Levi calls her this, many years ago, that first night when he arrives drunk at her door with a bottle of liquor in one hand and the other wrapped in messy bandage. He had stubbed his toe against a stack of old journals she kept on the floor, tumbled onto her unkempt sheets and tried to sleep with her but passed out before he could get his pants off. But he still remembers the soft touch of her fingers stroking his hair as he dozed in and out of sleep.
He had avoided her for a solid two weeks after that.
Levi calls her this when he's able to snag her from her experiments (basically kicking and screaming but once he holds her hand she understands) and shuffle her to the one clean area in the lab. He's rarely ever this affectionate but he had been off on a mission and all he could think of during that time (besides kicking that Yeager brat's ass) was the soft crook of her neck. So he murmurs Hanjo's into her skin there, nibbling a little, as her cheeks bloom red and her cackles fill the room.
Levi calls her this (now his little pet name for her) as they lay in bed one rare silent morning. The birds flitter outside and the corridors whisper with soft snores of the other sleeping soldiers and cadets. In the corporal's room, they remain under his sheets, warm and naked. Her cheek rests against his beating chest, auburn hair tickling his chin, as his arms are wrapped around her. He had woken up a while ago but decided to stay put, opting to feel her sleeping body pressed against his. His eyes gaze at the love bites marking her shoulder and collarbone – the ones he placed last night. Levi knows his back is checkered with crescent moon marks from her half-bitten nails but, for once, he doesn't mind and allows himself a small crooked smile when she suddenly sighs, nestling herself closer to him.
Levi says this now as he sits on her bed in the middle of the night, vision blurring as his eyes sting with warm tears threatening to spill over. He clenches his hands into the sheets, bunching them in between his fingers, as he tries to control the choked sobs fighting to break through his throat. Why did he even bother to come here? She's left him now – she's gone for good. Just rotting away in some fucking Titan's stomach like the rest of her wiped out squad. He shouldn't have gotten close. Shouldn't have had knocked on her door all those years ago, a drunk pathetic mess, and fallen in love.
"Sh-shit, fucking…just fuck."
The tears roll, gathering onto his chin and finally dripping on his pants as his body shakes in agony. He won't be able to feel her again. Won't be able to hear that obnoxious laugh of hers again or taste her lips. The beating of her chest against his. Never. Levi falls back onto the sheets and buries his face into her pillow – her smell still lingering there from earlier that morning. They had slept in her room before heading off to their squads for the mission of capturing the Female Titan. Did he even say goodbye? Or did he just slip off silently like the asshole he truly is.
"Hanjo…" he whispers again into the dark, itching to hear her response, which was normally a snort or a large, shy smile. But the only thing that answers him is the silence and when the sun finally rises, he gets up and slips out without saying goodbye again.
A/N: It is FINISHED! I'm such a horrible person for ending it at such a low note but somehow the one-shot just winded up this way. Special thanks to my regulars Jakesivs, tedabug, Silent Hero 13, Cindy Goldberg, Silversoul950, and une-fan-de-la-liturature. Thanks SO much to all who's commented, followed, favorited, and viewed this - it's helped me keep up with my sporadic updating. Check out my new story, Perfect Harmony, that follows them in an AU in which Levi's in a band. Happy readings!