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Under the sun's hot rays.

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Xingqiu could recite his beloved martial arts novel front to back. He could tell you what happened to his brother 8 years ago that almost made him cry from laughter, and that the older boy made him swear never to speak aloud ever again. Xingqiu could also conveniently forget what you told him an hour ago once he found something better to spend his time with. Yet, there was a point in time that Xingqiu could remember distinctively. A time where Chongyun had asked why he liked him so much. 

Well, the actual question happened to be why Xingqiu liked to be around him so much but the words translated in Xingqiu’s head, and whys became whats, and the many works in progresses of journals Xingqiu had written about a boy named Chongyun came to life. 

He remembered the doe eyed look on Chongyun’s face as the words left his mouth, he remembered the warm colours in the sky as the sun began to set, and he remembered wanting nothing more than to reach forward and squish the inviting cheeks in front of him.

Xingqiu remembered how he was almost tempted to ask how long Chongyun had to hear his answer, and how his best friend stared expectantly as blue eyes almost filled with the insecurity that leaked into the question. Xingqiu’s own eyes had softened, and his hand lowered the book that previously held his attention. He remembered the gentle breeze that passed through them at that time and how it blew icy hair further onto Chongyun’s face. 

Without much thought, Xingqiu had leant forward and brushed it out of the way. His hand lingering in its softness and a warm feeling settling within him as he watched pink dust across pale cheeks. 

“Well, you see dear Chongyun.” He had said. “Your presence makes me feel whole. It’s enough to quell raging storms and existential calls from ever plaguing my soul. Being around you makes me feel more like me, and as the second son of Feiyun Commerce Guild that means more to me than you would think.” 

Xingqiu remembered the many emotions that swirled through those blue eyes, although Chongyun’s face remained stoic he could see his brain racing to process his words. Xingqiu remembered how Chongyun looked away once he caught up, and how the hand in his lap curled into a loose fist of his pants. The hand that remained on Chongyun’s face cupped his cheek and lifted his head once more, “I mean it. Every day I thank the archons that you put up with my quips and pranks and stay by my side. For that I will never grow bored of being around you.” 

Xingqiu remembered the teary smile the boy gave that Chongyun would proceed to deny ever occurred. 

 

Some may call him whipped, others lovestruck. Xingqiu? Well, Xingqiu didn’t know what he would label it. Only that he was well and truly enamored by a blue haired exorcist that held the title of his dearest friend. To be blessed to simply be around him, was indeed enough for Xingqiu. 

So, he took pride in being able to see sides to Chongyun little to no one else ever could. Behind Xingqiu’s pranks held warmth in his eyes, behind his book held secret glances at the innocent smile Chongyun displays when he’s lost in a daydream; the little quirk of a brow he does in his concentration, and how his eyes stay locked to the ground when he’s feeling defeated. Xingqiu could pick up small cues, he could see all the changes in his expressions and moods. He could see the times where Chongyun was Chongyun, free of his duties and disciplines, albeit for a short time.

It was only inevitable that soon enough, Xingqiu noticed that congenital positivity his friend sometimes cursed affected him in different ways. He tailored his pranks and teasing to learning more, keeping note of several reactions until he was able to determine the right amount of heat or spice to cause a certain behavior. Honestly, he wondered how Chongyun hadn’t picked up on his experiment but soon realized he was the same Chongyun who always seemed to trust Xingqiu even after his many pranks and ‘lies’. 

And so, the scale of Chongyun’s congenital positivity came to life. 

 

The first time Xingqiu had noticed what he liked to call the ‘tame stage’ happened to be the first time he saw Chongyun wearing different attire to his usual ones. Xingqiu had raised an eyebrow as his friend walked over to him, watching the way Chongyun kept tugging at the collar of this new hoodie engulfing him. Xingqiu marked his page and closed his book once the boy came to a stop, looking over him once more. 

“Hello, dear Chongyun. I see you’ve decided to spice up your closet.” Xingqiu said, with amusement clear in his voice. The hoodie clearly was not his size, sleeves falling past his hands and the material practically hanging off his body. A laugh was all Xingqiu could do not to melt at how utterly adorable it looked above amusing. Secretly, it had become another memory Xingqiu would think back on often. 

If that wasn’t enough, Chongyun had the nerve to huff in response and a pout rested on his lips. A pout ! Xingqiu prayed his cheeks didn’t betray him like his heart in his chest did, his stance almost faltering. 

