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Ice Melts When Dawn Comes

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“Kaeyaaa~!”

“Hmmm~?” The man being addressed returned the greeting with an equally mischievous tone. He had to turn his head towards his right in order to properly greet the duo coming up the stairs from his blindside.

“My, if it isn’t our city’s newest honorary knight and his companion. Good evening to the two of you.” Kaeya gestured to the empty seats at his table by the banister of the mezzanine. “Here to try Mondstadt’s finest?”

“I think I’m underage,” the traveller responded as he and Paimon took the seats offered to them.

“Hah! Don’t worry about that, I can be your chaperone tonight.” Kaeya paused when his joke didn’t exactly elicit a laugh from either of them, just polite stares as Aether calmly considers the weight of such words from a knight who’s already buzzed only an hour after his shift ended.

He’ll probably have to be Kaeya’s chaperone by the night’s end.

“Besides,” Kaeya continues anyways. “The legal drinking age here is fourteen, unlike some other uptight places.”

“Uwaagh…”

“…What?”

Paimon’s disgruntled face and frustrated sigh seems to have surprised Kaeya as the captain sets down his bottle of wine mid-pour, leaving his glass barely half full. Kaeya is fully aware that his comments might annoy the floating child sometimes, but he literally just said hello so far.

“Paimon heard from Miss Adelinde that you were adopted by the late Master Crepus…” Paimon stretches her arms out on the tavern table and plops her chin down with them, pouting. “But you act nothing like a young lord… ”

Kaeya laughs at that.

“Whatever do you mean?”

At the moment, his chair is faced away from the table it’s paired with. Instead, it’s turned to face towards the open area on the first floor where he has a bird’s eye view of the counter and stage for bards. His legs are propped up on the railings and he’s leaning back far enough so that his chair is only precariously balancing itself on its two hind legs.

(Tonight, Venti is here, Kaeya muses. The green bard must have come in with the travellers.)

“So that means you and Diluc are brothers, then?” Aether asks.

“Hmm… who knows?” Kaeya picks up his bottle of wine and resumes pouring into his glass again. “I was the one who decided to throw away those bonds, though.” Kaeya mutters it so quietly that only Aether, who sat next to him, could hear it.

Paimon huffs, thinking that Kaeya ignored her and diverts her attention down to the floor below.

“Hey! Tone-Death Bard,” She yells as she waves down at the boy. “You still owe us two apple ciders each.” And before Venti could slip away into a conversation with someone else, Paimon floats down to catch him on his promise.

Kaeya drowns out the children’s arguments as he sips his drink. Looks like it’ll be another rowdy night. Kaeya hums in satisfaction at the thought. Busy nights meant that Diluc is more likely to stay and assist Charles as a barista rather than roam the seedy streets of late-night Mondstadt. Reliable as Charles may be, Diluc isn’t the type of supervisor who’d leave his employees overworked.

…Maybe he should order a round for everyone just before Diluc’s shift ends?

“—so easily…”

“Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Could you say that again?”

Hearing Aether speak up again brought Kaeya out of his rumination. The blond only smiles back, unfazed at his inattentive behaviour— despite the fact that he was the one who invited the two of them to sit with him.

“I was just wondering… If sibling ties could be thrown away so easily...”

Ah. That’s right. This kid was looking for his twin sister. Perhaps it was a bit insensitive to say what he did to the young boy.

“Sounds like there are some complications in your story as well.”

“Well… I wasn’t completely faultless when Lumine and I got separated.”

“Oh?” Kaeya is curious, but he notices Paimon floating back up with a grin on her face.

“Fufu… Paimon got our drinks,” she says, carrying a tray with four apple ciders and places it down on the table before she accidentally tips it over. Glasses of juice falling from the second floor; now, that would be dangerous.

“Good job,” Aether pats her head in praise.

Paimon giggles and sits back into her chair to take a large gulp of the cider.

“It’s soooo good,” she gushes. “Hey, why didn’t you keep the Ragnvindr name? Bet you can get loads of free drinks if you did.”

“Haha, I thought you already forgot about that topic.”

“Paimon can deal with several conversations at once!”

Kaeya only laughs again at her childish antics.

“Hey! Paimon just thought that we should get our drinks first!”

“Yes, yes. It’s hardly ever fun drinking alone,” Kaeya smiles and holds his own glass up like he’s giving a toast.

