Felix likes cats.
Cats are dependable animals. Solitary and self-sufficient. He can rely on them to take care of themselves without any extended effort on his part. They’re strong and fast, which is especially impressive for their size. He can appreciate the tenacity in such tiny little bodies.
However, Felix also likes to be told about things which may or may not affect his lifestyle before they do, in fact, start to affect his lifestyle. It’s a simple enough concept that none of his ridiculously carefree friends understand, and has gotten them in enough trouble before - trouble that Felix has to haul them out of, as if he’s got nothing better to do with his time.
So, when Felix unlocks the door to his apartment one night -
“I’m home - what the fuck - “
- to see his roommate huddled over a mangy little thing -
“Shh!” Dimitri whispers. His back is turned away from him, and his hand is outstretched. There’s a heap of kibble in his palm.
- he thinks he has every right to feel a little incensed.
“Welcome home, Felix,” Dimitri says, blithely scratching their intruder under its chin.
Dimitri’s ministrations are making the cat purr, loudly and obnoxiously, like a miniature lawnmower. Its matted black fur is saturated with water, dripping all over the kitchen floor, and its tail is twitching - until suddenly it starts to swish back and forth, back and forth.
Felix blinks, and its eyes, huge and amber, are staring directly at him.
As far as cats go, this one looks like a cryptid.
“What the fuck,” Felix repeats, unbelieving.
“I couldn’t leave her outside,” Dimitri says, smiling softly at the cat. She purrs louder, if that’s at all possible, and rubs her wet head against his knee, leaving a damp patch. “It is so cold, and rainy. She might freeze.”
“She’s a cat,” Felix says, crossing his arms. He sits down, watching the two of them warily. “Cats are resilient.”
Dimitri gives him a look of reproach. He looks utterly scandalised, as though Felix has just suggested they go and bodily fling the cat out their window.
“Felix!” he exclaims, mouth turned downward. “Where is your heart?”
Felix looks him dead in the eye, and slowly points a finger to his own chest. Dimitri, the dickhead, ignores him completely.
Bastard, Felix thinks, especially when Dimitri grabs one of their good towels - the large, white fluffy ones that Felix had been saving for himself - and starts to rub the cat down.
The cat is rumbling, now, like a lion despite its tiny size, and is smugly gazing at Felix from the gap between Dimitri’s legs. Slowly, it yawns, showing off a row of sharp teeth.
Slowly, Felix raises his middle finger.
“She is so thin,” Dimitri frowns, oblivious to everything.
Felix twitches. Dimitri only has one functioning eye, but he may as well be blind, because that cat’s belly comes dangerously shy of skimming the ground. Thin, his ass.
He voices this.
“No, she’s not,” Felix frowns. “She’s fat.”
“That is both rude and inaccurate,” he says, looking at Felix disapprovingly. Disapprovingly. “Please, Felix. Be more mindful of your words.”
Felix gapes, incredulous. How is he being rude? “She’s a cat. She can’t understand us.”
Dimitri holds the cat up and ignores Felix entirely. He is careful to be as gentle as possible. Felix sometimes finds it difficult to watch as such large hands handle such tiny things so delicately. It’s an odd feeling, and he’s long since dismissed it as a byproduct of being with the man for so many years.
“Look at you. You are such a sweetheart, aren’t you?” Dimitri coos, adoringly.
The cat meows. Felix resists the urge to grind his teeth.
Dimitri beams. “Of course you are!”
Great. Now Dimitri’s baby-talking the cat. As if his evening couldn’t get any more taxing after coming home to a stray, now Felix has to endure what will probably become hours of Dimitri babbling to a cat, of all things.
All he had wanted was dinner and a shower, but fine.
“Whatever. I’m going to bed,” Felix snipes.
“Your plate is in the microwave, Felix,” Dimitri says distractedly, not taking his eyes off the cat. “Give me a moment, and I will eat with you.”
Felix pauses in his tracks. “...Fine,” he says, before moving to the kitchen.
Dimitri does not, in fact, eat with Felix as they usually do, which is something that he endlessly apologises for later on. ‘ I was trying to get her to sleep in my bed’, is his piss-poor excuse. Felix waves him off as soon as he starts the same apologetic tirade.
“Whatever,” he says. He’s already eaten his food, long after it had cooled down.
Felix goes to bed feeling more irritable than usual.
Whatever. They’ll just let the cat out tomorrow. It can’t hurt to keep her for a couple of days. Who knows why Dimitri is so fond of the stupid cat, but then again, he can’t help but be stupidly kind to anything that breathes.
As long as the cat doesn’t touch any of Felix’s stuff, he can live with it.
By the next day, Felix has decided that he cannot, in fact, live with it.
“What do you mean, you want to keep her?"
Dimitri straightens. He is cuddling the cat to his chest, and she apparently has no problem with taking a nap there.
“Please, Felix. Look at her,” Dimitri pleads. “She needs a home.”
Felix looks at her. She certainly looks like she's found a home already. On Dimitri's chest.
“She might have an owner,” he grits out.
“We can check whether she has an owner or not before we leave her outside!"
“We’re not allowed pets, you idiot!"
“I checked with Byleth,” Dimitri finishes, holding up his phone. He is grinning, as if he's already won. “He adores cats. He says he is amenable.”
Byleth is probably amenable because the man has a soft spot that transcends galaxies for Dimitri, but that's another story.
“Caring for a cat,” Felix says, “is a huge investment.” He pauses. It’s not as much of an investment as a dog, but he’s not voicing this. “Why do you want one so badly, anyway?”
“She is adorable,” Dimitri answers, glowing. He only has one phrase on repeat, apparently. Like a broken record. “It would go against my better conscience to leave her without a home.”
Felix squints, scrutinising Dimitri’s expression closely, and -
Wait. Wait - no. Felix knows Dimitri, has known him since their childhood days, and he knows that a finishing phrase like that more often than not leads to -
Ah. There it is. The infamous puppy dog eyes. Dimitro doesn't even know he's doing it half the time, and it's infuriating.
Felix won't fall for it.
“No,” Felix decides. “No, we are not keeping her - “
Five hours later, Dimitri, Felix, and a cat carrier are leaving the vet clinic.
“You were so brave today,” Dimitri smiles, peering into the carrier. Dimitri is trying to poke his fingers through the holes in the mesh. His reward for such kindness is a series of pitiful growls.
Felix harrumphs. “You’re speaking to the thing like you’ve had her for years.”
Dimitri ignores him, and instead carefully places the carrier in the backseat, before climbing in and strapping himself next to it. Resigned, Felix gets behind the wheel.
It's just as he expected. As soon as the car starts, the cat starts to yowl, incessant, as if Felix has personally offended it.
“Don’t worry,” Dimitri coos. “We will be home soon.”
He starts making kissy sounds at the cat. Kissy sounds.
“And then, Kina,” Dimitri murmurs, oblivious to Felix’s gagging, “you can sleep in your new basket.”
Kina is a terrible name, Felix thinks sourly. Too sweet, and completely unlike the smug menace the cat truly is.
He voices this.
“It’s better than Gilgamesh,” Dimitri pouts. He’s in the backseat, so Felix has no idea if he actually is pouting, but that sad inflection in his voice means that there's a ninety percent chance that he is.
“Fuck you. Gilgamesh is a good name.” Felix pauses. “You’re too much of a coward to go for it. That’s all.”
Dimitri’s excuse is that he is too embarrassed to have the vet poke their head out of the door and call the name ‘Gilgamesh’ whenever the cat needs a checkup. That, and he just has no taste.
“I am not allowing our cat to be named Gilgamesh,” Dimitri says, firmly.
“It's not our cat,” Felix grouses. “It’s yours. Name her what you want. It’s still a stupid name.”
Dimitri ignores him, again, in favour of humming to his cat. Felix’s knuckles go white on the wheel.
When they get home, Felix forces himself to tune out Dimitri’s cat talk, focusing instead on cutting the leftover pizza into slices for dinner. He picks out the jalapenos and eats them, too, because Dimitri’s body can’t handle spicy food, yet the man himself won’t notice until he’s gasping for water. Even though Felix knows jalapenos really aren’t that spicy, he’d given up long ago on trying to raise his friends’ spice tolerance. After all, there’s only so much he can do with diets of sweets, cheese, and not much else.
“Thank you, Felix,” Dimitri says, from where he’s crouched on the floor. The cat is winding around his legs. “Give me one moment while I feed Kina.”
To Dimitri’s credit, they do actually eat together tonight. Felix is only left waiting impatiently for five minutes at the most, before Dimitri drags his chair to the table, and digs in next to him.
Of course, the universe has it out for him today, so his luck doesn’t last. As soon as Felix opens his mouth to point out the crumbs on Dimitri’s cheek, Dimitri gasps, and his attention diverts from Felix entirely.
“Look, Felix,” he points, excitedly. “She’s heading to her basket!”
Felix turns his head, ever so slightly. The cat is padding down the hallway, and stops only to sniff at the door frame. From his view, it seems as if the basket is right in front of it, but the cat can’t seem to find it, judging by how it has started to stare down at the carpet as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.
“Great,” Felix says, unenthusiastically. He picks up the pizza, and tears off a huge chunk with his teeth.
“She is so smart…”
“I am going to record this.”
Saints, Dimitri is so embarrassing. He’s already gotten up, pulling his phone out of his back pocket and taking an astronomically long time to navigate to the camera app.
Felix looks at the plate he leaves. His food is barely touched.
Again, it makes him feel irritable.
“Have fun recording her,” Felix snipes. He pushes his clean plate towards the sink, and moves towards the door. “I’m going to bed.” Even though it’s far too early for bed.
“Goodnight, Felix,” Dimitri stage-whispers. He doesn’t glance at Felix. “I will send you the videos in the morning.”
Felix saves the videos when he wakes up. Or rather, WhatsApp has already saved them for him, and he doesn’t have the time to delete them out of his camera roll.
He also wakes up to see that Glenn has finally replied to his message from days ago. Late, like the asshole he is.
CHAT: fraldarius + thebetterfraldarius
Tuesday 29th October
thebetterfraldarius [03:53]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0Ncawy2LJc
thebetterfraldarius [03:53]: found you
fraldarius [07:23]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiG-8cmQrKE
Felix lurches out of bed some moments later, groggy and blurry-eyed. Briefly, he considers singing an ode to Dimitri, who has made his coffee perfectly and has put a saucer over his mug. ( Briefly. He’s not embarrassing himself.)
When he gets to the living room, coffee mug in one hand and wiping the sleep out of his eyes with the other, he finds Dimitri playing Breath of the Wild. This isn’t surprising, because Dimitri has spent the last few months consumed by the game, ever since he had meekly asked Felix if he could play after the latter had 100%-ed his own file.
What is surprising, though, is that the cat is there, too. Sitting next to him.
On Felix’s side of the sofa. On Felix’s seat.
“Oi,” Felix says, impatient. “Move.” He has an hour before he has to leave - he can watch for a while as Dimitri plays the snowling game on repeat, or whatever it is that he likes to do.
The cat blinks at him, lazy and self-satisfied, before curling up into a rotund mass of fur. Bastard.
“Felix, don’t do that,” Dimitri reproaches, without looking up from his screen. “She’s comfortable already.”
Felix feels his eyes narrow. “...That’s my seat.”
Dimitri points to the armchair. “Why not sit there for today?” he suggests, before he finishes off the Lynel.
Felix stares at the old, crusty armchair Dimitri had pointed at. The armchair they had both silently agreed upon never using when they had first moved in. The one that is essentially a posterboy for bad interior design, and only serves to take up space in their living room.
Felix chugs down the rest of his coffee, and turns to leave.
“I’ll leave,” he grumbles, grabbing his coat. “I wasn’t going to stay for long, anyway.”
“All right, Felix,” Dimitri mumbles, still distracted. Still not looking up. “Safe journey.”
“It’s just ten minutes on the train,” Felix says. He unhooks his keys.
That gets Dimitri’s attention. He looks up, and catches Felix’s eyes. “All the same.”
Felix can’t berate him for his overprotectiveness. Sure, it’s annoying at times - the train isn’t going to fucking stab him, goddamn it - but having your dad and one of your closest friends nearly murdered on their way to work really does fuck up your mental health like no other. For years, too. Felix would know.
He leaves their apartment, and shuts the door behind him.
Minutes later, he opens the door again, and pokes his head inside the living room.
“Did you take your meds?” Felix says, sharply.
“In a moment.” The reply is muffled.
Felix comes to a startling, stupid, and frankly ridiculous realisation at work.
Is he being replaced by the cat?
It’s stupid. The thought had come out of nowhere, said in the inner-Sylvain voice that Felix annoyingly has and refuses to acknowledge, because it’s a universal fact that nothing good ever comes out of inner-Sylvain. Why the hell would a cat be replacing him? And why would Felix be so bothered by it?
He’s not weak enough to get so worked up over being replaced by a cat of all things, so clearly that’s not the case. But… Dimitri. There’s no doubt that Dimitri is being increasingly… distracted. And Felix isn’t stupid - he knows it’s making him irritable. Frustratingly, though, he has no idea why.
Frustrated is a good word to describe himself. This stupid, burning question makes him twitchy and agitated.
Instead of dwelling on it, Felix pulls out his phone.
CHAT: fraldarius + 🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻
Tuesday 29th October
fraldarius [13:11]: oi
fraldarius [13:11]: did you take your meds
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [13:37]: Good afternoon, Felix :)
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [13:40]: Yes, I did.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [13:44]: Thank you for reminding me :)
Felix snorts at the length of time between the texts. Dimitri’s fat thumbs fail him once again, it seems.
fraldarius [13:45]: change your name. it looks ridiculous.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [13:59]: I don’t know how :(
He clicks his phone off, and leaves it at that.
When Felix comes home, Dimitri is hunched over his laptop, making lesson plans. He greets Felix with his usual wave, before getting back to his work.
Felix chances a glance at the man. Dimitri is strenuously copying and pasting pictures of animals off the Internet onto a PowerPoint, and is typing, very slowly, their French translations into little textboxes next to each corresponding picture. It’s odd that he doesn’t have one pre-prepared, but whatever. Dimitri can do what he wants.
Even if that includes letting his back curve like a meridian. Felix frowns, but leaves it, lest he start sounding like Dedue. Too soft and far too concerned.
Dimitri looks busy, and will probably forget to eat until the early hours, so Felix finds himself in the kitchen again. This time, he makes chicken curry, because he is not like Sylvain and does not condone the consumption of the same meal (read: rice in those fucking packets, who even eats those) every night. He adds vegetables, too, to switch up the textures a bit.
