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Without Warning

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Four months after Glenn’s funeral, Sylvain shows up beside him unexpectedly.

 

Felix startles, which interrupts the arc of his training sword and slackens his grip, sending the sword out of his hand. It slaps against the dummy instead of completing the perfect slash he’d intended. The wooden sword clatters to the ground, the sound mirroring the pounding of Felix’s heart in his chest. He hadn’t heard any footsteps approaching him; too focused on recalling all the correct form and footwork needed to properly weld a blade.

 

“Wow, they’re letting you learn how to fight?” Sylvain’s voice is brimming with amusement, he rests his arms up behind his head and smiles brightly when Felix fixes him with a withering glare. 

 

Felix clenches his fists at his sides and stares at his friend. It’s been almost an entire year since they’d last had a chance to meet, (the growing unrest in the Kingdom keeping most dukes and lords in their own territories). He’s much taller than he was, and his hair a bit shaggier but not much seems to have changed about him. Brown eyes look him over and Felix wonders if Sylvain is noting any differences in him as well. Felix certainly feels like a different person these last few months.

 

A part of Felix thinks he should feel more happy seeing his friend again after so long, but lately all he’s been able to feel is a deep seated anger swirling in his chest. “Shouldn’t you know better than to sneak up on someone with a weapon?” He snaps. 

 

He’s just so so angry these days. Angry at his dad, angry at Glenn and perhaps even a little angry at himself for being so angry. He’s so filled with rage that sometimes he thinks that there can’t be anyway for him to not be an alpha. It would certainly make his life much easier if he could just brush off this rage as basic teenage alpha hormones, but of course life can never be good to Felix.

 

Instead, Felix had practically been cursed since the night of his birth. The only male omega in the long list of House Fraldarius’ alpha lineage. The Goddess had a sick sense of humor it seems. Taking Glenn from them and leaving Felix as the only remaining child to Lord Rodrigue.

 

But such thoughts make Glenn’s death feel inevitable. Like they have no choice in their lives outside of the Goddess’ will. And Felix doesn’t believe in inevitables or fate. He is certain Glenn would still be with them if not for his misplaced ideals in the glorification of knighthood. 

 

A loud snapping noise next to his ear jerks him out of his thoughts, Sylvain coming into focus with a concerned look on his face. “You got a little lost there for a moment. Are you OK-” He cuts himself off with a wince. “Sorry, that was dumb.” he says, running his fingers through his red hair sheepishly. “Just thought you’d be happier to see me is all.”

 

Felix sighs and seeing how the last time they were together Felix was practically in tears at having to depart from his friend, that thought wasn’t completely without merit. That felt like a lifetime ago and now… well…

 

“I’m not unhappy to see you,” he settles on, which is the closest he can get to describe his own feelings about this unexpected reunion. “I just wasn’t expecting you. Father never mentioned you coming to visit.”

 

Sylvain gives an easy shrug. “To be fair to him, I’m not sure he knew. I didn’t even know until we were coming up on your estate, but it’s not like my dad tells me much in the first place.” Felix furrows his brow and watches as Sylvain steps over to pick up his forgotten sword. “So, a sword huh? You sure you don’t want to join me and Dimitri in lance training?”

 

“All the more reason to learn something else.” He points out, wondering about the subject change before he freezes, gut clenching as he sucks in a breath. The air between them goes tense and Sylvain hands pause in his inspecting the chipped wooden instrument. He shoots Felix a concerned look, no doubt able to scent the sudden change in the younger teens emotions. 

 

“D-Dimitri… How is he?” he manages to stumble out, eyes searching Sylvains like he can find an answer before the red haired teen even speaks. 

 

When the news had reached house Fraldarius about the massacre in Duscur, Felix had begged and pleaded with his dad to let him see his friend. The reality of his brothers death hadn’t sunk in and Felix could only focus on Dimitri; still alive and in need of comfort from his friends. His father had denied his request and while Felix knows he hadn’t handled that answer very well.

 

But Margrave Gautier, and there-by extension Sylvain, usually stays at the Kingdom capitol for the summer months. Sylvain must have had some contact or news about their shared friend. 

 

“Dimitri is… not himself right now. But to go through something like that I’m not sure anyone would be.” Sylvain answers, a seriousness to him that feels strange on the normally easy going teen. “I should have said this when I came in but… I’m sorry about your brother, Felix. It must be hard to lose him like that.”

 

Felix half expects the usual irritated feeling he gets from unwanted condolences to creep up on him, but Sylvain sounds genuine with his words. It certainly helps that he doesn’t try to  offer empty promises of it getting better, like many others before him.  

 

“You didn’t even like Glenn,” He’s not sure why those are the words that come out, but he’s glad it hadn’t come out accusatory. It was no secret that although Sylvain had been closer in age to Glenn than he was to Felix - as well as Dimitri and Ingrid - the elder Fraldarius hadn’t held much regard for the Gautier heir. Glenn’s ideals of chivalry and honor clashing spectacularly with Sylvains’ notoriously known womanising ways. 

 

Their most famous spat happened shortly after the announcement of Glenn and Ingrids engagement to be mated. Sylvain had yet to learn how to be at least more subtle in his advances towards taken females and he particularly liked flirting with Ingrid in some masochistic way. Glenn had taken offense on Ingrid's behalf, coupled with being newly presented and had practically torn Sylvain away from Ingrid with a vicious snarl. 

 

Glenn had acted a fool in Felix’s opinion. Sylvain had yet to present - and still hasn’t judging by his neutral scent  - and while he can be vastly annoying, he has never actually meant his flirting when it came to Ingrid. Sylvain deeply honors his friendship with Ingrid and while he loves to tease her, he would never do anything to ruin their friendship. One of the many reasons he’s never tried to ask Ingrid out on a date even before her engagement to Glenn.

 

Regardless, Sylvain was of no threat but Glenn wouldn’t see reason. The incident had been short, Ingrid stepping up quickly to talk Glenn down while Felix and Dimitri pulled Sylvain away and out of sight. Sylvain had been a bit shocked by the encounter and it had later cemented his dislike of Felix’s brother even further. 

 

Two opposite personalities battling against each other in the form of insults and glares any time they passed each other after. Thankfully, although well within his right as Ingrid’s future bond mate, Glenn had never commanded her to stop being friends with Sylvain.

 

“I - ok, so I wasn’t his biggest fan,” Sylvain says, eyes skirting away from Felix’s in guilt. “But what happened in Duscar… He deserved a better death.”

 

Felix’s throat feels tight, his hands clenching by his sides and for another moment his breath stops. Somehow Sylvain always knows just the right things to say to him. “Thank you.” He says, tilting his head down so his hair can cover how wet his eyes have suddenly become. He feels like he’s cried enough for a lifetime, but somehow he still has more tears left. 

 

He takes a moment to compose himself before tilting his head back up to look at his taller friend.  “Why did your dad decide to come here?” He asks, watching as Sylvain relaxes at the subject change; the air between them no longer heavy and awkward. “Is he going to try and talk my dad out of naming me heir?”

 

While it wasn’t exactly forbidden to name an omega as heir; it was certainly heavily frowned upon. Especially by an alpha like Margrave Gautier. Most nobles attempt to marry off any omega offspring - even if they were the only child with a crest. Any money or territory an omega is set to inherit is merely considered a dowry for their future mate. But with actually naming Felix his heir, Lord Rodrigue is insuring that Felix is able to keep at least a little of his inheritance without all of it going to some random alpha.

 

Felix had been at least momentarily spared a childhood of his father searching for suitable mates for him as Glenn had been an alpha in possession of a Crest. So any urgency for Felixto continue the line of Fraldrarius had been stalled until he fully matured. Omegas generally hit sexual maturity before alphas and while Felix has yet to have his first heat, it’s only a matter of time before suitors are lining up.

 

“I wouldn’t put it past him.” Sylvain says with a roll of his eyes. “Though it’s just as likely he’s trying to make me apprentice with your Father. Honestly, I’m kind of hoping that’s what his plan is. New territory means new girls to chase.” He says, grin turning more mischievous and sly. 

 

Felix grimaces. Sylvain’s love for women would be infinitely more bearable if he wasn’t such a horndog about it. Every female - alpha, beta, and omega weren’t safe from his relentless flirting. As far as Felix knows Sylvain had kept everything he’s done fairly chaste. He refuses to believe anyone would want anything to do with a non-mature teen and he doubts Sylvain would have kept it secret if any of his conquests had turned sexual.

 

Felix himself doesn’t see the appeal or any purpose in a relationship before maturity. His life is going to be ruled by some nameless alpha in the future, so he’d rather use this time without his heats for things he won’t be able to do once he’s mated. Things like his sword training for one.

 

“If you think my father won’t run you ragged as his apprentice, you certainly don’t know my father.” He reaches out to tug his sword back from the red head. He hadn’t meant to be so distracted, but if all Sylvain’s here for is to run off with some girl at least Felix can go back to his training. “You’ll be too exhausted to have any of your dumb dates.”

 

Felix takes a deep breath, shifting his attention away from his friend and tries to get back into the focus of training. He brings his sword up, adjusting his stance like his trainer taught him. Only for it to be ripped from his grasp.

 

Felix growls out his displeasure, turning to bare his teeth at Sylvain though the gesture falls miles short of intimidating without his mature omega fangs. Judging by the look he’s given, Sylvain seems to find his reaction more amusing than anything else. 

 

“Come on, don’t be like that.” Sylvain gives him an easy grin and tosses the sword towards the weapons rack. “Let’s hang out, it’s been forever! I’ll even try my best to ignore the ladies for you.” He stalks forward and loops an arm around Felix’s shoulders who has little choice but to be dragged out of the training room.

 

Sylvain is hot where he’s presses against Felix’s side and both of them are a bit sweaty. But, Gods, how he’s missed his friend. They walk side by side in companionable silence, Sylvain’s arm slipping away from him once it becomes apparent that he’s no longer having to drag Felix along. They pass a group of servant girls as they walk, but true his promise Sylvain only gives them a smile and a playful wink instead of trying to chat them up. 

 

Felix does, however, roll his eyes when one group passes with a giggle and Sylvain’s head turns to watch them walk away. Perhaps, with everything that has happened in these last few months, he can take some comfort in the fact that Sylvain will never change. 

 

They make their way to the kitchen, a usual haunt for them when just Sylvain comes to visit. Dimitri can’t taste food and Ingrid hates to bother any of the staff members but it’s become a bit of a tradition when it’s just Sylvain. He’s particularly fond of the Fraldrarius’ head chef, Loreia, and her cooking, so he never misses a chance to try to beg her for scaps. She has never been charmed by his flirting, much too old to be bothered by such nonsense, a fact that seems to amuse Sylvain.

 

When they walk in the kitchen is full of life. Servants bustle about carrying trays and different ingredients while Loreia barks out orders. She spies them lingering by the door and gives them a displeased look. 

 

“You best be getting out of here now, young lords.” She warns, resting a fist on her hip and wraggles a large wooden spoon in their direction. “I’ll not have you spoiling your dinner. Word is you’re to both be dining with your fathers tonight.”

 

“No one told us.” Felix grumbles, though it is drowned out by Sylvain’s faked gasp.

 

“Why, surely you don’t believe we’re only here just for food? We simply wish to gaze upon your ethereal beauty.” Sylvain says, a hand over his heart in mock offense. Felix has no idea how he manages to keep such a straight expression in the face of Loreia’s greyed and wrinkled features. Perhaps she was beautiful in her youth, but Felix has no memory of her looking any other way. She doesn’t even seem to get older to him, just perpetually the same as she appears even in his memories.

 

“Well, this ‘ethereal beauty’ is about to give you a whoopin’ for still being in my kitchen.” She glances over at Felix and her face softens a bit. “Felix be a dear and if his father asks it was you who beat him silly.”

 

Felix snorts and smirks over at his friends pouting face. “Only if I can help with the beating.” 

 

The answer pulls a throaty laugh from the elder while Sylvain whines at the teasing. “I knew you were my favorite for a reason, little lord.” She tells him affectionately, before she reaches over to the counter beside her and pulls forth their favorite treats. “This is all I’m giving you and it’s a bribe to convince you to leave.”

 

Sylvain’s eyes light up, and he eagerly nods in agreement. “Certainly, ma’am.” He says, taking the treats from her, handing Felix his, and starts ushering the both of them out of the busy kitchen.

 

“Be in the dining hall by sundown!” She calls out to them just before the door closes shut, leaving them to their treats and to wander the halls. Felix takes a bit of his, a soft bread filled with his favorite spicy jam. The spices heat his mouth pleasantly, not too spicy but not the sweet most would expect in such a snack. A few more bites finish off the snack and while he wants more it’s not worth it to incur Loreia’s wrath. 

 

“How’s your sword training coming along?” Sylvain asks as they walk along the silent halls. “ Aren’t you supposed to be interested in like knitting or something?”

 

“Why would I possibly be interest in knitting ?”

 

Sylvain  takes the last bite of his treat and looking over at Felix with a shrug. “Sw’rds ju’ don’ sem ta be v’ry ‘mega l’ke-” he pauses to swallow his bite and continues on. “Though I guess you’ve never been very stereotypical.”

 

Felix’s lip curls in disgust, a low growl building in his throat. “Don’t talk with your mouth full, idiot.” He admonishes with a glare. “And what I choose to take an interest in has nothing to do with what’s between my legs.”

 

Sylvain is quiet a moment, before he gives Felix and apologetic look. “I - you’re right. I’m sorry Felix.” He says, running his hand through his hair and looking generally pathetic. “I just… I guess I don’t remember you ever mentioning an interest in it or I might have tried to show you some tips. I mean I’m not great at swords but I could have shown you some basics before you had to-”

 

“Shut up, Sylvain.” Felix snaps, annoyed by the taller teens rambling. He hates when Sylvain says things that parrot Margrave Gautier’s beliefs. He’s been friends with Ingrid and Felix long enough for him to know better than to believe in stereotyping.

 

“I’d always been interested but there was no point in saying anything when my father was so against it. But a few months ago he relented and hired a trainer.” Felix leaves out that his father only did it as an apology after one of their many fights. Instead of his father admitting to any wrongdoing towards his son, Lord Fraldarius simply gives Felix something he’d originally denied from him. Felix personally find it cowardly, even if it works out in his favor. 

 

“I want to go to Garreg Mach with you and Dimitri. I can’t exactly join a militant academy without knowing how to fight.” 

 

Sylvain’s eyes light up and a huge grin takes over his face. “What? That’s awesome, Felix! Gods it’s been ages since we’ve all gone to school together. We should have Ingrid join us as well.”

 

“How do you plan on doing that?” Ingrid would definitely jump at the chance as soon as they bring it up to her, but convincing her father-

 

“We’ll just tell her dad that this would give her a chance to find another suitor. It’s obviously way too soon for him to start looking but by the time we’re able to enroll he’ll be jumping at the opportunity.” Sylvain offers.

 

-Well, alright, that would certainly work . Felix is honestly a bit surprised that he hasn’t heard that house Galatea had opened its doors to suitors already. Even before her engagement to Gleen, Count Galatea became rather notorious for trying to marry off his daughter. 

 

“She’s going to hate that that’s actually going to work.” He points out only for Sylvain to give him a shrug.

 

“Yeah, but just think about it. All four of us at Garreg Mach? It’ll be amazing! Plus, I’ve heard they’ve hired a retired songstress as a teacher so we’ve got a fifty-fifty shot at having a hot teacher by the time we’re enrolling!”

 

Felix groans, resisting the urge to bury his face in his hands. “I don’t know why I bother trying to have a conversation with you.” He stalks past Sylvain, this is a good a time as any to start making their way towards the dining hall. Through the windows he passes he can see that the sun is just beginning to set.

 

Sylvain gives a laugh from behind him, and manages to catch up with only a few steps. “Sorry, sorry.” He says with a chuckle.

 

Felix merely rolls his eyes and once again silence falls between them. It’s pleasant enough even though Felix is still a bit peeved by Sylvain’s earlier comment. However, the closer they get to the dining hall builds a tension fills the air between them.

 

Felix hasn’t seen his father since their fight almost three nights ago and Sylvain has a complicated relationship with his father. Whatever Lord Gautier is here to talk about with his father, Felix sincerely hopes it doesn’t affect him and Sylvain in anyway. 

 

Still, trepidation and nervousness coil in his stomach making him wonder how he’s to get through this meal feeling as nauseous as he does. They pause outside the doors to the dining hall, taking a moment to glance warily at each other before Felix gathers the courage to push open the doors.

 

Lords Gautier and Fraldarius are already seated at the far end of the long table. Margrave is an imposing figure, practically dwarfing Rodrige who sits at the head of the table. Felix wonders if Sylvain will fill out so broadly or be so muscular like his father but it’s hard to picture despite Sylvain being the split image of his father.

 

“Ah! There you boys are!” Margrave calls out as they near the large table. He turns to Rodrigue, reaching over and swatting his friends arm good naturedly. “I told you they’d show up right before the food was being served.”

 

Rodrigue hums his response, fixing Felix with an unreadable expression. The nerves build inside him once more and he pointedly looks away to finish making his way over to his usual chair by his father's right side. Sylvain sticks with him, very much not wanting to sit next to his father which, with how Lord Gautier practically takes up two seats - and his penchant for talking with his hands - is probably the smarter choice.

 

“Lord Gautier.” Felix greets politely enough once he’s standing behind his chair. Polite omegean customs demand he stand until directed to be seated, something he would completely ignore if it were only his dad or Sylvain in the room. Sylvain pulls out his own chair and slips into it easily, lucky dastard.

 

Margrave’s sharp eyes turn to him, taking a sip of his wine as his eyes trail over Felix. He swallows his wine and tilts his nose and scents the air in an obvious and crude way. “No heat yet, boy? Bit old aren’t you?”

 

Felix takes in a sharp breath, clenching his teeth and glares at the table, his nails biting into the flesh of his palms from where they’re suddenly curled into fists hidden by the table. Sylvain shifts uneasily beside him and out of the corner of his eyes Felix can see him opening his mouth but it is Rodrigue who comes to his rescue instead.

 

“Do not be crass to my son, Gautier.” Rodrique says, voice chilled and eyes sharp enough that even Margrave is smart enough to back down from. Rodrigue’s old reputation of once being the King’s shield still holds it weight even many years later. “Felix, sit.” He commands simply before ushering the servants in waiting to start serving them food.

 

Felix forces himself to relax, though his movements betray his anger as he pulls out the chair and roughly plops into it. Rodrigue heaves a sigh and reaches up to rub at his temples like he’s got a headache building. Felix can’t bring himself to feel any type of sympathy for his dad at the moment.

 

Sylvain shifts beside him and beneath the table he feels the older teen press his foot against Felix’s own. A gesture of comfort hidden from the eyes of both of their parents and Felix isn’t angry enough to stop the brief feeling of fondness for his friend flow through him. 

 

The servants hussle around them, setting down platters filled with lots of meats and vegetables. The Lords receive a refill to their wine cups and tea is served to Sylvain and Felix. He catches the fragrant scent of Almyran Pine Needles drifting from his cup and his frown deepens. In the middle of Fraldarius territory such an import is difficult to come by and though he deeply enjoys this tea he’s only had it during his stays at the Kingdoms’ capital. 

 

A closer inspection of the food before him reveals a majority of his preferred foods with only a few dishes to offer a different variety for their guests. This could be an apologetic offering from his father, but something deep in him is suddenly on guard and suspicious. 

 

His eyes snap up to meet with Lord Gautier’s. Maintaining eye contact is an annoyance to him on any given day, and he’s fighting the urge to glance away even as he speaks. “Why are you here?” 

 

His voice comes out as more of a growl than he intends it and the answering angry snarl from Margraves throat has him cowering. Instinctively, his head jerks down and to the side to bare his throat. A low whine builds in his throat but he bites down hard on his lip to stop the sound from escaping. His hands tremble where he has them curled in his lap and he absolutely hates this.

 

“Felix!” His father shouts beside him, voice admonishing and a bit shocked. Perhaps he thought his use of Felix’s favorite foods and tea would help keep him quiet and compliant. “Do not-!” Margraves holds up a hand and Rodrigues words halt as he throws a confused look at the other alpha. 

 

“My apologies, I didn’t mean to have such an extreme reaction,” Margrave says, startling Felix out of his cowardice enough for him to raise his head up again in disbelieve. Lord Gautier meets his look head on, eyes sharp enough for Felix to return his gaze to the table. “I don’t take well to being challenged, boy. You would do well to remember that.” 

 

Felix nods his head in a jerky movement in response.

 

“Come on, dad,” Sylvain pipes up, tapping his foot against Felix’s under the table once more. Felix appreciates the gesture but moves his foot away, tucking his feet under the chair and hooking his ankle around its legs. He doesn’t want even that bit of contact right now. If Sylvain is bothered by his reaction his voice certainly doesn’t reflect as such. “Felix didn’t mean anything by it. We’re just curious about your spontaneous visit here.”

 

Lord Gautier takes a long pull from his wine, and when Felix sneaks a glance up Margrave has turned his sharp attention on to his son. A long silence falls over the table as the Lord inspects his son. So long in fact that Felix glances over at his father to try and gauge his reaction. His father turns his head to meet his gaze like he knows Felix would look to him. He look less angry at his son now, but there is a furrow between his brows and he darts a hesitant look towards Margrave like he’s unsure of how his friend is going to act.

 

Margrave setss his now empty glass down and wipes around his mouth with one of his large hands. “Felix... is what we would call a ‘spirited’ omega,” He starts and already Felix dreads where this could be going. “Perhaps it's due to his late heat, but you would do best to tame such a temperment before he gets too out of hand.”

 

Felix frowns. That is… certainly an odd thing to say to his father. It’s considered a grave insult for an alpha to comment on how another alpha raises their own kids. He expects his dad to put up a fuss in response but- 

 

But Margrave hasn’t once lost eye contact with his own son.

 

What?

 

“What?” Sylvain chokes out from beside him, sounding just as confused and shocked as Felix feels in his moment. 

 

Margrave gives something of a smirk before he turns to Felix’s father. “Well Rodrigue, would you like to give them the news?”

 

Felix’s head snaps to his father and a cold feeling of dread clenches in his stomach.

 

Lord Fraldraius takes in a deep breath and glances between Felix and Sylvain. “Lord Gautier and I have come to a conclusion that it would be in the best interest for both of our families. The two of you are to be mated.”

Chapter Text

“M-Mated?!” Sylvain chokes from beside him. He sounds just as flabbergasted as Felix feels. When Felix chances a look over at his friend, his face is shocked, staring at their fathers in disbelief. 

 

Felix feels like a rug has been pulled out from underneath him. Had he not just today been thinking of how lucky he was that his father has never tried something like this? Had he somehow jinxed himself just with his own thoughts?! He shakes his head to clear it. No, it won’t do him any good to be thinking irrationally right now. 

 

But... him? To be mated to Sylvain of all people? A teenager with a penchant for deliances and an irrational inability for any type of commitment in his relationships? Sure, he’s kind and surprisingly thoughtful at times but, honestly, Felix has never thought their fathers would try something like this. And now, his closest friend was to be his future bedmate and Felix doesn’t quite know how he feels about this news. 

 

“I-I haven’t even presented yet!” Sylvain cries, suddenly shooting to his feet. His chair scrapes harshly against the tiled floor, making a terrible scraping noise that echoes with his shout. Felix can practically feel the panic rolling off of his friend in waves. “I-I could just be a beta! There’s no need to make any hasty decisions.” He says, giving a nervous laugh as he glances between his own father and Felix’s.

 

It’s Margrave’s turn to sigh at his son’s behavior and he gives Rodrigue an apologetic look. “Always for the dramatics, this one. Sit down, boy!” He growls and Sylvain practically collapses back in his chair. Felix bites his lip not liking the desperate look that's creeping into Sylvains eyes. 

 

Margrave takes a large gulp of his wine, gesturing to one of the servants to refill it before he continues on. “This arrangement is mutually beneficial to the future of our territories and our decision on it is final.” He says, like somehow Sylvain, and thereby extension Felix, will just accept that as an answer. But there’s no way they’re just going to happily follow along with something like this. 

 

“Dad-” Sylvain cuts a look over at Felix and quickly darts away. He presses himself closer to the table and pitches his voice low as if Felix won't be able to hear his next words if he does. “Dad you know I like girls. Felix is-”

 

Margrave cuts his son off with a loud snort. “Felix has the same set of genitalia all omegas have. I assure you, once the time comes to breed him you won’t care that he doesn’t have a nice pair of tits to hold onto.”

 

Felix feels his stomach twist sharply and he feels seconds away from puking all over the table. “I’m right here.” He grinds out through clenched teeth. He doesn’t want Margraves wrath focused on him again but he hates this man for talking about him like this. He’s not, nor will he ever be some alphas broodmare. 

 

Lord Gautier’s sharp eyes turn to him, looking both annoyed and amused by Felix. “I can see that.” He replies sardonically and a chill rolls up Felix’s spine as the alphas gaze trails over his body. “But what I can’t wait for is to see is you plump full of Gautier pups.” 

 

Yup, Felix is definitely going to be sick now. 

 

“Do not speak about my son in such a manner. He hasn’t even presented yet!” Rodrigue admonishes harshly, his eyes glaring daggers at the other alpha.  “And do not forget our agreement so readily, Lord Gautier.” He snaps. 

 

Margrave slowly turns his eyes away to meet Rodrigues. “I have not forgotten, Lord Fraldarius.” He says back, calmly reaching out to start helping himself to the cooling meal before him. “And I even coincide to many of your stipulations on this arrangement. But, personally, I believe there is no better a look on an omega than that of pregnancy. Such a shame my own was only able to handle two births.” He laments with a shake of his head. “And for only one of those to have a Crest too…”

 

Rodrigue continues to stare at Margrave for a moment before relaxing. It seems he is willing to drop his suspicions but Felix notes to himself to be mindful around Lord Gautier. Especially if he were to find himself alone with him. Felix doesn’t remember Margrave ever acting like this to him in the past but perhaps it was only a matter of time the closer he gets maturing.

“What ‘arrangement’ have you come up with?” He asks, keeping his voice as neutral as he possibly can. He needs to know just what exactly his dad sold him away for and also what to expect from his future. And did Margrave say he’d agreed to stipulations? How exactly had his dad worked that out when by all accounts Margrave is to be the one making the demands for his own son. 

 

“Felix,” Sylvain hisses beside him. “Why are you asking questions?” He murmurs before pitching his voice higher. “Come on, let’s… let's just eat…” he offers weakly. 

 

Felix bites his lip. He doesn’t like seeing Sylvain like this. So… So obviously put off by this whole situation. And Felix agrees, obviously, but Sylvain isn’t some random alpha. A fact which is stopping Felix from going into either a full on panic or temper tantrum. If he’s honest for a moment, he’s even... a bit relieved that it’s his friend, because he knows Sylvain and he knows if they get together they can find a way out of this crazy situation. 

 

And what is it that Sylvain is taking such offense to? Their fathers meddling? Him having to be forced to mate a male omega? Or is it, somehow, Felix himself that Sylvain takes an issue with? Felix doesn’t like that he doesn’t know what Sylvain’s answer would be if he were to ask him such a question…

 

“Yes, let us eat before the food gets cold.” Rodrigue announces, ignoring that Margrave has already made a decent heaping onto his own plate. “Felix load up your plate.” His father voices, making it sound less like the demand it is. He knows Felix well enough to know that he’s lost his appetite and will only be pushing his food around for the rest of the night.

 

Felix sighs, but grabs the closest dish to add the meat on it to his plate. He grabs a few other things, not much caring what he grabs, though he does make sure to grab he does make sure to grab a helping of the spicy bread treat he'd had from earlier.

 

"Margrave and I have been in talks of having the two of our houses join for a while. Even before Glenn…” His father falls silent for a moment before he continues on. “It’s been in the works for a while now, in fact. Though only recently have we managed to reach an agreement that is favorable.”

 

Sylvain snorts. “Favorable for who exactly?” he mutters under his breath, thought not quiet enough for Felix not to catch it.  He can’t help but think the same. Will this arrangement benefit them in any way or just purely their fathers?

 

“The term ‘marriage’ is perhaps a better term for this arrangement.” Rodrigue explains. “You’ll each spend your first heat and rut alone. After which we will join together to host a modest biting ceremony.”

 

A fairly standard practice, though modest doesn’t work very well for most nobility. Their definition of the term holds a very different meaning so Felix grimaces as he imagines the party that will be involved. A garish event filled with schmoozing nobles and copious amounts of alcohol. Felix will then have to stand in front of such people as he bares his neck for Sylvain to mark his claim. Once the bite takes place, Sylvains scent will mix with his own and signal to others that he is taken and belongs, not to himself, but to his alpha. 

 

But Sylvain is right, there is a very big possibility for him to still present as a beta. In which case, perhaps this whole thing will be called off. Sure, a beta can still bite and mark an omega, but the scent doesn’t mix in right and alphas have still challenged a beta for rights to their omega if they so please. Would a man like Margrave Gautier accept such a turn of events? Or would Sylvain be shunned like this older brother even despite his Crest?

 

“As for breeding…” Rodrique continues but he does pause enough for his face to contort slightly in distaste. “That ceremony will not happen until Felix is eighteen years of age. After the bite, both of you may be tempted to complete such an act but we urge you to tell us if you are to be requiring a chaperone.”

 

Felix can’t hold back the shock he feels and that is no doubt apparent on his face right now. To wait five years between the biting and the breeding ceremony is practically unheard of. Though, granted, even the most hard pressed noble will wait until their omega child is older before pushing for grandchildren. That’s honestly a relief to hear that he’ll have time to do… something before being forced to have children. 

 

“Believe me, that will not happen.” Sylvain says, his voice trying to sound stern and assuring but failing spectacularly. Instead, he just sounds angry and when Felix glances over he sees his friend is gripping onto the edge of the table so hard his knuckles are white. “Felix and I are friends. We don’t see each other as mates.”

 

Rodrigue gives an answering shrug. “That may change. Either after you mature into your status and find out you have compatible scents, or, perhaps, it may even change with time.”

 

“No.” Sylvain growls through gritted teeth. “Not happening.”

 

“Be quiet, boy.” Margrave commands, pointing his fork at his son before he stabs a large chunk of meat to bring it back to his plate. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking you have a choice. This is your duty to the Gautier legacy. Once you’re older you will understand what it means to do something for the good of your lineage.”

 

Sylvain shakes and his scent taints the air around him with his anger. Felix has rarely seen Sylvain this angry and, before now, he’d thought it an impossibility to be able to rattle the red haired teen into such a state. But, then again, the Gautier family always had their own special way of getting under Sylvain’s skin.

 

“We will all have time to speak of this in the future. I suspect it still might be quite some time before Felix has his heat” Rodrigue cuts in, perhaps noticing Sylvain is seconds away from doing something stupid like launch himself at his father. “For now, let us at least try and enjoy this meal among family and friends.”

 

The rest of dinner is quiet affair, the only sound being the clink of silverware on porcelain and the occasional polite conversations between the two elders at the table. Felix takes a few bites here and there but he can’t taste much of it. His thoughts keep spinning around in his head, and from the look of it, Sylvain wasn't doing much better beside him. Every action from the redhead is a bit stilted, like he is making a great effort not to throw everything in front of him at his father.

 

Felix finds himself missing his friends cheerful demeanor from earlier. He wants it back, even if only to get this blank look out of Sylvains eyes.

 

Eventually, the hour passes and Sylvain pushes from his chair. “Excuse me, I will be taking my leave now.” He says curtly, leaving the table quickly before anyone can complain. 

 

Felix’s heart lurches in his chest and he can’t stop the sense of dread that fills him. He’d mostly  assumed that their fathers would retire for the night and leave Sylvain and Felix to speak amongst themselves. Perhaps they’d even join together to try and think of a way out of this. But for Sylvain to just leave… means he’s much more upset about it than Felix thought. 

 

Which, sure Felix is upset too. Obviously he hates that they’re being forced into this mating, but there’s some comfort to be had in it being with a friend and not some random stranger. And with the separation of the biting ceremony and the… the breeding ceremony that just gives them more chances to find some way out. 

 

As the door to the dining hall closes, Felix turns to look at his dad, his mouth open to speak but Rodrigue gives him a sharp nod before Felix can get his words out. A brief moment of gratefulness at his dad washes over him before he shoves that feeling away. His dad’s momentary grant of his permission doesn’t forgive him for making such a decision without Felix’ consent. 

 

He pushes himself out of his chair and gives a polite nod to Margrave. “Please excuse me,” He says simply, and steps away before Lord Gautier, or his father, can give a response. He walks fast enough to clear a good distance without it seeming like he’s fleeing the room. Too bad it still feels like that’s what he’s doing.

 

He pushes open the door and glances either way to try and catch a glimpse of where Sylvain has gone. He spies a slight bit of moment off to his left and rushes over. “Sylvain!” He calls out, running to catch up to his friend. He’s heading to the east wing of the manor, probably to retire for the night in his usual guest quarters.

 

Felix turns the corner to see that Sylvain has stopped moving, just paused in the middle of the hallway with his back towards him. Felix swallows and walks a few more steps until he’s only a few more away from being able to fully reach his friend. He’s not sure what to say, and a few moments of silence settles between them while he searches for words.

 

“Why…” Sylvain starts before Felix can his voice choked with emotion. When he turns to face Felix his eyes are empty but also distinctly more wet then they should be. Like Sylvain might cry at any moment and Felix’s heart reaches out for his friend.

 

“Why what?” Felix asks back, reaching out to try to rest his hand on his friend's arm. But Sylvain takes a step out of reach. Felix tries not to take it personally.

 

“Why did you have to be an omega?” Sylvain whispers quietly, but it might as well have been shouted at him.

 

Felix feels his heart clinch in his chest and it’s his turn to take a step back. That question stings to his very core and Sylvain might as well have physically slapped him for how much it hurts. Sylvain has never once cared that two of his closest friends were omegas, nor has he ever asked such a question. 

 

"I- this isn't my fault!" He cries, voice pitched high and his hands balling into fists by his side. "I had nothing to do with this dumb plan!" How- how dare Sylvain try and make this his fault just because he was born an omega. "Why couldn't you have been born an omega?" He snarls out in his aggression. If they’d both been born the same status then there’d be no need for their fathers’ asinine arrangement. Even as two betas they would be able to choose their own mates instead of having to go through with this. But it's no more Felix’s fault for being an omega than it is for Sylvain to not having been one either. 

 

Sylvains face contorts in misery and he heaves a sigh, bringing up a hand to rub his face. "I didn't… I don't…" he shakes his head and looks away from Felix to stare at the darkened window. The two of them casting a dark reflection on the glass in the low torch light. "I'm sorry Felix. I-I shouldn't have said that."

 

"No, you shouldn't have." Felix snaps. "I don't know why our father's came up with this crazy plan but we could-"

 

"I'm sorry Felix," Sylvain cuts him off though Felix isn't exactly sure his words had been heard very well in the first place. "I know this isn't your fault. I know that I just… I just kind of want to be alone right now." 

 

Felix softens a bit. Sylvain looks truly miserable, his face slowly losing its color and his normally bright eyes have gone dark. It’s so unusual to see Sylvain like this; unsure and off kilter. "Alright,” he says softly, casting a worried look over his friend. “I-I'll see you tomorrow, ok? Just try to get some rest tonight."

 

Sylvain gives him a smile that doesn't reach his eyes. "Yeah, sure thing." He reaches out and gives an awkward pat to Felix's shoulder, before jerking his hand back like he hadn’t meant to touch Felix in the first place. "We'll talk more about this tomorrow." 

 

Felix frowns and watches Sylvain walk away. HIs chest hurts and he’s not entirely sure why he’s filled with trepidation. First thing tomorrow, he’ll get with Sylvain to work through whatever is going on in his head. Even if Felix isn’t want Sylvain would ever want in a mate, surely their friendship can survive and pull them through this.

 

With nothing else to do, he turns around and heads to his room for the night.

 

---------

 

A few hours later, the door to Lord Rodrigue’s office slams open and Felix storms in.

 

He’d honestly meant to stay in his room for the entire night, content enough to try and get some sleep after his not-talk with Sylvain. But the more he thinks about what happened at dinner the angrier he gets. He needs answers from his father regardless of the consequences that might come about.

 

Felix hadn't even been too sure his father would retire to his study instead of his personal quarters. But it feels good to let out this bit of anger in a way he's never really gotten to before. Glenn had always been the one for physical tantrums when he was mad and honestly Felix is starting to see the appeal.

 

His father glances up from his paperwork as the door slammed closed behind his child. Rodrigue takes in the look on Felix’s face and sets his quill down, no doubt figuring this could very well turn into a long night.

 

“What the hell are you playing at old man?” Felix growls, practically shaking in rage as he advances towards the centralized desk. “I am not going through with this. A mating? Between me and Sylvain? Have you lost your mind?!”

 

He’s not even sure if he’s protesting because he’s being forced to mate with Sylvain or because it seems like Sylvain has such an issue with it. It’s not that he’s exactly jumping at this chance, especially since if it were up to him he’d probably never get mated or married. But Sylvain’s vehement opposition hits him strangely.  

 

Rodrigue sighs, an annoyed look taking over his face. “Felix-" he begins but Felix is not yet ready to cease his rant.

 

"What? The first suitor comes along and all your talk about making me heir just flies out the window? You can't even keep a promise to your own son?" He snarls. 

 

He can see the same anger rising in his Father. "Felix." His father's tone takes on a warning growl. Rodrigue is an intimidating man but he's no Margrave Gautier and Felix will not be so easily cowed by his own father.

 

He knows his father's temperament perhaps better than anyone, and while Rodrigue might yell and snarl at him, he'd never once been physically violent. Which is not something he can say about Margrave. As far as Felix knows Sylvain has never been struck by his father but Miklan received more than enough abuse for Felix to be wary.

 

"Is this your way of punishing me for 'not dying instead of Glenn?'" Felix asks voice pitched low but he might as well have shouted his father's words back at him. It's a low blow, Felix knows but no worse than hearing such words coming from your own father. And despite his father later telling him he’d been drunk when he’d said such a thing, Felix finds there is always some grain of truth to statements like that.

 

"That's enough!" His father yells, lurching to his feet and slams his hands onto his table. A low rumble builds in his father’s throat as Rodrigues anger comes out full force, his large Alpha fangs extending. Felix growls back in defiance but the next hit of his father’s fist to the table has him flinching. 

 

 " Back down. " Rodrigue snarls, voice sending a chill up Felix’s spine. He hates when his father uses his alpha voice but there’s nothing he can do about it now. He averts his gaze from his father’s and tilts his head down. Not quite baring his throat but it’s enough of a submissive gesture that Rodrigue’s growling rumble starts to taper off. “ And sit down.”

 

Felix feels the alpha command wash over him, compelling him to act. He collapses into one of the chairs by the desk and glares at the table in front of him. He grits his teeth and waits through his own anger for his father to calm down.

 

His father remains on his feet, and Felix hears him taking in deep breaths. After a moment, Rodrigue sits back down in his chair and Felix feels his eyes on him. 

 

A terse silence fills the room until Rodrigue takes a final deep breath. “I told you I didn’t mean what I said to you that night.” He states, leaning forward to clasp his hands together on top of his table. “And no, this is not a punishment and I did not just ‘sell you off’ to the first suitor.”

 

Felix snorts, and presses his back up against the chair folding his arms across his chest. He probably looks childish like he’s pouting for being yelled at by his dad but he wants to feel petulant. Even more so he wants for this nightmare of a night to end. 

 

Rodrigue shoots him a dirty glare but continues on. “If you’d stop being so emotional about all of this, I’m sure you’d be able to see how fortuitous this can be. And despite what you may think, you’re in popular demand. The Gautier family is far from the first to try and strike a deal with me for you.”

 

Felix blinks, his anger slowly being replaced by shock. There’d been more people after him? Rodrigue had certainly never mentioned as much nor had he seen any nobles snooping around the manor. But, perhaps his dad is just telling him things to get him to calm down. Or, rather, to take this decision lying down. He’s not quite sure that’s not something his father would try to pull.

 

“Not only are you a Fraldarius omega, you also happen to carry a major Crest. Something you very well know is becoming more and more of a rarity nowadays. I have received many letters and requests to marry you off to some-such noble but I have held off as long as I could to give you a childhood most omegas are only ever able to dream of. I even rejected King Lambert’s proposal of mating you off to Dimitri.”

 

Felix grimaces at the thought of being mated to Dimitri. He’s really glad his father didn’t go through with that one. While he’d known Dimitri just as long as he’d known Sylvain, he was definitely closer to the red head than he was to the prince. Something that isn’t helping him decipher his conflicting thoughts on the matter of if he’s already with being mated to Sylvain or not. In theory, either of his friends should sound just as appealing (or unappealing) to him as the other did. 

 

But the thought of going through this with Dimitri sound absolutely unbearable. With Sylvain… it’s decidedly less so. 

 

Felix bites his lip and moves his eyes away from his father. “Why… Why now then. If you did all that to protect me like you say, then why into the Gautier family? I know you’ve heard the rumors about Margrave Gautier…” 

 

Rodrigue nods. “I have heard, which is why you’re to be mated to his son and not to him.” Rodrigue sighs and shakes head. “He did ask for you for himself but I rejected that outright. But, honestly, I’m a bit surprised by your reluctance about being with Sylvain, I’d have thought you’d be able to see the benefits of mating with someone you know.”

 

“I-I do but Sylvain doesn’t like me or males in that-that way.” Felix says, sinking further into the chair. Felix isn’t even sure if he likes other males that way himself, though no girl has ever caught his attention either… At least not in the way Sylvain always seemed to be captivated by them. 

 

“Maybe not.” His father agrees. “But he does care about you, which is a lot more than some stranger will. And, while it might not be what you want; a political mating such as this is far from out of the ordinary. In a lot of ways you are very lucky from most omegas.”

 

And deep down Felix knows he is. He knows he’s never experienced any hardships a lot have or are already going through. But a lot of that comes from him not having had his heat yet, or so he thought. Maybe his father had done a lot more for him than he gives him credit for?

“I remember how hard mating young was on your mother and I have never wanted such a fate for you.” Rodrigue tells him, and his voice sound genuine enough. “I know you and I have never seen eye-to-eye but, out of anything, I hope that you believe that. And I believe, despite some of his misgivings regarding his penchant for womanizing, that Sylvain will be good to you. And even more so you can be good for each other.”

 

Felix bites his lip and brings his hand up to chew on his fingernails. “I don’t…” He pauses, not exactly sure what he wants to say, or even how to say it. “Did you… did you love mom when you bonded?” That’s not… exactly what he’d meant to ask and he feels a bit frustrated. ‘

 

He barely remembers his mother. He only has a few memories of her before she passed away but he does have fond memories of seeing her and Rodrigue’s obvious affection for each other. He supposes with his question he’ll get an answer of it their love was always there or if it grew into something more over the years. 

 

Rodrigue glances away for a moment before he stands up and moves to one of bookshelves lining the side of the room. “I did not.” he admits, so quietly that Felix barely catches his words. He steps away and while his eyes remain on the bookshelves as if he’s looking for something, Felix can tell his father is pacing. “In fact, I resented her in the beginning. I had also been forced by my parents to bond but to some girl I didn’t know. There are many actions of mine that I regret in our early bonding but I did grow to love her.”

 

He turns and starts to walk back towards his desk and this time he rests his weight on the edge of his desk. His eyes meet Felix’s as he begins to speak again. “I made a promise to myself the night she gave birth to Glenn. And I’m hoping to see that promise fulfilled with you and Sylvain.”

 

Felix frowns. He'd honestly hadn't expected most of this conversation from his dad. And this is probably the longest they've spoken to each other since Glenn's death.

 

"You're Crest is quite a prize for someone like Margrave Gautier even if just by the extension of his son. And in such a situation, I realized that we could take advantage of that to get him to agree to things he’d never originally agree to.”

 

He remembers wondering about the 'stipulations' Margrave had mentioned, but Felix can’t figure out what Rodrigue would ask that Lord Gautier could have any objection to. The two Lords had been friends since their teen years and it’s hard to think of something they don’t agree too well on. “Such as?”

 

“Such as,” Rodrigue says, a smirk beginning to tug at his lips. “Getting him to agree for me to name you heir and to let you join Sylvain when he goes to Garrag Mach.”

 

Felix sits up in his chair, staring at his father with wide eyes. “What?! But you said you didn’t want me to go!” He probably shouldn’t be looking this gift horse in it’s mouth, but why must his father always first crush his hopes than bring them back like this? And if he’d been in the works for Felix to actually go, than why not just say something about it in the first place?

 

“I didn’t, not when you first asked. I assumed it was some passing fancy.” Yes, because he’s so prone to those Felix thinks with a roll of his eyes. “But I gave it more thought and, well, how harmful could it be? The most you’ll experience there are some mock battles amongst your classmates. It’ll give you some experience and an education on militant matter should you, in the future, require it.

 

“So, I reached out to Margrave with my demands for you to wait until you’re older to breed and you’re request to get into the Church’s military program should be taken into account. He came back with his own, quite reasonable, demand and he came here to sign the paperwork for it.”

 

Felix frowns. “And what was his demand?” He asks. He doubts it’ll be as ‘quite reasonable’ to him as it is his father, but he wants to know now. Better to get whatever it is out in the open before it complicates things any further. 

 

Rodrigue shifts slightly, almost becoming nervous like he hadn’t expected Felix to ask such a thing. “It’s a very acceptable demand, Felix.” He begins and already Felix hates what he’s going to say next. “And likely a very simple one to fulfil when the time comes for it.”

 

“What is it?” He growls lowly, rising from his chair to be on a more equal level with his father. 

 

“When the time for your breeding comes, you will produce as many children as it takes until one of them bears a Crest.”

 

Felix feels the color drain from his face. He knew, like every omega does, that there’s rarely every an option for him to not have children. But to hear that he’ll be… forced into any number of pregnancies sickens him. He staggers away from his father, no longer wanting to be here in this room or anywhere near a man who would do something like this to his own child.

 

“That’s… That’s a fucking roll of the dice!” He says, voice going higher and higher. “I could be popping out kids until the day I die!” 

 

Rodrigue heaves a sigh and shakes his head. “Come now, Felix, it’ll hardly come to that. Most are able to produce a Crest bearing child by, at most, their fifth child. And if you’re lucky your first child could very well be the only one you’ll ever have to have.”

 

The words his father speaks to him make his stomach roll and he knows he’s just seconds away from being sick all over his father’s plush, expensive rug. While Felix knows he has all the functional parts to get pregnant, he’d never of it having to happen to him. He’s imagining it now though; his future. Bound in a political marriage with a mate who only deals with him during his heats to ensure the alpha’s seed takes. He’d be only good for as long as he’s still fertile and then his mate can dispose of him after such a time period. 

 

He pictures a grown up Sylvain in the role of his mate and his eyes begin to well up with tears. He doesn’t want their friendship ruined like that but he already knows something has changed between them.

 

“I-I don’t…” He swallows, voice tight and he’s seconds away from sobbing. “I won’t! I’ll run away!” He exclaims, but there’s no heat or threat behind it. He’s simply grasping at straws.

 

“And where would you go?” Rodrigue questions, looking his son over warily. “There’s no work to be found for a noble omega that doesn’t end with you flat on your back in the same situation you’d be in here.”

 

Gods , he’s right… He has next to no skills to be of any type of use in a business somewhere, and he’d have no one willing to train him either. And with no way of knowing when his heat will finally hit he’d be an easy target for any unknown scumbag of an alpha. At least here he’d have access to a reliable heat house to spend it when he finally matures. 

 

But, with the exception of the biting ceremony, he’d have close to five years to figure something out. He’ll… there just has to be some skill or practice he can build up in that amount of time. Maybe running away now is a gloriously bad idea, but what if after he was done honing that skill he could- 

 

It hits him so suddenly he’s surprised it doesn’t physically bowl him over. He knows exactly what he can do and he gives out a startled laugh at how simple it all will be.

 

Rodrigue arches an eyebrow at his son. “What’s so funny?” He asks intrigued by his son’s change of attitude.

 

Felix meet his father’s eyes dead on. “Alright. I’ll accept.” He says, ignoring his father’s question.

 

He’s going to have to go along with what his father wants - for now. Because, at the moment, both his father’s and his own plan line up perfectly. There’s only one skill he needs to get good at. To be the best at. So that no one will ever even think to question if he can go out on his own or not. And Rodrigue has been so generous in starting him on that path just a few short months ago. 

 

So, he’ll stick around.

 

He’ll stick through the biting ceremony and he’ll get into Garrag Mach where he’ll spend all his days studying. 

 

He’ll perfect the skill of the blade until he can cut his own path to the freedom he desires. 

 

Chapter Text

Felix wakes up late the next morning, still feeling tired and groggy. He wants nothing more than to roll back over and fall back to sleep. He’d gotten back from his father’s office late at night, but he’s laid in bed for even longer tossing back and forth. Sleep hadn’t come easy for him that night.

