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            Jean has settled down for a nice evening by himself in the apartment. He had had to move mid-year, rather urgently, after the landlord sold the building he was living in, and he has been in this new apartment for the past 3 months.

            His roommates aren’t too bad, by and large (except, of course, for one Eren Jaeger), but there is something thoroughly relaxing about knowing he has the apartment to himself for the next few weeks. He can sprawl out on the couch; he has the kitchen to himself; and he can play his music at a reasonable volume without worrying that it’s bothering anyone.

             Mikasa is in Japan for the summer visiting distant biological relatives. Armin is on an oceanographic exploration. Jean has no fucking idea where Eren went, probably to backpack through some godforsaken hinterland on a newly-discovered continent. All Jean cares about is that he left this afternoon and won’t be back for at least 3 weeks.  And three weeks without Eren’s angry glare, his stomping feet, his strident voice, and, most especially, his endless supply of self-righteous preaching, is like a gift from the gods.  Eren sucks all the oxygen out of whatever room he’s in, and Jean is inordinately grateful to have a chance to fucking breathe again.

            As if on cue, there’s an ominous sound of a key turning in the lock. Jean, however, doesn’t pay it any mind. He’s too busy biting into a Sancho’s burrito, his absolute favorite, and he’s got Demon Slayer loaded on his screen. The Mugen Train movie’s coming out soon, so he wants to watch all the episodes again from the beginning. It’s not until he hears a familiar, heavy tread that the meaning of the sound that barely registered in his consciousness is made clear.

            “What the fuck are you doing here?” he cries out, appalled, his mouth full. He hastily chokes down the food.

            Eren looks even angrier than usual. Jean would typically avoid him like the plague at times like this, but he’s too pissed off. His three weeks of golden silence, sliding down the drain!

            “As you may recall, I live here,” says Eren, the blackest of black scowls on his face.

            “But you’re supposed to be away!” says Jean, and even he can hear the whine in his voice.

            “Well, I’m not!” says Eren furiously, throwing his pack down onto the couch, right next to Jean.

            “What the fuck?” says Jean. “Get your backpack away from me.”

            “Why?” asks Eren.

            “Because I’m having a relaxing dinner, and I don’t want your stinking pack right under my nose.”

            “No one’s sitting in that seat,” says Eren. “There’s plenty of room.” Jean can tell he’s itching for a fight and Jean is playing right into his hands, but he can’t stop himself from reacting. He’s too angry and disappointed. He can’t believe he’s going to be stuck with Eren without even the buffering company of Armin and Mikasa. It’s like his worst nightmare come true.

            He plunks the burrito down on his plate, closes up the computer, and stands up. As he stands, he accidentally-on-purpose jostles Eren’s pack onto the floor.

            Eren is immediately in his face. “What the hell? Get your hands off my stuff! Pick it up.”

            “You pick it up,” says Jean childishly. It’s idiotic, but he somehow doesn’t want Eren to win, not on the first day, the first five minutes even, that they’re alone together.

            “You knocked it onto the floor. You pick it up!” says Eren.

            “I’m not picking up your goddamned backpack,” says Jean. He puffs his chest out slightly in emphasis.

            It’s possible that Eren doesn’t mean to, but he holds a surprising amount of strength in that wiry frame, and when he shoves Jean, it’s hard enough to knock him down.

            “What the hell is your problem?” growls Jean. He leaps to his feet, swings and punches Eren, a good one, right to the stomach. Eren isn’t expecting it, and he  stumbles back, doubled over.

            He stays like that, facedown, not jumping right up as Jean expects. What a softie, Jean thinks to himself, sneering.  Eren is all tough talk and no follow-through.

            He waits for Eren to stand, but Eren doesn’t.

            It takes Jean a moment to realize that something isn’t quite right. Eren’s head is almost between his knees, and he’s making these strange little huffing noises.

            And then he sort of flops onto the floor and starts crawling on his hands and knees towards the couch.

