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13th Verdant Rain Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (13/05)

“You look upset” Edelgard says by way of greeting when Hubert slumps down in the armchair opposite her, steaming cup of coffee in hand and face like a thunderstorm “Is everything okay with your classes?”

“Classes are fine” Hubert says, reclining back into his seat and stretching his legs out as far as he can in the somewhat cramped space of the Immaculate Bean. It is, without question the best coffee shop in campus, but its popularity has long surpassed its actual physical capacity and on a rainy day like the current one, there is barely enough space to walk through.

Edelgard arches a delicate, brown, eyebrow as she takes a small sip of her own drink, some sugary mess that gives Hubert cavities just by looking at it.

He sighs, throwing his head back to rest against the back of the chair “I have to find a new apartment because Sylvain has decided to abandon me for a manlet with anger issues by Year’s End”

Edelgard, ever the voice of reason, just rolls her eyes at him “Hubert, he is moving in with his boyfriend” 

Hubert raises his head to glare at her, because that is clearly not the point. The point is Hubert will be forced to leave his comfortable, cheap and perfectly located apartment in the middle of exam season, unless he finds someone else to move in, because Sylvain has now decided he wants to go play house with Felix fucking Fraldarius of all people. It is his last year of Med School and he would rather spend his time studying for finals over interviewing potential flatmates. 

It is not even that Sylvain and him are that close. Theirs was an arrangement born out of convenience, more than anything else. They were on the same year at uni, they both hated the dorms (albeit for completely different reasons), and neither had enough money to rent an apartment on their own. Pooling their resources together had simply made sense.

It just happened that their arrangement surprisingly worked. Despite his reputation as a skirt chaser and a slacker, Sylvain turned out to be a fairly decent flatmate. He always put away his dishes, kept all common areas clean, and had no alien forms growing in his fridge cupboards. Sure, he brought people home, from time to time, but their rooms were on separate ends of the apartment, so Hubert only ever found out if they stayed over until the next morning (and if that happened, they usually skedaddled out of the house quite quickly after being faced with pre-coffee Hubert). So, sure they were not best friends, but they got along well enough, and Med School is stressful enough on its own, that Hubert does not want to add flat hunting on top of it. 

“You could always ask Ferdinand” Edelgard says, as she distractedly browses through her phone.

“Why the Hell would I ask Ferdinand?”

Edelgard stares at him with a look that says she is seriously questioning their entire lifelong friendship.

“Hubert…” Edelgard starts, in a kind, soft voice, the same voice she uses when she speaks to little children or slow-witted people “I know. About you and Ferdinand”

Hubert scowls at her “There is no Ferdinand and I”

“Oh, for-” Edelgard drops her phone on the table, with slightly more force than necessary, and leans towards Hubert, one finger raised and pointed straight at his nose in a most accusatory fashion “I know you’ve been sleeping together” 

“That’s- I had a momentary lapse in judgement-”

“You’ve been lapsing for months, Hubert”

“Ok, fine, yes, I’m fucking von Aegir. On the semi-regular. It’s nothing serious, we’re…” He struggles to find a word that won’t make their current arrangement sound as crude as it is. He doesn’t find it “...fuckbudies. I guess”

Edelgard will not be convinced “He keeps a spare toothbrush in your bathroom”

“That’s just practical. I mean, he needs to wash his mouth after he-”

“You accompany him to his dressage competitions”

“Once. I accompanied him once ” Hubert does not care for dressage one bit, but those tight breeches do wonders for Ferdinand’s ass and he is a weak man.

“Hubert”

“Look, it’s not a thing, okay? Me and Ferdinand, it’s just… physical. Tension relief”

***

31st Lone Moon, Imperial Year 2184 (31/12)

It is Edelgard’s New Year Eve party and Hubert is already on his third drink. Sylvain’s new boyfriend drew the short straw and is designated driver for the night, so he can, for once, drink without worrying about having to ferry his flatmate’s drunk ass home afterwards.

He stares across the room, where Edelgard is laughing at something Byleth has just said, and cannot stop the dark, twist of jealousy twisting in his heart. For the last four months, no, even longer than that, Edelgard’s entire world seems to have switched to revolve around her new girlfriend. It is not that Hubert wants Edelgard for his own, their relationship, as loving and loyal as it is, has always been strictly platonic, and neither would have it any other way. And Hubert is happy for her, her is very, very happy. Edelgard has not had nearly enough love in her life, not like she deserves, and Hubert will not resent her for finally finding someone who loves her as much as Byleth does.

Hubert is a good friend, who loves Edelgard very much (in a very platonic fashion), and wants nothing but happiness and joy for her. But he has also spent the last four months playing the awkward third wheel to Edelgard and Byleth’s blossoming romance, and the three months before that listening to Edelgard rhapsodise about Byleth’s sky blue eyes, silky hair, and milky skin whenever they arranged to meet up (and, look Edelgard may be a gifted woman of many talents and skills, but poetry is not one of them). 

So, Hubert is not jealous. He is just tired of holding the candle by the side while Edelgard and Byleth gaze longingly into each other’s eyes, and he wants his best friend back. The best friend who will discuss Fódlan politics with him, and who will challenge him in his arguments and assumptions, that is, the best friend who writes incredibly corny poetry and sighs like a teenage girl with her first crush can stay with Byleth.

He considers sneaking out and heading home (in a cab, since Sylvain and Felix seem otherwise occupied playing tonsil hockey in the sofa and are not likely to come up for air anytime soon, and he is too drunk to drive). He could make some excuse about needing to review for a school project, or some bullshit about his residency application, he is sure Edelgard would understand. She will be disappointed, but she will understand.

The thought of disappointing Edelgard, of having to watch her brows crease in worry as she laments his lack of socialising, gives him pause. He stands in the guest room, currently doubling as party cloakroom, with his coat in his hands, as he hovers between his wish to go home and the fear of disappointing Edelgard.

“Hubert!” a loud, annoyingly familiar voice exclaims by the door, causing him to startle and turn around to glare at the offender “Leaving so soon?”

Ferdinand von Aegir, Edelgard’s once self proclaimed rival and eternal thorn in Hubert’s side stands at the doorway. Hubert does not even bother dissimulating the annoyed groan that naturally climbs up his throat at spotting him. He had mistakenly assumed he would be seeing less of Ferdinand after the insufferable fop finally gave up on his one-sided rivalry with Edelgard and switched from PoliSci to Vet School (presumably to work with subjects whose IQ aligned more closely with his own), but he keeps showing up at Edelgard’s parties, like a bad rash that will not go away.

“It’s New Year’s Eve,” Ferdinand prattles on, completely oblivious to Hubert’s annoyance, as he steps further into the room “you can’t leave before the main event! Edelgard really went all out this year, this will be a party to remember, you really don’t want to miss out”

Ferdinand definitely looks ready to party, his long copper locks fall in shining, perfectly styled waves over his shoulders, he is wearing a dark green silk shirt, open halfway through, revealing a well defined chest, speckled with freckles and a dusting of coppery hairs, and his black trousers are so tight they look like they were painted on, hugging Ferdinand’s muscled tights like a second skin. He will probably end up being the star at whichever Club the party ends up drunkenly stumbling into after the midnight toasts.

“Maybe I’m not feeling up to partying” Hubert says, slipping into his coat. He definitely does not feel up to dealing with Ferdinand’s bombastic enthusiasm for longer than absolutely necessary.

