Send me a “Confess” and I’ll write a drabble about one character confessing to the other
Levi makes a tsk sound, leaning over the board. Playing chess against Erwin was no easy task when the other man is a natural strategist. With every move, Levi knew Erwin would have accounted for multiple contingency plans for every single piece.
It’s become something of a habit to play chess with Erwin after dinner. After Isabel and Farlan had died on their first exhibition, Erwin had called Levi to his office.
“Do they have a next of kin we should inform?” Erwin had asked. Levi had stared back, numb.
“Just me,” he said. His voice was raspy. Erwin just nodded.
“Thank you, Levi,” he said quietly. Levi recognised the gentle dismissal, but he couldn’t bring himself to move. Erwin had stared back, before fetching a chess set. “Do you know how to play?”
“Play?” Levi asked, incredulous. “My friends are d-” he gasped, feeling like all air had been knocked out from his lungs. “And you want to play a game? Are you fucking out of your mind?”
“I find it helps me re-focus after an expedition,” Erwin told him quietly. “But if you’re looking for a shoulder to cry on, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be the best choice.”
Levi hesitated. He wasn’t ready to deal with reality. That meant he had to accept what had happened. He didn’t have other friends- maybe Hange- and he couldn’t leave himself in the company of his own thoughts. Erwin waited, the chess board on the table. Levi sat down.
His fingers hover over his bishop, before he changes his mind, snatching his hand away. Erwin is patient; he lets Levi work it out. Hesitantly, Levi uses his bishop to wipe out Erwin’s knight.
“You’re improving,” Erwin smiles.
“Of course,” Erwin uses a pawn to take his bishop.
“Fuck,” Levi grumbles. “How is that an improvement?”
“You’re thinking things through,” Erwin tells him. “You knew if you took my castle, that would leave your Queen unprotected. So you sacrificed your bishop.”
Levi looks down at the board. Erwin’s pawn has left a gap. He thinks about taking it, but that’s not the aim of the game.
“That’s what you do, isn’t it?” He phrases it like a question, but they both know it’s really a statement.
“Yes,” Erwin murmurs. He pauses. “Do you remember the first time we played chess?”
Levi freezes. Some of the memories from that night had faded, whereas others had blurred together until he wasn’t sure if it had really happened or was part of a dream. “A little,” he replies eventually.
Erwin sighs. “Even until today, I’m not sure if I did the right thing.”
“What, teaching me to play chess?” Levi frowns. He barely remembers Erwin’s quiet coaching that evening. But oddly, he remembers the other man had smelt of lemon.
“After a traumatic event like that, you should have been comforted,” Erwin fiddles with a chess piece.
Levi reaches for his pawn, then retreats his hand, not looking at the other man. “What makes you think I wasn’t?”
Erwin’s king is flanked by two castles and his Queen. He could take the Queen, but then he’d be open to attack. But he could lose his other bishop and use his knight to take the King…
“What do you mean?” Erwin is cautious, unflinching as Levi takes his pawn.
“Why do you think I keep coming back here, you idiot,” Levi sighs. He places the pawn with the rest of Erwin’s pieces that he’s managed to take. It’s a small group, but a vast improvement.
Levi looks up. “What, are you thick? You thought I play chess with you every night because of some unspecified order?” He glances down at the board. “Hurry up, it’s your move.”
“I’m not sure what I thought,” Erwin barely gives the board a glance before moving his knight. Levi frowns.
“Hey asshole, don’t go easy on me,” he makes his move, and realises his mistake. Erwin takes his last bishop, forcing Levi to hop his horse over to take a castle. But that was already accounted for- it’s over in a matter of seconds.
Levi slumps in his seat. “Do you think I’ll ever be able to win against you?”
Erwin chuckles. “Of course. Just give it time.”
Levi stretches as Erwin packs the board away. It’s close to two hours since they started, and he wonders if there’s any point in trying to get any sleep.
“I’ll see you in the morning,” he stands up, feeling awkward all of a sudden.
“Do you want to stay?” Erwin asks from behind him, his voice soft. Levi almost jumps.
“It’s late,” Erwin is quite close. “You could sleep here if you wanted to.”
Levi looks up at him. Erwin has long perfected the ability to remain unreadable, but even so, there’s a wary caution in his eyes he can’t quite hide. “Do you want me to stay?”
“Yes,” comes the honest reply.
“I..” Erwin starts. He looks lost for words. “I enjoy your company.”
“Sure,” he swallows thickly. Erwin gives him a smile.
“I suppose we spent quite some time dancing around each other, didn’t we?”
Levi feels his face grow heated. “I guess.”
“Did you mean what you said earlier?” Erwin asks. “You like being here with me?”
“Yes,” Levi mutters. Without the pretense of playing chess, his heart hammers against his ribcage. He wonders if Erwin will catch his meaning without him spelling it out. But as always, the other man is observant enough to understand the nuance of Levi’s awkward confession. He smiles brightly, leaning down to press a gentle kiss to his lips. It;s soft and sudden, and Levi barely has any time to react.