just let me adore you (like it's the last thing i'll ever do) @warriorcrazy
one

Garreg Mach looked like its boring self when Claude reached the dining hall for dinner. Students from all three houses were mingling at the tables, all-consuming the meal of the day, which was a pheasant roast with berry sauce. It was one of Claude’s favorite meals and he was pleased that they were serving it for dinner that night. Once he collected his food, he moved to sit down next to Hilda at the Golden Deer table, but abruptly stopped.

At the Blue Lions table, Felix was sitting next to Ingrid and Sylvain, both of whom who were happily eating dinner and talking. That wasn’t the thing that was surprising to Claude, though. The surprising thing was that Felix was at the dining hall. Felix only appeared at the dining hall under two circumstances: the food he liked was being served or he was being forced. Felix looked unenthusiastic (but when did he not, honestly) but he didn’t look murderous. As Claude observed and speculated, he watched as Felix opened his mouth and spoke. 

What the fuck. What the fuck? 

What the fuck. What the fuck? 

Claude gaped at the sight for a solid thirty seconds before snapping himself out of Felix's shock coma and hurried to where Hilda was sitting.

Claude gaped at the sight for a solid thirty seconds before snapping himself out of Felix shock coma and hurried to where Hilda was sitting.

His plate slammed a little harshly as he sat down (and he sort of slammed down harshly too) and he heard Marianne’s frightened squeal.

“Claude, don’t frighten Marianne!” Hilda snapped at him as he sat down but Claude brushed over her criticism.

“Sorry, Mariane, but I have an important matter to discuss-” he started to say but Hilda cut him off.

“If it’s about pranking the professor with thumbtacks, no we’re not doing that it’s stupid -”

“No, it’s not about that but first of all that would be a great prank, Teach would never see it coming-”

“Yes they would they were a mercenary do you think they can’t sense danger from a mile away?” 

“Fuck you, their guard would be down because they’re in a classroom -”

“Um, Claude?” Marianne said, her voice barely audible but audible enough to get Claude and Hilda to stop arguing, “what’s um, the important matter?” 

“Right!” Claude said, clapping his hands together, shooting a quick glare at Hilda, who simply rolled her eyes, “The important matter is - Felix.” Confused Golden Deer expressions stared back at him, with the exception of Raphael and Igntaz, who were off in their own little world.

“Felix?” Lysithea stated, sounding confused, “What about him?” Claude grinned as she spoke, which not only added to her look of confusion but now concern was sparkled in as well.

“I’m glad you asked, Lysithea. So, today, Felix is in the dining hall,” he paused for dramatic effect and he was met with more blank stares. Claude would not be deterred by their confusion and continued with, “Let me rephrase that - Felix, who hates the dining hall, is not only in the dining hall, but is speaking.” 

Now, that was the reaction he was hoping for. Several pairs of eyes stared dumbfoundedly at him and a rush of pride went through him. 

“Are you sure? What if he was just...breathing with his mouth open?” Lysithea said and several Golden Deer members nodded their assent. Claude shrugged and laid back in his seat. He moved his arm and gestured to where Ingrid, Felix, and Sylvain were seated.

“Take a look. Make your own judgments.” He said, smirking, as he finally decided to eat his dinner. The ones who were not facing the Blue Lions table turned around and Felix was still talking. 

“Oh my god,” Leonie said, her voice sounding vaguely horrified. 

“Now - theories. What’s going on?” Claude said and Hilda immediately responded with, “He’s dying.” Everyone blinked at her response and Claude gaped.

“Um, bold theory. Hilda doesn’t have the brain cells today - any other guesses?” Claude asked, drumming his fingers on the table. Marianne slowly lifted her hand up and Claude gestured at her, as a way of saying, go ahead.

“Um, what if they’re...together?” She said and Claude couldn’t hide the snicker that escaped him at Marianne’s theory. Hilda whacked him immediately, which he fully deserved. There was one, long-standing Golden Deer rule as long as Marianne had been in the Golden Deer house - no one laughed at Marianne. Ever. 

“Sorry, sorry,” he said quickly, trying to recover from his mistakes to see Marianne already looking sad. “Felix just doesn’t like people! So it’s hard to, um, imagine, Felix liking one person enough to have, uh, romantic relationships with, let alone two. But it’s a good theory, Marianne! Thank you for contributing!” He gave her his best, big, charming smile to make her feel better which did not make her smile, but she did look less sad. So, that was a win. 

“Anyway, since our theories are dying of disease or romance, I’m saying neither to each of those. Which leads to my big important matter part two -” He started to say, only to have Lysithea cut him off.

“Part two?!” She said, her eyes big and wide. Lorenz cleared his throat, at this point, to speak but Lysithea glared and Lorenz closed his mouth, saying nothing instead.

“Yes, part two - we’re going to investigate.” He said proudly, pleased at the idea he had come up within the last ninety seconds. Everyone looked sad at his suggestion, sans Marianne, who always looked vaguely depressed. 

