A daft little modern AU for @goodbyecommander who should know better than to challenge me by now. Also for anyone else who is anal about how to load a dishwasher. Enjoy.
“Right! That’s it Smith. I’m fucking divorcing you!”
The bedroom door slams open with such force that it bounces back off the wall and almost hits Levi in the face.
“God fucking dammit, I swear to fuck…” he growls.
“Levi darling,” Erwin mumbles, peeling his face off the pillow, “could you keep it down a little? I’m feeling a bit fragile…”
“Fragile? I’ll show you fucking fragile.”
Erwin cracks one bleary eye open and finds his husband looming over him, face like thunder, brandishing a jagged shard of glass stem.
“Think you could put me out of my misery with that?” Erwin groans as his hangover makes its presence felt.
“Don’t fucking tempt me,” Levi snarls. “Nothing would give me greater pleasure.”
“Shhh darling…” Erwin pleads, “come back to bed and tell me what the matter is. Only could you please just do it quietly?”
“Don’t you fucking shush me you piece of shit! You broke my blender and all my stem ware. Again. I fucking warned you; next time it’s divorce. Did you listen? Did you fuck. There’s one glass left. One!”
Levi is really getting into his stride now and though Erwin cringes at every caustic word, he also can’t help admiring how cute Levi looks when he gets pissed. The fact that he’s wearing nothing more than one of Erwin’s oversized t-shirts and an apron adorned with a vintage print of a French maid’s outfit only adds to the picture.
“What the fuck are you smirking at?” Levi snaps.
Dammit. Caught in the act. Erwin quickly schools his features into something more contrite.
“You think I’m joking?” Levi continues. “Those were our best glasses! I told you I’d wash them by hand, but oh no, ‘I’ll clear up’ you said, ‘leave it to me’ you said, ‘you just go to bed now’. I should have known better. How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t. Put. Glasses. In. The. Fucking. Dishwasher.”
He’s standing beside the bed now jabbing Erwin in the chest to emphasise each word. Erwin winces with each jab, though he’s thankful that it’s Levi’s finger doing the jabbing rather than the lethal looking glass stem.
“I’m sorry baby,” Erwin adopts his most pathetic expression and gazes up at Levi, “I was just trying to help, you put so much effort into the cooking, it’s the least I could do.”
There is a grain of truth in the excuse. The previous evening, they had been entertaining Nile, Marie, Mike and Nanaba, and Levi as always had insisted on doing all the cooking. Much as Levi professed to loath entertaining, Erwin knew that he enjoyed having an excuse to show off his not inconsiderable culinary skills, and truth be told, Erwin equally enjoyed having an excuse to show off his tiny talented husband. It had been an enjoyable evening that had ended with them making a sizeable dent in Erwin’s whisky collection. It was the wee small hours of the morning when they had finally poured their guests into a cab and Erwin knew from experience that if he let Levi start clearing up the kitchen he’d be there till god knows when. And by that stage in proceedings Erwin very much wanted Levi not in the kitchen but in the bedroom. Luckily Levi was stifling a yawn as the cab pulled away and that was sufficient excuse for Erwin to insist he go straight to bed while he tidied up the kitchen. Which was how Erwin ended up flinging their crockery and glassware into the dishwasher at three in the morning before racing up the stairs in an attempt to claim his conjugal rights before Levi fell asleep. His haste had paid off and, as he remembers the way Levi had melted into his arms, he can’t help reflecting that it was worth breaking every last piece of glassware in the house. The memory of Levi lying warm and pliant beneath him is more than enough to distract Erwin from his hangover. Blithely ignoring Levi’s foul temper he reaches out one arm catches him round the waist and pulls him down onto the bed.
“Come back to bed and I’ll make it up to you darling,” Erwin coos sliding one hand under Levi’s apron.
“I don’t know why you insisted we use the best stem ware anyway,” Levi grumbles, still not quite ready to be placated, though he makes no attempt to get up off the bed. “It’s not like we had anyone special round.”
“I just wanted everything to be perfect after you put so much effort into the meal.” Sensing the beginnings of a thaw in Levi’s mood, Erwin risks sliding his hand lower. “Even Nile commented how nice the table looked.”
“Tch,” Levi tuts, crossing his arms and looking pointedly away. “I bet Nile knows how to load a dishwasher.”
“Darling!” Erwin gasps in mock affront. “Are you suggesting you’d rather swap me for Nile?”
“Yeah, right…” Levi scoffs, rolling his eyes.
