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Eternal Soul

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“Once upon a time, in a time far far away from our time, there was a Fairy. They said she was beautiful, kind, benevolent… but also terrible. She wanted to do the Good but the Good isn’t always as you could expect it. The Fairy was very old and she had seen so many things… But one day, as she woke up, it was the War. A terrible War… created by her previous act of kindness. She found a Knight and lent him her strength. With this strength, they could repair what she had done. The Knight had a Pure Heart… but it wasn’t beating. That was what they allowed them to fight for the Fairy, repair what had been done. However… as the Knight helped, doing right and kind decision… an illness appeared. People’s Heart turned into flowers and, sometimes, they even vomited it. More and more… The Fairy wanted to be good and her Knight too and, once again, she was doing wrongly. The Fairy searched what it could be. Why the Warriors of this War were dying by the Sword or the Flower? She discovered that the illness was coming from the magic she had offered the last time she was awake. This illness was the fruit of the love. Forbidden love. They were fighting against each other but they didn’t want to… The Fairy realized that, this time again, everything was her fault. But this time… she could act. She used her power and swore that… whoever had been vomiting flower will, one day, be rewarded. One day… they will meet the one they loved and be able to love them. For real. Sometimes… that is just what drags you to someone else. As if the hand of the Fairy was leading you to your destiny. That’s the reason why people offers flowers when they want to court someone. The reason why twelve white roses are the symbol of the true love, the love finally given and received…”

“My mother says buying flowers it’s just commercial!” a little girl replied.

“You can pick them up,” someone replied, coming from behind the storyteller. “You will give even more of your heart if you chose yourself flowers.”

“And no one force you to buy flowers,” the storyteller added. “That’s just a tale.” He got up, glancing at the big clock in the corner of the room. “Prepare yourself, it’s time to go in classes.”

“You’re saying that, but isn’t your fiancé gave you flowers the first time he saw you?”

“Ferdinand,” he sighed.

“Feliiiiiiix?”

“What have you again asked that story?” Felix asked, looking the kids retrieve their belonging in the tiny closets.

“Because I like it?” Ferdinand replied. “They like it too. It’s epic, it’s romantic! And it’s fun to know why people offer flowers.”

Felix stared him.

“You did that dream again…”

“Maybe…”

“It’s just a dream, Ferdie.”

Ferdinand sighed slowly. Of course, it was just a dream… But the same dream, all the time…

“Sir! Help!”

Felix looked toward the little Tim who struggled to put on his coat. He walked toward him and helped him as Ferdinand watched. He waited there, standing while the other was giving a hand to the children. Giving their schoolbag to some, adjusting the vest of one or the others. They were between five and ten years so, some of them didn’t need his help but the others yes. He was doing this every day. The morning and after school where he would help them to do their homework, for example.

And every morning, Ferdinand was accompanying him.

It happened, like today, that Ferdinand got up a bit late and would come join him here but in the end, that was the same for them.

Ferdinand walked to the door and followed as Felix leaded the children to the court of the school, holding two hands. When they arrived in the court, already filled with others children and teenagers, he let them leave, letting them play with the others. He did accept the kiss on the cheek of one of the little and then checked a bit, just to be sure everything will be alright. Though… some people were there for that, being sure every child was safe and sound.

And when Felix decided it was safe enough, they just left the place.

“I know it’s just a fairy tale for you, but I believe it. Why would it be wrong?”

“Because magic doesn’t exist. No one vomit flowers like that, Ferdie.”

“In the History books, they seem to talk about magic…”

“I think it’s an interpretation from you.”

“Maybe…”

“Your grandmother should have never told you that old fairy tale,” Felix sighed. “I’ve the feeling it’s perturbing you more than anything else.”

They were walking in the streets while they were talking, heading toward Ferdinand’s work where Felix would leave him before continuing toward his own work. Taking care of the children like that was paid but clearly not enough.

“Perhaps! But, once again, without it, your fiancé wouldn’t have brought flowers at you and you wouldn’t be with him today! I say this fairy tale is history. You can’t change my mind!”

“For the billionth time, it was luck.”

“For the billionth time, it was fate! I mean… he did saw you and decided, for you, this would be a really special bouquet and he would pick the flowers with care instead of just grabbing fairies. And how could it possibly be, per chance, your favorite flowers? Fate!”

“You know what? You’re right, people can vomit flowers.”

“Ah!” Ferdinand smiled. “Wait… Why are you…?”

Felix smirked to him. “When I’ll make you eat flowers, I swear you will throw them up!”

“Aaah! Please, don’t have flowers at your wedding, I will be scared to be close to you when flowers are around!!!”

Felix let out a giggle. “I will adopt a cat when I’ll be married,” he said to change the discussion.

It was better that way.

He didn’t want Ferdinand to think about the dream, about that tale. It was true Ferdinand never got anyone. Not a single lady or man. He had tried to hit on people, especially when his cousin taught him so, but each time, he received a ‘no’. No one ever dared to touch his hand… Ferdinand was drowning himself in this fairy tale in hope that the True Love, the Eternal Love, was just waiting for him…

“Your fiancé hates cats.”

“And I hate dogs,” Felix replied.

“Maybe you can have something else? Like… a bunny?”

“Hm… or a snake?”

“He would love a lizard!”

“A big lizard!”

“Yes!” Ferdinand smiled. “And for me… a pony!”

“A pony, of course,” Felix smirked.

“And I will call her… What is that?”

“What-is-that? Why would you call your pony that way?”

“In front of the Teahouse…”

Felix looked up and saw what grabbed Ferdinand’s attention. Just in front of the Teahouse, there was a new shop. A coffee shop…

Why there was a coffee shop there?

“That’s annoying… I will talk to them,” Ferdinand decided.

“Do you need me to come? I’ll throw fist for you,” he offered.

Ferdinand smiled slightly. “No… I’ll be civilized and talk to them politely. And you, you can go to work!”

“Hm… Call me if ever there is something.”

Ferdinand watched the Coffee Shop, seeming empty for now. He knew the building had been bought by someone but until now, they didn’t know to do what…

“I’m feeling loved!”

“You see love everywhere, I don’t know why you don’t have a partner yet,” he sighed. “Forced to be alone in your King Size bed…”

“It’s a Queen Size bed.”

“Why do you even have a Queen Size bed?”

“Because I feel like a Noble in there! At least I don’t have a one person size bed when I’m fiancé!”

Felix shrugged. “I don’t like sharing my bed.”

“But…” Ferdinand noticed movement on the other side of the window and walked toward the Coffee Shop. “He does come sometimes. What do you do?”

“He is my mattress. Ferdie, I’m serious, if something is happening, run away and call me.”

Ferdinand nodded with a smile.

Felix had the habit to think he needed to be helped, protected… and maybe it was? Because he was pretty naïve and knew it, which Felix told him often. And he had a lot of values but… he didn’t like to hurt people neither. Didn’t like to be hurt. Hence he still didn’t have asked what he should do when he will be married… He was supposed to leave the apartment and let him be with his husband, of course. They will need place and intimacy, here it was in his advantage because the said fiancé still lived with his parents… but soon.

And him…

Could he only afford a flat alone?

But he didn’t want to hurt Felix with the question. Didn’t want to be hurt with the logical reply…

He moved his hand toward Felix, saying goodbye, and walked to the Coffee Shop. He pushed open the door, being quite happy it, indeed, was happy. He moved inside, looking the glassed cupboard and some name already written here and there. They will offer cheesecake, muffins, cupcakes… and also there was so many kind of coffee here. And the awful smell…

“Excuse me?”

“I’m coming,” a voice replied from behind the counter. “It’s not open yet, you know?”

“I know. I needed to talk to you.”

Ferdinand glanced outside. Felix was still there watching. He bit his lips lightly and then smiled to his friend.

“Yes?”

Ferdinand turned his head toward the man who walked around the counter. He was so stern, his face pale and his green eye being… so penetrative…

“Greetings! I’m Ferdinand Von Aegir!”

The man raised an eyebrow with a smirk.

“And I’m working for Lord Gloucester, just in front. In the Teahouse. Isn’t it rude?” he wondered.

“Rude?”

“We have a Teahouse, just on the other side of the street,” Ferdinand said. “And you will offer exactly the same service?”

“Yes. But we’re doing mostly coffee,” the man said, putting his hand on the counter. “People will choice what they prefer.”

“Maybe but…wait… mostly?”

The man moved his other hand toward the big board behind him. “As you can see, we offer some tea too.”

“What?!”

Ferdinand approached the counter, looking the board and all those fancy names. He didn’t even know what was coffee and what was tea with all those fancy name.

“How many teas, please?”

“Five cold and five hot.”

“We’re doing tea too.”

“That’s the principle of a Teahouse so I could figure this out.”

“That’s not fair!”

“Are you afraid of the concurrence?” the man smiled.

“That’s gross,” Ferdinand said. “Someone respectful wouldn’t do that.”

“Who said I was respectful?” he wondered.

“But…”

The man turned toward the counter, grabbing a small poster and handed it to Ferdinand.

“We open in two weeks and we will be delighted to see you at the grand opening.”

Ferdinand grabbed the tiny poster, too polite to refuse it.

“I’m Hubert, by the way, and we will be glad to receive you. Talk about us to your friend.”

“I won’t come. Coffee is disgusting and you’re just acting not fairly! We’re playing it correctly and I’m sure our client will prefer our service at yours!”

“In this case, we’ll gladly see.”

The man bowed deeply in front of him like in the old time. Ferdinand turned on his heels, walking toward the door.

“If you’re not coming, can you give back the flyer?”

Ferdinand looked above his shoulder.

“No. I prefer to have it so you can’t give it to anyone else.”

“Are you sure it’s not gross?” Hubert smiled.

Ferdinand replied to his smile before leaving, still holding the flyer in his hand.

Felix walked toward him as he stepped out the Coffee Shop.

“So?”

“He thinks he can do it and he invited me to the grand opening.”

“If you want to, we can buy rats and free them here,” Felix said.

“The poor rats… Oh! Maybe you can adopt a rat?”

“For the lizard or the cat?” Felix asked.

“For the… Ah! Wait! You need to go to work!”

Felix took out his phone, hiding the wallpaper with one hand. Ferdinand couldn’t help but smile because he knew it was a picture of his fiancé and also knew Felix was ashamed to be happy each time he was seeing it.

“Yes, you’re right. I will be late. When will you come back?”

“Late. Don’t wait for me!” Ferdinand smiled.

“Very well.”

Felix checked his phone and waved his hand before leaving for his work before he arrived too late. Ferdinand entered in the Teahouse, taking his purple ribbon to tie his hairs in a high ponytail. He went to the employee closet to quickly grab his apron, also purple, and washed his hand. He walked toward the counter in front of cupboard full of tea and pastries from different origin. At the said counter, a man of his age was sitting, making sure there were enough roses in the Roses Tea.

“Is your father there?” Ferdinand asked.

“No. Why? Do you want to talk with him?”

“Yes.”

Ferdinand moved his index toward the Coffee Shop.

“Oh, this. Yes.”

“Lorenz… What are we supposed to do? I went to see the man but he looked like he didn’t care… They serve tea!”

“Tea? Like… they’re imitating us?”

“Yes!”

“I know great minds can only make others jealous. They certainly want to do like us because we are so talented.”

“Perhaps. But… if they prefer going there. It’s coffee…”

“Ugh…”

“However… people seem to prefer coffee now?”

“We have the reputation!” Lorenz replied, moving his hand with a smile.

“You are right.”

“Of course! After all, am I not Lorenz Hellman Gloucester?”

“As true as I’m Ferdinand Von Aegir!” Ferdinand replied with a large smile.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Ferdinand worked here every day since he was sixteen. Before, it was just a few hours the week and when he had needed a real job, Sir Gloucester had gladly hired him. Ferdinand was joyful, knew everything about tea and was good to chat with the customers. Plus, he was good-looking and this helped to bring people who wanted to see him, chat and sometimes give a tip?

Ferdinand was really used to this job and, in contrary of what his father said, he was really glad to work. It was rewarding!

When he lead to a sell, whatever of sweet or a huge amount of tea, it was so nice!

The only real obligation he had, except the schedule, was to wear purple. Because it was the color of the Gloucester and so of the Teahouse. Of every Teahouse he owned. And he owned a lot of them. But the Gloucester’s family being from here, this was the first and man establishment. The man had decided to make the price a little higher here but since some people came from away to come in the first one… he could get that from them easily. A bit of money was always accepted and this helped the Teahouses to thrive.

That was the other reason why, when Lorenz had called his father, the man wasn’t surprise neither someone would shadow them. But he wasn’t worry as well. Why would he be? His Tea houses were loved and he knew this one had a little something more than the others…

The other only thing Ferdinand didn’t like about his job was the very little occasion to take a break. Especially because he left before the others waiter so he could go to the other thing in his days very full of work and activities. Just a few minutes to eat one sandwich he would have grab in the street, that was everything he had…

Coming from his break, he approached the counter at the moment a client entered the place.

“Can you take care of it?” Lorenz wondered, bringing dirty cups and tiny plates to the kitchen area.

“With pleasure!”

Ferdinand moved to come to the customer.

And froze.

Hubert.

He struggled not to put a lock of loosen hairs being his ear and approached him.

“Sir? Do you want to buy tea or have a table?”

“What kind of tea do you have?”

“Do you really want to know it?”

“I’m in a Teahouse, isn’t it?” Hubert said.

“Your Coffee Shop serves tea too.”

“But we haven’t been supplied yet. I’m really thirsty.”

Ferdinand looked down. It had been bad from him. He shouldn’t have been so rude… He wanted to protect the interest of the place he worked, mostly because they have done so much for him, but he was the only one to care… The only one to see a problem.

He was stupid…

“Please, I’ll lead you to our best table and the first drink is on me. For showing my apologies. My behavior wasn’t correct and I’m really sorry.”

“You want to protect your workplace, I understand.”

“Thank you. Please,” he invited.

Ferdinand lead him toward the table next to a window giving on the inner court, you could see the flowers, mostly rose, and a beautiful fountain with water falling with a soft sound.

The waiter had grabbed one of the menu to give it to him. In there, you could see every tea and sweet offered by the Teahouse but also some discovery option. Like you could taste every tea or have berry option, they would give you a few berry fruit tea with assorted sweets… The chocolate one was intriguing and Hubert would, maybe, have tried it if he hadn’t found the Holy Grail…

“Sir Aegir?” he called as Ferdinand was about to leave while he looked the menu.

“Yes? Something is wrong?”

“I have chosen.”

“Already?” Ferdinand let out.

Woaw… the man was fast.

“Yes.”

“I’m listening?”

“The cinnamon tea, please,” he said, handing back the menu to him.

“Yes! Anything to eat with it.”

“Nothing. Thank you.”

Ferdinand took back the menu and went to the kitchen to prepare the tea. Some offer let you have your teapot and a certain amount of tea and so you could have a long degustation. It was used by some student that used the free wi-fi with it…

In the kitchen, Ferdinand turned on some electric ketter. They needed some water. He took the chosen tea in the container they have and he slid it in a really fancy tea ball. He prepared everything with care. He was still hating himself for the very wrong behavior he had. He hoped the man didn’t care. He didn’t want the name of Ferdinand Von Aegir being associated with the fact of being a rude asshole…

He let the leaves soak a little in the water already and then moved toward the main room, walking to the table of Hubert. He was talking with the two people at the table next to him.

As he grew closer, Ferdinand could hear a bit of the discussion among the others.

“…not so good. You should go somewhere else.”

And there… he saw Hubert pointed out something.

Ferdinand turned his head to see what. The wall? He came back to Hubert and saw him give a flyer.

“How…” Ferdinand closed his eyes to calm his anger and he walked toward him. “How dare you?” he said with a cold tone.

“Hm?” Hubert looked up toward him and smiled. “Ah! Thank you for this!”

He held out his hand to him to have the cup of tea. Ferdinand put it on the table just next to them.

“No.”

“No?”

“No!” Ferdinand said. “You were just fooling us. I thought I had been rude and should re-see my behavior but it was your plan…” He looked to the couple at the table. “He offered you to come in his Coffee Shop, isn’t it? A better place that the Tea House.”

“Yes,” the lady said.

“Thank you,” Ferdinand replied.

He looked toward Hubert.

“Leave. Now!”

“I wanted to taste the cinnamon tea, it looks promising.”

“It looks not for you.”

“I pay it,” Hubert said, taking his wallet.

Ferdinand bit his lower lip. He couldn’t push him back that way if he paid. He closed his eyes.

“Very well…”

Ferdinand took the tea and offered it to him.

“And bring me a cupcake, please. One going with the tea.” He took billets from his wallet, holding it to him. “The remaining is for you.”

“Do you think you can buy me?” he asked.

“Yes,” Hubert said.

Ferdinand turned on his heels after having taken the money. He walked toward the kitchen, once again, to have fresh sweets from there. It wasn’t hard to choose the one going with the cinnamon tea but… he didn’t want to bring it to Hubert. He had fooled him…

He felt so ridiculous now…

He had been fooled.

Hubert just wanted to have the way to get him, this was the only thing… and he had played his game…

Ferdinand passed the heel of his palm along his eyes… He gathered little droplets and smirked. He was so ridiculous. He shouldn’t react like that… He was Ferdinand Von Aegir… right?!

He washed his hand then took one of the pastry, something sparkled with sugar and filled with apples…

He walked back to the main room with a big smile, not showing is sadness.

“Bon appetite,” he said, before moving away.

Hubert didn’t get the chance to thank him. He took a bit of the pastry and was surprised by the taste, so soft. Not too much sugary and with a delightful cinnamon lingering feeling… He took the cup of tea… it was so hot. He blew softly and dip his lips in the liquid, welcoming the aromas.

It was…

Delicious.

Truly delicious…

 

 

Exhausted, Ferdinand pushed open the door of the apartment. He took out his vest, throwing it on the coat rack. He removed his boots and then untied the hairs he had lifted as a bun.

“Eh, you!”

“Sylvain!” Ferdinand smiled when he saw the man in the sofa.

“We kept you a bit of food!!”

“I’m glad. I didn’t have the time to take something in town,” Ferdinand said. “What is it?”

“Egg and vegetables pasta,” Felix replied. “I just put one plate in the microwave for you.”

He went from the kitchen and approached the sofa just in front of the TV that Sylvain turned on.

“How was your day?” Ferdinand asked, coming to the couch.

“Nice! It was mid until I got the chance to see the love of my life,” Sylvain said before winking to Felix.

Which blushed slightly and sat on the armchair.

“It was a correct day. As correct as a day in my shitty work can be,” he groaned. “And you?”

“Beautiful!” Ferdinand smiled.

“And now the truth?” Sylvain asked.

“Why do you think…”

“We know you,” Felix replied. “There is something off with you.”

“I just…” Ferdinand approached, rubbing his nape. “The man in the Coffee Shop… He came to say ‘sorry’ but it was a trick. He wanted to ask our customers to go in his place instead.”

“I still can punch him,” Felix said with a serious tone.

“I know, I know… I’m just sad to have been fooled like that. I thought I had been rude, thought he was really sweet in fact but…” He sighed. “You are right, Felix. I’m so naïve…”

“Naïve is a cute trait,” Sylvain said. “And the guy is an asshole to fool you like that!”

“Yes, probably. But he’s working just in front and so I have no idea what to do. I don’t want to see him again…”

“Ask Gloucester to forbid the entry of the Teahouse to the man?” Felix offered.

“I’m not sure I can. He’s… just a guy? And since he’s the concurrence.”

“Maybe he won’t come again,” Sylvain pursued.

“Hm… Yes, it’s possible he will just stop. He probably had hated my intervention and wanted to make me pay? Something like that…”

“Maybe,” Felix approved. “Still… if you need to have his ass beat up, I’m volunteer.”

“I know you’re volunteer, Felix,” Ferdinand smiled. “You’re always volunteer for those kinds of things!”

“I just know what is fun.”

Ferdinand let out a giggle. As he heard the sound of the microwave, he went to the kitchen and grabbed a fork. On the room, alone, he allowed himself to lose his smile. He was still the one to care too much. Maybe because he loved his work. Maybe because he was afraid he would lose his job? A job he loved, a job meaning for him…

And…

Maybe it was because he always wanted to be, or look, less naïve that he was. Because what they said was naivety was, for him, kindness. He didn’t think it was bad to be kind but society showed him the invert. Hubert showed him the invert…

He dug his fork on the plate and ate a mouthful.

He could hear Felix and Sylvain talking in the other room. He would certainly stay the whole night and they will leave together. He could go in work by himself tomorrow. He shouldn’t keep living their life… He climbed on one of the counter, taking another mouthful and pressing his skull against the wall.

He was sore.

He just wanted everything to stop…

“Ferdie?” Sylvain passed his head through the threshold. “Eh! What are you doing?”

“Nothing! Leaving you a bit of intimacy!”

Sylvain frowned. “I would take him in his room if we needed intimacy. Is something wrong? Was it the guy?”

Ferdinand wanted to talk about his doubt but he shook his head. “I just had a bad night. I did this dream.”

“This dream?”

“He dreamt again about that stupid tale your grandmother told you!” Felix shout from the sofa.

“Ah! The dream!” Sylvain smiled. “I would call that a Nightmare.”

“Yes, probably.”

Ferdinand couldn’t explain it because there was a feeling he craved for…

“But you need to save me! Felix wants to make me eat flowers!”

“What?” Sylvain smiled.

“I swear!”

“Don’t you already drink tea with flowers petals in them?” he wondered.

“I… Well… ah! It’s okay Felix, we’re still friends!”

Felix appeared next to his fiancé who passed his arm around his waist.

“So you mean I’m forced to support you more now? What a delight!”

“Come on, you know you love me!”

“I don’t know,” Felix replied with a smirk.

“I’m your Best Man so I’m sure you do!”

“Stay away from the flowers anyway, you never know.”

“I’ll protect you,” Sylvain replied. “He looks aggressive but he’s so tiny you risk nothing!”

“I’m not…”

Felix didn’t get the chance to end his sentence that Sylvain lifted him and made him swirl in his arms, forcing Felix to grab his shoulders. Sylvain stopped toward Ferdinand and winked to him as he held out a hand.

He wouldn’t let him alone in the kitchen like that!

 

Chapter Text

A ring echoed in the room.

With a long sigh, Hubert turned in the bed, the blankets sliding over his chest and he grabbed his phone. He was about to reply when he saw the name across his wallpaper representing himself and his best friend, his only friend…

He could just let it ring in the room, again and again.

It was seven of the morning.

Why not.

He rolled on his bed and pressed the pillow on his face to seek the Darkness. He must got up in twenty minutes, more or less, and prepare himself. He still had so many works to do in that Coffee Shop. They needed to do a lot of layout and construction today.

The phone stopped to ring and he closed his eyes.

He dozed for a few minutes again and forced himself to get up when he heard his alarm ring. The day just started and he was already ready for a headache… He walked to his kitchen, prepared a boiler, turning it on, and came back to his bathroom to wash himself, arrange his hairs and put some clothes on.

He heard his phone ringing and came back to the kitchen.

Of course, it was still the same number. He hesitated. Should he reply? Really? He hadn’t much choice…

He picked up and turned on the speakerphone, preparing his coffee and searching through his stuff for something to eat. If he had time, he will maybe cook an egg sandwich…

“Hubert! Can I know why you didn’t pick up earlier?”

“Sleeping,” he said.

“Alone?”

“Yes, father. Alone.”

“You know I count on you to find a girl and…”

Hubert closed his eyes. No, he will pass on eating. Suddenly, he wanted to puck. Aaah, if only killing someone was legal…

“I already explained you, father. No, I won’t do grandchildren for you, I have no interest in that.”

“Hm… I always forget you’re gay.”

“I’m not gay,” he replied.

“So why don’t you give me grandchildren with the beautiful woman I found you?!”

If his father could stop acting like girls were just walking incubator, it would be good too.

“Not interested by them.”

“What about the girl you’re always with? Edith?”

Hubert pressed the red phone.

Edelgard?!

Well, with her this would be totally impossible because Edelgard, her, was gay. And she was ‘just’ his dearest friend. He wouldn’t dare breaking everything with… what? Romance? Certainly not sex…

The phone rang again and he picked up, walking to his cupboard to get a mug for his coffee.

“We have been cut.”

“What an annoying situation,” Hubert smirked. “If it’s about having grandchildren, it’s still ‘no’, father.”

“And about the Coffee Shop?”

“I’m working on it. It will be ready for the Grand Opening.”

“Perfect, perfect. Don’t forget to bring someone, I will have a lot of friends that evening.”

“Hm,” Hubert replied before sipping his coffee.

“And send me pictures of the progress! I will have the supply in ten days, more or less.”

“As long as we have them for the opening,” Hubert sighed.

“Don’t talk to me with this tone! Don’t forget I’m doing this for you.”

“Sure. I need to go to work. We can talk another day, father. Have a nice day,” he said politely before hanging up. “You’re doing this for the profit and I wish I could kill you.”

Hubert pushed his phone in his pocket and drank the hot coffee.

 

 

If they wanted to be ready in thirteen days, knowing here will be four days off, they had to work a lot and fast. They were lacking a lot of table, some decorations inside but also outside. Like, the showcase needed to have more pretty signs and they wanted to do a patio but they needed to install the underwire for the flap his father had chosen.

Inside, there were some heavy work too.

The noise was unbearable. Hubert will really get that headache… At least, it will be an excuse not to talk with his father, right?

“Are you doing it on purpose?”

Hubert smirked and swirled on his heels.

“Oh Darling, you don’t know what is it to prepare a shop, isn’t it? We are doing work.”

“It disturbs our clients!”

“Ferdinand, isn’t it?” Hubert said, walking toward him.

“Yes.”

“Did you miss me?”

“What?” Ferdinand blushed.

“I thought your excuse to come a bit… ridicule. It’s work. Of course it makes noise. Everything is making noise.”

“You are doing this just in front of our shop! Can you, at least, wait a moment when they’re not a lot to be here? You started fifteen minutes ago and before you were all strangely quiet.”

“We were preparing things,” Hubert replied.

“I think you’re a dumbass!”

“A dumbass? That’s some bad words. Can’t you ask politely?” he wondered, his fingers moving toward the long hairs.

He was about to touch them but stopped, not daring to even brush them.

Ferdinand looked away and bit his lower lip. “Please, Hubert. It disturbs our clients.”

“We need to do those modifications so, no.”

Hubert smiled widely and Ferdinand felt the urge of yesterday wash him again. Why being so kind…

“I’m sorry about earlier. You’re not a dumbass.”

“Oh… Well, I ace…”

“You’re an asshole!”

“What a temper.” Hubert smiled. “Well! You are right, more or less. Why not, to excuse ourselves, we would buy you tea for everybody. I will pay.”

“We don’t do ‘to take’ service,” Ferdinand said.

“No?”

Ferdinand shook his head.

Hubert smirked and leaned in. “We do.”

The other looked him with anger and swirled on his heel, walking toward the door.

“Everybody. If you want to take a break, you can go to the Teahouse. It’s on me,” Hubert said, loudly. “Is this correct for you, Ferdinand?”

Ferdinand twitched.

“Yes, you can do that.”

Hubert smirked as he watched him move away.

 

 

“He came again!!” Ferdinand let himself fall on the sofa next to Felix. “It has been one week. He came everyday and ask for the same tea with the same cinnamon croissant. He gave me a big tip and then… he does horrible thing in his stupid Coffee Shop. I swear! They can’t pursue the heavy work and yet, we have such horrible noises at the best moments. And sometimes, I see him push people to come at his Coffee Shop. I HATE HIM!”

“Next time, you should throw your knees between his thighs.”

“I should!”

“You won’t do it, right?”

Felix looked up from his phone.

Ferdinand bit his lower lips. “You’re right…”

“I will do it for you.”

“Will Sylvain…” Ferdinand took a fake shocked tone. “Agree?!”

“That I touch the groin of another man? If it’s to make him pay, yes!” Felix smirked. “Wait…” He frowned. “You get it!”

“I do.”

Ferdinand let fall his head on Felix’s lap.

“I always think… I should have been nicer to him.”

“I think you’re always too kind, Ferdie.”

“Perhaps. But he is working in front of us. I should… I should make efforts.”

“I know you’re doing it.”

Ferdinand stared the turned off TV, he could see their reflect in the black screen.

“Lorenz doesn’t mind…”

“Maybe you’re minding too much. Ignore him.”

“He is doing everything to annoy me! He really does his best, you know?”

And when he thought that the shop will open next Monday… in six day.

“Winter is coming… it’s so cold and they will want something hot. He’s doing tea and coffee and you can take them. It’s over.”

“The Gloucester has enough Teashop to let this one stay open even if it doesn’t work. Especially because… Lorenz still can’t manage alone, isn’t it?”

“Hm… I’m just worrying…”

“I know. But I think it’s okay,” Felix said. “And if ever, you can find another job. Like… you get hired in his shop and you piss him off!”

Ferdinand let out a giggle.

“I always can count on you!”

“A pleasure, really!” Felix glanced at him then at his phone. “Sylvain asked me to chose the flowers so…”

“Stop!” Ferdinand laughed. “I want to eat none of them!”

Felix laughed too and passed his hand in the golden hairs with a smile.

 

 

“Sorry, I’m late.”

Hubert smiled to Edelgard, standing in the entry of his house. Her latest craze had been to bleach her hairs. White. And she was lovely that way…

“Don’t worry, Edelgard. I’m always happy to have you home. I should have come at yours.”

“But you’re busy with the Coffee Shop.”

“Yes. Even though… I’m pretty glad this idiot I have to call father wanted me to do that.”

“Why?” Edelgard asked, removing her shoes to put on slippers. And also her vest to put on the rack. “Oh… You mean, it’s the guy from the Teahouse?”

“Yes. He is distracting. Fascinating.”

“You should stop playing this cat and rat game with every people you meet.”

“I don’t play that game,” he replied.

“Especially when they please you,” she pursued.

“He doesn’t please me,” Hubert countered, walking after her.

She went to the kitchen when there were very fresh made cookies, still smelling good. Edelgard’s favorite’s cookies…

He was always so sweet…

And on the other hand, she hoped he hadn’t done a steak for supper because his were always so incredibly bloody…

“He doesn’t? You texto about him every day.”

“He is funny. And I love his tea! It’s a very brilliant tea! Cinnamon.”

“You told this to me, yet. And what about the perfume of his hairs?” she smiled.

“I never talked about the perfume of his hairs! I wouldn’t dare touch them. He is so…” Hubert stopped talking, staring her. “About the Grand Opening of the Coffee Shop. Will you be there?”

“Yes, my father asked for it. It will be a really important soiree. It doesn’t seem to be a real… ‘It’s a Coffee Shop opening’ but more ‘look at my friends, they all are rich and influent’”

“Exactly.” Hubert pressed his hands on the counter. “I don’t want to play the game of my father. I hate this Coffee Shop.”

“So…” She looked him. “That guy from the Teahouse? It’s just like… having fun?”

“Pretty much. Is it bad?”

“No, of course not,” she said. “But don’t do anything you would regret.”

She sat on the stool, putting back a lock of hairs.

“How could I regret?”

“I know you act. Especially when you don’t know someone. You could have been with someone yet if…”

“It’s a choice to avoid being with someone. I don’t want to take any risk. I’m… weird. You know it.”

“One day, you will see someone and they will know how much you are deserved. And you will be loved.”

“I am already loved. By you.” Hubert moved his hand, pressing his lips against her fingers after having taken said hands. “I don’t need much more.”

 

 

“Once upon a time, in a time far far away from our time, there was a Fairy. They said she was beautiful, kind, benevolent… She wanted to do the Good but the Good isn’t always as you could expect it. The Fairy was very old and she had seen so many things…”

 

Lately, wherever you were looking, there were dead bodies.

You could try it run away from them but they always come back. They talked about ill. An illness coming from the rats. Rats were killed by they kept coming and spread the illness. And as soon as someone was touched by it… it was over.

Ferdinand’s father had been touched by it. He was feeling so bad lately… Ferdinand just tried to ease him with cold water on his forehead thank to a fabric and himself… Himself didn’t feel so well…

Knocks, very close from each other, reverberated in the house. Ferdinand pushed back a lock from the low ponytail he quickly had done in his long hairs. He pressed a kiss on the forehead of his father, put on place the fabric and got up to went on the door.

“Yes?”

“It’s the Doctor.”

Ferdinand quickly opened the door.

“Thank you so much,” he said. He paced backward to let him enter. “I’m really worry for my father. He is in a terrible health since two days.”

“When the cyst appeared?”

Ferdinand closed the door behind the doctor. He looked him, with the long bird beak on his face. He had chill and on the same time, he hoped. Could he save his father?

“A cyst?” Ferdinand looked down. “Four days ago?”

“Hm.”

The Doctor walked toward the stairs and took them, coming to the bed where the man was laying.

“Where is it?”

“At the armpit,” Ferdinand said, approaching.

“Don’t come. Without the correct medicine, you would be ravished by the illness.”

“I’m already taken.”

The Doctor turned toward him. He grew closer than him and he held out his hand… but didn’t touch him. Maybe he was afraid to touch him because of the illness. Or to touch this Angel sent by the Goddess itself? Even with the illness and the dirt around, he still looked beautiful.

For his eyes, at least.

Even if he never had allowed himself to feel that way before…

He was a Doctor! He served the patient, not tried to lure them in fancy adventures…

“Your father will die. There is nothing else to do. But you. Maybe…”

“Nothing? But you barely looked him. Please!”

“The cyst appears the second day. The illness takes a live in one week. At this point, there is nothing to do. Come here.”

“No! I stay with my father and you will do…”

“My job? I’m doing it!”

The Doctor lifted him from the floor and carried him to his bed after having noticed where it was.

“Since when do you have the Cyst?”

“Yesterday. Please, take care of my father.”

“I will take care of both of you, let me do, now. Show me the cyst.”

Ferdinand looked away as he moved down the cloth. “What is your name?” he muttered.

“Hubert.”

“I’m Ferdinand Von Aegir.”

 

Three days had passed and the fever was so strong, so powerful. Ferdinand could barely breathe. He felt a hand in his hairs.

“Pl…Please… end my life…”

He couldn’t continue.

