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'Tis the Season

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Saturday, November 29th.

"Here's your shirt, and your shoes. The pants, aaaaand your hat!"

"You've got to be fucking kidding me."

Levi stared down at the clothing Hanji had placed on the table in front of him, a deep, concerned frown on his face. He picked through it, inspecting the pointy hat, the long sleeved shirt and striped pants, and finally, the oversized shoes with a curled tip.

"These shoes have bells on them." He said, grimacing at the two bells sewed on at the heel of each shoe. He picked one up and it jingled, and he gave Hanji a look that he hoped would melt steel.

Instead though, Hanji just grinned, putting a heavy, over friendly hand on his shoulder. "Yeah, of course. You're an elf!"

"Don't fucking remind me." Levi glowered, setting the shoe down so he could pick up the hat.

It was oversized too, and he had apparently failed to notice before that there was a bell on the end of the tip as well, and two large, plastic elf ears sewn onto the sides.

He stared at them for a moment pointedly, then looked back up at Hanji. This time he said nothing, but his eyebrows were raised so high they were probably invisible underneath his bangs. Hanji just shrugged though, nonplussed, keeping the same amused grin on her face.

"This is just the standard costume, Levi. Everyone will be dressed like this. Well, except Santa Claus of course."

"Lucky bastard." Levi muttered, holding up the hat by one plastic ear in front of his face, staring at it with a grimace.

“Not really. His costume is a lot heavier and thicker than yours. He’ll be sweating like a pig in no time.”

“Whatever.” Levi said, barely listening as Hanji continued babbling on about all of the intricacies of Santa’s costume that he didn’t give a shit about.

He gathered the pieces of his own outfit from the table, shoving them into the backpack he had brought with him and turning to leave. He barely made it two steps before Hanji stopped him.

“Wait, Levi. Don’t forget to be at the mall an hour early tomorrow! You’ve still got some paperwork to fill out, and you’ll need some minimal training before you start.”

“Yeah, I know, I’ll be there.”

“Good! I can’t wait to get started, this year is going to be so much fun.”

Levi rolled his eyes, saying nothing more and making his way towards the door of Hanji’s apartment. He heard her shouting a goodbye at him as he opened it and mumbled something back, closing it behind him and trudging irritably through the snow to his car. He checked his phone for the time, biting his lip when he realized how late it was.

It was already nearly 9:30 PM, and he still had to finish his last homework assignment that was due at midnight. His first shift at the mall started the next day at 8:00 AM because of their early Christmas hours, and if he had to be there a fucking hour early like Hanji wanted than he was going to have to be up by 6:30 AM to make the 45 minute drive from his apartment on campus.

Reaching his car, he unlocked the trunk and begrudgingly threw his backpack into it, unhappy with the amount of sleep he was going to be getting already. Closing it, he climbed into the driver’s seat and started the ignition, and began mentally making a list of what he needed to do when he got home. He pulled out onto the icy road slowly, already feeling an unfortunate sense of dread as he thought about what his next month was going to be like.

 

Sunday, November 30th.

It was too damn early to be at a mall, Levi thought, pulling into a parking spot near the side entrance Hanji has instructed him to go into. He rubbed at his eyes, still tired from the barely five hours of sleep he had gotten the night before, and turned his car off.

He looked down at the ridiculous outfit he was wearing and sighed, next buttoning up his coat before he glanced outside his car window. Thankfully, no one else was around to see how stupid he looked underneath it, and he gave himself one more quick pep talk before opening the door and shutting it as fast as possible. He made a beeline for the mall entrance, dodging ice patches and shivering in the cool air. He stashed his keys in his coat pocket when he reached the door, knocking on it and praying someone wouldn’t appear outside before he made it in.

While he waited, he thought about what he was doing here, and wished for the millionth time that this wasn’t the job he’d ended up with. He hadn’t wanted to be an elf in Santa’s workshop at the mall, but he was in college and needed money over the winter break. His student loans usually provided him with cash during the school year, but if he wanted to stay in his apartment and keep himself fed while he was off he had no other choice but to work.

He’d looked for jobs while the semester was winding down but had no luck. Hanji, his friend and fellow student, had been an elf herself the Christmas before. Apparently she’d been so cheery and done such a good job that this year, she’d been offered the position of supervisor. As Levi had searched for work and gotten no offers, Hanji had repeatedly tried to convince him to work with her at the mall.

“No fucking way.” He’d told her, disdain dripping from his tone. “I’d rather shovel shit out of a horse stall.”

But as the semester drew to a close and he still had no job, Levi had slowly realized with a deep dread that he was going to have no other choice. So a week ago, he’d made one of the worst phone calls of his life, dialing Hanji’s number on his cell and asking her if there were still any positions available.

“Oh Levi, you’re in luck! One of our elves quit yesterday so there’s a spot. I’ll get you a uniform, and you can come get it in a few days.”

That was how he’d ended up here, standing outside the mall in the cold, wearing a ridiculous elf costume underneath his coat and praying no one would fucking see him.

Finally, after a few more moments he heard footsteps and the door opened, revealing Hanji’s grinning face.

“Levi, good morning!” She said, unnaturally cheery for how early it was, and ushered him inside.

He stopped, glancing around at the space he’d just stepped into. It was some kind of storeroom that must have been converted into a backroom for them, if the tall, empty shelves rearranged into squares to form separate spaces were any indication.

“This is the office.” Hanji said, leading Levi forward and gesturing to a bunch of shelves grouped around a pair of desks. There was a filing cabinet, piles of folders stacked messily in the corner, and one, ancient looking computer. A man with dark hair wearing a horrific Christmas sweater and reindeer horns on his head was sitting in front of it, lazily tapping at the keyboard. He didn’t look up when Hanji spoke, and she didn't bother to introduce them. “You’ll fill out your paperwork here in a second.”

She led him around the corner of the ‘office’ and towards a much larger grouping of shelves, these covered in heavy, thick white sheets that concealed what was inside.

“The lockers are in here.” She said, sweeping aside one of the sheets and motioning for him to enter.

He stepped in, looking at the line of 50 or so lockers that were organized around the room, big enough for him to fit his coat in and a few other things.

“You can put your stuff in here.” Hanji said. She was holding a clipboard, and as she spoke, she flipped through some of the pages, stopping when she found what she was looking for. “Yours is over here. Oh, and you can change in here too, if you want. You don’t have to come already in costume.”

“I wish you would’ve fucking told me that before.” Levi said with a scowl, following Hanji towards his locker and thinking about the mad dash he’d had to make out of his apartment to his car, and then from his car to the mall entrance.

“Here’s your combination. Don’t lose it.” She ignored him, handing him the slightly rumpled piece of paper from the clipboard.

“Yeah, yeah.” He grumbled, looking at the numbers and then entering the combination to open the locker.

He shoved the paper in his coat pocket after committing the numbers to memory, and started unbuttoning it with a pit of dread in his stomach. Sure enough, as soon as he removed it and started shoving it into his locker, Hanji started cracking up behind him.

“I fucking hate you.” Levi said, pulling his elf hat out of his other coat pocket before slamming the locker door. He may have worn everything else here from his apartment, but he had refused to put that fucking thing on. Now he had to though, so he jammed it over his head, scowling when it became immediately obvious that it didn’t fit and nearly slipped down over his eyes.

That just made Hanji laugh harder, who had started in the first place because the shirt - or tunic, because that’s what it really was - she’d given him didn’t fit either. It was too big, and hung almost to his knees instead of halfway up his thighs like it was supposed to. The entire thing was a bright green color, with red trimming around the neck part and the end of his long sleeves. Those were red and white striped and too large just like nearly everything else, hanging nearly completely over his hands and the tips of his fingers.

The shoes fit well enough for him to walk in, but their oversized appearance looked even more ridiculous on him, Levi thought. Plus, every time he took a step the bells jingled, something that he knew he was going to get tired of quickly, and that made him feel like he was drawing even more unwanted attention to himself.

The only part of the entire outfit that seemed to look normal on him was the pants, even though they were more like leggings. They were red and white striped to match his long sleeves and were actually a tad too long, but you couldn’t tell because they were tucked into his boots. They were a little snug on his ass, for some reason, though, and he was thankful that the tunic at least covered that. What he wasn’t thankful for, however, was the way they kept creeping between his cheeks, giving him a wedgie that he certainly wouldn’t be able to pick out in front of lines of children and parents.

“I gave you the smallest size we had in everything.” Hanji said after she’d finally gotten control of herself, her lips twitching in an effort to contain her grin.

"I look like shit." Levi said, tugging the hat further down onto his head in an attempt to get it to stay on. That just made the plastic, pointy ears sit lower, though, hanging against his cheeks instead of over his own ears.

The sight of it brought a fresh round of giggles out of Hanji, and Levi's scowl just grew larger the longer she laughed. His face was burning, and suddenly he felt very frustrated, angry at his predicament and this stupid job that he hadn't wanted in the first place.

"Fuck this." He spat, ripping the hat off and turning as if to open his locker again, wanting to be anywhere but here. What if he just left, and used what little he had in his savings account to get him through the break, or at least until he found another job. If there wasn't enough, he'd figure something out, he could just live off of ramen, maybe, and-

"Wait, Levi." Hanji said, composing herself again. "I'm sorry. I can't do much about the hat, but a belt would help with the shirt. I think we might have a few, let me go check the office."

Levi sighed, stopping halfway through entering his combination again and turning back around.

"I'll be right back, just wait here. Either way, it doesn't look that bad, I promise!"

Hanji was trying to reassure him because she could tell he was irritated, but he could still see the amusement behind her eyes that told him she was lying. He felt like he looked like a joke, or a cartoon character, and he didn't know how he was going to survive an entire month of this shit. No matter how much he wanted to leave though and to quit, it would be a bad idea. As much as he hated the thought, he was just going to have to suck it up.

She walked out of the locker room, taking her clipboard with her, and Levi leaned back against his locker to wait, jamming the hat back on his head irritably.

Up until then, he and Hanji had been the only two people Levi had seen other than the man in the office with the shitty reindeer horns. A few seconds after she left though, someone else pulled back the sheet flap and walked in. It was a man - a tall, blonde, very attractive man carrying a large duffel bag and a coat, and wearing nothing more than a white t-shirt and gym shorts.

“Oh, good morning.” He said, noticing Levi standing there and giving him a polite nod.

Levi stared, caught off guard for a moment because he hadn’t been expecting anyone like this to walk in, and then managed to nod back stiffly. He made himself look away while the man strode further into the room, approaching a locker that was only a few down from Levi’s and entering in his combination.

While he did so, Levi couldn’t help the way his eyes drew to him again, glancing at him from the side as he opened his locker and started putting his things away. He was well built, Levi could tell, obviously over six foot and with handsome features like high, prominent cheekbones and full lips. He looked to be about Levi’s age, and as he looked him up and down subtly, he became even more deathly aware of the ridiculous fucking outfit he was wearing.

“Is something the matter?” The man asked suddenly, his deep voice ringing out in the quiet room.

“What?” Levi said, turning his head fully to look up at him, suddenly finding himself staring into a pair of bright blue eyes.

Fuck. He thought, biting his lip as the man paused, letting his eyes wander over him more closely. He was looking at him like he’d just truly noticed him for the first time, as if when he’d greeted him earlier he hadn’t really been paying attention. Levi’s face was burning, his stomach churning in mortification as he recalled how he’d looked in the too big outfit, cursing his luck at meeting someone this good looking while he was wearing a fucking elf costume.

Levi was half expecting him to burst out into laughter like Hanji had done, but instead, all he did after he finished looking him over was raise an eyebrow.

“You were staring.” He said, his voice unconcerned, and Levi looked away completely so the man wouldn’t have to see his frustrated grimace and the embarrassed flush that had surely swept over his cheeks.