“I hate agreeing with anything Lorenz says,” Leonie started to say but Lorenz made an offended, “Hey!” at Leonie’s words, which she ignored, continuing with, “but I agree with him. No. If Felix sees me, I will become a kabob. I like being not skewered.” Lorenz nodded an affirmative to this, but Claude was pleased to see the good people of his house - Hilda, Lysithea, Marianne, Raphael, and Ignatz (who weren’t paying attention but Claude was including them anyway because they hadn’t said No ) - had the Claude scheming glimmer TM in their eyes. Win.

“I hate agreeing with anything Lorenz says,” Leonie started to say but Lorenz made an offended, “Hey!” at Leonie’s words, which she ignored, continuing with, “but I agree with him. No. If Felix sees me, I will become a kabob. I like being not skewered.” Lorenz nodded an affirmative to this, but Claude was pleased to see the good people of his house - Hilda, Lysithea, Marianne, Raphael and Ignatz (who weren’t paying attention but Claude was including them anyway because they hadn’t said No ) - had the Claude scheming glimmer TM in their eyes. Win.

“I’ll do it - I fear no man or woman. Not even the goddess.” Hilda said and Lysithea nodded her assent. Claude knew that Lysithea was afraid of ghosts but had already faced bodily harm from one woman today, he didn’t need it from two. 

“Excellent,” he said clasping his hands together, “I’m going to also ask the Black Eagles and Blue Lions because -”

“Dimitri’s hot and you wanna see him?” Hilda said and the rest of Claude’s sentenced died in his throat. Lysithea burst into laughter at Hilda’s words and Marianne let out a small giggle. Claude refused to be bullied by his classmates and attempted to keep his composure, despite the flush he could feel in his cheeks. 

“Dimitri is attractive, everyone knows that. However, I would not do anything romantic or sexual with him as he doesn’t know how to clean his hair properly and I don’t want to see what that means for the rest of his personal hygiene. Also, he may or may not be dating Dedue - anyway.  We just need more manpower. As wonderful as we are - some of us are...worse at noticing things than others.” Claude said as gently as he could but it was a jab at Ignatz and Raphel, directly (who still weren’t listening). The others nodded in agreement and Claude turned to Hilda with the instruction, “Watch over the Golden Deer. am going to consult the other house leaders.”

Claude decided on Edelgard first, as she was seated with Dorothea and the two looked like they were enjoying themselves. Which meant that she was in a good mood. As he walked over there, Hubert glanced at his direction, eyes threatening. Which - rude. Claude had never caused harm to Edelgard (intentionally). Hubert was thankfully distracted by Claude’s approach to Edelgard by Ferdinand saying something that Claude couldn’t quite catch but it caused Hubert to immediately focus on Ferdinand. 

“Hey, Edelgard. How are you doing on this lovely evening?” Claude asked, smile bright and charming. Dorothea stopped her sentence and looked suspicious at his presence but Claude was not deterred by her aggression and focused entirely on Edelgard.

“I’m doing fine, Claude. What is going on?” Edelgard said, her voice light and welcoming, but still somehow possessing complete authority. Claude didn’t know how she could sound completely relaxed but also like she could command someone at a moment’s notice to cut out your tongue. It was scarily impressive. 

“How do you feel about...spying?” He said, wiggling his eyebrows. Edelgard stared at him, her expression blank. Dorothea also blinked at him but Caspar, who was nearby, made an Oooh noise. Claude pointed at him and exclaimed, “This is why you’re my favorite Black Eagle member.” 

At that, Edelgard sighed and moved her hand to her face, pressing two fingers into her forehead, like she was nursing a headache. Dorothea looked more aggressive now, probably because she believed that Claude was the cause of it. It was not Claude’s fault that Edelgard didn’t enjoy scheming and therefore fun. That was an Edelgard problem.

“Who,” she said, sounding much older than she was, “are we spying on? And why? I swear on the goddess, Claude, if it’s the professor-” 

“I’d like to spy on teach.” Caspar piped up and Claude gave him a thumbs up. Edelgard said nothing but sent Caspar a withering glare, which caused his posture to sag, and looked sad. 

“I’d like to spy on teach.” Caspar piped up and Claude gave him a thumbs up. Edelgard said nothing but sent Caspar a withering glare, which caused his posture to sag and looked sad. 

“For your information Edelgard, it’s….Felix. And Sylvain. And Ingrid.” He said. When Edelgard looked even more resigned and fed up, he simply pointed (hopefully not obviously) to where Felix was in fact, still eating with Sylvain and Ingrid. This time, however, Claude noticed that Sylvain’s head was resting on Felix’s shoulder and Felix wasn’t moving at all. 

At everyone’s glance at the Blue Lions table, he heard Dorothea make a soft Huh noise from her throat, somehow still sounding elegant and graceful. 

“See?” Claude hissed out, gesturing to the infamous three, “ What are they doing?”  

