He had been waiting his whole life for this moment.
Standing in the Great Hall was the greatest thing to have happened in Eren Jaeger’s entire, very short, life. He was practically bouncing from the excitement. His eyes took in every little detail around him. The whole room was lit with the warm glow of the thousands of enchanted candles floating above the starry-eyed new students. Eren stood among them, his best friends to either side, awaiting their names to be called to sit beneath the famed sorting hat.
Mikasa was the first of them to be called, her last name being Ackerman. She stepped up with confidence after squeezing Eren’s hand. She sat down in the stool and stared out with her classic impassive gaze while Professor McGonagall lowered the massive old hat onto her head. It seemed to contemplate a few moments, waffle back and forth a bit. It looked like it even chatted with her a little. But eventually, the hat took a deep breath (can hats breathe?) and shouted, “GRYFFINDOR!”
Armin was soon after, looking very nervous and small sitting on the chair with the big hat. His sorting was faster than Mikasa’s and absolutely no one was surprised when the hat called out for “RAVENCLAW!” He heaved a deep sigh before hopping off the stool and walking quickly to the Ravenclaw table. He cast a quick glance to Mikasa, seated among the Gryffindors, and she returned it with a small smile or reassurance. Then he took his seat.
Eren had to wait.
It wasn’t so bad. He watched this freckled boy named Marco be sent off to the Hufflepuff table, this big blonde kid, Reiner, went to the Slytherin table, as did a really tall, nervous looking guy called Bertholdt. A pretty girl who was snacking on a chocolate frog called Sasha bounded off to the Hufflepuff table and looked disappointed by the empty platters.
After a long time, a booming voice finally called, “Jaeger, Eren!”
It was like his heart simultaneously stopped and picked up beating all at once. It took him several seconds before he was even capable of moving his feet and once he did, it was like he couldn’t stop. They carried him to the stool, where he sat carefully. Every eye in the room was on him. He looked down each table. To the left was the table Mikasa had sat at, Gryffindor. He’d been hearing stories since he was young about the house. All of the stories fueled his intense want to be placed there, especially since that was also where Mikasa had been sent. Next to that lay the Hufflepuffs. They seemed to be fairly low key for the most part, but Eren didn’t really have much of an opinion on them. He quickly looked to the table farthest to the right and saw Armin smiling encouragingly at him.
Then he looked down the Slytherin table. He spotted the two guys he had seen be sorted there seated together, watching him. A bit farther down was a boy with a horrendous bowl cut and a girl with ashy blonde hair who had also been sorted earlier in the evening. The boy had a deep scowl and looked like he didn’t enjoy being there. The girl wore a self-satisfied smirk that was almost predatory as she stared up at Eren. He peeled his eyes away from her and let them wander farther down the table. His attention landed on a person with a maniacally excited expression staring up at him from behind thick glasses. He couldn’t decide whether it was a boy or girl. Next to them, though, was the only person in the entire room who wasn’t looking up at him. All Eren could see of the boy was his dark hair cropped just passed his ears with the under portion shaved. Everything about his posture said he was positively bored.
Before he could give it much more thought, the hat came down over his head and fell down in such a way that it blocked much of the room from his sight. He immediately heard the hat begin to murmur in a deep voice to itself. It kept saying things about how he could see a lot of anger and determination in his head. Honestly, it kind of freaked him out. But then, after what felt to Eren a very long time but was probably no more than a few seconds, the hat yelled out, “GRYFFINDOR!”
The hat was lifted from his head and he jumped down from the stool with a face-splitting grin. He jogged down the steps and headed straight for where Mikasa sat waiting for him, a soft smile on her face. He spared the briefest of glances over to Armin’s table on the other side of the hall and his friend is grinning back at him. Before he returns his gaze to Mikasa and sits, he catches the eye of the boy at the Slytherin table. Small, steel-blue eyes lock with his for a moment and something odd flashes through them. But then the moment is passed and Eren sits with his back to the boy.
The sorting continues until all the new students are seated. One boy Eren had had a brief encounter with on the train, Jean, was sorted into Slytherin. Good riddance, Eren thought. He’d rather avoid him. Especially since he seemed to eye Mikasa in a way Eren entirely did not like. A blonde girl with a tight bun named Annie was also sorted into Slytherin and sat with the two boys who were sorted earlier. A really pretty girl with vibrantly bright blue eyes who looked relieved when her name was called, Christa, was sorted into Gryffindor and sat near to where Mikasa and Eren were seated. A short boy with a buzzcut called Connie also came to join them at the table. Eren stopped paying much attention after that.
When the sorting had finished and Professor McGonagall was seated with the rest of the professors, Professor Dumbledore rose to address the students. He welcomed them all warmly and introduced the professors. Eren learned that Professor McGonagall is their head of house. With professors Flitwick, Sprout, and Snape heading the houses Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin respectively. When he finally finished speaking, he waved his hands and an abundance of food appeared on the empty platters before them and the room broke out into joyous sound.
Eren completely forgot about the strange boy at the Slytherin table.
“Come on, Eren, we’ll be late for class.” Mikasa pulled at Eren’s robes while he took a few more bites of his breakfast.
“What do we have?”
She gave him a disapproving look, “It’s our first flying lesson. Weren’t you excited about this?”
His eyes widened as he remembered, “What time is it? Let’s go, we’ll be late!”
She sighed and shook her head at him as he jumped up from his food and pulled her along toward the grounds. They lined up with the other students, Gryffindor and Slytherin first years and each next to a broom laying in the grass, just before Madam Hooch strode purposefully up with a broom in hand. “Oh good, you’ve all found a broom, we can just get started then.” She laid down her broom stick and held out her right arm over it. “Stick out your dominant hand over your broom, like this, and firmly say, ‘Up!’”
All at once, small voices started speaking and filling the air with calls of “Up!” Some voices practically screamed the small word while others called out in little more than a whisper. Eren stuck his arm out with as much gusto as he could and said as loudly as he could without yelling, “Up!” The broom handle twitched a bit, but ultimately just rolled around.
He glanced over at Mikasa and of course she had long since gotten the broom to respond and was now holding it at her side while the rest of the class struggled. Eren set his jaw and focused back on his broom. He called several more times, each time getting progressively more frustrated and angry. Once, the broom hovered a few inches off the ground but flopped back to the ground.
After several attempts, he glanced around again. He caught Jean’s eye farther down the line. He smirked triumphantly while he leaned on his broom, having managed to get it to comply long ago. The self-satisfied smirk infuriated Eren and twisted his face into an irritated frown. He yelled, “Up!” again at his broom and the handle jolted up and came to smack into his shoulder. He hissed in pain and rubbed at his shoulder.
Madam Hooch approached him. “Calm down, boy. All you’ll do is hurt yourself more. Brooms have minds of their own, you need to work with them.”
Eren’s face scrunched in concentration and she moved on to help another struggling student. He gritted his teeth and took a deep breath, calming himself as much as he could. Then he thought about his hopes of joining the quidditch team and steeled himself. He closed his eyes a moment, imagining winning the cup, and focused before opening his eyes again and commanding the broom once more. Slowly, and certainly not gracefully, the broom rose and found his hand. He grinned triumphantly as he clutched the worn wood of the handle.
“Alright, looks like everyone seems to have gotten it, now mount up and I’ll be around to check your posture.” She moved down the line, correcting students when she finds an error in how they’re sitting or gripping. She nodded approvingly when she passed Mikasa and only made minor corrections to Eren’s posture.
When she finished, she stood out in front again and spoke up, “When I blow the whistle, I want you all to kick off hard from the ground. Rise up, hover a bit, then come down by tilting your weight forward. Ready?” She counted down from three and blew the whistle. The moment he heard the shrill sound, he kicked his foot against the ground and his broom rocketed up. The broom wavered before he felt himself pitch forward and his stomach dropped as he did. He found himself on his knees, still straddling the handle of the broomstick.
“Jaeger! Get up.” Madam Hooch came over to him. All the other students were wobbling a bit, but maintaining height before coming down fairly gently, some better than others. She got to him just as he managed to pick himself up and brush stray bits of grass from his robes. “Let me see that broom.”
He cocked his head a bit but handed it over to her. She took a few moments to examine it and Eren noticed out of the corner of his eye Mikasa came up behind him. Finally, Madam Hooch looked back up at him, “This broom is defective, go over to the shed and get a different one.” She handed it back and moved on to yell at two students goofing off a bit farther off.
Eren went to the broomshed and put the broom down in a corner. He glanced around but most of the shed was empty. He went in a bit farther and picked one of the leftover brooms at random. The wood felt much smoother in his hand than the other had and the twigs appeared more well-groomed. He made his way back to the other students and mounted up. By now, everyone else was practicing taking off and landing several time over and several students seemed to be getting the hang of it. Mikasa was doing it perfectly and Jean looked to be doing pretty well also. Connie was zooming around while he was airborne, trying to avoid Madam Hooch’s raptor gaze.
Eren pushed off the ground and this time found the experience much simpler. He hovered easily in the air, enjoying the weightless feeling and when he leaned forward, the broom carried him gently to the ground.
The class continue for a little longer until Madam Hooch blew her whistle and called for everyone to return to the ground. Once all the students were grounded, she started handing out tags. “These brooms will be available to you for this year for class and if any of you manage to make quidditch teams. After this year you’ll have to get your own. If you already have your own, don’t sign one of these out.” Eren took a tag and signed his name, tying it to the broom’s handle. “Class dismissed.”
Eren was sitting in the Great Hall and his stomach was churning. Armin and Mikasa were sitting with him and a few other students were scattered around the massive hall. It was early, so there weren’t many and those that were around were subdued and quiet. Eren picked halfheartedly at some eggs Mikasa had put on his plate, but his stomach was in too much disarray for him to feel much like eating anything.
“Eren, you need to eat,” Mikasa’s voice was soft, but firm.
He sighed heavily, “I can’t. I’m too nervous. What if I don’t do well?”
“Second years hardly ever make the house teams, so you shouldn’t feel too bad if you don’t. Just try your best,” Armin said, peeking over the top of a massive book that looked about one hundred years old. He was trying to be helpful, but it just made Eren’s stomach drop and twist further.
He groaned, “I’m going to throw up.” He collapsed in a heap next to his plate.
An older student, a third year from Ravenclaw with short, strawberry-blonde hair, came and sat down next to them. “Hey, Armin.”
Armin peels his eyes from his book to look over at her, “Oh, hey, Petra. Why are you up so early?”
She smiles and it’s sweet, Eren picks his head up to nod a greeting to her. “Oh, I’m going to the try outs. The Gryffindor captain, Erwin Smith? He’s one of my best friends. There’ll be quite a few spectators this morning.”
Eren groans again and his head falls back to the table. Mikasa flicks his ear. “Ow,” his head popped up briefly.
“Eren, right? What’s wrong?” Petra asked.
Before Eren could moan again, Armin answered, “He’s trying out. He’s nervous.”
Petra’s hand reached out and settled on his shoulder. He brought his head up. “I wouldn’t worry too much. Erwin’s great and he’s really good and picking out the right people for the job. Plus, Erwin tells me there are a lot of open positions this year. Lot’s of graduates on the team last year. I’m sure you’ll be great.” She smiled reassuringly as she pulled her hand back. “Anyway, I’m off to the stands. I want to say hi to Erwin before he goes into captain mode. Good luck, Eren.” She waved as she stood up from the table.
“Thank you,” he muttered.
“At least have a couple bites, then we should go out to the pitch.” Mikasa, ever the voice of reason, picked up his fork and shoved it at his face. He forced down a few bites and they left the hall together. When they walked out to the pitch, Armin peeled off to go find a seat in the stands while Eren and Mikasa carried their brooms out to where students were congregating on the quidditch pitch. Eren made the mistake of looking up to the stands to find them full of students from every house. He felt his stomach twist painfully again.