“I went to accept intel from someone who said they had sighted an evil spirit in Lingju Pass, but out of nowhere a Mitachurl attacked and so I was forced to fight it off before any harm could fall. Except…it knocked me off a small cliff into a river right as I defeated it. The man felt bad for me and gave me this to change into so I wouldn’t have to leave in wet clothes, but as you can see-” Chongyun paused for air before raising his arms, “- It’s much too big.” 

Xingqiu lifted a hand to his mouth to stifle his laughter, he almost wondered if their friend from Mondstadt’s bad luck was beginning to rub off on Chongyun too. Regardless, he was more than glad he covered his mouth prior to seeing Chongyun lift his arms. With his arms in the air to demonstrate just how baggy the jumper was, Xingqiu felt his heart pump a little faster at the sight. Too cute. 

“I see, that’s quite unfortunate. I take it you didn’t go and investigate the spirit?” asked Xingqiu, once he had internally regained himself. 

Chongyun sighed and shook his head, the pout all too nearing to return. “He insisted I went home and go back tomorrow.” 

“There, there. At least you can go back tomorrow, it’s not a failed mission now is it?” Xingqiu assured, unable to resist reaching forward to pat his friend’s head. He didn’t miss the way pale cheeks warmed with the action or the faint way Chongyun leaned into his touch before stepping back. 

“I’m not a dog.” He stated, but nodded all the same. “I suppose so.”

Xingqiu laughed lips curling into his teasing smile, “It seemed to me that you liked it, won’t you be more honest with me dear Chongyun?” In response, Chongyun looked away sheepishly and tugged once again at the collar of the hoodie. Xingqiu decided that the gods must have been smiling down on him to bless him with the sight of so many expressions in one day. 

Yet the thought still plagued him; “Is there something wrong with it?” Xingqiu asked, watching Chongyun’s movements. What he really wanted to ask was if he wasn’t hot in it, after all the sun was shining above them and the hoodie happened to be the worst color to wear in the sun. Looking closer, he was sure the boy was sweating. That couldn’t be a good sign. 

“It’s just…a bit warm.” Chongyun mumbled, resorting to fanning himself weakly, and whilst Xingqiu wanted to see how the events would play out, a nicer part of him took pity on his friend and led him under the shade of a nearby tree. 

“You’re such an idiot sometimes, Yun.” Chongyun looked up in both confusion and offense. “I assume you wore this all the way back here, honestly I’m surprised your condition hasn’t kicked in full swing. That material and color is no good in the sun.” 

Chongyun grumbled quietly, probably embarrassed to be called out, and summoned a popsicle to cool down. He clearly didn’t have a good retort. Xingqiu couldn’t help but smile and nudge his friend with his elbow. 

“Welcome back.” 

Blue eyes shone rivalling the clear sky above them, and a small smile tugged at cute lips. Xingqiu would replay the image of that smile in his mind for the rest of the day, and soon make note that Chongyun was more relaxed in this tame stage of congenital positivity. 

 

Funnily enough, the next stage Xingqiu came to call the ‘mild’ stage also came to light on a hot day. Usually, if Chongyun stayed out in the sun for too long it would send him into a maniac-like episode, and so Xingqiu would sometimes take it upon himself to gift the boy a parasol on hot days they’d spend together. Somehow, he underestimated the heat that day and overestimated Chongyun’s ability to keep cool. 

For once, Chongyun wasn’t busy running up and down looking for intel or searching for spirits. Instead, he insisted Xingqiu come train with him. Xingqiu let himself be dragged for a change, only to take a seat on a nearby wall and open up a book as Chongyun wielded his weapon and began to practice his slashes. This was common between them, by now Xingqiu could pinpoint the moment in which Chongyun would come over and force him to train as well. That’s if his attention wasn’t fully captured by his book. 

What he didn’t expect was for a hand to be pushing his book down so soon. Golden eyes slowly looked up to meet…glazed eyes in return? Xingqiu blinked. 

“You promised you would train with me today.” There was a slight whine to Chongyun’s voice, and an obvious red tint to his face. Oh, archons above the pout had returned . Xingqiu wondered if his intake of breath was audible or if the sound of his heart drowned it out.

“Ch-Chongyun..?” He stammered, he – Xingqiu – stammered. Yet, Chongyun didn’t falter. Instead, his hands fell to rest on Xingqiu’s knees and he moved closer with the same look on his face. Was this Xingqiu’s punishment for the recent prank he had pulled on the boy? 

