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Oath of Fealty

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Edelgard’s POV

The room was dark and she felt the chains of her shackles around her wrists and ankles. She struggled to get free but to no avail. There was no one else in her room aside from the rats that she hated. The only light in the room was the door that led in and out of her room or cell was the more appropriate term.

She flinched when she heard the screams of one of her brothers. She had a hard time telling which one in her state. Still she felt her eyes prickle with tears as she wanted desperately to go to him but when she pulled the metal around her just bit into her flesh.

“El?” her eyes snapped up towards the doorway to see her father. He had a look of horror on his face. His regal brown hair was faded and patches of grey were appearing as well.

“Father! Help me! Help us! Are the others ok!” Edelgard felt hope fill her again for the first time in however long she’d been there. She prayed that her brothers and sisters were still alive.

Except it all her hope went away when she saw his head drop and someone pushed him aside…Thales…

“No! Father come back! Please!!!”

“Edelgard!”

Her violet eyes snapped open and on instinct she reached behind her pillow for her dagger and struck. At the last moment her eyes connected with the surprised blue eyes of her dear teacher. Edelgard tried to stop her attack but she found that she couldn’t even move her arm at all.

“Edelgard…” she blinked and looked down to see that her teacher had stopped her attack before it reached him by grabbing her wrist in a firm but gentle grip. He released her gently when he saw she was in control and her weapon fell onto the bed harmlessly and Edelgard hugged her blankets around herself to hide the scars that he no doubt saw.

“My teacher…I…I’m sorry!” Edelgard felt so ashamed. If her teacher wasn’t so quick she could have hurt him! Oh gods if it was anyone else she might have hurt them. If it had been Bernadetta or Dorothea…

“It’s ok…” he wasn’t angry, of course he wasn’t. He was the perfect example of control; Edelgard didn’t want him to see her like this.

“Here…” Byleth reached up tentatively with one of his hands and he slowly wiped away her tears. She had not even realized she was crying. She felt shameful showing weakness in front of someone she admired and respected so much. The fact that he was showing worry for her just made her feel worse. It made her feel helpless.

“Thank you my teacher…” Edelgard sniffed slightly as she tried to get herself under control.

“Bad dream?” he asked gently. Edelgard wanted to tell him to go away so she could compose herself but she knew that would probably be ineffective and she didn’t want to be rude to him. He was the last person in the world that deserved that.

“…” Edelgard simply nodded and he tilted his head at her, his blue eyes seeming to just pierce her walls better than any other person she had known.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked tentatively. She almost said yes but a lump formed in her throat. He saw her hesitance and he stood up slowly. She thought he was going to leave but surprisingly he sat down on her bed and placed his hand on her shoulder.

“Would you like to talk about it somewhere else?” he offered. His features didn’t display it but it was obvious how much care he was giving her. She couldn’t do anything else but nod.

“Ok…” he nodded and stood up slowly.

“I’ll wait outside…” he said simply before he left her room quietly. Edelgard waiting for a few moments and then she slowly got up and dressed herself in her uniform except for her jacket.

When she opened the door, her professor was waiting patiently. His cold expression softened ever so softly and he nodded for her to follow him. She followed along silently. She knew the others were all asleep, even Hubert would have to sleep at a time like this. Edelgard was actually thankful that their rooms were kept separate.

Hubert would be displeased to see her doing this. Going out with someone in the middle of the night. His distrust for the professor was well known to her but she found herself not really caring in the slightest when it came to him for some reason. She heeded her oldest friend’s advice when it came to the professor’s sister and his father but she just couldn’t keep a meaningful distance between herself and her dear teacher.

Perhaps it was because she felt a kinship with him or rather it was more that she admired him. He was a quiet and reserved person who wanted results above all else much like herself. But more than that he was kind, most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell but Edelgard knew at his core he was a good person who wanted the best for everyone.

“Where are we going Professor?” Edelgard asked as they left the dormitory. She wasn’t worried at all about her wellbeing. None except perhaps his own father and Catherine could actually get past the professor. She couldn’t ask for a better protector, not that she would ever say that especially in front of Hubert.

“To the pond. It’s relaxing so to say…” he led her over to the fishing pond and Edelgard had to admit that it was rather serene. Without the usual bustle of people it was rather soothing.

“Come…” her teacher went up to the pier and took a seat so his legs were hanging off the edge but not in the water. Edelgard didn’t hesitate to sit down next to him.

They sat there in silence for a time and Edelgard turned to see her professor staring out into the water but he wasn’t phased out of reality like Linhardt would be. She turned her own gaze to the pond, staring at the reflection of the moon and she found herself feeling a lot calmer.

After a few moments she realized that her teacher was probably allowing her to break the silence and after a few moments of getting her thoughts together she did.

“Professor?” he turned his head towards her.

“You can call me Byleth when we’re alone,” he said and she flushed slightly.

