“Byleth, if they are too much, please just say the word, and we will leave.” Seteth hoisted Flayn on top of his shoulders.
The child bounced on his shoulder, clapping her hands in rhythm to her new chant, “In-dech! Mac-u-il! In-dech! Mac-u-il!”
Byleth waved him off and finished wrapping the baby sling around her chest, securing their new baby, Ainé. Only just waking from a nap, the baby yawned and closed her eyes again. Her small pointed ears poked out of her full head of green hair.
“I’ve wanted to meet your brothers for quite some time now. There’s no need for us to rush off. Besides, Flayn is obviously thrilled about it,” Byleth watched Flayn continue her chant.
He sighed, “Well, I did warn you.” Seteth kept his balance while Flayn continued to bounce on his shoulders. She leaned forward and knocked her small hands against the wooden door.
“Open up you two!!” Flayn yelled.
Seteth held his breath when he heard footsteps on the other side open the door.
“Ah Marcuil, do you hear that? Sounds like a thief!”
Why did he always have to wear those short pants and fitted shirt?
Flayn screamed in delight and reached out to Indech, nearly taking Seteth’s head off. She clung to his neck, “Uncle Indie! I missed you!”
Indech gave a hearty chuckle before bringing Flayn back down to the ground, “And I, too, little Flayn. But who else have you brought with you?”
The same green hair and eyes like Seteth and Flayn, but he was taller and much broader. For an archer, he was in exceptional form.
“Brother, it is good to see you again. Might I introduce-,” Seteth was choked out of speaking from Indech’s strong embrace.
“How’s my little brother, hmm?” He squeezed him harder making all his breath escape his lungs.
Byleth tried to cover her face but a laugh escaped her, and it caught Indech’s attention. He released Seteth from his grasp and took Byleth’s hand.
“Oh your radiance, you must be Byleth. It is a pleasure,” he kissed her hand gingerly. Seteth recovered his breath just in time to watch Indech’s overly grand display.
He rolled his eyes and coughed, “And our daughter Ainé.” Byleth took her daughter from the sling and offered Indech to hold her.
Indech gently took the baby in his arms and spoke softly, “Ainé...So small, yet I feel such a strength in you.” The baby opened her bright green eyes, saw herself reflection in his eyes, and smiled.
“Macuil! You must come and see this child! She is extraordinary!” Indech lifted the baby up into the air making her laugh. He moved back inside the house, leaving Byleth and Seteth on the doorstep.
“Isn’t he supposed to be the quiet one?” Byleth cocked an eyebrow.
“History likes to think so,” Seteth stepped through the threshold and waved her inside.
They stepped in to find Flayn sitting in Marcuil’s lap. He was showing her an old spell book he had been reading.
“Dear brother,” he smirked and sat Flayn back on the ground. They were roughly the same height but not quite as stout as Indech.
“Macuil, I would like to introduce you to Byleth.”
He adjusted his glasses and examined her, “A pleasure. I have heard of your great works during your time as a commander. I am quite impressed. Although, your taste in men is questionable.” Macuil shot Seteth a wink.
“Charming as ever,” Seteth sighed as he sat down on the plush couch.
Indech reappeared into the room and offered the baby to Marcuil, “Can you believe this tiny creation?!”
Flayn tugged on Indech’s shirt, “Hey! What about me?”
After Marcuil took the baby, Indech tossed her into the air and caught her by the leg, “You are no tiny creation, Flayn! You are a strong and terrifying mage that must be stopped!”
She could not stop laughing as Indech swung her around while she was upside down. Macuil paid no mind as he tickled Ainé’s belly. To be honest, it relieved Seteth see them take in their daughters like their own.
It had been years since the three brothers were together in the same room.
“So, Byleth,” Indech finally set Flayn down and pulled up a chair, spun it around, and sat on it backwards, “I would love to hear more about you.”
“I as well,” Macuil rocked the baby as she drifted off to sleep.
“Oh! Well, I’m an only child. I grew up with my dad who took me with him everywhere he travelled. And, I currently teach at the Officer’s Academy. That’s where I met Seteth actually. He introduced himself on my first day and joined me for lunch.”
“How peculiar…Seteth made the first move, ” Marcuil noted.
“Is that so odd?” Byleth was confused.
Indech caught an apple Flayn tossed him. “Seteth never did anything himself. It was always asked of him,” he threw the apple back to her.
Seteth finally cleared his throat and added, “When I was a child. But, these two insist that never changed.”
“I believe it was you who followed mother’s request to be an advisor at the academy, if I recall,” Macuil chided.
“Well yes, because it was actually a fine opportunity,” Seteth crossed his legs impatiently.
“Sounds like you still take orders, dear brother,” Indech teased.
“And both of you are still utterly childish,” Seteth huffed.
Flayn walked over and tapped her hand on his knee, “Father, can you take me to their garden?”
“Certainly. I need a moment of reprieve,” he eyed his two brothers before walking out the back door.
They sat in silence, until Macuil sighed, “Must you be so haughty, Indech?”
“It was not my fault he takes things so seriously! I was simply joking,” the other man crossed his arms around the back of the seat.
“Forgive us, Byleth. Poking fun at Seteth is one of our favorite pastimes. It is never out of ill-will,” Macuil got up and passed the baby along to Indech as he went to the kitchen to fetch some tea.
“He is the youngest of our family, so we give him a hard time,” Indech stood and bounced the baby up, making her giggle.
Macuil returned with four cups of tea on a platter, “Seteth is most likely the one with the biggest, what is the word, ‘heart’ among us.”
He offered her one. She thanked him and took a small sip. It was Seteth’s favorite blend, four-spice.
“He is the most loyal person I know,” Indech, for once, sounded somber.
“All of this to say Byleth, we mean no harm. Despite him being the youngest, we tend to find ourselves looking up to him,” Macuil grinned and sipped his tea.
“You are in good company. We could not be more happy for you two, especially having the chance to see the two little ones,” Indech nuzzled his nose against Ainé’s forehead.
“That makes me happy. Truly, it does,” Byleth beamed.
Macuil opened the backdoor and stepped out, “Tea for you two?”
Indech carried Ainé outside and Byleth followed. Flayn was chasing Seteth. Her smile was wide and eyes determined to catch him, but she stopped when she saw Macuil.
“Uncle Mac! What kind of tea?”
“Four-spice,” he carefully set the plate down on a table.
“That’s your favorite, father!” Flayn rushed over to the table and carefully took a cup.
“Come now, Macuil you did not have to go out of your way to get that,” Seteth watched Flayn run back to him and offer him the cup.
“Shut up, Seteth,” Indech and Macuil spoke in unison.
Seteth smiled, “Byleth, did you know these two never enjoyed tea until I started drinking it?”
The other two brothers couldn’t help but grin.