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Love and Loss

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Bernadetta and Hubert started off on rocky terms, full of fear and apprehension. Eventually, he had begun to take an interest in her, especially after hearing her talk to herself about handling a certain redhead that personally annoyed him to no end. When Sylvain had read her journal, Bernadetta’s sadistic side peered from behind that shy facade, smiling from behind her hand at the thought. “Even if I burn the journal, I can’t burn his memory! Unless...I throw him into the fire too…”

 

Then he fell, trying desperately to better himself and become an ally to her. With enough hard work and care, he found their time together to be enjoyable. With an embroidered flower pinned to his shirt, the two would spend hours talking about their interests and watching the sunset together. To him, she was a ray of light that cast and splintered across his darkest shadows. They shared meaningful, empathetic conversations and explored boundaries of which the two would have never crossed on their own. He recalled the time that she taught him how to embroider quite clearly, the clumsy fool stabbing his own fingers with the needle and hissing as the blood from his pricked hands stained his gloves. 

 

“You only keep poking yourself because you’re wearing gloves! You need to know exactly where your fingers are to coordinate...and push the needle through like this...right!”

 

After tireless hours of work, Hubert had made an excellently embroidered portrait of Edelgard, which her majesty found to be quite nice. 

 

Hubert and her shared long talks together about things that they had in common, often under the starry sky. They’d lay out in the grass, despite Hubert’s hesitation and discuss their own lives.

 

“I despise my father. That absolute wretch. Your own father is just as filthy as he is, Bernadetta.”

 

“My father...that’s why I’m so happy when I’m here with you and Lady Edelgard...Everyone here is so different than he is.”

 

“If I had the choice, I’d make sure you’d stay away from him forever.”

 

“You know, you kind of sound a bit like my uncle, Hubert.”

 

“What?”

 

“You aren’t similar in personality much, but...it feels nice to have someone who wants to protect me. I didn’t get that kind of treatment in the past.”

 

“I value your friendship. Is it not right for me to want to protect you as a result. Such a thing would be easy too...Getting rid of that miserable Count Varley...What do you think? Poison might be a good way to go, but then you might miss out on the show…”

 

“T-the show?!” Bernadetta jolted up and looked at him with fear in her eyes. “W-w-what are you talking about?!”

 

Hubert chuckled darkly in return. “The show.” He repeated. “The entertaining display of a miserable louse clinging to the last moments of his life, writhing about and begging for a chance at redemption...something that his kind doesn’t deserve.”

 

“Waaaaaaahhh! Y-y-you’re sounding like you’re ENJOYING that idea!”

 

“Oh, how very astute of you...I do.

 

“Aaaaaaaahhh haaaaaaaaaahhhh! T-terrifying!”

 

Hubert sat up beside her, his smile turning gentle as he gazed down at her. “If you find yourself so worried about it, perhaps I’ll hold off on such topics for the time being.”

 

Then, much farther down the road when they had decided to marry, even with full support from the rest of the Black Eagles and the Empire, it was surprising to them all. Hubert remembered Edelgard tearing up at the wedding, very proud and happy for him. Bernadetta in her wedding gown standing at the altar, trembling as he stole her hands in his and exchanged their vows. He promised to protect her for the rest of his days, and that night, they made love for the very first time. 

 

The first time he and Bernadetta made love was special to him, the mage kissing the side of her neck as he peeled her clothes from her trembling body. He remembered her quivering, the only light in the room from the full moon that hung in the sky outside of their window. Just like House Vestra itself, the two were figures in the shadows. Bernadetta had specially requested that their first time be with the lights off, where Hubert could not see her. Her nerves would get the best of her otherwise, she explained. 

 

“Bernadetta, darling...You’re trembling.” He whispered against her ear.

 

“I-I’m sorry.” She answered timidly, leaning her head back willingly as he caressed the back of her head. Her chest heaved with shallow, anxious breaths. 

 

“Are you frightened of me?”

 

“No...I’m just, nn- a little nervous, is all.” She whimpered as his hands slid under her skirt. 

 

“Do you trust me to do this then?”

 

Then he heard it, her little giggle as he felt her lips press against his brow. “You’re my husband. Of course I trust you.” His eyes glinted at her response, the tall male bracing Bernadetta’s back to lay her down so he could pull off her skirt. Like his own clothes, he folded each article with precision and set them on the edge of the bed neatly. The sounds she made that night, her screams bouncing off the walls engraved themselves in his mind. He was used to Bernadetta screaming, having to deal with such cries and fearful shrieks for many years since they first met at Garreg Mach. However, these screams were distinctly different. They were filled with ecstasy, pleasure, and joy. When they were satisfied, Hubert was careful to tend to her gently, wiping her down with his handkerchief and cuddled up close to her, relishing in her trembles as she clung onto him.