He wished he could see Hubert’s face before dying but he also knew Hubert was protecting himself and he preferred knowing him safe. He had him by his side and they had chatted a little. His heart was beating so fast.

Was it for him?

Maybe…

Probably.

“I will,” Hubert replied.

Anyway, he couldn’t say anything, just keeping him on his heart, very dearly…

“Thank you,” he whispered.

He coughed.

Red flowers flew on the floor. Ferdinand’s eyes widened and watched a petal fell on his hand when he coughed again.

No one had this before him…

Coughing, Ferdinand woke up, trying to push away the feeling lingering in his lungs. He coughed, tears rolling along his cheeks as if he tried to push out flowers from his body.

But there was nothing.

Nothing else but a powerful feeling of distress…

He never did such a Nightmare. Usually, it was another. His Heart was hurting him, his brain was thinking too much and he was struggling to breath. He let his back fell on the mattress of his bed very too big, looking the ceiling.

Why…

Why such a dream?

Why his mind was always invaded. Wasn’t it the proof the Fairy Tale from his grandma was real?

He had vomited flower…

 

 

The Grand Opening was for this week-end. A big celebration a lot of people talked about yet. It was known yet as a Party with so many wealthy being. Proof? Lorenz and his father had been invited. And maybe that was the reason no one was worrying? Maybe the Gloucester and the one taking care of the Coffee Shop had prepared all of this since the beginning?

Maybe Ferdinand was really worrying too much.

But it was because of that Hubert.

Hubert brought so many things to him. Especially because he was always annoying him.

And to be fair? He didn’t know if he was happy that the week-end will come and he wouldn’t have to see him again or the total invert? He didn’t want the Monday to arrive. He was worry…

The time was really cold today and the regulars came for a bit of warm or those came to buy some leaves and do more teapots at home.

Even though his mood was really down, Ferdinand kept smiling and welcoming everybody with the best way. And if they were new, he talked about the perfume and the joy to take some tea. It wasn’t hard for him because he really liked tea and had tasted them all. He could talk about the brewing, the technic, the art, the perfect sweets to go with it… but, especially, he could cheer people about it. The most treat in a tea degustation, was the one with who you were drinking after all…

Ferdinand arranged the teas in the showcase and then glanced at Lorenz who was taking care of the tables. Did he… did he really was hitting on those ladies drinking there? One of them seemed annoyed.

Damn…

It wasn’t the first time.

Ferdinand walked toward the son of his boss and grabbed him by the wrist.

“Excuse me, Lorenz. Can I have a hand?”

“Yes, of course. I’d be glad to help you but I’m chatting with those delightful ladies.”

“I know,” Ferdinand replied. “Please?” he smiled.

“Hm, very well. My ladies, I will come back,” Lorenz grinned.

In his back, Ferdinand shook his head and joined his hands, promising without words he will do his best so they could have a good time together.

“Can I ask for a table?”

“Yes, one minute, Sir,” Ferdinand replied. “Would you mind waiting at the counter?”

He turned on his heels to smile to the client but said smile froze immediately, disappearing as he noticed Hubert.

Why they were so little to work here…

He glanced at Lorenz.

“Can I have the honor to be served by you?” Hubert asked, looking him.

“You are deeply annoying me, Hubert,” Ferdinand replied. “But the customers got everything he wants, isn’t it?”

He turned on his heels and moved away with Lorenz who smiled to the ladies trying to avoid looking him back.

“Lorenz! You can’t do that!”

“I can’t do what?”

“You know what, hitting on those girls. They’re here for a pleasant moment.”

“My presence is pleasant!” he said, looking shocked.

“Ah… Yes! Delightful. I do enjoy your presence and if you let them have time, they certainly would too but they just want to enjoy a little time…”

“They seem to like that guy.”

Ferdinand looked above his shoulder and stared Hubert talking to them.

“I will kill him…”

“Thank you to take my defense, Ferdinand. I really appreciate.”

Ferdinand glanced at him and smiled softly. For once, it wasn’t pure friendship.

“Please, Lorenz… If they say ‘no’, it’s ‘no’. I know you search someone to make your father happy but… But you’re better than that. You should just search the one that would make beat your heart and the one… the one you would like to give flowers to…” he muttered.

“If they’re beautiful, kind and wealthy enough, I want to give them flowers!” Lorenz replied.

“Of course.” Ferdinand took his hands, pressing it in his. “Please, please, please?”

“Very well.” He moved his head, throwing back the long lock of his shiny hair behind his shoulder. “They will see how awesome I am anyway. I will stand there and wait for them.”

“Sure!”

He wouldn’t ask for him to help him with the Teahouse but, anyway, Lorenz started to help him as soon as he noticed he needed it.

Ferdinand came back in the main room and approached.

“Hubert,” he said with a big smile.

Hubert turned toward him. Ferdinand kept smiling and moved toward a table. With a gesture, he invited the man to sit, which he did. Hubert just had sat that Ferdinand leaned in, his hairs sliding along his shoulders, throwing a powerful, but so soft, smell in Hubert’s nose, making him struggle not to move his hand to push delicately back a golden thread that flew from the ponytail…

“Hubert, if I see you take out one of your flyer in this Teahouse only one time, I swear, I will force you to eat every of them instead of your croissant!”

“Really? Is this a challenge?” Hubert asked.

“Don’t play with me. I can’t wait enough for your Coffee Shop to be open, you will stop coming.”

“In fact. I planned to keep coming,” he said.

Ferdinand froze, agape.

Hubert smiled.

“Wh… what? Why? You…” Ferdinand struggled not to sigh. “What I have to do for you stopping coming here?”

“Come with me at the Grand Opening. As my plus one.”

“Excuse me?”

“If you asked to come at the Grand Opening, pretending you’re my partner, I accept to stop coming here.”

Ferdinand bit his lower lip, his hands shaking.

“You swear?”

“I swear.”

“In this case, very well. I will join you at the Grand Opening. As your date. But!! I do nothing!”

“I wouldn’t dare asking such thing,” Hubert replied. “Thank you.”

Chapter Text

Coming from the bathroom, Ferdinand approached the sofa, holding out his hands to show the very complicate bun he had done today. Only two locks were free and softly fell on his chest.

“What do you think of this?”

Sylvain looked up from his phone where he was checking the weather.

“You’re so lovely.”

“Yeah. You shouldn’t do as much effort and just go being ugly,” Felix replied.

“I can’t!” Ferdinand protested. “Look at me! I’m so pretty!!”

Sylvain let out a laugh when Felix was judging him with a sigh.

“I were you, I would go mildly correct. You look correct but you fuck him. Not… literally fuck him. Like… you could put some nail polish!”

Felix nodded. “And you should wear that Virgin Killer Sylvain made Ingrid bleach to white.”

“This is too… He will see it,” Ferdinand replied.

Annoying Hubert and staying decent and beautiful? He was in! But he wanted the pact to be fulfilled.

“Unless you’re putting on a nice vest. You add some boots with a correct pants and when you arrive at the party… you stick two fingers up to the establishment aaaand you set out to shock!”

“And you will be lovely and piss off all of them.”

“All those idiots who think they’re better than others because they have a lineage,” Sylvain groaned.

“We are among those idiots,” Ferdinand reminded.

“We are not at the Party, we are not.”

Ferdinand frowned.

“You’re forced, not the same,” Sylvain swore.

Felix nodded. “Say hello to Dimitri when you’ll see him,” he smirked.

“Oh, and Ingrid! If she’s there!” Sylvain said happily.

“Yes but we respect Ingrid,” Felix reminded.

“I respect Dimitri,” he replied.

“You respect Dimitri, you hate cats… are we sure we want to marry?” Felix sighed dramatically.

“Yes, of course. And look! It’s rainy for our wedding!”

As he said that, Sylvain showed his phone. His grandmother always said ‘Rainy wedding, happy ending!’ and he really wanted a rainy wedding. But, as for Dimitri, he knew Felix didn’t hate Dimitri and actually appreciated him. But they had different opinion. Which didn’t mean they couldn’t be friends… You hadn’t to approve plenty your friends in every way. For example, none of them approved everything Ferdinand did, thought and wanted.

And vice versa.

 

 

Coming from the lift, Hubert approached the door of Ferdinand’s apartment, where he asked him to pick him up. He found that lovely that he was trusting him enough for that. After all, giving your address to a perfect stranger…?

But now, he was just in front of the door, pressing the button activating the ring. Which reverberating around.

He waited.

The good manners asked that you won’t open the door immediately. If you did, it meant you were waiting for them and they were late. And when that person wasn’t late at all because they had the courtesy of coming at the right time, it was bad.

When the door opened, Hubert was ready to give a polite smile but he was just agape in front of Ferdinand, standing in the threshold. He was just breathtaking.

“Good evening?”

“Hm… yes. Good evening.” Hubert bowed with politeness in front of him. “I bought you flowers,” he added.

“You… You… what?” Ferdinand whispered.

“Oh Goddess…” Felix sighed from the living room.

Hubert ignored them and held out the bouquet of flowers. It was lilies. Red as Ferdinand’s cheeks. Red as Ferdinand’s lips. Red as the blood.

“How did you know they are my favorite?” he asked, his heart pouncing in his chest.

“Oh, easily. I spied on you,” Hubert smirked. “Joke. Lucky guess.”

“I… I really love them. You don’t mind if I find them a vase and then we leave?”

“No, please. But… may I?”

“Yes?”

Hubert took one of the flowers and, broke the steam before sliding the flower in Ferdinand’s hairs. He was even more beautiful now…

If it was possible.

“I’m coming,” Ferdinand smiled.

He stepped backward and went in the kitchen to grab a vase, put flower in it and install the flowers.

Hubert moved his head and listened.

“Don’t get yourself fooled because he offered you flowers,” a cold voice came out.

“My favorite flowers!”

“And yet!”

“Just take care,” a second voice, friendlier, said. “We will wait for you.”

“Yes. I will try to come back soon.”

“Yeah, try to be there before midnight. I don’t like this guy. He could kill you.”

“Come on”, the happy voice said. “You can do what you want but if you need something, don’t forget to call us.”

“Sure! It will be a nice party, I suppose.”

“Have fun,” the happy voice said.

Hubert moved back and smiled to Ferdinand when he appeared. He held out his hand to him.

“May I?”

As he saw the hand offered to him, Ferdinand thought he should have put on some gloves…

“I have gloves so you risk nothing,” he smiled.

“It’s like you’re reading my mind.”

Ferdinand slid his hand in his and allowed him to lead him to the lift. Inside, Ferdinand glanced at him.

“Yes?” Hubert said.

“Do I have to do something, at the Grand Opening?”

“Not saying that your Teahouse is better than our Coffee Shop?”

“The invert of you, then,” he smirked.

“Exactly,” Hubert replied. “I don’t think you can do something wrong.”

“You don’t think? Each time we saw, I yelled on you.”

“It’s true.”

“So…”

“But you’re here. You could have just… ignore all of this. Maybe I respect you for this.”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

The lift’s door opened and Hubert stepped outside, still offering his hand to him. He led him outside and they walked to the big doors of the flat, which he opened for him. A limousine was waiting there and, once again, he opened the car door, letting him come inside. Ferdinand saw a lady inside. She smiled when she was him. She was in a beautiful red dress with a heart window showing her collar bones and the top of her cleavage. She had fancy hairdressing with a lot of tiny braids and a kind of bun.

“Good evening.”

“A pleasure,” she said. “I’m Edelgard Von Hresvelg.”

“Ferdinand Von Aegir.”

“Yes. Hubert talked about you often.”

“Often?” Ferdinand repeated as he sat next to her, clipping the belt.

“Yep! Often. You’re the one in the Teahouse, isn’t it?”

“I am.”

Hubert sat next to him, also putting on the security belt.

“Can you not ridicule me in public?”

“Come on.” Edelgard smiled. “I’m glad you are here, Ferdinand. Twenty-two years I’m going to every ball with him. Our parents almost married each other… too often,” she said.

“Like, for real?” Ferdinand wondered.

“No. No,” she giggled. “They think we want to be together. But I’m not interest. Though… he is a good man. Thank you for him.”

“I…”

“You know I forced him to come,” Hubert reminded as the car started to move.

“He accepted and I thank him. That’s being polite, Hubert. The flower in your hair are beautiful, by the way,” she added to Ferdinand.

“Hubert gave it to me.”

“He has great taste. This make your hairdressing beautiful but I’m sure it was astonishing without it.”

“I made effort,” he replied. “I want to be breathtaking at this Grand Opening.”

Hubert smirked. “Is this a revenge?”

“Maybe,” Ferdinand smiled.

 

 

The Limousine stopped a bit before the street where the Coffee Shop was. Though it was a very known area and with a lot of activities, you couldn’t come with a car there. So they walked in the cold night air of the autumn slowly turning to winter. Edelgard couldn’t help but smile when she was the slight twitch of Hubert’s hand, as if he wanted to give a bit of warm to Ferdinand who seemed to freeze.

As they approached, a soft music coming from the Coffee Shop, Ferdinand glanced at the Teahouse.

“It’s there you’re working, then?” Edelgard asked.

“Yes.”

“It looks lovely!”

Hubert stared the Teahouse and then the Coffee Shop. His establishment was an engineering of modernity and class, with black colors, two stories, big windowed wall, balcony or patio. But the Teahouse seemed out of its time. A little cottage like in the Fairy Tales…

“It is really lovely. Usually I wouldn’t suggest such a thing but, thanks to Hubert, I’d be glad if you came in the Teahouse, one day.”

Edelgard knew how Hubert had belittled and asked people to come at his place, even in the Teahouse and so she giggled softly.

“I will!” she swore.

They entered the Coffee Shop. If everything had been installed lately, furniture had been reorganized to have a big place and a kind of buffet had been placed on the windowed counter.

“May I take your vest?” Hubert asked.

He talked to Edelgard and Ferdinand. The first didn’t wait much and Ferdinand only imitated after. At the moment he took out his jacket, Hubert was agape to see the naked back appear, having some light red marks here and there but especially freckles peppered her and there, hairs loosen and caressing the skin.

Hubert couldn’t help but smile.

Ferdinand was offering him more than his dreams.

“Did I say to you how lovely you were?” he asked, hanging the vests.

“I accept anyway,” Ferdinand smiled. “You’re looking very well too.”

“Thank you.”

Edelgard smiled. “Very well, I let you alone or, you know, my father will hope we said our vows. Ferdinand, have a nice night. Take care of my Hubert, please.”

“I will, my Lady.”

Ferdinand bowed in front of her.

Edelgard smiled and stepped away to go around.

Sylvain wasn’t wrong at all, a few people excepted, and the Mayor and one or two important shareholder, much of them were Noble or… ancient Noble. Lot of them had just title they were happy to show off with…

“Ferdinand, do you want something to drink?”

“Yes. Except if it’s coffee.”

“You want that much to protest against my shop?”

“Oh no. It wouldn’t be polite. But I do hate coffee.”

“Interesting… We still have tea.”

Hubert offered his arms to him. Ferdinand accepted to take hit, his hand sliding on his and he followed him through the room. Hubert retrieved his arm to prepare the drinks under the eyes of his rival who followed every movement.

“Ferdinand! What a delightful surprise.” Ferdinand turned his head toward Lorenz, smiling to him. “I thought you didn’t like this place.”

“Yes. But I have been invited and I couldn’t refuse such an invitation.”

“A pretty lady, I suppose.”

“Not exactly.”

Lorenz turned his head toward the man who just had talked. Hubert was handing a glass of cold tea to Ferdinand. Which thanked him.

“Ah, Sir.”

Hubert smirked to him. And then to something, probably someone, behind Ferdinand. Which wanted to move his head, look what it was. But a gloved hand moved, brushing his cheek, preventing him to look.

“What is it?” Ferdinand asked in a low voice.

“You will see,” he whispered.

If Ferdinand read his face, he could tell, whatever it was, it was approaching…

“I’m leaving you,” Lorenz said. “I hope you will have great joy.”

He nodded slightly and moved away. Ferdinand knew it was probably to search a good wife, as his father wished, and he would be happy to save them all, Lorenz and the ladies, but he was stressing.

Hubert expected something from him.

Someone was coming.

Who?

Why?

The Mayor maybe? Or the owner of the Coffee Shop? No, wait! Hubert was the owner of the Coffee Shop. But the look of Hubert’s face said t was someone very special.

Someone he hated?

“My Dear Son. You did a really good work with the list of guests,” a voice cheered up.

A soft praise that only made smirk Hubert.

“And here you are, bringing such a delightful lady with you.”

“Lady?” Ferdinand couldn’t help but turn his head to the man. “I’m Ferdinand Von Aegir!”

“You… She… I mean, he… HUBERT!!”

“Yes, father?” he smiled.

“A man? An Aegir! How dare you!”

“How I dare what, father?”

Ferdinand stepped away, pressing his back against the counter, looking Hubert, smirking with a delightful look on his face and then the man, his father, very angry.

“I decided to bring Ferdinand here, is that forbidden?”

“You know it’s forbidden! After everything I did for you?! What your mother would think?!”

Hubert’s eyes narrowed and his smirk turned more feral. “Can I ask you something, father?”

“If this is how to get rid of this pest…”

Ferdinand blinked. Being insulted wasn’t something exactly new for him, hence he always showed what he could do instead of what he couldn’t… but the word Pest made him think again at that strange dream he had.

“What is pissing you off the most? The fact he is a man or an Aegir?”

This time, Ferdinand froze and looked Hubert. Stared him.

“Excuse me,” he said.

He passed between them and moved away in the room. He was about to search a place to stay, maybe with Lorenz or Edelgard? But he remembered the words of Felix. He shouldn’t have dress pretty.

Yes he shouldn’t have.

He had been lovely but this was just… a plan.

He looked for his vest but couldn’t see it and he didn’t have the strength to search for it. He put down the drink on the big sill in front of the large window and just stepped outside.

Chapter Text

“Excuse me, father.”

Hubert didn’t wait for a reply and walked outside. He grabbed the left ice tea and went in the cold wind.

“Ferdinand!” he called.

The man turned toward him, hugging himself because of the cold.

“You forgot your drink.”

“What a kind man. I don’t accept any drink from anyone if I didn’t see what they have done with it. Though I’m not sure you’d have any interest for that.”

“Absolutely no interest.”

“I’m happy to have helped you to annoy your father. I did my part. Never come again to my Teahouse!”

“Why are you upset? You knew it was a fake date?”

“Yes. But I thought you were… I don’t know, alone? And didn’t want to be alone? You could just have warned me. You know… the worst is that… if you had told me, I would have played it all. Be cuddly, shiny, beautiful! Just as I am!” he smiled, moving his hand with a fancy gesture. “But I just want to know… when did you have decided all of this? When I told you my name? You pushed me to the edge so I would say ‘yes’ when you needed it? Why my name?”

“I never told you my name.”

“You are Hubert…”

Ferdinand frowned.

It was true… he didn’t know his full name…

“Von Vestra.”

“Von Vestra?” Ferdinand repeated. “My father used to…”

“Our families have rivalry for decades, yes,” Hubert replied. “When you told me your name, I didn’t give you mine because I wanted to prevent more tension.”

“I don’t care about the name, if not mine…” Ferdinand let out a giggle. “I don’t even care for mine.”

Hubert frowned.

He approached him, taking out his vest to pass it around Ferdinand’s shoulders.

“You will take a cold…”

“Thank you.”

Ferdinand pressed his fingers on the vest, covering slightly his arms. He didn’t dare to actually wear the jacket but it was warm. And Hubert was just in a shirt now…

“Should I apology? I didn’t think you would mind. You hate me.”

“I try to protect the Teahouse. But… I think that’s selfish.”

Hubert moved his hand to the end of the street, knowing there was a bench they could sit on…

“Why selfish?”

“For the same reason I don’t mind about your name and the conflict between our families. I’m Ferdinand Von Aegir but I don’t care about the Aegir family… I ran away from my family when  I was eighteen, seven years ago. But I wanted to leave for so long.”

“Why?” Hubert wondered. “If I can ask?”

“You don’t want to return in your Grand Opening?”

“I don’t care about it.”

“Why?” Ferdinand smirked. “If I can ask…”

“My father thinks I’m a disappointment and he tries to orient my future in the direction he expected.”

Hubert approached the bench, Ferdinand still walking at his pace. He could have run away… but he didn’t.

“I understand that.”

Hubert offered his hand to Ferdinand, helping him to sit. It wasn’t useful, to be fair… But Ferdinand liked. It was… different. Different from his past they were talking about.

“What studies did you do?”

“Those my father wanted,” he replied, sitting next to him but keeping distance between them. “Management. He expects me to pursue to pepper enterprises all around the World and make money. He also waits for me to find a girl and provide a heir to the Marquis title we own. But those titles are nothing… Who cares, today?”

“Just few people,” Ferdinand replied. “So… that’s the reason I’m here? To trick him? Mostly because I can look like a girl if you don’t pay attention?”

“A little. And the Aegir name, of course.”

“You should do what you want. You shouldn’t prevent yourself to be with the one you love just to annoy your father.”

“I love no-one,” Hubert said.

“No? But Edelgard?”

Hubert laughed.

“She is my best and oldest friend. I care her very much.”

“That’s great!” Ferdinand encouraged.

He moved a lock of his hairs, sliding it behind his ear. Then, he hugged himself, bringing more heat… Hubert wanted to hug him. Give him more warm. But he couldn’t…

“You said you understand. Why? Why did you want to run away from your father? Or you dodged the question, in fact?”

Ferdinand didn’t like to talk about it. Even with Felix, it was pretty rare. All of this was fake and yet… this conversation looked real? He wanted to give a bit of trust to Hubert. Maybe he really was a naïve idiot…

“I’m a disappointment for my father. From A to Z. A man shouldn’t have long hairs and he forced me to cut them when I was child. Or did it, whatever I wanted it or not. He disapproved my choices in future. Disapproved my…” Ferdinand looked down. Usually, this wasn’t something you talked about but he liked to think Hubert couldn’t be that closed about it since they were pretending they dated… right? “He always said, doing ballet would make me gay.” He closed his eyes. “Always said, if I had long hairs, that meant I wanted to ‘do the girl’ or other atrocities like that. Well… I’m gay, but I don’t think it’s because of my hairs or the ballet. It just happens I love this…”

“I’m sorry about that.”

“The Gloucesters helped me,” Ferdinand said. “They opened their arms to me, they gave me that work, sometimes letting me sleep in the outhouse when I didn’t want to go back to home… They hired me after and that’s because of them I was able to keep paying my dance lessons…”

“You’re dancing…”

“Yes. I’m dancing,” he chuckled. “That’s not very awe-inspiring.”

“That’s very awe-inspiring,” Hubert countered. “You’re in a famous ballet?”

“No.” He laughed, twirling his finger around one of the long lock sliding along his finger. “No, I’m not good enough for that. I love dancing and now I go to training almost every day after work since… three years? Maybe four? But before, it wasn’t as regular. My father didn’t want… my mom tried to help, to let me go there but…”

Ferdinand looked toward the cloud. The sky was dark, the clouds very grey. They were lightened by big streetlights and he slightly smiled when a flake fell on his nose.

“I’m glad my name helped you to annoy your father, anyway.”

“I will not serve anymore tea in my shop,” Hubert said, staring him.

“What?”

Ferdinand opened quickly his eyes, looking toward the man.

“You heard me.”

“Yes. But… why?”

“This concurrence between the Teahouse and the Coffee Shop is useless. If they want a coffee, they come at my place. If they want a tea, they went at your place.”

“We don’t do cold tea.”

“It’s not important,” Hubert replied.

“You can do cold tea. You can do warm tea… I don’t mind. I told you, I’m selfish. Sir Gloucester seems delighted and you met Lorenz. The guy with purple hair.”

Hubert nodded.

And kept staring him as the flakes fell slightly around them. On them. Adorning Ferdinand and making him appear even more beautiful than he was. The frozen crystal droplets were like a million of diamonds, adding to the freckles peppering here and there, begging him to touch them. Just to push back that long golden thread, maybe? Just to smell his perfume? Brush his fingers if the Goddess allowed it to him.

“Your tea is delicious. People should keep coming there.”

“You mean you came for the tea? Not to annoy me or have our customers?”

“It was killing three birds with one stone, honestly. This cinnamon tea is a real delight. Almost as good as coffee.”

“Almost.”

“Almost,” Hubert nodded.

“I can do some for you, if you want to? I tell you what I’ll need and…”

“You’re doing it?”

“We do all the tea ourselves. It’s team work! Lorenz is on every flowery tea and people really love his rose tea. And I’m more the one with others ingredients, like cinnamon or berries. Some of them, we do it together or separate but we both can do it.”

“I see…” Hubert said.

He got up. Ferdinand watched him with surprise. He held out his hand to him.

“Do you mind coming back to the Grand Opening with me?”

“As a friend? A plus one or you fake boyfriend?”

“What do you want to be?”

“For tonight, your fake boyfriend. I want to annoy your father! But except that… I’d like to be your friend.” Ferdinand looked down. “It was a nice discussion for me.”

Hubert watched him. “I enjoyed talked to you about some things. And listen yours. I could do that again. I certainly have a lot of venom about my father to spit,” he said.

“I’ll listen!” Ferdinand smiled. He took his hand, getting up. “For example, what did you want to do, you?”

“Undertaker.”

“Undertaker? That’s interesting!” Ferdinand replied.

“You don’t think it’s gross?”

“Someone has to do it. And if you want to do it, then it’s a good thing.”

“Most of people think it’s gross.”

“Everybody die and someone must to accompany them. Accompany those forced to stay to see…”

Hubert glanced at him.

“Have you lost someone?”

“My grandma.”

And someone in his dreams…

Ferdinand shook his head.

“We talked way enough of myself. You father forced you to do management studies, then?”

“Yes. I tried to get my independence and work in a hostel, as groom… This could have been interesting if my father hadn’t bought said hostel to put me as the place he expected. He didn’t want me to try something else. Being a waiter, being at the reception… anything.”

“You didn’t want to have things happening to you because you were wealthy?”

“Yes.”

Hubert glanced at him and saw his smile as shiny as the Sun itself…

“You know that you own the Coffee Shop? You can mop the floor yourself if you want to!”

“Brilliant, indeed. How do you do?”

“To mop the floor?”

Hubert nodded.

He saw the smile on Ferdinand’s lips.

“Please, can I remind you I never did that? My father send a cleaner in my apartment.”

“He doesn’t help you,” Ferdinand said.

They were almost at the Coffee Shop and… to be fair, Ferdinand was slightly disappointed. He wanted more time with him…

Alone.

“I will show you, if you want to!” Ferdinand tilted slightly his head. “And… you can come at the Teahouse whenever you want to.”

“Why changing your mind?”

“Because you are not an asshole, in the end, Hubert.”

“I must say…” He opened the door for him. “I like when people think I am.”

“Why?”

“They don’t try too much to stay around me.”

“Oops?”

Ferdinand let out as he entered.

The room was delightfully warmed. Hubert approached him to retrieve delicately the vest.

“I think, I accept you being…leech-like.”

Ferdinand smiled slightly. He saw him so close. He pushed one of the lock on his chest and smiled.

“What about the tea?”

“I said I won’t commercialize it.”

“Mine. The one you followed me with.”

“I…” Hubert looked his hands. “Probably have let it on the bench.”

“Oh.” Ferdinand pinched his lips. “I see. We have to retrieve it later…”

“We will,” Hubert swore.

“Thank you.”

Ferdinand glanced around but he didn’t expect to see Edelgard almost jump in front of them.

“Hubert! I was searching you! Where were you?”

Hubert glanced at Ferdinand, still covered with discreet snowflakes here and there slowly melting. She noticed those in the black hairs and smiled.

“I see!”

She blew a discreet kiss.

“What was the problem?” Hubert asked, not wanting to step on this path.

“She is there,” Edelgard whispered.

“I’m not surprised,” he said.

His eyes searched around.

“Who are you talking about? If I may?” Ferdinand asked.

“Lysithea Von Ordelia,” Hubert said. “She is a little prodigy and she skipped a few class, allowing her to be with Edelgard in class.”

Edelgard noticed. “The first time I saw her, I thought… ‘okay, men aren’t for me’.” She moved slightly her head on the side. “I thought not liking Hubert was only because he was my friend but… nop. Nop, men aren’t for me.”

“That be more for me, then. We won’t have to fight for them. Well… I guess I would have them all,” he added with a wink.

Edelgard watched him, tilted a little her head and then smiled.

“Edelgard, Hubert!”

“Oh damn…”

“You are beautiful, Edelgard,” Hubert said to Edelgard.

“You think? Well. Yes. Of course… Of course.”

She smiled widely as the young woman approached. Her brown hairs were tied in a braid, two long locks coming over her chest. She was wearing a beautiful dress that looked like the galaxy peppered with stars itself…

“Edelgard, Hubert! I tried those sweet you’re offering. Let me tell you, you will have a client!” she smiled.

“I’m pleased to know that,” Hubert politely said back. “Come as soon as you want. If you have a favorite sweet, I can keep some for you.”

“You are so sweet!”

“Then you should be with him!”

Looks turned to the Marquis Von Vestra who walked toward them, a smile on his lips. Edelgard looked angry, Hubert looked annoyed, Lysithea looked confused and Ferdinand… he passed his arms around Hubert’s and kissed his cheek.

“Excuse me?” he said, “Hubert is already with someone. Me. Ferdinand Von Aegir.”

“Yes, yes. But this will pass,” the man replied.

“Why?” Lysithea asked. “That’s not nice to say to Hubert after he finally had found love!” She turned toward him. “It’s love, isn’t it?”

Hubert glanced at Ferdinand who kept smiling to his father.

“We will see,” he, then, replied.

“We’re not together since a long time, it is right, but that doesn’t mean we want to stop. I love Hubert’s conversation.”

Hubert looked him. Edelgard smiled and leaned toward him.

“Here, you’re supposed to compliment him back.”

Lysithea nodded.

“Ferdinand is…”

The Marquis smiled.

Hubert leaned and whispered at Ferdinand’s ear. “Incredibly skilled, interesting and look like an Angel.”

Ferdinand blushed.

“Thank you?”

“Now, I want to know!” Lysithea said.

“Knowing Hubert, I think Ferdinand is… enthralling,” Edelgard smirked.

“Aaaah!” Lysithea replied with a smile. “You both really are cute!”

Hubert’s father approached him, leaning at his ear. “I know you’re trying to mock me. I never saw you touch anyone like that. He looks like a girl at first glance, he is an Aegir… this almost look like you had searched him only to annoy me. You’re still a Monster and this will not change, no matter what you try to do. Being with a man only make you more disgusting. Stop this. Marry a lady and do what we expect from you.”

He stepped aside and moved away.

Ferdinand stared Hubert who hadn’t moved, not even twitched a little. Edelgard seemed now annoyed. She had her fist tightened in a heavy balls and wanted to punch the man. But they were in society. And in society, you didn’t kill someone by violence.

“Lysithea, may I ask you for a dance?” she said.

Lysithea seemed surprised but nodded. She was able to know it was one of those Noble attack. A serpent slithering to attack and defend yourself… A way to protest but without being able to totally move away from the oppression.

“Hubert, Ferdinand… you join us?” Lysithea smiled.

“Of course,” Hubert said. He turned toward Ferdinand, bowing a little, knowing his father was watching. “If I may have this dance? If this fit you enough.”

“Obviously. I’d be delighted to dance with you,” Ferdinand said.

Hubert smiled. He glanced at his father and took Ferdinand’s hand to lead him toward the place Edelgard was invading. He could count on her for this. She had a really heavy leadership vibe coming from her. A natural authority. Often, they joked about the fact she must have been an important ruler in another life. But none of them truly believed this.

A soft music was turned on, probably by one of the waiter and groom of the party who wanted to see a little bit of animation? It never has been specified there will be dance but they were all coming from a social standing that loved ball in every kind. So, this was taken in a very good way.

Well…

Mildly good way.

Edelgard just took Lysithea’s hand, the other sliding in her back, her fingers barely brushing her.

“You don’t mind if I lead?”

“I don’t think I could prevent you from leading,” the young Countess smiled back.

Edelgard could have glanced at Hubert to be sure everything was alright but she only saw Lysithea. No matter the reasons for them to arrive here… this was something she craved for since so long…

But Hubert was doing very well, his fingers brushing Ferdinand’s palm and taking their position. He let Ferdinand decide if he will lead or not… Everything was fine for him. But his, fake, date was the dancer between them.

“I hope this kind of dance suit you?”

“Every kind of dance suits me,” Ferdinand smiled, his hand coming in the hook of Hubert’s back.

Hubert slightly touched his shoulder, naked and cold, still peppering with flakes disappearing under the light and the warm of the room. Once again, he thanked his common sense that made him put on gloves. Willingly, he followed the movement, looking Ferdinand, whatever if it was the grace of his movements. You could tell he did know what was the art of dancing and you could tell he was loving this. And him… except when it was Edelgard, he didn’t know he would truly enjoy to see someone being happy like that.

Strangely… his happiness was more enthralling than his angry look…

He slid his fingers and lifted slightly Ferdinand’s, making him swirl.

Ferdinand didn’t expect that but let him do, joyfully.

Hubert fought against his smile when he saw him like that. He made swirl another time, the Nobility of Ferdinand certainly being tested because his hairs didn’t move at all, except for those two locks that followed the dance. But Hubert’s hairs moved and Ferdinand was struck when he saw the two light green eyes watching him. As if there wasn’t anything else in the World.

As he made him swirl a third time, slower, Hubert didn’t let him finish that movement, bringing him closer to him, letting the back of that men brush his chest. And so his hand came on his belly softly, holding his hand. Dancing… with him, offering and discovering movements at once.

“Thank you for earlier,” he said at his ear.

“I’m here for that, isn’t it? I told you: if you say what you expect from me… I’m your man.”

Hubert stared at the purest smile beaming at him.

Ferdinand noticed the smile and looked down, his cheeks turning pink, making appear his freckles as the stars who would land on the night as the kisses of the Sun…

“Did I tell you how lovely you are?” Hubert wondered.

“I will take the count of how many times you told it,” Ferdinand giggled.

Hubert made him swirl but only to bring him closer than him. Too close, maybe, their forehead almost touching and Ferdinand’s arms coming around his shoulders to hug them.

