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At age fourteen, Ajax joined the Fatui.

He was the youngest amongst the trainees so he ended up being at the bottom of the ranks. Despite being a formidable fighter and being brought here by a Harbinger (though the latter information was kept a secret), Ajax was often brushed aside. He was excluded from training and the older trainees ordered him around with small things such as fetching drinks and scrubbing the floor.

Naturally, Ajax wouldn’t do any of that, so he beat them up, including his squad leader.

Since then, life in the facility became harder. If he didn’t do as he was told, he would be locked away in the solitary room with no water or food for three days straight. When he got out, food was hard to come by as the kitchen was told specifically to not give him anything to eat.

They were trying to use starvation to get him to submit. They wanted to hear Ajax apologize and to swear to always obey orders, but Ajax stubbornly refused. Thankfully, the kitchen staff took pity on him due to his young age and gave him leftovers but Ajax knew this would only be temporary.

Sooner or later he will starve in this archon forsaken place. Wait, can he call this place forsaken by archon when it's a training facility for an archon's army?

As Ajax sat in his tiny room that was the closet and pondered what to do, he overheard the conversations of two Fatui members walking while passing by.

Most people tend to forget the fact that there was a child living in the closet, so Ajax was able to eavesdrop on their conversations. In two days, the new batch of graduates from the facility will be sent to a Harbinger. Ajax knew who the Harbingers were. One of them was responsible for throwing him here, after all. The Harbingers were what the Fatuis looked up to. They were of the highest position with powers granted by the Cyro archon herself and were undeniably the strongest warriors in all of Snezhnaya.

Ajax may be young, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew the main reason the people here hated him and tried to step him down was that they were afraid. They feared the power he had and feared their positions being shaken. But that was only these people, not a Harbinger.

A Harbinger wouldn’t fear him and more importantly, only a Harbinger could get him out considering it was a Harbinger who brought him in. If Ajax could get one to recognize him, then he’ll be free. Maybe he'll even get missions where he could face off against strong opponents.

That night, Ajax snuck into the office and found the files regarding where they were sending the graduates.

He internally pleaded it wouldn’t be Pulcinella and to his luck, it wasn’t.

They were being assigned to the Sixth Harbinger, Balladeer.

Amongst the Ten Harbingers, Balladeer was one of the names Ajax heard of the most. While no one would dare to gossip bad things about a Harbinger, there would always be a slip of the mouth here and there, and these slip-ups happened quite a lot with Balladeer.

For one thing, it was known throughout the facility that Balladeer wasn’t well-liked, even amongst the other Harbingers, though there was no explanation as to why. There were also countless warnings on what to watch out for when talking to this particular Harbinger, such as words that could warrant instant death like mentioning the Harbinger's height.

Exactly how short was this Harbinger to make their height a taboo?

Ajax looked through the papers, but there wasn’t anything useful. The only useful thing he learned was that Balladeer was currently in Inazuma, but other than that there was nothing on where to meet them or how. In the end, Ajax did the only thing he could think of.

He snuck out of the facility and waited at the harbour.

As long as they were going to Inazuma, they will need ships.

He waited at the harbour for a day prior to the graduates' departure since he didn't know exactly what time they were leaving. Once he saw which ship they were using, he snuck inside through the cargo and tailed after them. He wasn’t afraid to be discovered, since Ajax was confident that his skill was far above theirs. The only issue was when they were halfway across the sea, they had to switch into a small wooden boat and sneak into Inazuma.

When the Fatuis got onto the boat, none of them noticed the small body that was clinging onto the bottom of the boat, submerged within the water. Ajax was gripping as hard as he could to not fall from the boat while using his Vision to create a small air bubble around his head.

The travel took nearly two days until they finally arrived at the land of the closed nation. Once the Fatui graduates saw the land coming into sight, they sank the boat and swam the rest of their way there. Ajax swam deeper into the sea as he followed after these graduates.

When they were nearing the shore, Ajax swam ahead, finding some rocks to hide behind when he sensed presences from the forest. He dived back into the water just as the graduates emerged to the surface.

From beneath the ocean, Ajax saw a flicker of shadow and the newly graduated Fatui members dropped to the ground, dead in a single strike. Ajax let out a small whistle into his air bubble. Although it was hard to see beyond the surface, he could make out two people standing over the corpses.

These people were flipping through the corpses, most likely searching for clues behind these Fatui’s appearances. When they found none, they set fire to the corpses and walked away.

