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so many questions that still burn

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if we’re both not married by twenty-two, could i be so bold and ask you?

 

His first proposal - out of many more - leaves his mouth both unplanned and unbidden, an unfortunate insight into the depths of his very soul, and Sylvain himself is so unprepared that he almost backtracks.

They’ve been at war for two years now, which now seems like both an instant and an eternity. War is mostly… okay, or at the very least, okayer than what Sylvain could have imagined -- he’s very rarely on the frontlines, after all, and neither is Felix, which is truly what’s most important. Sylvain is mostly stuck in Castle Gautier, attending to his father after his mother’s untimely death; he had been training as an advisor, and essentially was one, until the news of His Highness’ execution had reached Gautier territory and the word hadn’t meant anything anymore. However, if someone were to ask him how he felt about the war today, he would dare say he was grateful ; the Sreng rebellion he has been sent to quench high up in the Gautier mountains proves good enough distraction from the dozens and dozens of engagement offers his father keeps pushing onto him like wine glasses at house parties. Sylvain has perfected the art of deflecting and ignoring most of them, and craftily fumbling the ones that do make it through the artful catalogue of arguments and excuses he keeps at the ready for his father’s lordly ears. 

It’s okay, he thinks. He’s only ever been interested in one person.

The light from the dim, numerous candles in the tavern gives Felix’s pale skin an almost silvery glow, his dark hair a glossy shine not unlike moonlight on the ocean waves; above all, he looks younger, sweeter, handsomer -- although in an unconventional, rough kind of way, looks both so dissimilar and so alike the boy he has met fifteen years ago, the man he has been reunited with at the officer’s academy. Sylvain had joined Garreg Mach more for his family’s sake than his own, his mother’s eyes waterlogged as she had waved him goodbye, their midnight blue reminding him of iodine wind and long-gone summer days and unsent letters. Sylvain had not recognized the young man right away when they had reached the monastery -- he had let his hair grow longer, just like he wore it when they had met for the first time. He had grown taller, leaner, too, all angular face and strong arms and toned legs and shapely-- he had turned his gaze to him, and Sylvain had smiled his charming smile.

"Felix, fuck. I didn't recognize you, with how beautiful you are,” he had said, and he had expected red -- red to the cheeks and red to the lips. What he’d got had been a cold stare full of disinterest and disdain.

"This must be really tiring for you, isn't it?" Felix had said as he’d passed him, without sparing Sylvain as much as a second glance, and had gone straight to his room.

Still, Felix had grown warmer to Sylvain as the months had flown by -- his smiles brighter, his laughs noisier, his gazes longer, until they’d all been blown to smithereens in the wake of Garreg Mach’s fall with no time and no one to glue their pieces back together. 

It’s okay, he thinks. He’s the only one fit for the job anyway.

“To victory!” The Gautier knights toast, and the clank of beer mugs and wine goblets fills the inn along the laughter that follows. 

“To victory,” Sylvain says like a secret, turning to Felix. He has been at Sylvain’s side with the faithfulness of a shadow since he arrived to Castle Gautier three weeks ago, both on and off the roads and battlefields, and tonight is no exception. 

“Happy birthday,” Felix answers instead, and there’s the softest trace of a smile on his face, almost a phantasm in the clair-obscur of the tavern, as he clinks their glasses in cheer. He’s the only one who remembers. Sylvain wouldn’t have it any other way.

They drink like they haven’t drunk in a long time. Beer and wine splash into glasses and onto clothes and between floorboards, the rowdiness of his soldiers and the pride of triumph more inebriating than the alcohol itself. Dimitri is dead, and Faerghus is broken, and they’ll take all the victories they can get.

“I hope no one gets shitfaced enough that we can’t start back to Castle Gautier tomorrow,” Sylvain slurs, already quite tipsy himself. Felix’s gaze on him is clearly unimpressed and the tiniest bit unfocused -- he’s a notorious lightweight, has always been, but has enough discipline to know how to pace himself and enough common sense to recognize when to stop drinking outright, which is already much better than Sylvain himself.

“You’re one to talk. None of them have ever got blackout drunk, at least, or they wouldn’t be here to tell the tale.”

Unlike you , Sylvain can hear unspoken in the spaces between his words. It’s something that Felix takes some sort of twisted pleasure in rubbing in -- how Sylvain once got so plastered when he was fifteen that he did not remember anything from the day before. That’s the short version of the tale, the kind one. Felix never mentions how it had also been the night of Glenn’s funeral, and that Sylvain drank to numb the despair he could feel for and from his best friend like phantom pain in broken bones.

Sylvain laughs in spite of it. “Yeah. My father isn’t the most tolerant person in Faerghus, is he?”

“Understatement,” Felix says on a sigh as he empties his own goblet, refills both of theirs. Sylvain doesn’t stop him. Family business is one of the only topics for which he needs to feign apathy. “Is he still…”

“Pushing for me to get married?” Sylvain ends Felix’s sentence as though reading his mind; perhaps it’s merely that he has become an expert at reading his expression instead. Felix has always been the type to wear his heart on his sleeve and in the lines creasing and straightening across his face, as deceiving as he thinks he can be. “It’s even worse than before. There’s a proposal on the desk almost every day now. It’s as if he’s expecting me to die out there eventually, and wants me to further our lineage before someone finally puts a sword through me.” There are two things that drive Sylvain to remain alive and kicking, to tear through the Empire forces and their Srengi would-be invaders --  the first is Felix Hugo Fraldarius and the promise they made; the second is pure, unadulterated fucking spite.

There’s a smile on Felix’s face as he stares at him, and in this light, it almost looks fond. “I’m glad you’re proving him wrong.” He clumsily knocks his glass with his in a semblance of cheer. Lord Rodrigue has never pushed Felix to wed, to pursue their bloodline. Maybe there’s a story there, Sylvain wonders, one he’s not privy to, one he’s not supposed to be privy to, but that his too-curious mind is dying to learn anyway. 

It’s okay, he thinks. Sylvain can be patient.

“Felix,” he whispers, soft as velvet and the southern winds. People have started dancing on tables, and Felix’s eyes look like smokey whiskey on ice. It’s intoxicating, and so his heart overpowers both body and mind. “Let’s get married.”

Felix’s eyes grow so wide that all of the dark melts to gold, and Sylvain knows he has made the biggest mistake of his life.

He almost backtracks, but his liquor-full, panic-ridden brain sends him into a peal of laughter at the sight, goes ten miles a minute in an effort to fix it, fix this . “What, there’s no better way, is there?” he starts, and people must think he’s at the end of his wits, so he settles down into a surer posture, a smoother smile, a sultrier gaze. Felix still has not talked; Sylvain is not sure if he’s even blinked. “Listen: if we’re both not married by the time you turn twenty-two as well, let’s marry, and unite our lands, and stop my bloodline. To spite daddy dearest.”

