Bernadetta has never been very good at magic.
Really, she does not consider herself much good at anything, but if the professor’s words are anything to go off of, she has some talent with a bow and arrow. That is, at least, her area of study, but she has picked up a little bit of magic along the way, due to Byleth’s teaching methods, trying to let everyone have a chance to study different fields.
Her abilities in magic aside, right now, she in the library, looking for a spell that can help her out. Anyone can do magic, if they just apply themselves, and she is desperate to work out this problem as quickly as possible. With what she she wants to do, magic seems to be the only option. Well, if she wants to completely rule out murder, and right now, she is pretty sure that, as appealing as the concept may seem when she is truly desperate, that she is not the murdering sort.
Sylvain has to be dealt with, one way or another. Now that he knows such a dark secret about her, she has to find some sort of way to “burn” his memory, and though she thought that would be impossible at first, now, she is pretty sure that there has to be some sort of way, something that she can do to make him forget everything that he knows. Then, he might finally leave her alone, rather than pestering her about writing more for him.
There are a lot of interesting magical resources here, but it takes her quite a while to find anything that might be useful to her. Finally, she happens upon a spell that catches her interest, one that should save her from the torment that Sylvain has been putting her through. The spell itself claims that it will “alter the connection” between two people, replacing whatever connection previously existed. And, considering the fact that Sylvain’s only connection to her is his knowledge of her writing, then that would take care of everything.
Rather than checking out the book, she decides to copy the spell down in her notebook. Though she’s sure no one would guess what she has done, Bernadetta is still a bit paranoid about it, and would rather not take any chances. There is a reversal spell listed as well, but she doesn’t even bother copying that one down. After all, if this is successful, she knows that she never wants to go back, no matter what. Maybe there are some who might regret their decision to erase a certain connection, but when it comes to her and Sylvain, she is absolutely ready to put an end to this, before it causes her anymore stress.
Bernadetta is not the best with magic, but this seems simple enough. Once she is back in her room, she begins the preparations, not wanting to waste a single moment. All she has to do is concentrate her magic, recite the incantation, and focus solely on Sylvain, and the connection that she wants to do away with. In no time at all, it should take effect, and all will be as it was before. The only sign that it has worked will be a complete lack of contact from Sylvain, who will go back to not knowing her at all, just the way that she prefers it.
As soon as she hears his voice, she wants to curl up and cry. That’s how things have been, ever since Sylvain first found her story, but right now, it feels even worse. He wasn’t supposed to remember her, but if he’s talking to her now, just as he had been, that must mean that the magic failed, which means that Bernadetta might be out of luck, when it comes to making him forget. That’s the worst possible outcome to all of this!
At least, that’s what she thinks, until he actually reaches her. Even though she ignores him, keeping her head down and walking a little bit faster, Sylvain isn’t deterred, picking up his pace so that he can catch up to her. By the time she decides maybe it would be best to skip class and spend the day in her room, he’s already caught up to her, meaning that there’s no escape. Which is when he puts his arm around her, pulling her close to him as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Bernadetta lets out a shriek of pure terror, wrenching herself away from him and shoving him as hard as she can. A few students and other knights in the area turn to look at the two of them in confusion, the scream having done quite a bit to get their attention. For once, Bernadetta doesn’t even care about other people staring at her; the only thing that she cares about is why Sylvain is looking at her with such a strange expression on his face, and why he was so willing to casually touch her.
“Sorry, sorry,” he says, chuckling. “I forget how much it startles you when I just surprise you like that. Well, I’d tried calling out to me, but I guess you didn’t hear me.”
“Why?” she whines, not sure what else she can ask. “Why?”
“What do you mean by that? If I had to guess why you didn’t hear me, I’d say maybe you were daydreaming?” he tries, missing the point of her question completely. But he pauses for a moment, searching her face for an answer before he continues. “Unless you’re asking why I came up to you at all? But that’s a weird question. Don’t tell me you hit your head and forgot all about me, Bernie!”
“I know who you are, I just don’t know why…why…why you’re acting so familiar!”
To her surprise, Sylvain bursts out laughing, and puts his arm around her all over again, pulling her in even tighter this time, despite the way she struggles to try and get away. He treats it all like a joke, like they’re just playing some sort of game, and one that they always play, at that. She has no idea what on earth is going on right now, and this is so far removed from anything that she would have expected to happen today that it leaves her at a complete and total loss. Wasn’t he supposed to have forgotten their interactions completely? Why is he acting even more familiar with her now?
