On cue, the younger man entered the office, finding his fiancé on the floor and surrounded by a dissembled chair. He had his white noise machine playing in the far corner of the room, giving clear indication that he was stressed.
But Levi looked adorable like that—his hair disheveled and his sleeves rolled up. It made Eren all the more eager to marry him and make him into a handy husband.
“You’re still putting that thing together?” Eren laughed, walking over and joining his partner on the floor. He knew better than to touch any of it, though. Levi tended time have a system in place when putting furniture together.
“And you’re still not going to help me?” Levi teased. “This was your present. I ought to think putting this damn thing together would be a part of that.”
As harsh as he sounded, Levi truly was grateful for his Christmas gift. He’s been complaining about his stupid chair for months now and Eren jumped on this easy opportunity for a gift.
Levi was notoriously difficult to buy gifts for; anything he needed he would buy himself. And right before any anniversaries or Valentine’s Day, Levi would beat him to the punch.
But this Christmas, Eren was finally able to catch Levi by surprise. After a little research, Eren found a comfortable and expensive office chair for his fiancé.
Levi’s gratitude was never rewarding, but Eren could read his fiancé better than anybody. The raven’s simple ‘thanks’ was enough to send a punch of butterflies in his stomach.
Eren snorted. “Yeah right. I’m still traumatized from when we tried to put our bed frame together.”
“You bought the instructions in German, remember? And we still couldn’t put it together. Don’t you speak that shit?”
“Nur ein bisschen.”
“Cute. Now what do you want.”
Eren sighed. “Well, everyone’s wondering if we’re throwing a New Year’s party tomorrow night. After all, you did promise . . .”
“I don’t recall.”
Eren’s face fell flat. He stared at his partner for a few more minutes, giving him time to rethink his words. Levi chose not to notice.
“This morning?” Eren teased, his gentle reminder causing the older man to freeze. “After we showered together and I did that thing with my—“
“I say whatever you want when you get me like that,” Levi snarled quickly. “But no. No parties.”
“And why not?”
“Who’s gonna clean all that shit, Eren? Certainly not me.”
“How messy could it be?” Eren whined childishly. “It’s just a few of us. I doubt some of the older crowd would want to stay all the way until midnight.”
He was lying. Eren knew that most everyone was down for an excuse to get drunk at the firm. There was no other reason Eren would badger his hard ass of a boss otherwise.
Levi snorted. “And some might wanna do their own private celebrations, clown. Like me, for example.”
Levi grabbed at the brunet’s tie and brought him close. He felt the younger man’s breath tickle his lips as his breath hitched. Eren blinked rapidly, yet he felt a slight tingle of arousal at his gut.
“Doesn’t that sound nice?” Levi’s voice dropped. “You. Me. Tomorrow night. Drinks. That dumb charcuterie board that Erwin got us. My dick in your ass. Doesn’t that sound much better than getting drunk around people you barely like?”
“You’re a vegetarian anyway,” Eren tsked, standing up. He swatted Levi’s hand away from his tie before smoothing it out. “And no, I want a party. Give me a party.”
The older man sighed, standing and swiping at his pants. His glare tilted sideways as he pulled his phone out. He began tapping at something on his phone, scoffing and huffing as always.
Levi was no doubt, typing up a memo to send to the entire office. Eren felt a little smug at this revelation.
“You’re such a bossy bottom, aren’t you?”
“Don’t forget the streamers, old man.”
There he was.
Sasha fumbled with her envelope, her hands and feet sweating profusely. Her heart was beating against her rib cage, deafening her eardrums.
She had spent all morning agonizing over her appearance. Despite wearing the same thing as she always did and having her hair the same length and same style, she felt as though making a change would be enough.
Perhaps the change would instill some sort of bravado in her. Wearing her hair down with a cute hair clip should instill a confidence in her that her ponytail could not, yes?
“C-Connie?” She asked, stumbling over words. She tapped her shoe, ignoring the dull ache they provided from being freshly bought.
The associate turned in his chair, his eyes scanning up Sasha’s body before meeting her eyes and smiling.
“Oh, hey!” Connie grinned, making Sasha swallow thickly. “‘Sup, Sash.”
She smiled back, nauseously. “H-Hey! So, I-I had some tickets for this thing—?”
Connie nodded, listening carefully.
“It’s a New Years thing, and I was just wondering—“
“Hey, Connie!” Eren came around the corner, making Sasha release her breath. “I totally got Levi to throw a New Years party tomorrow. You’re in, right?”
Connie’s eyes widened. “Dude, you’re joking.”
“Hell no. Let’s go tell Thomas. I wanna see his face.”