“The hell I was.” He mumbled, staring daggers at the row of lockers opposite his gaze.

In response, Levi just heard the man chuckle, turning back to unzip his bag.

“Its alright if you were.” He said, a playful tone in his voice. Levi’s eyes widened for a moment, and he jerked his head back around, looking up to find the man with his arms in the locker and a small smile on his face.

“I’m E-” He started to say, only to be interrupted by loud yelling.

“Levi!” It was Hanji, practically shrieking at him from outside of the makeshift room they were in. “Levi, come here! I found you a belt! Come to the office so I can fix your shirt!”

At her words, of course, the man immediately lowered his gaze to look at Levi’s shirt. Eyes widening in near horror again, Levi swore under his breath, pushing himself away from the locker as fast as possible and practically running out of the room. He ducked under the sheet and heard the man laughing, a loud, deep sound that had his heart hammering in his chest not just in embarrassment again, but something else.

“Dammit, Hanji, you didn’t have to fucking yell.” Levi said under his breath when he found her, standing just outside of the office holding a thick, black belt.

Naturally, she ignored him and moved closer, holding the belt out in front of her like she was going to fasten it on him herself. “Last year, the elf costumes had belts. Nile cut that out of the budget this year, though, but we had a few left over.”

She gestured inside of the office with her head, and Levi glanced inside to find the dark haired man with the terrible sweater - Nile, apparently - still sitting there mindlessly tapping away on the keyboard. He didn’t even move when Hanji mentioned him, which Levi was glad for, so he turned his attention back to her and snatched the belt out of her hand before she could touch him.

“I can do it myself, fuck.” He cursed, wrapping it around his waist and fastening it, trying to make the shirt not look so baggy and huge. “Is it any better?”

Hanji adjusted her glasses and squinted at him, cocking her head while she looked him up and down. She opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again, the frown on Levi’s face growing all the while.

“Well.” She said after another moment, stepping back. “You don’t look like you’re wearing a pillowcase anymore.”

“Great. Thanks.” Levi said dryly, shoving his hat back which had fallen forward again, nearly completely over his eyes when he’d looked down to inspect himself.

“You’re welcome! Now, let me take you outside so you can see where you’ll be working...”

 

Thursday, December 4th.

Levi had worked three days at the mall, counting the Sunday where Hanji had shown him the ropes. The hours were long and the shifts were boring, but all in all, there wasn’t much to it. He supposed there were worse jobs he could have, and sure, he looked ridiculous in his costume, but so did everyone else, and the kids and parents barely batted an eye at him.

Basically, it was just a lot of fucking standing around. The part of the mall where they worked was dubbed ‘Christmas Village’ and consisted of three areas: the first was Santa’s Workshop - a large, open space containing rides and games. There was a carousel, a tiny train that went around in a large circle pulling carts behind it, and even a mini ferris wheel. The games were just holiday themed carnival attractions, ‘Reindeer Watergun Racing,’ a kid-sized striker shaped like a giant candy cane, and ‘Snowman Ring Toss.’

The second area was just a mini food court that sold fudge, popcorn, funnel cakes, cookies, and other treats. The last place was where the kids got their pictures made with Santa Claus - basically a small stage designed to be like the inside of his house, with the oversized chair he sat in and a long, long maze of dividers stretching out in front of it for the line.

So far, Levi had only worked in Santa’s Workshop, standing at the entrance to the line for the carousel and taking tickets. It was easy, but boring like he’d said, and the worst part was definitely the children. It wasn’t that Levi didn’t like kids, because he did. It was just that there were so many of them, and they were all so fucking excited. A few kids he could handle, but by the end of his shift, after listening to hundreds of shrieking, crying, or snotting children, he was at the limits of his patience and ready to get the fuck out of there.

The only thing that kept him somewhat occupied was paying attention to the other workers. He had only one reason for that though, which just so happened to be the fact that he wanted to see that man again. The one he’d met in the locker room on his first day, the fucking blonde haired, blue eyed near adonis who he was sure had been flirting with him.

He kept thinking about him, for some reason, but he hadn’t seen him since that morning and it made him wonder. He did work here, right? He had been putting his things into a locker just like him. He’d thought he had met or seen all the elves so far, but he wasn’t one of them, and he hadn’t seen him working at any of the food stations either. He wasn’t a supervisor, because Hanji, Nile, and another weird man named Pixis were the only three they had.

Maybe he was an elf like him, and he had somehow just missed him, or maybe he hadn’t been scheduled to work yet. It wasn’t like it really mattered, he didn’t know what the fuck he was going to do even if he did see him again. He’d embarrassed himself so badly the first time that he doubted any kind of second meeting would go well, anyway.

“Levi!” He heard suddenly, the sound of his name jerking him out of his thoughts and the mindless ticket taking.

It was Hanji, approaching him quickly and looking frazzled, her hair a mess and the underarms of her shirt stained with sweat.

“You stink.” Levi said, wrinkling his nose at the sight when she reached him.

“I need you to go stand by Santa.” She said, scribbling on her clipboard with wide eyes. “The elf who was working there got sick. He must have caught something from one of the kids. Nanaba is going to come over here to cover your spot.”

Behind her, a woman with short, blonde hair dressed as an elf waved at him, giving him a small smile.

“Uh, alright, I guess. Why me?”

“Because I know you’re smart enough to cover it without any problems.”

“Well, what the fuck do I do?” He asked, an eyebrow raised. He hadn’t worked in that area yet, and this was the only one he’d been trained for.

“Its easy! There’s a spot for you to stand between him and the line of kids, and you just make sure only one goes up at a time. There’s a gate that you open to let them up, and you just do that when he’s ready for the next one.”

“How do I know he’s ready?”

“You just wait until the kid has left the platform. Then you let the next one go up. That’s it, I promise!”

“Alright, fine.”

“Good! Come on, there’s no one there right now so the line is getting backed up.”

“Great…” Levi muttered, frowning when they got closer and he saw that the line was longer than he’d ever fucking seen it.

“It’ll be fine, just get the kids out of the line and onto Santa’s lap! He’ll go quicker, he knows what to do. You see the gate? Go stand in front of it!”

Levi looked to where Hanji was pointing, his eyes falling on the brightly colored red gate at the front of the line, barely restraining a single file mass of unruly, noisy children. He nearly groaned aloud when he saw the first kid in line - a small girl with long, brown hair whose eyes were so wild and wide with excitement Levi thought they were going to fall out of her head.
He started walking over, and as he got closer the girl spotted him. She practically started bouncing up and down, wrapping her tiny hands around the rails of the gate and peeking through it at him.

“Santa, Santa, Santa.” She was whispering, and behind her, her father placed a hand on her head as if to calm her.

“Be still, Sasha.” He said, looking down. “And wipe your mouth, you’re drooling.”

As Levi reached the gate, he saw that she was, in fact, drooling. Her entire chin was shiny with it, and there was a wet spot on the front of her shirt from where it had been dripping down. Her father handed her a tissue from his pocket as he tried not to grimace, and she wiped her entire face with it messily before shoving it back into his open palm.

He turned when he got there to look at Hanji, and she grinned, giving him a thumbs up sign. He took that to mean he should open the gate, so he looked back at the kid and her dad, placing his hand on the railing.

“Alright, go tell Santa what you want for Christmas, or whatever.” He said to her, pulling the gate out of the latch and letting them through.

“Thanks.” The dad said, grabbing the girl’s hand to keep her from sprinting forward at full speed.

“Santa, Santa, Santa!” She said, louder now, as her father led her through the gate and the few feet towards Santa’s chair.

Levi closed it, taking a few steps back, and watched the girl climb onto Santa’s lap. She rattled off what she wanted for Christmas - a bow and arrow, a doll, a play cooking set, a sausage maker, and a football - while her father took a picture. Levi stared blankly, only paying enough attention to know when she left so he could let the next kid in like Hanji had told him to.

When she was done, she hopped off his lap and back to her father, and Levi started to move back towards the gate, only to stop when he heard someone clear their throat loudly behind him.

“Hello.” A muffled voice said next.

It was Santa Claus, he realized, and he looked over, giving him a nod in return, assuming that he was just trying to be polite and greet the person who was now going to be working next to him. He turned back to the gate immediately to let the next kid in, and after a few more, he heard Santa clear his throat again.

“I’m glad they moved you over here.” He said, and Levi whipped his head around, his expression immediately contorting into confusion.

He stared, his eyes roving over him, truly taking him in for the first time. To Levi, he looked just like any other Santa Claus - a man with a big belly dressed in a red and white suit, his face covered with a long, thick beard and wearing a pair of thin spectacles. He had white hair too, of course, and wore a huge, fuzzy Santa hat. It was just some old guy, so why was he talking to Levi like he was familiar with him?

“...Why?”

“Because I’ve been wanting to talk to you.”

“Why the fuck would you want to talk to me?” Levi said, frowning and raising an eyebrow at the man’s words. Surely he wasn’t hitting on him, was he?

“Well, I-”

“Excuse me!” Another voice said. “We’ve been waiting in line for almost an hour!”

“Shit.” Levi muttered under his breath.

It was the mother of the next kid in line, and she looked angry. He let her and her kid in through the gate immediately, ignoring the shitty look she gave him so he wouldn’t get fired, and stood back while they visited with Santa. When they left, he moved to let the next one through, but was stopped yet again by the sound of a throat clearing.

“What do you want?” He asked, turning around and sighing because he’d hoped that Santa Claus had somehow forgotten about their conversation and would leave him the fuck alone. He had no such luck, however, but even the vague sense of unease he had towards whatever he was about to say could not prepare him for what came out of his mouth next.

“I wanted to know if you’d go to dinner with me sometime.”

“What?” Levi asked, taken aback by the question.

For a moment, his expression was one of disbelief. Even if he had thought the man might be hitting on him earlier, he sure as fuck hadn’t expected him to actually ask him out. For fuck’s sake, he didn’t even know his name, and either way, he was some old, bearded fat man in a Santa suit.

“Ah, I was asking you on a date. To dinner. Or maybe we could have drinks at my apartment?” Santa Claus said again, tilting his head.

Levi’s face twisted into a scowl, his arms crossing in front of him defensively, almost horrified at the notion that this guy wanted to take him back to his apartment. For drinks? Yeah, right. “Why would I go on a date with a gross old man like you?”

Maybe it was harsh, but Levi wanted him to get the picture so he would leave him alone. He’d asked nicely, but it had come out of nowhere and seemed strange, and if he was going to have to work this closely with the guy for even the rest of the day, he didn’t want to have to keep fending off any unwanted advances.

To his surprise though, the man just blinked, pausing for a moment before laughing once.

“I see.” He said, his muffled voice somehow sounding amused to Levi’s ears. “So that’s a no, then?”

“Yeah its a fucking no, didn’t you hear me?” Levi said, shaking his head in disbelief. “And anyway, why would I go to some guy’s apartment who I barely even know? Tch.”

He didn’t give him a chance to say anything else before turning around again, heading toward the gate to let the next kid in.

“You know, elves aren’t supposed to be grumpy.” Santa called after him, and Levi stopped, his face contorting into a grimace. He shot him a look over his shoulder, slowly turning his head and shooting him a rude gesture with his hand. He’d twisted his arm behind his back before he flipped him off so the kids wouldn’t see, but when the man saw it all he did was just laugh again.

Fucking asshole. Levi thought to himself as he turned around again, jerking the gate open.

For the rest of his shift, he worked quickly and efficiently, letting kids through as soon as he could so that Santa wouldn’t have the chance to talk to him again between children. Thankfully, he didn’t say anything else to him. In fact, he barely paid attention to him as if nothing had happened, focusing on the kids and letting them climb onto his lap as quickly as Levi allowed them to come to him.