“Gather round, gather round.” A booming voice from a tall blond man echoed across the pitch. All the students move around him and Eren and Mikasa join in the small crowd. “Good morning. As I’m sure most of you know, my name is Erwin Smith. I’m a fourth year and captain of this team. I play as the keeper. Even returning teammates have to try out for their positions. We’ll be needing three chasers, two beaters, and a seeker. First, I just want to see your flying. Then I’ll release some balls and those who have a proclivity can take turns doing drills for that position. All ready? Mount up.” He blew a whistle and the gathered students took off on their brooms. Eren started flying off after Mikasa, trying in vain to race her. After a few minutes of trailing behind her, he took off on his own and just flew around until Erwin called them down again.
He sorted the participants into their most desired positions. Eren stood with one other student, a taller guy with a short style cut and dark hair for the seekers. Franz, if Eren heard right. Mikasa was with a group of several others going or chasers. There were only two people going up for beaters, so there isn’t any competition there. Connie was one of them, along with an older student with a messy undercut and a scowl that didn’t quite fit on his face. Eren couldn’t remember his name, but he did recognise him from last year’s team.
Erwin opened the chest containing the balls and threw the quaffle to one of the students trying for chaser. He handed Connie and the other beater their clubs before unlocking the leather straps holding down the two bludgers. They immediately started flying around toward the two, but they easily lobbed them away while Erwin unlocked the compartment in the lid, releasing the golden snitch. It flew around the group of students briefly before zooming off. Erwin blew his whistle again and they all flew off. The chasers were all competing against one another to make points on Erwin while the beaters managed the bludgers. Eren and Franz were tasked with trying to get the snitch. It ran fairly similarly to an actual game.
Once he was in the air, the fact that he was being watched flew from his mind. He didn’t even notice the stands as he scanned the air for a glint of gold. He did spend a little time watching Mikasa dominating among the chasers, but when Franz seemed to pick up his pace, he focused on the task at hand again. After several minutes of sitting mostly stationary high above the rest of the players, a faint shimmer caught his attention from the corner of his eye.
He immediately turned to go after it. Franz must have been paying attention to him because he quickly soared off after him. The two raced toward the flitting ball, barely visible against the clear blue sky. Eren’s eyes flashed with the determination to succeed and his broom edged ahead. Franz leaned in close to his broom, flattening against it in an attempt to go faster, but the broom was no match for Eren and his determination. Not to mention his better broom. Eren was proud of that. He’d saved up so he could buy one when they bought books this year. He was glad for his choice as he continued to add to his lead on Franz.
When he had managed to get about a broom’s length ahead of Franz, Eren finally had a clear view of the snitch. It was zigzagging in front of him, staying just out of reach. He leaned forward even more, folding over the handle to add the slightest bit of speed so he could gain in on the tiny ball. He reached out his arm, stretching after it. His fingers were so close, if only he could stretch just a little bit more. He pulled himself forward on the broom and he felt his fingers clasp around the cool gold and he squeezed, securing the ball in his fist. As soon as he was sure of his grip, he pulled up and stopped, examining the intricate design on the little ball. It made a low hum as Eren descended slowly.
“Good job, Eren! Bring it here.” Erwin’s voice called as he came closer to the ground. Once the snitch was secured back in its place in the ball chest, Erwin blew his whistle, calling everyone back. Connie and the other beater stayed in the air a bit longer to catch the bludgers before joining everyone else on the ground. “Alright, that’s enough. The list should be posted by this evening in the common room. The first match is a practice match against Hufflepuff in two weeks.” And with that, everyone began moving off the field.
Mikasa and Eren met up with Armin as he was coming down from the stands. He was walking with Petra and several other students from Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. “Great job guys. Good catch, Eren!” Armin called as he approached.
“Thanks, who’re all these people?” Eren asked.
Erwin approached their group and exchanged cheery greetings with the older students. Armin waved them toward the group. “You already met Petra, but there’s also Eld,” he points to the other Ravenclaw, a boy with dark blond hair pulled back into a bun at the back of his head, “Gunther,” he motions to the Hufflepuff boy, with dark hair slicked back into an odd point at the back of his head, “And those two are Levi and Hanji, but I didn’t really talk to them.” The last two he motioned to were Slytherins, currently in conversation with Erwin. They looked vaguely familiar to Eren, but he couldn’t place them. The shorter of the two, a boy with jet black hair in an undercut, flicks his eyes over to them and catches Eren’s gaze. But only a moment later and the eyes are back on Erwin. “They all play for their house teams, except for Hanji. So you’ll be playing Gunther soon.”
“I haven’t made the team yet, and I still might not,” Eren says modestly.
Mikasa tugs at her scarf, “Don’t be silly, you caught the snitch. They’d be fools not to keep you on.”
Erwin came over to them then and held out his hand, “Great job today, you two. We have a lot of talented second years this year.” Eren and Mikasa shook his hand in turn. In response, Eren muttered a thank you while Mikasa merely nodded. “It should be about an hour or so before I post the list.”
With that, he turned back to his friends and left the second year trio to themselves. They took the opportunity to back off the pitch.
A crowd was forming as soon as Erwin came down from the dormitory. He held a rolled parchment in his fist as he walked with purpose and a knowing smirk toward the bulletin board.
“I’d like to congregate the new members. Practice begins tomorrow afternoon.” He unfurled the list and posted it before backing away for the clump of students rushing forward.
Eren and Mikasa approached with the rest of them and read the list. Mikasa’s name was at the top of the list as a chaser, of course. She had been magnificent at try outs. Eren scanned the other names and made note that the other beater’s name was Auruo. He and Connie high-fived as they read the list as if they didn’t already know. While Eren scanned the list, he was vaguely aware of a really tall fourth year leaning down to him and sniffing him. If he remembered right, his name was Mike and his name was also on the list up with Mikasa’s. Then, at the very bottom, under the position of seeker, Eren found his name. He couldn’t keep the massive smile from his face. He’d done it. He’d made the house team.
Dressed all in their red and gold, Eren clutched at his broom handle with white knuckles. It wasn’t his first game, but that didn’t make him any less nervous. Plus, it was the first match against Slytherin. He knew a lot of the team from classes, as they had a lot of younger players as well. Jean was on the team as a beater. Ymir, a scary girl with freckles who hung around Christa a lot, was their other beater. All three of their chasers were second years as well: Reiner, Bertholdt, and Annie. He didn’t know the seeker or keeper, though. He’d only heard of them. Heard of the infamous skill of their seeker, seen them play the previous year.
“Ready?” Erwin asked as he led them out toward the pitch. The team followed behind him quietly. Mikasa walked next to Eren, broom in one hand and the other tugging at her scarf. Her calm demeanour was making Eren even more antsy.
They stepped out into the sun at the same time as the Slytherin team. Erwin motioned for Eren to come up close to him. He leaned toward him, “This won’t be easy. You’ll be up against Levi. We’re a good team, but Slytherin has never lost since Levi’s been seeker. You can’t rely on speed, good luck.” Eren felt his heart pounding in his chest, but he made a small noise in affirmation.
They lined up on the field, Madam Hooch centered between the teams. The Slytherin team had an odd line, what with Annie and Levi on either end standing very short and Reiner and Bertholdt next to Annie towering over the rest.
Eren stared across the line while Madam Hooch set about releasing the balls and met Levi’s eyes. He realised he’d seen the boy around a few times before. He was at try outs. He looked… almost sinister. He didn’t really look like he meant to be sinister, but he just wore this unimpressed scowl and his eyes were narrowed and focused, giving off a scary contenance.
“Mount up! On my whistle,” Madam Hooch held the quaffle in one hand and put the silver whistle to her lips. When she blew her whistle, several things happened at once. All the players kicked off. Eren and Levi both immediately flew straight upwards above the game. Madam Hooch tossed the quaffle above her head and the chasers charged it. Mikasa got to it first. And the game began.
The very start of a game was both the best and worst part for Eren. It was fast-paced lower down, but for him, it was slow. The snitch was a clever beast and managed to flit outside the edges of attention for at least several minutes. Eren usually spent the first part of games flicking his head side to side in search while also keeping an eye on the game going on below him.
For this game, that wouldn’t work. Levi took off almost immediately, charging after something. Eren abandoned his search in favor of tailing his green cloak, assuming he had spotted the snitch. Something nagged at the back of his brain as he chased the boy. Levi was holding his head up a bit too much considering how quickly he was going. Then he suddenly veered off to the right and Eren couldn’t make the turn as tightly. But, as he was attempting to follow, he caught a flash of gold to the left. Levi had been creating a diversion while he continued searching for the snitch, trying to keep Eren from spotting it. But he didn’t appear to have seen it when Eren did. Eren flew toward it, but rose high and floated about the match as if he was searching again. Two can play at this game. He kept the snitch in his vision but moved his head back around, ‘searching.’ He drifted toward the snitch, which was hovering at one end of the pitch.
Levi kept up his decoy for a little longer, but when he realised Eren was no longer falling for it, he pulled up lower down and focused on the search. His eyes scanned the air calmly, his movements slow and observant. His head moved carefully and slowly, searching for the glint of gold that would take him to his prize.
By now, Eren had made it significantly closer to where the snitch was circling one of the towers surrounding the pitch. He cast one more glance to Levi, who was currently looking the other way, before he turned his full attention onto the little golden ball. It seemed to know it was being pursued as it suddenly zipped off out around the outside of the pitch and Eren careened after it. He only had a few moments before Levi would notice and be on him, so he had to get close enough before then. He flattened himself against his broom handle and put all his energy into chasing the snitch. Seconds later he caught a blur of green and he knew he was out of time. He reached out his hand and put his all into making contact with the snitch.
Levi gained on him quickly, and he knew by Erwin that there was no out maneuvering him. But he did have height, so when Levi drew up next to him, Eren’s arm stretched just ever so slightly farther out. This was it, it was down to whichever of them could curl their fingers around the slippery little ball first. Eren pushed himself, stretching for all he was worth. He could feel Levi pressed into his side, fighting for the upper hand. Both of them were focused entirely on the bit of gold in front of them, though. Eren’s right arm and Levi’s left pressed together with only centimeters giving Eren the advantage.
The seconds passed like hours. It seemed like the world moved in slow motion with their bodies stretching and pressed against one another. If either of them had veered away, the other likely would have fallen from their broom, that’s how closely they were pressed together. They accelerated together, maintaining their dead even pace. But in these moments, the centimeters Eren’s reach had on Levi’s mattered over all else. It may have felt like hours, but only seconds passed before Eren could feel the cool brush of metal and then his fingers were curling around the ball. Secure, both seekers pulled up simultaneously, hovering a moment before Eren stared down in wonder at his clenched fist.
In the back of his mind he heard the commentator scream that the game was over and Gryffindor had just earned 150 points for his catching the snitch. But the screams of the crowd was no more than a buzz in his ear. Levi hovered nearby, watching him with the same unimpressed scowl as he had before the match began. Except, when Eren glanced up, he realised that it wasn’t exactly the same as before. There was something else, something… he couldn’t place it exactly. It was almost pleased, almost impressed, but not quite. It was maybe a step or two below that. And it only lasted a moment.
His broom came closer and his arm stretched out. At first Eren just stared at it, not sure what to do and almost skeptical that it was an attempt to claim the snitch from him. But then he realised how silly that was and stretched out an arm to meet his. “Good game, you did well.”
His voice was quiet and deep, not really what someone would expect from someone so short, but when Eren heard it he couldn’t imagine it being any different. Eren mouth flapped open, trying to formulate some sort of intelligent response but all that came out was a kind of pathetic whine somewhere between nerves and disbelief. He could feel his face heat up, but he chose to blame that on the wind that he had just been flying at top speed into. Before he could make any more of a fool of himself, Levi withdrew his hand with a scoff and took off toward the ground to rejoin his team. Eren spent a few more moments suspended in disbelief before following suit.
Upon his landing, Eren’s team surrounded him and lifted him up on their shoulders, cheering his name and congratulating him on his fantastic catch. Mikasa grabbed at his hand and Erwin clapped him on his back, a smile fit for a superhero plastered on his face. The rest of the team struggled to give him some kind of physical congratulatory pat in addition to their cheering. The crowd from the stands filtered down onto the pitch and joined in, all trying to get to Eren. He saw Armin a little distance off with an excited smile.
