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#levi ackerman
mindninjax · 2 days ago
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Exist for Love
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Levi x Reader
Rating: E for Explicit
Warnings: Talk of Fertility issues, Angst with Happy Ending, Pregnancy, Sex, there’s sex it’s tame.
WC: 4K
a/n: Ok so welcome to my second and final admission for my own little Domestic Daydream collab. Holy shit this was such a blast I to host and I’m so glad y’all enjoyed it too. Once again check out the masterlist for more amazing pieces.
This piece is very very very special to my heart. If you’ve been here long enough you know my ultimate dream is to be a mother. Unfortunately my body has other plans for me and doesn’t necessarily wanna make it as easy as I want to have a baby. This fic is raw ok? I poured so so so so so many of my feelings into this because god fertility issues is fucking scary ok? It’s terrifying and sad and can cause so much fucking stress on a couple. But there’s absolutely nothing NOTHING more beautiful than finding each other again in the darkness. And in the last few weeks life’s been dark for me. And of course I’ve used Katsu as my comfort and it’s been a big help but when I sat down and wrote this idk there was so much emotion. Anyway I hope y’all enjoy it thanks for letting me be vulnerable.
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It is amazing. The joy one can get from the tiniest little mark. One stroke of a line crossed over the other and your life is changed forever. You’re frantically wiping away the tears in your eye so they do not cloud your vision.
You’ve been mistaken before, countless times in fact. And each mistake left a bigger hole inside you, ripped at the edges and tore until you thought there was nothing left. A hole that your cats couldn’t fill, that your husband couldn’t fill, that the stupidly large amounts of money you spent on stuffed animals to cuddle at night, couldn’t fill-
No, it's there. Absolutely positively for sure. There. The little pink plus sign.
But just to be sure, a second and third test to cement the fact. One that reads, clear as day, that says the word. The word you’ve always been so afraid to utter. Like it was a curse, like you’d jinx it and it wouldn’t be true anymore.
You don’t say it now. You wait, until you’re with him. So the first time you say it, his disbelief can mirror yours. So you can share in this victory together .You pee on the stick, cap it, and set it on the counter to wait the agonizingly long 3 minutes. Until the answer is clear to you.
And now you lay on the bathroom floor, the cool linoleum against your back as you stare up at the ceiling, tracing the lines with your eyes. The journey of how you’d gotten to this point weighs on your mind.
You think of your husband now. Calm, cool, collected, steely eyes boring into yours, strong arms wrapping around you as you sobbed in this same spot you sit now. The bathroom littered with negative tests strewn about the floor like cigarette butts in a smoking lounge.
“I’m sorry,” you’d sobbed into his chest, throat burning from the wailing. He’d assured you there was nothing to be sorry about and whispered loving inspirational things in your ear:
“It’s not too late.”
“There are other options.”
“This isn’t the end for us.”
They were pretty, ornamental words that you think he doesn’t mean. Those were the darkest days. The sun didn’t shine bright, all the food in your mouth bitter and unpalatable. You retracted into yourself, a shell going through the motions. Nasty little thoughts making nests in the crevices of your mind and pulling you further and further from him.
A cashier in the grocery store called you sir once on accident, not even because you looked like a man. Just a slip of the tongue from saying it so many times to the previous three men that were in front of you in line, yet it still didn’t stop you from sobbing dreadfully in the car on the way home.
Were you not woman enough for anyone? What if he left you? Loved you just a little less. What if he stayed out of pity? You can see the worry etched into his face every morning as he sets a cup of tea in front of you. You can feel the hesitation of his fingers when they drag against your back as he strolls past you to leave for work. You can feel the distance of his emotion when he kisses your forehead and tells you in a hushed deep voice “I’ll be home late tonight. Don’t wait up. Get some rest.”
You’re pulled back to the present as you sit up quickly and stop the ringing of the timer sitting on the edge of the sink.  It’s time.  It’s time to look and cast away all doubt. You take a deep quivering breath and stand. The little blue and white stick flipped over on the sink, teasing all the answers. You step forward, flip it over, close your eyes and hold your breath.
A release of breath, a gasp, and then silence.
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Fertility Treatments
In vitro fertilization
Adoption
The search history on Levi’s work computer terrorizes him, the cursor at the end of the word blinking impatiently as his finger hovers over the enter button. His mind races, asking a thousand questions and coming up with no answers. Is this the right thing? Is this what you want? Will this fix everything? Will this make you smile like you used to?
He digs the edge of his palms into his eyes, rubbing them until he’s seeing tiny little shining stars dancing in the darkness. It’s been so long since you laughed with him, smiled at him, hell, even reached your hand across the bed in your sleep to pull him closer to you. He’s losing you, he can feel it. And he can’t lose you.
There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for you. He hopes you know that, but when he looks into your sullen eyes, when he kisses your cold lips, when he listens to the sniffles and quiet sobs you try to hide from him each night, he loses a little bit of hope each time.
The work day drags, folders of cases are stacked on his desk. Levi doesn’t usually let the work get this behind but every time he opens a folder and sees a picture of a kid, or reads the details of the case, he slams it shut. He just wants to be home with you, making dinner or reading a book or watching that weird soft spoken painter on tv you like so much.
The atmosphere at home is frigid. Cold and unwelcoming and he feels like meat that’s been in the freezer too long. He’s never been good with communicating how he feels but it’s always been easy to show when it comes to you. But every touch feels distant. He sits in his car staring at the front door after the long day, the porch light on and beckoning to him. He’s decided to talk to you about the other options. He’ll fix this, be the husband you deserve.
He finds you in the living room, curled up and asleep on the couch. He smiles when he sees you breathing lightly, your eyelashes brushing against your cheeks as dreams swim behind your eyelids. You’re beautiful and he runs his fingers over your hair. Your eyes flutter open and for the first time in months you smile at him, a warm genuine smile with a light that shines behind your eyes.
"It’s time for bed,” he mutters in a deep baritone, caressing your face. You catch his hand before he pulls it away and his sharp grey eyes find yours, worry creeping into his features. “What is it?”
He searches your eyes desperately, though his expression barely changes. His skin is smooth, his eyes tired but wide, and his lips are pursed.
“Levi, I have to tell you something.”
He watches you sit up and feels you squeeze his hand, the titanium band around his finger glistening in the low light of the lamp sitting on the end table. Is this when you tell him you’re leaving? That you found someone who could give you everything you wanted? Someone who deserved you?
He gulps, eyes still locked on you.
Levi can’t lose you. You’re his world. He’s never loved anyone as much as he loves you. You’re the light in the darkest corners of his mind and he swears he’d do anything to fight for you and get you back. Anything he needed to—
“I’m pregnant.”
And then time stops.
And he blinks in astonishment.
The warmth pours back into the room the second the last syllable falls from your lips. He can feel you squeeze his hand again and he becomes painfully aware of every expression cascading across his face. Confusion, elation, relief, anxiety, and finally adoration. When he’s finished processing he opens his mouth then shuts it again and you smile.
“I went to my doctor this afternoon to confirm. She was luckily able to get me in on short notice. I’m 10 weeks,” you explain.
He can see the worry on your face when he still doesn’t say anything. He scolds himself for making the smile leave your face but he can’t stop reliving the horror of thinking you wanted to leave him.
“Levi?”
“I thought you were leaving me,” he says simply.
His voice wavers on the last word but he doesn’t think you hear it and he’s thankful for it. Your eyes widen in genuine shock and you look pained, like the lingering effects of a wound just made its rounds again.
“What? Why would you—“
“You have to ask? Did things feel normal to you?” he interrupts, frowning deeply and dropping his head. His bangs fall over his eyes and he turns away from you in shame.
“No,” you whisper. “I miss you Levi.”
“I haven’t gone anywhere.”
“I know. I know I shut you out. I know I pushed you away. I thought I didn’t deserve you. I thought I wasn’t enough for you. Because I’m broken. Because I couldn’t do the one thing I’m supposed to do naturally,” you say in a rush, voice trembling as you pull your knees up to your chest on the couch.
“You’re not broken,” he says through his teeth, growing angry at the implication that you’re not the most amazing thing in his life.
“Defective, then. I’m the toy you put back on the shelf because I don’t light up and make noises like the ones around me,” you continue, poking at the hurt you both feel right now.
“Stop.”
“It’s true.”
Until it finally erupts.
“I said stop!” Levi yells in a voice that almost doesn’t sound like him. His fists are clenched at his sides.
Very seldom does he raise his voice at you, but he can’t take much more. Levi has always thought you were the most amazing woman he’s ever known or ever will know.
For you to think… how you could ever think you were anything less than perfect causes the utmost frustration. Your eyes are filled with fat tears as you look up at him, lip trembling and on the brink of breaking down completely. He knows you’re thinking he’s going to explode on you, be angry and scold you.
But he doesn’t.
He clutches your face between his hands and stares down into your eyes. He uses his thumb to brush your cheek, right as the tear falls from your lashes and onto his thumb. Then he bends down and kisses you, slotting his lips against yours as a surprised squeak bubbles in your chest. He wraps a hand around the back of your neck to smush your lips harder against his. His eyes are squeezed shut, eyebrows knitted together in frustration as he pours every fear, disappointment, and amorous relief into the connection of your lips.
The two of you stay with your lips pressed against each other, fingers curling into each other’s hair before you whimper, open your lips, and flick your tongue against the soft pink lips of your husband. His tongue slips into your mouth easily and suddenly the kiss is heated, passionate and his hands are running down your body and pulling you closer to him.
At this moment, you’re all he needs. In all moments you’re all he wants, and in a few months, you both will have created something beautiful that will always be a reminder of how much you love each other.
But now, Levi needs to have you. He needs to show you how much he missed you, he needs to show you how much he loves you. To his surprise, you pull back first to speak breathlessly against his lips.
“I’m sorry,” you say, your eyes still closed as you press your forehead against his. The wicked thoughts swirling in his mind threaten to spill out again and wrinkles form in brow as he tries to push them away.
“Just…” he speaks through his teeth like he’s pained and begging you for relief from it, “just be with me right now. I need you. You need me. Let me be with you. Let me feel you,” his voice cracks like dry earth that’s never seen water. “ Please .”
“I do need you Levi. I need you.”
When he opens his eyes, you’re peering into them with wide glassy irises before you take his face between your hands and kiss him tenderly. He wraps a strong arm around your waist, lifting you gently and pushing you to lie on your back on the couch. He kisses down your neck, warm breath casting a comforting blanket of calm and sensual bliss over you. Your fingers scratch at the buzzed hair of his undercut and instinctively pulls a groan of pleasure from your husband’s chest.
