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Kinktober 2019

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            If there were any solid proof of the goddess interfering with Dimitri’s life, it must be apparent in his students at the academy. Their kindness, their easy smiles, the casual gestures with which they address each other. Here, he is no heir to Faerghus, rather, just another student. Just another pair of wandering eyes.

            Just yet another boy to be messed with by flushed lips and lidded eyes.

            It’s unfair, really, how pretty some of his classmates are. Some could even be mistaken for females from the back, and some surely have. Ashe, in particular, with his glossy hair and slim waist, made particularly softer by the gentle smile tugging at his lips. Lindhart, who prods Dimitri when they encounter at the library, who is so occupied with collecting research on achieving his ideals to realize his own existing ones, the fall of his green locks, the gentle cross of his arms, creases in the fabric. Sylvain, who taunts and plays with the local women despite Dimitri’s scolding, who adorns skimpy clothing that show the dips of his hips, the slope of his legs. Claude, who’s eyes glitter like emeralds, smile false and pretty, made prettier by the gentle flush of pink from ear to ear when caught in his own web of lies.

            Felix, who pants as he stands on shaking legs, wooden sword still clutched in hand, hair spilling over his shoulders. Felix, who glares at Dimitri as though he is less than dirt, as though Felix should purge him from this world and would, with the appropriate power. Felix, who steadies himself and rushes forward, gashes and slits along his armor making clear the indents of his waist, the twists of his legs.

            Felix, who Dimitri thrusts his sword against and forces onto the ground, practice weapons knocked clean form their grasp. Felix, who looks awfully upset, sweat beading along his face, arms scratching and kicking at Dimitri. A knee smashes into Dimitri’s side and he grunts, arms bending just a moment. It’s enough for Felix to kick out again, rolling out form Dimitri’s hold and rising to his feet, fists raised.

            “Get up, boar.” It should be anger, righteous fury, that sparks within Dimitri at the words. From another pair of lips, he imagines that he’d be more ignited, hands steady as he rises to his knees to the balls of his feet, rocking in place.

            “Shall we finish this?” From Felix, the words mean nothing at all. Dimitri’s eyes slide over to his friend’s, fingers clenching, unclenching. His chest rises and falls a steady rhythm, tired eyes focusing on the loose fall of Felix’s bangs against his face, the matted edges slick with sweat. The barest tremble of exhaustion pulls at his limbs—Felix’s stamina, when excited, is truly a force to be dealt with.

            It’s what makes them such good sparring partners. Made, really, changed entirely when professor joined the academy.

            “Focus!” The word startles Dimitri into movement, side-stepping back as a fist soars past where his face would have been a moment before. Felix’s eyes are hard, heavy, as closed as steel as they track Dimitri back, his other hand coming forward to smash against his shoulder. Dimitri bites down a grunt, teeth digging into his cheeks, spinning back to slam a foot against Felix’s shin. His friend topples forward, unsteady, strands of hair loose behind him.

            Dimitri is tempted to take his ponytail and pull. Snap his head back and grind his knee against his stomach. He would, in battle. In war.

            This is no such event.

            “Surrender!” Dimitri shouts, and then his hands grapple with Felix’s wrists, tugging him to the ground. Felix shouts, teeth grinding, legs kicking out against Dimitri’s thighs, his hips. Awfully flexible, able, and even then Dimitri finds himself hovering over Felix, legs carefully perched to press Felix further into the dirt.

            “No!” Felix spits, screeches, his wrist tugging free of Dimitri’s grasp and swinging upward. It is a foolish mistake, the closing of his eyes, and then there is the sharp shock of pain flooding him from his jaw. Dimitri has barely a second’s chance to breathe before slamming his elbow down against the backs of Felix’s shoulder blades, drawing a sharp intake of breath.

            They’re panting, alike, dirty and bloodied. Every inhale from Felix is accompanied by a slow quiver, Dimitri pressing him further into the dirt.

            “Surrender.” A command. Not a request, nor a suggestion. A command, from future king to advisor. Felix shakes, and even just from the back of his head, his blue locks muddy and tangled from the spar, Dimitri can envision the angry scowl he’s come to associate with his friend for too long.

            “I give.”

            Dimitri is up in a moment, knees springing him back and off Felix. His friend takes a moment longer, simply panting on his knees, before standing with his back still to Dimitri.

            “W-What a fantastic practice! Felix, you’ve really impro—”

            “Shut up, boar.” Dimitr’s jaw snaps shut, his eyes darting to the side. Ah. Yes. He’d almost forgotten, in the rush of combat, that the fury and spittle from Felix was more than just temporary mockery. Months, years, of growing resentment sag at his friend, and even with Dimitri’s tired eyes pressing into his back, he walks away without a glance back.

            “I will see you in the dinner hall!” His voice carries in the empty grounds, Felix stomping away. His face must be marred with dirt, his clothes ruined and torn. Guilt claws at Dimitri’s chest, his hands clenching at his front. He should chase after Felix, offer to properly clean him up. It’s what friends do.