Ajax waited for a moment before he swam up and poked his head out from behind the rocks. When he didn’t sense anyone nearby, he hurried to the burning corpses and coated his hands with a layer of seawater. As a trainee at the facility, he was made to memorize the Fatui codes and knew that the information on their mission had to be on their bodies somewhere easy to access.

It didn’t take long for Ajax to find it written on the inside of one of the Fatui’s gloves. He pulled the glove off and retreated into the sea. Although those people left, there was always a possibility they would come back to make sure the corpses are completely burned. As much as Ajax wanted to fight them, he knew his priorities.

He retreated into the water and swam around until he came across a huge cliff. With nothing but a small rusted dagger, he scaled up the cliffs and finally stepped onto the land of Inazuma. He roamed within the forest, scavenging fruits and berries before coming across a man walking down the path, wearing cheap Inazuman garment that exposed a huge proportion of his chest and a bottle of wine carried over his shoulder.

Ajax knocked the man out and stripped him of his clothes and belongings—including the wine. He needed to take away everything to disguise this as a robbery or bandit attack. With that done, he ran into another part of the forest and changed into the man’s garment. The size was too big on him, but he easily took care of that by cutting off the extra fabric with his daggers. Once he was satisfied with his new clothing, he hid his Vision inside the waist belt thing—whatever they call it here—and pulled out the half-burnt glove he managed to save.

On the inside of the gloves were the codes he had been looking for, though most of it were burned way, leaving only a couple readable words. It took Ajax a couple of minutes to figure out that these weren’t meant to be words, but pronunciations.

Yo-shi-wa-ra.

Ajax didn’t know what this word or words meant, but he committed it into his memory. He dumped the glove onto his old clothes and picked up the bottle of wine he took from the man. He poured the alcohol over his old clothes before setting it on fire. Once everything was burned into ashes, he conjured a bubble of water and dropped it over the fire.

He travelled through the forest until he came across the wall that surrounded the city in the distance. He waited until nighttime and scaled up the wall, successfully sneaking into Inazuma without anyone noticing.

The structure of the buildings was very foreign to him. The structure here was more similar to Liyue from what he has seen in one of the old books he read at home. Without knowing the situation, Ajax couldn’t risk exposing himself so he slept in the alleyway, curled up against the trashes to provide warmth for himself.

For the next few days, Ajax would travel around the city with his face covered in grimes and dirt so that no one would spare him a second look. He memorized the entire layout of the city before starting to bond with the homeless people he came across.

At first, no one wanted to talk to him but Ajax’s cheerful personality and his young age eventually got a lot of people to open up to him. Through these homeless people, Ajax was able to gather plenty of information—enough to know what Yoshiwara was and where it was.

It turned out that Yoshiwara was the red-light district in Inazuma.

Now knowing where his destination was, Ajax set off towards Yoshiwara.

The travel took a whole day by foot. His feet were killing him from wearing the wrong sized sandals and the rough straw material that constantly scrapped against his feet. It made him wonder how these people could deal with wearing these things.

He glanced around at the men walking about, eyes searching for any signs of the Fatui.

As he ventured into the red-light district, Ajax was soon appalled by how filthy this place was. By filthy, he was not talking about cleanness, but of how they sold women like products. Beautiful women dressed in elaborate Inazuma gowns (which he learned was called Kimono) sat behind the wooden bars, waving at any passing men for their eyes to land on them.

They were like live stocks put in there for the display.

Some of them winked at passing men while others pulled off one side of their kimono to reveal their bare shoulder along with a tiny bit of breast…it was disgusting. The only fortunate thing Ajax found was that none of these women bothered to bat an eye at him, considering how filthy he looked and obviously had no Mora.

His stomach growled after wandering around the street for the entire night, unable to find a single clue. He was beginning to doubt if Yoshiwara was the location when he came upon a crowd of men gathered before a brothel. They were cheering and whistling, trying to get someone’s attention. Ajax followed their gaze upward and saw a woman sitting high up in the balcony.

Ajax had seen another woman like this at some other building. From his conversation with one of the homeless that used to frequent Yoshiwara back when he was still somewhat rich, this was an oiran—a high ranking courtesan.

These high ranking courtesans were different than those prostitutes locked behind bars. They were said to be very talented, quick-witted and very expensive. Only high-ranked nobles could afford their services. Ajax wanted to retort how in the end they were still prostitutes, but the people here didn’t seem to see it that way.

