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When Armin makes his way down to Eren’s prison cell, heart beating fast and head thrumming with nerves, he isn’t sure what to expect. 

He has plans, of course; he is always planning, after all, not sure of what else he could do with his time besides train and lament on a childhood long lost. The plans, however, range from a teary argument to a terse conversation to a reunion long awaited. 

He isn’t sure which one he can handle.

Now, he stands a few feet from where his best friend and the love of his life is imprisoned, the keys to the cell burning a hole in his pocket; Commander Hange’s tired smirk is a ghost at the back of his mind, reminding him that, of all that was gained in their trip to Marley, there was still so much that was lost.

Armin is lucky that he hasn’t lost him.

“Eren?”

Slow shuffling sounds from inside the cell, and only then does Armin step closer to stand directly in front, eyes cast downward.

“Armin?”

At that, he looks up, breath catching in his throat. Eren is a sight to behold: green eyes intense and piercing, hair hastily tied back, water trickling down the planes of his chest, jeans hanging low on his hips. He looms above Armin, the difference in their height more pronounced than it ever had been in the past.

“It’s good to see you again,” Armin says, biting his lip and bracing himself against the sudden tangle of emotions clawing their way into his chest. He thought that he had been ready to face Eren again after so long, but it is clear now that nothing could have ever prepared him for the wave of longing, hurt, lust, and love threatening to suffocate him entirely.

Eren laughs with no real humor, placing an arm casually above his head and leaning against the bars. “Guess I could say the same.” His eyes rove from Armin’s face and down his body, lingering for a moment at the strips of skin not covered by Armin’s heavy coat and collared shirt.

Heat floods Armin’s body, and self-consciously he plays with his hair and adjusts his collar, wondering if any of it is out of place. He has had many months to get used to the air tickling against his bare neck, but now he wishes he could hide the flush creeping across his skin with a curtain of hair. 

“I’ve missed you,” Armin bites out, just barely managing to stop his voice from cracking. “You didn’t… you didn’t have to leave us so quickly, you know.”

Eren is silent for several long moments, and Armin briefly considers turning away, walking back up to the surface and into the barracks. He didn’t need to visit. It is probably a bad idea to get too familiar with a wanted international criminal, after all, even if he is his childhood best friend and (former?) lover.

Before Armin can take more than one step away, though, he feels Eren’s hand wrap around his wrist.

“I missed you too,” Eren replies, quietly, hurriedly, as if it’s a secret, as if there’s anyone else around to hear. His hold on Armin’s wrist tightens.

When Armin looks into Eren’s eyes, he is surprised by what he sees. Gone is the cold indifference from their flight back; there is a vulnerability there, a smothered hurt, the embers of a love that has always shone true. Armin isn’t sure what Eren sees in his eyes, but he hopes that their shared gaze is enough, just as it always has been, to say what they mean without wasting breath.

This is an indulgence he can afford himself, Armin decides. 

He brushes his fingers lightly through the space between the bars and against the warm skin of Eren’s navel, just barely above the waistband of his jeans. 

Inhaling sharply through his nose and pressing himself closer, Eren says, “It’s been a while.”

Armin sinks to his knees and pulls down the zipper, carefully tugging the denim down just enough so that the tent in Eren’s boxers is visible, the harsh press of concrete against his knees grounding him to the reality of the situation. 

He shouldn’t be doing this. The area around the cell is empty now, but there’s no telling when Hange might send someone to check on him—or even come down to find him themselves. It’s inappropriate. What he’s about to do—what they will no doubt end up doing —is not meant to happen between bars in a dingy prison cell underneath the barracks while Armin is technically on duty.

Eren’s fingers thread lightly through the hairs at the top of Armin’s head, sending shivers racing down his spine.

Fuck it.

Armin tugs down the cloth and takes Eren into his mouth.

Eren chokes off a groan, bucking his hips reflexively. “Fuck,” he breathes, coaxing the blond’s head further down. “You didn’t forget anything, did you?”