“C’mon, Hubert,” Ferdinand insists, positioning himself as to completely block the door, arms extended to each side, and what probably tries to be a beguiling smile on his face “if you leave Edelgard will be disappointed” 

“Edelgard will not even notice I’m gone” Hubert snaps, frustrated at having his one escape route cut off “Byleth is keeping her well entertained” 

“I’ll notice” Ferdinand says, leaning forward and staring intently at Hubert, amber eyes wide and pleading.

Despite his open, exuberant and somehow simplistic personality, Ferdinand has always proven difficult for Hubert to read. Perhaps because his temperament is so different to Hubert’s own, more probably because Hubert usually cannot be bothered to even acknowledge his existence, the fact remains that, even when completely sober and in full possession of his mental faculties, Hubert has a hard time figuring out what goes on underneath all that ridiculous hair. Now, drunk and morose, he is left gawking like an idiot, with no clue as to what exactly is Ferdinand trying to silently communicate by staring into his eyes like a heroine out of a regency romance novel.

Usually, Hubert would just storm out of the room to avoid having to deal with the frustrating puzzle that is Ferdinand, but since the fop has planted himself in front of the door, he is effectively trapped, with no choices left but to jump out of the window (a prospect growing more and more attractive by the moment), or continue his bizarro stare-off with Ferdinand.

The kiss catches him by surprise. One moment he is staring at Ferdinand, watching him bite nervously on his lower lip, and the next his vision is filled with golden, orange hair, and a pair of warm, plush lips are attached to his own.

His first instinct is to push Ferdinand away, but the warm, calloused hand coming to cradle his cheek, blunt nails scrapping at the short hairs on the back of his neck, gives him pause. A sigh, as Ferdinand’s lips move slowly over his own, a careful, methodical caress. Hubert remains frozen by surprise, as an arm sneaks around his waist and pulls him towards a warm, solid chest. Ferdinand moans softly against his mouth as their bodies align together. 

Were this any other day, were Hubert sober, he would not have hesitated to follow through on that first instinct, would not have let the kiss progress from that initial brush of lips, but tonight he is drunk and lonely enough to allow it. 

He stops thinking.

The kiss feels good. Ferdinand’s arms around him, and his chest pressed against his own, feel even better, and so Hubert lets himself let go. He stops thinking about Edelgard and Byleth, about Med School, or the project papers he has due next week. Instead, he loses himself in Ferdinand’s warm, eager lips and greedy hands.

Before long they are making out like a pair of horny teenagers on top of the coats piled high on Edelgard’s guest bed. Outside the room, the party rages on, the rhythmic beat of forgettable pop songs clear over the muffled sounds of voices and laughter. Ferdinand’s breathing is heavy and ragged above him, the sound accompanied by Hubert’s own silent gasps, and the rustling of clothes, as they writhe against each other. The wet smacking sounds of kisses and wandering lips are overly loud, almost obscene. 

People start shouting the countdown to midnight as Ferdinand trails his lips from Hubert’s mouth to his neck, biting at the soft skin there.

“Twelve! Eleven! Ten!”

The trail of warm lips and sharp teeth moves from his neck to his collarbone and chest, Ferdinand clumsily pushing his jumper’s collar down to get access to his skin.

“Nine! Eight! Seven!”

Having probably stretched the collar of his jumper without repair, Ferdinand changes direction and starts slinking down Hubert’s body. His lips are gone, but his hands seem to be everywhere at once, slipping under his jumper to drag across heated skin, grabbing at his ass, or palming his hardening cock through his jeans.

“Six! Five! Four!”

Hubert pushes himself up on his elbows to watch as Ferdinand kneels at the edge of the bed, looking up at Hubert from beneath his lashes, hair a glorious mess of curls, and a furious blush across his cheeks.

“Three! Two! One!”

Ferdinand pushes Hubert’s legs apart, his hands gripping the inside of his tights, warm even through the fabric of his jeans.

“Happy New Year!”

And then Ferdinand is unzipping him, pulling down his underwear, and oh! Goddess above, Happy New Year indeed.

The sounds of celebration and cheer echo through the narrow hallways of Edelgard’s apartment and the crackle of exploding fireworks can be heard through the window, as Garreg Mach University officially welcomes the New Year, but Hubert can only focus on the lewd, wet sounds coming from Ferdinand, crouched down between his legs, his dick in his mouth, as he dexterously strokes him at the base.

The whole affair is rushed and unrefined, both of them all too aware of the large party of people, just a few rooms away, who will come to collect their coats any time soon. Hubert finishes embarrassingly fast, one hand stifling the loud moan that threatens to spill from his lips, and the other fisted in Ferdinand’s glorious locks. Ferdinand follows soon after, climbing into his lap and rutting against him with wild abandon as he kisses him, open mouthed and dirty, overwhelming in his enthusiasm. 

They just have enough time to zip up and straighten their clothes before the door bursts open and people start coming in, thankfully too drunk to pay any attention to their messy hair and flushed cheeks. Hubert takes advantage of the confusion to grab his coat and hightail it out of there, not even stopping to wish a Happy New Year to Edelgard on his way out.

If Hubert had an ounce of the common sense he claims to possess, he would have ended it at that and let the whole thing remain an alcohol-fueled lapse in judgement (and one spectacular blowjob, because Ferdinand von Aegir sucks cock like it is a competition and he is aiming for the Olympics).

He did not.

***

12th Horsebow Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (12/06)

“I heard Sylvain and Felix are moving in together” Ferdinand says out of the blue.

He is laying on Hubert’s bed, hair spread out like an amber halo across the pillows, chest bare, and legs raised to help Hubert as he struggles to peel his ridiculously tight trousers off his even more ridiculously thick tights. Why Ferdinand insists on buying all his trousers two sizes too small, Hubert will never know. 

With one final, vicious tug, Hubert manages to pull the damn trousers off and tosses them over his back, to fall somewhere on the floor, with the rest of Ferdinand’s clothes “Can we not talk about that?” He says, easing himself between Ferdinand’s now bare tights, and biting softly at the soft flesh on the inner side, relishing the startled grasp from Ferdinand, and the slight trembling of the limb under his lips.

Ferdinand hums above him, but otherwise remains silent as Hubert continues to make his way upwards, ignoring the hardening cock outlined by Ferdinand’s boxer briefs, and kissing a wet trail through his abs, all the way to his chest. He runs one hand down Ferdinand’s side, from his ribs to the curve of his hips, and lets his fingers trail along the seam of his boxer briefs, teasing, tempting-

“Will you be looking for a new flatmate?” Ferdinand asks, voice slightly hoarse.

Hubert stops his movement. He exhales loudly through his nose and presses his forehead upon Ferdinand’s shoulder, eyes closed in frustration. After a few beats, he raises his head and looks up at Ferdinand, brows furrowed in annoyance.

“Can we not talk about this now ?” he asks, doing his best to keep the irritation out of his voice to avoid killing the mood anymore than Ferdinand’s inane questions already have “The whole reason I called you today was to avoid thinking about Sylvain, new flatmates and apartment hunting”

Ferdinand blinks at him in confusion. His hair forms a frizzy, copper halo around his head, and his cheeks are bright red, a flush that spreads down his neck all the way to his chest. Such a combination of red and orange hues should clash terribly, and on anyone else, it would, but Hubert cannot help but find it oddly endearing in Ferdinand.

“Please” he adds, dropping a kiss over Ferdinand’s breast.

