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His True Face

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When they collided, Sylvain was on his way back to the dorms from one of his late-night trysts—a failed tryst, to be more precise. The second son of House Gautier was sure that the rumor mill would be overflowing after this particular debacle. Note to self, ask about allergies before romantically surprising a girl with a bouquet of Noa fruit.

Pig, dastard, philanderer, the village girl’s words were a bitter refrain in his ears. Even though he’d heard them countless times, would have liked to pretend that he was numb to their melody, they still stung. Pathetic, he barely remembered this woman’s name, she was like all the others who only saw him as a stud-horse, a meal ticket. Why should he spare her a second thought?

He didn’t, in truth.

What pained him more than any verbal assault was the mental image that plagued him as the woman’s angry shrieks rose in his ears, that of the Professor’s reproachful stare.

He loathed the Professor, he had decided. For so many reasons. She was privileged in her ignorance about her crest, a person with seemingly limitless power and none of the societal drawbacks that had driven Sylvain to bitterness. She was surrounded by warmth, loved effortlessly by everyone around her. A veritable goddess—someone like her shouldn’t have existed.

He especially hated how his own gaze was drawn to her. Undeniably beautiful, on the battlefield and off, so radiant it hurt to behold. Though her face was usually a mask of calm, she was kind to students and staff alike. Even him. When he engaged her in meaningless flattery, words coated in his practiced joviality, she did not play along, or simply roll her eyes and walk away like she should have. No, she met his façade with pity in her eyes. Pity and disappointment. True to her stoic nature, she almost never scolded him outright, but when she could tell he was holding himself back, that look reappeared. It irritated him to no end. What right did she have to expect more from him, when his Gautier blood already expected so much? Did she truly believe that a hopeless case like himself could change?

Then again, maybe ‘loathed’ wasn’t the right word. Her piercing eyes haunted him. Recently, they would appear with any tactless comment he made or any tearful woman he brushed aside. They ate away at his resolve to remain carefree, to keep up his fronts. They made his chest ache and his stomach sick with guilt. He knew his resentment was childish. Knew that his hatred was really for his own shortcomings. Being confronted with someone so pure made him keenly aware of his own filth. But what could he do? He had let it slip once that he hated her, but she hadn’t gotten angry, hadn’t so much as furrowed her brow. That only made him feel worse.

In the face of someone like her, what could he do but wrestle with his emotions in silence?

Lost in his thoughts, Sylvain rounded a corner and didn’t notice the approaching woman until she bumped into him, wobbling dangerously on unsteady legs. On instinct, he reached for her shoulders and steadied her, eyes widening in shock when he realized he was standing face-to-face with the subject of his mental tangent.

“Professor?” Sylvain blinked.

“Oh, it’s you.” This was not how he expected her to look. Byleth’s cheeks were unusually rosy, her violet eyes luminous and half-lidded. The smile spread across her face was captivating, if a bit sloppy. “Sylvain Jose Gautier, back from a date, I presume?” She let out a cute little giggle, and one of Sylvain’s hands flew to his mouth to cover his instinctual grin.

“Not really,” he said flippantly, falling easily into banter and trying to ignore the sudden pounding in his chest. “but can I assume that you’re returning from a date yourself, Professor? Or a midnight rendezvous?”

“A date?” Briefly, Byleth’s eyebrows shot up, and her mouth formed a pretty ‘o’. But soon enough, the tipsy, crescent grin was back in full force. “Silly Sylvain,” she cooed, reaching up to poke her student’s nose. “Sillyvain. I was only gettin’ a drink with Professor Manuela. She told me aaaaaall about her latest breakup.”

That tracked. The former songstress had a tendency to sweep up unsuspecting bystanders into her theatrics, as well as a penchant for matching each bad decision with enough alcohol to wipe out a contingent of soldiers. On one occasion, he had even carried her to the infirmary upon finding her passed out in the corridor. In spite of himself, Sylvain pitied the Professor a bit. “Well, that sounds like—"

“Torture,” Byleth finished, rolling her eyes. “But it’s nothin’ to worry about. She got it outta her system, so she should be fine now.”

Sylvain hummed, noting his instructor’s visible swaying. “It’s not Professor Manuela I’m worried about. Can you not hold your liquor, milady?”

Byleth put her hands on her hips and shot him a petulant pout. “’Course I can, Sillyvain. Do you know how many drinks I needed to handle that much whining?” She let out a haughty breath. “I’m not even as think as you drunk, ya know?”

“I see,” Sylvain tried his very hardest not to laugh. Gods, wasn’t he supposed to despise her? Who gave her permission to be this cute? Sylvain turned his face away, hoping the relative darkness would hide his warming cheeks.  “Well, let me walk you back to your room, Professor. There may be ghosts or perverts scurrying around at this hour.”

