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This Time, Let Me Find You

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“My beloved… Yes… my beloved.”

 

Dimitri’s hands trembled as the words leave his mouth. He felt years of pressure leaving his shoulders, and yet another wave of stress was ready to consume him.

 

“There’s something I wish to give you before the coronation. Give me your hand.”

 

The ring. Silver band, with an emerald in the center, a gemstone his late mother loved. And it reminded him of her eyes.

 

Part of his brain screamed at him. Is it right? Do I deserve to ask her?

 

Do I deserve anything at all?

 

Her silence only magnified his anxiety. Dimitri closed his eye, one hand over his eyepatch, “Please… say something. If you do not wish to accept it, I will face the truth and—”

 

Byleth pulled him in for a kiss, lips cutting off anything he was about to say.

 

The kiss was short, nothing but a chaste peck on his lips. However, that was enough to take all of his breaths away. “Be- beloved?” Dimitri’s chest heaved, suddenly not sure what to do.

 

Byleth took out a small pouch. “I love you, Dimitri,” she revealed a silver ring. “Marry me.”

 

Dimitri didn’t realize his tears falling down until Byleth wiped them away with her gentle hands. He smiled and kissed her deeply, devouring the taste of wine lingering on her tongue. Tomorrow, he would be king. Dimitri could hear the nobles and guests, songs and their laughter coming from the ballroom. Somehow, he didn’t care anymore. As long as she was there with him, nothing would be more important.

 

When they finally parted, both of them flushed, knees weak and head light. Their eyes only saw each other, taking the other person’s face in as if mapping every trace of love from their features. Their breaths were hot, foreheads together and noses only half an inch away.

 

“Let us exchange them, shall we? Thank you, beloved. Your kind, warm hands… May they cling to my own forevermore…”

 

-----


It was now one year after the unification of Fódlan.

 

With Dedue’s help, Ashe started a family restaurant with his siblings near the castle. Dimitri and Byleth visited the place fairly often, and when Byleth was pregnant, she threw up nearly everything except Ashe and Dedue’s cooking: Daphnel Stew, Fruit and Herring Tart—things they had back at Garreg Mach.

 

Dimitri remembers Byleth’s severe morning sickness. She woke up vomiting violently before finally getting a break when the waves of nausea calmed down. He held his wife in one arm, another hand rubbing her back.

 

“Feeling better, beloved?”

 

“For now,” Byleth chuckled and left a peck on his cheek. “Curse your crest.”

 

Dimitri distantly remembered some older maids retelling stories of her late mother’s pregnancy. When Cecilia was pregnant, she suffered symptoms similar to what Byleth was having—kicks more frequent, horrible morning sickness, and constantly throwing up.

 

The baby probably had a Crest of Blaiddyd. People in the court had been talking.

 

Crest or not, Dimitri didn’t care. Thank Sothis, he thought, that somehow Blaiddyd fetuses had yet to gain (or wouldn’t use) the insane strength like their older counterparts did. Probably biology was keeping them from killing their mothers.

 

At the foot of their bed lay Lucas, a Blaiddyd Rex Byleth brought with her from the monastery. He curled around her feet, occasionally raising a gentle glance at the couple. Dimitri didn’t like the idea of another living being sharing his bed with Byleth, but at least… dogs had very warm stomachs, keeping his wife’s feet nice and warm in a cold Faerghus morning.

 

“What do you want for lunch today?” Dimitri pushed some of the hair away from Byleth’s eyes.

 

“Please, I just threw up my breakfast.”

 

“Beloved, you always get hungry quickly.”

 

“Just… anything that’s not fish. I do love fish but maybe not every meal.”

 

Messengers brought in documents from the monastery, waiting for Archbishop Eisner-Blaiddyd’s approval.

 

Byleth and Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd-Eisner. He liked the sound quite a lot. However, when they brought up joining their last names to the advisors after their engagement annnouncement, it started quite a ruckus in the court, giving Byleth the first taste of how ridiculous the nobles could be on tiny issues, as if she was about to rob the royal treasury and whisk the King away and run off to, who knows, Almyra.