“Sooo… why would you change your name? If it was up to Paimon, Paimon would want to keep it,” as she says this, her eyes light up and one could almost see stars in her eyes as she speaks.

“They say that there’s nothing you can’t get if you use the Ragnvindr name…” Paimon trails off, losing herself in her own fantasies; just like that time when Kaeya had the two of them help him with his pirate problem.

Kaeya’s eye drifts over towards the bar on the ground floor again and watches as Diluc serves Venti and another gentleman who introduces himself as the bard’s friend. True enough, anyone who saw the young wine tycoon would think so, but…

“The one thing I want can’t be obtained if I have that name.”

“Huh? And what could that be?” Paimon tilts her head sideways as she racks her brain. “Master Diluc once told us that he once bought a bunch—well, buys a bunch of fake Anemo relics while looking for the real one. No matter how much money he has, it doesn’t matter since he doesn’t have the real thing. Is that what you mean?”

Kaeya chuckles at that. Is he still doing that? It’s been a while since he’s seen the barista go hunting for them since the Dvalin incident, so he assumed Diluc or the Fatui had given up that search.

“No. It’s not about buying something.”

“Hmm… Paimon doesn’t get it...”

Aether looks over towards their tall companion and watches the man’s eye soften his gaze as he looks down at the bar. It’s a look that the traveller recognises well— it’s a look that holds a feeling that seems to be universal, no matter which world he travels to.

“That sounds rough. Good luck.” Aether offers Kaeya a pitying smile at his unfortunate circumstances.

“Huh? Do you know something?” Paimon asks Aether.

“Maybe. Let’s not pry any more than this, okay?” Aether speaks softly in consideration to the cavalry captain, but the other party heard it anyways.

“Well, it’s not much of an interesting story— not like the story behind my eyepatch.”

“Inheriting an eyepatch really isn’t all that entertaining,” Paimon grumbles back.

“Hm? Did I tell you that?”

“Yes! And then you made us do your work for nothing!”

Kaeya lets out another boisterous laugh at the expense of Paimon’s patience.

“Come on, Aether, let’s go back downstairs and leave this old man to drink alone!”

“I’m not so old that you can call me an ‘old man’ just yet.” Kaeya places a hand over his heart as if he’s deeply hurt by Paimon’s words.

“Hmph! Paimon isn’t falling for your tricks again!”

 


 

They continued their light banters and drunken conversations for the next hour or so until the two traveling partners finished their ciders. Though, it would be more apt to say Paimon finished all four of the glasses.

“Hmm… That green bard over there seems to calling you two down.” Kaeya points at Venti who’s waving them over. “Should you guys get going?”

“Ah! Paimon almost forgot we came here for actual business with that Tone-Death Bard!”

Didn’t ‘almost’ forget; did forget. But Kaeya figured it was best to keep that comment to himself, lest he bait Paimon into another argument whilst the two companions had other business to do.

“We’ll talk to you later, eye patch!” Like that, the little gremlin flies down, forgoing the stairs and leaving her partner to clean up the tray and bring it back down.

“Want me to grab you another bottle?” He motions to Kaeya’s bottle that’s already 3/4ths of the way done.

“Oh? How thoughtful. If you can, could you ask Charles to grab me another one?”

Aether nods in response and starts heading down.

“Oh! And tell him to send me the prettiest server up, would ya,” Kaeya calls out after the blond. Aether only waves lazily without bothering to turn back around to laugh at that joke.

“I don’t think Master Diluc will come up here for that, though?” Aether responds cheekily and Kaeya splutters at that comment.

‘No, he won’t,’ Kaeya thought ruefully. Gazing down to sneak another glance at the redhead, Kaeya notices Diluc’s signature overcoat being hung up at the staff’s side of the hangar room. So it’s probably safe to assume that there would be no vigilante tonight. Speaking of which…

Kaeya looked over at the foreigner sitting at the counter who was doing a splendid job of chatting away while Diluc listened on politely. He recognises the Liyuen as the guy that came in with Venti.

Must be ‘business’ talks, then,’ Kaeya surmises. He doesn’t like the small smile that graces the tavern owner, though. When his new bottle of Dandelion arrives, he doesn’t spare second a glance to his server.

Why bother?

The prettiest one is still downstairs.

 


 

The next few nights are quiet enough so that the Darknight doesn’t have to show himself in the streets for a while. Instead, the Darknight has been spending his nights peacefully in his tavern, discussing ‘business’ with the traveller’s plus one that he brought back to the city.

