Upon reaching the main boardroom, Levi had found the company owner Erwin Smith already sat at the head of the table talking to Hanji and one of the other directors, Mike Zacharius.
“Hey Shorty!” Called Hanji enthusiastically.
Levi rolled his eyes, he despised that nickname.
Hanji knew how self conscious he was about his height, yet she always saw fit to wind him up about it every chance she got.
It wasn’t like he was particularly short, but at five foot three inches, he was easily one of the shortest men in the entire company...especially when compared to the six foot two inches Erwin and six foot five inches Mike.
Taking a seat next to Mike, Levi narrowed his eyes when the blonde male leaned over him and started sniffing his neck.
After a moment he frowned and pulled away, remaining silent and decided to turn his attention back to the pile of papers in front of him.
“Tch, can’t you just learn to speak to people instead of sniffing them?” Growled Levi. “Fucking disgusting.”
Erwin smirked and shook his head, turning his attention to the newly promoted deputy manager.
“I see learning to rein in your attitude didn’t make it onto your list of new year’s resolutions.”
Levi was far from amused by his employer’s mocking attitude, simply glaring at the tall bushy browed blonde in response.
Hanji however knew the reason for his current mood, but decided it was in her best interest to keep her mouth shut.
“So who else are we waiting on?”
“Dita, Klaus and Marlene.” Replied Erwin, leaning forward in his seat and resting his folded arms on the table. “Once they arrive we can begin.”
Levi nodded, this was his first time sitting in on the start of year briefing with the other directors and deputy managers, so it was quite the learning curve for him.
However he knew deep down that Erwin wouldn’t have entrusted him with a promotion if he didn’t think that he was capable of handling it, he wasn’t a natural leader as such but he had managed a rather successful team before becoming a deputy manager.
Either way this new promotion had a lot of perks, including a rather nice pay rise, which meant that should his mother need more expensive medical treatment, he was more than prepared to help deal with the costs.
The briefing room door opened and the final director and deputy managers entered, hastily taking their seats and turning their attention to Erwin.
“Good Morning Mr Smith.” Said A tall man with thinning light brown hair. “My apologies for us being late, there was a little trouble getting some of the interns settled in.”
“I trust the problem is sorted now?” Questioned Erwin.
“Good. I hope you’re all well rested after the holiday period, I have big plans for the company this year. So let’s begin by going over the figures from last year.”
“Hey Nanaba, I’m done with those letters.” You smiled, stopping at her desk.
“That was quick!” She remarked, raising her head to face you. “Well, time to introduce you to the rest of the team.”
You nodded nervously and followed her to the small break room a few meters to the left of her desk.
Pushing open the light oak door, Nanaba entered first and gestured for you to follow.
Looking around the room you noticed it was a rather cozy looking layout for somewhere so formal.
The plain walls were adorned with notices of meeting dates, upcoming events and reminders from other members of staff. A small kitchen area which contained a fridge, microwave, some cupboards and a sink was on the right hand side of the room, while finally in the middle was a small oak coffee table with three people sat around it on plush brown leather chairs.
“Alright you three.” Said Nanaba, raising her voice slightly and gaining their immediate attention. “I’d like you to meet our newest team member.”
The current occupants of the room, a woman and two men all looked up from their conversation and turned to face you, fixing you with an intent stare.
“F/n l/n, meet Ilse Langnar, Nickolas Colton and Luke Siss.”
“Hi.” You smiled nervously, your e/c eyes nervously scanning over each of them.
Ilse Langnar was a tall female with short black hair and amber eyes, she was wearing a skirt and plain shirt similar to yours, while the men were both dressed in smart navy blue suits with matching ties. You weren’t sure which was Luke and which was Nickolas, all you could tell was that they were both tall and rather handsome.
One had short black hair styled into bangs which fell on either side of his strong cheekbones and icy blue eyes, while the other had light brown chin length, hair which was tied back into a ponytail with the bangs hanging loose and warm hazel eyes.
“Ah good another female for the team.” Said Ilse, her eyes narrowing slightly as she stood up and moved towards you, circling you like a predator stalking its prey.
“Don’t mind her.” Said the black haired male, catching the worried look on your face. “She likes to study everyone and everything, she’s actually worse than Director Hanji at times.”
“Is that even possible?” Smirked Luke, leaning back in his seat and grinning. “At least she doesn’t get out her notebook and start observing you like some sort of study subject!”
Ilse turned towards him and and frowned.
“Oh go get a haircut!”
“Come and cut it for me!”
Luke’s grin widened and he let his light brown hair out of its ponytail, letting it fall down around his face and whipping it back with a shake of his head.
“You just had to set him off didn’t you?” Snorted Nickolas.