Blushing, Armin hums an affirmative, bracing one hand against the lean muscle of Eren’s thigh and the other against himself, embarrassed by how quickly he had been affected by the roughness of Eren’s voice. He finds a rhythm quickly, tightening his lips and sucking, tears pricking at the edges of his vision as he feels the blunt end of Eren’s cock hit the back of his throat. 

When he looks up, the dull ache in his core intensifies. Eren, eyes closed, is biting his lip, one hand tangling in Armin’s hair, the other gripping onto the bars of his cell so tightly that the knuckles are white. The flush in his face extends down to his chest, and Armin wants so strongly that it hurts.

Likely noticing the pause in Armin’s movements, Eren opens his eyes and peers down, panting. “I want to fuck you so bad,” he growls, fingers tightening in Armin’s hair. “Wish they’d let me out of here. First thing I’d do…” 

Armin shifts, and the press of thin metal against his hip reminds him that he is not powerless in this.

Slowly, teasingly, Armin drags his mouth from Eren’s cock. Wiping his mouth and standing up, he reaches into his pocket and procures the key, holding it up so Eren can see. 

“I can’t let you out,” Armin says, turning the key in the lock and pushing the door open, “but I can—”

He is barely in the cell when Eren slams him against the wall and kisses him roughly, bodies flush against each other with no room to breathe. Eren’s grip on his hips is bruising, and the pressure of Eren’s cock against his own makes him lightheaded, the tingling pleasure nearly too much after months and months of nothing.

His heavy coat is quickly discarded, and Eren separates from him briefly to hastily undo the first few buttons of his shirt. He hurries to push his pants down, only managing to get them down to his ankles before he is pulled into another desperate, searing kiss.

“How do you...?” Eren manages to gasp out, eyelids fluttering, and Armin, overcome by the force of his feelings for the other man, has to turn away. 

He chooses instead to face the bars of the cell, the ones that had, just moments earlier, separated him from Eren. He braces himself against them, warm fingers curling around cool metal, and arches his back.

“The… it’s in the back pocket of my coat,” Armin says, too ashamed to say anything more and knowing that Eren will get the hint. 

Privately, Armin sends a silent thank you to the Commander for having the foresight to tell him to come “prepared” to meet Eren.

For all their time apart, Eren knows exactly what to do; it is the work of a few minutes before Armin feels the familiar press of a slick, calloused finger against him and in him, and he gasps. 

The sensation, though not new, stings. 

Gripping the bars tighter, Armin wonders what he must look like, bent over and flushed, shirt halfway unbuttoned and pants bunching around his ankles; he remembers seeing Eren through the bars, eyes a dark smolder and chest flushed and sweaty, and he whimpers, pressing back against the feel of two more fingers. 

Eren doesn’t waste any time before dipping down and attaching his lips to the elegant curve of Armin’s neck; he sucks, hard, and scrapes his teeth lightly over the juncture where Armin’s neck meets his collar bones. Overwhelmed, Armin moans, holding onto the bars so feverishly that his nails leave indents in his palms. 

“You’ve always been a little loud,” Eren murmurs against his shoulder blades. “Not afraid you’ll alert the guards?”

Armin had been afraid, definitely, had known it was an exceedingly terrible idea to start something in a place that had no guarantee of privacy—but with Eren’s fingers curling inside him just so, Eren’s lips biting purpling marks against his skin (marks that would probably last for as long as he’d let them), he can’t bring himself to care.

“Hange knows I’m here, so they probably won’t send anyone else down,” he pants, releasing his hold on one bar to snake a hand down his body toward his cock. “We just can’t—”

The fingers twist inside him, a touch harshly, angrily, and he pauses his movements to choke back a stuttering moan. 

“Don’t touch yourself yet,” Eren commands, voice nearly a growl. He punctuates his point with a nip to Armin’s shoulder and a wider spreading of his fingers. “Or are you in a hurry?”

Close to breathless and entire body tingling with coiling pleasure, Armin manages to snark, tone relatively even for the circumstances, “Sorry if I seem a little impatient.” He returns his hand to the bar and grinds backward. “As you said earlier, it’s been quite a while.”