Zhongli—was his name apparently.

It’s only been a few days, but the foreign businessman has already made a favourable impression on the stall owners and shop owners of Mondstadt. Being a good friend of the most popular bard in town doesn’t hurt, either. According to his first hand sources, there was nothing on the market that the Liyuen man couldn’t praise— whether it was an apple or a voodoo doll. His overall knowledge and appreciation of their wares had won them over.

What a scary guy.

Those with silver tongues, such as himself, were shady at best. But those with a natural silver tongue were another thing altogether.

Looks like it’s high time to go prying right at the source. Luckily, he found the traveller and his loudmouthed companion where he expected them to be at this hour.

“Good afternoon,” he greets the two and drags a chair over to voluntarily invite himself to their table.

The traveller acknowledges him with a nod and Paimon looks up from her honey roast to add a quick greeting before she dives back into the slab of pork.

“That doesn’t look nearly enough for you guys. How about some extra steaks? My treat.”

That was untrue. Good Hunter’s honey roast was large enough of a serving to satisfy two fully grown adults. Yet here they were, one Sticky Honey Roast for Paimon and another Sweet Madame for Aether. He doubts they can finish it, but Kaeya knows Paimon could never refuse the prospect of ‘more.’

He deftly signals three fingers over to Sara, who had heard their conversation and already got started on the order.

“Yay! You’re not such a bad guy after all! How about you make it three more and Paimon’ll upgrade you from Pasty Eye to Steak Eyepatches?”

Aether had to supress a barely hidden snort at that.

“Why don’t you finish what’s been ordered first?” Kaeya supressed his own laugh into a smile. Neither names were that great in his opinion, but he let the child have her fun. “My wallet isn’t a void like your stomach.”

“Sho shtdingy!” Paimon retorts with her mouth full. And Aether, perhaps from the experience of being an older brother, just offers a napkin to little girl. It takes a while before she finishes chewing her food properly.

“Zhongli bought us everything on the menu the other day,” Paimon continues to try goading Kaeya into spending more for them.

Luckily for the eyepatch man, he didn’t have to be the one to bring up the foreigner. This allows him to feign ignorance as much as he wants. Today is turning out to be a really good day for information gathering.

“Zhongli? New friend?” Kaeya prods.

“Yeah! Uhm…” Paimon pauses and mulls over her words to put a coherent story together. “Basically, he and the Qixing wants to find out what the Fat—”

“Paimon!” Aether hisses discretely at her and pokes her side.

“The… fat… fat boars… in Springville eat… so he ordered the whole menu for us.”

And Kaeya was almost impressed at her recovery.

“Hmm… Well I believe it has to do with the exercise of the pigs rather than their diet.”

“Oh! I see… ahahaha… Ahem. I shall pass this down to him.”

“So he’s working with the Qixing for this? He must be a very renowned chef back in Liyue Harbor.”

“Nah… Paimon’s never seen him cook.”

“Well, he sounds quite affluent. Is he a merchant?”

“Err… Paimon can’t remember…”

It was at that moment that Sara came up to their table with his order for three steaks. Ever the opportunist, Kaeya slides the dish just slightly out of Paimon’s reach to give the girl some incentive.

“Can’t remember, or can’t say?” Although it was spoken in a playful tone, he was truly curious.

“Wah—!! Kaeya’s such a bully!” She stares daggers towards him before answering. “Uhm… Actually, Paimon can only remember the food we ate during that meeting… eheheh,” she confesses sheepishly.

Kaeya chuckles and relents. He pushes the plate back towards her and Paimon’s face lights up.

“Are the knights suspicious of him?” Aether turns the questions back on him.

“Hmm~… Not yet. Should we be?”

The traveller scrunches up his face a bit as he thought on it for a second.

“He’s a consultant to the Wangsheng Funeral Parlour. There’s nothing to be suspicious about.”

Kaeya blinks in surprise. Are funerals a lucrative business in Liyue? As far as he knew, merchants made the most coin at the harbour.

“How can he afford to treat people to the whole menu of Mondstadt’s best grill?”

“Well, actually, he just put it on Master Diluc’s tab.” Aether sighs in a way that Kaeya suspects this has happened before.

“Wow, that’s ballsy,” was all Kaeya could say in response.

