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Eruri Week Drabble: Family (Day 1)

“Levi,” he rapped his knuckles on the door. “Are you ready?”

Levi wrenched open the door, his shirt unbuttoned, bootless, jacket flung carelessly on the bed. He glared at Erwin and stomped back over to mirror. Erwin took in a deep breath and then followed him into the room, pushing the door closed behind them.

“I don’t see why I have to go to this shitty thing,” Levi huffed, staring at Erwin in the looking glass as he hastily fastened his shirt buttons and reached for his cravat.

“Because he’s a friend,” Erwin offered, resting back against the desk.

“He’s not my friend.” Levi stated, fumbling with his cravat in irritation.

“Here, let me.” Erwin offered, stepping in close and tying the cloth, pulling it into place and flattening it down against Levi’s chest, his fingers rested a little longer than necessary above Levi’s heartbeat.

“Well then, he’s a commanding officer, and he has presented you an invite. It is only professional for you to accept.”

“Load of fucking bollocks, spending my day off going to a christening.”

“It’s my day off too, Levi.” Erwin countered, as he picked up the jacket and held it up for Levi to step into, the royal blue complementing his pale skin and dark hair perfectly.

“I know one way I’d prefer to be spending this day.”

Erwin knew that look in Levi’s eyes and his gut clenched slightly in anticipation of something they wouldn’t be doing for at least the next seven hours.

“At least your arse looks nice in those trousers.” Levi continued, wistfully.

“Ditto,” Erwin said, moving to the door before he could be further tempted by Levi. “The carriage is waiting.”

Levi scowled at him one last time, and then ducked under his arm and out into the corridor, setting a fast enough pace for Erwin to keep up with. Levi dosed off in the carriage, his head softly lolling on Erwin’s shoulder. The journey was longer then he remembered and in the warm morning light, watching the life go by outside the window, he too found himself lulled.

When the carriage jerked to a halt, Erwin’s chin jolted against Levi’s head and Levi moaned. They both looked at each other for a moment, and then the carriage door opened, and Levi jumped out ahead of him. The church was bathed in bright sunlight and he could see the colour from the stained glass windows fragmenting everything inside.

“You OK?” Levi asked, his tone was unconcerned, but his eyes showed the opposite.

“Yes, darling.” Erwin replied, slapping himself mentally the second the endearment was out of his mouth. They were in public. He had to be more careful. It was a slip that made Levi’s eyes narrow. “I’m fine.” Erwin reassured, placing a hand on his shoulder, close enough that he could brush his thumb along Levi’s jaw.

“Erwin,” he turned at his name being called, only to have Marie launch herself into his arms, hugging him tightly; he tensed and then let it go, embracing her back. “You’ve been such a stranger recently, I’d almost forgotten what you looked like.” she chided.

“I’ve been -”

“- busy,” she concluded for him. “Yes, I know.”

It was an old excuse.

“You look well.”

“If you mean a don’t look like a bulbous whale anymore, you’re right. My ankles were huge, Erwin.” she demonstrated the size of her ankles with her hands. “Huge.” she reiterated. “And it was all his fault.” Marie added loudly as she saw Nile push his out of the church and make his way over to them.

“It takes two, dear.” he muttered into her hair as he kissed her head. “It takes two.” he said to Erwin with a smile. Admittedly, one of those two did need to be a woman. Nile reached out a hand and Erwin willingly took. “I’m glad you came.”

“I wouldn’t miss it.”

Nile glanced at Levi, who stood just a little behind Erwin’s right shoulder.

“Levi.”

Levi nodded.

“We’re about to start.”

People began to file in, filling the circle of the church. Pastor Nick stood in the centre by the font of water, ready to bath the baby’s head. Erwin had been christened here, or so his mother had told him; he’d been named under the protection of Maria, Rose and Sina. Not that it was surprising considering how much of a devote wallist his mother had been. His father, on the other hand, had always been more of a devote scholar. Erwin had ended up somewhere in between, both searching for proof and wanting to believe; often times, calling on the walls to protect him, while at the same time knowing that it was his job to protect them.

