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a moment together (is all I can give you)

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Edelgard, the Empress, the Flame Emperor, the woman who had a hand in his father's death- raises her axe to swing down at Dimitri.

Dimitri his student, Dimitri with his resigned eyes and grim smile, Dimitri- dear Dimitri-

Byleth let Divine Pulse sing one last time. Knowing that this will be the last.

History changes once more as time rewinds, feeling strangely empty as he watches time freeze and Dimitri falls backward, out of reach and out of sight. As Dimitri draws another breath so will Byleth cease to exist.

It was an almost comforting thought that dulls his pain as Edelgard swings down at him. Her full power tough even for him to handle at full strength, so he crumbles- fractures as the burns and the stabs finally took their toll.

He is unable to hear his own heartbeat to hear how it would slowly dwindle but Byleth knows with a strange certainty that this time he won’t be waking up. Divine Pulse last notes draw to an end, the world around him falling into silence. The Empress looks down at him, her eyes are strange. Byleth is unable to tell what lurks in those eyes, and now as he lays dying he doubts he would ever know.

Edelgard always had beautiful eyes. From the first moment he had seen her, not knowing who she was, not knowing what she planned, he had simply thought of her as the girl with the pretty eyes.

Times were much simpler then. Much happier as well.

He doesn’t want his last moments to be thinking about how those very eyes now lay in his nightmares. Thinking of his killer during his last moments would be letting her take something else from him and Byleth was tired of losing. Instead, he wants to think of Dimitri instead. His student turned king, still so young and yet so haunted. Barely a young man and already having to bear the weight of war and what it truly means to order your men to a battle knowing that some won’t return.

Byleth won’t be returning this time, and the thought is painful. He had wished to help Dimitri bear the burden. And now- now even he seems to be fated to be another ghost to haunt him. It is made even worse as he realizes that he won’t be able to see his students anymore- unable to watch over them or to protect them. Not that they need much protection from him now but-

Byleth still wishes that he could just do more for them. Take one more strike. use Divine Pulse one more time- anything, just to make sure that they survive another day.

Was this how Father had felt, as he lay dying in his own child’s arms? Knowing that he would be unable to see Byleth anymore, unable to teach him, to train him. Knowing that this would be the last time he ever sees Byleth. Nothing but oblivion waiting for him beyond.

Byleth was glad, in some perverse way, that his father was now long dead. At least now, he would be reunited with Mother, not having to witness as his only child bleed out to death. Byleth thinks that if his father were to see him now, Jeralt would surely die of heartbreak.

Edelgard continues to say nothing as the battle rages on around them. It was clear to Byleth that the Empire was winning. Edelgard need not do a thing as her soldiers trample over the Kingdom’s troops. She stands above him, unblinking. Her back straight and her posture fitting of that of an empress.

The girl that used to blush as he showers her with carnations is no longer here.

He hears a broken roar in the distance, and now Byleth falls.

Only to awaken in the Holy Tomb.

A young girl stares down at him, with beautiful green eyes. Reminding him of a dream from long ago. The beginning of everything and the catalyst of what was to come.

He knows this girl. From long ago, a remnant of his past. A bitter reminder of better times. Another ghost that had haunted him in her departure. Her voice had stayed with him even when its owner left. Divine Pulse a reminder that she will be by him even if he cannot see nor hear her. Now is she to die with him as well? Was this some sort of final farewell?

Is she another person who he will let down?

“Byleth you-,” she began, her voice loud in the silent tomb. She slides down from her stone throne, tackling him and taking them both down.

“Byleth you idiot!” she screamed. It was a tone he had never heard from her before. She lays on top of him, her tiny hands punching his chest. Her hits weren’t strong, but they hurt him in how mournful she looked.

It was made even worse when she cried. Her tears, like fire on his skin, made him feel even more wretched for failing her.

“How- how could you die like that!” she shouted, her punches coming to a stop as her fists lay over his chest where Edelgard had slashed. The place where he was sure was bleeding before. He supposes that any physical injury wouldn’t retain in here- whatever this place was considered.

“I’m sorry,” he said. What else could he say? What else could there possibly be left to say? Now that he had doomed them both to death.

“Sorry doesn’t even begin to cut it- you- do you have any idea what I felt?” Her voice was still loud, and her words continue to hurt.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated.

“Don’t say sorry!” she yelled, she was enraged. Her rage was always quick to cool and never this intense, it was always due to him- whether it be his teasing comments or mindless quip. He supposed this was his fault as well, only this time it will be the last. He almost apologizes again, only to snap his mouth shut.

“You are not going to die like this, you hear me?” Sothis continues to yell, determination lights her eyes. It was a beautiful thing, he thinks, fitting of a goddess.

“Don’t think that flattering me will get you out of this!” she snapped. Her tears have stopped by now, he finds that she was much better this way. That maybe if this was the last thing he sees then it won’t be so bad afterall.

“Didn’t you hear me? You are not going to die!”

“Sothis,” he spoke, wanting to remind her that it was simply human mortality. That he was bound to die sooner or later and that it so happens that he was fated to die young.

“Stop right there! I know about human mortality, Byleth,” Sothis yelled again, her expression daring him to speak up. “But, since when, does a goddess bow down to death?”

Byleth mind pauses for a moment, truly considering her words. Surely, Sothis cannot bring him back to life. It went against the basic law of nature itself, and if Sothis had such power surely he would’ve known.

She rolls her eyes, reading his thoughts yet again, her anger somewhat abated. “No, Byleth I am not reversing your death.”

“Then how-”

“I’m reversing time,” she said and her hands touch his.

Divine Pulse sparks to life once more, vibrant and alive. It feels complete this time, so much more potent compared to the years after Sothis’ disappearance.

A goddess’ power was never meant to be wielded by a mortal, no matter how strong the vessel may be. Now as the intoxicating feeling of Divine Pulse washes over him, he realizes how much he misses this- misses Sothis and her magic running through him once more.

Their magic moves in tantum, tangled much alike their hands, synchronized as Divine Pulse drains them both. Its melody growing stronger the more power it absorbs, its song reaches its zenith as his reserves empties and Sothis continues to power the entity by herself, slowly reaching her limit as well. He fades in and out of consciousness then, seeing multiple sceneries that unfold before him. Seeing seasons pass with rapid speed, as fallen leaves fly back to their branches and melted snow returning to the sky.

It all becomes a blur with only the desolate melody remaining clear to him embracing him from all sides. It was a beautiful song, one that he could see himself attempting to recreate in his free time. There was something unworldly about it though, somewhat like the music the monastery choir would sing but even more divine. It was addicting and it draws him even closer to unconsciousness, it beckons him to just let go and fall. He struggles to keep himself afloat, not sink into the temptation of just sinking and letting himself go to the song. To just immerse himself in the beauty and warmth of it all. It promises a comforting embrace, a mother’s embrace, something that he had never felt, yet can picture so clearly now.

It was a nostalgic melody. Reminding him of clear skies and loud laughter. Of stone classrooms and warm meals shared over chatter. Of blue lions and bright blue robes. Of clueless youths and friendly clashes. Of memories that stay untouched from the reality that the future brought them all. It reminds him of happier times, Byleth thinks as time twists around him as a familiar bell tolls in the distance.

"Professor.” the boy- not yet a man, not to Byleth anyways. Dressed in uniform with stiff posture and even stiffer smile. Ah- he was nervous. Byleth thinks, a smile working its way onto his lips.

“Dimitri,” He called out his name softly back then and he does so again as the view in front of him becomes clearer each second. The bell rings louder, an ever looping chime in the background. Bringing him back, back to that time-

"What are you?” the girl asks, staring down from her throne. Ruins surround him feeling so damn familiar and yet not. Who-

A bell tolls, ringing in his ears.

"Please, do consider returning to the Kingdom with me,” the boy- Dimitri asks, his eyes earnest. Byleth didn’t know what the right answer was, but he wanted to choose this youth with his sky blue eyes and nervous demeanor hidden beneath inexperienced confidence.

Byleth wasn’t sure of his answer back then.

But now, now if asked, he would surely say. “Do you even need to ask?”

Even if you ask me to die for you, you still needn't ask.

Dimitri for you, I-

Divine Pulse gave one final cry.

Chapter Text

Byleth wakes up with bells ringing in his ears and dirt under his nails. It wasn’t exactly the best way to awaken, but compare that to the alternative of not waking up at all, well, then this was heavenly.

"And you have me to thank for that,” Sothis said smugly, startling him. It has been a while since he had last heard her in his mind, it would no doubt take some time to get used to this again. Byleth didn’t mind though, Sothis being here with him made him feel complete- whole. Something he hadn't felt since the day she disappeared. Experiencing the same sensation now makes him realize how much he did miss her, even if he hadn’t felt it so intensely at the time. Any sadness he had felt was buried under the visceral grief of his father’s death.

He pushes himself upwards, finding damp grass and soil beneath him. Surely he was in dire need of a bath after this, judging by how dirty his hand was. He then comes into contact with something, feeling distinctly not grass or dirt, and it startles him once more. He grabs at it, yanking it upwards only to feel something else tugging on his scalp.

That was precisely the moment where the hopefulness of changing the future suddenly became a lot more bleak, as Byleth recognizes the texture of the thing- to his horror.

The thing, he realizes soon enough, was hair. His own hair, but not exactly. It wasn’t the color of light mint as it was during the war, nor was it the dark ebony it had been before that. No, it was a distinctive shade of green that he had long associated with Sothis. It was long, too. Much too long for his comfort, as he looks behind him finding a trail of veridian hair spilling over the field. Byleth was very certain that this was not his hair, but as he tugs on it once more the sharp pain that came proved that indeed- this is his hair.

Sothis was strangely silent to his thoughts, which further spurn him to find a stream or something reflective just to check his appearance. Walking felt light and Byleth was happy that he was at least clothed, not in his enlightened armor- which was fortunate. It wasn’t his usual outfit either, but as he inspects himself it looked more like something a mercenary would wear. It was decent enough for protection from the elements, but it certainly won’t defend him from any weapons.

Byleth stumbles awkwardly, finding the new weight of his hair- dear lord, that really might be his hair- strange to adapt to. He feels that the rest of his body remained the same though- hopefully, as Byleth didn’t want to train fighting with a different height and reach. He grasps at a silver sword, which was conveniently laying beside him, taking comfort with it in his grip as he marches onwards.

Byleth rushes immediately to the first lake he sees, almost falling just to get a look at himself.

What he learns is this: one, time travel had side effects and two, Byleth was sure that he was now related to Sothis- a goddess, the Goddess-

And three, what did you do Sothis?

‘Reversing time,’ she said, yeah right.

Byleth looks at himself and can feel his hand shaking, digging into the dirt with each passing moment. Long gone, was his matching mint hair and eyes, replaced by bright green eyes and unruly locks that reaches his mid thigh. Byleth didn’t know that he would miss that damned mint hair, but looking at himself now he certainly did.

"It’s not that bad!” Sothis yelled, and Byleth can somehow see the pout.

Yes, yes it is that bad.

His features have turned more inhumane, somewhat like the elves in those books he used to read as a child. His ears were somewhat pointed now- like Sothis’, what- and his face was younger, closer to his student’s age then his own. His eyes were more angular. Not to mention his pupils which were narrower as though he were part beast. Looking at himself now, Byleth would doubt that he was even human.

"Well, about that…”

Byleth isn’t human anymore, which was, well- not anything really, but still-

"We merged, Byleth, don’t worry, you still got some of that human inside you.” Sothis comforted or at least tried to.

Byleth then notices the sweet scent permeating the surrounding area. It was a smell that he was familiar with, having spent time around it during Garreg Mach.

It was a smell of an omega, an unmated one at that.

Sothis went suspiciously mute at that thought, and that was probably when Byleth should’ve known that something was wrong.

Byleth, an alpha, was unclear to why a single omega would be out in the woods alone. But to each their own he supposes, as Byleth himself was also in the woods alone.

Wait-

Byleth was alone. There was no omega within sight, nor can he find his own alpha scent.

Oh dear. Sothis-

He was the omega.

Sothis, what did you do?

Byleth can feel Sothis’ guilt and it made everything felt real- and Byleth realizes that this was him now. That the strange omega with blank green eyes staring back at him from the surface of the lake is him-

“I’m sorry, I had to change your body. Merge it with mine,” Sothis whispered, Byleth had never heard her apologize before, and under any other circumstances he would be feeling a mix of triumphant smugness, but now- now Byleth can’t even feel anything. “To travel back this far, I’m afraid that a no mortal would be able to survive.”

"I fear that you have become this due to me, I myself am an omega, a millennia ago when I was alive," Sothis explained, "it is not my intention to change you into an omega as well, to erase something so important to you like so."

Byleth does not blame her. Yet he wonders when will fate finally tire of taking from him?

Byleth was always a giver, during his days as a professor and even during the war. But at some point down the line Byleth started being sick of giving, not to his students, no, but to Edelgard. Of giving his sleep to her as he stayed awake countless nights, unable to sleep with the screams of his battalion screaming in his ears. Giving his dreams to her as even if he manages to sleep his dreams would turn into nightmares with her lurking in them. Giving, no- losing his students to her, as they were slain by her or her allies in her needless war. And now- now-

He had lost even his identity to her.

Edelgard, the Flame Emperor. It fits. With her greedy claws and ambitious eyes, she had burnt down everything he has to fuel her dream. Her armor a striking shade of red that matches with the fire that had sent Felix to his death. A shade of red that so easily reminds him of Monica, no Kronya, with her red eyes and hair and the color of his father’s blood as she had stabbed him in the back.

Now she had burnt away Byleth, of what had remained of him.

Byleth wants to mourn, to grief. But he knows that he has to move- that now time is of the essence. He has to know where and when he is.

“I sent you back to before you met them,” Sothis answered still speaking from inside his mind.

“I am too weak to appear to you now, don’t fear, my voice and powers will guide and protect you,” Sothis comforted, Byleth feels a soft touch to his hair. The touch could’ve been mistaken for the wind, but Byleth was somehow sure that Sothis had done so becoming tangible for just a moment.

Byleth knew exactly who ‘they’ were. That night would forever be seared into his memory as he met them. It was a memory he would never forget, not even if he wanted to.

He did not know where Jeralt was, and it appears neither does Sothis.

“Are you sure you want to meet Jeralt?” Sothis asks, her voice soft. She didn’t elaborate any further even as he pressed. Her guilt intensifying even more, making him panic.

“Your father, well, he-” Sothis spoke up after a moment as if to reassure him, “it would be best if you were to never meet.”

Byleth pressed her further, practically pleading for her to explain.

“Please, Byleth, don’t go find Jeralt,” Sothis begged, desperation lining her words. Hearing her pleas made his heart hurt, yet a part of him still stubbornly insists on seeing his father. Surely, his father must be missing his son as well. Wondering where Byleth had gone.

“Oh, Byleth. You already know that...” Sothis falls silent, her sadness more pronounced than her guilt now.

Byleth needs to find Jeralt. As he makes his way into civilization Byleth tries his best to suppress his scent with his magic. A technique that was taught to him by Mercedes, bless her, who had to use it for most of her life to hide from noble alphas that were only seeking an omega plaything. She had taught him how to hide his scent, taught almost everyone in their army if she could’ve. At the height of the war, just a mere scent could give away an ambush or a sneak attack. It didn’t matter what tradition was then, not when everyone was preoccupied with whether they could survive to the next day or not. No one had time to care about their secondary gender then.

Even as an alpha Byleth still finds use in the technique, and even more so now as an omega.

He draws odd looks from strangers as he marches onwards. Understandable, really, given his unique hair and beastly features. He had gotten many stares during the war as well, they were mostly admiring ones though. These are different and they make him grip his sword tighter.

He should really invest in a cloak in the future or at least cut his hair.

“What? You’re planning on cutting these gorgeous locks?”

Byleth would like to remind her that this was his hair and hers was no way going to be affected. Sothis still remains offended despite this.

It was nice seeing her not so weighed down by her guilt anymore. Sothis wasn’t meant for sadness, she was meant for better things. She didn’t deserve to have to suffer through his grief with him and feel guilt for his decisions.

Sometimes he wondered if she would be happier bonded to someone else, someone more powerful. With enough strength to not let her down.

He disregards the thought as he steps into a pub. Hearing an aged bell chime as he closes the door behind him, once again the center of attention. Those inside were quick to go back to their own business once he shifted a hand to the grip of his sword. They all knew what it meant to draw the ire of a swordsman, young as he may be. None was too interested in getting into a fight either, there to get wasted by alcohol instead.

He walks to the bartender, fishing out a few pieces of gold that he had stolen from some passing gawkers. The gin was surprisingly cheap. But that may have been Byleth’s experience after spending hundreds of gold just for a batch of tea at Garreg Mach.

He knows this bartender, from a lifetime ago. One of Jeralt’s companions turned into bartender after a fight devolved which ended with a permanent limp. Jeralt was a frequent visitor of this pub, would come here whenever he could. Just to chat about old times. The bartender was also one who directed clients in his father’s way.

“Do you know Jeralt?” he asks, after drinking a sip of alcohol. It was nowhere near the taste of the tea he had drunk while chatting with his students, but he wasn’t here to judge.

“Yeah, do you have business with him or something?” the man asks, guarded.

“Or something,” Byleth answered, taking another sip.

The man tenses and Byleth is once again reminded that he used to be one of Jeralt’s best.

“I just want to know about his son,” Byleth elaborated, not in the mood to draw this conversation out any longer. He just wanted to know who he was here, in this time, before he can meet his father and get his story straight on how his son was normal one day and a beast the next. Was he missing? Why? Was his father looking for him? If so how would Byleth even explain-

“Son? Don’t you mean daughter?”

Byleth’s world tilts.

“... Daughter?” the words were choked out of him, and he can hear Sothis breathed a sharp inhale, as if she was the one that was stabbed in the gut.

The man looks at him for a moment before nodding. “Have you heard of the Ashen Demon? That’s her, vicious little alpha that one. Just like her father.”

“He doesn’t have a son?” Byleth asks again, his voice monotonous.

“No, unless he somehow got himself one within the last month.”

Byleth drops a few more gold coins onto the table before walking off. His steps feeling like lead as he marches out into the bright sunny day. It was as though even the skies were mocking him.

“Oh Byleth,” Sothis said mournfully.

It wasn’t a shock really.

He had already known, in a strange twisted way, that he wasn’t this Jeralt’s Byleth here. Perhaps it was when he first saw his appearance, but somehow, someway, he knew that he was a stranger to even himself. Let alone his father.

He just needed to hear it, just see his father, see the irrevocable proof that he was a stranger when his father look at him as one would to someone they'd never met.

It was immature of him, really, trying to delude himself that he could reunite with his father. Be the Byleth from years ago, who had long passed. Trying to fool himself into thinking that he was still Jeralt’s son, even now. That somehow Jeralt would recognize him, that he could spend more time with his father and then what?

Explain to his father that his son was now a beast and not even human? Talk about the future and how he had let his father die? Elaborate on all the students he let die and everyone who he failed?

Drag Jeralt into this mess?

Byleth didn’t know what he was wanting. It was irrational, he realizes, but something inside him still cries for his father. Wanting to rush into his arms as though he were a pup again and sink into his comforting scent as Jeralt would comfort him with rough hands and soft words.

Perhaps, he just wants to be a child- just go back to when things were happier. When everyone was hale and whole-

In the end, he knows that he can’t be so willful anymore. Can’t go to his father for his guidance anymore. His father was dead, and this Jeralt is not him. And if he could, this Jeralt will never be his father. Not if he could help it.

Edelgard had taken everything away from him that night, in the end, she really had managed to kill Byleth.

This was the price for his bet, for the chance of a future where his students can smile without any burdens. He had paid his toll, but there is always more to give.

Now he was here, armed with a silver sword and a Goddess merged to his soul.

Byleth remembers when he used to give trinkets and flowers to his students just to make them smile. In the war, he continues to do the same, even if their smiles were a touch sadder, more grief-stricken than before.

Byleth doesn’t have any flowers now, nor anything to give to his students. Not that they would want any gifts from him. Not now, not when he was a ghost in the body of a stranger.

All he has left is the divinity in his veins and his life.

These, too, he will eventually lose. Given up to fate to clear his debts.

His life, he realizes, was meant for lost. Bound to give and give until there is nothing left, and even then-

Byleth will lay down his life to see a future where they can just enjoy their youth. A time where lions can laugh with deers and eagles. A place where his students aren't worn down by the edge of war. A place where Dimitri is happy-

A place where Dimitri would smile and laugh, his blue eyes shining with the blue sky above them. Byleth can see it now, and the image causes him to laugh, just to imagine being by Dimitri's side-

Just for that alone Byleth would fall. Byleth supposes Dimitri doesn't need to request Byleth to die for him, just his smile was enough for Byleth to give away his life.

It will be a worthy death.

Chapter Text

Time didn’t heal all wounds, that was what Byleth learnt, years after his father’s death and still grieving.

Yet now with a mission in his head and a chance at saving this version of Jeralt, Byleth finds that for once the gaping wound of his death have been soothed somewhat. Even if this wasn’t his father anymore, Byleth still has a duty as his son to protect him. Especially when his death could’ve been easily prevented if Byleth had the power he did now.

Byleth marches onwards, his steps feel lighter with a destination set inside his mind. Remire village. He needs to go there. Needs to be at the place where it all began.

Remire. A name that still sparks sorrow in him to this day. Another event that still haunts his dreams, almost as persistent as the ghosts of his dead students and troops.

Remire village was a place of importance to him. Not just for the fact that he had met those three for the first time there. Rather he had known Remire village for years before that, them willing to provide shelter for Jeralt and his mercenaries after they defended Remire from thieves. He had known many of the residents there, personally. Practically grown up with them. He had known how Dean was handy with a lance and had wanted to be a knight despite being just a beta, he had known how Maria had wanted to travel Fodlan in search of her brother, he had known how Mack had love to cook for him and Jeralt. He had known them all, he had loved them all. They were as close to him as his father’s band of mercenaries were.

He also remembers how Dean had died, trying to protect his sister from the beasts that his fellow villagers became. He had known how Maria had looked at him with sorrow before her pulse stopped. Had known how Mack roared and attacked him, no recognition in her eyes. He had remembered the tears that rolled down Mack’s cheeks afterwards and wondered if the old woman had recognized him, in the end.

Just for that alone, Solon would die.

“With my power running through your veins, there is no enemy too strong,” Sothis said, a soft that broke through his grief. It was then that he remembers that she could also feel the same agony as he did and see the monsters that rested in his nightmares.

Once again, Byleth wonders if he really deserves Sothis.

“Oh, Byleth. I do not fault you for your grief. Who doesn’t have ghosts lurking in their shadows?” Sothis soothed, “especially with a life like yours. No, I wouldn’t fault you at all.”

Byleth wraps the cloak around him tighter as he speeds up. His stamina has become another thing that’s changed, as he could now run for hours on end with nary a thought. Gods need not bother with such, and that is one thing that Byleth finds positive about this new body.

It was an annoying thing to deal with. So many ways an opponent could take advantage of its length during a duel. Numerous scenarios already appearing in his head of the numerous ways this new hair could cause his death. Even Felix was not so arrogant as to let his hair grow any longer.

Petra did, though, Byleth had believed her strong enough for it. The young alpha from Brigid clearly had the strength and skill with a sword to deal with her opponent before they can take advantage. There was always a part of him that worries about its length.

He didn’t need to worry, though, in the end she died due to a Dark Spike from her old housemate.

He pushes himself to run faster. In the end, even with divine power merged to his soul, Byleth is still weak to the demons clawing at his mind.

“Shush, Byleth, think no more of these thoughts. Now the future is in front of you. Let us rejoice for that thought and think not of the past.”

Byleth thinks of a good future with Jeralt alive and his students whole, can hear their laughter and taste their joy.

He cannot find himself existing in it.

Sothis cannot find anything to say, and perhaps that was all that needed to be said.

---

Byleth hides himself in the shadows. Laying in wait above, hiding in one of the many trees standing tall outside of Remire.

The night sky was just as beautiful as he remembered, the stars shining especially bright tonight. As though they know how important this particular night will be. It takes everything he has just to not butcher the bandits, knowing that it was crucial that Byleth, this Byleth, will have to meet them. This was the start to his fate, and this will be the start of hers as well.

He stays motionless, eyes almost unblinking as he continues to survey the area. Something like worry boiling inside his chest with each passing moment. Wondering if maybe the future has already changed with just his mere presence.

He startles out of his thoughts as he sees three figures rushing to the front of the village, bright yellow, blue, and red were a beacon in the night. His eyes unable to draw itself away from the boy with a blue cloak hanging over his shoulder.

From this angle, Byleth could see nothing but his back. But just the sight of Dimitri alone is enough to cause him to smile.

Dimitri is here, Dimitri is alive and well.

Byleth is suddenly hit with want as he continues to stare. The urge to rush to Dimitri, to take a good look at the other- to memorize his features and meet his eyes once more almost overtakes Byleth.

Byleth needs to see Dimitri again, and just the thought is enough to send him into a frenzy as his face heats up and his hands fiddles with the cloak covering him.

He almost gave in, too, before seeing Byleth.

Then there he was, no it was her. The Byleth of this world. With her dull eyes and messy hair, she was certainly a mirror copy of what Byleth would’ve been like if he were born a female. Although her armor certainly needs a bit more improvement, Byleth can almost imagine how easy it would be to incapacitate her if he were to target her legs.

Then there was Jeralt, looming over her. With his arms crossed and his expression stern as he listens to the student’s plights. He was just as Byleth remembered, with his imposing figure and rough words. Appearing just as invincible as Byleth always thought he was, thinking of the days where just the mere thought of Jeralt losing was an impossibility and his death a far off date in the future.

His mind refocuses itself as the battle starts. Byleth observes as his counterpart recreates the formation that he had in the past. Standing tall in front of Claude with Edelgard and Dimitri by her side. Byleth was unable to make out Dimitri’s feature from afar but he was sure that if he were any closer his heart would surely come to a stop.

Watching as Edelgard and Dimitri fight side-by-side was a strange sight. The urge to shout, to warn, Dimitri to get away from her surges every now and then as he observes the pair. Seeing Edelgard raise her axe causes him to shiver, his finger mindlessly tracing the line where she had slashed. Seeing her now, still so young and already plotting a war, makes him want to laugh at the hilarity of it all.

Dimitri, this Dimitri, fights with hesitance. His charges aren’t meant to kill, the hesitation in his attacks is obvious to Byleth now. Dimitri wasn’t meant for war. Too soft hearted and too idealistic for it. Byleth knows this and yet seeing the contrast between the past and the future strikes a nerve within him.

He thinks of Dimitri from his time, who no longer hesitates, who charges for a quick kill, who revels in mindless massacres and he wondered when the boy that used to fear killing had died.

He then remembers of how gentle Dimitri could be, how kindly he treats his allies despite his roughness. He remembers how hard he tries to not hurt them, his regret and pain when he inevitably does during training. Byleth then thinks that the boy didn’t die but was forced to evolve, forced to grow up too early and harden his heart to match his fractured mind.

This Dimitri will not be forced to do so. Byleth will ensure of that.

The battle draws to a close as Byleth watches dispassionately as the bandit leader charges at Edelgard, wondering what would happen if his axe had struck, wondered if she had planned for that.

It was then that Byleth felt the vertigo of time being rewound. Seeing how the bandit leader moves backwards as Byleth, this Byleth charges forward to protect the woman that will one day take everything away from him- from them if the future takes its course.

The man falls backwards, running, this time charging towards Dimitri.

No, that wasn’t right- he was supposed to escape. Supposed to run away only to be slain at Zanado, the Red Canyon. Byleth remembers this, the memory still clear in his mind.

Yet Byleth cannot deny the image any longer as he watches the man raises his axe down towards Dimitri, clearly unprepared for the assault.

He sees Edelgard then, dressed in her red armor and hero relic. Raising her axe above her head as he swing to end Dimitri’s life. Dimitri who was old and weathered, with his lone eye glinting with relief and wry smile. Dimitri who knew this would kill him, who could’ve move but chose to stay still.

“Professor, I’m sorry,” Dimitri had spoke that night before Divine Pulse activated. Had looked at Byleth one last time, a smile that Byleth hadn’t seen for years blooming on his bloody lips.

Byleth had screamed that night and he does the same now.

Time rewound itself once more and suddenly Byleth was in front of Dimitri. His sword glinted in the moonlight as he hits the axe away, sending the bandit leader- Edelgard? No he won't let her- falling into the ground and scampering away, this time for good.

Byleth turns around, wanting to scold Dimitri- because what the hell was he thinking-

Byleth remembers where he is and draws back, stumbling a few steps backwards as his voice disappeared.

"Byleth, don't look at him. Don't think about him-"

Dimitri was before him, standing tall, lance still in hand. His blond hair still styled in that ridiculous haircut they had joked about many times before and his eyes still as blue as the clearest of skies. His jaw was angular, but some remnants of baby fat still remained. The familiar scent of chamomile and firewood making Byleth’s legs turn weak, wanting to just collapse into Dimitri’s arms and sink into his comforting scent. He was just as Byleth remembered. The boy who can still smile, whose heart was pained but still unfractured. The boy who can still laugh and joke. The boy who would stare with wonder at a ceremonial sword, who would handle it as one would a babe as though he were afraid it would shatter.

A boy who could still be happy.

Byleth never realizes how much he had missed that boy. Just that thought is enough for him to take a few steps forward, wanting to draw Dimitri into a hug- anything really just to-

"Byleth stop-"

Dimitri looks back at him, as though he were a stranger.

Oh.

Byleth never knew that something could hurt so much.

Something wet drips down from his eyes and Byleth stops. Daydreams of a joyful reunion was gone, finally shattered as he stares back into those strange yet familiar blue eyes. That was when Byleth was hit with reality yet again.

That was when he finally realizes that this Dimitri wasn’t his Dimitri either.

He supposes he was in denial about that, too. In denial about another thing that he had lost. Another thing that Edelgard had burned away that chaotic night. How Edelgard had managed to take away Byleth’s Dimitri when she had killed Byleth. How his Dimitri was now just as good as dead.

Just like Jeralt, he knew that he was in a different time. That this Dimitri wasn't his Dimitri. That somehow he had deluded himself into thinking of a miracle. That somehow Dimitri would know him.

When will Byleth learn to stop hoping?

His Dimitri was just as good as dead to him now, in a time and place where Byleth can no longer reach.

Now a boy with his same name and face stands before Byleth, staring in shock at the sight of a crying stranger.

This boy wasn’t his Dimitri.

Byleth suddenly realizes that this boy can never be his Dimitri, not with the future he has in mind.

He suddenly realizes that the Dimitri he knew can be nothing more than a figment of his imagination. That Byleth has no time to grief for a fictional man in an equally fictional future.

He wipes away his tears and time rewound.

Sothis cries for him. Mourning for a dead man. Showing the grief that he will never be able to express.

The moon stands witness as Byleth and Dimitri's eyes met for the first time.

"What is your name?" he asks.

The boy smiles with confusion in his eyes and says: "Dimitri. Have we met before?"

Yes, he wants to say. I know you. I know the ghosts that haunt you, I know the way you would crumble into my arms, your frame shaking with each breath. I know the way you would startle from a nightmare eyes wild like a beast, but heart fragile as any mortal. I know the ways you could die, as I failed you and the way you would come alive as I rewind time. I know the ways your eyes would glaze over with an apology on your lips as death comes for you. I know the way you would look, with regret and joy as you lay dying in my arms.

I know other things, too, happier things. I know the way you smile, the crinkle of your eyes and the way your lips tilt. The way your laugh would escape and how strange it sounds, from the disused. I know of your roar with each won battle. I know the way my name would sound on your lips and the way your arms would hold me as though you could protect me from death itself.

I know you, Dimitri.

But that wasn't true now, was it?

"A lifetime ago, perhaps." he says instead.

Chapter Text

“Is this another one of your mercenaries perchance?” Dimitri asks, still looking at Byleth.

Byleth wants to keep Dimitri’s eyes on him, keep those beautiful blue eyes like him for an eternity if he is able. Even then, Byleth doubts that he would be satisfied, always so greedy when it comes to Dimitri.

Now, Byleth still wants. This Dimitri cannot give him what he desires, but Byleth finds it good enough that they can exist at the same time.

“No, not one of mine,” Jeralt answered. Observant eyes glancing over Byleth’s cloaked figure in barely concealed suspicion. It stings, more than Byleth would think, to see those eyes once directed at enemies to be directed at him instead.

“Who are you, kind stranger?” Dimitri asks, his eyes were curious. Stranger, again, the word pains him. A constant reminder that he is nothing to them, while they were everything to him.

“I am-”

“The Knights of Seiros are here! We’ll cut you down for terrorizing our students!” Alois yelled, entering the scene. His gallant figure bringing a slight cheer to Byleth, Alois never did change and that was something to celebrate. Always something to count on, especially now when Byleth’s world has been twisted into such a mess.

Jeralt’s face pales and Byleth wants to laugh at how familiar it is.

He doesn’t, but it was a close call.

He hears their conversation plays out once more, bringing up some distant memory of that night. He never noticed how Jeralt looked then, a slight lift of his lips betrays his fondness for Alois. Something like fatherly pride at seeing a child do well, would be what Byleth guesses. Years after that night Byleth finds that there are still things that he had missed. Moments and details that he had lost or was blind to.

It makes him wonder what else he had missed, what else he had forgotten.

“Now, you will never forget, not with me merged to you. Gods do not forget and our memories are eternal,” Sothis commented. “Whether it is a blessing or a curse remains unknown.”

Byleth doesn’t know the answer to that either.

For now, Byleth will take it as a blessing, knowing that he will never forget the way that Dimitri smiles at him tonight.

Byleth has forgotten how handsome Dimitri’s grin used to be. Lost the image of it in the years to follow, with all the bloodshed and chaos of war no one had any cheer to smile anymore. Let alone Dimitri.

He had gifted Dimitri his favorites one day, only to find disappointment as he realizes then that this Dimitri has lost the ability to smile as he did back then. A lot of his students had, in the end, but Dimitri’s change had hurt the most. His smile always haunts Byleth’s dream then.

“And who is this, your other child?” Alois had asked, gesturing to Byleth.

Jeralt shakes his head. “Negative, the kid just popped out of nowhere and defended the blond over there.”

Jeralt doesn't have a son. Byleth hears the word ringing hollow in his ears.

“Oh, so an ally then!” Alois yelled, Byleth suddenly remembered why he didn’t talk with the man much. “What is your name then, stranger?”

“B-,” Byleth almost answered. His breath cutting short as he realizes that he had to give up his name as well. Now with another Byleth here, the real one, it would be outrageous for him to call himself the same name.

The thought still hurts, knowing that he would have to abandon the name that had stayed with him for his whole life. Knowing that he would never again be able to hear Dimitri saying it.

Giving and taking, this was what messing with fate costs. In exchange for a better future, there must always be more to give. Byleth cannot haggle about what he has to lose, only lament and continue forward, never knowing what the next price will be.

“I do not have a name,” Byleth answered. And it was true. His name was lost to him now, another price paid and another thing lost to the neverending debt he owns to fate.

“Nameless, you say!” Alois shouts, a frown replacing his usual cheery expression. “You must have a name, surely!”

“I lost my name,” Byleth stated, fingers clenching around his silver sword, which glinted in the moonlight with the bandit’s blood.

“How can you even lose a name?” Alois yells.

“I do not recall,” Byleth lied, recalling his name and wondering if he'll ever be able to let it go. If he'll ever be able to hear the name Byleth and not react.

“Alois, stop grilling the kid,” Jeralt interrupted, placing a hand on Byleth’s shoulder and making him jump. His father's alpha scent flaring as Jeralt leans over, as though trying to protect Byleth.

He had forgotten how warm his hand is, how strong it was. How soothing the scent of the sun and the summer breeze was. How safe it made him feel and Byleth feels tears welling up again.

Jeralt is kind like such. Rough as he may be Byleth knew that he had a soft spot for kids, or just anyone younger than him really. A protector in spirit who is willing to defend a suspicious stranger.

Jeralt is kind like so. And he is unintentionally cruel as well, reminding Byleth of what he lost.

Tears do indeed fall, eventually, and Byleth fumbles with his cloak, trying to wipe them away before anyone could notice.

Time rewound instead as Byleth finds himself unable to contain his tears.

“Are you going to Garreg Mach?” he rasps, moving away from Jeralt’s hand. It pains him, but he reminds himself that this Jeralt is not his and he has no right to be his son, not when he had failed to protect him before. No right to act like he was his son.

“Yes, why?”

Byleth recalls a dream from long ago. A dream about a war that ended centuries before his birth. A war where a woman with a lighter shade of veridian coloring her eyes and hair, donning a golden armor as she roars. Weapons clashing against a man, crying out for her mother and for her losses. He thinks of her and says:

“I need to see Seiros.”

“Seiros?” Alois shouts. Byleth feels four gazes stabbing into his back.

“Seiros,” he repeated. “I need to see her.”

“Young man-” Alois began but stopped as Byleth pulls down his hood.

“I need to see Seiros,” he repeated for the last time. Letting his hair free, already knowing how eye-catching they’d be when paired with his eyes.

