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Desperation (Night Before the Battle)

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The loud and unrelenting noise of steel clashing together echoed throughout the training grounds, only growing intense and more aggressive as both Felix and Ingrid pushed each other to their limits, potentially even beyond that. They agreed earlier to a sparring session, though both had lost track of time as night fell, essentially leaving the two alone and to their own devices. Neither would realize - nor really care for - how long they had been going at it, as they were each determined to declare victory over the other. But soon it became more obvious that Felix had earned the upper hand.

Try as she might, Ingrid couldn’t keep up for much longer against Felix’s aggressive and unpredictable style of attack. It was impressive enough that she lasted for as long as she did, but sooner or later she was unable to get a clear read on his movement and was forced to solely focus on defense and balance, rather than pushing back offensively to try and get an edge on Felix. All the while Felix did view Ingrid as a formidable opponent - she definitely had the stamina and skill to prove it - but he too realized that she was faltering. That only boosted his confidence further, shown through nothing more than a visible smirk.

The young Galatea heir kept her eyes darting around as she desperately kept track of where and when her opponent’s blade would strike, countering only by mere seconds before he’d get a clear hit on her. Ingrid was fast, but Felix was definitely faster, and he showed no sign of slowing down. As Ingrid struggled to find an opening while she avoided his attacks, Felix continued to push her further and further, guiding them both dangerously close to a nearby corner. 

“J-Just know that I do not plan on yielding just y-yet,” Ingrid spat, quickly losing her breath. Her mind raced to try and find a way to properly counter, but the pressure only built up as Felix now intended to break her beyond her limits.

“Talk less. Focus more,” Felix responded bluntly. “You’re getting sidetracked. The more time spent on wasting your breath, the more likely it’ll kill you.”

Ingrid was then driven by desperation. As she saw it, Felix left no room to counterattack, so there weren’t many options left for her. For what had suddenly put her at a disadvantage, she couldn’t be so sure; Ingrid could only think of her being more accustomed to a lance rather than a sword, but that excuse was nothing short of pathetic. During her quick thinking Ingrid hastily decided to try and throw him off balance, now aiming lower than before. Maybe, if she could just disorient him slightly-.

Thud . Ingrid soon found herself pressed tightly against the wall, staring down at the steel blade that pointed mere inches away from her neck. Her eyes then slowly trailed upward, soon matching with Felix’s own. 

Yield.”

Ingrid groaned as she quietly admitted defeat, pushing the sword away from her as she sank to the floor, focusing on catching her breath. “Well… That was definitely intense. As always, you never fail to impress. I’m thinking that was enough adrenaline rush for today, though.”

“It’s not enough,” Felix spoke under bated breath, his gaze turned away from Ingrid. 

“I’m sorry?”

“I said it’s not enough,” he spat with more aggression, tossing his sword to the ground in a fit. “Again. We need to do this again.”

His words stunned her. Ingrid picked herself up, walking up to Felix as she was ready to contest him. “Excuse me? What do you mean by that exactly?”

“Gods, you can’t be this dense,” he gritted his teeth in frustration, his patience clearly wearing thin. “You weren’t good enough. You fought back well in the beginning, but you slipped up halfway and it cost you. We need to start again.”

Ingrid was left with bewilderment and anger that began to bubble. “Felix! It’s dusk - we’ve spent way too much time here to go another round! And what the hell do you mean I wasn’t ‘good enough’?! I can respect and acknowledge you as a skilled fighter, but it isn’t much to ask for that as well in return!”

He crossed his arms as he leaned against a lone pillar, his harsh yet unreadable expression remained as he avoided eye-contact with Ingrid. That only added to her frustration, as she was then left to figure out what he meant by those words. He was at first bold to try and devalue her efforts, but then quickly left them both in silence when he was asked a question he wasn’t able to answer.

“Honestly Felix, explain yourself to me,” Ingrid walked up to him, fixated on getting any sort of answer out of him. “I know I could never match you and the style in which you fight, but I can admit to myself that I am skilled enough to put up a fight against you. You won today, you had the upper hand - I can happily say that - but who’s to say I won’t best you the next time we spar?”

“You won’t be able to unless I get you to improve. Your technique was shaky, we need to-”

“I did not ask for your criticism!” Ingrid now stood face to face with the lone wolf, her expression showed nothing more than rage and confusion. She still tried to get a read on him, but he averted his eyes the moment he felt hers fall onto his face. “Clearly I cannot understand your way of thinking, but you’re being outright ridiculous. Maybe if we were still as young as we were five years ago, then I’d try to consider it, but I know my worth and how much I’ve refined my skills. Your comment was completely unnecessary.”

