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Felix Fraldarius

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October 21, y109
@Dimitri Blaiddyd
---------------------

Felix supposed that, for obvious reasons, this was to be expected.

Of course Dimitri wanted to be close with him again. That wasn't a secret. The two of them had been raised together, inseparable from birth to their early teenage years. They had been best friends.

And. Well.

The boar had come from a timeline in which they had reconciled all of their differences that had manifested during those teenage years and lived happily ever after. Or something. He didn't know of the details, and he didn't exactly care to ask. All he knew was that this Dimitri's fate was far different (and better) from his own's. This Dimitri got to live in a fantasy land. One where everything ended up in his favor. Sure, things hadn't necessarily gone easy for him. But did that matter? No, of course not. Not when he won the war. Not when Faerghus -- no, Fòdlan as a whole -- was his to rule. Not when he lived.

Felix came so far from a timeline in which any of that was even a possibility that it made him laugh.
A gross, gutteral laugh. One from his chest. One that insisted that it was a joke, even if it was the farthest thing from one.

But that was on him, wasn't it?

He'd been thinking about it a lot lately.
His episodes were getting worse.

His staring off into nothing for hours.
His shuddering and snapping when he came back to life.
Worse still in his dreams, he forced himself to stay awake just so he wouldn't have to keep facing them.

Sylvain had forced the truth out of him. Sylvain had always good for that. For cornering Felix and staring him down until he admitted his troubles. That situation had gone far from well, not that Felix expected it to go well. There was, after all, no easy way to tell the people that you loved that you had betrayed them. Not even just that, but that he had seen an end to them himself. That he had been the one to plunge his sword into their bodies. The one to hear their dying words, their struggles. To watch the light leave their eyes. It was easy to do as Sylvain had done, Felix figured, and paint him as a monster. Someone with no heart left to beat in his chest, because someone with a heart would never do that to the people that they cared about.

Felix wasn't sure that Dimitri would do the same.

How much longer was he going to keep stepping around it? He couldn't keep doing this forever. Hearing Dimitri talk about how happy everyone ended up in his timeline, through their hardships and their struggles.... goddess, it made Felix sick. It only painted the scenes behind his eyelids more often than not. The endless chorus of hissing voices telling him, repeatedly, that he was the one to blame for everything he was seeing. Things could have been different. They could have been the same. He just... chose for them not to be. He never assumed it would end up being a problem. He never expected to see Dimitri alive again, dammit. Why did Pandora constantly find ways to fuck him over?

He had to tell him. The truth was already starting to eat away at him. He distanced himself more than usual. Didn't say more than what was required. He'd gotten... close, a night or two, but he refused to stay there long. It was too much. It was all too fucking much, to keep pretending that everything was fine when it clearly wasn't.

Felix didn't want the first smooth thing that Dimitri actually intended to say to be marred by the gurgling voice of a dead man.

So he sought him out.

It wasn't difficult. For as large as this house was, it was also stuffed to the brim with people -- one could hardly walk without crashing face-first into somebody else. In most cases, that was a bother, especially for a loner like Felix. In this case, however, it worked to his advantage. Dimitri was a large man. It was beyond difficult to lose him in a crowd. It wasn't like it was hard to find him in his own goddess damned house.

Alright. Alright. Thinking himself in circles wasn't going to help anything. Felix had already resigned himself to the inevitably of getting upset during this conversation. It was really for the best that he didn't start now, before he'd even begun to speak.

"Boar." Felix shoved his hands in his pockets as he approached the taller man. He kept himself hunched over. He avoided eye contact. Distant, distant, distant. Just as he had been. Just as he always would be. "We need to talk. Follow me." It was a command, not a choice. He was going to drag Dimitri somewhere and confess his sins, whether either one of them wanted him to or not.

Funny it was, for a follower to be giving orders.
 
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Dimitri Blaiddyd

Fire Emblem
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Serenity was not a state that Dimitri was familiar with, nor has he known it for the past decade. It was as if the tragedy lit a fire within his soul, a bitter flame that only grew as the years marched on. The only wounds that time healed were the scars that marred his body; the cacophony of voices in his head was only exacerbated by time. At first he diligently ignored them, paying no heed to the disembodied words of those long dead. Yet as he surrounded himself in carnage, the chains they bound about him grew only tighter. Before long shadows took the forms of his loved ones - of Father and Step-Mother and Glenn and the other knights. At times they begged for relief from their eternal suffering, other times they spat acid for his inability to dole out justice.

