Categories > Anime/Manga > Attack on Titan > Forbidden

Chapter Five

by CaptainRiren 0 reviews

Levi and Eren both make visits.

Category: Attack on Titan - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Fantasy - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2018-08-04 - 2744 words

"State your business."

"Uh, to see Kenny? Fuck else would I be here for?"

Both sentries let out angry snarls, and Levi matched their glares with a fierce one of his own. Before things could get more heated, however, the man himself walked outside, stopping his gargoyles by holding up a silent hand.

"Levi," Kenny said distastefully, crossing his arms and leaning against the doorframe. "How . . . nice."

Levi rolled his eyes. "Let me in, will you?" He pushed his way past the hunter, and the gargoyles snapped at him as he passed, but Kenny merely followed him inside. They stood in a cozy looking den, with a bar at the far end and a grotesque looking lizard man behind it. "I want to talk to you about something."

"Just talk?" Kenny asked, doubtful, and Levi rolled his eyes.

"Just talk," he promised.

Kenny relented, and they made their way to the bar. Wordlessly, he signaled for a drink, and the scaly bartender offered them each a whisky on the rocks, accompanied by the bottle. It was rare that they got together like this. They were known to butt heads, and sometimes quite violently, but they could be convinced to get along. Levi took a sip from his glass, relaxing as much as he could. He was determined to make this visit nonviolent.

"So what's your deal, kid?" Kenny finally asked, peering over the rim of his glass at the other demon. "When I heard you knocking, I was sure it was to beat my ass for the other night."

"I'm surprised you never came after me," Levi snorted. He leaned on the bar, swirling the ice in his glass. His eyes narrowed and he locked gazes with his uncle. It was a standoff; Kenny had no idea what Levi was going to say, and Levi did not know if his next words would initiate a fight. Finally, he asked, "Why go after Eren?"

Kenny barked a laugh, looking noticeably surprised at the question. "Why not go after him? Have you any idea what the market looks like for him?" He shook his head, grinning, and gulped down his whiskey before speaking again. "The moment his presence was sensed on the surface, dozens of demons clamored to put a bounty on his head. I thought you were smarter than that, kiddo. When something's forbidden, everyone wants it."

"But why is he forbidden?" Levi pushed. Kenny raised an eyebrow. "Him, specifically?"

"You think that old bat would preach to the entirety of the Underworld the dire need to keep him safe if he was just another pure soul?" Kenny helped himself to another glass. Levi held his forward and the older demon topped it off generously. "Fuck if I know what it is. Some of my . . . clients are nobility. I'm sure they know exactly what it is that makes him so special."

"But you don't?" This was slowly becoming a waste of time. Kenny did not know anything, and he was not about to betray customer confidentiality so Levi could interrogate someone else.

"Do I look like I care? Money, power, and favors are worth far more to me than some little brat, no matter how special he is."

Levi shook his head and didn't respond, instead choosing to practically inhale his second glass. Kenny sighed.

"Quit moping, will you?" He gave Levi a rough smack to the shoulder, and it took everything he had not to bare his fangs, indignance flaring in his gut. Kenny chose not to notice. "Look to the leaders of the Underworld. If anyone's got answers, it's them."

Levi nodded. It had been a while since he had visited the place of his birth, but if he wanted answers, it was time to return. He slid off the high barstool and gave a brief nod to Kenny in farewell before turning and heading for the door.

"Hey, Levi."


Kenny raised a hand goodbye. "Don't get your hopes up."

Levi snorted. "Thanks anyways, old man."


The Hall of Scriptures was full of dust, so much that every footstep left it swirling around Eren's feet. He traced a finger across a book and it came back nearly black. Mildly disgusted, Eren wiped the dust off on his robe, and tried to ignore the way it tickled aggravatingly at the back of his throat.

"Hello?" he whispered into the dark. When there was no response, he felt stupid. Of course nobody was here. Nobody cared about their history, and anyone who did was long asleep by now. Downcast, he turned to leave.

Suddenly, a panicked yell split the musty silence, and then - crash!

Eren let out a hoarse shout in spite of himself, jumping about a mile and falling into a stack of books. Dust kicked up, making him cough wildly. His eyes watering and lungs heaving for air, he sat up, waving his hands around in an attempt to clear the air around him.

"Ah - fuck!"

Startled, Eren whipped his head around to stare at the source of the voice. Who in the heavens swore? There was someone coming towards him, and as the dust settled, he could see messy brown hair and a pair of glasses that were totally askew.