 

In the end, both sides compromised. Byleth and Dimitri got to combine their last names, but they would now be the Eisner-Blaiddyds, instead of the alphabetical order. The advisors believed putting the royal last name last would somehow make it more important (Dimitri and Byleth rolled their eyes). Their children would be Eisner-Blaiddyds as well, but when the future monarch ascended the throne, the monarch themselves would change their name back to Blaiddyd.

 

After Byleth made it out of the bed to work (Lucas jumping off the bed and following her), Dimitri met with his ambassador from Duscur before putting off work and sneaking into Ashe’s restaurant.

 

Since the court loved gossip and commonfolk in particular loved gossip from the court, news that the Queen preferred Cerulean Tavern’s Duscur inspired cuisine to the royal kitchen spread across the continent. To say the restaurant was overcrowded was probably the biggest understatement of the century, so Dimitri and Dedue had to take the backdoor for grocery delivery to get into the restaurant kitchen without being bothered.

 

With the help from Ashe and Dedue and the recipes they developed with exactly accurate measurement, Dimitri had started practicing cooking. The royal cooks were horrified when the King suggested to do some cooking himself and definitely refused the King to “deign himself to visit such a humble and low place,” so Dimitri resorted to Ashe’s restaurant since nobody here would raise a brow.

 

“Very nice, Your Majesty,” said Dedue with a smile, examining the herbs Dimitri had delicately chopped into slices. It took a lot of practice for him to hold back his strength not to cut the board in half. He was beginning to get used to it.

 

It was not a complicated dish, not that Dimitri could cook anything fancier or Byleth could tolerate any in her condition. Dimitri seared the chicken, skin side down, until they were golden brown. Ashe was keeping an eye on the sauce just to make sure it wasn’t burned. Then Dimitri plated, and put the plates into a container insulated with layers of fur and fabric to keep warm.

 

Byleth was talking to Felix when he got back. “Hello, Felix,” he said, putting the food down on the table in front of his Queen, and the raven-haired man hummed in response.

 

“What is this?” Byleth picked up her cutlery. “Something’s different today.”

 

Dimitri didn’t respond. He smiled when Byleth took her first bite, “Good?” Lucas had all his attention on the food, ears up and mouth closed as if trying to be a good boy.

 

“It’s so good,” Byleth closed her eyes. “Lemme guess. Is it Rose’s cooking?” Ashe’s little sister.

 

Dimitri’s smile deepened. Byleth tilted her head. “No? Then… Jack.” Ashe’s younger brother.

 

“I made it,” Dimitri admitted, enjoying how Byleth’s eyes lit up in surprise. “But… with lots of help from Dedue and… Ashe’s recipe.”

 

Felix rolled his eyes, “Ugh I’ve had enough of you two. I hope you didn’t just poison her.”

 

Dimitri cleared his throat, “They were made for sharing, and I brought enough for all of us”

 

“Oh Felix, you must try this,” Byleth picked up another plate.

 

“Who knows what the boar put in there so no thank you.”

 

“Well, if his wife who also happens to be pregnant with his baby tested it, it should be poison-free.”

 

Felix finally relented. “Fine! If you will shut up,” and started eating. He didn’t say anything, but Dimitri was sure he enjoyed it, because the Duke wouldn’t do anything just to be polite.

 

When the three heard a familiar voice, they didn’t need to look up to see who it was. “Having a feast without me huh?”

 

Sylvain, escorted by Ingrid, entered the room with a grin. Dimitri didn’t miss the joy and surprise flashing across Felix’s face. Ingrid, however, looked a bit tired, probably due to some of the Margrave’s new shenanigans. She was knighted soon after Dimitri’s coronation and had been in the royal family’s service since.

 

“What took you so long?” Byleth asked.

 

“We all know he takes his time flirting with every maid and court lady here,” Felix huffed.

 

“Felix! That hurt. You know my heart only beats for you.”

 

The Duke’s face turned bright red before stomping off. “You are disgusting!”

 

-----


Nothing in Dimitri’s life had ever been so right, so happy before, except for one thing—Byleth giving birth. He wasn’t worried. He was horrified.

