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“Where is it?”

 

“Levi?”

 

“Damn it, don’t tell me I’m out.”

 

“Lee?  What are you doing?”

 

“I’m looking for ice cream.”  Levi poked his head from the freezer and looked over at his companion.  The handsome, naked blonde man stood in the living area, hair wet and mussed from the shower, and arms full of clothes.  Levi had been friends with Erwin Smith for years, ever since Levi moved in across the hall. Their friendship was quick and easy, and it seemed that the had were always meant to fit together.  Levi had never found such effortless camaraderie with anyone before Erwin. They spent all their free time together, shared secrets, and provided support. Levi helped Erwin through the his broken engagement.  Erwin helped Levi through the death of His mother. They were the best of friends, nothing they would not do for each other.

 

Then, there was the night after Levi’s last relationship crashed and burned spectacularly.  Feeling hurt and vulnerable, he convinced Erwin to sleep with him, just the one night, no strings attached.  Levi wanted to feel safe, loved and cherished. He wanted to remember what intimacy felt like without the bitter bite of betrayal.  While awkward at first, he wasn’t surprised when Erwin turned out to be a very thorough, thoughtful lover. It was confusing and too emotional, and Levi left not long after the afterglow wore off in order to maintain distance.  

 

It was supposed to be just the one time, but one time wasn’t enough, so there was a second, then a third.  Then it became routine. He would call Erwin to come over or show up at Erwin’s door, they would have mind blowing sex, clean up, and sleep in separate beds in separate apartments.  This is what led to Levi’s ice cream habit.

 

Levi was never one for sweets in general, but found that he absolutely craved ice cream after a bout of deeply satisfying sex.  This craving had not reared its head until he started sleeping with Erwin, but Levi refused to think about what that implied.  The flavor of ice cream varied based on the intensity and duration of the prior sexual activity.

 

Vanilla signaled good sex, but it was usually a basic quickie because of overcrowded schedules or exhaustion on the part of one or both parties.  Mint chocolate chip was the sign of sweet, slow sex that more about petting and foreplay than the sex itself. Mango sorbet for the hot sticky nights when the temperatures were just on the right side of hell, and their sweaty bodies slid together sinfully.  Rocky Road was for the indulgent, kinky sex that they were too embarrassed to talk about in the aftermath, despite the perfect hand print on Levi’s ass. Chocolate peanut butter swirl for decadent, earth shattering sex that fried all of Levi ability to function as a multicellular organism.  Chocolate chip cookie dough was saved for the nights when Levi got too emotionally wrapped up in Erwin, fighting the urge to ask him to stay, to hold him, to love him, despite them agreeing to a friends with benefits arrangement.

 

Tonight was a chocolate chip cookie dough night...and he was out.

 

“It seems like you have plenty of ice cream,” Erwin pointed out as he slid his shirt over his head.

 

“No chocolate chip cookie dough,” Levi pouted.  Erwin studied him.

 

“Ouch.”  Erwin flinched.  “Was it that bad?”

 

“What?”  Levi turned and watched as Erwin pulled on his socks.

 

“Every time you eat chocolate chip cookie dough after sex, you avoid me for at least three days.  I can’t help but think that you didn’t get what you wanted out of this. You know if you’re not enjoying this-“

 

“I’m enjoying it, or I wouldn’t do it,” Levi interrupted.

 

“I’m just saying that you can ask me for what you want.  I won’t mind.” Erwin’s boyish grin revealed the truth in his words.  “It’s kinda sexy, actually.”

 

“Pervert,” Levi scolded, shutting his freezer.  “Go home.”

 

“Yeah, yeah, I’m going.  I changed the sheets for you.  Let’s get lunch on Friday. I have a meeting close to your work.”  Erwin grabbed his keys and waited by the door for Levi to respond.

 

“Yeah, Friday is good.  Text me when you’re ready to meet.  We’ll go to that pub with those burgers you like.”

 

“Great.  Goodnight, Lee.”

 

******

 

“Hey, Hanji, you have a minute?”  Levi was having lunch with Hanji when a tall, dark-haired man approached their table.

 

“Sure, Mitabi, What can I do you for?”  Hanji said, mouth full of sushi. Levi grimaced in disgust.