For a while, they stood surrounded by deafening silence. Neither moved nor spoke, leaving each other in anticipation and suspense. “Why go silent now, Felix? I can practically hear your thoughts. Seriously, do you think I’ll just give in at tomorrow’s battle? I-”

“Well I can’t have you dying at Enbarr, damnit!”

His sudden shout surprised the both of them, leaving them yet again in silence. Felix had opened his mouth, only to then quickly close it, his face contorting into an expression Ingrid wasn’t sure of. She looked at him with her mouth agape, searching for the meaning behind such an explosive response. No matter how she thought of it, there wasn’t a clear answer or anything that made sense as to why.

The march towards Enbarr was set for tomorrow, as everyone at the monastery had prepared and practiced for. What was hopefully meant to be the final battle occupied everyone’s minds as Felix and Ingrid were no exceptions. Still, the sudden mention of it felt almost out of place; she couldn’t make sense of it at first.

“...Felix, I-” Her eyes widened in sudden realization. It hit her; though it was nothing more than an assumption, it nearly killed her to think about once it hit her.

“Y...You’re worried about me?” she asked with almost no confidence in her voice. Felix was never one to outwardly express his concerns - or any sort of emotion for that matter - but it was painfully rare to see him ever admit to worrying about and caring for his friends. “Is that it? Are you scared you-”

“I’ll lose you? Yeah! There! I fucking said it!” Felix had become irritated, but it was clear by then something had been slowly building up, threatening to burst at any second. “Are you fucking happy with yourself?! That shit shouldn’t even matter!”

Ingrid raised her hands defensively, her voice softening as she tried to approach him. “Felix, I’m sorry. Maybe I’ve come off as harsh, but-”

“If you can’t even best me, how should I imagine you’ll fare against endless numbers of Empire soldiers!? I’m tired of everyone around me dying out of reach..!” A crack in his voice was heard during the last sentence. With that, he had said it all.

It made more sense, Ingrid finally realized. Earlier, he had practically pressured her into training with him, giving no fathomable reason as to why. He was as cold and demanding as ever with his words, but his mannerisms read differently was what she ultimately noticed. Now, it all made sense. His emotions were about to catch up to him, and Ingrid was the one to bear witness to it.

“Felix…” she was at a loss for words. Consolation was hard, but having to console someone like Felix was even harder. She could only hope she’d carefully choose to tell him the right words. “I-I can assure you, I’ll be fine. I know the situation is tense, but I am confident in our victory. We can hold our own against the Empire.”

“No. I refuse to believe what sounds like bullshit now,” he tensed as Ingrid had attempted to reach out to him, causing her hands to recoil. “I hate that I have to see so many die around me, to see them waste their lives on the battlefield. Gods… It makes me feel so damn helpless…!”

“Felix, they died fighting for what they believed in, for protecting those who they loved-”

“And you think that justifies it?!” Felix slammed his fist against the pillar - the pain unfazed him. “I can’t… I can’t go through with that again. I can’t fucking let you throw your life away, I can’t-”

Ingrid instinctively reached for both of his hands, gripping them tightly. To her surprise, he didn’t pull away. Though he really didn’t react at all. She looked up to him, eyes glossy with tears that threatened to spill. Words almost failed her in that moment, but she couldn’t leave him without a reply.

“I… I get it. I understand,” Ingrid started with a shaky breath. “You’ve lost so much, and I’ve seen you through it all, but Felix I swear to you the last thing I’d want to do is leave you as well. You have me, I am right here.”

She swore she heard him choke on a sob. Her grip on his hands only tightened, not planning on letting go soon. More time passed, they stood silent one last time. Then, he spoke.

“I… I care too much to lose you, Ingrid.”

She stared at him in shock. “...Why?” She felt she’d regret her reply, only hoping he would say what she always wanted to hear. To no avail, however, for Felix looked away in what felt like shame and embarrassment. He left it up to Ingrid to fill in the blank.

“You love me.”

“I do.”

She was speechless, yet only for a moment. Tears spilled, but no sobs came out. He had quelled a fear she kept unknown for the longest time, and he wouldn’t even know it. 

“I love you too.”

“Do you? Or do you only see Glenn when you say that.”

The words didn’t faze her. She smiled weakly, shaking her head in response as she brought her face closer to his. “No… I laid Glenn to rest. All I see right now is you, Felix.”

