the fun thing about eruri is i don’t adhere to too many strict headcanons. i have written this a few times: “good byes”[x], “confession”[x], “postwar dreaming (reprise)[x]”. when it comes down to it i have two distinct headcanons… canon!levi confesses first, opposed to modern!erwin who does it.
erwin never shies away from levi’s lips on his skin. not even the first time. a busted knuckle, bandaged and clean, the pressure of levi’s lips against it bringing a tinge of pain that recedes to a tingle. a soft gaze through half lidded eyes, lips thin and unaffected. it felt natural. it felt right.
levi doesn’t look at him. doesn’t make it a spectacle. it’s an appreciation–a sign of respect. of dedication. of loyalty. levi does it in front of their soldiers on base, doesn’t care what they may whisper. he thinks everybody should be doing the same–this man that has given them all hope. they should be so lucky to serve under a commander as capable as he. he remembers the days when he did not. he remembers the lives they lost.
the first time they fuck it’s over the edge of erwin’s desk. erwin hesitates through his eagerness, finds his hands roaming across skin he’s only seen through damaged clothing. he hisses through his teeth as he traces across scars he remembers bleeding, presses hard into the tissue as his hips hit the back of levi’s thighs. he moans in time with the man below him, forgets for a moment that he’s commander and that’s his captain, and they are nothing but two men who have found solace in each other’s flesh.
they kiss the second time they have sex, but it’s harsh and hurried, up against a wall, levi’s hips pinned against erwin’s. there’s nothing but teeth–levi pressing an imprint of his crooked bottom teeth into the softness of erwin’s bottom lip. he pulls and tugs, lets erwin roam his hands around him and remove his jacket, lets him hike him up against the wall with his ass exposed against erwin’s cock. his head throws back, and erwin wants to kiss him again, but he’s trying too hard to keep quiet. he’s occupying his own lips between his teeth until his orgasm spills between them and levi’s mouth is too agape to seal against his own.
levi kisses the scar on erwin’s palm. it’s thick and white, takes space when erwin clenches his fist. he’s never been able to close it completely since that day. levi did this to him; this is his. he kisses along the whole line, not looking up at erwin, curls his fingers around the tips of erwin’s, gentle enough that they barely touch. he lingers on the scar, keeps pressing his lips to it, leans his cheek into erwin’s hand as he breathes softly into it the palm. erwin take him between his hands, pulls levi’s body up to him. he looks in those grey eyes–they say so much with so little, and erwin hates the thought of seeing them grow dull. he kisses his captain with a tenderness neither of them have ever known. and they both know–they both whimper into the other’s mouthes, and they feel like they’re flying through the trees, high in the air, but they’ve never been so grounded in their entire life.
levi traces a scar that snakes across erwin’s shoulder blades. it happened long before levi met erwin–a time where he almost died in the grasp of a titan’s jaws. mike had been there for him–sliced along the jaw to make the titan’s mouth fall open in order to pull erwin out, slimy and bloody but alive. he places a kiss to it, loves the feeling of memories against his lips, that each one was a time that threatened to remove erwin from his life, but he was too strong to die.
it has been years since they met, years since they started sharing their beds, years of kisses and touches. levi knows so much about erwin, and erwin knows so much about him. and it was all mapped out on their bodies for each other to discover.
they don’t talk about what it means. what the kisses and the sex and the intimate times spent in bed talking about lives that saw little else but war. it never matters. they are a connection of trust and loyalty, a mobius strip of commander and captain and leader and liege. so when he says it he stops, seals his lips to a flat scar erwin has from a splintered branch, and screws his eyes shut.
“what did you say?” erwin says. it’s low. stern. terrifying.
“nothing.” levi says, resting his cheek on erwin’s shoulder. he curls into erwin’s body and hopes he’ll drop it.
“don’t make me repeat it.” levi’s voice shakes. because there isn’t supposed to be a name to this. it’s not supposed to matter.
erwin breathes softly, rests his cheek on his arm and closes his eyes again. levi remains tense, fingers moving softly against ranges of scars on erwin’s back, until it’s clear that they’ll never speak of it again. that both of them will die without out ever admitting the thing they so desperately want to admit.