            Instead he watches Felix’s blurring back, the stray strands of hair loose from his ponytail. They fall over his shoulders, framing the slightest pulls of fabric against his back. Powerful, dangerous, despite the small form of his waist.

            Pretty.

-

            Felix doesn’t show for dinner.

            It’s not a surprise, nor too much of a disappointment. Dedue joins him, and with him follows an intriguing mix of Ashe, Annette, and further behind, Sylvain, Lorenz and Marianne. The last certainly seems uncomfortable, out of place, particularly when Sylvain and Lorenz take to discussing the beauties in their school, pointed eyes drawing target marks on her scrunched form. It must be pity, or genuine embarrassment at their exaggerated needs, that pulls him to speak to her.

            Marianne ends up being a delightful conversationalist. Quiet, yes, though lovely. Dimitri finds himself taken with her, gentle mannerisms, fallen eyes, tiny lips. When he coaxes a single smile from her, blue locks curled lovingly around her face, he finds himself at a loss.

            “Oh,” her voice stills, eyes scanning the room, “weren’t you looking for someone? Did they ever show?” Dimitri follows her gaze, hands clenching at the table. It splinters under his fingers, just the slightest, and he gathers the pieces into his palm.

            “No,” he assures her. “I wasn’t.”

            Sylvain’s eyes on him last the rest of the night, until a pretty maiden takes his hand, huffing loudly. No doubt some past mistake resurfaced, biting at his heels.

            Dimitri walks Marianne to her room. She bids him farewell, head craned down, braid slightly mused from the day’s work. He watches her go.

-

            Just as surprise failed to grip Dimitri at dinner two nights before, he finds himself in the same hazy mood at the sight of Felix and professor sparring on the grounds. Felix spins around, words spitting, wooden swords clashing at their heads. Professor Byleth takes one glance at him, a wicked grin notched on her face, tipping back a step. Dimitri can see her plan, see it unfold so clearly, and despite how obvious he finds the trap Felix rushes forward still, mind red with such normal fury.

            Byleth knocks his sword straight from his hand, and then forces her sword to smash against his arm. Felix jerks, loud grunt slipping out from his teeth, as Byleth drops her sword to simply smash a fist into his stomach. Dimitri flinches, eyes wide, as Felix’s feet fly from the ground a moment, toppling over as soon as they return to the dirt. Byleth gives Felix no such mercy, rushing over to grasp at his face, his hair, her fingers digging into loose locks and grinding him against the ground.

            There is no call for surrender. No gesture of kindness.

            “You lose.” Then her hand rises, spinning back, eyes catching on Dimitri hidden against the pillar. He startles, books and papers in his hand falling to the floor, a startling clatter against the still peace. Felix’s eyes dart to him, sharp, wary. Angry.

            Always so angry.

            “What are you looking at?” He shouts, his voice echoing in the courtyard. Byleth turns to him, reprimanding, though the words have already been spoken. Dimitri could laugh, scooping his supplies back up into his arms, stepping away.

            Friends. They’re friends.

            He crushes a paper in his grip.

-

            Dimitri can see why Claude is called a master tactician, even at his young age. His feet flurry fast on the practice grounds, though his mind even faster, and Dimitri finds himself ruminating for a moment how wary he would be if the professor and Claude were to come to strategize on a plan together. How long would Fodlan last, against such a strange combination?

            No time to wonder that, when he has Claude on hand, sparring match steps from finishing.

            For his quick mind, Claude is still only just one person. Dimitri shatters his wooden arrows with ease, spear knocking many to the ground, the few piercing ones just gentle tugs and pulls in his uniform. It takes a while, certainly, to chase Claude to a corner of the field, but once then it’s startlingly easy to snap his bow, grasp at his shoulders, pull him down to the floor. Claude startles, feet kicking out to hook at Dimitri’s waist, pulling them flush just to press something to the back of Dimitri’s neck.

            “Checkmate.” The easy smile on Claude’s face betrays the rise and fall of his chest, the sweat along his brows, the spittle and blood from a cut on his lips. Dimitri stills, the weight of the wooden dagger against his neck easy, knowing that it wouldn’t kill him, even if Claude were to stab him seriously. Claude must realize too, for his arm droops and the dagger falls to the side, useless.

            “I could have killed you before, on anyone of these,” Dimitri murmurs. His hand traces the tattered ends of Claude’s uniform, significantly more damaged than his own, dried flecks of blood soaked in the gold and black fabric. The golden cape Claude adorns is winkled and torn below him, his hair a stark contrast on the shiny fabric.

            “Yeah,” Claude shrugs, his fingers trailing downward to poke at Dimitri’s wrist. Easy. Casual. “You could have.” Claude grasps his wrists and pulls his hands upward. Dimitri lets him, swaying, wary, his knees caught around Claude’s thighs. He’s warm, radiating it, pressing Dimitri’s hands flush against his throat. Dimitri stares, eyes hollow. Watching.

            “You could,” Claude says. His hands fall to the ground around his face, one pulling at his braid, loose and messy from their spar. His eyes are—green, emerald, pretty. Pretty.

