[Indie Jean Kirstein RP Blog]
To s a c r i f i c e one's self never made sense to me.
'Cause life is really the only and last gift we've all r e c e i v e d.
|| tracked tag: paraktes ||
CLOSED FOR THREADS
Draft count: 2
“What if it had a nice surprise inside? Like an omelette with the ketchup already inside? I know you like those.”
"Well, yeah. They’re fuckin’ awesome, that’s why. But still, surprises? I don’t like ‘em so much. I’d rather know what’s comin’ b’forehand.”
Shuffling the papers that he had prepared especially for this very important event, Marco glances around the room filled with soldiers and noblemen alike, all gathered to participate in the first of many meetings during the week. These would ultimately lead to the King deciding which branches of the military would receive a raise in their funds. Each branch could use the money for all sorts of things, but not everyone could get an equal amount-there were always projects and issues at hand that could use some attention. As commander of the Military Police, Marco Bodt was going to make sure his branch got their share.
Although Marco is young, he’s had this job for a little over a year now-he knows how these meetings go, and this time, he’s not going to let the Scouting Legion get away with as much as they did last time. His dream of turning this lazy, unproductive branch into something these gifted soldiers are proud to be a part of may be taking it’s toll on the funds of the government, but the brunet knows all his work will be worth it in the end. The people will feel safer, the soldiers’ skills will be put to good use, and everyone in the Police will have pride in what they’re doing. The only thing in their way now are the commanders of the Garrison and Scouting Legion, who both are equally as passionate about their divisions and want the money just as much. Marco’s not worried about the Garrison (the poor soul looks to still be shocked from the aftermath of the last meeting) as much as he is the Scouts, seeing as their leader is a stubborn, honest bastard who also happened to be the freckled one’s closest friend during their time as trainees. Everyone here knows that when those two are put in a room together, fireworks are bound to set off.
As much as everyone’s ready to get this meeting started, there are still a few empty seats in the meeting hall-all of which belong to the members of the Scouting Legion, who are traveling in from the outer walls and nowhere to be seen. The room seems restless, wondering if something could have gone wrong with the group during their travels, but Marco’s composure is cool, calm, and collected. It’s good to see that Jean hasn’t changed one bit. He’ll be here. Just as those thoughts cross his mind, the large, heavy doors of the room open, and in walks the missing Legion; commander at the front and elite soldiers falling in behind.
As a sign of respect, both commanders rise to greet their new company, but it’s the head of the Military Police that speaks first.
"Better late than never, Commander.”
His hand is outstretched for Jean to shake, and Marco’s got just about the cockiest of grins on his face to show just how confident he is in getting his way this time. He’s ready to get down and dirty, and is willing to pull just about any tricks he has up his sleeves to secure his victory, even if it takes a few days to do it. Jean knows that he caught all those subtle jabs last time around, but this time, Marco’s got his own game, his own ammunition with the gun locked, loaded and ready to fire at his target. And even though the meeting has yet to begin, he’s also going to be the one to make the first move.
As the two shake hands, the taller leans in ever so slightly closer to Jean’s ear, voice just above a whisper, almost seductive, when he speaks."You won’t get away with it this time. Gonna play dirty again? Then let the games begin.” And with that, Marco retires to his chair, papers in his hand once more.
Jean, already having his strategy of convincing the court for most of those funds in mind, swings both doors open in enigmatic confidence. Completely unperturbed that he’s running a little behind on schedule. The commander of the Survey Corps nods his head as the men stand in his presence and begins toward his seat. That is, until the chief of the Military Police calls out and grabs his attention, hand outstretched and waiting. Marco.
He’d anticipated this, honestly. The last two meetings, the only two meetings they’d had and seen of each other since both were assigned their newer, higher ranks in their separate factions, didn’t blow over well. What the two once were to each other wasn’t quite the same since Jean’s declaration, his seemingly sudden change of decision and affiliation had apparently left a bad taste in Marco’s mouth, and well, he was sure to let the blond know about it in both reunions thus far—
“It’s a pleasure to see you as always, too, Chief.”
