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all the stars that shine for us

Chapter Text

The Holy Tomb is dark. As its sole occupant, each of his foot falls echoes heavily within the cavernous space. The atmosphere is . . . unexpected. Even though he’d never been a particularly religious man, the few times he had visited this place in the past he had always felt a sense of sanctity around it. Now he sees it for what it is. Little more than a musty, lonely chamber. A place of death.

He sits on the throne.

My, my . . . what an unexpected guest I have this day.

He starts at the sound of the voice, seemingly coming from nowhere but inside his own head. He isn’t sure what he had expected to gain when coming to this place. He knows what he had hoped for, certainly, but he hadn’t dared to expect it. This voice though, it defies both his hopes and his expectations. Still, it is not difficult to puzzle out to whom it belongs.

“Sothis?”

The goddess laughs, You say my name as if it is a question, yet I know you know it to be true. To come to such a place as this, and not know to whom it is you speak--you are far too clever for that.

Perhaps he should speak with more reverence, given that it is the very goddess of Fodlan to whom he is speaking, but he’s never been one for false propriety. Besides, it’s not like he has anything to lose now, even in the face of a goddess’ potential wrath, “I didn’t realize you were so familiar with me.”

I was always with her, even when she could hear me no longer. In a way, I know you as well as she.

“Ah, so you’ve been eavesdropping on us all of these years, then?”

The change in Sothis’s demeanor is immediate. He cannot see her, does not know her expression or body language, but he doesn’t need to. Her voice conveys her sudden anger all on its own, I was unable to do more than listen, and where she went I had no choice but to go. She was the only one I could converse with, as you already well know.

Maybe he wasn’t quite bereft enough to face the anger of a deity after all, “You’re right, my apologies. In that case, it is nice to finally meet you properly.”

Well, maybe this is not what most would consider “properly.” She is but a voice in his head, after all. But he has learned his lesson, and will not give voice to that thought.

I accept your apology, And just like that, she is back to her calm and genial tone, Besides, you are also correct. It is . . . nice. To be able to speak to another again. I cannot say how long it has been, besides her of course. And to think my first opportunity would be with you. You never seemed to be much of a believer.

He shakes his head. Could she even see him do so? “Oh, I believed plenty. I a--was married to you incarnate, after all. Just doesn’t take a whole lot of faith to believe in something you have proof of, I suppose.”

I cannot deny the truth of your words. My, you have always had such an interesting way of thinking about things, haven’t you? Sothis paused, and when she spoke again her voice was somber, How are you holding up? It must have been terribly hard on you.

Normally he would brush off such direct concern for his well being, but he doesn’t have the energy or the will to deny it anymore, “It’s like I’ve lost a part of myself. The most essential part.”

After he speaks there is silence. It stretches on just long enough that he thinks he will hear Sothis’s voice no longer. But just as he considers the possibility that she is gone, she speaks again, You brought her so much joy these many years. And as her joy was mine, in a way you have done the same for me. I owe you much. I suppose now is as good a time as any to repay that debt. So, King of Unification, tell me what it is you desire, and I shall do all that is in my power to make it so.

He considers her words carefully. He’s never been one to rely blindly on the intervention of gods, but maybe he has a chance to see his hopes come to fruition this day after all. “All I want is to be with her again.”

There is another pregnant pause, but this time he knows it’s just Sothis thinking things over. I should have known that would be your request. For me to grant such a wish . . . it can be done, but it may take many lifetimes, and the sacrifice it will require now is great. 

“A lifetime’s not worth much anyway, not without without her. So those conditions aren’t such a big deal, considering.”

Very well, then. Here upon the throne, make your wish, and someday it shall be granted.

“I wish . . . I wish to be together with Byleth again.”

This time the sudden silence is different than before, and he knows that Sothis is gone. The air around him feels somehow different too, alive with a new sort of energy. He is suddenly tired, so very tired. Unbidden, his eyes slip closed, and he sleeps.