Dangerous Territory

BY : Rhov
Category: +. to F > Attack on Titan /Shingeki No Kyojin
Dragon prints: 2485
Disclaimer: I do not own “Shingeki no Kyojin” and do not make money from this fanfic.

Chapter 35

Testing Loyalty

 

Half an hour later, Daz and Floch returned with a car full of blond-haired, blue-eyed young women. The prostitutes were herded in by a woman with auburn hair, seductive brown eyes, a cigarette hanging from her ruby lips, wearing a blouse that drooped off her shoulders and accentuated her voluptuous breasts.

"We're in luck," shouted Daz. "This time, we have some who speak German."

Phil slipped up to one. "Oh, I like her right away. You have beautiful lips." He grabbed the girl's face and yanked her head up. "I can't wait to feel them on my dick." Then he immediately kissed her.

Eren saw the shocked look on the girl. She looked no older than sixteen. As officers began to pick a prostitute for the night, Eren turned away, frantically trying to think how he could get out of this.

Jean looked over, seeing the scowl on Eren's face. "You don't want one?"

"They obviously don't want to be here," he grumbled. "What would it prove, to take a woman who doesn't even want you?"

"You said you took the prostitutes for officers in Paris. What's the difference here?"

He could not say, because he had no idea. He knew officers in Paris were given the option of vetted professional prostitutes, making sure the ladies could speak German, were not politically affiliated, and not sullied with disease. Obviously, he never once used them.

Eren turned and saw the auburn-haired woman smoking a cigarette and swaying to some music, obviously happy to get some business. "Where are they from?" he demanded of her.

Daz snapped, "Speak politely to Madame Carly."

"Who the hell is she?" he grumbled.

Griez was nearby and explained, "She runs the brothel."

The lady turned toward Eren at his shout, and he saw her clearer, particularly the armband.

"She's a Jew!" he whispered in shock.

Griez grunted. "Disgusting, I know. When I first arrived in Metz, all the prostitutes were Jews. Apparently, Carly ran the brothel long before we Germans even arrived. Then they shipped all the Jews out, but Carly was good at her job, and she's a favorite of someone high up, so she was allowed to stay to run the new brothel. It helps that she speaks French, German, and Russian."

"Russian?" he asked in shock.

"Well, yeah. Most of these girls were captured on the Eastern Front."

He looked around at the women, most of them resigned with an emotional void in their eyes, letting men touch them but not reacting, too numb even for disgust anymore. They were just innocent girls from Poland, Ukraine, or Russia, captives shipped back to German-occupied lands for the pleasure of soldiers.

"Sex slaves," Eren whispered in horror. As he watched, he saw Carly plop a pill into one officer's drink. Eren began to bolt up, fearing she was poisoning them, but Griez laughed as he held Eren back.

"Don't worry. It's not really a secret that Carly is the biggest drug dealer in Metz, although no one will come out and admit it."

"Do they know she's giving it to them?"

"Watch closer," he said.

He did, and he saw Phil slipping Carly a little money. In return, she sneaked a pill into his drink.

"What is it?" asked Eren.

"Who knows? Something the French use. It keeps you erect for hours."

The woman sauntered up to Jean and Eren. "You boys are new," she said, her German tinted heavily with a French accent. She ran her hands up Jean's chest and licked her lips. "Oh, I know just the girl for a tall man like you. I bet you like them busty, oui?" She walked back to some girls standing off to the side and brought one over. "You don't even need to be gentle with this one." She pulled the girl's chin up and whispered heatedly, "You enjoy it, don't you?"

The woman looked like she was in a drugged euphoria. "Yes, Madame Carly," she muttered, and she slithered up to Jean, her face already flushed with desire.

Eren frowned at that. Drugging the men and the women!

Carly walked up to Eren, but she paused. She leaned back, held her chin, and eyed him up and down. "You're a difficult one. You don't like them prepped, I see."

"You mean drugged," he said in disgust.

"You want a lover who is willing. I have a few. What sort of lady do you normally like?"

Eren felt flustered and stuttered. "N-No particular kind."

Jean shouted over, "He likes them petite. His last girl was a tiny blond Frenchwoman. She almost looked like a child. Maybe he likes them underage."

"I don't!" Eren snapped. "And who the hell are you talking about?"

"That girl! The cute blond one. Don't tell me you already forgot about her."

Eren thought back. "Wait, Krista?" He realized most of his men probably thought he had been hanging around Krista a lot just before they left the village because they were a couple. They never guessed it was because he had been plotting with the French Resistance to release the Jews.

Carly still stared at Eren. "You like tiny French maids, oui?"

"She just happened to be there," Eren said defensively.

Carly hummed in deep thought. "I can normally tell what a man likes right away, by where he looks on me or how he responds to stimuli. You, though! You're intriguing." She chuckled and got even closer to Eren, pressing her body up against his. "I might even want a night with you myself to work out this little enigma."

Eren backed up, but luckily Griez shoved Carly away.

"A Jewish whore like you should never be allowed to touch a German officer. I don't care if your filthy claws are in some Major's pants, I will not allow you near these men, you Judensau."

Carly backed off with a glare at him. "No woman for you tonight."

"Easy, Griez," said Eren. "She was just joking."

"Don't defend a Jew," Griez shouted.

Daz now came over. "Hey! Don't lay hands on Madame Carly."

"Easy, easy," Eren called out, shoving the two away before it turned into a fight. "No harm done."

Carly smiled as she watched Eren trying to keep the peace, and even more surprised that he defended her despite being a Jew. "I know just the girl. She's new, I hadn't planned to use her yet, but I think you're the perfect gentleman to ease her in."

That brought Samuel over. "Hey, is she a virgin? Because I would pay triple for a virgin."

Carly ignored his question and left back to the group of women she had brought along. She returned with a waif of a girl, bashful, her light-colored hair cut to her shoulders and hanging limply. Her hazel eyes were huge, but there was slight fear in them, a woman who had never been used as a prostitute and was worried what that meant.

Upon seeing her, Samuel lost interest. "She doesn't have much sex appeal." He turned to the woman with him and slid his hands along her curvy hips. "Not like this one. Hey Eren, if you ever want a real woman, I've had her six times, and I can vouch, she's good."

Carly was whispering to the thin girl in French, words of encouragement and to calm her worries. She brought the girl right up to Eren.

"Her name is Louise. Be gentle with her. Show her that charm you have, and she will respond well. You may need to win her over, but I can tell," she said, patting Eren's cheek, "that's what you like!"

She walked away to make sure the rest of the men had everything they wanted, including any drugs. Meanwhile, Eren faced the girl in front of him.

"Uh … hi," he said awkwardly. "I'm Eren."

She lowered her head, obviously nervous.

"Hey," he said softly. "Don't worry. I would never do anything you don't want."

She looked up, and Eren could tell that she did not believe him. He thought frantically.