“Nonsense. You’re my teacher at all times even when we’re not in the classroom,” he seemed amused if the way he tilted his head was any indication but he did not speak again. He simply nodded in acceptance.

“Why were you up and why were you on the second floor? Your room is on the bottom floor on the other side of the building,” she asked, she really was curious about that. The ghost of a smile played on his lips, something she barely caught.

“I was running an errand for Lera. She forgot to give something to Dimitri so she asked me to do it…” Edelgard flushed a little at that. The attraction between those two was well known. She wondered why they didn’t make it official yet but she never pried.

“I imagine Dimitri wasn’t happy to be awoken,” she commented and her teacher nodded.

“Yes, he was…at first. When I told him it was from my sister he lit up like a training dummy hit by a lightning spell,” Edelgard giggled a bit at the image that popped into her head.

“What was it?” she asked.

“I don’t know, I don’t particularly want to know either…” her teacher’s voice deadpanned and Edelgard reminded herself that while it might have been amusing to everyone else, her teacher and his father were probably the only ones who did not find it entirely amusing. At least she wasn’t falling for Sylvain, Edelgard did not think he would survive long if she had.

“Of course…” they settled into silence after that. Edelgard did not know what else to ask. She thought about asking if his hand was healing ok but the guilt that rang through her heart prevented her from saying that.

“Why do you hide things from your friends?” her teacher suddenly asked. It took her only a moment to figure out what he meant and her mood dipped again.

“I…I…just…” she didn’t know what to say without incriminating herself.

“You can tell me anything,” her professor reached over and placed his hand on top of hers gently. It was the hand that he used to stop the fireball from striking her in her moment of weakness. She could feel his hand shaking, it must have been painful and yet he didn’t even wince. She really did not understand how he could deal with it.

“Can you promise not to speak about this to anyone?” she asked softly. She felt his hand squeeze hers.

“Of course,” his voice took on a gentler tone. She squeezed his hand back delicately in thanks.

Edelgard sighed as she gazed out at the pond again trying to figure out how to explain it. She had never spoken to anyone about this, not even Hubert. He was a valiant friend and someone who had been behind her ever since he joined her but he wasn’t someone she wanted to share this with.

The only people she could see herself speaking to about this were her father and the friend she had when she was in the kingdom for that one year…but the former knew exactly what she had gone through and talking about it would have hurt him more than her. The latter was an entirely different person now just like her so it wouldn’t have a point. Who would have thought she would be speaking about this to someone she had only known for around four months? She found herself not minding at all.

“I was dreaming about a time when I was a child. I used to have ten siblings, eight older and two younger. I was dreaming of my older brother…paralyzed and helpless, my older sister crying out for help that never came, my youngest sibling my little brother babbling words with no meaning. I see them all dying slow agonizing deaths…” her eyes grew moist as she spoke.

Even after all these years she still missed her brothers and sisters. Despite coming from different mothers they never let that get in the way of their family bonds. Her oldest brother liked to bring her along when he was training, he taught her how to use a blade. Her older sisters liked to braid her hair back then even though she always hated it. Her little brother and sister used to cling to her all the time, following her around like puppies. She still remembered them all so clearly like she just saw them yesterday…

“I have ten siblings and yet I am the heir to the Adrestian Throne. Do you know why?” she wiped her eyes as she continued to stare at the reflection of the moon. Her teacher held her hand tightly to try and comfort her. She didn’t dare look at him though and continued.

“Every single one of them was crippled beyond repair, driven mad or simply died…”

“Edelgard…” her teacher squeezed her hand tighter. She sucked in a breath and continued.

“Eventually…they all died and I was simply the only one left to be the heir,”

Edelgard paused to collect herself before she turned to her professor who was gazing at her still. His expression was cold but his eyes held sadness in them, sadness for her but also anger.

“I swore that I would never forget them and that I would never allow something like that to happen to my family again,” she spoke with conviction.

She still remembered when they dragged her older brother’s body past her cell without even letting her say goodbye. After they slowly worked through the older ones they came for her and the younger ones. She remembered her little sister kicking and screaming, begging her to help her but she was powerless to do so. Her little brother was so brave, he walked to his doom with his head held high something she couldn’t do. She should have died with them…but she didn’t.

“I am the only one left to take up the throne of the Empire and I will…” the image of her uncle flashed through her mind and her anger spiked as a result. She would make him and the other nobles who betrayed her father pay for what they had done.

“Edelgard…”

“Oh,” Edelgard giggled slightly despite the weight of her previous words.

“My apologies, I revealed more than I should have. I suppose I have been waiting to talk about that for some time,” and it happened to be her dear teacher. He stared at her for a few moments before he looked away. He looked deep in thought for a few moments before he nodded to himself.

“I said I was awake because I was delivering something to Dimitri right?” he asked and Edelgard nodded stiffly.

“While that was true the main reason I was actually up was because I had a dream about war and death,” Edelgard frowned in response; she didn’t think he would have dreams like that.

