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“Marriage, huh?” Claude huffed as he leaned over Byleth’s shoulder, taking a peek at a set of letters in front of the low wooden desk. “Dimitri hasn’t gotten married yet, has he?”

 

The wedding invitation pinned under Byleth’s thumb didn’t really have much to do with Dimitri, but the other one, the one untouched and sent months prior but still somehow arriving in Almyra at the same time as the wedding invitation, did. Byleth raised a questioning brow towards Claude.

 

Claude shrugged, “I was just thinking that if he hasn’t tied the knot, I shouldn’t have to either right?” There was a pile of silken cushions behind him, in which he happily laid upon with a pleased sigh, “Marriage sure is a troublesome thing, especially for royalty.”

 

Byleth hummed in response, turning his attention back to the letter in his hands. He’d been away from Fodlan for months now and from Fhirdiad even longer. Felix and Sylvain’s wedding invitation shouldn’t have arrived as a surprise and yet, somehow it felt strangely surreal, as though an entire life time had passed for Byleth to end up here.

 

“Man, I’m going to really miss having you around, Teach.” Claude whined as he rolled in the pile of cushions, knocking aside a stack of scrolls in favour of a plate of fruits set upon the ground. “No one else ever comes to visit me.”

 

“Hilda comes.” The wedding invitation was folded neatly before being tucked back into its paper casing. Byleth didn’t even know what he was going to wear or how he was supposed to get there in time. Though they were problems easily solved, the former professor allowed himself to wallow in proverbial despair. Byleth supposed, he couldn’t exactly run and hide forever.

 

“Hilda doesn’t count.” Claude slowly closed his eyes, ready to be lulled to sleep by the heat of the evening sun spilling past the open window. It was hot in Almyra, more so than Byleth is used to but unlike the newly crowned king, at least he doesn’t use it as an excuse to ignore important affairs.

 

Byleth picked up one of the forgotten scrolls littered across the floor. Inside was some sort of tax report that should probably be seen to by the king but it’s also dreadfully dull. Still, Byleth took it and whacked Claude on the nose.

 

Claude groaned, swatting at the offending roll of paper with a scrunched nose, “I was thinking, maybe I should go back to Fodlan with you.” Like a languid cat he stretched from his nest of cushions. “I can finally go see Lorenz.” He sighed, wishful.

 

“You can’t leave, not right now.” Byleth reminded softly as he stood gathering his two letters in his arms before making way to the door.

 

“Going already?”

 

“Tomorrow. I need to buy some souvenirs first. Ah, and wedding presents.”

 

Byleth stepped away from the king’s quarters and made it back to the private room he was allowed to stay in for the past few months. The guilt of lying churned his stomach a little but it was a necessity that had to be done. He couldn’t quite yet admit wanting to read Dimitri’s long awaited letter in the comforts of privacy. The fading bond mark on his neck tingled shamefully when Byleth finally snaked into his own room. He clutched the letter close to his heart and breathed in.

 

Warmth flooded him with the touch of smooth parchment beneath the beads of his fingers. Byleth peeled apart the letter with care, as though he were handling gold. Practiced cursive was revealed within and Byleth could hardly stop the smile that crept up his lips.

 

To my dearest,

 

I pray this letter finds you well, though it may be months of me writing until you finally receive it… Still, I dream of the day my words find their way to you, even if you never write me back, Professor.

 

The Kingdom is doing…better. There are still much to and the nobles of the former Leicester Alliance are a strange and fickle bunch. Every time I think I have them figured out, they test me farther with their intricacies. I find that I’m not very suited for politics, and must shamefully admit that I find myself more at ease with war tactics than diplomacy. It’s been months yet, I cannot shake the feeling of unease when sitting upon that cold, iron throne.

 

But enough about me and my dull, lackluster life. Recently I’d been informed that Sylvain has entered a courtship with Felix, can you imagine that!? Truly, I shouldn’t be surprised but still, I suppose I never thought Sylvain would be able to actually pull it off. Not to mention the storm they’ve left in the wake of their romance. As you know, they are both male alphas, heirs with Crests no less. Margrave Gautier is not particularly pleased with this arrangement and he’s been bombarding me with complaints day in and out. Personally, I do not mind their engagement, so long as they are happy and stay out of too much trouble.

 

Ingrid has left Faergus, much to her father’s dismay and outrage. I have an inkling of an idea of where she might have gone but she was quite explicit in the fact that no one followed her. I’m a little sad to see her go but she promised to come around and visit. Though, it’s good to see old friends roam the lands freely, chasing their dreams with no fear of war. Everyone can finally seek out their true hearts in the world, fulfill their desires and see their hopes to fruition.

 

Speaking of which, I wonder how your travels are going, Professor? I’ve received many little trinkets from mysterious sources and I can’t help but find myself fantasizing they are from you. Please forgive my wishful thinking. I dream of you much lately, Professor. Pleasant dreams, the best I’ve had in years. In these dreams you would ride the winds, going wherever they take you, adventures that are whimsical and kind. Though I know that reality is more cruel than such fantasies, I sincerely pray, from the bottom of my heart that you are well.

 

Perhaps it’s a little presumptuous of me to dream and hope that one day you will find yourself here again, by my side. Selfish, I know but…even if it’s only to visit. There is little I wouldn’t give to have that day come.

 

From yours truly,

Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd

 

Byleth chuckled at Dimitri’s clumsy yet sweet words. The letters came few and far in between, traveling long convoluted routs facilitated by Seteth, only to reach Byleth months after Dimitri has them written. The distance was biting but Byleth selfishly clung onto those written sentiments of miles and months away. He wanted to believe that it was enough.

 

But his carefree days of wayward wandering was to be ending soon. It was time to face whatever it was that Byleth had ran away from at the end of that war.

