You don’t thank the soldier as he leaves, waiting for him to turn the corner before you turn the knob. Just as you enter the room, the other door swings open and Levi steps in.
“Levi?” you take a step closer but stop when your eyes drop to the object in his hand. Although it was wrapped in white linen, you can clearly see the blood staining the cloth. And upon closer inspection, you see that he’s holding a pocketknife.
“Levi, [First], you’re back,” Farlan pokes his head out from the bedroom before you can ask whose blood it is. Farlan looks at you when you don’t respond, and noticing your gaze is fixated towards Levi, he trails your eyes. His voice drops significantly. “Did you kill them?”
Your brows furrow at Farlan’s comment, but as expected, you don’t get an answer from Levi. Instead, he pulls off his cape, carelessly tossing it to the floor and it is in that moment, that you know something is wrong. You look to Farlan for answers but he shrugs.
“Why don’t you go after him? I’ll go and grab Isabel and we’ll meet up with you as soon as we can. I have a feeling that Levi will need us more than ever tonight.”
“What…happened?” you ask. Farlan sighs and runs a hand through his hair.
“I’m sure you have your questions, [First], but now’s not the time to be asking,” is his response. “You’ll know in due time. I promise.”
“I’ll hold you to it then.”
He’s looking up at the stars when you find him, seemingly lost in thought. You notice that he’s playing with the same pocketknife from earlier, but it’s free of blood now. You quietly close the door behind you, approaching him carefully.
“May I join you?” you ask softly, almost shyly. Levi pockets the knife before pulling up a knee, resting one arm on the junction and the other on his lap. You take that as a yes and seat yourself on one of the ledges beside him. Pulling your own knees up, you rest your chin between them and turn your head so that you can look at him. “I’m sorry.”
“You apologize too much,” he scowls, and you chuckle.
He lets out his signature “tch” but doesn’t look at you. Your smile widens a bit, and some of your hair falls over your shoulder when you tilt your head more-some to catch his gaze. You notice Levi’s eyes narrow, but he doesn’t say anything.
Your smile falters, and boldly, you reach your hand out to place a palm on top of the one on his knee. He looks ready to rip his hand from your grasp, but like how you did in the past, your fingers curl over his palm to prevent him from escaping.
“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be here right now. I took you, Farlan, and Isabel away from your home. If I’d never gotten myself involved, none of this would be happening right now. The least I can do is offer you an apology,” you squeeze his fingers briefly before letting him go. You know he’s looking at you then, but the hair that’s fallen over your shoulders creates a wall between you two. And what perfect timing your words are when the door swings open again, and Farlan whistles in awe as he takes in the view.
“It’s a beautiful sky, eh? And you were planning to keep this all to yourself? How selfish of you, Levi.”
You can almost hear the double-meaning in his voice, but patience does have its rewards. Levi answers your unspoken question for you.
“It’s because I can’t kill anything quietly with you guys around,” he says, looking over his shoulder to glance at his surrogate family. “You’re too noisy.”
Isabel giggles, pulling out four bottles behind her back. As she’s doing so, you notice that her hair is significantly shorter, and she’s sporting a couple of bruises too. You put two and two together, and Farlan winks to let you know that you hit the nail with the hammer.
“Well I’m indebted to you once more, Brother. Here, I got you a little thank you gift.” She hands out the bottles to everyone, first Levi than you last. You accept her offer with a smile, unscrewing the cap and taking a quick swig of it. Isabel takes a seat beside you, while Farlan sits next to Levi. They draw their eyes towards the stars, reveling in the nighttime beauty.
Much to your surprise, it’s Levi’s voice that breaks the silence. Even though only Farlan is being called to question, Levi’s tone draws everyone’s stares to him.
“I’ll trust you,” he starts. “I won’t kill Erwin now.”
Farlan’s look of surprise swiftly changes into one of happiness as he smiles at the shorter male. Isabel jumps up, running between Levi and Farlan and, putting an arm around both of their shoulders, pulls them into a group hug.
“Me too! I’ll trust you too!” she cheers, the sound of her laughter mixing with Farlan’s. You smile, watching them, but you don’t say anything. They look so happy together, and guilt nips at you again. You’d torn off their wings; taken away their freedom. Although they still had each other, life for them would never be the same again. And you couldn’t help but blame yourself. You were unable to save them when they’d saved you.
And that was what you regret most of all.
“Hey, get in here, [First]!” Isabel gestures with a hand for you to come over, and you bring up another smile while shaking your head. She’s an obstinate one though, and reaching over, yanks you towards them and you end up leaning into Levi’s chest. You flush a bright red at the contact, but hearing the sound of Levi’s heart beating against his chest has you easing into his warmth. Your tired eyes slowly close as you savor the safety you feel by being held in their arms.
Unbeknownst to you, when Levi feels you relax against him, he makes a silent resolve that none of you can hear.