A/N: So Chamomile and Mint wasn't supposed to have a sequel, but someone asked for one, and since I had post-war worldbuilding I wanted to share as well as a craving to write fluff…this happened.
The tea, naturally, finished boiling when Dimitri's hands were full. Grimacing, he spun on his heel. His left hand held a plate of food, while his right arm cradled his six-month-old son against his hip; it took a bit of juggling, but he got the plate to his right hand, freeing the left to take the kettle off the fire. Moving as fast as he dared, Dimitri rushed to the table and set the pot and plate down.
Exhaling in relief, he glanced down at Sebastien, fearful that his scrambling had upset—or worse, hurt—him.
But his son blinked back at him in cherubic innocence and happiness. Relief flooded Dimitri, followed by a sense of ridiculousness. "Yes, yes, Papa's a worrywart," Dimitri sighed, hoisting the baby up and rubbing their noses together. "Forgive me."
The baby babbled at him, and Dimitri felt a smile break out. Sebastien's hair was coming in, thick and blonde, and his eyes were purple, like Byleth's had been before her transformation. It seemed every day there was something new to discover about his son, and he loved it. Today's discovery was that Sebastien really liked tugging Claude's beard.
They hadn't seen Claude since their wedding, as turmoil in Almyra made travel in or out too dangerous. But recently, the political situation there had settled, Claude had wed Hilda, and he and his new queen had arrived late last night—ostensibly to discuss a treaty, in reality to bestow their blessings on the prince.
They had been introduced to Sebastien this morning, at which point Hilda had presented him with a handmade necklace which, according to her, was a type of charm Almyrans customarily wore for blessings in battle. "Obviously he's not going to need it now," she'd said, "but if he's anything like either of you, he's gonna be a front-line leader when he's older."
Dimitri had thanked her for the gift, even as he fervently prayed his son never needed to know war the way he had.
As that had been happening, Claude had crouched by Sebastien and made faces. After staring at him for a while, the baby had reached up, grabbed a fistful of bristles, and pulled, drawing a yelp.
Remembering it now, Dimitri snorted in amusement. Claude should consider himself fortunate that Sebastien didn't have the signature Blaiddyd strength. There were still tales told of how Dimitri, as a baby, once ripped out a large chunk his father's beard right before an important political meeting.
Some of the more old-fashioned nobles muttered what a shame it was that Sebastien bore no Crest, and that hopefully the queen bore a proper heir soon. Anyone foolish enough to say so within earshot of Dimitri and Byleth would find themselves subject to twin glares. It didn't matter that Sebastien didn't have a Crest—he was their son, and he would not be denied his birthright.
Still, such complaints were decreasing by the day. A few months prior, Sylvain had published a manifesto about the problems with such a Crest-focused society, which created almost as much waves as his refusal to disinherit his and Mercedes' Crestless firstborn. Combined with the king taking a similar stance and breakthroughs in Hanneman's research, opinions were slowly shifting away from the elitist traditions that had plagued the realm for too long. A future where the Crestless and Crest-bearers were regarded as equals seemed closer every day.
See, El? This path was possible after all…
He shook away the melancholy that always came with thinking of his stepsister. While the dead still haunted him, tonight wasn't a night for sadness or reminiscence; it was for his beloved.
He gave the table an appraising look. The pot held Byleth's favorite lavender tea. The plates, a scrumptious dinner of venison, buttered bread rolls, roast vegetables, salmon, and butternut squash soup. To one side, there was a platter with various sweets. A decorative sprig of sage floated on the soup. He nodded in satisfaction. I will need to thank Dedue again for helping me cook.
Dimitri's sense of taste was slowly returning, but he still struggled to distinguish between weak or unfamiliar flavors. Cooking, therefore, was not an easy task for him. However, he had become proficient at brewing tea, a skill he'd honed to provide for Byleth during her pregnancy.
How long ago that first broken teacup seemed! Truthfully, Dimitri was still leery about handling delicate things; he'd especially been terrified at the thought of accidentally hurting their baby. For months throughout Byleth's pregnancy, he'd practiced holding dolls in secret. The servants hadn't known what to make of the random, scattered, broken doll pieces.
…Poor Ashe had believed the castle was haunted until Dimitri had come clean, shame-faced about the whole thing.
Dimitri was about to call a servant and ask them to send for Byleth when his son's baby-babbles rose in volume. Something—or more precisely, someone—had Sebastien excited. "Hello, beloved," he greeted, turning.
Byleth was standing in the doorway to their solar. Even from here, Dimitri could see the dark half-moons under her eyes. Her glance swept across the table in a quick survey before returning to him. "Dima, what's all this?"
