Usually Childe prides himself on being a reasonable person, a meticulous person, and in general a person who has some pretty darn good self control.
To be fair, this is currently not exactly a ‘usually’ sort of scenario.
“You are drunk.” Zhongli points out, his lips pulling taut disapprovingly. “I think that is enough for this evening.”
“Nooo…” Childe whines, swatting Zhongli’s hand away when the latter tries to take the pint glass away from his sluggish hands.
“Yes.” Zhongli mutters as if he were talking to an actual child. “I will escort you back to your accommodation to ensure your safety.”
“You ain’t drunk yet.” Childe retorts, and for good reason too, because he’s been counting Zhongli’s drinks ever since they started and soon lost count once the tally reached into the twenties, when the alcohol started to seriously catch up to the Snezhnayan.
It wasn’t even weak alcohol, either. The owner of the restaurant had loudly and obnoxiously proclaimed on their arrival that they served the strongest, best tasting alcohol in all of Liyue. And Zhongli drank probably enough to tranquilise an elephant.
The ‘strong’ part sure held up its part of the promise, Childe thinks. He can’t really feel his taste buds anymore, but it doesn’t stop him from reaching over to the jar for more. His fingers don’t even graze the clay surface before Zhongli catches his hand in mid-air and stares at him disapprovingly.
“No more. Consuming this quantity of alcohol within such a short time frame cannot be sustainable for your body.”
He pouts in response, but shrinks back into his seat bonelessly. “I dunno how much longer I’m gonna be here for... Might as well make the most o’ it.”
Because in truth, he really does have an attachment to Liyue Harbour. Even if he gets suspicious looks everywhere he goes, the food is good, the people are (relatively) friendly, and, for Tsaritsa’s sake, sometimes maybe he just wants a little break from the depressingly tedious nature of the Snezhnayan landscape, both in the political and environmental sense. Contrary to popular belief, being a Harbinger doesn’t automatically equate to deadfast patriotism.
Really though, who is he kidding? All these reasons pale compared to the biggest one of all, who just so happens to be standing right next to him.
Childe feels himself being heaved out of his chair like a sack of flour (where does Zhongli get all this unreasonable strength from?), and Childe has half a mind to act as unhelpful as possible by pushing his weight down as hard as he can onto Zhongli’s shoulder. But he doesn’t, because he prides himself on being a reasonable person, but more importantly because it will just be a complete waste of dignity and effort and Zhongli will just stay as immovable as the ‘trees’ of Huaguang Forest like he always has, and always will.
“Owner,” He hears Zhongli say as they exit from their small private dining room, “We are finished for the night. Thank you for your service.”
The owner, a short, loud, balding man with a shuffle to his walk smiles nervously. “Oh yes, it is our pleasure! ...About payment-”
Zhongli stills. “Ah.”
Childe goes as rigid as an icicle as Zhongli pauses in thought, then proceeds to twist him around to access his money pouch stowed in the folds of his jacket.
Bastard, he thinks half-heartedly, but how can he complain when he gets to feel Zhongli’s breath against his own, in such close quarters, because of it?
It’s warm. Way too warm. The alcohol has Childe feeling all fuzzy and numb, and, fuck, okay, maybe he’s getting a little turned on. But who can blame him when Zhongli’s the one with his slim, pale fingers roaming around the inside folds of his (admittedly complicated, theft-proof) jacket?
Zhongli finally, finally finds Childe’s mora pouch (much to the latter’s simultaneous displeasure and gratitude) and hands it to the owner, whose eyes almost burst out his head when he sees the quantity of its contents.
“Sirs... this is… too much.”
“Please consider the excess as a tip.” Zhongli smiles genially and Childe barks out a laugh, because Zhongli doesn’t seem to recognise that the amount in there is almost equivalent to the value of booking out the whole of Wangshu Inn for a week, it seems. That, and the fact that he’s talking as if he didn’t just mug Childe in plain sight a minute prior.
A few more customary exchanges of ‘I cannot take this’ and ‘please accept it’ between Zhongli and the poor old man later, they finally make it out of there and into the cool, crisp air of nighttime Liyue Harbour. The temperature, thankfully, kills Childe’s not-quite-there boner.
“Let’s take you home,” Zhongli says to the red-head, completely oblivious to their small peanut gallery of passersby whispering and pointing because a. Childe is apparently a foreign and comedic sight of a piss-drunk Fatui, and b. Zhongli, a grown man, practically has Childe, another grown man, slung over his shoulder like a sack of rice.
