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(Don't) Take Me To Church

Chapter Text

“Piece of garbage,” Eren muttered, kicking the old lawn mower that had died on him once again. He stared at it, hands resting on his hips as he glared down at the grass. “What a wonderful start to a post graduation summer. Mowing the lawn with a this hunk of junk.” He kicked it again, jumping when it started up.

“Are you fucking—” he stopped himself mid-sentence. Taking a deep breath, he ran a hand through his hair before continuing on with his chore. To be fair, it was supposed to be his step-brother, Zeke, who should have been mowing the lawn but of course the older boy pulled strings with their father and was pulling weeds in his mother’s flower bed in front of the house so Eren was stuck with mowing the lawn.

“Havin’ fun over there?”

Eren looked up to see Zeke watching him with a shit-eating grin on his face as he leaned against the front porch step railing. Unlike Zeke, Eren was covered in sweat, the summer heat making his tan skin even darker the longer he stayed out in the sun. Zeke was protected by the shade of their house.

“You only convinced Dad to pull weeds because you knew that it was gonna be hot as balls out today and Dina wasn’t feeling well enough to pull weeds.”

The older boy raised his hands up. “Guilty as charged.” He continued grinning, squatting back down as he pulled at weeds and moved soil around to make it look neat. “Besides,” he called, voice raising as Eren continued pushing the overly loud mower around their lawn. “You’ve never mowed the lawn so how can you ever take care of your own lawn when you get married. Can’t make your wife do it.”

Eren rolled his eyes, thankful that his back was to this brother. “Yeah,” he scoffed. “Wife. I’ll just make my husband do it.”

Never had Eren been more thankful for the stupidly loud piece of junk that he was pushing around. No one knew that he was gay, Eren barely even wanted to believe it himself but eventually gave up the middle of sophomore year when he made the baseball team with Jean Kirschstein and saw his jersey clinging to his firm muscles and toned chest. Eren almost got hit with a baseball that day and sputtered out a lame excuse about feeling dizzy and zoned out so  that he wouldn’t have to admit that he had been staring down his teammate.

He blamed Jean for being so hot. He had the face of a horse, but the body of an Adonis. It wasn’t very fair to Eren’s poor little, closeted gay heart.

Eren finished mowing the lawn, finally, and groaned in relief. He almost wanted to collapse on the newly cut grass but decided that a nice shower was in order first. Pushing the lawn mower into the garage, he came back out and stretched his arms before picking up a few other things and glanced over at Zeke.

“Hey, since you’re done, you wanna help me?” He asked and Eren raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his chest. “C’mon, Eren,” Zeke groaned as he struggled with pulling a weed from the ground.

“But I thought you loved weed,” he teased, his turn to grin as Zeke fixed him with a glare. It was no secret that his brother was a stoner. Only a secret to his oblivious parents and every other religious person in the small town they lived in.

Zeke grunted as he successfully pulled it from the ground and tossed it aside. “Yeah, weed, not weeds. Weed pulling is different than smoking. Smoking it is nice. Pulling, eh, not so much.”

Eren snorted. “Well, that’s your problem. I’m gonna go shower.” He grinned as Zeke continued to glare at him, cursing him out under his breath as he made his way up the steps of the front porch. He let out a sigh of relief when the cold air hit his face once he walked inside, shutting the door behind him.

“Hello?” His dad called from the living room and Eren tugged off his shoes, tossing them near the front door.

“Just me. Finished the lawn.” His father looked over his shoulder from his laptop, a power point presentation on the screen of his sermon for Sunday's sermon. “I’m gonna go shower. I’m gross and sweaty.”

“I was just going to say that you should go clean up. We’re having some guests over for lunch.”

As his dad turned back around, Eren groaned silently, eyes rolling to the back of his head. He couldn’t have one Saturday off it seemed since graduating high school. He turned on his heels, making his way up the stairs and to the bathroom so that he could peel off his clothes and toss them in the hamper before climbing into the shower.

After he stepped out, he could hear the front door open and closing, Zeke’s voice carrying through the house as he complained about how hot it was outside and how much it sucked to pull weeds. Eren ruffled his hair with his towel, making his way to his room so that he could change into clothes that weren’t soaked in sweat and didn’t smell like he had just rolled around in grass like a dog.

Despite how hot it was outside, Eren hated wearing shorts. He wore some loose basketball shorts when he needed to do chores around the other but other than that, his closet was filled with skinny jeans.

He grabbed a pair and pulled them on, struggling since his legs were still wet but managed before plopping down on his bed. Grabbing his phone, he unlocked it to reply to some missed messages when he heard his father calling him from downstairs. With a groan, Eren got up, grabbing a clean shirt and pulled it over his head before making his way downstairs.

“Eren?” His dad called again.

“Yeah?” He followed the voice into the kitchen, being greeted by his smiling step-mother who was currently checking on something that she had put in the oven.

His dad regarded his outfit for a moment with curious eyes. “You complain about it being hot outside and being sweaty, yet you still wear jeans?”

“I don’t have any shorts,” Eren replied with a lame shrug. He walked over to the fridge, grabbing a bottle of water and nudged the door shut with his hip. “I don’t like wearing them unless I have to do things like yard work. Which I just did. So I wore the only pair of shorts that I have.”

“You could always borrow some from Zeke,” Dina piped in. “I’m sure you two are roughly the same size and I know that he wouldn’t mind you taking some of his old pairs that don’t really fit him anymore.”

Eren shrugged again. One of the main reasons that he wore skinny jeans was because he knew that his ass looked great in them. The only part of his body that he was mostly confident about. His chest would swell with pride and confidence whenever he caught a guy sneaking a glimpse when he and his family went out to the town about an hour away.

“I’d rather not,” he said slowly, trying to hide the disgust he was feeling. He knew that some of those shorts would have hidden weed in them from not doing laundry in who knew how long. Zeke was kind of a pig. Eren was surprised he put up with him for nine years and counting. “But, uh, thanks for the offer.”

Giving a weak and awkward smile back to his step-mother, he grabbed his headphones and plugged them into his phone before plopping down on the couch. Thankfully there wasn’t anything else that he needed to do and he was allowed to lounge around until the guests arrived for lunch. He hoped it was only Kenny, the next door neighbor man who also happened to be his father’s best friend. The man wasn’t a bad guy. He was nice, funny. Unmarried to Eren’s surprise but he could see the flaws that made Eren understand why he was single.

Zeke walked in, his voice muffled behind the music that played in Eren’s ears and he glared as his brother ran a grimy hand through his hair to mess it up. They stuck their tongues out at each other, the older one flipping Eren off with a stupid smirk as he jogged up the stairs.

Eren flipped through his phone, texting friends that weren’t busy, trying not to ogle Jean’s ass too much as he scrolled through the other boy’s Instagram. What he would do to be able to at least slap it. He was pretty sure he’d melt into a puddle if he ever had the chance to. Unfortunately for Eren though, Jean the football player was taken by their high school female soccer player Mikasa. One of Eren’s best friends. They were perfect for each other, competitive and active but soft and pretty in the right times.

They had both gotten full time scholarships to college, moving away soon enough in August. Eren didn’t want to think about it too much. It was only the start of the summer and he wanted to make it as memorable as possible before his friends left him to suffer in the small hometown he was dragged to at the age of nine.

“Hey.”

Eren jumped when an earbud was pulled from his ear and Zeke spoke loudly to catch his attention.

“What the f—” Eren caught himself before the word could slip out and he fixed his brother with a glare. “What?”

“Someone’s a bit snappy.” Zeke grinned, hopping over the edge of the couch and Eren moved his legs in time before the other boy crushed them as he plopped down at the opposite end of the old couch. “Do you know who’s coming over for lunch?”

Eren raised an eyebrow, regarding his brother before lifting a shoulder lamely. “I mean, probably Kenny or someone from the church.” Zeke nodded, grumbling something to himself before turning the T.V on.

Continuing to scroll through his Instagram, he let out a long sigh, running a hand through his hair as he couldn’t help but smile at the pictures of some of his role models on social media and the pride they showed in being who they were. Eren wished that one day he could happily own his own type of pride flag and have it hanging on his wall where everyone could see and he wouldn’t have to worry about who knew and who didn’t. It was a dream that he didn’t find reachable.

“Dude,” Zeke kicked his foot and Eren looked up. “What’s with that look? You look like you just watched someone run over a puppy.”

Eren’s frown deepened and he shot the other with a look of concern. “Why is that the first thing that comes to your mind? Why would you think about a someone running over a puppy?”

“I… well that’s the kind of look that was on your face!” He exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air as he shrugged.

There was a knock at the door and Eren shifted himself on the couch as Zeke stood up.

“That’s messed up bro.”

“Shut up.”

Once he was out of the room and at the door with their dad Eren sighed, head falling back as he stared at the ceiling momentarily and then back to his phone. He clicked out of the app fast enough before his father could see what he was looking at and he looked up, standing up when he saw another man.

“Ah, so I was right,” he chuckled. “Hey, Kenny.” Eren greeted with a smile.

“Hey, sport.” Kenny patted his shoulder before reaching up to ruffle his hair. Eren groaned.

“Oh come on, I just fixed it after Zeke did the same thing.” Turning away, Eren headed back up the stairs to fix his hair and toss his headphones into his room. As much as Eren liked the old man, he was a cheesy fucker and gave Eren the stupidest names on planet earth. He couldn’t be older than his own father but yet the man acted like a damn grandfather.

Jogging back down the stairs, Eren almost falls when he misses a step as he looks up to see another boy standing in their entryway. His hair is pitch black, eyes as grey as storm clouds and he looked as if he was annoyed or uninterested. And in the house Eren lived in, he wouldn’t blame the poor guy. His skin was much paler than Eren’s. Even more so than Zeke. Eren knew he was openly staring like an idiot, face burning in embarrassment as he almost fell down the stairs because he had been caught off guard by the hot boy in his his house.

Eren cleared his throat, scratching at his cheek awkwardly while his father checked to make sure that he was okay. There was more talking but Eren was too busy staring at the ground so that he wouldn’t gawk creepily at the shorter one a few feet in front of him.

“Oh, Eren,” Kenny clapped a hand on his arm. “This is my nephew Levi. Levi, this is Grisha’s youngest son Eren. I think you two are about the same age. Both graduated high school this year.”

Their eyes locked together and there was a strange spark that ran throughout Eren’s entire body. He smiled, reaching a hand out to shake Levi’s hand and when Levi smiled back, Eren was sure he would melt into a puddle right then and there.

“His mom thought it would be a good idea for him to get out of the house, explore the world a little so he’s here with me for the summer.”

Eren nodded, half listening and mostly continuing to stare into Levi’s eyes as if they had some weird secret communication going on. His heart thumped heavily in his chest and it took all the self control in the world for Eren to look away and turn his attention elsewhere.

It was going to be an amazing summer.

Chapter Text

“You certainly have an… interesting taste in clothing,” Dina commented to Levi as they sat at the table. Levi picked at the food on his plate, Eren watching carefully, but not too much. Despite how hard it was not to.

“Mom,” Zeke groaned, “please. We had this talk.”

“I was just commenting.” She gave him a look and he sighed, glancing back down at his food. “We don’t see a lot of people with your style around here. What do you call it… is it still rock and roll? Punk?”

Levi scoffed. The look he gave Dina was one that Eren had never seen a man give a woman around here. Grisha was speechless, unsure what to say and Zeke’s shoulders were quivering with inner laughter.

“Yeah, sure. Whatever floats your boat or arc, I guess.” He looked around the room, eyeing all the picture frames with different bible verses and religious images. Eren nearly choked on his drink, coughing a little and he kept his head down. He’d only known Levi for twenty minutes and his “bad boy” charm was already working on Eren’s stupid and easily entranced heart.

Kenny suddenly clapped a hand on Levi’s shoulder, giving a gruff laugh. “Ah, Levi, behave yourself.” He paused, giving a reassuring smile to Dina and turned to Grisha. “He’s a good kid. A little rough around the edges, but you can blame his mom for that.” He dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “She’s a bit of a heretic. A tree-hugger. Never disciplined him right.”

Eren watched as Levi ran his tongue over his teeth, sitting back in his seat and he raised a thin brow, looking very displeased and slightly pissed as he looked up at his uncle. He clicked his tongue, mouth opening to say something but then seemed to remember that he was sitting in a room of people and his mouth snapped shut. Instead, he shook his head and his eyes flickered over to Eren’s.

“Ah,” Grisha nodded. “One of those types.” Kenny hummed and Dina shook her head. “You should try bringing her over some time as well. Bring her to the church, show her around. I can guarantee she’d like it.”

“But no worries,” Kenny grinned brightly, looking down at his nephew. “He’s got the love of God in him, ain’t that right, Levi?”

Levi grunted. “Yeah, sure. Praise Jesus or whatever.”

Eren snorted at Levi’s answer, hiding his smile behind his fist as he faked a coughing fit and patted his chest. As if spurred on by this reaction, Levi spoke again.

“I get on my knees and praise him every night.” Eren wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not but he could swear he saw a sly wink from across the table as Levi smirked.

Now it was Zeke’s turn to laugh, biting his lip as he shoveled potatoes into his mouth so that he could muffle his laughter. The adults sat there in confusion and Eren grabbed his water, taking a large gulp from it. He was thankful that Kenny changed the subject back to Zeke and sports since that was the only thing that he was into. Other than fucking his girlfriend and smoking weed.

Then came the dreaded question, the conversation circling its way back to Eren.

“So, Eren,” Kenny spoke up. “It’s been awhile since I’ve talked to you last. Being gone with work and all.”

“Yeah,” Eren nodded, trying his best to sound interested in the conversation and ignore Levi’s eyes burning into his face. “You’ve missed some great sessions at church.” He emphasized the word with as much passive sarcasm as he could that easily passed his parents but not Zeke and Levi. Out of the corner of his eye, Eren could see Zeke grinning into the rim of his glass and Levi openly let out a short laugh.

Thankfully, Kenny didn’t seem to catch honto his sarcasm either. “So I’ve heard. Shadis and his wife bought a CD for me so that I could catch up on the sermons. You preach a good word Pastor.” Kenny raised his glass to Grisha who smiled and nodded in thanks.

“What’s the word with you and that girl, hm?"

Eren’s eyebrows shot up and he couldn’t help but let his eyes flicker around, landing on Levi’s face whose eyes flashed something Eren couldn’t quite decipher.

“What girl?”

“You know, the one with the black hair? Red scarf. Super gorgeous. You were around her all the time.”

“Ah, you mean Mikasa.” Dina pointed out with a smile and reached over to nudge Eren with her elbow from the end of the table where she was sitting. “Such a sweet girl. A bit of a tomboy if you ask me but her dresses are always so gorgeous whenever she arrives at church.”

Zeke spoke up. “Mikasa is dating Jean Kirschtein. You know, that kid with the horse looking face?”

“Zeke!” Dina scolded as Levi barked out a laugh, sitting up in his chair.

“Wait, are you serious? There’s a dude here who looks like a fuckin’ horse?”

“Language, Levi,” Kenny scolded.

“You swear all the time,” Levi shot back.

“Well, not at the dinner table,” the old man muttered. “And not in front of a woman or the pastor of our church. I apologize Grisha.” Eren’s father simply gave a terse smile, waving a hand in dismissal. “Of course, I pray and ask the Lord for forgiveness after.”

The way Levi rolled his eyes looked painful and Eren couldn’t help but grin in amusement. He cleared his throat and stood up, grabbing his half empty plate and then Zeke’s.

“Is everyone done with their plates?” He asked, desperate to get out of the room so that he could breathe properly.

Dina smiled and handed her plate to Eren. “Thank you, lovey. You’re such a sweet boy.”

He grabbed the plates from Kenny and his father, picking up Levi’s last. Their fingers brushed and his stupid heart flipped in his chest. He was surprised that he didn’t drop all the plates. He hurried to the kitchen, gripping the edge of the sink once he had placed the dishes in the sink.

Levi already had some sort of dumb spell over him and they barely knew each other. They had only met an hour ago and Eren was already head over heels. He scrubbed the dishes to distract his mind, washing his hands after. Dessert was handed out and the conversation continued on, the adults talking about the church and events coming up. Eventually Eren tuned it out and picked at the pie on his plate.

“Eren,” Dina’s voice brought him out of his daze and he snapped his head up. “If you’re finished, you boys may go upstairs if you’d like. Or you can go outside and play or something.”

“Mom, please.” Zeke groaned but he couldn’t help but smile a little at her. She was trying her best and both Eren and Zeke knew that. They stood up, pushing their chairs in and cleaned off their areas of the table.

It didn’t take a second more for Levi to jump out of his seat and follow after them.

“What are we, five?” Levi muttered as he entered the kitchen and out of earshot of their parents. Zeke laughed and Eren grinned a little, taking the small plate and cleaning it off before putting the rest of the food away. “Wow, so glad we got to sit at the big kid table.” Levi exclaimed sarcastically, feigning excitement.

“I like you,” Zeke said and Levi gave a lame nod of his head. “It was nice to meet you, but I have a girlfriend who’s been waiting for me to call her sooo, if you need me, which please don’t need me, I’ll be in my room.” He grinned and ruffled Eren’s hair before turning on his heel and made his way out.

“So, you gonna show me your toys?”

Eren’s face went beet red at the question, and he stuttered like an idiot, “I, uh, I don’t have toys? I—I mean, like, unless you mean… uh…” Eren stopped himself before he dug himself deeper in his grave and motioned for Levi to follow him to his room. It had been a long time since he had a hot boy in his room with him alone. Not that anything would come of it.

Embarrassed, Eren opened his door and flicked on his light before stepping inside, making sure that Levi was following behind him. He gestured to his collection of Xmen figurines he had accumulated over the years.

“Unless you mean those?” He squeaked.

Levi was silent and Eren looked over at the other boy. He stared up in awe. He seemed impressed. “Dude,” the corner of his lip twitched upwards a little, hands shoved in his pockets. “This is cool as fuck. Wolverine is my favorite actually. We’re the same height.”

An awkward and stiff laugh came from Eren’s chest. He shifted on his feet before speaking. “Do you, uh…”

“You’re really bad at socializing,” Levi commented, not looking at Eren as he walked closer to get a better look at the collection on the shelf. “And yes, I do collect if that’s what you were gonna ask. I collect a lot of different… toys. If you will.”

“You do?” Eren blurted and Levi looked over at him.

“Yeah, maybe I can show you some time.” He shrugged but Eren didn’t miss the smirk that graced his lips as he turned back to looking around Eren’s small room. The taller boy stepped aside, plopping down on the bean bag in the corner of his room while Levi continued to observe. He stopped when he glanced at the wall by his bed.

“You have a cross over your bed.” It was more of a statement than it was a question and Eren nodded even though the other couldn’t see.

He stood up and walked over, climbing on the bed to take it down but stopped short when Levi scoffed to himself.

“Man, I am way too gay to be in your house.”

There was a loud clunk as the cross fell from Eren’s hand and landed on the ground. That had been the last thing he expected to leave Levi’s mouth. The wink and the sparks weren’t all in Eren’s imagination. He didn’t say anything, not seeing if Levi was even waiting for a response of if he had just walked out right after coming out to Eren. Instead, he sat on the bed, staring confused at the carpet, eyebrows pulled together as he tried to get the gears turning in his head.

“You’re gay?”

Their eyes locked the second Eren looked over and Levi nodded without hesitation.

“Yeah. Is that a problem? I mean, you seemed to be pretty chill. But if it’s a problem I’ll leave. I don’t care.”

“No!” Eren stood up quickly, surprising himself and Levi. “No. No it’s fine. I don’t have a problem with it. I’m just… confused?”

“Please don’t make me explain what being gay is,” Levi groaned. Eren could feel his face flush a deep red, spreading all the way to the tips of his ears and down his neck. When he didn’t answer, Levi muttered to himself before speaking again. “Well, it’s when a man is attracted to other men and—”

Eren shook his head and waved his hands in front of him. “I know! I know I know. I don’t need another sex ed class, thank you very much.”

“They actually taught you about gay sex here? Wow,” Levi barked a harsh laugh. “That’s surprising. But either way, you didn’t answer me.”

“You didn’t let me explain,” Eren retaliated and crossed his arms over his chest. Before Levi could speak, Eren beat him to it. “I’m confused as to why you told me even though we’ve barely known each other for like, what? Two hours?”

Levi didn’t give a definite answer, waving his hand vaguely. “Why not? You seem chill and like you don’t give a fuck. Better to get it out now so there’s nothing in the way when trying to make friends, you know?”

What was happening? Was he being pranked? Was Zeke up to this? Eren needed to sit back down. It was like his mind couldn’t grip the fact that the hot boy he felt sparks with just came out to him that he was gay and wanted to be his friend. He could feel his internal battle already starting with whether he wanted to come clean himself or keep himself back in Narnia where it was safe and no one knew about what he was or who he was.

“Friends?”

“You’re pretty dense.” Levi scoffed and plopped down on the bed next to Eren. “Yeah. Friends.” He said it slowly and Eren shot him a weak glare. “What, are you afraid I’m going to come onto you now?”

“No!” Eren said a little too quickly. “No, I, you, me, I… fuck.” He ran a hand through his hair and tried to ignore Levi’s chuckle of amusement. “Sorry. I’m just… no one’s ever been this straightforward with me before. And… I don’t have the easiest time with making friends. That’s more up Zeke’s alley.”

When he glanced at Levi, there was a confused look on his face. “You? Having a hard time making friends? Wow, I couldn’t believe that for a second.” He deadpanned but when Eren frowned in response Levi chuckled again and nudged Eren with his elbow. “Well consider me your new friend.”

Chapter Text

Eren felt blessed to discover that Levi’s bedroom was right across from his. Their windows faced each other and Eren nearly fainted when he opened his blinds to find Levi walking around his room shirtless, phone pressed to his ear. Thankfully, the other didn’t notice Eren staring stupidly and he fell to the floor when Levi turned in his direction.

The image of Levi’s skin inked with a few different colorful tattoos was stuck in his mind and Eren stayed on the floor of his room for much longer than he needed to because there was a knock at his door and he flipped around, pretending to search for something under his bed as someone walked in.

“What are you doing?”

Eren looked up, Zeke giving him a questionable look. “Uh, just, looking for my phone.”

There was a pause before Zeke said, “it’s in your hand.” Another pause and he shook his head. “Anyway, breakfast is ready and then we’re leaving. We have to be at the church early this morning for some fucking reason.”

Pulling himself up off the ground, he snuck a glance over his shoulder out his window to see that Levi wasn’t there anymore, much to his disappointment. He walked over to his closet, Zeke deciding to make himself at home as he plopped down on the bean bag in the corner of Eren’s room, watching as his brother pushed the closet doors out of the way so he could dig around for one of his church shirts.

“What?” He asked, feeling himself being watched.

“What do you think of that Levi kid? I mean, I know it’s been like, a week since he’s lived here but you guys seem to be friends already. He doesn’t seem like the… friendly type.”

It was true. Ever since the day Eren and Levi had met, they had exchanged numbers and haven’t stopped talking since. He even showed the shorter boy around the town a little, running into Jean and Mikasa along with some other friends. It was awkward, for Eren at least, introducing his old crush to his new crush in front of his best friend who was overly protective like a second mother.

Levi and Mikasa stared each other down for a moment after discovering having had the same last name and Jean mentioning something about them looking as if they could be related. It was weird and tense. Eren didn’t like it at all and he was thankful that Jean pulled Mikasa away before things got any weirder, claiming that they had some other place to be.

“Um…” Grabbing a shirt and examining it before shoving it back in the closet, Eren shrugged. It was hard to come up with a response that wouldn’t give away anything suspicious. “He’s alright. I guess you just kinda have to get to know him? He has a weird sense of humor.”

“I thought he was hilarious during lunch last week.”

“He makes stupid bible puns a lot. Whenever he has the chance at least. And,” Eren looked at Zeke over his shoulder with a pointed look. “You didn’t even give him a chance to get to know you because you immediately went upstairs to have phone sex with Peick.”

Zeke held up his hands in defense. “Hey now. If you had a girlfriend, you’d understand that I can’t just turn down an opportunity like that. And besides, aren’t we taught to be gentlemen with ladies?”

Eren rolled his eyes, ignoring the stupid laugh that came from his older brother’s mouth. “Phone sex is hardly gentleman-like.”

“See,” Zeke stood up, walking over and leaning on the wall next to Eren. “This is why you don’t have a girlfriend.”

That made him stop what he was doing, raising his eyebrows and turned to look at the other boy. “What? That I don’t find phone sex classy?” Eren snorted. “Yeah. That’s the reason why.” He turned back to the closet and picked a shirt, grabbing a tie to go with it before rummaging around for his dress pants.

“No, you’re just not willing to like, live life, ya’know?”

“Obviously not,” Eren said over his shoulder.

“You gotta take risks, get out and meet some people. You’re decent looking. I guess.”

“Wow, thanks Zeke. Means so much. That’ll solve all my problems. Just be better looking and boom, I’ll get all the ladies.” A scoff left his lips as he tugged off his t-shirt and pulled on the light blue button-up dress shirt.

Zeke continued on. “Well, not necessarily. Takes a lot to be pretty looking like me.” Eren didn’t have to look up from buttoning his shirt to see the snarky smirk on the other boy’s face. “And maybe if you changed your style a little then it would help attract more girls. Maybe finally Mikasa will go out on a date with you.”

“How many times do I need to explain that, one, she’s like my best friend, and two, she’s already happily taken by someone who’s perfect for her.” He pulled on his pants, grabbing his belt and pulling it through the loops before looking up. “I don’t need a girlfriend. Is my love for Jesus not enough?”

He couldn’t help but laugh along with Zeke after the question left his mouth. Zeke smacked his shoulder with a rough hand.

“You kill me.” He walked out without another word, leaving Eren in silence.

He fixed the black tie around his neck, taking one more glance out the window and a smile came to his face when he saw Levi was looking at him. Giving an awkward wave, Eren turned back to fixing his tie and when he looked back, Levi was gone. He let out a breath he didn’t know that he had been holding in and grabbed his phone off the nightstand before making his way downstairs.

Eren grabbed a banana as they went out the door, his appetite leaving because he was still very distracted by the sight of Levi shirtless. The image wouldn’t leave his mind and Eren willed himself not to pop a boner while he was on his way to church of all places. The last thing he wanted to do with his life was to jerk off to another man in his father’s place of worship. Eren would be deemed to hell forever. Not that he already wasn’t for being gay.

When they arrived, Eren plopped down on one of the chairs in the foyer, pulling out his phone from his pocket and he plugged in his headphones just as his phone buzzed in his hands.

Levi, 8:14am: By the way, your tie is just as straight as I am

He stared down at the text for a moment, eyebrows pulling together in confusion. There was a tap on his shoulder and he looked up to see Levi with a stupid grin on his face.  Eren watched him for a moment before looking down at his tie, unable to move when Levi’s hands reached out to straighten it.

“Nice text.” Eren finally commented with a breathy laugh and Levi shrugged.

“I saw you fixing it this morning in your room and I could only watch as you fucked it up terribly.”

Eren raised an eyebrow as he laughed again. “You just stood there and didn’t bother saying anything.”

“Eren, I don’t know how to break it to you but there are these things called windows and you can’t exactly talk through them.” Eren opened his mouth to say something, but Levi stopped him. “And I don’t have telepathy either. I was too lazy to make a gesture and figured you’d be smart enough to check it and fix it yourself but…” he paused and shook his head as he shoved his hands in his front pockets. “Apparently not.”

As Eren stood up, he took a moment to soothe out his tie against his stomach and examine Levi's church outfit. It was nothing but black.  Both his pants and shirt were crisp and clean, button-up shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows. It was hard for Eren not to drool.

“Is that tie suffocating?” Levi asked, pulling Eren from his trance.

“Huh?” He asked stupidly. “What?”

“I mean, I haven't seen your cheeks so red since you almost fell down the stairs when we first met, or when I asked you if you had any toys, or when—”

“Okay!” Eren waved his arms to silence Levi, heart skipping a beat at the smug smirk on his face. “Okay, jeez, I get it. And no, it's not suffocating. It's just, uh, hot in here.”