“You’re in a pretty funny mood today, huh, Bernie? Normally you don’t make this many jokes with me first thing,” he says. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were trying to pretend you don’t know me, but that’s an awfully mean thing to do to your own boyfriend.”
She just barely manages to get that out, before she faints completely.
“Really, Sylvain, you should be getting to class,” a voice says in a commanding tone. As soon as Bernadetta hears that name, she scrunches her eyes shut again. She has only just woken up, but she wants to pretend like she is asleep for as long as possible.
“I just want to make sure that she’s okay-”
“She’s going to be just fine. You standing here and fretting over her certainly isn’t going to help either way, so why waste the time you could have spent in class? I think she’d just worry about you…actually, knowing Bernadetta, she wouldn’t want to wake up to anyone waiting for her anyway.”
“I’m not just anyone, though. I’m sure you’re aware that I’m her boyfriend.”
Bernadetta has to clamp her hands over her mouth to keep herself from shrieking, hearing him say something like that out loud. It’s shocking, it’s humiliating, and it’s decidedly not true!
“No, I actually wasn’t aware of that. I had no idea that you were settling down already, Sylvain. I must say, the two of you make an…interesting couple.”
“I like to think that we bring out the best in each other,” he says, as if he’s completely oblivious to Manuela’s sarcasm. “Anyway, can you let me go see her now?”
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to at least have to check on her first, to see if she’s ready for visitors yet. Be right back, alright?” Bernadetta debates pretending to be asleep when Manuela enters the room, but Manuela quickly says something that changes her mind. “If you’re just going to pretend to sleep anyway, I can just let him get a peak at you and see that you’re still resting. Unless you really want me to stop him from coming back here?”
Opening her eyes, Bernadetta mumbles, “Please…”
“Alright. I won’t ask what’s going on between the two of you, but try and resolve it on your own.” With that, Manuela turns to go back to Sylvain, mortifying Bernadetta as she mutters, “Young love really is waste on the young.”
Fortunately, she is able to get rid of Sylvain without much trouble, but Bernadetta has no idea what she is going to do now. This is the biggest disaster that she has ever faced in her life, and she might very well remain in her room for the rest of her life, if she can even manage to get there without running into Sylvain again.
Things don’t work out for her at all. In fact, Sylvain manages to catch up to her not long after she leaves the infirmary, because of course he was looking for her. This is by far the weirdest thing that has ever happened to her, and possibly one of the more terrifying ones.
“Why do you keep following me?!” she whines, as soon as Sylvain has caught up to her.
“I’m not following you, Bernie. I’m just worried, because you passed out earlier, and I wanted to make sure that you were okay…” Sylvain cocks his head, seeming every bit as confused by her terror as she is by his…all of this.
“Why wouldn’t I be worried about you? You’re my-”
“Don’t say it! Not another word!” she cries. If she has to hear him say that one more time, she might honestly die.
“Bernie…” Now, he looks troubled. “You’re acting really serious about this. I know you’re just joking around, but when you treat me like a stranger with such a serious look on your face, it kind of stings.”
“Why are you teasing me like this?!” she snaps. Now, she is starting to get a little bit angry. It’s one thing for him to be this weird to her, but another thing entirely to act like she is the one playing a joke, when he’s the one going around calling her his girlfriend, probably as some convoluted way of making fun of her for the story. “Just because you read that story I wrote, it doesn’t give you any right!”
“Story? Wait, you write? How come I didn’t know about that about you?” Sylvain asks, and at this point, Bernadetta really wants to scream. How long is he going to keep up this cruel prank on her?
“Come on! The stupid spell was supposed to make you forget-” All at once, she realizes what must be happening here, her eyes widening.
“Spell? Bernie, no offense, but when you passed out earlier, how hard did you hit your head? Manuela did say it was okay for you to leave, right?”
Sylvain keeps talking, but she barely hears a word that he says. She could kick herself, she really could. The spell said that it would change their connection, not completely erase it, and as it turned out, it took the fact that he read her story and replaced it with the concept that the two of them are dating. All of this has happened because of her, and now she’s in an even bigger mess than she was when this started.
“I think…I think I just need to rest a little more,” she says. “Yeah, yeah, that’s it! I’m just tired and confused, that’s all!”