            Dimitri’s fingers tighten. Claude’s breath catches, eyes widening, surprise evident as it flickers across his face. It is gone in just a moment, though his fingers clench, once, twice, and Dimitri can see the hint of pink of his tongue pressed against his teeth.

            He presses his thumb at Claude’s chin. Claude swallows, his throat bobbing against the pressure. Light. Weak. Hardly a pressure, a presence, and he knows it, flush climbing upward from his throat to his cheeks to his ears, pink and light and pretty. Dimitri squeezes his hands, just once, the slightest pressure.

            “I could,” he whispers. He could. He could.

            Claude trembles under his grasp. Emerald eyes, sparkling against the dark of his skin, an exotic fairy in the halls of Garreg Mach, dart to Dimitri’s face. Claude’s lips shake with his breaths, caught, tight, and his hands finally return to grasping at Dimitri’s wrist. He doesn’t pull, doesn’t shake, doesn’t tug. Just lays them there, flat. Easy.

            Deer. Prey.

            Dimitri’s hands touch around Claude’s neck, and then he’s pushing. Just tensing, just breathing, heart thudding in his throat. Claude wheezes, high, easy, and then his hands are tugging at Dimitri’s wrist. He hardly feels them.

            It would be too easy to crush Claude right now, right under his hands.

            “You should see Manuela for your wounds,” Dimitri advises, and then his hands are off, spinning on his feet. Claude coughs behind him, a whining shrill thing, as Dimitri scoops down to pick at the wooden splinters that were once arrows. He doesn’t need to turn to hear the stamping of feet on the ground, wary, fearful. Truly a deer, just this once, caught tight in a hunter’s hands. Dimitri wonders how class tomorrow will be.

            The training ground clears, just him and broken wooden sticks. Dimitri cleans it alone, picking up the tatters of cloth, rubbing at the spilling of blood. His stomach burns, and he groans, wiping a hand over his face.

            Lion. Predator.

            He wants to hunt.

-

            A week of classes, dinners, sparring pass by Dimitri’s wandering mind. He finds that he prefers his left foot while kicking high, and that he could learn a thing or two from the archers on flexibility, wowed by Ashe’s effortless somersaults and splits. He catches Claude’s eye, just once, at the beginning of the week, and the other had just shrugged and smirked before returning to a conversation with Marianne. Her gaze had glanced his way, wary, hidden, and he lets her.

            His eyes trail on Dedue’s back the entire week.

            “Is the material alright, your highness?” Dimitri twitches, angling to better face Dedue. They’ve been holed up in the library, textbooks open, as midterms approach. As adapt as Dimitri is at physical activity, books detailing the study of crests and human anatomy are a little more difficult, as is health. He simply does not understand how Sylvain could walk out of Manuela’s class enlightened with the knowledge of a body’s inner workings.

            Dimitri would ask him for help, if only Sylvain would not inevitably be conversing about the body’s openings instead, some crude lines about women and their natural beauty. Dimitri can agree only so far when Sylvain is the one waving his hands, laughing, throat bobbing as he throws lines and smiles his way.

            Dedue taps his textbook, startling Dimitri back to the script at hand.

            “Yes, yes, thank you,” Dimitri murmurs. It’s—uncertain. He’s uncertain. There’s so much to do, tests to be taken, spars to schedule, and a cold looming presence that wavers over his head. The church has been quite busy as of late, dealing with assassinations, revolts, and guilt swarms in Dimitri at thinking of Sylvain in such a callous way when the other must be wrestling with anxiety over his brother. His hands curl at the pages before him, pressing the book’s spine flat.

            “You need not worry.” Dedue is kind, sweet to his core, and Dimitri glances his way. He is smiling, of course, the barest hint on his lips as he nods. “Your highness, you are one of the smartest students here. I am certain that you will test spectacularly.”

            Dimitri laughs, his fingers pushing the textbook just a centimeter forward, to better place his notebook onto the table. They’ve managed to crowd up the entire surface with references and text, unlit candles lining the edge of the table. They ought to light them soon, with dust fast approaching. It truly is autumn, and Dimitri can see yellowing leaves on the trees hanging overhead, the courtyard empty below them.

            Empty except for a single soul.

            “Thank you,” Dimitri echoes, closing one book and substituting another in. “Though, Dedue, I believe that you will test better than you believe. After all,” he laughs, gesturing to the display of open books at his table, “I still cannot seem to wrap my head around bodily studies.”

            “Then, your highness, please permit me to assist in your studying.” He does, of course, granting the same wellness to his friend as every passing day. Dimitri wishes that they would be able to converse in relative peace, safety, here tucked away into the library, sheltered from wandering ears and judgmental eyes. His hand traces Dedue’s, simply sliding his wrist onto the table, palm up. Dedue pauses, index pointing at a display of a human body’s pectorals, before placing their wrists together.

            Dimitri squeezes his wrist. Dedue allows. He would, of course, allow Dimitri with—with any of this. It is almost unfair, and Dimitri swallows down the bitter pill of guilt and disappointment as Dedue slips forward to point out another text.

