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can't read my mind, can't take my breath

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“Yes, that would be lovely, thank you,” Zhongli gives Ferrylady a small smile as she sets down the scrolls and papers in front of him, grasping his ink brush with ease and dipping it in the medium, “I’ll see to this immediately. Have the clients schedule an appointment with me when my calendar shows I am free. We’ll go over the troubleshooting then.” 

“Understood, laoban, and I’ll be right back with your tea,” his assistant bows politely, further down than she has to, and sets out of his office with a quiet slide of his door. 

With the newfound silence, Zhongli focuses back on his work, his fingers gracefully scribing document through document, scroll through scroll. 

The Wangsheng Funeral Parlor was bustling with more activity than usual today. He had a copious amount of visitors relaying their greetings, news, as well as pop-ins from Ferrylady, and the director herself, Hu Tao. Even Childe managed to swing by and drop off some lunch, which was quite considerate of him. Similarly, Zhongli’s desk, usually prim and proper, dealt a fair deal of a few more ink stains dotting on polished wood with scrolls collecting at every nook and cranny. Slowly but surely, the man was able to carefully eliminate each piece of work spilling over his desk until they neatly piled like a pyramid in the bin next to his chair. 

Now, he gathers the last of his focus on the final paper, reading over its contents carefully with a sigh. The room was already growing into a darker, soothing shade of sunset—he would have to light a candle eventually. 

When his legs begin to shift to do just that, a small noise alerts from below. 

Ah, yes. He almost forgot. 

He tears his eyes away from the progressing work in front of him and casts his eyes down, ears tickling with a new formation of heat at the sight. 

In this light, he could still make out the tufts of silky hair curling against his thigh, glowing beautifully with their hues against the burnt sienna of the desk. The figure’s eyelashes are long and feather swept, eyelids carefully stroked with an alluring red in means of showing off as they close with a submissive expression. 

And Gods , that mouth. 

Zhongli sucks in a quiet, shaky breath as he observes the stretch of Xiao’s reddened lips over his cock. The adeptus had been keeping him “warm” for quite some time now. Maybe that is why the busy day went as fast as it did—having his lover tend to both of their wants. Their needs

“A-Xiao,” Zhongli softly coos. 

The man’s eyes flutter open and glowing amber instantly meets a glazed over gold. His eyes are rimmed with reddened heat, but Zhongli knows that’s a good thing. He knows where Xiao’s mind is. And he wants to keep him there. What’s more, he might even want to push him further. 

The first gentle touch to Xiao’s jaw makes the younger whine into his mouthful, the vibration of it sending a tingling sensation up Zhongli’s dick. It twitches with interest. “Let me get up, I must light a candle as it’s approaching sundown,” with continued tenderness, Zhongli slides Xiao’s mouth off of him—it’s covered in his spit, and there’s a string of saliva meeting at Xiao’s lower lip with a yearning to stay connected to Zhongli until it breaks. 

He looks absolutely dazed and blissed out. It takes all of Zhongli’s will to push himself up from the chair, gives his now hard cock a reassuring pump, and pulls his trousers over his erection. His gaze flits down to Xiao who’s quiet, head pressing against the piece of furniture where his master sat. He’s curled in on himself, fingers flexing at his skin and sleeves, and his face is positively flushed.

Good. 

It isn’t long before Zhongli settles back on his desk with a match, a candlestick, and an incense burner. Despite this just being for his own measures to continue work, he knows it would also greatly benefit the adeptus situated at his feet. 

Xiao pushes his face back to Zhongli’s crotch when he sits back down and sighs—it’s hot and shuddering, silently calling for his master to let him in to continue his task. In return, the elder places a hand on top of Xiao’s head, gloved fingers stringing through the softness that he wishes he could feel, and pets him. His lover whimpers in the back of his throat when Zhongli skims his fingers down to the nape of his neck, rubbing the area there. 