“But… thank you. For each of them.”

Hubert approached his hand of Ferdinand’s back as their feet where pursuing the dance, their hearts searching the perfect tempo. But, as he remembered that back was naked he couldn’t put down his hand. Even with his gloves…

How could he only?

“Do you want me to lead?” Ferdinand wondered.

“Please.”

Ferdinand allowed himself to make swirl Hubert, his eyes catching the two piercing emeralds and his heart hammered with delight. He always had loved dancing, even alone while cooking, or more likely while trying to cook before Felix came to repair the mess he was creating, or under the shower steam. Dancing in the streets, on class even if they will never accept him in a big ballet because he was “too late”. But there? This dance was, by far, the softest and his favorite one. Way in front of the first time he actually managed to do some ballet movement and could say “I’m dancing”.

This dance, he was doing it with his heart.

A heart praising a man he couldn’t even believe he would appreciate one day.

Two weeks ago, he would have thrown a hot tea at his face. Today, he was in his arms and he could feel the lily in his hairs. He could feel the attention, the care… that magic he was the only one to believe him travelling in his body.

“Hubert…” he whispered. “May I…”

Hubert tilted slightly his head, his forehead almost brushing Ferdinand’s, his nose daring the first contact with a gentle touch. Just a brush. Innocent.

He lifted him, his arm around Ferdinand’s legs if it was only decent, and approaching even more his lips as they were swirling, one of the golden lock daring to caress Hubert’s skin, Ferdinand’s hand closing around one of his shoulder.

Chapter Text

“Hubert…” he whispered. “May I…”

Hubert tilted slightly his head, his forehead almost brushing Ferdinand’s, his nose daring the first contact with a gentle touch. Just a brush. Innocent.

He lifted him, his arm around Ferdinand’s legs if it was only decent, and approaching even more his lips as they were swirling, one of the golden lock daring to caress Hubert’s skin, Ferdinand’s hand closing around one of his shoulder.

“Excuse me?” a girl’s voice came out.

Hubert didn’t care; Ferdinand still had his education deeply anchored in his flesh. He looked toward the girl that bowed slightly, shaking on place.

“Hubert… My father told me… he told me to come to dance with you. He… He said… when we will have danced… I may leave. I’m sorry. I’m sorry… Please…”

Hubert looked toward his father, talking with the father of this lady. He realized how much this Grand Opening was just a Ball in disguise and rats were free in this cursed Ball.

“Ferdinand… you don’t mind if I dance with Bernadetta?”

“Of course, not.”

Hubert had put him down on the floor and so Ferdinand bowed in front of her before letting the place for the lady. She was trembling as she took Hubert’s hand. Ferdinand glanced around after Lorenz… Was he bothering girls? He must find him, bring back his memories to something better… clearer.

He glanced at the dance area and realized there was a fair amount of couple now.

How could he hadn’t notice that?

Edelgard and Lysithea were still dancing, the last one smiling so widely…

At Hubert’s arms, the lady was almost crying…

Ferdinand looked at Hubert’s dad and then he searched back Lorenz in the crowd. He did was trying to find love, or anything that could allow him to please his father.

He didn’t like the atmosphere in this place.

It was so… full of poison.

The room seemed to be filled with toxic fumaroles…

He hated that.

It was one of the things he was so happy to have been free of when he ran away from the Aegir House. And he knew why neither Felix nor Sylvain had wanted to come. Because, if it had been just for the wedding preparation, most of everything was done. They were ready to marry each other and he still didn’t know what he will do when it was done…

He had no backup plans even if he had sought them…

 Ferdinand couldn’t see Lorenz, probably because he was lost in an Ocean of colors? Or maybe he went somewhere else? Somewhere he could court those ladies as much as he wanted?

Or was he chasing them until their last corner.

What should he do?

Ferdinand walked around the place, glancing at the sweets, smiling when a waiter offered him something but always saying ‘no’, to it. He searched after Lorenz or even Ingrid maybe? What not Dimitri if he could find him? He knew a bunch of people that may be there… People he knew nothing about but he had to see when he was younger because… that was the protocol.

He felt tickles along his skin as he remembered those memories he wanted to have very away from his mind…

He noticed stairs and walked toward them, climbing the steps one by one.

He arrived in a larger place and when he saw the windows coming to the balcony… wherever decided to design this had been very inspired and this was beautiful.

Ferdinand walked toward it, passing through people as he searched for Lorenz. He wished he could open the windowed door to look at the view, at the Teahouse, but some people were smoking on the balcony. So he passed…

He just watched around, swirling on his heels.

And noticed Lorenz!

He quickly walked toward him.

“Lorenz?”

As Lorenz turned his head, the girl he was talking with quickly stepped away.

“Ah… you made her run away.”

“I’m sorry. What were you talking about?”

“I asked her if she wanted to marry me.”

Ferdinand struggled not to bit his lower lips to stop a laugh. “Since when do you know her?”

Lorenz removed a pocket watch and pressed the button on the top.

“Fourteen minutes if I am right!”

“That’s probably too fast,” Ferdinand replied. “I’m sure they would be delighted to meet you and to live something with you. If you weren’t that eager.”

“You talking of being eager but what about your date?”

“My date? Hubert is a friend. I’m helping him to annoy his father!”

“I see.”

“You think I’m lying?”

“I don’t know,” Lorenz replied.

“Ferdinand?”

Ferdinand turned his head toward the stairs. It was Lysithea. Lorenz smiled as soon as he noticed her.

“Don’t even try, please,” Ferdinand said to him, in a low voice, before adding: “Yes?”

“We’re leaving! You come with us?”

“Leaving?”

Ferdinand was perplexed and Lysithea nodded. “Bernadetta asked Hubert to bring her home so… we leave! Edelgard and I come and she said it was better to ask you if you wanted to come.”

“Hubert didn’t offer?” Lorenz wondered.

“I don’t think so.”

“Then, you were right,” Lorenz said to Ferdinand. “You are just friends.”

Ferdinand smiled and walked to Lysithea who climbed down the stairs. As he followed her, they moved through the room and joined Hubert and Edelgard at the moment Bernadetta snatched her vest from Hubert’s hand and ran outside. The man let out a little sigh while Edelgard had a sad look. As he noticed Ferdinand, Hubert fished for Ferdinand’s vest and brought it to him.

“Thank you very much. I didn’t think we will leave so fast.”

“Bernadetta doesn’t do very good around people. Letting her in such a crowded place isn’t a good idea,” Edelgard explained.

“You won’t have any problem by leaving now?”

“I don’t care,” Hubert said.

“My father is nice,” Edelgard replied.

“I leave when I want to,” Lysithea added.

“Very well, then!”

Hubert glanced at his father. It was his father’s soirée more than his, anyway. He already had everything he could wish for here.

He opened the door for the others and walked after them. It was still snowing but the flakes refused to create a thin coat on the town.

Maybe later…

“We bring Bernadetta at home and we can go to a restaurant to eat something,” Hubert offered. “It’s on me.”

“Perfect! Thank you!” Lysithea let out.

“Always so kind,” Edelgard said. “Who choice where?”

Ferdinand shook his chin, glancing at Bernadetta who was far away from them. She certainly knew already where was the Limousine because she walked in the correct direction.

“Can we go to an Italian restaurant? They have so many different things and so everybody could have what they want! And it would be nice for Ferdinand to not have being in a fancy place.”

As Lysithea was talking, everybody looked at her. Especially for the last part.

“Excuse me? It’s very a nice attention from you but… Excuse me? Why saying that? I don’t look like I can love fancy?”

“You’re not used to it, isn’t it?”

“Not since a few years but… it’s mostly by choice?”

“Lysithea…” Hubert said. “Ferdinand is from the Aegir Family.”

“What?!” she chocked out. “I thought it was a lie to annoy your father!! I thought you were an actor or something!”

“Why?” Ferdinand laughed softly.

“Well… I saw your father and you’re prettier than him!!”

“Thank you!” Ferdinand smiled.

“You knew he was an Aegir?” Lysithea asked to Edelgard.

She nodded. “His hairs help a lot.”

“Ah! He could have dyed them! Anyway, Hubert, you got a lot of luck!”

“I was thinking the same,” he smiled.

They approached the Limousine and Hubert opened the car door. Bernadetta quickly dashed inside of it and pressed her shoulder against the window of the other side, talking to herself.

Edelgard let Lysithea enter first and she sat next to her, asking her if she didn’t mind. And, of course, the young lady had no problem with that. She welcomed her with joy.

Ferdinand entered too and, didn’t want to annoy Bernadetta, sat next to Edelgard who smiled to him. Hubert came in front of him. He turned toward the young girl who was biting her thumb’s nail, shaking on place.

“We’re soon at your home.”

“Th…Thank you, Hubert…” she said.

“You’re welcome,” he replied.

The car moved and, as they were all respecting Bernadetta, which was probably the case, they stayed quiet.

You could barely hear their breath…

 

 

The car door opened as the Moon was high in the sky. In the end, the snow managed to give a purer look at the town, drowning whatever horror this could happen now, in the streets or the houses. Whatever it was physical or moral.

Everything was pure.

“I’m coming with you,” Hubert said as he came outside of the Limousine by the other side.

“It’s not useful.”

“I shouldn’t insist… but I insist. I don’t see another way to achieve our fake date.”

“You’re right,” Ferdinand replied.

“You didn’t even let me open the door for you,” Hubert said, closing the car door and coming to Ferdinand.

“You didn’t need to. You did it so often already.”

“You deserve it. That’s what the protocol said to me.”

“You are an intriguing being,” Ferdinand smiled.

He waited for Hubert then walked to the building, opening the door for them. Together, they went to the lift and he called it, waiting for the big door to slide open.

“I have to thank you. I know this was all fake but the pleasure I got from it was real. I thought… this will be only a bad time and I hoped never seeing you again after this but…”

The doors opened in front of him.

“I liked it very much. Every part of it.” He stepped inside. “Almost every part of it.”

Hubert entered with him, as if he didn’t want to let the moment fly away.

“Me too. I did use you to annoy my father and I should have warned you. But your presence turned nicer than I thought.”

The lift moved toward the correct story.

“I do will be happy to see you again. Come at the Teahouse or…”

“Come at the Coffee Shop? I will have warm tea for you? Before you leave for your dance lesson. I can also prepare you something to eat. You should eat more.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re doing too much and you don’t eat enough,” Hubert replied.

“You pass from rival to fake lover to coach in healthcare? You have all the strings to your bow, isn’t it?”

“You can tell this.”

The doors opened again and Ferdinand walked outside, going toward his flat’s door. Hubert followed him.

“If I may?” he asked.

He held out his hand so Ferdinand let him have his. He smiled tenderly when he saw Hubert kissing his knuckles, barely brushing his skin with his lips.

“Have a good night, dear.”

“Same for you. Be cautious while returning home.”

“I will. Thank you again.”

“Thank you.”

Ferdinand entered the room and closed the door, shaking softly his hand until Hubert’s image disappeared in front of his eyes…

Chapter Text

Once upon a time, in a time far far away from our time, there was a Fairy. They said she was beautiful, kind, benevolent… but also terrible. She wanted to do the Good but the Good isn’t always as you could expect it. Because of her kindness, an illness appeared. People’s Heart turned into flowers and, sometimes, they even vomited it. The illness was coming from the magic she had offered. This illness was the fruit of the love. Forbidden love.

“It’s a bad idea, Ferdinand…”

“A bad idea? I searched this Monster for forty years. Forty years…”

“You’re too old now!”

“Too old? You think I’m too old to destroy the Monster that killed…” Ferdinand went quiet. “He didn’t kill just Hubert… He killed so many other people. We can’t let him do.”

“He must be old too, soon to die!”

“And so I should let him do?!” Ferdinand turned his eyes toward her. “I should let him do because he could die tomorrow? But he could die in thirty years! How many people will he kill again?”

“You shouldn’t…”

“Maybe. But this is the only thing that still matter for me. I’m leaving tonight.”

“I still believe it’s too dangerous…”

And Ferdinand didn’t care. He refused to let that guy, who called himself ‘the Vampire’ since forty years just… flew away. He will never forgive him for the life he had taken just after he had muttered the words he should have never whispered.

It wasn’t a good thing.

You couldn’t say to another man you loved him.

He did it.

For months, he thought Hubert had just… run away from him, despite the blood in his room. He had believed it was his parents or Hubert’s parents who had done that, maybe.

Maybe.

Maybe thinking the Vampire, as they called him, as he called himself, had ravished Hubert’s life was the only thing that allowed him to not believe the one he loved hated him? That allowed him to believe he could have been more than a friend. So much more…

Ferdinand wasn’t a cop, an inspector or any man of law. He wasn’t even allowed to wield a weapon. But he wanted the head of this Vampire.

He will leave tonight.

He will have his head tomorrow night…

 

 

Ferdinand didn’t believe in Vampires. Magic hadn’t place in his mind. The only thing he believed in, was that the World was filled with horrible being. He didn’t believe in Vampires but if that awful being was calling himself by this name, he will give him what he wanted…

Today, he knew he had to go through a forest of thorns and so he had cut his hairs.

Today, he will meet the Death and he didn’t care if she was coming to him or riding by his side as long as he could avenge Hubert…

It was still the only thing making him move since that day.

If the madness had to leave his body, finally… he was totally in.

With a stake, two revolvers and a dagger, Ferdinand left the Inn he stayed in without even eating.

He couldn’t eat anything.

And a full stomach would slow his movements. Like that, it was perfect…

He walked through the forest of thorns and walked to the Castle. His researches had allowed him to know that the Monster was living here. Why? Because most of people were dying there. Killed with that same way people died when Hubert disappeared.

Maybe he really was nut to believe in this because… what was telling him that Hubert died by the hands, or the teeth whatever, of that Monster if Hubert’s body had never been found back.

An intuition.

Nothing else.

And he was walking in this forest, waiting for the man he expected to kill. He will not bring him in a court. Why doing it? How many chances for him to be free after all of this?

He needed to do it…

He was ready to fight his mistakes…

And… he wanted to ease the pain in his heart…

 

After minutes and minutes, hours and hours, he arrived in the castle. He pushed an old door, thinking it will fall as he tried to enter but no… It let him enters but stayed on its hinges…

Should he call the Vampire?

He didn’t care about the surprise effect…

He moved around the Castle. There was no sound around except, maybe, the one of the wind swirling around. By a lot of things, it seemed that the place hadn’t been used since so long and on the other hand… there was a presence.

Creepy.

He climbed the stairs and pushed open one door, looking the dust and the spiderwebs around, the dirty windows and some plants growing all around. He walked toward the said window to glance outside but he had to create a round through the dirt. His glove turned gray as he tried to see if the Monster was outside. He already had seen criminals went outsie of the HQ to set it on fire once they had locked their prey.

Hence he looked outside.

He felt something.

Cold creeping in his back.

“I was waiting for you.”

Ferdinand jumped. He saw no reflect. How was it possible? By which magic?!

“You’re the only blood I craved for.”

Stupid Vampire!

Ferdinand swirled on his heels and dug the stake in the heart.

“H…Hubert?”

Ferdinand blinked.

It was Hubert. Hubert as he remembered him. Forty years had passed but… not for Hubert?

He had seen nothing in the window.

It wasn’t possible…

Was it possible?

Vampires didn’t exist. Vampires didn’t…

And yet, he was looking him with the same eyes than before.

“Don’t… worry… my love…”

 

 

With a big hiccup, Ferdinand woke up and coughed. He pushed the covers in one move and ran to the bathroom to throw up everything in his guts. He let out a moan as he pushed back the long golden hairs that almost went dirtied.

He leaned in and hiccupped.

What were those dreams? It reminded him the one he used to have but they were so different… And why with the face of Hubert?

Is little sister was studying psychology and everything around and often said the brain couldn’t create a real face for the dreams and took in the memories but… Hubert?!

Ferdinand got up, flushed and went to the sink to brush his teeth. He didn’t know if the horrible taste in his throat was because of this or the dream?

He had, again, that strange feeling he was vomiting flowers.

This was just a tale… a stupid tale his grandmother told him. But… He looked at the red Lily. Hubert knew.

Ferdinand stopped brushing his teeth, taking the vase and stepped outside the bathroom to bring it where it would be better. Like in the kitchen. Since he was there, he took the boiler and put water inside of it before installing it on the station so he could make it boil. A nice tea was really welcomed there…

“Ferdinand?”

Ferdinand turned his head, brushing his teeth.

It was Felix, still a bit sleepy, his hairs wavy and in a big nest.

“You okay?”

“Yeah…” Ferdinand spat on the sink and make water stream on it. “Probably something I ate last night,” he said before rinsed his mouth.

“You see! You’re not the only one, mon amour,” Sylvain said, pressing a kiss on Felix’s neck as he hugged him from behind. “He’s my cousin and yet you’re so much bestie that…”

“What?” Ferdinand said.

“Nothing!” Felix blushed as he crushed his foot in Sylvain’s.

Which let out a laugh more than a moan of pain.

“Go put some clothes by the Goddess name!” Felix groaned, looking away, his cheeks still red.

“For me or Ferdie? Both of you saw worst, ya know.”

“Go. Put. Something. On. Your. Back.”

“Hmmm… Okay!”

Sylvain kissed his neck and stepped away to go back in the bedroom.

“And your legs!” Felix shouted to him.

Passing his fingers in his hairs, he let out a groan. “I can’t believe I will marry this man…”

Ferdinand smiled as he retrieved bag of tea and some instant coffee.

“Happy?” he asked.

“Delighted,” Felix smiled slightly. “I’m really happy to marry this idiot.”

“He’s so happy too,” Ferdinand smiled.

He put down his toothbrush and took mug in the cupboard. His fingers were slightly trembling.

“Say, Felix… I’m sorry. I didn’t have find somewhere to go. Not for an acceptable price, at least.” Ferdinand didn’t want to have this discussion but he had to. It was now or never. “It doesn’t disturb you?”

The water turned into steam in the boiler and let out a powerful sound.

Felix seemed perplexed.

“You’re searching?”

“Yes, I do. I do my best. But the rents are so expensive and I don’t earn enough with my job and… pay too much in dance lessons.”

“You should stop and look for dance in a ballet or something.”

“I’m not good enough! I thought I could beat my underachieve but I can’t. I, Ferdinand Von Aegir, can’t overwork this. I’m doing my best and that’s not good enough?”

“Don’t be defeatist. It doesn’t look like you.”

Felix grabbed the boiler and the tea, as well as the coffee, to prepare them.

“Maybe it does look like me? I tried my best. I always try my best and even more! I had too much underachieve.”

“That means that’s your father’s fault.”

“You think?  I could have trained alone, flew to go at school. Be harder with myself.”

“You were!”

“You were more.”

“Yes. I was more. But this doesn’t count. I was an absolute idiot, wanting to be better than my brother because he was so awesome. Better than anyone for my father to see me. It was your passion and if you had done more, without exterior help, it would have been non-sense. Maybe you’re less good that those of your ages but you’re better than those of your time of training. You sure outclass them. Try to apply to more dance things? Become a dancer! Or you’re afraid?!”

Ferdinand closed his eyes, his hands twitching even more.

“I’m not afraid. I’m a dancer!”

“Yes you are. And we expect you to be in an awesome spectacle we will be obligated to come see. So often we won’t be able to bear more and we will have to stop our friendship to be free of all of this!”

“You waited for this, confess!” Ferdinand smirked.

“Yes!”

“For what? Know about his date? Thank you, mon amour,” Sylvain added as he took the coffee from Felix’s hand.

He hugged him, sipped the warm beverage and give back the cup before pressing his head against his shoulder.

“I didn’t ask him about it. Yet.”

“You weren’t ready to do it.” Ferdinand watched the stove. “I do the breakfast?”

“I can do it. You still can’t cook well, right?” Sylvain said.

“I can cook! I cook extremely well!”

Felix shook slightly his head. His fingers brushed the red locks of his fiancé.

“Please, do it. So Ferdinand can tell us about his date.”

“Fake date! It was nice. I thought I will hate it but, no. It was a bit harsh at the beginning and then we talked with Hubert. He is a nice man. He deserves to be known,” he muttered.

Sylvain let go on his lover, after one last kiss on his neck, and he approached the stove to retrieve pans in the cupboard next to it.

“Turns out he is a Von Vestra and he wanted me to annoy his father because his father hates the Aegir. I was glad to help him, after having talk with him.”

Sylvain put butter in the pans, grabbed eggs and sausage while Felix drunk on the coffee. The tea was waiting there, on the side. Ferdinand took bread to put it on the toaster because that, it was still in his range of skill.

“He introduced me to his friends. Three very nice ladies. Well… One of them didn’t talk to me at all but I guess she’s nice. I also saw Lorenz!”

“Was he hitting on someone?” Sylvain smiled.

“A bunch of someone,” Ferdinand sighed.

“I wish he will find the right someone. Just like me.”

Sylvain grabbed Felix and lifted him to sit him on the work plan just next to the stove and leaned in to kiss the inside of his thigh, just under the booty short he wore at night and above the high socks to keep him warm in those cold time…

“Don’t do that,” Felix blushed, turning his head away.

“Don’t bother for me,” Ferdinand smiled. “And, please! Tell me about your night!”

Sylvain brushed Felix’s knee. “I have crusty details!” he said, taking eggs.

“I will hit you.”

Ferdinand let out a slight giggle. He had loved being around Hubert’s friend and was really up to meet them again but on the other hand… he loved so much being with Sylvain and Felix. Maybe… Maybe he wasn’t doing his best to search a new him because he wanted to stay with them longer…

Chapter Text

As Hubert woke up, he couldn’t help but smirk.

When his father decided by himself he will do everything inside, his flat, buying every furniture, he swore to him everything was perfect, every bed, sofa, chair, etc. was comfy as heaven. So… knowing his sofa wasn’t comfy at all to sleep in?

A delight!

He was really feeling the hurt spreading in his back’s muscles but… you had no little win in this situation…

And then, his smirk turned into a smile. He just remembered yesterday’s evening. Ferdinand, his smile… Him under the flakes. This paint staying forever in his mind now. He was so beautiful… He wanted to be allowed to count every of his freckles, trace the tender drawing they were hiding, kiss his hands and even… would he dare?

Hug him?

He couldn’t push away the images, the thoughts from his mind. He loved that as much as he hated that. Why was he kept dancing in front of him?  Why he wanted to become just like his father and pay a dance troupe to be sure Ferdinand could dance? Ferdinand told him about his desire and his failures. Ferdinand tried to be positive but Hubert could see the sadness in his eyes…

And now that he had his authorization to come back?

He wanted to see him again.

Maybe give him his phone number? Will Ferdinand only appreciate this? He seemed to like his presence and it was a good thing. But… that meant nothing… what he was feeling… Did he only really felt that before?

He feared to enter in any relationship and this since the day he realized he wasn’t made for anything… sexual. Yes, everything about sex was out of interest for him, sometimes disgusting. He could love the body and the curves of someone but never feel the need to see them naked, nor to explore them out of the chastity… And he knew, thanks to book, television, relatives… and his father of course, that people expected him to do it. When his father acted with him as if he was a Monster, that was because he never felt the need to do the act that will create a child, with luck or bad luck. Maybe he could force himself to give what would be necessary to create it in a tube, and even this… this didn’t looked very interesting.

He was a Monster for his father, lot of relatives thought he was a weirdo and he always stepped away from any relation because… having to say to someone you didn’t want to have sex? You didn’t want to have to force you for that? He had thought about trying to force himself for a partner. And on the other hand, he could only think about the fact he would hate his partner if he had to force himself…

And he didn’t know…

He had been forced to deal with so many people telling him he should have sex, or he wasn’t a man, or even a human. He remembered his uncle paying a sex worker for him because it wasn’t normal. He remembered the deception, the mockeries.

So he decided he wouldn’t have relationship. He wouldn’t have to tell it again. None of people have been worthy enough. In fact, one time, he thought they were… he told them how he didn’t care about sex. A way to test the possibility? The love?

But they rejected him.

He didn’t want to lose Ferdinand…

Wasn’t it ironic that… he was afraid of that with someone who told him explicitly he liked men?

But the thing was…

It wasn’t because they have to be in closet, in the eyes of the society, that he would accept some of those difference.

He knew it.

Because the one he liked… was a man.

Because he had been on internet and tried to confess in group that could help him and has been seen as a freak.

His own community…

Well…

He didn’t have community anymore.

His friends were the only thing mattering for him.

And Ferdinand…

He was obsessed with him.

He tried to free his mind and turned so he could grab his phone on the coffee table. He sent a message to Bernadetta to know how she was doing. He knew she wouldn’t reply before a moment. To keep his mind free of that enthralling image, he walked to the kitchen and prepared some tea, and also a coffee for himself. He wasn’t very good with taking care of his own household, thanks to his father, but he was good for preparing tea. And especially coffee.

As he was doing tea… he couldn’t help thinking at Ferdinand’s tea.

He was doing it himself.

The only tea he liked was made by the hand of Ferdinand.

How couldn’t he want to be around him? He tried to chase the images. No, he couldn’t think about him. He couldn’t be so delighted to be around him. Why? Why him? Suddenly, he had big dreams like at the moment he thought he could have a partner for once. Just before his dreams had been shattered, crushed in very little pieces.

He wanted to hold Ferdinand… but he didn’t want to tell him everything.

He couldn’t lose him.

Yesterday, when he saw him so hurt, leaving… he didn’t want that. While you could believe that was what he sought because he had no real interest for him.

No real interest?

Why coming every day in his Teashop when his father had put so much money in advertising? Why annoying him with that? Just because… if he went in his Teahouse and annoyed him… he would see him…

The coffee maker rung and he grabbed immediately the pot to pour some in a cup and, without waiting one more second, he sipped a fair part of the ‘bitter’ liquid. For him, it was so sweet. Almost as sweet as…

No.

No! Ferdinand wasn’t allowed in his mind while he was savoring his coffee!

But was he still savoring his coffee or trying to run away from those thoughts rolling around his limbs as tentacles.

He put down the precious cup with a groan. He moved away to his coffee table to look if Bernadetta had replied to him but, of course, she hadn’t. He would have known it if she had since his phone would have rung. And it rung pretty loudly.

And… after yesterday, he wasn’t sure he wanted it to ring because it would most likely come from his father…

He forced himself to sip again even if his ideas were confuse…

He knew where Ferdinand left. He could go see him and offer him to go stroll around in the beautiful coat of snow? Winter just started and this snow was welcoming them as if it was telling ‘yes, it’s winter’.

And suddenly, he thought… Soon, it will be Christmas. He could invite Ferdinand over? He could order the most perfect meal for him?

Usually, he said any lie to his father to avoid having to support him, his family and the new wife of his uncle but… telling him he would be with Ferdinand this would be tasty in every way.

He could invite Ferdinand over and so they would be on the same point in every side? If Ferdinand feared the fact he was knowing where he was living.

And he could imagine him, being there…

“Is something wrong, Hubert?”

What?

He was really…

“Ferdinand?”

“Still Edelgard. Are you okay? Is love that powerful?”

Hubert looked toward her. “You’re asking? How was it with Lady Ordelia this night?”

“You forced us to share your bed,” she reminded, still wearing just a long shirt above her body.

It was belonging to Hubert and so, it arrived almost at her knees.

She had nothing here, so he borrowed it to him, or he had more or less forced her. She could have come back at home after the soirée but she was living outside the town and so, bringing her at his place was better. Hence she was there. And Lysithea too because she offered to let the party continue.

They fell asleep pretty late but it was Sunday so… why not.

But… Hubert couldn’t let ladies sleep in the sofa.

“Has the night been good?”

“Yes, Hubert. And you? Didn’t dream too much about Ferdinand?”

She stretched with a yawn, pushing her head in her shoulder to hide it and Hubert pretended he saw nothing.

“I didn’t dream about him.”

Edelgard approached him and he handed the cup of tea to her. She thanked him, of course.

“Listen… I know I’m teasing you but I also think you should ask him out. You really like him and you risk nothing.”

“Except losing him.”

“Because he could say ‘no’?”

“Because, one day, I will have to tell him I’m…”

“If you say ‘Monster’, I hit you and then I go kill your father.”

Hubert smirked. “Monster.”

She hit him behind the head. “You look too happy at the idea I will kill your father so I won’t do it! You will learn to be an idiot like that!”

“I have already learned a lot.”

“Yes, you’re good at being an idiot.” She sipped the tea and ruffled her hairs. “You don’t have to tell him immediately.”

“I don’t have to tell him at all.”

“You expect to still find reason to not say to him you don’t want to have sex when you will be married with him since ten years?!”

“I expect to never marry him,” Hubert said.

“Virgin until the wedding, nice plan!”

“Edelgard…”

“Wedding?” a voice said from outside. “Who marries who? Not someone of our social rank… right? Except if they have a lot of cakes, maybe…”

“I expect Hubert to…”

“Please, Edelgard.” He turned toward Lysithea. “Miss, I prepared a tea for you. The honeyed-fruit blend is still your favorite, isn’t it?”

“Yes! Hubert you’re so nice!”

“Edelgard told me so,” he said, smiling.

In the back of Lysithea, wearing just the main dress of yesterday outfit, Edelgard made a gesture as if she was about to cut her own throat. Or… his throat.

“Oh, Edelgard!! Thank you so much!”

Lysithea took the warm tea and pressed a kiss on Edelgard’s cheek, smiling to her. But… her cheeks were slightly red. Edelgard’s cheeks too.

Hubert smiled and sipped again.

He couldn’t be happy with Ferdinand but if Edelgard was happy, it was worth it. Such red cheeks… this wasn’t nothing…

He wanted to hope for them…

 

 

“I hate snow.”

“Sylvain loves snow. Why are you even marrying him?”

“I love that idiot,” Felix replied.

Ferdinand was drinking at a bottle of cold cocoa and he smiled. In fact, either Felix and Sylvain were different so they were very much alike. And Sylvain and him came from the mountains were the air was cold while Felix struggled to walk when there was snow and ice around. And falling dramatically wasn’t useful when your fiancé wasn’t there to help you and put you on your feet.

As they arrived in front of the Teahouse, Ferdinand glanced at the Coffee Shop. The door opened and Hubert walked outside.

“So, it’s open, isn’t it?” Ferdinand smiled.

“It’s open. You want to take a look?”

“I saw it yet,” Ferdinand remembered. “Here is my best friend Felix!” he added, showing him.

Felix nodded slightly as a sign of ‘hello’.

Hubert replied with the same gesture, only watching Ferdinand who was hugging himself because of the cold air, his cold chocolate-milk in his hand.

“Do you want something hot to drink? It’s on me,” Hubert said.

“This is so sweet! But I will start working soon. I’m doing the opening and… woaw! Everything seems ready in yours? You must get up so early…”

“I don’t need to sleep much so…”

“Uh! I’d like to sleep soooo much more! But if I want to get pretty!”

“You’re already pretty,” Felix said.

“Thank you! Prettier then! The prettiest of them all!”

“I won’t play that game,” Felix smirked.

Hubert thought he could. He could fall in this game and tell him how he was pretty. His eyes followed the curls of the wavy hairs and wanted to push one hair that moved from the haircut, coming to brush the lovely cheek peppered with delicate freckles. He wanted to caress his ears, slowly warm them in his hands because he saw them pretty red.

“I will go to work, but it was nice to see you, Hubert! Have a nice first day! And do what you want to do!” he cheered up. “Felix, I’ll certainly come back late!”

Felix nodded.

“Yay… Me too. I still have to find those stupid presents.”

“The twenty-two?” Hubert said.

“I know!” Ferdinand replied with a sigh. “Months, I told you to take presents for his family and…”

“I have some and that’s enough. You still don’t have a present for your father, right?”

Hubert smiled, still looking Ferdinand.

“Wrong. I have bought him a delicious wine. I have it since three weeks.”

“I still don’t want to buy any present to my father,” Felix groaned.

“I’m in your best friend’s side for that. Why offering something to someone you hate? Unless you have put rat poison in the wine?”

“I hate him but I’m very polite, that’s all.” Ferdinand glanced at the Teahouse. “You’re not supposed to let someone know you hate him.”

Felix groaned because, hating people out loud was one of his favorite activities.

“I thought you were hating me. You showed it well, at least,” Hubert smirked.

“Or maybe… I’m really skilled,” Ferdinand smiled before drinking at his bottle.

“Hm… In this case, pursue, you’re doing very well. And I have to wish you very good sell. With such a time, I guess you will have a lot of customers.”

He leaned in, holding out his hand. Ferdinand offered his and they could have let their skin touch each other if Ferdinand wasn’t wearing gloves to keep his hands warm. Hubert almost pressed a kiss on the glove. He straightened and glanced at Felix.

“I’m almost married, this would be gross if you kissed my hand like that,” he smirked. “You better go to work, Hubert.”

“Sure. You too.”

“I’m about to go.”

Ferdinand glanced at Felix then at Hubert. He frowned and moved away, coming toward the Teahouse and opening the door.

“See you later!” he said.

“Yes,” Felix replied.

Hubert was about to nod but it was probably not for him. So… he just walked to his own work place. He watched as Felix left the street and he let his eyes slide over Ferdinand as he was moving in the Teahouse. With such big windows in both sides, it was easy to. He stared as Ferdinand was taking out his cold coat and his gloves, putting them away. When he came back, he was gathering his hairs in a ponytail and he tied them. Hubert saw him disappearing and coming back, installing the table correctly, adjusting the upside-down cups and then tidying the tea blend, making room for the news pastries Lorenz will brought. He was always in charge of this and they will put that together.

Ferdinand was putting aside the old pastries, still good they will be buyable but at cheaper, and he looked up. He noticed Hubert and moved his hand, saluting him again.

Hubert forced himself to go to work.

 

 

It was noon passed by thirteen minutes when Edelgard’s car stopped in a street. She pushed the door open and her boots dug in the thin layer of snow. She came outside and frowned as she looked toward the Coffee House. She had sworn she will come and take a coffee, even though she preferred tea, but now…

Now it seemed it was important to be there, though.

Very important.