Levi was glad he wasn’t bothering him, but he only knew because he kept stealing glances at him for some reason, probably because something about his behavior didn’t add up. He didn’t know why he kept thinking about it - it was likely just because he was some weird, old pervert or something, but the way he had gone about talking to him and asking him out just seemed so strange and sudden.

Whatever, it didn’t matter. He sure as fuck wasn’t interested in some sweaty old guy no matter what, and hopefully after today, he wouldn’t have to work in this spot again anyway. Finally, after a few more hours, his shift was over and his relief arrived. He was so ready to go that he practically bolted from the area, rushing to the locker room to pull his costume off so he could go home. He had to work the next three days because it was the weekend and they would be incredibly busy, so he wanted to enjoy as much of his free time off as he could.

 

Friday, December 5th.

Any hopes Levi had about not working with Santa Claus again were dashed upon his return to work.

“The guy who you filled in for yesterday quit, Levi.” Hanji told him as soon as he arrived, dragging him into the office. “So I’m going to start putting you over there instead of at the carousel.”

“Are you fucking kidding? Isn’t there anyone else that can do it?” He protested immediately, frowning sharply.

“Well, you did such a good job yesterday that it wouldn’t make sense to put anyone else there. You kept the line moving quickly - faster than anyone else has so far. The wait times were at their lowest point by the end of your shift!”

Levi fought back a frustrated groan, knowing that the only reason he’d been moving so fast was to keep Santa Claus occupied with children so he couldn’t hit on him again.

“What’s wrong with working there? Did you not like that spot?" Hanji asked, sensing his hesitance.

“No, it's nothing, whatever.” Levi said, not about to go into detail of what had happened with Hanji. “It’s fine."

"Okay, great! It won’t be the entire day, anyway. Santa doesn’t get here until two, so you’ll be at the carousel all morning like normal. Starting Sunday, though, we're going to put you on second shift. That's 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM, when the mall closes. It's when we're the busiest, and you'll be really helpful with the long lines!"

"I can't wait." Levi said dryly, with a blank face.

"That's the spirit!"

Rolling his eyes, Levi turned to leave the office to go get dressed. Despite the disappointing start to his morning, the first part of Levi’s shift at the carousel was fine. It was just the same old shit, standing there and tearing tickets for kids who wanted to ride. No one bothered him, which was what he liked best about it, and why he was positively dreading 2:00. Santa Claus had left him alone for the last part of his shift yesterday, but for some reason he had a feeling he wasn’t going to get that lucky again today.

Of course, he was right.

For some reason, even though it was a Friday, the mall was less crowded than usual, and with Levi hurrying the kids along like he’d done the day before so Santa wouldn’t have a chance to speak with him, the line moved quicker and there were lulls where there was even no one waiting.

“You like moving them through here, don’t you?” Santa said at the start of one of the slow periods, as the last kid in line hopped off his lap and ran to his father.

Levi sighed, crossing his arms and staring out at the empty line before he resigned himself to the fact that he was going to have to talk to this man. He turned around slowly, glaring, and leaned back against the gate.

“Too old to keep up?” He said, putting as much disdain in his voice as he could muster, hoping Santa would get the point that he didn’t want to talk.

“Not at all.” He said, undeterred, with that same hint of amusement in his voice that Levi had heard the day before. “I think we make a good team.”

“Its just moving kids through a line. Its not exactly rocket science.”

“You’d be surprised. The person who you replaced tended to, ah, space out, and half the time I had to remind him to open the gate.”

“I don’t blame him. This job is boring as hell.”

“Well, its not like listening to kids list everything they want for Christmas all day is thrilling, either.”

“You don’t like kids? Why are you doing this job, then?”

“I didn’t say I didn’t like kids. Seeing Santa makes them happy, and I like doing that. But it just gets old, you know?”

“Hn.” Was all Levi said, looking down when he realized they had somehow fallen into an easy conversation.

Even if it was just small talk, he hadn’t meant for that to happen at all. Luckily, he was saved by a kid entering the line - a tall boy with a messy mop of dirty blonde, brownish hair. He had a long face, and behind him, a round looking woman who must have been his mother was following him.

“Go on, Jean-boy.” She said when Levi approached the gate, pulling it open to let the kid through. “Tell Santa what you want for Christmas.”

His eyes had gone wide when he laid them on Levi and then past him, Santa Claus. He’d been holding his mother’s hand as they walked through the empty line, but as soon as they made it past the gate he ripped his fingers out of it, sprinting forward towards Santa quickly.

“Jean-boy, wait! Your shoes are untied!” His mother yelled, but it was too late. Nearly as soon as the kid started running, he tripped over his loose shoelaces and fell flat onto his face.

“Shit-” Levi started, staring wide-eyed for a moment. He didn’t know what to do, but it didn’t matter. The kid’s mom had rushed forward immediately, almost before he started wailing at the top of his lungs, and dropped to the ground to make sure he was alright. He appeared to be fine, just shaken up from his sudden fall, and after a few more moments his mother managed to stop his crying, for the most part. He sat up, wiping his nose and sniffling, looking up suddenly when Santa stood up.

“Oh dear.” He said, taking a step forward to crouch down in front of the kid. “Are you alright, little boy?”

He was using a different voice than he had been when he was talking to Levi earlier. It was his Santa Claus voice, apparently, and he was acting now - extremely obviously - but it was enough to convince the kid, it seemed.

He nodded, sniffling again and wiping his face, and Santa reached out a hand to ruffle his hair before he picked him up. Levi couldn’t see his mouth or most of his face because of his giant beard, but he could tell by the way it moved that he was smiling, and the kid gave him a small, teary-eyed grin in return.

“Come sit on my lap and tell Santa what you want for Christmas!” He said, carrying him to the chair.

The boy’s mother looked relieved as her son was settled in Santa’s lap, smiling again, and Levi didn’t know why but the entire scene made him feel warm inside. Maybe it was the gentleness with which the man playing Santa had handled the kid, or how he had made him go from a crying, upset mess to smiling again in less than a few seconds. He’d made him happy, like he’d said before, and Levi had to admit it had been...sweet.

But it wasn’t because of the man, that was for fucking sure. He was still some old guy with a huge, wiry beard, and it had still been weird the way he’d asked him out the day before.

After the now happy kid had told Santa what he wanted for Christmas, his mother carried him off, leaving the two of them alone again because no one else had come up in the line. Levi turned around to appraise it, not exactly sure now whether he wanted to talk to the man or not or what he would even say, but of course, Santa spoke to him first.

“So, since you seem to hate this job so much, why did you take it?” He asked, his voice back to normal now, but still muffled.

Levi turned back around to face him, crossing his arms again and waiting a moment before he answered. “I didn’t have a choice. I needed a job. Hanji goes to school with me, so she gave me a position.”

“I see. So you’re in college? What do you study?”

Levi opened his mouth to answer, but then stopped, wary of the sudden personal questions.

“Why do you want to know?”

“I’m just trying to pass the time.” Santa said, holding up a hand. “It will get awfully boring if we just sit here. But if you don’t want to talk, that’s alright.”

Levi raised an eyebrow, not exactly buying it. He wasn’t being rude, though, and was giving him an out, so before he could stop himself, he opened his mouth.

“I study interior design.” He said, waiting for the inevitable onslaught of questions or laughter that usually followed such an admission. Instead, however, Santa just nodded.

“Ah. That sounds interesting.” He said, shifting in his chair. “You want to design the inside of houses, I take it?”

“That’s what interior design is, idiot.”

Santa chuckled. “I know that. I just assumed there might be other things you could do with it.”

“Maybe. Like what?” Levi asked. He hadn’t really considered anything else. He liked decorating, liked the order and balance of it. He found it soothing to be able to lose himself in it, and it came so naturally to him that he couldn’t imagine studying some other subject.

“Well, I thought you would be able to tell me.”

“I don’t know. I haven’t been in school for long.”

He could see Santa’s surprise when his white eyebrows lifted quickly, his gaze looking him over before he spoke again.

“How old are you?”

Levi bristled at that, his expression twisting into a scowl. He’d just started to relax into their conversation, and then Santa had asked that and immediately made him uncomfortable again. “What’s with the personal questions?”

“Sorry. I was just curious. You look older than someone who has just started college.”

Levi turned his head, not sure what to make of that comment. He was - he hadn’t just graduated high school or anything. He was 25, but he had spent the later part of his teen years and most of his early twenties getting into trouble. He’d fallen in with a bad crowd almost on accident, and hadn’t known what else to do and didn’t have anywhere else to go at the time. Eventually he’d gotten out and started to get his life together, and had only recently been able to start going to college.

“Can we talk about something else?” He said though, not about to get into any of that with this man, especially since he still didn’t trust his intentions.

“Of course.” Santa said, shifting again in his seat. He paused, opening his mouth to say something else, but then stopped when a new kid approached.

Levi moved to let the child in, and after that, there was a steady stream of them again and they didn’t really talk that much more. He was fine with that, as he was still not sure what to make of this man, but once his shift was over he forced himself to not think of it, heading home to rest before he had to come back the next day.

 

Sunday, December 7th.

Levi arrived for his first evening shift nearly thirty minutes late. He wasn’t used to driving to the mall in the afternoon, and wasn’t sure how traffic was going to be. Unfortunately, it was horrible because of a snowstorm the night before, and despite all of his rushing he just wasn’t able to make it on time. When he arrived, he was thankfully greeted by an understanding Hanji rather than Nile, and he got dressed quickly in the locker room before rushing out to his position.

“You’re here.” Santa said when he saw him, after Levi had excused the irate employee he was replacing. “I was wondering if you had quit.”

“Why do you care?” Levi said, rolling his eyes and immediately getting to work letting a young girl through the gate.

“Well, yesterday was so stressful, that I thought-” He stopped when the child reached his lap, trailing off in favor of greeting her.

He was right. The day before had not been fun. It was a Saturday, and it had been so busy that the line had been backed up for Levi’s entire shift. He’d kept it moving well enough, paying sharp attention to when to open the gate to let the next kid in, but it seemed like it was never going to fucking end and he hadn’t even had time to take a break. The long lines and extended wait meant the children and the parents were often crankier by the time they reached him, and by the end of his shift, hearing them complain about it when he was going as fast as he could had started to get old.

The only good thing about being so busy was he didn’t have to deal with Santa Claus. In fact, they barely talked at all, which was fine with Levi because then he wouldn’t have to struggle with his conflicted feelings. He’d thought he was some creepy old man when he’d asked him to dinner their first night working together, but after that he seemed pretty normal, and he found he hadn’t minded talking to him on Friday.

Today though, they weren’t as crowded, and there were a few times when Santa started up a conversation with him again. He didn’t ask him anymore personal questions, but just talked about the weather, or about some of the funny things kids had said to him. Levi thought his shift passed smoothly, and towards the end of it as it got later, the amount of visitors slowly began to taper off.

They were about 30 minutes from closing when a family showed up, consisting of a father with glasses, a mother with long, dark hair, and three children who all looked to be around five years old. There were two boys - one with blonde hair and one with hair the same color as the parents - and a girl who had black hair and wore an oversized red scarf.

The dark haired boy wore a huge, happy smile, and as Levi made his way to the gate he ran up to it, looking first at Santa and then at him.

“Wow!” He said, eyes wide as he stared at Levi. “How come you have a belt? The other elves don’t have a belt!”

Levi looked down at his belt then back at the kid, raising an eyebrow. “I just do, kid.”

“Dad! Can I have a belt like him?” The kid said, undeterred by Levi’s short response, and tugged on his father’s sleeve.

“We’ll see, Eren.” The mother interrupted, ruffling his hair. “Why don’t you go first and ask Santa?”

Levi opened the gate to let them all through and the boy ran up ahead excitedly, climbing onto Santa’s lap and still wearing a large smile. He’d apparently already forgotten about the belt, because when he started naming everything he wanted for Christmas - Wii boxing, a new bike, transformers, and a watergun - he didn’t mention it.

