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a viewing of the remains

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“Leave me.”

Claude regards him cooly. A few moments ago, he passed Felix. “The boar’s particularly wild this night,” he’d said. Claude had nodded, taking over Felix’s shift. Being watch guard during the night had become yet another responsibility tacked onto him. Dedue had the daytime; Felix the evening.

“Alone? No, I think you've had enough of that already.”

They stand in their usual arrangement: Dimitri towards the rubble of the once lively and grand cathedral, and Claude towards his back. A view of matted hair and a dirtied cloak nearly every night, for long hours, until Dimitri sifted away to his bedroom (though he’d never sleep even then, Claude knew that. His room being next to Dimitri meant he heard every murmur to the dead, every plea of forgiveness).

“Go away. I'll destroy everything you love if you don't leave.” Claude laughs. Hollow, it echoes.

“Then how about you start with yourself , Your Majesty?”

Dimitri turns towards him. A slow, shaky movement - reminiscent of a corpse brought to life. His lips are parted, but words don't come out. Claude, for a moment, supposes that was too harsh. There’s a show of emotion in his eye - shock, an emotion he hasn’t seen ever since Dedue’s return - and it’s enough to make Claude want to grab his hand and pull him close, an action he had done many a time back in their academy days.

But he doesn’t. He stays still, arms stiffly at his side like a guilty child. 

The gaze is kept for five minutes too long. Dimitri is the one to break it, shifting away from Claude, back to the remains of a building they once roamed happily. 

It is back to their usual arrangement.

The silence of a cathedral is maddening.