Four months after Glenn’s funeral, Sylvain shows up beside him unexpectedly.
Felix startles, which interrupts the arc of his training sword and slackens his grip, sending the sword out of his hand. It slaps against the dummy instead of completing the perfect slash he’d intended. The wooden sword clatters to the ground, the sound mirroring the pounding of Felix’s heart in his chest. He hadn’t heard any footsteps approaching him; too focused on recalling all the correct form and footwork needed to properly weld a blade.
“Wow, they’re letting you learn how to fight?” Sylvain’s voice is brimming with amusement, he rests his arms up behind his head and smiles brightly when Felix fixes him with a withering glare.
Felix clenches his fists at his sides and stares at his friend. It’s been almost an entire year since they’d last had a chance to meet, (the growing unrest in the Kingdom keeping most dukes and lords in their own territories). He’s much taller than he was, and his hair a bit shaggier but not much seems to have changed about him. Brown eyes look him over and Felix wonders if Sylvain is noting any differences in him as well. Felix certainly feels like a different person these last few months.
A part of Felix thinks he should feel more happy seeing his friend again after so long, but lately all he’s been able to feel is a deep seated anger swirling in his chest. “Shouldn’t you know better than to sneak up on someone with a weapon?” He snaps.
He’s just so so angry these days. Angry at his dad, angry at Glenn and perhaps even a little angry at himself for being so angry. He’s so filled with rage that sometimes he thinks that there can’t be anyway for him to not be an alpha. It would certainly make his life much easier if he could just brush off this rage as basic teenage alpha hormones, but of course life can never be good to Felix.
Instead, Felix had practically been cursed since the night of his birth. The only male omega in the long list of House Fraldarius’ alpha lineage. The Goddess had a sick sense of humor it seems. Taking Glenn from them and leaving Felix as the only remaining child to Lord Rodrigue.
But such thoughts make Glenn’s death feel inevitable. Like they have no choice in their lives outside of the Goddess’ will. And Felix doesn’t believe in inevitables or fate. He is certain Glenn would still be with them if not for his misplaced ideals in the glorification of knighthood.
A loud snapping noise next to his ear jerks him out of his thoughts, Sylvain coming into focus with a concerned look on his face. “You got a little lost there for a moment. Are you OK-” He cuts himself off with a wince. “Sorry, that was dumb.” he says, running his fingers through his red hair sheepishly. “Just thought you’d be happier to see me is all.”
Felix sighs and seeing how the last time they were together Felix was practically in tears at having to depart from his friend, that thought wasn’t completely without merit. That felt like a lifetime ago and now… well…
“I’m not unhappy to see you,” he settles on, which is the closest he can get to describe his own feelings about this unexpected reunion. “I just wasn’t expecting you. Father never mentioned you coming to visit.”
Sylvain gives an easy shrug. “To be fair to him, I’m not sure he knew. I didn’t even know until we were coming up on your estate, but it’s not like my dad tells me much in the first place.” Felix furrows his brow and watches as Sylvain steps over to pick up his forgotten sword. “So, a sword huh? You sure you don’t want to join me and Dimitri in lance training?”
“All the more reason to learn something else.” He points out, wondering about the subject change before he freezes, gut clenching as he sucks in a breath. The air between them goes tense and Sylvain hands pause in his inspecting the chipped wooden instrument. He shoots Felix a concerned look, no doubt able to scent the sudden change in the younger teens emotions.
“D-Dimitri… How is he?” he manages to stumble out, eyes searching Sylvains like he can find an answer before the red haired teen even speaks.
When the news had reached house Fraldarius about the massacre in Duscur, Felix had begged and pleaded with his dad to let him see his friend. The reality of his brothers death hadn’t sunk in and Felix could only focus on Dimitri; still alive and in need of comfort from his friends. His father had denied his request and while Felix knows he hadn’t handled that answer very well.
But Margrave Gautier, and there-by extension Sylvain, usually stays at the Kingdom capitol for the summer months. Sylvain must have had some contact or news about their shared friend.
“Dimitri is… not himself right now. But to go through something like that I’m not sure anyone would be.” Sylvain answers, a seriousness to him that feels strange on the normally easy going teen. “I should have said this when I came in but… I’m sorry about your brother, Felix. It must be hard to lose him like that.”
Felix half expects the usual irritated feeling he gets from unwanted condolences to creep up on him, but Sylvain sounds genuine with his words. It certainly helps that he doesn’t try to offer empty promises of it getting better, like many others before him.