Years of built up turmoil and unresolved emotions were finally beginning to show in that moment. Most were left unsaid, yet some were admitted. And the most important one of all was absolved. There was clearly nothing left to say - they needed each other.

Driven by passion in the heat of the moment, Ingrid had her lips meet with Felix’s. And though she expected outright rejection, she was met with the opposite; he hungrily kissed her back, his arms pulling her in closer towards his body. He held her carefully while pushed against the pillar, indulging in what he was so afraid to let go.

The two let out warm sighs, their one kiss turning into two, then two into four, right before they lost count. The passion only increased as Felix’s hands ventured down Ingrid’s figure, feeling parts of her he wouldn’t have dared to try and do before. She surrendered herself to him, melting in his grasp as he continued. The love was felt strongly, their actions aggressive and quick as if they were to lose each other the next day. The world around them seemed to dissolve as they indulged in each other’s affection…

Then the sudden, loud clattering of weapons falling startled them, leading them to spot where the noise came from. Felix instinctively held onto Ingrid, both noticing what - or rather who - caused such noise. 

“Ah, woops. Didn’t mean to kill the moment,” Sylvain awkwardly laughed, slowly inching away from the toppled rack of weapons. “My bad. Carry on.”

Both lovers flushed, unsure of how long Sylvain stood there. Regardless, his presence did nothing but sour the mood. Felix in particular interpreted this as his death wish, glaring daggers directly at the redhead.

“S-Sylvain!” Ingrid cried out, straightening herself up, though never parted away from Felix. “What the hell are you doing here?!”

“I’d ought to kill you, Gautier!” Felix snarled. 

“Woah! Relax, guys!” Sylvain stressed. “I just wanted to check up on you guys, since it’s uh, fairly late. But, I can tell when I’m not needed, so let me just head on out and we can pretend this never happened.”

“Gods, you’ve no shame,” Ingrid angrily shook her head, her blush only deepening. “Have you resorted to spying on others for your own pleasure now?”

“Me? I doubt I’m the shameless one in this case,” Sylvain responded, motioning at both Felix and Ingrid and the position they found themselves in. “I mean, damn, doing it in the training grounds? Not even I thought of that.”

“Piss off, Sylvain,” Felix barked, having lost all patience with him.

“Fine! Fine, I’m out, I’m going,” Sylvain rushed towards the doors, but looked back before exiting. “Though if you guys cared that much about privacy, I’d suggest making out in one of your dorms.”

Before either could respond, the training ground doors were slammed shut. They stood alone, staring back at each other wordlessly. It wasn’t until Ingrid began to laugh at the situation that the tension died down. Felix sighed, shaking off whatever embarrassment he felt before.

“I think we can deal with him later,” Ingrid mentioned, taking Felix’s hand into hers, smiling. “For now… We should probably, um, take this somewhere else. We only have one last night, after all. And when this all ends, I think we’ll have more time to… fully open up.”

“Right.” Felix gave Ingrid’s hand a tight, reassuring squeeze. Then, he offered her a rare sight - a small, yet incredibly genuine smile.

“I think I’d really like that.”

Chapter Text

The moment both had stumbled into Ingrid's dormitory, they sat next to each other in dead silence. They hadn't thought their actions through, and now were left sitting slightly apart from each other on top of the bed, waiting out the awkward and uncomfortable silence.

Ingrid began to anxiously play with her hair, swallowing thickly as she avoided any sort of contact with Felix. It was odd - the passion was there, and it still is, but she knew neither of them have experienced that kind of intimacy before in their lives. She wasn't sure how to initiate — if there was anything to initiate at all — or how to continue the act afterwards. So she sat there, hands still fidgeting with her golden locks, begging for something to happen.

Felix's expression was as stone-cold as ever. He knew that as much as he thought of trying to initiate some type of contact, he just couldn't. His body refused to move, so he sat with his hands tightly gripping his thighs instead. He almost refused to look at Ingrid had he not been so worried, silently trying to figure out what could've been on her mind.

Then the silence began to annoy Felix. Deciding he had waited long enough, he cleared his throat to catch Ingrid's attention, facing her directly. He couldn't see much through the darkness of night, but he was at least aware of her staring right back.

"I—"

"Sorry—"

They tensed up, both faces turned bright red. First attempt at a conversation already stumped them, but Felix wasn't one to give up. He continued before Ingrid could interrupt again.

"I can see that this… situation is new to us. Suppose it's best to ask where you'd like to start," he put it bluntly.

