This one-shot might be a bit odd. I've been using it for awhile now as a warm-up writing exercise so the style itself is very stiff, and not my most poetic work lol. Despite this, I wanted to upload it because I do actually like the story itself and thought other people might like it too!
He was the boy in black.
That was the way Erwin had remembered him, anyway.
Pure black. The colour of his worn out clothing, his greasy hair, and even his cold, distant eyes.
At the time, It had seemed impossible that such a person exist, such a dark and mysterious person, but he did. And there he had stood, straight as a pin, infront of the grave of Erwin Smith's father.
The boy did not smile, nor did he frown. His expression had remained entirely neutral, bordering on apathetic, as he stared at the ground beneath his scuffed sneakers.
Erwin had watched him for some time with eyes of clouded glass. Witnessing such a scene had felt unreal. It was as if an olden photograph was animated in movement before his eyes. The scene enchanted him in the oddest way possible. He wasn't familiar with the boy, and until that very moment, was positive that he'd never even seen his face before.
The boy left shortly after, and Erwin was left alone to his thoughts. He waited a moment, and then decided to visit his father's grave and quietly gave prayer to his departed soul. Afterwards, he took his leave for the day, returning to his small home in town.
When he returned to his father's grave the next day, Erwin found the boy standing there once again, just as still and lifeless as he had been before.
Erwin watched him from behind a small shed stationed at the front of the graveyard. Peering over the side of the building, his gaze remained fixated solely on the boy.
The boy never made any significant movements while visiting Mr. Smith's grave. His stare was as dead as the corpse buried beneath him, and after moments of standing still, he would leave hastily.
During that time, Erwin would stealthily sneak to the other side of the shed, to avoid being seen by the boy. For some reason, he didn't feel it would be right to interact with him. He wanted to get to know the boy- but not through direct encounters. Instead, he studied his posture, his appearance, and began to know him only through the thoughts in his head.
After a week of the same pattern, Erwin began to notice changes in the boy. They began subtly, with a difference in his posture, which has begun to curl inward more. Then, there was the difference in his face. He began to look emaciated, and pale. The changes began slowly but then all at once, the boy began to seem like a completely difference person, almost corpse-like in appearance.
With sluggish and slow movement, the boy exited the graveyard. It was at that point that Erwin knew that he needed to help him, and by the next day, he had formulated a plan.
When he arrived at the graveyard the next day, the boy was already there, as he had always been. Although he knew that he would be there, Erwin was somehow overcome with a warming sense of relief.
With caution, Erwin set a small bag of supplies by the entrance of the park. He was sure to be more quiet then usual as he did so, and then, he snuck over to his hiding spot behind the shed. For the next few moments, he watched the boy as he usually did. His behaviour remained the same as always. Silent. Observant.
As the boy turned to leave, Erwin quickly snuck to the opposite side of the shed as he usually did. Though, this time, he watched the boy carefully as passed the entrance of the park.
The boy immediately took notice of the bag. He eyed it for a second, and then glanced all around him, not seeing Erwin, who had hidden himself between tall tufts of grass and the shed wall.
After confirming that he was alone, the boy snatched the bag and hurried off, just as Erwin had predicted he would.
Feeling a sense of accomplishment, Erwin smiled to himself that day as he gave prayer to his father's grave, though his thoughts were completely pre-occupied by the boy.
For the next few following days, Erwin continued to leave bags of supplies for the boy at the entrance of the graveyard. Inside he included things he thought he might need; food to last him a day (plus a little extra), some water, and a few hygienic items as well. Each time, the boy would take the bag, and then scurry off before anybody could see him.
It was only when the colour began to return to his face, and the flesh began to return to his bone, that Erwin felt like he had been doing enough for the boy.
Not even for a moment did he question himself for wanting to help the nameless child who visited his father's grave for whatever curious reason. Rather, he felt like it was his duty to do so, and proudly he did all that he could for him.
These thoughts, along with few others, ran through Erwin's mind as he said prayer to his father's graveside. It wasn't until he received a small tap on the shoulder that his mind went blank.
Turning around, Erwin immediately recognized the other person as 'the boy.' His eyes widened slightly, and he was left speechless at their closeness.
Getting a closer look at him, Erwin could see that the boy was even younger looking than he had thought. His dark eyes were larger than they had appeared from a distance, and the radiance of his skin suggested that he were healthier than at the time of their first 'meeting'.
The boy pointed his finger forward, toward Erwin, and narrowed his eyes. "You are the one?"
"The one?" Erwin asked, suddenly finding his voice. He felt uncomfortable sitting atop of his fathers grave, and took a stand. In terms of height, he completely loomed over the boy. "What do you mean?"
Staring up at him for a moment, the boy remained silent. After giving his words some thought, he said, "The bag. You're the one?"
The way the boy spoke was similar to that of a foreigner who knew very little of the language. Despite that, he had no accent, which made Erwin grow curious. He nodded his head.
"Yes, I left them there." Erwin said. "My name is Erwin. Yours is?"
The boy stared another second, and then with a nod of his head, he answered, "Levi."
"Levi. It's nice to meet you." Erwin smile kindly.
"I..." Levi began to speak, but stopped himself. He furrowed his eyebrows in concentration as he tried again. "Why do you help?"
"Why've I been helping you?" Erwin asked.
Levi gave a single nod.
Erwin briefly glanced to the sky and let out a long breath. "Because I thought you might need my help, I suppose." he answered, returning his glance back to Levi.