“You didn’t even like Glenn,” He’s not sure why those are the words that come out, but he’s glad it hadn’t come out accusatory. It was no secret that although Sylvain had been closer in age to Glenn than he was to Felix - as well as Dimitri and Ingrid - the elder Fraldarius hadn’t held much regard for the Gautier heir. Glenn’s ideals of chivalry and honor clashing spectacularly with Sylvains’ notoriously known womanising ways.
Their most famous spat happened shortly after the announcement of Glenn and Ingrids engagement to be mated. Sylvain had yet to learn how to be at least more subtle in his advances towards taken females and he particularly liked flirting with Ingrid in some masochistic way. Glenn had taken offense on Ingrid's behalf, coupled with being newly presented and had practically torn Sylvain away from Ingrid with a vicious snarl.
Glenn had acted a fool in Felix’s opinion. Sylvain had yet to present - and still hasn’t judging by his neutral scent - and while he can be vastly annoying, he has never actually meant his flirting when it came to Ingrid. Sylvain deeply honors his friendship with Ingrid and while he loves to tease her, he would never do anything to ruin their friendship. One of the many reasons he’s never tried to ask Ingrid out on a date even before her engagement to Glenn.
Regardless, Sylvain was of no threat but Glenn wouldn’t see reason. The incident had been short, Ingrid stepping up quickly to talk Glenn down while Felix and Dimitri pulled Sylvain away and out of sight. Sylvain had been a bit shocked by the encounter and it had later cemented his dislike of Felix’s brother even further.
Two opposite personalities battling against each other in the form of insults and glares any time they passed each other after. Thankfully, although well within his right as Ingrid’s future bond mate, Glenn had never commanded her to stop being friends with Sylvain.
“I - ok, so I wasn’t his biggest fan,” Sylvain says, eyes skirting away from Felix’s in guilt. “But what happened in Duscar… He deserved a better death.”
Felix’s throat feels tight, his hands clenching by his sides and for another moment his breath stops. Somehow Sylvain always knows just the right things to say to him. “Thank you.” He says, tilting his head down so his hair can cover how wet his eyes have suddenly become. He feels like he’s cried enough for a lifetime, but somehow he still has more tears left.
He takes a moment to compose himself before tilting his head back up to look at his taller friend. “Why did your dad decide to come here?” He asks, watching as Sylvain relaxes at the subject change; the air between them no longer heavy and awkward. “Is he going to try and talk my dad out of naming me heir?”
While it wasn’t exactly forbidden to name an omega as heir; it was certainly heavily frowned upon. Especially by an alpha like Margrave Gautier. Most nobles attempt to marry off any omega offspring - even if they were the only child with a crest. Any money or territory an omega is set to inherit is merely considered a dowry for their future mate. But with actually naming Felix his heir, Lord Rodrigue is insuring that Felix is able to keep at least a little of his inheritance without all of it going to some random alpha.
Felix had been at least momentarily spared a childhood of his father searching for suitable mates for him as Glenn had been an alpha in possession of a Crest. So any urgency for Felixto continue the line of Fraldrarius had been stalled until he fully matured. Omegas generally hit sexual maturity before alphas and while Felix has yet to have his first heat, it’s only a matter of time before suitors are lining up.
“I wouldn’t put it past him.” Sylvain says with a roll of his eyes. “Though it’s just as likely he’s trying to make me apprentice with your Father. Honestly, I’m kind of hoping that’s what his plan is. New territory means new girls to chase.” He says, grin turning more mischievous and sly.
Felix grimaces. Sylvain’s love for women would be infinitely more bearable if he wasn’t such a horndog about it. Every female - alpha, beta, and omega weren’t safe from his relentless flirting. As far as Felix knows Sylvain had kept everything he’s done fairly chaste. He refuses to believe anyone would want anything to do with a non-mature teen and he doubts Sylvain would have kept it secret if any of his conquests had turned sexual.
Felix himself doesn’t see the appeal or any purpose in a relationship before maturity. His life is going to be ruled by some nameless alpha in the future, so he’d rather use this time without his heats for things he won’t be able to do once he’s mated. Things like his sword training for one.
“If you think my father won’t run you ragged as his apprentice, you certainly don’t know my father.” He reaches out to tug his sword back from the red head. He hadn’t meant to be so distracted, but if all Sylvain’s here for is to run off with some girl at least Felix can go back to his training. “You’ll be too exhausted to have any of your dumb dates.”
Felix takes a deep breath, shifting his attention away from his friend and tries to get back into the focus of training. He brings his sword up, adjusting his stance like his trainer taught him. Only for it to be ripped from his grasp.
