☆ NEW POKEMON SNAP! ☆ RELEASING 30TH APRIL 2021☆
I just meant whenever I listen to love story, I'm still surprised (?) when I hear this line! 😂
i feel that!! even like 10 years later i’m like omg he proposed 😭😭😭!!!
wip wed: my current wip list! i haven’t made much of a dent in it since last month and it has instead grown a bit 🤔
if you’re curious about any of them, ask away~
funny how "marry me juliet" this has shock value
whats happening i feel like i’m out of the loop lol
not to tell people what to do but as someone who’s been in fandom since i was like twelve, i promise that the only good fandom experience involves limiting your friend circle to, like, seven people. when you’re in a city, you don’t make friends with every douchebag on the street. stringently vet the people who are allowed to influence you. in an age of people and companies constantly demanding your attention and energy, your happiness will grow best like flowers in a greenhouse in a terrible city; a contained, curated space allows happiness to flourish. keep it small and don’t be sorry to tell people to stay the fuck out of your greenhouse.
you get it
My good friend @rtskies and I so badly wanted an aruani week this year as well so here it is, everyone feel free to participate💖🥳
Interpret the prompts however you wish/feel free to diverge from it!
Fics, fanart, gifs, fanmix, photosets, everything is good~
Tag it with ‘#aruaniweek2021’
HAVE FUN!!! 💖💖💖💖
Day 1 (March 16 Tues) : Modern
Day 2 (March 17 Wed) : Home
Day 3 (March 18 Thur) : Flowers
Day 4 (March 19 Fri) : Message
Day 5 (March 20 Sat) : Hands
Day 6 (March 21 Sun) : Sunlight
Day 7 (March 22 Mon) : Birthday/ Free
Levi runs an S. Corps Tattoo parlor with his squad of best people. Petra is the new addition to them, and although they’re both trying to hide it, there is a spark between them.
“Gunther, Eld and Auruo already went home, but as she was late today, she had to stay longer. Fortunately Levi agreed to postpone his appointment to the end of the day, so she would be able to be on time with other clients.
To be honest, his session was the only thing in her head since the day started anyway. Wearing a shirt that smelled just like him didn’t help either. It was hard to focus, and she knew exactly why, though she didn’t want to admit it to herself since it felt…inappropriate.”
Enjoy my first rivetra fic!!
It was nearly the end of her working hours when she took a last peek into her next day schedule and got surprised by the name of her boss at the end of it. Feeling a little confused, she put the list back on the desk and headed out to the other side of the studio. It was weird, she thought, he was one of the best tattoo artists she had a chance to meet and, as far as she knew, he was not fond of letting others put anything on his skin, especially something so permanent. So far, the only exceptions were her co-worker Gunther and a man who had worked here even before them, Erwin.
“Levi?” she said, raising her voice a bit to bring his attention to her.
He was dusting the shelves of his workplace at the moment while listening to something on his earphones. He took one out and looked at her over his shoulder.
“Are you-” she started but quickly went silent for a moment thinking how stupid this question will sound. Anyway, she was tired after the day, so she decided to just get it over with.
"Are you the Levi Ackerman from my appointment list for tomorrow?“
“What” he asked, or said, it was hard to tell considering the tone of his voice. The look on his face was clearly confused and a bit irritated. She thought he looked adorable making that face, so she smiled, suddenly feeling silly.
“Your name is in my schedule” she corrected coming closer and stopped at his side.
“Of course it is, I wrote it there. How many Levi Ackermans do you think live in this city?” he responded and sighed, coming back to make sure that the shelf was spotless.
Petra felt a sudden rush of adrenaline at his simple statement. An excited blush rose on her face, but she composed herself not to let him know how big of a deal it was for her. After all, he was basically her idol, even the fact that she got to work at his studio was like a dream. But now he wanted her to tattoo him, and it was something she never even had the guts to think of.
“But we didn’t even have a chance to talk about the project.” she pointed out, raising a hand to fix the pin in her hair.
“Whatever, I just need to close the gap on the sleeve, it’s pissing me off. Just pick something that will match.”
Her eyes widened looking at his never changing expression. “But…are you sure? Why won’t you just fill it yourself?”
The look he sent her made her smile awkwardly. It was like he was asking her why she made it difficult for no reason. Of course, he didn’t care about the projects as much at this point. He had some sentimental tattoos, but the more he got, the less he cared about their meaning. He just wanted it to satisfy his artistic vision. It was actually pretty normal, she already was at that point as well, though it was still crazy for her that he’d let her pick.
Not waiting for him to answer, she continued. “I’ll think about it.” she assured with a big smile. “Maybe I should sign myself up for some new piercing to you too” she laughed lightly on her way back.
Levi looked after her as she disappeared behind the break room doors. He knew it was unusual. The last thing he would do was to acknowledge it out loud. Petra was still a very new addition to their group, working with them for only 6 months, considering that the rest of them were there for years now.
There was something about her art style that brought a completely new view and possibilities for their clients. It was sharp and confident. Always the perfect line.
But if he had to be really honest with himself, it wasn’t the reason he had picked her. However, he was pushing that thought far far away in his mind.
Ok so here is the first part!
It’s my first time writing a fic and English is not my native language so pls don’t be harsh >-<
I already wrote more but I will post it on ao3 and ff.net when it will be long enough.
You can read the rest of the first chapter here!
There are two kinds of fic writers:
1. Fuck it, it’s fiction
2. Let me look up real estate listings, so I can plot out subway routes and schedules and see if this walk really is long enough for them to have this conversation.
Guess which kind I am.
3. People who are a weird mix of the above two.
Me: you know what I don’t care if this doesn’t quite make sense no one cares they will love it and this won’t be analysed it’s fanfic
Also me: I SWEAR if I can’t find a TREE with this EXACT type of bark that I’m imagining I WILL DIE
Fuck being realistic UNLESS it’s one of my weirdly specific interest, in that case 101% accuracy is required.
Would it be possible for them to grow these berries in this region? Which he has in his porridge….in one scene?
wip wed: rewrite of an old au ^^
Shout out to writers who can’t do plots, who write about feelings and moments in time instead. I love reading those fics, and I love writing those fics. Keep on peering into the depths of characters’ hearts and souls in the little moments. You’re exploring the places where canon often fears to tread.
EREANI DISCORD SERVER IS NOW AVAILABLE
Hey, everyone! We’re happy to announce that we made a discord server for all you EreAnis out there to join and have fun! We’ve been setting it up for the past couple days and it’s ready to go public!
We’ll leave a set of server guidelines as well as the invite link under the read more. If you are interested in joining, go on and click ahead!
They created Lady Gaga oreos with a chance for some... meet and greet? Special concert experience? I saw them at the store and didn't buy any... but heard later they were being sold for significantly higher prices online, like on Ebay and such. People want the collectable package I guess!
Collector Lady Gaga Oreos? What a time to be alive…
I just miss being able to buzz to the store if I need something or if I just want something..anything - just going and getting it. Or being able to really pick out my own pot roast or potatoes. I’m in an area that is still pretty intense with the Covid. It’s the Trump part of NY -_-. and yeah…it will be a while before everything is semi-normal here.
I’ve seen that happen with makeup. Like the hot new release costs 45 dollars but you see it for 200 on ebay. FOMO is a helluva drug.
I want Oreos now lol. Just normal ones!
i forgot to say im taking vday hcs today but yeah if anyone is here and wants vday hcs just drop a ship in my ask for some 🥺❤️ happy vday my babies ♥️💕💓🌺♥️
hi everyone!!! here’s the eretra au that a few of you might remember from my wip posts a few months (?) ago! i’m really excited about it, so i hope you guys like it. it’s very loosely based off a kdrama called big, although there aren’t very many similarities. i hope you guys enjoy it :)
My First Love Come Back to Me
Eretra. Big AU.
I’ll Love You in the Rain or Shine Series: Chapter 1
Eren stands in the deli section of the grocery store staring down at the premade sandwiches that have, judging by the wilting lettuce and stiff-looking squares of cheese stuffed between dry bread buns, been sitting there all day after being passed over by other customers for more enticing premade meals like the colorful, little sushis in their plastic containers or the burritos so stuffed with filling that beans are practically spilling out of the tortilla wraps meant to contain them. He looks at one particularly sad-looking sandwich. Turkey chunks and droopy lettuce leaves are shoved inside a stale bread loaf. Tomato juice from the poor fruit that was cut to make this depressing sub bleeds out from the bun, dripping onto the plastic wrap that can hardly hold the thing together. A strange assortment of veggies also poke out from the bread - bright yellow bell peppers, chunky strips of carrots, and slices of onions - but they look as though someone has carelessly dropped them into the sandwich because they’re not even evenly dispersed through the sub. It is, Eren thinks, the most wretched sandwich he’d ever laid eyes on.
