Hubert von Vestra was not a jealous man.
In fact, Hubert couldn’t remember a time in his life he had ever been jealous. He wasn’t a simple and insecure weakling, he never lacked complete confidence in himself and his abilities, so he never experienced anything akin to feeling inferiority when it came to many things in his life.
He was intellectually superior than most of his classmates; he learned concepts quicker and retained knowledge easier. He was also an excellent schemer strategist, orchestrating quite a few…disappearances…so Lady Edelgard would have one less inconvenience. To top it all off he was a highly skilled mage, knowing more magic and spells than other students and it also helped that he knew his way around a sword.
Hubert also wasn’t naïve. He was completely aware of others’ talents. He knew Linhardt was a prodigy and had a vast amount of knowledge especially about crests, he knew that Claude was the ultimate strategist and got almost everything he wanted due to his elaborate plans and dirty tactics, and he also knew that Felix and Dimitri were far better and more proficient with a sword than him. Despite knowing that other people were far more talented than him in certain aspects, he still never felt inferior.
‘So why,’ he fumed, looking at the laughing forms of his professor and Claude, ‘am I feeling something akin to it right now?’
Professor (Y/n) proved to be a nuisance in more ways than one.
To be perfectly honest, he hated her in the beginning. She was this anomaly, a complete outsider, and one day she walked into the monastery, a girl younger than him, and was suddenly a professor and in charge of the Black Eagles. It did not seem right. At first he thought she was a spy, that he and Lady Edelgard’s true plans had been found out so they sent (Y/n) to watch over them. However, after many days and hours spent trailing the girl and observing her actions, he came to the realization that she was just a normal girl. It was riveting, honestly. He was at least certain she wasn’t a spy but he still knew that she was somehow different than everyone else, he just wasn’t sure how.
Despite finding out that she was just a normal human being, he still wanted to let her know that if she really was a spy, or someone who would betray Edelgard, she would have to face him and his wrath first. So one day, to make his point clear, he stopped her when they were alone in a secluded hallway and threatened her. Unfortunately for him she didn’t seem that phased at all and he even put on his most intimidating glare and most threatening voice. Hubert found that without even trying people found him scary so with just a bit more effort he was easily terrifying.
However, she barely batted an eyelash! She even told him to have a good day after he was done! It infuriated him, and it didn’t help that Lady Edelgard had taking a liking to her. It was exactly that reason why he even paid professor (Y/n) so much attention, he had to make sure that she was a suitable and useful ally and above all an efficient teacher.
And efficient teacher she was, despite her age she was highly skilled with almost every weapon, she was extremely knowledgeable about magic and she knew far more spells than the average mage at the academy. She paid very special attention to every student, making sure they got the help and guidance that they needed whether it be helping Lady Edelgard swing more efficiently with an axe or giving Bernadetta pointers on how to better hold her bow. She was just this jack of all trades and he assumed that was probably why she was appointed as a professor instead of a student.
He was sure he was drawn to her simply because she might pose a threat but after many after class lessons alone, lunches spent together, and idle chats by her room late at night he wasn’t sure if that was the case anymore. He had to admit it, he actually enjoyed her company. However, he would rather be buried six feet under ground before saying that aloud. Especially not when everyone else in that damned school did.
It was no surprise that the entire student population loved her; she was the textbook definition of friendly. The students in the Blue Lions and the Golden Deer did especially and she wasn’t even their professor! She got along tremendously well with Black Eagles. She and Dorothea would practice singing together, she would relax with Bernadetta in her room, trained with Caspar and Petra, researched more information about crests with Linhardt, indulged Ferdinand whenever he wanted to brag about being a noble, and spent a lot of quality time with Lady Edelgard indulging in – Hubert shivered – sweets. That one especially irked him, because no matter how many times Hubert tried to make (Y/n) seem like an untrustworthy person Lady Edelgard would do nothing but defend her.
The two of them had gotten very close, and while Hubert was happy to see his dear friend break down her defenses, even just a tiny bit, with someone else it still bothered him that it was (Y/n) whom she was wasting her time with.
Everything in his body screamed that (Y/n) was an enemy, that she could not be trusted, yet here he was, feeling strange while he watched her and Claude relax together underneath the gazebo in the monastery’s garden.
It was odd because Hubert was always a decisive person. He rarely had internal conflicts because once he made a decision, he was too stubborn to even consider an alternative unless he was absolutely sure he was wrong (which he rarely was). However, for some reason when it came to the professor, he couldn’t make up his mind. One moment he would be slandering her and the next he would be relishing in her attention.
