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these walls are paper thin

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This apartment building, like all other apartment buildings, has its ups and downs.

It’s small enough for Jean, but large enough to fit an actual bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and lounge room all into one apartment. There’s a bus stop almost right outside the building and the heart of the city lies a mere seven minutes away by transport. He knows because he counted. It’s perfectly convenient – and yet, perfectly inconvenient. The place is cheap enough for just about anyone to rent; this meant people ranging from gang leaders to families of eight could afford living in it. That was the reason Jean was able to rent it when he first moved in, too, so he knows he shouldn’t complain. Additionally, the water pressure was pretty shitty and the walls – oh, the walls. Could he really call them walls?

They are curled up on his couch, watching some movie that Eren said was incredible – he had gasped, hand over his heart and face mocking when Jean told him he had never seen it. From that moment Eren decides Friday nights are going to be movie nights and Jean wouldn’t dare to say no because he really likes spending time with him.

As they eat the stir-fry Eren made them (he cooks so well, Jean had no idea what he was missing out on) and laugh at this dumb indie film and do all the other crap that people in nearly-there relationships do, noises begin to seep in from next door.

At first it’s just thumps and muffled noises, whispers perhaps, things they can ignore. Then something smashes next door and someone erupts into a fit of giggles. A larger thump is followed by a gasp, a shhh, a slap, a moan, and by this time both of them know exactly what’s going on.

Jean looks over at Eren, absolutely mortified that he had to be here right now, when his stupid neighbours decided to have sex. Eren, on the other hand is grinning.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me,” Jean complains, rubbing a hand over his face in humiliation. Next door, a series of echoing profanities resonates through the room and into theirs and Eren laughs. “I’m so sorry,” Jean tells him, “I am so sincerely sorry for the paper thin walls, I just –”

“It’s fine,” Eren assures. Jean smiles at him weakly. “Why do you put up with it?” Eren asks, shifting so he’s facing Jean and not the television anymore. “You’re better off now, yeah? Just go rent a nicer place. You deserve a better place.” Eren leans on the backrest of the couch, knees drawn up to his chest, bowl of stir-fry safely on the floor so he won’t spill it. The colour from the film draws patterns on the side of his face as he stares at Jean.

Jean just shrugs. “I don’t know,” he says lamely, “I’m fine here, I guess, don’t need anything more.”

Eren nods to a background tune of ah, ah, ah, ah from next door. He struggles to keep the grin off his face.

Oh, fuck me!

Eren snickers, hiding his face with his knees. They continue to sit quietly, Eren making faces every time the girl next door screams fuck me and Jean attempting to watch the film still playing. They must be doing it right against the wall, Jean thinks, when the girl calls very, very loudly, ugh, fuck me, Greg!

“Who the fuck is Greg?” Eren asks.

Jean laughs and shakes his head. “I don’t know, it’s a new guy every time.” Eren sighs exasperatedly.

“Wish he’d just fuck her already,” he whispers, solemnly. They can only keep a straight face for so long, before both of them are laughing at the situation. “Seriously, though,” Eren says, “If he’d just fuck her good and proper, everyone else could go back to their lives.”

“You’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?”

“Damn right, I do.”

There’s a silence from beyond the walls. Jean thinks they’ve finally caught a break, but it only lasts a few minutes before the neighbours are at it again. By this time, the two have both given up on the film. They’re sitting face to face on the couch, with matching looks of both amusement and frustration, when Eren breathes in deeply, then sighs out, long and irritated.

Jean gives him a curious look.

At that, Eren clears his throat, and suddenly calls out a loud, “Oh, fuck!”

Jean is visibly taken aback, sitting upright on the couch, brow pulled down in a frown of confusion and surprise and, well, slight arousal.

“What the fuck?” he hisses at Eren, who grins broadly back at him, before parting his obscene, pink lips and breathing out a strong, languid groan that travels up Jean’s spine and along his bones like a live wire. Jean stares at him with his own mouth wide open, void of noise, yet full of questions that he doesn’t dare ask. Eren’s grin gets bigger.

“Oh my God, yes!” he calls loudly and Jean is so confused. He throws a light punch towards Eren’s shoulder.

“What are you doing?” Jean asks in a hard whisper. Eren laughs again and indicates to the wall, behind which Jean’s neighbours live.

“’M tryin’ to out-sex them,” Eren tells him plainly, wicked grin stretched across his dark features. “You know, beat ‘em at their own game.”

Jean smiles and is both completely amazed and utterly confused by this boy.

Then Eren throws his head back, exposing his throat and Jean has a miniature panic attack as he grows a little hard and incredibly desperate to put his mouth on the smooth skin there, to feel the pulse of blood that runs through Eren’s veins with his own fingers, with his tongue, perhaps. Eren sighs out a series of breathy moans and they bounce off the walls. Jean swallows audibly and tries very hard not to be very hard as he keeps his eyes trained on the way that Eren’s adams apple bobs with each breath he takes.