Ferdinand’s breath catches for a second, and then leaves him in a rush, his chest rising rapidly after it. He looks like he wants to argue, so Hubert distracts him by taking one nipple into his mouth and sucking on it, tongue drawing circles around the nub as his teeth tease the skin around it. It works like a charm. Whatever argument had been on Ferdinand’s tongue dissolves into a loud moan.

The evening proceeds without any further interruptions, and yet Hubert cannot help but feel as if something is off. Ferdinand is lacking his usual enthusiasm, his eagerness, instead, he seems almost distracted. The sex is still great, of course, it always is. Even if Ferdinand’s mind is wandering elsewhere, his body is still present, and Hubert does not envision a day in which he could ever grow tired of exploring and worshipping it.

When they collapse on the bed, exhausted, and mind still buzzing from the high of the last orgasm, Hubert expects Ferdinand to roll over for a cuddle as he always does, smothering him with his greater weight of solid muscle mass and abnormally high body temperature. Instead, Ferdinand rolls away, turning his back on Hubert, and stands up.

Hubert watches with a frown as Ferdinand starts to collect his clothes and get dressed “Are you not staying over?” he asks, as Ferdinand hops around the room trying to pull up his absurdly tight jeans. 

He cannot remember the last time Ferdinand left straight after sex. Not only does he usually spend the night, most times Hubert has to forcibly remove him from the apartment the morning after. Left to his own devices, Ferdinand will make himself at home in an instant, playing videogames with Sylvain, commandeering the kitchen for one of his baking catastrophes, or wasting all their hot water in an endless shower while he rehearses Mittelfrank’s Greatest Hits.

“I can’t stay” Ferdinand responds, pulling on his shirt not even bothering to smooth it out,  before grabbing his jacket and throwing it on top. His hair is still in complete disarray from Hubert running his greedy hands through it, frizzy curls sticking every which way, and his cheeks have not yet lost their flush, rosy and bright, making his summer freckles stand out even more. Coupled with his bruised lips, and the hint of a lovebite peeking out from the collar of his shirt, it all gives him the look of someone thoroughly well-fucked.

“Are you still coming over on Saturday?” Hubert asks.

Ferdinand pauses for a moment, his hands stilling over the laces of his shoe, before he resumes his work, tying them up with quick, jerky movements.

“I don’t know”

Hubert frowns at him. Taking in the hurried way Ferdinand finishes gathering his stuff, eyes downcast and pointedly avoiding his own.

“Is something the matter?”

Ferdinand bites his lip, eyes downcast and hand on the door, ready to leave “I… I need to think”

Hubert snorts “Well, don’t strain yourself”

The smile Ferdinand gives him in response before leaving, small and with a sad twist, leaves him at unease, wrong-footed. Edelgard’s words from a few weeks back keep playing in the back of his mind, and he wonders, not for the first time, if he has allowed himself to indulge in Ferdinand for too long. As simple and transactional as their current relationship is, Hubert has still found a measure of comfort in their easy routine, his regular hook-ups with Ferdinand becoming as integrated into his daily life as his class schedule or coffee dates with Edelgard.

He pushes himself off the bed with an angry huff, searching around for a spare pair of sweatpants to slip on. It seems that, instead of taking his mind off problems, Ferdinand’s visit has just served to add to his list of worries. 

***

1st Great Tree Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (01/01)

Hubert starts the new year with a crippling hangover. 

Even after downing two cups of coffee, and devouring the plate of pancakes Sylvain graciously left for him, he still feels like death warmed over. The only good thing is that he gets the apartment to himself, as Sylvain is out for lunch with Felix’s parents trying (and probably failing) to play the nice and dutiful boyfriend. That way there is no one to bear testimony to his sorry self dozing on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket cocoon, as a marathon of Real Housewives of Faerghus plays in the background.

His pity party is interrupted by the buzzing of his phone. For a moment, Hubert considers ignoring it, but he remembers he left Edelgard’s party without saying goodbye, and if she is checking in on him, he would not want to needlessly worry her.

He drags his phone closer and unlocks it.

[Unknown number. 01/01/85 13:45h] Good morning and happy New Year!!

[Unknown number. 01/01/85  13:47h] So… I had fun last night ;)

Hubert stares at his phone blankly, his hungover brain struggling to process the messages. Three blinking dots appear underneath, a new message being written. He waits.

[Unknown number. 01/01/85  13:48h] I was thinking we could go for lunch ;)

[Unknown number. 01/01/85  13:48h] My treat :)

The smiling emoticon at the end of the last message seems to be mocking Hubert. He glares at the phone, thumbs hovering over the digital keypad as he carefully considers his options.

[Hubert von Vestra. 01/01/85 13:54h] Who’s this?

The blinking dots pop back up the moment he presses ‘Send’. Hubert stares at them with trepidation.

[Unknown number. 01/01/85 13:54h] I’m Ferdinand von Aegir!!!

Sothis’ tits. Hubert lets out a loud, irritated huf, as memories of last night flash through his mind. Whatever could have possessed him to do that with bloody Ferdinand von Aegir of all people? He drags a hand over his face, pinching the bridge of his nose to try and stave off the incoming headache. 

His phone buzzes again.

[Unknown number. 01/01/85 13:55h] Edelgard gave me your number

[Unknown number. 01/01/85 13:55h] I would have asked you but you left too fast :(

[Unknown number. 01/01/85 13:55h] What do you say?

[Unknown number. 01/01/85 13:55h] Lunch? :) :)

Hubert switches the phone to silent, locks it, and tosses it at the other end of the sofa. He is too hungover to deal with Ferdinand and his abuse of emojis, or the consequences of his own poor, drunken decisions. Instead, he turns his attention back to the TV, where a housewife is going on an impassioned, extremely racist, rant over her Duscur rival.

The phone’s screen lights up intermittently. Once. Twice.

And then it goes dark.

***

31st Wyvern Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (31/07)

It is All Hallow’s Eve, the night of all things dark and spooky. A night that, by all means, should be Hubert’s all-time favourite holiday of the year, given his fascination with horror stories, all-black aesthetics, and everything to do with the gory and macabre. To be fair, in paper, he does like it. The thinning of the veil between the realm of the living and the death, all the lore surrounding the ancient Crests and the lost civilisation of Agartha, these are all things completely up Hubert’s alley. He can even admit to a certain, guilty, fondness for Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, the ones with extra cloves and ginger, as Flayn makes them.

What he does not, in any way, like or tolerate, is the foolish tradition to dress up in ridiculous costumes and go parading down the street begging for treats. It does not help that most of his friends and acquaintances fully and enthusiastically embrace the chance to dress like idiots and make fools out of themselves. 

Edelgard used to be above such things, and Hubert could always rely on her to provide some sane companionship during the celebrations. However, even if Edelgard does not particularly care for silly costumes, Byleth loves them and, given that Edelgard loves Byleth, that means they are both throwing a Grand All Hallow’s Eve Costume Party at their flat. A party Hubert has been invited to attend.

Oh, joy.

He has only made the barest minimum effort to dress up, putting on his scrubs and doctor coat, and even that was at Ferdinand’s insistence. After a few weeks of woefully unenthusiastic sex, poorly disguised mopping and half-assed excuses for not staying the night, Ferdinand seems to be back in good spirits and, if dressing up and going to Edelgard’s party, is what it takes to ensure he stays that way, Hubert will gladly comply.

Even if it means dealing with the angry, flatmate-stealing manlet.

