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Christmas Party

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It had been three days since the fateful office Christmas party where Levi had made what he considered the biggest mistake of his life.

The days leading up to the christmas party had been stressful, their company bombarded with almost twice as much as work as usual due to the Christmas rush, everyone’s nerves were on their last strand. It wasn’t uncommon to find a co-worker passed out on their desk, waking them up would be considered almost dangerous given how on edge everyone is. Levi himself had a paperwork equal in size to the one on his desk at home, and more in his bag, the tell tale bags under his eyes giving away how little sleep he had gotten. Not only that but as far as Levi could tell the other co-owner had half the amount of work as him, either that or the blond bastard had somehow figured out how to get through it quicker. It annoyed Levi, seeing the co-owner he had never asked for leave empty handed during the busiest day of the year.

Levi had expected to inherit the company alone, his uncle just about ready to hand it over to him no questions asked until he made a mysterious business partner and before he knew it, Levi was preparing to share the company with the son of a man he knew next to nothing about. He had been bitter about it at first, outright ignoring the tall blonde and going about his own business without any trouble. Maybe he should have kept it that way because every time he talked to the blond he was just aggravated.

How Erwin managed to get everything done faster and better than Levi, he managed to always make Levi look lazy and incapable. Levi hated it. But more than anything, Levi hated how goddamn nice he was, all smiles and polite greetings. There was no way that was genuine. It drove the raven haired man insane. Being buried in paperwork didn’t help to lift his aggravated mood towards his blond “partner” as the work world called it. If anything, seeing the blond as he left the office every day only made the holidays worse.

“Another long night?” A voice snapped Levi from his thoughts, the raven haired man looking up at the usually perky brunette who stood in the doorway. They weren’t perky now, instead the bags under their eyes rivaled Levi’s own.

“When haven’t I had a long night lately?” He responded with a rhetorical question, turning back to the paperwork that he had neglected while lost in thought about the blond that frustrated him so much.

“Well you know you have your break soon, and don’t forget the Christmas party this friday.” Hanji reminded their superior, knowing that the shorter man was not really planning to go, but he had to. As head of the company he had to make an appearance. Levi nodded, not even looking at Hanji anymore as he was once again immersed in his work.

“Of course. You know I don’t have an option. Is there anything else? I’m really busy.” Hanji shook their head no, leaving his office with a wave, they already had an idea.

How that idea would pan out was yet to be seen.

Three days later Levi found himself dressed in the suit he only reserved for this occasion every year. Hanji always claimed he should wear it more often but Levi didn't see the point, he only really needed to be dressed up if there was a chance of his picture being taken, which wasn't too often. He adjusted his tie for the last time before turning away from the mirror and heading to his car.

The entire car ride, Levi’s mind was distracted, non stop thinking about not only how much he disliked large gatherings but who he would have to see there, namely his co-owner Erwin. It wasn’t that he truly hated the man, but he frustrated Levi. He was too perfect and more than anything he didn’t even have to try from what Levi had seen. He wanted to find cracks in that facade. It was impossible for anyone to be as perfect as Erwin Smith was.

Pulling into the underground parking of his office building Levi parked his car in the spot reserved for him, the spot next to his still empty. Erwin hadn’t arrived yet.

Now if Levi had really thought about it, maybe he was a bit too focused on Erwin. Not that he would notice. Wasn’t it normal to have a rival? Someone you just couldn’t stand to be around? Of course it was, especially in the business world. There was nothing weird about Levi’s fixation on someone so close to him. Locking the doors to his car, Levi walked inside the office building he half owned.

It was a simple office party, maybe a picture or two taken but Levi doubted anyone would notice if he slipped away in the middle to spend the rest of the night in his office. He never was a fan of parties after all.

“Levi! You actually came!” Hanji almost tackled the shorter man in what they considered a hug, startling Levi out of his thoughts.

“Of course I came. I have to.” He muttered as he pushed them off. “You look nice tonight, well except for that shit eating grin.” Levi said as he glanced Hanji up and down.

“Aw thank you! That’s a compliment right?” They teased, turning and taking Levi’s hand in theirs as Hanji dragged him into the room. The room was large, mostly reserved for large gatherings and parties, the christmas party the biggest of the year. The room was filled with tables, each table surrounded by chairs, for a second Levi had forgotten just how many employees he had, but looking around this room he couldn’t forget. Which is when he remembered that these people would probably expect him to speak to them, talk and socialize. Levi’s plan of slipping away might not even be possible if surrounded by all the ass-kissers hoping for a bigger raise.

