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Itʼs not that Iʼm disinterested. Iʼm simply too busy with other endeavors. I have no time to spare for such things.

That was what Edelgard had told Dorothea those five years ago—before everything had changed. Now, as she felt the third pair of lips that week against her labia, the third tongue against her clit and the third set of fingers curling inside her, as she gasped and screamed and dug her fingers into the sheets and her companionʼs hair, as the tears lightly prickled on her cheeks and she begged for release, she needed so badly to come, she wished—


She collapsed, sweaty, spent, and her companion collapsed beside. They nuzzled her neck affectionately, and in response she let out a soft sigh. She turned her head, and her lips found theirs, lingering in the smell of the actressʼs skin and the taste of her own fluïds. “Thank you,” she said, sighing once again. Then she rose, and made her way to the bath, to clean up.

She would, of course, not be spending the night.

Edelgard examined her reflection in the mirror, and allowed herself a small smile. She looked like a completely different person, there, naked, with her hair down and matted in odd angles, a flush to her cheeks. She looked raw, and youthful, like a person in their early 20s should be.

If she hadnʼt just finished with the most intense orgasm sheʼd experienced that month, she would have had half a mind to lock the door and fuck herself to the sight. The thought seemed harmless enough. It was hardly self‑absorption to masturbate to a woman so clearly not herself.

On some base, instinctual level, the image was everything that she wanted to be.

But on the level of rational thinking, she judged it quite differently. She had aspirations much larger than bodily pleasure, after all. The water heated, and she washed the fantasy away.

Her companion appeared at the door. They were an opera performer, redheaded, a supporting actress who she had been introduced to by Dorothea. Dorothea, the sole member of their party who seemed to see straight through to the human side of her, who knew just when Edelgard was growing distant and just when she needed the touch of another to bring her home.

Lately you've been grim,
And determined to win;
That's how they want us to get,

or so Dorothea once quoted.

Some nights require the spark;
A fire, to remind us
What we really look like in the dark.

The actress had on a loose bathrobe, and leaned against the doorframe casually, watching her. Edelgard raised her eyebrows in response. “Yes? Did you need something?”

They shrugged. “Itʼs not often that I get to spend time with you like this,” they said. “Just appreciating while I can.”

They did have a way of making Edelgard blush.

“Youʼre sure you canʼt stay? The bed is much more cozy with two.”

Edelgard sighed. “You know I canʼt,” she said. “I—have difficulty sleeping in unfamiliar environments. It wouldnʼt be a very pleasant experience for either of us.”

The actress slowly sauntered into the room, taking up seat on the countertop beside the sink. “So donʼt sleep,” they said, robe hanging open.

Edelgardʼs composure was failing—she looked away. And she again caught sight of herself, there, in the mirror. Of the version of herself which her companion now saw. Clean; refreshed; naked; intimate. She did the mental math of how much longer she could afford to spend.

“I really canʼt stay the night,” Edelgard said. “But if you wish it—perhaps I could delay my departure for a while yet.”

I have no time to spare for such things, she had told Dorothea. Five years later, nuzzling the red curls around an actressʼs clit, she wished that meant a damn.

Edelgard had wants, and then she had needs. Hubert knew this as well as anyone.

It was her wants which predominantly occupied his attention. Her ambition—their shared ambition, their dream. It was the reason for his service, for all of their sacrifices; it had shaped every one of their lives in ways beyond reckoning. At any cost, they were all committed to see it through.

But even amidst an ambition built to take on the gods, one needed sleep. One needed to eat. So, too, did Edelgard require a loverʼs touch.

As a child, Edelgard had endured unspeakable trauma; as a teenager, she had waged a war. The two events had structured her entire adulthood; it was so easy, now, for her to slip into those dichotomous patterns, those of victim/conqueror, to see the entirety of her beïng as revolving around one or both of those two roles. When she did, her heart turned cold, and her clarity compromised.

So it was essential to their mission that she experience frequent reminders that her place in the world was larger than that which her trauma had dictated for her. That she also experience love, and care, and touch.

One of those things, at least, could be arranged for.

Fucking hell.

She was pressed against the wall, wearing nothing but panties, pinned there by the other woman, thigh against crotch, mouth claiming her own. Edelgard hated how much she needed this. Not wanted—needed.

She broke from the kiss with a gasp as her companion kneaded her breast. “Please,” she said, finding their other hand by her side and guiding it lower, “donʼt keep me waiting. Give me more.”

