Update: FRICKFRACKFRUCK PLEASE GUYS TELL ME IF YOU WANT GENDER FLUID PRONOUNS. SORRY IF I OFFENDED ANYONE. [p/p] is preferred pronoun. So either she/he/they or her/his/their; let's be sexuality-friendly guys!
"This ain't love, it's clear to see..."
Any moment now, Levi thought. As a precaution, he gripped his tea cup and pinned down his recently-organized stack of papers, staring at the door opposite him. Planting his feet firmly on the floor, Levi strained for the tell-tale sounds of [p/p] arrival.
The second hand ticked closer and closer to the twelve o'clock mark, until –
Levi's hand forced down his papers and gripped his teacup tighter, but there was no change in the room except for the tense, black-haired man hunched over his table. Inhaling, as he had not realized he was holding his breath, Levi loosened his hold on the objects, confused. He glanced out the window; it’s not raining or anything, nothing out of the ordinary. Levi squinted his eyes, thinking why [p/p] had not arrived. Why, it was already –
Maybe Hanji didn't-, Levi began to think, but what Hanji didn't do, he never finished the thought, as the door slammed open. The pieces of paper that had been so meticulously sorted fluttered everywhere and his teacup jolted to spill some of his tea. Apparently, the force of the door rebounding was enough to jerk the windows open; further messing up the already dishevelled documents.
"You're late," growled Levi, from his spot on the floor, after he had jumped out of his chair in surprise. “I swear you wait outside the door for nine o’clock specifically,” he added in a mutter.
A grinning [girl/boy] was striding into the room, with a stack of papers in [p/p] hand. Quickly, [p/p] wiped the smile of [p/p] face, replacing it with a tired expression, sigh escaping from [p/p] lips. “Well, Cadet Jaeger and Cadet Kirschtein were fighting in the mess hall again,” explained the new arrival. “Hey, why are you on the floor?” [p/p] asked, noticing Levi slowly getting up to his feet.
“So you stopped them?” Levi asked, ignoring [p/p] question. The [girl/boy] grinned.
“What? Of course not! What a good fight to waste, why not watch it?” [p/p] replied, laughing. Levi rolled his eyes, and flipped through the paperwork that the [girl/boy] had given him.
“Is Erwin really expecting me to do this?” muttered Levi, looking at a piece of paper. [Name] had sat down in a chair and stretched like a cat. “Pick up the damn papers you messed up [Name],” Levi ordered, glaring at the [h/c] [girl/boy].
The [girl/boy] bent over and gathered the papers into one messy pile, tapping it onto the desk to even it out. [P/p] brow furrowed and [p/p] looked at the papers, turning it over and back again and flicking through the stack.
“Hey Levi,” [p/p] began. The black-haired man hummed in response. “These papers are all blank,” [p/p] finished, handing them back to Levi. The latter shrugged, and stowed them away in a drawer. [Name] blinked, and sat back down, looking out the window.
“Do these papers for me, [Name],” said Levi, sliding over a thin pile of papers towards the [h/c] [girl/boy]. [P/p] smiled and grabbed a pen from Levi’s desk, scanning the notes of the document. Soon, [p/p] was scribbling down reports and extra notations, the scratching of the pen the only sound in the room.
Levi was about to grip his cup for another sip when he noticed ripples forming on the black surface of his tea. He almost, almost, let his mouth twitch up a fraction, before putting the cup to his lips.
As he thought, [Name] was bouncing [p/p] leg while absorbed in the paperwork, oblivious of the little habit. Levi had concluded it helped [p/p] think, or vented out the usually hyper personality [p/p] had. Despite having the bold, reckless nature [Name] had, Levi had found [p/p] did not mind sitting down to complete paperwork. The first time Levi came across this habit was in a morning very much like this, paperwork on the table and [Name] sitting next to him. Levi had thought the vibrations on the table and floor were signs of a Titan’s footsteps off in the distance and had caused quite the commotion before realizing it was just [Name]’s habit.
Suddenly, [Name] looked up, a startled expression on [p/p] face, the bouncing of [p/p] leg stopping abruptly. Confused, Levi stared at [p/p], an unsaid question hovering between them.
“I just realized,” [p/p] started to explain. “You’re short (*cue growl from Levi*), and you like tea, so doesn’t that make you a Shor-tea?”
Silence hung between the two, before [Name] whispered, “I’m a genius,” before returning to the work at hand. On the other side of the table, Levi had a slightly dazed expression, like he couldn’t believe he had just wasted thirty seconds of his life.
That was uncalled for.
This can’t be happening. Why is it happening again? Years ago, I still remember her, now it’s happening again. Now it’s happening with [Name].
Levi held [Name]’s head in one hand, propping [p/p] up on the earth. [P/p] cloak was ripped, and [p/p] face pale. [Name]’s breaths came in hiccups, as [p/p] swallowed both her spit and [p/p] blood.
“I thought…. dying would be…. quicker,” [Name] gasped, chest heaving. Levi shook his head.
“You’re not dying [Name]. You just have to hang in there for a bit, someone will come with more canisters, I promise. Then we can both get out of here, and we’ll go back to headquarters, and you’ll get promoted. Maybe I’ll have to work under you, but like hell I’m going to that,” Levi murmured, and [Name] took a shaky laugh.