—That’s why, when Marco shakes his hand and breathes in his ear the mention of Jean’s previous dirty tactics, he does nothing but smile. That’s it, he allows the brunet to pull away with the last quiet word and sit back in his seat with not one syllable whispered in response. His smirk speaks for him. “We’ll see about that.” It says, while Jean simply adjusts his jacket and turns for his own seat.
“I apologize for my delay,” he explains to the entirety of the room, “There was an obstruction in the road just by the market stalls involving a citizen and two members of the Military Police. I didn’t stop to ask questions but with the punishment he was receiving, in public of all places, well, I’ll assume he must have done something awful.” Eyes lock directly ahead of him, meeting Marco’s stare as palms rest on the table and Jean lowers himself in his seat. “Still, it’s nice to see nothing’s changed, I suppose.” Spite and strategy, he hadn’t lied about the reasons he was late. It just worked in his favor that the MP was still as corrupt as ever, despite Marco’s dreams and aspirations to improve the branch, being the compassionate soul he so truly was.
Anything to prove the funds would do better in the Scouting Legion’s possession.
Darius Zackly, Commander-in-Chief of all three divisions, had sent an underling to partake in the meeting this time. The man who inevitably makes the final decision of what is best for humanity, however, puts a stop to the discretion immediately with a firm, “I believe we’re here to discuss more important matters, Commander Kirstein. Not to tarnish the name of ranks higher than your own.”
To which, Jean just sits back in his chair, folds his arms and lowers his gaze from Marco’s. “Of course, Sir.” He says, calm and composed—perhaps a little smug, too. “By all means…” He gestures out to the table, prompting to proceed on with the discussion now that he’d had his say.
”Oh come on!” she squealed and pushed him away, soon joining in his snickering. "Don’t do that, you ass!" Fixing her glasses, she added "Well that’s not laziness, that’s just having different priorities than what the society and the mainstream culture expect from us."
Her hand casually finds his, but she doesn’t grab hold. It was a thing with Zoe, she constantly looked for affection and some sort of contact, but never pushed it, never insisted on it, always leaving room for Jean to back out. It didn’t come out as forced, it was natural to her. Zoe’s pinkie and ring finger hooked onto his and she pulled out her cell phone. "Yeah, sure whatever you say. But if I recall correctly, when I met you, you were already so fucked, you hurled on my brand new Doc Martens." What the hell did she save Levi in her phone this time?
"See, this is why I ‘aven’t killed you yet. You know your shit, startin’ t’ get too valuable an’ too rare in this otherwise pisspoor society. Can’t go droppin’ off the smart ones." Essentially one of the most romantic things Jean has ever said, he has a funny way of expressing his affections verbally. Though he’d never hesitate to show it, overly so if referring back to five minutes ago in the shop, he really is quite shameless. Zoe does nothing to dissuade this behavior, it’s one of the reasons he likes her so much; she’s learned to accept the fact that Jean is an overgrown child with near beast-like behavioral traits. A total dog, when it comes to displaying his desires. But he’s not all bad. Quite happy to adjust his fingers between her own when she’d reached for his hand. It’s just in Jean to act as the leader whenever they’re wandering, a half a step ahead of the brunette while they head to the comic book store. He sneers, "Alright, first of all, that was not my fault. I told Springer, I said if I smoke after I drink I’m gonna get wrecked and he jus’ wouldn’t take no for an answer. The rest is history. And besides," arrogance blooms as he looks back over his shoulder, the smirk almost splitting his face, "I recall that didn’t stop you shovin’ your tongue down my throat not two hours later.”
People stare. Jean, the infuriating jerk with the gorgeous grin and great butt, sends Marco’s blood boiling and makes him seriously consider murder. It wouldn’t be worth it; he would lose his job at the library and how would he then pay the bills? So he just glares daggers at Jean, silently fuming at his inability to come up with a clever retort as they walk back to the apartment, practically stomping toward the elevator and only letting go of the other’s wrist when the elevator doors slide close.