Felix growls out his displeasure, turning to bare his teeth at Sylvain though the gesture falls miles short of intimidating without his mature omega fangs. Judging by the look he’s given, Sylvain seems to find his reaction more amusing than anything else.
“Come on, don’t be like that.” Sylvain gives him an easy grin and tosses the sword towards the weapons rack. “Let’s hang out, it’s been forever! I’ll even try my best to ignore the ladies for you.” He stalks forward and loops an arm around Felix’s shoulders who has little choice but to be dragged out of the training room.
Sylvain is hot where he’s presses against Felix’s side and both of them are a bit sweaty. But, Gods, how he’s missed his friend. They walk side by side in companionable silence, Sylvain’s arm slipping away from him once it becomes apparent that he’s no longer having to drag Felix along. They pass a group of servant girls as they walk, but true his promise Sylvain only gives them a smile and a playful wink instead of trying to chat them up.
Felix does, however, roll his eyes when one group passes with a giggle and Sylvain’s head turns to watch them walk away. Perhaps, with everything that has happened in these last few months, he can take some comfort in the fact that Sylvain will never change.
They make their way to the kitchen, a usual haunt for them when just Sylvain comes to visit. Dimitri can’t taste food and Ingrid hates to bother any of the staff members but it’s become a bit of a tradition when it’s just Sylvain. He’s particularly fond of the Fraldrarius’ head chef, Loreia, and her cooking, so he never misses a chance to try to beg her for scaps. She has never been charmed by his flirting, much too old to be bothered by such nonsense, a fact that seems to amuse Sylvain.
When they walk in the kitchen is full of life. Servants bustle about carrying trays and different ingredients while Loreia barks out orders. She spies them lingering by the door and gives them a displeased look.
“You best be getting out of here now, young lords.” She warns, resting a fist on her hip and wraggles a large wooden spoon in their direction. “I’ll not have you spoiling your dinner. Word is you’re to both be dining with your fathers tonight.”
“No one told us.” Felix grumbles, though it is drowned out by Sylvain’s faked gasp.
“Why, surely you don’t believe we’re only here just for food? We simply wish to gaze upon your ethereal beauty.” Sylvain says, a hand over his heart in mock offense. Felix has no idea how he manages to keep such a straight expression in the face of Loreia’s greyed and wrinkled features. Perhaps she was beautiful in her youth, but Felix has no memory of her looking any other way. She doesn’t even seem to get older to him, just perpetually the same as she appears even in his memories.
“Well, this ‘ethereal beauty’ is about to give you a whoopin’ for still being in my kitchen.” She glances over at Felix and her face softens a bit. “Felix be a dear and if his father asks it was you who beat him silly.”
Felix snorts and smirks over at his friends pouting face. “Only if I can help with the beating.”
The answer pulls a throaty laugh from the elder while Sylvain whines at the teasing. “I knew you were my favorite for a reason, little lord.” She tells him affectionately, before she reaches over to the counter beside her and pulls forth their favorite treats. “This is all I’m giving you and it’s a bribe to convince you to leave.”
Sylvain’s eyes light up, and he eagerly nods in agreement. “Certainly, ma’am.” He says, taking the treats from her, handing Felix his, and starts ushering the both of them out of the busy kitchen.
“Be in the dining hall by sundown!” She calls out to them just before the door closes shut, leaving them to their treats and to wander the halls. Felix takes a bit of his, a soft bread filled with his favorite spicy jam. The spices heat his mouth pleasantly, not too spicy but not the sweet most would expect in such a snack. A few more bites finish off the snack and while he wants more it’s not worth it to incur Loreia’s wrath.
“How’s your sword training coming along?” Sylvain asks as they walk along the silent halls. “ Aren’t you supposed to be interested in like knitting or something?”
“Why would I possibly be interest in knitting ?”
Sylvain takes the last bite of his treat and looking over at Felix with a shrug. “Sw’rds ju’ don’ sem ta be v’ry ‘mega l’ke-” he pauses to swallow his bite and continues on. “Though I guess you’ve never been very stereotypical.”
Felix’s lip curls in disgust, a low growl building in his throat. “Don’t talk with your mouth full, idiot.” He admonishes with a glare. “And what I choose to take an interest in has nothing to do with what’s between my legs.”