"I am so sorry," they said hastily, and promptly fell over another stack of books with a loud clattering noise that made Eren wince. "Shit!" Eren could only stare as they picked themselves back up again and started moving towards him more carefully. "Visitors never come at this time of night - well, they really don't come at all, you know, nobody is interested in history."

They finally came to a halt in front of him and offered a hand. Eren stared dumbly at it, then back at the person's face. "Who - ?"

"Name's Hange," they said, fixing their glasses with their other hand and giving a friendly smile. "I'm the record keeper. You're Eren, right?"

Eren accepted the hand and pulled himself upright, attempting to brush grey from his clothes. Unfortunately, not much happened except spreading the dust around. "How do you know?" he asked, bewildered.

"Erwin told me to expect you," Hange answered matter-of-factly. Of course. "You never came, though, so I stopped preparing. I was so startled when you came that I fell out of the loft!"

Guiltily, Eren ducked his head. "Sorry," he said quietly. "I had to convince myself to come."

Before he could spiral, Hange clapped their hands together excitedly. "That's perfectly okay! I'm just happy to have any company, you know. Especially someone as fascinating as you." Eren looked startled, and the librarian laughed. "Sorry! That's weird. But you really are interesting, aren't you? Follow me."

Carefully maneuvering through the maze of books, Hange directed him to a ladder. Eren followed them up into a small second floor that was more like a platform, with a few small bookcases, some more scattered tomes, and something like a bed in the corner - it looked more like a nest of blankets. There was a table with two chairs on the opposite end of the little room, overlooking a window, and Hange offered him a seat.

"So the bond, what's it like?"

Surprised, Eren asked dumbly, "What?"

"The bond," Hange emphasized, pointing at his neck as they bustled around the room. "That little pest bite you've got. Water?"

Mindful of the dust, Eren was about to reject the offering, but after seeing Hange pull out two pristine water bottles he changed his mind. "Sure. And . . . Levi isn't a pest."

"Isn't he?" Hange asked curiously, finally settling in the chair across from Eren as the boy chugged water. "He ruined your life."

"He saved it," Eren countered in a suddenly strong tone, glaring at Hange, and they grinned.

"Did he?" they mused, sipping their own water and raising their eyebrows. "Well, that brings me back to the question at hand. What's it like?"

The power was gone, replaced with avoiding green eyes and a frown. Eren sat his water on the table and looked out the dusty window. It overlooked a garden, overgrown but far from dead, with little flowers popping up all over the place. He gave a small sigh.

"It's shameful."

Hange rested their chin in their hands, elbows propped up on the table. "I won't tell anyone. I swear on my position."

"I . . . " Eren bit his lip, and then released it again. To admit it was terrifying, but he felt he could trust Hange. And, of course, it was not like saying this aloud would really make him any more heretical than he already was. "I want him."

He did not know what he expected. Disgust, definitely, anger perhaps. Certainly not a low whistle and eyes sparkling in fascination.

"First of all, Eren," Hange said, straightening up and growing serious, "it's not shameful to want him. It's a natural part of the bond. That's why it's called a bond, you know."

"It . . . isn't?"

Hange shook their head. "It isn't. And second - what all do you want to know? I know you came here for answers. Answers the Holy Father couldn't give you."

"Tell me everything," Eren said immediately, and then faltered. "I mean . . . I don't know anything. I don't even know enough to know what questions to ask. So please, tell me everything you know."

Hange eyed him contemplatively, glasses shining in the dim moonlight that spilled in from the dusty window. They laced their fingers together on the tabletop and looked out the window. Eren was glad - he did not enjoy the scrutiny.

"You're special." Eren almost scoffed. Of course he was special. It was all anyone ever told him. "If anyone deserves to know why, it's you, but I can't claim to know the answer. I have my theories as to why you can't be cured of the bond, but I won't explain them just yet. Not without more information.

"It's important to note that the bond has always been curable because it is incomplete when we see it. Only half of it has been created. That is, the demon has claimed the angel, but the angel has not claimed the demon in return. Sometimes, an angel has gone back to their demon and completed the bond. Whether you choose to do so or not is not a decision I will weigh in on.