 

The following day, just as he promised, Byleth set out from Almyra’s capital. His wyvern growled when Claude insisted on bringing way more goods than Byleth needed or wanted, “It’s for Hilda! And Lorenz. And you know, the other guys too!” He wanted to glare, but it was difficult to be angry with Claude, especially when the man had been away from his loved ones for so long.

 

With days of travel ahead and the weather turning towards winter up in the north, Byleth bid Claude a final farewell only to receive a wink in return, “Don’t miss me too much, Teach. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of me soon.” They parted with laughter, bathed in dawn’s orange glow.

 


 

 

In recent days, Dimitri had dreamt of pleasant things.

 

But not always. Sometimes old nightmares still rear their ugly heads, gnawing on old wounds that refuse to fade. Dimitri was having one of those nights, after foolishly succumbing to sleep with hopes of pleasant dreams.

 

He dreamt of Byleth again. There was the ruined altar in front of him that he refused to take his eyes off of.

 

“Dimitri...please listen to me.” Byleth’s voice was full of sorrow and pity. Dimitri always knew it as that. The rage bubbled and roared in his heart. He already knew what was coming next.

 

He turned around, Byleth did not flinch when Dimitri spat at him, growling curses and insults in hopes that his professor would stop looking at him with those eyes.

 

The words were lost to him in the fabricated memory of the dream state but the deepening frown on Byleth’s face would not fade. He wanted to shout at the other man to get away! But it was too late. For in his dreams he was but a savage that lashed out in violent rage, answering to care and concern with nothing but aggression.

 

He despised how well he remembered the following parts, and how well the dream replayed the awful memory of trapping the professor’s neck between his hands. Even the way his body jolted and quaked as he gasped for air was etched into Dimitri’s memory. Goddess! Please, let him wake before…

 

Dream Dimitri had no sympathy nor kindness even when he finally allowed Byleth to breathe. With cruel eyes he watched at the professor struggled with air, sputtering pathetically beneath him like squirming prey. Dream Dimitri flipped him over and held him down. Shirt askew, a pale expanse of unmarked neck was displayed before him, teasing some sort of unspeakable hunger that boiled within. The taste of iron filled his mouth and he was tearing away at clothes then-

 

Eyelids flew open and Dimitri woke with a horrified gasp. Mortification had his entire body seized in place because all he could think about were those emerald eyes, so full of concern and pity, those shaky arms that wrapped around his shoulders even when-

 

Dimitri gritted his teeth and growled at the offensive memory. Shame pulsed through him and he really needed to dunk his entire body in ice-cold water before greeting the day.

 

He sighed, groaning as he forced himself out of bed. Dawn had yet to break and only a low twilight lit the room. There was yet time before the day would begin in earnest. Nevertheless, Dimitri slid into his clothes and armor, deciding that it would be good to let out some steam in the castle yard.

 

For now, he decided to blame Sylvain for his affliction. For he was the one that mentioned inviting Byleth to the wedding. Of course, their old professor had to come right? The idea had filled him with a wanting hope that he didn’t deserve to have.

 

And so what if Byleth came? Did Dimitri still have the rights to face him? He wasn’t so sure. There was a reason why Byleth didn’t remain at his side post-war after all, even turning down the offer to become archbishop.

 

Still, Dimitri was a man full of faults and while moons continue to pass, his longing subsides not even a little.

 

Dimitri sighed but his melancholy was interrupted by a familiar voice, “Your Majesty.”

 

He frowned. Being called Your Highness was never something he entirely enjoyed. Your Majesty was something else entirely. “Dedue? What are you doing up at this hour?”

 

“I could say the same to you, Your Majesty.”

 

His smile was hesitant, “I couldn’t rest, so I thought I could let out some steam.”

 

Dedue nodded with understanding, “I wouldn’t recommend wandering around the castle at this time unfortunately, Your Majesty. It’s best if you returned to your quarters.”

 

That was…an odd response. Dimitri crossed his arms, “I assure you I’m fine, Dedue. There is no need for worry and it will do me well to use my body once in a while. I’ve been spending much too many hours sitting at a desk nowadays.”

 

“Apologies, that wasn’t my implications. You misunderstand, Your Majesty. Actually, we had some guests arriving in the middle of the night. I didn’t think you would want to entertain them right now, and from my knowledge, they’re currently wandering around the castle due to restlessness.”

 

Dimitri blinked, “What? Guests? I know that Felix and Sylvain are planning to have their wedding here but there should still be a week until that date, unless I’ve gotten time terribly mixed up…”

 

“Unfortunately that isn’t the case either. Though, it might be related.”

 

“Related? Please don’t leave me in farther suspense Dedue.”

 

“Lord Fradalrius and the Gautier heir’s engagement seems to have…reminded people of your own marital status, Your Majesty.”

 

Oh. Ohhhh. Of course. Dimitri smacked his face with his palm, annoyance bubbling as realization dawned, “Of course when I wasn’t responding to their letter proposals they thought it wise to harass me in person…” He groaned, this was the very last thing he had hoped to deal with.

 

“Should I send them away, your Majesty?” Dedue, ever loyal asked without question.

 

“No…it’s fine. I couldn’t do that without seeming rude anyways. It’s my fault for selfishly remaining unattached despite being king…I’m sure the people are worried.”

 

“Your happiness is important too, Your Majesty.”

 

The words of kindness startled him and Dimitri stood with his eyes wide for a moment, “T-thank you Dedue. Anyways…I suppose I’ll have to deal with it. Later. Since my plans to train were interrupted, would you mind joining me for tea?”

 

Dedue nodded, in the faint glow of twilight, Dimitri could make out the faintest smile, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”