 

They got the nursery ready, midwives and maids in place three months before the due date. Dimitri inspected everything over and over. A baby blanket too stiff for the newborn’s soft tender skin would make him lose his temper. A midwife or maid gossiping too much? Say goodbye to your job.

 

The ghosts of the past stood behind the King, laughing and whispering poison.

 

Your spawn will only kill her.

Just like you, it will be nothing but a monster-

 

They are not real. Dimitri reminded himself painfully.

 

When Dimitri lost it for the third time after he started building the cradle himself but seemed to only break everything, the Blue Lions realized he was nervous, like fearing a battle plan going south during the war.

 

“Dimitri, It’s alright,” Byleth found him in the nursery. She took his hands in hers, waving a healing spell gently over his bruised hands.

 

“…No, it is not.” Dimitri shook his head in frustration. “What if we are not doing enough? What if something we never expected happens? What- I…” And he realized maybe he should’ve been the person to comfort his wife.

 

“I’m sorry, beloved, I just…I can’t even put a cradle together. The blankets are either too thin or too stiff. And the curtains… just—just look at it! Who puts a demonic beast on the curtains for a baby?! Trying to give them a nightmare?!”

 

“…I’m pretty sure that’s a frog.”

 

“No, it’s- Listen, every time we went into battle, you’d always had everything prepared. Nothing went wrong, not even once, but this time, I should be the one to care for you, and yet I just keep screwing up everything.”

 

“Alexandre,” Byleth’s hands tightened. “Alexandre, look at me.” Something shifted in Byleth’s eyes, and he got nervous. “It’s not a battle, and… none of my plans were perfect. I’m not even sure if any of them ever worked out the way we wanted.”

 

Dimitri blinked, obviously confused, but… it was true. There was always a change of plans in the middle of a battle when Byleth suddenly yelled at them to change formation. Sometimes ridiculous, too risky but always worked.

 

Byleth sighed. She wanted to say something but decided otherwise. Dimitri didn’t push.

 

“Just remember, Sothis has always been with me, and it will be fine.”

 

Dimitri took a deep breath. He finally calmed himself down, and kissed Byleth’s knuckles.

 

“Alright.”

 

 

 

-----


6th of Garland Moon, 1187. It didn’t go as planned, as always.

 

First, 38 days before the date, after lunch, Byleth felt like she was having bad cramps. She brushed it off as another “side effect” of the baby’s potential Crest of Blaiddyd before realizing she couldn’t stand up anymore and her water broke.

 

Doctors and midwives were called in. Advisors gathered in the meeting room. The Blue Lions, who were in the capital, waited outside of the royal chambers, when Dedue had sent messengers to the Duke and Margrave’s territories.

 

Dimitri was holding Byleth’s hand after contractions got worse and she hissed in pain. He almost lost it when Gilbert told him the traditions said the King must wait outside. The King almost had his hand on his sword. That's his wife. His Queen. Annette had to drag her father away before another bloodshed took place.

 

He and Byleth both knew if they’d left Dimitri outside, the ghosts would’ve swallowed him. She was probably the most powerful charm in the world, her presence warding off darkness.

 

Plus, Byleth wanted him there.

 

Mercedes, who was leading the doctors and midwives, insisted on Dimitri keeping track of Byleth’s contractions. It calmed the King down, giving him something else to do instead of worrying over everything.

 

“Would you remind us of the contractions, Your Majesty?” Mercedes’ gentle voice was always soothing. Though she asked, Dimitri was very sure she always kept an eye on Byleth’s condition. She definitely knew.

 

“The last two were… about 45 seconds. The window was six minutes.”

 

“Thank you, Your Majesty. Now let’s see, I think the professor is ready,” she checked under Byleth’s gown.

 

It was a painful process, not only for Byleth. Dimitri felt like every second was an agony, comforting her when she was sobbing and screaming. He cursed the goddess for making childbirth so painful. He blamed himself for putting Byleth through this.

 

He held Byleth in his arms when Mercedes instructed her to walk around. Byleth’s knees were giving out. Dimitri tightened his hold, kissing her forehead gently and whispering encouragement.

 

“Beloved, you’re doing so well,” he kissed away the tears on her face, “just a little bit more. I love you.” It pained him to see her face twist in agony.