"Would you like some food? Something to drink?" Still, she said nothing. "Louise, right? I told you, don't worry. Come on." He took her hand, and instantly she went stiff. "It's okay. We'll sit at a table and you can eat."

He found a table for the two of them against the wall, and Louise obediently ate the food Eren ordered for her. Mostly, she just sat with her eyes downcast.

"She said you were French," he mentioned casually. "Where are you from?"

"Nearby," she said, her lips shivering. "Mécleuves, to the south."

"Did you come to Metz for work?"

Her breath caught sharply, and she hesitated before shaking her head. "Not quite. Soldiers came to my family's farm and demanded that I come along. They did that to all the farmers, any girls sixteen or older, at least a hundred of us."

Eren's brow tightened. "You were kidnapped?"

She looked aside. "I'm not supposed to talk about that."

Instantly sympathizing, Eren reached across the table and took her hand. Louise jolted, but when she looked at Eren, she saw nothing but pity.

"I will not do anything you don't want to do, I swear."

She looked confused and even more scared. "I'm … I'm supposed to—"

"Keep me company," he cut in. "You are right now, just like this."

She shook her head. "But, later, I'm … we're going to…" Her voice hitched in terror.

"Hey," he said softly. Eren thought back through what little French he had learned and remembered one phrase he had committed to memory. "Vous êtes en sécurité avec moi." You're safe with me.

Her eyes went huge at hearing the gentle words in her own language, and a tiny smile of hope fluttered on his pale, trembling lips. "Parlez-vous français, monsieur?"

He chuckled and shook his head. "I'm afraid not. A good man taught me a few words, that's all. How do you know German?"

"My grandfather is a German. He lives with us … or, he did," she said, ending in a whisper.

"Did he move because of the war?"

She slowly shook her head. "When the soldiers came, he went out to speak with them. He argued that since I was a quarter German, I should be spared. They said they might have considered it if I had been half German, but not a quarter. He pulled a gun on them and told me to run." Her eyes began to bead up with tears. "They shot him. I don't know if he's dead or alive."

Eren gave her hand a squeeze. Then he pulled out his handkerchief and handed it over. Louise dabbed her eyes and tried to hold back any other tears.

"I ended up with Madame Carly because I speak German, and I said I would come willingly if they spared the rest of my family."

"That was brave of you, and it was a sacrifice you should not have been forced to make."

She struggled as a smile flitted on her tense lips. "You seem a lot nicer than most of these men."

"Most of them are assholes," he said lightly.

She managed a soft chuckle. She made one last dab at her eyes and handed back the handkerchief. "I'm sorry about that."

"You've been through a lot. It would be strange if you did not shed any tears. Have you tried writing to your family?"

"We're not allowed."

"Then give me your parents' address. I'll write a letter for you."

She looked astonished by the offer. "Won't you get into trouble?"

"I doubt it, and if anyone questions, I'll come up with an excuse. What does your family grow on the farm?"

"We milk cows and make cheese."

"Then I'll say I heard from their daughter that they make really excellent cheese, and I would like some." He smiled consolingly and took her hand again. "At the very least, your parents should know you are safe, and you should know if your grandfather is okay."

Louise looked overwhelmed by the warmth, unable even to get a word of thanks out of her choked-up throat.

Carly came around and saw Eren holding Louise's hand across the table. She smiled to herself as she sauntered forward. "Does she satisfy you, Herr Oberleutnant?"

Deep in his heart, Eren really did not want this woman to be used by these men. If he could shield her from that for a little while longer, then he would.

"Yes, you picked the perfect girl," he said, keeping his calming eyes on Louise.

"More like I picked the perfect man for her. Do you have any questions for me before we make this final?"

"Yes," he said swiftly. "Is she allowed to receive letters?"

Carly chuckled and let out a stream of cigarette smoke. "Are you already interested in writing to her?"

"I mean," he said, and his voice dropped quieter, "from outside."

Carly paused, and a smile melted onto her ruby lips. She bent over, leaning on the table and getting right up in Eren's face. "You mean her parents."

"Is that allowed?"

"No. Any mail coming to the brothel is inspected. My girls are vetted. If she were to receive a letter from family, she would fall under their suspicion, lose my protection, and be sent to the regular brothel, where she will be used by twenty to thirty men every single day, in and out of her room like clockwork."

"Could I hand-deliver her a letter?"

Carly took a drag on her cigarette, watching him carefully. "Technically, I should answer no, but … if she happened to see a letter in your possession, and that letter stayed in your possession, who would even know?"

Eren smiled and glanced over to Louise, who grinned with hopefulness at him. Carly glanced back and forth between them with a warm glow in her brown eyes.

"How much can I trust you with her?" she whispered, so close that Eren could smell the cigarette scent of her breath.

He felt like this was a challenge. "I won't harm her."

She gazed over his face, taking in every unspoken emotion. "It's obvious you don't want this life for her. Neither do I," she admitted. "She doesn't deserve this. None of them do, but my hands are tied," she said, glancing briefly to the Jewish armband, "and most of these girls have no way to get back home. She stands a chance. Would you be her gallant knight and save her from this life?"

Eren tried to hold still, but he felt his face flinch. What she was asking was dangerous, not just for him but for her as the madame of the brothel. Yet he knew, deep in his heart, that if he knew how to save this woman, he would.

Carly smiled, seeing the unspoken answer clearly on his face. "You've hidden secrets before," she deduced. With a sudden flash of realization, she laughed to herself. "Oh, I think I figured out what makes you so … queer."

Eren felt a moment of panic.

"Don't worry," Carly whispered. She reached forward, slipped a piece of paper into Eren's breast pocket, and gave it a pat. "I won't tell if you don't tell." Then, in just a wisp of air, she said, "I can't save them all, but if you can save her, I'll cover for you from now on."

"Why?" he asked.

Her bare shoulders shrugged. "I chose this life. They did not." She leaned back up and gave him a wink. "I hope you enjoy your evening, Herr Oberleutnant."

She moved away, a swaying gait that grabbed the attention of every man there. Eren wanted to check out the paper, but just then Jean crashed into the table, his hair tousled, his face flushed, the woman with him giggling as she looked ready to shred his clothes off.

"Hotel. Now," Jean said breathlessly.

Eren shoved him aside and stood up. He gazed over them all and shook his head. Even little Holger had a prostitute with him, talking animatedly to her over beers, although the woman looked dazed, vapidly staring ahead. Disgusting! But what could he do? Carly was right; he could not save them all. He glanced down at Louise. If he could save just one … just one of these girls…

"Floch, get the truck."

The young soldier looked helplessly overwhelmed by the woman he was with. "Oh, yes, r-right!" He hurried off.

Eren walked up to Griez, who was sulking since Carly held true to her decision that he would not get a woman that night. "There isn't room for everyone and all the girls too."

"There are taxi services for officers. Don't worry," he said. "I guess I'm the sane one here. I'll buy a couple bottles of wine, get them all home, and get drunk alone."

Eren turned back to Louise. Again, she sat with downcast eyes, twisting her fingers together nervously.