The Slytherin team were all clumped together at the other end of the pitch, their supporters going over to offer whatever support they could. Eren watched as the team attempted to congratulate Levi on his excellent flying, which it was despite the fact that Eren managed to be the one with the snitch at the end of it. He didn’t seem to have much interest in receiving the praise, though. Instead, he offered his own words, seemingly sparingly, and then distanced himself from other people as much as possible. The only person he didn’t immediately shy from was one who Eren vaguely remembered being told was named Hanji. Levi’s eyes scanned the crowd and for a moment they lingered on Eren, but then they continued on.
Eren was finally allowed to return to the ground and Armin and Mikasa both pulled him into a hug. He let himself be carried away by the crowd back toward the castle. The Gryffindor common room would be full and excited that night.
“All those with permission slips signed please follow me!” The rough, gravelly voice of Argus Filch bellowed over the group of chattering third years gathered in front of the castle. The students voices lowered a bit at his call. The caretaker began walking off and the students followed while maintaining their conversations. Filch led them to a gate off the grounds. “Alright, listen up. I’ll be collecting your forms. C’mon, hurry up.”
Students began shuffling forward with their forms in hand. Eren, Mikasa, and Armin clumped together, Mikasa holding both her’s and Eren’s forms.
The were nearly to the gate when Eren heard a voice that instantly set him on edge, “Hey Jaeger, can’t hold on to your own permission form, need Mikasa to take care of you?”
Eren spun around to face Jean, who was wearing a self-satisfied smirk. Marco was standing behind him and to the side a bit. One of his hands came up to rest on Jean’s shoulder. Eren snarled, “Fuck you, Kirschstein. None of your goddamn business.”
Eren heard Mikasa breath his name sharply, but Jean picked up the bait, “What’re you gonna do, huh?”
Marco saw it fit to intervene, “Jean!” he said sharply, clutching at his shoulder, “Stop. Let’s just enjoy the day.
Jean continued glaring for several more moments, but eventually backed off and returned to the line with Marco. Eren scoffed, but turned around when Mikasa pulled at his sleeve. They had held up the line a bit during the confrontation and now there was only a couple people in front of them. Eren hurried to catch up and they handed their forms to Filch, who looked at the three of them suspiciously before allowing them to pass.
Once they were free of Filch’s scrutiny, Eren bounded forward excitedly, “Where are we going to go first? I want to check out Honeydukes and Zonko’s. Oh, and we should try the Three Broomsticks.” Mikasa sighed and pulled her scarf tighter around herself while Armin nodded with enthusiasm to match Eren’s.
They ended up wandering through the little village for hours, stopping in nearly every shop and gawking at everything. Eren made purchases at Zonko’s and they all found some sweets at Honeydukes. They stopped in Dervish and Banges where Mikasa practically drooled over some of the equipment.
Exhausted from the day’s shopping and exploring, they stepped into the Three Broomsticks. The warmth immediately enveloped them and they sighed simultaneously. The room was full of chattering students trying to find respite from the cold. Mikasa was the one who spotted the small empty table near the corner of the room. Once seated, they ordered a round of butterbeer and relaxed into their seats, allowing the heat to seep into their bones.
“Ah, don’t you remember our first visit to Hogsmeade, Levi?” a voice asked from nearby, causing all three of their heads to turn towards it. Hanji, Levi, Erwin, and Petra were seated at a nearby table. Hanji had been the one to speak and they looked at the trio with an odd glimmer, as if they were studying them.
“It was last year, shit-glasses. Of course I remember.” Levi’s arms were folded across his chest and he leaned back in his chair with irritation directed at Hanji.
“Um,” Eren said, stupidly. He had never been good with words and he wasn’t so sure what he should say. He felt exposed with the way Hanji was staring at them and he didn’t really like the feeling. It made him fidgety.
Hanji’s eyebrows shot up above their glasses, “Why don’t you guys join us!”
Levi reached over and placed his hand on their head, turning it toward him, “You’re terrifying them.” Eren blinked hard. He wouldn’t say he was terrified by any means, but he glanced to the side to Armin, who definitely looked like he was.
Petra, ever the diplomat, spoke up, “Sorry about them. You guys can definitely join us if you like, though.”
Mikasa, so far unaffected by the odd exchange, pointed out dryly, “There’s not enough room.”
Levi looked at her with a look that asked if she’d been dropped on her head, “Then move the table.”
She glared back, unmoving. Eren, though, smiled and started rising from his chair, motioning for Armin to stand and help him. “Come on, Mikasa.” At the sound of his voice, she turned her head. It didn’t take much of his pleading look before she gave in to help the boys in migrating the table. Erwin, who had been seated facing away from them, rose and moved his chair as the brought the table over. When the tables were joined, they arranged their chairs around so that all seven of them sat comfortably. Erwin and Hanji sat at either end of the conjoined tables, while Levi and Petra sat together on one side and Mikasa, Eren, and Armin sat across from them on the other.
Petra smiled across the table at them, “Are you guys having fun for your first visit?”
Armin perked up and Eren grinned, “It’s been great! There’s so many great shops, and Honeydukes has so many different sweets! And then–” Eren cut off when his eyes landed on Levi’s glare.
Petra’s eyes flicked to Levi and she must have kicked him under the table or something because his glare shifted to her momentarily before it softened fractionally. He returned his gaze to the third years, but it was a bit less scary this time.
Erwin opened his mouth to say something, but at that moment, Madam Rosmerta appeared and set down seven tall mugs of butterbeer. “Anything else I can get you?” She glanced around the table and everyone shook their heads.
When she had left, Erwin picked up his mug and took a large sip, “She must’ve seen us move the tables. I’ll take care of this round, drink up.”
The third years muttered their thanks before they took sips of their drinks. Thick warm liquid cascaded down their throats and filled their whole bodies with warmth from the inside. Eren smiled and practically melted in his chair. Levi quirked an eyebrow at him while the other three older students smiled knowingly while they nursed their own drinks.
After a few moments of silent drinking, Petra glanced around and asked, “How many of you are going to be at the Hufflepuff/Ravenclaw match next weekend?”
Erwin eyed Eren and Mikasa, “My team are all going.” Eren and Mikasa both nodded.
Armin grinned, “I’ll definitely be there. Good luck, Petra.” Petra returned his smile.
Then she looked to Levi and Hanji. Hanji replied, “Oh you know we’ll be there. I’ve never missed a game and Levi spends an unhealthy amount of time on the pitch so you know he’s going.” Levi shrugged and Petra beamed.
“Great, it’ll be nice to have some friends in the stands. It’s hard to go up against Gunther and Dietrich.”
“You’re better than both of them.” Levi’s deep voice cut through the conversation and surprised Petra and the third years.
“That’s not true, I’d say we’re pretty evenly matched.” Petra argued, a small frown on her face.
Without looking up from his cup, Levi continued, “You and Gunther, maybe. But you’re leagues above Dietrich. Don’t downplay yourself.”
Petra blushed lightly but didn’t say anything more. Instead, Eren spoke up, “I think he’s right. Ravenclaw is a tough team. You make it better.”
She covered her face with her hands, “And now we can stop talking about this.”
Erwin smiled and clapped a hand on her shoulder, “Alright, it’s about time to head back to school anyway, it’s getting late.”
Eren pouted at that news, not looking forward to the cold trek back or having to leave the wonderful village. Still, when the rest of the group started rising from their seats, he followed suit, walking next to Mikasa behind Petra and Armin. Erwin lead the group, with Hanji bouncing around next to him, and Levi took up the rear, looking very much the petulant child being dragged along against his will.
Once they passed through the gates and began making the walk through the grounds, Eren fell back from Mikasa a bit and fell into step next to Levi. “How much time do you spend at the pitch?” Ever since Hanji had mentioned it, Eren had been curious about getting some extra flying time in himself.
Levi’s eyes traveled up and down Eren’s form without turning his head, “Why the fuck do you care?”
“I wanted to get in some more practice.” He looked down at the ground briefly then a brilliant idea crossed his mind and he looked over at Levi with hope flashing across his vibrantly green eyes, “Maybe we could practice together!”
Levi actually turned his head this time and narrowed his eyes, “Tch, what makes you think that would be a good idea?”
Eren grinned and a little extra bounce was added to his step, “We play the same position, we’re fairly evenly matched, and I know I could learn things from you. You’re amazing.”
Levi watched Eren with an appraising glare, trying to see any disingenuity in his proposal. After several moments of quiet, Eren turned his head and rested his chin on his shoulder as he gazed at Levi with his eyebrows raised, waiting for some kind of response. Levi’s mouth twitched and turned down in a small frown. “Flattery won’t work on me, brat.”
“It’s not flattery. I’ve been playing against you for over a year, you can always outmaneuver me. The only way I’ve ever managed to win is if I can outsmart you or get ridiculously lucky. I can learn a lot from you, and I’d be honoured if you’d teach me.”
Levi quirked an eyebrow, “Now that is flattery. What am I getting out of this?”
“I-” Eren’s eyebrows furrowed as he frowned in concentration.
“Don’t break anything, kid. Tomorrow, seven, we’ll see from there.”
It took him a moment to realise that it was an agreement, but once it sunk in, Eren’s face lit up in excitement, “You’ll fly with me? Great!” Levi just watched him while he grinned widely. Then an almost physical raincloud passed over his head. “Seven… in the morning?”
Levi had to bite back his grin, instead allowing only a slight twitch of his lips upward, “Yes. Don’t be late.”
By now, the group had made it into the castle and Hanji had peeled off down toward stairs leading downward, but had stopped to wait for Levi. Without waiting for Eren to respond, Levi walked off to join Hanji and they disappeared from sight. Eren had stood frozen to the spot, watching their backs as they descended, before he realised the rest of the group had continued on. He jogged to catch up and walked beside Mikasa back to the common room.
“Lean forward more, you need to minimise drag!” Levi’s voice barely made it over the sound of the wind whirring by Eren’s ear as he sped forward on his broom, far above the ground. They’d been running drills and Levi had been bossing him around for nearly three hours.
Eren flattened himself down further on his broom handle and felt him pick up the barest amount of speed, sending him barreling forward at an even more breakneck pace. He glanced over at Levi, who looked like he easily kept up with him. Levi was facing forward, watching where he was flying, but a faint smile was ghosting on his lips and Eren couldn’t keep back the smile that threatened to crack open his face. Levi didn’t give praise much, he especially didn’t show it. Eren counted it as a personal victory that he’d managed to procure the tiny smile from the older boy. It made something flutter in the pit of his stomach, similarly to how he felt whenever he caught the snitch.
“Pay attention, brat!” Levi swerved and collided with Eren hard, throwing him off and sending him spinning in a barrel roll for a several yards before he managed to get control back and right himself and hover in place. Levi swerved over to him and pulled up perpendicular, “Getting distracted will lose you the snitch. You always need to be vigilant in your surroundings.”
Eren blushed, “Sorry, let’s go again, I’ll do better this time.”
The shorter boy floated upwards a bit so he was looking down at Eren and frowned, “We’ve been out here for hours and it’s freezing. We’re done.” Levi took off toward the ground, leaving Eren to follow. Instead, he took a circuit on his own, practicing some of the control maneuvers Levi had given him earlier that morning.
He didn’t get very far before he was cut off by the boy flying directly in front of him. It was only because Eren had been practicing his vigilance that he managed not to collide with Levi. “What the hell!”
Eren tried to swerve around him but Levi easily cut him off again, “I told you, we’re done. Have you even eaten today?”
Eren frowned, “I can get this right.” He tried in vain to veer off again.
Levi grabbed his wrist, “I will drag you down to the ground. Overdoing it will just exhaust you and you’ll make mistakes. You need to eat.”
Eren sighed before yanking his arm away from Levi’s grasp. He could tell he only got his wrist back because Levi relinquished it, and not because he had actually shaken the boy off. “Fine.” They descended together, touching down simultaneously. Levi immediately set off toward the quidditch locker rooms to put up their brooms and Eren had no choice but to follow.
