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Saṃsāra

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War.

Sylvain is on a battlefield, and he’s panicking. Cold sweat runs along his spine and his fringe is sticking to his forehead as he spins around, desperately scanning every blurry, bloody face around him.

And then, it’s too late, because the second he spots the man with the black hair, an arrow flies past Sylvain’s head and it pierces the mans throat. In slow-motion, he turns around, looking straight into Sylvain’s eyes before he falls. Sylvain feels like he’s the one dying, he’s screaming, howling in anguish and everything hurts as he collapses—Then he wakes up.

Hyperventilating, his eyes flick around the room and his hand instinctively reaches to the right and turns on the light on his nightstand. Sylvain does what he always does; forces himself to focus on the door, then the window, and then, finally, he looks down on his hands. They’re shaking, but they’re not bloody. He takes a deep breath, breathes out through his mouth, and quietly repeats It’s just a dream. It’s always just a dream, and it’s just a dream today inside his head. Fuck, if therapy is not the most underrated thing on earth. He has just about started breathing normally again when there’s a knock on the door, making him jump backwards inadvertently, and hits his head on the headboard.

“Ouch!”

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s just me!” Ingrid whispers, slowly shutting the door behind her. Sylvain rubs the back of his head, and plasters on a smile.

“I know you get sick of me from time to time but isn’t trying to give me a heart attack a bit much?” he jokes, but his voice is a little shaky. Ingrid sighs, and sits down on his bed beside him.

“You were screaming again.” she says, and Sylvain’s attempt at a joke now seems stupid. He meets her worried eyes, and offers a smaller, more honest smile instead.

“I’m sorry.” He says, guilt lacing his voice, both over the joke and the fact that he has woken her up. Ingrid sighs again and grabs one of his hands.

“Don’t apologize. But it has been a while. Are you okay? Has something happened?” She asks. Sylvain searches his mind, thinks of the past few days trying to remember whether anything had been different lately, but nothing comes to mind.

“I don’t think so. I’m alright. What time is it?”

Ingrid offers up her phone, and thankfully, the numbers clearly say 02.48. Sylvain exhales in relief.

“Thank god, at least there’s time to go back to sleep.” He says. Ingrid looks at him, worry still imminent on her face.

“Do you want me to stay with you?” Are you going to be able to sleep by yourself?

Sylvain considers it for a moment, he really does, but shakes his head.

“I mean, unless you really really want to?” He smiles and winks at her. Ingrid looks unimpressed, but she visibly relaxes.

“Alright, good night. I’ll see you in the morning.” She squeezes his hand tightly before she lets go of it and slips out of his room, making sure to close the door extra softly. Sylvain feels kind of bad; it’s not like he can help it, but it really has been a while since they’d been that intense. And it really, really has been quite some time since he woke up screaming, and he hadn’t even realized himself this time. Poor Ingrid.

Sylvain has had nightmares for most of his life. Of war, and blood and most importantly, a man with black hair and a sword. He doesn’t always die, but every time he does, it’s because Sylvain didn’t see him, or reach him, or warn him in time, he knows that much. He doesn’t know who the man is, only that it’s Sylvain’s fault he dies.

When Sylvain was twenty, he had met Dorothea at a party. When the topic of dreams had come up, and Sylvain had mentioned the reoccurring nightmares he had as a child (leaving out the part about how they never stopped) and Dorothea had looked at him with deep, brown eyes and asked him if he knew anything about past life regression, about reincarnation, about “Saṃsāra”; the Hindu belief in rebirth.

Sylvain had said that didn’t know, which hadn’t mattered at the end of the night because they had still slept together. The thought of it had never really left him, though. Because he could swear that before he met Ingrid, he had seen her in a dream, on a flying horse. They met when they were kids, in fencing class, and Sylvain remembers how natural it felt, interacting with her. Ingrid, however, refused to listen to “any of that nonsense” because “it was not “fate”, we were kids.” when Sylvain had introduced her to Dorothea, and she had defended her strict scientific views with several psychological theories without bringing up or referencing or revealing anything about Sylvain’s childhood, which was impressive.

It was kind of a miracle that those girls had ended up as good friends, despite a somewhat frosty first meeting. It was kind of a miracle that Sylvain and Dorothea had remained friends, because man did they get on each others nerves at times.

The dreams had been more detailed, had more variation when he was a kid, he knew that even though his memories of them were vague. He knew because it said so in his medical journals. He had only looked at those a handful of times, because they really weren’t fun to read, but then there were a couple of drawings. The one he had looked at the most over the years was the only group picture that seemed to exist. It pictured the man with the black hair, of course, and a blonde guy with an eyepatch, two girls who had magical powers, somebody with a strange green tint to their hair and a glowing sword, a small guy with a bow and arrow, a large man with very light hair, and most importantly, a blonde girl on a flying horse. He had tried to show it to Ingrid as proof once; but the reply had been “Wow, a stunning likeness. You’ve convinced me, we knew each other in a past life full of magic and dragons.”

The therapists, according to the journals, seemed to agree with Ingrid; the dreams of war were a child’s minds reaction to what had happened, the people in them, figments of his imagination. He was still grateful for Ingrid though. She had stuck with him through it all, a solid rock to lean on despite the worst of it happening when the both of them were just children. And she never pitied him, never treated him like he was some fragile nutcase, nor did she let him get away with things that he shouldn’t, like other people had started doing when they found out. Sylvain credited a lot of him still being a person to Ingrid, because she never stopped treating him like one. Ingrid was like his real sibling. His real family.

 

 

Sylvain got through the first half of the next day without major concerns, despite maybe being a little bit more jumpy than usual. Dorothea had asked him to come study with her and some friends; one of them being the tiny redhead named Annette whom Sylvain had met a couple of times the past few weeks since the new term started. She seriously radiated good vibes as though she were the sun, which was the kind of energy Sylvain desperately needed after his less-than-ideal night. A while after he had arrived at the supposed study session, though, it quickly became clear that Dorothea hadn’t really called them there for studying, but to vent about one of her new conquests. And he, of all people, really couldn’t blame her.

“She doesn’t understand that I’m hitting on her” She sighs, slumping on the table in a very uncharacteristic way after giving them some background. She’s talking about an exchange student from Bridgid. Sylvain pats her on the back sympathetically.

“That sucks” Annette replies, expression pure and compassionate. Sylvain hums in agreement.

“How is that even possible?” the pink-haired girl next to Annette asks. She had introduced herself as Hilda to Sylvain earlier.

“Language barrier” Dorothea groans. Annette reaches out and pets her on the head, pushes some of her hair behind her ear. Poor Dorothea. Few people are as good with words as her, but of course that isn’t helpful if someone doesn’t understand them.

“But still, from what I’ve seen you’re not exactly subtle when you do go after someone.” Hilda says, confused.

“I’ve never been this obvious in my life, I think.” Dorothea complains, as she sits back up.

“Are you sure? If you want some tips, I...” Sylvain starts, but Dorothea’s glare shuts him up.

“Well, sometimes things just seem stupidly obvious afterwards, but you’re clueless at the time. Like, when I dated Felix, he had really long hair and he has always been pretty androgynous, anyway. Most of my friends knew that I was gay before I did.” Annette says, but Sylvain doesn’t really hear anything past the word Felix. The name rings in Sylvain’s ears like a siren.

“Who’s Felix?” Sylvain asks, hoping he sounds completely normal, and tries to force his heartbeat to slow down. Dorothea shifts next to him, and maybe she has noticed how he has stiffened, but she doesn’t say anything. Annette looks at him, confused.

“You don’t know him? Weird, I could have sworn you two knew each other.” She replies. Sylvain shakes his head. “Huh... Well, he’s a friend of mine! He went to high school with me and Hilda. He’s here as a fencing recruit, but I think he has courses in the same building as you.”

“It really was quite obvious.” Hilda agrees to Annette’s previous statement. “I feel like Felix was pretty obvious too, I mean, he never really cared for girls before you, so it was really weird when you were dating all of a sudden.”

Sylvain’s mouth is dry, and he doesn’t understand why because whoever this Felix is, Sylvain doesn’t know him.

“You should meet though! I feel you’d get along.” Annette says, smiling at Sylvain. Hilda looks at her, face full of doubt.

“You really think so? Felix is a pretty prickly guy, he doesn’t really do getting along.” She says. Annette shrugs.

“I don’t know, I’ve just got a feeling.”

Sylvain almost says “when can I meet him?” but thankfully, he has enough self restraint to not blurt that out.

“Well, whoever this Felix is, he sounds like an interesting guy.” he says instead.

“You’ll know him when you see him, there aren’t a lot of guys walking around in ponytails and especially not with a permanent scowl on their faces.” Hilda replies. Dorothea, who has been quiet for a while, laughs.

“Hey, he’s actually really great when you get to know him!” Anette retorts. Sylvain is about to ask more questions, but Hilda speaks up again before he’s got a chance to do so.

“Don’t you two have to leave like, now? Didn’t you say your… Ancient Roman whatever was today?” she asks, looking at her phone. Sylvain doesn’t really register what she’s saying at first, but Dorothea is already flying out of her chair, gathering her things.

“I completely forgot it’s fucking Tuesday!”

It had seemed like a good idea at the time, registering for a course about theatre in Ancient Rome, but right now, he regrets that choice. Sylvain scrambles and tries to gather his stuff in his arms and swears when his keys accidentally fly out of his hands in the midst of the chaos but Dorothea is there, swiping them before rushing out the door. Annette laughs, and shouts after him as he runs after the brunette.

“Hey Sylvain, if you see Felix, tell him I say hi and to reply to my texts!”

 


 

“Why do you think Felix would be friends with him, I feel like he’s the exact type of person Felix would despise.” Hilda asks dubiously once Sylvain is out of sight.

“Hmm, I honestly don’t know. But I just... It felt really strange to hear that they hadn’t even met, you know? Do you ever get like, a gut feeling out of nowhere and it doesn't make sense at all? But it feels like it’s super right? It’s like that.” Annette replies. Hilda chews on the inside of her cheek and considers the statement. For some reason, Caspar comes to mind. The first time they’d met she had pulled him out of a fight, and she had gotten a distinct feeling of deja vu that was so strong that it almost made her lose her balance and faint. Which had successfully distracted Caspar from the fight, so it had been helpful in the end despite being unsettling.

“Maybe...” She replies, uncertain. “How many times have you even met this dude though?” Annette shrugs.

“A handful of times. He seems nice though! Easy-going.” She replies cheerfully. Hilda still looks unconvinced.

“Hey, if nothing else, Felix does have a thing for redheads. That’s the only reason he ever thought he was interested in me, I’m pretty sure.” Annette continues, and well, that’s a good point, Hilda agrees.

“True, and he does like you a lot and you’re the most easy-going person I know. So, you might be onto something here, who knows.”  

Chapter Text

 Two days after the conversation during the "study session", Sylvain catches a black ponytail and a sour face in the corner of his eye in the corridor, and his heart presses itself up into his throat and stops beating. He spins around on the spot and without thinking runs after the man and grabs his wrist.

“It’s you!” He breathes out, staring at the other mans face. It’s him it’s him he’s real. Sylvain’s heart starts racing and he tries to take everything in, his senses all feel thrown off because this can’t be happening because it’s impossible. The man’s eyes are such a warm brown they're actually bronze, and at first, he looks completely stunned. Then something flashes in his eyes before they quickly turn icy. He looks from Sylvain’s face, to the hand around his wrist, and then snatches it lose. Sylvain then realizes what the hell he has just done; grabbed a stranger out of seemingly nowhere. He flushes and bashfully puts his hand back in his pocket. Then he offers a sheepish smile.

“Felix, right?” he asks, even though he already knows the answer.

“Yes?” Felix replies, apprehensive.

“Uhm. Annette says hi and reply to her texts.” Sylvain says. Something flashes in Felix’s eyes again; it’s probably confusion but the first thing that comes to Sylvain’s mind is disappointment. But that’s probably him projecting, because Sylvain is officially insane. Felix looks at him suspiciously.

“You chased me down and grabbed me because you wanted to tell me to text Annette back?” He asks, and Sylvain’s head starts spinning because he has already fucked this up and he doesn’t really know how to recover.

“... Yes?” he offers weakly. Felix scoffs. Somehow, it sounds beautiful.

“Okay? I will.” he says. Sylvain blinks.

“Huh?” He replies. Felix looks at him like he’s stupid, which is appropriate.

“I will reply to her texts.” Felix says slowly, like he’s speaking to a child. Sylvain swallows.

“Yeah, okay, good.” he says, because he can’t think of anything else. That’s the end of the conversation, but strangely, Felix lingers. He coughs.

“So... Anything else you want to say?” he asks. A million things Sylvain thinks, but he shakes his head and plasters on his regular smile. Felix’s eyes scan over him quickly, so fast Sylvain would’ve missed it if he had blinked, before he spins around and starts walking away.

“I’m Sylvain, by the way!” Sylvain shouts after him before he can stop himself. Felix doesn’t even turn around but raises one hand in the air. Somehow, it’s soothing. It feels like Felix’s way of saying “nice to meet you”. Sylvain stares at Felix’s back until it turns a corner, and then, he’s staring at the spot where it disappeared. His heart is beating like a drum. Finally, after God knows how many minutes, he picks up his phone and calls Ingrid.

“H-“

He’s real.” Sylvain almost shouts into the microphone. He hears Ingrid think at the other end of the line.

“I’m assuming you’re not talking about the melon man?” She finally says which would have been a funny reference to their old inside joke in any other situation than this one.

“His name is Felix.” Sylvain says, the name rolling of his tongue like he’s said it every day for years.

“Sylvain.” Ingrid says cautiously.

“I know you don’t believe in any of this but I know it’s him. I know it. I’ve seen that face for years, years Ingrid, I’d recognize it anywhere.”

“Is there any chance that you ju-“ Ingrid tries, but Sylvain won’t have it. Not even from her, not this time.

“No.” he replies firmly. “I may have fucked it up though.” he adds, and when Ingrid makes a questioning sound on the other end, he explains what happened.

“You grabbed a stranger because he looked like someone from your dreams?” Ingrid sounds like she can’t make up her mind about whether she’s mildly horrified or worried. It’s probably both

“Well, I didn’t tell him...”

“That’s something, at least.” she sighs. “Are you sure that nothing has happened lately? Because you’ve barely pushed any of these delusions in months now.”

“Thing is, I feel like he... I don’t know, like he like... got me. Somehow.” Sylvain tries to explain, but he can’t find the words to describe it.

“I almost wish you had called Dorothea instead, if you’re determined to talk about this...”

Dorothea!” Sylvain interrupts breathlessly, making a mental note to talk to her as soon as possible. Ingrid is a genius.

“I said almost! I’m glad you called me, don’t get me wrong. But just... Don’t get tangled up in something just because you want to believe in something that isn’t real.” she says. Sylvain can hear she’s worried. He can’t blame her.

“It worked out with you, didn’t it?” he replies softly. Ingrid sighs, but Sylvain can hear that she’s smiling too.

“Don’t take everything she says as a fact.” Ingrid replies, surrendering. He doesn’t need her approval for talking to Dorothea about this, but it feels good having it anyway.

“I promise to be a critical thinker and research her sources.” Sylvain assures her, and she laughs.

“We’ll talk more tonight, okay?” Ingrid says.

“Sounds good.” he replies, and they hang up. For a moment, he stares at his phone, feeling lost. Suddenly, a text arrives from Annette.

[Felix just replied to my text, thank you! 😊🤩😽💖💖]

Sylvain groans. He both does and does not want to know what Felix has written about him, if he even mentioned Sylvain at all. He sends her a winking emoji so that he doesn’t have to think of a reply, and opens his conversation with Dorothea. “I’ve met the man from my dreams” he first types out, but deletes it right away. That’s not not true, but…  

[If you dream about someone you’ve not met, and then you meet them, what does that actually mean? I don’t know if we ever talked about that specifically, you know, the thing with Ingrid and me.]

Dorothea replies almost immediately.

[It can mean a lot of things. I’d say it at least means that they’re going to be important in your life.]

Felix has been in his dreams forever. Suddenly, he feels terrified, because if he fucks this up, he probably won’t survive. At least not much of him. His phone vibrates again, another text from Dorothea.

[Please tell me you’ve met someone else from those reoccurring dreams]

Sylvain thinks for a second, before he types out his reply. Although he has just been given Ingrid's approval, he suddenly finds that he isn't particularly interested in hearing all of Dorothea's theories and ending up agreeing to some sort of ritual or something, or learning of all the ways his life is going to crumble if he does fuck it up, not right now. 

[Maybe? Did I tell you about the tiny ginger mage?]

Annette does remind him a little of the orange-haired girl he drew in crayon once, so it’s not a lie. She hasn’t been in the dreams for years though. The rest of them disappeared as he grew older and only Felix remained, a bloody picture burned into his mind. Dorothea sends him the emoji of two beers and a question mark.

[Tomorrow!]



Felix leans back against the wall, after making sure Sylvain hasn’t followed him. Thankfully, the bathroom he has taken refuge in is empty, which is good because if he’s going to throw up he doesn’t want anybody watching. His hands are shaking, stupidly and his wrist feels like it’s burning where Sylvain grabbed him.

It’s not him. He just looks like him.

People don’t step out of dreams and grab you in the corridor at your university. And Ferdinand had also kind of looked like him, he’d thought when they first met. And Sylvain looked similar to Ferdinand, in a way. Only Sylvain was taller, and his hair was darker and not as well-kept, and he was... Well, the important part being that people from dreams only exist in dreams unless they existed in reality first. Not the other way around. That was all there was to it. Felix takes a deep, shaky breath, swearing internally because this isn’t a reasonable reaction to meeting some idiot with no comprehension of social boundaries. He picks up his phone, and opens the text app which he keeps on mute, because honestly, if somebody really wants something from him they can fucking take the time to call him. Annette has sent him twentythree texts over the past five days, because of course she has. Most of them are cat pictures, and the last ones are mopey messages about him not replying. He takes another deep breath, steadying himself.

[Some idiot just grabbed me in the hallway and told me to text you back. Cute pictures, thank you. I’m sorry for not replying, but you know that I don’t text.]

He leans back, letting his head rest against the wall behind him and closes his eyes. When he looks down again, Annette has already replied because that girl is glued to her phone twenty-four hours a day. It almost stresses him out, thinking about it, but she seems to thrive.

[💖😀😻😀 You met Sylvain!!]

[Wanna have meet up later? My lecture ends at five ☕️☕️🍰]

Felix can’t help but smile a little. Just a little bit.

[Sure.]

Annette sends him a barrage of emojis. Felix scrolls up and looks through the pictures thoroughly, saving one of a particularly cute kitten to his phone. When he scrolls back down, Annette has sent him yet another message.

[Did you think he was cute, by the way??! He’s super nice! 😍😍😍]

Felix flushes deep crimson. A fucking set-up, of course it would be. He thinks back at the brown eyes and bashful smile, and something flutters in his chest. He can’t deny that Sylvain fits neatly into the category of Felix’s type even excluding everything else, but Annette doesn’t know that his type is kind of based on the dude he’s been dreaming about for the past few years so it’s... Weird. She knows about the nightmares, but not that specific detail.

[He seems like an imbecile.]

Felix replies, which is also true and seems like an easy way of avoiding the question.

[I won’t tell him, I promise 😊😸🤐]

Annette knows him too well. Felix sighs uncomfortably and scratches his neck which is probably also red because the gods have cursed him with skin that is thin and pale and rosy, as Annette had put it once, and then never again. He doesn’t reply to her text.

Chapter Text

Sylvain can’t sleep. His heart is beating too hard. He stares at the ceiling, listening to his alarm clock ticking in the dark. He can’t stop thinking about Felix. The name sounds so right in his head, it feels like one of the missing puzzle pieces to the mystery that is his nightmares. He can’t stop thinking about Felix’s bronze eyes, or his long eyelashes, the slight flush of his cheeks or the flashes of unidentifiable emotion in his face.

Sylvain is in love with a man he has just met. Sylvain has been in love with a man he has just met today for his whole life. Which is impossible. Yet, here he is, and it has happened.

Felix’s eyes are bronze. That’s fucking ridiculous. There are brown eyes, and there are hazel eyes. Not bronze. He wonders for a second if Felix is thinking about him too, in this very moment. That’s also fucking ridiculous, because of course he isn’t, because he’s most likely not insane like Sylvain is. He groans, and rolls over to his side, curling into a ball under his covers. He stares at the light from the street outside seeping in under the curtain, if nothing else for the sake of variety. And he pouts. This isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that life is like this. What’s he supposed to do with this? What’s the point? He almost rolls over to pick up the phone and call Dorothea, as if she’s his personal spiritual adviser, but it’s really late so he doesn’t. He ponders, thinks over his possible options and outcomes of this whole ordeal.

  1. Sylvain manages to contain himself, charms Felix despite the bad first impression, they live happily ever after and he never tells Felix about the nightmares so that he doesn’t seem insane and gets abandoned. This one seems unlikely, considering Sylvain lost contact with most of his brain cells when they’d first met and he’d probably be found out sooner rather than later if they were to spend time around each other.
  2. Sylvain tells Felix that he’s been dreaming about him since he was a child to see what happens. Also probably not a good idea, because that’d certainly freak him out and he’d tell Sylvain to fuck off to hell.
  3. Sylvain just never talks to Felix ever again and tries to forget that they ever met and ignores him if they ever meet in the corridor. Or anywhere else. This one is plausible, but it also fucking sucks so he doesn’t want to do that.
  4. Sylvain gets himself together and tries to maybe befriend Felix somehow, god knows how, but maybe he could get an actual personal spiritual adviser or something, who could keep him somewhat sane and tell him off when he spirals. He then remembers that there’s person in his life who already does this, Ingrid, (except for the spiritual part) and she’s good at it, but she probably won’t be happy about him going after someone he’s loved for his whole life before even meeting him.

 

Then again. Felix is incredibly attractive, and he would be even if he hadn’t happened to be the man he’s dreamt about since forever. Just as Annette had described, he was a little bit androgynous, although his hair wasn’t all that long (maybe he’d cut it off at some point and whilst, sure, Sylvain usually didn’t go for people who were this… Harsh, at all, but there was something oddly refreshing about it. Maybe, maybe, he could indulge Ingrid and pretend to agree that Felix isn’t the guy from his dreams, but that he’s still someone Sylvain wants to pursue because he’s attractive, and with the dreams it’s going to be weird because Sylvain is weird because his childhood was fucked up. So he needs her support.

He feels bad at the thought of lying to Ingrid, because it feels wrong. But Sylvain needs to get to the bottom of this. He’s never going to be able to let it go unless he tries (god knows if he’s going to be able to let it go if he fails, but whatever) and so, he decides that option four is the route he’s going to take. Tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, over breakfast, he’s going to talk to Ingrid about this. Maybe it was lucky that she had come home exhausted, and pleaded that they talk the next day instead, even though he had panicked inside when it happened because his head was a jumbled mess and apparently he’s a child who can’t solve anything without Ingrid. I’m becoming too reliant on her, he thinks. But she’d say something if she was bothered by it, so it’s okay.

Sylvain rolls onto his back again, and closes his eyes. Tomorrow.

He falls asleep slowly, drifts into darkness and he dreams of nothing.

 


 

“… So in short, maybe, maybe I was a little bit rash in assuming that he’s actually the dude I’ve been dreaming about.”

Ingrid eyes Sylvain, her expression unreadable and for a second Sylvain thinks that she has seen right through him.

Maybe?” She raises her eyebrows.

“Mhm.” Sylvain replies, because if he tries to oversell this, Ingrid will be suspicious.

“You thought it was him because it was fresh in your mind. It happens.” She says. Sylvain can’t believe Ingrid is actually swallowing this. “I’m glad you’ve come around though, because I was honestly worried you were going to go off the deep end and… I’m just glad you didn’t.”

Sylvain’s triumph is short-lived and replaced by gut-wrenching guilt because Ingrid looks so relieved. She probably believes him partly because she wants to. He doesn’t deserve her. But then again, maybe it was better that she believed that everything was fine because she has honestly worried enough about Sylvain, and medical school is tough. She doesn’t need any more on her plate.

“He’s still ridiculously good looking though.” Sylvain says, cracking a smile. Ingrid rolls her eyes.

“Yet another reason why you projected the idea of him coming from your dreams onto him. But do you really think it’s a good idea to go after someone like that?” Ingrid asks. Probably not Sylvain thinks, but he doesn’t say that.

“Well… Won’t hurt to try right?” He offers, even though that’s a lie because if Felix really rejects him for real he’ll probably lose his mind.

“Just keep your head out of the clouds. Please. For my sake.” Ingrid relents. Sylvain swallows the guilt that presses up in his throat as he nods.

 


 

“You do remember that she said she was gay, right?” is the first thing Dorothea says when Sylvain drops down on a chair beside her, and at first, Sylvain doesn’t understand at all what she’s talking about and that much must have translated to his face, because Dorothea sighs, and clarifies. “Annette. She’s gay, Sylvain.”

It takes a few seconds before everything falls into place in Sylvain’s head, and he remembers that Dorothea doesn’t know about Felix and that he texted her about Annette and oh, Dorothea thinks he’s attracted to Annette. Maybe he did say that the mage in his dreams was cute when he’d told her for the first time, but he didn’t feel attracted to either ginger like that.

“Oh, yeah, no, Dorothea, I’m not that big of an asshole.” He says, honestly kind of hurt that she’d even think that he’d be one of those guys who’d go after a lesbian and try to… Turn her. He shudders. Dorothea looks relieved.

“Okay, good, just making sure. You were kind of out of it on Tuesday, so I thought maybe you didn’t catch that.” She says and sips her beer. Then she grimaces. “Remind me why we come here again?”

Sylvain nods in the direction of the hot blonde by the bar. Dorothea rolls her eyes.

“I don’t even know if I care right now.” She mutters. Sylvain almost agrees but catches himself. Maybe he should tell Dorothea, and they could go somewhere with good beer and less noise for a while, since neither of them are interested in soliciting strangers right now.

“That bad?” He asks. Then again, the beer here isn’t that awful, and it’s cheap. Dorothea groans.

“I don’t know! Maybe. She agreed to have coffee with me tomorrow, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know it’s a date. If I tell her outright that it is and things get weird, Edie will get mad at me.”

“Edelgard doesn’t know that you’re trying to get with her?” Sylvain asks.

“She probably does. It certainly isn’t lost on Hubert, he thinks it’s hilarious.” Dorothea sigh. Sylvain feels for her, he really does. He tries to imagine Felix being that oblivious, but it doesn’t work at all. Felix wouldn’t obliviously agree to a coffee date, he’d tell Sylvain to fuck off. Somehow, Sylvain already knows this.

“What are you smiling about?” Dorothea wakes him from his thoughts. “Or, should I ask who?”

Dorothea is too sharp for Sylvain to not tell her about Felix. He quickly makes up a game-plan in his head.

“I, uhm. I met Felix, the guy Annette was talking about?” He says, careful to not blurt out anything about his dreams because if he’s going to keep up the image of him pursuing Felix for his looks, or whatever, it needs to be consistent. Dorothea looks intrigued, her signature sly smile replacing the frustration on her face.

“And it was a good first impression?”

“Uh, well, no.” Sylvain says sheepishly. Dorothea looks at him, eyebrows raised.

“No?”

“Well, for me, for me, yes, he’s stunning but I maybe… Freaked him out a little bit. But I’m thinking I can recover, you know?” He says. His confidence in the statement grows every time he says it. Dorothea hums.

“I honestly don’t want to know what you did, but I’m rooting for you. I need the good karma.” She replies, and Sylvain laughs. “Seriously though, he’s Annette’s friend, like, one of her best friends, so don’t fuck it up.”

“Annette seems like she’s the kind of person who’s best friends with everyone. Hell, I want to be her best friend.” Sylvain sighs.

“Watch it, don’t say that around Ingrid.” Dorothea warns, but she’s smiling. “Seriously though, if she’s one of the people from your dreams, don’t fuck it up” She adds, a little bit more serious.

“I won’t.” He reassures, hoping that he’ll be able to hold himself to that.

Chapter Text

Sylvain sees Felix several times in the week after their first meeting, and he wonders how he hadn’t spotted him before. Sure, the term has just started, but someone like him you figure you’d notice right away? Felix stands out in the crowd like he’s glowing, despite the fact that he really does seem to have a permanent scowl on his face, like Hilda said.

Sylvain doesn’t really know how to handle it. He tries to lock eyes with Felix, hoping to avoid another unwanted encounter from the other man’s side, but that proves to be ridiculously difficult. Felix is always looking everywhere but in Sylvain’s direction when they are in each other’s vicinity, and somehow is always positioned where Sylvain can’t wave at him without looking strange. Once, he thinks he catches Felix looking at him, surprisingly when Sylvain hasn’t spotted him yet – he’s talking to some girl who isn’t important about something that isn’t important, when he suddenly gets an odd feeling out of nowhere and turns around, and then Felix is there. Sylvain wants to think that Felix’s jerky head movement is him looking away when Sylvain sees him, but he isn’t sure.

If you actually want him to like you, you can’t just walk over and barge in and tell him that he’s hot and should come over, you’ve gotta take it slow, so he gets that you’re serious.” Dorothea had said when she had realized that Sylvain was interested in actually dating Felix – after she had gotten over the fact that Sylvain – Sylvain! Wanted to date anyone at all.

But it wasn’t easy. Felix walked around looking like a prince in the hallways and simultaneously continued to look extremely unapproachable.

Then, finally, the gods smile upon him.

“Hey, Sylvain, over here!” Annette calls out from the patio of the coffeeshop he’s just passing, and when Sylvain turns around Felix is at the table beside her. Sylvain’s heart almost stops. It’s completely random, so, he chalks it up to good karma, or whatever Dorothea would call it. Felix has a pained expression on his face, like he wishes Annette hadn’t called him over, but that’s okay.

“So how are you two today?” Sylvain asks once he has placed himself on a chair beside Annette.

“Oh, I’m great!” Annette chirps, and Sylvain wonders if she has ever had a day when she’s not “great”.

“I was fine up until this very second.” Felix replies flatly.

Felix! That’s so mean!Annette pouts, and hits him with a notebook and for a second, she reminds Sylvain of Ingrid, but perky.

“What, it’s the truth.” Felix deadpans, and Annette looks like she’s about to apologize for his behaviour – she definitively reminds Sylvain of Ingrid now – but stops when she realizes that Sylvain is laughing. It seems to throw Felix off a little as well.

“Wow, well, honesty has to count for something right?” He replies. Annette still looks a little grumpy though.

“Well, it’s still a mean thing to say. But don’t mind it, he’s always like this when-“ Annette is interrupted by panicked, warning look from Felix that doesn’t at all fit into the cool, calm persona he seems to be trying to portray.

“What?” Sylvain asks, curious. Annette stammers, but Felix finished the sentence for her.

“When I’m around insufferable fools such as yourself” He says calmly. That certainly isn’t what Annette was going to say, as she rolls her eyes, but she doesn’t say anything. Sylvain hasn’t stopped grinning the whole time, it’s like he can’t help himself. Even though he’s breaking out in cold sweat, something in his stomach is fluttering. It’s a strange mix of sensations, for sure.

“Wow Felix, you’ve barely even spoken to me, yet you have me down to a tee. I feel naked.” Sylvain sighs. Something flashes over Felix’s face, too quickly for Sylvain to catch it, but there was something there preceding the eyeroll that follows.

“You’re very obvious – I’ve seen how stroll around the corridors, winking at every other person you pass.” Felix replies. Then he squints at Sylvain’s surprised expression.

“So you have seen me! I’ve been trying to catch your attention, but I thought you just didn’t notice.” Sylvain says. Interesting. Felix, for about two seconds, looks like he’s been caught doing something he isn’t allowed to. Also interesting.

“Yeah, well…” He says, a little too quickly. “Well, it’s difficult to not notice you, unfortunately, with you being a giant with bright red hair.”

It’s difficult not to notice you too Sylvain wants to say and put his hands to Felix’s face and kiss him. His heart aches at the thought.

“I can stop if it bothers you.” He replies, maybe a little too earnestly. Felix is apparently not at all prepared for that answer, because he sputters and looks down at his coffee cup. Sylvain thinks his cheeks are a little pink.

“Do what you please, I don’t care.” Felix grumbles. His cheeks are definitively a little bit pink. Sylvain’s stomach does somersaults and it’s kind of awful, because he really doesn’t like having this little control over his body. It’s also wonderful, at the same time.

“Uhm… So, Sylvain, where were you headed, what have you been up to?” Annette chimes in, and Sylvain had honestly forgotten that she was even there. Sylvain swallows, hopes his voice isn’t shaky and that he’s not staring too obviously at Felix, but he can’t help but to glance over at him every other second, he really can’t.

“Oh, I’ve just been studying with Dorothea, and now I guess I was on my way home.” He replies, and it does come out a little bit breathless, but Annette doesn’t notice at all.

“Ugh, I wish I was studying musical theatre too. Dorothea is so cool.” Annette sighs.

“You’ve talked about wanting to be a teacher since we were like fourteen years old, don’t change your mind now just because you have a crush on some girl.” Felix deadpans.

“You have a crush on Dorothea?!” Sylvain asks gleefully and laughs when an unmistakeable blush spreads over Annette’s face.

