You weren’t sure whether it was just you or the fact that the box seemed much lighter only after a few days. But it definitely raised some eyebrows when a pack of your sacred tea bags mysteriously vanished one night.
You loved ginseng tea; no, you worshipped it. And it was so damn hard to get them and you often had to pay a hefty sum but it was worth it.
And now they were gone.
Faster than the food that Sasha raided daily from the pantry.
‘You probably just dropped them somewhere,’ said Eren resignedly, watching you scrabble around on the ground like a despairing raccoon. ‘Give it a rest; they’ll turn up.’
Never had you wanted to throttle someone so much as in that instant. Needless to say, Eren was immediately removed from your presence when Captain Levi came thundering down the hall, screaming for the ‘…piece of Titan shit that was the bane of my existence…’
Now that the blasphemous ingrate was out of the room, you resumed your hunt under the closet. So far you were coming up with nothing but a mental note to clean under there; the dust bunnies were breeding on their own and it looked like the closet was floating on an extremely dirty, smelly cloud.
After you had extracted an apple core with some degree of disgust -and a bit of dry-retching- you decided there and then that you’d had enough. Until you spotted something else hiding amidst the grey fluff.
It didn’t look like it had been lying there for long; you brushed off some stray fluff and held it up for inspection. The whiteness of the material should have already given it away, or what it was, because no human on site would ever be caught wearing that. Fashion terrorist alert.
The problem was confronting him. The last idiot who gave him some snark never saw the light of day again. Rumours say he was still locked up in his bedroom muttering cleaning formulas to himself. The guy had so much rage in him he could have taken it all out and made a thousand Simon Cowells and Gordon Ramsays and still have enough to make a Hulk. And you be damned if you weren’t shaking in your boots right now.
But was the tea worth it?
So after a day’s prepping yourself, and a week’s chickening out, you finally summoned the courage to walk up to his door.
Well, you finally summoned the courage to walk up to his door after Eren had forced a couple of drops of Cognac down your throat. But as George Bernard Shaw had said, ‘Alcohol is the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.’ Or more like the operation of possible-spending-the-rest-of-your-life-as-a-substitute-for-Windex but hey, at least you would have given it a good old shot.
Corporal Levi Ackerman. So announced the simple gold plaque on his door. You clutched the white cravat in one hand, the other raised up in a shaking fist ready to knock on the literal gates of hell.
‘Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name,’ you muttered, giving three small timid taps on the wood. ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done, on Earth as it was in Heaven…’ You kept uttering the prayer as you heard footsteps approaching, the rhythm pounding to the beat of your thumping heart. ‘Give us today our daily bread-‘ The door handle was turning. ‘Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us-‘
‘(L/N), you’re sinning just by standing there,’ Levi was standing unimpressed in the doorway. ‘Your boots look like they’ve been dipped in horse manure.’ He crossed his arms. ‘And no amount of praying is going to absolve you from that.’
‘Sorry, I’ll get right onto that,’ you said in a squeak, fisting the material tighter. Levi seemed to notice the small action and narrowed his eyes.
‘Why are you holding my cravat?’
‘Um…’ you looked down dumbly at the cloth. ‘I was looking for my tea-bags-‘
At this, Levi stiffened perceptibly and you stared at him. Gotcha you thieving bag of scum-
‘…and I found this under the closet.’ You held it up to the light in triumph. Levi’s silence and the effects of the alcohol made you bold.
‘So, what’s your cravat doing in my room, may I ask? Sir?’ You added the honorific with the barest hint of sarcasm.
Levi blinked and with a movement quicker than the eyes could see, you found yourself staring at his closed door, he having slammed it shut with the momentum making you stumble backwards.
‘What the…’ You dropped the cravat and hammered on the door. ‘GIVE ME BACK MY TEA YOU… YOU WET SOCK.’