Levi barked laugh. “Sorry. That's my fault. It's hard to control the degree of my good looks.” Eren wanted to reply in agreement but stopped when Levi began to wonder off. “Well you gonna show me around the place or not?”

Eren scampered after him, trying to keep up with the other's strides. He motioned to random rooms, giving vague descriptions of what happened in each one and whatever ones were usually empty, Levi regarded carefully with a sly grin and a simple nod.

They passed a room, Levi trying the knob only to find it locked.

“Hey, what's in this room?”

“Storage closet. Lot of kiddos around here like to run around before church and hide, play in things. Basically cause a ruckus. Kenny and Dad decided to put a lock on it so they'd stay out.”

A snort left Levi's throat and he raised a meticulous eyebrow as he eyed Eren. “Sounds like they're hiding something. You sure they don't sacrifice shit in there or something?”

“No,” Eren laughed. “I've been in the room before and I can easily get a key to it if I needed. But there is another door that leads to an additional room inside this one. Never been in there.”

A devious look flashed over Levi's face as he nodded and they continued to walk.

More and more people arrived, the worship team practicing in the sanctuary and Eren stared through the glass doors. Levi stood next to him silently, watching as well before letting out a sigh and looked down at his phone. His thumbs flew over the keyboard as he texted someone and Eren couldn’t help but glance down to see the name at the top of the screen.

Eyebrows

“Eyebrows?” Eren blurted and Levi looked up at him.

“Huh?”

“Oh, uh,” Eren chuckled awkwardly. “I just, uh, I noticed the name on your screen is all.”

Levi looked back down at his screen before he gave a breathy laugh through his nose. “Ah, yeah. Friend from back at home. His eyebrows are fucking huge. Like, they’re so furry you could make a sweater out of them.” He seemed to be able to tell that Eren didn’t believe him because before Eren knew it, there was a picture on Levi’s screen.

He was a tall blond. Extremely handsome. His smile was charming and his hair slicked back nicely. There were a few others with them and Levi on the side, looking unamused.

“That’s Erwin,” Levi pointed out. “The one next to him is Farlan and on his back is Isabel with the pigtails.”

“What about the one laying on the ground?” Eren asked.

Levi snorted. “That’s Hanji. Or Four-Eyes, as we call them. They’re… something.” He shook his head. There was a small but fond smile on his face as he stared at the picture. “Obviously there’s me and then Petra is taking the picture. I might have a picture of her somewhere.”

“Wait,” Eren stopped him. “They? Who’s they?”

Raising an eyebrow, Levi pocketed his phone and glanced up at him. “Huh? What do you mean?”

“You referred to that Hanji girl as ‘they’.”

Something flashed in Levi’s eyes that Eren could only see as anger and he was glaring daggers at Eren. His heart dropped to his stomach and he knew that he had said something bad.

“Hanji is not a girl.” Levi’s voice was low, dark, rumbling from his chest as he took an intimidating step towards Eren causing the other boy to instinctively back up with his hands up in defense, eyes wide with worry and slight fear.

“I’m... I’m sorry?” He tried, unsure exactly what he was apologizing for, but feeling that it was needed.

Levi blinked, and ran a hand over his face, wiping away the angry expression and replacing it with one of wry amusement.

“No, it’s alright. You didn’t know. You don’t know any better. I’m so used to having to come to their defense all the time, I just—” Eren opened his mouth for clarification but Levi cut him off with a sharp exhale and changed the subject. “So do I have to be introduced to people or can I just sit in the back and watch porn on my phone all morning?”

Eren couldn’t help but laugh at that, his heartbeat slowing down at the small, reassuring smile on Levi’s face. He nudged Eren with his elbow to let him know that he was only joking as they continued to walk but he couldn’t keep his thoughts away from what had just happened.

Chapter Text

“Eren!”

He turned just in time after hearing someone squeal his name as a small child jumped at him, forcing his arms out. She smiled up at him, squeezing him tightly in a hug and a small laugh left his lips as he patted her head.

“Gabi, what have I told you about yelling in the church?”

Her older cousin, Reiner walked over, a displeased look on his face but he shook Eren’s hand when he got closer. Gabi pulled away, shrugging innocently while she rocked back and forth on her heels. She smiled admiringly up at Eren, staring openly and gripped tightly onto his hand so that he couldn’t walk away.

“Who are you?” She asked Levi, peeking around Eren’s body to give him a pointed look. “What’s in your ears? Are you allowed to wear those kinds of stuff in God’s house?”

“Gabi,” Reiner scolded and waved a finger at her. “Don’t be rude, you don’t even know him.”

Levi shrugged. “Nah, don’t worry about it. I hear this kinda stuff all the time.” He glanced back at Gabi. “I don’t really give a shit,” he told her casually. She gaped at him openly, a few gasps from the people around them sounding in the silence of shock from Reiner and Eren who stood there next to him.

“Uh, Reiner,” Eren cleared his throat, “why don’t you go take Gabi to Mina? I think she’s here early today and I’ll talk to you later?”

Reiner gave a short nod and grabbed his cousin, pulling her away and down the hallway to her classroom. People gave Levi strange looks as they stood there and continued to as he and Eren walked down the large foyer. Eren wanted to bring up the fact that Levi shouldn’t swear in front of children, especially in his father’s church, but he didn’t want to earn another strike against the shorter boy.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Levi spoke up without looking at him as he stared at a picture with a cross and flowers intertwining with a bible verse. “I won’t do it again… hopefully.” Eren snorted. “I fuckin’ hate kids.”

“Language, Levi.”

They looked over to see Kenny leaving the sanctuary, pushing the door open until there was a click to leave it in place. In his hands he had a stack of bulletins, handing them out as some people walked past him and into the sanctuary.

“You don’t use that type of language here. You should know better.”

Levi scoffed. “How could I know better if I’ve only ever stepped foot in a church like, four times in my entire life?”

“Whoa, really?” Eren asked. He couldn’t think of what life would be like without being raised in the church. Without having the parents that he did or living the life he had lived up until this point. It was hard for him to wrap his head around. He basically lived in this church ever since his father had taken over. It had grown so much over the years. Eren couldn’t even come to the thought of possibly leaving it.

“Mom’s not that into church.”

“We’re finished talking about this,” Kenny finished the conversation, his scowl turning instantly to a kind smile as he greeted a couple at the door.

Eren and Levi slipped through past him. “Is it supposed to be this dark in here? Jeez,” Levi flashed a grin at Eren. “See, look at that. I can watch my language.”

“I appreciate it,” Eren said with a laugh. “Well, it’ll get brighter. Once the worship team is finished and whatnot and dad takes the stage.”

There was silence before Levi asked, “so like, what’s happening today? The last time I was in a church was Christmas in 2011.”

“Right before the world was about to end?” Eren teased.

“Yeah, except unfortunately it didn’t.” Levi answered disgustedly.

They sat together in an empty pew in the back for a few minutes, Levi scrolling through his phone and texting his friends as people passed Eren and stopped to talk with him, asking questions on how he’s been and how life is going. As if they didn’t see him every week.

“You know,” the boy next to him spoke up once Eren finally caught a break. “I’m surprised I didn’t catch fire the moment I walked through the doors to be honest.” He slumped back on the pew, elbows draped over the back of it and he carded his slender fingers through his hair, pushing it out of his face.

Eren swallowed hard as he watched. He hated how attractive Levi was. Couldn’t stop the thoughts radiating in his mind even as he sat a few feet away from a cross with Jesus on it. Levi’s mouth moved but the words didn’t make it into Eren’s ears while he stared at the other boy’s lips, imaging what it would be like the feel them against his own.

“Hey,” Levi nudged him with his foot. “Church-y, wake up.”

“Huh?”

“You were staring,” the other pointed out with a smug smirk.

Eren shook his head in denial, looking away as a soft blush crept over his cheeks. “No I wasn’t.”

When music began playing, it startled Levi, making him look up from his phone. Eren looked over, shocked to see a porn site on his screen. Levi looked over at Eren, confused by the look on his face before looking down at his phone and laughing.

Of course, he had the audacity to ask, “You wanna chill back here with me and watch porn?”

“I… what? No. I…” Eren was so flustered, seeing two men making out in the preview of the video that Levi was about to click on. “I—I can’t. I, uh, I have to sit up front… with, uh, my family.”

Levi raised an eyebrow. “Because you’re the pastor’s son?”

“Uh, something like that, I guess. I don’t know. It’s just… where we, uh, always sit.” Eren was getting way too distracted by the video. He screamed at himself internally not to get a boner, having already had the thought process of refusing to jerk off in the church bathroom.

“More for me then.” Levi sat back, plugging in the other earbud into his ear and leaned over his phone, blocking the view from anyone else that walked by. Eren stood up wordlessly, making his way to where Dina and Zeke were located. Instead of sitting next to them, he sat in the second pew. Zeke gave him a strange look but Eren waved him off.

He couldn’t help but continuously looking back at Levi to see if he was still sitting in the back and he was. Of course, Levi was looking at Eren the fourth time he looked back and Eren could easily see the smirk on Levi’s perfect lips and watched as the other boy winked and went back to watching his porn.

Eren wished he could be back there with him, but he knew that if he was, there would be huge consequences if they were caught. And no one could know that Eren was gay. Of course, after Levi confessed to Eren about himself being gay, Eren wanted nothing more than to admit to Levi too, but there was something stopping him. He was hesitant. He wasn’t sure if he could totally trust Levi to keep his secret safe between the two of them. From what Eren knew so far about Levi, he blurted things out without thinking and without a care of what would be said about it.

Eren tried not to think about it too much, focusing on Mikasa as she sang on the stage. Her voice was beautiful. Many people adored her for her many talents, claiming that she would be a great mother simply because of the fact that she could sing so well. Of course, Mikasa didn’t care about that. The only thing she really cared for and claimed that was her gift, was her skill and talent at soccer and the fact that it got her a full ride scholarship into college.

Her parents weren’t too fond of how much of a tomboy she had become but they were proud of her nonetheless. Eren envied her a little bit for that. No matter what she did, her parents loved her and supported every decision that she made. They didn’t like Jean when the two first started dating but now took him in as family as if it were natural to do so.

He liked to wonder what would happen if she told them that she was bi or that she was gay. Would they treat her the same or would they kick her out and call her horrible and cruel names that no parent should call their child.

Eren was snapped out of his thoughts when someone plopped down next to him. He was surprised to find Levi next to him, a very unamused and pissed off look covering his handsome face. He sat with his arms crossed over his chest and ankles crossed as he stretched his legs out while slumping down.

“Kenny caught me on my phone and made me move.”

“Kenny caught you watching porn?!” Eren hissed, looking horrified.

Rolling his eyes dramatically, Levi shook his head, leaning over closer to Eren’s ear. “No, I’m not that dumb. Jeez.” He chuckled, giving Eren a look that sent his stomach into flips and knots.

Grisha made his way up to the stage, placing his Bible and papers on the podium that had been moved to the middle. He started out with praise of the worship team and how wonderful they had done before dismissing them with a smile. When he began to pray, Eren bowed his head but when he peeked over at Levi, he noticed the other boy playing a game on his phone.

Eren nudged him a bit harshly in the leg with his foot, earning a glare from Levi. After a moment, Levi placed his phone down and closed his eyes, nudging Eren back but harder. Eren didn’t play any further, deciding that if he wanted to play footsies, it would have to be outside of church. Hopefully, maybe, during lunch after church.

He barely paid attention during his dad’s sermon, because not only did Levi look good but smelled good too and now he was officially distracting to all his senses. It took all of his will power not to lean into him or lay his head on Levi’s shoulder. Eren had only known Levi for a week and yet he was stupidly head over heels. Eren hated it.

The sermon was long, felt like forever but it was fun to watch Levi become silently frustrated over the game that he was playing. Eren even helped him a couple levels, earning a very small smile of thank.

As soon as the service was over and everyone was leaving, Eren was nearly tackled once again. Gabi hugged one side of him while her friend, Falco, hugged the other. They babbled at him as Eren laughed, patting their heads before pushing them away.

“Who’s your friend?” Falco asked, pointing to Levi.

“That’s Levi. Levi, this is Falco and Gabi.”

A snort left Levi’s nose. “Yeah, Gabi’s a big fan.”

She glared at him, hugging closer to Eren when he smiled at Levi. “Eren’s my boyfriend. We’re gonna get married when I’m older.”

Levi bit his lip, trying to stifle his laugh at Eren’s wide eyes.

“I thought you were single.” He sighed in mock disappointment. “What a shame.”

Turning on his heels, Levi gave a wave over his shoulder and walked off, leaving Eren to stare after him in awe.

Chapter Text

The moment Eren woke up, he stared at the ceiling, unmoving. His thoughts filled the silence in his mind. It had been a few days since the strange incident at church with Levi when he got overly offended at Eren calling his friend a girl. It still confused him as to how he had offended the other boy.

He wanted to ask, he wanted to know what he could do so that it wouldn’t happen again but he wasn’t sure how to bring it up.

Finally tugging himself out of bed, Eren made his way down to the kitchen where Dina was just finishing breakfast. She smiled at him and he gave a weak wave in response. He slumped down in his chair, his thoughts racking over the situation again and again. Of course he was overthinking it. Levi had apologized about being so harsh but Eren still wasn’t sure what he did to make the other boy so angry. He also didn’t know what Levi meant when he said that his friend Hanji wasn’t a girl.

She clearly had a feminine body. She had boobs and long hair. Her hips were wider than the guys in the picture. What about that didn’t make her a girl?

Of course, being as involved in social media as he was, he liked to follow big name article publishers and celebrities. Mostly those in the LGBT community. He had heard of there being other genders than male and female, even other sexualities besides straight and gay. He believed it, to an extent. As much as he wanted to do more research on it, he was constantly afraid of his father finding out somehow. Eren didn’t know how the man would discover his search history, but he was scared that one day his father would just barge into his room and begin saying unspeakable things to him and take away anything and everything to stay in contact with the outside world.

Somehow Eren wounded up outside, laying on his back on the trampoline. It was old. He was surprised that it hadn't fallen apart in the 8 years they'd had it. It was peaceful outside and he allowed himself to close his eyes for a moment before his peaceful moment was ruined.

“Hey!”

Eren opened one of his eyes, looking around before it landed on Levi leaning out the window with a small grin. Sitting up, Eren propped himself up on his arms to look over at him. There was a cigarette hanging between his fingers before he pressed it to his lips. There was something about the way he did it that made Eren's stupid heart skip a beat.

Levi's grin slowly faded, blowing a puff of smoke out of the side of his mouth. They stared at each other for a few moments before the other spoke.

“You doin’ anythin’ today?”

Eren was taken by surprised at that. He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. “Uh, no? Not that I know of.”

“Good. Head on over.”

Without another word, he finished his cigarette and put it out before sending a smirk Eren's way and shutting the window. Eren blinked, taking the boy's words into consideration before scampering off the trampoline.

He yelled something about going next door to Dina in the kitchen as he ran past and through the front door. When he got there, Levi opened the door, leaning against it as he stared down at his phone.

“Slow poke,” he said without looking up.

“Are you always this critical?” Eren asked, raising an eyebrow as they stepped inside.

Levi shrugged and started making his way up the stairs. “When I feel like teasing my cute neighbor, yeah.”

A squeak left Eren's mouth as the words sunk into his head. He tripped over a step and he blushed even harder at the snort and smirk he earned from Levi over his shoulder.

When they reached Levi's room, Eren was a blushing mess and he felt like his heart was going to jump out of his chest. He was shocked to find the other boy's room absolutely pristine. Not one thing was out of place. Almost as if no one lived there. And it didn't smell like smoke, but instead his nose was filled with a pleasant vanilla like aroma.

“I figured you wouldn't like the smell of cigarette smoke and plus, who knows what Kenny would do or say to me if he got even the smallest whiff of smoke. Probably douse me with holy water.”

“Aww,” Eren cooed, trying not to sound as sincere as he felt. “How sweet of you.”

Rolling his eyes, Levi walked over to the window and opened it again. Eren opened his mouth to ask if Levi planned on smoking another but his unasked question was answered when Levi turned back around and plopped down over on his bed.

“Sorry for being such an ass on Sunday.”

Eren shifted awkwardly and ran a hand through his hair. “It's, uh, don't worry about. I'm sorry I offended you.”

“Not like you knew what you offended me about.”

“Yeah, I, uh,” Eren sat on the edge of Levi's bed hesitantly. “I've been meaning to ask you about that.”

“And I've been meaning to tell you. Thought today was as good a time as any since Kenny is out.” Levi sat up, looking straight at Eren. “Want a lesson on some queer shit?”

“Huh?”

“There'll be a test later so you better pay attention.” The grin on Levi's face was different than some of the others Eren had gotten and his stomach did a strange flip. After examining Eren's confused look, Levi huffed out a laugh. “I'm just gonna explain some stuff to you.”

“Like when you referred to your friend as ‘they’?” Eren asked, head tilting a bit to the side.

“Gold star for you my friend.” Levi gave him a thumbs up and crossed his legs. “So, to start, there are more than two genders and more than two sexualities. You with me so far?”

Eren gave him a deadpan look. “Yes. I'm not that completely clueless. I know some but, I’m just…”

“Confused.” Levi finished for him. “Well lucky for you, I'm here. Just think of me as your… guardian angel or whatever you call them.”

A snort came out of the taller boy's mouth. “Wouldn't call myself lucky then.”

He laughed as Levi sent him a weak glare but continued on with his speech. “Hanji is non-binary which is why they use the pronouns that they do.”

Eren paused for a moment, blinking. “Is that even grammatically correct?”

“Yes.” Levi’s answer was almost immediate and said through gritted teeth. He sucked in a breath before exhaling and looking back at Eren more calmly. “Yes, the use of they and them is a grammatically correct use of pronouns. I don’t give a shit about what anyone says.”

“You’re very…” Eren decided to try and choose his words carefully, “passionate, about this.”

“Well, Hanji is one of my closest friends and as you may notice, I don’t give two fucks of about what anyone thinks or has to say. You don’t like it? Your problem, not mine.”

That was one thing that Eren admired about Levi. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Something Eren had always wished that he could do but never could. The courage couldn’t be found anywhere in any fibre of his being.

“And I got tired of them always being so deflated about people not caring about their pronouns. So I bought them a pronoun button and anyone who knows their pronouns but refuses to use them correctly, well, I correct them until they fucking get it right.” He went silent for a moment, eyes wandering around the room as he refused to look at Eren. It looked like he wanted to say something else but instead went to chewing on his lip with his teeth.

“That just shows how great of a friend you are,” Eren said with a fond smile. “I admire that. You’re not afraid to speak your mind and defend yourself or the people closest to you.”

Levi looked a bit shocked to say the least when he looked up at Eren, something flashing over his usually stoic face before going back to normal. He shrugged awkwardly under the praise.

“Yeah, well, someone’s gotta do it.”

Eren smiled at that. “You know, there’s a Bible verse that reminds me of you. It goes ‘we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak’, Romans 15.1.”

Levi gave him a strange look. “The hell’s that supposed to mean?”

“Strong people need to protect those who aren’t as privileged or fortunate, and you’re one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.”

“You hardly know me,” Levi replied with a breathy laugh, looking increasingly awkward. He clearly didn’t take compliments very well.

“I can just tell by how you stand up for others and how unapologetic you are in being yourself,” Eren answered firmly.

Levi looked away, running a hand through his hair and clearing his throat. “Well, anyway, what else do you need to know?”

Eren shifted on the spot, twiddling his thumbs together and trying to look casual. There was one question that had been on his mind for quite some time and he figured if anyone could answer it without making him feel bad or stupid, it would be Levi.

“Umm… how… how do two guys, y’know…” Levi’s brows shot up into his hairline and Eren stumbled over his words. “Not because I want, I just, I’m not—Uh, I mean,” he cleared his throat loudly and awkwardly, “so, do you like it here so far?”

Levi dropped his head into his hands and Eren was worried he’d offended him again, until he saw the other boy’s shoulders shaking and heard muffled laughter.

“Oh, my god,” Levi finally said, lifting his head again to meet Eren’s confused gaze. “You really are something. If you could just stop being adorable for like, five minutes…” He paused. Eren noticed that there was an actual smile on Levi’s face. It suited him nicely.

Like, really nicely.

Levi ended up rambling about whatever it was that he wanted to inform Eren on in the first place. He didn’t mind it that much anyway. Levi’s voice was nice to listen to and the things that he was talking about were interesting to Eren; they were eye opening to him. He wasn’t sure he could look at anything or anyone the same way.

Now he couldn’t stop apologizing for assuming Hanji’s gender and sexuality. Not only was it eye opening for Eren’s perspective on the world, but for himself too. It gave him a lot more to explore, a lot more to think about to discover about what made him most comfortable.

“Dina always said that bisexual people didn’t exist,” he commented when Levi stopped talking for a moment. “They were just people who were selfish and sex addicts.” Eren almost gave him a headache from rolling his eyes to the back of his head as he said that. It never sat right with him and he could never figure out why. But it all made sense now.

Levi’s laugh was bitter and he rolled his own eyes. “I always knew that Erwin’s eyebrows were fake.” The look of confusion on Eren’s face never ceased to make Levi laugh. “Erwin is bisexual,” he explained. “I was cracking a joke that he must be imaginary. Along with Farlan.”

Eren nodded in understanding before asking, “are all your friends bisexual?”

“Pft, no. Only a couple. Erwin and Farlan. Petra is pansexual as is Hanji. They’re actually dating.”

“Wait, Petra… and Hanji?”

Levi nodded. “You’re confused.”

“Very.”

Another laugh left Levi’s gorgeous mouth and Eren’s chest warmed up at the sound. He explained everything thoroughly, right down to how Petra and Hanji met and even started dating. He let Eren know all of his friends’ proper pronouns so he wouldn’t have to ask or assume anymore.

“And you’re…” He couldn’t bring himself to say the word.

“Gay,” Levi finished the sentence for him proudly. “Very, very gay.” He smirked and winked at Eren whose face lit up with a bright pink. Looking down at his nails, Eren picked at them and tried to think of other questions to move on. Every time Levi winked at him, Eren’s heart would do back flips and it was becoming increasingly hard to deny his attraction to the other boy.

The long pause was broken after a moment, Eren’s heart stopping dead in his chest when Levi asked the one question that Eren had dreaded all of his life.

“What about you?”

Chapter Text

“Hey, Levi, you play baseball?” Zeke asked as he slung a gym bag over his shoulder. Levi looked at him and then back at Eren who was pulling on his shoes.

“You should go.” Kenny nudged Levi with his elbow. “Go make some friends. It’ll be good for you.”

Levi scowled but stood up from the couch anyway, following Eren and Zeke out the front door. He didn’t look too happy as he walked next to Eren on the sidewalk on their way to the to the park. Zeke was rambling about something, nothing Eren hadn’t heard before and he doubted that Levi was very interested either.

“Do you actually play any sports?” Eren asked and Levi looked up.

“Sure, I’ve dabbled in a few here and there. Mostly for the guys if you know what I mean.” He elbowed Eren in the side with a smirk.

Eren laughed awkwardly. “Uh, no. I, um, nope. No idea.” He reached up to scratch the back of his neck and run his fingers through his hair due to nervous habit.

Levi simply raised an eyebrow, giving him a strange look and Eren was thankful that he didn’t press it any further. He assumed it was because Zeke wasn’t too far ahead of them and could be listening in on their conversation even though it was doubtful that he was since some of his friends had joined them on the way to the park.

“Well finally,” someone said when they finally reached the park. Eren looked up to see Jean with a stupid, cocky grin on his face. Like usual. “You guys are so slow.” He paused when he noticed Levi before vaguely gesturing towards him. “You brought the new guy.”

“Yeah?” Levi replied. “What of it?”

Jean raised his hands, “Whoa, what’s with the hostility? I didn’t mean anything by it.”

Eren snorted a bit, the corner of his lips twitching up a little. Levi’s bluntness was probably one of the best things that has happened all summer. Jean sent Eren a pointed look before  his eyes flickered over to Levi.

“What’s your name again? Liam? Eli? Elvis?”

Levi was silent for a long moment, looking up at Eren to see the nervous look on his face. He didn’t want there to be a fight between his new crush and the person he used to be infatuated with-, even if it would be hot as fuck.

“Close. It’s Levi. And what’s your name? Seabiscuit?”

Eren couldn’t help but start laughing when Levi named the famous racehorse, watching Jean’s eye twitch a little at the joke. Levi’s smirk was back to his face as he crossed his arms over his chest, watching as Eren held his stomach and laughed. After a moment, he composed himself, wiping away a tear with his finger.

“It’s Jean,” the other boy replied through gritted teeth, pronouncing his name with a lame French accent.

“Alright, Gene,” Levi said, intentionally mispronouncing it and waved a hand dismissively. “We gonna play baseball or what. That’s what I was forced out here to do.”

Jean eyed the shorter boy wryly, leaning on his baseball bat. He raised an eyebrow. “Are you even tall enough to play baseball? Should we get you a t-ball stand?”

The barked laugh Levi gave was raw and bitter. “Funny, Gene. I hope you brought extra balls because I’ll be knocking them outta the park.”

Jean scoffed.

“Ladies, ladies,” Zeke stepped between them, holding his arms out. “Save it for the field, yeah?”

More people began to show up, including Krista and Ymir. Eren  couldn’t be more thankful that Krista had arrived. He hadn’t seen the other girl in so long and it was always fun to gossip with her.

Wow, way to sound gay, Eren, the boy thought to himself.

“Krista,” he greeted her with a smile and a hug. “It’s been so long. How are you feeling? I heard you were sick this weekend.”

“Yeah,” she sniffled a little. “But I’m feeling better. My mom thought it would be good to get out of the house and get some fresh air.”

“That and it’s baseball Wednesday,” Ymir pointed out. “Who’s your friend?” She nodded in Levi’s direction who walked over. They stared at each other for a few moments before nodding and shaking hands.

“I’m gay, nice to meet you.”

Eren stared at his friend incredulously, Krista hiding a giggle behind her hand. “Levi!” He hissed. The other boy looked over at him, raising an eyebrow. “You can’t just say that out loud. Are you crazy?”

Ymir snorted. “No, he’s gay. Didn’t you hear him?”

“Ymir,” Krista nudged her but there was a smile on her face. “Behave.”

“I’ve finally met yet another gay, how can you expect me to behave?”

Levi laughed, grinning as he turned to Eren. “I like her. Why didn’t you introduce me to her?”

“Because she doesn’t go to church.”

“I’m banished,” Ymir said with a shrug. “Well, not really. I just don’t wanna burst into flames, you know?”

Running a hand over his face, Eren groaned and he listened as the other three laughed. He was glad that Levi was at least getting along with one person.

“Wait,” he spoke up. “Ymir, you’re gay?”

“Oh my God, Eren,” Levi groaned. “Ymir,” he paused, “is that how you say it?” When she nodded, he turned back to Eren. “Ymir is like, one of the butchiest lesbians I have ever laid eyes on. It’s practically oozing off of her how fucking gay she is.”

Krista and Ymir both nodded. Eren’s heart stopped when Ymir commented with, “you know, kinda like you.”

His stomach sank, thinking she was talking to him, but thankfully she was looking at Levi with a smirk. He sighed in relief.

“Hey!” Jean called. “We gonna play ball or what? Ymir, you in?”

“What kind of question is that? Hell yeah.” She and Levi made their way over as Zeke and Jean picked their teams.

Before Eren was even asked if he wanted to play or not, he was forced on the same team as Jean and the game started. He was happy that he wasn’t pitcher or even on any of the bases. Instead, he was placed in the outfield where he could be respectfully left alone with his thoughts and waiting for a ball to come flying his way.

It was Levi’s turn up to bat. Eren stood still, watching as the other boy readied himself for Jean’s pitch. By the way he was winding his arm back, Eren knew Jean was going to try and do one of his stupid “signature pitches” to try and throw Levi off. It had only ever worked three times in the span of Jean’s baseball career.

Levi hit the ball square in the center of the bat, the high pitch ringing from the ball hitting the metal making Eren cringe. It was flying right towards him. Suddenly, a switch flicked in his brain and he sprinted back after it, chest huffing and puffing and he made a jump to catch it in his hand before it could hit the ground. He tumbled, doing a small somersault but stood up with his mitted hand in the air, ball sitting snug in his palm.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” Jean yelled, fist pumping the air. Eren rolled his eyes and jogged back to the dugout since it was now their turn to bat.