He was counting on that. Glad that he hadn’t cut this damned hair with his sword already.

He wonders how he looks like to them. Standing under the moonlight like this, with bloodied sword and pointed ears. The coloring of a goddess in his hair and eyes, with her magic in his veins and her soul tied with his.

He wonders how he looks to Dimitri.

Keep your eyes on me.

“Take me to her,” Byleth said, and there was no argument. Jeralt looks at him with suspicion and Byleth’s heart breaks a bit more, but there is no time to grieve.

“Well- I can probably take you to Garreg Mach, no doubt Lady Rhea would want to talk to you,” Alois confirmed, eyes still trailing Byleth’s hair and eyes. “But I’m afraid you can’t see Seiros.”

Byleth nods, pulling the hood to hide his features once more.

Byleth makes eye contact with his female self and knows how she recognizes his eyes. Can already see the gear churning in hers and Sothis’ head as they observe him. He turns, pulling his cloak down further, not willing to see her any longer.

He lingers for a moment, staring discreetly at Dimitri. Seeing how the boy and the other two nobles around him fawn at the other Byleth and he grits his teeth as he turns away. Feeling some sort of twisted envy at seeing Dimitri so taken with the other Byleth. Especially now, when he knows what it feels like to be the object of Dimitri’s attention. He hadn’t treasured it then, not too keen on strangers, let alone noble children, now he wishes Dimitri would spare him a glance.

It makes him feel hatred towards the other Byleth, making him feel even more wicked from feeling such. She was innocent, she wasn’t the one that took his place.

She wasn’t a replacement, he was the counterfeit here.

“You will forever have me, Byleth. Even if your King is lost to you,” Sothis said. He takes comfort in the statement and draws his cloak closer as he stalks into the shadows, waiting for the journey to start.

 

-

 

Byleth walks behind the four, blocking out the noise of their conversation by talking with Sothis instead. Commenting on every passing unique landmark that he hadn’t noticed before, explaining various human customs, and debating tactics. Sothis indulges him, as she always does. Her chatter drowning out the sound around him, his focus wandering as his eyes move around. Appreciating the peaceful atmosphere that surrounds them.

He hums, closing his eyes for a brief moment, trying to recreate the tune ever-present in the Holy Tomb.

It is a lovely melody.

He never realized how lonely it is, for his entire life Byleth has never traveled alone. Always with a group or another ally. Never like this, desperate for a companion or someone he can listen to. Sothis is certainly a good companion and he has no complaints, but he misses seeing his companion’s expression as they talk. Their animated faces and exaggerated gestures as they teased and joked.

He lets out a wistful sigh as he continues walking, trying to imagine their faces now as he walks.

He bumps into a wall, or at least something resembling it, and staggers backward.

He opens his eyes, glancing upwards. Recognizing that the wall was in fact, Dimitri. Standing in front of him with what Byleth recognizes as an amused smile and outreached hand ready to steady him. The sun shines behind him, outlining his figure in holy light and Byleth feels his cheeks warming for reasons unknown.

“Are you okay?” Dimitri asked, the young alpha's eyes were gentle and suddenly Byleth cannot feel anything but the suffocating feeling around his chest. Constricting in pain and joy at once.

He looks around his eyes glancing at Claude and Edelgard, still walking in pace with the alternate version of him and looks back at Dimitri, puzzled.

“Yes,” Byleth answered, his hand itching to grab at the outreached hand but he holds himself back.

“Yes, yes I am alright.” Byleth pulls his cloak down even further hoping to hide his features from Dimitri with his ever curious eyes and inquisitive mind.

He doesn’t want to meet Dimitri like this, doesn’t want for Dimitri to see him now, with a face that even Byleth doesn’t recognize. He doesn’t want Dimitri to look at him like this, wearing a stranger’s face, he wants Dimitri to look at him. The him with the dark blue hair and equally dark eyes. The him with rounded ears and equally round pupils.

“What is it?” Byleth asks, his voice a touch harsher than he would have liked.

Dimitri chuckles before taking his hand back, a pang of regret hitting Byleth when he did so.

“I wanted to see if you want any company,” Dimitri stated, his noble upbringing coming to light. Truly Dimitri was always too polite for his own good in the past. Wanting to talk to a mere stranger just because Byleth looked lonely and desperate.

“Thank you for the offer, but I think you’ll be happier with your friends over there,” Byleth replied. Trying to push Dimitri back into the conversation. Trying to make sure that Dimitri would talk with the real Byleth for long enough for her to choose his house.

“I think I’ll be the judge of that,” Dimitri said curtly and places himself next to Byleth and Byleth cannot find the strength to push him away.

As they stood side by side Byleth looks at Dimitri, recalling how they were nearly the same height in the past. It was strange, not having to crane his neck to look at the other, but this is just as fine.

“So you truly do not have a name?” Dimitri asked softly, gazing at him with eyes a touch too gentle.

Those were the wrong eyes for looking at someone who had failed you so many times, the wrong eyes to be looking at a complete stranger.

In the end, Dimitri was always like this. Byleth imagines a different future, a peaceful one. He thinks that Dimitri would’ve made a good king. One who leads with kindness and empathy.

He thinks of an empty blue eye and shakes his head instead. Could’ve, would’ve. What was the point of thinking of a ghost now, when there is a chance to change all of that?

A fictional man, in a fictional future, Byleth reminds himself.

A fictional man who took away pieces of my fictional heart for every time I would fail him.

“I do not have a name,” Byleth answered softly. Continuing to walk with Dimitri, their pace slower than that of their company but Dimitri didn’t seem to mind.

“Well, this is quite a dilemma isn’t it,” Dimitri commented, placing a hand under his chin, contemplating. “I do not know what to refer to you as.”

Byleth wants to say that Dimitri need not bother. That he didn’t need to know the name of a man who had let him down so many times in a fictional future. But Dimitri didn’t need to talk with Byleth either, could’ve been chatting with the real Byleth instead. Dimitri could’ve been with the real Byleth, instead, he was here trying to make small talk with a stranger, who very clearly tried to walk behind them all as a gesture of his distance.

Byleth looks at his eyes and cannot find himself to reject such earnest intentions.

“What is a good name?” he asked Dimitri. The boy startles out of his thoughts, turning to face Byleth completely.

Byleth does not know what makes a good name. His students had teased him for it, laughing at him when he told them that each horse was named Horse, with a number depending on their rider. It was efficient, he thought, his student disagreed, suggesting numerous horrendous names for the horses.

“Let’s name it Dimitri the Second!” Annette suggested cheerfully, not understanding the utter horror that had fallen over Byleth.

“That is a terrible name, too noble for a horse,” Dedue interjected and Byleth thank the- “Flower is a much more appropriate name.”

What did Byleth do to deserve this?

“Fish is a great name!” Flayn says, looking at Byleth excitedly.

“Well-” Ashe began. “I think that there’s a plant called-”

“I feel that Riding Boots is an excellent name,” Dimitri had suggested, completely serious. Dedue seemed to want to disagree but nodded regardless.

“Just name it after that damned flirt,” Felix had said crossing his arms. Ingrid seemed to second the idea, nodding her head in smug approval.

“Well, even though I think mini Sylvain would enjoy being the ride to a few fair maidens, I think it should be named Felicia instead,” Sylvain replied with a lewd grin, letting out a yelp soon after as he was nearly impaled with a training sword and iron lance. Byleth would've stabbed the boy himself if he wasn't trying to keep them all alive.

Byleth smothers a laugh at the memory.

Fish, Dimitri the Second, whatever complicated plant name that Ashe wanted to say, Riding Boots, and ‘just name it after that damned flirt’ were not good name options Byleth would like to reiterate.

Flower was remarkably brilliant compared to those hellish options.

To be frank, Mercedes was the only one with a good naming sense. The rest of his students had floundered leaving him concerned for the fate of their future offspring.

Not that his concern had mattered. When they had aged into war. With survival and victory reigning in their mind, what does love or a child matter? Many of them died young, those who survived would never be able to love someone with the same passion and drive as he wished they could.

“A nice name?” Dimitri repeats. Byleth nods. Wanting to laugh at the expression on the boy’s face.

“You want me,” Dimitri said the words slowly. “To pick a name for you?”

Dimitri’s question was more of a squeak by the end. Byleth never knew how charming Dimitri could be, just like this. Dimitri, his Dimitri, was more rugged, his words lost their boyish charm as they grew sharper, more cutting. Byleth misses this, just talking with Dimitri and not having to look behind his callous remarks and cutting insults just to see what he was really thinking.

“Well,” Dimitri continued nervously, voice edging on a titter. “I, am, well-”

Byleth laughs then, choked out, and raspy. It was more of a chuckle than anything, but Dimitri turns to him eyes still wide.

Dimitri stares at Byleth and Byleth thinks that this is how it should be. How right this is. Standing here with a ghost, laughing and talking as they idle. The sun shining above them and the trees shading them from its glare. The smell of light chamomile and warm earth surrounds him as they trade banter and jokes. A constant breeze passing through as the world awaits them.

He thinks of a nightmare where the sun dims each day as hope draws thin. Where the stars fade as he no longer cares for them. Thinks of a fictional man who would rather be another ghost than to stay with Byleth. Thinks of the smell of blood and war as he would hold the ghost close, trying to anchor him to Byleth. Thinks of a bloody nightmare that ends with death and chaos with no way for salvation. Thinks of the ghosts he failed and the lives that slipped through his hands.

Thinks of the now, of how the sun shining in a far off distance, ever so bright and thinks of how it dims in comparison to those blue eyes.

He thinks this and says:

“You can call me Mythos.”

In the end, this is all it is. This is all he is now, a mythical thing, a thing that was never meant to exist, mortal and god combined into some twisted amalgamation of an omega.

In the end, this is all he has left now, a myth of a future that will never be.

A myth, shared between two, staying forever unheard.

Chapter Text

“Mythos…” Dimitri repeated, cradling the word- his name, oh it was his name now- around his tongue. Byleth- Mythos, he was Mythos now, knows that even if the name hangs oddly around his body, like a cloak that was just a bit too long. He will eventually grow into it, until one day he will forget what it was like to be called Byleth. What it meant to be Byleth, a failure of a man and an even worse failure as a teacher.

Now, that, that was too hopeful. It was a nice fantasy he must admit, to be able to take his new name as though it were a mantle and easily discard his old name. As though it were that easy to get rid of the demons that cling to Mythos’ old name. The weight and importance that comes with it all.

With his new name, his death was complete. Byleth was now dead and now Mythos exists, one opening his eyes for the first time as the other would close his eyes for the last.

Mythos is born anew, created from Byleth’s ashes and filled with his memories. Yet he wasn’t Byleth, because he can never be Byleth. That man had died that night with his Dimitri and the Byleth now was someone else, a new person Mythos cannot recall.

Mythos is born from a dead man’s hopes and all his nightmares.

“Even if you are Mythos now, do not forget that there is more to Byleth than his nightmares,” Sothis said, a somber note in her voice, “just as nightmares and dreams are interchangeable, so are happiness and sorrow.”

Mythos wanted to believe her, he did. Yet for every good memory, Byleth had created during the war, there are a thousand bad ones to destroy it. Life after the war becomes nothing but a mindless passing of time as he prays for a better day when the morning comes. Time was cruel and when day breaks Byleth always knew that the peaceful night would soon fall into the chaos of day as war rages on.

“That’s a nice name,” Dimitri said, smiling at Mythos, startling the omega out of his thoughts. It transfixed Mythos, so much so that Mythos had stumbled- a rare occurrence for someone who had been through combat for most of his life.

“Oh?” Mythos asks, a strange lightness in his steps and voice.

Dimitri nods and smiles. “it is indeed a wonderful name.”

Mythos wants to pull his cloak down further to hide the red that was surely spreading over his cheeks by now, part of him wondering if this was the result of becoming an omega. Or worse yet, if this was just Byleth and his emotions affecting him.

“Mythos,” Dimitri mumbled once more, staring at Mythos as though he was just as fascinated with Mythos as he was with Dimitri. Looking like this, Mythos could only hope to be the object of his attention. If Dimitri looked at him like this Mythos thinks that he wouldn’t mind being an omega at all, and wasn’t that a wild thought. Not sure as to why his thoughts had taken to such a direction, Mythos redirected it. Moving to Dimitri’s blond locks and kind smile, seeing long canines flashing beneath and Mythos feels the back of his neck ache- but for what? Comparing this Dimitri to his Dimitri and can see the places where they differ and where they are identical.

“Mythos,” Dimitri repeated, a smile on his lips and Mythos’ name on his tongue.

Mythos feels the memory of a dead man surging up, remembering a memory from so long ago. Of their first meeting of how Dimitri had mumbled Byleth’s name and looked at him with admiration in his eyes, Mythos remembers how Byleth had looked back, with equal fascination. Mythos feels it so strongly now as Byleth felt then.

Mythos is not Byleth, no that man is dead- but he stares back now. He stares at the Dimitri standing before him, quirked lips and focused eyes.

Mythos thinks that history is repeating itself and wonders if this is fate.

 

-

Mythos walks through Garreg Mach gates, feeling displaced as he walks along the unmarred path. Around him were students and soldiers alike, all too cheery with their smile and laughter. Garreg Mach wasn’t like this then, back in his past- future?- back in that fictional place where Garreg Mach was in ruins and no laughter to be heard.

It brought him a strange sense of peace as he walked amidst all this noise. Surrounded by life and its vitality as he hears mindless gossip and boring chatter that all devolved into white noise. Dimitri and him didn’t talk, but it was a companionable silence. A type of silence that didn’t need to be filled, just existing as is as a cushion between the two as they walk side by side.

Dimitri smiles at him and Mythos wonders if his joy and relief are apparent.

“Garreg Mach is indeed beautiful,” Dimitri remarked, smile persisting even with Mythos’ blank stare.

Mythos thinks of the ruins of Garreg Mach, thinks of the silent halls filled with somber troops and his aged students. Thinks of Byleth’s Dimitri with one lone eye, looking just as worn as Garreg Mach is and he nods.

Eventually, the three young house leaders depart, Dimitri giving him a quick bow before leaving.

Mythos walks through the courtyard seeing Rhea gaze down at them.

He stops, lifting his head upwards. Their eyes met and Mythos knew that she had seen his eyes and the way his hair shined green in the sunlight. She had expected Byleth, with her placid eyes and equally placid heart.

Her eyes widen for just a fraction, but that was enough for Mythos.

The flow of time had brought me here, he thinks as he matches her gaze.

 

-

 

Mythos feels Rhea’s attention on him even as she talks to Byleth. She dismisses Byleth and Jeralt quickly enough turning to Mythos with Seteth by her side.

“Are you Rhea?” he asks. Remembering the first time he met her- the first time that Byleth, the original one- and thinks of how holy she must be. Remembering that he had felt cowed somewhat in his behavior, unused to court politics and none the wiser to noble manners.

“It’s Lady Rhea,” Seteth snapped, as expected.

Mythos removes his hood and repeats. “Are you Rhea?”

She stares at him, her eyes were wide. The widest he’d ever seen them. They were a much lighter shade of green than Sothis’ was. There was a time when he thought them beautiful as well.

When Byleth had thought them beautiful, knowing nothing besides her status and her beauty.

Knowing nothing of how she took his heartbeat and replaced it with a crest stone. How she took Jeralt’s child away from him only to return his child as nothing more than a fraction of what the original was. Took away the strong bond they could’ve had, a much stronger bond if only Byleth was less apathetic.

She had wanted to revive her mother and now she has, just not in the way that she had wanted.

“I need to see Seiros,” Mythos said. “That man says that I cannot meet her, but you can direct me to where she is.”

“Seiros is dead,” Rhea insisted, her words were firm. She had recovered quickly from her shock, but Mythos would expect nothing less from a goddess who had lived for countless centuries.

“That is not what I was told,” Mythos argued, shaking his head just as firmly.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but our founder is truly dead,” Rhea repeated, her voice soft and demure. “Who had informed you that she was alive?”

“Sothis,” Mythos replied. His voice dull but his words cutting as both Rhea and Seteth gasp.

“Sothis, you say,” Seteth said, his voice strangely faint.

“Yes, her,” Mythos confirmed, before frowning. “She says that she is a deity, although I’ve never heard of such a name.”

“Did- did she say anything else to you?” Rhea asked, looking as if she wanted to lunge for him.

He thinks of his green hair and eyes, of the goddess living in his soul and how now he is half a deity by nature. He remembers his striking pupils and sharp ears, remembers how closely he resembles Sothis now and apologizes to her and his mother.

“She says she is my mother,” he said, pausing for a moment. “Although I am also unsure.”

“Mother?” Rhea repeats, her voice was light as well. So weak that she sounds as though she were about to faint.

“Mother?” Sothis shrieked, causing his ears to ring.

“It is indeed strange, I have no such memories of her. Although, I have no memories of my life either,” Mythos said, staring blankly at the pair. Wondering if they’ll crack before he does. At this point, he takes off the seal restricting his scent, letting his scent go free as he snaps their restraints. He knows that this scent would closely resemble that of Sothis', knows how this would be close to how her scent was before she died.

“I had just awoken a few days prior, in a place called Zanado, or at least that was what Sothis told me, I have no memories prior to that,” Mythos continued.

Seeing their silence, Mythos returns his hood to its rightful place before walking away.

“Wait!” Rhea calls. Her voice reminds him like that of a child, a lost child trying to find her way back to her parents. He thinks of this and remembers how she had dedicated her whole existence to reviving her mother. It was a pathetic existence, now that he can see beneath the grandness of the church and glamour. Her entire existence dedicated to a dead woman, trying to reverse the law of nature just to bring her back.

It was pathetic, but Mythos finds himself empathizing with her. As he thinks of the ghosts that cling onto him and of the dead man that haunts his waking moments as Byleth and even now as Mythos. He thinks of this and can so easily see himself as Rhea.

“Oh, Seiros…” Sothis says mournfully and he can feel her tears.

“I need to find Seiros,” he repeated, sounding as lost as he felt. Staring into a woman who could be his reflection.

“She is long gone,” Rhea persisted. “But Seteth and I are here, I am Seiros’ descendant and Seteth is a descendant of Cichol, one of your mother's pack. We can help you.”

“Really?” he asks, skeptically, like a man with amnesia and no clues to his past other than a goddess with an appearance of a child claiming to be his mother.

Rhea seems to regain confidence as she approaches him, her hands moving to remove his hood as she stares at him with obsession in her eyes. He can feel her scenting him, looking as though she wants to collapse into his arms just to smell her mother again.

“Yes, please do stay at Garreg Mach. I implore you, please do consider staying here…” Rhea trails off her hands straying to his hair as she stares at his ears.

“Mythos, Sothis says that she named me Mythos.”

“Mythos, that is a wonderful name,” Rhea complimented, her expression tearful as she gazes into his eyes and his inhumane pupils.

“Serios, Mythos… I supposed they are similar enough.”

Seteth also gazes at him, it was a softer gaze than he was used to as Byleth. It made Mythos feels uncomfortable for lying, for tricking the god into thinking that he was his brother when he was anything but.

“Where am I to stay?” he asks instead, returning to Rhea and her equally soft eyes. He feels himself flinching as she cradles his hands, holding it as though she was holding something infinitely precious.

“I will arrange a private quarter for you near Seteth’s and mine,” Rhea remarked, her fingers trailing his hands and her eyes moving around his face as though trying to find all the resemblance she could between him and her mother.

“What am I to be?” he asks, letting his hand still as he gazes down at her with the same dull eyes that Byleth carries.

Rhea didn’t seem to mind though as she laughs, as though she found it cute instead of intimidating. “You don’t need to do anything. Just staying here is enough.”

“This is an academy as well, correct?” he asks a non sequitur.

“Yes, but you don’t mean to-”

“Let me attend, instead, as a student,” Mythos suggested, his eyes boring into hers. “It would serve me well to let me… adapt to living.”

Sothis cackles.

“Oh no, you don’t need to-”

“I would like to live around them- the humans, I mean, they intrigue me,” he continued softly, bowing his head as he bites his lips. “Sothis is also fascinated with them as well.”

As always, Rhea is unable to deny anything that relates to her mother as she nods, falling to his round eyes and downturned lips.

“Very well, I suppose there’s no harm to be had,” she relented, smiling at him, a fond smile that he had only seen once before as Byleth. “Is there a house you want to be in?”

He shakes his head. “I do not care for whatever these ‘houses’ are, I only care about a boy, Dimitri. I do not recall him giving me his last name. He was… pleasant.”

Mythos smiles, it was soft but looking foreign on him, a man who had forgotten how to smile.

Rhea seems to light up as she stares at him, her gaze turning ever softer as she holds his hands. She gazes back at Seteth, the other nodding quickly as he also stares at Mythos. Mythos supposes he was their younger sibling now, a pack member, even if he didn’t know it and these two were particularly fond of their family, even if Rhea only cares about her mother and not Mythos.

“Pleasant, he says, that’s what you mortals are calling it these days?” Sothis remarked and Mythos ignores her.

“Whatever you want, Mythos,” she said fondly. Mythos could hear the ‘younger brother,’ in her sentence and doesn’t know what he wants to feel. What he should feel.

“Thank you,” he replied instead and grins. Rhea draws him into a hug, it was warm. A warmth that exists between family and Mythos doesn’t know what to think about this either. As she sinks her head into his neck, near to his gland, trying to remember her mother's scent Mythos feels tiny water droplets on his shoulder, he does not say anything either.

Rhea took away his heartbeat and took away the child that Jeralt should’ve had, all in the name of a dead woman. Yet, at this moment as he was enveloped in her warmth and under Seteth’s warm gaze Mythos feel tears fall.

Time rewound, yet Mythos still soften in her arms. Wondering when the woman who had hurt him become his reflection.

 

-

 

Mythos stands in front of a stone classroom, one with blue banners hanging proudly in front of the entrance.

He enters, seeing Byleth standing there as well. Her eyes were confused as she stares at him, wondering why he was here. Wondering why his hair matches the hair of the man behind him.

He enters the classroom this time not as a professor, but as a student, Seteth following behind him. His scent is fully hidden once more as Seteth taking on the role of a tour guide as he directed Mythos about. Dimitri waves to him, his eyes were just as bemused at seeing Mythos dressed in uniform that of a student beneath his blue cloak lined with gold.

Seteth places a gentle hand on his shoulder before saying: “This is your new classmate, Mythos.”

Mythos nods at Dimitri and the boy smile at him.

For just a brief moment Mythos cannot hear the whispers of the ghosts haunting him nor the shadow of a dead man hanging behind Dimitri.

Dimitri smiles and Mythos’ world seems to pause.

Mythos cannot hear the chaos around them as chatter erupted in the classroom. Cannot focus on anything but Dimitri and his smile.

This time it felt more real, Dimitri standing there with his uniform, surrounded by his classmates. His face is still young and skin still unmarked. The students around him all fresh-faced and happy. Young and untouched by war, knowing what war was but never having to dirty their hands with it. Knowing what tragedy was, having been touched by it, yet never having to struggle to not drown in their misery.

They were young and happy and- and-

Mythos sees this and he cannot breathe.

Dimitri smiles and Mythos’ world finally comes alive.

He can see a shadow of the future, can see an aged Dimitri looming over this Dimitri’s figure. Can see the resemblance and where everything would go wrong, can see the scars and the callouses. Can remember his rough words and biting insults. Yet-

Mythos can feel a heartbeat- his heartbeat.

Dimitri smiles and Mythos smiles back.

With just his smile, he can order me to die and I would nary a word of complaint.

Just for this smile, I would die for your future.

Chapter Text

“You know our new student, Dimitri?” Mercedes asked, her voice was gentle. It was soft as well, not like the type of softness that held a hidden edge as she would have in the future. No, this was the type of softness that held nothing but warmth and care.

In the future Mercedes would lose this tone. Her soft words no longer just warmth and care but instead filled with wariness and worry. As she becomes their official healer, Mythos remembers how her posture has changed, how her spine has also toughened along with Dimitri. How her hands would heal but her eyes detached as if trying to not imagine how they would come back next time- if they would even come back next time.

Her hands could save as much as it could damned and on the battlefield, her eyes remained just as strong as fire rained on their enemies with each wave of her hand. Mythos wondered how she had kept up, knowing how hard it was for a girl like her to have to massacre thousands in exchange for her life and the lives of those she loves.

Mythos remembers how Byleth had passed her room one night, hearing mournful cries and equally desperate prayers coming from its occupant. Had seen how her eyes were red and the bags under her eyes would darken by day. She still smiled for him, though, smiled for Byleth as he hands her lavenders every morning. Coming by every morning at the crack of dawn, hoping that she would share her troubles with him, of what nightmares she had dreamt and what monsters occupy her mind during her waking moments.

She never shared her troubles and Byleth could only watch as Mercedes would crumble under the weight of her nightmares. As her screams only get louder by day and her sleep ever shorter.

He had hugged her once, in some desperate attempt to comfort her, and she hugged him back, but her eyes were tired and her arms were weak. Her healing magic was warm but her hands were shaking and her eyes cold.

Her smile was wane and Byleth didn’t know how to comfort her.

Mercedes smiles at him now, and he remembers how bright it could be.

Another memory that had been aged by time and now it was restored.

“Ah, yes, Mythos was the other mercenary that I mentioned,” Dimitri replied, nodding towards Mythos.

“Ah, so you were the one that saved His Highness,” Dedue said then bowed. “If you need anything please ask, I am in your debt as well.”

Dedue didn’t change much, always so loyal to Dimitri and his cause. Sometimes too loyal.

He had died for his loyalty but Mythos had seen how he had smiled before he died. He had seen that smile and known that it was the best way for Dedue to go. To try and save him now, to change time and history would only delay the inevitable.

Dedue was dying and they both knew it. The poison in his body running its course and they both know that Dedue would never be satisfied to die from the poison in his veins.

To slowly wither until he can no longer walk. When he can no longer move let alone protect Dimitri.

Dedue had died on the battlefield, died for Dimitri and his cause, and Byleth knew that he had wanted to die as such.

Yet, it took everything within him not to let Divine Pulse sing for another lost life.

He’ll never forget Dimitri’s broken roar that day, but he didn’t regret letting Dedue finally rest, his last act being that of blocking a fatal strike for Dimitri.

He had called Dimitri his name by the end, as an apology of sorts.

Mythos stumbles backward, his free hand clutching at his cloak. It was shaking, he realized, his hands were shaking.

“Oh wow, Dedue, I can’t believe you scared the new guy,” Sylvain commented, moving to stand in front of Mythos.

“No.” Mythos shakes his head, the bell around his neck, tied by a blue ribbon, chimes with the motion. “He just reminded me of someone.”

Dedue frowns, obviously thinking of a more negative connotation to Mythos’ comment.

“He was a good man,” Mythos replied, his voice shaky and Seteth shoots him a quick look. Mythos gives a small nod to the man, his brother now.

Seteth places a gentle hand on Mythos’ shoulder and he leans into the touch.

The students around him look shocked at the action, though, and Mythos could not blame them.

“Well, my name’s Sylvain,” the redhead greeted, breaking through the momentary silence. “I must say Mythos is a very nice name.”

He got elbowed for that, from both Felix and Ingrid, but that was enough for the silence to break.

Mythos was never fond of Sylvain’s mindless flirtations. Knowing how they were due in part to his callous view of love later doesn’t help either. Seeing Sylvain now, still young and hurt was bitter nostalgia, remembering how the alpha would soon grow and mature into a decent man.

A man who never had the chance to experience real love.

“Sorry for that,” Ingrid apologized, her smile strained. “Please ignore him, my name is Ingrid of House Galatea. It will be a pleasure to be your classmate.”

He hears a scoff from her side as Felix rolls his eyes.

“What did you expect? This scum will flirt with anything that walks,” Felix drawled. “You said you saved the boar, right? That means you must be strong, somehow. My name is Felix, later, come to the training grounds and let me defeat you.”

If there was one thing that would never change, it would be Felix and his desire for power. Mythos would never forget how Byleth and Felix would fight, their blades clashing and their might matching.

Byleth had gone easy on Felix, back when they first met. But as time passed the more brutal their matches became. Their weapons would clash, yet this time each strike was meant to incapacitate. Tricks would be utilized as the younger alpha and he would try to catch the other off guard, no honor to be had any more in these duels. Fire would roar around them both as both him and Felix would fight with their magic just as they would with their swords.

It was exhilarating, and freeing to just fight and know that both will come out alive.

Mythos nods, a smile on his lips as he stares at Felix. The other boy seems to be satisfied with his answer as he gives a nod of approval.

“Always fighting with you, when will you finally learn the charm of romance?” Sylvain complained placing a placating hand on Felix’s shoulder.

Felix punches him with a “shut up, mutt” and Sylvain punches back and the two devolved into a brawl in the middle of the classroom.

Ah, Mythos remembers how the two alphas would constantly fight. Vying for dominance over the other as their fists would clash and their canines barred.

“Alphas never changes,” Sothis remarked, a bit of amusement coloring her voice. “Seiros and Cichol used to fight every day, you know. Their bouts were legendary and their egos even bigger than their powers combined. Can you believe how angry I felt when they tried to challenge me? Their mother! I thoroughly defeated them of course, but still, the nerve of Cichol, to dare his kin to do such a thing. And Seiros! Gosh, she went along with him, so easily swayed by promises of a warm meal. As if she wasn’t getting tributes every day. Always such a glutton that one, I used to think that she loved food more than she loved me, but ah- that’s not true now, is it...”

Sothis trails off, her happy story ending on a sorrowful note.

“Please don’t fight, don’t you see what kind of first impression we are giving our new professor and classmate?” Ashe beseeched, his voice a high pitch.

Ashe was the same now as he was in the future. Always so anxious at the slightest trouble. The beta improved though, became calmer during battles as the war changed him, no tremble to be seen as he shoots down one enemy after another.

He was still the same anxious boy in his daily life, and that was something that had comforted Byleth in those despairing times.

No one moved to stop the fight, even Seteth, who just rolled his eyes and pursed his lips.

Dimitri looks oddly exhausted and vindicated at the same time as he shoots Mythos an apologetic look.

Mythos gave him a small smile and the boy averts his eyes soon after, light pink on his cheeks for unknown reasons.

Mythos sees how Ingrid would assist Felix as she would give discreet kicks to Sylvian. Sometimes she hit Felix as well, but Ingrid didn’t seem to care either way.

“Oh, Ashe just let them. Mercie is here to patch them up!” Annette says cheerfully. Mercedes gives a little giggle to the comment.

Mythos hasn’t seen this smile ever since her father died.

Annette’s smile always brightens the room, even when there was a raging war around them. It was one of those things that everyone could count on, the fact that whenever they visit Mercedes for healing Annette would be there to cheer their spirits up with her cheery smile.

Then her father was slain and the Annette that he knew had died with him.

Becoming more of a monster like him as she became warped in the need foe vengeance.

She wielded her hero’s relic like Edelgard as she executed her obsession, and Byleth lost another student at that moment.

“It is strange though…” Dimitri pondered, placing his hand under his chin, a gesture so familiar to Byleth- Mythos by now. “Sylvain only flirts with omegas and yet…”

Dimitri stands closer to Mythos, his blue eyes were piercing.

Dimitri leans closer, closer to Mythos’ nape, oh Sothis- and says: “... you do not have a scent.”

Mythos wonders if Dimitri can see how red his face was. How his lips open in surprise and how his hands tremble as the distance between them closes. Mythos wonders if Dimitri can see what he’s doing to Mythos and his composure, how with a mere action can it so easily crumble as if it were reverted to nothing but glass in front of the prince. Mythos wonders when his knees will give out or his heart will stop beating first.

“I supposed you’ll call him ‘pleasant’ again.”

A hand pulls him back before he can truly fall, he can hardly register the loud chime of the bell around his neck as he stumbles backward. Seteth stands next to Mythos his lips pursed and his eyes set in a deadly glare.

“I expected better from you, Dimitri,” Seteth scolded, his voice harsher than Mythos remembers, Dimitri’s name sounded like poison on his tongue. “Goddess knows what would really happen if Mythos was really an omega.”

Seteth’s eyes could’ve killed.

Dimitri draws back his cheeks a fetching red and his eyes focusing on Mythos before darting away. His lips opening and closing as though he were trying to form an answer yet unable to get his thoughts straight.

“Wow, Dimitri, how forward of you,” Sylvain drawled, still on the floor but no longer focused on the fight. “wanting to romance our new classmate already, huh?”

“What else did you expect from the boar?” Felix remarked before punching Sylvain in the face.

With a ‘what happened to honor between alphas, Felix!’ the fight was on again.

“No- I- well-” Dimitri stuttered, still unable to form any coherent words between the fuming Seteth and his own embarrassment.

Mercedes giggled again while Dedue looks increasingly distressed with each passing moment.

“Seteth, it’s fine,” Mythos reassured, finding his composure again, as thin as it might be. “Dimitri was only curious, it is indeed odd that I do not possess a scent.”

Seteth still didn’t look very pleased. Mythos tugs at the god’s sleeves and looks up at him with beseeching eyes.

“Dimitri didn’t mean any harm and I am not an omega,” Mythos said, shooting a quick look at Dimitri who was still floundering, but less now compared to before.

Seteth pursed his lips again, but then sighing as Mythos continues to stare up at him.

“Very well, since you insist,” Seteth agreed reluctantly, his spine still standing straight and looming over Mythos.

“Oh- um,” Dimitri mumbled, making eye contact with Mythos before looking away just as quickly.

Dimitri coughs and gives Mythos a strained smile.

“Welcome to the Blue Lions house, I hope that this didn’t color your impression of us.”

Mythos remembers, as Byleth, how calm Dimitri was back then. How confident the young alpha was, appearing to be a mature and inspiring alpha, nothing like he was now. Floundering and stuttering like the school boy that he was supposed to be.

He doesn’t forget the darkness that lurks in his heart, no, he knows it all too well. The need for vengeance still lurking like a vicious viper in Dimitri’s heart.

Yet, he knows that the Dimitri that can smile and laugh is still here, alive, and that is what matters.

This was how Dimitri should be. A young alpha who is easy to fluster just as he is to smile. This was the Dimitri that Byleth had seen- that Byleth had wanted to protect.

This was the Dimitri that Mythos sees now and it isn’t hard to see how Byleth had fallen so easily.

Mythos laughs, it sounded raspy and entirely too foreign, but it was a real laugh.

“No, not at all,” he replied. “it seems that I’ve picked the right house.”

Mythos feels like he was finally home. In this place filled with his students and Dimitri, filled with chaos and laughter, Mythos thinks that this is where he belongs.

 

-

 

Mythos lays in the grass, looking up at the stars above him. He couldn’t really see them, can’t really enjoy their light nor comfort as he lays on the cool field. He breathes in the cool air around him as he reminds himself that he was here, in Garreg Mach where everything is peaceful.

Byleth had never looked at the stars, and Mythos begrudges him for it now. Mythos can’t recall a bright starry night, the only thing he knows now is how dull the stars are. Their shine like that of a rusted blade as he can see nothing but little white dots lining the sky.

It was utterly boring he realizes, staring up at the dark sky above him. Wondering how Sylvain and Felix had taken to stargazing on their off days as a form of relaxation.

Well, those two could make anything entertaining enough if they were each other’s company.

“Not that they did much stargazing, did they,” Sothis teased and Mythos shakes his head, trying to will the image away. He did not need to remember that particular memory.

He hears a rustle in the background, breaking the silence around him and moves. His shoulder tensing as he reaches for his sword, the bell tied around its hilt ringing with the rough motion.

“Ghost!” the person screamed. It was then that Mythos could see the way the figure used both hands to cover her eyes, as though it would protect her from her every fear.

He could see the way her hair shines in the moonlight, it was a shade of white that was unique to her-

“Please don’t come closer!”

Lysithea.

His shoulder drops as he recognizes her and his hand moves away from his sword. He moves closer to her instead, placing both hands up in a universal gesture of his harmlessness.

She didn’t seem to notice though, as she continues to quiver her head still in her hands. He lets out a small huff of laughter.

“I am not a ghost,” he said, his voice the least threatening it could be. “Or at least I don’t think I am.”

It was then that Lysithea opens her eyes, her hands sliding downwards as her pink eyes stare at him. He could see the exact moment when she realized what she had done as her cheeks turned pink, a color almost a copy of her eyes. It was endearing, he thinks, to see Lysithea act like so.

Like the young girl she was, not the one she was burdened to be.

She lets out a cough as she composes herself, pink still coloring her cheeks. “well, you must’ve heard wrong.”

“Ah,” he said in lieu of a response. “Is that so.”

He gave her the blankest expression he could and she became animated again.

“This is all your fault, you know, I mean, who stands out here in the dark with a suspicious cloak like that!” she accused. “Who even are you?”

He gives her a quick bow, copying the motion that Dimitri had done so many times before. It felt awkward, but it was just as well. “I am Mythos, a new student in the Blue Lion’s house, I would say it was a pleasure to meet you but, well-”

“I am Lysithea von Cordelia, you should do well to remember that,” she said, her lips downturned, and her cheeks puffed. “And what do you mean by ‘it would be a pleasure to meet me,’ I would have you know that-”

“Well, with the way you screamed,” he answered, his hands moving to gesture around her. “I doubt that I made the best impression.”