“You’re going as a doctor, huh,” Felix says, as he comes out of Sylvain’s room and spots Hubert sitting in the sofa, waiting for Ferdinand to finish braiding his hair, or whatever the Hell he is doing that is making him so late “how dull”

“And what are you?” Hubert snaps right back, upper lip curling derisively at Felix’s bizarre get up “Some kind of Drag Queen Lolita?”

Felix glares back at him, but the effect is greatly diminished by his outfit. His hair has been combed into badly made pigtails, tied with twin apathetic looking blue bows, and he is wearing a poofy, white and blue checkered dress, his pale, skinny legs sticking out from underneath the skirt and looking decidedly un-feminine like. The red, sparkly shoes are just the cherry on top of a fashion-disaster mess.

“He’s Dorothy!” exclaims Sylvain coming out of his bedroom and planting a loud kiss on the top of Felix’s head.

Felix probably blushes, but it is a bit hard to tell with the bright, red, circles someone has painted on his cheeks.

Hubert smirks at him, incredibly comfortable in his dull, boring and plain surgery scrubs.

“Don’t mock him” Sylvain whispers to him as he sits himself next to Hubert to tie his shoes “You don’t want to know what I had to promise him to get to agree to the whole thing”

Hubert looks at his threadbare suit jacket and patched up trousers, the cuffs made of straw and the weird burlap sack doubling as a hood. 

“And I take you must be the brainless scarecrow, right?” he asks “Fitting”

As usual, Hubert’s dig at Sylvain seems to slide off him like water off a duck’s back. He just lets out a hearty, good humoured bark of laughter and keeps working on the complicated laces on his shoes.

“Ingrid is going as the Tin Man, or Tin Woman, I guess, Dimitri as the Lion and Dedue -I don’t remember if you’ve met him, that exchange guy from Duscur?- is going as Toto”

“Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Ingrid dress up as Dorothy?” Hubert asks. Ingrid may be a bit of a tomboy, but she would probably manage to pull off a better Dorothy than Felix, who looks terribly awkward and uncomfortable in his ill-fitting dress.

“Gender is a social construct and as such we should not let it dictate our choices” Felix intones in a soulless monotone, doubtlessly the result of having had the phrase drilled into him multiple times.

Hubert winces in sympathy. Ingrid is a passionate Women Studies major, aiming to become a lawyer, and although Hubert has only interacted with her briefly, either through Sylvain or Dorothea, he can easily imagine her lecturing Felix on gender norms and feminist rights just to avoid being the one stuck with the dress.

Any further teasing of Felix’s outfit is interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. 

“That must be Ferdinand” Hubert mutters as he stands up and heads to the door.

He pulls the door open with a sharp tug, ready to berate Ferdinand for his lateness, but the words never make it out of his mouth, instead getting stuck somewhere in his throat and emerging as a strangled, pitiful incoherent gargle the moment he sees Ferdinand’s costume.

A sexy nurse. Ferdinand has come dressed as a sexy nurse to erase what little remains of Hubert’s sanity.

“What do you think?” Ferdinand asks with a flirty smirk as he does a small twirl to show off “Nurse Aegir ready to assist you, Doctor Vestra”

Hubert tries to swallow, but his mouth has gone bone dry. He takes on the way the tiny white dress clings to Ferdinand’s muscular frame, the cloth straining around his biceps and well-toned chest, where the buttons threaten to pop off the moment he decides to take a deep breath. The mini skirt, skimming just below the curve of a perky backside, hugs slim hips before giving way to muscled thighs and toned legs enveloped in gauzy white stockings. He is even wearing high heels, a pair of bright red pumps with a pointy toe.

He manages to drag his eyes back up to Ferdinand’s face with great effort, but cannot stop his mouth from hanging open like a mindless idiot. Words fail him, as all the blood in his brain suddenly rushes South, leaving him a blubbering mess.

“Uh...You, uhm....”

“Hey Ferdie!” Sylvain exclaims from behind Hubert, startling him “Looking real good man! Come on in, the cab will still take a few minutes to arrive”

“Thanks, Sylvain. You look very nice as well” Ferdinand says as he crosses the door hold and walks past both of them to the living room, where Felix is still standing awkwardly like the World’s angriest Lolita “You look very cute Felix!”

Hubert stares, hypnotised, at the way his hips swing from side to side as he strides on his heels. He pushes the door shut without looking, and carefully wraps his lab coat closed around him.

“So… someone is gonna have a good night, eh?” Sylvain teases him “I didn’t know you and Ferdie were gonna wear matching costumes”

“Neither did I” Hubert admits. Matching costumes are for sugary sweet couples or obnoxiously co-dependent groups of friends, Ferdinand and him are just friends with benefits, except without the ‘friends’ part of the arrangement. Acquaintances with benefits. Monogamic fuckbuddies. In short, not the type of relationship that involves coordinated costumes, no matter how much Hubert appreciates the sight of Ferdinand in his tiny, sexy nurse outfit.

Stunts like this muddy the waters and blur boundaries, upsetting the careful, defined, yet unspoken, rules that have so far defined their relationship, and make Hubert yearn for things he cannot have.

It is incredibly annoying.

***

Once they get to the party, Edelgard takes on look at Hubert, before her gaze slides to Ferdinand, swaying in his high heels and clinging to Hubert’s arm for support. She does a full take, her eyes sweeping Ferdinand from head to toe, before she turns back to Hubert again, one eyebrow raised. She thankfully does not comment.

Hubert feels judged all the same

***

3rd Harpstring Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (03/02)

Med School in Garreg Mach University is as brutal and merciless as a Sreng winter.

Starting his last year, Hubert is feeling the pressure tenfold, as even the tiniest slip on his GPA could mean failing to secure his Surgery Residency in Garreg Mach General Hospital. He has not slaved for three years in Med School to end up stuck in some boring field like, Goddess forbid, pediatrics , cleaning snot covered noses, running after hysterical children and, worse of all, dealing with anxious moms.

No. Hubert is going to become a cardio surgeon or die trying. He only has one exam left, sleep can wait and so can food.

“Man, you look like crap”

“Shut up, Sylvain”

“No, really, I don’t think I have seen you leave the flat in weeks, and for the last two days you have been running on nothing but caffeine and spite, you need to take a break”

“I need to study” Hubert replies, not even raising his eyes from the notes in front of him, and taking a sip out his lukewarm coffee “I’m aware that the concept of ‘study’ itself is quite alien to you-”

“I graduated two years ago, man”

“-but some of us care about our grades, and want to ensure we leave this hell hole with a high enough GPA to pursue our desired career”

There is a small pause, as Sylvain finishes putting on his coat and fiddles with the keys on his hand. Hubert takes another sip of coffee. He cannot even taste the flavour anymore. 

“You need to get laid” Sylvain declares after a few more seconds of careful observation.

“What?!” Hubert squawks in indignation.

“I’m sure it would help you release some tension” Sylvain continues, undeterred, twirling his keys in his hand “I could pass you some contacts, if you want…”

“I have no interest in getting an STD from one of your floozies” Hubert hisses.

Sylvain considers him for a moment, head cocked to the side, before he sighs, pulls his wallet out from his back pocket, and proceeds to drop at least ten condoms on top of Hubert’s carefully arranged notes. He has the nerve to wink at him as he does so.

“No glove, no love” he cheerfully says “But, really, take a break, man. You won’t be able to keep up your GPA if you collapse just before the exam”

Hubert stares alternatively at the pile of condoms and Sylvain, too shocked and offended to speak.

