After Levi and I's heart-to-heart during 7 minutes in heaven, I couldn't shake what went on in there from my mind. Armin, Mikasa, and Jean, were still joking about it.
"You guys were in there for 10! 10 minutes!" Armin laughed, shaking his head.
"I can only imagine what went on..." Mikasa dragged on, sort of casting me a glare.
"Well, if you don't mind, Levi and I are going to take our leave now. Thanks, guys." I tugged at Levi's sleeve, to which he got up and followed me down the hall.
Once we got back into my apartment, I noticed the clock read 11:45 p.m. . Sighing, I filled up Otto's food and water bowl, going into my room to change. I picked out some plaid pajama pants, deciding to sleep shirtless. Plugging my phone in, I saw a text from Armin. "Armin Arlert: Dude, I'm sorry we teased you. Forgive us?" I didn't respond. All I wanted to do now was curl up and sleep. I didn't want Levi to leave tomorrow, but I knew he had to so he could teach at the college. While I was laying lost in thought, a light knock came to my door.
"E-Eren...?" Levi asked, almost inaudibly.
"Yeah, Levi? What's up?" I responded, sitting up in my bed.
"Do you think...do you think..." He trailed off, not finishing his sentence.
"Yes, Levi, you can sleep in here." I smiled broadly, throwing the covers aside next to me so he could slide in.
Levi made his way in my bed, curling up under the blankets. He turned to face the door, not even saying goodnight. I frowned, snuggling up behind him.
"Why're you so far away~?" I cooed in his ear, pulling his back against my chest.
"You're sure hard to resist, aren't you, Jaeger?" He turned over, smiling and nipping at my nose.
"Oh, I'm definitely something." I chuckled, lifting his chin up so his lips met mine.
I awoke to Levi cuddled into my chest, his forehead against my skin. I ran a hand over his hair, twirling the ends that hung over. That didn't cause him to wake up, so I gently scooted out of bed and went for the kitchen. Otto was awake, walking around the living room.
"Hey, Otto. Make sure you tell Levi you'll miss him. He's leaving today..." I felt myself getting choked up on the last few words. Otto only whined, allowing me to pet his head.
"Yeah, you said it..." I whispered, grabbing at his snout playfully.
Standing up and opening the fridge, I heard my room door open. Levi lumbered out, rubbing his eyes. He walked over to the kitchen table, plopping down in a chair.
"Eren, what time is it?" He spoke, still dazed from sleep.
"It's 10:30, Levi." I responded, not finding anything I wanted in the fridge. I took my seat next to him, rubbing his shoulder.
Levi began to gather all of his things, and my heart sank each time he put something in his bag. I went over to the couch, turning on the TV. While Levi was getting his things, I kept my eyes glued to a re-showing of The Walking Dead season 4 finale. I was getting pretty into the episode when Levi tapped my shoulder.
"Wanna go get lunch? I'll pay. It's my treat for uh...looking after me while I was 'sick'." Levi walked over to the door, his duffelbag hanging from his shoulder.
"Sure, be right there." I quickly ran into my room to change, grabbing my phone off the nightstand.
Shoving my phone into my pocket, I waved Otto goodbye as I locked the door to my apartment. Levi and I took the elevator, and to my surprise...the old woman was there this time. Although most of the ride was silent, she spoke to us right before we got off.
"You boys will always find a way. Always have, always will." She laughed one of those freaky weird sounding old lady laughs, just as Levi and I stepped off the elevator.
Levi unlocked his car, allowing me to sit in the passenger seat. Feeling the leather, the seat-belt, and looking at all the interior...my mind realized, this was the last time I'd get to sit in Black Dynamite. The last time I'd smell the old leather as aged cassette tapes skipped every now and again. I sighed, waiting for Levi to start the Impala.
"Eren, pick a tape." He handed me the box of old cassettes.
"S-Sure, okay." I responded, digging through them all.
I settled on a Blink-182 cassette, another band we both had in common. I set it into the player, pressing 'play'. Levi started the car, and we began to drive to where he lived.
The angel from my nightmares.
The shadow in the background of the morgue.
The unsuspecting victim,
Of darkness in the valley,
We can live like Jack and Sally if you want.