The five years he spent in total isolation solidified the power they held over him. Day and night his only companions were them. As war ravaged Fódlan, they tore down the walls he built against them. He stained his hands in blood, building a mountain of bodies for their sake. Yet they never kept their promises to grow quiet, and only demanded more, and more, and more until he drowned himself in their cries. It was pathetic and weak of him to fall to such a beastly state, yet at the time, his heart could not refuse their pleas.

It was only towards the end of the war that the control they held over him shattered. He grasped onto their hand and pulled himself out of the darkness he buried himself in. While they still whispered cruel demands into his ears, even here in Pandora, Dimitri did not buckle in this time. He found solace in the presence of his companions, rekindled bonds with family that he thought were irreparably burnt. Even in Pandora, a land known to separate those from their loved ones by space and time, he was not alone. For that he was truly fortunate.

For the first time in many years, Dimitri found tranquility. There was no war in Cascade Bay. There were no lives held in his hands, no paperwork that demanded his attention lest a continent fell back into ruin. Here he was free to enjoy himself, to be more than the role he had been born into. While he still enjoyed the weight of a weapon in his hand and still sparred frequently, he made time to enjoy the simpler aspects of life. For the first time in many years, he was finally living rather than just surviving.

It was refreshing to explore hobbies Fodlan never allowed him to. Ever since Mercedes taught him how to use a needle to sew, Dimitri enjoyed the calming activity despite the number of things he crushed with his hands. By now he had grown past that shameful stage and his only concerns were not pricking his fingers whenever the needle passed through the cloth. The repetitious movement eased his addled mind and seeing the color and shape blossom across his canvas as he embroidered brought a sense of joy and pride. During moments like those, Dimitri felt as if he was more than a mere beast capable of slaying others.

It was during such a peaceful moment that Felix approached him. Given the newfound distance that suddenly existed between them, Dimitri was surprised by that fact alone. Within moments of finding his foul-tempered friend, it became evident that something was wrong. Even at his worst, Felix had rarely been so scathing towards him. The way the other man acted suggested that something was clearly burdening him, yet Dimitri never found the courage to prod Felix on it. Despite the persona he made for himself, the man was far from emotionless; he was rather sensitive at times, in fact. To clumsily pry would only worsen their bond rather than improve it.

"Is something the matter, Felix?" he inquired as he set aside the tambour frame and rose from his chair. "Boar" had become a nickname he was long used to by now, and the wince it triggered was easily masked. Something as trivial as a scathing moniker could be ignored, especially when something seemed to be bothering Felix.

He was silent as he followed the smaller man, though it ended once the door behind him was closed and locked. "What is that that you wished to speak with me with?" Dimitri could only hope this was a the first step to mending their frayed friendship.


 

Felix Fraldarius

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How the fuck would he even begin to start this conversation?

'Hey, I know it's been several months, but I just wanted to let you know that in a world where you aren't from, I maybe not-so-accidentally plunged a sword through your chest. Haha, yeah, and don't forget that I did that to everyone else you loved, too. Yup. Eagle pride. Go Strike Force.'

Like hell.

Felix knew Dimitri. Felix also knew that Dimitri was more likely to be disappointed in him, rather than angry. He wasn't sure if he preferred that or not. Seeing the look of disappointment on the face of the man that was supposed to be his king, the man that he was supposed to be on the side of, might shatter him. The last thing he wanted was to fucking shatter. He'd spent enough time crying over his stupid mistakes. Though he'd resigned himself to the inevitability of it happening, he wanted nothing more than to keep it at bay for as long as possible. His emotionless, cold facade was far too easy to break these days and he was having absolutely none of it.

The fact that he loathed the Strike Force -- and all they stood for -- made explaining this no easier. Why didn't he just run away? Why did he feel the overwhelming obligation to help Edelgard, despite knowing her for only a few short months, as opposed to his childhood friends? There wasn't a law saying that he had to stay with his academy classmates for the duration of a fucking war. And yet, he had anyway. Nothing he did made sense. There were holes in every 'logical' decision he'd made since he turned eighteen years old.