Levi takes his time littering the pieces of skin exposed by the scooped neckline of your t-shirt with kisses. He flicks his tongue over your clavicles and hears you intake a breath and arch up into his touch. It makes him smile against your collar bones. You still crave him, your body still craves him and without thinking you cling to him, pull him closer as you wrap your arms around his broad back.
Nimble fingers reach up to pull your head to the side and expose more of your neck to him, and when he bites down into the sensitive flesh there you moan and whisper his name into the darkness. He grunts in tandem with your sweet moan and for the first time in months he feels like the two of you are one again.
You paw at the edges of his shirt, grasping the fabric and tugging it up to expose his chest. He helps you pull it over his head and you both pause as your fingers coast over his naked chest. There's so much wonder in your expression as you trace the lines of his abs, the dip of his hips into the v where the seam of his underwear squeezes into his skin. His breathing trembles, goosebumps budding on his skin as you become engrossed in his beauty. He watches you, thankful that you’re looking at him like he’s the most beautiful work of art you’ve ever witnessed, the way you used to look at him before the fertility issues.
It’s cemented when you whisper, “Beautiful,” and pull him back down to kiss him. It’s your turn to bite his neck and when you do, the sharp pain makes him grunt and rut against your thigh, cock twitching in the confines of his slacks. You detach from his neck for him to pull your shirt over head and have him palm your tits. They’re so soft and malleable in his hands, but feel unfamiliar and he looks down in confusion and gasps quietly.
Your breasts are already fuller, nipples darkened and hardened and Levi’s Adam's apple bobs as he gulps down the spit forming in his mouth at how much he wants to suck them.
“Look at you. Already changing to be a mother. So gorgeous,” he whispers as he moves down to kiss your sternum.
You whimper and pull at his luscious hair when he finally obliges in his fantasy and pops your nipple into his warm mouth. He flicks it with the tip of his tongue then loses himself in your moans and whimpers as he sucks with gusto. Your hand has ripped from his hair and plunged its way between your bodies pressed together to rub his inflated cock through his pants.
He hisses, a curse escaping through his teeth as he rocks his hips up into your hand. The two of you revel in the pleasure you’re giving each other, him nibbling and sucking your tender breast and you gripping his dick as he humps against the fabric of his pants. He can feel precum leaking through and he’s ready to rip your pants off and take you.
As if you’re living permanently inside his head, you push your clothed cunt up against his cock and beg in a desperate little mewl, “Levi...p...please I need you...please..”
He moves quickly, pulling both your pants and underwear down your legs. You messily unbutton his pants and without pulling his pants or underwear down, desperate to have your hands on him you plunge your hand down his underwear and slip it up and down his hardened member.
Levi clenches his eyes closed, concentrating on your warm grip and not coming right now. He wants to spill inside you, every little bit of himself, to be one with you again. That thought drives his actions further, rolling his pants and underwear down his muscular thighs. He places his hand around yours on his dick and pulls it away. He kisses the back of your knuckles, intertwines his fingers with yours and lies it flat near your head. Balancing himself on his elbow he uses the tip of his cock to tease your entrance.
“So wet, so eager,” he groans, kissing your cheek.
You’re already so wet, slick dribbling down your ass and staining the couch. You’re panting as he runs his dick through your lips, tapping it gently against your clit and feeling you jerk up and lift your hips greedily. Your heat is irresistible and the craving intimacy of fucking you, fucking his wife, the mother of his child and pouring his undying love into you is something he can no longer go without.
“W...want you...please…” you mewl again.
His head at your entrance, he pushes his hips forward ever so slightly, feeling the beginning ecstasy of your stretched pussy around his cock. “Look at me,” he commands softly and when you open your eyes, tears are flowing down the sides of your face.
Levi thinks he can see the answer to all of life’s mysteries in your eyes, like everything is clear and whatever hurt he feels is gone the moment he sees the love mirrored in your eyes.
It’s affirmed when you say with no hesitation, no wavering confidence, “I love you Levi.”
He pushes all the way inside of you, thick cock head pushing past the tight ring of muscle, dragging against every ridge of your velvety walls and finally bottoming out to be connected with you again. He doesn’t realize tears are also cascading down his cheeks until your hand is caressing his face and wiping his tears away. He drops his head to bury it into your neck, and he stays embedded inside you, gathering his emotions, focusing on your clenching pussy, and your soft voice in his ear, repeating over and over how much you love him.
“I...I will always love you… no matter what happens,” he stammers, pulling back to look into your eyes, and it’s his turn to wipe your tears.
And then he pulls out of you and snaps back in, thrusting with all his might. Your hands drop to grasp his ass and pull him more into you. He’s breathing hard, grunting feral groans as he fucks you, deep and desperate. Both of you kiss all over each other’s bodies, sloppy, wet smacks that blend perfectly with the lewd squelching slaps of his balls against your ass.
Your cunt is squeezing him, tighter than it ever has and Levi wonders if it’s because of the pregnancy. It makes him drive harder into you, pulling wails of pleasure from you, his name exploding from your lips over and over. Your fingers dig into the cheeks of his ass, nails breaking the skin and he winces at the pain but doesn’t let up.
When your legs are shaking and your orgasm rips through you, Levi can feel your walls constrict and he pushes your legs closer to your chest, changing the angle his cock knocks against your insides and suddenly you’re yelling, a new sensation wracking your senses. He’s hitting a spot he’s never hit before and it feels like heaven to hear the way your pleasurable moans have changed.
He’s on the cusp of spilling into you, a few more thrusts and white thick cum, a buildup of all the cum he’s been wanting to paint your insides with, fills you. He cries out, a deep husky long moan before he plasters his lips against yours and holds your body against his. He’s shaking as you milk him dry, and when he thinks there’s no more he can give you, he collapses on top of you.
You both catch your breath, the musty scent of sex now filling the room, one more reminder of the love the two of you share for each other. You kiss his forehead, repeating “I love you” over and over. It’s so warm in your home now, the trembling icy cold Levi felt when he first walked in all but vanished now that he has you back in his arms. As both of your breathing slows, Levi knows it’ll be ok, at least for now. He smiles to himself as you drift off to sleep below him.
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It is amazing. The joy one can get from the smallest little sound. One repeating little thump of a beat that signifies life and new beginnings. You put your hand over your husband’s as it rests atop your swollen belly. The obstetrician moves the cold wand over your belly to help you see your little miracle from a better angle.
“Would you like to know the sex?” she asks with a big smile.
You peer up at Levi hopefully and he sighs and rolls his eyes playfully before answering. “Sure, I think we’ve had enough surprises.”
“It’s a girl,” the doctor replies and you squeeze his hand in excitement. You’re beaming at him and he places a chaste kiss on your forehead.
“I’m going to go print a copy of the ultrasound and give you two a moment. Congratulations again!” she says shaking you and Levi’s hand.
When the door closes behind her you gaze lovingly at your bump, cradling it. “A girl. Ahh we have to think of names,” you say, putting a finger to your lip in a thinking motion.
“Actually, I thought of one,” Levi replies simply.
You look up at him, shock painting your features and then your expression turns into a testing smirk. “Aww you’ve been wanting a little girl haven’t you? Hoping she’ll be Daddy’s Little Princess?” you tease.
He blows out a faux annoyed breath and you chuckle. “You want to hear it or not?” he quips.
“Lay it on me Daddio,” you say chuckling at the nickname you know he can’t stand.
“Eliana.”
You blink. It’s… beautiful and strangely the moment he says it, you attach it to your unborn child as if she were meant to be named that. “That's beautiful, Levi. I love it,” you reply with genuine emotion. “How’d you think of it?”
He turns away, his cheeks dusting with red. “It means ‘god has answered’.”
You stifle a sob, your hormones always threatening to have you cry for any old thing. But this...this is different. You take his hand, crane your body to grab his face and make him look into your eyes. As always he’s beautiful and you secretly hope Eliana has his eyes. Your expression says you love him without you having to say it aloud and he nods as a tiny smile fights its way onto his face.
You squeeze his hand and whisper right before the doctor comes back into the room, “It’s perfect.”
--
Thanks for reading!
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lewajagejman · a day ago
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"Don't. If you begin to regret, you'll let others make choices for you. All that's left for you then is to die."
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Levi loved to listen to you.
He loved to hear your voice,the different tone of it,and he particularly liked your excited voice,the one you were using right now as you told him about your day. All his attention,every single one of his thoughts was focused on you,from the way you held your tea cup to how your eyes looked in the light.
He was so focused on you that he didn't notice his hand moving until he saw it on your cheek,until he saw it tuck this fallen piece of hair behind your ear. When he noticed it,he withdrawn his hand quickly,his fingers brushing your face as he did.
Some part of him feared that it had disturb you because of the way you'd stopped talking,and because of how red your face had turned.And some part of him wanted to do it again,just to be able to feel some of your skin against his,even for a few seconds.
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sabitosimpb · 2 days ago
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Stay with Me
“Oh my God, is he…?”
“He’s alive!” Hanji replied, half-running, half-limping across the front lawn.
You stood frozen in the doorway of the small cottage, eyes wide with horror as you beheld who exactly Hanji carried in her arms. There was blood everywhere – so much blood, and his face…
You mentally smacked yourself, fighting back the shock that threatened to immobilize you. Now wasn’t the time. As your breathing steadied, a calm focus filled your mind, like the eye in the middle of a storm. You had work to do.
You rushed out to meet Hanji. “Let’s get him inside!” You had to yell so she could hear you over the pouring rain. “What happened?” you asked, taking some of his weight so the three of you could move faster.
“A thunderspear,” Hanji heaved breathlessly as you burst into the house. “I don’t know the details, but somehow, Zeke Jaeger got ahold of one and set it off. Zeke was able to heal himself, but…” she trailed off, not needing to explain when the evidence was right in front of you.
“In here,” you instructed, leading Hanji to one of the first-floor bedrooms. “Supplies are in the closet.”
“Got it.” Hanji helped you lower him to the bed, then rushed off for the medical kit.
Standing there, you were able to get a good look at Levi for the first time. Only by pressing your fingers to the pulse at his wrist could you verify Hanji’s claim that he was, in fact, alive. His face had been shredded, and a quick glance told you that two of his fingers were missing. The one small mercy, you supposed, was that he remained unconscious. Otherwise, the pain would have been unimaginable.
“Please, stay with me,” you begged silently.
When Hanji returned with the medical kit, you suppressed the urge to start with the shrapnel in his face. Bad as that looked, his vital organs had to come first. You took a knife and cut off his uniform, assessing the damage to his torso.