A thought crossed his mind that maybe he was only upset whenever she gave that attention to anyone else but him, but he quickly discarded it as soon it entered his mind.
The sound of the professor and Claude laughing snapped him out of his thoughts.
Hubert huffed. This was pointless. He looked away from the two friends who continued to chat and laugh amicably and continued to make his way towards the Black Eagles’ classroom.
Both he and Lady Edelgard were always the first to arrive to lectures and they were also always found sitting up front. Since Lady Edelgard was the house leader she had to lead by example such as being a model student and since Hubert was her advisor and retainer, he also had to do the same.
“Good morning Hubert,” Edelgard smiled brightly as he sat next to her.
“Good morning Lady Edelgard,” he mumbled.
Edelgard looked at her friend curiously while he kept his eyes focused forward and his brows furrowed, wondering what was causing him to be so distracted. Usually her retainer was more attentive to her, asking her many questions such as if she had eaten or if she had gotten whatever task he had assigned her to do the previous day done by now. Today, however, he seemed to be too deep in his thoughts to pay her any mind which was not like him at all.
After a few minutes their classmates started to file in. Caspar was the first to enter the classroom, talking very loudly about the exciting new training regimens he had been trying while he enthusiastically dragged a drowsy Linhardt into class. Dorothea came in after with a subtle but still very annoyed expression while a frantic Ferdinand followed her exclaiming something about why he was a bee. Petra came in last looking a bit frazzled while she dragged a scared and timid Bernadetta hanging off her arm.
No matter how hard Hubert tried to drown out his thoughts with his classmates’ loud actions he found himself thinking back to the Professor and how her face looked quite pleasant when she was laughing but then his mood instantly soured when he remembered it was Claude who had caused her to look so.
Hubert inwardly curse, he did not expect (Y/n) to affect him so today. Speaking of the professor, Hubert glanced at the podium and realized that the person plaguing his thoughts still wasn’t here yet. Checking the clock he scowled when he saw that she was running late. Running late because she was too busy basking in Claude’s compliments that smoothly rolled off that man’s tongue. He groaned and roughly buried his hands into his hair in frustration. He should not be thinking about this.
Edelgard looked over at him with a concerned frown.
“Are you alright?” she asked, starting to feel worried for her friend. “Are you sick?”
“No, my apologies Lady Edelgard, I am feeling a bit…out of sorts.”
“Out of sorts? Why, what is a-“
“Sorry I’m late everyone! I got caught up in some business!” Professor (Y/n) yelled as she burst into the classroom. Her hair was messy with strands sticking everywhere and she was panting, her chest rapidly rising up and down. She scurried to the front and messily dumped her belongings onto the chair. Digging through her bag she found her chalk and ran over to the chalkboard to write today’s lesson.
‘Business’ he thought bitterly to himself. He knew exactly why she was late, and it wasn’t due to “business”.
“If you consider idle and useless prattle as ‘business’, I suggest you reevaluate what you deem as important,” he found himself saying, and suddenly all eyes were on him. "It is merely a suggestion, if I were in your position Professor I would value teaching my students more than gossiping.”
To his surprise the Professor merely blinked at him before a small, and very amused smile graced her face, "Hubert! Good morning to you too as well! You’re just as charming as ever."
“Charming?" Hubert chuckled, folding his gloved hands as he leered at her, "You have my gratitude, not many people have used such a word to describe me before. However, as much as I would love to continue to listen to you praise my character, I wouldn't want to intrude on our precious class time, especially considering that we are unfortunately set back fifteen minutes.”
Edelgard subtly elbowed him and he closed his mouth before he could make another biting remark. Why was he being so hostile today?
Professor (Y/n) merely smiled once again, “Don’t worry Hubert, I will make sure you get all the learning you need today.” Turning away from him, the Professor greeted the class and started to explain their objectives for the day.
Hubert and Edelgard took out their paper and quills but before Hubert could began writing she harshly whispered, “What was that?”
“Please do elaborate on what you are referring to my dear princess.”
“Why are you being so openly disrespectful to the professor?”
Hubert looked at her and chuckled, “I thought you would know by now how I feel about her.”
“I know you distrust her but you’re never this openly hostile. Your preferred method of intimidation is always subtle through vague threats. Which means you are being uncharacteristically like yourself. I know you Hubert, I have known you since we were children. So whatever it is that you think you can hide from me I’m afraid you cannot.”
Hubert grimaced. Of course not, of course he could not fool Lady Edelgard when she was the only person who truly knew him.
“Forgive me for my bluntness, but I had told you earlier that I am feeling out of sorts today. This is just merely one of the side effects.”