Half of him wishes he had Flayn over to make dessert, because Dimitri had actually gotten a numb mouth from her cooking once. However, he is also absolutely certain that, if he invited her, she’d only make him play Fruit Ninja with real fruit, like she did last time. And Felix is not in the mood to paint their walls with red again, in the decidedly less fun way.
So here he is, reduced to reducing the spice in Dimitri’s saucepan, because again, if Dimitri consumes this much spice (read: two teaspoons), his face will turn as red as a lobster and he won’t even say anything, because fuck him and his pathetic desire to be so nice.
Felix finishes cooking with a violent twist of the hob.
“Thank you, Felix. This looks delicious,” Dimitri approaches, yawning, after Felix calls him over.
“It’s decent,” Felix says. He draws his chair to the table, and sticks his fork right into the middle.
Dimitri makes an appreciative sound as he eats. Felix has no way of knowing if he’s genuinely enjoying the food, or if he’s faking it. It annoys him, but at least Dimitri doesn’t outright offer him his own food now, like he used to do.
“How was work today?” Dimitri asks, after swallowing down a mouthful. He always likes conversation. Felix obliges, because he knows Dimitri is worse with silence, even with present company.
“Fine,” Felix swallows. He dislikes small talk, but casts his mind around for something anyway. “Didn’t do much. Mostly just finished up some paperwork from last week.” He sets his fork down. “Most eventful thing was that one guy dropped his coffee on his desk.”
He’s pleased when Dimitri makes a sympathetic sound.
“Oh dear,” Dimitri says. “I hope none of it got on you?”
“No,” Felix says. “Obviously. I woud’ve cut him otherwise.”
“Felix…” Dimitri sighs. “Perhaps you should try to avoid resorting to violence at the first chance you get.”
“Hm,” Felix considers. “No.”
Dimitri sighs again, more exasperated than the last. Felix valiantly ignores him.
“What about you,” he grunts, between spoons of curry. Hm. He’d used too little salt. “How was work?”
“I had a wonderful time today,” Dimitri beams, before he launches into an excited recount of his day, involving the extensive use of hand gestures. It's annoyingly endearing, and very Dimitri. “The children were very well-behaved. They were so incredibly excited to learn French that some didn’t even want to leave for lunch. I think I might organise some French games for them for their Christmas party…” Dimitri stops, stuffs his face, and then sets his fork down again. “Do you remember Soraya?”
Yes. “No. Which one is she?”
Felix remembers an embarrassing amount of Dimitri’s class. Soraya, Aleyna, Adrian, Julian, Yusuf… There’s even a boy named Felix in there, who, according to Dimitri, always writes his ‘5’s backwards and never writes in full sentence answers, but is otherwise very smart.
… Why Felix knows all of this, he will never know.
“She was the one who made those Halloween cupcakes,” Dimitri explains, patiently. Of course Felix remembers. Those were cupcakes he could actually eat without wanting to throw up. “Anyway, today she told me about her visit to Winter Wonderland. It reminded me fondly about our past visits there, but it also got me thinking… we should go there again sometime, Felix!”
Felix sets down his own fork, and casts his mind back to the rides put up every year for Winter Wonderland. He thinks about the one that had left his legs precariously dangling. The one with the bungee jump that genuinely made him think he was going to die, launched in the air, squashed with a group of the most insufferable people he had ever known. Or the one with four loops in quick succession.
… Felix has very particular memories about Dimitri in that last one.
“Last time we went on a rollercoaster, you complained that you couldn’t see anything,” he says, cross.
“Yes, well,” Dimitri smiles, “this time I will make sure to keep my head up.”
“Sylvain threw up on me,” Felix says, curling his lip in disgust. “I’m not going with him.”
It was disgusting. And Ingrid had gotten it on video, like the traitor she was.
“Come now, Felix. We can’t leave Sylvain out,” Dimitri frowns. Then, he straightens, with an air of unflappable determination, and says, gravely: “I will sit next to him so he will vomit on me, instead.”
Felix stares at him.
Dimitri stares back.
“... You’re hopeless,” Felix says, shaking his head. “Maybe. I’ll see if I’m free.”
They finish their meal in relatively companionable silence, and for once in the past two days, Felix doesn’t think about the cat.
Three days later, Felix is beginning to understand that the universe hates him in particular, and wants him to suffer by rifling him through a constant cycle of abject despair.
“You!” he shouts.
His accusing finger points a line to the cat, who is curled up into a ball again. Who doesn’t move from her space. Her space, in the middle of the bed. His bed.
“Felix!” The door bursts open, and Dimitri rushes into the room. He is clutching a badminton racket like one would clutch a sword. “Why are you shouting - ah.”
Felix points furiously. “Get your cat off my bed.”
Dimitri’s face falls. He has the audacity to look upset. “I…” He drops the racket, and turns his upset frown on Felix, as if he wasn’t the victim. “She looks so peaceful, Felix.”
“Don’t care. I just washed those sheets. She’s ruining it.”
Felix glares at Dimitri. Dimitri holds his gaze, still making a face. Desperate.
“Please let her. I will wash your sheets,” Dimitri pleads. “I can’t bring myself to disturb her sleep.”
Felix appraises him. Dimitri’s hands are clasped together, as if supplicating him. He really is taking this seriously.
“Fine,” Felix echoes, before he starts striding towards the bed.
Dimitri, damn him, somehow crosses to Felix’s spot in half the time it takes Felix himself to get there, and - fuck! - starts to drag him back. As if Felix is a dog that needs taming, and Dimitri is tugging at his collar.
It is so humiliating, and if he would be slipping free of that iron-grip if he weren’t being manhandled like a burlap sack.
“Ow - fuck! Dimitri, watch it!”
Dimitri lets go of his shoulder immediately, looking horrified. Great. Felix resists the urge to massage his shoulder.
“Sorry, sorry!” Dimitri looks genuinely, mournfully apologetic. “I forgot my own strength.”
“Clearly,” Felix grumbles.
Dimitri tugs at his own sleeve. “I am so sorry,” he tells him again, voice hushed, and Felix waves him off. The cat, miraculously, still hasn’t woken up.
They stare at each other in silence for a good minute before Dimitri works up the courage to break it.
“You can… sleep on the couch?” Dimitri offers. “Please?”
The nerve - Felix is going to kill him.
“... Did you just relegate me to the couch.” Felix asks, deadpan. Deathly quiet.
“No, of course not…” Dimitri scratches his head, completely ignoring the death aura that Felix is expertly projecting. “Oh! You can sleep in my bed, and I will take the couch.”
Part of Felix wants to let the stubborn fool sleep on the couch and see how much he enjoys it. The much louder part of Felix sounds warning bells in his head, because as much as he pretends not to, Dimitri needs proper rest.
“...Don’t even think about it,” Felix warns.
Dimitri’s face falls. He looks absolutely baffled. “Then… we could sleep together? And Kina could sleep by herself in your room?”
Absolutely baffled, as if the gravity of that statement hasn’t dragged him through the ground as it is currently doing to Felix.
“Are you stupid?” Felix hisses. He can feel his face burning, like someone is trying to cook sausages on it. His ears are probably bright red, like they always are when the universe has it out for him.
He turns on his heels, and stomps away.
That night, he ends up on the couch.
As it turns out, his embarrassing, uncomfortable night was all for nothing, because sometime between their scuffle and the morning, the cat had ended up in Dimitri’s room anyway, leaving Felix’s own room empty.
Out of pure curiosity and nothing else, Felix takes a peek into Dimitri’s room. Just when he’s passing by.
Dimitri is fast asleep on his back, snoring gently. The blankets are pooled about his waist, and he is wearing those burnt orange tiger pyjamas that Felix despises. The cat is sleeping, curled up in a ball, on his broad, broad chest, and Dimitri’s right hand is nestled atop her sleeping body.
Felix’s chest feels tight.
He moves to close the door, but the motion catches the attention of the cat, who has apparently developed selective hearing. She stares at him, blinking slowly with those huge, amber eyes, before yawning. Flashing her teeth.
Later, Felix notices that she only gets up when Dimitri does.
CHAT: fraldarius + thebetterfraldarius
Friday 1st November
thebetterfraldarius [10:53]: have you gotten dad a present yet
fraldarius [11:17]: no.
thebetterfraldarius [11:18]: when are you getting it
fraldarius [11:18]: never.
thebetterfraldarius [11:22]: just pay me half i’ll get it
thebetterfraldarius [11:23]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPjJCVylFBo
Felix adds the video to his list of liked videos, before sending Glenn a snap of his forehead and his middle finger.
He notices that Petra’s sent him an email, and gets back to work.
“Felix! Welcome home,” Dimitri waves, as Felix steps through the doorway.
Felix grunts, kicking off his shoes and throwing himself onto his seat, which is, thankfully, unoccupied. He’ll tidy his things later.
Dimitri moves into his line of vision, and holds up a piece of paper. He has crayon scribbles on the cuffs of his sleeves. Felix squints; the crayons are all different colours, making up a disjointed rainbow on the white fabric.
“Look at what Akua drew for me today,” Dimitri beams, holding the paper as carefully as if it were porcelain.
It’s a crudely drawn image of a group of… people. Or a group of creatures, Felix decides, because ‘people’ is too generous a description.
There’s a sun in the corner of the paper, with a happy face dotted inside its yellow outline. The bottom of the paper sports rolling hills, looking like something out of Teletubbies. On top of the smallest hill is a big blonde man with an eyepatch, and a huge smile that stretches across his face in a manner impossible for humans. He is labelled over the top of his head, in block capitals, as ‘Mr Blaiddyd :)’. Next to him is a cat with huge yellow eyes and black fur, labelled ‘Keena’.
Next to the cat, however, is a man with mermaid-length blue hair and orange eyes. He, too, has a big smile, stretching across his face. His hair is in a ponytail that goes from the top of his head to the floor.
The man is labelled ‘Felix’.
“... Is that me,” Felix asks, in a resigned voice. He can’t even bring himself to be annoyed. His throat feels too weird, anyhow.
“Yes. Isn’t she so sweet?”
Dimitri turns the paper around to beam at it instead of Felix for a change.
“How does she even know my name?” Felix has never met Dimitri’s class in person. He had assumed that he knew of them, not the other way round. Knowing this truth is… weird.
“I often speak about you to the class,” Dimitri answers, glancing around the room, as if looking for something specific. “And Kina too, nowadays.”
“... Why do I only come up to your waist.”
“Ah,” Dimitri snorts, immediately moving to cover it up with a cough. Felix glares at him. “Well, when she asked for a description, I did tell her that you had long blue hair and that you were… shorter than me.” He pauses, probably at Felix’s expression. “I did not elaborate past that.”
“Dimitri,” Felix says, slowly. He makes no move to rise from his seat. “I’m going to cut you.”
“Oh no, Felix,” Dimitri tells him, deadly serious. “I am so scared.”
Felix rolls his eyes, making sure that Dimitri is looking. Then, he huffs, and takes another look at the picture; of him, happy in a childlike world, with an equally happy Dimitri and an equally happy cat.
What a world that would be.
“It’s not… bad,” Felix says. “Just… at least give them a better description next time.”
Dimitri ends up hanging the picture on their fridge. It serves as a reminder of his happiness every time he opens the fridge door.
Felix stridently ignores how the paper is titled ‘Mr Blaiddyd + his Family’.
When Felix gets home from work a couple of days later, he’s expecting Dimitri to be at his laptop again.
“You’re so beautiful and perfect,” Dimitri is murmuring, in a soft, low voice, from the living room. “You are absolutely wonderful,”
Felix’s blood stills.
What? Dimitri has a girlfriend?
Felix drags his hand down his face. For fuck’s sake, they have a deal about this. Felix has clearly emphasised that he at least wants a text beforehand so he can hog Annette’s apartment at a relatively normal time, instead of having to go back to the station and endure another hour’s worth of journeying to the other end of the city.
Evidently, Dimitri’s forgotten to text him, choosing instead to cuddle up to… whoever’s in the other room.
Which means Felix needs to go out in the rain. Again.
Felix scowls. Why would anyone even want Dimitri as a boyfriend? He snores, and drools, and sometimes forgets to wash the rice before he puts it on the hob. He’s like a big dog; too big and broad and too much to handle for most.
… Felix is acutely aware that he’s only ripping on Dimitri because he’s irritated, but his points still stand.
The sofa creaks.
“Yes,” Dimitri says, gently, voice full of love, and Felix wants to stop listening, “you are such a good girl, aren’t you?”
Ugh. Disgusting. Felix wants to gag. Who calls their partner a good girl in the open like this? With their roommate still at home?
He opens his mouth to yell.
But suddenly -
“You are the sweetest cat I’ve ever seen. I love you so much - ”
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
Felix rounds the corner, almost tripping over himself, only to find Dimitri cuddling Kina to his chest. He has his back to Felix, so Felix gets a full view of the cat, staring at him dead in the eyes. Daring him to say something.
Felix grits his teeth.
Dimitri is now making baby noises at her. He turns to Felix, still making the baby noises. Felix is very still.
“Welcome home, Felix,” Dimitri calls, before gently moving the cat’s paw in a crude imitation of a wave.
The cat looks unimpressed. Felix, for once, can empathise with the cat.
“It’s not a baby,” he says, terse. He folds his arms.
“She,” Dimitri corrects automatically. He tries to move her paw again, but the cat cleverly swipes it away, out of reach.
“Hmph.” Felix tosses his coat onto the back of the chair, and sits down slowly. He eyes the cat, then Dimitri, and finally, the empty table. “Did you make food?”
Felix hasn’t even finished his sentence before Dimitri starts to look guilty. His guilty face is an abomination; all downturned mouth and wrinkled nose and droopy blue eyes. Felix hates it. Hates how it makes him feel.
“I made an attempt,” Dimitri says.
Felix raises an eyebrow.
“Unfortunately, the attempt ended in failure,” Dimitri finishes. He is sporting a crooked smile. “But we do have Pot Noodles.”
A silence. Then, Felix sighs - a resigned, tired sound.
“Great,” he mutters.
He doesn’t know what he expected. There’s a reason why Felix cooks: he actually went out of his way (and swallowed his pride) to learn how when he’d asked Dedue to teach him a few years ago. Now, he’s the only one in their apartment who knows where the spice jars are. (Who actually buys the spices, because again, if it were up to Dimitri, they’d be having bland, cheesy, unhealthy pasta bake every night, which has a 50-50 chance of either tasting decent or smelling like rotten socks.)
Dimitri frowns, as if he’d expected Felix to be more angry. Which is fair. Felix is angry. But right now he feels more… deflated, than angry. Like a balloon that has lost air and is whistling around the room.
Felix grinds his teeth at the stupid simile, and Dimitri must see this, because he places the cat on the floor and takes out a shopping bag from behind the sofa.
“Oh, Felix! This might cheer you up. Look what I bought today.”