“Alright you lot, that’s enough!” Said Nanaba sternly, moving towards the sink and picking up the kettle. “F/n just transferred here from the financing department.”
“Get boring down there did it?” Questioned Nickolas, raising an eyebrow at you.
“Come sit down, we don’t bite.” Said Luke, quickly jumping into Ilse’s unoccupied seat. “Well I don’t anyway, Nickolas might though if he gets hungry!”
“Tea or coffee f/n?” Asked Nanaba.
“Oh, tea please (insert how you take it).”
As soon as you had told your new team leader your preferred choice of beverage, Ilse whipped out a little black notebook and pen, starting to furiously scribble away in it.
“So you like tea, do you not drink coffee?”
“I don’t mind it, I just prefer tea.”
You moved to sit down, however your posture remained fairly tense.
“What made you transfer to client consultation then?”
“I just fancied a change of pace.” You mused, starting to relax a little now the initial excitement of meeting a new team member seemed to be wearing off and everyone was starting to calm down.
“Interesting, well you’ll find it quiet up here for the first couple of weeks. Initially we don’t get much work until mid January, new year and all that.”
You looked up and smiled when Nanaba placed a cup of fresh tea down in front of you and moved to the seat next to you.
“So f/n have you met any of the other client consultants yet?” Asked Luke, trying to sneak a peek at Ilse’s notebook.
“Yeah I met one of the other managers, Flagon I think his name is.”
“Oh that asshole!”
Your eyes widened, clearly the man wasn’t very popular.
“Watch yourself around him.” Warned Nickolas. “He thinks he’s better than everyone else.”
“Yeah Nanaba already warned me about him.” You frowned, wincing slightly at the memory of the way he had leered at you earlier.
“Nah it’s the new deputy manager you need to watch out for.” Scoffed Ilse, nudging Luke in the ribs and hiding her notes. “He’s a lot worse than Flagon when it comes to having an attitude complex.”
“Really? Who might that be then?”
“Levi Ackerman.” Said Nanaba evenly. “He’s just been promoted, he’s in the same boat as you actually, it’s his first day in a new position.”
“Hmm,the name doesn’t sound familiar...what’s he like?”
“Well he’s short, black hair, grey eyes, frowns a lot and calls everyone younger than him a brat.”
Your brows furrowed, you remembered bumping into a short man matching that description when making your way over to Nanaba’s desk, he’d even called you a brat.
“Oh I think I might have already had the pleasure of meeting him.” You snorted, putting a sarcastic emphasis on the word “pleasure.”
“Yeah well, you’ll know when you see him. Just don’t make eye contact and whatever you do...don’t touch him! Even if it’s accidentally brushing past him, he’ll murder you!”
You gulped and reached for your tea, not sure whether your new team mates were being serious or just trying to wind you up.
“Don’t worry, you’ll rarely see him.” Smiled Nanaba. “Just keep your head down, work hard and you’ll be fine.”
You swallowed hard and nodded, trying to hide your nervousness behind a smile and desperately hoping that you would soon learn to fit in with your new colleagues.
After Erwin’s start of year briefing, Levi decided to make a hasty retreat back to his office to start going over the stack of paperwork he had been given, but it seemed that Hanji had other ideas.
“Wait up Shorty!” She called, chasing after him and finally managing to catch up with him as he reached his office.
“What do you want Four Eyes?” He asked irritably, unlocking the door.
“You look like you need to offload, come to the canteen I’ll get you a cup of tea.”
“Leave me alone!”
“You need to stop bottling everything up, it’s not good for you.” She said sternly, noting the dark circles under his eyes. “Seriously, just talk to me.”
Levi growled in annoyance, he normally hated opening up to people when something was bothering him, even his own mother had trouble getting him to tell her if something was wrong.
However a thought suddenly struck him, Hanji believed in all that reincarnation and rebirth claptrap. She’d bored him with it enough times in the past after an old school friend started studying it, maybe she could shed some light on why he had suddenly started having these fucked up dreams.
“Great, dump that paperwork in your office and let’s go!” She smiled enthusiastically.
Upon reaching the canteen Hanji made her way over to the serving hatch while Levi went to find them a table in the far corner away from everyone else.
“So what’s on your mind?” She questioned, placing a cup of black tea down in front of him and taking a seat. “Is everything okay with your mother? She’s not gotten worse has she?”
“I won’t know until this afternoon.” Shrugged the raven haired male, his steel eyed gaze focusing on the large window next to him that provided a rather nice view of the city below.
“So what’s wrong?”
Turning back to face her, Levi folded his arms and looked into her puppy brown eyes.
“Do you still believe in all the reincarnation bullshit?”
“Hmm, fascinating.” She mused, placing her elbows on the metal table and resting her chin on her palms, observing him intently. “You normally hate listening to my theories on that subject, what’s changed your mind?”