The grip Hanji had on his arm said the same thing, no escaping away this time.

Levi sighed, watching as more and more employees showed up, the seats filling based on the arrangement that had been made, probably by that blond bastard Erwin trying to control everything. He found his seat, near the front of course as was customary, his eyes trained on the door, watching the many employees pour in, mingling as if they didn’t see each other every day. Levi turned to Hanji who sat beside him.

“How long do I have to be here again?” He muttered to the brunette.

“Until it’s over! You skip out on every other event, just get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy yourself.” They responded, calling a waiter over when they saw the scowl on Levi’s face. “Excuse me waiter! Two glasses of wine please.” They asked with a wide smile.

“Wine already?” Levi asked with a sigh, the least he could do was try to enjoy himself, alcohol was sure to help.

“Make that three.” A voice from behind Levi said with a smile, Levi’s head whipped around, staring up at the blonde that stood behind his chair. Of course. Levi hadn’t realized that he would end up seated with the blonde. That glass of wine had better come quick.

***

Erwin had been running a bit late, his nerves a bit on haywire after having finally finished all that work that had been left for him. He had wanted it all done before the break and luckily a few all nighters had done it. Maybe a nap before an office party wasn’t the smartest but Erwin wanted to be his best tonight.

Perhaps if only to impress the man who was supposedly his business partner but had been ignoring him no matter how hard Erwin tried. He wanted Levi to notice him. Hence why he had made sure he was seated next to the raven at the banquet, he couldn’t ignore Erwin for the whole night.

Maybe he should have set an alarm but Erwin hadn’t woken up from his nap with nearly enough time. He had hoped to meet Levi in the parking garage, walk inside with him and maybe he could figure out what he had done wrong to piss off the shorter man. Instead he had woken up to realize the party had probably already started. Rushing to put on his best suit Erwin grabbed his phone from where it had been charging and left, locking the door behind him.

He had probably broken a few speeding laws but Erwin didn’t care. He couldn’t be late. That might ruin the perfect image he had built up in an attempt to impress Levi. Erwin sighed when he saw Levi’s car in the spot next to the one reserved for him, the raven was already there. He parked before heading up the banquet hall, stopping in a bathroom to make sure he still looked put together and entered the hall. He spotted Levi immediately and headed over just in time to hear Hanji order a couple glasses of wine.

“Make that three.” He said, glancing down at Levi who was seated. The raven haired man looked nice tonight, Erwin wished he got to see Levi dressed up more often. He sat in the chair reserved for him next to Levi and gave the shorter man a smile.

“I apologize for my late arrival.” Erwin paused when he thought he heard the raven mutter something under his breath.

“It’s about time you weren’t perfect.” is what it sounded like, something that sent a small spike of worry through Erwin. Was his facade really so off putting to Levi? Had Erwin made a tactical mistake by working double time to impress Levi? He had figured the shorter man would be impressed and want to spend more time with Erwin, but maybe it had had the opposite effect. He couldn’t worry about that now. He had to make sure this night was perfect so Levi would finally notice how hard Erwin had been working. He looked up to see the waiter returning with the three glasses of wine, thanking the man as they were set down in front of the three of them. He lifted his glass of wine, taking a sip of the rich liquid.

“What was that Levi?” Erwin asked after setting his glass down, raising an eyebrow at the shorter man.

“Nothing.” Levi replied with a grunt, sipping more of his wine, half downing the glass before he set it down. He looked awkward in this large crowded room, maybe Erwin should’ve tried to be friendly at a smaller venue. It was too late to change his plans yet though.

“I was sure you had said something Levi.”

“It wasn’t important.” Clearly Levi was not in the mood to talk so Erwin dropped it. He glanced around the room, for once not sure of how to proceed.

“Isn’t the workload we get around this time of year astounding?” A pitiful attempt at small talk.

“It’s bullshit.” An even more pitiful response. This wasn’t going well. But Erwin was never one to give up.

“I can take some of yours if you’d like, to lighten your load.” He offered, watching Levi’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

“Oh you can? You might as well take it all while you’re at it.” Erwin could sense a hostile tone and honestly did not understand. Had he asked something wrong? They were both qualified to do the same work. He wanted to help if nothing else. Levi’s hostility was an enigma to Erwin.