This oiran was very different than the other one Ajax had seen. The other oiran sat very formally while this one was practically boneless, sprawling over the balcony with her pale hand rested on the wooden railing.

She was extremely beautiful with her dark purple hair held up by hair sticks and other accessories. She wore multiple layers of kimono with the outer layer being an eye-catching scarlet colour with golden lining. Despite wearing so many layers of clothes, Ajax could still tell that she had a very slender figure.

There was a small curve upward on her rosy lips as she held her head high despite the height she was at. Those electric indigo eyes swept over the crowd in such a condescending way that Ajax wondered what about this woman that attracted them.

And then…their eyes met.

Ajax felt goosebumps crawling over his skin. He jumped back by reflex—an action no one but the oiran had seen.

The oiran raised a fine brow before bringing her sleeve to hide her lips. While Ajax couldn’t see with the kimono sleeve in the way, he knew the woman was smiling judging from how much louder the men’s cheering got.

Ajax was the only one that felt the dangerous aura pouring out of her body that was directed at him. He nearly whipped out his blades, his heart pounding at the excitement of meeting a strong opponent, but he held it in. Inazuma wasn’t like any other nation. If he gets discovered, he will be killed for certain. That and the fact that he knew he wasn’t a match against that woman—at least, not yet.

Ajax turned and left. He didn’t get far, for that the pain in his feet was getting hard to ignore. Once he sat down in an alleyway, he looked down to see blood seeping from his cuts and dying the sandals in red.

He huffed, leaning his head back until he hit the wall, wondering what he should do to approach that woman. If his hunch was right, then that woman could be a clue as to where he could find the Fatui. Why else would a prostitute in a red-light district give out such a dangerous feeling?

Ajax didn’t need to ponder over the issue long, for that he was soon approached by a woman who told him that oiran invites him inside.

Ajax hid his cautiousness behind a bright smile and followed the woman. He was brought into the building through the back door, avoiding the eyes of other customers and workers before he was brought into a room on the very top floor.

The room he was shown into was huge, covered in tatami and expensive-looking furniture. At the center of the room, sitting by a low wooden table sipping on tea was the oiran. The pressuring feeling from before was gone, making her seem harmless—to the point where Ajax would have doubted his senses if not for the fact that his senses were never wrong. It was what saved him in so many battles.

“Well, well…which sewer did you crawl out from?” The oiran asked with a mocking smile and words that made Ajax itched to draw his blades. “How old are you, boy?”

“Fourteen,” Ajax replied, holding his head high, looking nothing like a kid who grew up in the streets.

“Hm…” One moment, the oiran was drumming her painted nails over the table, the next, she was suddenly in front of him before he could even blink.

Ajax stood frozen, not having seen how she crossed the room like that. Cold fingers with bright red nails gripped his face harshly as the oiran leaned in close.

“You are not from Inazuma,” she noted after taking a good look at the face hidden beneath the dirt. Her breath was warm against his face and Ajax could smell the light scent of perfume clinging to her clothes. It was only when she pulled away that Ajax noticed they were the same height. Before, she was either lying or sitting so he couldn’t tell at all. Ajax may not be tall, but that was because he was only fourteen and still growing, but how old was this woman for her to be so short?

Considering her occupation here and the eyes that had seen many battles, she has to be older than him…

Wait.

Short?

“Balladeer?”

In an instant, Ajax was thrown into the wall. His entire body was shaking with electricity dancing around his body. His senses went haywire and despite the numbness in his body from the shock, he was able to conjure a pair of Hydro blades and deflected the daggers that were thrown at his vitals. The deflected daggers spun within the air before they were caught by two cloaked Fatui assassins that emerged from the shadows by the woman’s side.

“Seriously?” Ajax nearly laughed at his luck. He gripped his blades tighter and licked his lips. It had been too long since he last enjoyed the thrill of a battle.

“Leave him alive, I have questions for him,” the oiran who Ajax was now certain was the Sixth Harbinger ordered.  

“Yes!” The two assassins spun their blades in their hands and charged towards the boy.

Ajax’s smirk widened and he dashed into the fray, swiftly dancing around the two assassins with his stances and weapon constantly changing.

Balladeer never once interfered with the battle. She stood quietly by the corner, observing the battle with narrowed eyes. At first, her face twisted in surprise at the constantly changing forms of the boy as well as the weapons in his hands, but soon that shock melted away into seriousness.