“What, no! I just like musicals a lot and I think she’s really amazing and nice!” Annette protests.

“Doro-thea and Ann-ette, sitt-ing in the tree-” Sylvain sings, but Felix interrupts him.

“Oh my god, are you five?” He groans.

“Out of five? Yeah, I’d like to think so!” Sylvain grins, and Annette laughs. Felix just groans even louder.

“Oh please, you’re a two on your best day.” He says. Sylvain grips his chest dramatically and tries to ignore how hard his heartbeat is underneath it.

“You truly are a cruel-hearted man, Felix.” He replies. Felix just scoffs and shakes his head, but there’s a tiny smile at the corners of his lips and it makes Sylvain feel like he has just won the lottery. It leaves him breathless. He’s so weak. He wants to tell Felix something like well I think you’re a ten out of five, just so you know but he doesn’t because that probably wouldn’t go over well.

“I really don’t have a crush on Dorothea…” Annette chimes in, timidly.

“It’s okay, everyone has a crush on Dorothea” Sylvain assures her, but that doesn’t seem to satisfy her. She looks like she’s about to argue.

“Well, I’m leaving now.” Felix announces. “I’m going to work out.”

“What! No!” Annette pouts, and Felix sighs at her. Sylvain’s mouth has gone dry, because he has just imagined Felix sweaty, and in workout clothes.

“I’m sure you can work on your bullet journal without me, as soon as you’ve gotten rid of the idiot so he doesn’t disturb you.” Felix says. Annette lets out a wry hmph, but seems to admit defeat.

“What’s a bullet journal?” Sylvain asks, and pretends to be interested in whatever is on the table because he can’t look at Felix right now, the situation has turned a little bit dangerous.

“Oh! Well, it’s a journal, and a calendar, but you do all the designs yourself like this…” Annette starts, and Sylvain pretends that he’s listening.

“I’ll see you.” Felix says before he leaves. Annette stops explaining what washi tape for a brief second.

“Bye!” She replies.

“See you.” Sylvain smiles. Felix just huffs as a response, but he doesn’t say no. Or “no thank you, Sylvain, I hope I never have to see your face again.”  So Sylvain counts it as a win.

When Sylvain feels that it’s not too risky anymore, he looks up to gaze at Felix’s back. Oh honey, I hate to watch you leave but I love to watch you go he thinks before he can stop himself, and wow, that’s almost a little much even for him.

“Sylvain, are you listening? Sorry, am I blabbering too much?!” Annette sounds mildly distressed.

“What, no, sorry, I’m listening.” He replies reassuringly and turns his attention back to Annette. She looks a little bit hesitant, so Sylvain points at a random collection of marked out squares.

“What’s that?” He asks.

“Oh, that’s a habit tracker! So I can see if I fall behind on anything, like here, I haven’t managed to take my morning walk for two days it a row, so I’ll know to prioritize that tomorrow.” She replies excitedly. Sylvain wonders how someone can be so enthusiastic about using a chart to physically track their habits, but he continues listening to Annette talking because it’s easy. Slowly, slowly his pulse goes back to normal, and he starts feeling like he can breathe again. Talking to Felix is like having a panic attack, but slower.

But there’s no denying the natural synergy between them. Or, at least Sylvain felt it. He can’t shake the feeling that he has done this before, with Felix and it’s like his heart is trying to remind his head of something he can’t grasp.

Fuck, he’s a wreck.

Chapter Text

The wonderfully accidental meeting at the coffeeshop means that the next time Sylvain spots Felix in the halls, Felix actually looks back at him. Sylvain waves, smiling like an idiot, and Felix rolls his eyes. He can’t believe it, but he’s actually getting somewhere. Maybe. The day after that, when he finds Felix again (because Sylvain goes looking for him because he’s so whipped) he decides it’s okay for him to approach and at least say hi. So, he swallows the butterflies forcing their way up his throat, and trots over to the table where Felix is sitting with a book in front of him

“Hi.” He says, big grin on his face that he can’t be bothered to even try to tone down. “What’s up?”

Felix looks like he has just downed a glass of spoiled milk.

“What do you want?” He replies.

“I want you to say hi back to me.” Sylvain thinks this might be a risk, but he chances. Felix’s face twitches, just a tiny bit.

Hi. Now you can leave.” He says sourly, and with that, he looks back down at his book.

“What are you reading?” Sylvain tries, and Felix sighs.

“It’s a book for class.” He replies, lifting it up so that Sylvain can see the cover. To his surprise, he recognizes it.

“Oh, I’ve read that book! A little tip from me to you – you can skip like, the whole second part and watch a twenty minute video by this guy on YouTube that explains the basics of it, and then you’ll get the gist of the rest of it in part three.” Sylvain says, and this catches Felix’s attention. He looks back up at Sylvain, eyes sharp.

“Seriously?” He asks, and it sounds like he has forgotten that he has decided Sylvain is one of the most annoying people on earth. Sylvain’s smile softens into something more sincere.

“Yeah, for real. I mean, you could read it if you want to, but I really didn’t think there was anything much there. If anything, their explanations were so slow it got a little muddy. You’re better off with the video, promise.” He says and moves a little bit closer to look at the book. Magically, and probably unconsciously from Felix’s side, he scoots over to make room. Sylvain feels how his breathing almost gets a little bit shaky when he sits down.

“Okay, look.” He starts, and thankfully at least his voice remains steady. He reaches over to the book. “This part here – this one is what’s going to be the most important leading into part two. So I’d say you read this again, and then you watch this video.” Sylvain picks up his phone, and quickly searches up the video he’s talking about, showing it to Felix on his screen. Felix looks suspiciously from the paused video on Sylvain’s phone, to Sylvain’s face.

“And I should trust you on this, why? I feel like this would be your idea of a good prank.” He says, obviously unconvinced. The comment honestly stings a little – is that really what Felix thinks of him? If so, then that fucking sucks.

“Hey, I would never!” Sylvain fails at completely masking the hurt in his voice, but whatever. “And it’s not like I came up with it, someone gave me the same tip when I had to read it. I personally happen to agree that the second part is bad.” He says, hoping this reassures Felix a little.

“You read the second part even though you knew it was better explained by a short video?” Felix looks perplexed. Sylvain shrugs. “Why?”

“I don’t know, fun?” Sylvain replies indifferently. He really doesn’t know. Curiosity, maybe?

“You’re weird.” Felix sighs, shaking his head. You’re cute Sylvain almost says.

“Well, this weirdo just saved you hours of pointless reading!” He says instead, but he still winks. Felix grumbles.

“Thanks.” He says, so quietly that it’s almost inaudible.

“Sorry, what was that?” Sylvain grins, completely and utterly giddy inside.

“Fuck you.” Felix looks up at him with disdain. Sylvain wants to tell him something cheesy like feel free to or your place or mine?

But he doesn’t. He feels a little dazed, and just looks at Felix without thinking about anything in particular.

“What?” Felix asks, a little bit less sharply this time.

“Huh? Oh, no, nothing, sorry.” He replies, and looks away from Felix’s face.

The silence that falls between them is thick and tense, and kind of makes it difficult to breathe. It’s like there are words left unsaid and they are surrounding them, prodding at them.

“Well, I’m off!” Sylvain cracks a smile that doesn’t feel all natural. “Good luck, although I don’t think you’ll need it. It’s a good video.” He adds as he stands up. Felix looks at him with a strange look in his eyes, and just nods.

When Sylvain walks away, he thinks he can feel Felix’s eyes in his back. He doesn’t dare to turn around and look if he’s right. That was weird. His heart is still beating like a drum, something is tingling in his gut and his head still feels a little bit foggy. Maybe it’s because sleeping dreamless wakes him up disoriented in a way the nightmares never did.

“Sylvain!” A voice calls out, and he blinks back into reality. It belongs to some girl he’s pretty sure he has talked to at least twice. She’s smiling at him, and alright, good, a distraction is good. He plasters on a smile.

“Well hello there beautiful, how have you been?”

Chapter Text

The next time they meet in the hall, it thankfully appears that Felix has elected to ignore the slightly uncomfortable note their last meeting had ended on and is his usual sardonic self. Sylvain says something stupid and Felix rolls his eyes and shuts him down. The next time, the same. The fourth time, it feels like routine and he starts daring slipping in more flirtatious comments into their conversations, to which Felix almost always gives a dry, discontented reply.

It’s different to what Sylvain is used to. He’s used to shy expressions, people flirting back, or flat out rejecting him. Felix doesn’t do any of those things. Felix’s retorts throws him off balance, or makes him laugh and he always walks away from their interactions with a genuine smile on his face. Despite that the most positive feedback he ever gets from Felix is a scoff disguising a slight smile, or a twitch in the corners of his mouth, or a “fuck off” with zero bite and sounds more warm in Sylvain’s ears than anything else.

He wonders why it doesn’t bother him, because as Annette had put it, Felix’s comments on a surface level are mean, and harsh, and sometimes even degrading. For whatever reason, Sylvain registers none of those things when he talks to him.

Then again, maybe he is projecting and has in actuality completely lost it. There is no one there to tell him if that seems like the case or not.

“Hey, Annette said you used to have much longer hair, why’d you cut it off?” Sylvain asks him one day, and even though Felix looks a little taken aback by the question – it’s out of the blue, for sure. But the image of it isn’t leaving Sylvain alone.

“Why do you care? It got bothersome. Unlike you, I’m not fickle enough to spend a bunch of time on my hair, of all things.” He replies dryly.

“What, this?” Sylvain threads one of his hands through his red locks. “I don’t really spend any time at all on it, I wake up like this.”

Well, it’s almost true. There’s a tiny bit of product in it but takes just about twenty seconds to apply and he doesn’t always do it, so it doesn’t count. Felix looks at him in disbelief.

“I’ll believe that when I see it.” He replies.

“That can be arranged.” Sylvain’s mouth replies, and then his eye winks before he’s allowed to consider whether it’s a good idea to say that. Felix freezes for just about 2.5 seconds.

“Ugh, in your dreams.” He then says, with a grimace that isn’t all disdain. It’s funny, because Felix is in his dreams, has always been in his dreams. If he only knew.

“What, you didn’t think I could look this good naturally? I’ll take that compliment.” He replies, maybe a little half-hearted.

“I assumed you were the type of guy who spends twenty minutes in the morning to achieve the “sexy bedhead” look.” Felix shrugs. Sylvain grins widely at that, he can’t stop himself. Felix looks at him cautiously, like he’s trying to figure out what he’d just said to garner that reaction.

“You think it’s sexy? Two compliments in one day from you, I feel very flattered.” Sylvain replies, teasing but his voice is warm.

Felix almost succeeds in hiding his flushing face by rubbing it and looking down at the floor, and something very hot rushes through Sylvain’s entire body. Felix’s long hair would have helped him now, if he had worn it down. Sylvain can imagine it quite clearly, Felix’s long hair falling softly below his shoulders and in front of his face.

“I’m leaving now.” Felix declares, and quickly walks past Sylvain before he has the time to reply.

“I think your hair is sexy too!” Sylvain shouts after him right before Felix turns a corner. He dares to do it because there are barely any people around. Not that he cares, but Felix probably would.

For a second, he wonders if he has maybe gone too far and something swoops uncomfortably in his stomach. But then again, Felix would probably be angry for real and would have turned around to bite back if he had crossed a limit.

 


 

When Annette texts him and asks if he wants to come study/hang/not-actually-study-but-maybe-a-little with her, Hilda and Felix, he is almost out the door before he even replies. Once again, Felix appears to pretend like their last meeting didn’t end like it did, and on the whole, the session is good. Sylvain is kind of surprised at how relaxed he finds himself in their company, it’s rare for him to not at least keep up some kind of appearance. Time flies, and when Felix announces that he is leaving for training, Sylvain realizes that he also has somewhere to be and panics for a few seconds, because Dorothea would undoubtably be angry if he was late to their stupid course, but then he realizes that he’s not far away at all, he’s fine. Either way, this has them leaving together.

“What’s Hilda’s natural hair colour?” He asks Felix once they’re on their way, because he’s curious and because Hilda had mentioned during their conversation that she dyes it herself. Interesting hair seems to be a theme in this friendship group and it feels significant.

“What’s with you, why are you obsessed with hair all of a sudden?” Felix replies, cocking an eyebrow. Sylvain shrugs. He doesn’t know. He wonders about a lot of things when it comes to Felix and his surroundings, and all of them feel relevant.

“Well, I don’t know.” Felix says to that. Sylvain stares at him, wondering whether this is Felix’s idea of a joke because it very well could be, but Felix seems to register his confusion, and adds some clarification.

“No, I’m serious. She started dying it before I even met her, although back then it was like blue and purple in layers. It was like, lavender for a while too, but it has been pink since we were like sixteen.”

“Blue and purple, wow, sounds emo.” Sylvain reminisces, thinking back to the group of kids back in school with all black clothes and colourful hair. They hadn’t liked him.

“Mhm.” Felix mumbles, a little mangled and uncomfortable.

“Wait.” Sylvain says, a look of realization spreading over his face. “You all were a little emo gang weren’t you?! Don’t lie to me.”

Felix elbows him hard in the side.

“I was not emo.” He snarls, but his cheeks are slightly pink and wow, although unexpected it completely makes sense in Sylvain’s head when he puts everything together.

“But your friends were?” He teases.

“Shut the fuck up before I make you.”

Felix has stopped and is staring at him like it’s a challenge to take serious and it takes all of Sylvain’s self-discipline to not step in closer so his face is close enough to Felix’s that he can feel the heat radiating of his cheeks because it really feels like Felix is inviting him to do just that.

“O-oh, I’d like to see that.” Sylvain replies, and it’s meant to come out less shaky than it does but the shakiness of his voice diffuses the tension, so all in all, it works out. Felix stares at him, then he raises his eyebrows as if to say “really” and oh, right, in that moment Sylvain remembers that Felix fences, is on his way to practice, is an actual fighter. I-will-injure-you make me, not sexy make me. Only it’s still stupidly sexy.

“You know what, I change my mind on that, can I do that?” Sylvain asks innocently. Felix shakes his head.

“Too late.” He replies plainly, but there’s almost a laugh there and it leaves Sylvain kind of breathless.

“Hey, not fair!”

 


 

Hilda watches their backs as they leave. Sylvain says something that makes Felix elbow him in the side, but he doesn’t walk off angrily to leave Sylvain behind.

“Wow, you were actually right.” She turns to Annette. The other girl looks up, and smiles.

“Doesn’t he seem like he relaxes when Sylvain’s around? I mean, in a I’m-going-to-kill-you-so-god-help-me, Felix kind of way.” Annette replies. Hilda furrows her brow.

“What do you mean?”

“Sylvain gets on his nerves, sure, but if you compare that to the way Dimi does…” Annette starts, and trails off.

There’s a stark difference, for sure. With Dimitri, Felix is cold as ice, rigid. He’s scary. With Sylvain, he’s exasperated, and huffy, but the sharpness and the cold is missing. Maybe it’s because Sylvain doesn’t back down, just bounces back like a bouncing ball, and laughs at Felix’s wry remarks instead of being serious. Still though, the fact that Felix doesn’t seem to even dislike him at all…

“He’s such a weirdo.” Hilda muses.

“Don’t say that! I mean, he kind of is. But, don’t say that. He’s struggling.” Annette replies, a hint of uneasiness in her voice.

Sylvain brings out parts of Felix they have barely seen for years. It is weird.

“I know.”

Chapter Text

They’re at a party. Well, they’re at a bar. Dorothea had announced it was time for her birthday celebration (since she had been way too busy with school to celebrate on her actual birthday) and for that very reason it was actually possible to try to convince Ingrid to come. She didn’t like bars, especially not rowdy ones full of students, but when Sylvain had told her that he was pretty sure that guy Ingrid had been talking to on and off was going to be there and well, she folded. Also probably because he had begged her a little bit and told her “you need to let loose every once in a while and I’ve decided this is a good opportunity for you to do so because there will be plenty of people you kind of know”. Sylvain secretly also wanted her to come because he didn’t want to have to hit on random girls and he doesn’t know how to act in that kind of setting unless he does so, but he didn’t tell her that.

And then, they had arrived, and Ingrid had immediately recognized somebody and swiftly disappeared into the crowd because of course, Dorothea would ask everyone to bring all of their friends so the place would end up packed. Typical. Thankfully, he spots somebody else he knows.

Annette is staring wide-eyed at a platinum blonde girl whom he is pretty sure is actually Ingrid’s classmate (and doesn’t at all seem like they type who spends a lot of time in places like this one) standing by the bar and doesn’t seem to notice him approaching.

“Go talk to her!” Sylvian elbows her lightly.

“Huh?” Annette blinks, and stares at him as though he just appeared out of thin air and he can’t help but laugh. She’s smitten.

 “Go talk to her.” He repeats. Annette bites her lip.

“I don’t know...”

“Why not?” Sylvain prods.

“She’s older than me. She’ll probably just look at me and see a child.” Annette sighs, looking down at her body insecurely. Sylvain rolls his eyes.

“To hell with probably, you’ll never know unless you shoot your shot!” He encourages.

“He’s an idiot, but for once, he’s actually saying something smart.” Felix has appeared on Annette’s other side. Sylvain’s heart gets stuck in his throat. Partly because apparently that’s going to happen every time he’s close to Felix, but also because his being there extremely unexpected. Annette must have dragged him, Sylvain concludes, because he can’t see Hilda anywhere and her long, pink hair is something you’d usually spot from a mile away.

Felix isn’t looking at her, or at Sylvain, rather straight forward.

“And she’s looked over here more than twice, and since I just now walked over and I doubt she was looking at Sylvain, chances are that she’d be interested in talking to you too.” He adds, tone even and bored.

“Hey!” Sylvain pouts, but Felix doesn’t seem like he has in a care in the world for Sylvain’s hurt feelings.

“Okay. Okay. I’m doing it.” Annette replies, steadying herself with a deep breath before striding over to Mercedes - right, that was her name, Ingrid had mentioned that - with determined steps.

“How come she immediately feels okay doing it when you tell her?” Sylvain mutters, although he’s smiling. Felix sighs. A long, exaggerated sigh.

“Well, maybe because we’ve been friends for years or because when I say something it actually has meaning, I’m sure there are other reasons but take your pick.”

“Because you’re so cute no one can not listen to you?” Sylvain suggests, and immediately regrets it because while Felix’s head finally snaps around so that he’s looking at Sylvain, he looks pissed. Apparently, that was a step too far.

“What is it with you, what do you want from me?” He spits. Sylvain looks away, partly because he’s feeling awkward and partly because the intensity in Felix’s eyes stirs something in his gut. There’s something different about it, too. Felix is uneasy, for some reason. He can feel it.

“Sorry, that was inappropriate.” He replies, and when he steals a glance at Felix again his expression is... Not what Sylvain expected. He looks confused, as though he thought he’d get a different reply.

“It was.” Felix finally replies, eyes now focused on the floor. And this time, it isn’t a trick of the light; his cheeks are slightly pink. Sylvain’s mouth goes a little dry, Felix is so close, if he could just reach out and touch... But he doesn’t do that, because he doesn’t want to get punched in the face. The silence between them is awkward, but Felix doesn’t leave. Sylvain shuffles.

“So...” He starts. Felix looks up at him again, for a fleeting moment it looks like he’s searching for something in Sylvain’s face and that causes his words to get stuck in his throat. Not that Sylvain even knew what he was going to say anyway.

“Don’t say come here often?” Felix deadpans. It takes Sylvain by surprise, but he laughs. The tension between them diffuses, if only a little bit. Despite the unexpectedness of it all, it feels familiar. It almost feels like the comment is Felix telling him he’s sorry for snapping at him.

“How did you know?!” Sylvain replies. Felix rolls his eyes but he looks amused. Sylvain doesn’t know how he knows that either because none of the normal physical cues of amusement are present in Felix’s face, but Sylvain knows.

“You’re very predictable.” Felix says, voice dry. Sylvain puts on a hurt expression.

“Wow, and here I’ve gone my whole life thinking I’m just a really smooth guy.” He sighs. Felix scoffs.

“Being smooth is always predictable. It’s all lines and no substance.” He replies, unexpectedly direct.

“You’re not into that, I assume?” Sylvain nods slowly.

“... No.” Felix says, after a short pause. “It’s ingenuine. Dishonest. And honestly, boring.” He continues, looking over at the bar where Mercedes and Annette are now having a full-fledged conversation. They look like they’ve forgotten that there are other people around them, completely entrenched in whatever topic they’re discussing. It’s almost as if they are glowing. Something flashes in Sylvain’s head, it’s almost an image but it’s too blurry. The sight suddenly feels familiar, however, and he feels a little dizzy. He looks away, refocusing on Felix.

“You don’t do anything half-hearted, I take it?” he says, surprised by the amount of warmth in his voice. Felix’s eyes flash back to him for a second, but return to Annette and Mercedes just as quickly.

“No, I don’t. No point in that.” He replies.

“You sure about that? If you go all in, every time, that’s a lot. That’s heavy. Sometimes, people need something fleeting. Something that isn’t important, or defining to their character. Sometimes, they just need to exist.” Sylvain says. He feels like he’s a little on the defence. He thinks of all of his flings, none of them meaning anything. He thinks of everything else that didn’t mean anything. He likes distractions, they’re good. Where Sylvain would be without them isn’t something he wants to think about.

“Hmph.” Felix is looking at him now, one eyebrow raised and his gaze feels piercing. “Maybe. But I don’t.” 

I can be genuine and honest and real for you is what Sylvain wants to say, what he almost says. But he doesn’t, although it’s surprisingly hard not to. There are a lot of “almost saying”s with Felix, the words want to roll of his tongue like it’s natural of them to do so. Every time he has to stop himself, he feels weird, like something is wrong. Sylvain has spent most of their life locking in emotions more often than not but he wants to be real with Felix. Also, because with him, putting up walls almost feels pointless. Felix could poke them and they would fall, and it’s like he sees right through them anyway. It’s fucking terrifying and suddenly, Sylvain wishes he had an excuse to walk away from the conversation.

“So what do you do if reality gets tough to deal with?” he says instead. Sylvain thinks that maybe that’s crossing the line of what he’s allowed to ask because Felix looks startled, but he surprises Sylvain and answers instead of telling him to fuck off with his overly personal questions.

“I usually go for a run. Or wrap my hands and find a punching bag.” he says, matter-of-factly. Sylvain stares at him.

“Wow, that’s violent.”

“I’m a fencing recruit.”

“Touché.”

The topic hangs silently in the air between them, maybe a little too heavy, too serious too early.

“I used to fence too, when I was younger.” Sylvain says, trying to steer them into something safer, something normal, something that doesn’t cause a lump of something Sylvain doesn’t recognize in his throat. This peaks Felix’s interest, thankfully.

“Really?” He says. He looks surprised.

“Yeah, for a while.” Sylvain replies. “That’s actually how I met Ingrid.” He adds, and nods across the room in said girls direction, because she has thankfully reappeared in his line of vision. Felix looks over, and his eyes lingers on Ingrid and his expression falling into something strangely tranquil. He looks a little bit rattled, but there’s unmistakeable fondness there too. Something flares up in Sylvain, but just as quickly he hears “he’s gay, you idiot” in his head, and that’s when he realizes that he just got jealous. This is getting out of hand.

“Huh, I’d never have guessed. Spar with me sometime?” Felix says, and Sylvain almost loses his balance because he did not expect to hear that come out of Felix’s mouth. Spar with me echoes in his mind, and he prays that none of his inner emotional chaos is showing on his face. Thankfully, he has had years of practice and experience in the art of burying that that type of thing so deep that he barely even has to consider about it.

“Oh, I could never, I haven’t even held a sword for years. And I was never any good anyway, I didn’t practice enough.” He replies, feeling somewhat bashful at the last sentence. Felix’s reaction is exactly what he expects; his expression is disdained, but not surprised.

“Why not?” Felix asks. Sylvain shrugs.

“I don’t know, I guess my heart wasn’t in it.” He replies quietly, Felix’s words about not doing anything half-hearted reiterating in his head.

“The way you talk, it sounds like you’ve never been serious about anything.” Felix says, tone indecipherable. Sylvain laughs but his heart isn’t in it, ironically, partly because it’s true and partly because boy has his life been one involuntary serious thing after the other. And it’s also funny because in a way, Sylvain feels like he has never been as serious about anything as he is about Felix.

“Well, I really liked horse-riding.” He replies, because he did, for several reasons. Sometimes, when he wasn’t having nightmares, he’d dream about getting on a horse and riding away and looking back at the horizon to watch how he was failing to catch up to him. Sylvain shudders, but either Felix doesn’t notice or he doesn’t say anything about it.

“Wow, rich boy?” He says instead, and instantly Sylvain feels his guard go up, automatically as it always does and something clenches in his stomach because he doesn’t want to have that conversation but when he looks up at Felix, he realizes that Felix is teasing. His shield melts, and he laughs, for real this time.

“Well, yeah. Enough money to sink into any hobby I could think of, only for me to half-ass it and quit.” Sylvain says, smiling broadly, but cold. Felix scoffs, but there’s no condescension there.

“Should’ve guessed. I guess I can’t say anything about it though.” he replies. “I come from money too.” There’s some disdain laced in Felix’s voice, but the words completely untie the knot that had started forming inside of Sylvain. Maybe it’s awful to be happy that Felix is also rich, but knowing that the damn money won’t be a pawn in this entire thing is incredibly relieving.

“Well hey, at least some of their investments paid off, considering where you are now.” Sylvain says, maybe a little bit too chipper from his relief. Felix’s face twitches ever so slightly, but Sylvain catches it anyway. Wonder what that’s about.

“I guess.” Felix sighs.

They fall into an oddly comfortable silence. Even though Sylvain is about to have a nervous breakdown, speaking to Felix otherwise seems so natural. Or, almost more like it’s normal. So, somewhere beyond the nerves and the apprehensiveness, Sylvain feels calm in a way he doesn’t even recognize and it kind of scares him. He glances over at Felix who has pulled up his phone, whose face reading rather bored, and wonders if he feels the same. He can’t shake the feeling that maybe, maybe he does but if so, he doesn’t show it. Since Felix seems distracted by whatever game he’s playing, Sylvain takes the opportunity to just look. He trails his eyes over Felix’s hair, thick and dark and shiny and tied into a low, sloppy ponytail, over his jawline and the jacket that fits snugly over his shoulders - the jacket he’s wearing indoors, god knows why - and the dark shirt underneath it. Hilda had been right about Felix being rather androgynous, but up close like this it’s obvious that he is a guy. Sylvain swallows, steadies his breathing. The most beautiful guy he has ever seen. Hell, the most beautiful person he has ever seen.

Then Felix looks up and catches him.

“What?” he asks, but it doesn’t come off as biting as he probably meant it to. Sylvain clears his throat and thinks on his feet.

“What’s that game you’re playing?” He asks, even though he doesn’t have any interest in any game at all. However, this question makes Felix recoil, quickly pulling his screen out of Sylvain’s line of sight as he flushes red. Sylvain blinks, breath stuck in his throat.

“It’s nothing.” Felix says quickly.

“Seriously? Hey, with that kind of reaction you have to tell me.” Sylvain presses. “Wait. Is it a porn app?” He then adds, looking seriously at Felix. That comment makes Felix’s face even redder, and whatever was fluttering in Sylvain’s stomach before is now doing somersaults.

“No!” Felix sputters. Sylvain wiggles his eyebrows suggestively.

“You sure about that?” He asks, the tease in him fully in control. Felix glares at him, but it’s not very intimidating when he’s still red in the face.

“Yes I’m sure, you dumbass, it’s...” Felix stops, hesitates. “It’s a game where you collect cats.”

He says the last part quietly, obviously embarrassed. Sylvain, however, is positively melting because if that isn’t the most adorable… He clenches one of his fists so that he doesn’t grab Felix’s face and kiss him on the spot, hoping that it’s inconspicuous enough to go unnoticed.

“Oooh, show me, I wanna see!” He says, voice probably unsteady but Felix is distracted and doesn’t seem to notice at all. He looks unsure, jaw a little clenched, but then, miraculously, he nods.

“Okay.” He says and moves closer to Sylvain so he can see the screen properly. He forces himself to focus on the screen, ignoring how ridiculously shaky he feels. It’s honestly like he’s a teenager talking to his first crush only a million times worse probably.

“So, uhm. It looks like this. And you kind of just... There’s not really a lot to it.” Felix says, and Sylvain pretends he’s not looking more at Felix’s hand than on the screen. “I-it’s pretty stupid.”

“It’s not stupid at all.” Sylvain replies without thinking, and his voice is so soft it borders on loving. Fuck. He feels Felix freeze beside him probably because it’s fucking weird to use that tone of voice someone you’ve met a handful of times like you would to a long-time lover.

“You do this whole-heartedly too, right? You have so many cats!” He blurts out, and Felix relaxes again, and then he chuckles and oh, well, Sylvain could probably die happy now that he has heard that sound.

“I guess so. It’s just something to pass time.” Felix shrugs, and slips his phone back into his pocket. Sylvain looks at him with amused disbelief.

“So you collect cats on your phone, but you don’t reply to texts?” He asks, because while endearing, that’s actually pretty weird.

“If someone has something important to tell me, they can take the time to call me.” Felix replies.

“Not one for anything trivial, ever, got it.” Sylvain says. “And I’ll remember that about the calling.” He can’t help but add, and winks. The expected reaction from Felix is a scorn, but it doesn’t come. Instead, it’s an eyeroll, with no aggravation behind it.

“You don’t even have my number.” He replies. Sylvain is stumped, because he had completely forgotten about that. Felix seems like the type to only have like thirty people in his phone. Sylvain decides to risk it before he chickens out.

“Well, can I have it?” He asks, a little too serious for his own liking. He feels how Felix tenses again (he still hasn’t moved since he stepped closer to show Sylvain his screen, which is a victory all in its own) and Sylvain thinks he really has overstepped this time, but to his amazement Felix swallows and nods.

Sylvain fishes out his phone with hands that are a little too shaky, unlocks it and hands it over so Felix can type his number in.

“Don’t name me that.” He says shortly when he hands it back and looks over at the screen to see that Sylvain has typed in Cat Collector at the top. Sylvain pouts.

“Then what am I allowed to name you?”

Felix’s cheeks are a little bit pink.

“Just... Just Felix is fine.” He mutters. Sylvain sighs dramatically, but deletes Cat Collector and puts in Felix instead. Right before saving, he adds a cat emoji. Felix sighs, irritated. It’s endearing.

“Don’t make me regret this.” He says, voice tired.

“I won’t, I promise Fe.” Sylvain replies. Both of them stiffen.

They stare at each other, mirroring each other’s shaken expressions. Sylvain doesn’t know what’s going through Felix’s head right now, but something about that sentence, the nickname that rolled off his tongue so easily has new images pushing forward in his head, flashing by too quickly to see any details but slow enough to know that they’re of him and Felix. They’re not bloody. It’s not a battlefield. They’re sitting under a tree by a small lake, talking. Felix is holding a broadsword and stabs something of hay. Felix is glaring at him across a long table. Felix yells something at him in a bedroom. Sylvain is lying in a bed in a room with high ceilings and Felix is asleep on a chair beside him, Felix is...

“Sylvain!”

Someone’s hand is on his shoulder. He’s equal parts grateful and furious at whoever interrupted the flood of what undoubtedly are memories coming back to him.

“Sorry, what?” He says, looking down at the person talking to him and tries to sound casual.

“I’m going to steal him for a sec if that’s alright, Felix?” Dorothea says sweetly. When Sylvain looks back at Felix, he’s decisively staring down at a stain on the floor, and he nods slightly.

“Thanks!” Dorothea sings, and grabs Sylvain with surprising strength and drags him into the women’s bathroom.

“I’m not allowed to be here!” is the first thing Sylvain manages to say. Dorothea rolls her eyes dramatically.

“It’s 2020, nobody cares.” She replies, unbothered, checking her hair in the mirror. That’s not true Sylvain thinks, but then his mind is back to Felix and-

“Sylvain, are you okay?” Dorothea asks.

“What?” He replies, perplexed. Dorothea is looking seriously at him, and is that... worry?

“Should I get Ingrid?” She asks, even more serious. Sylvain’s eyes widen and he shakes his head.

“What?” He repeats again. Dorothea looks at him doubtfully.

“You looked like you slipped into some kind of trance. Or, well, you both did, but I’m guessing Felix just got stunned and didn’t know what to do when you disappeared.” She says, and, oh, she thinks he’s had a flashback. As in, not to his maybe-past-life but to the other thing that she doesn’t even really know much about, so it makes sense for her to assume. His heartrate slows down, and he smiles her ever so slightly. He can’t be mad at Dorothea for whisking him away, not when this is why. She doesn’t even know half of the story, hasn’t asked for more than he has told her.

“I promise you that I’m alright. I’m sorry for worrying you.” He says, earnestly. Dorothea hits him on the arm, making him let out a surprise yelp.

“Don’t be sorry. If you say you’re fine, then good. But don’t say sorry.” She says. Sylvain looks at her, still a little surprised, but there’s something vulnerable in her eyes, she’s so serious. It’s almost weird, their relationship usually isn’t about this.

“Yeah, okay, I won’t.” he replies, voice uneven. Dorothea nods. Then she looks at him, suspiciously.