 

And when the baby, a boy, was finally pushed out of her body and the King cut the cord with trembling hands, Dimitri finally let out a long breath in joyful tears before another thing went wrong.

 

There was a second baby.

 

Byleth went back into labor again. Roughly ten minutes later, she gave birth to a girl. The two babies cried at the top of their lungs. Mercedes went to announce the news, and outside of the chambers, the couple heard the Lions cheering in joy and relief. Dimitri was terribly happy, holding Byleth and the twins on her chest, and he suddenly realized the nursery was meant for only one child.

 

There was only one cradle. One set of blankets. Why did none of the doctors find out they were having twins?!

 

Dimitri panicked.

 

“It’s gonna be alright,” Byleth said gently, kissing his eyepatch. Somehow, this always calmed him down. “Would you hold them?”

 

“I- I’m afraid-”

 

“You won’t hurt them. You’re their father,” Byleth seemed to know all of his fear.

 

Mercedes helped put the boy in Dimitri’s arms. “See? You’re doing just fine with little Alex,” Byleth chuckled.

 

He almost cried when feeling the soft, warm body of his son. His son. Then Dimitri left countless kisses on his daughter’s face, before kissing Byleth on her lips. Mercedes had led the maids cleaning up the chambers and closed the door for them to have some time together.

 

“Family of four,” Dimitri said, as if dreaming.

 

“Family of four,” Byleth repeated, leaning into his body. “Sitri, Byleth, little Alexandre, and big Alexandre.”

 

Dimitri couldn’t control his tears anymore. He cried but chuckled, holding his wife and children. “To think, if you hadn’t found me in the Goddess Tower, I… Thank you, beloved. For bringing me back to light. For all of your love. For giving me- a family.”

 

“Will you do the same again?”

 

“…the same? Like… getting you pregnant?”

 

“Alexandre!” Byleth really wanted to kick him off the bed, if not for Dimitri was holding their son.

 

“Just joking!” Dimitri laughed, but his gaze went tranquil, giving her full attention.

 

“Will you love me again? If there is next life?”

 

There is silence. “Beloved, I will find you like you found me in the Goddess Tower. I will stay by your side and love you again. If you don’t remember me anymore, I will manifest my love again and again until you remember how many kisses we shared, how many nights we gazed up the sky counting stars, and how embarrassing we were when we started courting. I will let you know that you can never run away from me.”

 

And that sent Byleth in tears.

 

-----


It was now five years after the war. After the twins’ third birthday celebration, Sylvain and Felix announced their engagement. The Lions were quick to throw another party to celebrate, but the nobles didn’t take it well. If not for their sacrifice and contribution during the war and not for Dimitri’s support, the nobles would have demanded to throw them out of the court.

 

Sylvain laughed it off. Felix scoffed at their bigotry. A wedding was on the way.

 

Besides the King and the Queen, Princess Sitri Cecilia Eisner-Blaiddyd and Crown Prince Alexandre Lambert Eisner-Blaiddyd were thrilled to receive their invitation from “Uncle Sylvain and Uncle Felix,” because they felt like “big children” now. Dimitri got a note from Felix attached to his invitation, who blamed the King to have named their children with ridiculously long names that cost him too much time to write down, wasting his time not to do something meaningful such as training.

 

Dimitri knew it was his way to say “Please bring the children.”

 

16th of Verdant Rain Moon. Apparently, the new couple wanted to have their wedding soon than anything else. Instead of spending months planning the events, Felix and Sylvain decided to get married before summer ended, when the weather was still nice for outside activities. With only two moons, they didn’t bother to tailor new suits or commission anything fancy (except the rings), and only close friends were invited.

 

Before they set off for the Fraldarius estate, Dimitri had a nightmare. His sleep had been peaceful for many moons when things were only too good to be true, and maybe—maybe, this could balance his eerie happiness to make everything normal again, because nothing could be so good. Sometimes when things were perfect, he feared losing them again.

 

He dreamed that he was all alone again. No Byleth, no twins, all alone.