They obliged, not bothering with tender foreplay, falling to their knees and stripping her bare. She lifted her foot to step out of her undergarments, and they pressed their mouth between her legs, catching her in the act.

She gasped, hands gripping vainly at the wall for something to hold onto, and struggled to maintain her balance, already having lost her composure.

Their hair was black—her companionʼs, loose and a little longer than shoulder‑length—from this vantage, their face buried beneath her abdomen, it vaguely resembled the Professorʼs. The comparison jumped to her mind unbidden; she could hardly dismiss it now, as the tongue on her clit increased its tempo, as she felt herself gasping and squeezing closed her eyes, the vision remaining fixed in her mind.

Her teacher, taking her like this.

On an ordinary day, when she was fully clothed, she would dismiss the thought of her and her old Professor having anything between them resembling lust. It was true that they had been… close. But in a trusting way, a lasting friendship, platonic and sweet—nothing like her current predicament, getting fucked against the wall by a woman she hardly knew, rocking her hips, her hands pressed into her thighs for support. Edelgard couldnʼt imagine—someone who loved her like that, indulging her like this.

She wanted to—to experience that sometime. Not only with the Professor—although she couldnʼt anymore deny that that interest, too, held. But relationships were messy, and time‑consuming, and she needed all of her faculties available for the war. Today, this—this wasnʼt about what she wanted—secluded away in a vacant hallway of the monastery, Hubert no doubt running interference on passersby to ensure that she wasnʼt disturbed.

She gasped, feeling climax building.

Her partner gave a soft mrrr, edging her on. She clenched around their fingers, lips pressed tight.

And she cried out, releasing, letting everything go, and sinking to the floor, wordless prayers on her lips to deities she would never know. They kissed her passionately, and she hungrily, unthinkingly, responded, before withdrawing back into her own.

She hated feeling this undone, exposed. Lusting after a woman she hadnʼt seen in years. Crying on the floor.

She wished there was another way. But she didnʼt have time to spare, for working it out.

Edelgard had wants, and then she had needs. But if worst came to worst, it was her needs which were secondary. Her mission was more important than anything else in this world, even her own wellbeïng, and she was willing to sacrifice whatever it took to achieve the liberation of the masses from theocratic aristocracy. Even if she hadnʼt been, formally, Emperor, she still would have placed her own needs after the needs of the people; she was commanded by a higher power, not of gods, but of suffering, and knowing what it means.

Still. She needed the Professor. She needed the Professor, still.

This hadnʼt been how she had expected to lose her. No, she had expected to face her in battle, far beneath the Garreg Mach Monastery, when she had made her treason known in the Holy Tomb. A final confrontation, a final goodbye. There would be time for mourning after the war.

But the Professor had sided with her in that conflict, much to her surprise. Declared her own loyalty to Edelgardʼs cause. Ironically, that decision was why she was absent now.

Not dead—Edelgard refused to believe that the Professor had perished—in the first case, because there was no body. Rhea knew well how much the Black Eagle students had depended on the Professorʼs leadership—she wouldnʼt dare spare the opportunity to crush their morale if it were within her power. The lack of a body—and the lack of answers—suggested imprisonment, instead. Capture. For what fell experiments, she did not know, although she knew the Professor held within her body some strange power.

It wasnʼt the first time the Professor had disappeared. But five years on, it seemed immeasurably less likely she would return of her own volition. Not this time. Edelgard would never admit it to another, but the possibility of rescuïng her old mentor was part of what continued to drive her into battle. With each victory: Maybe they could be reünited again.

It was a curse of hope, which prevented her from ever mourning the loss. An attachment which she could neither consummate nor leave behind. She had a tin of bergamot, sealed, which travelled among her accoutrements: a favourite of hers and the Professorʼs both. How she longed to initiate teatime with her teacher, for once, her treat.

In the past five years, she had abstained from tea.

A few days and it would be the date of the monasteryʼs Millennium Festival—would be, that is, were the monastery still under Church control. Still, the date felt momentous to Edelgard; if ever there was a hope of the Professor appearing of her own accord, it would be on that day—they had promised it would be so, together.

It seemed foolish to think that pure force of will by two individuals might withstand everything they were up against, even for something so simple as a date. But if ever there were two wills which might succeed against this universe she found herself in, it was theirs.

She was not about to give up now. As for her teacher—time would tell.