There was a feeling of pity in sitting heavy in your stomach.. and your chest. You sat outside of the closed off door and leaned against the frame. The sight was burned into your memory. Erwin had been so covered in blood, no one could tell if it was from a wound of his own or from the comrades falling around him. It was disturbing when a shaky voice called out his name, and he didn't move, he didn't look like he was breathing. Your mind began to swim in hysteria again before you opened your eyes and took a breath. You were safe in the building, he was safe in the building.. He was alive. You honestly struggled to remember how Levi had found the both of you as quickly as he did, but.. Thank God for that little man. A sharp exhale pushed through your lips as you turned around and opened the door quietly, catching sight of Levi sitting on a stool next to a steel bathtub. Erwin still being unconscious, Levi took it upon himself to take care of the commander.
He wore his uniform, only short of his cloak and jacket as he bathed Erwin of all the blood he could've easily drowned in earlier that day. His hands stopped massaging soap into the commander's hair (still tainted red), and looked over his shoulder at you. His face said nothing, as usual. Had you been in any proper state of mind and not so nervous, you might have asked how Erwin was before stuttering an apology. "I can't believe he-- I'm sorry."
"Hm? Are you now?" Levi asked, slightly confused.
"It was my flare he followed. I panicked.. I thought it.. Well, I'm not really sure what I expected to happen - but.. definitely not this. I'm such an idiot, I'm so glad he's alive." You glanced at the poor man, looking almost peaceful in his slumber, mouth still stuck in a perpetually non-threatening frown.
Levi huffed and turned away, you could only assume he was irritated. "Why does everyone always apologize to me for doing their job? We told you if you saw Titans, to fire a flare. That's what you did, isn't it?"
It wasn't. You knew that's what you had been told, you remembered that now. You fired because you were scared, and riding your horse alone. "Yes.. sir. But--"
"He's sacrificed many things... and people... to get as far as we have, it's no one's fault but his own that he nearly got his ass bitten off." He remarked flatly. "He probably knew it was you, too. Because only you'd frantically fire a flare twice."
"I.." You straightened your back, bringing your hand to the back of your neck and rubbing it nervously. You were beginning to sweat. "Yeah.. if only I hadn't been as scared as I was, I could've assisted him more than I had." You sighed again, why couldn't you stop offering quiet apologies? Something inside of you wanted to believe it wasn't your fault, but if you had just kept advancing forward instead of freaking out and signaling others to find you. "Again, I'm really--"
Levi looked at you impatiently, "Okay, I forgive you. Shut up." He said softly. Levi grabbed a small cup from off the floor and dipped it into the tub, "Now come over here and help me tilt his head back."
"Yes, sir!" You smiled, feeling a little better Levi had accepted your apology. Taking off your jacket and tossing it by the door, you began to roll up your sleeves as you walked over. Granted, you loved Erwin as platonically as the word came for quite some time now (or so you had convinced yourself) - you would do just about anything to see him better again, but any get-well-soon thought stopped dead in it's tracks, and so did you. Gasping lightly, you turned bright red and looked away.
"What is it?"
Levi stared at you in (almost) disbelief. "(Name). You fight Titans every day and you're afraid of the commander's--"
"S-Stop!" You held your hands out, focus placed solely on looking anywhere but the tub. "Don't say it.."
"Get over here. That's an order."
You then proceeded to walk forward, your eyes cast to the ground. There was almost no escaping the sight of Erwin lying in the tub bare. Of course you would assume he was fit, muscular - but your daydreams had never strayed to below the belt. It was almost a rude wake up call - you were reminded he wasn't just some fantasy, he was a real person, a real man. And he wasn't lacking the proof. Kneeling down, you helped Erwin sit up slightly, supporting his back with one arm while tilting his head back with the other; you made sure to press your hand flatly against his forehead, not allowing any of the water Levi poured to run onto his face. After he had emptied the cup, you ran your hand from his forehead to his hair, pushing the water back.
"Thank you." Levi offered quietly.
"Mm-hm." You nodded. "It's the least I can do. I've never seen anyone out this long before."