“Well, I’m off to see Fe. See you tomorrow!”

And with a cheery wave, Sylvain is out the door, leaving Hubert once again alone in the flat, with only his coffee, his notes, and his newly acquired pile of condoms for company.

***

It is nearing midnight and the pile of condoms Sylvain left behind is teasing Hubert.

He sneaks another look at where the colourful wrappers are spread across the side of his desk, before jerking his head back and focusing once again on his notes. The words blur and dance before his eyes. He has been stuck on the same page for the last half our.

A few more minutes pass. The light of his desk lamp glints off the shiny plastic envelopes.

After reading the same sentence for the fifth time, Hubert pushes away from the desk and pulls out his phone. He mindlessly scrolls down through his messages, until he stumbles upon an unnamed number, the last message dated over a month back. His thumb hovers over the keypad, uncertain, before typing in the words.

[Hubert von Vestra. 03/02/85 23:40h] Hi Ferdinand. Wanna come over?

***

The old monastery bells have just struck midnight when the doorbell to the apartment buzzes, startling Hubert.

At first, he makes no move to stand up, just remains frozen in place, in the dimly lit living room, questioning everything. He has not changed and is still wearing the same wrinkled, coffee stained sweatpants he has been in for the rest of the day. His hair is a mess from hours of pulling at it in frustration and, if Sylvain is to be believed, he looks like death warmed over.

This is all a terrible mistake.

Another buzz, this time accompanied by a ping from his phone, letting him know he has a new message.

He swallows as he finally stands up, legs a bit unsteady from days of sitting down. With three long strides he finds himself at the door, and with a simple twist of his wrist and a pull on the handle, he is looking down at the unfairly beautiful face of one Ferdinand von Aegir, looking even more devastatingly handsome than ever, with a slight flush over freckled cheeks and his hair pulled up on a messy bun, with just a few tendrils loose to better frame his face.

“Hi” Ferdinand greets him, lips stretching into a hesitant smile that still brings out his dimples “I, uh, I brought some muffins? Sylvain mentioned you haven’t been eating, and I-”

His words are cut off by a kiss, as Hubert is not interested in hearing about Sylvain’s grossly exaggerated gossip or the origin of the muffins. He fists a hand in the back of Ferdinand’s head, and the other sneaks around his waist, already pulling the tails of his shirt out of his trousers.

After a few seconds of surprise, Ferdinand responds with equal fervour, mouth opening with greed as he pushes Hubert back inside the apartment, closing the door with a distracted back kick.

They do not even make it to the bed.

***

27th Red Wolf Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (27/08)

“It’s a bit dry, looks like you’ve over baked it slightly, but the flavours I like”

Ferdinand’s hand grip on Hubert’s upper arm tightens as Hanneman von Essar judges Bernadetta’s latest bake, he leans towards the TV, as if he could magically influence the judge’s opinion on his favourite baker’s bread sculpture

“I think it’s delicious” Manuela Casagrandas’s voice filters through the TV speakers, as she takes a large bite of the bread. The camera immediately shifts to Bernadetta, who visibly sags with relief at the praise.

“Bernie totally deserves to be Star Baker” Ferdinand declares, still clinging to Hubert’s arm like a barnacle.

Hubert hums in agreement, not only because he thinks Bernadetta deserves the award (which she totally does, her signature teacakes were miles ahead of the competition, and she was first in technical), but also because he hopes watching his favourite baker win may put Ferdinand in a more celebratory mood. When Hubert had invited him over to spend the afternoon he had more exciting activities in mind than marathoning the latest episodes of The Great Adrestian Bake Off, and yet, they’ve already spent two hours raptly agonising over raising buns, genoise sponges and buttercream piping. 

“Mercedes’ signature cranberry and cinnamon teacakes looked delicious” Ferdinand muses, settling back on the sofa and easing his grip on Hubert’s arm, as Bernadetta takes her bread sculpture back to her station “Maybe I should try baking them someday”

“Please, don’t” pleads Hubert, who spent two weeks scrapping off the charred remains of Ferdinand’s latest baking catastrophe off the oven.

The tip of a cold nose drags along the side of his neck as Ferdinand tucks his head against his shoulder to muffle his laughter. Hubert shivers at the sensation.

“My citrus cake was not that bad” Ferdinand complains, raising his head off Hubert’s shoulder to look him in the eyes, his lower lip stuck out on an adorable pout.

“It was terrible” Hubert tells him, immediately following up his words with a quick kiss on Ferdinand’s pouty lips, to soften the blow.

He can feel Ferdinand smile against him, a short huff of warm breath, followed by even warmer lips, as Ferdinand eagerly returns the kiss. It is not a passionate kiss, a hot, sex-laden prelude to R-rated activities, it is a lazy kiss, soft and comfortable like a cozy winter blanket.  Hubert’s eyes flutter shut as he loses himself into the slow drag of Ferdinand’s lips against his own, his warm weight enveloping him, as he drapes himself all over Hubert’s torso.

On the background Hanneman blathers on about the miracles of yeast or some other nonsense. No one is listening to him anymore. Ferdinand is too busy peppering butterfly kisses all over Hubert’s face, giggling like a loon, and Hubert himself is too lost in the sound of Ferdinand’s awkward, snort-like giggles, and preventing them both from toppling off the sofa.

It is dangerous, and stupid of him, foolish, and he would be better off sneaking a hand underneath Ferdinand’s shirt, or over his ass, taking things in the direction they are meant to, rather than indulging in a senseless fantasy that will never come to be. Instead, Hubert kisses Ferdinand’s cold nose, traps his chilly feet between his own, and lets himself pretend, for one rainy afternoon, that he can have this.

***

25th Garland Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (25/03) 

It has been nearly two months since Hubert’s midnight booty call text to Ferdinand, almost three since that first, rushed blowjob in Edelgard’s guest bedroom, and the hook ups have now become a regular thing.

As loathe as Hubert is to admit Sylvain was right about something, much less when that something relates to Hubert’s sex life (or lack thereof, as was the matter), he has no choice but to do so. Not only did he ace his last exam after spending the night with Ferdinand, his studies in general seem to be going better than ever, now that he can rely on Ferdinand whenever the stress catches up to him, rather than trying to douse it out with caffeine.

Of course, not everything has to do with academics, and Hubert will freely admit the sex itself is great. More than great, it is easily the best sex Hubert has ever had.  The quality is not so much down to any sublime technical expertise on Ferdinand’s side (although his blow jobs remain top notch), but to the unbridled enthusiasm and focus with which he dedicates himself to it. Hubert has always known Ferdinand is an intense person, and although he has found this trait of him annoying in the past (his one-sided rivalry with Edelgard being the prime example), he has to admit he quite likes it when the focus of that intensity is him.

Sure, the first encounters were a bit weird and awkward, especially after the deal was done, when Ferdinand kept fidgeting and blushing like teenage virgin, despite the fact that he just spent thirty minutes riding Hubert’s dick with all the skill of a rodeo cowboy. But the awkwardness quickly disappeared, as did the pathetic attempts at small talk and, sadly, the muffins Ferdinand brought with him whenever he visited.

“You look pensive” Ferdinand comments as he emerges from the shower, skin still reddened from the heat and covered in tiny water droplets.