“Are you asleep?” Levi asked quietly beside him and Erwin smiled, peering sideways at him.

“Not yet,”

“I’ll wake you, if you do nod off,” Levi said helpfully.

“Thank you, Levi.”

Erwin hated having Levi and Marie near each other, those two parts of his life that should never mesh, and it wasn’t because of any fear of jealousy; Erwin had proved to Levi time and again that he had nothing to worry about on that score. It was only that when they were together, he couldn’t help but compare.

The life he could have had, with the life he had now.

All of this. All. Of. It could have been his, right down to woman now holding the wriggling, screaming baby in her arms. It could have been him standing beside her now, smiling at her, holding her tight. That baby; well, not that exactly baby, but it could have been his.

The wife. The baby. The family.

He could have chosen that life, but instead he’d chosen this one.

Erwin reached out and gently brushed his fingers with Levi; Levi linked their little fingers together.

He wouldn’t change it for anything. The choice he’d made back then had been the right one. That being said, he did still want a family. And that was reinforced a little later on when Marie handed him the baby and he took the precious, tiny little thing in his arms; so small that if he’d held her along the length of his arm, she wouldn’t even have reached his shoulder.

“You’re a natural,” Marie said, a sadness in her eyes; a sadness for him.

Erwin looked passed her at Levi; Levi who was watching him with an expression Erwin hadn’t seen too often before; soft almost.

“You want kids,” Levi said once they were safely ensconced back in the carriage. “I didn’t know.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

They sat apart. Levi changed that quickly, moving to climb onto his lap, straddling his thighs.

“Well, we could give it a go.” his eyes laughed as he rubbed forward against Erwin. “Maybe if we try enough times, a miracle might happen.”

“You can such a bastard sometimes,” Erwin breathed into his neck, holding him tight against his chest.

“How about it though, wanna make a baby with me?”

Erwin looked up at him and Levi kissed him; gentle and deep and slow, hands caressing each side of Erwin’s face. They were never going to make a baby, but it sure would be fun trying.

****

Levi slumped into the chair beside him, reaching for Erwin’s hand, entwining their fingers together.

“You’ve been quiet, what’s wrong?”

Erwin looked at him sideways and smiled.

“Hanji dropped this by earlier.”

It was the latest article the gazette had run on him: ‘how to successfully take down a government without getting excuted’. It had an artists impression of him which was fanciful to say the least. Levi picked it up and flicked through the story, snorting in amusement from time to time.

“At least it’s better than the other one.” he quiped. “What was that?”

He looked at Erwin for help, but he’d be damned if he was going to give it.

“Oh, I got it. ‘what to do if a titan’s got you by the arm: a survival guide.”

Erwin shook his head: “I have no idea who writes this drivel, or who reads it for that matter.”

Levi rubbed his thumb lightly over Erwin’s knuckle.

“It’s going on the wall above the counter, like the other one.”

“If that’s what you want, darling.”

They both stared out at the garden.

“Hanji also dropped this by.” Erwin said after a while. “I haven’t opened it yet, she said it was for the both of us.”

Levi frowned: “I don’t like the sound of it, you open it.”

“You open it.” Erwin insisted and Levi did, moving aside the brown paper to see the placard inside: “Smithermans Teashop.” Levi laughed and held it up for Erwin to see.

“I like it, it’s got a certain ring to it.”

“Shame then,”

It had been Levi’s slightly peculiar wish to open a Teashop once the fighting was over, and so that’s what they’d done. It had taken months of planning and permissions and permits and then there’d been the building and decorating, but they were finally ready to open.

Ackerman’s

No frills, quaint and dainty. Just like Levi.

They’d debated for a while whether they should just sell tea, or if they should also serve tea and in the end they’d decided to do both; although Erwin had a sneaky suspicion that it’d more than likely be him at front of house, while Levi stayed happily out back taking inventory.

“We can put it in the kids room.” Levi suggested, slipping the placard onto the table. “It’s accurate enough.”

Erwin liked that idea.

“Molly’ll like it, I think.”

