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From a Time Long Past

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The monastery walls had crumbled in the year’s past, and the scrolls, books, and equipment were scattered around the halls. From the end of the cathedral to the stalls of the market, precious treasures from the monastery were hiding away and lost to the ordinary persons eyes. But those treasures and small secrets would be discovered by the new Archbishop soon.

Byleth’s fingers comb across the leather-bound book, reading through each page as though it were scripture. Words of wisdom, loneliness, despair, and pain fill each and every page of this adventurer’s memoir. She slips the book back to her side while meandering through the rest of the demolished cathedral walls. The echo of her heeled feet resonates the further she walks into the back of the building. The glimmer of sunsetting light shines into the corner room leave Byleth able to get a good view at the statues of Saint Cethleann and Saint Cichol. Her eyes follow their angelic forms and pause when she takes an extra moment to analyze their features.

Now that I actually have a minute to look at them…

Byleth rests a finger to her chin and ponders on the thought. Long, flowing curled hair with a staff in hand… flowing garbs and a sweet complexion. The features continue to remind her of a specific young girl who has left the monastery quickly after the war was completed.

With her mind going deeper and deeper into thought, Byleth didn’t pay close enough attention to the footsteps ringing out behind her and not realizing that a massive, tall man looms just behind her. Byleth’s gaze narrows at the statues with frustration and curiosity; brows furrow deeply and her lips pucker in annoyance as she continues her fruitless pursuit of speculation.

“Professor… are you alright?” The familiar deep yet smooth voice snaps Byleth from her blind stupor.

Turning around, Byleth raises her chin to look at the blond-haired, blue-eyed King before her. His gaze is soft, inviting… as it always has been since the end of the war. The conclusion of the war was not without its troubles, and these last few months of repair have not been easy either. The cathedral was often filled with labourers and devout followers of Saint Seiros day in and day out. Byleth, the new archbishop, barely got any time to herself here. Not that she prayed daily or anything, she just enjoyed the peace and quiet from time to time.

“Dimitri. What brings you to the cathedral?” Byleth blinks.

“I was actually looking for you” says Dimitri rather plainly.

“Was I needed somewhere? I didn’t think there were any meetings this evening.” Byleth guides a hand to her chin in thought.

“No, it is not a matter of council or business… I simply wished to find you and see you.” Dimitri’s lips gently curve to a smile.

“Oh. Okay” murmurs Byleth. “I am at your will and mercy.”

“Y-You don’t have to say it like that!” Dimitri’s cheeks warm as he hurriedly stares away.

“I was pretty serious about that actually… though, I shouldn’t say that in a church, should I?” Byleth smiles at her own commentary.

“Most definitely not. If Rhea… no, Seteth heard you say anything like that, he might actually ban you from the cathedral entirely.” Dimitri stares away as he refocuses.

“He can’t do that. Not while I’m the Archbishop. All he can get away with is a light scolding and “please do better next time”’ Byleth shrugs while Dimitri’s red-faced gaze meets hers.

“You… I don’t know what to do with you, beloved” chuckles Dimitri, closing in the distance to brush his fingers along her loose garbs.

Byleth inches to his chest, raising her hand to the curve of his jaw down the slope of his neck. The soft, subtle gesture leaves Dimitri holding his breath before smiling down at her. “I believe we should talk more outside a place of worship; do you agree?”

“I can’t say I entirely agree… but sure.” Byleth feels Dimitri’s hand slip past her waist to remain on her lower back.

The two don’t hesitate to begin walking their way out the front doors. A few priests and nuns stare towards the couple only for their gazes to immediately turn away when Byleth notices them. The two were still a relatively new couple. The war and the death of Rodrigue had brought them closer together. Even though it was morbid to think about, Byleth knew that nothing could or would have changed Dimitri in the state and circumstance he had been in. Rodrigue’s death pushed Dimitri to face his fears, his worries, and the pain of the past. The words had been able to penetrate past his wall and allowed him to see the world outside his own caged mind.