 

He’d wanted to kick start his new plan after he’d left his father, but short of banging on his trainer's door, he’d had to wait until today to do anything. His determination seems to have waned a little with his sleep, leaving him just wanting to stay under the covers. But he hates just lazing around doing nothing, so with a huff, he pushes the blankets off of his head and forces himself to sit up.

 

The sun sits high enough in the sky to paint his room in bright streams of sunlight. Felix rubs the sleep out of his eyes and squints out of the window. Judging by the position of the sun, he’s slept a lot longer than he’d thought. He does wonder why his father hadn’t sent any of the servants to come wake him, but maybe Rodrigue somehow knew Felix needed the sleep. 

 

Felix gives a snort at that thought. Of all the things for Rodrigue to catch on that Felix needed and it’s about his sleep. With a shake of his head, Felix pulls his legs over the edge of the bed and places his feet onto the cold floor. He takes a moment to stretch out his arms and back, before standing up and moving on to stretching out his legs. It’s a habit he’s built from the first time he’d started sword training and woken up too sore to move the next day. He usually stretches before he goes to bed, but with the craziness from yesterday, he’d all but collapsed onto his bed last night. 

 

Once his muscles feel more limber, he reaches out for the leather stip he favors when tying his hair up. He runs his fingers through his dark strands to gather it up and tie it back with only a few strands falling loose around his face. He briefly thinks about cutting it as an act of defiance, but that thought feels childish. Not to mention he’d probably look strange with short hair - a more alpha worn style. 

 

A growl rumbles from his stomach reminds him that he’d only poked at his dinner last night. Another glance outside confirms that it’s close to midday; the usual time for the servants to start setting up the dining hall for lunch. But Felix doesn’t want another repeat of last night where he’s almost guaranteed to lose his appetite again and he’d rather not deal with his father or Margrave at any point today. Which, unfortunately, means he’ll also delay checking in on how Sylvain is still handling this news.

 

He goes through the rest of his process of getting ready in the morning, pulling his clothes for the day out of his closet to drape them over his bed. He figures he can put off his bath until either tonight or the next morning as he’s too hungry to bother today.

 

He dresses quickly then crosses over to his bedroom door and steps out into the hallway. It’s mostly empty with only a few cleaning maids dusting the many portraits and paintings lining the walls. Felix has always hated seeing the faces of his ancestors. Glenn, like any self-respecting older brother, had once told him their predecessors were judging him for being born an omega through their paintings and he’s never quite managed to shake such nonsense from his thoughts. If there is an afterlife where his late family is looking down on him from, he can just imagine their reactions when he leaves the family entirely. At least the Fraldarius name can continue on from Rodrigue’s brother and his children.

 

Felix moves past the paintings, pausing only at the one with his mother in it before he continues on. It takes him a good few minutes to wind his way through the manor but soon enough he finds himself in the kitchen. He doesn’t spy Loreia, though she’s probably busy serving food to Lord Fraldarius and the Gautier guests. In fact, the kitchen is fairly empty, much to his disappointment. There’s not much he can scavenge except for some bread, cheese, and a few pieces of fruit. It’ll have to do for now. 

 

Eating in the kitchen feels strange after he’s been eating in the dining hall for all his life. But it’s quiet here without hearing the usual hum of conversation or - more recently - the silence oppression with it being only Felix and Rodrigue left to eat with each other. In here, though, he finds he’s able to relax and have a moment to himself. 

 

The door from the kitchen to the dining hall opens and Felix looks up in time to see Loreia push open the door followed by a younger servant. Neither of them seem to have noticed Felix leaning against one of the counters.

 

“Can you believe the nerve of that man?” Loreia fumes to her companion. “Rushing off so soon after announcing something like that. The boys need time together! They don’t need to be apart at a time like this.”

 

“I heard Gautier’s eldest son is causing trouble,” The other servant gossips. “And that’s why he and the young Lord are heading back so soon.”

 

Felix blinks and steps away from the counter. “Sylvain is leaving?” He asks, heart pounding in his chest. He curses himself for sleeping in late and not joining in on lunch in the dining hall. 

 

Loreia gasps, a hand going up to her chest and a startled look on her face. “F-Felix! Don’t startle me like that!” 

 

He takes another step forward, discarding his half-eaten apple onto the counter beside him. “Sylvain is leaving?!” He asks again. He will feel bad for not apologizing to her later; for now, he can’t focus on anything but his friend leaving.

 

“Lord Gautier just announced he and his son were to return back to their manor,” The other servant - Bethany, he thinks her name is - tells him. “Some of the others are drawing his carriage right now while the Lords wait in the foyer.”

 

He’s shoving past them before he’s even fully aware that he’s moved and he’s out the door. He hears Loreia call out for him but he pays her no mind as he keeps moving. Why would the Gautier’s be leaving so soon? Surely, even if it is Miklan causing a fuss, Sylvain would be allowed to stay before having to return. Or does Margrave think that it doesn’t matter if Felix and Sylvain get a chance to talk now that he’s gotten what he’d wanted?

 

It takes him a bit to make it to the foyer, and while he’s moving fast he’s not outright running. He’s not even sure what he hopes to accomplish as there’s certainly no real time to talk to Sylvain in any type of depth in this short amount of time. But he needs to know that nothing has changed between them at least. 

 

He pauses briefly in the entryway to the foyer and sees Rodrigue and Margrave chatting amicably amongst themselves by the front door. Sylvain hangs back a bit further by the stairs and, as Felix watches, his friends head will tilt enough for him to glance up to the second floor like he’s waiting for something. Or, more likely, someone. And knowing Sylvain, he's probably trying to catch sight of some girl who's caught his eye.

 

Felix steps into the foyer and Sylvain's brown eyes move to the top of the stairs to settle on him. Sylvain visibly peeks up, his shoulders drawing up from their slump and while a bright smile pulls at his lips, Felix can see it doesn't quite reach his eyes. The redhead steps forward and they meet each other halfway.

 

Felix crosses his arms over his chest, feeling weirdly exposed being this close to Sylvain after yesterday. "Were you just going to leave without saying goodbye?" He questions roughly, settling his gaze around Sylvain's shoulder so he can read enough of his facial expression without staring at him directly. 

 

Sylvain huffs a short laugh. “I really wasn’t expecting to have to leave so soon.” He says, moving to settle his hands on his hips. “It doesn’t really help that you’ve been hiding in your room all day.” 

 

Felix’s eyes snap to Sylvain's as he sends him a glare. “I have not been hiding.” He sneers. Just because he’d been avoiding them doesn’t mean he’d been hiding per say… 

 

He watches as the corners of Sylvain's lips shift to a teasing smirk and feels himself relaxing a little. Sylvain’s expression is slowly becoming more genuine, the tension around his eyes slowly lifting. Perhaps things between them don’t have to change drastically with this arrangement. At least for now with neither of them having matured into their status they can still be friends. 

 

But could they? Felix’s new long term goal seems counterproductive to both keeping friends or making new ones. But how could he just up and leave one day without telling Sylvain about it? And how would he even begin to say anything about it to his friend? They’ve both been born into certain responsibilities that come with nobility and it’s practically unheard of for someone to just up and abandon their duty. And, maybe, if life were fair Felix would never be seriously considering something like this. 

 

“I’m just joking,” Sylvain says. “I know you were probably busy with your sword practice or something. It does kind of suck that we didn’t get to spend much time with each other though…” He trails off for a moment, running a hand through his hair. When he speaks again his voice is much softer. “Maybe next time we’ll have more of a chance to hang out…”

 

Felix bites his lip. As much as he wants to jump at the chance to spend more time with his friend, maybe it’s best if he doesn’t get more attached than he already is. It will certainly hurt him to leave his friends behind one day, but he’ll have to figure out a way for them to at least not try looking for him when he does leave. 

 

He fakes a snort and turns his head away from Sylvain. “And hear you bleat on about some nonsense? No, thank you.” He says harshly, ignoring the dipping in his stomach when he catches a glimpse of  Sylvain’s features. “I have better things to focus on right now.”

 

Sylvain folds his arms over his chest, mirroring Felix’s closed off pose. “Oh?" He questions, his voice lilting a little with fake Intrigue. "And what could that be?"

 

 "I've got my sword practice," Felix says, going with the easiest answer. "Now that I've got your father's permission, I might as well get serious about it."

 

Sylvain's face closes off even further at the mention of his father and the air around him scents with anger. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to try pushing his friend away now. Sylvain’s already been acting strange since the announcement, and what would have normally had him coming back with some witty remark seems to have him on edge. 

 

“Come now, boys.” The voice of Margrave Gautier startles them both. They turn to see that both of their fathers are walking towards them. “Play nice you two. After all, you’ll be spending the rest of your lives together. Save the fighting for after the honeymoon phase.”

 

Felix forces himself not to react harshly to those words, and by the looks of it, Sylvain is in a similar state. Judging by Lord Gautier’s expression he’d said it to get a rise out of both of them and he only looks even more amused when neither of them rise to the bait. 

 

“Say your goodbyes to Sylvain, Felix.” Rodrigue cuts in, seemingly not taking any notices to the exchange between the other three in the room. “Due to some unfortunate circumstances, it seems they will be gone for quite a while. I imagine the next time you see each other will be for your biting ceremony.”  

 

Felix doesn’t like how vague that time frame is but he’s certainly not going to wish for his heat just to see Sylvain again. He gives a glance over at the redhead to see that he’s gone from angry to a neutral expression. “Goodbye, Sylvain.” He says simply, not wanting to say anything further in their father’s company. 

 

Sylvain shifts his gaze back to Felix and he gives a nod. “Goodbye, Felix.” He says cordially. “I’ll write to you with information on Ingrid concerning what we talked about last night.” A vague answer enough, but it serves its purpose in reminding Felix that they had planned to convince Ingrid to join them at Garreg Mach. At least he’ll get to spend one good year will all of them before he leaves. 

 

“I look forward to your correspondence.” Felix replies and the added formality gets him an odd look from his father that he ignores. 

 

The sound of hooves on cobblestone through the front door alerts them to the arrival of the carriage. Margrave perks up at the sound and claps his hands together to gather all attention to him. “Well, my friend, it seems it is time for us to part.” He gives Rodrigue a pat on his shoulder and begins to move to the front as two servants rush to open the doors for him. “Let’s go, Sylvain.”

 

Syvlain takes a step after his father but he pauses for a moment to glance back at Felix. Felix meets his eyes for a moment, trying to decipher the odd look that has appeared in his friends' eyes. But before he can, Sylvain is turning away and heading out the door.

 

Rodrigue puts a hand on the back of Felix's shoulder and applies just enough pressure to get Felix into moving. The only polite thing to do is to see the carriage off until it disappears into the treeline, so Felix only shakes off his father's hand in protest before stepping out of the front door.

 

It's chilly outside and he can't help the shiver that rolls through his body. He's dressed more for the indoors and while it's practically always cold in Faerghus, today seems especially so. He can't help fold his arms over his chest to try and stave off some of the cold. Thankfully, once the carriage gets rolling it's only a few minutes until it's out of sight and Felix can go back indoors.

 

Rodrigue settles into place beside him and gives a polite wave to Margrave as the Lord settles into the carriage. "Safe travels, my friend." He calls out moments before a servant to house Gautier closes the carriage doors behind Sylvain. It takes but a moment for them to secure the luggage and the driver to settle before they're off with a whip of the reins.

 

Another shiver has Felix rubbing his hands along the fabric of his sleeves to try and apply any friction for him to warm up a little. "Why are they leaving so quickly?" He asks his father, his voice projecting a fine mist into the brisk air. "Surely they'd meant to stay longer?" 

 

Margrave Gautier is a strange man sometimes so maybe a few days travel is nothing to him when he can be ensured a reward. But even a man like that would have most certainly enjoyed a few more days rest at a friends place? 

 

Rodrigue glances over at him, and his mouth thins. He's dressed more appropriately for the weather, his travel cape billowing slightly in the wind. Felix is moderately jealous. "Early this morning Lord Gautier received some grim news from the border and was needed back immediately," Rodrigue says after a brief moment of silence.

 

The entire country of Faerghus was up in arms over what happened in Duscur. It’s only a matter of time before Faerghus strikes against the territory and any activity along the border is being closely monitored. After months of stalemate, it seems the people of Duscur have taken advantage of the closest Lord being away from their manor. Felix is kind of glad that Margrave had to be called away so soon, even if he’s taking Sylvain with him. 

 

The carriage carrying the Lord and his heir disappears behind the trees and Felix makes his escape back inside. He’s glad to be back in what little warmth is still in the halls, though he hates the tingling sensation that’s creeping back into his fingers. Rodrigue follows in after him and closes the door, leaving them with only silence between them. 

 

Felix glances over at his father for a moment before he comes to the conclusion that he really doesn’t want to talk to his father right now. Not an entirely new realization, but enough to make him start making his way out of the foyer. And, with little surprise, his father doesn’t bother to call him back. It seems things are going back to normal in the Fraldarius household. 

 

Felix contemplates stopping by the training room first, but he decides to see if Loreia might cook him a decent meal to tide him over until dinner. Making his way back to the kitchen doesn’t seem to take nearly as long as it had earlier and before he knows it he’s pushing open the door and letting himself inside. 

 

Loreia is puttering around the large washing station, scrubbing a few plates that had been cleaned up from lunch. She looks up when the door closes behind him and gives him a wary once over. “You going to be making a habit of being in my kitchen? At least clean up after yourself if you are.”

 

He frowns at her words before he remembers that he’d all but thrown his small snack on the counter earlier. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?” He questions, hoping it comes off more good-natured than how the words sound. 

 

To her credit, Loreia merely rolls her eyes and huffs out a small laugh. “And I don’t need you to be making it any harder on me!” She turns back to set a plate on a drying mat beside her. “Now, what can I help you with?”

 

He shifts on his feet slightly, and while he hates to bother her during her chores he really needs to eat something today. “Can you make me something? I’ll take over washing some of the plates?” He offers, like that might tempt her into agreeing. 

 

“I’m not entirely sure you know how to, young Lord.” She teases before making her way across the kitchen to begin gathering ingredients. “I’ll make you a sandwich. I wish I had more time to make you something else, Seiros knows you need some meat on your bones.” 

 

Felix grimaces at her comment, but it’s nothing he hasn’t heard before. He knows he’s a lot slimmer than most his age and definitely not as filled out in the hips as omegas are supposed to be. And despite the fact that Felix can pack away quite a bit of food when he wants to, none of it ever seems to stick. “A sandwich is fine.” He comments, coming over to watch her fix his food. He should probably pick up some basic cooking skills, but that can come later when he feels the want-to to actually learn. 

 

Loreia cuts up some bread before she starts in on cutting some pre-cooked meat and a few other embellishments for the meal. She makes it perfectly just how he likes it, even pressing down on the bread to mash it a bit flatter for him. It’s something he’s done since he was a child, for no other reason than he thinks it tastes better like that, so to see that she remembered was a bit touching. She hands over the sandwich to him and he gives her a slight smile. 

 

“There you go, dear.” She says, moving back over to her position by the sink. “Eat up and then be gone from here. I have a lot of work to do you know.” She begins to hum a small tune as she works, leaving Felix to eat in peace.

 

Felix practically inhales the sandwich with how hungry he is, but even for such a simple meal, it tastes amazing. He finishes it in record time and dusts his fingers off from any remaining traces of bread crumbs. With his belly full he gives Loreia a grateful voice of thanks as he exits the kitchen once more. After a few hours of dalliances, it is now time for him to begin getting serious about his training.

 

Except he also has to convince his trainer of the same thing. Which may be quite a difficult task, unfortunately. 

 

Cael Paradis is a harsh teacher, though Felix knows he’s been considerably lax around Felix. Cael trains any new soldiers coming to the Fraldarius territory and Felix has heard more than a few rumors about his disdain for omegas. A viewpoint he can’t exactly state in front of - or around - Felix without fear of losing his job if Rodrigue to find out he was being untoward. 

 

Felix could ask for another trainer if he really felt like it, but under the knight's tutelage, the Fraldarius soldiers are some of Faerghus’s fiercest warriors. Cael has proven time and again to be a good teacher with any alpha and beta that he trains. And if Felix could only convince him to take training him just as seriously, there’s no doubt in his mind that he’d be infinitely better off than if he’d gone to someone else. 

 

Felix heads towards the training room. With it being around midday he’s hoping to catch Cael in his office. He doesn’t want to have to search the barracks but he will if he has too, but here seems a good a place as any to start his search.

 

The door to the office beside the training room is closed so he gives a loud, clear knock. Barging in will only make the alpha irritated and Felix doesn’t want to start this off on the wrong foot. He’s already at a disadvantage. 

 

“Enter.” A gruff voice commands behind the door and Felix takes a moment to be glad in his assumptions. He pushes open the door and takes in the sight before him.

 

Cael is a large man, though not nearly as impressive as Margrave Gautier. He’s broad in the shoulders and he’s one solid line of muscle. He’s also currently sitting with his chair tilted back on two legs and his boots perched on his table for balance; a book cradled in his large hand. The man is fairly intelligent but for some reason Felix finds himself thinking if Cael might just be admiring any pictures the book might have, instead of actually reading it. He just doesn’t seem the academic type. 

 

Pale eyes snap up to look him over and a frown tugs at the alphas lips. Cael turns his eyes away from Felix and licks his finger to turn to the next page of the book. “Can I help you?” He asks, voice still gruff but carefully neutral.

 

Felix steps forward, keeping the door behind him open in case he needs to make an escape. He doesn’t think Cael will try anything or react particularly violently, but there is a healthy survival instinct in being wary of alphas. 

 

“Train me.” He commands, then internally winces. That was wrong, but then again there’s no other way to go about this that Cael might actually take him seriously.

 

“Our next session isn’t until tomorrow. Come back then.” The older man says with disinterest, eyes still trained on his book. The air around him doesn’t scent with anger so Felix is still in the clear for now.

 

“I want you to take training me more seriously. So, train me, now.” Felix says, crossing his arms over his chest.

 

Cael purses his lips and gives Felix a cold look. “Listen, kid, go be bored somewhere else.” He says, moving a hand up to wave it in a shoo-ing motion. And, ok, maybe the one to get angry is going to be Felix. He can feel the anger simmering in his chest. “Go on, now. Get.”

 

“I’m serious.” Felix can’t help but growl out. “I’m not simply bored or looking for a new hobby to entertain myself with! I want to learn everything I can about sword fighting.” He clenches his hands by his side, trying to stop himself from shaking with anger. 

 

Cael frowns and stares at him for a moment before he sweeps his feet off of the table and leans forward. He places his book beside him on the table and rests his elbows on the table to join his hands together. “That’s hardly something an omega noble like yourself needs to learn. I’m already teaching you the basics, for some reason, what more do you want?” he scoffs slightly and shakes his head. “I’m not going to lose my job because you can’t keep up and you get hurt.”

 

“I won’t,” Felix says, emphasizing the words as much as he can. “I’ll train even harder than all your other students before.”

 

“That’s what they all say.” Cael signs, and leans back into his chair once more. A frown crosses his face and he takes a moment to ponder something over. “Say I were to train you, what do I get out of this?”

 

Felix frowns and takes a moment to find the best answer that Cael would jump all over. “Bragging rights.” He settles on, easily enough. Alphas always want something to brag about to others. A constant stream of one-upmanship that comes along with an innate sense of competition. 

 

Cael looks a bit startled, a surprised laugh escaping him. “Bragging rights?! What bragging rights?” He gives a throaty laugh, but Felix can tell he’s interested in hearing what else he has to say.

 

“Not only will I become your best student; it’s not every day you get to train someone with a Crest, let alone a major one,” Felix explains. While he personally doesn’t hold much stock over the importance of Crests, he’s by far a minority in that aspect. “Train me like you would any other alpha or beta, and I will become the best. And who else possibly gets to say they’ve successfully trained an omega in the art of combat?”

 

“And when you fail?” 

 

When. Not an if.

 

But Felix thinks he’s close to accepting so he squares his shoulders and glares down at his trainer. “I won’t,” he says simply with as much conviction as he can muster. 

 

A silence spreads through the room for a moment, as the two occupants of the room stare each other down. Felix feels himself getting a bit antsy from such prolonged eye contact but before he can break his eyes away Cael does it for him.

 

In the form of a big-bellied laugh. Cael practically howls in laughter, cradling his stomach and tossing his head back. Felix frowns, his irritated feeling from earlier creeping back in. He doesn’t much like the fact that his trainer is laughing at him…

 

Cael reaches a hand up to wipe at his eyes, where some moisture had collected in his fit of laughter. “I like your spunk, kid.” He says with a shake of his head. “Alright, I’ll humor you. But I will not hold back on you, so anytime you want to complain about something just remember you asked for this.”

 

Felix feels himself relax in relief. He’s immensely glad that Cael’s agreeing to this so easily. “I’m not going to complain.”

 

“Good. We’ll start first thing tomorrow morning. If you’re not here by sunrise, I’ll take that as you chickening out.” Ceal says with an almost wicked grin. “You’d do well to prove me wrong.”

Chapter Text

Felix throws himself headfirst into his training. 

 

Most mornings he wakes with the sun to run the grounds of the manor alongside Cael. The cold air is harsh on both his lungs and skin until he grows heated from the exercise, where it then starts to feel good. The first day Cael implements his training regiment, Felix could barely keep up. He grows frustrated easily about having to stop to catch his breath every few minutes. But he knew that Cael was setting him up for failure so he had forced himself to push through the burn in his lungs and muscles to complete a full lap around the estate. 

 

He remembers practically collapsing onto the ground afterward, his chest heaving as he gasps in the cold air. Cael had stood near him, nowhere near as out of breath and Felix kind of hates that the alpha is unphased by an almost hour-long run. 

 

Now, a few Moons later, he’s able to keep up for almost the entire run, though he still is struggling for breath by the end of it. Thankfully, even at the start of training, Cael has never been one to yell at him for struggling or for falling behind a bit. He’d once stated that as a beginner he’d give Felix some leeway for a few weeks. That isn’t to say that he hasn’t said some snide comments here or there. To which Felix simply either grits his teeth and pushes on, or snaps back at the alpha in turn. 

 

Unfortunately - or perhaps, fortunately; all things considered- Cael merely laughs off Felix’s snide comebacks. Sometimes, Felix doesn’t quite know what to make of his trainer… He’d thought the man to be a great brute; cold and unforgiving. But he’s almost easy-going in a distant sort of way and he lets Felix get away with lots of things other alphas wouldn’t. 

 

After their morning run, Cael pushes Felix through some strength training exercises until Felix’s muscles feel like they refuse to work. He hates these particular exercises and while he understands the need for some of them; he can’t help but gripe at Cael about it one day. He was only interested in swordplay, after all, and it’s not like omegas can pack on muscles like an alpha or beta can. 

 

Cael had simply leveled him with a cold look. “Anyone sees you on a battlefield and they’re going to come after you first. There’s a reason predators go after the weak and elderly; they’re easy targets. And anyone stronger than you is going to be able to disarm you, no matter your skill level with a blade. Building up any type of muscle in those scrawny arms of yours will be to your advantage. Not only to help you keep your blade in your hands but to help you in hand to hand when we get to that part of your training.”

 

Felix had huffed but accepted that answer as fairly logical. He had however fixed Cael with a weary look. “Hand to hand?” He’d questioned, not at all looking forward to getting punched by the alpha before him. He’s liable to be waking up with literal bruises over his body rather than just his body feeling like one big bruise.

 

The alpha had given a shrug. “You told me to train you like I would an alpha or a beta. If you don’t like it; quit.” He says simply. Felix had bared his teeth at him and had gone back to focusing on completing the reps for his pushups. 

 

Cael tells him this every now and again. To the point that it might as well be a sort of catchphrase for the alpha as often as Felix hears it. He says it when Felix is struggling, complaining or some version of it when Felix retires for the night. Felix can’t tell anymore if the alpha is saying it because he thinks Felix will get frustrated enough to quit or as an out if Felix were to feel like taking him up on it.

 

But there’s no way that Felix is going to quit. No matter how sore he wakes up every morning, or how frustrated he gets sometimes. His determination to fulfill his plan is still burning bright and present and it helps him get through the hardest days. 

 

After running and a workout, Cael sends Felix off to go clean up and to eat breakfast with his father. Rodrigue had been fairly suspicious about Felix’s exhausted and sometimes sweat dripped demeanor when Felix had first started training and had been too tired to trudge up a flight of stairs to his room. Though Rodrigue had only asked a few questions before he’d dropped the subject seeing as how Felix had only grunted out a few one-word responses. 

 

Cael had gotten with Loreia with a revision for the foods that Felix can have throughout the day. Of which Loreia was all too happy to implement, as it included full helpings of meat and vegetables and specific instructions for him to finish as much of the meal as possible. Most days, he’s hungry enough to be grateful for all the added food. 

 

And he’s certainly seen a few changes in his body from all the training. When he takes a look in the mirror one night after his bath, he can see the beginnings of his body starting to tone. Before, he'd been slender sure but with a softness especially around his belly and hips. Now there's faint marking to suggest abs and his hips are even slimmer. 

 

He's… quite pleased. He hadn't really taken into account that he'd be losing what little fat he'd had and gaining muscle. It’s a pleasant surprise to not look so soft anymore, even though most of the changes are hidden under his clothing. 

 

Most of his days play out the same way, and now that he has some routine to his days they all seem to blend together. He wakes up, goes on a run, works out, eats, has three hours of free time before lunch then he spends the rest of the afternoon learning sword techniques before dinner.  With his new routine, the Moons drift by faster than he expected.

 

He hears from Sylvain every now and again whenever a letter comes through by a messenger. The letters are different from what Sylvain used to send to him, before all of this. Before his letters were long-winded and several pages long with details of some of his more interesting days and various thoughts that would come to him while he was writing. Now, Felix barely gets a full page of writing and eventually, the letter stops even after a few reply letters from Felix.

 

He finds out a few things through the letter though:

 

First is that, apparently, a few weeks after Sylvain had left that day - he’d gone into a rut. This means that now it’s on Felix to come into his heat so that preparations for the ceremony can begin. Felix can’t help but be glad that he hasn’t yet, though the whole situation feels like a ticking clock. He wishes he knew more about the symptoms he’s supposed to experience leading up to his heat so that he can be aware of when he’s getting close to it. It’s not like there are any omegas that he knows or is close to that he could ask, and he really would rather not step into a heat house until he has too.

 

Second, that Ingrid wholeheartedly agreed to try and convince her father to let her join them at Garreg Mach. Though she’d taken offense to their suggestion of trying to tempt her dad into finding her another suitor, she’d eventually conceded that it was the best course of action. This was, of course, Sylvain writing about Ingrid so Felix very much doubts that that’s how she approached the situation. Sylvain wasn’t a liar by any means, but he did like to embellish his stories a little. 

 

Third, and more importantly; he learns a bit more about what made Margrave leave their manor so quickly. A few nobles of the Kingdom had been found to be in conjunction with Duscur in the assassination of the King. Supposedly, they had been hiding out in Duscur for several Moons before trying to make their way back into the Kingdom. A few of Gautier spies had apprehended who they thought were Duscur natives crossing into Gautier territory. They’d apprehended the individuals and sent word for Lord Gautier to return. 

 

Supposedly, incriminating evidence was found on Lord Lenato’s son and he and his group were sent to the church to be executed. After which the Kingdom demanded retribution for their fallen King and aimed their anger at the people of Duscur. Spearheaded, it seems, by Margrave Gautier himself. 

 

That is the last bit of news he hears from Sylvain and Felix can’t help but wonder if Margrave forced his youngest along. Perhaps that might be the reason why there has been a drop in their communication. Maybe he’s too busy being a squire to respond. Maybe he’s even his own father’s squire, which would be the worst outcome for the older teen. Sylvain is skilled in many ways, one of which is the ability to slack off at any given moment - a trait that Margrave will not tolerate even more so than Rodrigue would have. 

 

Rodrigue had yet to be called into action, though he has had to make frequent trips to the capitol to advise the Grand Duke now regent.  He’s never gone for long, though Felix can’t exactly say that he notices his father's absence with how little he sees of the man nowadays. Rodrigue has seemed to have picked up a particular fondness for Dimitri during his stays at the capitol. Of course Rodrigue had always been fond, Dimitri was his King and his closest friends child after all, but this fondness was particularly new. 

 

Felix had asked after his friend the first time Rodrigue had left and come back. It’d been far too long since he’d seen his kindhearted blond friend, that Rodrigue’s hesitance to answer left him confused and a bit worried. He remembers Sylvain mentioning that Dimitri wasn’t himself, which was, of course, completely understandable after the events he’d gone through. Dimitri, Felix, and Ingrid were all the same age but already Dimitri has had to experience a gruesome tragedy that Felix and Ingrid can only imagine. 

 

Dimitri had not only lost his father and stepmother, but he’d also had to witness the events. A fate that Felix had wished his friend was spared. Of course, such a thing would change a person but just how much?

 

Rodrigue had paused in taking a bite of his meal. They rarely meet up outside of mealtimes, and with how busy his father is now, sometimes not even then. Rodrigue sets his spoon down and takes a moment to answer.

 

“Dimitri… well…” Rodrigue takes a moment to find the right words. “It was quite a shock to all of us, but they say that sometimes things like this can happen in times of stress.”

 

Felix frowns and clenches his spoon tighter in his hand. The colder months mean that he and Cael have had to end their outside running until the snow clears and he’s been allowed to eat his favorite stew thanks to Loreia and her favoritism. “Stop beating around the bush; just tell me.” He snaps, then winces. He’s been spending entirely too much time with an alpha that actually lets him get away with such harsh words. 

 

He gives a snort. To think; Cael has been spoiling him all this time. 

 

Rodrigue shoots Felix a nasty glare and, after Felix’s mumbled apology around a bite of his stew, he continues on. “Dimitri had his rut two months ago.”

 

Felix sputters, ungracefully spitting his bite back into his bowl to avoid choking. “W-What?!” He exclaims, hastily wiping his mouth of any remains of stew.

 

His father gives him a rather disgusted look at his son’s display of perceived theatrics. “Thank the Goddess I don’t have to find you a suitor any longer.” He mutters with a shake of his head. Though Felix still hears his words, there’s little to no heat behind them. “As I was saying: Dimitri had his rut two months ago, which has been an exciting turn of events to say the least.”

 

Exciting was one way to put it. Unheard of would be another. Alphas don’t hit their ruts until later into their fifteenth or their sixteenth year like Sylvain. But for Dimitri to mature almost an entire month before his fifteenth birthday was…

 

Was, honestly, kind of annoying. 

 

This means that of their group of four Felix is the only one left to mature. A prospect that he wasn’t - and isn’t - looking forward to, but he thought he’d at least mature before Dimitri if nothing else. He already feels like a child for being almost two whole years behind in reaching his heat, but for all of them to be experiencing a part of adolescence that he just can’t seem to reach?

 

It makes him angry. Really, inexplicably angry. He doesn’t want his heat for what comes after it, but also he hates feeling so left behind by his friends. It… probably isn’t helped by the fact that he’s heard next to nothing about Dimitri and Ingrid from themselves. He’d been close to Dimitri before he was to Sylvain and while he’d never been extremely close to Ingrid she’d still been a big part of their group. He’d just thought they were closer friends than to not hear from any of them for months on end. 

 

It definitely isn’t helped by the fact that Rodrigue won’t take him on his visits to the capitol. His father had given some excuse way back, citing that Felix would be better protected in the manor than on the road. To which, Felix expects that Rodrigue just wanted some time away from his son. 

 

Felix stands from the table suddenly, his appetite gone and moisture in his eyes that he doesn’t want his father to see. “I’ll see you for breakfast tomorrow, Father. Please excuse me.” He says, ignoring the look of confusion on Rodrigue’s face. He departs quickly after that and heads to the only place he feels comfortable in nowadays.

 

He catches Cael in the training room, slumped against the floor sharpening a dagger. A habit he’s come to notice about the alpha is that he tends to make himself home wherever he can and sits in the oddest places; in the oddest positions. Tonight, however, is relatively tame as he’s only partially folded over crossed legs to reach the whetstone resting on the floor in front of him. The steady rhythm of the drag of steel over stone helps settle Felix’s nerves and he can feel his anger slowly bleed out. 

 

“Kid,” Cael says, never looking up from his work. “It’s your day off and probably past your bedtime. What do you want?”

 

Felix crosses over to the rack of training swords and picks out his favorite and then another. “Do you remember how you once told me you were always ready for anything?” He asks instead of answering the alphas question.

 

To which, said alpha finally looks up from his work and quirks an eyebrow at Felix. “Yes..?” He says, drawing out the word a bit in hesitance.

 

Felix tosses the second sword to the ground before the alpha, where it slides before knocking into Cael’s boot-clad foot. “You’re a liar. Now, let’s spar.” 

 

Cael grumbles a bit but eventually sets aside his dagger and whetstone off to the side so he can stand. He looks a bit irritated, probably both from being pulled away from his downtime and from being called a liar. But, after stretching his back out from being hunched over he bends down to pick up the training sword. 

 

While Cael had been teaching him for Moons now, they very rarely truly sparred. Cael instead choosing to ingrain the basics into Felix as much as possible so it can become second nature. They'd sparred once in the beginning, so Cael could properly judge his skill level - something he hadn't done before Felix had approached him to take training more seriously. And while that sparring session had seen Felix fall flat on his back more often than not; Felix is quite confident that he can keep up now. 

 

Felix steps fully into the center of the room to take advantage of both the distance between them and the open space. He isn't too sure what approach the alpha will start off with and he wants to get a good reading of his body language so he can prepare. He tightens his grip on his sword and takes his stance. Waiting.

 

Cael moves to be directly across from him, sword held in one hand but the wooden blade of it rests on his shoulder. His posture stays relaxed, though his eyes are sharp and focused on Felix. He takes a step to his left and Felix mirrors to his right, the two of them starting a slow circle as they wait for the other to more. 

 

When no attack seems to be coming from the alpha, Felix launches one of his own. He circles in a bit closer before he lunges into a thrust, only for the Cael to move faster than Felix can account for. The alpha swings his sword down expertly, knocking Felix’s off of its course and uses the bounce back to drive the wooden blade into Felix’s chest. Felix winces and takes a step back, rubbing the spot where a bruise will most like form come morning.

 

“Don’t get impatient,” Cael instructs. “This is no place for emotion or a lapse in judgment. You’d be dead now if this was a real fight.” He gives a smirk and lifts his sword back to put it onto his shoulder again. “Poor, little omega. Taken out in the first few seconds, the poor thing.” He mocks.

 

Felix grits his teeth as a flash of irritation floods through him. Both at the alphas words and a little at himself for letting the first hit go to him as well. But Cael is purposely trying to get a rise out of him; a very strange contradiction to his first few words.

Resuming his stance a few steps away, they circle each other once more. This time Felix decides to wait for the alpha to attack, but by the time they’ve almost made a complete circle he still hasn’t. Felix bares his teeth at the alpha and drops out of his stance with a huff. “If you’re not going to take this seriously-”

 

He’s cut off as the alpha charges, and he’s barely able to bring his sword up in time to perform a block. The jolt of suddenly stopping the strong swing jars his arms, but thankfully doesn’t loosen his grip. His heart pounds in his chest from the sudden surprise and his muscles strain to keep up the block, as Cael bares his weight down into his sword before he finally lets up. 

 

“Don’t get impatient.” He repeats again. “Your biggest enemy, Felix, is going to be your emotions. Not just because you're an omega; it’s the same for anyone. In a fight, you can’t afford to let them take over.” Cael brings his sword back up to his shoulder again, but this time gripping the hilt with two hands. It seems he’s now going to be serious about this. “Clear your mind. Leave whatever emotions that brought you into here behind and focus .”

 

Felix gives a slight nod and takes a deep breath as he settles once more into his stance. They don’t circle each other this time and it gives Felix a chance to really focus in on the alpha before him. Where before Felix had thought him relaxed and aloof, he now sees that it’s simply the alpha’s experience and familiarity with a blade that brings this air about him. This is a man that knows weapons and fighting; it’s been ingrained into him for so long that it’s second nature. Felix feels a brief moment of envy - this is how he wants to be. So capable and confident in his own skills. He brushes those feelings away quickly, though.

 

Focus .

 

This time, Felix sees it seconds before the alpha makes his move. He sees it in the way Cael adjusts his stance and the way he grips the hilt a bit tighter. As Cael launches his attach, Felix draws his own sword back to build momentum into his swing. And -

 

His Crest flashes seconds before their weapons clash, followed by a loud deafening sound. The sudden blinding light around them has Felix shielding his eyes into his elbow, a move he’s grateful for when he’s suddenly pelted by something sharp. A silence fills the training room, and when Felix doesn’t feel the tiny pinpricks any more, he looks up.

 

He can’t quite stop the gasp that escapes him when he takes in the sight before him. Not only has he broken his wooden training sword; he’s also shattered the one Cael had been using. Felix moves his eyes from his busted sword to meet the alphas and registers the stunned surprise on the elders face. Cael’s eyes are wide and his jaw a bit slack as he takes in what little is left of his sword. 

 

Felix knows intellectually that Crests are mainly only useful in combat but he’s never had his activate before, at least to his memory. He’d only been told he possessed a Major Crest of Fraldarius, not exactly the extent of what it does or what it can do. Apparently, whatever it does includes busting through training swords…

 

Cael gives out a laugh that starts out small then grows louder and more full-bodied the longer it goes on. “Good job, kid!” He congratulates, dropping the ruined sword down with the splinters and chunks that were once apart of it. “I knew you could do it!”

 

Felix can’t quite help the frown that tugs the corners of his lips. Had he really though? Some strange genetic power suddenly rearing its head after being dormant for so long hardly seems like any of his own doing, “But…” He begins before trailing off. He’s not entirely sure how to articulate why he’s not entirely thrilled by a fluke.

 

Now, he’ll never get to know if he could have blocked Cael’s move or even successfully parried his attack. There will be other opportunities to fight with his mentor, but he’ll never know how this session would have turned out had his Crest not activated. In a way, he feels a little cheated…

 

“Lighten up, kid,” Cael says, awkwardly slapping at Felix’s shoulder as gently as he can. “I bet not even your father could have done something like that. Maybe there is hope in training you in this after all.”

 

That… does make Felix feel a little better. Cael is very limited with his praises, so he must have been thrown completely off guard to be so forthcoming with something like that. And to hear that he might be better than his father at something, especially in regards to fighting, is a heady feeling. “Thanks…” He says, quietly but genuine.

 

“Well, not much we can do anymore. Go retire for the evening. I’ll clean up this mess just this one time.” Cael tells him, tugging the hilt out of Felix’s hand and shooing him away. And, seeing no real reason to complain about getting out of a chore, Felix goes easily enough.

 

---------

 

Felix wakes up in the morning on his fifteenth birthday feeling spectacularly terrible. His entire body aches in a way similar to when he’d first started his training, but alongside that is a fogginess to his head and full-body sweats. He’s practically drenched his sleeping clothes through in the night, and they cling uncomfortably to his frame and he’s glad to find he’s kicked off the heavier cover blanket at some point in the night. 

 

He… he needs to find a servant to send a message to his mentor that he’s too sick to attend his training today. And short of yelling himself hoarse in the hopes that someone passes by close enough to hear, Felix is going to have to get up to check the hallway. He whines at the thought and takes a few moments to bury his face in his equally soaked pillow before he heaves himself into a sitting position. 

 

Sitting up is even worse, as his fogged over brain takes a lot longer than it should to catch up to his slight elevation change. He gasps in a few breaths, pulling at the collar of his shirt to lift it away from his overheated skin. The brief rush of cold air onto his chest has him sighing in relief as his head clears a bit. He’ll take a cold bath after he’s fetched a servant. 

 

The bit of cool air and a promise of a cold bath propels him forward. He has to semi crawl over to the end banister of his bed, feeling the need to cling to something in case his legs don’t feel like supporting his weight. He tentatively sets his feet down onto the floor, relishing in the cold floor. Maybe, alongside a bath, he can curl up on the floor to help alleviate this terrible heat he feels. 

 

He almost lets himself collapse onto the floor then and there, but once he’s away from how hot he’d made the mattress and into the much colder air, he finds that his head clears up a little. Enough, at least that walking isn’t too much of a struggle to get to his bedroom door. He’s still definitely overheated and his stomach rolls and cramps its displeasure, but the fog in his head has cleared up a little. 

 

He opens the door of his bedroom and leans against the door frame to peer into the hallway. Unfortunately for him, it seems to be too early in the morning for anyone to be cleaning this section of the manor. But Cael’s normal morning hangout isn’t too far from Felix’s bedroom and, judging by a little bit of lightening of the sky outside, Cael is probably already waiting for the omega to make his appearance.

 

With his head a bit more clear, he supposes he can try to make it to Cael himself to tell him he’s under the weather. He certainly feels enough like death warmed over that surely he must look it. He’d honestly hate it if Cael were to come looking for him, he doesn’t think he could handle the smell of an angry alpha right now. 

 

So, he sets off down the hall, trailing a hand along the wall closest to him as he goes. He feels steady enough on his feet, but he doesn’t want to chance them not cooperating on him midway through the hall. And, a few steps later his stomach cramps again so bad that he has to stop. He curls in on himself as much as he can while still standing, his hair he’d forgotten to tie back falling into his face as he tries to breath through the pain. 

 

Maybe…maybe he ate something bad last night? But he’s not nauseous, and these cramps feel more like what he imagines it would feel like to be stabbed with an iron hot blade. It’s certainly no pain he’s ever felt before, but he needs to keep moving so he can tell his mentor and get back to his bed, or a bath, or… or something.

 

He straightens out as much as he can and staggers forward. Just a few more steps and he can round the corner and make it to the top of the stairs where Cael usually waits for him. He grits his teeth and pushes on.

 

What feels like an eternity later, he finally comes around the corner and sees his mentor. Cael has his back to him, propped up against the railing of the stairs one foot on the landing and the other down on the stairs. Felix’s relief at seeing him is palpable and he has to take a moment to rest his forehead against the cool wall.

 

“C-Cael.” He croaks out, voice sounding like he hasn’t had water for days. He can’t help but angle his head a bit to press the side of his face against it. He’ll blame his sickness for acting like this later; the cold feels too good.

 

He watches through partially closed eyes as Cael turns to face him. “About time, kid.” He says, before taking in the pitiful sight that Felix makes before him. Cael frowns and takes a few steps towards him. “Are you-” he cuts off.

 

Felix realises then that his eyes have drifted close on their own, so he opens them back up to see Cael tilt his head up to sniff the air. He also gets to see Cael’s eyes widen comically and the man practically leaps away from him, almost toppling down the staircase before he can catch his balance. It’s a very rare sight to see the unexpectedly graceful alpha be so clumsy, and any other time Felix probably would have burst out laughing. 

 

“I don’t feel good.” He mumbles out, waiting for his mentor to give the go-ahead for him to head back to his room. He’s not entirely sure why the extreme reaction, but perhaps Cael doesn’t want to catch whatever Felix has. Felix can’t exactly bring himself to blame him.

 

“Yeah, no shit!” Cael exclaims, bringing a hand up to cup it over his mouth and nose. The rest of what he says comes out a bit muffled and Felix struggles to stay lucid enough to catch was he says. “Fuck! What are you still doing here?”

 

Felix can’t help but agree more. His face had warmed up the section of the wall he’s pressed up against and he just wants to lay down. “Jus’ want’d to let y’u kn’w.” He slurs, pressing his hands against the wall and turning his face the other direction and begins his long journey back to his room.

 

He doesn’t get but a few steps in before Cael exclaims from behind him again. “Felix, where are you going?!” The alphas voice doesn’t sound muffled any more, a bit panicked though and a little far away. But Felix can’t discern if it’s because Cael’s moved away more or if Felix’s hearing is begin impaired by his sickness.

 

“T’ bed.” He answers, turning his head back to look at his mentor. His vision swims a bit at the sudden change and he has to lean against the wall once more, but oh… he’s found another deliciously cool spot. 

 

There’s a bit of a pause as Cael look seconds away from booking it back down the stairs, but he asks another question. “What do you think is happening, Felix?” He asks, voice softer than Felix has ever heard from him before.

 

Felix huffs and would have probably felt a surge of irritation at such a question. But the cold floor is calling to him, and he’d really rather be completely alone before succumbing to its siren call. “I’m sick.” He snaps out, managing not to slur these words at least. Hopefully, that will get it into Cael’s head so he’ll let him return to his bedroom in peace.

 

“Kid, you’re in heat ,” Cael tells him. “You need to get to the heat house before it gets any worse.”

 

It takes a moment for those words to sink in, but when they do Felix feels the color drain from his face. It… it makes sense with what little he actually knows about the start of heats. For one, the actual heat aspect of it which, ok, is really the only part he knows about. But Cael isn’t a dishonest man and Felix’s nose won't mature enough to smell actual pheromones until later in his first heat cycle. So… a few days from now it seems. 

 

Which leaves him alone with an alpha while he’s in the beginning stages of his heat, throwing off all kinds of pheromones he can’t smell but Cael sure can.

 

It leaves him with panic crawling up his throat and he can’t stop his body from shaking or the fear that no doubt starts to mix into his scent. There’s no way he can fight off the alpha in this state and he can’t help the tears that gather in his eyes. Cael’s become someone that he’s come to trust and now his heats going to ruin all of that for him…

 

“Felix,” Cael calls to get his attention, and his hands are up in a placating manner like he’s dealing with an easily startled small animal. Felix tenses, watching the man closely for any signs of his impending attack. He’s not gone enough in his heat not to try to flee from the alpha if he has to. Not that that will do him any good…

 

 “Hey, no, Felix,” Cael says, no doubt reading the tension coming off of Felix. “I’m not going to do whatever it is you’re scared of, I promise. But you need to get to the heat house.”  

 

Of course, he does. Heat houses are a safe place for omegas to spend their days of heat in peace without worry of a stray alpha wondering around. When the first heat house was implemented at the Church, many were skeptical that such a thing would work or be of any use. But, as the years went on they became very favorable with nobility as a way to keep their omega heirs chaste until a full bonding ceremony. Almost every noble has one on their grounds and for nearly every town in their territory. And It’s one of the very few places other omegas can actually find work. Every house is run and staffed with other omegas, betas and the elderly who are no longer affected by the pheromones of an omega in heat. 

 

When Felix had been the age most omegas went into heat, he’d been trained in the fastest way to get the manor’s heat house, and he’d even had to spend a few nights in one of their rooms though nothing had ever come of it. Now, two years later and he can’t even make it from his bedroom to the stairs very fast, and certainly not without running into an alpha and the next one certainly won’t be as constrained as Cael. 

 

“I - I can’t…” He takes in a shaky breath and winces when his stomach cramps once more. “I can’t make it all the way on m’ own.” He’s a little thankful that he’s able to form mostly complete sentences now, though this brief moment of lucidity won’t last much longer. 

 

Cael curses softly and looks away wiping a hand over his face. “Okay…” He says, heaving a sigh. “What do you want me to do? Get your dad or Loreia to escort you?”

 

Having Rodrigue involved in any way is the last thing Felix wants, though as a blood relative Felix’s scent will have no effect on him. And he’s known Loreia all his life which would make her seeing him like this beyond awkward, not to mention Cael will have to leave Felix alone to go find either of them which would leave him alone in the hallway for anyone to catch his scent and be tempted. He can’t do much more than shake his head, rubbing his cheek against the warming wall. 

 

Cael curses again and presses his hand against his face in thought. A few seconds later his eyes widen as he gets an idea. He tugs at the towel he always has wrapped around his neck before and during his morning workouts with Felix to help wipe off any sweat. And sometimes - because he’s gross - Cael will go several days without washing it. 

 

“I’ll escort you.” He states before he frowns. “Can I have permission to escort you? I’m going to press this against my face so I can’t smell you through it. That should be sufficient enough for me to guide you there.” He demonstrates by wading it into a large square and pressing it to cover both his mouth and nose. Any pheromones of Felix’s should be sufficiently blocked by his own scent in his lungs. 

 

Felix could just about cry in relief. “Y-yes. Escort me.” He keeps his words simple and takes in a deep breath to push himself away from the wall. He has to make it to the heat house before he gets any further into a deeper phase of the heat. 

 

He takes a shaky step forward, still keeping a hand along the wall to guide him. Cael watches as he moves, and Felix is glad to see as he gets a bit closer that the rag seems to be working as there’s no visible reaction of Cael catching his scent. 

 

It’s a frustratingly slow journey, and Felix stumbles more than a few times. But each time Cael reaches out to steady him, including one time where Felix almost pitched himself off of the stairs. It’s the only time the alpha touches him throughout and Felix is grateful, both for the saves and the limited interaction. Cael is more like a silent guardian, following behind Felix and death glaring at anyone they happen to pass along the way. He does dart off a few times to get far enough away from Felix to gulp in a few lungfuls of fresh air, but he always darts back quickly, rag back in place. 

 

Felix also greatly appreciates that he makes the journey mostly unhelped. It feels… accomplishing to see the heat house getting steadily closer and it gives him something to focus on to clear his mind. Not to mention that the snow feels sinfully amazing on his feet even though he’s starting to lose feeling.

