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scars on our hearts

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There are three faces ahead, all familiar and yet not. 

It’s a little difficult to make them out through the darkness and dust surrounding Garreg Mach, but Sylvain would know that shade of mint green—so bright it’s almost like a beacon in the pre-dawn—anywhere. 

The Professor has risen from… goddess only knows where.

And beside them stand two more ghosts, their faces less familiar: a dirty, hulking, barely-recognizable prince and a small figure with a scarred face and long, dark hair, eerily reminiscent of the man to Sylvain’s left. 

Felix inhales sharply as he spots them and Sylvain winces.

Yeah, this isn’t going to go well. He’s probably happy to see the Professor—they all are—but Dimitri, who Felix has spent over seven years spitting overblown vitriol about? Glenn, the brother he buried almost a decade ago and then never allowed himself to properly grieve?

It’s almost enough to make Sylvain want to turn tail and go back to Gautier, just to avoid Felix’s inevitable outburst.


Felix, unsurprisingly, storms off after the battle, arching angrily away from the hugs and laughter of the others. Annette’s allowed a single, quick squeeze, and Felix pats Ashe on the shoulder before he disappears away in the same direction that Dimitri went. 

It’s all Sylvain can do not to groan.

“Glenn? Is it really you?” 

In the middle of their group, Ingrid advances slowly, hand raised as though testing the air, her voice quiet and reverential. She’s acting like Glenn is a ghost and if she speaks too loudly or moves too suddenly, he’ll spook and disappear, despite all the evidence to the contrary. 

One side (the unscarred side) of Glenn’s lips quirk up into a smirk, and he lightly scrubs a hand through her hair. “Heya, Ingrid. You’ve grown.”

She looks like she’s about to pounce, and knowing intimately how much Fraldariuses do not like that, Sylvain places a cautious hand on her shoulder. “Glenn—!”

And now she’s sobbing. Fantastic. Sylvain pats her consolingly on the back. At least she isn’t about to make a break for it and tackle Glenn anymore if she’s too busy crying into his arm.

Glenn looks up at Sylvain, frowning slightly. “Got tall, didn’t you, Gautier?”

Sylvain laughs awkwardly. “Yeah, uh… Guess I did?” He bites back to the urge to call Glenn “sir”. It’s a bizarre temptation and Sylvain doesn’t know where it came from—they’d been friends when they were younger, even if he had been closer to Felix. 

“Hmmph.” 

Something sinks inside Sylvain, like he’s disappointed Glenn, though he knows it’s not possible—they’ve only just reunited, and neither the Professor or Dimitri (in his current state) are likely to gossip about Sylvain’s tendencies.

And. He’s gotten better. Busier, mostly, but less likely to flirt with anyone and anything, Ingrid (because it annoys her) and Felix (because he’s very cute when he blushes, not that Sylvain can say it out loud and keep all his limbs intact) excepted.

Glenn bows out introductions to the others. 

Annette and Mercedes curtsy, and Ashe avidly shakes Glenn’s hand, stars in his eyes, rapidly repeating all of Ingrid’s tales of his prowess and daring. Glenn looks bored and a little ruffled, but he concedes the enthusiasm mostly graciously. 

Dedue’s warm form is missing from their presence, and something painful unlodges in Sylvain’s chest, Dimitri’s curt confirmation that he’s (dead) gone still piercing through him. They hadn’t been particularly close, but Dedue had been a good man, one of few to believe that Sylvain had something worthwhile inside him. He was a man Sylvain had been glad to call a friend. 

Ingrid’s stomach growls, raucous in the quiet of the early, abandoned morning, cutting into their reunion. Her eyes are still sparkling where they watch Glenn, but for once they’re shiny more from tears and less from idyllic dreams of knighthood and hero-worship. She turns pink and looks down accusingly at her midriff. 

Glenn huffs out a chuckle, hiding it behind a cough into his hand.

Ingrid stares, mortified that her childhood idol has seen her human and hungry, and Sylvain can’t hold back any longer, bursting out into earnest laughter. He can’t remember the last time he felt this light, his guffaws echoing through the ruins of the town. 

Mercedes and Annette join in, their laughter as sweet and musical as he remembers it being, even if their voices have changed slightly over the years. Ashe is more hesitant, unsure if he should let himself go in front of such an important figure, but he eventually caves too. Ingrid, too, finally gets over her embarrassment and lets herself indulge in the silliness of the moment. The Professor doesn’t laugh, but Sylvain swears he sees a small smile as they watch.