            Jean doesn’t know what’s going on.  When Eren reaches his backpack he stops, his hands scrabbling at the zipper. He’s hunched over, making these weird, rasping, wheezing noises.

            Something is definitely off.

            “What the hell, Jaeger?” Jean says, trying to jeer but instead sounding worried. “What’s wrong?”

            Eren can’t seem to open the zipper on the outer pocket of his backpack.

            With a snort of impatience, Jean tears the backpack out of his hands and yanks the zipper open. There are pens, and some post-it notes, a wallet, and – an inhaler.

            Oh.

            Shit.

            Jean’s cousin has asthma, pretty bad asthma in fact, so Jean knows a little bit about what that means. His cousin has been hospitalized at least once that Jean knows about and has been to the ER too many times to count.

            Jean grabs the inhaler, shakes it, and pulls the cap off. Eren isn’t looking so hot. Air seems to be barely squeaking into him, and he’s slumped over.

            Jean puts the inhaler up to Eren’s mouth and he helps to hold it in the proper position while Eren presses down and tries to suck the medicine in. He’s clearly fighting to hold his breath after each puff. He takes a total of 5 puffs. Jean counts, because he doesn’t know what else to do. The situation has rapidly devolved from annoying to freaking scary as shit. By the end of the fifth puff, though, Eren seems to be breathing a bit better.

            Jean is crouched down, a hand clamped onto Eren’s shoulder, holding him upright as he leans back against the couch. When he’s clearly done, Jean takes the inhaler from him and zips it carefully back into the backpack, so it doesn’t get lost.

            Jean is still thinking of his cousin when he says, “Do you think you should go to the E.R.?”

            “I’m okay,” Eren is able to say. Jean is hugely relieved he can speak. But he doesn’t seem to be breathing that comfortably.

            “Should I call an ambulance?”

            “No!” Eren says angrily.

            “OK, um, I still think you should go. I can take you.”

            Eren ignores him.

            Through his guilt, Jean feels a stab of anger. Even when he’s barely able to breathe, Eren is still the most annoying motherfucker he’s ever met. Jean takes a deep breath. Doing so only increases his guilt because he’s reminded that Eren can’t take a deep breath. Because Jean fucking punched all the air out of him. But the breath at least helps Jean calm down enough to sound perfectly level when he speaks.

             “Listen, Eren, I’m going to go pull my car around to the front, then I’m going to come back and get you, OK?”

            To his surprise, Eren doesn’t protest, merely nods.

            Maybe he doesn’t need to go to the ER, but Jean isn’t sure, and he doesn’t feel he can trust Eren to make good decisions in his current compromised state.

 

 

 

 

            When they check into the ER, one of the nurses behind the desk takes a quick look at Eren and says, “Ah, Mr. Jaeger. We haven’t seen you in a while.” She picks up the phone, dials a number, and says, into the receiver, “We’ve got one for you out front, Sally.”       

 

 

            “What has it been, Eren, six months? Where have you been hiding?” asks the nurse named Sally. She looks to be about sixty, with iron grey hair. As they’re walking back, she says to another nurse, “Angela, can you put his IV in? And page Dr. Salzman, would you? He’ll go in room 7.”

 

 

            Eren has been transferred to the bed, and Sally and Angela are efficiently moving around him. Sally is clipping something onto his finger, then taking his temperature and blood pressure. She’s placing plastic tubing over his head, with little nubs that go in his nose – oxygen. Angela has Eren’s sleeve rolled up and, Jean is completely amazed, within about thirty seconds, she has an IV in Eren’s arm.

            “How are you feeling, Eren?” Sally is asking.

            Eren’s breathing has worsened again, and he doesn’t waste breath on speech. He lifts a hand and shakes it back and forth: “so-so.”

            “I see,” she says. “How many puffs have you taken so far?”

            Jean clears his throat. “Five,” he answers.

            “How long ago?” she asks, not taking her eyes off of Eren.

            “About 30 minutes,” says Jean.