 

“Well, I was wondering, that guy you were with last week...Erwin, is he single?  I mean, I would like to ask him out, and I thought maybe you could give him my number.”  Levi felt his stomach drop and fiery rage course through his veins. What right did this, admittedly handsome, guy have to ask out Erwin.

 

“Yeah, he’s single,” Levi heard Hanji’s voice say.  “I can give him your number. It would do him good to get out every now and then.”

 

That’s right.  This Mitabi guy had every right to ask Erwin out, because he and Levi were not a couple.  Hell, Hanji, who knew Erwin since conception, didn’t even know they were sleeping together.  It didn’t mean that Levi had to like the idea though. However, they both agreed that their arrangement would end once either of them showed an interest in dating again.  The green-eyed monster known as jealousy reared its ugly head.

 

“Thanks, Hanji!  See you around. Later, Levi.”  Then he left.

 

“Who was that?”  Levi asked, trying to be nonchalant.

 

“Mitabi Jarnach?  He’s in field research?”  Levi just stared blankly at them.  “Levi, we’ve worked with him for two years now.”

 

“Doesn’t ring a bell.”

 

“You’re hopeless,” Hanji accused, not realizing how right they were.

 

That night, jealousy and strawberry cheesecake ice cream joined the lineup.

 

******

 

“This stuff is terrible,” Erwin complained as he took a bite of the cheesecake ice cream.  “It tastes nothing like cheesecake.”

 

“Well, I didn’t buy it for you, and quit eating out of the container.  Use a bowl.”

 

“Didn’t figure I would have time for that since you demanded I be here by the time you got off the elevator,” Erwin teased, putting away the ice cream.

 

“It’s been a rough week,” Levi admitted.

 

“You want to talk about it?”  Erwin asked, pulling Levi into his arms.  Levi shook his head. No, he didn’t want to talk about it.  How could he, without giving away the burning jealousy he felt at the thought of Erwin moving on?

 

“No.  I really don’t want to talk right now.”

 

“Well then,” Erwin started as he tilted Levi’s face with a gentle hand.  “Let me make you feel good.” His warm breath tickled over Levi’s skin, giving rise to goosebumps as Levi shivered in anticipation.  He knew it wouldn’t be long before this thing between them ended, but he was going to make sure to enjoy it while it lasted.

 

*****

 

“Fuck.”

 

“Lee, you need to relax,” Erwin panted, on his knees behind Levi on the bed.

 

“It’s not my fault you’re hung like a damn horse,” Levi snapped, trying to push back on Erwin’s slick cock.

 

“It’s not that big, and we’ve been doing this for months without issue.  You’re too tense.” Erwin rubbed his sides gently in a soothing circular motion.

 

“Just put it in.  I’ll be fine.”

 

“No.  I’m not going to hurt you.”  Erwin leaned over Levi’s back and kissed his neck and shoulder, his hand gently working Levi’s leaking cock.  “Come on Lee, let me in. I just want to be good for you.”

 

“Erwin,” Levi whined, trying so hard to get his body to relax and accept Erwin.

 

“I know.  I want it to, but you have to calm down.  I can’t wait to be inside you, Lee, but you’re too tight.”  Levi didn’t know what was wrong. Erwin was always careful in his preparation, so Levi was more than ready, until he felt Erwin behind him.  He tensed with force of his need. He wanted Erwin so much, his body was coiled tight with anticipation.

 

“I can’t.  I just need-“

 

“Shh, it’s okay.”  Erwin pulled away.

 

“No!  Erwin!”

 

“Calm down.  I’m just going to help you relax.”  This was the only warning Levi received before he felt Erwin spread his cheeks and his hot breath wash over him.

 

“What the...ah FUCK!” Levi collapsed face-first into the mattress and the first hot, wet swipe of Erwin’s tongue against his exposed hole.  Sure, Levi had been rimmed before, but never by Erwin.  The man apparently had a very talented tongue and, if he could actually think about something other than his ass at the moment, he would have lamented about all the times he could have had Erwin’s face buried in his ass.