They continue like this until the walk into the Great Hall together. Eren started walking off toward the Gryffindor table, where he usually ate even though they could sit anywhere during informal meals. A strong grip on his wrist stopped him in his tracks though and he followed the hand on his wrist up to Levi’s face, “What?”
“I’m not letting you eat alone. You probably won’t actually eat.”
Eren stared at Levi with confusion, “Why do you care?”
Levi sighed, tugging at Eren’s arm so that he’d follow him to the Slytherin table, “I wouldn’t consider it a fair fight if you didn’t take care of yourself before our next match. Sit.”
Eren did as he was told.
Levi continued training with him after that.
“Christa actually said yes to someone?” Connie asked, gossiping with Sasha nearby where Eren was sitting with Mikasa and Armin.
Sasha nodded, taking another bite of her meat pie, “Yup. Dunno who though.”
It was that moment that the girl in question sat down at the table, right in the middle of the small group, “What are you guys talking about?”
Connie’s face went bright red and Sasha stuffed a roll in her mouth to avoid talking. Mikasa just rolled her eyes and pushed some food around on her plate, “They’re gossiping about your date.”
Eren shot Mikasa a wide eyed look before turning to see Christa’s reaction. Instead of horrified or indignant as they’d expected, she just blushed and smiled sweetly. “So you guys heard, huh?”
Connie’s earlier embarrassment at being caught gossiping seemed to have completely vanished when he asked, “So who’s the lucky guy?”
Her response was so little that Eren barely heard it, “Girl, actually.”
Sasha nearly choked on her bread, then nearly spit it out (which she would have been devastated by), “A GIRL?”
All of the nearby students turned toward them in confusion at the sudden outburst. Poor Christa looked like she was going to burn up with how red her face got after that. Mikasa reached around her to smack the back of Sasha’s head. Eren didn’t really understand Sasha’s violent reaction. He knew it wasn’t particularly common for people to date people of the same gender, but he doesn’t really think it’s a big deal.
“Yeah, you know the Slytherin beater, Ymir?”
Connie was the one to sputter this time, and it just so happened he was mid sip of his pumpkin juice, which subsequently wound up covering Armin. “You’re going on a date with a Slytherin?”
Mikasa, by far the best with any type of spell, went about cleaning Armin up while shooting Connie a dirty look. He didn’t seem to notice. Christa’s voice commanded attention again, “Yes. What’s wrong with that?”
Connie gave her an odd look of incredulity, “Nothing, except they’re our biggest rivals and we gave a match this weekend. Who are you going to cheer for?”
Something dark flashed across Christa’s eyes and Eren could see things were getting dangerous. Connie, finally seemed to catch on to the atmosphere and shrunk back some. Christa leaned forward, locking him with her furious gaze, “I’ll cheer for whoever I damn well please, Connie Springer. But if you must know, I’ll be putting my support in the Gryffindor team while still being excited when Ymir makes a good play. You people only care about quidditch.”
Christa’s anger was a very very rare sight and understandably terrifying. She started to stand, not having started eating, but Eren stopped her. “You’re right. Good luck on your date, Christa. I hope you guys have a good time.”
She looked at him, the anger still hanging on the edges of her expression. Then she smiled brightly, “Thank you, Eren. Good luck at the match this weekend.” With that, she turned away and headed down to the Slytherin table, where Ymir was watching them with a venomous expression.
After the match with Slytherin, Eren walked alone down a fourth floor corridor going over the match in his mind. It was an intense game, and very close. Since the previous year when they had started training together, Eren had improved considerably. However, he still couldn’t beat Levi in a direct match up, which is what that match had come down to. In the end, Levi had more speed and technical ability and it won him the match. Still, Eren found himself lingering not over the ways he had fallen short and lost, but at the tiny curve in Levi’s lips when he had managed to keep pace with him. At the light that flashed across his steel blue eyes when he reached forward toward the snitch and surged ever so slightly faster than Eren and wrapped his fingers around it.
He passed another student who looked at him oddly and he realised he was grinning at seemingly nothing. The realisation made him pause a moment as he thought about it, but realising he was smiling while thinking about the lost match didn’t really bother him all that much, so he just widened his smile and continued on walking.
“Eren!” Eren spun at his name called behind him. Armin jogged up to him. “You disappeared after the match, we were worried. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, Armin. Just wanted some time alone. Probably should have told Mikasa, huh?” Armin smiled sheepishly and nodded. They walked in silence for a bit, Eren lost back in his thoughts of the match. He found himself remembering the way the wind flew through the silky black locks on Levi’s head, flying back behind him. they way the green and silver contrasted against his pale skin.
“What are you smiling about?” Armin’s voice jarred Eren from his thoughts.
“You’re smiling, what are you smiling about?” Armin regarded him with his calculating look.
Eren looked down at the stone hall as he continued walking, regarding the question. It was only moments before his mind was back on the Slytherin seeker.
“You’re doing it again.”
Eren’s head snapped up to Armin, “Huh? Oh… Sorry. I’m just… Can I ask you something?”
Armin’s eyes widened, taken aback by the slight whiplash of Eren’s thought process, “Of course.”
“Have you ever not been able to stop thinking about someone?”
The blond cocked his head and quirked his mouth up in a knowing smirk, “A time or two, why do you ask?”
Eren gave him a skeptical frown which Armin cocked an eyebrow, still smirking, in response to. The taller boy shook his head and continued, still frowning, “What does that mean?”
“Well,” at Armin’s direction, the two boys sat on a nearby bench outside an empty classroom, “it could mean a few things, but based on the dopey smile you keep showing, I’ll make an assumption. You’ve got a crush.”
Armin giggled at the way Eren’s brow furrowed in concentration, making him look angry rather than contemplative. “I don’t- no. I just… respect him, is all.”
The blond’s eyebrows shot up, “Him? Who is this person?”
Eren’s eyes widened, then he put up a mask of irritation, “No one. Doesn’t matter.”
“You don’t have to tell me anything, but you know I won’t judge you or anything. We’re best friends. I’m here for you.”
Eren’s face dropped, guilt written across his features, “Thanks, Armin. I think… I think I’m going to go to the lake, walk around a bit. Let Mikasa know so she doesn’t freak out for me?”
He nodded and they walked together to the stairwell, where they parted ways with a half hug and a reassuring smile from Armin.
There were students dotting the grounds all over, walking in groups or couples, enjoying the pleasant early spring warmth. Eren walked slowly, letting the sun melt into his skin. He was glad both for the fact that he wasn’t wearing his heavy robes since having just come off the quidditch pitch and for his middle eastern heritage which allowed him to walk around in the bright sun without having to worry about burning.
He meandered through the small stand of trees that surrounded the black lake until he came up on the rocky shore. No one liked the lake, even when it was nice out, so he was surprised to find someone else perched on a boulder down the shore a ways. He was even more surprised when he realised the person was familiar. “Levi?”
The boy, dressed in a simple dark grey, long sleeved shirt and jeans, turned his head over his shoulder at the sound, “What the fuck are you doing here?”
Eren couldn’t keep himself from smiling at the profanity. He’d become more than used to Levi’s colourful choice of language. “I was going to ask you the same thing.” He took a few steps closer to where Levi was sitting.
“Tch, I don’t need to explain myself to you.” Levi turned his head back to the water, ignoring Eren’s approach.
When he made it to the outcropping of rock, Eren began climbing across it to find himself a seat near where Levi was still sitting, one of his legs bent up and providing his arm with an armrest on his knee. When Eren settled, he spoke, “I like the water, it’s so…” Levi quirks a brow, but otherwise doesn’t respond. “So… big is the wrong word but it’s all I can think of.”
Levi hums, the flicks his wrist and sends a rock flying from his hand to skip along with water’s surface. One, two, three, Eren counts the rock make six skips before falling below the surface. His fingers wandered over the rough rock surface below him and come to a smooth stone to his right. He spent a moment rolling the stone in his hand and staring out at the water, tiny ripples from the rock Levi had skipped were still fanning out toward the edge of the lake. When the last of the ripples faded into nothingness and the lake returned to its flat, glassy surface, Eren held the rock out to his left, toward Levi.
“What?” His eyes were trained on Eren’s hand, held in a loose fist with the rock tucked up under his palm, hidden from sight.
“I’m shit at skipping rocks.” He waved the fist slightly toward Levi.
It was several moments of silent staring before Levi leaned over to put his open palm under Eren’s hand. The stone dropped the few centimeters from Eren’s hand to Levi’s. Levi’s long, slender fingers toyed with the smooth surface of the rock for a moment before tossing it up and catching it deftly, then he flicked his wrist and sent it flying toward the water’s surface. Eren counted again; this time the rock made it eight times before it disappeared.
“What’s wrong?” The sound of his own voice startled him almost as much as it seemed to startle Levi. He hadn’t really meant to say anything, and honestly didn’t realise he’d thought something had been wrong. Yet the words just tumbled out, like they needed to be said.
Levi stared at him long and hard, as if questioning his sanity for asking such a thing. “What makes you think something’s wrong?”
That was better than being told off, which is what Eren had thought was going to happen after his lapse in control over his mouth. He shrugged, “You just seem… off. You should be celebrating, you won the match. But you aren’t. So what’s wrong?” The more he said, the more he realised that there was something odd about the way Levi was acting. He’d always been solitary and antisocial, but after a match he’d always go back to his common room and Hanji would always drag him out for celebrations. And he didn’t seem to be even remotely pleased by his win.
Levi maintained eye contact for a moment or two longer, then returned to staring out at the lake. When he kept quiet, Eren mirrored the action, giving up on getting an answer. But then Levi spoke, “Doesn’t feel like there’s much to celebrate. Just wanted to be alone.”
Eren’s face fell, feeling guilty for intruding on him if he’d wanted to be alone. But if he really wanted Eren to leave, he would have said so. He’d done it plenty of times before, with varying levels of rudeness. “Why?” he finally asked.
The older boy’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t respond. In a moment of bravery, or maybe complete insanity, Eren shifted slightly closer and wrapped his left arm around Levi’s shoulders, pulling him into him. Levi stiffened immediately, his whole body rigid. But he didn’t push away. They stayed like this for some time, could have been seconds or hours, Eren wasn’t sure. But eventually Levi sat back up and Eren let his arm fall to rest on the rock behind him.
They sat in silence again, but Eren felt that something had changed. Some slight tightness that had been persistent had lifted. It helped that there was a new, subtle softness in Levi’s expression as he stared out at the water. At some point, the two boys had shifted just enough that their shoulders touched. And occasionally, he’d catch his gaze lingering on him for a moment before flicking back to the lake.
When Levi stood, Eren leaned back on his hands and looked up at him in question. “I promised I’d get dinner with Hanji tonight.”
Eren scrambled into standing as Levi started making his way off of the rocks and followed after. Since Levi’s back was to him, he missed the satisfied smirk the older boy wore during his struggle to get off the boulders. Once he managed to get down to the beach, he jogged to catch up with Levi.
“You seem happier.”
Eren almost asked why, but he figured Levi wouldn’t answer, so he just smiled and walked back to the castle in silence. At the entrance hall, Eren turned to go toward the grand staircase and find Mikasa but Levi’s hand caught his wrist before he could get very far. “Thank you.”
Eren cocked his head, “For what?”
Levi smirked, “For being your annoying as shit self. Are you going to Hogsmeade next weekend?”
Eren’s eyes widened, mind reeling from the conversational whiplash he wasn’t used to from Levi. He couldn’t think of what to say so he just nodded.
“Meet me in front of Honeydukes after lunch.” With that, he released Eren’s hand and walked toward the Great Hall, leaving Eren with his mouth open, frozen in place.
“Armin! Help! What the hell am I going to wear?”
Eren was elbow deep in his trunk trying to find something halfway presentable to wear to Hogsmeade that day. Armin was perched on his bed, legs crossed, and an amused smirk played across his lips. “I’m sure you could wear anything and it’d be fine.” A frustrated snarl escaped Eren’s throat just as the door to the dormitory opened and Mikasa walked in. “Hey, Mikasa.”
“Hi, Armin. Eren, we’re not going to have time to eat if you don’t hurry.”
Eren looked up from his increasingly messy pile of clothes, “How did you even get in here? Girls aren’t supposed to be on this side.”
