Sunday, August 24, 2014


One thing Levi has always taken for granted is his privacy.

Even when he was living on the streets, there were certain hideouts he thought of as his, certain overlooked spots no one else frequented, and he would find solitude in those places when the grime and noise of Sina’s underground bothered him more than usual. There was never anything particular he did then, but it was enough not to have to worry about other presences for a while; sometimes Isabel and Farlan would follow him, but even they knew there were times Levi needed to be alone, and so they would leave him.

After being forced into the Scouting Legion, he rose quickly through the ranks, swapping his shared bunk for a bedroom of his own, a locker outside the training grounds for an office, and he can sit in seclusion for at least part of the day, avoiding the requisite conversations of the dining hall or the crowded fields of the training grounds. There are certain perks to being a captain in a military division, and while he doesn’t enjoy paperwork, strategic meetings, or military galas in Sina, he has nothing against having his own space.

Privacy has always been an option for him—so he doesn’t see why it is suddenly eluding him now that there is one more person around.

“Tell Hanji I’ll talk to Erwin about it tomorrow,” he growls, trying his best not to snarl in irritation. Behind him, Petra shuffles the cups on the tray she brought in half an hour ago, but he can hear her snort under the tinkle of porcelain anyway.

“Squad Leader Hanji was very insistent you talk to the commander today,” Moblit says. Sweat beads on his brow, but he does not move from where he has firmly planted himself in front of the desk—Levi has to give him grudging credit for that. “Or ‘it’ll never get done.’” The way Moblit phrases the words makes them sound like a direct quote, but certainly there are a few omissions; Hanji is sure to have called Levi several different names in the process.

“I’ll do it,” Petra says suddenly. She walks around the desk and favors both men with a light, carefree smile, nothing to suggest that she was doing anything besides bringing the captain something to drink as he worked. “I’ll talk to Commander Erwin for you, sir.”

He suddenly feels vaguely guilty; it’s him being pestered by Hanji, after all, not Petra. “I can—”

“It’s alright, captain.” She bites her lip to hide a smile and tugs Moblit with her on her way out the door. “I’ll be back later to collect the tray; you don’t have to get up.”

She and Moblit leave, the door swinging shut behind them, and Levi rubs a tired hand over his eyes. An endless stream of letters and digits blur on the papers scattered before him, and he pushes them aside, wondering why he can’t have just one night’s peace.

It’s rare that he finishes his work early, and when he mentioned it to Petra earlier in the day she immediately told him loudly she’d bring him coffee that night to help him stay awake—which, for the last few weeks, has translated to “stay with him.” Their relationship is still new, something neither of them are completely familiar with yet, but they’ve been avoiding tension that inevitably appears whenever they are together in a room for far longer than that, so it’s almost a relief, finally coming to a mutual understanding on where they stand with each other.

They’ve spent a few nights together in his bed, but when Petra says she will stay with him sex isn’t the first thing he thinks of. He thinks of her instead, hair damp from a shower and civilian clothes clinging to her skin, her sweet scent and soft voice, her cheerful smiles and warm eyes—he just wants to spend some time with her, call her Petra and hear her call him “Levi” instead of “sir” or “captain”; he wants to hear about her day and complain about his and watch her laugh without worrying about others noticing where his eyes linger. He just wants to be alone, with Petra, but now that he can finally afford to sacrifice an evening’s worth of work, of course Moblit has to come calling.

Hanji’s assistant isn’t even the first one. In the span of half an hour, the time Petra has spent in his office so far, there was someone from Mike’s squad sent to ask about borrowing 3DMG for a training exercise, a messenger from Erwin about the Scouting Legion’s funds, and a new recruit wanting advice on regulating gas usage outside the Walls. Each time Levi felt himself beginning to relax, a knock would sound on the door and he would be forcibly jolted back to the world he should be in, one where captains are always busy and never sleep with their subordinates.

He eyes the piles of reports on his desk; he has finished going through a week’s worth, but there are always more he can look at. There is a neverending supply of the damn things, courtesy of Erwin.

He’s just opened one folder when the doorknob turns and Petra comes through again, sans Moblit. She shuts the door, turns the lock, looks at him, and starts laughing when she sees the expression on his face.

“Erwin wasn’t in his office so I wrote him a note and slid it under the door,” she says. She walks up to him, around his desk, and props her elbows against his seat; he leans his head back and feels her fingers trace the fringes of his hair.

“There shouldn’t be anyone else tonight,” Levi says. “Hanji, Mike, and Erwin already sent people… unless another brat has questions.”

“Probably not.” Petra taps him teasingly on the nose. “They’re all scared of you. That boy was brave.”

“You think they’ll all notice you were here?”

“It shouldn’t be something to talk about even if they did.” She withdraws for a moment, but before he can miss her warmth she joins him on the chair. It is hardly big enough for two people so she sits facing him, straddling his lap, and he wraps his arms around her and presses a kiss to her cheek, feeling the stress coiled in his spine begin to dissipate.

“You think Hanji will be satisfied with a note under the commander’s door for ‘talk to him today’?”

“I don’t want to talk about Hanji right now,” he says, his words muffled against her shoulder.

They sit in silence for a while, her hands stroking his hair, his fingers tapping occasionally against her back. He supposes their current position would constitute as hugging; he’s huddled with Isabel and Farlan before, to preserve body heat, but he never thought he liked extended periods of bodily contact with other humans. He never thought he would like hugging anybody, but there is something wonderfully soothing about holding Petra in his arms so he does not stop.

In the quiet of his office, he manages to forget for a second that he is Captain Levi, dubbed “humanity’s strongest” by the people; he forgets that he is in his office with piles of paperwork on his desk and his subordinate in his lap; he forgets that he has duties and responsibilities outside of this moment. He lets himself close his eyes and relinquish all troubling houghts, and he can feel the building stress of the past few days begin to ebb.

Of course, it is precisely then that he hears footsteps out in the hallway again.

His eyes snap open and he makes a noise of frustration; his is the only office down this corridor, and no doubt the owner of those loud shoes is coming to pay him a visit about something-or-other. He resigns himself to yet another interruption, and is about to push Petra away when she stands herself.

Instead of walking towards the door, she reaches for the candles on his desk—and blows them all out. It is late, the time between evening and night, and when the light disappears the room is plunged into darkness. The moon provides little visibility through the open curtains, though he supposes he needs to give his eyes time to adjust.


“Levi?” The voice is undoubtedly Hanji’s, and the pounding on the door is reminiscent of the scientist’s enthusiasm. “Levi, are you in there?” The doorknob rattles. “If you’re trying to ignore me, give up now. I found Erwin. You need to tell him about—”

“You’re just going to ignore that?” Levi whispers. “Hanji doesn’t give up.”

“But Hanji will get bored.” Her voice is a breath in the dark, and he can only make out the faint outline of her face. It is very close to his.

“So will we.”

He can’t see her, but he can feel her smile. “Not necessarily. There are two things people do to pass time when it’s dark. One is sleep. The other…” Her fingers rest against his jaw, then trail lower, grazing the hollow of his throat, and he swallows.


“There’s nothing else to do. Not if you want to forget someone’s looking for you.” Outside the door, Hanji is still talking. Something about using a certain percentage of the funds to support another experiment involving Titans.


“You’ll have to be quiet.” Petra slides onto his lap and smirks at his quiet intake of breath. “Are you up for that, captain?”

He presses his thumbs into her hipbones and shifts her into a more comfortable position. “I don’t know; try me.”


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