“Useless,” she clicked her teeth when both assassins were defeated and thrown at her feet. She glared at her subordinates before her eyes shifted to the boy. “For a brat, you move pretty well.”

She eyed the pair of Hydro blades in the boy’s hands. “Who sent you?”

“I’m a new trainee from the facility, number 1412,” Ajax replied. “I came to serve directly under you!”

“A trainee?” The woman frowned. She eyed the boy up and down. Her gaze softened and a smile lifted her lips. “I see, so you are one of the new recruits sent to me.”

“No,” Ajax replied honestly. “I snuck out of the facility and followed them here. Those guys died the moment they stepped onto this land.”

Balladeer’s smile widened, though it was sharp and nowhere near gentle as she looked seconds ago. However, the smile was more genuine than anything Ajax had seen on her face. “So you’re saying that you are better than those who finished the program?”

She then glanced back down at her two fallen subordinates. “Well, you’ve certainly proved to be more useful than these buffoons. I applaud you for your honesty. Had you claimed to be one of those recruits, I would have killed you.”

It was then Ajax realized that question was a trap. This woman already knew the graduates had died and used it to test him

“Tell me, who recruited you into the Fatui?”

“Pulcinella,” Ajax answered.

“So it’s him,” she muttered quietly, looking over the ginger again. “Why come to me and not that Rooster?”

“He brought me into the Fatui as punishment.” Ajax briefly explained how he got thrown into military training by his dad, beat up a bunch of fully-armed troops and then being officially thrown into the Fatui training facility by the Fifth Harbinger.

“You say you wish to serve me, yet the look on your face tells me otherwise.” The woman stared into those unyielding and defiant eyes.

“I want to fight,” Ajax answered. “As long as you give me that, I will listen to you.”

Hmph…very well,” Balladeer stepped over the bodies of her subordinates and came up to Ajax. “Since you’ve proven your ability, I will keep you. However,” her glared sharpened and her voice dropped into a low growl, “you are in no position to bargain with me, boy. You will address me properly and listen to my orders, understand?”

“Yes, my lady!” Ajax answered, dipping his head to hide the eye roll. Though this also made him miss the way the woman’s brow twitched upon the way he addressed her.

“1412 is a fitting number for you,” she said with a click of her teeth. “Now out of my sight until I summon you.”

“Yes~” Ajax drawled before he left the building the same way he came in. Once he stepped outside, there was another Fatui member already there waiting for him, disguised as any other Inazuman. He was brought to a building not far from Yoshiwara where the undercover Fatui were living in.  

It wasn’t until days later that Tartaglia found out what Balladeer meant by his number fitting him.

The number 1412 was given to him by the Fifth Harbinger, Pulcinella.

If he writes the letter 1412 closer together, it transforms into the word KID.

For the next couple of weeks, Ajax barely got any sleep.

Balladeer made sure to work him to the bone, between making him run errands and assassinating certain targets. Ajax didn’t mind as long as he was able to experience the thrill of fighting a strong opponent, and Balladeer made sure he got that.

Ajax was also able to witness how the undercover Harbinger worked. At times when he wasn’t sent out to fight, he was tasked with protection—or really it was just a clean-up group. He would hide in the ceiling along with one or two other senior Fatui members, peeking through the cracks to watch over their Harbinger.

With the woman’s silver tongue and quick wit, the men who came to her danced in the palm of her hands without realizing. For these men to be able to afford the time with an oiran, they were all nobles or people with high status. Through them, she was easily able to extract information on the state of Inazuma and the forces at play within the sealed nation. Despite being an oiran (which Ajax still wanted to call prostitute), her tactful way of words made it hard for men to advance onto her and those who tried to touch her…well, Ajax and the other assassins would swiftly jump in and knock these men out.

After that, the workers of the brothel would send these men home on carriages under the pretense that they drank too much and passed out. Ajax found it a miracle that they were able to live when he caught the cold and murderous look the oiran would sometimes direct at these men. If it weren’t for the fact that they needed to stay low, Ajax was certain she would have killed them.

Perhaps that was why they were always tasked with knocking these men out so that the Harbinger wouldn’t accidentally kill them.

Over the next couple of weeks, Ajax learned more and more about the Harbinger he served under. He could see why this Harbinger wasn’t well-liked considering that foul mouth and bad attitude, yet Ajax couldn’t say he disliked it.