Then you began the work of saving your husband’s life.
It felt like hours. Perhaps it had been. Through it all, you remained in a state of cool, detached focus – as if you were helping a complete stranger and not the man you loved. It was the only way to keep yourself from shattering.
Finally, you covered the last of the stitches with bandages. Hanji placed two fingers on his pulse, monitored his breathing. After what seemed like an eternity, she said numbly, “He’ll live.”
You released a breath you didn’t know you had been holding. With it, your wall came crashing down. You slid to the floor, bringing your knees to your chest and shaking uncontrollably. Your breathing became quick and shallow as you tried to absorb oxygen in between sobs. You brought your hands to your head in a futile attempt to hold yourself together. It didn’t help that they were still covered in Levi’s blood.
“Hey,” Hanji breathed, voice full of concern as she wrapped her arms around you. “It’s going to be alright. He’s going to be alright.”
Hanji held you until you worked through all the emotions that had been bottled-up since you saw them on the lawn. When you could finally breathe again, you whispered, “Thank you, Hanji. He would never have made it without you.”
Hanji gave you a gentle squeeze before letting go. Then she helped you to your feet so the two of you could deal with the mess. The bed was covered in blood and rainwater, likely soaked through to the mattress, so you carefully moved Levi to the bedroom across the hall.
“I’ll clean up the other room,” Hanji said, handing you a folded set of nightclothes. “You stay with him.”
You sensed that she was doing this for your own comfort and sanity, so you gave her a grateful nod. After she left, you used a spare towel to wipe the blood from your arms and face. Then you removed your ruined uniform and slid on the nightclothes.
You moved to the side of the bed and stared at Levi. Despite what Hanji had said, he still looked…
You pressed two fingers his neck, just to be sure. His pulse was faint, but it was there.
Exhausted, you curled up on the bed next to him, covering both of you with the blanket. You pressed close, needing to feel that he was there with you. Then gently – so, so gently, you rested your hand on top of his heart. Comforted by the small thump-thump under your palm, you closed your eyes and allowed sleep to take you.
You awoke to bright sunlight filtering in through the curtains. A quick check told you that Levi remained alive and was sleeping peacefully. Still drained from the night before – both physically and emotionally – you drifted back into unconsciousness.
The next time you opened your eyes, it was dark once again. No longer tired, but not wanting to leave Levi’s side, you stayed where you were and gazed at his still-sleeping form. He was covered in bandages, but you kept picturing the gashes underneath, knowing those scars would remain forever. And his missing fingers…you couldn’t even imagine how he would react when he woke up. Would he be able to fight again? Would he want to? If he did, the rehabilitation would take months at best. Even simple things like holding a teacup would require a whole new process.
You hated that he had to go through this. And you hated Zeke Jaeger just as intensely.
You sat up so you could get a better view of Levi. Sighing, you lightly pressed the back of your hand to his forehead. His fever had gone down, at least. That was good.
As you removed your hand, Levi made a small sound, and his left eyelid fluttered. His right eye was still covered by the bandage. As severely as it was lacerated, you didn’t know if he would ever see from it again. The thought almost made you sick.
You held your breath as he slowly entered consciousness.
Recognition sparked as his eye landed on you. “(F/n)?” he croaked and tried to sit up. He hissed at the movement, his body tensing with pain.
“Shh. Don’t try to get up,” you instructed, keeping the worry from your voice. You delicately put a hand on his shoulder to hold him down. You could see the questions swirling in his eye, so you explained, “You’re safe now. You got caught in a thunderspear explosion, but Hanji rescued you.”
“I remember…” Levi breathed. Then, with sudden urgency, “Zeke! What happened – ”
“Shh,” you repeated, trying to calm him down. “Hanji said that Zeke survived. But it’s alright. He won’t find us here. The Jaegerists don’t even know this place exists.” You had gone to a lot of trouble to establish several safehouses around the island, for the day Zeke Jaeger inevitably betrayed you. The only ones who knew about them were your squad – whom you trusted with your life – and Hanji. As commander of the Scouts, she had sanctioned your idea when you first brought it up, and agreed that knowledge of these safehouses should be kept to a very select few.
Levi stared at you for a long moment before asking, “How bad?”
You knew what he meant. But you couldn’t bring yourself to answer just now. Instead, you got up and muttered, “You must be thirsty. I’ll get you some water.”
You walked to a small table on the opposite wall and picked up the pitcher that Hanji had brought for when Levi woke up. Levi waited silently as you filled a glass and brought it back. You helped him sit up, each one of his pained winces like a knife in your heart.
You held the glass to his lips so he could drink. “Slowly,” you instructed.
Levi obediently sipped the water. Once he was done, you set the glass on the bedside table. Then Levi looked you in the eye and asked again, “How bad is it, (f/n)?”
You knew you should tell him, but the words caught in your throat. You leapt to your feet, stammering, “I’ll get you some more water.”
Levi’s hand shot out and grabbed your wrist. He growled at the pain, but held firm. “(F/n), please just – ” He suddenly stopped talking when he realized that he was only gripping your arm with three fingers, not five.
You took a deep breath. Then slowly, you detached his hand and cradled it in your own. Holding his gaze, you sat back down on the bed. You didn’t sugarcoat anything as you explained the extent of his injuries, knowing he would want the truth. However, you still tried to speak as delicately as possible.
When you were done, Levi slid his hand from yours and stared at the space where his fingers used to be. You watched silently, giving him time to process. After a few moments, he asked, “Will I be able to fight?”
“I don’t know,” you answered honestly.
Levi brought his maimed hand to his face, feeling the bandages there. “I want to see it,” he whispered.
You started. “Levi, I don’t think – ”
“Please, (f/n).” The smallest hint of vulnerability seeped into his quiet words. Your heart stopped. Levi was the strongest person you knew, and to see him like this…
With a trembling sigh, you acquiesced. You grabbed a hand mirror from the vanity table and held it up for him. Relying mostly on his left hand, he slowly unwrapped the bandages from around his face, revealing the crisscross of several stitched-together gashes. His eye widened as he took in the damage that would never heal completely – not even close.
At that, your eyes welled with tears. You quickly turned away so he wouldn’t see you cry.
Levi noticed that you wouldn’t look at him. However, not knowing your motivation, an entirely different thought filled his mind – one that hurt more than any physical injury ever could. He tilted his head away from you, lowering his gaze to the bed. Using his left hand, he pushed the mirror down so you wouldn’t have to keep holding it. After a long moment, he said softly, “(F/n)…I would understand if you don’t want to stay with me anymore.”
You whipped your head around, eyes wide with shock. “What?” you breathed. “No…no, Levi, that’s not…” You struggled to find the words as your mind whirled. What could possibly make him believe that you would want to leave him? Did he consider himself so unlovable that he thought something like this would scare you away?
You scooted closer to him. “Levi,” you cried, desperately needing him to understand. He lifted his gaze to meet yours. You could see the agony there, and it broke your heart. As gingerly as you could, you cupped his face in your hands, rushing to get the words out. “I’ve always thought you were the most beautiful person in the world, and this…” You stroked a thumb over his ruined cheek. “…doesn’t change that. I love you, Levi. And I will never stop loving you. I’m only crying because I hate that this happened to you. You…you don’t deserve this.” On the last phrase, your voice broke.
Levi’s eye drifted downward again, as if he didn’t quite believe you. You didn’t know what else to do. As carefully as you could – so as not to rip the stitches – you leaned in and pressed a kiss to the first cut on his left cheek.
Levi closed his eye, savoring the feeling. His gaze followed you as you brushed a kiss to the next cut. Then the next. And the next.
You continued with the cut on the right side of his jaw. Then you pressed light kisses down the gash that sliced his face in two. You caressed his forehead, his closed right eye, his cheek, right above his lips. You skirted down to his chin and placed a kiss along the end of the stitches. Then you hovered barely an inch from his lips, waiting. His gaze met yours, and you knew that he finally understood. You loosed a breath before you gently pressed your lips to his.
After a moment, he relaxed in your embrace. He lifted his hand as if to cup your face, but stopped halfway. You watched out of the corner of your eye as his three fingers curled inward and his hand started to fall. You caught it in your own, holding it carefully in the space between you two. You lightly grazed a thumb over his bandaged knuckles, once, twice. Then you leaned down and placed a kiss right above where is fingers used to be.
Keeping your gaze locked on his – making sure he understood every step of the way – you slowly lifted his hand to your cheek. You tilted your head into his palm, fresh tears filling your eyes at the contact. It didn’t matter to you whether he had three fingers or five or none. You wanted him to hold you, just like he always had.
A single tear spilled down your cheek. With a loving stroke of his thumb, Levi wiped it away. You closed your eyes and savored that touch. After a moment, you opened your eyes again, finding Levi’s gaze. For what seemed like an eternity, the two of you sat motionless, just staring at each other.
You leaned in again, twining your right hand with his left as you pressed your lips to his once more. This time, Levi moved with you, as much as he could without tearing the stitches. There was nothing heated in your kisses, but that made them more intimate, in a way. He was here, and he was alive, and you wanted to cherish the feeling of just being together.
After a few more feather-light kisses, you pulled away. You didn’t want to push your luck with his stitches. And that reminded you: Levi was practically your patient, and you had to take care of him. First off, he needed to eat something.
When you told Levi that you were going to get him food, he cocked an eyebrow. “I’m not hungry,” he replied flatly.
“Levi, you haven’t eaten in days,” you reminded him. He opened his mouth to argue, but you cut him off. “No. I’m taking care of you, so you have to do what I say.”
Levi rolled his eye. “Tch. Demanding brat,” he muttered.
You smiled, glad to see his mood return to normal.
You fixed a small bowl of oatmeal, trying for something that wouldn’t upset his stomach. Levi grumbled and growled when you insisted on feeding him, but ultimately he complied. When he was done, you helped him lie down and readied to leave, saying that he should sleep more.
“(F/n),” Levi began, grabbing your arm before you could take a step. When you turned back, he met your eyes with such sincerity that your breath caught in your throat. “Stay with me,” he breathed.
You smiled and slid under the covers next to him. Levi stared at you for a minute before his eye finally fluttered closed. His breathing slowed, and you knew he was asleep. You watched him for a long time after that, until you also drifted into a peaceful slumber, grateful that Levi was able to stay with you, too.