“You promised.” Said Chongyun, were his eyes…teary? That couldn’t be. Xingqiu’s mind had long betrayed him and he could only stare in shock. “Xingqiu!” 

Blinking, once again, Xingqiu snapped out of it and noted his friend’s eyes were indeed teary and the pout had only grown. Closing his book for good, Xingqiu placed it beside him and hesitantly lifted his hands with the intention of placing them on Chongyun’s shoulders. “Yes, yes. I’ll train with you, but first I must know if you’re okay.” 

Chongyun looked confused. He looked confused, if anything Xingqiu should be the confused one! 

“I’m fine?” He replied, looking anything but his usual fine. It took much longer than it should have for Xingqiu to catch onto the fact it must be his condition acting up. He wanted to smack himself for not releasing sooner but instead sighed and jumped down from the wall. He already missed the feeling of Chongyun’s hands on his knees but that was the last thing he should be thinking about. 

“How about we rest under the shade for a while?” Xingqiu offered, giving a smile to convince his friend. He had a feeling it wasn’t only the warmth that was causing it but the added fact that he seemed to be training so conscientiously. 

“But—” 

“We haven’t had lunch yet, aren’t you hungry? I am, I could do with something to eat before training.” Xingqiu intervened, guiding Chongyun with a light push towards a tree. The latter sighed defeatedly, Xingqiu willed his mind not to pick up on the whine like sound that followed. This was absolutely not how his congenital positivity was supposed to be, Xingqiu was not meant to be the one feeling embarrassed. 

Once settled underneath the tree, Xingqiu gets out their lunch making extra sure that he didn’t mix it up. Whilst he could declare himself a pro at dealing with Chongyun’s sudden exuberant personality, he somehow got the feeling it wouldn’t end well for him in particular. 

Xingqiu took the time to inspect his friend as they ate; from the redness to his face, to the hair clinging to his forehead, and the way his knee bounced as a way to keep moving. There was never usually a build up to his condition coming to life, it always happened instantaneously, and so Xingqiu was unsure of what to make of this current situation. 

He must have been caught up in his thoughts for too long, for a weight on his shoulder dragged him back to the real world. Xingqiu looked down to be met with a face full of soft hair, and stilled momentarily. 

“Yun?” 

Silence. 

Until Chongyun shifted closer and wrapped both his arms around Xingqiu’s left arm. Xingqiu swallowed, his heart definitely racing in his chest by now. “Yun..?” He asked again. The boy simply hummed. “You can’t be…comfortable like that, now.” Xingqiu laughed, almost nervously. 

“…Do you not like me being close to you?” 

Now Xingqiu didn’t expect that, or the hurt in his voice. “No, no. I don’t mind at all! I’m just concerned about your comfort.” He hurried to say, “I wouldn’t want my dear Chongyun to be in pain after all.” Good save, Xingqiu. 

Chongyun let out a sound that could only be described as a giggle, and Xingqiu came to the conclusion that he truly was being punished. “M’comfortable…” 

The weight on his shoulder grew heavier, and it took Xingqiu a moment to realize his friend had fallen asleep. He let out a deep exhale, carefully putting the rest of his food away the best he could with one hand. 

Chongyun had no right to be so damn cute. 

 

Later, Xingqiu found himself with an extension as they returned to the guild. The extension being Chongyun who seemed to fear Xingqiu would disappear forever if he had let go. Xingqiu could only give awkward and sheepish smiles to those who looked in their direction, and pray they wouldn’t run into their friends. 

Eventually, the ‘mild stage’s symptoms came to include clinginess and emotional bursts. And eventually, Xingqiu learned to come out on top with a gleeful smile each time Chongyun would succumb to this stage.

Chongyun always stayed at least 5 feet away from him the days after, and covered his ears when Xingqiu proceeded to tease him. 

 

It was the third stage that Xingqiu really started to notice his friend’s weakness to the heat, as if the times where Chongyun’s congenital positivity hit its peak under the sun meant nothing. It wasn’t only warm clothing that affected him, or training too hard, but simply being under the rays of the sun for a few seconds too long caused self-control to flee and what Xingqiu liked to acknowledge as Chongyun’s actual hidden self to arise.

There wasn’t a build up to this stage, nor was it as bad as when it usually hit its peak, it simply occurred out of nowhere. 