Hubert hums in assent, eyes tracing a tiny water droplet as it makes its merry way down Ferdinand’s chest to the trail of ginger hair at the bottom of his navel. He is filled with the strongest urge to trace the wet trail it has left behind with his tongue, to get his hands on Ferdinand’s naked, shower-warm skin.

“Come here” he orders, beckoning with his hand for Ferdinand to approach the bed, where he is still laying naked after and afternoon of intense activity.

“I just showered” Ferdinand protests, but approaches all the same.

As he nears the bedside, Hubert pushes himself up, just enough to grab him by the waist and pull him down. Ferdinand goes easy, rolling into his back and looking up at Hubert with fake annoyance. He smells of peppermint and ginseng, Hubert’s shampoo, which makes something warm unfurl within Hubert’s chest.

“If you keep at it I’m not going to be able to make it back to the dorm for dinner” Ferdinand says.

“We can order take away” Hubert responds, ducking down to bite at the junction between Ferdinand’s neck and shoulder, inhaling as he does so.

“Hubert…” 

“You can stay the night” Hubert offers in order to forestall any forthcoming protests, willing to do anything at the moment to keep Ferdinand in his bed, warm and pliant from the shower, as golden and handsome as ever, and smelling like him.

***

Ethereal Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (23/09)

Hubert is not expecting anyone tonight. Sylvain is spending the night at Felix’s, Edelgard has been temporarily banished from visiting for pestering him about his relationship with Ferdinand, and Ferdinand himself is away on a family visit, which is why he ignores the doorbell the first three times it rings.

“Hubert! Sylvain! That’s your doorbell, you fucktards!” screeches a voice from the next apartment.

Of course, there is no ignoring Hilda Goneril’s dulcet tones.

With a sigh, Hubert closes the book he had been reading and heads to the door. He pulls it open, ready to bite the head off whoever is brave (or stupid) enough to disturb his quiet night in, but stops himself short the moment his eyes fall on his late visitor.

Ferdinand stands before him, completely drenched, a large duffel slumped at his feet and tear tracks running down his cheeks. He looks tired, with deep bags under reddened eyes, and shoulders slumped in a defeated slope.

“Can- Can I come in?”

Hubert stands aside, sweeping his hand out on a general invitation gesture, even as he keeps starting at Ferdinand, taking in the messy, unwashed hair and wrinkled clothes, all the while something dark and vicious twists in his gut at the sight. It seems almost sacrilegious to see Ferdinand look so defeated, back hunched as he enters the apartment, dragging his duffel behind him.

“Do you want some tea?” Hubert offers as he lightly closes the door and follows Ferdinand inside “Maybe a shower? You have some spare clothes here, I think, or I could loan you some-”

“A shower would be lovely” Ferdinand says, interrupting his rambling. 

“Good. You, uh, you know where it all is. Make yourself at home” 

Ferdinand nods, giving him a small, broken smile, before he heads towards the shower, leaving Hubert to stand in the living room by himself, a soaked duffel at his feet, feeling confused and anxious. 

***

By the time Ferdinand emerges from the shower, cheeks rosy from the heat, and clad in an old Black Eagles football shirt and sweatpants, Hubert has brewed him an entire teapot of Southern Fruit Blend and bribed Hilda and Marianne next door for some biscuits to go with it. The small, hesitant, but delighted, smile on Ferdinand’s face when he spots the arrangement on the dining room table is reward enough for the effort of dealing with Hilda’s smug looks.

They sit down in silence, one in front of the other. Ferdinand cups his hands around the teacup and blows lightly on the top, waves of orange hair obscuring his face, while Hubert stares intently at him, brimming of questions he wants to ask.

“Thank you for the tea,” Ferdinand says, laying the cup back on its saucer “and for the shower”

“You’re welcome” Hubert replies. His own cup lays untouched at his side, he has not even looked at it once, too focused on studying Ferdinand and trying to figure out what has brought him to his doorstep in the middle of the night, when he should be back in Adrestia visiting his father.

“You’re probably asking yourself why I am here” Ferdinand continues, smiling when Hubert starts shaking his head “It’s fine. It was an unexpected visit, after all. It’s just… I… My Dad… Id didn’t know where to go...”

For a moment it seems as if Ferdinand may break down, but he takes a deep breath, steadies himself and carries on.

“Father and I had a discussion about my career choices,” he says, his voice only wavering the slightest bit “he wanted me to switch back to PoliSci, I refused, and he cut me off”

Hubert stares at him as Ferdinand takes another careful sip of tea.

“He cut you off, as in…?”

“Financially. He froze my access to all my bank accounts, and cancelled the upcoming payment for my tuition and the dorm. He also kicked me out of the house” Ferdinand’s hand trembles as he puts the cup down, the cheap ceramic rattles as it balances on the saucer “I still have access to my own private account, but it barely has enough money to pay for the rest of Vet School, and that’s without taking into account housing, or food, or dressage, and- Oh, Goddess, Dandelion! How will I ever pay the bills for the stables? Do you know how expensive horses are, Hubert?”

Hubert has no idea how expensive horses are, he does not care much for Dandelion either, as the few times they met the damned beast had done its best to try and bite off his fingers and his head in a fit of possessiveness over his rider. Even so, one thing he definitely does not care for is seeing Ferdinand like this, with tears running down his cheeks, face twisted in anxiousness and despair, crying his heart out in Hubert’s dining room.

The words come out of his mouth before he has time to think them through.

“You could move in with me”

There is a moment of silence, broken only by Ferdinand’s quiet sniffling sounds as he tries to stop his tears.

Ferdinand looks at Hubert with watery eyes, huge amber orbs shining with tears.

“Sylvain is moving away by the end of next month,” Hubert adds when Ferdinand fails to  respond “and next year I’ll be a resident, so money won’t be as much of an issue”

It is not like he will be swimming in it, exactly, but Hubert is not precisely thinking things through at the moment.

“Hubert… I couldn’t ask that of you” Ferdinand says, even though it is clear in his voice he wants nothing more than to accept the offer. At least, the tears seem to have stopped for a bit.

“You’re not asking, I’m offering” clarifies Hubert, unwilling to let Ferdinand’s overblown sense of nobility prevent him from accepting the help he so desperately needs.

“I’ll get a job to help with the bills” declares Ferdinand, angrily wiping his cheeks.

“Of course” he agrees. There are plenty of job offers for cash-strapped students in Garreg Mach, he is sure Dorothea would be more than happy to put in a nice word for Ferdinand at the Immaculate Bean.

“I’ll pay you back” Ferdinand promises, his ever present optimism once again colouring his voice.

Hubert smiles at him. Just a few months ago  he had vehemently argued against Edelgard’s suggestion to have Ferdinand move in with him to help pay rent. He is now not only willing to waive the rent requirement, he actually is actively arguing with Ferdinand to convince him to move in.

“Thank you so much, Hubert” Ferdinand says, reaching out across the table and entwining his fingers with Hubert’s own. There is still a slight tremor in his hand, but his grip is strong. He smiles at Hubert, reddened eyes, messy hair, and dimpled cheeks, to Hubert he has never looked as beautiful as he does at this moment, shining bright despite the sadness and the pain.

It is as that precise thought crosses his mind, followed by the urge to reach out and wipe the tears out of Ferdinand’s face with his free hand, that realisation dawns.

Well, Fuck.