Sylvain doesn’t look entirely convinced, but he nods, probably hoping that the solution is as simple as that. Even though he seems crazy to her, she has to understand the fact that, from where he is standing, she is the crazy one, who doesn’t remember a relationship that, as far as he knows, she also happens to be in. The only person that she has to blame for that is herself, and so, it falls on her to set things right, before Sylvain embarrasses her further.
He walks her back to her room, making her promise to get a lot of rest, but once he leaves, she sneaks back out. She needs to get back to the library so that she can learn the reversal spell, and set things right. Though she doesn’t want him to remember her stories, she knows that would be preferable to this, and she hasn’t completely given up on trying to find a way to burn his memory. She just knows that she needs to be a lot more careful next time, but for now, she has to concentrate on fixing this.
The book isn’t there anymore, though. She double and triple checks, and even tries to think if she might have misremembered details about it, before she finally gives up and asks the librarian. Unfortunately for her, she remembered everything just fine; the book just isn’t here right now, because someone else checked it out. Someone else checked it out because she didn’t want to bring it with her last time, and didn’t bother writing anything else down because she was so sure that all of this would work out just the way that she wanted to.
The situation just keeps getting worse and worse, and no matter what the problem is, it always comes back to her. But no matter what she does to try and fix her messed up life, things just keep getting worse. If only she had been a little less careless with her notebook, then none of this would have happened in the first place.
She asks to be notified when the book comes back in, which isn’t really a system that exists, and definitely isn’t something that she would have especially requested normally, but this is an urgent situation. Because the longer this goes on, the longer Sylvain is going to think that she is his girlfriend, and there’s no way that she can keep that hidden. Manuela already thinks they’re together, so it won’t be long before they’re the talk of the school, or something.
Bernadetta is not looking forward to dealing with this, but she has limited options until she can find some way to reverse the spell. The two of them are just going to have to be a couple, as terrifying as that sounds. She just has to hope that, when the spell is lifted and things can go back to normal, Sylvain will be willing to play along with their “breakup” so that she never has to explain this mess to anyone.
The next morning, Sylvain knocks at her door, here to check on her and walk her to the dining hall for breakfast. He seems quite concerned about her little episode the day before, and Bernadetta has spent most of the night- because of course she didn’t actually get any sleep- thinking through what she is going to say, and how she is going to keep him convinced that everything is fine, by whatever his strange standards may be. She forces a smile, even though she feels like throwing up.
“It looks like you’re doing a lot better today, Bernie,” he says. “You really had me worried yesterday, you know?”
“I think I just didn’t get enough sleep,” she replies, and is glad that he seems to buy that excuse. As the two of them walk together, he falls into step beside her, and to her surprise, doesn’t pester her too much for conversation.
If not for the fact that she’s on edge, considering the whole situation and how messed up it is, this honestly would not feel all that bad. Sylvain at least seems to understand that she doesn’t like to spend a lot of time making conversation, just for the sake of filling the silence. Sometimes, it’s better to just not say anything.
It’s only when they’ve sat down to eat together- while Bernadetta tries to ignores any stares the two of them might be getting- that Sylvain speaks up, and she really wishes that he would go back to not saying anything. Looking over at her, he asks, “So what was that you were talking about yesterday? I had no idea you were into writing.”
“Oh, that? That’s just a silly hobby, that’s all! And I…and I had a weird dream about it, so I brought it up when I really had no business doing it, so, um…you can just forget all about it! Yeah!”
“I wouldn’t want to forget something like that,” Sylvain says, shaking his head. “You know, even if you think it’s just a silly hobby, you can always share it with me.”
Bernadetta hates the way his words make her heart skip a beat. Of course, it makes sense that a natural womanizer would have all the right lines to make it impossible for her to keep her head on straight, especially when he genuinely believes that she’s his girlfriend. She just needs to be more prepared for that sort of thing, so that it doesn’t get to her in the future.
“Come on, I’m not even any good at-”
“You say that about a lot of things, and usually, you end up way better than you give yourself credit for,” he interrupts. “You don’t have to show me now, or ever, if it really bothers you that much. But promise me that you’ll think about it?”
It’s got to just be the spell. That, and Bernadetta has no actual standards for a boyfriend, because she has never been in any sort of relationship at all before. That is the only reason why she can’t stop swooning over how understanding he is being. How he manages to both take an interest in what she does but also respect her boundaries, in a way that makes him seem so interested in anything that she could possibly do, while also not disappointed when she is not able to share as much as he may want her to, and still not growing bored with her, in the end.