It’s a little sad, the fact that Eren is spending so much time picking out something to bring to a family dinner that he would claim, if anyone bothered to ask, to not give a single shit about. And, really, he doesn’t, but it makes him feel slightly better about going to those miserable gatherings if he’s able to bring something he knows his stepmom will hate. Except she’s not really his stepmom. To be more precise, the woman is his father’s first and only wife - the bastard having never married Eren’s mother - and his half-brother’s mother. In all honesty, Eren can completely understand why the woman hates him. He is, after all, a constant reminder of his father’s infidelity. It’s not like Eren likes her either and, with all of the snide comments about his upbringing and disappointing career path (although Eren has no idea why that is any of her business), she hasn’t given Eren any reason to.
Eren looks down at the sandwich again, leaning towards not getting it. As much as he would love to purchase it and slap it down on the dinner table with a cheerful smile, there are only so many times he can buy disgusting sandwiches for his family dinners. He really outdid himself last time with a self-made sandwich with all sorts of odd ingredients (blue cheese, coriander, tuna, onions, cherry tomatoes, the works) that had no business being slapped between the same two buns. He even remembered not to toast the bread buns. Apparently, the only thing his father’s wife hates more than sandwiches are untoasted sandwiches, but not everyone can afford a $300 panini press like she can. Apparently, any panini press with a smaller price tag can’t be called a real panini press. Eren only half-regretted his decision to bring the disgusting thing to his father’s house an hour later when he sprinted out of the house and biked half a block away to empty the contents of his stomach on the edge of a poor neighbor’s sidewalk. No, a normal deli sandwich would be a step down from his previous contribution to family dinner, Eren decides.
He walks up and down the aisle of the grocery store, taking his time even though he’s already a half-hour late for dinner. (He’s doing them a favor. Nobody in their right mind should be having dinner at five when the sun is still high in the sky.) His green eyes glaze over tubs of soup and plastic bins filled with salad. For a moment, he wonders if he should walk through the shelves of chips on the other side or maybe into the frozen food section so he can haul a tub of melting ice cream to his father’s house, but he wonders if that’s too petty. It’s probably best not to, Eren thinks with a grimace. He doesn’t want to ruin junk food for himself forever.
In the end, Eren purchases a little tub of potato salad, hoping that it’ll be enough to piss off his Disney-esque sort-of stepmother. It’s not perfect, but he supposes it will do. It’s probably not as grotesque as the stuff he’s brought before, but he likes how simple it is. That woman’s definitely going to be miffed that Eren bought potato salad as if he cared so little that he couldn’t be bothered to spend a few minutes in the kitchen to make the same dish. He’s really going to enjoy seeing the vein on her forehead pulse when she sees him standing at the door with the potato salad.
Eren thanks the cashier for ringing up his purchase, sliding two dollars into the charity box next to the register, and walks away with his tub of potato salad, whistling as he practically skips out of the grocery store. He hadn’t taken as long as he would have liked; there are still fifteen minutes before six and he had hoped he would burn enough time to arrive at six-thirty, but maybe he can take a roundabout way to his dad’s house, Eren thinks as he drops the tub carelessly into the front basket of his bicycle. He unlocks his bike with a click and pulls it off the bike rack before mounting it and pedaling away.
Taking the direct route would be too quick. Eren quickly pedals across the road as soon as the road is clear and finds his way to the creek that cuts across the suburbs. It’s the same creek Eren used to play beside when he was a child. He fell in there once trying to catch a frog and his mom scolded him for being so reckless. It’s also the same creek that he frequented during the spring of his sophomore year of highschool when he was assigned to do a bug project, which Eren hated especially when the same project was no longer mandatory after his school cut the science department’s funding the year after. Eren doesn’t think he’s visited the creek ever since he graduated from high school. He blames it on college and summer internships taking up all his time and never really allowing him to return to his youth, but the truth is that Eren wouldn’t have sought out his childhood even if he had the time.
It’s not that Eren had a terrible childhood. In fact, Eren would say that he had a fairly happy childhood. True, he grew up in a (mostly) single-parent household, but his mother was always patient and attentive to him even though he was a pain the ass about 75 percent of the time. Nothing incredibly significant happened. He didn’t win any awards and he never made the honor roll, but his mother was fine with it as long as he did his best. It was strange, but he got a lot more shit about his grades from his sort-of stepmom than he did from his own mother. He’s not particularly sure what his father thought about it. Eren’s father never said much of anything to defend him, but his father hardly said anything to him at all. It was kind of like not having a father at all, so it wasn’t really that surprising when Eren found a way to avoid his old neighborhood completely after his mother passed away after his senior year of high school.
Eren hadn’t planned on returning so soon. Actually, he hadn’t planned on returning at all after he had left for college. He only came back the summer after freshman year, but he bummed it at his best friend Armin’s house and only ventured as far as Armin’s front lawn. The following summers he crashed at his ex-boyfriend’s house - an art student-turned-tattoo artist who somehow ended up setting up a shop in the city Eren and Armin grew up in - or Armin’s dorm when they were both working at their internships. Somehow, they ended up landing jobs back in their hometown because evidently the big city did not want them and they were too young and broke to go up against the universe. Maybe another day.
It’s not that bad. Despite renting an apartment near his neighborhood, Eren hasn’t run into any childhood friends that might still remember all the embarrassing things he did as a teenager. He’s bumped into a few parents at the grocery store that would smile up at him and talk about how nicely he’s grown while reaching up to ruffle his hair. Other than a few childhood friends and the “family” he feels obligated to meet due to the biological bond he unwillingly shares with his father, Eren has successfully avoided most of his past.
He pedals past his old middle school, zooming past the gates and grimacing as he remembers the less pleasant parts of his past - struggling with algebra, running a mile at seven AM, and the terrible school uniforms they forced on everyone in a strange attempt to boost standardized test scores. He’s happier when he crosses the street and is greeted with the lit-up shops - the convenience store where he’d happily slurp down slushies with Armin after school, the Chinese restaurant that his class would frequent every year for Lunar New Year’s, and the bakery store that always smelled of freshly baked tarts and pies. Eren’s pedaling slows as he approaches the bakery and he inhales deeply, his lungs filling with the scent of buttery baguettes and chocolate tarts. The aroma is so distractingly sweet. His mouth begins to water at just the thought of them, and Eren wonders why he hadn’t bothered stepping foot in the bakery since coming back. He’s about to stop his bike and pop in for a brownie or a lemon bar only to realize that he’s biking far too fast and about to crash into someone.
“Shit!” Eren’s bike screeches as he swerves out of the way and he crashes into a pole so hard that he can feel his teeth rattle. He topples to the ground with a hard thud, groaning as he rolls over onto his side that didn’t get smashed violently against a pole. When he opens his eyes, he sees stars as well as the face of an old man that he had last seen a decade ago. Eren tries to sit up, but his side is throbbing and he can only clutch at his side, trying his best to suppress a groan so as to not startle the man he had nearly collided with. He gives the man a weak smile. “Hey, Mr. Ral. I haven’t seen you in a while.”
The old man’s mouth, which was already open to begin with after seeing Eren’s embarrassing bicycle collision, falls open a bit wider. “A-are you … okay?” he asks after a while, squinting a bit as he looks at Eren’s face and tries to place a name to it. Eren doesn’t really blame him for not remembering who he is. It’s been quite a while since they’ve seen each other and Eren has grown up a lot since then.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little bump,” Eren says, laughing it off. He manages to sit up and pushes himself off the ground, standing up and brushing off the little pebbles that have managed to stick to his face and clothing. He picks up his bike, leaning it against the pole before turning to the man again. “It’s Eren, by the way.” He pauses, observing Mr. Ral’s expression. When he sees that the man doesn’t recognize him, Eren politely adds, “Eren Kruger. I’m Zeke Jaeger’s younger brother.”
A spark of recognition finally lights up in the old man’s eyes at the mention of Zeke’s name. Eren’s not going to lie, but it kind of hurts. “Ah, Zeke,” Mr. Ral says fondly. Eren shifts from feeling hurt to feeling slightly jealous. “How could I ever forget him? And you, of course. You two used to play with my dear Petra back in the day.”
Petra, a name that Eren hasn’t heard in years, and yet hearing it still makes him blush like a young schoolboy. He ducks his head, his hand rubbing at the back of his neck, and he prays that Mr. Ral doesn’t notice the sudden flush of his cheeks. “Yeah, it’s been a while. How is, ah, Petra doing?” he asks. He had meant to ask the question casually, but he stumbles over the words a little too quickly.
“Petra? She’s well,” Mr. Ral answers with a smile. The corners of his eyes crinkle and his laughter lines deepen. He doesn’t seem to notice how flustered Eren is. “She just started teaching at the same university that Zeke is teaching at.”