Xiao gets like this sometimes. When he’s in grave need of silencing the storm in his head, one of his outlets is to seek out Zhongli for peace and quiet. Today, though, is different. They don’t usually do things in public, especially at Zhongli’s job. However, it just didn’t seem like he could hold on any longer. Earlier in the day, the sight of him accumulating at the corner of his office with a burst of anemo made the older man pause, take in Xiao’s state with consideration, and nod. No words had to be exchanged. It just broke Zhongli’s heart to see his beloved constantly battle the torrent that was his mind. He had been hidden under Zhongli’s desk ever since, doing whatever he could to submerge himself into a hazy-minded state, submissive to pleasure, dominance, and things alike. Zhongli let him. He welcomed it.

He specifically remembered Xiao murmuring to him in the flower fields of Qingce village that meditation never worked for him, so they made it a goal to find something that did. It didn’t take long to figure out just what that was. 

Zhongli knows that Xiao doesn’t like to speak in this state, as his voice notches higher and breathier than usual (which Zhongli personally loves), so most of his demands filter through his actions. 

His fingers come to grasp at the front of Zhongli’s pants, a silent plea shining in his eyes. 

With that, the master undoes his front and pulls out his hardened length, giving it a shallow pump, “How is your jaw feeling?” 

Xiao pauses at that, his lips falling open as he flexes the hinges of his jaw slightly. He raises a curious hand and rubs the sharp cuts of it, then nods. It translates into “I can continue.” Zhongli gives him a satisfied hum and scoots his seat forward until he meets Xiao. 

Zhongli nearly misses curling his fingers around his ink brush when the familiar, wet heat engulfs his cock once more. His eyes flutter closed momentarily before he musters his strength to continue his actual work. 

“You may begin,” comes his precise order, rumbling deep in his chest. He’s sure he can manage. 

At this, Xiao moans into his next task, gratuitously swallowing him as far down as he can. That startles a low groan out of Zhongli—he’s never gone this far before. His nose is nestled up near the base, his lips finding home around the great girth of his master. They both moan in unison, Zhongli dropping a hand to card his fingers through his hair.

“Good boy, such a good boy,” he whispers, the candle beginning to flicker in tandem with their risky, heated play. Xiao shudders at the praise, fingers slipping away from Zhongli’s thighs and to the floor for better leverage. 

The older man doesn't waste time spreading his legs wider to allow more room when the adeptus begins to bob his head, swallowing Zhongli down his throat. He bucks his hips momentarily, squeezing the brush in his hand and crinkling the opened scroll under his fingers. He can feel the way the opening of Xiao’s throat constricts around him, snuffing out a faint gag and cough. Before he can usher the younger if he’s alright, Xiao is already enthusiastically continuing. 

Zhongli finds that he can’t concentrate on his work. Pleasure finds itself warm on his cock as Xiao’s mouth slides on and off his arousal, twirling his tongue on the head to collect the saltiness of precome. 

“A-Xiao,” his groan is immersed in overwhelming gratitude, gloved fingers curling in his lover’s hair, pulling him closer. 

“Laoban? I have your tea!”  

The door to his office is already sliding open when the voice sounds about—it’s Ferrylady with the tea Zhongli had requested. 

Almost instantly, Zhongli straightens his back and locks Xiao’s hair in his hand, stilling him at the base. Even with the urge to quiet themselves, Xiao can’t help but let out a small choking sound at the new restriction. 

Ferrylady looks up from her tray and widens her eyes at the sound, “Mr. Zhongli, are you alright?” 

Zhongli clears his throat, beckoning her over with a small flick of his hand, “Yes, of course—my throat is just a little parched. Thank you for the tea, it will help. You may set it on my desk.” 

The man doesn’t know how he looks. He doesn’t know if his hair in disarray from constantly looking back and forth from his work to Xiao, doesn’t know if his skin is visibly glistening with a thin layer of sweat and flush… but there must be something playing in on his features because as she walks over, she averts her gaze shyly to the ground. 