‘NEVER,’ screeched the answering reply, followed by the sound of glass smashing and shuffling across the floor. You stopped your frenzied pounding to stare in disbelief at the mahogany. This was actually fucking unbelievable. What was he, twelve?
You tried the door handle again, but the locked feeling only enraged you further. But there was so much banging you could do before you fists started to burn and you stepped back, glaring angrily at the plaque.
‘Major (L/N),’ said a deep voice behind you and you turned around to see a tall blonde man in uniform, hands behind his back. He had a bemused expression on his face.
‘Yes, Commander Erwin?’ You saluted, hastily smoothing down your hair and clothes in order to look more human rather than deranged.
‘So I was walking past Levi’s office-‘ He began with a questioning look. ‘And I hear this dreadful clatter and all of a sudden, a sword comes shooting past my face, almost taking my nose off and there’s window glass on the ground.’ Erwin takes a step towards you. ‘And then there’s my captain Batman-leaping through the hole hauling something that looks like tea-bags.’ He raised his eyebrows. ‘Care to explain?’
‘Honestly sir, I don’t think I can explain much,’ you started, feeling whatever shred of respect you had for Levi fly right out of the window with him. ‘ I accused him of stealing my tea and he shut the door in my face. I didn’t actually know he broke the window.’
‘That man…’ Erwin shook his head, sighing. ‘Now I have to pay for a new window; I swear to God, he’s the worst partner I’ve had in a long time.’
You were baffled. ‘Why don’t you make him pay for it then?’
‘Have you met Levi?’ The commander rolled his eyes. ‘I’d like to keep my nether regions, thank you very much.’
You laughed; Erwin was pretty funny for an old dude. But then you sobered up, remembering your current predicament.
‘What am I going to do about my tea now?’
‘Well lucky for you, he’s sitting in my office right now sulking so you can go get back your teabags,’ Erwin said, patting you on the shoulder. ‘On the list of things I thought I’d see today, this was the last thing I was expecting,’ he added, a strange expression on his face. ‘Oh well. See you tomorrow Major (L/N).’ He strode away, leaving you standing alone in the hallway.
Levi broke the fucking window to escape from you.
He actually broke it.
As in smashed it and leapt through.
By dear Lord Jesus.
You walked down the hallway after a few moments, entering Erwin’s office to find Levi sitting in a chair beside Erwin’s desk, head down and looking like a recently chastised child. On the desk was your bag of ginseng.
‘MY BABIES!’ you screamed, rushing over and hugging the bag to your chest. ‘Mummy’s here,’ you crooned, stroking your precious tea. And of course you couldn’t forget the reason behind your pain.
‘AND YOU.’ You stomped angrily over to the hunched over man. ‘YOU-‘
‘Wet sock?’ Levi looked up, a few strands of his hair hanging over his eyes. He looked too amused for someone who had just a few minutes ago, executed a move worthy of a superhero name.
‘Don’t look at me like that,’ you snapped. ‘Why did you steal my tea?’
He sniffed, turning away. ‘I wanted some.’
You scoffed. ‘Are you a child, Captain?’ You layered every ounce of sarcasm you could possibly gather onto the honorific. ‘You broke a window for fuck’s sake. A window.’
‘I know,’ he said simply, leaning back into his chair. ‘I was desperate.’
You could only stare at him in utter incredulity then tossed his cravat at him which he caught with one hand.
‘You. Could. Have. Just. Asked,’ you enunciated, forcing every word out between your teeth. ‘I spent half my week’s pay on those-‘
‘Okay, okay,’ Levi held up a hand to silence you. You were pretty amazed at his nerve, considering his previous actions. ‘I admit, I was being… unreasonable-‘
‘Unreasonable my ass, you were off with the damned fairies-‘
‘Now, now,’ Levi looked stonily at you. ‘You forget I am still your superior, (L/N).’
