Kaeya’s not sure why Diluc is letting him get so close, but he’s not about to complain. The cryo user refuses to ruin the magic of the moment and create an opportunity for Diluc to take back the leeway he’s given, so the two of them say nothing as they fall asleep tucked into each other’s arms.
The light is weak and watery when Kaeya’s eye blinks open in the morning, and he sees clouds when he glances out the window. A rainy day, then. The good news is that he feels extraordinarily well-rested. For that he can thank the slumbering figure still nested between his arms. Kaeya pulls away slightly so he can take in Diluc’s sleeping face. He’s as gorgeous as ever, and Kaeya loves that the redhead isn’t able to turn away in avoidance as he takes in the sight. Diluc’s lips are parted and as Kaeya wonders what it would be like to kiss them, the sleeping man mumbles something unintelligible. Cute, Kaeya thinks in wonder before laughing at himself silently. He marvels at how deep he’s fallen into this infatuation without his consent.
Inching forward, he can’t help but give a small peck of his lips to the tip of Diluc’s nose. The redhead twitches minutely and scrunches it up in response, which doesn’t help Kaeya’s urge to do it again. He holds himself back, instead scanning over each individual eyelash and freckle on the other man’s face. It’s been so long since he was this close to Diluc, and he’s going to soak it in as much as possible.
Diluc shifts in his arms, and presses his nose back against Kaeya’s adam’s apple. Kaeya chuckles, and the redhead must feel the vibrations because he mumbles back what sounds like Kaeya’s name. The taller man freezes. Is Diluc dreaming about him? Is it a good dream or a nightmare? Judging from the way Diluc is clinging to him, it must not be terrible.
Incrementally, Kaeya can feel Diluc waking up. First, his body stiffens slightly. Then Kaeya can feel the fluttering of his eyelashes against the skin of his own neck. Finally Diluc lets out a low grumble that sounds significantly more awake than his sleepy mumblings had. Kaeya releases his hold on the other man as he sits up and gives a long catlike stretch of his whole body. Looking down at Kaeya, he says a little awkwardly, “Hi…”.
Kaeya gives a sincere smile back. “Hi,” he returns, hoping this isn’t about to turn into some kind of screaming match. He does have neighbors. Diluc rakes his hand through his loose hair, pushing it back from his face. Kaeya resists the urge to reach out and touch it, since he’s not sure if he has permission. Without thinking, he blurts out, “want me to brush your hair?”
He almost claps a hand over his mouth. Why had he asked that? Diluc eyes him, curious but not angry. “Ok,” he says with a nod after a moment. Kaeya fumbles a little in his surprise, but manages to get up and fetch his hairbrush from across the room. Sitting on the bed behind Diluc, Kaeya lets out a long shaky breath, not sure why he’s being allowed this. With trembling fingers, he starts to gently brush the soft ruby hair from the bottom up.
Kaeya focuses on the motions so he doesn’t get distracted by his proximity to Diluc, but before he’s even halfway finished Diluc breaks his concentration. “Do you want to talk about...your breakup?” Kaeya’s brushing slows almost to a stop. He can feel Diluc trembling under his hands, and he’s struck by a sudden overwhelming wave of guilt at all he’s put this man through, knowingly or not.
The cryo user continues his work, hoping maybe it’ll at least keep Diluc from turning around and punching him. “About that...hmn...well, believe it or not, he and I were never actually together?” Diluc’s head jerks under Kaeya’s hands, and the redhead lets out a quiet “ow” as his hair is pulled by the brush. Kaeya pauses but continues brushing. He doesn’t want to meet Diluc’s eyes, not yet.
“To clarify,” Diluc says softly, “you’re telling me that you weren’t in a relationship at all? So what, you were just fucking around for fun?” Kaeya flinches at the accusation. He knows he portrays himself as a flirt, but he’s surprised that with all of his intel, Diluc isn’t aware that Kaeya’s never actually been with anyone in that way before.
“No…” Kaeya says slowly, drawing the word out as he keeps brushing, trying to sooth Diluc like an enraged animal. “I’m saying that we literally never did anything. No touching, nothing. He’s not really my type, ahah..hah…”
Diluc is quiet and Kaeya wonders if this is finally it, the breaking point where the other man truly refuses to ever see him again. Diluc’s voice when it comes is flat and empty, “So you lied.”
Kaeya wishes he was mad, like he’d been on that day years ago. At least he knows how to handle a fight. “To be fair, he was the one who lied. But yes. It was stupid, I’ll admit.”
Diluc takes a long slow breath, in and then out. Kaeya can imagine that his eyes are closed, and he hopes Diluc is reigning in the urge to murder him. When he speaks, Kaeya can hear the pain acutely in his tone. “All you ever do is lie, Kae.”
Kaeya’s hands freeze where they are, buried in Diluc’s soft hair. He knows exactly what Diluc is referring to. Delicately, he sets the brush down on the bed, and reaches to turn Diluc’s face toward him. Now that Kaeya can see him, the other man looks close to tears, and Kaeya knows he needs to fix all of the wrongs that have been done.
“That day, everything that I told you was the truth. And look where it got me. I lost my home, my family. I lost you, the only thing in Teyvat I’ve ever loved. After that, the truth didn’t matter much to me anymore. But I’m telling you now, sincerely, you’re still what matters most to me in this world.”