Not wanting to continue disrupting class, Edelgard left it at that and turned her attention back to the professor and started taking notes. Throughout the lesson she would notice Hubert would lose concentration and just end up staring at the professor. Clearly something about her was irking him but she just couldn’t figure it out what. Had he been right? Had she truly been a spy? Was she trying to stop them and their plans from coming to fruition? She couldn’t believe it, she spent so much time with (Y/n) that Edelgard was sure that (Y/n) was to be trusted.
She was going to ask him about her speculation when the class ended but before she could speak he was already out of his seat and on his way to the Professor’s podium.
“Professor,” Hubert spoke, clearing his throat to get her attention. She was in the middle of packing up before she looked up and coyly smiled at him.
“Hubert, my class charmer, what can I do for you?”
His mouth quirked up slightly at that nickname. “I simply have a few questions.”
(Y/n) who had still been behind her desk, finished packing up her supplies and moved to the other side so she could rest against it as she gave Hubert, who now only stood a few inches from her, her full attention.
Edelgard, who was the only one left in the room besides Hubert and the Professor, was still in her seat since she and Hubert were practically inseparable, and she patiently watched them banter back and forth about battle tactics and weapon strategies. It was then, as she watched the way Hubert's eyes would light up when the Professor laughed, or the small quirk of his lips whenever she playfully teased him, that she realized what had been bothering him this whole time.
“Why would you position them there?”
“Think about it this way, a typical mage can accurately hit a target up ten feet, so if you have a warrior who can protect the mage when the enemy, especially an enemy with low mobility and range such as another warrior or a brawler, the mage can effectively cast their spells while the warrior, who is far stronger and more equipped with suitable armor can act as a buffer.”
“That is true, however, if you put a rather skilled warlock, such as myself, who can cast up to thirty even fifty feet depending on the spell, you can save the warrior the hassle of moving and taking unnecessary damage because the warlock would have been able to get rid of the enemy unit before they could even attack.”
(Y/n) laughed and he almost swore that his heart had skipped a beat. “Yes, well, not everyone is as talented as you are.”
Hubert chuckled, his gloved fingers forming an L under his chin as he looked at her in mock thought, "Another compliment, Professor? I had told you before, flattery will get you nowhere."
(Y/n) took a step closer, their bodies almost touching. He was almost an entire foot taller than her so she had to look up to look him in the eyes, “I am not trying to flatter you," she said with the deepest sincerity in her voice. "I am simply stating a fact, Hubert."
He liked how she said his name. “Professor, if you are not busy later-“
The doors to the classroom burst open so harshly that it caused the three people residing in the classroom to jump and instinctively take out their weapons.
“Ah, pardon me! I did not mean to-“ an awkward and flustered Dimitri stuttered as he frantically examined the doors to make sure he didn’t accidentally break it in his entrance. (Y/n) and Edelgard visibly relaxed and sheathed their weapons while Hubert faltered, just for a second, before sheathing his own.
He knew that Dimitri’s presence could only mean one thing and he was not happy.
“Oh no, I’m so sorry Dimitri I had completely forgotten we had lance practice! I have just been all over the place today,” (Y/n) grumbled as she reached for her things, briefly brushing past Hubert as she ran over to the blonde to make sure he wasn't injured.
“That is alright Professor, I am just happy you are okay! I had gotten worried when you hadn’t shown up at the training grounds, you’re never late so I thought…”
(Y/n) giggled, “You were worried about me? How sweet, your highness.”
Dimitri visibly flushed but didn’t reply. Grabbing the doorknob more gently this time he cautiously opened the door for her, making sure it wasn’t going to fly off its hinges.
(Y/n) halted before she made her way completely out of the classroom to look back at Hubert. “I am so sorry Hubert, I had forgotten that I had made a few plans with Dimitri. If you aren’t busy later, maybe we could continue our discussion-“
Hubert held up his hand, effectively silencing the Professor. With a subtle hint of venom in his voice he responded, "I have other matters to attend to as well, do not fret over it.”
(Y/n)’s smile faltered, just a bit, just enough for Edelgard to notice. “Yes of course…my apologies…well, have a good day.” (Y/n) looked over to Edelgard as well. “And you as well your highness.”
As Professor (Y/n) left with Dimitri, Hubert realized that Edelgard had been waiting for him this entire time and immediately turned his attention towards her with a panicked look on his face. Edelgard, who was leaning against the table with her belongings in her arms, had a relaxed smile on her face.
“Lady Edelgard!" he rasped, dropping to one knee he bowed his head low and slapped his hand harshly over his heart, "You have my deepest apologies, I am afraid I got caught in asking the Professor-“
Edelgard abruptly laughed and Hubert snapped up to look at her incredulously. Tears were prickling the sides of her eyes as she hid her mouth behind her hand to stop herself from being too rude.