Griez frowned at the timidity. "Are you sure you want that one? She seems rather skittish."

Eren gave him a wily smile. "It makes the hunt even better."

Griez laughed and gave him a hearty pat on the back. "You are a Jäger, after all. Have fun snaring her."

Eren chuckled and turned away, feeling sick just playing along. He walked back over to Louise and stretched his hand out to her. Hesitant but trusting, she took it.

"It'll be all right," he whispered as he led her to the truck.

Floch, Jean, Eren, and the three women rode back. Jean's girl whooped at riding in an open-top car, while Floch's woman looked more serious, an actual professional prostitute with experience in what to do. Louise looked mildly terrified and flinched at each bump.

Eren asked, "Have you ever ridden in a car before?"

"Only twice," she said. "The day they brought me here from the farm, and tonight riding with Madame Carly." She squeaked when they hit a bump.

He held her arm, just trying to be supportive, and it seemed to work. She calmed down as she gazed up at him.

They reached the hotel, but while Jean rushed upstairs with his girl and Floch drove off to find a room to rent for the night, Eren took his time, heavily relying on his cane, flinching at each step up the winding staircase.

"Are you all right?" Louise asked in worry, keeping by his side. "Were you shot?"

"It's a long story," he said, flinching at another step.

It took him so long to get up the stairs, the other men had arrived by the time he reached the fourth floor. They cheered to him as they headed to their rooms with their women. Eren saw that even Oliver, who was married with two children, had a woman with him. The only two who did not were Wim and Griez, who arrived carrying wine bottles and a scowl on his face.

Eren unlocked his door, but he peeked in first. He wanted to be certain Levi was not down in the room. Then he brought Louise inside. She walked into the room while Eren shut the door and leaned against it, trying to figure out what the hell he should do. Then he remembered Carly's note. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out the scrap of paper. It had a name, an address, and what looked like a passphrase.

"Yelena?" he whispered. "Hey, do you know who…?" He looked up and saw Louise passively undressing. "Whoa, whoa!" He rushed forward just as he got a glimpse of her breasts, and he pulled her blouse back together. "You don't have to do that."

She looked at him with shocked and slightly hurt eyes. "I thought you took me here because you wanted me."

"I told you, I won't do anything you don't want to do."

Louise bit her lip coyly and whispered, "Maybe I want to."

Eren's mouth dropped, confused and startled with a growing sense of panic.

"You seem like such a nice man, the sort I wish I could have known … before all this." She laughed bashfully and tucked some hair behind her ear. "I'm never this forward with men. What I'm trying to say is, if it's you…" She slipped the blouse down again. "… I don't mi-…"

Swiftly, Eren grabbed the blouse and yanked the material back up. Louise looked startled by the rejection.

"Am I not what you want? I know I'm not pretty…"

"No, no," he said, trying to get her blouse back in order. "I assure you, you're a lovely girl, you sound like a pleasant person, but … I'm just not in the mood tonight."

"Oh," she whispered. "Can … Can you not … get it up? Carly has pills for that."

He laughed awkwardly and felt his face blush. "I assure you, I can." He waved down to his leg. "My wound hurts. I'm really not in the mood for anything vigorous."

"Oh," she whispered, looking down at his leg.

"Besides," he added, "I don't believe in sleeping with a person just to relieve pent up energy. The Nazis may believe that's healthier for men, but I think the heart is the way to creating a fiercer warrior."

"The heart?" she asked in amusement as she buttoned her blouse back up. "Do you mean, you prefer to romance your girls?"

"I believe things are more enjoyable when both people want it. When there are mutual emotions, that's when there is a connection to the heart. Sex may satisfy lust, but a penis doesn't win battles. The heart and mind do. Without love, sex does nothing to exercise the heart. Love is what makes a soldier strong."

She smiled in wistfulness and whispered, "You belong in another time." She reached out and took his hand. "And I wish I had met you in another place."

He saw how sad she was, trapped in this doomed fate. "I wish I could do something for you."

Her eyes glowed warmly as she looked up at him. "Showing me that gentlemen still exist in this world is enough. It gives me hope. If you really can get a letter to my parents," she said, and her eyes began to water, "if I could know … if they're still alive…"

Eren felt a gush of sympathy. He pulled her in and hugged her as she broke down in tears. He let her cry, wailing at the unfairness of life. He wondered if she had ever had a chance to feel anything but terror since being abducted. She tried to be silent, even now, but that made her body jolt with suppressed sobs. He whispered soothing words, telling her it would be all right, and encouraging her to cry it all out. He stroked her back, consoling her like she was a scared child. Considering how young she looked, she practically was one!

After a few minutes, she pulled back and rubbed away the tears drenching her face.

"I'm so sorry," she whispered.

"It's fine. Come, sit." He brought her over to the bed to rest, and he again pulled out his handkerchief so she could dry her face.

"Carly would be so ashamed," she said as she dabbed her eyes.

"Carly will never know." He brought out the piece of paper. "Do you know this person?"

She looked at the name and address. "Yelena? No, sorry. I know the place, though. One of the local vineyards sells their wine there."

"This French phrase, what does it say?"

She read it but shrugged. "Une bouteille de bourgogne se marie le mieux avec une tempête. It means, 'A bottle of burgundy pairs best with a storm.'" She glanced up at Eren. "I don't understand."

Eren did, though. A Resistance cell! Carly wanted Louise to find freedom, to save her from this awful life of sexual servitude, and she found in Eren someone daring enough to break a few rules.

"Shit," he whispered.

On one hand, this might be a connection that could help Levi as well. On the other, it could be a set-up. There were stories, whispers and legends in the ranks, about high-class brothels in Berlin set up specifically to ensnare an officer, with cunning women who dug into their inner thoughts, tested their loyalty to Hitler, and pried to see if they had any secrets.

Louise watched Eren's profile as he worked through the issue, and she grew more curious. In the glow of the room's light bulbs, she saw that he was a rather handsome young man, his eyes hypnotic in their shifting between green and blue, and there was a drive to his face, determination that she found thrilling.

She almost wished he was up for more that night.

She put her hand on his chest, and he unconsciously patted it as a comforting gesture, while still thinking over the matter. He was gentle without even thinking about it.

In other rooms, they faintly heard the grunts and moans of the officers. One of the girls was a real screamer, howling in German and what he guessed was Russian. Eren snapped out of his thoughts and became more aware of the noises.

"Perhaps we should call it a night," he muttered, standing up with a tug to his uniform. Louise stood up as well, politely setting the handkerchief on the bed. "Write your address down. I will see if I can safely send a letter." He showed her over to a desk with a fountain pen and paper. she wrote down a man's name—Eren guessed it was her father—and address.

"Thank you for offering," she said, writing her name down too so he would remember it and spell it right. "If you can't do it safely, please don't endanger yourself for my sake."

"Trust me, I know how to play things safe. So, umm … what happens next? Do I pay you?"