“Don’t… don’t wanna…” He slurs. He slides off Zhongli slightly and the rush of blood to his head brings with it all the alcohol content in his entire body, making him dizzy with vertigo.
He feels like he’s going to puke, but spending one of his last days in Liyue yakking over the clothes of the person of his interest probably isn’t the brightest idea, so he tries to keep it down as best as he can.
Zhongli scowls, realising something is wrong and quickly moves to put Childe down on a nearby bench, much to Childe’s relief, and sits next to him for support.
He smells divine, Childe thinks in a startling, but not exactly unexpected moment of revelation. Like fresh silk flowers, like earthly violetgrass, the peaks of the tallest mountains and the deepest grooves of the valleys.
Against his better judgement, he leans into Zhongli and chases the scent. Zhongli luckily happens to, or pretends to, not notice at all.
“I’ll call a rickshaw.” Zhongli declares after a minute of stillness. “Stay here.”
Childe groans as the other man stands up, before he slides down and spreads himself bonelessly over the wooden bench.
He takes a deep breath. The air is tinged with the trademark scent of the ocean, and it relieves his drowsiness just a bit. The air back in Snezhnaya was always cold, always stung slightly if you breathed in a little too quickly. Childe’s hydro vision made him especially vulnerable to the climate there. A hydro vision in a cryo country.. he must’ve been conceived as a joke from the gods.
“How are you feeling?” Childe barely registers Zhongli’s voice. He grunts as he shifts himself into a presentable position and sees the other man with the promised ride in tow.
“Terrible.” He groans as they board the rickshaw.
The ride is probably around twenty minutes, but really, it feels like an hour, no thanks to the fact that the lack of passenger space meant that both men were squished together with little to the name of personal space; Childe had gotten on first (albeit almost slipping and cracking his head open in the process), which meant that Zhongli has to sit with half of his body sitting on Childe’s lap in order to fit.
Tsaritsa, help me, Childe thinks in a drunken daze, with the sudden urge to place his hand on Zhongli’s thigh, slide it inwards… upwards...
He’s strangely proud that he managed to keep his hands to himself for the entire trip.
Childe groans in acknowledgement from where he lays spread-limbed like a starfish on the king bed.
The Fatui own a block of property on the outskirts of Liyue to accommodate visiting diplomats. Childe, who is pretty much in charge of the Liyue side of operations thanks to Northland Bank and his Harbinger status, was naturally offered the biggest chambers, with the most luxurious furnishings.
“Thanks.” He mutters, dragging his muscles against gravity to sit up and take the glass. He can feel the telling signs of a soon-to-be migraine start to hammer at his skull.
At least after what has probably been an hour since dinner, he finally feels more sober. The flip side is that soberness always comes at the cost of feeling more like shit.
Zhongli takes the opportunity to inspect what is essentially Childe’s bedroom, which is almost the size of the entire restaurant they were in earlier. Childe follows his gaze as he downs the rest of the water.
He points to a collection of books on a shelf. “I suppose those aren’t Liyue academic texts.”
Childe chuckles. Zhongli walks over and plucks a book off the shelf, scrutinising the cover.
“‘The Troupe’s Collection of Commedia dell'Arte, Volume One.’” He reads aloud, mangling the foreign diction beyond recognition with the confidence of an intoxicated sailor.
Childe wheezes, beckoning Zhongli to give the book to him in between hiccups of laughter.
“I’ll give you an ‘A’ for effort,” He chokes out, “And enthusiasm.”
Zhongli frowns, and Childe’s eyes latch onto the way a precious little crease forms at the tip of his eyebrows, the way his thin lips delicately press together, and, oh, suddenly Childe isn’t laughing anymore.
“There is no ‘A’ in ‘effort’.” He says hesitantly, like he knows that there was a joke in the exchange that he missed. Childe allows himself two seconds to think how can he be this cute before he mentally smacks himself.
“Don’t worry about that.” He says. “Come here, I’ll tell you about the Commedia dell'Arte.”
They spend the next hour diving into the world of theatre together, Childe explaining all the lore and intricacies of the art to Zhongli, while the latter sits next to him in attentive stoicness.
“Who is this character?” Zhongli points to an illustration of a slim, bland actor.
“His name,” Childe grins, “Is Tartaglia. Contrary to most of the other characters, he doesn’t wear a mask.”