It tastes like hope.

If only Felix had stuck around to enjoy it.


Sylvain paces along the bridge to the cathedral. It’s a little cold out here, even at Garreg Mach’s temperate climate, and there’s no real guarantee that it won’t collapse under him at any given moment, but he hasn’t brought himself to enter and fetch Felix from his post of glaring at Dimitri’s back yet.

He stopped counting at the seventh failed approach to the heavy, ornate doors. Buried somewhere deep, Sylvain has the courage to enter and face the tableau inside, but he’s yet to unearth it.

The Professor had given him an odd look earlier as they had made their rounds, presumably because Sylvain had asked them yesterday if they knew where Felix was, and here he was, still pacing the bridge. 

Sylvain knows he’s being a bit of a coward. But he’s not sure he’ll like what he sees. It’s never fun watching Felix try to verbally and mentally stab Dimitri while also radiating a heavy aura of grief. 

The doors creak open, and Sylvain pauses in his pacing, whirling around. “Hey, Felix—”

It’s Glenn.

“Oh. Uh, hello, s—.” There’s that weird instinct again. Sylvain clears his throat. “Hey, Glenn. How’s it going in there?”

Glenn raises an eyebrow at him, pausing on the steps to stare down at Sylvain, a head shorter but projecting a height rivalling that of Dedue. “We can hear you stomping around out here from inside. What are you doing?”

Sylvain runs a hand through his hair. “Um. Nothing, but—.” Sylvain pauses, eyes not quite able to meet Glenn’s. “I was just… Is everyone okay in there? I haven’t seen Felix around the training grounds or dining hall in a couple days so I was just wondering…”

Glenn snorts. “Yeah, he’s being an idiot. His Highness won’t talk to anyone right now, but Felix is being a little shit about it, hovering in the corner and pouting. He’s still such a kid.” 

Sylvain can’t disagree. “I thought Dimitri was talking to you?” 

“Sometimes. But sometimes it’s just the air,” Glenn says, frowning in concentration. “I think he’s better, being back here around all of you. Better than I found him, at least.” 

He doesn’t elaborate and Sylvain’s afraid to ask what Dimitri had been like when Glenn had found him. There’s a quiet beat before Glenn gives Sylvain a scrutinizing look. “Well, are you going to come in?”

“Oh, uh… I guess not.” 

Sylvain knows he’s chickening out, that he’s failed for another day, but he doesn’t have the nerve to try to cajole Felix right now, especially not with Glenn watching.

Glenn considers him for a long moment before nodding. “I’ll tell Felix you were here.”

Sylvain balks. “That’s, uh. That’s not necessary.”

Glenn just stares, raising an eyebrow. It’s really not comforting to know that someone who’s been legally dead for almost a decade can read him so effortlessly.

“But, um. Thanks.” Sylvain bows, half-hearted and haphazard, before turning to walk away. He can feel Glenn’s gaze boring holes into his back as he retreats. 

He’s not running away.

But, well, maybe a ride will take his mind off things. His horse could use the exercise.


Felix is finally in the dining hall that evening for dinner, but he’s (unsurprisingly) in a very sour mood. Glenn probably ejected him from the cathedral, likely forcefully. Sylvain doesn’t see the elder Fraldarius anywhere. 

“Hey, Felix, buddy!” 

Felix glares at Sylvain over his plate of meat skewers. “Fuck off.”

Sylvain drops into the seat across from him. “Been missing you these past few days.”

“Hmm.”

“You doing okay, man?” 

Felix pauses in his chewing. “…Fine.”

“I promise, Fe, if you need anything…” Sylvain says, trailing off meaningfully.

“Okay.”

“Cross my heart!”

Felix rolls his eyes.

Sylvain sighs, tucking into his own food. If Felix wants to pretend everything is fine, then Sylvain might as well let him. He’s not sure if it's better than the alternative of Felix blowing up at everyone because he can’t blow up at Dimitri, and honestly? Sylvain will take whatever Felix-time he can get.

As loathe as he is to admit it, he’ll have to thank Glenn later.