That’s certainly news to Eren. Zeke hadn’t mentioned that at any of the family dinners Eren had attended recently. It could just be because Zeke hadn’t run into her yet or it had simply slipped his mind, but Eren kind of doubts it. If Petra’s father knew, then it’s highly unlikely that Zeke didn’t know. As much as Eren wants to frown, he fights the urge to turn the edges of his mouth downward and gives Mr. Ral a thin but polite smile. “That’s great to hear. What does she teach?”
“English,” Mr. Ral replies, his chest puffed out proudly. It’s endearing how much he adores his daughter. “She teaches some upper-division classes on creative writing and a few classes for freshmen on critical reading and writing.”
Eren’s smile is more genuine now, more fond as he listens to Mr. Ral speak about his daughter. “Yeah, that sounds like her. She was always really good with words.” He remembers lazy summer afternoons lying underneath the shade of a tree and pretending he was sleeping so that he could listen to Petra talk to Zeke on the front porch. It wasn’t even that he wanted to eavesdrop. He just liked the sound of her voice. Eren wonders if it’s still as wonderfully soothing and soft as he remembers.
“And what about you?” Mr. Ral asks, snapping Eren out of his reverie. The old man seems to ask out of polite obligation. It figures that he isn’t really interested in Eren’s life. After all, he hadn’t remembered that Eren existed until five minutes ago.
“I just graduated a few months ago. I majored in child education,” Eren replies. He looks down feeling slightly embarrassed although he’s not sure why. It feels like a step down from Petra’s accomplishments. His sort-of stepmom would certainly agree. She enjoys rubbing Zeke’s doctorate in Eren’s face whenever she gets the chance. Eren clears his throat and adds, “I’ve been working at Liberio Daycare. It’s near Shiganshina Elementary.”
It’s unclear whether or not Mr. Ral recognizes the name but he nods and reaches over to give Eren a pat on the arm, a grin on his face as if the old man is actually proud of him. “That’s good! Your parents must be proud.” He doesn’t notice the way Eren flinches and carries on. “It’s good to hear that you’ve been well.”
“Likewise,” Eren says. His eyes wander towards the bakery. It hadn’t occurred to him to look for Petra before, but now that he knows she’s back in town he can’t imagine doing anything else. He half hopes that she’ll be inside, maybe clearing the display for the night or wiping down the countertops, but all he sees is a girl his age at the register munching on some lavender bars that hadn’t sold. Before he can stop himself, Eren finds himself asking, “Is Petra in?”
“Petra?” Mr. Ral asks with his eyebrows raised. Maybe it does seem out of the blue that Eren’s asking. Petra was always more Zeke’s friend than Eren’s. Mr. Ral gives Eren an apologetic smile and a shake of his head. “I’m afraid not. She told me she was eating dinner at a friend’s house. I’ll let her know you stopped by. Maybe you two can catch up sometime.”
Eren shouldn’t feel so disappointed, but he can feel himself deflating at Mr. Ral’s words. He really doubts Petra would want to meet up with him. It’s not as if they were incredibly close before. Still, he gives Mr. Ral a gracious smile and says, “That would be great! I should probably get going. I have to, ah, eat dinner…” His voice trails off and he looks to bike only to find the front basket empty. Eyes straying further, he finds that his tub of potato salad had rolled out of his bike basket and onto the ground where it lay pitifully. Thankfully, the tub hasn’t broken and the potato salad hasn’t spilled out, but somehow the salad looks even more pathetic than it did when Eren purchased it. It’s something Eren would have been happy about fifteen minutes ago, but it’s embarrassing now. Quickly, he goes to pick it up and drop it into his bike basket with the slim hope that Mr. Ral wouldn’t think much about it, but Eren has never been that lucky.
Mr. Ral must find him pitiful because he asks, “Why don’t you take some dessert home?” He’s already heading back into the bakery, gesturing for Eren to follow him despite Eren’s protests. “If you don’t, they’ll just go to waste. Or into my employee’s stomach, and goodness knows that she’s already eaten enough desserts today already.”
“Thank you so much, sir,” Eren says, humbly bowing his head.
“Sasha,” Mr. Ral calls the girl at the register. “Could you ring up a few things for Eren?”
The girl’s head snaps up at the call of her name, her cheeks filled with pastry and crumbs all over her mouth. “Sure thing,” Sasha says, gulping down the last of her lavender bar and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. She walks over to the side, Eren following her on the other side of the counter, and washes her hands hastily. As she wipes her hands dry with the hand towel, she looks at Eren brightly and asks in a chipper voice, “Do you have anything you want in particular?”
Eren’s eyes scan over the display, but he doesn’t really look at anything in particular. He just wants to get out of this situation as quickly as possible. He’s embarrassed himself quite enough for today. “Just … whatever you’d recommend,”
“Alright-y,” the girl hums, taking a bag and stuffing it full with little tarts and tea cakes and croissants. Eren looks at her briefly, realizing that he doesn’t recognize her. She must have moved here sometime during the past six years when he wasn’t around.
As Sasha finishes preparing the bag, Eren walks over to the register and gets ready to pull his wallet out but Mr. Ral walks over, shaking his head. “No need to pay for it,” Mr. Ral says. He reaches over the counter and takes the bag from Sasha, presenting it to Eren with a smile. “Consider it a treat. Really, you’d be doing me a favor just taking it. They would have gone to waste otherwise.”
“Ah, thank you,” Eren says, his face flushing once more. He takes the bag from Mr. Ral with a small bow of his head. “It was great seeing you again, Mr. Ral.”
“Likewise,” Mr. Ral says with that same crinkly smile. He walks Eren to the door, watching as Eren packs the desserts alongside his potato salad. “Take good care of yourself, Eren, and tell your brother I said hi.” He waves as Eren assures him he’ll do just that, returning to the shop only once Eren has biked away.
This is not how the night was supposed to go. Eren was supposed to be wandering around the neighborhood with his potato salad before waltzing into his father’s house an hour late, his sort-of stepmother silently fuming at the dinner table while the family sat and waited for him. He hadn’t planned on bumping into his childhood crush’s father, and he certainly hadn’t planned on looking so incredibly pathetic in front of Mr. Ral. He can only imagine what Mr. Ral will tell Petra when she sees her dad tonight. Maybe something about how he grew up to be such a loser even though his half-brother managed to graduate with a Ph.D. and is now a successful anthropology professor at the local university. It’s not something that usually gets Eren down, but thinking about it now is making him feel especially miserable.
Eren’s not sure why the thought of Petra knowing how his life is so embarrassing. He hasn’t spoken to her in years, so her opinion of him shouldn’t matter. And even if she did have an opinion of him, he’s sure it wouldn’t be unkind. Petra had always been nice to him even when he was a kid and just being an annoying third wheel to her and Zeke. When his childish admiration of her turned into puppy love and eventually evolved into a full-fledged crush, she never brushed him off or thought him annoying, although there was a chance that she just never noticed. He couldn’t blame her for that when Zeke, honor roll student and valedictorian Zeke, was always standing right in front of her. He wasn’t even surprised when they started dating. It was inevitable. And when they eventually broke up for some reason that Eren still isn’t quite sure about, Eren knew he’d never be able to compare so he never tried to pursue her. It’s not surprising that he and Petra ended up losing touch.
As much as he would love to blame Zeke for it (and it would be incredibly easy for him to blame Zeke), he can’t. Maybe it’s strange that he doesn’t harbor a deep hatred for his half-brother. Their relationship has all the makings of a classic sibling rivalry - a complicated family history, stark differences in accomplishments, and affections for the same girl - but Eren could never bring himself to hate Zeke. Even if Zeke’s mother liked to hold all of her son’s accomplishments over Eren’s head, Zeke himself never bragged about them. In fact, he was quite humble and would even offer to help his younger half-brother if he was struggling with something in school. Oftentimes he would invite Eren to hang out with his friends even though their age gap made it a little awkward. He even remembered Eren’s favorite snacks and would make sure they were in supply whenever Eren came over to visit. If Zeke’s mother was an evil Disney stepmother come to life, Zeke was that one fairytale sibling that was kind to the tragic main character, so Eren had no choice but to like Zeke. Even when Zeke broke up with Petra and Eren couldn’t understand why, when Zeke told Eren that it “just happened,” Eren kind of left it at that and accepted that because he couldn’t imagine Zeke doing anything wrong.
Could Eren be classified with an inferiority complex with regards to his brother? Probably, but most siblings can. Eren would have to challenge whether or not someone with inferiority complexes would admire their brother as much as he does, but they might in a weird way. Eren’s sure that he and Zeke’s relationship would still be complicated even if they didn’t have all the weird history with Eren and Zeke’s parents.
Eren sighs as he flies down a dip in the road, letting gravity carry him down instead of pedaling. He really doesn’t feel like he’s in the right headspace for this family dinner. Usually, he lets all of that woman’s snide comments ricochet, but his armor has grown weak and he can just imagine her landing the right thinly-veiled insult, her words burying into his skin and hitting right where it hurts. For a moment, Eren considers calling the dinner off with an excuse that will be sure to piss his stepmother off — probably something about how he has to restructure his lesson plan for the upcoming week — but he glances down at the potato salad and bag of baked goods in his bike basket and realizes that he really doesn’t want to eat them all by himself. If he’s going to suffer, he might as well make the rest of his family suffer alongside him. And besides, he’s pretty much already at their house anyway.
