IMPERIAL YEAR 1180
VERDANT RAIN MOON
There’s no silence in the end, when the beast falls and the lance falls and Miklan falls. Good riddance, Felix thinks, vicious and cruel with his satisfaction to the fact. Or he would be.
If it weren’t for Sylvain.
Everyone is loud around them, talking over one another, some shouting for help with wounds, someone is panicking. The Professor is stone silent, staring down at the Lance of Ruin, the glowing red stone. They keep looking from it to the sword in their hand and back.
The storm howls outside and Felix is looking at Sylvain.
Sylvain is still looking at Miklan’s body, the spill of red blood around him spreading like dark crimson spiderwebs across the rough stone floors. It doesn’t look like he’s aware of anything going on around him, but he doesn’t appear to be grievously injured, a miracle in itself. Miklan had turned to him as soon as he’d come around the corner, had probably smelled him coming, had grinned.
Feral, threatening, unhinged.
Nothing about this should’ve surprised him, Felix knows that, but the way Miklan had charged Sylvain, feral to his bones, wolf or no wolf, relic or no relic left him still shaking. Rage and fear had rolled in him, something like pride swirled in at the way Sylvain had set his jaw, widened his stance, prepared to meet Miklan blow for blow.
The final blow had been Sylvain’s and he can see the blood across Sylvain’s armor.
Goddess only knew what the Margrave would have to say, but Felix didn’t think it was going to be anything that Sylvain needed to hear. Not that the man ever seemed to give a damn about what his son needed to hear.
He sheaths his sword, takes a step forward, “‘Vain?”
Off to his right, he can see some of the others hovering nervously, Ingrid and Mercedes, even Dedue. Felix swallows, takes another step, “Sylvain?” He tries louder, even though logically he knows he could whisper and Sylvain would hear him.
Sylvain turns to him and he's trembling all over, his armor practically rattling with the force of it, voice wrecked when he says, "Felix," like it's the only word he knows again and again and again.
It breaks whatever hold Miklan’s corpse had had over Sylvain and he’s moving suddenly and his lance clatters loud against the stone as Sylvain crashes against him, slams right into his chest, takes him off his feet with the force of it. His ribs scream in protest and Felix doesn’t care, doesn’t care that Sylvain is covered in blood.
He wraps his arms around Sylvain, clings to the plates of his armor, presses his cheek against Sylvain’s temple, “I have you,” he says low near Sylvain’s ear, rather than the lie that comes to him that it’s okay, that it’ll be okay. He can’t promise that.
Against him, Sylvain makes a pitiful sound, a broken whine, and Felix looks helplessly to the others passed him, because he doesn’t know what to do aside from cling to him, let himself be crushed.
Cupping the back of Sylvain’s head, he rubs his cheek across the side of Sylvain’s head, “‘Vain, we should go outside,” he offers quietly, even though Sylvain is still shaking against him. Knowing what he knows though, the smell in here can’t be helping, can’t be making this any easier.
It’s still storming out, but camp isn’t far.
Sylvain nods, but otherwise makes no move to lower him back down, to remove himself from the space.
The Professor edges closer slow and Felix nods at them, watches as they approach, but don’t touch Sylvain, “Boys,” they say low, “We need to head back to camp.” They wait for a few beats before touching Sylvain’s arm, “I don’t think Felix will mind if you lean on him for the walk back, Sylvain.”
“Whatever you need,” Felix says immediately.
The grip on him loosens and his feet touch the floor and he draws in a quiet breath.
Sylvain won’t meet his gaze though, keeps his eyes on the stone as he tucks close against Felix’s side, arm tight around him. His chin knocks gently at Felix’s temple and Felix can feel the inhale more than anything.
“Lets go,” Felix announces.
Getting back to camp is miserable, all of them soaked and muddy by the time they cross back into the circle of tents and Felix is glad for the weather proofing they’d done beforehand because now there’s nothing to do but shuffle Sylvain into their tent.
He’s still mostly unresponsive, had spent most of the walk back against Felix’s side when he wasn’t help him navigate slick rocks and mucky terrain.
The tent is dark and it takes him a few times to get the lantern lit and when he turns, Sylvain is only just inside the flap, gaze still down, entire body hanging limp. “Sylvain,” he calls and closes the distance, reaching out for Sylvain’s shoulders. It takes no effort to move him, to nudge him further into the space, down to the edge of the cot.
He kneels in front of Sylvain and starts taking the pieces of his armor off. The rain has washed away all the traces of blood and yet Sylvain only sits quietly, staring down at his own hands.