It was Eren’s turn up next after Jean, a fight almost breaking loose after Jean accused Levi of trying to hit him with the baseball. There was a snarky smirk on Levi’s face as he denied it, claiming that Jean was just being a drama queen and they were finally able to move on.

Eren stepped up to the plate, gripping the bat tightly in his hand as he got into position.

“Are you ready for my balls, Eren?” Levi called from the pitcher’s plate, sending Ymir into a fit of laughter from her shortstop position.

“Just pitch the damn ball, shrimp!” Jean yelled and Levi gave him a side glare, flashing the middle finger at him before meeting Eren’s eyes and pitching the ball.

He watched as the ball came flying past him and into Zeke’s catcher mitt behind him, yelling a loud “Strike one!”.

“Eren, you’re supposed to hit the ball,” Levi chastised him. “You know how to hit it , right?” Ymir was still snickering, laughing behind a clenched fist as she tried to compose herself.

Another strike went by and his teammates were yelling at him. All but Jean. Jean watched him with curious eyes, along with Levi who had a determined look on his face. He wound his arm back and Eren gripped his fingers tight around the bat. As the ball came flying towards him, Eren swung with all his might, the ball hitting the metal with another loud clink that rung in his ears. Everyone watched as it flew out of the park, a large grin on Eren’s face while he casually jogged the bases, jumping on the home plate for extra emphasis.

“I was just about to wonder about to wonder if you had ever even played baseball,” Levi commented as they walked past and Eren shrugged lamely.

“Varsity team my senior year. Got the winning point for the game to lead us to the championship. It’s a strategy I’ve always used.” With that, Jean patted him on the back proudly, praising him about his strategy and Eren could feel a small blush creeping over his cheeks at the compliments, even as his other teammates praised him. He wasn’t quite used to them.

Halfway through the game, Mikasa showed up and took Eren’s place, thankfully, and he made his way to the bench where Krista was sitting. She smiled at him brightly, almost as bright as the sunflowers that were scattered on her dress.

“Good job on that hit.”

He smiled awkwardly. “Thanks. I haven’t played since the season ended back in May.”

“Eren,” she laughed, “that was like, two months ago.”

He grinned. “So, what’s your point?”

They watched the game, casually commenting on it and cheering on their friends. Eren didn’t know which team was winning, nor did he care. It looked like they were all having fun, save for the unspoken, tense rivalry between Jean and Levi. But even then, Levi seemed to be enjoying himself and it made him smile.

“Hey,” he spoke up after a moment and glanced at the small girl next to him.

“Hm?” She didn’t look over at him, eyes fixed on someone else out in the field.

“I didn’t know that Ymir was gay.”

Krista was silent for a moment before sitting up and crossing one leg over the other, fixing her dress nicely over her legs. “Wouldn’t be dating her if she wasn’t.”

That was the last thing that Eren had expected to hear from her. His jaw dropped open as he stared at her, trying to wrap his head around the fact that Krista had basically come out to him, the pastor’s son.

“Uh—”

“I know you won’t tell anyone.” Her voice was kind, matching the smile on her face as she looked up at him. “And I’m bi. But, I mean, no one but Ymir knows that. Well, now gotta make that two people who know that.”

His mouth shut with an audible click. It seemed as if more and more people around him were coming out to him, telling him about their true selves. It caused a conflict of emotions in his chest and brain. He was happy for them, that they felt comfortable enough with themselves to admit and accept who they were. They weren’t cowards like himself.

Eren could hardly say the word to himself. He wasn’t sure if he ever had. It was a large dilemma in his head. He tried not to delve too deep into the meaning behind his attraction to the good looking guys at school, not wanting to admit to himself that he was probably gay. But of course, being in denial didn’t help him much.  

He wanted to know how they did it. There was a part of him that was envious of them because he wasn’t sure he could do it himself.

Chapter Text

A few weeks had passed since that day, nearing the end of June. It hadn't even felt like a month had gone by. Eren was in such a haze, completely wrapped around Levi's stupid finger. The two boys had gotten increasingly close as the days went by. And with each day more of Eren's heart swelled in his chest at each smile he earned from the shorter boy.

“Eren!” Dina knocked loudly on his door, much too early in the morning for him since he had stayed up all night talking on the phone with Levi.  He groaned, rolling over and pulled the pillow over his head.

More knocking perused and he groaned louder.

“What, Dina?”

“It's time to get up, dear. Today is the fair. Kenny and Levi have agreed to join us and are downstairs waiting.”

At the sound of Levi's name, Eren sat up immediately, reaching for his phone and a dumb smile formed on his face at all the messages Levi had left him in an attempt to wake him up early.

It took way too long for Eren to get ready, wanting to find the perfect pair of jeans and the perfect shirt. He wanted his outfit to hug nicely in all the right places. He wanted to start trying to flirt a little with Levi, to try and see if the other boy was at least a little interested in him. But Eren doubted it.

“Why does it always take you so long to get dressed?” Zeke asked as they walked down the stairs. Eren didn't bother with an answer when he caught Levi's eyes and smiled.

“A fair?” Levi asked when the taller boy plopped down next to him on the couch. “How are we all gonna fit in one car—”

“Dina has a soccer mom van,” Kenny interrupted and stood up to stretch his limbs. “Why don’t we get going so we can get there before the traffic.”

Grisha scoffed. “You said that last year and we still had to wait in the line for at least like, half an hour or so?”

They piled into the van, Eren and Levi getting to sit in the very back and Eren couldn’t be be more clad. Because one of the seat belts was broken, Levi was forced to scoot into the middle seat, his thigh and shoulder pressed against Eren’s. He leaned against the window a little to give Levi some room to put on the seat belt as he muttered curses under his breath.

“And it’s more of a boardwalk,” Eren pointed out, gaining Levi’s attention.

He rolled his eyes. “I don’t really give a fuck,” he replied under his breath only for Eren’s ears since Kenny and Zeke were sitting in front of them. But from Eren’s experience, no  one could hear you from the very back since you were practically sitting in the trunk. He wouldn’t have known that Pieck and Zeke were getting each other off in the backseat during a road trip if Zeke hadn’t told him after the trip was over.

The drive was going to be at least an hour and Eren knew that he needed to hold his breath for at least half of that time because Levi smelled too good for him not to melt into his lap and suck him off.

Now that he thought about it, it had been a while since he’d rubbed one out . And by a while, he meant at least a day or two. He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t gotten off to thoughts of Levi already. In fact, fantasies about the shorter boy got him off faster than any porn out there was capable of. He tried to stop them but the dirty thoughts were persistent as hell. At this point, his body was just insatiable and wanted the real thing.

Oh my God, Eren. Now is not the time, he chastised himself. Squirming in his seat, he crossed one leg over the other, earning a side eye from Levi before he turned his attention back to his phone.

Eren dozed for a bit, waking up when the car hit a bump and his head smacked against the window. Levi snorted, looking up from his phone to check if he was okay.

“Are you seriously watching porn?” Eren whispered, leaning down closer to Levi’s ear.

“Yeah, sure. Why not?”

“Uh,” Eren gestured to himself. “I’m right here.”

That didn’t seem to bother Levi. “Yeah. I know.” There was a smirk on his lips and Eren swallowed hard. He could easily lean down and kiss him. Just a simple peck on the lips as if it wouldn’t have ever happened. The more Eren thought about it, the more he found himself leaning in before he blinked, shaking his head out of his thoughts.

“You okay, church-y?” Levi cooed, but didn’t move away, his breath hot on Eren’s face.

“So, uh, what kind of music do you like to listen to?” Eren blurted and sat upright, pulling his phone out of his pocket to scroll through his music.

Levi was still staring at him with an unreadable look before he answered. “Sweetcheeks, I doubt we have the same music taste.”

Eren squeaked at the nickname, stuttering and stumbling over his words like an idiot. “Please don’t call me that.”

“What?”

“You know what,” Eren replied, not able to look at the other boy.

Levi sighed. “Okay, okay… I won’t call you church-y.”

Eren snorted but didn’t say anything, a small smile coming to his face as he looked out of the window. He didn’t mind listening to Levi talk about the bands he liked and his favorite songs. The conversation flowed easily which is something that hadn’t ever happened to Eren before with anyone else before. It was nice.

“Here,” Levi held out an earbud for him. “Gonna show you what real music sounds like.”

Eren scoffed but took the earbud anyway. He had to scoot a bit closer to Levi which made his heart skip a small beat but he tried to ignore it. After a few songs, Eren would be lying if he said that he didn’t like it. It was definitely catchy music, stuff that he knew would be considered almost evil in his household if ever heard by his parents.

He yawned, head lolling to the side a little and it earned a small look from Levi. There weren’t any words exchanged between them, not many anyway. Levi messaged his friends while Eren tried not to fall asleep but ended up dozing off anyway.

Unsure how long he had dozed off for, he shifted a little and felt Levi stiffen a little but he didn’t move away.

“Yeah,” Eren heard Zeke say quietly but didn’t open his eyes. “He’s a bit of a snuggler. We used to make blanket and pillow forts during thunderstorms when he was a kid because he was scared of them.” He wasn’t sure, but Eren was almost sure that he could hear a small smile in his brother’s voice. “He just likes the comfort of others. He’s a big teddy bear.”

He felt Levi chuckle a little next to him. The shorter boy hummed in agreement. “I’ve noticed. It’s not everyday you meet someone like that.”

Eren started dozing off again, deciding to tune out Zeke’s response so that he could bask a little in the genuine compliment Levi had given him. He wasn’t sure if it was a dream or not but Eren could swear that he felt Levi lean into him a little more, reaching up to adjust the earbud in his ear and turned down the volume as if he was worried it would disturb Eren’s sleep.

Levi shook Eren awake when they arrived. It took a few moments for Eren to realize that he was practically cuddling the other boy and he jumped away slightly. There was an amused smirk on Levi’s face as he gave Eren a side eyed look before they climbed out of the van.

“Thank God,” Levi groaned as he stretched his limbs. Eren watched as his shirt raised up a little, showing a sliver of pale skin before it disappeared. He looked away, hiding the blush on his face as he coughed into his fist and ruffled his hair awkwardly.

“Oh, I’m so excited!” Dina said with a happy smile, adjusting her purse on her shoulder. “Levi, you’ll love it. It’s so much fun here.”

Zeke and Eren exchanged a look as Levi physically cringed at Dina’s overly excitedly tone. She sounded too much like a soccer mom. Kenny laughed, patting Levi’s shoulder roughly and Eren chuckled a little at the disgusted look the boy gave his uncle as he shrugged the hand off.

“Is it really all that exciting?” Levi muttered under his breath as they made their way to the entrance.

Eren shrugged. “Well, a lot of kids are usually here—”

“Goddammit,” Levi cursed, causing Kenny to stop in his tracks.

“Levi, don’t ever say that.”

“What is it this time?” Eren could almost hear Levi roll his eyes without looking at him.

“Don’t use God’s name in vain like that.” Kenny’s eyes were narrow, glaring down at his nephew who Eren knew couldn’t give any less fucks than he already did. But Levi nodded, giving a half-assed apology that Kenny accepted and made his way back up with Grisha and Dina.

“Well, this is just gonna be a blast.”

Zeke grinned. “Aw, c’mon Levi. Lighten up a little. It’ll be a good time. Lotta hot chicks around. Some… most in bikini tops and short shorts. Any man’s dream. I love coming here.

“Ah yes, I just cannot wait,” Levi said with a sarcastic tone laced through his words. He feigned excitement with a lame fist pump to the air and Eren snorted a laugh through his nose.

“It is fun. You just gotta have an open mind.” Eren nudged him with his shoulder and Levi gave him a strange look.

“Jeez, okay, if it’ll get you guys to stop bugging me about it. Yeesh.”

As the hours ticked by, Eren noticed Levi loosen up a little, showing off his competitive side as the two of them and Zeke played a few games. Any game that involved pitching a ball, Levi won. But whenever he won a prize, which was always some lame stuffed animal, he gave it to a little kid who didn’t have one. Watching it made Eren’s chest warm and his head fuzzy, seeing the small smile on Levi’s face when a kid hugged it with a happy squeal.

“Mommy, mommy!” A little girl yelled, tugging at her mother’s arm as she jumped and pointed up at a large stuffed unicorn. “I want that one!”

“How much?” The mother asked the vendor who only shook his head.

“You gotta win it," the vendor said with a shake of his head, chewing on a toothpick between his teeth.

Eren’s heart deflated at the sad look in the child’s eyes when she was refused the animal. Slamming money on the table, Eren ordered a set of five rings to throw and try to land into a small bowl of water. He was on his last ring and he closed his eyes for a moment, saying a small prayer before throwing it. A large grin appeared on his face when it landed in the winning bowl, the vendor asking what he wanted.

After he had received the large unicorn, he crouched down to the little girl’s level, holding it out to her.

“Here you go.”

Her face lit up with glee. “Really?!”

“Of course.” Eren nodded. “Just for you.”

She gasped and snatched it out of his arms, wrapping her tiny arms around it’s neck and squeezed it tightly. “Thank you, mister!”

He stood up, noticing the mother looking at him with a sweet and fond look.

“You really didn’t have to.”

“No worries. I’ve been trying to beat that dumb game for years anyway.”

She laughed, thanking him as she took her daughter’s hand.

“Thank you again, mister!” The small girl yelled over her shoulder, skipping alongside her mother as they walked away.

“You’re such a softie,” Levi said, coming to stand next to Eren.

“So are you,” Eren shot back with a fond grin. Levi gave a half-assed shrug and said nothing.

After enough begging from the three teenagers, they found a restaurant to sit and eat before they starved to death. Or, that’s what Zeke had made it sound like. Eren had seen what Levi was like in a private setting during meals which only made him a little nervous to know what he was like in public. Surely he wouldn’t be so blunt and rude. Right?

“Kenny, can you buy me a beer?” Levi asked. Eren wasn’t sure if he was joking or not. It was hard to read his face but from the look on Kenny’s, it was quite obvious what the answer was. “If I order water and pray hard enough, you think Jesus will turn it into wine?”

“Levi,” Kenny warned and Levi shut his mouth. Of course, the question left Zeke and Eren in quiet fits of laughter, avoiding the eyes of their parents behind the menus they were given. The shorter boy sent Eren a sly grin and Eren only shook his head.

Not long after they ordered their food and their drinks had arrived, a gay couple was seated at the booth across from their table. It was a few feet away, give or take with another table between them that was empty.

Grisha and Kenny shared the same disgusted look as they noticed the two men holding hands and laughing together without a care in the world.

“What an abomination,” Dina scoffed, shaking her head as she folded her hands in her lap. “Don’t they notice people eating here?”

Levi looked over at the couple and then back at Dina. “What’s the issue here?”

“They’re just sitting there, subjecting the rest of us to their shameful life choices.”

“It’s sad, really,” Kenny said with a solemn look.

“Shall we pray for them?” Grisha asked.

“Are you fucking—” Levi started but was stopped when Eren squeezed his thigh under the table. He looked over, the anger and hatred in his eyes scaring Eren enough to immediately let go of his leg. The brunet gave a shake of his head and a look that read ‘please don’t’ and Levi grimaced, biting his tongue.

The slander continued, Grisha and Kenny doing most of it as they discussed how ashamed they were of the country and the people they were being surrounded by.

“This is not what God wanted. It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Grisha said almost loud enough for the couple to hear and Eren felt his heart drop to his stomach. Zeke wasn’t saying anything, didn’t even look up as he stared down at his phone as if what was happening didn’t bother him for a second.

Levi scoffed. “How about you pick up a science textbook and read about Darwin and the theory of evolution. Adam and Eve weren’t real .”

The adults across the table gasped in such a way, you would have thought that they had witnessed a murder. Dina looked absolutely horrified, Grisha and Kenny wearing unreadable looks.

“Levi, you can’t possibly believe those dumb books,” Kenny said with a stiff laugh.

It looked like the other boy was about to say something but when he looked at Eren and noticed the panic and fear in his eyes, he shook his head.

“No, sir. I’m sorry. I was just… trying to cause some trouble, as usual. I apologize.” Without another word, Levi stood up abruptly and made his way to the restroom, Eren watching him as he left and watched him practically kick the door down as he walked in.

Kenny and Grisha discussed some more about the couple and even about the things that Levi had said. When the other didn’t come back after ten minutes, Eren excused himself to go check on him.

He found Levi pacing in the bathroom, phone pressed to his ear as he ranted on to whoever was on the other side of the phone call. Their eyes met when the door closed behind him and Levi hung up, promising to call the person back. They stared at each other until Eren couldn’t take it anymore and he looked away, rubbing the back of his neck.

“How do you do it?”

Eren looked up. “Huh?”

“How do you do it?” Levi asked again. “How can you just sit there and let them ridicule and hate on people that they don’t even know; on people who are just living their fucking lives and being themselves. Do you know how much courage and confidence it takes to be openly gay like that in public? To try and go on a date and have a good time in hopes that you’re not beaten to a bloody pulp just because people don’t like who you are?”

There was so much pain and hurt in Levi’s eyes that it left Eren speechless. Of course he wouldn’t know what it was like. He never would. Eren could hardly admit to himself that he could at least be bisexual. The thought of someone finding out nearly gave him a heart attack. He wouldn’t even know where to begin to try and understand what it was like for Levi. Especially to sit there and listen to people of the same community be hated.

“I…” Eren paused. He still couldn’t bring himself to look at Levi. “I’m sorry.” His voice was soft but genuine and he could feel himself on the brink of tears. He knew that if he looked up and saw Levi’s pained look again, it would make him cry so he stared at his feet.

There was silence in the bathroom, just heavy breathing coming from Levi after having paced for ten minutes and ranted on about what had happened. He finally spoke up.

“You don’t have to be. But know that next time,” Eren looked up as footsteps neared him and he saw Levi walking closer and he opened the door before he stopped. “Next time I won’t keep quiet. Not even for the sake of a cute church boy.” With that, he exited the bathroom, heading back to their table and leaving Eren alone in the bathroom with just his thoughts.

Chapter Text

Levi didn’t say anything to Eren for the rest of lunch, didn’t even spare him a glance. He hated how much it hurt him that the other boy just ignored him as if they weren’t sitting side by side. But Levi had every reason to be angry. And Eren wouldn’t try to argue or reason with him.

Only after lunch and a few more games did Levi say something.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Eren glanced over at him, watching as the shorter boy threw a dart to pop a balloon.

“Lunch. I was being an asshole. You…” He hesitated for a moment, looking at Eren with a strange look before throwing another dart. “I shouldn’t have taken my anger out on you. It wasn’t fair to you.”

Eren was speechless. That was the last thing that he had expected Levi to say to him. He couldn’t help but shrug, a little smile coming to his face. There was a moment of silence between them as Levi finished the game, waving the prize off and telling the man to give the goldfish to someone else.

“So, are we good now?” Eren asked hesitantly.

“When were we not?”

Levi raised an eyebrow at him as his mouth gaped open for a few moments. Opening and closing without saying anything.

“Well… you just, you seemed pissed off at me during lunch.”

A look of realization came to Levi’s face. “Oh, no. Not at you. I was just… pissed off. And plus, I have resting bitch face syndrome.” He faked a cheery smile, sending Eren into a fit of chuckles that had Levi staring for a moment.

Their eyes met, Eren noticing something flicker over Levi’s face before he looked away.

“So, do you literally just walk around here all day playing stupid rip off games?”

Eren laughed. “Well there are rides. There’s the beach. Gift shops.” He shrugged. “Better than that stupid town we’re living in.”

Shaking a finger, Levi nodded in agreement. “Amen to that.”

“Amen sounds so weird coming out of your mouth.”

They looked up, seeing Zeke with a dopey grin on his face. Eren knew that grin anywhere.

“Really, Zeke? Here of all places?”

His brother simply shrugged. “It was just a couple hits. Enough to get the edge off. Besides, Mom, Dad, and Kenny are in some like, lame gift shop and told me to keep an eye on you two. Shouldn’t be too long now until they come out.”

“A couple hits,” Levi repeated. “Like, from a bong?”

Zeke grinned widely with a nod.

“Dude, fucking awesome,” Levi laughed, the sound making Eren want to melt into the ground. “I could go for a few hits myself right now. God, what I wouldn’t do for a cigarette.”

Eren’s face scrunched up at the sound of it. Anything having to do with inhaling any other sort of substance other than air did not sound too appealing to him. But for some reason, he found it hot that Levi smoked. Only cigarettes though. Eren wasn’t sure how he would feel if he caught the other boy getting high with his brother.

“Boys!” Dina’s shrill voice caught their attention as she walked over, a couple of bags in her hands and a face full of excitement. “I come bearing gifts.”

Eren and Zeke groaned. She pulled out a black snapback with a cool logo of the boardwalk on the front, Zeke grinning excitedly and rambling about how much cooler he’d look now. He put it on instantly, backwards, as Eren would have expected from his brother but it fit him nicely. Even with his stupid oval shaped glasses.

Kenny pulled out a black tank top for Levi, asking him to go try it on. Levi was skeptical at first but snatched it from the older man’s hands anyway and made his way to the nearby public restroom.

“Oh, and don’t think I forgot about you Eren.” Dina smiled at him, carefully pulling out a necklace. The string was made of some tough, black fibre, the bottom lined with a few black and blue beads. Hanging off of it was what looked to be a shark tooth. Eren stared at it as if it was some cursed object, his heart thumping in his chest.

“You… got me… a necklace?” He asked slowly and Dina nodded.

“Yes. Of course. I thought it would look much nicer on you. Fit your skin tone better and girls will love it.” She motioned her hand out to him for him to take it but he stared instead, hand finding the other necklace that was already wrapped around his neck. His fingers gripped the golden key that dangled from it.

He knew what she was trying to do. She had been trying ever since he met the damn woman. Of course, she had good intentions—as far as Eren knew of—and meant no harm by some of the things that she had done but she knew how much his current necklace meant to him. It was the only thing left of his mother that he had and he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Buying him some cheap, fake shark tooth necklace wasn’t going to instantly change everything. It wasn’t going to make Eren call her mom or make him believe that she was anything but a replacement. She could never fill the shoes of his own mother, no matter how hard she tried to.

Clenching his jaw, he forced a smile and took the necklace without a word. He planned on giving it to Zeke or Levi later, knowing that if he wasn’t going to use it, he might as well give it away before throwing it in the trash.

Levi came out of the bathroom and Eren’s bad mood was immediately washed away at the sight. The tank clung nicely to Levi’s tones body, the black fabric contrasting with his pale skin. Eren couldn’t stop staring, his jaw dropping open a little. He wanted Levi to choke him with his toned biceps. His collarbones looked delectable and Eren’s mouth watered a little while looking at him. The shirt dipped down just enough that it teased Eren’s eyes with a little bit of his chest.

“You have a tattoo?” Kenny asked incredulously, his tone snapping Eren out of his daze.

“Several, actually.” Levi smirked.

Eren noticed the tattoo on the other boy’s bicep. It seemed rather plain; it was a black band of ink wrapped around his arm but when Eren took a closer look, he noticed a name.

Kuchel

“Who’s that?” Eren asked.

“My mom,” Levi said with a fond smile before turning to Kenny. “Any other questions?” Kenny didn’t say anything, biting his tongue before shaking his head. Rolling his eyes, Levi turned to Eren.

Eren wanted to say something about it, but he wasn’t that surprised that the other boy had a tattoo. Their rooms were right across from each other so of course, Eren had seen his fair share of Levi shirtless and got small glimpses of the ink on his skin.

“I could really go for some ice cream,” Zeke stated, almost a little too loudly as he patted his stomach. “Or like, something cold. It’s like, hot as balls out here. And these chicks don’t help.” He eyed a girl that walked past him, another dopey grin on his face and Eren elbowed him roughly in the side.

“I’d love a little treat,” Dina said, taking Grisha’s hand.

They began making their way towards a nearby ice cream parlor, Zeke whining about the pain in his side after Eren had elbowed him.

“You have a girlfriend.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu. I can look, just can’t order.”

Levi barked out a laugh, shaking his head. They entered the small shop, the three boys sighing in relief of the cold air that hit them as they walked in. Eren sat across from Levi at a small table near the window, studying the other boy’s jawline and profile as he looked out the window.

It was so wrong how attractive Levi was. Well, not wrong. It was so right but Eren hated how much he stared. Yet at the same time, a part of him didn’t care. Levi knew that he was good looking, showed it off whenever he could with that stupid proud smirk that sent Eren’s heart into flutters and his stomach into knots.

He was pulled away from his trance when he felt something nudge his foot. Blinking, he glanced at Zeke who was too busy on his phone texting Pieck and their parents and Kenny were on the other side of the table chatting idly. There was another nudge and Eren looked up at Levi.

There was a smirk this time on his face even though he was still looking out the window.

Eren scooted his chair out a little to get a glimpse of who it was.

It was Levi.

Levi’s foot slowly caressed Eren’s, kicking it lightly and Eren looked up again, astonished.

Was Levi really trying to play footsies with him?

They ate their ice cream without speaking to each other, Eren’s heart beating rapidly as the two of them played footsies under the table. It was inconspicuous, making Eren less nervous since they couldn’t be caught doing so. And if they were, it would be easy to lie about what it was that they were doing.

Levi looked over at Eren, wrapping his ankle around Eren’s and gave his leg a tug before slowly brushing his foot up and down Eren’s calf. He looked calm as he stared at Eren, licking the popsicle in his hand in a seductive way with a flash in his eyes. Eren couldn’t stop staring, watching the other boy’s lips as they wrapped around the tip of the frozen treat and slowly inched it’s way further into Levi’s mouth. He pulled it out after virtually shoving it down his throat and he smirked, licking his lips.

“You, uh, have a little bit of some white stuff on your lips,” Levi said lowly, leaning over the table so that only Eren could hear his words.

Instinctively, Eren licked his lips, tasting the vanilla drop of ice cream on the corner of his mouth. He could feel his face burn a bright red and he looked away. He couldn’t make eye contact as he tried to finish his ice cream as quickly as possible without getting a brain freeze. Of course it happened anyway.

Levi chuckled, Zeke ruffling Eren’s hair claiming that it would help the freeze escape from his scalp. Swatting his brother’s hands away, he glared at him and slumped in his chair, waiting out the pain until it finally went away. Levi was still laughing behind his fist and Eren gave him a kick in the shin.

“Alight,” Levi stood and cleared his throat. “I’m gonna go walk around and see some of the sights… if there’s anything to see. So, catch you on the flip side.”

“Levi you shouldn’t go alone.” Kenny grabbed his arm before he could walk away.

“Take Eren with you,” Zeke said with a mouth full of kettle corn. “Kid knows the place like that back of his hand. It’s kinda weird.”

“Shut up,” Eren muttered and punched him in the arm. “But I’ll go.”

“No, I’d rather we stay together,” Dina said in a worried tone.

Levi rolled his eyes. “We’re both adults here. We have this thing called a cell phone and it’s not like we’re walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night. We’ll be fine.”

“He has a point,” Kenny said. “And plus, I believe that Levi took some sort of karate classes so he knows how to mess someone up.” He nudged Levi with a grin. “Right, champ?”

“Uh, yeah. Something like that.” Levi looked over at Eren. “Let’s go.”

“Be safe,” Grisha called after them and Eren nodded with a smile before walking out of the parlor shop with Levi. They stood still for a moment, watching the crowd before Levi turned on his heel and started making his way in the opposite direction of where they came.

Eren chased after him, eventually catching up to him.

“You’re a real dork, you know that?” Levi asked.

“What? Why? Where did that come from?” Eren asked, more blush tinting at his cheeks.

Levi shrugged lamely. “You’re just… a fucking dork. But it’s cute so I don’t mind.”

Eren couldn’t help but smile at that despite the red on his face. He wasn’t sure why Levi was making comments and passes like that to him. It had been happening the whole day. Eren didn’t know what to think. They had played footsies, Levi made innuendos at him and called him cute almost every ten minutes.

Was Levi messing with him?

He shook his head at the thought, instead trying to enjoy the alone time he had with the other boy as they walked around. They played more games, giving away their prizes to children as they won them. It was a nice feeling. Before they knew it, it was already getting dark and there was one ride they had yet to go on.

