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a moment together (is all I can give you)

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Edelgard, the Empress, the Flame Emperor, the woman who had a hand in his father's death- raises her axe to swing down at Dimitri.

Dimitri his student, Dimitri with his resigned eyes and grim smile, Dimitri- dear Dimitri-

Byleth let Divine Pulse sing one last time. Knowing that this will be the last.

History changes once more as time rewinds, feeling strangely empty as he watches time freeze and Dimitri falls backward, out of reach and out of sight. As Dimitri draws another breath so will Byleth cease to exist.

It was an almost comforting thought that dulls his pain as Edelgard swings down at him. Her full power tough even for him to handle at full strength, so he crumbles- fractures as the burns and the stabs finally took their toll.

He is unable to hear his own heartbeat to hear how it would slowly dwindle but Byleth knows with a strange certainty that this time he won’t be waking up. Divine Pulse last notes draw to an end, the world around him falling into silence. The Empress looks down at him, her eyes are strange. Byleth is unable to tell what lurks in those eyes, and now as he lays dying he doubts he would ever know.

Edelgard always had beautiful eyes. From the first moment he had seen her, not knowing who she was, not knowing what she planned, he had simply thought of her as the girl with the pretty eyes.

Times were much simpler then. Much happier as well.

He doesn’t want his last moments to be thinking about how those very eyes now lay in his nightmares. Thinking of his killer during his last moments would be letting her take something else from him and Byleth was tired of losing. Instead, he wants to think of Dimitri instead. His student turned king, still so young and yet so haunted. Barely a young man and already having to bear the weight of war and what it truly means to order your men to a battle knowing that some won’t return.

Byleth won’t be returning this time, and the thought is painful. He had wished to help Dimitri bear the burden. And now- now even he seems to be fated to be another ghost to haunt him. It is made even worse as he realizes that he won’t be able to see his students anymore- unable to watch over them or to protect them. Not that they need much protection from him now but-

Byleth still wishes that he could just do more for them. Take one more strike. use Divine Pulse one more time- anything, just to make sure that they survive another day.

Was this how Father had felt, as he lay dying in his own child’s arms? Knowing that he would be unable to see Byleth anymore, unable to teach him, to train him. Knowing that this would be the last time he ever sees Byleth. Nothing but oblivion waiting for him beyond.

Byleth was glad, in some perverse way, that his father was now long dead. At least now, he would be reunited with Mother, not having to witness as his only child bleed out to death. Byleth thinks that if his father were to see him now, Jeralt would surely die of heartbreak.

Edelgard continues to say nothing as the battle rages on around them. It was clear to Byleth that the Empire was winning. Edelgard need not do a thing as her soldiers trample over the Kingdom’s troops. She stands above him, unblinking. Her back straight and her posture fitting of that of an empress.

The girl that used to blush as he showers her with carnations is no longer here.

He hears a broken roar in the distance, and now Byleth falls.

Only to awaken in the Holy Tomb.

A young girl stares down at him, with beautiful green eyes. Reminding him of a dream from long ago. The beginning of everything and the catalyst of what was to come.

He knows this girl. From long ago, a remnant of his past. A bitter reminder of better times. Another ghost that had haunted him in her departure. Her voice had stayed with him even when its owner left. Divine Pulse a reminder that she will be by him even if he cannot see nor hear her. Now is she to die with him as well? Was this some sort of final farewell?

Is she another person who he will let down?

“Byleth you-,” she began, her voice loud in the silent tomb. She slides down from her stone throne, tackling him and taking them both down.

“Byleth you idiot!” she screamed. It was a tone he had never heard from her before. She lays on top of him, her tiny hands punching his chest. Her hits weren’t strong, but they hurt him in how mournful she looked.

It was made even worse when she cried. Her tears, like fire on his skin, made him feel even more wretched for failing her.

“How- how could you die like that!” she shouted, her punches coming to a stop as her fists lay over his chest where Edelgard had slashed. The place where he was sure was bleeding before. He supposes that any physical injury wouldn’t retain in here- whatever this place was considered.

“I’m sorry,” he said. What else could he say? What else could there possibly be left to say? Now that he had doomed them both to death.