 


 

News of Diona’s absence from Cat’s Tail spread amongst the heavy drinking citizens of Mondstadt this afternoon. According to the rumours, she and her family was going on a trip to celebrate their long lost uncle, or something. There were tears in some of the men’s eyes when they lamented not being able to see until she returns next week.

Unsurprisingly, because of this, the staff of Angel’s Share found themselves more preoccupied than most weekends.

This worked out great in Kaeya’s favour. For one, that meant that most of the information would be gathering in just one place for the next few nights. Secondly, there won’t be an appearance of the Darknight Hero on the streets. Third, he gets to drink freely, knowing that Diluc isn’t out there without backup.

But, that was as far as his luck went today.

He was drinking with his fellow knights when he sees Zhongli walking in through the front door. The Liyuen man is instantly greeted by the loud, but friendly, drunk merchants of Mondstadt. He nods a greeting to Diluc at the counter first before returning a greeting the other customers of the bar.

Barely a week and he’s already assimilated himself with the townsfolk, Kaeya notes.

“What’s up, Cap’n?”

An arm flung over his shoulder as one of his subordinates offers a jug of beer for him.

“Hmm… Just wondering when Miss Diona will be back. I already miss her concoctions.”

“Me too, me too,” Another one drunkenly joins in. “But the cocktails here just as good!”

“But, it’s different when it’s Miss Diona who serves us…” The soldier who carelessly said that got what was coming to him when the waitress serving him slams her tray down in front of him. The liquid in the beer mugs sloshed violently and some got onto the soldier’s clothes.

“Is. That. So?” The barmaid asks slowly.

Not wanting to get kicked out with the rest of them, Kaeya decides that it’s best to intervene here.

“Every drink has its own charms, here in Mondstadt. Don’t you agree, Ms. Valberry?” He throws in a smile for good measure. “How about another round, friends? On me.”

The cheers from the soldiers was contagious enough to sweep the whole floor into a good mood. No one loves drinking like a Mondstadtian, they say.

 


 

Kaeya must have fallen asleep at one point. When he comes to, he’s lying face down on the wooden surface of a table in the tavern with a jug still in his hands.

“You’re up.”

He hears distantly. But he could recognise the voice well enough to judge that it came from Diluc who was standing right in front of him. His brain must still need a few more minutes to adjust.

“Good. I was just about to splash water on you.”

Kaeya looks up and he has to squint to filter out the bright lights behind Diluc that was bluring his vision.

“Barbatos… Is your tavern on fire?” Picking himself up into at least a sitting position, he feels his back crack from the sudden movement. Looking at Diluc more clearly now, he sees that his black coat has been put away and his sleeves are rolled up to his elbows. He’d replaced his regular black and red gloves for the white cotton ones he uses when he’s wiping down tables—

“W-wait, is that dishwater? You were going to pour that on my fur cloak!?”

The red devil just smirks wickedly.

“Ugh, whatever,” Kaeya says before unceremoniously chugging the rest of the mug’s contents down his throat. He paid for it. (Or maybe he didn’t. He doesn’t remember, but he’s not about to let good alcohol go to waste.)

“I know you drink because you have a nasty habit of prying secrets out of drunks, but I’m curious about what led you to this state.”

True. He doesn’t usually drink with abandon. Memories of jealousy floods back to him and he frowns. Damn. Maybe he shouldn’t have downed that all in one go.

“What state?” Kaeya denies.

Diluc only folds his arms across his chest and taps a finger patiently as he stares him down.

“Come on,” Diluc relents soon after and sighs. “Why don’t you go sober up upstairs while I deal with the mess down here?”

It sounded like a suggestion, but Kaeya knew better. Diluc was offering him an ultimatum. He can leave the tavern sober, or Diluc can kick him out drunk. Kaeya considers himself lucky. The only reason he’s allowed to use Diluc’s room upstairs was probably because they used to share it while waiting for Master Crepus to finish up late nights in the past.

“Yeah, okay.” Kaeya stretches his arms up and yawns as he waits for Diluc to unlock the door to the stairs leading up to the third floor. Diluc steps aside and motions Kaeya to go first.

“You first. Just in case you fall down.”

“So, you’ll catch me if I fall for you?” Kaeya trails a finger up from Diluc’s Adam’s apple to his chin and flashes him a flirty grin. It doesn’t last long before Diluc smacks Kaeya in the back of his head and guides him up, completely immune and unfazed.