“Mikasa? Do you want to go next?” The mother asked the little girl, who looked completely unimpressed with the entire situation.

She looked bored in comparison to her brother, or whatever he was, and when prompted she said nothing, just slowly and silently made her way up towards Santa. When he asked her what she wanted, she waited a moment before pushing the scarf up over her face with one hand, pointing out at the dark haired kid with the other.

The mother laughed and the father just smiled slightly, but the boy didn’t even seem to notice - he had pulled out some handheld gaming device and was thoroughly engrossed in whatever he was playing, enough to be making loud shooting noises down at it as he mashed the buttons.

Next, it was obviously the blonde boy’s turn. But after the girl climbed off, he didn’t move, and Levi noticed that he looked nervous. His eyes were watery and his face was red, and he was looking at Santa with a fearful expression on his face.

“Do you want to go up, Armin?” The mother asked, bending to place a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Do you want me to hold your hand?”

“Hey, Armin, why don’t you want to go up? Are you scared?” The kid named Eren asked, his attention suddenly away from his game.

Armin’s eyes went wider, and Levi thought he was going to burst into tears. The little girl had come back by then though, and she reached up to tug sharply on Eren’s ear.

“Its not scary, Armin.” She said quietly. “He’s nice.”

With her reassurance, Armin nodded, and emitted a shaky, high-pitched ‘Okay’ before he started forward on his own. His eyes grew wider and more fearful the closer he got, however, and after climbing into Santa’s lap he started crying.

“Armin.” Santa said, apparently having picked up on his name from the parents. “I’m not going to hurt you. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I just want to know what you want for Christmas so I can bring you lots of toys. I’m sure you’ve been a good boy, right?”

Armin had started crying harder when Santa began talking, but at the end of his words he looked up suddenly, sniffling. He nodded, tears still streaming down his face and his eyes still wide, and Santa gave him a smile.

“Then there’s nothing to cry about, I promise. Do you want to get down? You can tell me what you want from beside me, if you don’t like sitting in my lap.”

“N-no.” Armin said, wiping his face. He seemed to slowly be realizing that there was nothing to be afraid of, and after looking at the other two children to see that they were both staring at him expectantly, he took a loud, shaky breath and clenched his tiny fists. “I want to tell you here.”

“Okay. Take your time.” Santa was still smiling, and he took a handkerchief from the inside of his robe. “Do you want a tissue?”

Armin nodded again, but instead of taking it, he just pushed his face up towards Santa expectantly. Apparently this was what his parents did for him, and a sign that he knew Santa Claus wasn’t going to kill him, or whatever he’d thought. Santa just chuckled, using the handkerchief to wipe away the tears from Armin’s cheeks. Then he ran it under his nose once, getting all the snot, and tucked it back into a pocket.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.” Armin said in a small voice, sniffling once more and looking down. “I just want...books…”

“Books? A good choice. You must be a smart boy. Is that all?”

Armin shook his head, biting his lip. “No. I want a telescope, too...and - and markers.”

While talking about what he wanted, his voice had gotten stronger, the excitement of thinking about the toys apparently overriding whatever nervousness he had left.

“Anything else?”

“Yes! A puzzle.”

“Very nice. I’ll let my elves know and they’ll get to work right away.” Santa said, looking up at Levi and nodding towards him. Armin’s gaze followed, and Santa gave him a wink that made Levi’s eyes widen in surprise.

After that, Armin was done and Levi was left staring, his face feeling strangely hot from the wink. His chest was warm on the inside too from what he’d just witnessed, like it had been the other day when Santa had dealt with the stupid brat who fell. The way he had handled it, had treated them both with gentleness and patience and gotten them to stop crying had been sweet.

It made him almost feel as if...no. No way could he have a crush on this old guy. He didn’t like old, perverted men, he liked guys his own age, tall, built guys like the one he’d met in the locker room on his first day. Clenching his jaw, he turned around away from Santa to think, crossing his arms and watching the family walk away.

“So.” Santa said suddenly once they were gone. “Have you reconsidered my offer?”

Levi’s eyes widened again, and he whipped his head around sharply, thinking that surely this guy wasn’t about to say what Levi thought he was going to say.

“What offer?”

“My invitation to dinner. I would like to take you out, respectfully, of course.”

“You have got to be fucking kidding me, you old, shitty asshole.” Levi blurted immediately.

Whatever decent thoughts he’d been entertaining about this man in the last few minutes - well, those were dashed, replaced now by irritation and renewed anger. He couldn’t believe that he was actually asking him this again, after Levi had turned him down the first time, and after he’d appeared to have gotten the hint and held seemingly innocent conversations with Levi the past few days. Apparently, though, that had just been him trying to get Levi to change his mind, or something, and the smugness with which he had asked him again, like he was sure he would agree now, made Levi feel so pissed off that his face was turning red.

“Go fuck yourself, pervert.” He snapped, turning around and making a beeline for the back room.

He didn’t care that there were still several minutes until his shift ended and he wasn’t yet supposed to leave the floor. He just wanted to be as far away from that guy as possible, and to get the fuck out of here and go home. If anyone said anything, he would just tell them what happened, because he was pretty sure this had to be against some kind of rules.

He didn’t encounter anyone though, except for a few other employees getting ready to leave, and he entered the locker room to rip off his costume as fast as he could. He shoved it in the locker, grabbing his things before clocking out and rushing out to his car. He’d driven 15 minutes away from the mall before he realized he’d forgotten his cell phone and had to turn around, cursing and hoping that he could get there before everyone left and closed up completely.

Luckily, he pulled up and reached the door just as two other employees were coming out of it and managed to duck inside, walking quickly to the locker room. As soon as he walked under the sheet, however, he stopped, freezing in his tracks at what he saw.

It was that blonde guy, standing with his back to Levi in front of his locker. Even from here, Levi could tell that his blonde hair was a damp, sweaty mess, and he was dressed in nothing but a tight, white t-shirt and...Santa pants?!

“Holy shit.” Levi exclaimed, blurting it out before he could stop himself.

All around him on the floor were other pieces of the Santa Claus costume - the hat and wig, the beard, a pair of boots, and a robe that apparently had something sewn into it to make it look like the person wearing it had a huge belly.

“Oh, fuck.” Levi said, his eyes wide.

“Hello again.” The guy said, looking over his shoulder at Levi and wearing a very obvious, very amused smirk. “Forget something?”

Levi continued to stare for a moment, too taken aback to respond, and tried to digest what he was seeing. Apparently, this guy had been Santa Claus the entire fucking time. He couldn’t believe it. That was why he hadn’t seen him again, and he hadn’t realized because it was a damn good costume. Between the beard, hat, and large spectacles, his entire face was almost covered, and it had muffled his voice too. It was almost surreal, especially since -

Fuck, if he was Santa Claus, then that meant it hadn’t been some perverted old dude asking him out, it had been him.

“I-” Levi started, trying to compose himself. “I forgot my cell phone.”

He swallowed and stepped forward, walking slowly to his locker, trying not to stare at the man’s broad back. The muscles were clearly visible underneath his tight t-shirt, and even if they weren’t, the bottom of his bare biceps and his forearms were clearly on display.

“You’re staring again.” He said, once Levi reached his locker.

“Goddammit.” Levi swore, his face going red. “Why didn’t you fucking say something?!”

The man shrugged, still smiling in amusement. “I thought about it. But I figured you’d find out sooner or later.”

“So until then, you were just going to keep fucking with me?”

Levi wanted to be mad, he really did. But he couldn’t, not when the guy messing with him looked like this, and had actually asked him on a fucking date. He only hoped that he hadn’t blown it completely by how rude he had been to him earlier, even if it he still thought it was warranted.

“Ah, probably not. You have to admit, though, it is funny.”

“Not really.” Levi muttered, scowling. “I didn’t know, or I would have...fuck.”

He trailed off, biting his lip because he was unsure. He kept remembering what he had called him and how nasty he had been. It wasn’t his fault, but if it had made this man not want to go out with him anymore, he was going to be frustrated and pissed because if he had just explained to him, then all of this shit could have been avoided.

“Would have what?” The guy said, looking down at him with a small smile.

“I would have said yes.” Levi mumbled, face burning hotter as he refused to look up at him. “...To the date.”

“Oh.” He said, eyebrows raising as if he was surprised. “I see. Well, in that case, maybe we should start over. I’m Erwin.”

Erwin held out his hand and Levi looked up, first into his face which was now sporting a warm, encouraging expression, and then down at his hand. He took it, heart suddenly hammering in his chest as Erwin shook it, and he glanced up into his eyes again.

“Levi.”

“Levi.” Erwin repeated, still holding onto his hand. “Would you like to go to dinner with me?”

Eyes widening even though he’d suspected he was going to say it, Levi just nodded, afraid that if he spoke he’d say something stupid.

“Wonderful. Since its late and you probably want to get home, why don’t we talk about this tomorrow?”

“Yeah, okay.” Levi breathed. Erwin let go of his hand and he turned, bending to pick up some of the pieces of the Santa suit so he could shove them in his locker.

Levi moved too, working on opening his own so he could fish out his cell phone.

“Ah…” Erwin said once he’d grabbed it, and Levi glanced back over. His mouth was open like he wanted to say something else, and when Levi looked closer, he noticed the faintest hint of pink on his cheeks. “Can I have your number?”

“Yeah.” Levi said, slowly and with a swallow, unlocking his phone. “Yeah, okay. Tell me yours, and I’ll text you.”

Erwin rattled his off while Levi entered it in, typing a quick message before he hit send. A second later and Erwin’s phone dinged from inside his own locker, and he fished it out to read the text.

“Santa Shit.” He read in a flat tone, looking from his screen to Levi with a bemused expression.

Levi just shrugged, closing his locker and shifting, unsure of what else to say.

“Well-” He started after a moment when Erwin didn't speak, and the silence threatened to become awkward.

"I'll see you tomorrow?" Erwin interrupted then, clearing his throat.

"Yeah."

"Alright. Good night, Levi."

"Yeah, night."

With that he left, shoving his phone into his pocket and hurrying out of the locker room, taking one last look at Erwin over his shoulder as he did so. When he glanced back, he saw Erwin was doing the same, staring straight at him and offering him a smile when he turned. Levi flushed, embarrassed to be caught looking again, and turned quickly, ducking under the sheet and speeding to his car.

When he got into it he stopped, slumping down into the driver's seat and taking a shaky breath. His heart was still racing and his cheeks still felt warm, all because he'd just gotten the surprise of a lifetime in finding out that Santa wasn't actually an old dude, but the tall, handsome blonde guy he'd been searching for since his first day. No, that wasn't it, though. It was the guy himself, just talking to him for those few minutes had given Levi a funny feeling in his chest.

Biting his lip, he pulled out his phone, opening the screen to where he'd created the new contact. "Erwin" was all it said, and as he was looking at it, a new message from him suddenly popped up.

"You make a cute elf, by the way ;-)” Was all it said, and Levi’s eyes widened almost as much as they had when he’d first walked in on him earlier.

“Fuck-” He swore, dropping his phone into his lap. His face blushed hotly again and he suddenly felt a thrill - embarrassment, nervousness and excitement rushing through him all at once. It was overwhelming, and he started his car quickly with wide eyes, speeding out of the parking lot as he felt his stomach doing flips inside him. He drove straight home, his heart beating faster every time he thought about the text, feeling hesitantly excited about their impending date and barely able to believe what had happened.

It took him a while to calm down once he got home, and he’d gotten so worked up that he eventually realized he hadn’t texted him back. Oh well, he had no fucking idea what to say anyway, and now it was late. Eventually, he went to sleep, the last thought crossing his mind one of Erwin, and the way he had held his hand tightly while asking him out to dinner.

 

Thursday, December 18th.