“Because he’s a romantic character. Love is a virtuous concept, thus it’s only appropriate that it’s portrayed openly and vulnerably.”
Zhongli frowns again, and Childe wants to kiss that little wrinkle away, lift up the corners of his lips—
“He reminds me of you.”
Childe blinks. “Oh?”
Zhongli nods, crossing his arms. “The Fatui generally all wear masks, but I do not recall you ever wearing one.”
Childe raises his eyebrows. “I do have a mask,” He taps on said mask sitting haphazardly amongst the birds nest that is currently his hair, “Right here.”
“On your face.” Zhongli clarifies, “Similar to the other members.”
Childe’s familiar guarded smirk slides back onto his face. “For my rank, I’m able to break the protocols here and there.”
He can see that Zhongli isn’t satisfied with the answer, but he accepts it anyway.
After a beat, Zhongli asks, “Are you a romantic?”
The question is so sudden, so innocently curious, that Childe’s grin instantly freezes in place.
“Maybe.” He answers vaguely after a moment of silence.
Zhongli stares at him expectantly, and Childe greedily drinks in the rich amber of his irises, the hues of gleaming cor lapis, of late autumn vespers.
Then he shifts his gaze away from Childe and towards the Snezhnaya-style grandfather clock in the corner.
“Perhaps I should leave,” He says as he rises, straightening his attire, “It is quite late now, and I must be present at the parlour early tomorrow.”
“Wait.” Childe grabs the other man’s sleeve before his brain can catch up to his body.
Zhongli tilts his head as a cat would, and Childe can’t help but think that he’s just as flighty as one.
He clears his throat. Ah shit. Think, think. “You owe me mora. From dinner.”
He cringes internally. Smart move, he thinks sarcastically, because Childe’s ‘lent’ tons of mora to Zhongli before. He’s never asked for any of it back, so it’s not a good look for him to do so now when they both know that Childe won’t be in Liyue much longer.
But he doesn’t care about the mora, really. Not when there’s something (someone) far more precious that’s slipping through his fingers like liquid gold.
Zhongli blinks, once, twice, and turns around to face Childe. Childe lets go of his sleeve reluctantly.
“I do not carry any mora to repay you with.”
Of course he doesn’t, and Childe expected that. But his scheming mind is already working to see that maybe...just maybe, this situation could be turned towards his favour.
He’ll have to take a little risk, but it’ll be worth it.
His heart beats fast as he opens his mouth. “You can repay me another way.”
Childe swallows thickly. “Yeah. One of a less… monetary… nature.”
Zhongli raises a perfectly arched brow. There’s no suspicion in his voice, just simple curiosity. “Which is?”
“I want you...” Childe pauses. Last chance to back out, he warns himself.
...But then again, he’d never been one to shy away from risks. Not when the reward is so tantalising.
“...To give me a blowjob.”
A moment passes. Childe can feel his palms sweat. A second starts to morph into a grand sum of infinitesimal doubts.
Finally, Zhongli opens his mouth.
...Okay? Childe can’t help but gape his mouth like a fish caught out of water. Really?!
“I suppose I owe you many favours,” Zhongli points out as easily as if he were making a simple business deal, “Therefore it is only fair that I repay you according to your requests, regardless of their nature.”
Zhongli frowns again. “But you must forgive me. I have very little experience with… sexual activities.”
Childe almost laughs because, wow, how can someone as handsome, as captivating as Zhongli be inexperienced? “You’re a virgin?”
“I… have engaged with recreational sexual interc—”
“Okay, okay! I understand!” Childe scrambles up to place his hands over Zhongli’s mouth because sweet mother of Archons if this man truly talked like this with all his prior partners then Childe is starting to see why he’s not exactly having a adequate sex life. “...So basically I need to take the lead, is what you’re saying.”
Zhongli gently pulls Childe’s fingers away from his mouth. “That would be very much appreciated.”
Childe breathes in deep, trying to ease the tenseness from his body. “Okay. I’ll need you to kneel down first.”
The taller man nods, wasting no time in following Childe’s instructions, and looks up expectantly from the floor. Childe stares back down at Zhongli, feeling his cheeks prickle with heat.
Oh Tsaritsa, he thinks in disbelief and shock and anticipation that someone as unshakable, as respected, as powerful as Zhongli is willing to get on his knees. For him. And Childe would be the biggest, boldest liar in all of Teyvat if he said that it didn’t give him one hell of a power trip.