“I suppose he does have a lot going for him.” Erwin’s giving it full on puppy dog eyes now. “He’s sweet, concerned, handsome…” each epithet is accompanied by a kiss to Levi’s arm, his thigh, any bit of him that Erwin can reach without lifting his head too far off the pillow. “He’s a loving family man, a faithful friend, to say nothing of that luxuriant facial hair.” Erwin pulls the string of Levi’s apron, drapes it over his upper lip and bats his eyes winsomely. “All that and he has an awesome way with a dishwasher too. How can I possibly compete against such a man?”
“Oh for fuck sake.” Levi snorts, snatching the tie of his apron from under Erwin’s nose. “Fucking idiot. If you think I want to wake up next to that rat-faced bastard, you must be still hammered.”
“Does this mean you’re not going to divorce me then?” Erwin grins.
“I’ll think about it.” Levi sniffs
“How about if I give you something something else to think about?”
Erwin’s mouthing at Levi’s hip now, working his way south.
Before long Levi isn’t thinking of much at all and the broken glass stem lies forgotten on the table beside the bed. Erwin breathes a sigh of relief as his marriage survives another day.
Hi! I really want to know how you feel about the new SnK chapter ( if you read it)
Hello there anon! Well, I would’ve normally made a post but the fandom is dealing with one of the worst drawbacks yet. I decided to make like a smart person and steer right in my lane. Fandomwank notwithstanding, I think I should say something. ((also warning long post))
DON’T KEEP READING AFTER THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED (friggin read more option isn’t working for some weird reason)
Personally, I liked the chapter. I did. I liked it. And the reason I say that is because I’ve detached myself from the characters enough to focus on the literary devices enough. Too many people are screaming how it shouldn’t have been Erwin who died, and honestly I was pretty convinced that Isayama was going to go through with killing off Armin–the previous chapter was pretty ripe with final thoughts foreshadowing (i.e Marlowe, Erwin) and that usually means there will be a death.
But then I read @dirtylevi‘s meta on why Armin was chosen, and I couldn’t help but agree one hundred percent. (I really recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.)
Erwin Smith (and Levi)
This chapter was a beautiful goodbye to Erwin Smith. It really was. I don’t think Isayama could’ve given us a better send off (and I know a lot of people will disagree with me) but allow me to paint this in a different way.
Erwin Smith has walked the path of a demon to many people’s eyes. He’s sent off hundreds of people off to their deaths for the sake of a cause a lot of people didn’t understand. Why fight the Titan when the most important thing is survival? Why bother at all when you could live peacefully inside the walls without ever having to see a Titan so long as you live your life quietly? Why would a man use humanity’s nature for curiosity and thirst for freedom so callously?
For the longest time we saw Erwin Smith how Eren and Levi saw him–a Hero. A man who was worth believing in, fighting for, dying for. A man who refused to live under the tyranny of the Titans, the fear of being eaten for nothing other than game and sport. We saw Erwin in that light.
But as always, one of the main themes to Shingeki no Kyojin is very simply this – “And then humanity received a grim reminder.” Isayama gave us a very very grim reminder about the reality of this world. That Erwin Smith was not universally seen as a hero, but very much how Miniba/Flocke saw him. how he saw himself.
Erwin Smith was a demon. A powerful demon capable of tearing down the evil of their world, for what better weapon can you have against such a villain than a rampaging monster hell-bent on destroying the opposition?
PAGE 17 Flocke: This is the entire worth of me and my survival! Levi: …… Flocke: And so! I will absolutely not allow you to interfere… Levi: STOP!!
Levi was our emulator in this moment. His expression of shock and denial, the man who knew Erwin better than anyone, at hearing exactly what people thought of Erwin. But this isn’t new right? How many times have they walked through the streets at the end of another failed expedition and heard the people shout and scream at Erwin for compensation? Too many. Levi knows what the people think of him. But this time, by giving Erwin the serum he would prove Flocke right. He would be transforming Erwin into the demon the people believed he was.
Levi was, and has never been, so cruel to allow that. It didn’t matter how much Erwin dreamed of the basement. The price for such a dream was too high.
And what if Levi had given Erwin the serum? He would have seen Erwin achieve his dream, but he would also see Erwin have to stomach the weight of having someone else die for him, Armin, he would have spilt more blood for Erwin’s hands and at this point, hasn’t there been enough blood on their hands already? Levi’s act was one of mercy and the final panels were just like when we first met Levi.
Levi had once stood over a soldier, grasped his hand and promised he would not let his death be in vain only to be told that the soldier had already passed on by Petra.
And now Levi stands over Erwin, a soldier, and says how he would do his best to fulfill his last orders, only to be told by Hanji that Erwin has already passed on.