She shot him a glare that fully detailed exactly what she thought about that. “Neither is Armin, he’s not even a Gryffindor. Move.” She came over and shoved him away from the trunk, picking deftly through the mess. She tossed a green plaid button down and a pair of dark wash jeans at him. “Roll the sleeves up, I’ll meet you in the common room.”
She left without another word, Eren still clutching at the outfit she’d thrown at him.
Levi was waiting in front of Honeydukes, right where he said he’d be, but Eren was still standing a little ways off and staring in disbelief. Mikasa and Armin had left him a few minutes earlier and since then, he’d just been standing at the corner of a nearby shop, staring. Levi stood against the wall a few feet from the shop’s entrance. His arms were crossed over his chest and he looked particularly uninterested in the world. He wore a pale yellow loose knit jacket over a plain black shirt and a pair of jeans that were entirely unremarkable, but still made Eren a little weak in the knees. He couldn’t help but think how the ensemble was somewhat out of place considering the boy wearing it, but it still somehow worked.
As Eren started taking a step forward, Levi glanced around and when his eyes followed to where Eren was standing, Eren jumped back and ducked around the corner of the building he was standing next to. He flattened his back against the stone wall and took a couple breaths, trying to decide how awful it would be if Levi had seen him.
“What are you doing?”
He’d like to say that he didn’t jump about a foot in the air and squeal at the sudden sound, but he would be lying. He focused wide green eyes on amused dark blue ones. Levi’s eyebrow disappeared into the fringes of his bangs at Eren’s chagrin. “I- uh… What are you doing here?” He figured since he really couldn’t answer the question, he could at least attempt to misdirect.
“I asked you to come, dumbass.”
Eren deflated, “Y-yeah, right. Sorry.”
Levi gave him a measured look, “You don’t need to apologise. Come on.” And then he started walking away. At this point, Eren had little choice but to follow or risk being left behind, and he certainly didn’t want that.
“Where are we going?” he asked, once he’d caught up and they were walking shoulder to shoulder.
The shorter boy glanced over at Eren, who was following him blindly wherever he led, “Where do you want to go?”
Eren half triped over a nonexistent rock, “I thought you had something in mind?”
Levi’s amused huff signifies the trip did not go unnoticed. “Not really, but we can just walk around if you don’t have any ideas.”
Up to this point, Eren had been unsure as to what Levi’s motives had been when he’d asked to meet him here. He couldn’t really come up with a logical reason, and he had been hoping against all odds that maybe it was going to be a chance to get close to Levi. He’d never thought it would have been quite like this. This felt like a date. And that both warmed Eren’s heart with a fluttering in his chest and terrified him.
He made a choked sound and nodded in response to the implied question still hanging between them. So they walked. They mostly walked aimlessly, wandering slowly down the main street of the little village. A somewhat awkward silence hung between them, and Eren wondered if he should say something. But he knew Levi wasn’t big on small talk, or any kind of talk really. So maybe it was better to just leave it be.
“Wait here.” Before Eren could respond to the sudden command, Levi had ducked into one of the shops. So, Eren did as he was told and waited. Awkwardly. In the middle of the street. Alone. He looked around, but no one seemed to pay him any mind. One group of students he recognised walked passed and someone waved at him, so he waved back with a smile that he hoped looked more friendly than he felt it might have.
A few minutes later he spun around when someone tapped his shoulder, “Calm down, it’s just me.” Levi didn’t look any different than he had a few minutes before when he went in the shop, save for the paper wrapped package he was now holding. He didn’t wait for Eren to catch up mentally before he started walking again, and Eren fell into stride next to him.
They managed to make a bit of conversation this time, mostly about quidditch, but at least it was something. At one point, Levi reached over with his free hand and swatted at Eren’s hands, which he had been wringing together. He looked over at him in confusion, “Sorry.”
Levi sighed, “Don’t apologise, just quit fidgeting.”
Eren turned his gaze to the ground in front of them and kicked at a pebble, “Sorry.”
He could feel the death glare Levi was sending him for apologising again, but he didn’t look up. He kept his eyes on the road in front of him, not even really realising where they were headed.
All of a sudden, Levi’s fingers wrapped around his bicep, bringing him to a halt. Once stopped, Levi gestured to a bench and Eren actually looked around at where they had ended up. The street had long ago changed to a beaten path which opened into a sort of clearing they now stood in. The clearing butted up to a fence which looked out on an old, dilapidated shack. Eren sat in the bench Levi had motioned to at the same time the other boy did, then turned toward him, “The Shrieking Shack?”
Levi shrugged, “Why not?”
Lacking any real objection, he returned the shrug and let them lapse back into an awkward silence.
The bench they sat on was small and cool, the stone still holding the cooler temperatures of the previous night. It’s size forced the two boys to sit in such a way that they were pressed together from knee to shoulder. Eren felt hypersensitive to the contact, like every cell on that side of his body was on fire. He caught himself leaning into it, but when he tried to pull back, he found Levi leaning into him. His eyes wandered over the boy out of the corner of his eye. He took in his stiff posture, fingers tapping like they’re splayed over piano keys, eyebrows furrowed.
Levi was nervous, too.
Not that that made Eren feel any better. Just provided him with a sense of solidarity that at least he wasn’t the only one totally freaking out. It made a jar of butterflies open up in his chest, spread out and flutter at the walls of the ribs and abdomen. If Levi was nervous, then maybe there was something to be said for Eren’s hopes.
“I don’t do this very well.” Eren almost flinched at the sudden sound of Levi’s voice.
Levi’s fingers stilled and his hand twitched, “I don’t hate being around you.”
Eren’s face screwed into one of complete and utter confusion, “Um, well that’s good I guess…”
He let out a frustrated huff and clenched his hand into a fist, “See, I’m shit at this.” He sighed again, “Here.”
The package he had purchased in the shop earlier had been resting on the bench to Levi’s left. Now he pushed it into Eren’s lap. Eren stared down at the paper wrapping dumbly, “What?”
“It’s your birthday, isn’t it? Happy birthday.”
The older boy wouldn’t look at him, rather watched the package as Eren started untying the twine and ripping through the paper. Beneath the wrapping was a fairly unassuming box, about the size of Eren’s hand. He slowly removed the top and found a good sized brass key nestled in some tissue paper. He recognised the key from a few other times he’d browsed the shops, it had caught his eye but he hadn’t seen any real reason to buy it.
“I- you- what?”
Levi shot him an unimpressed look, “Eloquent. Mikasa said you’d been eyeing it.”
“You talked to Mikasa? Why?”
“God, you’re such an idiot sometimes. How else was I going to figure out what you wanted? Here,” Levi put his hand in the box and picked up the key by the leather strap it was tied to. His arm brushed Eren’s hair as he put it around his shoulders then adjusted so he could tie the leather behind his neck, fingers catching feather light touches along the nape of Eren’s neck. The contact made him shiver, that area particularly sensitive. “There.”
Eren’s hand reached up to caress the cool metal, “Thank you, Levi. But you didn’t have to get me anything.”
The glare he received told him that Levi was perfectly aware of this and to shut the fuck up about it. Then Eren realised his hand was warm, much warmer than it had any right to be. He flexed his fingers and was met with a soft resistance, so he glanced down.
Levi was holding his hand.
When Levi noticed Eren staring at their joined hands, he hurriedly tried to pull it back. Eren, for once, was quick on the uptake and tightened his grip. And for the first time in this whole entirely awkward experience, Eren’s face split into a genuine smile.
And just when Eren was sure everything was going perfectly, Levi stood and yanked him up, too. “What? Where are we going?”
“Away from here,” Levi growled, something was irritating him. He took out his wand and muttered a spell under his breath.
“What did you just do?”
They stalked purposefully down the path back toward the village, Levi’s hand gripping Eren’s almost painfully, “Made it harder to follow. We have onlookers.”
Despite Levi’s shorter stature, Eren had to jog occasionally in order to keep up with the brisk pace, “Onlookers? What? Who?”
“Not sure, but it doesn’t take too much to guess. Hanji, for sure. Your friends, probably. Maybe even Erwin. The problem with that is Hanji knows me too well. She’ll get passed my spell.”
“Levi, wait.” Eren stopped short, and their arms stretched out, pulling Levi up as well. He looked back at Eren with an impatient frown. “What does it matter?”
A breeze blew through, ruffling Levi’s hair slightly. He took a step forward and adjusted his fingers more comfortably in Eren’s hand. “It doesn’t. Not really. I just don’t like being spied on.” He emphasised the word spied, but Eren was sure it wasn’t for his benefit.
A twig snapping in the distance behind them had them both flitting their eyes toward the sound, “A drink, then?”
Levi nodded and started off again, slower this time, and kinder to Eren’s arm. Eren smiled to himself, and allowed himself to just enjoy walking hand in hand with Levi. He’d barely let himself hope for the day to go well, and now they were holding hands like it was the most natural thing in the world. He figured it kind of was.
Before Eren knew it, they were walking into the bustling atmosphere of the Three Broomsticks. They found a table and ordered drinks and Levi pulled Madam Rosmerta down and whispered something in her ear before she winked and walked away.
A few moments later the door opened and a group of familiar faces walked in. Levi sighed when he looked over to see Hanji, Mikasa, Armin, and Erwin. “They aren’t going to leave us alone. May as well just accept it.” When Eren didn’t pose any objections, he waved his hand to them, beckoning them over.
Hanji practically shrieked at the invitation and bounced over, the rest of the group trailing after. “Happy birthday, Eren! Hope you’ve been having a lovely day!” The way they smirked indicated they meant more than they said. Eren’s face flushed.
Once the rest of them had caught up, Eren had to field birthday wishes and suggestive glances. They sat around the little table Eren and Levi had chosen and smashed the two boys up against one another. Erwin went up to the bar to order drinks for the new patrons.
Hanji, sitting to Levi’s left, threw an arm around him, “So how has your day been?”
The glare they received could have frozen hell over. “Like you don’t know.”
They managed to laugh in a way that still looked offended, “What are you saying, Levi?”
“I’m saying that if you want to know something, you should ask instead of sneaking around and being a general menace for humankind.”
The drinks came, and with them a huge cake topped with candles which prompted clapping and breaking into song for Eren. He blushed and smiled while they sang then everyone took a piece. The evening went on like this, friendly laughter and raucous conversation. Even Levi couldn’t keep a tiny smile from his face.
They had to be practically chased out when it started getting late. On their way back, Eren slipped his hand into Levi’s and his chest fluttered at the twitch in his lips. Their walking slowed and the distance between them and their group of friends lengthened until they couldn’t even hear Hanji’s constant yammering.
Eren found his free hand wandering up to finger at the cool metal of the key Levi had given him. “Do you like it?”
Eren’s hand flew away from the key as if it had burned him, “Huh? Oh,” he smiled, “Yeah. Yeah I do. Thank you.”
“Good. It suits you.”
They stopped at the grand staircase, where they would have to part ways lest they be chastised for being up after hours. They stood there a moment in awkward silence, just looking at one another. To an outsider, it would appear that a bright eyed boy with naivety shining in his eyes looking down at an impassive, and frankly very scary looking boy with some sort of tension crackling in the air between them.
But Eren could see the flash of nerves in his steel blue eyes and the softening of his features indicating he was happy. Levi could see the unadulterated excitement in Eren, and the way his teeth worried at his bottom lip. Eren’s eyes flicked infinitesimally lower, focusing briefly on Levi’s soft lips, then returned to his eyes. His teeth bit down a bit harder.
Levi took a tiny step forward, removing nearly all the distance between them. He leaned forward and tilted his head and before Eren could really decide what was happening, Levi’s lips were on his.
Eren was familiar with the idea of kissing. He’d thought about it a few times, but he’d never spent too much time on it, and he’d certainly never experienced it. He figured it’d be more, exciting wasn’t the right word. But more something. As it were, it was really quite ordinary. Levi’s lips were soft and felt fantastic. The kiss was gentle and brief. And dry. And while Eren didn’t really think it was worth all of the talking about, he definitely wanted to do it again. Soon. Now, in fact.