“Ouch,” Kaeya grumbles and climbs up the stairs obediently.

The moment they reach the room, Kaeya flops down on the bed and rolls onto his side to catch Diluc in a conversation before the tavern owner goes back downstairs.

“You seem to have taken a shine on Mondstadt’s new ‘Strange yet respectable traveller.’”

“Strange yet, what? — Oh.” It takes Diluc a second to remember the Favonius Codex’s lingo. “It’s just business.”

Kaeya wants to point out that Diluc doesn’t normally let his business partners staying in Mondstadt use his name so freely. But he wasn’t sure if he was ready for how the billionaire would respond to that. He’s being a coward— he knows. So he let Diluc dodge that question.

Diluc was turning back to leave again when Kaeya tries starting a different conversation to get him to stay.

“You know, I heard there’s an old nursery rhyme in Liyue. It goes something like: ‘Half the women marry into a winery and the other half sail far away.’ Or something.”

It’s silent between them for a moment as Diluc looks at him strangely with one brow arched up. No doubt, he’s trying to figure out how drunk Kaeya is— if he even is (it won’t be the first time that Diluc has seen the knight pretend to be drunk just to match the mood).

“…Right. Well. If he’s looking for someone whom he suspects is in my employ, I’ll help him if he asks.”

“No, no…” Kaeya sighs. “That’s not what I meant. And don’t help him,” he grumbles childishly.

“And why not? He’s a powerful man with good backing.”

Kaeya frowns. That is a rather good point. In his brief investigation of this Zhongli guy, he learned that he had ties to the Qixing in Liyue harbour. If it was within his working hours as captain, he’d agree. But currently, he was just Kaeya Alberich. A drunk Kaeya Alberich, according to Diluc. So he can be a brat and say whatever he wants.

“I didn’t think you’d be looking for a funeral home this early in your years. You’re not looking to kill me and dump my body down Cider Lake, are you?”

“And what makes you think I’ll plan your funeral after killing you?”

“Why, to cast suspicion off yourself, of course!”

Diluc huffed in annoyance.

“What do you peg me for? The scheming widow behind her husband’s death in one of Venti’s songs?”

“Huh. That’s an interesting one. I should ask him to sing it later.”

“He was just singing it this evening.”

“Was he?”

“Yes. Wasn’t your attention focused on the stage all evening?”

No’, he wanted to say. He was focused on the spot next to the stage all evening.

“Next to the stage?” Diluc asked and Kaeya realises that he must still be a little buzzed if he said that out loud.

“That’s where you were,” Kaeya says confidently. Since he’d already fucked up by slipping, the best way to recover from that would just be the truth. It was flirtatious enough to be within Kaeya’s character, but unbelievable enough for Diluc to enterta— wait.

“Are you blushing?”

While Diluc’s eyes appeared to remain impassive, with just a twitch of his eyebrow to betray his calmly stoic expression, a light pink hue dusted over the Vision holder’s cheeks.

“Shut up, drunkard.” Diluc determined that he’d paid enough attention to the bumbling fool already and starts heading for the door.

“Wait. Stay,” Kaeya says. He probably sounds desperately clingy to Diluc right now, but he doesn’t find it in him to care. He annoys him daily while sober anyways, it’s not like being annoying while drunk will drive the other man away or anything.

“I still have guests to kick out downstairs.”

Ever so dutiful.

A sober Kaeya would have chased those guests away himself, but a drunk Kaeya wouldn’t care about any of that. Deciding to play the drunk part a little while longer, Kaeya pulls the redhead’s arm down towards him. Diluc tumbles down onto the spot next to him when his center of gravity shifted and Kaeya uses this chance to trap his captive in his arms.

Diluc lets out a small laugh.

“This reminds me of the past.” Diluc was quick to relax and lean back into the tanned chest. Whether it was from muscle memory or not, Kaeya was elated. “Our father would get angry and ask why he pays the maids to clean two rooms if we’re always sharing one.”

“—Your father,” Kaeya cuts in, with a bit more bite than he intended to. He could almost sense the slight frown that must be forming on Diluc’s face.

“He’s your father,” Kaeya says again, but calmer this time. “I told you, my father left me here to do his dirty work.”

“…Yes. You did.”