“Then what happened? My second guess was that you’re drunk, buy you’re obviously not. Something happened Sylvain, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to but you’ve got to at least admit to that.”

Sylvain thinks. If he tells her, then the whole I’m-attracted-to-felix-and-that’s-the-only-reason-i’m-pursuing-him thing falls. And she might be angry at him, because if there’s anything Dorothea is about except for musical theater, it’s honesty, and consent. “Promise me, don’t do anything related to anything spiritual with someone without their consent. It can fuck with their life if things happen and they don’t know what’s going on.” she had said once and had reminded Sylvain of Ingrid. He had promised not to. He just now realized that maybe he’d broken that promise. He drags a hand over his face, through his hair. Sometimes, Dorothea got a little too serious for him with all this witch-stuff, but since he kind of believed in it too, maybe he was putting Felix in a bad position with the spirits or whatever? He didn’t want that. He braced himself, prepared for the worst.

“Felix is the guy I’ve had dreams about since I was a kid.” Sylvain looked right at Dorothea when he spoke, and thus, he could see her expression shifting from doubtful to shocked, and then into a sombre, solemn understanding. “I guess I was having a flashback, or something, but not to this life because I remembered him.”

“Oh, Sylvain.” Dorothea’s arms are around him before he can react, and when they’re settled around his waist something petrified inside him that he didn’t even know about relaxes, and the muscles he didn’t know were tense loosen up. He just stands there for a few seconds, unsure of what to do, but then he hugs her back and rests his head on hers.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Dorothea asks when she lets go. Sylvain smiles sheepishly.

“I figured Ingrid would be mad if I pursued him, because of the dream thing, you know, and I didn’t want to seem crazy, and I just now realized that I’ve broken promises to both of you.” He says remorsefully.

“What promise to me did you break?” Dorothea asks, confused. Maybe she’d forgotten about it too.

“Err.. To not fuck with people spiritually or whatever without them knowing.” He replies meekly.

“Oh. Well, this situation isn’t that bad, yet, so I forgive you, at least.” Dorothea says. “Don’t know about Ingrid though, you’ll have to figure something out there.”

Sylvain makes a pained noise. He doesn’t want to think about that. Dorothea looks at him sympathetically.

“You’ve put yourself in this mess, I’m afraid.” She says. Sylvain nods forlornly. “But, about Felix. Are you sure?” She then asks.

“I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life.” Sylvain replies, because it’s true.

“Hmm. And he doesn’t know?”

“I haven’t told him.”

Dorothea just hums again, as though she’s searching her mind. Sylvain suddenly realizes that he can ask for advice now.

“What do I do?” He asks, and it comes out a little too desperate for his liking but hey, at least it’s honest.

“Well, what I’ve said before still applies; he’s still Annettes close friend, so if you fuck it up you fuck things up for several people.” She replies. Sylvain groans, because that’s not helpful. “I honestly... I honestly don’t know. Because if you tell him now that you’ve been dreaming about him since childhood, things will get weird.”

Sylvain leans against a stall door, sighing.

“So I can do nothing?” He feels completely powerless.

“No, I saw you put his number in your phone. You can’t take a guys number, proceed to stare at him like a lunatic and then never talk to him again when he’s in our circle of friends.” She replies, and she’s right. He can’t do that. More importantly, he doesn’t want to do that. He thinks about Felix, his sardonic comments, the guy he just learned apparently throws himself into things whole-heartedly or not at all. He thinks about how Felix collects cats in an app on his phone, in secret. And he let Sylvain in on it. Sylvain likes him, and maybe he’s influenced by his crazy dreams but he enjoys Felix’s company. And, he lets down his guard around him so naturally. Like he did with Ingrid when they first met. There’s no doubt in him anymore.

“Dorothea, I really, really like him.” He says, tasting the words in his mouth. Dorothea just looks at him. “I really do. Sure, he’s stunning and I’m pretty sure he’s the guy I’ve had in my head all my life, but beyond that I still like him.”

“Are you sure you can determine that?” Dorothea asks, reluctant.

“Well... No. But I’m going to have to not fuck this up, if nothing else because of that.” He replies, and it’s so obvious when he says it out loud. He should’ve talked to someone from the beginning. Dorothea sighs, and nods.

“Okay, first step is to go out there and apologize for whatever just happened before I grabbed you.” She says. Sylvain swallows, nerves twisting in his stomach again because well, she’s right. But maybe, maybe if he’s lucky (and he mostly has been so far with Felix) he’ll just be able to brush it over.

“Here I go.” Sylvain says, before moving to exit the bathroom which thankfully, no one else has walked into yet. Dorothea doesn’t follow him, so he shoots her a smile before he leaves. She winks back at him, and for a second, everything is normal.

His gathered courage quickly dissipates when he realizes that Felix is no longer anywhere to be seen. Two people who are still there, however, are Mercedes and Annette, neither of which have moved from the spot they’d been standing in before he’d been dragged off. He takes a deep breath, and walks up to Annette, acting like he is his normal aloof and unbothered self.

“Hey, Annette, did you see where Felix went?” He asks. Annette blinks, and stares at him like she’s really surprised to see him.

“Uhm, no, sorry.” She replies, voice a little hazy.

“Is Felix the guy you were talking to with the ponytail? I saw him go outside with that guy with the eyepatch.” Mercedes replies, sweet and observant like the angel she probably is in secret.

“Oh, with Dimitri!” Annette adds, lighting up.

“Yes, they looked quite grave, so I hope everything’s alright.” Mercedes says. Sylvain hears Annette adds something, but he hasn't heard it. He has already said a quick thanks and headed towards the door.

Chapter Text

“... The point is, I don’t need your fucking concern, so fuck off to wherever hell you came from!”

The words echo against the cool, dark October air. Felix doesn’t see him when he comes out, because he has his back to the door, and Sylvain stops in his tracks because Felix sounds absolutely livid. Hell, even in the dusk Sylvain can see that his shoulders are shaking. Someone who does notice him, however, is whoever-this-Dimitri-person-is (the name sounds familiar. Maybe Annette mentioned him at some point.) and when Felix realizes that he’s looking past him and not at him, he spins around. When Felix’s eyes meet his, Sylvain almost loses his balance. Felix’s face is almost unrecognizable in it’s cold, twisted, angry state, and it doesn’t seem like the sight of Sylvain is helping. Rather, it seems to make things even worse, for some reason.

You” Felix’s voice is furious and it turns Sylvain’s blood to ice. “I don’t have fucking time for you right now, so fuck off!”

They stare at each other for a few seconds, Felix breathing heavily. Sylvain slowly puts his hands up.

Okay, okay, I’ll leave you alone, okay?” he says, his voice so hoarse it almost comes out as a whisper. Felix stares at him incredulously, breathing slowly going back to normal. “I’m... I’m sorry, okay?” Sylvain adds, and his attempt to keep his voice steady fails as his voice cracks at the last word. It’s not surprising though, since Sylvain feels like he, in his entire being, is cracking. Felix just stares at him like he doesn’t understand him.

They’re completely still again, Sylvain with his hands up, Felix’s body tense, Dimitri forgotten somewhere in the distance. There are people there, around them in the street, staring, Sylvain vaguely registers. Then, after what feels like hours, Felix’s face falls into something terrified and broken and it makes Sylvain feel like he’s being split down the middle because it’s fucking painful to watch. He almost stumbles in place, his body not obeying his mind and trying to reach out to fucking touch Felix, but that’s what apparently wakes said boy from his suspended state. Felix makes a mangled, heart shattering noise before he spins around and takes off running.

“Felix!” Dimitri shouts after him, but he doesn’t move. He sounds tired, like he was also broken over whatever is happening once, but has ceased to be able to feel anything about it. For a second in his panicked state, Sylvain feels like he should run after Felix, but he doesn’t. It feels like he has walked in on something private, something he shouldn’t see.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.” Dimitri says, as if he has heard what Sylvain is thinking.

“Why are you apologizing?” He asks. This is disorienting. Dimitri sighs.

“I’m afraid I might be the reason why he got so riled up.” He replies, voice completely flat. Sylvain blinks.

Why? he wants to ask. What happened? he wants to shout, but he doesn’t. He wants to join Felix in his misery, because maybe whatever he’s going through would be easier if he wasn’t alone.

“I’m going to find… It doesn’t matter, either way, I don’t think I’ll be welcome in the apartment tonight. If you’ll excuse me.” Dimitri says shortly, and starts walking towards the entrance.

“Wait!” Sylvain says loudly. Dimitri stops, but he doesn’t turn around. “You two live together?” Sylvain feels like he has missed something very important. Dimitri starts walking again, but stops when he’s right at the door and looks at Sylvain. He’s never seen anyone so tired. Whatever’s going on here is some heavy shit. And here he was thinking he was fucked up.

“It’s a complicated situation.” Dimitri says, and then walks inside before Sylvain can ask any more questions so he’s left there with his thoughts.

Maybe he should be cold, but he isn’t. He rarely is. He thinks about Felix, who wore his jacket inside which is something only people who get cold easily do. It’s not summer anymore. He’s probably freezing right now. Anger and sadness makes you feel cold. A wave of pain washes over Sylvain and he almost sobs. It feels like he’s supposed to do something, but he doesn’t know what. He picks up his phone, opens his contacts and stares at Felix’s name. It feels like he’s invading. But he needs to do something. It feels like he’s the only person who can. The mental split is unsettling, makes him feel sick to his stomach and without thinking, he slowly sits his ass down on the pavement. Thankfully, there hasn’t been any rain in a while so it’s not wet. There’s so much swimming around his head it’s overwhelming, he doesn’t know where to grab hold and start. Maybe if it the days had been rainy and the water had pooled under his feet, he could have released them into the puddle and watch them swim around there instead. He closes his eyes to try and focus, but at that moment, he hears the door swing open again.

“Sylvain!”

Of course it’s Ingrid.

“Hi.” he says, looking up and smiling weakly at her.

“Why are you out here?” Ingrid asks, completely bewildered but slightly less worried than she had a few seconds ago because well, Sylvain being able to speak is always a plus.

“Something kind of happened.”

Ingrid squats down, looking at him like only Ingrid can.

“What did you do?” It’s that mix of worry with disbelief and suspicion sprinkled in. No one else can do it, only her. It’s a classic. Sylvain frowns.

“Why does it always have to be me, has it ever occurred to you that when things happen it isn’t always my fault?” he asks.

“Sure, but how often is that?” Ingrid sighs.

“True.” Sylvain admits.

Ingrid seems like she’s waiting for him to say something else, but he doesn’t know what that could possibly be.

“What happened?” She asks, this time gentler. Oh, you know, I’ve just fallen apart in ways I didn’t know I could and I don’t really feel anything anymore so it’s actually probably fine.

“Uhm. Well. I walked out here, and Felix was fighting with Dimitri, the guy with the eyepatch.” He starts. Ingrid nods, motioning him to continue. “And, uhm. He was really angry, and he yelled at me, and then he looked really fucking sad and then he ran away.”

Ingrid takes some time to think before she replies.

“And how do you feel?” She asks, carefully. Sylvain shrugs, because he really doesn’t know.

“I’m fine. I’m sad that he’s sad.” he says, and in the same moment he remembers that Ingrid doesn’t know. But with the current situation, it wouldn’t be right to keep her out of the loop.

“Uhm. I have to tell you something.”

“Okay, out with it?” Ingrid replies, now a little bit confused.

“First of all, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry Ingrid. But, you know, what I said about my dreams, and Felix? Well. I didn’t really, uhm, come to my senses about that, so to speak.” Sylvain says, still feeling empty and emotionless and completely heartbroken at once so his voice comes out casual, void of all three. Ingrid closes her eyes.

“No.”

No.” She sounds drained, and the guilt bubbles back up in Sylvain’s throat.

“I’m sorry.” He says again, quietly this time. Ingrid keeps her eyes closed, it’s noticeable that she has to control her breathing for it to remain steady.

“I wish I could believe you, saying that you’re fine, just this once because I need to be angry at you right now.” She says, voice almost shaky. “I wish I could believe you but you’re obviously not fine.”

Sylvain is about to tell her to go ahead anyway, because what the hell, it’s not like things can get any worse and he knows that Ingrid always forgives him. That’s what’s different about fighting with Ingrid as opposed to anyone else; there’s no true fear with her, so the pain of knowing that he has hurt her takes up all the space that the anxiety does in a fight with someone else. So in a way, it’s worse. Sylvain suddenly realizes that the guy Ingrid had talked about is inside, whatever his name was, and Ingrid is here, with him and fuck, the guilt makes him feel like he’s going to puke, or choke, or both.

“Ingrid, go back inside, I’m going to be alright. Just give me a minute, okay?” He says, focusing every fiber of his being on keeping his voice steady.

“What? No, we’re going home. You need to go home!” Ingrid sounds appalled that he has even suggested it. He swallows, searches his mind for words because this, the fact that Ingrid is throwing away her life to take care of him, is something he can feel. There are tears forming in the corners of his eyes which does not help right now because he’s trying to convince Ingrid to not worry, damnit.

“Ingrid” Sylvain says, and lets out a choked laugh because this feels ridiculous. “If you go home with me now, the guilt will eat me alive. Please, please stay and don’t worry and have a good night, and I’ll go home, and I’ll be okay, I promise. Please.” He almost whispers, because he doesn’t trust that his voice will hold. Ingrid looks at him, conflicted. She’s chewing her lip, but the fact that she’s even considering it says a lot. She has barely even seen anybody but Sylvain out of class lately. Her eyes flicker towards the building, and he knows that he has won.

“Okay.” she says, although she doesn’t sound satisfied with her decision. Sylvain, however, finally breathes out again, and when Ingrid hears him take a deep, ragged breath, she gives him sad little smile.

“Are you sure?” she asks.

“I’m sure.” Sylvain affirms, and now that the tension in his body slowly lets go he feels exhausted. “If you want, I can talk to you on the phone when I walk home.” He offers, and Ingrid laughs, although it’s dangerously close to a sniffle.

“Isn’t that supposed to be my line in this scenario, when you’re the one walking alone?” She says, and Sylvain smiles warmly at her.

“Sure, but you’re the one who’s scared.”

He then moves to stand up, and grabs Ingrid’s hand when she offers it.

“Send me a text when you get home, okay? So I know.” She says softly.

“I will, I swear.” Sylvain replies, pulling the door open. He collects his coat, waves in the general direction of Mercedes and Annette - the former glances over and meets his eyes for half a second and smiles, the latter not having eyes for anyone or anything but the blonde in front of her.

“You are leaving?” He spins around to see Petra standing there.

“Yeah, I’m tired.” He smiles, and Petra nods. “I was happy to see you!” She says, smiling back.

“Same to you! Where is Dorothea?” He asks, because she’s the one he really owes a goodbye to. Her birthday celebration, yet she made time for him when he needs her. What a gal.

“Here!” A familiar voice replies, and then Dorothea is by Petra’s side and is handing her a drink. When her eyes land on his face she stops for a second, sensing something is off, but he gives her the smallest nod anyone has ever seen, and she lets it go. Easy as that.

“You’re leaving?” She asks. Sylvain nods again. “Alright, I hope you can get some sleep” She says, and hugs him. He hugs her back, not as tightly as in the bathroom, and when he lets go Ingrid is there.

“Ready?” She asks.

“Yes mom, I’ll see you in the morning.” He replies, and Ingrid glares at him, but without anger. Dorothea looks at the two of them, surprised.

“You’re staying?” She asks Ingrid, who looks uncomfortable.

“I convinced her that me needing some sleep isn’t a reason for her to not have a fun night.” Sylvain says quickly, before anyone says anything bad and Ingrid changes her mind. Dorothea, like the angel she is, accepts this turn of events after a second of processing.

“Okay, then we’re going to need another drink!” She says, cheerfully. Ingrid starts protesting, but Dorothea has already handed her drink to Petra and left them. Petra just smiles, and Ingrid can’t help but do so as well.

“Alright then, good night!” She says, turning to Sylvain, a little unsure of what to do since the situation isn’t normal for them. Sylvain hugs her tight so that she doesn’t have to decide and disappears out into the night.

Chapter Text

Fuck Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd.

Felix finally stops to breathe, after running god knows how long, or how far. He leans against a streetlight, and when it dawns on him what actually just transpired he slowly slides down to the ground. Don’t cry don’t cry don’t-

It’s useless, because the sob pushes itself up his throat anyway. Fucking Dimitri fucking everything up always. He pulls his knees up and allows himself a couple of minutes of silent crying because he’s fucking tired, he’s so tired.

That hurt look on Sylvain’s face. Something turns in his stomach and he feels like he’s going to be sick. Why the hell had Sylvain been there, outside, all of a sudden?

Maybe he was looking for you a small voice whispers in his head, which is stupid. Although, Felix is stupid too. So fucking stupid. Every single thing he knows about Sylvain, all that he has heard and everything he does tells Felix that he’s a player, but for whatever dumb fucking reason, Felix is letting himself be played. He swallows down another sob, because he doesn’t want to cry about that too. He can’t help it. Felix does have a somewhat valid excuse in the fact that he has weird nightmares ever since Glenn… But that’s not good enough, because that doesn’t explain why all of this bullshit has to involve Sylvain.

He had smelled like soap and earth when Felix had moved closer to show him the cat app. The cat app. Why did he even do that? He was lucky Sylvain hadn’t laughed in his face because then he’d probably have died (or he would have killed Sylvain and gone to jail) but he knows that he’s going to bring it up with his friends later, because that’s exactly what people like him do.

Or maybe not. He had been nice. Disgustingly so, even, at times. Rather different to what Felix had expected, when they got into deeper territory (well, what would be considered deep for people who weren’t gravely fucked up) he had listened, attentively, like it mattered to him what Felix said. Fuck. Like hell it did. What an idiot he was, to believe in an act like that.

All of this was completely crazy anyway. Maybe Felix had reached the point where he’d been a mess for too long, and fallen off the deep end. But there continued to be small, unexplainable things that kept him from being able to convince himself that he’s deluded.

I promise, Fe.

Nobody has called him Fe for years. Of course, in reality Sylvain is the kind of guy who’d do that exact type of thing, make up a nickname from nowhere, and it just happened to be the same one that he’s… But the fact that he’d looked as shocked as Felix had felt when all of those images had come flooding… Back? His thoughts halted. Back from where?

Flickering images in his head of Sylvain spread out on the ground underneath a tree with one of his hands on Felix’s thigh when the latter polished a knife. Sylvain sliding off a horse, hair a mess and smiling like an idiot. Sylvain holding a wooden sword, ready to spar with him. Sylvain standing outside his room with a tray of tea. They were so intense, short but intense, and Felix didn’t really know what he was supposed to do with all of these fake memories.

Either way, it probably didn’t matter now because Sylvain was never going to speak to him again. Probably. He still had Felix’s number, so if he wanted to, he could… But why the hell would he want to reach out to someone who was clearly insane. It wasn’t even like he could reach out to Sylvain and apologize, since he hadn’t gotten a chance to get the other man’s number before everything had spiralled and that girl had grabbed Sylvain and taken him away. In hindsight, it was probably good because what the hell could he have said after his… Episode but at the time, he wanted to tell her that no, you can’t steal him or even say don’t go to Sylvain but since he’d been unable to talk at the time, he had just agreed. And then Dimitri had appeared, and they had gone outside, and that asshole had the nerve to…

Maybe this is good, he thinks to himself. Hey, now you won’t be played get your heart broken and your mind shattered! Only that had already happened.

He might still text you the little voice whispered, and he didn’t even fight it. Maybe he could exist on that tiny sliver of hope for a little while, and deal with his shit, and then he’d be fine. He picks up his phone and goes into settings. He turns on notifications for texts. Then he turns them off again. Fucking hell. He turns them on and quickly exits the settings and put his phone away again before he can change his mind again. Stupid. So stupid.

His heart almost stops when something dings, way too loudly in his pocket. Fumbling, he pulls it back up and stares at the screen. It’s a text from Annette. Felix pushes away the disappointment away because he refuses to let himself be disappointed right now.

[Hi Felix, you’ll read this when you read this and that’s okay! I figured I should probably not call you right now, but I at least want to tell you that I care and that I’m here for you. I hope you’re okay. <3]

Annette is too good to be his friend. He decides that for once, he’d at least be a fourth of the friend she deserved and sends a reply right away.

[I’m okay.]

He can’t get himself to write anything more, but that’d have to do. Annette doesn’t reply, which is entirely for his sake, he’s sure, and he’s grateful for it.

He has at least stopped sobbing now, which is something. He looks around, and thankfully he recognizes the street. He’s isn’t all too far from their apartment, and Felix trusts that Dimitri at least has sense enough not to go back there tonight. If anything, he’s probably thankful to have an excuse to sleep at Dedue’s, and with a little luck, he’d stay there permanently. His father had already come of his case quite a lot since those two had become close, however that had happened. It was fucking weird. But anything that shifted the responsibility of Dimitri on someone else was good.

Sylvain floats into his head again, not the sad one but the one from before with a low, warm voice, and his chest hurts. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it, you can’t do anything right now.

He hasn’t even realized that he is freezing to the point of shivering until he stands up. Of course it has to be fucking freezing outside too, on top of everything. Felix swallows, pushing the lump in his throat down somewhat and shoves his hands in the pockets of his jacket, and then he starts to walk home.

Chapter Text

Ingrid had certainly taken Sylvain’s words about “letting loose” to heart. At four thirty-two she still isn’t home. Sylvain has stared at the ceiling for three hours straight. It’s not doing anything for him. He’s not going to fall asleep. So, he gets up and brews himself a cup of tea. Despite being otherwise heartbroken, he’s feeling oddly peaceful. It probably has something to do with him being alone, and Ingrid actually enjoying herself for once. And on top of that, at around three he’d gotten a text from Dorothea about the Petra situation.

[Turns out she assumed we were dating this whole time, so I’m joining your idiot club]

It wasn’t much, but knowing that two of the three of the most important people in his life were having an exceptional night was enough to keep everything from completely falling apart. Then Sylvain realizes that he’s counting three important people instead of the usual two, and the third person he’s counting along the most important people in his life is Felix. He has just gotten the guys phone number. He sighs miserably. Although he might be alright at this moment, this wasn’t going to work in the long run.

Maybe he just feels peaceful because his soul has already died and left his earthly troubles behind. Sipping the herbal tea, he stares out of the window onto the street below. A couple walks past. They’re drunk, and happy, and in love. Sylvain feels jealous.

He’s going to have to tell Felix. He isn’t sure exactly what he needs to tell him, because this is such a mess and everything is too connected to make sense unless he’d tell him at least as much as he’s told Dorothea. It took over a year before he said anything to her. Sylvain isn’t good at opening up.

Then again, he trusts Felix. Weirdly enough. He could imagine Felix being angry at him, but not disappearing from his life all-together. Maybe because that’d kill him, and his brain didn’t want any more trauma, imagined or dreamed or real, but still.

Sylvain picks up his phone from the table beside him and opens his contacts to stare at Felix’s name. His stomach does a weird little jump. Sylvain laughs to himself; he’s so far gone. He’s so far gone it’s actually ridiculous. He’d let this boy do just about anything he wanted to him, hell, if Felix just wanted to beat him into a pulp for being a creep then he’d be fine with that. Or, not fine, he’d be shattered, but Sylvain would let him.

The first thing he needs to do is to apologize for the weird staring and being-dragged-off-after-staring thing, he determines. Sylvain considers a moment whether he should write anything about Felix’s… outburst, but he decides against it. Hey don’t worry about yelling at me man, it happens! Yeah, no. Yelling at people happens, but not like that.

[Hey, this is Sylvain. I’m sorry for being weird and then being dragged off, I didn’t mean for that to happen.]

He presses send without going back to edit anything, because if he thinks this over he’s going to be here, with the phone in his hand trying to pick which words to use until he runs out of battery. And Felix likes honesty, he reminds himself and what’s more honest than an unedited text? He puts his phone down again, Felix is probably going to read that in a few days which gives him plenty of time to-

RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Sylvain almost drops his teacup. Gingerly, he picks his phone back up again, and his heart gets stuck in his throat when he sees the name.

Felix is calling.

That doesn’t… That doesn’t make any sense, Felix doesn’t check his texts. He stares at the screen for a couple of seconds, before he realizes that if he doesn’t pick up, Felix might hang up and then things will be even more awkward because he literally just texted him.

“Hey” he says breathlessly.

“What do you mean you’re sorry?” Felix barks into his ear.  

“Huh?” Sylvain replies, feeling lost. Felix is angry. But for some bizarre reason, this makes Sylvain calm down. That doesn’t make sense, but it’s pleasant all the same so he’ll take it. He’ll take any peace that comes to him, thank you. Then again, sure, Felix is angry but there’s no ice to it, like before. It sounds more like there’s heat there than anything.

“Why are you apologizing when I’m the one who cursed you out?” Felix says, voice accusatory. Sylvain finds himself dumbfounded, unable to come up with an answer.

I’m supposed to apologize, you stupid-“ Felix continues, but Sylvain interrupts him.

“I forgive you.” He says, softly. It’s Felix’s turn to be surprised, because he’s quiet in the other end.

“What do you mean?” Felix finally says, weakly. “You can’t just…” He sounds like he’s angry at Sylvain for forgiving him, which is equal parts funny and adorable and heartbreaking.

“Of course I can, I forgive you, don’t worry about it.” Sylvain ushers. He thinks he hears a pained noise at the other end of the line, but after that, it’s silent.

“Aren’t you going to forgive me too?” Sylvain asks, a little bit nervous but he can’t really imagine-

“For what?” Felix asks.

“Uhm. For being weird, and saying weird things, and staring at you like a crazy person?” Sylvain offers.

There’s silence for a minute, maybe two.

“Wh-why did you?” Felix finally asks at the other end, voice shaky. Out of all the things he could have asked, this had to be the one, didn’t it. Sylvain thinks for a few seconds that he maybe can come up with something that’s less… Just less, but then he remembers that Felix hates dishonesty and he’d probably see right through Sylvain’s story anyhow. Well, life was good while it lasted. Sylvain takes a deep breath and prepares for Felix hanging up and never speaking to him again.

“Well, you see…” He starts, and clears his throat. Felix is dead silent. “This is going to sound crazy, and that’s because it is, but I’ve had these… Dreams about someone who looks like you, sin-“

“Shut up.” Felix chokes. Well, that didn’t take much. Sylvain feels how his heart sinks to the bottom of his stomach. It’s fine.

“Shut up.” Felix repeats, even though Sylvain hasn’t said anything.

“Okay.” He replies, obediently.

“No, seriously, shut up. We’re… I’m not doing this over the phone. Where do you live?” Felix demands, and the question surprises Sylvain so much that he just recites his address automatically, only asking the question “why?” in his mind.

… that’s not far..” He hears Felix whisper under his breath. “Are you alone?” he then asks. Sylvain nods stupidly until he remembers that he’s on the phone.

“Yes?” He croaks.

“I’m coming over.” Felix says, and then he hangs up. Sylvain is left frozen with his phone in one hand and his cup of tea (that’s probably cold at this point) in the other. What the hell just happened?

Slowly, he lowers himself onto the couch. Felix said he was coming here. Sylvain should probably put on something more than just boxers and his robe, right? He doesn’t move. Where does Felix live if it isn’t far? What does not far mean to someone who’s fit and goes on long runs? Robotically, Sylvain swallows the last of his tea (which is cold and not very tasty anymore) and places the cup on the side table. He looks around the living room. It’s clean. That’s good. They keep their place clean, him and Ingrid. Good.

Sylvain still doesn’t get up. It’s as if he has grown into the sofa. His heart beats incessantly loud, and the clock on the wall ticks along, one minute after the other. Five minutes pass. Then five more. Sylvain blinks. The thought suddenly strikes him that maybe he’s just broken now, and that’s why he can’t move.

Ingrid is going to feel so bad when she finds me like this some part of him thinks, and no, nope, he’s not having that. That thought alone pulls him out of the couch, and he goes into his room to find some clothes. He has just about pulled on a pair of sweatpants, when the doorbell rings. He panics and grabs the first shirt he gets his hands on and slips it on as he runs ungraciously towards the door.

“Hi.” He says, and moves out of the way to let Felix in. His heart feels like it’s about to jump out of his chest like he’s a cartoon character.

“Hi.” Felix replies, a little breathlessly as though he has been running. He doesn’t look at Sylvain. He’s not in sweats, but different trousers and a different jacket than last time. Something settles inside Sylvain. At least he has been home. The thought of Felix having spent the whole night wandering the street is too much for him to handle.

“Your shirt is inside out.” Felix notes. Sylvain flushes, and looks down.

“Sorry, I… I don’t usually, you know, wear clothes to bed.” He says apologetically. Sylvain wonders for a moment if it’s inappropriate if he changes it now, in front of Felix. Then again, it’s probably weirder if he doesn’t do anything now that Felix has said something, and he’s in his own house for the saints sake, so he pulls it off, turns it and pulls it back on. Felix seems to be looking everywhere in the room but at Sylvain.

“Nice place.” He says, stiffly.

“Thanks.” Sylvain says, unable to think of anything else. Felix looks tired, and his eyes are a little bit red. Sylvain wonders for a second if he has cried, and he frowns.

“What?” Felix snaps weakly, because he apparently has developed a sixth sense for knowing when Sylvain is looking at him.

“Nothing, sorry.” Sylvain replies awkwardly. The awkwardness travels out of his mouth with his words and surrounds them.

“So…” Sylvain says, even though he doesn’t have a continuation to that.

“Right. Go. Talk.” Felix says, staring at him like he’s given him a challenge.

“Huh?”

“What you were going to say over the phone. Say it now.” Felix says, sharply. Ah, right, that. Sylvain sighs. He has already accepted that it’s game over, but the air in his lungs still feels heavy.

“Can I at least make you a cup of tea?” He looks pleadingly at Felix, because he can’t tell him when they’re just standing there awkwardly, staring at each other. Felix is worth more than that. The other man’s face twitches, but then his expression softens.

“Okay.” He agrees. Sylvain smiles the tiniest bit, and almost thinks Felix mirrors it for a second. He’s deluded. He needs to stop.

“Please, sit, I’ll be right back.” He motions towards the couches and disappears into the kitchen. It feels habitual, he doesn’t even think before he grabs the spicy chai mix of the shelf. When he returns, Felix has placed himself in the corner of one of the couches, and it’s painful how nice he looks there, on Sylvain’s couch. He looks like he belongs. Sylvain wants to tell him that, but he doesn’t. Instead he wordlessly hands over the cup. Felix’s makes a weird, unreadable face when he takes the first sip and Sylvain is about to ask if he wants something else, but then he closes his eyes and takes another one which probably means that he doesn’t hate it.

With Felix right in front of him like this, everything suddenly becomes too real. The realization that Sylvain is most likely insane (or whatever fancy word Ingrid would have used) slowly settles within him. There’s no way. He should have listened to Ingrid from the start, he should have believed her, he should have kept everything he learned about coping mechanisms in therapy in mind because he knows that his brain is somewhat messed up from everything that had happened. He knows that there’ll always be a chance of things getting worse again. Yet, he let himself get swept up in this, instead of keeping his mind from getting ahead of itself. The worst part is that if he hadn’t, maybe he could have had a chance with Felix for real. Because looking at Felix now, despite the fact that so much inside of Sylvain screams that it’s him from his dreams, it’s undoubtable that Felix is a real person. And Sylvain has dragged him into this mess, which just isn’t fair. The exhaustion hits Sylvain all at once, and he suddenly wishes he could just go to bed and sleep until all of this has resolved on its own.

“Okay.” Sylvain takes a deep breath, but as promised, he finally starts telling Felix everything. Well, not everything, but everything related directly to him. He tells Felix about the drawings, the nightmares, about meeting him and the feeling of knowing. About looking at him and seeing something that feels like the past. Maybe he doesn’t need to tell half of it, but it feels fair to do so. He deserves a shot at understanding this. Felix sits across from him and listens in silence, and however he feels about this, he doesn’t let it show. His jaw is tense and he’s staring so intently at Sylvain that he can’t even look back at him.

“And I realize that I sound completely crazy. But I just can’t.. I can’t shake the feeling, you know? I don’t know, I know better than this, or at least I should. But… Well, that’s about it, really. I’m sorry. Again, there’s been some bad shit in my life and-”

Felix suddenly stands up. Sylvain goes quiet and for a second he thinks well, that’s that, he’s leaving, but then he realizes he isn’t walking towards the door but towards Sylvain. He watches Felix warily. He moves slowly, head hanging and limbs dangling like he’s a marionette. Sylvain swallows when Felix is standing right in front of him, swaying dangerously, because he really has no clue as to what is happening, or what is about to happen. What does happen, however, is so far from anything he could have imagined that he completely freezes. Felix practically crawls onto the couch next to him and halfway into his lap, his hands gripping at the front of his shirt and his head pressed against his chest. Sylvain has stopped breathing at this point, and then, Felix gives a heart wrenching sob and Sylvain’s heart falls apart.

You too.” Felix chokes.

Everything in the world comes to a stop. The clock on the wall stops ticking, and something starts ringing in Sylvain’s ears. Is this what an out-of-body experience feels like?

You too.

You too?!