“Hi Eren,” Sasha chirped, her words sounding venomous. “How is Levi.”
“Dunno,” Eren shrugged, making the girl’s jaw clench. “Let’s go, Connie. See you around, Sasha.”
Sasha huffed and turned to sit in her desk. She buried her head in her arms and groaned slightly, earning herself a sympathetic look from her desk partner, Hitch.
“This is truly awful,” Levi scowled into his drink. “I hate office parties.”
And like he promised, a party was held at the firm the very next night. The décor was lackluster, but the employees didn’t seem to mind. They seemed to be thrilled with the idea of getting drunk in the same place they worked.
There was also a karaoke machine in which Connie was frequently abusing.
“You didn’t seem to mind it before,” Eren remarked into the ear of his fiancé, remembering the first office party Levi held here.
Eren took a sip of his own drink, his mind drifting back to all those months ago. Back when he and Jean lived together and back when Eren was new to the firm.
“Yeah, well. I didn’t have someone to come home to back then.”
Eren raised a brow. “No shit?”
“So you were just gonna die alone before me, or what?”
Levi stayed silent.
“Levi,” Eren pushed. “Were you—“
“Mr. Ackerman?” Historia came around the corner, her eyes slightly wild. “Erm, I know you told me not to accept phone calls after hours, but this—um—Sorry, I’m not sure how to explain this—“
“It’s a woman. She says she’s your sister? She’s on the phone. I already linked it to your office phone.”
Levi’s eyes darkened. “And why would you do that?”
Historia dug the tip of her shoe into the ground. “I’m sorry—I’m—She was really persistent and she-she said—“
“Forget it,” Levi waved a hand. “I’ll be in my office in a second. Thank you.”
Levi slammed his drink into Eren’s chest and headed towards his office in a straight line. The door slammed and the party paused momentarily, recognizing the body language of their pissed off boss.
Eren pursed his lips and decided to wait right outside, whenever Levi needed him.
“Hello?” Levi spoke, his heart racing in his chest. His voice sounded as stoic as ever, and he wasn’t sure if this was an appropriate greeting for someone like Isabel, but better than nothing.
He was standing over his desk, his phone in the palm of his hand. His office chair was still dissembled on the floor right by him, glaring at him in the moonlight.
“Levi?” Her voice rang through the other end of the line. “My god, is that really you?”
He was tempted to lie. He had no inclination to make amends with his sister, someone he hasn’t seen or heard from in nearly twenty years.
How old was she when Levi was disowned? She couldn’t have been more than 13. That’s the age of someone who can think semi-critically, right? So why would she act out on Levi as well? Why would she abandon him like that.
“Yes,” Levi choked out, crossing his arms. “How did you find this number?”
“I’ve been looking,” Isabel breathed. “I—For some reason, I thought you might’ve changed your name.” She laughed humorlessly. “But you’re still going by the same name. That’s amazing. I can’t believe it’s really—“
“Magnolia. Isabel Magnolia.” Isabel answered. “I changed it as soon as I moved out. I can’t believe I found you again. I’m so sorry for what da—what he did to you. That wasn’t fair. I’m so sorry, Lee.” Her voice broke off at the end, being interrupted by her muffled cries.
Levi’s heart wrenched at her sobs, but he had so many questions. She sounded desperate and heart-broken, but why would she claim to hate Levi too back then?
The raven spent all these years resenting each member of his family. He never thought to give any of them the time of day. In fact, he dreamed of the moments he could all throw them the middle finger and exclaim how proud he was of himself. Maybe he was wearing a rainbow thong, maybe he had his face painted blue, but now that he was here . . . Now that this was a reality, his heart couldn’t help but listen and forgive.
“Why would you do that to me?” Levi asked coldly. “Mom and Dad said you moved away because you didn’t want to be gay like me.” The older reiterated the story he was told, almost as though he burned it into his skull for the past two decades.
“I didn’t!” Isabel gasped. “I swear on my grave I didn’t and never would. I was sent to another boarding school because I defended you, Lee. I promise up and down that is what happened. We need to catch up. Seriously.”
“I don’t want to.”
Levi’s knee jerk reaction made his throat feel closed off. His heart thumped and he almost immediately regretted those words, but he had to stand by them.
He couldn’t regret his choices.
Isabel was silent for a heavy moment. “Levi, please—“
“No!” He cried, almost childishly. “You had all these years to find me and you never did! Why now? You made me feel alone and you made me feel like shit.” His words sent heat to his cheeks and he felt tears prick at the backs of his eyes.
“You’re not mad at me,” Isabel stated, almost rehearsed from her end. “You’re mad at him. I had nothing to do with him, Levi. I promise. You can either believe me or don’t, but if you have enough forgiveness for mom, I hope you have some left for me too.”
