Levi led Luna by the hand to the throne where Historia was waiting, with Commander in Chief Zackley standing by her side. Stopping in front of the steps leading to the throne, Levi let go of Luna’s hand. The female in turn, performed a curtsey while the Lance Corporal bowed. Historia regarded her former superiors with a smile on her face then gave a small nod, before gesturing for the Squad Leader and Corporal to pay their respects to the rest of the nobility who were present in Luna’s debut into society. Levi took her hand and both spun around, and doing the same curtsey and bow that they offered Historia seconds ago.
It was then announced that the buffet is ready. Most nobles opted to have drinks instead, having eaten dinner before coming into the party. Luna and Levi however was a different story. They had spent the whole afternoon in preparation for this. Sure, they might have had a few snacks but it felt like a long time ago, and it took Luna a lot of self-control not to let her stomach grumble as she was being presented to her royal highness. Now that all of that is over and done with, Luna is taking no more shit that may prevent her from getting any food as she tugged at Levi’s sleeve, pulling the equally hungry Corporal to the buffet table. The raven-haired man grumbled in protest as he saw small wrinkles forming in his immaculate court uniform, but it was short-lived as Luna shoved a plate into his hand. Both officers quietly filled the small plates they had with a variety of tapas and both grabbed a glass of wine and pushed through the crowd to the bar tables set up at the sides of the ballroom.
Both were silently eating their food when they were approached by a tall and built blonde man, escorting a slender woman with shoulder-length brown hair set in loose curls.
“Mind if we join you?” Erwin asked with his usual half-smile and patting Levi on his shoulder, earning a grunt from the short man.
“You look really beautiful today, Luna! I didn’t recognize you!” Hanji said, giving Luna a bone-crushing hug and holding her at an arm’s length, studying every detail of her hair, makeup and gown.
“I see that you have washed yourself especially for today, shitty glasses.” Levi remarked, taking in Hanji’s form which was dressed in a yellow trumpet-cut haltered dress. Her hair was out of its usual pony tail and was set in loose curls that tumbled down her shoulders. Over her dress, she wore a green sash with white trims, pinned to her side with an elaborate brooch of an emerald set at the center of a cross and surrounded by smaller crystals, signifying her position in the military.
“You look dapper yourself, Levi.” Hanji smiled, turning back to the table and taking a swig of wine.
“I never thought you’d make it, actually.” Luna commented, taking her fork again and continuing her eating as if she was not just attacked by her commander.
“Why would we miss this occasion, Luna? It’s not every day you see your rough squad leader get introduced to the whole of Sina and deemed ready for marriage.” Erwin replied. The man was also wearing a full court uniform, though much more military-styled than what Levi was wearing, with a gold collar with a red stripe at the middle. He wore a gold belt over his coat and trousers with golden stripes at the sides. He also had a simple rapier hung on his right side. Erwin was wearing a sash of gold and red stripes over his shoulder, which was pinned with a cross brooch similar to Hanji’s but with a ruby set at the center instead of an emerald.
“I just thought you would have better things to do than mingle with all the nobles here.” Luna replied, casting her eyes down. She was honestly grateful that her superiors took the time to be in her court presentation. It was not that she does not feel that they cared for her, it just felt as if she was being thrown headfirst into the water, being surrounded with the same people who thought that their job was just a waste of taxes, yet sponsoring a huge party afterward after the last of the titans in the outside world has fallen. It was a big comfort for her to see these familiar faces share one of the most important events of her life with her.
All too soon, music started playing, signaling for the dancing to start. Erwin offered his hand to Luna, and led her into the dance floor. Usually, a debutante’s father would be her first dance, but seeing as Luna had already lost her family, Erwin took it upon himself, as her former commander, to be her first dance. Levi watched from the bar table as Erwin led the Squad leader into a slow waltz in tune with the music. He was too keen on observing how they moved and spun across the floor, that he did not take it lightly when he felt Hanji elbowing him. Not that he takes anything lightly.
“Hey, Levi!” Hanji whispered audibly.
“No.” Levi scowled and continued watching as Erwin handed Luna a rose from a basket set at a pedestal at the sidelines, and gave her hand over to a young man who handed her a rose as well and placed her hand over his shoulder to start their dance. Levi saw Erwin heading back to their table and nodded at his superior.