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saveyourt3ars · 14 hours ago
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Levi really wants know you. He wants to know your passions, your little hobbies, the things and the people you like. He wants to talk about dumb shit with you and learn your favorite colour, wants to go on cheesy dates with you and explore the woods and go on picnics. He wants to have deep conversations and lighthearted ones too. He wants to know you, because he thinks the world of you. He wants to have the deepest and softest relationship with you and as he sits there drinking his tea at the other side of the hall, secretly watching you, he hopes that just maybe you would want the same things with him.
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gears-and-glasses · a day ago
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Levi and Hange standing on their running horses🔥
Chills.
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xsugarysweetsx · 2 days ago
20 ^_^
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fact; If Levi caught two of his squad members doing the deed, he would stay quiet, walk away and cry
Please enjoy~🍰
Warnings; mentions of sex but not explicit; language
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"Levi you will not believe what just happened.....Levi? Levi why are you crying?" you said rushing over to Levi, the one man who barely showed his true emotions
"Those damn brats traumatized me" he sniffed as he blew into his napkin "Damn brats and their disgusting hormones" he scoffed
"Wait, wait....what happened?" you ask wanting a clear picture
<>
*Clunk*
"The hell was that?" Levi said as he was walking down the hall. An unusual thunk coming from the closet where his cleaning supplies were. When he reaches for the handle and opens the door he's come face to face with the worst thing to see.
Two cadets were having sex in the closet. Their arms were the only thing that was covered at that point. What was worse is all three of them were staring at each other, frozen at the moment.
Levi then closed the door calmly, and walked back to his office, sat in his chair, and thought his life over.
<>
"So...you walked in on cadets doing it" Levi nods
"...we do it every other da-"
"It's different!" he cuts you off
It took him over 2 weeks to even forget what happened
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I hope you enjoyed!
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citrus-simp · 2 days ago
Hope everything is okay. I just wanted to say I love your writing and both blogs :) if you ever do open requests again, and even if you do you don’t have to write this. But how about a drabble of levi and his wife who have 2 sons and 1 daughter named Kutchel who is 3/4. Levi loves all his kids but kinda has a soft spot for kutchel🥺 and sometimes her brothers exclude her from play n are mean to her so she comes up to him trembling like “why won’t they play w me daddy”. Cue levi. Rest is up to u.
{AN}-> first of all, thank you so much for the love and support and of course for reading my work! And yes I am doing better thank you for the wishes! I am and ULTIMATE simp for papa Levi!
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"I'm home" Levi called out as he slipped out of his work shoes and hung his blazer
"Dad! Look what I won today at practice!"
"Dad look at the grade I got o my test today!" your sons yell as they ran to their father holding up objects for him to look at.
Your eldest Liam who was 8 showed him what his football coach gave him, at practice. He had done very well and had gotten a button that said MVP on it, he was very proud of himself. Eli, your younger son who was 6, wanted him to know how well he was doing in his classes. He was top of his class and loved to show you both how hard he worked
"Congrats to both of you, I'm proud of you both for working so hard," he said ruffling their hair, gaining a big smile from them both
"Welcome home, Levi" you popped in with Kutchel in your arms, pecking Levi's lips. Your youngest and only daughter, Kutchel. She was 3, and definitely had Levi wrapped around her little finger.
The thing was, not only was she named after his mother, she looked so much like her! Of course, she had certain things from you but her eye shape, and nose were from his mother. Unfortunately, Levi lost his mother before Kutchel was born. It took a toll on him, all the things she had done to care for him, her sacrifice, everything.
He felt as though he was never able to repay her. Next thing you know about a year later, you found out about your pregnancy, with your first girl. The day she was born, Levi felt something he never had before. It was almost like he had completely healed from his loss when he looked at her.
"Papa!" she reached out for her father to take her, which he gladly did
"Hey there princess," he said kissing her chubby cheek "what did you do today?"
"Me and mama went to the park and I fed the birdies," she said with a rosy smile.
"Oh look at you doing big girl things! I'm so proud of you princess." he smiled at her and raised her above his head. Her brothers watching a bit disappointed from a distance.
Did they hate their sister? No. Their parents taught them to respect and love their sister, which they did. But at their age, jealousy was something big among siblings. Seeing how their father would be more affectionate towards their sister made them feel different. They saw that their father would gravitate more to their sister than to them. Or he would put her first before them when asked to spend time with them.
Of course, you had noticed this way before time. You had asked him when you were pregnant with Eli that he wouldn't have favorites and love all your kids equally. You knew that could make a bad relationship with his kids and between siblings so you wanted to avoid it. Sometimes you'd step in and try to give your sons the same praise, but of course, they still wanted their father's attention.
"Liam why don't you go and find a nice place to put that MVP button in your room, like a trophy" you try and lighten the mood "and Eli, I'm sure I have a frame for that test of yours" thank the god it actually worked as both boys run in different directions for each of their own things to do.
"Levi, did you see the boys' accomplishments?' you ask
"Y/N, I know where you're going with this. I paid attention to all of them, Liam is doing great in football, and Eli is practically a genius," he said putting down Kutchel
"*sigh* I know I just-"
"Want no one hurt I know, well how about you meet me in the kitchen and we can talk it out alright? Kutchel sweetheart, why don't you go and play with your brothers while I talk with mommy okay?" he said ruffling her hair
" 'Kay!" she said running up the stairs to where she'd find her brothers most likely.
"And what would this talk be about?" you ask raising an eyebrow as his hands found your waist
"Oh just about how I have some time to kiss you properly~"
>
" 'iam" Kutchel said as she enters his room, Eli in the same as they played together "can I pway with you and E-i?"
"No Kutchel, go away" Liam sneered "we don't play with babies"
"I'm not a baby!" she pouted
"Go away Kutchel, you're not smart enough to play this game either way," Eli said motioning to the board where he and his brother were playing chess "Maybe dad wants your company" Eli may be smart but he also got his father's sassy mouth
"B-but I wanna pway with you" he pouted trying not to cry as she sniffed
"Kutchel just go away, ugh you're so annoying when you cry"
"Yeah, and only babies cry."
"I-I not...a-a baby," she said as tears pooled in her eyes, of course, they would tease her playfully at times but this time Kutchel really did feel hurt
"Whatever, the only reason gives you so much attention is 'cause you were a mistake and he doesn't want you feeling bad" Eli sneered without thinking
"N-not true!" she stopped her feet as tears started to fall from her eyes, but she just couldn't handle any more ridicule from her brothers and left.
Meanwhile, you and Levi were in the kitchen caught in a makeout session when you heard a certain someone crying "Papa, mommy!"
It wasn't a regular call, she sounded hurt and heartbroken causing you both to separate quickly
"Kutchel, sweetheart what happened?" you ask as you kneel down and she crashes into your arm and lets out all her tears. Levi kneels beside you and strokes her back trying to comfort her some more
"P-papa, why won't 'iam let me play?" she asked her father as she peaked from your shoulder "T-they say I was a mistake.." she sniffed and you swore you could see the fire in his eyes. You stood up with Kutchel in your arms as Levi shot up and walked towards the stairs
"Levi! Levi, keep your anger in control, don't you dare-"
"Y/N, I won't do anything brash, but they can't say crap like that. I for sure didn't raise them this way. Just watch Kutchel, I'll talk to the boys"
Levi would NEVER lay a hand on his kids, but you didn't want him scolding either. However, they couldn't just say what they wanted to their sister thinking it was okay. Especially to the point of her crying.
"Come on baby, let's go watch the birds outside okay?"
Meanwhile, Levi is now knocking on Liam's door "Liam, Eli, come downstairs" he said while taking the lead waiting on them. He sat in a chair in front of the sofa and watched his sons take a seat. They looked like they knew what happened...
"Is there something you want to tell me? Like why Kutchel came to us crying? Asking if she was a mistake?" he said with a firm voice but not yelling at them. But enough to let them know he was very serious about the situation. Eli started to fidget with his fingers while looking down in his lap. Liam keeps eye contact with his father trying to keep a straight face.
"We didn't want to play with her so we said that so she'd leave..." Liam said
"That doesn't justify calling her a mistake. All three of you are here because your mother and I wanted you and we were happy as hell to have all of you."
"Even if you wanted all of us, it's not like you love all of us the same" Eli said crossing his arms
"Eli, that isn't-"
"you always put her first. Even if we come to you, whenever she comes you act more affectionate and happy with her just existing"
"We always have to do something just to get your attention...it sucks dad..." Liam added, "why can't you just love us how you love her?"
Levi was honestly hurt. He didn't want this to happen. He loved his sons to the moon and back. Maybe it was true that Kutchel got more attention from him but it didn't mean he didn't love them
"Boys, do you remember grandma?" Levi asked relaxing his posture a bit. Both boys nodded "Well, your sister looks a lot like my mother, it's why we gave her that name. I think I got attached to her in a way to cope with losing her. But I never want you to think I don't love you." he said kneeling in front of the two children
"The day you were both born were two of my happiest moments. You know I cried the first time you walked to me, Liam? And the day you told off Hanji made me laugh, Eli" he shared with them "I love Kutchel, but I also love you both to the end of my days. But I am sorry." he apologized opening his arms for them.
Hopping off the couch they have a warm group hug
"Alright, you two. I apologized but you still have some apologizing to do with your mother and sister," he said taking their hands and walking to the back porch where you sat with Kutchel
Levi clears his throat "You and Kutshcel have some visitors" he said with a nod to his hands
"Oh? What would these visitors like to say?" you ask in hope of a good outcome
"We're sorry we were mean to you Kutchel" Eli started
"Yeah, we didn't mean it, really. We were a little jealous but we never meant to hurt you. We love you" Liam followed
Kutchel pouted, not making eye contact "Really?" she asked
"Really really." they both offer a smile Kutchel jumps up from your arms and runs to hug her brothers. Walking over to Levi you kiss his shoulder and say
"Guess you'll be getting a reward for this accomplishment~"
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levis-toy · a day ago
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Can I sit here?
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Summary ; AOT men react to you asking to sit on their face.
Fet ; Levi, Armin, Eren, Jean, Connie X Fem reader
TW ; face sitting, mentions of riding 
LEVI
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He would be totally unfazed by the question.
He would just looking at you with his normal hard lined mouth expression.
“That is an absolutely filthy act, brat”
Would tell you to come to his office later before going back to what ever he was doing. 
“You wanted to see me sir” you say entering Levis office. “Yes I did “ He gets up from his desk, taking off his signature white scarf making his way to lay down on the couch. You watch as he begins to wipe his face off with the scarf in his hands while looking at you. “Ugh sir what are you doing?” You ask. “Cleaning off your seat. Now take off those pants and sit on my mouth brat”
ARMIN
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You broke the poor man for a minute.
Armin.exe not working 
Face would be as red at a tomato.