An emotion flickers over Felix’s eyes along the candle light, something like uncertainty, but it’s gone as quick as Felix’s eyelids fall shut and he caves in to infectious laughter. It’s loud and unrefined and buoyant and there are tears at the corners of his eyes and Sylvain has never been more in love.

He probably thinks it’s all a joke and Sylvain has never been more devastated.

“Okay.”

Sylvain’s drunken, infatuated mind twists what is surely mockery in Felix’s expression into bold, brilliant bliss. He’s too far gone to care.

“Let’s toast on it,” Felix says, and raises his glass again. This time, it’s Sylvain who knocks them together.

They don’t stay much longer amongst their fellow soldiers and subordinates; games are being played, money is being exchanged, women are being hit on. Sylvain silently thanks his five-hour-younger self for having had the presence of mind to rent rooms upstairs -- one for Felix, one for himself. He doesn’t think he would have been able to handle sleeping inside his tent under the rain pouring outside. His own room is at the end of the hallway, and he’s reminded of their time at the academy, those halcyon days when everything seemed possible and the concept of a long-term future was a constant double-edged sword over his head. Felix stops a little before him, to the door before his own, getting a small key out to twist inside the lock and silently pushing the door open when he steps inside.

He stops, exhales a long breath, and turns to Sylvain as if awaiting something.

Felix stands in the doorway like a haunt, like an ill-starred love reincarnated. Sylvain licks his lips. He could pretend he lost the key to his own room -- he’s drunk enough for the lie to be believable by everyone who’s not Felix -- or he could forego words entirely and settle for the effortless truth of stepping inside, stepping closer. He could make Felix understand exactly how much he wasn’t joking, and wish for the best as he goes from there. There’s a shade in Felix’s eyes as he watches Sylvain’s face, dark like hope.

“Have a good night, Felix,” Sylvain says instead, and turns back to the hallway. The door closes softly.

It’s okay, he thinks. Sylvain just needs to be patient. They’re nineteen and twenty-two. They’ve got all the time in the world.


===

 

if we’re both not married by twenty-three, will you make my year and ask me?

 

His second proposal never comes.

Then again, Felix had not expected it would to begin with. That would have been something good, something that would have made him happy, and nothing remotely good or happy ever happens to him. He’s used to it, to the sickly-sweet taste of disappointment and misery on his tongue.

It’s a little unfair of him, if he’s completely honest -- they were too caught up in the turmoil of war when Felix turned twenty-two, by finding Dimitri alive and well and monstrous, by their dear professor reappearing as though from a dream, or a nightmare, he still doesn’t know, by his father coming to their aid and caring too much for a man that did not deserve it and laying his miserable life down for a son that was not his own. He was too caught up being constantly distracted by Sylvain, by honey eyes dulled and crystallized at the edges, by a smile weary and tired and so much more genuine that it was hard to even look at him properly. 

So yes, it’s a little unfair of him, to blame it all on Sylvain -- but the only ring he had received on his twenty-second birthday had been an enchanted ring to increase his accuracy (as though he had needed it), and the one who had given it had eyes teal as the sky on the day he had first met Sylvain.

Felix had been four, and the bright noontime sun had shone against its will and the nothing unusual. The boy in front of him had seemed barely older, youthful freckles dotting the bridge of his tanned nose and flushed cheeks like daytime constellations, a tiny hand framed by an oversized white shirt and suspenders and faded bruises peeking from under a sleeve.

“I’m Sylvain,” the boy had said, snowy smile and summer sun coalescing into one single soul.

Felix had glanced at his dad, then at Glenn, then at the hand, intimidated back-and-forth brought on by unfamiliarity and shyness and the expectant, nervous look in the boy’s -- Sylvain ’s -- eyes.

“He’s going to stay with us for the summer,” his father had said, kind hand resting on Felix’s tiny shoulder in reassurance. Glenn had averted his eyes when Felix had sought them out. Felix had obediently taken the tiny hand in his, carefully avoiding to brush the wrist.

“Felix,” he had answered in turn, his long straight hair half-falling in front of his face. “Felix Fraldarius.”

“Obviously,” had come the answer, and the edge of music people called laughter.

Felix had probably fallen in love right there and then. But he had not known that at the moment. What he had known was Sylvain’s father looking at his son, eyes frosted over like mud in the winter, Sylvain’s mother chattering away with his own mother next to their carriage, Glenn’s expression carefully making itself unreadable with a furrow of thin brows.

What he had known was Sylvain was seven years old, was the son of his mother’s best friend, and was going to spend the summer with them in Fraldarius, red hair and brown eyes and faded plum bruises and all.

Theirs was a fairy tale in the making, Felix had once thought, a story of warm reunions and wintry goodbyes and promises lost to the ever-changing winds, until Sylvain had forgotten about him and waltzed back into his life four years and liters of unshed tears later. When Felix had seen him again that day, in Garreg Mach, bright with life and faked cheerfulness, he had known it was true -- theirs was a fairy tale in the way only tragedies could be, meant to be and fated to die anyway. The thought had embittered him to near-breaking.

It’s not as though Felix has not tried to forget about it, to forget about him. Felix has hooked up with people, at least, something he never can quite comprehend since he finds his face to be so plain, but others must find a character in his features that he himself cannot perceive, because he has been called handsome, or good-looking, some times before; by Dorothea, mostly, by Annette, more rarely -- by Sylvain, only once on the day Glenn was buried, in a drunken slurry of hateful jabs and sloppy bites and scratches of angry nails, a crestfallen you’re beautiful , the words spat out with such violence that Felix had not known whether his childhood friend wanted to kiss him or kill him. Which one he had actually done, Felix is still not sure, ten years later.

Both, he imagines; Felix had died that day, and Sylvain had kissed him, and Felix had died all over again.

Rain is falling in graceful ribbons and peaceful rhythm outside the window, here in his office inside the Royal Palace. After his crowning, Dimitri had immediately appointed Felix as his royal advisor -- I trust you with my life and not sugar-coating things , his king, his friend had said at the time, ever the picture of awkward eloquence, and Felix had snorted a laugh as his fingers struggled to undo the pin behind the jewel signaling his new station. Felix’s whole body itches for fights and the battlefield, yet it’s Ingrid and Ashe who are training the Royal Knights outside, while he’s a Duke stuck cutting open another letter to the King of reunited Fodlan. His finger slices cleanly against the edge of the paper, and blood drips in time with the rain as he reads over Claude’s messy, hasty handwriting.