They eat in silence, the only sounds in the hall the troops drifting in and out as they finish their meals. There’s the occasional soft click as Felix finishes a skewer and sets it down against his plate, but otherwise, a tense quiet reigns as Sylvain waits for Felix to say something first. It’s the safer bet, because he’s not sure what his foot-in-mouth syndrome will come up with today otherwise. 

Felix doesn’t speak until he’s finished his food, the last skewer going down against the plate with a bit too much force. Sylvain winces as he spots Felix’s hands and napkin. Felix has never been a dainty eater (though not as wild or avid as Ingrid), but it’s always something else to see his hands painted in grease and meat juice.

“He’s just standing there, talking to the rubble.” Felix says with a snort. “The dead are dead. They’re not asking for revenge, or any of what he thinks they want. The way he’s going, he’s going to get us all killed.”

Sylvain hums. “Maybe. But I trust Glenn, and he says that Dimitri’s been doing better. If nothing else, he’s at least got your brother back.”

“Yeah, and half the time he can’t tell if Glenn’s real. He’s wasting all of our time, just standing there talking to ghosts. There’s a war going on, and he can’t think of anything but running straight into Enbarr to get slaughtered.”

“Maybe not, but he has all of us. He has the Professor. He has Glenn. He has you. We’ll find a way to get through to him,” Sylvain says, more confident than he feels. 

Felix rolls his eyes. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Sylvain shrugs a shoulder, standing as he finishes his own food. “Well, no use just hovering over him all the time and wasting away yourself. Want to take a walk with me and then go train?”

Felix raises his eyebrows. “You, train?”

“What can I say, I’m a changed man.” Sylvain feels his smile falter under Felix’s unamused look. “And, you know, it’ll help you take your mind off things if we go a few rounds, let you beat out some of that pent-up anger and energy.”

Or there’s another way we could work out that stress, Sylvain’s unhelpful brain supplies. He bites his lip, holding back the innuendo and very purposely not chasing that thought.

“I don’t have—!” Felix protests, a light red crawling up his neck towards his ears. 

“Sure, whatever you say, Fe,” Sylvain says, laughing.

“I’m gonna kick your ass.”

“I look forward to it.”

He offers Felix a wink as he picks up both their plates, leading the way to the kitchen drop-off. Sylvain very pointedly refuses to watch as Felix wipes off his hands on his pants.

It’s not until they’ve made their way to the training grounds that Felix tugs lightly on Sylvain’s sleeve, stopping him. 

“And… thanks. For talking and for… this.” 

Felix turns abruptly, ears faintly red, and grabs one of the less-rusted swords off the rack. Sylvain stares, trying to catch every trace of redness because, well, it’s adorable. It unfortunately doesn’t last.

The blush is gone and Felix is grinning when he takes his starting stance. “Ready yourself.” 

Sylvain’s heart skips a beat as he rushes over to the rack of lances. 

Fuck, he really owes Glenn that thank you.


The next time Sylvain catches Glenn, it’s outside the reception hall on the way to the bridge and the cathedral. He’d spotted Glenn once or twice around the monastery since the day when he finally got to spend a bit of time with Felix, but Sylvain’s only just found the nerve to stop him. Like every other time he’s been spotted, Glenn has two plates in hand, presumably one for himself and one for Dimitri. Or they might both be for Dimitri, Sylvain’s not sure.

“Heeeeey, Glenn!” 

Glenn halts, raising an eyebrow. “Sylvain.”

“I, uh. I just wanted to say thanks? For, you know, making sure Felix got out and got some food.”

Glenn looks at him, expression flat and unimpressed. “Of course I did. He’s my brother.”

“Right. Yes. I didn’t mean you don’t care about him! Just that it was good to see him outside the cathedral, I guess?”

“Yes, it was good. He came back calmer.”

“Yeah, but he’s still hovering…?”

“Yes.”

“Is he alright? I mean, it’s weird for Felix to be spending so much time in there, right? He’s skipping training, and that’s really not like him. Not that I’m, you know, worried—. I mean, I am, but he’s Felix, he can take care of—”

Glenn sighs. “Is there a point to your rambling, Gautier, or am I letting our lunch get cold for no reason?” He purses his lips meaningfully. “You know you’re always welcome to join us in the cathedral if it bothers you so.”

“Oh! Uh, no. Sorry for interrupting you.” Sylvain bows, the action as clumsy as it’s been every time Glenn’s dismissed him.

