“Come here,” Levi tells him in a soft voice as he sets his book down.
And Eren goes, of course. He likes clear orders and instructions these days, even though Levi gives them to him in only the gentlest of tones. It’s fuzzy and loud in his head most of the time, and the static in between his ears often makes him forget about things such as eating and bathing and sleeping. Words are difficult, too, and instead of trying to explain how and why he can’t read a clock or operate a stove, he simply lets Levi guide him along.
Things are better now than before, though. As soon as he’s sat down on the couch, Levi begins combing his fingers through his hair, and he could very nearly purr. Levi’s been threatening to cut his hair and tidy it up a little for a while now, but Eren thinks he might have secretly grown fond of it since even now his touch is more reverent than anything.
Levi presses a kiss to his forehead. “You had that look on your face again,” he offers as an explanation, and when Eren only stares at him, goes on, “Like you want some affection but don’t know how to ask for it.”
That’s me all the time, though, Eren thinks and smiles to himself. “I don’t know what you mean,” is what he says out loud, burying his face in the crook of Levi’s neck where it’s quiet and calm and safe.
He feels Levi smile into his hair. “You do like a thing with your eyebrows. It’s quite endearing, makes you look like a puppy or something.”
Mustering up all the indignation he can manage, Eren pokes Levi in the chest lightly. “I do not look like a puppy.”
“You do,” Levi counters, his fingers tracing shapes over Eren’s scalp in a way that makes him feel dizzy. “The long hair only adds to it. Maybe you should keep growing it out, actually, you’re very handsome like that.”
The sound that escapes him resembles something between a gasp and a squeak, and though he’s trying his best to be offended, there’s pleasant warmth rising to his cheeks at those words. “Still. I’m not a puppy,” Eren states, nipping at the skin of Levi’s neck in protest.
“Oh, so you don’t want me to pet you and call you a good boy?” Levi asks, and he sounds so damn smug, like he knows exactly how weak Eren is to kind words and affection in general.
“I didn’t mean that,” Eren huffs, nudging his head to meet Levi’s fingers that have momentarily stopped stroking through his hair. “Keep going.”
Thankfully enough, Levi does just that, letting Eren melt against him. His eyes fall closed as if on their own, the tension bleeding out from his shoulders as Levi rubs his hand over the nape of his neck. It’s still and silent in his head, and as he listens to the steady sound of Levi’s heartbeat, he knows that they’ll be okay.