Age Is Just a Number They Say

BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: +. to F > Attack on Titan /Shingeki No Kyojin
Dragon prints: 1200
Disclaimer: I don't own Attack on Titan nor profit from it. Hajime Isayama owns it.

Author's note: This oneshot is dedicated to Cazzylove, because it's her birthday today. Happy birthday, sweetheart!

Warnings: Eren's pov; AU; age difference; drama; the relationship started when Eren was still seventeen, but in this one he's no longer underage; slash

Dedicated to: Cazzylove

I hope you'll like it!

Age Is Just a Number They Say

"Any plans for this weekend?" Mum inquired, handing over the half empty bottle of cola to her son when he reached out with his hand.

"I have some patients scheduled on Saturday, but I'll be home by six," Dad replied absentmindedly, closing the medical journal he had been reading to devote his attention to dinner.

"Annie and I found a new trail in the forest, so we're going to explore that for a while," Mikasa murmured as she slipped into the seat next to Eren, accepting her plate from mum.

"And you, Eren?" Mum looked at him expectantly.

He shrugged. "Armin got a new game from his grandfather, so we're going to try that one out. Oh, and I'm going to see Levi for a bit," he added as an afterthought.

He hadn't seen his boyfriend in a week, because the older man had been away on a business trip, so he was looking forward to spend some time with him again.

"You've been together with him for a while now, hm?" Mum hummed thoughtfully, cutting a piece out of her roasted chicken.

Eren paused, his fork hovering mid-air. He eyed her warily. That tone of voice never promised anything good. It was the same tone she used whenever she subtly pointed out it had been a while since he had last cleaned his room, or when she tried to convince him to visit the old lady at the end of the street who smelled odd and who kept muttering strange things to herself.

In short that tone was bad news. Very bad news, in fact, because it always preceded him being forced to do something he didn't want to do.

Mum looked at him expectantly, raising an eyebrow and he sighed. "Yeah," he muttered, not liking where this conversation was going at all.

He was right. Damn it.

"Well, don't you think it's time your father and I meet him officially?" she hinted, giving him a pointed look.

"Nope, not really," he hastily retorted. Next to him Mikasa paused, her dark eyes flitting back and forth between Eren and mum.

"Eren," Dad said warningly; his glasses glinting in the light.

"You've already met him before," Eren pointed out sullenly; his fingers clenching around his fork.

"Greeting him at the door right before you leave with him on a date doesn't count as really 'meeting' him," Mum said and frowned. "Really, Eren, it's been what? Ten months? Surely you're steady enough now to have him meet us?"

Eren kept quiet, glowering at his dinner; the boiled potatoes seemed to mock him.

"Well, I think it's time we meet him officially," Mum continued determinedly. "Tell him we're inviting him tomorrow for dinner. If that doesn't work out, we'll decide on another evening."

And that was that, apparently. Protest was futile now that mum had decided and dad didn't go against her.

Tomorrow evening his parents would meet Levi officially. Eren could try to wriggle his way out of this one, might even succeed in lying that Levi was too busy, but mum would persist and simply choose another day to meet him then.

There was no way out of this.


"They don't know how long you've been together already?" Mikasa hissed outraged as she closed the door behind her.

Eren turned around, running his hands through his hair as he kicked his bag in frustration. "It just didn't seem to really matter, okay!" he snapped, glaring at his adopted sister.

"Eren!" she growled frustrated, glaring right back at him. "It's going to matter a lot when they find out how old he exactly is!"

"It's just … I didn't think about it, all right!" Hissing in anger, he let himself fall back on his bed, glowering at the ceiling.

A bout of silence before soft footsteps approached him and the bed dipped down slightly when she settled next to him. She shuffled backwards until she was leaning against the wall. With a sigh she dragged her hand through his hair. "How long did you think you were going to keep this a secret?" she asked, stretching out her legs next to him.

"It's not really a secret," he grumbled, but his protest was weak and he grimaced. "I just … figured it wouldn't matter after a while."

She snorted and poked his cheek. "It's going to matter whether you let them meet him tomorrow or in two years. The age difference isn't going to change, you know."

"I know," he grunted annoyed and pushed the offending finger away from him. "I thought they wouldn't care too much in a few years or so."

"If you think they really would have waited a few more years to meet him, then you're an idiot, Eren," she said exasperatedly.