Her cheeks were flushed again, but it was more out of anger rather than embarrassment. “Nothing happened, alright?”

“Your screams were quite loud,” he pointed out, voice blank. A tilt to his lips at the way she was acting, and if he was taking some fun out of teasing her, well, no one was to know.

She shushes him. “Okay fine, I may have let out a yelp.”

“I’m pretty sure it was a scream,” he said.

Seeing that he was refusing to falter, her shoulders slumped as she gazes up at him with desperate eyes.

“Just don’t tell Claude,” she ordered, gaze darting around and voice soft as though the mere mention of Claude’s name would somehow summon the alpha himself. Mythos can somewhat understand the sentiment.

“Well…” Mythos trailed off. “You did hurt my feelings, calling me a ghost while screaming.”

“W- what does that mean?” she shouted, although the actual volume was no louder than a whisper.

“I am quite partial to levin swords,” he noted. “Although I find that chamomile tea is also nice.”

“Are you threatening me?” she yelled. He gives her a blank stare and she wilts.

“I don’t have that kind of money,” she resigned. “So fine, tell Claude if you want to. It’s not like it’s going to ruin my reputation or anything.”

A moment passes, and he sighs, teasing was fun but he didn’t want her to become upset.

“I also like cake as well,” he said and walks away.

“Wait- what does that mean,” she yelled. “Wait- do you mean that- hey! What type do you even like? Lemon? Strawberry? Hey!”

 

-

 

He manages to escape from Lysithea easily enough, the beta being too scared to follow him any further than a few paces from where she stood.

Once again the peace was restored, his mood was lifted though. A slight bit cheerier than before.

It was nice seeing Lysithea like this, he had remembered meeting her like this- as Byleth, as a professor- hearing her scream ghost and her subsequent denial. They hadn’t known each other for long, but she had reminded Byleth of himself. Trying to outgrow her own body, hoping that maybe if she acted mature enough then her body would soon grow with her.

Real life doesn't work that way, no matter how she wished it. He had remembered her during the war, seeing her tall- just as she wanted- but losing something just as important.

She stopped fearing ghosts at that point. Instead, wishing for them with each enemy she slew, taunting them to haunt her in their dying moments.

Perhaps she dying with those ghosts around her was better than dying alone.

In her haste to grow up Byleth had lost her as well. Lost her in the fog of war as he would witness the way she would rain miasma down on their enemies and fought as a one man army. With eyes too old for her body even then, fighting as though it was her last day- and she was. She clawed for survival and her duels were vicious, even more so than Felix. The actions of a dying woman who knew she was dying but didn’t know when. A woman who wanted to take as many enemies down with her before her death.

He sighs, leaning his head back against the wall that nears the lake. Finding that his body feels no chill even as a violent breeze brushes past him, only feeling a pleasant coolness. The stone pavement beneath him was hard to sit on but he finds that he doesn’t mind it so much now.

A cat purrs near him as it burrows itself into his cloak and another into his arms. He sighs and let them, idly carding his hand through their soft fur as he falls asleep, hearing the soft waves splashing against the pier as he falls asleep.

He dreams of flames and ghosts. Of corpses and gods.

"Why did you leave me to die, Professor?"

 

-

 

"- sleeping here of all places."

Mythos startles awake at the sound. Body jolting before his mind could process what was said or who said it.

He feels the cats jumping away from him as he stands.

"Really, Lady Rhea was worried sick over you," Seteth informed, his eyes glaring down at Mythos.

Mythos tighten the cloak around him and readjust his hood.

"Did anything happen?" he asked, hands reaching out to catch a stray cat as it jumps into his arms.

"Lady Rhea wanted to check up on you… only to find that you were missing and your sheets untouched," Seteth explained, none too happily. "Lady Rhea wanted to call a search party for you. Luckily, I advised her otherwise. But really, what were you thinking?"

Mythos finds himself stiffening under Seteth's gaze, his hand continuing to move through the tabby's fur. Focusing on the softness of it and trying to ignore the hardness of Seteth's glare.

"I find it more comfortable,"

Seteth gestures to their surroundings and says, "really? Here, on the cold ground?"

Mythos nods. "The bed was too… soft."

Seteth frowns, parting his lips to scold before Mythos interrupts him again.

"I woke up in Zanado, on grounds rockier and colder than this and yet- it- it felt like home. I- I want to experience that again."

It was partly a lie, Mythos does not remember sleeping on the ground of Zanado, but he does remember Byleth feeling like the canyon was home. Byleth had slept on the ground of the monastery on most nights, Dimitri by his side- always screaming or in a fitful sleep riddled with nightmares.

He had embraced Dimitri in his arms on those nights, trying to protect the king like he was still his student. Knowing that he had already failed the man, but still wishing to protect him. Remembers how Dimitri’s whimpers would soften as he feels Byleth’s warmth and his scent of steel and fire. He would move his hand through Dimitri’s hand just like so, as some form of comfort. The last attempt at some sort of gentleness in their war-torn world.

Byleth had felt like it was home, as terrible as it was, laying beside Dimitri like so. Not having to worry about his death or anyone’s deaths in those moments.

Seteth gives him an indecipherable look, eyes squinting and thoughts churning inside his head

The two entered a strange stare-off. Seteth with his eyes still narrow and Mythos staring back blankly.

After a moment Seteth closes his eyes as if in prayer before huffing, “You would do well to bring a blanket next time.”

“What?” Mythos asks, eyes still blank.

“Come, we must report to Lady Rhea at once,” Seteth said and left, not sparing Mythos a glance. Not doubting in the least that Mythos was going to follow.

Mythos stares at the man’s back for a moment longer before sighing, shaking his head before setting the tabby down gently before walking off, following the other.

Seteth, truly, would never change.

 

-

 

Rhea sits in front of him, the scent of four-spice blend surrounds him from all angles. He thought that she would prefer Seiros tea instead, but he supposes that it would just be narcissism at that point.

”Seiros? Not narcissistic? Ha, you should’ve seen her and her siblings, all of them, all so ego-driven. Well, maybe not Indech. He was always a shy one, always meek to his siblings and their whims despite his appearance. Always trying to be a tough man, that one, but his core was too soft and we all knew that.” Sothis giggles at the memory of her son, it brought him joy as well.

“How was your introduction to the Blue Lions?” she asks softly, placing her teacup down on the table gently. “I hope that you were welcomed as you should be. If not then…”

He could see the darkness lurking under her eyes with the last sentence.

“No, they were rowdy, but interesting,” Mythos said, taking a sip of the tea, finding it a bit too bitter. “Sothis laughed a few times at them, so I supposed she feels the same.”

Rhea lightens up at the mere mention of her mother’s name. He could see how her demeanor turn excited like he had never seen and her smile widened.

Like a child, he thinks.

“Oh? Is that so- that is wonderful, great, even- truly, it is wonderful,” Rhea noted and Mythos can see where Seiros emerges from behind Rhea, a woman he had only seen in a dream. A woman who is just rambunctious as she is arrogant, who is more likely to smash teacups than to drink from them.

He sees her now and wonders what it would’ve been like to chat with her instead of this. Facing the woman herself, rather than a persona she created. This was all that Rhea was, a person created from Seiros’ ashes, filled with nothing left of the original except the obsession to revive her mother.

Rhea was a woman so obsessed with it that she never questioned what it would cost to bring her mother back, never questioning anything other than what needed to be destroyed for her mother’s revival.

With one decision she had discarded Byleth’s life before he even had the chance to live-

Ruthless would be one way to put it, but-

“Did M- Sothis say anything else?” Rhea asks. There was a hint of desperation in her voice, in the way her eyes focused on him and her lips shifting into a nervous smile. Her gestures were rougher, sharper and he can see the beginnings of Seiros.

It was more apt to call it pathetic.

“Sothis says that she misses Seiros,” he said instead. Watching as her eyes falter and become foggy with tears. Though that could just be his imagination. He says nothing of it and takes another sip of tea.

Rhea lifts one of her hands upwards, her shoulders were shaking he realizes.

So this is how a goddess falls, he thinks.

“Seiros never cried, not after she grew up. Not even when she got injured,” Sothis spoke, he could feel the way she was trembling as well, “now she cries, but it is because of me.”

Sothis mourns, her tears falling silently. The didn’t know why the silence was even worse than the screams.

The statement strikes something within him, reminding him of Jeralt- his Jeralt- as the man lay dying. Remembering his father cradling his face as though he was a child again, calling out his name softly as though he were not dying. His hands still so strong, and Byleth wanted to lean into them like he was a child again, relying on his father to catch him. Relying on those hands to protect him, to guide him, to- to-

Byleth cried, the tears didn’t seem to end and Jeralt had smiled, and he said:

“To think that the first time you cried… your tears would be for me.”

Byleth remembers how Jeralt had said those words with mixed emotions, as he was happy and sad at the same time, struggling even as he was approaching death. The tears wouldn’t stop after that and Byleth had wondered why Jeralt was so cruel. To say something like that, to be happy at his death-

Why, why are you happy? Don’t you see how you are dying? Byleth had thought, hands holding his father’s dying body- Sothis, he really was dying-

He remembers rewinding and rewinding, remember how many times he had seen his father’s corpse, how many times he had cried even before his father was stabbed. How many times he tried and- and Byleth screamed as Jeralt closes his eyes as Divine Pulse disappears just as Jeralt’s heart stopped.

It had rained that day, and Byleth wondered if those were his own tears, all saved up just for this day.

Byleth had wondered, up until the day he died, that if he cried enough- if he shed enough tears- would his father’s ghost stop haunting him.

Wondered if he even wants it to stop.

Mythos sees Rhea now and he says: “Sothis would rather you smile for her, instead.”

She had taken his emotions away from him, his heartbeat and his father’s happiness. His life was created to bring her mother back, and he wonders as Byleth if she had ever cared for him beyond that. If her smiles were directed at the goddess living in his soul and her kind words to a dead woman. Wonders if she’d even take a look at him and see the life she’d destroyed with her actions.

Yet-

Mythos sees her now and can see Byleth in her shadows. Destroying fate all to save his students, a blasphemous act, a forbidden act-

All for a dead man and his happiness.

His identity replaced leaving a new person in his wake with nothing but his obsession and nightmares.

Mythos sees Rhea and he can see how similar they are not just in appearance but-

Rhea smiles at him, it was a shaky smile. Real and unfamiliar to him and he wonders if this is really her smiling. She whispers to him: “does she now.”

Her smile is as beautiful as the irises she loves. Pure and bright like a child and he can see Seiros in this moment, a woman forged of fire and power. Who is brash and arrogant yet loves her family with all she has. No obsessions to be had and no sin on her hands. He sees her and he averts his eyes.

Byleth had looked at Seiros and wanted to snarl. Now Mythos looks at Rhea and wants to hate her.

He wonders what that makes them.

 

-

 

Mythos sees Byleth running around Garreg Mach, her head high and her eyes distracted. Her eyes dart around as she seems to scan her surroundings, as though looking for something. He sees Dedue and Dimitri standing from where she came and turns around fully intending on leaving.

The students around him stare at him as he passes and he knows why. With his blue cloak lined with gold weaved in intricate design similar to that of Rhea’s cape and sword strapped to his hip, he knew he was an unknown to them. But he was dressed in the standard uniform, with collar high to his chin but open at the beginning of his torso. With a bell tied around his neck by a blue ribbon and an identical one attached to the hilt of his sword.

He hears soft footsteps approaching him as he speeds up, fully intending to ignore whoever it was. Yet as he sped up so did they, their steps following his, always slightly slower.

He turns around to face eyes that were once his.

Eyes so apathetic that he wonders if its holder held any emotions at all.

“What is it?” he asked softly, staring blankly at her eyes.

It was like staring at a mirror, he thinks and wants to snarl.

She was still so young, almost her student’s age. Still so young and knows not of the tragedy that awaits her as time moves forward. He remembers what she had said that night to Alois’ question. He recalls the exact way she said, “He’s just a stranger to me.”

Recalls how easily she said it, how easily he had said it back then and wants to snap.

He thinks of how Jeralt must’ve felt, recalling his eyes now and he can feel the wrath wrapped around his heart.

He wants to hate her for her ignorance. Wants to hate her for her future failures. Wants to hate her for the way she would fail Dimitri, wants to hate her for the way she would fail her students, fail all her promises. As she would wake up, years from now, to see all the broken promises and broken dreams around her. Useless and helpless to all of them. He wants to hate her for all the lives she will let down. For all the people who will die because of her.

“Are you here to haunt me as well, Professor?”

He wants to- he wants to-

“Where is the greenhouse?” she asks, her face still set in that damned blank expression.

He points in the general direction and moves to leave. He was halted as his cloak was tugged backward by small hands.

“Please lead me,” she asked, her eyes so empty- a void, really, and he wants to hate her.

“Very well,” he answered instead and marches in the opposite direction. Byleth continuing to hold his cloak as they both walked to the greenhouse, looking like some bizarre circus act.

He leads her to her destination, no words spoken in the short journey. It was to be expected, really, given that Byleth- the dead one, the ghost that haunts Mythos now- was never much of a speaker and neither was this Byleth. Mythos was in no mood to speak to her either.

He briefly inhales the refreshing scent of fertile soil and blooming flowers and smiles. Remembering the flowers that he harvested and the ones that would make his students smile and how he- no, Byleth had continued to do so during the war.

She- this Byleth- doesn’t smile as she tends to the seeds that Dedue had given her. Completing the task as if it were a mere chore. Byleth had done the same thing back then, the exact rigid motions.

She looks at him, that damned stare- that damned stare he sees in the mirror every morning and every night in his nightmares-

He wants to destroy those eyes.

His hands shake and his breath trembles with it. His eyes blurred and a snake tightens around his heart every time he looks at her.

She looks at him and he sees a ghost.

He runs.

 

-

 

“Oh my, are you alright?” Mercedes asked, standing near their classroom.

Save me, he wants to say. Save me, Mercedes.

Mercedes stare at him with her cold eyes and hands stained with blood. Standing there, aged and haunted. With eyes as old as his and frown present. Her hair was messy and her clothes stained with blood and dirt. A bow by her side and a tome in her hands. Fire around her as bodies burn and he feels his own skin melting away into the fire.

“Why are you so sad, Mercedes?” he shouts. When did your hands turn cold? When did your dreams turn into nightmares? When did you stop sharing your worries?

When did I fail you, too?

He collapses into her arms, seeing a ghost stare down at him with blank eyes as tears come.

He claws at her, trying to grasp onto her, feeling the fire surround him as he burns and he-

He gasps as she cries for help- one breath, two, and he-

Time rewinds, but the ghost is still there.

He hates Byleth. He hates her and her eyes- if only he could-

Stop. Mythos, stop.

Who?

“Oh my, are you alright?” Mercedes asks, standing near their classroom.

Mercedes stare at him with her cold eyes and hands stained with blood. Standing there, aged and haunted. With eyes as old as his and frown-

No, no- that, Mythos- Byleth, come back to me-

“Just a small fright,” he said, Byleth gives a smile, it was a tight one but at least he didn’t collapse. Byleth can’t collapse, he won’t give his student another injured to take care of.

- Her hair was messy and her clothes stained with blood and dirt. A bow by her side and a tome in-

“Professor,” she called, harsh- why were her words so harsh? “why don’t you die?”

Fire- fire ignited around them as Byleth gasps for air reaching for her- shouting for her- screaming to her-

“Mercedes-”

Fire roared around him and he wonders what hurts more, the fire or her words.

When did those words come so easily to you? When did you start to-

Mercedes places a gentle hand on Byleth as her faith spreads through him.

And suddenly he could breathe again.

He can see how her eyes would turn cold and feel how her hands would match it. He can see the ways she would burn and the smell of the corpses as they burn around her. How dead her eyes are- just as alive as those she turned to ashes. Byleth can smell the rotten smell of burnt flesh- his own flesh- and wants to scream.

Yet-

He sees her now, with bright eyes and warm hands. With the courtyard around them and the smell of damp grass in the air.

“How are you doing?” he asked. He remembers asking this question many times before. Hearing the same answer, until it changed as she did. He would ask her this, later, and she would always say-

“You don’t need to ask me, Professor.”

And then she would say:

“It’s the same each day, is it not? I do not know what ‘well’ means anymore, I’m afraid, and you don’t either, do you, Professor?”

But then Mercedes, this Mercedes, the one standing in front of him says:

“Aren’t I supposed to be asking that?” A huff of laughter. “But of course I am doing well, Mythos.”

Oh, he thinks, well. You are doing well. That- this, I-

You were right, Mercedes, I seem to have forgotten what the word meant.

He wonders if he’ll remember the meaning by the end of this.

A bell chimes and the ghosts scream.

“I will pray for your happiness in your next life, Professor.”

Fire. He gasps and says one last time: "Mercedes, don't-"

One last chance- please-

"Don't make this harder for both of us."

Chapter Text

Mythos eventually crumbles to his knees in front of Mercedes. Hearing her scream for help as she tries to heal him. He tries to push her hands away instead, trying to gasp for air. Taking in the fresh breeze as much as he could to erase the stench of human flesh burning inside his nose.

“Mercedes? What’s wrong?” A voice asks. It was unfamiliar to him, or maybe it wasn’t. He didn’t know, not when the melody of fire was ringing loud in his ears. Seeing red, blur his eyes as the flames soar around him, dancing to their own tune as ashes fly and bodies crumbling.

Byleth was consumed by fire.

“No- just look around you-”

He gasps, hearing loud footsteps nearing and time rewinds.

He lets his eyes stay shut for a bit longer as he steadies himself, feeling time moving around him as he readjusts to his body once more. The sun was too bright in these moments and they stung his eyes, but he eventually forces his eyes to open despite the pain.

Mercedes was standing near the classroom again, her eyes were just as worried.

The scent of smoke was returning to him as he smiles at her.

“I’m just a bit under the weather, that’s all,” he explained, gently blocking her hands from his figure. “I’ll be fine, thank you. You don’t need to waste your magic on me.”

He gives her a quick wave and another reassuring smile before he practically flees from her. His steps quickened as the scent of burnt flesh threatens to suffocate him once more.

The summer breeze brushes against his face as he runs but he can still feel the fire and hear Byleth’s screams.

 

-

 

He runs and runs wondering if he should even stop, where should he even stop.

Where he would go to lose the flames licking at his heels.

“Hey!” a voice yelled, his steps falter as he turns around.

It was Felix he realizes, with his frown and downturned lips. Young and alive.

“Take this mutt and go-”

Byleth wants to call out to him, wants to-

“Getting a little training in, are we?” Felix mused, apparently been observing Mythos and running after him for quite a bit judging by his flushed cheeks and deep breaths.

“Don’t worry about me, Professor- Byleth. Just go.”

“I’m running,” Mythos stated, not sure what he should say to his former student. The scent of blood and soot stuffing his nose. He was standing near the lake, he can hear the waves of the lake splashing against the pier and yet-

Can’t you hear the fire?

“There is no fire-”

Why aren’t you burning?

Felix rolls his eyes before saying: “No shit. Regardless, I came to tell you that the Professor said that there’ll be a little class training session. To assess our strengths and weaknesses.”

Mythos remembers this, as Byleth he had done the same. Before any instructions could take place he had to know where they were at, what would need to be fixed and what would need to be taught to let them grow to be strong.

“Is that so,” Mythos replied, his nerves strung and his fingers twitching. Clearly he shouldn’t be fighting, not in this state, but-

“I’ll be there.”

 

-

 

He sits near the corner of the training field, watching with idle eyes as his students- Byleth’s students- fight. He could see their mistakes just as easily now as he could back then. He hugs his sword closer to himself as he notes all the little details of their form and stances.

Wondering what mistakes will kill them and which will cripple them.

“Always so pessimistic.”

Ingrid huffs as she dodges another stab from Felix, twisting as she swings her lance around at his head. Felix ducks easily enough, but Mythos can see how his legs tremble as they move a bit too late to charge at Ingrid. Ingrid stumbles backward, though intimidated as she raises her lance to block, tripping over herself as she falls and Felix stands over her victorious.

Sylvain lets out a cheer as Mercedes moves quickly to patch the two up, as minimal as their injury may be.

Mythos closes his eyes, images of how Felix’s charge could’ve ended with failure as the boy’s leg would give out before he could even get close enough to injure. Ingrid falling backwards as an axe would find its way to her heart within a second as Edelgard stands above her, triumphant.

He lets out a shaky breath as he stands, knowing fully well that he was next. Everyone else had gone and now it was his turn. He moves to take a training sword, tossing it around in his hand before adjusting his grip to it. Disliking how light it is compared to his sword, the wrongness of it in his hands. He remembers the weight of the Sword of the Creator and he grips the sword tighter.

Felix moves to stand, using his sword as a cane to push himself upwards. The boy, as exhausted as he might appear still wishes to fight. Mythos knows that Felix won’t stop until he gets his fight, not now and certainly not in the future.

“I am born to fight, it is only in battle that I live. You would understand.”

Byleth had understood, had felt the statement resound in his soul.

Mythos lifts his sword now, a challenge. Felix smirks back and lifts his sword in turn, barely hearing their signal before dashing at the other. Mythos can see Felix’s moves. This Felix mixes with Byleth’s Felix.

Felix raises his Levin sword and-

No, no that is wrong. Mythos parries Felix sword as the boy tries to swing at his legs. He hears the incantation of thunder and a part of him braces himself for pain that never comes.

“Is that all, Professor?”

He can smell the blood and hear excited laughter as Felix shouts for more and-

Byleth charges at Felix, fire in his veins and in the air as he chants for-

No, that is wrong. Mythos instead aims his sword directly at Felix’s chest as he lunges forward. Knowing fully well that his speed was enough to cover the distance without injury.

Felix easily parries the blow and Byleth can hear the rondo of thunder above him. Felix lifts his Levin sword as he chants, smirking at Byleth with bruise blooming on his cheek and bleeding lips. Byleth raises his own sword as he swings, wondering what will be faster, the thunder or the reach of the Sword of the Creator-

Thunder rumbles and-

That is wrong as well.

This Felix falls instead, landing on his back as he tries to dodge. Movement too stiff and muscles too strained. Panting with exertion but a grin overtaking his features. Mythos knows of how he feels, excitement like liquor as it drowns out his exhaustion.

“Well fought,” Felix says, not bothering to stand up as Mercedes rushes to them both.

Mythos knows what he is about to say next, can practically see it on the boy’s lips.

“I’ll relish in beating you, one day.”

“One day,” Mythos affirmed, hearing the cracking of thunder in his ears.

Hearing it fizzles out as Felix smirks. Alive and young. Training sword on the ground as Mercedes fusses over him.

“It was indeed an impressive fight,” Dimitri remarked, approaching Mythos from behind. “If it weren’t for your age maybe you would’ve become an instructor here as well.”

He places a gentle hand on Mythos’ shoulder and the thunder stops.

“My age, huh,” Mythos repeated and laughs. Dimitri pauses for a moment before smiling back, lifting his lance and Mythos knew what he wanted.

He raises his sword as well and smiles. “Come, let me see if you can beat an instructor.”

Dimitri smiles with a hidden edge lurking behind the pleasantries and Mythos smiles at the familiarity of it all.

Dimitri charges forward, his lance raising. Mythos sees a ghost as they fight.

-

 

“Won’t you dine with me?” Rhea asked, round eyes looking up at him with a hopeful smile aiming at him.

Mythos almost falters until he remembers that if he were to dine with her it would mean having to eat under her watchful eye and that he probably won’t be able to swallow a thing if that were the case.

“I must decline,” Mythos replied, pondering for a moment before using his trump card. “Sothis wants to spend more time with my classmates as well.”

“I would rather hibernate then see you crying over those brats again.”

He wonders when is it that Sothis became his most powerful bargaining tool. The ultimate excuse for anything he does.

“Hey! Respect your elders!”

He wonders if he can kill Edelgard and says that Sothis had wanted him to and Rhea will accept his answer, going to war with the Adrestian Empire just for a dead woman who see can’t even see. Wonders if she’ll look at him with the same forgiving eyes as she stands to protect him, protect her mother. Standing against the world just for this. But he supposes for a goddess the world meant nothing.

Wonders how far he could push before she pushes back, how far until Seiros will resurface.

“Oh, I see,” Rhea replied, eyes downtrodden, almost wilting if he were to describe it. “... well, I hope you’ll enjoy your meal.”

She looks feeble then, and some sort of pity wells up inside him and before he could stop himself he says, “I’ll join you tomorrow, for tea that is.”

Rhea laughs then, bright and cheery.

 

-

 

The dining hall was loud, almost too loud. Mythos cannot remember a time when he had to endure so many curious eyes. The other students didn’t even attempt to be subtle as they stare at him. Wondering who he was, why he was here.

“A new professor and a new student, what was Lady Rhea even thinking?”

“Is he another commoner?”

“With a cloak like that, I wonder what’s he hiding?”

“No scent, what do you reckon…”

“Look at the way he sits, he’s definitely a commoner.”

Mythos closes his eyes in agitation, briefly considering what were to happen if he just takes his hood down. Maybe that would shut them up.

“If it’s any consolation, I think the way you sit is fine. Very noble in fact.”

He doesn’t recall it being so bad when he was a professor.

A tray is placed in front of him on the opposite side of the table. A shadow casts over him as Mythos looks up.

He meets blue eyes and the whispers intensified.

“Dimitri,” he greets, smiling up at the prince.

“I must apologize on behalf of the students,” Dimitri said, smiling back.

“They’re very… talkative, but they mean no harm,” Mythos replied. “What brings you here?”

“Well, you were pleasant company so, I-”

“Were?”

Dimitri flounders for a moment, lips moving but no sound coming out of them. His face paling.

Mythos laughs. “Of course, I am jesting.”

Dimitri sighs, a shaky smile making his way onto his lips.

“Why, with that expression of yours.” Dimitri pauses for a moment, considering his next words. “it is just hard to see whether you are joking are not, but I’ll adapt.”

“You don’t need to adapt to everything,” Mythos advised, recalling the boy who had to evolve to his environment. Like a flower forced to grow on harsh soil, Dimitri had adapted, had evolved. His roots becoming harsher than the soil itself. Becoming crueler than the war he was forced into.

Dimitri was forced to change because Byleth had failed him.

“Peculiar advice,” the prince noted, before taking a bite of his meal.

Mythos shakes his head. “Forget it, it would be best to not dwell on it.”

Byleth had thought himself a decent professor, had thought that his advice helped and his teachings decent.

He was wrong about that, too.

“Here to haunt me?”

What good teacher would let so many of his students die? When he had the power of the goddess and a legendary sword by his side? What good professor would fail his students for so long, so thoroughly?

Byleth was not a good teacher, he was not even a good man.

Perhaps if he had really died, he could’ve been a better man in his next life, happier man.

“I’ll pray for your happiness in your next life, Professor.”

Mythos cannot afford to be a good man, not now and not in the future.

“Mythos?”

Mythos shakes himself out of his thoughts.

“You haven’t taken a bite out of your meal,” Dimitri commented, noticing the untouched meal.

Mythos take a piece of the meat and finds that it tastes like ashes in his mouth.

He remembered, as Byleth how delicious the meal used to be.

This is another reminder he thinks and takes another bite.

“Is it to your liking?” Dimitri asked, smiling nervously. His scent spiked slightly, betraying his anxiety.

Mythos thinks he knows this smile. Had seen it when Dimitri had looked up at Byleth, wondering how he did in the battle, how his technique was. A younger alpha striving for his senior’s approval.

He remembers this smile, remembers how Byleth would say: “Very good, Dimitri.”

Dimitri would preen and it would be as if the stars exist in his eyes. Even though he stands taller than Byleth, it was cute, endearing. Byleth never had a pup, but if he did, he thinks that Dimitri would resemble it.

This, too, is another thing he lost.

Now, looking at Byleth’s past, what else was he to say other than: “It is wonderful, Dimitri.”

Dimitri smiles, just as he did in the past, and Mythos will remember this smile for the rest of his days.

 

-

 

Mercedes ambushes him as he was making his way mindlessly through the monastery.

She practically shoves a bag of treats into his hands.

“What-” He startles, staring down at the object with confusion.

“You weren’t looking so well earlier,” she replied, her eyes were soft and her hands were soft. “I thought that some treats might cheer you up.”

“But- you- I-” He fumbles for words. “I am a stranger- you-”

He attempts to give the bag back to Mercedes, pushing it back into her hands.

Her hands were soft, he thinks, no callous, no burns-

Her scent like that of strawberries and lilies.

“You are my classmate, you know,” Mercedes said, gently pushing back. “Think nothing of it. I want you to feel better.”

“Professor!” she screamed, her voice cracking at the edges and fire roared around them.

He thinks of the future, where her once pure hands are marred by blood and burns. Where she had taken to wearing gloves to cover the burn that had traveled up her arm and hide away the blood that only she could see.

Where her scent resembled the flames that she could conjure and ashes, like that of those who could burn under her touch. No longer an omegan scent, twisted and changed just as she had.

Smoke, the smell of smoke was suffocating him-

“Sweets, you say. No one would want sweets that were baked from these hands,” her smile was wane.

“I would.”

“Don’t waste it on me,” he said, smile strained.

“Nonsense,” Mercedes argued. “Sweets are for everyone, well, maybe not Felix, but my point still stands.”

He sees Mercedes- his Mercedes in front of him then- her lips moving as she says:

“You can’t even stomach normal food, Professor, don’t lie to me,” she said softly.

“For you, I-”

“No- I-” he sees Mercedes, blood staining her clothes.

“Just stop, Professor.” Her eyes were cold and brittle.

This Mercedes, standing in front of him, dress unstained and with a smile that resembles the sun says: “I have a feeling that you need some sweetness in your life.”

The clouds part at that moment and his Mercedes- Byleth’s Mercedes- fade away with them. The fire still roars around him, but it was subdued and the smoke no longer threatening to end him.

Strawberries and lilies swaddle him instead, surrounding him like a warm blanket.

Mercedes, sweet Mercedes is standing in front of him. Her eyes are bright and she was smiling.

How long has it been? Since you were so happy?

Mythos smiles, his throat entirely too dry and his eyes too wet. “I think so as well.”

 

-

 

The mock battle comes too early. This was Byleth’s first battle with them, even though it was a mere farce. The first time that he had directed them, and the first of many where they would come out victorious.

Byleth, the one that exists now, the alpha- she chose him as one of the students in the mock battle. He had no idea why. The first time they had interacted he had run (like a coward) and they had never spoken after that.

Well, he supposed, as Byleth, he had chosen Felix even if they boy had ambushed him around ten times at that point during his strolls around the monastery trying to have another duel with him.

So now he was standing in the field next to Dimitri, Byleth herself, Mercedes, and Felix.

Feeling the anxious air around him as his students prepare for the start of the battle. Not a single word of chatter as they stood, brimming with excitement. Byleth was staring at him though and Mythos ignores her. He doesn’t want to see her eyes, not now, not ever.

He clutches at his silver sword, wondering if its weight will ever be enough. If his hand will eventually grow used to its grip and weight. If he would even look at a distant enemy and not swing his sword expecting for it to extend and decapitate.

“Nervous?” a soft voice asked.

Mythos jolts, turning to reply as-

“Can’t you see that he’s excited for the thrill of battle?” Felix snapped. “As expected, beasts like you can’t even understand human emotions.”

“Well, I think that your thoughts are even more brutal than Dimitri’s,” Mercedes commented. Her smile was still pleasant even as Felix’s expression turned into anger and his hand reached for his sword as if itching to fight her.

“Are you siding with that boar?” Felix asked, voice harsh.

“Why, yes,” Mercedes replied, just as mellow as before. “It simply isn’t right for you to judge Dimitri so harshly when your thoughts are just as ghastly.”

Mythos wonders whether it’ll be him or Dimitri to stop the murder attempt that was about to take place.

“Ghastly?- why you-”

Felix was interrupted as the signal for the start of the battle is given. He grumbles but eventually his focused was restored as he slides his sword out of its sheath, a confident smirk on his face once more.

Mercedes giggles at the change and Felix falters for a moment glaring at her with a slight flush before turning away. Dimitri laughs as well, and he can see Felix tensing at the sound.

“Where should we go, Professor?” Dimitri asked.

“Forward,” Byleth replied and she moved.

Mythos wondered if he was like that. As they all chased after her, directly into a pincer where they were surrounded by both sides.

“You were exactly like this, you know- well, except you didn’t charge directly in there, but hey- with me and other me by your side, you don’t need to worry about losing.”

Claude and Edelgard didn’t even need to surround them. Not when Byleth was creating terrible battle conditions by her lonesome. He couldn’t tell whether that was just reckless bravery or too much faith in her students.

“Oh dear, um, well- that’s- uh, confidence, I supposed,” Dimitri commented, his voice was shaking slightly. “I will believe in your decision, of course.”

Mythos can see his lance shaking.

Don’t force yourself too hard, Dimitri, he wants to say.

“Ah, Cichol used to do the same posturing. He was quaking in his boots the first time he saw a wyvern.”

Seteth- I am sorry-

“Got thrown off it the first time he tried to get on, too.”

Oh Seteth--

“I don’t know how much healing I can do, but I believe in you, Professor,” Mercedes said.

She was lying, Mythos thinks with absolute certainty. Her hair was frazzled just as her smile was. Mythos was also sure that she had lost five arrows during the short run and all the trust she had in their new professor.

“Excellent move, Professor,” Felix praised, completely earnest.

Tough words coming from someone who had a tussle with a ground mere moments ago, a fight that ended in his defeat.

His hair was still messy and his face and hands smeared with dirt. His sword was in perfect condition though, Felix somehow deeming it worthy of staying clean over his own body.

It was a training sword.

Why, Felix.

“Don’t get in my way, boar,” Felix snapped, turning his nose up as though he hadn’t just fallen over mere seconds ago while running. His training sword was still there, meaning that, unfortunately, Mythos wasn’t hallucinating. And yes, Felix was that inane.

Probably some stupid bet against himself to best all his enemies while using a training sword.

Mythos should really expect nothing sane or smart from Felix at this point-

(He suddenly remembered, as Byleth, seeing Felix trying to channel thunder by using an iron sword in the future.

While he was half-submerged in the fucking lake. Because why not?

Sylvain- the other fool- was cheering him on, also in the lake, and shirtless- why, Sylvain? As if he wasn’t cheering his friend to both of their deaths.

Ingrid was there as well, flying above the lake- good, at least his best falcon knight wasn’t going to die because of this, but not good since she was just watching her two best friends- his best, and only- dark knight and mortal savant die due to their own stupidity.

And was that Dimitri, sitting on a wyvern? What was this, a childhood reunion?

He was just watching as well, which was just stellar.

He was really about to lose two of his students while the third and fourth just watches on in utter silence and amusement and didn’t bother to alert him.

Is this how they lose the war?

He remembered diving into the lake- it was cold, Felix, why- headbutting Felix, how they had both almost drowned in the ensuing struggle as Byleth somehow hit the iron sword out of Felix’s hand and into the lake to be forever lost, thank Sothis.

He had forbade Felix from going within reach distance of all iron swords and weapons after that.

He had made the four stooges stay in the lake after that for five hours and made them wash all the dishes for a month.

It didn’t deter them to commit other stupid actions.)

-Or any point, really.

“Seiros used to do the same thing, rearing for battle despite being a child. Really, she should’ve expected that neither I nor Maculi wouldn’t heal her after her attempt at fighting all her siblings and ten wyverns at the same time.”

He sighs, wondering where the elegant woman from his dream went.

“She tried to fight them with her bare fists and fractured her fingers while she was at it when she tried to punch Indech. Her hair got burnt, too, and you wouldn’t believe how she bawled, Maculi wouldn’t apologize though so she cut his hair that night and suddenly I had two crying children with the power of gods trying to kill each other.”

Seteth’s and Rhea’s noble image was crumbling by the second. Mythos was glad that he was not her real son, lest she sells him out just as easily.

“They’re great stories! Just shows you how great of a mother I was, to remember all of those moments.”

Gods don’t forget so he doubts that she even needed to try.

“Hey!”

He thinks instead about Byleth-

Dear lord, would she do the same thing when it comes to actual battle? Just charge in like this and expect her student to follow? Lead them to their death with her recklessness? All the while wearing that blank stare as if she didn’t care about their lives?

(He didn’t care for these noble children, he didn’t want to be here-)

He wants to hate her all over again.

Well, he can worry about that later.

“I’ll take the Golden Deer,” he concluded, facing the gold banner, refusing to look back at the red flag raised behind him. “I’ll leave the Black Eagles to you.”

“Mythos, are you sure?” Dimitri questioned, still anxious.

“Don’t ruin this for him boar, I’m sure he wants a challenge,” Felix said grudgingly, already turning to face the Black Eagles.

“Oh, I’ll be here to patch you up!” Mercedes cheered, readying her bow. Mythos wondered whether it’ll be her bowstring or composure that snaps first.

Very tough words, Mythos noted, from someone who had accidentally shot him last time.

“Oh, Maculi used to cast Agnea’s Arrow on Seiros and Cichol all the time. ‘Accident’ he says, yeah right. I explicitly told him to heal them and guess what he does next. Destroy them more that’s what.”