“Are you afraid of heights?” Levi asked him.

“Uh,” Eren hesitated for a moment, “not… not really.”

There was a paused. “Well, good enough for me.” Grabbing Eren’s hand, Levi pulled him to the line of the ferris wheel, getting there before anyone else could take the empty carriage that was waiting to be taken.

“I haven’t been on this thing in forever,” Eren commented. “I remember the first time I went on it, I was scared shitless.”

Levi snorted. “Attractive.”

They sat in silence as they slowly made their way up, the view becoming nicer and prettier as they climbed higher. It was the one thing Eren liked most about the ferris wheel. The view it gave with all the lights and the people. It was pretty.

“So,” Levi spoke up. “You never answered my question.”

“What question?”

“You know, the one from a few weeks ago.”

Eren raised an eyebrow. “You’re gonna have to be more specific.”

“When I gave you that queer lesson. I told you about Hanji and their pronouns and you asked me how gay sex worked but then got too embarrassed to let me finish and then I asked you a question but my mom called me before you could answer. And then you left.”

Eren felt all the color drain from his face. “Oh, uh… that question.”

“Yeah. That question.”

“Why do you wanna know so bad?” Eren asked defensively.

“Well, it’s not like I came out to you like two hours after we met and it’s not like I didn’t tell you everything there is to know about my friends and whatnot. You don’t owe me anything, hell you could just push me to the other side of the cart, I only…” He trailed off.

Eren didn’t know what to say. Before he could say anything, Levi started talking again.

“I just…” He ran a hand through his hair and looked off to the side, refusing to look at Eren. “Can you not tell that I’m into you? I just want to know if I have a shot here or not.” The air between them was thick, Eren’s heart stopping for too many moments at the confession. “If not, we can be friends. Believe it or not,” Levi gave a bitter laugh, “I can respect boundaries. Especially yours.”

Now it was just silence; it choked as heavy as hands as he desperately tried to come up with something to say. They were almost near the top and Eren knew that if he didn’t say anything, it would be a long trip down unless he jumped out of the car and into the ocean on the other side of them.

“I made you uncomfortable.”

“No, it’s not that…” Eren couldn’t be more thankful at how patient Levi was being with him. Normally, anyone else would be pushing and prodding at him, trying to get out the information he didn’t want to be let loose. “I don’t know,” he finally blurted.

“What?”

Eren looked over at him briefly. “That’s my answer to your question. I don’t know. I mean I do really like you, but… I, I’m not sure…”

The look on Levi’s face was unreadable and Eren couldn’t bring himself to look up. He stared at his hands, the silence deafening as neither one of them said anything. It was a long moment before Levi moved, his hand coming into Eren’s eyesight and he flinched, unsure of what to expect.

Levi’s fingers grabbed Eren’s chin gently, almost like he was afraid that Eren would break at any moment. He slowly turned Eren’s head to look at him and their faces were only inches apart. The ride stopped at the very top, the machine jerking a little and Eren yelped as the cart swayed back and forth, gripping onto Levi’s other hand instinctively.

Levi’s eyes reminded Eren of the moon as he stared into them, a soft undertone lying under his stoic look. He swallowed hard, as Levi’s hand moved from his chin to cupping his cheek gently, thumb brushing over Eren’s bottom lip. He was sure that Levi would be able to hear his heart pounding in in his chest, ready to jump out of his rib cage.

“I can help with that,” he said softly.

Before Eren knew what was happening, Levi’s lips were on his. They were softer than he had thought that they would be. He was gentle, not forcing or demanding that Eren do anything. He could feel fireworks explode inside his stomach and branch out through his body. He melted into it, leaning a little closer to Levi.

The warmth went away as fast as it came and was instantly replaced by fear and anxiety. He pulled away suddenly, eyes wide and full of fear. He looked around as if someone would have seen him. Tears filled his eyes for reasons unknown and his breathing was heavy. Levi stared at him with a look that could break Eren’s heart a million times over.

“I can’t do this.”

Chapter Text

The car ride home was just as painful as the way back down from the ferris wheel. Nothing was said between them. Levi had stared at Eren for a long minute before nodding and moving to sit across from him in the cart. He didn’t even look at Eren, staring either to the side of him or down at his phone as he played a game.

Eren felt like his heart was a rock, sinking to the bottom of the ocean and never to be returned again. Levi didn’t even sit next to him on the ride home, sliding into the seat next to Kenny in the middle seat before Zeke could forcing him to sit in the back with Eren. He couldn’t help but stare at the back of Levi’s head most of the way home, watching the way he moved, plugging in his headphones and keeping his head down.

The feeling of Levi’s lips lingered on his the whole night. He brushed the tips of his fingers over his lips as he closed his eyes with a sigh. It was the only thing that he could think about.

When they arrived home, Levi was the first to make his way out of the van and into his house. Kenny was left stunned and confused, giving some sort of excuse to Levi’s rudeness was because he was tired and got that way after a long day. But Eren knew that was a lie. It was his fault that Levi was being the way he was. Broken and hurt.

He was thankful that his curtains were already closed when he got to his room. Leaning against the door after closing, a shaky breath left Eren’s trembling lips. The thoughts in his head were running around so fast it was making him feel dizzy, the room was spinning and blurry. Feeling something cold on his cheeks, Eren reached up to his face as he walked over to his bed.

Tears.

He was crying.

Eren scoffed at himself, feeling pathetic that he was crying at something that he had done instinctively. It was totally normal, right? He had been petrified that someone would see them, someone would rat him out and that would be the last of his existence. There wouldn’t be anywhere else to go. He didn’t have any other family and the whole town would find out; rumors spread like wildfire and he would be shunned.

He climbed on his bed, sitting against the wall as he tilted his head up. Blankly, he stared at the ceiling and didn’t bother with fighting the tears as they rolled down his cheeks. He chewed on his bottom lip with his teeth until he tasted blood. It didn’t bother him but he brought himself to a stop so that it wouldn’t get worse.

Wiping his face with his hands, he sniffled, grossly and loudly and he stood up. It took much more mental energy than he thought that it would to change out of his clothes and into pajamas. He didn’t know how he managed it but he did.

Why couldn’t he have been honest with himself? With Levi? He admitted out loud to the other boy that he liked him a lot, but that he was simply confused with himself, with what he did and didn’t like. And Levi was okay with that. Levi was so gentle and understanding. Eren hated himself for hurting Levi in the way that he did. Eren hated himself for even thinking about the possibility that he could be gay.

Why couldn’t he be normal? Or why couldn’t he have been stuck back with his mother so this fear and anxiety wouldn’t exist in his mind or his life. Life wasn’t fair. Eren liked to think that he was a good kid, doing whatever his father wanted him to. Hell, he wasn’t even going to college simply for the fact that his dad wanted him to stay and be an intern at the church. Dad wanted Eren to be a pastor like himself, to fill in his shoes whenever he passed. Of course, Eren had expressed that’s not what he wanted, not that Eren knew what he exactly wanted to do with his life. But leading a church was not one of them.

But did his father listen? No, of course not. So Eren played the role of a good little soldier he always had since he was the age of ten twelve. It took three years to finally push Eren into that role after being separated from his mother. He was scared, worried, confused. He was just a boy who wanted answers and wanted his mother but got neither.

Eren wondered what his mother would think of all this. What would his mother think of the possibility that Eren could be gay? Would she mind? Would she care? Or would she be just as disgusted as his father and stepmother.

It was a long night. Eren couldn’t sleep, his thoughts keeping him awake most of the night. Even when he did get to sleep, he was awake within a couple of hours. He didn’t go downstairs for breakfast, not answering the door when Dina knocked and he was thankful that she didn’t barge in.

He stayed in his room for most of the day until he got a message from Mikasa, asking if he wanted to hang out. It felt like it had been forever since they talked or even saw each other so he agreed to meet her at her favorite cafe. Grabbing his headphones, Eren barely said two words to his family as he made his way out the door and down the street with his hands shoved in his pockets.

“Hey,” Mikasa greeted him when she finally arrived. Her smile was kind and her hair was pulled back in a braid. “How’ve you been? How was the boardwalk?”

Eren’s heart ached suddenly as she brought the subject up that he had spent all night thinking about. Even in his dreams. So, instead of a verbal answer, he gave a lame, one-shoulder shrug while he stared down at the drink in his hands. Mikasa was studying him carefully, he could feel her eyes watching  and he sighed.

“I mean, it was the same was always. Just… I guess it was boring this year. Dina bought me a necklace.”

“Ugh,” she groaned and Eren couldn’t help but give a breathy laugh at the sound. “Another one? Does the woman not learn?”

Eren shrugged again, shaking his head. “Apparently not. She got Zeke a douchey snapback.”

“Yeah, as if he couldn’t become more douchey.” She rolled her eyes.

“Are you excited for college?” he asked, changing the subject while shifting in his seat. The way her eyes lit up in excitement made him smile. He listened to her ramble before slowly tuning her out to listen to his own thoughts that scratched at his heart. There was still a dull ache from how much he had cried last night and from each time the image of Levi’s broken-up face popped into his head.

“So, yeah, I guess you could say I’m excited. Jean is pretty stoked too. Just ready to get out of this town.”

Eren faked a smile as she finished her rambling and they sat there together, chatting idly for a while longer before she needed to leave. She gave him a hug before she left, Eren clinging on a little longer than usual and she gave him a strange look before leaving. He sat alone in the cafe, staring out the window. He had barely touched his drink and his eyes flicked down to his phone that was sitting on the table next to his arm.

Usually at this time, Levi would be texting him, saying how bored he was and that they should go do something, anything before he died of boredom. It always made Eren laugh, sometimes they were sitting at their windows, facing each other as they texted, making stupid face at each other whenever one made a terrible joke or pun.

But today Eren’s phone hadn’t made a noise once since Mikasa texted him and asked to hang out. He wasn’t sure what to do with himself or the feelings building up inside of him as the day ticked by.

After scrolling through his phone, mindlessly moving around apps, he found himself in the contacts list. His eyes rested on Krista’s name and he thought back to when they had all played baseball together, remembering what she had told him.

If anyone could help him, it would have to be her.

He sent her a quick text, asking if she could talk or if she was available to hang out. HIs foot nervously tapped on the ground as he waited for a reply, staring at his phone and jumped as it vibrated on the table.

Krista, 3:16pm: Yeah! I’m totally free. I’m actually just hanging out here with Ymir and Zeke if you wanna come join :)

At the mention of his brother, Eren knew exactly what Ymir and him were doing but Eren made his way over to Ymir’s place anyway. Krista greeted him at the front door, leading him down to the basement where Ymir usually held all her hang outs and parties. Since her parents didn’t seem to be home, there were a few others hanging around, the smell of weed thick in the air. The moment Eren walked in, he began coughing.

“Ayyyy,” Zeke yelled as Eren came into sight. “It’s my lil’ brooooo.” He had a stupid smile on his face as he slumped back on the old couch next to Ymir, a blunt between his fingers. His eyes were red and his hair was sticking up in all sorts of directions. Eren couldn’t help but laugh a little.

“Wassup?” Ymir tilted her head up a little, grinning at him before her eyes moved to Krista. She eyed her girlfriend appreciatively, giving a lame wink.

Zeke and Ymir went back to chatting, taking hits and sharing the blunt that Zeke had in his fingers and the bong that was sitting on the coffee table in front of Ymir. Eren and Krista sat a little ways away, watching and shaking their heads. Eren knew that Ymir had smoked pot a little bit, but didn’t know that one of her buddies was his brother.

“So, what’s up? What did you want to talk about?” Krista asked, turning Eren’s attention away from the two on the couch. “It’s rare for me to get a message from you so it must be something important. Have you talked to Mikasa first?”

Eren laughed a little, scratching at the back of his neck awkwardly. “Uh, not. I… I couldn’t.”

Her eyebrows shot into her hairline at that. “You couldn’t tell Mikasa, your best friend?”

“I… I feel safer about it with you, honestly,” he admitted quietly.

“Well, lay it on me.”

Eren snorted, opening his mouth to try and begin to explain what he was feeling when he was interrupted with Zeke yelling, “Heeey Krista! I, got me a question for you.”

Krista and Eren made their way over, moving things out of the way on the coffee table so that they could sit on it. Krista watched Zeke, waiting expectantly for his question while he and Ymir giggled and laughed to each other over nothing.

“Okay,” Zeke said as he sat up, coughing out a puff of smoke. “So like, you work at like, a Samsung store right?”

Krista nodded slowly.

“We should go outside,” Eren commented.

“So like, does that mean you’re, like, the guardian of the Galaxy?” Zeke finished, a complex look on his face. It was hilarious how much of a philosophical thinker he was whenever he was stoned. Eren always saved conversations between them whenever he texted Eren while high. It was the only time that Zeke was somewhat funny.

“Oh my god.” Krista rolled her eyes.

“Dude,” Ymir chuckled. “That’s so cool. I’ve never met an astronaut before.”

Krista looked over at Eren before standing up. “Yeah,” she nodded. “Let’s go outside.”

It was nice to get some fresh air, Eren sure as hell knowing that it would take a miracle for his parents not to smell the weed on his clothes if he were to go home right after talking with Krista.

They sat on the steps of Ymir’s front porch and Eren sighed loudly. He ran a hand through his hair, feeling Krista's patient eyes on him as she waited for him to explain.

“Uh,” he started awkwardly. “So my family and I went to the boardwalk yesterday as we do every year. But this time, Kenny and Levi came with.”

“Aww, that sounds fun. What’s so bad about that?”

Eren paused for a long moment, the feeling of Levi’s lips on his coming back to him.

“Levi kissed me,” he blurted out without looking up.

Krista was silent for a long moment and when Eren looked at her, he could see the gears in her brain working on a response.

“Why?” She finally asked.

He explained everything to her, from the moment they met and how they had connected so easily, all the flirting Levi did with Eren that he had been oblivious to until now, how nice and kind he was to Eren. He explained that Levi was almost overwhelmingly understanding of Eren’s situation and the knowledge he hadn’t known when he accidentally misgendered Hanji. He told her about the question Levi had asked and the answered that Eren eventually gave him the night prior while sitting at the top of the ferris wheel.

She nodded slowly, understandingly. “So, he likes you. As if that wasn’t obvious.” She smiled a little, taking Eren’s hand in hers and giving it a gentle, reassuring squeeze. “It’s okay to not know what you like and what you don’t like, Eren. You need to know that. The way we were raised, where we grew up,” she let go of his hand to gesture around them. “We were taught all our lives that we have to live a specific way, that we can only love one way, act a certain way. Don’t do this. Don’t do that.”

“I know,” he said quietly, twiddling his thumbs in his lap. He stared down at the steps his feet were resting on.

“And I can’t imagine that being the pastor’s son doesn’t help you very much.”

Eren scoffed. “That’s an understatement.”

“But, Eren,” she placed her hand on his shoulder. “You’re not alone. You can be gay, bi, pan, whatever, and still have a faith. Still have a religion and believe in God. That doesn’t make you a bad person, no matter what they teach us. Our parents,” she sighed and shook her head, “they were raised in a much stricter era. These years, our generation, it’s much more open minded and more heard of for people to be gay or queer and also religious.”

He took in her words for a moment, letting them soak into his brain and his heart as he tried his best to believe it himself. He knew there wasn’t wasn’t anything wrong with it, yet at the same time, he felt so wrong and that he was being such a disgrace to his family.

“I’ve been where you are, trust me. But… it’s just, it’s easier to accept it. I know it’s easier said than done but believe me when I say that there is nothing wrong with you.” She forced him to look at her. There was a look in her eyes that he had never seen before. “You’re born the way you are and if people can’t accept that, then they don’t really love you. If your dad or Dina or Zeke don’t like you if they find out, then they aren’t family. You have me and Ymir… and most importantly Levi.”

At the sound of the other boy’s name, Eren felt his heart twist.

“God I wish,” he muttered. “But I feel like I just, I fucked everything up last night and that I’ll never get it back.”

Krista waited a moment, patting his knee as she thought before finally asking, “Did you like it?”

“Huh?”

“The kiss, did you like it? How did it make you feel?”

Eren let out a puff of air, scratching his cheek before resting his arms on his knees. “Yeah. I did. A lot,” he finally admitted to Krista and to himself. “I… it made me feel… like… I felt at home. Relaxed. It felt right yet so wrong.”

“And those are the bad thoughts. You pushed him away because you were scared someone would see you, that someone would find out.”

“I didn’t even… I couldn’t even speak to him after. I couldn’t explain why I had pushed him away, not that he would want to hear it anyway.” Eren scoffed to himself, shaking his head. “Like he’ll even talk to me now.”

“Well,” Krista stood up, adjusting her dress. “Like he said, even if he doesn’t shot, which it sounds like he does, he still wants to be friends with you.”

“How do you know if he has a shot or not?”

“Do you like him?"

Eren blinked up at her. The question hit him like a brick wall and all the feelings Levi had ever made him feel washed over him like a giant wave and he nodded. “Yeah. I do. A lot.”

Krista smiled, more of a prideful grin. She watched him stand up. “There you go then. There’s your answer. Now it’s just up to you,” she gently pushed her index finger to his chest, “to fix it. And I think you know how to.”

“Thank you, Krista.” He pulled her into a hug, a smile of relief gracing over his face. “I appreciate it.”

She slugged his arm lightly when he let go.

“Go get him, tiger.”

Chapter Text

It had been a week since the kiss between Eren and Levi, a week since Eren had Levi had talked to each other, since they had even seen each other. Of course, Eren saw glimpses of Levi here and there through their windows and at church, but Levi avoided him at all costs. Not that Eren was helping that situation much by avoiding Levi as well. He just wasn’t sure what to do but after his talk with Krista, he was slowly building up the courage to directly confront the other boy.

It was the Fourth of July and Eren was both excited and nervous. Mostly because they were going over to Kenny’s house for a BBQ. There were going to be a few other people from the church that were invited, but Eren was going to solely be focused on Levi. As if he hadn’t already been for the past week.

He was going to pull out all the stops with this one.

It took him forever to get ready, longer than it usually did. He wanted to try and find the perfect outfit so that his clothes would cling to his body in the right way to weaken Levi a little more with each look. Since Kenny had a pool and he was definitely going to go swimming, Eren grabbed the pair of swim trunks that were almost too small. They were black and white, contrasting his nicely tan skin and his bright green-like eyes.

“So, what did you and Krista go and talk about the other day?” Zeke asked as they walked next door. “I mean, I was high as a fucking kite, but I remember you walking out with her and Ymir going on a rant.” He laughed and Eren did too, but one much more awkward and stiff.

“I just… I needed advice on some stuff.”

Zeke raised an eyebrow. “You asked a girl for advice?”

“Don’t be sexist, Zeke.” Eren rolled his eyes. “Plus, Krista is super smart and kind and it felt easier to talk to her than my brother who thought the girl was a guardian.”

“It’s a legit question!”

The door opened as they reached it, Kenny opening it with a grin and a few chuckles.

“What are you boys fighting about now?”

“Oh you know,” Zeke said vaguely.

“Boy stuff,” Eren finished with a lame shrug.

Kenny laughed and shook his head before yelling over his shoulder, “Levi! Come down here and help the boys with some of the dishes!”

Eren’s heart raced at the other boy’s name, listening as he jogged down the stairs. He and Eren stared at each other for a moment. He was wearing the same tank top that Kenny had got him at the boardwalk, already wearing his swim trunks. Averting his eyes away, Levi took one of the bowls from Zeke’s hands and made his way into the kitchen.

“Shit, forgot my phone,” Zeke muttered after he placed the dishes down on the counter and rushed out of the house.

There was a solemn look on Levi’s face as he lingered a little, staring at the bowl in his hands before sighing and running a hand through his hair. Eren noticed the hourglass tattoo on his wrist and he watched his movements before Levi caught him staring.

“What?”

Eren blinked. “I, uh, you just… seems like you’re upset.”

He shrugged and leaned back on the counter. “I mean, yeah, I guess. First of all,” he held up a finger, “the awkward tension here between us is undeniable but mind you, I still said that I wanted to be your friend.” His voice slowly got quieter as he crossed his arms over his chest. Eren nodded, not able to look over at his friend. Levi’’s eyes were aimed down at the ground as well. “And second, my cat back home died a few days ago so…”

Eren’s head snapped up.

“Fuck, oh no. I’m so sorry Levi.” Eren suddenly had the urge to pull him into a hug but refrained for a moment.

“She was old. It was going to happen sooner or later. She… she was hit by a car and then was put down at the vet. My mom called me the moment it happened.” He scoffed a little to himself. “As much as I want to cry, I won’t. But talking about it will fucking make me.”

Eren stepped closer and pulled Levi into a comforting hug, waiting for the other boy to wrap his arms around him. Eventually he did, melting into Eren a little and it felt comfortable, it felt right. Levi fit perfectly in his arms like the last piece of a puzzle to Eren’s life.  

They heard the front door open, Eren’s father’s voice echoing through the house and the boys quickly pulled away. Eren hesitated for a moment before acting on impulse and he bent down to press a gentle kiss to Levi’s cheek. He stared up at Eren, shocked and confused and as he opened his mouth to say something, Kenny walked in.

“You boys can go ahead and go swimming if you’d like. I need to start up the grill and the others should be over any minute now.”

“Alright. Thanks, Kenny.” Eren gave a cheerful smile, his eyes flicking to Levi’s before he and Zeke made their way outside to the back. Zeke pulled off his shirt with ease, chucking it off to the side somewhere before jumping into the pool with a yell.

Eren laughed, grabbing his brother’s shirt and folded it up, placing it on one of the lounge chairs. Zeke surfaced, spitting out a mouthful of water. He yelled at Levi and Eren to join him, claiming the water was extremely refreshing. Levi was hesitant, standing at the back door after having closed it.

Sending him a grin, Eren turned back around and slowly pulled off his shirt, knowing and feeling Levi’s eyes on him while he watched Eren’s every movement. He rolled his shoulders a little, folding his shirt and putting it with Zeke’s. Eren ran over to jump into the pool, jumping and doing a flip before landing in a cannon ball.

“Bro!” Zeke yelled as Eren resurfaced and shook his hair out, pushing it out of his face. “That was awesome!” He turned to Levi. “Are you gonna join us?”

“Yeah!” Eren agreed with a bright smile and a wave. “C’mon, please?”

They locked eyes and Eren could see a slight blush on Levi’s cheeks as he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. The back door opened, Jean and some others coming through the door after Levi had stepped aside. They jumped into the pool, Mikasa climbing up on Jean’s shoulders and Pieck up on Zeke’s as they began a game of chicken.

Eren swam over to the edge of the pool where Levi was standing and rested his arms. “You gonna come in?”

“I… I don’t know,” he said hesitantly.

“They’re not even paying attention. Please?” Eren tilted his head to the side a little as he looked up at Levi. He had crouched down so that he was closer to Eren’s level before sighing and sat down. He put his legs in the water, sitting on the edge.

“I’m not the best swimmer,” Levi finally admitted awkwardly, looking up when Kenny stepped out of the house. Some of the adults were inside, some outside as they set up the food and Kenny started up the grill.

Eren turned his head back to Levi, scooting closer so that his elbow was pressed to the boy’s knee. He was really gonna go all out and see if Levi would catch on with him. It would be the easiest way of coming clean to the other about his feelings rather than having to try and explain them.

I could give you mouth to mouth if you drowned, Eren thought to himself but didn’t dare to say it out loud. It was difficult for him to openly flirt with Levi knowing that the other boy liked him yet thought that Eren was straight or didn’t like Levi back. It was all so confusing and stupidly complicated. Eren just wanted to pull Levi into a kiss and tell him how much he really did need Levi and that he could do it if Levi was there with him.

“What’s that tattoo mean?” Eren asked, pointing to Levi’s wrist.

“The hourglass? Oh, uh, just some stupid cheesy shit about how we don’t have all the time in the world and to live life to the fullest.”

Eren smiled. “It suits you. I like it.” Levi blinked at him blankly before splashing him with water. “That was a compliment!” He laughed, breath catching in his throat at Levi’s smile.

It took a while, but eventually Eren and his brother and friends managed to convince Levi to join them in the pool. Eren watched eagerly as Levi slowly stripped off his tank top, revealing yet another tattoo. To Eren’s knowledge now, Levi had four tattoos. The one on his right bicep with his mother’s name, his left wrist with the hourglass, on his left side there was a hand with that was holding a match on fire with the words ‘haters on fire.’ which Eren thought suited the boy very nicely. The only one that confused Eren was the set of overlapping wings, one blue and the other white on Levi’s ankle.

Levi slipped into the pool next to Eren, popping up next to him. Eren smiled, splashing him before ducking under the water and made his way over to the little rock grotto. It was always a place that Zeke and Pieck liked to sneak off to whenever they were over swimming, making out in the shadows and behind the waterfall where it was hard to see.

Eren didn’t expect Levi to follow him, but part of him was glad that he did.

“Does Kenny know about all of your tattoos?”

Levi snorted. “Yeah. Not that he approves of them. But I mean, haters gonna hate.”

“I think you mean, haters on fire.”

The look the other boy gave Eren could kill a man, sending Eren into laughter, holding up his arms as Levi splashed him, muttering things about how much of a dork Eren was and to stop being cute. It made Eren’s heart flutter when he heard Levi call him cute and the splashing stopped.

“Fuck, sorry.”

“No,” Eren stopped him before he could duck under the waterfall. “It’s fine. I don’t mind. Listen… I, uh, I’ve been wanting to talk to you.”

“About—”

“The boardwalk,” Eren interrupted.

“What about it?” Levi asked, averting his eyes from Eren’s.

Before he had the chance to answer, Kenny yelled out to everyone that the food was ready. Of course, the one chance Eren thought he was going to get was taken away and they were being forced out of the pool.

His appetite wasn’t very strong, the only thing he wanted was Levi. He wanted to be able to confess openly about his feelings and see the happy look on Levi’s face when he realized that there could be something between them.

Eren pulled out his phone, asking Krista for advice on the situation. Of course, she wasn’t that helpful, being busy herself with family and friends. She told him to do the same thing he already had; get him alone and force the words out, trying to confront him about what had happened between them and how it made Eren feel.

It was finally turning night, Eren and Levi in the kitchen putting away the extra food as everyone sat around outside on the patio talking. Zeke and the others had gone back into the pool, leaving Eren alone with the other.

“Hey,” Levi spoke up and Eren looked over. “Have you ever watched fireworks from a roof before?”

“What?”

“I mean, it’s a silly question considering I already know that the answer is going to be no.” Levi smirked. “But we could climb to the roof to watch them if you wanted. It’s pretty great. A good view of all the illegal ones too.”

Eren chuckled but nodded.

“Sure, why not? But how are we gonna get up there?”

“Do you always ask this many questions?”

“Do you always do dangerous things?”

Levi chewed on his lip. “Touche.”

It seemed to be looking up for Eren the closer the fireworks came, the two of them silently climbing up from Levi’s window once everyone else had been situated outside to watch. They were too preoccupied with each other and their conversations to notice the two of them were gone which eased Eren’s nerves.

He slipped a little, Levi grabbing onto his arm and pulling him a little close so that he wouldn’t fall.

“I gotcha, I gotcha, don’t worry.”

Smiling, Eren pulled a blanket over him before draping it over Levi’s shoulders as well and he scooted closer.

Levi stiffened. He cleared his throat before asking, “So, uh, what did you want to talk about earlier?”

“You,” Eren blurted stupidly. “I mean, uh, us. The boardwalk. The kiss…” He took a breath to calm himself. “Just… everything. First and foremost I need to apologize.”

Levi scoffed. “For what?”

“For pushing you away.”

The other boy went silent for a moment before looking up at the sky and not at Eren. “You had every right to. I made you uncomfortable.”

“No, you didn’t!” Eren exclaimed a little too loudly and he slapped a hand over his mouth. Levi watched him expectantly. “You didn’t,” Eren said, words muffled from his hand. “I was just scared. It was my first kiss and I was scared that someone would see us and—”

“Wait,” Levi stopped him. Eren’s mouth shut with an audible click. “Did you just say that I was your first kiss?”

A blush appeared on Eren’s face as he nodded hesitantly before quickly adding, “But it was a good one.”

