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The Ride

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Chapter 1 – A Fool

~Imperial Year 1180~

“You… are a freaking fool, Sylvain,” Felix grumbled – loudly – after yet another battle in the name of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus. He knew not how, but he found himself – and a rather annoyed Sylvain – in Sylvain’s room as the raven-haired teen shut the door.

“Oh, no,” Sylvain didn’t sound too impressed with Felix’s tone of voice. “What did I do this time?”

“Cut the crap, you know full well what you did. You’re so weak, and yet you always… always…”

“Protecting you?”

Felix felt his usual poker face start to fall, prompting Sylvain to smile. “You know, seeing you like that, I almost want to give you a hug. Almost.”

Sylvain could feel his heart lighten from those words. “Come on, Felix,” Sylvain protested. “Tell me again you wanted a hug. I liked it.”

“…” Without another word or another look at Sylvain, Felix pulled the other young man into a hug.

“Um, Felix?” Sylvain didn’t know what to make of the normally aloof Felix’s sudden boldness, as delighted as he felt with the other young man so close to him.

“Is this what you like?” Felix’s muffled breath came out from Sylvain’s shirt.

“ ‘Is this what I like?’ ” Sylvain’s annoyance gradually rose. “What the hell kind of question is that?”

Felix took strong offence to Sylvain’s tone of voice, and merely scowled in response.

“Why are you playing with my heart like this?” Sylvain whined. “When I…”

“What are you going on abo-” It was just that that the meaning of Sylvain’s words had hit Felix. “…So you actually love ME – not all those women you claim to love.”

“…” Sylvain did not respond with words, only an awkward stare to the ground.

“Tch. And you only used those women as a ruse to cover up your feelings.” Felix snarled as he made his way out of Sylvain’s room. “You’re disgusting. I better be heading off to my appointment with Claude. I don’t want to tell him I’ve been late because of a lazy fuck like you.”

When Felix had completely left the room, he left Sylvain in there with only his confused thoughts. “Geez, Felix… I always knew you were cold, but… My dude, you have taken it way too far this time.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 2 – The Golden Deer

~Imperial Year 1181~

Sylvain had woken up extra early to go to class this morning. “Why… Just… Why,” he moaned with a groggy head as he trudged out the door, barely remembering to put his blazer on. In his mind, he knew why. Felix had been distancing himself more and more each day from Sylvain – and hanging out more with students from other houses. He especially didn’t like his apparent newfound friendship with Claude.

“Yes, why?” Ingrid has waited just outside the Blue Lions classroom, and had noticed the bad mood Sylvain had been in.

“My head hurts, too..” Sylvain groaned as he sat in his seat, waiting for Manuela to show up. “It’s all that… that… dickhead’sfault.”

“Sylvain, you know that’s just how Felix is.” Ingrid took a seat beside her childhood friend. “How are you not used to it by now?”

“So you knew…” Sylvain groaned even more loudly and put his head on his desk.

“Well, what did he do this time?”

Sylvain noticed that other kids started to file into the classroom. He should have known that Annette would be early to class. “I’d rather not talk about it. Especially since Professor Manuela is almost here. And probably the Felix himself.”

Ingrid had known her friend long enough to know what he really meant. She could tell from his body language – and reddened ears – just what Felix had done. “If it’s stopped you from hitting on all those innocent women, then so much the better.”

Before Ingrid could continue, Manuela had unexpectedly arrived earlier than usual, impressed that her students had come earlier than her. “Good job, everyone, you are all here – and so early, no less! Let’s get started, then!”

As Manuela set up the chalkboard and her students got out their notebooks, Sylvain looked around, noticing something amiss. Just as Manuela was about to begin her lecture, Sylvain interrupted, “Pardon me, Professor Manuela? Felix isn’t here.”

“Oh, that reminds me. Before I begin, I have to make an announcement. As of yesterday, Felix is now in the Golden Deer class.”

This announcement drew numerous gasps from the Blue Lion class. “What? Why?” Ashe couldn’t believe it. “I saw him training with His Highness every day last week.”

“I would know,” Dedue cut in. “Why he would suddenly go to a different class – led by a much laxer leader than His Highness – I will never understand.”

“I think it’s my fault…” Mercedes sounded downtrodden. “It’s because I forced all those sweets on him, isn’t it? I wish I had known he didn’t like them.”

“All right, all right, everyone.” Dimitri, as head of house, stood up before the distress in the room got out of control. “I know you’re all upset that Felix is no longer with us, but it’s in the past.” He then gestured to a few more students in the room. “In better news, we have a few new students – Raphael and Lysithea from the Golden Deer house and Linhardt and Dorothea from the Black Eagle house – starting today.”

When the classroom had finally returned to peace – and Dorothea had her chance to gawk at Manuela and chat with her – Sylvain had picked the wrong time to say, “Why? Why, Professor?”

“He told me he wanted to talk more with Claude and focus on tactics.” Manuela sighed and knit her eyebrows.

“Which is really weird.” Linhardt didn’t look up from the desk on which he had planted his face. “Felix struck me more as a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ kind of guy. Why would he suddenly be interested in ‘tactics?’”

“I agree,” Manuela replied. “I was against it, at first, but first and foremost – Hey, Sylvain, where are you going?”

“To find my friend, what else?”

“It would do you no good,” Dimitri spoke up. “The Golden Deer have their own mission today. I believe it’s to subdue an uprising in Gaspard territory.”

Ashe sighed at this news. “I’m glad that that is not our mission. I couldn’t face Lord Lonato… Not like this.”

Sylvain breathed an even heavier sigh as he reluctantly sat down and took notes from Manuela’s lecture – today and the day after. And the day after that. And many more after that. The heir to House Gautier had already begun to worry less about his studies and more about Felix’s whereabouts. Nobody took note of this fact except from Manuela, who after one particularly rough day had stopped Sylvain after class. “Hey.”

Sylvain instantly froze. “Oh, no… Professor, am I in trouble? I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping my grades up…”

“No, it’s not that… It’s just… What’s troubling you?”

“Damn, you noticed.”

“Let’s me guess, it has to do with Felix.” Manuela’s tone turned more grave. “He… may not be coming back. Since he’s with the Alliance now, it’s likely he could have gotten caught in one of their arguments.”

After several moons of waiting, Sylvain was too tired; he had already begun to accept this fate. “I guess…”

“You’ve got your friends to support you. His Highness is a good man. And just know that I will never, ever abandon you.”

For once, Sylvain completely ignored Manuela’s charms and paid attention only to her words. “Thank you.”

After Manuela had finally left, he continued, “And if that bastard dared to leave me, he deserves whatever comes to him.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 3 – I’ll Wait

“Splendid!” Manuela could not resist the urge to gush over her student. “I think I’ll vote for the Blue Lion House. Erm, not that I have preferential treatment towards my own house.”

Sure you didn’t…Shamir wanted to say, but instead said, “I will vote for the Blue Lion House, too. Your display was stunning, Sylvain.”

“Well, then it’s obvious who wins the White Heron Cup,” Alois began. “It’s the Blue Lion House!”

“Thank you, thank you. Ladies, calm down – there’s plenty of me to go around!”

So spoke Sylvain as he triumphantly strutted towards the ballroom – and towards Edelgard.

“Oh, Sylvain.” Edelgard, as sharp as ever, noticed Sylvain easily. “Just so you know, I have danced plenty tonight.”

“Oh, noo… Nothing like that.” Sylvain backed off, no longer intending to hit on Edelgard.

“Oh? You’re not hitting on girls for a change? Then, what is it? Do you want to join my house? I would need to get Professor Hanneman’s permission, but…”

“No, it’s not that, either. It’s just…” Sylvain looked around before lowering to a whisper. “I don’t suppose Claude and the rest of the Golden Deer will be showing up for the ball?”

“As far as I know, they’re still on their mission.” Edelgard’s gaze drifted to a group of students, at the center of which stood a smiling Raphael. “But some students either chose not to go or were sent back here.”

“So you’re saying some of them might be here?” Sylvain felt as excited as a puppy.

“I’m not sure exactly whom. Go ask Raphael.”

With a bow, Sylvain took his leave to said group, but before he could get a word in, Raphael shoved a large slice of chocolate cake in his face.

“Good, eh?” Raphael laughed while stuffing his own face with meat pies.

“Mm-huh!” Sylvain ate as fast as he could before saying, “Say, do you know where Felix is? He’s in your class, yes?”

“Not anymore. I transferred to your house, remember?”

“Oh…” Sylvain felt awkward. “But hey, you’ll never know! Knowing him, though, he’s probably hiding in some obscure place right now.”

“‘Obscure place…’” Sylvain thought aloud. “‘Obscure place…’ The Goddess Tower! Thanks, Raphael! I know where I’m going now!”

As he watched Sylvain run off, Raphael spoke quietly, “Why would Sylvain want to meet Felix in the Goddess Tower? Unless…”

When he had finally reached it – a quiet, romantic place called the Goddess Tower – Sylvain stopped running to stare into the starry sky. And it was just then that Sylvain remembered the legends of the place.

“Heh…” Sylvain sat down, in full view of the moonlight. For a time, he heard nothing except for the distant giggling of the ball-goers and quiet wind rustling the flowers. “I was stupid to think that he would ever come to a place like this.”

From his pocket, Sylvain retrieved a small toy lance – one that Felix had made for Sylvain when they were small children. At this point, he started to shake, despite how temperate the weather was. “I’m… I’m stupid… for still thinking he would come.”

Feeling even more heartbroken now, Sylvain assumed a fetal position, clutching the lance close to his chest. “But I’ll wait…” his voice trailed off as he began to cry. “I’ll wait as long as it takes.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 4 – Clash at Gronder Field

“Sylvain…” Felix had arrived at the apex of the stairs of the Goddess Tower – just before Sylvain had fallen asleep. “Good, that moron hasn’t arrived yet.”

“Huh?” Sylvain slowly began to sit up. “There’s only one person who would call me a moron with that tone of voice, and that’s-”

“Well, let’s see if the legends are true… Not that I believe in fate or anything.” Felix spoke as he started to walk towards the balcony, still unaware that Sylvain was present. “…I guess they’re not, or else Sylvain would have come. Then again, he’s probably too dense to remember – in more than one sense.”

Sylvain had chosen that moment to make his presence known. “Excuse me? I’m not dense!”

“Erk!” Felix sharply turned around. “I mean… Of course you are. Your grades have been slipping because you can’t be bothered to stop hitting on women.”

“I haven’t been attending classes that much lately, I’ll give you that. But more importantly… What do you mean ‘in more than one sense?’”

“N-Not telling.” It was then that Felix had taken note of that old toy lance. “So… So you still have it, I see. Good.”

“Felix… Come on, I’m being serious for once. And don’t think I don’t know what it means for two people to meet in the Goddess Tower.” Sylvain got even closer, running a hand through Felix’s hair. “I know you I hurt you and I’m sorry. But I love you and I… well, it’s the first time I’ve ever truly been in love. I didn’t know what else to say at the time.”

“No, I’m the one who should be sorry.” Felix finally managed to look Sylvain in the eyes. “I hurt  you even more, just walking out on you like that. But now… But now… I can say that… Sylvain…”

“Yes?” Sylvain sounded hopeful.

For some odd reason, Felix’s voice quickly began to sound different. “Sylvain! Sylvain!”

~Imperial Year 1186~

“Sylvain, wake up, you fucking idiot!” Before Sylvain could discern who spoke to him – or even before he could fully awake – a hard slap to the face by a lance had woken him up. “Goddess, if I had woken you up but half an hour later, you would be riddled with arrows right now.”

“Oh… Your Highness?” Sylvain arose, using the Lance of Ruin as a crutch. “I… I…”

“No excuses! The enemy is almost here!”

Ugh, not another dream… Sylvain groaned. And one that is conveniently interrupted by His Highness, no less. Why is it that all of my dreams are interrupted just when things are getting juicy?

“This is it, Gronder Field…” Claude stared upon the vast empty space between him and his enemies. “Hard to believe that just five years ago, we fought here in a mock battle.”

“Except this is no mere mock battle.” Edelgard noted. “This is for a unified Fódlan.”

“Ha! A unified Fódlan, you say,” Dimitri scoffed. “I’m not going to fall for that, you wench. Unified under your disgusting rule, maybe. I’ll not let you leave this battlefield with your head! Troops, advance!”

With that angry order, Dimitri led his army at full charge, eyes only on Edelgard.

“So…” Felix, who had remained faithful to the Alliance all these years, stared at Dimitri during his charge. “That’s the boar prince.”

Drawing his blade, Felix’s face contorted as he, too, charged at Dimitri. “I’ll kill you!”

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, m’dear, spoke an old but familiar voice from behind Felix – and with it, a swift blow of the lance.

“Try me, you-” Felix stopped mid sentence as he parried this attack and came face-to-face with his attacker – and the Lance of Ruin.

“It… It’s can’t be…” Sylvain eased up on his attack, giving Felix a golden opportunity to continue his own.

“Hmph!” Felix smirked at Sylvain’s foolishness as he slashed at the redhead’s unprotected arm. “Good for nothing then, good for nothing now.”

“And you…” Sylvain had barely enough energy to parry Felix’s attacks. “Rotten asshole then, rotten asshole now.”

Felix took a brief pause, apparently hurt by Sylvain’s words. When his resolve returned, however, the force behind his blows grew ever stronger. “ME?! You’re the one who broke my heart five years ago and I’M the rotten asshole?!”

At this point, Sylvain didn’t feel a need to continue his assault, for he could sense – and see – Felix’s unwillingness to fight. “Y-You? But… You were the one who broke my heart.”

It was at this point that Felix threw the Sword of Zoltan on the ground in disgust. “Dammit, Sylvain, don’t you know me well enough by now? You know I can’t express myself very well! Even back then, I… I couldn’t…”

Not caring that people around them were dying left and right, Sylvain cast the Lance of Ruin down and slowly approached Felix. “You couldn’t what?”

Felix subconsciously started to cry, and tried in vain to shake it off. “S-Sylvain… Don’t… We’re in a battle. On opposite sides, if I might remind you.”

“Felix, do you remember the promise we made when we were kids? About us dying together?”

“I remember something to that effect, yes.”

Sylvain then decided to pull the other man into a hug and continued. “I’m not going to break that promise, not for the world. Because I love you more than anything – or anyone – else in all the world.”

“Sylvain… So do I.”

Sylvain loosened his hug but did not let go. “What did you say?”

“I’m not repeating myself, you half-wit. I couldn’t back then, but… but now…” Felix felt too embarrassed to speak but would regret it all the more if he didn’t speak now. “I… I… Oh, forget it!”

Sill feeling at a loss for words, Felix let the sudden kiss he gave Sylvain speak for itself.

“Dear goddess, Sylvain!” Felix’s tears started again. “Do you have… any fucking idea how much I’ve missed you?! I… I… I wish I didn’t leave.”

“But it’s not too late.” Sylvain looked at his new boyfriend. “Come join us. Your classmates miss you.”

“And I’m sure Mercedes would be more than happy to cure that wound the Sword of Zoltan gave you,” Felix half-heartedly chuckled.

As the two men shared these tender moments, the crown prince of Faerghus couldn’t help but overhear – even from a very far distance. “Tch.” He raised the lance Areadbhar. “Like hell I’ll welcome back a traitor.”

Dimitri took advantage of the usually undistracted Felix and charged at him with Areadbhar – and with his loyal subject Dedue covering him.

“Felix…” Luckily for Sylvain, he snapped out of his romantic daze just in time – enough to notice a horde of Faerghus soldiers coming at him with Dimitri leading the charge. “Felix! Watch out!”

Felix was so caught in the moment that he didn’t believe he was in any real danger – until he suddenly felt a lot of warm, wet blood all over his clothes. Not really caring if it was his own blood, the pain-struck face of Sylvain made his heart ache. “Sylvain!”

“Heh, heh…” Sylvain tried to laugh off the giant gashes on his back, but knew his time of consciousness was short. “Guess I should have been paying more attention… You’re right, Felix… I guess I am… *cough* a good-for-nothing.

“Hell yeah, you are!” Feeling empowered by his anger, Felix hoisted Sylvain onto his back, cutting down several enemies on his way to the Alliance’s medic tent.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5 - A Diversion

Luckily avoiding those trying to kill himself or Sylvain, Felix had finally made it to the Alliance’s medic tent – only to find it full to capacity with half-dead soldiers and not enough healers. “Damn! What… What am I…? Guess I have no-”

“Choice? Yes, you do,” Lorenz cut in, “and that choice is to stay here.”

“You out of your mind?” Felix retorted. “I’m not going to wait here for Sylvain to die!”

“G-Go… back…” Sylvain muttered without lifting his head up.

“What?”

“To…To the Kingdom’s tent…” were Sylvain’s last words before completely passing out.

“He’s right, you know,” Ignatz spoke up while tending to a heavily injured and unconscious Hilda. “With how Sylvain is right now, Claude would… uh… probably not appreciate it if he found him here, even if we did have space.”

“But how do you expect me – an Alliance soldier, mind you – to make it there without getting killed?”

It was at this point that Lorenz stood up and said, “I’ll cover for you.”

“How do you mean?”

“I know Claude better than anyone else in this army. I’ll create a diversion while you do your business.”

“And I know Claude well enough to where he wouldn’t be stupid enough to fall for something like that.” Felix began to stomp off, making Ignatz visibly nervous.

“Honey, just trust me on this.” Without another word, Lorenz finished treating his last patient and walked out the tent, with a curious Felix observing from inside.

Having barely dodged an arrow from Failnaught, Lorenz did not take long to locate his leader. “Claude, I have just finished treating all of my patients and Ignatz is almost done, too.”

“Thank you, Lo- Whoa!” Claude pulled back his wyvern in time to dodge a javelin. “Excellent. Today’s a good day to put the Axe of Ukonvasara to good use.”

“Especially right…” Lorenz noticed a golden spear coming from behind Claude, and managed to block it, “…now.”

“Move!” Dimitri angrily pushed back with Areadbhar, moving Lorenz only about a centimeter. “I need to kill… her!”

Felix took this opportunity to start moving, which thankfully Lorenz noticed. “You need to calm down, you boar.”

“How dare you!” Dimitri tried to kick Lorenz in the shins. “Your strength is, like, 20!” You can’t beat me, so give up! Just like that traitor, Felix.”

Claude then decided to join in the fight, shooting an arrow so close to Dimitri that it cut off some of his hair. “I can assure you that that future Duke Fraldarius is having much more fun with us than he did with you. And maybe you will too! Come on, why don’t we join forces and take down the Empire together?”

“And fall for one of your schemes along the way? No way, you oaf.” Dimitri took the arrow that nearly hit him and threw it – along with a thrust of Areadbhar – back at Claude. “You missed, in case you haven’t noticed.”

Felix got so sick of seeing his friend-turned-enemy act ravenous - even more than he had remembered - that he had the urge to throw the Sword of Zoltan at him full force. Not wanting to blow his cover, however, he kept his sword sheathed. “You got that one right, Claude. Heh.”

So were Felix’s last words before he headed to the tent, with only Mercedes and Annete inside.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6 – Don’t

“Oh, Felix!” None was more surprised at this sudden “intrustion” than Mercedes. “Um… You might now want to be here.”

“She’s right, you know.” Annette hummed nervously as she tended to a younger patient. “Thanks a lot for betraying your old classmates, by the way.”

“If you’re really that upset about me being here, then you can just kill me now,” Felix spoke nonchalantly as he set Sylvain down on an empty bed.

As her patient left the tent, ready to fight, Annette could only glare at Felix in response.

“What, you can’t even do your job and kill your enemies?”

It was this line that inspired both Annette and Mercedes to rush to Sylvain’s side and begin treating him.

“But you’re not an enemy, Felix!” Mercedes insisted with tears. “How could you say that?”

“I’m not going to kill you,” Annette declared, shaking at first, but then went on much more confidently, “Not even if His Highness ordered me to.”

Felix blushed for a spell with a ridiculous smile on his face, then returned with his usual scowl. “Er… Well, thanks for risking so much for us. You guys can go out there and fight whomever you want. I’ll take over from here.”

“But… But Felix…” Mercedes stuttered.

Taking a roll of gauze and wrapping it around Sylvain’s arm, Felix continued, “Go or who knows what the boar prince will do to you.”

“I-If you insist.” So were Mercedes’ last words before they rushed out the tent and started hurling Wind spells at their foes.

“Man…” Felix sighed, resting after Sylvain had stabilized. “What is Mercedes, my mother?”

“No, she thinks of you as a little brother,” came a laughing voice from the bed next to Felix.

“S-Sylvain!” Felix barely held back his arm, wanting to throw a pillow at his boyfriend. “Get some sleep, dammit! You need to heal.”

“That’s what I’m doing. Talking to the man I love is the best form of healing.”

“I guess you’re right.” Felix, having conceded that Sylvain would not rest any time soon, scooted a bit closer to him. “Say… What do you think is going to happen to us now?

“I know His Princeliness will probably kill us both on sight, that’s what will happen.” Sylvain’s happy tone went away for a minute.

“Then I’ll have to kill him first.”

“Can’t kill him if you’re dead.” Sylvain took a brief pause to look at the foggy sky through the small hole in the roof and gather his thoughts. “You know… maybe it’s for the best that he dies. He’s gone out of control, being so fixated on killing Edelgard and all.”

“Tch. And you just now figured that out? If only my father could have the same mind as you. His blind obedience to that boar makes me sick.”

“…Then I’ll just join the Alliance already so ‘that boar’ will die faster.”

Felix finally cracked a smile. “…And then we can fuck each other to our hearts’ content.”

Sylvain immediately shut up. “What did you say?”

Felix immediately regretted what he said and now refused to look at Sylvain. “Forget it! I… I totally don’t want you balls deep in me right now.”

“Man, oh man…” Despite how he was weaker than usual, Sylvain had strength enough to pull Felix on to him and keep him there. “You’re cute when you talk like that.”

“Excuse me?!” Felix’s face and voice wanted to resist but his body did not. “A-And anyway…”

“What, you want your wished fulfilled?” Sylvain chuckled, grabbing Felix’s ass. “Because I will gladly oblige by that.”

“Sylvain…” Felix stared at his injured boyfriend. “You’re crazy! We can’t… not in the condition you’re in.”

“But we can in the position I’m in – if you ride me.” Sylvain winked.

“You sneaky son of a…” Felix began before Sylvain put a finger to his lips.

“Hey. If I can survive what I did out there, I can survive this. What, you don’t believe me?”

“…Hmph. You’re just like that boar, Dimitri. You never know when to give up.”

Sylvain pulled his boyfriend closer as he undid the black ponytail. “No, I’m way better and you know it.”

His mind totally charged by Sylvain’s words, Felix let his hand wander over Sylvain’s body, lower and lower, until it grazed over the redhead’s erection. “This is way better too, I’ll give you that.” Felix’s caresses started out gentle, but as he freed Sylvain’s cock from his pants, he began to pump it.

“Goddess, Felix,” Sylvain moaned, clenching onto Felix’s long hair with both hands. “You… You waste no time, do you?”

Sylvain dared not say anymore as within a mere few minutes, he felt ready to come. As much as he wanted to return the favour – as much as he wanted to engulf Felix’s cock in his mouth – all he could do was shove the other man’s head as far as he could while he climaxed.

“Felix…” Sylvain breathed out weakly. “Felix…”

“What?” Felix’s usual irritated tone began to wane.