Then, finally, he realizes what those words are implicating, and every imaginable emotion hits him at once as he wraps his arms around Felix, holding him tight, tight. Felix sobs violently again and moves his hands wrap around Sylvain’s neck and buries his head right below Sylvain’s ear.

Fe” Sylvain whispers, his voice raspy as tears he doesn’t really understand have started running down his cheeks as well. He buries his face in Felix’s hair. Felix gives another sob at the nickname, but the tension in his body is slowly washing away. Another thousand images are flashing in Sylvain’s mind, but it’s not scary, or even uncomfortable because he has Felix here, and safe, and there’s no war.

“What the fuck” Felix hiccups, when he finally raises his head off Sylvain’s shoulder, and slowly sits up straight beside him. Sylvain immediately misses holding him, fights the urge to grab him again because he doesn’t want to do anything wrong, not now, and-

“What the fuck.” Felix whispers into the air, staring wide-eyed at nothing at all. Sylvain can’t keep his hand from sneaking up and placing itself on the back of Felix’s neck, but Felix leans into the touch so it’s fine.

“Right?” Sylvain agrees faintly, mostly because he doesn’t know what to say. He might actually pass out, he feels so lightheaded. Felix turns his head slowly and looks at him. Sylvain smiles weakly, and shrugs. Felix’s face is still wet and his expression is completely blank for a couple of seconds, and then he starts laughing. And holy fuck, if it isn’t the most beautiful sound Sylvain has ever heard. He joins in ever so slightly, unsure of what they’re laughing about, but it doesn’t matter, he’ll gladly listen to Felix laugh for the rest of his life if that’s what it comes to.

“This is crazy. We’re crazy.” Felix whispers throatily still laughing. “This is insane.”

“That’s me, insane Sylvain.” Sylvain replies, because it rhymes, and he can’t stop himself. Felix freezes, looks at him and groans but then he starts laughing again. Sylvain sees Felix mouth “insane Sylvain” with an expression that almost looks disappointed, but Sylvain can’t help but smile, because it makes him feel warm inside. The expression feels familiar.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t know…” Felix says, and he sounds completely exasperated but the laughter is still present in his voice.

“What to do? How to react? If you’ve officially lost it completely and none of this is real?” Sylvain continues his sentence, and shrugs. The last one puts a grave expression on Felix’s face, and Sylvain doesn’t want that so he hurries to add “It’s real, Fe, I promise.”

Felix is still pale in the face.

“What the fuck though.” He says weakly. Sylvain nods, and reaches over to grab his phone.

“What are you doing?” Felix asks, clearly confused.

“Texting Ingrid and telling her that I need the apartment for myself tonight. Or, well, it’s technically morning, but, you know. Wouldn’t want her to walk into this mess if I can help it.” Sylvain replies. Felix blinks, as Sylvain shifts his focus back to him. “Okay. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. This is a lot. We can talk later.” Because they have later now. “Want to go to bed?”

Felix reaction is instantaneous. He flushes deep red, and he sputters.

“What?!”

Sylvain frowns at him, as he stands up, yawning and stretches out a hand for Felix to grab.

“You’ll cry into my neck but you won’t sleep next to me?” He asks, tired and confused. It seems natural to him, hell, it felt weirder to think about Felix not coming to bed with him right at this moment. Then again, he feels a little delirious.

“That’s different!” Felix insists, but he’s not looking at Sylvain.

“Is it really?” Sylvain asks. Felix glares at him, but there’s insecurity there. Then, in an instant, it shifts to determination and he grabs Sylvain’s hand, launches himself up and his other hand grabs Sylvain’s face and then they are kissing. Sylvain, surprisingly, doesn’t miss a beat, because it feels like he’s done this a million times before. It just feels like it’s been so painfully long since last time. He slides his arms into place around Felix, smiling against his lips when Felix’s hands find where they fit as well. He lets out a breathy moan just as Felix breaks the kiss, and when he opens his eyes Felix’s face is about three inches away from his face, glowering.

“You should’ve kissed me before you asked me to sleep in your bed. You’re doing everything in the wrong order, you idiot.” He mutters. Sylvain grins, wide and warm.

“But I liked you kissing me.” He says, and watches Felix’s cheeks get red as he pulls away. “Now will you come sleep, please? You probably need to sleep as well, because I don’t think you’ve slept anything tonight either.”

Felix nods, it’s rigid and small but it’s there.

“Good, because if you hadn’t agreed I’d have lifted you up and carried you there. I’m tired.” He complains and starts moving towards bed. When he turns around to make sure Felix is… Still there, or following him, or something, a pillow hits him in the face.

“That wasn’t very nice.” He pouts, but he has to try very hard to not laugh. He’s probably doing very badly because his shoulders are shaking.

“Fuck you.” Felix says, but he’s trailing after him, and Sylvain has to turn his face around because he suspects the giddy grin it puts on his face will earn him another pillow in the face, or something worse.

“Do you want to borrow something to sleep in?” Sylvain asks, scratching his face.

“Uh, yeah.” Felix replies. Sylvain looks around, trying to figure out what’d be appropriate.

“You wanna just take what I’m wearing? Because I’m sleeping in my boxers, I’ll burn up and die otherwise.” He settles on, because the thought of actually opening his closet and digging out clothes, at this point, makes him kind of want to die. Felix makes a throaty noise that he quickly and poorly disguises as yes. It suddenly registers in Sylvain’s head that Felix is nervous. Oh. Well. That’s so fucking endearing.

He tries to not show any reaction to his new realization outwards and throws his shirt and sweats to Felix once he’s taken them off. In the back of his head, something is telling him that he should be nervous too but he’s too tired to be nervous. And he has been nervous enough these past 24 hour, he’s out of nervousness for the day.

“They might be a bit big on you, but I figure since they’re sweats…” Sylvain says, referring to the pants.

“They’re fine.” Felix replies quickly. When Sylvain turns around, he’s not ready for the sight of Felix in his clothes. He stops in his tracks, and just stares. They are a little bit big. The shirt hangs off Felix’s shoulders. And Felix has taken his pony-tail out, letting his hair fall down do his shoulders. He looks, in short, breath-taking.

“What?” Felix snaps. Apparently this is how they’re going to do things; Sylvain is going to stare, Felix is going snap. Sylvain finds he really doesn’t mind the thought of that being his future.

“No, nothing.” He replies, swallowing, still smiling. Felix glares at him, and he remembers again that he’s tired. He climbs into bed, moaning at how good it feels to lie down and he hears Felix scoff behind him. When he feels the bed dip, he quickly spins his body around, and wraps his arms around Felix’s waist.

“Hey, get off!” Felix snarls and fidgets but Sylvain just pulls him closer and nuzzles his head against Felix’s chest.

“No way.” He mumbles, happily. Felix goes still, and when Sylvain moves his head to look up at him again, he catches that Felix is looking at him with an oddly affectionate expression before it settles into something less intimate. Sylvain’s heart skips a beat.

“This is so fucking weird.” Felix complains.

“I don’t care.” Sylvain replies, reaching behind him to turn off the lamp by his bedside. When he rolls back over, he pulls Felix’s back against him into the little spoon position and is happily surprised when he’s allowed to without objections. He nuzzles Felix’s hair in appreciation.

“Me neither.” Felix says into the dark.

Sylvain pulls him even closer.

Chapter Text

When Sylvain wakes up, he realizes that isn’t alone. Huh. Usually he doesn’t stay the night, and he hasn’t even done this in a while. And there’s no nagging headache to remind him to drink more water next time, which is even stranger. The strangest thing of all, however, is that when he opens his eyes, he realizes he’s in his own bed and that the person next to him is Felix.

And then everything comes back to him, hitting him in the chest like a tidal wave. He stares at Felix’s sleeping face, which is probably creepy but whatever, and feels heat bloom in his chest. He actually did it. Sylvain Jose Gautier had done it. He had won, at life. He can’t help himself from lowering his face and kissing Felix on the forehead. The latter stirs and rolls over to his side which is perfect because that means Sylvain can wrap himself around him again, like he had done the night before. Or, well this morning. It’s bright and sunny outside, so they haven’t slept through the whole day, at least.

“Fe…” He murmurs into Felix’s hair. “Felix, are you asleep?”

Felix grumbles, and reaches out to grasp Sylvain’s hand. Sylvain makes a mental note to always wake up before Felix, if he’s this cuddly in the mornings. Something is telling Sylvain that he is.

“Fe…” Sylvain coos again.

“Hmm…” Felix groans, and shuffles a little again. Then, suddenly, he stiffens.

“If you don’t remember last night and are about to do something violent, please at least count me down so I’ve got some time to get away to avoid serious injury.” Sylvain pleads. Then he waits, letting his body remain where it is. There’s no countdown. Instead, Felix relaxes, but he lets go of Sylvain’s hand apparently in favour of covering his face with both of his own.

“Hey! I like your face!” Sylvain complains and props himself up with the arm that isn’t wrapped around Felix’s midsection. Felix doesn’t move, so Sylvain takes the matter into his own hands, literally, and reaches up to gently grab one of Felix’s wrists and pulls it away from his face, which has flushed into a bright shade of red. He’s slightly surprised when he’s met with little to low resistance, but he chalks it up to the fact that Felix himself doesn’t seem to know what he wants right now.

“Hi.” Sylvain smiles down at him. Felix peers up to meet his gaze, and his expression goes from mortified to somewhat relaxed, which is good.

“Hi.” He says back, still tense with a hint of doubt and not really smiling but somehow, Felix still looks rather peaceful. Sylvain leans down and kisses him. It’s incredible that he can just do that now. Felix reaches up and cups his face, and Sylvain moans softly. It’s so good. It’s perfect. He has to tell Felix that he’s perfect. He breaks the kiss.

“You’re perfect.” Sylvain says. Felix groans, but his cheeks get even redder.

“Idiot.” He replies and reaches up to pull his face down again. That’s also perfect. He should stay here and kiss Felix forever. Then again, he’s realizing there are about a million things he wants to do with Felix forever.

They do stay there for a while though, just kissing. Felix rolls over so they’re facing each other so Sylvain’s arm gets to rest. Their legs tangle together without either of them intending for that to happen. Sylvain shudders at Felix’s hands against his bare skin, wants to pull of Felix’s shirt (Sylvain’s shirt, he remembers, which makes things even harder) and touch, but he doesn’t because here’s where his lack of knowledge about Felix in this life is glaring. Sylvain doesn’t know what Felix is comfortable with. Hell, he doesn’t even know if Felix has done any of this before, Annette didn’t mention any future boyfriends of Felix’s so it might as well be, hell if Sylvain is going to judge. Or ask, for the time being. There’s no rush.

“I hope you understand how fucking gone I am for you, Felix.” Sylvain says, when they’ve taken a break from kissing and are just laying there, looking at each other.

“I’m so completely and utterly gone, Fe, like, I didn’t even know I could feel like this. And that might be weird to say because we technically don’t really know each other, but I am.” He continues and tucks a loose piece of Felix’s hair behind his ear.

“It’s weird. But everything about this is weird, so…” Felix mumbles.

“It is.” Sylvain agrees.

“But I really don’t mind it. Not if it’s you.” Felix’s cheeks are a little red when he mutters the last part. His skin is really pale, and it flushes really easily. It’s incredible. It’s perfect. Everything about Felix is so stupidly, ridiculously, unrealistically perfect.

 


 

“You too.”

Felix had never felt such relief in his whole life, as he did when he’d realized that Sylvain was the same as him. Or, well, not the same, but that Sylvain also had the nightmares, and the weird flashbacks or whatever they were, and most importantly, that Sylvain felt as unexplainably and uncontrollably drawn to him too. To Felix.

It’s still strange, though. He’s sitting at Sylvain’s kitchen counter, wearing Sylvain’s clothing, and watches said man cook breakfast dressed in underwear and a silk robe that should look pretentious, but just looks good instead.

He’d been so tired yesterday. So tired. He’s been tired for years, and now when he finally cracked he apparently did so wide-open. And Sylvain had been there, solid and warm and comforting and keeping him together when he was falling apart. Thinking back on it, he is surprised to find that he doesn’t even feel embarrassed (well, maybe at the fact that he’d literally clung to Sylvain for dear life) about the breakdown. Maybe because Sylvain too had looked so small,  so sad when he’d told him about the nightmares they’d both thought they were alone with.

It’s really, really strange. Felix lets his eyes travel over Sylvain now that he’s not looking. He’s broad, the way some people just are naturally without having to make much effort – although he probably works out, or at least he used to. His jaw is sharp and his hair is standing up in all sorts of mess, and for whatever reason that just makes him even more agonizingly attractive. Maybe it’s because Felix knows that some of that mess is credited to him and his hands, he thinks, and feels how his chest tightens ever so slightly. It feels almost wrong, that he’s here, watching the redhead cook for him and that’s not only due to the fact that they’re about to eat breakfast and it’s two PM. It feels fake.

Sylvain turns his head, and catches him looking and a big, dumb grin spreads over his face, and Felix’s breath hitches.

“Like what you see?” Sylvain asks, and winks.

“Your robe is pretentious.” Felix replies. Sylvain cocks his head to the side, makes a show out of looking around the big, airy space around them. At the shiny kitchen, and the big windows with deep windowsills. Then he looks back at Felix, eyebrows raised, but he doesn’t say anything.

“I see your point.” Felix replies, because, well, it does kind of fit with the whole vibe of this apartment. It’s not too different from his own, but his (well, his and Dimitris, but he doesn’t want to remember the boars existence right now) is a mess compared to this. He wouldn’t have expected Sylvain’s to be so clean, but maybe that’s thanks to Ingrid.

“Would you rather I take it off, I can do that for you.” Sylvain offers cheerfully, but there’s something very earnest there too. Felix doesn’t doubt that he would, if he asked. But as if he’d do that.

“Keep your clothes on, you nympho.” He replies flatly. Sylvain laughs, genuine and airy. Felix’s thoughts drift to Dimitri despite his best efforts, but there’s such a stark difference between him and Sylvain. Dimitri and he were meant to be friends. It was like there weren’t any alternatives once they had first met, things just fell into place. And they had been, always, until the accident. Since then, he hasn’t been able to be around the other guy without tensing up, and since they lived together (thanks dad) he was tense pretty much all the time, except for when he was training. Which was the precise reason he didn’t really do much else but just that.

Where Dimitri looks at him seriously, stiffly when he spits out something that wouldn’t be considered nice by words alone, Sylvain just laughs. Leans into it, goes along with it. It puts Felix at ease, and that’s weird, because it also makes him feel so, so tired. Maybe everything regarding Dimitri, and his dad, and the rest had gone too far, after all.

“Tea or coffee?” Sylvain asks, bringing Felix out of his thoughts.

“Coffee” He replies automatically, and Sylvain nods.

“Not one for tea? Sorry about yesterday, if so.” He says, and Felix is about to correct him and tell him that it was probably one of the best cups of tea he has had in his life before he realizes that Sylvain is taking out a coffee grinder, and a press, and something else that he doesn’t even recognize. He expected a coffee machine, at the most. At home, he drinks instant coffee because honestly who the hell has the time.

“Tea is fine!” He says quickly, and Sylvain stops and looks at him. “Err… You don’t need to go through so much trouble.”

Sylvain tilts his head and looks warmly at him.

“But I want to.” He replies. Felix’s heart skips a beat. “If you’ve changed your mind, then say so, but if you want coffee you can’t stop me from making you a proper cup.” Sylvain adds.

“… You’re so excessive.” Felix says after a moment of silence, but his whole body feels warm.

“Only the best for is good enough for you, Fe.” Sylvain replies, and adds beans to the grinder. It’s such a line, but he sounds so fucking honest that Felix can’t even bring himself to groan over it. He doesn’t really know what to do. On one hand, being around Sylvain is comfortable. The usual tension in his body goes away. On the other hand, Sylvain has apparently needed approx. zero time in adjusting to the reality of their shared insanity and is so earnest and open and Felix doesn’t know how to deal with that. He appreciates it, but he doesn’t know how do that, and Sylvain probably deserves it back and he can’t give it to him.

It’s probably because he’s more experienced than you. Felix feels something twist in his chest, but it’s definitively a truth. Not that Felix hadn’t had any life experience, but… With fencing, and that whole fucking thing that ruined his life happening, his desire for seeking comfort in anything but training hadn’t really been that big. He wonders if Sylvain realizes. Maybe he has guessed it. Felix hopes not.

“Alright, here we are!” Sylvain pushes a plate with avocado toast and what is probably scrambled eggs in front of him, and gently places down the coffee cup beside it. When the smell hits Felix, he realizes that he’s starving.

He moans when he takes the first bite and completely forgets about what he was just worrying about.

“That good?” Sylvain asks, grinning. Felix nods, pride left behind in a time when he wasn’t this hungry.

“It’s great.

Chapter Text

“Ingrid!”

Sylvain is the first to speak, and he does so as though it’s a completely normal thing, that she returns to her home to find him sprawled out on the couch with Felix on top of him.

Ingrid tries to process. She looks from Sylvain, who just looks like he’s happy to be there, to Felix, who looks more appropriately mortified and oh, he’s wearing Sylvain’s sweatpants. After the initial shock has passed, she finds that the emotion that follows is concern. Because whilst Sylvain looks happy, sometimes she can’t really tell if it’s real and if Felix is here, then that means… Something, but Ingrid isn’t sure what. She needs time to go through this, she needs pen and paper so she can write it out and draw lines and see where everything connects. And she really, really needs to ask Sylvain some questions. Maybe that’s why he’s so full of glee, because he knows she wouldn’t do that with Felix here. Or, at least he thinks that he won’t.

“So, do either of you want to tell me what has transpired here?” She asks, and Sylvain’s face falls. He looks at Felix, who’s turning his head to look at Sylvain and it’s as though they’ve practiced it, that’s how in sync it is.

“Uhm, well, you see…” Sylvain starts, stumbling over his words. Ingrid crosses her arms, trying to stay composed and not let her growing worry take over, but it’s difficult. It’s difficult when she doesn’t know anything. Has Sylvain told Felix about his nightmares and pseudo-delusions? (Are they even pseudo at this point?) Did Felix just accept that? Had he somehow managed to convince Felix that it’s the truth and now its going to fall to her to explain to Felix about Sylvain’s past? Did he not tell him, and somehow managed to convince him to come over for what, a hook-up? And now, Ingrid is going to have to pick up the pieces of a broken Sylvain when it doesn’t develop into anything? She can come up with a myriad of other variations of what might have happened, all equally awful, but she can’t do anything until she knows. Worrying about something you don’t know anything about is the worst kind of worry.

Sylvain is doing his usual dance around the words that he does when he doesn’t want to answer a question.

And, you know, I thought – hey, how was your night by the way, I’m sorry the kitchen is a bit of a mess, we’re out of butter, did you know? Anyway, so-“

“I know.” Felix says calmly, interrupting. Ingrid shifts her focus over to him, and really looks at him for the first time. He looks familiar, maybe they’ve met during a fencing tourney back in the day.

“You… know?” Ingrid asks suspiciously. Felix looks up at her, and meets her gaze and it shakes her, for some reason. Something tugs at her heart. His expression is tense, not void of nerves but mostly he looks determined.

“You’re worried about Sylvain’s nightmare-thing. I’m telling you that I know.” He replies. Ingrid blinks. Sylvain clears his throat.

“You sure you wanna do this?” He asks Felix. Said man looks back over at him, and shrugs.

“I’d rather do it now than later. It’ll be one less thing to think about. Don’t be stupid.” Felix says. Sylvain nods weakly.

“Err, so…” He croaks, but Felix interrupts him again.

“I’ve had the same nightmares for a few years now. Think what you will of that, but that’s basically it.”

Ingrid’s head feels blank. She stares at Felix, who looks back at her unwavering, his demeanour bordering on icy. Her eyes flicker to Sylvain again, who looks stunned at Felix’s bluntness, and then she leaves the room without a word and walks into the kitchen. She hears Sylvain say something, probably to Felix, but she can’t make out what. Ingrid doesn’t really care right now. Slowly, she sinks down on a kitchen chair, and closes her eyes.

What’s that supposed to mean? The same nightmares?

Has the world been cruel enough to have Sylvain meet another delusional person, and now they’ve convinced each other that both of their delusions are real? The odds of that are so low that it doesn’t seem more realistic than it actually being true that they’ve been in a war fighting monsters and dragons, and then been reborn in the 21st century.

But what’s she supposed to think then?! Tension takes hold of her body, and she ends up resting her face in her head, elbows on the table. Ingrid doesn’t need this right now. She has had a great night, and she has an exam next week, and there’s no way this is going to untangle itself before then, and… And Sylvain. That guy has been through enough, already. Enough, God, she thinks to herself, because if there is someone out there, then maybe they can help. Enough of this.

“Ingrid?” A voice calls softly behind her. She turns around, and sees Sylvain leaning against the doorway. He looks a little bit guilty, a little bit hopeful all the same. How is she going to be able to put Sylvain back together again after this?

“I know that it’s crazy.” Sylvain says, and sits down on a chair beside her. “I don’t know how I’m going to prove that it’s true, but it is. There’s no way it isn’t.”

Maybe it’s okay if they’re deluded together, they looked really happy on that couch right? Maybe it’s fine.

“We don’t get it either, but I think everything is going to be okay now.” Sylvain looks so earnest Ingrid almost wants to punch him. But she can’t, because the more he speaks, the more convinced Ingrid gets that she has lost him. That she somehow didn’t register that what used to be something Sylvain kind of believed had turned into… Into this. She thinks back on the last few weeks, and sure, there were warning signs there, but they weren’t that far outside of what was normal, right?

“Alright.” Felix appears in the doorframe, and no, no, she’s not doing this with the both of them at the same time. She looks at him, half pleading half ordering him to go back into the living room but Felix just makes a wry face at her and strides over, placing himself on a chair beside her.

Felix.” She says, warning him. It catches her off guard for a second, because that’s not how she interacts with people she barely knows. That tone of voice is usually reserved for Sylvain. Felix doesn’t seem like he reacts at all, except that he maybe rolls his eyes.

“I’m going to call Annette.” He declares. Sylvain shines up, but Ingrid is confused.

“What does she have to do with anything?” She asks, not sure if she actually wants an answer.

“Not all too much, but since you don’t believe either of us I figured she could help.” Felix replies. Ingrid doesn’t ask how exactly Annette is going to help, because everything Felix has said to her since she entered the apartment has just made her mind even more of a mess.

“He’s so smart.” Sylvain says. He looks like a puppy. Happy, unbothered.

“Hey, Annette! Can you… fuck” Felix goes silent and his expression drops into panic. “I just… Sorry, I just realized I haven’t told you. I… Can you do me a favour?”

Felix gets up, not looking at either of them and walks back into the living room. Ingrid wonders why he even cares about her enough to do this in the first place.

“I’m going to shower.” She decides, because she needs a break. Sylvain nods as she gets up, and briskly starts walking. She passes Felix in the living room, they don’t look at each other but she picks up a short part of his phone conversation.

“-no, that’s not important, can you please just come here instead so we-“

After locking the door, she doesn’t even wait for the water to get warm, just walks right in there and lets it wash over her face. She’s just going to not think for a little while.

Chapter Text

Annette looks about as cheerful as always when Sylvain opens the door and lets her in, albeit maybe a little tired. Seems like everyone had an eventful night.

“Hi Sylvain!” She says and places her purse on the floor. “Wow, your apartment is beautiful!”

“Thanks.” Sylvain smiles, albeit slightly taken aback by her enthusiasm.

“Annette.” Felix appears behind him. Annette doesn’t waste any time, and throws herself at him. Felix is apparently prepared for this, because he catches her without even blinking.

“I’m so glad you’re alright!” She says, and right, she hasn’t seen Felix since last night. Although Annette didn’t appear to have seen all that much besides Mercedes, she must’ve learned about what had happened between Dimitri and Sylvain from somebody else. Felix looks a little bit uncomfortable at her words, but he doesn’t say anything.

“So.” She says when she’s let him go. She eyes the two of them, but instead of looking worried like Ingrid, she looks more curious. “I’m going to demand the long version later, but there’s no time for that right now, right?”

Felix shakes his head.

“Right. Especially gonna need the extra extended, directors cut version from you” She pokes Felix’s chest “…Because it seems like you’ve been keeping some stuff from me.” Felix nods weakly. Sylvain is surprised that there’s absolutely no irritation there, only compliance.

“Uhm, do you want tea or coffee or anything?” Sylvain asks, feeling at a loss.

“Ooh, yes please!” Annette replies.

“She likes fruity teas, and like, flowery ones.” Felix adds. Sylvain nods, and walks off into the kitchen.

And then they were four. Sylvain, stupidly enough, hadn’t really thought enough about how it was going to affect others, this thing with Felix. Sure, he had pondered on how he was going to tell Ingrid, but he wasn’t prepared for the absolute shock that it seemed to have put her in. He tries to imagine what might be going through her head, and realizes that from her perspective, both him and Felix must look crazy in a really, really bad way. Something tugs at Sylvain’s heart. Again – she deserves better than this. She shouldn’t have to spend her whole life worrying.

He brews four cups of tea, because making tea is a good way to do something when you’re at loss for both words and other actions.

Annette, thankfully, didn’t seem like she was in as bad of a shape, but Sylvain couldn’t imagine anything breaking her spirit, so that wasn’t a surprise. He still didn’t know, though, how much she knew, he realizes, and oh boy was this going to be a complicated conversation to navigate through. Sylvain wasn’t good at complicated conversations.

“… and I can’t believe you live this close to each other! What are the chances?” Annette says to Felix when they too return to the kitchen. Sylvain notes that the shower in the bathroom is finally turned off too, so Ingrid is bound to come out sooner rather than later too. She has been in there for what, forty-five minutes? He decides he isn’t going to mention that. Nobody else knows in this apartment knows that Ingrid usually is done showering within ten minutes of stepping inside the bathroom.

“How close?” Sylvain asks. Annette blinks, surprised by the question, but recovers quickly.

“Like, a fifteen minute walk?” She replies, looking to Felix for confirmation. He shrugs.

“Something like that.”

Sylvain is very thankful that Annette is great at talking, it makes this whole waiting-for-Ingrid-to-have-a-serious-conversation thing a lot less awful. Sylvain has started to suspect that she isn’t oblivious to this, as he first had believed, but is actually good at knowing what people need, and at giving it to them.

“… and then I couldn’t find my jacket so Ashe had to help me look for it and– oh, hi Ingrid!” She says when Ingrid at long last steps out of the bathroom, hair still damp but in clean clothes and she really does look less dreadful than she did before. Sylvain still cringes a little at Annette’s perky tone, because it kind adds to an already bizarre situation and that’s the opposite of what Ingrid needs right now. Thankfully, she doesn’t seem affected, and walks over to pull out a chair, and sits down. Sylvain feels his nerves go up. The situation feels very formal, all of a sudden, and he sits up straighter.

“Okay.” Ingrid says, looking at Annette. “You’re here because they believe that you can help me make sense of this situation.” Annette nods.

“And because I need to make sense of it too. We’ll help each other.” She replies. Ingrid looks doubtful.

“Uhm, sorry, but how much do you know?” Sylvain asks, looking at Annette, then at Felix. “Because Ingrid knows everything about me, pretty much.”

Annette also looks at Felix, who’s clearly uncomfortable.

“Ehm… Annette doesn’t know everything about me.” He says after a moment of silence. Annette studies him, and nods slowly.

“And what do you two know about each other?” She asks, and now Sylvain is uncomfortable too. He looks at Felix, who meets his gaze, unsure. Slowly, Sylvain shrugs.

“He… He doesn’t know everything. We’ve not had a lot of time, so…” He trails off. Felix nods in agreement. Annette looks like she understands. Ingrid, however, does not.

What are we talking about?” She groans. She already looks exhausted again. None of them seem to feel comfortable replying; It’s like they’re tip-toeing around something fragile, and nobody knows where safe ground is.

“Here’s what we’ll do. Annette, you’re going to tell them everything you know about my… My dreams.” Felix says, interrupting the silence. His face twists into a pained grimace at the last word. Annette looks really surprised.

“Are you sure?” She asks. Felix nods stiffly and Annette looks at him like she’s searching for something in his face. She appears to find it.

“Okay then.” She shrugs. Felix looks down at the floor, and Sylvain’s heart aches. He reaches out, brushes over Felix’s hand under the table. It quickly grasps his in response and holds onto it like it’s the only thing keeping him alive. He squeezes it back, hoping it provides some comfort.

“Alright. So, a few years ago, there was… There was an accident.” Annette is keeping her eyes peeled, watching for any adverse reactions from Felix. He nods for her to continue. “It was really, really bad. After that, Felix… Well, he started having these repeated nightmares about war, which was kind of weird since the thing that happened had nothing to do with war. And it was like, a medieval war, but with flying horses and dragons and magic and stuff. And in the dreams, he was always looking for someone, not sure who, just somebody important. And then, he’d finally spot him but behind him there’s someone running towards him with a lance, and he doesn’t see that so Felix tries to shout at him to warn him, but when he tries to he can’t because… Well, then he wakes up.” Annette finishes. Felix doesn’t say anything, just keeps his death grip on Sylvain’s hand and stares down at his cup of chai. Sylvain realizes he has stopped breathing, but he can’t help it because he hasn’t heard this before. He had told Felix, albeit not in the same amount of detail, about his dreams of looking for him and how it ends, but Felix had only confirmed that he dreamed about the same event.

“When I met Sylvain, I…” Annette hesitates, and now Felix’s head perks up, interested, so she continues. “When I met Sylvain, I just had this feeling, you know? Even though Felix probably would despise anyone else with his type of personality – sorry Sylvain – I just had this feeling that they’d get along well. I thought at first that they already knew each other, because it felt like I had a distinct memory of seeing them together.”

Felix looks surprised – apparently this is news to him too.

When Sylvain then remembers to look over at Ingrid, her face is so pale he almost think she’s going to pass out for a second. She looks at Annette as though she thinks she’s lying, like the three of them have conspired against her to trick her. A handful of seconds pass, maybe even a few minutes. Then, her expression shifts, probably having concluded that there’s no reasonable explanation as to why Annette would lie. She still looks somewhat like she’s in pain, though, which isn’t surprising.

Sylvain wonders what they would have done without Annette. He’s going to have to send her a basket, or something. He wasn’t sure what people did to show gratitude, but that’s what his dad would have done, probably. Then again, he wasn’t really a good reference for anything, ever.

“This goes against every psychology book, and neurology book I have ever read.” Ingrid says, at last.

“That’s because this is not science, it’s fate.” Sylvain teases, because he doesn’t really know how to be serious and the tension is killing him. Felix kicks him under the table, and Ingrid glares at him. Double-ouch. Annette laughs, and for a second, the situation feels incredibly familiar, like they’ve all been sat around a table like this before.

“Well, maybe he’s right!” Annette muses.

“Don’t say fate, this isn’t a Disney movie” Felix groans.

“Well, you’re still my Prince Charming” Sylvain grins. Felix glares back at him.

“I can, and I will kill you if you call me that again.” He replies, dangerously calm.

“Guys!” Ingrid chides.

“Sorry Ingrid, I’ve already promised him that he’s allowed to do whatever he wishes with my body and my soul.” Sylvain replies melodramatically. Felix sputters.

“You have not!” The tips of Felix’s ears are red, and Sylvain almost laughs when he realizes that although Felix looks pissed, he still hasn’t let go of Sylvain’s hand. It doesn’t help that Annette is terrible at stifling her laughter.

“Well, in my head I have!” Sylvain retorts.

Sylvain.” Ingrid warns. Then, she freezes. Sylvain understands why – because the dynamic between the four of them is too familiar, way too familiar for how little they know each other. She stares at him, and Sylvain looks back at the confusion and panic swirling in her eyes and for once, Ingrid looks frail.

“Come on, Ingrid.” Sylvain mumbles. His voice is soft, almost pleading. It’d be better for her, though, to just admit it. “Don’t tell me you can’t feel it too.”

Ingrid looks away, fiddles with the empty teacup in front of her.

“Up until now, I’ve always thought it was just like, a gut feeling, you know.” Annette says softly. “Like, other people talk about it too. When you just know something, or whatever, without explanation.”

Ingrid looks up at her, almost visibly shaking.

“Maybe you could think about it like that, like it’s a gut feeling, if that makes it easier?” Annette suggests, smiling tentatively. It sounds really easy when she says it like that, but Sylvain knows that it probably won’t help Ingrid that much. She needs answers.

“Can I just…” She starts, seemingly unsure of what she wants to say, or how to word it. “Can I just think of it as two people with trauma finding comfort in each other?” she asks weakly.

“Yes.” Felix replies almost instantaneously. He also looks a little concerned now, but his voice is firm and decisive. Ingrid sighs, but then she smiles and nods because apparently, all she needed was some affirmation. Which is weird, because needing someone else’s approval is very un-Ingrid-like. And it’s weird that it’s Felix who gives it to her, but then again, Felix is a no-bullshit kind of person, so maybe that’s what does it. Either way, Sylvain is not about to complain.

“Okay!” Annette is the first one to speak up again after a few moments of silence. “Listen, I’d really like to stay and chat, but if we’re done for now – for now – I really have to go.”

“Oh, yeah, shit, I’m sorry.” Felix says, as though he’s just remembered that there’s a world outside of all of this, but Annette shushes him.

