Diluc is in his office doing paperwork for the winery. There is finally business between Mondstadt and Liyue and he is signing the documents for trade between them. Zhongli had shown Diluc businesses that would be able to help the winery with much needed products. Some of these products include transportation goods. His employees could use them in order to have less bottle breaks if the transport gets attacked or derailed.
Diluc hears a knock on his office door and consents for them to come in. Elzer comes into the room holding a letter with Liyue’s seal on it. He walks to Diluc and presents the letter to him.
“A letter from Liyue is here for you Master Diluc'' the butler smiles as he hands Diluc the letter. Diluc takes the letter and sees it is from Zhongli. Elzer leaves the office as Diluc begins to open the letter. He takes out the paper inside the envelope and sees Zhongli’s elegant handwriting. He smiles as he begins to read the letter.
My beloved phoenix,
I hope you have been well and you have not been overexerting yourself in Mondstadt. I hear you have been making business deals to the people I recommended and I am full glad the process is apace. I am also hoping you have taken time for yourself to relax.
On that note, I will be visiting Mondstadt in the coming month. I have found a time where I can travel outside of Liyue and to spend time with you. I will be at the winery the afternoon I arrive. You do not need to prepare anything, your mere presence is all the more precious.
Diluc finishes reading the letter with a slight sigh. Next month should be alright for the visit. Even if it wasn’t, he would clear his schedule on Zhongli’s visit regardless. Elzer would even be glad Diluc will take a small break, considering he’s been telling him to do so for a few months. The winery, the tavern, and nightly patrols adds up and ends up being exhausting. In fact, Diluc probably has not relaxed much since his last trip to Liyue.
Before Diluc can think about relaxing, there are business dealings to take care of before the coming month. Then he would prepare for Zhongli’s arrival to the winery. No matter what Zhongli says, Diluc feels he has to at least prepare to greet him. Maybe he can present him lunch with his favorite herbal tea.
Zhongli arrives at Dawn Winery when the workers are caring for the vineyards. The retired Archon is glad the plants are looking healthy. The workers around the winery always recognize him and give him a wave or acknowledgement of his presence. Mondstadt more times than not, feels like a second home to Zhongli.
He smiles when he thinks that thought once again. Diluc has really made the city of Mondstadt a joy to visit. Speaking of Diluc, he waits at the front door for Zhongli with his arms crossed. Zhongli walks to him and offers his hand. Diluc sighs happily and takes it as he opens the door to inside the winery.
They both walk inside and Zhongli pulls Diluc into an embrace. Diluc relaxes into Zhongli’s hold and closes his eyes. The Pyro user did not realize how tired he really is until now. Zhongli chuckles as Diluc relaxes against him. Diluc, against his own wishes, gets out of Zhongli’s hold and takes his hand again.
“You are just in time for lunch. It’s just sandwiches and tea, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless” Diluc says, leading Zhongli to the dining room. Zhongli chuckles again at this and squeezes the other’s hand.
“Your company is all I ever need” Zhongli reminds Diluc. Diluc’s face blushes slightly at this as they enter the dining room. The fowl sandwiches and tea are on the table in the middle of the room. They sit at the middle of the table with them sitting across from each other. Zhongli sips his herbal tea and is glad it is still hot. The meal must have been on the table for only a few minutes.
Diluc sips on his own sweeter tea and begins to eat one of the sandwiches. They enjoy their meal in comfortable silence. One good part of their relationship is they do not need to talk every second they are together. They always show their love through actions more than words.
Zhongli and Diluc spend the rest of the day walking around Mondstadt and exploring the shops. Diluc buys most of the items they want because Zhongli once again forgot to bring mora with him. One of these days, Diluc swears he will remind the retired Archon in a letter when one of them is going to come to see the other.
Zhongli selects a lamp grass bouquet like he always does when he comes to visit Mondstadt. Diluc may have paid for it himself, but the gesture from Zhongli is still special. They decide to go to Good Hunter for dinner and Zhongli wants to try one of the city’s specialties. Diluc informs him of the daily recommendation “Cold Cut Platter” with the meats of Mondstadt. That’s what they end up ordering and as Zhongli eats it, he thinks it is an interesting meal.
When the two of them get back to the winery, Diluc places the lamp grass in the vase in the front room and fills it with water. Zhongli still wonders where Diluc got this particular vase from. They walk to Diluc’s room where they plan to sleep for the night. They put on their night clothes and take off the bands holding their hair up. When they get in bed, Zhongli takes hold of Diluc’s hand and kisses his knuckles.
“Sleep well, my phoenix” Zhongli smiles. Diluc starts to fall asleep as Zhongli continues to hold his hand throughout the night.
Diluc is the first to wake the next day. He opens his eyes to see Zhongli’s peaceful face next to him. He sees their hands are still together even while they slept. There is something about the retired Archon that gives Diluc peaceful nights of sleep when they are in bed together. More times than not, he has no nightmares about the past when he is in Zhongli’s presence.
Diluc gazes upon Zhongli’s sleeping face and he smiles. He thinks meeting Zhongli is the best thing that has ever happened to him, even though he won’t verbally admit it. Zhongli is the treasure in Diluc’s mortal life.
“My treasure” Diluc whispers. Zhongli slowly opens his eyes and smiles.
“I am glad to be your treasure, my phoenix” Zhongli smiles. Diluc’s whole face and ears go as red as his hair. He might actually scream in embarrassment as Zhongli lets out a joyful laugh. Diluc immediately hides his face in Zhongli’s chest and the retired Archon places a hand on Diluc’s head. Zhongli continues to laugh and Diluc becomes annoyed.
“Morax! Stop! Laughing!” Diluc exclaims from Zhongli’s chest. Zhongli slowly stops laughing and gently brushes Diluc’s hair with his fingers.
“Do not worry my phoenix. This shall remain a secret between us” Zhongli smiles.
It has been two weeks since Zhongli returned to Liyue. The business between the winery and Liyue merchants have been finalized and are now in action. Along with the deal they initiated, Mondstadt wine is now being officially imported into Liyue. Diluc suspects a certain bard will be visiting Liyue more often because of it. Diluc sighs as he thinks this. There is a knock on the office door and Diluc consents for them to come in. Elzer walks in with a letter with Liyue’s seal on it.
“A letter has come for you from Liyue Master Diluc. Also tell Zhongli to visit longer next time” Elzer smiles. Diluc’s face blushes slightly as he takes the letter. The Pyro user gives Elzer a deadpan look as the butler chuckles and leaves the room. Diluc opens the envelope and takes out the letter inside. He begins to read with a smile on his face.
My beloved phoenix,
I hope you have been doing well since the last time we met face to face. Business in Liyue has seen a significant increase since your deal with many of the merchants here. I have also noticed wine from Mondstadt in the Wanmin Restaurant. As you would have guessed, Venti has come here once or twice to try to get free wine. He will always be a drunkard.
Have you been getting the right amount of sleep since I departed Mondstadt? I noticed you were exhausted when I came to the winery and my first night there. Have your night terrors been troubling you? I wish I could be there with you on those nights so you would have some amount of comfort.
I hope we will both have the time to see each other again soon. You will forever be in my thoughts.
When Diluc finishes reading, his face and ears go red. He places the letter on his desk and covers his face with his hands. Diluc feels this will not be the only time Zhongli will end with ‘your treasure’. Zhongli will forever remind Diluc how much he loves him, even through his letters.