“Go for it,” Byleth said, giving him a nod of approval. Her sword lax by her side.

Why was she speaking now? What’s with that look of approval? Really he should-

“Such confidence, new student, I supposed like teacher like student, I guess,” Claude yelled. “I’m sad to inform you that the Golden Deer house is no pushover, however.”

He wants to inform Claude that Byleth hadn’t taught him anything yet and he is very much not like her. The very opposite of her, in fact. But sighs instead.

“Oh, hey- you’re that ghost guy!” Lysithea exclaimed. “You really are a student.”

Really now, was I that suspicious?

Make that two months worth of cake, Lysithea.

“You know him?” Hilda asked, holding her axe over her shoulder. Mythos remembers how easily those arms could crush him, back then, back when she was-

“Huh? Of- of course not! I just saw him walking around that’s all.” Lysithea huffed.

No one bought that lie, but Lysithea refuses to budge.

“Well, I suppose that’s an interesting story for another time,” Claude said, cheshire grin on his face. “Come on, new kid, let’s get cracking.”

With that Claude let an arrow fly.

Mythos raises his sword and lunges.

A fight with no real stakes, no deaths to be had-

He smiles, feeling the nostalgia of it all.

One last clean fight, before his hands will be stained with blood once more.

Chapter Text

Mythos parries the arrow with a slash of his own, deflecting the projectile as he runs. Focusing on Lorenzo in front of him as he boy raises his lance in much the same fashion as Dimitri- this Dimitri- does. All textbooks and no experience, if only with a little flourish of his own.

Mythos knows how deadly it will be in the future, how Lorenz will change as his posturing was just the mere introduction to the lethality of his lance and not the strong point of it. Mythos would like to think that Lorenzo’s technique improved just as his sense of fashion.

Not now though, when his footwork is just as shoddy as his hairstyle.

“Come at me!” Lorenz shouted, bravado with all the confidence in the world to back it up. He runs at Mythos and breaks formation just as he did in the past.

“Hey-” Claude yelled. “You’re supposed to wait!”

Lorenzo clearly didn’t hear, or choose not to listen.

Mythos would bet on the latter.

“Not that I had expected much,” Claude mumbled. “How devious of you, new kid, to trick Lorenz into breaking formation!”

“You and your accusations!” Dimitri shouted from the background. How did he even hear that? “The Blue Lions is nothing but chivalrous, we wouldn’t stoop to such… petty schemes!”

“What is your professor doing then?” Claude rebuked. Mythos spared a glance back just in time to see Byleth knead Ferdinand in the groin and winces.

The Aegir family may very well have just ended with Ferdinand.

How brutal, to a student of all things-

“Didn’t you do the same thing? But to Hubert instead?”

“Our professor using human anatomy to her advantage,” Dimitri replied without missing a beat and Mythos wonders if his brain hurts from the hypocrisy of his statement.

Ferdinand very clearly disagreed, but his only protests were whimpers so that was a moot point.

“Yeah sure, and my poison isn’t?” Dimitri seems to pause for a moment as if truly considering Claude’s words before jolting back into action and blocking a shot from Bernadetta. The girl letting out a shriek as the blonde alpha’s gaze focuses on her. Almost snapping her bow in fright.

“No replies, Your Highness?” Claude taunted, sending another arrow towards Mythos who pivots away.

Dimitri very pointedly glares at Claude before turning back to the Black Eagles.

“That’s what I thought!” Claude hollered, cackling. Mythos can see how Dimitri crumbles under the taunt.

The dread crawling up his spine as he sees Dimitri turns and-

Can feel the displacement of the air as an iron lance flies past him, aimed directly towards Claude. Noticing how Dimitri stands there, looking utterly pleased and now also utterly weaponless.

It was a nice attempt at assassination, but-

Was it really worth it?

“Truly stupid,” Felix insulted. Sneering as usual even if Dimitri dared breathe in his general direction. “But I shall match you to show how inferior you are, compared to a real human.”

Felix drops his training sword. Stepping on it and snapping it in half.

He cracks his fists and Mythos wants to strangle him.

The training sword wasn’t a weapon, not when compared to the iron weapons that were scattered around the field but at least it was better than mere fists.

“Are you sure this one isn’t a descendant of Seiros?”

Byleth gives them a nod as well, another nod of approval. Because clearly she had no idea what that meant for the future.

Was he ever like this? So foolhardy?

“Well-”

“Why, everyone looks like they’re having so much fun!” Mercedes exclaimed, raising her bow and-

No, not this.

“Mercedes,” Mythos called. “Please don’t.”

The bow stops mere breaths before it could collide with her right knee.

“Felix and Dimitri look like they’re having so much fun, I just couldn’t help myself,” Mercedes explained, holding her bow steady, thank Sothis, and her other hand under her chin.

‘Fun’ wouldn’t be how Mythos would describe the sight of Felix and Dimitri pummeling Hubert with just their fists as the other noble screeched like a dying bird but to each their own. It really was amazing, though, how synchronized their punches were.

It was a wonder how quickly some bond over their stupidity.

(It was what happened in the future. The four of them, always together through thick and thin.

They bonded over their inanity and their goal to turn Byleth’s hair to white.

-And the war, nothing could bind people more than surviving through a war together.)

“I need support,” Mythos said, before pausing. “Actual, armed support.”

Mercedes’ stubbornness seems to fade away when turning around to face Mythos, perhaps being able to sense his desperation.

She was like this, back during the war as well, as tough as she might’ve grown her will always falter when seeing how frayed Byleth was. It made Byleth feel even worse, to see how he always burdened her with his weaknesses and faults.

Never again, gods do not have weaknesses. They don’t need to rely on their students- to burden their students with war when they can end it themselves.

Mercedes draws her bow and shoots, a direct shot towards Hubert. The noble who was already downed from being beaten with a sliver of his dignity left from Felix and Dimitri. The idiotic duo who was already moving towards their next target. He winces seeing Petra draw her sword menacingly and wonders if they’ll actually die before they can descend upon her.

He ducks as Lorenz swings towards his head, he uses his right hand to push the noble before using the hilt of his sword to aim a direct hit towards the center of the boy’s torso. Lorenz letting out a gasp of pain as he falters, his grip shaking.

He sees Raphael charges towards him at the sound of his friend’s distress, his fists drawn and ready to be unleashed on the unfortunate target- namely him. He pivots away from another arrow from Claude as he uses the momentum to swing the blunt side of his sword at Raphael, who falls at the hit.

It was to be expected. A hit from a god, even half of one, was enough to cause considerable pain. Let alone to a child, no matter how tough the child is.

Though he did not want to seriously harm them, considering the fact that his sword was a very real and very sharp thing.

Maybe Felix had the right idea to bring a training sword. Even if his reason was nowhere as reasonable.

An idea flashed through his head as he moves towards Raphael and grabs one of the boy’s legs. He can hear the visible confusing from the Golden Deer as he prepares himself, his grip tightening, ensuring that Raphael’s leg was well within his hand.

He can see Hilda lurking a few paces behind Lorenz and hums.

“I apologize,” he said before drawing his arm back. Raphael moving with it, the strain of his weight barely felt by Mythos.

“Huh?” Was all Raphael could say before he was flying through the air, catapulted from Mythos’ grip, hearing him scream and Lorenzo screech, akin to Ferdinand earlier, except his situation was nowhere near as painful.

“Are you really going to do this?” Hilda yelled. “To a dainty girl like me?”

Dainty, yeah right.

A crash resounded through the field as both screaming and screeching stopped.

Claude stared at him and he stares back. Claude looks beyond to the other battlefield where Edelgard readies her axe while Dimitri and Felix advance with their fists. Petra and Bernadetta lie defeated, all with an arrow to their back as Mercedes trails behind her two classmates.

Byleth sits atop Hubert and Ferdinand looking like a royal on her throne of two incapacitated students, staring ahead towards her student and occasionally jabbing the two students beneath her to ensure that they wouldn’t escape.

“I always knew there was something wrong with those blue bastards,” he mumbled. Making eye contact with Mythos before breaking out in nervous laughter.

“Dimitri must be glad to have such a…” he trailed off looking at the bodies of his unconscious classmates, all piled atop each other. “Like-minded classmate.”

“Like-minded? They’re lunatics, Claude!” Lysithea shouted.

“Lunatics that are about to beat us, Lysithea, a mage-in-training with only two spells left and the poor archer on a limited supply of poisoned arrows, so I would appreciate it if you’d let me do the talking,” Claude hissed. “Unless you want to become the next Raphael.”

Where was Manuela?

Lysithea fumbles for words for a moment before regaining her speech.

Ah, their teacher was attempting to duel Hannerman, that explains it.

“Well, I supposed if it means saving your hide I’ll be quiet,” Lysithea relented. “Just this once.”

“Why thank you, princess,” Claude snarked. Riling Lysithea up, knowing fully well she’d never be able to voice her dissent with the way her eyes were fixed on Raphael.

“Lunatic,” Mythos repeated, tethering on a grin.

“Lunatic as a compliment,” Claude noted, his grin staying strong.

“Lunatic? A compliment?” Mythos drawled.

“Yes, just shows how… powerful you are,” Claude answered.

Mythos scoffed, dashing towards Claude instead of replying.

“Okay,” Claude mumbled. “Guess we’re fighting then.”

Claude attempts one last shot at Mythos before bracing his bow upwards to defend against the blade that came crashing down moments later.

“No time for a chat?” Claude gritted out, arms shaking with the weight of Mythos’ attack. The other holding back in fear of accidentally killing Claude if he so much as put too much weight in. Mythos kicks at Claude’s knee instead, bringing the alpha to fall forward on one knee, his arms still trying to hold off the blade.

Mythos hears a chant behind him and turns around sparking his own magic in time to have his own spell collide with the Miasma that came from Lysithea who had somehow snuck behind him during his and Claude’s encounter.

“Ah, I guess that wasn’t enough after all,” Claude noted, gently lowering his bow and raising his hands in a gesture of surrender. He hears another roar of magic behind him and turns to return in kind.

“But maybe this is!” Claude announced and Mythos feels a piercing pain on his arm, looking back to see an arrow stabbed through his arm. A brief shiver of fear washes over him before he remembers that Claude’s poison wasn’t lethal- not yet.

“It’s a quick-acting poison,” Claude said helpfully, still kneeling. “Not particularly lethal, but it should be enough to paralyze you for the rest of the battle.”

Mythos moves his hand, unable to feel any numbness or anything really.

“Did you really think that a mere paralytic poison would affect me?”

Ah, that’s right. Mythos wasn’t human, at least not fully.

Mythos removes the arrow from his arm, throwing it onto the ground. Before introducing the hilt of his sword to Claude’s smug face.

“Any minute now,” Claude hissed through the pain. Mythos huffs and grabs Claude by his collar, moving towards Lysithea who pales with every step he takes. He drops Claude right next to the beta, watching as she gulps.

“That’ll be three months of cakes,” Mythos noted, before placing himself on top of Claude. "Don’t move either.”

“So… you… did know… him,” Claude gritted out. Huffing for air as he endures the weight of a grown man atop him. Mythos didn’t feel any sympathy for him though, not when he sees how Hilda lays defeated, buried under two unconscious classmates, having given up on escaping in this lifetime.

Her eyes are empty and her will dead.

Lysithea plops beside him, saying nary a word of complaint, which Mythos appreciates very much. Not when Claude was mouthing off to him despite everything about his current situation telling him not to.

“Can’t you… at least… let up a little?” Claude whined and Mythos pushes down on him even harder as punishment.

He looks to Manuela, who was returning from her duel with Hannerman, to find her shaking her head and raising her hands in surrender. Clearly not willing to be thrown like a cannonball today.

The battle with the Black Eagles draws to a close as well as Dimitri and Felix stands victorious, slashes and cuts present on their faces and fists. Edelgard’s axe somehow lays broken during the exchange and he wondered which idiot’s head broke it.

Mercedes was trying her best, placing her hand on them both as she heals them at the same time. It was a slow thing. Unlike the past where, in just mere moments, Mercedes could cover a handful of wounded soldiers in her faith. Sometimes healing them before the pain could even register.

He hears a horn in the distance as the battle is announced a win for the Blue Lions. Rhea claps from where she stood and Seteth gives him a complicated gaze- a mix of anger and pride. Not unusual on the god, if Mythos were to be honest.

He stands up from his seat. Seeing Claude struggling to stand and Lysithea attempting to help him up, but both struggling in their weakened state. Not to mention that neither of them knew a smidgen about healing magic.

Mythos places a hand on Claude’s and Lysithea’s shoulder feeling as his faith sparks, his hand glowing as he channels them and spreading to Claude and Lysithea. The wounds heal relatively quickly. Sothis’ faith was strong and bright, fitting like that of a goddess. It was impressive how strong it was, despite it not being her strength.

“Of course, who do you think healed Seiros and Cichol when Maculi was too stubborn to?”

Cethlaine?

“Oh, of course, she would heal her father when needed, but she always did answer to her grandmother first. Even Cichol’s pleading can’t persuade her if her grandmother says no.”

Being betrayed by one’s daughter, how tragic.

“To think that healing is one of your talents as well,” Claude remarked, finally being able to stand up as weary as his eyes are. “I suppose that’s just another one of your charms.”

“Charm? Did you forget what he did to Raphael earlier? To you?”

“It’s such a shame for a talented guy like you to be in the Blue Lions,” Claude continued, ignoring Lysithea’s insult. “Won’t you consider joining the Golden Deer? We have much more… rational students, not to mention me.”

Claude winks, utterly shameless.

“Didn’t he try to flirt with you during the war as well?”

Mythos couldn’t deny the statement about his- Byleth’s student, not his- intelligence.

“Trying to poach our new student as well?” Dimitri asked, shaking his head in faux disappointment. “Desperation is not a good look on you, Claude.”

“Neither is jealousy, Your Highness,” Claude retorted, another arrow ready to be deployed.

When did he-

“J- jealousy? You, always with your ridiculous accusations,” Dimitri scolded, his cheeks were red.

The rest of the Blue Lions approaches them.

“Did you get wounded earlier? I could heal that for you,” Mercedes offered, holding her hand out towards him.

He lifts his arm only to find smooth skin where the arrow had once been.

“Oh, you already healed it?”

He nods, lying to her like the liar that he is.

“Oh, did you? Huh, I certainly didn’t see it, but what do I know,” Claude remarked and shrugs. Mythos wonders if he should’ve punched the boy unconscious while he was at it.

“Not to mention how my poison didn’t work on you at all, it almost makes me wonder.”

Wonders if he can punch him now and just get it over with.

“Maybe your poison is just defective,” Dimitri accused, moving closer towards Mythos.

Claude draws his bow back and landed his arrow onto Edelgard’s back and they all watches as the future empress falls down. Her limbs seemingly giving out on her.

Hubert lets out a screech, it was a high pitched thing. More likely to come out of Bernadetta, but even then it was a stretch with how inhumane it was.

“Defective, you say, such lies,” Claude taunted. “I think your friend is the only off factor here.”

“It matters not now.” Dimitri shakes his head and grabs Mythos’ wrist. The blonde was certainly strong, but his strength was nowhere near Byleth’s Dimitri. Mythos relents, though, letting the alpha pull him away.

His hands were- are warm, Mythos thinks.

“Where are you taking me?”

“Away,” Dimitri replied, smiling back at him.

Mythos sees a ghost- remembers when a man, the ghost, the ghost with one lone eye and dull blond hair. Remembers hearing once, “when this war is over, let’s go together.”

He remembers Byleth asking where, to where they could go to escape the shadows of war.

He remembers the man, the ghost, the fictional dead man says, “Away.”

“Alright.”

 

-

 

“Hey, Felix you did great today!” Sylvain complimented. A hug which was soon followed by an ‘ouch’ as he was pushed away.

Felix’s cheeks were red and Mythos suddenly remembers that this was during that phase.

He pities the two of them, really.

He takes another sip of water, hearing as Felix says: “it was nothing. Just shows you how my training has been paying off, unlike you.”

Mythos was certain that Felix’s training regime didn’t include pummeling a training dummy to death. Felix’s knuckles were still wrapped in bandages with a stern reminder from Manuela to not put it through any more damage for the rest of the week.

“Mythos did most of the work, you know,” Mercedes noted and Mythos watches with detachment as the peace crumbles and cracks before his very eyes.

“What did you-”

“In fact, you and Dimitri were working together, so I don’t think it’s fair for you to claim all the credit.”

The table shakes.

“Well, now, Mercedes. Felix did contribute quite a lot, so it is only natural that he-”

“Shut the fuck up, boar!” Felix yelled, slamming his fist onto the table, making a few goblets fall over. “I don’t need a beast to defend me.”

Mythos rises, attempting to leave but then seeing Byleth leaving at that moment, making eye contact with Mythos as she did so and Mythos glares back at her. Staying rooted on his seat out of pure spite.

“You don’t need to defend him, Dimitri, Felix was clearly wrong,” Ingrid interrupted. Felix flies over the table at this exact moment, causing a few more delectable dishes to fall to the ground.

Sylvain grabs the enraged swordsman around his waist, trying his best to hold back the raging beast back.

It was obvious that he was going to fail, but no one else tried to help as Ashe began to slowly collect his dishes and standing up.

“Come on now, Felix, it was just jest, Ingrid was just joking, right?” Sylvain looks to Ingrid for confirmation. His eyes were screaming for help. A dying man trying to plead for the healer to help him.

“No,” Ingrid said.

Felix eventually goes flying as Sylvain’s grip grows weak, charging face-first into Dimitri. The two nobles fumbling to the ground and a tussle began.

Ashe had already evacuated by then and Mythos somewhat envies him.

Mythos sighs, picking himself up and planning on vacating the area. A hand pulls him back. “You aren’t planning on retreating, are you?”

Ah, Mercedes, why.

She gestures towards the fight and he wonders if she wanted him to die.

“You were so brave, taking on the Golden Deers alone like that, surely you wouldn’t mind a repeat performance?”

That was not the point but Mercedes’ question wasn’t a request either.

It was a demand.

Mythos picks up Felix from his collar, reminiscent of Claude and holds him there.

“What is this,” Felix demanded, it wasn’t very threatening considering the fact that he was hanging from Mythos’ hand and limbs flying in an effort to escape.

“Fight later,” Mythos said and places Felix back into his seat. The alpha still looks on the verge of murder, but perhaps the humiliation from earlier restrains him.

“Hey, would you teach me how to do that?” Sylvain asked. "It certainly would help for the future peace of our class.”

Mythos assesses Sylvain’s arms, thinking of him now and Byleth’s Sylvain.

He nods. “Tomorrow, meet me at the training ground after class.”

“Wait- wait, that was a joke,” Sylvain explained.

“You have the potential.”

“Wait- no, I have a-”

“You have nothing, mutt,” Felix interrupted. “I will ensure that you will be there, since you want to maintain the peace so much.”

“Perhaps I would do well from such lessons as well,” Dimitri notes, a lovely smile full on his lips. “I must also thank you for helping me.”

Mythos shakes his head, finding his brain strangely empty.

“I’ve never seen a brain so filled with one man.”

Well, maybe not completely empty.

“I would be glad to train you,” Mythos answered, a smile playing on his lips. “Although I think it would do well for you to learn how to fight with an actual weapon.”

Dimitri blushes then, laughing nervously.

“You fought well, though, all considered.”

“Did you forget how stupid you thought he was?”

Dimitri turns even more colorful and Mythos laughs.

Chapter Text

“Are you unhurt?” Rhea asked. Looking like the unflappable archbishop aside from a slight tremor of her pupils that betrays her anxiety.

Mythos nods, taking another sip of the warm tea. Four Saints again, today. “I have no injuries.”

“Are you sure? I can’t believe that the heir of Riegan would employ such… dirty tactics,” Rhea andmonished, quiet anger in her voice. The type that would be so easy to spark into a blaze with little effort. Rhea already knows that such poison wouldn’t affect a descendant of Sothis, this he understands, but her anger is vengeful still. Threatening to blaze and burn anything that threatens the last remnants of her mother.

“I am fine, what Claude did was reasonable. Clever, even. Regardless, the poison was harmless,” Mythos replies, taking another sip. It was a bit more bitter today. He wonders if Seteth was the one who prepared it instead. The man certainly hates sugar, for reasons unknown.

“Yes, he should’ve learned to not turn away from an opponent,” Seteth affirmed, a sour glare is directed at Mythos. The omega pretends not to notice. “One should know that brute strength is not the answer to everything.”

Mythos shrugs. “I find that brute force solves most things. In fact, it won the Blue Lions the battle.”

Seteth purses his lips. Fingers twitching as though he wanted to strangle Mythos. It was a gesture he had done many times as Byleth when seeing his students and their foolish thoughts.

“Those were… unique circumstances.” Seteth’s scent was not changing, not souring like it would if he were truly annoyed so Mythos ignores him.

“I must agree, Mythos, brute strength and bare fists are not the way to battle,” Rhea chimed in. Mythos wasn’t the one that fought with his bare fists, so her point was moot. He also didn’t think that Seiros was really the right person to be chiding him about his, and Byleth’s students, actions when she was even wilder in her youth. He didn’t feel like arguing though. Knowing that they wouldn’t be keen on stepping down on their stance, not now.

“Sothis says not to worry, after all, your ancestors did the same thing,” he says evenly. Rhea’s unpleasant mood fades away at the name of her mother. Beautiful lights shining in her eyes and her lips curving upwards in a cheery smile.

“Oh, is that so?”

Seteth pauses for a moment, truly digesting Mythos’ words. It must’ve registered soon enough as the man turns stiff, akin to a stone statue. His face becoming pale as he seems to recognize the gravity of the matter.

“She- she remembers?”

“Of course! What kind of pack head would you take me for?”

Mythos nods. Pouring himself another cup of tea. Watching as Seteth pales even more.

Mythos wouldn’t blame the alpha.

“What did she say?” Rhea asked, still delighted. Perhaps not understanding, or maybe not caring about her mother’s slanders.

“She says that Cichol fell off a wyvern the first time he tried to ride one,” he recounted. Rhea laughs then, it was a rough thing. Utterly unladylike and so very like the woman she used to be.

“Oh yes, of course, she would remember that,” Rhea said, and Mythos can see how she forgot who is she- who she is supposed to be- and he can understand how easy it is to do so.

“Did you now, brother,” a soft voice said. Light giggles fill the air as Flayn steps into the room. Her young face glowed just as Seteth’s dim. Her hair and clothes were immaculate as usual, and her steps light. Walking with the grace befitting that of a goddess who had lived for decades. Her scent was one of the oceans, all-encompassing and tranquil. Holding hidden danger beneath its surface, matching her alpha status.

Was he the only omega in this ‘family?’

“Don’t forget me! And Maculi!”

“F- Flayn! What are you doing here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Flayn retorted, cheeks puffing and hands placed on her hips. “I’m here to see our relative.”

Seteth fumbles, hands reaching out in an effort to calm her. But that only seems to make anger increase. Her fists were at the ready and he could almost see the slight light that gathers around her hand.

“Hello,” Mythos greeted, nodding his head slightly. Hopefully distracting Flayn from her crusade against her father.

She turns around quickly, the deadly shimmer disappearing just as easily as it was created, her bright eyes were set on him once more. They remind him of the lakes by the south. Clear beautiful things, that had a light green shine to them if the light hit at just the right angle.

“You must be Mythos!” Flayn said, her anger gone, replaced with a cheery smile that brightens the room.

“Ah, my Cethleann, how I miss you so.”

He nods, finding it odd for her to stare down at him now, it made him feel weaker somehow. Feeling as though she was trying to assert her alpha status over him even if she was doing anything but. A moment passes where he wonders if he should stand from his seat, to draw his cloak closer around him and bind the ribbon around his neck even tighter still.

A quick check and her sea green eyes were still set on him, staring in curiosity and fascination. Yet there was something fragile that lurks within them, and Mythos suddenly remembers that she, too, lost her grandmother

Lost, is this what this family is bound by? What they are forged by?

“Can… may I take your hood down?” she asked, tone still light and yet her lips were already quivering.

Even Rhea hadn’t asked him to show his face after their initial meeting. Neither asking to see his face nor his scent. It was an unexpected kindness from a woman who he thought would be too desperate to care.

He grips around his hood, his fingers twitching as his mind rages against itself. He doesn’t want to take his hood down, not when the only thing that will be greeting him is bright green hair and bestial pupils. Not when his fingers are claws and his ears are just as sharp. When his scent is sweet and young, an omega’s scent. Yet-

Was this really a request at all?

Flayn wasn’t really asking, not to him. With the way her lips quiver and her pupils shake as though she was trying to see behind his hood to the woman who should be there. Her fingers are trembling with every breath she takes. Was this really a request?

Flayn- Cethlaine had lost her grandmother along with her own mother. She was wrecked with grief, this he knew, and she is still mourning. Her heart is aching and- and Mythos can see Byleth how he would act if he could just see a remnant of Jeralt- his Jeralt. And how Byleth wouldn’t spare the courtesy of asking to see. Now, would it be so hard for him to just remove his hood and grit his teeth?

So he did.

The heat seems to die down as his face was finally released from the stuffiness of the hood. The chill air hits his face and he feels bare. His fingers shaking as he reaches for his ribbon, fingers fumbling- claws scratching- as he untangles it. The bell lets out a muffled chime as it hits his lap, being cushioned in the cloak as he grips it. His scent finally being let out once more and it was suffocating him.

It was an earthy scent, like that of nature- what else should he have expected?- earthy and warm, comforting in how encompassing it was. Like the way the sun would warm one up and the trees would provide shade in hellish heat- the kind of warmth and harmony that comes with nature. There was something that set it apart, a slight hint of divinity that comes with being merged with a goddess.

There was a slight tang to it as well, a slight sweetness that labeled him as an omega instead of an alpha.

In another life- his previous one, Byleth’s life- perhaps he would have appreciated it. It was a good scent, a comforting scent. For an omega.

“Blessed,” some would’ve told him. One of those blessed omegas that his father’s mercenary would talk about, the kind that would appear and alphas would swarm around, trying to compete- trying to fight on who would get to claim the bitch. The kind with scent so divine- ha- that alphas would be willing to bond with, to mate. The kind that alphas would clamor to claim and have pups with.

But that was not him.

He was the other type, male and barren, kept as a trophy and paraded around like one. The ones that are talked about by young alphas in loud voices and mocking tones in their circles around the campfire. Easily wanted as they are discarded.

He was one of those omegas now.

He wants to clamp down on his scent again, let his magic and the seal on his ribbon muffled his damning scent. He can smell how tantalizing it is, reaching out trying to fill the rest of the room from being suppressed, even for a short time.

It made him feel weak, wants to bare his neck and submit.

He knows that the alphas surrounding him won’t have the urged to bite, claim, and mate- being family does that to one’s sex drive, but it still made him feel bare and weak. Like an omega of the night (whores and bitches, the mercenaries should say, inviting him to join them in their crusade to the red light district. He never did, blood to cold and heart too slow to feel lust. But it was always tempting, a what-if, a maybe: “if I do this then I can be normal.”) Omegas with their miserable eyes and marred glands, with teasing smiles painted on like porcelain dolls.

His fingers clamp around the ribbon and the bell almost cracks. His knees are weak and his scent is overpowering and he wants to-

Flayn collapses into his arms.

“I can’t believe it!” she gasped. Her eyes misty and so, so bright. Her scent is calming and it washes over him in soft waves and he feels his own returning in kind. Now that he can refocus he can feel Seteth’s hand on is shoulder and Rhea by his side. The scent of the sky, windy and harsh- Seteth’s, Cichol’s scent- is more lax now, like a passing breeze on a harsh summer. While Rhea’s scent, one that was usually masked in incense and herbs now screamed of fire and blood. It should’ve been a disgusting stench, but whether due to him or Sothis it was more comforting instead-

It felt like protection. And he- he doesn’t know-

“I never thought I would…” Flayn mumbled and sinks into his shoulder just like Rhea had.

“Cethleann was always a weak one, she never had any love for violence. It is a tragic thing, that, to be a goddess and fear the sight of blood. She would always crawl into my arms at night after every battle, you know, thinking I was asleep.”

“You really are her descendant,” Flayn said, lifting her head from his shoulder. He had never seen her smile like this before, unburdened and wide. A smile that fits her childish face.

Sothis hadn’t seen this smile before, in a long time, decades, maybe centuries. This he knows as well.

Knows how she had missed this smile.

“Cethleann,” Sothis says, something dark and heavy in her voice. “She was never suited to be a god. You and I both know a god’s life is wracked with violence and blood. Gods are made from chaos and war, that is the heart of the matter.”

Gods are born through battle, Seiros was born through the enemies she slew with her blade in her golden armor and Seteth was forged through the blood that splattered on his skin as he would descend on man and god alike with his nightmarish wyvern.

Mythos was born through fire and war, came alive through death and a man’s last regrets. Half of a god but created by violence and blood all the same.

“She should’ve been born a mortal, I told her once, it was true. She would be happier if she was, but she cried and I never knew why. I still don’t know why.”

Regret. He knows this feeling intimately, it sleeps in his bed and walks alongside him, knows it when he looks into his- Byleth’s- students eyes to find nothing but war and wrath raging inside them, witnesses the destruction and corpses that pile around the battlefield- students that he failed, that even with time on his side he couldn’t save.

Gods do not forget, and Sothis’ regrets will stay with her until the day she fades away.

Rhea’s hand tightens around his and fire envelops them both as he coaxes him, her fingers intertwining with his.

“Flayn,” Seteth warned. “Please do be courteous with Mythos, he currently lacks his memory and the lost is seemingly more than we thought.”

Seteth’s fingers are warm, he thinks distantly, mind a thousand worlds from his body. Warm, unlike the winds that Cichol reign over.

“I am so sorry!” Flayn said, rushing to get herself detached from Mythos. He grabs her arm instead. His body’s instincts screaming, stay.

It screams, family.

And Mythos wants to hate.

Instead he grabs her arm, pulling her closer to him and sinks his nose into her shoulder, the farthest he could get from her gland. He grits his teeth and places himself there, like a statue as he breathes in.

“Her scent used to be like the rain… gentle and flighty. Weak, I called it. It was, for a god,” Sothis said, her voice is also distant. “Now it is like the ocean I told her so often to be, strong and immovable, a catastrophe if it angers. A wily thing, filled with turmoil and danger. What a god should be.”

“Do not worry, Mythos,” Seiros comforted, her hand just as warm as the blazing fire she adores. “Sothis will guide you through this.”

It was always Sothis with her, this he knows- he understands and doesn’t care, not anymore, and yet the omega part of him- weak, pathetic- hates it. He doesn’t want Seiros to think of any other omega, not when he is the only kin she should care about now.

“Yet- and yet-” Sothis stuttered, her voice choking, something terrible raging inside of her.

It craves for something else, too, a familiar scent that is now lost. One filled with firewood and late nights under starry skies- Jeralt- it wants its father back and-

It craves for the smell of chamomile and soft snow to comfort it, smothers it, and Mythos hates it.

“I think I miss the serenity of the rain.”

Chapter Text

“I’ll be leaving,” Mythos announced. Rigidly standing up from the cushioned seat, letting Flayn go- something that made the omega inside him keens, his scent turning bitter in turn, but Mythos ignores it. Pretending that he was still an alpha instead, angry and revolted at the scent of an unfamiliar alpha.

Flayn falters backward, staring up at him with her bright (it was the same as his- neon and unnatural) eyes. A flush to her cheeks and a frown pulling on her lips.

“Is everything alright?” she asked, lightly- like he was fragile, something to be cooed over and treated like glass, like he was an omega- her lips slightly pulling downwards.

He tightens the ribbon around his neck, around his gland and its accursed scent, as he reactivates the seal and feels his limbs relax mildly when the suffocating scent begins to dissipate. Feel something inside him roar as it is shackled and suppressed, hopefully forever this time. Then finally, he pulls back his hood and feels as though everything is right when his hair- Sothis’, a God’s hair, not meant for humans- disappears under it. “Yes.”

Her hands reach out, as though wanting to pull the hood back before it drops, rather abruptly. “Are you sure?”

Yes, yes, yes, I’m fine, he wants to snap. Why wouldn’t I be? I have a chance to save everyone now, so why wouldn’t I be fine?

He nods, eyes falling to the ground as he marches away.

“You don’t have to be fine,” Sothis argued.

I have to be, to save them.

Sothis had no replies to that.


He rushes outside the monastery, eager to- to do what he didn’t know but it was at least away from the stifling atmosphere.

Or at least, that was the plan.

“Where are you going?”

He recognizes this voice, had heard it before. Except it was never this mild, always commanding or shouting. As a commander in a war should.

“Ferdinand,” he said in lieu of a greeting.

His hair is short and his eyes bright, Mythos thinks. When was the last time I’d seen him like that?

“Professor,” the man says. “Do you remember my name?”

“Yes, I am Ferdinand von Aegir, although I do not recall ever introducing myself,” Ferdinands, says. Voice mild- unlike what would become, sour and sharp as he commands and shouts for all the lives that Byleth took.

“Of course,” he answers, raising his sword, feeling it roar with him.

“Your reputation precedes you,” Mythos answers, seeing a taller man in Ferdinand’s place. One with flowing hair and molten eyes. With anger and hatred in his stance and lance set to kill.

“That is only good manners,” the man, lance in hand and wrath on his sleeves, retorts. “To know the name of the man who is going to kill you, Professor.”

“Oh? Uh, well, that is- is nice,” Ferdinand mumbled, flushed and grin rising. His gloved hands coming to cover his widening lips.

“Let this be the day in history when Ferdinand von Aegir slays the terrible Ashen Demon,” the man- Ferdinand exclaims. Fake smile finally torn from his lips as he charges, lance rising and locking onto Byleth’s figure. Cloak billowing behind him as his troops roar and Byleth’s blade flash crimson.

“Well, I am Ferdinand von Aegir, and I’m afraid you’ve caught me by surprise, stranger,” Ferdinand remarked, blush settling but there was a pleased air about him.

“Professor, you- you really are a demon,” the man whispers, holding his torso. A hint of cheer in his dead- dead why are they so empty?- eyes.

“I-” Mythos stammers, seeing a man with flowing hair and bloody lance awaiting him.

“Professor-” the man- boy- Sothis, he was so young- whimpers, falling off his horse as the thing whines. “Professor- why- why didn’t you-”

“My name is-”

“Professor- no Byleth,” the boy says, his grip on Byleth’s hand loosening and his eyes glazed. “Please, if you truly had thought of me as your student at all, please-”

“My name is Mythos,” he answered and the name feels dirty.

“Please, slander- slander me all you want, but please, say that I was at least noble in my last breaths, that I was an alpha-” Ferdinand says, tethering on a whisper as he desperately clasps at Byleth’s hand. “Please, Byleth, I beg of you.”

“I promise.”

“You swear- swear it on your- your name?” Ferdinand asks, the last visage of a great noble falling apart in front of Byleth.

The scent of cherries and blood fills the air as Ferdinand’s scent suffocates him. Omegan and weak.

“Yes, so rest now, you have died a noble death, died a death worthy of an alpha,” Byleth lies. Ferdinand gasps, perhaps that was meant to be laughter or anguish, Byleth will never know as Ferdinand’s hands drop and his lance falls.

“My name is Mythos,” he repeats. Ferdinand smiles, but the man- boy, so young when he passed, so young when Byleth- him, killed him- behind him frowns. Warm, Mythos suddenly thinks. His body was so warm when he died.

“That is a splendid name,” Ferdinand noted. “Almost, noble-like.”

“I am not a noble,” he denied. Cloaked pulled downwards. Ready to run.

“Well, Lady Rhea must’ve let you in for a reason. I am quite interested in knowing more, over tea if you are free.”

“Maybe another time.” Mythos gives a quick salute and leaves. The boy with blazing eyes and bleeding torso frowns.


The training ground is peaceful.

Or was anyways as Mythos palms his forehead at the rowdy bunch of idiots in front of him.

Felix shoves Sylvain forward, gesturing towards Sylvain as though saying, ‘here he is, now where are the blades?’

“What is this?” he asked.

“It’s time for you to beat the shit of out this horndog and show him what a fucking weakling he is and-”

“Training!” Dimitri interrupted, hands placed on Felix’s shoulder.

“Interrupting Felix was quite rude, you know,” Mercedes said, basket in hand.

“Mercedes, I-”

“Yeah, Dimitri, listen to Mercie,” Annette interrupted. Cheeks puffed the picture of righteousness aside from the fact that she also interrupted Dimitri. “Besides, Felix is right.”

“Huh? Annette, what did you-”

“Of course I’m right,” Felix said, interrupting Sylvain. Already grabbing a training sword.

“Felix, don’t be rude either,” Mercedes scolded gently. “Sometimes I swear you and Dimitri are so alike.”

Truly merciless, that was the Mercedes he knew.

“What did you say?” Felix asked, his training sword suddenly looks very sharp. “Is that an offer to be my first training partner?”

“Well, no,” Mercedes denied. “But I wouldn’t mind practicing my faith on you when you lose.”

“You fucking bitch,” Felix snapped, running towards Mercedes.