Balladeer may be harsh, but she wasn’t unreasonable. Ajax certainly had seen Balladeer punishing her subordinates—some nearly beaten to death—but that was because they crossed her boundaries. As long as he figured out where that boundary was, he could jump in her face all day and she would turn a blind eye to it. Of course, there was also the reason that Ajax proved himself to be useful. He was easily the strongest soldier at her disposal, so she was more lenient to him compared to the rest.

One time, Balladeer offered to fight him, wanting to see where his skill level was at and Ajax was more than happy to accept. He was thoroughly beaten, but he had never been happier—not since leaving the Abyss.

It was at that moment that Ajax found himself attracted to this woman.

Three months later, the Harbinger finished gathering the intelligence she needed and gave the signal for them to pull out.

It was finally time to return to Snezhnaya.

On the day of their departure, Balladeer gave Ajax one final task and that was to set the brothel on fire. Balladeer had already prepared a woman’s body dressed in her clothes. As much as Ajax didn’t like getting innocent people involved and knew some might lose their lives in this fire, he still did as he was ordered.

He set the place ablaze and snuck out of the city. When he reached the destination he was told to go, he found a young boy who looked no older than him standing there, dressed in Inazuma clothes with a large hat with veils behind him.

“Took you long enough,” the boy said, turning around to reveal the face that Ajax was overly familiar with even without the makeup.

Ajax stared at her, or him, in disbelief.

“Balladeer?!”

Balladeer grinned as though he was waiting for this very moment. He even leaned closer to get a better look on the boy’s face.

“Not a bad expression, but…” Goosebumps crawled over Ajax's skin. He jumped back as purple light blinded his sight, followed by the booming sound of thunder. When he opened his eyes again, the ground he was standing on was burnt in black. “Address me like that again and I will have your head.” 

“Y-you’re a guy?!” Ajax gaped, more concerned about that than the fact that he could have been burnt to crisp. He still couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that the woman he had been serving for three months—and maybe have the slightest bit of crush on—turned out to be a guy.

“Did you think I was anything else?” Balladeer retorted and crossed his arms over his now very flat chest.

“I thought—” Ajax decided to shut up before the Harbinger does it for him. He knew well enough that Balladeer hated subordinates that talked back to him. The way the Harbinger was so nitpicky on so many things made it hard for Ajax to believe he was anything but a woman.

“How old are you?” He couldn’t help but ask.

Balladeer rolled his eyes and walked away with Ajax having no choice but to trail after him.

✧✦✧✦✧✦✧✦✧

Tartaglia—also known as Childe—slowly opened his eyes to the familiar ceiling of his room. He brought a hand up, rubbing his eyelids and let out a small groan. His entire body was still throbbing from the pain of using his Foul Legacy. The only bright side to all of this was that Teucer was now on his way back home.

Judging from the time, he should be nearing their home…

“About time you wake up,” a voice spoke in the room where he should be alone. Tartaglia was immediately up, looking across the room to find a familiar purple-haired man sitting by the table, sipping on a cup of tea. That large hat of his was set aside on the wooden chair beside him.

“What are you doing here?”

“I see the young lord still hasn’t learned any manners.”

“What do you want? Came to make fun of me too?” Tartaglia grumbled. He already had enough with Signora.  

“If you're referring to your performance yesterday, it was quite remarkable,” Scaramouche smirked. “Liyue Institute of toy research, was it?”

“You were following me?” Tartaglia was instantly alarmed. What kind of coincidence would it take for his little brother and Scaramouche to be together? The only thing he could think of was that it wasn’t a coincidence, but a scheme. “You brought my brother here!”

Scaramouche’s eyes shifted towards him with a smirk on his lips.

“What if I said yes?” He got up and walked up to the bedridden man. “Are you going to kill me?”

He leaned down close to Tartaglia and grabbed the young man’s chin, similar to what he had done so many years back. Tartaglia stared into those beautiful eyes he had begrudgingly fallen in love with and let out a small snort.

“You may be a scheming bastard, but you wouldn’t waste your time on something so pointless,” Tartaglia hated to admit how much he knew of this man. He slapped the hand off his face and held back a wince when he pulled on his injuries.

“I wouldn’t call it pointless,” Scaramouche drawled but decided to enlighten him. “That ship your dear little brother snuck onto was mine.”

Tartaglia recalled what Teucer had said about sneaking onto the ship that looked like the one he used for his toy company. The twenty years old wanted to bury his face into his hands. Sneaking onto a Fatui ship was one thing, but a Harbinger's ship? 

“Be grateful I didn’t feed that insufferable brat to the sharks.”