The minute Sylvain’s stamina returned, he took Felix’s cock into his uninjured hand. “My turn.”

“Are you… really sure you can afford to do that? Are you strong enough?”

“‘Course I can.” Sylvain’s snicker sounded much slier than usual. “Because I’ll need to be to get a tough guy like you to come.”

As Sylvain proceeded to have his way with him, Felix’s usual stiff demeanour became more tender – albeit slowly – and he dared not to show it on his face, but rather in his actions as he sucked on Sylvain’s neck and stroked his cock. Sylvain knew – he could tell form Felix’s sultry look – that the heir of Fraldarious was ready and wanting. “Then make me untough, hotshot.”

“With pleasure.” Sylvain seized Felix’s ass with both hands, so ready to plunge his cock into it, but having too much fun teasing his boyfriends to do that just yet. So instead, he sucked on three fingers, then stuck them up the other man’s hole. “G-Good fucking goddess, Sylvain!” Felix whimpered as the future Margrave Gautier had instantly hit his sweet spot. “Just… Just…”

After a few seconds of preparing Felix for what was to come, Sylvain finished the sentence, “‘Do me already?’ Good. Because that was just what I had planned next.”

Not even the incoming pain and pleasure could break Felix as Sylvain slammed his cock into the raven-haired man. Felix knew, though, that his resolve would not last long as while binding Sylvain to the bed, Felix began to ride the other man. “Felix…” Sylvain smirked as, for now, he let Felix do all the work. “You can let yourself go, you know.”

“N-Never…” Felix’s face contorted for a spell. “I’m not… giving in… hah… to you.”

It was this phrase that spurred Sylvain to bend his knees off of the bed, and drive his cock even further in. “You will… now.”

Like emotional tears, try as he might to hold it back, Felix could no longer hold on and rapidly began to unwind. “Syl…vain…”

“Yes…” Sylvain got a thrill out of seeing his boyfriend in this way. “Go on… You know you want to.”

“You… dick…” Felix could already feel himself oh so close to climax. “I’m…”

Sylvain, too, felt close as he spoke, “I want you… to come all over me… I want to see your sexy face while you do it.”

With a characteristic, guttural growl, Felix threw his head back, letting Sylvain’s orgasm spur his own. “Sylvain! Fuck!”

“Heh…” Sylvain laughed softly as he rode out his orgasm. Not long after pulling out, he laid the both of them on the bed and spoke, “I knew it. I knew I could break you.”

By that point, Felix had run out of insults, and could only say, “Sylvain, I…”

“Hm?” Sylvain was alarmed at Felix’s sudden sad tone, and held a trembling hand to his face.

“Don’t…” Sylvain could feel one of Felix’s tears. “Don’t you dare do anything that fucking stupid again.”

Sylvain calmed the crying with a kiss. “I promise. I love you too fucking much to leave you – now or ever.”

“Me too, Sylvain… Me too.”

Chapter Text

 Chapter 7 – The Duke and the Margrave

“D-Damn… you…” Edelgard had little strength of her own, and now relied only on Aymr – and her vassal Hubert – to keep herself up. “Hubert, we will retreat to Enbarr for the time being.”

“A wise decision, Your Majesty.” Hubert did not have a particularly strong build, but for his liege, he had strength enough to move her and her heavy armour.

“You will not,you wench!” Dimitri declared – proudly and viciously – while in hot pursuit of Edelgard. “You’ll fall dead before you so much as leave this field!”

Luckily for Edelgard, Hubert had whisked the emperor far enough away before Dimitri had noticed the retreat of the Adrestian army. Adding to their fortunes was a young girl – of whom nobody knew the name – frantically running towards an unaware Dimitri.

“Oh, Your Highness, thank you so much for helping me!”

Still in his fit of anger, Dimitri didn’t notice the girl, not even when she got within arms’ reach. But to his fortune, there was someone who did – and this person was wise enough to know the seemingly innocent girl’s true intentions, taking the sword strike in Dimitri’s place. “Your Highness, watch out!”

“What… Who?” Dimitri slowly turned around to find that Rodrigue – the overbearing Duke of Fraldarius – had taken the hit. “Rodrigue!”

Before Dimitri could fully comprehend the current event, Byleth impaled the young girl with the Sword of the Creator, and instantly she fell dead.

“Professor…” By this point, Dimitri’s rabid tone of voice had faded. “Thank you… I owe you my life.”

He then turned his attention to the dying Rodrigue. “Rodrigue… You damned fool. There was no need to go this far for a… boar like me.”

“Your Highness… Thank the goddess… that Faerghus’ last ray of hope… still lives…”

“I am no ray of hope… I’m just an empty shell where a man used to be,” Dimitri spoke with tears and a shaking voice. “I don’t understand why anyone would believe in a lost cause like me.”

Rodrigue used what little strength he had left to hold onto Dimitri while he spoke. “Well, I do. Even if… ah… all of Faerghus’ citizens hate the ‘boar’ you’ve become… I can still see the good in you – the same good I saw in King Lambert.”

Dimitri had no response to this, except for silent tears.

“My… my friend… Lambert… I will join you… as your son will bring peace to Fódlan.” So spoke Rodrigue as at long last the breath of life left him.

“Rodrigue…” Dimitri uttered before a long pause – followed by a strident cry of mourning – and it was this cry that had aroused the attention of a half-asleep Felix.

“What…” Felix felt around for his clothes and put them on. “Is that… the boar?”

Sylvain, whom the cry had awakened more, answered, “It must be… Probably brutally killed someone again.”

Still somewhat asleep, Felix made his way out the tent. Then, suddenly, the sight of his dead father - and supposedly ruthless prince mourning him – sprung Felix wide awake.

“Felix…” Sylvain spoke in empathy. “I’m so sorry.”

“…” Felix only grumbled and turned the other way in response.

“Wait! Felix, please.” Dimitri begged.

“Why should I listen to what you have to say, you boar?” Felix said without looking back.

“Because I need your help to bring Faerghus back to its former glory. I want you to become the next Duke Fraldarius."

At those words, Felix put up a defensive expression before saying, “And you expect that of me so soon after you not only let my father die, but also after your disgusting display of behaviour? Besides, my uncle can just take over.”

“But he’s too old. Furthermore, he is only your uncle by marriage. Now you’re the last surviving bearer of the Crest of Fraldarius. It has to be you. I don’t expect your forgiveness right away – or at all – but it’s for the good of Fódlan.”

It took a little longer this time for Felix to come up with a proper response. “Okay, fine. I’ll do it after the war is over. We should focus on liberating Fódlan first, right?”

“Agreed.” Dimitri paused to direct some of his soldier to carry Rodrigue’s body onto a carriage bound for Fraldarius territory. “We will make way for the monastery and decide our next course of action.”

As soon as the Kingdom army dispersed in preparation for the journey thence, Sylvain took the chance to talk to his boyfriend. “Do you actually intend to inherit the house, Felix?”

“What choice do I have?” Felix couldn’t look Sylvain in the eye as they began the march. “If my uncle dies during this war – and he might – then you can only imagine the chaos that would ensue in securing one of Faerghus’ most powerful houses.”

“But… But…” Sylvain stopped the two from proceeding, squeezing both of Felix’s hands. “What about us?”

Felix said nothing as with a sorrowful expression he turned away. Before Sylvain could get another word in, a young boy with garb suggesting his origins in Gautier territory came running to him, shouting, “My lord! My lord Sylvain!”

Sylvain quickly dried up his tears before facing the boy. “Y-Yes? Do you need help there, little guy?”

“No, it’s Margrave Gautier who needs help.” The boy handed Sylvain a letter. “Here. It’s an urgent missive from him.”

“Let me see…” Sylvain opened the small letter and read it. “No… It can’t be!”

“Sylvain?” Dimitri took note of Sylvain’s exasperated reaction to the letter. “What happened?”

“My father requests reinforcements to Fhirdiad. Gautier and Fraldarius troops are currently there defending it.”

“I… see.”

“But that’s not all. He requests that I immediately inherit House Gautier, for fear of perishing during the war.”

“Hah! What a lack of confidence that man has,” Felix cut in.

“You’re right… Your Highness, I will… um… do what Felix is doing and just wait until after the war to inherit the house.”

Luckily for Sylvain, Dimitri didn’t seem to notice his panicked expression. “Very well. I, too, think that Margrave Gautier should have more faith in his own abilities.”

So spoke Dimitri as the army now continued their way back to Garreg Mach in earnest.

“So you really are going to give up on us…” Felix scoffed, making sure that nobody could hear him.

“…No. I have no real intention of inheriting Gautier. This war is going to drag out for a long time. The emperor has taken hold of almost all of Fódlan. We have little in the way of troops. I think we can do it, but… It won’t be easy. What, you believe in Margrave Gautier but not his only son?”

“Tch. You and your cautious optimism.” Felix smiled. “So what, you’re just using the war as an excuse not to inherit your house?”

“Precisely. But if we don’t think of something soon… Then… Maybe we really will have to become the duke and the margrave. And then we’ll have to-”

“No.” Felix stood firm as he held onto Sylvain’s hand while still walking. “We won’t. We will think of a solution that will work not only for us, but for Fódlan.”

Just as the two men began to relax around each other, he noticed Ashe’s sudden, loud voice. “Oh goddess! Sylvain, how are you?”

“Yikes!” Sylvain let go of his boyfriend’s hand. “How do you mean?”

“I heard you got gravely wounded in the last battle. Just wanted to see how you’re doing.”

“Well, thank you.”

“Oh?” For Ashe, it was his first time seeing Felix since the noble’s split from the Kingdom five years ago. “Felix! You’re back! I mean… you really are back this time, yes?”

“Mm. So I see you’re still like that half-knight in that book.”

“And you’re still like the- Oh, whatever. I better tell Dimitri the good news.”

“Uh… there’s no need for that. He already knows I’m here.” Felix remained tight lipped about the real reason Dimitri so readily accepted him back into the Kingdom.

“Okay. See you back at the monastery.”

“Man, still as annoyingly cheerful as always,” Felix spoke when Ashe had left to hang out with Caspar and Raphael. “Sylvain, we really need to be careful about our relationship, especially when we have tattletales like that buffoon in our midst.”

“It’s going to be a pain, but… The war will be over – and then we can be together at last.” Sylvain had to resist the urge to hold Felix’s hand again. Little did he know, however, that a rather curious Ingrid had been watching all of their interactions from afar.

“Hmm… Those two are unusually friendly with one another.”

So were Ingrid’s words as within a mere few days, Garreg Mach Monastery was within view.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8 – In Time

I think I would find more cheer in a graveyard… Sylvain thought as the army passed through the marketplace. No matter how many times he came from a mission, he wasn’t used to the cold stares the army got – even if they were directed at Dimitri and no one else. Breaking the uneasy vibe was a crying girl at the exit to the marketplace – a girl that Dimitri noticed.

“Waaaah!” The girl cried, sitting at the top of the steps.

“Hey, little miss… What’s the matter?” Dimitri knelt to the girl’s eye level. Judging by her beat-up doll and filthy clothes, he could tell she was not well-off.

“Dimitri! I… I take good care of my doll… But… But…”

“Hey, it’s okay!” Dimitri retrieved something from his pocket; by this point, he had attracted quite the audience. “I might be a boy, but when I was little, my mom taught me how to sew,” he declared as the girl gave him the doll. “So just give me a bit and I’ll fix your doll right up!”

As Dimitri worked, the girl – and now Sylvain – watched intently as in no time at all the prince mended the doll. “There you go! Maybe not the best, but-”

“Yay!” The girl gave Dimitri a big side hug. “Thank you, Dimitri!”

“Hey, watch your tongue!” The girl’s mother, who had been distracted shopping for fresh produce, scolded. “That’s Prince Dimitri to you, young lady!”

The girl didn’t seem to care as she simply responded, “Mommy, did you get me that yummy chocolate cake?”

“Yes, m’dear. Since you did so well on your test yesterday, you deserve a treat.” After giving Dimitri a look that said “excuse us,” the woman and her daughter left the scene.

“So…” Sylvain approached his prince with a smile. “I didn’t know you could sew… And it’s good to know that not everyone runs from you out of fear.”

“I’ve watched my stepmother do it many, many moons ago. Also…” Dimitri look slightly embarrassed. “Mercedes taught me personally.”

The snicker that Sylvain tried to stifle came out.

“A-Anyway…” Dimitri looked composed again. “I’ve got a long way yet before I’ve truly earned the trust of my people.” Dimitri looked sorrowfully at a group of horseplaying children. “I’ve killed so many with not an ounce of remorse…”

“Then I’ll help, too. If I am to make a suitable margrave, I need to show the people of Gautier that I am worthy.”

It was just then that Felix made his presence known, nearly shoving his way into Dimitri. “Tch.”

“Ah, Felix.” As he had not spoken to Felix since the beginning of the march form Gronder Field, Dimitri did not yet feel comfortable speaking to the other man – but he knew he had to. “Headed off to train, I take it?”

“I actually just finished training and now I’m off to the dining hall.” Felix looked away. “Not that it’s any of your business.”

“I… see. I’ll be sure to let the chefs know to cook extra spicy meat dishes, then.”

“Th-Thanks.” Felix now began to leave.

“So, what were you saying?” Dimitri turned his attention back to Sylvain.

“Er, nothing. I think I’ll go with Felix.”

“All right, then. Take care.” Dimitri elected not to join them; he could tell, just from watching the two men happily speaking to each other during the march, that they needed personal time.

“Hmph. You sure seem totally not intent on inheriting House Gautier.” Felix ignored his boyfriend on their way to the dining hall.

“Come on, babe, I’m just trying to fool Dimitri so he doesn’t suspect a thing.”

“Whatever you sa- What did you just call me?”

“Man, if only we weren’t in public…” Sylvain snickered as he got a plateful of sweet and salty whitefish sauté.

Felix stalled, but eventually came to Sylvain’s table with the same dish. “And I thought you were the one who said to keep our relationship a secret.”

Sylvain held a fairly long pout – interrupted only by bites of the whitefish and a few sips of wine – before saying, “…Well, it’s not going to be a secret forever, you know.”

“Felix dropped his fork before saying, You aren’t seriously going to tell the whole country about us, are you?”

“In time, love… In time.”

Felix knew from his boyfriend’s gaze that he could trust him. “Okay… But you know we’ve got a long time before we can. And I can tell you that the boar won’t take it well.”

“Felix, you have to learn to trust him. I know he’s done some… unspeakable things, but he’s trying so hard to earn the trust of his people – and we need to do the same.”

“…In time?”

“In time.”


Though Felix did not fully trust Dimitri yet, he nonetheless observed the prince – and his boyfriend – who continued to do good for not just Faerghus’ citizens, but also for anyone they met. If not for his aloof nature, he too would have felt motivated. I’ll help my people in my own way – by training to become their shield.

Over the next three weeks, the three men endeavoured, and though Felix loved to challenge those around him, for this he felt no need – not even when he noticed Sylvain speaking with other members of their house on his way to the training grounds.

“So, Sylvain…” Ingrid – along with Annette, Mercedes, and Ashe – had just stopped the man.

“Wh-What? What did I do this time?”

“Your behavior has much improved, that’s what.”

“I’ve noticed that, too,” Ashe spoke up. “You haven’t hit on women in live, what? A month?”

“A month and a half,” Sylvain emphasized.

“And you’ve been sooo nice, too!” Annette squealed. Felix did not like how close she got to Sylvain.

“I know! I saw him praying and making offerings at the cathedral the other day – both to the goddess and to a few poor children,” Mercedes noticed with a smile.

“So what’s your secret?” Annette asked.

“Excuse me?”

“You have to have found a- whoa!” Before Ashe could continue, a soft, bouncy ball hit Sylvain square in the face. Not long after, a young boy came running past to retrieve said ball, which landed right at Sylvain’s feet. “Hey! Guys, I found the ball!”

Just then, the boy’s friends – which included all genders, races, and social classes – came running, too, with no regard whatsoever to Sylvain. That fact did not sit well with Ingrid, who said, “Hey, do you even know who you just hit? This is the future Margrave Gautier, you know.”

“Oh!” The boy’s face lit up. “Hi, Sylvain! S-Sorry about that, man.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it, little man.” Sylvain chuckled as he ruffled the boy’s hair. “I’ve had girls slap and punch my face before, so I’m used to it.”

“So you have a girlfriend, then?” One of the boy’s friends asked excitedly.

“Ooh, who’s the lucky lady?” another friend – a much younger one – joined in.

“Uh…” The kids caught Sylvain off guard – and he completely showed it.

“Now now, kids.” Ashe prevented the kids from pressing Sylvain further. “You’re too young to be asking those kinds of questions. Come on, I’ll play ball with you!”

“Really? Aww, right!”

As Ashe and the kids ran off to play, Sylvain decided to take his leave, spurring Felix to completely hide himself from everyone’s view. “Well, I better get going. Sunset is already starting.”

“Mm. Goodnight.” After Sylvain – and Felix, for that matter – had left, Ingrid tought aloud, “Sylvain, you… No, it couldn’t be.”

As the others began to walk off too, Annette stayed behind. “Ingrid? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

“What, don’t tell me you have a crush on Sylvain? Need help with it?” Annette giggled.

“No! I’m just… curious about his behavior of late. Something – or someone – had to have helped him.”

“Well, why complain? You were always the one who chided him for being too flirtatious.”

“Yeah…” Ingrid dropped the subject for the time being. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Feeling like he had truly done his share of good deeds for the day, Sylvain made a motion to retire to his quarters. He had been in a chipper mood all day, helping the least of these around the monastery. That was, until he heard a husky, “Sylvain. We need to talk. Now.”

“Huh? Oh, Dedue, it’s just you. What, does His Highness need help with anything?”

Dedue walked up slowly as he spoke. “I’m just going to cut to the chase… You don’t actually intend on inheriting House Gautier, do you?

Sylvain froze, but just barely kept his cool. “Damn… You waste no time.”

“Just answer the question.”

“W-Well, of course I do. I even spoke to His Highness about it.”

“Leave anything concerning His Highness to me.” Dedue began to leave, but before he made a complete exit, he stopped to say, “I’ll buy it for now, but do not do anything to inconvenience him.”

As Dedue now returned to the Knight’s Hall, Sylvain nervously spoke, “Yeah… Good night to you too, buddy.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 9 – Hell Yes

 

Felix had nearly made his way to his quarters, tired from the day’s training – and Sylvain’s cajoling. So I guess he’s not above flirting with women yet. That moron will never truly change, then.

“Hmm?” Felix had been so distracted by his thoughts that he barely noticed a mildly shaking Sylvain wandering about the second floor dormitory – which, conveniently for them was otherwise deserted. “You’re normally in bed early. What’s wrong?”

Sylvain nearly jumped into a wall at this question. “Oh, Felix! N-Nothing! Nothing at all.”

“C’mon, you know that’s not true, you idiot.” Felix’s sternness stopped Sylvain from pacing anymore. “What, the girls are giving you trouble again?”

“Feeelix!” Sylvain started to break. “I’m loyal to you no matter what! Haven’t my actions lately proved it?”

“…”

“Besides, there’s something else… Something more serious. I think that Dedue suspects something between us.”

“And you’re going to let that dog scare you?” Felix didn’t sound daunted in the slightest.

“B-But…” Sylvain shed a tear, knowing full well that Felix was right.

“But what?”

That suggestive tone was enough to Sylvain to let down his guard completely and give his boyfriend a tight hug. “Dear goddess, I can’t hold back anymore!”

Before Felix could get a word in, Sylvain gave him a kiss – a kiss that he easily acquiesced to. To hell with it! “Sylvain…” Felix breathed between kisses as he dragged Sylvain and himself to Sylvain’s quarters. “Sylvain… I can’t take it anymore, either. You’re healthy now, right?”

“Of course,” Sylvain proudly declared as he forced the door to his quarters open, and baring his own chest to prove his vitality.

“Then take me now!” Felix demanded, sharply pulling Sylvain onto the bed. “I’m so damn tired of restraining myself after a month and a half!”

If Sylvain was not as hungry, Felix’s assertiveness would have shocked him – and so, too, would have the other man seizing his hands and cupping them firmly around his cock.

“Your body…” Felix had Sylvain pinned down. “I miss it so much!”

Sylvain didn’t take long to turn Felix on his stomach. “So do I. But, my love, you forget that I am fully recovered. Let me remind you of that.”

As Sylvain kissed Felix’s neck and played with his nipples, the heir of Fraldarius spoke, “You’re in control, you say, but you are slow as hell. Get on with it or… or will be the one in control.”

“Heh…” Sylvain gave Felix a few good smacks to the ass before saying, “You are not confident enough for that, I can tell.”

Felix did not want to admit it out loud, but he knew this to be true. Thus he knew that he could only comply and say nothing while Sylvain grinded his groin against his still-clothed ass.

“I almost feel bad…” Sylvain slowly started to remove Felix’s pants and underwear. “You’re normally very proud, aren’t you? Tell me, are you embarrassed?”

“Hell no!” Felix’s voice shook, but still had a hint of haughtiness.

“Oh, hell yes.” Sylvain smirked, taking a nip at Felix’s ear. “Goddess, I love how just a touch is enough to break you. Before we became an item, I could stab you and-”

“Don’t bring talk about violence into the bedroom! You’re pissing me off…” Felix muttered so quietly that Sylvain couldn’t hear.

“Hm? What was th- Ah…” Felix pressed his ass yet closer to Sylvain, and before the redhead knew it, Felix guided Sylvain’s cock in. Sylvain let himself enjoy this sensation for a spell before gradually beginning to thrust. “You… You clever bastard…”

Though hewas the one being topped, Felix smirked, satisfied he could elicit such a reaction from Sylvain. But now that Sylvain could really make love to him this time, without the restriction of injury, Felix froze in place, moaning as loudly as he could. “Please… Oh, goddess, Sylvain… I… I want it harder…”

Sylvain only let out snarl in response, then turned Felix around yet again to give him a kiss before going even faster – and harder. “You’re so…” Sylvain took a few shallow breaths before stroking the other man’s hair. “Felix! Al-Already… I’m already…”

Sylvain needn’t say another word as he came, his whimper stifled in a kiss. Felix dug his nails into his boyfriend’s back while he climaxed – and as the sensation of pleasure left him, he began to drift off.

“Heh…” Sylvain pulled out and pulled the covers over the both of them. “For all that tough talk, you sure fall asleep quickly. But that’s okay. I can’t wait to see more of this face – tonight and in the nights to come.”

Meanwhile, having just come from patrolling the second floor dormitories, Dedue entered the Knight’s Hall, not at all surprised to find his prince there. Dimitri, equally unsurprised, spoke, “Dedue! Good evening. You’ve been patrolling the monastery all night; you can retire for the night. Why be out so late?”

“It’s because I have some urgent news to report.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 10 – Our March

“Sylvain! Felix!” Though he resided on the first floor, Ashe had been tasked with waking up all the Kingdom soldiers that morning. “We’re about to start marching for Fhirdiad! Wake up!”

“Hm?” Felix noticed that voice almost instantly.

“What is…” Sylvain took a little longer to awaken. “Something… about Fhirdiad?

“Never you mind!” Felix frantically began to dress. “Our cover is blown if Ashe gets here before we do!”

Despite being told such, Sylvain felt no sense of urgency, and dressed slowly, without even bothering to brush his hair. Even though Felix was out the door much faster than his boyfriend, he could not dodge Ashe, who shouted, “Felix! There you are! I tried looking in your quarters, but… So you were just sleeping over at Sylvain’s. That’s nice.”