 

When he woke up trembling, Dimitri felt Byleth’s arm draping over his waist, squeezing his right hand as if feeling his distress in her sleep. Beams of sunlight leaks through the curtains, dancing on the floor when gentle breeze waved the sapphire fabrics.

 

Dimitri turned and faced Byleth’s sleeping form, heart falling back to its place. Nothing was wrong. She was still there, by his side. His gaze lingered on her long lashes, some hair falling in her eyes, so she tried to push them away subconsciously. Dimitri did it for her. He loved seeing her hair basking in sunlight, as if with a divine halo.

 

Feeling his gaze, Byleth opened her eyes, still sleepy.

 

“Good morning, Alexandre.”

 

“Good morning, beloved,” Dimitri kissed her eyes. “It’s still early. Try get more sleep.”

 

“Mmmmm. Maybe I should.” Byleth let out a sigh, “but I was having a very juicy dream.”

 

“What did you dream about?” Dimitri’s thumb drew circles on her lower back.

 

“Garreg Mach, Blue Lions classroom. You were all flushed and flustered and bent me over a desk-”

 

Goddess have mercy-” Dimitri buried his face in her hair.

 

“Though I think I’d like to try it physically, not through a dream.” She flipped Dimitri on his back, tracing a finger from his throat down to his shirtless chest and navel. He pulled her nightgown off, massaging her waist and then the small of her back. Then she started straddling him, a grin of pleasure on her face.

 

Dimitri pushed Byleth on the mattress, enjoying how she let out a squeal of surprise. Just as he pushed her panties down and slid in and groaned in delight, two soft little humans burst into their room. “Daddy!! Mommy!!”

 

Dimitri scrambled to cover their naked forms with the blanket and tried his best put his pants back on under that comforter before realizing they were on the floor. Byleth laughed while he groaned. Dimitri muffled her laugh with a kiss before pulling her in for another embrace.

 

“Ew!” Sitri stuck her tongue out.

 

But Alex only blinked, “Daddy, what were you doing with Mommy?”

 

“Daddy was kissing and hugging Mommy, because he loves her very much.” Dimitri was surprised how calm he was. Maybe it was because the kids were too young to understand anything.

 

Alex blinked again, “Then should I kiss and hug Sitri? I love her very much.”

 

“NO!” Dimitri heard Byleth saying with him at the same time. “Not with your sister!”

 

“Go find your nanny, Daddy will be there in one second,” Dimitri said, and the twins squealed and ran out of their room.

 

“Didn’t you lock the door?” Byleth laughed.

 

“I thought you did.”

 

The King caught the Queen’s lips in his once again. He loved seeing her squirm underneath, before hearing Alex yell, “C’mon Sitri! Let’s go and play!”

 

Byleth immediately pushed Dimitri off, “No, Alexandre! Not before you put your clothes on!” And put her nightgown back on and strode to catch their children.

 

Dimitri groaned in bed. Why did I have kids?

 

He never told Byleth how much he feared her calling Alex’s full name, because that only happened when she was very angry, and Dimitri felt like she was calling for him.

 

-----


Sylvain kissed a very impatient but flustered Felix after Seteth announced them husband and husband. The Lions cheered.

 

The banquet was more or less a small luncheon held in the garden. Dedue was spinning little Alex around. The young crown prince was nothing but happy, screaming his excitement. “More spinning!”

 

“More, Your Highness?” Dedue smiled and spun him again.

 

Byleth and Dimitri had tried to correct Dedue, because it was only weird to hear him saying Their Highnesses when the children called him Uncle Dedue. However, the loyal vassal had never called Dimitri anything but honorifics, so Dimitri was only happy that he loved playing with the twins.

 

Also, the royal couple was only grateful that Dedue had kept Alex busy for the time being. They were pretty sure if the prince got bored, he would start touching and breaking everything, thanks to the major Crest of Blaiddyd he bore, and Felix would kill Dimitri.

 

Eventually, Alex grew hungry and tired. Dedue fetched a plate of Saghert and Cream, but the prince, somehow, only wanted to share a plate with him.

 

Sylvain and Felix were alone next to the garden fountain. Dimitri saw Sylvain feeding him a skewer, and Felix actually opened his mouth willingly and ate it.