Where you can always find me,
And we'll have Halloween on Christmas.
And in the night, we'll wish this never ends.
We'll wish this never ends.
We had been driving for almost an hour, and were way out of Maria by now. I thought he said we were going to get lunch... I decided to bring this up with him.
"Levi, I thought we were getting lunch?" I inquired, turning my head to him for a minute.
"We are. And then once you help me unpack at my place, I'll drive you back home." Levi kept his eyes to the road, several large trees and expansive fields passing by us.
"Wow, Levi. These are a lot of big-ass trees..." I scoffed, sliding back into the leather seat.
"Hush it. We're almost there." He snapped, causing me to flinch lightly.
Levi's house was surprisingly out of the way. We even drove down a rocky driveway for almost a minute, little packed cylinders of rocks with old lamps hanging off a pole on each one. Dear god, don't tell me I'm in a Silent Hill movie... Once we got to his house, I was pleasantly taken aback by how beautiful it was. He had a Victorian/cabin style home, about 2 stories with a tower feature on the front left corner. Levi opened the trunk, hitting his palm on the metal repeatedly.
"Come on now, Eren. We're wasting daylight." He grabbed a dufflebag, to which I followed, grabbing his laptop bag.
"Hey, how long have you lived out here?" I asked, shutting his front door with my boot heel.
"For a while. It's out of the way...I like it." He sighed, tossing his bag on a table.
While I helped him unpack, I felt my phone buzz in my pocket. Reaching in, it was another text from Armin. "Armin Arlert: Eren! Come on, dude. We wanna take you out tonight as an apology. Jean could come, Levi too. Dragon's Lair at 7?" Dragon's Lair was this burger/sports/video game joint down a little South in Maria, one of my favorite places to go. This time, I decided to respond to him. "Jaeger Bombastic: Sure, man. I'm about nearly 2 hours out of Maria helping Levi unpack at his place. Be there ASAP." Hating to leave Levi even sooner, I told him what was going on.
"Armin and Mikasa just invited me out tonight. Think we could leave sooner?" I asked sheepishly, looking at the clock, it was 1:23.
"Yeah, let me grab a drink and we'll be out." Levi ran into the kitchen, opening the fridge.
"I'll be out in the car!" I yelled, heading to sit in the Impala.
After a few minutes, I'd wondered what got the short man held up in retrieving a beverage from his refrigerator. Pulling out my phone again, I heard a ringtone going off elsewhere. Darting my eyes around the car, they were finally pinned on a black Samsung poking out from in the seat. Reaching for it, a name was continuously flashing with the green "accept" and red "decline" call buttons below. The name, "Ral", ended its flashes when I slid the accept button. A scratchy background was heard, but a female voice was made clear.
"Listen, don't talk. The subject's companion has been eliminated. Heading to rendezvous point as we speak, ETA unknown." The receiver clicked.
My head spun. What the hell was that about? I snapped to when I saw Levi coming from his house with a couple soda pop bottles in hand. Clicking his phone off, I set it back down. Buckling the seatbelt, Levi tossed me a drink and slumped into his own seat.
"Alright, let's take you home. Pick a tape?" Levi started the car, gesturing to his box of cassettes.
"N-No music for now." I was too busy trying to wrap my head around what I'd just heard on the phone a moment ago.
*Time Skip, back in Maria (still Eren's POV)*
The ride back was deathly silent. Levi's phone kept going off with texts and 2 phone calls, but he ignored them. Everytime he'd get a text, his jaw would clench and he'd accelerate the car. Parking at the front of my building, we both got out. Levi went to the front of his beloved Impala, and I went next to him. Checking my phone, it was at 43%, and the time read 5:37.
"Don't be a stranger, Levi." I mumbled, folding my arms in protection against the cold wind.
"Eh? Come again?" He asked, not phased by the breeze.
"I know you're big time teacher and all, but don't just drop communications. I love you, okay? You can't just cut that." I felt my nose burning, signaling tears...but why?
"Eren, trust me. I won't be a stranger." Levi peered upwards at me, his grey eyes drowning in untold emotion.
