Chapter 1: fear the deer: let's get awkward
Ferdinand threw his head back with laughter as Sylvain failed at trying to open the locked door with great force. Sylvain simply groaned in response, used to being the butt of the entire friend group’s jokes and beyond comfortable with embarrassing himself in public. Linhardt opened the proper door with a sly smile, and the rest of the group filed into the hipstery coffee shop that had become the center of their hangouts outside of their apartments. Claude slapped Sylvain on the back on his way in and flashed one of his winning smiles to the patrons of the coffee shop that had turned to see what had caused the distractingly loud, musical laughter of a certain man. Sylvain chuckled to himself—everything was a performance for Claude, especially in this place where all the hipsters from the other university across the city were displaying their trendy fashions and mustaches.
As they all got in line to order, Ferdinand looked around for somewhere they could all sit. The shop was usually pretty busy and all the tables for four were taken. There was a big communal table in the middle that would seat them all, but as Ferdinand’s gaze swept across it, he made eye contact with the only person sitting there. Hubert’s piercing green eyes bore into Ferdinand’s, as if trying to ward him off from the table. Ferdinand gently nudged Sylvain and his head snapped around to see what Ferdinand was drawing his attention to.
“Oh. Huh,” he said, and shrugged. Sylvain was always better at handling social awkwardness than Ferdinand. Ferdinand sighed. He supposed it would just be an awkward time for everyone, then.
“You doing okay?” Ashe asked, and Ferdinand’s attention was brought back to the cute barista.
“Oh, fine, thanks,” he replied with a soft smile. Ashe gave him a little smile in return. Ferdinand proceeded to give him his card as Ashe rang him up. The barista knew all their orders by now, but always gave Ferdinand different types of tea orders since he knew Ferdinand wasn’t particular about which tea he had, given that it was all high quality here. It was a fun little game for Ashe to guess what mood Ferdinand was in and what he would like best.
Ferdinand offered him another quick smile before the group settled into various seats around the table. Hubert’s eyes followed each of them as they chose their seats as far from him as they could. Claude, of course, flashed him a bright smile anyway and a wink. Hubert retreated to his computer screen.
Hubert: the idiots are here :/
Edelgard: do try to get along. theyre not that bad…
Hubert: i refuse to forgive them for their insolence
Edelgard: you just dont like ferdinand
Hubert: you think hes annoying too
Edelgard: no comment
Hubert sighed. Ferdinand looked over quickly and awkwardly made eye contact, again. Ferdinand sighed. Sylvain nudged Ferdinand’s leg with his and nodded toward Ferdinand’s laptop. He opened it to the group chat to see the others had already started talking.
Claude: what did yall even do to him to make him hate you so much anyway???
Linhardt: shouldnt you know? i thought you and el were hyperaware of each others lives
Claude: we argue about politics, not about whos fucking who
Claude: hey do you think hubie would be into a weird threesome with me and el?
Claude: maybe a foursome with teach??? ;)
Sylvain: now youre speaking my language ;)))
Ferdinand: it is so stupidly complex that not even edelgard particularly cares all that much
Sylvain: juicy!! do tell…
Ferdinand: sylvain you absolute idiot
Ferdinand: remember how sylvain and i dated a while back?
Claude: how could i not? the hottest gingers at the school together?? *drool*
Sylvain: oh hey thanks babe ;)
Lindhardt: “dated” implies in the past…
Ferdinand: sylvain and dimitri are childhood friends, and dimitri hates edelgard
Linhardt: so hubert is mad about ferdinands “lack of loyalty” lmao
Sylvain: oh fuck duh lmao i forgot about that
Claude: hubies such a salty bitch lol
Claude: and i thought el was bad
Ferdinand rolled his eyes and flipped his hair behind his back, as if he could be free of the burden of Hubert’s hatred radiating toward him. Ashe came over then with a handful of drinks and began to hand them out.
“Matcha latte,” he stated, “seemed like you could use a hug.” Ferdinand smiled gratefully and nodded.
“Don’t worry, he’ll get way more than that later,” Sylvain said with a wink. Ferdinand choked on his first sip and Ashe turned slightly red. He laughed awkwardly before retreating back behind the counter, leaving Ferdinand to kick Sylvain beneath the table.