“Levi, even if… canisters are going to… come,” [Name] whispered, “I don’t think… I could come with… you.
“Without my legs… you know.”
Levi’s traitorous eyes strayed down to [p/p] lower half; or where [p/p] lower half should have been. Only a pair of very short stumps of flesh where [p/p] legs had been was left. The reality of it came crashing down, and suddenly, Levi had the urge that he needed much more air than he was currently taking in.
“Who needs legs, [Name]? I’ll help around; I’ll get Hanji, and Jaeger, and Kirschtein, and Ackerman, and every cadet to help you, every time you need help,” he grunted, shaking. [Name] took a shuddering breath.
“That… would be nice…” [p/p] said, and Levi nodded mutely. Then, [p/p] closed [p/p] eyes and Levi gave a jolt.
“No you’re not, brat!” he snarled, jerking [p/p] violently. [Name]’s eyes snapped open and [p/p] features contorted into rage.
“I’m tired Levi! I’m not dead yet!” [p/p] cried, and took another gulp of air. “Unfortunately.”
“S-sorry,” he apologised. Somewhere, at the back of his mind, he knew he should get up into the trees, or head back to base; the mission was finished, titans could be near.
But to leave [Name] here to die excruciatingly? Alone? He would not do that.
“The first time you legitimately apologise to me and I’m dying,” [p/p] barked, laughing. “Oh, how ironic! Next thing I need to see is you giggling uncontrollably!”
Derisively laughing, [Name]’s guffaws turned into uncontrollable sobs, and with a bloody hand, [p/p] gripped Levi’s green cloak, spreading a fungus-like shape of blood. “I don’t want to die Levi,” [p/p] whispered, tears rolling down. “I still want to do a lot of things. I want to climb the trees without Manoeuvre Gear, or try that shop next to headquarters that Commander Erwin recommended. I want to do more weird science experiments with Hanji. I want to watch another fight between Eren and Jean, and I want to laugh, in the middle of the mess hall, over their bruises and sheepish grins. I want to hug Mikasa again, and Krista, and Ymir, and maybe even Reiner and that Annie girl. I want to ride of Bertholdlt’s shoulders, if he can support me that is, and see if I can touch the ceiling.” [Name] took a shuddering breath, coughing on yet more blood. “Most of all Levi, I want to spend one more morning, picking up the scattered papers on the floor and finish one more document for you. I want to burst into your office loudly again, and argue with you. One more time, please, one more chance.”
Levi could hardly bear to hear [p/p] finish, but he bit his lip and listened.
“Levi, Levi, don’t let me die. I don’t want to die,” [p/p] whispered.
“Then stay alive!” Levi shouted, cradling [Name]. “Stay alive and we’ll do all those things!”
[Name] didn’t replied. [P/p] just stared blankly in the air in front of [p/p], like she was trying to remember something. Levi stared, afraid of blinking, afraid of when he takes his eyes of [Name] for a split second, [p/p]’ll be dead.
“Come on, [Name]. Don’t pass out. Stay with me.”
[Name] murmured something and laughed softly. Levi leaned closer, wordlessly asking for [p/p] to repeat what [p/p] said.
“Hey, you’re short and you like tea right? So doesn’t that make you a Shor-Tea?” [Name] muttered, and grinned. “You remember that Levi? Remember that one morning, the morning like every other? I want one of those mornings again…”
Levi noticed [p/p] voice was getting quieter and strained, like [p/p] was out of breath. [Name] stopped talking and seemed to concentrate on just breathing. Levi could hear the wheezing, and the gurgle of blood at the back of [Name]’s throat.
[P/p]’s dying, a voice said in his head and he flinched. Leaning down to [p/p] chest, he found the fading beat of [p/p] heart, and closed his eyes.
Stay with me.
Levi wanted no more than to continue hearing this sound, because as long as he could hear it, [Name] was alive. Keep beating, keep living, he silently urged.
Was it just him? Or was [p/p] heartbeat getting quieter, more subdued? How long had he been here? A few minutes? An hour? Days? Years? As long as [Name] was alive, it didn’t matter how long. Just stay. Stay with me [Name].
Levi felt back of his eyes prickle and choked back a strangled sound. [Name]. [P/p]’s dying. [Name]. Stay with me. [Name]. [Name]. [Name].
[Name] I’m begging you. Stay with me.
[P/p]’s dead. [P/p] couldn’t stay. [Name]. Gone.
[P/p] warmth, [p/p] radiance, [p/p] bursting personality that brightened his dreary mornings; gone. He would never see the door slam open at precisely nine o’clock in the morning with [Name] grinning in the doorway. He would never again set a pile of blank pages with no other purpose other than that when she burst through the door, minutes later he would ask [p/p] to pick them up. He would never see the surface of his tea ripple will [Name] did that infuriating habit of [p/p]'s. He wouldn’t snap at [p/p], argue with [p/p], sigh at [p/p], roll his eyes at [p/p], talk with [p/p], scold [p/p], never again, never again. Lost life, lost person, lost opportunities.
Then, as if he would see the flutter of [p/p] eyes, or hear a pun of some type, Levi murmured three words.
“Stay with me.”
"But darling, stay with me."