            “Within the forearm are the palmaris longus, flexor carpi radialis, flexor capri ulnaris…” They trace the figures, read the text, jot notes down together. Their chairs scuff the floor with their movements, legs kicking, fingers pinching at papers. One book slides into another, chapter by chapter, as other students filter in and out of the library. Hilda surveys them at one point, humming, though Dedue shoos her away. He fails, however, to do it quickly enough, and Dimitri spends at minimum three minutes laughing at the cutesy pink ribbons that adorn Dedue’s tiny pigtails.

            Annette, it appears, has been having similar struggles with body, and they share the text until Ferdinand wanders by, chatting with her about his supposed intimate knowledge of the subject. They discover rather quickly that Ferdinand knows little of the body, and Dimitri is willing to lend them two recommended readings on the subject. Dedue’s hand leaves his every time a body wanders close, and Dimitri finds himself pinching just the slightest at Dedue’s skin.

            “Phalanges are another word for fingers.” Dimitri hums, pulling himself upward to light the candles. Dusk has since fallen, and the library is dark now sans the artificial glow of ceiling lights, though dim. Dedue continues reading, fingers tracing the text, voice remarkably steady despite the hours that have passed between the two, two closed books finished and returned. Lindhart had raised an eyebrow at the sheer amount remaining. It would, at the least, have been better than when Hubert had caught them after hours two days back, chuckling darkly at their slumped forms.

            Arched over the lights, watching the fire dance from wick to wick, Dimitri can spy outside the window. The leaves are darkened now, silhouettes under the night sky, tousled by the breeze. It is through their cracks that Dimitri can see, through snapped branches and bird nests, under vines and amongst weeds, the lone figure practicing with their sword.

            Felix’s shoulders rise as he swings again, feet coming forward and then hitting the ground as his sword slams down. Dimitri’s eyes track him, his long cast shadow along the floor, crackled and bumpy along the fallen leaves. His hair swirls around his figure, loose, free, as his feet kick up high into the air. Dimitri feels his jaw slacken in recognition. He’s been practicing that kick, aided by Ashe. He’s never managed to get it quick so high.

            Felix slams his foot down and spins. For a moment, just the slightest, his hair parts from his neck, slick with sweat along his skin. His arms fall to his side, breathing, surely, just catching his breath. Dimitri’s hand tremors, candle wick alight.

            Felix drags a hand through his hair, the pale nape of his night illuminating in the night.

            “Your highness?” Dimitri squawks, startling backward. The candle slips from his fingers and he yelps, hands flying out to catch it. Dedue is a moment quicker, securing it and placing it sharply onto the table, the sound echoing in the otherwise quiet of the library. Dimitri wheezes, acutely aware of the sudden hammering of his chest, the quirked brow of Dedue surveying him.

            “Oh,” Dedue murmurs, glancing out the window. “Your highness, were you thinking of heading to the practice grounds for a moment of fresh air? I shall accompany you.” Dimitri swats at his chest, feet steadying, before stumbling over to fall onto his chair. Sudden exhaustion, hours of studying, sag at his shoulders.

            “Isn’t someone using the grounds? We shouldn’t interrupt him.” Dimitri sighs, dragging a hand along his face. Unbelievable.

            “There’s no one there.” Dimitri blinks, eyes wide, before darting back upward to stare out the window. Just as Dedue said, the grounds are empty, dark with just the matted texture of crinkled leaves along the floor. Dimitri sighs a tired chuckle, slumping in his chair.

            “I think—I think we’ve studied quite enough for tonight. Dedue, shall we return to our chambers?”

            Dimitri takes with him two textbooks to study for the night, though Dedue’s wary eyes warn him that he will not be able to stay up for long, least not if he wishes to use a flickering candle’s light. One of the books is of the reading about human bone structure, and its relation to crests. The other is one that they’ve gone through twice before, and yet, Dimitri clutches it close to his chest.

            There is an excerpt within about beauty, purity, the curve of a woman’s nape. Dimitri reads it thrice over, face warm, an image of blue locks falling over a dirtied collar, ripped from combat, floating overhead.

-

            It’s arrogance, not confidence, that keeps Sylvain walking down the hall despite the pressing concerns murmured around him, particularly by female students and guards. Yet, despite the rumors, Dimitri spies him with a new face clinging to his shoulder at every glance, every night another crumpled with tears, running off from Sylvain’s call.

            “Must you be like this?” Dimitri grouses, much to Sylvain’s lost amusement. His beloved friend only offers a roll of his eyes, gesturing at the empty space where the woman once stood.

            “Relax, Dimitri, we were just having some fun.” He doubts it, showing plainly on his face. Sylvain raises his hands, expression particularly innocent. “Woah, woah, don’t get telling Ingrid. We’re fine, really.” Right. Well.

            “I will inform her,” Dimitri bites out, stiff. Sylvain certainly deserves the inevitable scolding—Dimitri has informed him time and time again of his maturity, playing with other’s hearts so freely, and yet Sylvain continues at it. The most miffing thing of all is perhaps how easily it all comes to him—Dimitri has even spied men on Sylvain’s arms before, smiling wide, cheery eyes, particularly pretty.