There was silence after that, neither boy saying anything as they let the words hang in the air. Eren was trying to figure out what he wanted to say, there was so much running through his mind but his mouth went blank as he opened it to try and speak. Levi didn’t look at him, just stared up at the sky with his lips pressed in a thin line.

Eren let out a frustrated sigh and leaned to rest his head on Levi’s shoulder.

“God I’m so bad at this.”

“At what?”

“Just… me trying to tell you that I’m sorry and that I like you and that I liked the kiss. A lot. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and you just, everything about you makes me feel stupidly warm and fuzzy and stuff and I don’t know how to deal with it or what to do with it. I’ve been questioning that I was gay or something since like, the tenth grade but I always denied it and then your hot ass had to move in next door and just flip my world upside down and really make me think and make the gears in the back of my mind work extra hard.”

Levi laughed a little, leaning closer to Eren. “I’m sorry?”

“That’s all you got from what I just said?” Eren asked, a bit of annoyance tied in his words.

“No, I heard you. Loud and clear. And besides,” Eren’s heart stopped when he felt Levi’s arm snake around his waist to pull him closer. “It was painfully obvious how into me you were. Your staring gave it away and especially today with your attempts at flirting.”

“Keywords being attempts,” Eren muttered.

“It was still cute.” Levi shrugged. “But I appreciate you telling me this. It… I’ll be honest, when you pushed me away after that kiss, after those sparks I felt, it hurt when you said you couldn’t.”

Eren sat up. “You felt them too?”

“Eren, it’s cute how oblivious you are sometimes but mostly painful. There’s been something between us since we first met and you can’t tell me that’s not true.” There was a gentle smile on Levi’s face.

His hand found Eren’s hesitantly and Eren looked down, watching as their fingers intertwined together. His heart skipped a beat but it didn’t keep him from smiling. Levi brought Eren’s hand to his lips, pressing them to the back of Eren’s hand softly as they retained eye contact.

“You’re beautiful, you know that?” Levi asked. “I’ve been wanting to tell you that since the moment I laid eyes on you.”

“I never thought I’d be your type.”

“I don’t have a type. Unless ‘Eren Jaeger’ is a type.”

“Oh my god,” Eren groaned, falling forward to hide his face in Levi’s shoulder.

They laughed together before there was silence. This time it was a comfortable one and Eren enjoyed having Levi close like this. He didn’t know that he needed it until now.

“So, does this mean that I have a shot?” Levi asked hesitantly.

When Eren looked up again, their faces were inches apart. He didn’t say anything, instead moving in to close the gap between their lips in a light kiss. At the same time, a firework was shot into the air, it’s boom echoing through the air and making Eren jump a little enough to pull away from the kiss.

Looking back at Levi, he was staring breathless at Eren.

“Does that answer your question?” He whispered.

Without another word, Levi pulled him into a stronger kiss, the one holding more force as Levi’s hands fisted into Eren’s shirt. Eren kissed back just as eagerly, uncaring about the loud sounds in the air and the bright lightly flashing around them. Levi’s lips were on his passionately, as if it had been months since the last time they had seen each other. It set a fire in Eren’s gut; a fire he didn’t want to extinguish.

Levi finally pulled away, the two of them breathless, chest heaving and Levi pressed their foreheads together. Eren’s hand came up to cup Levi’s cheek, thumb brushing over his lips with a smile and small chuckle.

Levi had a smile of his own as he asked, “Does that answer yours?”

Chapter Text

Eren barely gave a goodbye as he rushed out the door the next morning. He barely got any sleep, his mind too preoccupied with messaging Levi all night until his eyes and body betrayed him and fell asleep in the middle of a text. He knew he wasn’t going to hear the end of it from the other boy.

Since Kenny had already left for work, or whatever it was that he did all day, Eren let himself into the house and up the stairs to Levi’s room.

His heart skipped a beat when he knocked and opened the door to his bedroom, finding Levi lounging shirtless with a pair of loose sweatpants. He was focused on his phone, but scooted over to make room for Eren to join him on the bed.

Eren didn’t say anything, toeing off his shoes before climbing onto the bed. Levi didn’t waste anytime to scoot right back, their sides pressed together and his head on Eren’s shoulder as he finished a text. He clicked off his phone, tossing it onto a pillow before turning and pressing a chaste kiss to Eren’s lips.

“Morning sunshine.”

A blush fell over Eren’s cheeks and he smiled bashfully. He wasn’t sure what to say or what to do so he went with kissing the corner of Levi’s mouth, nuzzling his nose into the other boy’s cheek. He’d never had a romantic relationship before, only saw them in movies and T.V shows so he wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do or say.

Levi took his hand, lacing their fingers together before pressing a kiss to Eren’s knuckles.

“I figured we should have some sort of talk today,” he murmured against the back of Eren’s hand before looking up. He saw the fear and worry in Eren’s eyes almost immediately. “Nothing bad. Just, we should talk about us.”

“Us? Like…”

“The cliche line of ‘what are we?’. That kind of talk.”

Eren snorted, playing with Levi’s fingers absentmindedly. It was calming and it was a nice feeling to have Levi’s fingers linked with his own. Their skin contrasted nicely, something Eren had always liked about Levi. He turned his wrist over, his thumb gently running over Levi’s tattoo.

“So then, what are we?” Eren asked, earning a laugh from Levi.

“What do you want us to be?”

For a long moment, Eren stayed silent. He wasn’t expecting Levi to respond with that, in all honesty, he was expecting Levi to be honest and say what he wanted from Eren. But Levi asking for Eren’s opinion, that was a different route.

“I… I don’t know. I’ve never… done this before.”

“It’s kinda obvious.” Eren punched Levi’s shoulder as the other boys chuckled. “But,” he continued and squeezed Eren’s hand. “I want to be your boyfriend. I wanna do all that cheesy couple shit with you, long walks on the beach, binge watch shows and eat snacks and shit, whatever. All that domestic garbage.”

Yet again, Eren was speechless. He would never be able to get over just how open and honest Levi was with him. He hadn’t realized how much he wanted that too, didn’t realize just how much he really did like Levi and for how long. Levi was almost perfect to Eren. In fact, Levi was perfect.

“Me too,” he admitted sheepishly, avoiding his eyes away from Levi’s.

There was silence between the two of them. They clearly weren’t very good at this.

“Hopefully this whole communication thing between us gets better,” Levi joked, getting Eren to smile and look up at him. They stared at each other before Levi leaned in and kissed Eren again, this time longer. His lips were just as soft as Eren remembered them being from the night before. It wasn’t as needy and passionate; it was more slow, exploring, as if they had all the time in the world.

When Levi pulled away, Eren found himself leaning in, not wanting to move away just yet. He opened his eyes when Levi chuckled at him, giving him a small kiss on his chin.

“So, was that a kiss to seal the deal?” Eren asked in a hopeful tone. He smiled at Levi, watched as the other boy sat there thinking and staring at Eren, as if he was trying to figure out what the right answer would be. Instead of talking, he gave Eren another kiss, pulling him as close as he could. They shifted a little, facing each other so that the kiss wouldn’t be at such an awkward angle.

“No, that one was,” Levi mumbled softly against Eren’s lips.

“Are you sure that Kenny is out today?” Eren asked but kissed Levi again anyway. He couldn’t help it. It was addicting and he was pretty sure that it was going to be his new favorite hobby.

A little laugh came from Levi's mouth, his breath tickling Eren's nose. He smiled, nuzzling his nose against Levi's.

“Fuck you're so cute,” Levi whispered and gently carded his hand through Eren's hair. “And yes I'm sure that Kenny is out all day today. So we have all the time in the world to do what we want.”

“I like kissing you?” Eren admitted, saying it more as a suggestion that had Levi laughing.

The taller boy knew that he would never get over that sound. It was wholehearted and genuine. It never failed to make Eren's heart stutter like a little schoolgirl approaching her crush. He could feel his cheeks heat up and he cleared his throat awkwardly, looking down at their hands.

There was a pleasant silence between them. They ended up shifting positions in the bed, laying next to each other. Eren’s head rested on Levi’s shoulders, the other boy’s fingers combing through his hair lightly, his other hand playing with Eren’s fingers on his stomach. Eren watched with a small smile, taking in Levi’s scent and listening as his new boyfriend rambled on about Kenny.

“I’ve never been in a secret relationship before,” Levi suddenly spoke and Eren looked up at him. He was staring up at the ceiling, moving his hand to rest behind his head. “It’s kinda thrilling.”

Eren snorted. “I’ve never been in a relationship so both aspects are equally thrilling and terrifying.”

Raising an eyebrow, Levi sat up and looked down at Eren. “Why terrifying?”

“Well it’s not like I’m the pastor’s son or anything like that.” Eren shrugged casually. “Only three people know that I’m…”

“Not straight?” Levi finished for him and Eren nodded. “Well, trust me, noone is gonna let your secret out. Especially since everyone that knows isn’t straight themselves.”

Eren nodded. He knew that they wouldn’t tell anyone. There wasn’t any reason for them to. But there was still that underlying fear in Eren’s brain that made his chest constrict in fear of it somehow happening. He wouldn’t have anywhere to go if he was discovered. It would be all over the town and Eren would lose all his friends except for the three that he knew would accept him for who he was. Or who he was trying to figure out he was.

“Hey,” Levi placed his finger under Eren’s chin, turning it to look up at him. “Everything will be okay. Trust me.” His voice was soft, gentle; it reassured Eren in a way he never had been before. He nodded with a little smile, leaning in and meeting Levi halfway for a kiss.

Eren sighed in content as Levi pulled him closer, rolling Eren over so that he was under Levi. His head rested against the pillow, smiling as he looked up at Levi hovering over him. Reaching up, he pushed some of the other boy’s hair out of his face, laughing at the look Levi gave him before happily accepting another long kiss. His fingers remained in Levi’s hair, massaging his head a little as they kissed slowly.

A small sound made it’s way out of Eren’s throat when Levi’s tongue hesitantly swiped against his bottom lip. Levi gave a cheeky grin, chuckling as Eren blushed and he sat up, pulling out his phone. Before Eren could ask what he was doing, music began to play from the stereo sitting on Levi’s dresser and he rolled his eyes.

“Making out with music in the background?” Eren asked. “Really?”

“It’s a nice distraction and background noise. Trust me.”

Levi delved in for another kiss, this time managing to slip his tongue between Eren’s lips. It was slow, allowing Eren to learn from the other boy and get a feel for what he should and shouldn’t do. His teeth pulled on Levi’s bottom lip and from the sound that he made, Eren was pretty sure that he was doing pretty good.

They shifted again, Eren now very much aware of his awkward hard-on that tented in his jeans. As Levi moved again, his knee brushed up against it and Eren couldn’t help the small moan that left his lips, head tilting back.

Everything stopped.

“Fuck,” Eren panted, “I’m sorry, I—”

“That was hot as hell,” Levi interrupted him. “But we don’t have to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. I don’t want to move too fast.”

Eren snorted. “It’s the summer. It’ll be over with the blink of an eye. And what are the chances that this will happen again?”

“Well if you stay with me, they’re pretty high.” Levi grinned.

“And you leave at the end of the summer,” Eren pointed out quietly, focusing on playing with Levi’s hair.

“Maybe you can come with me.” The statement was mumbled against his lips, their foreheads pressed together. It made Eren’s heart skip a beat. They may have only known each other for a month, but Eren knew that his feelings were strong for Levi, as if they had known each other for a year. And he was sure that Levi felt the same.

Without answering, Eren pulled Levi into a heated kiss. There was a grunt that came from the back of Levi’s throat as he did, riling Eren up a little more. He loved the feeling of Levi’s tongue dancing against his, feeling something metal clank against his teeth and he pulled away. He gripped Levi’s chin, forcing it open a little.

“How have I not noticed that you have a tongue piercing?” he asked incredulously.

“Considering how I seductively ate things around you, I don’t know. You’re quite dense and oblivious.”

Suddenly, Eren’s thoughts went south, imagining the feeling of Levi’s tongue piercing dragging over his body, ravishing him all sorts of ways that he could only imagine. He whined at the thought.

“Something on your mind?” Levi teased, pressing his lips to Eren’s jaw. “You suddenly turned as red as a tomato.” His lips left a trail of fire on Eren’s neck, sending the other into a panting mess. All he could do was bite his lip, tilting his head to the side a little to allow Levi to keep going.

“Just you,” Eren rasped. He sat up, pushing Levi down against the wall and straddled his hips. Levi watched him in awe, fingers gripping his hips. “And this.” He didn’t say anything as he rolled his hips down against Levi’s, pressing their crotches together. They moaned in unison.

As Levi pushed up into him, it stirred Eren even more, moving his hips faster. The friction was almost getting too much, mixed with Levi’s tongue and lips on his next and collarbone and the suggestive music playing in the background.

One of Levi’s hands raked up his stomach and over his chest, Eren’s breath hitching when his finger ran over his nipple. He could practically feel Levi’s smirk against his jaw as he continued to tease it, their hips moving in unison faster and faster. Eren felt that familiar heat coil in the pit of his stomach and he moaned Levi’s named.

“M’close,” he panted in Levi’s ear, loving the sound that erupted from his boyfriend’s throat.

“Fuck, if you keep panting like that in my ear, I will be too.”

It didn’t take much longer for Eren to climax, coming in his boxers as his hips stuttered against Levi’s, high-pitched whines on his lips. Levi wasn’t that far behind, Eren kissing him with all tongue and teeth, swallowing down the moans that he made.

They sat there, panting, coming down from their high before Eren pushed away and looked down at Levi.

“Wow.”

A lazy grin came over Levi’s lips, his hands softly trailing up and down Eren’s sides.

“Wow indeed.”

Levi climbed off the bed, peeling off his pajama pants and boxers before dumping them into the hamper next to his dresser. Eren couldn’t help but take a few glimpses, staring at Levi’s ass. It was just as nice and firm as the rest of his body.

“I think I have an extra pair that’s like, too big for me if you wanna try them on?” Levi asked over his shoulder, tossing the briefs over to him.

He nodded and made his way to the bathroom, awkwardly changing into the other boy’s underwear. They were just a bit too small but Eren would be able to deal with it. Throwing his pair into the hamper like Levi had instructed, he made his way back onto the bed, curling into Levi who tangled their legs together and wrapped his arm around his shoulders and for the first time in a long time, Eren felt safe.

Chapter Text

“You’re asking me to help watch over snotty, gross children?”

Eren snorted as Levi rolled his eyes at his uncle.

“Levi, they’re not that bad. They’re short a helper and you could use the experience with kids since you’ll be a father one day.”

Both Eren and Levi’s eyebrows shot up into their hairlines, glancing at each other before back to the older man in front of them shuffling through papers.

“What makes you so sure about that?” Levi challenged.

When Kenny looked up, there was silence between them. They seemed to talking telepathically from Eren’s perspective. He wasn’t sure what was happening, but the looks on either one of them did not look good and Eren didn’t feel like speaking up and asking what they were both thinking.

“The kids are nice,” Eren piped up before anything else could be said. “There’s not very many of them. They’ll like you.”

“Kids don’t like me.” Levi countered back.

“Aw, c’mon. That’s not true. Who wouldn’t like you?” Kenny teased.

“Kids,” Levi bit back bitterly and aggressively took a bite out of the apple he was holding in his hand.

“Please?” Eren asked. “I could use the help.” He batted his eyelashes innocently, giving his boyfriend a look only he would be able to read into correctly.

Levi groaned. “Fine. Okay. But you're gonna owe me.”

 


 

“Do we really need to be here so early?” Levi asked. Church started at 7pm on Wednesday nights but they had arrived at 5:30. “I was in the middle of a really good nap.”

“You shouldn’t be sleeping this late in the day anyway,” Kenny stated. “Even if it’s the summer.”

“That’s really asking a lot from me. Mom doesn’t care.”

“Yeah, well I’m not your mother now am I?”

There was high tension between the two of them and Eren cleared his throat awkwardly.

“Practice. The worship team didn't have practice on Monday so they make up for it by being here early. And plus my dad just does… pastor things… I guess. I don't really know what he does because I'm not around for it.”

Levi raised an eyebrow. “What does that mean?”

“Sometimes before church,” Eren paused, his voice dropping lower for a moment as a couple adults passed them with happy smiles. Kenny had already left the two boys alone, clearly annoyed by Levi's comment about his mother. “Zeke sometimes goes put back and hangs with his friend ‘Mary Jane’.”

The shorter boy blinked before a smile broke over his face and he started laughing. It was music to Eren's ears, butterflies erupting in his stomach.

“That was a good one. His friend Mary Jane.” Levi continued to snicker to himself, making his way through the hall and out one of the side entrances. The door was made of glass like the main entrance but no one was around to see them go outside.

“What are you doing?"

“You don't hang out back here?”

“I mean, yeah I have. But I don't do crazy things. Mostly just… well it's been a while since I've been back here. Last time there was a snake, and I don't do snakes.”

“Cute.”

Eren scoffed a little in amusement. “How is me being scared of snakes cute?”

“Because literally anything that you do is cute in some way.” The rounded the corner and Eren had never been more relieved to find that no one was back there. They had an advantage of hearing rocks crunch under shoes while walking on the gravel.

Levi leaned back against the wall of the church, hands shoved in his pockets. He watched Eren for a moment who slowly approached to stand next to him. Levi didn't hesitate to reach out and take Eren's hand in his own and link their fingers together. Eren smiled down at their fingers, giving Levi’s a gentle squeeze as he leaned into him.

It was nice. Being able to forget the world for a moment and just live in the moment of the two of them alone. But then the thoughts about how they were hiding behind a church and that someone could catch them began to creep into the back of Eren’s mind, causing him to become paranoid. Levi noticed, releasing Eren’s hand to face him and hold his cheeks with soft palms before pulling him down for a reassuring kiss.

Levi didn’t even have to say anything. Eren could hear the words through his kiss.

Everything will be okay.

He felt himself melt a little against Levi's lips, a small smile forming as he pulled the other closer to him. Levi responded with wrapping his arms around Eren's neck, allowing the brunet to push him against the wall for a better angle.

The press of Levi's body against his was almost too much for Eren's virgin self, but luckily the kiss was nothing but slow. So Eren rested his hands on Levi's hips. They explored each other’s mouths, bumping noses and Eren laughed a little each time. Levi’s hands were comfortingly running through his hair, pulling it gently as he did.

When they pulled away, Eren stared down at Levi with a smile, kissing his nose and Levi rolled his eyes but there was a smile on his face as well.

“You know, you’re the only one who’s been able to make me smile as much as I have around you.”

Eren’s cheeks heated up and he pulled away a little due to his shyness creeping in. “Really?”

“Yeah, really.” Levi pulled him back. “And that’s not a bad thing,” he murmured against his lips before kissing him yet again. Eren knew he would never get used to it and he didn’t want to.

There was the sound of gravel crunching under shoes and they pulled away from each other, Eren watching as Levi pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his jacket pocket, lighting it with ease and leaned against the church wall just in time to see Jean and Zeke make their way around the corner.

Levi blew out a puff of smoke, raising his eyebrows as the other two boys stared at him. Eren was crouching on the ground, picking at some rocks by his feet and he glanced to the side at them.

“You smoke?” Jean asked, almost as if he was disgusted.

Levi took his time in responding. He sucked on the cigarette, the tip of it lighting up a little before he pulled it away and blew out a new cloud. Eren was entranced by the sight. It made Levi even more attractive than Eren already thought he was. Levi was dangerous to his health, Eren could already feel it in his heart that Levi had taken over every inch of it.

“No, not at all. Why do you ask, Gena?”

Jean clenched his jaw, shooting a pointed look at Eren who snickered a little at the name. He cleared his throat, throwing a pebble at Jean’s feet in retaliation.

“I don’t like you,” Jean declared and Levi’s laugh was raw and bitter.

He sucked in and blew out once again, flicking the cigarette to free the end of it from ashes and he stepped on them to make sure that they were out.

“You and the rest of the world. Get in line, buddy.”

Jean just scoffed, turning away and walking back the way he came, leaving Zeke to watch Eren pick at rocks before saying, “you should join me some time. We’d have a good time.” With that, he turned away and went after Jean, leaving Eren and Levi in silence.

Eren started laughing, falling back on the rocks and leaned back against the building.

“What?”

“Gena,” Eren said between his laughs.

“His name is fucking stupid, what do you expect?”

“At least respect him a little. He’s my friend.”

“Well your ‘friend’ is an asshole.”

Eren laughed again and looked up at Levi, watching as he took one last drag from the cigarette before flicking it to the ground and stepping it on.

“Tell me something I don’t know now that I know you smoke.”

“Your boyfriend is an asshole.” His lips quirked up in smirk while he shoved his hands into his pockets again.

“Don’t lie, we’re in church.”

“We’re outside of church, sweetheart.”

Eren’s heart did a stupid flip at the nickname despite him knowing that Levi didn’t mean anything romantic by it. It made him feel warm and fuzzy inside, warmer than he was already feeling in the summer heat.

“C’mon, we should go back inside,” he said as he stood up. “Also, knowing that you smoke now is kinda hot.”

Levi’s smirk grew even more as he arched a brow, following Eren back to the sidewalk.

“Is it now?”

“Only if you chew gum after and don’t kiss me after you’ve smoked a cigarette.”

“Gross, no. That’s like kissing an ashtray. I’m a gentleman.” He gave Eren a wink as he walked through the door Eren had pulled open and he took the opportunity to check out Levi’s ass as he did.

Levi offered him a piece of gum from his other pocket before throwing the empty box away. They ran into Kenny, his face scrunching up in disgust at what Eren assumed was his reaction to Levi’s cigarette scent.

“What’s that smell?”

“There was a homeless guy out back,” Levi lied smoothly. “He was smoking a cigarette as we approached him. Took a while before we managed to get him to leave. You should put out some traps or something out there. Homeless people have been camping out there for a while.”

“Well that’s because it provides some shade from the sun. They’re not animals Levi. We won’t set out traps.

“Whatever you say man.” Levi shrugged and Kenny went on his way to Grisha’s office.

Eren led Levi to the children’s room, some of them already in there and playing with building blocks and little toy animals. They waved at Eren, too engrossed in their little fantasy world to even noticed Levi. They were both surprised that Gabi didn’t run up and tug on Eren to join their game.

“I can’t believe you lied in church,” Eren hissed.

“It’s not that hard.”

“There wasn’t a homeless person.”

“Not at the moment, no. But it was easy to see that there had been one living there. There’s a lot of them where I’m from so I kinda know what it looks like. Been in their position before too for a while.” A solemn look crossed over Levi’s face and Eren wanted to ask more about it but knew that now wasn’t the time.

“Oh, good, there’s someone here.” He looked up as a woman walked in. She was a regular to the church and Eren smiled as a greeting. She set down a diaper bag, shifting the baby in her arms from one hip to the other. “Look, it’s Eren,” she cooed.

Eren stood up and talked with the woman, taking the baby from her happily and waved as she thanked him before walking out.

“Why is there a baby in here? Babies can’t be in here,” Gabi stated and crossed her arms over her chest.

“Then you shouldn’t be in here either,” Levi teased.

Gabi looked offended, her jaw dropped open a little. “That was rude.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Eren kicked Levi in the foot, earning his attention and Eren shoved the baby into his arms. “I’m gonna go get some snacks,” he claimed. “I’ll be back.”

“Eren wait!” Levi called out but Eren was already gone.

Gabi raced after Eren, coming up behind him and holding his hand as they walked to the nursery next door to grab a couple bags of goldfish for her and Falco since there were no other kids but Eren knew that they would show up soon enough and instead he grabbed the whole box.

He gave it to Gabi who was more than happy to help and skipped back to the classroom. When Eren walked in, he watched as the baby stood on Levi’s lap, Levi holding her up as they smiled at each other. He made silly sounds that caused her to giggle and Eren swore that he was in love.

The sound she seemed to love most was him quacking, each quack causing an innocent giggle.

Gabi handed the box to Eren before skipping over to Falco and another boy who had shown up. He set the box on the table and Levi looked up at Eren. He held the baby out to him and Eren took her from his hands, smiling but it instantly faded when she hiccuped and began crying.

He handed her back to Levi after a moment, watching as she stopped crying and they passed her back and forth to make sure that she did indeed like Levi before settling her in Levi’s lap.

She chewed on Levi’s finger, wiggling her feet as he bounced her on his leg.

“I thought kids didn’t like you.”

Levi smiled a little, looking down at the baby. “I thought they didn’t either.”

 

Chapter Text

The next couple Sundays, Levi offered to work in the nursery just to see the baby again. Her mother even offered Levi a few babysitting jobs during date nights or if the baby was sick and couldn’t go to church. She always told Levi no girls are allowed over but he could bring a friend along to play video games since she knew that it would get boring just sitting around for a few hours while the baby slept.

Of course, Levi’s reply was “oh, no. Of course not.” and always brought Eren over instead. It was fun when people didn’t know things they didn’t need to. It gave them both a bit of space to breath, to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Finally, Levi told Eren that he had saved up enough money so they can go on a proper date.

“I’ve been dying to take you on one,” he said one night and Eren studied him for a moment after pausing his game.

“Why?"

“Because we haven’t been on one. And those babysitting nights don’t count.” He poked at Eren’s sides, a little quirk in his lips coming up as he whispered in his boyfriend’s ear before attacking his cheek with kisses.

Eren laughed, butterflies in his stomach eating at the lining of it and his heart was stuck pounding against his ribcage. It was almost painful how much his heart ached at the thought of Levi alone.

“Okay, fine,” Eren declared through his laughing while Levi continued tickling him and kissing his neck and jaw and face wherever he could reach. “What’s your idea?”

“Ymir suggested we go to a club that’s a couple hours away. She knows the bouncer.”

“Um…” Eren wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He wanted to go on a date with Levi, thinking about it making him giddy, but a club? That wasn’t exactly his idea of a date. “A club,” he restated and looked over his shoulder. “For a date, you want to go a club? I don’t see the connection between the two of those things.”

Levi snorted. “Well it’s fun and you need to get out, you know?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Just text Krista and talk to her about it. It’ll be fun. I don’t wanna go without you. That would be lame.”

Of course, Eren took Levi’s advice and messaged his friend the next day. She offered to meet him for coffee in town so they could talk about it in person. It was a little strange to ask him to meet in the middle of town instead of everyone’s favorite small cafe near the church.

“Hey,” he greeted her and she hugged him.

“How are you?”

“Confused,” he admitted as they sat down after they ordered drinks. “About the club thing. Why would Ymir suggest a club?”

Krista smiled. “No, not you two alone. The four of us going together.”

Eren felt like an idiot. “Oh my god. I’m so dumb.”

A precious laugh made from sunshine left Krista’s mouth and she shook her head. “Why would someone go to a club for a first date. Nooo, of course not. Just the four of us. A night we can all have to be ourselves and have a good time, you know? It’s a couple hours away so no one will know us, Ymir can get us in without being carded. It’ll be a great time."

She took a sip of her coffee as she watched Eren’s face, waiting for an answer. He thought over it for a moment. She had a strong point. They all needed a day off away from the terribly homophobic town that they lived in. It had never occurred to Eren how horrible the place really was and he had been living in it for almost ten years.

“I mean,” he started, “it would be nice.”

“See?” she said excitedly. “We should go clothes shopping. I’ve seen you eye my clothes before, don’t think I haven't noticed.”

His cheeks burned in embarrassment. “How do you know I wasn’t eyeing you?”

She simply arched an eyebrows as if to challenge that and he nodded. “Touche.”

“Let’s go!” She stood up and grabbed his hand to pull him out of the coffee shop. “We’re going to the mall.”

“What? Why?"

“Um, so I can buy you clothes, duh.”

“Krista,” he groaned. “You don't have spend your money on me.”

“Well it's my money. You're right. So I'll spend it how I want. And I want to find some cute booty shorts to show off your ass to Levi.”

His face burned a dark red again and he looked away. “Oh my god. Are you trying to set me up with my own boyfriend?” He asked once they were in the privacy of her car.

“You guys are dating now?” She perked up, almost like a dog and waited anxiously for an answer.

“I mean, uh, yeah. I think we are? He called himself my boyfriend a couple weeks ago when we were behind the church.”