Your Kingliness , he addresses, and Felix rolls his eyes, but Claude’s -- no, the soon-to-be-crowned King of Almyra , he remembers --  information is too good to reprimand him for the pet name. He catalogues the letter in a folder once he finishes reading it, along with the rest of the missives detailing Claude’s research and some of the former Black Eagles’ knowledge about the men Thales used to lead; the Agarthans responsible for most of the things that have ever gone wrong in Dimitri’s and Edelgard’s lives. Those Who Slither in the Dark , Ferdinand had once written; Felix finds the name way too cumbersome and keeps referring to them as Those Fuckers instead. He’s in the middle of penning an answer, starting with a very lovely Your Princeliness , when there’s a knock at his door.

“Duke Fraldarius,” Dedue says, low and kind. 

“I told you to call me Felix.”

His mouth quirks up in a tiny smile. “Felix. A letter for you. From the Gautier Estate.”

Felix’s heart stops in his chest, and Dedue has to bring him the envelope himself, because his legs do not seem to want to move.

He’s turning twenty-three today.

He opens the letter with the slowness and dexterity of a man possessed, almost tearing the smooth, thick paper inside as he pulls it out. It’s the first letter he receives from Sylvain in a decade; after Glenn’s demise, Sylvain had left the Fraldarius Estate with promises to write and visit on his tongue and in the air between them as they half-heartedly hugged, only to not actually honor any of them. 

That should have been a clue that the letter isn’t from Sylvain at all.

Margrave Gautier’s thin handwriting greets him, cold and elegant like an ornate dagger, in carefully-inscribed words about the latest conflict he thwarted against Sreng. The Margrave and his son have been entrusted with handling the Fraldarius lands as long as Felix must remain in Fhirdiad, an offer that had come from Sylvain himself at the time, shortly after Felix’s nomination as advisor. It has been six months already, and the only thing Felix misses more than the quietness of Fraldarius territory is Sylvain himself. They’ve spent most of the year before as one another’s shadows, side by side in battle, being each other’s shields before anyone else’s -- and where Sylvain’s absence from the Royal Castle should be a relief, Felix has quickly found it to be heartbreaking instead, as though someone has torn his lungs out with their bare hands and left him to slowly bleed out.

Margrave Gautier’s letter ends with a simple, polite birthday wish. Felix doesn’t care to answer.

He tells himself it’s only a matter of time, that Sylvain has remembered, that it takes time to deliver a message between Gautier and the Capital. That he has to be patient, as though he has ever known what the word even means.

He does not dare call it hope, the voice in his head telling him that perhaps, just perhaps, Sylvain is making the journey to Felix himself, that he’ll show up in the morning with love in his voice and love in his heart and a ring in his hand.

The Goddess does not see fit to see Felix’s birthday wish granted, this year. Nothing remotely good or happy ever happens to him, after all. He never answers Margrave Gautier’s letter.


===

 

if we’re both not married by twenty-four, will you pass me those knee pads and i’ll get on the floor?

 

His third proposal is only half a whim, this time; the words themselves are deliberate, carefully strategized and rehearsed in front of a mirror -- the circumstances, however, are rather unforeseen and unfortunate.

Felix has never answered Sylvain’s letter. The thought alone completely crushes him, so he tries to push it aside most often -- tries to think about other, non Felix-related things, tries to think about war and blood and their continuing fights against the Agarthans, tries to think about the last remnants of the Adrestian empire they have to reconquer. The only letter from Fhirdiad he has received in a year was penned by Dimitri himself, his handwriting recognizable in its careful messiness, officially granting him his father’s former title. If his father had been cross, he hadn’t shown it, continuing to push for Sylvain to somehow get engaged instead.

His father probably ignores that Sylvain has not seen anyone, has not wanted to see anyone, since coming back to Garreg Mach two years ago. His father probably ignores that Sylvain has already proposed to someone -- has done so again last year, in fact, in a letter to the Royal Advisor, hidden between other Fhirdiad-bound missives to be picked up by their messengers.

I love you, I love you, I love you , he had written to Felix, and if you feel the same way, let me come to you at once .

But Felix hadn’t answered. He had not even acknowledged the fact that he had received the letter. At first, Sylvain entertained the desperate hope that Felix himself was on his way to him, imagined him riding through the snow to the cold Gautier plains and plateaus, fancied the way his face would look in the winter light when he came through the gates and crashed right into Sylvain. Yet the months had passed, and there still had been no news from Felix, either good or terrible. When Sylvain had received Dimitri’s letter and had made his way to Fhirdiad for the official induction ceremony, Felix had not been there; their King told him Felix had been sent on a mission to Almyra, and had left it at that.

So when Sylvain receives a letter from Fraldarius a few days before Felix’s twenty-fourth birthday, he does not even bother opening it, and comes to Felix at once.

He still takes along Felix's birthday present, a simple leather hair tie embedded with a single garnet, and a ring, gold over ruby over gold.

It takes him a few days, to reach Castle Fraldarius, but it looks exactly the same as it did the last time he was here, for Glenn’s funeral: cold and unyielding and impregnable, like every person that shares its name. It’s nothing like the flowery gardens and colorful greenhouses surrounding the Gautier palace, that they all keep in shape throughout the seasons to seemingly guard against the mountain cold; here, the plateau is framed by nothing but the sea and the sky, by the scent of salt and the stutter of waves. Nothing has ever felt more like home. Sylvain remembers distant summers spent running through the rocky shores, making his way down tangles of copses to reach the soft sand beyond the underbrush, diving headfirst into the cool, blue ocean, until he had grown too afraid of water to even go swim anymore. 

It had been about that time, he realizes now, that where he thought he’d missed the sea, he’d missed Felix most of all.

The winter sun is a radiant darkness as he reaches the gates, and the first thing he sees is a flash of blonde hair.

“Sylvain,” Ingrid runs to him, and he barely has enough time to dismount before she barrels into his chest. Her eyes are watery green as she looks up at him when he hugs her.

“Damn, Ingrid, I didn’t know you’d missed me so m--”

“It’s Felix,” she says, and Sylvain’s jest gets stuck in his throat like a thorn.

The curtains are drawn in Felix’s bedroom, the same he’s slept in since they were seven and four, the gold and dark blue of the tapestries dulled away in the lack of light. Mercedes and, more surprisingly, Linhardt are at his side, the cool glow of Faith magic rubbing smooth circles over his forehead and into his bare chest. Sylvain sees the web of scars threaded into the flesh before he sees anything else.

“It happened as we left Almyra,” Ingrid answers his silent question, her voice barely above a whisper. “A pirate ambush, in the middle of the sea, it should have been easy to deal with, but then there was this beast , and--”

Sylvain shushes her by pulling her against him again, his hand soothing trembles over her hair. “It’s okay,” he keeps saying, as though to persuade himself first and Ingrid second, “it’s okay, he’s okay, he’s not going to die, he’s stronger than that.”