Hubert looked over to eye the pair with the ever-present glint of hatred shining a little brighter than normal. Claude winked at him, again.
“Sound like something you’d want in on?” he challenged playfully. Ferdinand choked again.
“I’d rather die,” Hubert replied, a bit too calm for anyone’s liking.
Ferdinand: ARE YOU TRYING TO GET ME KILLED?????
Claude: i’ll get him to crack one day
Claude: or cum
Claude: who knows which one will come first
Linhardt: yall are wild
Ferdinand: CLAUDE VON RIEGAN
Claude: fear the deer!!
Hubert: hell is real and we are in it
Hubert: claude asked if i might be interested in sexual relations with sylvain and ferdinand
Edelgard: they are both objectively physically attractive
Hubert: it is true, then, that i am doomed to suffer for an eternity. my dear lady, i thought you would be my comfort, yet you contribute to my pain
Edelgard: you dont have to like the people you fuck
Hubert: how crass.
Hubert: and yet…
Hubert: no. i cannot see beyond their cruelty and idiocy. to engage in any relations would only increase my suffering
Edelgard: then perish
Hubert: you wound me
Chapter 2: the sun sure is bright
everyone just argues all the time
im sorry they are so horny i cant stop it
Claude: i have tea…
Hilda: oooh!!! do tell :)))
Claude: okay you know how dimitri and el like fucking despise each other right??
Claude: well apparently hubie hates ferdie because he dated sylvain who is friends w dimitri??
Hilda: well thats dumb
Hilda: i was expecting actual tea
Hilda: you disappoint me
Claude: im so sorry :,( please forgive me your highness, i dont know how to please you :///
Hilda: ugh i hate you
Claude: love you too bb <3
“You know, you keep getting more and more beautiful. Anyone would be lucky to have you,” Sylvain flirts. He’s leaning against the brick wall of their apartment with the sun shining behind him. It gives him a sort of halo effect which Ferdinand would like to be able to roll his eyes about, but he can’t deny that it contributes to Sylvain’s attractiveness.
“Felix is right, you are insatiable. Was our time together not sufficient for you?” he challenges playfully. Sylvain constantly flirts with Ferdinand, and anyone, but he must admit that his words still inspire some sort of affection and fire in him. Truthfully, they weren’t very compatible as boyfriends, but as best friends and something more, they were inevitable. The two couldn’t quite stay away from each other.
“Maybe, maybe not. Wanna come over tonight?” Sylvain asks. Ferdinand sighs.
“I am troubled by Hubert’s immense dislike of me. I do not want him to think that I have any less respect for Edelgard because of my relations with you. I do not want him to think that you have anything against Edelgard, either.”
“Huh, I make you look bad? You trying to tell me something?” Sylvain’s smile drops a little, but Ferdinand can see he’s hurt.
“It was not my intention to hurt you. I am sorry. You know that is not what I meant. In fact, it is Dimitri who makes all of us look bad. His anger overshadows all of his good qualities and darkens others’ impressions of us. I wish things were different…” he trails off looking wistful. Sylvain chuckles.
“You just think Hubert’s hot, don’t you?”
“I beg your pardon??” Ferdinand splutters. “I simply wish to improve relations across campus groups. Besides, he is terrifying, and his hatred for me is a clear indicator that he does not find me attractive at all,” he sniffs. Ferdinand takes great pride in his appearance, thank you very much.
“Hatred just makes for better sex,” Sylvain replies with a wink.
“Everything is about sex for you,” Ferdinand groans.
“Maybe. I am quite anxious about all of this. I will text you later.”
“Alright,” Sylvain replies softly. He gently kisses Ferdinand’s forehead before entering his apartment. Ferdinand sighs and looks once more toward the sun. Bright and warm like Sylvain, or perhaps, cold and distant like Hubert.
Hubert: am i ever unfair?
Edelgard: you are infinitely biased
Hubert: i stumbled across some…information…from sylvain and ferdinand
Edelgard: were you eavesdropping again? you know that is pretty creepy, right?
Hubert: this time it was an accident
Edelgard: uh huh
Edelgard: but like i said, theyre not that bad. maybe take what you heard into consideration
Hubert: …have you ever had hate sex?
Edelgard: is there something you wish to tell me, von vestra?
Hubert: no. i am simply curious about the nature of hate sex. i have yet to experience it
Edelgard: seems fake but okay
Hubert: you are so supportive.