After he gets over his initial shook he will not stop babbling 
“You.. you want to sit where!?”
After some reassurance he down and even eager.
“You..you want to s..sit where!?” Armin stutters out after a moment  “On you face ‘Min” you say back against the shell of his ear, shifting in his lap. “Please ‘Min, just want you to make me feel good. Only you can do that, make me feel so good” You can feel his resolve melting away at your wolds, his hand sliding up your back. “If that's what you really want” He stands the two of you up before taking your hand to lead you to his room “Just be ready to not walk tomorrow babe” he says with his sweet smile. 
CONNIE
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Would blush at first
Man is so down before the words are even fully out of your mouth
“When? We can go now, we don’t have anymore training the rest of the night!”
Very eager and enthusiastic about showing you what he can do. 
Would be pulling you down to his room right away.
“Connie” you whine, cozying up to his side and leaning in to his ear “Can I sit on your fa-” “YES!” he says very eagerly. Turning to you, blush creeping along his face. Laughing a little “I didn't even finish my sentence” He stands up grabbing your hand to pull you to your feet “Don’t have to. Know what you want and I am more then willing to, lets go pretty. Were done with training today” You allow him to pull you away from every one and toward your room “Hey where you going?” Jean calls “MIND YOUR BUSINESS” Connie calls out “I cant wait to have you shaking above me” he says a smile on his face. 
EREN
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He would just give you a cocky smile. 
His gaze would be intimidating as he gets closer to you
“And what do I get out of that?”
He’d have you sitting on his face backwards so you can repay the favor. 
“You want to sit on my face huh?” He glares down at you. Both his large hands pressed to the wall behind you, next to your head caging you in “Yes ‘Ren” you nod. “And what do I get out of this?” You look up “What would you like” He gives off a low chuckle. “Your gonna sit on my face backwards and be a good girl and repay me too” HIs words sending a jult down between your legs, as you nod your head. He grips your hand leading you to the rooms. “Come on good girl”
JEAN
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This cocky MF
Taken aback at first then gives you a little smirk
“Oh you want to sit on my face huh I dont blame you” 
He’s just happy your giving him attention.
Very eagerly stops what hes doing to leave with you.
“You want to what now?” He looks at you a little shocked. You just look up at him with your big eyes. The realization of your words sets in as a smirk sets on his face “Oh so you want a ride huh?” You shake your head yes “After dinner” you say going to pick up your cup of water. His hand grabs yours. “Nope, let’s go. Your my dinner tonight baby” he says as he leads you away from the dining hall. “And after you leave my face a mess, I’ll let you ride something else” he says as he drags your hand across the front of his pants. [ you cant tell me he wouldnt ]
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little-spoiled-brat · a day ago
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you almost fainted then and there, seeing the results of the test you asked hange to do to you a couple days ago. hange had written it on the dead center of the paper in capital letters. the word: pregnant.
you were in shock that you didn’t even realize hange waving her hand in front of your face after calling your name multiple times and not getting a reaction. you looked up at her with misty eyes, your hands finding their way on your stomach.
“do i go get shorty or?” hange started, pointing at the door to your bedroom with her thumb and all you could do was nod. a cascade of emotions fell down on you before you even realized it — happiness, love, protection.
you were happy that you were in fact, bearing levi’s child. that after months of trying, you had finally gotten the baby you were both asking for.
“tch, four eyes- brat? are you okay?“ levi’s voice reached your ears, his tone shifting from that cold tone he uses on everyone to a softer tone he only uses on you — and soon, the baby.
”i’m pregnant” you whispered, it was barely audible but you knew levi heard it by the way he froze on the spot. “y-you’re w-what?”
you looked up at him, seeing the same misty eyes that matched yours. you smiled, a tear falling down your cheek.
”i’m pregnant, levi” you repeated and before you could even react, you were lifted off of your spot on the bed and into the warm embrace of levi’s arms. tears fell down his cheeks as he crashed his lips on yours.
”you’re not messing with me, are you?” levi asked, narrowing his eyes at you as you chuckled and shook your head. “no, levi. i’m being completely serious”
you wiggled in levi’s arms as he put you down and you reached for the paper that held the results of your test, handing it over to him. you watched him as the smile on his face grew even more while reading the words written on it. without given more time to react again, you were pulled into the embrace of levi’s arms once more.
”thank you, y/n and i promise i’ll never let anything bad happen to you or our baby”
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ackerfics · 19 hours ago
can you do a royal au with levi&&purple rose? 🥺 if this is too much, you can ignore this! also belated happy birthday and congrats on 600 followers!!
sunshine — levi ackerman (i)
— levi ackerman x female reader (tangled au| royal au (in a way))
— prompt: purple rose; enchantment.
— warnings: overbearing, manipulative, and possessive mother (we all know who this is dwjjwd). other than that, there's nothing else. this will be mainly fluff anyway <33
— summary: a story of an orphaned thug, a locked-up flower, and their dreams. the former is fated to have one of the most sought-out treasures inside the island's walls; while the latter will once again retake her destiny as the brightest star in the kingdom. it's safe to say that their lives begin the moment they met each other.
— word count: 7.9k
— notes: hey hey hey !!! it's been a while since i posted a fic here and every time i post one, i get nervous swjhsnwj especially this one because this will follow tangled, our comfort movie <3 for the event, if there are duplicates in some flowers, i'll still write them, dw ^^ just a little fun fact, i got this idea while watching the movie with my little sister but the flynn in my head was supposed to be eren ... however, once i saw the scene where flynn looks so broody while rapunzel skips after getting out the tower ... levi, it is hhhhdhwj sooo, without further ado, here's the tangled au everybody is so excited about !! happy reading, everyone <33
reblogs and feedback are greatly appreciated !! <3
this is part of my 600 milestone event !!
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Living in the Underground City has its perks.
Hiding in the shadows, blending with the walls, walking past guards undetected — they’re doing wonders to the group of people lurking on the rooftops of the golden palace overlooking the capital. Years of surviving in the rancid expanse of caves underneath the brilliant island kingdom of Paradis prepared Levi Ackerman, the notorious leader of the gang of misfits that ruled over the Underground, for the mission that will give them their freedom. It’s not a simple feat but if someone pickpocketed a few times when they were younger, they’re bound for the greater things in the merry-go-round of life. So, when a shady noble along with his lackeys entered their headquarters in the Underground demanding for a diadem of the lost princess in the promise of their aboveground citizenship, Levi is ready to risk it all.
It’s only a royal-less crown so what could go wrong?
Levi looks back to his family, a red-haired girl and a blonde man (the former skipping in between the gilded turrets while the latter scolding the girl for being reckless), before narrowing his eyes at the two men the noble assigned to be their ‘chaperones’, who are supervising them from the ground. Irritation seeps through every fiber of the black-haired man’s body, remembering the exact words of the pompous bastard. These men will ensure that you get the job done. That diadem is worth millions and it will help me with my bankruptcy. No one will wear it in the coming years anyway. Do the job, underground rat, and your wish will be granted. As if dangling their freedom is every bit of a chivalrous charity deed.
A huff escapes Levi’s lips. He takes out an elaborate map of the castle and tries reading it under the scorching heat of the summer sun. His skin is starting to redden from the harsh sunrays and Levi wanted nothing more than to soak in a tub of ice-cold water in the inn that they’re staying, courtesy of the idiotic bastard. He skims through the passages, hallways, and ballrooms; eyes flickering every once in a while on the soft rooftops and towers. “We’re probably here right now,” he murmurs, pointing at the main ballroom of the castle. “This should be the ballroom, seeing as there are no turrets in this area. The guarded memorabilia of the princess is just a few halls down.”
“They’re serious about this, huh?” Farlan chimes in from over Levi’s shoulder. “This map is so detailed that I’m starting to think that they’re the engineers for this place. What are they going to do with the diadem? Sell it to another kingdom? That’s just outrageous.”
“Well, we’re part of this outrageous plan, Farlan,” Levi dryly replies, rolling the map and tucking it inside his satchel. “There’s no going back. Plus, after this, no one will know of the identities of the thieving rats taking the only thing left of the lost princess. We’re in the clear.”
“But still—”
“I’m so excited for us to finish this job!” Isabel vibrantly adds on, green eyes giddily taking in the scenario of the capital and the marketplace. “Just imagine all the food we can buy and the places we can travel to. No stingy replacements for stars here!”
Levi pats Isabel’s head affectionately before fixing his attention forward. “Let’s take off some of the roofs up ahead. From what the map has been telling us, the ceiling above the memorial is loose. They are tiles fitted against each other. That should be enough for one of us to enter while the other two keep watch.” He walks with silent footsteps, still aware that there are guards stationed on the balconies. “I thought this palace is one of the well-structured ones around the world, why would they design something that lousy?” Levi carefully jumps over a ledge leading to the end of the long rooftop, where the key to their freedom is sitting.
Farlan follows Levi, reaching out a hand to Isabel to help her jump down from the ledge. “It’s a part of the castle that’s only built nearly twenty years ago. Of course, it’s not going to be as grandeur as the rest of this centuries-old palace. Besides, if the architecture to the room of the diadem has the same barricade as the walls of this kingdom, we won’t even have a chance of getting in.”
“He’s got a point, you know,” Isabel chirps.
A scoff of laughter comes from Levi. “I guess. Let’s thank the idiots who made our job ten times easier, then.”
The trio reaches the roof of the memorial, with Levi testing the material with the tip of his boot. There's a hollow sound emanating from underneath them and immediately, Farlan and Levi do their job of cutting off the part of the roof. True enough, the ceiling is a tiled puzzle that created a magnificent mosaic on the other side. Once Farlan lifts a piece of the ceiling off the roof, the symbol of the kingdom acts as a beacon against the sunlight. It’s a seven-rayed sun nestling inside a purple rose that is often paraded and strung in the marketplace, even the nobles have flags flapping against the wind in their manors. In the Underground, it’s a symbol rarely brandished in the grim streets since the monarch was the sole reason why there are people there in the first place, thinking it was for the best that the refugees of the hundred-year Titan War are evacuated there, only for them to be forgotten. Whenever Levi saw just a tiny bit of that cursed sun insignia growing up, there was a certain bitterness bubbling in his stomach. It disgusts him to this day. Especially now that his little family witnessed how lavish and carefree most of the people in the aboveground are like. It’s unfair. To remind himself, the world is never fair, to begin with.