Felix nonchalantly replied, “Sure.” Believe whatever you want.

“Oh, hi, Ashe.” Sylvain showed up past his door. “What about breakfast?”

Ashe tossed a couple of satchels and water flasks at Sylvain and Felix. “Sorry, but since we need to go right now, I cooked some super-spicy fish dango this morning. You two love it, right?”

“Yeah.” Felix took a bite of the dango and smiled. “Thanks a lot, m’dude.”

“You finally smiled a genuine smile! You know, it seems like-”

“Like what?”

“Oh, nothing.” And with that, Ashe continued his morning duties.

“Man…” Felix finished the light breakfast and sipped at the water while he walked. “I’m glad he’s dense as hell.”

“Is that how you talk about your comrade?” Sylvain frowned. “And one who cooked us great breakfast, at that?”

“…Well, I’ll give Ashe props for that, at least.”

“Hey, hey!” Annette greeted the pair when they had reached the fishing pond – by throwing another satchel at Sylvain.

“Oh, what- This is a sweet bun trio,” Sylvain remarked. “Thanks.”

“Sorry, Felix,” Annette sounded apologetic. “But I know you don’t like sweets, and I don’t know how to make spicy foods very well. Mercie doesn’t, either. Oh, but I heard Dedue and Ashe have stayed up late last night cooking some food for the trip.”

“Eh, it’s the thought that counts.” Felix cringed slightly at the mention of Dedue’s name.

“Hmm?” Unfortunately for Felix, Annette noticed his displeasure – and so did Mercedes, who had just left her dorm. “Was it something I said?”

“Er, well… Never mind that. So, um… What’s this whole business about Fhirdiad?”

“I don’t know, but apparently, His Highness said we needed to go there as soon as possible,” Ingrid joined in. “Let’s just let His Highness speak first.”

“Oh, speak of the devil.” Sylvain pointed to the top of the marketplace stairs, where a crowd started to grow.

“My friends…” It was evident that Dimitri felt nervous – not that the suspicious, cold stares helped. Even the least of these gathered around to listen his speech. “I know I have done the unspeakable…”

A young woman cuddled closer to her family, her stare at Dimitri hardening.

“But I want to atone for my sins. I want to prove it to you…” Dimitri paused to make his expression more serious. “…by reclaiming Fhirdiad.”

Those words sparked discussion among everyone in the marketplace, even those without loyalty to Faerghus.

“But… But isn’t the capital occupied by Cornelia?” a young man whispered to his neighbor.

“Dunno, man,” the neighbor spoke passively, poking at his ear with his pinky. “I don’t keep up with that kind of stuff.”

“I know I have neglected my duties… I know it’s been so long since I’ve acted like a real prince. But I beg of you… I want the chance to act like one. We as Faerghus citizens deserve a life – a free life, without the tyranny of Cornelia – and the Emperor.” Dimitri cast a sorrowful look downwards for a spell. “Don’t get me wrong, I still hate the Emperor Edelgard, and I still want her head. But I won’t let my past plague me anymore. I won’t let the Tragedy of Duscur plague me anymore! We will take back the capital!”

A short silence ensued before an older man spoke up. “Yeah! Long live Faerghus!”

A younger man followed with, “Long live Prince Dimitri!”

Before long, monastery residences of all ages chimed in with cheers of their own, lifting not only each other’s spirits but also those of the army. Sylvain, however, said nothing, but looked up to his prince in admiration. Dimitri…

“There is not a moment to lose! Come, my brothers and sisters, let us begin our march!”

And with a hearty “Yaah!” the Kingdom army started. Even thought the rest of the army moved quickly, Ingrid felt no rush as she called Sylvain over. “Hey, Sylvain… May I have a word with you?”

Sylvain let the question get to his head, speaking in a proud voice, “What, you’ve come to tell me what an awesome job I’ve done lately?”

Ingrid’s face wrinkled. “No… It’s something more serious.”

Sylvain’s happy expression dropped in an instant. “Um… Then, what?”

The future Countess Galatea thought a few seconds before saying, “You know, I heard you guys last night.”

“Last… Last night?” Sylvain stuttered, growing more worried.

“Well, to be fair, it was mostly Felix. Look, Sylvain, I personally have no problem with it if you have that kind of a relationship with him… But please practice more prudence. And I would certainly not let His Highness know.”

Sylvain’s somber expression cracked into a smile. “Thank you, Ingrid. I’m just… I need time to figure out how not to inherit my house.”

“Did you try to talk with your father about it?”

“…No. I’m afraid of his reaction if he found out.”

“You know, you could just refuse the house. It wouldn’t be the first time a noble has done it. And you do have several cousins and illegitimate siblings that could take over Gautier if push really came to shove. After all, having or not having a Crest shouldn’t matter, right?”

“Eh, heh…” Sylvain, for once, was thankful that his father was also a playboy in his younger days. “You’ve got that right. But… to just outright refuse like that?”

“Just a suggestion. I know it’s an extreme one…” Ingrid mounted her pegasus, who still remained on the ground. “But maybe give it some thought. It wouldn’t be good for the people, either, to have someone who doesn’t want to be there leading them. Oh, and Sylvain, one more thing.”

“What?” Sylvain replied as he finished making sure he had all of his equipment ready.

“Just don’t cheat on him, or… Well, you know what will happen.”

As Ingrid’s Pegasus charged ahead, Sylvain thought, Could I… Could I really refuse my duties?

Sylvain contemplated a moment before shaking his head, readying the Lance of Ruin, and charging forward. No… Naw, I could never.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11 – A Lecture on Tyranny

“Fhirdiad…” Dimitri, who had confidently led his army to the capital city, stopped to behiold the sight of it. “I missed you. Today’s the day you will be free of the occupation of that witch Cornelia.”

“”Now, Your Highness,” spoke Dedue. “I know that your resolve is a strong one, but please don’t do anything too rash. Your life is too valuable – especially now.”

“…” Dimitri held back his disappointment and recklessness, but only a little, as he and the army entered the castle.

“Lady Cornelia!” It didn’t take long for one of Cornelia’s soldiers to notice Dimitri. “Dimitri is- Aaaaagh!”

A swift stab in the gut with Areadbhar silenced the whistleblower. “Don’t worry. We will let her know. Won’t we, brothers and sisters?”

As Dimitri pointed the Areadbhar towards the peak of the castle, his soldiers ascended the stairs – and to their fortunes, they caught the enemy by surprise – all enemies, save for Cornelia.

“Damn you, Dimitri…” Cornelia gritted her teeth, with a Death Γ spell at the ready. “You and Edelgard should have been good little children and killed each other while you had the chance!”

It was that vengeful cry that drew Dimitri’s attention. “You… witch! I’ll make you pay for your tyranny!”

“Hah! So, the infamous ‘boar prince,’ who has mutilated even his own soldiers, is going to give me a lecture on tyranny? How rich!”

“You’re damn right I will.”

“I’m damn right you won’t! Release the Titanus and Viklams.”

With a snap of her fingers, Cornelia ordered three large robots onto the field – as if out of nowhere while two magical pillars shot beams at the Faerghus prince. Even with Cornelia’s forces seeming to concentrate on Dimitri, these ancient devices could nearly make an army on their own, and the prince knew it.

“Ngh…” Dimitri groaned while, with a fresh Viklam wound in his arm, he charged up the stairs. Two of the three Titanus surrounded him and blocked his way up the stairs.

Luckily for Felix, however, the heir of Fraldarius took that chance to dash up the clear path to attack Cornelia directly – an attack that she parried easily.

“Oh, you’ll have to do better than that, boy.” Cornelia cackled and paused to look at her attacker. “Hey, Fraldarius boy! You’re the only one, right?”

Felix didn’t cease his attacks as he asked, “What are you playing at?”

“Of course you’re the only one!” Cornelia laughed again, launching more spells all the while. “Because I killed the other one myself!”

“What…? Come again?!” Felix lowered his sword slightly. “You mean… You were the one who killed Glenn?”

“That’s right! And while I’m at it, I might as well tell you something else! That lovely Tragedy of Duscur… It was orchestrated by none other than yours truly!”

Felix, now a good distance from his foe, paused to say, “You…”

“Oh? Have I scared you?”

Felix’s sudden sprint towards Cornelia almost spooked her, as did his yell of, “You bitch! I will be the one to kill you, and nobody else!”

“Not if I kill you first.” Cornelia took advantage of Felix’s pure rage to send a magic spell right towards his gut – a spell that quickly grew large enough to ensnare him. “Ah, your anger is adorable,” she spoke as she gripped his arm even tighter, enough to draw blood. “But why get angry? I thought you hated your family. Especially that father of yours… Rodrigue, was it? I remember him. What a self-righteous fool he was, lauding your brother and comparing you two.”

“You… Arr!” As empowered by anger as he was, Felix couldn’t yet break free of the bonds, and his shame of being unable to do so only weakened him further.

“Felix!” Though he could still feel the wounds of the Viklams and Titanus, Dimitri felt strength enough to go rescue his comrade – as did Sylvain, who surprisingly sustained minor injures.

“No…” The sight of his helpless boyfriend temporarily distressed him, until he thought aloud, “No. He’ll be fine.”

“What?” Dimitri spoke up.

“Felix is stronger than this… I know he’ll be fine.”

“You underestimate the power of House Fraldarius.” Felix smirked as rays of light appeared above his head. “You fool.”

“Hm?” Cornelia didn’t seem scared by this declaration – at least not until the magical bonds started to unravel.

The Crest of Fraldarius fully formed, allowing Felix to charge at Cornelia while shouting, “You die now!”

“So this… is as far as I get…” Cornelia slowly breathed out as she collapsed, mortally wounded.

“Hold.” Dimitri’s voice sounded in the distance. By that point, all other forces defending Fhirdiad had been slain. “Before you die, I have something to ask you. What do you know about the Tragedy of Duscur?”

“Heh… I’d figure you’d ask that. As I’ve told Fraldarius boy here, I indeed played a role in orchestrating it. But there was one other who helped me.”

“Whom?”

Cornelia chuckled before saying, “It was none other… than your stepmother, Patricia.”

“Lies!” Dimitri thundered. “You lying witch!”

“Oh, but it is no lie. She helped… She helped me…” Cornelia’s breath was almost gone. “So she could… see her daughter again.”

“That’s… That’s… But why?”

As Dimitri received no response after a long pause, he rammed Areadbhar into Cornelia’s chest with a loud, “Damn you!”

Sylvain took note of Dimitri’s temporary distress and spoke, “Your Highness…”

“No, I’m fine. I said I wouldn’t allow myself to be plagued by my past, remember? More importantly, go check on Felix. He’s sustained worse injuries than even myself.”

“Felix…” Sylvain nodded, walking up to his boyfriend slowly. Seeing Felix in such a state, the redhead had to resist the urge to console him, to take away the pain of his wounds. When he arrived at Cornelia’s body, he found Ingrid staring at her, too.

“Glenn…” As tough as she normally was, Ingrid teared up at the sight of her fiancé’s killer.

“So he and Father are finally avenged,” Felix declared, not only out of a sense of pride but also to console Ingrid. “Ingrid… How are you feeling?”

“I think the more pressing question is, how are you feeling?”

“Eh, I’ll be fine after Sylvain fixes me u- Oh… Um…” Felix had caught himself too late. “Yeah. Forget you heard that.”

“Except I won’t. Especially since… You know.” Ingrid cleared her throat. “I heard you that night. Goddess, I have never heard someone so loud in bed before. Don’t you realize how thin our dorm walls are?”

“You shouldn’t be paying so much attention to that kind of thing!” Felix snapped, then quickly returned to a calm demeanour. “So… You accept us?”

“Why wouldn’t I? If anything, it is your boyfriend I worry about.”

“Oh, you don’t have to worry about him.” Felix smirked as he sheathed the Sword of Zoltan and began to enter the castle. “Now enough talk about that. The prince is calling us to celebrate.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 12 – A Sound Night of Sleep

Nobody would have thought that a mere few hours prior, servants of the Empire fought to defend Fhirdiad, and horrifying magic was strewn across the palace courtyard. But the free citizens of Fhirdiad no longer cared, and instead cared to indulge in food, drink, and music. Byleth, the center of attention, had already taken leave. Sylvain felt ready to do the same, but due to his pride – and due to the fact that he knew Dimitri was near – he chose to remain, uninterested in the many women who tried to hit on him.

“So…” a young, minor noble shyly walked up to Sylvain with other women beside her. “I heard you killed Cornelia yourself?”

“Actually, that would be my… buddy Felix. I just killed a few minor soldiers here and there.”

“Psh!” a woman younger still scoffed. “He may be heir to Fraldarius and a good soldier, but he’s so unsociable. I feel sorry for his girlfriend.”

“If he has one!” the woman’s older sister laughed. “I hear that girls at the Garreg Mach marketplace scatter in fear whenever he approaches.”

“Haha…” Sylvain was, by now, good at hiding his emotions in front of others – but by no means did he enjoy it. Up yours.

“A-Anyway…” the young noblewoman seemed upset that her friends derailed the conversation. “Even still, your lance is… amazing!”

Sylvain almost rolled his eyes; he wished this lauding of his “accomplishments” would stop – especially now that he was in a committed relationship. Not that he would let anyone know it. “Yeah, but you better not get close. It’s only for the bearers of the Crest of Gautier, such as myself and my father the margrave.”

“Yeah, tell me about it…” an older woman groaned. “Don’t want to end up like that bastard of a man, Miklan.”

Sylvain seemed to be in an outwardly okay mood until he heard that name he resented. He couldn’t hide his displeasure this time, and almost immediately turned to leave.

“Oh, Sylvain! What’s wrong?”

“…” Sylvain said nothing as he headed for the balcony – and unfortunately for him, Dimitri noticed.

“Man, what’s his problem?” the older woman frowned.

A woman even older than her lightly slapped her junior’s shoulder. “You moron, Miklan was his older brother.”

“What? That can’t be, he should have gotten the Crest of Gautier then.”

Sylvain had nearly left the scene entirely until he heard the word “Crest.”

“That’s not how Crests work…” the shy noblewoman sighed. “They’re very rare, even in noble families. I don’t even have one, and neither does my father.”

“And those two have always hated each other,” continued the oldest woman. “You really need to think before you speak.”

Finally completely on the balcony, Sylvain stared out, feeling like he could breathe again. “It wasn’t quite as good a view as the Goddess Tower, to be sure, but it was pretty enough, he figured. “Miklan… I never thought I would hear that name again.”

He enjoyed a few more minutes of peace before a voice interrupted, “That’s in the past, Sylvain. You don’t need to worry about him anymore.”

“Y-Your Highness!” Sylvain tried to put his guard back up. “Is it really okay for the future king to take a break from the festivities?”

“Is it really okay for the future king to ignore his people when they need his help?”

Sylvain now visibly relaxed his expression a little. “…Those women were talking about Miklan – and my Crest. They spoke as if they knew everything about us.”

“Sylvain…”

“I thought that he was but a fragment of my memory…” Sylvain knitted his eyebrows. “I… I wish I had… I know he was utter garbage, but… Part of me wishes we could have ended things differently.”

“I know I can’t bring him back. But as king, I will make sure that the Crestless are treated no differently than those who have Crests. You agree, don’t you?”

“I do. Nobody deserves the horrific fate that befell… him.” Sylvain, having spoken about his late elder brother in such a fashion, could not shake his distress.

“Something else is on your mind, isn’t it?”

Sylvain knew to what Dimitri referred, which only made him more worried.

“I am your crown prince. I told you that I’m here for all of my people, right?”

“Your Highness… I’m sorry, but this is one thing that I cannot tell you.” Sylvain clenched his fists and could feel the tears welling up. “It… It would ruin my reputation as the future Margrave Gautier. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

As Sylvain left again for his temporary quarters, leaving Dimitri wondering if he had done something wrong, he didn’t even bother to look for his boyfriend. No, all he needed in that moment was to be alone. And to his fortune for that night, the goddess granted him this wish, giving him a sound night of sleep in consolation.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13 – Internal Flames

Having seeminly forgotten what had transpired the night previous, Sylvain had awakened to a peaceful morning – but unfortunately for him, he found it was the absence of people that made it that way. That was, until he heard Dimitri’s voice bellow, “Forward march!”

“Oh my goddess…” Sylvain scrambled to dress, and by some miracle he had made it out to the front line. What creeped him out, though, was Dimitri’s seeming indifference to his late arrival. He was afraid to find out if it was because the prince was annoyed, or because he was tired just like everyone else in the army. Sylvain didn’t speak up until about an hour of marching, and even then, he only had the courage to say, “Uh… Yo.”

Dimitri merely nodded and grunted in response – and of every other one of Sylvain’s attempts to talk to him. His silence only made the week-long, almost restless march to Garreg Mach Monastery even longer. And in that week, he had come to a grim realization: why hadn’t he tried to talk to Felix instead? Wait a second… Where the hell is he?

“Your Highness… Where is Felix?”

Not that Sylvain expected a response, but he was desperate to know why his boyfriend was not there. He was surprised, then, when Dimitri responded as such at the monastery main entrance: “I regret to inform you that both Margrave Gautier and Duke Fraldarius have ordered the two of you to stay away from each other.”

Sylvain would have panicked if he had truly believed what he just heard. “Uh… What?”

“I’m sorry that it happened… I tried to convince them at the Fhirdiad festivities that it was an asinine thing to do. But after how much they’ve done… I wouldn’t want to lose two valuable allies now.”

They were at the celebration? Sylvain could feel butterflies – and not of the good kind – in his stomach. “How did they even know I was there?”

“It was some lower noblewoman who told them. Frankly, I don’t know why you’re surprised.”

It… It can’t be… Those-

Dimitri’s face took on a sorrowful expression Sylvain had never seen before. “You two have been arranged to marry minor nobles of Dominic and Galatea territories – a terribly unsound decision, considering- Sylvain?”

At that point, Sylvain couldn’t bear to hear anymore. Without another word to his prince, he took his leave of the scene – and thankfully for him, Dimitri understood and let him go in peace.

“Felix…” Sylvain could hardly stop crying that name out as he walked under the gloomy sky to his quarters.

“Felix… Dammit! How does Father know about… about… Dammit!” Sylvain slammed the door and, feeling like he had expended all of his anger, he slumped on the bed face-first. He tried to fall asleep, hoping that the soft rain coming down would help, as it usually did. But with only the thought of Felix imbued in his mind, he couldn’t this time.

Sylvain then got up to turn off his lamp light, draw the curtains, and return right to his bed. With only the shady moonlight illuminating the room, he unbuttoned his shirt, letting the fingertips of both hands harden his nipples.

“Felix…” Sylvain sighed, taking his cock into his cold hand, shivering when he touched it. Yet he continued, firmly but gently, racing his hand in time with his rising heartbeat. “I miss your touch.”

Sylvain felt extremely tense, carrying on nonetheless. It really feels… like you’ve come back. The rain came harder now – so loudly that Sylvain couldn’t hear his own moans. He could hear very distance shouting of “Get out of the rain!” and “Take shelter!” from outside, but he thought nothing of it.

“Felix… Felix!” With his thoughts so focused on his beloved, Sylvain gave little thought to the orgasm that washed over him. As the pleasure faded out, Sylvain raised his hand and curled up, his tears flowing as some of the cum fell on his face. “I… I miss you…”

He continued to cry as he walked to the window, opened it, and let the blustery wind take the rest of the cum away. “Felix… You better get your ass over here… Or else.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 14 – Rumours

Even though the Kingdom army felt ecstatic to finally lay siege to Enbarr, no soldier felt a sense of urgency. No, these next few days would be spent resting, eating, drinking, and of course being merry.

Sylvain, however, felt none of the “merry” part as he groggily dressed and made way for the dining hall for breakfast. He wasn’t just paranoid at the many stares he got, either – he could see them as he took a seat at a vacant table.

Sigh… Sylvain tuned out the stares and whispers. It shouldn’t surprise me that if my father knows, that the whole monastery would find out, too.

He would have been lost in thoughts all alone, too, had Ashe not rushed to his table with a plate full of food, shouting, “Sylvain! Sylvain, I am so sorry! I had no idea until just-”

That shout broke Sylvain out of his daydream. “Ashe! Uh… I mean, good morning. What do you have to be sorry for?”

“Because…” Ashe paused to take a bite of some saghert and cream. “It’s my fault that Felix disappeared. If… If I wasn’t so dense… I mean, you love him, don’t you?”

“Yeah.” Sylvain’s worry grew obvious. “It’s gross, isn’t it?”

“Not at all! I’m just happy for you. Well, except for the fact that… Felix… Um, never mind.”

“As are we!” Annette’s voice sounded from the adjacent seats, with Ingrid and Mercedes there as well.

“And yes, Ashe, before you ask, I already knew.” Ingrid spoke before Ashe could.

Ashe decided to speak anyway. “I think the more important issue is, does His Highness know?”

Sylvain stopped eating to fold his hands. “It wouldn’t surprise me, if everyone else does. But it would be better if he didn’t. Same-sex relations are not fully accepted in Faerghus yet and… Well, I don’t know what Dimitri might do. I’ve heard rumours of a noble in Faerghus territory being stripped of rank for being discovered with a male lover.”

“Sylvain, that’s absurd!” Annette didn’t like what she heard. “I have read almost every book in the library, and I can tell you that that rumour is so old, King Loog was still alive. That noble went on to continue his good deeds and actually became King Loog’s right hand man!”

“And if His Highness tries anything… I know my house isn’t a rich one, but House Galatea has your back.”

“You… You guys…” Sylvain began to cry again, but they were tears of joy this time. “You’re… I… I have no words, save for thank you.”

“Oh, come on, Sylvain! Don’t cry!” Annette giggled. “It’s not like you! I mean… except after that one time that girl slapped you.”

“Which ‘one time?’” Ashe cut in.

“H-Hey, that was long ago! I have a boyfriend now!”

“Hee hee…” Mercedes laughed. “Let me know when you two get married. I would love the chance to bake a wedding cake for you.”

“How can I…” This interesting talking point took Sylvain completely off guard. “How can I even think about that when the both of us have been entered into pre-arranged marriages? And I… Uh… haven’t seen him since we left Fhirdiad.”

An awkward silence ensued before Ingrid spoke up. Well… Sylvain, I hate to break it to you, but…”

“But what?”

Ingrid looked around to make sure no one was within earshot. “I’ve heard rumours going around the monastery all morning. Heck, even the head chef was talking about it.”

“Rumours?”

“About why Felix isn’t here.”

“It’s because he’s been-”

“Ordered to stay away from you, I know. But think about it, why would His Highness allow Margrave Gautier to do such a thing to begin with?”

“Because he’s a valuable ally, and he owes him?”

“Hmm…” Mercedes pondered. “That doesn’t make sense. If anything, the margrave should owe Dimitri for being the main driving force behind Fhirdiad’s liberation.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Ashe. “I’ve heard the rumours too. Sylvain, I think… I think Felix has been kidnapped.”

“What?” Sylvain slightly choked on the two-fish sauteé he had been eating, and took some sips of water before continuing. “Felix kidnapped? No, that can’t be. The man is too slick for his own good. And anyhow, nobody is cunning and ambitious enough to do it.”

“Nobody except for the most ambitious thief we know,” Ingrid commented.

“Oh yeah? Like whom?” Sylvain laughed.

“…Your brother, Miklan.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 15 – Yeah, Right

“Come again?” Sylvain gave Ingrid a blank stare. “That’s impossible. Miklan’s dead. We killed him after he turned into a demonic beast, remember?”