"Neither have I." He confessed, grabbing a small, crisp towel off his lap and wiping his hands of the filthy water. "He should be coming around some time soon. He's never been one for slacking."
You laughed lightly. It was true. "You know, I should've never broke away from you and your squad. I figured when you said someone should go left and someone should go right, you meant anyone." You smiled in defeat, you knew your abilities and limits - but Levi was a kind man, he, most likely, didn't have the heart to tell you no when you offered as eagerly as you did. "Then again, I'm still alive. So, I'm getting there."
You expected him to reply with anything. A joking insult, even. Levi stared at Erwin with furrowed brows. Your eyes followed his and you looked down at the commander still in your arms, you saw him gazing up at you. He didn't look lost or groggy; his infinitely big, blue eyes stared at you with amazement, perhaps comfort as well. "Commander!" You gasped, helping him to sit up on his own.
Water from his soaked hair ran down his face as he looked between you and Levi. He gave an appreciative nod before looking down at himself, "Dismissed."
Without a word, Levi stood up and took your arm with him. He made sure to throw the towel onto the stool before walking you to the door. After the door clicked behind you both, you looked down the hall and saw Levi already about to turn the corner. Continuing to follow the corporal, you called out to him. "Levi!" Ah, you hadn't remembered when you two first started addressing each other on a first name basis, but it seemed like forever ago. You couldn't remember the last time you had actually called him captain, or lance corporal. He stopped and looked over his shoulder at you. "Do we have any plans on continuing the expedition? I know it's not my place, but I was thinking maybe this time around we take more. I know you need men here to keep an eye on some of the recruits, but if you think about it--"
"You're not going anywhere." He interrupted, his voice lacking any emotion as usual.
You face fell. Had you really screwed up that badly? "W.. What?"
"Not after that stunt you pulled today. You're not leaving here for a long time." With that, he turned around. Not thinking, you reached out and grabbed his arm. When did you get so gutsy? Maybe it was because you knew he'd never say anything. Levi never scolded you anymore, and you weren't sure why. Part of you believed it was because you were getting better about, well, everything - but you weren't so sure anymore.
"What do you mean I'm not leaving here?! You're not going to leave me behind? I realize I messed up, but that doesn't mean you have the right to just kick me out of the expedition!" You narrowed your eyes pitifully at him, you were genuinely disappointed and you felt a little let down by Levi.
"You could've been killed. You realize that, yes?"
"Well.. Yes. But," You exhaled heavily, releasing his arm. "I want to get better."
"And you will." Levi turned around again, leaving you in the middle of the hallway, confused and upset. Opening the door to his office, he looked over his shoulder at you, almost as if he expected you to argue with him further. It wasn't an unwelcome sight, to see his features soft and staring at you hopefully, but with a quick, almost unnoticeable sigh, he blinked and the corporal's dead eyes returned. "God forbid anything happens to you, (name)." And with that, he stepped into his office and shut the door gently behind him.
You couldn't tell if he used sarcasm to make you feel worse, or if what you were hearing had been genuine. Levi was a passionate man, but would he ever express such a thing if your life wasn't in danger?
Your evening afterwards had mainly compromised of recalling the events earlier with your fellow comrades around the dinner table, and suffering from a headache that had been the result of your conversation with Levi. You longed to tell some of your friends what he had said, but you didn't want them to know you weren't going to join them on the next expedition, not yet. It was rare you considered a night of laughing and extra food to be well deserved, but you found the merriment of those who survived to be reassuring. You drifted out of the conversation as quickly as you had entered, looking past your friends and twirling your (h/c) hair between your nimble fingers. In the short distance, you saw Erwin walk into a dimly lit room, and shut the door. All the thoughts and feelings regarding his health came back to you. There hadn't been a time earlier you asked how he was doing, or even checked up on him.
Pushing a plate with half a loaf of bread to Mike (who accepted happily), you stood up and started towards the room. It was late, and the room was dim, had he been getting ready for bed? You didn't care, it'd only take a moment, if that, to ask how he was doing. You knocked gently on the door frame, "Commander? It's (name)."