“I’ve always had dreams like that though I don’t know why. I…” he hesitated and the princess grew worried, he never did that before.

“Professor?” she squeezed his hand again and he nodded towards the sword at his side, the sword of the creator.

“I don’t like dreaming about death either,” he admitted and Edelgard squeezed his hand tighter, careful not to agitate his wounds.

“When the dreams started my father taught me ways to deal with it. He taught me to focus on other things like training, fishing or reading when my thoughts were troubled or I was having trouble sleeping,” he said as he turned to her.

“I don’t know if they will work for you but I would like to help you if you will allow me. I swear that whenever you need me I will be there to help you if you need it,” he promised and Edelgard blushed again at such an oath said so causally. She couldn’t leave such a thing unanswered.

“I would be honored…thank you…Byleth…” then her dear teacher smiled, actually smiled. She had seen him annoyed and even angry but never happy like this. He nodded to her in thanks before he turned his gaze back to the water.

They stayed like that for a time, just basking in the peace of the moment and Edelgard enjoyed just being around him as well. She realized at some point that she was still holding his hand and she blushed again but she didn’t pull away. She was content to stay like that.

Of course eventually the time came for them to stop. It was getting close to the time Hubert would wake up and she didn’t want him to find her out here with her teacher. The last thing she wanted was to give him more reason to antagonize her dear teacher.

“My teacher, I need to go back…” she spoke and he nodded and released her hand.

“Would you like me to walk you back?” he asked and she almost said yes on reflex but reeled herself in.

“I…no that won’t be necessary. You have already done so much for me,” she also did not want to risk Hubert seeing them.

“As you wish,” he nodded to her as she stood up.

“Are you not going to return to your room?” he shook his head at her question.

“No, classes start in a few hours and I don’t feel like returning to sleep at the moment.” She wanted to point out that he needed rest too but he probably would have waved her off if she tried.

“Goodbye Byleth…”

“Sleep well Edelgard,” he gave her another small smile and she left with a blush on her cheeks.

She walked back to the dorms but before she went up the steps she turned to see her teacher still sitting at the pier, alone. She was tempted to go sit with him again but she shook her head and went up the steps to her room. His promise to her rang in her mind and she felt both guilt and happiness well up inside her.

“I promise that I’ll be there for you too my teacher…”

Chapter Text

Edelgard’s POV

“…” Edelgard sighed as she sat at the pier of the pond. After the issues with Flayn’s capture and the battle against the Death Knight things were just…hectic. It certainly did not help that the Battle of the Eagle and the Lion was coming up soon as well. She couldn’t even sleep and a part of her was happy she didn’t. She had a feeling she would only get more nightmares if she slept now.

Those who slither in the dark were truly more trouble than they were worth. Kidnapping Flayn was a bold move and something they did without her consent or even her knowledge. They did “inform” her but their “message” was in the form of her teacher telling her that Flayn had been captured. It was a mistake to put the Death Knight under their command. If she knew they were going to do something like that she never would have agreed to it. If Professor Manuela had not been injured she would not have been able to “defuse” the situation either.

To make matters worse she now had another “shadow” and a far more annoying one at that. Monica or whatever name she went by had been hounding her ever since she was “rescued”. She was an annoying girl, she acted like a scatterbrain but she was unbelievably cruel under that guise. She constantly barred her from her professor for the past few weeks; in fact she had been barring her from many people. It was not lost on Edelgard that she was just watching her like how Solon was…

Edelgard could not stand working with them. All the needless death they caused and she was still powerless to stop them despite the power that was supposed to be inside her. She wanted desperately to sink her axe into their hides but if she did it now then her plans would fall apart. Her own uncle and the prime minister were in on the plans after all. If she broke from them they would undo all her hard work. So her hands were tied so to say. Her time would come though.

She was worried about how things were moving. Being unable to control her allies was one thing but now they were showing an unhealthy amount of attention towards her dear teacher, Byleth. They watched him like a piece of meat that they didn’t know if they wanted or not. She knew they were watching him but after he picked up the Sword of the Creator it was like a light was suddenly shined on him. The fact that he had thwarted whatever they were planning with Flayn only seemed to only incite their curiosity and ire more so. Even the Death Knight was interested in him now due to the power he showcased. Knowing those snakes they probably wanted to make Byleth another one of their experiments. The thought that her teacher might have to suffer something like her was unbearable.

It certainly did not help that Hubert was starting to advise her to think about “removing” her teacher. She was rather short with him when he brought that up. That was a mistake though since she had made her attachment to her teacher more apparent if it wasn’t already. She was sure that her “allies” were going to know about it soon enough. Dragging Byleth and his family into this mess was the last thing she wanted now.

Her teacher had been on her thoughts a lot lately. She had been…growing attached to him, even more so as time went on. When she met him she felt a kinship with him because like her he was distant. His affinity for battle and strategy drew her interest; in fact she admired it since he was better at it than she was. When he became her teacher she was a little disappointed that she couldn’t claim his services but also pleasantly surprised since it meant he would stick around.