“Well, it is just a rumour…” Mercedes remarked between bites of peach sorbet.

“A rumour that, for once, I don’t think is worth it,” added Ashe. “It’s probably just one of Miklan’s thieves going around, claiming to be his successor or something.”

“Yeah…” Sylvain laughed. Being interrupted from breakfast so many times, he was still only halfway done with it while his friends had nearly finished theirs. “Still, I think we should look for Felix, wouldn’t you?”

“Oh, good morning, everyone!” Dimitri’s presence surprised all.

“Your Highness!” Sylvain started to eat much faster, especially since now, his friends had already finished. “I didn’t think you’d be coming!”

“Princes need to eat their breakfast, too.” Dimitri dropped his smile, then spoke, “If everyone is done with breakfast, I have important news to tell everyone. Meet me in the war council room when you’re done.”

Maybe we will rescue him after all! Sylvain relaxed as he put his dishes away and headed thence. Surprisingly, he found his friends waiting for him at the dining hall exit. On the way, he asked Ingrid, “So what do you think His Highness is going to say?”

“I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything out of the ordinary. He’s probably going to reaffirm his intent to capture Enbarr and some strategic locations like Fort Merceus.”

As soon as everyone arrived and closed the council room doors, Dimitri began to speak even before they all sat down. “I’ll cut right to the chase. I’ve just received an urgent missive from Claude, leader of the Leicester Alliance.”

“Oh?” Sylvain raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t heard from him since the Battle at Gronder. What could he need? Not to tell us that he’s sided with the Empire, I hope?”

After Dedue gave Sylvain a “hold your tongue” glare, Dimitri continued, “Claude has requested reinforcements to the Aquatic Capital of Deirdru.”

“What?” Ashe couldn’t believe it. “But why? He attacked us at Gronder.”

“Yes, but that was when… well, you know, I wasn’t my usual self. But considering the circumstances, if we were to abandon the Alliance now, we’d be at war with two countries at once.”

“Ah, I see!” spoke Annette. “Maybe if we help them, they’ll help us in return!”

“Plus, I heard that it is none other than Lord Arundel who launced this sudden invasion of the Alliance. I think that based on what Cornelia told us, he’s partly to blame for the Tragedy.”

“And he’s our friend.” Mercedes frowned. “I couldn’t bear it to let him hang out to dry like that. You feel the same, don’t you, Dimitri?”

“Right. Which is why we will march for Deirdru in a fortnight’s time. That is all; meeting adjourned.”

Sylvain would have none of it, even if everyone else left promptly to rest. “Your Highness, wait!”

“Oh, Sylvain. You need to rest, especially considering that our missions are about to get more-”

“What about Felix? Shouldn’t we go look for him?”

“I’m sorry, but… You heard what I said in there. We cannot abandon the Alliance. And have more confidence in your friend! This is far from the first time that Felix has had to fend for himself.”

Sylvain knew this to be true, and now felt embarrassed, so he decided to slightly change the subject. “A-Anyhow… Erm, about the arranged marriages… Did my father or Duke Fraldarius say why?”

“Because you’re inheriting the houses, that’s why. It’s only natural.”

“Did he say… anything about Felix specifically?”

Dimitri look confused. “No, why?”

Sylvain breathed a huge sigh of relief. Thank the goddess, His Highness doesn’t know after all! “But then… how does everyone in the monastery… Can it be-”

“Sylvain?” Seeing his comrade suddenly dash out the room befuddled Dimitri even more.

“Ingrid!” Sylvain caught the future Count Galatea at the stairs leading to the second floor dormitories. “Ingrid! Good news! Dimitri didn’t find out!”

“Yeah? Well, uh… Congrats, then?” Ingrid sounded nervous – not a side that Sylvain was used to hearing.

“But I’m still wondering how everyone in the monastery still knows.”

“Not everyone…” Ingrid fidgeted. “I just… um, told a few people.”

“What?! Why?”

“Because I was asking people for advice! You seemed so down during the march, and Ashe noticed too, so he also-”

Ashe, too! Goddess.” Sylvain began to panic, and only Ingrid’s next words could calm him down.

“If it makes you feel any better, most of the people that know are common citizenry that hardly ever see the prince, much less get a chance to talk to him. I’ve a mind not to tell people especially close to Dimitri, like Dedue. Ashe and the others knew it too.”

“Oh… Okay, that’s, um…” Sylvain couldn’t even look at his childhood friend now. “I’m sorry. You said that you had my back, and this is how I repay you.”

“Don’t be sorry. If anyone should be sorry, it’s me for the fact that the man you love has gone missing. Just rest for now, and we’ll think of something.”

As Ingrid retreated to her quarters, Sylvain went to his own, and stared at the flowers on the table Felix had gotten him for his birthday. “Rest… Haha, yeah right.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 16 – Seraphim

“Claude! Are you a fool, boy?” Judith did not want to believe her leader – or the vast armies approaching the Alliance in what she believed to be their last stand. “How do you know Prince Dimitri won’t abandon us?”

“Because of Teach. If anyone can make Dimitri listen, it’s Teach. Why don’t you have a little more faith in me, Judith?”

As Claude and his wyvern took off into the air – and as the Alliance leader shot an arrow immediately downwards – Dimitri was so close that he could see it all.

“There it is!” he cried. “The Leicester forces and Adrestian forces are already engaged in battle. Come, we need to-”

As the vast majority of the Kingdom army charged ahead, Dimitri would have done the same, had he not noticed an apathetic Sylvain. He thought a short while before speaking, “I’m worried about him, too. I’m sure Rodrigue would be worried, too. But remember, Sylvain, we can save so many people if we can save the Alliance this day.”

Knowing that Dimitri’s words were true – but feeling no less angry – Sylvain and his horse ran so far ahead, relentlessly cutting down his foes while barely avoiding his friends.

He even ignored the words of a concerned Ingrid. “Sylvain, are you okay?”

Arundel, around whom the bodies of many Leicester and Faerghus soldiers lay, noticed this ruthless display by Sylvain. “Hah! So, the playboy of Gautier does have some strength in him.”

Sylvain heard this haughty voice, but did not hear the words – not over screams of, “Aah! Stay back, you monsters!”

“Then give us the Failnaught and the Areadbhar, little lordlings!” a creepy voice taunted.

This continuous taunting temporarily broke Sylvain out of his rage. “That sounds like… Dimitri! Claude!”

He twirled the Lance of Ruin – and his horse – around, shouting, “Unhand my prince, or die!”

“Eh…?” The “leader” of this large group of attackers stopped his attacks, and the second he saw Sylvain, he exclaimed, “Oh… Goddess, it’s Sylvain Jose Gautier! Run, boys, run!”

“Uh… You got it, boss!” The “leader’s” underlings didn’t quite understand until they also saw Sylvain, frantically pushing past him on their way to the wilderness. And just like that, about a third of the opposing forces were gone.

“Heh…” Claude, who suffered a face laceration from the brawl, was obviously impressed. “Sylvain, was it? Just what I’d expect from the heir to House Gautier.”

“Um… Thanks.” Sylvain replies as he returned to the fight.

“By the way, where is Felix?” Claude asked as he effortlessly shot at an enemy from behind. “I didn’t see him after the Battle at Gronder, so I just assumed he returned to the Kingdom.”

“Claude… Sir, with all due respect, focus on the battle, unless you want to get overwhelmed again.”

“Yeah, yeah… By the way, thanks for fending of those weird soldiers, however you did it.”

I wonder about that, too… Sylvain thought as he finally locked eyes with Arundel. But before I worry about that, there’s something else of importance.

“Oh, so you’re my opponent, playboy?” Arundel cackled as a Thoron spell already began to form behind Sylvain, unbeknownst to him – or so Arundel thought. “Why, is ‘Your Highness’ too scared?”

“No, he just doesn’t have the time for slime like you.” Sylvain smirked before dispelling the incoming Thoron with a Bolganone spell. “Too bad, you’ll have to deal with me.

“Hah!” Arundel ordered his horse down the stairs, skipping all steps at once. “If you think I’m going to end up like that worthless Cornelia, you are fooling yourself! I am far, far more adept at the magical arts than her. And you? You barely just started! Not to mention you look like a ragdoll upon that… that thing you call a horse!”

Annette had heard the entire conversation. “Yikes… Arundel is right.”

“Annie!” Mercedes flung a Nosferatu at an enemy behind Annette. “What are you saying?”

“I mean, didn’t you see that Bolganone? It was barely even a spell at all. Goddess… I hope Sylvain will be all right. Arundel is one of the finest magic users in the Empire.”

“Maybe he should just use the Lance of Ruin, then,” spoke Ashe, who by this point had proven adept with both the bow and with horsemanship.

“But look at Arundel…” Dimitri pointed towards some very faint shadows flying around Arundel. “Something’s not right… He’s definitely not how I remember.”

Sylvain knew, of course, how strong his opponent was, but did not let it – or Arundel’s taunts – get to him as he cast a Sagittae spell in his direction. “You may be right, but that doesn’t mean I’ll lose. Hell, you’re the perfect target practice!”

“That is if you can hit me.” Arundel dispelled this spell too. “Do you even know who I am, playboy?”

“A coward who bends to Edelgard’s will, that’s who.” Sylvain still was not scared, somehow deflecting the oncoming Thoron shot again.

Those words that incensed Arundel even more as the ground lightly shook from underneath Sylvain. “Me? Bend to the will of that girl, as her servant Hubert does? I am far greater than he – or she – will ever be… Let me show you how much better.”

 It was then that the ground now began to fissure, and an immense shadow spouting from thence. But the shadows came not just from this fissure. Sylvain noticed, too, that Arundel himself suddenly appeared inhuman and engulfed in dark flames. – and by that point, it was too late. He had been thrown off his horse and into the fissure, but instead of falling in, the shadows enshrouded him and suspended him just above the abyss.

“Goddess, no…” Annette had killed sufficient adjacent enemies to look in Sylvain’s direction.

“Annette? What’s going on?” Dimitri hadn’t yet noticed just what was happening to Sylvain, especially with only one functional eye.

“That’s a Hades Ω spell. It’s the highest form of dark magic, and only a select few in the history of Fódlan have been able to use it. I know of a good spell or two against it, but-”

Shit… Sylvain instantly felt scared of his impending doom, feeling foolish from his bold display of behavior before. Am I… Am I done for…?

Then, a revelation came to him, and with no immediate options left, Sylvain quietly began to chant an incantation and draw a sigil with his index finger. No. I’m not going to die, not without Felix by my side.

“That’s… Sylvain’s trying to use a Seraphim spell!” Annette exclaimed.

“That fool…” Dimitri knew how far away Sylvain was, but didn’t care as he dashed to him anyway. “He hasn’t even tried to cast that spell yet. He can’t possibly use it against such a powerful enemy as Arundel!”

C-C’mon… Between being only able to move one finger and being relatively inexperienced in magic, Sylvain couldn’t even properly form a magic circle for Seraphim. He kept trying anyway, even when the shadows from the abyss touched his back. I’m… I’m not going to die…

“Sylvain!” Dimitri didn’t care that he, too, could get swallowed by Hades Ω. He jumped into the growing fissure anyway as Areadbhar grew black and red flames, tearing away at Sylvain’s bonds.

“Your Highness!” Annette had already incapacitated Arundel before Dimitri had fully freed Sylvain. “Finish him off!”

“Yaaaaah!” With a mighty shout and another Atrocity, Dimitri impaled Arundel in the chest, almost killing him instantly.

“Heh… heh…” Arundel lay motionless, and though he was dying, the shadows didn’t go completely away.

“Uncle…” Dimitri cast his spear aside. “Tell me what you know about the Tragedy of Duscur. You were involved… weren’t you?”

“Like I’m telling you that… I just hope that you… and that girl… kill each other…”

“…Tch.” Dimitri wasn’t impressed at Arundel’s reluctance to talk – and now that his uncle was dead, he decided to drop the subject for now. But he didn’t ignore the fact that Arundel’s passing was far from ordinary, as his corpse disappeared completely in the remaining shadows.

“What… What the heck?” Raphael, who had no knowledge of magic at all, didn’t understand what he just saw.

“So…” Dimitri retrieved his spear. “That wasn’t really Arundel at all. It was just some phantom in his image.”

“Your Highness, are you all right?” Dorothea asked. “I’m not very skilled at healing, but if there’s anything I can do-”

“You better save that healing for your comrade over there.” Dimitri pointed in Sylvain’s direction.

“Sylvain!” Annette helped Sylvain on his feet while Mercedes tended to him. “Thank the goddess you’re okay.”

“Hmph. I can’t even cast an easy spell correctly. Leave me alone!” Sylvain swatted his friends away as soon as he was healed, and immediately regretted it.

“Sylvain… If it’s about the Seraphim spell, just practice. I’m sure Professor can help! Just… Just don’t beat yourself up over this mistake.”

“But if you and Dimitri hadn’t saved me, I’d-”

“Then I’d have been a failure of a prince, that’s what,” Dimitri interrupted. “Goddess, you’ve dealt with women’s rejections so many times, yet you can’t accept the fact that you haven’t mastered a new spell on the first try? You can do better than that, man.”

“Yeah… So I ca-” Just as Sylvain began to regain his confidence, he noticed that his toy spear, which he nearly kept by his side, was missing. “Oh…”

“Sylvain?”

Dimitri didn’t know about the toy lance – nobody other than Sylvain and Felix did – and Sylvain wanted to keep it that way. He didn’t see it in the vicinity, and so decided to give up on looking for it for now. “So, um… I’m okay for now, but what about Claude?”

“The Professor and I have spoken with him. It turns out that he has disbanded the Alliance and left Fódlan, not giving us a reason why.” Dimitri presented a golden bow. “But not without leaving us this.”

“Why on Earth would he entrust us with Failnaught? Even more that that, why are you giving it to me? I don’t know the first thing about bows! Why don’t you give it to Ashe?”

“Professor asked me to. And I don’t know why, but I feel it would be better in your hands.” Dimitri also gave Sylvain his horse – luckily unharmed – back to him.

“Gee, thanks a lot…” Ashe had overheard.

“Oh, come on, Ashe!” Caspar laughed. “You’ve got Yewfelle and Parthia, why complain?”

“Even though Yewfelle supposedly doesn’t exist in this world?”

“Haha… You guys…” Sylvain chuckled as he got back on his horse, and he could have a nice chat again as the army made way for the monastery.

Even if he did decide to look for the toy lance, it would have been a waste of time. Sylvain didn’t know that the surviving foes of the battle had taken it away to their leader, knowing full well the value of the gem imbedded inside it.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17 – Interruptions

“Finally back at last…” Sylvain, both mentally and physically drained from the battle and the march, had no intention to do anything but go straight to his room. Or the dining hall; he’d decide that later. “Good work, everyone. If anyone needs me, I’ll-”

Before Sylvain could complete his thought, Dimitri proudly declared, “Officers, I need you all to meet me in the war council room immediately. You can rest and eat after.”

“Ooooon the other hand, a war council meeting sounds fun right about now!” Sylvain reluctantly dragged his feet, naturally eliciting a glare from Dedue. Ugh, I wish this guy could mean something other than business for once.

As he slowly took a seat, Sylvain continued, with a calmer face, “Let me guess, we’re going to take a strategic location, now that we’re about to capture Enbarr.”

“I’m surprised, Sylvain.” Dimitri didn’t even sit down yet. “You’re very good at reading people; I’m lucky to have such a capable officer in my army.”

“Hehe, naturally.”

“To be more specific, we will take Fort Merceus, which is in Adrestian territory. It is currently occupied by Adrestia and is known as the-”

“Stubborn Old General,” Caspar finished. “I would know it, because it’s in my father’s domain. I used to play in that castle as a kid, so I know the lay of it like the back of my hand.”

“Anyway,” Dimitri continued, unfazed by Caspar’s interruption. “If we can capture it, we will have the upper hand in this battle. We will leave in about three weeks’ time, so make sure you prepare and rest during that time. Any other things you guys want to add?”

“Your Highness, if I may.” Annette stood up. “We should dispatch a small force to search for Felix. We haven’t heard from him in over a month, and I’m worried. I’m thinking the Adrestians-”

“Annette, I’m sorry, but we’ve spoken about this at the last war council meeting. Fort Merceus is the most well-defended fort in Fódlan, and we need all the forces we can get to capture it.” Dimitri’s tone of voice took a sudden turn. “And if we haven’t heard from him by now, he’s probably…”

Sylvain’s face fell, believing these words to be true. “Your Highness…”

“Now, if you have nothing else to add, I hereby adjourn this meeting.”

Sylvain didn’t feel a need to chase Dimitri this time. For a time, he sat, as Felix’s possible fate began to set in – that was, until Annette snapped him out of it, and by pulling on his cheeks, no less.

“Sylvaaaaaain!” Annette whined. “Don’t tell me you honestly believe Dimitri!”

“Wh-What?”

“Do you have that little faith in your boyfriend?” spoke Mercedes. “ ‘Cause you know, I’m willing to bet he’s still alive.”

“Hmm…” Annette thought a while before saying, “Let’s make it a covert mission!”

“Are you… Are you kidding me?”

“Oh, I agree!” Ashe spoke up. “Why don’t we take a small army of our own to go find him?”

“You too, Ashe? Us and what army?”

“Have you ever heard of a little something called ‘disguise?’” Annette chuckled. “We can just disguise ourselves as common merchants – which, as far as I understand, largely go unnoticed by the Adrestian army.”

“And I’m sure that Raphael has some merchants’ garb we can borrow,” Ashe added. “His family is a former merchant family, you know. No pressure or anything, but I think we should leave by tonight. Not only will there be few people active, but I’m sure His Highness will suspect we’re resting.”

Sylvain took a look in Ingrid’s direction. “Ingrid? Why aren’t you saying anything?”

“…You know, House Galatea has always been loyal to a fault to His Highness and the late king. I do not like the idea of disobeying the prince’s orders – especially for something so dangerous. We’re his most trusted, after all. But I would regret even more letting a friend hang out to dry.”

“Ingrid… Thank you.”


“Say…” Sylvain asked a common woman after everyone had already dispersed to make their final… preparations before they were to set out that night. By preparations, Sylvain meant for his friends distract Dimitri long enough to give them time to “escape.” “Have you seen His Highness or His Highness’ vassal, Dedue?”

“Me? No, not at all. Us commonfolk never see them – unless, of course, they are arriving or leaving the monastery.”

“Or unless you sneak out at night,” the woman’s teenage son added. “I see that scary Dedue dude from time to time.”

“Sneaking outside at night?” the common woman grumbled. “We’re going to have a talk about that kind of behavior, young man.”

“Hehehe…” This exchange reminded Sylvain of his philanderer days. “Very well, then. If you don’t know where they are, then I’ll just-”

“You’ll just ‘what?’” Dedue seemed to show up suddenly when Sylvain turned around.

“Oh, um…” Sylvain knew well he didn’t have time for this, and he knew even better that Dedue didn’t like him very much. But he also knew that screwing up now would endanger his chances of finding Felix. So he decided to go on a limb and try to trick Dedue – even if he wasn’t fully confident it would work. “I was just going to go back to my dorm to rest, but then I saw something on the second floor dormitories. That’s when I started looking for you.”

“The second floor dormitories, you say? That’s funny; I thought I had just finished scouting that area.”

Keeping his cool, Sylvain continued, “I saw a few first-year students waiting for you to leave. As soon as you did, they started causing a ruckus in His Highness’s room. About five of them brought wine in there, and then three others started throwing toilet paper at the door, scattering it across the entire hallway. Right before I left the hallway to get you, I heard very intense moans come from the room.”

Dedue immediately turned away, “Those fools! How dare they defile His Highness’ quarters!”

As he watched Dedue run up the dormitory stairs on the left, Sylvain noticed his friends approaching, charging all at once from the righthand stairs of the dormitories.

“Sylvain!” Caspar shouted. “Sylvain, did you see Dedue? We’ve been looking for him everywh-”

“Caspar? What are you doing here? Aren’t you going to Fort Merceus with Dimitri, especially considering that nobody knows the fort better than you do?”

“Well, you see… What had happened was, I know my father is going to be there. There’s no way I’m going to face him in battle!”

“…You do realize that you face the potential of being charged with abandoning the battlefield?”

“Not really. I’m not technically a citizen of Faerghus.”

“Nor am I!” Raphael cut in, throwing outfits at his comrades. “What are you waiting for? Hurry up before Dedue finds out what we did!”

“What are you on about?” Ingrid quickly put on a peddler’s cloak, as the others got dressed quickly as well. “Sylvain… Care to explain yourself?”

Before Sylvain could say anything, a bellow could be heard from the dormitories. “Damn those insolent fools!”

“Oh, shit… That must be Dedue. Quick, guys, we need to get out of here before Dedue – or goddess forbid, His Highness – finds us!”

And with that, the small army left just in time, leaving an angry – and toilet-paper-covered – Dedue in the courtyard. It didn’t take long for Dimitri to discover him, either. “Dedue! What happened to you?”

“Your Highness… It seems that there are some miscreants up to no good in the second floor dormitories.”

“Well, it’s not unusual to see people play practical jokes at the monastery. Younger people get bored, after all.”

“But they’ve trashed the entire second floor dormitories, especially your room.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 18 – Good Reasons

“So now that we’re a safe distance from the monastery…” Ingrid began as their troupe continued treading Galatea territory. By now, she suspected that neither the Knights nor the Kingdom cared to look for them; they’d been marching for eight days now, after all. “Do you care to explain what you did to distract Dimitri and Dedue, Sylvain?”

“Uh…” Sylvain had been nodding off during the march, so this question was especially surprising. “Why is that important right now?”

“Well, we’re just curious.” Annette giggled. “I mean, nothing gets past Dedue. It had to have been something really clever.”

Sylvain gave a quick glance to Raphael and Caspar before saying, “Okay, if you insist.”


“So… Remind me again why you needed about half of the marketplace’s supply of toilet paper?” Ashe dumped several dozen rolls of toilet paper in front of Dimitri’s room.

“And a dozen wine bottles?” Lorenz asked.

Sylvain, being the clever man that he was, knew that “no good reason” wasn’t… well, a good reason. “Haven’t you guys heard of stocking up on supplies, especially since we’re about to march to the Stubborn Old General? Thanks for all of this toilet paper and wine, by the way. I plan to stock up on food later. I’ll be sure to pay you guys back in battle.”

“Sure, sure,” Lorenz spoke as he and Ashe began to leave. “Just don’t go stealing my women.”

“Hahaha…” Sylvain kept a cool face while his allies were there, but as soon as they left, he turned to his own quarters and said, “Guys, you ready?”

“You bet we are!” A young man – no older than 14 – jumped excitedly. He was so excited that he took four rolls of toilet paper while his buddy followed suit.

“Dude, are you sure this is okay?” Said buddy began to worry. “Do you know how much trouble we’re going to be in if that… that big scary guy finds out we’re about to trash the prince’s room?”

“Oh, quit whining.” Friend #1 snickered while he while he unfurled one of the rolls of toilet paper. “My dad always said that anything’s okay, as long as you don’t get caught.”

Sylvain peered in the room and said, “Well, if you guys are okay here, then I need to go. Someone’s got to make sure that big scary guy isn’t around to foil our plan. Thanks for helping, by the way. Here’s a little reward for your trouble.”

Friend #1 caught the satchel of money and snacks that Sylvain tossed at him. “Aww, right! Thanks, margrave man… dude… guy!”