Dimitri rummages through the shopping. Felix taps his foot impatiently, before finally, Dimitri’s face lights up as he finds what he’s looking for, and whips it out with a flourish.
“Aha!” he says, triumphantly. “Look at this!”
Felix peers at Dimitri’s hands. He’s squinting for a while before he finally makes out what it is.
It’s just a box. A small, blue cardboard box, and on the outside -
Dimitri thinks he doesn’t get it. He shakes the box at Felix, getting closer. “Look very closely at the packaging - ”
“I’m not blind,” Felix growls. He pointedly avoids looking at the lettering.
Dimitri blanches. He’s still waving the box around like a buffoon. “But - don’t you see? I bought Felix cat food. Felix, the cat food, but there is a joke here about Felix, the human - “
“It’s terrible,” Felix snaps. He glances to the side of the sofa. There, on the side, lies some worthy ammunition. “... You have five seconds.”
He picks up the pillow, and aims it squarely at Dimitri’s face.
Dimitri’s face falls comically. “Oh, dear. What did I do wrong? If you must know, it was actually Alois who - oof.” Dimitri doesn’t even bother ducking as the pillow hits his nose, and bounces off. Knowing his brick wall physique, he probably doesn’t feel anything, anyway.
It’s still satisfying.
“Serves you right,” Felix tells him, smug. Then, he beckons with one finger. “... Throw the pillow back.”
Dimitri, like a gullible idiot, hands him the pillow. Felix proceeds to beat him up with it for the next five minutes, just to instil in him that, no, handing your enemy back his weapon is not the smartest thing to do.
This doesn’t stop Dimitri from grabbing his own pillow and returning the favour, like the responsible adults they are, but Felix still wins.
CHAT: fraldarius + creepitycreep <3
Saturday 9th November
creepitycreep <3 [11:34]: FELIX YOU HAVE A CAT???
creepitycreep <3 [11:34]: FELIX??? CAT???
creepitycreep <3 [11:34]: FELIX???
fraldarius [11:37]: no.
creepitycreep <3 [11:37]: she was on Dimitri’s private story though???
creepitycreep <3 [11:38]: SHE’S SO CUTE FELIX WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME ABOUT HER!!!
fraldarius [11:38]: it’s not mine. it’s dimitri’s.
creepitycreep <3 [11:39]: HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL ME.
fraldarius [11:39]: it’s not that important.
creepitycreep <3 [11:40]: [IMG738919.png]
It’s an image of a fat, crying cat lying down on a sofa. Felix saves it.
fraldarius [13:41]: 🙃
CHAT: THREE DAYS SINCE OUR LAST NONSENSE
creepitycreep <3 [11:40]: Felix and Dimitri have a cat!!
creepitycreep <3 [11:40]: guys!! they have. A CAT.
deadeye [11:55]: wait really???
Dedue [11:56]: Congratulations to the both of you.
deadeye [11:56]: WAIT did they go to the shelter???
Mercie ♡ [11:57]: How wonderful! 🥰
deadeye [11:57]: You should’ve told me you were coming & said hi!!
sylviana 🤪 jones [11:58]: woah congrats fee fee & dima!!
sylviana 🤪 jones [11:58]: i was WAITING for you to get a cat FINALLY you took so LONG
creepitycreep <3 [11:58]: (☍﹏⁰)｡ what do you MEEEEAN
sylviana 🤪 jones [11:59]: haven’t i told you about felix’s cat addiction???
sylviana 🤪 jones [11:59]: WAIT i HAVENT
sylviana 🤪 jones [12:01]: ok so felix was really into cats when he was a kid, and i mean REALLY really
sylviana 🤪 jones [12:02]: used to read all those warrior cats books :// bought all the cat onesies n hated all the ac villagers apart from the cta ones
deadeye [12:03]: Felix why didn’t you tell me!! I used to love Warrior Cats!
creepitycreep <3 [12:03]: AWWW
Mercie ♡ [12:03]: Oh, that is adorable! :’)
Dedue [12:03]: I had my suspicions.
sylviana 🤪 jones [12:04]: cannot beLIEVE no one knows abt your embarrassing cat childhood fee fee :((( what happened to club penguin user graystripe37154
sylviana 🤪 jones [12:04]: HAHA remember when you forced dimitri to be firestar84057 to match you AWWW
fraldarius removed sylviana 🤪 jones from the chat
fraldarius [12:06]: he won’t be returning.
fraldarius [12:06]: @ingle don’t get too worried if you don’t see him tomorrow.
Mercie ♡ [12:06]: Oh dear. :(
creepitycreep <3 [12:07]: aw, felix… it was such a cute story!!
fraldarius [12:07]: no.
creepitycreep <3 renamed the chat to ZERO (0) DAYS SINCE OUR LAST NONSENSE
Dedue [12:07]: I wonder if we will ever last a week.
fraldarius [12:08]: maybe when sylvain learns to shut up for once.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 is typing…
creepitycreep <3 [12:09]: ANYWAY
fraldarius [12:09]: no, we don’t have a cat.
creepitycreep <3 [12:09]: Felix don’t lie!! You do!!
fraldarius [12:10]: dimitri has a cat. not me.
deadeye [12:10]: Awww what’s her name? what does she look like??
fraldarius [12:11]: it’s called cat. it has black fur
Dedue [12:12]: Please tell me you did not name her Cat.
creepitycreep <3 [12:13]: FELIX BE SERIOUS!!
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:13]: Hello everybody! Her name is Kina :) She has black fur and blue eyes, and she is adorable. I am sending over a couple of videos now, so please wait a bit until they’re all up.
creepitycreep <3 [12:13]: OMG please send them!! I’m going to save them all ༼☯﹏☯༽
fraldarius [12:14]: it took you that long to type 4 sentences. wow
ingle [12:14]: Felix, don’t tease him.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 is typing…
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:15]: Felix, you know the difficulties I have with texting. :(
fraldarius [12:15]: yeah. your fat fingers can’t type.
fraldarius [12:15]: why don’t you just get a new phone. with a bigger screen.
deadeye [12:16]: Guys I hate to interrupt but I just saw Dimitri’s private story and… she’s so cute!! I don’t recognise her from the shelter though??
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 is typing…
fraldarius [12:16]: she’s a stray. dimitri brought her in because he’s weak.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:17]: You would be weak to those eyes if you saw her in the rain too, Felix.
fraldarius [12:17]: no i wouldn’t.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:18]: You would!
fraldarius [12:18]: no.
ingle [12:19]: And there they go again…
fraldarius [12:20]: @ingle what’s that supposed to mean.
Mercie ♡ [12:21]: Nothing! 🥰
creepitycreep <3 [12:21]: NOTHING (✪‿✪)ノ
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:22]: You always sound like you’re screaming on this groupchat, Annette. :’)
Dedue [12:22]: I find that Felix is good at making anyone scream.
creepitycreep <3 [12:23]: LMAO
deadeye [12:23]: [IMG617384.png]
Mercie ♡ [12:23]: That was a good one! 😻
Dedue [12:24]: Thank you. ❤️
fraldarius [12:24]: i
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:24]: Anyway!
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 is typing…
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:26]: I notice that Sylvain is suspiciously absent?
ingle [12:26]: Scroll up, Dimitri.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:26]: Ah.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:27]: … Shall we add him back?
fraldarius [12:27]: not until i find my wood chipper.
fraldarius [12:27]: then you can add him back.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:27]: :(
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 is typing…
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:28]: What is he doing now, Ingrid?
ingle [12:28]: Re-enacting the ‘Let me in!’ meme.
ingle [12:29]: Very loudly.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:30]: Oh dear. :(
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:30]: Perhaps we really should let him in…
ingle [12:30]: No, this is funny. I’ll send a video later.
fraldarius [12:31]: anyway she’s not my cat. she’s dimitri’s. i take no part in this ownership.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 is typing…
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [12:31]: Aww… You refer to her consistently as ‘she’ now :) Not ‘it’. That’s an improvement!
fraldarius [12:32]: *it.
ingle [12:33]: That does nothing to change the sentiment, Felix.
fraldarius [12:33]: yes it does.
creepitycreep <3 [12:33]: He totally has a soft spot for her! (๑>ᴗ<๑)
creepitycreep <3 [12:34]: He’s just the same old prickly cactus Felix who won’t show it ever…
fraldarius is offline!
Felix watches, with faint disgust, as Ingrid hoovers her food like a vacuum cleaner.
“That’s disgusting,” he tells her primly, as he spears a sausage with his fork. At least he knows how to act civilised.
“You’re disgusting,” Ingrid tells him, without skipping a beat.
She stabs at a potato, and stuffs it in her mouth. Next to her, Sylvain grins at Felix, like an oversized clown, and grabs the vinegar bottle. He floods his chips with the liquid, and somehow the waitress passing by them doesn’t even spare the two of them a glance.
Disgusting. Neither of them know how to act like human beings. He has no idea why he’s even here.
Felix pauses. That’s... a good question. “Why am I here?”
“Why, Felix!” Sylvain crows. “Don’t you want to catch up with your good friends?”
Sylvain winks, and nudges Ingrid with one elbow. The movement is so exaggerated that he looks more like a chicken trying to flap its wings.
Felix narrows his eyes. “I saw you two days ago.”
“Yeah, but you were trying to throw me out of a window then,” Sylvain replies promptly. He pops a chip in his mouth. “This is a little different, don’t you think? More family-friendly. Less murder-y.”
“I wouldn’t be trying to throw you out of a window if you weren’t such an idiot,” Felix grumbles.
Sylvain deserved it, for being such a fool on the groupchat. And besides, he hadn’t even gotten hurt. Hadn’t been dropped on his head, like Felix had intended. Small mercies.
“Actually, Felix, no offence, but you probably would be.”
“You - “
“Shh,” Ingrid says, not looking at either of them. “I’m trying to concentrate.”
Why does she need to concentrate on spearing an egg with a sausage, Felix thinks, irritably. He’s about to voice this, but Sylvain interrupts him.
“Anyway!” Sylvain claps his hands. There is a familiar glint in his eye, and Felix feels on edge already. It’s a normal reaction, when Sylvain is involved. “Tell us about the lovely lady.”
Felix nearly chokes on his food.
“What?” he sputters.
“You know,” Sylvain says. Smug and content, like a little bitch. “Kiera? Kiana?”
“... Kina,” Felix corrects, irritated. Leave it to Sylvain to phrase everything in that stupid way of his. “The cat.”
“So you do know her name…” Sylvain sounds sly. Felix immediately gets the urge to murder him again, but also to leave his body in a ditch this time, so Ingrid won’t find him.
“Shut up,” Felix hisses. He stabs at his potato to reinforce his threat. “Why wouldn’t I know it. It’s the only thing Dimitri talks about nowadays.”
It’s true. Everything Dimitri sends him has to have something about that damn cat in it. He’d started on pictures, and had moved on to lengthy descriptions of what the cat was up to at any given time (even if Felix was in a meeting, Dimitri, what the fuck).
Yesterday, he’d found Dimitri slowly making a meme with the thing as the image. It wasn’t even a good meme - it was one of those outdated ones with two lines of block white capital letters at the top and bottom - but he was still slowly, painstakingly, making a meme.
Sylvain is staring at him. He looks like he’s winning something, and Felix hates it.
“Ah, that’s understandable,” Sylvain nods, sagely. “You know how Dimitri loves animals. That man is wonderful with cats and dogs. Good old Dimitri.”
Felix grunts. Sylvain isn’t wrong: Dimitri loves animals. Far too much. He never kills the spiders in their apartment; not because he’s scared, but because he turns the puppy eyes on Felix and asks, in a small voice, whether or not they could possibly ‘preserve this little one’s life’.
“I bet she takes up all his time, now,” Sylvain continues. He’s idly spinning the fork between his fingers. “He just comes home and heads her way, doesn’t he? He probably forgets to eat with you now that he’s got a little cute cat at home waiting for him.”
Felix narrows his eyes. “What are you blathering on about,” he snaps.
“I would know. I’ve seen his snaps,” Sylvain says. He holds up his phone. “He sent me fifteen last night. Fifteen.”
Felix stares at the screen. There it is: fifteen snaps from Snapchat user dimablaiddyd.
… Felix doesn’t remember Dimitri sending him fifteen snaps. He would remember if he did, because Dimitri only ever uses a minimum of five stickers for his snaps, and two lines, fully punctuated, for his captions.
Ingrid is watching him intently.
“Most of them were just, y’know,” Sylvain waves his hands vaguely. “Videos of him trying to babytalk a cat. That was kinda weird, I gotta admit. He gets way too happy over something that tries to claw him all the time.”
Felix snorts at the mental image. Internally.
Outwardly, he keeps the same annoyed expression, because why is Sylvain bugging him about Dimitri’s cat?
He voices this. Sylvain avidly ignores him, as he is wont to do.
“He sends other snaps, though,” Sylvain says, and this time he leans back in his chair. A slow grin creeps over his face, and Felix immediately wants to throttle him. (It’s a kneejerk reaction. His body has learned to prepare for the level of annoyance that is Sylvain before it manages to unfold in full force.) “You’ve probably seen it in real life, honestly. You know. Dimitri petting Kina. Dancing with her. Cuddling her to his chest, calling her beautiful and perfect… that sorta stuff.”
Felix grips his fork.
He does remember, as much as he hates it. He remembers how the cat slept on Dimitri’s chest. His bare chest, because Dimitri sleeps shirtless, because he heats like a furnace. And the cat takes advantage of this.
“Why are you telling me this,” he grits out.
“I’m just saying!” Sylvain puts his hands up defensively. Still grinning like a buffoon. “It makes sense that you’d get jealous.”
That he’d - what.
Suddenly, Felix wants his swords.
“What?” Felix hisses. His voice is strangled. Rageful.
“You know? Jealous?” Sylvain laughs, then takes one look at Felix’s expression, which is when he blanches. “Listen, I’d be jealous, too. We just wanted you to know that it’s perfectly okay to get jealous!”
Now he’s gesturing to Ingrid. Ingrid is determinedly staring at her empty plate.
“ You ,” Ingrid corrects, “not we,” before she waves down the waitress.
“Aw, c’mon Ingle, you wanted to be a part of this, too!”
What the fuck.
Sylvain and Ingrid are jostling, now, as if what Sylvain said was nothing. As if - Felix - Felix being -
“What? No,” Felix spits. “Why - why would I be jealous of the cat, what the fuck?”
Ingrid stops shoving Sylvain for a moment, only to scrutinise Felix. She tilts her head.
“You seem awfully defensive,” she comments.