Dimitri had continued to tell her that she was the one who brought him back, but she knew better than that. She had simply guided him out of the darkness using the love and kindness of Rodrigue. But even past those events, Dimitri was a kinder, calmer person. Of course, he had his moments were his nightmares and PTSD triggered back, where all Dimitri could hear, see and feel were the voices of the dead... but he had the tools to handle them. Byleth was here for him. She always would be.

Byleth’s eyes watch Dimitri, noticing his gaze meet her own. “Byleth? Are you all right? You’re deep in thought again.”

“Had you ever been with someone other than myself? Romantically and physically?” Byleth inquires.

The question itself causes Dimitri to pause in place, standing near the western outcropping from the monastery. The goddess tower was close by as well… the time where Dimitri had first developed feelings for his, at the time, professor. Dimitri’s gaze continues down to Byleth’s and his hand feathers over her side instead of her back again.

“I… why are you asking such a question?” mutters Dimitri as he glances towards Byleth.

 

“I just realized I had never asked you. I also realized the day you and I were married, you… knew what you were doing.” Byleth’s eyes creep down to her feet.

“So… my experience in the bedroom made you think I had been with another woman before you? I can see the correlation…” Dimitri’s eyes fall down as he breathes deeply.

The silence emphasizes Byleth’s heartbeat, ringing through her ears and pounding on her temples. Was she jealous? Why would she ask if she couldn’t the result? Byleth swallows deeply before seeing Dimitri release a sigh once more.

“I… I had been. When you were gone for 5 years… I… you saw how I was. I was not truly thinking straight, and I had abandoned all hope in seeing you again, or truly anyone again…” Dimitri’s eyes stay cast to the ground.

“I’m not saying I blame you Dimitri…”

“But I blame myself, Byleth…” the tone in Dimitri’s voice sharpens as he tightens his grip across her waist, “I should have waited… I should have believed, hoped and maybe even prayed while you were away. Instead, I was a monster… unthinking and unwavering of my own hubris.”

The conversation leads Byleth’s hands to grasp at the sides of his cheek, turning his eyes to meet her own down below. The sadness and guilt that glimmers off them bring a pit to Byleth’s stomach. She wishes she could go back and never ask him of it… instead, she keeps a calm expression and closes the distance between them.

Balancing her body from her tiptoes, Byleth’s forehead rests onto his own. Dimitri’s eyes widen from the gesture and notice how her breathing steadies his own. It calms him, centers him, and reminds him that he is truly human after all. Byleth’s lips quirk into a gentle smile as the sun completely sets into the distance, leaving the pair alone in the dark.

“The past is the past… it’s just you and I, Dimitri. No one else.” Byleth whispers. "I shouldn't have asked that... it isn't important."

Whether it was the tenderness in Byleth’s voice or the warmth of her skin, something brought Dimitri’s arms around the center of her back and tightens her against his chest. Byleth’s hands slide across his neck to loop her forearms along his shoulders slowly. The slow motions make the sudden kiss from Dimitri seamless. His lips encompass her own while Byleth releases the anxiously held breath through her nose. His lips are warm, and his chest is firm as she is pressed against it.

The kiss is loving, not forceful or desperate as his hand's grip around the span of her back. Byleth’s fingers brush through his thin blond locks and lightly gripping them to quickly deepen the kiss. His body goes rigid when Byleth presses more kisses to his lips. Dimitri willfully falls into her desperation and hoists her even higher in his arms, letting her behind balance in his forearms. With the adjusted position, Byleth’s legs spread to hook across his back.

The two have rarely been so publicly affectionate, but Dimitri could not help himself when Byleth opens up to him. She often struggled to show her emotions, let alone show parts of herself that could be vulnerable… and as of today? She would allow him to touch her, to exploit her desires, and to truly see her, inside and out.

