Dangerous Territory

BY : Rhov
Category: +. to F > Attack on Titan /Shingeki No Kyojin
Dragon prints: 2780
Disclaimer: I do not own “Shingeki no Kyojin” and do not make money from this fanfic.

Chapter 17

Tinned Chocolates

 

Eren came down to the dungeon with a lightness to his step and a secretive smile on his face. He had hoped to catch Levi alone, but there were two women who just got off a long and exhausting day of cleaning. Eren heard their words, but his French was not good enough to understand. He got a feeling that the women were consoling Levi, although he looked mildly annoyed by their fretting. As soon as Eren stepped into the room, Levi's face perked up, and he pushed himself into a sitting position.

"How are you?" asked the young soldier.

Levi let out a tired sigh. "What do you expect me to say? I'm trying to convince myself yesterday was a nightmare. It doesn't work when my arse hurts and I have to smell Moses' pillow."

"Oh! I … I can put you somewhere else." Eren glanced around the castle dungeon, unsure if any of the cells were suitable.

"No," grumbled Levi. "He at least kept his cell somewhat clean. Plus it's better this way. It's too easy to pretend something horrible simply didn't happen, but that only makes things worse when the mask of lies falls down. So, what is it today? More radio chatter for me to translate?"

"Nothing yet. In fact, it's mostly English now."

"Are the Americans still in France?"

"Yes. They just took Marseille. Canadians took Dieppe."

"Canada as well?" Levi asked in surprise.

To Eren's frustration, every bit of news they got seemed to be nonstop Allied victories. He really did not want to talk about the war, especially since he knew Levi would rejoice at how many French cities were now in the hands of the Allies. It only reminded him that they were political enemies.

"I brought you medicine," he said instead. Eren slipped Levi a bottle containing a few pills.

Levi took the bottle with a crease between his brows. "How in the world did you get these?"

The young lieutenant chuckled awkwardly. "I … I had Armin distract the doctor while I grabbed a handful of pills."

"You stole them?" Levi cried out.

Eren hushed him frantically. "It's fine."

"No, it's not! Dammit, don't do anything for my sake that could get you in trouble."

Eren smiled at the scolding. "Why? Do you care about me?"

"If you get in trouble helping us, we get the punishment."

"Well, what's done is done. Take one pill three times a day with your meals."

"You do realize, we only get two meals."

"O-Oh."

Eren honestly did not know that. He saw that they got a midday meal on Sundays, but that was a splurge, and only because he had insisted upon feeding them after their bathing. In reality, it was the only day the Jews got lunch. The rest of the time, they were given a roll to eat as they headed off to their chores and watery soup for dinner.

Levi sighed as he saw the saddened look on Eren's face. Seriously, he was like a scolded puppy! "Don't worry about it. Thank you for the medicine. What exactly is it for?"

"Pain."

Levi let out a sputtering sigh. "Definitely need that."

"Also, it isn't much, but I got it as part of my rations, and I don't really need it. I thought it might cheer you up a little." He pulled out a small round tin with a red and white starburst, the Heeres eagle in the middle, and words written in Fraktur calligraphy.

"Scho-Ka-Kola?" Levi asked, reading the gothic lettering.

"Chocolate." Eren opened the tin to show the round chocolate cut into wedges. "I first had some when I went to the Summer Olympics in Berlin. I had never tasted chocolate before then. I ate the whole thing and didn't sleep all night," he said with a laugh. "It has quite a kick. Normally there are sixteen pieces, but Connie ate some of mine, so only the bottom layer is left. Now Connie is so hyper, we had to send him to go run around the village to work off the energy."

He gleefully handed the tin through the prison bars and over to Levi. The Jew stared down at the candy as if unsure what it even was.

"Have … Have you ever had chocolate?" Eren asked uncertainly.

"Many years ago," Levi muttered with a distant look in his eyes filled with bittersweet memories of happier times. He shook himself out of thoughts of the past and shot a glare at Eren. "Why would you bring me chocolate but not show such favor to the rest of us?"

Eren frowned as Levi scolded him rather than smiling at the gift. "I only really know you. I can't exactly talk to the others. Besides, we're friends."

"Friends?" Levi exclaimed in shock. "Since when?"

Eren flinched with a sting to his heart, and he dropped his head. "Maybe never. I make a horrible friend, anyway. I've done bad things, I've ignored you, hurt you, stood by and said nothing…"

"You had to," Levi muttered. "We both know that."

"But it makes me feel bad. The only other time I felt this guilt was when two friends got hurt and I did nothing. So maybe how much my heart hurts now means I think of you as a friend. Back then, I couldn't do anything, but this time I can at least say sorry and make up for it." He laughed awkwardly as his toe twisted into the dusty dungeon floor. "Even if it's just chocolate."

A lady in another prison cell sighed. "Il est tellement timide. C'est trop mignon!" He's so shy. That's too cute!

Levi shot her a caustic glare to be quiet. Then his eyes slowly drifted back to Eren, standing there, a blush coloring his cheeks, his toe twisting like some smitten whelp.

"You … consider me as your … friend?"

Eren finally met his eyes, and he smiled gently. "I do. I care for you."

Levi sharply looked aside.

Friends! He had let the thought drift through his mind at times, but actually hearing Eren say he felt that close made Levi's heart hammer in a hailstorm of chaos.

"Give … Give a piece of chocolate to the other ladies. All of them, even the ones not here yet. They can eat it when they wake up. It'll give them some energy to slave away for you German swine."