Felix bristles. He wants to leave. “That’s because Sylvain’s spouting bullshit -”
“It’s okay, Felix, really! I’m sure you’re not the first person that wants Dimitri to cuddle them to his chest and call them beautiful and perfect - “
“I do not want that, when did I ever say I did -”
“Oh, so you don’t want Dimitri to cuddle you to his chest? To slow dance with you in the dark, and kiss you on the forehead?” Sylvain has his chin propped in his hands now. He’s not grinning anymore - he’s actually smiling, which makes Felix scowl on instinct. “Like he does with your cat?”
For one split second, Felix pictures it. He pictures Dimitri holding his hand - calling him -
He feels his throat close in. He is not doing this. It’s - too much.
And Sylvain, blissfully ignorant - or far too knowledgeable - presses on, with all the tact of an unsupervised lawnmower.
“Don’t you see, Felix? You dislike Kina,” he leans forward, and claps his hands, dramatic, “because you want to be her.”
A beat. Felix gapes.
Then, after a second, he stops thinking entirely, and explodes.
“Are you insane?”
Ingrid shrugs. “Just tired, mostly,” she tells him, matter-of-fact, until Sylvain launches into another tirade. Urgent, this time, because Felix is already packing his things.
“No, Felix, listen. I’ve prepared a PowerPoint for this. You know what it’s titled? ‘Felix Hugo Fraldarius And That One Time He Pined For His Best Friend For 20 Odd Years (Ongoing)’. That ‘ongoing’ is very important, by the way. Anyway, as I was saying - ” and now Sylvain is taking out his laptop. He is seriously taking out his laptop, where a PowerPoint is already blinking on the screen.
Felix feels his fingers twitch.
“I don’t want to hear it,” he mutters, slinging his jacket over one shoulder. He throws down enough money to pay for his meal. Who cares if it’s too much. “You’re asinine. I’m leaving.”
“Wait - Felix!” Sylvain sighs. Felix has left them without a backward glance.
He slumps in his seat, and forlornly spears the last potato. “Well. That didn’t work.”
“I did tell you,” Ingrid says mildly.
Sylvain drops his head on her shoulder. “I can’t take this anymore,” he whines.
Ingrid snorts, and pats his knee sympathetically. “I know,” she says, before she shrugs him off.
Of course she knows. Everyone on the entire planet knows, it seems, apart from those two, because of course they don’t.
“I really thought it would work.”
“I did tell you it was going to be too much for him.”
“Even Bernadetta’s slowburns aren’t as slow as this.”
“... Bernie writes slowburns?”
“Goddess, didn’t you know? Inglett, she writes excellent ones. Ashe sent me this fic of hers the other day… I forget the title, but it was this fake dating thing, and it was honestly the best thing I’ve ever read in my life… ”
CHAT : fraldarius + 🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻
Monday 5th November
fraldarius [16:35]: you’re coming home early today right?
fraldarius [16:35]: i’m waiting outside.
As Felix leans against one of the trees outside Dimitri’s school, his mind, traitorously, drifts back to the nonsense that has been plaguing him since Saturday.
Him? In love with Dimitri? And jealous of their cat? If it wasn’t so pathetic, he would’ve laughed. Cackled, full-on, in front of the coach that’s drawing up on the road outside the school gates, so all the kids can gawk to their heart’s content.
Dimitri would gawk, too, although he’d probably try and take him to the doctor, being as prone to worry as he is.
Felix scowls. Fuck Sylvain.
The children start filing off the coach, schoolbags swinging. Felix can grudgingly admit (on the inside, anyway) that they look as endearing as Dimitri says they are, with their knitted mittens and puffy coats.
Only a little bit, though.
“Sara, don’t run too far ahead, please,” Dimitri calls, climbing out of the coach last, after thanking the driver.
“Sorry!” she yells back.
The little girl, Sara, skids to a halt, and Felix watches as she and the rest of the kids line up and huddle just outside the school gates. Dimitri has no problem directing them to where they need to go. He’s kind, quick to smile, yet authoritative when need be, the type of teacher all the little kids adore, and Felix wonders not for the first time how different life would have been if he had taken after his father’s company like he was originally planning to.
“Mr Blaiddyd,” a boy says, tugging on Dimitri’s sleeve. “My dad’s here. Can I go?”
“Of course,” he smiles. “See you tomorrow, Emil. Don’t forget your hat this time, please.”
The boy legs it, bookbag swinging, and Dimitri huffs in exasperation. Felix snorts.
One by one, the kids spot their parents in the distance, and patiently ask Dimitri if they can go. Felix waits, and his back is aching by the time Dimitri’s spotted him with a wave.
“Felix!” he says, quickening his pace. He’s smiling. “What are you doing here?”
“Did you not get my texts?” Felix asks. Dimitri shakes his head. Typical. “I was passing by, so I thought I’d wait.“
That’s a lie. Felix was bored, and there was nothing to do at home - but he’s not telling Dimitri that.
“Ah,” Dimitri says. He pauses. “Still, Felix, that’s unusual for you. I always see you -”
They’re interrupted by a pattering of footsteps. A little girl is running up the road to them, breathless, puffs of cold air escaping her mouth. A woman is striding behind her - her mother, probably.
Dimitri smiles, gentle, if a bit surprised. “Yes, Inayah?”
“I forgot my water bottle on the coach,” she explains, sheepishly. “Can I get it, please?”
Dimitri hums. “You’re just in time,” he tells her. “The coach was about to leave. Let’s look for it before it goes, shall we?”
And with that, Dimitri leads the little girl up the coach steps, and they duck inside.
Felix watches them from the ground. Through the tinted windows, he watches as Dimitri carefully checks every seat, expression determined.
Dimitri is sweet with kids. Sweet for them, too. His voice becomes impossibly gentle, and he smiles more with them. Felix can admit that they’re good for him, despite the stress.
Eventually, the two emerge from the coach, triumphant, with the water bottle clutched in the girl’s hand.
“There we go,” Dimitri says, triumphantly.
“Thanks!” she beams.
Then, she looks at Felix, who hasn’t moved from his spot. Felix catches Dimitri watching him, still with that halting smile, and does his best to rearrange his face into something less severe.
The mother swoops in to talk to Dimitri about something or the other, and thus, Felix is left with the girl in front of him. She’s still staring at him, and still clutching her water bottle in mittened hands.
“... Hello,” he says, awkwardly, once the silence grows too long.
The girl scrutinises him, and Felix immediately feels uncomfortable. Like he is an onion, and she is peeling his layers back.
It’s annoying. She’s just a kid.
“Are you Felix?” the girl asks, suddenly.
“... Yes. That’s me,” Felix says, after the initial surprise of being known.
There is still trepidation in her voice. “Mr-Blaiddyd’s-friend Felix?”
Good to know that he’s been demoted to ‘Dimitri’s friend’.
“ YOU CAN SWORDFIGHT?” she yells, at the fullest volume a tiny girl can muster, and Felix damn near jumps.
“Inayah…” her mother calls, despairingly.
The girl makes a face. Felix, imitating awkwardly what he’s seen Dedue do sometimes, crouches down.
Is he even meant to crouch down? He has no idea how old she is. Is this being condescending?
“Yeah. I can swordfight,” he tells her, seriously. “I’m good at it, too.”
“Like the Rainbow Girls?”
Felix has no idea what that is. “Yes. Like them,” he says, and watches with satisfaction as her face lights up.
While Dimitri and her mother converse, Felix tells the girl about his fencing. It’s strange, in a fulfilling way; usually, Dimitri or Sylvain or Ingrid are the ones listening to him, if he ever talks to them about it at all. Even then, his friends only understand half of what he says before they pretend to nod and listen. (Dimitri, who fenced with him when they were younger, is an exception).
But here is a little girl that listens, enraptured, to his stories about his bouts. She hangs onto every word, and asks for more.
“Can you come in and show us one day?” she asks, glowing.
Felix snorts. He imagines the look on Dimitri’s face if he came into his class with a sabre in one hand. “I won’t be allowed to,” he says.
She pouts. “Who cares,” she tells him.
Felix decides that he likes her.
Eventually, the little girl and her mother leave, the former waving furiously until they turn the road. When Felix looks to the side, Dimitri is smiling at him; soft and gentle in the way he usually reserves for the kids. Felix’s face becomes impossibly hot.
“You get along well with children,” Dimitri tells him.
Felix forces his face into a neutral expression, and shrugs. “Not as good as you.”
“A genuine compliment?” Dimitri teases. They start walking towards the bus stop. “It must be my lucky day…”
“Don’t push it.”
Felix is staring at the slope of Dimitri’s nose when the man turns to him and asks him about his day. It is then that Felix jerks away, stares off to the side, and mutters a half-hearted response.
The trip was nice, Dimitri says. The zoo was pleasantly full, apparently - not too crowded to be suffocating, but not too empty that it was too lonely to be enjoyable. Dimitri says that his favourite was the sloth. That surprises Felix - he expected Dimitri to go for something insufferably cute and squishy, like the penguins.
“Did you enjoy it?” Felix asks, gruffly.
“Yes,” Dimitri says. He smiles again, broad and content. “Yes, I did.”
A buzzing in his pocket forces Felix away from staring again. He pulls out his phone.
CHAT: fraldarius + thebetterfraldarius
Monday 5th November
thebetterfraldarius [17:21]: dad says thank you for the gift
fraldarius [17:21]: ok.
thebetterfraldarius [17:22]: he wants a pic of your cat btw
fraldarius [17:22]: i don’t have a cat.
thebetterfraldarius [17:23]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1Xkt1E7PJY
thebetterfraldarius [17:23]: o rly???
Felix forwards the video to Dimitri.
fraldarius [17:23]: yes. go away.
thebetterfraldarius [17:23]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBbwZCRIILM
thebetterfraldarius [17:24]: no u
fraldarius [17:24]: no u.
thebetterfraldarius [17:24]: no u
fraldarius [17:24]: no u.
thebetterfraldarius [17:24]: no u
“What’s so funny?”
“Glenn’s being a dick,” Felix says, furiously tapping away.
Dimitri snorts. “Don’t be rude.”
The bus trundles on, and Felix sits with Dimitri in companionable silence. Later, when he is in bed, Felix will realise that this is the first time in three days that he isn’t preoccupied with Sylvain’s words from the café.
Felix is still battling with Glenn by the time they get home. Dimitri chuckles at him fondly, before he takes their coats and hangs it up on the back of the door.
fraldarius [18:03]: no u.
thebetterfraldarius [18:03]: no u
thebetterfraldarius [18:03]: btw dimitri’s dad got twitter
Felix chokes, fumbles with his phone, and sputters, all in that order.
“Felix!” Dimitri cries, rushing back. He’s fluttering his hands about, bewildered, as Felix continues to hack. “Are you all right?”
Felix feels a hot surge of embarrassment. Dimitri is not meant to see him fumbling. Nobody is meant to see him fumbling.
Instead, he thrusts the phone into Dimitri’s face.
“Does your dad have Twitter?” Felix demands.
Dimitri carefully holds the phone in both hands, and squints down at it. “No…?”
Felix takes his phone back. Glenn’s sent him a link in the time it took for him to spectacularly make a fool of himself, so he taps on it with some trepidation.
He immediately wishes he hadn’t.
There he is. Twitter user @LambertBlaiddyd, display name LAMBERT EGITTE BLAIDDYD in all his glory. His icon is Lambert’s LinkedIn picture. His header is a photo of Dimitri as a toddler, batting happily at a sandcastle.
When Dimitri sees it, his face becomes paler than it usually is. If that’s even possible.
“Why is he retweeting - “ Felix stares at the screen. He scrolls down, and it’s all the same. Countless news articles, interspersed with standalone tweets that make no sense and are in all caps. He bristles.
“He - oh no,” Dimitri whispers, aghast.
Felix knows that voice, and the guilty inflection in it. He stares at Dimitri. “What did you do?”
Dimitri purses his lips. Tugs at his shirt.
“He told me he was feeling - lonely, at the hospital!” he rushes. “I only made the suggestion that he should perhaps take a look at social media, only to catch up with some of his old friends… I thought he would use Facebook, perhaps, but Twitter?”
Felix stops listening, because: “Why does my dad follow him?”
Dimitri is silent, as he takes in the screen. Felix doesn’t want to look at it again. Rodrigue’s profile is, if possible, even more embarrassing than Lambert’s. Who poses with sunglasses and a flower print shirt against a tree, puts a thumbs up, and sets it at their profile picture?
Then, Dimitri starts to sputter and grin.
“What are you laughing at?” Felix demands.
“Oh - I apologise, it’s just,” Dimitri covers his mouth as he chortles. Chortles. “Rodrigue replies to him with the cutest cat pictures…”
Felix snatches the phone away, and lo and behold: there is his father, using memes of grumpy cats to reply to Lambert’s capital-letter tweets.
It’s disgusting. He wants to reverse disown him.
To top it all off, Dimitri looks down at Kina fondly, when she pads up to press her head against his shin. She meows at him, eyes big and stupid. Barely gives Felix a glance.
She peels herself away and trots off, presumably to her food bowl. Obediently, Dimitri follows her, and the horrifying Twitter ordeal is promptly forgotten about. Felix wants to throw something.
“We’re visiting your dad next week,” Felix calls after him, irritable, before Dimitri leaves for cat-world for another hour or so. Knowing Rodrigue, he’ll be with Lambert, too. Felix can ask his old man why he's trying to use Twitter, if he can’t even use Google properly.
For a moment, Dimitri looks back at him. He looks indescribably happy. Felix gets the sudden urge to look away, because having Dimitri’s undivided attention on him is… intense.
Then, the cat starts meowing again, incessant, and predictably, Dimitri snaps away to lavish all his attention on her. Felix is left standing in the doorway.
He decides he’ll have an early night. Just so he won’t have to endure the sappy sounds of Dimitri cooing to her all evening long, again.
Even when tucked under two blankets, in a cool room, Felix can’t sleep. He’s left stewing to himself like a boiling pot with a loose lid, until a distraction arrives in the form of his phone buzzing.
He sticks out his hand, gropes at thin air, before finally grabbing it from the drawer.
thebetterfraldarius [22:35]: why does dad follow the pornbots
Felix, very calmly, tosses his phone on the bed, and rolls over.
When Felix opens his eyes, he finds himself crowded against a tree. The jutting edges of the bark dig into his back, pressing into the knobs of his spine, and his boots slide in the sludge of the forest floor.
He can’t move, or lift his feet out of the mud, either, because Dimitri is looming over him, pressing him to that tree, with the sun reflecting a halo around his golden hair. Said golden hair is cascading down his back in thick waves.
Dimitri’s eyes are wine red. His collarbones glisten, sharp and cutting, and if Felix can see his collarbones, he can also see his muscled shoulders, the dip in his -
Dimitri’s hand comes up to caress his neck. “Be very still,” he whispers, voice husky, before he opens his mouth. Slowly, two fangs, white as pearl, protrude from under his lip.
