“I was wrong about you professor… You are nothing like the rest of us. You aren’t human, far from it in fact. You are the goddess that fools everyone.. The commeners, those in need- you lie for their sake. You pretend and all FOR WHAT!? I can all see through that fake and coy damned act that you put up in place of every fake emotion you feel. No.. You don’t even feel. You are but a shell controlled by your own subconscious! You will be nothing compared to the rest of us BYLETH, if that is even your real name. You are nothing compared to this blade at your neck. You spent all this time being known as the best. But now, you are defenseless. And I can finally put an end to what I should of 5 years ago!
I will NEVER let you step in the way of my vengeance.
I WILL NEVER LET YOU CEASE MY VICTORY!”
Byleth had awoken without warning, blinking up at the ceiling with wide eyes of disbelief and an overwhelming feeling of pure shock & disbelief. Her body uncomfortably lifted up from her bed, sweat filming over her whole body in a sticky and gross sensation that she had never really felt before. No matter how many mental gymnastics or hurdles she jumped over, he couldn’t wrap her head around what had just happened. Her throat strained to the feeling of Dimitri's Areadbar at her neck, the piercing feeling becoming more and more apparent up until the final moment he sliced. The image of an unhinged man flooded every corner and crevice of her mind, and she couldn’t think of anything else. She was going to be sick.
Turning to her right she pulled herself out of bed and lifted herself further into the darkness of the night, holding her mouth while she walked with stumbling feet and a dizzy feeling that grew increasingly worse with every step. With tears slowly making there way down her cheeks she opened the door to the washroom and almost immediately dropped to her knees, closing the door with her foot and crawling desperately to the toilet she felt her face grow hot and mouth begin to salivate. He felt herself gagging and breathing heavily, a overwhelming amount of emotions shooting there way through her foggy head that she couldn't make out entirely what was happening. The lights were too bright, the floor was too cold, her mouth tasted of metallic and her breathing was too loud to process. She felt as if she was a million light years away from the world ahead of her. Never in her life did this dream hit her so deeply.
“My love.. Is everything okay?”
A soft and composed voice spoke from the outside of the door, a very gentle knock joining in lieu of the voice. Byleth only stayed silent, staring at the door with a wide and panting mouth, her eyebrows furrowing as her eyes rush with tears in a sudden constriction of her breath. Her face, drained of all color, was soon met with a slow opening door and a shirtless, bed-headed, half awake king coming to her aid. His face soon became overtaken with the look of worry, his body, crouching down next to hers. Without words of a formal exchange, Dimitri took both of his hands and gently gathered the locks of her hair, pulling it back moments before her muscles contracted and she began throwing up. Dimitri, now holding holding her hair with one hand, rubbed Byleth’s back with a continuous caress up until the last second she finished. Her body shook uncomfortably, pulling her arms away from the seat she wiped her mouth and leaned back against Dimitri, who worryingly ran his hands through her hair, trying to cool her off.
“Lets run you a bath, okay?”
Byleth didn’t have time to object before Dimtri had already turned towards the bath, adjusting the nozzles to turn it to the perfect temperature, not too hot and not to cold… Just how Byleth liked it. He carefully helped her stand up, holding her up while he assisted her taking off her night clothes and then guiding her into the bath, all without a single exchange of words.
Dimitri left for a few moments, rushing back in with a small stool which he sat down on to get a easier reach to her grace.
Byleth sat almost emotionless, her eyes zoned far far away into the water, staring at her rippled reflection with weary eyes.
“Byleth... What is it you are thinking about? ”
Dimitri spoke with a gentle tone, his fingers carding through her hair while he attempted to break the silence.
“I am ok.”
“You know that isn’t true.. I know that isn’t true.”
“I’m… Fine just a little sick is all. Nothing to really worry about.”
Dimitri chuckled faintly “You must think this is my first time meeting you.” he spoke, grabbing the small metal pitcher from outside the tub.
“I could hear the reluctance in your voice. The pause you made before finishing your sentence. I know a lying Byleth when I hear one.”
Dimitri smiled at her, filling the pitcher with water and tilting her head upwards. He shielded her eyes, and poured the water over her head and down her hair and back, sending chills down her body. Dimitri sighed, still noticing her ever longing gaze.
“I suppose now is not the time for joking... Forgive me."
The two sat in awkward silence again... Dimitri hesitated.
"I am not sure why you still feel as though you have to hide things from me. It is okay. I promise it is.”
Byleth finally moved, turning her head to look up at Dimitri, who was honestly surprised his words cut through so easily.
“Dimi… What do you see when you look at me”
“Hmm… Well I see a beautiful and strong woman.”
Byleth frowned, turning away and pulling her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them.
“D-Did I perhaps say something wrong? Agh.. Please forgive me it is still early I... I am enervated” Dimitri asked, pouring water over her head again.
Silence fell again, and eventually words finally fell. Slow... So very slow.
“Sometimes... I feel....as... though I don’t really... E-Exist.”
As alarming as this sounded, Dimitri breathed in and kept his cool, massaging her head as she began to zone out into her reflection again.
“I see… Might I ask why?”
“I look around at you all and... Everyone has grown up so well, and I... I haven’t changed a bit. I am struggling to find where I fit in anymore. People treat me as if I am not the same to them. They see me as a goddess in that I have no outer emotions other than love. I wear a facade everyday pretending like I am just fine. But truth be told, I am nothing like any of you... Nobody truly knows me. Honestly speaking im not even sure I know myself and I just... I feel so distant..