Xingqiu had a feeling something would happen, after all even he was feeling the effects of the warmth as they walked around. Unfortunately, Chongyun had broken his parasol on an expedition (which he profusely apologized to Xingqiu for when he was forced to break the news to him) meaning his protection against both the sun and his condition was gone. 

Xingqiu was just about ready to announce he wanted to sit in some shade, and melt in peace, when slightly clammy hands were grabbing onto his own and tugging excitedly. Blinking, Xingqiu looked up in surprise only to grow more surprised at the giddy look on Chongyun’s face.

“Let’s go for a run!” 

Xingqiu stared at his friend as though he had just been involved in some scandalous affair. “A run ?” He echoed, even more put off by the excited nod he received in return. There was absolutely no way he was going on a run in this heat. 

“Dear Chongyun, have you finally lost your mind?” Xingqiu asked, tugging the boy back when he showed movements of following through on his words. A ‘normal’ Chongyun would glare at him and find some retort. This Chongyun can’t seem to stay still. 

“The breeze is so nice, and the sky is so pretty. It would be a waste not to make the most of this day!” Chongyun all but exclaimed, Xingqiu could only stare with a quirked brow. Ah, there was that redness to his face. Of course, it had to be the positivity. 

With a half reluctant sigh, Xingqiu allowed himself to be dragged by his friend only half listening to his ramble about the exorcist job he had taken on a few days ago mixed with anything else that seemed to come to mind. Yet the truth was, Xingqiu loved every second of it. 

Each time Chongyun would glance over his shoulder at him with his face adorning a wide smile, Xingqiu felt years added to his life. He was once again truly enamored. 

Chongyun suited a giddy expression, the bounce in his steps sent flutters in Xingqiu’s chest. The times Chongyun’s congenital positivity acted up seemed to be the times he had the most fun and Xingqiu would forever thank the archons he could be there to experience it with him.

You see, the first time Xingqiu had discovered this third stage also happened to mark a rather significant change between them. A change that Xingqiu could remember vividly and recite to you perfectly.  

He remembered fanning himself as Chongyun rambled, he could remember the heat between their hands that Chongyun held so casually, and the way he couldn’t stop the smile that painted his face. Xingqiu could remember fantasizing of what it would be like to do this all the time, and he remembered the moment he tuned back into the words his friend was saying. The way everything seemed to come to a stop as his brain finally caught up. 

“Xingqiu?” Chongyun asked, as Xingqiu suddenly stilled.

Xingqiu swallowed, wracking his brain to conclude if what heard was true. “Say that again.”

Chongyun tilted his head, “Xingqiu…?” he repeated in confusion. Xingqiu remembered being unsure of whether he wanted to laugh or kiss his adorable face. 

“No, what you said before that.”

It took Chongyun a moment to think back on his rambles, Xingqiu could see the gears working in his head. The second he remembered was obvious by the way his eyes lit up, and the smile returned to his face. Oh, how he wanted to eternalize that smile, write it down in words, or pay someone to capture it in all the right shades. 

“Thank you for being my first love.” 

Xingqiu remembered the slight déjà vu feeling of light breeze sweeping past them as the words left Chongyun’s mouth. He remembered the confidence in his voice and the newly turned grin on a usually stoic face. He remembered the air leaving his body, or perhaps it was his soul finally ascending. 

For the first few seconds, Xingqiu attempted to form words from the splutters that let him down, until he could finally get out; “Do you really mean that? You…love me? Romantically?” Xingqiu never thought he would ever feel like the characters in romance novels, he rarely lost composure, and yet he remembered feeling as though he had transported to a new world. 

Chongyun stepped forward, a clammy hand cupping his cheek as he seemed to stare into his very existence. “Your eyes remind me of Cor Lapis” He murmured, the features of his faces softening under the embarrassed shocked gaze of his friend.

“C-Chongyun—” 

Xingqiu was immediately cut off by the feeling of something pressing against his lips. Xingqiu remembered how short the kiss was, over in the blink of an eye. He remembered feeling his cheeks mimic the shade of Chongyun’s, and a new warmth spread through his racing heart. He remembered his knees threatening to buckle and Chongyun continuing to pull him along before they could.

Xingqiu remembered the anxiety of having to wait until Chongyun had come to his right mind.

