It got pretty lonely for Sylvain.
One might not think so at first, seeing as he was constantly to be found in the company or on the hunt for another poor woman, ever so steadily looking to increase the list of flings, dates and people he'd hopelessly pissed off. But what were they really to him, if not distractions? An illusion of freedom he didn't even enjoy, another feeble attempt to escape the life he'd have to lead one day and the crushing realization that time would not stop for him until he felt ready for it. Until he felt as though he was wanted for his talents and simply himself, rather than the cursed crest he bore. No, these people could not fill his true needs. Their touch was empty, their company made him feel even more alone than the little time he spent by himself.
But they did take his mind off things, for now. It was enough. It had to be.
It also got pretty lonely for Felix.
He didn't make friends, he'd tell himself as he kept everyone, even those closest to him, at an arm's length. They're weak, he'd think as he'd train until he felt a familiar ache settle over his body, until he could feel as though he'd satisfied his hunger for strength for the moment. Weak and selfish, he'd think as he'd save them on the battlefield over and over again, regarding their chivalrous need for self sacrifice with much anger and disdain. Weak and selfish and useless, he'd think whenever Sylvain would be there to make up for when he hadn't been good enough to save himself, had once more failed to reach the strength he needed.
So, so weak, whenever the other would get wounded in the process.
As such, was it not only natural that they would gravitate towards each other?
Whenever Sylvain casually slung his arm around Felix's shoulder, he felt a little less alone. Whenever the shorter swordsman scoffed and scolded him, he was reminded that Sylvain was still here with him, alive and in trouble as ever, but still by his side.He would never admit it of course, but since his early childhood he had always been a soothing, grounding presence in his life, and continued to be such to this day. Felix never forgot his fear, his wariness and constant need to improve, to become stronger until no one he cared for would ever have to suffer again. Until he'd ever have to lose again. But it helped. Every touch, goofy smile and hearty laugh, their many hours filled with banter, spars, Sylvain talking about girls and Felix hurling insults at him, they were a reminder that he was still here. That he was safe for now.
And as Sylvain never failed to ground Felix, so did the latter never fail to fill the hole that constantly seemed to burn in his chest. Despite his plain rudeness, the swordsman always reminded him that there were people like him, those that didn't care about his crest and noble blood at all. Those that perhaps would look further and beyond his mask, see Sylvain instead of a bloodline and riches. He made him feel appreciated, in a way. Although it was hard to tell at times, he knew how to read between the lines. He knew that beneath all his bark and bite, Felix cared deeply for him, and that alone made every insult worth it. Felix's worry, as bad as he felt for causing it, warmed him to the bone every time his friend would storm into the infirmary to scold and curse at him for getting injured in his stead after another rough battle. He felt so worthy then, as tough he truly was important and seen, no matter how badly the wounds or words would sting sometimes. Getting to see him for another day would all make it worth it.
And so, was it really so surprising that eventually, Felix would break? That with murmured death threats he'd turn to embrace Sylvain fully, settle down with him on whatever surface was closest and hold onto him until he was sure once more that his friend was still here, alive, breathing and going to live for another day? That sometimes, Sylvain would pull Felix against his chest after another fling of insults and teasingly inquire as to why the latter cared so much, only to be met with a growled reminder of their promise, so he could feel warm and whole once more? That in a rare moment of weakness, Felix would allow himself to lean a little into Sylvain's side, let his head drop onto the others shoulder just for a second, stealing a brief moment of respite until the coldness left his bones and reality came back into focus? That Sylvain would smirk and sometimes lean just a little more on Felix, tug him a little closer, be just a bit more clingy than usual and, even at the risk of a few bruised ribs, dare to stick his nose in the his friend's dark hair? That they'd silently slip into the others room after another haunting dream to seek quiet comfort and security, neither needing to speak a single word, simply interlacing their hands and laying with the other?
Perhaps it wasn't so surprising at all, they would sometimes think, curled up and hidden away from the cruel world. Perhaps, they'd think, as their limbs would entangle and find their places, there was a resting place for them in this torn reality. Their breathing would slowly even out as the familiar warmth built up under their covers, keeping old nightmares of long gone brothers and hovering fates at bay.
Perhaps, they'd think, I just need to be with you right now.