyeing you with mild concern. “Are you all right?”

“Never better.” You turned your head to look at him. His expression had returned to its usual neutrality, but his eyes said something entirely different. He touched your lips with his fingers, tracing their outline as he considered what to say next.

“I meant it,” he finally muttered. “What I said earlier.”

“I know you did. I feel the same.”

You looked at each other in silence, more unspoken words filling the air and settling between you. Then Levi grimaced in disgust. “Ugh. We’re both filthy now. So is this bed.”

“We'll change the sheets and shower so I can make you count all the bruises you left on me.”

Levi snorted, rolling over onto his back again with a slight wince. “You should talk. You clawed me up like a cat when you came the second time.” His gaze slid sideways, a bare hint of a smirk making its way onto his face.

“Shut up or no more honey for you,” you told him, leaning over to kiss him before getting out of bed.