“He’s still battling a strong infection,” Mercedes interjects, her eyes tired and sad. “To be completely honest with you, Sylvain, I… I don’t even know how he’s still alive right now. He’s very lucky Annette was there with him.”

“She was the one who sent you the letter. He was… protecting her.” Ingrid’s voice is half a sob, and Sylvain feels incredibly guilty.

He barely deciphers her shape, on a chair back against the wall, so small and fragile -- even though fragile is the last adjective he would ever attribute to her. Annette’s hair is ever-so-slightly out of form, telltale of her utter exhaustion and sorrow. He remembers, somehow distinct, a younger Annette telling Sylvain she was in love with Felix, defiant and proud as though challenging him. He remembers, even clearer, Mercedes praying in a bright cathedral, and Sylvain asking her to wish for both their ever-persistent loves to become real and true. Mercedes and Annette live together in Garreg Mach, now, teaching nowadays’ youth next to Archbishop Byleth. Their love has become real and true. Sylvain is so, so tired of waiting for his turn. 

“Is there anything I can do?” Sylvain says, and Ingrid directs him through the castle to pick fresh bandages and herbs and ointments.

Felix remains unconscious the whole day, the sun fleeing by fast as the winter winds. Sylvain remains at his side, dutifully, helping out Mercedes and Linhardt as Annette rests in another room -- Glenn’s former room, they know, but don’t mention. Ashe and Dedue keep Dimitri busy in Fhirdiad, Ingrid explains, keep him from worrying too much about his friend, keep him from guilting himself back into another breakdown. Sylvain watches Felix, his skin pale as the seafoam they used to run into as children, the fever burning down his cheeks, and soon night falls and he’s the only one watching him as his friends get rest one after the other.

He’s busy infusing a trickle of his weak Faith magic over Felix’s heart when Felix is shaken by a flurry of coughs.

“Felix, Felix, hey, it’s okay.” Sylvain immediately drops his hand to Felix’s own, rubbing a comforting thumb over his blazing skin as he struggles to get up. Sylvain props some pillows behind him, laying him against them. His eyes are still closed, but his voice is all salt and sea stone as he speaks.

“Sylvain, why, how-”

“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”

Felix laughs, somehow, strangles it out amidst the coughing. Dream , Sylvain makes out, mirage , and Sylvain takes his face into both his hands.

“Felix, open your eyes.”

Felix complies, just a tiny sliver of dark gold through long eyelashes, but it’s enough for him, enough to push words out of his heart and onto his tongue.

“Do you remember our promise?”

Felix nods, frail and shaky, but it’s a nod nonetheless.

“What did we say? We stick together until we die together. So please, please Felix, don’t die on me.”

It’s not the first time they have this discussion, but it’s the first time it’s at Felix’s expense, and if this is how Felix felt every time Sylvain ended up half-dead on a bed this way, Sylvain plans to apologize over and over again as soon as Felix feels better.

“Listen to me, Felix,” he half-shouts, and Felix looks a little more awake, but it’s a stretch to think it’ll be for long. Distantly, he hears the clock striking midnight. It’s Felix’s birthday. “You can’t die. Not like this, not now, not when I still haven’t told you properly how in love with you I am--”

“Sylvain,” Felix simply says, and there’s apprehension and the barest hint of relief in his voice. His hand feels like summer sunburn on Sylvain’s arm.

“So you won’t die, and I’ll kiss you, and we’ll get married just like we said five years ago, because I can no longer live any further apart than this. Okay?”

Felix’s smile is the softest, sweetest thing he has ever seen on him, and the yes he sighs feels so much like sea wind Sylvain almost leans down to taste it right from his lips.

“Sylvain, is everything okay?” Annette stands in the doorway when Sylvain turns to her, her expression so tender and alight with quiet joy that he can only answer yes, yes it is , and she comes up to help him tend to a now-sleeping Felix.

Perhaps he should have sealed it with a kiss, after all, because his third proposal ends up being forgotten, evaporated in the wake of Felix’s fever and the wintry sunrise.

Sylvain doesn’t push it. Felix had not answered his letter, after all; he certainly doesn’t wish to entertain another of Sylvain’s childish whims. 


===

 

if we’re both not married by twenty-five, i hope that there’s some childish spark still alive

 

Felix doesn’t think Sylvain will ever propose, after all. 

Then again, it is in bad taste, to propose at someone else’s wedding, and if Sylvain has something going for him, it has always been courtesy and courtliness. Felix’s father had always chided him for his lack of decorum, back when he was still alive; if he had known then, Felix probably would have retaliated with even more of a lack of etiquette. Perhaps, if he had cared even less than he thought was possible about manners, if he had accepted Sylvain’s offer to dance at the Garreg Mach Ball all these lifetimes ago, if he had kissed him right in the middle of the room, politics be damned -- then perhaps, just perhaps, Sylvain would have felt comfortable throwing correctness to the wind and getting down on one knee sometime during the day.

Perhaps, just perhaps, Felix wouldn’t have the feeling that it has all been a joke at his own expense, from the very beginning. But Felix has shown too little for someone who has loved so much, and as he takes another bite of oversweet wedding cake, he thinks he only has himself to blame.

Caspar looks handsome in white and sky blue, the lush, dark green cape of House Hevring barely reaching the ground behind him now that he has grown tall enough to match his husband’s height; but Linhardt looks almost otherworldly. His hair is braided in intricate boughs of ivy, some strands of it like dishevelled ferns falling across his face now that the night has reached its full swing, and there’s a distinct glimmer in his usually tired eyes. Felix has never seen him happier, not even all these years ago when he had first joined the Blue Lions, not even when some months later Caspar had followed in his footsteps. Even in the warmth of the first day of summer, he drapes himself in Caspar’s cloak, blue as the sea, the embroidered Bergliez crest shining in the soft lights of the Palace’s reception room. It’s an old Faerghus tradition, this one -- exchanging cloaks and coats of arms between married nobles, one he has seen Ingrid and Glenn rehearse so many times when they were younger and dafter and free-er, one he has dreamt up during cold winter nights spent waiting for summer days to finally arrive.

It’s the first wedding between two nobles of the same gender in the history of the Kingdom, and a part of Felix keeps thinking that it should have been his .

His gaze finds Sylvain, drifts to him like a sailor to shore. He, too, looks beautiful, all black and gold, but there’s an unnatural hue to his eyes, the candlelight setting them alight with wistfulness and a lonesome quality that does not quite suit him. Felix wonders if he has ever truly wanted to marry anyone, let alone Felix, because it was one thing to love but another to wed -- the expectations had always weighed more on his shoulders than the loves on his ribcage. Felix has always figured Sylvain to be ever-loving, albeit only towards people who do not deserve or return the feeling; he remembers their Academy days, when Sylvain would talk about the burdens in his heart the way one would talk about the heat of the sun or the wetness of tears, carrying them along as though they weighed nothing but the ghost of a feather. 