“I’m so grateful.” Tartaglia snapped sarcastically, knowing very well that the older Harbinger just wanted to see him embarrass himself, but that brought up another issue he wasn't able to figure out before. When the Traveller found Teucer, he was already in a place where the Ruin Guards were roaming around. For an ordinary child to go from Liyue Harbour to there without encountering a single enemy was either a miracle or that someone was secretly mowing down these enemies before they could get close to him...

“You know, I never took you of all people to have a soft spot for kids.”

“Hah?” Scaramouche looked at the Eleventh Harbingers like he finally lost it. “It seems Mondstadt’s saviour has knocked out more than just screws from that head of yours.”

“You talk like you could do better!”

“Is that supposed to be a challenge? Not only did you fail to get the Gnosis, you even got played by an ancient god and that old hag,” Scaramouche cackled. He leaned down and breathed lightly into Tartaglia’s ear. “Shall I kill that Traveller for you?”

Tartaglia’s gaze instantly hardened with bloodlust rolling off of his body.

At the man’s response, Scaramouche pulled away with a laugh.

“What’s this? Got attached?” He mocked. “You really are a dog, aren’t you?”

Tartaglia’s glare was the only warning Scaramouche had before the Eleventh Harbinger snapped his head up and bit into that soft neck. He thrust his body forward, ignoring the pain in his muscles and with a flip, he successfully pinned the smaller Harbinger onto the bed by his wrists and neck.

“Did you know for some dogs, once they bite down on their prey they will never let go?” Tartaglia muttered against the tender skin, pulling his mouth away to see blood seeping out of the wound he created. He lapped up the droplets of blood and when he licked under the pale jaw he could feel the man’s pulse on the tip of his tongue.

“So you admit to being a dog,” Scaramouche snorted, not showing any signs of resistance. He laid there rather comfortably for someone who was forced into such position. He raised a knee and Tartaglia jerked when Scaramouche’s smooth leg pressed against his crotch and started moving up and down.

“Hard already?” Scaramouche smirked and pressed his leg harder into the budge. “As expected of a brat.”

“Keh…you don’t know when to shut up,” Tartaglia said before he leaned up and slotted their lips together.

It was a messy kiss with the full use of tongues and teeth as the Harbinger battled for dominance, but Tartaglia won—he always did. The ginger reaped his reward by completely dominating that sweet mouth while grinding his hips down against the smaller males.

Through the rough fabrics of their pants, Tartaglia could feel Scaramouche’s member coming alive through his ministration. Although Scaramouche tried hard to suppress it, he still let out a few moans which were greedily gulped down by the ginger.

He kissed Scaramouche until his lungs burned from the lack of oxygen. It was only when he felt a sharp pain on his bottom lips did he pulled away, panting heavily as he stared down at Scaramouche whose face was flustered and panting just as hard. His lips were glistening in a beautiful colour with a bit of saliva staining the corner of his lips.

Tartaglia ran his tongue over his bottom lip and tasted the coppery scent of his blood. His blue eyes gleamed in the darkness like the eyes of a predator as he dove down and captured those lips once more. His hands slipped under the Inazuman garment, easily removing them thanks to the time he spent at Inazuma.

He dragged his lips over the delicate white skin, leaving a trail of redness behind wherever he went. He ran his calloused hands over the smaller body, feeling the way the soft skin quivered under his ministration. His movements were hurried like a dying man who had been travelling in the desert of Sumeru for days before finding an oasis.

“Hn…!” Tartaglia was unable to hold back the grunt when he was kicked in the side—the force missing his injuries by mere millimetres. He crumbled onto the mattress and felt a weight settled on his hips. When he looked up, he saw Scaramouche straddling his hips with those electric purple eyes gleaming down at him.

“A dog should be obedient and stay,” he said, his chin held high with one palm pressing down on Tartaglia’s chest, gradually applying pressure into the wound under his bandages. It wasn’t hard enough to reopen the injuries, but Tartaglia was definitely feeling the pain.

“You—” The ginger was cut off by a pair of lips smothering into his. The kiss was short before Scaramouche dipped his head and bit into his collarbone, leaving behind his marks much like what Tartaglia had done. The petty bastard.

“Stay still,” Scaramouche’s voice whispered—soft and light. If Tartaglia didn’t have his senses focused on the man above him, he would have missed it. Blue eyes softened as Tartaglia reached to grab hold of those milk-white hips.