“Sylvain,” he tries again as he unlaces Sylvain’s boots, tossing them away to try and keep the mud off of everything else. He notices the wound then, along Sylvain’s right side where the pieces of his armor gap, “Sylvain, you’re hurt.”
When he moves to stand, to step to the opening of the tent to get Mercedes, Sylvain moves finally, lightning quick, a hand around his wrist, “Wait,” he croaks out, “Please don’t go.”
Exhaling quietly, Felix has to admit that his relief far outweighs his consternation at being stopped, “There you are,” he says, letting himself be drawn back until he’s standing between Sylvain’s thighs, “We need to take care of your side.”
Sylvain’s face presses against his belly and Felix isn’t prepared for the gentle white glow that suffuses around them, realizes that Sylvain is healing himself, “It’ll keep,” Sylvain tells him.
Too tired, too wrung out, Felix sighs and threads his fingers through Sylvain’s wet hair, “What do you need?”
“Can I hold you?”
Felix bites back a sarcastic comment, tugs gently on Sylvain’s hair, “Let me remove some layers, then I’ll lay down with you,” he offers, surprised when Sylvain tips his head back to meet his gaze. Sylvain’s eyes are red, damp and red rimmed, so very dark in the minimal light of the tent, but his grip loosens and he sinks back onto the cot.
It only takes a few seconds before Sylvain starts shuffling around, adjusting the blankets and pillows to his liking, burrowing under them, only his messy wet hair and dark eyes visible by the time he settles.
Rubbing at his chest, Felix tries to quash down his fondness as he strips out of the outer layers of his armor, down to his leggings and shirt. He doesn’t even have to say anything, Sylvain lifts up the edge of the blanket and Felix slides under, fits himself into the curve of Sylvain’s body, his back to Sylvain’s chest.
Sylvain curls tighter around him immediately, an arm sliding over him, hand splaying wide over his chest.
Felix tangles their fingers up there, “Full moon is tomorrow,” he says quietly.
They’d had to make plans for it, since there’s not a chance they’ll make it back to the monastery before tomorrow night and Felix only hopes the rain will let up for it.
“I know,” Sylvain says against the back of his neck, sounding miserable and so very tired.
“I’ll be with you,” Felix adds.
Sylvain says nothing to that, but he feels a damp kisses pressed to the back of his neck and the brush of Sylvain’s nose against his hair line.
After he’s been drowsing for a while, listening to the rain and feeling Sylvain relax by slow increments, he nearly jerks out of his skin, nearly elbows Sylvain when he says suddenly, “I hated him.” His voice is even rougher now, low and coarse with disuses and lack of water and emotion.
“Why does it feel so bad?”
Felix shifts, wiggles until Sylvain loosens his hold so he can turn over, put them face to face, “Because none of it had to be this way,” he says quietly, instead of all the awful things he wants to say about Sylvain’s father, about Miklan.
Sylvain kisses him then, instead of replying, a little too aggressive, but Felix sinks into it, lets Sylvain have his way, doesn’t surge against him like he usually would. They’re both breathing heavy when Sylvain pulls away with a quiet sound, “If I didn’t have you,” he says low and shuffles until his face against Felix’s neck.
“Not getting rid of me, Gautier,” he says sharply, flicking Sylvain’s ear gently.
The growl he gets is low, a half assed attempt at playful, but an attempt nonetheless, “Don’t want to, Fraldarius.”
They lag behind their classmates in the morning, the last to start packing their things up, to prepare to move. Felix only half listens to the Professor spin their excuse and none of them had imagined it shaking it out this way and Felix hates himself only a little for thinking that it’ll sell even better this way.
The others wish Sylvain well, though he goes stiff as a board when anyone touches him, even when Ingrid goes in to give him a hug. She’s the last to step away, pausing at Felix’s side to squeeze his shoulder too hard, “Take care of him.”
Felix scoffs at her and she nods, stepping away.
The day passes in long stretches of silence, only broken when Sylvain hears or smells something and wants to investigate. Felix leaves him to it, since Sylvain had carried most of their things without an ounce of complaint.
Their path goes out wide from around their classmates, arcing around in the hopes that they’ll all meet up in one place in the next day to finish the last stretch back to the monastery. It rains on and off, though nothing too terrible compared to the previous day’s downpours, though Felix feels miserably damp and bogged down by the time the sun is setting.
Sylvain scouts them out a place in the dense forests surrounding them and Felix sets up their makeshift camp while he wanders the area, dragging his fingers over the trunks of various trees.