She walked the alley still covered with snow and entered the Coffee Shop before going to the stairs and take them. Some clients had glanced at her with surprise but she didn’t mind. She had better to do. Like walking to the big windowed wall, opening the door and approaching the one who was leaning on the metal barrier. She even asked herself if his hands weren’t stick to it now, seeing him like that, staring in front of him but slightly down…

“What are you doing?”

“Watching.”

“Who? Ferdinand?”

“Hm…”

“Why here?”

“He was seeing me from the ground level,” Hubert replied. “Here, he can’t.”

“You are… way too creepy. Don’t you want to go see him and ask him out like any civilized guy?”

“No. I saw him this morning. We talked.”

“Nice. And you want him to do it again or to call the cops?”

“I want to talk to him. But I can deal with just this… looking at him from away. I’m good with that… Look at him. He’s…”

“No.”

Edelgard moved away and climbed down the stairs, walking toward the other establishment. She stopped to glance at Hubert who wanted to shake his head but… did nothing. Whatever Edelgard wanted to do, he will accept and yield to her decisions…

He watched her as she entered the Tea House.

Hubert could see her talk with Ferdinand who was at the counter. He saw him serve someone as he was talking to Edelgard, saw him nod one or two times. And after what must be five minutes, she walked outside, coming back to the Coffee Shop and she joined Hubert who still looked Ferdinand.

From here, it was, in fact, pretty hard to see him.

He just could grab glimpse and so he hated when Ferdinand have to move away. Or when Lorenz was in front of him.

He was delighted when he saw him slide money in the cash register and so offer himself a sweet pastry as a lunch, tasting it with a clear delight on his lovely face.

“So! Will you step inside or are you waiting to catch a cold?” Edelgard asked.

“I will wait for that cold,” he said. “I have nothing else to do.”

“Work?”

Hubert didn’t reply.

“You’re obsessed and that’s… that’s not bad! That’s okay, you can love him that much but… you can’t afraid him. You will afraid him if you pursue that way…”

“He doesn’t need to know.” He closed his eyes. “Did you tell him?”

“Why would I do that to you?” she whispered. “You’re my friend. My favorite and dearest friend…”

She approached him.

“I have his number. Told him I wanted it because he was nice and wondered if you could have it if you wanted to?”

“Edelgard.”

“He was happier when I offered to him to let you have it… He likes you.”

“As a friend, probably…”

“Probably. Or probably not…” She moved her hand. “Anyway. I will give you that number if you come inside warm you.”

“Is this blackmailing?”

“Yes!”

“You know this won’t work?”

“I’m very sad to know this,” she said. “But if you want to stop being dumb… you know what to do,” she smiled.

Hubert knew.

But he loved so much looking Ferdinand that way…

Chapter Text

Christmas’ Eve

 

As always, Ferdinand was doing things Big or he didn’t do it at all. Tonight, he had his hairs in a very fancy haircut, having a kind of bun taking different locks to give volume and everything was falling in his back after that like a golden beautiful waterfall. He even had added jewelry here and there. He was wearing a red off-shoulder with white fur on every edge and a leather-like pant. Felix hadn’t done as much effort. The total invert. His hairs were loosened and he had an ugly sweater, red with white “Meeowee Christmas” and a few cats on it. It was a present from Sylvain, of course.a

“Did you have found the present for your father?” Ferdinand asked, as he grabbed his vest.

“No.”

“Hm…”

Ferdinand put back his vest and went in his bedroom. When he came back, he had a big package with a pretty wrapping and beautiful ribbons.

“Now, you do!”

“Ugh… you didn’t have to do that…”

“Don’t worry! You also offered me that beautiful horse play-art I wanted!”

“Yeah… but for you, I have presents. Sylvain’s too.”

“Oh…” Ferdinand blinked. “You really have taken something for me?”

“Of course. You’re…” Felix looked down and rubbed his neck. “You know…” He glanced at him. “Of course, I wouldn’t forget you. And you’re still Sylvain’s favorite cousin so… you will have present.”

“That’s so nice… I have presents for you too!”

“Of course,” Felix smiled. “Thank you.”

He approached him and hugged him for a half-second.

“We will see you again tomorrow? The day after tomorrow, maybe. If I survive!”

“Cheer up!” Ferdinand smiled. “And remember! For New Year Eve, you will be with the Gautier!”

“Hm. Honestly, the sole problem is my father and I wouldn’t be surprise this idiot would come at New Year Eve…”

Felix frowned because Ferdinand’s phone just rung.

“… just to piss me off,” Felix finished. “He likes Sir Gautier but… you know.”

“I know,” Ferdinand replied.

He took out his phone and pressed the correct key.

“And about your father?” Felix whispered.

Ferdinand made a face. “I am Ferdinand Von Aegir and this is my phone. What can I do for you?”

“Ferdinand? This is Edelgard.”

“Oh! Merry Christmas, Edelgard!”

“Thank you! You too! You had something planned?”

“Cheering up my best friend and then, seeing my family.”

Felix watched him, putting the present with the other in the bag he was supposed to carry around. He had presents for some member of the family, for his mother and also for Ingrid. Sylvain’s present… he would give him when they’d be alone.

“Oh. So, you’re free?”

“Well… why, Edelgard?”

“Can you… Can you come see Hubert? Before leaving? He’d be happy to see you.”

“Hubert?”

Felix stopped and looked him. He smirked.

“I don’t know if…”

“Go,” Felix said.

“One second, Edelgard.” He pressed his hand over the phone. “But, Felix…”

“I’d ask Sylvain to ask his mother for yours to come at New Year Eve and you come too. You’d see her. If my father can come, you can come too.”

“I can go see Hubert and come back seeing my family.”

“Of course,” Felix replied. “But if ever you decide to stay there. Nothing forces you to see your father. See it as an excuse.”

“I don’t know…” Ferdinand took back the phone. “Edelgard?”

“Yes?” she said.

“I’m coming.”

“Thank you!!”

“Can you, please, give me the address? I’ll be there as soon as possible!”

“Thank you again! Be cautious on the road!” she remembered him before giving him the said address.

 

 

It was strange.

Hubert only knew Ferdinand since two weeks and half, maybe three weeks? He didn’t know he could want him to come.

For Christmas?

He didn’t care Christmas but he had to see his father or it will be Hell… And yet, he was there, not moving and waiting. He was thinking that he had no present for Ferdinand. He should have found one. But… he didn’t know many things about what Ferdinand liked. Though they kept talking the morning. He waited for him, every day. Felix seemed to hate him very much for this but he didn’t care.

They had talked a lot at that Grand Opening, he discovered him with those talks and… well by lurking and grasping important information.

He knew he liked horses, for example.

And, yes, for a few seconds, he had thought about buy one to him… But what Ferdinand would have done with a horse in a tiny flat like that, seriously?

The doorbell rung.

“Perfect!” he heard Edelgard said from the living room.

She walked across it and went in the hall, opening the door.

“Ferdinand! Thank you to have come. I need to leave so I let you with him. He’s in his bedroom.”

As she talked, grabbing her coat, she waved toward a room. Certainly the bed room, indeed.

“Bedroom?” Ferdinand pinched his lips. “That’s not a… spicy surprise, isn’t it?”

Edelgard let out a laugh. “That’s a surprise but nothing spicy! You risk nothing with Hubert. I let you, alright? Take care of him for me!”

She passed next to him and quickly walked to the lift.

He was used to that.

For Christmas’ Eve, everybody was always so eager…

Ferdinand walked in, took out his vest and his boots then closed the door.

“Hubert? I’m coming.”

Holding a present in his arms, he walked toward the bedroom. He knocked softly at the door and pushed it open.

“Hubert?”

As he entered the room in a relative darkness, his fingers moved on the wall, searching for the switch. They pressed it as Hubert was turning in his bed.

“So… it is true: we are visited by Angel before Christmas…”

Ferdinand smiled slightly, his cheeks red. But he especially noticed Hubert’s general look. He was so pale thought his nose was red, his hairs were ruffled and the dark circles under his eyes were giving him a panda look…

“You’re sick?”

Hubert nodded.

“So maybe… you’re dead and I’m welcoming you?” Ferdinand tried to joke.

“I’d be delighted.”

Hubert coughed.

Ferdinand immediately approached, putting the present on the night stand. He sat on the bed next to him.

“I’m good…” Hubert said with a weak voice.

“Of course.” He sighed slightly. “You asked to see me?”

Hubert shook his head. “Edelgard.”

“She seemed to have something to do.”

“Yes.” He turned his head to cough. “She had… a date.”

“A date?”

Ferdinand held out his hand, passing his fingers in Hubert’s hairs to caress them softly, easing him tenderly, his fingers losing themselves on his cheeks once in a while.

“Yeh… Lysithea didn’t want to see her family… and needed an alibi. Edelgard offered her… to go… somewhere… Lysithea asked…”

“If it was a date?” Ferdinand helped.

Or tried to help.

Hubert nodded.

“It is?”

He nodded again. It was a bit strange for him… but not in the bad way. He saw Edelgard being in love with Lysithea for so long and she had tried so many things… But she had never been able to fulfill her dreams, try to hit on her for real. And this time, she was having a date with her.

For Christmas.

“Why she didn’t want to see her family? If I may ask?”

Hubert watched that hand that moved through his hairs. He wanted to kiss it… Press his lips along the soft skin…

“Bad situation. Mostly… she doesn’t feel worthy.” He closed his eyes. “She is. And Edelgard thinks it too… She will help her to see herself… the same way she is seeing her.”

Hubert wanted to add ‘I will help you, me too’ but he did nothing of this…

“I hope they will have a nice evening.”

Him too…

Edelgard deserved it. But Lysithea too. And after that week-end he passed with them, he knew they weren’t living just friendship. What they have was precious… And today, he was happy to have meet Ferdinand because… without him, would Edelgard allow herself to go at this date even if he was sick?

However…

He wouldn’t have been sick without him.

Let just say he wanted Edelgard to be happy about her date, talk for hours about it. He would listen.

He wanted her delighted…

“Do you want something?” Ferdinand wondered, bringing him out of his mind.

“You.” Or not exactly. “… can make me a soup?”

“Of course! Try to rest yourself while I’m busy with that, okay?”

“Yes. But… call me if there is anything…”

“I will. Rest yourself.”

Ferdinand pressed a kiss on his forehead and got up to leave the room. As he went out, he switched off the light. For a second, the light gleamed around him and he really looked like an Angel…

 

 

It wasn’t difficult to do a broth, nor to add a bit of pasta and an egg for the strength.

It was more difficult when you weren’t in your home and had to search everywhere. It was even more difficult when you pretended being able to cook but… your cooking experience was half improvisation half panic, and as he was Ferdinand Von Aegir, a quart of knowing what you were doing.

So, Ferdinand managed to have a nice bowl but… the egg was in long thread, lost in the pasta and everything was doing a strange block and he wasn’t sure this was very eatable.

Edelgard hadn’t chosen the right person when she had called him.

But on the other hand…

He wondered if Hubert had that much friend who could come around.

Lysithea was with Edelgard and Bernadetta… you wouldn’t imagine her to actually come to take care of him…

She would have been so afraid to do something bad.

Ferdinand was shameful to do bad but, at least, he would smile at it and pretend everything was good even if it wasn’t the case…

That was the reason why he arrived in Hubert’s room with the bowl of… whatever it was.

“Hubert?” he said, entering the room.

He pressed the switch and approached the bed. As he put down the bowl, he noticed Hubert was sleeping. His breath was short, a bit hissing. Sweat was rolling along his cheeks, sliding in his neck…

“Good night, Hubert.”

Ferdinand leaned in to take the blankets and adjust them correctly on him. He moved away, going to the living room and took his phone to play game on it.

 

 

Taken by a cough, Hubert suddenly woke up and sat in a hiccup, coughing again and again, his weak hand in front of his mouth.

Edelgard was right.

He was an idiot.

A real idiot.

He could have avoided this annoyance if he hadn’t stalked Ferdinand that way.

Ferdinand…

His cheeks turned warmer as he thought about him.

Did he really come or…

Wait. There was something on his forehead. Cold and wet. He moved his fingers and brushed a wet washcloth. And, on the nightstand, he could see a bowl of broth. As well as a present…

He opened the mouth to call Ferdinand but saw him pushing open the door.

“Oh, you awake. How do you feel?”

Awake?

Did he cough that much in his sleep? Did Ferdinand come every time?

He stared him, stared than Angel in the threshold of his door and his heart was beating so fast in his chest…

Maybe it was the illness.

Maybe he was in love…

“I’m doing good,” he replied with a sore throat.

“Yes, yes.” Ferdinand walked toward him. “You don’t have to pretend.”

He grabbed a tablet on the nightstand, handing it to Hubert.

“Do you want a glass of water with that?”

Hubert fought against the desire of touching his fingers as he grabbed the medicine. Just something for the throat and that was what he needed the most.

He didn’t want to dirty Ferdinand, though.

He just took the tablet and popped out one of the round pill, pushing it in his mouth. You were supposed to suck them and for a few seconds he wondered if it was rude to talk with this in mouth.

“You brought me a present?”

“Yes!” Ferdinand moved his hand toward it. “I had bought it yesterday. That’s not much, though.”

He took the package to bring it to Hubert. Which thanked him with surprise. He had thought about not having present for him but he never believed Ferdinand would bring him something…

“You can open it or wait a bit more if you want to. It’s almost midnight.”

“Almost midnight.”

It was barely seven pm when Ferdinand arrived.

Hubert coughed in his hand.

“What have you done?” he asked.

“Hm? Oh! Taking care of yourself and going around my phone. Sending wishes, playing games.”

“You have eaten some…” Cough. “… thing?”

Ferdinand shook his head.

Hubert groaned and pushed the blankets.

“What are you doing?! You need to stay warm and cozy!”

“You need to eat something!”

He glanced at him again, being so pretty when he was in an old black pajamas with tiny holes here and there and his hairs in such a mess.

“And to get comfy.”

“I’m comfy,” Ferdinand replied. “I will order something! Please, sleep! Or rest yourself but… don’t overdo…”

“You’re comfy?”

“Yes. It’s import to look good, you know! I always look good.”

“You do.” Hubert turned his head to cough. “You are lovely. Always.”

“Thank you. I’m just doing my best!” he smiled. “And I will order something to eat so, now, rest yourself.”

Hubert allowed the man to force him to sit in the covers.

“You need to eat something too. I will order something for us, tell me what you want!”

“Take what you want. I’ll pay,” Hubert replied.

“You don’t have t…”

“Please. You’re here… You could have been somewhere else.”

“Well…” Ferdinand hugged himself with a pale smile. “I planned to go in my father’s Chritmas’ Eve’s party. So…” He put a lock of hairs behind his ear and hugged himself even more. “Thank you?”

“You’re welcome.”

Hubert watched him.

Ferdinand’s fingers were twitching.

“I think he doesn’t deserve to see you as pretty.”

“You want me to go ugly?” he smiled, taking the edge of the blankets to put them correctly around Hubert.

Once again.

“You’re doing this either by politeness or to prove you’re better than him. I believe you’re losing in every case.”

“Maybe. I’m not a good fighter.” Ferdinand pushed a black look out of Hubert’s view. “I’m going to order. Do you have any allergy or preference?”

Hubert shook his head. “I prefer raw food when I can have it. But choose what you want the most.”

Ferdinand nodded and walked backward. He left to go on the living room and Hubert could hear him talk to the phone. He pressed his head on the pillow, sucking the medicine and letting his mind float away.

The illness was making him really dizzy and while he could gather his mind to think a little as he talked to Ferdinand, he was happy to rest his mind. He just listened to the soft voice, the tender voice bathing him tenderly in the away.

Ah…

He loved this voice…

 

 

“Hubert?”

The soft voice.

A good smell too.

He opened his eyes and felt his lips turning into a smile as he crossed the image of Ferdinand, leaning over him.

It was just a dream.

A beautiful dream.

“I took you a light soup and some sushi. I thought you would like to eat as long as the soup it’s hot and sleep again after.”

“Yes. Thank you.”

Hubert pushed on his arms to sit. Ferdinand helped him and… as he did, Hubert moved on the side, letting room for Ferdinand to sit.

“You didn’t forget to order something for you?”

“I ordered a dumpling soup and egg fried rice. Do you think I chose enough?”

“You could have chosen more. I would have paid. But if you think…” He coughed. “… you have enough.”

“Yes.”

Ferdinand took the bag they received and put it on Hubert’s lap. Through the blanket, he could feel the soft warm of the soup and so he removed the sushi to save them from cooking. It already happened. Not once, not twice but three times…

“Thank you again. Please, sit.” Hubert closed his eyes, letting out a big expiration as he tried to breathe correctly. “Do you have the chopsticks?”

“Oh. Yes, probably.”

Hubert noticed that Ferdinand had grabbed a wooden fork and knife from the bag. He couldn’t help but smile as the man retrieved a package of chopstick.

“Can you eat with them?”

“Me? Yes! Yes of course! That’s so normal!”

Hubert laughed, which turned into cough and made Ferdinand sit next to him, still holding the bag and the chopsticks…

“Are you okay?” he asked, putting his hand on his back.

“Yes… Yes. Thank you. You don’t have to be good at everything, you know?” he added softly.

Or with what he wanted to be a soft tone…

“I’m good in and at everything,” Ferdinand replied.

“Except what you can’t do.”

Ferdinand pinched his lips.

“You…”

“I think you’re someone amazing, a good person. You don’t need to be perfect in everything.”

He was already perfect for him…

Ferdinand closed his eyes at those words. He felt like he had to be perfect. More than perfect.

Hubert moved his fingers toward him, wanting to touch his naked shoulder with lovely freckles and a bit of red marks, probably made by the cold around. He wished he could brush it, slightly touching one of those beautiful points. Kissing it?

Ferdinand saw his hand like that and took it softly.

“Is something wrong?”

Hubert shook his head.

He glanced away and saw the hour. He needed a way to save himself from his own ideas and so he said:

“Can I open my present before we eat?”

“Of course!”

Ferdinand took back his hand so he could give the present to Hubert. Searching his escape there, Hubert opened it and… discovered different kind of coffee and also cinnamon tea…

“That’s not very much,” Ferdinand said.

“I think that’s a lot. Thank you, Ferdinand.”

“It’s a pleasure,” he replied.

He smiled and, taking his fork, he bit his lower lip.

“You really think it’s not grave if I can’t use chopsticks?”

“It’s really not grave at all,” Hubert swore. “If I wasn’t sick, I would kiss your hand to thank you. For everything. Having come here, offering me something… The only thing I could offer you is my germs.”

Ferdinand smiled. “You can keep them.”

“Very well.”

“And bon appetite,” Ferdinand.

“And merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, indeed.”

Chapter Text

As the birds were joyfully singing outside, while searching for food in the cold weather, Hubert opened slightly his eyes. His throat was still so sore and he craved for water sliding in it to calm that burning feeling. He could feel his nose painful too, and a bit his head but on the other hand… he felt stronger.

Maybe he could try to do something to eat for Ferdinand, or talk with him.

If he accepted to be with him for a longer time?

Ferdinand…

Hubert looked on the side to glance at the door, dreaming of him and… saw a golden ocean. Realized the warm on his body wasn’t there because of fever but because… Ferdinand was sleeping in his arms.

He couldn’t believe that.

Wasn’t it… indecent?

And yet, he was blessed…

Blessed by this body in his arms. To have his head against his hairs, to feel his breath against him…

Maybe he was dead.

Truly dead…

Being blessed by an Angel, being where he wanted to be. Was it stupid to want him that much after less than three weeks?

Strangely, he had the feeling he couldn’t live without him anymore…

He wanted to look him for hours. He was ready to do it… his hairs were a bit messy because of the sleep but he was still lovely. Even more lovely?

On the bed, the packet with the coffee and teas had rolled but were still there, as much as bag and some of wrap of the exotic food…

He moved his fingers and brushed on thread, caressing it tenderly, a little smile on his lips. He wondered how, why, he deserved to be around him. To feel his hands on his arms.

He craved to press his forehead against his. Maybe to brush his lips with his…

But he did nothing.

He couldn’t…

Already touching him that way…

What kind of horrible person he was?

He heard a groan and Ferdinand moved in his sleep…  Hubert didn’t move at all, panicked. What should he do? What will Ferdinand do when he will see… someone like him as he woke up?

He held his breath when he saw the eyelids slowly opening, showing the two beautiful ruddle spheres…

“Hmmmm…” Ferdinand let out. He moved his fist to rub his eyes and… froze. “Hubert?”

He raised up and passed his hands in his ruffled hairs.

“Oh my Goddess. Oh my Goddess… Oh my…”

Ferdinand got up, trying to arrange his hairs.

“I’m so sorry.”

He swirled on his heels and realized he was still dressed. He let out a cuss under his breath and pinched his lips.

“I’m sorry,” Hubert said.

“Sorry? You need something?” Ferdinand asked, glancing above his shoulder.

“It’s evident you’re annoyed to be here.”

“It’s not correct,” Ferdinand replied. “Sleeping with you like that. And being… that way. I’m not… very decent to be seen.”

Hubert wanted to tell him how much he loved seeing him. But he wasn’t good for all of this and as he tried to think the correct words, he realized this looked creepy. Like a killer about to ravish his prey.

“You can use my bathroom if you want to.”

Hubert coughed but he was feeling better enough to get up and bring him clothes. Somewhat, he felt like he would be delighted that Ferdinand could wear his clothes. His shirt. It wasn’t very thrilling to see Edelgard doing it, especially because she was doing it since years… but Ferdinand?

His heart was beating fast in his chest.

“Yes, I’d be happy to. And then, I’d make you a breakfast,” Ferdinand offered.

Hubert nodded slightly.

“You don’t have to. Make yourself at home. The bathroom is on the other side of the kitchen. The second door.”

“Thank you!” Ferdinand replied.

Though he knew it was there. He had retrieved the washcloth yesterday. But it would have been rude to tell him.

“I’ll come back as soon as possible. Stay comfy,” Ferdinand said. “I’ll bring you water and medicine first,” he added.

And before Hubert could say anything, he was outside. He came back after less than one minute and he gave him what was needed before moving away to get that shower. He really needed to wash his hairs especially after having kept such hairdressing all night long. This will be the only way to untie them…

Hubert would probably have tried to stay comfy, thinking about this sweet man obsessing him if he hadn’t realized he hadn’t offered clothes yet. So, he got up, being glad to be strong enough now, and grabbed clothes. He moved toward the bathroom and knocked at the door.

“Hubert?” the voice came out.

“Yes. I brought you clothes. Can I come?”

“Yes.”

Hubert opened the door and saw Ferdinand smiling at him. He was still wearing his pant and if the pullover was removed, he was pressing it against his chest.

“That’s so sweet from you. Thank you very much!”

Hubert could have smiled, put down the clothes and leave like that.

But…

Ferdinand didn’t know this place and didn’t notice the big mirror on the wall. Hubert would lurk on you, be creepy, but he would certainly not try to covet someone. However, there was something he could see in that mirror.

Something he already had seen.

Something he already had seen but, at this moment, didn’t grab his attention. Red marks. Seeming to be created by the cold, as it happened so often. Edelgard had the bad habit to have spontaneous wounds appearing on her hands when she was cold and Ferdinand exposed his skin in such a lovely way, why not…

But there, he could see some scars. Some, for the back, at place he would probably have noticed with the virgin killer but had certainly been masked with make up or anything. Here, you could see them. You could see scars on the side, coming back in the front part, probably.

“Hubert? Thank you?” Ferdinand insisted.

Hubert still looked the mirror, the mark engraved in the flesh.

“Are you alright?” Still pressing the clothes along his chest, he approaching him, holding out his hand. “Do you have fev…”

Hubert had grabbed his wrist and watched his arm.

“Hubert… You’re scaring me a little,” Ferdinand confessed. “Let go on my arm, please.”

“Who?”

“Excuse me? Hubert… please…”

“Is this your father?”

“What… what are you talking about? Let go on me, please.”

Ferdinand tried to keep his voice steady but it was shaking. His quiver weren’t caused by the cold bathroom.

Hubert knew he was creepy and frightening.

He didn’t mean to afraid him, though.

“Those scars? Who hurt you?”

Ferdinand’s world shattered in a million of pieces and he let out a hiccup.

“Wh… what are you talking about?” he let out.

“Don’t play it dumb with me, Ferdinand. There is a mirror behind you and I see the scars on your arm.”

Ferdinand turned his head and twitched when he saw a part of the marks coloring his body…

“Let go on me…” he whispered.

Hubert slowly let go on his wrist.

“I will call Edelgard and… when she will be there, I will come back at my home. You have my number is something wrong happen and she’s not available, right?”

“Ferdinand.”

Hubert cupped his face with his right hand, making him look at him.

“Ferdinand… you can… you don’t have to… Don’t go.”

“Don’t look at me.”

“You are beaut… You…”

“I will leave, Hubert. It’s okay.”

“You don’t look okay,” he replied.

“Stop touching me, please…”

Hubert removed his hands then stepped backward.

“Take your shower, you need it.”

Ferdinand shook his head. “It’s not against you, Hubert. I do like you. You can send me text, letters… I don’t mind… I just…”

Hubert walked toward the bath. Ferdinand turned to keep hiding his back to him. Hubert rinsed the white iron and then poured warm water into it.

“You can choose any bubble path or scent. I don’t use them. Take your time, Ferdinand and I will do the breakfast.”

“Hubert… you’re sick. You’re the one needing a good bath and someone to take care of yourself.”

“There are a lot of illnesses and so you’re sick too. Take your time. I feel better enough to take care of you as well.”

On those words, Hubert stepped backward and left the room. Ferdinand was annoyed, pressing the cloth against his chest. No one had seen his back except his mother, his cousin and Felix…

Once again, the Virgin Killer back wasn’t a problem because he had hid the most visible marks and there remained only shadows that no one would dare notice…

But now…

Worse than everything, Hubert was pitying him now.

Maybe he should run away? Never saw him ever again? Maybe… That was for the best…

 

 

Coughing, Hubert did his best to not let germ contaminate the breakfast he was doing. He had washed his hands a fair amount of time and this time, he did it to set the table. He had heard sound coming from the bathroom.

More he heard, more he was preparing and so he served tea in a nice cup for Ferdinand and coffee in his. He served scrambled eggs for him but a sunny side up for his guest. There was bacon and sausages too. And toasts. With chocolate and jam as well as honey on the center of the table.

He turned his head, coughing in a handkerchief, when he heard a door close. Ferdinand was approaching, wearing a jean a bit too big and the shirt very too long, his hairs were loosened, still a bit wet and also ruffled. When their eyes met, Hubert could read ‘say nothing’ and so he didn’t tell him how much he was thinking he was beautiful. He did was the most beautiful being he never had. And he wanted to give him his heart…

If only Ferdinand could accept it…

“Please, take a sit.”

“Go rest yourself after… okay?”

“Yes.”

“And… let’s not talk about it, please?”

“Yes,” Hubert replied. “Everything you wish. However… can I say… I will kill them, Ferdinand. For you, I will kill them.”

“No. Eat.”

Ferdinand smiled slightly to him, however.

Chapter Text

2nd January

 

“You shouldn’t, you are sick!”

“I know! I know!”

“So you stay here.”

“Or not! It will be quick, you know.”

“Ferdinand!”

“Yeeees, Feliiix?” he said, as he was putting on his boots. “I’m not contagious anymore… I don’t think so at least. I will be careful. I’m way behind the others.”

“I’m not sure they will let you dance. And you’re far away from being behind the others, you know it.”

“Hm…” Ferdinand replied. “I just go say ‘hello’ and I come back. I’ll take something to eat!”

“I can’t wait to marry Sylvain, he would make the food, at least,” Felix sighed. He closed his eyes and shook slightly his head. “You should rest yourself but if you really want to go there and even train, who am I to ask you to stop? Who am I to even ask you to take care?”

“My friend. That allow you the right to do it.” Ferdinand put his vest on. “Text me to tell me what you want to eat? See you later!!”

Ferdinand came outside and closed the door. He took his phone and glanced at him. Of course, Felix hadn’t sent anything but… he wasn’t the only one he waited a message from. He was too sick to go back to work and never saw Hubert since that Chritmas’ Eve. He never received a text from him or a call.

Maybe he was the one who was supposed to do it?

But he had been pretty cold with him. Maybe Hubert was upset. It would be normal. Hubert had tried to be good with him, wanting to protect him, and he had acted as if he was his enemy?

That was bad.

Yes…

Maybe he’ll call Hubert.

But not now.

Now, he wanted to go at the dance room.

 

One bus later, and a bit of walk, Ferdinand entered the dance room. It was earlier than usually because he was coming after his work usually. And maybe he worked too much, just like his best friend…

He walked through the corridors and arrived in the main room, generally covered with mirror, hence he was happy men could have tights, and long sleeved leotards…

“Miss?”

He froze.

His teacher was talking with someone. Someone who noticed him.

“Oh.”

“What?”

The teacher turned the head and saw Ferdinand.

“Oh! You’re here yet? Weren’t you sick?”

“I am. But I came give you your Christmas’ present, saying ‘hi’ and see if you needed help? I didn’t know you were busy. I can come back later?”

“No, please! It’s a pleasure to see you.”

“Professor talked a lot about me?” Ferdinand smiled.

This stranger laughed. “Flayn do talk a lot about her students and you’re among them, yes. I never thought you will be so close to her.”

“Please,” Flayn said.

“Close?”

Ferdinand was annoyed when he heard those words. Flayn was more or less his age and he really loved his teacher, she was always so nice and helped him every time to manage to catch up the others. She was nice and sweet. Of course he wanted to offer her a present. It was more than politeness! But he didn’t want anyone to believe he was feeling anything for her!

But now… how saying that he wasn’t that close with her without being rude.

“I don’t think I’m her favorite student or anything,” he tried. “We are just… it’s politeness. I knew Miss Flayn liked fish so I brought sardines. That’s not even that awesome as present,” he said, showing the five cans he had bought for her.

“That’s not what I…”

“Ooooooooh! That’s so nice from you!”

Flayn walked toward him and took the cans, pressing them against her heart. Ferdinand smiled and bowed in front of her.

“I’m still sick so I won’t touch you more. Maybe I won’t stay lon…”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Flayn’s parent asked.

“Pleaaaase!” Flay protested toward them.

“That’s… that’s a strange question! Why?... Why would you ask me that?” He leaned slightly to Flayn. “Your parent is in couple, isn’t it?”

Flayn laughed softly, though a slight nervousness betrayed her real feeling.

“Yes! They’re with my father!” she smiled.

“I was just wondering! Because… You’d be really awesome with a man. Hmmm… I can see a… Hubert?”

Ferdinand almost chocked out at those words.

“Excuse me?” He blushed. “Do… do you know him?”

He moved his scarf, making disappear his face in the red folds.

Maybe Hubert wanted to know if he was interested by him? Maybe he will send him a text or call him if he knew?

If only he knew…

He was a bit… sad that Hubert didn’t have called him or text him yet but couldn’t dare to do it first.

He was such an idiot.

“I know him as much as I know you.”

“So… not at all?”

The stranger shook their head.

“I don’t think you should say more…” Flayn whispered. “This can be dangerous.”

“We never told them before and they kept killing each other instead of kissing each other,” they replied.

“Excuse me?” Ferdinand hiccupped. “I never kissed Hubert and I never…”

He suddenly had stopped talking, his fingers moving to his lips.

“What?” Flayn asked. “Is this something wrong?”

“Once upon a time, in a time far far away from our time, an illness appeared. People’s Heart turned into flowers and, sometimes, they even vomited it. This illness was the fruit of the love. Forbidden love. A Fairy used her power and swore that… whoever had been vomiting flower will, one day, be rewarded. One day… they will meet the one they loved and be able to love them. For real. Sometimes… that is just what drags you to someone else. As if the hand of the Fairy was leading you to your destiny. That’s the reason why people offers flowers when they want to court someone. The reason why twelve white roses are the symbol of the true love, the love finally given and received…” he muttered.

“Oh…” Flayn said.

“I made a dream… Always the same dream. I was killing someone. Someone I loved. It was Hubert… This was so strange. But maybe I had seen him and my mind was creating something from him? And when I had met Hubert… I did other dreams. News dreams… Black Death, Middle Ages, Renaissance… Wars. We killed each other. Every time. But that was just dreams. I asked Felix and he…”

Flayn shook her head.

“Felix? Does he have a boyfriend?”

Ferdinand shook his head.

“Oh…”

“He has a fiancé,” Ferdinand replied. “They will marry each other in three months!”

“Sylvain?”

Ferdinand tensed. “Who… who are you?” he whispered.

They smiled and approached him, holding out their hands.

“I can show it to you, if you want to.”

“Show it…”

They nodded, their hands still held out.

“I’m… I’m sick,” Ferdinand said, by politeness and fear…

“Don’t worry about this. Will you?” they smiled.

Ferdinand nodded and took their hands. They were shaking…

But all of this was too weird for him.

He needed to know.

Chapter Text

Imperial Year 1185

 

“Duke Aegir! Duke Aegir!!”

Ferdinand turned his head to the man running to him.

“Tell me you have it, please, by the Goddess name…” he whispered.

The man didn’t hear anything but he kept running at him and handed him a missive. Ferdinand closed the distance between them and took the letter. He recognized the seal, the dear and secret dear, and pressed it against his heart.

“Sir! I also have to tell you… the Archbishop will hold a council. Very soon.”

“Thank you,” Ferdinand replied.

He opened his purse and held out a coin for him.

At the beginning, the man refused to accept it but finally… why wouldn’t he? He was risking his life two to three times per month for him. Those coins will be everything his family will have if he died.

And if he was the one betraying the Duke?

He could be a spy after all.

A spy for the two camps…

 

Ferdinand craved to read the letter but the council was way more important and so, he went in the part of the Monastery allowed to Rhea and only her. It was the best place to talk about important things without fearing someone could listen to them. Seteth was checking that they were allowed there or not…

Ferdinand was allowed in, of course.

He waited for the others and they were all accepted in the balcony, with a beautiful landscape.

Rhea waited for all of them and when they were there…

“Thank you to all to be there,” she said, her hands on her belly.

Her smile was comforting.

“This month, we have gathered enough information and I can tell you what we have planned and what we will succeed. We will attack the Capital Enbarr. We will defeat Edelgard and change the fate of Fódlan, protecting it…”

“Attack the Capital?” Ferdinand repeated, pressing the letter against his heart.