So he did.
The second kiss was much like the first. A little longer, a little more lingering. It was less passive, Levi’s lips moving against his and his responding in kind. When they parted the second time, Eren had to force himself to breathe normally. By the look of it, Levi was in much the same state.
“Goodnight, Eren.” The way his voice curled around Eren’s name made him feel faint. It sent shivers down his spine and brought a smile unbidden to his lips. But by the time he managed to get his throat open enough to respond, Levi was already walking away. He could still feel pressure on his lips where Levi’s had been pressed against them.
Mikasa was smirking the worst shit-eating smirk ever when he made it back to the common room. And Eren couldn’t even be mad about it. Instead, he just smiled wide and went up to the dormitory.
Eren sat hunched over at a table in the library. Several large, very old books were spread out around him and he was scratching away furiously with his quill over a bit of parchment. He was alone, for the most part. A few other students were scattered about, doing homework or studying for exams, one or two sleeping on a pile of open textbooks.
So deep was his concentration that he didn’t notice when a short Slytherin boy came in and glanced around. He also didn’t notice the way said boy froze when he spotted Eren, bent over in his chair, one leg curled under him, practically swimming in a massive knit sweater. It took several moments of just watching him before Levi remembered how to move and approached Eren.
“Oi, brat.” Eren didn’t respond, but when Levi placed a hand on his shoulder, he nearly fell of the chair in surprise.
“Levi! You scared me.” Someone nearby shushed him and he frowned, “What are you doing here?”
“Looking for you. What are you working on?”
Eren looked down at his books dejectedly, “Studying. I’ve got OWLs this year. On top of the regular homework. ‘M just getting a bit overwhelmed with it all.”
“When did you last eat?” Levi’s gaze was appraising and just short of disapproving.
“Um…” Eren looked around, “What time is it?”
Levi’s eyes narrowed, “Near end of dinner.”
Eren shrunk, “I think I had breakfast.”
Levi’s pointed glare was punctuated by a well-timed grumble from Eren’s stomach. He smiled sheepishly. “Get up, we’re getting food before dinner’s over. You need to eat.”
Eren barely managed to gather his belongings before Levi was dragging him bodily by the hand away from the must of books and out of the room.
“Levi, slow down!” For someone with shorter legs, he walked quickly, especially when he had a purpose in mind.
At Eren’s complaint, Levi slowed his pace to something more reasonable for a normal person. They walked without speaking. It was their way, for the most part. Levi was a man of very very few words, only speaking when he felt it was necessary, or if he had a particularly lewd shit joke. Eren didn’t really mind silence and knew Levi preferred to avoid small talk, so they spent a lot of time just silently enjoying each others company.
The Great Hall was practically empty by the time they got there. Most students had long ago finished dinner and were spending their evening winding down. Filch, always watchful, gave the two boys a dirty look as they walked in.
Once they sat down at the nearly empty Slytherin table, Levi started heaping food onto Eren’s plate. He would have scoffed, because the action was much too reminiscent of Mikasa, but it was strangely better since it was Levi. This was how he showed he cared, since he wasn’t particularly great at it in any other respect. And when Eren took his first bite, he couldn’t stop, finally realising just how voraciously hungry he was.
Halfway through his plate of food, he finally slowed down enough to speak, “This was just what I needed, I’m so tired of studying.”
Levi glanced at him before returning to his cup, “You could ask for help, you know.”
“Huh? Help with what?”
Levi sighed and put down his cup to focus his full attention on Eren, “You’re a goddamned idiot sometimes, Eren. I took the OWLs last year. They’ll be different, but not so much that I can’t tell you where to focus your efforts.”
“I can’t ask that. You’ve got your own stuff to worry about.” Eren shoved another spoonful of soup into his mouth.
“I’m offering.” When Eren looked back at Levi, he was staring into his cup, as if his offer wasn’t a big deal.
“You really don’t have to do that.”
“And you really need to learn to accept help when you need it. Mikasa will worry if you run yourself to the ground trying to study. You forgot to eat.”
Eren wanted to be indignant at the implication that he couldn’t handle it himself, but he was too busy being elated about Levi’s very roundabout way of saying he cares. “Fine.”
“Good, now finish up before we get kicked out.”
While neither Levi or Eren particularly strived to be the center of attention, that was what they quickly became during the Slytherin/Gryffindor quidditch matches.
Not just because they were the all important seekers, or that it was a well known fact that they were dating. No, they became the center of attention because of what they did before one of them saw the snitch.
It started before they had started dating when Eren was just trying to practice some of the aerial maneuvers Levi had taught him during a match while he was trying to find the snitch. That match, he’d just looked a bit silly doing complicated flying for no reason. The next match they had, Levi started messing around at the beginning of the game and Eren took it up as a challenge. Since then, every time Slytherin and Gryffindor were up against each other, Levi and Eren would dance around one another for the beginning of the match. It became something the matches were known for, and nearly the whole school showed up just to watch.
That isn’t to say they went soft on each other in catching the snitch. The moment one of them spotted it, play time ended and they locked into their fierce rivalry. The matchup was always intense, and since Eren had learned so much from Levi, it wasn’t just about whether he was lucky or smart. He had earned a much better shot at the older boy. They both actually had to try to outmaneuver the other.
And once the snitch was caught, the boys congratulate each other on a job well done and leave the pitch together.
The crowd was pressing in close and warm, even in the late winter chill. Eren tried not to shove too hard into Mikasa and Armin, sitting on either side of him, but with how packed the stands were, it was hard. He figured he’d be sad or bitter or at least upset, but he really wasn’t. He was happy and, most of all, proud. He got to watch Levi compete in the deciding game for the Quidditch Cup.
Most people in the stands reacted heavily every time a chaser scored, and while this was exciting, Eren didn’t pay too much attention. He was too focused on the small boy in green flying up above his head. He was too far away to see his face, but he could practically feel Levi’s smirk. He was toying with the Ravenclaw seeker, a sixth year with white-blonde hair and glasses named Rico. He would sit in one spot, whip his head around (a move Eren knew to be false, because if Levi was actually looking around it would be much more systematic), then bolt off in some random direction. Rico picked up on this pattern after the second time when he spun in the air, showing off. Next, he hovered by one of the stands of students then bolted to the next, acting as if the air around the stands was some kind of safe ground and in between was danger. Rico didn’t even bother tailing him for this, she just put her efforts into finding the snitch.
But Eren knew Levi well. Since he was being this playful during a game he wasn’t in, it must mean he had some kind of plan. Based on the scoring happening below, Eren figured it had to do with Nile, the Slytherin captain, trying to buffer their points, because even with a Slytherin win, Hufflepuff could still win the cup by default if they didn’t win by enough points. Eren ran the calculation and figured they’d need to win by about 200 points. That meant they needed to be ahead by at least 50 points before Levi went for the snitch.
So, in the meantime, he put on a show.
The crowd cheered and the commentator yelled that Petra had scored a point for Ravenclaw. Eren clapped absently while Armin cheered loudly. Levi continued his game of moving between the stands. When the cheering died out after the Ravenclaw score, Levi made his way over to the stand where they were seated. He hovered, purposefully looking out to the middle of the pitch, but then he turned his head and caught Eren’s eye and winked.
Before Eren could really process the action, Levi sped off again, but instead of continuing on to the next stand, he flew to the center of the pitch, high up. Rico watched him go, and as he reached the apex of his ascent, Slytherin scored, putting them ahead by 60 points. Levi could catch the snitch any time now. And when he stopped above the pitch and started moving his head in slow, deliberate passes, Eren knew that was exactly what he was going for. Rico, though, didn’t. She either didn’t calculate the point differential they’d need to beat out Hufflepuff (unlikely) or figured that since he didn’t go for it when they were 50 points ahead that he was still screwing around.
A hitch in Levi’s movements, barely noticeable, caught Eren’s attention. He looked over in the direction Levi had been looking and scanned the air. The tiniest flash of movement, which looked no more than a distortion in the air at this distance, could be seen on the other side of the pitch, above the Slytherin goal posts. Eren leaned into Mikasa and spoke into her ear without moving his eyes away from the snitch, “Levi found the snitch.”
He felt her turn her head, but he didn’t look. He was too busy watching as Levi drifted toward the ball. Rico had been closer to it when he was looking, but in a matter of minutes he had moved, unassumingly, toward the ball and put himself between Rico and the snitch.
Then he took off.
It only took Rico a fraction of a second to react, and then she was pushing her broom to the limit to catch up. Eren knew, though, that she wouldn’t be able to. Levi wouldn’t have taken off if he wasn’t absolutely sure he would beat her out. That or he had no choice, but he definitely had a choice here. Rico closed some of the distance between them, but then Levi surged forward and left her behind. He barreled after the snitch, still flitting around one of the stands by the goal posts. It reacted to Levi coming after it and flew away, weaving through the stands. The acrobatics of the little ball was no match for Levi, though. After entertaining the chase for a bit, he leaned down against the handle of his broom and gained the last few feet to the ball.
Seconds after he reached his hand forward, the ball was trapped. The commentator started whooping excitedly that the snitch had been caught, but Eren couldn’t hear her. Not over his own yelling. He wasn’t sure when he had stood, but there he was, jumping up and down and screaming for Levi. Mikasa yanked at his robes to get him to calm down a bit. Levi was making a circuit around the pitch holding the snitch. Eren thought the action a bit odd for him, but continued clapping and cheering, nonetheless.
When Levi’s circuit came to their stand, though, he hovered lower, just above Eren’s head. He craned his neck upward to see the boy, and when he managed to get in a position to see, he only saw black. Levi’s hair was falling into Eren’s face and blocking everything else out. Then, after a bit of adjustment, Eren came face to face with his boyfriend, hovering upside down above him. He didn’t even have time to marvel at the acrobatics or wonder at the strangeness of the situation before Levi’s right hand reached around his head to steady him and then lips were on his.
The kiss was weird, and not really that great. The logistics of the situation made it hard to really get a good position. And the shock of Levi’s doing away with his own distaste for excessive displays of affection in public was making his head fuzzy. Eren could have been the only one on the stand, or left in the world, and he wouldn’t have known. All too quickly, Levi pulled back with a small smile, which looked strange upside down. Then he righted himself and returned to the ground where Madam Hooch looked unimpressed and impatient at having to wait to put away the snitch.
It took Eren several minutes before he was cognizant enough to really interact with the people around him. Armin was disappointed at the Ravenclaw loss, but was happy for Eren and kept bumping into him with suggestively raised eyebrows until he punched him back a little harder than necessary. Mikasa’s face was twisted into a disapproving scowl, but didn’t say anything until the stands had mostly cleared out and Eren still hadn’t moved.
“Eren.” Mikasa’s quiet voice finally made him turn his head in question. “Let’s go collect your shortie before he thinks he killed you up here.”
At the mention of the Slytherin, Eren perked up visibly and glanced around the pitch. The Slytherin team was at the center of a crowd of congratulatory spectators and Levi was at the very center. Eren could almost make out his displeased frown at all the attention. Then he grabbed Armin and Mikasa’s hands and pulled them after him.
The crowd was packed tight when they made it to the ground. It took a lot of effort and several glares from Mikasa before the trio made it through to the team, still fielding congratulations of the fans. Eren smiled and congratulated members of the team as he passed them. He punched Jean when he passed him, then smiled and congratulated him as well. But it was all just out of politeness. It was just an obstacle on his way to his destination.
Levi had moved a bit apart from the rest of team, Hanji and Petra hovering nearby. Eren made every effort to make a beeline toward him, but people kept getting in the way. But when Levi caught his eye, it was like the parting of the Red Sea. The people melted away. Eren’s pace quickened and he felt Mikasa and Armin fall in behind him.
The moment he was close enough, Eren left forward and embraced him in an exuberant hug. Levi’s reaction was a bit delayed, but when he caught up he wrapped his arms around Eren’s waist to return the affection.
“You were incredible.”