It’s very strange, seeing the Great Hall half-empty. Even more empty now that so many have gone home for the holidays. So many gone, though, not home but elsewhere. So many gone, to Beauxbatons, to Durmstrang.
So many dead.
But Flitwick and she have spent the whole day, enchanting the Great Hall so that it snows gently, with the snowflakes melting and disappearing just before they reach the tables and everything is beautiful and the students are all smiling and laughing as they file into the hall. Some of them pause to ooh and ah over the snow and the brightly lit tree in the corner. They are so young. Uncomplicatedly happy. Untouched, or as untouched as they can ever be, by memories of the war.
That is not a burden for them to bear. They have not, after all, walked these halls for fifty odd years and seen generation after generation walk through them. Children, just like them, laughing and marveling at whatever delicate intricacies they had managed to conjure up by the way of decoration.
(Delicate coloured lights that hung suspended and turned the hall a glorious mix of reds and blues and greens and purples. Ice sculptures. Four hundred blazing candles, for each student. The stars on the roof, enchanted to enact the myths and stories they were named after.)
Children who then grew into young men and women, whose funerals she had all attended.
Such morose thoughts, on Christmas day.
Her lips twist into a smile, seeing these children laugh, the fear and the terror of the previous year long forgotten. A promising bunch. Resilient, as they all had to be, now more so than ever. All brave, not merely her own. All laughing with friends and for once, there is peace in her heart, because there is no threat. No danger, no promise of death hanging over their heads.
This is what Christmas is for, she thinks. A pause between one year and the next, to look back at the year and forget the shadows and remember only the light. Age, it seems, brings wisdom that is self-evident to the young.
“A knut for your thoughts, Minerva,” says Slughorn leaning over, “You look far too serious for a Christmas feast.”
She shakes herself, “Oh this and that. That they all look so happy.”
“Ah, that they do. They’re a very bright bunch, this year. Great promise.”
Minerva McGonagall smiles, “Aye. And wiser than we have ever been.”
Slughorn looks at her strangely, then shakes his head and continues drinking his soup.
The night passes and they break open their crackers and later on, with the rest of the staff, they share a drink or two and sing their old favourite carols, albeit drunkenly and Christmas, 1998, passes and everyone sleeps – or passes out – with a smile on their face.
“For old time’s sake,” says Lucius, sitting down next to his son.
Draco rolls his eyes, “Really father, I don’t think-“
“Too old for such foolishness, or scared of losing?” Lucius asks him.
“Please. You’ve never played Quidditch in your entire life.”
“Ah,” says Lucius, stretching out his legs, “I haven’t. But your mother has. She was very good too.”
“I’m not going to play Quidditch with mum.”
“No. I suppose not. But you might, at the very least, pretend to be happy, for her sake.”
Draco’s earliest memory of Christmas involves him running out on to the lawn, his new broom in his hand (and a trail of paper-wrapping in his wake), demanding that they all come and play Quidditch with him.
It’s the first time he sees his father smile genuinely, before settling comfortably on the sidelines while his wife takes up the rather more arduous task of refereeing the match being played between Draco and the house elves.
Not, to say, that Lucius is any less enthusiastic from the sidelines and about halfway through the match he and Narcissa end up arguing over whether Draco has committed a foul or not when he momentarily latches on to the handle of one of the house elves’ brooms and Draco laughs until he has a coughing fit at the sight of his father and mother trading insults aimed at each other and their mothers and their families.
Of course, once Draco starts coughing they abandon their fight and rush to his side and the rest of the memory is now very hazy, but Draco remembers that. Lucius’ cool reserve all gone in a moment and his mother making impassioned defenses over the artistic integrity of the sport (it’s a foul Lucius, if he’s going to foul he might as well do it artistically – he’s five ‘Cissa he doesn’t know how to foul artistically – well he’s your son you ought to teach him).
One of the few rare times he has ever seen them both lose their cool and composed exteriors in the name of good fun.