Felix had not noticed that he had been basically pacing a hole into the floor until Dimitri's voice snapped him out of his thoughts.

Great.

He ran his hands down his face, trying to regain some semblance of stability. He wished it weren't that difficult, but of course it was. Of course it had to be difficult for him to admit this without any sort of veil. Of course he had to come out and say it, as opposed to running away from it forever. The admission wouldn't stop the memories from burning the back of his eyelids, but maybe it'd stop the bile from rising in the back of his throat every single time that Dimitri mentioned how happy they'd all been together.

"Timeline shit. We need to talk about timeline shit."

Wonderful start.
Very eloquent, he noted to himself.
Go fuck yourself, himself grumbled back.

"We weren't on the same side. Not for me." Tiptoeing made it easier. He didn't imagine the other'd let him tiptoe for long, but he'd take his chances. There was no way he was going to be able to spit out 'I murdered you in cold blood' that easily. Dimitri was going to have to deal with that.
 

Dimitri Blaiddyd

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It pained him to see Felix so... tortured by something. It was evident from the way he paced like a caged beast, walking back and fro in an endless rut. His hands ran down his face and he looked every bit a mess. Dimitri wasn't used to the sight at all - Felix was the cool, collected one. Whereas he figuratively lost his mind, Felix was the one to help him pick the pieces back up.

There was something wrong, and he should have brought it up sooner. Yet, just like there was something wrong, something felt off between them. Dimitri hadn't risked prodding Felix in fear that his sardonic words were truthful, that he really did feel malice towards his person. He knew how acidic his childhood friend could be when scared and pressured, it mimicked Glenn after all. To him, the better course of action was to wait for Felix to open up to him if he ever would.

It seemed like the time has come, finally, and with two words, Dimitri understood. Timeline shit. He could feel his stomach wring itself into knots, tying everything in a messy bow. He had to swallow back nausea as a wave of guilt decided to suddenly descend upon his being. Timeline shit. Did Felix not come from a time where he returned to his senses? Was he quietly waiting for the monster to break from its chains, to see its ferocity?

"Felix, about my..." Dimitri had intended to apologize first, but he was beaten. All words suddenly just disappeared, as if his voice had been robbed by that statement. Everything just... ground to a halt. Felix fought against him? Or did he abandon the lions as he had promised to fight Edelgard?

"What do you mean we were on opposite sides?" He found himself stepping closer to Felix, crowding him as if it would provide him with answers. But that would only intensify the apparent problem they had - this rift that became all too apparent. So he forced himself back, retreating away from the man who had been his companion since birth. "Did I leave?" It was his turn for his voice to stutter.


 

Felix Fraldarius

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What do you mean we were on opposing sides?

Fuck. Fuck him, fuck all of his decisions, fuck everything he'd ever done, fuck everything-

Of course, it was very much like Dimitri to assume that he'd been the problem. He was (and always had been) the type of person to do that. And he'd probably continue to do that. Until the day that he died. He was the brunt bearer, the shoulder-er of misfortune. Everything was Dimitri's fault even if it wasn't Dimitri's fault. The worst part, Felix knew, was that he couldn't insist his reason for leaving wasn't at least in part the fault of the man standing before him. Because it was. But it was stupid, and it was childish, and it was useless now, and what did it matter his reasons for leaving? What mattered was that he'd left. Not why.

The urge to run from this within him was rising. He should have never started this conversation. He should have just let it stew within him. Ruin everything, nod and wave when his two 'best friends' recounted a memory that he'd never been a part of. It would have been easier. It would have been so much fucking easier. Why was he insisting on being honest? What was the point? What was the point, what was the point, what was-

If he kept thinking himself in circles, this conversation would never end. Dimitri would continue to grow more concerned, they'd get absolutely nowhere. He couldn't keep doing this. He was the shield. He was supposed to be the foundation, not the one that was crumbling.

Felix took in a breath and made an attempt to formulate some kind of response that didn't make him sound like a complete and utter fool.

"No." There was that, taken care of. Dimitri didn't leave. After all, he wasn't a coward.