            “Were there any triggers?”        

            Jean clears his throat, trying to figure out how exactly he’s going to say that he punched Eren, when Eren’s voice squeaks out, “I…” wheeze “haven’t been…” wheeze “taking… my… allergy pills.”

            “OK, sweetheart, that’s enough talking.” She places a firm hand on his arm, and it’s remarkable, her touch alone seems to calm him. His breathing even looks less labored.

            She has him blow air as hard as he can into a small contraption, and notes down the result.

            Another nurse  pulls aside the curtain and enters the room; she looks to be about twelve years old, with a round, fresh face and a high ponytail.

            Sally says, “He hasn’t been taking his allergy pills; environmental allergies are a known trigger for him. He took 5 puffs of albuterol about thirty minutes ago. Afebrile,  blood pressure OK, pulse 95, O2 sat was 93% on room air, 98% on 100% O2. Peak flow was 200.”

            The young nurse unwinds a much more sophisticated looking stethoscope from her neck and listens across Eren’s back and chest.

            “Let’s give him an albuterol neb, and 32 mg of methylprednisolone. See if you can titrate the O2 down to 4 L/min. I’ve ordered a portable chest x-ray.”

            Jean realizes with a shock that the twelve-year old is actually a physician.

            “You’re going to be okay, Mr. Jaeger, just relax and let the medicine do its work.” She gives his arm a quick pat as he nods slightly. His eyes are closed again.

 

 

            A little later, after the nebulizer treatment, when they are alone in the room, Eren grunts. Jean whips his head up.

            “You don’t need to stay,” Eren croaks out.

            “Shut up,” says Jean.

            Eren doesn’t answer, but his face relaxes slightly.  Based on how well the nurse knows him, Jean thinks this E.R. visit must be a familiar experience for Eren, but it is foreign to Jean, and it is scaring the shit out of him.  He wishes someone had told him that Eren had asthma. This reminds him, he should probably let Eren’s family know what’s going on.

            “I’m going to text Mikasa. What time is it in Japan, do you know?”

            Eren’s eyes shoot open. He shakes his head, a violent “no”.  “She’ll…. come home,” he wheezes. The alarm for the monitor on his finger starts beeping.

            “Okay, okay, I won’t.” Jean holds his hands up in surrender. 

            Eren looks at him with angry suspicion.

            “I promise,” Jean says, sighing.  Still the most annoying motherfucker he’s ever met.

 

           

            Later, a new doctor comes in. The first doctor’s shift must have ended in the interim. This is a man, also incredibly young-looking.

            “Hey there, Mr. Jaeger,” he says with a surprisingly booming, jolly voice. “You’re looking good,” he says approvingly, as though Eren has performed a task well for him.

            The doctor listens to Eren’s lungs, observes him for a minute.

            “I think things have turned the corner.  You probably don’t have to come in tonight. But only if you’ve got someone at home who can keep an eye on you. You need to take your inhaler every  4 hours overnight, and the steroids daily for a few days. I’ve sent a message to your asthma doctor, and you can check in with her on Monday. How far away do you live?”

            “It’s about a ten-minute drive,” Jean jumps in.

            “Is there someone at home who can keep an eye on you? Sleep in the same room tonight? Bring you back if things get worse again?”

            “I can,” Jean says immediately.

            “And you are?” asks the doctor.

            “I’m his roommate.”

            “Ah, well then,” says the doctor, looking pleased to have it all turn out so neatly. “Would you prefer to go home, Mr. Jaeger?”

            “Yes,” says Eren firmly.

           

 

 

 

            It’s 10pm when they finally get home, and the inhaler is due at midnight.  

            Jean tries not to hover while Eren uses the bathroom.

            He flips open his computer. He doesn’t realize that Eren is out until he hears him ask, curiously, “What are you watching?”

            “Demon Slayer,” says Jean.

            “Demon Slayer?” Eren asks quizzically.