29th Blue Sea Moon, Imperial Year 2185 (29/04)

The old Aegir Estate looks like something out of a period movie, with its sprawling gardens and the imposing white colonnade at the main facade. Hubert has grown surrounded by riches since he was a kid, and Vestra Manor back in Enbarr is definitely nothing to scoff at, but the Aegir Estate has a majesty to it that seems to rival even the Imperial Palace itself.

“Father is away for the next two weeks,” Ferdinand tells him in a conspiratorial tone, as he tugs Hubert away from the car and towards the large marble staircase leading up to the doors “which means we get the place all to ourselves. I’ve even sent the service away”

“Even the service?” Hubert asks “Oh, my, how scandalous of you, Mr. Aegir”

Ferdinand giggles in delight as he leads him up the steps. They stop before a twin set of massive brass plated doors, decorated with reliefs depicting key moments in the history of the Adrestian Empire, from the War of Heroes, to the War of Unification, including as well scenes from the War of the Eagle and Lion and the Crescent Moon War.

“You know, I was named after him” Ferdinand says, when he spots Hubert studying the doors. He points at a relief from the War of Unification, a knight riding on a magnificent warhorse, carrying a banner bearing the Adrestian Eagle, next to him stands a half-hidden figure in long robes, a spellcaster of some sort  “Ferdinand von Aegir I, one of the Jewels of the Empire”

Hubert nods, his eyes still fixed on the robbed figure standing next to the ancient von Aegir. There were two jewels in Ancient Adrestia, and the second one had belonged to House Vestra. He wonders what those two powerful, war-hardened, wise men would think about their descendants sneaking away for a weekend to fool around.

“Are you coming?” Ferdinand asks, cutting his musings short, as he pushes one of the massive doors open.

“Lead the way” Hubert responds, motioning forward with one hand and bowing deep at the waist.

He is rewarded with another delighted laugh from Ferdinand, who wastes no time in grabbing his extended hand and pulling him inside. 

The foyer in which they find themselves in is as grand and opulent as the exterior would lead one to believe, marble flooring shining bright, high vaulted ceilings decorated with fresco paintings, and golden candelabras hanging from above. The furniture is equally impressive, somewhat old fashioned in style, but luxuriant and decadent enough to make up for it.

Their steps echo across the long hallway, fading away in the eerie silence that surrounds the entire Estate, the squeaky sounds of their rubber soled shoes clashing with the opulent grandeur of the building.

Halfway through the foyer, Ferdinand pauses, his grip on Hubert’s hand tightening for one brief moment, before it grows slack. Their hands fall away from one another as Ferdinand turns to look at him, head slightly bowed and face obscured by a fall of copper locks, the tip of his ears dusted an endearing shade of pink.

“I actually wanted to... talk with you this weekend” Ferdinand half whispers, stepping closer to Hubert and looking at him from behind lowered lashes.

“Talk?” Hubert asks with a laugh. The sound echoes around them, loud and hollow “We can do that perfectly fine back home. This weekend I plan to christen every room in this magnificent Estate”

He punctuates his sentence by sneaking an arm around Ferdinand’s waits and dragging him close, until they are chest to chest, their faces mere inches apart. From this distance it is easy to see the flush spreading across Ferdinand’s cheeks, reddened skin dotted around with tan freckles like a golden night sky.

Something that may be disappointment flashes across Ferdinand’s face, almost too quick to catch, and his brows furrow for a moment as he looks up at Hubert. He opens his mouth as if to say something, and closes it immediately afterwards, no words spoken. He swallows.

“Yeah, that’s a good plan” he says in a slightly hoarse voice.

Hubert wastes no time in closing the scant distance separating them, mouth open and eager crashing against Ferdinand’s welcoming lips, and they soon get started on christening the main foyer.

***

They do not make it to the bedroom until late afternoon.

Their clothes lay abandoned somewhere between the Grand Ballroom and the main staircase, spread out over marble floors and expensive Almyran rugs, so they are both buck naked, and covered in sweat, as they catch their breath after a particularly athletic round.

The late afternoon light filters through the open windows, covering the entire room in hues of gold and amber. The weak sun rays stream across the bed to paint over Ferdinand’s naked body, trails of gold outlining the defined muscles on his chest and legs, bringing out new shades of copper in his hair, messy and spread out over white pillows. His chest raises with each breath he takes, a slow, rhythmic movement, and a lazy, satisfied smile spreads across his lips, as he turns over to look at Hubert, eyes half lidded and still half clouded with lust.

He is so beautiful as to look almost ethereal, and Hubert wants him so much it actually hurts.

He pushes himself up on shaky arms, and half crawls, half drags himself over to Ferdinand, lips already parted for another kiss.

Ferdinand lets himself be kissed, lips lazily dragging against Hubert’s own, trembling slightly when Hubert drags one possessive hand across the sun warmed skin at his side. As always, so easy, welcoming, and eager to please. He is so good. Too good for someone like Hubert to hoard.

“I don’t know if I can go again” Ferdinand half laughs, voice hoarse and out of breath “You know, we can always come back another weekend to finish the christening, there are plenty of rooms left”

Hubert silences him with a kiss. Goddess knows if will ever get another weekend. It has already been four months of this, and he knows it will not take Ferdinand long to grow tired of him and move onto someone else, someone better who can actually charm him and sweep him off his feet like he deserves. He crawls on Ferdinand’s lap, legs spread out on either side of his hips as he slowly grinds down, swallowing the broken whimper that escapes Ferdinand’s lips at the touch. He chooses to focus on the here and now, on Ferdinand’s hands gripping his own hips, his mouth hot and open under his own, the shallow breaths that escape between his lips. 

There is no point in dwelling on things he cannot have. 

***

Guardian Moon, Imperial Year 2185  (05/10)

“Let me get this clear” Edelgard grumbles, pinching the bridge of her nose, as she sits on one of the multiple boxes littering Hubert’s living room “You have been sleeping with Ferdinand for nearly a year , a year on which you’ve done couple-y stuff like go on romantic weekends away or wear matching costumes for All Hallow’s Eve. You’ve even become addicted to that stupid baking show -don’t interrupt me- because Ferdinand likes it. Now you’ve asked him to move in with you, without even paying rent, and it was only after you agreed to basically become his sugar daddy that you realised you’re in love with him. Do I have it right?”

“...I’m not his sugar daddy” is Hubert’s only, feeble, pathetic, protest.

“You’re paying his rent, his groceries, and his bills. Not to mention how you have even managed to have Marianne agree to take care of his dumb horse, and got Dorothea to offer him that job at the coffee shop”

Hubert does not reply, sitting sullenly in the sofa, surrounded by enormous piles of boxes on each side. He can hear Sylvain snickering quietly in the background. He really wishes he and Felix would finish boxing all their shit up and fuck off to their new love-nest once and for all.

“You know it’s not a bad thing that you’re in love with Ferdinand, right?” Edelgard asks him, leaning forward with a concerned expression.

Hubert turns his head to avoid looking her in the eyes. Edelgard has a very judging stare, and he does not care much for being on its receiving end “I didn’t mean to”

“Well, of course, no one means to fall in love!” Edelgard exclaims, sounding almost offended at the implication “It just happens. I didn’t plan to fall for my PA, and I’m sure Felix here didn’t plan to fall for Sylvain either”

“I actively avoided it” Mutters Felix in the background.

