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[personal profile] labyrinthmess
Title: Respite
Rating/Genre: PG-13. Fluff, Romance (Ambiguous established relationship of sorts?)
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Levi/Petra Rall, with brief mentions of Zoe Hange and Moblit.
Warnings: Levi's language, but that's a given, I suppose.
Summary: Levi and Petra share an interlude of calm amidst the bluebells.

A/N: Inspired in part, by these two cute fanarts and by the new SnK OST. IDK, these two (well, the whole of the Special Ops Squad, actually) have whelmed me with truckloads of emotions, so something had to be done  /weeps


~.*.~


Not for the first time, Levi wonders where they are headed to. The sky is clear this afternoon, a bright azure streaked only with the occasional wisps of clouds, like puffs of smoke trailing from a dragon's snout. He blinks once, twice, scowling upwards at the sky just as a light breeze stirs and ruffles up his hair. It isn't quite like him to think up such odd imagery of clouds, really (it's more of a Hange's thing and that thought alone is enough to make his lip curl and his nose crinkle too in slight distaste).

"Petra," Levi says, slowing his pace. "Will you only tell me where we’re headed to, after I’ve melted into a puddle of human goo from this god-awful blaze?”

The young soldier before him pauses in her steps, turning her head back to meet his steady gaze. In the sunlight, her hair shimmers like the radiant gold-orange of autumn leaves. Petra smiles, almost teasingly, and places a finger to her lips. "It’s a surprise, Corporal."

They continue past the trees, picking their way through dappled light and shade. The ground is misty with bluebells; Levi can smell the sweet scent rising and tickling the back of his throat, whenever the petals brush against his boots. The lane gradually slopes upwards and they soon find themselves on a grassy knoll overlooking a small dale blanketed in swaths of colourful hyacinths. Petra leads them to sit under the shaded spot of a lone oak tree.

"I used to come here with my father, as a child," she says, gazing out at sea of yellow, orange and pink before them. "We would play hide-and-seek in the tall grass and flowers, before it got too hot and we had to rest in the shades." Here she pauses, casting a tentative gaze at Levi. "I… thought it might be good for you to be away, sir, from all the work and the hustle and bustle of town. You haven’t been looking well lately."

At the mention of work, Levi scowls again, recalling  the stacks of papers he’d left piling up on his desk. "You can thank the Commander for that, with all the blasted reports he'd so conveniently thrown my way." He brushes a finger at a flower bobbing in the breeze, just beside his knee. "In fact, not to be a damn killjoy or anything, I shouldn't even be here rolling about in carefree rapture amidst strawberry fields and shit."

"It's your day off, sir." Petra reminds him gently as her expression softens with concern. "Even you are entitled to a bit of respite, humanity's strongest soldier or not."

Sighing, he leans back languidly, elbows propped against the grass and bluebells as he says, “I suppose you're right," and then a softer, gentler tone, "Petra, you don't have to keep addressing me as sir; we're all alone now.”

Petra dips her head. “Of course, sir.”

Levi almost protests again, until he sees the twinkle in her sky-blue eyes and realises she’s only teasing. He chuckles softly then, and is about to reply when he abruptly notices something red and orange in her hair — small flowers weaved into her hair and around her head, like a crown. He thinks she looks not unlike a woodland fairy or a nymph (there he goes again, waxing lyrical with the descriptions. He should be a goddamn poet or something, bloody hell).

''I'm assuming there's a very good reason for the flowers in your hair," he remarks drily, though not unkindly. They do look nice on her, after all.

"Ah," Petra adjusts the flower crown with both hands. "They're leftovers from Hange's experiment on Sonny and Bean."

Levi snorts, wondering if he should even ask, before thinking better of it.

Petra helpfully offers an explanation anyway: "Hange had a hypothesis she'd wanted to test out. That maybe Titans can reproduce, just not in the way we do— ah, I-I mean, not in the way humans do."

It's possibly the trick of light, but Levi doesn’t miss the soft tinge of rose that rises to the girl's cheeks, fleetingly, like a tiny shoal of fish breaking the surf before slipping back under elusive waves. And then Petra is all smiles again, continuing on matter-of-factly, as though she is only reporting her latest number of Titan kills, and not at all about Hange's strange experiment of coaxing Bean to sprout petals/weeds from his armpits and nostrils.

"She thought that maybe they reproduced by pollination instead, like plants. But all she got out of the experiment was Sonny developing an allergy to honeysuckle, and Bean regurgitating saliva and crushed rose stalks all over Moblit." Petra lets out a soft, weary-like chuckle. "Hange thinks she has made progress though and well... we did have a lot of flowers left, so she made flower crowns for everyone."

Levi pinches the space between his eyes tiredly. "That weirdo."

"She's made one for you too." Before Levi can find it within himself to protest, Petra stretches her hands out over him, and places a wreath of crocuses and lavender neatly over his head.

"Well I suppose this would work wonders on my public image, wouldn't it?"

"You do come off a little more friendlier this way." Petra says, glancing over him appreciatively, admiring this new look. "Flowers can be disarming."

Levi allows himself the slightest quirk of the lips —a rare smile.

"I wouldn't be so quick to say that; everyone thinks I'm an emotionless shitface who only delights in executing sadistic torture and trauma upon unsuspecting trainees.”

It seems like an exaggeration, but Levi takes this admission quite seriously. He's far from being emotionless, and he certainly doesn't have any qualms about expressing himself, especially towards certain MP officials —from  snide backhanded praise ("They say you make a handsome toad, though personally, I think the word they're looking for is 'revolting'') to thinly-veiled contempt ("Sorry I doubted your ability to care; you obviously care as much as you do about stepping on dog poo")  and sometimes, just pointblank honesty ("Fucking gross, ugh").

Really, he thinks, it’s all there. Just take your pick, dumbasses.

Petra chuckles, her voice dancing lightly in the breeze, the sound of falling blossoms in his ears.

''Or maybe," she says, leaning forward to press a gentle kiss over his nose, "maybe, you're the only one who thinks we think that way about you." She winks at him, blue eyes bright with teasing. "Your squad knows better, Corporal."

Levi huffs, trying to look miffed, but he finds his grin growing wider instead.

"Well, I would have expected no less from my men," he replies, before he reaches out, much to her surprise, and lightly pinches her cheek in a small show of affection, the smile still playing on his lips. "And least of all from you."

Petra laughs again, and for one quiet afternoon—

resting here now, under the endless blue sky, his fingers laced with hers in between the grass

—Levi thinks that maybe, it's best to simply enjoy the scent of flowers  and the cool May breeze ruffling his hair.




—End—


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