If Xingqiu was embarrassed at the time, then he didn’t have the words to describe how Chongyun must have felt when his mind pieced together his actions. Face turning as red as the chilies he tried so desperately to avoid. Xingqiu felt it for his friend, who hid behind his hands, but his own need for an answer was killing him slowly. 

“Chongyun” 

He remembered the gradual way Chongyun removed his hands from his face, and the look of slight fear in blue eyes. “Did…Did you really mean it?” 

“….Yes.” 

Silence. 

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have kissed you out of nowhere. I shouldn’t have broken my parasol; I understand if you no longer want to stay friends with me—”

Xingqiu remembered being the one to silence his friend that time, he remembered the soft gasp that caused Chongyun’s lips to part against his, and he remembered the hesitant inexperienced way Chongyun tried to reciprocate the kiss. Xingqiu remembered the way his heart pounded against his chest the entire time.

“Your eyes could beat any natural sky in a competition of beauty, dear Chongyun.” 

He couldn’t help but laugh at the dazed look on Chongyun’s face as his fingers rested upon his lips. Nor the way his heart swelled as a bright smile tugged at his cheeks. Xingqiu only had a second to react to the boy throwing his arms around him, all but tackling him to the ground. 

“Yun!?” A tight squeeze in return. His positivity had acted up once again. 

Xingqiu laughed openly, wrapping his arms around Chongyun to complete the hug. 

He labelled this stage as his favorite stage. The stage in his positivity where his giddiness took over his brain to mouth filter and his cuteness seemed to hit max level. For practical purposes he noted it down as moderate, symptoms including an energetic, bouncy, no filtered but still manageable Chongyun.

Of course, he had to wait for Chongyun to once again regain himself for them to finish their conversation. To thank him instead for being Xingqiu’s first and only love, and to officially declare each other boyfriends. 

Chongyun still hid in embarrassment when the story of his random confession and boldness was told to their friends. 

 

The chaotic stage was what most knew of Chongyun’s congenital positivity to be, the side to him that Xingqiu based his research off of and had the most fun scheming. Symptoms included: a whole new person. Or in more specific terms; excitable, extremely friendly and illogicalness amongst much more.

Really, you couldn’t blame Xingqiu for tricking the boy into eating spicy foods if it meant you could see him dancing on a table or running around and talking so fast Xingqiu wondered if he were rapping. 

In this stage, Chongyun never remembered what occurred during his episodes. It was interesting really, how one could cause so much harmless chaos and remain blissfully unaware. Xingqiu almost envied how free Chongyun could be for a short while and still be free of blame, granted Xingqiu was always the one to make sure it stayed that way. Even so, it made a nice change to see Chongyun openly happy. Secretly, the reason why Xingqiu would go through such efforts to trick him. Of course, the amusement he gained from it was a lucky bonus. 

Xingqiu loved to see the realization twinkle in blue eyes when Chongyun’s brain processed the spice in his food, he snickered when Chongyun would send an accusatory glare before his eyes glazed over and his face reddened. He loved that he could mentally click his fingers and up Chongyun would be from his seat with an overload of energy. Pleasantly satisfied, Xingqiu would ensure anything delicate was kept from edges and proceed to chase after his not-quite-boyfriend-yet. 

He didn’t need to be the one to tell tales of this maniac state, for Xiangling could recite to you the time Chongyun broke out into dance on one of the restaurant’s tables. Or how he ran around to each customer striking up conversations or tales of exorcist jobs he had done in the past – to which Xingqiu barely concealed his laughter as he ran to ensure his friend didn’t end up crawling onto any laps of strangers for his sense of personal space seemed to vanish. 

Xinyan could tell you the time she first met them, when Chongyun jumped up on stage to join her concert. It was also the first time Xingqiu had ever heard him sing. Xiangling would claim he stood lovestruck for a few moments, Xingqiu would argue he was simply shocked to hear Chongyun sing. Truthfully, his chest filled with new found admiration for his friend at the time. There was Chongyun singing his heart out, and he was singing well at that.

Of course, when his high had worn off he remembered nothing of it and stared in blatant confusion as Xinyan talked about teaming up for concerts some time. The embarrassment and horror on his face as Xingqiu recited what happened never failed to amuse the rich boy. 

“There, there, Dear Chongyun.” Xingqiu had said, “We made a new friend out of it. I wouldn’t say that was a bad thing, would you?”

Chongyun would reluctantly agree, and still stupidly fall for the lies and pranks Xingqiu had in store for him. 