            Something dangerous bubbles in Dimitri’s chest and he huffs, turning away from his friend.

            “Aww, Dimitri, what’s wrong?” Sylvain’s hand pats at his shoulders, light, easy, though his tone takes a turn for the serious. “Come on, we’re old friends. You can tell me anything.”

            “Nothing.” He is an awful liar, and his face burns as Sylvain laughs. The chuckles peter off, and then Dimitri is watching Sylvain brush loose strands from his face, eyes alight with something—more. The hand on his shoulder rubs at the soft muscle beneath his collar. Sylvain takes a step closer, then another, and then they’re nearly nose to nose, Dimitri’s eyes wide.

            “Nothing? Really?” Unfair, the warmth of Sylvain’s breath hitting at Dimitri’s nose, and he is red, red, awfully, embarrassingly red. Dimitri stutters, taking a step back, waving his hands at his friend’s chest, suddenly shaking with another bout of laughter.

            “Sorry! Sorry, sorry!” Sylvain’s chuckles do nothing to quell the angry grit of Dimitri’s teeth, the humiliating pang of his chest. He scoffs, properly shamed, until Sylvain’s eyes turn serious, hand returning to grasp at Dimitri’s wrist.

            “No, come on. Sorry.” Sylvain squeezes at Dimitri, eyes falling to the ground amount before his mouth quirks upwards yet again. “I couldn’t resist. Just, I saw you watching. You know, earlier.”

            “And what? I should have come to scold you even sooner?” Dimitri frowns. Sylvain sighs, his fingers slipping off Dimitri. For a thundering second, he wants to grab it back, knuckles twitching. Sylvain stares at their hands a moment before, before crossing his arms, hunched.

            “No, no. It wasn’t your I’m-gonna-tell-Ingrid face, it was your, uh, you know,” Sylvain waves a hand in the hand. Dimitri keeps his brows decidedly furrowed, crossing his own arms. Sylvain is silent a moment longer, eyes darting to the ground, and it is only now that Dimitri notices the creeping pink at the backs of his ears.

            “You looked like you wanted, uh, to be involved. Like, you know,” his ears are really burning now, pink, though Dimitri can’t deny the growing redness in his own face as realization hits. He sputters for a moment, jaw wide, yet Sylvain continues. “Like, like you wanted to be there. Comforting her. Or, or being comforted. Or, maybe,” his voice trails off, the unspoken third option lingering the air. Comforting Sylvain, holding him close after yet another woman runs off.

            Dimitri groans, running his hand down his face. They’re both blushing now, awkward silence permeating the air between them. However Dimitri’s life has come to this, he still isn’t sure.

            “That’s not, that’s not what I wanted,” Dimitri corrects. Sylvain makes a grunting noise, eyes still pointedly turned away. Perhaps it’s for the best, if only so Dimitri can avoid having them stare back.

            “Well,” Sylvain coughs, hitting his chest squarely. “Then, I guess I’ve taught you a lesson in flirting. Be forward! Women love it when you’re forward! They like being chased!” Dimitri frowns, brows back up. Women do not, in his experience, like being chased. Dorothea and Edelgard alike could confirm his suspicions, and even without consulting them he has seen a lifetime of girls displeased with Sylvain’s hounding.

            Men, however, are a little different. Dimitri hums, acutely aware of his hands grappling with each other. They’re both still a little pink, turned from each other.

            “Sylvain! What’s this I hear about you breaking someone else’s heart?” They both startle at that, and oh, there Ingrid is, fist jabbing at the air. The bare outline of Bernadetta hides behind her, ducking away immediately as Ingrid leans out the window.

            “Oh, crap, bye Dimitri! Take my advice to heart!” With that, Sylvain darts away, Ingrid’s shouting left behind him. She exits the window a moment later, no doubt rushing down to give him a proper scolding. Mood sufficiently ruined, Dimitri sighs, eyes wandering to Bernadetta peering out the window.

            He waves at her. She startles, hiding away, though the top of her hair peeks out.

            Ah, well. He hopes Ingrid won’t scold Sylvain too harshly.

-

            The next week is a packed schedule of tests, midterms settling in to properly drain students and teachers alike of their energy. Even Manuela has taken to properly covering up, though it is more akin to her wearing a baggy sweater and sleeping at her desk as the class studies their notes minutes before scrambling to take their tests. Seteth has become more lenient as well, granting several students all night access to the library and cafeteria alike.

            Training is even more necessary in the tense period. They swap weapons, practicing different techniques, new warmups. Dimitri is forced to aid in archery for a day, realizing too late just to what extent archers stretch. Claude had shamelessly leaned against him, leg up to his neck, pressed nearly mouth to mouth as he thanked him for his support. The situation was only made worse when the other students had asked for Dimitri to hold them steady during their stretches as well, in the false belief that his strong grip would help them balance. Ashe’s sunny smile, tongue wet at the corner of his lip, as he pulled flush to Dimitri had kept him dizzy for a good minute.