Glenn turns back toward the distant, ruined towers. After a moment, he calls back over his shoulder, “I’ll tell Felix he should be at dinner at sundown tonight.”

Sundown. Right, okay. 

A bolt of elation and anticipation strikes Sylvain before he processes what Glenn’s actually said.

Fuck, he owes Glenn even more now.


Felix slinks into the seat across from Sylvain, his plate heavy with a large steak. His mood isn’t quite as surly as it was a few days ago, but he’s still no ray of sunshine.

Sylvain waits, taking careful measured bites of his food. He’s long since given up hope that his friends will learn proper table manners, and Felix immediately proves him right on that, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have them.  

Eventually, Felix speaks up. “What does he see in him?”

Sylvain blinks. “Sorry?”

“The boar. What does Glenn see in him?”

“I, uh… That he’s our prince?”

Felix scoffs. “Is that it?”

“Is he supposed to see something else?”

Felix groans, clearly frustrated. “I don’t know. How can he not see the boar for what he is? Why is he still sticking by him?” His voice drops to a horrified whisper. “Why did he choose that over his family? Are we not enough? Am I not enough?”

Sylvain blinks rapidly, stunned by the admission. It takes a moment for his brain to kick-start itself again.

“Whoa, whoa! Hey!”

Sylvain’s hand reaches out automatically, making to grab one of Felix’s. He catches himself in time, and it hangs in the air (out of place and unwanted but at least not about to be cleaved off for transgressing into Felix’s personal space) for a long moment before he brings it back to his side of the table.

“Felix, look at me.”

Felix doesn’t.

“Felix.”

Still nothing.

“Fe. Please.”

Begrudgingly, Felix raises his eyes to meet Sylvain’s.

“Don’t you ever think that you’re not enough, Fe. Just because Glenn is choosing his duty as His Highness’s knight doesn’t mean he’s not also your brother.”

Felix grumbles something unintelligible, his eyes dropping away.

“No, Felix, I mean it. I know Glenn cares about you and he’s proud of you. Dimitri just… he needs the help more right now. Glenn sees that, so he’s sticking by him.” Sylvain shrugs. “And… I know it’s not much, but you’ve always got me, y’know?”

Felix flushes slightly. He stares at his half-eaten steak for a long moment before exhaling, letting the tension drop away from his shoulders.

“Yeah. Thanks, Sylvain.”


Sylvain spots Felix and Glenn in the gazebo, taking tea. It’s a rare sight to see one of them away from the cathedral, let alone both. It must be the Professor’s turn to watch over Dimitri.

Glenn says something, his head tilted sarcastically, and Felix drops his face into his hands. 

It’s a very cute look, but probably not a moment he should interrupt if he wants to keep his insides where they are. 

Sylvain continues on his way to the stables. 


“Gautier.”

Sylvain jumps, fumbling the tome Annette had pointed him toward for practicing fire magic. It makes a loud thump as it collides with his toes, and Sylvain curses under his breath as he hops lightly to shake off the pain. 

He looks sheepishly up at Glenn as he retrieves the book from where it landed. 

“Uh, hi. Can I do anything for you?” Sylvain represses the “sir” again. The temptation is weaker than it was when Glenn first reappeared, but it still happens occasionally, and it’s even slipped out once or twice in Felix’s presence. Felix had looked at him funny the first time he’d said it, but Sylvain can’t help it. Who doesn’t want to make a good first impression on their possibly-hopefully-future-brother-in-law? There’s a lot of assumptions in that—namely, that Felix has even a chance of being interested—but, you know, it’s never too early to hedge his bets. 

Sylvain straightens, carefully placing the magic book on a table so he can’t drop it again. Man, even at full height, looking down to meet the other’s eyes, he still feels so much shorter than Glenn. 

“Come spar with me.” It’s not a question.

“I, uh. Okay. Sure.”

Glenn turns, not looking behind him as he exits. Sylvain follows a few paces behind, feeling like a chastised child. He’s pretty sure he didn’t do anything wrong. The month has been mostly peaceful, a trickle of merchants and supplies finally making their way back to Garreg Mach, but so far no one has arrived who Sylvain would want to proposition to get his mind off things. Off a very specific person who has never shown any interest in romance.

Ingrid gives him an odd look as they pass her on the way to the training grounds, carrying a brush and treats for her pegasus. Sylvain shrugs helplessly behind Glenn’s back. 