“You should be getting ready to dance, you know” the blonde man said, taking another glass of wine from a passing waiter’s tray.
“I am her last dance. There’s no need to hurry. And why are there eighteen men all in all when she is fucking twenty-three?” Levi scowled sipping his own wine.
“Debuts like this usually happen when a girl turns eighteen. It’s traditional.” Erwin said as his hand dove into his pocket and retrieved a small velvet box. Levi turned his gaze at the box, cocking an eyebrow at the blonde.
“I got you this to help you with Luna.” The former commander said, handing Levi the box and the short man opening it to find a silver ring with a princess cut diamond in the middle. This only led to further confusion on the raven-haired man’s part as he stared from Erwin to Hanji and back, demanding an explanation.
“It’s her engagement ring, silly.” Hanji smiled, nudging Levi who scowled at her. “I know we’re just doing this for the benefit of the Survey Corps, but at least we have to make it believable. Give it to her when you propose. Girls like diamonds a lot.”
“Tch. What a waste of money.” Levi stated, pocketing the box and walking off to where Luna was being passed among the young men. She was at the thirteenth dance now, and was feeling a bit tired after dancing and making small talk with several men she could hardly recall the names of. On her fifteenth dance, she saw Levi edging closer to the basket of roses, and felt relieved that it will soon be over.
Time seemed to stop as the seventeenth dance came to a stop and Luna’s partner held her by the hand awaiting Levi as he slowly approached them, holding the last rose in his hand. The man holding Luna’s hand gave it to Levi and smiled at the corporal who merely nodded in acknowledgement. He handed Luna the rose, and the Squad Leader accepted it with a smile, placing it on her other hand with the rest of the roses given to her by the other men earlier. Without any words, Luna placed her arms around Levi’s neck and started dancing, as the orchestra started playing a slow tune.
Levi stared intently at Luna, finally having the chance to observe her this close tonight. She did look different. While in the military, she always looked like a new recruit, even after spending more than ten years in it, including her years in training. Though one could not deny that underneath that youthful look, she bore more scars than the recruits. Her eyes always had that steely glance of determination whenever they go outside the walls for an expedition. She could make decisions on the spot and knows when to save a comrade or risk their lives for the cause. She has learned not to blush whenever a man dresses in front of her, and has learned to dress as well into her uniform in front of the other sex without batting an eyelash.
Looking at her now, it was almost impossible to see how the life at the military has hardened her but, Levi being one of them, was able to detect these subtle signs. Her posture, though it held grace was stiff as if lining up for inspection, just as they were trained to do back in the academy. Her eyes do not hold the innocence which can be found on most noble women her age. They were the eyes of someone who has seen the horrors outside the walls as well as countless deaths of their comrades. Her muscles underneath her dress were well-developed from all those years of using the 3D Maneuver Gear. All of these aside, Levi could not help but agree with Hanji that Luna looked particularly stunning tonight. Not that he shall admit it to the woman out loud, but for the first time in years, Levi acknowledged that a woman could be attractive in a dress, and a little part of him took pride that he was the one who helped the woman before him dress up earlier. Now that was something the other men had not seen. Usually, Levi would scoff at how inconvenient dresses were in women but this night, he doesn’t really mind, though maybe it was the booze already taking over his thoughts.
The music ended as Levi and Luna spun around a final time. The broke apart, and bowed to the crowd around them who started clapping their hands obligingly. The rest of the night was a haze as Luna was taken away from the company of her military friends by several noble men, making small talks and trying to introduce her to their sons who were eligible bachelors in the community. Erwin smiled and Hanji chuckled to herself as she watched Levi scowl at the sight of Luna smiling and talking with young noble men who were hopelessly trying to flirt with her. As the evening passed, several people began to leave and soon, Luna approached Levi, Hanji and Erwin at their table.
“This is tiring. I can’t stand those men at all!” Luna said, taking a glass of wine from one of the few remaining waiters roaming about. “All they ever talk about was their life learning how to dance, how to fence and all that stuff. I bet their fencing would not help them if Eren suddenly decides to body slam Sina again.” The squad leader scoffed, downing the rest of her wine in one go. Hanji laughed at this, while Erwin managed to maintain his composure as he offered Luna a smile.