She sets it down, and Zhongli sighs once the aroma makes its presence to his nose. It almost loosens his grip on Xiao’s hair—and that’s when he realizes he has to be aware of him there. Can he breathe? Is it hurting him? Is Zhongli hurting him? 

“Ah—I have an update from the clients.” 

He pulls his full hand away with invisible worry, sliding his fingers together atop the desk with a mask of a smile to his assistant, “Is that so? Well, what have they discussed with you?” 

Ferrylady clasps her hands together in front of her, “They said they would wait for the consultation for another thirty days—so I moved the appointment further back in your calendar.” 

Zhongli scratches his chin, “Thirty days? Why is that?” A small zing shoots up his spine as he feels Xiao’s throat closing in around him—as if swallowing. His tongue joins in on the action, and it feels like he’s trying his damndest to reach as far as he can. 

“Yes… they still need to gather enough mora for the first consultation and the matters of handling their daughter’s death,” Ferrylady sighs, a sympathetic expression wringing her features, “I know you are usually generous when it comes to these types of situations… but Director Hu Tao suggests you not spend on the company's tab so frequently.” 

“I see… and the body?” Zhongli inquires. The build-up is too much at this point—it’s hard to ignore the heat of pleasure overwhelming his lower region. He just hopes it doesn’t show on his face, the way his brow furrows and the lobes of his ears burn. 

“I have already discussed with Director Hu Tao, and we’ve come to the conclusion that we’ll preserve the body with some talisman,” she answers. It’s not a bad idea—it’s been done before and it isn’t hard to find or create a preservation talisman. “I understand,” Zhongli decides, hips shifting ever so slightly in accordance with the wet heat around his cock, “Thank you, Ferrylady. Perhaps it would greatly benefit you to leave for today—you have worked hard.” 

She looks up from her crossed hands, blinking, “Oh—yes. Thank you, laoban, I’ll be on my way then.” She gives him a hurried bow, before quickly adding, “I’ll see you tomorrow!” 

The door slides with a quiet shut. 

Then, they’re alone again. It’s just him, Xiao, the incense burner and flicking candle, and tea. 

Zhongli pushes his seat back to look down. He nearly comes at the sight. 

Xiao’s face is blotchy with blush glowing all over.

Instantly, Zhongli tugs him off his cock with a pop, and Xiao gasps for air, opening his eyes to look at his master. He looks abused in the best way possible, but Zhongli would rather confess all of the times he breached a contract than admit that. 

“Do not hurt yourself,” Zhongli chides, sweetly moving hair out of his face. His lips look like a sin—all spit-slick, swollen, and red. He wants to kiss him badly. 

“But—” Xiao’s voice comes out with a crack and he quickly tames it shut, blinking away some heat in his eyes as he stares up at his master. Zhongli furrows a disapproving brow, “Enough. What were you trying to achieve there?” 

Xiao’s eyes are so glassy that the former archon could almost see his own reflection. He swallows, continuing to pet hair out of Xiao’s face, and leans down to claim his lips.

He can taste himself on the plushness of it, the moistness stamping itself along his lips as Xiao kisses him back languidly. 

When he pulls back their noses are still brushing, breaths still intertwined. 

“It made things quiet,” Xiao whispered his answer with his broken voice—the same voice that the adeptus despised so much, but Zhongli loved so much, “it felt nice. I felt at peace.” He was looking for acceptance in his master’s critical gaze. 

Zhongli says nothing and instead brings his hand up to caress the side of his face. It isn’t long before his fingers slide down to the side of his throat, thumb sweeping down his adam's apple, as if seeking permission to continue. “I sincerely hope this is not a precursor to anything, A-Xiao. You know I worry about you.” 

The adeptus nods, hands laying softly on his thighs, although he seems shy—reluctant, even. Perhaps he isn’t telling Zhongli something. 

“Whatever this is,” Zhongli gestures with a tiny squeeze on Xiao’s neck, to which the younger visibly weakens at, “we must talk about this. But not now. And I will not do anything to you unless we discuss it further. Do you understand?” 