As Sylvain began to leave, Caspar and Raphael took that chance to come in the room with bottles of wine, having to step over some toilet paper overflowing to the outside.

“Okay, Caspar, here’s a piece of advice if you want to grow big like me,” Raphael spoke as he opened his bottle of wine. “You gotta learn how to hold your alcohol.”

“I… didn’t know,” Caspar sounded skeptical as he took some sips of wine.

“Hey, you having a drinking party in the prince’s room?” A few unsavoury former Empire students came in. “And with our former Caspar von Bergliez, no less! Come on boys, let’s drink!”

Meanwhile, outside, the two teenagers had just finished using up the last of the toilet paper, which now stretched the entire length of the second floor dormitories.

“Man… I had no idea we could find such an asinine reason to use this much toilet paper,” the younger, more innocent friend had shame in his voice.

“You mean such a good reason?” The upperclassman stuffed a handful of gold coins in his buddy’s pocket. “We get to have fun and get paid to do it! It’s a win-win!”

Just then, a sudden, loud stomping could be heard from the first floor.

“Oh, shit, it’s Dedue!” Caspar exclaimed, starting to feel tipsy from the half bottle of wine that he drank. “Come on, guys, let’s book it!”


“And that’s the grand story of how I distracted Dedue long enough to give us time to get out of there. Pretty clever, don’t you think? And I have to say, Caspar, you handled your alcohol quite well that day.” Sylvain sounded very impressed with himself.

His friends, however, did not sound impressed, especially not Ashe. “That’s got to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! You should be ashamed, Sylvain! You defiled the room of His Highness and wasted so much toilet paper! Do you have any idea how long it took the Knights to invent and produce it? And you, Caspar! You know, knights would never agree to such… such horrible things!”

“Aww, come on, Ashe!” Caspar complained. “The students get bored, you know? Plus, Sylvain and I payed them to clean up as well! Could you have thought of a better plan?”

Ashe said nothing, knowing full well that he could not have thought of a better way to distract the ever-watchful Dedue.

After hearing Ashe’s words, Sylvain felt a slight bit of shame – so he decided to change the subject, pointing at a small village up ahead. “Guys, we’re running a bit low on supplies, aren’t we? Why don’t we stock up in that village over there?”

“You better not hoard all the toilet paper from this village, too,” Ashe muttered.

“Ah, this village brings back memories!” Ingrid smiled as she walked ahead. “I remember my brothers bringing me here when I was a kid. It’s where I’ve first discovered my love of horses.”

“Now, there’s the Ingrid we know and love!” Sylvain felt happy to see a smile on his friend’s face for a change.

As they got even closer to the village entrance, Ashe could smell something spicy in the air. “I’ve never smelled anything quite like that… Maybe I could cook us something new tonight with those spices!”

Ingrid knocked at the gates that she hadn’t seen in many a year. “Excuse me?”

A friendly voice of an old woman answered. “Yes? What is- My… My lady… Lady Ingrid, is that you?”

“Hello there, Eyvel. It’s been a while.”

“By the goddess, Ingrid!” The old woman, Eyvel, opened the gate to hug Ingrid. “How are you, sweetheart?”

“Good, thank you.” Ingrid regretted she couldn’t converse more. “Listen, my companions and I are on a secret mission from the monastery, so I’d rather not have my identity discovered while I’m here. We’ve been marching for over a week, and we need food and supplies. I hope you understand.”

“Of course, my lady.” A soldier, who led a small watch army, nodded in acknowledgement. “Enjoy your stay in the village.”

“You sure you don’t want to stay the night?” Eyvel asked.

“No, we need to make it fast. I’m sorry.”

“Very well. Now, don’t let this old bag of bones keep you! Hehe!”

Unlike the guarded entrance to the village, the inside was so peaceful, so carefree, Sylvain noticed. “Ingrid, are you sure it’s okay to leave such a kind, old lady to keep watch when there’s a large-scale war going on?”

“I’ll have you know that she’s been helping to protect this village for many years,” Ingrid replies as she perused a meat market nearby with Sylvain. “She’s been a seasoned soldier since before you were even born.”

“Age over beauty, haha.” Sylvain then turned his attention to the butcher. “I’ll have ten pounds of your super spicy jerky, please. Oh, and five pounds of Teutates Loach.”

“I’ll take five pounds of everything!” Caspar and Raphael both declared at once.

The butcher’s face lit up as the three men handed him the money for the meat. “Th-Thank you so much for your patronage, sirs!”

“Cupcakes and bread loaves on sale!” shouted a young woman’s voice from the bakery nearby. “Freshly baked!”

Sylvain walked over to this bakery, staffed entirely by women – who, he noticed, took a liking to him quickly. “I’ll take twelve of your chocolate cupcakes, as sweet as you.”

The young woman, who owned the bakery, blushed as she gave him the cupcakes, sneaking a couple of extras in the tin box.

“Oh, and do you have some spicy or bitter breads?”

“I’m glad you asked that.” The young woman fetched a few fresh loaves of bread from the oven. “I’ve been working on a few new breads. This one here’s herbs and cheese, and this one features some spices from Dagda.”

“Thank you.” Sylvain winked as he handed the woman a satchel of coins. “Keep the change.”

Sylvain spent the next hour loading up the wagon – which he had a mind to leave outside the village gates - with various fruits, vegetables, and medicines. For once, he was glad that he could flirt with women that day, if only to bring smiles to the faces of that peaceful village. His extroverted nature lead him to just about every merchant in the area… or so he thought.

“Ah, Ingrid!” Sylvain noticed his friend in a jewelry shop… Ingrid? In a jewelry shop? He laughed a little.

“Sylvain, save me…” Ingrid rolled her eyes at Mercedes, Dorothea, and Annette, who wanted to enjoy themselves there, trying on just about every trinket they saw. “These three buffo- I mean, ladies have been here the entire past hour. And they keep on making me try on everything.”

“Hey, Ingrid, Ingrid!” Annette smiled as she showed Ingrid a pearl and gold necklace. “Why don’t you try on-”

“Annette, I’ve tried that one on already.”

“Annie!” Mercedes called from the stall next door, as she had a purse full of jewelry she had bought from the jewelry store. “They’ve got makeup over here! I’ve never seen blush like this!”

“Ingrid, did you hear that? Let’s go!” Dorothea pulled Ingrid – a very tired, annoyed Ingrid – over to this stall.

“Hehe, sorry Ingrid.” Sylvain laughed halfheartedly. Well, I don’t see what would interest me about a jewelry store, with nothing but sparkly-

Before Sylvain turned for the wagon, the owner of the jewelry store said to him, “Sir, would you like anything in particular?”

“No thank you. I was just here with my-” Sylvain had an idea right before he had the notion to actually leave. “Ma’am, do you have any men’s jewelry?”

“Why, yes!” The store owner gestured to a few chains, rings, and bracelets. “Believe it or not, some of these pieces are more valuable than the women’s jewelry.”

So it’s go big or go home, then. Sylvain pondered this selection for about ten minutes before declaring, “Then I’ll take these two-”

“Sylvain!” Ingrid came running back to the jewelry store suddenly. “Sylvain!”

Sylvain quickly placed an overly sized satchel of gold coins in the jewelry store owner’s hands before taking a couple of pieces of jewelry. “Ingrid! I thought you were tired of the jewelry store! Oh, and uh… the rest of you are here, too. What’s up?”

Ashe pulled Sylvain over and whispered, “We just got a huge lead as to where Felix might be.”

At this news, Sylvain hastily got back in the wagon, ready to leave the village immediately. “Where?”

Ingrid replied, “Conand Tower.”

Just as the wagon had made it to the other side of the village gates, Sylvain had nearly frozen in place, had he not ordered his horse – and Ingrid’s pegasus – to start driving them forward.

“What’s wrong, Sylvain?” a concerned Dorothea asked.

“…Do you guys remember the significance of that place? It’s… It’s my brother Miklan’s thief hideout.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 19 – The Light in Conand Tower

“It’s pretty boring in there…” Annette came out after surveying the first room of Conand Tower. “Are you sure we can’t take in the wagon?”

“Just to be safe, I want to leave it out here,” replied Sylvain. “If anything were to happen to our horses…”

“In that case, I volunteer to stay watch.”

“What’s wrong? Ignatz, you sound awful.”

“I… uh… made the mistake of eating fish that we carried all the way from the monastery. I’ve been having the runs ever since we left that Galatea village.”

Sylvain sighed. “Then you should have eaten fresh steak from the market like the rest of us. That fish was a week and a half old. Raphael and Lorenz, look after him, please.”

“Aye aye, captain!” Raphael happily agreed.

“I brought some medicinal tea from Gloucester,” Lorenz added. “It’s a peppermint tea that my family has used for-”

Ignatz suddenly cowered, running behind a nearby bush.

“I… uh… guess I’ll get started on that tea, then.” Lorenz then turned to Sylvain. “Good luck, Sylvain. Take this.”

“You’re giving me Thyrsus, your house’s Hero’s Relic?”

“If your friend is indeed in there, then you’ll need all the help you can get, right? We and our battalions will be fine out here. Now, get going!”

“Thank you.” Sylvain attached the staff to a pocket in his back before entering the tower with the rest of the company.

“It’s quiet… Too quiet.”

“Annette, this isn’t the time for clichéd novel phrases,” spoke Sylvain.

“Well, I remember it from Loog and the Maiden of Wind-” Ashe started.

“For the love of the goddess, guys, can’t you act a bit more seriously?” Sylvain loudly whispered as he entered another room, and sound slowly started to fill his ears.

“Come on, we’re just a little bit… uh… nervous,” Caspar tried – and failed – to sound confident.

“You’re right… I’m sorry, guys.” Just then, the sounds Sylvain heard earlier became louder, but he still couldn’t determine where they were coming from – so they discovered him first. As he blocked the hoard of enemies’ attack on him without even looking at them, he spoke, “Nice try, you goons.”

“Wh-Who are these guys?” Ashe wondered out loud, stabbing a nearby enemy with an arrow from Yewfelle. “Are they… Miklan’s thieves?”

“No, look harder…” Lysithea pointed at the shadows of an enemy she had just defeated. “I don’t think they’re agents of the Empire, either. There’s another power at work here, I know it!”

The leader apparent responded to this correct guess with, “Indeed, smart child. We would never associate ourselves with that useless Miklan. You want to learn who we really are? Then follow us, if you can!”

Without thinking, Sylvain charged after this enemy through the next few rooms, prompting Mercedes to yell, “Sylvain, wait! It’s a trap!”

“Hahaha…” The leader apparent cackled when he stopped in a dungeon full of chains. “So it seems you’re the only stupid one in this entire motley band, Sylvain Jose Gautier!”

“How… do you know my name?” Sylvain tried to look for this enemy, who lurked in the shadows. “I guess it doesn’t matter. Tell us who you are and why you’ve brought us here!”

The shadows began to clear to show chained-up prisoners, whom Sylvain recognized as Miklan’s thieves; he reckoned there were about one hundred of them, if not more.

“You see, we have this wonderful ability to take control of the ambitious and weak of heart, including these two dolts over here.”

The last of the shadows dissipated, revealing two especially large chains, with two men chained to them – and Sylvain recognized the raven-haired one instantly.

“Felix…” Sylvain hardly believed it at first, but after his joy at finally seeing his beloved again overtook him, he ran recklessly to where Felix had been chained. “Oh, goddess, Felix, I never thought I’d- Huh?”

He didn’t recognize him from afar, but Sylvain took a good look at the man chained to the right of Felix, and his face fell at the sight of him. “It can’t be… Miklan? But… But I thought you were-”

While Felix remained completely unconscious, Miklan heard his brother easily enough, awakening with a cackle. “Hehehe… How are you, little brother?” He looked up.

Before Sylvain could ask any questions, he heard Ashe yell, “Sylvain! Look out behind you!”

“Aaaargh!” The fallen enemy screamed as arrows from Parthia hit it, and as it perished, so too did the shadows of which it was made.

“Thank you, Ashe.” Sylvain took a deep breath before brandishing the Lance of Ruin, cutting down an adjacent enemy with the lance. As he did, he noticed a few of his comrades were missing – namely Lysithea and Mercedes. But he knew he had no time to look for them – he believed in their abilities, after all. His belief in his own abilities dwindled, however, as with each slain enemy, the Lance of Ruin grew duller and so soaked in blood and guts that he could hardly see the blade.

“Hah!” Miklan scoffed. “Some good the Lance of Ruin is serving you! You should have left it with me!”

“Shut up!” Sylvain continued to fight despite how his brother irritated him. “It won’t do you any good, either! I’m trying to save your ass here.”

Sylvain took another short respite before thinking, He does have a point, though. I suppose I could use magic, but…

Annette noticed Sylvain trembling in fear. “Sylvain? What’s wrong?”

What if I… What if I fail again?

“Try using light magic!” Annette cast Nosferatu at five enemies at once, and sure enough, they seemed to fade with less effort than Sylvain thought. “If you can at least try to use Seraphim, it would help us a ton!”

“But… I can’t. You saw what happened at Fhirdiad. My incompetence could have-”

“Dammit, Sylvain, if you have the time to mope around, then fight!” Caspar killed more enemies around Sylvain – with the Axe of Ukonvasara, no less.

Lorenz… Everyone… Sylvain felt his hope restored and began to draw the sigil in the air. If my friends are willing to fight for what’s right, then I owe it to them to do the same.

Despite his resolve – and despite that he could properly form the magic circle this time – Sylvain couldn’t yet unleash a proper Seraphim spell.

“Eeeeek!” Annette had been swarmed by two enemies, and her hands had been bound.

“They’re… They’re coming in droves…” Lysithea, along with Mercedes, had beeen cornered in this “main” dungeon by even more enemies, now including a Titanus and demonic beasts.

We’re in trouble…Sylvain retrieved the Thyrsus from his back, and taking one passing glance at Felix, he noticed something in the other man’s pockets. Could it be…?

Sylvain took out the broken item – to his joy, it was the toy lance. Giving his beloved a smile, he turned around again, saying, “You beasts. You will leave my friends the fuck alone – now! Haaaaaah!”

Sylvain’s desire to fight for his loved ones fueled the Seraphim spell that rained down on the Titanus – and the several more spells that followed.

“Amazing!” Lysithea smirked as she readied a Seraphim spell of her own. “I hope you know I won’t be outdone, Mr. Gautier.”

“Hmph.” Annette, who felt more relieved that the enemy numbers dwindled exponentially, still frowned. “I wish I could learn such an amazing demon-slaying spell.”

“Dude, you know Abraxas, the highest level of white attack magic.” Caspar rolled his eyes.

“Try telling that to Triumphant Boy over there,” Lysithea pointed at Sylvain, who, now that the enemies had been defeated, grinned in victory. She walked up to him in congratulations, saying, “Amazing. I had never seen a man successfully wield Seraphim. In fact, you’re only the third man in the history of Fódlan who has been able to successfully wield it.”

“Really? Haha.” Sylvain sounded rather proud of himself.

“Yeah. Most practitioners are holy women. Any man who is able to learn this spell has an especially high prowess for white magic.”

“Which is why he could cast it better than you,” Caspar teased.

“Oh, shush. M-My specialty is dark magic, after all.”

It was at this point that Miklan got tired of all this talk about magic, and decided to remind everyone else of his presence. “So… I’m here, too. Do you think you can get me and my men out of these chains?”

“Oh.” Sylvain’s good mood had dropped instantly as he gave the order to do as Miklan requested. “So, spill it.”

“‘Spill it?’ What’s there to spill?” Miklan asked as he and Felix had been freed; Felix remained unconscious. “Oh, and there are other dungeons with more of my men. Don’t forget about them.”

“Okay, where to begin? How did you survive being consumed by the Lance of Ruin? Why are you here in your old hideout? How did you end up captured in your own hideout?”

“Why did you save us?”

“Listen, you douchecanoe, I’m the one asking questions – unless you’d rather I shoot first and ask questions later.” Sylvain threatened another Seraphim spell.

“Okay, okay, calm your tits…” Miklan paused before beginning his story. “So after you killed me that fateful day – and after you had left – some weird lady with a long pink pony tail showed up out of nowhere. She tried to peddle some mystical item to me – me, a dying man! She called it the Fissure Dragon Sign. Next thing I knew, the shadows stopped consuming my body, and… Well, here, I am. As for who locked us up… I don’t know. But our captors didn’t seem human.”

“So it’s true,” Annette spoke up.

“Annette? Don’t tell me you believe what this shitgibbon is saying.”

“I do. I’ve read about special signs that allow Crestless people to acquire Crests. There’s only one of each kind in the world.”

“Now that you mention it, I remember Professor Byleth carrying some… strange objects in her quarters,” Mercedes cut in.

“I… I’m not sure I like it,” Lysithea commented. “It reminds me of… experiments I would rather forget about.”

“So, let me get this straight, Miklan. You’re telling me that this ‘Fissure Dragon Sign’ gave you the Crest of Gautier so that the Lance of Ruin wouldn’t fully consume you. Do I have that right?”

“You’re not as dumb as you look, little brother! Since you freed me, I think I ought to return the favour, yeah?”

“Over my dead body.”

“Please…” One of Miklan’s thieves – a thief who was part of the group who attacked the Kingdom army at Derdriu – begged. “We’re outcasts from all corners of Fódlan. We’ve got nowhere else to go.”

Another thief added, “We’ve got no food or supplies, either.”

“Sylvain, you know full well you’re going to need all the strength you can get if you want to defeat the Emperor. Many of my men are highly skilled spies – comes with the job.”

“Hmph.” Sylvian finally gave in. “Fine. But understand that I still don’t fully trust you. If I get even the slightest hint that you are going to betray us, I will without hesitation make sure the Lance of Ruin kills you this time.”

“Y-You got it…” Intimidated by his little brother, Miklan tried to take the heat off himself. “Say, I think your buddy here is finally coming to.”

“Ugh…” Felix slowly sat up, clutching his head. “What in the fuck just… Where am I?”

“Felix!” Sylvain didn’t hesitate to hug his boyfriend. He felt no shame in his tears of joy, either. “Oh, goddess, Felix, I… I’m so glad…”

“You dumbass, everyone is watching!” Felix weakly tried to push Sylvain away.

“Oh, don’t worry, we already know,” Annete spoke with a smile.

“And how, pray tell?”

Ingrid simply whistled in response.

“Ingrid…” Felix sounded mildly annoyed.

“What? Did you really think that you, one of Faerghus’ highest-ranking nobles, could hide your relationship forever?”

“Plus…” Caspar started. “A few of us heard you when-”

Sylvain didn’t like where this conversation was headed, and so interrupted it with, “Sooooo… Anybody know why we’re still in this smelly dungeon? Let’s head out to the wagon.”

“Yeah, I agree…” Mercedes liked the sound of this “plan” as everyone made way for said wagon. “I hope Ignatz is okay.”

“Felix, you should have seen it!” Annette sounded excited. “There was this amazing village with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.”

“Yeah, and probably the best steak you will ever eat.” Ignatz came out of the wagon. “Not that I would know, since I made the stupid mistake of eating fortnight-old fish instead.”

“Ignatz, are you sure you should be up right now? How are you feeling?” Sylvain asked as he returned Thyrsus back to Lorenz, and Caspar did the same with the Axe of Ukonvasara.

“Good, thanks. Lorenz’s tea really did the trick.”

“Speaking of the village, we should probably go back there and buy more wagons for our new comrades,” Ingrid suggested.

Sylvain didn’t let this friendly talk make him forget about the bounty he bought from the Galatea village. “Oh, that reminds me. Felix, I have something for you.”

“Hm?” Felix didn’t expect that much – so the sudden barrage of spicy foods and dried meats raining upon him certainly gave him a surprise. “Whoa there, easy, man. What’s all of this for?”

“Well, I thought that you would want something tasty for once, instead of… moldy bread or whatever you’ve been eating these past few weeks.”

“…”

“Don’t tell me… That’s all you’ve had since you’ve been kidnapped?!” Sylvain started shaking Felix by the shoulders. “My boyfriend deserves to eat all of his favourite foods when he wants!”

“Is that all?” Felix sounded annoyed, but Sylvain could notice a slight smile.

“Nope, I have one more thing. It’s a little old-fashioned, but I hope it’s to your liking.”

Felix scoffed, “What, some more food? Sylvain, I think I already- Oh…”

To Felix’s surprise, the item of which Sylvain spoke was not another bag of beef jerky, but a ring of rose gold and diamonds.

“Felix Hugo Fraldarius…” Sylvain knelt on one knee. “Will you marry me?”

Felix remained speechless for about thirty seconds before saying, “…Idiot, how can we do that, given our noble positions?”

“Screw the noble positions! We can do it anyway. If someone doesn’t like it – hell, even if I have to renounce my nobility – then let them not like it!”

“You really are… a reckless buffoon, aren’t you?” Felix smiled as he held out his left hand. “Yes, Sylvain Jose Gautier. I am yours.”

“Whooo!” Caspar started cheering as Sylvain put the ring on Felix’s finger.

“I better start thinking of a good recipe for that wedding cake…” Mercedes thought out loud.

“Just don’t let Flayn take part in that!” Raphael groaned.

“Oh, and here’s a wedding gift.” Sylvain reached in the wagon again to give Felix the Failnaught. “A little something to put your new certification to use.”

“Claude…” Felix smiled. “It is a shame that he couldn’t join forces with us.”

The comrades didn’t laugh for long before an irritated Miklan said, “What the hell?”

“Eh?” Sylvain turned around.

“Why… Why would you just throw away your noble title like that, when you didn’t have to even work to earn it?!”

“Abandoning one’s noble title isn’t unheard of,” spoke Hanneman, who had since abandoned the Empire. “I have a Crest and was born to the Empire nobility, but I abandoned my house to pursue my passion for Crest research. And if I can do it, so can these gentlemen.”

“Plus, we’re not going to just leave the house completely vacant for ruthless Kingdom citizens to fight to become margrave.” Sylvain’s tone was calm, but serious. “Brother, I want you to inherit House Gautier in my place.”

“Wh-What? But… Father would never allow it. And His Highness-”

“His Highness wants a world in which the Crestless do not get treated as less than just for not having a Crests. I myself believe that anyone, Crest or no Crest, should be able to help lead our country, if they’ve won the respect of the people.” Sylvain held out a hand for Miklan to shake. “So what do you say?”

A familiar – but unexpected – voice came out from behind the wagon just then. “I say that we capture these traitors! Dedue!”

“Your Highness.” Dedue – and other loyal Faerghus soldiers - came onto the scene and immediately started placing all of Miklan’s thieves in cuffs.

“Dimitri!” Sylvain began to panic. “What are you doing here?”

“A little bird told me that certain disobedient soldiers of mine snuck out of Garreg Mach Monastery to go on a covert mission.” Dimitri retrieved a broken wine bottle and scrap of toilet paper out of his pockets.

Dammit… He found out! Sylvain glared at Dedue.

“Oh, and another thing… When I said ‘capture the traitors,’ that includes you and everyone who left with you.”

“Aiee! Let go!” Annette struggled from the soldier trying to bind her.

“No! Dimitri, I beg of you, leave them out of this. You see, I coerced them into doing it. They had no choice!”

“Hmph.” Dimitri gestured for his soldiers to let everyone – except for Sylvain, Miklan, and Miklan’s thieves – go. “But you’re still under arrest for openly defying my orders and abandoning the battlefield. As for your punishment, I will decide that during our march to Fort Merceus.”