“Surely, you must have had a type from all those men introduced to you tonight?” Hanji asked, a gleam of curiosity in her eyes.
“Not a chance. Sure, they don’t look half as bad as some other cadets we’ve had lately, but I don’t think I would ever feel secure if I ever have to be married to one of them. Like I said, they are all pussies. I don’t think they can even defend themselves properly, let alone their wife, if somebody was to come and brandish a knife in front of them. I want to feel safe with whoever will be my husband. I think I deserve that after fighting for myself and for humanity for so long. After all, every girl wants a protector no matter how tough they may be.” Hanji smiled at this, placing a hand on the Squad Leader’s shoulder while Erwin gave Levi a subtle wink.
“I think we should leave now as well, don’t you think, Hanji?” Erwin asked a few moments later, checking his pocket watch for the time.
“A-ah! Yes! Thank you for tonight, Luna! I’ll see you soon at the headquarters!” The brunette said, her hand snaking around Erwin’s arm as they both waved their goodbyes to Levi and Luna.
“Let’s go. “ Levi told Luna, cocking his head to the back doors where they entered earlier. “Unless you want to stay and clean up. I’m going. I’m feeling tired as hell and this uniform is too hot.” Without waiting for Luna, Levi turned and made for the doors, already loosening his cravat in the process. Luna ran after him, not wanting to be left behind with all those people.
Luna sat in front of her dresser, towel-drying her hair. She wore a simple white button down shirt and gray sleeping shorts. She had just taken a bath so now her hair was free from all the intensive styling it went through that afternoon and back to its original state. Luna ran a comb through her slightly damp locks, determined to dry them through before going to bed, when she heard a knock on her door. Thinking that it could be May, the maid assigned to her, coming to ask if she needed anything before going to bed, she called out for the person to come in.
The person, however, was not May. It was Levi who entered her room and closed the door behind him. Luna turned in her seat in front of the dresser to look at the man slowly approaching her. He was wearing a black tank top, showing some of the scars he has along his built arms. He was wearing a pair of grey drawstring sweatpants, with his hands in its pockets. The corporal stopped right in front of her, causing her to crane her neck to look at Levi in the face as he stared down at her, that expressionless face not giving away any of his intentions for coming into her room this late at night.
“Hey, Levi. What’s up?” Luna asked as she gave the corporal a smile she knew he would never return. She then shifted her glance into his hand as he withdrew a small velvet box from his pocket and set it on her dresser table. Luna gingerly picked up the box, her hands shaking as she traced the edge of the lid with her thumb, too scared to open it. “W-what’s this?”
“Your engagement ring, idiot. Now that you’ve been presented to court, that makes you eligible for marriage. And, as agreed back in the headquarters, I am asking for your hand in marriage.” Levi explained, and when he saw that Luna did not make any move to open the box, he cocked an eyebrow at her. “Well?”
Luna slowly opened the lid of the box with shaky fingers, and gasped audibly as she took in the details of the beautiful ring inside. A part of her was happy in receiving a diamond ring. It has always been her dream to receive one as her engagement ring, though she had pushed that thought to the very back of her mind, making her duties as a military woman her top priority. A part of her was sad, however, that the engagement was just a political marriage to benefit the Survey Corps. She would have hoped for a more romantic proposal from a man she loves, filled with roses, sweet music and tearful speeches about how his love for her has helped him come to a decision to marry her. Sitting here, wearing her sleep clothes, in front of a man whom she only sees as her superior, with him asking her to marry him in a rather commanding fashion was not really the way to go. Levi clicked his tongue as Luna continued to ogle at the ring. He took the ring from its box and took Luna’s left hand and put the ring on her ring finger. Luna only stared at the ring on her finger, admiring the effect of it on her hand and stared up at Levi.
“There. Now those stupid assholes will know that you belong to someone.” Levi stated, and patted Luna's shoulder as he turned and left her alone, still trying to process what just happened. Levi opened the door, but before he left, he turned and smirked at the Squad leader.
“Let’s see what their weak asses could do now that you’re engaged.”