"It was a good plan," he insisted and added more softly, "Not like dad has paid much attention to us in the last couple of years." When he looked up, angling his face so he could see her better, she was biting on her lower lip.

"I think he's going to care about this, though," she murmured and resumed running her hand through his hair, untangling it carefully.

"How badly do you think they'll react?" he questioned and winced.

Mikasa looked up at the ceiling; a look of contemplation crossing her face. She pulled up one shoulder and grimaced. "Mum maybe not that badly. She's pretty openminded, but dad …" she trailed off.

"He's going to flip his shit," Eren groaned, rubbing his hands over his face.

"Probably," she admitted reluctantly.

"Eugh, I'm fucked."


"So they're going to meet him and they don't know how old he is?" Armin summarised and raised an eyebrow, looking far too judgemental for someone who was being creamed in the game.

Eren hunched his shoulders, determined to keep looking at the screen and not at his friend. "It just slipped my mind, that's all," he muttered, using a high kick to send Armin's character flying through the air.

"So in all those twenty months you've been together, it never crossed your mind to tell them how old he is?" Armin asked incredulously and then a curse escaped him when he noticed how much damage his character had sustained.

"Well, they don't really know it's been twenty months," Eren hedged. "What the hell, Armin!" he complained when the game suddenly faded into black and the word 'PAUSED' flashed across the screen.

"So let me get this straight," the blond said impatiently, pulling at Eren's arm until he acquiesced to look at him. "Your parents don't know how old he is and they don't know that this whole thing started when you were still underage?" he stressed the last part, sounding a bit distressed.

Eren threw his hands up in frustration, letting the controller fall onto his lap. "If I had told them his age, do you really think they would have let me go out with him?" he snapped. "Besides, I only got to know his age a couple of months after we started dating and it didn't seem that important to mention by then."

"Not important to mention," Armin repeated faintly, shaking his head in disbelief. "Are you an idiot?"

"Look, I already got Mikasa preaching at me, I don't need you to do the same," Eren growled, glowering at the other man.

"Eren," Armin sighed, rubbing a hand over his forehead.

"Let's just continue the game, okay? Maybe Levi won't even have time to come over this evening," Eren mumbled, picking up the controller again.

"Uhuh," Armin said sceptically, but all the same he pressed down on 'PLAY' again. "I'll tell grandfather it's possible you're coming over tonight."

"You're the best, Armin," Eren smiled relieved, bumping their shoulders together.

"Yeah, yeah, as long as you know that."

Green grey eyes stared back at him from the fogged over mirror, which slowly started to clear up now that the shower was no longer running.

Hands gripping the edge of the sink, Eren leant forwards, frowning at his image. "Come on, just ask and get it over with. What's the worst thing he can say? No?" He snorted, shaking his head.

"Are you trying to drown yourself in the shower, brat?" Levi demanded, knocking on the closed door.

The younger man had suggested they'd shower together to save water, but the dark haired man had simply snorted and retorted that the goal of taking a shower was to get clean and not dirtier before kicking him out of the bathroom. Levi didn't have much faith in his boyfriend's self-control.

Rolling his eyes, Eren called out, "I'll be out in a minute."

Quickly he ran a towel over his hair until it was dry enough not to drip water anymore and then dried the rest of his body before slipping into his shirt and boxers, forgoing his jeans at the moment. They were just going to lounge in bed for a while anyway, so wearing jeans would only get uncomfortable.

When he stepped out of the bathroom, his eyes fell on Levi, who was back into the bed underneath some fresh sheets. A bit further down in the hallway, Eren could hear the washing machine running.

Piercing grey eyes locked onto his and Levi placed his book back on his nightstand. He quirked an eyebrow and held out his hand. "Are you going to keep standing there like a statue?"

"Well, the view is certainly nice," Eren smiled impishly and he grinned when the older man rolled his eyes.

"Just get in here," Levi huffed, beckoning him closer. "You're the one insisting on cuddling after sex."

"Don't deny it: you love cuddling me," Eren teased, but hurried to the bed, slipping in next to Levi before the other man could change his mind and actually go downstairs to read some work related documents.

"I love that it makes you quiet," Levi shot back, but the way he willingly opened his arms and allowed Eren to rest against his chest belied his words.

Eren hummed and slipped his arm around a firm waist, feeling muscles contract underneath his touch. Absentmindedly he started drawing circles across the expanse of ivory pale skin, listening to the steady heartbeat of his lover.