“Perhaps,” Edelgard started, “it’s none of our business. Even though it is unusual.” Claude pouted at her and turned to Dorothea who seemed cautiously interested. 

“Personally,” Dorothea began, “I’ve always been of the opinion that Felix is actually an alien. This will help me prove it.” Caspar looked interested at this and made another Ooh noise. 

“I am interested in the spying of Felix,” Petra said, who Claude didn’t even see and that he now noticed was on the other side of Dorothea. Claude grinned and did a little dance in place. Edelgard only sighed again. 

“Ferdie!” Dorothea said sharply, pulling the nobleman out of his argument with his Hubert, “Do you want to spy on Felix?” Ferdinand’s eyes widened at this. 

“Is this about whether or not Felix is dating Ingrid or Sylvain?” Ferdinand said, looking like an excited puppy. At Claude’s nod, Ferdinand turned to an irritated Hubert and made a triumphant noise. 

“I told you there was something there.” He hissed and Hubert rolled his eyes, somehow looking more irritated (which was an impressive feat - Claude didn’t realize he could look more irritated) but said nothing. 

“But yes,” Ferdinand said, smiling smugly at Hubert’s lack of response, “to answer your question - I am 100% for spying. And so is Hubert even if he says no - I will get him to say yes.” Hubert whipped his head at that, looking furious, but Ferdinand only smiled bigger. Claude let out a small and undignified quiet whoop and turned towards Caspar, to ask about Lindhardt. 

“Lin, you want to spy on Felix?” Caspar said, turning towards the green-haired mage, who looked barely awake. Linhardt sighed heavily and shook his head.

“Please?”

“Pretty please?” “No.” Pretty please with a cherry on top?” Caspar asked repeatedly, his eyes growing wider and more doe-like and his voice getting higher with each question. Linhardt gave a heavy sigh and mumbled out a “Fine.”  Caspar leaned over and kissed Lindhardt’s cheek, which caused a very quick smile to appear on his face before vanishing back into his tired expression. He spun around and gave Claude a big smile.

“Pretty please?”“No.”“Pretty please with a cherry on top?” Caspar asked repeatedly, his eyes growing wider and more doe-like and his voice getting higher with each question. Linhardt gave a heavy sigh and mumbled out a “Fine.”  Caspar leaned over and kissed Lindhardt’s cheek, which caused a very quick smile to appear on his face before vanishing back into his tired expression. He spun around and gave Claude a big smile.

So far he had,

Himself, Hilda, Marianne, Lysithea, Ignatz (Maybe), Raphael (Maybe), Ferdinand, Hubert, Dorothea, Petra, Caspar, Linhardt, Edelgard (Maybe)

Which left roughly about nine people, counting only the people who explicitly said yes. Nine seemed like a lot, but the monastery was big and Felix was a ninja. More people were required for intel - especially Blue Lions members. 

He quickly bid adieu to the Black Eagles house - high fiving Caspar as he did so - and headed to the site of the incident. 

Thankfully, Felix, Ingrid, and Sylvain were seated at the far end of the table, Sylvain’s head still on Felix’s shoulder (!!!) while Dedue, Annette, Ashe, Mercedes, and Dimitri were seated at the front end. He took the open seat next to Dedue and rested his chin on his hands, giving the five a big smile.

“Greetings, Claude,” Dedue said, his voice stoic and even. Mercedes gave Claude her signature gentle smile as well, in lieu of an actual greeting.

“Dearest Blue Lions house members,” Claude started off dramatically, glancing around the front of the table, “I have a situation to perhaps bring to your attention and humbly ask for your assistance -”

“It’s about Felix,” Annette said, cutting him off, her voice low and conspiratory, eyes wide with mirth. Claude surprised at the quick guess, nodded, albeit a bit dumbfounded. Dimitri, however, looked startled at Annette’s words. This was both surprising and not surprising to Claude, as Dimitri somehow noticed everything but nothing at the same time.

“W-what about Felix?” Dimitri said quietly, glancing over at the aforementioned person. As soon as he glanced over, however, he made an understanding noise and turned back.

“Sylvain is resting his head on Felix, shoulder, is he not? And is Felix...smiling at Ingrid?” Dimitri said, his voice rising at the end in confusion. Claude was pleased that everyone (minus Dimitri but when did Dimitri know anything?) knew about the Ingrid/Sylvain/Felix conundrum. 

“Okay so,” Claude said, lowering his voice and sneaking a glance at the three, who were not paying attention, “I’ve recruited members of Golden Deer and Black Eagles to...spy on them. To determine what the fuck they’re doing. Are you all with me?” The Blue Lions students stared at him, all of them nodding to his proposal, with the exception of Dedue, which he expected. Dedue was too imposing of a presence anyway to be a good spy.