“Aren’t you the only pervert scurryin’ around here?” Byleth teased, aiming a playful, if exaggerated, punch at his shoulder. Her swing went comically wide, she nearly fell over, and Sylvain hastily held her upright once more to keep her from hitting her head.

“I think you should lie down,” he said, drawing an arm around her shoulders to support her as they walked the deserted corridors. The night air was crisp, but her body felt warm against him. In such close proximity, he could smell the red wine on her breath, her flowery shampoo and a hint of jasmine tea. He berated himself for feeling so attracted to someone he’d already decided to hate. But, he reminded himself, this was a side of Byleth he’d never seen. So discomposed, so charmingly vulnerable. Now that her icy exterior was melted, perhaps he could be forgiven for harboring a schoolboy crush. Just for the moment.

When they reached her quarters, Byleth fumbled with her key until Sylvain gently took it away and unlocked the door for her. “Get changed, Professor. I’ll run by the Dining Hall and get you some water, plus a bite to eat.”

“All right,” Byleth immediately shrugged off her coat, reaching behind her back to undo her bodice, and Sylvain slammed the door shut in a hurry to keep from seeing anything. What’s with this? He grumbled internally. Getting all flustered at the prospect of a naked woman. Who am I, Dimitri?

When he returned with the provisions, he lingered outside her door for a moment, steeling himself for whatever disarray he might find inside. But upon opening the door, he found his teacher burrowed unto her comforter, her expression serene, lips parted and lightly snoring. Sylvain let out a sigh of relief. He hated to disturb her, but he figured if she could avoid a hangover, she would thank him in the morning. He gently shook her shoulder. “Professor. Please drink some water before bed.”

No response. “Professor,” he tried again.

“Mmm,” the noise she made sent heat pulsating through his body. Sylvain found himself acting on a devious idea—a new tactic, per se. Kneeling next to her bed, he combed his fingers through her bangs, brought his lips close to her ear and uttered in a husky whisper, “Byleth.”

Instantly, her eyes fluttered, meeting his from mere inches away. “Sylvan?”

The young man visibly shuddered at the sleepy sound of his name on her lips. Whelp, that backfired.

With an undaunted yawn, Byleth sat up, gratefully accepting his offering of bread and cheese. Sylvain, perched at the very edge of her mattress, did his best not to hyper-focus on the collar of her oversized nightshirt, stretched and sagging below her bare shoulder. He tried to ignore her long eyelashes, her contented sighs as she whetted her parched throat. He did not fixate on the stray breadcrumbs stuck to the corner of her mouth. And he definitely didn’t think about licking them off.

“—vain?”

He gulped. “Y-Yeah, Professor?”

Byleth set aside her empty plate, crawled up beside him and sent him a searching glance. “Why… are you taking such good care of me?” Then, her gaze cast aside and her voice a low mumble, she added, “It’s not fair.”

‘Not fair’? What’s that supposed to mean? Unable to quiet the growing tempest in his heart, Sylvain opted to skirt the issue with humor. “Well… it’s a noble’s duty, right? And a gentleman’s. To take care of a beautiful damsel in need. I’ve learned as much from my fellow pillars of propriety, Lorenz Hellman Gloucester and Ferdinand von Aegir.”

“But, you hate me,” she countered, breezing past his jest with brutal honesty. “You played it off like a joke, but I know you do.”

Sylvain’s smile fell. For once, he had nothing to say. She continued. “I can understand your reasoning. You’re right that I took my crest and everything surrounding it for granted. Perhaps my life as the Ashen Demon was a selfish existence.”  She let out a long sigh. “Still, your disdain bothers me so much. I wonder why.” Sylvain felt a tug at the pit of his stomach as she fixed him with those eyes. So violet, so intensely magnetic. The next few moments of silence felt empty and full all at once.

“Maybe it’s your face, it’s handsome.” she finally said, hesitantly brushing her warm fingers against his cheek.

“Yes, tell me more,” he laughed, hoping his flustered state wasn’t too obvious.

“N-No,” she backpedaled. “Not your face face. I mean, you are good to look at.” She went red up to her ears, and Sylvain’s breath hitched. “But I’m talking about your true face, here.” She placed her palm on his chest, right over his heart. “It shines through when you’re sparring with Felix or studying with Ingrid. When you’re covering for Ashe or cheering up Dedue or supporting Dimitri. It’s hard to coax out—a little sad, a little shy. But your face beyond the mask… is truly handsome.”

His true face? In his heart? Sylvain didn’t fully understand. Perhaps he should have dismissed the comment as the ravings of a tipsy woman. But for whatever reason, he was incredibly moved, tears pricked at the corners of his eyes. The moment felt somehow precious, fragile; Sylvain was reluctant to leave it. He held his breath as he cupped his hand over hers, wanting so badly to kiss her, but wondering if a return to his usual antics would break the spell. With nothing intelligent to say, he settled for, “I… don’t hate you.”