A sigh above him made his hairs stir. "You're quiet. What's going through that thick head of yours?" Levi asked gruffly; his own arm resting idly across Eren's shoulder and arm. "Something wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong," Eren mumbled, shifting his legs a bit, so they were closer to Levi's.

"Yeah, pull the other one. It's got bells on it," Levi huffed and slapped the back of his head gently. "Spit it out. What the hell has got you so quiet?"

Eren was quiet for a moment, mulling over the conversation he had had with his parents – well, more like with his mum – and the ones he had had with his friends. Figuring there was no way around it – not with his mother waiting for the confirmation that they would both be attending dinner tonight – he let out a sigh and sat up straight; Levi's arm dropping to rest around his hips.

"My parents are inviting you for dinner tonight," he started and grimaced, rubbing his hand over his neck. "They want to meet you – officially that is."

"You mean, this dinner is going to be that whole meeting the parents of my boyfriend officially and trying to win their approval type of dinner?" Levi inquired neutrally; his face blank.

"Eh, yeah, that type of dinner," Eren muttered and wriggled his fingers nervously. "They, eh, they figure it's time you meet each other officially."

"Well, they held out longer on that dinner than I expected them to," Levi murmured, drumming his fingers against Eren's left hip. "And they want to have the dinner tonight, you say?"

"Yeah, though if you can't, it's not a problem either," Eren said hastily, shrugging. "They say they'll pick another evening then."

"No, tonight works for me," Levi said. "Bushy Brows owes me some time off after that fucking disaster earlier this week."

The 'fucking disaster' referred to a client one of Levi's partners had insisted would create a big profit for the company. It had all sounded great on paper until they had had an actual meeting with the guy and the police had shown up because the client turned out to be a fraud who had several cases going on against him. Levi had ranted about it for nearly an hour when Eren had inquired after the business trip and the younger man had learnt quite some colourful curse words.

"I'll text my mum to let her know you're coming with me," Eren mumbled, snatching his phone from the nightstand.

As he composed his text, Levi asked warily, "So your parents don't care about the age difference?"

Eren froze and slowly looked up. He licked his lips and said haltingly, "Eh, well, they might not know everything?" He cringed and felt Levi's hand freezing up against his hip.

"What exactly don't they know, Eren?" Levi asked coolly, sitting up stiffly.

"Eh, so they might think that we've been dating for only ten months instead of twenty and you know, eh, they might be under the impression that you're only a few years older?" Eren flinched and stared down at the crumpled sheets, feeling his face and ears heat up with shame.

"What. The. Fuck."

Maybe Mikasa and Armin had been right and he should have come clean about all of this sooner. Hindsight was a bitch.

"I've been wondering why your parents didn't call the cops on me," Levi murmured darkly, breaking the tense silence for the first time in two hours.

They were in Levi's car on their way to the Yeagers' home to have the official meet the boyfriend dinner. Eren was not looking forward to it at all – the understatement of the year.

Eren swallowed and stared down at his lap, not daring to look up. "I'm sorry," he mumbled guiltily. "I didn't keep it hidden on purpose. It's just that in the beginning I didn't know how old you were and by the time my parents started asking about you, I didn't think it was really necessary to mention it."

The sharp, bitter chuckle that escaped the older man made him flinch and he bit down hard on his lower lip, tasting a hint of copper.

"You thought it wasn't necessary to mention my age," Levi repeated mockingly and breathed out harshly, pressing down harder on the brakes than usually when he stopped in front of a red light. "Great thinking, Eren. Simply marvellous. This evening is going to be great! Your parents are going to be ecstatic once they get to hear how much older I am than their son!"

The younger man kept his head down, feeling like his face was on fire. He scarcely dared to move and found that breathing had seemed to become more difficult now that the air was tainted with anger and disappointment.

"Out of curiosity – how old do they think I am?" Levi inquired, voice as hard as steel.

"They think you're only a few years older than me," Eren answered stiffly. At the time it had seemed easier to let them make that assumption, soothing his guilt with the thought that technically they had never asked him to define 'a few years'. Fuck, he was such an idiot.

"If I was only a few years older than you, how could I have afforded this car?" Levi snorted, pressing down on the gas as soon as the light turned green.

His sleek, midnight blue Mercedes – the latest of its series – pulled forwards smoothly.

"They figured you're a rich kid who got a nice car from his parents," Eren admitted, staring out of his window.