“I’m glad you called me, I don’t even remember the last time I was this caught up on your life, so this is nice!” She smiles. Felix grimaces ever so slightly.

When the door shuts behind her, Sylvain’s mind goes blank because what now? He searches his mind, tries to figure out if there are any more pressing matters. Ingrid knows. That’s good. He can tell Dorothea later.

“I should probably go home too.” Felix interrupts his thoughts, and Sylvain spins around and stares at him, almost offended because he had, honest to God, completely forgotten that Felix didn’t live here. When Sylvain realizes that he, in fact, doesn’t, he pouts.

“Oh, come on, you’re not five.” Felix sighs.

“But I’m gonna miss you.” Sylvain frowns.

“I change my mind, maybe you are five.” Felix replies, shaking his head but Sylvain does pick up on the fact that his cheeks are slightly pink. So obviously, Sylvain has to pull him in for a kiss.

A few minutes later, Felix’s shoes and jacket are both on.

“I’m only fifteen minutes away, not five hours.” Felix reminds him, when Sylvain looks at him sullenly again.

“So… Can I call you?” He asks, wiggling his eyebrows. Felix doesn’t seem to find it funny at all, in fact, he looks kind of nervous when he meets Sylvain’s gaze again.

“Hey, Sylvain…” He starts, and it’s clear that he feels awkward, so Sylvain drops his teasing grin into something more appropriate. “What… What are we, now?”

Oh. Right. The question stuns Sylvain, and he honestly doesn’t know what to answer. Soulmates, he wants to say, but that’s not what Felix is asking.

“Wanna be my boyfriend, Fe?” Sylvain asks, and feels something hot twist in his stomach when Felix’s face goes scarlet red. He looks mortified at Sylvain’s directness. And Sylvain is in love.

“Sure.” Felix mumbles, staring sourly at the floor. “Well, bye then.” He says, turning around and Sylvain has to grab him to prevent him from leaving on that note. He pulls Felix close.

“Please give your boyfriend a proper goodbye?” Sylvain whispers, his face two inches from Felix’s. Felix looks startled for a moment, but then it’s like his subconscious takes over as he puts a hand up to Sylvain’s cheek, and kisses him. Slowly, Sylvain loses himself in the kiss. He lets Felix lead him, keeps his hands around Felix’s waist and sighs when the hand that isn’t on his cheek trails over his chest and neck to the back of his head. When Felix breaks the kiss, Sylvain keeps his eyes closed, pressing his forehead against Felix’s, trying to stay in the moment a little longer. When he finally does open them, Felix is glaring at him.

“Happy?” He asks, and it comes out breathless so the glare immediately loses any credibility it might have once had.

“Very happy.” Sylvain hums. “I’ll see you soon?”

“Soon.” Felix confirms, and leans in to kiss him on the cheek before he disappears out the door.

Sylvain is left standing there and slowly lifts one of his hands up to his face where Felix had just pressed his lips. He can’t stop grinning.

“You good?” Sylvain spins around to see Ingrid’s face peeking out from the kitchen.

“I’m fantastic.”

Chapter Text

Finally” Sylvain breathes out, when Dorothea picks up the phone the fifth time he has called her today. He has spent the entire first half of the day trying to reach her. And trying to take care of Ingrid, because she was still a little bit shaken up, but the third time he appeared in her door asking her if she needed anything she had looked a little bit confused, her face telling him something like this is strange Sylvain, and I don’t want any more strange and carefully told him that she’d call for him if she needed anything. And so, Sylvain had been left pacing the apartment, trying to settle down and ground himself in his new reality where things were both a million times clearer and a million times more confusing than before. And waiting for Dorothea to show some form of life.

“You’re really sending me mixed messages here, with texts telling me not to worry but then you’ve called like eight times.” Dorothea replies. “What is going on?”

“I’ve called you four times before this, don’t be so dramatic.” Sylvain says, and listens to Dorothea sigh impatiently on the other end of the line. He has waited for hours to talk to her, she honestly deserves to wait for over three seconds for an answer.

“So.” Sylvain says, stalling just a little bit longer.

“Soooo…?” Dorothea sighs.

“The Hindus might be right about the whole reincarnation thing, because Felix has been dreaming about the exact same thing only from his perspective.” He replies, and something bangs in the background on the other end, and there are some scuffling noises. Dorothea must have dropped her phone.

“You still there?” Sylvain laughs.

“Sorry, I just- Are you serious?! Since when do you know this? What the hell happened? Is he there? How much did he tell you?Dorothea rambles, apparently unable to prioritize any of her questions. Sylvain laughs.

“He’s my boyfriend now.” He adds for good measure, and wishes he could se Dorothea’s face because she’s rarely this thrown off.

What?!” Dorothea almost shouts in his ear.

“I bet you regret it now, not picking up earlier.” Sylvain taunts.

“Oh, believe me, no matter how good this is, I don’t.” Dorothea replies flatly. Now it’s Sylvain’s turn to be surprised.

“What have you been up to?” He asks suspiciously.

“I’ve been on a… thirty-four-hour date.” She replies casually, although she apparently had to think back and count the hours. Sylvain sputters.

What?” He says loudly, in the same tone as Dorothea had just moments earlier.

“But we’re not talking about that now, please just answer one of my questions at least.” Dorothea says, demanding, and alright, fair, Sylvain had started it.

“Okay, long story short, part one – Felix came to my apartment at like five in the morning yesterday, and we talked, I thought he was going to tell me to fuck off forever but instead he… Well, he didn’t and then he kissed me, and then I convinced him to stay over because neither of us had slept, so he did.” Sylvain recounts. “What do you want to know more about?”

“How did Ingrid react?” Dorothea asks, which is unexpected. She sounds worried more than she is in awe of Sylvain’s story and he wonders for a second if Ingrid knows that there are several people who care this much about her.

“That’s part two, so I guess I’ll go on. We woke up at like one pm, had breakfast, sat down on the couch to chill, then Ingrid came home and Felix just told her straight out that he has the same nightmares as me, so she almost had a mental breakdown, so Felix called Annette-“

What?!” Dorothea interrupts, extremely confused and even more distressed.

“If you don’t interrupt, you’ll probably understand more.” Sylvain replies, and hears Dorothea groan at him. “Okay, Felix called Annette and she also came here and confirmed that Felix and I are the same brand of crazy, and Ingrid only just barely believed us anyway – or, well, I’m not sure if it has really registered for real yet with her, but the important part is that she is okay and hasn’t called an ambulance to put me in a mental hospital.” He finishes.

“Okay, good. When did you say he became your boyfriend?” Dorothea asks. She sounds more confused than exhausted, which is pleasant, because he still hasn’t really recovered from Ingrid almost breaking. That had been too intense, he had realized that night when he had found himself sitting across from her in the kitchen, drinking tea in well needed silence together. Too intense for both of them.

Oh, I forgot, right before he left yesterday. I asked, he said yes. I know, we’re moving fast, but since we might have probably known each other for a whole life that both of us kind of remember, I figured it’s fine.” Sylvain replies nonchalantly, because it’s funny to listen to Dorothea’s confused noises.

“Well, congrats, I guess?” She says, after a while, which makes Sylvain laugh.

“Thanks! He’s amazing!” Sylvain replies brightly.

“I really am happy for you, you know.” She remarks. “Reincarnation though, that’s heavy, so be careful with each other.”

“Oh, trust me. I will.” Sylvain replies profoundly.

“Good.” Dorothea says, and with that, she seems satisfied. She’s so much easier to deal with than Ingrid he thinks for a second, then he feels really, really bad because Ingrid has good reasons for having such a hard time with this. Not only because it goes against all of her beliefs, but also because she has spent over half of her life watching over him.

“Thank you, by the way, for telling me.” She says, almost like an afterthought. Sylvain laughs meekly.

“Well, I figured the sooner the better. Friday night I kind of wished I had talked to you earlier, so.” He replies. Then he remembers. “Hey, wait, your turn, tell me about your two-day date!” He demands and Dorothea laughs.

“Well, I thought mine was eventful up until I heard of yours, but, we took like a really long walk, had pizza, fell asleep in the park close to-“

“You fell asleep in a park?! It’s October!” Sylvain cuts her off, astounded.

“Well, almost, we snoozed a little.” Dorothea sounds unbothered. “Then we went to her place and you know, had a good time, then she made me a traditional breakfast in the morning, and I stuck around there for a while, and now I’m home.”

Sylvain doesn’t even know what to say.

“Did… Did we both just stop being single at the same time?” He asks, at last.

“I… Wow, I guess we did. That’s amazing.” Dorothea replies, astonished. “And lucky, I don’t know how you would have managed without me.”

“Hey!” Sylvain replies, a little offended. Then he backtracks. “Actually, maybe you’re right.” He admits bashfully. He’s beyond the point where his pride takes a bigger place than the truth. Dorothea laughs.

“It would have been really boring without you too. Now we can go on double dates instead!” She says cheerfully. Sylvain grimaces.

“I don’t think mine would like that very much, I’m afraid.” He admits.

“Hey now, it doesn’t have to be a candle-lit dinner, we can go bowling or something.” Dorothea replies. Sylvain considers it. That might actually be fun.

“Yeah, maybe.” He says, leaving things open.

“Hey, I’ll see you Tuesday for class, right?” Dorothea asks, and fuck. Sylvain groans.

“I had completely forgotten about school.” He laments, because honestly, the concept of lectures seem as far away as anything.

“Oh, you’ll be fine, you always are.” Dorothea replies confidently. Sylvain pouts. He doesn’t want to study. He wants Felix.

“See you then.” He mutters. Dorothea laughs in his ear.

“You literally have no reason to be upset right now, so cheer up. Bye!”

And with that, the call ends. Sylvain sighs, but then he can’t help but to smile. She’s right. For once, his life is looking up, for real.

Sylvain!” Ingrid shouts from her room.

Yes?” He replies, attentively.

Are you cooking or should we order take-out?” Sylvain weighs the two options. On one hand, he’s tired. On the other hand, if he makes some food, Ingrid will feel that he really cares about her and that he is very, very sorry.

I’m cooking!”

Chapter Text

Over the coming week, Sylvain relishes in his learning more about Felix. He wants to know everything that the other man will let him. All the trivial, little things that he feels like he knows the outlines of slowly colour in.

Felix trains a lot. A lot. He looks incredible when he slips of his helmet and some of his hair has slipped out of the ponytail and falls around his face. He likes spicy food, and he likes his tea with spices in them too. Or with pine needles, which is just strange. But Sylvain kind of loves him even more for it.

Felix used to do archery too but quit to focus on fencing. He’s not sure what he’s going to do unless fencing works out and doesn’t like to talk about it. He’s not the studious type, he says, but he’s sharp. He groans when Sylvain tells him that. His favourite colour is red, which surprises Sylvain at first because it seems kind of unexpected, but then he catches Felix glancing up at his hair and oh, okay, alright. And then his heart flutters.

And he was an emo-kid, Annette is eager to show him pictures, despite Felix’s protests.

“How did you even see anything?” Sylvain asks, confused and looking at Felix’s very long fringe on the image. Annette had been so excited that she had brought actual photographs to the coffee shop they’d met up at, which were now spread out over the table much to Felix’s chagrin.

“It wasn’t that hard, it’s not like hair is completely solid.” Felix replies sourly.

The picture that really catches Sylvain’s attention is a group picture of Annette, Hilda, Felix and Dimitri. He has yet to ask about Dimitri, because that seems like a touchy subject, and since Felix has yet to bring him up Sylvain has decided it’s best to wait.

“Oh, and Hilda made the skirt I’m wearing here, it was my favourite! I wore it until it fell apart.” Annette says happily, and points at the picture.

“Ugh, don’t remind me. I thought hemming was a waste of time back then” Hilda groans, obviously not proud of her work. Sylvain laughs.

“Come on, you were kids. I don’t even know what hemming is. Did you make your own outfit too?” He asks. Hilda peers over, and looks at the black, skull-adorned dress. The accents on it are the exact same shade of purple as her hair. She sighs.

“Yeah.” She doesn’t sound proud of that either.

“Hey, I think you all look super cool.” Sylvain says. Felix groans, but Annette nods.

“I do too. Although I’m still upset that my dad wouldn’t let me dye my hair.” She says, a hint of disappointment in her voice. Sylvain notes that none of them mention the fact that Dimitri is even in the picture, so, he ignores it as well.

“What were you like when you were younger, Sylvain?” Hilda asks. Sylvain shrugs.

“I wasn’t as cool as you were, for sure. I was pretty much just a little shit who showed zero respect for anybody.” He replies.

“Nobody is surprised.” Felix sighs, and Sylvain frowns at him. Annette pats his shoulder soothingly.

“I spent a lot of time in the stables too, with Ingrid when she has the time.” He continues, smiling at the memories. “I kind of miss it.” He adds as an afterthought.

“Oh! Dimitri did a lot of riding too for a while!” Annette replies excitedly, but her face immediately falls when she has registered what she has just said. The atmosphere around the table has changed so quickly it’s almost disorienting, and Sylvain wouldn’t be surprised if the other customers feel it too. To the surprise of everyone, however, the first one to speak is Felix.

“Yeah. He was really good with the horses too. I didn’t get it, the beasts seemed like they hated me.” He says. His expression is void of emotion, and Sylvain thinks that at least it’s a preferable option to the disgust present on his face when they spotted Dimitri heading to class a few days earlier.

“I wish he had kept it up. I think it’d be good for him.” Annette says, uncharacteristically quietly and while she’s smiling, she looks sad.

“I think they didn’t like you because you were too skittish, Felix.” Hilda muses, and Felix glares at her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, you walked around the stables looking like you expected to be kicked in the face at any given moment. If you’d just relaxed, I mean, it’s not like it’s hard to ride a horse.” She replies, but Felix’s glower just gets more intense.

How am I supposed to relax when I’m next to a twelve-hundred pound animal made out of pure muscle? I’m not the weird one here.” He complains, and Hilda shrugs.

“I’m just saying.”

They’d all gone to private school, Sylvain had learned the past few days, and they all came from money. Hilda’s dad was some sort of business mogul, with her older brother set to take over so she’d been left to her own devices and given support all the way in her pursuits. Annette, surprisingly, came from a military family with her father being a high ranked General.

“You just have to be gentle, Felix, and they won’t hurt you.” Annette adds, earnestly.

“I’ll take you with me next time I go, Felix, Lady is the sweetest creature on earth.” Sylvain joins in, and Felix groans.

“You’re all insane.”

“Mhm, crazy for you babe.” The words roll of Sylvain’s tongue so easily, and whilst he has a feeling he’s going to regret it later, it’s worth it for now because Felix goes beet red. Annette poorly stifles her giggle, Hilda isn’t shy at all in her “aww!”

Why do you have to be like this?” Felix sighs, not trying to hide his indignation at all. Sylvain shrugs, because if he opens his mouth he might say something like oh, I just can’t help myself around you and he’s not interested in actually being physically injured today. It hasn’t taken all that long for him to realize where Felix’s tolerance comes to an end. And, somewhere deep inside Sylvain has a feeling that Felix might be a little, little grateful for his shamelessness, because despite his serious demeanour, he’s not more comfortable around most heavy topics than Sylvain himself is.

I think it’s sweet.” Hilda declares, and Felix just shakes his head at that, exasperated. “Sylvain, by the way, do you have any free time next week?” She adds. Sylvain glances over at Felix, because honestly he’s the one deciding that, but said man does very purposefully not look back at him.

“I think so, why?” He replies.

“Do you think you could model some clothes for me?” She asks. Sylvain’s surprise must show on his face, because Hilda tilts her head, and adds “Your face fits the vibe of the clothes, and you’re kind of built like a model anyway.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’d look great!” Annette chimes in.

“Please don’t flatter him too much, he doesn’t need it.” Felix mumbles.

“Hilda, I’d love to model for you!” Sylvain replies, ignoring Felix’s comment. Hilda’s face shines up.

“Great!”

They both pull up their schedules to see where they align and find that they both have all of Thursday afternoon without plans.

“Alright, I’m going to need your measurements.” Hilda says, and Sylvain is about to tell her that he has only been fitted for a suit a few times in his life and he certainly doesn’t know his measurements by heart, but Hilda pulls out a vintage-look measuring tape from nowhere and okay then, that’s not going to be a problem.

“Stand up, arms out, pretend that you’re the letter T.” She instructs, ripping off a piece of paper from her notebook and Sylvain is so stunned can’t really do much other than to obey.

“Do you just carry that with you wherever you go?” He asks, feeling a little awkward when Hilda is suddenly very up close in his personal space, and they’re in a public place.

“She does.” Felix replies for her, surprisingly unbothered by the current events. Maybe because it isn’t him being measured in the middle of a coffee shop.

“Felix actually got me this measuring tape for my birthday last year!” Hilda says happily.

“It’s actually really impressive you haven’t lost it yet.” Felix sighs, but he does sound a little bit proud of himself.

“It’s my favourite, it’s like it’s still brand new. I used to buy like, two dollar measuring tapes because they kept disappearing, but they break so easily.” Hilda replies.

“I think I found at least one measuring tape that you had lost every time I was at your house for years.” Annette reminisces.

“They broke because you were so careless with them.” Felix says, rolling his eyes. Sylvain giggles under his breath. Their bickering is pretty funny to listen to. Hilda huffs.

“Well, a tool shouldn’t need to be treated like it’s about to break all the time, a tool should be sturdy.”

“You used your measuring tapes for everything. You used them as jumping ropes! And pet-leashes!?” Felix moans incredulously. Sylvain can’t stop himself from losing it at that, especially when Annette starts laughing as well. He folds over, catching his breath and Hilda pokes his arm with her pencil.

“Hey, stand up straight!” She scolds, and Sylvain obeys but his shoulders keeps shaking and he shakes his head in disbelief. He finds that he’s thriving in their company, as if he’s been a part of their friend group all along. It gets even harder to keep his posture and stay still when he realizes that Felix is also chucking under his breath. When he looks at Hilda’s face, and she too smiling around the pencil in her mouth, it’s impossible. This time, Hilda also starts laughing, although she moans out a “no, I’m not done yet”.

Sylvain feels light. Airy. Well-rested for the first time in years, since he hasn’t had a single nightmare the past few nights and hasn’t woken up unable to fall asleep in the middle of the night either.

Hilda finishes up her measurements, and then announces that it’s time for her to leave. A little panicked, Annette realizes that she has lost track of time and is a little late for something, so she rushes to pack her things as well. The girls wave as they exit through the door, and then, it’s just him and Felix left at the table.

“You must have had a lot of fun together growing up.” Sylvain muses. Felix’s eyes are closed, and he stretches.

“Yeah, guess we did.” He replies. Sylvain guesses that Dimitri is on his mind, and that’s why he sounds so distant.

“Don’t get me wrong, Ingrid was a lot of fun too, but she was so driven, and ambitious, and…”

“Concerned?” Felix guesses, and well, it wasn’t what Sylvain was about to say, but he’s right.

“Yeah.” Sylvain admits softly. Felix looks at him, and since Sylvain has started to learn how to read Felix’s expressions which at first all looked quite cold, he registers that Felix looks sympathetic and that there’s something warm in his eyes.

“You’re lucky to have had her.” He says.

“I am.” Sylvain agrees.

“She seems… She seems like the kind of person Dimitri would have needed, when things went south.” Felix says. He’s not looking at Sylvain when he speaks, but that doesn’t matter at all.

“You think?” Sylvain asks, careful not to probe too much.

“Yeah, maybe. I mean, I don’t know her, but just… The way she was, with you. I just have a feeling.” Felix replies. Sylvain smiles softly at him.

“It’s not too late for them to be properly introduced, you know?”

Felix chuckles grimly.

“I think it might be.” He replies, his face twitching.

“I mean, I’m not about to put something else on Ingrid’s shoulders because she certainly doesn’t need that” Sylvain starts, and Felix nods gravely. “And she’d probably make him her responsibility too, but, I mean…” Sylvain doesn’t really know what he’s trying to say, but Felix seems to get it anyway.

“Yeah, no, we’re not doing that. It was just a thought.” He says.

“Thinking is definitively allowed.” Sylvain agrees. Felix nods.

“I mean, Annette was great. She is great. But she’s also…”

“Innocent?” Sylvain thinks about her “think of it like a gut-feeling” suggestion to Ingrid.

“Something like that.” Felix mumbles. Sylvain doesn’t say anything, leaving space for Felix so he doesn’t have to take any.

“Dimitri… Dimitri was always a pretty strait-laced dude. But he used to at least be able to joke and have fun. Everything wasn’t always so fucking serious, you know?” Felix says, hesitantly. Sylvain nods, reaches out and places his hand over Felix’s on the table. Felix swallows, and he still doesn’t meet Sylvain’s eyes, but he keeps talking and turns his hand so that he can hold Sylvain’s back.

“I know… I know I haven’t told you much. I’m not good at… This stuff.” Felix says, and Sylvain’s chest tightens. “Sorry.” He mumbles.

“Don’t be.” Sylvain replies, soft but determinate. “I’ll be here. I haven’t… There are many things I haven’t told you either. But I will. When it feels right. I’m thinking that you’ll do the same. So, don’t… Don’t push yourself, Fe.”

Felix looks at him, just looks at him. Then he groans.

“I don’t get how you’re able to say that stuff with a straight face.” He mumbles, cheeks a little dusky.

“I don’t know about you, but I think my face is pretty gay.” Sylvain replies, earning an even louder, more exasperated groan from Felix, but the tension in the air dissolves completely.

“We’re leaving.” Felix declares and, alright then. Sylvain chuckles as gets up and pulls on his coat and his scarf around his neck. When they step outside though, he notices Felix shiver next to him, and well, he can’t have that.

“Here.” He says and wraps his scarf around Felix’s empty neck before he has a chance to stop him. Felix’s face is red. If Sylvain was to point that out, he’d probably blame it on the cold air. “You’ve got to stop leaving the house without proper clothes when you’re always freezing.”

Felix looks like he’s about to argue, but apparently, the well-needed warmth the scarf is providing stops him.

“Thanks.” He mumbles instead. He looks at the ground, but just as they start walking, he takes Sylvain’s hand in his, and laces their fingers together. And, honestly, there isn’t much more in life that Sylvain could ever wish for than that.

Chapter Text

Whoever planned cities to have parks, Sylvain needs to write them a thank you note. They’re probably dead. Maybe he could send flowers to be put on their graves. Either way, he’s thankful he has somewhere to take Ingrid when she needs to be somewhere peaceful.

“Thank you for nagging me to come with you. I probably really needed this.” Ingrid sighs, looking up at the sky. Her breath comes out as smoke, as if the orange leaves weren’t reminder enough of what season it was.

“Probably? Definitively.” Sylvain affirms, and throws an arm around her. “You’ve gotta take breaks, you’re going to drive yourself crazy if you don’t.”

Ingrid sighs again, shoves her hands into the pockets of her teal coat and leans back against the wooden park bench.

“I’m going to go crazy if I don’t pass this exam.” She replies. Sylvain swallows – the topic of crazy isn’t a good one right now, probably. The conversation needs to move on.

“When have you ever failed an exam?” He asks, and Ingrid rolls her eyes.

“I don’t fail because I study.” She says, and Sylvain knows he probably shouldn’t argue.

“And because I nag you to take breaks.” He teases. Ingrid glares at him for a second, but then the corners of her lips turn upwards and settle into a solemn smile instead.

“I guess so.”

Then they’re both quiet. Sylvain’s arm remains around her shoulders, lazily resting there, and Ingrid closes her eyes and just breathes in and out, deeply, rhythmically. Sylvain’s heart aches a little, watching her resting face. She’s looking more tired than usual, and he knows he’s part of the reason. He hasn’t said anything in particular any of the times he has gotten up he has gotten up in the middle of the night to grab a glass of water to find Ingrid wrapped up in a blanket in front of the TV, partly because he doesn’t know what to say but also because he senses that she wouldn’t appreciate him commenting on it.

It worries him, however. Ingrid hasn’t had issues sleeping like this before from what he knows, and finding Ingrid awake in front of the TV (if she had been studying that would’ve been a different story – still not a good one, but not this bad) in the middle of the night three nights in like a week is three nights too many.

He hasn’t said anything about it, nor has he talked to Felix about it. Instead, he would plop himself down beside her after returning from the kitchen with two cups of camomile to ask her what she was watching. She’d protest, telling him he needs to sleep, and he’d tell her he couldn’t sleep either. Then they’d sit there, in silence, until Ingrid finally would start dozing off, at which she’d announce her departure and retreat to her bedroom.

Sylvain can do with a lack of sleep. In fact, he barely feels tired at all lately, nightmares resting in the past and the memory of Felix’s voice in his phone echoing in his head, lulling him to sleep each night with a smile. Sure, it’d be better with Felix actually being there, but he also got up at ridiculous hours in the morning to train most days, and also seemed somewhat uncomfortable with breaking that routine which Sylvain respected.

“Sylvain, I-“ Ingrid starts, interrupting his train of thought but the rest of her sentence is drowned out by a shout of their names.

Sylvain! Ingrid!”

Annette is waving at them – well, as much as she’s able to seeing as she’s apparently holding four dog leashes, attached to four dogs. And well, that’s new. Ingrid and Sylvain exchange a confused look, but get up to walk over to the patch of grass where Annette is standing, surrounded by dogs. On their way over, Sylvain realizes that there are even more dogs than the ones she’s holding because she’s accompanied by a guy with such an ashy tone of blonde to his hair that it’s almost grey and he’s also holding dog leashes, although he only appears to have three. Even though he’s a few feet behind her, it’s obvious that they’re there together.

“Hi, if you want to pet some of dogs then feel free, but don’t try to touch the ones Ashe is holding because they’re scared of strangers!” Annette tells them, peachy as ever. She nods towards the guy when she mentions the name Ashe, and Sylvain wonders if he’s named after his hair or if that’s just a funny coincidence. Either way, the name sounds familiar. Annette must have mentioned him at some point.

“Are these your dogs?” Sylvain asks, somewhat bewildered as he’s bending down to scratch a particularly excited brown dog behind the ear. Annette laughs, and shakes her head.

“No, they’re from a shelter. You don’t happen to be looking to adopt a dog?” She replies, and Sylvain looks up at Ingrid to gauge her reaction and whether he should make a joke about it in reply or if that’d be bad, but he stops in his tracks when Ingrid’s expression is far from what he’s expecting.

She looks lost in thought, somewhat anxious, and is looking beyond Annette at the guy who is apparently named Ashe. He’s not looking back, apparently fully focused on the dogs which admittedly, do look somewhat more nervous than the bunch surrounding them. Annette seems to notice her staring as well.

“Oh, have you met Ashe before?” She asks innocently, and this pulls Ingrid out of whatever thoughts she was pondering. She smiles – although it’s half-hearted, Sylvain notes – and shakes her head.

“No, sorry, I’m just a little tired.” Ingrid replies, and Annette nods intently.

“Yeah, I get it. I’m kind of sick of studying too, so I’m glad I’ve got my volunteering. It’s a nice break from everything, you know?” She says. Ingrid nods weakly, and squats down to pet a shaggy little dog, probably in order to avoid the conversation.

“You work to take a break?” Sylvain asks, brow furrowed. Annette smiles and nods again.

“I get anxious if I’m not doing anything, you know? This is mostly just physical work, so it’s a break from the mental stress of studying!” She explains. “Plus, I get to work with-“ She turns around, and shouts. “Ashe, come say hi to my friends!”

This grabs the attention of Ashe, and when he looks up at Sylvain and their eyes meet it sparks something in his head, he just isn’t sure what it is.

“Hi, sorry!” Ashe says once he has made his way over to them. Ingrid is still on the ground, apparently very busy with the dogs around her – who admittedly seem like they’re having the time of their lives, and if one didn’t know Ingrid one could maybe assume that she’s just very into dogs, but this behaviour is strange from her, to say the least.

“Hi, I’m Sylvain!” Sylvain introduces himself, and Ashe’s face lights up in recognition.

“Oh, you’re Felix’s boyfriend?” He asks, and something in Sylvain’s stomach flutters, and he smiles inadvertently.

“Wow, I didn’t know I was that famous.” He grins, and Ashe laughs. It’s a joke, but in all honesty he feels light and jittery at being known to someone as Felix’s boyfriend rather than the man-whore.

“Annette keeps me up to date with her life.” He replies, and Annette nods.

“I see Ashe every week at the shelter, he’s practically one of my best friends at this point.” She says seriously, and Sylvain almost laughs – how many best friends can one person have?

“And you’re Ingrid, right?” Ashe looks down. Ingrid’s head snaps up, and she blinks before quickly rising again.

“Yes, sorry, hello!” She replies, stretching out her hand automatically before realizing that Ashe has his hands full. She pulls back, but he reaches out and grabs her hand with two fingers, smiling brightly at her apparently fully unbothered by her lack of prior attention.

“No worries, nice to meet you!” Ashe replies. His energy and tone of voice matches Annette’s in terms of positivity, but his is more subdued.

“So… Dog?” Annette smiles connivingly, and Sylvain laughs.

“What do you say Ingrid, should we adopt a dog?” He asks playfully, and finally one of Ingrid’s signature looks of disdain return to her face – he never expected to miss it so much, but anxiety doesn’t suit her.

“Sure, we’ll get five.” She deadpans. Sylvain laughs, and both Annette and Ashe join in.

“Seriously though, having a dog is really good stress relief.” Ashe offers, and Sylvain thinks it would sound a little bit judgmental, coming from absolutely anybody else to a stranger, like but with Ashe it only sounds earnest. The corners of Ingrid’s lips twitch slightly upwards, and she lets out a small sigh.

“Maybe that would be good.” She replies, surprisingly honest and vulnerable. Sylvain studies her face, as inconspicuously as he can. Some of the earlier tension has left it, and somehow Sylvain knows it’s because of Ashe.

“You could come and help out with walking the dogs if you want? I do this every weekend and I try to do some work at the shelter at least two nights every week, and an extra hand is always welcome.” Ashe says, and Ingrid nods slowly.

“I could do that.” She agrees. It’s strange. Sylvain eyes Ashe, whose expression remains honest and calm. He’s sharper than he looks, for sure. Nobody has mentioned that Ingrid is stressed, at all, yet here they are, discussing it out in the open and there’s seemingly no discomfort from any party. Sylvain doesn’t even feel uncomfortable, and he’s awful at this.

“So, Ashe, since you seem to know everything about us, would you tell us a little about you?” Sylvain asks, before it’s quiet for too long.

“Oh, there’s not much to know.” Ashe replies bashfully.

“Ashe grew up here so he knows everything there’s to know about this city, and one day he’s going to be the best social worker ever.” Annette chimes in, and Ashe averts his eyes slightly but he smiles, and shrugs.

“Something like that I suppose.”

“That’s… A really nice goal.” Ingrid says. Ashe looks up at her, somewhat peculiarly.

“I heard you’re going to med school, that’s even more impressive. I wish I could do that too.” He replies.

“Why don’t you?” Sylvain asks, and maybe his words have preceded his thoughts this time, because Ashe winces a little. It’s almost unnoticeable, but it’s there. He recovers equally as quickly though.

“Not enough resources for that I’m afraid.” He replies, bright smile back on his face and Sylvain feels a little ashamed – he’s in social studies too, for fucks sake, have some perspective Sylvain, not everyone can fuck around and do what they like all the time. He’s not sure of what to say back, how to apologize and almost starts to panic before Annette saves him.

“I wish we could stay and talk but we’ve got to move on I think…” Annette says, somehow holding her phone and looking at the time whilst still keeping all leashes in a steady grip. Not that she seems like she needs to, the dogs all seem content resting as they speak.

“Hey, how come all these dogs are so calm?” Sylvain asks, almost suspiciously.

“They’re all elderly citizens!” Annette replies. Sylvain nods.

“So they’re all really easy to walk, if you’re not that used to dogs.” Ashe fills in, directed at Ingrid, who nods. “Is it… Is it okay if I grab your info from Annette and contact you later?” he adds and wow, that would have sounded flirtatious coming from anyone but from Ashe, again, he only sounds earnest.

“Yeah, that’s fine!” Ingrid replies, a genuine smile on her face. Annette beams at the both of them.

“Awesome! I’ll see you when I see you, say hi to Felix for me!” Annette says cheerfully. Ashe waves, and then they’re on their way. Sylvain and Ingrid turn around to start walking too – it’s time to get home, it’s starting to get dark.

“Wow. He was probably the nicest person I’ve ever met.” Sylvain says when they’re out of earshot, and Ingrid laughs.

“Yeah, I’d love to see him and Mercedes in a room together.” She replies, and Sylvain groans.

Fuuuck, I wanted to ask Annette about that!” He says, sulking. He had completely forgotten about that, again. Ingrid pats his shoulder.

“It’s going well, from what I’ve heard.” She says.

“Annette told you but not me?” Sylvain replies, offended. Ingrid sighs.

“Mercedes is in my class?” She reminds him, and right, she’s right.

“So?! Details?” He demands impatiently, and Ingrid shoves him lightly.

“What’s that supposed to mean, I don’t know?!” She replies. Sylvain huffs in response, and Ingrid rolls her eyes. “There’s no gossip. She mentioned Annette, I asked, it’s going well, that’s all there is to it.”