            It is cruel relief when Dimitri is allowed to train with his entire class again, sparring with wooden swords, axes, lances. He tosses his from side to side, practicing with Dedue, then hand-to-hand with Ingrid. Annette trips at a point and slams her axe into Sylvain’s shoulder; laughter rippled through the class when he whined and milked it, leaning against professor. The sight of even Felix chuckling, eyes crinkling with warmth, struck Dimitri.

            Yet, despite their rotations, despite the ferocity with which Felix lands every blow, the tatters of his shirt tearing as practice weapons catch onto the fabric, Dimitri fails to stand across from him even once.

            Dimitri catches Felix at the end, bangs slick to his forehead beaded in sweat. They’re panting, muscles sore, and yet the words croak out of his mouth.

            “Spar with me.” Please.

            Felix growls, straightening, his back turned. Dimitri is acutely aware of the careful eyes on him, Dedue especially, and lets his hands fall to the side. Very well. It would be best to not make a scene, certainly not in front of his closest companions, and he takes a stiff step away.

            “Pick up your weapon, boar king.” Oh. Ingrid makes a huffing sound that vaguely registers as “finally” as Mercedes laughs, tugging away Dedue and Ashe. It is a matter of moments before the training grounds clear, leaves dotting the floor, Dimitri and Felix standing square. Felix tosses his wooden sword from hand to hand.

            “Then, shall we?” The words are hardly out of his mouth before Felix is turning, sword thrust at his face. Dimitri cranes his neck, feet stumbling back; Felix kicks at his shins, a gasp slipping from Dimitri’s mouth just as he bends back. Archery training did some good for his flexibility, for how Felix’s eyes widen at the ease with which Dimitri flips over his hands, catching himself on steady feet.

            “Did I surprise you?” Dimitri laughs. Felix growls, eyes narrowed, as he charges forward again. Dimitri meets his parry this time, lance thrust forward, and when Felix stumbles back Dimitri presses forward. They are certain to shatter the wooden practice tools, though Dimitri would wager that Felix has little care.

            He is more surprised to realize that he shares the same sentiment.

            “Don’t get smug, boar king.” Spat, like poison, Felix’s spit hitting the ground just as his feet push forward, sword aiming at Dimitri’s shoulder. He twists, eyes solidly on Felix’s left hand rising upward, clenched into a fist. A classic feint, so disarmingly simple that Dimitri knows better. He clenches his jaw, spear thrown forward, ducking under Felix’s arm to punch at his side.

            “Hah!” Felix scoffs, angling to miss Dimitri’s hit. His feet made an easy circle on the ground, sword narrowly cutting at Dimitri’s chin. He grunts, a flinch of pain making itself aware, the splatter of blood from his lip. Felix grins, vicious, no doubt feeling the flush of victory in his chest as he steps closer.

            Dimitri grapples with his spear a moment longer, piercing the fabric of Felix’s uniform as he darts away from the blow. His smile is wiped as Dimitri swings the spear a second time, their weapons clashing in the air between them. Here, always, Dimitri looms over, pressure mounting dangerously. Felix growls, low, his hand loosening from the sword a moment before his fist rises, preparing to hurt Dimitri in the stomach.

            It would have worked, perhaps, had Dimitri not planned to do the very same.

            “Gu-hhark?!” Felix shouts, spit flying from his mouth as Dimitri’s fist slams against his stomach. His eyes are wide, rolling upward for just a millisecond, as his feet fly off the ground. Dimitri is there just as he falls, knees buckling, to grab at his arm and force him downward. Felix wheezes, no doubt resisting the urge to curl in pain, his leg coming up to kick at Dimitri. High, flexible, the boot of his foot making a solid impact at Dimitri’s jaw. He grunts, hands loosening, allowing Felix to roll out and punch his shoulder.

            “Hah, nnah, Felix,” Dimitri pants, teeth gritting as pain radiates from fresh bruises. Felix slams another hand down, nearly toppling Dimitri, and his eyes flare with fury.

            “This battle,” Dimitri shouts, “is over!” Felix’s startled yelp is little in comparison to the rush of victory flaring in Dimitri as he launches onto Felix, fist firmly clenched as it punches again at Felix’s stomach. Felix wheezes, eyes wide, though his leg kicks out again. It is easy, so remarkably easy, to elbow sharply at the shin, forcing his legs down with his own. Dimitri lands two more jabs at Felix, his chest, his side, grappling his hands downward. Felix spits, shaking, though he can’t do much but groan as his face is crushed into the ground, matted leaves and dirt sticking to his cheek.

            “Ga-h, hah, hrrr,” Felix hisses, wriggling under Dimitri’s hold. It is of little use, Dimitri a solid weight on his back, elbow pressing against the sensitive meat between his shoulder blades. Felix wrenches his eyes closed, pain coursing.

            “Surrender.” An order, dangerous, promising damnation if failed to comply. Yet, Felix simply growls, legs kicking out, hitting nothing but the air.

            “Go to hell, boar!” It’s anger, fury, weeks turned to months turned to years of boiling confusion turned resentment. Felix snarls, slamming his weight upward against Dimitri, successfully smashing the back of his head against Dimitri’s face. The sound of something snapping does miracles for Felix’s mood, though it does little to cripple the grasp Dimitri.