Eren shoves him out of his trance, before whispering, “They’re not gonna believe me if you don’t do it too! I can’t be having this great sex on my own.” He laughs at Jean’s face, and then proceeds with his endeavour. “Oh, yeah, Jean,” he groans.

Jean’s heart beats wildly. His throat is very dry, no matter how many times he tries to swallow. If he opens his mouth he’s not sure anything would come out, except a pathetic, broken, desperate, “Eren, please fuck me.” Christ, he’s so turned on right now.

“What?” Eren whispers.

Oh, fuck. He said that out loud. They have both frozen at Jean’s momentary lapse of judgement and Jean can literally feel every heartbeat resonate through his body. Eren’s eyes are wide, surprised.

Jean shrugs unsteadily. “Just playing along,” he breathes. He’s so scared for a moment that he’s done something really stupid and won’t be able to bounce back from this, but Eren smiles at him. It’s shaky at first, nervous, but it grows into his usual one and Jean can’t help but smile along. “H-holy shit, yeah, right there!”

Eren laughs at him.

“Yeah, baby, you look so good like that,” Eren calls out.

“Oh my God, Eren, your mouth.”

“You like that, Jean?”

“Please, baby, please!”

They continue until the noises next door have stopped and they’re sprawled out over Jean’s couch, laughing loudly and tangled up in each other. Jean is crying with laughter; the tears balance precariously on his lower eyelids and often spill over to steam down his cheeks. He tries to wipe them away so he can see Eren laughing, so he can see how gorgeous he looks with his eyes clamped shut, crinkled at the edges, cheeks flushed, hair messy – his soul radiates out in laughter, open and bright and without restraint.

After managing somewhat to calm down, they clamber into a more comfortable position on the couch.

“That’ll teach them,” Eren says, resting on Jean with his head leaning on the backrest of the couch, just over Jean’s shoulder. He still shakes when he snickers softly at the thought of what they just did and Jean can feel the vibrations all over his body. Jean shakes his head and looks over at him.

“I’m so glad I met you,” he tells Eren softly.

Eren smiles. “So, you’re glad that that poor guy had to pay all that money for damage and shit for setting his apartment on fire?”

“Yeah.”

Eren playfully gasps. “Heartless bastard.”

“I don’t give a fuck, I’m so glad he set his fucking pancakes on fire.” Eren stares at him with a grin and suddenly Jean becomes nervous under his gaze. “Seriously, Eren, you made my life so much better.”

Eren pokes him in the side. “Yeah,” he whispers, “You’re not too bad yourself.”

“Yeah?”

With a roll of his eyes, Eren nods slowly.

A comfortable silence follows, in which they sit and stare at each other.

In the quiet Jean can hear Eren’s breath, slightly ragged from laughing. Sometimes, it’s as though he forgets to breathe, like his breath is being taken away and he can’t get it back, or like he’s just seen something magnificent and he’s in awe, the air caught in his throat is a silent exclamation of wonder. It’s unsteady and wild and beautiful, just like he is.

When his eyes flicker up to meet Eren’s own, everything turns full technicolour. His eyes shine like the blue and green and yellow stained glass window at the church he passes on the way to work – Jean has never been religious, but he can’t help but stare at those eyes like they’ve given him life, given him meaning.

Eren is staring at him too, mischievous and amused; lazy in the way that his eyelids drop a little when he tilts his head, leans forward slightly. They flutter shut and fuck his lips feel so good against Jean’s. It’s like being in an ocean on a scorching hot day – he’s cool and warm at the same time, and Eren tastes a little like salt and a little like the wind. When Jean licks along the swell of his bottom lip, Eren rises up like a tide, pushing himself off the couch, scrambling to curl his hands around Jean’s neck, to run his fingers through the short hair at the nape of his neck.

It’s everything Jean knew he wanted and nothing like he ever expected and it’s perfect.

When Armin walks in to his apartment, (Jean regrets giving him a key) they don’t spring apart. Eren sits on Jean’s lap where he’s straddling him and drags his lips away, like it’s the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. Jean chases his lips, restrains himself when he remembers Armin had just let himself in, then settles for licking his own lips and resting his forehead on Eren’s.

“Don’t mind me,” Armin tells them, “I just needed some sugar.”

He makes small, muffled noises in the kitchen. Muffled because Jean’s heartbeat roars in his ears and small because the only thing he can think is Eren, Eren, Eren. His cold fingertips brush the warm skin under Eren’s shirt, and Eren shivers, leaning forward to press one last chaste kiss to Jean’s lips, before looking over at Armin with a sigh and a vague glare.

“I’m making brownies,” Armin explains, as though that’s the answer to all their problems. Holding a cup of sugar in one hand, he makes his way back towards the door. “You two have fun – and remember, safe sex is great sex.”

“We’re not having sex,” Jean tells him.

“Sadly,” Eren adds, looking pointedly at Armin and making Jean laugh.

“Really?” Armin asks, “Could’ve fooled Mikasa and me.”

“Mikasa is at yours?” Eren asks, horrified.

“Oh, shit,” Jean mutters.

It’s Armin’s turn to laugh at them as he nods in affirmation. “And the walls are paper thin, you know.”