“My, my, such crude language,” Mercedes remarked. The air warming as Mercedes raises her hands, despite the fact that she should only have learned reason yesterday, fire sparking at her fingertips.

Always a penchant with fire.

Fire surrounds him, grasping for him as he tries to reach for her hand.

She lays, unmoving. Flames surround her figure- an unholy casket, as she smiles with blood on her lips.

“There you are, Professor,” she croons.

Mythos pushes himself off the wall, not willing to deal with another fight.

“Where is Byleth?” he asked. Placing himself between the raging bull and the china shop, unsure of which is which.

Dimitri glances at him, something like confusion and contemplation. “You mean our Professor?”

“Yes, her,” Mythos affirmed. “Our… Professor.”

It was strange to call her Byleth, when he had worn the same name for years. Had known the man that had worn that name before his death and Mythos’ birth.

It was stranger still to have to call her “Professor.”

(Not that he was fit to be called “professor” either, after having failed so many of them.)

“Oh, you must not have known,” Mercedes said. Fire doused from her hands and placed gently over the basket once more. “Today is Professor’s fishing day.”

So it has begun, his alternate’s version love of fishing had finally come into fruition.

“Very well,” Mythos said. “Let’s begin with a few laps around the monastery.”

Some of his students, by some he meant those who weren’t Felix or Dedue, groaned.

“If I catch you, you’ll be running an extra lap,” Mythos continued, seeing his students- classmates, they were Byleth’s students not his- never his-

“Mythos, they might not be your students now, but-” Sothis begins, her words meant to be soothing and comforting. Yet, her turmoil is obvious even to him.

It is a good thing, that they are not his students. Lest they end up with the same fate.

“Stop this, Mythos. You- you- we will talk about this later,” Sothis warned, fading from his mind.

“Mythos?” Oh, he was staring into nothingness when speaking to Sothis. It was no wonder that they thought him odd.

He shakes his head, dismissing their stares. He takes up a training lance. “Run.”

They meander for a few moments, looking between him and the lance. He swings the lance, missing Sylvain’s hair by a few breaths. “Run.”

They do.


At the end of the run, he had caught up to all of his students. Which was to be expected, he was half a deity while they were fully mortal. But that didn’t stop him from making them run extra laps. He had slightly slowed down his pace after the third extra run.

“How… how the hell are… you still standing?” Sylvain gasped, already collapsed to the ground. His hands on his forehead as he squints at Mythos. Sweat and dirt accumulated on his face from how he tried to rub the sweat away, but Sylvain didn’t seem to care anymore.

“I agree, that was quite a run,” Dimitri agreed faintly. Leaning against the wall, partially covered by shade. His face was flushed and out of breath, his alpha scent, along with all of Mythos’ other classmates becomes starker in the training ground as they heaved. “Though, after your display yesterday, I ought to have expected this.”

“I have a special constitution,” Mythos explained, putting the training lance back to where it belongs. There were several sighs of relief. “But I can assure you, that was quite a run, even for me.”

That was a lie. But they didn’t know that.

“Or so you say,” Felix drawled from next to Sylvain, sitting with legs crossed and hands placed on the ground with his back hunched.

Maybe they did know that.

“What would give you that impression?” Mythos turns around, smoothing over his hood and tucking the stray strands of hair back under its cover.

Felix gestures towards him. “Your fucking everything.”

He was none too subtly kicked by Ingrid who laid a few paces away. Hair spread on the ground and uniform smeared in dirt. “That’s rude, Felix.”

Felix scoffs. “You’re telling me you’re not thinking the same thing?”

Ingrid, who would’ve backed him up once, ponders the question. Eyes blankly staring into the cloudy sky above them.

“Even so.”

“I fucking knew it.”

“You know,” Mercedes spoke from behind him. Picking up the basket of sweets that had fallen earlier from he running, her hair wild and bow skewed. “It is quite odd that even now, after a run like that, I truly cannot smell your scent.”

“Oh, is that so?”

“Yes, it is as though there is a… void around you,” Mercedes affirmed hands moving haphazardly, trying to demonstrate. “It is most unusual.”

The rest of the class murmur in agreement, their volume depended on how much strength they had left- which meant that approximately half the class were mute and only nodded their head.

“Even your hair,” Mercedes continued, like a boulder rolling downhill- unable to stop even if she wishes to.

“Yeah, it reminds me of Lady Rhea!” Annette added, her head on Mercedes’ shoulder as she leans against the healer. “Ohh, or maybe Seteth! Or even Flayn!”

“It really makes one wonder,” Sylvain commented, his hands now cushioning his head from the hard ground but not looking as though he is to stand up any time soon. “Hey, did you know that some speculated that you were Lady Rhea’s long lost son? Or even her brother born out of an affair?”

It was to be expected, really, with how much nobles can gossip.

“Interesting,” Mythos noted, half scathing and half intrigued.

“So?”

Mythos knew where Sylvain was going. Nobles, especially Sylvain, were really too curious for their own good.

“So what?”

Sylvain rolls his eyes, pushing himself into a sitting position. “Is it true?”

Mythos glances towards the dark-haired alpha sitting next to Sylvain, perhaps waiting for Felix to interrupt Sylvain due to being annoyed by his noisiness, and instead found that Felix was also intrigued.

What happened to power is the only thing that’s important?

Looking to Dimitri for help wasn’t going to be an option either, with the way that the blond was studying him intently. Really, was his hair that odd?

Not even a moment later Mythos feels like a fool for even thinking of such a question.

Dimitri was one of the few who had seen Mythos’ full appearance and it would take a miracle for the boy to not be curious. And if there was anyone noisier than Sylvain at this moment it would be Dimitri.

(It would actually be Claude, but the heir is not here and not interrogating Mythos so he was a moot point.)

“Of course it’s false,” Mythos lied. There was a strange easiness about it, the way it slithers out of his tongue.

Mythos wonders when lying came so easily.

“What about your scent then, come on, not even a hint?” Sylvain fished, exaggerated eyes and coy lips.

Annoying, Mythos thinks. But the way his lips twitches betrays his amusement.

It was easy, just like this, to see the boy that this Sylvain is and not the monster that his Sylvain became. Where gossip were mere idle hobbies and interrogations did not involve violence or blood.

Sylvain would be great at drawing out information in the future, with his sharp words and cruel hands. With Mercedes’ knowledge and faith by his side, they were a dangerous combination. Of carrot and stick, healing and torture.

“It’s easy,” Sylvain says one morning, eyes dull and specks of blood dotting his cheeks and hands like constellations. “To break their bones and crush their organs. But to break their will? Now, that’s fun.”

His grin spoke of despair and bitterness, there was no “fun” there. Byleth wonders when is it that his students have become such good liars, even to themselves.

“Fun,” Byleth repeats.

“Yeah, fun,” Sylvain affirms and laughs. Byleth cannot hear anything but rage and despair. Smell nothing but the scent of blood and nightshade that had come to replace the camellias and hearth. Byleth turned away from the dead man that was once his student.

What would Felix think of you now? He wondered.

“You’ll have to figure that out yourself,” Mythos answered.

Sylvain whined, his stature deflating as his back once again attempts to merge with the ground now that gossip is no longer within reach.

“So cruel, Mythos, to tempt me like so.” Felix elbows him for that.

“You’re always tempted, mutt,” Felix snapped.

Sylvain laughs. “Yeah, I guess so. Such is the fate of a man who appreciates beauty as much as I.”

“Beauty, my ass.”

“Haha, so cruel Felix.”

As the two became absorbed in their bubble Mythos turns to leave. Mercedes seemingly intercepts him, placing herself in his path with the basket in hand and a smile on her lips.

“Leaving so soon?”

“I’m not in the mood to witness flirting,” he confided, glancing back at the two alphas duking it out once more.

“Ah, perceptive aren’t you,” Mercedes noted, her laughter twinkling like bells. Lovely sound, also lost long ago.

He smiles, a ghost of a smile from ages past. “I don’t need to be perceptive to see that.”

She laughs again, bells and rain. “Yes, I supposed.”

She shoves the basket into his hands, reminiscent of the recent past. “I- what-”

“Consider this a thank you,” she explained, smoothing over her hair. “For taking the time to train us.”

She certainly didn’t seem thankful when she was running, but then ah- wait- he doesn’t recall seeing Mercedes after the first lap.

Little rascal, he thinks.

“If you are truly grateful then do participate next time,” he teased slightly, pushing the basket back to her.

“See, perceptive,” she repeated, giggling. Like bells and soft rainfall.

“Professor!” she yells, rough and broken.

The fire roars around them.

Ah, he can feel the fire on his hands burning them, rushing into his lungs and filling it with nothing but heat-

“You know, if I were to guess I think that you’d be an omega,” Mercedes whispered, leaning into his ear. The words were soft, almost carried away by the wind.

Mythos’s breath catches in his throat.

“But I feel as if you are an alpha as well, odd, isn’t it,” she concluded softly, leaning back to her usual position.

“What a mystery, you are, how delightful!” She smiles. Strawberries and everything sweet fills his nose and he wants to sink into her arms.

Are mysteries really that great? Was it what defined him to her?

“Professor,” she says, her hands burn with the heat of a thousand suns and her eyes breaking like glass. “What a mysterious man you are... ”

Fire roars around them.

Mystery, she had called him. Something distant and far, cold and indecipherable. Something that she cared for but is to be kept at arm's length.

“I must go,” he announced, throat parched and his nape burning.

“Even now…” she gasps, reaching for him. “I still don’t know what you… see me as…”

A breath, fire roaring and-

“Professor… did you care… for… me?”

Fire roars and she spoke no more.

Chapter Text

The dining hall was as rowdy as always, teens and young adults conversing and gossiping about one matter or another.

Yet there were a strange bubble of silence that surrounds one particular table. Where no words were passed and no laughter nor idle gossip to be heard.

Why am I here? Mythos wonders, taking another bite of the bland- ashes, it tastes like ashes- meal. He takes a side glance towards Linhardt, who was slightly more enthusiastic than usual in his eating, eyes a bit less droopy and lips slightly- very slightly- quirked.

Ah, right this was his favorite meal, wasn’t it?

Now that Mythos focuses on the meal, there was a slight tang of sweetness to it.

He and Lysithea would’ve gotten along well, Mythos thinks. The meal was truly sweet and Mythos wonders why he didn’t notice before.

“Let me study your crest, Professor,” the boy says with sleepy eyes yet cheery smile. Byleth wonders how Linhardt even rolled out of bed this morning, but nods a smile light on his lips.

Then there was Byleth, sitting in front of them. Eating the peach sorbet with the same emotion as she would a ration meal. Not that Linhardt seems to care, being the one of two students to eat the Chef’s special today, courtesy of being invited by a professor.

Byleth studies both him and Linhardt with her blank doll eyes. Her eyes glassy and beautiful, like a gem, Mythos wonders what she sees in them.

“This meal,”she started, strong and unyielding. Like an alpha, Mythos thinks. What an alpha should be, what the dead Byleth was unable to become. “Is it not good?”

He points her spoon, if Linhardt and Mythos were anymore noble-like she would be reprimanded but as it were the action was ignored, at his plate.

“It is fine,” he answered. And as if to prove his point he takes another bite of the peach sorbet, its sweetness like blood on his tongue and he-

“A rare crest,” Linhardt says, hands bloody and robe ruined. “Can I study it, professor?”

Byleth readies his sword.

“Then why do you not eat?” Byleth asked, she pauses for a moment. “Why do you eat so little?”

It tastes like blood and my student’s death, Mythos thinks. It tastes like my enemies blood and corpse.

“C’mon, Professor, don’t make this hard for me,” Linhardt says. Hands bloody and robes ruined, eyes blank and face painted with red. “Your corpse will add to the empire’s knowledge greatly. Especially with the legendary crest of yours.”

Byleth’s sword runs towards Linhardt’s neck and fire spreads around them.

“That’s a no then?” Linhardt laughs, the flames seems to laugh with him. “That’s a pity, I guess I’ll have to capture this subject by myself.”

“It is fine,” Mythos repeated, tasting his student’s blood on his lips. Seeing a man sitting next to him, one with long messy hair and red painting his face. Another man, one with mint hair and matching eyes, one with the same red on his armor and hair. The man shifts and the image shatters as Byleth- not the man, hair still dark and eyes darker still- leans towards him hands reaching out.

His- her? She was Byleth, but then who- hands were stained with blood as well. Mythos jolts back, hands reach under for his sword yet finding nothing.

“You.” Byleth tilts her head, something unknown lurking in her eyes. “Are you hurt?”

“No,” Mythos snapped, abruptly rising from his seat. “I am fine.”

She leans closer, studying him with her blank eyes and he- he-

He wants to claw those eyes out.

He turns, instead, his steps like lead as he walks away. Far away from Byleth and her damning eyes and Lindhart and his deadly curiosity.

“Are you going to tell Caspar that you killed me, Professor?” the man- boy, always will be- asks him. Fire fading as he laughs again, eyes drooping with each passing second. “I suggest otherwise, knowing him, but either way-” he gasps, pain in his brows before he relaxes again. “- it’s none of my business.”

There he kneels, in front of Byleth. Gasping for air as he grabs his lung in agony. Looking more tired than pained, a feat all and of itself. Yet not a rare thing these days, knowing what war can do to one’s tolerance and pride.

“Give me a quick death, won’t you. Painless, if you can,” the boy requests, a smile on his lips as flames falter to the oncoming rain.

Byleth holds his sword over Linhardt’s nape. Its divine light fading as he steadies his grip.

“You can rest now, Linhardt.”

Linhardt laughs, it was a wet thing. Like a drowning man.

“Sweet dreams to you as well, Professor.”


He closes the door behind him. Quick to rush into it, knowing that both Seteth and Rhea were near.

“Come, join me Mythos,” Sothis said.“Let’s talk.”

A soft beat later and oh- it wasn’t a request.

Mythos feels his knees give way and his surroundings change.

The world turns black as his room is replaced with ancient walls and stone pillars marked with divine carvings. A girl, with a frown marring her face and lights in her eyes stare down at him on her throne.

“You can’t keep doing this, Byleth,” she said.

“Don’t call me that,” Mythos retorted, feeling something in him grates and quivers.

“What, your real name?” Sothis spat back with the same vitriol.

“Are we here just to argue about my name?” Mythos crosses his arms, feeling the air around him buzzing with her anger. “Or is there other, more pressing, matters that need to be addressed?”

The hymns turn into sharp noises, like nails on a chalkboard as she scoffs.

“Very well, Byleth,” she drawled, feet tapping impatiently on stone floors. “If you insist.”

“What is it then?”

“You need to stop thinking about your students like this.”

“Like what?”

“Like they’re- they’re dead!” Her feet come to a sudden halt as she stands. The hymn around him coming to a stop as the buzzing fade away into nothingness.

“They are,” he argued back.

Sothis’ frown dug deeper as her eyes glow neon and lights like fireflies appear in the tomb.

“No-” The lights start to gather and-

- and a figure with messy blond hair and lone dark blue eye staring back at him.

“This- this is dead, Byleth,” Sothis said. Gesturing towards the man with the silver armor and long cloak. With red on his head and wine flowing down his jaw.

“This.” A new figure appears, dark hair flowing hair that falls to his shoulders, with burns decorating his face and hands. His eyes were just as dark and there was blood on his lips. “This is also dead.”

“And this, too.” A young woman with charred lips and painted frown stands. A bloody ribbon around her neck as her hair falls with burnt tips. “Is dead.”

“But this?” A boy with neat blond hair and two bright eyes smiles at him. His lance was clean and his stance relaxed. “This is alive.”

“Sothis, you-”

“You need to learn the difference, Byleth,” Sothis yelled, her voice resounding around them. The figures waver, as the lights start to shake and buzz. “You need to learn the difference between the ghosts and the living.”

“They’re the same,” he seethed. And with that, the figures scatter like withering petals. Buzzing around him, mocking him for what they once were. “They’re the same, Sothis.”

“Byleth, you need to-”

“I need nothing,” Mythos snarled, light washing out the stone walls and the girl. “And my name is Mythos.”

Chapter Text

They would all be touched with death today. As their hands would be stained with blood, easy to wash off, but one day it’ll escalate.

Until the blood of the dead will harden on their hands and stay, to where no amount of water can wash it clean again.

Byleth had wished that he could bathe himself with their enemies blood to spare his students of it. And Mythos wishes he could do the same.

But he knows that he can’t.

They will know the ghost of death sooner or later and this will be a gentle introduction. Easy and quick, mere bandits, no slight off their back. Scums, men who kill for money and die for the same. No moral conflict to be had and nothing to regret.

Nothing like how they’d have to fight their classmates in the future.

Mythos wishes that he could shield them from death. Knowing that it would be like wishing for the axes and lances to heal instead of injure- utterly improbable and inane. They need to learn, he reminds himself.

“You.” Steps draw near as he draws his own sword, hearing the clatter of iron heels tapping against hard ground. “You are shaking.”

It was her again, the woman with those damned eyes and placid expressions. Sword drawn and dagger strapped to her hips. “Scared?”

She was lucky he knew what she meant, lest that be taken as an insult or provocation. “No, what is there to be afraid of?”

“Death,” she elaborated, clear and pronounced. “Killing.”

She thinks she knows so much of death. He grits his teeth. Must think that she is used to death, that there is nothing to fear.

She doesn’t have any nightmares, heart off in yonder along with her regret. Nothing to worry about, just another bandit gone and another job accomplished. If these nobles get injured, so be it, it was nothing to fuss over. Training them was a part of her job, not coddling them.

She doesn’t care for them, even if they were to die. The girl in her head, on the other hand, does so she-

She must think she knows of death, he thinks.

She doesn’t have any nightmares, heart off in yonder along with her regret. Just another bandit done in by her blade, she dealt death just as easily as she breathes and there is nothing to think about it. She cares not for the nobles- children, they were so, so young- around her, cares not for their fate. Only here because her father and the girl in her head telling her not to let them die.

She must, she must think-

Mythos knows Byleth. And he hates her all the more for it.

He thinks of a dead man, one with light verdant hair and matching eyes, one who for all his divine power could not save a thing.

“I do not fear,” he spits out the word with vitriol. “Death. Nor killing.”

“You are shaking,” she noted. Looking down at his hands, which were twitching- not shaking- minutely.

He closes his eyes, drawing them under his cloak. “They are mere twitches, nothing to concern yourselves over.”

“Twitches, yes,” she said, as though he were daft- as though he couldn’t understand her- “But for you? No.”

“For me?” he snaps, teeth bared and hands itching for his sword. “What do you know?”

Those eyes, those fucking eyes.

He saw them in mirrors, once, before there was nothing left to see beyond ghosts and death. He sees them now, clear yet dull. No life in its holder.

He wants to dig them out and crush them.

“I know you,” she answered- like it was fact. “People like you.”

“You don’t know me.” The air around them was heating up, he realizes. Sparking with magic as his flames roar for release.

She hums. “Maybe.”

He wants to draw his blade and end this farce of a conversation already. Try putting his blade through her chest and see how much she knows him then. See what he would see within those eyes. Maybe anger? Hatred?

Anything more than nothing will be asking too much of her, he thinks.

“Stop this, Mythos,” Sothis cautioned.

Fine, he turns, not wanting to look at Byleth and her damning eyes any longer.

He doesn’t want to see what is reflected in those cursed eyes.



They stand in formation, Byleth front and center whereas she positioned Dimitri and Mythos by her side. Mercedes behind him, well protected as their only healer.

Well, their only known healer.

“Ready?” Byleth asks, eyes just as cold as her hands. Iron sword gleaming in the morning sun, still dressed in barely qualified armor and thin stockings. He thinks he knows the point of them now- distraction. Knowing how easy it is- was- for his students to become flustered when fighting against scantily dressed women or omegas.

He can understand the sentiment now, as he looks at her. It was still a suicidal style of fighting, but a thrilling one.

“Go,” she ordered and they march. A thin bridge between them and the great depths below, between his students- classmates- and their first kill.

The bandits saw them coming, of course, no forest to cover them and no moon to hide them under its light. This wasn’t a mission about stealth, either way, it was an introduction to combat. A basic fight, unlike anything duels they had before, where failure ends in death and only one could come out alive.

Dimitri knows this, from before. But that does not stop Mythos from wishing that he could shield it all.

The bandits banded together, a last huddle of sorts and then charged.

They were met back with equal force.

“So it begins,” Sothis said. “You cannot shield them from their ghosts, so shield them from death’s claws instead.”

He lowers his head, a subtle nod to someone unknown as his silver blade clashes against rusted ones.

He bares his teeth.



Killing is easy, this Mythos knows. Blades raising high against another bandit. Cratering it down towards their unprotected skull.

It is a bloody way to die, painful, too. But it was nothing. For all intent and purposes, easy, like putting down a rabid dog.

As it should be.

But saving, on the other hand-

“Watch out,” he huffed. Tugging Sylvain, still dressed in uniform and so woefully unprepared, to dodge a bandit’s axe dashing towards his back.

“Hey, thanks!” Sylvain replied, giving Mythos a rough pat on the back. “You really saved me there.”

“It is nothing.”

Sylvain laughs, yet a man, worn and aged frowns. Opening his bloody lips as he says, “If you could save me why didn’t you save him?”

“You’re slacking, mutt.” Felix elbows Sylvain, rolling his eyes. “If you’d trained more then you’d wouldn’t need your hide to be saved every ten seconds.”

“Geez, Felix, how rough.” Sylvain pretends to be wounded, yet one of his arms draws around to stab at another bandit, making wounded noises that sounded more like indecent moans with each second that goes by.

“If I fell because of my own mistakes, let me be, Professor. I don’t need your help.”

Fire sparks in his hands as he sees Annette’s knees giving out in the distance. Holding her axe up as her arms shake, her neck resting on the balance as the bandit pushes his own sword downwards.

Fire roars as it spreads across the field, catching on the bandit as the man yells. His hands dropping the sword as it draws around his face instead, burning and fiery.

With a great yell, Annette swings her axe downwards at the man’s nape. Sinking down to her knees as his corpse crumbles. There was something haunting in her eyes, as the corpse continues to burn.

“Reason as well? Geez, another battle maniac, you must be happy Felix,” Sylvain commented, whistling at the fire that grew, feeding on the body. “Mighty impressive flames those were.”

“At least someone takes their training seriously,” Felix spat, with a neat cut at another bandit’s artery. Their blood staining his white dress shirt, yet there was nothing beyond a slight tremor in his grip to suggest that it had affected him at all.

Killing is easy, Mythos thinks. A severed artery and it’s over, a quick roar of thunder, of fire and it ends.

Killing is easy and death is swift.

“You did well,” Byleth said as her hand lay on his shoulder. Cold and calloused. Eyes off towards Annette and Mercedes hunched over her friend’s figure, hand alight with faith as Annette's eyes turn red as the tears fall.

He leans away from the touch, finding the flames gathering around the tips of his fingers once more. “I only did what I was meant to do.”

He dashes into combat once more, fire burning at his heels and blood slick on his hands.



The bandit falls, there is no need to draw more words from him.

Instead, before the man dies he says: “Burn in the flames like that of your master.”

Mythos remembers the way the man’s axe had come so near to Dimitri’s unprotected back that night. Dulled and rusted, ready to kill. He thinks of what could’ve been if they hadn’t met him and his father on that bright light. If that would’ve ended in Dimitri’s death or injury. He thinks of this as he places his boot over the man’s windpipe and-

“You-”

- he crushes it.



“Thank you,” Annette whispered, eyes still read as her voice shakes. “Thank you so much for what you did earlier!”

She takes his hands into hers, her face still pale and he can see the smear of red on her cheeks that she tried to hide.

Her hands are warm, he thinks distantly. Recalling a woman with the same orange hair and frosty grey eyes. One that had traded her kindness for her might, swinging her relic with abandon as the air around her obeys her command. Recalling that woman and how cold her touch was.

He recalls a girl, once, with pretty grey eyes and hair in pigtails. She, too, had warm hands. Yet the image is hazy, as though seen through water.

“No, it was nothing,” he replied, letting his gaze shutter to her instead. The girl with pretty grey eyes that shines in the sun and carefully fashioned pigtails. With red smearing her cheeks and not drowning her, with her warm hands and the scent of dulled spring trailing her steps.

“No! No way, you saved my life.” She pauses for a moment. “Mythos.”

He cannot handle her gaze, he realizes, too sincere and warm at the same time.

“Why are you sad?” he asks instead, already knowing the answers as she gives a small laugh.

“Well, it’s just, you know, the whole… killing thing,” she answered. Staring up at him and he wonders if she can see the ghosts in his eyes. “I’m just not used to it yet, but ah, don’t worry I’ll be soon!”

She pauses again as a slight red crosses her cheeks. “Not that you were worried about me though, right? But I guess I’m just-”

“Don’t,” he interrupted. “You don’t need to get used to killing.”

He does not know who he is saying it to.

Annette stares up at him, a shadow of a woman in her grey eyes. “But I want to be strong, too- just like- like you! And Felix!”

“Killing is easy,” he argued. Feeling the warmth of her hands around his and it fuels him as he continues. “You don’t need to be strong for that.”

“But, I want to help them.”

“Do not think of it as killing, then,” he said, to the girl and the woman he has failed.

“What is it then, I’m killing the bandits, aren’t I? Just- just like that man earlier-”

“Instead of killing, think of it as protecting them,” he soothed, his eyes focused on the woman with her strained smiles and tired eyes.

“You’re right, but I- I’m just not used to… this whole thing.”

“You don’t need to be used to it,” he repeated. “You just need to remember that it’s either them or your friends.”

She draws in a sharp breath, smile faltering as she looks up at him. “You know, I don’t think I’ll be good at this whole thing at all.”

You will be, he thinks. Remembering the woman and her red relic, stained with the blood of her enemies as she roars for justice.

“You don’t need to be,” he insisted. “Just move along and it’ll be alright.”

That is all he can say to her because he knows what awaits in their future. Mythos cannot lie and promise her a clean future, cannot comfort her with white lies. So he grips her hands tighter as she smiles again.

“Thank you,” she said, her smile like that of sunflowers. “But I still think that you’re pretty strong.”

Ah, you’re back Annette, he thinks. The woman looks at him and shakes her head, her relic dripping with blood, but for that moment all he can see is the girl with oceans in her eyes and the sun in her smiles.



He sees Byleth as they were about to depart. Looking around the battlefield like a newly born fawn, clueless and curious. Sparks in her dull eyes that shine through. Inspecting the canon, its every crook and crevice, as though it would offer an answer to some great philosophical question.

“Zanado, the Red Canyon,” he remarked. She turns to him, a quick snap of her head that makes him wonder if she’d broken anything with that. “It was a place of comfort, once.”

“Yes it was,” Sothis sighed. Mythos can hear ancient music in the background, a hazy fire that warms instead of hurt and children with green hair and pointed ears laughing. The smell of cooked meat in the air and the promise of warm meals. A girl with sharp pupils and just as sharp teeth smile up at him as she laughs, her small hands coming to tug at his as she drags him with her. A boy with squinted eyes frowns as he grabs his other hand, face a slight blush that he blames to the warmth, as Mythos laughs. Another boy off beyond, fire in his left and thunder in his right gesturing over for him to come as he waves his hands into the air and panics as it spreads. A taller boy, one with a square jaw and muscled arms scolds him. They gather around him their smiles bright as he laughs. More children coming to him, with green hair and similar eyes as they laugh. Their hands are warm as they cling onto him and he-

“You.” Another hand, one that was cold and harsh tugs him out of his reverie as his eyes snap open. “Tell me more.”

“Are you truly curious about this place?” Mythos asked. Remembering the children and their laughter and the touch of a fire that warms instead of burn.

He feels the harsh wind pulling on his hands now, nothing but mere whispers fill his ears.

“Is it truly you, or something else?”

“You,” Byleth repeated, no other words forming but her eyes were wide as she stares at him. “How do you-”

“I know you,” he said. “People like you.”

She frowns, a slight wrinkle of her brows but it was always more when it comes to them. He feels a slight something as he looks at her, small and petite with the canyon looming behind her. Just like this, if the light shines just right, he can see a girl with sharp pupils and sharper teeth smiling at him in Byleth’s figure. Her hair longer just as her figure grows taller, a boy by her side with a slight frown and pursed lips, as a wyvern nudges at his side. Another boy, one with lightning in his hair and fire on his lips jots down more notes in his worn book. And another one, with calloused hands and slight grin, spins an arrow with his fingers.

The girl smiles at him as she says, “Mother, did you know what Cichol did today?”

The boy frowns, as the other boys laugh. The boy with the frown open his lips and-

Byleth moves and the image shatters. A woman stands in the place of the girl, with teal hair and dead eyes that he hates so very much.

“This was home to the Goddess, once.” He draws his cloak closer to himself as he walks away. The ringing bells of laughter trails behind him, finally fading on his tenth step to be replaced by the cries of a goddess in its stead.

Chapter Text

“How was it?” Rhea asks, the aroma of the four saints tea drifting around them once more. “Your mission, I mean.”

“It was fine, decent,” he answered. Taking a sip and finding it somewhat sweeter today, perhaps Flayn had prepared it? “My compliments to Flayn.”

The girl giggles standing beside her ‘brother.’ “I knew he would be one for sweets, brother. None like you and Rhea.”

Seteth frowns, closing his eyes as he exhales, holding back a retort or two. But Mythos doubts that, even if he speaks, Flayn will not suffer any cutting remarks from Seteth.

“Now, Flayn, I am quite fond of sweets as well.” Rhea puts down her own cup of tea. A small smile at her lips, fond and gentle. Mythos wonders who she is looking at. Whether it is him or the woman that she had implanted inside his heart.

Not that there is a difference now.

She is not lying, Mythos thinks, remembering the girl with the sun for smiles and a crown of lilies on her head. The one who would beg and entreat her siblings to create more deserts, who would cry if she did not get enough tribute, her tantrums so catastrophic that her siblings will give up their own offerings for a moment of peace.

“Yes, Seiros was always more partial to sweets than any other. If she could, she would’ve eaten sugar raw,” Sothis said, laughing.

He remembers her, young around his hips or so. Laughing as she holds up a flower, inviting him to take a bite. Nightshade, the girl had said. It’s sweet, Mother, you should try it. He had, and it was indeed sweet. The girl had laughed even as her brothers scold her, for trying to poison him. Their harsh words doing nothing as she continues to laugh and he sighs, yet a smile around his lips as the sweet poison stuck to his tongue.

Gods cannot die of poison, and if they can Mythos had no doubt that Sothis would die of nightshade.

“They force-fed Rhea bitter things, after that, which she still enjoyed, much to their anger. But they should’ve known that she was a glutton through and through.”

“Lady Rhea,” Seteth gasped, as though betrayed. Rhea laughs, a gentle and delicate thing. Unlike the girl that had existed in her place, once. The girl with blood in her hair and red on her armor. One who would laugh as she would roar. Rough and violent, loud enough so that the whole world would shake with her as she laughs.

“Yes, she has always had a loud laugh, like wyverns Cichol would say. But I supposed he was the same.”he, too, remembers the young’s man rambunctious laughter. Another thing that was lost to time.

But that girl is long gone now, buried under a woman who is the antithesis of her.

“You seem to have recalled something about the Red Canyon?” Rhea asks, eyes focused on him once more. Searching, wanting. For what he already knows.

“Byleth told you,” he stated and she nods.

“I do recall somethings,” he admitted, as though it was dragged out of him. And it was. “I get flashes, visions, of a girl… my mother.” The word was spoken as though it was strange and alien to his tongue, and Mythos need not act to have it be such. “She was… laughing. Surrounded by other children, all with hair and eyes like mine.”

“Your mother, you say,” Rhea noted. “Tell me more.”

What is there to say? he wants to say. What is there to say that you haven’t already known?

“She, she invited me to join her. Her and my- my… pack,” he answered, averting his eyes. The lie is dangerous on his lips. Like nightshade, he thinks. Sweet poison to Rhea’s ears. “She said that I must remember her, remember her and- and- the name-”

He shakes his head, frowning as though he was struggling to remember. Struggling to remember the image of the woman who calls herself his mother despite being half his size. “I do not recall the name she wishes me to remember.”

“I do remember more, other things,” he quickly continued, as though wanting to change the subject. “The girl by her side. Seiros, she introduced, she looks remarkably like you.”

“Your mother mentioned Seiros?” Rhea asks, leaning towards him. And he can see her hands almost ready to sink into his arms, nails and all. Like nightshade, he thinks, these lies.

“Yes, Sothis… my mother, mentioned her. The girl with white flowers in her hair and a sword by her side. Sothis told me that she is- is my sister, even though I know not of her fate. When I asked, Sothis said that she was closer than I think and no more.”

Rhea laughs, as Seteth and Flayn smile. Something light in their eyes, as though they were sharing a joke that he did not know of.

“Closer than you think…” Rhea repeated. “Even now she…”

Mythos tilts his head, as though questioning her.

“Do not mind me,” Rhea dismissed, her smile lighter than before. And if he looks hard enough he can see the edges of the woman that she once was. “Talk to me more about what you remember.”

He remembers a lot of things. The hearth of a place that was once a home. A fire that warms instead of hurt, the laughter of children that were happy instead of bitter. A place where gods can laugh and spend their idle days. A place where a goddess had lived with her children, he can remember the giggles that existed in the cracks of the canyon. Of the smell of warm food and gentle hands as they push him into a hug.

“I remember a family,” is all he said. “A happy family, once. A family where I did not exist.”

The statement rang true in him, especially now. When he knows the future that awaits him.

“A happy pack,” Rhea repeated.

“Yes, a happy pack with a goddess for a leader,” Mythos answered. “I asked her why there wasn't one more, why I exist now in spite of that. She didn’t answer.”

They couldn’t answer him either.

Only Mythos knows the answer, only Mythos knows that he was never their sibling, let alone supposed to exist.

Yet here he is, in the place of a dead man.

Here he is in the place of a dead goddess for them.


“You there,” a voice called, interrupting him from his walk.

Mythos turns to face a man with a scar on his jaw and light brown hair, edging on blond, tied in a short ponytail.

He remembers this man, he thinks distantly. Once when the man was alive and will remember him for an eternity as a ghost.

“Yes, you,” Jeralt said, pointing at Mythos.

“What is it?” he asked, the urge to call the man something else was overwhelming.

But he was not a ghost now, was he? And he will never be another ghost if Mythos can help it.

“Been talking with Lady Rhea quite often, aren’t ya,” the man commented, leaning against the wall. Arms crossed and looking down at Mythos, purposefully intimidating and terrible. Mythos never recalled the man like this before.

But he doesn’t seem to recall much of the man outside being his father. Byleth’s father, now, for Mythos was a child of the Goddess. With the blood of the ancient running through his veins just as her divine magic moves through his heart. Replacing the man that had once existed in Mythos’ body.

“Yes, I have,” he replied. Pulling his cloak closer to himself. “Is that all?”

The man scoffs, shifting his feet as he changes his posture. Still slouching against the wall, but somehow more intimidating now. “I don’t trust you.”

Ah, Mythos thinks, remembering the way Jeralt had warned Byleth not to trust Lady Rhea. remembers the warning from years ago. And he remembers the way he looks now. With hair just as light as hers and eyes brighter still. He remembers Jeralt’s thoughts, once, written down in a journal that is now stained with a ghost’s tears. Remember the man’s grief over losing his child and remember how the man had raged, his anger and grief clear in his jagged words.

Remembers the way he looks now. So alike the woman that Jeralt had cursed. He remembers this and draws his hood closer still.

“Oh, Mythos,” Sothis cried.

“Good,” Mythos said, remembering other things. Remembering a man, not unlike the one standing in front of him now. One with the same hair and armor. One who laid on his back, with red spreading below. His hand reaching out to try and wipe away the tears that had fallen. Remembers the way the man had said how he was glad to see him cry, remember how the man’s breathing had ceased and his hands were cold as the rain falls. “You shouldn’t.”

“Your father loves you,” Sothis said, desperately, despairingly.

Loved, Mythos thinks. For ghosts cannot love.

Jeralt’s eyes widen, a “What?” falling through his lips.

Mythos walks past Jeralt, hearing the rain falls louder still.

“If you hurt a hair on Byleth’s head, I swear-”

Mythos turns around once more, eyes neon in the barely lit corridor as he smiles. A brittle thing, that, but it suited him well enough. “It is not me that will hurt her.”

Mythos frowns, seeing a man with mint green hair and glowing eyes from behind Jeralt. One with an empty heart and empty eyes that he so despises. The ghost smiles at him, utterly broken and entirely haunting.

You’re supposed to be dead, he thinks.

And you as well, the man says before fading once more. Fire trailing in his steps and screams in his wake.

“What does that mean-”

“Not the most, anyways.”


“You saved that girl the other day,” Byleth said. Standing above him from his place against the pier. Starling a few cats into running away, to which cause Mythos to grunt at her.

“Her name,” Mythos snapped, even as his voice remains neutral. “Is Annette.”

“You saved Annette the other day,” Byelth repeated, nodding her head slightly. Infuriating, he thinks. Utterly and terribly irritating. “Your skills are quite versatile.”

“I have experience,” he said, lips pursed together as she continues to stare. Annoying, he thinks. How dull those eyes are. How terribly empty they are. He knows that even if the light causes them to shine there is nothing beating underneath. No compassion nor love, just an empty grave and a demon.