 

They make it to the gate of the house, which Cael pushes open for him but remains behind as Felix goes through. No alpha is permitted on the grounds of a heat house without suffering a criminal offense, so Felix has to clear the courtyard himself. He stumbles a bit just before he reaches the door, but keeps his balance enough to steady himself before knocking on the large wooden door. 

 

He looks back for a moment, but the alpha has disappeared on him in the time it took Felix to make it across. Felix will have to find a way to thank him after his heat.

 

The door opens to reveal a confused elderly omega, who’s eyes widen in shock when she takes in the sight of him. “Oh! You poor dear! Come in, hurry!” She ushers him in and quickly closes the door behind him.  

  

Chapter Text

After the door of the heat house closes behind Felix, the elderly omega quickly leads him to one of the closest rooms available. She gently takes his arm to guide him along, which Felix is silently grateful for as it helps him keep his balance and helps the two of them go at the same pace She guides him the room, and quickly ushers him to what can only be described as a nest along the floor. It’s a heaping of blankets and pillows with sections of soft cloth all bundled into a large plush circle, designed to comfort an omega during their heat. 

 

He lays down willingly, even though he fears how much more heated he will become in the giant mound. But as he sinks into the lush blankets, he can’t help the soft sigh that escapes him. It’s impossibly soft and luxurious, and he can’t quite help his instincts that have him burying his face into the closest pillow, inhaling the freshly laundered scent. The scent doesn’t sit right, too strange and foreign to him, but it’s definitely not bad enough to make him want to push it away. 

 

“There you go, dear.” The soft aged voice of the other omega drifts over to him, and he feels her push more pillows closer for him to bury into. “We were all getting a little worried about how long it was taking you to mature, my lord. But, no worries. The Goddess has her own plans for us and she knows best.” She tucks him in a bit more and kneels beside the nest. “Now, why don’t you tell me some of the symptoms you’re having.”

 

Felix lifts his face off of the pillow to rest his cheek on it so that he can talk to her plainly. He should be feeling embarrassed by her seeing him like this, but he doesn’t know her, and will likely never run across her outside of the heat house. Her unfamiliarity with him is comforting in a strange way. She knows of him, but likely not much else past him being Lord Fraldarius’ son.

 

“I’m hot.” He starts mumbling through his words, having to take a moment of focus on his words. “And my stomach hurts every now and then.”

 

He looks up at her enough to make out the slight frown on her face. “Hurts?” She repeats. “Can you show me where?”

 

He nods against the pillow, shifting slightly to be more on his side to press his hand to the part low on his belly it is still  hurting. It’s down past where his actual stomach organ would be and several inches above where his legs begin. He knows, now that he’s aware that his heat has begun, that it’s his womb, but actually calling it that isn’t something he’s feeling up to. 

 

She makes a soft noise of understanding. “Would you like something for the pain? We can make you some tea that should help. Have you started to produce any slick yet?”

 

He flushes at her words, rolling back to lie on his front, and shakes his head before he remembers that she’d asked two questions. “Yes, to the tea and no to any… any slick.” He mumbles the last part of his sentence into his pillow. He’s pretty sure he’d have noticed any wetness between his legs. It probably would have helped clued him in faster that he was in heat if he had. 

 

The elderly lady gently pats his back and stands up as fast as her body will allow. “I’ll be back with some tea dear. After that, we’ll run you a cool bath and get you set up for the rest of your stay here.”

 

Felix nods and watches her leave the room, closing the door behind her. He takes a moment to look around the room, though there’s not much too it. The majority of it is taken up by the nest, with only a small table pushed to the side by the entry door. There is another door in the room that Felix remembers from his brief stay when he was younger to be the attached bathroom. The only light comes from a small sconce above the table. The room is meant to serve only one purpose and he figures it’ll do. It’s not like he’ll be leaving the nest too often...

 

With a sigh, he reaches out to grab the next closest pillow and wraps his arms around it. He’s still overheated, but he’s not sure what else to do while he waits. And, if he’s honest, he’s a little worn out from earlier. He’d only woken up maybe an hour or two ago, but with the ache in his body, his brief moment of panic earlier, and the treck here; he mostly just wants to fall asleep again. 

 

The door opens just as his eyes are growing heavier, jerking him into alertness. He briefly thinks of flinging the pillow he’s curled up with away, to hide the evidence. But these people will be seeing him in just about every low point for his stay. Cuddling with a pillow will be far from the worst thing they see him do, unfortunately. 

 

The same omega from before comes in, carrying a tray full of tea and some snacks. Following behind her is a much younger female beta, though she’s still older than Felix. As the elderly lady sets down the tray on the table, the younger one speaks to him.

 

“Hello, my lord.” She greets, giving a polite bow. “We’ll be the ones seeing you through your heat this week. This is your first heat, correct?” She asks. Her voice is pitched a little too high and grates his ears a little but she seems pleasant enough. A bit more distant than the elderly woman, though in a professional way. It’s her job to take care of him this week, so he’ll inevitably be just another omega in the long line of others that come to this place. He finds he doesn’t quite mind. It certainly helps lessen the mortifying feeling that is creeping up on him. 

 

He gives a nod to her answer, and pushes himself into a seated position when the omega comes tottering over with the tea. It takes a moment for his head to stop spinning enough for him to take the cup. It’s not a regular tea cup, but a tall cylindrical piece of pottery that’s cool to the touch, which surprises him. When he peers down into it, he finds chunks of ice clinking against the sides of the pottery. He’s never had cold tea before, but he’s immensely glad they’re not forcing him to down something piping hot. 

 

It doesn’t taste pleasant though, and it’s a bit too sweet for his taste. He practically has to choke it down to ensure that whatever pain relieving aspects it has will take full effect. Already he thinks he’s starting to feel the cramps starting to subside a little, though a dull ache is still there.

 

The other omega gives him a sympathetic smile before she shuffles over to the door to the bathroom, and a few moments later he hears the sound of running water.  

 

The beta continues to speak as he gulps down the tea. “You’re a little too old to be having your heat for the first time, so we’re going to have to monitor you a bit more than we normally would for other omegas. But don’t worry, you’ll still have the privacy you need for your more intimate moments.” She tells him, stressing the word ‘intimate’ so that it’s easy to catch that she means the times he’s consumed by the lust of his heat. 

 

He feels himself blush at the thought, and hopes his face isn’t so obviously flushed. He’s… never tried to have intimate moments with himself before, other than a few curious exploratory touches when he was younger. He’d felt the standard genitalia all omegas have; a relatively small shaft below which rested folds that cover the entrance to the channel leading to his womb. With such a difference in their genitals compared to alphas and betas of all genders it makes it easy to label omegas from their birth. 

 

Past a few bits of knowledge of how sex is supposed to work, Felix realizes he has no idea how an omega is supposed to… enjoy themselves during their heat. And it feels a little like he should have already gained such knowledge by age fifteen but it’d never come up and it’s perhaps a little too late to ask. His heat is going to be a nightmare, he’s sure of it. 

 

“Hopefully, everything should proceed like clockwork when you get deeper into your heat. Enough for us to properly schedule the times we come in here to give you water, food and to help you bathe. We also want to make sure that there are no complications that might arise from your unique circumstance. If we notice any irregularities we may have to call in a doctor to come take a look at you. Do you understand?”

 

Felix drinks the last of the tea, setting down the cup on the floor by the nest, and gives her a nod. “I understand.” He says, and he really hopes it never comes to such a thing. He doubts he’d survive the embarrassment of being in the throes of heat and having some doctor take a look between his legs. But there’s nothing to do about it but wait and see how the rest of his heat goes. 

 

---------



Felix’s heat lasts for seven days straight. Which is an excruciatingly long time; as it lasts about two days longer than most omegas. Something which could be because his body waited so long to mature, though he doubts there’s much evidence to support such a claim.

 

After his bath on the first day, he’d been laid back in the nest only to promptly fall into a deep nap. Whatever was in that tea had worked wonders on his cramps, but left him feeling a bit drowsy and it’d been hard to stay away even in the bathtub. His caretakers had left him shortly before he’d taken his clothes off, and getting dressed again while trying not to pass out had been an interesting indevor. 

 

They had come in to wake him a few times the rest of the day for him to have some water and a light snack. At the end of the first day, they’d provided him with a warm cloth magicked to stay heated to press to his stomach to help ease any cramps should the tea wear off during the night. It’d certainly helped, though he’d sweated profusely through the night both from his heat itself and the heated pad. The second day follows a similar pattern and he can’t say he isn’t glad to be sleeping the days - and his cramps - away. 

 

For a brief moment, he thinks that perhaps this might be all that he has to go through. It’s practically the easiest and most boring thing he’s had to do. He’s not even been allowed a book to read to pass the time so he sleeps about every chance he gets. Which is, of course, when things begin to go downhill from there. 

 

*

 

It's on the third day that things get much worse for him. He wakes up on his stomach, practically sweltering in his pajamas which has become a normal enough occurrence, but this time there is a notable difference. The place between his legs and under his shaft is wet and practically drooling with slick. So much so that he can feel that he’s soaked through the material of his pants. It’s a highly uncomfortable feeling, but he finds he can’t quite seem to think straight past the throbbing sensation below his waist.

 

Everything in him seems to focus in on the aching in his length and the throbbing of his channel. He needs…. He needs to do something to alleviate this terrible feeling. 

 

A sharp whine builds in his throat, and he can’t seem to help the jerking of his hips against the blanket to try and get some friction against a part of him that aches. It takes a moment for him to even realize that he’s doing it through the fog that’s settled in his brain, and when it finally registers he freezes. 

 

He doesn’t want to give into his bodies strange demands just because his hormones have come into play. It feels strange to be so out of control to not be able to just ignore these feelings. Quickly, he flips over onto his back, trying to ignore the whine of loss that builds in his throat. It’s so terribly hot in here, worse than he’s ever felt it before and he just wants something inside him so badly...

 

As he lays there, the urges get harder to ignore. To the point that he has to hug his arms across his chest, digging his nails into the skin of his biceps. Not only to block his view of his erection, but to also keep himself from giving into temptation. Surely, if he’s patient enough he can outlast the need that’s coursing through him.

 

Felix is not entirely certain why he’s so adamant about trying to not touch himself. It’s what he’s here for after all. In this safe space, designed specifically to let omegas explore their bodies and their needs in private. It’s only natural that he should use this time to figure out what this new awakening in his genitals is and find out in ways that are pleasurable to him. But all of it is so strange and new to him that he’s not even sure where to begin. 

 

But, well, it seems he’s got a few days to figure it out what his body demands of him. He groans and rubs his hands along his face, finally accepting with himself that he’s going to have to go through with this. If for nothing else than to stop this incessant desire. 

 

His clothes start to feel itchy and too heavy against his skin, and he squirms uncomfortably. Biting his lip, he heaves a sigh and sits up to sharply tug his shirt off. His head spins with the rough motion as his body wasn’t ready for such a movement. It gives him enough of a drunk feeling that he wastes no time kicking off his pants and underwear, leaving him exposed. 

 

Felix adverts his gaze from his own body and quickly finds the nearest blankets to cover himself back up with. He might be giving into doing this, but he’s certainly not doing it out in the open. Felix takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. Once one of his senses is cut off, it seems like his heat ramps up, and Felix can’t help the wandering of his hands.

 

His skin jerks when his fingers skim along, his skin sensitive and unused to being touched. He runs his hands down his chest, gasping when he brushes across one of his nipples before continuing on down his stomach, pausing just before he reaches his groin. Felix bites his lip, teasing the skin just above where is length sits leaking against his stomach. Cursing softly, he steels himself and reaches his hand lower to fully grasp his aching erection.

 

A soft gasp escapes him as pleasure courses through him. Even just a light grip around his length is enough to almost send him to completion. And with how worked up he is, it only takes a few strokes, eased by his own slick, before he’s reaching his climax with a moan.

 

His body arches as an even more intense pleasure crashes through him. He spills along his stomach and can feel his channel fluttering just beneath his length. The pleasure finally releases him, leaving him gasping and shaking through the aftermath. 

 

He blinks up at the ceiling, swallowing past the sudden dry feeling in the back of his throat. Despite having just come, he can feel his length give another twitch eager for a second round. And the ache in his channel is back still aching for something to be inside him. He’s aware that he’d just come embarrassingly fast and while it’s absolutely disgusting to be this covered in his own fluids, he can’t help but give into the pleasure again.

 

**

 

---------

 

He swims in and out of a distant haze from the fourth to the seventh day. He’s only lucid a few moments during those days. Enough to catch the staff entering in and out every now and then to give him water and force him some food. They also help move him to the bath every night while they gather any soiled blankets or pillows. When he’s returned back to the nest, it’s filled with newly laundered blankets which he greatly appreciates and he hopes for a moment they burn the old ones before he slips back into the pleasure-filled fog of his heat.

 

It’s sometime late on the seventh day when he comes to with his head in the elderly omegas lap. His mouth is dry and he feels no motivation to leave, instead taking comfort in being close to her and her neutral smell. She’s busy wiping his forehead with a cool cloth, seated just outside of the nest to not get caught in any mess he’s made. He’s vaguely aware that she has draped a blanket over his lower half to help preserve some of his modesty, and she’s whispering quietly to someone else in the room. 

 

“-Concerned for him. It’s been too long for him to still be under like this. And his body temperature is still too high… Should we call the doctor?” She asks quietly, her hands never pausing in washing along his face and down to his neck and shoulders. It’s a nice rhythmic motion that has him closing his eyes again.

 

His body feels more sore than it ever has with any of his training sessions with Cael. His thighs are still soaked in his slick, and his genitals feel chafed and raw from overuse. The inside of his mouth is cut from where is omega fangs had descended at some point during his haze, leaving behind two small cuts along his gums. He's also able to smell just how much his pheromones have coated the entire room and he’s glad to find that he can’t quite remember much from the last few days.

 

He hears a sigh from somewhere by the door. “Maybe…” The beat from a few days ago says, hesitantly. “Lord Rodrigue sent a messenger to see how his son was doing. To be honest I’m a little worried about what he’ll do if he finds out Felix hasn’t been doing too well… Let’s see how he’s doing in the morning before we do anything rash.”

 

The omega makes an unhappy noise, which Felix can't help release a distressed whine at. He doesn't want her to be unhappy, and he’s not sure why she is. He briefly caught the mention of his father's name but, while he'd heard all the words the beta said, he can't quite seem to process them.

 

A gentle hand runs through his hair, which can't be pleasant for the elderly woman to touch but it feels fantastic to him. He hasn't had someone play with his hair since his mother passed, and he wears it up too often to really let anyone get a chance. She makes a gentle noise at him and he can feel himself relax, sinking back into a sleepy haze. 

 

Felix curls into the pillow he'd been holding in his arms and presses his face to it, though his head is still in her lap. It smells of him, a slightly sweet smell like every matured omega has but with a hint of some spice to it. Something like cinnamon, though that only one part of his scent the other being a smell completely his own and hard to describe. It’s comforting to be in a room that smells so much like him; it helps him forget he’s in a heat house surrounded by strangers. 

 

He dozes in and out of the rest of their conversation, though he catches enough to realize that his heat shouldn’t have lasted this long. But with how long it took him to mature, it’s hard to say for sure how long his heat is supposed to last for. All those years spent waiting have come back with a vengeance. He can’t find it in him to be worried though, and he soon finds himself fully drifting off to sleep.

 

He wakes up on the eighth day, notably less hot and bothered. In fact, he feels much like he did the day before he had to come to this forsaken building. He no longer has any strange fog in his head nor any… less than pleasant urges to touch himself below his waist. Which means, all around, this day is shaping up to be a fairly good one.

 

Except for the fact that he’s still curled up naked in a fairly gross nest of blankets and he has no idea where his clothes are. But at least he’s alone in the room this time and he’s fairly sure he can make it into the bathroom by himself. A theory that he begins to try out.

 

Felix tosses the blanket off of him, and lets go of his pillow enough to roll out of the pile and onto the cool floor. He has to hold onto the wall to get himself standing, but once he’s up his legs are surprisingly steady. Every part of his body feels gross, even though he’d been given a bath at some point last night. Something that he’s eager to have again this morning. 

 

It takes a good four steps before he’s in the bathroom, closing the door behind him. Once he’s in another room, he realizes just how much his scent had gotten over everything in there. No wonder he’d been in such a fog with his pheromones coating over everything. But in here, the air is noticeably fresher even though a faint trace of it clings to the bathtub. Given the fact that he’s smelled no one else in either room during his stay, it must mean the staff gives a good scrubbing to every surface. Thank, Seiros. 

 

He stoops over to turn on the faucet to the large tub and lets it fill up as he relieves his bladder in the nearby toilet. Felix can’t quite bring himself to care what temperature he’s set the water too, just that he needs to be clean again. Walking around feels uncomfortable, and he hopes when he leaves here that his slight limp isn’t noticeable. 

 

Once the bath fills up, and he’s filled it with the right amount of suds to cover up his nudity - should any of his caretakers come in - he slides inside the warm water. It’s a nice change from having cold baths all week, even though those felt heavenly at the time. It should certainly help him feel more clean, if nothing else. 

 

Felix sinks further into the bathtub and rests his head on the back rim as he closes his eyes. He wonders how far along in planning his father has gotten with the biting ceremony if Felix is right in how long he thinks he’s been here. Rodrigue is probably beyond ecstatic, Felix thinks with a snort. He’s probably already gotten all the guests here just waiting for Felix to finally show his face.

 

A gentle knock has him opening his eyes just in time to see the elderly omega poke her head inside. She visibly relaxes at the sight of him, and he sinks more of his body into the tub, embarrassed. She’s seen more of him this week than anyone else in his whole life and he just wants this water to swallow him whole.

 

“Ah, there you are.” She says, stepping more into the room. “It seems you’re finally done with your heat. You had us all a bit worried there.” She sets down a stack of fresh clothing on the nearby counter. “Your father had some of your favorite clothes delivered so you’re free to go after your bath.

 

He mumbles out a short thanks to her and she’s gone with a kind smile and a nod, closing the door behind her once more. Felix heaves a heavy sigh and inhales for a moment before submerging himself beneath the water. He’s back up in a few seconds, pushing his soaked hair out of his face and wiping his face free of any suds that might have clung to him before he opens his eyes. 

 

Unfortunately, he can’t just sit all day in lukewarm water, so he goes through the motions of cleaning himself with a nearby rag and some unscented soap. He gets all of his body that he can reach at least two times with the soapy rag, wincing with every swipe he makes around his genitals, before he pulls the plug to let the tub drain. Then it’s only a manner of rinsing off the suds on his body and when he’s finished with that he reaches out for one of the big fluffy towels. 

 

Felix steps out of the tub carefully making sure his footing is good on the tile before he fully steps out. Drying off and getting redressed feels strange after so many days of just heading back into the nest sans clothes. He’s also glad he doesn’t have to redress in his pajamas as there was probably no chance of them being salvaged and he probably wouldn’t have accepted them back anyway.

 

His clothes feel different than they used to as well. They’re comfortable enough, but he’s been surrounded by plush and softness that the cotton feels almost scratchy in comparison. And his boots feel strangely bulky on his feet and calves. It’s also very uncomfortable to be in underwear and pants when the area between his legs is so sensitive. But it’s not like he wants to wait around for softer clothes to be delivered, though he does lament a lack of anything to pull his hair back with. But he’ll be back in familiar territory soon enough that he can go without.

 

Felix exits the building as fast as he can, sparing no time to even thank the staff. Which he feels bad about but too mortified to even make an attempt. Perhaps he can just have his father make a generous donation to the house and its staff. 

 

The outside air feels and smells amazing. Now that he’s matured he’s able to catch things in the wind that his nose had previously been blind too. The air has a fresh cold sharp smell to it and with it drifts over the scent of the cedar trees several yards out, a nice earthy smell he finds he enjoys a lot. The snow must have recently fallen with how much it smells of fresh and cold water, something he’d thought before didn’t have much of a scent to it.

 

It’s amazing to have such a heightened sense, though he can’t imagine too many ways that scent might make any difference in anything. Felix remembers hearing rumors that long ago all humans used to have all of their senses heightened once they’d matured, but that over the years they’d needed fewer and fewer of them. Felix gives a little snort as he begins to make his way through the snow, of course humans are left with the most useless one. 

 

This time around, since he’s not walking at a snail's pace, it doesn’t take him nearly as long to make it back to the front entryway. Everything seems to be the same as he’s left it days ago, with no new carriages parked out front nor by the carriage house. So either his father hasn’t started the planning or none of the guests have arrived yet. Knowing his father, however, he’s willing to bet it’s the latter. 

 

Felix steps inside the manor, glad to be inside where it’s warm but at a loss of what to do. He’d gotten into such a routine these past several months that having a week off from it has thrown him completely off. He doesn’t quite remember what he used to do with his time before he started training with Cael. Perhaps he can go look for the man so he can take up his training again…?

 

“Oh, good, you’ve returned.” Felix hears his father’s voice, and when he looks up he sees him at the top of the stairs. Out of anyone he could have run into of course it’s his father. "I was beginning to worry."

 

Felix gives a nod to his father, "Well… I'm fine so… there's that." He finishes lamely.

 

His father begins to descend the stairs, and while he's rather graceful about it Felix can see the line of tension in his shoulders. He's not sure what has his dad so tense, but he really just wants to go find Cael, or anyone else really, to get out of whatever Rodrigue wants.

 

"Come with me to the Parlor, son." Rodrigue says, no doubt noticing that Felix had been inching slowly towards the nearest door. His tone leaves no room for argument and Felix can't quite help rolling his eyes. Irritation mixes into his scent but Rodrigue ignores it in favor of grabbing Felix's arm as he passes and tugging him in the right direction.

 

He doesn't hold on for long, just enough so he can ensure that Felix isn't going to take off running the moment he's free. Felix tugs his arm out of his grasp at the same moment his father let's go, and crosses his arms over his chest so he can sulk behind his father's back.

 

They make it to the parlor in silence, the only sound being the slight tapping of their boots on the tiled floor. Felix has rarely been in the Parlor since Glenn's passing. It holds too many memories of the two of them playing and squabbling amongst themselves while their father mediated and tried not to make it seem like he had an obvious favorite between his children. Felix had certainly been fooled into thinking Rodrigue loved his children equally for the first few years of his life. 

 

Felix follows in after his father and takes up his usual seat. It’s a large deep blue armchair that's seen a lot of use over the years. Felix claimed it as his own at age five, because he’d liked the color and because the seat sinks in further than the other two chairs in the room, making it much more pleasant to sit in. 

 

He’d had to fight for it because Glenn could never stand to just be nice to him. But looking back, Glenn had obviously let him win and had claimed the chair beside it as his. Soon after, they’d snuck into the parlor late one night - after Felix had woken up from a fit of nightmares - and Glenn, in a fit of boredom, had carved their initials into their respective chairs. It’s a small design, hidden on the inside of the left front leg on each chair. 

 

Felix feels a small smile tug at his lips before he forces it away. To this day Rodrigue still doesn’t know about his favorite sons’ vandalism. And Felix will certainly never be the one to tell him about it, even if his father were to somehow find it.

 

It’s with a painful ache that he realizes that he still deeply misses his brother. It’s already been almost three full seasons and Feilx is starting to think that he may never fully get over his brother’s death.

 

Rodrigue settles into his own chair, the one placed catty corner to Felix’s own and stays silent as he watches Felix. Felix narrows his eyes in suspicion in his father’s direction, but he keeps quiet. Rodrigue had called him in to here, he can certainly be the one to work for whatever it is he wants. Felix shifts to press his elbow onto the leather arm and rests his face on his hand while he waits. 

 

After some time, Rodrigue clears his throat. “How was your time in the heat house?” He asks. 

 

And it’s possibly the worst topic his father could have chosen to start off small talk with. Felix grimaces and shoots his dad a glare, keeping his mouth shut. He doesn’t even remember most of it, but there’s no way he’s going to tell Rodrigue anything. No, just… no.

 

Rodrigue sighs, though it sounds equally relieved and disappointed. Thank, Sieros he didn’t actually want to hear anything about it either. “It was brought to my attention,” Rodrigue starts off, shifting in his seat awkwardly. “That your trainer was the one who… escorted you to the heat house.”

 

Felix frowns. Wherever his father had been going with this, Felix certainly hadn’t suspected this. “Yes…” He stresses the word hesitantly, eyeing his father like he might get answers from his expression. But his father keeps his face carefully blank. “Cael did escort me.”

 

Rodrigue nods and seems to contemplate his next words carefully. “If he did anything… untoward I need to know, Felix. There’s medication to make sure that anything unwanted doesn’t stick but we must act fast before it’s too late. And I’ll make him suffer the consequences of defiling your honor, I swear to you.”

 

It takes longer than it probably should have for Felix to catch on to what his father is actually talking about. Normally, Felix hates roundabout ways of speaking but as mortified as he feels now he doubts he would have survived if his father had outright asked him if…

 

“No!” Felix all but shouts, before dropping his voice down to a more acceptable level. “No, Cael didn’t do anything. He just escorted me, I swear.” He says with as much conviction as he can. He doesn’t want his dad thinking ill of Cael when his trainer had just been trying to do him a favor. 

 

Rodrigue studies him for a moment, before he visibly relaxes, running a hand over his face. “I am glad to hear that.” He says, truthfully. “However, until your biting is complete your training with him is on hold. You pose too much of a temptation for any alpha now that you’ve matured. And the two of you have gotten suspiciously close this past couple of months.”

 

Felix grimaces again. Cael barely gives him the time of day if they aren’t training, and even those sessions are vastly limited to him barking out fixes to Felix’s form. Or their snide comments back and forth to each other. And he highly doubts Cael would ever be ‘tempted’ by him in any sort of fashion. Plus, Cael is close enough to Rodrigues own age which makes practically everything his father just implied to him deeply disgusting. 

 

“I can still train, though?” He asks, instead of outright throwing a fit. He knows enough to run himself through his own paces for a couple of days, maybe even a week or two, without Cael. It’ll suck, but he can do it. And it’ll give him time to think of a way to say thank you to the alpha.  “When’s the biting ceremony?”

 

Rodrigue huffs slightly. “What is your obsession with training? You still have over a year left before you can even think about being accepted into Garreg Mach.” He shakes his head and continues on without letting Felix try to fish for an answer. “Yes, you may still train if you wish. And I have set up most of the preparations while you were… busy. Margrave is still in Duscur and won't be able to attend, but he sent word that Sylvain is making preparations for his travels and should be here by the end of next week. All of the guests should arrive a little before him, but as long as he doesn’t get cold feet everything should go as planned.”

 

So a little over a week of his own form of training and trying to dodge any guests that arrive. It should be easy enough. 

 

---------

 

It wasn’t, as it turned out, all that easy. 

 

Once the guests arrived, they seemed to make a game of trying to hunt him down. A newly matured omega apparently is a great temptation and not even just to alphas. He’s been swarmed more than a few times by a pack of elderly women cooing and practically pawing at him. His cheeks still ache faintly from how often they’d been pinched. They all seem to treat him like he’s some long lost grandchild who: ‘needs to put on some weight. Just a little, dearie, it’ll bring those hips out a little more.’ or ‘look at that nest of hair. Darling, you need to wear it down more often. You’re so beautiful, just put some effort into how you look.’ More often than not, he’s had to push through them and run away just to get some peace.

 

Felix does have a few run ins with some alpha and beta men both older and around his age. While they don’t swarm him, they’re definitely much worse then the women are with their wandering eyes and almost predatory stare. After a few days, he starts wearing his sword by his hip all the time and while they give it a condescending smirk, he knows he can defend himself if he has to.

 

He has no idea who most of these people even are. Probably friends of some sort to his father, but at times it feels like half the population of Faerghus is setting up camp in their manor. It’s the most life the place has seen in a long time, and Felix can’t wait for all of them to be gone soon.

 

The only bright side is that Ingrid and Dimitri arrive the day before Sylvain is scheduled to. He wasn’t even aware of their arrival, as he’d been hiding out in the back courtyard away from the guests for most of the day. He’d brought a few books to help kill the time and had settled down under the shade of a nearby tree when they finally stumbled upon him.

 

“Ah! There you are!” Felix hears a voice call out and he winces looking up sharply only to see Ingrid standing before him. She’s grown her pretty blonde hair out much longer and now seems to wear it back. She’s grown into her omega figure much better than he has and even her scent is the usual omega smell, something overly sweet. Something pure like vanilla that he’d hate on anyone else but her. The sight of her is made even more lovely by the fact that she’s not some stranger who’s managed to find his hiding place.

 

She quirks an eyebrow, no doubt having noticed his wince but she gives him a gentle smile and settles down in the grass before him. “Hello to you too, Felix.” She greets, her smile turning a bit teasing. “I never thought I’d see you again under these circumstances.”

 

Felix gives a snort and turns back to his book with a noise of agreement. “Yeah, I’d have thought it’d be your biting ceremony instead.” He concedes, turning the page though he’s not really soaking in any information. He’ll have to pick this book back up later it seems. 

 

Ingrid huffs. “You’re as pleasant as always.” She says, and though her tone is warm she sounds distracted. Felix frowns slightly and looks up at her, only to see her looking back towards the manor. He follows her gaze and it takes him longer than it should to recognize the tall, blond alpha that he sees standing awkwardly a few yards away.

 

Dimitri shuffles forward a bit when he realizes both Ingrid and Felix have noticed his presence. He’s grown significantly, both in height and appearance, since Felix had last seen him. He’s no longer baby faced, and his mop of blond hair has been carefully styled into a look more suited to an alpha. A lot about him has changed and Felix can’t seem to figure out how someone can seem to change so much physically over the course of a year or two. His matured scent is that of sandalwood, a soothing earthy tone that Felix finds appealing. It gives him a strange desire to press up against the alpha and inhale his scent deeper. Seiros, he hates all these new strange urges. 

 

“Hello, Felix.” He greets politely, but when he smiles something about it doesn’t sit right with Felix, who finds himself frowning. Felix is certain that his blue eyes used to hold more emotion in them. They’re not lifeless, but there's a chilling darkness in his gaze that Felix is glad to look away from quickly. Thankfully, anyone close to him if fully aware of his aversion to eye contact enough that not even Dimitri - the future king - would ever try to force it of him. A personal tick of his that works in his favor right now. “My apologies that it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other. I would also like to express my deepest, most sincere condolences for what happened your brother that night. Glenn was a brave, honorable knight and -”

 

Blind rage crashes through him and Felix finds himself closing his book violently and shooting to his feet. “Shut up!” He snarls, fangs descending as he advancing towards a shocked Dimitri before he can fully stop himself. He’s breathing heavy with his anger and his hands balling into fists. He has to physically stop himself from trying to attack the taller alpha. 

 

He doesn’t want to hear how ‘brave’ and ‘honorable’ Glenn was in his last moments. He can’t even begin to imagine what Glenn had gone through in his last moments. An escort job gone wrong and an attack so brutal that they’d only been able to recover Glenn’s severely damaged armor for burial. Glenn had been duty and honor bound to stay and fight until the very end, regardless of if there was any hope of him surviving or not. He’d been sucked into the ideals of knighthood, taught into believing that such a fate was an ideal death. 

 

“Felix…” Ingrid calls out from behind him softly. And he feels her gently take his hand to uncurl his fist. A sharp pain draws his attention away from Dimitri to his own hands. He’d dug his nails in deep into the flesh of his palm, hard enough to draw blood. It isn’t much, just a few shallow cuts, but it serves to bring Felix out of his red haze.

 

“I… don’t want to talk about Glenn…” He mutters quietly, letting Ingrid look over his hands as she silently frets. “I’m glad you survived the attack, Dimitri.” He says honestly, but just as softly. He can't quite imagine a world without Dimitri, and he's immensely glad he doesn't have to. Losing his brother was bad enough, but if Felix had lost them both that day he’s not sure what he’d have done.

 

Dimitri's blue eyes glance away, and Felix can't quite discern the emotions that play across his face before he turns back to look at him. "Thank you, Felix." He says simply, but Felix feels like he wants to say something else instead. But if he's not going to Felix certainly isn't going to make him.

 

"I'm fine, Ingrid," Felix says instead, turning to his other blonde friend, and taking his hands back. 

 

Ingrid purses her lips and her green eyes stare at him warily before she sighs. "Well, the cuts certainly don't look that deep. Just be sure to clean them before you go to bed tonight."

 

Felix can't quite resist the temptation to roll his eyes. He knows she means well but he isn't stupid. Of course, he'll wash his hands later. 

 

"It is good to see you again, Felix." Dimitri breaks in with a slight smile. "You're as fiery as ever." 

 

Sylvain might remember Felix as a snot-nosed crybaby - though probably more fondly then that sounds - but then again Sylvain has always been the one that Felix felt most comfortable around. He’s certainly never gone crying to Dimitri or Ingrid when he’d been having problems. It’s strange to have such a different dynamic with one of them, a feeling that will probably only get worse when he’s bonded to Sylvain. But at least the two of them don’t have as many embarrassing stories about him to talk about.

 

“It’s just unfortunate that we have to meet under these circumstances,” Ingrid says with a shake of her head, her mouth turned down slightly at the corners. “I certainly was surprised when Sylvain told me the news. An arranged marriage between the two of you is a receipt for disaster.”

 

Dimitri lets out a surprised noise, something that’s between a huff and a laugh. “Ingrid! Don’t say such things…” He says, his blue eyes darting over to Felix like he expects him to be offended. A ridiculous notion, as Ingrid was far from wrong. 

 

There are more reasons than Felix cares to really think about as to why Sylvain and his marriage is destined to fail. Or, at the very least, become an intolerable mess. Sylvain is too young and free-spirited to want to settle down this young, not to mention his lack of any interest in either male omegas, or just Felix in general. There are definitely better omegas - or betas - out there. Female ones, with curves in all the right places and a better personality than Felix has to offer. With any luck, Sylvain will either help him find some way to get out of this mess, or he’ll move on to someone more his type after Felix leaves Faerghus behind.

 

Ingrid gives a shrug, and her eyes gleam in a way that tells them she’s joking. “Those two were always getting into trouble.” She reminds Dimitri. “Once they’re mated, there might be no stopping them and their schemes.”

 

Felix rolls his eyes, and crosses his arms over his chest. “We don’t scheme.” He protests, though his words fall flat. They didn’t scheme, per say, so much as they both had just been really rambunctious kids. A good combination for them at the time, but not so much everyone in their way. Ingrid has to pull them back many times to make them apologize for their deeds, so no wonder she fears them probably plotting world domination or something. 

 

Both of them had mellowed out these last couple of years, but it seems that Ingrid's mothering personality is still very much apparent.

 

“I’m glad that two of my friends have to opportunity to create a bond like this,” Dimitri says, and this time his eyes seem genuine with no lingering trace of darkness. “I, for one, think that you and Sylvain are a good match. The two of you have always had your own ways of complementing the other. This could be quite serendipitous.”

 

Felix snorts and gives a shake of his head. “Enough. The outcome of anything between Sylvain and I are years away and there’s no reason to dwell on it in the present. In the meantime, let’s spar! I’m eager to see how good either of you are with a lance.”

 

Ingrid’s eyes light up and she squares her shoulders. “I’ve gotten very good!” She says proudly. “I might not have been training for a long as the two of you but you’re going to have to work to best me.”

 

A bit of hesitance takes over Dimitri's face and he looks down at his shoes. “I - I will sit out this match.” He tells them, before adding on quickly: “But I would very much like to watch. A sparring match between two omegas is certain to be very interesting to watch.”

 

Felix narrows his eyes at him, but it doesn’t seem that Dimitri meant that the way it sounded. He’s also disappointed that he won’t be sparring with them. He’d heard Rodrigue talk of Dimitri’s incredible alpha strength, but he’s not sure if he can really believe his father. There is some strange connection that Rodrigue is building with the future king and Felix still isn’t sure what to make of it.

 

But, at least he can spar with Ingrid and he’s very eager to see how he’ll fair going up against another weapon type. It puts his mind at ease to focus on something right now, rather than the events that will be happening in a few days.

 

Sylvain will be arriving tomorrow, and then soon after that will be the biting ceremony. Anything after that is a vague mystery, but at least Felix has his friends with him now.

 

 

Chapter Text

Sylvain's arrival is heralded by fresh snowfall. The heavens open up a mere hour before his scheduled arrival and the soft flurries of snow settle onto the chilled ground. It’s drastically colder than it has been the rest of the week, but nothing they aren’t prepared for as natives of Faerghus. 

 

Felix stands huddled in his warmest clothes and his heaviest cloak, gloves on his hands and the best pair of snow boots he has to help stave off the worst of the cold. His breath fogs in front of him before it dissipates into the air. A snap of a branch draws his attention to his left and he sees Dimitri shifts his stance a little before he leans back against the tree he’d been propped against. 

 

“Why are we all the way out here again?” Ingrid questions as she shivers, drawing her own winter cloak in tighter around her body for warmth. They’d only been outside for a few minutes, but the treck from the house to the beginning of the forest had chilled them all quickly. All of them are already regretting agreeing to meet up with Sylvain's carriage just before it arrived at the manor. 

 

“If you’d like to go back, be my guest.” He says, turning back to scanning the trail leading further into the trees. They'll certainly hear the horses to the carriage long before they see it, but he's eager to see his friend again after so long. “Say hello to every eligible alpha hanging around my house for me.”

 

Ingrid grimaces. "No, thank you. This is much more preferable than being around those creeps." She shudders, probably just from the cold but it works to emphasize her words. 

 

Felix can’t help let out a small hum in agreement. If Felix thought he'd had it bad by just dealing with their stares, Ingrid has it infinity worse. With Felix, everyone knows he's soon to be bonded and luckily no alpha has tried to step in to try and challenge that. But Ingrid has no such protection and even Dimitri’s presence around her doesn’t help to deter the more bold alphas. 

 

After Felix and Ingrid’s sparring match last night - of which, Felix had been the victor, but just barely - they’d had to attend a dinner hosted by his father for all the guests in arrival. It wasn’t necessarily a party, as that was to be held for the biting ceremony, but it was held in the banquet hall to hold all the guests present. After the dinner, everyone had taken to standing around in groups to converse amongst themselves. Ingrid had to stand next to her father, Gideon Galatea, for the night while he tried to entice her to any single alpha that expressed interest. She’d eventually been able to break away and regroup with Dimitri and Felix, but she’d been slightly frazzled and very annoyed by then. 

 

Dimitri had been the only alpha allowed around Felix under Lord Fraldarius’s watchful eye until Sylvain arrives. And even when he does arrive Rodrigue is likely to want to separate him and Felix so they won’t be ‘tempted’ to do whatever it is Rodrigue thinks they’ll do. Felix finds it highly unlikely that he’ll want to do anything sexual with Sylvain just because he’s matured now.

 

But, since Dimitri has Rodrigue's favor, Felix’s night had been spent either catching up with the taller blond or sitting beside him quietly being glad none of the other alphas are allowed to approach him without risking angering their host. So, Felix’s night had been much better than Ingrids and even the next morning had played out the same for him and Ingrid. Felix feels bad that she had to deal with such things but definitely not enough to switch places with her. And luckily enough for them, they’d been able to sneak out soon after breakfast without having to deal with too many people. 

 

“They certainly are determined.” Dimitri muses, shaking his head and shifting on his feet again while eyeing the ground like he’s contemplating sitting on the snow instead of standing for so long. “But this hardly seems the place to try to set up a match.”

 

“I wouldn’t say that…” Ingrid trails off, wiping off a stray snowflake that had fallen and melted on her cheek. “There is a certain romantic sense to it.” 

 

At both Felix and Dimitri’s confused look she sighs and elaborates. “Meeting someone at a bonding ceremony, feeling that spark of connection and scenting them and just knowing the two of you are destined to be? It’s very romantic and I can’t quite say I don’t find any allure to it, but…” Her eyes had gotten brighter and more enthused as she’d talked until she got to the end and pause, her vanilla scent mingling with a deep sadness. “But it’s too soon after… and I’m not quite ready to move on just yet.”

 

The cold air around them turns somber. Ingrid had really been fond of Glenn, had certainly idolized and looked up to him, much like Felix had, but if they’d just been given a few more years together… Ingrid would have been just as much in love with him as Gleen had been of her. Now she’s left to deal with her grief however she can while her dad continually tries to play matchmaker to marry her into a wealthy family. Count Galatea means well by his daughter so he won’t actually push her into anything she doesn’t want, but he is too overeager.

 

Dimitri reaches out to gently place a hand on Ingrid’s shoulder as she sniffs and dabs the corner of her eyes to try and discreetly remove any moisture. “Sylvain better show up soon.” She grumbles, her voice thick with emotions. “It’s just like him to leave us all waiting like this.”

 

“It’s not like he knows we’re out here waiting for him.” Felix points out, shivering when another gust of wind blows past them. Thankfully the snow has stayed at a lazy flurry, barely covering the ground by a few inches or the trek back would be terrible. They can still see the manor as they haven’t gone very far into the woods, so if the weather were to take a turn for the worse they would hardly get lost. But if they have to wait much longer, it might be in their best interest to head back.

 

“Very few would think to be out here at such a time,” Dimitri says, taking his hand off of Ingrid's shoulder when it seems the time to comfort her has passed. “But I’m sure Sylvain will be here shortly.”

 

Almost as if summoned, all three of them catch the sound of hooves beating against the ground and the rickety sound of carriage wheels moving along the road. Felix perks up and moves his eyes to look where he knows he’ll catch sight of the carriage before he can fully see it on the road. And there, just through the trees, he catches sight of the Gautier carriage being pulled along by two horses moving at a fast pace. Too fast. 

 

Felix frowns, his feet moving as worry courses through him before he’s being pulled back from the road by Dimitri. “Something’s wrong.” Dimitri states, large hand tightening and covering most of Felix’s bicep. 

 

“No shit,” Felix says with a snarl, trying to pull his arm out of the blond’s grasp with no luck. He really has gotten a lot stronger, his grip harsh and bruising but Felix keeps trying. His heart is racing in his chest, scared of the endless possibilities. Had something happened to Sylvain on the road? Is he hurt in some way? “Let me go. We need to see what’s wrong.”

 

“Just wait.” Dimitri growls in a low voice, his body tense and his eyes dark. Something about him makes Felix freeze, feeling suddenly like he’s in the presence of a predatory animal instead of a human. There’s an intense, almost crazed, look in his eyes and while Dimitri hadn’t used his alpha voice to issue his command, it certainly feels like he did. Ingrid hovers behind them and seems just as frozen as he is by Dimitri’s tone.

 

The carriage rounds the bend, the driver slowing down just enough to make the turn without upending the carriage. The horses strain to keep up the fast pace as the driver cracks his whip to get them going again. As it draws closer, the driver finally spots them, turning slightly to beat atop the carriage. The group of three watches as he yells something discernible and pulls the reins of the horses to bring the carriage to a stop just before them.

 

“-Shut up!” They hear yelled the last part of a sentence from inside the carriage. It’s followed by the carriage rocking slightly before the door is flung open. Sylvain steps out into the cold air, hair a complete mess and looking more angry than Felix has ever seen him before. He’s glad for Dimitri’s hand still on his arm, or he might have taken a step back to get away from the angry alpha. 

 

Anger clogs whatever Sylvain’s scent might be as he steps onto the ground and practically slams the carriage door behind him. Felix jumps slightly at the sound, his heart still pounding a mile a minute. He’s not sure why Sylvain is so angry, he’s usually very laid back and carefree unless-

 

The curtains keeping out the cold from inside the carriage moves and he turns his gaze to look. Another redhead pokes his head out of the window of the carriage. Miklan. 

 

Felix hasn’t seen Miklan in years, and the alpha has grown into a cruel looking man. A large fresh looking scar tears its way through his face and he gives the group before him a cold sneer. “Have fun with your little omega, Sylvain.” He grouses, cold eyes lingering on Felix for far too long. “Try not to get yourself killed in the woods.” He gives a dark chuckle afterwards when Sylvain turns to snarl at him, letting the curtain fall closed. A banging is heard from inside the carriage, a sight to get the driver going again. 

 

The driver takes off with another crack of his whip, leaving an angry Sylvain alone with Felix, Dimitri, and Ingrid. Sylvain is a tense silhouette. His back is still turned to them and Felix can hear him take in deep raging breaths. The air is quiet and still between them, and Felix’s hand is starting to go numb from how hard Dimitri is still holding him. He’s likely to have a very prominent bruise there.

 

Slowly as the minutes' tick by the anger and tension leave Sylvain’s body, and Felix can feel the same happen to Dimitri. The blond's grip loosens, though he doesn’t quite let go, and when Felix looks over the crazed look is gone as if it’d never been there. But Felix had seen it. Whatever it was. 

 

Soon enough Sylvain is turning to face them. He’s no longer visibly angered but he takes a moment to look between them, eyes settling on Dimitri’s hand holding Felix before he looks away and gives an embarrassed grin to them, scratching the back of his head. 

 

“Sorry about that…” He says, crossing his arms over his chest and shivers. He’d stepped out of the carriage in his haste without a cloak. The fool. “I had to stop by Gautier territory for some things and Miklan insisted on coming. But thank the Goddess you all were out here. I don’t think I’d have been able to make it another minute in there.”

 

Felix finally shakes out of Dimitri’s hold and steps closer to the redhead. He can see a faint shadow of bruising along Sylvain’s cheek that hints at how insistent Miklan had been. Felix knows about the strained relationship Sylvain has with his brother, so the fact that the older alpha would even show up to an event like this - let alone bully Sylvain into taking him along - doesn’t bode well with him. 

 

Felix means to ask Sylvain if he knows why Miklan insisted on coming, but when he gets a look at the alpha - really looks at him - his words die in his throat. The few months apart and finally hitting his maturity has really changed the older teen. He’s gotten much taller, more broad in the shoulders and Felix can’t help but notice the enticing way that the sun gleams through the trees to highlight his red hair into orange strands and his whiskey eyes lighten into amber. Felix finds that Sylvain has grown in a very handsome alpha, and he’s not quite sure how to process this information. 

 

A gentle breeze picks up, carrying with it the scent of the alpha before him. If Dimitri’s scent had been alluring than Sylvain’s is an outright siren’s call to him. He smells of a deep woodsy cedar, which is hard to catch while standing amongst so many similar trees but there's something so distinctly Sylvain that if Felix were to close his eyes and spin around he'd know instantly where his friend was.

 

His scent is familiar, bringing to mind some of Felix’s best memories of running with the redhead through the trees that surround his manor. Fond memories that he’d forgotten about until now. It reminds Felix of home when home meant something to him back when Glenn was alive and his family wasn’t so obviously fractured. He wants to bury his nose in Sylvain’s neck where his scent will be the strongest and hide himself away in good memories forever. 

 

He's inching closer to Sylvain before he realizes it, though he catches himself before it gets too embarrassing. His face flushes as Sylvain quirks an eyebrow at him curiously and he hopes the cold has already brought the red out in his cheeks to hide it. He's not sure if it had been obvious that he'd been scenting Sylvain, but he does notice a distinct lack of Sylvain trying to scent him.

 

"Hey, Felix." Sylvain greets, giving him an odd look while still shivering from the cold but he quickly plasters on a smile. It doesn't quite reach his eyes, and Felix finds himself frozen again. He’s not entirely sure what he's done to deserve one of Sylvain's fake smiles. 

 

Felix feels the corners of his mouth dip down into a scowl, breaking out of his strange trance and he narrows his eyes at the redhead. "You're an idiot." He snaps, feeling his mood sour and he crosses his arms over his chest. “Why’d you leave the carriage without your cloak? It’s freezing out here.” 

 

Sylvain breaths out a laugh that sounds more like a scoff, the air billowing from his lips. “Yeah, no kidding. I, uh, didn’t bring it in the first place.” He says, reaching up to scratch through his hair again. “Was kinda rushed getting down here. It’s a long trip from Duscur to here, and it’s not like I could afford to be late getting here.”

 

Ingrid steps up beside Felix and he sees her frown at Sylvain. “How in the world did you manage to forget something so vital? I sure hope you brought something better than what you’re wearing right now for your stay here.” She gestures to his much too thin clothes, and gives a shake of her head. “And of course your brother left you out here. Come on, let’s all start heading back.”

 

She turns and begins to walk away, heading for the manor with fast steps. Sylvain’s face breaks out into a big genuine grin aimed at her back and he pushes past Felix to catch up with her. Felix can’t help but feel surprised by the apparent change in Sylvain’s demeanor and, while it’s completely ridiculous, he feels almost overlooked. Where once Sylvain would have been overjoyed to see him, he now seems indifferent in a way Felix can’t quite help but feel hurt by.

 

Felix had thought their friendship could survive through something like this. At the very least, they would still have a few more years before Felix must make his inevitable departure. But maybe, through this deal their father’s have thrown together, he’s already lost Sylvain to some extent.

 

“Aww, I knew you cared for me, Ingrid.” Sylvain says as he catches up to her easily, a flirty grin settling into place just for her. “How about I take you out to dinner sometime to repay your kindness?” 