The next most significant Christmas is his ninth one, because they give him a practice wand and he spends the whole day attempting to do spells and ending up blowing up some priceless artefacts.
Draco doesn’t notice the way Lucius winces every time a priceless vase smashes to pieces, only that his father praises him for being so clever and talented and skilled and the very best.
It’s Christmas, he’s happy, his mother and father are happy and he has a wand and magic and that’s all that matters at nine.
Draco knows that it is as much of an effort for his father and mother as it is for him, to be cheerful these days.
It is more than just the ominous presence of his aunt hanging over their heads.
Perhaps it is the knowledge that for the first he knows that they both know that he is going to fail at what he has been appointed to do and worse still, that they are preparing to receive the worst of the punishment that will surely follow after he fails. Maybe it is the knowledge that all the years that have gone before have been nothing more than mere illusions. Pleasant ones, but illusions nonetheless.
“We have always been a happy family,” says Lucius, presently, “Perhaps not the warmest of families, but both Narcissa and I have given you what we never received as children.”
“You raised me to follow in your footsteps,” says Draco with some asperity, “Forgive me if I can’t bring myself to believe you, but if you had wanted me to be my own man, you’d have raised me the same way Charles Nott raised Theo.”
Lucius sighs, “We tried, as best we could, to look to the future and predict it in all its nuances. We failed-”
Draco’s head snaps up at that. For his father to admit failure, that is no small thing.
“But,” continues Lucius, “You have the blood of the Blacks and the Malfoys in you and I have no doubt that you will manage as we have always managed.”
“I am not blind, Father. I know –“
Lucius rises, “Draco, my son, whatever happens, we do not wear our hearts on our sleeves,” he places his wand under his son’s chin and tilts it up, “We keep our chins up, cut our losses and carry on. And for your mother’s sake, this Christmas, you will be happy.”
Draco bows his head in assent and is nearly out of the room when he hears the words –
“Merry Christmas, Draco,” Lucius comes alongside him and places something in Draco’s hand.
He opens his hand later, much later and looks at the signet ring in his hand, with the Runsepoors entwined around a sword and their family motto on it.
Sanctimonia Vincet Semper.
In 1998, Draco and Narcissa sit down to eat dinner at Christmas, all alone in rented rooms in Paris and Draco forces himself to smile and entertain his mother, laughing along with her as she methodically dissects Parisian society and skewers it. Cheap and gaudy, like their chateaus with their plaster of paris ceilings and gilded columns.
And over the dinner, it becomes easier. As easy as it will ever be to remember that there are now only the two of them to share their Christmases.
“Chin up, Draco,” says Narcissa, when they’re strolling along the Seine later, “Or you’ll curve your spine.”
He straightens his back and tilts his chin upwards although he knows, just as well as she does, that her words have deeper meaning.
“Merry Christmas, Draco,” she says later, giving him his present.
This is the third present he treasures the most. His father’s pocket watch, now his own. Compared to a broom, or indeed, his first wand, it seems so very trifling, but this is as precious a memory as the times he has seen his mother and father laughing unreservedly – only ever on Christmas – or his father praising him unreservedly (praise offered only rarely after that first day) or indeed, his father passing on his signet ring to him.
“It suits you,” says Narcissa and Draco smiles. Genuinely, this time.
“Merry Christmas, mother,” he says, lightly squeezing her hand.
They look at each other, clichés that cannot be said hanging heavily in the air. It would have never worked. We’re too different. We fell apart. We should have seen it coming.
the rot had always been there right from the start. A pureblood brat, scion to a
Noble and Most Ancient House that believed they were descended from royals (not
just any family of kings; The King, the One True King of England) and a
werewolf, a nobody from a mining town in Wales. The rot had always been there.
We think it’s kind of cool.
That’s why you think it’s a prank.
I’ll pay – for both of us.