Felix’s mouth is dry.
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb," Dimitri murmurs. Felix opens his mouth, but words are out of reach. “What a sick, masochistic lion.”
Distantly, Felix registers that Dimitri sounds ... disjointed. Disconnected. As if he’s reading from a play, picking out lines from different scenes.
Then, Dimitri starts mouthing at his neck, and every thought about theatre flies out of Felix’s head.
He gasps, and nearly topples. Dimitri’s hand at his waist steadies him. Their bodies slot together like puzzle pieces.
Over Dimitri’s straining shoulder, Felix gazes out, mind hazy, and finds… a horde of lions. Black lions with black manes, sitting on the floor. Staring at him, unblinking, with huge amber eyes.
They open their mouths and meow, loud, like a chorus. It’s out of tune, and Felix tries to pick out the individual sounds, but suddenly he can’t concentrate, because Dimitri is tearing his shirt open with one hand, buttons flying -
Felix wakes up with a gasp. He brushes a hand against his neck in wonder, remembers the ghost of a hand, and immediately starts to choke.
What the - what the fuck. Fucking - someone kill him, right now. That, or give him a dummy of himself so he can do it personally.
What was - Dimitri -
His face is hot. Like someone doused him in lava.
Felix reaches up, and touches his neck again. Dimitri’s face, hungry and adoring, swims into his mind, and Felix tries to blot it out.
It doesn’t work.
He rolls over, and valiantly attempts to smother himself with his pillow.
Felix wakes in the morning angry. Partly it’s because of the - the dream (it takes effort to not scream and wake up their neighbours when he thinks about - that), but mostly it’s because the cat’s fur is in his mouth.
What the fuck? Felix thinks angrily, as he pushes the cat away with one hand. What were those lines from? And why did Dimitri look like some brooding Gothic anti-hero?
Why was he talking about masochistic lions? Why does that line sound vaguely familiar in a horrifying way?
Forget that - why the hell did Dimitri call him a lamb? Felix repeats the line in his head, and immediately wants to stab this - Dream Dimitri, for even entertaining the thought. Little lamb, his ass -
The cat meows, loud and obnoxious.
“Go away,” Felix snaps.
The cat licks her paw, and then rubs it over her ear.
Felix rolls over, and stews under his covers. He doesn’t want to see anyone for the rest of the week. Least of all Real Dimitri, who is probably happily sleeping away in his bed.
Real Dimitri. Felix’s fists clench. If he sees his face -
The cat swipes at his covered foot. Felix bristles, and sinks so far into the blankets that his head doesn’t poke over the top.
“I said go away,” he hisses.
For a moment, the room is silent. Felix feels victorious. He contemplates reaching for his phone -
- and then the cat starts kneading his blanket. Right on top of his face.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake - fine!”
Felix, now apparently the cat’s manservant (except he’d never admit that to anyone, because he is not a servant) pads into the kitchen and fills her bowl with the Felix cat food. Just looking at the box makes him want to gag, but it’s not as terrible as it was before. There are worse things than having cat food named after you, after all.
Everything is relatively fine for Felix until Dimitri stumbles into the room, gingerly rubbing his head. Then, Felix gets the sudden urge to escape.
“Good morning, Felix,” Dimitri yawns. He’s rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, and there is the barest hint of stubble grazing his jaw. His white shirt is rumpled, dusted with black cat hairs.
Felix feels a pang, and snaps his gaze away from Dimitri’s shirt. In the dream, he was shirtless. Felix has not seen Real Dimitri shirtless in the open like that in a very long time. He wonders if -
No. No, he is not wondering anything, because he needs to leave.
“Have you eaten breakfast?” Dimitri asks. Felix nods, and Dimitri beams at him. “Well, excellent! We can start early, then.”
Felix narrows his eyes. The cat uses his silence to nimbly leap on the sofa again, curling up on his seat. Felix chances a glance at Dimitri’s face, and is met with the same crooked grin, the same strong jaw, from his dream. He forces himself to look away.
It’s only when his gaze lands on the laptop on the table that he remembers the plans they’d made last week, for a Lord of the Rings marathon that even Felix had grudgingly agreed to. Dimitri had said, in that earnest way of his, that he wanted to see the ending, with Sam carrying Frodo to the mountain. Felix had been the one to suggest that they watch the whole thing.
Felix knows Dimitri has been looking forward to this all week. But… he can’t. Not now.
“Not today,” Felix mutters, looking fixedly at a point beyond Dimitri’s face. “I have errands.”
“...Oh,” Dimitri’s face falls. Crumples, even. “Well, that’s quite alright. Did you have another date in mind?”
Date. Felix grimaces. The inner-Sylvain-voice laughs in his head.
“I’ll let you know,” he says, curt. Abruptly, he turns on his heel, and grabs his keys and coat.
“You’re leaving already?”
Dimitri’s voice is surprised. Felix pretends not to notice the tinge of hurt underneath it.
“Yeah,” he says. “I’m busy.”
“Oh. Yes, of course,” Dimitri trails off. “Then, I suppose I must…”
Felix leaves without letting him finish.
It’ll only be for a little while. Only until he sorts out...whatever this is.
Hours later, Felix is sitting at the grungy coffee shop down the road, and he still hasn’t sorted it out.
His coffee is cold, and far too bitter. Felix glares down at it. It glares back, and gives him no answers.
Why the hell was Dimitri a vampire in his dream? The scene was from a film he doesn’t care for, but all Felix knows is that it pisses him off anyway, because if Dimitri were a fantasy creature, he would not be a vampire. At most, he’d be a satyr. An elf, if he got lucky. Something like that.
Anyway. Dimitri had crowded him against a tree . It’s an action that is so out of character that it makes Felix snort, because Dimitri would never do that. He doesn’t have the guts to be so forward. He would stutter and stumble, instead, or shyly hide his face in his hands, turning the colour of a cranberry.
Or… maybe he would act - differently, with a lover. If he were in the throes of lust… maybe he wouldn’t be so shy and embarrassed.
Whatever. Felix doesn’t care how he acts with someone else.
Dimitri would also never be shirtless out in the open, because he gets strangely insecure about his body. Perhaps it’s the scarring, which goes down to his navel, or maybe it’s because he’s just shy. Felix is willing to bet that it’s a combination of the two.
Felix remembers Dream Dimitri’s torso, and suddenly wants to break something. Dimitri is not that jacked. Sure, he’s fit, toned from years of working out and being on various sports teams, but he’s also soft in places. It’s a far cry from the terrifying years when he’d seemingly lost pounds in the blink of an eye, and much better, but Dimitri has never been a bodybuilder.
And his eyes are blue, like the sky. Not blood-red, or whatever the hell they were in that forest. Felix prefers his blue eyes, anyway. Not the… sexy red. Red isn’t even sexy.
Dream Dimitri also had stupidly long wavy golden hair, like a prince. Dimitri’s hair had never grown that long. His hair had only ever reached his shoulders.
And when Dream Dimitri tipped up Felix’s chin, his breath had smelled like mint. This, Felix knows with certainty, is utter bullshit. Dimitri’s breath in the morning smells like someone died. Once, he’d laughed in Felix’s face before he had brushed his teeth, and Felix had wanted to pass out.
It seems as if this… Dream Dimitri is some enhanced construction of his mind. A Dimitri without Dimitri’s self-perceived faults. For anyone else, he’d be a dream come true.
So why doesn’t he prefer this perfect Dimitri?
Normal Dimitri is enough to handle, is the first thing that Felix tells himself. Yet, when he thinks of how the cat had interrupted him… it doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem to be good enough of an excuse.
In this coffee shop, away from Dimitri and his stupidly endearing face, half of Felix still wants to extract the dream from his memory and burn it with a flamethrower. The other half…
Well. The other half can go throw itself in the fire, too.
Felix grits his teeth. Grips his wooden spoon.
Then, very slowly, with a furtive glance towards the door, he tries to imagine the dream again.
Dimitri, tipping his chin up with one hand, other hand ghosting along his hip. Smirk in place. Short, wavy - long, Felix corrects himself - hair, cascading down his back like a waterfall of molten gold. He dips his head, heading towards Felix’s neck, then looks up again, smiling sweetly - no, he had been smirking - with his startlingly blue - red - BLUE -
Silence. Everyone in the café is staring at him. The head of the spoon, once in his hand, is now lying miserably on the floor.
Felix unclenches his fist. His head is throbbing.
“Sir?” a waiter asks, tentative. “Do you need anything?”
“...I’m fine,” Felix grits out. The waiter moves away, still with a hesitant look in his eye, and Felix glares at his coffee again.
What the fuck?
Rodrigue Achille Fraldarius @RodrigueFraldar
@TwitterSupport I am trying to find my son’s Twitter profile, but I can’t seem to find him. Is there a way to follow hidden accounts? Any help would be appreciated.
one of the 12 soldiers who died seeing achilles @glennf
that’s because felix blocked you dad
Rodrigue Achille Fraldarius @RodrigueFraldar
What? Why would he do that? :(
Okay. Felix can admit that maybe, slightly, perhaps, Dimitri is good-looking. Objectively good-looking. This suggests nothing about Felix’s personal feelings, and is still something that he can safely deal with.
His phone rumbles as he fumbles with the lock. Later, Felix will recognise that this is probably the moment where things started to go downhill for him. For now, though, Felix is fixated on Glenn’s singular message.
CHAT: fraldarius + thebetterfraldarius
Saturday 9th November
thebetterfraldarius [13:11]: why is dimitri texting me asking if you’re ok
fraldarius [13:11]: shut up.
thebetterfraldarius [13:12]: stop being an idiot and maybe i will
thebetterfraldarius [13:12]: go talk to him
fraldarius [13:12]: no.
thebetterfraldarius [13:13]: fine
thebetterfraldarius [13:13]: i guess you don’t need your swords anymore
Felix slams the front door shut. It makes a terrible rattling noise, but he doesn’t care.
fraldarius [13:13]: imgfnjfonna fucking kill you DON’T touch them
thebetterfraldarius [13:14]: oh no. they’re already in the toilet. what to do…
thebetterfraldarius [13:14]: [IMG839289.png]
Felix screams. Then, he jabs his screen, selecting his bastard brother’s name from his contacts, and fumes until Glenn picks up the phone.
Like the dickhead that he is, Glenn only picks up on the last ring.
“GLENN!” Felix roars.
“Hey, squirt,” comes the reply, as smug as ever, and Felix nearly smashes his phone against the window.
“ Don’t touch my swords," he hisses, striding down the hallway. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Dimitri staring at him in front of the laptop, with Kina perched in his lap. He’s probably Skyping Edelgard, but that’s unimportant right now.
“Felix,” Dimitri calls after him, timidly, “would you like some pizza - ”
Felix waves him off. “ No, ” he hisses, before stalking into the bedroom.
“Oh no,” Glenn drawls from the other end, voice tinny and utterly unserious. “But you saw the photos, Felix. You’re too late.”
Why is he using Kingdom Hearts lines against him. “I’m going to kill you,” Felix shouts.
“I’m hard to kill, pipsqueak.” What a bitch, bringing up the time he nearly got murdered. Fuck him. “Tell you what. I won’t flush them if you go and make up with Mitya.”
Is Glenn stupid? Make up?
No one, no one , tells him what to do. He is Felix Hugo Fraldarius, and he intends to rage at his brother, ignore Dimitri and sulk by himself, and no one, least of all his brother, can make him leave and make up with -
He ends up in Dedue’s restaurant.
Even Felix can admit that it’s a nice restaurant. Arrangements of flowers adorn the place; not too many that they become tacky, but just enough so that the restaurant is vibrant and inviting. Felix can appreciate, artistically, how very symmetrical the paintings on the wall are.
Plus, Duscur food is generally spicy, and Felix likes spice.
“So,” Dedue says, across from him, as infuriatingly calm and as unruffled as ever. “You are having a lovers’ quarrel.”
Felix spits his Sprite all over the table.
“Wh - what?” he snaps, trying not to look undignified as it all drips down his front. His shirt is wet, though, so that’s a lost cause.
He’s more annoyed that not a single drop got on Dedue, as if he has some sort of shield.
Dedue hums. “You and Dimitri are having an argument, and you are stuck as to what you should do next.”
Dedue is wrong. Dedue is so, so wrong, on so many levels -
“Oh, no! You two are arguing?”
Ashe pops up out of nowhere, and Felix does not jump. Instead, he glares at him, and Ashe only waves, sunny as ever. His apron is untied, and Felix remembers that he and Dedue own the restaurant jointly.
“Communication is key, Felix!” Ashe says, plonking himself down on the seat next to Dedue. Felix bristles. “You probably just need to talk with him about things. Set aside time for each other, get on the same page... things like that.”
Dedue nods approvingly. Felix wants to scream. Why is he getting advice?
“We’re not dating,” he snaps. “Why does everyone think we are?”
First Sylvain and Ingrid, then his own damned mind, and now Ashe and Dedue. Maybe even Glenn. Everyone’s getting the wrong idea, and Felix wants to shout on a megaphone that no, he is not with Dimitri. Why would he be?
“Oh,” Ashe’s face falls visibly. “You’re not?”
Damn. Now Felix just feels bad.
He can’t look at Ashe anymore, so he looks at Dedue again.
“How’s the wedding planning,” he snarls, as Ashe looks at him, sympathetic. Sympathetic. Felix hates it.
“It is rather enjoyable,” Dedue says. He’s smiling now. Where is the stress, Felix thinks. Weddings are supposed to be stressful and ridiculous. “Mercedes is currently dress shopping.”
No wonder he can feel his phone spasming like a wound-up toy in his pocket. Annette’s probably sending him a thousand pictures to fill his camera roll with, which he’ll have to delete later (but probably won’t).
“... Dimitri’s excited,” Felix offers, upon consideration.
“He has told me,” Dedue smiles, before they finally lapse into silence.
A month ago, Felix had found Dimitri crouched over his laptop, learning how to fold napkins into swans by following a tutorial on YouTube. After yelling at him about his back, Felix had been forced to endure Dimitri’s excited monologue about how happy he was for Dedue and Mercedes, and how much he was looking forward to the wedding. His smile had been wider than Felix had ever seen in weeks. And that smile had sent Felix into -
Felix tosses down the money for the Sprite on the table, and has to endure the embarrassment of Ashe laughing at him as he flees the restaurant.
“I am not in love with Dimitri,” Felix mutters to himself on the train platform. “I am not in love with Dimitri.”
A man is staring at him. His headphones are in, so why is he staring at him.
“What,” Felix snaps, as the train pulls in.
The man looks away, hurriedly, and Felix repeats the mantra in his head. It sounds like a drum beat that is slowly fading away with each thump.