 

“You’re impossible.” He hears Ingrid say and sees her knock her elbow into Sylvain’s side before his sight of them is broken by Dimitri coming to stand before him.

 

Felix frowns and has to tilt his head up to actually look at the alpha before him. His face is soft but concerned, his nostrils flaring slightly as he no doubt takes in more of Felix’s hurt scent. His blue eyes are light again and his own scent of sandalwood mixing with his concern for the omega before him. It’s such a sharp contrast to how he’d been moments ago that Felix is left questioning if he’d actually seen him in a half-crazed state before. “Are you alright?” He mumbles quietly, on the off chance Ingrid and Sylvain might hear him.

 

Felix will have to keep tight control of his emotions if he plans to get anywhere in life. He can’t have every alpha around just coming up to him because his feelings got a little hurt. At least he already has practice schooling his facial expressions into being nothing more than polite coldness. A look he uses now to glare up at Dimitri with. While he appreciates, to some extent, the blond's concern he’s more upset about feeling this way in the first place. 

 

What right does he have to demand attention from Sylvain? Sure, they’re friends so to some extent he’s justifiable in feeling put off by Sylvain brushing him off. But it’s not like Sylvain can’t have other friends. Of course, he can! Felix just wishes the redhead could at least act like nothing has changed between them without being so… so fake about it! He has to know that Felix also isn’t looking forward to being forced to bond with him. 

 

“I’m fine.” Felix snaps, teeth practically grinding together in his mouth. He’s past the strange hurt feeling and into the familiarity of anger it seems. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

 

He doesn’t wait for Dimitri to reply, instead, he pushes past him to begin hiking after his two friends who have yet to notice that he and Dimitri have fallen behind. To be honest, Felix doesn’t even want an answer as to why he wouldn’t be ok when he himself isn’t too sure. He hates these new emotions that his hormones seem to bring out in him. 

 

Dimitri catches up with him easily, his long legs taking him much further than Felix’s can go. But other than a few hesitant glances his way, Dimitri keeps silent while they trail behind Ingrid and Sylvain. The brief moment of silence gives Felix a chance to calm down. The only noise around them being the crunch of their boots in the snow and the muffled conversation between the two before them.

 

In the distance, Felix can make out that the Gautier carriage is being pulled away from the front entryway. Miklan already inside and already starting to warm up, no doubt. Lucky bastard. When they’d discussed meeting Sylvain in the woods, the hope had been to pile in the carriage for an easier ride back.

 

Ingrid stops after a while and peers back at them, seeming shocked at how far back they are. Sylvain stops mid sentence and glances over at them curiously. “Why are you both all the way back there?” He calls out, hands cupping the sides of his mouth to project his voice further. They aren’t that far away for it to be necessary, and his voice rings out through the quiet winter air.

 

“There’s hardly a need to shout.” Dimitri says, though he smiles back at Sylvain’s answering grin. “Felix and I merely fell behind for a moment is all.”

 

Ingrid turns her green eyes over to him and Felix sees her eyebrows furrow in concern. Seiros, is he really this easy to read? “Is everything alright?” She asks, her own vanilla scent starting to mingle in with her concern. 

 

Felix opens his mouth to speak, but Dimitri cuts him off. “I was merely checking to see if he was alright.”

 

“Alright? Why wouldn’t he be?” Sylvain questions, a frown on his face and his eyes darting over to Felix to quickly. “What’s wrong, Felix?” He asks, his eyes finally softening as he steps closer. He’s stopped shivering in his attempt to gain all he can from looking Felix over.

 

Felix blinks in surprise. The amount of genuine concern he sees and scents from Sylvain feels staggering. Maybe Felix had just been misreading things earlier? Perhaps Sylvain had still been upset about Miklan earlier and had to fake it until he wasn’t feeling that way any longer. Sylvain always had a philosophy of ‘fake it until you make it.’

 

“I’m fine.” Felix finally chokes out, looking away to try and alleviate some of the attention he feels on him. It’s strange to be at the center of their concern all at once. 

 

“I held onto him a bit too tight earlier.” Dimitri admits, guilt leaking into his voice. “I wanted to be sure his arm was ok. I’m still not used to having this new strength of mine.”

 

“Oh, yeah, what was that about?” Sylvain asks. A strong gust of wind whips around them, billowing the cloaks and making the redhead cross his arms over his chest, his hands tucked in tight to get as much warmth from his body as he can. “On second thought, let’s walk and talk!” his teeth chatter together through his sentence. “Unless someone wants to be a good friend and give me their cloak.”

 

Felix snorts, making a show of drawing his cloak in around him. “It’s hardly our fault you didn’t bring yours.” He says, though for Sylvain’s sake he begins walking again. He’s not that mean as to actually make Sylvain wait around in this cold for too long. 

 

He moves past them only for them to fall in line beside him. It feels good to finally be around his friends again, even if they’ve changed in ways he’s not quite sure how to explain. He’s not generally good around people - that had been Glenn’s area - but while the years haven’t been kind to them, he knows that even when he’s gone he’ll still cherish the memories he has of them.

 

“Ok, but seriously, why were you holding onto Felix like that, Dimitri?” Sylvain continues, walking next to the other alpha though his other side is next to Felix. 

 

“Your carriage was barrelling down the road,” Felix says. “With little concern about anyone else on the road. Dimitri simply pulled me away from possibly getting trampled.”

 

Felix looks over at him in time to see Sylvain’s face contort into a grimace. “Sorry about that. I just really wanted to get here faster to get away from Miklan so I had the driver speed up. It’s not like I knew you would be out here until the driver shouted it to me.”

 

“We wanted to see you before you arrived in case we didn’t get a chance too.” Ingrid says, leaning forward a bit to look at Sylvain while she speaks. “Well, Dimitri and I would have been able to, but Lord Fraldarius will probably split you and Felix up before the biting ceremony.” 

 

Sylvain gives a laugh, and before he knows it Felix has one of Sylvain’s arms slung around his shoulder pulling him into the taller males side. “It’s so nice to hear that you care about me!” He exclaims.

 

Felix feels his face heat up, both at the close proximity and how he’s just gotten a nose full of Sylvain’s intoxicating scent. Sylvain is a very touchy person, always touching people he’s interacting with in some way or another but with Felix, he very rarely has pulled him close like this. He knows that Felix’s first reaction to extended amounts of touch like this tend to be pretty violent. 

 

So Felix doesn’t feel too bad shrugging his arm off his shoulder and pushing him away. He does kind of feel saddened about losing an opportunity to bask in his scent though. Of course, Sylvain would smell great. “Shut up. I just wanted to get away from all the stupid nobles filling up my house.”

 

Sylvain laughs as he stumbles to the side, knocking shoulders with Dimitri but not hard enough to actually send the blond stumbling with him. Dimitri snorts and holds out a hand to steady his redhaired friend. 

 

“You laugh, but Felix is right,” Dimitri tells Sylvain. “There’s more nobles here than I’ve seen even around the castle! How this manor can house all of them is truly mind-boggling. Also, I’m very sorry for handling you so roughly earlier, Felix.”

 

Glaring over in his direction, Felix huffs feeling vaguely insulted. “This is hardly my first time getting a bruise, Dimitri. I can handle it.”

 

“Hear that, Dimi?” Sylvain jabs the blond alpha in his side, earning a perplexed look from Dimitri. “Felix likes it rough.” He says with a wink, to which Felix groans and shakes his head.

 

“You’re impossible.” He growls.

 

Ingrid gives a chuckle as she looks between them. “Shouldn’t you be taking that information into consideration, Sylvain?” She taunts a playful smirk on her lips. “You are the one getting bonded to him after all.”

 

Sylvain pauses blinking in surprise like he'd forgotten, his whole body freezing and halting his steps for all of two seconds before he's walking again. He gives an attempt at a jovial laugh but it falls short. "O-oh yeah." He says before covering up his hesitance with a cough and turns to look at Felix. "Sorry to disappoint, I'm more of a gentle lover."

 

For the first time, Felix sees a red flush building up on Sylvain's complexion. And Felix can't quite help grimacing at his words. A gentle lover hardly seems to fit Sylvain when he's so readily eager to abandon the women he dates for another. He knows that Sylvain is talking specifically about sex, but there’s no telling if now that Sylvain has had his rut that his flings with women haven’t turned sexual. 

 

Felix shakes his head and glares at the redhead. “Don’t be crude.” He says, stalking forward faster, leaving his friends behind.

 

---------

 

Much later, the next afternoon, in fact, Felix finds himself standing before the Fraldarius’ family seamstress to be fitted for the outfit he's to wear for his bonding. The relatively simple outfit had been designed a few days ago, but the seamstress had wished to make sure all his measurements were perfect before fully sowing the outfit together. The garment was nothing too fancy which he's thankful for.  

 

The shirt his pinned to a cloth mannequin, made of a solid satin in the Fraldarius family house color, a particularly unique shade of blue, with elegant gold accents around the collar and cuffs. The collar of the garment is wide, giving access to most of his neck and the beginnings of his shoulders. It doesn't quite fall off his shoulders, but the drooping collar means he's going to be cold for most of the evening. At least the bishop sleeves should help, especially since he only has to wear this outfit once. The pants next to it are more simplistic, a dark blue almost black with gold thread designs on the sides. 

 

A tall lanky beta takes his measurements while Felix stands in the center of the room only in his small clothes. He’d be more embarrassed if he wasn’t used to having to do this every now and then. The seamstress winds a long strip of leather that’s marked with measurements around Felix while she calls out numbers to her assistant. Felix guessed they're going to have to take the garment in quite a bit to achieve whatever look they're going for. The top looks like it's meant to hug his body and they hadn’t taken into account his lack of hips.

 

The beta loops the band around Felix's middle not bothering to warn Felix as she gets closer to him. Felix barely manages not to flinch away, not caring for the scent of wisteria he smells coming from her, not to mention that he generally hates being this close to someone he's unfamiliar with. He'd probably pitch more of a fuss about her being so close if his father didn’t happen to also be in the room with him. 

 

"You're so skinny." The seamstress tells him, the accent in her voice hard to place. She’s relatively new to the Fraldarius household, but Felix doesn’t know where she’s originally from. "I'm not used to working on an omega with no curves to them." She says with a deep frown, glances between the number on her band and back to her garment.

 

The soft scratching noise of his father’s writing pauses. "There's no magical way of fattening him up in the next few hours," Rodrigue speaks, glancing up from his paperwork at the desk he’s taken up for his work. Felix isn't sure why he's here exactly, probably to make sure Felix doesn’t try and make the seamstresses job any harder. "Adjust where you need to and be quick about it."

 

"Yes my lord." She replies easily, moving the band around to the top of his chest. "Are you sure you wouldn’t like a skirt to wear? I can make something that will give the suggestion of some nice hips on you.” She offers. “I’m sure your alpha would appreciate the look on you.”

 

Felix grimaces and highly doubts Sylvain would do much more than laugh at him in a skirt. Male omegas aren’t nearly as common as female ones, so quite often people will try to push to feminize him. Thankfully, Rodrigue shares a similar distaste as his son does to such a notion, one of the few opinions they have in common. Felix tries hard to not roll his eyes directly to her face. But it’s only about the fifth time that she’s tried to protest his demands for a nice pair of pants, despite her already having them on hand, and he doubts it will be her last. 

 

“The pants are fine.” His father says, dipping his pen into a pot of ink not bothering to look back up again before he goes back to whatever he’s writing. “He’s already found a mate, we’re not trying to invite in another.”

 

Felix snorts. “Sold off is more like it." He resists the urge to cross his arms over his chest and settles on glaring at his father. "Am I to be shipped off to live with the Gautier's as well?" 

 

"Keep up with the attitude and I'll consider it." His father shoots back as the seamstress steps away from him and towards her assistant, visibly uncomfortable by the conversation Felix and Rodrigue are having. But Felix can't help but relax, both at her moving away and to some extent his father's roundabout way of saying he doesn’t have to uproot his life here.

 

It'd be a pain to find another trainer as good and willing to teach him as Cael is. Not to mention the fact that he would have to be around Miklan and the new Lady Gautier for extended amounts of time. The more distance he has to anyone vaguely related to Sylvain the better. For all Sylvain's flaws, he's genuinely a much better person than the rest of his family.

 

Now that the beta seems to be working on his top - taking in the sides and pinning the fabric in place - Felix heads over to the armchair that he'd place the shirt and pants he'd been wearing earlier. He quickly pulls on the pants, already feeling less exposed but doubts he'll be able to pull his shirt on as well, unfortunately. 

 

He takes a seat in the chair after he moves his shirt to be hanging over the back of it, not wanting to wrinkle the fabric even though he won’t be able to wear it again tonight. Felix shifts in the chair to get more comfortable, wincing slightly when his upper arm bumps knock against the wooden part of the chair. 

 

It’s been quite startling to see the bruise Dimitri had given him blossom into a large purple mark. The spot is vibrant and painful to touch but isn’t much more than a minor inconvenience to have. It wasn’t like Dimitri had meant to hurt him and within a few weeks, the mark will fade completely. What had been more interesting was watching the seamstresses' eyes dart over to his father once the mark had been revealed. It wasn’t any of her business but Felix can’t help but be amused in finding that she thinks his father did it. Their spats must be more notorious around the manor than he thought. 

 

Rodrigue signs the document in a well practiced flurry and sets his quill onto the table, leaning back in his chair as his eyes settle onto his son. The room is quiet for a bit, the only sounds being the soft murmuring of the other two people in the room while they work to complete his outfit on time. Felix can feel his father’s eyes on him, but he’s quite content in fiddling with a loose thread coming from the chair he’s in.

 

“Dimitri explained to me what happened yesterday.” His father starts off with. “I am aware that I never explicitly stated you weren’t to meet with Sylvain without a chaperone but I had thought it fairly obvious with the fact that I haven’t let another alpha near you since you’ve matured. The exception, of course, being Dimitri because I can trust him to act gentlemanly even around unmated omegas.”

 

Felix signs, already tired with this conversation. His father’s favoritism for Dimitri no more apparent than it is right now. Why Rodrigue hadn’t just mated him off to the Blaiddyd heir instead of into the Gautier family remains unclear. Perhaps he’d tried when Felix had first been born, but maybe King Lambert had been against the idea.

 

“He’s my friend.” Felix defends, glaring down at the piece of thread he’s playing with. “I wanted to see him before this stupid ceremony changed things between us.”

 

“You’ll still be friends after he gives you his bite, Felix.” Rodrigue says, and Felix can hear a good about of disappointment in his voice. “There was no way of knowing how Sylvain might have acted scenting you for the first time. From what I’ve heard from Margrave his rut was particularly crazed. But I am relieved to hear that nothing bad happened.”

 

“He didn’t scent me.” Felix grumbles, sinking further into his chair, eyes flickering over to watch the two girls sow.

 

“What? Of course he did.” Rodrigue says, completely dismissing his sons’ words. “No alpha can resist scenting an omega. Especially since the both of you haven’t seen each other since you’ve matured.” He heaves a sigh. “Perhaps your scents aren’t compatible, which is unfortunate but not a deal breaker by any means.”

 

Felix purses his lips irritated that his father doesn’t believe him when he knows for certain that Sylvain hadn’t even made an attempt to scent him. In fact, if he remembers correctly Dimitri hadn’t tried to either, though as the two of them aren’t being forced into bonding, he doesn’t much care.

 

“The more pressing issues,” Rodrigue continues on, though he sounds more like he’s musing with himself rather than talking to Felix. “Is why Miklan decided to show up with his brother. It is strange that he chooses now to come to our territory. Did Sylvain mention anything to you about his brother?”


Felix shakes his head. Miklan might as well have been a ghost for as often as Felix had seen him around the manor. He didn’t show up for dinner the night before and even during breakfast this morning he’d exited the banquet hall after scarfing down some food. But Felix knows that whatever Miklan’s intents are, they aren’t good. Anytime that the alpha is around, Felix feels the heavyweight of his eyes on him and knows that he needs to be cautious roaming the halls alone. 

 

If Miklan was willing enough to try and commit fratricide - and Felix just knows that Sylvain has never told his father that Miklan was the one to push him down that well - his sudden interest in his brother’s future mate is suspicious at best. Felix hopes that he doesn’t try anything but all Felix can really do is wait and see. 

 

“No, I don’t know why he’s here.” Felix says, standing back up when the seamstress motions that she’s finished what she’d been working on. 

 

She hands over the shirt and he tugs it on, pulling his arms through the sleeves and pulling the end of it down to settle at his waist. It hugs him quite nicely, perfectly tailored to fit him and the fabric is a lot thicker than he’d first thought. The neck of it is a bit strange, perhaps because he’s not used to having his neck and his scent glands so exposed. 

 

The beta reaches out to settle a few places where the fabric doesn’t quite settle right without some help. Rodrigue stands up and comes around the side of the desk to look him over and Felix isn’t quite sure what to make of his expression. He’s not sure that he’s ever seen such a look like this from his father, or at least not directed at him. He seems almost… proud, perhaps? Though that is certainly an odd expression when all Felix is doing is putting on a shirt. 

 

“Thank you for not fighting me on this match between you and Sylvain. I know it might feel weird for you to have to go through with this, but I do hope that you end up happy. Just remember that you might have to work with your future mate for that happiness.” Rodrigue tells him before he claps his hands together. “Now, go wash up and I’ll call in the rest of the people who will help get you ready. I must leave to oversee preparations but be sure you arrive at the time you’re supposed to.”

 

It is customary for omegas to be the last to show up at either of the ceremonies, though usually the biting and mating generally happen the same night. These celebrations are to be a grand party of which the omega is the main thing being paraded for others to wish they’d been the ones given the final permission to have that omega. Everything about Felix tonight will be about how great of a gift he is for Sylvain to have, a nice piece of eye candy to make all the other alphas in the room jealous. 

 

Rodrigue gathers the few things that he’d brought into the room with him, folding and tucking his written letter into one of his pockets before he sweeps out of the room. Felix takes off the fitted shirt and hands it back to the seamstress before he heads off to wash himself in the connected bathroom. 

 

He, unfortunately, still has a few more hours of servants dolling him into perfection to deal with before he can get a moment of peace. 

 

---------

 

Standing in front of the large doors leading into the banquet hall has never felt as daunting as it does right now. Felix’s stomach feels infested with the butterflies of his nervousness and he can’t quite bring himself to signal the steward to announce his arrival.

 

He’s freshly washed, standing in the full entirety of his bonding outfit with his hair carefully done up in a more stylized bun to keep it off his neck rather than the messy ones he normally goes with. Felix had gotten a look at himself in one of the large floor length mirrors in the room he’d been in to get ready and had hardly recognized himself. He just knows that when he walks into the room before him that all eyes will be on him and it had been hellish beforehand when he’d only been in his regular everyday clothes. 

 

“It is almost the time that was scheduled for the biting to take place, my lord.” The old steward tells him, his aged voice holding a slight tone of sympathy in it. He’s had to watch as Felix paced the hall for a- well a good twenty minutes now it seems. Leave it to him to be even later than he’d been allowed to be in the first place. He’s sort of surprised that his father hasn’t stormed out to come look for him.

 

Felix takes a deep breath, trying to settle himself down though it doesn’t seem to help. No doubt his strange cinnamon scent is polluted by his worry. He’s not even entirely worried about the bite itself, though that does play a decent role in it. He’s more worried about the attention he’ll get when all eyes turn at the announcement of his arrival. Maybe he can find a nice dark corner after a while to hide in. 

 

“Alright,” Felix says, gesturing to the large doors in front of him. “Let’s get this over with.” He’s not quite ready but he doubts he’ll ever fully be.

 

The steward gives him a gracious nod and ambles over, letting the guard in front of it open the heavy wooden door for him. Felix steps behind him, wincing when a low trumpet sounds the beginnings of his arrival. The low strums of a harp ceases as the steward clears his throat to make the announcement. 

 

“Introducing, Felix Hugo Fraldarius. The remaining heir and only omega son to Lord Rodrigue Achille Fraldarius.” The steward introduces him in a well practice voice, loud enough that even those far away can hear him. He steps to the side revealing Felix to the room before him. 

 

Felix schools his features to hide his grimace as best he can as he walks further into the room, head held high. It won’t do him any good to falter now, not with so many eyes watching him.

 

He scans the crowd as the harpist begins to play again, the melodious sound carrying throughout the large room covered only by the murmur of people talking in low voices. He sees more people that he would like glancing him over, their eyes lingering on his exposed neck making him uncomfortable. 

 

Soon enough he spies Ingrid through the crowd and next to her stands Sylvain. Though next to the redhead is some girl that Felix is unfamiliar with, and he certainly hopes the Sylvain isn’t stupid enough to be trying to make any moves on some poor girl at his own biting ceremony. Felix moves his ways towards them, twisting his body this way and that to avoid touching those that he has to move around to get to where he’s trying to go. But eventually, he gets there.

 

Sylvain is laughing at something the brunette girl before him has said, his hands gripping tight a glass of wine. How he’d managed to sneak that when all the servers here know that he’s underage Felix isn’t sure. As Felix steps closer, Ingrid spots him first. Her eyes go from looking worriedly between Sylvain and the girl before him to looking at Felix with wide eyes like she’s guilty about something.

 

“Felix!” She cries, a little too loud, moving around the other two to reach him. She throws her arms around his neck when she gets close enough. “I tried to stop him, but he’s impossible.” She whispers lowly to him, backing up and out of his space before he even has a chance to tense. 

 

Of course Sylvain is making moves on someone else mere minutes before he’s to give Felix his bite. Of course. But it isn’t like Felix is jealous. He knows that Sylvain has no interest in him or in this sham of a bonding, but surely a few hours of pretend wouldn’t kill him. 

 

His eyes dart over to the redhead and his companion, but it seems that whoever she was, she’s already left, leaving behind a shocked looking Sylvain. 

 

“W-wow, Felix,” Sylvain says, taking a large gulp of his wine as his eyes rack over Felix’s body. His gaze is heavy and hard to read, but it leaves Felix feeling flushed in a strange way. It’s not the same embarrassment he feels when the others look at him; it’s different, somehow, in a way he can’t quite explain. “You clean up nice.”

 

Felix frowns and resists the urge to cross his arms over his chest. Enough eyes are on him, and Sylvain has certainly made a fool of both of them for the evening. He’s not exactly sure how to stanch Sylvain’s flirty habits or if he even should. On one hand, he’ll be known as the weak omega that can’t even keep his alpha in check. But on the other, it’s not as if Felix is in this for the long run. He simply needs Sylvain’s bite to ensure that no alpha tries to attack him during his heats after he’s away from Faerghus. No alpha will touch an omega that smells mated, and while a bite isn’t enough to fully mix Sylvain’s cedar scent with his own it will be enough to ward off any potential danger if he can’t afford a heat house. 

 

“I can’t say the same for you.” Felix says, keeping the growl from his voice. He’s to be meek and demure around their guests and he can’t exactly reprimand an alpha in front of any of them. “Still as sloppy as ever.”

 

Not exactly, but there seems to be no taming Sylvains tousled hair and he has one too many buttons on his shirt popped open. It’s not so much sloppy as it is a very good look on the redhead. Very much a purposeful disheveled look that works with Sylvain’s classic good looks and laid back attitude.

 

“Ouch.” Sylvain comments, aiming his grin at the ground and stepping a bit closer to Felix. A pout settles over his face. “You should be a bit nicer to me.” 

 

Ingrid frowns over at him, her eyes darting around them before she speaks. “You were flirting with someone else at your own biting ceremony.” She hisses her face flushed in anger as she glares up at him and settling a comforting hand on Felix’s arm. “Have some decency and respect for your future mate.”

 

Sylvain blinks, seeming shocked by her anger. “I was just having a bit of fun.” He defends. “Felix understands. Right?” He turns to the other omega before him, eyes pleading with Felix to give him a break.

 

Felix feels like this is a pivotal moment of whether he accepts Sylvain’s behavior or forces it to stop. But… would that be fair to Sylvian? The man’s a natural flirt and him having flings on the side would both satiate him and insure that Felix can focus on getting stronger. It would certainly drive the wedge between them that would make Felix leaving much easier for the both of them. And maybe through one of his flings, Sylvain will find the future ‘Mrs. Gautier’ to comfort him. 

 

It certainly isn’t the relationship he’d imagined he’d have with his soon to be alpha. Like most omegas he’d used to dream of a grand romance when he was younger. Of an alpha that would love and adore him and remain faithful to him, and their love would spark all kinds of stories and legends throughout the ages. 

 

But real life is vastly different from his childhood fantasies. It is messy and has no room for his hurt feelings of his best friend asking for permission to cheat on him even before they’ve been bound to each other.

 

“I don’t care. Do whatever you want” He snaps, turning away and ignoring Ingrid calling out for him.

 

Felix settles into the crowd, bouncing from group to group that he never participates or stays in for long. He gets cooed at by most everyone he comes across, all complimenting him on how good he looks and how excited they are to be at this ceremony. Felix can’t bring himself to say more than a few words at a time, but he seems to pull it off as no one seems to give him any weird looks. 

 

He crosses paths with Dimitri and Rodrigue at one point, and while his father scolds him for being later than he should have been to join the part, both of them seem to be in good spirits. There’s a strange comradery between them. An easiness that Felix has tried most of his life to achieve with his father before realizing it was virtually impossible for him to achieve. Felix wonders if Rodrigue and Dimitri are trying to fill in lost spaces for each other. Rodrigue, in losing a beloved son, has now gained another and in a similar sense, the opposite is true for Dimitri. And Felix finds he can’t quite fault Dimitri for stealing his father's favor from him. The blond has been through too much for Felix to try and take another father figure away from him. 

 

Soon enough the time comes for Sylvain and Felix to stand in front of the entirety of their guests. There isn’t much pomp and circumstance; just that the two of them stand before witnesses and for Felix to offer himself up to receive Sylvain’s bite.

 

Felix is glad he didn’t have to memerize some stupid speech for this, but standing in front of their many guests is nerve racking. Sylvian stands before him, and Felix is only a little comforted to see that he also looks nervous. 

 

A hush falls over the crowd as they all wait with baited breath for the bite to take place. Only the harpist keeps playing to create the sense of a calm atmosphere, but being so close to Sylvain when he knows what’s about to happen makes him jittery.

 

“Hey,” Sylvain whispers softly, taking a step forward so that Felix has to tilt his head slightly to fully look up at him. The redhead reaches out and places his hands on Felix’s arms, just slightly above his wrists. His cedar scent is heady this close up and Felix has to breath through his mouth to stave off the temptation to press even closer to his friend. “It’s ok. We’ll get through this.”

 

Felix isn’t sure if he means this moment or their situation in general, but his touch and his words work. Slowly, Felix can feel the tension leave his body and he nods slightly. “Alright. Let’s… let’s do this.” He whispers back. 

 

Tilting his head to the side to present his neck feels more instinctual than it has any right to. He’s never done this before. Actually offered his neck in a willing sign of submission rather than having it forced out of him by someone using their alpha voice on him. He slides his eyes to rest on Sylvain’s shoulder and waits.

 

He both feels and hears Sylvains breath catch in his throat from the sight before him. No alpha is unaffected by an omega willingly submitting themselves, and Sylvain - as uninterested in Felix as he is - is no exception. Felix moves his eyes back to Sylvain’s face and takes in the dark expansion of the alphas pupils.

 

“Hurry up.” Felix says, with more courage than he feels. 

 

Sylvain’s eyes snap from the expanse of his neck to lock with his eyes. A sudden hand on his turned down cheek startles him slightly, but he presses into it easily enough, still keeping his head tilted to one side. He watches as the fangs in Sylvains mouth lengthen but closes his eyes when his friend steps in closer to bring their bodies flush. His scent is practically intoxicating, and Felix has to bring a hand up to hold onto Sylvain.

 

He feels the warm puff of air meets the cold skin of the junction in between his neck and shoulder. An eternity seems to pass between them before Sylvain ghosts his lips over the flesh of Felix’s scent gland.

 

And bites.


Chapter Text

No one had told Felix that an alphas bonding bite could be pleasurable. 

 

There's still a fair bit of pain that he still feels, Sylvain did pierce deep into the junction of his neck with his fangs, but the addition of the pleasure that Felix feels seems reminiscent to his time spent at the heat house. It’s a heady rush that clouds his head in fog and, embarrassingly, he can feel his slick slowly starting to leak out of him. No doubt spilling his scent into the air around him.

 

 Felix can’t quite help the soft whine that builds in his throat, soft enough that Sylvain’s the only one to hear it as he clings to the alpha before him. His hands tighten on his friend’s shirt, drawing him in closer and helping Felix keep himself steaattdy. 

 

The bite only lasts for a few seconds even though it feels like an eternity. It’s only long enough for Sylvain to split the skin of his scent gland and to let his saliva mix within Felix’s blood to begin the process of his own cedar scent starting to mix in with Felix’s cinnamon. Sylvain gently pulls his fangs out, his instincts taking over to lick at the wound he’s made to help staunch the bleeding. Felix feels like he’s in a daze, only barely able to register much past the alpha who has claimed him. 

 

Soon enough though, the sound of polite clapping reaches his ears and Felix sways on his feet when Sylvain takes a step away from him. He wants his alpha back, but somewhere in the back of his mind, he knows that calling Sylvain ‘his’ isn’t at all correct. The look on his friend’s face is hard to read, Sylvain’s eyes dark, the whiskey color blocked out by his enlarged pupils and his cedar scent takes on a much deeper musky tone. He seems equally as drawn to Felix as Felix is to him, looking a bit pained by the fact that he’s stepped away. 

 

Slowly, the fog in his head starts to clear helped along by Sylvain not being so close to him. And Felix knows that it’s just the rush of endorphins that are making both of them feel so drawn to each other.

 

Felix watches as Sylvain wipes his mouth of the small amount of blood still lingering on his lips. The alpha before him blinks, and his eyes start to leak back in with his normal whiskey color as his brief moment of arousal starts to fade. Leaving him and Felix to stare at each other, before Sylvain’s eyes cut to his neck where Felix can feel his bite throbbing with his pulse.

 

It will take a while for the bite to fully heal, but when it does Felix’s neck will forever be marked with a pale ring of teeth. Sylvain’s scent will merge with his until he no longer remembers what his own scent smells like. Sylvain will be with him forever in a way. At least he has something to remember him by when he can no longer call Faerghus home. 

 

Movement next to Felix jerks him into full awareness of the rest of the people in the banquet hall. A flush flames his cheeks and his heart pounds in his chest as the Fraldarius house physician makes his way over to Felix for his inspection. On rare occasions, an omegas body will reject an Alpha’s bite and the wound will get infected. Usually, those types are more prevalent with a completely forced bond. While there can be an argument made that that’s the case in this situation, Felix doesn't feel forced so much as coerced into taking the better option for himself. Better Sylvain than some nameless, cruel alpha.

 

The beta physician steps closer to Felix’s side and peers at the new bite mark at a good distance. Felix has never seen an infected bond bite so he isn’t too sure what the beta could be looking for. 

 

“Everything seems to be in order.” He says, keeping his hands to himself. The physician seems to be well aware of Sylvain's heavy gaze on him and turns to address him. "Give your mate the cloth you were given earlier to stop his bleeding."

 

Sylvain jerks into motion, patting the pockets on his pants until he finds what he's looking for. He pulls out a white cloth and steps forward to press it against the still bleeding bite mark. Felix winces slightly at the pressure applied against it but soon the pain settles to a dull throb and Felix places his hand over Sylvain's to take over his hold of the cloth.

 

“Sorry,” Sylvain whispers when he catches Felix’s wince.

 

Felix gives him a nod of understanding and reaches up to replace Sylvain’s hand with his own. Their fingers meet and an invisible spark of something flairs between them at the contact, almost pulling Felix back into his fog from earlier until Sylvain pulls his hand away quickly. 

 

The physician glances between them and seems to give himself a nod.  “That should stop the bleeding soon. If it doesn’t stop, or if it starts bleeding again come see me.” He tells Felix before he turns away to take a step closer to Felix’s father who had come up behind him at some point. 

 

Rodrigue and the physician whisper amongst themselves for a few seconds before his father nods and turns to face the crowd before them. “The bond has taken!” He announces loudly so that everyone in the room is able to hear him.

 

A cheer rises through the crowd, and the party is once again in full swing as people begin to talk amongst themselves again. The change from a quiet room to a loud bustling one feels jarring and Felix wonders how much longer he’s required to stay for this. People shuffle back to the large table full of finger foods or to refill their wine glasses before settling into smaller groups once more. 

 

Rodrigue turns back around to face Felix and Sylvain, giving the two of them perhaps the biggest smile Felix has seen from him in a long time. He’s not entirely sure what to make of it.

 

"Good job, son." He says, resting a hand on Felix's arm and giving it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you for going through with this so graciously."

 

A low growl makes both of them turn to look at Sylvain, who glares at the place Rodrigue is holding onto Felix. Usually family members are safe from the possession an alpha feels towards another alpha around their newly bonded omega, but it seems Sylvain's new instincts haven't caught up with him yet. Slowly, the redhead blinks out of it and clears his throat with a sheepish look. "Ummm… sorry about that, Lord Fraldarius." He says, quickly looking away.

 

Rodrigue gives a bright laugh and Felix wonders how much he's had to drink tonight as the faint scent of alcohol hits him. His father slips his hand off of Felix, who takes a moment to be thankful for Sylvain's strange new possessive streak. He’s never been too keen on being touched, though his body is trying to make an exception for Sylvain. “Don’t worry, every alpha feels this way after a bite.” Rodrigue explains. “This pull that you feel towards each other will fade soon enough.”

 

Felix feels a spark of relief. He’s already starting to feel irritated by how much he wants to steal Sylvain away to a more private area and curl up with him and his alluring scent. He hates the way these hormones are affecting how he feels and he can’t wait for this all to be over. Hopefully, when Rodrigue says ‘soon’, he means a few hours and nothing longer. Felix doesn’t think he can survive through anything longer. 

 

His father stares between the two of them, perhaps noting the fact that neither one of them can quite look at the other, and heaves a sign. “Come on, boys. This is your party, feel free to have some fun.” He says, knocking his elbow against Felix’s in a strange playful manner before he turns back to integrate himself into the mass of people around. 

 

Sylvain steps a bit closer once Rodrigue is gone, his eyes focusing on Felix as his nose flares as he scents the omega before him. Felix feels himself flush at the alpha's attention, both slightly amused and another part mad that Sylvain isn’t interested in him unless his hormones are telling him to be. Though, technically, Felix is in a similar situation. He really hates everything about this...

 

These last few days have been him noticing Sylvain in a way he hadn’t before he’d finally matured. Almost everything about him now has a strange allure that draws Felix in and he doesn’t know how he’s supposed to act around him anymore. He definitely will never be any of the females that giggle and blush at the slightest bit of attention from the redhead. But most omegas his age know how to control their emotions and how to navigate their hormonal feelings from a young age. Unfortunately, Felix has been left to flounder through both his late heat and a very quick bonding shortly after, with no one around to help him try to understand why he feels this way.

 

“It's… so weird" Sylvain mutters, his eyes searching Felix's face. "It's like I'm noticing you as an omega for the first time."

 

Felix frowns, bringing his eyes up to meet Sylvains. "It's just hormones." He says, pulling the cloth away from his neck to check and see if the bleeding has stopped. The white cloth is stained a bright red from his blood but when he dabs with a different area at the mark again the cloth comes back clean.

 

Sylvain huffs out a laugh, the corners of his mouth tilting up into a genuine smile. "I know that." He says. "I just didn't know what to expect I guess. I didn't think it'd be this intense."

 

"Me either," Felix replies softly, staring intently at the cloth in his hands. He has no idea what to do with this. Is he supposed to keep it? "So, what happens now?" 

 

He wonders what Sylvain's plans are. Will he leave him for the night or will he stick around? He doubts the alpha will have any luck trying to flirt with anyone here but then again this is also the man that once tried to flirt with Ingrid's grandmother…

 

"Well the nights still young…it's been forever since you, Dimitri, Ingrid and I have been able to actually hang and I found a way to sneak some alcohol so let's party."

 

---------

 

Felix steps out onto the veranda and into the cool air, needing a moment to get away from the mass amounts of people congratulating him for being bound to an alpha. Even hanging out with his friends had gotten tiring, his nerves shot from his hormonal high from earlier. Thankfully his head was no longer fogged with the need to be close to Sylvain and he'd only had a few sips of the alcohol Sylvain had gotten a hold of to take some of the edges off of his nerves.

 

The cold air feels amazing for all of two seconds before it becomes blistering cold. This night has dragged on longer than it needed too but, unfortunately, this night is still young and Felix needs to take a moment to figure out why he can't just make his escape right now.

 

Garreg Mach is a very tantalizing opportunity, to be sure, and one that he won't get to experience without Margrave Gautier's blessing. But is it tempting enough to make him stay through over a year and a half of being looked over by one of his closest friends for other, more appealing options? It grates on him more than it should. After all, he's not actually interested in making his bond with Sylvain a legit one, but Sylvain's emotional distance to him hurts more than he'd like to admit.

 

After meeting back up with Dimitri and Ingrid, Sylvain had stuck close to him, though Felix caught him a few times eyeing some girl close by. Thankfully, he'd catch himself before he'd try to actually flirt with any of them. So at least there's that. 

 

Technically, he's gotten what he's needed from Sylvain. An alphas bite will sustain him and ensure his general safety so once his scent finally mingles with Felix's own that would be a good time to cut his losses.

 

But, as well as his training is going, he's not entirely sure he's strong enough to set off on his own just yet. And as much as he'd have liked to have had a chance to train more while he'd been sequestered away from Cael, he'd barely had a free moment to himself these last few weeks in order to do so. Though, now there's no reason he can't start back up again. 

 

A cold breeze has him shivering, and he wraps his arms around himself to try and stave off the worst of the cold. It’s probably not his smartest decision to step outside while he’s dressed in such a low cut outfit with barely any fur that usually lines his outfits in the winter. He can’t remain out here for too long, but just this brief repose where he can center himself again in nice. The fresh air helping to clear his head. 

 

He hears the doors to the balcony open behind him and he heaves a sigh. It’s most likely his father or one of his friends coming to look for him to drag him back to the party. They know him well enough that he’d have come out here eventually, but they should also know that he’ll show back up when he wants to. 

 

“Go away,” He calls out to whoever his behind him and leans against the railing of the balcony and rubbing his arms for warmth.

 

Footsteps stumble closer to him in a strange fashion and Felix feels a frown pulls at the corners of his lips. And the deep, baritone voice that replies back to him makes him freeze. “Don’t you f’cking talk to me that way.” The growl of an alpha sends a shiver down his spine. 

 

He recognizes the voice to be that of the one alpha he hadn’t seen much of for most of his stay here, and who he’d even told himself to be cautious of. It seems like whatever Miklan had planned by coming here is about to come to a head. The thought spikes Felix’s nerves again and he’s shivering from both the cold air and the sense of trepidation crawling up his spine.

 

Felix turns to face the alpha, willing his scent not to betray him and reveal the fear that he feels settling deep in his stomach. Miklan is an imposing silhouette backlit by the lights streaming from the banquet hall. He stumbles as he walks forward and Felix can smell the bitter alcohol wafting from him, covering over his natural scent and making Felix curl his nose in disgust. Felix wonders how and where Miklan had found the ale he stinks of, as only his father’s best and favorite wine had been served at this party. He hopes Miklan hadn’t bullied any of the house servants in his search for anything stronger. 

 

“I… didn’t know it was you,” Felix says, instead of going with his instincts to say he’s sorry. He’s not going to apologize for mistaking Miklan for whoever it might have been coming to look for Felix, as he’d had no way of knowing it was the surly alpha. He eyes the alpha before him warily, trying to figure out where Miklan is going to go with this encounter. But it’s harder to get a read on him with him being as drunk as he is. 

 

“Fucking course it’s me,” the alpha snaps his voice steady for someone so drunk, suggesting that he’s familiar with this level of inebriation, though he is a bit unsteady on his feet. He gets in too close to Felix before he pitches to the left and practically falls onto balcony railing. “Who else would be trying to get away from such a stupid fuckin’ party.”

 

Felix shifts away, not liking how close the taller alpha had gotten to him. He’s never seen Miklan like this, drunk and slightly pathetic looking as he’s slumped over, using the railing to keep him as upright as he can manage. But, then again, he’s very rarely spent any time with him and his treatment of his brother makes Felix automatically dislike him. Just because Margrave Gautier had shunned his oldest in favor of his Crest bearing second child does not mean Sylvain deserves any of Miklan’s hatred.

 

“I’m out here,” Felix says, finding himself relaxing a little but still shooting the alpha wary looks. It would do him well to not drop his guard too much. “It’s not like the balcony is off-limits or anything.”

 

Miklan snorts. “Of course you’re out there. You know, other omegas would be soaking up all this attention, the little bitches. Even your little blond friend is fucking relishing in the attention she’s getting from all the alphas here,” He says, and Felix feels anger boil in his stomach at him mentioning Ingrid with such a disgusted tone of voice. “Stupid whore. But you, however-”

 

“Don’t talk about her like that!” Felix snarls, cutting off Miklan's words and baring his teeth at the alpha before him. A stupid move, definitely, but there is no way he’s going to just let Miklan talk bad about Ingrid. 

 

Miklan’s face turns thunderous, his features darkening considerably as his face contorts in rage. He snarls down at Felix making the omega flinch back. Other than his father, he’s never been in the presence of an enraged alpha before and at least with his father he knows what to expect from his anger. With the elder Gautier, there’s no telling want he’s about to do. 

 

But Felix keeps his fangs bared, though it’s not much help to intimidate the alpha when his growl dies in his throat and he can’t make his eyes look up anymore. He hasn’t turned his head to submit and he’ll fight with all that he has to deny his instincts that tell him to placate the alpha before him. His heart pounds in his chest and he wants nothing more than to book it back inside, but it seems he’s lost his chance. 

 

Miklan advances on him, the smell of alcohol bleeding away from his scent to be covered by the smell of rage. "You think you're so fucking special because everyone else in you're life let's you be a prissy little brat?" He snarls, whipping his hand out lightening fast to seize Felix by the base of his throat, his large fingers digging into the fresh bond mark and forcing a whimper from Felix at the pain. Felix brings his hands up to grip onto Miklan’s wrist, but other than the pain he feels from the bite mark, Miklan only holds him tight enough to convey his threat. Felix still trembles in his fear, voice lodged in his throat.

 

“You ain’t shit. You’re nothing but a broken omega.” Miklan growls, jerking Felix forward enough that he’s now in his face and Felix turns away as best he can to get away from the stench of his breath. “You’re only good for the Crest running through your veins and you should have been mine .”

 

Miklan’s voice laces with his alpha tone and Felix’s fear spikes up into outright terror. There’s a tone of possession in his voice that has Felix panicking, trying to do all he can to get out of the alphas grasp. But he might as well be beating his hands against a brick wall for all that his attempts to beat against the alpha are useless. 

 

“S-stop.” He croaks out, smacking his hands against the alpha's chest, only to have Miklan chuckle darkly at him. He seems greatly amused by Felix’s struggling and nothing Felix tries seems to be working. The alpha before him is strong and Felix curses the fact that he wasn’t allowed to bring his sword to this event. 

 

“I’m the eldest,” Miklan gives Felix a shake, his grip tightening on his throat and his free hand comes up to grab the back of Felix’s head to make him focus on him. “I should have had first pick of the Fraldarius bloodline, but of course dear old dad gives that privilege to that pathetic little runt. He doesn’t even know what to do with you, or he’d have been watching you carefully tonight.”

 

Miklan moves his fingers a little higher, still squeezing his neck, and zeros in on the bite mark lingering on Felix’s neck. “Funny story about fresh bite marks,” He starts casually, moving to hold onto both of Felix’s arms to keep him steady. The bruise Dimitri left earlier thrums in protest at being touched again. “The first few hours are critical in sealing the bond between an alpha and omega. Alphas are supposed to stick around a little, fight off any competition. Because, until the bond has fully solidified any alpha can claim the omega out from under him.” Miklan makes a show of looking around. “And, uh, I don’t see your little boyfriend anywhere around to try and help you. So, it looks like you’re mine now.”

 

The redhead’s grin is a triumphant one, absolutely certainty that he’s won and will be able to steal his brother’s omega from him. Miklan is certain that no one will stop him because there’s no one around and Felix feels, through his panic, a little insulted that Miklan doesn’t expect anything from him other than for him to just roll over and take this. 

 

Miklan had referred to him as a ‘broken’ omega and perhaps that is true. He doubts any other omega would suddenly shift from downright terror to fury in the span of a few seconds. But he’s not going to cry out for someone to save him, and he’s not going to let himself become a victim of Miklan’s selfish acts. 

 

The rage Felix feels makes him calm in a way he’s never felt before. He’s always struggled with his anger, always felt the effects of it cloud his mind and his judgment, but now he just waits for Miklan to make his move. The alpha before him seems to find humor in the glare Felix shoots him, for once locking eyes directly with Miklan. Felix only has one shot of his sudden plan of escape working and he focuses his attention, feeling his mind sharpen in the same way it did the other day when he was sparring with Cael and his Crest activated. 

 

Miklan gives the look Felix sends him a deep chuckle and tightens his grip on Felix. He can practically smell the self-satisfaction rolling into his scent and when Miklan begins to lower his head in preparation to bite, Felix attacks. He shifts his stance to widen it and pulls his head back slightly enough to gain momentum and uses Miklans decent to his advantage, crashing the top of his forehead into the alphas nose. 

 

Felix’s head spins and something splatters against him, but Miklan goes down to the ground like a stone, his tight grip loosening on Felix completely. Felix wobbles slightly from the burst of pain in his head, clutching it as he peers down at the alpha before him. Miklan is practically howling in pain, clutching his face as blood pours out. 

 

“F’k oo!” Miklan cries, his voice muffled by his hands and distorted by his broken nose.

 

A part of Felix wants to literally kick him while he’s down, but there’s no telling what Miklan will do once he recovers from his shock, so instead Felix makes his escape. It doesn’t take much for him to run back to the doors of the balcony, accidentally throwing them open in his haste. The commotion draws the attention of those closest to the door and Felix makes eye contact with a few of the closest guests before a shrill scream fills the air. 

 

Felix jerks from the sound, his eyes searching to find the woman that had screamed only to see her staring at him, her eyes wide with terror. He furrows his brow and takes a step further into the room, wondering what her deal is before he remembers the splattering he’d felt after his head had connected with Miklan’s face. A glance down at his front confirms that he’s splattered with Miklan’s blood. Now that he’s aware of it, he can feel some of it already starting to dry on the skin of his face, becoming itchy spots of irritation. His bonding shirt is now completely ruined, though he can’t quite say he was ever going to wear it again in the first place. 

 

“Felix!” He hears a few voices shout at once, a few shocked but the familiar tone of his father’s voice is frantic and enraged, with a slight hint of fear coating it.  No doubt, Rodriue is beyond terrified of seeing his remaining son stumble in from outside covered in splatters of blood, a scene too reminiscent of what was said to have happened to his eldest. Felix sees Rodrigue shove his way through the crowd to charge his way over to him. The sight of another enraged alpha almost has him cowering again until it registers that it isn’t him that Rodrigue is angry at.

 

“I-I’m fine.” He grinds out, angry with himself about how his hands are trembling from the encounter he’d just barely avoided. The situation of what he’d narrowly escaped from comes crashing down and he shudders. He crosses his arms to hide them from the eyes of the crowd and in a few more seconds after Rodrigue is upon him. 

 

“What happened?!” He rages and Felix tries hard not to shrink in on himself, a feat he’s not entirely sure he succeeds at. Behind his father he sees Sylvian, Dimitri and Ingrid come to a stop, each of them watching him with shocked and concerned eyes.  

 

“I-,” Felix cuts himself off, his eyes finding Sylvain’s before he looks away. “I was attacked.” He says. It doesn’t feel right to say it was Miklan in front of Sylvain. For all of his elder brothers many flaws, he was still Sylvain’s brother and Felix knows that the younger redhead cares deeply for him. To tell him outright that Miklan was trying to undermine him feels needlessly cruel. No doubt, they’ll all soon be able to smell from the blood coating him who did it without him having to say any specifics. 

 

“Guards!” Rodrigue shouts, his scent building in the intensity of his rage. The guards stationed around the room, having mostly been there to ensure that if any of the guests got drunk that they didn’t get disorderly, jerk into attention. “Find who did this!” He commands and they’re gone with a jangle of armor. 

 

Ingrid maneuvers her way around Lord Fraldarius, careful not to draw the Lord's attention while he barks orders, and reaches Felix’s side. “Felix.” She says softly, gently like she’s encountered a wild animal that’s about to bolt away at any second. Perhaps an apt description, as all he wants to do is run to his room and hide away. “Are you hurt?” Her green eyes take him in, searching for any sign that he might be. 

 

Felix shakes his head, finding himself soothed in the presence of her calm vanilla scent. He can still scent her concern but her contrast to his father’s rage is the balm he needs right now. “None of the blood is mine.” He tells her and watches as she pulls out a napkin and gently begins to wipe at his face with it. 