“I know you, and others of your friends, lived there I know you’re afraid for your family but it’s something you knew it must happen… We have to defeat Edelgard.”

“You are right, Lady Rhea,” Lorenz replied, nodding.

It had been a longtime since the last time Ferdinand had truly saw him happy. Five years earlier. The last time they saw Marianne…

She was one of those who refused to join the professor. As much as Dedue or Hilda…  they said Dedue had disappeared after Dimitri’s death, they said Hilda was still with her brother who tried to protect her…

From what?

And on the other hand… if it was true Rhea was right, Ferdinand could hear the scream of his heart.

“Do you really believe you have a chance?”

It was Lysithea.

“If we don’t have it, we will create it,” Byleth replied. “We have to do it. Edelgard is… I have the same affection for her than all of you but we have to think about everybody and not just one of us. If Edelgard doesn’t die or capitulate, we will have to take her life. For the Greater Good.”

“How do you want to create your chance?” Leonie wondered.

“With a very good strategy. We will see it and work for the month until we are sure of what we do. Any question?” Rhea asked.

“Can I leave? I have scouts in the Adrestian Empire and they could help us?” Ferdinand offered.

“You can,” Rhea replied. “Thank you for your help.”

Ferdinand smiled, bowed and then moved back to go in the stable. It was where Felix was because, of course, you couldn’t hope to have him at a strategy reunion! No, he was in the stable, taking care of the horse of his father… that was the only thing he still have of him and he had lent it to Sylvain. It was important for him…

“Felix?” Ferdinand called.

“Hmm?”

“Do you think I can use Ingrid’s Falcon?”

“Yes, but why?”

Ferdinand pressed his fingers against the letter still against his chest. He hadn’t let it on the side by he couldn’t neither read it when everything was so… blurry.

Felix noticed it and approached him, unsheathing his sword to hold it under Ferdinand’s chin.

“Will you sell us to the enemy?”

“They will probably know that the Church is coming but not what we plan. I won’t betray us, I won’t put the life of our friends in danger but I need to go to Enbarr.”

“Very well.”

“Felix… think about it too. Edelgard can kill us. This mean…”

Felix shook his head.

“I damn the day you discovered about those ridicule feelings. But that’s not something people like us can live. Now, go. I will cover you.”

“Thank you, Felix. I hope… we can be friend one day.”

“Hm,” Felix replied.

“One day!” Ferdinand said with a bit of hope.

But Felix didn’t seem to be very happy of this ‘one day’. Maybe they weren’t made to be friends…

 

 

In Enbarr, installed in her throne where she was checking how the War was pursuing, Edelgard was really focused. There were still so many things… she needed to change the World. She needed to do the correct thing and she knew… she had to do the wrong things for that.

That was the irony.

But she was ready to do it.

And Hubert was always happy to help her. Especially when it comes to the bloody things…

“Your Majesty?” a voice said from the other side of the door.

“Yes?”

The door opened and Hubert looked up, his eye immediately seeing the one the guards were leading in. He had a proud and imperial look, his head raised and so even if he had two swords under his chin. He looked Edelgard in the eyes as he entered.

“Empress.”

“Duke Aegir… What do you want?”

“I have come to ask you to capitulate. Soon, an army will be at your door and I doubt you will be able to do anything.”

“You doubt I will be able to do anything?” she repeated before letting out a cold laugh. “But who are you to say such frivolous things.”

“You know who I am. I am Ferdinand Von Aegir.”

Hubert smirked.

“Let go on Ferdinand Von Aegir,” Edelgard said. “I doubt he will do any harm.”

The guards complied.

“And leave. We will talk alone.”

“Very well, your Majesty.”

The two Soldiers stepped backward and walked out of the room.

“So… Ferdinand. You think we will lose against the army incoming.”

“I don’t think. I know. Your chances to win are very low. You have to capitulate before…”

“Before what?” Edelgard asked.

“Is this a threat?” Hubert added.

“Edelgard! Stop being an idiot! You know what I mean!”

Ferdinand coughed and moaned when he was suddenly thrown on the wall, a hand on his throat forcing him at a few centimeters from the floor. He was trying to move his feet so they touch the floor but he couldn’t. The grip was too strong, the air passing in his throat with difficulty…

“Do it…” he whispered. “Ki…ll… me now… if you… wish for. Because… I can’t bear… the idea… of…” He hiccupped, his eyes closing as he tried to gulp. “… losing you…”

Hubert didn’t know if the tears at the corner of his eyes were because he was hurting him or if he was deeply affected.

Did he like him that much?

His letters were always tender, his words so soft but…

He let got on him, letting him slide on the floor where Ferdinand breathed correctly, his head pressing against the wall.

“Don’t go. Please.”

“Why don’t you come with us?”

“I chose the Church. It is what is right…”

Edelgard groaned.

“The Church is the wrong option,” Hubert replied. “We will fight it until our last breath. See… our point of view is different. We can’t find an arrangement. Go back to your ridicule Church and die with it. Or stay with us and life,” he said, taking his hand to make him got up.

He leaned and pressed his lips against the white gloves.

“I can’t.”

“Then, we will meet again,” Edelgard said. “Thank you for your kind words, you can leave.”

Ferdinand retrieved his hand, paced backward and bowed in front of them.

“Have a nice day,” he said.

His eyes slid on Hubert and he gave him a sad smile as he was sad he couldn’t hug him, kiss him… beg him…

He just walked outside and toward the doors of the Castle.

He stepped in the big courtyard and glanced at the beautiful flowers around then continued to the grids. It was the last background he could see of a peaceful Enbarr…

Will they be able to reconstruct it after?

“Ferdinand! Wait!”

He turned his head and saw Edelgard. She was quickly walking toward him. Ferdinand searched after Hubert but he wasn’t there.

“Ferdinand… I can try to make him step outside the battle but I’m not sure he will. He wants to assist me. Protect me.”

“I know.”

Ferdinand looked down.

“What?” she said. “Tell me.”

“If he loved me as much as I love him… his life would be saved.”

“But he wouldn’t be the one you love.”

“I know…” Ferdinand looked her, tears in the eyes. “I always have been jealous. I love him. I always loved him… and he always loved you more than anything. I can’t compete, Edelgard. You won.”

“I will do my best, Ferdinand. I will do my best for him to step outside this battlefield…Even if he had to hate me to love you. I never wanted to win against you… Especially not for this. But… I have to ask you something in return.”

“What?”

“Lysithea. Take care of her for me if the Church wins. Be sure she will be happy, protect her. Help her to life long… I’m begging you.”

“Of course, Edelgard. Even if you fail to convince him. You hadn’t to ask me it as a return of favor. I will.”

“I’m glad to know because I doubt he will listen to me.”

Ferdinand tried to smile but he couldn’t. She couldn’t neither.

They knew…

 

 

The day of the battle had arrived.

The more they were going toward the day, the more Ferdinand stressed…

And when the day of the battle came… Ferdinand never had hated that much to come back in his hometown. The Capital had held bad memories but also his most beautiful and now… it will be painted with blood and horror.

Those he had killed, for the Greater Good of the Church, they used to be on his side. They were maybe friends?

Well… in fact, he doubted they could be friends but maybe he had trained with them?

The worst…

His gloves were still white.

How was it possible?

How could they stay white…

“Lady Rhea?”

It was Ingrid, coming down with her Falcon.

“Yes, my child?”

“You were right, Edelgard still have one General…”

They had killed the Death Knight, thanks to Lysithea, and before the helmet had fallen from his body, Mercedes had started to cry. Annette and Sylvain had tried to ease her but they hadn’t found even one right word…

Caspar had said the worst one, for them.

It was her brother… of course she was crying. And of course Sylvain couldn’t find the right words.

Ferdinand would have loved to help her but…

“Hubert is keeping the Gate. After that we should be able to attack Edelgard…”

… he had his owns demons to fight.

His fingers were twitching on his spear and on the reins.

“I’m taking care of him,” he said.

“You shouldn’t.”

Ferdinand looked toward Felix, a sad smile on his lips.

“I have to do it.”

He hoped…

Hoped Hubert would change his mind if he was the one attacking him… that was vain hope and he knew it.

Though, Rhea hadn’t said to him he couldn’t so he dug his heels in his horse that galloped to the front door. The Castel had never been more horrendous than today… everything, everyone.

If only it was a bad dream.

Please…

Please, make it a Nightmare…

But… if it was a Nightmare. Why did it hurt so much?

His horse arrived in front of the last barricades and his heart skipped a beat. He tugged on the rein, seeing Hubert.

Please, step aside… Please…

Hubert stared him, their eyes met.

He was just like the others days but today… he was more macabre and at his chest, above his heart… he had a lily…

“Running into you in the Capital like this… I have to say it’s almost sentimental.”

“Hubert…” He closed his eyes. “She must leave!”

“You really think you can make her?”

Ferdinand opened his eyes as he pronounced the words that were crushing his heart.

“It doesn’t matter what I think. Those are my orders.” Forgive me… Hubert…

He dug his heels in the horse. The animal dashed forward and Ferdinand threw his lance to Hubert. Whom jumped on the side, casting a dark magic spell…

The horse whined as he was touched by this annoying warm.

Ferdinand tugged on the reins, forcing his animal to stay on place even if she was about to fall and moved the spear. His fingers shook, making the lance avoid the vital point. And the horse fall, throwing him on the ground as well.

Hubert walked toward him.

“Do you think you are right?” he said, summoning magic. “We lose, you win?” he wondered.

Ferdinand pulled his legs out of the weight on him. He pressed his lips on the forehead of the beast.

“You will be good. Huush…” he whispered.

He caressed the animal’s cheek and stepped away.

“You were right, Hubert. You win.” He smiled. “Take care of my horse, will you? Your magic is powerful and I’m worrying for her.”

“Ferdinand…” He opened his arms. “If I don’t move, will you be able to kill me or you will avoid because you’re too afraid to kill someone.”

Step aside, I don’t want to…

He could hear the troop of the Church coming. He was afraid. Afraid of what they could do to him, what Hubert could do to himself to avoid anything that could happen to him. He would be an instrument to touch Edelgard and he wouldn’t allow this to himself. He would use his own magic to die, slowly but surely and protect her interest.

“I…”

Ferdinand shook his head and ran to him, his hands steady on the lance.

He felt the warm on his hands. Felt the warm on his cheek.

“Fer…di…nand… Your smile… is… so beautiful… Never… stop… smiling…”

Hubert was falling toward the floor and Ferdinand’s arms followed the fall, his knees too. He was crying but he forced himself to smile to the one he loved so much, dying in his arms.

“Hubert… I love you,” he whispered.

“You win.”

“I don’t c…”

“My… Heart…”

His hand fell on the side but his lips… his lips were smiling.

“Hubert? Hubert! Hubert! Please! PLEASE HUBERT!!!”

He pressed the body against him, the tears rolling along his cheeks as he begged the Goddess.

“We must pursue, Ferdinand.”

Rhea.

“Leave him a bit of time!”

Felix.

“But Edelgard…”

Lysithea…

“Lysithea,” Ferdinand said. “Please, don’t go…” He was still holding the body against his Heart. “Please.”

“Why? Do you think I’m weak?”

“No one is strong enough for this…” Ferdinand whispered.

He didn’t know Lysithea’s feeling but he didn’t want Edelgard to live this before dying. Or… did she have the same wish as Hubert. Dying from a loving hand? So maybe, he had to protect Lysithea because… he was dying. Inside… he was already dead.

Why pursuing a life when the only one was just a corpse in your arms.

“Everything will be okay, Ferdinand,” Lysithea said. “We have to pursue. We will burry them correctly after,” she swore.

Ferdinand wanted to never let go on Hubert…

He moved his fingers to caress the black hairs and he noticed… his gloves were red of blood…

 

2020

 

Ferdinand quickly moved away. His heart was beating so fast in his chest and it certainly wasn’t because of the cold he got…

As he stepped backward that way, Flayn moved her hand to him.

“Wh… Why have you… What was that? It was so real?!”

“It was your past. Your first life.”

Ferdinand shook his head.

“No… No! Why showing this to me?!”

“You accepted,” they replied.

“Why showing this to me?! Do you think I could bear that?! Knowing that… those lives…”

“You believed in it,” they replied. “That’s the reason why I chose you. Not because you were there or worthy. You believed about this. You were already knowing a part of it.”

“You talked to me about this tale, you remember?” Flayn said with a soft tone. “The one your grandmother used to tell you.”

“That’s a tale for children! No one vomit flowers! No one…” Ferdinand pressed his hands on his skull. “No one…”

“This is the truth. Because of me, you had to kill someone you loved. So many of you had to do it. So many of you were incredibly sad. I tried to make you happy with the one made for you for eight hundred years. And this time…”

Ferdinand let himself fall on the floor, his knees hitting it with strength as he looked up at her.

He could remember those feelings. Those people. Those part of their lives… Ingrid crying Glenn, dead too early; Lorenz who couldn’t reach the one he loved; that girl with a forbidden love; Bernadetta forced to marry a wealthy man; Mercedes who had seen her brother dying and who couldn’t hope accept the embrace of the one she loved; Edelgard and Lysithea forced to kill each other; Felix and Sylvain, with such a sad past and their love forbidden by the rules of that World. Dimitri… dead! And him… killing Hubert…

“I have to love this man because he is destined to me? Is this what you are saying to me?”

In front of him, the stranger nodded.

“You belong to each other. Every time you came back, you were dragging to each other. Even if you kept killing each other. But this time…”

“No!” Ferdinand pressed his hands on his knees. “I don’t love him. I… I can’t be with him…”

“You can’t? But he is destined for you. So many of them have found the one destined to them. Why you don’t…”

“That’s unfair! I should chain myself to him? To make him happy? Do you think he will be happy if I don’t truly love him?!” he hiccupped. “All of this… it’s a Legend, it’s a Tale…”

“I don’ understand… You believe in this Tale. As I send you the past, I could sense your current past. You think your true love awaits you. And the flowers! He brought you your favorite flowers!”

Ferdinand had a chill as he knew they had access in all his memories.

He wanted to brush his scars through the clothes but he couldn’t. He just couldn’t yield to this despite the fear. Who knows if they had access to this

“He had killed for you!”

Ferdinand had a new chill, remembering Hubert’s words.

“I believed in this. But this was nice when I could dream of the charming Prince, the beautiful Knight on his white horse. Thinking ‘this is the good one’… But now? You’re telling me I’m forced to love him. If I don’t love him? If we killed each other because we weren’t made for each other? He can kill. Why not me?!”

“Ferdinand…” Flayn approached him and sat next to him. “In some of your previous lives, you didn’t get the chance to see each other and it was fine. It’s still your life. That’s not because he is the one for you that you have to be with him.”

Ferdinand nodded slightly.

“What there was in those letters? Did they say they loved each other before… the last day? Did we say…”

“You both loved each other and talked about everything… but you never told it to each other on those letters. Not with real words…”

“Did it happen just one time were we said it to each other? Except just before dying, I mean.”

“Never in a shared way,” they replied.

“Maybe this really mean… maybe you have put us in a horrible loop. This was so horrible. The dreams I do… they are horrible,” he whispered. He pressed his lips together. “Does Hubert live them?”

“I don’t think so. This is the first time I hear about it. Maybe… because you killed him? Maybe it’s your punishment?”

“Maybe it’s to warn you about the chance coming?” Flayn proposed. “While not being forced to… you know?” she smiled.

“Maybe… Maybe we aren’t made to be together but I’m allowed to know all of this… because I’m supposed to help you?” he wondered. “If not, why warning me? Why now? Why me? And this past…” He closed his eyes. “It’s me…It’s really me, isn’t it?”

“Ferdinand…” Flayn’s parent whispered.

“Don’t you think?” Flayn said. “It is possible…” She walked toward them. “And maybe he just needs time. Control the information as his will…”

“Maybe. But why refusing happiness?”

Ferdinand got up, hugging himself. He moved the scarf slightly.

“I’m not good with happiness… I rather prefer not soaking Hubert in my life.”

“You look happy,” they protested.

“I’m good at looking happy. Because I don’t want my friends to bother too much about me. I can’t destroy their happiness with any black shadow.”

And he wouldn’t destroy Hubert’s happiness.

Chapter Text

The year 2020 had started since not long and, in some way, nothing had changed for Ferdinand. That was the reason why he was just waiting for Felix to be ready. Sylvain was at his home yesterday so no Sylvain to wait or him to step outside to let them alone. And now that he was fully healed, he was excited to go back to work.

As he waited for his best friend, he couldn’t help but think again at this past. His past.

One thing that made him thrilled was the fact he used to have a horse! Yes, a War Horse but a horse anyway! And there was magic! He wondered when they had lost magic to have this. Unless… if his Soul was intertwined to Hubert’s… maybe it was still magic? But he would have been happy to find the true love of Hubert…

And as he waited for his best friend… he couldn’t help smiled. This past told him that Felix and Sylvain couldn’t be happy together but… he was his Best Man. Felix will marry his cousin in three months.

For them, for the flowers he had received from Sylvain when he was a child… he wanted to believe to this. He wanted to believe their love was engraved in the marble and that they were receiving the love they deserved.

“I’m ready, sorry for the wait,” Felix said.

He stepped outside, locking the door.

“Don’t worry.”

Ferdinand bit his lower lip and followed him to the lift, taking it with him. It was very early and he needed to swallow a yawn before looking discourteous.

“Say…” he said as they entered the lift.

“Yes?”

Felix pressed the correct button.

“I have been quite busy lately.”

“Yes. Thought, you could have done more while being sick.”

“Like! You wanted to tie me on the bed so I stop taking care of the household.”

“I especially wanted you to stop doing more damage than good.”

“I’m not a bad cleaner.”

“You’re neither a good one. You will suffer when you will be by your own.”

“That’s the problem I wanted to talk about to you,” Ferdinand said. “I still don’t have found somewhere to go. I don’t even have looked around. I’ll be out before the wedding, I swear. I’m really, really, really sorry.”

The lift’s doors opened as Felix stared at him.

“Don’t be mad at me. I’m really trying…”

“Do you want to leave?”

Ferdinand stepped outside the lift. “Do you think I’m not trying enough?”

Felix followed him, coming to the front door he opened.

“I’m surprised you try.”

“That’s mean. Even coming from you.”

“I thought you would like to stay with us rather than going on a flat, alone. Not only for money and food,” Felix said.

Ferdinand came outside, adjusting his scarf around him. And he had a slight deception n his face as he noticed the lack of snow around. It was a bit warmer lately, enough to make disappear snowman and prevent the child to play with sledge but not enough to let them come outside without gloves and scarfs. If Ferdinand had a bottle of cold cocoa in his hand, he couldn’t wait enough to be in the warm Teahouse.

“Honestly…”

He glanced at Felix and walked with him as they went to the school. It will be something with the child having so many things to say after the holidays.

Felix glanced at him, sipping his coffee from a thermos portable mug.

“I love you. Both. And if I could decide, I’d stay with you.”

“You can decide? Who tell you otherwise? Do I have to wreck your father?”

Ferdinand let out a nervous giggle and shook his head.

“It’s you.”

“Me?! What the fuck are you saying?”

“You and Sylvain will be soon a married couple. You can’t have your best friend being around?”

“Ferdinand,” Felix sighed. “Of course, you’re here but you always have been there. That’s because you always have been there you became my… That you became! And you have been there so often while Sylvain was there. You’re my… You’re my best friend, Ferdinand.”

Ferdinand couldn’t help but smile, feeling the emotion within him.

“I do?”

“Of course you are! And you are Sylvain’s cousin. He loves you. You’re welcome at home. It’s your home too.”

“Thank you so much…” Ferdinand smiled slightly, relieved. Slightly because… “But you talked with Sylvain about that?”

“No. But if he doesn’t accept you, I don’t marry him.” He smiled to him. “We are twenty-four…”

“I’m twenty-five,” Ferdinand smirked.

“… You’re right, I’m done of having two dude older and taller than me. Leave my flat!”

Ferdinand kept smiling. “Sorryyyyyy! You know I love you.”

Felix closed his eyes. “Yay. I probably too. So!” he added before Ferdinand could react. “We are still ‘young’ maybe, in the future, we will want to be alone. But now? You’re so welcome. And who know? Maybe you will find someone and want to be out of here,”

“Maybe…”

Ferdinand closed his eyes one second.

If he allowed this to himself…

 

 

In his Coffee Shop, Hubert was arranging the food for the day, preparing the menu of the week and moving some tables and chairs to welcome any client. With this cold time, he could hope for a lot of customers.

He was still working on this, washing a table, when he saw a mane taking the soft colors on the rising Sun, casting tenders rays around. He was waiting for him.

It wasn’t surprising, then, that he walked to the door and opened it.

“Greetings,” he said.

Ferdinand was talking with Felix but he turned his head, smiling as he saw Hubert.

“Hello!”

Felix watched him without a word.

“I heard from the young Sir Gloucester you weren’t feeling well.”

“Yes. Someone gave me their cold,” he winked.

“Was it mine?”

“Yes, probably,” Ferdinand laughed softly. “My cousin ran away from the house as soon as I started being sick.”

“I don’t thank you,” Felix said even if he joked about the invert.

“Felix did his best to avoid the illness and he managed too! He’s really good!”

Hubert slightly nodded.

“I’m glad to see you coming back.”

“Thank you! You too look very well. Business is working as you want?”

“Yes. The Teahouse seems to keep working really well too.”

“Yes! You’re not doing much shadow to us.”

“Yup. I’m done being the third wheel, I’m going to work,” Felix said.

He moved his hand before walking away. Ferdinand shook his hand as well, gesturing a goodbye.

But that was so weird for Ferdinand…

Now, he was all alone with Hubert and while he loved that, it was… It was just awkward to be around him now.

Could he ask him about the phone call? The texts?

Wasn’t it… impolite?

“Thank you for asking,” Ferdinand said. “It’s very kind from you. And, as you can see, I’m very well now.”

“I wouldn’t want something to happen to you.”

“I know…” Ferdinand whispered.

“You know?” he replied, tilting his head on the side.

“Yes, because… you’re so nice.”

“Nice?”

Hubert laughed. A strange laugh who would make shiver creep along your spine and yet… yet… Ferdinand didn’t felt this. He wasn’t charmed neither but he was happy to discover such mysteries within him…

In fact…

He could be charmed.

“No one ever told me I was nice. Why are you thinking such a think?”

“No one ever allowed me to not talk about something. Sylvain and Felix are too worried to just… let it pass. I don’t like them less. They are very sweet and just want my happiness and wellbeing…”

Maybe it was because of that he faked his happiness?

He didn’t mind about having to share deep secret, or what it wasn’t such a deep secret for them because they knew his family and everything else, but he didn’t want them to be bad because of him… He didn’t want anyone to worry because of him…

“I understand the need to keep things for you,” Hubert said. “I just hope you can forgive me to have discovered… this.”

Ferdinand leaned in and pressed a kiss on his cheek.

“Of course, I don’t hold it against you. Don’t worry.”

Hubert blinked.

“I need to go to work. But we see each other at another moment?”

“Of course. Have a nice day.”

“You too!”

Ferdinand smiled to him and moved to the Teahouse. He wondered… did he was like that, in his other live? Did his body was covered with the same marks? Did Hubert knew for his body?

How was their love?

He wanted to know but maybe it was the wrong thing.

How could he rest to a man like Hubert if he knew the beauty of the love they could have?

 

 

Wednesday arrived pretty fast.

Wednesday was a good day for Ferdinand. Well… more for the Teahouse than for him. He loved dancing but that turned his day as a really heavy one… He ended his days completely exhausted. Happy.

But exhausted.

But happy!

And since Wednesday was such a good day, he didn’t stop having customers. Even Lorenz actively helped. Sometimes, he wondered if they didn’t need to have more people for those shifts… Maybe it was illegal to make Ferdinand work that much? Especially because he hadn’t the best pay of the World. Yet… yet, Ferdinand never said anything because he was so happy to be with them and had so much to give them back…

“Excuse me?” someone said, coming at the counter.

“Yes?” Lorenz replied, putting some tea in the pantries.

“Can I see Ferdinand?”

“Ferdinand? W… well, yes? Is he a good waiter?” Lorenz wondered.

“I don’t know!”

“I could offer you what you wish for, my lady,” he offered. “Even a date, if you have good taste.”

“Yes, yes… I have very bad taste.  Can I see Ferdinand Von Aegir, please?” she insisted.

“Hm… I see. You will see your error one day, maybe. I’ll be waiting.”

She smiled but it was incredibly cold.

“Ferdinand?” Lorenz called as he came to the backroom.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!”

Yet, Ferdinand needed more than two minutes, and being called two others time, to finally appear, his arms filled with teas and sweets.

“I’m really sorry for the waiting time!”

“The lady here wishes to talk to you and she’s waiting.”

“Oh! Lysithea! What a pleasure.”

Ferdinand installed the sweets on the counter and the different flavors of tea next to them.

“Do you want me to tidy everything up?”

“I can make it? Check for the table maybe? The Two waited for their muffins.”

Lorenz took the muffins Ferdinand showed him and he moved to the room.

“I’m sorry if I disturb you,” Lysithea said.

“You don’t disturb me, at all,” he replied as he was putting the bakeries in the windowed counter.

“I planned to take some sweets if this can help you!”

“I thought you had brought some because, Lysithea, your smile is so sweet!”

Ferdinand lost immediately his smile because those words seemed to be… so away from him. He was almost sure he already had said them, one day…

Those exact words.

She was laughed softly. “Are you trying to hit on me, Ferdinand?”

He blinked.

“You’re okay?” she wondered.

“Yes, yes. I was… Yes! What kind of bakery do you want?”

“Hubert talked to me about cinnamon croissant. But can I have it extra sweet?”

“I will prepare that,” Ferdinand said with a wink. He put the pie, slice in ten parts, in the counter and seeming hesitant a second. “Lysithea? Can I ask you something?”

“Yes?”

“Are you… with Edelgard?”

“Oh! Hubert told you about the date, isn’t it?”

Ferdinand nodded slightly and turned to the pantries to install the teas in the correct cases.

“I think we are! We went in the New Year Eve’s party at my parent’s and this was really nice. But! How was your Christmas’ Eve?”

“Boring?”

“Oh.”

“Hubert was sick so…not very entertaining! He slept the biggest part of the Eve,” he smiled.

“Of course. That’s probably why he sent me there!”

“He sent you here?”

“Yes. He made me come and he is the one who will pay my sweet! He wanted to invite you.”

She removed a card from her pocket and handed it to him. Ferdinand took it and frowned.

“School? Why would he want to see me at School?”

“Next week! Sunday! Is this okay for you?”

“Wh… what time?”

“One am! And tie your hairs. He said you can be pretty but try not to have uncomfortable clothes!”

“Okay but… what?”

“It’s a yes, then?”

“It’s a… uh… why did he send you? That’s so weird…”

“He is weird,” she smiled.

“Well, yes…”

“Yes, you come or yes he’s weird?”

“B… both. Yes, both! It’s okay, I’ll come.” Ferdinand smiled and moved to take the cinnamon croissant. “I’m coming back, I’ll add sugar as a toping.”

“Thank you! Hubert will be delighted. And me too, now!”

Ferdinand smiled to her and went in the backroom to prepare the croissant. When he came back, he traded the sweet against money and made sure she will be alright as she went back home. He even gave her his phone number. He didn’t know if Edelgard had really given away his number…

Maybe she never gave it to Hubert?

Maybe that was the reason why he never called him, text him?

But now… why did he refuse to come her and ask him out by himself…

“Ferdinand?”

“Yes?”

He turned his head toward Lorenz.

“You can take care of the room?”

“Yes!” Ferdinand walked around the counter. “Lorenz?”

“Yes?”

“Can you come with me somewhere, the Sunday after this one?”

“Me?” Lorenz asked, surprised.

“Please. I’d just be… eased if you came?”

Ferdinand joined his hands and looked him with puppy eyes. Lorenz passed his hand in his hairs, making a little face as he thought about that…

“Well… yes, very well! I will join you.”

“Thank you! You really relieve me.”

“You’re welcome, my dear!”

Chapter Text

 

If he was okay to wait and see, even if he was a bit nervous about this, Ferdinand wasn’t that naïve. He tried to talk with Hubert. Why a school? Why sending Lysithea to set the date? And would Lorenz be allowed, in the end? Wasn’t it too rude? But each time he got the occasion to talk about it, he missed it. Either because Hubert talked about something else, or they had to leave or even Felix, wanting to help, who put him in more problems than the invert. Thought, he wanted to help so Ferdinand was nothing but grateful.

Ferdinand tied his hairs in a low ponytail, letting the soft curls of his hairs pass above his chest. He didn’t know what Hubert wanted to say about being pretty. Was it an ask? An envy? A fear?

He tried to have comfy and practical clothes and that didn’t allow a lot of prettiness. In his opinion. Because if he’d go for the comfy and practical, it was really the old clothes just to rest and do nothing. Which was rare.

After long minutes to search, he grabbed a pant with a soft but warm fabric, black because it couldn’t be wrong, and he went with a white pullover with a V-neck. But he had warm gloves, with fake fur, and his red scarf…

“Eh!” Sylvain said when he saw him. “They said the weather will be shitty so take boots maybe?”

“Okay! Thank you!”

“Where do you go, again?” he wondered.

“I don’t know… school?”

Ferdinand approached him and showed him the card he still had since that day. He glanced at what him and Felix were doing. He had a little sorrow for them as he noticed they were on the seating arrangements.

“Your father is at the Children Table?” he asked, looking the tiny cards around the table.

“You put him back there?!” Sylvain choked in.

“You have no proof?”  Felix replied. He glanced at Ferdinand. “I thought you were my friend.”

“But I am!!!!” Ferdinand protested.

“Felix! We said he wouldn’t be at the Children Table!”

“But you wanted me to eat at our wedding? I can’t eat if he is around.”

Ferdinand passed in a foot to the other. “Sooooo, I’m going to the date. Okay?”

“Okay!” they replied on the same time.

“Where have you put Dimitri?”

Ferdinand preferred to step aside and just leave. Thought he felt really guilty because he had pointed it out. But Sylvain would have noticed it at a moment… right?

“We’re good with Dimitri!” Felix sighed, grabbing his father’s name. “He and his plus one are on our table, don’t worry.”

“Ferdinand!”

“YES?!” he said, swirling on his heels. “I did nothing wrong!”

“What?” Felix asked, looking toward him.

“I don’t know, dad, father. You’re there, yelling, but I’m a good child!” Ferdinand smiled.

“I…” Sylvain smirked. “I’m glad you didn’t call me daddy,” he winked.

“I know only Felix can do it!” Ferdinand winked back.

“I hate you both,” Felix said, before getting up.

He walked toward the kitchen, his cheeks a bit red, embarrassed.

“Anyway, we’re not really fighting. If Felix really wants it, I’d let him put his dad in the yard if that can make him happy.”

“That’s why, it’s okay. You can have it at our table if you think it’s better.”

Sylvain smiled tenderly. “But on the other hand… Do you have a plus one, Ferdie?” Ferdinand asked.

“Me?”

“Yes.”

Ferdinand approached the plan and looked it. He bit his lower lips, his fingers passing in the long thread as he watched the names, some called ‘his’ memories. Couples his past-self would have been so happy to see happen, probably.

Names he hated seeing today…

Like, his father…

He was at another table, with his brothers and sisters and a few others cousins Felix and Sylvain didn’t care about. He was the only one Sylvain actually liked. Their family would probably talk because the Main Table had childhood friends and brothers but not parents however… at first, it was just for childhood friends or very important friends. But because of Ingrid’s plus one, they had no real choice but to accept Miklan too.

And now… Rodrigue was the only one there because… well, because he was alone. Sylvain still had his two parents but Felix’s mother… he never knew her…

But… if Ferdinand had a plus one…

“Do you want me to have a plus one so you can remove Rodrigue from the equation o…”

“The question!” Felix said, coming back with the bottle of water. “It’s if you want to have a plus one?”

“I don’t know…” Ferdinand honestly replied.

He knew.

He wanted it. But he was so afraid about it… He was terrified about the past that had been written and rewritten. About the love he wasn’t sure to have.

But…

He had been Hubert’s fake date… Hubert owned it to him. Plus… he liked being with Hubert. Maybe he wanted to be pretty for him and charm him?

But perhaps this was just rude because he was still afraid that their love was forbidden still since the dawn of the time.

“I think the question is really ‘do you need it?’” Ferdinand whispered.

“Yes! I’m begging you, save me!” Felix replied.

“I will ask Hubert today.”

Felix was smiling to him. Which was pretty rare even if his smile were light…

And he realized…

He was smiling.

Asking to Hubert to come as his partner to the wedding was making him smile…

 

 

Waiting in front of the school, Hubert hoped Ferdinand will come.

They hadn’t talked about it and the day was so grey… Maybe Ferdinand wouldn’t come?

Waiting in front of the school, Hubert hoped.

He hoped the surprise will please Ferdinand. But… could he only ravish his heart? They know each other since a month and half, pretty much… Maybe Ferdinand really offered to him nothing more that politeness?

Will he come?

Wouldn’t it be rude not to come?

One am will ring in a few seconds at the big clock of the Town…

 

 

“It’s here?” Lorenz asked, parking his car in the designed area, next to a big enclosed plot of land.

“Yes,” Ferdinand replied. He checked the address on the card. “Yes, it is,” he affirmed.

He opened the door car and came outside, closing it after him. The weather was still so cold.

He closed his eyes, letting the icy wind caress his cheeks. He reopened them and looked around after Hubert. He was looking on the other side. Probably because he wasn’t expecting him to come in a car. He almost never drove because it wasn’t good for the environment. He had his license but the rare time he was using it was for long distance and with a few people in the car…

He understood Hubert’s confusion.

And he could joyfully surprise him?

After a glance at Lorenz, he walked toward Hubert, walking along the enclosed place. His friend followed him.

“But… that’s your date for the Grand Opening. The owner of the Coffee Shop…”

“Yes,” Ferdinand replied.

“And you need someone to accompany you? Usually, people ask to have someone by their side when they never met their date. Are you afraid?”

“Maybe.”