“I still wanted to ask.” Sylvain grumbles, and Ingrid just shakes her head at that.

She’s not only visibly less tense, Sylvain notices it in the way she talks as well. There’s no edge to her tone, and her words don’t come out short. Maybe Ashe was secretly some kind of guardian angel – he’d given Sylvain that vibe.

“I’m guessing Felix is coming to ours tonight, right?” Ingrid interrupts his thoughts, and oh, no, wait…

“I… I didn’t ask you, did I?” Sylvain asks bashfully, but he’s surprised to find that Ingrid just smiles at him.

“It’s fine, just don’t let me find you fucking on the couch.” She replies, unconcerned. Sylvain pouts.

“Fine.”

Chapter Text

Hilda’s design studio feels both smaller and bigger than Sylvain had expected, which doesn’t make all that much sense but is probably because the ceilings are so high, and because it’s a little bit crammed with all the stuff that’s in there.

“Wow.” He can’t help it.

“I know, sorry about the mess” Hilda says with her back to him, already shuffling through clothes on a rack. Sylvain looks around – it doesn’t read messy, but he can see what Hilda means. But the “mess” looks systematic.

“Hilda’s perception of reality and what’s impressive and not is a little warped.” Felix says, walking past him already having kicked off his shoes and places himself on a small couch beside a minifridge.

“It is not!” Hilda retorts, frowning. “You didn’t have to come, by the way, you know that right?” She continues. Felix grumbles something incomprehensible back at her, and Sylvain’s stomach flutters. That’s the truth and he hadn’t expected Felix to come, but then yesterday he had asked “so what time are we supposed to meet Hilda tomorrow?” and pretended to not notice Sylvain’s surprised expression, and just nodded when Sylvain had told him the time. And now, here they were. There was something very sweet about it, Felix assuming that where Sylvain goes, so does he, and it made Sylvain feel warm inside.

“Don’t you have spaces at school for this stuff?” Sylvain asks, getting over his initial shock and hanging up his coat.

“Well, yeah, but when I moved here I still wanted to take like, my sewing machines and this work table-“ She gestures at the big piece of furniture in the middle of the room “-because it was custom made and I really like it, and I figured I could just get an apartment with an extra room, but daddy thinks it’s really important to keep work and home divided, like, Hilda, your home should be a place to rest, working from home isn’t good and can take a toll on your mental health, so he got me this space instead.” Hilda says, like she’s talking about something very casual and not a workspace in the middle of the city, with a ton of natural light, that probably costs at least two grand to rent. Sylvain doesn’t really know what to reply, so he doesn’t say anything and instead takes the opportunity to look around. One of the walls is completely covered in a variety of images which he guesses is the inspiration for what she’s currently working on. Three different sewing machines are lined up on a long, long desk against another wall, there’s also another desk a little bit further away with what looks like a brand-new iMac on it. The worktable in the middle looks like it weighs about a billion pounds, and Sylvain feels bad for whoever had to carry that up here. Bolts of fabric are sticking out from one of the sides and marked drawers line another. The space doesn’t look like it belongs to a student, more like a professional studio.

So, Hilda is that kind of rich. The kind of rich where money wasn't even that much of a concept.

There’s a corkboard on the wall over the smaller desk with the computer, and when Sylvain looks closer at it, it seems to be a collection of memories; mostly pictures.

“Is this your brother?” He asks, pointing at a picture of Hilda and a man who looks kind of like her who is grinning widely, his and Hilda’s faces squished together. Both Felix and Hilda peek over to see which one he’s referring to.

“Yes.” They reply in unison. “And that’s my dad, in the bottom corner.” Hilda adds. Sylvain looks down and spots a picture of a smiling man standing on a beach, with one of his equally happy children on each side and his arms around them. They look so functional as a family unit that it almost feels alien – Sylvain suddenly realizes that he had forgotten that most families aren’t completely fucked up. There’s no mention of a mother, though there is an older picture of a beautiful woman pinned just above the beach photograph. Sylvain knows better than to ask.

So, Hilda is the result a child who’s allowed freedom and given financial support to do whatever they wish, but also shown love and emotional support. When they had first met, Hilda had reminded Sylvain of himself a little bit – slightly aloof, unbothered, maybe a little bit lazy. But now, it’s clear to him that she does have quite a lot of ambition, and she certainly doesn’t seem like she has severe mental issues like he does. Something inside him feels heavy. Maybe, he’d have turned out kind of similar to Hilda if his parents hadn’t been cold-hearted bastards. Less self-deploring and more carefree. Then again, if they hadn’t been, he probably wouldn’t have Felix, so maybe it was worth it after all.

“Okay, I think I know what I want to do!” Hilda declares. “First, I want to take some full body shots here, of everything, while the light is still good. I’m pretty sure I know which outfits I want more photos of, but you never know. Then, this really nice guy said that I could borrow his studio which is like five minutes from here, so we’re going to take some more pictures there. And we’re going to have to be done when golden hour hits, because then, we’re going to take some pictures outside.”

“You’re borrowing a professional photo studio in downtown for free?” Sylvain asks in disbelief.

“I know, so nice of him right?” Hilda replies cheerfully.

“Just go with it, you’ll get used to it.” Felix remarks from the couch, and oh, alright, maybe this is what he meant when he said something at some point about Hilda always getting what she wants, even from strangers. 

 


 

Sylvain is slightly uncomfortable at first, unsure of what to do with his body when Hilda directs him. The studio lights are hot and blinding, and it doesn’t help when Hilda gets huffy when he isn’t doing what she wants him to. It all seems like it’s about to start going downhill fast, until Felix chimes in.

“She wants you to lean back, the way you do when you sit down at the edge of a chair instead of on the chair for some inexplicable reason. And stop being so nervous, you look good.”

Everything gets easier after that. They finish up in the studio, Hilda being very satisfied with the end results and Sylvain feeling eternally grateful that Felix had actually come. Hilda seems to feel the same, because she informs him that he is no longer allowed to leave until the photoshoot is over and is officially the co-director of the entire affair. Felix groans, but he looks amused and doesn’t complain even a little.

Hilda had really known what she was talking about when it came to golden hour in this neighbourhood – the sun hits in a way that makes Sylvain feel like no pictures could even come out badly no matter what he would do. After changing jackets, they start walking to their next location.

On the way there, Sylvain suddenly spots a familiar brown head of hair on the other side of the street.

“Ey, Claude!”

Claude turns around and raises his hand, but he freezes in a very uncharacteristic way when his eyes land on Hilda. She seems to react in the same manner, staring apprehensively at him. Felix and Sylvain exchange a glance, and when Felix looks as confused as Sylvain feels, that’s confirmation that neither of them know about any history between Hilda and Claude. There couldn’t be, right? Not when neither of them knew anything?

“Have we…” Hilda starts once Claude has jogged over to them.

“Met? Yeah, I was about to ask you the same thing.” Claude sounds mildly unsettled. “Well, that’s spooky! Hi, I’m Claude!” he shakes Hilda’s hand, and then Felix’s but he keeps looking at Hilda while he does it.

“That is so weird, you look so familiar. Wait, where did you go to school?” Hilda demands.

And then, just like that, it’s like Sylvain and Felix aren’t even there, because the conversation between Hilda and Claude turns into a game of twenty questions where they’re trying to figure out if and how they’ve met before.

“Do you think…?” Sylvain whispers to Felix.

“Do I think what, that Hilda is insane too? Claude might be for all I know, being your friend and all, but no.” Felix whispers back, and rolls his eyes. Then he speaks up. “Hey, Hilda, if you wanted to take those pictures in this special light or whatever, you should hurry up.”

Hilda looks like she’s hesitating, eyes flickering back and fourth between the two of them and Claude.

“Wow, a photoshoot? You a big time model now or something, Sylvain?” Claude asks and wiggles his eyebrows.

“No, he just happened to be tall and in the right place at the right time.” Felix replies, before Sylvain has the chance. He wants to retort, but in all honesty, that is kind of right, so he shrugs bashfully in agreement.

“Sounds like a cool place to hang out at, maybe I should start going there.” Claude says, with an ambiguous tone that almost sounds like he’s reminiscing about something. Hilda blinks, and looks back at him with a hesitant and equally strange expression. Sylvain is about to say something because the energy right now is weird, but Claude speaks up again before he has the chance.

“Well, if that’s the case I’m not going to take up any more of your time. I’ll see you around!” He says, supposedly referring to all of them but looking straight at Hilda.

“Yeah, I’ll see you!” Hilda replies quickly. Felix gives a stiff wave and Sylvain nods, and with that, Claude is walking away.

“He your type?” Felix asks, and his voice is almost teasing.

“What? No, it’s just…” Hilda replies, but she appears to lose what she’s about to say. Felix raises his eyebrows and gives her a look of disbelief, which causes Hilda to wrinkle her nose and stick out her tongue in response, but this also seems to bring her back to focusing on what they were doing.

“Alright! Uhm, let’s… That wall, right there!” She points, and Sylvain nods.

“Yes mam!”

Chapter Text

Felix brushes loose pieces of hair of his face before he strikes the punching bag in front of him.

Being around Sylvain all the time was exhausting. Or, correction; being around Sylvain should be exhausting, because he’s ridiculous, but strangely enough Felix feels more energized than he has in years since… Well, since Sylvain became his boyfriend.

That is hard to think about which in itself is ridiculous. But whatever. He’s not going to think about it too hard, he has decided. It’s easier to not think too much. It’s easier to grab Sylvain’s face when they’re alone in a corridor and kiss him until he loses his breath, or meet Sylvain’s eyes though a window and feel something warm swirl in his chest when said man’s face lights up like the sun. And keeping that feeling with him when he comes home to an unlit apartment and Dimitri’s shoes in the same spot as when Felix left that morning. It’s easier to not think about it.

But honestly, fuck Dimitri.

Felix punches the bag again, extra hard, a little too quickly so his hand lands wrong. He swears under his breath.

They still haven’t talked since their fight. Last time they went this long without saying a word to each other they had been twelve, and their parents had forced them to make up. Felix couldn’t even remember what they’d fought about then, but it was probably something stupid. Now though, the years have gone by and no longer could Rodrigue be stood behind him, hand on his head guiding it down in a bow of apology, whilst Dimitri on the other side bowed back despite it not being something he was too accustomed to or knowing what it really meant. Although, Felix wouldn’t be surprised if Rodrigue would do the same thing today, but he didn’t know about this particular situation so there was no risk of that. Dimitri hadn’t told him, and there was no way in hell that Felix was going to, so, unless Rodrigue showed up unexpectedly and realized that things were even icier between Dimitri and Felix he’d never know.

And it wasn’t like Dimitri made any moves to apologize either, and why the fuck should that fall on Felix? Everything always fell onto Felix’s shoulders, and he refused to take this on as well. Having to live with the pest of a man was bad enough, and he wasn’t about to bow down to him now.

Punch.

It was strange, though. Dimitri was more like a ghost than ever, having accepted that his reality was essentially to be treated the same as air by Felix. He didn’t even seem dejected, or sad, which was agitating because he should care. Dimitri should give a fuck that Felix wasn’t talking to him.

It gave him a headache that he didn’t. And maybe his heart hurt too, but again, he wasn’t going to think about that.

Another thing that he wasn’t going to think about was how badly he was falling for Sylvain, because that’s more of an appropriate word than any other. Being around Sylvain felt like Felix was falling, endlessly and through something very warm. He’d feel steady for a while, and think that it was over, that he’d reached the bottom, but then Sylvain would do something, like laugh when Felix thought he’d gone over the line with his retorts, or tuck a piece of Felix’s hair behind his ear when they were kissing, or once; look sad in a way Felix felt like he recognized but didn’t understand, and the ground would cave under him again.

Punch.

The thing he wanted to think about the least was the recognition. The familiarity. The implications of it. About whether or not Sylvain had thought about them, if he could tell his feelings from the feelings of his past self.

Punch.

It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Sylvain. Hell, he’d trust him with his life, he’d realized one night when the thought had come and gone in his head as though it was obvious. But that was exactly the problem. Everything felt so obvious neither of them had probably stopped to consider what was now and what was then. They acted like they knew each other, and in a way they did – they knew things about each other no one else did, for no particular reason. But they didn’t know each other in this life, not really.

Felix had considered whether he was getting things mixed up. If his feelings were remains of the past or if they were real. But he had, with a lump in his throat, realized that no matter the past Sylvain was the one person he here and now could stand to be around at all times, whom he didn’t have to worry about pushing too far while still not having to bite his tongue. Even if he hadn’t been so excruciatingly hot-

Punch.

It was fucking ridiculous. But even then, Sylvain was endlessly, obnoxiously enthusiastic, patient, and caring and even though he played at being an idiot Felix had realized he was actually really intelligent. The kind of person who could absorb books like a sponge and be successful with little effort.

It was so stupid. It was so stupid.

But he wasn’t going to think about it.

Chapter Text

It isn’t the first time Sylvain meets Dimitri, but it’s the first time he meets Dimitri.

“Did you two even ever say hi to each other? Anyway, proper introduction time! Sylvain, Dimitri. Dimitri, Sylvain.” Annette rambles happily, either ignoring the tension in the air or not noticing it. Felix is rigid beside him, Dimitri is trying to look in any direction other than at either of the two of them, and Sylvain is uncomfortable and wishes they had taken any other route home, or that Felix had taken just a little bit longer getting dressed and man does he regret complaining about him being slow. It isn’t that he doesn’t want to meet Dimitri. Because he does. He really, really does. But not like this. Not on the street, randomly, and maybe not with Felix in close proximity.

“Hi.” Sylvain says, a little strangled, and stretches out a hand towards Dimitri. A beat is missed, but then, Dimitri grabs his hand, looking at them clasped together and Sylvain gets a really strange feeling in his stomach.

“Hello.” Dimitri replies, deep and rumbling. Sylvain clears his throat and lets out an uncomfortable laugh. Nobody joins in, but Annette asks him a question.

“We’re headed to pick up some donuts, you want to come?”

Okay, Annette is definitively ignoring the tension, determined to apparently force it away, or maybe distract from it by being obnoxiously bright. It’s working poorly. Felix is still dead silent beside him, but Sylvain can feel the deep, dark anger radiating off him.

“Uh, no, sorry, we’re-“

“We’re going to Sylvain’s. I’m staying over.” Felix interrupts his reply, and, well, they hadn’t talked about that but Sylvain isn’t about to object, so he just nods weakly in agreement.

“Another time, yeah?” Sylvain offers despite Felix’s immediate glare towards him, and Annette lights up.

“Yes, absolutely! John does the best donuts in town, I swear, Felix can vouch for that.” She replies.

“I guess.” Felix replies tightly. Annette blinks, smile still unwavering but her patience seems to be running thin and Sylvain feels a bead of cold sweat running down his spine. This tension, the tension he doesn’t know anything about or understand clearly isn’t good for his mental health.

“Sylvain.” Dimitri says, and Sylvain’s head automatically snaps over to focus on his and he meets pale blue eyes, eyes that feel like they’re drilling right through him. It feels different this time to the night, maybe because he isn’t so caught up in his own emotions and worry for Felix, maybe because Dimitri seems like he’s looking at Sylvain with a purpose this time.

“Yes?” Sylvain squawks ungraciously, which feels a lot more inappropriate than it probably should. There’s some undeniable, unexplainable respect for Dimitri within him, the type he hasn’t really experienced ever before and it was rather unnerving.

“Thank you for taking care of Felix.”

Something must have sucked all the air out around as Dimitri spoke, because Sylvain can’t seem to catch his breath. Annette’s face drops slightly into a smaller, more panicked smile and Felix is frozen beside him for a few seconds before he takes an audibly furious breath. How could Felix breathe when there obviously wasn’t air in their proximity?

“Fuck you.” Felix says, surprisingly calm. Then he grabs Sylvain’s hand, and the next thing he knows he’s being dragged away from the conversation. A part of him wants to object to this, partly because it’s rude but also because there’s the strange feeling lingering inside of him that whatever just happened was just plain wrong. He throws a look over his shoulder to see Annette’s back turned towards them, her tiny frame being even more poignant against Dimitri’s size and her hand rubbing Dimitri’s arm. Dimitri’s face isn’t visible, as his head is hanging and his long unkempt hair is falling over his face.

When he turns around to look forward again, Felix still walking at a fast pace and steering them in the wrong direction if they’re headed toward Sylvain and Ingrid’s apartment. He can’t see Felix’s expression, only the back of his head, but he has a feeling he’s not allowed to look right now. His heart heavy, he allows Felix to guide them between the people on the sidewalks, down several streets before finally slowing down to walking pace, and then, finally after what must be fifteen minutes of speedwalking, they stop. Sylvain painfully has to admit to himself that he’s quite out of breath, a sign he’s been slacking a little bit too much lately. It wasn’t like he was some kind of health nut, but he liked working out. It had also been a big part of his therapy, and had actually helped immensely. Felix doesn’t seem bothered at all, his face not the slightest bit flushed when he turns around to finally face Sylvain.

“Don’t.” He says, staring sternly at Sylvain before he even has the chance to say anything. Don’t what? Sylvain wants to ask. Don’t ask? Don’t talk? Don’t what?

He nods instead, not trusting his words at the minute, and Felix’s expression relaxes and with that, some of the tension leaves Sylvain’s shoulders too. He studies Felix, looking for some signs or hints to help him determine what to say, or do, to make things better, or at least not worse. Felix is obviously still bothered, but there’s a lot of pain there too which makes Sylvain want to wrap his arms around him and not let go but they’re still in public and Felix would probably not appreciate that at the moment.

“You know, this is quite the detour if we’re going to mine.” He says, and immediately bites his tongue because that does not feel like the right thing to say. Felix looks at him for a second, slight surprise present on his face and Sylvain blinks, and smiles nervously.

“I guess.” Felix replies, unexpectedly. He looks down at his feet, and his voice sounds surprisingly defeated. “Sorry.”

“Hey, I probably needed the workout!” Sylvain tries encouragingly, and Felix slowly looks up at him, a rather unimpressed expression quickly replacing the uncomfortable one.

“This is a workout to you?” He asks disapprovingly, and Sylvain chuckles lightly and shrugs.

“We’re not all star athletes Fe, what can I say?” He retorts, and watches with butterflies in his stomach as the last tension in Felix’s body seemingly disappears as he shakes his head. It’s incredible that Sylvain can just do that, just talk like the idiot he is and somehow make Felix feel better through it. Of all his accomplishments and skills, this is quickly climbing the ladder to become one of his favourites.

“You’re coming with me to the gym tomorrow.” Felix sighs, as he starts walking and Sylvain’s feet start moving on their own accord to follow.

“We don’t all have to be star athletes!” Sylvain groans, but it’s light-hearted and he’s still smiling. Felix rolls his eyes.

“But we should all be able to walk a few blocks without being out of breath.” He deadpans.

-

Sylvain doesn’t. Just like Felix asked. He doesn’t. He doesn’t ask, he doesn’t mention Dimitri or their encounter. He makes Felix tea when they get back, and thankfully Ingrid doesn’t notice that anything is off when he knocks on her door to offer her a cup as well and informs her that Felix is staying over.

“Not on the couch.” Is all she says, eyes narrowed, before retreating to her studies. She has kind of stopped getting up in the middle of the night, and when she does do that, the routine hasn’t been the same “sitting and staring in front of the TV.” Apparently she’d been talking to Ashe quite a lot, and he’d even shown up at their door one day with a book in hand that Sylvain later had found her reading by the kitchen table. He didn’t know when he’d last seen Ingrid reading fiction, but she had been so engrossed in it that she hadn’t even noticed his presence in the room for a good few minutes. Sylvain had had trouble not gushing over how happy it made him to see her like that, to see the dark circles under her eyes lighten, but he’d figured that treating it like the new normal would be more comfortable for both of them at the end of the day.

Sylvain doesn’t. He doesn’t let out a single one of the questions and thoughts that keep spinning in his head. What he does do, however, when Felix is in the bathroom, is reply to the five texts Annette has sent him regarding the whole fiasco.

[I’m so sorry Sylvain!!!! 😥😥😞]

[I really am happy you and Dimi are finally introduced though❣️🙌]

[But this whole mess between them… 😓😓 I don’t know if Felix has told you?] 

[I don’t really know what to do, I’m just so SICK of this 😟😔]

[Sorry, TMI 😓]

 

[Annette!! It’s fine! Felix hasn’t really told me anything, but it’s really fine, he’ll tell me when he’s ready I hope. Are you okay? Is Dimitri okay?]

 

Because it’s Annette, she replies right away.

 

[I wish I could just… Talk to you about this too. 😟😟😟]

[We’re both ok! 🤗💪 Or well, Dimitri is as okay as he could be I guess 😕😕]

[And he’s not alone tonight!! 👍 And I’m at Mercedes! 😸👍👍]

[Okay, good. Good night! 💖]

[Sweet dreams Sylvain!!! 🌃🌝😴💖]

 

Sylvain wonders in the back of his head what it meant that Dimitri wasn’t alone, who he was with in that case, but he’s not about to pry. He did however get the implications of the statement – Dimitri was probably in a pretty bad way if it was important for him to not be left alone overnight. He’d had periods like that too, when Ingrid refused to leave him alone which at the time had gotten almost annoying, but now he understood why she had been so unwavering.

Even when Felix is safely wrapped in his arms and breathing deeply, indicating he’d fallen asleep, Sylvain struggles to do the same. Whatever could have happened to cause such a rift in a friendship that had obviously once been so tight? Felix despised Dimitri, in a way that was way beyond what could be considered normal. The only… The only thing Sylvain could even liken to the disgust Felix seemed to harbour for Dimitri was his feelings towards…

Okay, yeah, no, no thinking about that, even when Felix was here serving as the ultimate comfort. Sylvain snuggles closer and buries his nose in Felix’s silky hair, feeling his heart skip a beat when Felix sighs contentedly in his sleep. It’d have to take whatever time it took. Especially since Sylvain wasn’t ready to talk about stuff either, because that wouldn’t be fair.

He just finds himself wishing he could help Dimitri too.

Chapter Text

"Felix."

"I said no."

Annette looks at him impatiently.

"Why?!" she demands to know. Felix groans. He doesn't have a good reply, but he just knows that it's a bad idea. He isn't going to tell Sylvain about the accident, not just yet. Not now when things are good. He just wants to hang onto this for a little longer, and not have Sylvain...

Fret over him?

If Felix is honest with himself, that's not it at all. His chest tightens - what he's really fucking terrified of is Sylvain judging him. Because from an outside perspective, Felix really, really looks like the jerk in this situation.

"What if I tell him?" Annette says. Felix sputters.

"You wouldn't." He replies darkly, a warning in his voice. Annette huffs.

"He deserves to know, Felix!"

"He hasn't asked!"

Annette looks like she wants to bang her head against the wall.

"Because he's nice, and respectful, and in tune with other people's emotions. You don't want him to, of course he hasn't asked!"

Sylvain really had turned out to be the complete opposite to the unemotional dickhead Felix had first assumed him to be.

"If he's mean about it, he's a fucking idiot, you know that right?" Annette says, a little softer this time. Felix doesn't know that. If Sylvain even just looks a little disappointed, really, he doesn't know what he'll do with himself.

He feels so pathetic. Emotions are so fucking stupid.

She's right, in truth he does know that. Sweet, stupid Sylvain wouldn’t say anything because he’s too fucking nice. And Felix will subsequently never know if Sylvain is going to be honest about what he really thinks about everything.

Annette huffs.

"I want to tell him because he's my friend too and I'm tired of not being able to even mention any of this around him and I feel like I've known him forever, it's weird to walk around hiding something this big."

"That's not fair!" Felix cries, because it really fucking isn't. Annette hesitates before she replies.

"Maybe not."

"Then why the fuck-"

"Because I care about both of you and I think this would be good! What bad things happened last time you two were brutally honest with each other?” Annette snaps.

Of course she’s right again.

“I can’t.” Felix replies quietly, eyes sliding shut and body slumping back against the seat. Sylvain was a never-ending roller coaster.

“What are you going to do, never tell him? Tell him in five months? In two years?” Annette asks and Felix doesn’t reply because fuck if he knows.

“Mercedes knows.”

Felix stares at her, and she stares back, standing her ground.

“It’s a part of my story too. She won’t tell anybody.”

When?” Felix asks weakly.

“I told her like last week.” Annette replies simply, and watches as Felix processes this new piece of information and tries to not throw up. He has seen Mercedes since then. Felix joined them for coffee two days ago.

“She isn’t judging you. And she’s not even in love with you.” Annette continues, saying it as though that’s definitive proof that Felix is being an absolute idiot but it just sends an uncomfortable pang to his heart.

…s not… love” Felix mumbles, and Annette sighs.

“What?”

“Nothing.” Felix replies because he decides he doesn’t want to have this conversation with Annette right now.

Annette looks like she wants to argue, but she doesn’t. Instead, she takes pity on Felix’s forlorn figure, and reaches out and takes one of his hand with both of her tiny ones and something turns in Felix’s stomach.

“I know you don’t like to talk about it. Here’s my proposition; I’ll tell him, and if he reacts inappropriately, I’ll kill him.” Annette says seriously and Felix’s head snaps back up as he stares at her in shock. Annette is smiling and looks earnest and sweet, and Felix gapes at her. She laughs.

“Seriously though. I’m telling him. You can’t talk me out of this.” She then says seriously. Felix swallows. Maybe it’s for the best. Worst case scenario, this ends before he’s in even deeper. And Sylvain dies, supposedly.

He nods. Annette squeezes his hand.

“It’ll be okay.”

Like hell it will Felix thinks, but her comment about love has thrown him off. He doesn’t want to argue anymore and he has been trying so fucking hard not to think about that.

“I’m going to train.” He replies, eyes averted as he pulls his hand out of Annette’s grip. Annette makes a strange noise. “What?” Felix adds flatly. When he looks up at her again as he grabs his stuff, she looks conflicted, but when she meets his eyes, she gives him a sad smile instead of saying whatever’s on her mind. She shakes her head.

“Nothing.”

Great.


“I don’t know if I feel like this is realistic, isn’t this kid supposed to be like thirteen? How does he already know that he’s not straight?” Sylvain ponders, squinting at the TV. They’re watching a movie on Netflix, one Annette had apparently talked about and bothered Felix to watch enough for him to agree to it, so they’re watching it. Felix is also sprawled out half on top of Sylvain on the couch, still smelling a little bit like sweat after his training, so even though the movie wasn’t one he’d probably have chosen, everything was pretty much perfect.

“What, I probably knew when I was like eleven.” Felix replies. Sylvain looks down at him, brow furrowed.

“Didn’t you and Annette date in high school?” He asks, confused. Felix rolls his eyes.

“Yeah, sure. But who wants to be gay in high school?” He replies, as though it’s obvious. Maybe it should be. Maybe Sylvain is just daft.

“Huh. I didn’t realize at all until much later than that.” Sylvain says, dumbfounded.

“That’s not that weird, you’re bisexual, right?” Felix shrugs against him. Sylvain can’t stop the weird grimace that makes its way to his face, nor the somewhat self-deprecating chuckle that comes out of him. He’s bad at keeping the mask on around Felix, who, sharp as he is, notices Sylvain’s discomfort immediately and fixes his eyes on Sylvain’s face. He squints suspiciously.

“What?”

Sylvain is quiet for a while, averts his gaze and out of the corner of his eye he sees Felix’s expression get even more suspicious. He has never talked about this before. He’s not sure if he even wants to. But maybe this is as good of a time as any.

“I don’t know man… Sex with women was never the same as sex with men. Hell, kissing women wasn’t the same as kissing men. Of course, neither compares to kissing you, because you are truly something else, Fe.” he finally replies, joking to deflect as always because what else is he supposed to do.

“Shut up.” Felix groans.

“I’m serious! Ow!” He says as Felix elbows him lightly in the stomach. “Seriously though, I really don’t know. Shouldn’t I have fallen in love with Ingrid then?” He ponders.

“Not necessarily. She’s also kind of like your caretaker.” Felix sighs.

“Maybe. But, I mean. She’s beautiful, smart, good to me. I don’t see why not. But really, women… The women were just all the same. There was never anything to any of them. I thought it was just like, it, you find someone you can stand and kind of like maybe and that’s that.” Sylvain says. He’s not looking down at Felix anymore, but he can feel his boyfriends eyes peeled on his face. Felix isn’t saying anything though, so he continues. “Then I fell for this dude in my biology class in high school. Couldn’t stop staring at him. Realized that I kept fantasizing about playing with his hair.” Sylvain suddenly realizes something and looks down at Felix. “I think he kind of looked a bit like how you would if you cut your hair even shorter. Anyway. I guess that’s the story.”

Felix huffs at that last comment, but then his expression turns serious and at the same time, a little bit too soft for Sylvain to feel entirely comfortable.

“Why’d you keep sleeping with women then, if you knew…” He asks. Sylvain smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.

“It was easy. A good distraction. I don’t know. Ingrid thinks it was just me being self-destructive.” He replies casually, looking away from Felix again and shrugs.

“Huh. And she was fine with that happening, with you two living together?” Felix asks dubiously, and Sylvain looks down at him again, almost offended.

“What, no, it wasn’t like I brought them here.” He replies. This piques Felix’s interest, apparently, because he looks surprised.

 “That was one of her rules. Don’t bring your conquests here and text me if you’re staying the night somewhere. Mine were don’t let me find you sleeping in your book in the mornings and don’t nag at me about my conquests. It was a compromise.” He shrugs. Felix just stares at him. “What?”

“You brought me here.” He states flatly, like it’s proof that Sylvain has said something untrue and this time, Sylvain actually feels offended for real.

“You weren’t one of my conquests!” He replies, defensively. “I’m in love with you, it’s completely different.”

Felix freezes.

“You haven’t… You haven’t said that before. That you’re in love with me.” He replies, in a small voice and fuck, Sylvain panics, he hasn’t. He’s only said it in his head a million times, but never to Felix’s face. It feels like it’s so obvious, but… I adore you, I’m gone for you, you’re perfect were all terms he had used, but in love is heavier. It means something more. Telling Felix he’s in love with him is a big thing, maybe bigger than it should be, but he knows in his heart that it is.

Despite pushing them away, the thoughts about now and then as separate existences had resurfaced in Sylvain’s head time and time again. How much of what he felt for Felix was for this Felix, and how much was for the one of the past? The one whom with he apparently shared a childhood, an organically formed bond, a war, a death.

It was a difficult thing to deal with. But did it even matter what was then and now when he looked at Felix and felt all the things he did? The feelings existed now. He could feel them now, just as much as he could feel the heavy meaning of that word. Love. He suspects there’s also something from the past is lingering in it, weighing it down significantly.

Felix is looking away from him, which Sylvain suspects is difficult and seems inefficient since he’s literally laying on Sylvain’s chest.

“Fuck. Sorry. I mean. Is it too early?” Sylvain replies, swallowing. It might be. Maybe Felix hasn’t had enough time to think things through. He’s bound to have had the same thoughts, but… Fuck, He’d been so careful, why- his thoughts are interrupted Felix shakes head.

“You sure?” Sylvain asks intently.

“It’s not too early.” Felix replies flatly, but he’s still very decisively not looking at Sylvain’s face.

“I mean, it’s only been like a few weeks and I, I mean I know things are weird and-” Sylvain rambles, because there’s still something strange in the air and he doesn’t want anything to-

Again, he’s interrupted by Felix who sits back up in one rapid movement.

“You don’t get to say something like that and then take it back!” He snarls, glaring at Sylvain.

“What, no, I would never take it back, I just-“Sylvain tries, but he’s not allowed to finish a single sentence in this conversation, apparently.

“Then shut the fuck up, I said it isn’t too early.” Felix replies sourly, and lies back down again, although now his cheeks are possibly a little rosier than before and he positions himself so that his natural point of view isn’t Sylvain’s face. They remain like that in silence for a few seconds, Sylvain’s heart beating like a drum and his brain going twice as fast trying to catch up with what had just transpired.

“Are… Are you going to say it back?” he finally asks, weakly, because he feels weak in more ways than one. Felix makes a grunting noise and shifts so that his face is almost buried in Sylvain’s shirt. 

“I love you too.” He mumbles into the fabric, and Sylvain’s heart sings. He might just ascend to heaven, honestly. His skin tingles underneath the shirt where Felix’s face is, and it spreads over his entire body. He feels so weak. He is weak.

“Fe?” He finally says, voice soft.

“Mhm.” Felix replies into his shirt, clearly trying to sound unbothered and failing spectacularly and Sylvain almost laughs because what the hell, he can’t be this cute, that’s not even possible. 

Sylvain moves his body, so suddenly that Felix doesn’t have time to prepare another manoeuvre than to quickly sit up again in order to not completely topple over. And with this, Sylvain has the glorious opportunity to grab his face and so he does, and kisses Felix. A surprised moan escapes Felix’s mouth, and Sylvain takes that opportunity to lick into Felix’s mouth. Felix follows his lead, leans his head to get more comfortable and a hand finds its way to Sylvain’s hair and latches on. Sylvian grunts appreciatively, and snakes one of his own hands around Felix’s waist and pulls him closer, slowly coaxing Felix onto his lap. When they finally pull apart for air, Sylvain grins widely at this accomplishment, and at everything in the entire world in general. Felix looks like he wants to glare, but all he can muster is an exasperated sigh and even then the corners of his mouth twitch.

