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Closet Challenger

By @Grallingbo

Knock, knock.

“Go away.”

Mike knew it’d be difficult to catch Levi’s full attention. After defeating the boss of Floor 74, Levi wanted nothing to do with the other guild members; Mike especially. Levi never liked him to begin with. It felt as if the situation that occurred at Floor 74 had only increased Levi’s hatred towards the blonde.

Knock, knock.

“I said, go away.

They had taken down the boss together. It was a victory that none of the other members of the Survey Corps saw coming. Even though they never exchanged words that often, it was quite obvious that there were struggles between the two men. Whether it was a disagreement that they had come to or just a general hatred, no one knew why they disliked one another so much. It all didn’t seem to matter now, though; here Mike was, standing in front of Levi’s door.

Knock, knock.

The door in front of Mike swung inward.

“Do you have ears, Mike?” Levi shouted, stepping forward and breaking the barrier of personal space between them. “Or does your sense of smell seem to overrule everything else about you?”

“Calm down,” Mike growled, his voice husky and low, “or else you’ll wake everyone in this house up!”

Levi exhaled impatiently, baring his teeth in a nasty scowl. Grabbing Mike by the arm, he yanked him inside of the room. He then released his arm and shoved Mike backward, causing him to stumble against the door, closing it. Levi kept his hands flat against Mike’s chest, keeping him pinned in place.

Levi leaned in closer towards Mike’s face, his expression still menacing despite him having to stand on his toes in order to nearly level himself with Mike.

“Don’t tell me to calm down,” Levi hissed. “I’ve been infuriated ever since that battle with The Gleam Eyes. Losing more than half of our guild members to one boss doesn’t feel all that great. More importantly, it was awful, having to work with you of all people in order to take that thing down. Your cooperation is the worst, Mike, because you think you can handle it all by yourself!”

“It’s not like you’re any different,” Mike snapped back, shoving Levi off of him with his forearm. “I know you let your strength get to your head sometimes and you end up taking the lead over everybody else. You don’t stop to think that maybe, just maybe your selfishness is what’s getting our people killed.

“What the hell are you talking about? It ain’t my fault that someone can’t speak out and actually prevent those deaths from happening. I care about these players–”

“And so do I. If you really cared about these players then–”

“Don’t you ever interrupt me again,” Levi grabbed Mike by the collar and pulled him down to his level. “For a half-mute, I wouldn’t think you’d muster up the balls to speak this much anyways.”

Levi could see Mike’s face much clearer, now. There were no lights on in his room; instead, it was the moonlight that shone through the window that (barely) illuminated the small space. Standing in front of the window with Mike down to his height, Levi could see the taller man’s expression.

Levi knew that for Mike, absolute anger would always be conveyed through small means. Now, Levi could see it; Mike’s face wasn’t twisted in this strange, manic expression, but instead, he just looked exhausted. Enraged, yes, but the weariness in his face appeared to overrule the anger.

Mike began with a stutter.

“Loo-…”–he sighed–“Levi, as much as it looked like it, I didn’t come here to argue. I came here for a request. Up until that fight with The Gleam Eyes, I was never aware of how truly strong you were, since I always looked down upon rapier users.”

Levi cocked an eyebrow.

“Well, it was primarily because I thought rapier users could never hit hard. They depended on their speed and dexterity to overwhelm the enemy. When our teammates began to get picked off, one by one, I just knew that, soon, I’d have to team with you. Then, after the battle ended, I was stunned. Not by the battle itself, it was how much I underestimated your abilities. You were stronger than I thought you would’ve been.”

There was a pause.

“So, Levi… I came here to request a duel.”

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