“Okay, so,” Claude said, pleased at his decision of the day, “everyone keep an eye on Felix, Sylvain, and Ingrid. Report any important findings to me. Thank you.” Mercedes beamed and said a small affirmative and Annette gave him a thumbs up. Awesome, Claude thought to himself as he excused himself from the table. As he was heading back to the Golden Deer table, he noticed Felix, Ingrid, and Sylvain all leaving the table at the same time. Claude, if possible, was even more suspicious. Luckily, the most capable people in all of Fódlan (allegedly) were participating in the spying - which meant they must be able to get answers. Right?

 

One

 

The first person that was successfully able to spy was Lindhardt; perhaps it was because Lindhardt wasn’t really participating. He’d only really agreed to appease his boyfriend Caspar and not participate at all. However, it was two days after the proposed Operation: SPY SYLVIXGRID (Caspar’s choice of name) and Lin was unaware of any progress that had been made.

Tonight, though, it seemed something was happening. See, normally, at this hour of the day (late), Lin was alone in the library. It was him and books - his perfect setting. Caspar was not included in that scenario because as much as he loved him, Caspar could not shut the fuck up. And quiet was one of Lin’s top five favorite things in the whole world (yes, one of them was Caspar, no worries). 

Anyway, in his quiet, serene section of the library with just his books to keep him company, he heard voices. More like giggles and hushed whispers, but voices nonetheless. Lin was startled by that particular noise as laughter wasn’t a sound common in the library. Against his better judgment, he craned his head to look at the people making the noise and it’s - oh. 

Sylvain (unsurprisingly) was the one giggling, his face flushed pink with a big smile. Not the smile that Lin is used to seeing when Sylvain flirted with anyone with a pulse, but a genuine smile that Lin never got to see. That smile was directed at Felix, who’s face Lin couldn’t see but could see Ingrid’s face who was also smiling at Felix. Huh, Lin thought to himself as he watched the three of them from his corner of the library. 

Sylvain said something else, a smile stretched across his features and Felix jerked his head up at that, face flushed red, and snapped something at him. Sylvain was undeterred by Felix’s outward aggression and leaned in and oh -. Sylvain kissed Felix. Interesting, Lin thought to himself, as he watched Felix’s flushed face and Ingrid - oh. Ingrid also kissed Felix. 

Well, that answered that question of who Felix was seeing - Sylvain and Ingrid. It was certainly unorthodox but Felix was never one to do something normal, was he? Lin watched them passively interact, startled by the soft and open expressions on their faces. He was supposed to inform Claude - or Caspar, perhaps - but Lin didn’t care. If Caspar hadn’t pleaded with him to assist, he wouldn’t even be helping. 

As Lin turned to focus back on his studies, Sylvain turned and he and Lin locked his eyes for a moment. Sylvain’s eyes widened, looking frightened, but Lin only gave him a slight head nod and then turned his face back towards his studies. Like he gave a shit about where (or where not) Felix was putting his mouth or...other body parts. 

Lin spent the rest of the evening finishing his reading, doing his best to ignore the three of them, wanting to give them privacy. It was something Lin and Caspar had never had (mostly because Caspar told everyone in the Black Eagles, immediately) so Lin thought it was best to pass it forward and give them some privacy. At some point, the three left and Lin kept his eyes down on his notes as they exited, making sure he looked completely absorbed in his work. 

Later, when Lin was back in his dorm and Caspar had snuck into Lin’s room to sleep with him, Caspar asked whether or not Lin had seen any updates on the situation. Lin said no, knowing if he told the truth, he was at risk of being skewered. Caspar was clearly disappointed but kissed Lin anyway and thanked him for participating in the spying session, especially since he wasn’t all that interested. Lin, flushed then, but Caspar was already drifting off to sleep before Lin could respond. Enjoy your privacy while it lasts, he thought to himself before snuggling more comfortably into Caspar’s arms and falling asleep.

 

Two

 

The second person that is able to successfully to see the infamous three in action is Dimitri and it’s by complete accident. It’s a full day after Lin’s attempt - not that Dimitri, or anyone, was aware of it - and Dimtri was heading to Felix’s room to discuss something he believed only Felix could assist with. The matter at hand? A cat.

While Felix had a fairly…prickly demeanor, he was known by everyone at Garreg Mach for having one soft spot - cats. Stray cats and dogs frequented the grounds of Garreg Mach and though Felix would deny furiously if questioned, Felix did feed those stray cats and dogs. He was known to steal food from the dining hall (or go fishing with the professor) and feed it to the stray cats. 

This was why Dimitri requested Felix’s help - Dedue had seen a sickly cat and had snuck it into his room so now it was theirs. However, neither he nor Dedue had any idea of how to care for a cat so he was requesting Felix’s assistance for how to care for it. He only hoped that with the cat Felix would be willing to actually assist.

Dimitri, holding the kitten in his arms, strolled up to Felix’s door and knocked sharply twice on the door. Dedue was with him, as he always was, hovering right behind his right shoulder. As they waited for Felix to respond, there was a sound of rustling and a voice before the door swung open

“Syl, you’re late you fu-” Felix’s voice started before stopping abruptly at Dimitri and Deduce’s presence. His eyes went wide and his cheeks were flushed pink but it was Dimitri whose brain was running around in circles. Silence stayed between them for a couple of seconds before Dimitri finally blurted out, “Who’s Syl?”