It had all seemed so easy at the time to let his parents make all those assumptions. He didn't have to answer any awkward questions, because they had already created acceptable answers and he only had to nod and confirm. No fight, no arguments about why it would be bad to date someone ten years his senior when he had only just been seventeen …

It was only now that he realised just how deep he had worked himself into shit. There was no way this evening was going to go well, not as soon as Carla and Grisha figured out the truth, and he only had himself to blame.

"And they never asked any questions as to why practically all of our dates were in the evenings?" Levi asked incredulously, taking a turn to the right, leaving the highway.

They left the busy centre of the city behind them and entered the quiet suburbs, passing only the occasional jogger or someone walking their dog.

"They assumed you were a student and could only make some time free during the evenings." A bitter smile graced Eren's lips when he recalled his mother admonishing him, saying he should take over Levi's example when it came to study ethics. "Considered you the example of the perfect student actually; said I should follow your example."

"Your parents made an awful lot of fucking assumptions," Levi grunted, slowing down to let an elderly couple cross the street.

They were close to Eren's home now and his stomach cramped up. Shit, this was going to be a gigantic disaster.

"And you did nothing to deter them of their assumptions," Levi spat; his mouth a thin line when the younger man changed a quick look at him.

"I already said I'm sorry!" Eren retorted meekly, swallowing when stone grey eyes met his.

"Sorry isn't going to fix this, Eren!" Levi hissed and slowed down to a stop, parking the car a bit further down the street. "Why the hell didn't you tell them the truth from the start?! Do you realise how much shit we are in now because you couldn't be arsed to - "

"Because I wanted to be with you!" Eren yelled, balling his hands into fists. He stared at Levi's stunned face and some of the despair he felt leaked out when he continued with a trembling voice, "Because I didn't want to lose you, okay? If they had known how old you were, they would have never agreed to let me date you and - "

"Which would have been their right as your goddamn parents, Eren!" Levi retorted angrily, snapping out of his stunned state. "And I can't say I would have disagreed with them. You were fucking seventeen! It's a fucking miracle nobody ever called the cops on me when we -"

"It's not like we did anything but kiss until I turned eighteen, Levi!" Eren snapped back, throwing his hands up in the small space that was available to him. "You refused to touch me until my birthday and - "

"Which will be the only thing I'll have going for me when I get charged with statutory rape – if they believe me of course," Levi laughed bitterly and looked away, running a hand through his hair.

For a while heavy silence hung between them, only broken by the sound of the motor cooling off and their harsh breathing regulating itself again.

Eren swallowed, the noise too loud in the oppressive silence, and tentatively reached out with his hand, curling his fingers around Levi's right wrist. He felt the dark haired man stiffening underneath his touch, but he refused to relinquish his wrist.

"They're not – they're not going to call the cops, okay?" Eren said quietly and licked his lips, his mouth oddly dry. "We – I'll explain everything, I'll tell them the truth. I'll tell them I kept my age a secret for a while until we had already been dating for a few months."

Which wasn't a lie. They had been dating for three months already by the time Levi had casually inquired when his birthday was and how old he would turn then. The older man had freaked out when Eren had told him his age, ignoring Eren's protest and kicking him out. The week that had followed his admission had been one of the worst he had experienced – only the week wherein Mikasa had hovered between life and death after some burglars had attacked her family surpassing that – with Eren afraid he had fucked up his relationship with Levi forever.

But the younger man had been persistent and had left Levi so many messages that the man had snapped and had heard him out, out of pure desperation to make the messages stop. The older man had agreed not to end their relationship on the condition that they would wait for anything more physical than a kiss until Eren had had his eighteenth birthday. Eren had been annoyed by the restrictions, but had accepted them, knowing that otherwise he would get nothing at all.

"Okay, Levi? I'll tell them it was my idea, all right? They'll understand," Eren continued, voice shaking harder than before. His grip around Levi's wrist tightened and his eyes pricked with unshed tears. "It'll be fine, I promise."

"No, it won't be," Levi sighed, sounding weary, but his other hand landed on top of Eren's and he turned his head, leaning over close enough to kiss his lover softly. He pulled back after a few seconds, their mouths parting gently, and when he looked at Eren, his eyes were soft; the metal sheen of anger no longer visible in them. Slowly he brought his hand up and cupped Eren's cheek carefully.