 

“How did that feel?”

 

“B-better than I thought it was going to be, honestly. Really good, actually.”

 

“Heh...You weren’t bad yourself.” He teased as he kissed her forehead. “I love you dearly, Bernadetta. My precious violet flower.” He said sweetly, his pet-name for her coming out as desire dripped from his voice. He nuzzled into her soft cheek, feeling her skin heat up and blush from under his lips.

 

“I love you too, Hubert.” 

 

As soon as she fell asleep in his arms, he reached to the bedside table and picked up the embroidered flower that she had made for him, sticking it in his hair as to please her when they would wake the next morning.

 

Finally, months after their marriage, Bernadetta stopped Hubert in the middle of pinning the flower onto his outfit, gently pressing his hand down as she got on her toes to kiss his cheek. “You don’t need to wear that anymore.” She said softly, Hubert cocking his head to the side. “But...I thought you said it made me look less intimidating. I would hate to scare my own wife.” He explained firmly, shaking his head in confusion. Bernadetta smiled. “I said that a long time ago...but now, I really just want you to be yourself, Hubert.” She said, averting his gaze with a blush as her large grey eyes darted to the floor. Suddenly, she felt Hubert’s hands near her chest, pinning the flower to the cloak that hung around her neck. “This is who I am.” He replied softly. “Needless to say, even if I hadn’t thought that such a thing would have suited me in the past...now, these accessories represent who I am, the Count Varley.” His thumb dragged under her chin as he brought her lips into a kiss. “And there’s no one else I’d rather be.” He promised her.

 

“Now, Lady Edelgard has requested that we join her on a mission. Seems there are some wayward rebels near Fhirdiad that have been causing quite a ruckus...and to think...Though this war is long over that some are not willing to conform to the new ways. Her majesty is quite displeased. She requires us to put a stop to it at once.”

 

“W-wha?! More fighting?! B-b-but-! Hubert!”

 

“There is nothing to worry about, my little violet.” He reassured her as he pushed a strand of her hair back behind her ear. “We have the professor coming with us as well. With him by our side, we are sure to be unstoppable.” He said to reassure her. How wrong he was then…

 

--

 

He remembered that day...The day the love of his life met her end. Hubert had ordered her to hide well in the bushes and pluck enemies from afar. Though she was very talented with a bow, her dexterity was not the greatest. “Stay here. I’ll come fetch you when it’s safe.” He ordered, kissing her head as he rushed out into the field. Hubert struck down three people with the wave of his hand, casting spells from his book as others covered him from a distance. He was getting carried away, however...hearing the sound of footsteps hurrying behind him. The moment he turned, in his peripherals came a large man with a sword charging at him. “Hubert!” He heard Bernadetta call from the bush as she slid out from her hiding spot, firing an arrow into the man’s back. 

 

The enemy let out a strangled gasp and fell before Hubert’s feet, the mage stepping back and gazing at the dying man with surprise laced in his eyes. How had he not seen him? He glanced back up to smile to Bernadetta and gesture her to return to her hiding spot, but was met with a horrible realization.

Bernadetta’s cry for him attracted attention, a man leaping from behind her, sword raised above her head. “Bernadetta! Move! Now!” Hubert shouted with urgency as he held up a gloved hand to cast a mire spell. The swordsman jabbed forward, Hubert’s magic cutting through him as he was flown back. He was certain that he had saved her in that last minute, silence in the air. As the dust cleared, he felt his heart drop. Bernadetta stood with the sword impaled through her back, jutting out of her stomach. The crimson red blood dripping from the broad and tip as she gazed down in disbelief before her knees gave out. 

 

“Bernadetta!” Hubert called her name again, panic in his tone as he hurried to her side. He was mindful of the wound, sitting her up and holding her against his chest. “Bernadetta, stay with me. Stay with me.” He begged her softly, biting the tip of his white glove to yank it off of his hand. “Hubert…” She murmured, voice wavering and dying. “It’s going to be okay, Bernadetta! Just- If I can find the spell...faith magic...healing...where…?!” He aggressively flipped through his spellbook, desperately looking for something to help her. If he could heal her, even just a little...She could hang on. He remembered many times where he approached Professor Byleth, asking him if learning faith magic would be good for him, but the professor denied him every time. With dark magic as his strong point, he was encouraged to stick with it...but now, with no one else around, everyone else still in the midst of the battle...he wished he hadn’t listened to Byleth and went on with it anyway. Panicked eyes searched the pages, Bernadetta’s hand weakly sliding over the cover of the book to shut it. 

