against better judgement
(it seems like i’ve said more than i needed to
please shut these sighing lips with a kiss)
It’s not every day that earnest, straitlaced Dimitri nearly faceplants directly into a wall.
‘Woah! That was close.’ Claude laughs nervously, keeping one hand around Dimitri’s waist and Dimitri’s arm over his shoulders as he steers him away from a potential concussion. It’s been a real struggle to make it back to their dorm room, slow and arduous; Dimitri’s muscles are great to look at from afar, but man do they make him ridiculously heavy to lug around.
With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps Claude should’ve known better than to let Sylvain rope them into a drinking party, even if it was to support him in his romantic endeavours. (Not that it made a difference, anyway, since it still ended with Felix tossing his drink into Sylvain’s face and storming off when the girls got too handsy.) But then again, who would’ve known that Dimitri would down six shots of highly concentrated vodka all in one go, thinking it was just water in a funny little cup?
Keys, keys... Claude fumbles with his pockets, then with the lock. Ah, there we go.
They stumble into the darkness of the room, teetering on unsteady feet, and before Claude can reach for the light switch he finally loses his balance – and his hold on Dimitri. The good news is that Dimitri somehow manages to wobble his way to the nearest bed before toppling over, down for the count.
The bad news is – well.
That’s Claude’s bed.
‘Hey now, buddy.’ Claude sits on the edge of the bed and gives Dimitri a little nudge. ‘I know you want to rest, but hold on for just a little while longer, okay? Just so we can move you.’
‘M’name’s not buddy,’ Dimitri mumbles into the duvet. With the raise of his head, he adds loudly, ‘I am Dimitri. Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd. I am – ’
‘The heir to Faerghus Corp. and captain of the Blue Lions soccer team, yes, yes.’ Claude hums indulgently, having heard it all before. Dimitri doesn’t make declarations like this in public, of course, but he puts such immense pressure on himself that this mental mantra of his sometimes slips out in a drunken rambling or two. ‘Nevertheless, you must move, Your Kingliness.’
‘Move? Impossible. Many have tried to move me, but only one has succeeded. Only they could give me just a single look, a fleeting respite, and I am moved to my very core.’
... Is he waxing poetic about the person he likes now? Really? Right on Claude’s bed?
‘Every inch of me belongs to them – heart, body and soul. All they have to do is ask, and I would give them the world. But do they know?’ Dimitri hiccups as he struggles to sit up. ‘Do they know how much I ache for them, desperate and yearning for more?’
Yes. Claude deadpans. Yes, he really is.
Honestly, he’s known all along how terrible Dimitri is at holding his liquor, but this is just a whole new level of lightweight, even for Dimitri. And as much as Claude finds the whole thing corny as hell, a tiny grin tugs at his lips as Dimitri goes on about safe harbours and the anchoring quality to their presence, of kindness concealed in wit and the glimmering peridot of their eyes.
Ever the romantic, isn’t he.
But still, somewhere between Claude’s amusement at the situation and his genuine affection for Dimitri lies a pinprick of irritation, one that stings and corrodes and slips itself neatly between his ribs. It’s a feeling that Claude would normally keep under lock and key, but tonight he decides to let it fester, a potent sliver of ruin.
Five years. It’s been five years of friendship with Dimitri – three years of high school, two years of university, and four years of pining. Claude has stared down Dimitri’s demons and come back breathing; Dimitri has seen through the too-visible fault lines of Claude’s ever-smiling visage. It’s always been two of them against the world, and Claude just can’t see himself meeting someone who would break his walls down the way Dimitri did, who could make him feel as safe as Dimitri does. There’s just no one else who would go that far for someone like him.
For Claude, it’s Dimitri. It has to be Dimitri.
But as Dimitri continues to sing drunken praises of the person he loves so much, it’s becoming increasingly clear: for him, it doesn’t have to be Claude.
And – and something in Claude breaks, then.
‘I think you should tell them,’ Claude says, ignoring the way his heart squeezes in dissent. Is his voice light? Is he smiling enough? Claude doesn’t know. Instead, his white-knuckled grip on the duvet tightens as he barrels on, ‘I mean, it’s you, Dimitri. I’m sure it’ll go well. Just go up to them and lean in close – if they’re into it and not pulling away, then go in for a kiss. If they’re still into it, boom! Happy ending for all. You’re living the dream.’
Claude laughs wryly at his own joke, but Dimitri stays quiet; so quiet, in fact, that Claude begins to wonder if he’s fallen asleep. But no – when Claude casts a glance over, Dimitri is staring holes into him, lips parted and hair mussed.
‘Dimitri?’ Is it just him, or is Dimitri’s face a lot closer than it was before? ‘Hey, are you – mn?!’
Dimitri's lips are soft, a fierce, insistent pressure against his own, and Claude makes a small noise of surprise when the kiss deepens. It feels good, so good, the way Dimitri's hands skate down to rest against his neck, thumbs tracing his jawline and fingers touching the ends of his hair and their bodies pressed close, so close, god, Dimitri is kissing him, Dimitri is kissing him and it feels –
This is wrong.
Claude pushes a hand against Dimitri's chest, irritation prickling once more. Dimitri isn’t kissing him, obviously, who is he trying to fool? It’s not him. It’ll never be him. ‘Dimitri,’ he mumbles, stifling a whimper as Dimitri takes the opportunity to sip at his lips teasingly. Dimitri’s hands are wandering, eager to map out the ridges and curves of Claude’s body, and his touch sets off a trail of fireworks under Claude’s skin. ‘Nn... Di – Dimitri...’