His bike slows as he approaches the white-picket fenced house. He takes the potato salad tub and the bag of baked goods before leaving his bike on the driveway, not bothering to chain it to the fence because nobody would want to steal the old thing he bought from a garage sale anyway. The sight of it lying in front of the house instead of properly locked up will be sure to piss off that woman too, which is just an added bonus. With a sigh, Eren marches up the front steps, shifting the food all on one arm so he can ring the doorbell. The familiar chime rings out, muted from behind the wooden door. A muffled voice mumbles something Eren can’t hear, but he already knows that the speaker has nothing good to say about him.
The door is thrown open and Eren looks down to see his stepmother glowering up at him, blue eyes a raging storm. “You’re late,” she hisses. She doesn’t even give him a greeting; she just stands there in front of him silently fuming. Behind her stands Eren’s father. As expected, he says nothing to defend his son’s tardiness. The man just stands there, uncomfortable as he quietly observes.
“Sorry, Dina,” Eren says, squeezing past his stepmother who makes an indignant noise. He dangles the food he brought in front of her face, rolling his eyes when she snatches the bag from him only to wrinkle her nose in disgust when she sees the potato salad. “I brought dessert, too. Do you want me to put it somewhere …?”
Dina snatches the bag of desserts from him too, still huffing. “We have a guest tonight too. Do you know how rude you’re being?” she says, continuing to nag at him even though Eren has stopped listening to her years ago.
Eren’s father gently grabs Eren by the elbow, subtly ushering him inside to avoid any more conflict but Eren yanks his arm away.
“Well, maybe if you told me we were having a guest beforehand I would have showed up on time,” Eren snaps. He sounds angry as he says it, but he really does mean it. It’s one thing to be rude to his stepmother, but it’s another thing entirely to be rude to a guest he doesn’t know. He’d at least wait for introductions before deciding whether or not to show any manners.
Before his stepmother can say anything more, Eren stomps off into the dining room where Zeke and the guest are waiting. He keeps his head down, cheeks burning, as he pulls out his chair - the one furthest from everyone - and slumps down into it. “Sorry, I’m late,” Eren mumbles, still looking down.
“Eren,” says a deep voice that Eren recognizes as Zeke’s. Hearing the voice of someone other than his stepmother’s makes Eren relax a bit and he rests with his back against his chair, a little more at ease now. He can hear Zeke’s small smile as his half-brother asks, “Aren’t you going to say hi to our guest?”
“Uh, yeah. Hi,” Eren says. His eyes flicker upward, first at Zeke who sits across from him, and then at the guest. He looks so quickly at first that he doesn’t register exactly who he’s seeing until he does a double-take, his green eyes widening as they take in the woman sitting there. It’s someone he hadn’t expected to see ever again, much less sitting at his family’s dining table, and he’s so surprised that he almost chokes. For a moment, he thinks it might just be a doppelganger, but there’s no mistaking the soft dimples that appear in her cheeks as her lips curl in a smile. “…Petra?”
“Hi, Eren.” Petra’s voice is still as gentle and soothing as Eren remembers, the sound of it so honey-sweet that he feels his cheeks bloom a soft pink. There’s so much about her that’s different, but there’s so much more that’s the same. Her hair is shorter now, no longer falling right at her shoulder, but curling right under her chin in a short bob. It’s the same shade of ginger it was when he was a kid. If it’s under the right light, it would probably burn a fiery gold. Her doe eyes are the same pretty amber, sweet and dangerously entrancing at the same time. She’s even dressed differently, her button-up blouse and slick gray trousers such a departure from the casual jeans and t-shirts she wore ten years ago when Eren was still in high school. Eren feels horribly underdressed - his ratty university sweatshirt over a thin cotton tee and his ripped jeans are so shabby in comparison - but a glimmer of silver on Petra’s wrist attracts Eren’s attention to the charm bracelet she wears, jangling with charms that Eren remembers her collecting in her high school days, and he feels a little less like he’s meeting a stranger and more like he’s reuniting with an old friend.
“How are you?” Eren asks shyly, his smile bashful.
“I’m well,” she answers, and Eren feels himself melting into her voice the same way he did when he was thirteen. When she smiles, her head tilts ever so slightly to the right just the way it did when he first met her and her dimples deepen into her cheeks. “How are you?”
“Good,” Eren answers because he doesn’t trust himself to string together more than a word or two at a time. He wonders if she realizes how he’s unraveling at the sound of her voice or if she’s as oblivious as she was the last time.
“I’m glad,” Petra says, and the warm look Petra gives Eren reignites a flame in the pit of his belly that he had thought he extinguished long ago. Her head tilts a little bit more to the side, her eyes twinkling. “I missed you,” Petra tells him, and Eren finds himself in love once more.
«────── « ⋅ʚ♡ɞ⋅ » ──────»
There are rules to dealing with your ex-boyfriend after you’ve broken up, Petra knows, but it’s been ten years and she figures that these rules can be bent. So what if the last time she saw Zeke she was broken-hearted, crying in the rain as he turned his back on her? She was younger then, her feelings out of control for someone who didn’t care for her nearly as much as she cared for him. And, sure, maybe it’s terrible that she never received the closure that she deserves, but she can’t hold a grudge against him forever. They work in the same university and cowering behind the nearest trashcan every time they meet doesn’t seem to be a viable option. Petra’s older now and so is Zeke. They’re mature. They can be friends like adults are after they’ve broken up, so the universe should be able to understand her accepting Zeke’s dinner request that evening even if her friends couldn’t.
She only started to regret her decision when Zeke offered to drive her there after his classes ended - saving gas and the planet, he explained - and she agreed. Although Petra repeatedly told herself that it was a simple family dinner and that such an invitation was extended to Zeke’s other friends on occasion, she found herself sitting impatiently in her office, biting her nails down so close to the quick that her fingers started to bleed. Having to bandage her fingers as she waited did absolutely nothing to soothe her nerves.
“I don’t see why you’re so nervous,” Levi tells her over the phone. He taught in the mathematics department, but they had met after Petra had nervously stumbled into the wrong building and into his office on her first day at the university. The man has a perpetual scowl on his face, and that very same expression had nearly sent Petra running until she weakly explained that she must have gotten lost and he kindly redirected her to the building her office was located in. She thought that was going to be the end of their interaction until he emailed her shortly after asking if she had gotten to her office alright. Finding him a kindred spirit, he had become her first (and sadly only) companion at the university aside from Zeke. “If you’re friends with him, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.”
“Well, it’s just that I haven’t really seen him since we, you know, broke up,” Petra explains, but she doubts that Levi understands. She had told him her history with Zeke a few weeks ago after he asked her why she was so jittery at the faculty luncheon, but he didn’t have much of a reaction. It was sort of nice having someone to talk to that wasn’t as hyperbolically reactive as the rest of her friends, but it was also painfully difficult when Levi didn’t show her any sympathy.
“You saw him last week when you were at the library to look for reference books,” he reminds her as if it were the same thing. “I don’t know why this dinner has you in a panic. You left me nearly a hundred messages while I was teaching class.” He hadn’t even replied to her texts, the bastard. He had simply left her on read until midnight before sending her a thumbs-up emoji to let her know that he had read her messages, which was not exactly the response Petra was waiting for.
“This is different!” Petra insists, but she knows Levi will never see it that way.
“You’re making this a much bigger deal than it needs to be,” Levi says. She can hear him scribbling something on the other end, probably correcting exams for his differential equations classes and marking a poor student’s paper in an abundance of red. “Either cancel or just go to dinner with him. You’ve had family dinners with him even before you guys got together right?”
“Yeah, but that was back when we were kids,” Petra mumbles, fiddling with the hem of her shirt.
“Then you’ll be fine,” he tells her.
“You’re horribly unsympathetic sometimes,” she sighs.
“If you wanted sympathy, you shouldn’t have called me,” Levi says with a cluck of his tongue, but he chuckles when he hears her groan on the other end. “Really, it’ll be fine. You’re just overthinking it. I’m sure it’ll be fine. And you said the kid will be there, right? His brother, so it’s not as if you’ll be alone with Zeke and his parents.”
Petra lays with her head on her desk, her phone pressed against her cheek. “Yeah, you’re right,” she mumbles, but her lower lip still sticks out in a pout. The thought of Eren being there, sweet little Eren with his eager puppy eyes and wide smile, does make her feel better if only a little. She probably hasn’t seen him since she broke up with Zeke. She wonders if he’s changed very much. He’d be in college now? Or maybe he graduated. “I haven’t seen him in awhile though. What if he hates me now?”