Peeling off the rest of Armin’s shirt with one hand, Eren snorts and removes his fingers. Armin just barely stops himself from whining at the loss before the tip of Eren’s cock enters him, and he cries out, the slow, languid stretch clouding his mind and pulling the air right from his lungs.

For all of the annoyance Eren had seemed to exude earlier, he goes slowly, carefully, making sure not to hurt Armin in ways that would be uncomfortable instead of welcome. 

The tenderness of Eren’s actions and the relentless pressure of Eren on him and in him together make his heart clench painfully, the sheer magnitude of his love for this man almost scaring him in its ferocity. 

He shifts his hips back against Eren, urging him farther along, and they groan in tandem when he bottoms out, as closely connected as the two of them can possibly be.

Only then does Eren drift a hand down to Armin’s front, hand loosely coming to clasp around the base of his erection, teasing the tip with the slick pads of his fingers. Eren’s other hand is still holding his hip in place with a strength that Armin hopes is blooming into purples and reds on his flesh, marks that he could easily heal but never will.

Without warning, Eren pulls out and pushes right back in, faster this time, the force of it making Armin’s knees buckle.

They settle for a moderate pace, not quite as quick as they normally both like it but appropriate for a reunion long-awaited. Eren’s lips and tongue and teeth wander aimlessly across the smooth expanse of Armin’s back, leaving searing heat in their wake.

The metal is no longer cold in Armin’s hands; he struggles to get a strong grip of it, sweat loosening his hold of the bars. His legs shake with the force of Eren’s thrusts, thighs and calves tensing in the effort of keeping him upright. 

Eren’s lips abandon their trek of his spine and find themselves at the sensitive skin at the top of his neck, right underneath his ear, and he relishes in the electric feel of Eren’s chiseled front brushing against the overheated skin of his back.

Head spinning, barely aware of the litany of sounds escaping his mouth, Armin blinks back tears, unsure of when they had formed in his eyes. He wills himself to stop; there is no reason to cry. 

(He hasn’t allowed himself to cry in so long.)

Eren’s hand leaves his cock and winds around the column of his neck, fingers pressing lightly against the curve of his jaw. The fingers continue upward, prodding at his plush lips, and Armin takes the fingers in his mouth and sucks, grateful for a way to stop the sounds tumbling from his mouth as Eren speeds up his thrusts.

The fingers leave Armin’s mouth and gently grab at his chin, coaxing him to turn his head to the side. His eyes, rimmed red from the tears trailing down his face, immediately catch Eren’s, whose pupils are so dilated that the green is barely visible. There are thin indents of red beginning to form underneath, power crackling from their edges—titan marks, Armin realizes belatedly, and he wonders if his marks are starting to form as well.

Cheeks flushed with color and brows twisting in confusion, Eren groans out, “Are you crying?” 

Before Armin can come back to his senses enough to provide a plausible lie, Eren pulls out and says, “Turn around.”

Arms shaking, Armin releases his grip on the bars, his palms red, and turns around to face Eren, kicking off the rest of his pants in the process. He stands, completely bare save for the darkening marks littering his skin, for all of two seconds before he is pressed up and against the walls of the cell, Eren entering him again roughly.

His wordless cry is cut off by the ardent press of Eren’s lips against his. They kiss feverishly, as if the only air they can breathe are the gasps and moans stolen from one another. Armin winds his legs around Eren’s waist and digs his nails into the hard flesh of Eren’s back, corded muscle giving way to bloodied scratches.

Eren is beautiful. Stray strands of hair frame his face and sweat drips down the curve of his brow, following the path carved by the edges of his cheekbones and jaw. The muscles of his arms are tense, straining under the effort of holding Armin firmly against the wall. Armin brings one hand away from Eren’s back to run across the defined musculature of his front; his nails scratch tauntingly across Eren’s chest, catching briefly on a taut nipple, and Eren groans brokenly, biting his lip.

“I missed you so much, Eren,” Armin stutters out, words just above a strangled whisper. “This… this is the last time… the last time you’re going to leave, right?”

Eren doesn’t reply, but the crease in his brow deepens. Pain curls around Armin’s heart.