 

Erwin groaned with pleasure when Levi’s body began to relax and he was able to push the tip of his tongue inside .  And, fuck, if it wasn’t the the sexiest thing Levi had ever heard coming from the man behind him.  He began thrusting against Erwin’s face, trying to work his tongue deeper, to get more friction, relishing the drag and stretch, but disappointed that it just wasn’t enough.  His body trembled with want. He could hear high, keening, desperate sounds, and choked when he realized it was him making them. It was heaven, it was hell, it was dirty, and sloppy, and so fucking fantastic that it almost caused him physical pain we Erwin stopped.

 

“Lee?  God, you’re so ready for me right now.  You still want it? Or I can keep using my tongue if you want-“

 

“Fuck me, god, fuck.  Just fuck me, dammit,” Levi begged, and Erwin resumed his position behind Levi, rubbing his cock against Levi’s wet hole.  The moments it took for Erwin to reapply the lube were agony, and Levi thought about just jacking off to end this desperation he felt.  Then Erwin was pushing in…

 

“D-Damn, fuck , Lee, you’re taking me so good right now,” Erwin moaned so low and deep that Levi could feel it in his gut.  He felt split open, exposed, raw, wrecked.  

 

“Shut up and fuck me, Erwin,” Levi demanded through clenched teeth.

 

“Sassy,” Erwin admonished with playful smack on Levi’s ass.  Levi looked over his shoulder to retort, but Erwin pulled out and thrust deep, stealing his breath and extinguishing his ire.  “How you want it, Levi.”

 

“Harder...Er-win.”

 

“You got it,” Erwin said before tangling the fingers of his left hand in Levi’s sweaty hair and pushing his head down on the mattress.  He tightly gripped Levi’s shoulder with his right hand and snapped his hips with such force that Levi swore he could feel Erwin in his throat.  Levi tried to meet the force of the blonde’s thrusts, but found that he could only lay there, opened mouth and drooling as Erwin pounded into him, the slapping of their hips echoing in Levi’s ears.

 

“Shit,” Levi exclaimed as Erwin sat back on his heels, dragging Levi with him, causing him to slide even deeper.

 

“You feel so good, Lee.  It’s like your body was made to take my cock.”  Damn that big blonde bastard. He knew what that did to Levi.  

 

“I’m close,” Levi warned.

 

“Touch yourself.  I want to watch you.”  Levi gripped his cock with a trembling hand, spreading precome down his shaft to lubricate.  “That’s it. You’re so close. Now come for me, Lee,” Erwin requested oh so sweetly in Levi’s ear.

 

So he did.

 

*******

 

“I’m going to take a shower before you kick me out,” Erwin warned as he tied off his condom and threw it in the trash.

 

“That’s fine...but can you just lay with me for a minute?”  Erwin looked at him as if he had grown two heads, but settled down beside Levi.

 

“Are you okay?  You’re usually kicking me out and raiding your freezer by now.”

 

“Yeah, fine.  Like I said, rough week.  Was yours okay?” Levi fought the urge to bury his face in Erwin’s neck and breathe in the scent of sex on his skin.

 

“I can’t complain.  It was pretty routine and boring this week.”

 

“I wouldn’t say that.”

 

“What’s that mean?”  Erwin turned over on his side and propped his head on his hand.

 

“When are you going out with Mitabi?”

 

“Mitabi?  How did you know about that?”  

 

“I work with him.  Hanji and I were eating together when he asked Hanji to give you his number.”

 

“I see.”  Erwin shrugged.  “I’m flattered, but I won’t be going out with Mitabi.”

 

“Why?”

 

“He’s just not my type.”  Levi was skeptical, but let it slide.

 

“Okay, I want ice cream now.”  Erwin just laughed in response.

 

******

 

“Hey, Erwin, do you remember Carly Stratmann?” Nanaba asked one evening while they were all out having drinks.

 

“I think so.  She was one of Marie’s friends, right?”  

 

“Yeah.”  Levi remembered Carly Stratmann.  She was beautiful, smart, and flirty.

 

“Well, I ran into her yesterday and she was asking me how you were doing.  She mentioned that maybe you two could meet up sometime.” Levi choked on his drink at Nanaba’s words.  Erwin patted him on the back.