Felix opens the door to a dark apartment. This is the first sign that something is wrong, because Dimitri is always home on a Saturday night.
He stares around the place. There’s a pile of unwashed dishes left in the sink, even though little food is actually stuck on the plates. The chairs are untucked, and are pulled out haphazardly instead. That’s the second sign.
Then, Kina rubs up against his leg and meows, seemingly urgent. She never meows at Felix, unless she wants something that Dimitri isn’t available to give her. That’s the third.
Felix doesn’t bother to discard his coat. He kicks off his shoes, and steps into Dimitri’s room.
“Oi, Dimitri,” he calls. He manages to keep his voice steady. This scenario is bringing back memories, but - no need to panic. Not yet.
The curtains are tightly drawn. There is no light at all in the room, moonlight or artificial, and Felix has to carefully pick his way through the clothes strewn about messily on the floor.
The lump under the covers twitches feebly as he approaches. Felix feels his breathing quicken. He reaches out and peels the blanket back, ever so slightly, and wills himself to breathe.
Dimitri is lying there, huddled in a curled position. His hair is splayed about his head, and the eyepatch is off, though Felix has no idea where he put it. There is a sheen to his skin, and he is clutching his head.
“Felix..?” Dimitri whimpers. Felix’s heart jolts.
He tries to press a hand to Dimitri’s forehead, but Dimitri shrinks away with a groan.
“No…” he moans. “Headache…”
Ah. Headache. Felix had suspected as much.
This is something he can deal with, though. Felix feels himself breathe.
“Number?” he asks brusquely.
Dimitri considers. “Four…” he mumbles. Which means that it’s probably a six. A rule of thumb that Felix has learnt is that, if Dimitri gives you a number to describe pain, you go up at least two.
“I’ll be back,” Felix says into the darkness. Dimitri doesn’t reply.
Felix pads back into the kitchen. He puts the kettle on, and lets it boil as he sticks his hand in the cupboard until he finds the chamomile. There is no guarantee that Dimitri will drink it, but at least it’ll be there.
Once the tea is finished, Felix takes it back to Dimitri’s room, and sets it on the bedside table. He plugs Dimitri’s phone to the charger and sets it on silent, before tucking the curtains more firmly around the windowsill.
This routine is methodical, and easy to follow after years of practice. Dimitri’s headaches are regular. They are disruptive and painful, but they pass. Certain things just help them pass quicker, and Felix has learnt them all.
Finally, he deposits Kina on the bed. She’s an anomaly in their routine, a relatively new addition, but if she helps Dimitri, then Felix can make an amendment.
“Early birthday present,” he says. Dimitri makes a muffled noise. Kina preens, before curling up to the lump that is Dimitri’s leg, purring rhythmically.
Felix starts to leave, but stops. He turns back.
“Do you want company?” he says into the darkness.
A beat. Then, Dimitri pokes out his head, slowly, as if he is a turtle. He shakes it, pained.
It’s not fine, because when Felix walks out, all he can think about is Dimitri’s face, flushed and sad, and how he had gotten a sudden desperate need to wrap him in his blankets and pepper his forehead with -
What is wrong with him.
CHAT: fraldarius + 🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻
Sunday 10th November
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [14:33]: Thank you for taking care of me, Felix. I really appreciate it.
fraldarius [14:34]: [IMG729301.png]
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [14:37]: :)
On the Tuesday of the following week, Felix comes home to find Dimitri furiously cooking pasta.
“... Dimitri,” he says. It’s all he can say, really, when he surveys the mess.
A pot is bubbling over on the stove. There are spoons strewn across the worktop, caked in sauce. Dimitri’s hair is tied half-up in a high ponytail, his sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, and there is a red streak smeared across his cheek.
Felix gets a violent urge to rub it off with his thumb.
“I thought you were busy,” Felix says, instead. With Parents Evening, which usually has Dimitri coming home exhausted, with piles of folders tucked under his arms.
“I was,” Dimitri answers, smiling. “I rushed back home.” A pause. “I made you tuna pasta, just how you like it.”
He is fiddling with his T-shirt, smiling, broad and earnest. Why is he so - adorable.
Felix wants to lie down in front of a tractor for even thinking that.
“Yeah,” Felix says. “It’s - nice.” Felix loves tuna pasta, especially if it’s done right, with the spices he likes. “I like it.”
“Good.” Another awkward pause follows, before Felix moves off to dump his things on the sofa.
When Dimitri finishes cooking, Felix joins him at the table. Dimitri sits across from him, and eats his pasta, haltingly. There is no conversation. Dimitri just stares at his plate, and Felix just stares at Dimitri when Dimitri is staring at his plate.
He can’t help but think of Dream Dimitri and his - assets. Which are completely unrealistic and stupid, Felix reminds himself, so he has no business thinking about them. Instead, Felix wills the red to fade from his cheeks.
He stabs at his pasta. Fuck Dream Dimitri.
Thankfully, Dimitri chooses this moment to lapse into a lengthy apology. Which he really doesn’t need to, because he hasn’t done anything, but because he’s Dimitri, he feels like he needs to.
“Felix. I have no idea what is going on between us, but -”
Felix holds up a hand. “Stop.” He’s bad with apologies; both dealing them out and dealing with them. “Let’s just forget it.”
“But - ”
“I only wanted to apologise,” Dimitri rushes, before Felix can silence him again. He’s wringing his hands, but there’s a determined glint in his eyes.
Felix knows it very well. It means that Dimitri’s going to be as stubborn as a pig until Felix puts his foot down.
“Nothing to apologise for,” Felix grunts. He goes back to his meal, and stabs it again for good measure.
Dimitri stares at him silently before he speaks again. “Then why - ”
“I’ll tell you. Later,” Felix mutters. No he won’t. “For now, let’s just forget it.”
“...All right. Let’s.”
He can tell that Dimitri is unhappy leaving it there, but Felix is perfectly happy with it. He can’t deal with what’s inside his head. Addressing it in the open is something he will do only if the country starts to burn.
They finish eating, in comforting silence. The pasta is… not bad. Nice, even, because Dimitri’s used the spices he likes.
“Thanks for the meal,” Felix says. Dimitri smiles at him. That look is in his eyes again; disgustingly warm and sappy. Felix forces himself to look away.
Dimitri turns around. Felix taps his own cheek.
Dimitri looks in the mirror. “Oh. Oh!”
Felix walks briskly out of the room. There is no way Dimitri can hear how loudly his heart is pounding, but still.
Is he in love with Dimitri?
Felix has another crisis the next morning. A Dimitri-crisis, specifically, arising when Dimitri is working across from him. Or nodding off. Felix can’t tell; he is far too preoccupied by his own thoughts.
Is he in love with Dimitri? No, he can’t be. Sylvain had told him that he’s been ‘pining’ for most of his life, and when the sudden surge of rage at Sylvain fades away after remembering the café incident (as Felix is now calling it in head), Felix is pleased to note that he really and truly can’t be.
If he was, he would’ve noticed it at one point. Obviously. How can Sylvain know something he doesn’t?
Dimitri gives a sudden snore. He sounds like a baby elephant. Felix absolutely does not jerk in his seat, but he does catch sight of Dimitri drooling onto his shirt.
Of course he can’t be in love with him.
The question is still plaguing him when, at Dimitri’s insistence, they finally visit Winter Wonderland again.
It’s pathetic. Here Felix is, suspended a hundred feet in the air, strapped upside down and rotating in a death machine alongside his friends. Ingrid is screaming with joy. Dimitri looks like he wants to pass out. Sylvain probably has passed out. And all he can think is: Am I in love with Dimitri?
When Dimitri offers him his own blue candyfloss, eyes crinkling with happiness, Felix is unable to look him in the eye.
It continues. Every stupid little incident stacks up, and no matter how hard he tries, Felix still can’t get rid of that stupid, burning feeling that flares whenever he thinks of Dimitri.
It’s disgusting. Horrible, that he should be blinded so thoroughly by thinking of one person, nevermind how important he is, but this is his life now, apparently. And Felix can only stay angry for so long before even he needs to take a break.
His break today is, apparently, figuring out what this damn cat wants.
“Stop staring at me,” Felix grumbles.
The cat has made a mess, because Felix had come home earlier to find her using their sofa as a scratching post. She had looked so fucking smug about it, too. Oh, look at me. I get free food all day and I’m spoiled rotten. Watch me tear up your furniture and get treats for it.
And now, she’s staring back at him. Unblinking.
Reluctantly, Felix looks away first. He hates eye contact. It’s even creepier with a cat, because those big, familiar amber eyes never look away.
“What do you want?” he grouses out, staring at the opposite wall. Her treats are out, and Dimitri had gone to the shops to buy more. He’d just fed her, so she can’t be hungry, either.
“Meow,” says the cat.
Felix squints. His eye twitches.
No one’s home.
A moment passes. The cat is still staring at him, her tail occasionally twitching.
Felix hesitates. Then, gingerly, he bends down, stretches out an arm, and pats the cat on the head.
It takes some rubbing, but soon the cat is purring under his hand. She rumbles like a miniature panther, and the sound is strangely soothing. Then, she starts butting her head against Felix’s palm, and the corners of his mouth twitch upwards.
“Greedy,” he mutters, with no real heat, as the cat pushes into his hand. She rolls over, and he finally allows himself to smile openly as she wriggles around, like some giant, furry worm on a string.
Felix stops smiling.
“I’m going to kill you,” he says, very calmly, as he continues to pet the cat.
“I am so sorry, Felix,” Dimitri says, even though he, like a dickhead, doesn’t sound sorry at all, “but you and Kina look so adorable together. I could not help myself.”
Felix whips around. He glares at Dimitri, who is standing in the doorway with his shopping bags on the floor. He’s pointing his phone at them using two hands, cradling it like a grandma who can’t use technology. He looks ridiculous.
“Delete them,” Felix demands.
Dimitri laughs. “Well,” is all he has to say, and that bright smile is what disarms Felix, distracting him from his crime.
He’s not distracted for long. Felix’s phone buzzes. When he takes it out and sees the notification, he instantly goes for the nearest weapon, which, this time, is the TV remote.
Dimitri watches as he clutches the remote like his sword, and when Felix starts approaching, he very cleverly runs.
As Felix sprints, it suddenly occurs to him that this isn’t so bad. Chasing Dimitri, that is. The pictures are unforgivable, but this… is alright.
Felix manages to wrestle him into his bedroom, where he can safely try to smother him with his pillow. Dimitri calmly plucks the pillow out of his hands, using no effort at all, and instead uses the opportunity to smile up at him. Fond and aggravating.
Felix’s heart jumps. He hates it. Hates Dimitri’s crinkling eyes, and his gentle smile, and his stupid laugh.
Dimitri takes no notice of Felix’s turmoil. He picks up his phone instead (Felix covers his face, because he is not taking chances any more) and unlocks it. He taps out a few messages, and Felix watches him through the cracks between his hands, because again, he refuses to be played a second time.
Then, it all falls to pieces. Dimitri shouts, rattling the entire bed frame. Felix wobbles and topples over, scrabbling for a purchase that isn’t there.
“What the fuck - ” is all he manages to shout, as he falls off the bed, and hears the distinct sound of a screen being shattered.
Everything is tense again, and this time, it isn’t even Felix’s fault.
Dimitri hasn’t spoken to him in days. It isn’t out of any sort of active maliciousness, either - Dimitri simply flees whenever Felix enters the room. Felix doesn’t understand how a man his size can run so fast.
And Sylvain, being Sylvain, catches wind of the story from Ingrid, and as such, has dragged Felix down to that café again. He wants a succinct summary from ‘the man of the hour himself’, as he puts it.
It’s a long story, and Felix doesn’t care to explain it another time. Instead, he simply shows Sylvain the remains of their groupchat:
CHAT: blue eggs and ham
Wednesday 4th December
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:22]: [IMG351738.png]
deadeye [11:24]: aww! they look so sweet….
creepitycreep <3 [11:25]: !!!!
creepitycreep <3 [11:25]: baby!! BABY!!
creepitycreep <3 [11:26]: and felix looks so happy, too!
Dedue [11:26]: How sweet.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:27]: I managed to get a picture of them by being very quick :) Now Felix wants to kill me.
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:27]: But at least I got this picture!
creepitycreep <3 [11:27]: oooshhds you three are going to give me cavities 😭😭
Mercie ♡ [11:28]: What a sweet image! You two seem so happy ❤️ I always knew you’d be such a cute couple!
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:28]: M
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:28]: Mercedsdjds
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:29]: MERCENBD
creepitycreep <3 [11:29]: OH NO
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻 [11:29]: MERDEJSD NO I AM NOT W
Mercie ♡ [11:29]: ???
🔻 doritomitri!!! 🔻has deleted this groupchat!
“So wait… Let me get this straight,” Sylvain says, with half a breadstick in his mouth and a shit-eating grin. Felix wants to punch him already. “Dimitri took a picture of you and your little ladyfriend.”
“Yes,” Felix says, tersely, shoving a chip into his mouth.
“Which he sent to the groupchat. The one I’m still kicked out of, by the way.”
“And Mercedes spectacularly misunderstood the picture by saying that you two are a couple.”
“What?” Felix snaps. Sylvain laughs, and tries to steal his Sprite. Felix kicks him under the table.
The bastard doesn’t even flinch.
“Wrong,” Sylvain repeats. “She didn’t spectacularly misunderstand anything. You two really do act like an old, married couple.”
Felix stills. Blinks. Then, he grabs the salt shaker.
“I,” he hisses, “am going to kill you.”
Sylvain gently plucks the salt shaker out of his hand, and proceeds to ignore him entirely. “And finally, after Mercedes’ enlightening message, Dimitri goes and… what? Deletes the entire groupchat?”
Felix grunts in affirmation. “Accidentally,” he confirms. He steals one of Sylvain’s chips, and then another, because he’s an asshole. “And then he shattered his screen.”
Sylvain throws his head back and laughs, loud and shameless. Felix rolls his eyes, but feels a familiar surge of fondness at the sound.
“Wow,” Sylvain says, wiping a tear. “Poor old Dima. Why am I not surprised that he cracked his screen? This is, what, the seventh time?”
“Shattered,” Felix corrects, automatically. He pours sauce on the stolen chips. “And no. Ninth time.”
Sylvain gives him a look. “You’ve been keeping count, huh,” he muses.
Felix shrugs. He ignores that look entirely, because nothing good ever comes out of it.
“Come to think of it,” Sylvain continues, leaning back on his chair, “you don’t seem bothered by this at all.” He pokes at Felix’s forehead with the end of his fork. “Where’s the defensive Felix I saw back with Ingrid?”
Felix bristles. “What is there to be bothered about?” he snaps.