It’s just the magic. There’s no way that it could be anything else, no way that Sylvain, of all people, would be this perfect for her, if only he gave her a chance. For one thing, she’s barely spent any time with him since finding out the truth, so she can’t actually know that he’s perfect for her. She’s just assuming that because she has no real standards to set. For another thing, it just wouldn’t make sense for him to be such a good fit, but it would make sense for a spell that could alter their relationship this much to also be capable of altering him, to make sure that he suits all of her needs. That does make sense, doesn’t it?
Sure, it never specified that it would create a relationship between the two of them, but still. It makes perfect sense to her that, whatever false connection the spell would create, it would certainly try and create the most perfect version. There would be no point otherwise, right?
“Sorry, did I overwhelm you? I really wasn’t trying to put any pressure on you,” Sylvain says, snapping her out of her thoughts. She really wishes that he would stop being so considerate, so that she might have the chance to think rationally.
“It’s fine, nothing to worry about. I think I’m just still sleepy,” she lies. Anything to get him to stop asking about her writing, because, if she is going to have to deal with this mishap, she might as well be allowed to enjoy the only positive.
“Alright, if you say so. But if you need to talk about anything, just let me know, okay? That’s what I’m here for.” As he speaks, he gives her a gentle smile, the sort that could absolutely make her heart melt, if she weren’t guarding against that sort of thing by now.
Still, it’s a very close call, and Bernadetta has no idea how she is going to get through this alive.
Needless to say, the biggest commotion comes when they get to class, and Sylvain sits down next to her, like he’s been sitting next to her ever since she transferred into the Blue Lions class. Ingrid, sitting in front of them, turns around to give him a long look, and Bernadetta sinks down into her seat.
“You two sure seem chummy,” she finally says. She is used to Sylvain’s tricks by now, but anyone would be concerned to see him with Bernadetta, so go figure. For a moment, she wishes that she were a bit more outgoing, just so that it would not be seen as all that strange for her to sit with someone like Sylvain.
“I’m just looking after her,” he says. “After she passed out yesterday, I’ve been pretty worried.”
“Yeah, you were beside yourself yesterday,” Ingrid agrees, sounding that much more suspicious. “I honestly didn’t know you two were that close.”
“Oh, well, you know-” Bernadetta starts, but Sylvain cuts in before she can think of anything.
“If you’re that oblivious, then I don’t know what to tell you,” he says with a shrug. “I mean, it kind of makes sense for me to be close to my girlfriend?”
Ingrid’s eyes widen at his words, and, much to Bernadetta’s horror, she looks to her, as if expecting her to say something that might clear this up. She shrinks down a little bit more, but forces herself to speak up. The less people know the truth, the better, and so, she says, “That’s right…me and Sylvain are…”
“That’s new.” Ingrid doesn’t look like she believes this at all, and even looks like she feels sorry for Bernadetta. But as long as neither of them will back down, there’s not much she can do about that. Sylvain assumes that she’s trying to mess with him, so he laughs off her response.
Once Ingrid knows about it, it doesn’t take long for it to spread, and by the end of the day, Bernadetta is painfully aware of way too many people keep looking at the two of them. In fact, the only person that doesn’t give her any reason to feel anxious right now is Sylvain, who just works beside her, occasionally leaning over to whisper to her, but even then, it’s often to just make a joke about something said during lecture. Those moments, once she gets used to them, honestly help her relax a bit, in the midst of all this attention that she is not eager to receive.
He eats the rest of his meals with her that day, and walks her back to her room that evening, and by the end of the day, Bernadetta is sure that there’s no one in all of Garreg Mach who doesn’t know about the two of them. This is going to be difficult to deal with once this whole mess is done with, and she really can’t wait for that time to come.
Still, she is at least glad that pretending to be Sylvain’s girlfriend is not all that difficult, beyond everyone watching them like they’re some kind of circus attraction. Namely, the way that he treats her makes it a lot easier to handle, and when she settles in for the night, she even catches herself thinking that, if she were going to date someone, Sylvain might not actually be all that bad.
As soon as that thought enters her head, she can feel her face practically catch on fire, and she has no choice but to shake her head as vigorously as possible, to try and push that notion out forever. As if she could think of someone like Sylvain as a good boyfriend! He’s only like this right now because of the magic, obviously, but the real Sylvain is mean and teases her about her writing, and is a total flirt, so there’s no way she could trust him, not even for a moment!