 

“It’s nice of her to think about me, but I’m really not interested in going out with any of Marie’s friends,” Erwin replied without hesitation.  Levi looked at Erwin in confusion.

 

“Are you crazy?  I’m gay, and I would still consider her because she’s just that hot.”

 

“Yeah, and a troublemaker.  She’s not really interested in me, but just one-upping Marie.  Not interested.” Erwin waved it off and went back to the bar to get another drink.

 

“Is he ever going to get over Marie?”  Nanaba asked. “I mean he has turned down a lot of great people.  He needs to move on.”

 

Levi watched as some random guy flirted with Erwin at the bar.  The blonde just shook his head, gestured apologetically and returned with a phone number hastily written on a bar napkin, which he wadded up and left in a crumple in the table.

 

It was time for Levi to make a decision.

 

******

 

“I’m going to come,” Erwin warned as Levi ground his hips down, pulling Erwin deeper.

 

“So come,” Levi panted and rolled his hips with a wicked little grin.

 

“If I do, you going to let me suck you off?”  Erwin’s hands tightened on his hips, helping to guide his movements.

 

“You say that like you want to.”

 

“Maybe I do,” Erwin challenged.

 

“Well, if you want to suck my dick, I’m not going to complain.”  Levi leaned down and kissed Erwin deeply. It wasn’t a practice that they often indulged in, but Levi had to admit that Erwin was a fantastic kisser.  Not to mention, he loved the way Erwin moaned against his lips as he came.

 

“Come here, Erwin begged, breathless, pulling Levi up the bed to sit astride his face.  “Come on, Levi. Fuck me.”

 

“Open up” Levi ordered, tugging on Erwin’s hair and pushing his cock past red, swollen lips.  He pumped his hips few times, Erwin choking as he tried to adjust to Levi’s length and girth. With drool dripping down his his chin and tears gathering in his eyes, he gave Levi a nod to let him know he was ready.  Levi pushed in slowly until he hit the back of Erwin’s throat, and the blonde swallowed, seemingly taking him deeper.

 

“Erwin, your mouth, fuck,” Levi moaned as he pistoned his hips, fucking into Erwin’s mouth in earnest.  When Levi looked down to watch his cock slide between Erwin’s stretched lips, he was met by endlessly blue eyes, desire and affection evident in their depths.  He had to look away. He was wanting too much again. He pushed hard and deep, making the blonde beneath him moan. He was so close, but it wasn’t enough to tip over the precipice.  Erwin must have sensed his struggle, because he suddenly thrust two fingers in Levi’s hole, finding his prostate and providing the much needed stimulation that allowed Levi to reach his own orgasm, spilling down Erwin’s throat with a hoarse shout.

 

He collapsed and Erwin gently rolled him over to stretch out more comfortably on the bed.  He laid there for several moments, trying to catch his breath and collect his thoughts.

 

“You okay, Lee?”

 

“We can’t do this anymore,” he blurted before his brain could keep up.  Erwin stiffened beside him.

 

“What?”

 

“I think it’s time we stop doing this.  I’m ready to try going out with other people, and I think you should, too.”  Levi wouldn’t even look over at Erwin. He didn’t want to know how his callousness was affecting his best friend.

 

“Oh.  I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were wanting to move on,” Erwin said quietly, sitting up on the edge of the bed.

 

“Yeah.  It’s time, but I can’t meet new people when I have your horse dick up my ass, so…”

 

“Of course, yeah.  This was temporary until you were ready.”  Erwin stood and started pulling on his clothes.  “I’ll just shower at home. Call me later and we’ll go get a drink or something one evening this week.”

 

“Erwin, you’re still my best friend.”

 

“I know.  I’m going to go get some sleep.  I have to work tomorrow.” Erwin turned and gave Levi a crooked smile.  “Goodnight, Levi.”

 

It was for the best, before Levi got in too deep.  Even though he knew he already was. And if he ate an entire pint of chocolate chip cookie dough, no one had to know.

 

******

 

“I have a date on Saturday,” Levi announced quietly two weeks later as he an Erwin sat down with their Thursday night Chinese take-out. Erwin paused in reaching for the soy sauce, hand trembling.

 

“That’s great, Lee,” he said with a smile.  “So who’s the poor bastard?”