 

“It’s not much but it should help you get cleaned up a little.” She tells him, to which he feels an immediate wash of affection for her. He also feels a little like crying, but that’s a different matter. “Let’s move you to a more private place, okay?”

 

He nods, barely listening as his father barks out an order for Dimitri to follow him and for Sylvain to remain behind. No doubt, his father will be simmering with anger all evening and be even more mad that Felix’s new bond-mate left him alone long enough for him to be attacked. 

 

Sylvain steps closer as Ingrid gently starts to guide Felix over to one of the back walls. The guests murmur and stare at their group and most probably this little incident will be the talk of the century. Felix should have found some other entrance to run to, but now he’s stuck with even more unwanted attention from the guests. The gossip from this will be the best. Felix, an omega unable to control his alpha from trying to get with someone else and Sylvain, an alpha unable to protect his newly bonded mate from being attacked at their own biting ceremony.

 

What a pair the two of them will make. 

 

Felix snorts derisively and knocks Ingrid's hands away gently as he makes to sit down at one of the chairs they’ve managed to find. “I told you, I’m fine.” He says and is starting to almost feel that way as well. 

 

Sylvain sits down in a seat next to him and Felix feels the heavy weight of his eyes. The alpha has been strangely calm throughout all of this. “Are you?” He asks gently, whiskey eyes sad and somber. No doubt, he’s able to smell Miklan’s scent on him by now. “I’m sorry this happened to you. I- I turned around and you were just gone so I knew you’d probably stepped out to get some air. But I should have been with you… I should have…”

 

“Shut up.” Felix grouses, though his voice comes out as gently as he can make it. It honestly isn’t Sylvain’s fault and Felix will not blame him for his brother’s actions. “It’s whatever.” He says inelegantly. “It happened, now let’s get over it.” His father will find Miklan soon enough and the alpha will be given whatever punishment is warranted and Felix will never have to think about this night for as long as he can help it. 

 

“But-” Sylvain begins, only to be cut off by Ingrid.

 

“You didn’t know any of this would happen, Syl. If Felix says he’s fine; he’s fine.” She says, taking a seat across from the pair. The place they’ve found is decently secluded and with Ingrid and Sylvain boxing him in and practically hiding him from sight he feels himself start to relax.

 

Sylvain is a tense line beside him, his body and scent clearly not going to be placated with Ingrid’s calm words. He hates the confliction that is mixing in with his ceder scent and carefully, subtly, he knocks his knee against Sylvain’s and keeps it there. The skin beneath his friend's pants radiates warmth through the fabric and Felix feels when Sylvain slowly starts to relax from the gesture Felix has offered him. 

 

Silence slips around them, and Felix doesn’t meet Ingrid or Sylvain’s eyes the entire time he’s pressing his knee against his alpha. It’s a brief moment of weakness that he feels he’s gained the right too even though what he really wants to do is bury his face into Sylvain’s neck and take in his warmth. 

 

Eventually, Rodrigue and Dimitri return and Felix’s father calls an end to the party. From the look in his eye, Felix knows that they’ve found and possibly apprehended Miklan. Felix isn’t quite sure what the procedure is for when the son of a noble attacks another, but Felix doubts Miklan will be spending the night in their holding cell. Most likely he’ll be under careful watch in his guest quarters until they can haul him off to Gautier territory to be dealt with by Margrave.

 

Felix wonders, vaguely, what exactly is in store for the eldest Gautier. Not because he cares exactly, but because Margrave has never been too kind to his eldest since Sylvain was found to be born with a Crest. Miklan had been so sure that he would have gotten away with his attack and he must have had some semblance of a plan rooting around in his mind for a while if this was for sure the only reason he’d come to Fraldarius territory.. 

 

Whatever Miklan’s punishment, Felix doesn’t have much hope for it not being severe. No matter what happens, Felix can’t help but feel that this will continue to drive a wedge between him and Sylvain. Will he blame Felix for what happened tonight? Will Sylvain eventually blame him for what happened to his brother? 

 

Only time will tell.

 

Chapter Text

Later that night, when Felix tries to leave his room he’s stopped by a guard stationed outside. It’s fairly late, though not a completely unreasonable hour, perhaps only an hour after the twelfth toll of a bell. Felix feels just as shocked to see the guard as the guard looks to see him out this late. 

 

“I’m sorry, my Lord.” The guard says with instilled politeness, his armor clinking together slightly as he turns to face Felix. “On your father’s orders, I’m not allowed to let you leave.”

 

Felix feels anger settling deep into his chest. What is his father thinking by putting a guard outside of his door? By all rights, the guards should be sitting outside of whatever room they’ve got Miklan holed away at. “Ridiculous.” He snaps with a growl, ignoring the guard's awkward shifting and heads back into his room with a slam of the door.

 

He’s not even sure why he wants to be out so late at night. But he’s spent the last few hours tossing and turning in his bed with no chance of sleep and he’d hoped that maybe he could tire himself out in some other way. The training area had been the place he’d decided on, but with the guard outside his door, that’s a bit difficult unless he found another way out of his room.

 

That wasn’t a bad idea, he’d just have to be sure to sneak his way around any guards that might be patrolling the grounds. It’s been quite a while since he’s snuck out his own window but with the giant tree that grows right outside, it’s not like it’ll be too hard to manage again. 

 

His cloak rustles the cold floor as he makes his way to the window, his boots making a noticeable sound that he’s moderately sure the guard can’t hear from his station. Or even if he can, that he can’t possibly put together the fact that Felix isn’t going to let his father lock him in his room. It’s not that Felix is completely unaware of why his father wants him to stay in his room, but it feels a little like Rodrigue hasn’t put together Felix’s escape with Miklans broken nose. Perhaps he thinks some random alpha rescued his son from a horrendous attack and Felix was only able to run away after he was freed. It’s certainly not like Miklan will ever admit that an omega fucking headbutted him into the ground…

 

Opening the window doesn’t take much effort, and thankfully it doesn’t make any loud noises. There’s a faint dusting of snow on the surface of the large thick branch that runs directly to his room and he sits on the seal of the window to reach a foot out to kick off the snow. It wouldn’t do him any good to accidentally slip off and a fall from this height. Something like that would certainly seriously injure him. 

 

Once the branch is cleared of snow, he tests his footing and hauls himself out of the window.  The branch holds steady and he hunkers close to it as he creeps along. Soon enough, he makes it to the trunk of the tree and is easily able to get down from there. He only slips a little towards the end of his decent but uses the slip to fall the rest of the way, wincing when his legs absorb the shock of his landing.

 

Felix creeps his way across the grounds, which is dead and quiet this late at night. The only sound is the slight crunch of his boots making a trail in the snow behind him. The cold is much more bearable with his cloak wrapped around him and him in much more reasonable clothing than his bonding outfit had been. It’s still very cold like it almost always is in Faerghus but he shouldn’t be outside for too much longer. 

 

It’s different to see the manor at night. Felix usually has no trouble sticking to a strict sleep schedule, so he can’t quite remember the last time he’d even been up this late, let alone roaming around. The days' emotional ups and downs, unfortunately, have thrown off his schedule. But the night is a nice calming change to the noise of the day time and Felix thinks he should take these midnight strolls more often.

 

Entering back into the building proves a more challenging maneuver. He doesn’t have to outright hide, but he does have to stroll off a little closer into the middle of the clearing to blend in with the cover of darkness to steer clear of the light of the lanterns. The guards might find the trail he’d made at some point, but hopefully, by then he will be where he needs to be. No doubt he will be found in the training room itself and Rodrigue will be mad at him for it, but he won't be sequestered away whenever Rodrigue feels like it. 

 

Soon enough he is able to enter into one of the side entrances that the servants favor and he makes his way through the darkened halls. The sconces lining the walls have burned low in the late hour and will soon extinguish entirely. But it is enough for Felix to see by at least, though he’s mostly familiar with these halls having lived here all his life.

 

The training room is dark when he enters into it, but it doesn’t take much to light a few sconces to change that fact. Once that is taken care of, Felix drops his cloak and gloves off in a corner of the room and also sheds his thicker jerkin leaving him only in a thin tunic that’ll work well enough for a workout. He doesn’t quite plan to take his training too far tonight, but that isn’t to say that Felix won’t get drawn into it like he normally does. Sometimes Felix finds that he slips into a headspace when he’s training where his thoughts narrow down to just focusing on his body and the burn in his muscles. It’s what he’s looking for tonight, just something to help make the thoughts of ‘what if’s’ stop playing in his head.

 

They’re strange thoughts, as he normally only ever focuses on the present; the here and now. He’s never seen any purpose on dwelling on the ‘what-could-have-been’s as spinning it around in his head will never change what actually happened. But, tonight, his brain doesn’t seem to want to cooperate, and instead, his head spins around images of what he’d have possibly gone through had Miklan managed to bite over Sylvain’s mark. A horrific series of thoughts that he wants to stop as fast as he can.

 

Hence why he’s here. 

 

He starts with a few stretches before he goes through the warmups that Cael had shown him. It’s a more relaxed version, as he has no real motivation to fully put himself through the paces. Felix does keep it a little challenging though, and before he knows it he’s moving to pick up one of the training swords. 

 

The door to the room creaks open just as Felix is squaring off with the practice dummy. Felix sighs at having been found out so soon. He turns his head to look at whoever walked in, only to see that it was just Cael. 

 

Cael shakes his head as he takes in the sight of Felix before him. “Of course you’re in here at this hour.” He mutters, stepping further into the room and closing the door behind him. The alpha gives a yawn and rests his back against the wall beside the door, watching Felix with tired eyes. “Heard about you getting attacked. Nice job on that fuckers' nose. You sucker-punch him?”

 

Felix huffs and feels the corners of his mouth lift into a smile. He’s glad that Cael put it together that he’s the one responsible for the damage to Miklan’s personage. “A headbutt.” He answers. “Hurt to do it but it got him to drop me.”

 

Cael gives out a boisterous laugh, his head tilting back slightly from the force of it. “A headbutt!” He howls, wiping the corners of his eyes and giving Felix a proud look. Felix can’t quite help the slight puffing up of his chest at the attention. “It hurt because you most likely did it wrong. You want the very top of your head, not your forehead. But congratulations on thinking with your head.” 

 

He gives a wink that Felix groans at along with his terrible pun. “You’ve terrible,” He tells the alpha with a glare he knows that Cael can see through.

 

"Yeah, I know." He replies, giving another yawn again and fixing Felix with a stern gaze. "But seriously, your day has been hard enough. Why are you here training?"

 

Felix grips the hilt of the sword a bit tighter before he sighs. “I couldn’t sleep. Train with me?” He hopes the alpha will take him up on it, but Cael gives a shake of his head. 

 

“That’s gonna be a no.” Cael answers. “I’m not even really allowed to be seeing you for another two days. Or until your alphas scent settles in, let alone be humoring you with more training practice.” 

 

That certainly wasn’t the answer Felix was expecting. He’d thought it was due to the late hour… “Allowed?” Felix questions with a frown and for the first time really noticing how far away Cael is lingering. 

 

“Your father can be really protective of you, especially now that you’re his only child remaining. A while ago, he questioned why I was around to be the one that escorted you to the heat house.” Cael responds with a shrug. “I told him the truth, that I was just waiting to train you for the day when you’d stumbled out not knowing what was happening to you, and he demanded me not to see you for a while. I’m a little surprised he didn’t just outright ship me away somewhere."

 

Felix knew that Rodrigue had told him not to search out Cael for more training, but he wasn’t aware that his father had apparently turned his suspicions onto the other alpha. 

 

"I didn't know my father confronted you about that," Felix tells him. “But I would like to thank you for escorting me that day… I’m not sure I would have made it on my own.” It feels weird to admit such a weakness, but it’s not as if Cael wasn’t aware that Felix had been in need of his help then. 

 

Cael’s face contorts into a grimace. “Don’t thank me for that. Any decent person would have done the same and you thanking me for it just makes me feel… sad.”

 

Felix isn’t quite sure what his trainer means by that, as he certainly doesn’t seem sad, but he feels like he should leave well enough alone. He’s already thanked Cael, which is what he’d planned to do the next time he saw him and if the alpha doesn’t want to accept that then that’s on him. There’s not much Felix can do about it.

 

“Besides,” Cael continues on. “You’re honestly not a ‘temptation’ for me. For one, you might as well be twelve with how scrawny and short you are.” Felix frowns and shoots the alpha a glare before Cael waves him off and keeps speaking. “And I’m not exactly... inclined towards omegas.”

 

Felix narrows his eyes, still slightly irritated but trying to figure out what exactly it is that Cael is telling him. He’s not sure why Cael is opening up to him, but perhaps the late hour and how obviously tired the alpha looks have something to do with it. “What do I care who you’re inclined towards?” He asks though it does take him a bit to get that Cael isn’t meaning he’s attracted to betas instead of omegas. 

 

For an alpha to be attracted to another alpha seems a bit strange, but only because Felix has never really considered it being a thing. Every love story that Felix had ever heard growing up had been an alphas love towards their omega, and vise versa. Very few stories ever mention betas with anyone not also another beta, and same status relationships are never a thing. At least in stories, but real life has never been a fairytale so perhaps it happens more often than Felix is aware.

 

It’s been ingrained in him to always gravitate towards alpha, something that he’s admittedly never felt. His late maturity and just something about who he is as a person had never drawn in him towards anyone regardless of their status. He used to think that that would change once he’d matured, but outside of being drawn to Sylvain because of the bite, he’s felt… nothing romantic or sexual towards, well, anyone. He’s noticed quite a few more people being good looking - Dimitri with his new hair cut and more alpha-like features, Ingrid is very pretty and he likes the color of her bright green eyes and how expressive they are, and even Sylvain’s tousled hair, whiskey eyes, and suave demeanor are appealing - but his attention to them has never gone past him noticing their features and moving on.

 

Perhaps that had been what Miklan had meant by him being broken, besides the obvious dig at his late heat. Is Felix’s lack of attraction somehow noticeable to others? He’s not sure that it would be but he knows from others that he isn’t supposed to have such a lackluster approach to those he’s supposed to be attracted to. 

 

But, regardless of Felix’s own shortcomings, who Cael is attracted to doesn’t change anything and Felix is starting to sort of like his trainer as the person he is. He’s certainly not going to judge the alpha or let this color his opinion of the man before him. 

 

Cael gives another chuckle and a slight shake of his head. A small smile plays at the corner of his lips. “I’m starting to like you kid. Just thought you should know in case you were having similar concerns about my character like your father.”

 

“I’m not my father.” Felix replies in an almost knee-jerk kind of way. It comes out the same way that he’s also had to remind people that he also wasn’t his brother. The curse of being the youngest in any family is always being compared to your predecessors no matter how much you try and stop the comparisons. 

 

“And thank Seiros for that! Lord Rodrigue is a decent man, but he’s a bit too traditional for my taste.” Cael says, and Felix has never related to words spoken more than he does this statement. “And, uh, I’d appreciate you not telling him what I just told you about me. I’d like to keep my head on my shoulders, thanks.”

 

Felix frowns slightly. As far as he knows two alphas being together, even hypothetically, isn’t a criminal offense, but it’s not like Felix knows every single law the Church passes. Or perhaps Cael is being cautious in case he fears the repercussions from those around him. Humans have always feared what they don’t understand. “I won’t say anything,” Felix assures him, with as much conviction as he can put into his voice so Cael can tell he’s serious. “Is that why you hate omegas? Because you’re not inclined towards them?”

 

Cael winces slightly and he rubs the back of his head. “I don’t hate omegas, despite the rumors saying otherwise. I just have never liked having to pretend to be attracted to them and most of them smell too sweet.” He gives a shrug before he pushes himself away from the wall. “Anyway, it’s super late. If you start heading back to bed with no arguments, I’ll give you your birthday present when I’m allowed to see you next.”

 

Felix blinks in surprise. With all that has happened these past few weeks, he’d sort of forgotten that the last time he’d seen the alpha had been on the day of his fifteenth birthday. But his heat had obscured that fact for him and even Rodrigue had only gifted him with the cloak he’d worn tonight and some book that was more to Ingrid's taste than to his own. Felix certainly hadn’t expected Cael to even remember his birthday let alone actually get something for him. 

 

“What’d you get me?” He asks, probably a little too excitedly. He can’t remember the last time he’d gotten a gift from someone that wasn’t a friend or a family member if he’d ever had. 

 

“That’d ruin the surprise,” Cael replies easily. “And I know for a fact it’s something you’d like, so go to bed.” He says, reaching over to open the door and gesturing out to usher Felix out.

 

Felix grumbles a bit, but gives in to his curiosity of what it could be and decides to humor his trainer. He puts the training sword away on its rack and goes to gather his things from the corner. Eventually, he makes his way out of the room once again wrapped up in his warmer clothes.

 

“Get some sleep, Felix,” Cael tells him with a slight pat to his back and the alpha moves past him to head back to his quarters. Felix watches him go for a moment before he starts making his own way back to his room. He doubts that the guard outside his room will be thrilled to see him walking back to his room, and will most likely tell his father, so Felix has little choice but to go back the way he’d come. 

 

Crossing the grounds is just as easy this time around as it had been the first. Fresh snowfall had fallen at some point during his time indoors and had likely covered his tracks from earlier. But soon enough he’s clambering up the tree outside his window and slipping inside. 

 

He shakes himself off of any snow clinging to his cloak and freezes when something stirs out of the corner of his eyes. His heart pounds in his chest and when a shadowy flash of red steps closer he reacts, balling his hands into fists and sends one of them flying. His fist connects to flesh right when the smell of cedar reaches through his panic and he watches Sylvain drop to the ground. 

 

“Ow…” The redhead mumbles, rubbing the side of his face as Felix watches on in horror his heart still racing in his chest. “Ok, I deserve that, I shouldn’t have snuck up on you like that. Also nice swing you’ve got there.” The alpha had only been knocked on his rear and he now looks up at Felix with an impressed smile. 

 

Felix signs and reaches down to help Sylvain up, which he accepts graciously. The same strange sparking sensation from earlier is back, though a little less intense. But it makes Felix hyper-aware of Sylvain’s hand in his own. “What are you doing here? Are you even allowed to be?” Felix asks, keeping his voice low. But if the guard outside hadn’t heard Sylvain landing on his ass then the guy isn’t going to hear much of anything.

 

“Probably not,” Sylvain replies, standing to his feet and peering down at Felix. “So, where’d you run off to tonight?” He asks, using his free hand to rub at his reddening cheek. He’ll probably have a nice bruise in the morning and Felix feels a little guilty. 

 

“I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the training room,” Felix says, slipping his hand out of Sylvain’s and stepping a little bit back to get some distance between the two of them. 

 

“You sneak out only to go to the training room?” Sylvain shakes his head with a chuckle. “Only you would do something so boring. You could have gone anywhere!”

 

Felix huffs and sends a glare up at the redhead before he turns to close the window behind him, butting off the cold draft that’s wafting into the room. “And why are you in here instead of in some girl’s room or even your own?” Felix asks, keeping his voice neutral as he begins to undo the clasps for his cloak.

 

He’d be lying if he said he hadn’t thought to sneak out to Sylvain’s room, his instincts still demanding him to be close to his new alpha. But he had no way of knowing if Sylvain had been awake or not and Felix had decided against seeing him tonight. But it seems the redhead had other plans. 

 

“I considered it, but no girl really caught my eye during the party,” Sylvain replies, though his voice suggests that he’s joking as he strolls over and sits down on Felix’s bed while Felix hangs up his cloak in the appropriate area. Sylvain’s scent is starting to permeate through the room, but Felix finds that he doesn’t mind the expanding smell of cedar. “And my pesky hormonal instincts were telling me that I had to be close to you right now.”

 

Felix makes his way back over and sits down next to Sylvain on his bed. He can’t help but feel a bit more relaxed around his friend and being closer to his alluring scent.  “Sounds rough.” He comments after a moment, trying to act like he’s not in a similar situation, and reaches down to start unlacing his boots. 

 

Sylvain shifts slights so he’s turned more towards Felix, bringing his legs up slightly to press it against Felix’s other leg. “I thought so at first.” He says, his voice so serious that Felix’s hands still in their movements for a moment on his laces. “But I’m glad to be doing this with you.”

 

Felix feels his breath catch and he looks up at the redhead only to find that Sylvain is looking away from him, studying the faint pattern on his blanket intently. “What?” Felix asks, his voice sounding weird and breathless.

 

“I know I’ve been a bit weird lately. It... wasn’t easy for me to accept this arrangement, but you’re my best friend, Felix. So I know you’re not in this just to get some weird Crest baby from me like someone else might have been, and you were forced into this too.” Sylvain finally looks up but Felix can’t quite read the look on his face. “But we could use this to our advantage.”

 

Felix can’t help the snort that makes its way out, as he finally kicks off his shoes. “And what do you get out of this situation?” He asks, taking off his socks and starting to take off his heavier jerkin. Now that he’s back in his room he can feel how tired he is and he knows that soon he’ll pass out whether or not Sylvain is still here. 

 

He throws the jerkin off into a pile with his boots ignoring Sylvain’s slight grimace. The redhead hates untidiness, but he’s the one showing up in the middle of the night to Felix’s room, so he can deal with it. The little bit of sweat on Felix’s skin from earlier means his scent is more potent than it usually is, but it’s not nearly as strong as it would be without Sylvain’s bite. The cedar smell is still overpowering his spicy cinnamon. 

 

Sylvain takes a moment to clear his throat and shifts to sit with his back resting on a pillow, his legs only partially on the bed. “Not as much as you, but I can think of a few things. For one, our, uh, mating ceremony isn’t until you’re eighteen so that’s not for three more years. And you get to join me at Garreg Mach so that’s a plus for both of us.” 

 

Felix moves to crawl further onto his bed, taking his usual side and crawling under the covers to lie down beside the alpha. It isn’t the first time they’ve curled up together in his bed, though it has been a few years since the last time as teenhood had made it socially harder to explain why they would sometimes nap together. But he knows Sylvain, and even though they’ve both matured he knows that Sylvain isn’t going to try anything just because Felix is a matured omega. Felix’s only regret is having to sleep in these pants, but he’ll live. 

 

“There’s got to be something else,” Felix mutters, moving his pillow slightly so he’s more comfortable. Felix already knows the ways he’s got an advantage in this arrangement their father’s made for them and the next few years are going to be very interesting for him. But he can’t help feeling like Sylvain’s getting the short end of the stick.

 

Sylvain shrugs and puts his arms behind his head, kicking his feet up onto the bed. Felix frowns and kicks his foot into Sylvain’s shin from under the blanket. “Get your shoes off of my bed, idiot.” He growls as Sylvain huffs out a laugh. 

 

“Sorry, sorry.” Sylvain sits back up and quickly takes off his shoes. He sets them in a neat pile next to Felix’s and shifts to lie on his side facing Felix. It’s quiet between them for a moment, and Felix’s slips his eyes closed so he won’t have to worry about staring at his friend. “How are you, Felix?” Sylvain says softly, and Felix doesn’t miss the fact that Sylvain changes the subject.

 

“I’m fine,” Felix says back, relaxing further into his bed as he inhales the scent of cedar and cinnamon. 

 

“I’m sorry about Miklan. I never thought he’d try and go after you just to get back at me.” Sylvain’s voice sounds so off that Felix can’t help snapping his eyes open. Sylvain looks outright miserable, his brow furrowed and his bottom lip trapped between his teeth. “I swear I didn’t know why he wanted to come along or I would have never let him.”

 

“I know that,” Felix assures him. “You’re not responsible for what your brother did and I don’t blame you for his actions.” He’d been so sure that Sylvain would be angry at him, that it had never occurred to him that Sylvain might blame himself for Miklan coming along in the first place.

 

He can feel Sylvain relax against the bed, the tension draining out of him as he nods slightly. “I just… I should have been there to protect you.”

 

Felix glares, barely resisting the urge to kick his friend again. “I don’t need your protection .” He growls lowly and Sylvain’s relaxed form stiffens once again. Felix’s cinnamon scent overpowers Sylvain’s as his anger spikes. He’s mad that Sylvain is trying to pull over some macho alpha bullshit just because he’s an omega. “I protected myself just fine without you, alpha.”

 

Sylvain’s features tighten and for a moment Felix can smell his anger before it stops and Sylvain’s face goes carefully blank. “You’re right.” He says amicably. “I thought of another way I can benefit from this arrangement.”

 

The subject change leaves Felix with a sense of whiplash, his anger disappearing only to be replaced by his confusion. “Okay?” His confusion leaks into his voice and he has no idea where Sylvain will take this.

 

“I’m not ready to settle down or take this,” he motions between the two of them vaguely. “Seriously. We’re both young and we shouldn’t have been forced into this, I think we both can agree on that, right?”

 

Felix nods.

 

“Right. So, not only do we both have some advantages we can also use each other as well.” Felix’s stomach drops at the word ‘use’. Sylvain has always hated feeling used so why he’s saying this Felix just can’t wrap his head around it. “You can use me for all that my father is allowing you to do. And I can use you for when I need to when a girl is getting too serious with me.”

 

A grimace twists across his face. “What? No.” He snaps, glaring once again at the redhead.

 

“You won’t even have to do much! Just a few times pretend that this is more serious than it is. And chances are that you won’t even have to deal with this until we’re at Garreg Mach.” Sylvain reasons. “I can’t do much during my stay here since everyone knows that you have my bite. And when I go back to Gautier territory or Duscur you won’t even know about any of that. So, during our year at Garreg Mach, if I need help with someone getting too attached maybe you can step in?”

 

Felix stares at his friend. He can’t really fault the alpha for this train of thought. Having someone that he’s bonded too as an out for anything he doesn’t want to get too serious with isn’t necessarily a bad plan. Felix has no claim on Sylvain, that would require his own bite on the redhead - something that never happens as alphas vehemently reject belonging to someone else; giving them this little bit of leeway to cheat. But, since Felix and Sylvain had never been in an established relationship before Felix’s isn’t sure this even counts as cheating. Sylvain isn’t his and, despite having his bite, Felix isn’t Sylvian’s. 

 

Heaving a sigh, Felix slips his eyes closed, a headache forming along his temple. “I don’t want to witness any of your galavanting, and I don’t want to hear about it either. I’ll drive off any girls that I need to, but if I catch you with any of them the deals off.” 

 

“Alright, that’s fair.” Felix can practically hear Sylvain’s grin and he flips over to face away from him. “Thanks, buddy.”

 

“Whatever, go to sleep.” He says, feeling more tired than he ever has before. At least he won’t have to deal with any of that until his time at the Church starts. In two years, he can definitely survive a year of driving off any of Sylvain’s girls. 

 

“Night, Felix,” Sylvain says and Felix can feel him shifting to be more comfortable before silence falls once more.

 

It isn’t long before Felix falls asleep, finally succumbing to his exhaustion. Sylvain is a comforting presence throughout the night as both of them sleep peacefully.

 

In the early morning hours, Felix wakes to the soft sound of his window shutting. And when he turns around Sylvain is gone from his bed. 



Chapter Text

Cael’s birthday gift to him ends up being an odd, strange-looking dagger. On one side is a regular blade, but the back edge of it is toothed. It’s a brutal, vicious looking weapon and Felix loves it instantly. 

 

“Where did you even find this?” He asks, carefully thumbing the edge of the blade par to check its sharpness. 

 

It’s been a few days since the night Felix had snuck out of his room. Rodrigue had forced him and Sylvain to spend as much time as possible to solidify the bond between them, which Felix hadn’t been too upset over. Sylvain is decent enough company, especially since he’d not once made any attempt to flirt with any of the women they’d come into contact with. Felix had been irritated that it had taken a full four days for his body to settle down to an almost completely cedar scent. His cinnamon scent buried beneath an alpha’s claim to him and soon he’s sure to even forget he’d smelled sweet in the first place.

 

A large majority of the guests have started their travels back to their own lands, with only a few stragglers here and there trying to stay around in the hopes of more drama happening. The attack on Felix had spread across the manor quickly, and Felix has more than once caught a few servants talking about him in hushed murmurs. But the more days that go on with nothing happening, the more people who leave the manor in droves. 

 

The biggest upside to all of this was that Felix had been able to spend more time with his friends, but he’s glad to be taking up his training again.

 

At least he can now be around Cael without fear of his father freaking out about it. Felix can’t help but find the humor in the irony that he now smells like an alpha and therefore more likely to attract Cael than he’d been before. But it’s not like Rodrigue will ever know that, and it’s not like Cael would ever be attracted to him just because he smells different.

 

“I picked it up from a merchant that hailed from Brigid a few months ago. It was too interesting of a blade for me to pass up on so I bought it.” Cael explains, watching as Felix fiddles with the blade. “I’m not too fond of daggers, so I knew that I’d gift it to someone I just didn’t know who until recently.”

 

"Will you teach me how to use it?" Felix questions, sliding it back into the sheath that came with it. They've stuck strictly to swords but surely a dagger can't be too much to ask for.

 

Cael rolls his eyes and huffs. "Nah, once you stab yourself with it accidentally enough times you'll figure it out." He says sarcastically, returning Felix's glare with his own good humored one. "Of course I'll show you, kid."

 

"I can't tell what you're thinking. You once told me we'd learn some hand to hand techniques and we've not even gotten close to starting that. " Felix points out, going over to set the dagger with his other things. They've been training for a few hours now and had just taken a break when Cael had given him his gift.

 

"Oh, we're getting to that. I had to get some muscles on those noodle arms of yours first." Cael laughs at his own dig.  "Anyway, do you need more time to rest or are you ready to go?"

 

The alpha has well demonstrated that he has enough stamina to keep up with Felix training for their entire sessions. He considers it light work to not have to train so many people all at once, but he'll let Felix rest for as long as he needs to unless it seems like he's slacking off. Which Felix never does. 

 

"I'm ready," Felix replies, knowing that even though it's been a while since he's properly trained he can push past any muscle fatigue until the next break. "Just waiting on you old man." He snipes back because he can. 

 

Cael graces him with another eye roll and moves back to the center of the room, grabbing a wooden ax from a different rack. “Let’s try something different.”

 

Felix knows that Cael is good with several different types of weapons. Before Cael had agreed to train him, Felix remembers watching a few mock battles that the alpha would put his troops through so that Lord Fraldarius could witness the might of his men. The alpha is a beast with a sword and a battle-ax. He’s just as good with a lance, but it’s easy to tell that isn’t a favorite weapon of his. Cael had always been the champion of the battles unless Rodrigue decided to join in. Felix has no idea if Rodrigue had truly won or if Cael had decided it best not to show up the lord of the land.

 

But for as long as he’s been training Felix, he’d never switched from a sword. And it had only been his brief spar with Ingrid where he’d gone up against another weapon type but this will be his first time against an ax. He’s a little wary, but he’ll have to learn how to fight against it at some point. “Alright,” He says, voice sounding only a little hesitant. 

 

Grabbing his sword, he squares off and watches the alpha carefully. He doesn’t think Cael will outright attack him as he knows Felix has never faced off against an axe, but Cael is tricky sometimes. 

 

“The axe is a brutal weapon. It utilizes the welder’s strength and can be produce quite devastating blows. Anyone with an axe like this knows how to use it, and how to use it to their advantage. It might look imposing, but you should be able to handle it easily enough. It’s slower and you’re biggest advantage against it will always be your speed. ” Cael tells him, giving a few practice swings as he adjusts to the weight of it. “I’ve spent these last few months training you up to this, but we’ll start off with the basics.”

 

Cael runs him through how the ax works, when he should parry and when he should dodge out of the way. They start off slow, but soon enough they’re actually sparring. Cael is obviously holding back his strength, going easy on him with the new weapon to not completely deaden Felix’s arms with powerful swings. He manages to win a few of their rounds, but only barely.  And, even then, fighting against him is a challenge and soon enough Felix finds himself actually starting to get winded.

 

He backs off a little, putting more space between the two of them and studies the alpha before him carefully as he calms his breathing back down. His arms hurt but he wants to beat Cael in this. Which means he’s going to have to get creative to push past his growing fatigue. He sidesteps the next few swings of Cael’s, giving a few blocks here and there when he thinks his arms can take it. He sticks to the defensive and waits for his opening and hopes Cael will slip up even just slightly for him to be able to take it. 

 

But before either of them can make a move, the door to the room opens and Felix is sufficiently distracted when he sees Ingrid, Dimitri, and Sylvain walk into the room. Cael sees him looking towards the door and follows his gaze, dropping out of his stance and lowers his ax to put a hand over his heart and drops into a low bow.

 

“Your Highness, my Lord, and Lady.” He greets and Felix can’t remember the last time he’s ever seen Cael this formal. It’s an odd sight to see, especially since the alpha has never bothered to be formal around him.

 

“Sorry to interrupt your training,” Ingrid says, equally addressing Felix and Cael. She eyes the axe he’s welding curiously, but even from across the room Felix can scent a strange nervousness to her scent.

 

“We actually came to watch,” Sylvain says and the little glance both Dimitri and Ingrid give him suggests there might be more to what he’s saying, but Felix isn’t at all sure what else it might be.

 

Dimitri moves his eyes away almost as soon as he’d shot Sylvain a look. “Felix was very skilled in his sparring session with Ingrid last week. You are a very talented teacher.” He says to Cael who nods graciously.

 

“Thank you, your Highness,” Cael replies easily. “But, Felix and I were just wrapping up, so I’m afraid there’s not much to watch any longer.” Felix frowns in his confusion, but his question of ‘What?’ is drowned out by Cael talking a little louder over him. “Why don’t you kids go out and spend some more time together?” Cael suggests.

 

All three of his friends stiffen at his words and share another glance between them. Felix frowns further and he has no idea why they’re acting so strangely.

 

“What’s going on?” He snaps, glaring at all three of them. “Why are you acting so shady?”

 

The tension in the room builds. Cael moves to put his axe back, physically removing himself from the awkward situation. Sylvain shuffles slightly, reaching up to scratch the back of his head, Dimitri gives Felix an apologetic look and Ingrid bites her lip rocking on her heels slightly before-

 

“They’re going to be moving Miklan soon.” Ingrid blurts out, looking instantly relieved to no longer be keeping that a secret. She elbows Sylvain when he makes a ‘tsk’ sound. “Your father told us to try and get you back to your room.”

 

“Which is stupid,” Sylvain replies with a huff, giving a shake of his head which sends his red locks bouncing and tousles his hair more. “If Miklan somehow gets free and somehow decides to try and go after Felix again, he’s going to go where he remembers that Felix used to hang out at. He knows where Felix’s room is.”

 

Felix grimaces at the reminder. Quite a few scenarios his mind had come up with had been Miklan creeping into his room late at night before the ceremony. Once that particular set of images had come into his head, it had been hard to sleep at night even with Miklan locked away and a guard outside of Felix’s room every night. 

 

It does make him wonder why Miklan hadn’t taken advantage of that chance or if it had been the alcohol that had given him the push he’d needed. 

 

“How long will it take to move him?” Felix asks, almost wanting to run through the halls to spite his father. He’s not going to, of course, but the temptation is there nevertheless.

 

“It’s unclear,” Dimitri says. “That will most likely depend on if Miklan will try and resist being moved. He’s still insisting that it wasn’t him who attacked you.”

 

Cael gives a snort from his corner of the room. “Our evidence says otherwise.” The evidence being Felix’s bloodstained bonding shirt which probably still smells very strongly of the Gautier alpha. It had been taken from him as soon as he’d changed out of it - good riddance - and most likely taken to a place where any other scents won't cling to it if they need to bring it out again. Also, Miklans broken nose doesn’t help his case much. 

 

Felix sighs, feeling a headache starting to build behind his eyes. “I’m not going back to my room.” He states, ignoring Ingrid’s frown of disapproval. She has always had a good relationship with her father and she rarely understands his blatant refusal to listen to Rodrigue. “Sylvain’s right. If Miklan breaks free to try and come after me he certainly won’t think to look here.”

 

Sylvain gives him a bright grin at his words. He’s starting to seem more like his old self lately, not that there had been a huge shift in his demeanor - Ingrid and Dimitri had certainly never noticed him acting off - but he’s more genuine now. No longer bothered by being ‘tied down’ so young. 

 

“My guards are good.” Cael says, moving to be closer to them again. “If this Miklan tries anything they’ll subdue him.” He says confidently. 

 

Sylvain gives a snort and eyes the alpha before him strangely. He moves his arms to rest behind his head and if it had been anyone else Felix would think he was posturing. “No offense, but I was totally able to sneak into Felix’s room the other night. Either someone was slacking off or your guard aren’t the best.”

 

Felix feels his face flame as all other eyes in the room look between him and Sylvain. Sylvain is an idiot for saying those words and letting the implications of them ring through the silence of the room. While Rodrigue had made Felix and Sylvain spend time together it had always been in the company of their wisely chosen chaperones - Ingrid and Dimitri. Apart from that night the two of them haven’t been alone together since. 

 

“What?!” Ingrid exclaims, her green eyes wide in shock. She seems at a complete loss for words. “Sylvain!” She settles on, stressing the syllables in his name to convey her admonishment. She’ll make a good mother one day with that ability. 

 

Sylvain jerks slightly at the sound of her voice, an instinct born of having shrewd parents. "What?" He looks down at her perplexed, dropping his hands back down, before he seems to catch on. "Oh! Nothing happened we just talked." 

 

"You know you were not supposed to have been alone with him." Dimitri sighs, though he doesn't look nearly as shocked as Ingrid was to hear Sylvain break some unspoken rule. "Both of your hormones and instincts have been up these last couple of days, you shouldn't have risked it."

 

Felix sneers, already fed up with all of them. "Please. Like I'd let him try anything." 

 

"Come on, guys. Give me a little credit!" Sylvain pleads, his lips pursing into an almost pout. "I'm not that terrible as to take advantage of Felix just because of some stupid hormones."

 

"But there was still a risk that something could have happened. You had no way of knowing how you’d act once Felix smelled like he’s yours.” Ingrid says and Felix feels his anger spike.

 

“Stop acting like we’re simple beasts who can’t control their urges.” He snarls viciously, fangs descending in his anger. He’s practically livid and the spike of spiced cedar in the room makes Ingrid tremble, a whine building in her throat even from the pseudo alpha scent. 

 

Enough! ” Cael growls at all of them and Felix’s anger is instantly replaced by a wash of pure fear. It had taken Felix quite a while to pin down Cael’s alpha scent. Since Faerghus is in the dead of winter Cael’s almost campfire smokey scent blends in interestingly with all the torches and fireplaces lit around the manor. Now his scent rages into a forest fire and Felix’s body screams that he’s in danger. Even Sylvain and Dimitri are on edge, eyeing the large alpha warily. 

 

Cael relaxes as soon as he sees that he’s gotten their attention, his scent dying back down to its normal barely-there state. “All of you are friends. Stop being so shitty to each other.” He says bluntly, running a hand over his face in exasperation. He looks like he regrets his words the second they’re out of his mouth.

 

“Our apologies,” Dimitri finally speaks up, first addressing Cael before he turns to Felix and Sylvain. “If the both of you say that nothing happened we’ll believe you.”

 

Felix huffs, crossing his arms over his chest but decides against starting anything up again, trying to push his irritation down. It isn’t as strong from his scare from Cael but it is still there. 

 

Ingrid takes a deep breath and gives a nod. “Okay… Nothing happened.” She relents, through her frown suggests she isn’t quite satisfied with this being the end of the conversation. They’ll probably hear more about this later, but for now, she’s willing to let it go. 

 

“Well you kids have fun in here…” Cael says, immediately moving to make his way to the door of the room. “I’ll come get you once that Miklan guy is gone.” He throws back before he’s gone, closing the door behind him.

 

“Interesting guy,” Sylvain comments once the doors fully shut. “I bet he’s great at parties.” Felix has no idea what he’s talking about until he catches the sarcastic undertones to his voice.

 

“I can certainly see why Fraldarius has some of the best soldiers in the country with a man like that training them.” Dimitri shifts and moves around the room. He pauses at the rack of training lances and glances back over at them. “Well since we interrupted your training, Felix, why don’t all of us try and spar together?”

 

It isn’t too bad of an idea, and it’s not like they’ll have much else to do in this room while they wait for the go ahead for them to leave. Felix gives a shrug and moves back to the center of the room. “Very well.” He says, waiting to see if Sylvain and Ingrid want to join. He’s interested in seeing Dimitri’s strength in battle seeing as he’d missed out on the chance last week.

 

Ingrid nods and makes her way over to join Dimitri to choose her lance. “Come on, Sylvain.” She commands, taking her lance and moving to the center with Felix. 

 

“Eh, training isn't really my style,” Sylvain replies, taking to leaning against one of the walls. “I’ll just sit back here and watch Felix beat both of you.” He gives Felix a big grin and finishes it off with a wink of all things.

 

The tension from earlier fades a little and is replaced by at least three of them focusing on the other as they prepare to fight.

 

--------

 

Cael doesn’t come back for quite some time. 

 

They've been sparring on and off, doing little bouts here and there. They set up a system of rounds that consist of a person being hit three times before they have to go sit with Sylvain for the remainder of the round.

 

Sylvain should never take up gambling because Felix can't quite seem to keep up with both of the lance welders. He figures it comes down to him having been training most of the day already and Dimitri's beast like strength. It still leaves him frustrated anytime he has to tap out for taking too many hits. 

 

Sylvain does get roped in eventually after Felix completely taps out. But the alpha seems to flub every battle within the first few minutes. Felix thinks he's doing it on purpose, for some reason, but he can't seem to pinpoint exactly why he thinks so. Sylvain will start the fight, lance at the ready, looking focused and ready to react but he'll stumble at moments that Felix was sure he'd been steady and take hits he could have easily blocked. 

 

“Ow, ow! Okay I’m out.” Sylvain complains, rubbing his stomach from where a particularly harsh jab from Ingrid had connected. It has been interesting to watch Ingrid keep up with Dimitri and Felix will definitely have to challenge each of them again once he’s fully rested. He might just drag Sylvain along as well if only so the alpha can actually get some training in. How he survived Duscur fighting this bad, Felix has no idea.

 

Sylvain drops his lance off at the appropriate rack and comes over to sprawl out on the floor next to Felix. He kicks his feet out in front of him and leans back to rest his weight on his hands. “You need to train more.” Felix finds himself saying, fiddling with the dagger Cael had given him earlier. It’s probably dangerous to be testing out a few twirls of it between his fingers, and the blade is deadly sharp, but it’s been a bit boring watching Dimitri win time and again. “You suck.”

 

The redhead turns to him with an easy grin on his lips. “Yeah, probably.” He says with a shrug. “But I wasn’t kidding when I said training wasn’t my thing. Besides, if I set on the sidelines that just means I can truly take in how beautiful Ingrid is.”

 

Felix glances over at the blonde omega, watching her dance out of the way of another of Dimitri’s swings. Her blonde hair is tied back in a long loose braid that she’s taken to wearing lately and even from where Felix is he can see that her green eyes are sharp with her focus to finally win against Dimitri. He wonders what else about her that Sylvain thinks is beautiful and knows that it’s probably something crude and about her shapely figure. “You’re a fool.” He snaps, catching the dagger by the hilt when his fingers twist it back towards his palm. “You’re going to get yourself killed one day because you’re useless.”

 

Sylvain hums a soft sound, turning to look at Felix once more. “Aww, I knew you cared about me, Felix. Oh, cool knife!” He leans in to get a closer look.

 

“It’s a dagger not a knife.” Felix corrects with a huff and shifts his hands so that Sylvain can take a closer look at the blade, grip, small guards and pommel of the intricately designed weapon. It feels good in Felix’s hands; not too large or small in the grip. A perfect fit for his hand to hold onto and the lightweight of the blade itself is a good indicator of the quality of its make. 

 

“Where’d you even get something like that?” Sylvain questions, and when Felix looks up from the dagger he notices how much closer Sylvain has gotten to him. The alpha is still tracing his eyes over the weapon, but Felix finds himself noticing the way the ties on Sylvain’s tunic are undone baring his pale neck and a slight peek of a collar bone. Felix shakes himself out of his strange fixation and focuses instead on answering Sylvain’s question.

 

“Cael gave it to me.” He answers honestly, and moves to grab the daggers sheath and hides the blade away. 

 

Sylvain leans back away once the blade is gone and fixes Felix with a strange, indecipherable look. His whiskey eyes sharp and intense. “You’re trainer got you a gift? The two of you are that close?” 

 

Giving an answering shrug, Felix turns his attention back to the fight before them. “I guess.” He says simply, and though his attention is back on Ingrid and Dimitri, he can still feel the heavy gaze of Sylvain’s eyes still on him.

 

Dimitri blocks a swing of Ingrid’s lance, his blue eyes dark and focused as he watches for an opening. This bout has been particularly long, though it’s easy to see both of the blondes are starting to tire. A few seconds later, Dimitri must see his opening and makes his attack. Ingrid’s lance flies out of her hands and skids across the floor to stop at Sylvain’s outstretched legs. Both blondes pant for breath and Ingrid shakes her head, seemingly slightly annoyed at her defeat.

 

“You win, your highness.” She says, taking in a gulp of air and blows it back out to try and get some of her hair out of her face. “Again.” 

 

Dimitri gives her a tired grin and seems a bit embarrassed. “You all put up a valiant fight.” His eyes slide over to Sylvain and he frowns. “Well, almost. Sylvain, you should really consider spending some more time in the training room.”

 

Sylvain gives another easy shrug. “We can’t all be blessed with the strength of ten men.”

 

“Dimitri’s right,” Ingrid says, reaching up to use her sleeve to wipe the sweat from her brow. Her breathing has started to settle down but her chest still rises and falls noticeably with her breaths. “You were terrible.”

 

“And you were outright stunning!” Sylvain replies with a smirk playing on his lips, taking a moment to roam his eyes over her features. “The very depiction of beauty and grace! Do you come here often?” He leers.

 

Felix groans and rolls his eyes. Of course, Sylvain picks now of all times to break his promise of not flirting with women around Felix. Though it is to Ingrid who he’s always flirted with and Felix knows with absolute certainty that Ingrid isn’t going to put up with for much longer. Though she knows that their father’s arranged their bonding, she’s not going to approve of Sylvain turning his attention elsewhere.

 

And, true to his thoughts, a deep frown pulls on her lips and she levels Sylvain with a glare. But before she can open her mouth to protest, the door to the training room opens and in walks Cael followed by Rodrigue, who looks furious. 

 

Rodrigue’s cloak billows after him as he walks further into the room, Cael closing the door behind him and standing guard at it, giving Felix an apologetic look behind his father’s back. Rodrigue’s scent - which is similar to Felix’s, though obviously not sweet. Instead a scent of pure hot spices like cayenne -  overtakes the room.

 

Felix feels himself stiffen, not at all expecting his father to show up and spring to his feet feeling more than a little on edge. He sees Sylvain stand up a bit after him and Ingrid shifts back a little to be as far away from Lord Fraldarius as she can inconspicuously be.

Rodrigue levels them all with a heavy gaze and addresses them all in a calm, chilling tone. “When I give you orders, I expect them to be followed.” He starts, earning a slight flinch from at least three people in the room. “I gave you three explicit instructions to escort Felix to his room only to find out that I was deliberately disobeyed.”

 

Felix scowls at his father while Ingrid, Dimitri and Sylvain shift awkwardly around him. Rodrigue is very deliberately trying to rein in his temper, even if it leaks out in his scent. “We were fine in here. Miklan never would have checked here.” 

 

Rodrigue snaps his eyes to him and takes a breath to calm himself before he answers. Felix has a gut feeling that he’s trying to keep cool to save face in front of Dimitri and that thought spikes Felix’s own anger. He’s been yelled at by his father all his life, but somehow Dimitri gets the special treatment. “That is beside the point. The point is-”

 

“The point is ,” Felix interrupts. “Is that because you didn’t think of it, that automatically makes it a bad idea. If something had happened-”

 

“And how was I to know where you were?!” Rodrigue snarls back, advancing towards Felix in his rage. “If something had happened and the man who tried to rape you got out, I would expect you to get safe where I could find you immediately!” He bellows in his fury and Felix’s mind slows to a stop.

 

Cold dread pools in his stomach and Felix involuntarily takes a step back, flinching at his father’s words. Miklan… wouldn’t have taken it that far, he’s sure. He just wanted to get back at Sylvain for landing a Crest baring omega instead of him. But Felix realizes suddenly how naive he’d been to think it would have ended at that. He knew he’d been in danger when Miklan had wrapped his hands around his throat, but he’d been so stupid to think than a drunk alpha would have stopped at biting him. 

 

None of his ‘What-if’s had ever landed in any type of sexual connotation, but now it’s all he can think about, his mind running wild and his breath stills as panic creeps up his throat. 

 

Back off. ” Someone in front of him snarls, and Felix looks up to see Sylvian in front of him impeding Rodrigue's path to him.  Felix can only see Sylvian’s tense back in front of him, but judging from Rodrigue's face, the older alpha has realized his mistake of advancing towards a newly mated omega in the presence of their alpha. 

 

Rodrigue eyes Sylvain warily but back off. Taking a few steps back, he clears his throat and adjusts his cloak for a moment. “My apologies.” He says, overly polite after a moment. “My concern for my son has caused me to lose my temper.”