He thinks he remembers the edge of a fever dream, of Sylvain at his side proposing to him again, desperate and true. He pushes the thought aside.

“Duke Fraldarius.” Felix’s battlefield sense truly must have rusted all over, because he has not even heard Ferdinand slide up beside him. He still answers as though he’s not a little surprised.

“If we are to work together for Our Majesty, you may as well forget the formalities.”

Ferdinand laughs, polite and pretty, his long hair swaying a little as his shoulders shake. Felix only notices the two glasses of wine he carries as he hands him one.

“I heard you helped plan the wedding.” Felix observes the rich decorations and the elegant food along the tables. “You did a good job, Aegir.”

“Is that praise I’m hearing from you?” Ferdinand’s eyes are teasing and warm, although his smile doesn’t quite reach up to them. “Truly you must have drunk too much.”

“It’s my first glass.”

“And one too many.”

Felix drinks half his glass in defiance, staring daggers at him all the while, and Ferdinand’s laughter is truer this time, a little more unrefined. It makes his eyes crinkle at the edges, so Felix guesses his job here is done. He has noticed, too, the way Ferdinand has watched their comrades all day; it’s eerily similar to Sylvain’s. It’s eerily similar to his own. Ferdinand catches Caspar dragging Linhardt in the middle of the room for a dance to a song Dorothea sings; his gaze is very fond and deeply sadder. “It’s the least I could do for my friends,” he ends up whispering, not quite a secret but not a declaration either.

“Still, I’ve heard Dimitri saying you barely rested. That you threw almost all your ministerial duties to the wind to help with this. You’re lucky I wasn’t in Fhirdiad, or I would have knocked you over the head.”

“Have you ever been in love, Felix?” Ferdinand asks suddenly, his eyes boring into his as though looking right through him, curious and knowing. Felix feels the blush burning his cheeks and trickling down his throat like the red wine in his hand. I have , he thinks, I’ve loved hard and high and did nothing to try and grasp it

“Yeah,” he simply answers. 

“I believe love is everything. That it’s the single, most important element that makes up this world. And I’ll... never be able to celebrate mine this way.”

“Why?”

“Because he’s dead.”

It’s said so simply that Felix almost laughs. Byleth had wanted to spare all of her former students when the war against Edelgard reached its peak, and Ferdinand had been the first, joining their army and rallying to their cause when Dorothea had knocked a little sense and a few fireballs into him. Felix can still see the edge of a half-faded scar underneath his collar, almost like a kiss. Byleth had spared everyone, in fact -- everyone except Edelgard herself, and her trusted second. Felix remembers Ferdinand’s lance tearing through Hubert’s heart like it was yesterday.

“I’ve never told him,” Ferdinand goes on, and Felix would think him unperturbed if it wasn’t for the slight shake of his fingers as he thumbs at his glass. “ It was only my orders , is what I said to him, and he only said the same. Even before that, when we were on the same side…” His eyes are the color of autumn and fallen leaves and dead things when he gazes back at Felix.

“Do you regret it?”

Ferdinand’s smile is a small, weary, so genuine thing. “Every day of my life.”

Felix feels like he’s about to cry. 

“So that is why,” Ferdinand says after another sip of wine, with all the breeziness of pretense, “I feel like love is something to be celebrated this way. Something that should not be kept secret.” 

His eyes are so incredibly shrewd that Felix averts his gaze.

“Was he the one to offer this to you?” Ferdinand deftly half-changes the subject as he reaches for Felix’s hair tie, fingers brushing the low ponytail falling across his shoulder. The red jewel glints dimly in the light like a dying ember. 

“He was,” Felix half-sighs. “I don’t think he’s noticed I’m wearing it yet.”

“He was here the whole day. If he didn’t, I’d say he’s even denser than I thought he was.”

Felix tries to search for Sylvain’s gaze, for Sylvain’s presence, but he doesn’t spot him anywhere in the room.

“You should tell him,” Ferdinand finally says, like they’re conspiring together on a new strategy. “At the very least, so that you don’t end up like me.”

Felix’s lips quirk in something wry and pained. “No thanks. I’d rather take it to the grave.”

Ferdinand’s careful, cheerful mask falls apart in the slightest way, like a summer breeze making curtains curl, a delicate frown souring his expression.

“Goddess, you two are idiots.” It’s the first time Ferdinand has ever insulted any of them, and it’s so refreshing that Felix laughs; Ferdinand seems to be having none of it still, and carries on in offense. “Listen to me. I truly think you should tell Sylvain--”

“Tell me what?”

There’s something dark and thick as tar in his voice as he’s standing behind Felix, and when Felix turns to look at him, his carefree smile is the fake one Felix has seen him wear around the girls he used to fool around with, around his family, around his father. Sylvain looks dangerous and sharp, a red rose with too many thorns. 

“Gautier,” Ferdinand greets him. Ferdinand obviously doesn’t know Sylvain as well as Felix does, because he doesn’t have the common sense to back down from the hidden threat in his eyes. “Or should I say Margrave now? Congratulations. Our Majesty was right to pass on your father’s title; pardon my boldness, but I did fear he was getting a little too old to be our Master of War.”

“Oh, your boldness is all too forgiven.” Sylvain’s voice is light, but he steps closer to Felix, so close that Felix can feel the warmth of him bleeding in the space between them. It’s dizzying and dreadful.

Ferdinand laughs. “I sometimes wish I had your command instead of being stuck drafting bills and signing papers, though I feel like Felix feels the same, if not more.”

Felix , huh?” Felix looks up to Sylvain at the sound of his name, defiant, but Sylvain’s expression is completely unreadable even to him. He doesn’t look away from Felix as he utters his next words. “My, it’s reassuring to see the King’s advisor and his Prime Minister have got so close during the year. You sure have made yourself indispensable, haven’t you, Duke Aegir?”

Ferdinand’s eyes are wide when he stares back to Sylvain, looking like an overgrown puppy that’s just been kicked in the side, but he seems to find something in Sylvain’s expression that makes him sigh in annoyance. “I will never understand the both of you. Now, I apologize, but I have other duties to attend to besides matchmaking.” He does not even say good night as he turns away and walks in Dorothea’s overall direction.

“You could have been nicer to him,” Felix accuses, fully turning to Sylvain now. He crosses his arms in front of him for good measure.

“And you could have been meaner. Although I suppose it’s good to try and entertain good… relations with people you’re going to work with.”

Felix merely shrugs. “I like Ferdinand. He’s straight to the point.”