 

“Asshole,” Levi growled, throwing a chopstick at the blonde.

 

“Hey!  No, seriously, who is he?”

 

“His name is Eld Jinn.  He’s one of Petra’s friends.  I think he’s an app developer or some technical shit.”

 

“I hope it all goes well.”

 

That would be that last time he saw Erwin for three weeks.

 

******

 

“Really, Erwin, I don’t know.  It all happened so fast.”

 

Levi recognized that soft, sultry feminine voice.  He turned the corner of the stairs and there stood Carly Stratmann, waiting for Erwin to unlock his door.  She grinned mischievously, and he remembered why he never liked any of Marie’s friends.

 

“Well, if isn’t Levi.  How are you? It’s been a while.”  Erwin turned and looked over his shoulder.

 

“Oh, hey, Levi,” Erwin greeted like normal, like there hasn’t been weeks of silence between them.  “You remember Carly?”

 

“Yeah, I remember.”  He also remembered Erwin saying he wasn’t interested.  “Later, you guys.” He didn’t wait for a reply before disappearing into his apartment.

 

******

 

He heard the knock at his door three days later, but didn’t want to answer it.  He heard the shuffling of his overnight guest and the creak of the hinges as he opened Levi’s door.  Levi peeked around the corner.

 

“Hey Lee, you want to go get breakfast...oh.  You’re not Levi.” Erwin’s shock was evident in his tone.

 

“No, he’s still in bed.  I can give him a message.”

 

“No, that won’t be necessary.  I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

 

******

 

Levi was miserable.  He was lying in bed, alone, wondering if Carly was warming Erwin’s.  He fucked up. On a massive scale. He wasn’t sure when it happened, but he had fallen in love with Erwin.  Maybe he had always loved him. It didn’t matter now, because he didn’t even have him as a friend anymore. They spoke awkwardly in passing, but they had stopped spending time together, stopped calling and texting, and it hurt.  Erwin was the one constant in his life, and now he was gone.

 

Levi had tried dating again, but quickly stopped when all he did was compare them to Erwin.  He hadn’t even had sex. He threw out all the ice cream. He just wanted Erwin, and he shouldn’t have been too chicken-shit to tell him.  He had been too scared of losing his best friend only to lose him anyway.

 

******

 

“Something strange happened to me yesterday,” Hanji announced as they sat down across from Levi.

 

“Just yesterday?  I would figure that would be a fairly common occurrence for you,” Levi snarked.

 

“Funny,” Hanji sighed.  “Anyway, Erwin asked me how you were doing.  Which is very strange, considering you live two doors down from him and you two are usually joined at the hip.  What gives?”

 

“Nothing.  We’ve both been very busy lately,” Levi said.

 

“Liar,”. Hanji accused.  “You both are terrible liars.”

 

“I’m not lying,” he argued weakly.

 

“Yeah, and man eating giants are going to fly out my ass,” they snapped.  “You two were so much more fun to be around when you were sleeping together.”

 

“What?  Did Erwin-“

 

“Oh please.  One would have to be blind not to see how you two made goo-goo eyes at each other.  And if you weren’t too busy being disgustingly in love, you were drooling over each other.”  Hanji paused to let it sink in. “I’ve known Erwin for most of my life. I can tell when he’s in love.”

 

“He’s not in love with me.”

 

“Why do you deny it.  You have know, on some level, that he adores you.”

 

“But he’s with Carly.  He’s seeing other people,” Levi pointed out.

 

“Only after you decided to,” they reminded.  “If you keep avoiding him, he’ll move on without you.  You owe it to yourself, and him, to try.”

 

“Yeah,but what do I do?”

 

*******

 

“Oh, hey Lee.  I was on my way to the grocery store.  Need anything?” Levi looked up at the sound of Erwin’s voice.

 

“Um, no, I don’t think so, but thanks.”  He looked around Erwin. “No Carly tonight?”

 

“Carly?  Why would she be here?”  Erwin looked genuinely confused.

 

“Well, you’re going out with her.  I thought-

 

“I told you I had no interest in Carly,” Erwin interrupted.