 

“Hu...bert…No…” Blood and spittle fell from her lips as she croaked out. “It...won’t work!…”

 

“Don’t say that!” He snarled, her hand weakly coming up to cup his cheeks. The moment her hand touched him, Hubert felt his eyes grow wet. Hot tears welled up and started to drip down his face. “Hang on. Please. Professor! Linhardt!” He called out across the field, calling for a healer to come to their side. 

 

“I...lo...o…” Bernadetta gurgled as she tried to speak, blood spewing from her lips again as she trembled and choked, stilling mere seconds later. Her breathing stopped, Hubert shouting at her. “No! Bernadetta!” He snapped, holding her close to his chest as he ran across the field, spotting the rest of the Black Eagles Strike Force from afar, who seemed to be regrouping. The battle had ended. “Professor!” He called, stumbling near. Bernadetta’s lifeless body was clenched tightly in his hands. The faces of everyone in the group went pale with shock. 

 

“Heal her. Please. Save her.” He begged Byleth, voice cracking with sobs that he tried to hold back. His teacher stood with a morbid expression on his face, covering his mouth and looking away.

 

“What the hell are you waiting for?! Heal her! Dammit! Heal her! Now!” He thrust Bernadetta towards Byleth, who stepped back. He frantically turned to Linhardt, feeling as if he was truly going mad. He felt his heart breaking in his chest. For every moment they stood idly by, she was slipping further and further away from him, her body growing cold.  “Please...Please heal her...Please…” He begged. Linhardt couldn’t help but to tear his eyes away, the sight of blood covering Bernadetta’s stomach and smearing all over Hubert’s clothes making him queasy. The rest of the Black Eagles didn’t know what to say, huddling together away from Hubert, staring in silence. There was no right way to tell him this.

 

“Hubert…” Edelgard whispered, warily approaching him to put a hand on his back. 

 

“L-Lady Edelgard, we need to-”

 

“Hubert, stop this...Please, my friend. It’s time to let her rest.”

 

Hubert choked back a sob, holding Bernadetta close to him. He reached behind her back for the handle of the sword and dragged it slowly from her body, letting it clatter against the ground so he could cradle her in his arms and bury his face into her hair. “Bernadetta...I’m sorry…” He murmured. He fleetingly remembered what he promised her at the cathedral on the day of their marriage. That he would protect her with his life. In only a few days after their marriage, her father had “mysteriously” disappeared, all threats to his beloved wife eradicated in the blink of an eye, Bernadetta daring not to question any of it. He had held his promises true until that very day…

 

Her funeral was small and lovely, Hubert unable to say any words as he ran his fingers over the gravestone that was placed near the monastery. He ensured it was the most beautiful one in the cemetery, fingers dancing over the letters engraved in the marble.

 

Bernadetta von Vestra

1162 - 1185

 

Then, right next to hers…

 

Hubert von Vestra

1160 -

 

As requested, if he were to ever fall in battle or die later on, he would be buried next to the love of his life, the gravestone that they would one day share would hopefully unite them after death. 

 

“Hubert.”

 

He stood suddenly as he heard the voice behind him, Byleth walking up to greet him.

 

“Professor, hello.”

 

“Visiting Bernadetta, I see.”

 

“As I do everyday. She was my wife after all.” He said sternly, folding his arms. 

 

“I understand. I come to visit my father here often as well...Even after all these years.”

 

“Do you still feel as if Jeralt’s death was on your shoulders, professor?”

 

“At this point, no...I’m sure you feel differently about Bernadetta though.”

 

“That is...untrue.” Hubert admitted. Byleth perked his head up in surprise. Hubert continued to explain.

 

“While I most certainly did at first, I soon realized that even if I had learnt a spell to heal her, it wouldn’t have been enough to save her. What’s done...is done.”

 

Byleth swallowed thickly. He had learned himself that even if he were to turn back time, fate was often set. “Bernadetta was a good woman.” He said finally.

 

Hubert laughed softly. “An amazing woman.”

 

Silence hung in the air quietly for a few moments as Hubert admired the gravestone at his feet. 

 

“Perhaps we’ll meet again someday.”