Like many of her classmates she had been unsure of his ability to teach but she was more than pleasantly surprised when he proved himself to not only be up to the task but he also excelled at it. His affinity for his position bore fruit through Edelgard and her classmates who flourished under his tutelage and leadership. Even people like Linhardt and Bernadetta who were lazy and shy respectively were willing to put the effort in to be a part of his lessons.

He was a gifted leader who was beloved by not just Edelgard but the rest of her class as well. He was a fierce warrior who seemed to have no equal and he pushed them to give their best and they were more than happy to give it and then some. She found herself in awe of him more than a few times.

For all his power and leadership though what made her and her classmates love him was his kindness. Despite his rather cold exterior he cared deeply for all of them and he went out of his way to protect them even at his own detriment. Edelgard’s heart pained at the memory of how he took a strike meant for her, the cost had been permanent scaring to his arm.

It was all these traits put together that made Edelgard start to see him as more than just her teacher. He had earned more than her admiration and more than even her friendship. He had earned her affections as well. She wasn’t going to deny it; she had fallen for her dear teacher. Such a terrifying yet pleasant thought…

“Edelgard?” she flinched at the voice. Low and behold, she thought of him and he appeared. Her cheeks flushed as she tried to stuff away her earlier thoughts. She turned to see him approaching her.

“Professor,” Edelgard greeted warmly trying to stop her heart from picking up more than it already had. Her teacher returned the gesture and smiled at her making her efforts to lower her heart rate in vain. He had been smiling a bit more lately and she was happy that he was able to let loose.

“What are you doing up? Sleep evading you?” he asked as he took a seat next to her on the pier.

“Is it that obvious? I despise being stuck in my room when sleep eludes me. Getting fresh air has always helped me especially last time so I figured I would try it again this time,” she leaned back on her hands gently as she swung her legs over the pond gently.

“So why are you out here professor?” her teacher scoffed slightly in response.

“I told you, you can call me by name when it’s just us,” Edelgard giggled slightly but she relented.

“Sorry, I’m just so used to calling you by your title, Byleth,”

“No offense taken your highness,” Edelgard scoffed and she pushed him slightly. He had been growing a sense of humor lately.

“I think I preferred it when you were just stone cold,” there was no bite to her words though and they both laughed about it. Edelgard felt light as a feather like she didn’t have the weight of the future on her shoulders.

“So what brings you out here tonight, Byleth?” it felt a bit odd for her to refer to him with such familiarity but she liked it.

“I couldn’t sleep either. Though that is more Lera and Dimitri’s fault than anything,” her teacher shook his head in resignation and Edelgard felt her cheeks get warm.

“Wait…by that do you mean…” her teacher’s deadpanned gaze answered her question and her cheeks flushed immensely. Oh dear, she did not think Dimitri could be so bold. Or was it perhaps Bylera’s influence that made that occur?

“And our rooms are right next to each other…” Edelgard winced in sympathy for her dear teacher.

“I’m surprised Dimitri was brave enough for that,” he scoffed in response but he didn’t speak anymore about it. Edelgard respected that, she didn’t want to speak about it anymore either so she dropped it.

“My teacher? Can I ask you something else?” he nodded in response and she took a breath. She wanted to share something else with her teacher.

“Do you ever find a need for the outdoors?” he didn’t respond but he didn’t need to just yet.

“I do. I long to feel the light of the sun, the breeze of the wind. Remember when I told you about my past?”

“Edelgard you don’t have to do this,” her teacher shook his head but she shook her head and took his hand.

“I want to, you deserve to know,” the meanings of those words were more than he could know at this moment. “I…you have to understand that I do not do this lightly. I haven’t spoken about this with anyone, even Hubert,”

He gave her a gentle look free of judgment and he nodded, “I understand.”

She smiled at him again before her lips dipped as she recalled the time of her past again. She had told him about her brothers and sisters but she never told him how they arrived at such a fate. She would lay it all before him now.

“As you know my siblings all perished, they did not get to experience life like I do. They did not get to lead normal lives, normal lives for royalty at least. The reason they all perished was because we were all confined in cages beneath the Imperial Palace…” her teacher’s passive face showed surprise and even anger at such a reveal.

“The plan was to give us the power of a major crest…” she sighed mournfully.

“As you know I have the Crest of Serios through the Hresvelg Bloodline. Except it is a minor crest and the majority of my siblings did not have a crest,”

Anger filtered into her voice as she mentioned crests, the things that damned her family and many others. Nonetheless she composed herself again, she used the feeling of her teacher’s hand to bring herself back to level. His supportive gaze was even more helpful.

“They wanted to create a peerless emperor for the Empire. To that end…they violated our bodies by cutting us open and experimenting on us with alchemy and magic,” she lifted her hand from her professor’s and pulled her glove off to show him her skin.