"Madame Carly keeps track of things and settles accounts with the military. At least when it comes to officers, they don't need to pay us girls."

"How much money do you get?"

Her gaze dropped and she shook her head.

"You don't even get paid?" he cried out. This truly was slavery!

"We get food, clothes, a doctor comes by once a week, and we get to live."

Eren scowled, not liking that she was not even going to make some money that could help her family. He pulled out his wallet and handed her a few Reichsmarks.

"Buy something nice. Maybe a dress that fits you better."

Louise's hands trembled as she took the money. Then she tiptoed up and suddenly kissed Eren on the lips. "Thank you! But I … I didn't do anything."

"Take it as hush money," he said with a shrug. "Don't tell anyone that I couldn't perform tonight. It'd look bad on me if the military knew I was in that much pain."

"Is it really bad?" she asked, and she got down on her knees to inspect the leg. "I can help you. On the farm, I did veterinarian work. I once set a cow's broken leg."

"I'm fine, really," he said, feeling awkward about her being down like that. When her hand touched his thigh, he jolted away.

"Does it hurt that bad?"

"No," he said, his voice soft and a little snappish.

Louise looked up in concern, but she saw the blush on his face. "Oh!" She stood back up and politely took a step back. "I didn't mean…"

"It's fine," he said, trying to stop a panicking part of his brain. He did not want this girl to realize he had no interest at all in her, but he did not want her to think anything negative about herself.

"But really, I want to help. I can change the bandage. You paid me, it's the least I can do." Louise looked around at the amorous noises. "It'd also help me take my mind off things."

If he kicked her out, it would be suspicious, and she really did look eager, almost desperate, to help him. He knew that feeling, a deep need to help someone, and how it could soothe the soul to do at least one good deed.

"Fine," he sighed. "I have bandages in the bathroom."

Her shoulders sank with a sigh of deep relief, and finally he saw a smile warm up her face. "Thank you," she whispered. "I'll get the supplies. Sit on a chair where I can work, and remove your trousers, if you don't mind."

Louise rushed off to the bathroom, and Eren sighed in resignation. He definitely wanted to help this girl to escape. She was far too good for a life like this.

He reached for his belt and began to loosen it. The buckle jangled, his zipper went down, and just then, right above him, he heard something thump. His head shot up to the attic.

"Oh shit," he whispered.

Levi must have been listening in and getting the wrong impression.

Louise stepped out with her hands full, and Eren jolted, hoping she did not see him looking up at the attic. Luckily, she was trying to balance bandages, disinfectant, and bottles of medicinal cream.

"Okay! Let me inspect your leg first. I once fixed a neighbor's hunting dog who had been shot. He was able to walk in a week. So, I know something about bullet wounds. Sit on the chair, please."

Eren pressed aside his concern for Levi. He had to deal with this first, and he could not give Louise any reason to be suspicious. He forced himself not to look up at the attic again as he reluctantly continued to remove his trousers.

# # #

Meanwhile, Levi had been in the dark with his ear pressed to the floor, listening to Eren's voice. He had hoped to sneak down and wash up before bed, but then he heard a woman's voice. He listened in, cursing that they were speaking in German so he understood nothing.

He heard plenty of other noises. All around, drifting up from the many rooms, were sounds of sexual delight. He knew right away what this must be.

Prostitutes! All of the officers must have gone out and gotten themselves women for the night.

And now one was with Eren.

Levi wondered, if Eren was homosexual, did that mean he had no interest at all in women? Could he force himself to take a woman, if just to blend in? Surely, he could just pretend for a night.

Yet with his ear pressed firmly to the attic door, plugging his other ear to block out the amorous grunting, he heard mostly just talking.

Until he heard something more. A tiny pop. A kiss? The girl went from nervous to sounding cheery. What was going on? Then he heard the unmistakable sound of a belt buckle and zipper. Eren was removing his trousers!

Levi had not meant to pull back as hard as he did. He lost his balance and needed to slam his hand down to stop himself from completely falling backward. He could not help now but to hear all the groans and rhythmic thumping of mattresses.

Would he have to listen to Eren as well?

A scene flashed through his mind: when they were on the road, Eren succumbed to the drug, holding him, touching him, and amorous words said in a drugged stupor played through Levi's ears.

"I wanted you so much last night. You touched me here, took my shirt off, undressed me. You make me hard. Hot. I want you more and more each day. It's making me blocked up. It gets blocked up, hard, until I need to let it all out. It's so hot from being pressed against you. I can't get it to go down. You're so warm, and the rocking, back and forth, on the horse, rocking, rocking horse, feels so good. I don't … I can't … I … oh nein. Nein! Ich komme! No!"

Levi put his hand to his mouth, wanting to scream those memories away. Eren had been drugged. None of it was real. Still, those words had played through his head all day, and he realized that part of him wanted to hear them again.

He heard a groan, most definitely Eren, and Levi slammed his hands over his ears.

No! He didn't want to hear Eren say words like that to someone else.

He crawled carefully over the attic, avoiding boards he knew creaked, and went to the window to glare up at the sky. He wanted to curse and scream, but instead he could only sneer.

Why did it hurt so bad?

He wanted to blame the coldness in his chest on the weather. He grabbed Eren's leather jacket and yanked it on. As moans continued to drift up from the many rooms under him, Levi pulled the jacket tighter around him, shutting out everything else, focusing on memories that made him happy. It used to be places he visited as a child— a vineyard in southern France he had gone to with his uncle, a tea shop in London that had become his escape while serving in England, memories of Warsaw, the glamour of what people said was the most beautiful city in the world, before that mission went to hell.

Only now, along with those memories of places, there was a feeling of being held, arms wrapped around him, warmth on the back of his neck.

He growled in anguish, "Bon sang qu'est-ce qui va pas chez moi?" What the hell is wrong with me?

He was not sure how many minutes passed staring out at the clouds whisking past the moon, but soon he heard the door to the attic creak, and Eren pulled himself up into the space, carefully shutting the door behind him.

"Hello," Eren whispered.

Levi just grunted, keeping his face pointed at the moon.

Eren looked around. The thick dust from yesterday was done. Levi had swept and dusted everything, "You cleaned it up."

"It was disgusting," Levi muttered.

"How did you manage?" he asked, realizing that Levi did not have a broom or feather duster.

"Spit and a rag."

Eren laughed, half hoping Levi was just joking. Then again, he was strict about cleanliness.

He crawled up to Levi and tried to wrap around his arms, only for Levi to yank away angrily. Refusing to meet Eren's gaze, he moved over to his bedding on the floor, hidden behind a wall of boxes. Eren watched, feeling sad at being rejected.

"Levi?"

"Who was she?" he snapped, facing the wall to hide his rage.

Eren pouted and looked aside. "It's not what you think."

"A prostitute?"

"Yes, but I did not do anything to her."

"I heard her kiss you, and I heard your trousers coming off."

"She kissed me in thanks, and she offered to redress my wound. It meant nothing."

"You still put your lips on some whore."