Levi blinks, Levi grieves, once again the burden of Humanity’s Strongest is one that we see breaking him into a forced numbness.
His was a fate that was certainly cruel, yet another grim reminder that everyone, no matter how powerful, can be taken by the very power they were fighting for.
Bertholdt and Armin shared so much in common–they had had enough of so much bullshit in their lives that they made a stand. It was tragic that it was against one another in the end. It was also incredibly karmic that Bertholdt would end up dying at Armin’s hands.
@dirtylevi mentioned how Bertholdt’s power, The Colossal Titan, was the “God” of the snk world and I had never seen it that way but it makes a lot of sense. This entire time, down to the posters drawn by the marketing team, we see this visual dogma of Man vs God. Eren always standing in the flames and wreckage cause by the single and almost omnipotent power of the Colossal Titan’s existence.
and then that changes for the second season’s poster with various different elements but the theme remains the same.
It really is this struggle of being these small mortal creatures versus the power of the Gods here.
Bertholdt held that power. Of the most powerful Titan in existence, and it’s very ironic how that power would go on to the “weakest” player in the field: Armin. (I say “weakest” base on how he started and how he viewed himself, always with doubt and with self-deprecation because of his weakness)
We don’t really know what his ultimate goal was, but we did see Bertholdt progress from this shy and timid character, too soft hearted to even defend himself when he was questioned by his teammates when the truth came out. And then he snapped! He no longer could stand it and so he grew and he accepted his side, he became the Zealous warrior that the Beast demanded he be. (The worst part was how he stood aside and let Marco die. He watched it happen…and ultimately that would be the biggest foreshadowing to his own death.)
And that’s what ended up being what sealed his fate. It was this zealotry, it was this rage, it was his choice that led him to where they are now. To me, Bertholdt’s death is nothing short of the karmic death of a zealot warrior, prepared to die until the last moment. He died Marco’s death and you can see it in his eyes that he knows this. right here
I will be honest, I did grieve when I saw this. It was really sad. A lot of people will say he deserved it, and to an extent, I have to agree… but then I remember that he was just a kid and how he had held on to the secret of being a mass murderer as a child. He caused so many deaths because it was his duty. Because he had to. And just like that, he was abandoned by the very people who made him. Where was Zeke? Reiner? Annie? He called to them, afraid, and probably not knowing what happened. None of them came. He was alone and he died alone.
Erwin died (and ultimately saved) with his closest friends at his side. Levi and Hanji. but Bert had no one and to me that is so sad.
Some people will say that only one of two were saved. Between Armin and Erwin. But I like to think of it like they were both saved. Erwin was saved from becoming the beast Flocke and humanity viewed him as. Armin was saved to gain a power and to become stronger within himself.
I feel like the real tragedy falls right on Bertholdt. but like all other characters have died (even Moblit, oh god my heart wept when I saw that part) this story moves on.
Ultimately, I feel like Levi made a choice, and if you asked him after he saw his squad pull out Armin (alive and safe) I don’t think he would ever say he regrets it, even if it hurts. I don’t think he’d regret this choice.
Overall, I feel like we’ve finally reached the peak of this battle. This momentary arc is over. A lot of people are losing their minds and it’s understandable. I mean, I think it’s a shame people keep shouting that this story is going to shit just because their favorite character is dead. Like, guys, this story is not just about the characters. It’s never been about a single character. It’s never been about a single dream or hope. This is a story. It’s purpose is moved onwards because of the ultimate fight of humanity as a whole versus a cage. In my opinion, and as a writer, I don’t think this story is suffering all that much.
I’ll tell you what I’m looking forward to. Years from now, when this story is completed, I’m going to read the manga from the very start all the way to the very end. Watch the first episode down to the last. And all the things we forgot and took for granted will be so obvious then, and then, and then… I think we’ll really understand what this was all about. Because at that point we’ll be able to read the story as Isayama intended, emotional discourse aside.
but that’s just me.
Oh and one more thing,
Guys, I cannot stress this enough, that these are characters. Fictional characters. Ink on paper, words cut together to make faces and ideas and literary devices. Stop sending hate to one another over the fate of these characters. What kind of fandom are we that we literally shit on one another over something that won’t be that big a deal years down the line?? Really look at yourselves for an honest moment and ask yourself–is this really worth it? Making someone else feel like shit just because you have the internet as a proxy? Because you’re anonymity offers you some protection from real consequences? Are you people really that pathetic irl???