"It's going to end in a total shitfest," he stated bluntly, calmly. "This is going to be a total disaster, but we're going to get through it and we're going to tell them the full truth." He paused and grimaced. "And then hope they won't call the cops on me."

"They won't!" Eren hastily replied, though if he was forced to be honest, he couldn't say with certainty that the cops would be left out once his parents knew Levi's real age.

"That remains to be seen," Levi muttered darkly and lowered his hand. He nodded towards Eren's house. "Let's go. Your sister looks ready to come drag us out of the car if we're here any longer."

Eren whipped his head around and was just in time to see Mikasa pulling away from the window.

"All right, let's do this," he muttered, though everything in him screamed to stay here and ask Levi to just drive away, didn't matter to where.

Levi looked like he would acquiesce to Eren's demand, no questions asked, before he took a deep breath and opened his door, stepping out.

Show time.

The dinner … went surprisingly well. Carla accepted Levi's compliments about her cooking with a blush and a satisfied smile and even Grisha was impressed by how much Levi was able to discuss politics with him. In spite of – or maybe precisely because – being a doctor, Grisha had always had a lot of interest in politics, but neither his wife nor his children knew enough – and couldn't be bothered to learn – about it to discuss it with him, so he was definitely in his element now that Levi had shown he knew enough to hold up a decent discussion about it.

"By the way, Mikasa, how did the hiking trip go?" Eren asked, remembering that his sister had gone on a trip with Annie today.

She shrugged, adjusting the red scarf he had given her years ago. "It was nice," she replied calmly, cutting a piece of her steak. "The trail went deep enough into the woods that we were able to see some deer."

"How long did you hike?" Mum inquired, dishing some more salad onto her plate.

"Three hours," Mikasa answered. "But we took a small break to eat. We found a couple of nice clearings along the way too."

"Mind showing me those sometime?" Eren inquired interested, casting a furtive glance at Levi.

His boyfriend was sitting next to him, listening with a look of concentration to Grisha who was explaining a new law the government wanted to push through.

When Eren looked back at Mikasa, he blushed faintly underneath her amused, knowing look.

"Sure, I don't mind," she murmured and then shook her head when mum offered the bowl of salad to her.

They were nearly finished with dessert and Eren allowed himself to start relaxing. So far his parents hadn't asked any intrusive questions and the eighteen year old figured he was almost completely safe. Just a bit longer and then they could escape for a few hours. Maybe this evening wouldn't end in a disaster after all.

He had spoken too soon.

"So, Levi, what is it exactly that you do?" Dad asked mildly, leaning back into his chair after placing his spoon into his empty bowl. "Still studying?"

"No, I'm working," Levi answered calmly, but being seated so closely next to him, Eren could feel the muscles in the leg closest to his tensing up and the younger man froze.

He dropped his spoon into his own bowl and pushed it away from him, suddenly not in the mood for ice cream anymore. Now they had reached the point where they were royally fucked.

Mum blinked surprised, casting a quick glance at Eren, who refused to look up. "Oh, we didn't know that," she said bemused, stroking a lock of her dark hair behind her ear. "What kind of work is it that you do?"

"I'm the CEO of Smith's Surveys," Levi replied. He had declined the offer of ice cream and instead had a single cup of black tea in front of him around which his hand was resting motionlessly.

Dad quirked an eyebrow and Eren knew why. Smith's Surveys was well known throughout the entire country for being the number one in developing vaccines and researching diseases. It had a couple of other branches, but the pharmaceutical branch was their main one.

"Already the CEO of that company at your age?" Dad muttered incredulously and a hint of suspicion entered his eyes. "You know, I don't think Eren has ever mentioned how old you are exactly, but I don't think a company like that would hire someone as their CEO who has barely graduated university."

Levi took a deep breath and said, "They don't, sir, no."

"Then how old are you really?"

"Dad, I can explain - "

"I'm twenty-eight," Levi responded quietly; his dark eyes fixated on the older man.

A stunned silence descended over the room and Eren placed his hands on his lap, trying to ignore the way they trembled. His sister's hand reached out underneath the table to squeeze his in reassurance, but he couldn't move. His heartbeat was suddenly too loud in his ears; the silence too deafening.

They were fucked.

"Twenty-eight," Dad repeated faintly and his eyes narrowed dangerously. "Exactly how long have you been dating my son?"

