Leading a country to its new dawn is hard work. There comes a time, finally, when the Emperor can retire to her quarters a little earlier than planned. She slips into her shared bedroom with the Empress – her wife! – only to pause, staring at the sight of her partner seared on the bed with hands clapsed together and head bowed, almost as if she’s…
“My light, what are you doing?” In here, she is El again.
Her head lifts up, and deep blue eyes – no longer pale green- gaze at her fondly. “Thanking Sothis.” She says this with a smile on her face.
Her eyebrow quirks. “The Goddess? I didn’t strike you as the religious type.” Here, she moves closer to the bed and sits next to her wife.
A small shake of the head. “No, I guess I never was.” A pause, then the smile returns, more mischievously. “Not until I met you, at least.”
She laughs, a small puff of air bubbling from her throat. “Surely you don’t mean to imply I am godly in any form.”
This time, her wife’s eyebrow is the one that quirks up. “Oh but hadn’t you seen yourself wielding Aymr? You were a force of nature.” Her smirk turns into a fond, gentle smile. “But the day we met was divine fate. I know it.”
A scarred hand covers equally scarred, though not entirely for the same reasons, fingers. “Does this have to do with what you told me? About the Goddess, Sothis, being with you?” There is hesitation in her words, unspoken insecurities of blessings and worthiness.
A nod. “It does. She awoke within me, when I saved your life.” A frown. “Or tried to, the first time anyways.”
“First time? My light, I feel as though you have saved me more than I can ever hope to count.” She squeezes the hand underneath hers. Her wife smiles again reassuringly, and sometimes El wonders whether her own heart learned to beat again, too, that fateful day when Byleth became human once more and melted her heart with the smiles she once thought as exceedingly rare. (She would always treasure them, though, regardless of their frequency. Always.)
Here, her partner explains the Divine Pulse, how the Goddess herself had given Byleth the power to turn back time, to save not only her own life, but Edelgard’s life as well. She doesn’t know what to think. Why would the Goddess choose to save her, someone who stood against the church, who chose to dismantle her child's legacy?
A larger smile this time. “You know, Sothis was the one who always wanted me to look over you. She also urged me to make my own path, much like you did.” She leans her head onto her Emperor’s shoulder. “That night we met, in the monastery, when you first told me about your nightmares. I wouldn’t have bothered you if Sothis hadn’t asked me to check. She was very stubborn about it too.”
Edelgard remains silent.
“I think she loved you, as she would any of her other children. We all had the Crest of Flames after all. And your Crest of Seiros, you bearing the blood of her daughter. Sothis wanted you to be safe.” Her head shifts and deep blue eyes look up into lavender ones. “I wanted you to be safe. And I loved you then, and I love you now.”
She doesn’t realize she’s crying until her wife’s other hand reaches up to wipe away the tears, cupping her cheek to coax her head down into a gentle kiss. When their lips part, she chokes out, “I thought the Goddess hated me. Didn’t want me alive, didn’t think of me as worthy. Even with my Crest of Seiros. Because my siblings, they all- and I was alone-“
Another kiss. “She loved you, El. Without her, I wouldn’t have met you, and I wouldn’t be who I am without you.” She brings their joined hands together over her heart. “I wouldn’t trade this life for anything else. So thank you too, El. For saving me.”
She stares at the ring on their joined hands. Then another kiss, this time slow and grateful.
“I love you, my dearest teacher. Thank you for sharing your past with me. And please, thank the Goddess, Sothis, for me as well.” A smile spreads from her own lips this time. To think, even the Goddess approves of subverting destiny. Of choosing one's fate. She gazes upon her Empress's face once more. With Byleth at her side, she is always El.