When Byleth opens her eyes the first thing she notices is the grey clouds hanging low in the sky, the distant sound of thunder and the sensation of something wet against her skin and armour. She feels tired, more so than she can remember, she can also feel someone’s hands hooking under her arms and dragging her away from the source of whatever sent chills up her spine. Byleth moves her gaze away from the sky and shifts it down to her feet, staring at the river that flows by, what she can only imagine is a village. She can also see The Sword of the Creator attached to her hip, digging into the dirt and creating a trail, the weight is reassuring by her side. Byleth wants to move but whoever is dragging her is doing so gingerly and their hands are warm and comforting on her skin – it could be a murderous brigand and she should act now but her mercenary skills are dulled.
The pulling stops and she’s placed beside an open fire, the flames dance and the wood crackles, warming her down to the core. Perhaps the stranger is going to cook her and eat her alive, that would be a tale to tell her students-
Students, gods how could she forget.
Ashe, Sylvain, Ingrid, Annette, Dedue, Mercedes, Felix and Dimitri. Her darling Blue Lions who she has come to know as her family, the people she can trust blindly and rely on. Ashe, an absolute sweetheart and carer of flowers just like Dedue, she loved watching them plant and water the flowers in the garden – she always made time to help them. Ingrid, her strong knight who just wanted to live her life her own way, similarly to Mercedes who just wanted to work for the church. Annette, who pushed herself to do her best and helped make tea with Byleth. Sylvain who skirt chased but truly just wanted recognition for himself, rather than his family crest, and Felix who wanted to be the strongest and challenged Byleth to a duel whenever she had time to spare. There were also students who asked to join her class and she couldn’t deny their request, especially Flaynn who just wanted to explore and be herself without her father following her every step.
And Dimitri, Dimitri Alexandre Blaidud. Dimitri, who blushed whenever he was shy or praised, who led his house with pride and cared for all of them. Dimitri, who said Byleth’s smile was mesmerising, who gave her a Blue Lions medallion for her birthday, who made a promise with her in the Goddess Tower that they would always be together. Dimitri, who was her best friend and closest ally, someone that Byleth knew would make her heartbeat faster if it could even beat. Dimitri, who had just found out his half-sister was the Flame Emperor and had fallen into the darkness that Byleth had sensed the moment she laid eyes on him. Dimitri who had ran full speed ahead, who had ignored her orders and pushed past to kill Edelgard.
Byleth’s eyes widened and she pushed herself up quickly and instantly regretted it as a wave of nausea overtook her. The world span and she softly groaned, bringing a hand to her forehead. Most likely the stranger who had saved her knelt down in front of her, placing a hand on her shoulder to steady her.
“Hey, hey, hey – woah, settle down there… You just woke up.” They stated, voice nasally and raising in pitch. He looked to be a young man, tan skin burned in areas – most likely from working in the sun, ash brown hair and matching eyes.
Byleth did not care for whoever this man was, she was grateful for him saving her from the river, but she had to get back to her students, especially Dimitri. She ignored his words and pushed his hands away, slowly getting up.
The man grasped her arms as she stumbled on her heels, the sharp edges digging into the moist dirt, Byleth pulled away muttering a soft, “Thank you.” Her voice was scratchy, and her throat was dry. When exactly had she fallen into a river? The last thing she could remember was helping Rhea fight off the Adrestian Empire and falling into – what she thought was – a bottomless chasm. She glances around, thinking that perhaps it would be wise to ask where exactly she was before hurrying off in a random direction.
Byleth shifted her gaze back to the man, “Where am I?”
The man crosses his arms over his chest, a furrow to his brow. “We’re in a village at the base of monastery, we were apart of the Alliance but…” He lets out a huff and drags his dirt-covered fingers through his hair. “Anyway… What are you doing in a place like this? Especially in a river no less, I assumed you came from the Garreg Mach upstream of here, but that place is abandoned…” He trailed off, clutching his chin in thought.
Byleth’s brow furrowed, abandoned? She remembered protecting it with Rhea. How could it have become abandoned in such a short amount of time?
Byleth voiced her internal questions, “What do you mean?”
The villager blinked owlishly, her question shaking him from his stupor. “What…? You don’t know? Where the hell have you been for five years not to know what happened.… The Church of Serios isn’t there anymore.”
Byleth felt her stomach drop. “I-I’m sorry… Did you say five years?” She croaked; the statement left her confused.
“Gods, maybe you bumped your head on the way down here… Maybe you should lie back down…” He ushered. “t’s the Ethereal Moon of the year 1185. It’s been nearly five years since the monastery fell. Tomorrow was supposed to be the millennium festival, but who’s got time to think about that?”
Byleth was tempted to take his offer and lie back down, hopefully this was just a dream and Mercedes had merely thrown a sword at her – knocking her out. Yeah, that made sense – it happened to Dimitri of all people and he was the strongest person Byleth had ever met.
The stranger ignored her silence and continued to ramble, “The war’s still going on and the archbishop is still missing, so is that famous professor who wielded that nifty sword…” he paused to sigh, shrugging his shoulders. “I doubt there’s a soul to be found who has enough blessings worth counting.”
The woman had heard quite enough, she needed to get back to the monastery and find her students, make sure they were safe. Five years she’d been asleep for and so much had happened during half a decade. She started to walk but was stopped by a pressure on her arm.