Xiao’s brows knit in a disapproving way, but he doesn’t dare bite back. He presses his abused lips together, eyes suddenly downcast from their previously glassy state. Zhongli’s heart skips a beat, and then there’s a twist in his chest—something akin to a heart fracture. This is what he wanted to avoid, but he knew he had to lay ground rules. 

“A-Xiao,” he beckons the adeptus to look back up at him with a loving hand on his cheek. The younger leans into it fully, pulling his eyes away from the floor until they meet Zhongli’s. He looks utterly dejected, the glassiness in the golden depths of his soul forming into a thin shine of tears. Whatever mindset he was originally in was now shattered. He was removed from a place where he was getting comfortable, and now he’s being rejected. He was out of his element. 

It’s Zhongli’s job to get him back there again. He can’t stand to see his partner relish in even more anguish. 

“Let me make you feel good, hm? Sit down and have some tea with me?” Zhongli suggests in the softest voice he could muster. The layer of dejection plastered on Xiao’s face does little to deter Zhongli’s efforts, though, so he tries again, “You’ll be good for me, won’t you?”

There’s a command laced in that—an attempt to pull Xiao back into the swallowing warmth of submission. A small twinkle returns in those candlelit eyes and he slowly nods up to his master, his adam's apple bobbing with a swallow. Zhongli hums with approval, scooting his seat back until he can pat his lap invitingly. Xiao moves effortlessly—as he does all things—looking absolutely angelic despite the rapids making their presence known in his mind. His graceful legs swing to sit on his master’s lap, slim and equally beautiful hands laying delicately on Zhongli’s pectorals. His front brushes against the former god’s exposed cock, but he knows better than to try and rut up into it and chase for more. The contact was so gentle that it seemed uncharacteristic of the adeptus. While the younger always tried to be gentle, there was always some hesitation when reaching out to another—and if not that, then it was a recoil from being touched. Yet, this Xiao, right now on Zhongli’s lap, is driven with certainty. 

“Good,” Zhongli purrs, reaching to lay an affectionate hand on his back to stroke.  

It doesn’t take long until the older is pulling Xiao down for a delicate kiss, a grounding one. It barely tinkers on the edge of heated and wet as Xiao helplessly tries to prod his tongue through the seam in Zhongli’s lips—but the former archon denies him and pulls back. A whimper escapes the yaksha’s lips, protest setting in his features… but he knows better than to continue his antics without permission. 

“Now,” Zhongli moves his hands from Xiao’s back slowly, fingering the dip of his spine currently hugged by his tight top, digging his fingers into the sash and jewelry confining the younger at his waist. “Care to join me for tea?” he whispers again, a reminder of what route they were taking for today's play, and Xiao is hypnotically nodding down to his master. Zhongli rewards him with a spread of his fingers and palms over the globes of Xiao’s ass, groping, and humming at the contented sigh the adeptus releases. 

Then, Zhongli is scooting the chair forward again until the desk hits the back of Xiao’s tailbone, but the adeptus doesn’t dare move. 

The tea is still curling with steam when Zhongli reaches over for it, carefully handling it away from the tray that Ferrylady had previously set upon his desk. The pads of his fingers through his gloves bask under the ceramic, being minutely heated, and yes. It’s perfect—just as Zhongli had imagined. 

He brings the jade cup up to his mouth as if he’s about to take a sip, but instead he’s engulfed in the ever enchanting freshness of Qingxin. Zhongli knows Xiao can smell it too, can feel it in the way his fingers momentarily curl into the fabric of Zhongli’s clothing. 

“Divine,” Zhongli compliments to the tea, free hand rubbing against the plush of Xiao’s ass, “Freshly brewed, Qingxin petals simmered and sautéed for enjoyment.” 

He looks away from the drink and turns his gaze up to Xiao, “A-Xiao, would you like a taste?” 

The younger’s eyes flicker at the attention, his waterline welling up with the golden flakes of pleasure Zhongli sought to find again. He only bobs his head again, at a loss of words. 