He had seen those eyes once, reflected in mirrors and in the eyes of dead students. He had seen them and he had wanted to dig them out just the same then as he does now.

“Experience." She seems to mull this over. “You have fought and killed before.”

“Yes, of course,” he answered. Wanting to know why she was still here, standing above him like that, blocking out the light of the moon.

“Then, why do you wear those bells?” She points to his neck. Or the place where his neck would be underneath his cloak.

“Why do you care?” he retorted, wanting to get up and rid himself of her presence already, but unable to, knowing that she would give chase and not willing to have her badger him again on another night.

“They are a hazard,” she listed. “Impractical, a distraction. Giving away your position to your enemies, need I go on?”

“They are none of your business,” he snapped. Closing his eyes and not wanting to look at her any further.

“They are,” Byleth answered just as easily as though she wasn’t intimidated. She probably wasn’t, damn the woman. “They put your allies at risk.”

“I can protect my allies well enough,” Mythos argued. Feeling his muscles tensing as he soothes a tabby from running away.

“Not always,” Byleth said, steel in her voice and iron in her eyes.

Mythos stands then, rising as the cats leave. Eyes blazing with anger just as his magic roars for vengeance. He can smell the fire then, smell the burnt corpses in the air, screaming for his blood. He can see a man, off in yonder along with numerous other figures, all familiar. One with blond hair and singular blond eyes. Another with burnt armor and raven hair, and another frowning with fiery hair and steely amber eyes.

Their cries haunt him, as the clung to his back, their claws digging into him as they-

“I can and I will."This woman, he thinks, damn her. Flames rising to his fingertips as Byleth continues to stare. “You know nothing of what I can do for them.”

“Humans fail,” Byleth stated, looking no more afraid than before. “And why do you insist on those bells?”

I am not human, he thinks, not anymore. Gods don’t fail, even if they will fall for their cause.

“These bells,” he spat. “Were from a friend.”

“Friend?” Byleth studies him, or the bells around his neck.

“Yes, she used to do the same,” Mythos said, pursing his lips. “Except she tied hers around her lance.”

Byleth hums.

“Now is that all, Professor.”

“Tell me about this friend of yours,” Byleth continued instead, looking up at him with those damned eyes.

“I don’t have to say anything to you,” Mythos replied, attempting to draw away before-

“If you can’t provide sufficient reason, I will pull you out of the next missions.”

Damn this woman.

“What do you want to know, Professor,” he said through gritted teeth.

“Those bells, why,” she repeated.

“She said that they were relaxing,” Mythos answered. Trying to be as vague as possible.

“Relaxing?”

“She liked to hear them, when slaying enemies,” Mythos recalled. Remembering a girl with golden hair and forest for eyes. Remembering the chime to her swings as she would take flight. “She would close her eyes and let her lance sing.”

“Professor, these bells, they are quite nice are they not?”

“Impractical,” he says but a smile lights his lips all the same as he ties them around her lance.

“Impractical,” Byleth noted and Mythos frowns.

“It was a beautiful melody that she sang,” he argued, feeling his anger rise once more. “As she razed the battle from the sky.”

“Professor-” she yells, her bells sang their final chime as she-

“A falcon knight,” Byleth noted. “Is she strong?”

“Stronger than you,” Mythos replied, scoffing.

“Let us duel and we’ll see,” Byleth bit back, something like cheer entering her eyes.

“It will be hard to duel a ghost,” Mythos replied, closing his eyes as he hears the bells ringing in his ears.

“Oh.” Byleth frowns. “How did she die?”

“That, is none of your concern, Professor,” Mythos snapped, sharp and cutting. “I wear these bells so that I can hear her song in battle. As a reminder.”

“A reminder of what?”

“That I will not fail again.”

Chapter Text

This month, Mythos realizes as he awakens at dawn. Would be when Ashe would slay his adoptive father.

This month would be when the treacherous Lord Lonato is slain by his honorable Ashe in the name of the church, regaining the noble name of Gaspard from his traitorous father. A man so vile that he is willing to fight against the church for his equally unworthy son.

Ashe would learn, intimately, how terrible death is as he marches towards the battlefield today. Heart heavy as he realizes the reality that there is no going back for Lonato. For there is no retreating once you have taken up the banner against the church. There will be no recourse for Lonato and his allies, this Ashe must’ve known. Must’ve realized as he kneels in the cathedral every day while praying to the goddess for another way.

He stands up from his spot against the pier; stretching his arms as the cats fall from his bodies. Their meows softly scratching against his heart. One goes as far as to rub their cheeks against his leg, purring. He sighs as he scratches the back of its ear before shooing it away once more.

“Go now,” he said gently as he brushes the dirt off his slacks and rises to his full height once more. Hearing it calling after him as he turns away.

“Who are you talking to?” a voice asks curiously, leaning over his shoulder.

“Dimitri.” Mythos turns around fully then; coming face to face with a boy with eyes made up of the ocean and scent of chamomile and fresh snow. “You’re up early.”

“No earlier than you,” Dimitri replied as a smile appears on his lips. “Now, who were you talking to?”

“No one in particular,” Mythos answered; bring out his chest to hopefully cover the rest of the retreating felines.

Dimitri smiles, a bit too teasing for Mythos to be used to. Byleth had seen this smile, once before, when Dimitri’s smiles came as easily as his laughter. That was before though, before the war. “I could’ve sworn I heard something.” Dimitri tries to peek over Mythos’ shoulder once more and something inside him thrills.

Damn his new hormones. To be so drawn to the scent of an alpha that just being this close would make him want.

“Isn’t Dedue usually with you, Your Highness?” he asks pointedly; refusing to acknowledge what their proximity was doing to his heart.

Dimitri draws back at that; looking just as sheepish as the boy he was meant to be. “Well, about that…”

Mythos huffs. “Quid pro quo then, Your Highness.”

“I don’t question and you won’t tell?” Dimitri leans back, crossing his arms. “My, stooping so low as to bribe me. I sure wonder who you were talking to, Mythos.”

Mythos pretends that Dimitri couldn’t see the cat pawing at his ankles right now. “Yes, go along now, Prince, before I find your retainer first.”

Dimitri leans down as the boy gives the little hellion at his ankles a petting.

“Don’t touch him there.” Mythos interrupts the hand that was about to be placed into serious peril. “He’ll scratch you.”

“Oh?” Mythos gently guide the hand slightly lower on the cat’s head.

“There, now he wouldn’t be so agitated.”

Dimitri laughs, then, like the soft raindrops and gentle breeze. “I see.”

As Mythos registers the warmth around his hand as the scent of fresh snow surrounds him; Mythos realizes that his cheeks were probably the color of the hearth and his heart faster than Felix’s thunders. He stands up abruptly then; rising to his full height once more as the bell chimes around his throat. Hoping that the shadow from the cloak will hide his blush now that his face was no longer shown by the sun’s increasing glare.

“Yes, so now you know,” Mythos muttered as his throat dries and his heart stutters. “Go along now, Your Highness, before I track down Dedue.”

Dimitri laughs once more as he, too, rises.

Ah, he was tall. Mythos realizes. Only slightly but the sun was once again hitting Dimitri’s face as his lashes shine and his eyes reflected Mythos’ image.

“Introduce me to your friend next time, won’t you?” Dimitri says with a teasing tilt to his voice.

Mythos huffs before turning away himself.

His heart beats erratically and he wonders if he is sick.


“Rhea,” Mythos called as he sits in front of her. “Is the mission this month going to be about Lonato?”

Rhea smiles although her eyes are slightly wider than they are normally. “Ah, so you knew.”

“Yes, of course,” Mythos said. “There is not much you can hide from a goddess.”

Rhea laughs, like flowers and water and everything she was not. “Yes, she is always allknowing isn’t she.”

“You know about the Goddess?” Mythos asks as he tilts his head. Empty eyes digging into hers.

“From scriptures and tales passed on by time, yes,” Rhea lied, they were old lies, passing through her lips like honey and told like the truth. “But nothing else.”

You are Seiros, he wants to say to her. You are her daughter, you have her blood running through your veins and her magic powering your core.

Everything you’ve done up till now, for the church, for the people, to me, have been for her.

You dedicate an entire religion to her, Mythos thinks. You have done everything so that she’ll live on and you have done anything so that she’ll live again and breath once more.

Mythos exhales instead, finding it heavy. Finding his throat covered in rust and his mouth tasting of iron as he says. “I see.”

Mythos inhales gently as he sets down his teacup. “Do we have to kill Lonato?”

Rhea seems startled at the question as she freezes. The hum of her magic coming to an abrupt halt as the woman studies him. “You do not wish to?”

“I can,” Mythos said easily. “But do I have to?”

Rhea’s eyes turn dark and her pupils become sharper as the air around heats up with divine magic.

“Ashe, one of my classmates, is his son,” Mythos continued; studying the ripples forming in his tea as Rhea continues to rage. He can hear the buzzing of her magic as something ancient awakens in her veins. “I’m just wondering-”

“Mythos,” Rhea interrupted, setting down her own teacup abruptly as she stands. “Do you doubt my judgment?”

She looks divine like so, Mythos thinks. With the light from the window casting a heavenly glow from behind her as she stands to her full height. Light green hair flowing down and her eyes bright with magic as he hears the sparks of ember on her fingers. He can almost see the jagged canines that would form and how her scales would overtake her ivory skin once angered.

Seiros, he thinks, you are here.

“Yes that is her, the girl she used to be,” Sothis sighed as the scent of lilies fill his nose.

“No,” he answered; throat strangely dry and a chill running down his spine. “It’s just that-”

“Lonato,” Rhea snapped. “Is a heretic.”

Her eyes glow brighter still, fueled by her fury and anger as she approaches him. “Lonato wants to rebel against the church.”

Mythos stands still as her hands come to rest beneath his jaw. “Lonato wants to destroy the church. Do you know what that means, Mythos?”

Mythos only stares up at her; at this woman with neon eyes and features that reminds him of her mother. Her fury evident and her anger manifesting itself as heat on his neck. Her expression was one of madness, unfitting for her face. One that was meant for boisterous laughter and wide grins. Yet, it matched the woman that she now became.

“Lonato wants to destroy the Goddess, Mythos,” Rhea said at last; her nails becoming longer as her blazing eyes match his. “He wants to destroy your mother.”

Our mother, he thinks as his match hums with her as they reach for each other, as hers fuel his into roaring along with her. Something like anger beginning to spark within him.

Our mother. He wants to say. Our mother. Why won’t you just say the words, Seiros?

“He wants to destroy the Goddess,” Rhea- Seiros?- repeated; with fire in her words and touch. “All for his treacherous son.”

Her eyes stare down at him, unblinking and neon, as her fury powers her magic. As their magic sings together as one and he reaches for her just as desperately. Hearing nothing but a song in his ears; a song of hatred and fury, of madness and obsession.

As he almost drowns in it he thinks of a boy with ashen hair and doe eyes and asks. “Is there no other way?”

Rhea’s- Seiros’ magic reaches its zenith as the light in her eyes sparks just as bright as fire and her pupils becoming slits. “No. There is no other way, Mythos.”

Her hands come to wrap around his neck as she leans down. Her nose nearing his glands as he untangles his seal as if on instinct. Crazed just as she is as he loses himself in her madness.

“You must understand, Mythos,” she said, low and guttural. “Those who stand against the Goddess must die.”

He feels her anger and hatred as though it is his own. He can hear the cry of another man, one with mint hair and eyes. With a goddess in his heart and a king who laid dead as he reverses time once more- all for that man.

“They are heretics, and they must be made an example,” Seiros said as her lashes flutter shut even as her magic grows wilder still. The scent of ancient runes and blood rises in the air as she continues. “You must make an example of them, Mythos.”

“Your classmate might despise you for what you have to do,” Seiros continued as her hands grab onto his hair. “But you must, you have the Goddess’ blood in her veins. You must defend her from those that wish to destroy her. You must, Mythos. You must.”

Madness is in her blood and obsession makes her core.

But he can see himself in her eyes. With just as bright eyes and equally light green hair. He can see a ghost with mint hair and mortal features staring back.

I’m sorry Ashe, he thinks. For even I cannot stop the rage of a mad goddess.

He thinks he hears a distant cry of a girl, yet the sound is distant, buried away as he sits here now. With Seiros and her magic dancing with his, as her madness becomes his and his becomes hers.

“Think of mother,” Seiros insisted, head buried in his neck and her magic blazing to life. “Think of her and do not falter.”

He thinks of a man with blond hair and one lone eye instead.

He thinks of a boy with blond hair and an ocean for eyes.

He thinks of them all, ghosts shouting around him as he nods.

I am sorry, he thinks. For madness and obsession is all I have left as well.

Chapter Text

“Ashe.” Mythos sits next to the boy on the pew. “So you have learned of our next mission.”

Ashe laughs, yet there is no joy to be found there. “Yes, I heard.”

“Do you understand what is going to happen?” Mythos asks gently.

“They- they are going to try and k- kill him, right?” Ashe looks up towards the statue of the Goddess. Hands clasped together in prayer his eyes desperate and tears forming at the edges of his eyes.

“Not they,” Mythos corrected softly. “We.”

“Yes, I suppose it’s ‘we,’” Ashe agreed, dark shadows under his eyes.

“It’ll be hard,” Mythos said, for he knows not words of comfort “Killing your father.”

Ashe laughs again. “Hard would be an understatement wouldn’t you say?”

They sat in silence together as Ashe mumbles more prayers towards a goddess that wouldn’t answer. The hazy sunset casting a shadow on the boy, making him look even more pitiable than he was.

“I am afraid that even I am useless to fate’s whims,” Sothis admitted quietly as something like despair wells up within her, “For I am nothing but a figment of what I once was. Buy you, you can change it.”

“You don’t have to kill him,” Mythos said as Ashe looks up. “You don’t even have to see him.”

“W- what do you mean?”

“I’ll request Lady Rhea to make this a mission for me,” Mythos answered as he looks up at the golden sheen on the Goddess and how it differs from the girl so. “You will never have to face him.”

“J- just you?” Ashe gasped. “Lady Rhea would nev-”

“She’ll make an exception,” Mythos interrupted. “For me.”

She would. If he were to request it, she would. If he were to speak one word about how he wanted to take on the honor of defending the goddess alone and without outsiders, she would let him.

“I don’t know,” Ashe mumbled but the quiver of his lips and the way his hands shake was enough for Mythos.

“I’ll ask Lady Rhea,” Mythos concluded as he leans against the pew and Ashe gives him a shaky nod. The boy’s eyes were still glued to the statue of a goddess whose smiles were kinder than the fate that she had bestowed upon them all.

“I do wonder, now, that if I really am fit to be a goddess at all.”

You are worthy, he assures, you are a good goddess.

They stay like that, until the sun had fallen and the moon rises. Until the priests had requested their leave and Ashe had no more tears left to shed, at least for that day.

“Do not worry,” Mythos said- promises as Ashe leaves.

Mythos may not be able to spare Ashe from losing a father, but he’ll at least spare him the pain of seeing him die.


“Here,” Lysithea gritted out as she shoves a basket into Mythos’ hand. “What you wanted.”

“Oh.” Mythos lifts the cloth covering the top to find pastries underneath. “Thank you.”

“Do not thank me, you did not give me a choice,” Lysithea countered as she crosses her arms. “I can’t believe that a Blue Lions would dare to threaten me like this.”

Mythos huffs.

“What happened to that chivalry?” Lysithea taunted.

“This.” Mythos lifts the basket. “Was spoken in jest, but thank you either way.”

“Jest,” Lysithea repeated.

“Yes.” It was dark out and it was a wonder that Lysithea was not screaming yet.

“You would do well to differentiate your expressions next time then,” Lysithea remarked as she turns on her heels.

“Do you want me to walk back with you?” Mythos offered as he looks at the ghastly parlor of her face and the way her hands were clenched into fists. “It is quite dark out.”

“I’m not scared.” Lysithea continues to march forward but her steps were slower as he trails her.

“Of course not,” Mythos agreed. “But it seems that I am.”

“You?” Lysithea turns around. “Scared?”

“Yes,” Mythos answered seriously. “Very much so. I am deathly afraid of the night.”

Even though his lie was clear as day, Lysithea huffs, though there was a hint of a small smile as the tremors in her hands stop and color returns to her face. “Well, it seems as though I have no choice but to let you accompany me.”

“Thank you for your graciousness.” With that Mythos falls into pace next to her as she begins to hum. “You are indeed very brave.”

“Of course I am,” Lysithea agreed trying to hide the smile that was threatening to eclipse her composed expression.

They walked in companionable silence as her face gains a flush as she looks up at the sky.

“Beautiful, is it not?” he asked as he looks to the moon.

“I suppose,” she muttered.

“You suppose?” The moonlight fits her, he thinks, making it seem as though her hair was woven out of the finest of silk or perhaps the moon itself.

“I don’t look up that often,” she admitted, playing with her hair. “It doesn’t seem all that important.”

“You should,” he encouraged. “There are many things to life that awaits once you take the time.”

You should, he thinks, before it’ll all be marred by war.

“I don’t have time,” she argued.

You don’t, he agrees, you never had enough time even if I were to try and reverse time for you.

“That is why,” he retorted, speaking to a woman long dead. “Why you should treasure it more.”

Her eyes moves downwards as she shakes her head softly. “I don’t have time to waste on the little things in life.”

“What is life, but the little things in it?” he questioned as the moonlight hits his eyes. “It is only a life wasted if you rush through it.”

Lysithea does not respond and he wishes that she could understand. That she will realize that there will be no time in the future to dawdle like this, to idle as they chat. No time to look up at the moon and comment on its beauty. There will be no time and they will all rush through life as they live on the beat of war.

“Nothing,” she told him once, a lifetime ago. “When the war ends I’ll have nothing.”

“You have me,” he argues. “Me and your allies.”

“I barely remembered the last time we talked,” she says softly. “I barely remember what Mercedes’ faith used to feel. I barely remember a Sylvain that smiles. I barely remember what your voices sounds like anymore, outside of battle.”

She draws in a shuddering breath as she continues. “I’m starting to forget, you know. I’m starting to forget things, many things. I cannot remember how Felix looked like anymore, I cannot remember how Annette’s songs sounded like, I cannot remember how Claude laughs, I cannot remember how Cyril writes. My memories are failing me, Professor.”

“At the end of this,” she continues. “I’m afraid that I will not even remember who Lysithea was before this. What memories she had and what she liked, I’m afraid I won’t even know.”

“I’ll remember you,” he promises then. “I’ll remember you, Lysithea von Ordelia, past and present.”

She shakes her head gently as she lowered her eyes. .

“When this war ends,” she began. “When it really ends I’ll be left with nothing. Nothing except for the memories of war, and even then I’ll lose them.”

She had laid her head on his shoulder as silent tears fell down her cheeks. “My memories are leaving me, Professor, my time is running out. And even if I wish to make memories now to replace them, what memories can I make in this wretched war? One that will not involve death or despair?”

He could not answer her.

“Lysithea,” he called and she turns towards him. Pink eyes and white hair, childish face and still so young. “Lysithea.”

“What?” the girl asked then. Her eyes a gentle pink and her hair made of the moonlight itself. A woman rests in her place with similar hair and gentle pink eyes.

“I'll remember you, Lysithea von Ordelia, past and future,” he promised, this time as Mythos, with divine blood in his veins. “I’ll remember you, even as this Lysithea changes.”

The ghost blinks at him then as she frowns. A familiar expression, he thinks, you have forgotten something again haven’t you. “What?”

Time rewinds once more. “Lysithea.”

“What?” she asked again, her eyes a gentle pink and her hair made of the moonlight itself.

“Nothing,” he replied. “I just had an urge to call out your name.”

She scowls before turning around again. A ghost trailing in her steps as she looks at him- as the ghost smiles at him.

And-

When was the last time you smiled, Lysithea? he wonders fondly, madness raging in his mind. You should smile more, it fits you.

As they stop near her room she pauses before turning to face him. “You know, I wouldn’t mind to accompany you again.”

Mythos can feel the hints of a smile at his lips.

“Since, you’re, you know, deathly afraid and all that,” she asserted. “It’ll only be right.”

“Of course,” he answered softly. Answers to the Lysithea von Ordelia that exists now.

She huffs as she closes the door behind her. The ghost disappearing as she leaves.

Lysithea, he thinks wishing to will the name into his mind, Lysithea von Ordelia.

I’ll remember you, he promises once more, past and future.

He does not think of the present, for his Lysithea does not exist here.


“Here again?” a soft voice drawls; startling him out of his sleep. “You never learn, do you.”

“Seteth,” Mythos greeted as he blinks the sleep away from his eyes. “Good morning.”

Seteth nodded before sighing. “No blankets this time either?”

Mythos looks down to find nothing but the warm blue of his cloak and the different patches of fur that surrounds him. “Ah, it appears not.”

“Do you know that you worry Lady Rhea sick with these nightly excursions of yours?” Seteth asks as Mythos stands up.

“No,” Mythos responded; shaking the cold out of his limbs. “I did not know.”

“At least bring a blanket next time,” Seteth said. “Goddess knows what would happen if you fall sick.”

“I won’t,” Mythos argued as he readjusts his cloak. “I know my own body, Seteth.”

“And what does that mean?” Seteth narrows his eyes as he crosses his arms.

“I’m not human,” Mythos answered easily. “And a mere cold won’t make me sick.”

“There is still a chance,” Seteth argued. “As minuscule as it is.”

“How do you know?” Mythos retorted as he shuffles closer to the man. “Despite your knowledge, Seteth, you are still a human.”

It is a low blow, Mythos must admit, but he’d liked to think of it as just payback for the grief Seteth put him through before just for interacting with Flayn.

As expected, Seteth purses his lips and frown.

“But,” Mythos continued. “I thank you for your concern, wasted on me as it is.”

“It is not wasted,” Seteth argued, frowning even fiercer. “Lady Rhea would be very upset if you were to fall ill under my watch.”

“Indeed.” Mythos did not talk any further and instead waited for Seteth to continue.

“Lady Rhea, she,” Seteth began. “She wants to apologize for her outburst the other day.”

“Seiros? Apologizing?” Sothis gasped, “My, I never thought I’d ever hear those two words together.”

“She told you?” Mythos voices his disbelief freely, reflecting Sothis’ own. Rhea was not one to let Seteth grovel for her mistakes instead-

“She told me, yes, of her regrets,” Seteth affirmed. “But she didn’t order me to apologize.”

“Then why?” Mythos asked.

“Lady Rhea is afraid that you were upset and would not be willing to talk to her,” Seteth answered as he smiles slightly. “I had thought the same, but I am glad to see that it is not the case.”

“Well, then.” Mythos readjusts his hood once more as he pets the last of the cats clawing for his attention. “Let me go to her.”

“Of course.” Seteth begins to walk, matching Mythos’ pace. “Please remember to bring a blanket next time.”

Mythos hums in response.


“Mythos,” Rhea greeted as he enters the room. The usual smell of whatever tea she fancied that day gone, replaced instead by the scent of fresh air and the slightest hint of divinity. “Are you upset?”

I should be, he thinks, I really should.

Instead, he says: “No.”

“Oh.” Rhea exhales as she places her hands on her lap. “That is good.”

“Is Lonato still to be eliminated then?” he asked as he stands stiffly under her warm gaze. Preferring iron and fire over whatever this was.

“Of course,” Rhea answered as she stands a confused tilt to her voice. “Heretics must be put down. Surely, you understand this.”

“Then why-”

“I thought you’d be upset with how quickly I dismissed your idea,” Rhea interrupted. “It was rather abrupt, wasn’t it. I thought that you’d already understand your duties as the goddess’ champion.”

“My mother,” Mythos said flatly.

“Yes, your mother,” Rhea replied softly. “The Goddess.”

“Heretics wished to destroy her,” Mythos repeated. “And I, as her son, have a duty to protect her.”

Rhea lifts a gentle hand to place against his cheeks. Her hands, he notes, are like fire and ice.

“Yes, I knew you would understand,” Rhea said as she leans against him. “So you must not falter, not now, not ever.”

A moment of silence passed as Rhea lays her head against his shoulder. Nose close to his gland as she stands.

“Can I,” Mythos began with a desert for a throat. “Go alone?”

“Alone?” Rhea repeats as her hands slide over his cheek once more, staring up at him from her perch at his shoulder.

“Yes, instead of the class, let me go alone,” Mythos declared and seeing as she was about to interrupt he continues. “I wish to defend my mother and prove myself worthy as her son.”

“But-”

“Please,” he pleaded. “I have lost my memories and know nothing of what my purpose is.”

Rhea falters and he goes in for the final slash. “But I know now that my duty is to protect her, my- my mother.”

“So please, Lady Rhea,” he asked once more. “Let me prove myself.”

Let me, he thinks, let me burden this death so that they won’t have to.

Let me protect them. Let me prove that fate can change, even slightly.

Let me, he thinks, pleads.

“Very well,” Rhea relented at last. “But you must at least take Professor Byleth.”

Mythos frowns but decides against arguing with her. “Thank you.”

She places her forehead against his shoulder once more, her arms wrapped around his torso as she smiles.

He had no doubt of the madness that swam in those eyes.


“Mythos,” Flayn greeted as he exits from his audience with Rhea. “You look quite displeased.”

“Oh.” He reaches for his own face as he tries to readjust his expression into something more agreeable. Wondering if he had angered Rhea or gave the wrong impression.

Flayn laughs as she brings his attention back to her. “That was a joke, Mythos.”

Mythos frowns as she turns back to her, cloak already pulled over his face once more. Casting a harsh shadow over him. “I cannot tell your jokes from your other statements.”

“Is that so,” Flayn mumbled. “Well, I suppose I’ll need more practice.”

She looks terrible lonely, Mythos realizes, she had looked just like this before as well. In another lifetime.

He had never noticed before. Yet now he can see it, her loneliness, plain as day; the ocean breeze was always this cold and chilling, he realizes, as her scent spikes, always to desolate and aloof.

But not by choice, despite all the whimsical nature of the ocean, it is all-encompassing as well. And her nature is one that craves others, that craves to talk and to listen. That craves to accept and to embrace others. Like the all-welcoming ocean that does not judge and the faith that heals all.

“You- you can join us,” he begins not registering the words until they left his tongue. “The Blue Lions is having a class training day today.”

That, was a lie, but Mythos can make it come true easily enough.

“Oh really?” she asked as her eyes sparks to life.

“Really.” Mythos nods seriously.

“But, ah, my brother won’t allow that,” Flayn pointed out as her scent falters as the ocean breeze becomes harsh wind once more and her eyes dim.

“I’ll vouch for them,” Mythos countered. “I’ll talk to Seteth for you.”

Her eyes are wide as light enters them once more but she still wavers.

They both jolt as they smell the hint of harsh ozone as Seteth approaches.

“Come,” he called to her as he offers his hand.

“Very well,” she replied as she puts her hand in his and they run. She laughs as they run through the halls, wounding around each turn and dodging the occasional stragglers. She laughs, like bells and rain as they run their feet beating against the floor as they run from the scent of ozone and wyverns as Seteth startles from behind them.

He looks back at her now, hair flowing past as she runs and pointed ears poking out from below, with the sun peeking from the various windows making her hair and eye shine even brighter than before. Her cheeks are flushed a gentle pink and she smiles, bright and lovely. Her laughter ringing in his ears as she grasps his hand.

“That’s Cethleann,” Sothis said, “That’s the girl I remember.”

Cethleann giggles and he smiles, pointed teeth and all. Feeling something warm stirs in his chest as she laughs again as they evade from Seteth. Running like children and giggling like such, too, as the scent of rain sparks to life with each step. Soft and tranquil, like the girl she once was.

“I’ve almost forgotten that she used to smell like so,” Sothis admitted.

“Faster,” he commanded as he fastens his pace and she yelps, yet there is still a bright smile on her face.

Nothing exists in this moment, other than their loud footsteps and muffled laughter, and for that moment Mythos let himself fall and imagine.

About the what-ifs and maybes.

In this moment, a brief thought crosses his mind. It was a traitorous and terrible thought. Entirely too selfish and indulgent at once.

He shakes his head as he loses himself in this moment.


Mythos exhales softly as they come to a stop at the training grounds. Flayn breathing slightly harder as she leans on him.

“I must apologize,” she said softly. “I haven’t ran like that in quite some time.”

“Cethleann always hated physical exercise, even back then, despite how it looked with her alpha status.”

“Felix,” he called, knowing that the boy was already there. “Are you ready to train today?”

Felix stops his swings as he turns to Mythos, something akin to a grin appearing on his lips. “Of course.”

“Gather the rest of your- our classmates,” Mythos ordered as Felix deflates somewhat.

“Fine,” Felix grumbled as he sets his sword back onto the rack. “Also, I’m warning you right now that unless you want your back to be ripped off by Seteth you should get Flayn a chair instead.”

“Don’t worry about me,” Mythos replied as he smiles.

“Who's worried,” Felix mumbled with red cheeks before turning around again, with a louder voice he continues. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

And with that said Felix sprinted off his ears red at the tips as he runs.

“Ah, that boy, Felix, right?” Flayn noted as she continues to lean against him.

“Yes,” Mythos answered.

“He’s very interesting,” Flayn said as she giggles behind her hands.

“You’ve taken a fancy to him?” Mythos feels something like shock running through him. Felix always had an odd charm about him with other girls, but he didn’t know Flayn would be one of them.

“Cethleann would be more likely to fall into love with Jeralt than a brat like him.”

Sothis, no.

“Exactly, so don’t be pairing my granddaughter with those brats of yours.”

That wasn’t his intention-

“No, no, Goddess no,” Flayn denied quickly. “I find him to be a little endearing, like cats, or something like such.”

“Not even a human?” Mythos smiles at how Flayn begins to stammer for an answer.

“What? No- no, that’s- that’s not what I-”

Mythos laughs then, choked out of his chest as he laughs, loud and foreign to his ears. “That was merely jest, Flayn.”

She pinches him slightly as she frowns; a slight blush overtaking her cheeks. “You ought to learn how to tell jokes better, too, Mythos.”

He laughs again.

“It seems that you’re having quite a lot of fun already,” Mercedes remarked as she and the Blue Lions enters.

Mythos smooths over his expression once more as he closes his lips, hiding the sharp teeth lurking beneath as he nods towards them.

"Oh, don't let us interrupt you," Sylvain said. "Although, I feel that it is my duty as your housemate to warn you that even if Flayn is lovely, earning Seteth's scorn is not worth it."

"I already warned him," Felix remarked as he shoves Sylvain slightly.

"Wow, even I wasn't that brave." Sylvain whistles as he winks at Mythos. "I'll be rooting for your love, Mythos."

Mythos merely scoffs.

“So does that mean I have a chance?” Sylvain continued as he slides up to Mythos. “I mean, I’m an alpha, too.”

Ingrid lets out a deep sigh as Felix shrieks.

“C’mon, I mean, unless you’re into dainty alphas, I’m perfect.” Sylvain spreads his arms open as though showing Mythos how ‘perfect’ he was. “I’m not so dainty myself, but hey I’ve got that whole tall and smooth thing going for me.”

Felix jumps on Sylvain then.

“Don’t tell me you’re interested in Mythos, too,” Sylvain whined as he defends himself from Felix’s fierce strikes as Ingrid tries half-heartedly to separate them.

“Of course not,” Felix denied quickly. “But I don’t feel like losing a training partner because of whatever diseases you happen to be carrying.”

“Wow, Felix, low blow,” Sylvain drawled as he pushes the other alpha off of him.

Mythos almost rolls his eyes as Dimitri palms his forehead.

“Ah, so that is why my brother warned me to not approach him,” Flayn remarked lightly.

“He’s not interested in other alphas,” Mythos replied staring at the blatant flirting happening in front of him.

At least not yet.

“Seteth fears that I will pick up his habits,” Flayn added. “Become a promiscuous alpha like him.”

Mythos tries to imagine Flayn like so. Flirting with any omegas or betas on sight with a lascivious smirk and hooded eyes and cannot imagine it. “Ah, is that so.”

“This just further proves my theory, you know,” Sylvian spoke up again as he begins to dodge Felix’s increasingly fast punches.

“What theory?”

“That you’re an omega,” Sylvain answered with a sly smile.

Mythos sighs.

“That’s not a denial,” Sylvain noted with disturbing glee. “So does that mean I’m getting close?”

Before they knew it Sylvain was punched in the face by Felix as he goes down screaming. Blocked from dodging by Dimitri himself.

“How rude, Sylvain,” Dimitri begins. “To speculate about Mythos-”

“Don’t tell me you’re not curious either, Dimitri,” Sylvain whined as he grasps his now bleeding nose. “Hey, Mercedes, can you heal me?”

“Don’t.” Mythos raises his hand as Mercedes approaches Sylvian’s downed figure.

Mercedes pauses as Sylvian looks up at him.

“Run, now,” Mythos warned as he grabs a javelin off the rack. “All of you.”

He throws it. “Especially you, Sylvain.”

They do.

He huffs as he turns around towards Flayn who looks back at him.

“Come, let’s hunt some lions,” he said as he offers his hand to her. She takes it as they run.


“Man, I can’t believe that Flayn’s a monster, too,” Sylvain whined as he crumbles to the floor once more.

Ingrid hums in agreement. “She has quite the stamina for someone so small.”

“Of course my granddaughter would be the best.”

“Small?” Flayn repeated. “I did not know that I appear to be so fragile.”

There was a mulish look about her as she, for all the ways she tries to be mature, pouts.

“Fragile, you are, dear, but leagues above these mortals,” Sothis reassured.

“You are strong though,” Mythos said gently as his hand reaches for her hair. “I do not see you as fragile, not at all.”

“Why thank you.” Flayn leans into his touch as she smiles. “You are so sweet, Mythos.”

“So this is how it feels,” Sylvain commented. “To be a witness of such blatant flirting.”

“At least you know how it feels now, you rabid mutt,” Felix retorted as he cuffs Sylvain.

Ironic, Mythos thinks dryly, to think that you do not know of your own blatant flirting.

“Indeed,” Mercedes agreed although there was something mocking about her words as though she mirrors Mythos’ own thoughts.

“Best be careful now, Mythos.” Sylvain turns over as he lays his back on the cool ground. “Seteth might just hunt you down.”

Mythos huffs and did not comment as Flayn smiles slightly.

“I wish you the best,” Dimitri said earnestly. “In dealing with Seteth, I mean.”

“Yeah, me too!” Annette agreed cheerfully.

“As ill advised at this is.” Ingrid proceeds to stand as she dusted her skirt. “I admire your courage.”

“Seteth is quite scary,” Ashe noted. “Especially about Flayn.”

“But hey, you can’t stop love, right?” Sylvain remarked. “Even if Seteth tries to separate you two lovebirds I’ll still support you.”

Flayn starts giggling at this point. “No, no, Mythos and I will never be like- like that.

“No, of course not,” Mythos confirmed as he nods.

“Is there perhaps another secr-”

“Me and Flayn,” Mythos interrupted before Sylvain would get more ideas into the rest of his classmates. “Are related.”

There was a brief silence.

“I am distantly related to Seteth as well,” Mythos continued dryly. “So I’m afraid that he’ll be rather reluctant to skin me.”

Pandemonium erupted.

“What? How?” Sylvain was, of course, the first to ask. “When? What? Who?”

“What,” Mythos askd flatly. “Is it really a shock?”

“Yes,” Annette hissed. “Totally a shock, right Mercie?”

“Indeed.” Mercedes nods solemnly.

“Do you not see our resemblance?” Mythos gestures between the two of them.

“No, not really,” Ashe admitted, his eyes still wide.

“We never even seen what you’ve looked like beneath that hood aside from your hair!” Sylvain pointed out.

“Oh.”

A brief moment of silence.

“That’s it?” Sylvain continued. “Aren’t you going to show us what you look like now?”

“I know, right?” Annette agreed her hands crossing as she pouts. “You know how we look so it’s only fair that we know how you look, too.”

“Does it matter?” Felix asked.

“Of course it does!” Sylvain forged on. “This is very important.”

To your future gossip, maybe, Mythos thinks.

“I don’t think it’s that-”

“I’m dying of curiosity now,” Mercedes remarked lightly.

“Dimitri knows how I look,” Mythos pointed out.

“And you didn’t tell us?” Sylvain asked. “Didn’t tell me, your dearest friend, about the hottest scandal to date?”

Dimitri stares at him with wide eyes. “I didn’t- I didn’t make the connection until now.”

“His Highness doesn’t have to tell you anything,” Dedue rebuffed.

“Dedue, how many times-” Dimitri spoke on instinct before cutting himself off. “Well, regardless, I never thought much of it.”

“Wait, how does he even look like?” Annette asked, as they all turn around to him again. Their eyes were expectant as they look between his hood and the face that lurks beneath.

Flayn also looks up at him, with doe eyes and a small smile.

Fine, he thinks as he falls under all their gazes, you win.

With deft fingers he pulls down his hood, making sure to cover his ears with his hair as it falls around him. Messy, he thinks distantly, I’ve never had to worry about that before.

“Well?” he prompted as he pulls Flayn closer. “Can you see it now?”