“I’m so stupidly in love with you that I don’t even know what to do with myself.” Sylvain breathes, and apparently that’s a little too far because Felix averts his eyes and goes beet red.

“Don’t talk like that, this isn’t a romance novel.” He mumbles. Sylvain presses a kiss to Felix’s cheek.

“I thought you liked honesty!” he pouts, but he’s still smiling.

“Tsch.” Felix replies surly, rolling his eyes but it’s more half-hearted than ever so Sylvain has to kiss his cheek again. Then, without warning, he tips both of them over so that he’s halfway on top of Felix, and buries his head underneath said man’s ear, pressing a kiss to the sensitive skin there.

“Hey!” Felix protests, and while there’s almost a movement to shove Sylvain off, Felix appears to stop himself before it actually happens. Instead, he shakes his head ever so slightly and wraps his arms around Sylvain and allows this sweet, wonderful moment to continue and Sylvain’s heart skips several beats when he feels Felix’s lips pressing lightly against his head.

“You’re such a child” Felix sighs, but Sylvain can hear that he’s smiling. He almost wants to pop his head up and look, but he’s convinced that it would disappear then, so he doesn’t.

“And don’t make some kind of euphemism or joke about that because that’s just weird.” Felix quickly adds before Sylvain has a chance to reply. He laughs and drags his lips lightly over the sensitive skin underneath them again and feels his blood rush when Felix’s breath hitches.

“I promise.” Sylvain mumbles happily, slowly sliding one of his hands underneath Felix’s shirt. Felix breathes in sharply when it lightly travels over his ribs, the hand gripping Sylvain’s hip tightens-

“I said, not on the couch.”

They both freeze. When they look up, Ingrid is looking sternly at them. While Felix looks mortified, Sylvain just frowns.

“But I paid for it.” He retorts. Ingrid shoots him what is possibly the most disdainful look ever, and, alright, fine. Sighing dramatically, he gets up off Felix who sits up significantly faster than him as soon as Sylvain’s weight isn’t on him anymore. It isn’t even like anything messy was about to happen, but he’s not going to argue about the specifics of his sex life with Ingrid. At least not when Felix is right next to him.

“Don’t worry, I’m not judging you, you looked kind of like you were stuck there anyway.” Ingrid says plainly to Felix before she walks into kitchen. Felix makes a mangled, embarrassed noise and buries his face in his hands, apparently unsure of where to escape.

“You’re such a killjoy!” Sylvain shouts after her.

You’re a floozy!” Ingrid shouts back.

Chapter Text

“We’re going to talk about Felix and Dimitri.”

Sylvain stares at her. Out of all things he expected from Annette when she had asked him yesterday whether he’d be busy today, this was the last thing he’d think she’d say. She had insisted on meeting outside, in a park, and Sylvain hadn’t really questioned it. So here they were, on a park bench surrounded by orange leaves with takeaway coffee, a scene which suddenly felt way too idyllic for the apparent reason for their meeting.

“What do you mean, we’re going to talk about Dimitri?” Sylvain asks slowly, carefully, not sure if he wants to hear the answer. He does. Something inside of him needs to know. Needs to do something. The rest of him is freaking the fuck out, but there’s no need to let that show on the outside, so he smiles unassumingly at Annette when she looks up at him.

“I mean, I’m going to tell you what happened to him, and what happened to both of them afterwards.”

He almost feels intimidated by her determined expression. He definitively feels intimidated by her words, but he tries to keep the casual charade up anyway.

“That doesn’t sound fair to them, does it?” Sylvain suggests, smile wavering a little bit which Annette seemingly catches, because her eyes narrow at the same time.

“You should know. And Felix is never going to tell you, and it’s not fair to me that I can’t talk about it. It’s a part of my life and past too.” She replies, not backing down. And while that is true, technically, Sylvain still doesn’t think it sounds fair. It isn’t. What Felix and he had was different, she knew some of it but she didn’t know how fucking weird it felt every day, when they’d do something out of habit only it wasn’t even a habit at all, how they sometimes knew things about each other and sometimes were surprised that they didn’t know things they expected to.

Sylvain didn’t want this from Annette. No matter her situation. Maybe they have fought, he thinks, because Felix did kind of grumble when he’d told him he was meeting up with Annette today for coffee. Not that it would explain anything, Annette didn’t seem like the type to… What, do this to spite Felix? The more Sylvain thought about the current situation, the less sense it made. Finally, he speaks up.

“Annette, I really don’t-“

“I’ve talked to Felix and he’s said it’s okay that I tell you.” Annette interrupts his protests. Sylvain blinks. That’s… Surprising. And it doesn’t sound like Felix at all, there’s no way he’d agree to something like that. “Kind of begrudgingly, I’ll admit, but I’d never tell you if he hadn’t.”

Ah.

“Uhm.” Sylvain replies, lost for words.

“Oh, and if you judge him, or make him sad, or if something bad happens because I’m telling you, I’ll kill you.” Annette adds casually, which has the gulp of coffee Sylvain has just downed stop in his throat and threatens to trickle into his lungs. He coughs violently as Annette in panicking in the background rambling something that sounds like a never-ending stream of oh my god are you okay I’m sorry and her small hand dunking his back.

“No, no, sorry, it was just… Unexpected. Coming from you.” Sylvain says apologetically when he has caught his breath again. There’s a strange twinkle in Annette’s eye.

“Yeah, maybe. But, seriously. I don’t think that… Or, you know, I have a feeling you won’t…” Annette trails off, but Sylvain nods because he understands what she’s trying to say. A feeling. They’re all still trying to adjust to the reality of the very potent intuition they all seem to share among each other.

And maybe that feeling is why he finds himself nodding, giving her the go-ahead to tell him.

Sylvain watches Annette shift beside him, and for a few moments, the only thing they hear is the wind.

“I don’t know how to start.” She says. She’s looking not at Sylvain, and she sounds uncharacteristically sombre and lost in thought. “It’s not even that dramatic, in the grand scheme of things.” He stays quiet, lets her think, mostly because he isn’t sure what he’s supposed to even say to that.

“Okay. About three years ago, Dimitri was in a car accident. It was really, really bad, was all over the news kind of bad. His parents died, and…” Annette takes a deep breath. “So did Glenn. Who was Felix’s big brother.”

Time slows down, as Sylvain takes in what he has just learned. Felix had never mentioned a brother, had he? Then again, he never really mentioned much about family in general, which suited Sylvain fine because that meant he didn’t have to talk about his so-called family. But maybe he should have asked.

“So, Dimitri was the only person in the car who survived. And he never… He just couldn’t get over it. And it changed him. And Felix… Glenn was really like, the nicest person ever. They were so, so close. And he was close to Dimitri too, like, Felix and Dimi have been friends forever. Their parents were close and everything, like… It…” Annette trails off again, and then she turns to look at him.

“Do you have any siblings?” She asks. Sylvain almost scoffs but manages to tone it down to a scornful smile instead which isn’t ideal, because Annette looks a little taken aback.

“Ingrid is my family.” He replies, hoping his tone will make it clear to Annette not to probe. Her expression is a questioning one, but then she just nods and sighs.

“Okay. Uhm. Well. Glenn was like… I don’t know, Felix said once that Glenn was the golden child and he was… It doesn’t matter-“ It does matter Sylvain thinks, but lets her continue. “-anyway, Glenn was still in high school when we started, and he was like, the most popular kid in school. Everyone liked him, he was outgoing and nice and a star player and everything, and then when Felix… It was really hard for him. Because the teachers kind of expected more from him since Glenn was so good at everything, and he just… Felix just wasn’t like Glenn. I kind of think that the reason he started doing more like, unconventional stuff like the fencing and the archery was because he didn’t want to be compared. He’d probably never say that but I think that’s why. But he still loved Glenn, they really were so close. Like, Glenn would come up to us in the hallways and was always so happy to see Felix, and Dimi, and... When Glenn suddenly wasn’t… And suddenly there were new expectations on him, ehm, on Felix, from his parents and he was supposed to do all of these things and it just didn’t work and well, he got really pissed off about that and then since Dimi changed he got really angry at him too because Dimi turned so serious, like, he was always kind of like that but he’s like a ghost sometimes, it feels like. He’s so cold. And he thinks it’s all his fault and that’s really stupid but he doesn’t really want to be the survivor I think, and since their families were so close Felix’s parents kind of took Dimi in and it got really tense and they started relying on Felix to like, take care of him and… I don’t know, I honestly think it was really shitty of them to do that, because no one… No one really tried to help Felix that much because he just shut himself off and they figured he was coping fine I guess.”

Sylvain has listened intently the entire time, but the last sentence pierces his heart like a knife. It’s a lot. All of it. A lot to take in, a lot to process, and Annette’s jumbled storytelling skills aren’t helping.

“Or, I didn’t, of course!!” Annette adds quickly, and Sylvain can’t help but smile a little at that. It’s not a happy smile, because he isn’t feeling happy, but it’s something. He doesn’t want to think about what would have happened to Felix without Annette. He still isn’t sure of what he is supposed to say, if he’s supposed to say anything right now. Annette is chewing on her lip, like she’s trying to figure out the same thing.

“And that’s when Felix started having all those nightmares, too. After that.”

Oh. Right, she had mentioned that, briefly, that crazy night when everything had transpired. It was interesting that Felix hadn’t had them for as long as Sylvain, but then again, Sylvain started having nightmares after being kind of traumatized too. Well, not kind of. Remember your therapy, goddammit something in the back of his head shouts. It was traumatic. It was a big deal. And it was not his fault. He did nothing wrong. He didn’t deserve it.

They really drilled that into him, that it was okay to feel whatever he felt, that he wasn’t in the wrong.

“I don’t know, there is a lot I don’t know anything about either since he… Well, Felix did shut me out a lot after that too. Not as much as everyone else, I think, but still.” Annette sighs sadly, and Sylvian surprises himself when he puts an arm around her shoulders. He doesn’t know why, but it feels natural. Annette seems shocked too for a second, but then she relaxes, and rests her head against Sylvain’s side. She’s so small. Like a little sister.

“Thank you.” Is the first thing Sylvain says. He’s thanking her for many things. For telling him. For caring for Felix. For being there for Felix. For being smart.

“You’re welcome.” Annette whispers, voice wavering. She sniffles, and quickly raises a hand to wipe the tears which have started to form in her eyes. “I’m sorry, I just…” She hiccups, but she’s smiling. Sylvain closes his eyes and leans back, and squeezes her with his arm.

“Don’t be sorry. You did good. Families are just shit a lot of the time.” He replies. Annette doesn’t reply, but he can feel her nodding.

In their shared silence, Sylvain finds space to think. Something about Annette’s presence keeps him calm, her tiny body pressed to his side, knowing that every fibre of it cares about Felix almost as much as him. He feels a little ashamed, for that almost, but there’s no one who can care about Fe as much as he can. He’s certain of that.

The puzzle pieces fall into place, and whilst he’s still missing some, he’s able to kind of imagine what it’s supposed to portray. The basic outline of Felix is clear, finally. The part about Dimitri is no longer shrouded in mystery, and finally makes kind of sense. There’s something about Dimitri’s situation that also tugs at him, makes his heart feel heavy in a way that feels all too familiar.

He should talk to Ingrid, he finds himself thinking. But no, Sylvain can’t just pile people off on Ingrid, no matter how good she is at helping them. Actually, that particular reason is why he refuses to do that. She’s too good. Too noble. Ingrid Brandl Galatea, sworn sword to whomever happened to need her.

He doesn’t succeed in shaking the thought, however.

Felix. Sylvain’s heart churns, and his chest tightens. His Felix. He tries to figure out if he knows what to do, if there’s a feeling there, one of those weird intuitions, but for whatever reason, there isn’t one. Which is impractical, since this is the first time he feels like he really, really needs it. He feels like he needs to know Felix better. Like he should have been there from the start, to watch over Felix as a kid, so that he’d know his patterns of behaviour. Sure, subconsciously, he finds himself understanding them at times. But there’s so much that’s missing.

“I don’t think you should change anything you’re doing.” Annette says, as though she’s reading his thoughts. Sylvain turns and looks at her, confused. Her expression is still serious, but a little more cheerful now.

“No?” He asks.

“Hilda and I talked about it, like, way before you two… Felix just seemed happier when you started hanging around. More relaxed.” She says.

“He seemed like he was about ninety-nine percent done with me at all times.” Sylvain replies, but he’s smiling. Annette giggles at that.

“I know! But it was so light-hearted. And almost everything about Felix has been heavy, and dark, for so long. So listening to him having fun throwing insults at you was kind of nice!” She replies, with hints of her signature perkiness lacing her voice. Sylvain chuckles.

“I kept wondering if I had crossed the line, every single time. But apparently, I didn’t.” He replies. Annette nods.

“The line with Felix is actually pretty far off, if you can take what he dishes. Most people don’t see the difference between his remarks and him really being angry.” Annette says, and that makes a lot of sense to Sylvain. He had pushed, and pushed, and whilst Felix would sigh, or groan, or glare at him, he’d never push back aggressively, so to speak. “I was kind of shocked when he was so mean to you even when he didn’t know you, but then when you just laughed and went along with it…” She reminisces.

“I never even registered that it could be considered like, really hurtful for real.” Sylvain smiles.

“You are really good for him.” Annette replies, and it’s such an honest comment that Sylvain doesn’t really have a reply at first. His heart jumps, and he actually feels his cheeks get hot.

“Yeah. He’s good for me too.” He finally mumbles, and Annette looks so satisfied at his reply that it’s almost humorous.

It’s weird, how little worry he feels after Annette’s comments, in comparison to what he thinks he probably should feel despite them. But they had established some sort of peace within him, at least when it came to his own future actions.

“Is there… Is there anything you want to ask? I know my explanation wasn’t very, uhm, organized, I guess. Sorry, I’m usually more structured than this.” Annette says apologetically. Sylvain thinks.

“Honestly, a lot. But maybe not right now? I… I need to process.” He replies after a little while, and Annette nods. She looks like she understands.

“And maybe I’m not the person you should ask.” She remarks, and that is also very true. Sylvain nods, and picks up his phone.

“If you’ll excuse me, I need to call my boyfriend.” He says cheerily, and Annette giggles.

“Sounds good. I’ll go.” She replies, and stands up. Sylvain hugs her with one arm as he’s using the other to hold his phone is against his ear, and he ruffles Annette’s hair just before she lets go. She grimaces at him and he sticks out his tongue as a reply, and she laughs. Then she turns around and starts walking away. Just before Sylvain turns his back to her to start walking the other way, she makes a little skip. The smile it puts on his face remains when Felix finally picks up.

“Hi” He says, and Sylvain’s heart skips a beat because fuck, does he love this boy.

“Hey, you done with practice?” He replies, voice as warm as he feels.

“Yeah.” Felix replies, shortly. He’s tense, Sylvain can tell. He could hear the nuances in Felix’s voice. It felt like he was just remembering them, though. He remembered how to understand, but not what to do with the information at hand. Typical.

“Meet up with me? I’m nearby, in the smaller park, not the big one.” Sylvain says. Maybe Annette planned this, he suddenly realizes and feels very stupid. Of course she did. Apparently, Felix doesn’t know this, because he breathes in a little too sharply before he tones his voice down before he replies.

“Sure.”

“The fountain?” Sylvain asks, because he’s standing right in front of it, and it’s really beautiful with the autumn leaves falling around it.

“I’ll be there in twenty.” Felix replies, and hangs up as soon as Sylvain has managed to get in a “see you!”. Sylvain sighs, when he puts his phone back into his pocket. He wishes Felix wasn’t so afraid to trust him, but he gets it. Hell, if he thinks about what Felix’s potential reaction to his past might be… But no, not right now. None of that. Don’t worry about that just yet.

 


 

Sylvain has placed himself back on a bench and is mindlessly scrolling through his phone when footsteps that he somehow knows is Felix’s finally approach. He looks up, face shining and apparently this isn’t what Felix was expecting, because he kind of just stops, a couple of steps away from Sylvain. His heart aches at Felix’s nervous stature – hands in his pockets, head leaned slightly downwards.

“Hey.” Felix says, barely looking at Sylvain.

“Hi.” Sylvain replies, while standing up and talking fast, large steps until he’s bursts through Felix’s personal bubble. Felix’s eyes flicker up at Sylvain’s face which probably is projecting as much adoration as he feels, but they quickly look back down again.

Sylvain sighs, still smiling, and wraps his arms around Felix and brings him closer so he can kiss him on the forehead. Felix’s hands remain in his pockets, but some of the tension in his body seems to wash off him.

“You smell clean.” Sylvain murmurs. His hair is still somewhat damp. He’s going to get cold if they stay outside for long. What an idiot.

“Mhm.” Felix replies, leaning his head down pressing his forehead against Sylvain’s chest. That’s not what Sylvain wants right now. Carefully, slowly and without force in case Felix really doesn’t feel comfortable, Sylvain lifts his hand to Felix’s chin to lean his head up so that Sylvain can see his face.

His eyes are so fucking beautiful. Sylvain grins. Felix swallows, jaw tense, and looks away.

“Do you know how stupidly much I fucking adore you? And care for you? Here and now, no matter the past, I love you here, now.” Sylvain says fondly, not sure where it’s all coming from but it feels right and feels his heart race when Felix’s cheeks colour in.

“Don’t be excessive.” Felix mumbles, looking to the side. Sylvain laughs.

“If you wanted a non-excessive lover, I’m afraid you’ve made a terrible choice in the matter!” He declares. Felix’s eyes finally flicker up to meet his. At first, they’re somewhat apprehensive but when he seems to take in all the emotion in Sylvain’s face, the apprehension disappears.

“Idiot.” Felix mumbles, and Sylvain, if possible, grins even bigger.

“I’m your idiot.” He replies happily. The last of the tension in Felix’s body disappears at that. He sighs, rolls his eyes and then Sylvain catches a tiny smile on Felix’s lips before they’re against his. Felix kisses him surprisingly softly, and Sylvain finds himself lost in it within seconds. While kissing Felix is high on his list of favourite things, Felix kissing him has remained as something that is possibly in the first spot. Felix’s hands finally leave his pockets and come up around his neck, and Sylvain breathes in sharply through his nose when their bodies are pressed together as a result. He angles his face slightly and grips Felix’s hip a little tighter, as his hand travels up to rest on Felix’s cheek.

When they finally break apart, Felix’s face is quickly buried in Sylvain’s chest again.

“You’re getting my shirt wet.” Sylvain murmurs, stroking Felix’s damp head.

“If you kept your jacket closed like a normal person would in the fall, that wouldn’t be a problem.” Felix mutters, and Sylvain laughs, deep and warm.

“Fair.”

Chapter Text

“Tell me again why we’re here.” Dorothea groans.

“For old times sake!” Sylvain grins, and clinks his glass against Dorotha’s. She sighs but takes a sip from her beer as well. Their place. Their table right next to the goddamn bar. Neither of them ever thought twice before meeting up here – unless somewhere else was specified, this was always where they’d meet up. Even now, apparently.

“I honestly never thought I’d say this, but I don’t miss the old times at all.” She sighs, and Sylvain gasps dramatically.

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” He pouts, although he already knows. Dorothea laughs.

“Well, I always figured that when I’d be too old to be doing this, I’d miss it, but I’m so happy right now with where my life is.” She replies, and well, Sylvain can relate to that. Felix has been his boyfriend for such a short amount of time but Sylvain has already settled into it like it has been his life for years.

“Mhm, me too.” Sylvain agrees, and he can’t help but smile. 

All and any interest in girls had completely faded, and while Felix unfortunately didn’t let him hold his hand at campus because “we’re not twelve, get over yourself” he had after a little while started allowing Sylvain a little bit PDA like kissing him on the cheek when they parted, so word had spread that Sylvain Gautier was no longer the go-to for a quick fuck. Not that people hadn’t tried anyway, there was that one girl who had seriously annoyed him when she had implied that he was missing out on something, not too subtly pushed her breasts together and blinked at him innocently which had been disgusting. And he had told her as much too, and left her and her low-cut shirt staring after him with a shocked expression. And then he had gotten reprimanded because “even though you might feel that way, they’re still people who deserve a little bit of respect”. Alright, thanks Ingrid, will keep that in mind. He didn’t really get it.

 “And my god, I always figured I’d have less sex if I was in a relationship, right, like it’d go stale and planned and what-not but I honestly have not had this much sex ever.” Dorothea says, and she almost sounds a little shocked. Sylvain nods thoughtfully, inconspicuously he hopes but of course, Dorothea knows him. Her eyes narrow, and Sylvain takes another gulp from his glass, averting his gaze.

“What was that?” She asks suspiciously. Sylvain shrugs, because he isn’t really interested in having this conversation. Deep down, however, he knows he has already lost.

“What was what?” He replies, making a last-ditch attempt at avoiding the topic. Dorothea clicks his tongue impatiently, and Sylvain sighs. He closes his eyes and prays that this wont turn into a bigger thing than it is.

“You’re not having sex, are you?” Dorothea asks before Sylvain has the opportunity to start explaining and well, that’s very direct. He sighs, but then he looks her in the eyes before he replies.

“No.”

They aren’t. Not that they’re practicing abstinence, but…

Dorothea looks dubiously at him. He can almost hear her processing. Sylvain isn’t surprised at her reaction, at all – in fact, if she had told him the same thing he would have probably been confused as well.

“Why?” She finally asks. Sylvain smiles.

“Honestly, I don’t want to push.” He replies simply, but it’s the truth. Well, part of it. The sincerity of that part, either way, appears to show on his face, because Dorothea’s expression relaxes to match his.

“Wow, you’re whipped.” She replies, shrugging and sips her beer. She’s right, he is. And it isn’t like he particularly misses sex, to his own surprise. Sylvain is honest to god happy just being allowed to look at Felix.

“Don’t tell him that you know.” He says, and Dorothea looks a little insulted.

“Of course I won’t!” She replies and the tiny piece of worry inside Sylvain fades away. He nods appreciatively. “I’d never, who do you take me for?” She adds, and Sylvain laughs.

“Well, rather safe than sorry! I hope you are, at least.” He winks, and Dorothea sighs exasperatedly.

“I’ll have you know I got tested like two weeks before we even got together, so I’m all good thanks.” She replies, rolling her eyes but she’s smiling. Then she looks up at him with a serious expression.

“Are you sure that’s the right thing to do though?” She asks, and Sylvain looks back at her, confused.

“What, being respectful and not pushing someone to have sex?” He asks, and Dorothea sighs.

“No, but… I don’t know, Felix doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d bring up the topic. Maybe you should push, some people need that.” She says, absentmindedly swirling her beer.

Sylvain has had the same thought. But again – Sylvain has no idea of Felix’s sexual history. And it feels wrong to ask, he doesn’t think that would go over well. Plus, he if anyone knows that it can be complicated.

“Maybe, but I want to do things right for a change.” He replies, garnering a cold look from Dorothea.

“What, abstaining from sex and taking things slow equals doing things right?” She asks sharply, and Sylvain quickly shakes his head.

“Come on, you know I don’t mean it like that! But for me, in this situation, it might be.” He replies. Dorothea still looks unconvinced. Sylvain sighs.

“We’ve talked about… Ingrid said it was self destructive, you remember that?” Sylvain asks, and Dorothea nods.

“Yeah, I like Ingrid when she’s had shots, she stops being so goddamn proper, when we first met I never thought we’d end up in the corner of some penthouse talking about you and our life philosophies.”

Ah, fuck. Sylvain had forgotten about that night and that Ingrid had actually told Dorothea about that herself, and that she hadn’t learned about her opinion through him.

Dorothea was kind of right about the shots though. With Ingrid, there was no middle ground between getting hammered and having an all-nighter or practically staying sober and going home early.

“Err, right. Well, we’ve talked about that.” He replies uncomfortably. Then Sylvain suddenly remembers that he has something to tell her. “Also, I’m gay.” He adds casually. He had hoped for more of a reaction from Dorothea – maybe spitting her beer out in shock, but all he gets is a pair of raised eyebrows.

“Yeah?”

“Maybe Ingrid was right, at least somewhat, about the distraction part.” He admits sheepishly. Dorothea smiles, mysterious and knowingly all at once.

“Well, good for you.” She replies. Sylvain’s heart swells a little bit. Yeah. Good for him. And thank god for Dorothea and her acceptance of his utterly disastrous existence.

“Yeah.” He nods, because there’s not much else to say unless he wants to get sappy and now is not the time.

“Still though, just think about it.” She replies.

“He did get pissed at me because I didn’t kiss him before asking him to sleep in my bed with me.” He shrugs, smiling at the memory and Dorothea giggles.

“Okay, I give. But I’m telling you, for me, waiting had not been doing things right.” She concedes, and Sylvain nods.

“Right, she’s going back to Bridgid at some point right? Gotta make most of the time you’ve got!” He declares, and Dorothea visibly deflates.

“Don’t remind me.” She moans. Sylvain reaches over and pats her on the head, and she pouts. “It sucks.”

“Hey, maybe you could go study in Bridgid!” He suggests, and Dorothea looks sceptically at him.

“Doesn’t really work like that when you’re trying to get to Broadway.” She replies, and well, that’s true.

“You’ll figure something out.” Sylvain replies encouragingly, and Dorothea nods slowly.

“I hope so.”

It’s kind of strange to sit in their usual spot drinking their usual beer and talking about the future of their committed relationships. It feels like a lifetime ago they’d spend nights here, talking to whoever and taking shots. Maybe this was what growing up felt like.

Jesus fucking Christ.

“I still can’t believe we’re both in committed relationships that both seem to be working out. How strange is that?!” Dorothea proclaims, apparently mirroring his train of thought and Sylvain laughs.

“Imagine if someone had told us that when the term started?” He muses, and Dorothea joins him in laughter.

Hey sluts, by the way, you wont be in a few weeks!” She replies gleefully.

Yeah, he wouldn’t have believed it even for a second.

Chapter Text

Exactly one week passes after his outing with Dorothea and everything is good, and normal, and life is wonderful. Felix stays over at his apartment almost every other night in order to spend as much time as possible away from his own so Sylvain sleeps amazingly well, and one afternoon they’re invited to have coffee with Hilda (who’s ridiculously busy these days) and, to Sylvain’s initial surprise, Claude. Apparently, they’d been hanging around each other pretty much whenever they could, and their banter flows so naturally that Sylvain wouldn’t have been surprised if someone had told him they’d known each other for years. They only spot Dimitri once, walking across campus with another comically tall man and Felix doesn’t even glare, just looks away, and isn’t angry for the rest of the afternoon (although he’s slightly out of it) which is great. Ingrid starts looking less tired, apparently has started spending time with Annette and Mercedes as study buddies, and she comes home late looking exhausted but happy one evening and informs Sylvain she’s been at the shelter with Ashe.

It feels like everything in Sylvain’s life is settling into a peaceful pace.

Then, one evening two hours after him and Felix had gone their separate ways for the night, there’s a hard knock on the door.

When Sylvain opens it, Felix storms inside with a bag thrown over his shoulder, kicks off his shoes before Sylvain even has the time to say hello and walks with determined, quick steps into Sylvain’s room. Confused, he follows and right when he reaches the doorframe, Felix is throwing his bag on the floor and looks up at him with a tight expression.

“I’m going to stay here for a while.” He declares. Sylvain blinks, looks from the bag to Felix slowly trying to catch up.

“Okay?” He replies weakly, and a relieved expression briefly flashes across Felix’s face, before he nods affirmingly.

“Yeah.”

There’s a lot happening at once in Sylvain’s head. A part of it is singing at these news, another is extremely concerned about what has happened, and a third part is panicking over what he’s going to tell Ingrid.

“Welcome home?” Is all he manages to get out and Felix huffs at that, his face reddening a little bit as he plops himself down on the bed, seemingly a little bit lost now that the anger has settled and the boldness faded with it.

“I can’t be there anymore.” He mumbles, head hanging and Sylvain’s chest tightens. He walks over and for a second he almost kneels in front of Felix so that he can see his face, but he catches himself and sits down beside him instead.

“Do you… Do you want to talk about it?” Sylvain asks hesitantly. Please talk to me he pleads in his head. Felix shrugs.

“He’s just… He’s being fucking weird. As usual. I’m sick of it.” He mutters. Sylvain reaches up and places one of his hands on Felix’s head, scratches his scalp lightly.

“Weird how?” Sylvain tries.

“He… “ Felix stops. It doesn’t seem like he knows exactly what he wants to say. Then he shakes his head. “I’m just sick of it.”

So much for talking. Sylvain wraps his arms around Felix instead.

“Alright.” He murmurs into Felix’s hair. Felix sighs, leans into the hug and when Sylvain looks down, he almost looks fragile. They still haven’t talked about Dimitri, not really, even after Annette and his discussion in the park. Felix had clearly not wanted to. He had, however, started being more open about things in passing – Sylvain had learned that the other tall man was Dedue whom Dimitri had met in therapy, and Sylvain had commented on how it was great that Dimitri went to therapy, in which he had also learned that he didn’t go anymore. He learns little things. Small steps.

“What’s hap- Oh, hi Felix?”

They both look up at Ingrid in the doorframe, who’s clearly surprised to see their guest, and sharp as she is, she notices the bag on the bed and her eyes narrow. Felix goes a little bit stiff and Sylvain panics.

“Uhm, right, err, Felix is going to be staying here for a while!” He says quickly. “Oh, if that’s okay with you, of course!” he adds with a nervous and slightly pleading smile. Ingrid looks troubled.

“Sorry” Felix says quietly, to which Ingrid sighs.

“Sure, whatever.”

Sylvain stares at Ingrid in surprise. That was much easier than it should have been. Ingrid looks back at him, and shrugs, and whilst her lips aren’t moving, her eyes are smiling. He feels like maybe she’s taking pity on the both of them, but there’s something else too. Whatever. Same old, at this point.

“Thank you.”

Felix is the first one to respond to Ingrid’s unexpected acceptance of this turn of events, and he sounds so sincerely grateful and tired and honest that Ingrid is visibly taken aback for a second.

“Uhm, yes, thanks! You’re the best!” Sylvain chimes in.

“No couch sex. And I am not doing the dishes for a week.” Ingrid instructs. Felix coughs uncomfortably at the first comment, and Sylvain decides to pretend he didn’t hear that part.

“Yes mam!”


Sylvain is jolted awake by a loud, anguished howl coming from god knows where, he only knows that it’s close and he starts panicking and reaches out blindly for something, what that is he’s not sure of, and then he realizes that someone is clawing at the sheets underneath him and that the someone is Felix. At the same time as the shock of the unexpected noise dies down, the panic over the fact that Felix seems to be in pain starts settling in. The other man is curled together with an iron grip on the sheet below them, and his hair is sticking to his sweaty face and despite the fact that he’s sweating, Felix is shaking, as garbled words are streaming out of his mouth.

Sylvain finds himself completely unable to do anything, he just stares in horror at the sight beside him as his ears ring and something in his head goes no no no no no no- and something else in the background wonders is this what I look like too when this happens?

Then, Felix gasps for air, seemingly starting to hyperventilate between the words Sylvain can’t make out and that brings Sylvain out of his paralyzed state, and he does what Ingrid used to do for him because he honestly doesn’t really have anything better.

“Fe, I’m here, hey, I’m here” He whispers, propping himself up with his elbow and slowly placing a hand on Felix’s head, starts combing it backwards to get the pieces stuck to his face out of there. He places one of his hands over one of Felix’s closed fists, so carefully and slowly that he almost jerks it away when Felix’s turns around and grips it instead of the sheets, holding on to Sylvain’s hand so tight Sylvain thinks he might actually break it – not that it matters. He lays down, slowly, closer to Felix and continues mumbling I’m here but slowly, something inside of him starts yelling that it isn’t working, that he’s useless at this, that he needs to call Annette and have her fix this somehow and-

Sylv-“ Felix stops mid-word to breathe in sharply again but it’s enough, it’s enough, it’s something.

Yes, yes, Fe, I’m here, I’m here, you’re okay, it’s okay, we’re okay!” He rambles, carefully nudging Felix’s head closer to him and starts pressing kisses against his cold sticky forehead. Sylvain stomach turns – he’s useless if he can’t help Felix out of this.

Felix makes a questioning noise, still distraught but he pulls his fist gripping Sylvain’s hand closer to him, and subsequently Sylvain’s body follows. It’s an awkward angle for him, and Sylvain curses himself for not thinking this through so he could be more efficient but he manages to get one hand behind Felix’s head to tilt it up so their noses almost touch.

“Felix, look at me!” He whispers hoarsely. He doesn’t know where he gets that from, and when Felix’s eyes actually snap wide open at that like on command Sylvain’s heart almost stops, partly because it’s terrifying and partly due to the surprise at the fact that it worked, and partly because the sheer panic in Felix’s eyes is unlike anything else he has ever seen.

And then everything comes to a stop. Felix stares at him for few second, eyes glassy and he’s still breathing a little bit too quickly, but then, slowly but surely, he comes back down. His grip on Sylvain’s hand loosens, and his muscles slowly seem to relax as well. Sylvain just stares back at him, just as frozen in place as Felix seems to be because he honestly doesn’t fucking know what to do now because his mind has gone completely blank.