 

Dimitri takes a tentative step forward. “That is quite understandable,” He says, and Felix can’t resist rolling his eyes. His brief panic from earlier had resided and he just feels a little drained. It’s been a fighting kind of day, both literally and figuratively. “We are all a little on edge by Miklans' bold attack, and it is only natural that you would be protective of your son. I sincerely apologize for not stressing the matter of relocating him more. I take full responsibility for my actions as well as Sylvain, Ingrid and Felix’s.”

 

It would be an odd sight to see royal heir bowing before a duke had said heir not been Dimitri. He’s bent low at the waist, a hand placed over his heart to help convey his intentions. All anger seems to drain from Rodrigue at the display before him. “That is quite all right, Dimitri. I fear my emotions have gotten the better of me. I will let this slide, but if all of you are serious about joining Garreg Mach you’ll need to learn to actively listen to the orders you’re given.”

 

Sylvain turns to look back at Felix and mouths a few words at him. ‘Are you serious?’ He thinks he mouths and Felix rolls his eyes followed by a short nod in reply. Out of all of them, of course Dimitri would suck up and let them all get away with not even a slap on the wrist. Sylvain shakes his head and huffs an amused laugh. Ingrid’s eyes dart over to them and she frowns at their antics, her eyes narrowed in suspicion of them not taking this seriously. 

 

“Yes, sir.” Sylvain quips, going back to his cheerful self. “We’ll be sure to listen to our teachers from now on.”

 

Rodrigue sighs, no doubt catching that Sylvain is being facetious but letting it go in favor of keeping the atmosphere clear of anymore anger. “Miklan Gautier is no longer on the grounds of the manor, so the four of you are allowed to roam the halls as you see fit. There will be a big dinner tonight for the guests who still remain but other than that you are free to do as you please.”

 

A quiet knock comes from the door to Cael’s back and Felix’s attention is directed from his dad and Dimitri talking to watch as his trainer opens the door and speaks in hushed whispers. It seems Felix is the only one who has noticed, and he watches as the person who he can barely see begins to whisper more frantically, mouth moving at a fast speed. After a few more words, Cael steps back into the room.

 

“My Lord.” He interrupts, voice loud and clear. “I’m afraid I have some bad news.”

 

Rodrigue looks over to him with a frown tugging the corners of his lips down. “What is it?” He questions.

 

Cael's eyes dart to the four teens in the room before he looks back to his Lord and speaks. “Our spies report that the Western Church is preparing to launch an attack against the Church of Seiros.” 



Chapter Text

Even after receiving the news that the Western Church had plans to try and attack the Church of Seiros, it still takes several long weeks, bordering on several months, before anything truly happens. 

 

The Western Church is a lot closer to Garreg Mach than it is to Fraldarius territory, so they first turn to the lands between the two Churches for aid. Magdred offers their full support, sending supplies and as many troops as they can spare even if it isn't too much. 

 

Gaspar isn't as willing to offer their support. Lord Lonato is still grieving over the execution of his eldest son, so his support to the Church of Seiros can only be described as lackluster. He sends very few supplies to the Knights of Seiros and even fewer troops.

 

The Western Church has a lot of support from the other territories close to it, but with King Regent Rufus issuing a decree to label anyone giving their full support as heresy, no one can truly back them publicly.

 

No one had expected there to be any full-on battles, just a few skirmishes that happen along the border. But each fight that happens, it advances the Western Church more and more. They make their way east, making it all the way through Gaspard territory before being stopped in Magdred. This news proves troubling enough that Rodrigue offers to send his own troops to help along the border to arrive in a few months time.

 

During the time that passes, Ingrid leaves Fraldarius territory, heading back with her father to Galatea. Felix had been a little surprised that Gideon hadn’t whisked Ingrid away right after Miklan’s attack, but Count Galatea wastes no time in removing his daughter from any talk of a possible war. He supposes that it both has to do with Gideon not subjecting his omega child to any heavy politics as well as not having to get roped into giving out support that Galatea can’t afford to. 

 

Sylvain is the next to leave. Margrave Gautier had made his return from Duscur to deal with his eldest son and sent a letter to call back his youngest. Rodrigue tries to protest, sending out a letter to demand that Margrave allow the newly bonded pair more time together. A week later, another letter arrives - the contents of which Felix never finds out about - and whatever information it holds is enough for Rodrigue to relent in sending Sylvain back. 

 

Sylvain doesn’t seem to be too happy about returning home either. At breakfast on the day of his departure the alpha merely pokes at his food and barely makes an effort to engage in the conversation Rodrigue, Rufus and Dimitri are having. Felix can’t help looking over at Sylvain every now and then. Ever since Miklan had been escorted back, Sylvain had started to relax back into his easy, care-free self. He and Felix never talk again about what Miklan tried to do or even their biting ceremony, and Felix can't find it in him to be upset by that.  The more he pushes it from his mind, the more he doesn't have to think about it.

 

So, without the two of them having to talk any of that leaves their conversations easy and very surface level. It isn't quite as it once was between them when they were children, but it's closer than it had been for a while.

 

So when Sylvain has to leave, Felix is sufficiently disappointed. He has no idea when he’ll see his friend again, he just hopes that it isn’t when they’re finally at Garreg Mach - about a full two years away. 

 

Felix is the only one available to see Sylvain depart. Regent Rufus had arrived a few days ago to discuss plans to deal with the Western Church with Rodrigue and Dimitri ends up having to tag along in the meetings that always take place after breakfast. There’s a melancholy silence between the two of them as they sit on the stairs leading to the entrance of the manor and wait for the servants to ready the Gautier carriage. 

 

“Man, this sucks,” Sylvain complains, running a hand through his hair and shaking his head. “I really don’t want to go back to Gautier.” 

 

“It’s not that interesting here,” Felix says, and then pitches his voice low so that their current chaperone can’t hear them. It’s currently the steward who had announced his entrance during the bonding ceremony, who is, thankfully, not paying them much attention past making sure they don’t get too close to each other. “Besides, you’re not bonding in Gautier territory.” He points out quietly.

 

It had taken him more time than it should have to fully accept that Sylvain will be going back to his womanizing ways once he's away from Fraldarius manor. But he still wants to be on friendly terms with the alpha, and forcing him to be monogamous when they're not actually dating, or ever going to be, taking this bond seriously seems a sure-fire way to push Sylvain away. 

 

He's had to take a moment and push aside his childhood views of what his alpha should have been like. Pushing his old fantasies onto the perception of his friend turned alpha won't do anyone any good and Felix can't afford to hold on to his old naivety. Sylvain will never be any of those things or at least not to him.

 

In the end, Felix can't keep clinging to what he used to think that his alpha would be like as a child. It's pointless to dwell on wishing the alpha he was bonded to cared about him as more than a friend. There's no chance of that changing between him and Sylvain and, even if it does, Felix can't stay in a situation like this.

 

Sylvain makes a soft almost humming noise in the back of his throat, his whiskey eyes going contemplative. “Hmm, true. But I’ve always liked your manor better, so even that’s not as much of a comfort.”

 

Felix snorts, shifting to lean against the banner of the stairs ignoring how it digs into his back weirdly. “There’s nothing special here.” Felix says, giving a shake of his head. It used to feel more like a home when he was younger, but now Felix can’t quite get back that feeling into this place. Now it’s just him and his father, a little more than a handful of servants and a few guards who aren’t sequestered into living the barracks with the rest of the soldiers. 

 

Any feelings of this place being a home had died with Glenn. So what Sylvain finds appealing here, he’s not sure. Perhaps he just likes the brief vacation he was able to get away from his family.

 

“I wouldn’t say that. There's a certain charm to this old place and it's always been a bit livelier here. The people here are friendlier too." Sylvain tries to explain. Felix has only ever been to the Gautier manor a handful of times, all of which were many years ago, so Felix can't for sure agree or disagree with Sylvain's claim.

 

"If you say so." He settles on, watching his fingers play with a loose string of thread on the rug covering the steps of the stairs. Felix can't really say he's close to anyone here besides maybe his father, Cael and Loreia. Everyone else keeps a polite distance from him. 

 

"I do say so. I guess I'll be glad to be sleeping in my own bed soon, so that's something to look forward to…" Sylvain huffs out a sigh and knocks his knee against Felix's to get his attention. "You going to be okay while I'm gone?" He asks when Felix looks up at him.

 

Felix scowls and shoves his knee back against Sylvain's a bit harder. "Of course I will be. I can finally go back to training without you coming to whine at me about you being bored." Honestly, Sylvain had only done that a few times, but each time he'd done it had been in full view of Cael. Which would have only been moderately embarrassing had Cael not always called off their training so Felix had to spend time with Sylvain and their chaperone of the day. 

 

Cael finds some strange amusement in humoring Sylvain, much to Felix's frustration. And Sylvain seems to almost completely ignore the larger alpha anytime he comes to find Felix, barely even glancing his way as he begs Felix to hang out. Which Felix supposes is better than having his alpha try to fight off his trainer just because he and Cael spend a lot of time together. And, based on the few times Felix has seen Sylvain train in the time he’s been here, it’s probably for the best as Cael would definitely win. 

 

“Well, someone has to stop you from overworking yourself. You train for hours on end every day! You’re insane!” The alpha cries dramatically, making the steward glance up from his book to frown disapprovingly.

 

“And you don’t train enough,” Felix replies once the steward is no longer paying attention to them. “How did you even manage when you squired for your father? It’s a wonder you survived Duscur.”

 

Sylvain grimaces and looks away from Felix to watch a servant take his luggage outside. “There wasn’t a lot of fighting in Duscur, actually. Or that I was apart of. I don’t even know why we even went there in the first place.”

 

Felix frowns at his friend. “They killed the King.” He says incredulously. “They killed-” He stops himself from saying the words and forces himself to calm down. Sylvain knows all of this so Felix has no idea why he’s saying such things. “Such a monstrous act deserved some type of retribution.”

 

“I don’t…” His friend trails off and bites his lip, running a hand through his hair. “It just seems weird to me that they’d break the peace like that is all.”

 

“They saw a chance and they took it. It’s as simple as that.” Felix huffs out, not liking the look of Sylvain’s face. Sylvain always wants to see the good and the best side of everything, but if Sylvain is suddenly having doubts about the events that happened with King Lambert and his retinue, it doesn’t change what happened. 

 

“All I’m saying, is that the only person who even sort of knows what happened that night is Dimitri.” Sylvain says. “He was also in Duscur with me and my father. I didn’t get to see him much, sure, but he wasn’t himself until he just showed up after a battle with some Duscurian he’d saved. Would he really be able to forgive so easily if he’d known for sure the attack was by the Duscur people? I just feel like there’s more to it than probably anyone knows.”

 

Felix frowns slightly. “I didn’t know Dimitri went to Duscur after…” He feels a little out of some strange loop he’d never even known about in the first place. “And Dimitri doesn’t hold grudges, you know that.” 

 

Making a noise in the back of his throat, Sylvain gives a shrug. “He was weird after the attack. Distant. You could tell he wasn’t sleeping very well. But once he’d saved Dedue he was back to his usual self.”

 

“Dedue?” Felix questions, already guessing it had to be the Duscurian Sylvain had mentioned. Duscur always had strange sounding names to him, and he wonders how long this Dedue had stayed around in order for Sylvain to even learn his name. Surely, no one there would let someone from Duscur around the prince for long even if they were a civilian. 

 

“The guy Dimitri saved.” Sylvain confirms Felix’s suspicions. “He looked a lot older, but apparently he was only sixteen at the time. Kid’s got to be a hot-shot alpha now with how big he was. Actually I’m surprised he didn’t show up here with Dimitri.”

 

“What? Why would he do that?” The trip alone would have been nightmarish. To even think about trying to make it from the Duscur border down to Fraldarius territory would have been suicide. 

 

“Dedue took Dimitri saving his life very seriously. Called it a ‘life-debt’ or something. Even swore allegiance to Dimitri and neither one of them would let anyone separate them. It’d be romantic if they both weren’t alphas’.” Sylvain says, making Felix grimace at his last comment. Now that Felix knows someone who is attracted to their own status, these words bother him. But Sylvain didn’t mean them in any derogatory way; merely as someone ignorant to it being a possibility. “He joined Dimitri when he left to head to Fhirdiad. I heard a rumor that he’s studying to be Dimitri’s retainer.”

 

To an extent, Felix understands wanting to protect someone he cares about. He’d help out any of his friends in a struggle. But he can’t quite grasp being willing to die for them. And he doesn’t understand the notion that every one of the King's subjects must be willing to die for him to live. He doesn’t want his death to end up like Glenns where everyone gives false platitudes and sweep his brutal demise under a rug of ‘dying like a true knight’. Felix might be joining Garreg Mach’s military academy soon, but he’ll never aspire to be a knight. Not any more. 

 

“What a fool,” Felix says with a shake of his head. There’s more he wants to say, but he can’t quite find the words to express all that he’s feeling about this news. Not to mention the stupidity of everyone, even Rufus, for just letting some strange kid become a retainer for their prince. 

 

A servant walking in through the front door, bringing with them a chilly gust of wind. It’s no longer the dead of winter in Faerghus, but even this close to spring everything is still cold in certain hours of the day. 

 

The servant gives a bow before them, a soft scent of roses wafting off of the beta. “My Lord, your carriage is ready.” They inform Sylvain before standing at attention, waiting to be dismissed.

 

Sylvain heaves a sigh and stands up. “Thank you.” He says, waving them off with a hand. “I’ll make my way over shortly.” The beta nods at the dismissal and exits out the way they came. 

 

“I’m gonna miss you, Fe,” Sylvain says genuinely, using a nickname Felix hasn’t heard in years. “You sure there's not a way to convince your dad he’d dreamed up that last letter from my father?”

 

Felix huffs out a short laugh. “If it were that easy to change his mind would we even be in the situation we’re in?” He says, referring to their bond and, judging by the grimace on his face, Sylvain catches on.

 

“True.” He replies with a sigh and watches as Felix stands up beside him. “Well, maybe I’ll try to convince my dad to let me take a trip down here in the summer.”

 

“That’s an even worse idea than-” Felix words cut off by Sylvain suddenly throwing his arms around him, pulling him into a crushing hug. “H-hey!” He cries, trying to squirm out of Sylvain’s hold.

 

It feels better than it should to be wrapping in Sylvain’s arms. The alpha’s head resting just inches away from where his bite mark lies on Felix’s neck. The bite has healed over nicely these last few weeks, leaving only a pink ring of indented flesh in the shape of Sylvain’s teeth. The heady smell of cedar makes him want to lean into Sylvain's touch and never let go.

 

Sylvain's cedar scent is more potent this close and much different from what Felix's own has settled on. Sylvain's scent has almost completely taken over and now there's barely any hint of cinnamon underneath. There's still enough that people recognize him as an omega but the overlapping cedar marks him as taken by an alpha. 

 

Felix squirms more, resisting the urge to wrap his arms around his friend. "Let go, you big oaf." He grumbles. Since when did Sylvain get so strong?

 

A small cough comes from their left and Felix suddenly remembers the steward is there to make sure nothing like this happens. Sylvain finally drops his arms and lets out a small chuckle. "Sorry, Felix." 

 

"Whatever. Just get out of here already." He snaps even though he really doesn't want Sylvain to leave. 

 

"Okay, okay." The redhead replies, taking the rest of the steps down the stairs and makes his way over to the front door. He pauses just as he's opening it and turns to look back at Felix. "I'll write when I get to my manor." He tells him. 

 

"Goodbye, Sylvain."

 

Sylvain gives him a weak smile, eyes lingering over Felix in a way Felix can't quite decipher. "Goodbye, Felix." He replies and disappears out the door, letting it close gently behind him.

 

---------

 

Time passes quickly and before Felix even realizes it, it’s the middle of summer. The warmer weather is much appreciated as even springtime in Faerghus can be especially chilly. 

 

Felix gets a letter from Sylvain at least once a month. He's glad to be getting some correspondence from his friend,  especially since before their bonding Sylvain had been so distant in his letters. And Felix finds himself eager to read and reply to each letter he receives as soon as the messenger arrives with them. There is nothing too important in Sylvain’s letters, just events of his days and brief comments about some thoughts he’s having while writing. He leaves out details of his… exploits, thank Seiros, but he also leaves out  some important information.

 

The day that news breaks out about Margrave Gautier disowning Miklan, Felix has to hear the news from Rodrigue. Disownment is perhaps the most cruel punishment Margrave could have come up with to punish his eldest child.  It was no secret that Margrave didn't much care to have a Crestless child, but to outright disowning him… Felix can't imagine someone doing that to their child. Any

wounds from corporal punishment would have eventually healed but a drop in social status will follow Miklan for the rest of his life. Or at least as long as he stays in Faerghus.

 

Felix feels a little for Miklan - though definitely not enough to forgive him for the attack - but mostly, he feels sympathy for Sylvain. Miklan might not be dead, but Felix knows what it’s like to lose a brother and he wishes Sylvain never had to experience this for himself. 

 

But Sylvain never mentions it in his next letter, even though he most certainly is broken up about it, so Felix never says anything either. He’s fairly sure that Margrave only disowned Miklan for the embarrassment he’d caused to the Gautier name rather than because he’d attacked an old friends omega son. It just happened to be a good opportunity for Margrave to get rid of his least favorite child. 

 

So Felix keeps his own letters simple like Sylvain does. But unlike Sylvain, Felix’s days pass in much the same way. He trains with Cael, like he always does, only now they’ve shifted to showing him how to use his dagger and a few hand-to-hand maneuvers. He enjoys the training, but it’s incomparable to how powerful he feels with his sword. He has to get too close with either fighting styles and he hates having to be that close to someone, even if it's just Cael. The sword at least gives him some distance to work with, and at times feels like an extension of his arm. 

 

There is a large benefit to learning different styles of fighting, so he keeps at it as best he can. No doubt Sylvain is tired of reading the same thing in Felix’s letters, but Felix never gets too many complains about it passed the usual 'training too much' comments. So their letters continue throughout the months and as things get tense around the manor Felix finds himself glad for the outside correspondence. 

 

Things between Felix and Rodrigue are still a little tense,  though that's hardly new. Still, Rodrigue eventually apologizes for his outburst in the training room in the form of a short sword he gifts to his son. The gift surprises Felix a little as when his father usually gives him apology gifts it's only things Felix has a slight interest in or something from years ago that Felix had enjoyed but doesn't anymore. 

 

The blade is finely made if a little simple in design. It isn't as unique as the dagger Cael had given to him, but it's perfectly balanced and actually sharpened. The live steel feels good in Felix hands and he's eager to start training with it whenever he can get the chance. 

 

But training in general becomes a bit difficult. The guards take over the training room most hours of the day now, pushing the times that Cael is available further and further out. Eventually, the alpha has to completely call off their sessions so he can focus more on training his troops. They are to be deployed any day now and Cael must make sure they're fighting ready. 

 

Which, while Felix completely understands, it leaves him with more free time than he knows what to do with. It's warm enough that he can train outside and he does, frequently. But he's able to go through the motions of things he already knows without the added challenge of learning something new. And he's particularly eager for a challenge of some kind.

 

He tries a few times to challenge the guards in the training room to spar with him only to receive perplexed looks and resounding 'no's as answers. It infuriates him that they won't even try to humor him and he's a bit ashamed to admit that he's snarled out since particularly cruel words in the hope of inciting them with anger. Calling them cowardly and pathetic only gets him kicked out of the training room.

 

Some part of Felix had always believed that once he was bonded with Sylvain - or any alpha for that manner - that he'd no longer be treated the same way he'd always been. But, frustratingly, things remain how they'd always been. He's still dismissed and disregarded, not able to sit in on any of the battle plans being discussed even though he and Dimitri are the same age. It's not that he's exactly eager to actually sit in on what has to be very boring strategy meetings, but he can't say he isn't curious.

 

Dimitri heads back to Fhirdiad after a few months, but he visits the Fraldarius manor frequently with his Uncle Rufus to speak with Rodrigue. Why Rodrigue doesn't take trips to the Capitol instead Felix has no idea. Days around the manor get boring with anyone he'd normally talk with always in meetings. Even Cael isn't saved from having to sit for hours on end talking about strategy or whatever else happens in the Parlor room. 

 

Felix understands that they want to quell the rebellion before it spreads to an all-out war. Despite any expectations otherwise, the Western Church has been doing much better and even this many months out they're still going strong. Or at least according to the rumors Felix hears around the manor. Normally Felix wouldn't bother listening in on them, but as no one will talk to him about it he finds out through other means 

 

But he also hears a lot of strange rumors from the servants while he's lounging around on the second floor of the library, curled up in a chair, pretending to be absorbed in a book. He'd grabbed a book on rare weapons when he'd first walked in, but now he’s honestly paying more attention to the hushed whispers he can hear from his spot. He’s tucked in  the shadows on the upper floor just barely able to see the two servants on the first floor over the railing next to him. 

 

They most certainly don't know that he's in here. His cedar-cinnamon scent contained to the second floor as he's only been up here today, using the door on the second floor to enter the library's second landing. Which works in his favor, in addition to the quiet of the library, as it gives him the chance to hear their unfiltered gossip.

 

Even several months after the fact, it seems the servants are still talking about the events that happened during his bonding ceremony.  They gush about how ‘romantic’ the ceremony was, making Felix grimace before one of the girls - an omega, he thinks - gives a slight gasp.

 

“Oh! I forgot to tell you!” She says, voice pitching a bit higher before she dips her voice back into a whisper. “Ian told me he saw the young Gautier Lord sneaking out of Master Felix’s bedroom window the morning after they bonded!” She says in an excited, hushed voice.

 

Felix feels his face heat up as he sinks a little lower in his chair in embarrassment. Oh, he’s going to kill Sylvain the next time he sees him!

 

“What?! No!” The other servant, a beta, gasps out skeptically, still keeping her voice low. “Ian’s such a liar. Why wouldn’t he have told you about it sooner?”

 

Her friend gives a soft giggle and when Felix glances over the railing he sees her shuffle a bit closer to her friend. “He said he’d forgotten until recently; the dork. He said he only remembered when he heard about what happened to the eldest Gautier heir. Said the name ‘jogged his memory’.”

 

It’s clear in her voice she’s extremely fond of this ‘Ian’, but it’s also clear she doesn’t quite believe his words about what he saw. The skepticism clear in her voice. Felix feels himself relax a little, especially when they drift further away again. He’s a little glad that he won’t have to hear any gossip from if they had believed Ian’s words. 

 

“I know you’re fond of that alpha,” The beta says. “But he’s so weird! And he always hangs out with that Levi-”

 

“Who you think is stealing stuff, I know, I know.” The omega cuts the other woman off and Felix frowns. If someone were to be stealing things in the manor, surely the servants would report any suspicious activity. There are a lot of valuable things around Fraldarius manor, most of it heirlooms treasured deeply - by his father at least. “But what kind of thief steals clothes - from the servants, no less - and leaves behind money for it? Definitely not Levi, that’s who!”

 

The two servants have slowly started to speak louder, until their spoken conversation is almost at full volume. Slowly through their cleaning the two girls have made their way closer to Felix's relative position only on the first floor instead of the second.  Soon they'll be entirely out of this view under the landing. 

 

“I’m telling you, Rosie, he’s at least up to something.” The beta defends weakly. “Even Cael says he’s suspicious of him and everyone knows Mr. Paradis is too trusting!”

 

The omega makes a soft almost snorting noise. “Sure, if you’re not an omega. Mr. Paradis might be good looking, but his personality needs a lot of work.” The omega huffs out, and Felix hears a few things being picked up as they clean. “Levi might not look it, but he’s definitely an omega. So of course Cael is suspicious of him.”

 

It’s the beta who lets out a giggle this time. “He is handsome, isn’t he? Too bad he’s leaving at the end of the Moon with his soldiers to fight with the Western Church.”

 

Felix’s fingers grow slack in his surprise, and his heart leaps as he fumbles with the book as it slips from his hands. The book drops to his lap, where it bounces. His hands shoot out and, much to his surprise, he’s able to catch the book before it falls to the ground. 

 

He’s not entirely sure why he’s so shocked to hear this news. Perhaps because he’s hearing it from two random servants rather than from Cael himself. Sure, it’s been a while since he and the alpha were ablet o train together, but a warning of him completely leaving would have been nice.

 

Gently, Felix sets down the book on the table before him and stands up. The servants have made their way to clean out of his sight and their conversations move to being about something more mundane. It doesn’t matter anymore if they notice him in here but he’d rather not deal with the embarrassment of being caught. So, he moves as quietly as he can, sidestepping the usual places that would cause the old floorboards beneath the carpet to creak. He’s soon out of the library, quietly closing the door behind him and decides to head down to the soldier's barracks.

 

It’s where Cael has been the last few weeks and while he doesn’t want to confront the alpha he does want to see him before Cael is to depart. The end of the Moon is less than two weeks away and if Felix doesn’t try now there’s no telling when or if he’ll get another chance to say goodbye.

 

There soldier's housing rests on the edge of the estate grounds, nestled directly in between the manor and the nearby town. It's quite a walk away, but Felix has the time and not much else to do.

 

It’s mid-afternoon on a summer day and the sun is shining bright and hot. The walk does Felix some good to not be cooped up inside there manor, but by the time he makes it to the grounds of the barracks he's sweating quite a bit.

 

The outside yard is filled with the sights and sounds of multiple soldiers clashing swords, lances and axes together. Further off in the distance, Felix can see a few images practicing their reason magic. The metallic clang of weapons and armor is only drowned out by the sound of grunts and loud yelling from the soldiers. It’s the first time Felix has been to the barracks, and the amount of noise compared to the quiet calmness of the manor is a bit startling. 

 

He gets more than a few curious stares from some soldiers that pass by, none of them quite knowing what to make of a bonded noble omega poking around the barracks. If they’re smart, they’d also piece together that he’s also Lord Rodrigue's son, but for now he might as well enjoy a little bit of anonymity.

 

None of the soldiers have probably ever actually been to the manor; they're only really allowed in the barracks and the town. Only the most trusted soldiers ever become guards around Fraldarius manor, making the guard outside of Felix’s room those many nights ago even more surprisingly inept. Felix has never seen him since so perhaps he’d gotten demoted because of Sylvain’s admittance of getting past him. Hopefully, he didn’t actually lose his job over it…

 

Felix scans the mass of people before him, and soon enough he spots Cael towards the back barking out orders to some soldiers who are sparring nearby. Felix moves along the edge of the grounds, making sure to keep out of anyone's way. He isn’t here to distract anyone from their training, nor is he looking to get hurt and the best way to do that is to make sure he doesn’t try to push in through the middle. He does still have to move around a few alphas and betas, but he ignores their stares as best he can, even if it’s slightly irritating that even the sight of an omega amongst them has them distracted from what they should be doing.

 

He’s just about to Cael when another alpha steps in his way, blocking both his path and his view of his trainer. The alpha before him is one of the few female alphas he's seen before and she looks him over with a slightly concerned expression. 

 

“Hey, kid.” The alpha begins, crossing her arms over her chest as she frowns at him. “Where’s your alpha? If you’re here looking for him, perhaps it’d be best if someone else went to look for him. We wouldn’t want you getting hurt accidentally.”

 

Felix gives a snort of disdain and glares at the alpha before him before deciding that it’s probably for the best that he doesn’t make a scene. He could tell the alpha off, but that would only direct more eyes to him and it’s important that the soldiers here get in good training time before they have to properly fight in any battles against the Western Church's forces. So, instead of snapping back at the alpha before him, Felix merely tries to step around her only to be blocked once more.

 

“Hey, come on, don’t be like that.” The alpha rumbles a warning, a slight growl to her voice that would have caused Felix to pause if he were a normal omega. But he isn’t, because in some strange way he’s broken, and he merely tries to step to the other side. 

 

When the alpha blocks his way again, Felix gives out his own warning growl. “Move.” He snaps, feeling his anger beginning to rise. “You’re in my way.”

 

The alpha blinks slightly before she frowns down at Felix. “I can’t let you go any further. Is your alpha a new recruit? He’s doing this country a good service by enlisting, omega. You don’t want him to be tried for treason just because you want to talk him out of it do you?”

 

Felix only barely just manages not to roll his eyes. Like he’d be talking anyone out of getting a chance to be a part of a battle. He won’t glorify the atrocities of war, but getting a chance to experience the thrill of battle isn't something he'd try and deny to someone. Seeing as Felix has only ever sparred with friends or his trainer, he wants to know what it’s like crossing blades in the midst of battle. An experience he won't be getting for another year or so until Garreg Mach, unless -

 

A thought pops in his head for a moment, tantalizing in its simplicity and Felix has no idea why he hadn’t thought of it before. “My alpha isn’t here.” He tells the woman before him. “I need to speak to Cael.”

 

The alpha frowns, her brow furrowing in her confusion. “Cael? What would an omega like you be wanting with the Captain?” She questions, looking utterly perplexed by the strange omega before her. 

 

Before Felix can speak again, Cael appears beside the woman. “Get back to training.” He snaps to the woman, who jerks into a salute before she’s off with a ‘Yes, sir’. Cael looks down at Felix and frowns. “What are you doing here kid?” He asks, exasperation clear in his voice but Felix can’t quite bring himself to care. 

 

“You’re leaving at the end of the Moon.” He starts, watching as Cael tenses for a moment before he relaxes again.

 

“Seiros, how did you even find out about that?” He mutters under his breath, running a hand over his face as he heaves out a sigh. “Yeah, sorry I meant to tell you to your face but it’s been hectic these last few Moons.”

 

“I know,” Felix says, giving a shake of his head. “That’s not why I’m here exactly. Or, it’s not anymore.”

 

Cael relaxes even further, looking a little relieved that Felix isn’t angry with him or whatever he’d thought when Felix showed up. “Alright, then what are you here for now? Hopefully, it’s not to just distract my soldiers.”

 

Felix gives a shake of his head. “No, of course not.” He says, and straightens himself up to his full height as best he can, meeting Cael’s eyes fully when he says his next words. “I want to be your squire.”

 

Chapter Text

 

The look on Cael’s face is visibly shocked by Felix’s words. “W-what?” He stammers out, and this is the first time Felix has ever seen the alpha as anything but calm and collected. “Felix, no.”

 

“Why not?” He snaps back, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring up at the alpha before him. “Nobles squire for knights all the time.” He points out, glaring down his trainer as if to dare him to say exactly why he’s saying no.

 

Sure, nobles heirs do squire for knights all the time. Even Dimitri had been training to be a squire for a man named Gustave before the Tragedy of Duscur happened. It’s a very common practice; just not for omegas. Felix isn’t sure that he’s ever heard of an omega being a squire at all, but it isn’t a bad idea. He’s bonded now, and from his scent people are able to tell and if they won’t stay away just from that he’s willing to get them to back off with force. As a squire he won’t even really be up close with any of the battles, merely taking care of Cael’s armor and mount if he chooses to ride with one. Hardly anything that would get him possibly killed.

 

Cael heaves a heavy sigh, propping a hand on one hip and using his other hand to press the bridge of his nose like he’s getting a headache. “Listen, I know you’d be capable of it. That isn’t the issue.” The alpha starts, dropping the hand on his face to look directly at Felix. “The issue is that your father would absolutely kill me, not to mention the fact that I already have a squire.”

 

Like Felix is going to be so easily deterred by either of those things. “Then take me on as a second squire. I learn fast, I’ll catch up and surpass even them. And if I can’t fight in this rebellion, I can at least squire for you during it.”

 

A few soldiers around them have stopped sparring to stare over at them and whisper amongst themselves. No doubt this is the first time they’ve seen an alpha with such a bad reputation around omegas talking to one more pleasantly than he’s known to. And for it to be a noble omega has to be suspicious as well. No doubt people are starting to put together who he must be. 

 

“I’m telling you, kid, I don’t need another squire,” Cael says, crossing his arms over his broad chest. “I get you’re wanting to try and prove yourself, or whatever, but this isn’t the way to go about it.”

 

“Then what else am I supposed to do?” He snaps, glaring once more at his trainer. “Sit around and not do anything?”

 

"I don't care what you do. But I can't afford to be fired over one of your whims." Cael snaps back.

 

Felix can feel his anger begin to rise, not appreciating Cael suggesting this is just a whim. Sure, he hadn't thought of the idea before he got here but this would be a good opportunity for him. Fodlan has always had a bloody history. Filled with war after war, with only the last few centuries being an outlier. But even during the peace before the Tragedy of Duscur there had always been battles and skirmishes here and there. 

 

So, if Felix were to eventually go out on his own he will need some battle experience and Garreg Mach is only an academy. Felix has never been very good with academics as he’s always appreciated a more practical approach when he needs to learn something. Being told how to do something has never worked for him quite like actually doing it himself. And getting any chance to experience a battle first hand - even as a squire - could be vital for him later on in his life.

 

“This isn’t a whim!” He snarls, feeling his fangs beginning to descend in his anger. His voice rings out louder than he meant it to and he notices that even more soldiers have come to watch the spectacle. "You know me better than that." 

 

Cael groans, once again reaching a hand up to run it over his face. "I'm not even the one to really make such a decision. You'd need to talk to your father about that." 

 

There's no way that Felix could ever convince Rodrigue to let him do this. Sending his only remaining omega son onto an active battlefield, even as a glorified errand boy, is never something he'd allow. But there are things in life Felix needs to do even if it goes against his father's wishes. And sometimes, especially when it goes against his father's wishes. 

 

"My father be damned. Are you an alpha or not? Decide things for yourself!" His worst come out harsh and spiteful and he regrets his words when Cael's expression darkens considerably. The soldiers around him have amassed, pausing completely in their training to form an almost semi-circle around them. 

 

Cael rumbles a growl in his throat and even outside Felix can smell his campfire scent spike up around them. It sets Felix on edge but only having him drop his eyes and not completely back down. "I like you kid, but don't piss me off." He takes in a deep breath to calm himself. He looks over and glowers at soldiers who immediately scamper back to what they'd been doing previously.

 

"Don't be my father's lapdog." Felix spits out, because he's never been good at keeping his mouth shut. "You, more than anyone, knows that I can do this." 

 

Cael's eyes return to him and the alpha heaves a sigh. " Seiros, you're too stubborn for your own good." He groans with a shake of his head. "I don't doubt that you can do it, in fact I know that you can. But, again, I already have a squire."

 

Felix crosses his arms over his chest hating this petulant feeling but feeling it nevertheless. He'd never heard Cael speak about his squire before but surely Felix can do something about that. 

 

"Then let me fight for the spot!" He speaks out, staring determinedly up at the alpha. "Or, something! I'll fight anyone here to convince you to give me a shot." 

 

"I'm sorry, Felix. I've only got so much time to get these men into shape before we leave. I don't think-" The alpha gets cuz off before he can finish.

 

"Hey, Captain!" A young man calls out, jogging over to meet up with them. He slows down when he gets a bit closer and glances over at Felix curiously. "Oh, who's this?" He asks, seemingly oblivious to the tension between Felix and Cael.

 

Felix wonders about the relationship between them that this beta can just run up to a captain like this. He's fairly young, only a few years older than Felix and a beta judging by his rosey lavender scent. He also has a look of recognition in his eyes, like he knows exactly who Felix is but Felix is certain he’s never seen this man before.

 

A frown tugs at the corner of his lips and he scowls at the beta before him. But it’s Cael who gives out another sigh and speaks. “This is Felix. Felix, this is Leon. My squire.” He doesn’t seem too pleased to be introducing the two of them. 

 

And perhaps for good reason, as Felix focuses his attention fully on the beta. “I challenge you to a duel.” He says, widening his stance and squaring his shoulders. The beta blinks at him, his mouth opening slightly in surprise. 

 

“Uh,” Leon starts, glancing over at Cael with a slightly panicked look. At Cael’s unhelpful shrug, the beta turns back to Felix with a nervous laugh. “Nice to meet, Felix. Why are you trying to challenge me?”

 

“He’s wanting your position as my squire.” Cael explains, looking slightly amused. Which is better than his anger from earlier. “I wouldn’t accept it, Leon. Not going to lie, he’ll probably win.”

 

Leon lets out a startled laugh and gives a shake of his head. “Wow, thanks for your support Cael!” 

 

Felix huffs. “Are you going to accept or not?” He growls out, crossing his arms over his chest and glaring at the beta. It’s probably a little unfair that Felix still wants to go through with this. If he wins, he’ll have to find a way for the both of them to squire for Cael. There’s got to be some way for that to work out. Felix isn’t actually looking to ruin this man’s life. 

 

The beta shifts awkwardly, once again glancing over at Cael. “Um, I’m going to say no…” He says, reaching up to scratch the back of his head nervously. 

"Sorry, kid."

 

"I'm not a kid." Felix says, frowning in his disappointment.

 

"Sorry, Felix." Cael butts in, reaching out to pat him on the shoulder. "Looks like you'll have to figure something else out. There might be something else you can do if you're really interested in stopping the rebellion. Unfortunately, your biggest obstacle will be Lord Fraldarius."

 

Felix sighs and shrugs off Cael's hand from his shoulder. It might be a bit petty but Felix doesn't feel like being touched right now. Though that's hardly new and Cael easily takes his hand back and doesn't seem to be too bothered.

 

"Why would Lord-?" Leon starts to question before he stops and takes in the higher quality of the clothes Felix is wearing and his eyes widen. "I'm so sorry! I didn't know it was you, my Lord!" He cries, giving a deep bow to Felix.

 

Cael gives a sigh. "Who else did you think it was when I said the name 'Felix'?" 

 

Leon straightens up and doesn't see any negative reaction from him, or at least any more negativity from not speaking formally. He shoots a dirty glare at Cael. "Not Lord Fraldarius's son! I've never even seen him before!" He says, gesturing to Felix.

 

To be fair to him, Felix hardly leaves the manor except to train outside on the ground on the other side of the manor grounds away from the barracks and the town. He used to be more active when Glenn was around, but Rodrigue has never liked him being out for too long and eventually it became a habit if his own to stow away in the manor.

 

"I told you I was training him. Didn't I?" Cael pauses to question, his brow furrowing as he goes deep in thought. 

 

"No, you just said some omega asked you to train them a few months ago." The beta says. "I thought that meant you'd finally gotten a date, not actually teaching an omega."

 

Felix grimaces and heaves a sigh. It seems that he won't actually be able to go along with his sudden idea of being a squire, but now that it's in his head he knows he needs to join the battle against the rebellion. It's just unfortunate that Cael can't be his in. 

 

There has to be some other way for him to join. But just like how he had to wait until after Garreg Mach to leave; he might need to play the long game in this was well. 

 

Leon and Cael talk between each other for a bit before Cael turns his attention back to Felix. "Again, I'm sorry Felix. I'd hate to shoot you down completely so I'll tell you this: if you can convince Rodrigue I'll take you on as a second squire."

 

Felix scoffs and rolls his eyes. "Sure, give me the impossible task." He gives a sigh and a shake of his head. "He'll never let me. "

 

"Unfortunately, you're probably right." Cael agrees. "I've never said this before, but you've got talent. You'd be very beneficial to have in a fight and anyone who's seen you fight can attest to that. So, make your father see that."

 

---------

 

As Felix makes his way to the manor he contemplates Cael's words to him. Cael has a more optimistic view of Rodrigue than Felix does due to his respect for Lord Fraldarius' accomplishments and essentially being an employee of the man. And for the most part, Felix can understand that. Rodrigue is a considerably lax parent when it comes to having an omega as a child, and Felix does realize that he could have had it much worse. 

 

But Felix just can't bring himself to act the part of a perfect omega or even the stereotype of it. He's always preferred to fight against these types of traditional views and why should this instance be any different?

 

And if he tries to convince his father and Rodrigue says no, well, it's not like Felix listens to him very much in the first place. He'll find his own way to the battlefield if he has to. Damn the consequences.

 

He makes his way through the Manor and ends up before the Parlor door where a servant tells him his father still is. It's a big risk, confronting his father at a moment like this when he's in a meeting with Rufus and Dimitri. But outside of dinner in a few hours - also in the company of the Regent and the prince - Felix won't be seeing his father any other time tonight. He just hopes his father will reign in his temper in front of his guests.

 

Felix takes in a deep breath to calm his nerves and pushes open the door to head in. Everyone pauses to look up at his arrival and he almost turns back around before he realizes he hasn't exactly caught them in the midst of an important meeting. In fact, it seems more like they were having a casual tea break.

 

“Felix?” Rodrigue questions, looking at his son with a slight frown. "Did you need something?"

 

Felix strides forward until he's as close as he can be without being too close. He takes in another deep breath and steels his resolve, directly making eye contact with his father, and ignores the others in the room. "I'm going to join the battle against the Western Church. I will be going as Cael's second squire." He keeps it has a statement and watches as Rodrigue's face darkens with each word he speaks.

 

The silence in the wake of his words is deafening. Felix watches as Rodrigue sets his teacup down on its accompanying plate and then as he rests it on the table next to him. His movements are tense and Felix would know his father's anger even if he couldn't also smell it raising off of him in a thick cayenne wave. 

 

Felix braces himself for the worst.

 

A soft snort startles to both of them and Felix looks over to see Regent Rufus trying to stifle a laugh. He catches both of the Fraldarius' staring at him perplexed and he coughs to cover it up. “My apologies.” He says, clearing his throat, but his blue eyes still watch them with humor. “I had not realized how similar the Fraldarius men could be. It seems stubbornness transcends even status.” 

 

Felix frowns at his words, not appreciating being compared to his father. And Rodrigue heaves out a sigh and gives a shake his head. "It's a frustrating trait to be on the receiving end of, to be sure." He gives another sigh and his angered scent begins to dissipate. "Come now, Felix, I know things have been boring around here for you lately. But that's no reason to come up with this ridiculous notion."

 

"Lord Fraldarius," Dimitri interjects, leaning forward a little from where he's settled in Felix's usual chair. Something about him seems off. His voice is a bit more gruff and the bags under his eyes suggest he's having sleeping troubles. Felix has seen very little of Dimitri in the past few Moons. Only really seeing him during the times they eat in the dining room. He'll have to ask later if his friend is doing okay. "If I may, Felix has remarkable skill with the sword. I'm quite certain that he would have beaten me in our sparring session the other day, had he not been training for many hours beforehand."

 

“It's interesting to see an Omega interested in the art of swordplay.”  Rufus comments before pausing to take a sip of his tea. “It's even more remarkable to hear you are able to keep up with His Highness.” He says, addressing Felix this time.

 

"I've worked diligently to get to where I'm at," Felix replies simply. Rufus is a nice man, from the little interaction he's had with him, but he's also the temporary King until Dimitri is old enough to inherit. "The man I wish to squire for is a good teacher."

 

Rodrigue shoots Rufus an almost pained look. "Please don't encourage him," He says and gives another shake of his head. "Felix, we'll talk about this later." 

 

"We'll talk about this now," Felix can't help but snap back, resisting the urge to grimace at his father's sharp look he gets in return. "You'd have let Glenn go."

 

Rodrigue gives a snort. "Of course. Glenn was a prodigy; a knight by the time he was fifteen-"

 

"And I could have been too! If you'd ever even give me half a chance that you gave Glenn. You're too blinded by what tradition says I can do, rather than focusing on what I can actually do." Felix can smell his own cedar-cinnamon scent spike in his own anger. It feels good to finally say these words to his father, but it won't do him any good to give in to his anger that will just rile up Rodrigue again. “I can do this, just give me a chance to prove it.”

 

"Felix." Rodrigue snaps, glaring at his son. "I know you've been doing good in your training, but none of that has been able to prepare you for a battle."

 

"Don't be obtuse, Rodrigue." Rufus cuts in, setting his tea down and meeting Rodrigue's sharp look with one of his own. "No one is ever fully prepared for their first battle, no matter their status. Yes,  your son is an omega, but he's also a Fraldarius."

 

Rodrigue scoffs. "I'm aware of that. But he's still a child." Felix feels his hands clench into fists, and he glares at his father. He might still be a teen but he's most certainly not a child. 

 

Rufus gives a shake of his head and heaves himself out of the chair. He's a heavyset man, but he'd suffered a terrible wound when he was younger that limits his movement considerably and had condemned him to having to walk with a cane his whole life. Dimitri quickly reaches out to hand him his cane, which he gives a soft thanks to his nephew.

 

"Come now, Roddy. You even just bragged about you're eldest joining the knights when he was fifteen. Sothis rest his soul." He hobbled forward, planting his cane down for balance before he swings his remaining leg forward to make his way over to Felix. "I know you're being protective but don't be a hypocrite about it." 

 

He moves closer to Felix and even over Rodrigue's angered scent, Felix can smell Rufus' soft lilac beta scent.  "Are you up to demonstrating your skills? I'd certainly like to see what you're capable of."

 

Rodrigue stands up from his chair, glaring at the Regent. "It's completely different when you have children, especially an omega. It may seem hypocritical but I'm doing this to protect him."

 

"I don't need to be protected. I'm bonded now, people can barely even recognize me as an omega anymore." Felix snaps at his father, before turning back to Rufus. "You allow me to join the fight against the Western Church?"

 

Rufus levels him with a serious look while Rodrigue fumes behind him. "I can be... persuaded to overrule your father's orders on this. But only if you can prove your skills are advanced enough for you to be able to defend yourself properly," he says, earning a snarl of rage from Rodrigue.

 

"You'll do no such thing," Rodrigue says, coming towards them, his face dark with his anger. "Rufus, see reason here. You can't just come into my home and give my son permission to do something so crazy."

 

The scent of lilacs gets stronger in an instant, filling up Felix's senses until it's the only thing he smells. Rodrigue slows his steps and his angry spiced scent begins to fade as his anger does. Even Felix can feel his irritation at his father's antics fading. It's not gone entirely, but here finds he's no longer bothered by it. 

 

Betas are naturally good at calming others down,  able to use their scents in ways that are foreign to other statuses. Normally, it's a gradual thing allowing both alphas and omegas a chance to realize their emotions are running wild and work to bring them back down. For alphas, it calms their rage and can help keep them from going feral if the betas scent is calming enough to them. For omegas, it calms their hysterics and can lessen some heat symptoms. The beta at the heat house had most likely used her scent in such a manner, though Felix can't recall most of the events of that week.

 

This, however, feels too sudden and too fast of an emotional dropped into neutrality that it leaves Felix feeling off-balanced. He has never felt it this strongly before. This feels like a complete negate of his emotions. No beta has any actual control over anyone's emotions, it's simply that people want to be calm around them when they broadcast their scent. Rufus might not have inherited the Blaiddyd crest, but he certainly is more powerful than the average betta.

 

Now that the room is down to a neutral state, Rufus turns to look at Rodrigue. "He's only going as a squire,  Rodrigue. Don't you remember what that was like? The most action he'll see is cleaning blood off his Knights armor."

 

Rodrigue's shoulders sag and he heaves a sigh. "Alright, I see your point. If Felix can prove himself skilled enough, I'll give my blessing. Now put your horrid scent away, you know it gives me a headache when you do this."

 

Rufus reigns his scent back and Dimitri takes this brief pause to stand up as well. "If you're allowing Felix to go; please reconsider your stance on me going. Gustave might not be around anymore, but I'm sure I can find someone to squire under instead." he says, standing tall and practically radiating his seriousness.

 

Rufus turns to look at his nephew and shakes his head. "I'm sorry, my boy. I understand why you want to go fight - I'd be right in the thick of it if I could as well. But you and I are needed up north where it will be safe. It's a hard lesson to learn, but your life is worth more than your soldiers and your friends." 

 

Dimitri flinches at these words and he quickly looks away, his jaw clenched tight. He looks like he wants nothing more than to run out of the room, but he holds his ground and gives a slight nod. "Okay..." he says Softly, but Felix gets the impression that he's not going to actually leave it at that.

 

"Let's get this demonstration out of the way before dinner time." Rodrigue says, rubbing his fingers along the side of his temple trying to soothe the headache he feels coming on. " Dimitri, will you sparring against my son again?" he asks. "I'm afraid anyone else we could ask would let him win. I trust you to give him a fair fight."

 

It takes Dimitri a few moments before he replies with a nod of his head. "Y-yes," he says, his voice coming out a little sick so he clears his throat. " I'll spar with him."

 

---------

 

They leave the Parlor quickly after that, their progress through the manner set at Rufus's pace who move surprisingly quick for his physical limitation and heavyset figure. Fairly soon Rodrigue is commanding the guards out of the training room. The guards quickly do as they're asked,  putting their training weapons away and gathering their things. They pass by with only minimal amounts of curious glances and soon they've completely filed out of the room.

 

"Okay, boys," Rufus says and gestures around him. "Grab your preferred weapons."

 

Felix gives a nod and heads over to the sword rack while Dimitri walks over to the lances. Felix grabs one of the short swords - a weapon he's very familiar with - and heads to the center of the room to wait for Dimitri to stop looking at the selection and make his choice. 

 

He's already at a severe disadvantage against Dimitri. For one, the alpha favors lances which has a long reach and Dimitri wields it expertly. Another is the alpha strength behind Dimitri’s blows is more liable to trip him up if he's not careful. Most likely RRodrigue had had this in mind when he asked the blonde to fight his son. Some strange way of subconsciously undermining his own son.