Levi was frustrated. It had almost been two weeks since he’d found out Erwin was Santa Claus, and they had gone out for drinks twice. They were eating lunch together, too, almost every day at work, and even texting quite a lot outside of it. It was good - he liked Erwin, and he was pretty sure Erwin liked him too - but they hadn’t slept together yet.

This wouldn’t be so bad if their first date hadn’t gone the way it had. Levi had been nervous at first, but once he’d had a glass of wine he’d felt better. He and Erwin had hit it off, and Levi had found out he was only a few years older than him, in graduate school studying to be a teacher. Originally, his roommate Mike was supposed to be Santa, but a family emergency happened and he had to leave the country for the holidays. Erwin agreed to fill in for him because he knew the other manager, Nile, too, and felt bad because they were in a tight spot.

It only took Levi an hour into the date to not only realize that he had a big, shitty crush on Erwin, but that he was also extremely sexually attracted to him. Obviously he’d thought he was handsome before, but after listening to him talk for a while, watching the way he moved and hearing him laugh, all when he was being natural instead of acting in front of children or other co-workers, Levi could not help the deep spark of longing that welled up inside him.

So he flirted with him, and Erwin flirted back, letting Levi know that he felt it too. He could tell by the way Erwin was looking at him, staring at his lips while he talked and brushing his foot against Levi’s underneath the table that he wanted him. Erwin had started out sitting across from Levi, but by the end of the date, he’d scooted his chair around so he could place his hand on Levi’s thigh, his fingers warm and firm against his skin through his pants.

The alcohol they’d had probably didn’t help, but soon after they made it outside the bar they ended up making out around the corner. Erwin was so much taller than him that Levi had to stand on his tiptoes to kiss him, wrapping his arms around his neck to drag him down closer. Erwin seemed eager, pressing him up against the wall after a minute and grabbing at his ass, and by the time his warm lips were mouthing their way down Levi’s neck and he paused to speak, Levi was sure he was going to ask him back to his apartment so they could fuck.

Instead however, he just took a breath, pulling away to get out his phone. “I’ll call you a cab.” He said in a strained voice, and Levi was too surprised to protest.

He didn’t understand it, had he done something wrong? He’d thought everything had been going great and that Erwin had felt the attraction too. Hadn’t he just been kissing him like he wanted to tear his clothes off? Levi got into the cab with barely another word, feeling disappointed and already assuming that Erwin wouldn’t want to see him again.

However, the next day, he’d asked him to get drinks again and acted like everything was normal. They’d gone two nights ago, and it had been just like it was the first time. They’d flirted a lot - Levi couldn’t help it even if he was having doubts and was confused - and Erwin seemed like he was having fun too. They’d been sitting next to each other in a booth, with Erwin’s arm ending up around Levi and their thighs pressed together. This close, Levi could smell him and feel how warm and solid he was, and it didn’t take long for him to get worked up over that and the quiet way in which Erwin murmured to him when he spoke.

This time Erwin drove him home instead of calling a cab, and by the time they left Levi was itching to go, hopeful that he might be able to get Erwin inside his apartment. When they got there, though, he remained hesitant, because he hadn’t forgotten what it had been like before when Erwin had suddenly pulled away. Levi waited to see what he would do, and before he got out of the car, it seemed like Erwin couldn’t resist kissing him goodnight.

Levi supposed it was just meant to be a quick kiss, but now that their lips were pressed together he couldn’t help grabbing at his shoulders immediately, lingering a second before opening his mouth. That was all it took for Erwin to start kissing him harder, his hand coming to rest on Levi’s waist. They made out in Erwin’s car for a while like fucking teenagers, and when it didn’t seem like Erwin was going to move again Levi took the initiative and slid a hand down to rub at Erwin’s crotch.

Erwin made a noise and Levi almost smirked, getting ready to pull away so he could ask him to come inside. However, Erwin broke them apart himself, grabbing the hand that was between his legs and looking at Levi with wide eyes.

“Don’t you have to work early tomorrow?” He said, his voice breathless. His cheeks were pink and his lips were swollen and red, and it took Levi a second to realize what he had asked, a sinking feeling spreading through his stomach.

“Yeah…” He said, because Erwin was off the next day and Levi had been switched to first shift. Not that he really gave a shit right now, though. “But who cares.”

“I don’t want to keep you up. You should get some rest. I’ll see you Thursday, right?”

“Yeah. Yeah, but -” Levi started, about to protest, confusion creeping into his tone. He was dazed from what they’d been doing and struggling to get his thoughts in order about what the fuck was happening, but Erwin interrupted him before he could speak.

“Goodnight then, Levi.” He said. He took his hand and squeezed it, his lips curving up into a barely there smile.

Levi sat there, staring at him incredulously for a moment with his mouth hanging open, trying to think of something to say in protest and in disbelief that this had happened again. It didn’t make any fucking sense, but was there even any point in saying anything? Erwin seemed to have made up his mind already, so without another word, Levi shook his head in frustration, jerking his hand out of Erwin’s grasp and climbing out of the car. He shut the door hard behind him and stalked towards his apartment, and grew more angry the more he thought about it that night.

He didn’t talk to Erwin much the next day, trying to think about what he should do or why Erwin might be acting this way. If he had some reason for not wanting to fuck him, like maybe wanting to wait or feeling like it was too soon, Levi would not necessarily be against that. He’d thought he’d been pretty damn obvious about what he wanted, though, and all signs had seemed to point to Erwin wanting it too. Whatever the reason was, couldn’t Erwin just tell him?

Either way, Levi decided by the time their shift had started together on Thursday, he was going to find out, because there was no fucking way he was going to let that happen again. Either Erwin would tell him, or he wouldn’t, and they would just not date anymore. It would be a shame, because he wasn’t sure he had ever wanted someone as badly as he wanted Erwin, but having an issue like this two dates in didn’t seem like a great sign to him.

While working his shift, Levi mostly stayed quiet, fidgeting through the last part of it and trying to keep his nerve up. He found Hanji after it was over, waiting for the locker room to clear out and for Erwin to go inside. He often waited until most people were gone because taking off his costume was such an ordeal, and there wasn’t much room in there. Finally, Levi saw him walk past the office, and excused himself after a moment to follow him inside.

“Hey.” He said when he ducked under the sheet, eyes immediately going to Erwin's back. He'd already tossed his beard, hat, and wig off onto the floor, and turned to look at Levi over his shoulder when he spoke.

"Levi, are you ma-"

"Do you want to fuck or not?" Levi blurted, interrupting whatever Erwin was about to say.

He started blushing immediately, ignoring the way his stomach was doing flip flops at Erwin's surprised expression.

"Right here?" He said after another moment, looking around with a raised eyebrow and pulling off the jacket of his costume.

"No!" Levi snapped louder than he'd intended to, then looked behind him to make sure no one had heard. He walked closer to stand near Erwin so they could talk about this quieter, crossing his arms. "Do you really not know what this is about?"

"Maybe. But I'm a little confused, I do admit."

"You're confused? How the fuck do you think I feel? You make out with me, start grabbing my ass and shit after hitting on me all night, and then you just end it and get rid of me? It happened twice, you act like you want to fuck me, and then you just...leave!"

"Ah." Erwin said, his eyes going a little wide. He looked down at Levi sheepishly. "I thought you didn't go home with people you didn't know very well. I didn't want to pressure you, or anything, I-"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Levi said, confusion in his expression. When the fuck had he told Erwin that?

"When I first asked you out, I mentioned going to my apartment for drinks, and you said you wouldn't go home with someone you didn't know."

Levi looked away, his brows drawn as he thought, trying to remember what Erwin was talking about. The first time Erwin asked him out Levi had thought he was an old, fat creep hitting on him. He remembered saying something to that effect, but whatever it was exactly, it had certainly only been to make Erwin leave him alone at the time.

"Yeah, I was just saying that because I thought you were some old pervert. I thought you knew whatever I said then didn't mean shit once I found out and agreed to go out with you?"

"I suppose I wondered if it did. But I thought you might not have been lying about that one. I didn't want to pressure you, like I said, because I...well, I like you and I want to keep seeing you."

"You could have just asked." Levi said in a softer tone, glancing up at him. There was still a frown on his face, but he was relieved that this was all it was, that it had just been some stupid misunderstanding.

"Yes. I should have asked, instead of assuming. I'm sorry, Levi."

"Tch. You should be, getting me all worked up like that and then leaving. I had to go home and jerk off."

"You did?" Erwin said, clearing his throat.

"Yeah, didn't you?"

Erwin paused for a moment, licking his lips before smiling again. "Yes."

The admission made Levi's eyes widen, the image of it immediately going through his mind. His gaze dropped to Erwin's crotch and he blinked, swallowing to coat his quickly drying throat as the realization of what they’d just discussed actually hit him.

"So-" He said after another second, pausing to chew on his lip. "That means you do want to fuck me, right?"

"Yes. Very much." Erwin answered immediately, his voice lowering. Levi looked back up and saw that his eyes were roving over him, a hint of pink on his cheeks that wasn’t there before, and suddenly he felt very, very heated.

After nearly a week of frustration finally relieved, Levi just did not think he could wait anymore. That, coupled with the way Erwin was looking at him and how he was half-dressed with messy hair right before his eyes, made him step forward, grabbing the front of Erwin's t-shirt to jerk him down for a kiss.

To his credit, Erwin didn’t seem surprised. He responded as soon as Levi’s lips hit his, wrapping an arm around him and using his other hand to cup the back of his head. They kissed for a few minutes, lips and tongues clashing eagerly until they were both breathless and Levi was pulling at his shirt, and Erwin moved away suddenly.

"Wait-" He said, standing up straight and looking around.

"Not again, are you fucking kidding?"

"No." Erwin chuckled, his fingers sliding down the back of Levi's neck. "That’s not what I mean. We can't do it here."

"Your apartment is close, right?"

"Yes, about ten minutes, give or-"

"Let's fucking go." Levi said, hooking his fingers in the waistband of Erwin's pants, pulling like he was ready to drag him out of the room. "Right now."

Erwin stared down at him for a second, seemingly thinking, and then nodded. “Alright.”

Levi didn’t need to hear anything else. He opened his locker quickly and grabbed his shit, not even bothering to take his costume off, and spun to head out of the room. Erwin stuffed the bits of his outfit that he’d already taken off into his own locker, grabbing his coat and car keys and following Levi out a few seconds behind.

They walked quickly to the back door and outside, making a beeline for Erwin’s car. As soon as they made it out of the parking lot, Levi reached over to plant his hand firmly on top of Erwin’s thigh, sliding it up to rest against his crotch. He was still wearing the red Santa Claus pants, and while they were thick, they were made out of a soft material. He could feel the outline of his cock easily, hard and thick between his legs. He squeezed it once, just firmly enough to make Erwin gasp and glance at him quickly.

“You’re impatient.” He said, flicking his eyes away and back onto the road.

“I’m just seeing what I’m in for.” Levi said, palming his dick, trailing his hand down to cup his balls through the pants. “Feels promising.”

“Is that so?”

Levi squeezed it once more, then ran his hand up again towards the waistband of Erwin’s pants. “Yeah. Think I can jerk you off before we get to your apartment?”

“Maybe.” Erwin said, catching his wrist before he could slip it inside. “But I thought you wanted me to fuck you?”

Something about the way he said it, full of lust and promise, made Levi flush, a coil of heat tightening in his belly. He looked over at Erwin while he wound their fingers together so Levi couldn’t touch him anymore, bringing his hand up to his lips.

“We’re almost there.” He murmured, kissing it, letting his lips linger just long enough for Levi to bite his own in frustration.

He was right, though, and it was only a few more minutes before they reached Erwin’s apartment complex. He parked in the first spot he saw and Levi practically vaulted out of the car, following Erwin up several flights of stairs and waiting for him to unlock the door.