“As long as they don’t start thinking it’s their surname.”

Erwin laughed softly. He had been reading: ‘how to acclimatise to life outside the military: learning how to be a civilian.“ but all things considered he much preferred Levi’s company. And life outside the Military wasn’t so bad, especially considering he’d never expected to make it out alive.

“You’re going to let them go, aren’t you?”

This time Erwin had no idea what Levi was talking about, until he caught the direction of Levi’s gaze. The rabbits. They’d taken up residence about a month ago and in that time a family been born; tiny, blind, helpless creatures, entirely dependent on their mother. Erwin had spent a lot of time watching them, seeing how the mother would stand guard over the warren, uncovering the hole to allow them to feed, frantic, crazy, hungry mouths all vying and fighting for milk, before she tucked them back into the ground, safe and away from predators. It was only when Levi mentioned that he’d seen a family of foxes also in the garden, bouncing and dancing and prancing on their mother, biting her tail and ears, that Erwin had decided to put up a fence around the warren to keep the bunnies safe. He hadn’t thought anything of it until a few days ago, when he’d gone a little too close and petrified them, too terrified to move. They’d been at the edge of the fence, reaching up to try and see what was on the other side.

“Yes, I am.” he replied eventually.

“Even though you know that the foxes will likely eat them?”

“It’s the chance we all have to take,” Erwin muttered.

Levi squeezed his hand.

“Ok, but you’re the one explaining to Samuel where the bunnies have gone?”

“I will.”

They sat for a while longer and then Levi sighed.

“It’s getting cold, c'mon.”

The kids were tucked up in their beds, snug and warm and so very beautiful. Erwin kissed them both on the forehead and then fixed the covers around them. It was one of the best decisions he’d made, letting Levi talk him into adopting.

“Hey,” Levi whispered from the end of the corridor, leaning against the door frame of their bedroom, arms crossed loosely in front of him. “Wanna make a baby with me?”

8

In light of chapter 76, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about Erwin and whether or not his motivations are selfish …

In Erwin’s own words, from the acwnr manga panels above, he explains how they need to find out the truth about the titans in order to save humanity from the titans AND from the people that would keep them trapped within the walls for their own personal gain. So “the truth” he’s always dreamed of finding = “saving humanity”. Is Erwin’s ultimate ‘dream’ selfish? No, not imo. This is a selfless dream. This is NOT something he wants for himself, or, indeed, something he even expects to ever see for himself, but it’s for humanity. His dream is for humanity to one day live outside the walls, without the fear of death. Erwin has dedicated his life and sacrificed EVERYTHING to find the truth and free humanity.

Unlike most soldiers, Erwin has always been ‘fighting a more important war … against something even bigger … trying his hardest to defeat it.’ (Levi’s words from the acwnr visual novel panels above). This is what keeps him apart from other soldiers. Whereas most soldiers are willing to sacrifice their lives for humanity, Erwin is not willing to die until he has found the truth and set humanity free. Is this selfish of him? No, not imo. Erwin’s motives are selfless. He is putting the good of humanity above all else, including the lives of his soldiers, and, as we now know, he is very willing to ‘be titan bait’ if it means the truth has been found. But until then, as Levi pointed out in chapter 72, it would be ‘all over’ for humanity if Erwin died. ((I can understand why this would be a source of guilt for Erwin though.)) As an aside here I’d just like to point out the following: in Levi’s eyes Erwin = Humanity’s Success, Erwin dying = Humanity’s Fail. Levi asked Erwin if the truth was more important than humanity’s success, which is synonymous with asking ‘is the truth more important than your life?’ ((This is Levi’s personal view of Erwin. It does not stand as fact that humanity will ultimately fail if Erwin dies. Erwin has faith that Hanji is capable of continuing to lead in his place and I’m certain Erwin knows what he’s talking about on that account. Oh, and I also think it’s been made very clear from recent chapters that Levi has always been aware of Erwin’s dream to find the truth.))