“I was just offering my assistance. I can tell that you’re tired Levi.”

***

The rest of the night was spent in the same sort of fashion, the tension between the two almost thick enough to cut, and the alcohol being drank maybe a bit faster than it should have in a feeble attempt to lower that tension. Erwin honestly, was at a loss. He hadn’t expected it to go like this and he had always been better at planning things out beforehand, not so much with thinking on the spot.

Others were mingling, talking, and occasionally a young employee desperate for a raise would attempt to approach the table Erwin and Levi sat at, only to turn away when sensing the tension that sat there. Even Hanji was a bit offput by the unspoken dislike in the area surrounding their table near the front, awkwardly trying to start up a conversation every few minutes only to let it die down again.

It was nearing the end of the office party when Levi stood abruptly from the table, muttering something about having to get out of this stifling crowded room. He swayed only for a second before steadying himself enough to walk out towards his office. Which is when Erwin had an idea. He had to ask Levi, and he knew the man was avoiding him normally, but he had to know what he had done to make him so hostile. So he stood as well, as soon as Levi had left the room and gave Hanji a slight smile.

“I think I’ve had a bit too much to drink, I’ll just take a walk to clear my head.” He half-lied, not exactly untruthful in his statement. Then he left, through the same doors Levi had and glanced around the hallway looking for him. Hanji watched Erwin leave with curiosity, wondering what exactly would be going on.

Erwin found Levi, sitting at his desk in his office with his head in his hands.

“What the fuck do you want?”

“I wanted to make sure you were okay.” Erwin took a seat on one of the couches in Levi’s office, a bit surprised when Levi reached under his desk and pulled out a pair of tumbler glasses.

“Mini fridge under my desk.” Was all Levi said as he pulled out a bottle of scotch, pouring it into the two glasses.

“Now tell me why you’re really here.” He grunted, pushing one of the glasses towards Erwin who took it.

“I told you. You left suddenly and I wanted to make sure you’re okay.” Erwin repeated, keeping his other motive to himself for now. But Levi just shook his head, taking a sip from his glass.

“Bullshit. Since when did you care?” He replied, staring at Erwin with an expression that was hard to describe. Erwin let out a sigh.

“Why do you hate me?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Levi snorted, “You try too hard, who the fuck are you trying to impress anyway?” He asked, taking another few sips of his scotch glass. Levi wouldn’t admit it but he was figuring he had probably drank too much already at this point, but if Erwin was having him cornered in his office he would need it. Erwin seemed to pause at that answer, stunned momentarily before he let out a laugh, head thrown back as he laughed harder, setting down his glass of scotch when he had stopped, only letting out a few chuckles now.

“You. I’m trying to impress you.” Erwin wasn’t sure how much of that was the alcohol speaking and how much was him actually wanting to say that, but it wasn’t a lie.

“Me? Why the ever-loving fuck would you want to impress me?” Levi raised an eyebrow and let out a snort of laughter. The whole situation was kind of funny if he thought about it. Erwin had successfully pissed off Levi in an attempt to impress him? How pathetic. But interesting all the same. Was Erwin seriously so interested in him to try so hard to appear perfect? It sounded like a bad romance novel to Levi. But maybe what Erwin said next made Levi question if he had indeed been transported into a bad romance novel.

“Because I like you obviously.” Erwin stated bluntly, figuring he might as well put it all out there while he had the chance.

“You aren’t half bad either.” Levi stated bluntly, opening the bottle of scotch again and pouring himself some more. “You gonna finish your glass?”

Erwin stared at Levi in what could only be surprise. Just a minute ago Levi was going on and on about how much he hated him, and now he wasn’t half bad? That sounded hypocritical, but Erwin would take it.

“You shouldn’t be having too much more.” He said, picking up his glass before Levi could snatch it. He had a feeling he would have to take the bottle soon before Levi ended up with alcohol poisoning. Not that he minded having to take care of the raven.

“Shut up. I can handle my alcohol.” Levi responded, setting his glass down and leaning forward with his elbows on his desk. “So tell me, has this perfect act been all for me this entire time? Years Erwin? That’s a tad unbelievable.”