“You mean you haven’t even gone there yet?”

“How could I not? Anyway, a prisoner shouldn’t be asking needless questions like that. Soldiers, forward march to Fort Merceus, and to victory against the Empire!”

Chapter Text

Chapter 20 – Every Last Second

“Your Highness, I suggest the death penalty,” Dedue suggested. The army had made camp that night, and they were only about a day’s march from Fort Merceus.

“No. Do you think that after all I’ve done, that that would be an appropriate punishment?”

“But with all due respect, that is the normal punishment in Faerghus for treason and abandoning the battlefield.”

“It seems to me that you’re only saying that because of your hatred of Sylvain. Yes, capital punishment happens in Faerghus, but usually only for the murders of nobles, spying, or high treason. This punishment, however, I may impose upon Miklan. At any rate, my word is final. For now, I will have Sylvain, Miklan, and Miklan’s gang confined, only freed if they are fighting battles for us.”

“You hear that, traitor?” Dedue snarled at the redhead. “Be thankful our prince is willing to show you mercy for what you have done. Now take him away.”

Sylvain didn’t respond to Dedue’s expected hostility towards him, but instead asked, “Before you lock me up, I have a small request. May I please have a few minutes with my brother?”

“Permission granted,” Dimitri responded. “But five minutes only, understood?”

“Yes, Your Highness.” Sylvain looked to the ground on his way to Miklan’s cell.

“Well, well, well.” Miklan had been sleeping until Sylvain had entered his cell, and the guards had left him standing there in chains. “If it isn’t the darling little brother who saved me only to turn him over to his even more darling prince!”

“Miklan, I swear to you that I hadn’t intended for Dimitri to capture you. Why else would I be locked up, too?”

“…So why are you here?”

“I wanted to ask you again, since I didn’t hear your response. What say you to inheriting House Gautier for me?”

“Fuck you.”

“Excuse me?”

“Did you honestly think that I would give any other response, knowing full well that my father disowned me simply for not having a Crest? Knowing full well that I could possibly find myself on death row?”

“Brother, please-”

“If indeed I am to be executed… Then you and your lot will ever regret messing with me. You should have just left me to rot at Conand Tower, then you could have spared yourself this awful fate.”

“Miklan!”

One of the soldiers opened the entrance to the tent and grabbed Sylvain. “Your five minutes are up, bub. To your cell with you.”

“Gee… Good night to you, too.” Sylvain sat and pondered in his cell. Already, he began to wonder how long he would have to stay here, his hands and feet bound. “And now… even though I’ve saved Felix, I may have to-”

“Have to what, pray tell?” sounded a voice from the tent entrance.

“No, please don’t kill me!” Sylvain curled in a ball for about five seconds before he looked at who entered. “Felix!”

“Yo.” Felix walked even further inside.

“Don’t ‘yo’ me! You need to get the hell out of here before Dimitri imprisons you, too. …Wait a sec, how did you even get in here.”

“If I can survive for as long as I did at Conand Tower, then knocking the cell guards out cold and stealing the keys is nothing.” Felix unlocked the cell door, left it open, and let himself in.

“S-Still…” Even in the moonlight, Sylvain could easily read Felix’s expression. “Hey, what are you thinking?”

“Oh, nothing…” Felix hummed as he undid the buttons to Sylvain’s shirt. “I’m just horny as hell after not seeing my boyfriend – I’m sorry, my fiancé - for a whole month.”

“Ah…” Sylvain flinched – but only a little – when he felt Felix lick down his chest. “So… You’re going to be the one to seduce me.

“Hell yeah.” Felix put two wet fingers inside Sylvain, massaging him at a quickening pace. “Unless it’s too much for you.”

“What’s too much for me is being unable to touch you, too.”

“And who says you can’t?” Felix forced Sylvain to sit up, baring his cock before him.

You clever bastard, Felix… Sylvain cracked his hands open at the wrists, barely enough to wrap them around Felix’s cock.

“That feels… hot…” Now pinning his fiancé against the wall, Felix crushed his lips against Sylvain’s, pushing his tongue inside.

“Felix… Take me… and make me even dirtier.”

“But I might never get another opportunity to see you like this again… I’m going to enjoy every last second of it.” Felix grinded his cock against Sylvain’s as the redhead pumped them together.

“Dammit, Felix, please!”

“My, how the tables have turned. Since you asked so nicely…” Felix turned Sylvain around, forcing the other man to drive his forearms into the wall, and slapped his ass hard.

“You’re killing me, man…”

“No, my love.” That ass slap was the only warning Felix gave before he pushed his cock into the other man. “This is killing you.”

“Oh…” Sylvain shrieked; his fiancé was a lot bigger than he expected. “Oh, sweet Sothis, Felix!”

“You don’t need to stifle your voice.” Felix continued thrusting, slapping Sylvain’s ass even harder. “Everyone else is asleep, or knocked out. Cry out as loudly… as you want…”

Sylvain decided he liked being smacked across the ass and pleaded, “Harder… Do it harder!”

“In what way? …I guess it doesn’t matter; I’m the one dominating you this time.” As the ass slaps got even harder, so too did the thrusts. “You like that, huh?”

Feeling Felix nip at his ear and neck, Sylvain moaned into the wall, even more loudly now that he could feel himself close to orgasm. “Felix…”

“Shit…” Even thought he was the one on top, Felix found out a little too quickly and a little too late that he couldn’t last like this. “You… You feel too damned good… Ngh!”

“Fuuuuck!” Sylvain shouted as loudly as he could while he came, feeling Felix fill him up.

“…” As soon as he pulled out, Felix returned to his "usual" embarrassed self.

“Felix?” Sylvain couldn’t help but grin at Felix’s behaviour. “You okay, dude?”

“…I think I’m going to go before I get found.” Felix hastily began to redress himself, but took care to leave Sylvain exactly as he found him.

“But I thought you had knocked out everybody.” Sylvain enjoyed watching his fiancé unwind.

“G-Good night!”

Even though he was still bound, Sylvain could rest easy that night as he watched Felix leave the cell. “Man, oh man… Felix Hugo Fraldarius, you don’t know how lucky I feel to be the only one who can ever see you like that.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 21 – Truce

“Prince Dimitri!” One of Dimitri’s soldiers frantically began running to Dimitri’s tent before he had fully awakened. “It’s ghosts!”

“Huh? You mean to wake me – after a night of dealing with our prisoners and Adrestian spies – because of something ridiculous like ghosts?”

“No, really!” The soldier’s friend affirmed. “We just came back from patrol, and… well, we’ve seen some mysterious figures roaming the area.”

“Gh-Ghosts?!” Lysithea and Ashe exclaimed in horror from the other side of Dimitri’s tent.

“Guys, if you would calm down…” Felix cut in. “The soldiers are probably talking about those soldiers made of shadow from Conand Tower.”

“Uh… Felix…” Ashe tried to warn.

“So panicking is not going to-”

“Felix, there’s an enemy behind you!”

“Shit!” Felix had no trouble slashing this enemy down – but not without another one trying to sneak up on him. “Give it up, you son of a-”

“Hahaha… Underestimate those who slither in the dark will be your downfall on this day!” This enemy parried Felix’s sword strike with ease, and sent him barreling towards Dimitri’s tent, knocking it over.

“Damn…” Dimitri came out with the Areadbhar at the ready. “I should have believed my own soldiers sooner. State your name, fiend!”

“I am Thales, leader of the Agarthans! I’ve come to let you know that the Death Knight himself awaits in the Fort Merceus you so desperately want to capture!”

Mercedes stopped attacking the many monsters surrounding her, and started at Thales in shock. “Emile… So you’re saying we have to face Emile…”

“Mercie!” Annette called out, saving Mercedes just in time from the enemy about to attack her. “You’ve got to snap out of it!”

“…Annie, I’m fine now. I will fight for what I believe in, just as I know Emile would.” Mercedes set her sights on Thales again. “Explain yourself!”

“Oh? So you’re the Death Knight’s older sister, are you? Don’t worry about having to face your dear little brother. The Empire and those who slither in the dark are going to put an end to the Church of Seiros and their allies. That of course includes you lot!”

Before Thales could even start charging towards Mercedes, a golden lance swiped at him, barely missing. “Not if I have anything to say about it.”

“It’s about time you showed up to the battle, you bonehead!” Felix scolded his fiancé.

“You forget that I’m a prisoner, my love.”

“Then… what about Miklan?” Ashe asked.

“I offered him the chance to fight for us…” Dimitri cut in. “But he told me, and I quote, ‘Up yours, you third-rate prince with a fourth-rate Crest.’”

So I guess deep down, he’s still a bastard, huh… Still, I have so many questions I want to ask him; I can’t let him just die here! Ah! Sylvain had only let himself get distracted for a second, and already Thales began to attack Miklan’s cell. “No you don’t!”

“Hehehe… How laughable! You protect the brother that has been nothing but a pain in your side since you were born? But why?”

“Nunya Business, that’s why. If you want a piece of me, then I’d be happy to oblige!” Sylvain’s right hand began to glow.

“One Seraphim spell isn’t going to be enough to defeat me, little margrave. It is pointless to resist!” Thales successfully hit Sylvain – and the rest of the battlefield - with a Quake Σ spell.

“Damn…” Thankfully, Sylvain’s Seraphim mitigated a lot of the damage. “Okay, so maybe the ‘Agarthans…’ or whatever you guys call yourselves… are a little good.

“Don’t underestimate us!” Thales ramped up his attacks. “You have no idea what we have gone through at the hands of that… that… Fell Star!”

“What, you mean Professor? In case you haven’t noticed, the goddess lived several hundred years ago. Our professor has nothing to do with it!” Sylvain created a barrier of light in response to the ceaseless Death Γ coming at him.

“You and all of Sothis’ ilk are going to perish on this day! You’ll never-”

A flying arrow from the Tathlum Bow silenced Thales, piercing the right side of his chest.

“We’ll never let you harm our vision of an equal Fódlan, that’s what will never happen.” Mercedes glared at Thales, another arrow at the ready.

Thales, seeing that many of his soldiers had already perished in this short battle, decided to make a run for it. “You may have won this day, princeling, but we’ll see to it that you’re crushed at Fort Merceus!”

“Wait, you basta-” Sylvain couldn’t stop Thales and the other Agarthans from disappearing in the shadows. “Damn, he’s gone. And just like that, our upcoming battle at Fort Merceus just got a lot harder.”

“Back in your chains, traitor.” One of Dimitri’s soldiers didn’t hesitate to handcuff Sylvain.

“Yeah, yeah…”

Dimitri stepped in. “Since your cell got destroyed from that Quake Σ, you will now be staying in Miklan’s cell for the remainder of our march.”

Sylvain didn’t fight back as he was led to this cell. “Great… I’m being led to a third-rate cell with a fourth-rate brother in it.”

“Quit butchering my phrases, you dumbass,” Miklan scoffed as the cell door was locked, and the two of them were left alone. “It’s clear to me that you have little mastery of basic language.”

Sylvain didn’t want to open his mouth again after this exchange, and remained silent for several hours while the Kingdom continued their march. But the march would prove even longer if he didn’t at least try to get a kind word in.

To his surprise, Miklan was the one to speak first. “So why did you protect me in the battle against Thales? …Wait, don’t tell me. You just want to use me in your plan to marry your precious little Fraldarius friend… What was his name again?”

“It’s Felix, you-” Sylvain knew that he had to approach this topic in a kind manner. “Okay, I admit that it’s part of the reason. But you have no idea how hard it is living up to Father’s expectations as a Crest bearer. And I’ve met so many Crestless people treated viciously for being the way they are. Did you know that some have even been subjected to horrific experiments just to obtain a Crest? Lysithea, and even the Emperor herself, for instance.”

“I… had no idea.” Miklan stared at the artificial Crest on his right hand, feeling fortunate that he didn’t have to go through such experiments.

“Miklan, you’ve got no place else to go; those who slither in the dark have taken over Conand Tower.”

“I don’t know…”

“But why not?”

“Sylvain, do you have any idea how being disowned really made me feel? What trying to impress your parents – then failing because of this younger sibling who has little knowledge of the world – feels? I…” Miklan didn’t try to hold back his tears now. “If I went back to House Gautier now… If Father saw me again, would he just think I’m a worthless waste of space who would never amount to anything? Or is he going to expect things of me, too, now that I have a Crest – even if it isn’t as strong as yours?”

“I know you’ve treated me cruelly when I was a child. I know it wasn’t right of you to do what you did for something that it wasn’t my fault. But if you want to redeem yourself, you’re lucky enough to be given a second chance. I implore you, join His Highness’ cause. Like me, he wants a Fódlan in which everyone deserves to be treated equally, no matter if they have a Crest or not.”

“A world… without a Crest system?” Miklan stopped crying. “Is that even possible?”

“Yes, and I swear on the Lance of Ruin – and my life – that I will make it so.”

After ten seconds of silence, Miklan responded, “I’ll think about it. I’m not sure I trust you, Dimitri, or Father yet… You understand that I need time for this sort of thing, don’t you?”

“In all honesty, I’m not sure if I trust you either…” Sylvain held out a hand. “But we can at least try. Truce?”

Miklan gave a half-hearted smile before shaking that hand. “Truce.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 22 – An Equal Place

“Mercie.” Annette gripped Mercedes’ right shoulder. There, right in front of the Kingdom army, stood the infamous Stubborn Old General. “It’s not too late; you don’t have to force yourself to battle with your brother. I’m sure Dimitri would say the same.”

“It’s like your father said, Annie. Emile wouldn’t fall for any tricks… This head-on assault is the only way.”

“If that’s how you feel, then I support you,” spoke a voice from behind.

“Dimitri, you’re late!” Felix scolded. “We need our prince at the forefront!”

“Sorry, just taking care of some… uh, business. Anyway… Mercedes, you’re right – we need to give this battle all we’ve got. But… stay safe out there.” And just like that, Dimitri’s demeanour changed from a kind prince to a fierce one eager to see the Empire crushed. “All forces, charge!”

“Sir! The enemy has breached the main gate!” An Adrestian soldier reported.

“So…” The Death Knight stared absentmindedly into the bloodshed already occurring. “Will death’s scythe claim you, or will I fall to that sword of yours…”

“Yaaah!” shouted Mercedes as a Bolganone flew just past the Death Knight’s helmet.

“That… woman…” The Death Knight snapped out of this state. Before he knew it, the Scythe of Sariel guided him to his sister, deflecting a stray spell right back at her.

“Aaaah!” The recoil from the fall sent the Tathlum Bow across the ground, leaving Mercedes prone and helpless. “Emile…”

“You. Leave.”

Mercedes relocated the Tathlum Bow and used it to help her up. “No! I won’t run form you anymore, Emile!”

Though normally a ruthless soldier, the scythe he pointed at Mercedes shook in his hands. “Dear sister… Please, I don’t want to hurt you.”

Mercedes’ aim at her foe wavered, too, but her expression was one of resolve.

“If that’s how you feel, then I have no choice but to- Huh? Who are you?”

Before Mercedes could fire a shot, another soldier had pushed her back to block the scythe strike.

“Hear my name and tremble! Miklan Anschutz Gautier is the one who is going to send you to the netherworld today!”

“So, this is the failed son of House Gautier, eh?” At this point, the Death Knight diverted all of his attention from Mercedes. “A little desperate to prove ourselves, aren’t we?”

“And what better way to do it than to slice you like lumber?” Miklan front-flipped, nearly knocking the Death Knight off of his horse.

Miklan had cut so close to him that the Death Knight noticed the Crest of Gautier glowing through his armour. “Your weak, artificial Crest is no match for mine.”

“You mean that healing Crest you never even use, because all you do is kill?” Miklan rammed his shoulder into the horse, and successfully knocked the Death Knight off of it this time.

“Not once… since facing that professor of yours have I found an opponent as strong as you…” The Death Knight felt a brief dizziness as he got back up, then continued his usual vicious fighting style. “But I am stronger!”

“Yeah?” Miklan pushed his lance forward into a small weak spot in the Death Knight’s armour. “Now do you think so? You couldn’t even protect your own sister… And you call that strong?”

“You… speak too much.” The Death Knight could feel his rage building, and positioned the Scythe behind him blade down. “I’ll tear your throat out.”

With a swift motion Miklan couldn’t detect, the Scythe cut him across the throat and chest – and had he been a couple of inches forward, his vocal cords would have been gone.

“Miklan! Ouch!” Mercedes, still wounded from her earlier encounter with the Death Knight, crawled to Miklan as her hands glowed. “I’ll heal you right up-”

“You… scum…” A dark magic surrounded the Death Knight’s scythe. “You know nothing about what my sister and I have been through – what lengths I had to go through to protect her from the most disgusting men in this world!”

“Argh…” Miklan groaned as the Death Knight stepped on his chest, causing more blood to pour out. “M-Mercedes… Do it… Shoot an arrow at him; you’ve got a clear shot!”

“I’ll kill you, too,” the Death Knight declared as a fully charged Death Γ spell now imbued the Scythe. “Pray to that worthless goddess of yours. You have five seconds to do it before I kill you.”

“I just pray that we can both meet in the afterlife,” Mercedes spoke weakly as she didn’t have strength to unleash magic or pull back her bowstring.

He hesitated for about two seconds – and that would be the Death Knight’s last mistake. “Get off of my brother, scumbag.”

“It’s… It’s…” Miklan’s vision slowly began to return as he was able to sit up now. The first thing he saw was the tip of the Lance of Ruin piercing the Death Knight’s chest. “Sylvain?”

“Okay, that’s the last of them…” Dimitri interrupted the scene, and his relief was quickly replaced with sorrow. “Oh, goddess… Mercedes, you know what to do.”

“Right!” Mercedes released a Fortify spell, and her surrounding allies had healed – but her brother had not. “Emile…”

The Death Knight had barely enough life left in him to speak. “Mercedes…”

“I’m so sorry!” Mercedes cried as she caressed the head of her dying brother. “If… If I hadn’t left you and House Bartels… I am the most terrible sister, aren’t I?”

“No, it’s my fault… If… If only I had killed that disgusting father… of mine sooner… I… Urgh!”

“Emile…” Mercedes buried her face into her brother’s corpse. “I know I said I would fight for what I believe in, but… It… doesn’t make this… hurt any less…”

“Mercie, I’m sorry…” Annette let her friend grieve a while before saying, “But we need to go, now.”

“I know, I’m sorry…” Mercedes got up and gave her friend a hug. “Thank you, Annie.”

“And, uh… thank you for saving me,” Miklan cut in.

“No, you saved us!

“Which I find odd…” Sylvain remarked as the soldiers began to cuff him and Miklan again. “Why did you try to save us this time?”

“Just… returning the favour for you saving me from that Thales guy. Speaking of, what happened to that bastard, anyway?”

“His Highness fell him in battle himself.”

“…I see.” Miklan resisted the smile about to come out.

“Men, release Sylvain from his prisoner status at once,” Dimitri ordered.

“What?” Dedue naturally didn’t like this news. “But after what he’s done-”

“Don’t you mean after what I’ve done? I’ve been brutal enough already… I owe it to Rodrigue – and all of Faerghus’ citizens – to show more compassion. I owe it to Rodrigue to care better for his son’s best friend. Plus, the people of Gautier have such immense respect for Sylvain and the margrave. Not only that, but he killed one of the Empire’s strongest soldiers.”

Sylvain squirmed at his fiancé merely being addressed as a “friend,” but tolerated it as he could finally be free of the chains again.

“Hmph. Be thankful that His Highness is so forgiving,” Dedue grumbled.

“Yeah, yeah… And I can be forgiving too! Why don’t you lighten up? …Ah, forget it.” Sylvain turned his attention now to Miklan, who had not begun to walk to his new cell at Fort Merceus. “Thanks, man.”

“Whatever for? You’re the one who killed the Death Knight with the Relic I should have gotten to keep.”

“Yeah, but I wouldn’t have done it without your help.”

“…Okay, if you really want to know, I just wanted to try belonging somewhere peaceful for a change. And I figured… maybe Dimitri’s Kingdom really will be an equal place. I’m curious to see it.”

“Miklan…”

“If only to see if Dimitri really would let you marry Felix.”

“Shh! His Highness doesn’t know yet!”

“Well, he’s not dumb as a back of rocks, so it won’t take him long to figure it out.”

“Yeah, yeah…” Sylvain knew his speaking time with Miklan was up, and now began to return to the fort with Felix. “I’d like to see that, too.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 23 – Camaraderie

“Your Highness, before you go…” A soldier Dimitri had not seen before approached. “I have an urgent message from Margrave Gautier. He’s helped to resolve the conflict in Faerghus.”

“Excellent. Now that the internal squabbles between nobles are done with, we need only focus on taking Enbarr.”

“Hehehe… That’s my old man.”

“Lord Sylvain! Sir, it’s good to see you’re well, like the margrave himself.”

“Hehehe… Likewise.”

“And I must apologize… I should have delivered the bad news first.”

“Bad news?” Dimitri asked.

“Margrave Gautier says he’s captured a man claiming to be involved in the Tragedy of Duscur, and he only wants to meet you at the monastery.”

“I see… Then we need to get going.”

“Your Highness.”

“Sylvain? You look like you’ve got something to say.”

Sylvain paused a while before telling Dimitri, “I know this may be a bit much to ask, but want to speak with Miklan. Can you bring him here, please?”

 “If you insist.” Dimitri showed a brief amazement but didn’t hesitate to give the order.

“What, you found that… that filth’s corpse?” The Gautier soldier asked.

“Nope, I’m as alive as ever, sadly for you!” Miklan laughed when of Dimitri’s men dragged him outside before Sylvain.

“No… No, it can’t be! What will the margrave say?”

“We’ll wait for that when the time comes,” answered Sylvain. “Now that he’s out here, though… Dimitri, please release him.”

“Are… Are you sure?”

Ignoring the reactions of everyone around him, Sylvain continued while looking at the Gautier soldier, “Of course I am. This man nearly singlehandedly took down the Death Knight. Surely we should give him some reward for that?”

“Very well. Since you’re the respected son of Margrave Gautier, this will be how I return the favour.” Dimitri nodded as a sign to undo Miklan’s chains.

“Hmph.” The Gautier soldier still wasn’t convinced that Miklan had turned over a new leaf. “Don’t think that you’re completely free from punishment. Just wait until the margrave himself is through with you.”

“Hehehe…” Miklan waved as the soldier walked off, and everyone else prepared to return to the monastery. “Same to you, buddy.”

“Miklan, wait! Humph. What an ingrate.” Sylvain attempted to stop Miklan in his tracks. But for some reason, he wanted to avoid him, and so the younger brother let it go for now – but not without seeing a crack of a smile on Miklan’s face.

Sylvain didn’t find locating Miklan – or any of his comrades – any easier when he got to the monastery a week later, either. He could feel the gravity of the upcoming battles as he – along with Mercedes and Byleth – paid a visit to the graveyard. And yet through it all, there were those like Annette, Ingrid, and Dorothea who wanted to dwell on happy thoughts as they strolled about the marketplace.

Of course, he knew just where to find his fiancé. But that didn’t stop Sylvain from lamenting, wishing he could find Felix somewhere other than the training grounds. Knowing him, Sylvain reluctantly picked up an ordinary lance as he headed there.

“Dammit, Felix…” Sylvain whined when he reached the training grounds doors. “You’ve got plenty of time to train… Ever hear of a little thing called- Oh? There’s someone else training in here at this hour? But whom? It’s probably Caspar or Raphael… In that case, I better stay out of the way and just wait until they’re done.”