So you know what it’s like to live on the run
have worked but it did. Against all the odds it did. A pureblood and a
werewolf. A rich brat and a poor kid from a mining town. It worked, or it
seemed like it did.
remembered the sunshine. The happy times they’d had together. Lighting up their
first cigarettes, their foreheads nearly touching. The first time they kissed, back
pressed against an oak tree while the Stones blared Let’s spend the night together and a hundred-thousand people
milling around, having the time of their life. Wandering aimlessly through
Brighton on one of the slow days during the war. Pranks and pranks and endless
Never the prank. Not that one. Remus let it
fester. Let it birth question after question. Questions were a comforting kind
of companion. Nothing certain about them, coming and going at will and never
really hurting enough. Sirius
remembered the good times. Remus remembered the questions. Wondering if their
lives followed the rise and fall of Pink, as they stood mesmerized (maddened. maddened
by the sound. wild and raw and angry like war.)
at Earl’s Court, and whether he’d really ever trusted Sirius or if he’d only
ever been waiting for the sickle to drop. The constant doubt, reiterated – why,
why. Why what? Why everything. Why him, of all the people? Was it the
symbolism – a standard, a trophy to show just how far Sirius had fallen from grace? To show just how perfectly
Sirius had rebelled? How many bricks? Is
there anybody out there?
Questions for him, sunshine and certainties for Sirius. Purebloods and werewolves. The Order and the Death Eaters. Good and evil. No questions, no secrets for Sirius. If he had done, he would have never made it.
And Remus only had questions and secrets, no certainties.
They’d never fit together perfectly, except as a story they told themselves
when they wanted to make sense of their lives. All they’d ever been was a
series of unanswered questions and half-spoken phrases, passing each other by. They
should have known, all the way back in 1976, when six minutes later they’d
started playing You Can’t Always Get What
they hadn’t been so different. If
Sirius hadn’t been out looking for cheap thrills, or worse, thought Remus was
one of those cheap thrills. Think it’s
kind of wicked actually. If Remus hadn’t shut himself away behind a wall,
because a wall was safer than none. Just
a harmless bit of fun. If they both hadn’t been so broken and looked to
each other to fix it.
and a pureblood. They should have known right from the start that they could
only go downhill from there.
see it coming?”
turns from the window, “Since I was fifteen.”
everything, Remus, tired and greying around the edges, still too many
unanswered questions, smiles and smiles genuinely, “We have that, at least.”
cigarettes,” Remus, repeats softly.
Maybe when he has answers and Sirius finds a way to put himself back together
again, humbler and softer. Maybe when they’re no longer just a pureblood and a
In a tiny
flat in Manchester City, two middle aged men light their cigarettes, foreheads
now, with nothing left to cling to. No questions, no words. Just cigarettes and
angry letters to The Prophet.
A man looks into the eyes of a woman and he feels the first pangs of regret waken in his breast.
He pushes it away.
Vittorio Sanguini trades in the flesh of young mermaids. He does not feel. He does not regret. The wind ruffles through hishair and the ship slowly turns around, leaving behind the haunted silent SunkenIsland. Twenty good men once died there for doing their jobs and he can stillsmell the blood hanging heavy in the air. A lesser man might feel sorry; he is pragmatic and thinks he would do
the same in their place. He trades in flesh. He has no morals. Only wizards can
afford morals. Still he gazes fixedly into her eyes, even as he pushes all
these concerns away. His fingers twitch at his side.
he earns so that he might keep his people alive.
darkness it is impossible to tell, but he thinks she might have mouthed the
word “liar.” Does it matter? She is only flesh.
And he has made a habit of giving interviews to young wizards, lamenting the
necessity of selling someone else’s flesh
to make a profit.
is fifty miles too long tonight, he thinks as he retires to his cabin.
laughter and the sound of tankards being smashed to pieces greets them from the
old underwater docks at Tilbury. They work swiftly to unload the ship before
one of the aurors inside takes it into their heads to patrol the docks.
and hisses and bites the arms of the men who attempt to move her from her tank,
so it falls to him to coax her – or wrestle her; there is no time for finer niceties.
hisses at him in mermish and he shrugs the insult away easily, “They should see
you with a spear, monster.”
flick to the tentacles she has instead of fins, “Even monsters have to feed.
