Well Ladybirds and Gentlecats,
Peacockamamies, and Bubblebuzzes… it is time.
Thank you dear authors for contributing! (Even when you lost all motivation and could feel the darkness slowly encroaching on your struggling will to write. Love you guys.) And also artists!!! The amount of shameless shipping, honestly, I could cry from the beauty of it all. *✧･ﾟ:* \(╥
Down the street, on the opposite side, there is a small patisserie. It is called Sweet Freedom. The cakes always look delicious. They also serve drinks and you can enjoy your pastry on one of their tables. When the sun is out, they even install a small terrace outside.
Erwin passes in front of it every morning and every evening. The owner is a short Asian male. Erwin watches him as he installs the tables outside and waters the flowers. He has two employees. A young man with skin a bronze color and startlingly green eyes, and a petite woman with strawberry blond hair and a soft smile.
He never enters. He isn’t sure why. He’s content watching from afar. He thinks he’s waiting for an excuse.
The excuse presents itself when he realizes he needs to buy a cake for Nanaba’s birthday.
It’s around seven when he enters the shop. A bell rings when he opens the door. It makes the young man turns his head. He smiles, bright and genuine.
He smiles back.
He looks around. It is simply decorated, but elegant and clean. It smells sweet. A woman is sitting at one of the tables, reading the newspaper. She is the only other customer.
He walks to the counter. The owner is wiping it. He looks up when he hears Erwin. His eyes are gray, he notes absentmindedly.
“Good evening. What can I get you?” His voice is calm and deep. He can hear the hint of an accent.
“I was wondering if I can order a cake?”
“You can. What do you want?”
“I don’t really know, to be honest,” he admits, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
There is amusement in the man’s eyes. “What is the occasion?”
The man takes a moment to think. “I suggest a Tarte Tatin.” The accent is French, Erwin deduces from his pronunciation of the pie’s name.
“I will take your suggestion,” he says, with a smile.
The corners of the man’s mouth curve lightly. “Sound choice. When do you need it?”
“Friday, around 6?” The man nods and writes it down. His eyebrows furrow a bit as he concentrates. It makes him look somewhat angry. Erwin can’t help but chuckle. He receives an interrogatory look and shakes his head. The man doesn’t push. “Add a slice of cheesecake to the bill, please?”
“What’s your name?”
He pays. The man takes a card and writes something on it.
“Here is the shop card. I wrote the time you should come get the cake on it.”
Erwin takes it. Levi Ackerman is written in small print at the bottom.
He sits at one of the tables, next to the window. The sun is setting down. It gives the sky and the shop a pink tint.
“Thank you, Levi,” he says when he gets served. The surprised look on the man’s face is worth it.
“You are welcome,” Levi grumbles, seemingly irritated
Erwin isn’t duped.
He comes back four days later, on Friday. He is greeted by the other employee, the strawberry blond girl this time. Levi is at the counter again.
“Hi. I’m here to pick up a cake?”
Levi furrows his eyebrows. “Erwin, right?”
“Smith, yeah,” he confirms, pleasantly surprised that the man remembered.
Levi looks around and scowls. He apparently didn’t find what he was looking for.
“Where’s my idiot son, again…” He hears him mutter. Erwin hides his smile behind his hand. “Eren!” He shouts.
The young man with green eyes pokes his head in from the employee door behind Levi.
“What?” He asks.
“I need you to go get a cake. Erwin Smith.”
“You got it, Captain.” Eren grins.
“And stop calling me that.” Levi glares at his son. “Have children, they tell you,” he complains under his breath, but the fond look in his eyes says otherwise.
“He doesn’t look like you,” Erwin points out, politely. He doesn’t want to pry, but he is curious. And Levi looks far too young to have a son in his early twenties.
“He’s adopted,” Levi explains, simply. He doesn’t elaborate.
Eren comes back and sets the cake on the counter. It is in a white box with a light pink ribbon carefully tied. “Here you go, sir.” His smile is wide.
He doesn’t stay away long. He steps into the store again the following Wednesday.
“The cake was delicious,” he compliments Levi.
The man blinks. “Oh, thank you.” He looks a bit flustered. Erwin can’t help but smile.
“A slice of apple pie and a coffee, please?”
“Won’t you sit with me?” He asks when Levi comes serve him.
“I’m working,” the man answers immediately, his gaze cast downward. His eyelashes are long, brushing against his fair skin. He is beautiful.
“Just for a bit?”
Levi glances at him. He seems to hesitate for a moment. “Eren! I’m taking my break,” he calls.
Eren sends him a confused glance, until he sees Erwin. “Sure,” he grins.
Levi sits in front of him.
“So, what do you want?” He asks bluntly.
Erwin laughs. “Nothing. I just wanted to know you better.”
Levi frowns, as if not understanding. “I’m not really interesting.”
“Let me be the judge of that?”
Levi holds his gaze for a couple of seconds. “Fine,” he grumbles, eventually.
Erwin smiles. “You have a nice shop.” Levi hums in agreement. “I see it every time I go to work and come back. I don’t know why I didn’t enter before.”
“You work in one of the new towers down the street?” His accent is more noticeable on the ‘r’. It’s cute.
“Yeah. I’m a lawyer. I moved here three months ago.”
“Do you like the city?”
“It’s very nice. I’m not used to seeing so many people in shorts and flip-flops, though,” he jokes.
Levi laughs softly and Erwin watches him, a bit starstruck. “You should see Eren when he’s not working here. Even going to college in flip flops.” He shakes his head disapprovingly, but sends his son an affectionate glance.
Fifteen minutes is a very short time and Erwin is surprised (and a bit disappointed) when Levi stands up and smoothes his hand down his apron.
“Sorry, I have to go back to work.”
Erwin shakes his head. “No problem, I got some work to finish at home anyway. I should get going.”
“Enjoy your evening,” Levi says.
He watches him walk back to the counter.
Eren comes to clear his plate and cup. He slips a card on the table.
“I’m sorry, he’s emotionally and romantically constipated,” he whispers conspiratorially, grinning, before hurrying off.
Erwin checks the back of the card. There is a cellphone number followed by ’:)’ and a small inscription.
(he’s interested, I promise, please call him and save me, he’s been even more grumpy than usual :( - eren )
Steven asks Lapis, Peridot and Jasper about their “road trip” from Homeworld to Earth, but is surprised when all three Gems share very different accounts of what exactly happened. Lapis tells of being confined to the brig while Peridot taunts her with ice cream cake and freedom, while Peridot’s “photographic memory” recalls extremely small versions of Lapis and Jasper praising her height and leadership skills, all while being incapable of doing anything for themselves without her help. Finally, Jasper tells a bizarre story where they were all in a gym training for a physical fitness competition that ends with Malachite bench-pressing a school bus. Steven returns home more confused than ever.