Byleth did not have any playmates growing up—naturally, no one else in the mercenary company had any children with them so while she saw the occasional townsfolk children running amok during supply runs and mission briefings, she’d never spoken to any of them.
In the fanciful books she read, children were more a plot point than anything else and when they were the main character, they rarely acted different from adults. They were background pieces behind the adults she spoke to, the chatter in the background when she was fetching supplies at the market, words on paper that never really had any significance.
In fact, she hadn’t even considered children something she would ever need to speak to until Dimitri asked her a lifetime ago if she’d help him train some young orphans at the monastery in swordplay.
From then on, she was obsessed.
They were adorable with their wide, trusting eyes and bubbling laughter. Whenever Byleth had a bad mission and could not seem to wash the blood from under her nails thoroughly enough, she’d find one of the monastery children to take her mind off of things. They would play tag, run some errands for the adults, play with the clowders of cats all about, or practice fighting.
Byleth wasn’t a loser—but she let the kids win every time.
She was the happy neighborhood face that would walk the kids home at the end of the day and make idle conversation with their parents—some of them younger than her even while she was a professor more than six years ago.
So, why was she so apprehensive now that the shoe was on the other foot? Children weren’t born in her mind, they simply existed—were delivered by a passing wyvern to a family who wanted it.
She should have known something was amiss when she had missed her monthly cycle the first time and then the second then the third. Being a fighter running on constantly odd schedules, her cycles were never regular to begin with but ever since settling in as the Queen of Faerghus, she had been dreadfully busy and hadn’t thought to keep track.
It had started with the dizzy spells. One morning, she and Dimitri were taking their usual walk around the halls and she had stooped down to pick up a pin he’d dropped. One moment she was standing up straight and the next she was in her husband’s arms, his eyes desperately worried as he tried to rouse her.
Then came the food. Byleth had always been a big eater—it’d been something that her father had teased her relentlessly about. But, starting from the middle of Verdant Rain Moon, she’d lost all interest in food.
Dimitri was besides himself with worry. He’d never seen her get so weak—not even when she’d fallen ill from tainted spring water during one of their campaigns during the Great War. The first doctor she’d seen only days after taking her tumble told her that she was likely just exhausted and needed to take a respite from castle duties.
One autumn morning, as she sat up in her big bed reading over harvest schedules her handmaiden came in with a customary bowl of sweet rolls—the only food she had any appetite for. Dimitri had decreed that the cooks now had to have it on hand all the time. The younger woman set the bowl on the bedside table and offered a smile at the bedridden Queen.
“Good morning your Grace! How are you feeling?”
Byleth smiled at the friendly girl, “I’m doing well, feeling a lot better than I did yesterday. If only they could figure out what’s gotten me in such a weak state, I could be out cracking heads together with his Highness.”
“Could it be the moon tea by any chance?” The handmaid asked— “When my mother was drinking it, she felt similarly ill and once she stopped the symptoms did as well!”
Byleth looked at the girl strangely, she’d never heard of moon tea before. Was it some regional specialty? “I can’t say that I’ve ever tried it, so that can’t be it.”
The handmaiden looked at her liege with a quizzical look. Every married woman drank moon tea at one point or another, even some that were not married to prevent children out of wedlock. While the king and queen were very private, it was no secret that they indulged in each other often.
“Your Grace, if I may be so bold, what are you using for contraception if you aren’t drinking moon tea?”
The young Queen’s response gave her all the information she needed to know: “What is contraception?”
Immediately the handmaiden had rushed in a flurry of skirts to the infirmary to call upon Healer Mercedes. Which lead to the current predicament that Byleth was in.
“Oh my, Professor you’re twenty and two and married and active and have never heard of contraception?” Mercedes was generally very difficult to shock but she stood at Byleth’s bedside with one hand on her hip and the other holding her cheek in an upturned palm. “Didn’t his Highness at least talk to you about this?”
“No! Why would we need to? I haven’t taken any potions to have children so why would I need to prevent it from happening?” Jeralt had been very clear when she was young about where babies came from. When a man and a woman loved each other very much, the woman could drink a potion made of the man’s tears that would make her become with child. It seemed like a difficult process to accidentally kick off—requiring something like moon tea to control it. Byleth shot a glance at her longtime friend and her handmaidens—all five people in the room all either holding back laughter or shaking their heads at her. “Out with it! What’s the big deal?”
Mercedes laid her hand on Byleth’s chest and murmured a short spell—a blooming glow materialized above her hand and consolidated into the shape of the Crest of Blaiddyd.
“Professor, you’re expecting.”
A dull thump snapped everyone out of their daze—behind Mercedes, Dimitri stood his hands out and a basket of sweet rolls next to his feet.