Then, slowly, Felix’s eyes slide shut and he sighs, deep and slow and shaky, and his hands seem to move on their own accord as they reach out to grab at Sylvain to pull him closer.

Fuck.” Felix whispers into the air where some of the tension is still hanging around. It feels like fog.

“Mhm.” Sylvain replies, because that’s about the best word to describe it. Fuck. He wraps his arms around Felix as well, and Felix lets out a long, ragged breath.

“..m sorry” Felix says, and Sylvain has to pull away a little bit so they he can look him in the eyes again.

“Are you kidding?” He asks incredulously, and Felix averts his eyes as his face twitches. “Don’t say that. Not to me. Not about this.”

It’s quiet for a few seconds, and then Felix nods.

“Alright.”

“Good.” Sylvain breathes out, and finally the tension in his body starts to let loose as well. They lay there, just like that, for a while.

“You want to shower?” Sylvain suddenly remembers to ask, only because that’s usually what he does when it’s this bad. Wash it all away. Felix sighs, long and exhausted.

“Yeah.”

Sylvain wants to tell him he doesn’t blame him for his sparse responses because he knows how fucking draining it is to have a freak panic attack whilst dreaming. Especially when it’s about- He wants to tell Felix not to worry, to not fucking mind it, to tell him what he wants and needs because Sylvain is realizing they haven’t had that conversation which is fucking ridiculous considering they kind of were brought together by sharing these traumatic dreams.

But he doesn’t do any of it. Felix is too tired for that. He mumbles something that kind of sounds like a thanks to Sylvain as he’s offered a towel and clean sweatpants from the closet and strangely, he grabs Sylvain’s hand when he accepts it and absentmindedly presses a chaste kiss to it like it’s routine or out of habit, leaving Sylvain with butterflies in his stomach when he closes the bathroom door. And even though the situation is pretty fucking awful in general, he can’t help but smile as he puts the same hand up to his cheek like he’s a teenage girl. God, he hopes that it becomes routine. Sylvain sighs, mixed feelings stirring in his chest as he starts stripping the sheets off the bed because if anything sucks, it’s going back to sleep in cold, sticky sheets after a warm shower.

Something must have happened, Sylvain thinks. Something happened to trigger this in Felix, for him to decide to move out of his apartment. And Sylvain is desperate to know what, what fight they could have had because some irrational part inside of him thinks that he could maybe help and fix things and whilst he definitively does not want Felix to sleep anywhere that isn’t next to him ever again, knowing that his and Dimitri’s relationship has gotten this bad is painful.

But the middle of the night, after Felix has had a panic attack in his sleep is not the time to ask questions. Sylvain does however decide that he’s going to do so in the following day. It’s time to push.

Just as he’s pulling a pillow case of a pillow, it suddenly hits him that Ingrid is in the apartment. He drops what’s in his hand on the bed and slowly and quietly slips out of the room, half expecting Ingrid to be sat on the couch with a worried expression and weary eyes. But the apartment is dark, and quiet. There are no signs that she has even woken up, which is suspicious, but then again maybe her brain has just been conditioned to listen and pick up on Sylvain’s panicked noises specifically because it suddenly clicks in Sylvain’s brain that she’s actually always been quite a heavy sleeper in other circumstances. Settling on that explanation for now, partly because he doesn’t want for her to have been woken up and subsequently having to worry about someone else screaming at night. That’d make his life a whole lot more complicated.

He sneaks back into his bedroom, and is just about finished putting on the last pillow case when Felix steps out of the bathroom. They both kind of freeze, unsure of what to do in this new situation. Felix, expression fairly conflicted and vulnerable, looks from the newly made bed to Sylvain, who offers a small smile and a shrug in return. They continue to look at each other, and then, amazingly, Felix just shrugs back, shakes his head with what Sylvain thinks is a slight tint of red on his cheeks. (although it could just be from the shower.) 

“Thank you.” Felix mumbles, and Sylvain can tell it’s both for earlier and changing the sheets.

“Sleeping in the same sheets you woke up in cold sweat in is the worst.” Sylvain states plainly, and throws the pillow onto the bed.

“It really fucking is.” Felix agrees, shuffling back towards the bed, lifts up the covers and promptly collapses on the crisp sheet. Sylvain, still standing in the same spot feels private fondness blooming in his chest as he admires the muscles in Felix’s back flex. His heart jumps when Felix sighs contentedly.

“What are you waiting for?” Felix mumbles into the pillow.

“Absolutely nothing!” Sylvain replies, and as fast as his body allows him he glides down beside Felix and throws the covers over both of their bodies. He presses a kiss to the back of Felix’s head.

“-oll over” Felix grunts.

“What?” Sylvain replies, confused. Felix shifts his head so that he can look at Sylvain, and repeats his words.

“Roll over.”

Sylvain looks at him, and is apparently unable to hide his surprise because Felix adds, a little bit more hesitantly, “If you want.”

Sylvain smiles, presses one last kiss to Felix’s forehead before he does as asked of him, rolling over so his back is against Felix’s. He’s not as surprised as he thinks he probably should be, when Felix drapes his arm around him and pulls him close. He gets it. If he could have gotten to hold Felix all those times he’s woken up after watching him die, he would have wanted that too.

“Is this okay?” Felix whispers behind him, and Sylvain almost laughs.

“It’s so fucking okay, Fe.”

Chapter Text

They settle into their new domesticity with frightening speed.

The worry Sylvain had continued to harbour in the back of his mind regarding Ingrid, (despite her initial positive reaction) had turned out to be completely ridiculous, because he finds her and Felix studying in the kitchen when he finally drags himself out of bed the next morning.

He hadn’t actually noticed Felix’s getting out of it until he’d been half-awake grabbing at cool sheets beside him instead of a warm body, and for a second Sylvain had panicked as the events of the night came back to him in an instant and what if Felix had gotten uncomfortable and- well, that panic settled as quickly as it rose as he heard a very familiar laughter coming from the kitchen, following an equally familiar snort.

After that slight heart attack he’d been wide awake, with no point in lingering in bed (especially a bed where Felix should be but wasn’t) and wandered out confused to be met with a conversation about historical warfare.

“There’s coffee in the machine!” Ingrid tells him without looking at him, because she’s leaned over the table, looking at one of Felix’s course-books. Felix however does turn around upon his entrance and Sylvain’s heart swoops - the expression on Felix’s face is so relaxed and there’s even a little smile on his lips and it feels all too familiar and distant and new at once. Felix seemingly also catches how the situation is actually neither a regular or new one, causing his face falls into something more cautious. Sylvain decides he doesn’t like that at all and would very much prefer to keep the light-hearted energy around, so he does what his body tells him is natural and doesn’t think about it much when he bends down and presses a kiss to the corner of Felix’s mouth.

“Good morning!” He murmurs, and while Felix is a little bit tense for a few more seconds he apparently also decides that going with the flow and ignoring the discomfort that Sylvain is convinced they all honestly kind of feel is the best option to go with. Ingrid obviously has chosen to do that, acting like this is all completely normal for them, which should be proof enough that it’s the best path. Felix reaches up, albeit slightly off-beat and clumsily, and ruffles Sylvain’s hair, and hums a mornin’ back to him.

“This doesn’t make any sense?” Ingrid mumbles and looks up at the both of them, brow furrowed. “Wouldn’t this be an awful strategy, considering the circumstances?”

Since Sylvain doesn’t understand what they’re talking about, he makes his move towards the coffee machine. Felix, however, sighs in exasperated agreement.

“Right? But no one wants to listen to me about it.” He grumbles, in a way that makes it obvious to Sylvain that he’s tried to have that conversation with other people more than once. Ingrid still looks very confused.

“Why wouldn’t they have swapped these troops, and…” She mumbles, eyes flicking over the page. “Sylvain, come take a look at this.”

Sylvain walks over, coffee in hand and feeling infinitively less groggy even after the first sip. He looks at the map, detailing how the army in this particular battle had been positioned. He stares at it for a few seconds, trying to figure out what they’re talking about and why his opinion is being asked. He shrugs.

“I don’t know, I’m not exactly an expert on war strategies.” He says, placing himself on the chair next to Felix and earning a glare from said man from his lack of enthusiasm.

“Come on, even you should be able to see that they’ve set themselves up for a loss here.” Felix says, pulling the book back over from Ingrid and starts pointing and explaining different sections. Ingrid chips in a few times, and well, after a few minutes Sylvain can kind of see what they mean. But there are several reasons Sylvain hasn’t chosen to take the very niche course focused on historical warfare, even though his eyes had lingered on it for a few seconds when he’d read about it.

“I mean, I suppose?” He offers, which apparently isn’t satisfactory to Felix either because he just shakes his head.

“I’m glad at least someone else in this household has sense enough to see what I see.” He sighs, glancing over at Ingrid. She hums, still looking like she’s deep in thought. Then, she seems to catch herself, glancing up at the clock.

“Well, I’m meeting Mercedes in forty-five minutes, so I’ve got to get going.”

She grabs her cup and swallows the last bit of coffee, placing it in the sink as she starts making her way to the hall.

“Can I tell my professor that he’s an idiot from you?” Felix asks. Ingrid turns around in the doorframe and glares at him.

“No, be respectful.” She replies and Felix groans. She doesn’t seem to notice that she’s using the same chiding tone again, the one that’s usually reserved for Sylvain and Sylvain only and it feels a little alien, hearing it directed towards somebody else. But Sylvain certainly wasn’t going to point that out, since they’re pretending that everything that’s happening is completely normal. And, on top of that, it doesn’t feel completely unnatural anyway.

“He is convinced they lost because of the placement of the archers on the left.” Felix says darkly. Ingrid blinks, and takes a deep breath before she replies.

“You tell him whatever you want, but I don’t think he’s going to change his mind based on a med students opinion.”

Felix, for whatever reason looks surprised for about 1.5 seconds, before he grumbles and turns back to his book. Sylvain flashes a smile to her, when she sighs.

“Tell Mercedes hi from us!” He says cheerfully.

“I will. Don’t do anything stupid whilst I’m gone.” Ingrid replies, turning around and starts making her way to the door.

“Bye!” Felix replies loudly from his place at the table.

It feels so normal. It feels so, so normal, when Ingrid shouts a bye back to the both of them, Sylvain leaning against the kitchen counter with his eyes resting on Felix and a hot cup of coffee in his hand.

“You have anything particular to do today?” He asks, sipping on his coffee – not that he actually needs it today. Maybe now he could start having tea for breakfast instead, now that Felix lives with him. Now that they live together. Like they’re supposed to.

“Well, actually…” Felix starts, turning sideways in his chair, before stopping and grimacing. Sylvain gives him a questioning look.

“What?”

“I left my fucking computer at the apartment. So, I’ve gotta go back and get it.” Felix mumbles, clearly displeased with himself and the situation. Sylvain looks at him incredulously.

“You forgot your computer?”

Felix glares at him.

“I didn’t exactly plan to leave like that yesterday, you know.” He mutters. And well, no, that’s fair. Not that Sylvain knows what happened, but he knows that much.

“Want me to come with you?” Sylvain asks softly, and clearly Felix isn’t expecting the offer because his eyes widen for a short second, before his face falls back into a scowl.

“Uh. If you want to.” He mumbles. Sylvain gives him a questioning look because that’s not an answer to the question.

“Would you rather I don’t come?” He asks carefully. Felix groans, and throws his head back.

“No, or, I mean- fuck- “

Felix swears under his breath and pushes a hand through his hair. Then, he closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and clears his throat before he continues.

“I’d- I would like it if you came.”

Sylvain’s heart swoops and he does what feels natural – he takes a step forward and reaches out to softly scratch at Felix’s scalp. He’s rewarded with a low, familiar hum from Felix’s throat, deep and rumbling, which makes Sylvain’s heart do another funny jump.

It’s like something comes back to him – despite the fluttering feeling in his stomach, something heavy weighs on his chest. His hand knows exactly where to go to bring out another satisfied hum from Felix, knows what patterns it wants to make.

Felix opens his eyes slowly, glancing up at Sylvain with an unfocused expression – maybe equally lost in the domesticity as Sylvain feels, and his heart swells when Felix leans his head slightly to the side to rest against Sylvain’s stomach.

“Tired?” Sylvain whispers. He’s not sure why he’s whispering – why his voice is thick, why it feels like the world has been sucked into a black hole leaving only him and Felix in its wake. He feels Felix nod against him, listens to the deep breath Felix lets out through his nose.

“Thank you.”

It’s like a punch to the chest, but it’s not unpleasant. Felix’s words echo in Sylvain’s head, a remnant of something lost in the past.

“Your coffee is going to get cold.”

Sylvain stares down at Felix, who is smirking ever so slightly up at him in return. He huffs.

“You’re telling me you want me to stop?” He pouts. Felix rolls his eyes, but Sylvain could swear his cheeks colour in a little bit. Either way, Sylvain chuckles and bends down to press a kiss to Felix’s forehead, before he moves to sit down on a chair next to Felix. When he takes a sip of his coffee, it actually is significantly cooler already.

“It’s not far from here, right? We can take a morning walk. I’ve got a lecture, but it’s at like twelve.” Sylvain suggests, only slightly distracted by Felix combing through his own hair once more and pushing it behind his ears.

“Odd time for a lecture.” Felix remarks. Sylvain shrugs.

“Maybe he hates lunch.” He suggests, feels a smile creeping onto his lips. Felix huffs, and shakes his head.

“You going to eat something before we leave?” He asks as he gets out of his chair, closing his book.

“I’ll just grab a banana, I’m good.” Sylvain replies, pouring the rest of his rapidly cooling coffee down his throat. Felix looks at him disapprovingly.

“We’ll pick up some bagels on the way back then.” He says, picking his books off the table and heading off towards their room. Sylvain’s room?

No. Their room.

It’s nice, Sylvain thinks as he follows Felix through the living room, it’s nice to actually get to spend the morning with Felix. He’s slept here plenty, but he always gets up at some godawful hour in the morning to train and Sylvain is usually half asleep when he leaves. This is a million times better.

The walk to Felix’s is only a little bit longer than Sylvain had expected – considering Felix’s speedy arrival the first time he’d made it to Sylvain and Ingrid’s apartment he wouldn’t have been surprised if they would’ve just round a corner and be there, but that isn’t the case. Sylvain smiles to himself – Felix really did run, that night.

“What’s funny?”

Sylvain looks down at Felix’s guarded expression, and his smile grows even larger.

“You ran all the way from your apartment to mine, that night.” He replies honestly. Felix flushes bright red, and pulls the scarf Sylvain had wrapped around him high to cover his face. It kind of kills Sylvain a little bit every time, in the best possible way – he never knows when to expect Felix to get flustered. It’s probably bad for his heart. But that’s fine. He wraps an arm around Felix and pulls him close, and kisses the top of his head. Felix groans and tenses up a little, but he doesn’t push him away.

“This is it.” Felix says, stopping outside of a building that doesn’t look too different to the one Sylvain’s own apartment is in. Sylvain studies Felix’s expression – jaw tense, eyes uncertain and even more so when they meet Sylvain’s own. Sylvain reaches out, pushes a strand of hair behind Felix’s ears and watches in awe at how visibly he relaxes.

“Wait here.” Felix instructs, and Sylvain nods. Felix disappears behind the door, and so, Sylvain is left alone. Not that he particularly minds, he’s happy he got to come with – that Felix wanted him to come with – and the air is crisp and pleasantly cool. Felix isn’t gone long – only a few minutes pass before a familiar figure pushes the door open. A backpack hangs over one of Felix’s shoulders, and he seems eager to get as far away from the building as possible. He doesn’t even stop, just grabs Sylvain’s hand as he passes him, and tugs him along. Sylvain takes the opportunity and laces their fingers together, and he swears he feels tension leaving Felix’s shoulders when he does.

“You good?” Sylvain asks softly, glancing over at Felix who’s still staring right ahead as they turn the corner.

“He wasn’t there.” Felix informs him – not an answer to the question, again, but this time it at least makes sense.

They turn another corner before Felix’s speedy steps slow down to normal walking pace, as though they’ve passed some sort of invisible border, and then Felix finally meets Sylvain’s eyes for the first time since leaving his building. He looks guarded at first, but relaxes after a second of assessing… Sylvain isn’t sure what, but it doesn’t really matter.

They stop by a place where they'd already stopped and bought bagels earlier that week, and by the time they’re back home Felix is pretty much back to his regular self.

For whatever reason, Sylvain can’t help his thoughts drifting off to Dimitri. He finds himself wondering where he might have gone, whether he’s okay – Sylvain feels inexplicably worried about the guy. There was still such a mystery there, despite everything that had already been explained to him – car crash, check, trauma, sure – but the intensity of Felix’s emotions towards Dimitri? For what? The broken look in Dimitri’s eyes that fateful night when Sylvain had first met him?

Annette hadn’t been the most concise storyteller, her retelling of the events jumbled and comprised, and Sylvain wonders if she maybe doesn’t know either. She genuinely acted like she’d told him the full story, and maybe, in her eyes, she had. Maybe she doesn’t see what Sylvain sees, he thinks, before feeling slightly ashamed of himself – Annette has known Dimitri for years. Maybe he’s the one reading into things.

Only, no. Because Felix still doesn’t want to talk about it. He doesn’t want to talk about it on another level than this is unpleasant for me to discuss.

“I’m heading out to train!” Felix shouts from the bedroom as Sylvain puts away their dirty dishes from breakfast into the dishwasher. Then, he appears in the doorframe, all tight workout clothes and muscle and Sylvain completely forgets about worrying about anything in the world for a few short seconds.

“Do you have to?” Sylvain mumbles, placing himself firmly within Felix’s personal space, leaning down until he’s eye level with Felix, and softly places a hand on his shoulder. Felix almost looks like he hesitates, but he closes his eyes and huffs right before that hesitation can grab hold of him. Which is unfortunate. It feels less unfortunate when Felix leans forward and kisses him, though.

“Yes.” Felix replies seriously, pulling away. Sylvain pouts, upon Felix rolls his eyes and huffs.

“I’ll see you later. I’ll text you.” Felix informs him, and Sylvain can’t help but grin at that – Felix, who supposedly is famous for being bad at texting?

“Okay.” Sylvain replies, heart jumping in his chest when Felix pulls his head down and presses a kiss to the corner of Sylvain’s mouth before he leaves the kitchen. Just as Sylvain hears the apartment door creek open, though, he remembers something and flies out of his chair.

“Felix, wait!”

Felix turns around with a bewildered expression.

“What is it now?” He asks, just as Sylvain pulls out the top drawer of the cabinet in the hallway and starts rummaging through a bunch of gloves. He waves offhandedly at Felix to wait, and finally clasps his hand around the flat piece of metal he’s looking for.

“Here!” He says cheerfully, grabbing Felix’s hand and dropping the key into it. Felix eyes move slowly and cautiously from the key, to Sylvain’s face, to the key again.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a key!” Sylvain replies, the brightness he feels in his chest bleeding into his voice. Felix huffs.

“Yes, I can see that.” He replies wryly. “Is nobody going to be home when I get back?”

“You moved in. It’s your key.” Sylvain declares. Something flashes by in Felix’s eyes so quickly even Sylvain doesn’t catch it, but then, Felix’s shoulders relax, and a smile tugs on his lips. It looks like relief.

“Okay.” Felix replies softly, closing his fist and slipping the key into the pocket of his jacket. A wave of stress hits  Sylvain when Felix doesn’t zip it up, so he reaches over and does that himself, and pats the key through the fabric afterwards.

“There. Now, you can leave.” Sylvain grins. Felix rolls his eyes, but slips one of his hands to the back of Sylvain’s head anyway and presses his lips softly against Sylvain’s. It’s quick, and fleeting, but when they pull apart there’s a fondness in Felix’s eyes that leaves Sylvain breathless. No more words are exchanged, Felix ruffles his hair and then, he’s out the door and Sylvain is left with a flutter in his chest and a dizzy head. He sighs, smiling to himself – ridiculous. He’s ridiculous. He’s weak.

He’ll figure out later how to tell Ingrid they no longer have a spare key, he decides.

Maybe he should actually do some studying for once, now that he’s in a good mood.

However, that thought disappears the second Sylvain enters their bedroom and experiences a minor shock at the state that Felix has left it in – somehow, he’s managed to strew clothes around, left coursebooks on the floor, and Sylvain cringes – maybe it’s his own fault, for not telling Felix where he could put his stuff. But he wonders how Felix has managed to make this much of a mess in such a short amount of time.

For some reason, even though the mess stresses him out, he can’t help but laugh. He’s not sure what he’s laughing about, nothing about the situation is that funny, but the warm feeling in his chest from earlier gets even more poignant.

Oh well. Sylvain picks up the pieces of clothing, folds them one by one and places them in a neat pile as he goes, and organizes Felix’s other belongings. He grimaces upon finding the mess that is the inside of Felix’s bag, where it becomes clear why Felix might have had to dig through it to find what he was looking for. Maybe it’s excessive, but Sylvain folds what’s in there as well.

He decides that Felix needs a drawer. Or something. For the first time, the excessive amount of closet space Sylvain’s bedroom has comes in handy, because he can fit all of Felix’s things in there with ease.

Something warm flutters in his stomach when he takes a step back and looks at his own trousers hanging beside Felix’s folded t-shirts. The circumstances of Felix’s moving in may not have been ideal, maybe they’re moving so fast Sylvain feels dizzy sometimes, but fuck it. It’s good.




Felix groaned, and threw his head back. Sylvain’s heart twisted – Felix’s frustration was so obvious, so overwhelming in moments like these for both of them – in times that left both of them powerless. Sylvain took a few steps forward, reached out and combed a hand through Felix’s hair, watching it cascading down behind the chair like a black waterfall. It was finally getting long again – not that Felix wasn’t beautiful, long hair or not, but there was something about it that had left Sylvain transfixed for as long as he remembered. And, he’d learned, Felix hadn’t cut it voluntarily – he’d been struck by a Bolganone fighting a crowd of Empire mages. The flames had licked his clothes, and not his skin, but due to his hair having slipped out of the ribbon earlier, they’d caught hold of it as well. Felix had told him, finally, weeks after they’d returned to the Monastery with no real expectations only to find a broken Dimitri and an eerily unchanged Byleth.

He’d looked so upset, and Sylvain had reached out just like he did now, the urge to run his fingers through Felix's hair winning over his self-control. The confusing part had been when Felix hadn’t snapped at him, or slapped his hand away – he’d just gone very, very still. Neither of them knew much about anything then. Thank the Goddess that had changed.

Felix hummed, and leaned into his touch as Sylvain scratched at his scalp. For a moment, despite the world and the war, Sylvain felt like everything faded away, leaving Felix and him alone, isolated, far away from everything that weighed heavier on their shoulders for every passing day.

“I’m so sick of this.” Felix mumbled, a rare vulnerable tone as his cheek came to rest against the soft fabric of Sylvain’s undershirt.

“I’m here.” Sylvain whispered. Felix closed his eyes, reached up and grabbed Sylvain’s other hand, the one that wasn’t busy, and pressed a kiss to his knuckles.

“Thank you.”

Chapter Text

Felix learns many new things about Sylvain after unofficially moving in with him. Or whatever it is he has done.

Despite his lazy demeanour Sylvain is surprisingly neat, and had, to Felix’s embarrassment taken it upon himself to fold all of his clothes when Felix had left them strewn across the bedroom. Sylvain had insisted that he didn’t mind, but Felix still felt kind of awkward about it. A day later though, he’d kind of gotten over it.

And, still, awkward or not, anything was miles better than being in his own apartment with ghost slash beast Dimitri.

Felix had gotten so used to the mess that was their home, where neither of them cared much for cleaning up, although their reasons for that were completely different. But Felix realizes after a few days that it’s incredibly pleasant not to have to look for clean dishes because there’s always clean dishes, or having to look for clothes – having to look for anything, really. He’s still bad at keeping things in order, but he feels like he’s getting better.

Sylvain’s cooking is also pretty damn good – Felix wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d been the type of guy who knew three dishes really well and used those to impress people, but apparently not. This is also very pleasant.

And – he gets to know Ingrid. And it doesn’t feel weird at all. In fact, it feels as natural as anything ever has, and she doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to him either. She’s a stranger, yet she isn’t.

It's strange, however, how one moment, all three of them are as in sync as if they've been working together for a lifetime and a half, and the next, Felix is the clear outlier, confused and stumbling where Ingrid and Sylvain move without thinking. And by stumbling, he throws them off as well for some reason, as though they expected him to know to be in position to catch the pillow being thrown at him when they're vacuuming the couch (a job that's doable with two people, easier with three Sylvain had said, which made sense considering the sheer size of it and the weight of the pillows) and when he doesn't, it results in the TV nearly crashing down from its place.
He catches it, last second. And it's fine, everything is fine, but it's strange and they look confused, as though something that can't happen just happened. He half expects one of them to ask him if he's alright, which doesn't make any sense (what does though, these days his brain helpfully reminds him) but he feels like it should be coming. Any second.

"Are y-"

"I'm fine."

Ingrid starts taking at the exact same time as him and the silence that follows is even more awkward than the one that preceded it. After weighing the situation for about one and a half second, Felix decides that the best course of action is to leave the room.
"I'm going to the bathroom." He mumbles, not looking at either of them as he leaves.

There's something painful about it, watching the way Ingrid and Sylvain interact. At first, he'd thought it was jealousy and felt absolutely ridiculous because he's not a thirteen year old girl, Jesus fucking Christ, but then he'd realized that maybe it was something like that but not in that way.

It reminds him of how him and Dimitri used to be and makes him feel like he has missed out on something all the same. It's nostalgia and it’s grief. Somewhere, deeper down, in a hole he doesn’t want to reach into, it’s also regret.

And it is jealousy, although of a different kind, in the moments it’s so obviously clear that Ingrid and Sylvain are closer than he and Sylvain is. It's jealously and loneliness when an off-hand joke references a lifetime of friendship, and when Sylvain knows to bring Ingrid tea after 10 PM but not a second before, when Ingrid wordlessly places a chocolate bar on the breakfast table and slides it over to Sylvain, and he, equally silently smiles and squeezes her hand the day he has an important essay to hand in.

It's silly, Felix tries to tell himself, when Sylvain snakes his arm around him just right, when he somehow reads Felix's mood before Felix himself even realizes he's pissed about something, when Felix absentmindedly places his hand on top of Sylvain's head and pets him when Sylvain is talking to his dad on the phone and Sylvain snuggles up against it and sounds considerably less tight and sad for the rest of the conversation. They know each other. They do.

But it's not the same.

And, Felix still isn’t sure why Sylvain doesn’t want to talk about his family beyond essentially just saying they suck. But Ingrid clearly knows. He’d gathered that much.

He decides to head into the kitchen for an ice cold glass of water instead, because maybe that could help his scattered mind. Right as he’s about to turn on the tap, a kiss is pressed right above his ear, and he leans into it before he even realizes, forgetting the water entirely.

"Hey Fe." Sylvain says. His tone of voice is fond, but careful - and Felix's heart aches because it's stupid that this is happening.

"Hey." He replies gruffly, and Sylvain sighs. "It's nothing." Felix adds, as though Sylvain had asked him what was wrong already.

"It's something."

When Felix turns around to face him, Sylvain's expression is warm, almost pleading, almost worried, but somehow not pitying. Felix shrugs, wishing he could figure out a lie to convince Sylvain that everything is fine, but as if he could read Felix's thoughts, Sylvain stops him before he even can start.

"Come on, be straight with me."

"I'm afraid I can only be gay with you." Felix sighs, words rolling off his tongue before he gets to think. Sylvain stares at him for a second, and then he laughs.

"Well, no, I suppose not." He admits, eyes sparkling and focused on Felix like he's some kind of treasure.

"I didn't catch the pillow." Felix says, averting his gaze to focus on the bright sky outside of the window. "I should have, but I didn't."

He prays Sylvain will understand, without him having to say anything else, but of course, the world is cruel enough for that not to happen.

"I don't follow." Sylvain says instead, and Felix shifts uncomfortably. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before looking up at Sylvain, ready to confess that he's an actual fucking crybaby.

"You two are in sync, all the time. It's almost fucking scary, but I'm... We're not." He tries, but the words get stuck in his throat.

"The first night after you moved in I almost called Annette because I didn't know what the fuck to do."

It's not what Felix expects to hear, in fact, it's so far from it he forgets his own discomfort and turns around to gape at Sylvain instead.

"What?"

Sylvain smiles sheepishly, but there's a hint of sadness in his eyes.

"I felt worthless and then I felt like the worst person on Earth when I felt jealous when I thought Annette would know what to do." He replies. He says it so easily. Felix continues to stare, confusion entirely replacing every previous complicated emotion.

"But you did know?" Felix replies, brow furrowed. Sylvain had done everything right, from what he could remember – although, his memories of that night are kind of hazy. Panic attacks, which Sylvain had informed him that he had, are draining.

Sylvain shrugs again.

"Not really. I didn't know-know, you know?" he replies. The word know doesn’t even sound like a word anymore. "It's weird though, right? It feels like I've forgotten how to ride a bike."

It's utterly ridiculous that Sylvain can put words to the emotion in two and a half seconds when Felix has struggled for days.

Felix nods wordlessly, the strange mass in his throat slowly unwinding itself.

"It's fucking weird." He agrees. Sylvain smiles at him again, blindingly bright. Because he's the fucking sun echoes in Felix's head. It's a painfully accurate description of the man in front of him. He's the sun.

"But no matter weird this gets or is I got the hottest boyfriend in the world out of it, so it's totally worth it." He says cheerfully, dissolving the tension completely. Felix groans, but leans against Sylvain's chest anyway, but makes sure to punch him lightly too.

"Shut up."

"You and Ingrid totally have your moments too, by the way, you just aren't noticing it." Sylvain replies, kissing the top of his head. For whatever reason, hearing that makes some of the weight on his chest feel lighter too.

"Really?"

"Really" Sylvain replies with emphasis, and Felix refrains from asking for which moments he's talking about because he suspects some of them he'd rather not know about right now. He sighs instead, albeit slightly excessively.

"Whatever you say."

 


 

It’s different coming home to Felix and Ingrid than it is to come home to just Ingrid. In so many, wonderful, unexpected ways.

 

"I don't get it, okay!? This is fucking dumb anyway." Felix snaps sourly, and moves to push his chair out, clearly frustrated enough to feel like fleeing the situation is his best option. He doesn't get far though, because Ingrid grabs his wrist before he has a chance to stand up.

"Felix! It's not stupid!" She chides, at which Felix seems to just give her a grim look because she sighs deeply before continuing. "Alright. Which part is the stupidest?"
Felix reluctantly pulls his chair back in.

Sylvain watches them both with fondness from his place in the doorway, a still strange yet familiar sight he's not sure of how exactly it came to be this time, but he has a good guess of what might have happened. Ingrid had been sat at the kitchen table, studying as usual - her books are there, cluing him to believe this, although they are pushed to the side and seemingly temporarily forgotten. Felix had been studying somewhere else in the apartment, then he had gotten stuck, which had led to frustration, which had led him to walk into the kitchen with a gloomy expression, upon which Ingrid had looked up and asked him what was wrong. Felix had said something kind of rude, Ingrid had raised her eyebrows at him sceptically, and then Felix had given in and said something like "I'm trying to study but it's not working so I'm going to grab some water and then head to the gym." in an attempt to seem less bothered than he actually was, which Ingrid had seen straight through and offered to help.

And then, an unknown amount of time later, Sylvain had come home and neither of them had noticed, giving him the opportunity to... Spy? No, that's not what he's doing. He's taking precautions and trying to make sure neither of them are lying to him about being okay about the current living arrangements. Which they clearly aren't doing, judging by the sight a few feet in front of him. Well, neither of them seem particularly happy at the moment, but still. They really are comfortable with each other. Felix had probably not even headed into the kitchen for any other reason than the fact that he knew Ingrid was there and was going to help him even if he scowled at her.

Sylvain’s brain adds that last sentence by itself, without his permission. It's an everyday thing at this point, but it's still strange when he catches it. But of course that's what Felix had done. It makes sense, and it doesn't make sense. He gets it, and he doesn't get it.

As much as he wants to keep watching them, he probably has to announce that he's there before either of them turns around and catches him looking because neither Felix or Ingrid would be happy about it, and both would call it spying and he's not ready for them to gang up on him like that just yet.

"Uhm, hi, what's up?" He says, and Ingrid and Felix spin around at the same time as if they had planned it.

"I'm helping Felix again." Ingrid replies, and Felix groans.

"I'm missing out on valuable training time, that's what's up." He says with a sigh. Sylvain chooses to not point out that there's nothing keeping him there except for the fact that Ingrid has decided that they're going to get through Felix's problem together. Had it been Sylvain in Felix's shoes he'd be in that chair too - if Ingrid made a decision, then that was the end of the discussion, and apparently Felix is bound by that unspoken rule as well.

"Can't be that bad, can it? Dinner?" He says instead, pulling the fridge open to inspect what might be inside. Its contents are, unfortunately, not impressive.

"I want ramen." Ingrid replies, head turned away from him and looking down into the books and papers strewn over the table again. Felix nods absentmindedly, and leans against Ingrid with another irritated sigh.

You have your moments, Sylvain had said to Felix. He chuckles to himself, picks up his phone and orders ramen for all of them.