Sylvain looks as though Felix just put a sword between his ribs. “Is that so,” he says, and there’s a wavering to its lightness, like the edge of the summer heat. “I guess that’s what the matchmaking part was about.”

It dawns on him.

It dawns on him, and Felix just acts on instinct -- takes Sylvain’s wrist in his hand and pulls him towards a more secluded part of the Palace, into a hallway that leads to countless, unused guest bedrooms and a few offices.

He whirls around, and the words are almost pushed out of his lungs. “Are you jealous ?”

Sylvain doesn’t look at him. “Of course not. Why would I be?”

Felix has known him for too long, has loved him for too long, not to decipher a lie when he hears one. He pushes him and traps him like he would an enemy, rounds him against a door. “Listen to me, Sylvain. You don’t get to be jealous, not when I have spent my whole life watching you flirt and date and fuck so many people it made me physically sick.”

“And here I thought you didn’t care. Nice to know that I outright disgust you, Fe; nice to know.”

“You could never disgust me.” It’s too truthful to be completely hidden by the darkness of the hallway, and it makes Sylvain look at him, lost and fond. His fingers touch the hair tie in Felix’s hair, light as rain.

“I didn’t notice you were wearing that.”

Felix has worn it every day for an entire year, and so his hands reach for Sylvain’s shoulders and he kisses him.

He intends it to be his only declaration, a quiet token of everything he’s ever felt to be lost in the dark when he eventually runs away, but Sylvain’s hands immediately pull Felix against him by the waist. Felix’s hands twine into his hair in an urge to get ever closer, to claim what should rightfully be his and his alone, and it makes Sylvain sigh against his lips. Felix pulls at his lower lip and kisses him deep, Sylvain’s tongue against his making him grow urgent and frantic and incredibly helpless.

They pull apart for air, and Sylvain’s eyes open, dark with something close to lust. 

“Felix, I--”

Felix doesn’t let him finish and kisses him again. He wouldn’t be able to hear the rejection, not here, not now; and Sylvain must know because he keeps kissing him, ever so gracious, offering Felix exactly what he needs even though Sylvain probably doesn’t want it half as much as he does. Felix is absolutely disgusted to find out that he’s too far gone to care, and swiftly opens the door behind them.

Even in the dark of the borrowed bedroom, Felix deciphers the warmth of Sylvain’s smile and the crimson of Sylvain’s hair, silk and velvet entwined in tangles of uncurls fanning over a pale pillow. Where the sun makes him more like himself, the midnight moon brings against Sylvain a shimmering softness; it makes him look undemanding where it makes Felix uncompromising, Sylvain’s gaze trapping him in a greedy, impossibly fond embrace. Felix crawls over his shape, eager hands undressing him with uncanny desperation, raking over his chest and into his hair as he pulls him up for another kiss. Sylvain’s hands easily slot in place over his hips like they’ve always belonged there, like they’ve always been destined to take root there, and Felix decides to read love translated into the sheets that crinkle under their weight as Sylvain pushes himself against him, grinds slow and mellow. Sylvain swallows the sough that slips past Felix’s lips against his own tongue, and Felix wonders if this is what a true love’s kiss tastes like, in all the stories he has read, in all the tales Glenn has told him.

It feels so good and happy and right that Felix cannot help but think that something is wrong, wrong, wrong , in the way he exploits Sylvain for something he’s too kind not to offer, for something he’s too astute to be able to give. Sylvain gives him the perfect theater kiss, the epitome of desperate, spontaneous love, kisses him like it’s a rehearsal for their tragedy’s final scene. Felix hates how much he loves it, how much he can almost forget this is probably all well-performed pretense, something his too-selfless best friend does only for Felix’s sake, a part played for an audience of one in the cold glow of the moon. Felix hates how much he should hate himself more for using Sylvain to satisfy his own self-indulgent adoration, but doesn’t, because Sylvain is moving against him just right and pulling on his hair just so and Felix’s brain shuts off.

He doesn’t realize he is crying until Sylvain tears away from him like a serrated knife through flesh, gripping his wrists as Felix carves scarlet half-moons into his chest. 

“Wait, Fe, wait-- what’s wrong?”

Felix lunges at his mouth as though to shut him up, but Sylvain is stronger, and easily pushes him back until he’s sitting underneath Felix. The tears he wipes away with his thumbs feel like a pathway to the stars as they trickle down. 

“Felix. Talk to me.”

“What am I even doing ?”

It’s as though Felix has just slapped him. Sylvain regards him with dark, hopeless eyes, his voice thick with years of unuttered sadness. “What do you mean?”

“This- This isn’t how it should be-”

“Don’t you want this?”

“Of course I want this!” Felix says, and in the silence of the bedroom it’s almost a shout. His voice feels centuries old when he brokenly follows. “But you don’t! And you act as if you do because no one cares , what you think or do or feel, and I don’t want to be one of them, too.”

Felix makes to pull away, to put distance, but Sylvain’s hands move to each side of his face, burying into his half-undone hair.

“You want this.” Sylvain says, not asks, as though he’s just verifying the claim. Felix doesn’t answer. “You want me.” Felix closes his eyes, because he doesn’t want to see it, the mocking expression that must accompany the teasing, almost joyful lilt to his low voice.

He feels Sylvain putting his forehead to his, their noses brushing, their breathing harmonizing. It’s so, so cruel of him -- but Felix has been cruel, too. He deserves it. 

“Look at me,” he says, and Felix has never been able to refuse Sylvain, not ever, and he doesn’t plan on starting now.

He cannot see a lot, his vision blurred at the edges by the teardrops, reduced to the dark shape of Sylvain’s face. But he knows Sylvain is staring at him, through him, intently and deadly serious.

“Say it again.”

It slips out from his mouth, because he can no longer keep anything from Sylvain, because he can no longer keep anything from himself. “I love you.”

Sylvain kisses him so hard Felix thinks he’ll draw blood, pulls at his bottom lip to make Felix gasp, licks at his tongue and teeth. It’s almost clumsy. It reminds Felix of the only other time Sylvain kissed him like this, alcohol like fire on his tongue as he took both their first kiss, and Felix’s mind comes to a sudden realization.

“Oh.” It escapes him as Sylvain pulls on his hair, trails the cold burn of icy lips against his throat, his other hand sliding down until it settles on the small of Felix’s back. 

“You,” Sylvain says after he nips at Felix’s carotid, “are so fucking stupid. You’re lucky I love you so much.”

Sylvain loves him.

“You love me,” he confirms as Sylvain cups his cheek. Felix moves his arms from Sylvain’s chest to the back of his neck, and he knows that this is the only distance he’ll tolerate between them now -- barely inches away, skin to skin, heart to heart.

“It’s only been you, Felix. Always and forever.”