While the blond continues looking down at the chamber to count the stationed guards surrounding the gleaming memento, Isabel is making a loop at the end of the rope that will lower down Levi. The black-haired man is appointed to the task of taking away the diadem since he’s often been compared to a predator down in the Underground since he was a young boy. His face doesn’t give away any nervousness of being put behind bars, or worse, getting his head chopped in the public guillotine. There’s no room for any mistake since this might be the only chance they have of savoring the clean air of the aboveground. For them, breathing in the breeze is very much like the luxury the nobles enjoy in the higher circles. Levi takes a deep breath, shoulders slightly lifting and heart pounding for no reason before he turns to Farlan with the rope in hand. Words aren’t needed to let the others know that this heist of theirs is beginning.
“Good luck, big bro.” Isabel pats Levi’s back with bright eyes.
Farlan nods, taking the other end of the rope as if it’s his lifeline. “We’ll be here waiting for you, Levi. Now, go and set us free.”
A tiny nod is Levi’s only reply. Like the time they used to raid an enemy gang back in the Underground, Levi sets out on this little quest.
As the distance from the ground is lessened, he notes that this chamber is the most extravagant place he has ever stepped foot on. There’s a sillage of something floral spreading from behind him and he can’t help but turn around to the source, curiosity burning in his veins despite the foreboding thought of failing this mission. His eyes slightly widened at the sight of magnificent flower arrangements piling up on each other, covering the expanse of the wall behind the pedestal of the diadem. There are more flowers in this memorial than in the florist’s shop they visited the day before in the marketplace. Levi is in awe for a moment at how elaborate and well-thought-out the bouquets are, every single one complementing the other despite boasting extreme beauty. There’s no clash of colors splashed all over the place. With his gaze continuing up the wall, he comes face to face with a huge portrait of a dressed-up baby with the most stunning locks of hair that glowed even in a painting, the prized diadem sitting daintily on top of her little head.
This must be the lost princess.
Even the Underground folks know about the tale for their home was the first place the royal guards searched the morning after the princess was taken from her parents’ room. Levi remembers how chaotic the Underground was; knowing that the guards didn’t leave any place untouched. Every home was thoroughly searched, every cave had an expedition, every orphanage was questioned if they ever received a mysterious baby. Yet there was no lead. For years and years and years, the Underground was a prime suspect for the hiding place of the kidnapper; but it all stopped when the monarchy thought that their daughter was as good as dead. In the grieving Queen and King's stead, the young royal adviser, Erwin Smith, made decisions for the kingdom with a broken heart, having played with the princess when he was a toddler. The search was halted and the flying lanterns took over six years after the princess’s disappearance. Levi never saw them but stories circulate underground that they’re like yellow stars that you can reach with your fingers, weightless yet they glow like the sun with their warm light.
They’re one of the many sights that Levi wants to see. To his luck, it will happen in a few days’ time — on the princess’s birthday.
Levi blinks away from the reverie and turns around to the pedestal.
And there it is.
The diadem is an elaborate piece of art. Levi is afraid he’d soil it with his blood-tainted fingers, the perfect shade of red covering the golden flowers and star-like gems with a mere touch. As if the chamber is shrouded with the night’s gloom, Levi stalks forward soundlessly to avoid getting caught by the guards facing the entrance to the memorial. How stupid. It works to his advantage as well. He shouldn’t complain. So, with his eyes planted on the heads of the armored guards, Levi swipes the diadem from the pedestal and tucks it inside his satchel. Freedom has never tasted this sweeter. The thought of visiting tea shops and owning a nice cottage elicits a small smirk from the black-haired man. However, it dissipates right in front of his face as well. Slinking back to the dangling rope hanging from the hole in the ceiling, Levi makes a terrible mistake. Usually, when people don’t practice hygiene and proper manners in front of him, it makes his blood boil. That’s coming from someone who grew up in the Underground. And that’s exactly what he did and he might have to kiss that citizenship goodbye.
It can be avoided but he can’t help it.
Levi lets out an involuntary ‘tch’ when one of the guards releases an echoing sneeze in the memorial.
“Hey! What are you doing?!”
The onyx-haired man’s eye twitches in irritation. “Fuck this shit,” Levi murmurs, starting the chase that will determine the fate of his life in the coming days.
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There’s no space in the walls for more paintings.
Your paintbrush is held tightly in your hand, your eyes skimming on the walls that are covered with an explosion of colors crafted through the years. The clock has only struck eight in the morning and you’re running out of things to do (like every day for the past nineteen years). You blow a lock of your hair that’s starting to untuck itself from your ear. Creating a swing from your hair, you land on the floor with the box of paint you value more than your life, having been the gifts you receive on your previous birthday. Feeling the budding of emptiness starting to spread throughout your body, you sit in the middle of the circumference of the tower, your dress creating a halo underneath that reflects the stream of sunrays from the opened ceiling window. A small hum of boredom accompanies the chirping of the birds outside the entrance of the tower as you slowly let yourself fall backward. You lean your head further back until you’re face to face with the giant fireplace covering the lower half of the only floor in this tower. Half-lidded eyes wonder what’s behind that huge wooden carving on top of the hearth. It can be something bare or there are hidden secrets behind it …
It can be something bare.
With an excited gasp, you stand up and start climbing the fireplace with the help of moved furniture, the box of paint under your arm. Patting away a few specks of dust from the skirts of your dress, a determined thrum travels in your veins telling you to push away the wooden carving from the wall. In front of you stands a bare wall that’s begging to be painted on. You suppress a squeal as you sit down on the platform of the fireplace and start mixing colors.
There’s a certain image in your mind that you’ve always dreamed about since you saw them out the entrance of the tower. You take some of the blue and mix it with a little bit of black to mimic the night sky that covers the memory you’re trying to bring to life. With a huge brush, you cover the wall with that shade and throw in a couple of blues that make the wall less boring. This painting garners the same exhilaration you always get when viewing the floating yellow stars every year and you will do everything to put every single ounce of your dreams into each one. Dozens of gold, orange, yellow splotches of paint rivaling the galaxy as you twirl your paintbrush, never forgetting the shine they have that’s surrounding them. You add the tree-tops that let them pass by at the bottom of the wall. With each luminary illuminating under the glow of the morning sun, you don’t realize that it has been an hour since you started. Even if this is your piece of art, your breath is still taken away by the sheer, uncanny similarity to your dream, and it leaves you in a daze of elation in front of it.
The pounding of your heart remains as you take in the unfinished painting with your star-filled irises. Oh, how you wish to see them with your eyes. The tiny wisp of warmth is making your eyes burn without you knowing, a single drop of sunlight pouring from your eyes. Just this once, you hope that Fate will be by your side to let you see the glowing stars that emerge from beyond the tree-tops. As you gaze at the painting as if it’s a long-lost lover, the yellow stars seem to glow like your hair when a certain tune is sung.
Now you know what you want for your birthday in a few days.
“Darling, let down your hair! Mother’s here!” A pause, then a sickly sweet voice. “I’m not getting younger down here, you know!”
The timing ignites an explosion of hope inside you.
Your eyes carry the yellow stars you just painted as you swing down from the top of the fireplace and to the large window serving as the entrance of the tower. “I’m right here, Mother!” you joyfully reply while slinging your hair on the hook right outside the window, a waterfall of hair cascading down the height of the building. You pull up your mother until a beautiful middle-aged woman steps on the window ledge, taking away her hood from her somewhat youthful face despite her age. Years of growing up with the woman you call Mother never brought the curiosity that she looks different than you (until you reached the age of eighteen). For one, she never looks anything like you. Her beauty is as cold as the glaciers you read in a book or the Faes that reside underground while she always says that your beauty is that of the sun, warm to the touch and healing. The woman flips her curly hair behind her shoulders and regards you with a smile. “Mother, welcome home! How’s the market?”
“Oh, [Name], how you manage to do that every single day without fail!” Mother places a gentle hand on your cheek, the jut of her bottom lip making the lines on her face more prominent. “It looks absolutely exhausting, darling.” Her fingers then lift your chin to meet her eyes, one of her hands finding a home between the locks of your hair. “And the market is absolutely horrendous again but I got some of those apples you seem to like so much.”
You laugh sheepishly, gaze following her back as she makes her way to the mirror while taking off her cape. You watch her examine her neck and the wrinkles starting to form on her face. It only takes her scowl for you to jump from where you are and place yourself beside her. “So, Mother, there’s this thing I wish for my—”
“Look at the mirror, darling,” Mother interrupts you, reaching for you with her hand. She wraps an arm around your shoulder, her face showing a glimmer of something you haven’t seen in a while. Her eyes take a sentimental haze that makes you smile a little. “You know what I see?” You feel her hand caressing your hair, the gentle touch sending you in momentary peace. “I see a strong, confident, beautiful young woman.” Your shoulders lift, your eyes reflecting the light shining down from the overhead window. Mother rarely compliments you and if she does, it doesn’t fail to make your heart warm, reminding you that she’s the only one who stayed in your life. “And there’s you!” Mother laughs and at each of her giggles, you slowly deflate with a small frown. Just wishful thinking on your part. “I’m just teasing! Stop taking things seriously, darling, or you’ll have wrinkles. Speaking of wrinkles, will you sing for me? I feel a little run-down today. That’ll lighten my mood.”
“Oh!” You’re taken out of your daze, watching Mother while she’s pressing on the sides of her eyes and the middle of her forehead. She really does look a little run-down. “Of course, Mother!” You immediately take the chair and stool, placing them in the middle of the floor, and even pushing Mother to sit comfortably. You insert the hairbrush between her hands, sitting expectantly on the stool with an innocent smile. The faster this process of her receiving comfort from the little song, the faster you can also get to ask her about your gift for your 20th birthday. Taking a deep breath, you sing in a rush, the golden tendrils running between your hair lighting up the room at every word.
“Flower, gleam, and glow. Let your power shine. Make the clock reverse—”
“Wait!” Mother shouts.
“Bring back what once was mine. Heal what has been hurt. Change the fate’s design.”
Mother hurriedly brushes your hair. “[Name]!” And as you sing the last line of the song, Mother jumps when the enchantment takes effect on her. Her hair gains the luster that was gray before she even stepped foot in the tower. The lines on her face ease into flawless skin that someone as young as you seem to possess. Mother becomes the most beautiful woman in all the lands because of a tiny song, though, it still sends a chill through your veins every time you witness how she turns young again. “Don’t rush into the spell! What if this wears off after an hour?”
“So, Mother,” you start, leaning forward in your stool to maintain eye contact with the older woman. “As I was saying, something memorable is coming up and I know I mentioned it earlier but you never really responded to it but,” you prolong the last word, “it’s going to be my birthday!”