Slowly, the master blows on the tea to cool it to a manageable temperature. Perhaps he draws the act out far longer than needed, but it’s all worth it in the way Xiao tries to maintain a still figure. Despite this, Zhongli can still feel the slight tremor running through his lover’s body at every movement. 

He carefully brings the cup up to Xiao’s mouth, “Drink.” 

Xiao’s eyes flutter shut and his lips gasp open, their plushness then pillowing against the edge of the ceramic cup and sipping at the contents when Zhongli tips it back into his mouth. 

Zhongli can’t enter Xiao’s mind. He wishes he could, but he has never come close. All that could be scraped up from the breadcrumbs being fed to him was the edging buzz of Xiao’s skin—but that was only due to the crippling mortality the former archon wore. It wasn’t a pleasant buzz, by all means, but it was the only key to truly understanding the heavyweight his partner was carrying. He made it a goal to lovingly brush his skin every time they saw each other, and just show how much he loved to touch him. Now, Zhongli finds himself relaxing at the gradual slump of Xiao’s shoulders as he continues to lap away at the tea. Each sip he takes unlocks a new door into the cloud-like dream that both of them want him to return to. 

Minutely, he pulls the teacup away as Xiao slows his gulps. Another refill is needed. They don’t exchange words as Zhongli sets the cup on the desk again, reaching for the teapot on the tray and filling the cup full again. 

“Drink more,” Zhongli instructs, but it loses its hard edges into more of a suggestion. 

As he lifts the second serving to Xiao’s glistening lips, their gazes meet. They fit together like a puzzle piece of anticipation—the anticipation of the next move, the next command, and the next resolve. 

Xiao drinks once more. Zhongli finds it quite impressive that the nature of his body doesn’t try to kick in and hold the cup himself—it only furthers Zhongli’s suspicions that they have become one. 

He finishes this cup quicker than the last, and it’s easily noticeable that his face is dusted with roses, ears and bare shoulders alike when Zhongli pulls the cup away. Some tea escaped at the corner of his mouth, dribbling down his chin. Zhongli gives it an easy swipe with his gloved thumb, a small smile gracing his lips. 

He sets it on the desk but doesn’t pull for another round. Instead, his hand returns to Xiao’s ass, completing the symmetry to match the other, “What do you say?” 

“T-Thank you…” he trails off, golden eyes blinking back wetness, “Zhongli-daren.” 

They meet with another kiss, and this time Zhongli allows their tongues to intertwine and search and feast . Xiao tastes deliciously of Qingxin flavored tea, a certain sweetness that prompted Zhongli to lick further into his mouth. 

The next sound that the kiss provoked out of Xiao went straight to Zhongli’s dick, and he groaned in response.

“So good,” he whispers against the yaksha’s lips, in between their heated kisses, “So good for me.” 

Had the younger not been in his current, muddled mindset, he would’ve been shying away at the praises. But he is far from that now, basking in the pride his master and lover allows him. Xiao loosely wraps his arms around Zhongli’s shoulders, grabbing onto whatever he can to place another bruising kiss on his master’s lips. 

They kiss and make out until they're both panting feverishly, but it’s more so on Xiao’s end—from kissing alone he looks wrecked. 

“Let me,” Xiao’s voice comes out with a crack, small and fragile before he’s slipping off of Zhongli’s lap and down on his knees again, “let me… do this for you.” 

Zhongli would never turn down such a  tantalizing offer. 

His cock was still straining hard, yearning for contact after it suffered from patience through their kisses. Even the most simple act of Xiao’s submission into drinking mere tea could completely trigger his eternal want for the younger. So when Xiao’s slim fingers wrap around his thick girth, Zhongli seizes a breath through his teeth, bucking up lightly into the contact. 

Those reddened lips wrap around him more than his elegant fingers do and all the older man can do is allow himself to groan, gripping firmly at the chair’s arms. 