Tartaglia stared up at his senior Harbinger, taking in how the lithe body sat on top of him with his body curving beautifully and that taunting smile on his rosy lips.

He was really beautiful.

Tartaglia was suddenly reminded of that day when they first met. Scaramouche had looked so beautiful and unreachable like this too, except that this man right now was in his reach, and those gem-like eyes were reflecting Tartaglia’s image like mirrors.  

Heavy pants resonated throughout the room.

The youngest Harbinger lay on the bed, breathing heavily through his mouth with the body on top of him moving up and down. He could feel the way that heated passage tightened whenever Scaramouche pulled out—as if not wanting him to leave—and loosened whenever he engulfed his cock again, eagerly sucking him back inside.

Scaramouche was panting just as heavily as Tartaglia. Both of his hands were gripping onto Tartaglia’s shoulders, using them as leverage for him to move. His spine was arched back like a bow with its string plucked and his purple hair fluttered in his movement. Those beautiful eyes were half-lidded and unfocused with tears gathering around his long lashes.

Sweet sounds were slipping from Scaramouche’s parted lips despite doing his best to suppress them. Tartaglia’s grip on the pale hips tightened, helping to guide the older male who was starting to mess up on the rhythm. With a precise thrust of his hips, Scaramouche jerked, his eyes dilating with a sharp yelp echoing from his throat. His body quaked and Tartaglia groaned at the heat clamping down on him with thick white cum splattering over his stomach.

Tartaglia panted, starting to thrust his hips when the hands on his shoulders slammed into his abdomen. Slender pale legs also hooked around his much longer ones, locking his movements and holding him still.

Tartaglia looked up and was met with a harsh glare.

“You—ngh!” Scaramouche couldn’t get another word out because Tartaglia chose that moment to roll his hips, grinding his rock hard cock right into that little bundle of nerves. Taking his chance when the smaller man was distracted, he grabbed both of the man’s wrists. With a push of his elbows and a flip, their positions were reversed.

“Aahn!” Scaramouche moaned when the ginger began pounding into his body mercilessly.

“You’ve been doing whatever you like for a while now, it’s time to pay back with a bit of interest, don’t you agree, senpai?” Tartaglia purred against Scaramouche’s ears before giving his earlobe a small nip.

Ah! Aaah!” Scaramouche cried as Tartaglia picked up the speed even more.

Having just came, Scaramouche was extremely sensitive. Tartaglia knew that better than anyone else. Rather than chasing his own release, Tartaglia was in fact restraining himself. He held the urge of his release back, using certain angles and speed that he knew could bring the smaller man maximum pleasure.

Tartaglia never told this to anyone and perhaps never will, but he loved the look on Scaramouche more than the sex. He was addicted to this body, sure, but he loved the process more than anything else. He loved the way Scaramouche would always fight him for dominance despite being physically weaker and smaller.

The ginger loved anything as long as it involves a battle—and the battle on the bed was no different. He loved how even after he won, Scaramouche would never lower his head down to him. The man was a prideful and feisty one, and that will never change even if he was at a disadvantage. No matter what situation, the little midget would always hold his head high.

Tartaglia couldn’t help but reach his hands up, cupping that flushed face and dipped his head to kiss those petal-soft lips.

Scaramouche’s arms wrapped around him and fingers gently scrapping down his back. He tightened his arms to draw the younger male close until the last bit of gap between their bodies was gone.

The Eleventh Harbinger sped up, fueled by the rare affectionate gesture. He gulped down Scaramouche’s moans and cries until the other jerked his face away, a lengthy mewl escaping his lips as his body shook violently.

The feeling of the hot passage squeezing down on him made Tartaglia lost it. With a low growl, he came, his seeds spilling deep within Scaramouche and filling him up. At the same time, white strings of cum were shot into the air, splattering onto both of their chests and stomachs.

Tartaglia pulled away from that addictive mouth before wrapping his mouth around one of the perky nipples and sucked. Scaramouche jerked but pressed into the mattress under the larger male, he couldn’t do anything but dug his fingers into the man’s tone back. His head was thrown back, his hair spreading over the white pillow like a dark halo. His mouth was wide open, letting out indecent sounds alongside the wet sounds of their hips smacking into one another…

As the sun slowly set into the horizon, a person slipped out of the bed to gather the clothes that were thrown over the floor. In the fading red light of the sun, bruises and bite marks could be seen littered over the man’s pale skin—mostly around his torso and upper thighs.