Felix flushed pinker at that but Dedue, quietly behind him said, “I think he means, Sylvain, your highness.” 

“Oh,” Dimitri said, dumbfounded. Oh shit, does that mean Claude was right? Something weird was going on with Felix and Sylvain, wasn’t there? Except Ingrid wasn’t here so he guessed that solved that problem - 

“Fe, is that Syl at the door?” A voice undeniably Ingrid’s called out from inside the room. Felix was a shade of pink that was, frankly, concerning at this point and he heard Dedue quietly go “I didn’t expect that,” behind him. Dimitri and Felix just stared at each other, both unsure of how to proceed. 

Mrrow.” The kitten in his arms made a noise, reminding him why he had even bothered to come to Felix’s door in the first place. Dimitri opened his mouth to ask Felix about cat tips but it seemed he had missed his chance.

“Go fuck yourself, boar,” Felix said, face still pink, eyes angrily narrowed, and slammed the door shut. Dimitri blinked a couple of times at the closed door, mouth gaping like a fish. Through the door, he can faintly hear a horrified Ingrid go, “Felix, what the fuck? We talked about being mean to Dimitri! It was a no-go!” Dimitri can’t quite pick out what Felix said but it sounds something like, “Shut the fuck up, Ingrid.” 

Dimitri turned to Dedue, kitten still in his arms, and looked at him with a vaguely panicked expression. Dedue simply shrugged and opened his arms so he could accept the kitten. Dimitri handed off the kitten and turned to Dedue, looked at the door, and then turned back to Dedue.

Dedue shrugged, kitten in his arms, and grabbed Dimitri’s hand with his free one, bringing up to his mouth to brush it with a kiss. Dimitri flushed pink, squeezing Dedue’s hand with his own. 

“Perhaps we should ask Ferdinand, your majesty,” Dedue said, his voice that gentle and even tone that Dimitri loved, and he gave a slight nod as he entered Dedue’s space. He gave another look to the door, then Dedue, and raised his eyebrows. 

“I should mention what happened to Claude, right? Since he’s still on that...spy thinking? About Felix?” Dimitri said, his voice going upon at the end of his question. Dedue shrugged and scratched the kitten on her head, it let out a little purr as he did so. 

“If you would like, your highness,” Dedue said and Dimitri pondered about whether or not he should, as they walked towards Ferdinand’s dorm room, releasing their joined hands once they were in a more public space. Their...relationship was not something that Dimitri wanted to share with the entirety of Garreg Mach, not quite yet. He wanted it to be just him and Dedue thing for the time being. But he would let Claude know about the Felix development - if Claude figured out he knew and didn’t say anything he would not hear the end of it for weeks. Later, though - being with Dedue and dealing with the kitten was his first priority. 

 

Three

 

The third and final instance of the spying mission came to the view of Dorothea. She, of course, was minding her business in the shopping area in town, Petra in attendance but no Edelgard. (She had tried to get Edelgard to come but she claimed she had ‘Empire business’ to do and Hubert was standing right there and Dorothea wasn’t in the mood to fight, so alas Edelgard was not in attendance).

As Petra and Dorothea visited the shopping center, hands entwined, Dorothea reflected on the ‘spying’ activity Claude had asked (forced) Garreg Mach into participating in. Dorothea was known for a couple of things at Garreg Mach - the first was her amazing physique, of which she was quite proud of, the second was managing to date the two best women in Garreg Mach (Edelgard and Petra) and the third was her knowledge of all things romance. Her knowledge and expertise had been quite successful in securing relationships for Ignatz and Raphael, Marianne and Hilda, and the Professor and Jertiza. Matchmaking was an excellent passion of hers because she just... liked seeing people happy and in love. 

That’s why it was so difficult for her to understand the Felix conundrum - she didn’t even know Felix was capable of being in love with people, let alone that he may be interested in Ingrid or Sylvain. (Especially Sylvain with his flirting habits - Dorothea didn’t mind him as a person but as a romantic partner? Goddess, that would be a lot. But maybe Felix was into that.) 

Dorothea kept the thoughts in the back of her mind as they walked around the market, keeping an eye out for both Felix and a gift for Edelgard. The market was one of Petra’s favorite places to go on their free days because there were almost always products from Brigid being sold. It was a little bit difficult to find them, as sometimes the foreign merchants would not be there but a lot of the time they were. 

“Petra, darling,” Dorothea said, squeezing her hand to get Petra’s attention, “I think those gloves would look great on Edelgard, yes?” Petra looked over to where Dorothea was gesturing and her eyes lit up and nodded. 