"But then there will only be four pieces left for you."

"That's all I need. If there were sixteen pieces, I would distribute it to everyone, or give away my own so someone else has food."

"But it's a gift!"

"It would give me more joy to share it. Besides, what would I do with so much energy and trapped in my cell for a whole week? That much sweet candy would probably make my shit rock hard, and that's the last thing I need." He handed the tin back over. "Please. As a friend."

Those words brought fiery heat to Eren's face.

Levi grumbled, "And don't ever look like that in front of others."

Eren paused. "Look like what?"

Levi scowled and said nothing more. Idiot! Those blushing cheeks and boyish joy in his eyes really were dangerous. If anyone saw him looking like that, the truth would be perfectly clear.

Eren went to the other cells, giving the ladies a wedge of chocolate. Levi told them in French not to eat it, since they needed what precious little sleep they could get, but to save it until their next work shift. They both thanked Eren, and he saw their dark eyes light up with excitement from just sniffing the chocolate. One licked hers, unable to hold back. Eren left pieces in the other two cells he knew were used by women, hiding the candy so the guard who brought them back from their shift would not see a chocolate sitting out for them, like this was a fancy hotel and not a castle dungeon. That left only half the tin. He brought it back to Levi.

"I was hoping you could enjoy it over the week you have to rest here. After what you went through—"

"After that, I realized that I need to do more to help the others. I need to appreciate them more. Moses helped me out a lot, especially when I was attacked in the latrine. He got you, he made sure I was fed, and he emptied my toilet bucket. I never properly thanked him. Those chocolates are my thanks, at least to the ladies."

"Then I will find another tin, and you can give one to all sixteen of them."

This time, Eren saw a smile almost lift onto Levi's face, but he struggled to keep it in check. "I'd like that."

"I'll steal Jean's. A horse doesn't need chocolate."

This time, Levi could not hold back. A laugh punched out, only to be silenced with a struggle. Still, that sound was music to Eren's ears. He finally got Levi to laugh!

Eren gazed at the half eaten chocolate. "Now I'm really mad at Connie for eating my rations. I'll have to come up with a creative way to punish him. Is there anything else I can do? Not just for you alone, but all of you."

"Better food would be nice."

Eren thought it over. "I might be able to do something about that."

"Don't get into trouble, takhshet."

"I won't," he said with a confident grin. "I might not make it back down for a while, but by your bathing day, I'll try to have something. Enjoy the chocolate." He waved a friendly goodbye. "Tschüss!" He turned to the ladies and tipped his cap to them. "Bonsoir." Then Eren turned and trotted back up the stairs.

Once he was gone, one of the ladies fanned herself and said, "Il est très beau, bien qu'il soit Allemand." He is very handsome, although he is German.

The other woman chuckled and pointed over to Levi. "Il est déjà pris." He's already taken.

"Que pensez-vous de lui, Levi?" What do you think about him, Levi?

He rolled his eyes and replied in a surly tone, "C'est un idiot, mais … il a un cœur d'or." He is an idiot, but he has a heart of gold.

The two women chuckled at his reluctant admiration and kept talking between themselves.

"Si nos pays n'étaient pas en guerre, j'irais danser avec lui." If our countries were not at war, I would go dancing with him.

"Je voudrais beaucoup plus que simplement une danse." I would want much more than simply a dance.

"Oui. Il est gentil, généreux, et très viril." Yes. He's kind, generous, and very manly.

"C'est tellement vrai! Ça ne me dérangerait pas qu'il tire son pistolet sur mon champ de bataille, si tu vois ce que je veux dire." That's so true! I wouldn't mind if he shot his pistol in my battlefield, if you know what I mean.

Levi scoffed at their gossip and cut in. "Allez donc vous coucher." Go on to bed.

The lady in the cell next to him waved off the scolding. "Ne soyez pas jaloux. Je sais que c'est vôtre ami spécial." Don't be jealous. I know he's your special friend.

The other woman chuckled. "Vôtre petit-ami!" Your boyfriend!

Levi flinched and sharply snapped at them, "Dormez! Maintenant!" Sleep! Now!

They muttered apologies and lay down, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. Levi sighed and rubbed out the pain that still ached in his back.

"Oy ve," he grumbled. He looked down at the wedges of chocolate and muttered to himself in English, "What fool gives a man chocolate?"

Levi picked up a tiny wedge, raising it like some relic of the past. He gazed at it, the deep color, the smoothness, and he sniffed deeply, savoring the sweet smell. Finally, he took a tiny bite, and the dark chocolate broke into his mouth, melting over his tongue with hints of coffee. Levi closed his eyes, holding back a sigh of bliss as he tried to recall the last time he had tasted anything so heavenly.

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Scho-ka-kola was part of a Wehrmacht soldier's emergency rations. It's dark chocolate mixed with substitute coffee and packed full of vitamins. It was introduced at the 1936 Summer Olympics (as Eren mentioned) as a performance-enhancing energy sport chocolate (Sportschokolade). In World War II, Scho-Ka-Kola was colloquially known as the "Aviator Chocolate" (Fliegerschokolade) because it was give to Luftwaffe pilots and crew to keep them awake on night-bombing missions. It was also issued to the Heer (German Army), tank crews, U-boat crews, and used as emergency sea-survival rations. Some soldiers gave Scho-Ka-Kola to captured American troops as an act of respect for their bravery. You can still buy it.



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