“Keep up, Gautier.” Glenn’s voice isn’t exactly sharp, but it’s stern and Sylvain jumps to attention.

“Yes, sir!” 

…Damn it.

The yard is empty save for a few footsoldiers when they arrive, but even they quickly clear out after a pointed look from Glenn and a sheepish blink from Sylvain. 

Glenn makes his way around the racks, first carefully testing a few of the smaller hand axes, then pausing briefly by the lances (but making no move to take any of them), before settling on one of the new training swords that the Professor had procured to replace some of the rotted ones. 

The Glenn from Sylvain’s memory had favored swords and lances in equal measure, but he supposes the latter aren’t usable with only one undamaged arm. Sylvain grabs a new training lance and takes his place.

Glenn watches him—sword raised, scarred side tilted away for protection—for a long moment, Sylvain’s grip on his lance loose and unsure. He knows Glenn was once a great swordsman and paladin, and he’d proved himself more than capable against the bandits back last month, but it doesn’t feel right to just start attacking someone who’d lost the use of an arm and was irreparably scarred across a good portion of the rest of his body. 

They stare at each other for a few glacial seconds. Once Glenn realizes that Sylvain isn’t about to rush forward, he tsks. “Don’t take me lightly, Gautier.”

“Y-yes. I won’t,” Sylvain says, grip on his lance tightening. He corrects himself. “I would never.”

Glenn huffs, something between a snort and a laugh, and that’s all the warning Sylvain gets before he’s rushed, and he messily pulls his lance up to protect his body as Glenn swings, precise and strong. Any doubts he had about Glenn’s prowess post-Duscur fly out the window as he’s pushed back, his concentration fully on parrying each of Glenn’s blows. 

Sylvain’s vaguely aware that Glenn is grinning. As much as he ever does, anyway—his lips are stretched, teeth just barely visible, and the unscarred side is pulled slightly higher, pairing the mirth in his eyes. 

Typical Fraldarius, taking joy in beating him into the sand with a sword, managing it effortlessly even with a clear handicap.

Still, Sylvain thinks he’s doing okay, even if he’s clearly more outmatched than he expected to be. The bout has gone on a few minutes now, and he hasn’t taken any serious hits. He’s even starting to see a few possible weak spots in how Glenn has to protect his weak side. 

At last, Sylvain finds an opening in his longer reach and manages to jab his lance towards Glenn’s right arm, but Glenn dodges away like it’s nothing. It’s as he’s leaning casually away that he finally speaks, throwing Sylvain further off his guard. 

“Say, Gautier,” he says, voice bored. “What are your intentions with my brother?”

Sylvain stumbles, earning him a new jab to the side from Glenn’s sword. This one hurts more, and it winds him more fully. 

Apparently that’s enough answer in itself, because Glenn tsks again, casually tripping him. The lance goes flying and Glenn lightly steps on Sylvain’s dominant wrist, a warning that he’s been fully beaten. 

“Okay, okay! You win.”

“Of course I have.” Sylvain can hear the smirk.

Glenn leans his weight slightly forward, threatening, and Sylvain flinches. After a moment of consideration, he sighs, backing off and nodding for Sylvain to pick himself up. A wave of relief hits Sylvain and he stands, brushing the sand away from his pants and out of his hair. 

“Answer the question, Sylvain,” Glenn says, voice flat.

Sylvain swallows. Where does he start? “Well. Um.”

Glenn waits. A cold sweat forms against Sylvain’s back as Glenn watches him, judging him and stripping him down to his core, all his past transgressions laid bare in the eyes of a protective big brother deciding whether a suitor is worth his younger sibling’s time.

Sylvain only has one chance to say this right. He absolutely cannot fuck it up.

“I don’t know if Felix ever told you, but we made a promise as kids to live together unt—”

“He told me. I told him it was a childish thing to do and that he’d change his mind eventually.”

“Right. Okay.” Off to a fantastic start, clearly. “Well, I was hoping to make good on that promise? I guess? I mean, it’s way too soon to talk about anything like m-marriage o-or combining our territories, but I’d really like your blessing to d-date him.”

Fuck, he’s said too much, and also not enough. Maybe Sylvain’s had an idle daydream or two about what a future with Felix might look like, but he knows they’re just that—nothing more than fanciful wishes, built upon far-off stars. They’ll have to get through the trial by fire that is this war first either way.