Diluc averts his eyes. Wetly, he says, “you didn’t lose me because you told me the truth, Kae. I’m glad you did, even though I wasn’t then. You lost me because I couldn’t see straight through the red I felt over what they did to father. I didn’t leave Monstadt because of you, I left because of them. I wished every day that I could apologize to you, and have you back in my life. Did you mean it? When you said you loved me?”
Kaeya is not expecting this turn of events. He’s always blamed himself and his past, bitterly, for the rift between himself and Diluc. “Of course I loved you!” he exclaims, surprised Diluc didn’t know already. “I love you still. I’ve missed you every day since you left, and every day since you came back. I just want you, Luc.”
Kaeya wonders if it would be too opportunistic to kiss the man before him, but before he can make a decision Diluc makes it for him. He leans forward intently, pressing his lips against Kaeya’s. The warmth of his skin feels feverish to Kaeya’s own, and the cryo user gently rests his hands on the back of Diluc’s bare neck, under his fluffy hair. The redhead hums, and nips gently on Kaeya’s lower lip, making him gasp. That’s all the invitation Diluc needs to deepen the kiss and climb into Kaeya’s lap.
Diluc straddles him on the bed, resting his hands firmly on Kaeya’s shoulders. Kaeya slides his hands down Diluc’s back so he can pull the redhead in closer until he’s pressed flush against Kaeya’s chest. He kisses the smaller man until he moans quietly, and Kaeya has to break the kiss off, panting.
Diluc’s pupils are blown wide as he and Kaeya stare into each other’s eyes. He’s just as out of breath as Kaeya is, and the blue haired man absentmindedly rubs up and down Diluc’s heaving back. Kaeya viciously fights the urge to throw Diluc down onto the bed and ravish him further. With a groan, Kaeya tells him, “I have to go report to Jean. I didn’t yesterday after the fight on the statue, and she’ll have me thrown to the slimes if I don’t go see her soon.”
Diluc’s face turns into a pout, which Kaeya finds utterly adorable. “Fine,” he says with a sigh, peeling himself off Kaeya. “But when you’re done, we’re continuing this. That is, if you want to…?” he finishes, uncharacteristically hesitant.
Kaeya pulls him down by the chin, giving his nose and then his lips a quick peck each. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world, darling.”
Kaeya approaches the large crosshatch doors of the Knights of Favonius headquarters with trepidation. He knows he should’ve reported in yesterday, but seeing as how the fight had been feigned and Childe can’t actually be a danger to Mondstadt until Zhongli is done with him, he doesn’t feel that bad about it.
He pushes through the entrance, and knocks lightly at the door to Jean’s office. Her melodic voice bids him to enter, so he does, closing the door behind him. Jean sits at her desk, poring over some document, and Lisa stands beside her. They both look up at Kaeya, and for some reason Lisa lets out a little giggle. Kaeya feels a bolt of fear strike him.
“Very good, just the Cavalry Captain we need to explain this letter to us,” Jean says with a small smile. Uncertainly, Kaeya holds out his hand to take the letter in question. Scanning it, he snorts.
To the Acting Grand Master of the Knights of Favonius,
I regret to inform you that after a small incident in your cathedral square yesterday, I must depart Mondstadt with haste this morning. Though it was with the express permission of your Cavalry Captain, it seems the people of Mondstadt do not take kindly to their Archon Statue being put into the line of fire. For a further explanation of the incident, I will leave it to the Cavalry Captain in question, Sir Kaeya, to provide you with the details.
Please let him know that he is welcome in Liyue any time, and that he can expect an invitation to the wedding of this Fatui harbinger and one Mr. Zhongli. I will expect him to return the same courtesy to us.
Tartaglia, Eleventh Harbinger of the Fatui, etc. etc.
“So?” Jean presses once he’s done reading. “I presume you can explain the incident, as well as this letter?” Kaeya squints out the window in the direction of Liyue, as though if he concentrates he can find the Fatui harbinger and drag him back to clean up his own mess.
Kaeya runs a hand through his hair and admits, “I was part of the plot that led to the incident at the statue. The fight between us was planned, though the location...was not. The harbinger and I just wanted to make a public showing of our dislike for each other, to dissuade any ideas of the two of us being...intimately acquainted.”
Jean hums thoughtfully. “A poor explanation, but I’ll accept it since there were no lasting consequences for your actions and the harbinger in question is now halfway back to Liyue Harbor. I must ask though, what is this bit that he’s babbling about at the end of the letter, about a wedding?”
Staring hard at the bookshelf, Kaeya fights down the flush in his cheeks, though he can tell he’s losing that battle. Hands behind his back, he says nonchalantly, “I believe that was a joke about my relationship with...Sir Diluc…”
He hears a clinking noise and turns his head, just in time to see Jean slipping Lisa a handful of coins. Lisa pockets them with a smile, and Kaeya feels like he’s just seen something illicit. At his look of confusion Jean sighs and says, “just paying off a bet. Lisa thought you two would get your act together before the new year, while I wasn’t expecting it until next summer at the earliest. I’ve known Sir Diluc for many years, that man is not an easy nut to crack.”
Kaeya’s mouth gapes in astonishment, until Jean dismisses him and shoos him out of her office. He shakes his head as he steps outside. Who knew that his and Diluc’s feelings for each other were obvious to everyone but themselves? Kaeya knows he’s getting ahead of himself, but he can’t help but think with delight about Childe’s taunt at the end of his letter. I will expect him to return the same courtesy to us. A wedding? To be bound forever to Diluc? Kaeya waves away the daydream as he heads back to his home. He knows that either way, neither of them will let anything come between them again.