Xingqiu absolutely adored how gullible Chongyun could be, how innocently dumb he could be despite his smartness. Xingqiu felt privileged to be the one to catch him when his high wore off and his body shut down, to hold him close with a smile as he apologized on Chongyun’s behalf and offered to settle the bills as though it wasn’t entirely his fault to begin with. 

Xingqiu loved to look down at Chongyun’s soft sleeping face as his cheek smushed against his shoulder, and he loved the secret times he was able to press a kiss to his forehead with a whisper of; “Thank you for always entertaining me again, my love.” And if the words ever did get past his unconscious mind, Xingqiu thanked the Archons that all he would receive was a gentle sound as Chongyun curled closer.

Some may call it bullying, Chongyun’s own ‘Victims of Xingqiu Alliance’ would certainly lead most to believe it but the two knew better than that. Which is why Chongyun continued to trust Xingqiu with all his heart, and why Xingqiu could get away with small things to make it up to the boy in return for continuing his pranks.

Which is why some nights, Xingqiu liked to believe they were made for each other. Nights like this, where he headed in the direction of Chongyun’s home with said boy passed out in his arms. Except tonight, he needn’t worry about handling his feelings for it was the first night Xingqiu had tricked him under the premise of boyfriends.

Chongyun had put on quite a show with his congenital positivity, Xingqiu had to smack a hand over his mouth before he could out their relationship to everyone in Liyue. The words of the love song Chongyun had randomly performed still lingered in his head. 

Xingqiu would deny his cheeks ever being pink, and his slight embarrassment as he stood amongst the crowd meeting Chongyun’s eyes. He clapped along all the same, heart warm with the knowledge that the words were directed at only him and at the end of the night Xingqiu would be the one leaving with the exorcist he called his boyfriend with a heart of gold.

Whilst Chongyun cursed his condition, Xingqiu could now smile and say: “I love every part of you, my dear. Your condition makes you even more loveable, it’s nothing at all to be ashamed of.” 

Chongyun would blush and turn away bashfully, and Xingqiu would lift his chin with thin elegant fingers to look into his eyes. “Now, say aah~” A mischievous smirk would tug at his lips as his free hand raised his chopsticks. 

It was safe to say the chaotic stage came in at close second for Xingqiu’s favorite side to Chongyun’s congenital positivity. 

 

The last stage was quite possibly the worst stage, for both Chongyun and Xingqiu. Sickness. It was pretty self-explanatory. 

The first time Xingqiu had witnessed the effects of Chongyun’s congenital positivity on illnesses, it wasn’t his fault…completely. Well, Xingqiu could hardly be the one to blame. He had happened to overhear someone talk about ghosts and how they were scared to ever return to the venue, of course his first thought would be Chongyun. 

Chongyun who seemed rather down as of late, Xingqiu could sense it in the way his eyes would stay casted to the ground beneath them and he’d only receive hums in reply to whatever was said. Xingqiu was growing desperate to find a way to lift his spirits as his reassuring words seemed to only have little impact. So really, it wasn’t his fault. 

Xingqiu simply directed Chongyun to the man and watched as those pure eyes lit up and Chongyun accepted the commission. Free of charge of course, hardly a commission but Chongyun always took what he could get. Xingqiu would deal with helping him get the fees later, what mattered was Chongyun’s spirits had been raised once more and Xingqiu could go about his day knowing he played a role to help. 

Except, he didn’t expect for Chongyun to return later that evening coughing and sneezing. The kicked puppy look Chongyun wore probably audibly shattered his heart as he ushered him inside and called for servants to aid the ever-growing weak exorcist. 

Since witnessing how Chongyun’s condition prolonged any illnesses he may get, Xingqiu came to understand why the boy was more diligent than most in ensuring he didn’t get sick. The coughs that would wrack his body made even Xingqiu wince, his pained whines when his fever flared caused Xingqiu to feel utterly helpless. 

So, once Chongyun had recovered, Xingqiu set out to meet with the exorcist’s family. Chongyun, luckily, decided to go back to work on commissions that day. It was slightly awkward, meeting his best friend’s family without Chongyun actually being present. Somehow, sweet talking came harder to Xingqiu as he tried to ask for guidance on how to help their son without accidentally revealing he was the reason his congenital positivity acted up most of the time. 

Thankfully, Chongyun’s parents were kind enough to help Xingqiu learn more about his condition and even thanked him for being by Chongyun’s side. Xingqiu totally, 100%, did not leave feeling like he had just gained permission for Chongyun’s hand in marriage that day. 