‘Breathtaking,’ Dimitri whispers, voice huskier than usual as he leaves a kiss against Claude’s temple. ‘Magnificent.’ Eyelid. ‘Delectable.’ Earlobe. ‘Heartstopping.’ Cheekbone. ‘Beautiful – ’
‘Wh – hold on – no, that’s not true,’ Claude splutters, arching away from Dimitri in protest. Is he blushing? He has to be blushing. His face feels so warm. Dimitri drags his lips down the line of Claude’s jaw to gain access to his neck, sucking and nipping at the skin there before following up with his tongue. Claude lets out a keening whine – of pleasure or frustration, he can’t tell – only for Dimitri to reclaim his mouth once more.
‘You’re beautiful. So, so beautiful. I love you,’ Dimitri murmurs between kisses, and as much as Claude never wants this to end, he doesn’t want to hear it. Not when Dimitri doesn’t realise who he’s kissing, whose heart he’s breaking. He has to stop him.
Claude slaps a hand over Dimitri’s mouth. He’s still trembling from the previous onslaught, but he steels himself to push through regardless. ‘Dimitri, you – ’
‘...ve you, Claude.’
Before Claude can fully process what he just said, Dimitri gives his palm a quick lick; as Claude yelps in confusion, Dimitri lays back against the bed, pulling Claude down with him.
‘I love you, Claude,’ he says again, and in that moment Claude swears that he’s nothing short of winded, irritation dematerialising upon impact. ‘You are the first sign of dawn after an overnight storm; the morning star of my universe, my missing peace. When all that’s left is the scatter of dust, you make even the unholy of me feel loved. The fact that I’m able to hold you like this is a miracle in itself, but I can say this much in a dream, at least.’
He raises Claude’s hand to his face and brushes his lips against his knuckles, gentle and lingering and aching like a promise. ‘You mean the world to me, Claude von Riegan. I love you.’
Claude doesn’t even know where to begin. How can Dimitri say such cheesy things like they’re nothing? Doesn’t he get embarrassed at all? He also mentioned a dream – is that what he thinks this is? How often do they do this sort of thing in his dreams, if Dimitri is so good at it? All those kisses and compliments and tender gazes, they were meant for... for...
If Claude wasn’t blushing earlier, then he certainly is now.
‘You never cease to surprise me, do you, Your Kingliness,’ he comments, laughter lurking in his voice despite his fluster. ‘It’s always... something new... nng... with you...’
Admittedly, it’s quite difficult to form a coherent sentence when Dimitri has his face buried in the crook of Claude’s neck again, and every little love bite he’s leaving makes Claude shiver. Should they still be doing this, anyway? Their feelings for each other may be mutual, but there’s a lot at stake here. Dimitri is incredibly drunk, Claude is a little tipsy himself, and he doesn’t want Dimitri to do something he’ll regret in the morning, because...
What was he saying again? Claude completely lost his train of thought there when Dimitri teased his bottom lip. Right, he doesn’t want... he doesn’t want Dimitri to...
Oh, to hell with it.
Claude melts into the kiss with abandon, wrapping his arms around Dimitri and focussing on the feel of him, from the broad of his shoulders to his abdominal muscles, taut and quivering. It’s far more feral a kiss than any of the previous ones, and as if spurred on by Claude’s receptiveness, Dimitri crushes against him with a growl of his name, low and ravenous. It’s almost too much for Claude to bear, and if he weren’t straddling Dimitri on the bed, he’d be far too weak-kneed to stand.
When he breaks the kiss to breathe, Claude threads his fingers through the cornsilk of Dimitri’s hair, shifting his position just enough to avoid resting his entire weight on him – just enough to feel the effects of their hips grinding together, snug between their thighs. Dimitri groans, visibly affected, but for some reason his hands are slowing down, like he’s losing a fight against water; mere moments later, they fall away from Claude without a word.
‘Dimitri?!’ Claude pulls back immediately, alarmed, only to find the rise and fall of Dimitri’s chest, steady and peaceful, and the flutter of pale eyelashes casting shadows against his cheekbones.
He’s fallen asleep. For real, this time.
Talk about impeccable timing. Claude sags against Dimitri, boneless, allowing their foreheads to bump together lightly as all tension leaves his body. Who knows what would’ve happened if they’d gotten carried away. After all – and Claude is finally thinking clearly enough to bring this up – Dimitri is not only terrible at holding his liquor, but he can’t remember anything he does while drunk.
Yep. He won’t remember any of this, either.
For the longest time, Claude just lays there, listening to the sound of Dimitri’s quiet breathing as he stares blankly at the ceiling. Then, he gets up to pull the duvet out from under Dimitri, tosses it over his prone form, and crawls into bed next to him, exhausted from the night’s events.
‘I love you too, Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd.’ He kisses the corner of Dimitri’s mouth, the graze of his lips like butterfly wings. With their bodies so close and their hearts closer still, you’d think they wouldn’t be running circles around each other like this – yet here they are.
Thankfully for Dimitri, Claude is a man of great patience.
He can wait for earnest, straitlaced Dimitri to make his dream come true. He knows it will.