Edelgard: you know that i am :)
“Obviously we should be focusing on dismantling the institutions that continue to perpetuate the astounding privilege that dominates the country and leaves over half the country at a disadvantage for their entire lives!” Felix scoffs, arms crossed. Claude puts his hands up as a sort of self-defense to guard against Felix’s biting tone.
“Yeah man, I get what you’re saying and we should definitely try to eliminate all forms of privilege and support equal opportunity at every stage of life, but like, that would require dismantling the entire government and public education system at this point. That’s just so unfeasible right now,” Claude explains. Felix scoffs again.
“You know if you just take over the country, you could run it however you wanted. Government is just enforceable because it’s a social structure everyone subscribes to.”
Claude chuckles. “Everything is a construct. That doesn’t mean dismantling them in some anarchic coup is gonna solve our problems.”
“Hmph. You’re not wrong, but you’re not right,” Felix huffs.
“You’re sure hard to please, huh? Sylvain’s got his work cut out for him,” Claude replies with a smirk and a wink.
“Alright boys, let’s keep things professional in the classroom!” Byleth calls. Felix blushes, but Claude just winks at her, too.
“Anything for you, Teach.” He leans back in his seat and puts his feet on the chair in front of him.
“You guys know class is over, right? You’ve been too distracted with your debating to notice. I guess that’s what I get for insisting the sociology major and political science major take the same class.”
Byleth has a soft smile on her face as she gathers up her things.
“Oops,” Claude says, right as Felix replies, “Good.” This gets another chuckle from Claude, who slaps Felix on the back as he gets up to leave. Both of them walk out of the class together and Byleth watches them leave. She’s beyond interested in her students’ relations outside of class because they’re all so hard to pin down. She had thought Ferdinand and Sylvain were together, and sometimes that Claude might be with one of them, but it seemed like Sylvain and Felix were definitely together since Felix never denies anything. Oh well. She wasn’t particularly aware of social situations anyway, so who was she to think anything they did might be strange?
As the guys walk back toward their apartments, Claude stops for a second and turns to Felix.
“Hey, by any chance are you friends with Hubert?”
“Ew. Why would I be?” Felix bites in response. As ever, Claude laughs.
“Because you’re both so fucking edgy and grumpy. Seems like something you’d bond over,” he smirks, arms crossed behind his head. Felix rolls his eyes.
“Have you ever considered that you and everyone else make us grumpy? That it’s not an us thing, but a you thing?”
“Aw, but everyone loves me!” Claude pouts. Felix scoffs.
“Whatever. Why are you asking?”
“He like really hates Sylvain and Ferdinand, but because of Dimitri and Edelgard I think. I don’t know, it all seems dumb. Everyone should just fuck and make up,” he explains, maybe a bit too eagerly.
“I try not to be involved with Sylvain’s seemingly complex social issues,” Felix replies. His tone is a little sour, and Claude guesses he’s probably fed up with Sylvain’s constant drama, no matter how much he loves him.
“Oh, and do you ever get in on any of that Ferdinand/Sylvain action? Seems hot,” Claude asks with another wink.
“You are also insatiable. Maybe you should fuck Sylvain next.” Claude’s eyebrows raise at the suggestion.
“Regardless of what I should do, I think at least Ferdinand and Hubert need to clear up their shit. And Sylvain, probably. Next time you see them you should knock some sense into them. Besides, I think Hubert and Ferdinand might get along pretty well, if you know what I mean.” Felix rolls his eyes, but he can tell Claude is actually serious. Social drama over petty things seems to genuinely bother him and he knows he uses sex as a cover up for that genuine concern. He guesses Claude doesn’t want to be seen as too soft or serious over something that might look trivial to others. He doesn’t bother calling him on it, though.
“Don’t tell me what I should do then, either,” Felix grumbles before walking into his apartment. Claude smiles. He knows Felix cares, too, and will almost certainly bring up the conflict to the two gingers later. As for the suggestion about Sylvain, well, he’d maybe have to consider that a little more seriously. He is an attractive man, after all. Who is Claude to say no to someone like that? He heads back to his place feeling a little more exhilarated than usual.
Ferdinand: see you in a couple hours?
Sylvain: of course, mr. von aegir ;)