“Yes, I would be thinking so!” She said and the two women walked over to the stand where the gloves were on display. A man from a nearby village - whose name Dorothea regretfully couldn’t remember - stood there speaking to a customer but his face lit up when he saw them. Excusing himself from the conversation with the customer, he walked over to them, a big smile on his face.

“My favorite ladies! How are you doing this fine day?” He said his eyes and kind as they glanced at them. Petra laughed, airily and beautiful and Dorothea couldn’t help but stare at her fondly. She was a lucky woman, wasn’t she, for courting a woman as beautiful as Petra?

“We are doing well, this day, Ivan. Thanks for the asking.” Petra said, smiling as she leaned into Dorothea’s side. Dorothea let her mind wander, glancing around the market as Petra kept her friendly conversation with the merchant - Ivan, apparently as Petra remembered - in an effort to see what other items they could purchase before heading back to Garreg Mach. As her eyes scanned the market attempting to complete this mission, her eyes stopped at the notice of the back of Felix’s head, his hair up in his signature ponytail. Beside him, much to Dorothea’s surprise (though it really shouldn’t have been) was Ingrid, her face towards Felix, rapidly saying something. Felix, as expected, looked mildly irritated during the whole exchange. 

“Petra, darling,” Dorothea said, squeezing Petra’s hand to grab her attention, “can I steal for you a second?” Petra blinked at her, looking confused and Dorothea realized her mistake quickly. 

“What is the stealing we are doing?” Petra asked and Dorothea smiled gently at Petra before quickly saying, “Sorry, used the wrong words - I’m just asking if I can grab you for a second.” Petra’s confused expression cleared and she excused herself from the conversation with Ivan before turning back to Dorothea.

“That’s…Felix and Ingrid, right Petra?” Dorothea said quietly, gesturing towards where Ingrid is still lecturing Felix, and Petra makes an Hmm noise at her look. Felix still looked irritated from Dorothea and Petra’s perspective but Felix’s expression changed when Ingrid said something, a flush going across his cheeks, even noticeable from Dorothea and Petra’s far distance.

“Yes, I am believing so,” Petra said, glancing at the two. As they observed them, Felix rested his hand on Ingrid’s shoulder for a brief second - which was already surprising enough to Dorothea - and then Ingrid quickly brushed a kiss against his hand before looking back to the storefront. 

“Now isn’t that a development,” Dorothea said quietly. If she hadn’t been staring at them head-on, she would’ve missed it. It was a moment that so quickly she could’ve missed it with a blink. Felix and Ingrid turned completely towards the storefront but Dorothea caught the flush in both of their cheeks.

“What do you think is up with Felix, Petra?” Dorothea said, her gaze returning to Petra. Petra had a thoughtful expression on her face and Dorothea had never seen her look more beautiful. (Though, to be fair, Dorothea thought this every time she looked at Petra. Petra was very pretty.). 

“He is doing the dating with Sylvain and Ingrid, yes? Like us and Edelgard?” Petra responded, giving Dorothea a clear look. Dorothea shook her head and smiled at Petra, endeared by her response. While in theory, it made sense - Marianne had suggested the same thing - but in practice, Dorothea could barely see Felix having tolerance for one person, let alone two. (And out of the two options - Sylvain and Ingrid - Ingrid was way more probable. Dorothea would date Ingrid too, honestly). 

“Petra, darling, I’m pretty sure Felix isn’t dating them. He can barely tolerate a person, let alone two people.” Dorothea said, leaning forward to kiss Petra’s cheek. Petra frowned at her, a playful glint in her eyes to clarify she wasn’t actually upset but responded with 

“I am thinking that I am correct about them,” Petra said, her frown switching to a teasing smile. Dorothea snorted and shook her head, her long locks trailing around her face.

“You are not correct.”

“Am so.” 

“Are not.” 

“Am so.” Petra’s retort was done with a big smile and Dorothea narrowed her eyes playfully but ultimately rolled her eyes. 

“Anyway, enough about men,” Dorothea said, a smile stretching across her features and squeezing Petra’s hand, “let’s focus on Edelgard’s present! I think she’d like gloves.” Petra gave her a look at the abrupt change of subject but accepted the change nonetheless.

“I am believing the white gloves are good for Edelgard,” Petra said, pointing to the object in question. Dorothea switched her to focus Petra, deciding to spend her free day not spying on Felix and focusing on her girlfriend. As they spoke to Ivan, the merchant, about the price of gloves, Dorothea let her mind wander about Felix and Ingrid.

She was surprised that Ingrid of all people would date someone like Felix. Felix and Ingrid were both hard edges, formidable forces, and it surprised her that they could find softness in each other. Frankly, her bet was on Felix and Sylvain, not Felix and Ingrid. But, her romantic vision had been wrong before and it would be wrong again. 

She made a mental note to report her findings to Claude - she was nothing if dedicated to the mission she was sent on - but first, she’d focus on her girlfriends. She cared more about them than Felix’s relationships (or lack thereof). With the rest of her head on her girlfriend’s shoulder, she focused all of her attention on Petra and their free day.