Shall I bite your pretty neck and show you?”
and spits at him and in frustration, he grabs her and unceremoniously slings
her over his shoulder.
slide through the underground canals of Billingsgate an hour later and La Contessa opens her with welcome arms.
bore into him, from her tank in the wall, as he takes the bag of gold galleons
and goes up to the room they keep specially for him.
feels like drowning. Everywhere. All around him, within, without. No movement,
no breathe, save that she allows it. Tentacles everywhere. Everywhere.
Drowning, drowning slowly and hands, hands burning –
No. He is drowning.
panic he punches her and then draws his knife from his boot and slashes hastily
and blindly at everything he comes into contact with. The water boils with the fury of her rage and he
surfaces, gasping for breath. Somehow, somehow
she has lured him and dragged him into the tank. He can feel them. Watching. Hungry.
slip and slide over the wet bricks, even as she wraps herself around him and
drags him under. Down, down, down. Vaguely, he wonders what time it is. La Contessa must be sleeping to miss
such a ruckus in her tanks.
him to the wall using all of herself. All ten of her tentacles pinning him in
his place and his arms stretched out high above his head.
there, all of them. Waiting. This is
it, he thinks, the end of Vittorio
Sanguini, professional con-artist, smuggler, mobster and monster.
time, in a kinder world, he might have released her back into the sea and
forgotten about her. Or if he was as pragmatic as he believed, he would have
traded her and forgotten her entirely and continued to ply his trade with no
qualms. No doubts stirring in his
heart. One hundred years is too long to develop a conscience. Too long to ever
be forgiven. This is where his folly leads him. This is it. Two centuries in
the dark, boiling down to this.
going to die,” she whispers calmly, in the common tongue.
and looks her in the eye and smiles at her.
back at him, searching – for fear? For anger? For resistance? Just like that,
without warning, the hardness in her eyes is replaced with curiosity and she
vomits when he finally reaches the surface and breathes in deeply.
that?” she asks him in mermish, one of her tentacles gently tracing a line from
his ear down his neck.
pay,” he replies, twisting away to face her.
deserved it,” she says, “You’re a liar.”
“Why do you
He laughs, “If I answer wrongly, you’ll kill me, is it?”
There’s a game you see. You and I cannot play. We’re monsters. You even less
than I. They leave you alone because of this. But I, I am a danger. A monster and a dangerous one. I can think and kill and feed on them. So I have to
play carefully, but with none of their advantages. I still need money to
survive. I too have tastes, I too want fine robes and blood – good blood, not the blood I can
scavenge, but the blood they sell for purchase at their hospital costs a
fortune. So. I turn to my brothers and sisters and they point me to the sea.
There’s a market for living mer-flesh. So why not? Why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t
I, when all my cousins – when all of us stand pitted against each other? Hmmm?”
at the scar on his neck and then back at him with raised eyebrows, “And you
still hate them. Wizards.”
one of them,” he agrees.
do you do it?”
He looks at
her, nonplussed, “I just explained –“
lies,” she says, “All lies. You know the
answers and you know what must be
done, but you choose the easy one and
save your complaints for the ears of wizards in the hope that they will feel
sorry for you,” she hisses at him, “Coward. The world is in revolt and you twiddle
your thumbs hoping that mercy will fall from the skies.”
She is far
too close for comfort, but there is nowhere for him to run, only the wall
pressing into his back. So Victor, answer her question. But he has no
answer, unless the silence is an answer in itself.
me,” she whispers, all of a sudden.
replies, after a moment of internal debate - lie and save face, or face death? Death is here and so is she.
she says, “We all have things we want. You want me,” she gently tugs at his
collar, “I too have something I want.”
catch?” he asks her, watching her guardedly.
freedom,” she says softly, “So do I. So do all of us.”
catches in his throat, “What do you want?”
them,” she continues, “They hate them. You and your kind hate them. Is there
any that love them? Any amongst us who would speak for them?”
he breaths, “You would –“
“Justice,” she whispers, lightly touching the scar on his neck, “We all want justice. Freedom. Revenge.”