            Jean is about to harangue him for not even knowing that this cool as fuck show exists, but then remembers their current situation. Instead, he says, “Want to watch with me?”

            To his surprise, Eren agrees.

            Jean scoots over so he’s at one end of the couch. Eren sits in the middle, his feet on the coffee table.

            A few minutes into the episode, Eren is sagging over. He puts a cushion next to Jean and lies down on it, his head almost touching Jean’s arm.

            At one point he starts coughing. And then it’s like the coughing isn’t going to stop. Shit.

            Jean automatically plonks his hand down on Eren’s head, willing him to calm down.  

            It seems to help, and the cough settles down. Eren doesn’t say anything about Jean’s hand, and Jean likes having it there. He knows it’s irrational, but it feels reassuring to keep a solid grip on Eren, as if that will somehow stop him from slipping away again into that appalling, desperate wheezing.

            At some point, he finds himself absentmindedly running his hand across Eren’s scalp. Eren’s hair feels nice. Surprisingly soft and smooth under his fingers. Eren doesn’t tell him to stop, and he even seems to tilt his head a bit into the touch, so Jean keeps it up.  

            By the end of the first episode, Eren is asleep, Jean’s hand still in his hair.

            He wakes Eren up at midnight and passes him the inhaler. Then he helps him into bed. Just as he’s leaning over, pulling the blankets up, Eren’s hand shoots out and grabs his wrist.

            “Thanks,” he croaks.

            “No problem,” answers Jean. “I mean, shit, I’m sorry I-“

            Eren cuts him off. “My fault,” he says. “It’s true that I haven’t been taking my allergy medication. And I was pissed off that my trip got cancelled.  I’m sorry for being an asshole.” Thinking about the trip must be upsetting, because his breath quickens slightly, and, again without thinking, Jean brings his hand down onto Eren’s head.

            Eren almost immediately relaxes. It’s astonishing really. Jean finds himself both pleased and startled. In order to give himself a little distance, he says, “I’m going to hang out in the other room until I’m more tired, okay? But I’ll leave the door open so I can hear you, and I’ll come in here later to sleep.” He motions towards the mattress he had laid out on the floor, made up and ready for bedtime.

            “OK,” says Eren, his eyes closed, sounding worn out.  Jean gives him a final pat, then leaves.

            When Jean comes in to sleep an hour later, Eren is out cold. Jean puts his head right next to Eren’s chest, and he hears long, slow, deep breaths. Eren is doing fine.

 

 

 

            When the buzzer sounds at 4 a.m., Jean is wholly confused. What the hell? It all comes back in a rush, and he hastens to turn off the godawful alarm.

            He stumbles to his feet, shivering in the cold air, and turns on the desk lamp. He blinks in the sudden light and carries the inhaler over to Eren. Eren looks worlds better, sleeping peacefully.  Jean knows he should be annoyed that Eren hasn’t even woken up, but, truth be told, he feels relieved and even a bit sorry that he has to disturb him.  

            He gently shakes Eren’s shoulder, and Eren startles awake,

            “Sorry, man. You need to take your inhaler.”

            Eren nods. He sits up, shakes the inhaler with a practiced hand, and takes two puffs, holding his breath after each one. He hands Jean the inhaler, curls back under the covers, and is almost immediately asleep.

 

 

 

            The next day, a Saturday, is awkward. Jean doesn’t know how to act around Eren. Eren is his longstanding enemy, yeah, but he’s also the guy he almost accidentally killed. (Jean knows this is an overstatement, but the fear was very real, and some of it is still with him).  He reminds him to take his inhaler once, but then Eren clearly has it under control, and he backs off. Eren’s not a baby, for fuck’s sake.

            Jean, however, is exhausted, so he ends up going back to bed. He doesn’t wake up until late afternoon.

            When he returns from a long run, having picked up a burrito on the way, Eren is puttering around the living room. While on the run, Jean has decided that he’s going to put the past behind him and make an effort to be pleasant.