While the lines had faded much over the years they was still noticeable; the many lines from cuts and incisions done on her body and the rather large ones around her wrist left by the cuffs when she pulled on them. Her professor’s eyes widened in disgust but not at her, she knew that, it was disgust for what was done to her. She laid her hand back over his, letting him hold it. He caressed her hand gently like it was glass almost. She had done something similar when she saw the burns on his hand after they healed.

“I am the fruit of that labor…but the price was too high. All of my brothers and sisters were sacrificed to the cause…it wasn’t just us though, countless innocent people were killed as well without even knowing what they were being killed for,” she still remembered the screams. While her sibling’s suffering had been terrible, there were screams of pain and anguish that filled those dungeons long before them. They were simply the actual test subjects while those poor people were the guinea pigs to perfect the process.

“And there it is…the truth of the Hresvelg Empire…” she sighed mournfully. It felt good to share this with her beloved teacher. It was one of many things that she had been holding tightly to her chest.

“Who was behind this? Your father?” her teacher asked calmly though she knew him well enough now to sense his anger.

“No…he tried to save us but he was powerless…” Edelgard sighed sadly at the thought of her poor father.

“You see when I was a child the Prime Minister, Ferdinand’s father and his little cohort of nobles including my uncle stripped away much of my father’s actual power. I did not know anything about it since I was smuggled away to the Kingdom by my uncle and mother while it was happening,” this was actually relatively common knowledge aside from the part where she was in the kingdom for a time. She knew her teacher would probably not know since he didn’t even know about the church until he met her.

“My poor father was little more than a puppet ruler at the time. During my time in the Kingdom they took away most if not all of his power,” she still remembered the look on her father’s face as she was dragged into the dungeon. They had already begun working on her siblings while she was away.

“Edelgard…” her professor squeezed her hand gently. His expression was unreadable again but she knew that he must have felt anger and sorrow. She suspected all of her friends would have reacted in such a way he was no different in that regard.

“Look…” she turned her hand over in his own so her palm was facing up.

“I have hidden this existence for many but I will reveal this to you now as my teacher and dearest friend…” she focused and conjured up the image of her second crest. Her teacher’s eyes widened in surprise at the familiar crest that appeared before his very eyes.

“Yes…” sitting right in front of her teacher’s eyes was the Crest of Flames, the very same crest he wielded. She looked deep into her teacher’s eyes before she spoke again.

“I swore a solemn oath when it manifested for me. For the sake of my poor siblings and all the innocents who were killed to create me. For the sake of my father and my family I will reclaim what my father lost and I will create a world where such meaningless sacrifices are never going to be sanctioned again. As the Emperor of the Adrestian Empire I will change the world,”

Her teacher’s eyes watched her carefully and she saw a bit of awe as he heard her speak. It made her feel a bit proud to know she could elicit a reaction like that from him. It made her heartbeat quicken once again.

“That sounds like a wonderful dream to work towards Edelgard,” her teacher spoke carefully and she smiled.

“I am happy you think so…” she wanted to tell him so much more in that moment.

Her teacher gazed at her for a few more moments with an unreadable expression on his face. His gaze then turned downwards suddenly and he released her hand so he could rub his own together. He was almost acting…anxious?

“You are graduating after this year finishes correct?” he asked suddenly and Edelgard blinked before she nodded silently. What brought that on?

“Dimitri and Claude are graduating this year as well,” her teacher spoke again and Edelgard tilted her head in confusion as she tried to figure out what was going on. Was he sad that he was going to be saying goodbye to all of them?

“Yes, I believe they are. Not all of us are graduating this year though,” Edelgard reminded him and he shook his head confusing her further.

“Edelgard…Dimitri asked Bylera and myself to go with him back to the kingdom…he asked my father as well,” Edelgard’s eyes widened in shock. He really did that?

“He even asked your father?” she was surprised by that. She knew that Dimitri and Bylera were growing close and her teacher’s words had definitely confirmed that bond was getting stronger but this was new. To give the professor and their father a place as well spoke volumes of how much he must have cared for her. It was…admirable actually something worthy of his father, the late King Lambert. It also sounded like something her own father wou-had done…

“Yes, I wager he knows that our father would respond well to that and I do admit I find the gesture touching…” Edelgard’s heart dropped a little as her teacher seemed to actually like the idea.

“What did your father say?” she asked and her teacher smiled slightly.

“Well he accepted of course, assuming he can get Lady Rhea to let go of him,” Edelgard bristled a little at the name, she did not like her at all.

“I’m sure she wouldn’t hold him there. What about you? What are you going to do?” it would only be right for him to want to go as well, he had been with his sister for so long, following faithfully. At least that’s how she perceived it.

“I…have a different thought in mind,” now Edelgard paused, she was not expecting that kind of answer. She blinked when she saw him rise from his seat and pull her up with him gently. He did not release her hand though in fact he held it tighter.

“Byleth?” she spoke his name softly.

“Do you remember what you asked me months ago when we first met?” he asked.