"Sie ist keine Hure," Eren snapped, barely keeping his voice down. "She … She is not a whore. She was kidnapped from a nearby farm. She's a slave, forced into prostitution. The … um … Bordellwirtin? Puffmutter?"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Lady, owns the bordell…"

"Mère maquerelle. I think the English called it a brothel madame."

"Anyway, she asked me to help Louise to escape."

"Likely a trap," Levi immediately said. "Why did you hire her in the first place?"

"I had no choice. I need to fit in, and I didn't want her to end up with any of the other men." He crawled a little closer. "I swear, I didn't touch her."

Levi heard just how genuine Eren was, and glancing around his shoulder, those teal eyes looked heartbroken. It calmed down his heart, realizing that it really was like Eren to go out of his way to help someone being oppressed.

"Merde, you're too kind for your own good." He turned around on his bedding, and his eyes were softer now. "I forgive you, but I still don't like the idea that you kissed her."

Eren frowned. "I don't like it either. It was just a kiss of thanks, but still! It felt … wrong."

Levi stared at the pout on Eren's lips. His hand suddenly shot out, and his fingers yanked the back of Eren's scalp. Teal eyes opened wide in shock, especially as he saw Levi so focused on his mouth, slowly leaning in, until his lips pressed against him. Eren closed his eyes, and the tension in his body suddenly relaxed.

Yes! This was the kiss he loved.

Levi pulled back, looking slightly more satisfied. Only, he wasn't. One kiss was not enough. He leaned in again, and this time Eren leaned more into the kiss, receiving it, giving back, his heart surging.

Eren hoped for more, but Levi suddenly pulled back again. As disappointing as it was to stop, Eren saw that same smile from earlier on Levi's face, a smile of pride and … maybe something more.

Eren tucked his head down bashfully. "I can't believe it's been a week."

"Since what?"

"Since I first kissed you."

Levi's brow tensed, and his eyes darted around in confusion. "Has it only been a week?"

"It barely feels like a couple of days to me."

"You were drugged half the time!"

"True," Eren said with a soft chuckle. He reached down and placed his fingers over Levi's hand. "I was so scared to tell you."

"I figured it out long ago."

Eren nodded, realizing now that Levi must have seen through him right away. He had asked Eren so many times, hinted about what his feelings were, but Eren had desperately tried to hide from those feelings that he feared so much. He had even snapped at Levi in anger many times, just to push aside the mere possibility of getting found out.

"To be honest," Eren whispered, stroking across the rough creases of Levi's knuckles, "I wasn't expecting you to accept me, let alone kiss me. A part of me knew that you might even report me, especially … after what happened to you."

Levi watched their hands and the way Eren played with his fingers, slightly tickling and bringing heat to his cheeks. "I'm still sorting this out," he admitted, "but so far…" His hand turned around and grabbed hold of Eren's adventurous fingers. "… it feels … comforting, knowing someone out there cares."

Eren squeezed his hand with a gush of emotions. "I care very much," he whispered. Eren lifted Levi's hand and gave his fingers a kiss. "So much, it hurts my heart." He rested his cheek on Levi's hand and nuzzled over those scarred, rough knuckles.

Levi reached up, hesitated, but allowed himself to stroke through Eren's hair. His heart struggled. The walls had broken down, and now he had to carefully step over the rubble.

Eren finally noticed Levi was wearing the pale blue shirt. It was huge on him, as well as the leather jacket that hung off his shoulders, and the brown flat cap. He looked less like a slave and more like a normal Frenchman. His free hand reached forward, and his fingers slid down the fabric of the shirt.

"It looks good on you. Really brings out your eyes."

Levi scoffed and turned away to hide how much it made him flustered. Then slowly, he looked back, and one finger reached forward, touching the new Iron Cross on Eren's chest. It was like the Nazis were trying to make his heart even more unreachable.

He whispered, "I preferred you without the uniform."

Eren dropped his gaze. When it had just been him and Levi, no uniform, no soldiers, no guns, that truly had been nice. He let go of Levi's hand, reached up to his neck, and began to undo his tunic. The medals clanked as he pulled it off his shoulders and set it to the side, now wearing only his green-gray cotton undershirt.

Levi felt his breath catch slightly. This was just Eren. No politics, no nationality, just him.

"Yes," he whispered, lips twitching. "Like this."

Eren watched as Levi reached forward and slid his hand up his chest, feeling not the stiff uniform and paraphernalia of war, but just his body. His heart began to race at the gentle touches.

"May … May I hug you?"

Levi's eyes flicked up, surprised, and then he broke into a near-silent laugh. "Of course you may."

Eren wrapped his arms around Levi, pulling him to his chest, arms protective and possessive. His hand went to Levi's head, threw off the flat cap, and stroked through his hair. Seriously, he would never get enough of stroking Levi's head. Best of all, he felt Levi's arms wrap around him as well. In the dark, chilly attic, they embraced one another, taking comfort in just being alive.

Eren kissed Levi's hair and whispered, "I'm sorry if bringing Louise here upset you."

"I'm not upset," Levi grumbled, resting on Eren's shoulder, staring at his throat and the way his Adam's apple moved as he spoke. "I'm … a bit jealous."

That cheered up Eren, and he laughed softly. "Jealous?"

"I thought you and her…" His arms squeezed Eren tighter as just the thought of it was poisonous. "I thought you might need to fuck her to appear … well, normal."

"You didn't want me to?"

Levi yanked back with a furrowed brow. "Of course not!" He froze, realizing what he was implying. It was one thing to feel curious about a man in love with him; it was another to want him exclusively.

Eren merely shrugged. "I guess now we're even."

Levi arched an eyebrow. "How?"

"I felt jealous of that girl in the church."

"Church?" He thought back just two days ago. "Mina?"

"Yes, her. She was hanging onto you, asking you to go back home with her—"

"She was worried for my safety."

"She was enamored by you," Eren pointed out. "I don't blame her."

"I'm old enough to be her father."

"She didn't know that. You look very young. She probably thought you were only a few years older than her."

Levi rolled his eyes and looked away. "I don't look that young."

"You do! I was jealous, because I could see she really did want you to go home with her. Now, you're jealous because some girl kissed me in thanks."

"You kissed someone, though. I didn't even touch Mina."

"You really are jealous," Eren said with a grin.

"Don't look so happy. Jealousy is a horrible trait."

"But it's nice to know that we feel the same."

"Who says I do?"

"You just said so!" Eren laughed at the contrariness that he found so endearing. "Levi," he whispered, wrapping his arms around him again and gazing longingly at his mouth. "May I purify my lips by kissing you?"

Levi looked stunned by the question. They had kissed, but … purify his lips? He stared down at those soft lips. He hated the idea that some woman got to feel them.

He suddenly grabbed Eren's cheeks, startling him. He held Eren's face between his hands and glared into those stunned eyes. Levi leaned in close enough for their noses to touch.

"You're a naughty boy, defiling your lips with some prostitute."