            “I’m going to watch Demon Slayer again. If you want to watch with me,” he says in an offhand manner.

            “That show?”

            “Yeah.”

            At first, Jean thinks he’s going to say No, that’s a dumb idea, but then his face changes slightly. They’re both making an effort, apparently.

            “Yeah. That would be fun.”

            “I, uh, got a burrito. You want half of it? They’re huge.”

            “Nah, I don’t want to steal your food.”

            “You’re not stealing it, you moron. I’m offering. C’mon. I’ll feel stupid eating if you aren’t.”

            Eren shrugs. “Okay.”

            They watch the first episode again, because Eren was kind of out of it yesterday and missed key elements of the plot. Jean is pleasantly surprised to see that Eren is quickly enthralled by the show.

            When the episode is over, Jean smirks at him, “It’s good, right?”

            Eren kicks him lightly on the shin. “It would be a lot easier to say so if you weren’t so fucking smug about it.” But his tone is friendly, and Jean just lets out a snort as he skips the intro to the next episode.

            Halfway through, Eren starts to go limp again. His head falls by degrees, until he is propped up on one elbow, halfway leaning onto Jean’s thigh.

            Jean absentmindedly drops his hand onto Eren’s head, maybe because he’s already gotten so accustomed to the movement. By the time he notices, he’s already running his fingers through Eren’s hair. It’s a bit weird (does Jean ever touch anyone else’s hair?), but after all, it seemed to help Eren with his breathing, right? So what’s weird about that, really? And Eren doesn’t mind. On the contrary, he seems to like it. His head drops further, until he is resting it fully on Jean’s thigh.

 

 

 

           

            By the third week, they have settled down into something of a weeknight routine.

            Jean goes for a run, then either he cooks dinner or Eren gets some kind of quickie takeout. Then they sit down together to watch whatever anime episode they’re on (from Demon Slayer they moved on to Death Note, then The Promised Neverland), and spend the rest of the evening watching, with Jean making ironic comments about the plot or characters, and Eren calling him on his ridiculous ego.

            It starts being the highlight of Jean’s day, this bickering, playful time with Eren.

 

 

 

 

            Just another week until Armin will be home. Jean can’t believe the summer has flown by so quickly.

            They’re in their usual positions, Jean with his feet on the coffee table, Eren sprawled out along the couch, his head resting in Jean’s lap.  Jean has one hand lightly on Eren’s neck, the other absentmindedly stroking his hair. He gently rubs Eren’s scalp. Eren lets out an almost inaudible hum, like a very faint purr.

            Eren’s hair has gotten longer over the past few weeks. Jean finds it strangely satisfying to lift up a chunk and then watch the individual strands slowly fall back down as they leave his fingers. Eren is smiling, because they’ve started watching One Punch Man, and Saitama is on his “One hundred push-ups” rant. Watching the side of Eren’s grinning face is giving Jean a weird, happy, feeling inside, like somehow he’s responsible for giving Eren this gift of pleasure.  

            Jean stops paying attention to the show.  He’s already seen it a few times, and while it’s a good one, the view of Eren is much more interesting to him at the moment. He starts brushing the hair back from Eren’s ear, freeing the tiny golden stud to wink when it catches the blue light from the screen.

            It’s captivating, the flash of that tiny earring, almost hypnotic, and all of the sudden Jean’s world narrows until all he can see is Eren’s ear. With his index finger, he lightly traces it, from where it starts to curve at the top, around the outer edge, down to the earring. It feels soft and slightly furry under his fingertip.

            And then, almost as a natural extension of the kind of touching he’s been doing for weeks now, he leans down and kisses that soft, furry, delicate ear. He can’t help letting out a small sigh of pleasure; Eren’s ear is so very kissable, and, up close, his hair has a fresh, almost nutty, smell to it.

            Eren stiffens, bringing Jean immediately back to reality with a thump.

            “Shit!” he says, springing back. “Sorry! I didn’t- ”

            “It’s okay,” Eren interrupts, in a low voice. “I… liked it.”