In retrospect, this plan was easily one of the dumbest, most spontaneous ideas he’s ever had, and… what was he thinking? He must still have some alcohol in his system, because a sober, reasonable, meticulous Childe would have never tried to make a deal like this with… with…
“I will be… in your care.” Zhongli says lowly, almost meekly, and sobriety be damned, Childe thinks giddily. Alcohol is the best thing to ever exist. His fingers tremble as he works to fumble past his belt, unzip his trousers, until he’s able to finally, finally free his dick, which is starting to harden alarmingly fast in all honesty.
Zhongli stares at Childe’s length for a long moment, seemingly entranced, before he leans in and gives a small, kittenish lick, then closes his soft lips over the tip, and, oh, Childe can feel pure lightning shoot up his spine.
“Bring your hands up. It’ll help you support yourself better.” Childe says with a nervous grin.
He catches Zhongli’s unsure hands and places them on both sides of his hips, then carefully, intently places his hands on Zhongli’s temples, carding through his hair; firm enough to guide, but not enough to confine.
“You’re doing so well,” Childe mutters as Zhongli takes Childe further into his mouth, breathing steadily through his nose.
Childe pants as he tries to etch every little detail of the moment, every piece of sensory imagery into the surface of his mind. The feeling of his dick engulfed in a raw, tight heat, the soft downiness of Zhongli’s inky locks, the way his cheeks are dusted with pink, the way Zhongli’s mouth goes slack and his eyes unfocus—
Childe gasps, panting heavy and hard, and jerks Zhongli off his dick.
Holy shit, he almost came just by looking at the way Zhongli sucks dick.
It’s either the months of pent up sexual frustration, Zhongli’s natural aptitude for taking things readily into his mouth, or a potent combination of both because Childe has never been this fast to come.
Zhongli makes a small noise of confusion, his eyes lidded and gaze indistinct, looking through Childe’s eyes and towards a place far from the present, his mouth half open and glossy with spit — a reinvitation, and, oh, Childe is too weak to deny.
“S-sorry,” He whispers, “I need a second.”
He slides his right hand downwards, skimming the rim of his eyes, past his cheeks, until his thumb catches onto the corner of Zhongli’s lips, slipping inside the pliant space with ease.
He opens up so well, Childe thinks, almost tenderly. So different from his usual composure…
“Again.” Zhongli says breathily around Childe’s thumb.
Childe inhales audibly. “Do what again?”
“The…” Zhongli’s eyes come back to reality, to the present, as he says almost petulantly, “When you… pulled my hair..”
Oh, Childe thinks distantly. He could certainly indulge that request.
He slides his left hand towards Zhongli’s occipital, messing up the latter’s hair along the way. His right hand slips away from Zhongli’s chin and guides Childe’s dick back towards his mouth.
This time, Zhongli holds his mouth open while Childe slowly glides his dick back into the wet heat by gently tugging his hair forward. Childe moans, because for all the blowjobs he’d gotten in the past, none of them would be able to top the one he’s getting right now.
Zhongli tilts his head, drags his tongue along the bottom of Childe’s dick, swirls it around the tip, and, holy shit, Childe cannot believe for a second that Zhongli has never done this sort of thing before. ‘Little experience’ his foot.
Strangely though, the implications make Childe’s stomach flip; the imagery of Zhongli - strong, independent Zhongli, on his knees, in front of another man, being touched, being held, being fucked by someone else—
“Mmghf—!” Zhongli makes a noise of surprise as Childe suddenly pushes further into his mouth without prior warning. Not enough to breach the space of his throat, but instead filling his entire mouth hot and heavy.
“...Sorry.” Childe says rather unapologetically. He traces a thumb around the red of Zhongli’s lips, stretched around cock and is abruptly overcome with an undeniable sense of possessiveness.
“You belong to me…” He pants, arching his back downwards to encompass the other man and leaning in so close that he can breathe in the layered fragrances of his hair; notes of silk flowers, glaze lilies, tinged with the scent of something esoteric, something archaic. Powerful.
Childe grips Zhongli’s hair, unable to restrain the small snaps of his hips, and growls, “Mine.”
Zhongli moans. The vibrations of his rich baritone voice sends shivers up Childe’s dick, into the tips of his toes and to the top of his skull.
