Warm and solid.
That was always the impression Childe got of Zhongli, since the moment they met all up until their inevitable confrontation. Up until the very end of his futile struggle to win a fight he’d been set up to lose.
The Geo Archon didn’t come out of it unscathed, at least. Childe had left bruises and cuts (and the sting of betrayal they both knew was coming) across the god’s skin, at the cost of his own mortal wounds. Zhongli had bled, but Childe had coughed up blood more than once as a stone pillar slammed into his side like dozens before it.
Childe tasted iron and dust (and regret) once he fell to the ground for good, no strength left in his limbs to even twitch. Zhongli leaned over him, eyes shining with incomprehensible depth. Even with the god holding a spear to his throat— Even then, Childe thought Zhongli was a warm and solid presence.
In that presence he let his body finally go lax, eyes falling close with a relieved sigh. This was Zhongli, warm and solid and reliable. Childe trusted that he knew what he had to do to him, to the mortal sent to his death and foolishly followed, the mortal who fought against a god anyway.
Childe woke up to hands around his throat.
Physical ones, not the metaphorical grip he’s felt nearly all his life. These hands didn’t aim to suffocate, felt more like an anchoring hold. Not enough to hurt, but definitely enough to make his breath hitch. Molten gold eyes stared at him from above, as hot and heavy as his hands, as the thighs between his spread legs. He felt soft sheets beneath him, saw a wooden ceiling above them, and couldn’t quite tell where they were.
And here Childe wasn’t expecting to wake up at all.
“Childe,” Zhongli said, the same way he’d always said Childe’s name. Like they hadn’t just tried to kill each other, like he wasn’t about to snap Childe’s neck at any moment.
“Childe,” he repeated, thumb stroking the skin of his neck, right above where Childe felt his heart beating in his throat. “Are you done?”
“Wha…” Childe swallowed, increasingly aware of Zhongli’s firm grip around his throat. Confident and sure, but never pressing.
“Are you done fighting?” Zhongli asked, as if Childe hadn’t been so thoroughly defeated already.
Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. Childe choked out a laugh at the thought, anticipating harsh pain from the movement. Except there was no pain, and he realized he’d been completely healed. He could move, he could—
His hands flew up, fingers digging into Zhongli’s wrists. They were unyielding, of course they were, but the action was more to help Childe ground himself than to attempt at escape, anyway. Zhongli remained motionless above him, waiting. Waiting for what?
“Childe,” Zhongli said, soft and urging. Did he want to spare him? Did he think Childe deserved being spared?
Childe reached for what pieces of resolve he could find and bared his teeth in a smirk. “Has the Geo Archon always been so soft?”
Zhongli’s eyes darkened like expected, and Childe braced himself for the snap. What he didn’t expect was Zhongli’s gaze to flare two-fold, burning through him. He didn’t expect the amused, fond, pleased look Zhongli gave him.
“Very well,” he said, hands sliding up from Childe’s neck to cradle his face. “I will make you surrender as you wish.”
“What—” Childe barely had time to blink, to gasp, before Zhongli had pulled him into a kiss. It was warm, so warm. Almost enough to distract him from the Archon’s hands straying from his face. One held Childe’s wrists together, pressed against his chest. Zhongli’s other hand had slid down Childe’s side, tugging at his torn clothes.
Childe flinched, expecting pain where there wasn’t, eyes narrowed. Zhongli’s wandering hand came back up to cup his chin, thumb brushing against Childe’s lower lip as he pulled away. Not for long and not far, just enough to slip his thumb inside Childe’s mouth and hold it open.
“I will make you surrender with no pain, Tartaglia,” Zhongli whispered in the breath between them.
Childe shivered, the taste of Zhongli’s glove in his mouth sharp and bitter. It was quickly replaced with Zhongli himself, sweet and slow and relentless. His hand went back to pulling at Childe’s clothes, tugging his shirt open. His gloved hand was hot against Childe’s skin.
Zhongli pulled Childe’s hands up over his head, breaking their kiss to mouth at his neck. Childe squirmed, breaths short and gasping. He wasn’t - didn’t know what was happening, didn’t know what to do with the feelings Zhongli’s touch sparked in him. All he knew was that he didn’t hate this at all.
Zhongli kissed the side of Childe’s neck, and he could’ve sworn the god could feel the thundering pulse of his heart beneath his lips. He felt Zhongli smile against his skin in return, a split second before he bit down on Childe’s neck.
He cupped Childe’s doodoo parts at the same time, making Childe yelp in surprise. It melted into a stuttering moan when Zhongli began stroking his peepee through his pants, licking at the bitemark he left on Childe’s neck.
“Wh- wait—!” Childe’s arms strained, body jolting when Zhongli’s hand slipped into his pants to stroke his dingaling directly. But the hold on his wrists had no give, and Zhongli was leaving more bites along his neck and shoulder.
Childe whimpered at the feel of Zhongli’s glove on his hardening shlonger, just enough on the side of rough to send little sparks running up his spine. His eyes fluttered shut and felt more than saw Zhongli lean up to kiss him again. His movements were slow and deliberate, patient and sure, and Childe was very slowly being overwhelmed by the attention.
It was so much, it wasn’t enough, it was— this was—
“Un, ng, please—” he tugged harder against the hold on his wrist, until Zhongli let go, so he could wrap his arms around the god’s shoulders. He buried his face on the crook of Zhongli’s neck, eyes teary and desperately biting down on the noises he couldn’t help making.