The truth is key. Without it, humanity stays ‘ignorant’ within the walls, waiting for the titans to kill them all. The truth is everything. The truth is in the basement ((probably, maybe, fingers crossed)). The Shiganshina ‘operation’ CANNOT fail but the ‘chances of success decrease’ and the operation ‘may fail’ without Erwin. This is fact. It makes perfect strategic sense for Erwin to be there to lead the operation. Erwin has a huge amount of confidence in the operation, as was evidenced by the zero fucks he gave the armoured titan. He trusts in the plan and his people, but he’s still able to think two steps ahead: what if the thunder spears don’t work against the armoured titan, what if the enemy is too strong, or too clever, what if the operation should fail? This kind of practical thinking is necessary on the battlefield. If the over all operation should fail, how do they get to the truth in the basement? If everything else goes wrong but they manage to get to the basement, then humanity still stands a chance. This is not a ‘selfish’ way of thinking. This is still putting humanity first. A mountain of soldiers has died to get them to this point, their deaths cannot be in vain.

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30 Day OTP Challenge (ERURI): Day 4 - On a Date

After three long days of listening to men who knew fuckall about Scouting Legion criticise them and ask them to justify their existence; after three long days of sitting next to Erwin, uselessly, while he was questioned and ridiculed, his shoulders drooping a fraction more with each passing hour; after three long wasted days, Levi was eager to burn his dress uniform and kill some titans, or some nobles; whichever crossed his path first.

He pulled off his jacket and cravat, throwing them both on the bed. He stepped out of his dress shoes, kicking them over to the dresser. He yanked roughly enough on his shirt to pop off a button which pinged on the window and disappeared out of sight; he then wrestled angrily with his shirt, only getting more frustrated when the cuff got caught on his wrist and he shook it several times before wrenching his arm free. Levi threw the shirt on the bed and then stood there panting heavily, glaring at his fancy clothes.

It was all a show.

Every year the nobility made them jump through hoops, the threat of withdrawn funds used to keep them in line. It was one thing for him to keep quiet, but quite another to watch Erwin kowtow to those inbreds, bending over backwards to secure any small concessions. It made his blood boil.

Levi’s breathing slowly returned to normal and he inhaled deeply before bending over to straighten his shoes so that the toes touching the underside of the dresser and once again picked up his shirt, beginning to fold it neatly, placing it finally on the seat of the chair.

There was a knock on his door and he looked over his shoulder, straightening the sleeve of his jacket where it now hung on the back of the chair.

“Yeah?”

Erwin opened the door, resting against the door jab.

“Hungry?”

“Starving.”

Erwin smiled.

“I know a place near here, if you’re interested?”

The last two nights they’d eaten whatever the inn supplied, and the idea of real food made Levi’s stomach grumble in anticipation. Erwin had removed most of the trappings of his dress uniform but still wore his white shirt and black trousers, a black jacket thrown over the top. It was so rare to see Erwin out of uniform that for a moment Levi let his gaze linger.

“Lead the way.”

It was a warm night but there was a cool breeze rolling up the street and he was glad he’d thought to pull on his long sleeved top before leaving the inn.

Erwin was unusually quiet.

Normally, after the council meetings, he’d spend hours dissecting what had been said and what had finally been agreed.

“I can’t believe those arseholes made us sit through three days of that, when they knew all along they weren’t gonna change anything.” Levi bit out.

Erwin gave a noncommittal ‘hmm’.

Levi stared up at him. “You okay?”

“I just don’t really want to talk about it tonight.”

Levi looked back ahead, a frown marring his forehead.

“This is the place.” Erwin eventually said.

It was another inn, only, in this part of town, that meant they had their own table with a candle set in the middle, and weren’t required to share a bench with anyone who happened to wander in. Erwin chose a secluded booth in the corner, away from prying eyes.

“Do you like it?” Erwin asked, his tone holding a hint of uncertainty.

“Sure,” Levi answered with a shrug. “It’s fine.”

Almost as soon as they were seated, their food was brought over, as if it had been prepared prior to their arrival. Levi glanced up at Erwin, only to find Erwin staring right back at him, the look in his eyes expectant. Levi glanced down at the plate in front of him and then instantly back up at Erwin.