(Oh, yes, Hubert remembers the Great Avoidance Summer of 2183, when Felix stopped talking to Sylvain and refused to even answer his texts. Sylvain had spent the entirety of the summer months bemoaning their lost friendship and binge watching The Real Housewives of Fhirdiad while eating ice cream out of the tub)

“My point is, Hubert, you are not the first person to fall in love with someone they didn’t expect to”

As much as he wants to argue that those kinds of things are all fine and dandy, but not the type of stuff that happens to him , he wisely keeps his mouth shut.

“So, how are you going to confess? I know a few good restaurants in town that I’m sure Ferdinand would absolutely adore-”

“What? I’m not going to confess” Hubert spits the last word out. Confess? He would rather die than subject himself to the humiliation.

Edelgard’s brows slide back together, forming a straight, judgemental line over her lavender eyes.

“What do you mean you are not going to confess?” she says in a dangerous, low voice.

Hubert hesitates for a moment, unwilling to subject himself to further judgement from his best friend.

“You heard me” he finally mutters.

Edelgard closes her eyes and takes a deep, long breath through her nose, before she exhales loudly. 

“You mean to tell me” she begins, fixing her eyes back on Hubert, brows burrowed and fingers pressed together in front of her face “that you plan to live with the man you’re in love with, continue to have sex with him, and pay his share of the rent and bills, without ever telling him you are in love with his dumb ass?”

That, indeed, sounds like a grand plan in Hubert’s mind. 

“Yes,” he answers “that’s exactly what I’ll do”

“You’ve got to be shitting me!” she exclaims in frustration, twin splotches of colour appearing on her pale cheeks “Why in Sothis’ name can’t you just confess?”

“And get rejected?” Hubert replies, arms crossed over his chest as he leans back on the sofa. He cannot understand why Edelgard is so keen on him being humiliated.

Edelgard presses her fingers to both sides of her forehead, making slow, circle motions, to massage her temples.

“You think you are going to be rejected. By Ferdinand” The way she says it, one would think Hubert is delusional.

“Of course” 

Ferdinand will surely be very graceful and polite when he turns Hubert down, he will probably offer to stay good friends as well, even though they were never particularly good friends in the first place. What is worse, is that he will see Hubert’s help as some kind of bribe to win his affections, and the whole thing will become unnecessarily strained and complicated. No, they will be much better off if Hubert keeps his stupid feelings to himself.

Edelgard boggles at him.

“I need a drink” she says, voice faint.

“Third box to your left” Sylvain shouts from the other end of the room.

Without another word, Edelgard finds the box and extracts an aged whiskey, which she proceeds to chug straight from the bottle.

“But I thought he and Ferdinand were already going out…?” Felix whispers to Sylvain in the background, still loud enough for everyone else to hear.

“It’s complicated” Sylvain replies, not even bothering to whisper “Personally, I think they make a very cute couple”

“No one asked you!” Hubert hisses over the back of the couch “Go back to packing!”

***

Pegasus Moon (01/11)

After an entire day of carrying boxes from the Black Eagle dorms to the apartment, both Hubert and Ferdinand are exhausted. They still need to unpack, but that task has been pushed to the next day, as neither has the energy to sort through Ferdinand’s insane amount of clothes and shoes.

Plus, it is The Great Adrestian Bake Off final, and Ferdinand made it clear that, sort of a Second War of Unification breaking out, nothing is going to stop him from bearing witness to Bernadetta’s great baking triumph.

“Mercedes did a great job with showstopper” Hubert comments as Mercedes walks back to her station with her sumptuous looking sticky toffee pudding cake.

“Hubert!” Ferdinand exclaims in indignation, tearing his eyes away from the TV for the first time in the last hour to glare at Hubert “How can you betray Bernadetta like this?”

“I’m not betraying her, I’m just appreciating her competitor’s skills” Hubert defends himself “I’m sure Bernadetta’s cake will be equally, if not more, amazing”

Ferdinand huffs, but seems appeased by Hubert’s response, turning his eyes back to the TV and snuggling once again against Hubert’s side, his head resting on his shoulder, a few frizzy curls tickling the side of his neck.

Turning his head slightly to the side to nose at Ferdinand’s wild curls, Hubert sneaks an arm around his shoulders and pulls him close, enjoying the way Ferdinand goes easily, melting into his side, even as his eyes don’t leave the TV. 

Bernadetta’s wedding cake, baked in honour of two of her best friends who are getting married next summer, turns out to be a resounding success with the judges. Hanneman will not stop gushing about the flavour and texture, and Manuela lets out a moan so lewd it should not have been allowed to air on a G-rated show like this.

As Bernadetta returns to her station, and the hosts announce a commercial break, Ferdinand turns to look at Hubert, a charmingly smug smile planted on his face.

Hubert is overcome by a wave of affection for the man sitting at his side. He wishes he could stretch this evening into eternity, to hold Ferdinand like this at his side, in their shared home, and have him look up with that dazzling smile. He is so caught up in the moment, tracing the freckled constellations on Ferdinand’s cheeks, that the words slip out without him even noticing.

“I love you”

He realises what he has just said when he sees Ferdinand’s eyes widen in surprise. His breath catches in his throat, as he freezes in anticipation. He screws his eyes shut.

“I know” Ferdinand says, planting a kiss on top of each of his eyelids “I love you too” he adds, voice soft, before his head comes to rest, once again, on Hubert’s shoulder.

A few moments pass.

Hubert cracks one eye open. Ferdinand is snug against his side, gaze fixed on the TV, absently chewing on his thumb. He opens his other eye, staring at Ferdinand in bewilderment. 

“No, I mean I love you, as in I want to date you” he says, in case the true meaning of his words has been somewhat lost on Ferdinand. The man throws his love around so easily (to his friends, to his horse,...) that he probably though Hubert meant it as close flatmates or something like it. Just to be sure, he adds “Romantically”

Ferdinand raises his head to look back at him, eyes soft and a wide smile on his lips.

“Hubert, darling, I have been trying to date you for over a year now, I have been in love for you longer than that, and while it’s very nice of you to finally notice, they are about to announce the winner”

And with that he turns his attention back to the screen, leaving Hubert to gape at the top of his head like a fish.

Bernadetta wins, as expected, and Ferdinand cheers loudly to celebrate her victory. Hubert is still too shocked to react, so he just sits there, completely baffled, as he tries to process what Ferdinand just said.

There are hugs and congratulatory kiss aplenty on the screen. Bernadetta cries as she accepts her award, Manela is straight out bawling, and even Hanneman has a small tear escape from the corner of his eye.

The screen abruptly flickers off, fading to black, and Ferdinand turns to look at Hubert once again, a teasing smile on lips.

“Now, where were we?”

Hubert stares at him, torn between the urge to kiss him senseless and the need to demand another clarification, because he does not think his heart could take it if this is a joke or a misunderstanding.

“...You love me?”

“Most ardently” Ferdinand declares, like the drama queen he is at heart, looping his arms around the back of Hubert’s neck and leaning in close, his breath ghosting over Hubert’s lips “I had planned to declare my love for you at Edelgard’s New Year party last year, but you decided to bolt before I could muster up the courage”

Hubert flashes back at that party, so long ago, the sight of Ferdinand on his knees “So you gave me a blowjob instead?”

A snort “Yeah, romantically ” 

Hubert smiles down at Ferdinand, still finding it all hard to believe, and proceeds to close the minute gap between their lips and kiss him with all he has got, trying to make up for the months lost and show his own love at the same time.

***

[Hubert, 01/11/85 23:50pm]: Ferdinand and I are now dating

[Edelgard, 02/11/85 09:13am]: Thank Sothis. Finally.