The two stared at each other for some time. No words were exchanged between the both of them as they appeared to be studying the appearances of each other. Erwin had no clue what Levi might think of him. He didn't seem to be intimidated by his big build like other small kids were, and looked at him with fiery eyes of determination. Although Erwin considered himself to be on the more intellectual side, he couldn't even begin to imagine what thoughts were running through Levi's mind.
"Why help me?" Levi's hand were clenched tightly at his sides, quivering ever-so-slightly from the cold. "You don't know me."
Erwin casually shrugged his shoulder. His lip curled upwards into a half-smile, he responded, "Even so, I wanted to help you. You looked like you needed it, and besides," he tilted his head to the side, pointing towards his father's tombstone with his thumb. "You've been loyally keeping my father company. I appreciate that gesture."
Levi stared between Erwin and the tombstone for a few moments until his mind finally made the connection. "Father?" he repeated. "You're his child?"
Nodding his head, Erwin asked, "How did you know him?"
"Not important." Levi murmured. With a slight raise in his voice, he suddenly stated, "Your help, I don't need."
The wind picked up at that point. It whistled passed the two in a hurry, making their clothes flutter dreamily against their bodies. Strands of Levi's hair blew into his face, and it was only then that a spot of bruising on his forehead become noticeable.
Not even conscious of his own actions, Erwin reached forward and brushed his thumb against the spot. Levi did not hesitate to smack his hand away. He stared up at Erwin with a set of brooding eyes.
"Do not pity." Levi stated clearly, as he turned on his heels. He quickly made his way to the entrance of the graveyard and then disappeared beyond the road. Erwin didn't bother to stop him, though he watched his exit every step of the way.
The next few days passed Erwin by slowly. He didn't see Levi by the foot of his father's grave anymore and he wondered often if it was his own fault for scaring the boy off. He considered the idea that his gestures may have accidentally come across as insults rather than assistance. He even re-played the events that occurred that day many times in his head but he couldn't come to one single conclusion.
Eventually, he felt tired of considering the reasons, and allowed himself to think of other things. Namely, his father. For the first time in weeks, he began to mourn his departure once again. The weight on his heart became heavier, and his prayers became longer and more poetic.
I only hope that you are living in ease. These days grow longer, and my loneliness only expands. I would never state these things aloud, not to mother, but to you, father, I feel I can be frank. Please may your soul find the peace that life could not offer it.
Those kinds of passages, he thought often.
Within a few days, Erwin began to feel more tired. The burden on his shoulders was growing too strong for him to carry, and he knew that he could attribute that to his daily visits to the graveyard.
Father, I'm sorry. I'm not abandoning you, but my time is growing thin. Between school, and housework, I have little time for much else. I will still see you, of course, but I have to consider myself as well. I know that you would understand, and I am grateful to you for that. I'll come to see you when I get the chance.
Erwin wiped his knees off as he stood. He let out a short sigh as he gave his father's tombstone one last good look.
He turned around, prepared to leave, but something stopped him immediately in his tracks. Standing only a few feet away was Levi, looking slightly worn and pale, with a fistful of flowers clenched against his chest.
Levi walked forward, passing Erwin and perched himself beside the grave. He released all but one of the flowers from his hand, and spread them neatly over the base of the tombstone. When he seemed satisfied with his work, he walked back to Erwin, who had been watching him silently the entire time.
Holding the flower infront of him as an offering, Levi looked up at Erwin. "Flower." was all he said.
"For me?" Erwin raised his eyebrows in confusion.
Levi gave a nod, and held the flower up higher for Erwin to take, who accepted it graciously.
"Thank you, Levi." Erwin broke out into a large grin. "That's nice of you, but why?"
"You're not bad." Levi explained, in his broken-up way of speaking. "And your father was good man. He taught to me the language. He spoke often of a son." he paused for a moment. "Which, I think, is you."
Feeling unusually at a loss for words, Erwin's smile broke slightly and he nodded his head. "Yes, I'm his only son." he responded.
"He said good things." Levi said, as he glance at Mr. Smith's grave. "At first, it was hard believing I met you. You seem unreal, and look the same as him. Your help, I rejected because of pride, but was not bad. It took me time to realize."
Erwin gave a meek smile. "It's alright. I'm glad to see you again, though. I thought of you often, hoping that you were still okay."
Levi's ears grew slightly red, the only physical indication that he felt flustered. "Ah." he murmured.
"But, I'm glad," Erwin spoke up again. "You're still looking healthy, and..." he twirled the stem of the flower inbetween his index finger and thumb. "I'm glad you were thinking about me, too."
The wind began to pick up, but unlike the times before, it left a pleasant scent in the air. It smelt of spring, cut grass and damp flowers, smells that brought wonderful memories back to Erwin's mind.
Levi took a few steps forward, and stood at the feet of Mr. Smith's grave. He stared absent-mindedly beneath himself, and Erwin wondered briefly if the fragrance of the air had triggered memories of the past to him as well.
"Levi." Erwin turned to stand beside the boy. "Why don't you come back to my house with me? My mother is probably about to start making lunch, and I'd love for you to join us."
"I couldn't." Levi declined surprisingly quickly. "Is not a place for me."
"It's fine, isn't it? Besides..." Erwin hesitated to continue his sentence, though he knew it would be the deciding factor. "My father clearly cared for you. It's what he'd want, right?"
Levi remained quiet for a moment. He clenched his tiny fists at his side as he continued to stared downward. "Maybe..." he began, then sighed quietly. "Just for once is okay, I suppose."
Erwin smiled, feeling success burning bright in his heart. "Let's go then, Levi."
"Okay, lets go."