There’s a shift in his arms as Diluc turns over to face him. It’s been a while since he’s seen this lovely face so close, Kaeya thinks as he takes this brief moment to examine it again. His ‘brother’s’ expression was as inscrutable as ever. Save for those bright crimson eyes that are still aflame with passion for his own sense of justice. And a mouth that could be as deadly a weapon as his Vision. Kaeya felt himself inching ever so slowly towards those pair of lips. And he wouldn’t have noticed if he hadn’t seen that mouth part as Diluc began to speak again.

“Do you want to visit o—” Diluc frowns and looks away for a split second. “Do you want to visit Father’s grave tomorrow?”

“What?”

“You never came to the wake or the burial. It’s just behind the Favonius Church, so it’s not very far from your office.”

“I know, but why?”

“Well… Being an undertaker of sorts, Zhongli had plenty to say abo—”

“Don’t you have guests downstairs?” Kaeya cut in with as much venom as he could muster this time.

Diluc schools his face and only stares at him for a few seconds.

“Fine,” Diluc says after some consideration. Considering what, though, Kaeya didn’t know. The bed shifts again as Diluc gets up and Kaeya makes no move to stop him this time.

“The room next door is a pantry now. Find something that’ll sober you up— there should be water there, if nothing else.” Diluc pauses just before turning the knob and turns his head back to look at him. “You better not still be drunk by the time I’m done cleaning up downstairs.”

Once the door shut with a click, Kaeya exhales loudly and turns back over so that he’s lying on his back instead of his sides. Why did he act like that?

Maybe he really was drunk.

Kaeya closed his eyes for a brief respite and hopefully clear his drunken, clouded mind. However, all he could see behind closed eyes was the memory of the faint blush he’d seen on Diluc just moments prior. And those lips that he had almost gotten to kiss. If only he was a tad quicker or just a tad more amped up with liquid courage.

The door squeaked open and Kaeya could see Diluc come in with his peripheral vision. He no longer had his white waistcoat on, leaving just his black blouse on with the top two buttons unclasped. The extra articles of clothing were probably shed off in order to clean up more casually.

“Back so soon?” Kaeya sits up to welcome him back. “Could have sworn there was a larger crowd today since it’s Diona’s day off at Cat’s Tail.”

Diluc hums and walks over to sit next to Kaeya. The pyro wielder sits much closer than Kaeya could’ve ever predicted. There’s barely a gap between them and their shoulders brush against one another.

“The customers are all gone and I’ve locked the doors.”

“Good work,” Kaeya praises him in jest. “And the workers?”

“Early leave. They deserve that every so often.”

“Oh? What a selfless boss you are.” Kaeya smirks and leans in closer. “Didn’t you say you were going to clean up, too?”

“I thought maybe you could do it,” Diluc responds while leaning in, too.

“But aren’t I a customer?” Kaeya pauses in his advances in case Diluc wanted to back out.

“But if you don’t, that means you’ll be staying the night here for free.”

Contrary to Kaeya’s expectations, Diluc doesn’t leave. Instead, he inches in closer; their lips just ghosting each other.

“And handing out freebies would be a bad business model for us to have.”

Kaeya could feel the brush of those red lips moving as Diluc spoke against his own lips. He watched as those hooded red eyes turned glossy and cheeks brighten when he felt a heat rise between them.

“So, I’m staying here tonight, am I?”

“Yes.” Two pairs of lips crashed into one another. No one knows who pressed in first, but it was met with an equal amount of ferocity. Kaeya’s hands went to Diluc’s ponytail, sliding off the hairband to free the red mane while Diluc busies his hands with wrapping them around the back of Kaeya’s neck— pulling the two of them ever so closer.

“We are,” Diluc managed to gasp out once they’ve separated.

And by The Seven, Kaeya has never felt as turned on as he did now. With parted lips that shined with saliva in the moonlight, Diluc looks back at him with such an intense want in his eyes that Kaeya wasn’t sure if he was looking at a reflection of his own desires in those red eyes.

Kaeya,” Diluc says his name in a tone that he has never heard coming from those lips.

“Yes?” It was a rhetorical question since they both knew what Diluc really meant when he said his name like that.

Kaeya couldn’t wait another moment and decided to act on it. He cups Diluc’s face with one hand and brings their lips together again. He snakes his other arm around the other’s waist and guides those hips towards his own.

There’s a stuttered sigh that falls from Diluc’s mouth as Kaeya settles the man down onto his lap and helps the redhead straddle him. When Diluc shifts closer to lean farther into the kiss, Kaeya could feel their bulges rock against each other and he let out a low groan at the contact.