Felix soon loses count of the kisses they share, even though he tries his best to remember each one; he takes his time to learn what exactly makes Sylvain shiver, what makes him gasp, what makes him say Felix’s name in that so sweet tone of his. Sylvain takes a torturously long time undoing all the buttons of Felix’s blouse, grinding against his erection each time another one pops open, until Felix cannot stand it anymore and tears away at the damn thing. Sylvain must be as reluctant to part from him as he is, because he brings Felix back down on the mattress on top of him and attempts to remove his pants that way; but Felix props himself onto his hands and pushes himself up, quickly shedding away the rest of his clothes until he looks down at Sylvain through dark eyelashes.

Sylvain’s gaze on him is positively ravenous, as though he cannot wait to completely ravage him, and it makes the simmering warmth in Felix’s stomach turn boiling hot. Sylvain has always had a hunger to him; it shines now, radiating and vermillon like the lycoris that grow in Castle Gautier’s gardens, in every touch he lets linger on Felix’s skin, in every breath he steals from Felix’s mouth. It shines now, in his stupid grin and in his moonlit hair and in his unforgiving eyes. Sylvain has always been hungry -- hungry to learn, hungry to love, hungry to live. So as he lays before Felix unguarded, kissed and bitten red and raw, Felix decides to let himself be hungry, too, and bends down to his task.

He undoes Sylvain’s pants as slowly as the other did to him, petty revenge turned agony as he realizes he wants to devour Sylvain just as much, but settles for mouthing at his straining cock through the fabric of his underwear. This makes Sylvain hiss, he learns, makes Sylvain tangle long fingers through his hair and gently fisting them up, guiding Felix’s mouth right where he wants it. Felix fights him a little, if only to pull the waistband down along his hips and legs, and decides to stare right into Sylvain’s eyes as he trails a finger up the underside to the top of his dick. 

“You’re beautiful,” Sylvain tells him, with all the helplessness he had the first time he had said these words to him, and Felix takes him in his mouth.

Sylvain doesn’t stop looking at him, so Felix decides to make it a struggle -- he puts his hand at the base, pulling up and down in the same way he sucks at the tip, his tongue darting to play with the sensitive skin. There’s a trail of spit connecting to his tongue when he lets go, the sound making Sylvain jerk underneath his fingers, and he presses gentle kisses and edges of teeth down the length, his thumb teasing and spreading precum over the head. 

Goddess , come here,” Sylvain demands, urgent and rough as he pulls slightly onto Felix’s hair, and Felix complies as he rises back up. 

“Already?”

Sylvain meets Felix halfway, tasting himself thoroughly on Felix’s tongue as his hands grip his thighs. The brush of his cock against Felix’s makes them both shiver, and Felix’s mouth falls open on a sigh.

“Let me take care of you too.” He feels Sylvain withdraw something from one of his pockets.

“... You knew this would happen.” Felix’s stare remains nonplussed as he catches sight of the small bottle of oil between Sylvain’s fingers, and Sylvain has the gall to grin in apology.

His voice is tinted in repressed laughter as he answers. “I swear I didn’t, Fe.”

“Oh, so it was for anyone dumb enough to throw themselves at you. Great.”

It’s supposed to be a joke, but it’s a little too sharp, a little too unkind, and Sylvain’s gaze turns serious once again. “I haven’t been with anyone since I… Well, it doesn’t matter now.”

Felix thinks he knows what Sylvain was about to say. He keeps it in mind, for another time, for when they’re finished with this. “What were you planning to do then?”

There’s a crimson blush riding high on his cheekbones, enhancing the wash of tiny freckles all along his tanned skin, and Felix finds himself melting. 

“I was… going to get you alone. And I was going to kiss you. And then… I’d figure out where it’d go from there.”

Funny, Felix thinks, that he ’s the one who’s done all of this instead.

“So?” Felix asks, his smirk keen as a sword as he leans ever closer. He lets his fingers graze up against Sylvain’s stomach along the ridges of muscle. “Where does it go from here?”

Sylvain’s lips find their way to his temple, down to the space behind his ear. “It goes like this: me eating you up and fucking you out .”

It’s crazy, what the words do to him; Felix lets Sylvain bite his neck and turn him around until Felix has his mouth filled to the brim with his cock, Sylvain’s tongue flicking at the tip of his own and licking a long stripe down the underside and to the base until it reaches past to his hole.

Some people have tried doing this to Felix before, and it’s never been enjoyable. With Sylvain, it’s nothing short of astounding.

Sylvain licks at the rim, slow and careful, and Felix doesn’t know if it’s because he’s so incredibly turned-on, but he moans , moans loud and unbidden against Sylvain’s cock, his tongue coming to a momentary stop as he feels Sylvain throb inside his mouth. Sylvain works him open as Felix tries his best to suck him off, prodding inside until Felix feels him put his lips fully against him and Felix can clench around his tongue, and the sensation is so different than what Felix is used to that every bit of coherence he thought he had kept flees him entirely and he’s left a drooling mess over Sylvain’s groin. His name leaves Felix’s lips like a prayer, Sylvain, Sylvain, Sylvain , as Sylvain brushes slick fingers into him, and when Sylvain reaches a different angle and caresses at a tender spot, Felix cannot even say his name any more.

It’s so good that Felix finds it hard to believe that he’s not simply having a very realistic dream, that Sylvain truly is here, that it’s not only Felix’s own fingers inside of him mimicking what he has done countless times before to quench his hopeless infatuation just a tiny bit.

Felix pushes off Sylvain, sudden like a typhoon, and Sylvain jerks in surprise as Felix pins himself above him; his eyes are black from lust and adrenaline as he looks up at Felix, his fingers tracing patterns of love against the skin of his thighs. Felix almost tears away Sylvain’s remaining clothes, before he grabs for the half-empty bottle of oil and pours some over his hands; deft fingers reach below for him to slick Sylvain with, and when his hand closes like a vice around him Sylvain's eyes finally, finally flutter shut. He throws his head back against the pillows, darkness turning him all shades of dark crimson and violet and burgundy in the places where Felix has left prints of his presence, proofs of his possession. The oil runs all over his knuckles and onto Sylvain, and Sylvain blindly reaches for Felix’s other hand to intertwine their fingers. 

“Felix,” Sylvain says when he looks at him again, and it’s lascivious, wanton; Felix still refuses to believe in the tenderness in his voice, not until he knows it’s real . “Please, please fuck me.”

Felix sinks down and lets Sylvain spear through him.

“Yes, yes, love,” Felix hears Sylvain say, and the pet name brings tears to his eyes as he slowly rises up and eases down again, Sylvain slowly meeting him in careful half-thrusts -- even now, after everything, Sylvain is soft and kind and selfless, his hands ghosting over Felix’s hips to prevent him from pushing himself too hard. Felix lets out a sound between a sob and a sigh, and Sylvain slows to a stop.