If it had stung to say to Sylvain, it stung even worse to say to Dimitri.
His leader, his King.
A man that, at one time, Felix would have considered his best friend.

"I'm the one who left. I defected to the other side."

His gaze refused to leave the floor. He could not look the other, taller man in the eye.

Felix did not lie. Not about things like this.
Felix wished that he'd picked up lying at some point, so that there may have been a small chance that Dimitri thought that he was kidding.
 

Dimitri Blaiddyd

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A thousand thoughts raced from Dimitri's minds in the silence that lapsed between them.

He was right. That was the only answer made feasible in the current predicament. He fell off the wagon completely - more so than he had in his own timeline. Maybe this other timeline version of himself completely shut away all others save for the voices that rattled endlessly in his head. It seemed likely, really, that he would completely isolate himself even after being found by the other blue lions.

Did he attack them? Was that why Felix was so on edge, more so than ever before? Why he cringed away at the sight of him as if his appearance was that of a repulsive boar than a man? It made sense, given the liters of blood that soaked his hands in sin and regret. Did he completely lose sight of the line, crossing it and killing one of his closest friends?

The thoughts dizzied him and weakened his body. For a stark moment, Dimitri was sure that his knees would buckle and drop him to the ground before Felix. Guilt gnawed at his belly worse than any hunger; worry painted his face a pale white color. This was it, he was sure of it: Felix telling him of his heinous crimes that he committed as the Boar Prince.

His thoughts came to a screeching stop at the "no". The silence now existed both within and outside his mind. If a pin had dropped then and there, Dimitri was sure it would clatter loudly than an explosion of fire. The chasm between them ruptured at the admission of betrayal as emotions practically flooded him.

Hurt. Anger. Guilt. Confusion.

He was an utter lost - what was there to say? Felix didn't lie. Felix didn't jest. It was the honest truth, and the way he pinned his gaze to the ground betrayed him. Felix defected. Left. Fought against Faerghus, against his homeland, against -

"Which side. Who did you fight." He could recognize the swell of anger that infected his words. The fear as to what had happened in the other's timeline. It lingered before ultimately collapsing away, leaving behind simple pain that Dimitri did not bother to mask. "Why did you leave?" Again, his mind could supply no reason beyond himself. Had the beast finally scared Felix away and this was the consequences?


 

Felix Fraldarius

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That voice.

Felix had always, always hated that voice. From the time that they were children until now, he detested the low register of it. The accusatory sound, the low growl that was more than indicative of the simple fact that he had fucked up. He knew that. He recognized it. For the sake of the Goddess herself, he'd been living with it for the past however many months. The prying for answers that Felix knew that Dimitri knew. The only one that he wouldn't have some kind of answer for was why he had left, and... fuck, Felix didn't exactly have an answer for that one himself.

It was hard to say "I was running away from my problems" without sounding like an idiot. Because it was an idiotic reason. He knew that. He recognized it. He had made that decision when he was eighteen, he was too afraid to go back, he didn't want to deal with the fall out, and he couldn't change it now.

But that voice.
That was the voice that struck fear into him.
The one that made him want to turn and leave, to hide, to not come back. To abandon this conversation altogether. Let both of them assume that it was all a bad dream that at least one of them could wake up from. It was a stupid thing to bring up in the first place. It was easier to live a life where Dimitri believed that the three of them had always been happy, had always been on the same side, had always been stuck to each other just as they had when they were kids. It was easier to pretend that there was not a world in which Felix was an awful person. In which he had turned tail, and left, and made everyone miserable shortly before murdering them all in cold blood like the awful excuse for a skin sack that he was.

The tears stung his eyes, but he would not cry.
It was not his place to cry. Not now.
Dimitri wasn't going to feel sorry for him. Dimitri wasn't going to coddle him. Not this time. Not when everything was his fucking fault.

It was like it was with Sylvain all over again, except that Dimitri didn't have the luxury of being able to push him into the dirt. He could push him against the floor, crack his skull open on something, but the satisfaction of watching Felix tumbling into the dirt could remain only with one man. What a sad world.