“So what do
you want me to do?”
head of the serpent,” she says and he can feel
them moving in the waters below him. The excitement. The frenzy.
and closes his hands and looks down at her, radiant and beautiful in the
“Find the head of the serpent,” she mouths, “and crush it.” Her hand twists in his shirt, mimicking the twisting of a knife
in a wound.
He is drawn but if he begins there, there will
only be blood and blood and more blood. Riversof blood. The thought makes him shiver in excitement and his hair stand on end
in horror that he could, that he would contemplate this.
whispers, whispers in the dark and excitement, frenzied excitement.
she whispers, “That’s all it takes,” and kisses him. It drowns, it drowns and beneath him the waters froth and foam
he says and for the first time in years smiles and smiles the wild cruel smile
of hunger. Of thirst.
because sometimes people tag terribly sad things when they reblog my stuff. so here’s a reprise to postwar dreaming.
he had been right.
he and erwin had enjoyed their new house for a brief amount of time. the first week levi moved some of his plain clothes and uniforms into an empty drawer in the bedroom. he purchased a bag of miscellaneous home stuffs–utensils, cookware, items to make cleaning supplies, and the most expensive piece–a blown glass vase that he placed on the dining table.
they ate at the table for the first week. it was surreal. coming to the house after training and mountains of paperwork only to act a life that they never belonged to. they would eat under candlelight, speaking briefly about their day’s work as if it didn’t involve lives that had passed, lives that were going to pass. that in the end, they were playing with each soldier’s life as easily as a pawn on a chessboard.
levi found he enjoyed sleeping in beds, under covers, with his limbs tied up like knots around erwin. it wasn’t that he hadn’t had those nights before in erwin’s quarters, in his quarters, but there was always the risk of a hesitant knock at the door from another officer. and it wasn’t that they still didn’t wake up early. erwin would sometimes sit up against the headboard, papers in his hands and on his lap as levi drifted in and out of sleep, his body curled against his leg like a cat and his forehead pressed against the side of erwin’s thigh. erwin would occasionally drag a finger along levi’s shoulder blade, arm, cheek, and they’d both smile groggily in the presence of the other.
levi had found words burrowed within the wooden walls of the house–like termites they bred and crawled out through his mouth like pests. “you look handsome.” “i need you.” and one time, “i love you.”
levi stopped suggesting they go home so frequently after that–visits spacing out from weeks to months. he’d visit on his own to clean the dust off of unused cast iron pans, wash and hang sheets that hadn’t been used since the last cleaning. he tossed out rotten and wilted flowers from his vase and replaced them with new ones he picked on the way in.
erwin joined him one time during cleaning. cornered him against a wall and pulled the handkerchief down from his nose and placed a gentle kiss on dry lips. “i love you.” he said, and levi wanted to dodge out of the way of erwin’s mass… but it pulled him in like gravity, his heart floating up through his throat as he pressed his lips against erwin’s. they ended up tied together in their bed, levi’s nose nestled in the back of erwin’s neck, his bottom lip moving and playing with the stubble of erwin’s undercut.
“i love you too.”
when erwin lost his arm, it was harder to break down his walls. he stayed up later at night, slept less, talked little. he spoke to levi differently, more formally, like they didn’t have six years of history between them. levi came to him one night, interrupted erwin’s preparations for their expedition to reclaim shinganshina. “come home with me.” he said.
“i cannot, levi.”
levi’s jaw set, and he turned to leave, grasped the handle to erwin’s office door as he kicked back the tears that threatened to touch his eyes. why did he care so much? why was he going to cry over this and not things that mattered–like the countless soldiers that had lost their lives over the years. no, being rejected was what threatened to break him. he tried one last time to keep himself together, “please.”
levi swallowed and left the office. he went back to his quarters, looked around at his bed, his chair, his clothes. he grunted as he took the back of the chair in his grasp and threw it across the room. he pulled the hair of his bangs at the roots, huffed out angrily through his teeth before turning and leaving his room. he walked briskly away from base, ignoring any looks from fellow soldiers as he did.