Fuck, you forgot. With Levi’s rebuke, you immediately sobered up, gulping, nerves taking root deep in your stomach again. He noticed your instant discomfort and stood up, smirking. This was where his power lay and he was milking every minute of it.
‘After metaphorically declaring myself as comparable to a wet item of clothing, you-‘ He looked dead straight into your eyes ‘-have just earned yourself a week’s worth of toilet-cleaning.’
Your mouth dropped open. ‘But I'm not a cadet-‘
‘Cadet or not, I still have more power over you.’ His mouth twitched. ‘Unless you hand over the bag right now.’
You immediately took a step back, clutching the bag tighter. ‘Never.’
‘Well then, you can join Kirschtein in reciting those formulas,’ Levi said. ‘Toxin free bacterial wipes: baking soda, plus lemon, plus-‘
‘Wait,’ you interjected, exhaling loudly. ‘I’ll give you half.’ You shot the most irritated look at Levi. ‘Is that enough, your Highness?’
He had another smirk on his face. ‘That’ll do.’
With another heavy sigh, you tipped the bag forward, emptying your precious tea onto the desk before tying it up and slinging it over your back. Eren’s Cognac was still in full-force and you couldn’t help yourself but shoot another dirty look at Levi’s smug expression.
‘Are you happy now, you slimy-‘
‘Watch it, (L/N) or it’s another week and double the tea-bags.’
You groaned, stomping out and slamming the door closed. ‘Stupid, stinking, piece of used toilet-paper-‘
‘I HEARD THAT.’
‘Good,’ you muttered, feeling the loss of your tea heavy in your arms as you headed back to the dorm, ready to face the music next week. All you hoped, was that no one had eaten anything worthy of clogging up the drains.
‘Why do you terrorise her?’ asked Erwin in genuine curiosity, reclining in his desk chair and watching Levi who was bustling around the far table.
‘Because it’s fun,’ the shorter man said briefly, pouring the steaming water into a cup. A deep, aromatic scent filled the room. ‘You want tea?’
‘No I’m fine,’ said the commander, a bemused expression on his face. ‘Why her though?’
‘Because she’s hilarious when she gets angry,’ Levi answered, a smirk on his face as he sat down across from Erwin, sipping the hot liquid. ‘It’s very entertaining.’
‘I see,’ said Erwin, studying Levi. ‘You’ve got the hots for her.’
Whatever liquid was in Levi’s mouth suddenly made its way across the table into Erwin’s face who yelled and leapt up in horror.
‘LEVI THAT’S DISGUSTING-‘
‘Don’t ever say that again,’ Levi spluttered, setting the cup down. ‘That’s just disturbing.’
‘What you just did to me was disturbing,’ muttered Erwin, pawing through Levi’s drawer and pulling out a fresh towel, dabbing at the stains on his once crisp shirt. ‘Just ask her out already.’
‘No.’ Levi’s answer was short and detached, a cold staccato.
‘So you admit you like her?’ Erwin’s grin was triumphant and a tad creepy.
‘NO.’ Levi emphasised vehemently. ‘No. No. No. And No.’
‘Deny it all you like,’ Erwin shrugged. ‘I’ll just sit here and eat popcorn.’
Levi only rolled his eyes. ’At least she’s supplying me with ginseng; that’s all I need her for.’
‘After you blackmailed her.’
‘Details,’ Levi waved his hand airily.
‘Still, I think you should ask her out.’ Erwin waggled his eyebrows. ‘You’re getting old, Levi. I think it’s time you gave those old bones some action-‘
‘If you want more of my spit and tea solution, just keep on talking.’
‘Apology accepted.’ Levi resumed sipping at his cup. ‘You sure you don’t want any?’
‘I guess so,’ Erwin looked warily at the man. ‘Just promise me you won’t mix your DNA in with it. I think I’ve been traumatised enough for one day.’ He shivered.
‘I promise,’ Levi grinned. ‘I guess it’s tea for two then.’
Thanks, Major (L/N).