Curious to find out who was daring enough to challenge Felix to a duel, Sylvain hid behind a crate and peered to the right of it.

“You’re… not too bad with the lance,” Felix commented of his sparring partner’s prowess. “Keep it up, and you’ll not only meet your father’s expectations – you’ll surpass them.”

It’s not like Felix to give others compliments… Sylvain thought. And the only ones I know who are that good with the lance are Dimitri, Ingrid, and-

“And you’re going to be a fine soldier of Fraldarius, yourself.”

No way… Miklan?! Sylvain was so shocked at the sound of Miklan’s voice that he came out of hiding. “Miklan? What are you doing here?”

“What else do you expect me to do at the training grounds, ballroom dance?”

“But why with Felix specifically?”

“…Okay, if you must know, it’s because I’ve got a long way if I want to be as good at using the Lance of Ruin as you are. And who better to train with than your fiancé, Felix?”

“So does this mean that you accept House Gautier again?”

“Who can say?” Miklan put his lance on a rack with many others used for training. “Depends on what our old man has to say about it.”

“Oh, and one more thing before we call it a night… Uh, I just… wanted… Ugh, I just wanted to say thank you for helping me is all! Even though I nearly dropped you in a well when we were kids.”

“Miklan, right now that’s completely asinine-”

“Not just that…” Miklan continued while the three of them walked out of the training grounds. “Thank you for showing me a little mercy, even though I don’t deserve it. Maybe as a token of thanks, I can treat you guys to drinks at the dining hall?”

“Hm… I’d rather not,” Felix answered. “But I’ll be more than happy to take Sylvain’s drunken ass back to his quarters. And maybe yours too, Miklan.”

“Sylvain, consider this… my way of sparring with you.

“Is that a challenge? If that’s the case, then I’m down for it!”

“Ooh, a drinking contest?” Caspar had overheard. “I’ll win that!”

“The biggest one here – me – will!” Raphael declared.

“Sounds interesting… I think I’ll try, too.” Ingrid had just come back from the marketplace with Dorothea, Mercedes, and Annette.

“Goodness, we’ve attracted quite a crowd…” Sylvain shook his head as he barged the door open to the dining halls and shouted, “Head chef, I hope you’ve got enough booze for twenty.”

“Oh, Lord Sylvain!” One of the all-female bartenders that night – a pretty woman from Gautier – noticed her lord and his posse and started washed a wine glass. “What will it be tonight?”

Sylvain counted himself – and Miklan – lucky that this woman and the mostly common clientele that night didn’t recognize his older brother. “The petit sirah, please.”

“Ditto!” Miklan placed an enormous satchel of gold on the counter. “And did I mention I’m paying for all of this?”

“Then I’ll pay for the tip!” Caspar added a slightly smaller satchel. Eager to prove himself again, he took all the bottles of wine while Sylvain, Raphael, and Miklan carried the glasses.

“I… think I’ll have some, too,” spoke Mercedes as she started pouring herself some wine.

“Mercie, hold on! You can’t hold your alcohol… can you?”

“Hehe! You’d be surprised, Annie.”

“Then… I gotta join, too!” Annette turned around. “You’ll help carry us back to our quarters, right?”

“You can count on me!” Ashe replied.

As the contest started in earnest – and several participants had passed out already - Dedue mumbled, “Tch. What beasts. I just hope they don’t do this right before the march to Enbarr.”

“Dedue, they’re just trying to have a sense of camaraderie,” Dimitri answered. “Yes, training is important, but I want my soldiers to relax and trust one another. Otherwise, how can I expect the army morale to hold up? Even if this kind of get-together isn’t your thing, I would really love to see you interact with the others more.”

“Your Highness…”

“I don’t mean just barking commands at them, either! And… This is a request, not an order.”

“Annette…” Ashe grew concerned about Annette and her fourth glass of wine. “You don’t have to push yourself for something so… silly, you know.”

“Oh?” Annette seemed completely unaffected. “If I were you, I’d be a bit more nervous about the Gautier brothers, Caspar, and Raphael… I mean, look at them.”

“Maaaan!” Caspar slurred after the party had moved on to an even stronger wine. “It’s a good think that meanie Seteth ain’t here.. Hiccup! Barkeep, get us some more!”

“I don’t suppose you distracted him and Flayn with one of your juvenile tricks again?” Raphael asked Sylvain.

“Hahaha, what?” Miklan had hardly said anything since the contest began; already, he started feeling tipsy. “Heeeeey… Did ya all know that my baby brother Sylvain and Felix are-”

Though he was as drunk as drunk could be, Sylvain would not let Miklan spill the beans in Dimitri’s presence, and flicked him on the head. “Dumbarse, don’t go gossipin’ about others, ya hear?”

“Ow!” Miklan had black out thanks to that playful attack, while Sylvain showed absolutely no shame in what he did.

“Nyah nyah! You lost! How does it feel… to be the one who hosted this shebang and still lose!” Raphael intended to get up and mock Miklan further. Yet upon pushing his chain in, he discovered too late that he couldn’t stay awake anymore.

“Speaking of juvenile tricks…” Sylvain attempted to lift up his sixth glass of wine.

Right then and there, Felix decided that his fiancé had had enough. “Sylvain. You’re done.”

“Yooooo, Feeelix! You want some?”

“Oh, I want some. I want some sense knocked into you!” Felix grabbed Sylvain and Miklan, hoisted their arms around his shoulders. Then, turning for the door and dragging him, he said, “This clown is done.”

“Aww, come on, I wanna win! Let me go back!” Sylvain begged as they now entered the second floor.

“Can you stop talking for two seconds before I pass out from your disgusting breath?” Felix growled, dropping Miklan in Edelgard’s old room, then leaving for Sylvain’s room.

“Hehehe… To think, if I had hit on Edelgard all those years ago, Miklan would be sleeping in the stables with all the horsies!”

It was at that moment that Felix had decided he had enough of this drunken behaviour, and nearly tossed Sylvain on his bed like a basketball. “Sylvain.”

“Yeah, what?”

Felix sat down on the bed and spoke to Sylvain in a calmer – but still serious – matter. “You’re going to have to change this behaviour when we get married. You’re going to tear your liver open if you drink like that every day.”

“Eh? Who says I drink like this every day? I’ll have you know that I normally only drink a glass of wine every other day.”

Felix knew this to be true, turning to an even kinder tone. “I’m just… worried, you know? I want the man I love to live a long time.”

“Aww, how cute…” Sylvain hugged Felix from behind when he was distracted and grabbed at his crotch.

“No.” Felix got up immediately. “I’m not so horny as to take advantage of a drunk. You shouldn’t do it, either.”

Sylvain accepted this refusal with a smile. “Oh, I won’t. Because I love you too much and I won’t let you die early, especially for something horrible like getting drunk.”

Felix blushed slightly before turning to go to his own room. “W-Will you be okay by yourself tonight?”

“Yeah, I’ll call you if I need anything. We’re neighbors, after all.”

“And I’ll probably be the first to hear your obnoxious voice… Have a good night, Sylvain.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 24 – There Are No Friends In War

“Ah… I have awakened to the sight of Felix first thing in the morning.” Sylvain’s bliss was short-lived, however, as without warning he had a strong urge to run to the loo. “Urk… Felix, I gotta go do something!”

“Sigh…” Felix sat down as he sharpened the Sword of Zoltan. “Great. Nothing like getting ready for the march to Enbarr, sharpening my strongest sword, only to hear 19 people puking out their guts in the nearest bathroom.”

Sylvain had come back surprisingly quickly. “Did you say… march to Enbarr? Is that today?”

“Sylvain…”

“And I had to get drunk the night before! What will His Highness say-”

“SYLVAIN!” Felix dragged his fiancé back to the bed, but not too roughly.

“What?”

“Relax! We don’t start marching for another two weeks.” Felix spoke as he eased Sylvain onto his back. “You’re going to spend today recovering from your hangover.”

“I guess I don’t mind being sick if you’re the one taking care of me. You’re playing the part of housewife very well already.”

“Gee. Thanks.” Felix was terse as he wrung a wet towel over a bucket.

“And I can’t wait until we’re married so you can do this for me every day.”

Felix lightly whacked the redhead’s forehead with the towel. “You’re not going to get drunk like this ever again, and that’s final!”

“Okay, okay…” Sylvain sounded annoyed, but deep down he appreciated Felix’s level of concern. Wanting to change the direction of the conversation to something lighter, he said, “So, um… Who won the drinking contest? Do you know?”

“From what I hear, it was Annette. I only found out because Gilbert look very concerned in the dining hall this morning at breakfast. Miraculously, she didn’t even suffer a hint of a hangover this morning.”

“Such a cute girl can hold her alcohol well… Looks are deceiving, aren’t they?”

“Oh, and speaking of breakfast, you feeling well enough to eat?”

“Yeah. My stomachache is gone; I’m just a bit sweaty and I have a headache, is all.”

“Then here. Some sautéed pheasant and eggs.”

“It tastes… perfect.” Sylvain liked this dish so much that he took the rest of the plate from Felix and fed himself.

“Good.” Felix looked down to hide his blush. “Because I cooked it myself; Dedue taught me.”

“Well, I’m glad that Dedue is ‘associating with us’ more. I don’t want to hate him and I don’t want him to hate me either.” Sylvain put his empty dishes on the shelf nearby.

“Okay, that’s enough talk from you, hon.” Felix took these dishes and turned for the door. “Have a nice nap.”

“Hehe… He called me ‘hon!’” Sylvain giggled into the corner of his bed.

“Shut up! I’m going to go train.”

So spoke Felix as he exited Sylvain’s room that day. And the day after that. He found that long after Sylvain had fully recovered from his hangover, he enjoyed staying in the redhead’s room for the night. He noticed, too, the frequency of the soldiers’ visits to the cathedral as the decisive battles drew near. But he wasn’t too keen on praying to the goddess – in fact, he was hardly keen on anything except training and Sylvain.

Felix had started a walk to the training grounds, but as he passed the Goddess Tower, he heard a loud sneeze come from the top. Instinctively pointed his sword towards there, he threatened, “Demonic Beast, wait right there, so I can-”

“Whoa, there, cowboy!” the very much human voice sounded. “Gee, is that what my sneeze sounds like?”

“Sylvain? What are you doing up there?”

“Just waiting for you to pass by. Care to join me?”

Silent on his walk up the spiral stairs, Felix sheathed his sword. “So. Is something eating at you?”

“I’m just…”

“What? You still hungover?”

“Felix, I’m not that weak. Come on.” Sylvain walked back out to the balcony and stared at couples going to their bedrooms.

“Is it because we start our final march tomorrow?”

Sylvain gripped the balcony and looked towards the starry sky. “Just when Dedue stopped hating me… Just when I started to patch things up with my brother… Oh, goddess, I don’t want to die. Not after I’ve felt such strong camaraderie in this army.”

“Dummy.” Felix flicked Sylvain on the head.

“Excuse me?”

Felix wrapped his arms around Sylvain’s neck, and for once he had a tender look in his eyes. “You’re going to live, man. If only to get a taste of Mercedes’ wedding cake. If only to see the flowers Dedue has grown himself.”

“Felix…” Sylvain felt a tear roll down his left cheek, letting Felix wipe it.

“If only to become my duke.”

“I… beg your pardon?”

“I’ve just thought of something… If your brother is going to take House Gautier, then I figured… Well, maybe we can inherit Fraldarius.”

“I would love that, but-”

“If Dimitri has anything to say about it, I’ll tell him something a wise man once said: ‘suck it.’”

“And there are many poor, Crestless orphans out there… Even if it’s just one, I want to give them a loving home, free of war. You remember that little girl whose doll Dimitri mended all those years ago?”

“I remember you telling me about it, yeah.”

“I’ve heard that she and her infant sister lost their parents to Hubert not too long ago. They were just common citizens of Gautier, too.”

“You’re dumb as a brick on the surface, but you’re a kind man. Quite unlike myself. So yes, I will help take care of those kids, if they are willing.”

“I know I’m being suuuuper needy – and a little random - right now, but… Before the Battle at Gronder, when you were still fighting for the Alliance, I had a dream that we confessed to each other at the Goddess Tower. …Can we have our wedding here?”

“I actually had the same dream.” Felix happened to have the toy lance on his belt, and took it out. “With this, too. So yes again, Sylvain… Yes to everything.”

 

It was just Sylvain’s luck he woke up late for the morning of the march. It was just Felix’s luck that thanks to his fiancé, they spent the night there at Goddess Tower. It was just Dimitri’s luck that Hubert decided to bring the fight to the streets of Enbarr in a surprise attack, even after one final attempt at parley with the emperor.

Sylvain, of course, didn’t let this apparent string of bad luck get him down. Not after what happened at Goddess Tower the week before. Trying to ease a bit of the tension, he asked Dimitri, “I heard that you tried to parley with the emperor. What did she say?”

As they approached the border of Enbarr, Dimitri responded, “She told me that she wants to get rid of the Church of Seiros and the Crest system in the name of the weak. She didn’t consider how her actions benefit only the strong, and how she is blind to the suffering of her people because of her ambitions. It was just then that I realized how different our ideals are. We’ll never see eye-to-eye, so we must settle our conflict in the ancient way – a battle to the death. I gave her back her dagger, too… I know that she’ll fight for what she believes in, and so should we.”

“Dimitri…”

“But if I have to fight my own stepsister to end the suffering of Fódlan’s people, then so be it.”

But you’re blind to your own suffering too.

Sylvain was no more eager to hear about Dimitri’s horrible family problems than he was to hear Hubert declare, “Hahaha… Well, if it isn’t the Saviour Prince, your hands stained red with blood. Why don’t we give him a royal welcome? Artillery, fire at will when the enemy is in range!”

“True, my hands are stained red with blood… But you and your emperor have the blood of innocent people – even many of your own citizens – on yours.” Dimitri, knowing full well that the emperor was within his grasp, gave the order to charge full speed.

Ingrid drove her pegasus forward, and though Dorothea managed to catch up so far, she suddenly halted, prompting Ingrid to ask, “Dorothea, what’s wrong? This isn’t the time to be spacing out!”

“It’s… Petra…” Sure enough, Dorothea saw her old friend when Petra cut down the five soldiers blocking her path.

“Dorothea…” Petra showed only this brief moment of weakness before saying, “Ferdinand is dead. Bernadetta is dead too. And you… They are dead because of your killing.”

“Petra, this is war, and Edie has gone mad!”

Petra ignored Dorothea’s reaction and simply walked forward. “This is for Adrestia… and for Brigid!”

“Aah!” Dorothea fell flat on her butt, but her hand was more than strong enough to draw the sigil for Agnea’s Arrow. “If it’s our destiny to kill each other, then…”

“I will be killing you!” Petra continued to charge, but a mountain of soldiers – Empire and Kingdom soldiers alike – impeded her.

“One of us has to die!” Dorothea declared as an enormous arrow of light ran from the sky, ripping through Petra’s body.

Unable to stand – and knowing her time was at an end – Petra lay prone on the ground. “Edelgard… I will not be keeping my promise… Give me forgiveness, please…”

Dorothea gritted her teeth, and after one last look at Petra, she ran ahead and summoned a barrage of Sagittae spells at her oncoming foes. She chanced upon Sylvain, who had defeated a circle of enemies but not without suffering a gash on his dominant arm. “Oh, Sylvain! Wait just a bit… I’ll patch that up for you.”

“Thank you!” Sylvain circled his arm around while the Opera Company Volunteers refreshed them again.

“Just think of it as my apology for being unable to help you at the Battle of Derdriu. Now, come!” Dorothea and Sylvain ran up the stairs together. “We’re almost at the gates of the palace!”

“And don’t forget that our main enemy on the way is-”

“I’ll cut a bloody path!”

Luna Λ found its way to Dorothea and Sylvain before they could find who cast it. Dorothea, of course, knew that voice well. “Hubert! Get out of the way!”

“A fat chance.” Hubert held another Luna Λ at the ready. “You and your brute of a prince are no match for Her Majesty!”

“Hubie, please… I don’t want to kill you too… Not after all the friends I’ve had to kill in the name of this war.”

“Friends? Ha! There are no ‘friends’ in war! It’s either serve your liege’s every wish or die!” Hubert flung the dark spell, intended for Dorothea, but hitting Sylvain instead.

“G-Gah…” As Sylvain’s legs took the hit, he fell on his hands and knees. “What’s the point… in living… if all you do is act as someone else’s puppet? You, who’s never shown kindness to others, wouldn’t understand… You, who would just kill innocent people because your ruthless emperor said so! It’s because of you that… that girl’s parents… are…”

“Hmm? I don’t know who you’re talking about.”

“You sick fuck! Die!” Sylvain attempted to swing at Hubert’s legs from the floor, but the head of House Vestra stomped on his wrists, digging his heeled shoes into them. “Oooooww!”

“I live only for Her Majesty! It’s you who doesn’t understand how I feel! Not that you need to.”

“Dorothea…” Sylvain whispered as waggled his index finger, attempting to formulate a Seraphim spell. “While I’m distracting him, you’ve got a clear shot. I know you’ve got the strength in you for another Agnea’s Arrow.”

Felix was almost on the other end of the street and could only see a flick of Sylvain’s red hair. Still, he ran as fast as he could while readying a Thoron in his right hand. “Sylvain! You bastard Hubert, you’re done for!”

Dorothea formed another magic circle, nearly ready to unleash it.

“Dorothea! Come on, strike him down!”

“H-Hubie…” Dorothea began to cry as her magic circle flickered. “I… I can’t…”

“Hahaha… I suppose all you’re ever good for is singing, Dorothea! You’ll be singing your swan song now!”

Just then, a woman’s voice sounded from behind, shouting, “Burning Quake!”

Hubert didn’t even have to turn around to see the woman who attacked him – or the Lúin lance that pierced his chest. “G-Gah…”

“Hubie, forgive me!” Clenching her eyes shut, Dorothea sent the Agnea’s Arrow in Hubert’s direction, searing Hubert even more intensely than it did Petra.

“Glory… Glory to… Her Majesty…”

Felix didn’t arrive at the scene until after Hubert had already died. “So, you’ve killed the emperor’s lapdog? Ha!” He stuck the Sword of Zoltan into Hubert’s throat. “Good riddance!”

“Felix! That was unnecessary!” Sylvain scolded.

“What? I’m just making sure he’s dead. Plus, he’s the one who killed that girl’s parents, isn’t he? Weren’t you the one who called him a ‘sick fuck?’”

“But you don’t have to glorify killing someone so much! Please, my love… You’re better than this.”

Felix wouldn’t have dropped the matter for anyone else, and simply said while leaving for the palace, “Yeah, whatever. Come on, we have a clear path to the emperor!”

While mostly everyone else followed the others into Edelgard’s palace, Dorothea knelt at Hubert’s corpse to weep. “Hubie… It… didn’t have to be this way. Edie was so kind to me at the Officer’s Academy… and even you were, too.”

Dimitri chanced upon her as she mourned. “Dorothea, we need to get moving, while some of the army holds back the remaining forces. Come, up you get.”

“Yes, Your Highness…” With one final tearful goodbye, Dorothea spoke, “Farewell, Hubie.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 25 – Proud Citizens

“Your Majesty!” One of Edelgard’s generals ran up to her as she contemplated in the throne room. “The Kingdom army has defeated Lord Hubert! My lady, what are your orders?”

“They are here…” Edelgard watched as the first Kingdom soldiers breached the palace gates. “But I won’t let you stop my progress… There can only be one true ruler of Fódlan, and you’re looking at her… Dimitri.”

“Emperor Edelgard! Orders!”

“A full head-on assault; use any means necessary, even the demonic beasts!” Edelgard took a deep breath, and even a woman as strong as her could hardly contain her nervousness. “I don’t want you to stay here… I can’t guarantee your safety if you do.”

“What do you mean, Your Majesty?”

“Ngh…” Edelgard grunted as she tapped into a dark power from within, slowly transforming her appearance. Hardly able to stand this painful process, she ordered, “Go! Now!”

“Yes, Your Majesty!”

As she stood in the throne room alone, and the power of the demonic beast had nearly taken her over, Edelgard declared, “This is nothing… compared to what my people have gone through… For all of Fódlan… For an equal future for everyone… Dimitri… Come to me. Come to me so I can destroy you, and finally bring Fódlan’s people the equality they deserve.”

Dimitri and a few of his soldiers were plenty strong enough to hold back the Adrestian soldiers that tried to enter the palace. After slamming the gates and locking them in place, the Faerghus prince was disappointed not to see Edelgard right away. “She must be in the throne room…”

“Dimitri, I know you want to battle her, but please be mindful of the surrounding forces,” Sylvain warned. “Especially the mages… They don’t look ordinary, and they certainly don’t look Adrestian.”

“I know, Sylvain, I know.”

“Not to mention the demonic beasts…”

“Sylvain, I will fight her with every bite of my lance, just as I’m sure you will with yours.” Dimitri braced his army right as the Adrestian troops rushed to greet them. “Now onward, my proud friends, to our final battle!”

“Hehehe… I’ll have lots of stories to tell the ladies when I get home.”

“I can’t believe you have the audacity to make japes at a time like this,” Felix spoke as he ran down the corridor with Sylvain. “But that’s how you keep up morale, and as odd as this is going to sound, I think I like it.”

“Oh?” Sylvain and Felix now stood back to back with their weapons at the ready. “It doesn’t make you jealous?”

“Of course not. I know you’re loyal to me as I’m loyal to my sword.” Felix scanned the area briefly before deciding on a maneuver. “I’ll take them from the right and you’ll take them from the left.”

“You got it, love!” And with that, Sylvain took off, using a combination of magic and lance attacks.

“Soon…” Dimitri thought as he charged on. “Edelgard, you will be gone… and I won’t have to see my loved ones killed again.”

“Dimitri! It’s a-”

Before Sylvain could speak anymore, Dimitri stabbed his enemy from behind. “Demonic beast, I know.”

“You boar, it’s not just any demonic beast!” Dimitri’s attack had done considerable damage, but was not yet enough to kill the beast, and Felix managed to hold it down by himself. “The beasts on this battlefield are unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

“And so is… this!” Miklan lunged forward to protect Felix from an oncoming shadow ball. “Where did this dark magic come from? A dark mage?”

“If it is, it’s not a spell I’m familiar with,” replied Annette.

“It’s coming from the throne room…” Sylvain noted. “Could it be?”

“Sylvain!” Dimitri took after Sylvain after the redhead began to run. “Wait! Don’t just charge in there by yourself! I’m here, right beside you.”

“Your Highness…” Sylvain stopped in his tracks. He had hardly noticed the dark mage who attacked him, but managed to slay this enemy just fine.

“You two go on ahead! We’ll hold them off!” Miklan shouted as he swung around a full 360º to clear enemies around him.

“I promised Lonato that I would survive through this battle… You can count on me.” Ashe ordered his horse towards a demonic beast while shooting it with a Parthia arrow.

“May the goddess guide you…” Mercedes cast a spell, surrounding the two in a white light that healed all of their wounds.

“And here’s a little present from me, too!” Dorothea led the Opera Volunteers into a special dance, invigorating the two friends.

“Felix…” Sylvain shook in his boots, knowing full well his fiancé could fend for himself, but desperately not wanting to leave him.

“Go, you dolt! The boar’s already there!” Felix ran up to Sylvain, cutting down an enemy to his left, and gave him a kiss out of the blue. “We will live through this… or did you forget that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together?”