“Sorry doesn’t even begin to cut it- you- do you have any idea what I felt?” Her voice was still loud, and her words continue to hurt.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated.

“Don’t say sorry!” she yelled, she was enraged. Her rage was always quick to cool and never this intense, it was always due to him- whether it be his teasing comments or mindless quip. He supposed this was his fault as well, only this time it will be the last. He almost apologizes again, only to snap his mouth shut.

“You are not going to die like this, you hear me?” Sothis continues to yell, determination lights her eyes. It was a beautiful thing, he thinks, fitting of a goddess.

“Don’t think that flattering me will get you out of this!” she snapped. Her tears have stopped by now, he finds that she was much better this way. That maybe if this was the last thing he sees then it won’t be so bad afterall.

“Didn’t you hear me? You are not going to die!”

“Sothis,” he spoke, wanting to remind her that it was simply human mortality. That he was bound to die sooner or later and that it so happens that he was fated to die young.

“Stop right there! I know about human mortality, Byleth,” Sothis yelled again, her expression daring him to speak up. “But, since when, does a goddess bow down to death?”

Byleth mind pauses for a moment, truly considering her words. Surely, Sothis cannot bring him back to life. It went against the basic law of nature itself, and if Sothis had such power surely he would’ve known.

She rolls her eyes, reading his thoughts yet again, her anger somewhat abated. “No, Byleth I am not reversing your death.”

“Then how-”

“I’m reversing time,” she said and her hands touch his.

Divine Pulse sparks to life once more, vibrant and alive. It feels complete this time, so much more potent compared to the years after Sothis’ disappearance.

A goddess’ power was never meant to be wielded by a mortal, no matter how strong the vessel may be. Now as the intoxicating feeling of Divine Pulse washes over him, he realizes how much he misses this- misses Sothis and her magic running through him once more.

Their magic moves in tantum, tangled much alike their hands, synchronized as Divine Pulse drains them both. Its melody growing stronger the more power it absorbs, its song reaches its zenith as his reserves empties and Sothis continues to power the entity by herself, slowly reaching her limit as well. He fades in and out of consciousness then, seeing multiple sceneries that unfold before him. Seeing seasons pass with rapid speed, as fallen leaves fly back to their branches and melted snow returning to the sky.

It all becomes a blur with only the desolate melody remaining clear to him embracing him from all sides. It was a beautiful song, one that he could see himself attempting to recreate in his free time. There was something unworldly about it though, somewhat like the music the monastery choir would sing but even more divine. It was addicting and it draws him even closer to unconsciousness, it beckons him to just let go and fall. He struggles to keep himself afloat, not sink into the temptation of just sinking and letting himself go to the song. To just immerse himself in the beauty and warmth of it all. It promises a comforting embrace, a mother’s embrace, something that he had never felt, yet can picture so clearly now.

It was a nostalgic melody. Reminding him of clear skies and loud laughter. Of stone classrooms and warm meals shared over chatter. Of blue lions and bright blue robes. Of clueless youths and friendly clashes. Of memories that stay untouched from the reality that the future brought them all. It reminds him of happier times, Byleth thinks as time twists around him as a familiar bell tolls in the distance.

"Professor.” the boy- not yet a man, not to Byleth anyways. Dressed in uniform with stiff posture and even stiffer smile. Ah- he was nervous. Byleth thinks, a smile working its way onto his lips.

“Dimitri,” He called out his name softly back then and he does so again as the view in front of him becomes clearer each second. The bell rings louder, an ever looping chime in the background. Bringing him back, back to that time-

"What are you?” the girl asks, staring down from her throne. Ruins surround him feeling so damn familiar and yet not. Who-

A bell tolls, ringing in his ears.

"Please, do consider returning to the Kingdom with me,” the boy- Dimitri asks, his eyes earnest. Byleth didn’t know what the right answer was, but he wanted to choose this youth with his sky blue eyes and nervous demeanor hidden beneath inexperienced confidence.

Byleth wasn’t sure of his answer back then.

But now, now if asked, he would surely say. “Do you even need to ask?”

Even if you ask me to die for you, you still needn't ask.

Dimitri for you, I-

Divine Pulse gave one final cry.