“Maybe if I had been up against you I would have actually had to try. Rico didn’t make it too difficult.” Levi stepped back from the embrace, and though Eren mourned the loss of his warmth, he knew Levi was uncomfortable with over affectionate gestures unless they were alone. In that case, he was quite possibly even more affectionate than Eren. To make up for the loss, Eren threaded his fingers through Levi’s.
“She put up a fight, give her some credit.” Eren flashed him a playful grin as Hanji came up behind Levi.
“Eren! I was just regaling the epic tail of the post game kiss to Petra, who missed it on account of actually doing what she was supposed to.” They shoot a look at Levi, but it quickly lapses into a manic grin, complete with suggestive eyebrow waggling.
Eren flushed brightly and tucked himself behind his big Gryffindor scarf. Levi glared, “I’m allowed to celebrate as I see fit.”
Hanji smirked, “Well if I can’t find you later, I’ll know that you’re ‘celebrating’ somewhere with Eren,” they turned to focus on Eren, “Isn’t that right?”
Eren spluttered unattractively a few moments before Hanji lost interest and moved their attention over to Armin and Mikasa. He felt Levi squeeze his hand, “I need to get out of here. Coming?”
Due to the previous topic of conversation, Eren’s mind immediately took a turn for the dirty. His blush deepened as he nodded. Levi looked at him oddly before announcing they were leaving and leading him off the pitch by the hand. Several people approached to congratulate Levi, but one look at his less than friendly expression sent them back the other way.
Once they had found an empty classroom out of the public eye, Levi pulled Eren into him. “I hope you didn’t mind. I probably should have warned you before I did that.”
Eren smiled and buried his nose into Levi’s hair, “Mmm, it’s okay. I kinda liked it.” He pulled back and looked down at Levi, “I’m surprised it came from you, though.”
Levi glanced away guiltily, “Well, it wasn’t really my idea.”
Eren narrowed his eyes, but didn’t put any venom into it, “Who’s was it?”
With a twisted scowl, Levi looked down, then back up into Eren’s eyes, “Erwin.”
He managed to keep up his mock irritation for all of about five seconds before he threw his head back in laughter. “Of course it was, that would be just like him. Although I was expecting you to say Hanji.”
“That shitty-glasses only wished they had come up with it,” Levi mumbled.
Eren watched his discomfort for a moment before taking pity and leaning down to capture his downturned lips in a kiss. “As long as you’re the one doing the kissing, I don’t mind who comes up with the logistics.”
It was several hours before the boys found their way to their common rooms again.
“Finally, I’ve looked everywhere for you.” Eren blasted into what seems like the hundredth compartment on the Hogwarts Express.
At the sound, Levi turned away from the window and glanced at Eren with a raised eyebrow, “I sit in the same compartment every year, yet you have a hard time finding me every time.”
“This train is too damn big,” Eren slid the compartment door shut behind him as he settled into the seat next to Levi, “It’s weird, with Mike and Erwin gone. And Nile, too, right? You’re going to be captain now.” Eren joined their hands and Levi put a show of distaste, but the way he stroked his thumb along the back of Eren’s hand proved it was just an act.
“Unfortunately. At least it’s only one year. I have enough shit to do without having to deal with that, too.”
Eren’s face fell and he pouted slightly, “I’m going to miss you next year.”
They were quiet a moment, the sound of the train filling the sudden tense silence. Levi leaned into Eren slightly, “I’ll be around.” A beat. “I’ll miss you, too.”
Eren smiled to himself, then leaned his head on top of Levi’s. “It’ll be alright, you’ll be a great auror and then I’ll only be a year behind. By then, you’ll probably be the best auror in the whole Ministry!”
“I appreciate your confidence in my abilities,” Levi chuckled.
He felt his knuckles split when they crashed against the stone wall in the locker room. The rest of the team had left already, going to nurse their loss in their common room. Eren had left the pitch soon after the end of the game and avoided other people in the locker room. He thought back to the game and punched the wall again.
“You’re gonna break your hand if you keep doing that.”
Eren whipped around with a furious snarl, “I don’t fucking care.”
Levi pushed himself off the doorframe where he had been leaning, “You’ll care when you can’t play in the next game because you can’t hold the snitch. What the fuck happened out there?”
Eren’s scowl deepened as he fell back against the wall and weakly slammed his fists back into it again. “Leo fucking Bodt happened out there.”
“You let a fucking third year best you in your element? You’re better than that, Eren.” He made it over to where Eren was slumped against the wall and leaned on his hands over Eren’s shoulders, effectively boxing him in. “What happened?”
Eren managed to stay furious for a little while, but when he met Levi’s eyes, grounded and compassionate, despite what anyone else would think, he just couldn’t maintain the fire. His scowl melted away into dejection, “I don’t know. I choked. I wasn’t expecting him to be so good. I just…”
Levi leaned into him and stopped his rambling with a kiss. “You let yourself get lazy. You never get lazy against me, so why would you against a new seeker?”
“I don’t- Grrrr,” failing to find the words, his voice devolved into a throaty growl, anger and irritation back as if it had never left. “Whatever, suck my dick.”
There was a tense moment in which both boys froze, Eren in his fury and Levi trying to hold back his amusement. Then Levi dropped his arms. For a fraction of a second, Eren worried he’d gone too far, said too much. But then Levi dropped to his knees and Eren’s pants came down with him. He widened his eyes and looked down at the older boy, who only smirked up at him and kissed up his thigh.
“What are you doing?” Eren asked, a little breathlessly as Levi’s warm breath blew over his skin, wet with saliva from a kiss.
“What you told me to,” he replied cheekily, nuzzling Eren’s cock through his underwear. “Do you want me to stop?”
A few seconds of tortured silence stretched between them as Eren struggled to clear his mind enough to speak while Levi laved wetly at the fabric of his underwear. “Fuck no,” he finally managed to choke out, fingers curling into the unyielding stone wall behind him, attempting to find some anchor.
“Good,” Levi said against him. He spent a minute more mouthing at him through the fabric, soaking it. His fingers kneaded gently into Eren’s thighs and slowly made their way higher. Once his fingers reached the hem of Eren’s underwear, he pulled, freeing the half hard cock from its confines.
The cool air of the locker room caused Eren to draw a sharp breath. It caught in his throat when Levi’s tongue flattened against the base of his cock and licked a slow, wet stripe up the underside. When he finally made it to the tip, he looked up, making eye contact with Eren, then swirled his tongue around the tip.
Eren’s entire body shivered when Levi pulled back just slightly to blow gently along the stripe of saliva he’d just made. The contrast between Levi’s hot tongue and the cool air drove him crazy and caused a throaty moan to spill into the otherwise quiet space. Eren nearly collapsed under the direct eye contact from Levi. Instead, he reached forward to run his right hand through Levi’s hair, feeling the strands slide through his fingers.
Levi sighed. His eyes slid shut and he leaned into Eren’s hand. He allowed himself only a moment of enjoyment, before his eyes snapped open again and he sent his boyfriend and evil smirk. His hands wrapped around Eren’s length and he leaned forward to take the tip in his mouth. Eren’s fingers twitched in Levi’s hair as his tongue flattened against the underside of his cock.
Eren made some attempts at holding back his sounds. He bit at his lip to try to hold back his whines and groans. But when Levi sank down and his lips met his hands, he swallowed and Eren’s mouth fell open in a stuttered cry while his fingers tightened almost painfully in Levi’s hair. Even as lost as he was, he still had enough presence to realise his grip may have been too tight. He immediately slackened his grip again, but when that earned him a disappointed whine, he glanced back down at his boyfriend. Levi stared up at him pleadingly and when he tightened his grip again, the older boy’s eyes slid shut and hummed appreciatively. The action sent intoxicating vibrations down Eren’s cock, earning Levi a plaintive keen from the Gryffindor.
They settled in on a rhythm, Levi sucking slightly as he pulled back and laving his tongue on his way back down, Eren trying desperately not to buck his hips too much. Levi used his hands to give attention to the length his mouth couldn’t comfortably reach, but with Eren’s hips stuttering desperately, he gave up and instead tasked his hands with keeping Eren still while he continued taking him further and further down.
Every so often, Levi’s would hum and send vibrations skittering through Eren’s body which would pull a lewd sound from him. Any time Levi would change something, Eren’s fingers would tighten in his hair, drawing low moans from deep in Levi’s throat. It didn’t take long before Eren was barely able to hold himself upright as he panted loudly.
When he reached out with his other hand and buried it in Levi’s hair with his other, twisting his fingers and scratching at his scalp, Levi knew he was close. He picked up his pace until Eren was practically crying a mantra of his name, barely managing to give a choked, “I-I’m… Right th-there.”
At his prompting, Levi sank down all the way, relaxing his throat around Eren until his nose met dark curls. When he swallowed, Eren’s legs shook and he lost it, emptying into Levi’s throat. Levi pulled off some as his mouth filled with sticky liquid and it took all he had for Eren not to slide down the wall.
Eventually, Levi pulled completely away, licking his lips. Eren managed to stay upright for a few more moments before he practically collapsed to the floor, boneless. Levi leaned forward into him, wrapping his arms around his neck and pulling him away from the wall and into him. “Feel better?”
Eren sighed and nodded into Levi’s shoulder.
They stayed there, curled up together on the floor of the locker room for a long time. At some point, Levi managed to get Eren’s underwear back up on him, but they came to a silent agreement that his pants were too much effort.
Eren turned his head after a deep sigh. His let his hand run lazily up Levi’s side. “Levi?” The plea in his voice was familiar to both of them, Eren wanted something.
“What do you want?”
He pulled back some and grinned, “I want,” he leaned forward to place a soft kiss on Levi’s forehead, “to go,” he ran his hand up Levi’s arm until it settled on the side of his neck, “find somewhere more comfortable,” he pressed his lips on Levi’s in a chaste kiss, “and return the favour,” he reached his other hand between them and tugged at Levi’s waistline, “and deal with this.”
Levi looked back at him hungrily, “I think I can help you there.”
When Eren returned to the common room much later that night, Mikasa sent him a sympathetic look until she saw the look on his face. The next morning he woke up with two rolls of parchment detailing the practices of safe sex.
They sat in a compartment shared between the two of them, curled up in each other. Words were far and few between and the closer they got to the station, the more the heavy mood thickened in the small space. Each passing minute led to a grip tightening, another heavy sigh, soft touches trying to memorise every line.
“I don’t want you to go.” Eren’s hand turned Levi’s over and played absently with his fingers.
“It’s not like you’ll never see me again. You’ve only got one more year left and I’m not really going anywhere. We’ll see each other over the summer.” It was more like a plea than a reassurance but he’d never admit it.
Eren leaned back into him harder, trying to melt into him. Maybe if they just became one person they wouldn’t have to say goodbye.
The train slowed and pulled to a stop. Levi glanced out the window to see the platform bustling with people. After several minutes of neither of them moving and the sounds of students making their way off the train, Levi spoke, “We can’t stay here forever.”
“Maybe if we don’t move, we can live on the train.”
Levi chuckled and pushed Eren up off of him. He held out a hand, “Come on, I’m sure our families are waiting.”
They walked off the train hand in hand. Eren’s family found them first, calling out to Eren excitedly. When his mother hugged him, he wouldn’t let go of Levi’s hand. She hugged Levi, too. Then his parents approached as well.
“It’s getting late, we should get going,” Levi’s mother said.
Levi’s grasp on Eren’s hand tightened. Eren’s mother, observant of the two boys’ unwillingness to part, spoke up, “Levi, dear, you’re always welcome to come by whenever you like.”
His mouth twitched, “Thank you, Mrs. Jaeger.” Then he turned to Eren just as he pulled him into an embrace. When they parted, they said a silent goodbye and Levi followed his parents toward their car.
“Don’t forget about your school work while you’re there. It may seem like NEWTs are still ages away, but it’s only a few months.”
“I know, Armin. You can even quiz me when we come back.” Eren was shoving a few bites of food into his mouth before they got on the train for winter break. Levi had invited him to his new apartment for the holidays to spend Christmas and Levi’s birthday together.
“Hey, if you see Erwin, congratulate him for me?” Armin had been practically gushing over Erwin’s recent accomplishment as the youngest Minister of Magic.
“Will do. Are you finished? We’ll miss the train if you go on much longer.”