"Who do you think I fought?" The words left his mouth in a tumble of acid. Bitter and angry, though not with Dimitri. All of the memories flooded him, and they made his stomach turn. He hated thinking about them. Admitting to them. Felix felt maybe just a little bad for not just admitting it outright, but that was far easier said than done. Admitting it outright would have that sentence hang in the open air for far too long.

It would open you up to attack, his brain provided unhelpfully, still not entirely convinced that the man he'd called a beast for so long wouldn't show his true colors in an incredibly justified fit of payback.

"I can't tell you why I left." He made a conscious effort to steel his voice, though a slight quiver shone through. Saying that he didn't have an answer wouldn't be good enough for Dimitri. Saying that he was running away also wouldn't be a good enough answer.

And this sure as hell wasn't the place to be admitting lifelong crushes.

"I just... can't. Not now. In the future."

When he came up with an excuse that didn't make him sound like an asshole. Right.
 
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Dimitri Blaiddyd

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There were times where Dimitri believed himself capable of seeing through Felix's barbs and understanding the man inside. Times like these, however, reminded him of how the man was an enigma. A swordsman with insults sharper than his sword and a cold front.Their friendship had been broken ever since that rebellion, but was that still the case? Did he somehow ruin what bonds they had to the point of betrayal? Did he simply imagine their comradery?

Of course, being left to wallow in his own misery was nothing less than what the monster deserved.

The acid was fuel to a wrathful flame and Dimitri could hear the cacophony of voices raise up in the back of his mind. What had once been whispers were now agonized demands for retribution. "He's nothing but a traitor. A fake. He's betrayed us," they screamed, and he wanted nothing more than to clasp his hands over his ears to stop them. Of course, it would do nothing to stifle their cries - he learned that a long time ago.

"Who did you kill," because if Felix had only turned his sword against him, then he knew he could forgive it. Felix would have merely done what he had begged countless others to - to slay him. Beasts are to be put down, are they not? That was the mindset that he had fallen into for that long war... But a part of him knew that if his friend had turned tail completely, had fought alongside his step-sister, that the swordsman would not have sheathed his sword for any foe.

Dimitri swallowed the dry lump that clogged his throat, his fists curling around nothing. Everything made no sense, yet it did. Felix slain the beast, he told himself, but why? He questioned. Why the others, if he had killed? Why leave in the first place? The other voices yielded answers: "Because he's a traitor and you're a monster."

Glenn was the worst of all. Even though his phantom hands were invisible, Dimitri could feel his fingers on his throat, phantom weights conjured by his own mind. "First me, now my brother," he whispered, and there was nothing he could do to banish the rotting knight. "Why can't you? If you know why you betrayed Faerghus, then why." There was no shield to mask the bitterness that laced the words now.


 

Felix Fraldarius

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Who did you kill?
Why can't you?


What a poor, miserable, fragile fool he was.
As if the answers to any of his questions were valid.

As if they'd ever be valid. As if Felix had some kind of excuse. There wasn't any reason for what he had done. He was a pawn in the emperor's game of chess -- that was it. That was all. He was a lapdog, doing what he was told, fetching things for his master like a good little animal. An animal. One that sliced open familiar faces with such skill that, at some point, he'd grown numb. One who had met with so many faces of shattered disappointment. One who had experienced so many last words of human beings he'd wished to see grow older, somewhere in a deeper part of him. An animal sick with love, turning tail and hiding instead of facing it's fears head on.

What did Dimitri want him to do? What did he expect him to do? Was he to start listing people off, giving him the graphic and gory details that still plagued his every moment, asleep or not? Recount to him the anger in Ingrid's voice before she met her end, sprawled on the ground with her festering open wounds, crying out to his long-dead older brother that she'd see him again soon? Tell him of the disappointed, low timbre of Sylvain's voice when he finally realized what their world had come to -- two best friends and a promise to die together broken because of his own selfishness? Recite to him, word for word like a mantra, the last words that Dimitri had ever said to him before the two of them had met again in this hellscape?

From the depths of hell, you will regret tainting the land of Faerghus.

Felix could feel his stomach twist into a tight knot, and he pushed away the tears that'd begun to drip down his cheeks with an irritated rub of the back of his glove.
He would not cry here. The world would not pity him. Dimitri would not pity him.
He didn't deserve their pity in the first place.