Levi slammed the phone down on the receiver and choked out a sob he didn’t realize he was holding.
He doubled over his desk and let the tears run free, dripping down his pale skin and collecting at the bottom of his chin. He sobbed into his arm and pounded the desk with his fists, his heart clenching and his throat dry like sand.
At some point, Levi ended up on the floor next to his desk. He had his head hanging low between his perched knees and his arms over his head.
He stayed like that for an hour or so, his tears going dry long ago. He might’ve drifted off a couple of times, but his mind felt raw.
The door to his office slowly creaked open and Levi lifted his head, seeing the familiar shape of his fiancé standing in the door.
“Everyone’s on the roof,” Eren smiled softly. “The countdown is soon. Care to join me?”
Levi wanted to shove him out. Levi wanted to curl himself in a ball and bask in his dangerous concoction of self-loathing and daddy issues all by himself. Fuck some stupid fireworks, Levi had his bed to cry into.
“I ought to punch you in the mouth,” Levi grumbled, standing and grabbing his coat from the top of his desk.
“If that makes you feel better. Now come up and follow me, you damn grinch.”
“Clown.” Levi muttered half heartedly.
The roof was cold as hell. The wind was bitter and cold, biting at Levi’s pale skin and making him shiver.
He cuddled into the big arms of his fiancé and scowled into his familiar chest.
Levi wanted to hate it. He wanted to hate this so bad and talk down to it. He was absolutely not in the mood for any New Years magic, but god damn it if he didn’t love the way Eren smelled all around him. There was comfort and softness in the way Eren held him and buried his nose into Levi’s neck.
The view was nice as well. Their office building wasn’t superbly tall, but it was enough to give a tall view of the street and twinkling lights beyond.
The air was filled with sounds of the gentle roars of the street. There was music playing somewhere and cheers coming from the opposite direction. Levi wanted to hate this feeling so bad, but Eren was just too damn convincing.
“Can we hurry this along?” Levi chattered, holding his jacket closer to himself.
“Only you would ask time to move faster for your convenience,” Eren teased, pressing a small kiss into Levi’s temple.
Levi rolled his eyes and dug himself further into Eren’s arms. He was grateful Eren didn’t ask about the earlier phone call. He assumed the brunet might’ve learned his lesson from meeting his parents at Christmas time. God bless the man for being a fast learner.
The screech of a firework interrupted their conversation and a streak of green shot into the sky before exploding and fizzling.
Levi blinked at the sight. There was something awe-inspiring about being this high in the air and seeing such a bright display.
Shortly after that, a few more fireworks went off around them. Levi jumped slightly, causing Eren to laugh in his ear. Levi smacked him playfully and met with his dazzling, sea green eyes in the dark.
“You’re such a dumb ass,” Levi scolded, shifting himself to face his fiancé. The wind whipped their hair, nipping at their ears and blowing harshly.
Eren looked so stunning like this. His skin looked almost ghostly in the night, his dark hair whipping and moving like brilliant flags and his eyes . . . God his eyes were gorgeous.
Eren cracked a grin. “You love it.”
“TEN!” Voices shouted around them.
“I’m glad we could do this,” Eren confessed, his thumb reaching up to brush Levi’s cheek.
Levi chuckled. “You know I only do this shit for you, right?”
“Of course,” Eren placed a small kiss on his forehead. “And I love you for it.”
“I really don’t deserve you,” Levi confessed, his words running out like water. “You’re perfect. I—“
“No, it’s true. All the bullshit you deal with—“
“Don’t say that,” Eren urged, his bright eyes searching into Levi’s.
Levi jerked his head away and avoided eye contact, his cheeks blazing with fire. Butterflies bloomed in his gut, furthering his feelings of embarrassments
“Look at me,” Eren encouraged.
“No,” Levi choked stubbornly. “You’re—God damn it. Fuck, Eren.”
“Levi,” Eren spoke more sternly, grabbing his chin and forcing the older to make eye contact. “I’m meant to be here. With you.”
“ONE!” The voices chanted higher.
Eren pressed his chapped lips against Levi’s as cheers and fireworks went up all around them.
Levi sunk himself into the feeling of warm lips and the familiar smell of his lover, his arms wrapping around the back of Eren’s neck unashamed. There were whoops and hollers all around them, the night sky being illuminated with sprays of multi-colored light.
The raven found warmth in the booms and sizzles of the fireworks above, his heart soaring out of his chest.
“Happy New Years,” Eren smiled, pulling away first.
Levi smiled lazily, the bliss in his heart making him feel like one of the fireworks shooting into the sky.