On another note, I understand how these characters can affect us. We emulate through them, we feel through them. We make decisions and define ourselves through the best moments of these characters. So it makes them real. But we cannot sacrifice decency and human empathy for reactions made in grief. It’s not worth it. It isn’t. You’ll gain nothing from doing this, so please, just… just move on and let people grieve, jesus.
Erwin drops the documents on his desk with an exasperated sigh and scrubs his hand across his eyes.
“What the fuck’s with you?” Levi asks, looking up from the document he’s reading. He’s sitting in his habitual position on the old couch opposite Erwin’s desk, working his way through a large pile of squad leaders’ reports.
“Sorry, it’s nothing. My eyes are just tired.”
Erwin leans back in his chair, crooks one arm behind his head and pulls steadily on his elbow in an effort to ease the stiffness in his shoulders. He’s in his shirt sleeves, bolo tie cast aside on the desk, collar open and askew. Levi can see the tension rippling in the chords of his neck and he aches to run his hands over the taut tendons, work his fingers onto the hard muscle of his shoulders; anything the help ease the strain that’s pinching Erwin’s brows together.
“You need a take a break old man. You should call it a night.”
He says it more in hope than expectation, knowing that Erwin will not quit his desk until his eyes are closing and the pen grows clumsy in his hand.
“It’s this lamp.”
Erwin stands, stretches, and walks over to the wall sconce to adjust the wick of the oil lamp.
“It’s too dim. When was this wick last trimmed?”
“I trimmed it when I lit it.”
Levi tracks Erwin’s movements from the corner of his eye without looking up from his report.
“Then it’s a shoddy wick.”
Levi can hear the irritation creeping into his voice.
“Erwin, leave the damn lamp alone, you’ll just make it smoke.”
“How am I supposed to get these reports finished if I can’t see to write?”
Erwin plants his hands on his hips and glares at the offending lamp.
“There’s nothing wrong with the lamp Erwin, it’s your fucking eyes.”
“And what is that supposed to mean, captain?”
His tone is cold and Levi’s rank sound more like an accusation than an honorific.
Levi lays down his report and fixes Erwin with a flat stare.
“It’s your eyes. You’ve been sitting there squinting all evening and if you held that report any further from your eyes you’d dislocate your fucking shoulders.”
Erwin frowns and opens his mouth to protest.
“Whatever you’re going to say,” Levi interrupts, “don’t waste your breath. You’ve been doing it for months.”
Erwin glares at him for a moment but then drops his chin and exhales a long breath.
“You need glasses old man,” Levi continues softly, “go speak to Hanji, they’ll sort you out.”
“I can’t,” Erwin’s voice is weary and his shoulders sag, “there isn’t enough time.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? The sooner you get your eyes seen to, the sooner you’ll be able to see the back of these damn reports.”
“No, it’s too soon, I can’t let my eyesight go yet.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? There’s nothing you can do about it!” Levi can feel his own temper rising, even though it pains him to see the man so vulnerable. “Don’t tell me you’re getting vain in your old age?”
“I thought you knew me better than that Levi.”
Erwin’s voice is flat but there’s a touch of annoyance, of accusation, that stings Levi.
It’s true, he does know better, and despite what many think, vanity is not one of Erwin Smith’s many sins. He is fastidious to a fault, but Levi knows that Erwin’s immaculate image is not the result of vanity or self-aggrandisement, it’s simply part of the job, part of the impervious façade of the thirteenth Commander of the Survey Corps. Levi has often wondered what lies beneath that façade, what he would see if Erwin allowed the mask to slip.
Erwin remains silent for a moment, hands on hips, staring at the floor.
“It’s not that Levi, there’s still so much to do, so much work, so many questions…What if I never find the answers?”
Levi sits forward, perched on the edge of the couch, desperate to step forward, to close the gap between them, to let his arms provide the comfort and reassurance that his clumsy words never can. But the last thing he wants to do is overstep the invisible boundaries that even his pin sharp eyes can not see.
“Well,” he huffs, “you’re not going to find anything if you can’t fucking see are you? Besides, I could do with having a word with Hanji too.”
“Really?” Erwin looks up, making no attempt to hide his surprise.
“Yeah, I can’t see shit in this light,” he lies, “why do you think it takes me so long to read these fucking reports?”
Erwin snorts quietly and runs his fingers through his hair.
“All right, lets speak to Hanji tomorrow.”
He sits back down at the desk, picks up the report, squints at it, and something in Levi’s chest twists.
“Don’t worry, you’ll probably look good in glasses. Distinguished or some shit.”
Erwin looks up, surprised, before his expression softens, he smiles, and returns to the report.