Mother’s laugh didn’t quell the nervousness fluttering inside your stomach. “No, no, no. I distinctly remember,” she boops your nose, making you reel back, “your birthday was last year.”
You nervously laugh as you twiddle your thumbs. “That’s the thing about birthdays, you celebrate it annually, Mother.” You sigh before staring at your mother with stars in your eyes, a sad smile pulling on your lips. You look anywhere but her because if you do, all the confidence that you built since learning about the floating stars will start to dwindle. Your eyes are fixated on the carpeted floor that showcases a huge sun, admiring how the purple and golden threads tie together to create such a wide ornament for your home. “Mother, I’ll be an adult soon and I want to at least have this one chance to see my dream. It has always been what I want for my birthday and this is the perfect opportunity for me to ask you. Uhm,” you clear your throat even though your voice starts becoming tinier and tinier, “I know you’ll be angry … but ... what I really want for my birthday—or what I always want for every birthday that I have—”
“[Name].”
You stop, heart pounding in fear. Your head is still lowered, never seeing how Mother’s face sours and curls in disgust at the possibility of your request.
“You know how I feel about the mumbling, right?” Your nod is the indication that Mother takes to continue. The scowl on her face turns into a malicious grin as she softly pats your hair. “It’s very annoying, darling. And you also know how I detest annoying things.” Your silence brings forth a thrum in her body; simply by putting you in your place brings her to nirvana and she’s not even hiding it. After a few moments of you trying to calm your breathing, Mother laughs out of nowhere. It’s laced with a taunt that challenges you to argue with her but the hand she has on your cheek contrasts her intentions. “I’m just teasing, little flower!” She watches with attentive eyes how you quickly lift your head, your adorable confused face greeting her vision. “I told you to never take things seriously! Why must you be so sensitive every time I try to reprimand you, darling. Oh, I love you so much.”
Just like that, she dismisses you with a flick of her wrist and a swish of her skirts. Mother retreats to her basket to take out the apples you like to eat for breakfast, along with a few berries. All you can do is blink at nothing before taking a deep breath. Wetting your lips, you straighten your back and face Mother once again, though you never lift your eyes from the rug tickling your feet.
“Mother, I want to see the floating lights.”
“Uh-huh—what?” One of the apples drops from Mother’s slackened hand, an incredulous expression plastered on her face as she turns to you.
You stand up and step on the stool to show her your new painting. You miss the way Mother’s eyes shake at the sight of the painting. “Well, I was hoping that you’d take me to see the floating lights.”
A feigned smile replaces the grimace on Mother’s face. She resumes her task of sorting out the vegetables she bought from the market. “Oh, you mean the stars. You can watch them by the window, darling, there’s nothing special about them.”
A pretty gleam comes back in your irises. “That’s the thing, Mother!” You skip over to a part of the wall that has a painting of the tower in front of a fusion of blues and purples, with different-colored stars pinpointed at every corner. “Through the years, I’ve charted stars and they’re always in the same position in the night sky! They never come from beyond the treetops miles away from this tower. Importantly, these floating lights,” your voice gains more volume upon your excitement and Mother now loses her patience, “they appear at the same time as my birthday. I want to see them, Mother, and not just from the window, but in person. They have always been one of the sights that I want to see in my life and I want to be there when they float into the heavens. I know this is ridiculous but,” you look down with hands pressed on your chest, “it’s as if they’re calling me to see them. That tingle in my stomach became stronger this year as if I should be reaching out to catch them with my fingertips.”
Mother takes a step toward you, her smile sending chills down your spine.
“You want to go outside?” Mother laughs, taking away the dream that you’re desperately clinging to. “Are you hearing yourself right now, darling?” She stops in front of you and takes your hands in hers, twirling you around to an imaginary tune that only she can hear. “Look at you, you’re as fragile as a flower! You expect me to let you go?” Mother scoffs a loud laugh, with you flinching at the sharp sound. “[Name], you know why we stay in this tower.”
“I know, but—”
Mother walks away to keep your long hair close to her cheek, following the train of hair with golden undertones. “To keep you safe and sound, dear.” Then, she closes each window until everything is bathed in darkness, your arms now wrapping around yourself at the sudden scare. You try to blink to adjust your vision to the dark but you yelp when Mother materializes in front of you with candlelight illuminating her features. She looks like one of the monsters you read in your novels. You continue stepping back, fear of something pulsing in your chest when she drawls, “As they say, mothers know best, darling, and it’s advised that you listen to their every word.” She circles you like a predator out for prey. “The outside world is full of dangerous things. Ruffians, thugs, cannibals, snakes, the plague, large bugs, and the worst…” Mother trails a finger on your cheek. “Men. All of them have a certain intention that can endanger you, darling. With a little lamb like you loitering in the woods and the capital? They’ll be having a field day!”
Your little gasp works in her favor, the certain fear for the things she listed apparent in your eyes.
“And on your own out there? Oh, you won’t survive, darling! You’re sloppy, underdressed, immature, clumsy, gullible, naive — you’re everything those monsters in every corner of the kingdom would use to their advantage. Why would you ever have such an idea in your head, I don’t even know!” Mother then hugs you close to her, shushing you as you shake in her arms. “I know I’m just your mother, darling, and I know you’ll eventually get out of here but not now, alright?” You nod against the crook of her neck. She runs her fingers through your hair, affectionate eyes directed at your head. “Mother understands. I want to help you because that’s what I’ve always done since I had you. You, me, against the world — that’s what our story always entails. So, I have one request for you, darling.” She places her hands on your head to meet her gaze.
“Yes?”
Your breath hitches at the look on Mother’s face.
“Don’t ever ask to leave this tower again.”
Your head ducks down, your hair covering your face. “Yes, Mother.”
Mother hums, lifting your chin. “I love you very much, dear.”
You’re silent for a moment but you give her a blue smile. “I love you more, Mother.”
She takes a deep breath before kissing the crown of your head. “And I love you most.” Then, she boops your nose and pats your head. “Don’t forget it, okay, flower? Mother always knows best.”
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Somebody is in the tower.
You’re in your bedroom, trying to pass the time by reading the books Mother bought from the next town a month ago. You’re about to flip through the next chapter of the novel in your hands when you hear someone opening the window and slamming the hinges close. You stop on one paragraph, your heartbeat pounding loudly in your ear. Those footsteps aren’t Mother’s. There’s a groan ringing through the tower and it definitely isn’t Mother because it sounds deeper than her voice. Your hands are shaking as you put away the book on the covers before silently going out of your room. The first thing that comes into your mind is to get a weapon because who knows what this person’s intentions are. This is also the first time someone has stepped foot inside the tower and Mother is not around to protect you. You entered the open doorway of the kitchen, your shoulders jumping when you feel the counter dig on your back.
You look around. Knives? The thought of stabbing a stranger in the abdomen doesn’t sit right with you. Rolling pin? Too weak. Your eyes then find one of the hanging frying pans above the stove. Perfect. Taking that from the hooks, you raise it in the air while slowly lessening the distance to the main room of the tower.
You knit your eyebrows at the intruder’s back. It’s a man. He’s hunching over while cursing out expletives that Mother told you to never say. His breathing is ragged and there’s a jarring shade of red spreading across his torso, seeping through his vest. He’s hurt. Your grip on the frying pan loosens but as you hear the sharp intake of breath coming from the person, you immediately tighten your hold on the handle. At each step, the hairs on your neck stand up in fright of what this man would do to you. There’s only one thing he might have picked up from the outside world, that you’re the wonder with the enchanted hair that can reverse any injury. However, the man slumps over the floor, making you gasp. Now, there are two options; throw this man out of the tower while he’s unconscious or be the naive young woman your Mother describes you as and save this dying man. You watch as the floor becomes tainted with his blood. You have no choice.
You run towards him and sit on the floor, frying pan discarded beside you.
Your hands are hovering over his figure, not knowing what to do. “Oh, God, oh, God,” you keep mumbling. You decide to turn the man over but it only takes your breath away.
You’ve never seen another person other than Mother. Maybe this feeling tickling your stomach is brought on by nervousness but the more you stare at the man, there’s a flutter of butterflies clogging your throat. He’s beautiful. Black hair flops over one of his eyes and his lips look like the peaches your Mother brings on a good day. But a shuddering breath coming from him blinks you out of your daze. Now, your focus is directed at his wound. You wonder what he’s running away from. Then, Mother’s angry shouts paint a new fear inside your chest. What the hell are you doing? You should let this man die because he’s clearly a threat but … you’re starting to doubt Mother’s words. With a determined purse of your lips, you carefully place your hair over the man’s torso, not caring that it can transfer some of the blood on your strands.
You take a deep breath and sing.
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Levi just got the closet doors slammed in front of his face.
He stays quiet, waiting for the perfect time to render the person dragging his body unconscious. As he’s putting his ear against the wood, he recounts what happened while they’re running away from the palace guards.
Isabel and Farlan get captured. Even one of the lackeys the noble assigned to go with them. Then, he got shot with an arrow while entering the woods. He found an entrance that’s covered in vines. He’s inside a tower, expecting to have no one here.
Things just went to shit.
The last thing pulsing in his mind, however, is a blinding glow that feels like the sun the first time he stepped aboveground. He can bask in the warmth all day long. Along with the glow, though, is one of the most healing voices Levi has ever heard in his life. It sounded like daisies and sunflowers and the chamomile tea he drinks at three in the morning. He can sleep to the sound of that voice. Someone is whispering to Levi that he needs to see the face of the one who saved his life. But when they started to pull him to a closet after hearing the words ‘let down your hair’ from outside the tower, he pretended to be unconscious.
“I brought home some exotic spices. I’ll be making a feast later for dinner. Surprise!”
Levi narrows his eyes at the new voice.
“Well, Mother, there’s something I have to tell you.”
“Oh, [Name]—”
That’s the name of the person who saved his life.
“—You know I hate it when I leave after a fight so I figured that by cooking your favorite foods, it won’t make me a bad person even though I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Everything is wrong with the other woman. Levi continued pressing his ear against the doors of the closet.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said earlier, Mother, and…”
“I hope you’re still not talking about the stars, [Name].”
A sigh, then a chipper voice. “Floating lights, Mother, and what I’m about to say is something related to that.”
“I thought we’re past that issue, flower.”
“You’re saying that I couldn’t handle myself out there.”
Is this woman going to lie that she knocked him out?
“Because that’s the truth, darling, you couldn’t handle yourself out there no matter what you do.”
“Please, Mother—”
“[Name], we’re done talking about this.” The other woman’s voice is tight and a thud echoes soon after. Most likely she put something too hard on a table. “How many times do I have to repeat this to you, sweetheart? Don’t make me say something I might regret or else.”