Is that not wrong for a queen?”
“We all feel that sort of idle wandering... that type of loss. It’s a matter of discovering what truly lies beyond that shell and breaking free.”
“All I am is a shell. I don't even have a beating heart.”
Byleth spoke with sadness, turning her head to face Dimitri once again, who studied her with longing eyes of despair.. A look that was all too familiar to Byleth.
Dimitri moved his hands down her head and to her face, creeping towards her neck only for her to violently shake backwards, her eyes wide with an expression Dimitri hadn’t ever seen before-- it pained him.
Was this his fault?
Did he cause another to suffer, just as he once did?
Did he hurt the love of his life?
“I had a dream. And you killed me.”
“I… I what?”
“You were furious… You spoke to me with a pure unadulterated anger and said that I am not worthy of my title. That I am not who I say I am and never will be and that I am anything but human. And then.. You killed me.”
The moment her words had ceased was the moment that his heart broke. The silence grew terribly long and the two of them could only stare at the water open mouthed. The same sickness Byleth had felt as though it would almost overtake Dimitri, but he couldn’t afford to show that weakness, he was just starting to get stronger. He was starting to mend these feelings of emptiness and guilt and it all seemed to come back to him in an instant he heard her longing words of a made up merit she refused to fill in his mind's eye.
Byleth turned her body slowly, moving out of her cowardly position she faced Dimitri with ever so timid reaching hands. She felt his face with a very ginger touch, her fingertips swirling against his cheeks that became dampened with the time that passed excruciatingly slow.
Eventually she looked up to her husband, his face crestfallen with fallen tears and a look of overwhelming defeat.
“Dimi.. Dimitri… Hey. Talk to me.”
“I am… I am disgusted in myself. I suppose my record of being a nightmare hasn’t ceased… Has it? I remember you told me of this very scenario not to long ago but you refused to go into detail… I was so ashamed of myself. Have I allowed myself to go so far as to make you scared? Make you fall ill? It is… disheartening to hear your troubles my love I… I wish so badly I could fight those fears. B-But I am afraid I cannot shake my outward appearance. Even after counselling with mercedes and ventings with Sylvain I still-”
Dimirti took in a deep breath, forcing himself to pause before causing an outburst.
'Just as Mercedes taught you Dimi...
He raised his head to Byleth, his blue eyes shaking with the silence as he felt her loving eyes fall dazed upon his face. Not a single expression differed from the one of love that she always treated him with.
She wasn’t scared of him.
She had shouldered all of these feelings for so long, countless nights of getting up and wandering the room just to crawl back into bed and sleep tucked in tightly to the very man that had woken her up with clamminess.
She was afraid of who he could have turned into.
She internally always wondered if she wasn’t herself, would things have been easier for Dimitri?
If she could have shown more compassion at the right times would he have been more healed?
If she hadn’t disappeared for 5 years would he be less guilt ridden?
Every night Byleth had nightmares of failing him.
Failing her beloved.
“You… Might see yourself as someone whose feelings are not linear to that of mine, someone who we never truly be understood… But the more you bury these feelings, the less likely they are to be shaken. If you hadn’t confronted those nightmares, they could have haunted you longer… Just as they did mine. Though now that you are here, alert, awake, and sound… I will be sure to help you forge a new dream. Whenever you have a bad dream, I will always be by your side, to speak, and to help ward the thought that they are your fault. Because as I see it, these nightmares of yours are nothing but a joke your brain is playing on you. Not a very funny one but.. You just have to trick it by not agreeing. Nothing is your fault. You have powered and traversed through the roughest of hardships, and as I see it, that makes you just as human as the rest of us.”
Dimitri pulled her hands down from his face and held them close together, running his thumb across the top he studied her battle scars with intense narrowing eyes and an overwhelming rush of emotions.
“You are a true display of what it means to be human. Though your exterior composure can be… Erm… Deceiving, Your kindness and your terms of forgiveness are… So everlastingly beautiful. You have more compassion and emotion then any one of us in this kingdom could ever wish of having and you have a true heart of gold, beating or not. I can confidently say, looking at you in such a vulnerable and truthful state I… I have never adored someone so much… And that's just it! You ARE someone! And always will be someone. Whether to me, the people of our kingdom, or your past students you will always mean more than just a deity that people look up to for comfort. You are the strongest human being I have ever met in my life. Both physical, and mental. Everyday I find myself thanking the gods that they brought me to you, because without you, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Byleth held Dimitris hands tightly as she pulled herself out of the tub, Dimitris eyes wide as he stood up, meeting body to body with the wet green haired woman. She really didn’t seem to care whether she was nude or wet or what have you-- She just wanted to share in his embrace, and of course, Dimitri didn't mind either. Any chance to hold his wife was enough to make him not mind what was around him. His strong arms wrapping around her small body and his chin resting soundly on the top of his head, they fit perfectly together.
Of course, Byleth found it a little odd how easily it was for Dimitri to see right through her with just a short description of her dream but… that's just the reason why she loved him so much.
Such a kind and caring individual who puts up such a strong front for her.. The small moments where he fell apart for just a little bit of comfort were always the most memorable.. The ones that helped her feel more at home. More herself.
Dimitri helped her feel more human.