It’s hard to even pry his fingers off Jean’s arms when the coffee has practically glued their skin together, though (and what do fast food joints even put in their coffee, anyway?!); Marco thinks this is probably a metaphor for his life. He, however, does not apologize. Nope. No way.
“Um. Sorry,” he mutters. Dammit!
They arrive together at Marco’s apartment only to see a pile of boxes neatly arranged by the doorway. Thinking that of course his luck can, in fact, get worse, he steps inside, sidestepping abandoned boxes until he finds his former roommate disassembling the small library they had bought together and placed in the living room. “Marco! I should be out of your hair by tonight,” Thomas says amicably, as his eyes settle on Marco’s crotch with as much subtlety as an elephant in a china shop.
"Um, okay,” replies Marco, acutely aware of the coffee stain. A small pang of loneliness hits him low in his gut as he realizes that after today he will officially live all by himself; Thomas won’t be around to throw his infamous parties and the thought deflates Marco’s mood a little. Thomas, however, seems to be focused on the new visitor, looking at Jean with undisguised curiosity. “Your boyfriend? You should introduce him, Marco. Rude.”
For some unfathomable reason Marco will not analyze, Marco doesn’t outright deny that statement. Instead, he shuffles awkwardly in place. “Jean, Thomas. Thomas, Jean. A friend. Now excuse me while I take a shower.”
The weird motion he does as he hurries to his bedroom can only be described as running away.
“Ow,” is mouthed but not spoken when the little hairs are snagged by Marco’s sticky hand, and he’s already lifting his arm to rub over the still tingling patch when the quiet apology is heard. It makes for a charmed titter to leave Jean’s lips in reply. That’s all he’s getting, Marco doesn’t really seem like he wants much more than that anyway.
Phenomenally curious to find the brunet’s apartment door wide open when the elevator doors open, Jean stays a step behind Marco as they enter the room to find a ridiculously tall guy with horrendous sideburns invading his face. Not a burglar, he’s quick to realize when the clown says Marco’s name. This, of course, leads to the next assumption that turned Jean’s stomach just a little bit. Boyfriend.
It’s no shock that he looked nothing like the guy when Marco once had all the power of deciding his appearance. He thinks. Jean’s inner monologue is just as sour as he is.
Making his presence known, he confidently appears from behind the taller with a tight jaw and both hands sat in his back pockets. But his quiet ruminating is soon diminished in the blink of an eye. Blondie thinks Jean is Marco’s boyfriend and doesn’t seem hurt by that fact either. Oh.
The smile is one of relief though it probably looks nothing more than polite to Thomas, as Freckles had introduced. Jean’s opinion on the guy suddenly isn’t so negative. “Hey, man.” He says, reaching out to shake his hand. His attention soon drags back to Marco while he excused himself and disappeared through the small corridor, a laugh, then he’s back to Thomas.
Thomas, as it turned out, was Marco’s roommate up until today, which explained the boxes. Jean had nothing better to do so he offered his assistance. He and Thomas had bonded over the dismantling of the library, dishing out a number of terrible puns and jokes while they made a shoddy job of quietly putting the parts down on the floor.
It’s not until footsteps were hard coming back through, and most of what Thomas had pointed out was his had been packed, that the ex-roommate came to a realization, “It completely skipped my mind to ask you, Jean,” he said, in that sickeningly sweet manner of his that practically demands complete attention as he speaks, “How come I’ve never met you before, and why hasn’t Marco ever brought you over for one of my parties? You’re an okay guy!”
Well then. “…Oh, probably ‘cause I didn’t exist.”
At the first statement, the darker-haired of the two cringes inwardly, because that’s definitely something he’s grown used to hearing being thrown around almost constantly, being unknowingly and indirectly about him whenever they speak of it. Right now, Jean looks like he’d take pleasure in that fact, and it’s downright disconcerting to hear. Really, it makes the sweaty boy want to curl up even more, and he sucks in a shaky breath. But he doesn’t apologize.