“Of course. I gave you an offer to lend your services to the empire,” she had meant those words too. He was a powerful warrior and an intelligent man who got results. Someone like that was difficult to find. Plus now he was her friend, a dear one at that. And…he was very dear to her heart.

“I want to go with you,” he spoke clearly and yet Edelgard felt like she didn’t hear him.

“What…” she stared at him in shock. His expression was firm but there was gentleness in his eyes.

“I want to follow you back to the empire. I want to be there for you when take the throne and help you achieve your dreams for the world. No, more than that. I would give my fealty to you,” he got down on one knee while still holding her hand.

“Byleth…” she stared in shock at him. She didn’t know if she was more surprised or overjoyed, she settled on both. That was not something she would have expected to hear anywhere except for her dreams.

“Byleth…what…what about your father? Your sister?” it was hard to get her thoughts in order. Her heart alone felt like it would pop out of her chest from the rate it was beating.

Her teacher gave her an unwavering look. “Lera has made her decision and I have made mine. We aren’t going to get in each other’s ways. Our father just wants us to be happy, he won’t stop us either.”

Well that was one issue out of the way at least but there was another. Mainly the Archbishop that had oh so graciously drafted him into her services. Edelgard did not know why she did it but she knew that she wouldn’t let him go so easily if she went through the trouble to take him.

“Will Lady Rhea release you from your duties here though?” as much as she wanted to just say yes and take her dear teacher with her she did not want him to fall into trouble.

Byleth did not waiver though and he shook his head defiantly. “Lady Rhea will not stop me if she is as benevolent as they say. If not? Well she can’t stop me like she couldn’t stop my father from leaving the first time. If she has a problem with my choices then I don’t care. I won’t let anyone stand in my way.”

To say Edelgard’s heart sored was an understatement. She had never heard him speak that way before and it was because of her? That settled it she had to tell him her feelings now; there was no better opportunity! But how…?

“I want to stand beside you but I also…I…I…” Byleth did not finish his sentence and Edelgard looked at him in concern. Wait…were his cheeks red? He was blushing?

“What’s wrong?” she asked. Byleth was still stone faced but the red on his face spoke otherwise.

“Forgive me but I need to tell you something important. I want to go with you because I…I want to learn something,” he spoke gently.

“What do you want to learn?” it certainly couldn’t be something simple if it was bringing this kind of a reaction out of him. This person stared down Manuela and Dorothea when they flirted with him, even Hubert got uncomfortable at best.

“I…I want to know what my sister feels when she’s with Dimitri…what my father felt when he was with my mother…” his words were measured but slow and he kept his gaze looked on her.

The meanings of his words were thankfully not lost on Edelgard. She was silent in shock, here she was trying to work up a nerve to tell him how she felt and then he goes and does it first…well she wasn’t going to let this go unanswered like what Dimitri did with Bylera.

“Edelgard…I-mph!”

Edelgard leaned down and kissed him fiercely without much warning. Byleth didn’t waste time and immediately wrapped his arms around her and she wrapped hers around his neck. She didn’t much care for protocol at this moment, Hubert could hassle her all he wanted. She wasn’t going to pass this up!

If her heart felt ready to burst before then that was nothing compared to what she felt then as she kissed her love. She let herself flow with the feelings that such an act birthed inside her. It felt like she was flying.

Of course eventually they did have to break apart. They did need to breath after all. They parted, panting slightly as they tried to get their airflow back to normal. Byleth’s face was a deeper shade of red but he looked happy. Edelgard did not need a mirror to know she was more or less the same.

“…” Edelgard pulled her hands back to gently frame Byleth’s face while he pulled her tight against him.

“There’s your answer…” Edelgard whispered and Byleth smiled at her.

“I feel…happy…” he spoke gently and Edelgard giggled slightly. It was such a simple phrase but coming from him spoke volumes.

“I do too,” she leaned her head against his as they held each other. Edelgard felt like all her problems would be bearable in his arms. She was content knowing that he would be there for her from now on. She would be there for him as well.

“I feel something else as well…” Byleth whispered and Edelgard giggled again as she leaned close again. She whispered the words to him before she kissed him again.

“It’s love…”

Chapter Text

Dimitri’s POV

Dimitri sighed as he went through the motions of his training. His spear felt good in his hands, like it barely weighed anything. The motions were perfect and his strikes were spot on but it wasn’t his training that was bothering him. This was just how he let off steam.

The recent events transpiring in Fódlan were on his mind, specifically the events occurring in Faerghus. First it was Lonato’s rebellion and then the theft of the Lance of Ruin. Then he got reports from Lord Rodrigues that the Kingdom was practically in a state of turmoil. This was all happening in his absence no less!

“Dimitri?” snapping out of his thoughts, the prince turned around to see Bylera looking a bit concerned.

“Ah. Professor, thank you for coming at this hour.” Dimitri relaxed his stance and wiped the sweat from his head as he turned to address his teacher.