Glenn expression is stony. He scoffs, before turning to hang up the training sword still in his hand. Sylvain follows suit with his lance, soldiering on in his explanation.

“I mean, I—I really, really like Felix. I love him, I think.”

As much as Sylvain can love anyone, anyway. He’s still not sure if he knows how to love, but if there’s one person who makes him feel like he would give them anything, give them everything, it’s Felix.

“You think.”

“I mean, I don’t just think it. Felix is—he’s, well, he’s not a nice person, and he’s sometimes kind of a slob, but he does these really endearing things, you know? Like feeding the cats when he thinks no one is looking, and always looking out for music books Annette might like, or novels for Ashe, or things for pegasus care for Ingrid. And those things, they just, I don’t know. They make me think that I can’t live without him.”

“So let me get this straight,” Glenn says, bringing his hand up to tick off Sylvain’s points against his fingers. “You’re trying to make good on a fifteen year-old promise to die together that you and Felix stupidly came up with when he was seven. You’ve spent most of the last eight years flirting with anything that moves—yes, Ingrid told me, keep your mouth shut, Gautier, I don’t want your excuses. You barely take anything seriously, and you’ve just now proven that you’re incapable of protecting yourself, let alone Felix. You’re apparently in love with him because he sometimes does nice things.”

Glenn scoffs. “And you want me to say that I’m okay with the idea of you courting him?”

Sylvain cringes at Glenn’s logic. Okay, so he already fucked it up. He fucked it up before he even opened his mouth. 

He kind of wants to leave, to run away from Glenn’s gaze peeling him apart layer by layer until nothing remains but his pitiful, putrid core. Had there been a point in trying in the first place?

He knows Felix is too good for him, knows it without Glenn having to spell it out for him, but the heart wants what it wants, right? And Felix is the best damn thing that’s ever happened to Sylvain. And if Glenn isn’t going to approve, that’s rough, but Sylvain’s not going to give up that easily.

Sylvain exhales. “Look, Glenn, I can’t make you approve of me. I want to earn your trust and your respect, but I know I have a long way to go. Hell, I know Felix can do better, but I—I love him, so if there’s even a chance that he feels the same way, I want to try.” 

Sylvain paces, agitated, unable to take his eyes off the ground and meet Glenn’s. 

“I want to be a better man for him, I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I want to give him everything he deserves, and more, even if that’s not possible, because he deserves more than what the earth can hold.” He clenches and unclenches his hands, trembling as he forces out the next words, his voice dropping to barely above a whisper. “And… and if he doesn’t feel the same way, if he thinks that he can’t ever—I’ll still do everything I can to make sure he’s happy. Because that’s what love is, right?”

Sylvain blinks back wetness as he raises his head to meet Glenn’s eyes. “I know I don’t deserve him right now, but—!” He’s not begging, he’s not pleading, he’s not, he’s not. Okay, he is. “Please, give me a chance?”

“Hmm. I don’t know, Gautier. I only have one precious baby brother, I don’t know if I can let him waste himself on you.”

The dig stings. It’s not anything Sylvain hasn’t thought before, but it’s different hearing it from someone else, someone whose approval actually matters.

“Please, Glenn! What can I do? Tell me how I can prove it.”

Glenn’s expression is unreadable. It’s not exactly empty, but there’s something smug about it, and it unnerves Sylvain a little. “Well,” he says, “It’s not up to me, is it? I’m not the person you have to convince.”

Glenn turns toward the doors, and calls out. “You can come in now.”

The doors open slowly, protesting noisily as they’re pushed. 

Felix storms his way in, red-faced and furious. The bottom of Sylvain’s stomach falls out.

The training grounds doors are thick, right? There’s no way Felix heard all of that. Oh goddess, please let Felix not have heard all of that. 

“Did you mean it?” Felix demands, marching up to Sylvain and grabbing a fistful of his collar.

“I—I…” 

Did you mean it?” Felix says again, more urgent than before. “Did you mean what you said about… about our promise, and becoming a better man, a-and about… l-love?” The last word is a whisper, almost a prayer, mumbled into the air by Sylvain’s ear.

Sylvain grabs Felix by the shoulder, bringing those brilliant amber eyes to snap back to him. “Y-yes. Yes, of course, I meant every word of it, Fe, I promise you.”