Once he put his clothes on, the bite marks were perfectly hidden under his clothes, showing how the person who left these marks was more than familiar with where to bite.

“Seriously, what are you, a cat?” Tartaglia’s resentful voice came from the bed. He was lying on his stomach, barely able to move due to the pain that was numbing his body. It couldn’t be helped, considering his injuries began to open halfway through, though that wasn’t what forced him to lie on his stomach like this. In fact, it would be easier on his injuries if he could lie on his back, but Scaramouche made sure to make that impossible for him.

In the fading light, bright red claw marks could be seen littered over his back. The scratches were deep, but only by the standard of scratches. None of it was deep enough to leave any scars, but it was made to sting. Tartaglia didn’t even know when the other had left these on him, but it must have been done gradually over the hours of their intercourse. Little by little with the nails scraping over the same place with great precision...just from how much care the bastard took to not let him figure out was proof of his bad personality.

When Tartaglia lifted his head from the pillow and saw the limp Scaramouche was desperately trying to hide, he decided to call this even. "Leaving already?"

“Unlike some people, I am busy.” The older man fixed his clothes and grabbed his hat. The bells on the hat rang loudly within the quiet room as he put it over his head. He opened the window and the warm air outside blew into the room, diluting the heavy scent that was the evidence of their deeds. 

"Also, I am a neko." He made a show of licking his lips that were curved up in a sly smirk. With a jingle of bells, he leaped out of the window and disappeared from Tartaglia's sight. 

The ginger stared at the window for a long time despite knowing the other Harbinger was long gone.

“Neko, huh?” He chuckled, resting his head into his palm and wiped a finger over his bruised bottom lip. “Would it kill him to be more honest? Come to think of it, didn’t Inazuma have a saying for that? Tsundere?”

He licked his lips, still able to taste the lingering sweetest left by the older male. Already, the thirst that was sated after so long came back. The thirst that only the shorter man could quench—and Tartaglia was certain this thirst went both ways. However, the pain in his back took away some of that thirst. It was like Scaramouche had engraved a piece of him into his back, always reminding the ginger of his presence.

Tartaglia let out a light-hearted laugh.

That guy really was a tsundere.

“You probably don’t even know…the reason why I worked so hard to become a Harbinger.” Ocean blue eyes glanced towards the window as the last bit of sunlight faded away.

“Don’t get involved, Traveller,” he whispered lightly into the empty room. His words sounded like a prayer, yet his voice came out laced with malice. “I won’t forgive anyone that hurt him, including you.”

✧✦✧✦✧✦✧✦✧

When Scaramouche met Mondstadt’s saviour, he was admittedly surprised. The blond looked nothing like what he had imagined, yet he couldn’t deny that he felt power emitting from the outlander. What’s more, there were no signs of Vision anywhere on the kid's body—at least, not anywhere visible.

The moment Scaramouche laid his eyes on the Honorary Knight, his fingers itched.

His mission was to only investigate the meteor, yet when Scaramouche recalled the injuries on Tartaglia, he felt the urge to drill his hand through that traveller’s heart and watch as life slowly diminish from those golden eyes. It was a pity he had to give up the first time, failed the second and the third time he just woke from the dream so he wasn't in his best condition to battle.

Scaramouche had seen how the Mondstadt’s saviour interacted with Tartaglia’s younger brother as well as Tartaglia himself. He saw how much the youngest Harbinger seemed to enjoy spending time with the blond and that floating little creature—whatever that thing was. If not for his position, surely they would become good friends—perhaps even travel companions.

“Such a shame…” Such a shame that the blond had laid hands on the one person Scaramouche had his eyes on.

After Scaramouche first fought against Tartaglia and tested his full capabilities, he knew it was only a matter of time that the young battle maniac becomes a Harbinger. At the same time, Scaramouche also knew how much Tartaglia did not belong in their ranks.

He was too different from them.

Tartaglia hated the underhanded work they do and hated getting the innocent and weak people involved. If not for the world the Tsaritsa promised them and for the people of Snezhnaya, Tartaglia would have left the Fatui long ago…

Everything was for the sake of Snezhnaya.

Scaramouche gazed up to the stars in the sky. With his research on the meteor completed, it was time to bring the reports back to the Jester. By now, the puppy should be back in the palace, putting up a tough front before the other Harbingers while quietly licking his wounds behind closed doors.

“We will meet again, saviour of Mondstadt,” he chuckled with the sound of bells chiming around him as he left.