She giggled, starting up the car. “I heard all about that from Jean who told Ymir that you and Levi we're smoking cigars or something.”

“What the fuck?” Eren asked through a snort. “Uh, no. Levi was the only one smoking. We were making out but details. Then Jean and Zeke had to come by and ruin our privacy.”

“Levi and Jean don't like each other do they?” She asked, looking over at him briefly.

Eren shook his head. “Nope. Not a bit.”

“Alright.” She nodded and turned up the music, letting it blast their ears while they jammed out.  

Shopping at the mall with Krista was much more fun than Eren expected it to be and it didn't take them very long to find a pair of short shorts that very nicely showed off his ass. He wasn't surprised he could fit into female clothing with how slender his legs and hips were.

She bought him a crop top, some black fishnets and high tops to ‘finish the look’ as Krista had framed it in her words. Holding the bags in his hands made Eren excited, giddy, happy.

Tonight was going to be a blast.


 

 

“It has to be illegal for you to wear those shorts and fishnets,” Levi commented as they met up at Ymir’s house. “Your legs… damn.”

“Krista did good yeah?” He grinned, nudging Krista with an elbow. He felt happy, normal, he felt himself in his new clothes. It was indescribable.

Levi didn’t answer, he instead pulled Eren down for a mind numbing kiss that knocked out all the air from Eren’s lungs. Krista laughs as Eren’s arms flail before his hands settle on the small of Levi’s back.

“We still have the whole night you two!” Ymir yells and they come back to earth for a moment and pull away. “And Eren, are you wearing my girlfriend’s shorts?”

“She bought me some,” he laughed. “Apparently I have nice legs.”

“You do,” Levi blurted shamelessly. “I’d love to feel them wrapped around me as I—”

“And into the car we go!” Krista interrupted while Levi and Ymir snickered to each other. Eren’s face was beat red as he climbed into the backseat before his boyfriend and last minute decided to make a show and drape his legs over Levi’s lap as he climbed in. He smiled innocently, crossing one leg over the other.

“You fucking tease.” Levi shoved them off his lap.  

Eren fell asleep on Levi’s shoulder on the way there, only waking up when Ymir was yelling at someone who she was driving behind. Levi was laughing though trying not to move as he kept his head laying on Eren’s. Krista was trying to calm her girlfriend down from the passenger seat but it clearly wasn’t working.

She slammed on the breaks, curse words that would make even a sailor blush leaving Ymir’s mouth and Eren was jerked forward and jolted awake. Levi caught him enough so he wouldn’t slam his face on the back of Krista’s seat and he let out a sigh of relief.

“Babe, we’re almost there. Then we can get you a drink and everything will be fine.” Krista placed her hand on Ymir’s pulling it to her lips to place a gentle kiss.

“Awww,” Eren cooed as he settled back next to Levi and tangled their fingers together. “How sweet. You guys are so cute.”

“I know.” Krista flung her hair behind her shoulder as she sent him a little grin over her shoulder. “I tell her all the time but she doesn’t believe me.”

“We’re fucking here. Finally.”

“You’re a terrible driver,” Levi commented with a cheeky smirk as they got out of the car once they had parked.

“Shut the fuck up,” Ymir bit back but was hiding a stupid smile as she wrapped an arm around Krista.

It thankfully didn’t take very long for them to get inside since Ymir was friends with the bouncer who let them in with nothing but a glance. There were people behind them who obviously pissed that they could get in with ease.

Eren had never done something like this before, especially lying to his dad to the extent that he did. Not that the man cared. He was too focused on Dina or Zeke or his next sermon to pay him any mind.

The music thumped loudly, Eren able to feel the bass in his bones. They found a table and sat down, Ymir jumping right back up and taking Levi to the bar to get them some drinks. Hopefully they didn’t bring him one. He wouldn’t give into peer pressure of drinking if they did bring him one, but he didn’t want to feel like he was bringing down the fun for not drinking.

When they came back, it was with nonalcoholic drinks and Eren let out a sigh of relief. It took him some convincing, but Eren made his way out onto the floor with Krista as the other two sat back and watched. Suddenly Eren felt insecure about how he was dressed, as if people were looking at him and judging him weirdly. Krista grabbed his hands and forced him to look at her.

“Just let the music move through you.” She demonstrated, her hips moving sensually before doing a little twirl and she looked back at Eren. “Don’t think. Do. Not to mention that Havana is like the perfect song to shake your ass and impress Levi.”

Eren took a shaky breath, rolling his eyes at the Levi comment even though he could feel Levi’s steely gaze boiling through his skin like fire. He closed his eyes and took Krista’s advice, letting the music move him instead of his awkward brain.

Before long, he was dancing like half the other girls on the dance floor, completely engrossed in the music and how much fun he was having. Levi’s stare was still on him, just as intense as before but it didn’t bother Eren as much, instead, encouraged him to go a little dirty with his dancing and pull his boyfriend to the floor with him.

Ymir had been long gone and ditched him at the table once Krista pulled out her dirty moves. Now it was Eren’s turn to try and seduce Levi enough to join him.

It really didn’t take much, a couple booty drops and winks and Levi was pressed up behind Eren, the two of them dancing together as one. Levi’s hands never let go of Eren’s hips, keeping him flushed against him as if he was scared that Eren was going somewhere.

Eren wasn’t going anywhere. For the first time in his life, he felt like he was living.

Chapter Text

Every high had a comedown. Of course it was before long that someone messed up Eren’s good mood and the good time that he was having. He assumed it was because it was late in the night and people had been drinking for a while leading up to being a sloppy drunk trying to get some action on the dance floor and hitting grossly on girls or who they assumed were girls.

Which was Eren’s case in the situation that he was in.

He hadn’t talked to anyone. Just the three that he came with and Levi was too intimidating for anyone to try and steal Eren away from him.

Eren loved it.

Levi had gone to the bathroom and Ymir and Krista were at the table making out, uncaring of the attention whether it was guys being excited about lesbians or people being grossed out by them.

A body pressed up against Eren and he easily felt a dick pressed against his ass so of course he assumed that it was Levi. Who else would it be?

“Is that a beer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” Eren teased, continuing to dance as he expected the person behind him to dance with him. That wasn’t the case.

Eren stopped when he felt someone lean over him, a voice grumbly and much lower than Levi’s. It made his heart drop to his stomach.


“I’m just happy to see you sweetheart.”

Eren could practically taste the alcohol in the man’s breath and it made him want to throw up. He tried worming away but the guy had an arm around his stomach, locking him in place against the man’s chest. Eren couldn’t breathe, his anxiety spiking through the roof when the feel of the other’s man hand started to travel up his thigh slowly.

The only person he had ever feel up his thigh was Levi. And that was in the privacy of their bedrooms alone together later in the night.

“I’m taken, sorry,” Eren said as confidently as he could, thinking that would get the man to let go. “And I’m a guy.”

“Yeah, and I’m sober.” The man snorted grossly in Eren’s ear and Eren tried to shove him away once the man had turned him around in his arms. His teeth were a gross yellow and his skin flakier than a tinder date. His hair was everywhere and the man was at least twice or three time Eren’s age.

“You’re too pretty to be a guy. And even so, I don’t mind some fun experiences.” He laughed and Eren felt like crying. He was trapped, squirming in the man’s arms until the arms were yanked free from Eren and he stumbled backwards. He was caught before he could hit the floor and he looked to see Ymir and Krista behind him.

Eren blinked. He turned back, seeing Levi with a look on his face that read dangerous all over. It was a glare that could kill the man one thousand times over and all because he had touched Eren.

“What the fuck  do you think you’re doing with my boyfriend? Do you want your teeth broken?”

“Honey, why don’t you drop the zero and come be with a hero,” the man disregarded Levi and stepped forward only to be stopped when Levi stepped in front of Eren, holding tightly onto his hand behind his back.

“Babe,” Eren spoke up, “i-it’s okay. I’m fine. Let’s just go.”

“He was sexually harassing you. No.”

“Shorty get out of my way. She’s gonna go home with me.”

Krista pulled Eren back away from the two men, hiding behind Ymir who glared at the ugly motherfucker who wouldn’t back down. He was set on Eren and Eren only and he wasn’t going to stop despite Eren’s prayers that he would.

The man shoved Levi first, placed his hands on Levi’s chest first and that was his last time. Levi was quick to grab one of his arms and twist it behind his back, saying something about harassment. Other people stopped to watch, them taking Levi’s side when a manager came up to separate them suddenly.

“Both of you out,” one of the bouncers said.

Eren tried to stop them from dragging Levi out but the manager showed up and didn’t care to hear the story or what Eren had to say.

“If you came with him, you leave with him. I’m running a business, not a fight club.”

The other three rushed outside after grabbing their stuff and found Levi standing by Ymir’s car, arms crossed over his chest as he waited. Eren rushed over and threw his arms around Levi, trying his best not to cry as his boyfriend wrapped his arms around him safely.

“You’re bleeding,” he hiccuped.

“You’re crying,” Levi said softly, reaching up with his less wounded hand to wipe away his tears.

“I have some tissues.” Krista started digging around in her purse despite Levi telling her that it was fine and that he would be okay until they got home. Fortunately for Levi’s side, she didn’t have any in her bag and she couldn’t go back inside to grab some. They climbed into the car, no one saying anything about what had happened, especially not Eren nor Levi.

Eren stayed increasingly close to Levi, squeezing his hand to keep his own from shaking. Nothing like that had ever happened to him before. Sure he got into fights with other players during baseball but nothing physical ever happened. He was pretty sure that was the first physical fight he had ever witnessed and his boyfriend was one of the contenders in the fight.

Levi and Eren were dropped off first, Krista getting out to give both Eren and Levi hugs. She specifically told Eren to text of call her if he needed anything through the night and he nodded as a thanks. They watched Ymir drive off as they stood on the sidewalk before Levi spoke.

“Do you wanna stay—”

Eren didn’t even let him finish his sentence before answering with a quick, “yes.”

He shot his dad a quick text saying that he was crashing at Levi’s place before they went inside. It wasn’t unusual to see that Kenny wasn’t home, which was very lucky on Levi’s side seeing that he wouldn’t have to explain himself to his nosy uncle.

Eren grabbed the first aid kit from the bathroom cupboard and met Levi in his room. He flicked the light on, stripping off his now blood stained shirt and tossed it to the side. Eren wasn’t expecting to walk in to see Levi’s bare, muscled back staring at him causing his heart the thump heavily in his chest.

Levi didn’t say anything to Eren as he sat on the bed, letting the other boy patch him up and clean off the dried blood from his face. It was quiet in the room, almost too quiet for Eren so he decided to say the first thing that came to his head.

“Thank you.”

“What?” Levi raised an eyebrow.

“You, uh, you like, saved my life.”

“No I didn’t.”

“Levi,” Eren sighed, pulling away so he could look at him properly. “Who knows where or what I would be doing if you hadn’t shown up right then. It looked like he was about to take me somewhere.”

Levi’s jaw clenched at the mention of it and Eren softened his voice. “You’re my knight in shining armor,” he kissed Levi’s cheek. “Thank you.”

“I’ll be your knight if you be my prince.” He brought Eren’s hand to the lips and lingered a kiss to his knuckles.

“Deal.” Eren said with a smile and leaned in, meeting Levi halfway for a kiss. It was loving and tender, everything that Eren needed to keep him from floating up to cloud nine.

Of course, the kiss turned into more than a loving kiss; it shifted into a slow moving make out, something they could take their own pace only for Eren to end up in Levi’s lap like always with shirts off as they felt around each other’s torsos and stomach.

“How do you stay so fit?” Eren asked, fingers squeezing Levi’s bicep. “It’s really sexy but jeez, how?"

“Well you have said I run through your mind a lot.”

“Oh shush.” Eren smacked him playfully.

“I’ve been in mixed martial arts since I was old enough to practice.”

“Wow,” Eren breathed, impressed by this new information. It explained how easily Levi had taken on the man at the club. He ran his hands across Levi’s chest, grinning impishly. “And this is all mine to enjoy. I’m a lucky guy.”

Levi gave a breathy chuckle and rolled Eren onto his back, hovering over him as he peppered kissed down his jaw and neck. It caused a small moan to leave Eren’s lips and Levi’s turned up into that daring and mischievous smirk that Eren loved so much. He scraped his teeth over Levi’s adam’s apple, earning a groan and his mouth was back on Eren’s but this time much more passionately and ready to devour Eren in every way possible.

They ended up in their boxers together, languidly grinding and rutting against each other until Eren finally had enough and pulled away. He wanted more than that.

“What’s wrong?"

“I… I want to, uh,” he wasn’t sure how to phrase what he wanted. “You and me, um. God this is stupid.”

Levi laughed and kissed him. “Are you sure you want to?”

Eren nearly let out a sigh of relief because Levi knew exactly what he was talking about. What Eren wanted to do.

“Yeah. I… I really, you’re everything to me right now. Not to say that in the future you wouldn’t be, but you know what I mean. I just, I don’t want to hide anything from you. I want you to have everything of me and I want everything of you.”

Levi smiled, soft and tender and full of so much joy and emotion that it made Eren want to cry a little. Good tears. Levi was the only one who really understood him, understood his needs and wants. Not even his closest of friends knew half about him of what Levi knew.

“I have some condoms, I think. Somewhere.” Levi stood up and rummaged through all his drawers before he found what he was looking for. “And last one too. I’ll have to get more but this is good for tonight.”

He brought over a bottle of lube as well, setting it on the bedside table before climbing back up next to Eren.

“You’re sure?” He asked again.

“Very.” Eren smiled and pressed his palm to Levi’s cheek.

Everything else was a big blur for Eren. It involved more heated kisses and removing boxers so that they could frot together with their skin touching. It was the most pleasure Eren had ever felt, Levi’s hands on him and touching in places Eren had only ever dreamed of. Levi was careful, gentle, everything that Eren needed since it was his first time.

Levi didn’t rush anything, praised Eren like he was a God. Like he was perfect. Eren was far from perfect, he knew that but with Levi’s words, he believed in that moment that maybe he was.

They came to a high together, finishing their night in one perfect moment. It was the best Eren had ever felt in his life. There wasn’t one thing that could replace. There wasn’t anything that could replace Levi.

“Thank you, my knight in shining armor,” Eren whispered when they were laying together in the nice afterglow. Levi was running his hand through Eren’s hair and he chuckled.

“Anything for my prince.”

Chapter Text

When Eren woke up the next morning, he wasn’t sure where he was. It took a moment for everything to settle in and he sat up, realizing that he was alone in Levi’s bed. He moved the covers off of him, finding the room to be cold and hid back under again.

Levi walked in, shutting the door quietly only to notice that Eren was awake. He smiled, coming over to the bedside and planting a kiss on Eren’s head as he set his mug down.

“Morning sunshine,” hs kissed his head again. “How are you feeling?”

“‘M cold,” he whined, tugging on Levi to join him under the covers.

He chuckled, sliding under the covers to pull Eren close to him. Eren smiled sleepily, yawning as he rested his head on Levi’s chest. With his fingers, he made little patterns on Levi’s stomach, poking at his sides to tickle him and hear the amazing laugh his boyfriend rarely gave out. It was for Eren’s ears and Eren’s only.

“Thank you,” he spoke up and turned his head up to look at Levi. “For last night. It was amazing and everything I could have hoped for with you.”

Levi smiled. “Anything for you,” he whispered and leaned down to kiss him.

Eren tasted coffee on his tongue, the bitter taste swirling with the sweetness of the kiss. Levi pulled away and pressed his nose to Eren’s jaw, peppering butterfly kisses there and blew a raspberry on the side of his neck.  

“You’re silly,” Eren murmured sleepily and Levi kissed his hair.

There was a nice, comforting silence that blanketed over them and Eren found himself thinking about the previous night at the club and how they’d gotten kicked out. He thought even farther back, how pissed and angry Levi became at the sound of Eren almost being sexually assaulted by the gross man.

“Hey,” he spoke up quietly and Levi looked over at him with a small smile.

“Hey back.”

“Can I ask you something?”

“Yeah, of course. Go for it.” He sat up against the wall, Eren moving himself off of Levi’s chest so that he was sitting criss cross next to him.

“Was it your choice to do martial arts?”

Levi looked at him with a look that Eren couldn’t read into. It made him squirm a little. Finally, he sighed and tilted his head back to hit the wall behind him.

“No. It was my mom’s. Why do you ask? Because of last night?” Eren stayed silent for a moment before nodding. He hoped he wasn’t making Levi upset. “Yeah, I… she put me in self defense classes but she told Kenny it was martial arts.”

“Self defense classes? Why? Were you being bullied?”

He gave a breathy laugh. “No. That’s what she was trying to prevent. It’s… can I be completely honest with you about my mom? I don’t wanna hide anything from you because you’ve crawled your way into my heart like a fucking worm and you’re all settled there and everything but, can I?”

“Of course.” Eren scooted up to Levi, sitting next to him and took his hand to link their fingers together. He gave them a squeeze, feeling Levi shake a little next to him and he rested his head on the other boy’s shoulder.

“I… I don’t know my father. He’s in prison.”

“Can I ask—”

“Rape,” Levi didn’t give him a chance to finish his sentence before effectively cutting him off.

He gave Eren a moment to let it sink in, to let everything click. “Did he…?”

“No, not to me. My mom.” Eren sat up and looked at him properly. Levi was staring at the ceiling, not looking at Eren even when he squeezed their fingers. “My father is a rapist. Not the most appealing aspect of my life.” He gave a rough laugh, one that came from his throat as he tried not to choke on it. Eren could tell he was trying not to cry.

“I found out… I don’t know, maybe when I was fourteen or fifteen. Things just kinda made more sense and I was questioning where my dad was and if I had one.”

“She didn’t tell you?”

Levi shook his head. “No. Why would she want to? Once I confronted her about it, yeah she did but she was hesitant. It took until I was sixteen and finally out right asked where my dad was. That was… it was a 3 hour talk about what he did to her."

“That’s so awful. I’m so sorry Levi. You don’t deserve that.”

“She’s a lesbian. That was his reasoning. Because he thought that she would change her mind if she fucked a guy.” He scoffed bitterly. “Bastard.”

“She didn’t want the same thing happening to you.” He said it more as a statement than a question and Levi nodded.

“She was bullied a lot. Her parents, my grandparent, they’re really religious like Kenny and your dad and when they found out that she was gay, the whole world kind of exploded. She was beat a lot, home and school. Kenny did nothing to help. He still denies that it ever happened or that she’s a lesbian because he thinks that maybe someday she’ll be ‘converted’ back.”

A tear slipped down his cheek and he laughed at himself, wiping it away furiously. He muttered something under his breath and Eren leaned closer, pressing a kiss to Levi’s cheek bone.

“It’s okay to cry, babe.”

“You called me that last night,” Levi commented with a little smile.

“I said a lot of things last night,” Eren teased with a small smile of his own. He kissed Levi softly, resting their foreheads together.

“What made you bring up the martial arts thing?” he asked.

Eren shrugged after a moment. “I was just thinking about how you got really angry about the assault thing and how you defended me for it and I was curious. I guess I shouldn’t have pried. I didn’t know it would make you upset."

“Exactly. You didn't know. Don’t apologize. It’s okay. I don’t mind sharing this stuff with you. We’re supposed to be open and honest about each other."

“I mean, I guess. I suppose I could tell you about my mom.”

“Do you want to?”

Did he want to? There wasn’t much to tell about her. Eren had been forced away at such a young age. The prime of his life as he was growing and making friends, learning how to do things by himself only to be taken away from her with the blink of an eye. He missed her, only having his memories to save her from completely fading away from his life.

His father never talked about her. Every time Eren would ask, he would get a command to go to his room. That was only after Eren had pried to the point where his father grounded him.

It angered him, how easily his father belittled Eren's mom. He didn't even know the cause of them breaking up, allowing Grisha to leave with Eren kicking and screaming in his arms. There were no court dates and hearings, Eren never heard from or saw his mom again. And no matter how hard Grisha would try to force it, Dina will never be Eren's mom.

She's simply another adult figure in his life that proved how little amount of his life he was in control of. But with Levi, Eren felt on top of the world.

“Honestly, I don't know much about her,” he admitted. “When I was like eight or so, something happened and my dad took me away from her.”

Levi's eyebrows were pulled together in confusion and what else Eren read was some anger.

“What right does he have to do that?”

“It was like ten years ago.” Eren shrugged. “I don't remember much but she was pretty.”

“You probably got your looks from her then,” Levi stated with a proud smirk. “Because you're fucking gorgeous and Lord knows you didn't get it from your father.”

“The Lord knows everything,” Eren countered, earning an eye roll from his boyfriend. “I’m serious.”

“Oh, I know you are,” Levi said with a laugh. “Just as serious as Kenny is whenever he goes on his spiels.”

Eren was taken aback. “I don’t spiel,” he paused for a moment. “Do I?”

Levi laughed again. “No. You don’t. But trust me when I say that Kenny does. Literally hours of talking about the religion and the bible and just ugh.” he made sure to exaggerate his disgust with a shudder and it was Eren’s turn to roll his eyes.

“Anyway."

“Yes, your mother. Continue.”

“I just haven’t seen her in years. Of course I’ve asked about her but that doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten an answer. Honestly, I don’t think that I ever will… Unless I talked to Dina which I don’t do."

“So you’ve asked about like, what happened between them and have gotten nothing for the past nearly ten years?”

Eren nodded.

“That’s fucked up.”

“I know, but, if I ask about her then he grounds me which is kinda dumb to do now since I’m eighteen anyway.”

“We’ll find her,” Levi said once Eren had gone quiet. He kissed the back of his hand and his knuckles before leaning into a real kiss. Eren was careful about Levi’s lip, seeing that it had been busted open from the fight last night and now was tender and scabbed over.

“How are you feeling today?”

“Amazing,” he said with a grin.

“I meant about your face,” Eren touched his lip gently with his thumb. “You got pretty banged up last night.” He kissed Levi’s bandaged knuckles and got up, throwing on his gross old boxers and grabbed the first aid kit.

Carefully he bandaged Levi’s hand with fresh ones only to be pulled into Levi's lap and into another kiss.

Eren could say it gets old, could say he has better things to be doing but he couldn't. Levi was the best thing for him. It felt like time stopped when they were together but at the same time a whole month and a half had gone by in the blink of an eye. His whole summer was filling up with precious memories he'll keep forever and hopefully Levi came along as part of the package.

He knew he was falling in love. Call him crazy but it was true. Levi was the best thing that Eren had ever experienced and he would go crazy with such a powerful want and need for Levi if he moved back home with his mom.

It was obvious that he will and the ache in Eren's heart was already prevalent. They had been dating for a few weeks but it felt like months to Eren. He felt connected with Levi in a way he never had with any other friend he'd made.

Sure people believed that what they did together was wrong, that being together was wrong but never had it felt so right.

Chapter Text

“Bible camp?”

“Well, that’s more for the kids, for us it’s just church camp."

Levi stared at him incredulously. “You want me to go to church camp? With you? And all your other friends? Who don’t like me.”

“You’re making it sound worse than it is,” Eren whined.

The last week of July was always church camp. As much as Eren hated being a preacher’s son, he loved the camp and all the friends and memories he made there. There was only a week left to sign up and it was Eren’s last year since he was eighteen now. He wanted to make the most of it.

“Aw, c’mon son,” Grisha said from across the table. “It’ll be a grand time. Maybe you’ll be saved.”

“I think I can save myself, thank you."

Grisha and Kenny laughed, exchanging looks as Levi stared at Eren with a look that read “I’m not going”. But Eren knew how to fix that. They were sitting at a booth for lunch, so Eren took the advantage of not being seen and slid his hand onto Levi’s thigh.

He tensed up, fingers circling around his wrist to pull him off, but never did. Eren teased him, tracing patterns with his finger on his leg and moved further up his thigh until he barely brushed his fingers against Levi’s crotch. That’s when he was pulled away and given a weak glare from his now flushed boyfriend.

“Levi, dear, are you okay? Dina asked. “You look a bit flushed.”

Eren bit back a smile and snort of amusement, coughing into his fist to mask his laughter.

“I just… I’ll be back.” Without another word, Levi got up from the booth and made B line for the bathroom without even looking back.

The table was silent after that, everyone looking at each other before Dina asked Eren to go check on him. He got up gladly, heading towards the bathroom, not trying to make it look as if he were rushing there because God knows they’d catch on and start suspecting that there was something weird.

“You’re a little shit,” Levi blurted when Eren walked in and he laughed.

“I was trying to convince you.”

“With…” Levi checked to make sure that there was no one else in the bathroom but them, “with giving me a boner in the middle of a restaurant?”

“It seemed to be working.”

Levi crossed his arms over his chest and Eren smiled sweetly. They stared at each other before Levi finally sighed. “Fuck. Fine, okay? Fine. This stupid camp better be worth it.”

 




The week of camp was already getting off to a rough start with Levi. Eren could tell that he was in a bad mood just by the sound of having to wake up at five in the morning for a five hour bus ride to the camp.

They made their way to the back of the bus, Eren call the window seat and plopped down before Levi could argue. Not that he would. He looked exhausted and about to murder someone. Eren gave him a sweet smile, patting the seat next to him to which Levi sat on slowly.

He sighed, a groan mixed in and Eren could already hear his sleepy grumble that was weirdly attractive.

“Morning sunshine.”

“Shut the fuck up.” He didn’t look at Eren, head tilted back with his eyes closed. Eren watched his Adam’s apple bob up and down and he had a urge to lean over and kiss it, scraping his teeth over it in the way he discovered Levi liked. It was pretty hot.

“Wow, I can really feel the love, babe,” Eren whispered, sneaking his hand into Levi’s.

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

“It’ll be fun. I signed us up to be roommates so you and I can share a bunk.”

Levi tilted his head a little to the side, one eye opening to look at the boy smiling next to him. “We can’t share a bed. That’s gay.”

Eren stared at him. For the two months he had met and known Levi, never did he think that he would ever complain about something being gay. And Eren didn’t even know if he was kidding or not. The boy was tired and grumpy. He could be serious for all Eren knew.

“I’m pulling your leg,” Levi said. He squeezed Eren’s hand for reassurance.

He let go when more people began boarding the bus, Zeke and Pieck joining Eren and Levi near the back of the bus. Of course Jean came along too, bringing Mikasa and Eren switched his seat with Levi so that he could talk with her while Levi laid his head against the window.

When Eren looked back at him, he was using his jacket as a pillow and Eren took his own jacket and laid it over Levi as a blanket. Mikasa smiled at the gesture, claiming that Eren was a good friend for not wanting Levi to be cold. What she didn’t know is that Eren also wanted Levi’s scent on his jacket so whenever he smelled it, it would smell like his boyfriend and Eren could imagine them holding each other close since they wouldn’t be able to do that for the next few days.

As they got on the move, everyone slowly quieted down, some falling asleep while others listened to music or talked quietly with friends. Mikasa fell asleep on Jean and Eren watched as he petted her hair gently, pressing a kiss to her forehead with a small smile.

Zeke and Pieck sat in front of Eren and he didn’t dare look over to see what they were doing just in case he would find something that would burn into his memory forever. He settled in on his seat, yawning a little before dozing off. He leaned on Levi who was leaning against the window and Eren hoped that if they were both asleep, no one would think anything weird of it.

Eren woke up when Levi shook him awake, pushing him off his shoulder and Eren groaned. He sat up, rubbing at his neck and stretched his arms above his head.

“You fell asleep on me,” Levi commented.

“Yeah, I know. It’s not like we were cuddling.” Despite how much Eren wished that they could. It would have been a much more comfortable sleep. “That would be gay, remember?” He bit back a grin as Levi sighed and cursed under his breath before standing up.

“C’mon, we need to get off the bus.”

Eren looked around to see that everyone was filing off the bus and he took his jacket back from Levi, pulling it on and taking a deep breath to inhale Levi’s scent. He smiled to himself, wrapping the jacket around him as he followed everyone else off the bus.

“Stop smiling like an idiot,” Jean commented and Eren ignored him.

“He can smile like an idiot all he wants Jeffery.”

“How many times do I have to tell you?”

“Just give it a rest,” Mikasa grabbed his hand. “He’s doing it to piss you off.”

“Language,” Pieck scolded with a teasing smile.