“Hey,” he says as he props himself up until he can wrap his arms around Felix’s waist, “fuck, sorry, are you okay--”

Felix buries his face in the soft spot between Sylvain’s throat and his shoulder, the one now littered with bite marks and bruises. Sylvain’s arms are tight around him as he freckles kisses along his cheek, to the top of his head, to the corner of his eye. 

“We can stop if you want--”

No ,” Felix almost shouts as he levels Sylvain with a desperate gaze. “I just… I need to know it’s real.”

Sylvain knows better than to laugh, although his lips quirk up in half a smile. “That what ’s real? This?” He thrusts deeper into Felix as he says it, and Felix gasps. 

Us .”

Sylvain kisses him in degrees, gentle presses shifting to careful push-and-pulls as Felix kisses him back, and it’s the most delicate anyone has ever been towards him. It has never once crossed his mind, that he could be something fragile, something precious; refused the mere notion, trained himself to be harder and stronger and colder. He thinks that with Sylvain, he could get used to the feeling.

“Listen to me,” Sylvain whispers, oh-so-considerate. “I’ve wanted this -- I’ve wanted you since I was sixteen, and I’ve loved you probably my whole life. I’ve spent years thinking you didn’t want me, because you didn’t want anyone.”

“I didn’t want anyone because I wanted you .”

“Yeah, I see that now.” He looks almost annoyed; if it’s towards Felix or towards himself, Felix isn’t sure. It’s a look Felix doesn’t like, and so he leans forward to wipe it off his face one kiss at a time.

“We have a lot to talk about,” Felix says, definite. “But first, this .”

He pushes himself deeper down Sylvain’s cock as he says it, and the effect is immediate, like raindrops on a puddle -- Sylvain grabs his hips and rises up to meet him, and Felix has never felt so pleasantly full, so incredibly complete.

Saints , Felix,” Sylvain says as he screws his eyes shut, lets his forehead fall against Felix’s, “you’re so good, so good to me, so perfect-”

Felix’s shivers become whimpers as Sylvain fucks into him, the angle so deep it sends constellations and galaxies shooting beneath Felix’s eyelids, and the groan Sylvain sings when Felix’s hole tightens around his length is almost enough to bring Felix to full hardness again. He takes one of Sylvain’s hands off the bruises it’s chiseling into his hip, and guides it to his own cock, and the friction as Sylvain traps it between his fingers and his stomach sparks in his blood like a forest fire. Yes, Fe , Sylvain says, his voice a mere rustle as he builds a faster, harder rhythm, can you feel it, how good it feels inside you, how you were made just for me, only for me, always for me , and Felix muffles his voice in the crook of Sylvain’s neck.

The chuckle that shakes out of Sylvain tremors through Felix’s whole body, and Sylvain pulls out of him so suddenly that Felix whines at the emptiness.

Sylvain gently moves to the edge of the bed, and it’s only now that Felix sees the full-length mirror, wide and pristine, standing against the wall facing the bed. 

Sylvain beckons him close, and turns Felix around so that they’re both facing it, the light of the moon drawing stripes and patterns over their naked bodies. “I need to see it’s real, too.”

Felix can only watch as Sylvain grabs the base of his cock and pushes back into him before he closes his eyes and throws his head back on a strangled groan. The angle is different, and better, and Sylvain holds him so, so tight against his chest that he thinks his ribs will break. He wouldn’t mind. Sylvain reaches deep into him and brushes against that spot that makes him choke on his own cries. There’s a litany of pretty words spilling out in the air like bad poetry, the verses broken in parts with terms of adoration. Darling, my love, heart of hearts, light of my life , he thinks he hears Sylvain say, and Felix almost believes him, this time.

He lets his head lull against Sylvain. “I bet you say this to everyone you fuck,” Felix tries to contradict, but there’s next to no fight left in his voice. It’s still enough to make Sylvain slow down, flutter kisses up and down his throat like a meteor shower. 

“Come on, look at you, love.”

Sylvain ever-so-gently takes Felix’s chin between his fingers, turning it towards the mirror, and Felix finally opens his eyes. He looks absolutely wrecked , his hair long slipped-out of his low ponytail and crinkled in delicate undulations, his neck plum in places where Sylvain has laid his claim. But as Sylvain fucks into him again, Felix can only stare, transfixed, at Sylvain’s face buried in the crook of his shoulder, eyes shut away in bliss, blush high on his nose. His hair sways in time with his thrusts, bouncing up and down the same way Felix bounces on his cock, his long eyelashes unfurling shadows across his cheekbones. Sylvain’s eyes open at the same time he drops his hand to Felix’s length, but Felix keeps staring into the mirror -- at the way Sylvain doesn’t watch their reflections, but watches Felix himself , his nose brushing against the soft skin behind Felix’s ear as he raises his head. 

The adoration, the devotion, the love he sees in Sylvain’s eyes is so overwhelming he almost comes.

“Do you see it now?” Sylvain whispers, one of his hands pushing bruises into Felix’s hip, the fingers of the other curling around him and thumbing at the precum dripping down his dick. “Do you see what you do to me? Do you see what you make me do to you?”

Yes , Felix thinks, and he thinks he’s breathed it out loud, because Sylvain laughs bright as a chime.

No one ,” Sylvain says rough and ragged at the same instant he sinks deep into him, “no one. Has ever . Made me feel that way. No one . Will ever . Make me feel that way. Again .” He pulls back and pushes in again like he wants to properly punctuate the sentence of love he writes along Felix’s skin and into his mind, and Felix clenches around the full stops. Sylvain quickens his pace inside him as he pumps Felix’s cock, keeping perfect time. “You’re mine , and I’m yours, always-”

Felix turns his head around and kisses him, open-mouthed and wet, tasting every flavor off Sylvain’s tongue, and when his fingers make their way into Sylvain’s hair for purchase, his lover, his first and only love moans his name again. That’s it, angel, that’s it , he says against Felix’s lips, I love you, I love you, I love you , Felix answers, and then he’s pulsing under Sylvain’s fingers as he’s pushed over the edge and milks Sylvain’s cock for everything he has.

They collapse against each other in a heap of limbs and lazy kisses and love, Sylvain sliding out of him and pulling him close to his chest, the afterglow washing over them like moonlight through the curtained window. 

“Goddess, I want to spend the rest of my life like this,” Sylvain says as he nuzzles Felix’s cheek, kissing every inch of skin he can.

“Sylvain,” Felix says, unplanned and unbidden. “Let’s get married.”

That makes Sylvain laugh, crimson and brilliant, and he pulls Felix into another kiss. “That’s supposed to be my line.”

Felix doesn’t have the strength to fight him. “Yeah, well, I thought you’d never ask.”