            Jean realizes his hand is still on Eren’s neck because he can feel the heat of the blush spreading down it. He jerks it away.

            Only then does he take in Eren’s words.

            “You did?” he asks dumbly.

            Eren lifts himself up so they are facing one another.

            “Yeah,” he says. His voice is husky but clear. “I like it when you touch me. I like it a lot.”

            “You do?” Jean asks moronically.  Eren snorts.

            “Yeah, idiot,” he says, grinning now.  He reaches out to grab the front of Jean’s shirt and pull him in.

            Jean lets out a gasp which is muffled by Eren’s mouth.

            Keeping his lips on Jean’s, Eren pulls him down so they are both lying sideways on the couch.

            The kissing starts slowly, closed lips, gentle pressure. It feels good and easy, gradually picking up steam. By the time Jean slides his tongue into Eren’s mouth, they are both breathing heavily.  Eren’s mouth is hot and wet and delicious, with the faintest taste of lemons to it.

            Eren’s free hand slides around Jean’s neck, pulling Jean in closer. Jean, in turn, runs  his fingers up the smooth, golden skin of Eren’s arm. He wishes they had more room, but he’s afraid to suggest moving – what if talking breaks the spell?  And it’s too wonderfully fantastic to stop.

            Jean wiggles slightly away from Eren so there’s space for him to trail his fingers down Eren’s t-shirt, slip them under the hem, then slide them up the bare skin of Eren’s stomach.  Eren tenses and moans into his mouth. At the sound, Jean finds his hips involuntarily rolling up into Eren’s.

            When his fingers brush up against a nipple, Eren goes completely still. Jean runs his finger back and forth over it.

            “Ah – Jean – ngh.”

            Jean can’t suppress a groan. He is as hard as a rock, and – he can’t believe it – he’s honestly not sure how much longer he’s going to last.

            Then Eren is worming his thigh in between Jean’s, and fuck. Eren is just as hard as he is.

            Pushing Eren onto his back, Jean rolls on top of him, his dick pressed right up against Eren’s. He starts to trail kisses down Eren’s neck, shoving Eren’s shirt aside so he can continue this journey southwards. When his mouth finds Eren’s nipple, he flicks his tongue rapidly against it, causing it to stiffen further.  

            Eren moans loudly, grabbing Jean’s arms in a grip that in any other situation would be painfully tight.  Eren’s hips are moving in earnest now, rutting up against Jean.

            Jean lifts his head, panting heavily, trying to get his bearings. It’s all happening so quickly. He stares down at Eren. This doesn’t help him in the slightest. Eren’s head is tipped back into the couch, his eyes pinched shut, cheeks flushed. His bare chest is gleaming in the light from the screen. The sight is almost too much, especially in conjunction with the weight of Eren’s pelvis against his own.  

            Jean rubs Eren’s nipple and watches avidly as Eren bites down on his lip and arches his back further. Jean is rapidly becoming overwhelmed by the various sensations: the feel of Eren’s hard little nipple under his thumb; the sound of Eren’s moans; the sight of Eren’s clenched face; Eren’s stiff cock humping up into him. 

            Eren gives another swift thrust right into Jean’s crotch, and then it is too much. Jean closes his eyes, mouth open in a disbelieving “oh” as he comes all over the inside of his pants. What the hell?  Has it even been fifteen minutes?

            At this, Eren starts to move more frantically, thrusting his hips up into Jean, again and again.

            Jean, now a loose bag of jelly, curls down and lazily swipes his tongue at Eren’s other nipple  – long, slow licks – until it, too, is standing fiercely at attention. And, that, apparently is too much for Eren, because his body jerks, and Jean feels a wet warmth seep onto him.   

            Eren collapses back into the couch, a boneless heap.

            ‘Holy fuck,” he says breathlessly. “That was hot.”

            “Yeah,” agrees Jean, resting his head on Eren’s chest, now covered by a thin layer of sweat. He can feel Eren’s heart galloping along beneath his ribs.