It was his favourite meal, and it was obviously prepared just the way he liked it.

Levi narrowed his eyes at Erwin.

“Wait, what is this?”

Erwin’s cheeks flushed slightly and Levi could see he was struggling to find the right words.

“Is this a date?” Levi asked, incredulous.

Erwin licked his lips and looked at Levi with a slight shrug.

“I thought it would be nice to spend some time together, without interruption or distraction.”

Levi looked back down at his plate. They’d never done anything like this before. Levi had never done anything like this before. He didn’t have any idea how to act on a date.

“What do we do now?”

Erwin smiled at him. “Eat, drink, talk. Not about work.” Erwin added quickly.

“About what then?”

Erwin poured them both a glass of water from the pitcher on their table, and reached for his knife and fork.

“I’ve always wondered, Levi; what is your favourite colour?”

Levi’s lips quivered into what was almost a smile and he too picked up his fork.

“You’ve always wondered that, have you?”

Erwin’s smile widened.

Eruri Week Drabble: Touch (Day 4)

“I can’t do it,”

Erwin stared at the blood on his fingers and then back his reflection. The cut of the blade hadn’t been deep, but deep enough, and the sting made him reluctant to try again. He picked up the razor from where he’d thrown it in frustration, and put it back on the supple leather cloth.

“Then don’t,” Levi said from his position by the door. Erwin watched him in the looking glass as he disappeared back into the bedroom, and a few moments later he heard the scrape of wood on wood. “I’ll do it for you.”

Erwin dipped his head, and squeezed his eyes closed against the sudden pounding in his head. There was a look of such self loathing on his face when he opened them again, that he had to refrain from slamming his fist into the glass. Levi stepped up behind him, a soft hand against Erwin’s back, as he leaned around to pick up the blade.

Levi wouldn’t meet his eye.

Erwin trailed him back into the bedroom, sitting as Levi bade in the chair he’d pulled out from the desk.

“It’s ok for me to do it for you,” Levi said, a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

“Yes.”

But it wasn’t OK. How could it possibly ever be OK?

Levi knelt in front him, and Erwin closed his eyes, feeling Levi’s gaze still on his.

The touch of the cold steel against his jaw made him flinch a little, and Levi moved in closer to him, a breath ghosting on his face. Levi’s hand was steady and firm, something Erwin suddenly envied, as he guided the blade from his cheekbone down, smooth, gliding. Levi’s other hand cradled the back of Erwin’s neck, thumb lightly stroking the side of his face.

Scratch and wipe. Scratch and wipe.

The blade kissed his skin, carressed it almost, under Levi’s gentle, reverent touch.

He didn’t deserve it.

Not anymore.

He didn’t deserve Levi’s tenderness and care.

The hand that had been on the back of his neck moved to the top of his head, fingers splayed, palm and thumb on his forehead, tilting his head back to expose his throat. Erwin swallowed, his Adams apple bobbing under the blade, a slight pressure, just enough to make goosebumps jump up on his arms, but not enough to cut.

Erwin trusted Levi’s firm, gentle hand.

“Hold still,” Levi breathed, and Erwin thought he heard something hitch in his voice.

The blade grazed upward, catching on every individual hair, biting. And then it was gone.

Levi’s touch was gone.

Erwin lifted his head and opened his eyes, staring straight into Levi’s. Large, dark irises, swimming with silent tears. Erwin wanted to be strong, he wanted to be indifferent, he wanted to pretend that everything would be ok and that somehow he’d relearn everything he had once known, with a hand that refused to follow his orders. But as he reached out to touch the silver trail down Levi’s cheek, he couldn’t hold it in.

“What good am I now?” he sobbed, trying and failing to stop his body being wracked by the sudden force of his emotion. Levi surged forward wrapping his arms around Erwin’s head, tucking him in against his body, safe and protected. Erwin clung to him, trying to stay grounded.

“You are the 13th commander of the survey corp.” Levi said above him, around him, inside him. “We need you.” Levi paused, his own body shaking. “I need you.”