“You’re overthinking again,” Levi says. He sighs on the other end. If Petra didn’t know him very well, she would think she was bothering him, but he’s always like this. “Are you going to be okay?”
“Yes. No. Maybe,” Petra sniffs. She looks sadly at her bandaged fingers and picks at the ends of one of them. “Should I just cancel? Maybe I can tell him I fell down the stairs and had to go to the hospital or something -” Someone knocks at the door and Petra lets out a startled yelp, nearly falling out of her chair because she’s so surprised. When she looks at the door, she sees Zeke’s silhouette against the frosted glass pane. The sight of it makes her want to hide behind her desk. “God, he’s here already!”
“Too late for you to run then,” Levi says, not even bothering to hide his snickering. He’s such a sadist that Petra doesn’t even know why she’s friends with him sometimes. “Have fun at your absolutely normal dinner with your friend and his family.” Click!
“Asshole,” Petra mutters under her breath before shoving her phone in her bag. There’s another knock at the door — the same long, slow knocks that are a signature of Zeke’s — and she hastily shouts, “I’ll be right there!” before shoving her papers in her bag and stumbling out of the door, nearly tripping over her own feet in the process. She must look like a mess because Zeke raises an eyebrow at her when she emerges from her office. Petra catches a glimpse of her reflection in the window and winces at her frumpled shirt and the hair falling out of her bun. She mumbles an apology as she pulls the hair ties out of her bun, her hair falling in loose curls around her face.
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” Zeke asks.
“No! God, no,” Petra says, inwardly cringing at every word that comes out of her mouth. Even she can tell how awkward her responses sound, a little too quick and desperate. What is she being so anxious for? It’s just dinner with a friend — an ex-boyfriend, but a friend nonetheless. Petra clears her throat and asks as casually as she can manage, “How are your parents?”
“Hmm? They’re well, I suppose,” he answers. Everything about him is familiar. He’s grown just a bit taller since Petra last saw him, his shoulders a bit broader and his jawline a bit sharper, but he still wears the same double-bridge glasses and the right corner of his mouth still quirks upward just the slightest bit when he speaks. He even walks the same way, his strides a little too long and quick, and Petra finds that she still has to struggle a bit to keep up. If Zeke notices the same thing about her - how she still wears the same shade of lipstick, how she still has that habit of wrapping her hair around her finger when she’s nervous like she’s doing now, how she bites her lip when she’s not sure what to say next - he doesn’t mention it. “My father’s still working at the hospital with my grandfather. He’s been promoted to director of the orthopedics department.”
“And you know my mother has been at the hospital now that she doesn’t have to worry about me anymore,” Zeke says. It’s strange how casually he says this, as if he doesn’t remember that the last time he spoke about his mother to Petra was when they were still together. “She really missed being in the OR. Says she’d rather be doing surgeries all day than taking care of me.”
“It’s nice that she can go back to it.” She nearly stumbles over a step but catches the railing before she can. When she looks up again, Zeke is already on the sidewalk and she hurries after him, a little breathless. “And Eren?”
“Eren?” Zeke seems a little surprised by the question although Petra doesn’t know why. He leads her to a car - a slick Mercedes with a shining blue exterior and tinted windows that don’t quite match Zeke’s academic profession — and opens the car doors with a click.
“Your brother,” she clarifies as Zeke walks over to the driver’s side and slips into the car. She opens the passenger car and slides into the seat beside Zeke, setting her bag down next to her feet. The door swings shut behind her. “He’s coming to the dinner too, right?”
Zeke turns on the engine and the car comes to life with a pleasant hum. “Most likely,” Zeke says as he checks the side and rearview mirrors before pulling out of the parking space. He even drives the same way, his arm resting on the side with his hand tapping against the door while one hand is on the wheel. Just watching him makes Petra’s chest feel tight.
“Ah, that’s good. I haven’t seen him in so long,” Petra says. For some reason, knowing that Eren will also be there makes her feel a little more relaxed about the dinner. “Is he still in college? I think he should have graduated by now.”
“He graduated a little while ago. He’s teaching now. Still on probation, but he says his colleagues like him so he’s not too worried about getting tenure after the probationary period is over.” He slows the car to a stop at an intersection and leans over, fiddling with the radio dial. He sets it to the jazz station and the sound of smooth brass and relaxed percussion fills the car.
Somehow, driving down the streets with Zeke is far more nostalgic than it ever was when Petra drove on her own. Some nights Petra drove home by herself, and all it ever felt was lonely. Maybe it’s the familiarity of having Zeke beside her like when they were teenagers, driving back home after watching a movie downtown or returning from a basketball game at their high school.
Petra doesn’t ask any more questions about Zeke’s family. She figures she can catch up with the rest of the Jaegers when she sees them at dinner. Instead, she asks Zeke about his classes and finds that conversation with him comes more easily after she stops stumbling over her words. He tells her a little bit about teaching anthropology (“Far less painful than you think it would be, at least when the kids aren’t just taking it to fulfill their core classes,” he says), his plans for the upcoming week (“It’s midterms, but the students should be fine if they actually look at the study guide.”), and the butterfly exhibit opening up at the museum downtown (“I’m thinking of putting it up as extra credit. Who knows, they might actually look at the other exhibits while they’re wandering around.”). Petra also fills him in on her own life, mumbling about how she still has to make the answer key to her own midterm and expressing interest in the butterfly exhibit Zeke mentions.
They pull up next to Zeke’s house, the very same one he grew up with. Not much has changed from the outside. The white picket fence is a little worn and the rose bushes have been replaced with peonies. The house is still the same shade of cream, but Petra is sure that the Jaegers had it repainted over the summer like they usually do. She looks up at the second-story window where Zeke’s room should be and vaguely wonders if it’s still his room or if he’s moved out and hasn’t mentioned it yet.
Walking up the brick steps to the door is a bit surreal. Petra doesn’t realize just how silent she’s been until the chime of the doorbell startles her and Mrs. Jaeger opens the door. As with most of Zeke’s family members, Petra hasn’t seen Mrs. Jaeger since she broke up with Zeke, but she had an amicable relationship with her. She can’t recall Mrs. Jaeger ever being angry, so she’s surprised when Zeke’s mother opens the door with a terrible scowl on her face.
“Mom, you remember Petra,” Zeke says, moving aside so that Petra can enter first.
The scowl quickly slips from Mrs. Jaeger’s face, replaced with a smile that Petra is more familiar with. “Petra, of course! I haven’t seen you in ages,” Mrs. Jaeger says, her voice strained. She waves Petra and Zeke in, shutting the door gently behind them. “It’s nice to see you again.”
“Likewise,” Petra mumbles. She looks at the kitchen doorway where Zeke’s father leans and gives him an awkward wave. The man, just as silent as he was when Petra was young, gives her a polite smile and a nod in acknowledgment.
“Sorry, we’re a bit late,” Zeke apologizes as he shrugs off his coat. He walks over to the dining room, Petra and his mother trailing behind him. “A student wanted to talk to me and it took a bit longer than I thought it would.”
“No need to apologize! Eren hasn’t arrived yet anyway. He’ll probably be late. Again.” There’s a harsh tone in Mrs. Jaeger’s voice that Petra hasn’t heard before. When she looks up, she sees Zeke’s mother hovering around the table and arranging dishes, the same polite smile on her face as she does so. “Your brother, of course, didn’t bother to send a text to notify us that he’d be late.”
Petra wonders if Mrs. Jaeger usually speaks about Eren with such disappointment in her voice. Maybe she had always spoken about Eren like this and Petra had never been around to witness it or maybe it’s something that developed while Petra was away. Whatever it is, Zeke and his father seem used to it. Zeke merely shrugs, pulling out his phone to flip through his phone while his mother continues to mutter about how disrespectful her stepson is. Mr. Jaeger continues to stand at the doorway, not bothering to join them at the dining table, his eyes fixed on the carpet. He doesn’t bother to defend his son.
“Maybe he’s busy,” Petra says, interrupting Mrs. Jaeger mid-rant. She feels rude for speaking while Mrs. Jaeger is talking, but sitting in silence while Zeke’s mother speaks ill of Eren doesn’t feel right either. All eyes are on her now - Mrs. Jaeger a little surprised, Zeke with an eyebrow quirked upward as if in amusement, and his father with a look that’s almost relieved. Petra clears her throat and continues. “He’s a teacher, right? It must be difficult teaching so many children every day — making the lesson plan and everything. Maybe texting slipped his mind. He’ll probably be here soon.”
God, she hopes Eren will be here soon. Her cheeks are starting to burn bright red and she’s thinking that perhaps speaking up might not have been the best decision.
“Ah, you’re probably right.” Mrs. Jaeger seems a little more composed now, perhaps remembering that they have company over. She settles down in the chair across from Zeke and flashes a pleasant smile at Petra. “He can be quite forgetful of these things. Of course, you’d never worry your father like this. You’ve always been so responsible.”