            “Ha-grahhh!” It immediately plummets again when sharp pain echoes throughout his body. Dimitri hisses, blood leaking from his nose onto his lip, teeth grinding as he pulls sharp at Felix’s hair. Long, blue, knotted with mud and dirt and broken bits of leaves. Pretty. So pretty.

            Dimitri wrenches his hand into Felix’s scalp and pulls at the hair. Felix shouts, something high, shrill. For a moment, his mouth gaping open, gasps shaking his jaw, Dimitri feels the smallest ounce of pity. Then Felix is thrusting his head, trying to tug himself free from the weight pushing him downward, and the pity flees.

            “Surrender,” Dimitri repeats, cold. His hand slams Felix’s wrists against his back, a choke echoing from his friend, as his hand reins Felix’s hair back. Every cough from Felix makes him tremor under Dimitri, and it is this close that Dimitri can properly see the dirt caking his face, the bruise forming on Felix’s chin, the beginnings of tear and snot from being smashed against the ground.

He wants to let Felix go.

He just wants Felix to surrender more.

            “Surrender.” Felix’s head goes straight back into the ground, grinding. Dimitri pants, his wrist shaking as he pulls Felix up a centimeter more, just to hear the slurred groan from his mouth. He drops Felix back into the dirt, watching the leaves wrinkled and break from the force, watching as Felix’s limbs slow, his legs slack under Dimitri. Watching the pretty pale skin of his neck, hair tousled and collar torn, bob with every swallow.

            Dimitri lowers his mouth to the flesh and bites.

            “Nnargh! Boar?” Felix’s shout is a haze to the sudden rush of iron in Dimitri’s mouth. He startles, eyes wide, jerking back. Apologizes form at his tongue, heavy, though the taste of blood, Felix’s blood, stills his jaw.

            Felix kicks at his back, sending Dimitri forward onto Felix’s back. They grunt together, dizzying, winded a moment, as Dimitri’s hands go slack. He raises one, pulling a hiss from Felix, his hair still tangled in Dimitri’s fingers. The sight of his neck craning, red, blooming with teeth marks in the pale skin, makes Dimitri swallow.

            He’s suddenly very aware of the heat pressing against his pants, making itself known.

            “Oh.”

            This isn’t—this isn’t a game, not anymore. It wasn’t much of one to begin with; certainly anything but fun with the blood staining both their faces, uniform properly ruined, bruises certainly making marks on their bodies. Dimitri releases Felix, stumbling back, mind dizzy as Felix spits at the floor, leaving a red stain on a ruined leaf.

            When Felix turns to him, dirty and sweaty and streaked with blood and spit along his jaw, collar ripped, Dimitri finds himself clenching at his fingers.

            “You are insane.” Felix’s voice is harsh, a heavy scoff, his eyes dangerous as they survey the ruined grounds. Dimitri nods, wiping a hand at his chin and coming away bloody. Right. Felix had cut first blood at his lip, and then again when he smashed against Dimitri’s nose, cracking. He ought to fix it.

            “We should see Manuela,” Dimitri murmurs, quiet. Something akin to shame and resentment swirls in his stomach, riling, uncomfortable. He makes a move to gather himself upward when Felix coughs, loud.

            “You’re going to leave like that?” Oh, yes, well, Dimitri can’t do much about his ruined uniform now. He supposed he could simply return to his dormitory and change before heading to see Manuela, but he has a particular feeling Dedue wouldn’t be pleased if he caught him in the halls injured. He opens his mouth to retort when he registers where Felix’s eyes are at. Ah. Well.

            “This, this, uh.” Humiliation flares hot at Dimitri’s face, hands coming down to grapple with the fabric of his pants. Felix rolls his eyes, heavy, warning. Then he’s up, swinging onto his knees and elbows, making a crawl over to Dimitri.

            “I could feel it, boar,” Felix hisses. He’s still bleeding from ruptured skin at his cheeks, his forehead, slammed against the floor. Guilt claws itself upward in Dimitri’s beating chest, and his mouth falls open just before Felix grabs at it with his fingers, nails digging into his skin. “I could feel it on me. Disgusting.”

            Felix kisses Dimitri as though they are in war, angry, biting, more fury than any form of love. Dimitri cranes his neck back, willing, wanting, as Felix draws a hiss from pressing down at the very cut he inflicted onto Dimitri. Dimitri pants, eyes open, wary, his hand pressing at Felix’s.

            “Wait, wait, Felix, wai—” Dimitri grunts as Felix grabs at his head fully, fingers digging into his scalp, pulling them better flush. Here, pressed thigh to thigh, he can feel Felix against his hip, hard, warm. Heat flushes Dimitri in awareness, realization.

            Some people, it turns out, do enjoy being chased.

            “Shut up.” Felix’s words are hardly more than a scathing breath, hands sliding from Dimitri’s neck downward, drawing angry red lines along his side, his back, straight down his spine. Dimitri shivers, whines, suddenly aware of the awkward working of his jaw, the press of Felix forcing his neck back, the willingness he has to allow Felix to lord over him. He feels—small, perhaps, not so much a heir as much a common boy. Just another student, flushed with childish abandons, hard as rock and straining at his pants.