30 Day OTP Challenge (ERURI): Day 6 - Wearing eachothers' clothes

He felt lightheaded, like he was flying, looking out at the world through his eyes, but at the same time drifting above it. Levi pushed through the panicked soldiers to kneel down at his side.

“Erwin, can you hear me?”

Erwin could hear him but there was no way of letting Levi know.

“Here,” Levi said. “Look here.”

Erwin tried to focus on the fingers held up in front of his eyes, moving slowly from left to right, but his gaze kept rolling back into darkness.

“Hey, stay with me.” Levi commanded. “It’s just a little bump. Don’t make too much of it.”

Erwin hadn’t remembered Levi saying that before.

Levi pulled off his jacket and wadded it up, using it to stem the flow of blood from the gash on Erwin’s head.

Erwin hadn’t known just how bad it was until much later, when he’d felt the line of stitches under his hair.

“Erwin?”

Erwin wished he could say something, anything.

He must have been hurt somewhere else too because Levi yanked off his cravat, and moments later Erwin felt it pressed to his arm; when Levi lifted it back up it was smeared with blood. Levi leaned forward over him, blocking out the sights and sounds of the soldiers around them. All Erwin could see was Levi, and that was all he needed … until the field medic arrived and Levi drifted back and away from him like he’d been a dream all along.

Erwin hadn’t been certain Levi’d been there at all until he’d woken some time later in the infirmary with Levi’s bloodied cravat clutched in his hand. He’d lifted it to his nose and breathed in deeply. It’d still held Levi’s scent, along with the iron of his own blood, and he’d savoured it.

Erwin hadn’t expected to keep that cravat, hadn’t thought that when he’d wound it around his wrist and tied it tight, that it would remain there.

Erwin felt lightheaded, like he was flying.

He reached for the cravat where it should have been on his right wrist, but it wasn’t there. Not just the cravat, but the whole sodding arm. His eyes sprang open, taking in the room, the bed, and he remembered. He’d lost it to the titans. Just another thing he’d had to sacrifice.

Erwin leaned back against the pillow and lifted his left arm, staring at it like it was foreign and unknown to him. He turned his hand this way and then that, and only then spotted the crisp, clean, white material wrapped carefully around his wrist. He bought it slowly up to his nose and breathed in deeply. It still held Levi’s scent.

“D'you really think I didn’t know you kept it?”

Erwin sat up quickly, his gaze snapping to Levi where he sat in the single chair next to his bed, Erwin’s black jacket draped loosely over his shoulders.

They stared at each other for a long moment and then Erwin looked away, coyly - a silent admission to the thing they’d both known but had never acknowledged. “Thank you, Levi. I’ll take better care of this one.”

“Yeah, I hope so.”

all of this talk suddenly about if Erwin is straight, gay, bisexual, w/e, has got me thinking and I guess I’ve always thought of Erwin as the type of person to be attracted to someone bc of who they are inside and not what sex they are. It would have to be someone extraordinary to drag his attention away from his mission in the first place and it would probably have to be someone in the military too; someone who would already understand the lifestyle and the pressures/limitations of his job and the role he’s in so he wouldn’t have to explain/apologise too much; someone who wouldn’t be afraid to speak bluntly to him and who wouldn’t take any of his occasional insecure/self loathing bs; someone who didn’t want a ‘normal’ life that he’d feel guilty about not being able to give them ( …. tbh I think this is one of the reasons he walked away from Marie to begin with, bc he’d have known she wanted to get married and have children and he’d have known he couldn’t give that to her until the world was a better place to bring children up in; I think he gave her up hoping that someone else could make her happy in the ways he wasn’t yet able or willing to, and Nile stepped in and became that man …. … ). Personally, I think Levi fits this criteria and is therefore perfect for Erwin but hey that’s me. It’s just interesting that some people have to think in such narrow minded ways, everything is either black or white, straight or gay; why can’t they just see respect and trust and friendship and love for what it is and not care whether it’s m/f, m/m, f/f etc …