He dived in and kissed him, wanting to purge the memory of that woman from Eren's mind. He knew this was jealousy, he hated it, but still … he wanted Eren to forget all about her. He heard a soft hum of pleasure, and the need grew stronger. He licked Eren's lips to clean away that woman's taste.

"Yes!" Eren hissed. "Wash it away."

Levi pulled back and looked at the flushed, euphoric expression on Eren's face, his lips moist now and waiting for more. Eren had looked like that before, at the Reeves' house. The memory of that night had been haunting and tingling Levi all day.

He leaned in, and his tongue slowly licked all around Eren's mouth. Then Levi pulled back again to see the wet shine in the moonlight.

"Brat. Now my tongue has her germs."

Eren's eyes fluttered open, his cheeks flushed, and he whispered, "Then let me clean it."

His mouth opened as he kissed Levi deeply, thrusting his tongue in. Levi was stunned that this man who could barely kiss a week ago had gotten so good so fast. A gentle, enraptured hum buzzed on his lips as Eren shivered from the pleasure of kissing him.

Levi clutched his fingers into Eren's hair, yanking him in closer, battling back with his tongue.

He could lose this man.

He could lose him to the war, or to a woman, or to their inevitable separation.

He would lose him. Someday.

That reality stabbed his heart. It made Levi not want to fall in love, and made him want to indulge while he still could.

Slowly, he leaned Eren back onto his bedding. Eren pulled Levi down with him, not releasing his mouth. On the lumpy pile of duvets and quilts hidden away behind boxes of forgotten hotel decorations, Levi hovered above Eren, kissing with a growing passion. He felt Eren's hands roaming. Finding the bottom of his shirt, those cold hands slipped up to feel the bare skin of Levi's back. Eren's fingers clutched possessively, pulling Levi in even closer.

He would lose him.

He wanted more, while he could!

For a few minutes, Levi fully gave in. He kissed with passion, freed from doubts, wanting to savor all of this. Feeling the warmth under him was familiar, comforting, soothing to his soul. He stopped fretting that this was a man he was kissing, and simply accepted that it was a person whom he enjoyed kissing. Eren's small moans, struggling so hard to keep quiet, thrilled him. Those hands on his body enticed him to give even more.

More!

While he still could.

Before he lost him.

When he felt a stiffness rising in Eren's trousers, it amused Levi. He could make Eren react like that! He had to admit, he was feeling aroused as well. Blame it on instincts, but he wanted more of that tingling sensation.

He pressed his hips in just a little harder and slid up along Eren's arousal. A trembling gasp sucked down Eren's throat.

He could get Eren to sound like that!

Levi did it again, rubbing against him, making small, instinctive thrusts as his breath grew heavier. He felt Eren's body twitching, thrusting back, and his hands yanked on Levi's hips to give him more.

Then he heard a startled gasp, and Eren's mouth broke off from the kiss.

"Levi," he whimpered.

A tremor in that voice warned Levi, and he pulled back. Eren's face was flushed with humiliation.

"You didn't release in your pants again, did you?"

"No," Eren mumbled, "but I will if we keep going."

It was tempting, if just to humiliate him, but Levi pulled back. The night felt cold without that lanky body close to him. Slowly, reaching down to adjust himself, Eren sat up. He looked humiliated as he kept his hands down, hiding his body's reaction.

"Sorry," he whispered.

"I'd rather you warn me." Levi glanced over and down, seeing the stiff problem, and scoffed. "You're still just a little boy."

"If anything, this proves I'm a man," he retorted. "Besides, you're just as hard. I could feel it! I can't help wanting more when you're like that."

"Don't blame this on me. It's your fault for kissing that woman."

Eren's hand slipped over and rested on top of Levi's leg. "I'm sorry, truly, if it upset you."

"I'm not upset," he snapped, but he realized, he absolutely sounded upset. "I just don't want this to be the way that I leave you."

Ice filled Eren's veins. "Leave me!"

Levi hushed him urgently.

Eren's voice went back to a whisper. "What do you mean?"

"Well, the whole point is for me to find a way to escape, right?"

"It's only been one night!"

"Exactly, and this whole time you've been busy all day, drinking and whoring all night—"

"Hey!"

"One of us has to start looking around."

"I will," he promised. "Today, with the other officers, we toured around Metz. I saw a part of the river that might work, except there are forts on the other side. Armin can look up on a map, see if maybe that's an option, if you can slip between the forts. Maybe Louise knows routes…"

"Don't go out with that woman again!" he snapped.

Eren jolted at the shout, and Levi immediately cursed. That had been far too loud for the attic.

Eren bit his lip. "We should come down to my room to talk."

"There's nothing to discuss," he grumbled petulantly.

"Please," Eren begged softly.

Levi scowled, but he figured it was better than staying in the attic to have this conversation. "Fine. I can at least wash my face and take a piss before bed."

Eren gathered up his uniform tunic, and they crawled over to the door. Eren lifted it open, Levi connected the rope ladder, and they carefully climbed down. Levi went straight to the bathroom while Eren struggled to calm himself. He had definitely not expected Levi to be so passionate.

Maybe he was weak to jealousy. Not that Eren liked to make him feel that way, but it was nice to have him break down the walls around his heart.

Levi stepped out, still drying his hands. "Do you need to go wank off?"

Eren chuckled softly. He probably would later than night, but now was not the time. "I'm sorry about Louise."

"Whatever," Levi grumbled. "You have to act a part. I get it. It's not like I've never done something similar."

Eren looked intrigued. "You kissed a woman as part of an act?"

"Not just kissed. I fucked probably a dozen for jobs when I was with the Deuxième Bureau. It was an easy way to get close to a target."

"That's awful!"

"It got the job done, and it's not like they weren't eager for it. I didn't have a woman waiting back home, so I didn't care. Perk of the job. So I get it, and I apologize. I shouldn't have felt jealous. I know you're just trying to survive, same as me. So I'm telling you this, now that my head is a bit clearer: if you have to sleep with her in order to pass as heterosexual, do so."

"No! I would never—"

"Eren!" he cut in, and he took the young man by the cheeks, gazing hard at him. "Don't tell me I will never betray you. Tell me I will live no matter the price."

Eren looked ready to cry at being told that and stubbornly shook his head.

"Eren," Levi said, keeping his tone gentle.

He tried to imagine, if he had needed to seduce a woman to survive, even if Petra gave him permission, would he have been able to? Of course, he would have told her he would never do such a thing, but if the moment arrived and it truly was a matter of life or death, he could always beg for her forgiveness after he survived to the next morning.

What if it was the other way around, and Petra had to sleep with a guard to stay alive? Of course, he would have forgiven her, anything to make sure she lived. Anything to hold her again!

"If it ever does come down to you needing to do something like that, just know … I will forgive you."

Eren glanced up, still looking heartbroken at being told that.

"But only if you beg on your knees."

A tiny smile fluttered on his pouting lips. "Will you kick me over the head again?"