And Childe can’t hold it back anymore, he really can’t.
He’s always prided himself on his control; of his emotions, patience, manipulation... but for fuck’s sake, maybe for once in his life he deserves to enjoy something in the moment.
So with a sharp inhale, he places both hands in a steady grip in Zhongli’s hair, and pulls.
And, oh, Tsaritsa’s tits, the feeling is heavenly.
Zhongli chokes a little, overwhelmed at the sudden pressure, swallowing harshly around Childe’s dick, and Childe has to take a few seconds to register that this man apparently has no gag reflex. And now Childe’s dick is sitting snugly down his throat, twitching at the onslaught of pulsing heat and small, muffled moans.
He takes it so well, Childe can’t help but think in a haze of mad lust, feeling the tip of Zhongli’s nose nestle amongst his pubes. So eager. Desperate, even.
Then he makes the mistake of leaning back and looking at Zhongli and his dick twitches again.
Zhongli looks absolutely blissed out. His eyes are lidded, cheeks are red, and his mouth, so red, so red, is absolutely begging to be destroyed. Childe tears his wide eyes away from his mouth and finds that one of Zhongli’s hands has left Childe’s hip and is pushing against his own crotch, and, fuck, he’s really getting off from sucking Childe’s dick.
And that does wonders for Childe’s already ballooning ego.
“Don’t blame me for what happens,” He grins, feeling sweat beading at his brow, and Zhongli looks upwards in his daze, his eyes screaming fuck me and damn if Childe doesn’t oblige him then he might as well go shoot himself in the kneecap.
Childe wastes no time dragging out his dick, relishing in the pull of Zhongli’s throat, before he pushes back in with a newfound intensity, punctuating every thrust with a breathless moan of his own that intertwines with Zhongli’s muffled ones.
He fucks his face like this, keeping his gaze glued onto Zhongli’s eyes, his ears latching onto Zhongli’s subdued (but no less needy moans), until he can feel the heat in his abdomen rise, seethe, bubble until it reaches a boiling point.
“I’m… I— hah…!” Childe’s voice shakes as his thrusts start to stagger, his legs growing weak, “Gonna come—”
It’s all the warning Zhongli receives before Childe lets out a guttural sound and bursts, hard and intense, gripping the other man’s hair so hard that afterwards, Childe wonders how he didn’t tear any out.
He stays still for a moment, revelling in the bliss of the aftershocks until he feels a shudder around his dick and hears a low whine from below, and realises belatedly that Zhongli needs to breathe. In a moment of panic, he pulls his dick away from the other’s mouth, dragging along with it strings of pearly white come, up and away from Zhongli’s mouth.
It’s then that Childe realises that Zhongli himself just came, judging from the inconspicuous wet patch on his dress trousers. The fact that Zhongli just came from sucking his dick… the fact that Zhongli just sucked his dick…
Yeah, Childe’s going to have enough masturbation material for months.
Zhongli shudders, his eyes distant and mouth dripping a little with Childe’s come, and Childe can feel himself rise again in momentary interest for another round, before a more pressing sense of concern quashes the horniness, as he squats down unsteadily to look at Zhongli at eye level.
“Zhongli,” He says with a note of urgency to his tone. “Are you alright?”
The other man blinks slowly, seemingly coming back to his surroundings.
“I—” He starts, before realising that he’s hindered by a mouthful of come, closes his mouth and swallows, the line of his throat shifting to take everything in. Childe swallows as well, suddenly feeling his mouth dry up.
“I’m okay.” He says after a moment, voice gravelly and wrecked.
Childe gives a neutral, thin-lipped smile before he stands, reaching over for tissues to clean both of them up.
“There’s no more rickshaws for tonight,” Childe gestures at the clock. “You might as well stay.”
Zhongli has transitioned from sitting on the floor to sitting on the bed, changed into a pair of Childe’s pants (and underwear, but Childe will probably combust if he thinks any more towards that direction) and took off his extravagant overcoat. He sighs shallowly. “I believe you’re right.”
Childe puts his hands on his hips, an easy grin on his face. “We have plenty of guest rooms. I’ll call someone to set one up for you.”
“Don’t worry about it, It’s on me for keeping you back.”
Zhongli pauses, dipping his head uncharacteristically. “Not just that. I enjoyed…”
Childe’s grin turns a bit sharper, more predatory, like an arctic fox.
“Then I think we can agree on a more… long term arrangement.”