“No worries. I was open,” She smiled as she walked up to him with her usual strut. Dimitri had to focus a bit to keep his eyes trained on hers.

“Ah I see, well I thank you for coming nonetheless.” He gave a small bow and she giggled a bit at his display, making his heart pick up a little.

Professor Bylera was an interesting one. She was really more of an instructor than a professor but she often acted as a professor. While her brother was a full professor in title and responsibility, Bylera was more of a instructor like Jeritza. Of course there were times when she would help out in lectures, as she was more skilled than Manuela and Hanneman in combat.

Unlike her brother she was a bit more approachable though at least from a surface level. As shallow as it was to admit, Dimitri appreciated that more. It certainly helped feed his appreciation that she seemed to take an interest in him for some reason out of all the students under her watch.

“So I have to ask.” Bylera’s voice evened out as she glanced around the empty training area. “How come you’re by yourself? I know my brother is still training Edelgard and the other Black Eagles in the other area. Why don’t you join in with them? Ingrid and Felix were training with them last I saw.”

Dimitri winced a bit. “Well as they are from a different house I do not think it would be appropriate. And before you ask, Felix and Ingrid put in to transfer to Professor Byleth’s class earlier today. That’s probably why you saw them with the Eagles.”

Bylera gained a look of understanding. “Ah I see. Heh, I didn’t think my brother could draw people in like that. Still do you really think that notion of being in a different house would really keep my brother from helping you? He helps all of our students even the ones that aren’t in his class.”

“No, I don’t distrust that Professor Byleth would be fair, it’s just uncomfortable for me to be there.” He winced at how weak that sounded. Bylera saw through the weak attempt at a lie as her lips turned into a frown.

“Hm…very well then.” For whatever reason though she didn’t press him. “So why have you called me then? I am an instructor not a professor. Did you want me to train you?”

“No.” he shook his head. “It’s a bit of a personal request actually.”

“A personal request? Really?” Bylera smiled slyly. “How bold of you. I haven’t had someone come onto me quite like this before.”

“Wait what…” Dimitri’s brain fizzled in his head as he processed what she said.

“I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure of a prince coming onto me though. I suppose I can’t refuse…though what would people say if they found out the future king of the kingdom was eliciting sex from one of her instructors?” Bylera crossed her arms under her rather generous bust, the armor already emphasized it a bit but her arms made it even more so. Dimitri would be the first to admit that Bylera was very beautiful

“P-Professor that is not my intention!” Dimitri finally spit out, his face feeling like he had been standing in the sun for too long. Bylera simply broke into a fit of laughter at his distress though.

“Hehe…relax! I was just trying to lighten the mood.” Dimitri deadpanned and he felt like steam was coming off his head.

“Come on, even Felix isn’t that stuck in the mud.” She ruffled his “fur” even more and he sighed.

“Professor, please.” Bylera’s smile lessened and she sighed.

“Oh very well…shame I would have said yes too.” Dimitri immediately perked up.

“Really? I mean um…” his cheeks burned even more and Bylera giggled.

“Yes I would.” She admitted and Dimitri felt like he had spent too much time in the sun again.

“I…um…” his mouth was unfortunately as scattered as his brain now.

“Hehe…” Bylera’s laughter made his mind sort of come together again only for him to think one thing.

“Beautiful…”

“Why thank you.” Dimitri froze. Bylera had just responded to him. He had spoken the word out loud hadn’t he?

“Can’t say anyone has ever called me beautiful before. They usually say I look “fine” or “hot”.” Bylera continued. Her cheeks were a little flushed but she still held her sly smile.

Dimitri very much wished someone would interrupt them right there. Perhaps Dedue would come in with dinner or maybe Sylvain would come in to try and get him to help “woo” another fair maiden. It truly was a dark day if he was actually considering agreeing to help Sylvain with his womanizing ways.

“I…” he had no idea what to say. Then he suddenly felt someone place their hands on his shoulders and he saw Bylera’s blue eyes right in front of him.

“Relax, ok Dimitri.” Bylera spoke gently without her teasing tone. Dimitri did calm down from her words and he felt the heat leave his face.

“Sorry about that, usually most people I flirt with appreciate it.” Bylera apologized.

“No, the fault is mine. I simply need some thicker skin.” Dimitri cleared his throat. A part of him wished he had reciprocated her little game though. Oh dear now he was starting to think like Sylvain.

“Hm…” Bylera looked like she wanted to ask him something but she shook her head.

“It’s fine. So what did you want to ask me?” Ah yes of course! He had called her here for a specific reason.

“I have this little issue.” Dimitri spoke.

“Issue?” she motioned for him to elaborate.

“Multiple really. You see recently I have started teaching a group of orphans here in the monastery how to use a sword.” He wiped some of the sweat from his brow.

“Really?” Bylera was clearly surprised by such a turn of events.

“I know, I am not exactly skilled with handling children and yet here I am. They saw me practicing with the knights one time and they started pestering me to teach them. They were so earnest with their pleas that I couldn’t turn them away.” Dimitri chuckled a bit at the end.