Eren whipped his head up, all too aware of the dangerous tone lurking in his dad's voice. "Look, dad, I can explain this, okay. I - "

Again Levi interrupted him, making it even worse for the both of them. "We've been dating for twenty months now, sir."

Mum gasped audibly, her eyes widening as she obviously did the math in her head. "Wait, you started dating when Eren was just seventeen?!" she asked shocked.

"I was closer to eighteen then!" Eren protested hastily; his nails digging into his thigh. His other hand was still held by Mikasa and she didn't even move a muscle when he accidentally squeezed her hand hard. "It's not – it's not that bad, okay?"

"Not that bad?" Dad reiterated sharply. "That man is ten years your senior; you started dating him when you were underage and you're telling me it's not that bad?"

"Look, for the first couple of months we didn't know each other's age, okay?" Eren said agitatedly. "He doesn't look that old and it's not like I look like a twelve year old anymore. Besides that, nothing happened between us! I swear, all we did was kiss!"

"It's true, Mister Yeager," Levi murmured, sitting as still as a statue. Even his lips barely moved when he spoke. "We didn't do anything of a sexual nature while he was underage."

"And that makes it any better?" Dad retorted harshly. "You're dating my underaged son!"

"Was!" Eren snapped; his hand clenching into a tight fist. "I'm eighteen now and like I said, we didn't do anything illegal!"

"That doesn't make it right! I can't believe you lied to us about this, Eren." Dad seemingly couldn't decide between sounding disappointed or angry.

That indecisiveness only fuelled Eren's ire. "I never really lied about his age – you just assumed! Besides if I had told you, you would have tried to get me to stop dating him."

"With right!" Dad snapped back, looking angrier than ever before. "How do you expect us to be okay with the fact that you're dating someone who's so much older than you?"

"You were perfectly okay with us before you knew his age!" Eren bristled and Mikasa hissed softly in warning. He ignored her. "But now that you know he's ten years older than me, it's suddenly not fine anymore? That's such bullshit!"

Levi placed a calming hand on his balled fist. "Look, Mister Yeager, Mrs. Yeager, I understand that you're not happy about my age, but I swear that I only have good intentions with your son. Nothing happened between us when he was still seventeen; I saw to that. I would never hurt him in any way."

Dad shook his head; his face as hard as stone. "Get out of my house now." His voice was eerily calm, but his eyes sparked with anger and his hands were clenched into tight fists.

"Dad, seriously, you're overreacting!"

"Get out of my house now!"

Levi stood up, holding his hands in the air. "I'll leave," he said; his own face an unreadable mask as he turned around.

"What? No, Levi!" Eren protested, shooting up from his chair.

Grey eyes locked onto his and Levi mouthed, "Later." before he left the dining room swiftly. A couple of seconds later they all heard the door fall shut and soon the rumbling of a motor started before the car drove away.

Seething Eren turned towards his dad. "How dare you - "

"I don't want you seeing that man anymore, Eren," Dad stated decisively.

The younger man gaped at him in shock, certain he had misheard him. "Excuse me?" he brought out incredulously.

"You're not going to see him anymore," Dad repeated; his voice taking on a warning edge. "He's far too old for you. You're only eighteen years old and - "

"And it's none of your business how old my boyfriend is," Eren hissed; his form trembling with suppressed rage. "Who do you think you are? You've always been too busy with your work to be a father and now all of a sudden you think you have the right to tell me who I can and can't date?"

"This is not up for negotiation, Eren," Dad said coldly, though he had paled a bit at the accusation.

"Grisha," Mum said softly.

Mikasa remained silent; her wide, dark eyes standing out starkly against her pale skin.

Eren snorted harshly and whirled around, storming into the hallway. "Yeah, well, see how much I care about that!" he snarled, snatching his keys and phone with him on his way to the front door.

"Where do you think you're going?!" Grisha snapped, following his son into the hallway.

"Armin's," was all Eren deigned to give as reply before he stormed out, slamming the door shut behind him.

Light blue eyes regarded him knowingly when the owner of them opened the door.

"The entire evening got fucked up," Eren offered miserably; his cheeks pricking with heat.

Armin nodded and took a step back. "Come in. Want to continue the game?"

This was exactly why Armin was his best friend: he knew when to pry and when to leave things alone until Eren felt ready to talk about it.

Eren breathed out noisily and jerkily nodded, entering the house that was as familiar to him as his own. "Yeah, let's."