That drew a genuine smile out of her as she looped her arms around his neck. “I know.”

When they kissed, the atmosphere between them, warm and soft like candlelight, suddenly ignited. Byleth tangled her fingers in his hair and claimed his lips for her own, biting and sucking with fervor. Sylvain reciprocated as he seized her hips and hoisted her onto his lap, sliding his hands along hard muscle and soft curves. For a moment, he hesitated—was this wrong? She was his teacher, she had been drinking.

As if to silence his doubts, Byleth rocked forward and sent him toppling onto the blankets. She towered over him on all-fours, dark hair spilling over her shoulders, nimble fingers undoing his buttons as her hips ground achingly slow against his own. She let out a lewd noise at the friction against her tiny shorts and Sylvain felt the blood rushing to his cock. Rising up to shed his jacket and undershirt, his lips moved to her neck, pressing wet, biting kisses against its slender curve. His hands, meanwhile, cupped her ample, clothed breasts and kneaded gently, thumbs rubbing the thin cotton of her shirt against her hardening nipples.

“Ah, Sylvain,” she mewled, one hand anchored against his shoulder, the other palming his bulge in appreciation. “Please, suck on them.”

Ever the people-pleaser, Sylvain reluctantly drew her hand away from his crotch, holding up both o her wrists with one hand and yanking her shirt off with the other—with the infernal article tossed aside, he beheld the professor in all her glory. Her soft, supple skin was flushed, her bared breasts gleamed in the moonlight. Overcome with the desire to explore her, to taste her, Sylvain eased her onto her back, wrists held loosely above her head. “Where shall I kiss you, milady?” he teased lowly.

“I told you where,” she huffed, perhaps a tad embarrassed.

Sylvain smiled against her stomach, trailing kisses up her abdomen before he landed on his intended target. He licked a line of fire to her left nipple before catching it between his teeth, and promptly began to lash it with his tongue. “More—ah, Sylvain, more.” She whined, head arched back and thighs rubbing together furiously.

“Here, let me help,” Sylvain said, his free hand skimming down her side and under her shorts, seeking the place that would give her the most pleasure. She wasn’t wearing underwear, a fact that drove him wild as he sucked her right nipple and rubbed her clit simultaneously. Hips rising to meet his hand, her moans added fuel to the flame, driving him forward in his quest to push her over the edge.

No longer satisfied with her passivity, Byleth wriggled free of his grip on her wrists and immediately grabbed the waistband of his pants. The tension of his cock throbbing against them was considerable at this point, and Sylvain let out an audible gasp as Byleth made short work of his underwear, too, exposing him to the chill of the night air. With an approving “Hm,” Byleth licked her hand and began to stroke his length. Sylvain growled, kissing her lips more roughly as her pumps increased in speed. He needed her. He needed to feel her warm, tight walls clench around his cock.

“Byleth,” he groaned. “take off your shorts.”

His teacher eagerly complied, bare thighs shinning with her own slick, a hint of something sadistic in her eyes as she grabbed his dick once more, rubbing her thumb over its head. “Mmm, very hard. Do you know where I want this?” Sylvain swallowed thickly, feeling a dribble of hot precum slide from his tip. He nodded. “So you know the answer,” Byleth crawled on his thighs, hand never leaving him as she guided him to her entrance. “Be sure to show your work.”

Contrary to his every screaming urge, Sylvain kept still as Byleth lowered herself onto his cock, hissing as her tight, hot snatch enveloped him. As her shallow little thrusts became deeper, Sylvain matched her rhythm, grunting at the wet smacking sounds their bodies made upon contact. The faster they moved, the faster his girth brushed against her clit, and Byleth moaned into his mouth as he bombarded her with heated kisses.

As she continued to ride him—hard, fast—Sylvain held her jiggling breasts in his hands, sucking on her nipples and reveling in the noises she made. In return, Byleth grazed her tongue and teeth over the sensitive skin of his neck, drawing growls and moans of appreciation from her lover’s busy lips. Gravity and enthusiasm were a powerful combination as the pair’s movements grew frenzied, almost frantic.

“Sylvain, I’m—”

“Yeah, me too.”

Byleth came first, collapsing against him as her walls tightened around his cock. That was as much as Sylvain could take, he moaned out her name as he released deep inside her, leaving her pussy overflowing with their combined juices.

Both thoroughly exhausted, they barely had the energy to clean up a bit before collapsing onto the Professor’s bed once more, Byleth tucked snugly in Sylvain’s caring embrace. If she were anyone else, Sylvain was sure that by now, the usual panic would have set in. He would have been itching to leave the tiny room, the tinier bed. But this time, sex and distraction weren’t his objectives. This time, he wanted to keep holding her close for as long as she would allow. When he kissed her forehead and the corners of her lips rose, smiling gently in sleep, it was all over for him. Against her, even his stubborn pride couldn’t win.