Title: Fondness
Pairing: Jean/Armin
Rating: Mature
Word Count: ~500
Additional Tags: AU – Canon Divergence, aged-up, established relationship

Waking up came slowly, with bleary eyes and arms stretched over his head, the muscles of his shoulders aching sweetly from the previous night’s activities. After four long months of tense conferences and worrying— as he was ought to do at times like these— his movements were sluggish, as if his exhaustion had finally descended upon him and was holding him down and keeping him in bed. Armin rolled over and sighed into the sheets, reaching across the bed, and was surprised to find that Jean wasn’t beside him. The blankets had fallen from the bed sometime during the night, excluding a thermal sheet he had pulled tightly around himself. Armin felt shaky and cold and the absence of Jean only made him feel colder.

Through the wall, Armin heard the tap come on, water thundering out of the dilapidated pipes and into the copper bathtub. He climbed out of bed and wrapped the sheet around his naked body, sweeping it off of the bed along with a few throw pillows and, quite possibly, Jean’s briefs. He padded to the bathroom on frigid feet and opened the door.

The copper bathtub had been filled to the brim with steaming water and, much to Armin’s chagrin, pinkish, rose-scented bubbles. The floral smell of the bath combined with the heat radiating from the tub drew Armin in. He moved to stand directly beside the tub and dropped the sheet. It slithered to the floor and pooled around his ankles. Armin stepped out of it and lifted a leg to step into the tub. The water was heavenly, just the right temperature, and Armin was soon submerged up to his chin. His eyes drooped closed and a quiet moan of contentment escaped his lips.

Armin must’ve fallen asleep at some point. A little splash and the water shifting and rippling around him startled him awake and he jerked upright. Years of living with the threat of the Titans had taught Armin constant vigilance, and his arms came up and crossed in defense, a knee-jerk reaction.

“It’s okay, it’s only me,” Jean said, leaning over the tub. His hand, which had caused the splash, had been hastily jerked out of the water.

“Oh,” Armin said, a little breathlessly. “Sorry.” Jean stroked his shoulder in reassurance.

“Didn’t you know? It’s not safe to fall asleep in the tub alone. Now move up, so I can get in,” Jean said, a smile in his voice. Armin complied, and felt more than saw Jean climb in behind him.

“Here, lean back” Jean said, clasping his elbow beneath the water. Armin relaxed onto Jean’s chest. Arms wrapped themselves around Armin’s stomach and chest. Jean’s lips ghosted along the shell of his ear. Against the small of his back, Armin could feel Jean’s hardness, and when he reached for it, his hand was gently stopped and placed back on his chest. Jean’s fingers interlaced with his.

“There’s time for that later. We still have a whole week of vacation ahead of us,” Jean said softly. The faucet dripped, but the bathroom was otherwise quiet. “Sleep now.”

“Yes sir, Commander Kirschtein,” Armin said, head lulling onto Jean’s shoulder behind him. “Whatever you say.”

The last thing Armin heard before nodding off to sleep was Jean’s short bark of a laugh.

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