“Did you actually think I was perfect without trying?” Erwin retaliated, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees to mimic Levi’s posture. Maybe both of them were a bit too drunk to be talking about feelings and acts that had been put up but Erwin just hoped Levi didn’t forget this by morning, he had already spent too long trying to get him to talk to him.

Levi just snorted, choosing not to answer and instead turning to glance out the window behind his desk. He considered telling Erwin the truth, about how frustrated he was with that perfection but as he looked out on the dark but twinkling city his fuzzy brain realized how fucking pety he had been. Wow, Levi had been a fucking idiot. He sighed, turning back to Erwin.

“Maybe I did. What’s it to you?”

“Then I guess I was doing it for you the whole time.”

“That’s pathetic.”

“We’re pathetic.” Erwin said with a chuckle, “More than that, we’re hopeless at this point.”

“You can say that again.” Levi stood from his desk, bracing his hands on it a bit until his head stopped spinning. “We need to go back to the party before shitty glasses starts looking for me.”

Erwin shook his head, “No way are you going back looking like that. You look on the verge of puking on everything.” He said, standing as well. He wobbled a bit but steadied quickly, “You take the couch and rest.”

“Fuck you, I can handle myself.” Levi growled, stalking over to Erwin when he was steady on his feet, glaring up at the taller man.

“Bullshit, lie down and rest.” Erwin was firm in his command. There was no way he was letting Levi return to the party looking like that, for both the company’s image and Levi’s own.

“I’m fine I don’t need rest.” Levi was standing on his toes, trying to get to Erwin’s level with his face almost meeting Erwin’s as they argued, he wasn’t about to let Mr.Perfect lecture him. But Levi didn’t expect what happened next and neither did Erwin.

Maybe Erwin wasn’t as sober as he had thought he was, or maybe it was seeing Levi so pissed and in his face that for some reason Erwin’s mind jumped to a conclusion it probably shouldn’t have. His eyes closed, Erwin found his lips meeting Levi’s, maybe in an attempt to calm him down, maybe because he had wanted to do this for so long. Either way Erwin found himself kissing Levi, his arms instinctively wrapping around the smaller mans waist. Until he was pushed away.

“Erwin what the fuck?” Okay so maybe that wasn’t the most tactful way of saying it, maybe Levi wasn’t quite prepared to suddenly be kissed but the room was suddenly too crowded even with just two people.

“Get out,” Hearing that, Erwin left, almost as confused as Levi with what had just happened.

***

Which is what brought Levi to three days later, sitting at home and regretting whatever the hell it was that had happened that night of the Christmas party.

He didn’t necessarily regret the kiss, that wasn’t it, as much as he tried to convince himself that was it. No if he thought about it, Levi regretted pushing Erwin away and that was what left him so conflicted. He thought he hated the guy, hated everything about him, but the second he was left alone that happened? Once again Levi was convinced he had been transported into a bad romance novel.

His head whipped to look at the annoying ringing when his phone went off. That was new, Hanji knew better than to call him on one of his days off. Levi grabbed the phone, not bothering to check the caller ID before answering.

“What the fuck do you want shitty glasses?” He growled into the phone, assuming the identity of the person on the other side.

“Levi? Is this a bad time?”

Of course. Of course it was Erwin.

“How did you get my number?” Levi asked, searching his brain to figure out if he had traded numbers with Erwin that night while drunk.

“Company directory, don’t you have mine as well?” Erwin’s voice sounded a bit worried, and if Levi listened there was just a tad of guilt there as well. “Either way, I just called to apologize for the other night. I was out of hand.”

Levi paused, frozen for just a second as he processed what was just said. Erwin was sorry? For what? He snapped himself back to reality when he heard Erwin’s next words.

“That’s all, I won’t bother you again if that’s what you want.”

“Wait.” Levi paused, unsure if he should say what he wanted to next. “What the hell are you even apologizing for? Don’t jump to conclusions Mr. Perfect.” He teased, taking a deep breath before continuing.

“Don’t think I didn’t enjoy it.” He added on in a quiet mutter.

“Where do we move forward from here?” Erwin had gotten quiet too, or maybe it was the pounding blood in Levi’s ears.

“Hell if I know.” Saying that, Levi heard a small chuckle, one that grew louder until Levi found himself laughing along.

Maybe he hadn’t made the biggest mistake in his life three days ago, maybe Levi had made what he could now consider one of his best decisions.