“It is alright Hubert," she said, with a smile when her laughter subsided; she gestured him to rise and he did, "I finally understand."
“Understand? Understand what?”
“What has gotten you so riled up," before Hubert could ask what she meant she spoke again. “You’re jealous.”
Hubert began to sputter, something so uncharacteristic of him that Edelgard couldn’t help herself from bursting into laughter again.
“J-Jealous?! Of whom?!” the man was absolutely seething, Hubert losing his composure was so very rare and she was loving every minute of it.
“Dimitri of course,” she said in the middle of her laughter.
“Why, pray tell, would I ever be jealous of Dimitri?!”
“Oh Hubert, isn’t it obvious? Because he has the professor’s attention of course,” she said with a sly smile.
Hubert was contemplating shutting down. Jealous? Him? Hubert von Vestra? The future heir to esteemed and infamous House Vestra? Edelgard’s ruthless retainer and hidden blade? Jealous? He simply couldn't comprehend it.
“Hubert please, you are the most intelligent person I know, do not tell me you do not know what I am implying.”
He knew, of course. He just didn’t want to say it out loud. Because if he said it, if he let the thought enter his head, he feared it might be true. He had known for a while now, had felt it every time he saw (Y/n), and the feeling was undeniable when her attention was on him. Her smile, her laughter, her kindness, her cleverness, absolutely everything that made up (Y/n) would invade his thoughts and refused to leave, always sneaking up on him when he least expected it. But he couldn't. He had duties he had to fulfill, plans to make, he had pledged his loyalties to Lady Edelgard he couldn’t-
“Hubert, you have a crush on (Y/n).”
“That is preposterous,” he snarled.
Edelgard sighed and ran her fingers through her twinkling white hair, “How many times must I remind you not lie to me?”
“Hubert listen to me. I have always feared that your devotion to me might cause you to not live your life fully. I appreciate your loyalty immensely, but I appreciate your friendship above all. I just want you to be happy.”
Hubert scoffed, “Say I did have a crush, that would not exactly interfere on my happiness.”
“No, you are right. However, all I ask is that you be honest with yourself. If you do like the Professor, or anyone else for that matter, I do not wish our obligations to each other cause you to deny yourself your own desires. You have every right to pursue the things you want in life. You have a right to be selfish. "
Hubert was silent, processing what his dear princess had just said. He knew from the moment that he devoted himself to Edelgard that everything else in his life would be secondary. His health, his sleep, his relationships, his wants, and his needs would be taken into consideration after Edelgard’s.
He knew she didn’t want that for him, but as he told her so many times before: this was his choice. He wanted to devote himself to her. At first it was simply because that was part of his family legacy. However, once she came back from Faerghus after she had abruptly disappeared from his life, he realized it was because he cared. He treasured Edelgard deeply. She was his closest friend and to repay her for her friendship he was going to pledge his undying loyalty to her and be her most stalwart servant. Nothing was going to get in the way of him being the perfect retainer. Not even his own life.
Yet here she was saying that it was okay. That it was okay for him to go against every fiber of his being, to pursue something other than Lady Edelgard’s wishes. It was inconceivable.
Hubert huffed. “I will…consider it.”
Edelgard, who had been holding her breath the entire time of his silence, visibly relaxed. “Thank you, my friend. That is all I ask.”
After their conversation the two continued with their daily routine. They went to the training grounds to spar and practice their skills, ate dinner together at the dining hall, and later met in her room to discuss their plans and the current actions that needed to be taken.
It was almost nine o’clock when he left Lady Edelgard’s room. Hubert wasn’t particularly tired, most nights he stayed up late and rose at dawn, requiring so little sleep from years and years of practice. Just like eating, he found sleeping to be annoying basic necessity. There was always so many things that needed to be done and so little time in a day to do them so he tried utilizing as much of his time as he could.
He decided that he was going to spend the rest of the night composing letters to several noble families he thought would be willing to join their cause. Not outrightly stated of course, just a humble message saying they should consider supporting Edelgard or something unfortunate might happen.
Hubert’s room was right next door to Edelgard’s, but the few seconds he stood in the hallway was long enough for him to hear the laughter coming from the stairs behind him. Unfortunately, he immediately recognized that laugh and he realized he should have gone into his room instead of waiting because the sight of (Y/n) and Dimitri was very unwelcoming.
As soon as (Y/n) emerged from the stairway and turned the corner she met his eyes. Shockingly, instead of a frown or just obvious dismissal of his character, her face actually lit up like she was genuinely happy to see him, “Hubert! Hello!”