 

Plus One

 

Two weeks had passed since Claude’s request to the student body of Garreg Mach - and he had nothing to show for it. Dimitri had explained an experience of Ingrid in Felix’s room - though they had both been expecting Sylvain to show up at some point - and Dorothea seeing a maybe romantic moment between the two of them at the market. A couple of the other students had seen little things - Sylvain being closer than usual to Felix, Ingrid being physically closer to Sylvain - but by in large? He had nothing to go on.

Claude was not a patient person. Two weeks of no information about a situation that should’ve been very easy to solve was making him irritable. Privately, he suspected that not all of the students had been 100% forthcoming about their spying adventures - he was thinking about Lindhardt, specifically - but he couldn’t exactly confront him about it. 

Which led him to where he was today, in the same place where he had seen the fateful three. It was dinner in the dining hall and everyone was at their respective houses tables, chatting and eating away. Some students were focused on Claude's current least favorite three people at Garreg Mach list - Felix, Sylvain, and Ingrid - but the spying mission he had politely requested had fizzled out. Hilda, his trusted secondary, was the only one still participating.

He noticed them all talking to each other and though Felix looked particularly irritable today, he was still interacting with them. 

“Hilda, I am going to get to the bottom of this,” Claude said, once he sat down with his food. Today’s dinner was sweet and salty whitefish saute - not Claude’s favorite, but the aforementioned three enjoyed it - and he ate it irritably. Hilda shrugged and rolled her eyes.

“You said that two weeks ago and yet nothing has been found out or changed about their behavior at all,” She said, continuing to eat her food. Claude glared at her with a scoff.

“Excuse me, Hilda, whatever happened to ride or die?” Claude said, putting on a front of annoyance. Hilda snorted and gave him a look of distaste.

“Never agree to that rule, Claude. You made that rule. I never shook on it.” She sounded proud as she said it, a smirk on her features and Claude cursed inwardly. Fuck, he really hadn’t made her promise, had he?

“Well, I’m going to confront them. Right now.” Claude said, knowing that if the ‘best minds’ in all of Fódlan couldn’t agree what was going on with those three, Claude was going to have to do it. He was the best schemer in Fódlan after all - that wasn’t up for debate. Which meant that he was going to have to confront his way.

“Golden Deer,” he said dramatically, standing up and away from the table, “I shall return in a moment. I have a conundrum to solve.” Hilda let out another snort and Marianne gave him a smile and a quiet, “Good luck.” They were the only two to notice - which was fine, the less notice the better - and as he walked away from the table towards the irritating three, he saw Marianne whisper something to Hilda who chuckled before leaning in to kissing Marianne’s cheek. Claude was curious but couldn’t really focus on it - it was time to get to the bottom of the conundrum. 

He took a seat next to Ingrid, who was directly facing Felix and he sat down at the spot facing Sylvain and gave him a big smile. Ingrid was mid-sentence as he walked over but stopped abruptly as he sat down.

“Claude,” she said, green eyes narrowed, “why are you sitting here?” Claude gave a delicate shrug, leaning back and stretching his arms, being the picture of ease. 

“I’m just here to hang out with my favorite people,” Claude said smoothly, directing his smile at Ingrid and then at Felix and Sylvain, the former looking irritated (shocking) and the latter looking vaguely confused. 

“I don’t even like you,” Felix said, flatly, and Claude made an over-exaggerated sound of offense, spreading his arms wide. 

“Felix,” he said, fluttering his eyelashes “you wound me! I thought we were best friends!” Felix’s expression doesn’t change at all somehow, only looking irritated and unimpressed. Fine. Tough crowd.

“Anyway,” he said, mostly ignoring Felix because speaking to him was now useless, “how are you guys doing on the romantic front? Any new people on the horizon?” He made sure to keep a careful eye on everyone’s reaction as he said it, staring closely. Felix’s face was carefully neutral, as was Ingrid’s, but it was Sylvain who’s face twitched a little bit. Huh, Claude thought briefly, that wasn’t the one I expected. 

“You guys have also spent a lot of time with each other...even more so than usual,” Claude started delicately, watching everyone’s faces for weaknesses. Once again, Felix and Ingrid tended to have the best poker faces and Sylvain is the one that shifted. Bingo, he thought to himself, smirking. He had his target, now. 

“That’s because we’re childhood friends, Claude,” Ingrid said, with a roll of her eyes and a bite of her dinner. The two boys nodded at this, affirming her statement. Sylvain’s face was still flushed and he looked vaguely nervous. That didn’t deter Claude - he suddenly knew exactly how to get the three to confess to what was going on with them. 

