Fields of Duscur
Three months passed, gray and colorless. Dedue performed his duties as well as he ever had, or so he liked to think, but his heart had gone cold. The light and life had passed from his existence when he had released Mercedes. It turned out he couldn’t stand to remain in the rooms he had shared with her even though she had cleared out her belongings with alarming rapidity. The wedding rings sat in a box in the back of a drawer in the small room he had taken for his new quarters. He tried to forget about them.
“Go to her,” Dimitri said one night over dinner. “You’re miserable.”
Dedue refused to listen. He had made his choice, and now he had to live with it.
“You’re distracted,” Ingrid said on a different day, during drills. “You might miss a threat to His Majesty.”
Her words had merit, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not find substance in the emptiness of his soul. He returned to his cot every night and stared at the ceiling, sleeping fitfully or not at all, until dawn arrived.
They days bled together. Dedue grew colder, hollowerw, and yet more focused on Dimitri than ever. His Majesty was all he had left.
The late spring rains began. If he had married Mercedes, they would have departed for Duscur soon, to see the wildflowers in bloom. He would never return to his homeland, not now.
Sylvain pulled him aside one afternoon, during one of his frequent visits to Fhirdiad. “Ingrid’s worried about you. So’s Dimitri.”
“So they have said.” Dedue’s voice sounded hollow even to him.
Sylvain looked him up and down. “Here’s the thing. I always thought you were one of the most decent men I knew. Compared to you, I was always a dirtbag. Until now.”
“I have to say, I’m surprised. I mean, even I wouldn’t have abandoned my baby, not even if I knew the mother got pregnant to trap me for my title and Crest. I was always too careful for that to happen, but still. I wouldn’t have expected that kind of behavior from you.”
Dedue’s scowl deepened. “What are you saying?”
“What am I—?” Sylvain’s eyes widened. “You don’t know.”
“Oh, shit.” Sylvain swallowed. “Ingrid’s going to kill me.”
Something snapped deep inside Dedue. He curled his fist around Sylvain’s collar and yanked him up on his toes, so that their faces were only inches apart. “Know what?” he said through clenched teeth.
Sylvain gripped Dedue’s wrist. The beginnings of a spell flickered over the redhead’s knuckles, but he didn’t cast. Instead, he locked eyes with Dedue.
“Mercedes is pregnant.”
The words hit Dedue like a punch in the gut. He dropped Sylvain as the corridor reeled around him. His vision wavered. A tremor ran through him, and he took a shuddering breath. A baby. His baby.
“H-how far along?” he asked.
Sylvain ran his hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I heard maybe three months?”
Dedue remembered when one of his aunts was pregnant. The nausea, the vomiting, the food intolerances…. And he had left the woman he loved to endure it all alone. He put a hand on the cool stone wall for support.
His duty. It seemed he had failed in every aspect. “I have made a terrible mistake.”
Sylvain shook his head. “If anyone understands terrible mistakes, it’s me. Knowing Mercie, you can still fix this. Not everyone gets that chance.”
Sylvain waved him away. “I’ll tell Dimitri you’ll see him tomorrow. Don’t worry, we’ll keep him safe.”
Dedue needed no encouragement. He dashed down the corridor as quickly as his legs would carry him.