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How did you do this? Eren asks, half-teasing half-serious, as he checks the stability of his cables in the rugged rock face.

Never you mind, she says grumpily, staring determinedly at a seam upon his jacket’s right shoulder so she doesn’t have to look at his stupid boyish grin or the mesh of trees and dry earth many kilometres below. Are you going to stand there and gloat or are you going to help me?

Course I’ll help you, he says, still grinning. He starts assisting her back to solid ground—or at least, the stable edge of the cliff—undoing her belts entirely so he can untangle the lot.

In the beginning, she was the one in control, and now that the gravitational tables have quite literally turned against her, it seems that karma has decided her fate proper. For who else should it be but Eren Jaeger to help her out of such a similar situation, sans the carnal advances? His modesty is not to be unexpected, she supposes, for he hardly seems the type to try and get her back, so to speak. She wonders if she'll be the one taking the initiative again, then quickly brushes the notion aside as nothing more than a childish, fleeting fancy.

Well. His hands did linger a little too long on her calf a moment previously, and he’s fairly close—she has to wonder….

Annie realises what she’s thinking and, thoroughly fed up with her own immaturity, tries to ground herself and instead ends up kicking comically at the air. Eren yelps and swerves to avoid getting hit.

You have to hold still! he says, and now he is laughing. Annie bristles, feeling all the more foolish, and relaxes. Soon enough her left boot touches the rocky cliff face.

Thanks, she says gruffly. The sun chooses this moment to duck briefly behind a cloud and she feels slightly better.

It’s no trouble. He looks up at her curiously. Are you all right? You look pretty irritated about something.

Blood rushes unreasonably to her head and she says, unconvincingly: I’m fine.

He frowns, working on her other leg. You don’t look fine. Are you ill or something?

Annie huffs. No.

All right, he says evenly.

Now her right leg is free. She recoils before she can help herself. He regards her suspiciously.

We’re hardly done. Did you sprain something?

Are we doing this or not? she seethes abruptly.

He blinks. Uh. What are we supposed to be doing?

Are you going to fuck me or not?

Eren makes a funny noise like a strangled cough.

I'm sorry?

Her shoulders hunch and something not unlike indignity clenches hot in her gut.

I'm not going to repeat myself, Jaeger.

A long, uneasy silence. She's gone too far. She opens her mouth to apologise when Eren says, somewhat suspiciously: That was kind of a blunt way to put it, wasn't it?

She chuffs. Am I too brash for your delicate sensitivities?

My sensitivities? You're the one who jumped me in the middle of the goddam forest.

That was last time.

She gauges her chances and finds she is able to support herself. Her arms remain up and taut at her sides in a drunken T-shape, keeping her spread-eagled. Eren bites his tongue and leans in again.

Leave it alone, she mutters, when he starts on freeing her upper-body.

What for?

She debates telling him precisely why just to see the look on his face, but figures she can humour him a little.

I’ll need support, won’t I? And this way, I won’t have to interfere as much. It’s a lacklustre reply, she knows, doesn’t care. He stares blankly at her. Annie rolls her eyes. Besides, you've done most of the work for yourself. Think of it as trading an eye for an eye, if you’re willing.

I reckoned you were joking, actually, he admits. Is that what this is?

You've heard that phrase before.

He almost looks affronted. I'm friends with Armin, Ann. He's like a walking textbook.

She smirks. I suppose you're right. But aren't you getting ahead of yourself?

You mean…. He gestures wordlessly to her body. This is…hardly a great place to go about it, if I’m going to be honest with you.

We'd better be quick about our business, then.

Eren looks somewhere between terrified and stubbornly resolute as tentatively manoeuvres her around into a kiss. She smirks, nips at his mouth and he groans a bit, tongue prodding for entrance. She obliges shortly, and he cups her face with both hands. His toes find a foothold on either side of her and he cages her against the rock and his body without truly pinning her.

He wraps his arms just above her waist and kisses the ridge of her clavicle. She squirms, feeling helpless 'til she remembers he was kind enough to untie her.

I didn't jump you back there, he reminds her. And I’m not about to now, unless you really want me to.

She bites back a noise when he runs his hand up her leg, trying to keep herself steady.

You didn't, she admits, then grunts when he slips his thumb inside. So you're a—ngh, better person than I, what do you want me to say?

You don’t have to say anything.

He kisses a spot under her jaw, drawing half-circles inside her. She lets her head droop, chin to chest with a lazy shudder.

Don’t stop, she entreats, somewhat fruitlessly. He doesn’t say anything at first, just nips at her shoulder and eases his palm to her groin and she feels strangely vulnerable, groans: Eren—

He kisses her throat. Relax. I won't stop.