“Felix…” Sylvain held Felix close to him for one more kiss.

Felix broke away to kill a couple of mages coming at him – but not before pushing Sylvain through the throne room doors. “Get going, now!”

“Ah!” Sylvain nearly fell on his butt – and right in front of the emperor, no less.

“Hahaha…” Edelgard finally showed her face – her dark, warped face – to Sylvain and Dimitri. “So, this is the graceful heir of Gautier, hmm? How shameful.”

“Edelgard…” As far as Sylvain was concerned, this was not the Edelgard he knew from the Battle at Gronder. She was demonic beast with maybe a shred of what the emperor used to be. “So, you’d become a demonic beast for your people and your ideals… I guess the time of trying to woo you over is long gone.”

“You are… disgusting.” Edelgard held a dark ball of energy in her claw. “Just like Dimitri, the Church of Seiros, and the Agarthans!”

“But the Agarthans were helping you eliminate the Church! I thought you were allies!”

Sylvain didn’t know why, but these words set off Edelgard so badly that she launched a barrage of dark ball attacks at Sylvain. “Scum! How dare you compare me and my proud citizens to those filthy Agarthans! It’s because of them… that I… my siblings… The experiments we had to go through…”

“Just like Lysithea!” Sylvain exclaimed as he dodged these attacks. “I’m so sorry, Edelgard. You and your family didn’t deserve any of that.”

“Sylvain, we cannot afford this woman – this creature – sympathies anymore. This is the true final battle, after all,” Dimitri declared, pointing the Areadbhar at Edelgard. “I had hoped to avoid it coming to this, but… the time for deliberation is over. Raaaah!”

“Hah! Your Crest is no match for my twin Crests. Now, who was it that said that yours is a fourth-rate Crest?” Edelgard teleported behind Dimitri and would have attacked him, had Sylvain not blocked it. “You… Get out of my way!”

“I… will not.” Sylvain didn’t expect a bony-looking monster like Edelgard to possess this much strength.

“I said get out of my way!” Edelgard pushed Sylvain out of the way. “You’re not the one I’m after! And if you dare to get in my way, I’ll kill you, too!”

“Sylvain!” Dimitri was distracted for a brief moment but didn’t let it stop him from impeding Edelgard’s next attack. “Ugh… This is why I didn’t want you to come here with me. This witch is for me and me alone to defeat!”

“I will protect my prince – no, my king - with everything I have,” Sylvain declared as he jumped back into the fray.

“Oh, my dear, dear Sylvain…” Edelgard chuckled as she readied another dark ball. “You have clearly picked the wrong side. If you had sided with me, if you had joined the Black Eagle house all those years ago, you would have lived for a better tomorrow! Hiyaaaa!”

Sylvain stood his ground as he blocked this attack – only this time, the shadow expanded, turning into a shield-like weapon. “Really? You call ignoring the suffering of the poor and killing innocent people a ‘better tomorrow?’ Like hell I wanna associate myself with such twisted ideals!”

“You…You know nothing about me, you toad!”

“Don’t touch him!” Dimitri wanted to protect Sylvain from the full force of the attack – and he did, but was unable to parry it effectively. He fell to the ground as the dark magic started to sear his back.

“Your Highness!” Sylvain tried to heal Dimitri, but Edelgard’s attacks wouldn’t let him.

“Have I… Have I failed?” Dimitri tried to reach for his lance, but the pain radiated throughout his entire lance arm.

“By the looks of it, I would say so!” Edelgard smirked. “Now say goodbye-”

“The only one who’s going to say goodbye is you!” Sylvain charged at Edelgard again and successfully hit her this time. That’s it… Come on, just a little more now.

“Urgh…” Edelgard winced for a spell before continuing the fight. “You’re going to regret it… Your Crest may be superior to Dimitri’s, but now… Now it’s time to show my hidden Crest…”

Sylvain watched as the Crest of Flames appeared above Edelgard’s head. He would have attacked her, too, if an invisible barrier had not protected her. “That’s the same Crest that our professor has!”

“Yes, and it’s all thanks to those who slither in the dark! I may not be proud of their experiments, but I am thankful for one thing…” Edelgard paused to charge up more dark energy. “It’s thanks to this Crest that I… can defeat… you!”

“Aaah!” Sylvain doubled over as the even larger dark ball knocked the Lance of Ruin far out of his reach. He could barely lift his index finger, and in a moment of desperation, he tried to draw a Seraphim sigil.

“A little pretty magic isn’t going to save you now, Sylvain.” Edelgard raised her arm. “Not from this death blow, and not from your eternal damnation!”

You’re the one who will be eternally damned… Haha.” Even in this moment, Sylvain managed to let out a laugh, droplets of blood on his lips.

“Shut up… Shut up, shut up, shut up!” Edelgard shrieked higher than ever before.

Sylvain closed his eyes, hoping that someone – anyone – could save him, if only so he could uphold his promise to Felix. In the distance, he could hear the clattering of metal. At first, he thought that more enemies started to trickle into the throne room – that was, until he heard Edelgard say, “No way… You?!”

“Hands off my baby brother!”

“Miklan…” Sylvain teared up, not hearing Miklan call him that in many a year.

“It’s not possible… You don’t even have a Crest!”

“Oh, but I do… For once, it’s a good thing I do.” A flimsy version of the Crest of Gautier appeared before Miklan as he yelled, “Let me show you what it can do! Ruined… Sky!”

“No… way…” Edelgard could feel her strength leaving her.

“Hehe… Pretty cool, huh, Dimitri?” Miklan turned his head to the slowly rising Dimitri. “Though my Ruined Sky could never match up to Sylvain’s… Why don’t you do the honours?”

“With pleasure.” Dimitri shed a tear before declaring, “Atrocity!”

“Ah…” This attack ripped Edelgard’s demonic wings clean off and left a giant gash in her back. “So… Is this how it ends…?”

“She’s not dead?” Dimitri stood still, watching Edelgard’s demonic features crumble to dust.

Edelgard didn’t say another word; she only looked to the ground in front of her – and to the hand Dimitri held out for her, as if it were one final attempt at parley.

“El…”

Despite everything she had done to him, Dimitri still had a mind to show his stepsister mercy – a mercy which the emperor did not accept. And in the blink of an eye, more blood had been shed as Edelgard threw her dagger at Dimitri’s shoulder.

“Dimitri!” Sylvain called out, thinking that his liege had been seriously injured. “You’re okay! But how?”

Without so much as a grunt, Edelgard lurched forward as Dimitri removed the Areadbhar from her chest, and at last she had died.

“I’m sorry it had to be this way.”

“Save the sympathies, Sylvain…” Dimitri sniffed, feeling a headache coming on.

“Dimitri… My friend, it’s okay to cry. I know how necessary this war was, and I know you have to be strong for the Kingdom… but it doesn’t mean you can’t cry.”

“Hehehe…” Dimitri let the tears flow now as Sylvain consoled him. “Some king I am, right?”

“Okay, okay, that’s enough of the male bonding already!” Miklan tried to lighten the mood. “You have newly freed citizens to greet, Your Majesty.”

“Miklan…” Dimitri stopped crying. “I’m sorry for what you had to go through in your youth, and how all of Faerghus has treated you… I’ll be sure to make it up to you in the days to come.”

“But it still didn’t give me any excuse to treat Sylvain as horribly as I did.” Miklan could feel a tear coming on. “H-Hey, don’t get me teary-eyed now!”

“Hahaha! For once, Miklan Anschutz Gautier sheds tears of joy!” Though he wanted to get caught up in pleasantries, Sylvain knew that this was the perfect opportunity to bring up an important subject. “Your Majesty…”

“Come on, Sylvain, you were just calling me by my name a handful of minutes ago. You’re my friend; Dimitri is just fine!”

“O-Okay, Dimitri…”

“Sylvain, what’s wrong?”

Sylvain took a few more deep breaths before continuing, “Dimitri, now that Fódlan is free, there’s a confession I have to make… Now, this is going to sound a bit crazy, but-”

“There’s nothing crazy about wanting to marry your best friend,” Dimitri said point-blank.

“You mean… You knew this whole time?”

“Well, yeah! Did you really think that I wouldn’t find out sooner or later?”

“But I was afraid that if you found out, you – and all of Faerghus – wouldn’t accept it.”

“Why did you think I wouldn’t accept it?”

“Because my father-”

“The margrave is just a little old-fashioned. As long as you have the respect of Gautier – and you do – then what’s the issue? In my new Kingdom, I’ll see to it that everyone gets treated equally, no matter if they’re gay, or Crestless, or whatever it is.”

“Th-Thank you…” Sylvain began to cry without warning. “For the longest time, I thought that you would force me into exile, just like that one noble from King Loog’s time.”

“Oh, come now, that’s nonsense! And for the love of the goddess, stop crying! I’ve had enough of it today. Now come, your father is going to want to see you. He probably wants you to take over House Gautier, soon if not immediately.”

“Oh!”

“Is there something else on your mind, Sylvain?”

Sylvain smiled. “No… I mean, yes, but it can wait until that special day.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 26 – Surprises, Surprises

“So… Remind me how I ended up being the bridesmaid of honour?” Ingrid pouted the entire time Annette, Mercedes, and Dorothea tended to her appearance.

“You and me both.” Cyril happened to walk by. “How I ended up as the ring bearer, I will never know. I’ve hardly even spoken to the lucky couple today.”

“That’s because Rhea and our new archbishop trust you,” Annette replied with a smile.

“And you, my lovely Ingrid, are you really surprised?” Dorothea continued to braid Ingrid’s short hair. “Not only were you the first one to find out about their relationship, but you’re also the best friend of them both.”

“Whatever. I just think you three are using this wedding as an excuse to douse all the women with makeup.”

“The flower girl thinks she did a good job!” Flayn, with floral barrettes and even rosier cheeks, gave Ingrid a thumbs up as she walked by. “Say, are we going to get started soon? I heard there will be a lot of fish dishes at the reception. Which of course is half the fun.”

“There’s just one problem… We’ve got a couple of late guests.” Mercedes thought as she heard two men shouting outside. “Ah, here they come now!”

The late guests in question sped right past the women and straight to Sylvain’s quarters. “Hey! Where’s the man of the hour, huh?”

“You mean one of the men of the hour,” Sylvain corrected. He was embarrassed not just at his father’s late arrival, but also at his behaviour. It didn’t suit someone of his age. “No, let me guess why you’re late… It’s because of the pretty women around the monastery, isn’t it?”

“No… It’s um… because it’s been a while since I attended the Academy, and I had to ask for directions.”

“In other words, it’s because of the pretty women around the monastery.” Even though the margrave still acted like a womanizer all these years, Sylvain couldn’t ever really be mad at him. Sylvain bowed at the waist to Felix’s uncle. “Duke Fraldarius, it’s an honour to meet you. I am Sylvain Jose Gautier, the son of Margrave Gautier.”

“Yes, I’ve heard about you from my older brother before he died. Thank you for taking care of my younger nephew all this time.”

“Speaking of which, where is the blushing bride… er, groom?” Margrave Gautier asked.

“You’ll see him soon enough…” Sylvain got up as the bell of the Goddess Tower rang. Before he stepped onto the stairs, he looked up the tower and the golden sunrise backdrop. “And he will look wonderful.”

An hour later, Dorothea had just finished styling Felix’s hair into a low bun, letting a few strands hang at the sides. Annette and Mercedes stood back to look at the traditional Fraldarius clothes they worked hard to put on him. “Aww, you look so handsome! Sylvain is soooo lucky!” they squealed in unison.

“Okay, I’m handsome.” Felix started walking hastily to the Goddess Tower. “I’m handsome and very late for my own wedding. Ah!”

“Felix, watch out!” Ingrid tried to warn as Felix tripped on his cape. “Oh!”

A 10-year-old boy saved Felix from an embarrassing face plant. “Hey mister, are you okay?”

“Yes, thank you.” Felix knelt at the boy’s level. He could tell from his clothes and appearance that he was a common boy from Fraldarius. “You saved me, young man.”

The boy just now noticed Felix’s regal attire. “Hey, are you by chance Felix Hugo Fraldarius?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, man, this is the best day ever!” The boy happily jumped up and down. “Mom and Dad used to tell me all kinds of stories about you and what an awesome soldier you were!”

“They did?”

“You bet!” The boy did a few air punches. “They told me one time that you killed a boar with your bare hands.”

“Oh, that was probably just some gossip from your friends.” Felix chuckled, and was surprised when the boy didn’t laugh back.

“I… didn’t really have many friends growing up. When my mom and dad died, all my classmates thought it was because they had enough of me.” The boy began to cry. “I never really had any kind of cool parental figures after my parents’ deaths, either. I… had to live on my own. You were really the only role model I’ve had.”

“Well, I’m about to change that for you!” Felix declared proudly. “There’s going to be a really cool wedding at the Goddess Tower, and I’d love for you to come. There will be lots of yummy food and fun games. And there certainly won’t be any of those mean bullies that you’ve met.”

“Really?” The boy not only stopped crying, he lit up.

“Of course!” Mercedes took the boy by the hand while giving Felix a sidelong stare. “Now come, you don’t want to be late like a certain someone.

The sun had arisen completely now while the birds fled from their previous hiding places. A spacious crowd gathered under the balcony of the Goddess Tower as Flayn tossed flowers from there. Mercedes couldn’t contain her excitement at the wedding about to commence. “Aww, I should have put some concealer on him at least…”

“Maybe you’ll find a chance to if you visit Fraldarius,” replied Ingrid, lifting Felix’s long cape off the ground while he walked.

As he stepped out from the shade, Felix shielded his face from the sun and the oncoming doves with his arm. Even as he walked to the balcony, he could hardly look at his soon-to-be husband in the eye.

Sylvain brushed aside Felix’s bangs and spoke softly, “Hey. Don’t be shy now of all times; let me see your beautiful face.”

Byleth, the newly appointed archbishop of the Church, grinned at this adorable display as she gestured for silence from the excited crowd below. “O holy Sothis! We stand before you today to ask for your blessings upon Sylvain Jose Gautier and Felix Hugo Fraldarius as they become joined in marriage. May you shower them with many years together, filled with love, light, and fortune. May their homelands become more prosperous with each passing day as the people will grow to respect them.”

Byleth’s conclusion of her speech prompted Sylvain to begin stating his vows. “I have lived a life full of unsavoury tendencies. I thought that I could never find true love because of my Crest. I thought that it was my only redeemable quality. But the day I met you, I started to believe that maybe, just maybe, I really do have worth. I’ve grown to love myself – and you – in all these years we’ve known one another. I’ll protect you with everything I have; this I swear.”

How am I supposed to top that? Felix had rehearsed his vows several times but at that moment, his mind drew a blank. “I… don’t have a way with words like you. People never forgot to remind me of it, and for the longest time, I didn’t care what they thought of me. What need for pretty words have I, a swordsman so dedicated to his training? It took all the practice in the world just to prepare me for this moment… But for me, it was worth it, to let all of Fódlan know how much I love you. It was worth it to be able to tell you that I will cherish and protect you for as long as I live.”

After a short pause, Byleth continued, “Do you, Sylvain Jose Gautier, take Felix Hugo Fraldarius as your husband?”

“I do!” Sylvain answered with a wink as he put his family ring on Felix’s finger.

“And do you, Felix Hugo Fraldarius, take Sylvain Jose Gautier as your husband?”

“I do.” Felix did the same, and there was no shyness in his voice now.

“Then by the power invested in I, Byleth Eisner, archbishop of the Church of Seiros… I now pronounce the two of you spouses for life.” Byleth gave Sylvain a wink and whispered, “Go on, hotshot, give him a big kiss.”

Don’t need to tell me that, Professor, Sylvain thought as he clasped the back of Felix’s head and kissed him for a long time.

“Aww!” The ten-year-old boy from earlier cheered, along with other monastery residents from the ground. “So this big wedding was for Felix, huh?”

Felix finally broke the kiss gently and now faced the crowd. “Oh, and I thought I’d like to take this opportunity to make an important announcement, particularly to my fellow citizens of Fraldarius. I accept the title of the Duke of Fraldarius… and so does my husband.”

“Whoa…” A few citizens were surprised, but most appeared to accept it.

“But wait…” A young man from Gautier spoke up. “Then who’s going to inherit House Gautier?”

Sylvain expected and feared for this topic to come up, but he didn’t want to lie to his people. “I pass that title to my brother Miklan.” Sylvain turned to his best man. “That is, if he is willing.”

“What?” The mention of Miklan’s name sparked whispers throughout. “He’s alive?”

“Yes.” Miklan turned around. “Though at times I don’t think I deserved to be… I am glad to be now, if only to atone for what I have done. If at any time the people think I don’t deserve this title, I will willingly step before a jury, and you may do what you will. But all I ask is this chance to gain your trust.”

“Miklan…” Margrave Gautier hadn’t seen his son in such a long while, not even after the Battle of Enbarr. To make sure that his elder son was not an apparition, he ran as fast as he could up the Goddess Tower’s stairs to get a good look at him.

Miklan didn’t expect this to occur, and didn’t really want it, either. He shifted uncomfortably before saying, “H-Hello, Father. It’s been a while.”

“You’re… alive.” The margrave’s voice sounded void of emotion. “How?”

“It’s a long story.” Miklan secretly brandished his Crest. “So, um… about the title-”

“I can’t say I’m 100% comfortable with it yet, but if Sylvain approves, then I will approve too.”

“I’m… um… glad, I guess.” Miklan could look at his father now, and noticed the margrave shedding a few tears.

“Oh, haha… Don’t mind me. I’m just… hoping… that we can at least try to get along as a family. I’m glad to have the chance.”

“Aaaand here come the waterworks!” Sylvain took the both of them in for a group hug, spurring many members of the crowd to also cry. Just as he was getting caught in the family bonding, he noticed a young black-haired boy standing just inside the shadow behind the balcony. “Oh? Who might you be, young man?”

“Ah, he’s a citizen of Fraldarius,” Felix cut in. “He actually saved me from damaging my ‘pretty face’ earlier.”

“So what brings you here?” Sylvain knelt down.

“I just… wanted to say to Felix that… Congratulations.” The ten-year-old boy grinned. “You’re right about having fun. I’ve already met a lot of really nice kids just now. I’m thankful.”

Felix pondered a while before asking the boy, “Young man, what is your name?”

“I’m Remy, sir.”

“How would you like to live with Sylvain and I?” Felix gave a quick glance to his husband for approval, which Sylvain readily gave. “We will give you the life that was stolen from you too soon.”

“I can have a family again?” Remy started crying tears of joy. “I… I… I would love to!”

“Oh, quit your crying!” Sylvain chuckled as he carried the boy, letting the crowd see him. “Everyone, I present to you Remy, the third in line to Fraldarius’ throne!”

“Aww, right!” Remy did a little victory pose, getting a huge confidence boost from the approving crowd. “Look out, world, I’m going to be a great soldier just like Papa!”

After the crowd had died down, and the wedding festivities had already started, Sylvain and Felix descended the stairs. Sylvain wasn’t surprised that Dorothea had caught the bouquet Felix had thrown, and now she bragged that one day she would be with her “beloved Ingrid.”

“Sylvain?” Felix took note of how silent Sylvain had become after they got back to the ground level. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” Sylvain watched as Remy played with his new friends from the monastery. He was especially friendly to an 8-year-old Gautier girl and her 1-year-old sister who just started learning how to walk. The two older kids flew a sewn-up doll around, much to the 1-year-old’s amusement. “I’m just… I don’t know, I didn’t take you for the type to want kids someday.”

“Surprises, surprises.” Felix smiled as he gripped his husband’s hand. “That kid has been through a lot… I figured that I’d give him a fresh start. A new life.”

“Maybe this is wishful thinking, but… I hope we will live our lives in sheer happiness, for years without end.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 27 – Epilogue – In Peaceful Days

~Imperial Year 1197~

“Greetings, Father, nothing to report!” Remy greeted Sylvain as he rode in on his steed in front of Fraldarius’ palace. Before continuing with his report, he ordered his battalion to bring their horses back to the stables. “Well, except of course for the fact that our diplomatic mission went well. The peace talks between Gautier and Sreng are starting to come along well.”

“Hahaha, you remind me of a certain gatekeeper back at the monastery.” Sylvain chuckled. “And what about the members of House Gautier?”

“Uncle Miklan is tired all the time… But he’s trying. And Grandpa is doing great!” Remy held a thumbs up. “Auntie keeps on telling him to get rest, especially since he’s suuuuuper old and not the margrave anymore. But you know how stubborn Grandpa is…”

“Your ‘auntie?’ Ah, you must mean… her.” Sylvain smiled as he remembered the familiar older woman.

“She’s pregnant but still working hard to keep the peace over there… I admire her. I can’t wait to invite her and my cousin over! I heard that even though she’s only eight, she’s got one hell of a lance arm!” Remy beamed, then turned to the companion he had brought with him. “Oh, yeah, I thought I’d like to introduce you. This is my girlfriend, whom I met at the Gautier palace. Isn’t she a beaut?”

 “I can’t believe you’ve brought another woman home.” Sylvain muttered, not bothered by this reminder of his younger days.

“What does he mean ‘another?’” The girlfriend whined. “Don’t tell me… Do you have other girlfriends I need to know about?”

“Come on, you know that’s not true, baby… Oh, do you hear that?” Remy tried to turn the conversation around. “I think that my little sisters are calling for me! We better go see what they want!”

As Remy left with his girlfriend nagging him, Felix picked that moment to come on to the scene with his daughters. “He takes after his Grandpa,” he remarked. “Because I know you would never act like that… right, Sylvain Jose Fraldarius?”

“You know it!” Sylvain took a look at his now 18-year-old daughter. “So, Megumi, how did training go?”

Megumi sighed, clearly upset with herself. “Still not good enough! I still can’t land a hit on Papa!”

“That’s not true.” Felix showed her a small – but still fresh – bruise under his sleeve. “What do you call this?”

“That’s probably just an old wound…”

“Megumi, come on.” Sylvain tried to calm his daughter down. “Yes, we all make mistakes, and no, we don’t have to be perfect. That makes it all the more important that you learn to celebrate your victories, even the little ones, understand?”

“Yes, Father. Then I’ll go train so it doesn’t happen aga-”

“No, you’re going to take a break so you don’t sweat yourself to death,” Sylvain ordered as he led his family to the dining hall.

“Hey, hey!” Sylvain’s 11-year-old daughter piped up. “I want to train with my big sister and Papa, too!”

“No, Sakura, not until you turn 14,” answered Megumi.

“Humph.” Sakura clearly didn’t like this answer. “Our cousin’s only eight and yet she can fling around lances like nobody’s business. You’re too darned overprotective, Sis.”

“Is that… really something you want?”

“Yup! Only I… um… I want to train in magic.”

“Really?” Sylvain raised an eyebrow. “Well, you’ve come to the right place. I just so happen to know a spell that will scare the daylights out of your enemies… literally.”

“What a cheesy pun!” Sakura laughed. “But okay. Tonight at 11:16 pm. Be there or be square.” She now turned to Felix. “You too, Papa. I wanna see what kind of spells you know, too.”

Felix knew deep down that he wouldn’t have much to show his youngest child in the magic department. Sylvain knew it too but for the five of them, training seemed to be their favourite way to bond, even in peacetime. With big grins on their faces, the dukes of Fraldarius exclaimed in unison, “You got it!”

~The Ride~

~Fin~