“You know,” Sylvain waves his hands vaguely. “You and Dimitri. Being a couple.” That glint is back in his eyes again. “Remember what I asked?”
Felix gives a noncommittal grunt. “That was because you asked me if I was jealous of the goddamn cat,” he grouses.
It’s still a stupid thought, Felix being jealous of the cat. She is… tolerable, now, but that doesn’t mean he was jealous of her before.
He’s just… tired. Tired of running his head in circles, because a cat waltzed into their lives and turned it upside down in the space of a few weeks. A cat.
Before she arrived, Felix was perfectly fine with being friends with Dimitri. Now, it feels as if he’s been furtively playing a song and dance with him for decades, without knowing he was actually playing that song and dance.
And Dimitri is probably oblivious to it all. Probably hasn’t even entertained the thought of liking Felix like - that.
His phone buzzes.
CHAT: fraldarius + thebetterfraldarius
Saturday 7th December
thebetterfraldarius [19:11]: have you made up with mitya yet?
thebetterfraldarius [19:44]: oi
fraldarius [19:45]: no
The reply comes instantly.
thebetterfraldarius [19:46]: do it, coward
thebetterfraldarius [19:46]: or
thebetterfraldarius [19:47]: ⚔️➡️🚽
Felix swears, and immediately sends his dear brother a picture of his middle finger.
“Glenn?” Sylvain prompts. Felix grunts, fingers flying, before stowing his phone away. Glenn replies with the same smug threats as always, but Felix can deal with that later, in a place where he can actually scream at him.
Sylvain is eyeing him carefully. “You really aren’t bothered by this, are you, Felix?” he muses.
Felix grunts, and looks away. He purses his lips.
“Then… if you like him… why don’t you ask?”
Felix is still. Ask Dimitri what? If he - likes him?
Nothing will come out of it. Felix knows Dimitri; knows that he will listen to Felix being vulnerable for once in his damn life, and will then try to break his heart as gently as possible. Probably holding his hands with his own large, calloused ones.
Or maybe he’ll try to pity Felix. Which would be worse. Considerably worse. Felix would rather jump out of a window than have those blue eyes turn watery for him.
It hurts, but. It’s Dimitri. He’s not breaking their friendship over something as stupid as feelings.
So Felix shrugs. He looks at Sylvain, who is looking at him questionably, then glances away, furtive. Felix feels as if he’s being pinned to his chair by a spear.
He stares at his food. The chips look disgusting, now. Too greasy.
“... Don’t know if he likes me like that,” Felix admits, as quietly as possible.
For a moment, he hopes Sylvain hasn’t heard, because as soon as the words come out of his mouth, Felix wants to claw them back. Burn them, so no one will ever hear of this weakness of his ever again.
He looks up again. Just to check.
And Sylvain is staring at him, eyes wide. His mouth is parted in the shape of an ‘o’.
Felix withers. Well. Too late for being -
Suddenly, Sylvain is taking Felix’s face between his palms. Before Felix can dismember him, Sylvain is squishing his cheeks together, until Felix looks like some sort of dying blowfish.
What the f -
“Felix,” Sylvain enunciates, as if Felix is a toddler. He gives Felix a little shake. “You are. So. Fucking. Stupid.”
Felix stops breathing.
Then, he lifts his fist, and swings.
“Felix, my vertically-challenged friend,” Sylvain whines, massaging his shoulder, as Felix bristles again, “I think you broke a bone.”
“Don’t call me that,” Felix snaps. “And no, I didn’t.”
He walks over to check, anyway, since they’re already doing nothing while waiting for the taxi. He just wants to check.
Sylvain flashes him a shit-eating grin. Felix moves away, scowling. Of course there was nothing wrong with him. He was just whining as usual.
Once their taxi arrives, it’s only a short ride to his apartment. Sylvain, for once, stays quiet, and doesn’t try to engage Felix in conversation, which Felix is absolutely fine with. Strangely enough, he also doesn't try to chat up the driver. Which is… odd, but Felix is fine with that, too.
Near the end of the ride, though, Sylvain breaks his weird silence.
“Hey.” Sylvain nudges Felix in the side. His eyes are serious. Sincere. “Think about what I said.”
Felix crosses his arms. He scowls, but it doesn’t quite form. “Whatever.”
He gets out when the taxi stops, and waves to Sylvain, who waves back.
Then, head whirring, Felix trudges up the stairs to his apartment.
“I’m home,” Felix calls, dully. He toes off his shoes to the sound of a yelp, and then a heavy, suspicious silence.
Great. So nothing has changed.
This means that Felix isn’t surprised when he pushes open the kitchen door, switches on the lights, and finds Dimitri staring at him like a deer caught in headlights, in fluffy slippers and a dressing gown and everything else.
“Dimitri,” Felix says. His voice is curt, even by his normal standards. “What - ”
“Evening, Felix!” Dimitri honest-to-goddess squeaks, before pushing past him and slamming the door.
Felix drops into the seat, and sighs. Very loudly, in the hopes that Dimitri hears.
This is stupid. Dimitri is acting like a skittish rabbit. He can’t even look Felix in the eye, and here Felix thought he was the one with eye contact issues.
He doesn’t even know what he did. Whenever he demands an answer, Dimitri runs away. Physically and metaphorically.
… Is the idea of being in a relationship with Felix really so abhorrent to Dimitri that he refuses even to look at him?
Felix stares at the door. Beyond it, into the hallway, into Dimitri’s bedroom, where the man is probably lurking. Flighty. Embarrassed.
Felix scowls. Then, he stops, because it’s not hostile enough. Instead, he stares at the floor, blank. His entire life has been a rollercoaster of emotions, yet now he can’t seem to muster any at all.
His thoughts scatter when something touches his leg. Felix looks down to see the cat, nudging her head against his shin. Purring, as if everything is right with the world. Completely oblivious to the turmoil of her owners.
He thinks about how things were before she came. How he wants things to be normal again.
She meows. Felix stares.
“...You’re lucky you’re not ugly,” he tells her quietly, before moving towards the food bowls.
A week drags by. It feels like he’s tangled in a weird limbo.
Felix’s routine changes. Before this mess, Dimitri would shake him awake if he ever missed his alarm. Dimitri would usually forget to have breakfast in the morning, so Felix would pack it for him the night before. They’d never go to work together, but Felix would always come home to food of some kind.
Sometimes he’d buy takeaway. It would always be something fairly mild, because of Dimitri’s preferences. Sometimes Dimitri would cook, if he wasn’t busy. More often, Felix would cook, because objectively, he is still the better cook. And they would always, without fail, take their meals together.
This Monday, however, Felix had woken up late. He’d had to throw together a lacklustre breakfast, because he’d gone straight to bed last night, rather than stay in the kitchen. He’d taken his dinner to his own room, and a glance in the sink later confirmed that Dimitri had done the same. Even if the other man had been as silent as a ghost when doing it.
Barely a word passes between them. It makes Felix angry. Angry that he and Dimitri worked so well together, and without him he suddenly feels like a puppet with its strings cut, but also angry that he could be so weak.
This is stupid. They’re having a spat over stupid feelings. At least their argument after the accident years ago had some substance, some ground on which to have a dispute over. This situation is so pathetic that, if Felix weren’t so caught up in it, he would have laughed.
But no. Instead, he is rendered weak by Dimitri. Again.
The Sylvain-voice in his head is urging him to talk to Dimitri. Yeah, Felix would talk, if Dimitri wasn’t doing the equivalent of an Olympic-sprint whenever he saw him.
Running away, because Dimitri is embarrassed. And Felix is -
Felix hates this.
By the end of the week, he’s had enough. No amount of feelings is worth this.
Whatever the answer, Felix will just ask. He’ll ask, and he can get over the embarrassment of rejection - and he will get over it quickly, because he’s got better things to do, and honestly, Dimitri and his guilt will probably need more reassurance than he will - and they can finally, finally move back to how they were.
And Felix can feel normal again. No more of these horrible emotions, or the feeling of his throat closing up whenever he so much as sees a picture of Dimitri.
Felix can’t wait.
His opportunity to end this farce, once and for all, arrives on Sunday.
Dimitri has been tiptoeing around him for the whole day. It is stupid and awkward, and Felix is in his pyjamas, about to turn in, when he suddenly hears a crash from the kitchen.
He grabs the badminton racket from the corner of the room, and wastes no time bursting into the kitchen - only to find Dimitri crouched on the floor, and Kina sitting smugly on top of the table.
“What - “
Dimitri whips around. He’s wearing the Charmander onesie that Felix had bought him years ago (as a joke, but Dimitri had beamed and worn it at least once a week since), and his expression is apologetic.
And he is picking out individual shards of the once-whole glass vase from the floor.
“I am so sorry, Felix,” he says, miserable, “but Kina accidentally toppled your vase.”
He breathes out, shaky, and Felix feels his anger bubble over, like lava in a volcano. Dimitri is watching him, and his expression crumples. “I promise I will buy you another - ”
Felix stalks over, and yanks at Dimitri’s other hand - the one that isn’t spitting blood everywhere like a sprinkler. Dimitri stares at him, surprised. Surprised.
“You idiot,” Felix hisses, pulling Dimitri to his feet. Dimitri continues to stare at him, bewildered. “Why are you picking up glass with your bare hands?”
Dimitri stares down at his hands. As if they aren’t painted with blood.
“Oh,” he says, lamely. “I - forgot.”
“You forgot,” Felix parrots. It’s not a question.
Dimitri turns his hand over, watching, dumbstruck, as his blood hits the floor.
Felix grimaces. That particular image… brings up memories he would rather forget.
He shakes his head, and focuses on the present.
Felix drags Dimitri on to a chair. “Stay there,” he orders, before ducking into the bathroom, and snatching the first aid kit from the cabinet.
When he returns, Dimitri has indeed stayed there, although he is also anxiously watching Kina, who has, smartly, not gone anywhere near the glass.
Unlike her owner. It’s reassuring to know that at least one of them has common sense.
“Give me your hand,” Felix says, holding out his hand expectantly. Dimitri places his hand, palm up, in his, and watches with grim fascination as Felix swabs it with rubbing alcohol, before using tweezers to pick out the tiny shards.
He has no idea if he’s doing the right thing. He did Google it, but - well. It’s probably fine. He’ll just call Mercedes later.
“Felix,” Dimitri asks, meekly, as Felix is finishing off, “could I ask you something?”
“You don’t need my permission,” Felix grunts. He pats down Dimitri’s hand, releases it, and watches as Dimitri cradles it to his chest.
“Yes, but,” Dimitri pauses. “Well. Anyway. I… “
He trails off, and looks towards the floor. Then, he clears his throat. Dimitri is nervous, and it sets Felix on edge.
“We should clear that up, first,” Dimitri mutters, pointing to the glass shards on the floor. “Kina could step into it by accident.”
Felix grabs the broom and pan before Dimitri can say anything else. “Fine, but I’m cleaning it up.”
Dimitri furrows his brows. “I am perfectly capable of cleaning after myself,” he tries to argue. Felix hears none of it, and, in pointed silence, starts to sweep.
He knows that Dimitri is capable, but he also knows when Dimitri is tired. He knows when Dimitri is wrung out, both physically and emotionally, and right now, that look in his eyes speaks of nothing else.
So Felix cleans the floor, and Dimitri watches him, still with that odd expression.
After five minutes, Felix is done. He upends the shards into the bin, and tucks away the cleaning materials. Then, he turns back to Dimitri, who is still staring at him. Still nervous.
He looks so worried. Felix hates it.
“I have something to say, too,” he grits out, scowling. His throat and ears are itching, and his heart is pounding like a freight train. All because of Dimitri’s sad, nervous smile.
What has he done to him.
“Oh?” Dimitri smiles, melancholy. “You do?”
Internally, Felix winces. He doesn’t want to do this. Hates it.
But… he has to. Not only for his own peace of mind, but also to stop Dimitri from vaulting over the table every time he sees him. This is the first time in a whole week that they’re at a conversational level - to let this opportunity go to waste would be foolish.
Felix is so tired.
A change passes over Dimitri’s face. His mouth moves until he sets in a straight line. He looks more determined, now. Resigned.
“Okay, Felix. Okay,” Dimitri says. “Um. You first, or me?”
Felix doesn’t bother to give Dimitri an answer. Instead, he counts down in his head. The sooner they get this over with, the sooner he can leave.
Dimitri cocks his head. He has the gall to look confused. Felix wants to laugh.
Instead, he inhales, sharp.
Three… two… one…
“I am so sorry for my behaviour the past week. To compensate for it, I was wondering whether - “
“Are you in love with me?”
“- you wanted to make volcanoes with me and the children... tomorrow...?”
Dimitri trails off. His eyes widen to the size of saucers, just as Felix slaps a hand over his mouth.
Fuck. Fuck! Dimitri hadn’t - he had no idea -
Felix turns on his heel, and races towards the door. His throat feels like someone poured treacle down it. His ribcage rattles in his chest.
Dimitri had looked so shocked. As if the thought of being in love with Felix wasn’t even on his radar.
He wants to die.
Apparently, though, the universe won’t even let him have that, because Dimitri is grabbing his arm before he can even get a foot out the door.
“Let go,” Felix barks, except his voice cracks halfway through. He wants to leave, because he feels so weak and so stupid for even asking. Dimitri has never shown an interest in him in that way, has never made any advances or even given a hint -
And now Dimitri is refusing to let go of his arm.
Felix tries to shake him off, but Dimitri’s grip is like a steel pincer. He’s ignoring him entirely, opting instead to stare at the opposite wall, like a broken machine.
Felix twists around where he stands. It’s uncomfortable, but it allows him to move closer, and wave his hands in front of Dimitri’s face. The massive, cartoonish eyes of Charmander on Dimitri’s hood mock him from where they sit on his head.
“Dimitri,” Felix snaps.
That gets a reaction. Dimitri jerks, like a clockwork mouse coming to life. He turns his head, and proceeds to stare at Felix, with that same glazed-over look in his eyes.
“Am I - in love with - ?” Dimitri mumbles.
Felix had expected it, but. It hurts to hear. More than he can bear.
He tugs his arm away, letting Dimitri’s own fall uselessly at his side.
“Let go. You don’t have to grace me with an apology,” Felix snaps. The backs of his eyes feel like thorns. “I already know.”
Why is he making this so hard. Felix just wants to go off and have his broken in fucking peace. He doesn’t know why this is so hard.
Dimitri’s mouth turns down.
“Let me go, Dimitri,” and dammit, his voice is trembling, and his throat is closing in on itself.
Miraculously, Dimitri shakes his head.
“No.” he says. His voice is strong and steady, so different to his earlier skittish self. “If that is - if that is truly what you think, then you should know that I am tired of running away.”