"Th-That's the thing," Ingrid chuckled nervously, "I'm not really sure how to or… Maybe we could get a bit closer."

Taking the suggestion, Felix closed off the space in between them, shuffling closer to meet Ingrid face to face. He heard her breath hitch, the tension swelled to an uncomfortable level. So close, yet that was only the first step taken.

It was Ingrid's turn to be bold, letting her hand fall atop of Felix's. She used her thumb to rub the backside of it, feeling the smaller scars that tainted the skin. He had used those hands to fight for his life, to defend his friends, to excel as a swordsman by all means; now they'd be used to protect her, hold her, caress her. At least, that's what Ingrid desperately hoped for. "Felix… I-"

He broke her train of thought the moment his spare hand reached for her face. Felix felt the heat burn across Ingrid's cheeks, making his fairly light up in turn. He couldn't help but analyze the only thing he saw best in the dark - her eyes. There was an intensity that glowed in them, reflected just for Felix to see; he swore he nearly felt himself drown in them. His heart was ready to burst at any second as their faces inched closer, the negative space that remained threatened to disappear.

Ingrid grew tired of waiting too. She crashed her lips onto Felix's, finally breaking that tension, reigniting the spark that was there before. They were still clearly driven by passion, but their kisses were less sloppy and frantic; now they were more calculated and slow, patient with pauses in between to help them breathe.

Ingrid sighed warmly against his lips as she felt Felix bring her in closer. In that moment, the world seemed to fade around them as if they were surrounded by nothing but love and affection. It was as if, for at least that moment, the worry of the upcoming battle never existed at all.

"Ingrid…" Felix's voice was barely a whisper, almost like he was too afraid to speak. Though it was enough to have Ingrid hum in response, her hands busy being tangled in his raven hair.

"Gods, you… I want you." Felix was firm in his words, though his confidence was slim. "I want you, Ingrid."

"I know…"

"There's… still a lot you don't know."

"Will you tell me?"

A brief pause. Ingrid heard how Felix sighed in frustration. "You make it so hard to. I mean - When I look at you… Fuck. I-I don't know. I just don't."

Ingrid didn't resist the smile that crept onto her face. "I've never seen you in such a state… Good to know I can leave you speechless."

Felix knew he never let any kind of teasing get to him — he managed to put up with Sylvain for his whole life after all — so it amazed him when Ingrid managed to push him enough to respond back.

Felix pinned Ingrid to the bed, forcing her to lie on her back. She gasped at his actions; neither of them anticipated such a sudden reaction, Ingrid less so. Now they were left in a new and unfamiliar position. Felix found out for himself how much he liked viewing her from such a perspective.

The swordsman only grunted, his hands tightly gripped around Ingrid's wrists. They felt so delicate, he thought, almost afraid that he'd end up hurting her. Ingrid hardly moved as she could only stare back up at Felix. Usually one would be hard pressed to figure out what expression he typically carried, but this time his face said so much at once: he longed for intimacy, but at the same time, he was afraid. Once again the two remained still, with enough time passing by before either continued.

"...I don't know what I'm doing," Felix finally spoke up. "I don't know if this is right."

"Well, is this what you want?" Ingrid asked, searching for an honest answer. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to."

"I… Hm." Felix turned away for a moment. "Then… if I can move us around a bit. Please."

Ingrid nodded, allowing herself to be repositioned alongside him. The two shifted around until both were laying on their sides, Ingrid facing away from Felix while he held her close and tigh from behind.

"How… How is this," there was a hint of subtle nervousness in his voice. It was strange, hearing Felix be so uncertain and cautious. But it was also rather endearing, Ingrid thought. "Is this… good? Do you like this, I mean."

"Being held by you is lovely… yes," the knight responded with a small smile. "If it's what you want, then I do not mind."

"There's more we could do. I think. But it doesn't feel right. For now, I mean. So maybe…"

"I get it. There will always be the day after tomorrow, and the day after that. So at least for now, this is more than enough."

The two experienced a shared warmth through their embrace, something unfamiliar. Everything felt so new, so strange, but it was also good. This was something needed, something they had missed. It now kept them safe.

The war would end soon, and suddenly things would be new and intimidating. There was still so much to say and do, both feared it'd almost be too much to handle. But as they laid there together, there was something else similarly felt.

Felix indulged in their intimacy like he never had before. He kissed the back of her head, pulled her close, and let his actions speak for him. Ingrid would sigh with content.

They felt loved. And nothing from the past, present or unseen future could change that.