he made dinner. put out two plates but ate alone under candlelight. he didn’t sleep at all in their bed that night. he needed erwin there, wanted erwin there. they had such little time together left… erwin was going to go into war with one arm–no longer a warrior but a figurehead. levi curled up on the bed, buried his head into his forearms and clenched every muscle to keep himself from falling apart.
he left the next morning after putting out a fresh cut of flowers.
when he returned, the vase was littered with fallen petals, the water in its basin having evaporated and leaving a dusty film around the bottom of the vase. it had been 8 months since he had opened that boysenberry door. and as soon as he saw how unchanged it had all been, levi wanted to make it to be 8 more.
he pulled the chair out from the dining table and sat down with his fingers folded in front of him. he stared off for a long time until his tears pattered onto the dusty table, and his voice shook through the empty house declaring the one thing he was always so painfully afraid to admit to erwin inside these walls: “i love you.”
levi’s never quite been an optimist, maybe not really a pessimist either. no, he likens himself more to a realist. so it bugs him more than he cares to admit that he thinks about it so much. the “what ifs”. the “it could be’s”.
he puts his hand on erwin’s arm while they’re walking through town. he opens his mouth to say how nice the bakery looks, how he’d like to have a shop like that some day. wake up before the sun rises, have the smell of yeast deep in his pores, and flour on his cheeks. erwin would knead the dough, they’d decorate the tarts together, then they’d share a cup of tea as the afternoon closed out.
erwin looks down at him with an eyebrow raised. levi shakes his head and says nothing.
there’s houses. levi’s never owned a house. he squatted for years in the underground. the place him and furlan found was run down until they worked together to piece it back together. nobody came after rent–probably too afraid to once they realized the residents. but how nice… “how nice would it be?” he says as he pauses in front of a house in stohess. a nice two floor house out in the farmlands inside wall maria. no–outside of wall maria. they’d have horses, sheep, dogs, ducks. erwin could till the fields while levi tended their garden. he’d bake pies that sat on window sills, and they’d sit on the couch and read until the sun faded away and onward under candle light.
“what would be nice?”
levi looks up at erwin wide eyed, averts them and runs his palm against his cheek to rub the heat away from them. “if we… nothing.”
they sit together on a tree branch as they watch some new recruits zip through the trees taking out titan dummies. erwin lets his legs swing lazily below him until he presses his shoulder against levi.
“what?” levi mutters.
“i would like to take you out somewhere.”
levi’s jaw tightens. “why?”
“it has been a trying couple of months, and you haven’t had a chance to unwind.”
“i know you are. so what do you say?”
they go into town the next day. erwin buys him a pastry from that same bakery, and levi finds himself longing to be the one behind the counter, his hands covered in baking ingredients instead of blood. erwin shoves a whole danish into his mouth as they’re leaving, and levi tries to hide a smile as flakes fall down and litter his chest. unabashedly, he reaches up and cleans off the man’s shirt with the back of his hand and clicks his tongue. “fucking slob.”
“we have places to be.” erwin talks around his food.
“it’s our day off, erwin.” but erwin is already several strides away. levi trots to keep up. they walk a few blocks away before stopping in front of a door to an unassuming rowhouse. the door is newly painted, deep red like boysenberries and the knob a polished brass. erwin is searching through his pants, his jacket– his civilian clothes seeming to have thrown off his sense of self. he grunts as he pats every pocket again before locating the key and pulling it out. “what’s…” levi starts.
erwin puts the key into the lock and turns it. “as high command, we’re allowed to live off base if we would like.” he turns the door knob and lets the the door swing open. “i have never had a need for an off site location…” he steps aside, offering levi to go in before him. “until now.”
levi looks at him, tries to find the words to say. it’s so hard. he’s a realist. “you’ll never come here.”
“if i have somebody to come home to i will.”
levi wants to tell him that he’ll never make it back to this house either. that they’ll keep sleeping in chairs in their offices until the end of time, until the end of the war. but there’s a feeling in his chest that grips him, chokes him, and he uncomfortably straightens out the sleeves of his shirt. “you better have tea and a kettle in there, old man.”
“of course.” erwin says as he places a kiss on top of levi’s head and guides them into the house, closing the boysenberry door behind him.