"So I guess this is..." I began, getting choked up.
"Goodbye for now, Eren." Levi finished, pulling me down by my sleeves for a final lip lock.
I stood outside long enough to watch Black Dynamite carry him back to their beautiful home. Looking at the sky, I noticed cumulonimbus clouds forming to the North. Dammit...stupid Oregon weather... I walked inside the complex, waving at the desk clerk and hopping on the elevator. It stopped on the 3rd floor, allowing for another passenger to enter. The god damn old woman.
"Hmm...yes. You seem distressed, boy. What seems to be the issue?" She asked, using her withered cane for support.
"I'm just not the best at goodbyes." I stuck my hands in my pocket, mentally sighing in relief that the elevator had stopped on my floor.
Walking down the hall, Mikasa and Armin's apartment was silent, but a light was on. They're probably getting ready for tonight...hopefully my phone will charge. Digging for the keys in my pockets, a door opened behind me. It was Jean.
"Levi not coming with us?" He asked, propping his arm on the doorframe for support.
"He's...having to go back to work tomorrow. He's far from here." I sighed, picking out my keys.
"Oh..well...see you soon!" He added, shutting his door.
Instead of turning my keys once they were in the lock, I simply hit my forehead against the door. Multiple times. Maybe if I hit my head enough...all of this upset would be erased? Whatever, I agreed to go out tonight with my friends, so I better freshen up. Once I opened my door, a rancid odor attacked my nose, causing me to raise my arm to shield my nostrils and burning eyes.
"Gah! What the hell?" I exclaimed through my sleeve cover. What I found once I rounded the corner into my bedroom... What I found was...
"OTTO!" I wailed, dropping my phone, sleeve shield, everything, I ran to my German Shepherd who lay motionless on my sheets.
Flicking on the lights, I was met with more horrors. The sheets were wet with crimson, and citric acid bubbled, dissolving his exposed areas on his body. I opened my mouth to scream, but nothing came out. Or so it seemed.
I still felt really bad about Eren last night. We didn't mean to tease him, it just kind of happened. Mikasa was in the bathroom finishing her hair and makeup for tonight, while I was lounging on the sofa watching old Pokémon re-runs. I was about to change the channel when I heard a blood-curdling scream come from outside, down the hall.
"Armin! What the hell was that?!" Mikasa demanded, poking her head out of the bathroom door.
"I-I'm not sure...let me go check." Once I bolted up and out the door, Jean was standing in front of Eren's apartment.
"Armin! Something is wrong, that scream came from Eren!" His brows were furrowed with extreme worry, as he knocked on the door.
"Eren! Are you okay?! Come on, open up!" I pounded my fists as hard as possible, but the door wouldn't budge.
Jean and I spent a few more minutes trying to open the door, no attempts successful. Soon, Mikasa came out and walked down to us. When explained the situation, she told us both to stand back. Mikasa got a slight running start, ramming her body into the door and breaking it free of its hinges. A putrid scent came forth, and we all cringed and coughed. Heavy sobbing could be heard from Eren's room, which is where we headed.
Upon entering his room, we found Eren holding the...acid corroded? And bloodied body of his dog, Otto.
"Eren! Look at me!" Mikasa pleaded, grabbing her brother by the shoulders.
All we got out of Eren was relentless sobs and coughs from the acid smell. Jean opened the window, and called 911. We waited until the police arrived, along with a coroner and veterinarian. The police asked us questions, since Eren was unresponsive. Of course, we didn't know much. All we could do was supply them with a list of people who would want to do this. That didn't help either...since Eren was friends with everyone.
"Thank you, Armin, Mikasa, and Jean. If you could find Eren other means of living until we completely pick apart this scene, we'd appreciate it." The officer nodded at us, giving us time to recollect Eren and a few of his things.
"Armin, if you could stay with Jean here. I'll keep Eren with me." Mikasa insisted, taking her brother and picking him up.
"Yeah, he needs family. Armin, you'll have to sleep on the couch, bud." Jean punched my arm jokingly.
"That's fine. I hope we get to the bottom of this..." Finding a nearby clock, it read only 6:45.
Listen, don't talk.
The targets companion has been eliminated.