He would figure out how to solve this shitfest later. For now he needed to distract himself before he completely lost it.

It was nearing eleven p.m. when Eren started fidgeting, throwing quick glances at his phone. So far he had received a couple of calls of his dad, of his mum and a text message of Mikasa, stating she hoped he stayed safe. As if he could possibly do something stupid or dangerous while playing games.

"You want to spend the night here?" Armin casually offered; his gaze still trained on the screen.

"If you don't mind," Eren smiled relieved, running a hand through his hair. He really wasn't in the mood to go back home tonight and be confronted by Grisha.

The blond man snorted. "As if this would be the first time," he teased, pausing the game and placing the controller on the floor. He stretched his arms and yawned. "I'll tell grandfather you're staying the night, okay?"

His friend hummed in acknowledgment, putting his own controller down now that the game was paused.

"In the meantime you can call Levi," Armin added nonchalantly right before leaving his room.

Cheeks flushing a bit at having been caught, Eren snatched his phone from the nightstand and pressed down on the button labelled number two. After two months of them dating, he had linked Levi's number to the button to create an instant dial so he wouldn't have to pull up his contact list every time he wanted to call his boyfriend.

"You're okay?" was the first question leaving Levi's mouth when he picked up.

Eren sighed, shuffling backwards until he was leaning against the bed frame with his legs raised. "I'm … not really okay," he admitted begrudgingly, wrapping his free arm around his legs. "Dad told me I'm not allowed to see you anymore, I got pissed off at him and now I'm at Armin's place."

A short pause fell between them before Levi sighed frustrated. "I'm sorry, Eren. I didn't mean to come between - "

"Hey, it's not your fault!" the younger man interrupted sharply, frowning heavily at the floor. "My dad's being a giant dick right now, but that's not your fault. Don't even know why he thinks he has any right now to keep me from you. He hasn't acted like my dad in years and now he suddenly takes up that role again? Fuck that." He breathed out noisily; anger flaring up once more like a fire flickering back to life.

"He's still your father."

"Him being my father doesn't mean he gets to tell me who I should be seeing and who not. Especially not when I'm already eighteen," Eren growled. "He's being a damn hypocrite right now. He liked you right up until he knew your actual age! He can fuck off; I'm not going to leave you."

"Do you think he'll change his mind?" Levi asked softly.

Worrying his lower lip between his teeth, Eren kept quiet for a while. Grisha was a stubborn man and not likely to change his mind once he had made it up. However, Eren could be equally as stubborn, if not more, and he wasn't willing to let go of Levi simply because his dad couldn't deal with the age difference. Someone would have to give in and it sure as hell wasn't going to be him.

"He will," he muttered. "Because I'm not going to."

"Such a stubborn brat," Levi grunted, but it sounded more proud than disapproving and Eren grinned.

"Can I come over tomorrow?"

"Of course you can. You know my door's always open to you. I'll pick you up," Levi answered and then they switched topics for a while, determined to leave the events of this evening just be for the moment.

Eren went to sleep, feeling lighter than he thought he would.

In all those years Eren couldn't remember having a real fight with his dad. The man had always been very calm; mum was more likely to get angry and scold him for doing something stupid than dad would. Then there was the fact that Grisha was simply too busy with his work and consequently too absent for the two of them to possibly get into an argument.

Grisha's work obsession and continued absence in their lives had been the status quo for years and Eren had honestly been banking on his dad's absentmindedness to get through the awkward meeting the parents dinner.

Trust Grisha to take that moment to actually start paying attention to his family.

"Dad's pissed off," Mikasa announced calmly when Eren trudged into the classroom that Monday morning after being dropped off by Levi. He had spent Sunday night at Levi's place, though he had texted his mum to tell her he was still staying with Armin. Mum had become so used to the impromptu sleep-overs – and perhaps this time she was relieved to keep her husband and son separated for a bit longer – that she hadn't batted an eye and had simply told him to be in school on time.

"Yeah, well, I'm not too happy with him either," Eren grunted, scowling, as he took his seat next to her.

"You're not going to give up, huh?" She studied him keenly.

He raised an eyebrow. "If dad told you, you couldn't see Annie anymore, would you just agree with him?" he asked sceptically.

She wrinkled her nose. "No, I wouldn't," she answered decisively.

"There you have it," he muttered, feeling slightly amused, and then shut up when Mister Shadis – their mathematics teacher – entered the room, barking at them to keep their mouths shut.