When he actually hears the explanation however, it catches him totally off guard. Surprise quickly bubbles into a rare fit of laughter for him, and he has to quietly clap both hands over his mouth to muffle a snort, then the soft laughing that follows after because this is just so ridiculous. He’s so relieved. It wasn’t really anything to worry about, and Bertholdt’s just so happy to know that he doesn’t really need to worry. The laughter calms down quickly though, and he wipes at the moisture around his eyes as he sits upright again, “S-sorry, I… Hah, was that really it?” He’s careful to dance around the actual topic, because feelings are serious business as well and he doesn’t even know who he likes because he really shouldn’t like anyone. The same goes for Annie, he’d imagine.
"Thanks, Jean. You may want to stay away from Sasha, though. I hear she just knows when someone’s spilled the beans." Its a playful jab, his small laughing fit easing his usual nerves.
Jean, of course, saw no funny side about being woken up in the middle of the night just to share another’s potential love confession. He almost feels dirty. Mostly just concerned with the looming threat over his head that Sasha had given him. Not that she really would do such a thing, but he reckons there’s bound to be a few bruises climbing his arms if and when she finds out he’d opened his mouth. Which is a point. "You’d do well not to throw my ass in the deep end, yeah? Let’s put it this way. Sasha kicks my ass, an’ I’m gonna be huntin’ for yours next, got it?"
With a huff, he leaves Bertholdt’s question unanswered because, yes, that’s all it was. And no, he’s not up for sitting up and gossiping about it anymore than he already had. If Sasha knows, regardless of whether or not Bertholdt’s statement was true or not, he’s going to blame the taller for gauging this out of him now, when he’s tired. It’s like some mental torture and it’s totally unfair. Jean will preach, should the situation come down to it. ”Goodnight, Stretch.” His given nickname for the sweaty comrade next to him, because he’s so tall and Jean’s not conscious as to whether his titles offend anybody, but everyone gets at least one.
Leaving little room for anymore conversation, the two-toned soldier reaches for his sheet and tugs it right up to his head as he rolls back onto his side. Head on the thin pillow and his back to the other. See how long it takes to get some goddamn shut-eye.
Tiers pull into a deep scowl, snarl rippling through his throat as an advance was made towards the other, a hand reaching up and grabbing a fistfull of Jean’s shirt. “Y’know damn well that’s not what I meant, smartass." Eyes shimmered with a certain violent light that was sharp enough to cut through him like a blade in water. "Why’re y’bringin’ up my sister, huh? Y’got a death wish?”
The mirthful smirk stretches across pale features instantly. Allowing his frame to pull forward when Rin grabbed his shirt, Jean is otherwise unfazed by his growing hostile attitude thus far; used to it. "Chill it, Jaws. I’m only jokin’ with ya," his hand coming up to the other boy’s as he spoke. Gripping over it with his thumb pressed into Rin’s palm and twisting with ease due to the tactic. ”Relax," he says though, the fact that he’d bent the taller’s arm outwards tells him to do anything but that. It should hurt in an uncomfortable sense, not completely out of pain, "I’m jus’ fuckin’ wi’ your head."
"That was strange. Sorry about that. I’ve been a little… out of it lately." Vague. But Marco wasn’t about to tell him what was going on in his head. It’d only serve to scare Jean off, if he hadn’t done that already. Marco looked up from where his eyes at been staring at their barely touching hands, and oh, god. What a gorgeous shade of red that was painting Jean’s face. It looked perfect on him. Seeing Jean in red was something Marco could get used to; it was his favorite color, after all. Marco cleared his throat and nodded his head toward their joined hands. "Ahem. Jean…?" Though he enjoyed the contact, he halfway wondered if Jean ever planned on moving.
"Uh— Right," he takes back his hands, awkwardly patting against his chest to rid the slightly clammy feeling they’d developed in Marco’s hold. Then, finding them best sat back at his hips, clears his throat with a faint nod. This button on the taller’s shirt must be fascinating because, no matter how many times he’d flicked his eyes up to meet Marco’s gaze, golden hues found themselves back on that point each and every time. "You said," he pauses, giving himself a moment to pull his seams back together. "—Ya said ya been out of it. I asked you ‘bout that already, didn’t know what I was talkin’ about…" A very casual and quiet change of subject, sort of. Jean’s taking an out for his own embarrassment by going back to this. But honestly, Marco had been slightly off and it’s bothersome.