Levi looked at her as if she was crazy, shaking his head and muttering something to himself as he grabbed his duffle bag from under the bus along with Eren’s suitcase. It was obvious to anyone that Levi clearly didn’t want to be where he was standing, listening to the agenda for the day and how everything would play out, but he thankfully went along with it. He even looked relieved when their counselor said that he and Eren would be sharing a bunk.

“There aren’t enough bunk beds, so there’s a spare mattress side by side to the bottom bunk that Eren will sleep on and Levi you’ll be next to him. Unless Eren and Zeke would like to share since they’re brothers.”

“It’s fine,” Eren waved it off before Zeke could even open his mouth. “Levi’s like family at this point so I don’t care,” he turned to Levi. “Do you?”

“I…” he paused to choose his words carefully. “I couldn’t care less. A bed is a bed.”

They followed their camp counselor to their cabin so that they could set their stuff down before going to the mess hall for lunch. Levi still seemed to be unimpressed even as Eren told him about the giant water slide that they would get to use.

An idea popped into Eren’s devious brain.

He leaned in closer to Levi, “You’ll get to see me strip.”

“Fuck,” Levi muttered and elbowed Eren in the side. “Shut up you little shit.”

Eren laughed loudly, a bodacious laugh that made Levi stare in awe and made Jean look back at them confused. Neither boy saw Jean watching them carefully, eyebrows pulled together in concentration. He watched as Levi nudged Ern gently, the to of them walking closely to each other so that their hands brushed.

As much as Eren wanted to sit next to Levi during the opening sermon and prayer, he couldn’t. Of course the one time he actually brings someone along to the camp with him, he asked to do the opening prayer. He knew his dad was the one that would have asked to make Eren do it.

It's not exactly hard to tell that Eren's been acting different ever since he met Levi. He's heard people talk about him, commenting that his usual “following God” attitude has turned into a sour one. It made him worry; it made him think that people were starting to catch onto them. They stopped being overly careful, easily lying and worming their way out of any situation where they've almost been caught.

There was a thrill in it, doing things outside or right next door to where Kenny could easily wake up and find them together in Levi’s bed. Eren loved the thrill but hated the worry of getting caught. But it still didn’t stop them. It should have, the handful of moments where they were scared shitless because they were nearly caught in their act of making out languidly on Levi’s bed, hiding under the covers. But Levi had kicked Eren off the bed just in time and was laughing when kenny opened the door to see why they were making so much noise.

It was hard for Eren not to laugh during his prayer, trying to ignore Levi’s stupid stare that always put a smile on his face. He looked down at his shoes instead, closing his eyes as he prayed over their time at the camp. He felt at home when he was praying, something that he hadn’t felt in a long time during that summer. Things had been so turned around ever since Levi showed up, Eren didn’t know which was was up.

He missed the feeling he got from praying, the relaxing and peacefulness that washed over him becoming something of a lifeline to him during his time in high school. Certainly so when he was discovering that he wasn’t the type of preacher’s son everyone had thought he was.

“Sounded like you actually meant it,” Levi whispered when Eren sat back down and he tried not to snort, covering it with a cough.

“Maybe I did.”

“I’ve never heard or seen you pray before.” Levi stated. “And we’re together all the time.” There was a suggestive tone to his words and Eren swallowed a lump in his throat that had formed. He coughed awkwardly.

“I pray all the time. It’s not like you have to bow your head and close your eyes everytime.” Eren gave a breathy laugh, earning a strange look from Jean who sat in front of them. He seemed tense, leaning back a little as if he was trying to listen in on their conversation.

Eren stopped talking and nudge Levi with his elbow, nodding his head at Jean and Levi watched him. They watched as he looked around conspicuously, turning back forward when he noticed that Levi was staring at him.

It worried Eren, he didn’t know why. There was just a bad feeling in his gut that wouldn’t go away. He bounced his leg in anticipation during the rest of the opening sermon, Jean often glancing back at them whenever Levi tried to say something.

If Jean was as dumb and clueless as Eren thought he was, he couldn’t be catching on… could he?

Chapter Text

Four days had gone by and Eren was on the brink of going crazy. He hadn’t been able to get any sort of alone time with Levi. And all he wanted to do was just talk. Nothing crazy like making out in a treehouse or blowjobs in the bushes. Just talk.

As the days went on, the more Jean distanced himself from Eren and was quieter. He always looked like he was thinking about something, contemplating his life and whenever Eren asked, he was ignored and waved off like nothing was wrong. It was concerning to Eren; it was only concerning because Jean seemed to be watching him and Levi, like he was observing the way they interacted together.

“Is it just me or is Jace acting weird lately?” Levi asked as he pulled off his shirt.

Eren was too busy watching Jean to be focused on his boyfriend’s muscles and the way they flexed with every movement.

“No it’s definitely not you,” Eren commented as he watched Jean. The other boy kept looking over his shoulder, but when he caught Eren’s eyes, a strange look flashed over his face and he stood up straight, pulling a shirt over his head hastily and passed them without a word.

“He keeps watching us like a freak.”

“Exactly, I… do you think he…” Eren didn’t want to finish his question.

“No,” Levi answered. “Don’t think about that. It’s a lot of stress and I know how much you already have because of your damn dad.”

There was no one else in the cabin, leaving Eren and Levi alone for a peaceful moment. He leaned over and kissed Levi’s cheek, giving a smile before plopping down on the bed. Levi watched him, looking around and then looked at the door to see that it was closed saved for a small crack that no one could see into.

He leaned down and pressed a kiss to Eren’s lips, both unaware of the way the door pulled open slightly, an eye popping into view as it watched the exchange between the two.

“C’mon,” Eren said as he stood up with a groan. “Let’s go before Jean starts suspecting something and comes to look for us.”

He pushed the door open, finding Jean waiting around by a large rock that was near the entrance of the cabin. His hands were pushed into his pockets and he stared at the group intensely, only looking up when he heard Eren and Levi near him.

“I was just about to go look for you guys, make sure you weren’t dead or something.”

Levi cocked a brow, unimpressed by Jean’s excuse but said nothing. Eren laughed awkwardly.

“I just, uh, couldn’t find my towel so Levi was helping me look.”

Jean stared at Eren, almost looking angry for a moment before nodding. “Well it’s not like you don’t have the sun to dry you off.”

“Yeah because I need another tan,” Eren said with a laugh.

Levi walked behind them, listening to the conversation between the two friends. He often caught Jean looking back at him, giving him a look that could only translate into disgust and anger. He kept his distance from Eren, always holding the patch of skin that Eren touched accidentally. Eren nudged him with his elbow and Levi watched as Jean laughed awkwardly, making a wiping motion on his arm where he was nudged.

Maybe Eren was right, maybe Jean was catching on.

 

If he was he made it clear he wasn’t going to make it easy that he knew.

They finally reached the slide, everyone else already taking turns to slide down the large hill. Levi took Eren’s towel from him, laughing when he said “pray for me” before going head first down the tarp slide.

“So,” Jean started and Levi already knew what he was gonna say.

“What do you want?” he asked bitterly. “You’ve been nothing but a creep this whole week, watching us like we’re criminals.”

“That would be better than what you actually are.”

Levi turned his head to look at the taller boy, but he was casually watching their friends take turns down the slide. He was leaning against a tree and smiled at some girls that passed him with giggles. Only briefly looking at Levi with a look of hate.

“And what would that be?” Levi nearly growled.

“Disgusting. That’s what. I knew there was something wrong with you the moment you showed up.” He faced Levi, crossing his arms across his chest and he cocked his chin up a little. “And now you’re converting Eren to your ungodly ways—”

“Shut your mouth before I do it for you.”

“Leave Eren alone and I will. If not,” he looked at Eren who laughed with Mikasa as one of the camp counselors fell, taking an unwanted turn down the slide. “It would be a shame if your uncle found out about you. And Eren too.”

“We’re not doing anything to you,” Levi said incredulously. “What the fuck is the point about saying anything to anyone. We’re adults. We can do what the fuck we want.”

“You need help. I’m not gonna let you turn Eren into some faggot—”

Levi’s fist connected with Jean’s nose, knocking him backwards. Jean bounced back, throwing a punch at Levi and before they knew it, they were rolling around on the ground with each other, throwing punches.

Levi jumped up, shoving Jean backwards and he stumbled towards the slide. They continued fighting, some of the counselors trying to pull them away only for the two boys to slide and fall down the slide. Not that they cared. They continued with their fight as they reached the bottom, splashing around in the big puddle there.  

Eren rushed over, trying to grab Levi or Jean to pull away. Instead, he was met with an elbow to the face and he stumbled backwards. He cursed mentally, pulling his fingers back to check if there was any blood and he was thankful to find that there wasn’t. Zeke rushed over, holding Eren’s jaw and tilted it to the side to check out the nasty bruise that would form.

Mikasa and a couple of the camp counselors were pulling Levi and Jean apart while Eren watched with his eye swelling slowly but surely. Levi was breathing heavily, his chest heaving as he shoved the counselor off of him to let go. He brought his hand to his face, checking his lip to see if there was blood. He cursed under his breath when he drew back his fingers and found exactly that.

“What just happened?” someone asked and Levi just scoffed, not even looking at Eren as he made his way back towards the bathrooms.

“Jean, my office,” the camp leader said sternly when he arrived, holding up a hand when Jean pointed in Levi’s direction and tried to argue. “I’ll get to him in a moment. My office, let’s go.”

Jean didn’t even look at Eren, tilting his head back slightly and pressing a towel to his nose to keep the blood from dripping on his clothes.

“Let’s go to the infirmary,” Zeke said to Eren, drawing his attention to his eye.

“What about Levi?”

“They’ll have someone else check on him. We need to get you an ice pack.”

With a sigh, Eren gave into his brother’s demands and followed him to the infirmary where he was given ice to put on his eye. It wasn’t the first time that Eren had gotten a black eye before but it definitely was his first elbow to the face. He knew that Levi hadn’t meant to and that when given the chance, Levi would kiss it better and apologize profusely for elbowing him in the eye.

Levi didn’t speak to anyone for the rest of the day, instead camped out in the cabin or outside by a tree but refused to hang around anyone else for the last day. Eren didn’t try to push or pry, not even on the bus when they had five hours to kill. Instead, he quietly held Levi’s hand hidden by Eren’s jacket on his lap. Jean sat at the front of the bus and Zeke sat a couple seats in front of Eren.

“What happened?” Dina gasped when they arrived home, Eren’s shiner more prominent and Levi’s busted lip a sight that couldn’t be missed. She held Eren’s face as she examined his shiner and he pushed her away. One of the counselors pulled Jean’s father and Kenny to the side, Dina prying her way into the conversation to figure out how Eren had gotten caught up in the middle.

Levi still said nothing, grabbing his things and throwing it into the back of Kenny’s car before climbing into the passenger’s seat. He looked disgusted to be back home. There was a rotten scowl on his face as he crossed his arms over his chest, not even looking at Kenny as he opened the driver’s side door.

“Let’s get you home so you can put some ice on it,” Dina said and took his stuff to the car. Everyone said their goodbyes, Mikasa giving Eren an extra hug before he left.

When Eren arrived home, he went right up to his room, pulling his duffle bag behind him as he trudged up the stairs. He shut his door behind him, leaning back against it and blew out a sigh. He looked over to his window, noticing Levi had just flicked on the light and Eren grabbed his phone to send Levi a text, but the other boy already beat him to it.

Levi 4:42pm: I’m sorry

Eren 4:43pm: for what? What even happened?

He looked up at the window to see Levi was looking at him. Eren smiled, giving a little wave and his heart ached when Levi gave him a sad smile before closing his curtain.

His heart proceeded to drop to the pit of his stomach only for it to be eaten away at worry and dread at the next text he received from Levi.

Levi 4:49pm: You were right. Jean knows

Chapter Text

Levi made sure to make it up to Eren for elbowing him in the eye, giving him a little more than a kiss better on the eye. They were lucky that Kenny had gone out for errands for at least an hour.

The older man was less than pleased to find out that Levi had started the fight, never giving his reasoning as to why he punched Jean in the first place. He hadn’t even told Eren. Eren wanted to know but if Levi refused to tell him, Eren assumed that it was for the best that he didn’t know.

Jean didn’t look at him the same since then, avoiding him and even when they were forced to interact, he was short with him, distant as if Eren held a contagious disease. He looked at Eren with a pained look in his eyes like he felt sorry for Eren. Eren hated it but never asked what it was about in fear of what the answer would be.

Eren prayed longer in the nights he was alone, spending less time with Levi who holed himself away in his room while on skype with his mother. He prayed that things would turn out good, begged for things to work out with Levi because there wasn’t anyone else that Eren wanted more than Levi. There was no one that understood him in the way that Levi did.

He wasn’t sure what to do. There were only a couple weeks left in the summer and Eren knew that they would be over with the blink of an eye. That’s not what Eren wanted. This summer was one of the best that Eren has ever had, finding himself in a way he never thought imaginable. He held the memories closer to his heart than any others he had made before.

He was a good person, why would things have to turn in such a way like they had? The worst thing imaginable had yet to happen and Eren begged the God he believed in and any other one watching over him that his dad or Kenny would never find out about Eren until he was long gone and away from the toxic environment he was in.

Slowly but surely he had been saving money from mowing people’s lawns and doing their yard work, and seeing that Eren technically worked for his father’s church, he got a small paycheck whenever his dad felt like giving him something. He had saved up a little over three hundred dollars over the course of three months. Most of the people that he mowed for were older couples, too crippled or pained to be able to get around their own house let alone be able to mow the yawn.

Zeke had a job but picked up cleaning jobs for some of the elderly couples from their church. Eren often begged for the money in exchange for doing Zeke’s laundry for a week.

Eren won every time.

One night he was sitting by his window, waiting, hoping that Levi would at least look out so that Eren could see his face. He had been there for two hours now but Eren couldn’t find it in himself to care. He really needed to see Levi, even if for just a brief second.

There was a knock on his door and he didn’t look over to see whoever it was. They came in anyway and Eren could feel the pair of eyes watching for a moment.

“We have guests downstairs,” Zeke said finally.

“So?” Eren shrugged. What was it any of his business if they had guests or not. If it wasn’t Levi then right now, Eren didn’t care. Not only had Levi been hiding away in his room, his father was on Eren’s case all the time, claiming that Levi was a bad role model, that Eren should try and get him to give his heart to God and other junk that Eren didn’t care to listen to.

And of course since his father was always bringing up the church camp fight, Eren was wracking his brain trying to figure out what Jean could have said, could have done to make Levi so pissed off. Granted, it didn’t take much from Jean to irritate Levi but Eren knew that Levi was a calm and collected person, never showed emotions except in front of Eren, Krista, and Ymir.

What did Jean see to verify that Eren and Levi were together? They were secretive the whole time, keeping their intimate interactions to a minimum as painful as it was to do so. Even when they flirted they did it under tables when playing footsies or making stupid jokes together during sermons. Mostly Levi giving crude jokes that made Eren almost cry from keeping in his laughter.

“Eren,” Zeke grabbed his shoulder and Eren jumped.

“What?” He snapped.

“What’s your issue lately?” He leaned back on Eren’s desk, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’ve been acting different since you haven’t seen Levi. What’s your thing with him?"

“What thing? I don’t have a thing, you have a thing.” Eren’s words were a jumbled mess as he panicked. Did Zeke know too? Was Zeke going to out him to his whole family and ruin everything.

Zeke stared at him for a moment, trying to make sense of what Eren had said to him, the way he panicked at the question.

“Okay, seriously, what the fuck?”

“Nothing,” Eren snapped his head back to his window so that he wouldn’t have to face his brother. “Just nothing. You can leave now. I’m not going downstairs.”

“And I’m not leaving until you tell me what’s wrong. I’m kinda worried now which means I’m invested and so, like, not leaving. Spills your beans all over me.” Eren cringed at that, giving Zeke a disgusting look over his shoulder. “Okay, yeah you’re right, gross choice of words but that doesn't mean you can’t tell me.” He poked Eren’s shoulder repeatedly.

Eren groaned, trying to swat his brother’s hand away but it wouldn’t stop. He wouldn’t shut up and before Eren could stop himself he was standing up.

“Because Levi is my boyfriend, alright? Jesus Christ.”

Zeke’s mouth was hanging open a little and the words settled in the air thicker than cement. He could cut the tension with a machete and he realized what he had said. He screwed up, he was fucked and it was his fault for it.

“I… you… I’m… not surprised but at the same time I am,” he said slowly, bringing a hand up to rub at his face.

“Please don’t tell dad,"  Eren begged. 

“Why would I do that?”

The question took Eren by surprise and it kept him from crying tears of frustration. There was another silence between them but this one wasn’t as tense, it felt nicer on Eren’s heart, not as heavy. Zeke finally sighed and he stood up and walked over to Eren to pull him into a hug.

“You’re my brother and I love you. I wouldn’t out you like that, what kind of piece of shit does that?” He placed his hand on Eren’s shoulder when they pulled away and Zeke smiled. “I guess now that you tell me you’re gay, it’s… it makes sense. The way you and Levi never left each other’s side, the way you guys were…”

“Happy,” Eren finished for him. “Levi makes me happy. Home doesn’t.”

Sighing again, Zeke shoved his hands into his pockets and shook his head. “Make sense,” he muttered. “This isn’t the most friendly place for you and Dad hates Levi after that fight. What was it even about?”

Eren didn’t say anything for a moment.

“Did something happen? Does someone else know?”

He nodded.

“Yeah, Jean does. I don’t know how but he found out at camp… it’s probably the reason why Levi punched him.”

“Jean probably said something about you that Levi felt the need to protect you like at the club.”

Eren snapped his head up. “How do you—”

“Ymir kinda told me about how you guys went to a club for some fun and some guy was all over you and Levi protected you. We were high. Ymir talks a lot when she’s high.” He laughed a little. “But, I… thank you for telling me even if you didn’t mean to.”

“Yeah definitely didn’t plan on that happening.”

“I’m not gonna tell anyone and I’ll protect you in any way that I can. We can look at some bus routes for you and Levi to leave and go wherever his mom is or… maybe you can look for yours.”

Eren didn’t say anything, his chest aching in the best way possible at the thought of being able to see his mother again after so many years. He had dreamed of her in his sleep, her image fuzzy and blurry but she was there and Eren wished he could hug her for real.

“Do you think your mom knows about her?”

“No doubt. I’ll ask her about it.”

“Won’t she get curious?”

Zeke laughed. “I know how to lie to my own mother. Besides, she’s gullible anyway and does like anything that I ask her. She just loves me that much. I’m sure that if you asked her too, she’d be desperate enough to get your approval and do whatever you wanted.”

Eren scratched the back of his head. “I don’t know if I could do that to her.”

“Boys?” Dina said from the hallway. “Are you coming down for dinner?”

“Yeah!” Zeke yelled out and he and Eren shook hands before he turned to open the door. He smiled at his mother, leaving Eren alone in his room and for a moment, he felt a little bit of hope.

Chapter Text

“Stay with me,” Levi said, tugging on Eren’s sleeve. “It’s just babysitting. The baby is asleep so we’ll have time together. My mom wants to meet you.” He smiled, his hand slipping into Eren’s and giving his fingers a squeeze. “I know I’ve been secretive and quiet for a couple weeks but I want you to stay with me tonight. She won’t care.”

Eren sighed, shutting the door with his foot and he kissed Levi’s forehead with a quiet, “okay.”

They found themselves cuddled on the couch, Eren’s head resting in Levi’s lap as he stretched out on the couch. Levi’s fingers softly combed through Eren’s hair and he smiled down at him. Eren took Levi’s hand, lacing their fingers and bringing them to his lips to press a kiss to his knuckles.

“Zeke knows,” he said quietly, calmly and he watched as panic ran over Levi’s face. “He’s okay with it. He was shocked for a moment but he…” Eren sat up and sat criss cross next to Levi. He didn’t let go of his hand. “He said he’d help me find my mom, help me leave with you. Whenever you leave.”

“Wait, really?”

“Yeah,” Eren said with a breathy laugh, a smile gracing his lips. He laughed a little when Levi pulled him into a grateful kiss, one with passion and love and happiness.

“I was gonna ask if you wanted to leave with me,” Levi said with a smile and kissed Eren again. He held Eren’s face between his hands and caressed his cheeks with his thumbs gently before leaning his forehead with Eren’s. “You don’t know how happy you make me. I’ve had other boyfriends before you, but you… you’re special.”

Eren blushed and placed his hands on Levi’s. “You are too. I wouldn’t be happy right now and I wouldn’t have had the best summer of my life if it weren’t for you. Thank you.”

He straddled Levi’s lap and grabbed his face to pull him into a deep kiss. Slowly his arms winded around Levi’s neck while Levi’s arms wrapped around Eren’s waist to pull him closer. Their mouths moved together perfectly, slotting together like two puzzle pieces. It made Eren feel content with himself, feel like he mattered to someone for whatever reason. Levi told him all the time how much he liked Eren, making it sound like they were soulmates.

Eren didn’t mind it, he loved hearing Levi compliment any time of the day whether they were in bed or out in public. He felt validated whenever they were together in any intimate situation.

He was pulled from his thoughts when Levi’s lips connected to his neck. A small moan left his lips and he could feel Levi’s mouth curve into a mischievous smirk. He teased Eren’s neck, knowing how sensitive Eren was there and it took everything in Eren to finally pull away with a little chuckle. His hands were on Levi’s chest and he drummed his fingers against the firm muscles there.

“You’re gonna get us worked up and then what?”

“There’s plenty of time.” He smirked.

“Babe, no.” Eren laughed and kissed Levi again. “We’ll have plenty of time for that when we leave.” 

There was a silence that blanketed over them as Levi stared into Eren’s eyes. He was thinking, Eren could tell.

“You really want to leave with me?”

“Of course,” Eren grinned. “Why wouldn’t I? You don’t know how deep I’ve fallen for you. It be only three months since we met but… there’s a feeling I get when you so much as look at me or when you smile. When you pay attention to me in any way possible, butterflies erupt in my stomach and I can’t help but smile.”

Levi opened his mouth to say something but he was interrupted by the sound of a skype call coming from Levi’s phone on the coffee table in front of them. Eren climbed off of Levi’s lap, grabbing the phone before handing it over. There was a picture of a woman on the screen, her smile matching Levi’s to the exact crinkle and dimple.

“It’s my mom, you wanna meet her?”

Panic surged through Eren’s body. “Wait, what if she doesn’t like me?”  

Levi ignored Eren’s plea and answered the call anyway, a loving smile on his face. It was one that Eren had never seen before, it held a look of adoration and excitement like he was looking forward to talking to her.

Eren made sure that he was out of the frame when his camera turned on and he moved to the other side of the couch and hid his face in embarrassment.

“Hi, baby.”

“Hi mom. How are you? I was wondering if you were gonna call tonight,” Levi said and ran his hand through his hair. There was a laugh that came from the phone that was warm and wholesome, one that made Eren smile. “Do you wanna meet Eren?”

“Is he with you? You know I’d love to, I don’t wanna scare the poor boy off.”

“Babe,” Levi spoke up and looked over at Eren. “C’mere.”

Eren shook his head.

“You come here or I move over there with you.”

Eren gave an exasperated sigh and climbed over next to Levi, using his reflection in the T.V in front of them to fix his hair before popping into view.

“Aww, he’s such a cutie!”

“Hi, Ms. Ackerman,” Eren said sheepishly and he rested his chin on Levi’s shoulder, hiding his face there when she continued to gush over how cute he was. Levi was laughing a little, mostly at Eren’s embarrassed squeals and awkward attempts to say thank you to the woman.

“Please, call my Kuchel.”

“That’s a cool name,” Eren smiled and he loved how welcoming her smiles were. She was way more interesting and fun than Levi had led on and even then she sounded as amazing as Levi would talk about.

While they talked Eren got a strange feeling, as if they were being watched and he looked around, trying to find the source of what was making him feel that way. His eyebrows were pulled together in confusion and worry and he stood up, making sure the blinds were shut and the door locked.

“You don’t have to go back after you come home,” Kuchel said and Eren sat back down next to Levi. He gave a concerned look but Eren waved him off.

“Yeah I wasn’t planning on coming back. This place is more conservative than a fucking nun.”

“Levi,” Eren laughed, smacking his arm. “Don’t say things like that.”

“What? It’s true and you know it. Remember when we went to that boardwalk and there was a gay couple on a date and your dad offered to fucking pray over them.”

“Why would he do that?” Kuchel asked. She sat back, her arms crossed over her chest as she raised an eyebrow. Eren could see where Levi got his looks from.

“My dad is a pastor,” Eren answered shyly. “So, he’s a bit homophobic.”

“That’s an understatement,” Levi snorted. “Did you hear what happened to Falco?”

Eren sat up. “What? What about him? Is he okay?”

“If you count being thrown into some conversion camp because he said he thought he liked one of his friends, yeah he’s doing great.”

“What?” Kuchel and Eren said simultaneously.

“I heard Kenny and Grisha talking about it. How it was such a shame that he was so young and already taken by the devil or something. He’s only like ten, and they throw him into a conversion camp because he might be gay. Colt, his older brother gave a fight to make sure that he wasn’t thrown in but of course it didn’t work.”

Eren stood up. He was beyond pissed. His feet caused him to pace and he began to go on a tangent, talking about how that was why he hated the place he lived. Why he wished he was back with his mother because even if he didn’t know her very well, she would be a much better environment to live in compared to with his dad who was a homophobic asshole. It made him want to come out only to leave just to rub it in his face that he had no more control over Eren.

“You remind me of a woman I used to date,” Kuchel spoke up. “You too kind of look the same too.”

“What’s her name?” Levi asked and Eren sat back down, heart still pounding away in his chest but this time for a different reason.

“I don’t remember. Which, that sounds awful but her name slips my mind often. We’re still friends.” She paused. “So, Eren, where are you going to go if you do come out to your dad?”

Levi beat him to the punch. “He’s coming home with me.”

“Oh,” she seemed surprised by that. She didn’t say anything for a long moment and it seemed to make Levi a bit nervous. “Well, we’ve been looking into moving anyway thought there wouldn’t be a point seeing that you two would share a room but we need more than one bathroom.”

Levi smiled, one of relief. “Thank you, mom.”

She hung up after a while, the night getting too late for her and she had work in the morning. Levi sighed and tossed his phone back on the coffee table. He wrapped an arm around Eren’s shoulders, kissing the top of his head.

There was a nice silence that surrounded them as they enjoyed each other’s company. Eren wanted to enjoy it but for some reason he couldn’t. He got the feeling of being watched and it made him uneasy, paranoid and he pulled away from Levi.

“Do you feel that?” he asked.

“If you mean do I feel you under my arm, no not anymore.”

“I’m being serious. It feels like we’re being watched.”

“I think it’s all in your head. You’re just worried about your dad and Jean. They’re at home though and we’re babysitting. Everything is okay, promise.”

Eventually Eren relaxed, falling asleep on Levi’s shoulder as they waited for the mother to come back. She rang the doorbell, trying the door only to find it locked and Eren jumped away from Levi. Levi stood up and walked over to unlock the door. He smiled at her, Eren standing up and giving a nod and smile too.

She was stiff, acting strange compared to the usually happy exterior to be home and back with her baby.

“I forgot to get cash,” she said flatly. “I’ll pay you next week at church.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” Levi waved it off but Eren could sense that he was feeling weird.

Eren and Levi said their goodbyes, talking about how strange they had been acting when the two of them made their way back to Eren’s place to grab something to eat. Dina had promised to save them some dinner for whenever they got home.

Eren was in the middle of laughing at a joke from Levi when they walked in, stopping abruptly when they noticed Grisha and Kenny sitting in the living room with Kenny and the father of the baby that Levi had just been babysitting. Jean was sitting on a chair too, his arms crossed over his chest.

Eren’s heart dropped to the floor when he heard his father speak.

“We’ve been waiting for you.”

Chapter Text

Eren’s heart needed a jump start. Everyone was staring at him, watching and waiting to see what he would do or say. Levi stood rigid next to him, not able to move either. The glaring eyes kept them in place and Eren felt his chest constricting on itself and he couldn’t breathe.

“Why?” Eren finally croaked.