 

But there's a lot at stake in this fight and Felix will not lose.

 

Dimitri finally picks out his lance and heads over to be on the opposite side of Felix. Felix takes his stance and takes in a deep breath focusing on the blond before him. Dimitri adjusts his grip on the lance and gives a small smile over at Felix before he takes his own stance.

 

Rufus and Rodrigue settle against the back of the training room well away from the two of them but with a good enough view to watch the two of them spar. “The first to concede defeat will be the loser,” Rufus tells them and Felix glances over just long enough to catch his intrigued grin. “Just don’t get too wild with it.”

 

Both of them nod their agreement and focus on each other again. 

 

Felix wastes no time and throws himself forward watching as Dimitri's eyes widen in surprise. Felix swings his sword in an arch only for Dimitri to jump away out of Felix's reach just in time to avoid the strike. 

 

Dimitri stays away, using the length of his lance to his advantage to try and jab at Felix, who knocks the lance away each time. Seeing that he’s getting nowhere with this tactic, Dimitri backs off again bringing his lance in close and takes on a defensive stance. 

 

Felix narrows his eyes and takes his own defensive stance. He knows that Dimitri is waiting for him to get impatient and attack head first again. But Felix knows he’d only had one chance at that and he isn’t going to take it again. 

 

So they circle each other, waiting for the other to make their next move. 

 

Felix sees Dimitri’s body tense and prepares himself. Dimitri launches himself forward, doing something fast and complicated that Felix can’t quite make sense of and he barely manages to get his sword up in time to block it. The middle of the lance meets the wood of his sword and Felix has to quickly adjust his stance to avoid being pushed back by Dimitri’s strength. 

 

“Nice block,” Dimitri comments, using his strength to push harder. Felix feels his feet start to slip on the floor and he knows that he won’t be able to hold against Dimitri much longer. 

 

He pushes back against Dimitri, using this as a distraction to slide his foot to the side. “Stop talking.” He snaps and goes through with his movement. He uses his foot placement to dodge to the side, slipping beside and around Dimitri who stumbles forward in surprise of Felix no longer being in front of him. Before Dimitri can right himself completely, Felix steps forward and holds the end of his sword to the back of the blond's neck. “Yield.” He commands.

 

Dimitri tenses in front of him. He hadn’t had a chance to fully straightened up and Felix smells his sandalwood scent spike and he scents the alpha's anger. The suddenness of it shocks Felix to the point he doesn’t notice the blond readying his attack until it was too late. Movement out of the corner of his eye catches his attention and he can’t go much else but watch as Dimitri launches the end of his lance backward.

 

The butt of the lance catches him in the stomach harshly and he doubles over clutching his abdomen with a groan. It’s enough for Dimitri to move forward and out of Felix’s reach. Felix backs up and tries to fight past the throbbing pain to watch Dimitri warily. He’d been sure he’d had his friend in that moment, but it seems Dimitri is going to play dirty. 

 

Dimitri stays back long enough for Felix to catch his breath and fall back into his stance. But as he's focusing back on Dimitri and his movements, he can tell something is wrong.

 

The alpha is breathing too hard and heavy for the short amount of time they've been sparring. His sandalwood scent still smells of anger, but there's something strange and bitter underneath it. A quick glance over shows that neither Rodrigue nor Rufus seem to be reacting any differently to Dimitri's sudden strange scent.

 

He isn't sure what has set off his normally good-natured friend, but Felix isn't going to call this off just because Dimitri is acting a little strange. 

 

Dimitri advances closer his blue eyes darker than Felix has ever seen before, pale blue blot it out with black. Felix's heart pounds in his chest and all of his instincts scream at him to cower to the enraged Alpha before him. But he pushes past it and knocks away Demetris next jab.

 

With each attack Felix blocks or dodges away from, Dimitri gives a growl of displeasure and his attacks get faster, but also more clumsy, and he starts making mistakes in his anger. But that doesn't mean Felix's able to get a hit in.  Dimitri still moves fast and quick and Felix has to make sure in his retreat that he doesn't get backed into a wall. This additional detail added to the things he already has to focus on manages to distract him just enough that he isn't prepared for the strength behind Dimitri's next swing.

 

Felix brings the sword up to block the slash and as their weapons meet it jars his entire arm and his sword flies out of his hand. As the sword goes across the room Felix sleeps back to stay out of Dmitri's reach.

 

"Yield,"  Dimitri growls out, his voice deep and harsh.

 

Felix glares at him and he hears a sigh coming from across the room. "He's clearly not ready." he hears his father say to Rufus. "It has barely even been a handful of minutes and he's already been disarmed."

 

Felix feels a growl work its way up his throat and his anger rises. There's no way he's going to let Dimitri win just because he doesn't have a weapon anymore and Rodrigue is a fool for thinking otherwise. Felix widens his stance and brings up his fist to the guarded stance Cael had taught him is vital in hand-to-hand combat.

 

"No." He says, in response to Dimitri's demand and he hears a scuff from his father.

 

"Very well," Dimitri says, giving him a dark grin.

 

When Dimitri launches himself forward, Felix does as well. He needs to get in close to use Dimitri's reach against him. He sees Dimitri's eyes widen again as he'd most likely expected Felix to dance away and be on defense. Dimitri tries to get him to back off with another job and Felix is ready for it. He dodges just slightly enough that the head of the lance just grazes his side but keeps going past him. Quickly he wraps the closest arm around the body of the lance and shoves it up to being nestled between his body and the pit of his arm, all the while gripping tightly to the pole with his hand.

 

Dimitri growls at the unexpected maneuver and gives a sharp tug to try and yank his weapon out of Felix's hold. As he pulls back, Felix takes his chance and kicks out; his foot connecting squarely with the alphas stomach hard enough that he hears Dimitri's forced exhale. The blond's grip on the pole loosens and he collapses backward onto the ground.

 

Felix's feeling of triumph is short-lived when he realizes that he hadn't quite accounted for the sudden loss of Dmitri's hold on the weapon. He stumbles back, but isn't quite able to keep himself from falling back with a short yelp of surprise. He tries to roll with the momentum, and he has to drop the lance before he seriously injures himself.

 

As soon as he hits the ground, he's scrambling back up and quickly grabs hold of the lance. He spins it clumsily so he can point the head of it at Dimitri, who is only just now able to catch his breath. 

 

Felix pants with the exertion and he narrows his eyes down at the alpha who's still flat on his back "Yield,"  he commands again.

 

Dimitri sucks in a breath and whatever rage that he'd been in earlier seems to be gone, leaving his friend winded and blinking up at Felix. "I yield." He croaks out, and Felix once again feels a surge of triumph course through his body.

 

As Felix bends down to help his friend back up, boisterous laughter rings through the room. When Dimitri regains his footing, Felix looks over to see Rufus laughing using the hand not holding his cane to thump an exasperated Rodrigue on the back. "See, my friend? I told you your kid had it in him!" He brags giving Felix a bright, proud grin. "A nice hard-fought victory, even if it did get a little dirty towards the end. But on the battlefield, your quick thinking is what will keep you alive the longest. So you've got my blessing!"

 

Felix gives him a nod of appreciation at his words, and he glances over at his father trying to gauge his reaction. Rodrigue has been quiet since he last spoke and he stares at his youngest child with a guarded expression. But Felix can see in his eyes that he's pleasantly impressed by his son's victory.

 

"It seems I spoke too soon," he says in his own stunted version of an apology. "Congratulations, Felix. I will speak with your trainer first thing in the morning about him taking you on as a squire."

 

The surge of relief and elation that he feels is palpable, enough for it to even leak into his scent.  He's used to the scent of his anger and sadness, even with the added cedar scent. He's never quite smelled it this light and pure before. He wants more than anything to express his joy, but there's an underlying fear that Rodrigue will take his words back if Felix were to act so childish. So he keeps his face as neutral as he can. "Thank you." He says simply.

 

Rodrigue nods. "There will, however, still be some ground rules for us to go over," he says because, of course, he has to ruin this moment. " but we can go over that later. For now, go and get ready for dinner. The both of you."

 

Felix and Dimitri both give hums of acknowledgment and Felix gives Dimitri back his lance so he can fetch the sword he dropped earlier. After placing it back and it's appropriate rack, he follows Dimitri out of the room.

 

"Your skills have grown a lot in these last few moons," Dimitri comments as they walk together down the hall. "I know I said earlier that you'd be able to beat me in a fight, but I hadn't realized I would lose so emphatically!"

 

"You've been holed up too long in those strategy meetings." Felix replies, but Dimitri losing had nothing to do with his skills being rusty, nor on him trying to take it easy on Felix. Felix speeds up a little and stops in front of his friend, turning his way and blocking his path. "What happened back there? Why did you suddenly become so angry?"

 

Dimitri freezes in front of him and looks away. "I-"  he trails off for a moment before returning his gaze back to Felix. "Sylvain's scent on you is very potent. I'd briefly forgotten I wasn't fighting another Alpha. That's all," he says inside steps Felix to move past him. "I'm feeling a little tired. I'll see you at dinner." Dimitri all the fleas down the hall, not stopping or turning around even when Felix calls out to him.

 

Felix frowns at his friend's retreating back and can't help but feel like he'd been lied to. Many moons ago both Dimitri and Sylvain had sparked against each other and Dimitri had shown no signs of being overly aggressive to Sylvain's alpha scent. It would be a good reason had Felix not had this point of reference that tells him differently.

 

There's definitely something strange going on with Dimitri.

 

Chapter Text

A little over a Moon later, Felix finds himself marching through Gideon territory alongside Cael, Leon, and the rest of the Fraldarius troops. The flatlands of lush green that had been the Tailtean Plains are long past them, and now they’re traversing through sparsely wooded land as they march onward. Their destination: Arianrhod, the Fortress City

 

After Rodrigue had given his permission, finally allowing his son to squire under Cael, Felix had been given a brief rundown of what the general battle plan was so far. From what his father tells him, the Western Church has expanded past Gaspard territory but Magdred and the Knights of Seiros were able to hold them off from advancing any further. But, worryingly, they’re running out of supplies and available troops.

 

Which is where the Fraldarius troops come in. The best strategic place for them to be stationed is Arianrhod, where they can send fresh troops to flank the Western Church in Magdreg and hopefully cut off any supply chains from the enemies. And, if they can get to the Fortress City with the Western Church being none the wiser, they could have a tactical advantage.

 

Felix hadn’t much cared to find out about this, as he’s only a squire and he’s not got the mind to figure out anything dealing with strategy. Not to mention that he’d already been insanely busy learning the ends and outs of his new job from Leon and hadn’t appreciated Rodrigue interrupting the only break he’d had in a while to discuss this. But, he doesn’t feel as out of the loop now, so he supposes he can’t be too mad at his father. 

 

He’d been given the squire crash course a week before they’d had to depart and while there’s a lot to it, it’s a bit boring. His duties mainly consist of cleaning Cael’s sword and armor, which he and Leon share between them, and to gather enough supplies for the alpha to last the long trip southwest. He’d also helped around to collect all of the different supplies for the army from all over the manor. The cooks send their preserved foods, oats, and dried salted meat, the blacksmiths from the town send in weapons and armor, and the local healers send the mages they can spare and medical supplies.

 

Felix has to check the items onto a list given to him to make sure they’d gotten everything and then move all of it where it needed to go; a task he barely manages to finish before they depart Fraldarius territory. But he does and he’s able to hand the list over just a few hours before he was supposed to. It cost him a lot of long nights but he’s done before he knows it and ready for the long trip.

 

Going from being holed up in his manor to traveling the countryside, even with a couple dozen of alpha and beta troops trailing around him, has given him a taste of freedom he'd never thought he'd experience. The air even smells and even feels better the further away he is from the suppression of his father and his influence.

 

In the first few weeks of travel, Felix keeps close to Cael or Leon. He’s unsure of how to deal with the strange new place he’s found himself in. During the day, this is easy to accomplish as from a few hours after sunrise to sunset they march, only taking an hour break during the height of the afternoon to rest. Felix has never traveled by foot for the amount of distance they cover and his feet are covered in blisters and by the time he falls asleep in his and Leons shared tent he aches all over the next morning.

 

During the night time, is really when the troops get more wild. Tents are set up in record time, and the cooks are working on preparing the food for so many troops. After all the tents are up, Cael allows Felix and Leon to have their free time to eat and socialize if they need or want to. But, for a while, Felix can’t quite get rid of his uneasy feeling around the other soldiers. 

 

In the day time, as they walk different groups will talk amongst themselves or, occasionally, songs will rise through the troops and carry along the wind. Felix has never heard these songs before, and when he pays close attention to the words being sung it all sounds strangely sexual, but somehow all of these people either know the songs or hum along to the tune. 

 

At night, the murmurs of talk and songs turn to uproarious laughter and heckling between the groups. All of it seems good-natured enough, even when it borders on the seemingly hostile, but it’s all so very different from what he’s dealt with all his life. To suddenly go from being secluded for most of his life to being surrounded by hundreds of people is a culture shock. 

 

But life goes on, and they move on across the country.

 

Felix finds out that he’s not the only omega in the camp. But from what he can tell, he’s definitely the only squire, or so he assumes by the flowy revealing outfits that suggests they have a vastly different job. He never tries to talk to any of them or any of the other troops, but at night he sees a few of them pull a willing alpha or beta into a tent and Felix quickly makes his escape before he has to hear anything he doesn’t want to. 

 

For the most part, though, all they do is walk and then walk some more. 

 

Felix still has a few jobs he has to attend to, but most of the consists of things he can do in the morning and things he has to get finished before he goes to sleep for the night. At first, Leon dumps the task of getting Cael’s steed, Tawny, ready for the day but Felix has no experience with horses and somehow Tawny seems to realize and take advantage of this fact. 

 

Leon had shown him how to brush her and clean out any rocks or debris from under where her hooves meet her horseshoes. For the beta, the mare is calm and gentle, barely paying any attention to him as she nibbles at the hay before her. But when Felix tries, attempting to clean her other hoof while Leon supervises, she huffs and forces her leg back down and shifts away from him. Any other attempts are met with a similar result and on the fifth try she whinnies her displeasure and Leon has to take over. 

 

So, since they have no time trying to get Tawny to warm up to Felix, Leon switches jobs and gives Felix the task of working closer with Cael. But most of the job just includes waking him up in the mornings. 

 

And waking up Cael on the road is a chore in-and-of-itself. For the man who’d always made Felix get up early when they were first training, he sure loves to sleep. Felix knows it’s because Cael is working hard throughout the day. Not only does the alpha have to lead his men through the countryside and make sure everyone arrives in one piece, but he also has to stop any petty squabble that pops up with so many people being in close quarters.

 

When Cael isn’t at the front of the line, he leaves his lieutenant in charge to double back on Tawny to check on his troops and make sure no one has fallen behind or been injured. He keeps a professional distance emotionally from his soldiers, but it’s easy to tell he cares deeply for those he’s in charge of and morale stays high even in the cold of the night and the high heat of the afternoon. 

 

And when they camp for the night, Cael even helps the cooks serve out food, which Felix and Leon help with as well. The alpha makes sure that everyone gets their equal portion of the rations they have and doesn’t prioritize the knights or himself over the rest of his soldiers. Felix learns a lot about his trainer during these moments and his appreciation for the alpha grows.

 

So, sometimes, Felix lets Cael sleep in a little longer in the mornings. Not too long, of course, they still have a lot of ground to cover every day and Cael would certainly scold him for letting him laze about. But sometimes the extra few minutes seem to do wonders for the alpha.

 

Today, after Felix and Leon break down their shared tent and roll up their bedrolls, Leon goes to prepare Cael’s horse for the day while Felix is left with the task of waking up their mentor. Thankfully, their tents always end up being next to each other, so Felix doesn’t have to walk more than a few steps before he’s at the front of Cael’s pushing open the flap and slipping inside. 

 

It’s always dark inside this early in the morning, but Felix’s eyes quickly adjust and soon he’s able to make out the snoring lump on the ground that is his mentor. He’s rolled up in his bedroll along one of the far corners of the fairly large tent because he’s nice and doesn’t want his squires tripping over him while either of them try to gather up his things in the morning. 

 

Felix moves over, making sure to cause enough noise with his steps. It’s never happened with Cael, but a few of the squires around the encampment had shared horror stories about waking their Knights in the morning, only to be attacked; mistaken briefly for the enemy. Felix had asked Leon once, if he’d ever experienced something like that with Cael and if Felix should look out for. But Leon had only given him an unhelpful shrug and admits that he hasn’t squired long enough with Cael to know. So, like with most things here, Felix errs on the side of caution. 

 

“Cael,” Felix calls out before he’s too close to the alpha. He gets an interrupted snore in response. “Wake up.”

 

Cael gives a groan and the lump on the ground stirs. “Anyone ever tell you that you’re needlessly cruel?” He groans out, his voice still thick with sleep. 

 

“Yes,” Felix admits, moving closer and tugging the blanket away from over Cael’s face. “You tell me every morning. Now sit up.”

 

The alpha groans again but sits up, letting the blanket fall forward and pool into his lap. He gives a big yawn and his hand comes up to scratch at his bare chest. Felix has no idea how he sleeps like this when the nights are getting so much colder. He’d been surprised the first time he’d seen Cael’s scar covered chest and found out that Cael sleeps without his tunic. He’d been startled by the sudden amount of exposed skin as he’d never seen so much exposed skin before. 

 

Cael had seen the look on his face and had moved quickly to cover himself back up. He’d also apologized for forgetting to warn Felix and had offered to start sleeping more clothed if it made Felix uncomfortable. But other than the surprise he’d felt, Felix hadn’t much cared and by then he’d already seen way more than an alphas bare chest, so he tells him not to bother. 

 

Now, though, he bends down and tosses the alpha the tunic he’d discarded at some point last night. “You’re going to catch a cold if you keep sleeping like that. We’re almost in the autumn season,” he warns him and moves over to gather a few more of Cael’s clothes for him to put on for the day and tosses them over to the alpha.

 

"Hey, stop that." Cael chides, adjusting his tunic so it drapes over him properly. "I can gather my own things."

 

Unlike some of the other knights in the camp, Cael never uses his squires like they're his own personal servants. Sure, he still commands them to do certain tasks or help around, but if it's a task he can easily do himself he prefers to. Which is admirable, even if it is annoying at times. All Felix wants to do is finish his jobs for the day and Cael shooing him away at every chance is frustrating because Felix also feels the need to take some stress off of the alpha.

 

“Then get over here and help me,” Felix tells him. He’s learned it’s easier to try and compromise with the alpha rather than fight him off.

 

Cael huffs and finishes getting dressed and together they gather up the alphas things and tear down the tent. Around them, many others are doing the same, except for the ones waiting in line for food from the cooks. There’s a quiet murmur spreading around the camp, which is a stark contrast to how loud and boisterous last night was.

 

Once the tent is folded and set aside to be put on a supply cart later, Cael pats Felix on his shoulder in thanks. “Go get yourself some food before it’s too late. Also, grab me a bowl and meet me in the Lieutenants tent. I need to meet with him before we set off for the day.” He tells him and, when Felix gives his acknowledgment, he’s gone, weaving in and out of people, supply boxes and a few trees littered around the clearing they’ve set up camp in.

 

Felix turns and makes his way to the line of people waiting around in a line for their share of food. He ends up sandwiched between two rough-looking alphas who eye him curiously. It’s quiet between them long enough that Felix feels himself relax, but then a deep voice rumbles behind him. “So, what’s your story, kid?” 

 

For a moment, Felix bristles before he catches the genuine curiosity in his tone. But he doesn’t want any unnecessary attention or nosy alphas poking around him. Sylvain’s scent has worked wonders for keeping them at bay like he’d planned, but he hadn’t quite accounted for the curiosity that would come from a mated omega amongst the troops with his alpha nowhere to be seen. 

 

Felix turns to level a hard look at the large man that seems to tower over him. “None of your business.” He snaps and watches the alpha’s eyebrows raise on his brow in surprise. 

 

“Sorry I asked.” He says while huffing out a laugh. “It’s just that none of us have gotten a chance to talk with you. There’s a bet going around that you’re the Captain’s kid, while the other half says you’re Lord Fraldarius’s son.” It’s obvious he’s fishing for answers and Felix isn’t quite sure how to answer.

 

People thinking him related to Cael is ridiculous as Felix sees no resemblance in their features. And Cael is infinitely better than Rodrigue in a lot of ways, but also Rodrigue - and Margrave - are really his only frame of reference for how parents are. But if half of the betting pool is correct in their assumptions of him being Rodrigue’s child they’re smarter than he’s been giving them credit for. 

 

“Which one are you betting on?” He asks, crossing his arms over his chest and, because the alpha has yet to show any negative reaction to his attitude, adds: “I’m curious to know which answer not to give you.”

 

The alpha looks at him in shock, and Felix hears the one before him in the line make a choking noise before he gives a hearty laugh. The large alpha Felix is facing gives an amused huff and a shake of his head. “Looks like I owe you 10 gold, Al. This is definitely the Captain’s kid.”

 

The alpha before Felix in line, Al, turns around with a bright grin. “Told ya. Only the Captain would be so crazy as t’ have an omega squire.” 

 

“He might be onto something,” The other alpha replies. “This kid is certainly more feisty than any other omega I’ve met before.”

 

They continue to talk over him but Felix finds he doesn’t mind as much since they don’t seem to be too bad. It seems they’re pretty open-minded about not giving him a hard time, which for his first true interact with others in the camp is better than he could have hoped for. Eventually, they shuffle forward in the line enough that the alpha before Felix gets his bowl for the morning and shuffles off.

 

Felix steps up and eyes the cook, who must have been shifted from one of the other stations towards the back of the camp as Felix doesn’t recognize him at all. “I need two bowls. The seconds for the Captain; He’s in a meeting.” 

 

The cook gives a snort and eyes him contemptuously. “Uh-huh,” He says, and grabs a bowl and fills it with gruel and shoves it into Felix’s hands. “One bowl for everyone. Those are the rules. Next!” He calls out, trying to get Felix to move out of the line.

 

But Felix stays where he’s at and glares at the cook. “It’s the Captain’s orders.” He snaps. “I’m his squire.” He should probably leave it at this. It wouldn't be the first time he's skipped breakfast as they can't always afford to always wait for everyone to finish eating to set off. 

 

He could just give this bowl to Cael and deal with any hunger pains but he doesn't think he could convincingly lie to Cael and just say he'd eaten before he got to the lieutenant's tent. Cael's too smart for that. 

 

"Don't think I can't tell you're an omega." The cook says with a glare. "You ain't no squire. Now move out of the way." He says dismissively but, again, Felix stays where he's at. And the cook is visibly angered by this.

 

"Hey," The alpha behind Felix cuts in before the cook can yell at him some more. There's an angry murmur coming up from the rest of the people in the line as none of them are happy to be waiting longer for food. "This is the Captain's kid." He says, putting a hand on Felix's shoulder. "If he says his dad asked for a bowl, are you really going to let the Captain go without food?"

 

Felix frowns and isn’t too sure if he should be allowing the rumor of him being Cael’s child to be circling around. But he also isn’t sure it wise to be confirmed to be Lord Rodrigue’s son. This may be his army but Felix can’t be too sure if someone might not try to get one over on his father using him. Certainly a lot of men here had been forced to enroll in the service or at least had to join in order to send their families part of their money earned.

 

At this the cook's face goes pale and he hastily shoves another gruel filled bowl at Felix. Felix has to fumble with the bowls a bit to properly get a good grasp and make sure that not the gruel doesn’t slosh out. “Sorry, kid. I didn’t know you were the Captain’s kid.”

 

Felix shuffles out of the line and gives a brief thanks to both the cook and the alpha before he leaves, carefully making sure to walk carefully with the bowls. It’d be terrible for him to trip up after being allowed to walk away with two bowls. He weaves in through people packing up supplies carts full of, well, supplies and people still tearing down tents. The only tent still up and not half taken down is the lieutenant's tent. 

 

Leon sits by the opening of the tent hastily shoveling his own bowl of gruel into his mouth. He spots Felix as he makes his way over and gives him a greeting through his mouthful. Felix grimace and he gives his own greeting before pushing his way into the tent. 

 

Inside Cael and his lieutenant are huddled together over a map talking quietly amongst themselves and gesturing to it. Cael looks up and gives a nod of acknowledgment before he turns back to consoling the map to decide their next move. Felix steps closer and sets one of the bowls next to his mentor and tries not to listen in too much to their discussions. 

 

Cael's lieutenant is a tall, lanky alpha by the name of Vi - or at least that's what Cael refers to him as. If he's got a longer name, Felix has never heard it. From what Felix can gather from him he's an avid magic user and he scents of ozone to match. Vi is a stoic contrast to Cael's more comparatively friendly demeanor. Which isn't saying much. It’s only because Felix knows Cael that he can see through his sternness. 

 

Together they make for a very intimidating presence each time they’re around each other. And Vi’s glance over at him makes him contemplate eating outside with Leon. Ceal catches that Vi’s attention has been drawn to Felix and he places a hand on the other alpha’s shoulder to pull his attention back. “Felix is fine to be in here. It’s not like he’ll blab about the plan or anything.”

 

Vi takes a moment to look down at the hand on his shoulder which Cael drops quickly, and he gives a sigh. “I was merely interested in knowing if Felix had any interest in strategy. I’m interested to know if Lord Fraldarius instilled some of his battle prowess into even his omega son.”

 

Felix gives a shrug and lifts the bowl up to take in a mouthful of gruel with a grimace. He’d never had gruel before starting on this journey and he’s still not a fan of the bland taste nor the chunky texture. But it’s food, so he can’t complain. He swallows the mouthful and gives Vi his answer. “Not really. Father is a traditionalist.” He says simply.

 

“Quite unfortunate,” Vi replies and turns back to the map in front of him and addresses Cael once more. “We’re close enough to Arianrhod, about another week before we have to cross the river. We should send a message to Arianrhod to secure the city for our arrival now.”

 

Felix watches as Cael shakes his head. “It’s still too soon, Vi. I’m not convinced there aren’t Western Church sympathizers in Arianrhod. If we have the city closed down too soon that just gives their spies more time to realize no one’s coming in or out of the city. Or that their contacts aren’t checking in.” Cael moves further down the map to tap just south of the river the army will have to cross. “We should only give them a day or two warning to shut down the city. After we’ve crossed the river.”

 

Vi frowns and studies the map with a look of concentration. “Astute as always.” He says with a shake of his head. “Very well, we’ll wait.”

 

Cael gives him a grin and goes back to pick up his bowl of gruel. “One of these days, you’ll finally learn that I’m never wrong.” He says and takes a big swig from the bowl and grimaces. "Ugh, I never get used to how gross this stuff is."

 

Vi begins rolling the map up and ignores Cael's previous comment. "I believe dinner should be much better tonight. Some of our hunters came back with a hefty stock of deer and rabbit."

 

Felix finishes his own bowl and sets it aside to help Vi pack up a few things. They work to get the large map back into its case and Felix moves over to pick up the bedroll that Vi has already rolled up. Felix tosses it outside to Leon, how takes it to one of the supply carts. Eventually, Cael presses his half-finished bowl into Vi’s hands for him to finish and takes over to help Felix out. Together, he and Cael tear down the tent and load it into the cart. 

 

Leon comes back with Tawny and Vi’s horse and hands the reins off. Cael gives him his thanks and hoists himself up onto his horse’s back. Vi gets up on his own and the two of them carefully walk their horses through to a better part of the camp.

 

“Soldiers!” Felix can hear Cael call out, his voice ringing through the clearing for everyone to hear, as he bends down to pick up the empty bowls and begins to walk them over to where the cook’s supplies are. “We depart in five minutes!”

 

There’s a murmur of agreement that rises through the crowd, and Felix soon makes it to the cook's station and drops the bowls off for another squire to quickly scrub clean. As Felix is turning back around, something catches the corner of his eye and he does a double-take.

 

He’d thought he’d seen a familiar face in the crowd, but as he’s inspecting the faces around him he can’t find who he’s looking for. He’d… thought he had seen Dimitri which sound ridiculous now that he stops to think about it. There’s no way that the prince of Faerghus would be amongst common soldiers. Felix was there the day Rufus had shot down Dimitri from coming along with the soldiers.

 

But, Felix knows himself well enough to know that he doesn’t see things. He’s always been able to count on his intuition and something in him tells him his friend is hiding amongst the crowd. It’s not like everyone has hair that particular light blond shade especially amongst Fraldarius soldiers who are generally all dark hair with only a few exceptions. But, if Dimitri is hiding amongst the troops how has he managed to stay out of Felix’s way enough for him to only now be noticing? And how exactly had he managed to sneak into the army with no one noticing or causing a fuss?

 

Then, Felix remembers the conversation from the two servants he’d eavesdropped on and what they’d briefly mentioned before he’d been sidetracked by news of Cael being deployed. The mention of someone around the manor not only stealing commoner clothes but also leaving behind money had puzzled Felix just as much as it had to servants. Who would do such a thing?

 

Perhaps someone wanting to disguise his status and sneak into the army? It certainly sounds like Dimitri to also leave behind money to pay for anything he took. 

 

Felix pivots and begins to walk in the direction he’d thought he’d seen his friend. He has to shuffle and move around a few other soldiers and by the time he gets to the spot he'd spied his friend that familiar blond head of hair is nowhere to be seen.

 

With a frown Felix scans the people around him again, trying to stand a little taller to see over all of the taller people. But once again he comes up empty and he heaves a sigh. Turning back around he makes his way over to Cael to finish preparation to begin the long trek for the day.

 

If, somehow, Dimitri is here amongst the soldiers Felix is sure he'll show up eventually. Or at least when they get to Arianrhod Felix can try and search him out.

 

---------

 

The army enters the northern gates of Arianrhod two weeks later. They enter in with little fanfare and a lot of curious glances from the locals. There was no way for them to have entered the city completely unnoticed with upwards of eight hundred soldiers. But before they’d approached, the gates had been sealed closed and only after Vi shouted up to the guards did someone come down to talk to them.

 

Obviously, even with this being the Fortress City the barracks can’t station all of them plus local soldiers and they’re moving some locals out of their homes to make room for Fraldarius soldiers. This news doesn’t sit well with Cael, but his men need a good nights rest in a warm bed so he concedes to this for now. But Felix won’t be surprised if these arrangements have changed by the end of the week. 

 

They march through the city and to the southern barracks since they’ll be utilizing the southern gate the most. Cael had wanted to close down the city to ensure that the Western Church wouldn’t catch word of their occupation and move their attention away from Magdred. Hopefully, they’ll have a few more days before anyone in the Western Church gets word of them being here.

 

Soon, Felix is being shown the room he’ll be staying in, specifically placed near Cael’s quarters as per Rodrigue’s stipulations for allowing his son to leave. Thankfully, Cael hasn’t done much to enforce any of his father’s instead choosing to let Felix have his freedom. Or as much of it as he can in the army. Felix does however have to share the room with at least three other people which will take some getting used to. He’d slept next to Leon all through his travels sure but he’d been so exhausted by the time he’d gotten their tent up that he’d passed out fairly quickly. He won’t be very busy during their time in Arianrhod so he has no idea how well he’ll sleep when his days aren’t so frantic.

 

So far, he’s the only one in here so he figures the beds are first come first serve and grabs the bed closest to the window and lays his bedroll on it. Cael had told him to take the rest of the day off but he isn’t too sure if he’d rather sleep or explore the city a little. He’s never been outside of the upper north half of Faerghus, always sequestered to Fraldarius, Gautier, Blaiddyd, and Fhirdiad respectively. They hadn’t had a chance to stop in Gideon’s main city, as they were able to restock in the smaller towns along the way.

 

Felix glances outside the window and watches as people mill about offloading carts and preparing the place for their extended stay. He isn’t too sure how long they’re staying in the city but he expects a few weeks at least. 

 

Noise in the hallways distracts him and he turns around just in time to see three other omegas walk into the room. They’re some of the ones who had been there the whole trips and they pause in their conversation and stare at him in surprise. It seems these are his new roommates, which makes sense. Keeps him away from alphas he might pick a fight with and it was probably someone’s bright idea that all omegas get along. 

 

They’re still dressed in their usual flowy outfits that drape flatteringly and, honestly, he’s not entirely sure where to look; too much bare skin and too many curious eyes. So he settles for turning back to the window and staring back out instead. It’s quiet for a bit before he hears them shuffling around most likely picking their own beds. They talk in hushed whispers between them along with a few giggles now and then.

 

He hears shuffling closer to him and when he glances over he catches the eyes of one of the female omegas. She gives him a bright smile and leans a little closer to him. She smells of fresh apples, a scent he finds he kind of likes. It had been a little hard in the camp being around so many different scents but he’d gotten used to it soon enough. 

 

"Hi, I'm Mara." She greets, her smile bright and genuine. She has bright red hair that reminds him of Sylvain's. He'll have to send a letter out soon.  "You're Felix right?"

 

He nods his head in response, not sure what else to say. 

 

"We were thinking about going to the heat house if you'd like to join us?" She offers to Felix's confusion.

 

He knows his next heat is coming up soon; within two weeks or so. And none of the rest of them seem to be overly flustered. Felix isn't sure why they'd be heading to the heat house. Is that a fun thing omegas do together? Just… hang out at the heat houses?

 

At his confused look another omega comes over, this one a male omega which Felix had been surprised over the first time he'd seen him amongst the troops. "You know to update them to our heat schedule? You can't expect a huge city like this to always have a room available!"

 

Felix colors, feeling his face heat up. It hadn't occurred to him that he'd even need to do that, but it makes a lot of sense now that it's been brought to his attention.

 

"I know that," Felix snaps trying to save face and at their surprised look he looks away and clears his throat. "I'll join you."

 

The omegas share a glance between themselves, perhaps wondering if it would be too rude to take back their offer. But after a few seconds, Mara turns back to him with a smile. “Well if you’re all finished here, let’s go.”

 

---------

 

The trip to the heat house is fairly uneventful. Felix trails behind the omegas who chatter between each other and every once in awhile try to drag Felix into the conversation. But he has no idea how to answer questions about the cutest soldier he’d seen. He gives them a useless shrug and says: “I’m bonded.” hoping that will get them to change the subject.

 

Unfortunately, he’s got no such luck as the other female omega gives him a perplexed look. “Sure, but you can still look. Even if you’re bonded to the strictest alpha around you can still admire from afar.” She says, finishing off with a soft giggle.

 

“Oh, hush.” The male omega pipes in, gently knocking his shoulder against his friends. “I think it’s cute that he’s so loyal to his alpha. Though that does beg the question as to why you’re here. I haven’t come across any alpha with that exact cedar scent in the camp.”

 

Felix can’t help but wince at all of the words being said to him. For one, he’s hardly loyal even if he isn’t out trying to bed other alphas. But he’d almost forgotten to tell Sylvain he was going on a trip and to not expect a message from him for a few months. He still feels guilty even though he had eventually remembered last minute. And, second, at the subtle reminder of the job the other omegas had around the camp. Also at the thought of how Sylvain probably would have taken the female omegas to his tent for the night if he’d come along. 

 

He tries not to judge their chosen profession - he’d most likely be in a similar situation had he not been born into nobility - but they seem to get some enjoyment out of it that he doesn’t quite understand. 

 

“I’m a squire under the Captain. I’d rather be fighting than lying on my back all day.” He says, voice sounding harsher than he means it to and Mara sends him a displeased glare.

 

But the other female omega gives him a shrug. “It’s not so bad. It gets us money or in our case of joining the camp; free food and the ability to travel. I certainly wouldn’t be here now if I had an alpha and some kids running around.” 

 

Mara relaxes at her friends words and nods. “We might not get to fight or serves in the way that you will, but we do our own part to let the soldiers have their fun and not be so stressed all the time.”

 

The conversation dwindles back to the other omegas talking and soon they make it to the heat house. The building isn’t much different even though the architecture doesn’t match the style of Fraldarius. It’s still a building closed off from the city with high walls and an imposing gate, very much closed off from the rest of the city. Two beta guards are stationed outside and they let the other omegas pass but stop Felix before he can go through, moving their spears to block his path.

 

“Where’s your alpha, omega?” One of them asks, eyeing him cautiously. “Spend your heat with them.”

 

Felix frowns, not expecting to be questioned like this. He crosses his arms over his chest and glares at the guard. “He’s not here, beta.” He snaps. “I’ll be spending my heats here. Alone.” He adds for good measure. 

 

The beta still eyes him, but lifts his spear out of the way and the other follows his lead. “Be sure to request a private suite for you heats. No reason for you to be making it harder on the omegas in there.”

 

Felix walks through and catches up with the others who had paused to wait for him. He didn’t even know this place had anything other than private rooms but, even though the guard was a bit rude, it’s good information to know. He can’t imagine not being alone in a room during his heat. It’s bad enough that he has to be watched over by the staff members. 

 

They all enter into the building and Felix notes the differences in the main entryway. It feels more closed off than the one he’d been to and instead of a lot of rooms spanning the length of the walls. Here they’re immediately in one smaller room with only a desk and a singular door leading to the rest of the building. 

 

None of the others seem to find this strange and they shift over to the desk where another beta snoozes in a chair behind it. Mara moves closer and gently knocks on the table and the beta startles, jerking upright from their slumped over position and blinks up at them blearily before they sit up straighter and open the ledger before them.

 

“How can I help you.” They ask like they hadn’t just been caught asleep on the job.

 

The other omegas get with the beta to input their heat schedules, dates that seem to be fairly close together during the Red Wolf Moon. Omegas have their heats at least six Moons out from their last one. Felix’s had been on his birthday during the Pegasus Moon so his next one should be… 

 

Felix freezes and blushes when the others turn to look at him as his scent spikes and spreads around the room. He coughs and tries to calm down and soon his scent settles down. “Sorry,” He mumbles.

 

“Don’t do that again. Unless you want to be swarmed by omegas. We’ll be sure to give you a private room for you stay here.” The beta says. “Now, when’s your next heat?”

 

Felix shifts slightly and sighs. “It’s…” By his count, he should be in the throes of it right now, or it’s going to be happening very soon. But he has no frame of reference to know how much later it will be or not. “It should be fairly soon. My last was on the twentieth day of the Pegasus Moon.” 

 

His new omega roommates blink at him in surprise as the beta flips through the ledger to count the Moons before they blink at him too. Each of them seem to have also caught on that he should be midway through a heat. 

 

“Are you feeling any symptoms?” the beta asks and Felix shakes his head in reply. He should be good this time around recognizing how he’s feeling before it hits him fully. “Well if you can put a downpayment on your room we can keep it free for another two weeks.”

 

“That… Okay, that’s fine.” Felix answers and digs into his pocket to pull out the money his father had sent along with him. He hasn’t had to really use any of it so this is a better investment than anything else he can think of. 

 

“Okay, just give me your name and you’re all set.” The beta says has they write down the information and take the requested amount of money from him.

 

“Felix.” He gives and watches the beta write it down.

 

“Surname?” They ask, glancing back up at him and Felix pauses. 

 

There isn’t really a reason for him not to give Fraldarius. He’s no longer in the camp but if everyone already thinks he’s Cael’s child he might as well keep up with the farce. 

 

“Felix Paradis.” He says and for a few seconds he almost wishes it were true. 




Chapter Text

Another week passes by pretty quickly.

 

Felix has been helping around where he can. Helping the soldiers setting into the barracks, unloading carts and delivering supplies when needed. He’d informed Cael of his impending heat and let him know that at some point soon, Felix would be out for as long as a full week. To which Cael had told him to take it easy and make sure to pay close attention to any early signs of his heat. He’d also, frustratingly, given Felix easier tasks to work on rather than anything strenuous or time-consuming. His logic being that Felix could abandon these tasks to head to the heat house before it was too late if he needed too.

 

And Felix can’t exactly fault him for that logic. 

 

So Felix has just finished delivering some supplies to some of the blacksmiths when he rounds the corner and spots his friend walking in his direction. Dimitri spots him at the same time and pauses in his stride, his eyes widening in panic when he realizes he’s come face to face with Felix. He looks around to see if there’s any chance of an escape, but Felix stalks towards him and grabs onto the front of his shirt and tugs him along as he keeps walking. Dimitri follows after easily, not bothering to try and pull out of his grasp which Felix is grateful for. Soon enough, Felix happens upon an empty room and shoves him into it.

 

Felix closes the door behind them and stares up at his friend. Dimitri looks exhausted, dark bags under his eyes, greasy hair that's in need of a trim and a slump to his shoulders. Traveling hasn't done him any good and, even though all of the soldiers have had several good nights rests since they got here, Dimitri seems like he still hasn't been sleeping.

 

"What are you doing here?" Felix questions, grabbing his friend once more and forcing him into the nearest chair. Dimitri sags into it and sighs, tilting his head away from Felix and stays silent. Felix frowns and crosses his arms over his chest and knocks his foot against Dimitri’s. “You shouldn’t have stolen things from my people.”

 

Dimitri jerks and looks up at him in surprise. “Wha- how did you find out?!”

 

“I didn’t know it was you when I first heard about it. But when I saw you in the camp a few weeks ago I put the information together.” Felix explains, glaring at his alpha friend. “I’m not an idiot.”

 

The alpha slumps again and shakes his head. “Of course you aren’t.” He says with conviction. “I just… thought I’d be on the battlefield before you knew I was here.”

 

As much as Felix wants to protest and tell his prince friend that he can’t fight, he isn’t in a habit of being hypocritical. He understands Rufus’s hesitation and outright refusal of Dimitri going but he was also ready to leave by any means necessary had his father not finally relented. So he gets why Dimitri is out here; to an extent.

 

“Why are you here and not in Duscur?” He asks because while the occupation of the territory seems to be dwindling and Gautier will probably pull out any day now - if they haven’t already - but why would Dimitri waste so many months traveling when there’s still a fairly active war zone closer to home? And one he’s already been allowed to go to according to Sylvain. 

 

“Duscur was a distraction,” Dimitri says rising his blue eyes to stare at Felix intently. The angry scent of sandalwood bleeds into the air and Felix resists the urge to cover his nose from the bitter smell underneath Dimitri’s normal scent. “Merely a scapegoat for those with more nefarious intentions. I will have my revenge on any who had a hand in my parent’s death.”

 

Felix frowns. “The Church of Seiros already took care of that. It was some Kingdom noble's who arranged everything.”

 

Dimitri shakes his head and stands up to pace around the small room. "The Church might have been satisfied with that answer but it's too simple, there was more to the attack I know that." Suddenly Dimitri swings around to face Felix and stalks towards him. "My uncle told me our spies have evidence of the orders coming from the Western Church."

 

The Western Church has always been on good terms with the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus. Their only major conflict has always been with the Church of Seiros as they see the Archbishop as a radical heretic, a view not shared by the Holy Kingdom itself. But under King Lambert, the Western Church had been fairly peaceful and prosperous and it seems counterproductive to Felix for them to issue out orders to kill the King. And Felix also can’t see a reason as to why Rufus to have given Dimitri false information. 

 

“That’s… quite the accusation.” He settles on saying. Not that there’s too much he can say to something like that. 

 

Dimitri scowls at him, his blue eyes trailing over Felix’s features before they narrow and he scoffs. “You don’t believe me.” He states than carries on before Felix can say anything else. “I don’t care if you believe or not. But I need to be here, Felix. Please don’t tell anyone, okay?”

 

“Alright. Just don’t get yourself killed on the battlefield.” Felix tells him. “Also, go to sleep you look like shit.”

 

Dimitri relaxes, shoulders visibly dropping at Felix's agreement to not say anything. "Thank you. I- it was a harder trek here than I thought it would be." He says then lets out a long breath. "I was about to go get some rest before you dragged me in here. "

 

Felix shrugs because while he might have a point, there was no way for Felix to know what Dimitri had been up to. "We needed to talk. Now get out of here." 

 

Dimitri nods and moves around Felix to get to the door behind him. He pauses with his hand on the knob and turns back to Felix.  "I started calling myself Alexandre here to cover my identity. Just letting you know if it ever comes up."

 

Felix nods. He isn't entirely sure if he'll be having much interaction with Dimitri here or on the battlefield but it is good to establish this information before Felix accidentally says the wrong this. "Get out of here."

 

Dimitri gives a sharp nod and exits out of the room. 

 

Felix heaves a sigh and gives a shake of his head. He doesn’t fault his friend for wanting to join in this fight, Felix is a lot of things but he isn’t a hypocrite. But there are a number of ways that having a secret Prince of the battlefield will complicate all of which culminate into the repercussions of him getting hurt or even killed.

 

Not that Dimitri can’t handle himself, Felix knows for certain that he can, but if this strange darker side of Dimitri that Felix has been seeing lately comes out it will make him sloppy. Sloppy enough to make simple mistakes and it can all go south very quickly. 

 

But he doesn’t really have time to worry about his friend, especially when they’re still in Arianrhod and nowhere near a battle. They still have a few weeks stationed here before anything truly happens and then Felix can worry about his friend. 

 

Felix straightens up and makes his way out of the room he’d drug Dimitri into. No one is in the hallway which Felix finds himself grateful for; there’s no telling the amount of rumors that would swirl around if anyone saw him drag an unknown alpha into a room alone. Felix had no idea that armies would be ripe with a gossip mill but he shouldn’t have been surprised since everyone always seems to love to talk.

 

Making his way down the hall and back to where he had been to pick up boxes doesn’t take too long. And when the beta issuing boxes out to everyone sees him, she gives him a questioning look and a raised eyebrow that Felix takes as a: ‘Where have you been?’.

 

He offers her a shrug. “I got turned.” He lies, but she only gives a shake of her head and hands over another box into his arms. He staggers a bit under the unexpected weight and shifts it slightly to get a better grip on the box.

 

“This goes to the blacksmiths. Can I trust you not to get turned around again?” She snaps, not waiting for him to answer before she turns around to hand someone else their next box.

 

Felix can’t help but roll his eyes, but she’s slightly justified in her annoyance so he leaves it alone and takes off with the box. The blacksmiths are located fairly close to the barracks but he’s slowed down a little by the weight of the box so it takes him perhaps longer than it should have to get there. The heavy smell of smoke and the sound of clanging metal reaches him before he even sees the line of alphas working the forges. They’d brought weapons and armor along with them, but an army always needs more than they have. So with the extra resources also brought along the local blacksmiths are kept very busy. Felix also imagines, with some of the supplies he’s seen, that they’ll be working on some specialty weapons not commonly available as well.

 

Felix finally reaches the stalls and winces at the intense heat that seems to blast him as soon as he gets closer. How the alphas are able to stand it is beyond him as the day is already fairly warm and Felix had been sweating long before he’d gotten here. But with this kind of heat, he can feel sweat beginning to bead up along his face and his arms and his nose gets clogged with the smell of smoke making it impossible to smell much else.

 

Seeing an already building pile of boxes next to one of the stalls, Felix steps over to it. He rises up on the tips of his toes to be tall enough to get the box in his hands up and over to rest it on another box. Having the box out of his arms feels nice and he flexes his fingers to get the sore feeling out of them. He wants to pause and take a look around the various weapons, but he doesn’t have too much longer before he has to make his way back.

 

He turns around and sees some of the alphas eyeing him. With the smoke in the air, it’s impossible to tell by scent what his status is but he’s unfortunately cursed with a slender form that suggests it regardless. Also, unfortunately, none of them will be able to tell he’s already mated either.

 

He quickly looks away and takes big striding steps to get out of the area before anything can happen. On the way, the clanging of metal starts back up again and Felix breathes a sigh of relief but still keeps his pace fast enough to get out of there. 

 

Felix continues the rest of the day like this; delivering packages or sometimes messages around the barracks. It’s exhausting, running around so much but he gets a break for lunch and then again at dinner. After the sun sets Felix helps start up the bonfire around for the people who are talking the night shift and heads off to his room. 

 

He'll be glad to finally rest up in his bed, he just hopes the other omegas in his room are either already asleep or will keep quiet. Felix doesn’t have an issue with any of them, but sometimes they like to stay up late and either gossip between them or curl up together and whisper softly amongst themselves. Felix isn’t sure about the relationship between the three of them. He thinks they’re friends but he’s certainly never curled up with Ingrid like they do with each other. 

 

Though the same can’t be said about him and Sylvain… but even then after the age of ten Felix had stopped clinging his older friend, past sharing a bed after an acceptable age. But even then they would stay on separate sides of the bed and sleep.

 

Felix is only annoyed by his roommates on the grounds that even with the easy tasks he’s been given he’s still so tired when he finally comes back to the room. He isn’t entirely sure what the other three do throughout the day, but there are times they come back late as well smelling faintly of an alpha or beta so he figures they’re still keeping up with their work.

 

He makes it to his room uninterrupted and pushes open the door only to be immediately hit by the scent of a distressed omega and the faint sound of crying. Felix steps further into the room and sees the male omega being comforted by the other female with Mara nowhere to be seen. He’d finally learned the two of their names but it had taken a few days. Noah and Piper, respectively. 