At least, she’s pretty sure the spell would be the only reason he’s being this nice to her. She isn’t sure how much of his behavior it would actually change, but there’s no way that he would treat her like this. That would mean that the whole time he wanted to talk about her story, it only meant that he was curious about her, and that all the times he’s tried to talk to her were just because he wanted to get to know her, not because he’s some villain, intent on ruining her life, or a fiendish player, eager to chew her up and spit her out due to her lack of experience. But surely she didn’t misjudge him that much.
Sylvain remains entirely himself, except for the way that he treats Bernadetta, and the fact that he doesn’t flirt like he used to. His personality is no different from how she remembers it, so she supposes that this is how he would have acted, if he had legitimately settled down with a girlfriend. When she thinks about it that way, it’s hard not to feel a little bit proud of herself that he’s like that with her, but then she reminds herself that this is only because she had to cast that stupid spell, and that he doesn’t actually like her. Even if this is the real him, even if she doesn’t mind spending this time with him, it can’t last, because it isn’t real.
It does last for a week, though, but just when she’s starting to give up hope, she sees the book. Annette left it on her desk, forgetting it when she leaves class, and Bernadetta nearly jumps out of her skin when she sees it, before hurrying to grab it. As long as she gets to class early on tomorrow, she can put it back where it was, and Annette will be none the wiser, but now that she has access to the spell that she needs, this whole nightmare is over.
For just a moment, she feels a pang of disappointment, and even the urge to leave the book where she found it, but she pushes that out of her mind. Right now, the most important thing is to set Sylvain free, and face the consequences of what she’s done.
“Please stop looking at me like that,” Bernadetta whines. Sylvain hasn’t said much since she cast the reversal spell and blurted out a rushed explanation for what has happened. All he’s really done so far is confirm that he remembers the time that he spent, believing her to be his girlfriend, and that he also remembers what came before, the discovery of her writing that led to this mess in the first place.
Besides that, all that he has done is smirk.
“I’m sorry, I know it’s not funny for you, but it’s kind of funny for me,” he says. As much as she hates that answer, she knows that it’s a lot better than him being mad at her for what she’s done, which she was fully expecting.
“If you want to get revenge on me,” she says, defeated, “then you can go ahead and tell everyone about my stupid story. After what I’ve done, I deserve that much humiliation.”
“Revenge? Come on, Bernie, don’t you think that’s a little much? It’s not like you actually did anything to hurt me. If anything, now my reputation might change a little bit, since I actually had a girlfriend for a little while.” He gives her a wink, and she would shriek at him in protest to hide the way that it makes her heart race, but she’s too surprised to bother with such a response.
“You’re not mad at me for it?”
“Like I said, you didn’t do anything to really hurt me, and you tried to fix it as fast as you can. It was just a mistake, and you only made it because I teased you a little too much. I really did like what I read, and I promise, I’m never going to tell anyone anything that you don’t want me to,” he says. “We can just go back to how things were before…oh, but you said we probably need to break up, right? So no one else learns about this whole mess?”
“That’s right,” she says, ignoring the weird twinge she feels in her chest when he brings up their “break up.” “It’s up to you how you want to do it, though.”
“Is that right? Well, then, I think I have an idea,” Sylvain says. Something about the look on his face tells her that this is going to be trouble, but whatever he suggests, and despite what he said about her just making a mistake, she knows that she deserves it. She owes it to him, to do whatever he wants her to do.
“What is it?”
“How about we keep pretending for just a little while longer?” he suggests. “We can just play like we’re starting to drift apart, and then it will look completely natural when we break up. I mean, it’s already probably weird to everyone that we were just suddenly together and completely smitten last week, so it would be weirder if we abruptly broke up this week. A little more time could help with that.”
As much as she gets what he’s saying, she’s really not sure if she can take even another day of just pretending to be his girlfriend, at least not without finally admitting to herself why it bothers her so much. However, she already knows what she deserves, so she says, “Yeah, we can do that.”
“Great! But, you know, if you end up falling for me and decide that you want to make it real, we can always give that a try,” he teases. When her mouth falls open in shock, he adds, “Don’t worry, I’m just kidding! I mean, unless you don’t want me to be…”
Once again, Sylvain is responsible for Bernadetta having to be taken to the infirmary, due to fainting.