 

Byleth tried to feed Sitri, who only was only interested in the flowers and running around. This was when Dimitri stepped in. He gently brushed Byleth’s shoulder.

 

“Hello, Sitri. Would you show me the lovely flowers you’ve got from Uncle Felix’s garden?”

 

“Hello, Daddy.” Sitri held a small basket full of flowers. She held a bunch up, showing them to her father. “The gardener lady told me these are butterfly rana- ranancu…los.”

 

“Butterfly ranunculus? How lovely.” Dimitri smiled. “See, Daddy finds these flowers so beautiful, that he wants his lovely daughter to braid his hair with them.”

 

“Do you want to?” Sitri’s eyes lit up. She always loved playing and braiding Dimitri’s hair, who would happily wear the messy braids all day, much to the court ladies and advisors’ amusement.

 

“Yes, so if you eat your lunch, I will let you braid my hair with those butterfly ranunculi.”

 

And so Sitri did. She started braiding his hair while Byleth fed her spoon by spoon, and the result was…horrid, as a three-year-old’s chubby fingers could only make sure the flowers were in his hair. Byleth chuckled. Sylvain laughed so hard that he was choking. There was even a tiny smile in Felix’s eyes.

 

“Very handsome, Your Majesty.” The loyal vassal couldn’t hold his amusement in check.

 

Sitri, on the other hand, was satisfied with the result. “Rananculos is nice, but I like carnations better.” She picked up some flowers, saying absentmindedly.

 

Carnation. Edelgard’s favorite flower.

 

Dimitri still remembered planting those flowers with her in Castle Fhirdiad, when things were bright and simple. He still could not associate that proud girl with light brown hair with the emperor willing to transform into a monstrous hegemony, after setting the entire continent ablaze.

 

He’d spent years after the war trying to understand Edelgard. What led to her twisted violent and bloodthirsty ideals? What happened to her after she left the Kingdom?

 

However, for now, Dimitri decided not to dwell on the past. It was a happy day.

 

He kept the braids until nightfall when he was finally making sweet sweet love to Byleth.

 

After he rolled off her body, both of them panting, Dimitri turned and held Byleth in his arms. “I want this moment to last forever.”

 

“I thought you were gonna say you wanted another child.”

 

“Please, no more. I knew how much you suffered during pregnancy.” He put a hand on Byleth’s lower abdomen and stayed there.

 

Suddenly, Byleth tensed.

 

“Beloved?”

 

Byleth was silent. Dimitri waited patiently for her to speak.

 

“Nothing. Maybe I was too- I don’t know,” Byleth was suddenly distressed. “Something is coming and it doesn’t feel right, but I just don’t know what it is.”

 

Dimitri kissed her nape. “Sleep, beloved. It will be a long ride home, and there’s nothing we can’t face together.”

 

-----


The journey back to Fhirdiad was uneventful, but Byleth was stressed. When they made it across the border to the capital, she suddenly ordered to stop.

 

“Everyone! Get out of your carriage! Now!” She pushed Sitri into Dimitri’s arms while she held Alex. The twins were scared, face pale. The knights and servants were confused, but they knew better than to question their Queen’s order.

 

“Beloved? Is something wrong?”

 

“Dimitri, we need to get out of here- The Pulse- I’m out-”

 

“Byleth? You have to tell me what’s going on!”

 

Just go!

 

But before the couple and children made it anywhere, lights fused with magic rained down the sky. People were screaming. Explosions. Blood. Boulders falling from the mountains. Trees and the ground burning like what he saw years ago in Duscur, masking everything he knew. The ghosts were whispering, announcing his failure again.

 

Byleth. The children. Dimitri suddenly recalled, pushing down his episode and pushing them out of the carriage and following behind. Dedue and Ingrid shouted at the knights, trying to cover the royal family out of the mountains, but it was too late.

 

Another beam of light was about to land, and Dimitri knew there was nothing to go.

 

Byleth!!!” He threw himself forward, throwing his body over his wife and children, pushing them down to the ground.

 

And the last thing he remembered, was Dedue’s cries, and Byleth’s trembling “I love you.”