“You absolute fool,” Felix says, punching him in the gut before reaching up to haul him into a very enthusiastic and bruising kiss.

Felix kisses exactly like Sylvain thought he would—aggressive and demanding, absolutely in control and enough to make Sylvain melt with every touch. Felix’s hands find their way into Sylvain’s hair, and Sylvain’s hands maybe find their around Felix (one tangled into his ponytail and the other around his waist) and the whole thing just kind of feels like a very good fever dream. 

Sylvain’s just beginning to let his hand roam lower when a loud, annoyed cough cuts through and he jumps back, the spell broken. 

Glenn has his arms crossed and an exasperated look painted on his face where he stands, watching them. A small trickle of something that might be shame crawls down Sylvain’s back, but even that’s not enough to kill the joy and desire to kiss Felix more humming through him. Next to him, Felix is luminescent; his expression is a little bit thrilled, somewhat embarrassed, and incredibly livid.

“Keep your hands where I won’t have to cut them off, Gautier,” Glenn says casually. He turns to Felix. “Was I wrong, Lix?”

“Fuck you,” Felix spits back.

“Wow, ungrateful.”

“You, you planned—!” 

Glenn yawns. “Me. Yeah.”

Felix reaches for the sword he always keeps at his side. He looks really good with all the color in his cheeks, murderous glare notwithstanding. “You might be my brother, but I swear I will cut you down where you stand.”

Glenn laughs, waving Felix off. “You can thank me later,” he says, circling around the two of them to leave. 

“But if you two want to continue, maybe take it up to dormitories?” Glenn adds, his nose wrinkling in distaste. “If I or anyone else has to see a dick, I’m cutting off yours, Gautier.”

“Yes, sir.” Sylvain’s response is automatic, and the deference feels earned this time. He barely stops his hands from covering himself protectively. 

Glenn gives them one last look as he pulls against the door. “Well, have fun. Sylvain, sleep with one eye open.” He hums to himself as he exits. “I should go find Mercedes. She owes me twenty gold.”

The door thuds behind him and Sylvain turns to Felix.

“He was joking, right?”

“What?”

“He wouldn’t actually, you know…” Sylvain makes a cutting motion with his hand, wincing.

Felix shrugs. “I would.”

Sylvain pales. “Right.”

“It would do you good to learn how to defeat my brother. So that you don’t have to worry about those kinds of things.”

Sylvain pouts. “Won’t you protect me?”

“No.”

“Feeeeeelix!”

“No.” 

Sylvain can see one side of Felix’s mouth quirking up. Feeling daring, he loops an arm around Felix’s waist and presses a quick kiss to the smile.

“Wha—! What do you think you’re doing!” 

“I don’t know, just thought you looked cute.”

The mention of “cute” earns Sylvain another jab to the stomach. 

After a few moments to recover his breath, Sylvain drops his head to Felix’s shoulder, smiling dopily up at him. “I take it this means you love me too.”

Felix snorts. “Take what you will from it.”

“I wanna hear you say it,” Sylvain says, clinging dramatically and rubbing his cheek against Felix’s. 

“No.”

“Please, Fe?”

“…Maybe later.” 

Sylvain smiles, beatific. “Okay. Later.” He presses another peck to the corner of Felix’s mouth, lingering to let the other turn in his arms to meet him. Sylvain smiles into the kiss, blissful joy buzzing in his veins as their lips move, slow and exploring against one another, time quietly passing them. 

It’s a really nice feeling, one that Sylvain’s been desperately chasing for what feels like forever but is more realistically a couple years. 

“Is it later yet?” Sylvain asks when they pull back.

“Insatiable and impatient.”

“That’s me.”

Felix thinks for a moment. “I’ll consider it when you can defeat Glenn.” He pulls out of Sylvain’s embrace, paying no mind to Sylvain’s noise of disappointment. 

He slowly makes his way around the yard to examine the newest additions to the collection of weapons present, stopping periodically to try the few swords that have potential. “In the meantime, since we’re here, we might as well make use of it. You can practice beating Glenn by trying to win against me.” He pauses, testing one sword. “Which you won’t.”

“Wait—, Felix, no!” 

Felix lets out a barking laugh as he selects a sword. “Take your place, Sylvain. I won’t go easy on you.”

Sylvain makes a wounded noise, but heads back to the lances. 

Really, it’s just good to have Felix here next to him.