“If you tell anyone about this…”
“I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart and hope to die!”
“Tch...for the past couple of weeks I’ve been having this fucked up dream.” He began, keeping his voice low. “I’ve no idea what the hell is going on, but the clothes I’m wearing in it are like something out of a fantasy tale.”
Hanji frowned but remained silent.
“There’s this gear that I wear, it fires grapple lines and I can fly through the air taking out these stupid ugly looking things called Titans with dual wielding blades.”
He paused for a moment, his brows furrowing at the look of intense concentration on the bespectacled brunette’s face. She was practically hanging on his every word.
“Anyway I come across this woman, she’s wearing the same clothes and gear as me...but she’s dying.”
“Can you describe her to me?”
“She’s young, h/l h/c hair, e/c eyes a little taller/shorter than me...it feels like I had some sort of connection to her.”
“So what happens to her?”
“She asks me if I believe in reincarnation and then says she’ll wait for me in her next life, after that...she dies.”
Hanji blinked rapidly, however the rest of her body remained motionless as her brain processed the information it was currently being fed.
“How long have you been having this dream?” She finally asked, reaching for her cup of coffee.
“About two weeks.” Shrugged Levi.
“Does it change or is it always the same?”
“No it doesn’t change, anyway you’re supposed to believe in all this crap, so what does it mean?”
“Hmm, I’m not entirely sure.” She mused, raising the pristine white cup to her lips and savouring the hot black liquid contained within it. “You say you felt a connection to this person though, what do you mean by that and does she have a name?”
“How the fuck should I know? It’s just a dream!”
“Is it though Levi?” Questioned Hanji in a low tone. “I think I should look into this further, this is fascinating!”
“Tch, whatever.” He snorted, gripping the rim of his teacup with his fingertips.
“You still haven’t told me if this mystery woman has a name.”
“F/n.” He muttered. “Her name was f/n.”
As promised by your colleagues, the work day proved to be very slow indeed.
After lunch you had spent the afternoon continuing to chase up leads and clients from the previous year, following up on paperwork and generally just being given rather boring donkey work.
Still you expected it to be slow since it was the first day back after the festive period, so everyone was pretty much just settling back into a normal routine.
Logging out of your computer you grabbed your jacket from the back of your chair and made your way over to the doors leading to the stairs, however before you could leave a shrill voice called out your name.
Turning around you smiled warmly at the bespectacled brunette rushing towards you.
“Hey Hanji, everything okay?”
“Yeah, just wondered if you fancied an after work drink.” She smiled, coming to a halt next to you.
“Sorry, I would love to but I already promised my dad I would go straight home and help him sort out his computer. You know how hopeless he is when it comes to technology.”
“What’s he done now?” She giggled, holding the door open for you.
“You mean what hasn’t he done?”
“Hmm, you make a valid point. So did you enjoy your first day in your new position?”
“It was a little slower than expected to be honest.” You admitted with a shrug as the two of you made your way down the stairs, failing to notice the way Hanji was currently scrutinizing you.
Her puppy brown eyes narrowed behind her oval shaped glasses, taking in every little detail of your person her mind started to wander back to her earlier conversation with Levi.
“F/n, how long have we known each other?” She inquired.
“Since I was a teenager, you were a friend of my mother from school.” You furrowed your brows and stopped, regarding her suspiciously. “Why are you suddenly asking me this?”
“Oh no reason.” She shrugged nonchalantly. “I was just reminiscing is all. I was had a conversation with a friend earlier and it got me thinking, what are your thoughts on the idea of having past lives and reincarnation?”
“You still believe in all that huh?”
“Are you saying you don’t?”
You started descending the stairs again, humming thoughtfully.
“I believe if it can be proved with concrete evidence then it’s real.”
“You’re being stranger than usual Hanji, what’s going on?”
Hanji stopped suddenly when you spun around to face her, raising an eyebrow and folding your arms.
“I was just talking to a friend like I said and the subject came up, I’m thinking of doing some more research into it.”
“Well you have always found that kind of thing interesting.”
Hanji fought back a sigh of relief when you opened the door at the bottom of the stairs and made your way across the polished ceramic tile floor of the lobby to the main reception desk to sign out for the day.
“So you don’t believe in it then?”
“Like I said, if it can be proved with concrete evidence then it’s real.”
This response got Hanji thinking.
The fact that when Levi had described the woman in his dream, she had matched your description and even shared your first name had started to make the gears in her brain turn.
Truth be told, she had also had similar dreams to the one her colleague had currently been experiencing. Hers however involved her being an inquisitive scientist that studied the creatures Levi claimed to have killed and there were no strong connections to any one person, instead there was a strong bond of friendship with many people and conveniently several of them were people she currently knew and worked with, but when she tried to voice this they all just brushed her off as being crazy.