Byleth’s hands roam over his neck again when she feels secure in his arms and is lifted high enough to anchor herself onto him. Her ankles curl around his thinner waist and continue peppering his lips with kisses. The soft sighs and alluring hums from Dimitri bring out a feral side of Byleth… something animalistic, something needy. She leads her lips from his lips to rest pecks over the length of his jaw and across his chin. The gesture brings a blush to Dimitri’s cheeks, pulling away to meet Byleth’s gaze with a smile.

“I was not expecting this… not out in the open, not near the…”

“…Goddess Tower… I mean, we can just move in there to continue. Rhea won’t notice.” Byleth’s eyes wander to the doors as she peaks back to Dimitri.

The expression set on his face is absolutely priceless. Shock? Horror? No, it was a true secondhand embarrassment. The flush that had once covered his cheeks now drew to the tops of his pale ears and on the tip of his nose. The expression was endearing actually… and Byleth could not stop staring again.

“N-Now what is it? You’ve said quite a few improper things already” Dimitri swallows as he watches Byleth cling to him, staring at him blankly.

A smile covers her face. The one he’d seen those many years ago after Flayn had been saved… the smile years later when Dimitri had begun to see the world again. The smile that he dreamed about wanting to see again… Dimitri’s badgering stops immediately, and he just watches Byleth’s fingers brush the hair from his face, tucking it neatly behind his red ear.

“I love you, Dimitri.” Murmurs Byleth in a soft, loving tone.

“…and… I love you, Byleth, my beloved…” Dimitri’s eyes soften their critical gaze just as he leans down to rest his nose into the crook of her neck.

Byleth’s arms cradle the span of his skull while he holds her close. His lips tickle kisses across her neck as she stares at the dusk sky above her. She feels his lips tighten for a moment and causes her to gasp from the sensation. Byleth’s eyes shift down to his bush of blond hair, taking a moment to shock him instead of allowing the intimate moment to continue. Her hips playfully buck along his clothed abdomen. Her rolling hips cause Dimitri’s head to lift as a surprised sigh exhales from his lips. Staring down her frame, he notices the fluid motions of her body, the dancer-like movements she makes as her fingers reach up to take a hold of his chin.

When their eyes meet, Byleth pecks his lips once more. “Let’s get to the bedroom now, or I will seriously take the offer of the Goddess Tower.”

“Beloved… did you ask me about my previous partners… because you were aroused this entire time?” Dimitri plainly asks.

“I… can’t say that was my first motivation, but it has definitely become my second.” Byleth’s legs loosen to slide down his frame like a stiff slide. She lands just over his pelvis and eyes down where she lands… peering back to him with a smirk covering her face. The redness crept back onto Dimitri’s face for a moment only for his arms to split off and shrug her up. Byleth releases her legs from his waist, winding up limp across his shoulder fireman style.

“Oh, how romantic” chides Byleth as she lifts her upper half to prop her forearms up so she can rest her head in her chin.

“This is the easiest way to get us to the bedroom as well as keep you from… nevermind. I won’t admit something to you that you will definitely use against me” Dimitri’s blushing cheeks grow warmer from the threat he implies.

“You’re not wrong. I would have commented on how beautiful your face is when you’re blushing, or how it also looks that red when you’re…”

Byleth feels a quick, stinging spank across her behind when she dares to utter the bedroom experiences in public. Byleth’s gasp is initially out of shock, but she can’t help but peer over her shoulder towards her husband… wondering if he was truly playing with her now.

“Fine… we can keep that between us… but only if you give me more of that in the bedroom tonight” murmurs Byleth as she wiggles her eyebrows more.

“You’re truly impossible, Beloved… but for you, I will agree to your terms” And Dimitri does not stop to answer any nuns, priests, or soldiers’ questions as they notice the King carrying the Archbishop across the monastery halls. His mind is hyper-focused on getting to their bedroom, and getting out of his clothing as soon as humanly possible… and making love to the woman he truly loves.