 

“Oh.  But she came home with you-“

 

“Turns out Nanaba misunderstood the situation, too.  Turns out she needed legal advice about a business acquisition.  Since I am a contract attorney, she asked for my assistance. She came here to pick up some forms I had forgotten that morning.  She’s actually engaged and will be married by the end of the year. So, no. Carly won’t be joining me this evening.” Erwin studied Levi curiously.

 

“Oh, well, congrats to her, I guess,” Levi said awkwardly.  When had things become so strained between them?

 

“And Eld?  I take it things with him went well?  Was that him in your apartment the other morning?”  Erwin was doing a shitty job of sounding casual.

 

“Nah, that was Mikasa’s boyfriend, Eren.  They had been to a concert and crashed here instead of driving the two hours back to campus.”  Levi met Erwin’s eyes. “Eld and I really didn’t hit it off. Nice enough guy, but no real connection.  We both agreed to just be friends.”

 

“I’m sorry, Levi.  I know you were looking forward to it.  Any other hot dates lined up?” Erwin’s lips tipped into a teasing smile, but there was an undercurrent of sadness in his tone.

 

“No, not really.”  Silence descended between them, heavy and uncomfortable.

 

“Well, I guess I’ll catch you later.  Bye.” Erwin hurried down the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

 

Levi missed his best friend.

 

*****

 

It was close to midnight when Levi heard the pounding on his front door.  It was loud, urgent, and practically shook the hinges. He numblyand slowly made his way to the door, the knocking never ceasing.  He started to tell whoever it was to ‘fuck off,’ certain it was some drunk asshole.

 

“Levi, I know you’re home.  Open the door.” Erwin’s muffled voice could be heard over the pounding, and Levi quickly jerked the door open.

 

“Erwin, What the hell-“

 

“I’m not doing this anymore,” the blonde interrupted.  He was in a faded t-shirt, sweatpants, and hair in disarray.  He looked like hadn’t slept in weeks. He looked beautiful.

 

“Doing what?”

 

“Pretending that what we did meant nothing to me.”

 

“Erwin-“

 

“No. You’re going to stand there and listen to what I have to say.”  Levi’s mouth closed, and Erwin continues. “You may not like it, but I feel like I’ve lost you anyway.  So, what do I have to lose?”

 

Erwin dropped his head an took a deep breath.  Levi wondered if he had changed his mind, and was going to turn and go back to his apartment.  Just as Levi started reach out…

 

“I love you,” Erwin said confidently, raising his eyes to meet Levi’s.  “I’ve been in love with you for years , and it was never just about sex for me.  And I know that it was wrong of me to agree to that arrangement when you didn’t feel the same.  I’m sorry I took advantage of that situation. That wasn’t my intention. Your friendship means so much to me and I had already accepted the fact that’s all you wanted from me.”

 

“Erwin-“

 

“I’m not done.  I knew that you would eventually move on.  I just didn’t realize how much it would hurt when you did.  But that’s my damn fault. I should have known that I couldn’t keep it platonic with you, and never agreed to it to begin with.  I guess I just wanted you to know that this distance between us is all because of my inability to move on. I can’t help but be angry and jealous of any man who gets to touch you now.  Because I know. I know the look on your face as you fall apart. I know the hitch in your breath before you come. And I can’t stand the fact that you want someone other than me making love to you.”

 

“Erwin, please-“

 

“Shut up, Levi.  I didn’t come here for pity or apologies.  I just wanted you to know that I’m making myself scarce until I can get over this, and we can go back to being friends again, if you want.  I don’t know if I will ever be ready, but I wanted you to know that it’s not your fault. You deserve to know that.”

 

“Can I talk now?”  Levi asked and Erwin nodded.  “I don’t want to go back to the way things were.  And before you sulk off like a kicked puppy, I want more than that.  I just want you, but was too chicken shit to admit it. I’m in love with you, too, and have been for a long time.  So get your big, blonde ass in here.”

 

“Okay...Yeah, okay.”  He followed Levi into the apartment and handed him a paper bag.

 

“What’s this?”

 

“The only flavors they had left were salted caramel swirl and Chunky Monkey, And I know you hate banana flavored anything, so…”

 

So, that night, after making love, Levi and Erwin enjoyed a pint of salted caramel swirl together.