"I might," he teased. It got Eren to laugh, which warmed Levi's heart. "I pray it never comes to that, if only because it's unfair to you, pretending in such a way. Still, so long as you survive, that's all that matters." His hand reached forward and combed through Eren's hair. "So long as I see you again."

The young man leaned into his palm with anguished happiness and sighed, "Levi…"

"But if you fuck her and die anyway, I will curse you into the afterlife. I want you to survive this war. If that means, after I'm gone, you have to take prostitutes every week just to fit in, you do it. You survive this! Then you come find me after the war, and you can beg me on your knees for forgiveness."

Eren swallowed down sadness. "Find you? In America?"

Levi took Eren's hand and squeezed it. "The offer's still open. Come find me in New York."

His lower lip trembled. "Don't leave yet."

Levi sighed and shook his head. "Eren…"

"It's only been a day. Give me time."

"I will not simply sit up there and wait."

"So what, are you planning to go out into the city on your own?"

"If I have to."

"Nein!"

Levi jolted back, surprised by the yell. Eren sneered and turned his face away, ashamed for the outburst.

"It's … It's too dangerous."

"Sitting in that attic is dangerous. Being here in your room is dangerous. Existing is dangerous! The sooner I can get out of Europe, the quicker my life won't be one long nightmare of constantly being in danger."

"Armin will get a map," he insisted. "If anyone can figure out how to get you out of Metz, it's him. Give him a few days." His fingers trembled as they grasped Levi's hand, as if to hold him in place. "Please," he whispered.

Levi let out a long sigh. "I don't promise to stay up there the whole time. While I can't go running around Metz in broad daylight, I can sneak around at night, ask some questions, see if I can find out how to get past the city walls."

Eren shook his head. "It's too dangerous—"

"I can ask questions you can't," he snapped. "You and Armin are good men, but you're German soldiers. No Frenchman would tell you a damn thing. Neither of you even speak French. I can get information, and with that, maybe Armin can plan something. He's a tactical genius—I can see that—but he doesn't have all the information, and he can't ask for it when he can barely string together a sentence in French."

"What if you're stopped and asked for papers?"

"I can bluff my way out of it. I have before."

"And kill a few Germans while you're at it?"

Levi had cold eyes as he said honestly, "If I have to."

Eren scowled, hating that he did not even hesitate to admit he would.

"They are still my enemy."

"Am I?" he blurted out.

Levi pursed his lips tightly and muttered, "Only if you try to stop me."

Eren looked stunned, crushed, and his eyes drifted off in disbelief.

"See it from my perspective," Levi urged him. "Imagine that you're trapped in London, British soldiers all around who want to kill you, and I hide you in my attic. More than anything, you just want to get back to Germany, but I won't let you go out, keeping you trapped in my attic. Would I not be just as bad as the British soldiers? One wants to shoot you, one wants to keep you a prisoner."

"I don't want to enslave you," Eren insisted. "I just don't want you to do anything stupid."

"Coming down into your room every time I have to take a piss is stupid, and it's dangerous, because if I get caught, you get in trouble, and the last thing I want is for you to get hurt."

Eren still looked heartbroken. He knew that asking Levi to stay was selfish and wrong, but the thought of him leaving, now that his heart was finally opening up, hurt. If he had escaped a week ago, before the two ever kissed, Eren could have moved on with just sweet thoughts of some random Jew he once had a crush on. Now, those amorous feelings were too strong.

"You're going to be stubborn, but so am I," Levi declared. "Your life is in danger the longer I stay here. I want to get out of here as soon as I can, not because I don't want to be with you, but because I don't want to fear for you—"

His voice cracked, which caught Levi off-guard. He realized a tear had rolled down his cheek without him even realizing it had formed in his eye. He wiped it away, shocked, confused, and upset at himself for crying in front of Eren. The lieutenant obviously saw it too, and he looked up now with deep concern. Levi blinked his eyes, felt another tear drip down his cheek, and he quickly wiped it away, angry at the unruly eyes that felt like watering for some reason.

A gossamer memory of auburn hair and a dazzling smile flashed through the blur of tears in his eyes.

"I know … the fear … worrying that because of you, someone you care for will lose their life … and I know how … how it rips apart your soul … seeing that actually happen, losing them forever," he whispered, sneering to hold back grief that shuddered in his throat, "helpless to save her, all because I could not bring myself to push her away." Levi looked up into Eren's face, not sure if he had ever felt so emotionally raw before. His throat barely worked as he whispered, "I don't want that fate for you."

Eren pulled him in and pressed Levi's face to his chest, letting him stubbornly sniffle and curse from embarrassment over his emotions. "I get it," he whispered, sad to see Levi finally breaking through those past horrors, but glad he was slowly healing.

"So I will warn you this, takhshet," he said, his voice hoarse, clinging onto Eren. "If I see an opportunity to leave, I will take it. I might not be able to make it back here to tell you goodbye. If you realize that I've been gone for more than three days, assume I'm on my way to America."

"How will I know if you make it?" Eren asked in anguish, feeling his own eyes burning and his arms clinging tightly at the idea of losing Levi. "I have no way of knowing, no clue how to find you again."

Levi sighed and realized he was right. Even if he escaped Metz, he had to make it through a war zone, across hundreds of kilometers to the coast, find a passenger ship, and hope he was not simply turned away when he reached America. Eren would have no way of knowing if he was safe, and New York City was a big place. He could spend his life searching the city for a man who was denied entry as an immigrant, or worse, died ten meters outside the gates of Metz.

"Come here."

Levi pulled Eren over to the bed so they could sit side by side, propped up by pillows. Their arms wrapped around each other in comfort, and Eren flopped his head onto Levi's shoulder. The Jew found himself soothing Eren's trembling by stroking his hair, and doing just that much calmed the pain in his heart.

"I'll write to you," whispered Levi. "Somehow. Tell you what: if I make it to the coast, I'll send you a telegram. It'll have a single word. Brooklyn. That's where I plan to head."

"Brooklyn," Eren repeated slowly. "What is that?"

"It's a part of New York City, and where my cousin lives."

"What is your cousin like?"

Levi shrugged. "I've only written to him. He seems decent enough. He runs a laundry business. Apparently, it belonged to his wife's family. She's Japanese. They have a daughter named Mikasa. She'd be about fifteen now."

"They allow people to marry other races?" Eren asked in shock.

"Depends on where in America you live."

"Do they allow you to marry any religion?"

"Even Germany allowed that before the Nazis rose to power."

"And … gender? Can a man marry a man in America?"

Levi's mouth dropped as he saw Eren's cheeks blush and his eyes averted. "I don't know. I've never heard of any country that allows two men to marry."

"But at least they don't arrest you for being homosexual, right?"

Levi let out a slow, contrite breath. "I'm not sure. I don't know American laws."

"Oh," Eren muttered.