It all came to a head after nine days of freezing silence between Eren and Grisha, while Carla made some attempts to clear the air between them. While not openly speaking against Grisha – at least not as far as Eren was aware – she had pulled her son aside a few days after the disastrous dinner and told him quietly that as long as Levi treated him well, she didn't mind the fact that he was ten years older. He did have to apologise for not having come clean about it sooner, which had been easier to do than he had anticipated, purely out of the sheer relief of having at least one parent supporting him.

On Tuesday evening Eren was pulling on his jacket and locating his keys and phone when dad entered the hallway.

"Where are you going?" Dad asked, folding his arms in front of his chest. For once he was home earlier than usual.

Eren stared at him and answered frankly, "Levi's picking me up in a few minutes. I'll be back before curfew."

Dad visibly tensed up. "Didn't I tell you to stop seeing him?" he asked tersely.

"And I told you I wouldn't," Eren replied curtly. "I'm eighteen; our relationship isn't illegal."

"If I go to the police - "

"Then I'll move out and never speak to you again," Eren snapped, enraged by the threat. "And if you think for one second I would be willing to speak to the police, you're delusional!"

"He's ten years older than you!"

"He is! And you know what?! He's the best thing that has happened to me in my life! I love him and nothing you say or do is going to change that!"

For a moment tense silence hung between them, punctuated by Eren's harsh breathing as he tried to control himself.

"You're just eighteen, Eren. You're barely an adult," Dad said wearily, regarding him with heavy eyes. "You don't know yet what it is that you want. Levi is at a total different stage in his life and - "

"And he doesn't treat me like I'm a child," Eren riposted bitterly; his fingers clenching around his keys. "He respects me and he respects my decisions, which is more than I can say that you're doing at the moment!"

Dad clenched his jaw and looked away briefly, pinching the bridge of his nose. When he turned back to look at Eren, the younger man was struck by how miserable his dad looked all of a sudden.

"Look, I know I haven't been the best father these past years," he admitted to Eren's utter shock. "I wasn't there for you like I should have been and I spent way more time at work than I should have. Now you're eighteen, an adult, capable of making your own decisions, but Eren – I know you might not believe me, but I don't want you to get hurt. Ten years might not seem that much when you're older, but at this point you're still at two completely different stages in life. Levi is at an age where he's ready to settle down while you still have college or university to look forward to. I just don't want you to get hurt when he decides he's ready for more when you can't give that to him yet."

Eren felt like he was floundering, adrift at sea, completely thrown off by his dad's admittance. This was certainly not what he had expected to hear when being confronted again by the older man about Levi.

"Dad, I know you don't want me to get hurt, but … That's part of life, you know?" he said helplessly, relaxing his hands. "You can't protect me from a broken heart. Maybe you're right and Levi and I will end up being too different in the future to stay together. But you don't know that. I don't know that. I do know that it's my life and it should be my choice whether or not I'm willing to take the risk of seeing where this relationship leads to. I'm willing to risk a broken heart for Levi and I wish you'd respect my decision." He swallowed, feeling a bit too warm all of a sudden.

Dad gazed at him unreadably before he took his son by complete surprise by approaching him and drawing him in a hug. "When did you grow up so wisely?" he muttered, sounding oddly wistful.

Eren gnawed on his lower lip, before hesitatingly returning the embrace. "Are you – does this mean – are you okay with … with me and Levi?" he asked uncertainly, wondering whether he was reading this situation wrongly.

"I don't want to see you get hurt, but … you're right. It's your life. If Levi makes you happy, then – I shouldn't stand in your way," Dad murmured, drawing back. This time he looked a tad uncertain. "Just – be careful, okay?"

"I promise," Eren smiled and impulsively hugged his dad again.

He might be an adult now, but dad's approval still made something warm glow inside of him.

"Everything okay?" Levi asked, voice soft, when Eren stepped into the car. Grey eyes shone in the dying sunlight.

Eren took his time buckling up and looking over at his boyfriend. His dad was right, there was definitely a risk that one or both of them were going to get hurt along the way. Life wasn't perfect.

Their lips met in a soft kiss; fingers tangling together.

Lips tingling with the imprint of the tender kiss, Eren drew back and smiled, "Yeah, everything's fine."

And it was. Better than ever.

The End

AN2: I hope this wasn't too bad!

Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me.

I hope to see you all in my future stories!



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