“Is this some sort of intervention?” Levi asked, his voice much more confident than Eren’s.

“Exactly that,” Jean spoke up.

“Oh fuck off horse-dick. You’re just still pissed I beat your ass at your precious bible camp.”

Jean stood up, fists clenched at his sides.

“Jean,” Kenny warned, making the other boy stop, glaring at Levi before looking back at Levi. He nearly growled before sitting down, arms crossed over his chest. Kenny didn’t turn to look at them, his back to the two boys standing in the doorway. Dina was hiding in the kitchen and refused to look at them as well. The silence was as heavy as hands choking Eren as he stood there. He felt like he was drowning and not even Levi could pull him back to the surface.

“Well, if that’s all, we’re gonna eat dinner and get some sleep.”

“Together?” Jean spit out, eyes drilling holes into Levi.

Levi went stiff at that, stopping in mid step towards the kitchen. Eren still hadn’t moved, his father’s judging and hateful eyes keeping him in place. Eren knew what this was about, knew what was about to happen but he didn’t understand why there had to be so many people here when it did. He didn’t understand why one of his good friends was here, ready to betray him and the friendship that they once had.

“What exactly are you implying?” Levi asked.

“Kenny take Levi home,” Grisha said with the wave of his hand. “Jean, you and Mr. Harrison can head home. I've got it from here.”

Jean and Mr. Harrison paused for a moment, hesitating before nodding and making their way out. Eren gave Levi a pleading look as Kenny grabbed his arm in a vice grip and pulled him out the door, slamming it shut behind them. Eren was only left with his brother hiding upstairs in his bedroom, Dina in the kitchen and a furious father less than ten feet away from him.

He swallowed audibly.

Levi was thrown into the house violently, Kenny not far behind him as he slammed the door of his house closed.

“How could you do this?” Kenny scoffed, Levi catching his breath as he listened to the other man rant. “Knowing what kind of family come from and you have the audacity to do this. You’re just like your mother. She’s warped your mind and made you sick like her.”

“Oh please,” Levi sneered. “What the fuck ever. Being gay isn’t a choice, you greasy old piece of—”

“I’m sending you home and I don’t want to see you anymore. You won’t be seeing Eren either, Grisha is dealing with him right now.”

“What?” Levi’s heart dropped, stopping for a moment before picking back up in the pit of his stomach.

“Everyone knows now. There was as camera watching you sick faggots. And when you were babysitting? Were you trying to infect that precious baby?” Levi adjusted his jacket and tried to make it past Kenny but the older man shoved him back. “I’m not done with you.”

Levi sucked on his teeth, leveling Kenny with a matching glare of hate. “You really wanna do that?” As Kenny stepped forward, Levi didn’t give him another second before punching him in the jaw, knocking him backwards. He rushed out the door before Kenny could stop him.

Racing next door, Levi burst through the door, watching in horror as Grisha and Eren rolled around on the floor. Zeke was trying to pull his father off, the yelling and words said by him masked by Zeke’s and Dina’s excessive praying. She stood and watched, holding the cross on her necklace.

Levi rushed over, pulling Eren out from under his father as Zeke grabbed the older man. Eren was bleeding from all over, things tossed and thrown everywhere, glass broken on the ground. He was covered in cuts, his lip and nose bleeding, a cut above his temple that dripped blood onto his shoulder. He had been crying, his eyes red and puffy and he shook in Levi’s arms.

“You have ten minutes to get out of my house before I call the police,” Grisha spat, shoving Zeke away from him.

Levi grabbed Eren’s elbow and dragged him upstairs in a hurry, frantically searching through Eren’s closet for a duffle bag and a suitcase. He tossed the duffle bag to the taller boy, not hesitating to being shoving clothes and valuables into the suitcase. Eren hadn’t moved when Levi looked over his shoulder, still in shock over whatever had happened and looked at himself covered in cuts.

He dropped the suitcase and made his way over. “Eren, baby, c’mon we don’t have much time. You need to grab as much as you can so we can leave.”

“But,” Eren hiccuped, “where will we go?”

“I’ll call Ymir.”

“Already did,” someone said and they flinched, looking over only to see that it was Zeke. He took the duffle bag from Eren’s hands and replaced it with a first aid kit. Slowly, he made his way over to the bed and grabbed a towel from his floor to begin cleaning himself up.

“I was on the phone with her when you guys came back home. I knew what was going to happen and I tried stopping it, saying that there was no reason for it but…” he trailed off and shoved some of Erne’s pants in the bag along with shoes. “I called her and said I would be driving you guys over in like, less than half an hour.”

Once the two bags were filled up, Eren finally packing a backpack of his most valuable items, Zeke pulled Eren into a hug. He cried into his brother’s shoulder, not wanting to let go. Eren had never felt this way. He had never felt the desire to die, feeling like everything was meaningless because he was such a disappointment and a big sin to his father. He didn’t know what to do when Zeke handed him an envelope of money he had made from work.

“Just, keep in touch. I’ll be paying your phone bill. You just need to keep in touch. I’ll see you tomorrow before we send you off on the bus.”

“Thank you,” Eren sniffled and gripped the envelope.

There was a knock and they looked to see Dina with an envelope in her hands too. Eren swallowed thickly as she walked in and Levi was ready to protect him if she looked like she were to strike him too.

“This is…” she paused and took a breath in, “information about your mother,” she said, pursing her lips. “I don’t agree with this lifestyle but if you’re leaving, you deserve to know.” Without another word, she left the room.

Eren stared at the envelope, almost too afraid to open it in fear that she would be lying. He didn’t know if he could take that heartbreak too. His father already disowned him and had called him an array of terrible names and horrible things that no parent should ever say to their child.

“C’mon, you can look later,” Levi said and they made their way out. Kenny had given Levi the same amount of time to grab his own things. It didn’t take much time seeing that Levi was already mostly packed and ready to leave in the next week or two for back home. He didn’t ever plan on coming back. Kenny didn’t say a goodbye, closing the door behind Levi as he walked out and over to Eren and Zeke where they were waiting by the rusty, red truck.

Grisha was watching out the front window, obviously not happy that Zeke was so open and forgiving about Eren being gay. He didn’t even wave goodbye, not that Eren really expected him to but he watched with a shake of his head as they were driven away. He wanted to cry, probably would once everything settled in his brain that he was officially disowned by his own father.

Krista was already waiting at Ymir’s place when they arrived. She ran over and pulled Eren into a hug and let him begin to cry into her shoulder as well. He was very unstable at the moment and he was thankful that he had people in his life that would take care of him in the time of need that he was in.

“The guest bedroom is ready for you guys,” Ymir said gently, Levi and Zeke grabbing their bags and stuff from the back of the pick up and into the house with Ymir. Krista brought Eren inside and grabbed the first aid kit.

She picked out all the glass from his cuts from where he had been shoved to the ground and rolled around with his father in the broken glass from picture frames. He didn’t say anything, there was nothing for him to say. He felt numb, a better feeling than his heart breaking over and over again because of how unwanted he felt.

He hugged Zeke one more time, nodding when he said that he would come back tomorrow on the down low. They both knew their father would be watching Zeke like a hawk to make sure that he is no longer associated with Eren.

It was hard when Zeke left, knowing it would be one of the last times he would ever see his brother again. Sure they were step brothers but they had grown close nonetheless, being rather close in age. They went to school together as they grew up and learned more about each other as they learned about themselves. Zeke was a great guy and Eren wished him the best of luck with his job and school, if he was going, and with Peick.

“Hey,” Levi said softly, coming out on the back patio to join Eren. He stared up at the stars, not giving Levi a glance but leaned into him when the shorter boy sat next to him. “I’m sorry.”

“About what?”

“Whatever happened tonight.”

Eren shrugged. “Not your fault. We didn't’t know there was a camera.”

“Yeah but you had a feeling.”

“Don’t try and blame yourself for this Levi. We both knew it was gonna happen at one point or another,” he sighed, looking down at his bandaged hand. Levi’s hand snaked into his and it was quiet for a moment. Eren watched as Levi brought his knuckles to his lips, kissing them with his eyes closed.

He took a moment to examine his boyfriend’s face in the moonlight. His jaw was sharp, enough so to cut through something. His hair fell into his eyes and Eren smiled at the way he flicked his bangs out of his eyes.

“You need a haircut,” he mumbled.

“You need some sleep,” Levi countered back with a loving smile. He pressed kisses all over Eren’s face, gentle around the cuts on his face before placing one on his lips. It was something that Eren didn’t know that he needed until it happened. He left his eyes closed, lingering for a moment before sighing and standing up.

“Let’s go.”

Levi nodded and took his hand, leading him back inside and to the guest bedroom where their bags were located. He said his goodnight to Krista and Ymir who would be asleep down the hall and they gave him reassuring smiles before shutting the door.

He was pulled into bed by Levi. “Goodbye terrible end and hello to a new beginning,” Levi murmured into Eren’s hair, pressing a kiss there before they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

Chapter Text

Eren couldn’t sleep. No matter how exhausted his body felt, how heavy his eyelids were, he brain refused to put him to sleep. Even for a few minutes. He was sore, the cuts on his body yelling at him to stop tossing and turning in the bed and only when he heard Levi move did he stop.

“Can’t sleep?” Levi whispered and Eren looked at him from under the blanket. He had flicked on bedside lamp, Eren seeing the bags under his eyes more prominently. He rolled over onto his back to stare at the ceiling. Levi adjusted himself to lay closer to Eren’s side but propped himself up on his elbow. His other hand was pressed to Eren’s chest, right over his heart.

“I… everytime I close my eyes I hear the things he said and feel the things he did. I’m scared to fall asleep. I don’t want to get trapped in my mind with him there.”

“I understand that,” Levi commented. “I don’t know what happened when I was gone and I’m not gonna push you to tell me if you’re not comfortable with telling me, but I understand what you’re going through. Everyone you’ll be around when we go home will understand. You won’t be alone in fighting this.”

“It feels like it,” he mumbled.

Levi pressed a gentle kiss to his forehead and then above the cut near his temple. “Never. You’ll have me, okay?”

“For how long?”

“Forever.”

Eren looked over at Levi who was smiling at him and Eren couldn’t help the small smile that came to his own face. Levi was perfect. Everything that Eren wanted in a boyfriend and thensome. He didn’t know what he did to deserve someone like Levi. There wasn’t anyone like him in the world and Eren was lucky to have him.

If he was honest with himself, he was starting to get scared about how he felt. He liked Levi, a lot, but there was another feeling in Eren’s gut that was blossoming slowly. He was sure that it was something along the lines of love but didn’t want to label it so. He was scared that if he learned to love Levi wholeheartedly that Levi wouldn’t love him back and something like that would cause their relationship to crumble.

“Whatever you’re thinking about, stop it. You’re making me sad.”

Eren blinked, realizing he had zoned out and he glanced to the side. “Sorry. I—”

“You don’t have to tell me, I just don’t like you making such a sad look.” Levi pulled him close to him, Eren’s head resting on his chest and arms wrapped around his abdomen. It was a nice feeling, being safe in Levi’s arms. It almost made him forget for a moment what had happened the night before. He wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to forget that or get over it. He wanted to, he really did, but the words were forever engraved in his mind.

They laid together in quiet, holding each other and sharing loving kisses. Their noses bumped and it made Eren smile a little each time. Every time he opened his mouth to say something, his words died in his throat and he just hid his eyes in the crook of Levi’s neck.

Levi only pulled away when his phone began ringing and he reached over to see who was calling. He moved back to his original position so that Eren could snuggle up against him and try to get some sleep. They both knew that he wouldn’t but it wouldn’t hurt him to try again. It was going to be a long day and he needed the energy.

“Hey, mom.”

Eren could hear Kuchel slightly from the other side.

“How are you two? Are you okay? What happened?”

“Slow down, I’m fine.”

She expressed her concerns even more, asking about Eren even when Levi didn’t have an answer to give her. He gave Eren more kisses to his hairline and forehead, mouthing “get some sleep” over and over to him before Eren finally dozed off.

He didn’t know how long he had fallen asleep but Levi was shaking him awake gently. Eren whined, clinging to Levi to curl into him. He didn’t want to get up. He wanted to stay in bed and cry.

“Baby we need to get up,” Levi murmured against his cheek and kissed him. “C’mon. You can sleep on the bus if you want to. We also need to change your bandages.”

Finally Eren pulled himself together and sat up, throwing his feet over the side of the bed. He got dressed carefully, changing the bandages of his cuts and making sure that they didn’t look to be getting infected. Some of them were deeper than they looked and ached whenever he moved.

It was almost five in the morning and Zeke was already there, waiting to pack up their things in the back of his pickup truck and take them to the bus stop about an hour away. Eren couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. He was moving away. He was getting out. It almost made him want to cry out in relief. He would be able to do what he wanted and be open and honest with himself for who he was without the fear of his father looming over his shoulder, halting every move Eren made to go forward in his life.

He didn’t eat breakfast on the way to the bus stop. The air between the three boys was thick and Eren wanted to throw himself out the window. Levi squeezed his hand as Zeke tried filling the air with random conversation and stupid jokes that only Levi laughed at. Eren knew that Zeke had good intentions but it wasn’t helping anything in the slightest.

In his hand, Eren held the envelope that Dina had given him, her words ringing in his ears. Could it really be about his mother? How would she know anything about her? Did his father tell Dina about his mom and why they had separated?

Eren had so many questions and he didn’t know where to start. He wanted to ask Zeke if he had helped out with this but it didn’t come out when he opened his mouth. Levi noticed, glancing at the envelope before sighing. He reached for it but Eren snatched it away before Levi could touch it. He was surprised at how fast Eren moved so that Levi wouldn’t touch the envelope.

“Do you want to open it?”

“I… I don’t know,” Eren answered truthfully.

“I had asked her about your mom and she just… she was acting weird after it. I told her something bad was going to happen soon and you needed that information.”

“What did you mean?”

Zeke sighed, adjusting his grip on the steering wheel. “Jean.”

That was all he said. Eren understood but Levi wasn’t allowing it to sit there and simmer.

“What do you mean Jean? What about him? What did he do?”

“I’ll… I’ll tell you later,” Eren reassured though he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to tell Levi everything that happened with his father before breaking out into tears. He was still barely holding himself together and they still had hours of bus riding to do until they reached home. He was going to have to find some way to tell him.

When they arrived, it wasn’t as difficult to find a parking spot as they thought it would be. People were gathered around the different buses, waiting to climb aboard and leave. Levi grabbed their bags from the back while Eren pulled Zeke into another hug. This one was much longer than the one from the night prior. This would be the last time that Eren would ever see Zeke in a long time and Eren wasn’t sure how he felt about it.

“You’ll be okay,” Zeke breathed out into his shoulder. “You’ll be fine. You’re gonna be with Levi and you’ll find your mom and be happy.” He pulled away, his hands one Eren’s shoulders. There were tears in both their eyes and Zeke laughed a little. He wiped at his eyes a little and gave Eren a stupid grin. “Don’t be afraid to kick some punk’s ass alright? And you know where and how to reach me when you need to.”

“Thank you, Zeke. For making my childhood bearable and becoming one of the best friend’s I’ve had.”

“Thanks for not being an annoying little brother,” he teased, reaching up to ruffle Eren’s hair. “Well, you better get going before the bus leaves you.”

He gave Levi a hug next, saying something lowly that made Levi roll his eyes but nod anyway. They shook hands and Eren grabbed his bags, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. Levi took one of the bags from his hands, putting the longest strap over his shoulders and took Eren’s hand in his.

Zeke gave a wave, watching as they walked away and boarded the bus. Eren let out a shaky breath as he shoved his backpack in the top compartment and took a seat next to the window. Levi smiled at him, a reassuring and warm smile that matched his mother’s and for a second, Eren felt relaxed. Levi kissed his hand and Eren’s heart jumped at the fact that it was in public.  "

We’re okay now,” Levi whispered. “We don’t need to hide anymore.” His hand came up to cup Eren’s cheek. They earned a couple strange looks, but looking into Levi’s eyes, Eren felt safe and leaned in to kiss him.

Thankfully no one said anything and Eren could be at peace for a moment. Their first public kiss was on a bus full of people. Eren snorted at that, giving Levi a little smile as he sat back in his seat. He wasn’t sure how long the ride was supposed to be or even how these busses worked but he knew that Levi would eventually tell him so he didn’t bother with asking.

He finally fell asleep on the bus, heavily leaning on Levi as a pillow. Not that Levi minded it. He wrapped an arm around Eren’s shoulders and stroked his hair gently. A man made a face at them, obviously not pleased to have two boys snuggling on the same bus as him but Levi paid him no mind, that was until he decided to say something.

“Do you have to do that here?” he asked pointedly.

Levi ignored him. Or tried. The man went on about how he was trying to relax in peace but was too distracted by how annoying Levi and Eren were being. It was hard not to say anything and harder not to punch the man in the face just to shut him up so instead he kissed Eren’s forehead, making the man stop talking and turn around in his seat.

“How long did I sleep?” Eren asked a couple hours after that and Levi smiled at him softly.

“About five hours. You needed the rest.”

“What did you do then?”

“I was on my phone, playing games, watching videos or I watched you sleep to make sure you weren’t having a nightmare.”

“How long do we have left?” Eren yawned and played with Levi’s fingers in his lap, not sitting up from his comfortable position on Levi’s shoulder.

“Enough time for you to tell me what happened.”

Eren didn’t answer, sighing instead. He knew that he needed to tell Levi, it was just the problem of if he could without crying like a baby. He sat up, slumping down in his seat and let go of Levi’s hand. It stayed on his leg, giving it a gentle squeeze.

“Jean told him about what he saw at the camp. How he saw us kiss and always flirted with each other. He said what he called you that made you punch him. There was a nanny cam hidden in the house where you were babysitting because Jean told her to and they watched us. That was the feeling I was getting.”

“I’m so glad I didn’t know that last night or else I would have beat him to a fucking pulp, motherfucker.”

“Dad, or I guess his name is Grisha now, he called me all kinds of terrible names and told me all kinds of things and disowned me. He asked how I could do this to him after so many years. Asked why I would choose such a sinful life. We were yelling back and forth and I don’t remember what happened next but before I knew it, I was being shoved into the bookshelf full of  pictures and a couple vases and then we were rolling around the glass. He punched me a couple times. He said I was just like my whore mother, said that I was sick like her and I blamed him for their divorce. He didn't like that so much."

“I’m sorry, babe.” Levi kissed his cheek. “But that’s all behind us now. We have a new life now.”

The rest of the bus ride was just pleasant talk, Levi telling everything there was to know about his friends and his family. His mom had a girlfriend she had been dating for some time now. Eren loved how much Levi adored her, admitting that if they got married, he would add her named as a tattoo under his mother’s name.

They were waiting for them when they finally arrived in Sina, Levi’s friends holding up a poorly made banner with their names on it so that they could find them as if they were at an airport.

Levi couldn’t get off the bus fast enough, grabbing Eren’s hand and hurrying off. They grabbed their things and made their way over, Levi dropping Eren’s hand when Kuchel stepped forward and pulled Levi into a tight hug. She looked more worried than she did happy, looking over his face and body to make sure that he wasn’t injured before pressing kisses to his cheeks and hugged him once more.

His friends were next to group hug him, Eren standing and waiting awkwardly by their stuff. Kuchel smiled at him, walking over and taking his hand to squeeze it lightly. She hugged him next, a tight and loving hug that made Eren feel secure and loved.

“Welcome home, Eren.”

Chapter Text

Four months later

 

“Make sure you come straight home after your therapy session,” Levi said through the phone and Eren rolled his eyes with a little smile. “Your Christmas slash anniversary present just came in and we want you to open it now.”

“Why?” he asked, watching the snow fall through the window of the waiting room. “It’s supposed to be a Christmas present, and our anniversary just passed and you gave me a present."

Levi laughed, a sound that made Eren’s heart flutter in his chest. “Myself doesn’t count.”

“Awe c’mon,” he pleaded. “I wanna wait until Christmas. It’s not like it’ll die before then right?”

“It might.”

Eren snorted. “What, did you get me a puppy or something?”

“Even better.”

Eren looked up at the sound of footsteps, seeing his therapist smiling at him and giving him a wave to follow her back to her office. He held up a finger and stood up.

“Okay, I have to go but I’ll be back home after I’m done here. Yes, yes . I know. Okay, bye.” He hung up with a smile on his face and grabbed his keys before walking back to her office. He sat in his favorite seat on her couch, grabbing a pillow to sit in his lap. She sat down in her chair, giving him a fun smile.

“How are you today?”

Eren shrugged. “Pretty good. I was on the phone with Levi.”

“Did something happen?”

“Well apparently my Christmas slash anniversary present came in early and everyone wants me to come home and open it. I want to wait until Christmas but apparently that can’t happen.” He shook his head, a little smile on his face at the thought of his excited boyfriend.

“Anniversary?”

“Yeah. Six months on Tuesday. We started dating after the fourth of July."

She nodded slowly, adjusting the pad of paper in her lap. She crossed on leg over the other before speaking.

“Does it give you any grief to think back to that time? Considering everything you went through, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some pain you encounter at the memories.”

Eren was quiet for a moment. She had a point. Sometimes, on days after he had nightmares in the middle of the night, it was hard to think back to the good memories of his summer without the bad ones popping into his mind. There was nothing particularly bad about the June and July, being filled with more pleasant memories.

“Sometimes,” he answered truthfully. “I mean, it’s not hard to think of the bad memories just as easy as it is to think about the good ones. But some of the good leads to the bad and that’s just how it works out. After coming to therapy for four months, you’ve helped me learn to cope with what’s happened and that it’s in the past now.”

“You’re right. You’ve been doing well and I’ve been meaning to tell you that. I’m proud at how far you’ve come and how well you’ve learned to cope with your bad feelings. Being with Levi certainly helps because he’s that rock of support you’ve always needed but never had. And I think that comes from you not being raised with someone you could call a mother.”

Eren nodded, unsure what to say so she continued.

“How has that been going? Trying to find her? Has Zeke gotten any more information out of your stepmom?”

He laughed a little at that. “No, she’s been very stiff with him lately just because of the fact he’s been asking so many questions that he doesn’t know the answer to. She doesn’t like him talking to me but he does so anyway. He and Pieck moved out and into their own apartment.”

“That’s wonderful to hear.”

“He wants to come up and visit me after Christmas.”

“Do you want to see him?”

“Yeah, I do,” he nodded. “It would be nice to see him in person, talk to him and give him a hug. I haven’t seen him in almost four months. I miss him.”

“I think that would be good for you. I know you love being here with Levi and with his mother and I’m glad that you’ve made new friends and you feel accepted—”

“Better than back in the other place,” he grumbled.

“But getting back to your roots and seeing your brother would be good for you.”

Eren shrugged. He wasn't sure what to say.

“What do you think your father will say?”

“What father?” Eren snorted, rolling his eyes. “I don't associate with him anymore and I don't care what he says. Zeke is twenty and lives on his own and hardly talks to Grisha.”

She laughed a little, shaking her head in amusement. “Do you think that one day you’ll want to talk with him again? Would you want to try and fix things with him?”

Eren was silent for a long moment. Of course, he had thought about that before. He’d thought about everything in every different scenario to see what kind of outcome he would get and if he would end up with his family or not. Most of them ended with Eren and no family.

“I mean… I don’t know. He raised me and tried his best but in the end he just threw me out. I don’t know if I can come back from that, if I can forgive him.” He paused for a moment and looked down at his hands. “He left my mother because she was seeing another woman during their marriage. He says I’m sick, thinks I’m gay because I want to be. Why would I make such a choice? Why would I decide to throw my life away and not have a family if that meant I could find love?”

“Do you think he could ever forgive you? Or come to terms with you being gay?”

Eren laughed bitterly at that. “Oh hell no. He’s too close-minded. He’s too… conservative. And it’s sad, really. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that, that I don’t pray for him to get better but from the sounds of it he hasn’t.”

“You mentioned praying, and that reminds me, did you ever go to that church?”

Almost immediately after arriving in Sina with Levi and moving in with him and Kuchel, there was a church recommendation from one of Levi’s friends, Petra. She attended the church and said it was open to anyone and everyone who wanted to attend whether they were gay or straight, black or white, criminal background or squeaky clean. It was the kind of church Eren had always wished his dad would have. A place that doesn’t judge, that treats everyone like family and like they matter.

“Yeah, I’ve been going on Sundays. Sometimes, I won’t go to the youth group because it’s… hard. You know, since I don’t have many friends and it just reminds me of back home and what I went through there, but I try.”

“That’s good. It’s good to hear that you’ve been getting yourself out of the house and meeting new people. We talk about that a lot and I worry that sometimes things are too intense to you that you don’t want to go out, even with Levi.”

“He’s gone with me a couple times, so that’s helped.”

They continued talking for the rest of the hour, Eren feeling more relaxed by the minute. It was nice for him to let out all his steam that he’s collected over the two weeks he doesn’t see her for. He was glad that he could change it to every other week instead of every week because it was much better on his paycheck.

He thanked her when he finished, sending Levi a text that he would be home shortly.

It was weird for Levi to be so anxious and excited about something like he was for Eren’s Christmas present. Eren figured that it was expensive and something that he could use right away if he was opening it that night. 

He was surprised to find everyone’s car there, Isabel and Hanji waving at him excitedly from the living room window. They greeted him at the door, tackling him in hugs and cheek kisses and he laughed.

“Jeez, you act like you haven’t seen me in forever.” He took off his coat, hanging it on the coat hanger. Walking over to Levi, he was greeted with a kiss and a smile, Levi’s being wider than usual.

“Are you ready for your gift?”

“Let me sit down first.”

Eren plopped down on the couch, everyone surrounded him and watching with their phones out to record it.

“Okay,” Kuchel said, rubbing her hands together. “It’s a big present so you have to close your eyes.”

He did as he was told with a shake of his head and waited patiently, everyone murmuring to each other and then going completely silence after a moment. Eren raised an eyebrow and Isabel giggled. There was the sound of a chair being pulled out, Erwin’s heavy footprints coming from behind him and then stopping in front of Eren before it was quiet again.

“Okay,” Levi said, gripping Eren’s hand. “Open your eyes.”

He felt like his heart stopped, like all the air had been knocked out of his lungs at the sight before him.

One word came out of his mouth.

“Mom?”

The woman sitting in front of him matched the picture that Dina had put in the envelope for Eren before he and Levi left. Her eyes were glassy from the tears the welled in her eyes and her smile was warm and happy.

“Merry Christmas, Eren.”

He began crying himself, standing up and allowing himself to be pulled into a hug from her. It had been nearly ten years since he had last seen her; since he had last touched her or smelled her. It was the best feeling in the world. His eyes hurt from crying but he couldn’t stop, instead clinging to her as if she was going to vanish any moment.

“I’ve missed you so much, love bug.” She held his face in her hands and he laughed.

“You used to call me that when I was little,” he sniffled and she nodded.

He hugged her again, his arms wound tight around her and his friends cooed at the sight.

“How did you… where?” He looked at her before turning to Levi and Kuchel. Kuchel laughed a little. He didn’t care for details at the moment and wiped his eyes before turning to his mother. “You’re everything I thought of and more.”

“Well aren’t you a charmer.”

The rest of the night went even better than Eren expected. It died down slowly as their friends left through the night before it was just the four of them left in the living room. Eren sat by Levi’s side, their fingers intertwined and Eren’s head on Levi’s shoulder.

He asked question after question and received an answer for everyone. It was almost as if she had prepared for this her whole life.

“So… what… how did you find her?” Eren asked Levi and he shrugged.

“It was mom who did. Not me.”

Kuchel sighed, looking over at Carla before setting her tea down on the coffee table.

“Carla and I used to date. We… we had just started dating when your dad found out.”

Eren was speechless. He wasn’t sure if he should be surprised of upset or angry.

“I didn’t even try to fight him because I knew that I couldn’t win. You two actually went to school together for a couple years before Eren was whisked away to Rose with his father.”

“We were actually hoping that if you two had grown up together that you would get together yourselves but then Eren moved away and that was taken away from us.”

“And yet here with are,” Levi commented with a smile and kissed Eren’s forehead.

Eren smiled. “Maybe God answered your prayers,” he teased.

“Or,” Carla said with her own matching smile, “dreams really do come true.”