Big talk, Felix thinks, sourly, because that’s all Dimitri has been doing the past week. Dimitri must misinterpret his scowl, because hastily, he adds: “I will let you go, of course, but you are wrong.”
“You are assuming that I do not think of you in that way. And I cannot, in good conscience, let you leave this room with - with such a misunderstanding.” Dimitri pauses. “I cannot possibly hope to explain the extent of my feelings into words, but Felix… if you knew…”
Felix thinks he finally understands what it means to hear your blood roaring in your ears, because the sound is thunderous. If it were strong enough, he thinks his heart might break out of his cage and escape.
Painstakingly, he keeps his face neutral.
“Knew what,” Felix grits out. “Just - just say it. Say your piece.”
“... I do not know where to start,” Dimitri admits, and Felix wants to scream, “but I think… ah.” He straightens, lopsided crooked smile and all, and Felix’s knees give a little twitch. “Is it alright if we sit down for this? I want to make sure that I say everything I need to.”
“Do you remember that time in home economics, Felix, when you tried to cook an egg, but placed in the microwave instead?” is what Dimitri starts with, after he makes tea.
Makes tea. Here Felix is, about to combust, and there Dimitri is, making tea.
“What has that got to do with anything?” he mutters, sullen. Felix remembers that he’d failed that class, but that recollection is vague. The more prominent image is the one of Dimitri, passing by their table, trying to muffle his laughter.
The egg incident had happened after Dimitri had seeing a counsellor, so maybe it wasn’t supposed to be surprising, but still. Dimitri had laughed, at something as small as the exploded egg that Felix and Ingrid had been staring at in abject dismay. Felix had nearly snapped his neck when he whipped around to stare at Dimitri, because the sound of his laughter was something he hadn’t heard for a very long time. Not since Lambert had ended up in intensive care, that was for sure.
Dimitri nods, decisive. “It was that moment that helped me to realise,” he says.
Felix blinks. He waits for Dimitri to continue, but Dimitri doesn’t. Instead, he opts to stare at the floor, as if it is suddenly the most interesting thing in the world.
“... Realise what?” Felix asks, eventually.
“... Isn’t it obvious?” Dimitri murmurs. Then, in one damning line: “Felix. I have - harboured affections towards you for a very long time now.”
For a moment, Felix stops breathing. His head feels like it’s been stuffed with cotton, and then held down in a bowl of water. What Dimitri is saying goes against every base instinct he has, and every inch of Felix feels like cold fire.
It’s - impossible.
“What?” Felix snaps.
“I will repeat myself if I must,” Dimitri says, solemn and still so soft.
Felix stiffens. He knows what Dimitri is doing. “You don’t have to pity me,” he snarls. “I don’t need false kindnesses. Tell me the truth, or tell me nothing at all.”
He hates it. Hates it when Dimitri tries to preserve his feelings by being nice. Felix isn’t a child anymore - he can handle rejection.
Dimitri doesn’t try to placate him, though, as he usually does. Instead, he looks affronted. Incredulous.
“Felix,” Dimitri says, firmly. “I am not pitying you. I am telling you something that has been on my mind for years.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me before? ”
The question bursts from his lips like a firecracker, and Dimitri's expression changes from one of unhappiness to one of complete and utter surprise.
“Why would I tell you?” he asks. Genuinely shocked. “It is not as if you would ever have felt the same way.”
Told you so, the Sylvain-voice sniggers in his head, and Felix immediately wants to throttle it. After he throttles them both. Because they’re both stupid, apparently.
Nine years. Nine years. And Dimitri had said nothing.
And according to Sylvain, it’s been… twenty odd years for Felix, but that’s something to unpick later.
Felix clenches his fist. It feels as if something is deflating and inflating inside of him, all at once. Maybe that’s what a dawning realisation does to you. Felix wouldn’t know; he only has an embarrassing urge to give Dimitri a hug.
Dimitri is watching him as he dies inside, completely misunderstanding his grimace, because he falters, and looks away.
“... It is all right if you don’t feel the same,” Dimitri says, quietly. “I had suspected as much. I only hope that - “
“Shut up,” Felix snaps.
His face feels like a solar panel. Dimitri looks surprised, again, so Felix kicks him under the table for good measure.
“Oof,” says Dimitri, before his eyes widen as Felix reaches across the table to grab his hand. Goddess. It’s so sweaty. “Felix..? What are you - “
“Just shut up.” He knows his ears are red. “Don’t make me say it.”
Dimitri’s voice is a whisper. His eyes are very bright. “Are - are you sure?”
He sounds reverent, like he’s worshipping a goddess, and not just Felix in his Donkey Kong pyjamas. Felix is going to die.
He groans. “ Yes, I’m sure. Now can you stop blubbering so we can - urck!”
Felix never gets to finish his sentence, because suddenly he is being swept into the air by an ecstatic golden retriever of a man. He does not shriek, but he does give an undignified yelp, and starts trying to kick Dimitri into putting him down.
Which, of course, feels as nice as stubbing his toe.
“Dimitri,” Felix yells, “put me down, before I skin you alive - “
“I am sorry, Felix, but - I am just so happy,” and damn it, he really does sound happy. Dimitri is beaming and his eyes are crinkling and here he is, swinging Felix around in a bear hug, and Felix can’t even bring himself to be angry because he’s just so happy.
Dimitri, that is.
… fine. Maybe him, too. Just a bit.
Felix gives up on trying to beat Dimitri’s shoulder into submission. “Put me down, already,” he grumbles, far softer. Dimitri huffs a laugh and does exactly that, until he pulls Felix into a crushing hug.
“... What about - that girlfriend of yours, then?” Felix mumbles into Dimitri’s chest. “Right before we graduated.”
“She is a fantastic woman,” Dimitri agrees, putting his chin on top of Felix’s head. “However, our parting made me realise that I only have eyes for you.”
Felix regrets he even asked. His skin feels like the leaves in a forest fire. “Shut up. ”
Dimitri laughs, a low and rumbling sound. Felix feels it vibrate at his ear, but then Dimitri’s pulling away. With a displeased sound, Felix looks down - and there’s the culprit, preening away in all her haughty glory.
Felix rolls his eyes.
“Are you hungry, Kina? You must be,” Dimitri smiles down at her. He gives Felix a half-apologetic, half-amused look, before moving away to feed the cat.
Kina trots behind him, following the sound of the food pouch crinkling, but not before she circles back to butt her head against Felix’s shin in some weird semblance of affection. Or mutual understanding. Whatever.
Hah. Look at him, being replaced by the cat already.
Strangely enough, he doesn’t dislike it any more.
Dimitri smiles at him once he straightens up, with Kina pushing her face into her bowl at his feet. “You know, Felix, you really do remind me of her,” he says.
Felink blinks. “What?”
“You remind me of Kina,” Dimitri says. “Both of you are very competitive, but also protective. Sweet, if unapologetic.” He pauses. “You really do resemble one another.”
Felix wants to laugh. First he’s jealous of the cat, and now he’s just like the cat? His friends could at least make their minds up instead of associating him with the thing in increasingly stupid ways.
“That’s nonsense,” he says, instead. “You should stop listening to Sylvain. All he does is spout utter bullshit.”
“Who said anything about Sylvain?” Dimitri muses, slyly.
Felix contemplates throwing his plastic cup at Dimitri’s head. He decides against it eventually, seething and turning on his heel instead.
Dimitri, the traitor, keeps laughing at his back. But it’s a sound that warms Felix, so he supposes he can tolerate it.
That night, they end up having the Lord of the Rings marathon that they were supposed to have weeks ago. Or, rather, Felix has the marathon, Dimitri ends up falling asleep. What did Felix even expect.
Dimitri also ends up drooling again, but this time, he’s drooling on Felix’s shirt. Which is still disgusting, but somehow more tolerable than when he drooled on the pillow.
In all honesty, this is all exactly the same as what they’ve been doing before, except… cuddlier. Significantly cuddlier. But that’s Dimitri’s fault, because he’s still like a big dog. Sleepy and drooly. And a bit cute, if moody sometimes.
Felix snorts. Never in his life did he ever imagine he’d be this… sappy, but… it’s not so bad. (Although no one will be hearing that from him.)
As Frodo gets wrapped in spiderweb on the laptop screen, Kina leaps on top of the sofa. She noses her way to Felix’s other side - the one not occupied by Dimitri - and yawns widely.
“Pushy,” Felix tells her, without any real heat, as she kneads the sofa.
He waits until she’s settled. Then, he takes out his phone.
CHAT: blue eggs and ham REVIVED
Sunday 15th December
fraldarius [22:11]: [IMG428473.png]
creepitycreep <3 [22:12]: AWWW
deadeye [22:13]: that’s adorable!
Mercie [22:14]: I’m so glad everything worked out! ❤️
sylviana 🤪 jones [22:14]: see? what did i tell you fee fee :.))
fraldarius [22:15]: i’m only doing this once.
ingle [22:16]: That’s a lie
fraldarius [22:16]: whatever.
sylviana 🤪 jones [22:16]: i’ll be FUMING if i’m not your best man, js
fraldarius is now offline!
Their friends finally get the opportunity to meet their cat a few days later, at Dimitri’s birthday party, even though Dimitri had insisted on not making a fuss this year.
Please do not worry, Felix, he had said, with that crooked smile. My birthday is just like any other day. It is nothing special.
Felix had nodded along, before promptly sending an invite to all their friends.
He knows what he’s doing. After all, he’d seen the smile on Dimitri’s face, when their friends had tumbled in with bunches of banners and balloons in their hands, coming from miles away.
“Aw,” Annette coos, scratching Kina under her chin lightly as the hellbeast preens under her touch. “You are so adorable. Who’s a good kitty? You are!”
“Lame,” Felix comments, passing by, and Annette whacks his arm without turning around.
Felix surveys the room. There are balloons and banners taped to the wall, because apparently none of their friends can decorate, and Hilda, the only one who can, hasn’t arrived yet. The cat is surrounded by Annette, Mercedes and Ashe, who all have treats spilling out of their hands, because clearly they want to make her fatter than she already is. Glenn is conversing with Dedue a few chairs away, and Sylvain is doing something with a bottle in front of a couple of others that Felix doesn’t even want to ask about.
Dimitri is sitting on the far sofa, quietly sipping his drink. He’s smiling, and Felix recognises it as the small one he wears when he is genuinely happy.
“Why are you moping here all by yourself?” Felix asks as he approaches.
Dimitri shrugs. “There is no reason.” He sips more of his drink as Felix sits next to him. “I am simply… thinking.”
“Hmph. Thinking about what.”
Dimitri pauses. “This may sound odd, but… I haven’t felt this profoundly happy in a very long time.”
Felix looks at him. He has no idea what to say to that, so he simply nudges his hand with his own. “Well. That’s good.”
Dimitri smiles at him, and nudges the hand back.
The rest of the day isn’t very eventful. Khalid and Hilda nearly knock down their door with the amount of food they’re carrying, and the rest of the Golden Deer traipse in behind them. Even Edelgard drops by, to Dimitri’s utter surprise (and excitement).
“El!” he exclaims. His smile is blinding. “I thought you said you were busy!”
“Well,” Edelgard says. She gives a small smile. “Perhaps I wasn’t as busy as I thought.”
The party then has to endure watching the most awkward hug in all of existence, purely because Dimitri has to crouch down like an old man to even reach his sister.
All in all, it’s a decent day. The party - gathering? - lasts well into the evening, and by the time Dimitri is due to cut his cake, Felix already wants it to be over.
Dimitri, being the huge sap that he is, doesn’t care for this at all, because he kisses Felix’s forehead right after the cuts the cake, and someone gets a picture, and suddenly everyone’s laughing at Felix’s expression, and Felix wants to grab the cake and pie everyone’s face with it.
But he won’t, because Lysithea’s here, and she might kill him if he wastes her favourite food like this.
“We can visit your dad tomorrow,” Felix says, when he’s sweeping the floor, long after everyone’s left. “I’ve already asked my old man. He says he’s free.”
Dimitri smiles at him, tenderly. Felix feels his cheeks redden. After all these days, and he still flushes like an overripe tomato whenever Dimitri so much as smiles at him. “That would be wonderful, Felix,” he murmurs, full of love. “What did I do to deserve you?”
Felix shrugs, and grimaces. “You don’t need to deserve me,” he tells Dimitri. “You’re good enough on your own. I’m just… here.”
“No,” Dimitri tells him, catching his hand with his own, “you are far more than that, Felix. You’ve helped me more than you will ever know.”
The feeling is mutual, Felix thinks. He doesn’t say this out loud. Instad, he lets Dimitri hug him, watching the clock on the far wall tick on as they simply stand together in the kitchen.
“Meow,” says Kina. Felix swears under his breath.
“Leave us alone, we’re having a moment,” he tells the cat. She swishes her tail, and licks her paw. Completely ignoring him, as usual.
Dimitri laughs. The sound is soothing, even as he pulls away. “Well, Felix,” he smiles. “It seems as if our daughter is hungry. Shall we feed her?”
Felix groans. “She’s not our daughter, what the hell. She’s a cat, Dimitri. What are you going to do, enroll her in a nursery? Put her in your class? You are ridiculous - Dimitri, stop laughing at me.”
Dimitri doesn’t stop laughing at him. In fact, he continues to laugh until he gets stitches from it, at which point he starts to sputter and cough at the kitchen counter. Felix tells him good riddance, and leaves him alone to suffer.
Which still doesn’t stop him from laughing anyway, like some sort of hyena.
In the end, Dimitri’s birthday flies by, like any other day. Their routine stays exactly the same as it was before, even with their quickly-growing-old addition of Kina, who mostly just lazes around and steals all of Dimitri’s attention. Nothing’s really changed, not really, which irks Felix, because it means that Sylvain was right, and he really had been pining for twenty odd years. (Not that he’ll ever watch that stupid PowerPoint of his. He’s not desperate.)
He and Dimitri act exactly the same around each other. Felix still has his outbursts and stupid inability to express his true feelings, and Dimitri still has his moods, as well as his stupidly kind tendencies. They have their arguments, both the more explosive ones as well as the awkward, silent ones (which Felix hates beyond measure, because how the hell is he supposed to deal with those.)
They still work together like clockwork. Still bounce off each other like ripe cranberries, even if it takes a stupidly long time to get on the same page on some days. Sometimes he can barely reach through Dimitri’s special brand of self-loathing, and sometimes Dimitri admits that Felix’s words project an entirely different message than he’d intended. Cut harder than they seem.
But, Felix muses, as Dimitri dangles a toy mouse above Kina’s head, they’re working on it all, and in the end they’re happy for it. They’re both feeling a lot better, these days.
Felix supposes that he is fine with that.