The wide smile that had been on Dimitri’s face fell as soon as the prince saw him. Despite Dimitri’s usual princely politeness, Hubert knew that the prince didn’t trust nor like him. And he was wise to do so. However, Hubert wasn’t going prove him right.
“Good evening (Y/n),” he looked at Dimitri with a fake smile, “your highness.”
“Hello Hubert,” Dimitri responded with neither kindness nor malice.
Hubert’s eyes moved away from the prince to look over (Y/N). She was still in her usual clothing and the fact that she was still Dimitri meant that she spent the entire day with him. Hubert’s eyes shifted over to the blonde again and he had to fight the urge to give him one of his most menacing glares.
No one could deny the fact that Dimitri was attractive. He was tall with a fit form, handsome face, kind blue eyes, and a gentle smile. He was the ideal prince, coming straight out of a fairytale. Hubert, on the other hand, was more like the wicked villains. He had piercing pale green eyes, prominent cheek bones, an angular face, and a permanent scowl. He knew, that compared to the other men and women vying for the professor’s attention he wasn’t one of the contenders for most attractive.
And maybe, he thought, that was the reason why he was…jealous. Because compared to everyone else that loved the Professor, he didn’t hold a candle. He wasn’t as conventionally attractive as Dimitri, wasn’t as funny as Claude, wasn’t as kind as Ferdinand, and he didn’t know a single thing about flirting like Sylvain. Although Hubert supposed that he should be thankful for that last one.
The professor had her choice of anyone in the monastery, so why would she ever choose to actively spend her time with a callous, manipulative, and terrifying man who constantly threatened and degraded her.
It was because of her, that Hubert for once in his life, finally felt insecure.
He stopped himself. He was tired of these thoughts. He was tired of feeling jealous. He didn’t like it. This was an awful feeling, and he wanted to despise (Y/n) for causing him to feel so.
“Well,” he spoke, “Have a good night.”
Bowing like a proper retainer, he turned his back towards them to enter his room.
Hubert glanced over his shoulder. Dimitri was staring incredulously at (Y/n) due to her sudden outburst while (Y/n) stood with her attention completely focused on Hubert and Hubert only.
“Uh, what I mean to say is- uhm,” she was blushing immensely, and Hubert wondered if that blush reached other parts of her body.
“Yes, my dear Professor?”
As if he could tell that his presence was not currently welcome, Dimitri cleared his throat and turned towards the Professor with a kind smile. “Please excuse me, I should be heading to bed. Thank you again for today Professor, have a wonderful evening.”
Dimitri politely bowed to her and Hubert before continuing down the hallway to his room leaving an awkward (Y/n) and Hubert left in an empty hallway.
“Now, what were you trying to so eloquently say?” in the short time it took Dimitri to leave, the two found themselves closer than they were before.
“Sorry about that, I was simply wondering…if you were not too tired, if you wanted to continue our discussion on strategy.”
Hubert scoffed, “And continue to waste your time on me? I do not need your pity Professor, nor do I desire it.”
Hubert turned to enter his room but stopped when (Y/n) reached out to gently grab his arm.
(Y/n) had a fierce expression on her face, her turquoise eyes burning with emotion as she gazed into his pale green ones, “Waste of my time? Pity? What are you going on about?”
“I mean,” he spoke, his tone turning dark as he leered down at her, “That you do not have to pretend to take an interest in me. It is clear that you prefer the company of others, so cease this ‘perfect and friendly Professor’ act. I will not be offended.”
(Y/n) was silent.
She owlishly blinked at him.
And then she laughed.
“Hubert,” she spoke while she smiled gently at him and he felt his heart jump again.
“Contrary to your belief, I enjoy spending time with you,” he wanted to argue with her back, accuse her of being manipulative and a liar but he could tell by looking into her eyes that she meant every single word. “I like our little chats, our witty banter, and yes, I even don't mind your occasional threat. So, if you are not busy for the rest of the night, and if you do not hate my company, I would love to spend more time with you.”
Hubert stared at her, hard, his heart beating faster than usual. It was then he realized he had to be honest to not only (Y/n), but to himself.
Sighing he closed his eyes, rubbed his temples, and once he opened them he looked down at her with the tiniest of smiles. “Who would have guessed the Professor was such a masochist. Very well, I will indulge you with more threats if you so desire.”
(Y/n) beamed at him and Hubert opened the door to his room, gesturing her to walk inside.
He decided, while (Y/n) looked around his room with bright and curious eyes, that having a tiny crush on her wouldn’t be too unpleasant.