“Actually, friends,” he said, making sure to make his smile bright and charming (even though it seemed not to affect anyone at all, which, rude), “I came here under false pretenses and for that, I deeply apologize,” he paused for a moment, surveying their faces, and watches Felix’s eyes narrow, glittering dangerously. That’s fine - it wasn’t Felix he was appealing to

“Sylvain,” he said, his voice sweet as honey, “it has come to my attention that you are one of the few men on this campus whom I have not had sexual relations with. And I have learned that you enjoy the sexual company of men, which was a revelation to me. So, you’re attractive, I’m attractive, we should have sex if you are up for it. What are you doing this weekend?” It’s very obvious immediately that no one was expecting that question, let alone the whole statement. Claude is impressed with himself that he came up with that sentence on the fly - holy shit was he a good schemer without a plan. However, it was time to focus. 

Claude, now focusing his gaze on Sylvain to sell the bait, was not able to determine Ingrid’s reaction but Felix’s was painfully obvious. Claude could feel the fury firing off Felix’s being, hurtling towards Claude’s direction once he directed the question. Sylvain looked significantly startled, mouth open and Claude mentally did a fist bump. He fucking knew something was happening there and that was Sylvain was involved. Which left only one conclusion - Sylvain and Felix were dating, considering the amount of rage pulsing at him from Felix’s direction. Sylvain, unfortunately, was still trying to answer, face completely red. It was a good look at him - it actually made Sylvain look considerably more attractive, which was impressive considering how attractive he already was. 

“Um, Claude, I, um,” Sylvain said, breaking Claude out of his thoughts, “I, am, um? Seeing Felix and Ingrid-” Before Claude could register what Sylvain had said, Ingrid groaned aloud next to him.

“Sylvain we were doing so well,” Ingrid said, giving him a glare. Sylvain wilted under her gaze. Claude’s mind was going a mile a minute, in the meantime. 

Sylvain AND Felix AND Ingrid? Dating? The same phrase echoed over the thirty seconds repeatedly over his mind, leaving him stunned as Ingrid and Sylvain argued.

“Was I supposed to take him up on his offer to have sex? I wasn’t about to cheat on you.” Sylvain stressed, voice pleading. Claude opened his mouth to explain his scheme - which had worked, hah - but Felix said something else in response.

“You could’ve just said no. ” Felix's voice was unwavering and strong, an irritated tone to it, but Claude could catch the underlying fondness to it. He had heard in Ingrid’s voice, too, and that’s how he knew they weren’t playing an elaborate prank.

“But Felix,” Sylvain said, in such a tone that could only be referred to as a whine, “Claude knows he’s attractive, it would’ve been weird if I had said no-”

“Actually, my ego would’ve been able to handle it.” Claude jutted in, cutting off the rest of Sylvain’s sentence. He immediately regretted saying anything five seconds later, when three pairs of eyes stared at him. Ingrid’s eyes were wide and startled, while Felix’s were angry. Oops.

“I wasn’t actually propositioning him! I don’t do those things that casually please,” Claude said quickly, scoffing at the end of his sentence to make his point more clear. Ingrid and co. still looked suspicious but that was fine, Claude was not an easily deterred man. He continued with, “I just needed to know where Felix’s dick was going. Now I have my answer - two different places. Enjoy your dinner! Use protection, use oil, be safe, I’m leaving.” He said quickly, Felix’s face flushed completely at his words, and he fled the table as quickly as possible, narrowly avoiding Ingrid’s punch in his direction, likely because of the comment of Felix’s dick. Oh well.

He quickly returned to his table, sitting down, table clattering loudly at the force of him sitting. Several eyes turned towards him then, looking worried, which Claude attempted to dispel with a big, easy smile. It sort of worked. Hilda was staring with an incredulous expression, her eyes wide.

“Claude, what the fuck?” She said, leaning forward, her eyebrows furrowed. 

“Felix is dating Ingrid and Sylvain.” He said quickly. Hilda’s eyes widened and Marianne let a little smile across her face.

“No fucking way,” Hilda said quietly, darting eyes towards them. Surprisingly, the three were still there, but now Sylvain’s hand was in Felix’s, and Ingrid was holding Felix’s other hand. Aw, Claude thought to himself, they’re cute.  

“So,” Marianne’s voice, always quiet and soft, startled Claude as she started to speak, “I was right?” Claude turned his gaze towards Marianne and his mouth was open in shock. Hilda let out a loud cackle, leaning over and kissing her girlfriend.

“Hell yeah, she was right,” Hilda said smugly, as Marianne's cheeks flushed from the affection Hilda had given. Claude let out an irritated huff through his nose but didn’t let himself get too irritated, for Marianne's sake.

“Yeah,” he said, with a light laugh, “I guess you were.” Marianne smiled at that, a rare kind of big smile, and Hilda rested her head on Marianne’s shoulder. As her head rested on Marianne’s shoulder, Hilda turned to Claude with a smirk.

“Next plan of action is to figure out if you really want to date L-o-r-” 

“Shut the fuck up,” Claude said, cutting her off, feeling his face start to flush, “I have never considered seeing him romantically or sexually, ever .” Hilda snickered, rolling her eyes, and Marianne let out a quiet, “Who?”

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