It didn't take long for Erwin to open the door, eyes instantly drawn to yours. Stepping aside, he allowed room for you to enter. "Please." He said warmly. You weren't really intending on getting comfortable, but the commander's mood was inviting, and as long as he wanted you there, you'd stay. "I'm glad you decided to come see me. I was going to speak to you in the morning, what with planning the next expedition with Levi all afternoon."
Your heart sank. The expedition. No doubt Levi told Erwin of his disappointment in you. You had every right to feel embarrassed and awkward in front of the commander. "Oh?" You managed to squeak, attempting to sound interested.
"Before I was injured, I saw you assist on a Titan's take down. It was impressive. You're learning quickly, (name), I'm proud of you."
Was this his attempt to soften you up? Before telling you he whole-heartedly agreed with Levi? Expectantly, you stared at him, waiting. "Th.. thank you, commander." You finally smiled, giving him a nod. "I thought so, too, but I wanted to stay modest." You chuckled.
Erwin humored you and chuckled as well, closing his eyes. He stayed in thought for what seemed like an eternity. Opening his stoic blue eyes, he walked towards you and held onto your shoulders, guiding you to the small recliner in front of his desk. Gently seating you, he got on his knees. "What do you want to do?"
You felt a light blush dust across your cheeks seeing the commander in front of you, awkwardly positioned between your legs. "E-Excuse me?"
"With the expedition. Levi expressed to me his concern for your life, but I think he's forgotten what that'd do to you. What that'd do to any soldier with your dedication. I'm going to give you a choice." He said softly, looking up at you with a comforting gaze. As if any answer you gave him would be the right answer. "Do you want to go?"
There's a long silence. You and Erwin stare each other in the eyes for great amount of time.
".. Yes?" Blinking away the brief look of adoration in his eyes, he stood up, leaving you in the chair.
"Levi seemed really.. disappointed in my actions. Most likely because I almost got you killed. Did he say anything about it?" You leaned forward and placed your hands on your knees, hoping he'd tell you the truth. Erwin was a man of secrets, but surely this wasn't important enough to keep to himself.
"The last thing I saw before I blacked out.. and the first thing I saw when I woke up.. was you, (name)."
You looked up at him, a little shocked.
"(Name).. you are a very skilled soldier. I'm proud to take this journey with you, as well as the others. I'm sure Levi was angry with you because," He walked back to you, getting on one knee as before, but this time closer. Erwin took your hands, small in comparison, in his large, dry ones. They were rough, but warm. "He knows."
Swallowing slowly, you widened your bright (e/c) orbs and stared at him, pink cheeks quickly turning red. You had never seen him look at you like this before. "Knows.. what, commander?"
Erwin reached out and gently dusted the back of his fingers down your cheek. "Levi's a very loyal man. And you are very precious to me. I don't know where or when it happened, (name), but somewhere down the line I realized that."
It felt as if your heart stopped beating and your brain stopped working all together. A burning sensation, starting from your chin, quickly rose to the tip of your ears as your hands started to shake. Erwin brought one of them to his lips, giving a chaste kiss to the back of your hand. "I understand this is unexpected. I thought I had more time to prepare my confession, but now is better than later." Standing up, he brought you to your feet as well.
"C-Commander, I.. I don't know what to say." A new (and somewhat scary) excitement began to fill you. You respected him, you admired him, and he was so damn handsome. Was this really happening for you?
Giving a small grin, he hummed cheerfully. "Erwin."
"..Erwin." You couldn't help but to return the grin, except yours shone with all the possibilities that were placed in front of you.
"I'm glad you came to me when you did. Perhaps we can make more of tonight than I had intended." His eyes glazed.
"What do you.. mean?" You asked, taking a step closer and looking up at Erwin. He was towering over you, and yet you found it endearing.
"I want you to keep in mind that everyone, me especially, is human. With.. needs, and desires." He didn't allow you to take your hands back yet, instead tightening his grip. "And nerves as well, which is why I understand if you don't want me so close so soon. But, we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. To either of us."
Erwin watched as your eyes flashed with panic, not knowing what to say. He smiled softly anyway, and bent over to your level, barely pressing his lips against yours. "(name)," he spoke calmly. "Tonight could be our last night. Let me take you."