From what the boy had gathered so far, Jean was still in the process of waking up. He couldn’t quite tell reality and dream apart, whatever fictional nightmare had distressed him, it had done so thoroughly. Eren didn’t doubt for one second that it must have been extraordinarily unsettling, Jean wasn’t that easily shaken after all. He seemed vulnerable in a way that the brunet didn’t like, he would have preferred to experience that defencelessness as an act of trust and not because something had shocked the blond to his core. Yearning to reach out and cradle the other in his arms he did nothing but continue to weave fingers through short hair as he waited for the other to catch up with reality.
Through the years, Eren had lived through his own fair share of nightmares; memories would come to haunt him at night, fears and hopes toying with his imagination only to crumble as soon as he would awake. But as time went by, even the dreams about his mother’s death had gotten easier to deal with as the memory faded. It had also been at least a year since he’d last run away from a Titan in his sleep. The boy came to terms with the things that had happened through his dreams like any other human and to see that even after all this time Jean could still be terrified over getting attacked by the very monsters they had sworn to kill.. it made Eren’s heart clench. The more he thought about it, the more disturbing it felt. This wasn’t right.
Lips moved against the palm of his hand and made compassion bloom in the shifter’s eyes. How often had he made fun of Jean’s weary and tired expression, jabbed at him for looking like he hadn’t slept in a week? Accused him of staying up too long because he had sneaked out of the sleeping quarters to meet someone? Eren felt ashamed of himself. How long had this already been going on, right there under his nose, unnoticed and ignored?
“I know it felt real.” The brunet’s voice was quiet, soft, aware of the fact that they were not alone. Trying not to wake up anyone else as he breathed those words to the other. “But it wasn’t.” Not meaningless words, but mumbled ones that were only meant to reassure the other. To talk him out of this shock and back into reality. For all he knew, Jean was probably not even quite listening and had focused on relieving the lingering fragments of his nightmare. Trying to pick apart what was real and what was not.
Eren waited, patiently, teal-green eyes squinting at the taller as he did, taking in the slightest shift in the blond’s expression, waiting for a cue as to what it was that he needed. Anything to make him feel better, anything to make him forget.
Eventually that opportunity was given to him and he didn’t hesitate for one second to interlace their fingers, thumb caressing the heated skin as soon as possible. Light touches, nothing too startling; Eren was still quite aware of how he had scared the other before. It’s not like he was afraid of touching the other, this wasn’t about their childish awkwardness regarding what had happened not too long ago. That was behind them, this was a whole different kind of situation and if he could offer comfort to a friend in need, the boy didn’t mind. Hesitance made him stop and linger, but the thought was there.
A minute or two passed in complete silence though to Eren it seemed like an eternity, but either way it was enough time for the taller to get a grip on himself and sort his thoughts. Amber met green and it was mostly due to some weird reflex that the brunet offered a small smile. A reassuring one, meant to affirm that things were indeed fine and that they would work this out – whatever it was that Jean needed to see. For someone who usually didn’t bite back on his words, Eren was awfully quiet and calm.
“It doesn’t matter.” It wasn’t the first time Jean had woken up in the middle of the night, though this time he would have actually preferred to be startled by snoring instead of the pained whimpers he’d heard earlier. “
'Does this happen often?', he wanted to ask.
“Tell me about your dream.”, he said instead.
He nods, quietly accepting though he felt that it does matter. Jean, of course the one who has trouble getting his head down and staying down, personally feels that waking Eren up was some kind of unthinkable crime. Feeling guilty but not enough to tell him to go; or maybe he just didn’t want to be alone so soon. After the nod and as the question is asked, Jean dropped his gaze again. Focusing his attention on his hand, the one intertwined with Eren’s and noticing how tightly they’d squeezed together. He does nothing to remedy this though.
