You couldn’t get close enough, no matter how desperately you tried. It was as if the mental walls he put up to keep his own monsters at bay were now physical-- tall and made of stone and imposing and oh God would you ever be able to climb them or tear them down or find a door.
There wasn’t a single chink in his armor that he wore even when he slept restlessly in your bed-- body still as a corpse but brow furrowing in fear that caused a cold sweat to soak through his thin shirt until you could reach him with a voice that somehow managed to carry over the sounds of something hot and liquid flooding his ears and pounding through his body.
You could never touch him, not when he started waking up with a jolt that shook through your entire being, causing your heavy eyes to jolt open and panic to flood your veins. You would curl up into yourself, feeling utterly useless as he gasped and clutched at his own chest. His hands never sought you out and his body would immediately respond to the fear with flight and he would grab his clothes and his phone off your bedside table and not even spare you a second glance and he fled from your room, from your apartment, from your entire existence.
Sometimes he would call the next day, his low voice calm and showing no signs of any emotion (not panic, not remorse, not even the raggedness that would give away the fact that he spent the whole night in his home gym throwing punches at a sandbag more than double his size and twice his weight).
It was a wonder you allowed him back into your home the next night, his body hot and sweaty in a completely different way than when he slept. His pupils blown with want and need and desire (but not for you, it was never for you). It was his nightly escape, and when you wrapped yourself in a blanket in the late hours of the evening and hoped he would stay long enough for you to kiss him goodbye you knew deep in the roots of your soul that you were nothing more than a means to build his walls higher.
Who knew how many presided you, how many would come after you, how many were still around.
Did he watch them with the same heavy stare when he touched them, too?
You got used to being his lover only when he needed you, and not when you needed him. You got used to feeling nothing and saying nothing and laying still when he got up and took a quick, undoubtedly frigid shower and left. You got used to the heavy weight of your heart and the towering walls that guarded you just as his guarded himself.
It was enough, until it wasn’t.
You tried desperately to get closer, closer to the lithe man in your bed without waking him. Waking him would mean him walking away, waking him would mean his disappearing from your life until his next call.
Struggling fruitlessly, you settled for your fingers dusting the smooth skin of his chest and your nose breathing in the same air he exhaled. Your hands ached to grab onto something, muscles twitching and contracting only to be forcefully relaxed again when they found no hold on his body.
He was never yours, so why did you feel so goddamn possessed by him?
You swallowed, leaving your mouth dry and stale and no different than it had felt mere moments ago. You shifted centimeters closer.
Grey eyes slid open to peer down at you, huddled against his bare chest and you felt yourself draw further away, your walls built up high and the gate creaking slowly closed until you could lock it up tight.
A hand jammed the gears.
Rough fingers hiked your thigh over a sharp hip, rolling both bodies until you were straddling his thin waist and your hands were shaking over broad shoulders. His breath huffed in annoyance and those calloused hands found their way up to your back, rubbing small, tight circles in wound up muscles until you took a hint.
Shifted a bit down so that you could rest your chest against his own, your body was buzzing with a nervous sort of energy. Your legs twined around his own, pulling you a bit closer, and your arms hooked onto his shoulders from behind.
He didn’t move, just kept his hands pressed firmly to your back and let his sharp eyes shut once more. You swallowed again, muscles reacting to hold him tighter and feeling an equal increase in pressure as reassurement that this was real, this was lasting, this was for you. And it was more exhilarating than anything you’d ever felt before.
The tightness of your lungs and the racing of your heart didn’t change when you woke up after a night of nothing but slow breaths and uncomfortable yet desirable heat radiating from your two bodies. You finally got to see him sleeping without nightmares. His hands twitching languidly on your back and shoulders, the numbness of your fingers from a night of wrists being trapped under heavy shoulders, the disgusting sweat that clung to your skin and kept you from moving away.
You watched as a mind regained control of muscles and warm hands smoothed up your back, fingertips rubbing mindless little patterns into your skin and tangling into your hair at the nape of your neck, scratching gently at your scalp.
You watched as steely eyes still fogged over with sleep cracked open to meet your own gaze. The muscles in his jaw jumped as he came to the same realization as you. Licking your sleep-dried lips, you pressed a kiss to the underside of his jaw, touch as soft and nervous as a new animal’s to its surroundings. Fingers tightened in your hair and lips leaned down to meet your own.
Breaths tainted by stale mouths, eyes sore from light that didn’t quite exist but was still there, and muscles heavy and stiff from a lack of motion and a lack of really caring. You woke up slowly and at a pace of your own, only reluctantly followed by the man under you. Your first attempt at getting up was met by arms around your waist, pulling your body close to his again even after the blankets had been kicked to around your ankles. You shivered and allowed yourself to be cradled close by the man.
He face kept still through your second attempt, but you didn’t get much further than rolling onto the thin mattress next to him and curling up in his side. Thinly muscled arms wound around you, carefully caging you in like a butterfly in a child’s hands. Your head fit awkwardly but perfectly at the same time in the crook of his neck.
Your sides were teasingly brushed against by impatient fingers and you lifted yourself out of bed a third time, swatting the hands away and muttering about fixing something to wash the taste of night out of your mouth. When you were halfway to the kitchen you heard a shout to fix a cup of tea as well.
You were quick to return to the warmth of a bed shared by you and Levi. He had shifted upwards so that he was sitting against your headboard and two pillows. You somehow found yourself nuzzling into his lap as you handed him the mug of bitter tea.
You lost track of the hours it took for you to finally get out of bed and get dressed and you lost track of the weighted gazes directed at you when your back was turned. You did, however, snap to attention when the man still laying undressed in your bed suggested breakfast somewhere nicer than your shitty apartment.
Sun shone against the walls surrounding him, showing the small cracks and chinks just large enough for you to squeeze yourself in and make yourself comfortable in the fortress of his arms and steely eyes and guiding touch.
You took the offer just as casually as he had suggested it, knowing in all of your heart, mind, and soul that it wouldn’t be the last time you’d be taken out to breakfast by the man who shared your bed, your breaths, and your heart.