His free hand slides up her stomach and she’s beginning to wish she hadn’t insisted so strongly on keeping her hands tied. His breath comes hazy against her skin and she suspends, almost on her feet again. Even at her angle of elevation he looms over her, has to bend to kiss her.

You're pretty wet, he notes shyly, and she thinks about trapping him with her legs, making him beg to have her. Something trembles in her chest when he replaces his thumb with fingers.

Fuck, she gasps and ducks her head to hide her blush.

Eren kisses the top of her head without comment, stroking her hip as she grinds haphazardly into his palm. She can only wait for so long.

You should get these off, she hisses, trying to wrap her legs around his waist. Eren slides his hand out gently, grappling for her waist and his manoeuvre belts.

Have you ever done this? he mutters.

Off a cliff? she asks dryly. Or are you asking about me in general?

Eren snorts. Hang on—

He shoves his trousers over his hips with a kind of grimace and when his dick pokes her in the stomach, she can’t help but figure it must be uncomfortable to wear everything so tightly.

This would be much easier if you’d have let me untie you, he adds.

It’s easy enough. Just follow my lead.

Eren laughs hoarsely.

I’ve been following your lead, what makes you think I’m going to stop?

Annie smiles slyly. The very edge of her heels scrape over the rock.

Look, just…just give me the word, he mutters gruffly, with his cock in his hand and nothing but urgency and a touch of nerves in his voice, and I’ll stop.

Annie nods, pliant when he presses against her.

He bites his tongue, draws back, cups her waist and guides her gingerly towards him.

Need some help? she teases.

I know what to do, thanks, he grumbles.

As she shifts her weight to their advantages, he slides in easier than she was expecting and they both gasp for different reasons. He grasps for her hips and keeps sliding forward, lets her settle, panting, to bury her head in his neck.

Shit, I— He stops talking to exhale shakily. Need a moment.

She grins. You'll have to guide me.

Huh?

I can’t do very much like this.

She rocks her hips and he gives her waist a frisky squeeze, growls:

Like hell you can’t.

She groans softly when he crushes her against his chest and starts moving. It’s definitely not one of their better ideas; her body keeps jarring into the rock with their rhythm and that’s going to bruise, surely.

Slow down, she pants, then hisses in discomfort when he rails her against the unyielding stone.

He blinks, looks up at her, wide-eyed and startled.

O-oh—shit, m’sorry. He twists them around and hauls her up into his lap. I didn’t notice, he adds sheepishly. Guess I ought to make it up to you now, eh?

She huffs, then gasps when they start moving again. He buries his face in her shoulder and his jaw clamps on her jacket to quiet himself.

Ann, he hisses, almost frantic.

What?

I— he glances down, back at her urgently —should I pull out, or…?

I…I dunno, she answers truthfully.

He says nothing for a moment, watching her face. She shrugs to illustrate her conviction.

He abates, then, running his palm up her stomach and their skin is sticky together.

L'right. I’m gonna trust you, he mutters, and hauls her closer.

He comes not long after that; it’s an unfamiliar kind of pleasure, and she arches into his body as he groans roughly and the sound is muffled by leather trapped between his teeth.

And she waits as he crumples to her, shivering. She nudges his hips when she deems him to be in respectable condition—he laughs breathlessly.

H’lo, Ann, he croaks.

The hand he’s previously shoved up her shirt now moves to cup one of her breasts and he leans back, slipping the other one between her legs. She bites her lip and hears him exhale. His forehead meets hers with a dull thunk that does not hurt like she expects it to; grimacing, she looks up at him. He glances at her, offers a quiet apology.

But as the ache fades to a tolerable nuisance, she forgets her discomfort. She glances over his shoulder at the brilliant blue sky and the clouds without taking much of it in, until the sting of the light and his thumb roaming over her overstimulated nerves prove, in combination, to be too much to process; with an audible shudder, she squeezes her eyes shut. Eren chuckles, kissing her cheek as he slides out and his fingers are quick to fill her.

Her voice cracks a little on her half-stifled gasp. He captures her mouth uncertainly while she grapples for him with her legs, trembling. And she holds on ‘til can breathe again, and the world stops spinning, leaves her grounded instead of helpless.

Are you all right? he mutters gently.

Fine, thanks. Her wrists are sore from bearing her weight and the ache all up and down her back is returning. She wonders if anyone has noticed their absence.

There’s probably an irony buried somewhere in this, but she doesn’t care. Once redressing appropriately, and assuring she’s able to do the same, Eren unties her as surreptitiously as one is able, and they leave it at that.

FINIS