Feeling him there, strong and sturdy, it eases Jean’s nerves a little more. “It’s nothing special.” He offers, deeming it unimportant now that he’s got a little more life in him. Enough to feel embarrassed and almost ashamed that he’d gotten so worked up about it. One of the main reasons his sleep deprivation is something he’s never spoken of before. Just taking Eren’s snide remarks about his bags and pale skin without so much as a response when those jokes are delivered. Because he knows he’s not the only one who has these nightmares; but he’s the only one he’d find bolting upright in the middle of the night. The only one who still gets scared about it enough to plague his sleeping routine. How pathetic. He thinks, gnawing at the inside of his lip to distract him of the bitter taste in mouth.
Just to clarify, he shrugs his shoulders a little, murmuring, “I was bein’ chased by…you know what by. Got caught.” Fingers of his free hand come up to show Eren, the smallest gap between his finger and thumb, “This close. But then I…Then you were there, so.” It couldn’t be any more downplayed; it was intentional that he kept the details to a minimum. The things he does remember, anyway.
“Nothin’ special, like I said. ‘M…sure you still get those sorta dreams too.” His eyes had drifted back to search Eren’s features as the subtle ask was spoken, watching for any signs of judgment, mockery, agreement. Anything. His hand squeezes the brunet’s before he can answer him though. Before he hears something he doesn’t want to hear, Jean’s only plea. “Don’t tell ‘nyone ‘bout this. Please.” Throughout, his voice remains quiet, shaky, almost squeaky in his attempts to keep volume to a minimum. Connie and Armin don’t need to wake up and see this, ask questions and generally just humiliate the blond all the more. One’s enough.
It’s bad enough that Eren, of all people, was the one to catch him in such a weak moment. A moment he’s not yet over if the fact that he’s not red-faced and flustered because he’s holding his comrade’s hand was anything to go by.
"Uh huh…" Is the best thing he can think to answer with, a little more immersed in the temptation Marco’s lips are putting him through as he speaks. His breaths as broken as the sentence he mutters. An inexplicable desire to close the tiny gap between them, seal Marco’s mouth with his own there and then. He liked kissing Marco, those times when he had and had gotten away with it, Jean treasured.
He knows he shouldn’t. He knows Marco’s not interested in him, not quite in the same way that Jean is interested in him; they’ve kissed, fucked, and found themselves in these kinds of moments before. Always tarnished before anything can come from it. The brunet putting his foot down, refusing anything more for reasons Jean doesn’t understand. Blames that Eren jerk for.
So when the blond finds himself close, their noses touching, his lips barely an inch from Marco’s own. He suddenly tightens his grip on the taller’s waist, spins them around until he has the balance to lean forward, arch Marco’s back a little, and chirp, "And I’m hungry! So feed me like ya promised."
He’s smirking but it’s false while he allows Marco to collect himself before letting him free of his grasp. Jean’s learning, after trial and error, that he’s just going to have to make do with being the obnoxious, unemployed, roommate.
An inconvenience in Marco’s life and nothing more.
Marco leans forward slightly, attracted to Jean’s lips the way a moth is attracted to a flame. He just might Jean kiss him, might let him finally change their situation. He just might finally stop being so afraid and take that step forward. His eyes, anticipating the kiss, flutter close, and—
And the moment is ruined.
Tears prickle in Marco’s eyes, the frustration, the fear and the feel of Jean’s arms still lingering around him. He swallows once, twice, and avoids looking at Jean. If he had, he might’ve realized Jean is just as hurt as he is. If he had seen just how sad Jean’s eyes are, he might’ve closed the distance himself and kissed Jean senseless.
Marco can live in this limbo. But he’s breaking, shattering into tiny little pieces the longer this—this thing; whatever this is—goes. And his jagged edges harm Jean as well.
It’s all about the things neither dare to say.
After a few seconds, Marco raises his head and pretends. "On second thought, let’s order thai, shall we."
Pretending is all Marco knows what to do.