He stays there, awkwardly as the silence falls over their group. Moments later he lets Flayn go as he return his hood to its rightful place.

“Ah, wait,” Sylvain called. “Why did you put it back up again?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Mythos argued as he adjusts the thing and slides the few remaining strands of hair back under it.

“Why hide your face?” Sylvain asked. “Why hide such beauty from the world?”

“Yeah, Mythos, why hide my beauty from the world at large.”

Ah, Mythos thinks, so this is how it begins.

“Why hide such beauty from-”

“From you,” Mythos finished as he sighs.

“Yes.” Sylvain nods seriously. “Your beauty really moved me, Mythos.”

Beautiful, Sylvain had called him that before. Although more in jest and not quite like so.

“I see.”

“So I was thinking that since we are so well matched,” Sylvain continued. “With your beauty and how handsome I am.”

“I see.”

“So, I think we should-”

Felix once again descended upon him and Ingrid didn’t even bother to stop the two alphas.

“I agree, you look quite nice Mythos,” Mercedes complimented gently. “Maybe a bit of sun will do you some good.”

“You look nice, but a bit too frail,” Annette agreed. “A day in the sun would fix that.”

“I think so as well,” Flayn chimed in.

Says you, Mythos thinks. Before sighing.

“Well, if that’s all, I’ll be off.” He tugs at Flayn’s wrist. “Come, Flayn.”

He looks back for just a moment as he feels Dimitri’s intent gaze on his back. The boy’s blue eyes were locked onto his as he turns away once more. With the sunset hitting him like that, hitting his blonde hair and bright blue eyes, and that slight blush on his cheeks.

With him looking like that under the sunset-

It was unfair, Mythos thinks as he feels himself speeding up as his heart pounds with each step.

I must be sick, he thinks. My heart must be ill somehow.

“You idiot.”

Flayn looks at him with complicated eyes before she shakes her head. .


“Thank you, Mythos,” Flayn said as she stands in front of her room. “You’ve shown me a wonderful time this evening.”

“It was nothing, rather I should thank you for helping me train them.” Mythos shuffles his feet under her gaze. Dragging his cloak around him as the air of the night threatens to etch itself into his skin. A concern for a mortal though, not a god.

“I’ve dragged you down,” Flayn argued but a smile persists on her face.

“I’m glad you had fun,” Mythos concluded before moving away again.

He stops as he feels a small tug on his cloak. “What is it?”

“No, no, it is nothing,” Flayn answered meekly. “Nothing at all.”

Mythos frowns under his cloak.

“I just wanted to see your features once more is all,” Flayn explained as the weight drops from his cloak.

“You saw it earlier,” he pointed out.

“Yes, well, that is why it is a pointless thought,” Flayn agrees as she turns around. “I bid you farewell now Mythos.”

Mythos sighs before he grasps at her wrist as he pulls down his hood. Letting his hair go free once more, for the second time that day. He really was becoming soft, he thinks with horror.

“Do you want anything else, Flayn?” he queried as she stares wanting to cover his face and turn away from her.

She stares up at him with bright green eyes despite the dark hallway, her eyes are wide and beautiful. Like the finest of gems that bandits, and commoners, would kill to have. So different from Sothis and her father, yet utterly breathtaking either way.

“Oh.” She exhales as she reaches a hand up towards him.

He does not know who he looks like now in her eyes. Whether he is Mythos the boy or Sothis the goddess. With Rhea it was simple, for anything was simpler with Rhea when Sothis was involved.

“Can you,” she begins hesitantly. “Can you say ‘Cethleann?’”

Oh, he thinks, so that is who you want me to be.

“Cethleann,” Sothis sobbed, “You foolish girl, why do you continue to…”

“Cethleann,” he repeated as softly as he could while matching her gaze. “Cethleann.”

He can see it now, the image of a girl with dark green hair and sharp pupils staring back at him within her reflective eyes.

So this is who you want to see, he notes, who you want to be in front of you right now.

“Cethleann,” he said for the final time as he smiles. It was Sothis’ smile, the way it would lift higher to the right and the way her left canine would poke out slightly from under her grin. The softness of it and the brightness of the smile. It was Sothis’ smile and he tries his best to imitate her.

You had done so much for them then, he thinks, this is the best I can do for you now.

“Let me,” Sothis pleaded, “Let me speak to her once more.”

He nods subtly as he continues to smile, straining his cheeks. The smile is entirely too soft and rough at the same time and yet Flayn’s eyes turn misty regardless.

“Good night,” he hears her murmur to a woman long gone.

“Every night- every night I used to say to her-”

“Good night,” he said back as a woman long dead. “May your dreams be gentle tonight, Cethleann.”

“And then- then she would-”

Cethleanne smiles as she pulls him down, placing her lips gently against his forehead. “And yours as well.”

Certhlanne smiles as the moonlight illuminate her hair and her eyes were that of the night sky itself. If Mythos looks hard enough he could see the barest hint of scales on her neck nearing her glands and the sharpness of her nails. If he looks hard enough he can see where Cethlanne ends and where Flayn begins. If he looks hard enough he can see the divinity in her veins and the oceans crashing around them both.

If he looks hard enough he can see a goddess reflected in her eyes.

Cethlanne smiles and it is not him who she sees.

Chapter Text

“You called Flayn your grandchild,” he noted as he returns to his own room. "I do not recall you being her grandmother.”

“I am not,” Sothis agreed, “Seiros is my only child.”

“Then why.” He ties the scabbard of his sword around his hips once more as he hooks his dagger to his thigh. Adjusting and readjusting its grip.

“We are all related in a sense,” Sothis explained, “I consider myself their mother even though they were not birthed by me and they consider me with the same regard. It is easy, with us dragons, to make bonds and create packs.”

“Pack, like humans.” He dons his cloak as tucks the few stray strands back under the hood.

“Exactly like so.” Sothis’ feet hover in the air as she appears in front of him. “Like you humans with your packs, we dragons, too, have our own. Nowhere as structured and rigid as you humans, of course.”

“Interesting.” Mythos falls into the cushion as Sothis lays down beside him.

“Indeed, it was nice, even as archaic as it was. If you had power you were the pack leader. None of this tripe about alpha dominance and your title.” Mythos can imagine that for Sothis. With her power and might, there would be no one to challenge her. No one would dare nor want to challenge her. Simple rules, those were, and entirely suitable for dragons who care not for a leader’s titles but their power instead.

He can remember it too, as her hands fall on his, the reverence of alphas, betas and omegas alike as the bow down to her. He can remember Seiros’ subservient gaze as she bares her neck to her mother, Cichol bowing down and his nape bare as he asks for his blessing before a battle, Indech’s status as a commander as a beta and Maculi’s rise to power even though his scent marked him as an omega. He remembers many more things, little things like his other alpha children bow down as they ignore their pride for power, how his beta children would fight alongside their alpha counterparts, how his omega children would snarl and fight, just as deadly as their alphas.

“They were my children and they all bowed down to their mother,” Sothis said proudly.

Humans would never be so simple, Mythos thinks, never willing to make it simpler. A boon and a bane at the same time.

“But you are not human anymore.” Sothis lays her head on the crook of his neck. “You are a god now.”

You are my child now as well, he hears.

“We are all connected, surely you can feel this as well, Mythos. Surely, you must think of them as pack as well.”

He heads out into the cold night once more and pretends to not have heard at all.


“I hear you are undertaking Lonato’s mission by yourself?” Dimitri sits next to him now, with a quill in his hand and notes with jagged handwriting in front of him. His voice barely above a passing breeze.

“Not alone,” Mythos answered, as he gestures towards Byleth. "She will be coming with me.”

Dimitri frowns, a slight furrow of his brows as he bites his lips slightly.

“You will be assigned another mission by Rhea,” Mythos continued as he notes the grip around the quill tightening and wondering if it’ll break.

“Lady Rhea.” Dimitri sets the quill back to the inkpot. “She permitted this?”

“Yes, of course.” Byleth still hasn’t looked back from her lecture. Not that it was anything too advanced, more about swords and lances and how the two weapons would match up. Incredibly basic, now that Mythos thinks about it, but he was the same.

“How did you get her to permit this, frankly, incredibly dangerous mission?” Dimitri was still talking in a hushed whisper, though that seemed to catch the attention of the whole class as Byleth herself pauses.

“What mission?” Annette asked curiously as she peeks from over Mercedes’s shoulders.

“The only mission that I can think of is…” Mercedes trailed off as she furrows her brows. "Quelling Lord Lonato’s rebellion.”

Dimitri nods. “Yes, it is exactly that.”

Mythos does not budge his face but, from the corner of his eye, he can see Ashe paling.

“W- what happened?” Ashe asked anxiously as his hands quiver. "Did- did Lady Rhea call it off?”

“No, I’m afraid not,” Dimitri answered softly as Ashe exhales shakily. “But Lady Rhea had taken our class off this mission and instead Mythos will be undertaking it along with our professor.”

“Those two, alone?” Ingrid chimed in. Mythos can see how Byleth is frozen herself as she turns around to face him. The slight wrinkle of her brows and small downturn of her lips showing her shock and displeasure.

“Lady Rhea will inform you by the end of today,” he said to her as she nods slowly. Still unhappy that she was informed so late but otherwise none the more shocked.

“Why would Lady Rhea allow it?” Mercedes wondered as she frowns. "Mythos and our professor will no doubt be a strong pair, but against Lonato and his army? It does not seem plausible.”

There were murmurs of agreement.

“Thunderbrand Catherine will be aiding us,” Mythos added. "Although she will hang back unless I or Professor is in serious peril.”

“Why hang back?” Ingrid asked curiously. "Wouldn’t it be better if you were to march in together?”

“It is for Lady Rhea,” Mythos answered as he averts his eyes. "Lady Rhea ordered her not to act unless the situation requires it.”

“But why?” Ingrid persisted as her confusion leaks into her voice.

“The real question is why we are being taken off the real mission and given some child’s mission instead,” Felix snapped as he crosses his arms.

“It is for me to prove myself.”

“Prove yourself?” Annette repeated. “But why do you need to do that?”

“Perhaps Lady Rhea doesn’t trust him,” Sylvain proposed, before pausing. “But wait, that wouldn’t make sense either since he’s Flayn’s relative right?”

“She would have no reason to doubt him,” Mercedes concurred. “Especially since she trusts Flayn and Seteth like so.”

“What a mystery we have on our hands,” Sylvain stated. “Man you’re sure keeping me on my toes, Mythos.”

“Just ask him yourself, mutt, instead of making up foolish conjectures like this,” Felix grumbled.

“Hey, you’re right.” Sylvain turns to smile at Felix, whose ears then bleed red. “Thanks, Felix.”

“Of course I’m right.” Felix turns away then as he looks outside instead.

“So, Mythos, what say you?” Sylvain leans forward as he puts his hands under his jaw.

“To protect the Goddess,” Mythos answered simply.

“Wha- what does that mean?” Sylvain startles as his eyes grow wide. “Protect the Goddess, what does that even mean?”

“Exactly what it means.” Mythos stands up then as the bell chimes around his neck. “Please excuse me now, Professor, I must go to Lady Rhea.”

“Wait-” Sylvain calls as Mythos marches out the door.

“Protect the Goddess.” He hears from behind him, spoken softly with curious blue eyes and Mythos wishes desperately that he could turn back.


Mythos sheaths his sword after letting the blacksmith sharpen it; sliding his dagger smoothly back to its own scabbard after he inspected it.

He waits outside in the sweltering heat. Hearing soft footsteps as he turns towards her. “We’re leaving.”

She nods towards him, her armor more decent this time, in the form of a mercenary’s gear, and for that he was grateful. There was a slight frown on her brow though and the slight tenseness of her shoulders.

“What is it?”

“This moon has not yet passed,” Byleth noted. “Why so early?”

“Lonato will not be prepared for an attack now,” Mythos answered. “Not when the word had already spread of the church’s intent to stop him by sending the Blue Lions.”

“That is false.” She walks beside him, matching his pace and he walks slightly faster.

“Exactly so.” Mythos feels a breeze trailing besides him as he steps outside of Garreg Mach. “He will expect an attack on the last day of this moon.”

“Ah.” The wind pushes Byleth’s hair back then as her eyes glitter in the sun. A faint flush on her ears and cheeks. Young, he notes, young and foolish. Too young and foolish to fight a war, to lead a war.

Too young and foolish to save anyone.

“Thunderbrand will me meeting us there.” Mythos pulls his cloak further around himself as the cloth covers his view of her.


Mythos was hoping that the journey would be a quiet one. He knows that Byleth was not one for idle chatter and would not talk unless she was addressed and would be happy enough on her lonesome if let be.

Yet-

She had mighty curious eyes, for someone that was supposed to be apathetic. Blatantly staring up at him, not even bothering to try and hide her gaze. Instead, she focuses on him throughout the whole journey and it was even more unnerving than if she were to just talk already. Ask whatever it is she wished and be done with her damned curiosity.

He takes one step, and another, and-

“Out with it.” The wind stops then and Mythos scowls as the sun’s heat descends upon them once more.

“With what?” The nerve of this woman, to ask such when it was clear that she had a question burning at the tips of her tongue.

“Ask.” A slight rustle, perhaps a critter or a bandit? Perhaps something that would save him from her curiousity? “You are certainly not subtle about it, so, ask.”

She pauses for a moment as he focuses on the squirrel that was moving about the tree in front of them. Not a bandit, that was for sure, and Mythos was glad he wouldn’t have to dull his blade just yet.

“Zanado,” she begins. “The Red Canyon, what do you know about it?”

“I’ve already told you.” He walks slightly faster. Already berating himself for losing his rationality to the memories of hearths and laughter. It must have been that, for why else would he reveal such to her?

“But-”

“There is nothing more for me to tell,” he snapped as the sharp wind flutters about.

“There is a lot more you can tell,” she answered as she idly kicks a stone. Her brows slight furrowed- and was that a pout?

No, it mustn't be, Mythos thinks and dismisses the thought entirely. “There is nothing.”

“There is something,” she insisted as her voice raises slightly.

“No.”

“Yes.” He could feel his annoyance leaking into his voice as she continues to persists. Admirable effort, he must say. If he were a lesser man he would’ve fallen to those doe eyes and slightly puffed cheeks already.

But he wasn’t, and the sight of her eyes makes him want to snarl.

“No.”

Sothis, why was he even arguing with her.

“Because you’re both idiots-”

“Yes-”

He turns back, not quite snarling but his teeth were bared and his eyes vicious. “What does it matter to you?”

She frowns as she ponders his question. “Is it even you that’s curious, Byleth? Or is it someone else?”

She does not argue and that pushes him further as he forges on. “I know it’s not you. You do not want to know, not really, and that is reason enough to not answer.”

“... how do you know?” She looks up at him then. Her eyes are dull as per usual. Not offended, or angered by his words. Not anything, really. And well-

“I told you before,” he replied. “I know people like you.”

Her face wrinkles once more as she ponders his word. He can see the gears ticking inside her mind and the Goddess speaking to her now. A curious lilt to her questions and the way her voice would rise as she ponders.

For all her blankness, it was easy to read her if one knew her cues. As her head would slightly lean to one side as though her curiosity was pushing down on her. Eyes hooded as she bites her lips red. Easy to spot and decipher if one knew where to look. And it wasn’t hard to know her cues. Not when they stand out so much from her usual apathetic demeanor.

“People like you,” he continued. “Are easy to read.”

She startles as he speaks; her hands coming to cover her face as though on instinct- as though that will do anything but make her look foolish- as he scoffs.

“See?” He gestures towards her. “Like a book.”

She frowns at him. “How can you tell? Only my father-”

“I already answered that,” he stated. “Now we best get on our way, Professor.”

“Wait.” She tugs at his cloak. “At least answer, who is the Goddess?”

He pulls the fabric from her hands. “Someone long dead.”

She follows in his footsteps.

“Then why do you need to protect her?”

“It is my duty,” he answered. “Assigned by Lady Rhea herself.”

“But if she is dead-”

“Let me advice you now, Professor,” Mythos warned. “Do not question Lady Rhea.”

Do not question anything about a mad goddess and her obsession, lest you become it, he thinks.

“The Goddess is dead,” he insisted. “Do not speak of this any further.”

You’re lucky that I am here, if not Lady Rhea would’ve surely dug through your heart by now. Looking to find her mother within it.


“Sorry,” Thunderbrand Catherine said as they arrive. “Somehow Lonato found out about the early arrival.”

That was obvious now, seeing the dense fog that surrounds the forest in front of them. Dark and foreboding, the kind that was man made rather than natural.

“Is he in there?”

“Should be,” Catherine answered. “We managed to surround him before he could run.”

Mythos unsheathes his sword as he marches straight into the fog.

“Hey wait-” Catherine called. “Are you really going in there alone?”

He grunted. “The woman behind me will follow.”

“Man, I didn’t think Lady Rhea was being serious,” Catherine remarked. “But hey, who am I to doubt her judgment.” She waves him off. “Good luck, kid. Send a flare signal if you need backup.”

Mythos nods.

“Or scream, doesn’t matter to me.” Catherine shrugs as she returns to her own troops. “Well, I’ll be waiting right here.”

It won’t come down to that, he thinks yet he nods towards her as fog surrounds him and Byleth both.

“Come, Professor,” he said. “We have a heretic to hunt.”


The mages and soldiers they encountered were easy enough to deal with. They were decent, clearly better than the bandits that they had fought moons prior, however, they were nowhere near the monsters that Mythos had to face. Their attacks not strong enough to crush bones, their magic not powerful enough to turn him into ashes, their cries too human and their blood too warm.

He pities them not, though, for they had chosen their deaths the moment they fought under a heretic’s banner. Surely, they must’ve known what the church, what Rhea, do to heretics.

The numerous executions of their predecessors should’ve warned them.

“Lord Lonato,” he noted as the fog disperses, fading into nothing as he draws his sword from the chest of another mage.

“So you’re the ones sent to kill me,” Lonato remarked as he studies Mythos. “Where is the rest?”

“Just us, I’m afraid.” Mythos readies his sword.

“Typical,” Lonato spat. “Should’ve known that she would be so ready to send children to their deaths.”

Mythos only shakes his head, feeling his arm heating up as magic rushes through it. He can hear the cracking of fire as it starts. Seeing the blaze in his sword as it lit up the area around them. Terribly hot just to be near and even worse to be injured by.

A beat, and two, as the flames grow stronger, the rain that appears turning into mists before it could dampen the fire. Mythos dashes for Lonato’s throat. Feeling the man’s lance coming up to parry his strike; the iron not strong enough to withstand the flames as it melts. Liquid metal dripping down on the man as he hisses; jolsting his horse instead as the thing dashes off. Mythos dodging back.

Mythos channeling the fire back to the sword as it roars once more as his body moves towards the man. Who had nothing to arm himself and his armor nowhere near sturdy enough to withstand the heat, let along the body underneath it.

His sword dashes through the man. Feeling the man’s body cave into the metal as Lonato gasped. Hearing the sound of the man’s blood being consumed by the flames. The man falls from his horse as Mythos withdraws his sword from the man’s chest. Letting the flames die down as his blade returns to normal once more, unblemished and even clean.

“You- you-” He hears Lonato gasps from underneath him. The man’s hand reaches towards him. “So it was like that.”

Mythos leans down, intending on searching the man for the letter mentioning an attempt on Rhea’s life.

“So you’re own of hers,” the man spat. “So that’s why she sent you after me.”

“It is nothing so complex.” He rifles through the satchel on the horse, after finding nothing on the man, looking through numerous documents that once held some importance but now just paper now that the man is dead.

“You have her hair.” Lonato’s hand fall towards the ground. “You have her damned eyes. What more is there to it?”

“I suppose it is that simple.” Mythos draws a familiar parchment from the satchel as the horse whines.

“She killed my son.” Weak and dying, Lonato persists. “And now she sent you to kill me… what grudge does she have against my family?”

“Your son was a criminal and now you have followed his footsteps,” Mythos argued. “The question you should be asking is, what could you have done better?”

Pathetic, Mythos thinks. Looking down at the man now.

“If she really held a grudge,” Mythos continued. “Your adoptive son Ashe would’ve been dead by now.”

Lonato gasps, whether it was from the pain of Mythos’ heels digging into his wound or Mythos’ words will never be known. “She could’ve easily ended his life and yet she won’t.”

Pathetic, Mythos thinks. To choose the dead over the living.

“You chose your dead son over Ashe,” Mythos said. “You should be glad that Ashe won’t have to pay the price.”

He did, Mythos thinks. He killed you then, because he could not bear the thought of your final moments being painful. To make sure that the last blow, dealt by him, would be swift and painless. He killed you then, so that the family name could live on beyond you. So that the family that sheltered him wouldn’t have their name besmirched by you. His hands trembled back then as he cried when you had nary a doubt on what you were about to do. When you choose to gamble Ashe’s life for a chance at revenge.

Ashe won’t have to kill you now. Your corpse will never haunt his dreams again. Yet-

Yet he will still cry for you- a father who chose one son over another.

A father who chose the dead over the living.

Pathetic, Mythos thinks. Like me.

He crushes the man’s windpipe as Lonato gasped one last time.


“Mission over,” he said as Byleth returns. “Lonato is dead.”

Catherine walks up to them. She grins as she waves. “You really did it, and without my help, too.”

“Indeed.” Mythos pulls the parchment as he hands it to her. “Here.”

“What is this.” She studies the thing as she opens the letter.

“An order on Lady Rhea’s life.”

Catherine’s face turns pale at once as she folded the parchment into her satchel. She hops onto her horse quickly as she yells for her troops to gather. There was an urgency about her that was infectious as her men started to become riled up themselves.

“Listen up. We’ll be departing right now!” she ordered. “There’s an urgent situation!”

There were no questions asked as her men saddles up. Armors sounding as they maneuver onto their own steed.

“We’ll be off now,” Catherine said to him. “Sorry, but we can’t accompany you back.”

With that said she and her men rode off. Leaving him and Byleth to find their way back. Once again alone together.

“Let’s go,” he said to her as they begin walking.

She seems to pause for a moment.

“What is it?”

“Are- are you,” she stuttered as she tries to find the right words. “Are you related to Lady Rhea?”

“No,” he answered. And that was the truth.

For he was related to Seiros. A goddess with wild laughter and infectious grins. Not to Rhea, a woman with demure smiles and somber chuckles. He was related to Seiros, who was free and unburdened. Not to Rhea, who was chained down by her madness and obsession.

He was related to Seiros.

And yet he feels more like Rhea with each passing day.

“No,” he repeated, hoping to convince even himself.


“I am sorry,” Byleth said to him; her eyes slightly hooded and her lips bitten. The campfire lighting her face in a warm light that contradicts who she is at her core.

“Why?” he questioned as he frowns up at her.

“My father,” Byleth explained as she looks down at him. “For what he said.”

“Oh.” Mythos sighs and leans against the large tree. The chill of the night sinking into his skin as he closes his eyes briefly. “Your father.”

Your father, Mythos thinks, Jeralt Eisner.

“Yes, my father,” Byleth agreed as she sinks down into a crouch, closer to him now.“I’ve just learned of what he said to you.”

He was once mine, Mythos thinks as he studies her. The way her jaw was softer and her eyes rounder. How her hair was slightly curly at the edges and the way it frames her soft cheeks. The paleness of her skin as the moonlight hits her and the way her armor glistens. Dressed in a mercenary’s gear that hides her muscle and scars. Like this she was deceptively omega and yet wholly alpha in nature.

He thinks of sharp, defined jaw instead. Of eyes that were harsher and harder. Of messy hair that rests around the man’s shoulder. Of pale skin plagued with scars and armor that covers the rest of him and the dagger that sits around the man’s hips.

He cannot see the difference anymore. Not when their image overlaps and the earnest girl fades into the ghost as the ghost takes on her skin.

“He is right, you know,” Mythos said, unbidden. “About everything.”

Byleth frowns then. Her eyes rounder and her expression more pronounced than the man ever was.

“You want to harm me?” she asked; her frown becoming deeper still. As the crickets sound from around them.

The ghost frowns with her, with washed-out hair and similar eyes. With scars on his hands and blood on his lips.

“I do not want to,” Mythos scoffed; as he lets his head hit the wood behind him. "But I will.”

You will fail, he thinks, you will fail just as he did and your tears will burn just as hot.

“I don’t understand,” she stated.

I didn’t understand either, once, Mythos thinks, of death and madness. But I do now.

And you will too, one day.

“Good,” Mythos remarked as he looks at the ghost. "Pray that you will never understand.”

You will become him, one day, Mythos thinks, and for that, I should kill you.

“I don’t understand,” Byleth repeated. “Your words, they’re confusing.”

The day you understand them, Mythos thinks, will be the worst day of your life.

He scoffs before closing his eyes once more. “Good.”

“Tell me,” she asked as she tugs at his cloak. "Explain.”

Mythos hits her hands away. "No.”

“Tell me.” Her words were rougher now as her scent spikes. “Explain.”

“No.”

“Tell me-”

“No,” Mythos snaps as his eyes open. “I will not.”

Byleth frowns and Mythos snarls at her.

“You will never understand,” Mythos snapped. “And for that, you should be grateful.”

You should be glad, he thinks, to not hear the ghosts of a man long dead. You should be glad to look at walking corpses and men you’ve killed every day. You should be glad you don’t understand what it means to love and lose. You should be glad you’ve never felt your heart can beat and break. You should be glad that the only thing you see from them are smiles.

You should be glad that you will never have to trade a student’s life for another.

You should be glad that you will never know how Felix's skin would become charred and little shutters of his lashes as he breathes his last.

You should be glad that you will never know of Mercedes' screams and how hot her fire could burn and how her tears burn even hotter.

You should be glad that you will never know of Ingrid's final chime as she falls from the heavens, crashing down into death's embrace as you shout.

You should be glad that you will never know of Annette's final song as she sang you a lullaby that you will never know the ending to.

You should be glad that you will never know of the poison that would stain Dedue's lips, of the way Ashe would reach out for his lover even as arrows pin his hands, of Sylvain's prayers to a man you failed to save and Dimitri's spiral to madness.

You should be glad, he thinks, that you will never know the hatred that could run through your veins, the mirrors that you would destroy in rage as you realize what is reflected.

You will never realize what it means to give them up so that they can live, what it means to give them a future as you ruin thousands others.

You will never know, he thinks, of the realization that you'll have nothing by the end of this.

That you'll be nothing by the end of it all.

You should be glad, Mythos thinks viciously, you should be glad that you will never have to see any of that.

“Leave,” he hissed. “Leave now.”

She does, returning to her post.

You should be glad, he thinks. That I traded my future for yours.


Chapter Text

Mythos and Byleth arrive back at Garreg Mach around midday. The sun was hot and piercing through his cloak, and Mythos is reminded that, while Gods do not exhaust easily, they still sweat like mortals. The ribbon around his neck feels even heavier now, as it clings to his skin, and he itches to remove it altogether. Scoffing moments later at the thought; knowing that it was just his damned omega instincts working.

“Is it really that bad, though?” Sothis asked. “To be known as an omega?”

Mythos respects omegas perfectly well, it was just that he would prefer to think about his status at all.

“You are an omega now, Mythos. You would do well to come to terms with that fact before your-”

That was when Mythos shut her down.

“Tired?” Byleth’s hair clung to her face as she frowns slightly. Her hands moving to smooth over her hair and shade her from the sun’s glare.

“Not quite,” Mythos replied, suddenly glad for the shade that his cloak provided. “It’s just uncomfortable, that’s all.”

“Take the rest of the day off.” Her scent, once like dull metal has a slightly earthen hint to it now.

His- Byleth’s, the one from the future- had a scent like the skies instead as time progresses and Mythos frowned briefly as he ponders why her scent had changed.

“No, I’ll be fine.” Her scent, he thinks. Is still familiar. Still mainly overrode by the scent of dull iron and metal. Just the slightest hint of the earth in it. Not noticeable at all if one did not focus, but wholly obvious to Mythos.

He feels himself frowning even more.

That wasn’t right. Her scent isn’t supposed to be like this.

“I’ll be reporting to Lady Rhea now,” he said softly as he moves away from her. Still tasting the slight tang of nature on his tongue as he departs. “I will be back in class at the earliest opportunity.”

Wrong, he thinks. Wrong like how everything had just shifted two paces to the left and once they shifted back it wasn’t quite right again, that kind of wrong.

In the place where there should be the slightest hint of spring breeze, there now lay the arid earth.

“You must know what this means.”

This changes nothing.

“Ah, so it is a matter of denial.”


“Lady Rhea,” he greeted. Sweat now no longer as horrid now that he was indoors and no longer under the mercy of the sun. “Lonato is dead.”

“I heard.” Rhea smiles at him as she approaches. Her palms open and facing up. “Come here, now.”

“Have you also heard about the letter he had?” Mythos sits down next to her. Observing the way her brows pinched together and her lips thin. A metallic glint passing through her eyes that reminded him of the girl that once existed in her place.

“She is still there, I know it so.”

“Yes, Catherine had informed me,” Rhea answered softly as she lays her hands over his. And he wondered briefly if his hands were still clammy. Not that Rhea would care.

“What are you planning on doing about it?” he asked; already knowing the answer to his question. Rhea smiles again as her right hand comes to gently move his hood down.

“Are you worried?” Her smile is sweet, he thinks. Sweet like nightshades. “Are you worried about me, Mythos?”

Her hand wounds around his cheek then. Cool and rough to the touch. Hands of a warrior, with all the callous and scars. Yet now her hands were more used to holding staffs than they were her sword. Another remnant, another piece of the woman she used to be.

He looks into her eyes now. And he can see the emergence of the girl. So he says, “Yes.”

I shouldn’t be, he thinks idly. I really shouldn’t be. I know that you are a goddess, with dragon blood in your veins and power to decimate mountains at your fingertips. I know that you will live. That this is nothing more than a distraction. That even if they tried, they would be felled under Seteth’s hand before they could even reach you.

I shouldn’t be worried. Not for you, at least.

“Perhaps I am,” he said. And it worries him that it wasn’t a lie.

“Is- is she worried about me?” Rhea asked as her fingers twitch. Unable to even mention Sothis’ name.

“Seiros… do you ever doubt my answer?”

“Yes.” For what other answer is there? “Always.”

Rhea smiles. Like nightshades and blood.

He can see Sothis in her eyes, reflected back at him.

A part of him does not mind this. Being seen as Sothis.

It is easier this way, he thinks. Easier for me to not mistake who is it you truly care for.

Sothis is all she sees. And a part of Mythos is glad, thrilled.

Because he doesn’t want to see Mythos reflected in those eyes.


Mythos walks in midway through Byleth’s lessons. Where she was in the middle of slicing open a tomato midair. Perhaps trying to demonstrate a point on a sword’s sharpness or perhaps the fate of students falling asleep in her class. Either way, Mythos didn’t really care.

“Welcome back,” Ingrid greeted as Mythos sat down beside her. “Was the mission any trouble?”

The class focuses on him then. Trying and yet not really trying at the same time to not stare.

“It was fine,” Mythos replied. Watching as Byleth catches the tomato in her hand. Her focus now on him as well.

“... Did Lonato really- really had a letter pertaining to Lady Rhea’s assassination attempt?” Ashe asked. His expression pained and his lips well bitten. Marks and scabs can be seen on his palm. Searing and new, as he gripped his fists tight while praying to the Goddess for a way to save his father.

Those prayers had failed.

Mythos didn’t know if he wanted to answer or not. Not sure whether the truth would be worth Ashe’s pain or if the lie will be worth it in the end.

“Yes, he did,” Byleth affirmed gently.

Ashe lets out a rough exhale. “P- please excuse me now, Professor.”

Ashe stands from his seat, his legs trembling and his lips even more so. Tears hang on the edge of his eyes and the dark shadows underneath them have never been more pronounced. His figure, now that Mythos noticed, was thinner than before. Frailer. As though he had not eaten nor slept these past few days.

Ashe looks crushed.

Crushed and defeated. For all he had wished for had not come to pass.

Lonato, Mythos thinks with venom in his mind. So you continue to haunt him even now.

Would you have continued to do so, if you could see him now? Would you continue with your useless attempts if you were to see what happened to Ashe now? Would you continue with your vengeance if you were to see the devastation you left in your wake?

You would, Mythos thinks. You would, you would, no matter the consequences because you had chosen one son over another that morning when you took up your blade.

You had chosen a chance at vengeance over your son.

For that, you should die a thousand deaths.

No one would in a particularly studious mood after Ashe left and Byleth seemed like she didn’t want to continue with the lesson either as she dismisses them.

I should’ve made you hurt more, he thinks. So that you will feel a fraction of what he feels now.


Ashe, once again, was sat upon a pew. Gazing up at the statue of the Goddess listlessly. Fingers no longer intertwined and lips no longer praying.

Mythos places himself next to Ashe as the choir practices their melody. The light from the sunset streaming through the windows and casting a gentle fire on the Goddess’ face. The Goddess, Mythos observes, was nothing like Sothis. Her eyes were gentler and her face more narrow. Her figure taller and her hair longer still. Her smile was gentle and dainty and her fingers were neatly trimmed in the place of fiery grins and sharp claws. Her eyes covered by a veil but there was no doubt that if it were removed her eyes would be just as gentle and human.

The Goddess, Mythos thinks. Wasn’t Sothis.

“No… she is not.”

She wasn’t Sothis in all the ways that mattered, at least. In all the ways that counted. Rather, she was Sothis in a way that was more abstract.

She was Sothis if Sothis had lived. She was a Sothis that could’ve existed. Older and kinder, temper wore down by time and stature growing with her.

She was a Sothis that existed in Rhea’s mind. A Sothis that Rhea must’ve seen in her dreams and nightmares. A Sothis that both Rhea and Seteth must’ve wished they could’ve seen.

She was a Sothis born from the ‘what-if’s and ‘maybes.’

“You know, they look nothing like how I imagine Seiros and Cichol to look when they are older,” Sothis explained softly, her voice verging on a whisper. “I had imagined Seiros to grow up just the same. Her hair would be long, yes, but they would be tied. Braids or perhaps a bun she was so fond of. Her eyes, I imagined, would be bright and nice. Just as her grins would be. Her scent, well, I had thought it would be like the sun. Vibrant and warm.”

Mythos tries to imagine, a Rhea that exists like so, but his mind fails him.

Sothis laughs. “I can hardly imagine it myself, now. Now that she is grown. Ah, but Cichol. Did you know, he used to have long hair? Indeed, long they were, rivaling Seiros’ own and he prided himself for such. His mate, Aram, loved it as well.” Mythos finds that he could see that image, even as blurry as it is. “You know, when I imagined him older, I imagined him with still the same long mane. I imagined his eyes would be like the starlights and his smiles would still be hard to draw out, but when you do, oh, it would be most beautiful. I had imagined his voice to be deeper, as he would argue with Seiros and their spats would be even more terrible and disastrous. I had imagined his scent to be light and free. Like flight.”

Mythos could imagine none of these things either. For the only thing he remembers from Seteth are weary eyes and slight smiles, nice they were, but they weren’t the ones that Sothis had imagined. There was no starlight for eyes and breathtaking smiles from the man that existed now. No scent of flight or pointless arguments with another packmate.

For that man is now grounded by his grief. Hurt and worn down. Old and shaped by death itself. The boy that he once was is gone or at least drawn tight to his chest, never to see the light of day again.

But-

But Mythos can see that boy, sometimes. In the brief mornings where Seteth would wake him with soft eyes and a softer heart. In the mornings where Seteth would scold and nag.

In those mornings, Mythos finds that there was a shadow of Cichol.

He could see him sometimes, when the man would turn to Flayn and smile. Soft and besotted, unable to hide his fondness for her even if he tried. His fatherly side showing through as his lips would lift, unbidden and uncontrollable.

“And Cethleann, where do I start with her?” Sothis sighed. “I had imagined her to grow up just as dainty as she was back then. Her hair, I imagined, would flow freely, or perhaps cut, to resemble her mother.”

Green hair and sharp eyes. Short and curly as they would fall into her face. How her eyes twinkle as she would laugh and how Cichol would melt right into her grins. Soft smiles and rough chuckles. That was Aram, a woman with the ocean for her scent and a wretched right hook.

“Lady Sothis!” the girl called. Her voice low and raspy, is how Mythos remembers it- is how Sothis remembers it so- she waves towards him as her eyes are that of the stars themselves. “I- we- I mean- we’re expecting!”

He had choked then as she laughs. Her hands coming to cover her stomach where a child- a child!- lays. Her hands are the gentlest they ever been as she laughs once more. Bright and lively. A flower in full bloom.

“Look over our child, won’t you?”

“She asked me to do so… and it seems that I’ve- I’ve let her down…”

Starry eyes and short green locks. Gentle hands and scraggy grins. A warrior with a lance but a cleric in nature. Beautiful and vibrant, lively and cheery to match Cichol’s somber and dourness.

She was a woman that existed in his memories now. Even if he had never called her name.

He loses himself, for a moment, as he sees through her eyes. Loses himself as he sees dead gods and fellow ghosts. As he sees the way Seiros can laugh- used to laugh- and the way Cichol used to scold her. He loses himself in her memories. As for a moment, just a moment, he is Sothis.