She’s hurting her daughter. Levi immediately feels disgust enveloping his body, all of it directed to the older woman talking down on his savior. The realization takes away the decision of knocking out the young woman who saved him, replacing it with an unnecessary urge to defend her. Shaking his head out of that unexpected thought, Levi continues listening in.
“Trust me—”
“[Name]—”
“Please—”
A deep breath.
“Mother, just this once—”
“Enough about the lights, [Name].” There’s a clang and the sound of glass breaking. “You are not leaving this tower! Ever!” The older woman groans. “Great, now, I’m the bad guy.”
Levi hears shaky breaths as if someone is holding their tears from falling, coming from in front of the closet doors. He turns his head to face the source of the sound as if that will materialize the young woman standing in front of him. What the young woman says next pinches his heart. Curse him for being soft to someone he didn’t even see yet.
“... All I want to say is that I know what I want for my birthday now.” The young woman pauses, rustling can be heard from beyond the doors. “New paint?” Her voice is so tiny that Levi clenches his jaw. “The one made from the white shells that you brought me? Books, too. I was wondering about owning another one of Miss Ilse’s newer works.”
“[Name], that’s a long trip and Paradis isn’t a small island. What you’re requesting is miles away from the capital. It took me two days to get those books you horrendously like, add another four days for me to get to that wretched shop that’s in the southernmost territory of Paradis.”
“I just thought that it’s a better idea than … stars.”
“... Alright, then. Are you sure you’ll be alright on your own here? It will take me more than a week to be home.”
“Yes, Mother. I’m safe as long as I’m here.”
This woman doesn’t deserve to be locked inside this tower, that much Levi can conclude. It can be that she’s been here all her life without any connection to the outside world. Very much like how he lived the majority of his life. The Underground and this tower aren’t far from each other. They’re cages for people who dream too many dreams, for adventurers and pioneers who want to experience a semblance of normalcy in their lives. This young woman who did something to make a blinding glow should be out in the open, alongside friends and living a life in any part of Paradis. Levi knows that the monarchy’s lanterns are this woman’s dreams and for God knows what, her mother forces her to be in this small space instead. Mothers aren’t like that, definitely not Levi’s mother. From what he remembers, his mother wished for everything to have him experience laughing under the sunlight or have the sea tickle his toes, or even get a glimpse of those floating lanterns. Mothers shouldn’t be this overbearing or manipulative. If from that little conversation Levi overheard shows how much the older woman controls her daughter’s life, he can’t imagine the abuse the young woman underwent years before.
Creaks from the closet doors stop Levi’s train of thoughts.
Again, he pretends he’s unconscious, preventing his groan from coming out as he hits the ground with a thud. The next few minutes confuse him. Levi feels something wrapping around his body and rendering him immobile. Pretending to be unconscious isn’t going to work anymore. So, Levi opens his eyes and trails his gaze from the ropes tying him to an armchair. Wait. These aren’t ropes. It’s—
“Hair?” Levi murmurs under his breath, head turning to every corner of the tower but everything is dark except for the spotlight hitting him in the middle of the floor.
“Who are you and how did you know my location?”
Levi narrows his eyes in the direction of the mellifluous voice. He schools his face in a neutral expression that doesn’t show his curiosity or wariness. He waits for a few minutes to let the person emerge to the stream of sunlight. What Levi sees next takes his breath away. Standing in front of him is a sight to behold. The young woman is glowing as if she’s the sun itself, hair cascading and draping over anything that Levi can see. However, he never leaves his gaze off of her. She stands with her chin up despite being in the presence of a notorious thug of the Underground. There’s no speck of fear glinting in her irises, there’s only disbelief and a little bit of curiosity. Not only that, but she might have been the prettiest girl Levi has ever seen in his life. It’s safe to say that Levi is mesmerized.
For one second. Mesmerized for only a second.
“Who are you and how did you find me?”
Levi leans back on the chair with a hum, mirroring her lifted chin. The glare on her hardly gets any reaction from him.
“Who are you and how did you find me?” she repeats, pointing a frying pan at him.
“Who the fuck are you and who uses a frying pan as a threatening weapon anyway?” Levi fires back.
The girl doesn’t expect him to throw her question at him, much less ask her about her frying pan. She shakes her head and flicks her hair behind her, making her way to him with measured steps. She matches Levi’s glare and comes face to face with him. She leans forward, making Levi lift his head to match her stare, and places a hand on the back of the chair while her hair creates a curtain over the two of them. “I’m going to ask you again, mister. Who are you and how did you find me?”
Levi sighs. “To tell you the truth, sunshine—”
“[Name].”
His mouth remains open before he clenches his jaw. “Here’s the deal.” He leans forward and now there are only inches separating him from the girl. At the proximity, he detects a faint shade of embarrassment on her cheeks, brushing it off, and fixing his blank stare on her bright eyes. There’s also a question he’d like an answer to. “I was just taking a stroll in the woods with my satchel and I came across this tower. I figured, wow, this is shitty, and I climbed it without knowing there’s a person living in it. I’m not here to take or steal anything from you, an irony really.” She raises an eyebrow at that but he continues with a murderous glower. “But now that I remember, where the fuck is my satchel, sunshine?”
[Name], or so her name is, hardens her glare. “Why should I tell you?”
“Because it’s not just my life that depends on it. I won’t forgive myself if I lose it.”
A minute of silence passes by and [Name] leans back to straighten her posture. She crosses her arms over her chest and looks down on Levi. “I’ve hidden it somewhere in this tower, a place where you can’t find it even if you take away every single brick. Now, tell me, what do you want with my hair?”
“The hell?”
“My hair. Are you planning on cutting it? Sell it to the highest bidder?”
Levi furrows his brows. “Why would I want your hair when I have some on my scalp? That looks fucking heavy, by the way, who would even want that much hair on their head these days?”
[Name] blinks once. Twice. Then, she becomes quiet, eyes glazed with a contemplative sheen. “You don’t want my hair,” she murmurs to herself as if that’s an important point needed to be remembered, never noticing that Levi shoots her with a look that says ‘I already told you that’. Her hands tighten around herself as she takes a small step back. “So, you’re telling the truth about coming to this tower.” The whole time, she doesn’t meet his eyes, instead, they are trained on the rug with a familiar symbol on it. Great, this family is nationalistic of Paradis and their propaganda of whatever involving the sun. [Name] flicks her eyes back at Levi, who’s tapping his shoe on the rug while waiting to be let out of this chair. “I have a proposal.” Levi only raises an eyebrow. “Look this way.” The chair moves along her and Levi comes face to face with a painting. “Do you know what these are?” She points at the lanterns.
“Oh.”
“What do you mean ‘oh’?”
“It’s a festival aboveground where they release lanterns in honor of the lost princess.”
“Lanterns,” [Name] echoes, a smile pulling on her lips. “I knew they weren’t stars! Well,” she runs her hands over her skirt, “they’ll be in the sky a few days from now and I want you to take me to them. You will act as my guide, just escort me to these lanterns, and bring me back home safely. Then, and only then, do I return your satchel to you. This is what I propose.”
Levi keeps quiet, having an idea that the satchel is hidden in the bottom floorboard by the stairs. He heard someone struggling, alongside a panel of wood coming out of its place while he’s in the closet. For now, he doesn’t show any indication that this woman in front of him does an awful job at hiding objects. He tilts his head in faux pondering, eyes half-lidded knowing that this won’t lead to nowhere because, “No. The monarchy and I aren’t exactly on great terms starting this morning so I won’t be taking you anywhere. I think it’s best if you let me go right now. I won’t even say that I came across your tower. Plus, I have people I want to rescue from having their heads chopped off on a block. Time is of the essence, sunshine.”
The long-haired girl walks forward and pulls the chair. Levi falls towards her, only to be stopped with a firm hand placed on the back of the chair. “I know what brought you here...” Her mouth remains open at a loss for words.
“Levi.”
“Levi,” she repeats. “I know what brought you here, Levi. It might be fate or destiny—”
“If a bunch of idiotic guards and horses seem like fate to you, you need to get that checked.”
“—So I’ve made the decision to trust you.”
Levi blinks. “A horrible decision, really, but go ahead, princess.”
That remark makes [Name] stop, eyes flickering with something that Levi associates with internal conflict. At this, he raises an eyebrow. “But trust me when I tell you this.” Levi can see the golden flecks in her eyes and he asks in his head if it’s natural for people to have a hint of the sun and stars in their irises. This woman is the living proof of it. In reflex, his half-lidded eyes travel down to her peach-colored lips. She doesn’t notice him getting in a daze because of her, instead, she assumes that he’s trying not to take her seriously. “Look at me, Levi.” Levi flickers his gaze from her lips to her eyes and damn, they’re so fucking beautiful. “You said that it isn’t just your life that depends on that satchel so if you don’t bring me to where the lanterns are, you will never see another glimpse of your precious bag. Tear this tower down brick by brick but without your agreement to this proposal and my help, you will never find it.”
The two of them stare at each other while Levi’s mind runs in full circles. He can headbutt this woman to sleep, take the satchel from the floorboard, and be the free man he dreams to be. That course of action guarantees their citizenship. However, the more he stares at [Name], the more he sees himself and any dreamer in the Underground. Fuck. “Let me get this straight, sunshine. I take you to see the lanterns, bring you back here, and you’ll give me back my satchel?”
“I promise, and when I promise something, I never break that promise. Ever.”
He thinks of his family inside the palace’s prison. He thinks of their limited time in the world if he screws this up. He thinks of the extended time for the executions since the festival is coming up and public deaths aren’t exactly a picture-perfect starter for a momentous occasion. Then, he sees every sparkle in the long-haired woman’s eyes that she tries so hard to hide behind a glare. He sees the pleading and expectation for his agreement to this proposal. He sees for the first time that there are people like him aboveground who have never experienced how breathtaking the world can be. It doesn’t take him that long to say—
“... Okay. You just got yourself a deal, princess.”
tangled au taglist:
@leviskata @lynnleanist @chloe-loves-levi @midaribaby @tenaciouswritersheep @araveticazx @coyloves
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marsbutterfly · a day ago
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Levi loves to lay on your lap and have you play with his hair. It’s the only way he will be able to fall asleep and the only way he will stay asleep. He usually takes naps like that during a calm day and, at night, he will lay his head on your shoulder and wait for you to wrap your arms around him and cradle him while placing kisses on his forehead.
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citri-nate · a day ago
Sketch request!! Maybe some rivetra parents??
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It supposed to be a sketch, but I couldn't help myself!
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