Armin smiled sheepishly and nodded, picking up his trunk.
Eren scanned the crowd at the platform the moment he stepped off the train and said goodbye to Mikasa and Armin, but he couldn’t find Levi among the groups of people making reunions with students. He stepped onto the platform, out of the way of other students exiting the train, and continued looking. The curses of having such a short boyfriend included having such a hard time locating him in a crowd.
A hand on his shoulder made him flinch and turn at the touch. Once he realised who had touched him though, he broke out in a wide grin and threw his arms around the smaller man. He heard a low chuckle at his ear. “Hey, brat.”
Eren pulled back just enough to kiss him then responded against his lips, “Hi.”
Levi pulled back after a modest amount of time, “Come on, let’s get of this damn platform.”
Hand in hand, they moved away. Levi insisted on taking Eren’s trunk and led him toward his car.
Once settled into the car and driving away toward Levi’s apartment, Eren started talking, “How’s working for the Ministry?”
“A lot like school, actually. Lots of paperwork with occasional practical application.”
Eren smirked, “And how’s having Erwin as your boss?”
At this, Levi scowled, “Technically, he’s not my boss, directly. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t lord it over me at any possible chance. Speaking of, though, I have something to ask you.”
Eren turned to look at Levi, focused on driving, “Shoot.”
“Every year the Ministry does this massive Christmas party and this year it’s on Saturday. Would you like to come with me?”
When Eren didn’t answer for a moment, Levi’s eyes flicked over to look at him. He allowed himself a smile at the dopey expression Eren donned. Finally, Eren found his voice, “Of course! That would be great!” He frowned, “I don’t have any dress robes though.”
“I don’t either. We can go to Diagon Alley tomorrow and get some. My treat.”
“You don’t have to do that, I can buy my own robes.”
Levi’s hand moved from the gear shift to cover Eren’s where it rested on his lap, “I want to. If it makes you feel better, it can be part of your Christmas gift.”
Eren made a face, but didn’t protest anymore.
“How do I look?” Eren asked when he came out of the bathroom, still twisting himself to try to see how the robes looked on him.
Levi glanced up at him and had to control his breathing. “Wow.”
Eren’s eyes widened and cheeks reddened at the sudden attention Levi gave him. “Um…” he started.
The sound managed to shake Levi from his reverie, “You look great, all set?” Levi stood and held out his arm.
Eren nodded and took the offered arm.
The building Levi lived in was essentially it’s own little magical community. The lobby contained a public fireplace with a small pot of floo powder for magical travel. Eren had already used it earlier in the week when they went to diagon alley, and now they’d use it to get to the Ministry. Usually, the Floo Network entrance is only for Ministry employees, but for the party, the rules had been relaxed to allow their guests as well.
Levi sent Eren through first. When he arrived in the Ministry atrium, he looked around at the huge room, decked out in holiday decorations. The ceiling had falling snow, similarly to the Great Hall in Hogwarts, and garlands and tinsel and colourful lights littered the room tastefully.
Moments later, Levi appeared next to Eren, having made it through the fireplace as well. “Fuck, it looks like someone shat Christmas all over this place. I bet it was Mike’s idea.”
Eren raised an eyebrow at him, “Mike?”
With a deadpan expression Levi looked into Eren’s eyes, “You may have been on the house team with him for four years, but you don’t know a man until you give him control over something big. Mike works under Erwin as his Senior Undersecretary. Basically, anything Erwin can’t be bothered with, Mike does. Decorations for this included.”
Eren stifled a giggle behind his hand as Levi started walking off toward the other party guests. The barely made it into the thick of the crowd before a familiar face came barreling toward them.
“Eren!” Hanji called as they threw their arms around him, “So good to see you again. I hope you’re keeping up with your studies.”
“Yeah, not much left.” Eren said, taking a step back in an effort to put a little distance between himself and the overly exuberant person.
Hanji’s attention turns to Levi, “Glad you came out, Levi. We we’re wondering if you’d bother, but it’s obvious now why you did.”
“Go bother someone else, four eyes.”
“Awww, what if I want to talk to Eren?”
Levi levels them with a hard glare then turns to Eren, “Eren, do you want to talk to this disturber of the peace?”
Eren looked between them with wide eyes, “I-um…”
He’s cut off by Hanji raising their hands in surrender, “Oh, don’t make him uncomfortable, Levi. I’ll go. Have fun, you too!” They spin around and quickly got lost in the crowd of guests.
“Well that was significantly less painful than it could have been.”
Eren smirked up at Levi, “I thought you liked Hanji.”
The comment earned him narrowed eyes glaring at him, “Tolerate is a better word.”
“Hmmm. Where do they work, anyway? They aren’t an auror, right?”
Levi actually laughed at that, “Fuck no. They work in the Department of Mysteries, locked away downstairs cackling so the whole fucking building can hear. They get to do all sorts of experiments all the time. They’re thrilled.”
“I can imagine.”
They stood there somewhat awkwardly until Levi asked if Eren was hungry. Eren turned down food, but suggested drinks instead. After they’d both gotten a cup of pumpkin juice, Petra called out to them.
“Hey, Eren! How’s school going?”
Eren smiled, glad to see Petra again, “Busy. If I’m not in class, I’m studying. How’s life as an auror?”
Her eyes sparkled, “A bit more paperwork than expected, but otherwise it’s great. You’re planning to join on when you finish this year, right?” Eren nodded, “Good. I think you’ll fit in perfectly.”
Levi’s hand found Eren’s and squeezed in agreement. Eren beamed with pride.
Just then, Erwin strode up to their group, “Well, well. If it isn’t my best seeker. Winning the cup this year, I hope?”
Eren blushed, “With Mikasa as captain, we’ve been doing pretty well for ourselves. Hufflepuff got a new seeker last year that’s pretty tough, though.” He paused a moment, then remembered, “Oh! Armin wanted to congratulate you on your appointment as Minister.”
Erwin flashed a modest smile, “Tell him thank you. It’s good to hear the team is doing well. Nice that I’ve left it in such capable hands. I hear you’re looking to join the aurors when you finish school.”
“Yeah, that’s the plan. I need to get through my NEWTs first, though.”
“I’m sure you’ll do fine. Oh, Levi,” Levi, until then content to be ignored, turns his attention to Erwin, indicating he’s listening, “There’s a new assignment on your desk, but it can wait until after the holidays.” He glances around the group, “Well, I have plenty more people to say hello to. It was nice to see you again, Eren. Good luck on exams.”
They wave after him as he parts.
The rest of the party continues much like this, with several people Eren had known in school coming to say hello and ask after his studies and his plans for after school. Levi seemed relieved that most of the attention was being directed toward Eren rather than himself.
Near the end of the evening, the couple was dancing aimlessly around the dance floor.
“This was a lot of fun, thank you for bringing me,” Eren mused as he swayed with Levi to the slow beat of the music.
Levi leaned his head on Eren’s shoulder, “I’m glad you had fun. It was much less awful than it could have been with you here.”
“Gosh, I feel so loved.”
The older boy looked up at that, “You are. Loved, I mean.”
The briefest moment of panic flashed across Eren’s face, but then he smiled softly, “I love you, too.”
Eren’s eyes cracked open to a room lit by the soft pre-dawn light. Pressure on his chest made him squirm slightly until he realised it was an arm. Levi’s arm. He was in Levi’s apartment. What day is it? He hoped it wasn’t time to go back to school yet, he was enjoying this moment far too much.
Then it hit him.
It was Christmas.
His eyes widened slightly and any lingering drowsiness vanished immediately. He rolled carefully so he was facing Levi, then pressed a soft kiss to his lips. A deep sound from the back of Levi’s throat protested being woken up, but when Eren pressed another kiss to his lips, he was met with response. “Guess what.” Levi just made a low hum that Eren took as a sign to continue. Eren’s left hand reached over and pulled Levi into his chest and he kissed his forehead, “Happy Birthday.”
“I’ll write,” Eren promised as they said their final goodbyes on the platform at King’s Cross Station.
“Good, good luck on your exams. I’ll see you soon.” Levi kissed him hard and fast. “Now go, you’ll miss the train.”
Eren started walking off but stopped and turned back. He retraced the few steps he had taken away quickly and leaned down to kiss Levi again, “I love you.”
“I love you, too, you idiot. Get on the train.”
He smiled, then turned back and ran to get on the train before it rolled away from the platform.
Something has come up at work, I won’t be able to come to the station to pick you up. I promise I’ll see you soon. Good luck on your exams.
The train ride home seemed longer this time around. Maybe it was because it was his last trip on the Hogwarts Express. Maybe it was the tense atmosphere in the compartment he shared with Mikasa and Armin. Maybe it was the fact that he was disappointed Levi wouldn’t be at the platform waiting when he arrived at the station.
Whatever it was, the train still came to a halt.
They gathered their things and made their way off the train. It wasn’t slow but it wasn’t fast either. It was like there was a sort of suspension, like time didn’t really work right.
The platform was crowded as always, families reuniting with students littering the station. For most, the year just marked another summer break, at the end of which they’d return back to the Hogwarts castle for another year of school. But for some, like the trio absently looking for their families, this was the last homecoming they’d have.
Armin spotted his grandfather first and bid Mikasa and Eren farewell with a hug and a ‘see you soon.’ A few minutes later, Mikasa tugged at Eren’s shirt toward where she had spotted their parents. They approach, Carla wearing a proud smile and Grisha with his lips turned up in his own subtle pride.
“I’m so proud of you two,” Carla said as they came within hugging distance. To prove it, she wrapped them both in a hug at the same time, holding them close, “My babies, all grown up. What am I going to do with you now?”
Grisha placed a hand to her back, “Now now, Carla. Let them breathe.”
She released them from the hug and they both smiled at her. Then Carla and Grisha exchanged a private look and Carla whispered something in Mikasa’s ear. Her eyes widened fractionally and she nodded. Carla turned to Eren, “Eren, dear, I’m sure you two are hungry. I saw a trolley around here somewhere, take some money and get you and your sister something? We’ll handle your things. Meet us by the pillar when you’re finished.” She handed him some coins and they parted, Eren looking confusedly after them.
He shrugged and went off in search of the snack trolley.
He searched around for several minutes, no trolley in sight, when there was a tap on his shoulder. He turned his head, already coming up with an apology for whatever he must have done, when there were lips against his. He almost pushed away, until his mind caught up with what was happening. It was the smell that really stopped him. His nostrils were filled with the scent of fresh soap and faint spearmint.
A scent that was decidedly Levi.
When they parted Eren looked at him in shock, “I thought you couldn’t come today.”
“I rearranged a few things. Anyway, I had to give you this.” He held out an envelope with elegant red script emblazoned with his name on the front. Eren cocked his head in question as he took the envelope and flipped it over. It was sealed with a ministry seal. He stared down at it a few seconds before breaking the seal and ripping the envelope open.
The letter inside was fairly brief, but it took him a few minutes to read through it, and when he finished, he read through it twice more. Then he looked back at Levi, “This is… I’m going to be an auror?”
Levi smirked, “That’s what you wanted, right?”
A beat passed in which Eren continued staring blankly, but then he smiled and threw his arms around Levi, “Yes! Thank you!”
“I’m just the messenger, no need to thank me. Unless, of course, you’re looking for a place to live. Because then I could help you out.”
Eren pulled back a step, “Are you asking me to move in with you?”
Suddenly, Levi looked away and his fingers tapped at his leg. Eren could even see a faint blush creep up on his cheeks, “Only if you want to.”
“Of course I do! I just need to… Oh crap. I was supposed to meet with my family after I bought snacks. They’re probably wondering where I am.”
Eren started stalking off, but Levi grabbed his wrist before he could get too far, “Don’t worry, they’re not waiting. I told them I’d be here.”
He frowned, “I should at least give my mom back her money.”
Levi just stared at him, “You’re serious,” he deadpans. “I’m sure you can return it with interest another time, but they’re likely to be long gone by now.”
A few moments of silence passed, “I’m really going to come live with you? That’s really happening?”
Levi held out his hand, “Seeing is believing.”