All throughout, Zhongli’s hand on his wangarang didn’t even pause. His other hand carded through Childe’s hair, his voice low and rumbling through Childe’s shaking form.
“Surrender to me, Tartaglia,” Zhongli said, nuzzling his hair. “You’ve fought enough.”
Childe shook harder, a sob stuck in his throat. He couldn’t— he didn’t know that, he couldn’t have possibly known that—
“Childe,” Zhongli urged, dissolving all that’s left of Childe’s resolve.
His hold on Zhongli tightened, pleas spilling from his lips like a dam released. Zhongli’s hand on his dongeroni ding dong finally stilled, settling on his hip instead. Zhongli kept stroking his hair, nuzzling kisses and murmuring assurances against his ear until Childe relaxed enough for him to pull away.
Their eyes met; Childe’s watery and dazed, Zhongli’s warm and oh, so pleased. Zhongli brought a hand to his lips, the one that was just in Childe’s hair. Then, gaze unwavering, he bit the edge of a finger and pulled the glove free. Childe shivered.
When Zhongli leaned closer for a kiss, Childe met him halfway.
Zhongli’s glove-free hand stroked his wet, hard dongzooka rooka leisurely, as if careful not to make him come. His other hand tugged Childe’s pants down, Childe lifting his hips to make it easier. At the same time, he couldn’t help trying to chase the light touches of Zhongli’s hand on his long dong parts.
Childe was expecting it, but the cold, wet glove sliding down the cleft of his back squishy parts still made him squeak. He wasn’t sure where Zhongli got the chance to— but he was— the lube made it easier, when Zhongli eased a finger past his squishy squishy gateway.
He rubbed against Childe’s jiggly internal, earning soft, gasping moans. He took his time opening him up, spreading Childe’s jelly back parts with his fingers until Childe couldn’t breathe, until Zhongli pressed against something inside him that shot straight to Childe’s donger wongerama.
He came with a wet shout, scratching at Zhongli’s back, holding onto his solid frame like he was scared he’d float away. Zhongli pressed harder, at the same time stroking and pumping Childe’s wiggle digglerig until he was hard again.
Zhongli made a pleased sound at the back of his throat, letting go of Childe to tug at his own clothes. He’d all but torn it, shedding his coat but leaving his shirt and pants just half open with impatience. He leaned back down and immediately went for a kiss, another pleased rumble like the earth itself fall from his lips.
He entered Childe’s butter butt slowly and carefully, as if afraid to hurt him. It was at odds with the way Zhongli again began stroking his meat stick, firm and insistent, thumb pressing against the tip with every upward stroke. Zhongli began moving, at first incredibly slow, building up into hard, fast thrusts that left Childe breathless. It sent lightning up and down Childe’s spine, stole his breath in moans and whimpers.
Zhongli had always been warm and solid, and he was a warm and solid huge donger zonger wongeroniroo inside Childe like a brand, a claim, promise and reassurance all at once.
Childe came again, head jerked back, spine arched. Zhongli took the opportunity to lay kisses on his chest, thrusts slowing but never stopping. Childe barely had time to recover before Zhongli was grabbing him by the hips, speeding up his movements, entering him completely with every thrust.
“So beautiful, beautiful and mine,” Zhongli whispered over and over, as he kissed and bit at Childe’s sticker nickers, as he relentlessly chased his own release. Childe gasped for breath, scrambled to hold onto Zhongli’s hair, his shoulders, anything to anchor himself.
Then Zhongli thrust inside him once more, just as his teeth found the first mark he left on Childe’s neck and came. Childe felt filled with hot and thick fluidy milkies, felt Zhongli’s groan against his sensitive flesh buttons. An orgasm struck through him, all punctuated by the shock of not realizing his shlongdongwongerina stick had been hard at all.
A moment passed, still and silent save for a pair of soft breaths.
They were in Zhongli’s bedroom, Childe found out later.
Much later, after they’d cleaned up and napped and held each other, just absorbing what had happened. Or at least, Childe was. Zhongli seemed to have been content to cuddle Childe long after the sun had risen, shining down on them from the half opened window across the room. He kept making pleased sounds every now and then, and Childe couldn’t help but feel endeared.
“I am glad,” Zhongli muttered, as if he’d heard Childe’s thoughts. Maybe he had.
“It took far too long for the courtship to end,” Zhongli continued, nuzzling Childe’s hair like it was his new favourite past-time.
“…what?” Childe asked out loud. Zhongli stilled, pulling away to give Childe a searching look.
“Our courtship,” he repeated. “The complicated courtship you’ve chosen, and that I honoured.”
“What?” Childe asked again, beginning to feel lightheaded.
Zhongli frowned slightly, the kind of frown Childe had associated with him preparing to be stubborn.
“We’re in a relationship now,” he said. Childe nodded, because that much was clear to him, at least. Zhongli nodded back, affirming it.
“Then there’s no more problems,” Zhongli said with finality, and buried his nose in Childe’s hair again. Childe stayed silent, mind reeling.
Zhongli had thought… that his betrayal was part of a courtship. Zhongli had known he would betray him, and that he would try to kill him, and went along with it. Childe wanted to laugh, or maybe cry, or both. He hadn’t stood a chance at all.
He sighed instead, finally settling in the god’s embrace. He was met with a pleased rumble from Zhongli that made him smile, despite himself.
Childe may have been a fool, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew how incredibly lucky he was in the end.