“Why?” Lorenz glanced at Hubert who looked around, taping his fingers along his arms. One AM. was ringing in the away. “Well… he looks like he could kill you and burry you in this… vacant lot. There, just in the mud.” Lorenz moved his hand toward the ground that have been turn and turn. “Why bringing you there if not…”

Ferdinand looked as well.

“That’s not a vacant lot. That’s a corral…”

Chapter Text

Lorenz glanced at Hubert who looked around, taping his fingers along his arms. One AM. was ringing in the away. “Well… he looks like he could kill you and burry you in this… vacant lot. There, just in the mud.” Lorenz moved his hand toward the ground that have been turn and turn. “Why bringing you there if not…”

Ferdinand looked as well.

“That’s not a vacant lot. That’s a corral…”

Ferdinand approached Hubert.

“This is a Horse School!”

Hubert jumped and swirled on his heels. He smirked. “Well, well. Usually, I’m the one who lurk around and frighten people,” he said.

“I wanted to have the honor, for refusing to say to me it was a Horse School.”

“I hoped to surprise you.” Hubert approached him with a very little smile. “I’m not surprised to see you managed to be beautiful and have a comfortable outfit. My heart is ravished.”

Ferdinand smiled tenderly.

“Why it never works with me?”

Ferdinand turned his head toward Lorenz. Hubert looked him too and then his date.

“Oh, Hubert, you know Lorenz Hellman Gloucester? I asked him to accompany me.”

“Afraid I would kill you, I see…” Hubert said, his fingers brushing the golden hairs laying on Ferdinand’s chest.

You’re killing me, Ferdinand thought. I’m dying of love for you. I died of love for you so many times…

“Maybe,” he smiled. “Lorenz,” he added, turning toward him. “Do you want to stay or…”

“I will leave, of course. I see I annoy you both.”

“Very well. I don’t want to make Marianne wait more.”

“Marianne?” Ferdinand repeated.

“Yes, Marianne. The daughter of the owner and your teacher.”

“Marianne…”

Hubert frowned. “Is there something wrong?”

Ferdinand watched above his shoulder. Lorenz was walking toward his car.

“This is fate…” he whispered.

“Fate?”

Hubert moved his fingers, almost brushing his cheek through the thick leather of his gloves.

Ferdinand moved away from his hand, not even noticing it. He dashed to Lorenz, grabbing his arm.

“Ferdinand?”

“Please. Come.”

Hubert frowned.

“Come, please,” Ferdinand said.

He tugged on his writ and brought him toward Hubert who looked them with horror. He seemed to desire kill Lorenz at this moment.

“Can we go?” Ferdinand asked.

“Yes, we can…”

Hubert walked to the Horse School, bringing them inside. And from there, they walked to the stable. There was a powerful silence and it was clear that Lorenz was annoyed but Ferdinand held his hand around his arms, forcing him to follow them.

As they walked, just the sound of their heels reverberating around, the horses looked them, intrigued. Some let out little sound from their mouth.

A bit in the away, a lady was talking to a horse.

Ferdinand glanced at her, glanced at Lorenz. At the second he saw her… his look changed. Not like the others time. He didn’t crave her in the same way he was trying to court and you could see it in his look.

“Can you let go on me, Ferdinand.”

“Yes.”

Lorenz adjusted his outfit, putting correctly the flower at the buttonhole and then, he walked toward the lady.

Ferdinand seemed relieved.

Hubert hadn’t stopped watching him.

“Can you explain to me, please?”

Ferdinand turned his head toward him, then he glanced at his friend. His friend who removed his precious flower.

“Excuse me, my Lady,” Lorenz said to the lady. “I didn’t mean to annoy you. Here is a humble flower, my favorite… with a beauty that none can equal. And yet… my Lady… at the second I saw you, she had been surpassed.”

“Excuse me?” she hiccupped, her cheeks red.

Ferdinand smiled softly.

“Would I dare?” he said. “To you?”

“Why not to me?” Hubert wondered.

It was so hard…

He wished this could be that easy.

“When I was a child, my grandmother always told us a story. A story about fate, true love. You can’t escape to the one who is destined to you. That’s what I believe. Flowers. True love is sealed when, without even knowing it, someone would offer their favorite flowers to their other half.” Ferdinand brought his hands to his chest. “I was just a child when I saw this magic for the first time… Sylvain, Felix and Dimitri’s fathers were friends since always and so they met so young. Felix was always on his side and one day, Sylvain brought him flowers. His favorite. They will marry each other in two months.”

Ferdinand talked while looking Lorenz and Marianne. Lorenz didn’t offer his flower to Marianne. He offered words to her. Soft words. She was looking away. But listening.

“Lilies are my favorite flowers.”

Hubert stared him.

Ferdinand didn’t.

Hubert wished he could just grab his waist, brush his hips, kiss his lips. He was the master of Evil when he wished it. He never cared about people’s feeling.

But…

“I knew Lilies were you favorites.”

“Excuse me?”

Ferdinand watched him.

“I never lied. I saw you, one day, taking your time at the Flower shop, smelling the flowers. Talking with the florist…”

Ferdinand looked away. “Why telling it to me?”

“Because I respect you. The first day, I heard you saying you loved horses. I wanted you to see them. Ride one.”

Ferdinand kept looking a distant point. It didn’t matter.

All of this was fake.

If all of this was fake…

He was right then. He truly was right. They weren’t mean to be with each other. This was fake. Their love was forbidden, destined to vanish. They will kill each other…

“Do you want me to bring you back home?” Hubert asked.

Yes.

That was what he was supposed to do.

Protect him. Protect them. Lending his hand to the fate to bring together soul loving each other. Not condemning those who couldn’t…

“No. I want to stay with you.” He turned his head. “That’s really creepy but…”

But since Flayn’s parent had touched his hand, he had flash from the past. He was afraid but… was he insane to love that? Usually, you liked when someone tried to discover what you liked.

Hubert tried to please him.

Was it bad?

What about their fate?

“… what have you planned?”

“I supposed Marianne could teach you. But she is busy, it seems. With Fate, perhaps. But… I can teach you. Banshee is there.”

“Banshee?”

“My horse.”

“You have a horse?”

Hubert nodded. He moved his hand, calling Ferdinand’s. Who accepted it and followed it until they arrived in front of a box, a few pace away, where a beautiful black horse was waiting. As asked by Hubert earlier, the horse had been prepared and you could already ride the beautiful animal.

“My father offered her to me when he thought this will buy me.”

“You ride, then?”

Hubert nodded once again.

“She is beautiful,” Ferdinand smiled. “May I?”

He moved his hand but didn’t touch the horse.

“Please, she is very kind.”

Ferdinand caressed the nose of the pet, smiling as she let him do. She had the opportunity to smell his perfume when he had his hand held, what made her accept that easily this soft attention.

Hubert watched him while discovering this gentle horse.

“Have you ever ridden?” he wondered.

“Not at all,” Ferdinand replied. “Always dreamed about it, thought…”

“I don’t think I’m a good teacher but I’d be glad to do my best for you.”

“Maybe I should marry you, then I will have the horse I dreamt of since always?” Ferdinand joked.

At the second he saw Hubert looking away, Ferdinand wondered… if he had said to him there was no Fate, or just fake Fate, that was maybe because he didn’t like him like that… Perhaps, since there Fate weren’t mean to be, he just wanted to be friend with him?

After all, his friendship with Felix had proven it to him.

He had been just rude.

Maybe because… Hubert was really the one he wished for?

Hubert walked to a wall and grabbed a riding helmet he came giving to Ferdinand, letting him set the protection by himself.

Having his hairs flying in the wind would have been beautiful, surely, but an accident could come so often. And it was Hubert’s horse, he knew what it was the best for his horse.

For them.

“My apologies,” Ferdinand said. “I didn’t mean to annoy you.”

“You’re fine, Ferdinand. Step aside? I’ll make her come outside and I will help you to climb on her back.”

“Thank you.”

As Ferdinand moved on the side, Hubert opened the door, grabbed the lunge rein and make Banshee came outside of the box. He invited his dear Guest to follow him and they went outside in the corral.

The place was muddy because the weather had been foggy and wet lately. No more beautiful snow when they were in the mid of January.

Outside, the horse seemed to be pretty happy, walking joyfully around by the side of her owner.

“I didn’t ask, do you ride often?”

“No. I came here, sometimes I let Edelgard ride her but I don’t do it quite often.”

“Is there a reason?”

“Lack of time. And I don’t want to make this favor to my father,” he added with a smirk.

“I understand…” Ferdinand said.

“Please.”

Hubert held the lunge in one hand, offering the other to Ferdinand. He thanked him and grabbed the reins. Thought he had the occasion to see, in numerous occasions, how to climb on a ladder, he waited for Hubert’s explanation.

He thanked him as he did his best to not hurt the beautiful animal and set himself on her back. It was really thrilling to fulfill his dreams like that. His fingers went around the reins in a different way, just as he had to put them and ‘memories’ flew in him. He had done that so for so many others lives. It wasn’t ‘him’ as such so he was glad to feel this experience for himself.

But when he looked down, when he saw Hubert, he couldn’t help but have a chill. This reminded him that horrendous dead.

He hated Flayn’s parent!

He hated this stupid mission.

He hated his heart beating joyfully in his chest as he felt a soft hand on his knee.

“Are you too cold? Do you want my jacket?”

“Hubert… You’re too kind. I don’t want you to catch a cold.” He smiled. “Again.”

“Maybe I would like you to come take care of me again?”

“Do you?” Ferdinand kept smiling. “I knew I was good at this but I didn’t know you would like to be sick again just for me to come!”

Hubert smirked back. “I hide a lot of surprise.”

“I see that,” he replied with tenderness.

Hubert tugged on the lunge, making move the horse. Ferdinand had a little gap and his eyes were filled with stars as Banshee moved around.

All Hubert could think about was how much he was beautiful. And how much he was glad Ferdinand had brought Lorenz with him, glad that Lorenz was talking with Marianne and so delighted to be the one teaching to him, looking him, not missing the slightest switch of his expression, seeing his hairs taken in the cold wind.

He was his dream.

If ever he had said nothing, letting him dream about a Fate, letting him be his Soulmate.

Now… Ferdinand would be away from him, turning himself to someone else…

And he hated already this someone else.

He wanted to keep him just for him…

Sometimes, he had cruel thought. Disturbing thought. Thought of making sure no one will never have him because he would remove his life, preserve him forever. But that was just madness.

A madness he could easily keep for him…

He knew a lot of people kept darkness within them. Some would say it didn’t exist, act like they were Saints… he wasn’t ashamed to have bad, terrible, thought sometimes. As long as it stayed this…

“Hubert?”

“Yes? If you want to faster, press the side of Banshee with your heels.”

Ferdinand nodded. “Thank you. But… I wanted to ask you… Do you remember when you asked me to be your fake date for the Grand Opening?”

“Of course.”

Every second of it.

How beautiful he was, their discussion. The fact that… he was sure he had feelings for him. Not just fascination because he had a special beauty he never had seen, not the potential to annoy his father. No… he had something he loved.

And he loved him very dearly.

“It would be a big help for Felix and Sylvain if I brought someone at their wedding so I wondered…”

Hubert looked up at him.

“… if you would be okay to be my ‘date’ for that day?”

“I would be delighted, Ferdinand.”

“Thank you. I didn’t want to annoy you with that.”

“You accepted to be my fake date.”

Ferdinand’s chin slightly bobbed as a ‘yes’. “But I accepted because I didn’t want to see you again. I didn’t know I would want to see you again. You’re someone I really like, Hubert.”

“Is this the reason you wanted to marry me? Or it is really for my horse?”

“Guess it!” Ferdinand smiled.

Hubert let go on the lunge and held out his arms, sliding his hands on his waist. Ferdinand let him do, letting his body slid on the side and his feet dug in the mud around. Hubert moved down his face, approaching it from his ‘date’ who didn’t move backward, tilting a little his head.

He leaned in.

His forehead bumped against the riding helmet. He groaned and his fingers moved on the lock. He pressed his thumb on it. The sound of the clic echoed around. He removed the helmet and let it fall on the mud.

“That’s gross,” Ferdinand muttered.

“This?”

“You can’t throw like that Marianne’s belongings.”

“I will repay them if it annoys her that much.”

Ferdinand moved his head a little toward him.

And felt a droplet on his forehead.

One. Two. Three.

He raised his eyes toward the big black clouds, receiving the kiss on his chin.

Maybe… Maybe this was a sign.

More droplets felt and, in a very short time, rain was falling on them.

Yes…

It was Fate.

Ferdinand looked the sky and he wanted to mutter ‘that’s not fair’. And it really wasn’t fair at all.

Suddenly, it was darker and rain stopped falling on him. Yet… he heard the sound around.

He blinked and… realized it was just Hubert who had raised his vest above them, exposing his back only covered with a shirt to the so cold weather.

“D… Do you believe in Fate?” he whispered.

“Only if this is what brought me to you.”

“Don’t let me ever hurt you,” Ferdinand begged.

He slid his hand on Hubert’s cheek, caressing it with shaking fingertips.

“You’re too kind and precious for doing this,” Hubert replied.

Ferdinand didn’t reply and pressed his lips on his. Softly, tenderly. Hubert leaned in, his hand sliding on the hook of his back, replying to his kiss with envy, passion, crave. Ferdinand slithered his second hand on the loved nape, bringing closer to Hubert who kissed him again and again.

As if he wanted to do that since the dawn of time.

Chapter Text

Rain was still falling on the town, heavily. It was as if being under a shower. A cold shower. The one you’d take to keep your head straight and stop the mess rolling in your head, whatever it was.

And yet, two people couldn’t keep their head straight.

At all.

More than never, this rain was rhyming with love.

An unstoppable love, full of passion… A love making hammering in hearts. Their hearts.

Hubert’s car stopped in front of his flat, on his lot. And he didn’t get the chance to walk out that Ferdinand was already under the rain. And the poor was already so wet… Hubert quickly walked around his car, removing his vest to put it around Ferdinand’s shoulders.

“You will catch a cold.”

“Don’t worry. I only catch them when I’m staying too close of sexy men.”

Hubert let out a cold chuckle.

“You’re safe, then.”

“Not really.” Ferdinand smiled and slid his hand along his nape. “I’m with you.”

“I’m not sexy,” he replied.

And yet, he accepted his tender kiss as the rain still fell, drenching them. Hubert’s slid his hand on his waist, his thumb slowly and tenderly caressing. He never felt that good before. Never…

 

Through the steam of their love, they managed to leave the rain and coming to Hubert’s apartment. As they walked, droplets rolled along their skins. The cleaner of the commons place would hate them. But Hubert was almost sure everybody already hated him in that flat so… honestly?

He opened the door of his home, letting Ferdinand step inside.

“You should go take a shower.”

“But you?” Ferdinand wondered.

“That’s my place. I have fresh clothes, towel. And I can make us something warm to drink.”

Ferdinand seemed hesitant.

“I will give you clothes before you’re going to the bathroom. You will be all alone.”

“Hubert…”

Ferdinand smiled softly.

And nodded.

Hubert stepped aside and went on his room, grabbing clothes he brought to Ferdinand.

“Make yourself comfortable,” he said to him.

“Thank you.”

Ferdinand went in the bathroom and took two towels he brought back to Hubert. Which offered him a little smile.

“I’m coming back soon.”

Ferdinand blew him a kiss and stepped inside. He closed the door, waving at Hubert, and pressed closed the door. He put the clothes on the heater that he turned slightly on, just wanting to have the feeling they had been wore by Hubert just before. He removed his ribbon, installing it on the sink and then let fall the others couch of clothes on the floor.

This time, he noticed the mirror. And glanced at the scars painting his body.

Past was past and yet… yet it was still there. When he looked there, when he touched there, he could see the past coming back.

That was the reason he was afraid by this past he was allowed to see… Whatever it was because of Flayn’s parent or any kind of magic that made him life it again and again…

This past was anchored within him.

The hand letting him discover his past more than any other people could be gifted… or cursed.

And he didn’t know.

He did was so afraid to kill Hubert one day. Or… was it his turn to be killed?

He closed his eyes, his fingers brushing one of those mark refusing to leave. What was frightening him the most? He didn’t even know.

He kept pushing the past away, because that was what they always told to you to do, reminding how sweet Hubert was, despite being a bit creepy. He really didn’t mind having him creepy. He was fascinated. And… maybe it didn’t count how Hubert came to know what was his favorite flowers? What was counting was the fact he brought them.

He could have ignored this…

He could have not brought flowers to him…

Ferdinand watched the scars in the mirror, refused to listen to the past thought it was talking it his ears. He heard Hubert’s words too. He knew, in big love declaration most of people said ‘I would die for you’ and he never liked it. For some reason ‘I would kill for you’ looked way more romantic to him.

He brushed again the marks, looked down at his thighs, at some discrete scars on his legs… at his toes, mutilated beyond everything…

He wanted to live his own life.

He wanted to deserve to feel Hubert’s love. He dreamt of the perfect partner and Hubert… he loved so much being with him.

“Goddess… let me have this, please…” he whispered. “Let me be with him…”

 

The soft smell of the cinnamon was cloaking the house and Hubert had fished out cookies he installed on a plate in the coffee table in front of the TV he almost never turned on. He had served two cups at the moment he heard the door opening. Standing in his living room, he smiled as he was blissed by Ferdinand’s arrival. He was like a Sunrise in his life and whatever he was doing, he was beautiful. Every time he saw him, Ferdinand seemed to competing with himself to be more beautiful again. Or he just fell in love every time with him?

He felt very stupid, in his black pant with a white shirt when Ferdinand was even more astonishing than the last time he had worn his shirt. Maybe because today he was offering him the delight of the view of his legs?

He grabbed a blanket plaid on his sofa to hand it to Ferdinand. Whom smiled as he came next to him.

“Thank you. It’s delightfully warm here. Hmm… what a captivating smell.”

Ferdinand sat next to Hubert and, if he brought his feet on the sofa, letting his legs lay on the side, he immediately covered them with the blanket.

“I don’t have a lot of tea so I hope the cinnamon is enough for you.”

“Every tea is perfect if they are correctly brewed.”

“Do you think I’m able to?”

Hubert smirked and moved his hand, his fingers coming along the blanket to drag it slightly and cover the soft skin.

“We’ll see.”

Hubert grabbed the cup of tea, offering it to Ferdinand who thanked him, dipping his lips in the hot beverage.

“This is good!” he said. “You don’t made coffee for yourself?” Ferdinand wondered.

“You say you didn’t like coffee.”

“You don’t have to refrain yourself from drinking some for me!” Ferdinand hiccupped.

Hubert caressed the soft cheek and leaned in, pressing his lips against his tenderly.

Ferdinand smiled.

Hubert brushed his lips with his thumb.

“Delicious cinnamon taste.”

“Oh… Oh! No! No, no, no! I will adapt. Please!”

Ferdinand put down the tea and got up to walk to the kitchen.

“Where is the coffee?” he wondered.

Hubert watched him move around. He wanted to pass his arms around his body, kiss his skin…

“In the third cupboard from the right. Do you need help?”

“Stay here! I won’t put fire in your kitchen!”

Ferdinand threw him a smile.

“Do I have to understand it already happened?”

“Maybe?” Ferdinand smiled, looking still as innocent. “But don’t worry! I will make you the best coffee ever!”

“I’m thrilled.”

Hubert observed him, his eyes snaking along his legs, following the path created by the freckles. And he stopped his visual exploration when he encountered scars. His hate brushed him again. Who was the one daring to rise his hand on the Sunshine that Ferdinand was?

He got up and came to Ferdinand as he was putting coffee in the filter.

“You don’t have to put so many spoon.”

Ferdinand jumped on surprise and swirled on his heels.

“Hubert! I say don’t worry! You should relax!”

“I couldn’t, watching you.”

“Ah! You’re so romantic!” Ferdinand smiled.

Hubert slid his hand on the soft back, wrinkling the shirt.

“You’re so innocent…”

“Don’t you like it?”

“I do, like it a lot,” Hubert said, his finger brushing a golden lock. He moved to another one, pushing it tenderly from the face he loved dearly. “I only wish to protect you. By any means.”

“Thank you. I only wish to protect you as well.”

“May I?” Hubert asked, moving his fingers toward Ferdinand’s.

Ferdinand nodded and smiled when the man kissed his knuckles tenderly.

 

 

In her flat, Edelgard was bringing a plate of cookie she had done earlier to her TV.

Well… not exactly her TV because she knew it was useless to try feeding a TV. It was, in fact, for the dear one installed in front of the TV, in her couch. She had a tiny pout, her eyes trying to not look at the screen…

She smiled softly.

“Is there something wrong, Lysithea?” she asked tenderly.

“It’s a cartoon on the TV.”

Edelgard smiled and came next to her, laying down the plate next to the hot cocoa she had already brought a bit before.

“And what?”

“It’s childish… can I change it?”

“I love this cartoon,” Edelgard replied as she sat next to her.

“You… you love this cartoon?” Lysithea repeated. “You? But you’re so class and…”

Edelgard smiled.

“… adult.”

“Yes, I’m adult. And what? I still like cartoons… and sweets,” she said, showing the treats on the dish.

“You… You do?” Lysithea let out a desperate groan. “Uuuuugh!!! That’s so hard! I wanted to look so adult!”

“Looking adult isn’t a thing you gauge with what you look or eat. You’re amazing in every point to me,” Edelgard said, moving her hand to caress her brown hairs.

“You’re so nice.”

Lysithea moved slightly and hesitated to just let her do what she craved for. Edelgard passed her arm around her shoulder, caressing it softly with her hand. She pressed gently on it, bringing her head against her chest. Lysithea let herself fall in this lovely embrace. She pressed her cheek on her breast and snuggled in her arms, feeling the embrace warming her as much inside than outside.

“I love being with you, Edelgard.”

She closed her eyes, craving to say more. So much more…

She had been agape by her since the moment she saw her when she jumped those years at school. Edelgard was so beautiful and interesting but she couldn’t understand her feelings by this time. And she thought Edelgard was already with Hubert…

Now, she was in her arms, she could hear the beat of her heart and hers was fainting in love.

Edelgard made her feel adult, important, worthy… just by being around her.

She made her feel like that… as she was. She offered her the right to love plush, cartoons, books with talking animals and sweets.

She was the true sweet…

One day, she will tell it to her.

One day…

She was so nice in her arms, loving when she was caressing her hairs like that, landing soft kisses here and there.

It wasn’t grave if they were looking cartoons, drinking hot cocoa and eat cookies.

“Do you want to stay at night?” Edelgard asked.

“Yes. I’d be delighted. You… are you okay if I come with you?”

“Please.”

“Usually, I…” she closed her eyes. “Usually, I hug very strongly my teddy bear. So…”

“I can deal with it. As long as I can hug you back,” Edelgard smiled.

“Of course, you can!”

Lysithea laughed. Edelgard kissed her cheek and the corner of her lips just after, nuzzling her nose against her.

“Do you need to call someone?” she wondered, taking her phone.

“I live alone, you know?” Lysithea said. “That’s not very funny… but I live alone!”

“You don’t have to stay alone if you don’t want to.”

“What do you mean?” Lysithea wondered. “Staying… there?” she smiled.

There was hope in her voice.

She wanted it. Edelgard wanted it as much as her.

It was true Lysithea wasn’t made to be alone like that because she had the feeling Ghosts or bad things could appear when you were alone. And everything was less frightening when you could lay your head on someone else. And Edelgard… she had ten brothers and sisters. Of course, she wasn’t made to be alone. You’d thought she wanted it and while she craved for more loneliness, she didn’t want to be all alone.

Hence why she was so often around Hubert too…

“Would you be happy if you stayed there with me?”

“I would. I would be so happy!”

Lysithea pressed her head against her chest.

I love you so much… she thought tenderly.

 

 

Between two “arguments” having for theme ‘are we sure we want every parent to be together at this table? My father and your uncle?!’ and ‘You can’t put the children outside, Felix, and I know you like children you take care of a kindergarten damn it,’ Felix and Sylvain were kissing each other, profiting of being alone. Or maybe they wanted to fix that children question?

Not that they could really but Sylvain was always ready for ‘training it’, you never know as he said with a wink.

Maybe one day they will adopt. Maybe, one day, they will have a cat, or a dog… or a lizard.

But for now, it was just them.

They were kissing each other. They were just there for each other. Their hands touching their skins. Felix was letting Sylvain push up his pullover, happy that saying ‘we can have the table next to us but let’s serve endive because he hates that’ had made Sylvain replied ‘oh gosh, quit with it or I’d kiss you each time you try to talk about your dad’.

His father was useful in the end.

He moved to sit on his thighs when the door opened.

Felix launched himself in the sofa, letting out a tiny sound as his butt hit the armrest.

“Ferdinand!”

“Hello,” Ferdinand smiled. He removed his vest, putting it on the hanger. “I disturb you?”

“No. Not at all.”

Felix put back a lock of hairs and Sylvain cleared his throat as he handed him his ribbon. Felix let out a groan and grabbed it to fix his hairs in a quick bun.

“I see you were in wedding preparation.”

“A big spectacle for before the dessert,” Sylvain smiled. “I call that: ‘Will Rodrigue kill me the first or not?’”

“Plot twist, I’m the one who will kill you,” Felix groaned.

Sylvain leaned in to kiss his cheek tenderly. “I love you,” he whispered at his ear.

Felix blushed instantly and tried to arrange his clothes.

“If you’re still on the sitting placements, Hubert will come.”

“Ah! Perfect,” Sylvain smiled.

“As my boyfriend!!” Ferdinand said happily.

“Yes, that was the idea,” Felix replied. “Or it will be hard to have him at the table without everybody pissing us off.”

“I mean…” Ferdinand jumped on place in little bounces, his excitation being at his paroxysm. “For real!”

“For real?” Felix repeated.

“We’re together!!!”

“Congrats!” Sylvain said.

“Seriously?” Felix hiccupped. “That’s cool, though. Congrats, yay!”

“I’m so happyyyyyy!!!” Ferdinand happily shrieked.

“You can be!” Sylvain let out, getting up to come at him.

Felix raised too, walking to his best friend.

“How did it happen?”

Ferdinand watched him with his eyes filled with sparkle. And then he started talking, talking, talking… and Felix almost regretted to have asked this but… Ferdinand looked so happy and it was really worth it…

Chapter Text

“You should tell them grandma’s tale!”

Felix loved the fact that his best friend was so thrilled and happy, but he liked less having to deal with him that excited, almost jumping around.

Not that wasn’t uncommon to have him beg for this story… but he could have done without his delighted tone. And, on the other hand, Ferdinand deserved this. He craved for this love since so long. He had the right to be that happy and Felix… he only wanted to support this happiness…

And so, he started that story.

That old story he bad said so many time but the children always loved it. Ferdinand always loved it. And he closed his eyes as he listened to the words of his friend. The dear and soft voice swirling around him as the past was engulfing him. As he heard the story he knew by heart, his heart played, as if he was the film of a movie, memories and memories. And they were all beautiful. The letters he wrote, those he received, the looks Hubert and him shared even though they never fully shared their love. This only kiss, that happened on the biggest tower of the Monastery. Was it true? Was it wanted? Hubert had said it was an accident. Was it?

He loved him.

He loved him so much.

Just his voice when he said his name, his soft gesture and yet… this creeping and terrifying aura, those acts only a bad man could do. And was it?

Sometimes… people said you were attracted to bad guy, the chill of danger, the sensation of living, maybe. But there was something within Hubert out of his melancholy…

He refused to see the tortuous and frightening maze of their live intertwined. He wanted Hubert to be his Night, he wished to be his Day…

“Ferdinand?”

Ferdinand glanced at Felix who was looking him, a child in his arms.

“You’re good?”

“Yes, why?”

“You didn’t talk for fifteen minutes, I was afraid.”

Ferdinand giggled.

“I’m very fine, you see! I was just thinking. This story… I still believe in it, you know?”

Felix sighed, getting up and putting down the child to press them to go grab their vest in the closet.

“If that can make you happy. But I swear I will make you eat flowers, you’ll see!”

Ferdinand’s lips twitched a little. “I make the wish to never vomit flower and live the purest love. Just like yours.” He approached him, taking his hands, his fingers shaking against his palms. “And I wanted to thank you. Thank you for your friendship. It is so precious to my heart.”

“It is precious to me too,” he replied. “But if you say that to anyone, I will deny it,” he warned.

“I won’t say anything!” Ferdinand swore. “I love you too much to hurt you.”

“Good to know. Come with us?”

“Yes!”

Ferdinand followed him and, when they were sure every child was dressed, they went outside, accompanying them until another authority could take care of them. And after, they leaved to go in Ferdinand’s work. As always.

Ferdinand opened his bottle and they talked as they walked.

There were a lot of things to discuss, not only their relationship but regular stuff. Even talking about news? It was just good to be together, whatever their opinion was. And if Felix always said he wanted Ferdinand to shut up, he loved talking with him…

As they approached the Teahouse, the door of the Coffee Shop opened.

“Look who is stalking you,” Felix smirked.

He didn’t have the time to fully end his sentence that Ferdinand dashed to Hubert and jumped at his arms.

Hubert twitched, his eyes wide open.

“I’m sorry,” Ferdinand said, realizing what he did just at this moment. He stepped backward and just shyly smiled. “Pardon my enthusiasm.”

He walked backward and kept smiling to Hubert. Which smiled back to him.

“I like your enthusiasm.” Hubert felt the soft Light of the Sun brushing him. “I’m happy to see you as well.”

“Thank you. I will have to work but… do you want to… hang out at noon?”

“Hang out?” Hubert and Felix said in the same time.

“How am I supposed to say?” Ferdinand asked to his best friend.

“Are you okay to eat your dinner with Ferdinand?”

“Of course,” Hubert replied. “This will bright my meal.”

“I can’t wait!”

“Me neither.”

“I…”

Ferdinand wanted to say words but he just smiled. The silence was a bit awkward, it was true and Ferdinand seemed to have all the difficulty to say the words he craved to say. There was a million words to say ‘I love you’ and none were good enough for the one he dearly loved…

None.

“We have found you a place at the wedding,” Felix said, to break this silence as Ferdinand could wish it.

“Thank you.”

“Thank to you.”

“They wanted to push someone from the table,” Ferdinand smiled.

“It’s your wedding, do what you want,” Hubert replied.

“I’d like it to be that easy,” Felix sighed. “But now, you have been smart enough to want to court Ferdinand. Or stupid enough.”

Hubert glanced at Ferdinand and, somewhat, he thought it was both.

Loving someone seemed the most stupid thing ever. But this was Ferdinand. Could it be that stupid to love him?

“Only the future will tell it to us,” Hubert replied. “I won’t annoy you any longer. I’d be glad to see you again.”

“Me too.”

Ferdinand smiled and paced backward. He looked toward Felix.

“And you too!”

“You come back at home tonight?”

“Yes!”

Felix smiled, very slightly, to them, and then moved between them to go on work. You could see the hate emanating from him since he just one of those functionary in his father’s enterprise. He needed money, it was money. But one day, maybe, he’ll do something else? Maybe when Sylvain will be done with his studies and will start teaching language, next year? He came from Sreng and it was important to him to help other people to learn that language that no one cared but him…

Ferdinand forced himself to go on the Teahouse, waving his hand to Hubert. When he entered his workplace, Lorenz was already there, preparing the floral tea with such a joy. He was smiling and Ferdinand couldn’t help but smile, too.

He could only wish it was because of the joy of having found his Soulmate that Lorenz was acting that way and if he craved to know how it happened, he will just wait for his friend to tell it to him when he will wish it and nothing else.

 

 

When the work was over, Ferdinand helped Lorenz to close everything and then, together, they walked outside. If Lorenz could just go back home, or maybe go to the Horse School, Ferdinand went to the School Dance.

It was already very dark and only the street lights were showing him the path he had to follow. Though, he was knowing it by heart since… so long. But he also had to cross a few roads so it was nice to have to have light to do it.

He walked through the town and arrived in the Dance School. He went at his locker to change himself as quick as possible, putting on black tank, good shoes and white tights. He tied his hairs in a high ponytail. He came in the main room where everybody was stretching. Here, there were people of different age and skills because it was mostly lessons to help to be on right level. Dance for fun…

“Miss Flayn?” Ferdinand called as he came to her.

He bowed in front of her and she smiled softly.

“Ferdinand, I have a good new for you!”

“You do?” He joined his hands with excitation. “I’m listening!”

“There is a representation here, soon. But one of the dancer can’t be there for this one. It’s a minor role but I thought you’d be happy to try it?”

“I am! I’m delighted! Really! I will train hard to do it!”

“I will send you the video tonight then! You can come whenever you want to train or have help!” she smiled.

“Thank you! When is it?”

“In two months!”

Flayn took her phone to check the correct date. And as soon as she told it to him… he was relieved. It wasn’t the same day as Felix and Sylvain’s wedding!

Just the week after.

Really perfect.

He thanked Flayn and bit his lower lip one slight second.

“Is it possible to see… Them? I have to talk with them…”

“No. They are busy somewhere else. You do think you are not all here.”

“Of course. I hope they will be happy…”

Flayn nodded. “Surely!”

“I saw Marianne…”

“Marianne! She is a sweetheart.”

“I didn’t get the chance to talk with her. I was… busy? But I was with Lorenz when it happened and so… they met each other. Lorenz is so happy since that day.”

“You’re really a pure heart, Ferdinand. You didn’t have to help us that way!”

“I’m happy to do it,” Ferdinand replied.

“I see that. But don’t let yourself be unhappy… alright?”

“Yes.”

He was afraid to tell about Hubert to her…

He preferred waiting for his parent. It seemed better…

He had to talk with someone who could understand the problem and who had the keys. Who could reach his past, maybe? One past?

He needed replies. But he also needed… hope.

A lot of hope.

Especially when it comes to, perhaps, pass his whole life at Hubert’s side…

 

Two weeks later

 

The fact when you passed your whole life to live for someone else, as being friend for Edelgard and being sure she would fulfill her dreams, or doing his best to protect Bernadetta, was that… passion wasn’t short. And you knew it.

The passion Hubert had for Ferdinand could only last.