Diluc grips tightly onto tan shoulders as he grinds forward again to chase the feeling. Kaeya happily obliges and grinds up with fervor.

Gods, yes. Yes…” Diluc starts chanting when he felt those chilled lips move down and suck on his neck.

Kaeya is busy sucking a mark onto that pale neck when Diluc grinds back down harder and brings their hips impossibly closer.

“Please,” he whispers. And Kaeya finds that there is absolutely nothing he could ever deny this man.

“Please, what?” Kaeya teases. And instantly regrets doing so.

“Please, Zhongl—

Kaeya’s eyes immediately blinks open and sees the wooden ceiling above him. There’s a loud rapping on the door before Diluc announces that he was coming in.

Right. Fuck.

Diluc saunters in without waiting for a reply from the person occupying the room like he owned the place. Because he does. And pays no mind to the storm brewing up in Kaeya’s mind right now— or the state that his body is in right now. The state that he’s in because of a stupid wet dream.

No, a nightmare.

He should’ve known the moment when the Diluc in his dreams came in without knocking. The young lord was a ‘young master’ since before either of them could even walk. He grew up with a strict education that encouraged him to mind his manners with every breath he took.

Hell, Diluc could probably give a blowjob with perfect manners.

Fuck. Don’t think about that, now. Kaeya did his best to will his boner away. At this point, he knew that Diluc knew about the tent in his pants, but politely chose to ignore it.

Drunk people get drunk horny. This was something that anyone working at a bar could tell you.

It didn’t make it any less mortifying for Kaeya to be caught dreaming about fucking Diluc in this room, though.

Kaeya looks over and sees Diluc standing over the nightstand, placing a glass of water and a plate of fried radish balls. He looks just as he did earlier this evening while working the bar. Wrinkleless, white waistcoat immaculately pressed and tightened over his black blouse. Just further proof that his dream was indeed just a dream.

“Ugh…” he let out a groan of pity to himself.

“Good. You’re sober.”

“Yep.” Unfortunately.

Diluc cracks a smirk over the unsaid word.

“Here’s some water and leftovers from the kitchen. I heated it back up for you.”

Well… He was a little hungry.

“Thanks,” Kaeya says before reaching towards the offered food. Diluc nods back and leans on a wooden beam as he studies the blue haired man in front of him.

“Zhongli—” and Kaeya almost chokes on water as that man’s name was mentioned again. “—is visiting Mondstadt with the traveller under the guise of visiting an old friend,” Diluc states.

“So, what’s his real reason for being here, then?” Kaeya asks while wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

“He and the Qixing suspect that the Fatui are planning to ruin Liyue from within by dominating them financially. Thankfully, the Feiyun Commerce Guild are still powerful enough to keep them at bay, but that’s only a bandaid solution. So, he came here unofficially to see where else the Fatui are stationed to get a grasp of the bigger picture. That’s why he can’t officially come to the Knights of Favonius.”

“And why he’s seeking help from Mondstadt’s Darknight Hero.”

Diluc’s face scrunches up cutely at the moniker.

“Yes.”

“I see, so why are you telling me this?” He’s still one of the ten cavalry captains in the Order, after all.

“So you can stop sneaking around. And because I trust you.” Diluc’s expression relaxes and a serene smile graces over his face.

“O-oh.” Kaeya could feel a breath caught in his throat at the image of Diluc leaning against the beam and smiling at him like they were kids again.

“Even if we came from different families, with different expectations thrust upon us… You’re still my brother whom I grew up with.”

“…Yeah.” Kaeya swallows thickly. That’s right. Brothers. That’s all they’ll ever be in Diluc’s eyes.

Diluc straightens his posture and bushes off some imaginary dust.

“I need to get back to the winery. I know you still have a key to this place, so use that to lock up the front door when you leave.”

“How did you know I still have a key?”

Diluc smirks at him before opening the door.

“A bottle of your favourite Dandelion goes missing in the morning every few months and you’ll mysteriously leave a large tip on the same day.”

Kaeya throws his hands up in mock surrender.

“You got me. In return for you keeping my secret, I’ll lock up. You get back to the winery safely, alright?”

“Of course.”

With those parting words, Kaeya is once again left alone to mull on his thoughts.

He still had Diluc’s trust.

 

But as a brother.