He was excited, so excited that he didn’t even think about anyone who might have happened to see him walking around in the embarrassing costume he’d refused to go out in public in since his first day. He ripped his hat off when he got inside though, just in time for Erwin to turn around as soon as the door shut and grab him, pushing him up against it and bending to kiss him hard.

Erwin was all over him like he had been the first night they’d gone out, sliding a hand down his back to grab his ass again, squeezing it roughly enough for Levi to grunt in surprise into his mouth. He couldn’t keep his hands off him, and this time, Levi knew that it was actually going to fucking go somewhere.

“Shit.” He gasped at the thought, jerking his head away to push Erwin’s coat over his shoulders so he could tug at his shirt. Erwin helped, pulling it over his head and tossing it to the ground carelessly, pausing to watch Levi who was now eyeing him heatedly.

He stared at Erwin’s torso, licking his lips as he took in the defined muscles of his chest and his flat stomach. He reached out to touch, fingers glancing over the top of an exposed hipbone before trailing through the line of hair that disappeared into his pants. His Santa Claus pants, Levi thought absurdly, flicking his eyes up to look at him.

“I still can’t believe you’re fucking Santa.” Levi said.

“I’m not fucking Santa. You are.”

“Not yet.” Levi said, snorting breathlessly at the joke and rolling his eyes. “Where’s your damn bedroom?”

Erwin didn’t say another word, just smiled before bending to kiss him again. “I’ll show you.” He said against Levi’s lips, pulling him backwards.

Together they made their way to Erwin’s room, stumbling and practically falling all over each other in an effort not to concede any closeness. The side of the bed was parallel to the door, and Levi sat down hard when he was backed into it, the edge of it hitting him behind his knees. Erwin was standing in front of him, and before he could crawl on the bed onto him, Levi raised his hands to grasp his hips.

It made Erwin freeze, and Levi took the opportunity to hook his fingers inside his pants again and jerk them down, along with his underwear. His lips parted when his cock was freed, eyes sweeping over the length of it hungrily. He could tell it was big when he’d felt him up in the car, but that didn’t compare to looking at it now. It had a thickness to match how long it was, the hardness of it practically making his mouth water. The softer looking head was glistening from smeared pre-come, and he couldn’t resist leaning forward and sticking his tongue out to taste it.

“Like I said.” Levi breathed, flicking his eyes up to see Erwin staring down at him, his eyes lidded and mouth hanging open. “Promising.”

After that he got to work, bending his head and opening his mouth to let a line of saliva drip from his tongue onto Erwin’s cock. He used his hand to spread it around with the rest of the pre-come he hadn’t lapped up, wetting the length of it so he could slide it between his lips easier, sucking the head into his mouth and lowering himself past it.

He grabbed at the back of Erwin’s thighs and started bobbing up and down, spurred on by the light, breathy sounds he was making above him. After a moment Levi felt him wind his fingers in his hair gently, holding it back away from his face. Levi had closed his eyes but it made him pause and look up to see if Erwin was watching him. He was, his gaze firmly locked on Levi’s lips stretched around his dick, and when he pulled off with a hard suck suddenly he moaned, his hips rocking forward and chasing after Levi’s mouth.

“Do you like that?” Levi asked, wrapping a hand around the top half of him so he could mouth at the base of it, rolling his balls between the fingers of his other hand.

“Yes-” Erwin gasped, his hips pressing forward again when Levi took him back into his mouth, lowering himself until he felt the tip of his cock bumping and pushing past the back of his throat. “You seem to have quite the skilled mouth.”

Levi was impressed that he could speak like that when most of his dick was down his throat, so he hummed around him in response, sucking and raising and lowering himself quicker until Erwin let out a quiet groan above him. Then he pulled off again, tracing a vein with the tip of his tongue before he flicked his eyes back up to Erwin’s face.

“That’s interesting. I've never heard that before. Usually people complain about my shitty mouth." Levi murmured, directing just the head between his lips with his hand again, staring up at Erwin as he let his cheeks hollow out.

“It is.” Erwin agreed.

His hand tightened in his hair, just enough for him to tug his head back and pull his mouth off his cock. He stared down at him and lowered his brows, using his free fingers to wipe a line of drool and come that had dribbled out of Levi’s mouth and down his chin. The expression on his face was one of intense heat, so focused that it rendered Levi still. He stayed frozen, his eyes locked on Erwin's face, and waited to see what he was going to do. Another second later and he was pushing Levi back onto the bed, just enough so that he could brace himself with one knee on the edge of it, pressed between his spread legs.

"It's not really your mouth I'm interested in right now, though." He said quietly, grabbing at Levi's hips to flip him over.

Levi actually let out a breathy laugh, a fresh surge of excitement rushing through him, and stuck his ass up in the air at the same time Erwin planted both his hands on each of his cheeks. He groped them through Levi's leggings while he bit his lip at the firm touch, squirming beneath him. Now that he wasn't distracted by blowing Erwin, Levi was back to feeling a sense of urgency again, thinking of only how much he wanted to feel his huge cock in his ass now.

He just wanted to get on with it, and his breath hitched and he made an eager noise when Erwin leaned over him, raising his ass again in an attempt to grind back against him. But instead of jerking his pants off like Levi expected he reached under him, grabbing at his belt to start undoing it.

It was the one Hanji had given him to hold up his tunic, and even though he was sweating from all the clothing and probably looked ridiculous, he really didn't give a shit. He reached under him between his spread legs, jerking the striped leggings and his underwear down over his ass himself. He pulled his hand back to shove his fingers in his mouth while Erwin threw the belt onto the floor and went for his shirt, stopping only when he saw Levi's hand between his thighs again, moving behind to push a finger into his own ass.

He let out a breath at the intrusion, going still and pressing his face into the bed, moaning when he pressed it in further and the discomfort turned into something more pleasurable.

"Fuck, Levi-" Erwin breathed behind him, sitting back up with his eyes on his ass.

"What's wrong? Can't keep up?" Levi panted, turning his head to look back at Erwin, mouth hanging wide open while he fingered himself with his ass in the air. His eyes lowered down to look at Erwin's Santa pants, staring through the strands of hair that hung in his face. "I'd ask you if I've been naughty or nice, but I think I already know the answer. Why don't you show me what you do to boys that have been bad?"

Levi said all of it with barely a thought, but when Erwin's eyes went wide and he stilled for a second Levi wondered if he'd perhaps misspoke, that maybe Erwin wasn't the type for dirty talk. But then another half second later his face went back to normal, his concentrated, heated look returning. He moved fast for the bedside table, jerking the drawer open and rummaging around loudly.

He found what he was looking for - the lube, Levi saw, fucking finally - and hooked his fingers into the back of Levi’s leggings, pulling them down as far as he could. He opened the tube, squeezing some down Levi’s ass crack and then spreading a liberal amount over his own fingers. He placed one hand at the small of his back to spread both his cheeks, and slid his index finger in alongside Levi’s up to the first knuckle.

“Shit.” Levi gasped, spreading his thighs wider, reaching out with his free hand to grip the bedding above his head. “Erwin-”

“What is it? Can’t keep up?” Erwin teased, his eyes roving over Levi’s face for a moment. He slid the hand on his back over one of his cheeks, rubbing it gently for a moment before he slapped it hard without warning. “This is what I do to people who have been naughty, Levi. Are you sure that’s what you want?”

Levi’s eyes had gone wide at the hit, the dull sting spreading out over his skin warmly. He certainly hadn’t been expecting that, but the way Erwin was speaking to him now, the way he was looking down at him like he absolutely meant what he said made Levi’s cock ache.

“Yeah.” He nodded, licking his lips as he stared back at him. “Is that all you got?”

Erwin just chuckled once in response, pushing his finger in all the way before he raised his hand and spanked him again. The slap was harder this time, the sound of it cracking through the room, loud and sudden over both their heavy breathing. Levi couldn’t help the way he moaned, noisy and openly, at how the sharp, hot sting mixed in with the pleasurable slide of Erwin’s finger in his ass.

Levi’s was still there too, rubbing against Erwin’s inside of him as best as he could manage. It was hard when Erwin kept spanking him though, slapping his cheek hard four more times before he paused to work in another finger. He rubbed where he had hit him almost soothingly now, eyes flicking back and forth from Levi’s face to his ass so he could see what he was doing.

“Do you think you’ve learned your lesson? Or do you want more?” Erwin asked, his fingers moving gently, slowly while he waited for Levi to adjust.

The stretch was uncomfortable for a few moments, but it was hard to notice over the burn on his skin from where Erwin had spanked him. It had started to spread down his thigh warmly, the sensation of both feelings mixing making him pant hotly. He squirmed on the bed, pushing his ass back against Erwin’s hands, biting his lip hard and moaning in his throat while they fingered him together.

“I want your cock.” He managed to get out, gasping and locking his eyes on it, feeling like he’d been stretched enough.

“That’s not what I asked.” Erwin replied, spanking him again abruptly.

Levi swore, his thighs trembling from the sharp hit, unable to keep his own finger inside his ass any longer. The mixed feelings were becoming too overwhelming and he let it slip out, using his hand to grip at the sheets instead. Erwin replaced it immediately with a third finger of his own, though, rubbing his cheek before he slapped it again roughly. He curled his fingers, twisting them and fingering him quicker, pausing his other hand for a few seconds before spanking him again.

It didn’t take long for Levi to become a writhing, moaning mess from this treatment, rocking back against Erwin’s fingers eagerly and his breath hitching each time his hand came down on his ass cheek. It was good, so good that Levi was sure he was leaking pre-come all over the bed, his cock twitching from where it hung heavily between his thighs when Erwin pressed the tips of his fingers against his prostate.

“Erwin!” He forced out, pleading. "Come on, shit!"

Erwin paused what he was doing, bending down to kiss his burning, stinging red ass. His lips were gentle for a second, soothing almost in the way they glided over his skin, but then he bit down hard enough and so suddenly that Levi flinched.

“You’ve learned your lesson by now, I hope?” Erwin murmured, moving his head to lick at where Levi’s rim was stretched around his fingers. “You won’t be naughty anymore?”

The sensation from Erwin’s tongue made Levi whimper, and he buried his face into the bedding, nodding his head vigorously. He didn’t care how he looked by now, or that he had gone from asking for a spanking to practically begging for Erwin’s cock. He was so worked up that it was all he could think about and even though he’d enjoyed the game they were playing, he thought that by now, he’d waited long enough.

Erwin just slid his fingers in and out and licked him once more, the soft press of his tongue mingling with the harder thrust of his fingers. It made Levi jerk his hips back and whine, seeking more of the feeling but wanting something bigger and harder at the same time. He was close to saying please, close to letting go and begging until Erwin took his fingers out and fucked him into the mattress.

Fortunately, he moved away before Levi had to, and he practically sighed with relief, making an impatient noise in his throat at the same time from the sudden emptiness. He let his hips fall down onto the bed, lying flat while he listened to the sounds of Erwin opening the lube and getting himself ready. Then he felt him apply more of it on his ass, the cool feel of it running between his cheeks and over his balls while Erwin inserted his fingers again to spread it around. Levi gasped, but they weren’t there long, and half a second later Erwin was grabbing at his hips to pull him back up.

“Sit up. Like this. Are you ready?” He said, climbing onto the bed behind him, nudging him forward with his thighs until they could both fit.

Levi barely nodded once before Erwin was pushing into him, the sudden pressure from his cock filling him up making his mouth fall open. He forced himself to relax and breath through it, aided by the image of what his ass must look like stretched and split around him. He moaned low at the thought, gripping the bedding with one hand and leaning onto his elbow, rocking back against Erwin gently. That encouraged him to thrust shallowly a few times, and going like that, it wasn’t long before his hips were pressed right up against Levi’s ass, the entire length of his cock inside of him.