He finds that it is almost better, somewhat, to be her than it is to be Mythos.

For a moment, just a moment, he tried to convince himself. Just a moment.

“M- Mythos,” Ashe spoke from beside him. “D- did it hurt?”

“What?” he does not turn around to face Ashe. Not wanting to face the dullness that has overtaken his features. “What hurt?”

“You killed him, right? L- Lonato, I mean.” Ashe fumbles with the lining of his uniform and Mythos knew what he wanted to ask. “You laid the final blow, r- right?”

Mythos nods. Why? He wants to ask. Why torture yourself like this?

“D- did. Was his last moments- were they-” The words were choked as he hears the beginning of tears. The words, he thinks, are like thorns as they force themselves out of the boy’s throat. “- did… did it- it hurt?”

Why? Why do you torment yourself like so?

For a man like that?

For a man who chose his other son over you- for a man who gambled with your life on the line for a sliver of vengeance.

Why?

Why torment yourself when he never did, not for a moment, when he made his choice?

Why do you shed tears for him when he would’ve shed your blood, if it meant revenge?

“No,” Mythos lied. The thing burning like fire and ice on his tongue. “It did not hurt.”

You know, I made sure that his last moments would be agony. With fire burning his insides and my foot stomping down on his windpipe.

“It was a swift death.”

I made sure to delay it. Made sure that it would be slow and painful. So that he could-

“He did not feel a thing.”

I made sure that he would feel every second of it. Every slight pressure on his throat and every time fire would scorch his wretched heart.

“Did he- he say anything?” Ashe asked, still quivering and ruined. But slightly better now.

“No.”

A pity. I wish he had. I wish he would’ve pleaded for mercy. Asked me why I did what I did. So that I could deny him. So that I could say “No.” just as he did to you back then, when you pleaded for him to stop.

“Ah.” Ashe leans back on the pew as though his spine had turned into liquid and so had his limbs. “So he left painlessly then.”

He only wishes his death could be so easy.

Mythos nods.

“That- that is good.” Ashe lets out a wet laugh. “Good- very good.”

“Do you reckon Lonato would hate me?” Ashe asks, leaning against Byleth. “For killing him despite all he’s done for me?”

“He would not,” Byleth answers. “He would never.”

For he doesn’t have the right to do so. Not when he had chosen like he did.

Not when he had chosen a dead son over an alive one.

“That is good,” Ashe says softly. “Very good, indeed.”

Byleth shushes him as Ashe falls into a fitful sleep.

Ashe, as he often would. Would dream about Lonato in these dreams.

“Not good,” Byleth whispers as the boy yells in his sleep. “Not good at all, Ashe.”

Not good, Mythos thinks. Not good at all.

But he does not say a word as Ashe buries his face into Mythos’ shoulder. Heaving as no tears fall but his sobs still rang loudly despite how quiet it was.

I wished I would’ve had the foresight to rewound time. To kill him a thousand times for the thousands of ways he will haunt you.

“Thank you,” Ashe later said as he stands. “F- for d- doing what you did.”

I did nothing. Mythos thinks. Not back then and not even now. For he still haunts you and I am helpless, even like this.


“It is strange.” Heavy steps. Familiar ones. “That I would see you out here.”

“Dimitri,” Mythos greeted as he turns his gaze upwards.

“Good evening.” Dimitri smiles as he leans down. “Won’t you introduce me to your friends, Mythos?”

The cats start meowing and Mythos calls betrayal. “I have no idea why they’re here.”

A cat purrs as it wound itself around Mythos’ neck and another as it pushes its head against his hand and Mythos wants to commit a catassassination right about now.

“Oh? That does not appear to be the case.” Dimitri nudges the cat that lays on Mythos’ shoulder as it nips his finger gently. “This one here, Frederick the Third, has never been quite fond of humans.”

Frederick the Third? Mythos looks down at the cat, who looks more like cat number five or “Give me scraps, please.” rather than a Frederick.

“You named it?” Mythos asked, incredulous. “Frederick the Third no less?”

The cat meows, as if hearing its name aroused its interest.

A slight flush rises on Dimitri’s cheeks then as he frowns. “That is a perfectly good name.”

Mythos frowns and perhaps his confusion spoke volumes as Dimitri continued. “You mean to tell me you don’t know his name?”

“I… well…” Mythos searches his brain. “That’s… cat five.”

“That’s your name for him?” It was Dimitri’s turn to look upset now. More pouty than actual anger and-

And it was cuter than it should’ve been. For surely, it would be a dreadful sight on Sylvain, or worse, Felix.

Yet utterly charming on Dimitri, which made no sense at all.

“Yes, is there a problem?” Cat five purrs in his arms and that was confirmation alone that it was no problem with the cat itself.

“A very big one.” Dimitri nods. “I mean- Cat Five?”

“What’s wrong with that name?” Mythos frowns as he nudges the cat. A bit on the heavier side but still fast. “I find it fitting.”

“How?” Dimitri also tried to pet the cat only to have his finger almost chopped off by the thing as it seems to notice who was attempting to touch it.

“This is a sign,” Mythos noted. “That perhaps it disagrees with being called Frederick the Third.”

“He is like that with everyone, I’m afraid.” Dimitri withdraws his fingers before attempting to pet the hellion once more as it tries to bite the thing off. Dimitri only laughs it off. “You are the special one here, Mythos.”

Mythos shushes the cat as it meows at him. As if asking why he was not allowing it to end Dimitri’s right hand here and now.

“No.” He puts down the claws of the thing. “You may not.”

It meows again.

“No.” It seems to plead with him with its eyes. A nice attempt, if not a hallucination conjured by Mythos’ mind from all the times he’d spent around these critters. “You may not bite his finger off.”

It attempts to jump towards Dimitri’s face, using Mythos’ shoulder as a starting place before Mythos stops the attempt. “Stop now, Cat Five.”

It meows pitifully.

“I am not in the mood.” He sets the thing down his lap. “To watch you get put on trial for an attempt at treason.”

And it-

“No.”

A muffled laugh as both Mythos and Cat Five’s head snaps to the source.

Sothis, Mythos thinks as his cheeks heat up and his heart becomes that of a cicada. Kill me now.

“No.”

The laughter. Even as muffled as it was, rang inside Mythos’ ears. As Dimitri cover his lips with his arm but his cheeks were flushed and his eyes are like- like-

The sun itself, Mythos thinks. Bright and lively. Bright and beautiful. Bright and so, so precious. Bright and Dimitri.

Dimitri laughs like so, Mythos thinks as he leans forward. The steady staccato of his heart drumming along with the boy’s laugh.

An odd beat. Yet utterly nice and- and-

Good. It is good.

This is good.

“Professor!” the boy calls, his smile bright and beautiful. And Byleth-

Dimitri, he wants to call, wants to reach out and brush his finger against the boy’s flushed cheeks and golden hair. Wants to lift up his bangs to see those eyes more clearly, to see the ocean reflected back at him. See himself reflected back in those eyes and oh-

Byleth smiles back.

Mythos is reflected back at him.

Oh.

Oh.

His cheeks are wet, he realizes. As the laughter dies and Dimitri reaches towards him. With a concerned frown and two round, bright eyes.

Mythos is reflected back at him.

“- are you-”

Time rewinds.

“- Mythos-”

“Professor!” Anguished. Wretched.

Time rewinds.

“- crying?”

“Professor!” Dying. Languishing.

“- Mythos-”

“Professor…” Cold. Fading.

“...”

The man reaches up, with bloodied hands and bloody lips. “Byleth.”

Time rewinds.

Mythos is reflected back at him.

Chapter Text

Mythos was here again, Dimitri’s laughter ringing in his ear as he sits in an aborted reach. Half leaning towards Dimitri but stopping before he could fully reach him. The pose was terrible on his spine but it was fine. For it was the closest he could get without encroaching on Dimitri’s personal sphere and the farthest he could get so that he could still see the prince’s lashes and the ways his hair would move with the slight wind.

How long has it been since he heard this laugh? Before this, before he became Mythos, when had he heard it last?

Mythos finds that he cannot remember.

It is with that thought that he rewinds time once more.

Mythos was here again, Dimitri’s laughter ringing in his ear as he sits in an aborted reach.


“Now that I think about it,” Dimitri mused as he stops laughing. As time restarts once more. “We rarely see you outside of class.”

“Is that so.” Laughter rings inside his ear. Cheery and lively.

“Is this what you were doing all along?” Dimitri smiles. A nice smile, a charming one, and- “Lurking in the shadows with your little friends?”

Mythos huffs.

“Ah, that’s not a denial,” Dimitri teased.

“I do not spend all my time with these… animals,” Mythos answered roughly. “It is rather them that comes to me for reasons unknown.”

“Well, I think that’s its a rather quaint hobby,” Dimitri reassured. “In fact, Felix does the same thing.”

“Does he now.” Mythos was glad that Dimitri was focusing on someone else, finally departing from this terrible subject.

“As much as he tries to deny it, there is no hiding the furs and tiny scratches that line his uniform.” Mythos knew that much, from before, before. Yet, he didn’t think that Dimitri would also know.

But it shouldn’t be a surprise, not with how perceptive the boy was when it comes to those that he cares about.

“And you.” Dimitri’s hand reaches for Mythos and Mythos thinks faintly that his heart might stop if Dimitri’s hand even grazes his skin. “As much as you try to hide it as well, these things remain.”

A gentle touch and Dimitri’s eyes twinkle as he holds a strand of golden fur in his hand.

“You noticed,” Mythos remarked faintly.

“It is hard to not notice anything about you,” Dimitri said bluntly and oh- why was his heart beating so fast-

“Huh.” The word was let out on mere instinct than anything and Mythos was glad that he could at least communicate in monosyllables.

Dimitri’s face slowly flushes as he registers his own words. Turning redder with each passing moment as they both stare at each other. His lips parting slowly as his eyes turn wider. No longer holding the same teasing glint but something else. Something equally as precious.

Red, so red, Mythos thinks as he absently reaches for his own cheeks. Wondering if they’ll be hot to the touch as well.

“Uh, I mean- it’s just that you- you’re usually put together, you see,” Dimitri began. His words as fast as Mythos’ heart. “And, well, a slight fur or so on your uniform is quite obvious to my eyes. To all our eyes, really. And it is nothing major, of course, but paired with your usual orderly look it is quite- uh, ob-”

“I understand.” It was quite obvious that Dimitri was rambling now, and Mythos felt it necessary to rescue the prince before he could go any further.

“Yes, so you see, you’re usually not very noticeable at all. I mean, not that you are plain or boring by any stretch of the imagination, but I, uh, what I mean is that-”

Mythos clears his throat. “I understand.”

He doesn’t really. He doesn’t understand why his heart was beating like that of a cicada or why his cheeks felt so hot. He doesn’t understand any of that, really, but it was a nice thing to experience. To finally feel his heart beating and how it resounds in his chest. To feel his cheeks flush so hotly and to know that there is still blood running through his veins.

“Yes, I’m, uh, glad that you do,” Dimitri said faintly. “Understand me, I mean.”

Dimitri looks good like so, too. With his cheeks flushed out of embarrassment and his fists clenched tightly as though trying to hold back his internal screams. He looks nice and alive with his trembling lips and red that move down beyond his collar.

It is a nice look. That reminds Mythos that this Dimitri is still alive. That this Dimitri is still Dimitri, even if he weren’t his Dimitri.

“I’ll best be off now,” Dimitri said as he stands. Still blushing terribly and Mythos feels his own lips curving up even further. “I hope that you’ll have a nice night when you finally retire to your chambers.”

This is my chamber, Mythos thinks but only nods in response. “And to you as well.”

As Dimitri walks away, Mythos couldn’t help but say, “And the next time if, perchance, you notice another fur or so on my plain body, please do tell.”

Dimitri’s spine snaps to attention as he gives a curt nod, his face still turned away. “O- of course.”

Mythos lets out a light sound then as he buries his face into Cat Five’s body as the cat purrs softly.

“Idiots, the lot of you.”


“What are you doing here?” Seteth asked tossing another line into the lake. “So early, I might add.”

Mythos grunted in response as he gestured towards the water. “Same to you.”

“I,” Seteth drawled as he squints his eyes. “Am fishing.”

Mythos sets himself on the edge of the pier. Letting his legs fall just shy of the water as he looks to the rising sun just beyond. “You’re early.”

“The early bird catches the worm,” Seteth answered. “Or so they say.”

Mythos lets his eyes fall to the great lakes below. Watching the little ripples as the fishes swam about. Seteth silent next to him as the man continues to stand. Still like a statue as he was no doubt waiting for the fishes to bite.

“You like to fish,” Mythos commented idly, softly. As if he didn’t know this before. As if this was really all new to him.

“You like to fish,” Byleth says softly, faintly.

“I suppose so.” A fish bites and Seteth reel it in quickly. Expertly.

“You don’t seem the type.” Another line cast.

“What is that suppose to mean?” Seteth is standing next to him. A slight frown on his brows and stiffness in his stance. If the light hits him just right Mythos can see the boy that he once was. Long hair flowing and wyvern at his beck and call. Seteth shifts once more and Cichol fades.

Mythos shakes his head. “Nothing.”

Seteth grunted as they fall into silence once more. A bird singing off in the distance as Seteth reels in another fish. This one slightly larger than the previous, with gray scales and bulbous eyes. A rare catch, Mythos noted and he says so.

“You fish as well?” Seteth asked.

“Why do you say so?” Mythos swings his legs idly, watching as ripples from underneath them.

“You look like the type,” Seteth answered seriously.

Mythos frowns as his legs still.

“How?”

“You don’t,” Seteth answered with a chuckle. “It was a joke.”

“That’s an awful joke,” Mythos noted dryly.

“Well, maybe you do, just a tad.” Another fish. Slight amber scales and sleeker body. Rare, but not as rare as the last.

“Is this another joke?”

“You know, the new professor also likes fishing as well,” Seteth remarked. Drawing away from his question and the new topic makes Mythos frowns even further. “Spends twice as much time fishing as she does teaching, it seems.”

That, was true.

“You remind me of her sometimes,” Seteth said. “In some strange way.”

That- now that was true as well.

“In some strange way, huh,” Mythos repeated softly. “Is that so.”

“With your figure and speech, there is some resemblance,” Seteth continued, as if spurred on. “Your expressions overlap and eyes are just the same.”

Eyes, eyes, it was always the eyes.

Mythos closes his briefly as he exhales.

Even if he were to change completely, even if he were to become someone else entirely- these damned eyes still stayed.

And he even now, he still wishes to destroy them.

For good this time.

But later- he can destroy them later-

A slight touch on his shoulder as Mythos looks up, finding a fishing pole shoved into his face.

“Here.”

“What?”

Seteth rolls his eyes. “Fish.”

Mythos takes the thing hesitantly. Finding it familiar to the touch as he grips it in his hands. Seteth sitting down next to him as the man casts his own.

How long has it been? He wondered as he put the bait on the hook. How long has it been?

Mythos feels his lips pulling upwards.

“Am I that easy to read?”

“Very.”

He casts the line.


“Hello there, Mythos,” the boy greets with a cheery smile. “Fine day we’re having, no?”

“Ferdinand von Aegir,” Mythos drawled as he leans against the wall. Wondering how the boy had found him when he had chosen a specifically isolated location to spend his day. He would’ve stayed in the room he was given, if that didn’t mean that Rhea would come looking for him soon enough if he did.

“You do remember me,” Ferdinand said as he continues to smile. Seemingly not caring at all for the fact that Mythos was looking none too pleased.

You are not hard to forget, Mythos thinks idly. Remembering the way the boy’s hair would spill through his fingers as his skin turns red and his breath turns airy.

“Is that so?” Ferdinand’s cheeks were flushed as he laughs slightly. “Well, you are not hard to forget either.”

Mythos sighs, shaking his head. “What is it that you want?”

“Well about our conversation earlier.” Ferdinand glances up at him with hopeful eyes. “I was wondering if you would want to partake in some tea with me?”

On instinct alone, Mythos wanted to reject the request. He wanted to be rid of Ferdinand’s and the ghost that looms behind him. Judging and imposing. Eyes scrutinizing Mythos for all he’s worth and found him lacking.

Mythos wanted to reject, on principle alone. Know that he knows how his blade would feel as it would slice through the noble’s chest. He did not think it apt to spend tea with the boy that was slain in his past- future?

But-

“Do- do you swear it?” the man- boy asks. Voice weak and a step away from death. “On your name?”

He had let Ferdinand down once, already, hadn’t he?

“I swear it.”

“Very well.”


“You know, I heard that you were related to both Flayn and Seteth?” Ferdinand leans closer his eyes trained on Mythos.

“Distantly,” Mythos answered. Sipping his own tea. Knowing fully well who spread that rumor.

“With a name like yours, well.” Ferdinand smiles. “I knew that you’d be a fellow noble.”

“Is that so.” Another sip of the tea. Ferdinand’s favorite.

He makes a note to make Sylvian run an extra lap next time.

“The way you handle yourself as well.” Ferdinand puts his hand underneath his chin, nodding slightly as though he were connecting a complex map within his own mind. “I always knew that you’d be of high birth.”

Mythos was sure that he handled himself more like a commoner rather than a noble and he expresses such.

“Well, even if your posture is… less than ideal,” Ferdinand admitted, his smile slightly twitching at the last few words and Mythos stifles his own laugh. “That is not to say that you have bad posture, no, in fact-”

“You do not need to lie,” Mythos interrupted gently. “I am not raised a noble and I know that my posture do not reflect as such.”

“Not raised a noble, you say?” Ferdinand blinks curiously. “How could that be?”

“It is a long tale,” Mythos said, shaking his head slightly.

“I see,” Ferdinand said reluctantly. Drawing back in dismay as he stews in his own curiosity. “But nevertheless, the way you hold yourself, it’s very, well, noble I suppose.”

“Thank you.” Mythos nods, taking it as a compliment coming from someone like Ferdinand.

“And your strength as well,” Ferdinand remarked. “Why, not just from the mock battle but I’ve heard that you’ve taken down Lonato’s rebellion alone!”

“I had my professor with me,” Mythos commented as he pours himself another cup of tea. Bright, was what he would describe the tea. Southern fruit blend was always Ferdinand’s favorite. Even if it wasn’t a type that nobles would prefer, more liked by commoners instead for its taste and cost. Even if it cost was still very expensive.

The tea was bright, like Ferdinand once was, Mythos thinks. Like Ferdinand is. And maybe that was why the boy liked it so much.

He did not know what Ferdinand liked after Garreg Mach, for they were at war and set to kill each other. But Mythos would like to think that he still liked the same, that he still clung to the slight brightness of the tea as his personality would continue to shine.

“Still, that is a mighty impressive feat,” Ferdinand praised hands animatedly gesturing towards Mythos.

Mythos only hums in response.

“And, why, your weapon.” Ferdinand gestures towards the sword that rested on Mythos’ lap. “It’s a charming specimen of a sword.”

“It’s a common sword,” Mythos said. Nothing like the jagged blade of the Sword of the Creator and the divinity that comes with it. Nothing special and unique about its blade other than its efficiency to kill.

“I think not,” Ferdinand argued. “Every blade is special. Even if it is common as first.”

“I suppose.” Another sip of the tea.

“Well, as I was saying. Even if you weren’t raised with as a noble, I still think that you are an excellent noble in your own right, Mythos.”

Mythos nods tensely. Wondering as to why Ferdinand was pelting him with praises like so. Whether it be a recruitment tactic for him to join the Black Eagles or not. Not that Edelgard would let Ferdinand be the one to recruit him, knowing how much tact the boy has, and Ferdinand wouldn’t just recruit him either.

It was debatable, though. At this moment, when Ferdinand was praising him like so.

“That is why I have a request of you.”

Mythos almost choked on the tea.

“You do not have to if you do not wish to, but-”

Was this really-?
“I’ve seen you trained your housemates, and I, well-” Ferdinand scratches his cheeks as though embarrassed and clears his throat once more.

Oh, Mythos relaxes. So it wasn’t a recruitment speech after all.

“Would you mind training me as well?” Ferdinand smiles a tad shyly at Mythos and he wondered if Ferdinand ever looked like so before. Shy and hesitant. “I mean, well, Professor Manuela is an excellent instructor and all, it’s just…”

Ferdinand clears his throat once more. “I’ve been bested by Edelgard for so long now that I feel that some extra training is required.”

Ah, yes, that rivalry.

“And I’ve seen the way that you, uh, threw Raphael across the field that day and I think that if I were to have your strength I could finally best her!” Ferdinand declared as he smiles. As though his plans have came together at last.

You would need a body merged with a god for that power, Mythos thinks as he sips his tea. With a goddess in your brain and all the nightmares of a ghost for it.

But-

“Do you swear it, on your name?”

“Very well.”

“I swear,” Byleth says softly. Gently.

Byleth has broken a promise to his Ferdinand.

“I swear on my name.”

Mythos will pay it back to this Ferdinand in his stead.

Chapter Text

“What is he doing here?” Felix asked pointedly. Crossing his arms as he glares. A look that Mythos was well used to seeing at this point. Something that never failed to remind him of a wet cat. Entirely too unhappy and angry.

“Why wouldn’t I, Ferdinand von Aegir, be here?” Ferdinand places a hand on his chest as his eyes widen. Almost as though he did not understand why Felix would hold him at such contempt. And most likely, he did not.

“First of all,” Felix drawled. “You’re von Aegir.”

“Indeed I am,” Ferdinand replied.

“And there is no second point.” Felix huffs.

“What does that mean?” Ferdinand frowns as he questioned the swordsman. His brows are drawn together. Not looking quite offended but more confused.

“Exactly what it means.” Felix was not helping any, with his vague answers and indiscernible scowl. And it shows, with how Ferdinand continues to frown. Looking like a kicked puppy as he looks to Felix, waiting for a stick to be thrown.

Unfortunately, Felix was not a dog person.

Sylvain, however, was. “Well, uh, Ferdinand, what dear Felix means is that you’re a Black Eagle and this, this is well, a Blue Lions kinda thing.”

The frown on Ferdinand’s face clears quickly. Almost too quickly, Mythos thinks. “Well, I already asked Mythos, you see. And he, being the gracious noble that he is,”Mythos’ eyebrows rise as he registers the statement. Where did that come from? “Agreed to let me attend this training session of yours.”

“Mythos allowed you?” Sylvain leans closer now, taking off from his usual perch at Felix’s shoulder. “Why, that is very interesting indeed.”

“The fuck it is,” Felix snapped but he only rolls his eyes.

“Oh, don’t be so rude, Felix,” Mercedes chided softly. “First poor Ferdinand and now Sylvain.”

“They both deserved it.” Mercedes shakes her head softly. And Mythos swore that it took everything Felix had not to tackle her.

Well, Felix’s mental strength and Ingrid’s grip on his neck, that is.

“Say, what did you do to convince Mythos to invite you?” Sylvain continued, scrutinizing Ferdinand for all his worth. Stepping closer to the other noble as he hum.

“I just asked.” Ferdinand blinks up at Sylvain as the redhead squints at him.

“Really?”

“Really.” A very kicked and anxious dog, Mythos noted.

“You just ask- and then Mythos just said yes?” It was Sylvain’s turn to frown now. “The Mythos that we all know?”

“I do not know of any other Mythos,” Ferdinand replied. “But yes.”

Sylvain hums. “A weakness to dogs, perhaps.”

“Huh?”

“Nevermind.” Sylvain waves the question off as he leans back. “Well, I’ll enjoy training with you then, Ferdinand.”

Ferdinand smiles. “I look forward to that as well.”

“You’re accepting him, just like that?” the dark-haired alpha approaches the duo. Scowl still in place as he drags Ingrid with him. “Don’t tell me you’re planning something again, mutt.”

“Me? Planning?” Sylvain chortles. “You really think too much for that pretty head of yours.”

Felix scowls deepen. More of a permanent feature rather than an expression at this point. “No matter. Whatever you’re planning is inane regardless.”

“Ouch.” Sylvain places both his hands over his heart as though shot by an arrow.

A love shot maybe, Mythos thinks as he sighs.

“Are you sure they are not together?” Sothis asked incredulous. “With this amount of tension…”

No, they were not going there. Not now and hopefully not ever.

“You.” Felix gestures towards their newest addition. “Take up your weapon.”

“Huh?”

“Don’t disappoint me now von Aegir.”

And, predictably, like a dog that was thrown a bone Ferdinand perks up. “Very well!”

Felix huffs once more at Ferdinand’s enthusiasm. “Don’t get too ahead of yourself, von Aegir.”

That didn’t damper Ferdinand’s mood any as the boy hums an odd tune as he picks up his lance.

Sylvain makes a soft cooing sound that Mythos pretends not to hear.

“Felix is quite nice, is he not?” Metal boots approach from behind him. "Well, when he wants to be.”

“He rarely does.” Mythos eyes fix on the center of the field where Ferdinand and Felix were already getting ready for their match.

A soft laugh that did nothing to Mythos’ heart, be quiet Sothis- “He is rarely kind.”

“Annette, Mercedes and Sylvain, I’ll be going over what By- our professor taught you today,” he called over the sound of his own heart. “The rest of you, just run.”

Sylvain gave a “hell yeah,” that was entirely too happy.

“Do you want to run, Sylvain?”

“No, absolutely not. Haha, don’t do that to me-”

Mythos sighs.

“Well, what will we be learning today, Teach?” Sylvain asked as the rest of the Blue Lions run.

“Reason.” Mythos feels the title causing a pang inside his chest. “And don’t call me that.”

“That’s quai- wait, reason, with me?”

“Yes, especially you, Sylvain.”

Mythos was getting his dark knight.

“Wait a minute-”

“Don’t get yourself burned,” Mythos said over Sylvain’s protests. “Regardless, Mercedes will be here to heal you.”

“That I will,” Mercedes confirmed. Smiling softly.

“Wait a-”

“Yeah, don’t worry Sylvain,” Annette repeated.

“Let’s start.”

“Fuck-”


Sylvain was, as expected, just as terrible with reason as he was in the past.

“I’m telling you,” Sylvain whined. “I’m no good with reason.”

Sylvain yelps as another spell exploded in his face.

An inhumane screech. “My face!”

“Oh, don’t worry Sylvain,” Mercedes reassured as her hand comes to rest on the boy’s cheek in a practiced movement. “You are still very handsome.”

“Wow, you mean it, Mercedes?” Sylvain said, more out of instinct than anything, as the boy winks. Mythos gently nudges him.

“Focus.”

“Oh, come on, did you just not see what happened?”

“You have the talent.”

“Talent for exploding my own face, that is,” Sylvain joked. “But seriously, I shouldn’t be here.”

“You want to run instead?” Mythos quirked his brows.

 

“Well, no, but at this point, I’d rather that then accidentally scar my face or something.” Sylvain shrugs, as casually as ever as he moves to stand. His cheeks still an unnatural red from his earlier stunt.

“You’ll get better,” Mythos said.

Sylvain gestures towards the burn.

“Soon.”

“Yeah, well, you don’t exactly know that, do you now.” Sylvain smiles easily.

Mythos does, in fact, know that.

“Or maybe you do?” More smirk than smile at this point. “Is that what you’re telling me?”

“That is not what I am telling you.”

“Well, then.” Sylvain sets his hands behind his head. A gesture that was entirely too familiar to the man that he will become. Never become, if Mythos had a say. “Guess I’ll be heading off now.”

On one hand, Mythos really cannot make Sylvain stay. Not without a valid reason that would satisfy the boy’s curiosity.

But on the other hand.

Dark knight, Mythos thinks forlornly. What if this experience caused Sylvain to give up on reason altogether?

My best, and only, dark knight, Mythos thinks. And-

“Stop.” Mythos turns around facing a Sylvain that was entirely too smug for his own good.

“Yes?” Like a cat that got the canary.

“Continue with the spell.”

“Sorry, I was planning on a run instead, Mythos,” Sylvain said. But making no move to do so. “Buuuut, I can be easily persuaded out of a run.”

Mythos sighs.

“I’m a very simple man, you see,” Sylvain continued. “You just have to give me a reason to continue.”

“Sylvain,” Mercedes chided softly.

“That’s not very nice of you,” Annette agreed as she frowns. More like a pout, really, but it was an admirable effort.

“What is it?”

“Well, you’re just so mysterious, Mythos,” Sylvain said easily, placing his hands behind his head once more as he leans back. Casual posture and smile, but his eyes were anything but. “I just want to know you better, is all.”

Somewhere, somehow, Mythos knew that it would come down to this. “Really, now.”

Sylvain nods. “Really.”

Mythos sighs.

“I can just leave right now, you know.” Sylvain drops his hands to his sides. “Go on a quick run and never touch reason magic ever again.”

Both Mercedes and Annette frown in unison.

And Mythos wants to do the same.

“No?” Sylvain sighs softly as he shrugs.

So it really came down to this.

“I guess, I’ll just go on a run now, and never touch magic ever again.”

Dark knight, Mythos thinks.

“See ya-”

You better be grateful, Sylvain. Mythos thinks.

He does not know which Sylvain he is thinking about.

“Fine.”

“Played like a fiddle.” Sothis sighs. “By a mere teen no less.”

A very devious teen, Mythos thinks.

Sylvain turns around. “Knew you would not let my talent go to waste.”

“What do you want?”

Sylvain laughs. “Oh, come on, it’s nothing too bad.”

Mythos reaches for his sword.

“Okay, okay.” Sylvain continues to smile, still. “I just want to ask you a few questions, that’s all.”

“One question,” Mythos conceded.

“Only one?” Sylvain laughs. “No deal.”

“How many do you even have?” Annette asked, incredulous. “And that’s not very nice, Sylvain.”

“I have plenty,” Sylvain answered readily. “And I’ve never admitted to being a very nice guy.” Another wink. Laviscious and shameless, making Annette wince. “Regardless, don’t be so stingy, Mythos. I just want to know more about our new classmate, is all.”

That’s not all you want, Mythos thinks.

“So how about it?” Sylvain held a hand towards Mythos. “Deal?”

“One question per session,” Mythos conceded.

“So stingy,” Sylvain repeated, faux pouting, but grabs his hand all the same. “Well, it’s a deal.”

It felt like shaking hands with a demon.

But, well, Mythos was getting his dark knight. One way or another.

Fire sparked on his fingertips once more. “Continue.”

Sylvain laughs.


“Sylvain, learning reason,” Felix stated as the boy reaches towards his forehead to wipe off the sweat, only smearing dirt on it instead and accomplishing nothing.

Ferdinand pulls out his handkerchief, made from the finest of clothes and woven with the most delicate of seamstresses, using it to wipe the dirt and grime off of Felix’s face.

What in the heavens, Mythos thinks hysterically as Felix very decidedly does not bite Ferdinand’s hand off, only giving a rough huff as he bristles slightly at the contact.

“What the-” Sylvain choked. His hair slightly singed and soot on his cheeks. “Has the smoke gone to my brain?”

“It seems that the smoke has gone to both our brains then,” Mercedes answered as she leans her head on her hand. “My, my, what a cute sight.”

Annette giggles.

“Witch,” Felix spat as Ferdinand makes a soft sound. Turning the alpha’s head as he tries his best to wipe off all the dirt. “And hands-off, von Aegir.”

“Be still,” Ferdinand chided as he frowns. Eyes focusing on the dirt that was still sticking stubbornly to Felix’s face. “It is not proper for nobles like us to go around looking like common street rats.”

Felix ducks out of Ferdinand’s grip as he scowls. “I, am fine with looking like a street rat.”

Ferdinand tries to reach for that last patch of dirt.

“Fuck off,” Felix said none-too-eloquently.

Ferdinand gasped, highly offended as he covers his lips. “That is no way for a noble to speak.”

Their brief camaraderie breaks at that exact moment as Felix scowls. “Yeah, well fuck that. You aren’t my father.”

Ferdinand gasps again. “Why, with that- that crass mouth of yours-”

“Even if you were my father, I wouldn’t give a damn,” Felix remarked airily as he sheaths his blade.

Ferdinand gasps and Mythos senses a trend.

Sylvain breathes a sigh of relief. “Oh, there’s the Felix we know.”

Mercedes sighs as she shakes her head sadly. “Oh, there’s the Felix we know.”

“Isn’t Felix always the same?” Annette studies the dark-haired alpha.

“H- how rude,” Ferdinand stated, hand over his chest as he returns his handkerchief to his pocket.

“Oh, don’t worry, Felix’s always rude,” Sylvain reassured as he drapes himself over the swordsman.

“That is simply no way for a noble to conduct themselves,” Ferdinand argued seriously.

“Deal with it,” Felix said attempting to punch Sylvain.

“And you too, Sylvain,” Ferdinand continued as Sylvain mutter a sharp, “What?”

“Don’t think I do not see you… c- chasing all those skirts!” Ferdinand argued as he flushes slightly with the mention of Sylvain’s’ more… adulterous adventures.

Sylvain winks. “Skirts and slacks, my friend. I do not discriminate.”

Ferdinand flushes even further. Stumbling for words.

Sylvain takes off once more from Felix, walking over to Ferdinand. “In fact…”

Oh no, Mythos thinks.

“S- Sylvain, you-” Ferdinand yelped as Sylvain stands in front of him, a hand braced on Ferdinand’s shoulder.

Mythos gives a quick apology to Ferdinand but was too preoccupied trying to fuse his palm and forehead to help.

“Ferdinand, I think that it’s fate-”

“You- you skirt-chaser!” Ferdinand yelled. Face fully red as he ducks from Sylvain’s hand. Quickly running off as though Sylvain’s hand was burning him.

“I- I’ll be leaving now,” Ferdinand announced with flushed cheeks, but fully determined to ignore them. “But I’ll be back, you’ll see. A- and when I do, I’ll remedy your crass and skirt-chasing ways!”

With that declaration, Ferdinand takes off. Bumping and tripping into Dimitri, who was returning, who quickly stabilizes the noble before he was off running again.

“Pray tell, what did you do to him?” Dimitri asked as he returns from his jog.

“Oh, nothing much,” Sylvain answered easily. Lied, easily.

“The mutt fucking flirted with von Aegir,” Felix answered readily. Taking a smug satisfaction to the way Dimitri gasps.

“Sylvain, you-” Dimitri looked truly aghast. “To go after the Aegir heir as well? My friend-”

“Wait, wait, I swear it wasn’t anything serious-”

“You mean a proposal isn’t serious?” Mythos asked. Taking some form of vindictive vengeance.

“Proposal?” Dimitri and Sylvain asked at the same time.

“Sylvain you-”

“No way, Your Highness,” Sylvain protested on deaf ears. “Everyone can vouch for me, I swear-”

“The mutt really did it.” Felix predictably did not vouch for Sylvain.

Mercedes and Annette only giggle which causes Dimitri to frown even further.

“What did Sylvain do now?” Ingrid asked as he huffs. Swinging her braid over her shoulder as she exhales and inhales roughly.

“He proposed to the heir of Aegir,” Dimitri restated, folding his arms in the face of neutral disappointment.

And, well, what happened next wasn’t entirely Mythos’ fault. But he would like to say that the combined forces of Dimitri and Ingrid were very galvanizing indeed.


“Hey, leaving so soon?” Sylvain called. Rubbing at his pained face. Healed by Mercedes, but he still rubs insistently at it.

“Yes.”

“After what you did to me?” Sylvain swings an arm around Mythos’ shoulder now. Leaning closer to him.

“Do not think I don’t know what you are doing,” Mythos said. Closing his eyes briefly before breaking the boy’s hold. “You will not find a scent.”

Sylvain laughs. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mythos. You know me, I’m a touchy-feely fellow.”

They both know that it was a lie.

“Ask,” Mythos said softly. “Your question.”

“And here I was thinking that you’d forget,” Sylvain drawled slyly. Standing by Mythos’ side. Trying to see his expression through the cloak perhaps, Mythos wouldn’t know. “Well, I was thinking I’d start off with an easy question today.”

“How kind.” A gentle breeze passes through as Mythos pulls his cloak down. Smelling the scent of iron and snow, heavily clogged by perfume.

“I’m nothing but a nice person,” Sylvain replied happily. Weaseling closer to Mythos. “Regardless, how did you know that I would take to reason?”

A moment, then two. The passing scent of iron and snow, clogged by perfume, stifles them both.

“You reminded me of someone,” Mythos said.

“Really?” The answer wasn’t what Sylvain was expecting. “Seriously?”

“Really, seriously.” Spoken just as slyly as Mythos smiles.

“No elaboration or anything?”

“One question, per session,” Mythos reminded.

“I should’ve been more specific,” Sylvain noted sourly. His scent bogging down with his dismayed mood.

“He was a nice man,” Mythos said finally. “Could’ve been your twin.”

Mythos laughs then.

“Hey, wait, tell me more!”

“Professor!” Sylvain calls. “Have you seen Felix today?”

“Another quarrel, Sylvain?”

“Oh, you know how it is.” Sylvain laughs, hands placed behind his head. The scent of iron and snow filling the gaps between them. Byleth is reminded that Sylvain can still laugh. That there can still be something good in this dreg of a war and he smiles.

“He’s that way.”

How unfortunate, that Felix had sworn me to secrecy.

“Next time,” Mythos promised. “Ask, and perhaps I’ll tell you more.”