Has talking with Zeke’s mother always been this difficult? Petra’s head is starting to spin, unsure of what response would be appropriate. She feels as if she should defend Eren, but she doesn’t want to make things awkward either. In the end, she smiles awkwardly at Mrs. Jaeger as if accepting the woman’s compliment and reaches out for the glass of water in front of her, raising it to her lips before she can say anything else that she might regret.
“Dear, come sit next to me,” Mrs. Jaeger calls. She gestures for her husband to join them at the table and Mr. Jaeger stiffly walks over from the doorway before taking a seat at the head of the table. Mrs. Jaeger folds her hands on the table, her gaze still on Petra. “How have you been, Petra? We haven’t heard from you in a while. How long have you been back?”
The series of questions leave Petra tongue-tied and unsure of how to answer. It’s so strange how casual the Jaegers can be about asking after her, like she hadn’t been such a large part of their lives — or at least Zeke’s life — ten years ago before disappearing completely. As if they didn’t know the real reason she hadn’t kept in touch. She’s not sure if she’ll ever be able to act as oblivious as them.
“Er, I’ve been back for a while now,” she replies. She bites her lip when she sees the look of surprise on Mrs. Jaeger’s face. When she glances over at Zeke, he doesn’t look back at her. He’s returned his gaze to his phone screen, ignoring her. Nervously, she laughs. “I guess Zeke didn’t tell you, but I’m teaching at the same university he is. A few undergraduate English classes and then a graduate course on nature and romantic poetry.” Petra doesn’t know why she feels a lump at the back of her throat or the sting of tears at the corner of her eyes. She nibbles at her lip again, looking down at her lap so that she doesn’t have to look at Zeke or his family. She doesn’t have a reason to feel hurt or upset. Maybe Zeke was busy and didn’t have the chance to mention it to his parents or maybe it just slipped his mind. It isn’t a big deal.
“Oh, that must be nice! Who knew you two would be working together after all these years?” Mrs. Jaeger says. She subtly pushes the cheese plate on the table towards Petra, gesturing for her to take one.
“Mmm,” Petra says, nodding as if she agrees with Mrs. Jaeger. It’s not as if she’s wrong. Petra certainly didn’t know any of this would happen. She knew some of it would — getting her degree, teaching at a university, eating dinner with Zeke’s parents — she just hadn’t predicted other things like Zeke breaking up with her, not speaking with him for ten years after knowing him her entire life, or having to pretend that she’s okay.
Petra reaches for a cracker and a spread of raspberry goat cheese and shoves the entire thing in her mouth, hoping that she won’t have to answer any more questions.
“The university is nice,” Zeke’s father murmurs. It’s the first time he’s spoken all night. The sound of his voice startles Petra, but the other Jaegers don’t seem too surprised. “It’s near the museum too. Very convenient.”
“Ah, the museum!” Mrs. Jaeger clasps her hands together and looks at Petra expectantly. Petra nearly chokes on her cracker out of nervousness. “Have you been there yet?”
“Er, not yet,” Petra says hastily, wincing at the pain in her throat. She takes a quick sip of her water to relieve it. “I haven’t really found the time, I guess.”
“Oh, you should absolutely go!” says Mrs. Jaeger brightly. Petra had never thought Mrs. Jaeger was one to love museums, but there’s probably a lot about the woman that Petra doesn’t know now. All Petra really remembers about the woman is that she stayed at home during the daytime and worked at the hospital at night. She’s bound to have found other ways to occupy her time now that she doesn’t have to worry about Zeke anymore.
“You sound as if you really enjoy it.” Petra nibbles at another cracker. She feels as if she should smile right now, but she’s not sure if she’s able to. “Are there any exhibits you would recommend?”
“Oh, they’re all good! The staff especially …,” Mrs. Jaeger gushes, but her voice begins to trail off. Her eyes flicker over to Zeke as if waiting for a sign to proceed, but her son pays no attention to her. He simply reaches over for an almond on the cheese plate and pops it into his mouth. His mother’s smile tightens and she continues, “The butterfly exhibit that’s opening soon should be exquisite!”
Petra looks from Zeke to Mrs. Jaeger. Aside from Mrs. Jaeger’s forced smile, Petra really can’t tell what’s wrong, so she puts on a false smile of her own and nods. “I know. Zeke was telling me about it on the ride here.”
There’s a long and awkward silence. Zeke puts no effort in speaking and neither does his father, who still sits and stares at his lap. Only Mrs. Jaeger and Petra seem to be putting in any effort to pick up the conversation, both trying to appear calm as they search for some common ground to work with. Instead, the doorbell rings and Petra swears she hears a sigh of relief escape Mrs. Jaeger’s lips.
“It seems Eren has finally arrived,” Mrs. Jaeger says, her chair scraping across the floor as she gets up from the table. As she turns to leave, she flashes Petra an apologetic smile. “I’m so sorry you had to wait so long.” Petra is about to tell her that it wasn’t a problem, that she didn’t mind waiting (even if it was a lie), but Zeke’s mother has already disappeared into the next room with Zeke’s father following silently behind her.
For a moment, Petra wonders if she should try to talk to Zeke so more. It’s not that the quiet bothers her, but she’s never felt comfortable sitting silently next to others unless she was completely comfortable with them. Ten years ago this would have been fine, but now sitting with Zeke beside her without saying a word is making her skin crawl and her throat dry. She glances at him from the corner of her eye, trying to gauge his interest.
Zeke doesn’t seem to be bothered by the silence at all. He’s still scrolling through his phone, occasionally reaching out to pluck a cracker or another almond from the cheese plate. If he’s fine without any conversation, Petra figures she shouldn’t bother him. She settles down with her back against her chair rather unhappily and tries to occupy herself another way.
Petra tries not to eavesdrop on the conversation going on in the other room. First, she stares down at the lace tablecloth, gazing at the delicate pattern until the floral designs are burned into her corneas. Mrs. Jaeger’s voice begins to drift into the dining room, her tone just as cold and harsh as it was when she spoke about Eren earlier this evening. Another voice floats into the room as well, a voice like Eren’s but a bit deeper and rougher than Petra remembers. As the two continue to talk, Petra finds herself straining to listen to the conversation, but she can’t quite make out the words. The words exchanged don’t sound incredibly pleasant though.
“…if you told me we were having a guest beforehand I would have shown up on time,” Eren hisses as he walks into the room. He’s taller than he was when Petra had seen him last — probably as tall as his brother if not taller — but he walks with his head down and doesn’t seem to notice Petra seated at the table even as he pulls out a chair to sit down. Without looking up, Eren mumbles, “Sorry, I’m late.”
Zeke looks up, his expression amused. “Eren,” he says, setting down his phone for once. He rests his chin in his hand, mouth quirked upward in a smile. “Aren’t you going to say hi to our guest?”
“Uh, yeah. Hi,” Eren says, mumbling into his lap. His eyes flicker upward, first at Zeke and then Petra, but he doesn’t really register who Petra is until he takes another glance. His eyes are huge like a doe’s. He’s always had big eyes even when he was a child, large and green like gemstones. He’s grown into them more since the last time Petra has seen him, but they’re still enormous, growing wider as he recognizes her. His mouth falls open in surprise. “… Petra?”
She can feel her lips curling in a smile. “Hi, Eren.”
Eren smiles back at her, a little nervous but a lot more relaxed than he was when he first arrived. He’s still shy when he smiles, looking up at her before glancing down at his lap again. “How are you?” He sits up straighter in his seat, no longer slouching.
“I’m well. How are you?”
“Good,” Eren answers.
“I’m glad. I missed you,” Petra tells him, and she means it.
His smile is a little wider now and Petra feels the most relaxed than she’s been the entire night. It’s nice to know that, despite everything, at least Eren hasn’t changed and she feels less awkward being at a Jaeger family dinner after ten years of estrangement.
Mrs. Jaeger puts down a tub of what looks like a potato salad on the table, opening the container with a frown. “At least you didn’t come empty-handed,” she comments wryly.
Eren winces but doesn’t say anything.
Petra sits up. “It looks, um, delicious.” It doesn’t. It looks like a pile of mush and not at all like anything edible, but Petra begins to spoon some on her plate anyway out of politeness despite the look of alarm on Eren’s face. “Eren, your brother told me you started teaching recently. Where do you teach?”
“Just, um, down the street. Not really elementary … it’s a daycare,” he says distractedly as he watches her help herself to his potato salad. Eren hesitates for a moment before taking the spoon from Petra and switching their plates. He does it absentmindedly, almost as if he doesn’t realize what he’s doing until he notices everyone looking at him peculiarly. Flustered, he explains, “It’s not, ah, I don’t think it’s very good. So.” As if to prove his point, he puts a heaping spoonful of it into his mouth, gagging on it as he swallows it down, and scrunches his face up in disgust.