Something like nervousness wells in him, because he’s not sure what to expect, what to do with this quiet withdrawn Sylvain. Normally, he’s playful before the moon, lively and energetic. But he comes back to the camp solemn and quiet, sinks next to Felix on the log and starts to shed his clothes.
“Are you hungry?” Felix asks him quietly as he tends to his own fish over the fire.
“No,” is the only answer he gets and when he looks over, Sylvain is wrapped up in one of the blankets they’ve been using on this trip, his clothes folded in a neat pile next to his bare feet.
He nods and doesn’t press, eats while Sylvain sits quiet and still next to him. When he’s done and cleaned all of his things up, stripped out of his outer layer, he settles next to Sylvain on the log once more, “Do you need anything?”
Sylvain’s head is tipped back now, eyes towards the sky, skin lit by the fire, and he’s handsome, undeniably, always has been. He’s somehow moreso, when his head lolls to look at Felix, eyes still dark, molten from the firelight, “Just you, Fe.”
Swallowing, he turns his gaze to the fire, “Rest of our lives, ‘Vain.”
Sylvain rumbles next to him, then he’s moving the blanket pooling onto the log and he paces away, naked and unabashed. Heat thrums through Felix unbidden at the sight and he watches Sylvain disappear through the trees, because he can now, because he’s allowed to.
Because he’s worried, he allows himself, when Sylvain is out of sight, scooping up the blanket to wrap around himself.
They didn’t set up the tent, Sylvain shifted wouldn’t fit into it, so he kicks wet earth over the fire, buries it in damp leaves and retreats to their pile of bedrolls and blankets to wait.
It takes longer than he expects, before it starts.
Low mournful howling that echoes through the trees around him, makes a shiver race down his spine as he curls the blanket tighter around himself. The sound continues, like a funeral song, rising and falling, until it tapers into nothing.
He hears him before he sees him, the snapping of twigs and branches, the low whining the rolls through the space as Sylvain breaks into the clearing.
“Oh, Sylvain,” he says before he can stop himself, because he’s never seen Sylvain like this, not when he’s shifted. He’s drooping low, tail dragging behind him, nose almost to the ground, ears folded down and he approaches nearly as cautious as he had all those moons ago in Gautier.
Felix shuffles out of the blanket, edges forward on his knees, holds out his hand, “Come on,” he urges quietly, “I won’t even fuss about the blankets smelling like wet dog for the rest of the trip.”
It doesn’t even get him a wolfy snort, but Sylvain does finally join him on their makeshift palette, just drops the entire bulk of himself down next to Felix, a line of damp warmth, his head resting on his legs. Sighing, Felix leans against his side, combs his fingers through his fur, “I lied about something,” he admits.
Under his hand, Sylvain tenses.
He tips, slumps against Sylvain, and it’s uncomfortable, a strange twist to his spine but worth the way that Sylvain relaxes almost immediately, “I’m going to fuss so much about these blankets smelling like wet dog.”
Sylvain huffs loudly and Felix hides a smile in his fur.
When Felix wakes in the morning, it’s because he’s too warm and almost a bit smothered, and it’s immediately apparent as to why. Sylvain is sprawled on top of him, face mashed into his neck, snuffling in his sleep like he’s prone to doing after full moons.
The blankets are built up around them and the sky is clear above them.
And Sylvain is still naked.
Very, very naked.
Felix starts recounting dates of past battles in his head, at least, until Sylvain whines quietly in his sleep and then he melts, breathes out, “It’s okay,” he murmurs low, because he can lie while Sylvain’s asleep, cards his fingers through Sylvain’s wild tangle of hair, “you’re okay.”
Goddess, he hopes it’s true.
Sylvain is more talkative after they have breakfast and start moving, edging back towards cheerful, though subdued after a full moon and the emotions of the previous few days. It says a lot about how far they’ve come that Sylvain doesn’t even bother trying to pretend in front of him.
Around midday, he gets quiet again so Felix veers to bump their shoulders, almost trips over his own feet when Sylvain takes his hand, laces their fingers together.
The look he gets is intense, nervous though, and Sylvain’s voice is quiet, unsure, “Is this okay?”
Felix glances at their hands then shifts his stance so their shoulders are pressed together, thinks about the hell he would rain upon the world if this man asked, but all Sylvain wants to do is hold hands. He breathes out quietly, squeezes Sylvain’s hand tighter, “More than.”
Relief rolls off of Sylvain and his shoulders loosen, “Thanks, Fe.”
He rubs his thumb over Sylvain’s knuckles and lets Sylvain launch into a story about the sauna and Caspar and some of the monastery cats that he’s already heard twice.