And he would spy on him, lurk on him as often as possible because Ferdinand’s whole existence was a blessing and he didn’t know why he deserved it…

So… Hubert was lurking, spying, waiting for the Sun to rise as he watched by the window of his shop. He would be there. Soon. Ferdinand was always there around the same hours, it was in a range of five minutes but he could wait four minutes more as long as he saw him. As long as he could have the enthusiast embrace of his arms around him. Ferdinand would always do it and then excuse himself for his behavior. And him, he would love him and wish to forever hold him.

But he couldn’t.

He was condemned to see him move away and just crave his kisses. One or two kiss once upon a time. They were always in public and Ferdinand wouldn’t dare do that in public. Perhaps he should ask him out? Touch him again, let his fingers slid in his hairs. He would damn himself for a few minutes of this Heaven every day.

Let him die.

Die for him.

Die for his Lord…

King of his Dreams. Joy of his Days. Delight of his Life…

But no Ferdinand.

He was very late.

So late…

His employees were starting to come that Ferdinand still wasn’t there. He let them take place as always but, in contrary as always, he walked to the other side of the road. He pushed open the door.

“Hello, hello, welcome to the Teaho… Hubert Von Vestra?”

“Lorenz. Where is Ferdinand?”

“Why do you ask this?”

“Because I’m asking it. And you, you try to flirt with one of my acquaintances. Don’t you think you want to please me and so her?” He leaned toward him, a smirk on his lips. “What does she loves? When calling her? Where to wait for her? How to deal her panic?”

Hubert saw the interest in Lorenz’s eyes.

He knew how to manipulate people when he wanted it.

He wanted to manipulate him and know where was his Delight…

“He has taken a day off.”

“A day off?”

Why he wouldn’t have warned him? Hubert wondered. Maybe their relationship wasn’t as soft and beautiful as he thought…

Maybe his love was endless, undying but Ferdinand’s love…

He wished it was pure because Ferdinand was a God to him, the Master of the Delicacy…

His phone rung, making him walk out of his thoughts. Hubert took it, picking it up.

“Hubert Von Vestra, I’m listening.”

“Yes, it’s Felix Hugo Fraldarius, I’m calling you about Ferdinand. He won’t come today.”

Hubert went quiet, his eyes widening.

“He would have wanted you to know this.”

“Why…” Hubert started. “Why doesn’t he come?”

“You know about the Dance representation he will do in more or less two months?”

“Yes.”

“He trains a lot,” Felix said. “He came back very late from his training. He woke up too early to come with me. I turned off his clock and warned Lorenz so he wouldn’t have problem. He needs rest.”

“Yes, he does.”

“I have a favor to request,” Felix pursued as if he hadn’t been interrupted.

“Tell me first,” Hubert replied who was a doubtful and suspicious being.

Lorenz was watching him, a bit with hope to know about Marianne; a bit with annoyance to have him there as he was waiting for client. Some came to buy leaves before going to work, other just wanted a cup before leaving on a harsh day or just sweets for those who couldn’t take anything else, haven’t the time for a big meal…

“Your home is closer of the Dance School and of his work. You wake up probably way later as well… I ask you to invite him over. For a week, at least. He would rest better and would be happy to be with you.”

“Will he?”

The words left Hubert’s mouth before he could think about it…

“Yes. Can I count on you?”

“Yes,” Hubert replied. “I will ask him. Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome.”

Hubert pressed the red phone key. He looked at Lorenz who still looked at him.

“You want your reward, I suppose,” Hubert smirked.

Chapter Text

When you were very thorough, waking up suddenly and see it was past noon, it was horrible. Fortunately, Felix had left a note for him and Ferdinand had been eased. Eased but not calm. He had eaten and then started to train. He had to be on the same level than the others. In a better level than the others. And maybe… maybe someone could notice him? Maybe he could be a dancer? Prove his father he was wrong…

But maybe…

Maybe he will have to burry his dreams?

Ferdinand was training, again and again, only stopping to drink a little. He was still training, of course, when the bell rung. He swirled on the tip of his toes and walked toward the door, still on his toes. When he opened, his blinked in surprise.

But in a delighted surprise.

His heels hit the floor.

“It’s two am, dear. You’re not in work anymore?”

“I’m the owner of the Coffee Shop, I work when I want. My father will know nothing about it anyway. Or maybe he will but he wouldn’t be able to do anything,” he said.

“I see.” Ferdinand smiled. “I’m delighted to see you. Please, come inside.”

Hubert complied immediately and, when the door closed, he turned toward Ferdinand, his boney hands touching his cheeks.

“May I?”

“Please.”

Hubert kissed his face, forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, his ears and his hairs… every inch of his skin.

“I went to ask you something,” Hubert said between two kisses.

“Was it if you could kiss me that way?”

Hubert smirked.

Why did he love him that way? Why was he ready to give him his heart at every word coming from his dear lips? The feeling he had for him were unexplainable. Beautiful. Painful. He had enthralled him… him who had sworn he wouldn’t let himself to this. Not for someone who could crush his heart at his will…

And yet.

And yet…

“Would you agree to come with me, for one week or a little more?”

“Where?” Ferdinand wondered, his hand moving to one of his.

“At my place.”

“Oh… you mean coming to sleep at your place? Eat, maybe?”

Hubert nodded. He caressed his cheek with his thumb. “Will you?”

“Well… I’d be delighted but…” Ferdinand turned his head toward Felix’s room. It was strange… “I’d be delighted, of course. But do you know I train a lot? Because of that dance representation.”

“I know. And that’s also why Felix offered me to ask you this.”

Hubert was good to manipulate. He would do it all the time to reach what he wanted. But for Ferdinand… it wasn’t manipulation. It was just… warning him.

“I wanted to ask you but I know how much you’re attached to Felix. It wouldn’t be long. One week. Two maybe? I’m closer of your work and of the school. It could be good for you. To rest. I could pick you up from the training, also,” he offered. “But. You can say ‘no’.”

“I want to say ‘yes’, Hubert. I’d be glad to come with you. For one week, or maybe more. Perhaps… Oh, it is too much to ask…”

Hubert caressed his ear, softly. He had such a tenderness for him. A tenderness he didn’t think he could hold. He used to be tender, extra tender, with Edelgard. And yet, he had the feeling he was so rude with her in comparison.

“I’m your thrall, for now and always. Talk and I will do everything to make you happy.”

Ferdinand kissed his palm. “You don’t need to do that much effort for me. I’m not worthy of them.”

Hubert let his knees sink, touching the cold floor, his hands on his waist and the hook of his back. He looked up at him.

“You are worthy of everything.”

He pressed his head against his belly.

Ferdinand caressed his hairs with love, finger sliding in the soft hairs in ebony color.

“I wanted to know… if I could bring some of my belongings to your place. Let them there. So… if sometimes you want to invite me over, it would be easier. Don’t you think?”

“I think, yes. It’s a really good idea, my Dear.”

“I’m glad to know it. I will make a bag of clothes and I’m coming with you.”

“Thank you.”

Hubert moved away his hands, letting him leave. He watched, with a little smile, as he walked to his room, showing his soft and long pink legs, covered with a booty short, practical to train dance, and by freckles of course.

As he was tip-toeing to his lair, Hubert noticed… blood on the floor.

Not much.

Just droplets, here and there. But he noticed them. He always noticed blood…

“Ferdinand?” he asked, getting up.

“Yes?”

Ferdinand’s head reappeared in the opening.

“Have you hurt yourself?”

“If I have hurt myself?” Ferdinand looked down. “Why are you asking this?”

“Because of the blood on the floor.”

The brown eyes went on said floor and Hubert noticed he was breathing more heavily.

“Have you hurt yourself?”

“Yes,” Ferdinand said.

He walked outside of his rooms and revealed his feet, stained with blood, more or less fresh. And of scars as horrible, no far more horrible, than those on his legs. Those on his legs, as on his back, side and even arms, they were distant. A sad but unforgettable past. Something you could make vanish with a bit of effort. But this…

How was it possible?

Who did this to him? Who forced him to come to a point he hurt himself that way.

Hubert approached him, passing his arms around him, lifting him softly from the floor as if he was his tender spouse and he was bringing him to home.

Maybe he should… ask him…

“You don’t have to walk, I’ll carry you around.”

“Hubert! It’s fine. I’m used to it.” He pressed his forehead against him and a kiss on his nose. “It’s not that hurtful.”

“Not that hurtful? I can’t accept you’re hurt.”

“You’re so sweet.” Ferdinand kissed his lips. “I’m a dancer, Hubert. Feet are hurt that way when a dancer train. When a dancer dance… they said it’s only for ladies but… nop, that’s not something you’re doing like that without consequences.”

“I guess I can’t say much about this. But promise me to take care.”

Ferdinand nodded.

“I can help you to heal your wound, if you allow me to.”

“Of course.” Ferdinand pressed a kiss on his temple. “I’m sorry to make you worry.”

“I don’t want you to hurt you. Especially if…” Hubert closed his eyes. “Forget about it.”

“About what? You can talk to me, Hubert.”

Hubert moved his fingers, brushing one of the ghost wounds.

“Is this because of them you’re still hurting yourself? You’re smart and you worked hard in your life. You know how to protect yourself from the wounds.”

“Can you put me down?”

Hubert wanted to ask him to come back to reason but he didn’t insist. He, carefully, let him put his feet on the floor. He wished to caress his cheek, make him stay. Keep him in the embrace of his arms where he was always welcomed.

But…

He couldn’t force him.

Not his jewel…

“Feet hurt when you’re dancing. They have tricks to prevent them but they stop you from dancing. Someone smarter would stop dancing and heal. Me…” Ferdinand went on his tip toe but not on the slice of the toes. “… I don’t stop dancing. That the only thing that is… mine.”

Hubert opened his arms. Ferdinand passed his around him and so Hubert lifted him, his hands on the booty short because he didn’t dare to touch his skin. But now, his fingers were so close of a forbidden garden…

“You have others things. I don’t want to remove the dance from you, of course. Just to be sure…”

“I’m training a lot, lately, because I want to prove my value… The representation…  I feel it’s my last chance.”

“How’s that?”

“I’m twenty-five. Most of dancers retire around thirty-four. Most of them start around fifteen… It’s too late for me. I really believe it’s my last chance. If they don’t see me… what am I supposed to do?”

Hubert gulped slowly, saying nothing.

He wanted to… but he couldn’t. He was the one he didn’t want to enchain to his own desire…

Ferdinand moved his hands, caressing his throat, brushing his jaw, letting his finger trail along one cheekbone.

“Staying along my Soulmate? My True Love?”

Me? Hubert thought with surprise.

How could it be him? How a Beast like him could receive the blessing to have his life intertwined with such beauty?

Ferdinand got down from his arms, not forgetting to kiss his lips a last time, and walked toward his room.

“My father was right. I’m a failure. I never succeed nothing in my life and I don’t deserve to bear the name of the Von Aegir.” He opened the door of his room to grab a bag. “But I am Ferdinand Von Aegir and I will prove my value.”

Ferdinand put clothes in his bag. He went to his wardrobe and grabbed his favorite pullover, his fingers twitched around it.

“But if I fail…”

He closed his eyes.

He pressed the cloth against his chest.

“I’m not sure I love this name as much as I should.”

He heard no replies.

He hadn’t talked as loud as he wanted to, as he expected to…

It was for the best.

Ferdinand grabbed a pant, putting it on, took boots were he slid his hurt feet and he made sure that his bag was full enough before letting a not for Felix.

Just in case.

To give him his love, as well.

Ferdinand grabbed the two long lock beating his chest and he tied them behind his skull before moving toward Hubert.

He smiled softly to him, to the man waiting him without a word… Just standing there, to the moment his Life would need him.

“I’m ready.”

“Very well.”

Hubert held out his hand, taking softly Ferdinand’s to kiss it tenderly.

 

 

“I took some of my favorite clothes so I have a reason to come here!” Ferdinand said with a joyful tone.

Hubert just had made place for his belonging and it hadn’t been very hard. He hadn’t much, anyway. He wanted Ferdinand to feel at his place here. And he smiled softly as he heard those words. Softly but with irony.

“So, clothes make you stay?”

“Yes. No! No! I mean…”

“I know,” Hubert replied. “I was joking. Mostly.”

He came to him, letting his cold and pale fingers slid along Ferdinand’s cheek. He was beautiful, natural, just as he was. Droplets still rolled along his skin since he just got a shower after his dance lesson. Still no parent of Flayn…

And yet, Ferdinand really needed to see them because…

Because he had so much love to give to Hubert.

There, he was already showing him his love by wearing the ‘pajama’ his lover liked so much. Just a shirt of his… Ferdinand loved this outfit as much as him because… there was this perfume embracing him. And this perfume… he loved it so much. Something delicious was living within it.

Wearing it, he would dig his face in the collar of the shirt and smell the harsh and yet fascinating perfume of the man he loved. His Soulmate. And when he thought he had said it out loud to him…

“Anyway. The food is almost ready.”

“Thank you! I’ll dress the table, then!”

Ferdinand kissed his chin and moved away, going to the kitchen, wearing high socks. After the shower, Hubert had wanted heal his foot and, Ferdinand must said it was really good. He had trained too much again. Resting with Hubert was a good idea… He had proposed they look something at the TV while playing a board game and he loved this idea very much.

So, in the kitchen, Ferdinand gathered the plates, glancing at the oven where food was finishing to cook. Hubert had did his best, putting something there before coming to pick up Ferdinand at work…

“Say, Hubie!”

Ferdinand jumped, the dishes sliding from his hands. Reflexes allowed him to save them just before they touch the counter. He turned his head toward the door that just opened.

“Oh! Hello, Ferdinand!”

In the threshold, there was Edelgard, smiling widely.

“Edelgard?”

“Yes?”

Hubert came in the living room, being directly linked to the kitchen.

“Edelgard, what a pleasure! What do you want?”

Ferdinand watched toward him and then her. She had keys in her hand so she was clearly welcome at any time…

“I needed sugar! Lysithea is there for the night and I clearly haven’t enough sugar.”

She walked toward the kitchen and Ferdinand moved, suddenly annoyed by his outfit. It was far away from Noble. Pleasing the one he loved, that was very Noble, not matter what his father could say… but exposing himself, his skin, like that… and to a lady?

No matter whom she was in love with…

“You owe me three kilos of sugar already.”

“And one of salt, four of flour and also some chocolate syrup. We all know you will never have them back! Buuuut, I offered you coffee last time,” she smiled.

Hubert nodded with a little smirk of his own. “I suppose it’s way enough, in this case.” Hubert walked to the kitchen. “I suppose you don’t stay with us?”

“Indeed. But I didn’t know Ferdinand was here?”

“Momently,” Ferdinand replied. He put the dishes on the other side of the kitchen part, on the wide table alongside the bar, where Hubert ate, reading most of the time. “For now.” He looked at Hubert as he wanted to say ‘maybe’. He couldn’t help but smile. “Certainly,” he added.

“That’s so nice to know! You’re very welcome here!” she smiled. “I will knock next time. Or maybe not.”

“You live not far away?” Ferdinand wondered.

Hubert turned off the oven and grabbed the sugar in a cupboard. He walked around the bar and table while Ferdinand was installing the forks and a spatula as well as under dish.

“I live far away,” she said. “On the other side of the town! But Hubert is always open and free in the contrary of the supermarkets!”

“And I’m always pleased to help and see Edelgard.”

Ferdinand watched him.

The memories of another life were coming back to him. Another lives but one more dearly than others. A life where everybody was fearing him, thinking he was a Creature lurking in the Dark. A life where who he had been and who he was now… thought the same:

“You’re a good man, Hubert. You look creepy, you give me chill sometimes… but you’re a good man.”

Hubert looked toward him.

“Thank you, Ferdinand,” Edelgard said as she taken the sugar. “I always told him but he never listen to me. Maybe he will listen to you.” She walked backward and moved his hand with a smile. “Bye, bye!  I let you having fun together!”

She walked to the door and closed it behind her.

“Do you want me to lock the door?” Hubert smirked.

“It’s okay. Your friends are my friends!”

“You’re a ray of Sunlight. Thank you for being so positive.”

Ferdinand walked toward him, pressing a kiss on his cheek.

“Thank you for being so supportive.”

He smiled to him, swearing to himself he would tell him about his past. The past he craved to know. When he will be ready.

Because… he knew he will be with him for more time. For a very long time…

Chapter Text

In the streets, walking along the very cold wind, Ferdinand was chatting with Hubert, smiling as he was by his side. He noticed he was walking up the street he was usually walking down with Felix…

He liked talking with Hubert, being with him, feeling his heart beating so fast but… but at this moment, he missed Felix.

It was weird for him because he had the feeling to always have been with him. At some point, he wasn’t living with him but when he had to cry, Felix would open his arms to him more often than Sylvain. It wasn’t that Sylvain wasn’t a good man, at all. It was more that his way to cheer him up wasn’t ‘the good one’ while Felix could understand him.

And as Felix became so important to him, more than his cousin though he still loved him dearly, just his presence was enough by time…

On the other hand… it was the same with Hubert. His presence was everything for him.

It was tearing him apart.

While being happy to have somewhere to go so he wouldn’t have to stay too much around Felix and Sylvain, even if they said he wasn’t disturbing, he was afraid this meant it was the end of an era… He just wanted to be able to step back and now… now he was afraid he couldn’t. He was Ferdinand Von Aegir, he was supposed to be able to held every situation but in fact…

The more he tried to deal everything in his life, the more he realized he was the mess his father said he was.

He was Ferdinand Von Aegir… but was he happy to be him?

He stopped in front of the Teahouse and Coffee Shop.

“So… it’s here our path pull apart…”

“Yes,” Hubert replied. “Do you want me to bring you to the School Dance or only coming pick you up?”

“Just picking me up, please. You don’t even have to do it. I don’t want you to lose your time or anything.”

“I have nothing to lose, Ferdinand.”

“Do what you want. Just send me a text before doing anything. You have my phone number, right?”

He never used it but…

“I know… Edelgard said you wanted it and she called me but you never… did it?”

Hubert frowned.

“I didn’t give it to you after Christmas and thought you would call me. Or… text me. Maybe?”

There, Ferdinand hated himself. He was talking too much. Way too much.

Why couldn’t he just stay quiet sometimes?

He saw Hubert taking the phone and looking through it, so serious.

“I have your number,” he said. “It is true I never called you,” he added, scrolling in his phone, maybe looking the call history… “I don’t call and text people a lot. You have seen what happen with Edelgard. We’re more like appearing at each other’s house and fixing stuff. The only one I do really text and call are Bernadetta and Marianne. It’s easier for them.”

Hubert looked Ferdinand as he was turning red, ashamed. And so, the man leaning in, pressing a kiss on those bright vermillion flower adorning him.

“I will text you and even call you, if you want to.”

“Th… Thank you… Have… Have a nice day, Hubert?” he muttered.

Hubert slid one finger under Ferdinand’s chin.

“Don’t believe you’re annoying me in any case. Not even a single second. I’d be happy to socialize in the way you will feel the most comfortable.”

“I don’t want you to change, I like you as you are.”

“I’m shapeshifting to the will of those I care.”

“Then… just text me if you want to pick me up. And… when you want to. When you miss me?” he smiled. “You don’t have to force yourself. I can wait to see you in others cases,” Ferdinand swore.

Hubert kissed his lips.

“Have a nice day.”

“You too, Hubert.”

Ferdinand moved backward and came to the Teahouse. He still had a grin on his lips.

“You two are cute,” Lorenz said from the stool where he was preparing the tea.

“Lorenz!” Ferdinand blushed.

“It’s a fact! And it’s not bad, no one has seen you but me,” he eased with a smile.

“Maybe, maybe…” Ferdinand Von Aegir sighed slowly.

He still felt bad because showing your affection in public was a bad thing…

His phone rung and he retrieved it from his pocket. He frowned as he saw Hubert’s number on the screen.

He opened the text and smiled widely.

On the screen, three words.

I miss you.

 

 

Working at the counter, Ferdinand installed the pastries at their place. He heard the ring of the Bell and knew he would have to deal with them because Lorenz was in the back, bringing new pastries and making sure every cup and dishes were ready for the customers to come.

“Hello, can I have a brownie?”

At the second he heard the voice, Ferdinand raised his head so fast he let out a moan of pain.

“Are you always so silly? I don’t worth you being hurt.”

“Felix!”

Ferdinand turned around the counter and stopped himself just before hugging him. But Felix grabbed him into a warm hug.

“You’re really here?”

“Of course, I’m here. Why I wouldn’t?”

“You have to work! And your work isn’t toward here…” Ferdinand let go on him and walked backward. “I know you like to piss off your father but…”

“I have the habit to pass by this place every morning so I don’t mind.”

“But… you didn’t have to come…” Ferdinand said.

“I don’t have to,” Felix approved. “I wanted.”

“I’m glad to see you!”

“Same. I saw your note. Thanks for this.”

“Hubert said he had talked with you but I wanted to be sure.”

“I’ve never enough of your pretty writing and of the hearts all around, anyway,” Felix smirked.

“Don’t be mean!” Ferdinand laughed softly. “And thank you again.”

“I can’t stay long but, I still would come around if ever… Just in case you needed to know it,” he said.

“I needed it,” Ferdinand replied. “I really needed it and I’m so grateful!”

“Glad to know it.”

Felix looked away, his cheeks pink.

“Your brownie is on me!”

“You don’t have to, Ferdinand.”

“Please? Because I care you so much,” he said pressing his hands on his heart.

“Very well… It’s on you.”

Ferdinand grinned, full of joy, and went on the other side of the counter to give the food to his friend. And this while chatting with him. Since they had just a bit of time…

 

 

Days passed and Ferdinand wanted to see Flayn’s parent but he couldn’t. And yet, he trained harshly, staying hours in the School Dance until Hubert came pick him up. Even when he came back to his flat, there was still days where he went at Hubert’s place because the man always welcomed him. And came pick him up often because with his car, it was faster and they could be a bit together, touch each other hand, kiss them, maybe?

The only little thing that could annoy Ferdinand with Hubert’s flat was the fact you never knew when Edelgard could arrive. But, in fact, he didn’t really mind it. He liked Edelgard really much. And she never said anything bad. Even that time she decided to settle down and eat with them.

But the thing Ferdinand preferred… was… sliding in his bed and allowing to press himself in his arms. Listening to the sound of his heart beating as he was falling asleep, feeling the warm embrace of his arm around him. Being in his arms was honestly so delicious…

He craved those moments.

He was really cuddle-craving but in his World, it wasn’t something you get easily. Sylvain could hug him for hours but he was one of the only one. His mother loved him and may confess he was his favorite, though he believed she said it to every of his siblings, but she had little time to care about him. Too many children…

Hubert wasn’t the kind to cuddle as such but he was always delighted to brush his hand, have him around and reply to his hugs when he came asking them…

And this night, of course, he was sleeping in his arms, his hairs tied in a loosen braid so it wouldn’t annoy Hubert too much. Of course, Hubert loved his hairs but less to be choked by them.

Noon approached when Ferdinand woke up in sweats and shivers, breathing heavily as he tried to find back the reality. Everything was black around him. Darkness swallowed him and he hiccupped. He sat on the mattress that sank a little.

He pressed his sweaty hands against his face, still shivering.

“Ferdinand?” a voice groaned.

Hubert’s voice.

“Yes? I’m… I need to… I just needed to go to toilets. Sorry to have waked you up,” Ferdinand replied with a tone suddenly become more cheerful.

Hubert sat on the bed, taking Ferdinand’s wrist in his boney fingers.

“Ferdinand.”

His tone was more serious, harsher.

“Y… Yes?”

“You don’t have to pretend with me.”

“What? I’m not allowed to go to bathroom?” Ferdinand joked.

Hubert, through the veil of Darkness, pushed back a lock of hairs, caressing softly his cheek.

“Of course you could… if this was what you wanted to do. Did you have a bad dream?”

Ferdinand closed his eyes. “May I have a hug?” he asked.

Hubert passed his arms around him, letting him press his forehead against his sharp shoulder. Ferdinand pressed his hand on his chest through the fabric of hi warm pajama.

“If it was a movie, you would be shirtless,” he joked, trying to chase away his sorrow.

“I would be more muscular. And would have the body covered with perfumed oil.”

Ferdinand laughed softly. “That’s true!” He snuggled in his arms. “But I prefer you, you know?”

He could quiet trying to hide the truth and just telling it to him but… but it wasn’t those dreams holding his previous lives. In fact… In fact, he never dreamed again about those and if he was used to have them quite distant from each other it changed when he met Hubert, hence why it was strange… weird.

He would have preferred dreaming about Hubert, to be fair, even if it had to end up badly.

He smiled when he felt a kiss in the crook of his neck.

“You don’t have to tell me what it was about but you don’t have to run away either. I’m by your side.”

Ferdinand twitched in his arms, listening to the soft voice. He wanted to hiccup a ‘I love you’. Every past him were shouting to him to do it. And he couldn’t… because he was afraid of this was fate he couldn’t control. This fate that may want to ravish the beautiful Star of his life. His Sirius. His so dear one…

“I’m sorry, Hubert. I will tell you. One day. But… But I can’t now.”

“I burn to ask you ‘why’ but I suppose it would be bad?”

“Maybe not ‘bad’… but… wait a little, please.”

Hubert kissed his forehead. “I will wait. Yu don’t have to pressure yourself.”

“Thank you.”

And his heart was screaming ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!” so much it was resonating in his mind, making him shiver.

Hubert guessed it was due to the cold air and he took the cover to roll it around his shoulders. Ferdinand snuggled a little bit more in his arms, loving the embrace and the care of this man so important for him. He passed his fingers along his neck, kissing softly the other side.

“Thank you,” he said again.

Hubert held him tightly. He wanted to thank him too. Because he loved him so much. He wanted to keep him in his arms forever, not let anyone approach him, touch him. Not after having memorized every of the scars sadly adorning his body, not after having hear him talk about himself. Ferdinand was his everything and it was heart crushing to hear him talk to himself in such a bad way. It was even more heart crushing when he heard him say hw awesome his family was, glorifying a name he clearly hated deep inside.

But now he was there, in his embrace and he will protect him. From his self-depreciation, from his fear… if only he could offer him the entire happiness of the World.

 

 

Only one month remained before Ferdinand will have the representation and he was thrilled and frightened at once.

He was really supported, though. By Hubert, of course, and Felix and Sylvain when they weren’t busy with the wedding arrangements. But also Lorenz when he talked about it, and him not about Marianne he dated since a few days, and Edelgard and Lysithea. Receiving so much support from people who didn’t have to support him was a pleasure. But on the other hand… those who were supposed to have to do it, like his father, never ever bothered to show it so…

“Ferdinand…”

Hearing the voice of Flayn, Ferdinand swirled on himself, putting his arms in the perfect position.

“Miss Flayn!”

“You shouldn’t train that much.”

“I have the feeling I have stopped enough lately…”

“You did break but it’s a right thing to do. I know a lot of dance trainers ask for more severity and to work hard and hard but… I don’t think that’s a good idea. So many of dancers are destroyed, mentally and physically, after that. Stopping to dance at forty… that’s so sad.”

“I know my time is soon there. I know I will have to stop if I can’t catch up…”

“Yes. And no. You will still able to dance for the pleasure. Dance every dance with the one you love.”

Ferdinand sunk and let his butt hit the floor. He passed his arms around his knees, pressing his chin on them, looking away.

“I do want to dance with him but…” He closed his eyes. “Miss Flayn… I wanted to tell him I love him.”

“You love him?” Flayn asked, bringing her hands to her heart with relieve.

“I love him. I know this is the love from this past but also mine. When he talks to me… the sound of his voice.” Ferdinand laid his back on the floor. “His gestures; so soft… even the harsher. He tries to do better, I can feel it.  I don’t think I need him to do better because his embrace is everything. He is always caring, listening… Of course, I love him.”

“And did you told him?” a voice asked.

“Flayn’s parent!” Ferdinand shouted, as he straightened and opened his eyes.

“Greetings.”

“You are there!” Ferdinand let out a soft sigh. “How did it go?”

“Do you know about Petra?”

“Yes! I remember her!”

The worst was that… he never saw her in this life. He just knew her… His first life could remember her and it came back there…

How weird was it?

“She has found Dorothea?”

“Dorothea found her,” the parent replied.

“That’s awesome! They’re happy?”

“Very happy.”

“Who is the next one?” Ferdinand asked, thrilled.

“You don’t see?” the parent asked, their hand on his hip.

Ferdinand shook his head. He pressed his hands on the floor, thinking.

“Felix and Sylvain will marry each other next month. Ingrid is so happy, as much as Dimitri. But… could they be wrong?”

“It’s possible.”

“It is?” Ferdinand closed his eyes. He didn’t remember having seen any of them with another date before. “But they’re happy for now and that’s what matter. Tell me… Felix, Sylvain, Lorenz, Edelgard, Lysithea, Marianne of course, Dimitri, Ingrid… they are happy, right?” he asked, opening his eyes.

“They are.”

“And Bernadetta? I can’t remember her being with someone but I wish she’s happy anyway… Oh! Is this Caspar or Linhardt maybe?!”

“Why didn’t you tell to Hubert you loved him?” the parent asked.

Ferdinand looked down.

“For the same reason I didn’t want to be with him…”

“Be with him?” Flayn shrieked. “You are with him?! I thought you needed to tell him to be with him!”

“We’re together since one month but only Felix, Sylvain, Lorenz, Edelgard and Lysithea know it! I…  I didn’t want to be with him. I was so afraid but him… he had bring me to see Banshee, his horse, and taught me how to do. It was raining and he removed his vest to protect me from the rain and I just… if I had to do a mistake, it had to be this one…” he muttered softly.

“You are together!” Flayn smiled.

“Yes. And… and I want to tell him what I feel but…” Ferdinand looked the parent. “I needed to talk to you.” On these words, he got up, pressing his hands on his chest. “I love him. I really do. But what I saw… Our pasts lives… Why do I see them if it’s not to warn me? I could… I could die for him if this is how he will be happy. But…  will he? Or will I only hurt him.”

“I believe you are wrong since the very beginning,” they replied. “Magic never left Fódlan and I make sure this story is know. I make sure you could discover that happiness lay within your grasp and you can have it.” They looked him. “As for you, I think you just connected to it in a different way. They all feel when their Soulmate, their perfect one is there. Hubert certainly… suddenly loved you.”

Ferdinand hugged himself. “Sylvain always said he knew. Lorenz said also that… when he saw Marianne, he fell in love. It wasn’t just a lady but the lady that was making shiver his heart. I heard so many times about this. Not love at first sight but… something strong and sure.”

“What you felt with Hubert,” the parent replied.

“When I saw him… I think I hated him? I was so worry because of the Coffee Shop. I wanted him to disappear from my life. So… is he?”

“I want you to think about one think: how much do you love him?”

“To the Moon and back,” Ferdinand said. “I love him so much. I crave so much to see him, feel only good around him… I… I feel alive around him. And yet… I could really die for him but… I would like to life for him.”

Flayn’s parent walked toward him.

“Do you know what are those deaths? Those deaths you fear so much… I was there the first time. You can’t remember correctly because it would be too horrible to have so many memories in your current life… but Hubert lived for Edelgard. You were his everything but she was his reason to life. And he couldn’t live to see her dying, her sorrow… And… he couldn’t hurt you. Dying from your hand was his last wish because he wanted to see you again and again. If he had to betray Edelgard, it must be for you. Staying alive if she was dead… his life would have been horrible… He loved you so much more for what you did…”

“Knowing that… I feel like my first life wasn’t that horrible,” Ferdinand muttered, the tears rolling along his cheeks.

“I think you knew it.”

“The second time…” Ferdinand pressed his hands on his heart, his fingers shaking. “It was at the time of the Plague… I remember the suffering…”

“He killed you to save you from your suffering…” the parent replied. “And when you killed him as a Vampire, he preferred to be death than living a life without you. You had lived too much to be transformed into a Vampire.”

“My age?” Ferdinand asked.

“The weight of your sorrow…” They approached a bit more. “Your history has been stained of so many wars. So many deaths to protect each other or stop the other suffering. You believe your history is sad because it was stained of blood? But it was pure… you have loved each other until the last breath. You always thought about your lover before you. Isn’t beautiful?”

Ferdinand pressed his fingers on one of the mark adorning his body, through the thin fabric of his leotard…

That was the reason why he didn’t want to say what was the wounds, the colored, or uncolored, memories…

“You come back for me. You want me to love Hubert as he deserves it.”

“Yes and no. I want you to be both happy.”

Ferdinand closed his eyes. “I will love him. I will love him so much. I will tell him as soon as the occasion arrives. And this time… I will do my best not to kill him. I will survive. We will be happy and in love. I swear to the Goddess. I swear to our love,” Ferdinand said, smiling through the tears rolling on his cheeks…

Chapter Text

Of course he was stressing.

Stressing so much.

Technically, you shouldn’t stress that much when you were about to marry the love of your life. Especially when you trusted him so much. But how not worry. If ever Sylvain wasn’t there and he lost him? Felix didn’t want to think about it and… well strangely, letting Ferdinand chattering while taking care of his hairs was really soothing…

“What about the dance representation?”

“Hm… It’s Saturday and I’m afraid. Flayn told me there will be a lot of influent people… she asked them to come… she is important enough for that. I didn’t even know she could reach influent people.”

“Maybe she is lying.”

“I don’t think so…”

Because he wasn’t so surprised. She was kind and benevolent, she did good job and since a fair amount of time. Of course she was able to reach people…

“You’re stressing?”

“As much as you for your wedding, probably!”

Ferdinand smiled and Felix raised his eyes to the cellar with a little sigh.

“I’m very very very stressed.”

“You will be awesome, Ferdinand. They will love you. I will be there.”

“You don’t go in honey Moon with Sylvain?”

“After your representation. Sylvain’s father called, put down his money and fixed everything for us. Usually, I hate that but…” Felix glanced at him. “For you, it’s okay.”

“I love you,” Ferdinand said under his breath before hugging him against his heart.

It was beating so fast in his chest.

He was full of emotion…

Knocks echoed on the door before it opened. A man with mid long wavy hairs was in the threshold. He smiled, looking that hug.

“The big moment is arrived and look at you, so tiny and beautiful and ready to be with Sylvain until your very last day.”

“Hm…”

“Have you thought about that very seriously? Sylvain, all your life?”