Mrs. Jaeger looks rather smug as Eren chokes. “I’ll just put this away then,” she says, removing the tub of potato salad from the table. She gestures for Petra to help herself to the other food on the table. “Help yourself to everything else, Petra.”
“Er, thank you,” Petra says. She does feel bad about not eating the potato salad, but Eren looks pretty relieved. Because she’s talked Zeke’s ear off in the car and doesn’t know how to carry on a conversation with the Jaeger parents, she decides to continue her conversation with Eren. “Daycare seems like it would suit you. I bet you’re great with kids.”
“I’m alright,” Eren mumbles as he pushes the potatoes back and forth on his plate, but he’s hiding a smile on his face, secretly pleased. He’s never been that good at hiding his emotions, which Petra thinks is an endearing trait. “Teaching at a university is probably harder.” He freezes for a moment and then hurriedly adds, “Your dad told me you work as a professor now. I ran into him before coming here. He mentioned that you taught English …?”
She doesn’t say anything for a moment, casting a side glance at Zeke. She thought Zeke would have mentioned that they were working at the same university, but maybe it never came up in conversation between the brothers or they just weren’t as close as they were before. Forcing a smile on her face, she nods, “Yeah, I teach English, but I wouldn’t say teaching university is more or less difficult than handling a daycare. They have their own challenges, right?”
“Yeah,” Eren replies, voice soft. His smile grows wider and, after Petra asks him about what it’s like teaching at the daycare, starts animatedly talking about his students. He seems very endeared towards a young girl named Gabi, a very mischievous but sweet troublemaker, and her companion Falco, a young boy that often has no choice but to be dragged into all of Gabi’s shenanigans.
Talking to Eren makes the rest of the dinner go by easily. He’s always been easy to talk to even when they were teenagers and she was dating Zeke. Sometimes she would wait at the Jaeger house and talk with Eren while they waited for Zeke to come back from baseball practice. Eren was always so animated when he talked, using his hands and sometimes bouncing up and down his seat when he got excited. He still does that now as he talks about his work at the daycare, listening intently whenever Petra or even Zeke exchange their own stories about teaching. It makes her feel as if the past ten years hadn’t really happened, like Zeke and Eren had been a part of her life the entire time.
“Oh, I brought dessert,” Eren says brightly. Before Mrs. Jaeger can say anything, he gets up to collect the paper bag on the kitchen counter and plops it on the dining table. He pushes it closer to Petra. “Your dad gave me some while he was closing up his shop.”
She laughs. “I eat too many of these as it is,” Petra says, but she plucks an almond cookie from the bag. Her teeth sink into the cookie, savoring its subtle nutty flavor on her tongue, and sighs. “Don’t tell my dad. He won’t let me eat anymore when I get home.”
“Your secret’s safe with me,” Eren grins.
Petra peers into the bag. “Did he give you any chocolate croissants?” She looks over at Eren. “Those are still your favorites, right?”
Eren looks surprised. “Ah, yeah,” he replies, blinking. “You remember?”
“Of course, I remember,” she snorts. She manages to find a pain au chocolat and places it delicately on Eren’s plate. It’s a little smooshed from the ride here, chocolate spilling out of its side, but Eren still looks at it hungrily. “Why wouldn’t I?”
Zeke leans forward. “I like the lemon bars. Let me know if there are any in there.”
She laughs and actually does manage to find one, but it’s a lemon-lavender bar. Zeke assures her it’s fine, picking off the little bits of lavender that are on the top of the bar. They eat like that for a moment and Petra feels an overwhelming wave of nostalgia. It’s probably unhealthy to yearn for the past, but Petra wouldn’t mind if things somehow ended up the way they were before.
When their dishes are scraped clean and the conversations begin to fade away, Zeke pats down the corner of his mouth with a napkin before announcing that they should stop for the night. He has papers to grade tonight, he explains to his parents who nod understandingly. The wooden legs of his chair scrape against the carpet as he gets up from the table and Petra slides out of her own seat, ready to follow him.
“Ah, Petra,” Zeke says, pausing like he’s just remembered. He looks at her, head tilting slightly. He’s stopped by the door to the living room, his hand resting on the doorframe. “Do you mind calling an Uber to pick you up? I’d drive you home myself but …”
“I …” Petra blinks, feeling like a deer in headlights. If she looked around, she would see that the rest of the Jaeger family has a similar expression. She’s not sure why she feels so surprised. Maybe it’s because she had expected him to drive her home, but maybe that was too much to ask of him after he had taken the trouble to drive her here in the first place. It’s not even that far of a drive to her house, but it’s probably too cumbersome for Zeke, who’s busy with grading papers and preparing for tomorrow’s lectures. There’s an awful lump in her throat like she had swallowed an egg whole, but Petra forces a smile on her face as she begins, “Sure, let me just call my dad -”
“I’ll take you home,” a voice says suddenly. Everyone turns to see Eren standing up from his chair. At first glance he looks angry, but Petra blinks again and there’s only concern on his face as he collects his jacket and walks over to Petra. He shrugs it on and smiles down at her, his expression a little apologetic. “Er, you don’t mind riding on a bike, do you?”
Petra has to lift her head to look at Eren and she wonders when he had gotten so tall. It must have been after she left for college. “No, that’s fine,” she replies numbly, too shocked to really think about it. She shuffles silently after Eren, mumbling a brief “thank you” when he helps her into her coat.
“It was lovely having you over again, dear,” Mrs. Jaeger says to Petra, a smile pasted on the woman’s face as she saw the two out. She doesn’t say anything about Zeke not offering Petra a ride back. “Do come again sometime.”
“Of course,” Petra says, although the promise feels empty. She’s not sure if Mrs. Jaeger notices or even cares because the woman shuts the door in her face before Eren and Petra are even out in the driveway. It’s not a cold gesture, but it’s a change from the days when Mrs. Jaeger would wait until Petra was almost out of sight before shutting the door and disappearing into the house.
Petra shoves her hands into the pockets of her coat and follows Eren down the driveway, watching as he runs to the bike he had carelessly discarded on the ground before entering the house earlier. Embarrassed, Eren hastily picks up the bike, brushing it off and mumbling something about how he had been in too much of a hurry earlier to properly lock up his bike. Petra assures him it’s fine. She’s only half-listening anyway.
“You can just sit here,” Eren says, patting a padded seat on the back of his bike. He throws a leg over his bike easily and looks at Petra, waiting expectantly.
She hadn’t objected to the ride home before, but now she looks at Eren’s vehicle of choice skeptically. “Are you sure you’ll be able to pedal with me on it? I’m a whole other person.” Petra hovers beside the bike, but she doesn’t get on.
“Yeah, it’s fine. It was fine when my boyfriends were riding in the back, and they’re a lot heavier than you,” Eren replies. It takes him a moment to register what he just said and then his face begins to color, cheeks glowing pink even in the dim moonlight. “I mean my ex-boyfriends. I rode around with my ex-girlfriend too, but she was really tiny too. She was …” He probably would have babbled on and on if Petra hadn’t sat down.
“Your exes?” Petra asks, eyebrow raised. She hadn’t really thought about Eren dating, but it’s funny to think about now. She doesn’t remember if he ever dated anyone when he was in high school. She probably shouldn’t tease, but she can’t resist grinning at the boy and saying, “It looks like you were busy in college.”
“Not that busy. Just … probably as busy as your average college student,” Eren mumbles under his breath, face still flushed. He gestures at Petra’s hands and then makes a motion around his waist. “You can … around me if, you know, you’re comfortable with it.”
“Oh, right.” She leans forward and wraps her arms around Eren’s waist and wonders briefly how someone so tall can have such a thin waist. “Do you remember the way to my house?” she asks.
“Of course,” Eren says. “It’s not that far from here.”
For some reason, the way Eren answers makes Petra feel warm. Maybe it’s just the heat transfer from resting her cheek on his back. She closes her eyes, feeling the wind rush around her as Eren bikes her back home.
It feels so comfortable, clinging onto someone so familiar and breathing in Eren’s scent, something like pinewood and a little bit of peppermint. He feels strong too, sturdy like a redwood tree. Petra doesn’t know why she doubted his ability to bike with her additional weight. He’d probably be fine having someone twice her weight in tow. She experimentally gives Eren’s waist a little squeeze. It must have been too sudden of a squeeze because they come to a screeching stop, Petra’s face slamming against Eren’s back and the two of them nearly go flying.
“Oh, ouch,” Petra says. One arm is still wrapped around Eren’s lithe waist, but she raises a hand to rub her stinging face. “That hurts.”
“S-sorry!” Eren stammers. He twists around to get a good look at Petra, forehead wrinkling. “I didn’t mean to stop so suddenly I was just … surprised.” He brings his hand down to where Petra’s arm is hooked around his waist, but he snatches his hand away as soon as their skin brushes as if he’s been burned. “Sorry!”