"Who do you think." The growl pushed itself out of his throat again. Dimitri was not stupid. Dimitri could think for himself. Dimitri could come to the logical conclusion of just who Felix had killed -- he wasn't so dense that he couldn't properly read the room. "You. Ingrid. Sylvain. My fucking father." Felix felt his throat squeeze, and he choked, and he felt stupid because he did not deserve pity. "Is that a good enough answer for you?"

This was stupid. This was a stupid idea. He should have known better. He should have kept his fucking mouth shut, should have left Dimitri to assume that all of them had experienced the same things and lived their lives out happily. Living a lie was better than this. All this conversation had done, effectively, was upset both of them, and made Felix feel like a cornered animal. A cornered animal that wanted to do what it was best at -- turn tail and run. He no longer wished to be kept in this room with the boar. He wanted to leave. He wanted to pretend that this hadn't happened.

He'd wake up from this dream. Like he was meant to.

"I just told you that I can't fucking give you a why."
His voice cracked, embarrassing as it was, and all at once Felix began to consider if putting his head through the wall was a viable option for escape.
 
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Dimitri Blaiddyd

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Dimitri was not sure what he wanted to hear when he asked those questions. He could imagine the grim truth himself, a friend turned rogue. Felix has always been a capable fighter, but Byleth had the talent to sharpen anyone into a terrifying combatant. Most of the soldiers who had once been Black Eagle students had fallen to his army whenever they fought one another. Ferdinand, Bernadetta, Petra, Hubert, all of them had been slain. If he closed his eyes, he could picture a reality where that had been flipped... One that Felix apparently had come from.

So why ask? To satisfy his own grim need to know or the voices? A small part of him was aware of the anger that would surely course through his veins at Felix's answers. The thought of someone he had trusted so dearly killing those they had both cared for... Dimitri wanted nothing more than to believe that this was some torturous nightmare. It still felt so unreal to learn that Felix Hugo Fraldarius of all people had betrayed them - him.

They had always been friends. Even during the worst of times, Felix had been there for him. Perhaps not at his side, but always lingering paces away. Did he imagine the relief in his face when Felix discovered that he had survived his execution? Was it his mind playing tricks on him when he saw happiness in those toffee eyes when he returned to his senses? Had he merely deluded himself to yet another aspect of reality, were his illusions of Glenn more real than his relationship with Felix?

He was hit with the sense of vertigo as he stared down at the other. His father. "You killed Rodrigue?" His voice sounded impossibly small within the moment, strangled, before the rest of Felix's admissions hit him. Ingrid. Sylvain. Him. How? Why? How could he stand there and admit so easily the betrayals he had committed? Their voices raised to a cacophony of wrath, chanting, screaming, as they had done throughout the war. Calling out for justice paid in blood.

"You killed Ingrid and Sylvain?" Dimitri couldn't mask the raw pain in his voice even if he wanted to, but not only that, the rage. "Me I can understand, but them?" He was a beast, it still lingered deep inside, demanding just as Glenn and Lambert and the rest were. Beasts were to be slain, but them? Ingrid who wanted nothing more than to be a knight who protected her country? Sylvain, Sylvain who loved the four of them, who had always been there for them? Whose arms Even the father whose corpse he had cried over?

Nothing added up, but he was painfully aware that this was the startling truth. Felix had killed them. The fact wouldn't stop ringing in his mind. Felix had killed them. Felix had killed him. "That's not good enough, Felix. Why?" Sylvain. Felix had killed him as well. Despite the way they acted, hadn't there been warmth between them? Sylvain died at his hands. Dimitri had to shove memories of the last night if he wished to banish the creeping urge to wrap his fingers around this thing's throat.

It couldn't be anything but an imposter, but he knew it was Felix.

Felix had killed them.

A part of him felt callous for overlooking the break in the other's facade, the stifled tears and the sound of his broken voice. Felix had killed Sylvain and Ingrid and Rodrigue. "You cannot just tell me that you killed them and refuse to explain why." Was it a guilty conscience? Could he no longer stand to pretend? Why.

 
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Like for a comm thread!
I'm atrociously slow right now and I can't express how sorry I am for that. The muse is coming back! Still, with the season change coming up, if anybody would rather let things go and try again next season, let me know!

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