“Do I still mean anything to you?” he asks, nails sinking further into Eren’s flesh. 

“Of course you do,” Eren replies huskily, gritting his teeth and snapping his hips up. “I… I care a lot about you, Armin.” 

As if to prove his point, he bends down again to bite eagerly at the skin of Armin’s throat, already awash with blooming bruises and bites. He pulls them ever so closer; there is barely any space between their bodies, and Armin’s neglected cock rubs against the skin of his stomach, prompting a needy moan from Armin’s throat.

“You left us—me—for a long time,” Armin pants back, feeling the familiar moisture of tears forming at the edges of his vision once more. “You’re going to have say and do a lot more to prove it.”

In lieu of an answer, Eren captures Armin’s lips in another kiss, inviting him to engage in a wordless exchange. Armin gets the message: there will be time for them to talk later. For now, the only conversation they need is one filled with shuddering gasps and heady groans and the mindless slap of skin against skin.

As Eren continues his punishing pace, a familiar intoxicating pull coils and winds up low in Armin’s belly. He has half a mind to whimper out, “Eren, I’m, I’m so close—”

Eren smirks and releases one hand from Armin's hip, bringing it instead to the base of Armin's cock and tugging.

Throwing his head back, Armin whines and comes in the same breath, vision briefly going white. He feels himself clench around Eren’s cock, still buried deep inside him, and he hears Eren swear loudly, all the while fucking him through the indescribable waves of pleasure wracking his body.

Eren finishes just as Armin begins to drift down from his high; Eren curses again, loudly, voice gravelly and thick, and clamps his teeth down on the flushed skin of Armin’s shoulder. Armin shivers, completely spent and oversensitive, as he feels the heat of Eren’s release inside him, the sensation luring another breathy whine from his throat.

Eventually, their breaths begin to calm, and Armin disentangles his arms and legs from around Eren’s torso. Eren, arms quivering, sets him down on the floor gently, and he grips onto Eren’s biceps for a few seconds so he can find his balance, feeling having not quite returned to his legs. 

Basking in the afterglow, Armin rakes his eyes appreciatively over the red scratches spanning over the muscles of Eren’s torso and arms, knowing that there are matching marks on Eren’s back. He decides that Eren’s skin is not darkened enough for his liking, and he tilts his head upward to suck a mark at the curves of Eren’s jaw. 

Armin feels wetness trickle down the tender skin of his thighs, and he knows that he must look like a mess, hair mussed and skin fully marked; there is no way that he will be able to put his clothes back on as immaculately as they had been earlier. Cheeks blotchy with blush, he wonders if Eren will put on a shirt and heal, or if he will choose to display the superficial wounds before any people who may decide to visit.

He knows then that they have likely already used up their limited time together. 

“We should get cleaned up,” he mumbles into the kisses he is peppering on Eren’s collar. “Hange will probably be checking up on us soon.”

He feels Eren nodding against the top of his head and Eren’s fingers coming to rest possessively around the jut of his hip bones. Affection ignites in his chest, masking the heavy exhaustion threatening to weigh down his bones. They stand, almost leaning on each other, wrapped up in their shared warmth, until their heartbeats settle down into near-perfect synchrony. 

When Armin pulls away, he is startled by the soft intensity he sees in Eren’s face, the way Eren’s mouth curves slightly in a soft, genuine smile he hasn’t been privy to in a long, long time. 

He cannot stop the words that spill over. “I love you.”

Eren blinks, and the pained look in his eyes returns, the minute pinch around his brows and the tense set to his jaw snapping back into place as if they had never left. Still, though, he says, “I love you too.”

Releasing a breath he didn’t know he had been holding, Armin smiles and cups the side Eren’s face, leading him back down into a slow, sweet kiss.

Whatever has been ailing Eren for months, years even, is still there. The problems between them that they have always been too scared to address, too frightened to examine and pick apart, still lurk in behind the darkness of their closed eyelids and in the lingering sadness of their desperate coupling. Armin isn’t sure he knows how to help, and he isn’t sure if he even can.

But Eren loves him, and he loves Eren back, and that will have to be enough.