            He stays there as the galloping slows to a steady trot.

            “We should, uh, clean up… maybe?” Eren finally says, in an uncharacteristically subdued voice.

            “Oh. Yeah. Sure,” says Jean, scrambling up. He doesn’t really want to move. Even though the sticky mess in his pants is drying in a most unpleasant way, he wants to stay pressed up against Eren, touching him, smelling him.

            Eren gets up clumsily, almost falling back into the couch, his face turned away from Jean. It’s only when Jean hears the water running in the bathroom that he finds himself rising. He feels confused. What’s going on? Eren said it was hot. He said he liked it when Jean touched him. But he seems to be running away now. A chill runs up Jean’s spine. That’s the weird thing about hooking up with a roommate. There’s nowhere to go if things head south.

            He frowns to himself. Is that what this was? “Hooking up?” More importantly, is that what Eren thinks it was? Because that’s sure as hell not what Jean thinks it was. Jean realizes with an unpleasant jolt that he has spent the summer falling – hard – for Eren, and this was pretty much the last nail in the coffin for him.

            But maybe that’s not what Eren wants. Maybe Eren just wanted to get off, blow off some steam with someone readily accessible? Eren doesn’t even really like Jean, does he?

            By the time Jean exits his own room, cleaned up and in pajamas, he has smoothed his face into blankness. He’s fully braced for Eren to tell him it was a mistake, that he didn’t mean it to get that far, to say something along the lines of “Ha-ha look what happens when the roommates leave.”

            Eren is waiting for him in the living room. He looks uncomfortable, shifting back and forth on his feet, his hands twitching until he clasps them together.

            Jean’s heart sinks further, and the mask on his face tightens.

            “D’you want…” Eren’s face is a dusky red. “D’you want to sleep in my room tonight?”

             “Is your breathing okay?” is Jean’s knee-jerk response. Maybe their… activities have set off Eren’s asthma? Were those wheezes he heard earlier, and not gasps of pleasure?

            “No! No, I didn’t... I meant – in my bed. Not to, uh, not to fool around again. I’m kind of beat,” he laughs shakily. “Just to sleep. But – together?”

            “Yes,” Jean says, immediately and firmly. He doesn’t even try to be coy. He’s too overwhelmed with relief. Because that’s exactly what Jean wants. To be close to Eren. Now that the danger is past, he can admit to himself that if Eren had told him it was all a mistake he would have been, frankly, devastated.  

 

 

           

             In reality, lying in Eren’s bed together is a lot less enjoyable than Jean thought it would be. It’s funny, the bed is wider than the couch, but this is Eren’s personal space, and it just feels a little too small for the both of them. Jean is lying rigidly next to Eren, staring at the ceiling. Because even though Eren didn’t say it was a mistake, he didn’t say it wasn’t, either. In fact, there hasn’t been any discussion at all. And Jean’s still feeling a little too uncertain about the situation to be able to relax.

            Eren’s breathing, at least, is familiar, and the breaths are reassuringly slow and deep, no asthma attack in sight. But Jean’s mind is buzzing a million miles a minute. As soon as he’s sure Eren is asleep, he’s going to climb carefully over him and get the hell out of there, because this is freaking uncomfortable and he really wants to go decompress in his own room, surrounded by his own, non-Eren-related things.

            But then Eren, who doesn’t seem to be plagued by similar doubts, wiggles his arm under Jean’s body and manhandles it onto his chest.  He lifts a hand and runs his fingers through Jean’s hair, and Oh. No wonder Eren never told him to stop. It’s so lovely and soothing, to have Eren’s hand running across his scalp, rubbing the back of his neck. Jean feels his whole body relaxing, melting into Eren. And by the time Eren’s fingers slow to a stop, and he’s letting out little huffing snores, Jean is halfway to sleep himself. 

             Maybe it is nice after all, squeezed into this too-small bed with the most annoying motherfucker he’s ever met.