"The yearning is a side effect of the incomplete nature of the bond. When complete, as far as the readings say, you can feel each other at every moment, waking or not. It fills the loneliness and, while you still want each other, you can stand to be apart. It isn't called a bond for nothing, after all. It implies closeness. Until you complete the bond with your demon - " At this, Eren made a face, and Hange broke into a chuckle. " - yes, your demon - you will feel this yearning."

"What about Levi?" Eren asked, trying not to feel absolutely doomed because of that last part. "Is he going through anything?"

"Oh, a lot." Hange leaned back in their seat, resting their hands behind their head. "Anything you feel, he feels. There's probably some thoughts he picks up on, too, if they're particularly clear. And, of course, he feels the pull, as well."

"And there's really no way to cure it." His voice was almost a whisper now, guilt seeping into his tone. This was all his fault. He was naive and refused to listen. He ignored his friends, his mentors, and most importantly, his Father. Because of everything, not only was he suffering and would be for the rest of his existence, but so would Levi. "There's nothing I can do."

A contemplative silence. Hange's eyes on him felt like he was being peeled open and inspected, probed, researched.

"Maybe there is something you can do."

Eren's eyebrows shot up. He did not dare to hope, but - "Really?"

"Maybe," Hange repeated, a little stern, as if reiterating his own warning to himself: do not hope for too much. "We can't remove the taint, but maybe we can treat it, in a way. That is, if you're willing."

"I'm willing," Eren answered immediately. As much as he wanted Levi, it caused too much conflict. How much of him wanted Levi and how much of it was just the bond talking? Was Levi worth losing everything he was and wanted to be? The answer to the first, he did not know, but the answer to the second was absolutely not. Nothing would ever be worth that. "What would I do?"

"Well," Hange started, sounding simultaneously hesitant and placating. They straightened their posture once more and the descent from mildly casual to solemn was intimidating. "I can't promise results. I can't even promise to make treatment my first priority. What I'm proposing is a deal."

The interest remained, but weariness filtered in. Eren realized with a jolt how stupid this all was, how reckless he was being. He was spilling the beans to an angel he'd never met before - an angel that almost nobody in the heavens knew of - and taking all of their answers as fact. But Eren was never known for his sense unless it was his sense of adventure, and with rampant curiosity he decided, what do I have to lose?

"Tell me the details," he said. Hange smiled, calmer than their previous grins, and leaned forward to speak in lower tones.

"I want to research the bond. We have hardly anything in the library about it. I want to fill tomes with as much as I can."

"And what's in it for me?"

"We both want answers, don't we?" Hange coaxed. "Here's my proposition: you do as I ask, I study the bond and what things do to it. In return, I look for some kind of treatment or cure. We get caught, you take the fall. It's not like you have much to lose in that department anyways. You can back out anytime if you're uncomfortable and I won't blame you for it. You interested?"

They offered their hand, staring into his eyes. Eren wanted to be the kind of person who thought seriously about this sort of decision, or even rejected it, but he just could not make himself. The excitement about the danger of this situation, the intrigue and desire for answers, the craving to see Levi again, all made it too tempting of an offer.

"It's a deal," he said, shaking Hange's hand, and there was that grin, almost catlike in appearance. Playful, but scheming. "What do you want me to do first?"

Hange seemed to hesitate, and suddenly Eren was having second thoughts. Just how big was their first request? They were already starting off big enough that it was a doozy to ask? Would all requests be like this?

Eren comforted himself with the thought that he could back out anytime.

"I want you to meet up with him again."

That was simultaneously terrifying and not nearly as scary of a request as Eren expected. Of course, he was definitely not supposed to see Levi under any circumstances. The Heavenly Father had made that crystal clear. And yet, with his condition being permanent, how much worse could it really get? His life was already ruined. He still wanted to see Levi again. This entire situation was just killing two birds with one stone.

He took a deep breath and released it. "Tell me what to do."

Hange smiled once more. Was that pride on their face? They stood, and Eren followed suit as they moved to the edge of the loft.

"There's an unused portal nearby. It meets by the ocean, near where you two last met. Nobody worries about it because this place is so remote that even if some demons did show up here, we'd have plenty of time to fight them back before they damaged anything. You're going to meet him there and simply let things happen, and I'm going to observe."

"How will he know to meet me?" Eren asked, confused.

"You're going to tell him," Hange replied.

That was right. Levi could hear clear thoughts, if what they said was correct. So, with a deep breath, Eren sat on the edge of the loft and thought hard.

And a thousand miles below him, a raven-haired demon jolted as if struck by lightning.
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