Anxiety quickened his pulse. Does she not like it? "Oh, nothing, just…I thought you should take a break from work. I already spoke with Claude and Hilda, and they don't mind moving the dinner negotiations to tomorrow."
Between her duties as archbishop, wife, and now mother, his beloved was exhausted. While she understood she couldn't very well carry Sebastien with her all day, and there was a nanny who looked after him while his parents were busy, she was insistent that she at least be the one to nurse him. Dimitri wasn't displeased by her choice; to him, the sight of her nursing their son was one of the most precious sights in the world, worth every minute of lost sleep.
Of course, now that Sebastien had started sleeping for longer periods, Byleth's workload began piling up, because that was just how life went. There was a squabble between the Northern Church—created when Byleth officially moved to Fhirdiad—and the Central Church that took weeks to sort out. An insurgence in former Adrestian territory that had required direct intervention. A repentant criminal pleading for the church's sanctuary, while a lord called for his head.
So many problems, so little time for rest. That was why Dimitri thought it might be nice to postpone the Almyran negotiations, finish his work early, and treat Byleth to a private meal and tea. Just the three of them.
Byleth closed the door and stepped in, shrugging off the outer layer of her archbishop's robes. "I didn't know you were planning this."
"Well, yes, the purpose was to keep it a surprise…does it displease you?"
Her soft chuckle instantly dissipated his nerves. "Displease me? Certainly not. Rather, I'm reminded every day how lucky I am to have such a sweet, thoughtful husband."
His ears burned, and Byleth's smile became positively impish. While she would never be what one called a verbally affectionate person, over the few years of their marriage she had become more expressive with her feelings, at least towards Dimitri. It never failed to knock him off his feet. Every word from her, every emotion, every scrunch of her brow and pull of her lips was a fascinating language and tantalizing treat in one. He never tired of it and made it his goal to pull such reactions from her as often as possible.
Felix had labelled them 'disgustingly sappy' for it.
Sebastien reached out for his mother, little hands grasping the air. That beautiful smile blossomed on Byleth's face as she moved closer. "And hello, little love. I missed you too."
Dimitri transferred their son over and, with a swiftness that belied his size, moved around the table to pull out his beloved's chair. She rewarded him with a smile.
After praying, they dug into their meal. Byleth moaned at the food and sighed appreciatively at the tea, so Dimitri marked that a success. Sebastien amused himself by sticking his fist in his mouth and watching his parents with half-lidded eyes.
"Have you been able to visit the flowers in the castle greenhouse lately?" Dimitri began.
"No. Dedue tells me they are blooming nicely, but I've been too busy to tend to them myself."
"That's a shame. Perhaps we can stop by tomorrow, under the pretense of showing them to Claude and Hilda."
"That would be ni—" A yawn broke off her words. "Apologies, love. I'm afraid I'm not good company this eve."
He reached over, picked her hand up, and pressed it to his lips. "Don't apologize. Your company is always good."
Truly, the sight of her with their son on her lap, in their chambers, smiling back at him, was more than enough. It had been three years since she'd pulled him out of darkness and the war ended, and if you'd told him during that time this was where he'd end up, he would have thought it a cruel jape.
Even now, there were days he didn't believe he deserved this: the love of his wife and son, the camaraderie of his friends, the fealty of his subjects. His blood-stained hands held a nation, one of the heaviest yet most fragile things he could comprehend. Surely, on his own, he would drop them all and leave his life in jagged pieces again.
But he wasn't alone. His friends would help him carry the weight, and Byleth's hands would be right under his, warm and supportive. And that made all the difference.
By the time Byleth had finished eating, Sebastien had dozed off and she wasn't far behind. Leaving the table for the servants to clean, Dimitri scooped his wife up and crossed the room. Their quarters were made up of a spacious sitting room, a bedroom with a canopy bed, and a bathroom with a sprawling tub. Both sitting room and bedroom had massive hearths, where a roaring fire could be stoked for winter. And in front of the hearth in the sitting room, there was a large, cozy loveseat. It was this that Dimitri sat in, arranging his mantle around Byleth and Sebastien.
Byleth made a soft noise of contentment. Under the mantle, he felt her hand rotate until their palms were pressed togethers. Hers was so small, so delicate. Her fingers laced with his and squeezed.
"Go ahead and nap, my beloved," he said, kissing the top of her head. "I'll watch over you both."
Her reply was incoherent, as she was busy snuggling into his chest. Dimitri settled in for a long eveningwith his wife and son in his arms.
He could think of no better way to spend his time.
A/N: Baby's full name is Sebastien Jeralt Blaiddyd, btw.
And oh yes, there will definitely be a Blaiddyd Crest baby, but I figured the internal reform has the most weight if Dimitri's heir does not have his Crest.