“Fuck.” Levi panted, clenching around him and pushing himself back up on both hands to arch his back. He felt so full, so satisfied in a way that he couldn’t explain, and Erwin hadn’t even really started moving yet.

“You’re tight.” He said from behind him after a moment, sliding his hands over Levi’s hips and waist, up along his sides as far as he could reach.

“Yeah?” Levi said breathlessly, leaning forward and then pushing back once against Erwin’s cock. “How do you think I feel?”

He was teasing now, and he moved again despite his words, enjoying the way Erwin’s chuckle turned into a quiet groan. He rolled his hips forward, moving his hands back to grip Levi’s waist so he could start thrusting. They started moving together slowly, the only sounds in the room for a while that of their mixed breathing and Levi’s moans, growing steadily louder the quicker he moved. By the time Erwin was thrusting fast enough for his hips to barely slap against Levi’s ass, Levi was grinding back against him eagerly for more.

“Erwin.” He gasped, looking at him over his shoulder, pausing to note how disheveled his hair looked and how red his face and chest were now. “Harder.”

Levi wondered if Erwin was going to protest with how much he’d been teasing him earlier, but he didn’t waste one second this time. Their eyes met for a brief moment before Erwin tightened his grip on Levi’s waist, pushing him down flat onto the bed. He leaned over him, bit at his exposed shoulder gently and sucked a mark into it, his shortened breath hot on Levi’s back while he started thrusting faster. He was fucking him quick like this, hard enough to make Levi’s mouth hang open, and if he stuck his ass in the air and angled it just right-

“Fuck, there.” He moaned. “Erwin, don’t stop!”

“Here?” Erwin bent to breathe into his ear, slowing to thrust once hard and deep against the spot.

Levi just cried out in response, his fingers digging into Erwin’s comforter when he kept going, pounding into him so hard now that his hips were slapping loudly against Levi’s ass. He was hitting his prostate perfectly, each thrust sending sparks of pleasure shooting up his spine. It felt so good that he could barely do anything but moan, louder each time Erwin pushed into him. His stomach was tightening, growing tense as heat built in his lower belly. If Erwin didn’t stop, he might even be able to come like this, without even touching his cock, as long as-

Suddenly, just as he was about to completely lose himself to what Erwin was doing to him, he heard something over the wet sounds of their skin slapping together. He opened his eyes from where he’d shut them, lifting his head to listen closely.

“What is it?” Erwin said, slowing just enough for Levi to recognize the noise as jingling, and for him to realize exactly what it was.

“My shoes, fuck.” Levi said, twisting to look behind him, past Erwin - who was still wearing his black Santa Claus boots with the pants shoved down over them - and to where the bottom part of his legs and ankles were hanging off the bed.

He was still half-dressed in his fucking costume, his striped leggings now tangled around his calves with his stupid oversized shoes still on. Because of how they were hanging off the bed and into the air, every time Erwin thrusted into him hard like he had been it made the bells on the back of them jingle.

It was ridiculous, and distracting, and Levi wanted them off.

“Take them off. Get it off, Erwin!” He said desperately, squirming and irritated because he'd been on the verge of coming.

Erwin’s eyes had widened for half a second when he realized too, but then he looked amused, letting out a breathy laugh when Levi started near-flailing. He pulled himself off Erwin’s cock, rolling onto his side and sitting up in an attempt to pull his shoes off himself.

“Hold still.” Erwin said, reaching down to grasp his foot. He yanked them both off one at a time quickly, maneuvering Levi easily onto his back so he could pull his leggings off too. He tossed them onto the ground while Levi pulled off the tunic that had ended up bunched around his chest, discarding it on the edge of the bed and watching as Erwin stood up to rid himself of the rest of his costume as well.

"Come on, hurry up." Levi breathed, holding out his arms for Erwin. "Put it back in."

Levi was still panting, lying on his back with his ass feeling achingly open and empty. Erwin gave him a smile and Levi's gaze swept over him while he climbed back onto the bed, noting how sweaty he'd gotten and how short his breath was too.

"Whats the rush?" Erwin murmured, crawling over him to kiss at his neck.

His lips traveled up and over Levi's jaw to his mouth, kissing him and sliding a hand up his leg. He did it all slowly, his thumb brushing just barely against his inner thigh, slipping his tongue in alongside Levi’s and back out again leisurely.

“Were you about to come? You sounded like you were.” He said, pulling away after another moment to trail his mouth up to Levi’s ear.

Levi made an indignant sound, shifting beneath him impatiently. He’d spread his legs and wrapped both his arms around him in anticipation of Erwin sliding his cock back inside him, ready to finish what they’d already started. Apparently, though, Erwin had decided he wanted to tease him again, and Levi didn’t understand how he could go back to this after he’d been fucking him so hard before.

“Bastard-” He choked out, nearly stuttering when Erwin nipped at his neck after he didn’t respond to his question. “Maybe I was.”

“Do you want to come?” Erwin smiled against his skin, sliding his hand up higher between his legs and under his ass, suddenly slipping three fingers inside him while he ran his thumb over his balls.

Levi gasped and arched, a small whimper leaving his throat. He nodded when Erwin looked at him, biting his lip and jerking his hips up. Most of the tension had left his belly but some of it was still there, the remaining vestiges of pleasure still lingering inside of him. He didn’t think it would take him much longer regardless, not if Erwin started fucking him again, hard and fast like he had been before. Instead of pushing his cock back inside him again like Levi wanted, though, Erwin rolled off him suddenly and onto his back.

“Then make yourself come.” He said, watching Levi as he sat up, scowling at first because he didn’t yet realize what Erwin meant. “Like this.”

Erwin reached over, grabbing at his thigh as if to pull him on top. Levi got it then, his eyes going wide as he nearly bolted forward, almost scrambling to climb over Erwin and straddle his hips. He twisted behind him to grab Erwin’s cock, guiding it between his ass cheeks so he could lower himself onto it in one long, slow downward press of his hips.

His mouth fell open, but he only moaned once he was completely seated in Erwin’s lap, his ass filled again with every inch of Erwin’s cock. He felt even deeper inside of him like this, with all of Levi’s weight pressed down on him, and once he rolled his hips to move he couldn’t stop.

Levi rode him as fast and as hard as he could, building into a frenzied pace and guided by Erwin’s hands rubbing all over his thighs and hips, and the tight pleasure that grew between his legs even faster than it had before. He leaned back, bracing himself with one hand on Erwin's thigh for better leverage and wrapping the other around his cock, breathless, high sounds leaving his throat every time he rolled his hips and stroked himself. He was aware that Erwin was watching him, lying with his head back and eyes locked onto Levi’s face.

His breath was heavy too, and he was gripping Levi's ass with both hands now, holding him open so he could lift his hips off the bed and thrust up into him too. Levi stared down at him until he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore, his brows drawing and lids squeezing shut as he came suddenly with a choked off moan. His mouth hung open and his movements slowed, the intense pleasure making his thighs tremble while his cock twitched and he spilled all over his hand and Erwin's stomach.

Before he could even open his eyes again, Erwin had pulled him forward and onto his chest, wrapping both arms around his back so he could keep rolling his hips up. He was close to his own orgasm, Levi could tell, by the way he was thrusting into him - fast and hard and with determination, like he was reaching for something. Levi pushed back against him as best he could, moaning quietly in his throat, until finally Erwin's arms tightened around him and he thrusted in deep, holding his hips into the air and freezing. He'd been holding his head off the bed to press it against Levi's cheek, but after a second he let it fall back, groaning.

Levi got a glimpse of his eyes fluttering shut and his mouth hanging open before he looked at him again, moving his hips slowly a few more times to slide his cock in and out of him. Levi whimpered, but relished how slick it felt now, how he could feel the warm come trickling out of his ass. Erwin moaned again and then collapsed once his orgasm had subsided, his arms and legs falling flat onto the bed.

"Fuck." Levi blurted after a moment, lifting himself off of Erwin's cock and slumping sideways onto the bed.

"That was-" Erwin started after another moment, after they'd both had a chance to catch their breath. Levi interrupted him with a snort though, pushing his sweaty bangs out of his face.

"Yeah." He agreed, a little in awe at what they had just done. Already, just minutes after, he was pretty sure that was some of the best sex he'd ever had, and it had only been their first time together.

He had to admit, though, when they'd left work, he certainly hadn't expected it to lead to spanking and dirty santa talk.

"Who would've thought Santa knew how to fuck like that." Levi said, earning a breathless chuckle from Erwin. He rolled over on top of Levi suddenly, planting a lazy, wet kiss on his lips.

"Are you going to keep calling me that even after Christmas?"

The question made Levi's stomach flip and his eyes widen, and he froze without answering. It implied that they were going to keep doing this, that they were going to keep seeing each other - something that Levi found made him, well, happy. Now that they'd had sex, Levi realized how relieved he actually was that everything before had all just been some stupid misunderstanding, and there wasn't some strange reason Erwin hadn't wanted to sleep with him because it meant he could keep seeing him.

"Levi." Erwin said after another moment of silence, kissing him again.

Levi looked up at him and swallowed, finding that thinking about all of this with the soft way Erwin was looking at him was making him blush. "Yeah?"

"You have to work tomorrow, right?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, I can take you back to your car tonight so you can go home, or you can stay here and ride with me tomorrow. Ah, if you want to, I mean."

Levi paused for another moment, his blush deepening, and then nodded.

“Are you gonna let me use your shower if I stay?”

Erwin chuckled, resting his hand on Levi’s waist. “Of course. Can I join you?”

Levi blinked, thinking that a long, hot shower with Erwin to wash all the come and sweat off his skin would be nice, and nodded before speaking quietly. “Okay.”

It was still a few more minutes before they found the energy to get up and head to the bathroom though, stretching and stumbling and lazily cleaning each other off in the shower. Of course, that meant a lot of touching, and now that they weren’t in a rush to rip each other’s clothing off, it gave them both the opportunity to take in the other’s body more slowly and closely. Levi was tired, but not too tired to stop Erwin when he knelt in front of him to suck his dick, drawing another orgasm out of him while Levi tugged on his wet hair much quicker than he should have been able to.

After that they dried off and crawled back into Erwin's bed, curling up together so easily that Levi didn't even think twice about what they were doing. He went to sleep minutes after his head hit the pillow, warm and sated and for once, not completely regretting taking this job.

 

Monday, December 22nd.

"Levi.” Erwin called over the blaring Christmas music, his voice muffled by his beard. “What do you want for Christmas?"

Levi turned from where he was standing by the gate, watching the kid who had been on Erwin’s lap retreat before he opened it to let the next one in.

“Shouldn’t you wait until I’m on your lap to ask me that?” He answered, earning a dirty, offended look from the parent of the child he’d just let through as they passed.

Erwin laughed, turning it into a loud ‘ho, ho, ho’ when the kid ran up to him. Levi shook his head and watched him, still in awe of what was actually underneath that very convincing Santa suit. By now he was quite familiar with it too, because after the first time they’d fucked he’d slept over at Erwin’s every night since. He only returned to his own apartment to get a fresh bag of clothing or whatever he needed before he went back, prompted by Erwin every day to stay.

He told himself that it made sense because Erwin’s apartment was so much closer to the mall. However, he couldn’t deny that it was because he liked spending time with Erwin too. He felt comfortable and relaxed with him, and even though he hadn’t known him for very long, he enjoyed being around him more than anyone he had ever met.

“I really want to know.” Erwin said as soon as the kid jumped off his lap, catching Levi before he could move to let the next one through.

“What I want is to be done with this shitty job.” Levi answered, crossing his arms.

“We’re close.” Erwin laughed. “Just two more days. I usually celebrate Christmas with my father, but he lives across the country and I wasn’t planning on flying out there this year. Do you even celebrate Christmas? I never asked, I just assumed.”

“Not really.”