“Get lost, Glenn!” Felix replied. “I can’t wait to wear his name. And not only to piss of father. Or because I couldn’t write or tell it before ten years old.”

Glenn let out a laugh. “Don’t talk to me about that! That’s why I asked to go for the two names to Ingrid! Baby will be able to use ‘Galatea’ at least!”

“Baby!” Ferdinand hiccupped. “It’s for when?”

“In two months!”

“I can’t wait to see them!” Ferdinand dreamed.

“Same but I hope they will stay warm until the very last day. Buuut don’t say that to Ingrid, she will yell that you’re not the one bearing it and then kick you.”

Felix smiled, hearing this. “Not surprising.” He tilted his head. “Did you want something or just complain about your wife?”

“I love my wife and I will tell it a million time!” the man swore. “I came to see my baby brother before the big moment. And also, there are a weird guy who wants to enter and he pretends he is invited.”

“A weird guy?” Felix replied. “Father?”

“No, I recognize father and Sylvain told me he was invited!”

“Maybe you should ask for divorce,” Ferdinand winked to his best friend.

“Yes, I think so.”

“The guy is… I don’t know. Scary?”

“Scary beyond all reasons?” Ferdinand wondered.

“Oh yeah!”

“THAT’S MY BOYFRIIIIIIIIEND!!!”

Felix groaned and then nodded. “That’s his boyfriend.”

“That’s his boyfriend?”

“Can I go? I’ll come back,” Ferdinand said to his best friend.

“Sure,” he replied.

“Can I come to see?” Glenn wondered.

“That’s bad, Glenn,” Felix said.

“Yeah,” the big brother approved. “Still!”

“You can come!” Ferdinand replied.

He didn’t mind.

He blew a kiss to Felix and then left the room, walking to the entry of the building. They were in the place where they will hold the party after the wedding. Wedding that will be done in the City Hall. They couldn’t marry each other in a church but they could kind of recreate it. The Mayor was used to it. And the Mayor was Lord Gloucester and he knew well the family anyway…

So Ferdinand went to the entry, walked across the court and arrived to the grid. He smiled as he saw his boyfriend waiting in the other side and came closer.

“So, they don’t let you enter?”

Hubert, in a tailcoat, turned toward Ferdinand. Only to be blessed by the Sun itself. His beloved having his hairs tied in a ponytail held in place with two tiny braids and yet he had a few locks falling over his chest.

“I thought no one was in right to be prettier than the grooms?” Hubert said.

“You don’t even saw Felix or Sylvain yet.”

“No, but I saw you,” he replied.

Ferdinand smiled, his cheeks becoming red, and opened the grid for him.

“Please, enter.”

Hubert thanked him, coming inside. He glanced at Glenn that was still there, looking him with big eyes.

“Oh, here is Felix’s, brother: Glenn,” Ferdinand introduced when he noticed the look on him.

“Greetings,” Hubert said.

“Sorry for not having let you come. I didn’t think… Well!”

“I just wonder why you are here now? Your brother doesn’t need you?”

“I just wanted to meet the man that got the chance to charm our Ferdie. Now I see. And I’m…” Glenn smiled. “Surprised.”

“I’m glad to know what impression I’m doing to you. Ferdinand,” he added to his boyfriend.

Which would have loved Glenn not to be there so he would have been allowed to jump at Hubert’s neck and steal him a kiss. He could do it with Felix around because he was his best friend and they were beyond this but this was Glenn. It wouldn’t be decent.

“Yes?”

“It is possible for me to see Felix? Alone?”

“Well… yes. I don’t see why Felix would refuse.”

“Thank you very much.”

Hubert leaned in, taking softly his hand, pressing his lips on the knuckles only when he felt Ferdinand allowing it to him.

Ferdinand smiled and paced backward once and waited for Hubert to accompany them for them to return toward Felix’s changing room. They let him enter alone in the room and Glenn frowned, his arms folded.

“Ferdie?”

“Yes, Glenn?”

“How is this possible?”

“What?” Ferdinand wondered.

“He is… the guy is so dull and you’re so shiny. How is this possible?”

“Glenn… Love asks no question.”

“You…” Glenn smiled. “I’m glad you found someone. And I can tell no one will annoy you with that guy around.”

“Sure! But I will protect Hubert as much as he is willing to protect me!” Ferdinand swore. “I will let no one hurt him,” he added with a tone so serious.

Almost frightening.

And just after he smiled again, just like the Sun he was.

“Say, Ferdie! On another note,” Glenn said.

Maybe because he didn’t want to talk about Hubert. The man being quite frightening. And knowing that man with his baby brother… Goddess, made that Ferdinand wasn’t wrong and knew what he was doing with this man…

Ferdinand looked Glenn.

“Will you bring Felix to the altar?”

“It was planned, as his best man. Why?”

“Father said it was supposed to be his role…”

“Yeah, probably. But Felix will cut his own arm rather than walking at his arm.”

“Sure. That’s why I offered to do it. But maybe we can just dismiss that and let him with you? He loves you so much anyway… He will never tell it but…”

“He already told it to me in his very own way,” Ferdinand swore. “But, you know… Felix has two arms,” he smiled.

“You’re right!” Glenn replied.

The door opened and Ferdinand turned his head toward the man coming from it. The love of his life. He smiled to him.

“I will go to the City Hall, and let you finish everything. I just wanted to see you and talk to Felix.”

“Nothing grave?” Glenn asked.

Hubert shook his head.

“We see each other very soon!” Ferdinand smiled.

He passed next to him and walked to the room of his best friend. Glenn walked toward Hubert.

“I suppose Felix and Sylvain both already told it to him but if you hurt Ferdie…”

“None of them told it to me,” Hubert replied.

“They trust you?” Glenn gasped.

“I don’t know if they trust me. But I think they know I can make Ferdinand happy. This is the only think I wish for. If this is not enough for you, I rather prefer talking with your brother and his future husband,” the man said before leaving.

Glenn watched him, frowning.

 

 

“You feel ready?” Ferdinand asked.

He moved a flower in his hairs so it was symmetrical with the other.

“I never have been more ready for something. Soon, I will be Felix José Gautier, because yes I have decided I take his second name too.”

Glenn and Ferdinand giggled together. It was nice to see him as relaxed. Especially for this day.

“Whatever you’re doing, we support you,” Glenn swore.

“Yeah,” Ferdinand said.

From the other side of the door, they could hear the sound of the piano softly rising. It was the moment Felix was waiting for since he was seven years old, if he had to be honest.  Soon, he will marry him. Soon, he will be by his side until his very last breath. He couldn’t hope a better future…

“Baby brother?” Glenn smiled.

He offered his arm to his brother. And, on the other side, Ferdinand was offering him his arm…

“What are you doing?” Felix asked.

“We bring you to the altar!” Glenn said.

“How am I supposed to hold my flowers?”

“You will do that? I thought you wouldn’t?” Ferdinand gasped.

Inside, you could hear someone put the CD at the beginning. Of course, even if they could afford a pianist and the piano, it was maybe… too traditional?

“I never said I will not?” Felix replied. “You thought I shouldn’t have flowers around you so I wouldn’t make you eat them but I never said I wouldn’t.”

“I think you do.”

“Maybe. Or maybe not. Perhaps I changed my mind. But I will carry those stupid flowers and maybe I will throw them in the crowd willing to know if they will marry their beloved after me. What a stupid tradition.”

“But why are you doing this, then?” Glenn sighed. “I love you but you’re such a mystery…”

“Did Sylvain convince you?” Ferdinand asked.

“Maybe it’s Sylvain.”

The door opened slightly.

Felix sighed as his look became darker. Ferdinand didn’t need to look to know… Rodrigue.

“We’re waiting for you? Is something wrong?” he asked.

He went out and closed the door behind him.

“I hope you’re not showing doubt, Felix.”

“What if I did, father?” Felix smirked.

“If you are, it’s not grave.”

Felix watched him with a frown.

“Just remember it’s Sylvain you’re about to marry. Deep inside, you know your feelings for him. The love you share with each other is the only thing mattering. No need of a paper to seal it. No need of this for every of us calling you Felix Gautier if it’s what you wish for.”

“Father?” Felix whispered.

“Yes?”

“Why are you saying this?”

“Why can’t I say to you I’m proud of you? Your mother will be proud of you as well.”

The man held out his hand but didn’t dare touch him.

“I found the solution,” Felix said. “Glenn, can you go check on Ingrid? Ferdinand, can you be sure your boyfriend wants suck anyone’s blood?”

Ferdinand let out a giggle. “If you knew,” he whispered.

“What?” Felix said.

“What?” Ferdinand replied.

Felix frowned. “Well… father, can you lead me to the altar? Don’t think that allow you to sit at our table,” he added quickly.

“Of course. Thank you, Felix.”

Glenn and Ferdinand let got on Felix and entered the room, Glenn asked the music to be put at the beginning again as they were taking place. Ingrid was questioning her husband while Ferdinand sat next to Hubert. He smiled when he felt the hand sliding along his arm to grab softly his hand, joining them.

The door opened again and this time, it was Felix, walking with his father along the white carpet peppered of flowers. You could hear gasps as the guests saw him, his arms around Rodrigue’s and it wasn’t that surprising. You would never imagine that happening…

And yet.

Rodrigue Achille Fraldarius was bringing his younger son in front of the Mayor who smiled to them.

While Ferdinand watched this with excitation, Hubert only watched him, smiling when he saw him smile and caressing slowly his fingers.

In front of the alter, Rodrigue wanted to move away but Felix pressed his hands on his, asking him, without words, to stay on place. Next to him.

Rodrigue didn’t protest, smiling a little. He didn’t say ‘thank you’ because he was afraid to hurt him and lose this but he was thinking it.

A little time after, less than two minutes, the music started over and Sylvain entered the room, at his brother’s arm. He opened wide yes when he saw his lover, still at his own father’s arm. What was happening?

But in fact… he was happy.

He was so happy.

Chapter Text

Alcohol and music, as well as lemonade, laughs and chattering, were filling the reception room. Felix and Sylvan were both delighted and Sylvain never stopped kissing his husband’s face, telling him how happy he was to have married him…

Felix didn’t kiss him back as much as he wanted to but his love was as powerful and he never had enough of being with him.

On the other hand, Hubert couldn’t wait enough to be free of this. He hated being in public, hated having to reply to those people trying to socialize with him. And while he was happy to see Ferdinand smile, he wanted to have his attention because his voice and his smile were making him live… every time Ferdinand turned toward him to ask him something, he knew he had been right to come. And he was delighted to have been in right to slide a flower in his lovely hairs. Any tender gesture toward him pleased him.

But, on the other hand, he hated when the people came to see Felix and Sylvain, congratulating them for their love. Especially because he wasn’t placed far away from them and they often bent on his chair.

Once again, in less than fifteen minutes, someone bent on his chair.

“Ferdinand.”

Ferdinand?

Hubert glanced at the man. He was almost bald but the little mustache and what remained on his hairs was of the same delicate color than Ferdinand’s…

“Oh. Greetings,” Ferdinand said.

His smile was fainting away, being just a sad shadow.

“I’m sorry, I have to go… fix my hairs,” he said, getting up.

“I want to talk with you,” the man added.

“Yes, I’m coming. Please, sit down next to your dear nephew, I’m sure you want to congratulate him,” Ferdinand smiled, pacing backward.

Sylvain immediately turned, smiling. “Uncle! Please! I have heard you went in Brigid lately? How interesting!”

Ferdinand took advantage of the situation to move away. Hubert got up to and let a bit of distance before following him. Ferdinand did go in the bathroom and Hubert was only mildly annoyed to enter their after him.

“Can you, please, leave me alone? It’s rude to follow someone in the bathroom!”

Ferdinand was shaking, his hands around the sink, his eyes wet.

“Excuse me. I can wait for you outside.”

“Hubert?” Ferdinand hiccupped, turning his head toward him. “Excuse me, I thought…” He pinched his lips and forced a smile. “Of course, you’re welcome.”

Hubert approached him.

“Can I do something?”

Ferdinand shook his head. “I believe I eat too much and I’m a bit sick. Felix and Sylvain have great taste! The meal was so delicious!”

“It was, indeed,” Hubert replied. “If you’re a bit sick, maybe you should go home.”

“Yes… maybe. But… it’s important for Felix and Sylvain that I’m here. It’s their wedding…”

“I think they understand.”

“Maybe…”

“Or I break every bones of your father and he won’t approach you anymore.”

Ferdinand hiccupped and his hands clasped even more around the sink. “Hubert?! Wh… Hubert!”

“You don’t think I should?” He moved his hand to brush one of the golden lock. “You’re always so positive. I never saw you tense that way…” His fingers pursued to his cheek, barely brushing it. “He had hurt you and I won’t allow anyone to make you suffer.”

“You’re so sweet…” Ferdinand muttered, taking hs hand to press it softly along his cheek.

“Sweet?”

No one ever said that to him…

Certainly not after such threats…

Ferdinand nodded and Hubert softly caressed his cheek with his thumb.

“I just want to protect you. I could kill him. Just one word from you… I know you wanted to protect someone here. He is the one who hurt you so much, am I right?”

Ferdinand shook his head. “You won’t kill him.”

“I’m serious. Your wishes are my orders.”

“I know, you are serious,” Ferdinand said, looking him in the eyes. “I’m not protecting him. I’m protecting you.”

Hubert frowned.

“I don’t want to lose you. I want you to stay by my side, Hubert. I don’t mind if he is dead or not, I can avoid him. But you… I don’t want you to be in jail and the Goddess only knows what will happen to you. Please… Please, Hubert… I…” Ferdinand closed his eyes, trying to prevent the tears to roll over his cheeks. But they escaped from his eyelids anyway. “I love you so much…”

“Ferdinand…”

Hubert slid his other hand on his other cheek, gathering the droplets.

“If this is your wish, I won’t do anything.”

“Thank you. I will tell you. I will tell you everything but… but I don’t want you to lose control.”

Hubert kissed his forehead.

He wasn’t helping at all, saying this because he could sense the horror of all of this…

He hated that man…

“I’m doing fine. I… it’s true I don’t want to talk to him. But…”

“Felix will understand if you need to leave.”

“I know. But I won’t do it. However, I could use a hug?” he said, opening his eyes and smiling softly.

Hubert passed his arms around him and so Ferdinand snuggled in his arms.

“Thank you… You okay if I come at your home, tonight?”

“Of course. I will make keys for you, so you can come whenever you want.”

“I hope I won’t bump into Edelgard, then,” Ferdinand joked weakly.

Hubert pressed a kiss in his hairs.

“Thank you. For everything.” Ferdinand slowly gulped. “I’m ready…”

Hubert moved backward and offering him his arm. Ferdinand accepted and followed him.

“If you want to go back to home…”

“I hate socializing but I won’t leave you alone.”

“You’re the purest heart.”

“I thought it was you.” Hubert smiled slightly. “I just have talked about murder to you, how can I be pure.”

“You just are. It’s not important if it seems to be bad. I know it’s out of love. And please, please, never do it for real…”

Hubert kissed his temple with love.

They entered the main room and Ferdinand glanced at his father, still sat at the table and talking with Sylvain who had his endless fake smile. He was so gifted to look happy when he was not that, for a time, him and Ferdinand wanted to go for a career in the cinema. That was a short time, though and now this ability was useful in boring family reunion. Or to make sure Felix won’t be sorry for him.

“We still can leave,” Hubert said, seeing his look.

“No.” Ferdinand forced a smile. “But I’d say you’re the one excited to run away.”

Hubert gave him the shadow of a smile.

Ferdinand replied to it, seeming even more like a Sun and he took his hand to lead him toward the parents’ table. Lambert and Rodrigue were talking with Sylvain’s father while Sylvain and Ferdinand’s mothers were chatting. Ingrid and Lorenz’s dad were in the mid of a discussion.

Dimitri’s mother was with him, talking to him and his plus one. Dedue. He had meet him when he was in Duscur to learn the language and the traditions, wanting to work with them. Dedue’s family had accepted him and love slowly started between them. When Ferdinand got the chance to meet him, he had been so happy…

“Excuse us?” Ferdinand said to Ingrid’s father.

“Yes?”

“Can we sit?”

The man glanced at them and then got up to take the chair of his wife, who was outside to smoke. It was letting just two sits next to Ferdinand’s mother, Azélie Von Aegir…

She smiled when she saw them.

“Mother, I’m delighted to see you,” he smiled.

“I am too. It’s been so long,” she said, pressing a kiss on his forehead.

There was such a melancholy in her voice. It was clear she wanted to see her son as much as it was clear he craved to see her. And yet… he never did. Hubert glanced at the patriarch Aegir and a wave of hate overwhelmed him.

“And I wanted to introduce to you…”

At the spouse’s table, Ferdinand’s father got up. Sylvain moved quickly his hand, trying to dismiss something, calling him back. Felix got up as well.

“Okay! It’s time to throw the bouquet!” he said. “Ferdinand!”

Ferdinand turned his head.

“Me?”

“You’re my best man, come help me.”

“To… th…”

Ferdinand’s confusion vanished when he saw his father standing next to the table. Sylvain seemed to want to keep his attention but the man didn’t care. Not much about the hand on his wrist.

“Sure, I’m coming!” Ferdinand got up. “Mother, I’m sorry. I’d be happy to…”

He smiled sadly and swirled on his feet to go to Felix. Which walked toward the big court outside. It will be the best to do that.

“Felix… it’s still raining outside,” he reminded.

“I know, only those who really want that bouquet will come then,” Felix smirked before adding, as they walked: “If you want to leave…”

“Hubert told me that already. Do you really hate me or do you really love me?”

“Guess what,” Felix smirked.

He glanced around. Those interests by the bouquets were coming outside too, a bunch of them not caring at all about the rain, but, obviously there weren’t a lot of people. For example, most of parents didn’t come, as they kept talking or eating. Now, there were mostly ladies, and a bit of men, with their partners being there in a fair amount among the crowd. Though some were aside, protecting themselves from the rain and trying to see who would have the precious flowers.

“Anyway, I can deal with my father but you…” Felix said, pushing a wet lock from his face.

“I’m glad to see you giving him his chance,” Ferdinand smiled, maybe to change the subject of conversation?

“Yeah. I don’t wish that for you, though,” Felix groaned.

“I know, I know… and I don’t want to let you. It’s your wedding,” Ferdinand said.

“I should have put rat poison in his plate.”

“I think I love dangerous man,” the Aegir heir sighed with a happy tone.

Felix looked at him. “Maybe I like Hubert then,” he replied. “Unless you were talking about my Sylvain who already said he wanted to kill his uncle. But he is mine,” Felix pointed out showing the red ring intertwining with the blue ring he had at his finger ring.

“Of course he is yours. I love him too, of course! But Hubert…”

Ferdinand looked toward Hubert, his back pressing against the wall next to the door.

He couldn’t help but smile…

Even more because it was raining, maybe. If they were alone, he would have craved so much for him to come and they would revive their first moment of love truly shared…

“Do you want to go with them?” Felix smirked.

“Where?”

“In the crowd.”

“To get the bouquet?” Ferdinand wondered.

He took a thin lock of hairs in his fingers, biting his lower lips. Could he? What Hubert would think of this? Oh maybe he could… Just for the fun. But if Hubert was upset or anything… Though… Hubert wanted to see him happy and him he could just wish?

“Very well!”

Ferdinand linked his hands together and Felix retrieved his phone in his hand, not caring much about the rain, unless to protect a little the device. He waited a few moments and then turned over.

“Don’t cheat with your phone!” someone shouted in the crowd.

Felix didn’t need his phone to cheat! In fact, he just would have been delighted if Sylvain was there. But not having him there was sadly quite positive on this exact moment.

A few seconds after, Felix threw the bouquet. The flowers flew in the airs and he turned on himself, holding out his phone, following the course of the bunch. It crossed the crowd, was brushed by a few fingertips and ended in two hands with nails adorned with clear nail polish and lot of glitters.

By hazard, maybe, because they didn’t really tried to get it despite the envy.

Or maybe… Felix was smiling, his phone still recording.

Against the wall, Hubert moved and approached the crowd that was half-disappointment, half-congratulation.

“Ferdinand?” he called.

Ferdinand looked toward him.

“I… I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“Sorry about what?” Hubert wondered.

The crowd moved away, some entering back the reception room. Others were just taking advantage to go smoke or chat outside, walking away to hide themselves from the rain anyway. It was clear it wasn’t the moment to ask to Felix for a photo or anything. In a general case, except if you were Sylvain, Glenn, Ingrid or, of course, Ferdinand, you better don’t ask anything to him.

Ferdinand who was looking the bouquet between his hands. And he noticed… lilies in the bouquet. White.

Why lilies? Felix didn’t even like those flowers?

He knew the tradition asked the lilies for the purity but Felix didn’t care much for the traditions…

“I… I grabbed the bouquet,” he said.

“I know,” Hubert replied.

He put a knee on the floor and moved a hand toward him. Almost by habit, Ferdinand gave him his hand, smiling when he kissed his knuckles.

“Ferdinand… a few weeks ago, I heard you say you weren’t sure you loved your name that much…”

“You do?” Ferdinand hiccup.

“I do. That’s why I ask you today… since it seems you have to marry within the year,” he smirked. “Do you want to bear my name?”

Ferdinand pressed the flowers against his chest, emotion overwhelming him. And even more when he saw the man open a little box to show him a white gold ring with a golden horseshoe embracing a diamond.

“Y…You planned all of this?”

“You should have noticed it when I decided to have and throw my bouquet,” Felix smirked.

“I… but! Ah!”

Hubert pressed another kiss on Ferdinand’s knuckles.

“You don’t have to say ‘yes’ or even reply now.”

“But I want to!” Ferdinand replied. “I want to marry you! I want to marry you so much! Thank you!!!”

“Thank you?” Hubert repeated in surprise.

“Yes! Thank you for having choosing me. I’ll be the best husband! I swear!”

“I don’t doubt it, Ferdinand.”

“Can I jump at your neck?”

Hubert opened his arms and so Ferdinand jumped on him, making him fell on his back, maybe a bit harshly but it didn’t matter because he was covering his face with kisses. He smiled back and took softly his hand, passing the ring on his finger and kissing it as Ferdinand hugged him.

Chapter Text

 

“Do you want to come?”

Ferdinand smiled against the door, looking Hubert in the eyes.

Hubert approached him, his fingers followed one of the lock to lose themselves in his hears. He slowly tugged on the tiny ribbon, letting fell the mane, and the two little braids. Taking one, he kissed it with love. Hubert moved his lips to press them against Ferdinand’s cheek then his chin and even his throat.

And he stopped suddenly.

“I’m sure you would be lovely with only your ring on. But I won’t. I will wait for you,” he said.

“Very well. I’m coming soon!”

“Take your time,” Hubert replied.

He pressed a kiss on his lips and watched him as he disappeared in the bathroom.

Hubert gulped and walked to his sofa, sitting there and taking his phone. He had received a text from Felix and wasn’t surprised to discover the video of Ferdinand grabbing the bouquet and then the proposal… Felix had done that for Sylvain, at first but being able to see this again and again… Hubert was delighted. He couldn’t stop watching Ferdinand’s face when he grabbed the bouquet. The surprise, the excitation, the joy… even if there was this worry-sorry look just after…

He had no reason to be worry or sorry…

Hubert could have looked it again for the tenth time but he forced himself to stop when he heard the sound of the shower. Instead, he went in the numbers of his phone and got up as he chose one of them. Patient, he waited, glancing at rare car crossing the road. The night was there since a fair moment and the stars were shining around the big Moon…

“What does he said?” he voice said at his ear.

A slight smile came at his lips.

“Yes.”

“Of course he said yes! I know he couldn’t be an idiot! I’m so happy for you, Hubert!!! How did it happened?!”

“I asked Felix to give his bouquet to Ferdinand. And he threw it. Ferdinand got it, I made my proposition and he accepted.”

“Awesome!”

“If you want to, Felix made a video. I can send it to you,” Hubert said.

“You didn’t have to ask. Especially if I can see you happy!!”

“Thank you, Edelgard…”

Sometimes, often, Hubert thought he didn’t deserve this. Looking at the door of his bathroom, he still believed it. He hadn’t been raise to believe of deserving anything for himself. He was living to please others… as a being, he was nothing. And he didn’t know why Edelgard and Ferdinand loved him. Why Bernadetta and Marianne cared for him. Why Felix and Sylvain would even respect him as Ferdinand’s boyfriend…

“But…”

“Why are you but-ing me?” Edelgard said. Her tone was more serious. “What’s happening?”

“I still have said nothing to Ferdinand. I know I have to but I’m afraid he will cancel our engagement.”

“I don’t think he can be such a kind of asshole,” Edelgard said.

“I don’t want to believe this but… I don’t want to lose him.”

“You should tell him if you feel ready only but know that, if you hide it to him, one day you will have to make a choice. You or him. And I love you too much to see you becoming bad in your own skin because you’re too afraid to lose him. I don’t think he won’t respect you.”

“What do I do if he wants to leave when he will know?”

“Easy! You use chloroform and you keep him for ever.”

“Very well.”

“Hubert! I’m joking!!!” Edelgard screamed out.

“Me too, of course.”

“I don’t trust you fully on this, to be fair!”

“I won’t hurt him. Don’t worry.”

“I will mildly worry. But what I’m saying is that you should do it… because you love him and he loves you. But you shouldn’t force yourself. You shouldn’t say it to him if you’re not ready. That’s everything I’m saying.”

“Thank you. I will try to say it to him…”

“Do you want me to come?”

“No. I think it should be a discussion between him and me…”

“Very well. Warn me if ever I need to come. I can hug you or punch him! Or… you know, both!”

Hubert smirked.

“Thank you, Edelgard. Thank you very much…”

 

The door of the bathroom opened and Ferdinand went out, with this shirt around his body as his lover, fiancé, loved so much; and those socks very up his legs, hiding the lost wounds snaking along his body.

He kept hiding it.

They both hided things…

Hubert watched him, knowing this truth… Knowing that, maybe, it was the reason he should talk first?

He had prepared an infusion for Ferdinand and a coffee for him because, anyway, that’s been a very longtime since the coffee couldn’t keep him awaken…

“Oh! Thank you! This aroma… ah! You really can prepare such a beautiful tea.”

Ferdinand approached to take the tea cup and brought it to his lips, dipping them in the very hot beverage.

Hubert looked him, watched as the light of his kitchen-living room was taking in the last droplets in his hairs, seeming to bath him with stars.

“How are your feet?”

Ferdinand bit his lower lips.

“Well… my boots were pretty but… too tight.”

“I will bring the bandages and the cream.”

Hubert left the kitchen while Ferdinand gathered his cup and walked to the sofa. He put down the mugs on the coffee table and sat there, looking at the bathroom’s door. He waited, holding the cup, letting the warm spread in his fingers…

After a little moment, Hubert went back, warm water, disinfectant, cream and bandages in hands. He installed everything next to the coffee.

“I don’t think I will do career in dance,” Ferdinand said.

Hubert watched him. “Why are you changing your mind that way?”

“I told you, if ever I failed to become a dancer, I just would have to spend my life with the love of my life… I still think it. But… I don’t want you to believe you’re a consolation prize. You’re not. You’re my first choice, not the second.”

“I don’t want you to end your career for me. If you have an opportunity, please, seize it. Don’t ruin your dreams for me.”

“Aren’t you afraid I will keep hurt myself like an idiot?”

“Of course, I do. I don’t want you to hurt yourself but do you really think I’m worthy of those sacrifices?”

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“You don’t know anything of me.”

“I’m ready to love everything about you. What I know is already so beautiful. In its own way,” Ferdinand smiled.

Hubert looked the tea, the soft red color…

“There is something you need to know.”

“You really have already killed someone?” Ferdinand asked.

There was fear in his voice but… but nothing toward Hubert, in fact. He was afraid to lose him because of that. He didn’t want to lose him…

Hubert slid his fingers along the sock. He moved it slightly down, his fingers brushing one of those mark belonging to the past… or maybe not so much. He pushed it even downer, Ferdinand looking away. He will not force him to talk. Never. Thought he was afraid but he also knew Edelgard wasn’t that wrong.

He was engaged to this marvelous man.

It was something he had to talk with him. Maybe he could pretend he didn’t want anything before the wedding even if it was something pretty lost since there but… one day, he would have to tell it.

Somewhat, you could thought it was easier to tell: Ferdinand loved men, he was panromantic, or biromantic as you wished, and they came back from the wedding of his cousin and best friends. Both men. But it wasn’t that easier… not in a World where ‘Virgin’ was an insult. Not in a World where sex was so important to most of the population that saying you didn’t like it, not even cared for it, was seen as something weird. Impossible for a lot of them.

He knew so many horrible things about those who were like him.

And those supposedly on his side would turn their back to him because… it happened that way so easily…

He still remember this one he loved so much… the love he had for him, though, was nothing in regard of the love he had for Ferdinand.

Strangely… saying to his father he loved as well women and men had been easier than recognizing he will never have a sexual relation with any of them. Maybe because he was younger and more careless when it was for who he loved? Maybe because he passed years to don’t understand the feelings of his classmates, not understand why they enjoyed seeing some things that looked just horrible to him?

“Ferdinand…”

“Yes?”

“You can’t…”

Ferdinand frowned at those words. He watched the boney and cold fingers on his ankle as the sock had been removed.

“You can’t expect…”

Hubert was searching the words. Could he be harsh with this? Stating them and it was all? Maybe if it wasn’t him. He couldn’t bring back Ferdinand to the one who had stated to him that if he wasn’t ready for sex, then he had no interest for him…

He couldn’t attach him to the fear he had sometimes when he thought about a relationship and the fact maybe he couldn’t say the truth and would have to comply and that was all.

Not Ferdinand.

Please. Not Ferdinand…

“I have no sexual interest,” he said.

“You mean you’re bi? I think I knew that…”

Hubert shook his head. “I mean… when I touch you, when I kiss you, I don’t mean anything else than that. I don’t want to have… sexual things with you. You matter for me. Really.”

“Is there something about my body or is it… general?”

Ferdinand pressed his fingers on one of those damn marks. Hubert took his hand and pressed his lips on the sad memories.

“Your body is beautiful. I love it as much as your inside… I’m not talking about… guts and all.”

Ferdinand let out a giggle, a bit nervous but still…

“I could have get it,” he said.

“I love seeing you, I love touching you. But that’s all. And, yes, it’s general. I don’t… crave this.”

“I understand,” Ferdinand replied.

“Is this okay for you?”

Ferdinand tilted his head on the side. “Well… that’s not the question? If you don’t want to have sex, we don’t. I respect you.”

Hubert stared him and brushed his cheek. “Do you know how precious you are? How much I love you?”

“You say that as if it was the first time someone really understood you,” Ferdinand joked. But he saw his look… “But… Edelgard?”

“Yes. But Edelgard could never have been my girlfriend and I feel it was easier for her to understand for those reasons… I do want to believe she would have understood in any case.”

“I’m sure she does have,” Ferdinand said.

He moved in the sofa and hugged him tenderly, his cup still in hand.

“I’m sorry you have been so afraid to tell me this… I want you to be happy, nothing else. I want to be by your side. That’s all mattering for me.”

Hubert kissed his temple.

“But… in contrary, if I do something appealing your sense, please, tell it to me. I don’t want to excite you to give you nothing after.”

Ferdinand nodded. “I will.” He snuggled in his arms. “I just want to be with you.”

Hubert pressed his forehead against him, caressing his cheek with his free hand, the other holding him tightly against his chest.

“Hubert…?”

“Yes?”

Ferdinand snuggled a bit more in his arms. “I talked to you about my father, you remember?”

Of course…

He knew already a bunch of things about this man, how he forced Ferdinand to cut his hairs, how he forced him not to do ballet… because he thought this would make him gay.

It was one of the worst thing Hubert never heard. And his father was a real idiot who said always stupid and nonsense things…

“I don’t talk much about  what happened when I was with him, why I wanted to leave that much. I think… Felix knew? That’s why he let me come at his place all the time… I wanted to go to Sylvain’s too but… I was so afraid. He’s my cousin. We’re linked by the blood. Not his… and that’s better that way,” he whispered. Ferdinand moved slightly away. “There is something I can offer to my father. Without him, I will never be such a friend with Felix.”

The smile Ferdinand was offering to him was really sad.

And he got up, removing anything that would cover his legs, showing the flesh marked by red, white… horrible past.

His hands lifted and twitched before starting to undo the buttons.

“I know you still want nothing,” he joked with a wink.

But his eyes weren’t smiling. Even his lips had difficulties to do it.

Hubert said nothing because he knew what it was doing. He knew it wasn’t romantic parade or anything…

When the shirt slide along his arms, showing freckles and old wound, Hubert’s heart skipped a beat. He knew it, having seen his back, having seen his legs and his feet so often and yet… yet…

He loved seeing his body as much as he hated it… because those marks, those memories that couldn’t disappear… blasphemies so powerful not even the regeneration of flesh and skin could make them vanish…

“He wanted to break my body. Some of them were just to make me stop dancing… This one made me stop for three weeks,” he said showing one next the right knee. “Here, I couldn’t for one month,” he added, showing his left arm. “I can’t remember them all. I just know… he wanted to break every bone of mine. He said… he didn’t need them for me.”

Hubert held out his arms.

Ferdinand let him lay his hands on his waist, making him sit on his lap. Hubert pressed a kiss on the mark on the arm, lot of tiny kisses. And he moved his lips to the others marks, jumping on them with the help of the freckles, passing from one to the other to brush the old wounds.

Ferdinand smiled slightly.

Suddenly, those wounds were less horrible.

Suddenly, he didn’t have the feeling they were burning too much like always…

“He may have tried to break you but it’s wrong. He just made you stronger. You survived all of this and you’re still a ray of Sunlight…”

“You have kind words.”

Ferdinand’s eyes said he didn’t believe him…

“I have words I think and believe in. You are precious, Ferdinand. You are a warrior. You are because you keep going despite everything.”

Ferdinand blushed and pressed a kiss on his cheek.

“I don’t know why I deserve you…”

“I was thinking the same,” Hubert smiled, passing his fingers in the long orange-golden hairs.

“I love you,” Ferdinand said. He couldn’t help but smile. “A million time.”