 

They’ve pushed two of the small beds together to fit comfortably next to each other, and though Noah has his head buried in Piper’s neck Felix can make out fresh bruises standing stark against the pale skin of his neck and wrists. 

 

Piper eyes Felix warily but keeps up a steady stream of soothing soft words and pulls Noah closer to her, petting through his hair gently. Felix hasn’t made the best impression with the three of them. He isn’t soft or gentle, nor does he know basic omega things like braiding hair or the meaning behind flowers. But despite not understanding them, he certainly doesn’t hate them or ever wish what he suspects to have happened to Noah. 

 

Noah gives a sniff and tenses, pulling his head out of Piper’s neck to turn to Felix. He gives another sniff and tries to collect himself but the tears keep pouring down his face. “O-oh, Felix.” His voice is thick and watery. “I-I’m sorry. W-we can leave...”

 

Felix gives a shake of his head. “Who did this?” He asks instead, trying to keep a hold of his emotions before the room starts to stink with his pseudo alpha scent. If anything, Felix is the one who should be leaving the room to give them a chance to relax. And he just might as soon as Noah gives him a name or a description. 

 

Noah’s breath hitches and he gives a frantic shake of his head. “I-I didn’t see.” He rubs under his eyes again but slowly seems to be relaxing. “T-they just roughed me up a bit. Nothing… nothing else happened.” 

 

The words sound truthful but, even if what Felix had feared hadn’t happened, it still doesn’t make what happened to Noah any less wrong. “You don’t remember anything else?” He asks, trying to at least get something to go off of the distraught omega.

 

“Um…” Noah trails off and gives a shudder as he tries to recall details.

 

“You don’t have to tell us if you’re not ready.” Piper cuts in, reaching out to wind her fingers in with Noah’s. She shoots Felix another wary glance, her eyes pleading for him to drop it for Noah’s sake.

 

“The sooner you can tell me something, the faster we can make sure this doesn’t happen.” Felix states, seeing Piper wince and her eyes drop in disappointment. She presses her shoulder against her friends and gives a soft little sniff of her own. “This could happen to you again, or to someone else.”

 

Noah shakes and hangs his head. “Th-they said… something about me needing to repent to the g-goddess. I-I had been trying to find another client for the night and I thought they’d be interested.” He finally gets out, starting to sob again. 

 

Felix frowns. “I thought you didn’t get a good look at the person?” 

 

“They had on a m-mask. Like what the d-doctors used to wear d-during the plague.” Noah takes in a shuddering breath and gives a frantic shake of his head as the distressed omega scent comes back.  “I-I don’t want to talk about this anymore.” He whimpers, curling up tighter with his friend. 

 

“It’s okay,” Piper cuts in before Felix can, running her fingers through Noah's hair. "Felix isn't going to ask you any more questions, okay?" She shoots Felix a glare, daring him to say anything more. 

 

But Felix feels he has at least enough information for now. It might just be a mask, but the long bird-like doctor's masks can't be too common since the plague has long since been cured. And it should be enough to go off of.

 

Felix gives Piper a nod and leaves the room quickly, closing the door behind him. He takes a few steps forward and knocks on Cael's door harsher than he means too. It's quiet in the hallway, and Felix isn't entirely sure that Cael has retired for the night. And after a few seconds, and another knock with no answer, Felix goes looking for him. 

 

If there’s someone going around attacking people than the Captain needs to know about it. It’s too soon to tell if something like this will happen to another omega but Felix knows that he doesn’t want anyone else being hurt. Noah certainly didn’t deserve something like this to happen to him. 

 

He manages to run into a tired-looking Cael, who seems like he might have been on the way back to his room. Felix beelines for him and calls out to him. “Cael!” 

 

Cael pauses and gives a yawn as he looks over at him. “Hey, Felix.” He greets before he takes in the serious look on his squire’s face. “What happened?” 

 

“Noah was attacked.” He starts off and watches as Cael’s eyes widen in surprise. “I couldn’t get much out of him but he said it was someone in an old plague doctor’s mask.” 

 

Cael takes in a deep breath and runs a hand over his face. “Well… shit.” He breathes out a long breath. “Is he okay? How hurt is he?”

 

“Some bruises and probably traumatized.” Felix bites his lips and Noah’s crying face swims in his mind. “Can you order them not to go back to work until this person’s been found?” Surely, the other omegas can find something other than sex work to help the soldiers out with? Felix delivers messages most days, certainly, they could be helpful in that area. 

 

“Unfortunately, the sex workers run their own work schedules. They’re hardly army issued, Felix.” Cael crosses his arms over his chest and ponders for a moment. “I’ll warn the night watch to be on the lookout and I’ll talk with Noah about what happened. Did he say anything else.”

 

“He said whoever did it said something about him or omegas needing to repent to the goddess. Or something like that.” Felix says and gives a shake of his head. “Leave him alone tonight, please?”

 

Cael frowns at the first part of Felix’s words. “That sounds similar to what the Western Church preaches… They have high purity standards for omegas that make the Church of Seiros seem liberal in comparison. I guessed they had some people here in the city but never thought they’d try to attack one of our own.” He heaves another sigh and looks over Felix. “Alright, I’ll give Noah the night to rest up and calm down. Go get some sleep yourself, kid.”

 

As soon as Cael says these words, Felix can feel his exhaustion creeping back in and he gives a weak nod. He’d been so on edge from Noah’s distressed scent and the need to tell Cael that he’d forgotten he’d been coming to their room to sleep. But now, he should have been gone long enough that Piper should have Noah calmed down. 

 

“You go ahead back to your room and I’ll tell the guards.” Cael tells him, patting him on the shoulder and he turns away. “Good night, Felix.”

 

“Night, Cael.” He answers, and heads back to his room. 

 

The walk doesn’t take too long and when he opens the door to their room again, the candle is burning low and the room is quiet. He gently shuts the door behind him and creeps further in. It seems Mara had returned at some point and now three beds are pushed together for the omegas to curl up. They’re fast asleep, with Piper and Mara on either side of Noah with the male omega wrapped in their arms. Felix is glad that they’re able to comfort their friend. 

 

He makes his way over to his own bed and quietly takes off his shoes and undoes the band of leather from his hair. He’d dress down a bit more but he doesn’t want to risk any more noise in case it wakes any of the other omegas. He’s gotten fairly used to sleeping in his over clothes by now anyway. He runs his fingers through his dark strands to smooth his hair out and lays down curling up under the thin blanket. And before he knows it, he’s asleep. 

 

---------

 

Felix wakes early the next morning with a slight twinge of pain coming from his lower abdomen. It isn’t full on pain so he wasn’t caught unawares of his heat starting again. He feels like he’s only been asleep for a few minutes, but the burned out candles and the faint light coming from the window tell him otherwise. 

 

Normally it’s pretty cold in the mornings, and to an extent it still is, but slowly Felix can start to feel his temperature rising and he knows he needs to get moving. He sits up slowly, letting the thin blanket fall off of his chest and runs a hand over his face. The other omegas in the room are still asleep, curled up and overpowering the room with their combined contentment. Together they make the room smell a little like the apple pies Loreia used to make when he was younger. 

 

Quietly he slips out of his bed and digs around in his bag for a piece of parchment and a stick of charcoal. Cael had previously told him to just head to the heat house whenever he needed without telling anyone, but Felix doesn’t feel that that would be a good idea after what happened with Noah last night. He doesn’t want Cael to worry or think he’s gone and done something rash. 

 

He finds a small scrap of parchment wedged and crumbled up at the bottom of his bag and a broken stick of charcoal. Both of which are still usable, but Felix does have to quietly try to smooth out the paper as much as he can. He uses the floor to write against and scribbles a hasty note about what’s happened and where he’ll be. 

 

Felix grabs up the bag that he’d prepared in advance with a change of clothes for once his heat is finally over and quietly slips back on his shoes and ties his hair up then makes his way through the room. Mara shifts a little and Felix freezes, but soon she settles and he’s able to make his way out of the room. He pauses at Cael’s door and slips the piece of parchment under the small gap in the floor. 

 

Felix makes his way through the quiet barracks. Only a few guards patrol the area, courtesy of Cael upping the guard rotation as usually they’re only stationed in the courtyard and along the ramparts. A few give him polite nods of greeting as he passes; those he vaguely recognizes but can’t currently recall their names. He gives a nod in return and they let him pass without any questions which he is immensely grateful for.

 

His cramps are steadily getting worse and he doesn’t think he would have had it in him to stop for polite conversation. It’s only a matter of time before his body starts throwing off pheromones and producing copious amounts of slick. He at least won’t be sending off any signal for alphas to come to him, but the faster he can get to the heat house the better. 

 

So he picks up the pace, taking long strides out of the barracks and into the main city streets. He’s walked this route a few times already, to ensure that he’d know exactly where to go and not have to worry about getting turned around so after a few turns he makes it to the heat house in record time. There’s another set of betas guarding the gates, but they move out of his way this time instead of stopping him. He must look as bad as he feels, which makes him jog his way across the short distance from the gate to the front entrance. 

 

He pushes the door open and sees a young omega behind the desk look up from the book in her hands. She gives him a polite sympathetic smile and slips a small ribbon to hold her place in the book as she closes it and opens the ledger before her. “Name, please?” She asks, getting right to business.

 

“Felix…” He gives, then remembers that a last name had been required last time. “Paradis. I put a downpayment on one of the rooms last week.” He offers as she flips through the pages looking for his name. 

 

“Okay, here it is.” She mutters, running a finger over the line with his name on it and giving a short nod. “Alright, I’ll take you to your room.” She stands up and moves out from behind the desk and motions for him to follow. 

 

She leads him through the door that heads further into the building and into a wide area before she turns sharply to head up a flight of stairs. Felix can’t help but glance around curiously, his eyes wandering the large expanse of open space filled with different nest areas where multiple omegas lie, seemingly spending their heats together if the soft moans and cries of pleasure are anything to go by. 

 

Felix flushes and quickly rushes up the stairs to catch up with his guide. Thankfully, she wasn’t too far ahead and he’s also grateful that he’d purchased his own room, or at least he hopes it’s private. “Uh…” He starts off elegantly and clears his throat and tries to wipe away what he’d seen from his mind. “I’ve got a completely private room, right?”

 

Already this place is drastically different from the one experience that Felix has had and he feels thrown off. He’d thought he knew what to expect but it seems Arianrhod is more open to these kinds of things.

 

“Of course.” His guide offers, turning slightly to give him a soft smile. “We always try to separate those either too young or mated from the main room when we can. Or anyone not comfortable spending it with fellow omegas.”

 

“I’ve only been to one heat house before this one… in Fraldarius.” Felix admits partially. He doubts he needs to bring up something as embarrassing as this only being his second heat all together. “Is it common down here for omegas to… share their heats together?”

 

She turns to a door and pulls out a set of keys from her pocket and eyes him curiously. “Isn’t it the same as up North? I haven’t heard of any heat houses not letting omegas spend their heats together. Well, except maybe the heat houses nobles use? But they have strange views on a lot of things.” She gives a short chuckle and searches for the key to open the door before her. “I mean, it’s just with other omegas it’s not like it counts or anything. It helps scratch an itch, but it’s not what we really need, you know?”

 

He doesn’t, not really, but he knows what she means so he nods anyway, watching as she finds the right key and puts it into the lock of the door. She shoulders the door open and ushers him inside the dark room. This at least is familiar territory with the large nest built up into one of the corners and a bathroom attachment.

 

“So, how far along are you?” His guide asks, producing a small flame with her hand that she uses to light the nearby candle. She sees his surprised look and shoots him a wink. “It’s not much, but it sure is handy.” She wiggles her fingers and the flames dance around her fingers in intricate patterns. 

 

Reason magic is notoriously hard to comprehend, it’s advanced formulas and equations beyond the realm of what is thought most commoners can understand. Felix has seen some of his own father’s Reason books and it had been like looking at a strange foreign language; utterly incomprehensible to him so he doubts it’s merely a class issue. So, he’s sufficiently impressed that she’s even able to do this much.

 

She summons the magic away and gives him a curious look again. “So?” She asks. “How far into your heat are you? It’s always hard for me to smell with mated omegas.”

 

He flushes, having forgotten she’d even asked in a question in the first place and busies himself with setting his bag down. “Not too far in, just cramps right now.” He answers, straightening back up and folds his arms over his chest now that he’s got nothing else to do with his hands.

 

“Okay,” She says with a nod. “Have you ever gone through a heat without your alpha before?” She asks, her voice becoming more serious. “I don’t need to know the whole situation but most omegas will obviously spend their heats with their alpha rather than choosing to come to the heat house.”

 

Sure, Felix figures, in normal cases that would be the case. But Felix is trapped in a forced bond with many territories worth of distance between him and his alpha and there’s no way they’re consummating the bond ever. He’ll have to become used to seeing the inside of any heat house he comes across in his travels. “No… I haven’t.”

 

Her eyes find his and she gives him another sympathetic smile. “It can get pretty bad, so just… be prepared, okay?” He frowns at her words and tries to scent the air as subtly as he can. He only smells her overly sweet pomegranate scent. She must see a lot of mated omegas come through here than. “It’s different for everyone, but I or another staff member will be checking up on you periodically. If you would like a heat partner now’s the time to say it before you get in too deep.”

 

Felix grimaces and shakes his head. It’s bad enough that the staff will be coming in but he can’t imagine him actually sharing his heat even with another omega. He’s strong, he can definitely get through this next week or however long this heat will last him. “No, I’m good.”

 

She gives him a nod and another pleasant smile. “Alright, I’ll leave you to it. We’ll have to lock you in so that none of the other omegas try to get to you since you’ll be putting off alpha scents that they’ll be attracted too if any of them are up wandering around. You most likely won’t have to deal with that but we can’t say it hasn’t happened before.”

 

That doesn’t sound as comforting as she means it too, but Felix supposes he is glad enough for the warning. He gives her a nod and she moves out of the room, closing the door behind her and after a few seconds, Felix hears the lock of the door click back into place. He heaves a sign and gives a glance at the nest and decides the best course of action would probably be for him to undress.

 

It doesn’t take him long to shed out of his jerkin, tunic, boots, and pants. He carefully folds them up and places them next to his bag before he takes a deep breath and slides off his undergarments, leaving him bare and exposed in the room. He wouldn’t have done this so early had the door not been locked and he feels a little emboldened knowing that he can hear if someone is about to come into his room or not. Or at least he can while he’s still lucid, anyway.

 

Felix reaches up and lets his hair down out of its tie. If he keeps it up it’ll only become more of a ratted mess than if he just lets it down and makes sure to give it a proper washing afterwards.  It’s the first time in a very long time since he's been fully nude. Washing for him most days now tends to be with a small bucket of water and a cloth with his shirt off and not much time or privacy for anywhere else. 

 

So while he has the chance, he’s definitely going to take the chance to have a bath while he can, plus the hot water should feel good before his heat fully sets in. He grabs one of the candles and pads over to the adjacent bathroom. He sees a decent sized tub as well as a nearby sink and with a small mirror attached above.

 

Felix sets down the candle on the sink and makes the mistake of glancing up into the mirror. He’s pale from the pain in his lower half and a lot skinnier than he was when he left Fraldarius territory. A month and a half on the road with little food hasn’t done him any favors, though that’s hardly a surprise. Everyone in the camps hadn’t gotten nearly the amount of food a human should have to put on any weight, only enough to keep up a steady marching pace.

 

Even the other omegas had lost a lot of weight but he’s seen enough exposed skin on them to see that you can’t quite make out a shadow of their ribs like he’s starting to see. It isn’t bad, but he’ll certainly have to ensure he gets more food after his heat and before the lack of food starts affecting his fighting ability. He hadn’t had much weight to lose in the first place though he hadn’t realized how much different his body was from other male omegas until meeting Noah. 

 

He’d always been told that he needed to fatten up to gain more weight around his hips, but he’d assumed that he was being compared to female omegas and hadn’t thought much else about it. But Noah had almost a similar curvy figure as some of the female omegas, not completely but he has a narrow waist the nice shapely hips that Felix doesn’t have. 

 

Felix heaves a sigh and shakes his head making his hair tousle slightly, softly curing his heat for bringing up useless thoughts. He’s never cared before if he’s seen as a good or perfect omega and he has no reason to be thinking any of this now. He can’t change his genetics and he normally sees no need to even be thinking like this. He has no practical need for his body to be that of a stereotypical omega and it’s not like he’ll probably ever spend his heat with anyone in his lifetime. 

 

He’ll just have to endure how mortifying all of this is and hopes he can get lost in his heat enough not to remember any of this like last time.

 

He moves over to the tub and turns one of the nozzles, testing the water to make sure it comes out warm. He’s glad to see an automatic water system in what seems like an older building. He doesn’t think he could have stood to wash out of another bucket again. Putting the stopper on the drain, he watches as the tub fills up wincing every now and then with any particularly painful cramp. His body is slowly starting to heat up, so he adds in some cold water until the bath is mostly a lukewarm pool of water. 

 

He shuts the water off and carefully lowers himself into the water, leaning his back against the porcelain tub and exhaling a long breath. Felix has always liked baths, likes the way that he can relax and take a moment to breathe. When he was younger he used to like sinking down low enough that his nose was just barely above the water and watch his long inky strands float in the water. He was never really one to play in the water, even as a small child and even when, on very rare occasions, he’d had to share a bath with Ingrid. She'd be in constant motion when they were small enough to both fit in a bath this size, knocking into him often or accidentally throwing a toy at him that would send him into a crying fit.

 

Felix grimaces at the memory. He'd been such an embarrassing little crybaby that it's a wonder anyone had remained his friend for as long as the other three have. Perhaps most surprising had been Sylvain sticking around a constantly sobbing child two years younger than him. How he'd managed to put up with that for so many years is beyond Felix as he himself never would have had the patience.

 

Sylvain had always been his favorite to run to when he'd be in a fit. Either after he and Dimitri would argue, after Ingrid would yell at him for something or even when Felix had been told he'd never be able to spar with Glenn since he was an omega. He'd constantly go find Sylvain if he was ever around and somehow he'd make everything better.

 

Felix almost wishes he could do the same right now; even just seeing his friend would put him more at ease than being locked in a strange room about to spend his heat alone. Though that isn't to say that Felix wishes to spend his heat with Sylvain either; that would be weird no matter what his body tells him later about wanting an alpha around.

 

No doubt smelling Sylvain's cedar scent through the room is going to mess him up once his heat brain takes over. But Felix doesn't want to worry about that right now so he pushes his thought away and concentrates on what's around him.

 

The water feels amazing, even at its lukewarm temperature that’s slowly getting colder. And it works to get off all the grime still clinging to his body from more than a few unsatisfactory bathing moments, even if all he's doing right now is lying still. The flame of the candle burns as bright as it can, but the room is cast with heavy shadows and he spies a bundle of towels that he’ll have to cross the room for when he’s finally done with his bath. 

 

He sits up in the bath, running his hands over his body to clean it as best he can. He doesn’t have any soap but at least he can feel as clean as he’s able too before he gets gross with his heat. The bath water slowly turns from clear to murky and gross with how much dirt he’s able to get off of him, he dips down into the water to clean his hair and once he’s done he pulls the stopper at the bottom of the tub to start letting the water drain.

 

He stands up and carefully steps out of the tub and walks over to grab a towel. It’s a large fluffy one that feels amazing on his skin and he takes his time drying himself off then moves on to patting his hair dry. Once he’s not dripping anymore, he wraps the towel around himself, grabs the candle and heads back into the other room. He reaches up with the candle to light the sconce on the wall to get more light in here. The sconce catches fire and Felix sets down the candle and inspects the nest set up before him. 

 

A large pile of blankets rests on the floor with only a few pillows, very similar to the last nest he’s experienced if maybe a little sparse. Felix steps closer and crawls into the nest, taking the towel with him. It feels nice to lay down and even better than all of the blankets are nice and soft. He takes in a deep breath, liking that for now all the blankets smell neutral and curls up, stifling a yawn. 

 

Now that the cramps have seemingly passed all that’s left to do is wait for his heat to fully hit. 



Chapter Text

As soon as Felix’s heat fully hits it’s immediately the worst thing he’s ever experienced. 

 

Heat courses through his body and the empty feeling in between his legs builds as he begins to produce slick. He shakes with the need for something, anything to take care of this intense need and when he takes in a deep breath he gives a low whine. His mind is clouded and all he scents is an alpha that’s present but not giving him what he needs.

 

The whine builds up, ringing through the air as he calls out for the alpha but when he looks around he doesn’t see anyone else in the room. He bites his lip and makes a noise like a sob before reaching down and searches for his own pleasure, trying to give his body what it needs by himself.

 

He sways in and out of his heat haze, barely registering anything past the need to satiate the lust he feels. The cedar scent still throws him off and in a haze he shakily moves onto his hands and knees, trying to stand only to find he can’t. So he crawls around the room searching for the source, in the bathroom the scent fades but it gets stronger when he’s back on the pile of blankets. He digs through his nest, shoving aside blankets and pillows and sobs long and hard when he can’t find his alpha. 

 

He must have done something wrong to deserve having his alpha ignore him. 

 

The staff workers find him in a despondent state later. He’s worn himself out for the day, having suffered through hours of giving into his heat, searching for his alpha, and crying himself hoarse. He’s unsure how many workers come into his room, he just knows that none of them are his alpha. He’s vaguely aware of someone getting him to crawl out of the wreckage of his nest as another worker moves to gather any of the soiled sheets and rebuild the nest with fresh ones. 

 

He’s given some water and a bite of too sweet fruit that he spits back out with a grimace and a whine. The worker huffs but cleans up his mess and switches to giving him sharp bites of cheese that settle on his taste buds much better. They finish their work around his room and once he’s eaten enough they move him back to his nest.

 

It smells fresh and clean and finally he’s released from the torment of his alpha. He buries in face into the nearest pillow and inhales a few deep breaths before his eyes grow heavy and he falls asleep long before the workers finally leave his room. 

 

He wakes up sometime later and the cycle begins again.

 

*

 

The next morning he wakes rutting and grinding his length against the fabric of one of the blankets beneath him and whines at the throbbing empty feeling in his channel. He catches the scent of cedar when he turns his head and he stills his hips. He pulls his knees closer under him and lifts his hips in the air to entice the alpha to come back to him.

 

He pants and whines, arms coming up to cling to the pillow beneath him. Moments pass and he gives out another whine only to realize the alpha isn’t in the room with him. Liquid beads at the corner of his eyes and he just doesn’t understand why or what he’s done to make his alpha stay away from him. 

 

The scent is sharp and fresh so he must have missed them, but why would they leave him like this? He sniffles into the pillow and reaches a hand down when the throbbing need becomes too much. He moves his hand past his arching length and jolts when his fingers graze over his sopping folds. His sex is impossibly wet and when he prods he’s able to slide a finger in easily. It doesn’t feel like much so he adds in a second finger and whimpers at the stretch, pushing past the slight burn to get what he wants.

 

The position he’s in is uncomfortable; his chin resting on a pillow with his shoulder pulled down at a weird angle so he can reach. Breathing becomes challenging so he moves his head to the  side. And a few thrusts of his fingers and the attempt to add in a third pushes him over the edge.

 

He shudders with a moan as he spills both from his length and soaks the rest of his hand with slick. He gives another whine when he slides his fingers out, and sags into the nest. The throbbing has subsided and he pants, taking in deep breaths and flops over onto his side to curl up into his nest. He’s bombarded once again with the elusive alphas scent and he can only barely smell what is his own cinnamon scent underneath. 

 

*

 

Briefly, he wonders who it is that he’s able to smell in here. His mind supplies him with a familiar image of wild red hair, whiskey eyes and a bright grin. He knows this man, obviously since it’s his alpha, but currently his name escapes him. The omega wants nothing more than for the alpha to walk into the room and for the both of them to curl up in the nest together. He’d press up against his alpha and they’d spend the day together scenting each other and getting him through these bouts of lust.

 

But no matter how much he wishes this would happen, the alpha never makes an appearance and he falls under the fog of his heat once more. 

 

The next thing he’s aware of in being moved out of the nest so the staff members can clean up again. He’s lifted up by a strong beta who holds him with an arm around his back and under his knees. His head is tucked into her neck and he can’t smell anything outside of her hibiscus scent and he realizes he’s been crying for quite some time. His breath comes out in harsh pants, tears streaming down his face and his entire body shaking.

 

“Goddess, he’s really worked himself up.” He hears one of the staff members comment as they move about cleaning his room. “We might need to consider who gets the short straw of who gets to beta sit.”

 

“He’s just stressed because his alpha isn’t here. But you might be right about us having to look after him, this cedar scent is all over the place. You can barely even smell his original scent, it's crazy.” Another speaks, this one a little closer to him but he keeps his nose pressed into the betas neck, taking in their calming scent and he slowly feels his body stop shaking.

 

"Makes you wonder why he's even here in the first place. He's pretty enough, you'd think his alpha wouldn't be so shitty as to put him through this." He hears the first one to speak say and a low growl builds in his throat, not liking them talking bad about his alpha. The beta tenses under him and the hibiscus scent gets stronger and the growl dies in his throat as he settles back down.

 

It’s quiet in the room for a few moments and he hears someone walk closer to him. “Hello, dear.” A voice greets and he shifts his head out of the beta’s neck to take a look at her. She gives him a sweet smile and he can smell her calm cherry blossom scent. “We’re going to get you cleaned up and get you some food, okay?” He nods weakly and she glances up at the silent beta holding him and gives a nod.

 

He’s carried into the bathroom and the large beta sets about cleaning him up. She rubs him over with a soapy cloth, rubbing it all over his body to clean him up. He whines at the scratchy feeling of the cloth that quickly turns to a started squeak when she cleans between his legs. But she moves away quickly and rinses him off even quicker, so before he knows it he’s wrapped up in one of the fluffy towels and being fed once more.

 

He’s curled up in a fresh nest, humming happily with each bite of food. The beta who smells like hibiscus starts with the fruit first, but when he turns his head away and clamps his mouth closed, she moves on to the cheeses, nuts, and small chunks of cooked meat. He much prefers the meat, but the rest of it is good too. And he’s happy to be doted on by someone, even if it’s not the redheaded alpha he wants it to be. 

 

The large beta before him smiles as he finishes off the last of food he’ll willingly eat and she turns back to her companions. “I’ll beta sit him for a while.” She says, voice deeper than he’d been expecting. “He’s sweet.”

 

He makes a low whine of protest, she seems nice but he doesn’t want her to stay and watch him give in to his lust. His whine goes unnoticed by the others in the room.

 

“Don’t get too attached, Chell.” A male beta says. “He’s sweet now, but in a few minutes he’ll be back to-”

 

The other girl in the room cuts him off with a sharp jab to his stomach. “Shut up, you.” She warns, then turns back to the other female beta. “I’ll come and check up on you in a few hours.”

 

And with that, they’re gone, taking the dirty blankets and pillows piled into large baskets out of the room with them. The large beta sits down next to his nest and he can barely see her past some of the pillows blocking his view. He gives a yawn and nuzzles into the towel he’s wrapped up in. He can’t smell much past the fresh scent of new blankets and hibiscus that the beta is putting into the air. 

 

He can’t smell his alpha anymore and while he misses the scent, he feels much calmer now. Even his lust has ebbed and he’s able to close his eyes and fall asleep.

 

Sometime later, he wakes up with intense arousal coursing through him. He whines, shifting around in his nest and catches the scent of an alpha when he rubs his face against his pillow. He hums low in his chest, keeping his face buried where he’s caught the scent and grinds his hips down.

 

“Hey, stop that.” A voice calls, startling him enough that he jerks his head out of the pillow and comes face to face with the beta who’d stayed in his room. His heart pounds in his chest, but his lust still thrums through his body and he moves the towel around him more to make sure all of him is covered up. “Focus on my scent, please.”

 

He sniffs the air and takes in the hibiscus scent that drifts over to him from her. It’s nice and calming and helps to take his mind off of the cedar alpha scent he’d smelled on his pillow. He glances around and huffs when he still doesn’t see his alpha. He isn’t sure why the beta is here, can’t quite remember why she’d stayed with him, but he reaches out to and rests his fingers on the skin of her wrist. She might not be who he needs, and he certainly doesn’t want her to help satiate his lust but it’s nice to have someone in here with him for comfort.

 

She gives him a bright smile, and she gently takes his smaller hand into hers. The touch feels good and he can slowly start to feel himself relax, no longer about to be fully consumed by his lust. It isn’t gone completely, but it isn’t the insistent need that it was a few moments ago.

 

“You got too worked up on your own, so I’m here to calm you down and let your body get some rest.” She explains, reaching out to rub his back through the blanket, careful to avoid touching his bare skin except where his hand is held in hers. Even though the towel the suggestion of her touch feels good, sending a pleasant tingling sensation through the skin of his back and he relaxes, enjoying the feeling. “Just keep your face out of the pillows for a while longer.”

 

He gives a nod and lets his eyes drift closed once more. 

 

He must dose again because the next thing he knows is hearing the door to his room being unlocked and another omega shuffling in. The hibiscus scent of the beta, who has moved away from him to sit once more beside his nest, has filled the room completely so he isn’t quite able to tell the omega’s scent. But something about her seems slightly familiar. He’s still very relaxed from earlier and he doesn’t know the staff schedule but he feels like it’s too soon for anyone to come in and clean again.

 

“Hey, Chell.” The omega greets softly and he watches curiously as she moves to sit next to the beta in the room. “How is he? Heard it was pretty rough earlier…” She glances over at him and gives him a gentle smile, to which he ducks his head and averts his eyes.

 

The scent of cedar catches him again and he’s dipping his head back into the blankets to catch more of the scent. The smell of it brings back the arousal humming through his body and the moan he lets out is muffled by the blankets underneath him. Gentle hands run through his hair, tightening on the strands just enough to pull his head out from the blankets and he’s distracted by hibiscus again.

 

“He’s constantly catching the scent of his alpha.” Chell says, gently reaching out to turn his face back towards her. She runs her fingers through his hair in apology and he settles down easily leaning into her touch. He’d started leaking slick again but with the beta's scent helps keep him grounded. "When we came in to check on him, he'd tore the place up, and himself, trying to find the source of the scent."

 

The other omega makes a low humming sound. "I…" she trails off long enough that the beta turns to look at her. "I made something that might help…" She eventually says, fidgeting nervously.

 

"'Made something?'" Chelle repeats.

 

The omega nods and pulls out a small jar from her pocket. "I hate seeing the bonded ones come through here… but we only ever have a handful throughout the year so I haven't really tested this… Theoretically, if this works no one would have to beta sit the bonded ones. Let them have their privacy like all the others who rent out rooms." 

 

He watches the exchange that they have between the two of them lazily, catching the words but not really absorbing or thinking about them too deeply. He thinks he finally recognized the omega as his guide from earlier, but he's barely able to recall most things right now. 

 

"How do you suppose it’d do that?” Chell says, reaching out to take the jar from her friend. She looks it over and inspects the nondescript bottle before passing it back over. 

 

“It’s like a poultice.” The omega explains and hums softly. “I forgot when he showed up to ask him, but… If it does work, he might just need it.”

 

He watches as the beta gives a shrug and looks between them curiously. He’s starting to zone again, their words getting foggy and lost in his haze of the start of another intense wave of his heat. He closes his eyes, a deep whine building in his throat as he can feel his body starting to heat up. Shuffling comes from the people in front of him, but he doesn’t open his eyes until he feels something moist touch his nose.

 

He jerks his head away, his eyes snapping open as a growl rumbles in his chest at the unexpected touch. He’s too hot and uncomfortable and he doesn’t know what they’re trying to do. Both of them are pressed too close for his liking and neither of them is the redheaded alpha he’s waiting for. He bares his teeth, though the growl slowly starts to lose its potency and soon he’s a panting mess into the blankets. 

 

“We need to give it to him before he slips back under.” The omega says. “Chell, can you hold him still?”

 

Chell sighs and reaches out, grabbing a hold of him before he can jerk away. She grabs onto his hair again and holds a hand over his mouth before he’s fully aware of what’s happening. He flails, growl a low noise in his chest with no way to open his mouth. The omega quickly leans forward and wipes the poultice like substance along the bottom of his nose and a little into it.

 

An intense floral smell hits him full force. He can still breath through the thin paste but it’s like he’s pressed full force against several different betas with how many different scents he’s able to catch. Chell takes her hands away with an apology to him and he sneezes, reaching up to wipe his nose violently.

 

“He’s just rubbed it off, Lynn.” Chell says with a sigh, watching as he rubs his nose.

 

Lynn settles back and stands up, resting a hand on her friend's shoulder. “It soaks in fast. Let’s give him some time alone. We can check in again a few minutes to see if it’s still as bad as it has been for him.”

 

Chell nods and sighs, standing up to join the omega. “Hope it works…” She says and both of them quickly leave.

 

He relaxes once they’re gone, still rubbing his nose and still unable to smell anything outside of the paste. It’s like the beta hadn’t left, even if the scent isn’t quite hibiscus or any particular one scent he can pin down. He doesn’t know why they rubbed something on and in his nose and he when he tries to bury his face in the blankets to get away from the smell he realizes that it isn’t going away and that he can no longer smell the alpha on the sheets. 

 

Eventually, the heat courses through his body again and he falls back under. Alone with the desire to satiate his bodies demands. 

 

---------

 

Felix comes back into awareness an unknown amount of time later. He has no idea how long his heat lasted this time, but upon further reflection he realizes he wasn't fortunate enough this time not to remember all of it.

 

He groans softly, reaching his hands up to cover his face like that will save him from the embarrassment of his actions. He'd been so far deep into his heat haze that at the time Felix hadn't even been able to remember his own name. He's merely existed throughout the times he wasn't touching himself for pleasure, not able to think about much else or remember to be embarrassed by people coming in and out of his room.

 

Felix takes in a breath through his nose, still able to smell the floral poultice some of the staff members had tried out on him. He should have been mad that they'd done something without his consent but even he can tell that the paste had helped. He'd still gone through his heat of course, but he'd no longer been looking around for Sylvain to magically show up as he'd no longer been able to smell the cedar scent that had permeated the room. 

 

It had made his heat go from unbearable to similar enough to what he'd probably gone through the time before. Once the paste was in place he no longer felt the need to tear up the nest or scratch along his skin in a fit of self-pity. Felix grimaces at the memory of feeling like he'd been bad somehow and that's why Sylvain hadn't wanted to take care of him in his heat.

 

His omega hindbrain was an absolute idiot it seems.

 

Felix sits up in the nest, wincing at how sore his entire body is. Every muscle aches and his genitals feel chafed from overuse and even just sitting up puts a strange pressure there that has him shifting awkwardly. The nest around him is gross and soaked through with his slick and… other fluids, but he thinks that if he times it properly he can be in and out of a bath and into some clean clothes by the time staff members come back to check on him. 

 

Slowly, he pushes through how terrible his body feels, grabs his bag of clothes and finds himself once more in the bathroom. This time he looks around until he finds a small bar of unscented soap to help him get fully clean. Or, at least, he thinks it's unscented seeing as he can't smell past the stuff on his nose. He remembers the omega coming back in a few more times to reapply the paste at least once more, when he seemed to be getting agitated again, so he knows it wears off. It might even wash off at some point during his bath. 

 

Felix fills up the tub with hot water and eventually sinks into the water, letting out a sigh of contentment. The water feels nice and he already feels the sweat and slick starting to be cleaned from his body even though he’s only just stepped in. He allows himself a few minutes to just relax; a moment he won’t get later after he leaves the heat house, unfortunately. He needs to get back to Cael and the army, has already spent too many days away even if he has no idea the exact amount. But a few more minutes won’t hurt, and he’s still locked in the heat room until the staff members come to check on him anyway. So he fiddles around in the water, sinking lower into the depths of the tub for a moment, holding his breath and dipping down under the water until he feels the need to breathe again. 

 

He resurfaces and wipes his face from the water and pushes his wet hair away from his face. Taking in a long inhale through his nose he can finally start to smell something past the paste still clinging to his nostrils, so he takes a second to get some clean his nose out. Finally he’s able to clear out the paste from his nose and take in Sylvain’s cedar scent. He hadn’t thought he’d miss the scent, though it had certainly helped not having it during the worst of his heat. 

 

But, at some point, it seems that Sylvain’s scent has become a part of him. He hardly even recalls his own cinnamon scent anymore, or at least not with the cedar overpowering it. 

 

Felix shuffles around, reaching out to grab the soap he’d left out and starts to scrub his body down. He can finally tell that it’s unscented, something he finds he’s grateful for, not sure that he’d be able to take any more floral smells today. Even still, the soap stings the scratches along his body. They aren’t deep, barely more than a few thin lines along his arms and across his stomach, he hadn’t even bleed when he’d made them but they’d been alarming enough to the staff to have him be kept under watch to be sure he doesn’t continue hurting himself. But he pushes through the slight sting and he’s able to clean both his body and hair with the rest of the soap and this time the water doesn’t turn a gross murky color, though the suds of soap linger on the top of the water. 

 

Once he’s sure to have gotten all of the soap from his hair, he pulls the plug on the drain and carefully steps out of the tub. From there it’s not long before he’s able to dry himself off properly and get himself into fresh enough clothing. The clothes feel too rough and scratchy but he’ll have to suffer through it anyway. It didn’t take too long last time for his genitals to stop feeling so raw in his underwear, maybe another day or two and even that he can suffer through just to feel the glory that is being clothed and no longer exposed. 

 

He’s stepping through the door into the bedroom just as he hears the main door being unlocked; convenient timing if he’s ever seen it. Though he can’t quite say he’s exactly ready for the company… He lifts his bag over his shoulder and watches as the door opens up. The beta, Chell if he remembers correctly, looks surprised to see him up and clothed but she gives him a polite smile.

 

“Good to see you up and out of it.” She says, stepping further into the room but keeping the door open behind her so that he can dart out if he needs to. And he’s tempted, should probably stop wasting time and get back already, but… “Don’t forget to pay the rest of your room off before you leave.” She adds, looking away from him to assess the nest situation.

 

It’s an easy dismissal, one he can take to get on out of here and continue on his way but he finds himself lingering for a moment longer. “Is the…” He starts, voice rough from however long it's been since he's spoken last. He trails off when she looks back to him before pushing past his embarrassment. "The omega with that poultice… she still around today?" He asks, shifting awkwardly on his feet.

 

"Um, yeah, she's here." Chell answers then reaches up a hand to scratch the back of her head. “Hope you aren’t too mad we did that without your consent, but I understand if you are.”

 

Felix gives a shake of his head. “It’s fine.” He tells her then quickly makes his way out of the room. He makes his way through the hallway and down the stairs, making sure to keep his gaze turned away once he’s made it to the open section of the room. He really doesn’t want to see any of the omegas down here and any of the intimate acts they're doing either with themselves or with their fellow omegas. 

 

He moves out through the main door and quickly closes it behind him. The omega who’d shown him his room some days earlier looks up and gives him a tight smile. Felix steps over quickly, only a few steps before he’s before the table watching as she opens the ledger to where his name is in the book. 

 

“Here’s the remaining amount due for your room.” She says, and Felix can see that she’s nervous; trying to judge if he remembers her doing something to him or not. He glances down at the price, and finds he has more gold to cover it and then some.

 

He slips his bag off of his shoulder and reaches into his bag to pull out the small pouch with his money in it. He has no way to judge if the prices are high here but he’ll pay the amount anyway seeing as he has the money and as far as he knows it’s a fair price for how many days he’s been here.

 

“How much for that poultice you let me test out?” He asks, watching as her eyes widen in surprise. “It helped.” He assures her before she might try and apologize for giving it to him.

 

“O-oh, I’m glad to hear that.” She says, her shoulders relaxing slightly though she shifts a little awkwardly. “But, that’s the only jar of the stuff I have…”

 

Felix frowns. He can see how important having that stuff around here could be. Now that he’s confirmed that it worked for him, no doubt that they’ll want to use it to help the other mated omegas who show up here. And he gets that but he can also see the practical application for himself. From what he remembers it has been a fairly decent sized jar and with only a few small applications there still has to be quite a lot in the jar, especially since he was the first one they’d tested it out on. 

 

To have a whole jar of something like that to himself is worth any amount of money she requests for it. Having his heats alone won’t be so bad if he’s not constantly trying to look for an alpha that will never be there and then punishing himself for being the reason his alpha doesn’t want to be around. There’s a lot of things he could have done to himself as punishment in that state of mind, where his hindbrain takes over and doesn’t listen to reason. But this stuff had been able to fool him into tricking his own instincts and even having the need for a beta around had been null and void. It’d be powerful stuff if he can ration it properly and even more vital when he’s off on his own.

 

“Then make another.” He tells her. “I want to purchase this one. So, how much?” He asks, shifting the coin pouch in his hand so that the gold pieces clink together. Manipulative, perhaps, but he sees how her eyes focus in on the pouch and she bites her lip. 

 

“It’s the only jar in existence, seeing as I’ve made it myself.” She tells him and he sees her eyes harden slightly. “The materials aren’t easy or cheap to come by. My price is the rest of the gold you have leftover after paying your room off.”

 

That’s… quite the hefty amount. The price of the room wouldn’t even put a sizable dent in his pouch so to hand over the rest of it even has him pausing to consider if it’s really worth that. He narrows his eyes at her. “Half. I’ll give you half after my rooms paid off.”

 

She hesitates for a moment, then leans forward to speak to him in a lowered voice. “I’m not stupid.” She starts out, though her voice isn’t harsh like she’d taken offense to his words. “I know you’re some noble’s omega. Everyone knows what commoner heat houses are like, unless you’re not one. I’m not sure which noble, but I’d guess Lord Fraldarius’ seeing as that’s where you’re from.” 

 

He tenses at her words and he can tell the moment that she sees she’d been right in her guess. She’s incredibly smart, he’ll give her that but he doesn’t know what she’ll do now that she has this information. 

 

“Think of yourself as a benefactor.” She says, leaning back in her seat and speaking in a normal tone of voice. “That amount of money will help this little side project of mine get off the ground. I can make more and sell the other jars, now that I know there’ll be a business for it. This can help a lot of omegas in the same situation you’re in. You pay up now and I’ll make sure to keep a jar free for you the next time you need some.”

 

Felix can see the logic in all of this, even though he feels a spike of irritation at getting played when he’d been trying to do almost the same by tempting her with money. But he has no way of knowing if he’ll still be in Arianrhod the next time his heat hits and he’ll still need to pay for whatever heat house he ends up at and perhaps even food when the army’s stock starts running low. To drop all of his money on this seems foolish and irresponsible. 

 

“Make it free every time I need some, and I’ll give you the rest of the pouch except for a few gold pieces. Even I still have to pay to eat out here.” He tells her. Perhaps he can send a letter to his father for some more money a few months before his next heat to ensure he can pay for a room. He hates having to do that but he certainly won’t be able to pick up a paying job outside of his normal squire duties, unfortunately. He’ll deal with Rodrigue’s irritation over his spending habits when he has to. For now, if she agrees to this, he might have just been set for life on never having to worry about going through his heats without his alpha again. And even this little bit of hope has lifted a little bit of stress from his shoulders. 

 

She looks him over for a moment before she nods. “Alright, deal.” She spits on her hand and holds it out for him to shake. He grimaces at the act but copies her movements. It’s better than them slicing open their hands to seal this deal. The spit feels gross between them as they shake and Felix is quick to wipe off his hands on his pants once his hand is free. She smiles at him, both in humor and triumph that she’d gotten what she’d wanted. 

 

He opens the pouch and pulls out at least twenty gold pieces to keep for himself. He doesn’t need to pouch anymore so he simply slides it over but keeps his hand over it before she can take it fully from him. “I’ll need that jar before I go.” He says, watching as she nods and moves under the table to shift through her own bag. 

 

She slides the jar over to him and he lifts his hand from the coin pouch to inspect the jar. It’s too small for the amount paid but the rest of the deal is certainly worth the few thousand he’s had to drop for it. “I’ll remember your face the next time so don’t worry about that part.” She assures him as she pulls over the pouch so she can start counting out the necessary amount for his room. 

 

He nods to her, tucking the jar away in his bag and quickly makes his way out of the heat house. It’s not until he’s further down the street that he remembers that he should have asked how long he’d been in there for.

 

---------

 

It doesn’t take him long to make it back to the barracks, even though it had been midday when he’d exited the heat house. So after milling about the bustle of people around him, weaving in and out of people, he’s finally back to where he needs to be. 

 

Something about the barracks feels off like there are significantly less people around the area. But perhaps they’ve moved a section or two outside the city to allow the locals to have their houses back during his time away.

 

He passes a few people on his way back to his room to drop off his bag, but no one that he really recognizes. At least they don’t try and stop him from walking around, seemingly familiar with him at least. Though it probably shouldn’t be too surprising considering it’s well known by now that he’s Cael’s second squire, not to mention the rumors going around that he’s Cael’s son. Certainly not helped by him giving Cael’s surname as his own in front of his omega roommates.

 

Getting back to his room happens fairly quickly with no one around to try and move past. It’s a straight shot and before he knows it he’s at the door to his room. He pushes it open and steps inside and is immediately jumped upon by his roommates.

 

He tenses, feeling their arms wrap around him from all sizes, not at all expecting to have received a welcoming like this. The combined scent of all of them is the same apple pie scent and he is absolutely out of his depths on knowing how to deal with this situation right now. He stands awkwardly between them and eventually Mara, who’s in front of him, pulls away enough to smile up at him. 

 

“We were so worried.” She says. “Thought something like what happened to Noah happened to you until we asked the Captain if he’d seen you.”

 

Slowly, the others let him go and Felix gets a better understanding of why he’d been rushed at when he’d gotten inside. It hadn’t really occurred to him at the time that he should have told them where he was going; he hadn’t really even considered that they would be worried as well. 

 

“Um… no, I’m okay.” He tells them, stepping back a little to give himself some room.

 

Noah smiles at him and grabs Pipers hand to move them back further into the room to give him some space. However long it had been since he’d left, Noah’s bruises had faded a bit, no longer a dark ring around his neck and wrists but now down to yellowish-green vague fingerprint shapes. Noah and Piper return to their conjoined beds where they still seem to be pushed together from the last time he was here. Mara lingers closer a little before she too goes to the bed to join them in their cuddle session. 

 

It reminds him of the large room in the heat houses and he wonders if they’ll spend their heats together if all three of them hit it at the same time. They’re all very close so he wonders if, for them, it’s just another way to get through their heat or if it means something deeper. Or, perhaps, omegas are naturally this close when pressures of nobility doesn’t keep them submissive and cooperative? He’s not even sure why he’s wanting to look further into their relationship.

 

“We’re just glad to see you safe, Felix.” Noah says, curling up on the bed with Piper and picks up the book he’d been reading to tap his fingers along the spine. He doesn’t open it and keeps his eyes on Felix curiously. “How’d your heat go?”

 

Felix shrugs with a grimace and crosses through the room over to his own bed, untouched and left alone by the others in the room. He slips his bag from his shoulder and sets it onto his bed. “It went.” He says, not wanting to think about it anymore now that he’s over with it. “I’ve got to go back to work, check in with the Captain and all.” 

 

“You can refer to him as your dad, you know,” Piper says, resting her head on Noah’s shoulder and humming happily. “We don’t mind, it’s just us in here.”

 

Felix tenses and feels his face begin to flush in the face of his lie. He hadn’t expected them to say anything and he doesn’t much feel like having his conversation right now. He looks over and gives her a sharp nod and all but runs from the room. He hears someone giggle behind him but he doesn’t pay it much mind in his need to escape.

 

He finds Cael barking out orders near the supply wagons, ushering orders and directing people every which way. This is the most people he’s seen in and around the barracks so it takes him a bit before he’s able to make it up to him. He gets a few grumbles when he accidentally bumps into someone one, but he ignores them and is soon beside Cael. 

 

Cael glances over at him and pauses for a bit. A slow grin morphs on his face. “Ah, there’s my son.” He gives a wink and a teasing grin and Felix draws up short and feels his heart stop then race in his chest. Goddess, why did Cael have to acknowledge it now that’s he’s found out? Can’t he just leave well enough alone? “Glad to see you back.”

 

Felix sighs and resists the urge to pinch his nose in exasperation. “Good to be back. How can I help?” He asks, ignoring the first part of Cael’s words and trying to get the man to focus on work. At least he doesn’t seem angry or put off by finding out either the rumors around the army or that Felix had picked up a pseudonym. 

 

Cael gestures for Felix to come closer and so he does, stepping in close and letting Cael talk to him in a hushed voice. “We’re backing up to head out to Rome.” He says, digging into his pocket and pulling out a harshly drawn map. But it serves a good enough purpose that Felix is able to keep up with him. “Vi’s already taken his group of soldiers down to Gaspard to give troops and supplies to Magdred. But some of our spies have come back saying the Western Church is getting their main food supplies from Rome. We’re riding out to do some war tactics. You ready to join us?”

 

Felix gives a glance over the map before him and nods. “Yes, of course I’m coming.”

 

Cael nods and folds his map back up before patting Felix across the back. “Then go carry supplies to the wagons, we leave at dawn.”