Levi pouted at the sound of hope being slowly crushed. "According to my cousin, every state in America has their own laws. They're like little countries, all smashed together. It's like if Europe were to all unite into one huge union governed under one overarching set of laws, but France and Germany could still make their own rules, so long as they don't violate those international laws."

"I see," Eren muttered, but his voice faded away. "So maybe, in some states, it's okay."

"America is a big country. If New York doesn't allow it, I'm sure you could find another place that does. Or maybe Canada."

"Yes, I suppose," he muttered, and with his head lowered, his eyes raised with a soft glow. "But you'll be in New York."

Levi gulped hard at the flirtatious look that warmed his heart. He reached over and squeezed Eren's hand. He also wanted to hope that Eren one day found a place that would accept him exactly as he was.

Eren chuckled with a weak smile. "Sorry if that's moving too fast."

"It is," Levi whispered, but his gentle words showed, he didn't mind. "Look at me."

Eren raised his head, and Levi gave him a soft, lingering, warm kiss. It was so gentle, it soothed the chaos in Eren's heart and warmed up the iciness of fearing a world without Levi.

Levi leaned back, but his forehead rested against Eren's while his hand stroked his cheek. "Promise me you'll survive."

"I promise," Eren whispered, rubbing his nose against Levi's. "Promise you'll wait for me in New York."

"I'll be angry if you don't find me."

Eren gave him a kiss to seal the promise.

They spent the rest of the night sitting in bed, cuddling together, admiring each other with gentle touches and soft kisses. Levi felt himself falling more and more for this crazy German who broke down the walls around his heart.

When he saw Eren getting sleepy, he whispered that it was bedtime. Levi stayed long enough to watch him undress, sitting to the side, admiring Eren's body as he changed from the drab undershirt, hanging both it, the uniform tunic, and his trousers in a large oak wardrobe by the bed, and putting on long johns against the chilly September night.

Then Levi turned off the lights and tucked Eren into bed. He gave him one last kiss, stroked back his hair like a beloved child, and whispered, "Goodnight." With Eren snuggled up in bed and a smile on his sleepy face, Levi stepped back, but he did not leave yet. Eren must have truly been exhausted, because he fell asleep in under a minute. Levi stood to the side, gazing at his face in the darkness.

He would lose him one day.

But for now … at least for this present moment…

He put his fist to his mouth, holding back the torrent of emotions, a grief for something that had not even happened yet. Eren was right there, so why…

Why did he miss him already?

# # #

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Carly's Drugs – Here's putting a minor character to good use! That dancing drug dealer Carly and her coderoin pills show up, only now it's a bit like Viagra and date rape drugs. Under Hitler, Germany had strict anti-drug laws, but some brothels provided men with a little something to help. All under-the-table, of course!

Nazi Military Brothels (Militärbordelle) – Between 1939 and 1942, Nazis forced Jewish women into brothels to be sex workers and encouraged men to have sex at least once a week for their health. It was believed that frequent sex made a soldier stronger, and refraining from sex built up disabling weaknesses that led to homosexuality. In 1942, Hitler made it illegal for Aryans to have sex with Jews, so the Jewish prostitutes were rounded up and sent to concentration camps; ironically, underground prostitution rings flourished in the camps, with male guards getting bonuses by being allowed to have sex with female prisoners, so long as an officer watched to make sure they used only the missionary position. The prisoners were often tricked into volunteering with promises of extra food. Over 34,000 female inmates were forced into sex slavery.

After 1942, Nazi military brothels used captured Slavic women from Poland, Ukraine, and Russia. Average-looking women remained in brothels on the Eastern Front, but ones who fit the Aryan standard of beauty (blond hair, blue eyes) were sent to Germany. In my story, some of the Russian women were shipped all the way to Metz, especially with so many soldiers in the city getting ready for a battle, and thus more sex was believed to make them stronger. The German military set up 100 brothels in Occupied France alone, and while some cities (especially Paris) used women who were already working as prostitutes, in areas without enough sex workers, local girls were kidnapped and forced to work, as we see with Louise. It was fairly common that a woman would have 30 men or more a day, each man given 15 minutes to have his turn. Enlisted soldiers went to the brothels, which were either set up in already-established bordellos, hotels, or Jewish synagogues converted into whorehouses. Officers had vetted women brought to them, to make sure they had no diseases and were not politically compromised.

To be fair, Americans, British, French, Japanese, and basically every nation was doing the same thing, enslaving woman in Comfort Stations, Field Brothels, Bordels Mobiles de Campagne, or in Russia's case, screw the brothel and just rape every girl you can catch. France imported women from their colonial holdings in North Africa and the Far East. Japan enslaved up to 400,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines, and all surrounding territories, and there were hundreds of cases of Dutch plantation women, as well as American and Australian military nurses, being captured and forced to work in Japanese brothels. America had one mobile brothel per division, and in mixed-race divisions, there would be one brothel for Whites, one for Blacks. Because even when fighting Nazis, America was racist as fuck.

"high-class brothels in Berlin" – This is a reference to Salon Kitty, an infamous brothel used by the Nazi intelligence service for espionage. The glamorous luxury palace targeted the social elite, with trained young women selected from the Bund Deutscher Mädel (German Girls' League) and trained to seduce top German dignitaries, foreign visitors, and diplomats, prying them with alcohol and sex, loosening up their trousers and their lips, so they would disclose secrets or say their honest opinions on Nazi issues and leadership. Not even Hitler's inner circle knew about the new purpose of Salon Kitty, and many high-ranked Nazis, including Joseph Goebbels, went there.

America's Sodomy Laws – Eren has a good reason to worry about the legality of homosexuality in America. Until 1962, homosexuality (particularly sodomy, but oral sex was sometimes included) was a felony in every state, carrying a death penalty in some states. Sodomy laws were not nationally abolished until 2003. Same-sex marriage would not be allowed at the federal level until 2013.


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Hey everyone, Rhov here.

I have said many times that I try to update weekly "unless real life gets in the way." Well…

Real life got in the way.

I had a week-long writing binge coupled with a huge bipolar swing toward HIGH, so I did not want to stop typing even as my wrist went from aching, to burned, to going numb. I would just put ice on it before bed, and jump right back into typing as soon as I woke up. Then last Friday, I simply put my hand on the wall to brace myself while slipping on some shoes, and my left wrist popped, instantly going numb. I popped it back, the feeling mostly returned, except the wrist began to swell. Not good.

It's just a sprain, but I may have gotten a little nerve damage, so I'm supposed to limit my typing for a couple of weeks. Sadly, this is not the first time I have severely injured my wrists; back in 2015-16, my right wrist was in a brace for over a year after an epileptic fall left me with two cracked wrist bones, a torn tendon resulting in frozen wrist syndrome, and fraying the tendon connecting my thumb to the hand. I know wrists are fragile, and as a writer I need to take this seriously.

So, there will be no chapter next week, and I may need to back off from the one-a-week schedule, at least for a while, until I fully heal.

Thanks for understanding, and thank you so much for all the support you have given me through the past year.



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