“Do you do anything, then?”

Levi opened his mouth to answer and then closed it again, frowning and looking away as if he’d just remembered something. Before he could speak again, though, he heard the tiny, high-pitched sound of a child clearing their throat behind him.

“Hey, mister!” A voice said, and Levi turned to see two girls standing behind the gate.

One of them was tall with brown hair, her sour looking face covered in freckles, and the other was tiny. She had shiny blonde hair and a button nose, and was, well, adorable, Levi had to admit, and was standing next to her friend peeking between the rails of the gate.

The freckled girl crossed her arms, staring up at Levi with a stubborn frown. “Are you going to let us in?”

“Where are your parents?” Levi said, raising an eyebrow after looking around the two children and failing to spot any adults that might be with them. They were supposed to bring any unattended children to the security guard in case they were lost, but Levi honestly could not tell how old the freckled girl was. She was definitely older than her friend who looked to be about 9 or 10, but with her height and the way she was acting, she could’ve been 12 or 13.

“Frieda is over there. She’s my sister.” The blonde girl spoke up, pointing towards a nearby bench where a young woman was watching them. She waved when she saw Levi looking, and gave him a nod. “She said it was ok for Ymir and me to come by ourselves.”

“Yeah. Me and Historia don’t need parents to see Santa. I’m old enough, man.” Ymir said, her tone haughty.

“Whatever.” Levi said, resisting the urge to call her a brat under his breath and deciding it was fine. “Go ahead.”

He opened the gate to let them through, watching Ymir take Historia’s hand and lead her up towards Erwin in his chair. She went first, telling him that she wanted a softball glove, a stuffed cat, My Little Pony figures, and a princess doll. Ymir stood close by as if she was Historia's babysitter, keeping an eye on her and listening carefully to what she said. Even though Levi thought she almost looked too old to still believe in Santa Claus, she sat on his lap next when Historia climbed down, crossing her arms and frowning. She looked unhappy to be there, but she still informed him that she wanted a softball bat, a kitten, a real pony, and a princess costume.

Levi had to raise an eyebrow at that, because everything she asked for was like what Historia had mentioned, except better. Either she was trying to one-up her, or she wanted to impress her. Levi figured it was the latter since Ymir kept sneaking looks at Historia, the nasty look on her face disappearing for a second when she saw her. Erwin seemed amused too, because while she was talking he looked up at Levi briefly, a smile behind his eyes.

When she was done, she climbed off, taking Historia's hand again and leading her off towards her waiting sister.

"So." Erwin said immediately, catching Levi as he started to walk off again. "What were you saying?"

Levi sighed, wishing they weren't having this conversation at work because he knew Erwin was going to make a big deal out of what he was about to say.

"Its my birthday.” He blurted after another moment of not speaking, shrugging once like it didn’t matter.

“What?” Erwin said, surprise evident in his voice and on the parts of his face that Levi could see. “You mean, your birthday is on Christmas?”

“Yeah. What’s the big deal?”

“Nothing, I’m just surprised because you didn’t mention it until now.”

Levi bit his lip, tired of discussing this already. “I didn’t really think about it and I don’t care. I don’t have family, so I don’t do anything. Plus I was busy with this job and other shit, like trying to figure out why you wouldn’t stick your fucking dick in me.”

As soon as he said the word dick, Levi heard a sharp gasp from behind him, and he turned to see the mother of the next family in line staring at him with a shocked and offended expression. She had her hands over her son’s ears, who was playing on a cell phone and didn’t appear to have even heard what Levi had said.

Levi muttered another curse under his breath, stepping forward to open the gate. Her son got excited then, which luckily kept her from saying anything to Levi, and he turned to get a glimpse of Erwin somehow managing to look sheepish underneath a fat suit and a gigantic, fluffy beard as the mother glared at him. Still, she let her son visit with him, and after that Erwin didn’t say anything else about his birthday. They still had a few hours left in their shifts, and by the time they were over, Levi had forgotten they had even talked about it. It wasn’t until they were changing in the locker room, after everyone had left, that Erwin brought it up again.

“Levi.” He said, peeling off the thick Santa suit before he shoved it into his locker. “Let’s celebrate your birthday instead of Christmas.”

Levi was caught off guard, thrown off by the casual way in which he said it and not expecting him to bring up this topic from earlier. He put away the last of his own costume, reaching for the hoodie he liked to change into before he turned to look at him.

“Why? Its not a big deal, Erwin. Who cares.”

“I do.” Erwin said immediately, looking down at him. “Is there some reason you don’t want to?”

“No, fuck, I don’t know. Not really, I just never do anything like I told you. I don’t really see the point in making a big damn deal out of it.”

“I didn’t say we had to make a deal out of it. Let’s just go out to dinner. I want to do something with you. Unless you’re that uncomfortable?”

Levi was starting to get flustered, irritated for a second that he couldn’t explain himself. It wasn’t that he had an aversion to celebrating it, or anything, he just never really gave a shit. But Erwin’s insistence was wearing him down quickly, making him blush because it meant he cared, like he’d said. He cared about him enough to want to celebrate his birthday, and Levi just so happened to like him enough for that thought to make his stomach flop.

“No. Whatever.” He said after a moment, biting his lip and looking away to hide the warmth that had blossomed across his cheeks. “We can go to dinner.”

“Are you sure?” Erwin asked, smiling now. He reached forward to take Levi’s hand, bringing his fingers to his mouth so he could kiss them.

“Yeah. I’m sure.” Levi said, side-eyeing Erwin now. “I don’t want any damn gifts, though.”

Erwin chuckled, pulling him forward by the hand and into a hug.

“Alright. No gifts. I promise.”

 

Thursday, December 25th.

It was snowing.

Large, white flakes, drifting down from the sky slowly to coat everything in sight. Normally, Levi would have hated it, but right now it wasn’t so bad.

He was sitting on a bench with Erwin in the middle of the park, bundled up in his sweater and thick coat and Erwin’s scarf, which he’d taken off and wound around his neck when he saw him shivering. They’d come here for a walk after dinner, and were now sitting near the entrance waiting on their cab.

The park was quiet and empty because everyone was at home celebrating Christmas, and when neither one of them were talking Levi thought he could almost hear the snow accumulating onto the ground. Dinner had gone fine - it had been nice and low-key like Levi preferred, and he hadn’t received any gifts like Erwin promised. Now that they were ready to go home, they’d been told that it would be quite a wait for their cab, as they were short staffed for the holidays.

“Are your hands cold?” Erwin asked him suddenly, looking to where Levi had shoved them into the pockets of his jacket. He’d forgotten his gloves, of course, and was paying the price now. “You can have mine if you want.”

“No. It shouldn’t be much longer, right?”

“I hope not. They said 30-45 minutes.”

“Christ.” Levi cursed, jiggling his leg to try and warm up, and shoving his hands further into his pockets. He’d always been particularly susceptible to the cold, for whatever reason, and fucking hated it.

In response, Erwin scooted closer, throwing an arm around him. Levi didn’t think twice about leaning against him, searching for whatever small vestiges of warmth he could get.

“Did you enjoy dinner?” Erwin asked, perhaps trying to distract him.

“Yeah. It was not bad.”

“Good.” Erwin said, shaking his own leg - a gesture that for him, seemed nervous, and which Levi immediately picked up on and found odd. Erwin looked around before glancing back down at Levi, tightening his arm around him gently. “Ah, Levi, there’s something I wanted to ask you.”

“...Yeah?” Levi said, raising an eyebrow and frowning, suddenly nervous himself.

“Do you want to date anyone else?”

“What the hell? Are you fucking dumping me?” Levi’s eyes widened at his question, jerking away from Erwin’s side in alarm.

“No!” Erwin said quickly, looking concerned for a moment before he laughed uneasily. “No, Levi, that’s not what I meant. What I was trying to say is, I don’t want to date anyone else. I just...well, I just want to see you. And I was wondering if you felt the same way.”

“Oh.” Levi breathed, his eyes remaining wide for a different reason now. His face was surely already bright red from the cold, so luckily he didn’t have to worry about it getting red from Erwin’s question.

He stared up at him for a moment, and repeated his words over a few times in his head. Was Erwin asking him what he thought he was asking him?

“Are you asking me to be your boyfriend?” Levi blurted, breaking the nervous silence.

Erwin chuckled, running a gloved hand through his hair. Was it Levi’s imagination, or were his own cheeks a little pinker than they had been before? “I suppose I am. Are you saying yes?”

Levi bit his lip, his heart beating so fast in excitement he was surprised Erwin couldn’t hear it. He’d thought about this, of course, had wondered where this might go even though they really hadn’t been dating that long. He knew he wanted this though, even after spending just a few weeks with Erwin, so he lowered his eyes and nodded once.

Erwin dipped his head down and kissed him immediately, his lips curving up into a broad smile that Levi could feel on his own.

“I’m glad.” He murmured between kisses, bringing a gloved hand up to Levi’s cheek.

“Yeah.” Levi agreed. “Me too. And I’m glad you stopped holding that huge cock out on me. I still can’t believe that shit.”

“Surely you’ve forgiven me for that by now, Levi. You’ve had it enough times since then.”

Erwin was teasing him, peppering light kisses on the side of his face and his jaw, his breath warm on Levi’s skin in the cold. His arm was still tight around him, but he’d lowered his other hand from his cheek and onto Levi’s knee.

“Maybe. Maybe I need it a few more times before I’ll forgive you, bastard.”

Erwin laughed quietly, but before he could say anything, Levi leaned forward on his own this time to kiss Erwin again. He did it more firmly than he had, sliding his tongue along his bottom lip and leaning into him, letting his mouth further the heated implications of what he had just said.

“You planned this the whole time, didn’t you?” Levi said after a few more seconds, the thought suddenly occurring to him. “That’s really why you made me come out.”

“Not the entire time. I was waiting for a good time to ask, and when I found out it was your birthday I didn’t think I would get a better one. Of course, if you had said no, it might have ruined your birthday, but at least we wouldn’t have to worry about seeing each other at work anymore.”

“Tch. Fuck that place. That was the worst job I’ve ever had. I just want to forget everything about it.”

Erwin smiled at him again, leaning in and squeezing Levi’s leg, kissing up to his ear so he could murmur into it. “Well, I think you should at least keep your costume.”

Levi made an indignant sound, shoving at Erwin and pushing his face into his neck at the same time.

“Pervert.” He mumbled, despite the fact that his face was reddening again.

Erwin just laughed and grabbed his cheek again, tilting his head up so he could kiss him again.
They stayed like that for a while, making out as excitedly as they dared while both sober and in public, the want growing in Levi’s belly doing more than enough to warm him up against the cold and the snow. They didn’t move apart until they heard a loud honk, so sudden that it surprised them both and they jumped away from each other.

“Our cab.” Erwin said, standing up quickly.

“Fucking finally.”

Levi stood up behind Erwin, letting him place a hand on his back and guide him toward the car. Once seated inside, Erwin told the driver where to take them while they got settled in the back. They were seated on opposite sides of the car, and Levi looked out the window while they started moving. After a moment, Erwin reached over to take his hand, curling his fingers around a few of Levi’s because that’s all he could reach.

It prompted Levi to look over at him, only to find that Erwin was staring out the window too. Although his face was turned, he could see the side of his mouth, his lips curved up just enough to let Levi know that he was smiling.

He squeezed his fingers, and Levi turned to resume his own stare out the window, biting his lip and reflecting on everything that had just happened. He felt warmer after getting in the car thanks to the heat, obviously, but the thought that he was sitting here next to Erwin - his boyfriend, officially - and headed to his apartment made him feel warmer on the inside than any heater ever could.

Levi squeezed his hand back at the thought, his heart beating quicker in his chest, and looked over once more to see the edge of Erwin’s smile grow even wider, knowing without a doubt that he was thinking the exact same thing.