Sylvain is quiet a moment, before he gives Felix and apologetic look. “I - you’re right. I’m sorry Felix.” He says, running his hand through his hair and looking generally pathetic. “I just… I guess I don’t remember you ever mentioning an interest in it or I might have tried to show you some tips. I mean I’m not great at swords but I could have shown you some basics before you had to-”
“Shut up, Sylvain.” Felix snaps, annoyed by the taller teens rambling. He hates when Sylvain says things that parrot Margrave Gautier’s beliefs. He’s been friends with Ingrid and Felix long enough for him to know better than to believe in stereotyping.
“I’d always been interested but there was no point in saying anything when my father was so against it. But a few months ago he relented and hired a trainer.” Felix leaves out that his father only did it as an apology after one of their many fights. Instead of his father admitting to any wrongdoing towards his son, Lord Fraldarius simply gives Felix something he’d originally denied from him. Felix personally find it cowardly, even if it works out in his favor.
“I want to go to Garreg Mach with you and Dimitri. I can’t exactly join a militant academy without knowing how to fight.”
Sylvain’s eyes light up and a huge grin takes over his face. “What? That’s awesome, Felix! Gods it’s been ages since we’ve all gone to school together. We should have Ingrid join us as well.”
“How do you plan on doing that?” Ingrid would definitely jump at the chance as soon as they bring it up to her, but convincing her father-
“We’ll just tell her dad that this would give her a chance to find another suitor. It’s obviously way too soon for him to start looking but by the time we’re able to enroll he’ll be jumping at the opportunity.” Sylvain offers.
-Well, alright, that would certainly work . Felix is honestly a bit surprised that he hasn’t heard that house Galatea had opened its doors to suitors already. Even before her engagement to Gleen, Count Galatea became rather notorious for trying to marry off his daughter.
“She’s going to hate that that’s actually going to work.” He points out only for Sylvain to give him a shrug.
“Yeah, but just think about it. All four of us at Garreg Mach? It’ll be amazing! Plus, I’ve heard they’ve hired a retired songstress as a teacher so we’ve got a fifty-fifty shot at having a hot teacher by the time we’re enrolling!”
Felix groans, resisting the urge to bury his face in his hands. “I don’t know why I bother trying to have a conversation with you.” He stalks past Sylvain, this is a good a time as any to start making their way towards the dining hall. Through the windows he passes he can see that the sun is just beginning to set.
Sylvain gives a laugh from behind him, and manages to catch up with only a few steps. “Sorry, sorry.” He says with a chuckle.
Felix merely rolls his eyes and once again silence falls between them. It’s pleasant enough even though Felix is still a bit peeved by Sylvain’s earlier comment. However, the closer they get to the dining hall builds a tension fills the air between them.
Felix hasn’t seen his father since their fight almost three nights ago and Sylvain has a complicated relationship with his father. Whatever Lord Gautier is here to talk about with his father, Felix sincerely hopes it doesn’t affect him and Sylvain in anyway.
Still, trepidation and nervousness coil in his stomach making him wonder how he’s to get through this meal feeling as nauseous as he does. They pause outside the doors to the dining hall, taking a moment to glance warily at each other before Felix gathers the courage to push open the doors.
Lords Gautier and Fraldarius are already seated at the far end of the long table. Margrave is an imposing figure, practically dwarfing Rodrige who sits at the head of the table. Felix wonders if Sylvain will fill out so broadly or be so muscular like his father but it’s hard to picture despite Sylvain being the split image of his father.
“Ah! There you boys are!” Margrave calls out as they near the large table. He turns to Rodrigue, reaching over and swatting his friends arm good naturedly. “I told you they’d show up right before the food was being served.”
Rodrigue hums his response, fixing Felix with an unreadable expression. The nerves build inside him once more and he pointedly looks away to finish making his way over to his usual chair by his father's right side. Sylvain sticks with him, very much not wanting to sit next to his father which, with how Lord Gautier practically takes up two seats - and his penchant for talking with his hands - is probably the smarter choice.
“Lord Gautier.” Felix greets politely enough once he’s standing behind his chair. Polite omegean customs demand he stand until directed to be seated, something he would completely ignore if it were only his dad or Sylvain in the room. Sylvain pulls out his own chair and slips into it easily, lucky dastard.
Margrave’s sharp eyes turn to him, taking a sip of his wine as his eyes trail over Felix. He swallows his wine and tilts his nose and scents the air in an obvious and crude way. “No heat yet, boy? Bit old aren’t you?”
Felix takes in a sharp breath, clenching his teeth and glares at the table, his nails biting into the flesh of his palms from where they’re suddenly curled into fists hidden by the table. Sylvain shifts uneasily beside him and out of the corner of his eyes Felix can see him opening his mouth but it is Rodrigue who comes to his rescue instead.