“How long have you been teaching them?” Bylera asked, intrigued.

“Around a week now.”

“Hm sounds like you know how to handle children to me if they’re still coming to you.” Bylera smiled and Dimitri couldn’t help but smile as well.

“I suppose though this is training we’re talking about.” He felt his smile deepen as he recalled something else. “I suppose you could also say I continue to teach them because they remind me of myself when I was there age.”

“Heh really?” Bylera laughed but this one was more mirthful than teasing.

“Oh yes. Not just me actually but also Felix.” Dimitri smiled as he recalled his earlier years in the kingdom. He and Felix were all too eager to train under their father’s back then.

Things were much simpler back then and happier. His friendship with Felix was not as strained as it was now. Sylvain was not the womanizer he is now…well at least he was tamer back then; Ingrid was not stuck looking for a new betrothed as she was happily betrothed to Glenn who happily reciprocated her feelings. Dedue and his people were not viewed with such disdain back then either. Dimtiri’s parents were still alive and his…old childhood friend was still around.

“Heh I can picture that, you and Felix are always training.” Bylera commented and Dimitri scratched the back of his head nervously.

“Perhaps we do tend to train a bit more than everyone else. It’s just what we always did.” He shrugged. They just took to it all too well, it was one of the few things they could bond over still.

“Was Ingrid not as excited to train as you?” Bylera asked and Dimitri’s smiled dimmed but he kept it up.

“Yes she was but it wasn’t for the same reason she trains now.” Dimitri sighed softly.

“Dimitri?” he held his hand up as he collected his thoughts.

“Forgive me just old memories coming up. You see, Ingrid was betrothed back then to Felix’s brother.” Dimitri explained.

“Felix has a brother?” Bylera asked before her eyes widened. “Wait you said “was”?”

Dimitri nodded sadly. “Yes, he died years ago during the Tragedy of Duscur.”

Dimitri still remembered that day vividly. One moment they were riding through like normal then suddenly everything went crazy. Arrows flying, screaming, fire, blood. Poor Glenn had lost his life during that attack protecting him. His death was painful to Dimitri but even more so for his friend’s father and brother not to mention Ingrid. The poor girl had cried for a full week after it happened. Felix had hardened up and his relationship with his own father had soured.

“She never mentioned that before…” Bylera frowned and Dimitri shook his head.

“Ingrid is a strong girl. She had already mourned his death and has even used it as a drive for her to become a knight.” Dimitri explained. It was honestly admirable. Felix, Sylvain and Dimitri had been worried that she wouldn’t recover for some time, Sylvain even stopped his womanizing to make sure that she was stable.

“I see…she must have loved him.” Dimitri smiled sadly and nodded.

“Yes, one of the rare few who actually cared for her arranged partner and even rarer her arranged partner returned her feelings.” Glenn’s death truly was a tragedy for that fact alone.

“I see…” Bylera crossed her arms in thought and Dimitri cleared his throat.

“Please don’t bring it up with her. She has worked hard to move on, I do not wish old wounds to be brought up.” It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Bylera but it would be a breach of trust on his part if it came out a brazen way.

“Of course…” Bylera nodded quickly not that Dimitri ever doubted her moral compass.

“What about Felix?” Bylera asked next and Dimitri felt his shoulders slump.

“You just have to look at him now to see the results.” He said simply and Bylera frowned. She opened her mouth again but she hesitated for a bit before she spoke.

“You lost more than just a friend that day didn’t you?” Dimitri felt a sharp pain in his chest as he nodded.

“Yes…Glenn was not the only one who died that day. I lost many of my childhood friends along with my father and stepmother.” He explained and Bylera’s frown deepened.

“I did not have many friends left after that save for Dedue and the others.” Dimitri continued with a shake of his head.

“I’m so sorry Dimitri…” Bylera spoke gently as she took his hand. Dimitri didn’t pull away and squeezed her hand.

“Thank you but it was some time ago already, I have come to some terms with it by now.” if only he actually meant those words full heartedly.

“You could say that’s another reason why I train those orphans. I understand what it’s like to lose your family in the blink of an eye.” If he could make it easier on others suffering loss like himself then perhaps he could truly find peace with what happened.

“You have no other family?” Bylera asked and Dimitri’s eyes closed. An image of a girl with long brown hair flashed through his mind.

“No…” he opened his eyes. “My birth mother died when I was very young. I have an uncle but we…don’t get along so it is hard to count him as family.” Dimitri shook his head to clear his thoughts.

“I see.” Bylera didn’t say more than that.

“Anyway forgive me for rambling on, I just wanted to ask you to help me with the orphans training? What say you?” Dimitri put on his strong front again.

“Hm…” Bylera crossed her arms in thought and Dimitri thought she might say no but then she smiled.

“Sure but on one condition.”

“Name it.” He said without thinking.

“You have to agree to take me out on a date sometime!”