“It’s fine,” Petra assures him. Her nose is throbbing dully, but it’s not bleeding. “It’s my fault anyway. I was just surprised. You’re a lot bigger than you were the last time I saw you.”
“I’m alright,” Eren says with a shy laugh. He pushes off on the bike and starts for home again, pedaling easily despite Petra’s weight. He doesn’t startle when Petra leans against him again, her cheek rubbing against the cotton of his hoodie. His breath hitches a little when Petra wraps her arms a little tighter around his waist, but it goes unnoticed by her.
“Were they nice?” she asks. Eren makes a confused noise, and she can’t help but smile. Clarifying, she says, “Your exes. Were they nice?”
Eren pedals in silence for a while before responding. “Yeah. They were nice.”
“That’s good.” Petra sighs against his back, not noticing the way he shivers as if he can feel her breath on his skin. “You deserve to date nice people.”
Petra might have imagined it, but she thinks she hears Eren say something in reply. He says it quietly, though, and the wind carries it away too quickly for her to hear. She straightens her back, lifting her head from where it rests against Eren’s back, but he doesn’t repeat himself and she doesn’t ask. Maybe it’s just one of those things that are meant to be spoken aloud but not heard by anyone.
They don’t speak much the rest of the way home. Petra figures Eren is having enough trouble biking with two people and holding a conversation would only tire him out more. She just lets herself rest against him, watching as they pass streetlight after streetlight. It probably would have been more convenient to call a Lyft or an Uber, but Petra thinks accepting Eren’s bike ride isn’t bad either. It saved her from having to wait awkwardly for her driver to find the house while Zeke’s parents waited for her to leave.
She wonders if she should have gone to dinner in the first place. Maybe Zeke had only invited her out of politeness, but she had taken it to mean more than it did. She’s stupid to think that arriving at the Jaeger house meant that things could go back to the way things were. It was noticeably tense in the house. At first, Petra thought it was because of the strained relationship between Mrs. Jaeger and Eren, but now she’s not so sure. It’s not as if Mr. and Mrs. Jaeger had met her with open arms. They hadn’t been hostile, but they were polite in the way that people were polite to house guests and not in the way they would be to a childhood friend of their son. God, she’s so stupid. She should have just declined Zeke’s offer politely and never spoken to him again since he was obviously content with not speaking with her for ten years.
Burying her face in Eren’s hoodie, Petra gives him another squeeze. Eren doesn’t brake this time. He just lets out a surprised “oh!” and falters for a bit, bike slowing, before picking his pace back up and continuing on their way.
“We’re almost there,” Eren tells her. As he approaches Petra’s house, the bike begins to slow before stopping completely in front of the driveway. When Petra lifts her head, Eren is looking at her, smiling. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah,” Petra nods. She gets off the bike and pats down her windswept hair, brushing some stray locks out of her face. She manages to smile back at Eren. “Thanks for the ride back. I hope it wasn’t too out of your way.”
“It’s fine.” Eren sits at his bike, his smile a little lopsided. He looks as if he’s about to say something, but nothing comes. It’s only when Petra turns around towards her house that he opens his mouth. “Hey, Petra?”
Petra’s hand rests on the gate of her wooden fence, just about to open it. She looks at Eren, watching as he fidgets with the handle of his bike. “Yeah?”
“Did Zeke …?” His voice trails off and Eren’s looking everywhere except at her face. He nibbles on his bottom lip and Petra wonders what he’s so nervous about. His expression looks pained as if he’s scared whatever he has to say will hurt her, but Petra’s not sure why it would. After a moment, Eren swallows and forces a smile on his face. “Did Zeke tell you that … I work near your university?”
Eren nods. He looks a lot less nervous now, his shoulders relaxed. “Well, it’s not that far by bike.”
“Really?” Petra hums. “I should come visit you some time then.”
“Oh, you don’t have to -”
“Or you could visit me?” she suggests.
He blinks. “I can?” Eren asks. “Is that really okay?”
Petra almost laughs. “Of course. Why wouldn’t it be? You should just let me know beforehand if you’re coming,” she tells him. She walks over, pulling her phone out of her purse and handing it to him so he can add his number. “Text me or call me. I might not respond right away because I might have a faculty meeting or a lecture, but I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
“Oh, alright then,” Eren says. He types away on her phone, handing it back to her as soon as he’s finished. He watches with wide green eyes as Petra sends him an emoji — a simple “Hi, Eren! It’s Petra 😊” — and looks back at her with a grin. “I’ll come visit sometime.”
“That’d be great,” Petra says, and she really means it. “Thanks again for the ride, Eren. I really appreciate it.”
“It was no problem,” Eren tells her. He waves as walks through the gate and up the steps of her porch. He’s still waving when she opens the door and turns around, his smile a little goofy but cute at the same time. “Have a good night!”
“You too,” Petra says before shutting the door gently behind her. She takes a peek out the window and sees Eren still on the sidewalk with the bike. He stands there with a pensive look on his face before pushing off his bike and riding off into the night. Petra watches until he’s a tiny speck down the road. When she blinks, he’s gone.
Petra finds her dad waiting for her in the living room, sleeping because he can’t stay awake for very long after dinner. In his lap sits a half-finished crossword puzzle. Petra smiles affectionately at her father before pressing a soft kiss on the old man’s brow.
“I’m home,” she whispers as her father begins to stir.
“Ah, Petra,” says her father. He looks at her, eyes still bleary with sleep, and gives her a drowsy smile. With a hand, he pushes up the glasses that were slipping off his nose during sleep. “Did Zeke drive you home?”
Her lips press into a thin line. “No. He was busy,” Petra replies, trying to keep her voice as even as possible. “Eren took me home instead.”
“Eren?” her father repeats, not seeming to remember the name.
“Zeke’s younger brother,” Petra reminds him. She leans against the back of her father’s armchair as she tries to describe the half-brother. “He was a few years younger than me. Brown hair, big green eyes, kind of gangly.”
“Oh, Eren,” her father says, nodding. Petra’s not sure if he actually remembers or if he’s just being polite, but then he suddenly says, “I saw him earlier this evening before I was closing up shop. He’s very polite. He’s a nice boy.”
Petra leans over to rest her head on her father’s shoulder while her arms lay folded on the back of the armchair. She thinks about her ride home, how it could have been cold and miserable and lonely. And maybe her thoughts were all of those things, but the ride wasn’t. She can still feel the warmth Eren emanated from underneath his hoodie, how comforting it was to have someone to hold.
“Yeah. He’s a nice guy,” Petra says softly.
I’ll Love You in the Rain or Shine || An Eretra Fic || Fic Teaser
i’m wondering, are you my best friend?
feels like a river’s rushing through my mind
i wanna ask you if this is all just in my head
my heart is pounding tonight, i wonder
if you are too good to be true
and would it be alright if i
pulled you closer
- Sweet Night, V
Ten years ago, Eren had found Petra with her heart shattered but had been too young and stupid to help her pick up the pieces. The two meet again unexpectedly and Eren finds Petra is heartbroken once more, but he’s determined not to make the same mistake twice.
I’ll Love You in the Rain or Shine || An Eretra Fic || Fic Teaser
i’m wondering, are you my best friend?
feels like a river’s rushing through my mind
i wanna ask you if this is all just in my head
my heart is pounding tonight, i wonder
if you are too good to be true
and would it be alright if i
pulled you closer
- Sweet Night, V
Ten years ago, Eren had found Petra with her heart shattered but had been too young and stupid to help her pick up the pieces. The two meet again unexpectedly and Eren finds Petra is heartbroken once more, but he’s determined not to make the same mistake twice.
I assume you like to to write about characters who have a lot of depth that may not be obvious. You like to give layers to characters. Especially characters that are overlooked or undervalued by the fandom.
that is correct!! i like to write about characters that haven’t had the potential to be explored in canon and expanding on them so writing reflective pieces that focus most on their thoughts and feelings rather than any actual plot hehehe 😊💕
ohh, interesting-game!! from what i’ve read, i assume that you prefer to write about platonic relationships? or, your first instinct is to write platonically? i hope you’re well, lily!!
and that i guessed at least somewhat right
that is 100% right!! I rly value platonic relationships so writing platonic love in my fics is super important to me 😊
ty for asking and i hope your weekend is going well too 💜💕
wed sat: it ain’t a pickalily fic if there isn’t a food scene 🥟
im ready to post the first ch of my eretra but the question is the world ready for it 🤔
Hanji squad as an engineer team in some Victorian universe. I made “googled soldier” bear-like because in this AU, Hanji needs that bearlike person
… just remind me there was a Hanji squad
I think I got carried away with this weird AU of steampunk Hanji squad: Dr. Hans (short from Johanna in this AU 😆) Zoe, Moblit the cable guy (literally - but he’s not a cable guy of course), Nifa and her beloved wrench, Keiji the blacksmith, and googled guy (i named him Karl) the 80% strength.