“Woah! Where the hell do you think you’re doing! You just woke up!”
Byleth wretched her arm away, “The monastery.”
The man retracted his hand to wave it about exasperatedly, “Are you nuts! That place is crawling with thieves and not to mention there’s that psycho with an eyepatch who’s running around murdering people. Maybe it would be best if you went somewhere else?”
Byleth shook her head and continued walking, “I cannot, I must go to the monastery.”
“Tch, alright then, its on you if you wind up dead – don’t blame or haunt me for it.”
“I will not die; my students are waiting for me.” She turned and looked back, “Thank you for rescuing me, perhaps we will meet again.”
The man huffed, clicking his tongue as he watched the odd woman walk away. “Students…? That woman really is crazy, I haven’t seen any students there for years… Unbelievable.”
Byleth followed the river towards the monastery, she could see the mass piles of bodies, broken and forgotten weapons, and abandoned homes. It really had been five years and Byleth had left her students all alone. She felt guilt claw at her throat and the sting of tears in her eyes, gods she couldn’t cry now – she shouldn’t even be allowed to. Some teacher she was.
Byleth trudged along, ignoring the curious gaze of villagers in their homes and those tending to their crops. She wondered if she looked strange due to her bright hair and eyes, she missed her dark blue hair and lilac eyes. Her father had told her she looked just like her mother, and Rhea had stated the same thing. She did not mind the green, it reminded her of Sothis and she missed talking to someone who knew her incredibly well, a little too well for Byleth’s taste.
The woman stopped as she saw the monastery still standing and looming over the fields below, she could still remember when she first came here with her father, Edelgard, Claude and Dimitri. It was something she would never forget, Byleth still believed it was her fate to become a teacher, her destiny if you will. Although the grand building still stood, it was in terrible shape. From where she stood, she could see areas concaved and walls reduced to rubble. She did not want to think about the bodies that lay within, most likely all deceased – some could be her friends, colleagues or even her students. Yet, Byleth was stubborn and she had promised her students that she would meet them on this rightful day. With a deep inhale she pressed forward, keeping her hand steady on the hilt of her sword.
As Byleth walked through the monastery she left nostalgic, memories resurfacing as she walked past her old classroom, remembering laughter, smiles, boring lectures and the joy of her students making her proud. Yet now the desks were ruined, her chalk board was smashed, and the ceiling of the room was concaved. She felt a great sadness, the pain squeezing her chest – perhaps if she hadn’t helped Rhea and had worried more about her students, she could’ve helped them and maybe this war could have finished years ago. It’s wishful thinking and Byleth knew that her merely being there wouldn’t change much.
She pressed on, taking her time to go to every room and assess the damage, and of course there were corpses laying about. One however looked to be fresh – which unnerved her, who had been here recently? The pool of blood surrounding the thief was scarlet red, it was slowly drying up, but he only looked to be a day old. She walked past the dead body and noticed another, and another. A trail of dead bodies and Byleth was following them. She didn’t know if it was idiotic, smart or downright morbid, yet she continued following the trail.
The trail led her to the Goddess Tower, she remembered how beautiful it had been when she had come up with Dimitri. The tower wasn’t covered in blood and the lifeless bodies of thieves and those of the Adrestian Empire. It had been almost ethereal, and she swore Dimitri had almost confessed to her on that night, he had been incredibly flustered. It was adorable to see such a chivalrous and confident person reduce to an awkward mess.
She walked up the steps, her heels echoing throughout the tower, bouncing off the walls to sound louder. She stepped over blood and more corpses – she had seen enough today. As she reached the top of the stairs, she could hear the rush of wind knocking the tower and the trickle of sunlight drift through the opening of the ceiling. She had not realised how long she had been looking through the monastery for, and at what time had the dark clouds cleared up finally cleared up. She stepped into the light and glanced around, she could not se-
She stopped as her eyes caught onto a figure resting against the wall, curled up and gripping a lance tightly. Long blonde locks covering their face, blue, black and white armour covering their entire masculine form. They were large and appeared muscular, almost intimidating Byleth because how could someone appear so large while crouched? Dimitri could, he was always one of the tallest, broad shouldered and locks the colour of sunflowers.
Her immediate thought was that it was him, “Dimitri?” she called softly, taking a step forward. Who else could it be, who else had blonde hair and wielded a lance? She could not believe it, it was him, wasn’t it? Had he waited up here for her? Is that why he was here, waiting for her to come back? She felt tears well up in her pale eyes and took another step forward.
The figure lifted their head, one striking blue eye met her pair, one of his eyes was covered by an eyepatch and the rest of his face was covered in speckles of blood, some had seeped into his hair, making it pink.
It was him.
It was Dimitri and she felt the tears break free and trail down her tan skin, he was here – waiting for her. She swore if her heart could beat, it would be beating a mile per second. She walked towards him, quickening her step to crouch in front of him, her hands shook as cupped his face.
“Dima… It’s you, isn’t it? You’re here, you’re alive… and you’re okay…” She mumbled to herself, feeling her bottom lip jolt as it started to tremble.
Dimitri’s brow furrowed and he jerked his face away from her grasp, jaw clenching as he ignored the hurt in her eyes. “I should’ve known… That one day… You would be haunting me as well…” He hissed.