Still, in the back of her mind she couldn’t help but wonder if there was actually any truth to the whole theory of reincarnation actually existing, especially since hearing about Levi’s recurring dream...this certainly warranted further investigation.
“Hey Hanji, are you going to stand there all night or what?”
Blinking rapidly she looked to her right and saw you stood a few feet away with your head cocked to one side and your hands on your hips.
“Are you okay? You completely spaced out!”
“Oh yes I’m fine.” She smiled, signing out and making her way over to you. “Just the old grey matter overworking itself again.”
“You really don’t give up when you get something in your head do you?”
“Nope, I don’t!”
You rolled your eyes as the two of you made your way out of the building and into the car park.
“Well, have fun with your research. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Hanji’s brows furrowed as she watched you head over to your car, she couldn’t help but think that there was every possibility that you were indeed the person from Levi’s dream...now all she had to do was prove it.
After a fairly boring day at work, Levi finally arrived home.
“So you’re back then?” Remarked Kenny from the kitchen where he was currently reading the newspaper, not bothering to look up when Levi entered.
“Where’s my mother?” He questioned bluntly, not bothering to afford his uncle any form of greeting.
They may have been family, but that didn’t mean that they were particularly close.
Kenny had only come back on the scene since finding out about Kuchel’s illness, something which had annoyed Levi greatly.
Before that, he was lucky if he saw his uncle once or twice a year. Yes he was grateful that he had decided to stick around and help look after her, but that didn’t mean that the two of them were going to start bonding anytime soon.
“She’s upstairs resting.” Shrugged the older male, turning the page and reaching for a small glass of whiskey, raising it to his lips and knocking it back in one go.
Levi furrowed his brows and nodded, the fact that Kenny was drinking so early in the evening wasn’t a good sign.
Making his way upstairs, he approached his mother’s bedroom and knocked on the door, a loud hum of the oxygen machine could clearly be heard on the other side.
Kuchel was currently sat up in the bed reading with a nasal cannula on her face, she smiled brightly upon seeing her son.
“Levi, how was your first day back?”
“What did the doctors say?” He asked, completely ignoring her question.
Kuchel sighed and patted the bed, averting her gaze while motioning for him to sit down.
“It’s bad news I’m afraid Sweetheart...it’s now at stage four.”
“That it’s spread to my other lung.”
Levi swallowed hard, this would go a long way to explaining the increased shortness of breath she’d been experiencing recently after doing anything too strenuous.
“So is there anything that can be done?”
“Since it’s still impossible to operate, they’re going to increase the amount of chemotherapy sessions I’m having and see what happens, apart from that I have to spend an extra couple of hours a day having oxygen and try to rest as much as possible.” She replied, gesturing to the machine at the side of her bed.
Kuchel reached for his hand and held it tightly, sadness shining in her soft grey eyes.
“Maybe stronger doses and having them more frequently will help.”
Levi however looked unconvinced by his mother’s optimism, in his experience it was always best to prepare for the worst case scenario.
“Anyway, you haven’t answered my question.” She continued, releasing his hand. “How was your first day back at work in your new position?”
“Slow day.” He shrugged. “Nothing but a meeting and catching up on last year's paperwork.”
“Well I’m sure it will pick up eventually, I’ve left some dinner in the oven for you.”
Levi nodded and stood up to leave, however he was soon stopped by his mother reaching out and taking his hand again.
“Levi...go easy on Kenny when you go back downstairs, he’s taking this news quite hard too.”
Letting him go she smiled and picked up her book, watching him leave the room and quietly close the door behind him.
Exiting Kuchel’s bedroom, Levi clicked his tongue thoughtfully.
He’d been worried that things wouldn’t go well at the hospital and now his fears had been confirmed, his stress increased tenfold.
This was the last thing he needed on top of the recurring dreams that had been disrupting his sleep night after night for the past two weeks. Still, thanks to this recent revelation about his mother’s deteriorating health, he wouldn’t need to worry about the mysterious woman haunting his dreams that night.
Chances were he was going to be so stressed that sleep would evade him completely, although he wasn’t entirely sure if that was a good thing or not.
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Me: Right, time to write another chapter of hands off my mummy.
Brain: Nah let's thrash out that idea for the next chapter of i'll wait for you...i promise!
Me: NO! THAT IS ON HOLD FOR NOW!
Brain: Write it! You know you want to!
Brain: DO IT WOMAN!
I hate myself!
Brain: Nah let's thrash out that idea for the next chapter of i'll wait for you...i promise!
Me: NO! THAT IS ON HOLD FOR NOW!
Brain: Write it! You know you want to!
Brain: DO IT WOMAN!
I hate myself!