            “Can I, shall I,” Dimitri’s throat bobs, hands tugging at their pants. He’s never been too terribly patient in bed and it is his downfall now, earning another growl vibrating from Felix’s tongue pressed to his chin. He moans, soft, heavy, and then Felix is swatting away his hands to adjust their trousers himself.

            “Can’t you do anything right?” Felix frowns as Dimitri chuckles, a breathless thing, their belt buckles coming loose. “Don’t answer that.” Felix’s hands pull their pants down to their thighs, the blues and purples of faded bruises mixed with the angry red welts of new ones. Felix’s fingers ghost the scarring, drawing a whimper from Dimitri, the clenching of his shoulders.

            “I’m sorry,” Dimitri whispers. Felix scoffs, tongue clicking against his teeth as he slots their hips together, cocks brushing. Dimitri yelps, a moan caught in his throat, when Felix grasps them with his left hand, the other pulling Dimitri down to properly kiss at him. Every twitch, every callous, every aspect of Felix’s hand is a new sensation that sends shivers down Dimitri’s spine. He pants into Felix’s mouth, feeling remarkably dizzy, hands sliding up to tug at Felix’s hair.

            “Felix,” he whines. Felix grunts, hips thrusting close, leaning onto Dimitri. His hand quickens, angry, desperate, needy, drawing soft mewls and shakes from Dimitri.

            “Felix!” Dimitri says, demands, pleas. He’s not sure, mind hazy, more than anything aware of nothing but the feeling of Felix cupping them together, the look of Felix’s eyes, hard, steel, lovely against the redness otherwise occupying his cheeks. The feeling of Felix’s hair, brittle, matted with mud and blood and bits of leaves, sticking to Dimitri’s hand. Sweat and spit on his face.

            “Pretty.” Felix mocks, and then Dimitri is pulling, harsh, sharp, Felix forward as he smashes their lips together. He’s miscalculated, clearly, their teeth stinging with sudden pain, and yet it’s no more than a mere whisper of the pleasure overwhelming, rocking his hips, making him whine. Dimitri clenches his eyes shut and shouts into Felix’s mouth, hand and hair entangled, cumming against Felix’s stomach.

            His palms are sweaty, grimy, and surely pulling more than a few stray locks of hair when Felix forces them out. Dimitri pants, legs suddenly aware of the painful bruises and cuts he’s sustained in training, and then even more aware that they’ve just done, done, something unreasonable in the training courtyard. In public. For everyone to see.

            “Don’t start,” Felix warns, and Dimitri’s mouth clicks shut. Felix has cum shot onto his uniform, streaking the black and gold trimmings wet, mouth clenched as he wipes at it. There’s little point, his hands equally dirty, perhaps even more so with the dirt and blood and, oh gosh, teeth marks on them. Shame floods Dimitri cold, previous pleasure lost, as he quickly tugs his pants upward.

            “Felix.” His voice is soft, pleading to even his own ears. Dimitri shuffles in place, eyes tracing the forms of the leaves crushed under their scuffle. Could it even be called that? Scuffle, or spar, or, or, something built up to, angry, demanding and clawing at their skins for years past? Is there even a word for that?

            Hatred, perhaps. Dimitri bites his lip, the taste of blood still on his tongue.

            “Dimitri.”

            Dimitri. Dimitri. Dimitri. Not boar king. Not a scoff, a scorning hiss, a line promising vengeance and years of resentment. Dimitri. Just Dimitri.

            “Dimitri,” Felix repeats, and then there is a hand tugging at sore muscles, fingers pinching at his hair. Dimitri startles upward, his mouth ajar, the sight of Felix’s loose hair spilling over his shoulders downward. Dried blood and spit and cum, and yet, the smallest crease of a smile on his face.

            “Did you call me pretty?” The words spill from Dimitri’s lips without his permission and he snaps his jaw shut, tightening. Felix’s fingers clench at his shoulder, stinging on faded bruises.

            “Well,” Felix coughs, hands sliding to hook under Dimitri’s arm and pulling him onto his feet, stumbling, “we should go to Manuela. As you suggested. Earlier.” Even with his face crooked away, Dimitri can spy the creeping flush at the tops of his ears. He can’t help it—he barks a laugh, shuffling forward, arm around Felix’s shoulder. Relief.

            Felix yelps, shoving Dimitri only to immediately hasten back his hand at the pained wheeze. They wander forward together, shifting from either side, petty curses spilling from Felix when they lean too far and nearly trip into the ground. Dimitri wonders how they will ever make it to Manuela, and Felix roars.

            Dimitri grins, hair flipping into his face, blood and sweat and grime caked into his skin, his uniform, his otherwise pristine blonde hair. His steps make them sway dangerously, prompting scolding, though Felix simply clutches him closer. Arm under arm, flesh pressed close. Their legs move in unison.

            Dimitri laughs, a jingle in the air. Felix’s eyes dart to the floor.

            Pretty.