“If I see you try to suffocate yourself again you will be punished,” Zhongli reminds him, a bead of sweat collecting at his temple. It’s getting way too hot in here, most of it radiating off of Xiao’s display. The adeptus whimpers into his mouthful of cock, practiced tongue smoothing the edges of Zhongli’s veins. Xiao manages to swallow the full length of him once more before pulling back and kissing the tip and repeating altogether. 

The younger is looking up at him through his eyelashes now, and it only prompts Zhongli to harshly grab at his hair, moving it out of his face. 

All the while, Xiao continues to rub his lips along the slit of his master’s arousal, collecting precome as a balm, and Zhongli had never wanted to taste himself on his lover's lips more than this. 

He watches Xiao’s tongue lave over the next drip of beading precome, watches him moan into the action, watches him sink down to claim his prize at the bottom again. His master’s body wracks with a tremor, the hand in his hair threading through the dual-colored locks, “ Yes , A-Xiao, just like that.” 

At this rate, Zhongli’s bound to cower over the edge. He’d been hiding Xiao under his desk since noon, faintly enjoying the buzz in his skin that the foreign activity brought to him. Now, things were finally escalating beyond just a buzz, and a long-awaited release was what they were both hurtling towards. 

“So good,” Zhongli grunts as Xiao begins to bob his head, “you… have managed to slip unnoticed into my office and keep my cock attended while I work. The gall in you. Such a good boy.” On a regular day, Zhongli would turn his head and politely wrinkle his nose upon such loose usage of language—but he’d let this one slide. It wasn’t a normal day for them, after all. It was enticing watching Xiao wade into a foggy state of mind through submission, be brought out of it via rejection, and bring him back once more. 

At this point, Zhongli is only rocking his hips up in fractions to the rhythm his lover has set with his mouth, panting at the wet heat that leaves an ache for more in its trail. Xiao’s eyes flutter shut, a few tears peaking at the corners of his eyes—it’s an action that alerts Zhongli that Xiao knows they’re approaching his orgasm. He can’t help the swell of pride and love that furls in his chest when he realizes how hard Xiao works towards the peak of his master's pleasure.

Zhongli tightens his hold suddenly when the heat builds up all too quick, “Swallow. All of it.” 

He releases down Xiao's throat with a groan, and perhaps he pulses just a little more when that high-pitched moan vibrates in the yaksha’s throat, delightfully drinking down his master's come. 

They’re left breathless again, Xiao slowly sliding his mouth off of Zhongli’s softening dick and laying his head on his thigh. He looks so sweet in that position, a certain want peeling off of his skin and beckoning someone to hold him. As soon as Zhongli regains some peace of mind, his fingers twitch out of Xiao’s hair and he’s whispering, “Come up here.” 

 

—— 

 

The candle is nearly burnt to the very metal base it's placed on, wax clumping at the bottom of the candle tray and mounting in clouds of white. The smell of the incense burner, long burnt out, still resonates and floats through the room that’s darkened by the heavy clouds protecting the moon.

Xiao’s head rests against Zhongli’s shoulder as he dozes off, curled in his lap and fitting into the edges of his master’s body that the owner of the said body could not fill. His breath is warm and ticklish as it hits the skin on Zhongli’s neck, breaking in a smooth rhythm with his slumber. 

They’re still in Zhongli’s office. 

If he were to be vain enough to think about it, this really was a long day in his mortal life. His back was beginning to hurt from sitting all day. He needed to move around—but with the cute lover curled in his arms, it was difficult to. 

Even so, he knew he had to get up eventually. 

Carefully, he tightened his hold on the younger and pushed them both up from the seat. His breathing remained the same, much to Zhongli’s delight, which means the motion didn’t startle him awake.

Finding a local night-stay outside of the Funeral Parlor seemed to be the safest bet. 

Before he leaves with Xiao, he presses a chaste kiss to his forehead, leans down, and blows the candle out. The room mutes itself of light, forever closing the chapter to their sinuous activities.