“Do not be crass to my son, Gautier.” Rodrique says, voice chilled and eyes sharp enough that even Margrave is smart enough to back down from. Rodrigue’s old reputation of once being the King’s shield still holds it weight even many years later. “Felix, sit.” He commands simply before ushering the servants in waiting to start serving them food.
Felix forces himself to relax, though his movements betray his anger as he pulls out the chair and roughly plops into it. Rodrigue heaves a sigh and reaches up to rub at his temples like he’s got a headache building. Felix can’t bring himself to feel any type of sympathy for his dad at the moment.
Sylvain shifts beside him and beneath the table he feels the older teen press his foot against Felix’s own. A gesture of comfort hidden from the eyes of both of their parents and Felix isn’t angry enough to stop the brief feeling of fondness for his friend flow through him.
The servants hussle around them, setting down platters filled with lots of meats and vegetables. The Lords receive a refill to their wine cups and tea is served to Sylvain and Felix. He catches the fragrant scent of Almyran Pine Needles drifting from his cup and his frown deepens. In the middle of Fraldarius territory such an import is difficult to come by and though he deeply enjoys this tea he’s only had it during his stays at the Kingdoms’ capital.
A closer inspection of the food before him reveals a majority of his preferred foods with only a few dishes to offer a different variety for their guests. This could be an apologetic offering from his father, but something deep in him is suddenly on guard and suspicious.
His eyes snap up to meet with Lord Gautier’s. Maintaining eye contact is an annoyance to him on any given day, and he’s fighting the urge to glance away even as he speaks. “Why are you here?”
His voice comes out as more of a growl than he intends it and the answering angry snarl from Margraves throat has him cowering. Instinctively, his head jerks down and to the side to bare his throat. A low whine builds in his throat but he bites down hard on his lip to stop the sound from escaping. His hands tremble where he has them curled in his lap and he absolutely hates this.
“Felix!” His father shouts beside him, voice admonishing and a bit shocked. Perhaps he thought his use of Felix’s favorite foods and tea would help keep him quiet and compliant. “Do not-!” Margraves holds up a hand and Rodrigues words halt as he throws a confused look at the other alpha.
“My apologies, I didn’t mean to have such an extreme reaction,” Margrave says, startling Felix out of his cowardice enough for him to raise his head up again in disbelieve. Lord Gautier meets his look head on, eyes sharp enough for Felix to return his gaze to the table. “I don’t take well to being challenged, boy. You would do well to remember that.”
Felix nods his head in a jerky movement in response.
“Come on, dad,” Sylvain pipes up, tapping his foot against Felix’s under the table once more. Felix appreciates the gesture but moves his foot away, tucking his feet under the chair and hooking his ankle around its legs. He doesn’t want even that bit of contact right now. If Sylvain is bothered by his reaction his voice certainly doesn’t reflect as such. “Felix didn’t mean anything by it. We’re just curious about your spontaneous visit here.”
Lord Gautier takes a long pull from his wine, and when Felix sneaks a glance up Margrave has turned his sharp attention on to his son. A long silence falls over the table as the Lord inspects his son. So long in fact that Felix glances over at his father to try and gauge his reaction. His father turns his head to meet his gaze like he knows Felix would look to him. He look less angry at his son now, but there is a furrow between his brows and he darts a hesitant look towards Margrave like he’s unsure of how his friend is going to act.
Margrave setss his now empty glass down and wipes around his mouth with one of his large hands. “Felix... is what we would call a ‘spirited’ omega,” He starts and already Felix dreads where this could be going. “Perhaps it's due to his late heat, but you would do best to tame such a temperment before he gets too out of hand.”
Felix frowns. That is… certainly an odd thing to say to his father. It’s considered a grave insult for an alpha to comment on how another alpha raises their own kids. He expects his dad to put up a fuss in response but-
But Margrave hasn’t once lost eye contact with his own son.
“What?” Sylvain chokes out from beside him, sounding just as confused and shocked as Felix feels in his moment.
Margrave gives something of a smirk before he turns to Felix’s father. “Well Rodrigue, would you like to give them the news?”
Felix’s head snaps to his father and a cold feeling of dread clenches in his stomach.
Lord Fraldraius takes in a deep breath and glances between Felix and Sylvain. “Lord Gautier and I have come to a conclusion that it would be in the best interest for both of our families. The two of you are to be mated.”