However, should Chongyun fall sick again (which he hoped would be never) Xingqiu would now be more prepared. Of course, not everyone is immune to sickness, and of course sooner or later it had to be his poor Chongyun left to suffer what started as a small cold yet again.

It still wasn’t his fault. 

Xingqiu wanted to claim, and did claim as he requested for food from Xiangling who simply glared with a raised brow when she delivered what was ordered. Xingqiu stood his ground next to his boyfriend, laying in his bed with a cold towel slowly sliding off his flushed face. It wasn’t his fault. All he did was accompany the boy to Luhua Pool where there were rumored spirits roaming around. It wasn’t as though he paid someone to give the intel to Chongyun…not at all. 

Neither of them expected to find Abyss Mages gathered in the corner of the dungeons, but quickly prepared for combat all the same. Now, Xingqiu had mastered his martial artist’s moves long ago. He knew how to avoid drenching himself with his vision and how to aim his attacks. All they needed to do was lure them close to the pool’s water, break their shields and Chongyun’s cryo damage could do the rest…if Chongyun didn’t also fall into the water. Really, he needed to stop spending time with Bennett, Xingqiu thought. 

“Do you want to return home?” He had asked, once all that was left were their soft pants and the dungeons before them. 

Chongyun, despite being soaked top to bottom, shook his head. “There might still be spirits inside, I couldn’t leave knowing that I didn’t double check.” 

And so, Xingqiu followed after his boyfriend to inspect the dungeons – blocking out his guilty conscious screaming at him to tell Chongyun he made up the intel. He most definitely did not expect to hear sounds other than their footsteps, (as well as the drips of water falling from Chongyun) and he definitely did not step forward to hold onto Chongyun’s arm. Naturally, the sounds seemed to excite Chongyun who soon took off in their direction leaving Xingqiu to chase along with a nervous call of his name.

In the end, Chongyun didn’t get to see any spirits like he had hoped and Xingqiu once again had to reassure him he still had plenty of chances ahead of him. So, really , it wasn’t his fault. Sure, he paid someone to give his boyfriend false information, which just so happened not to be fake after all, and sure he could have been more persistent in getting Chongyun to dry off instead of walk the entire way back home (with a few pit-stops) in wet clothes. But that didn’t make it entirely his fault…

Xiangling only sighed and shoved the food into Xingqiu’s hands, clearly not convinced. “I heard soup is supposed to help sick people, I made sure there are herbs in there to help even more. Nothing spicy included, of course!” 

Xingqiu bit back a chuckle at the slightly pained look on her face as she announced there was nothing spicy. “Thank you very much, Xiangling. For coming at short request too, I hope your hunt for more food combinations goes well.”

With a bright smile, Xiangling allowed Xingqiu to walk her to the door. “Anything to help! Let him know that I hope he recovers soon, and no bullying him!” She made sure to punctuate this with light jabs to his chest. 

Xingqiu feigned mock offense, raising a hand to his chest. “I would never bully my dear Chongyun.” 

Rolling her eyes, Xiangling took her leave with a quiet wave and one last look at the sickly boy in bed. 

It was a cough, or rather a wheeze, that had Xingqiu spinning around once he closed the door. Chongyun was now attempting to sit up, looking over at Xingqiu with watery eyes and one of the saddest expressions on his face. If there was a time Xingqiu thought he was being punished before, he’s definitely being tortured now. 

“Yun, what’s wrong?” Xingqiu asked, rushing back over to the bed. Chongyun sniffled, whether that was because he really was on the verge of crying or the runny nose that came with the cold was making a return – Xingqiu didn’t want to find out. 

“Don’t go.” Chongyun croaked out, weakly reaching out for Xingqiu. Oh Archons, Chongyun wasn’t supposed to be adorable in this state. 

Gently placing the food down on the table, Xingqiu took his seat beside the bed once more. “I would never leave you, my love. I was simply bidding Xiangling goodbye.” 

There was brief confusion in blue eyes, before Chongyun erupted into a coughing fit body heaving forward. Xingqiu felt himself wince as he reached forward to rub his boyfriend’s back. 

“I hate this…” Chongyun whined, so quietly it rivalled a whisper. Xingqiu couldn’t agree more, Chongyun being a cute type of clingy when sick was nice and all but it wasn’t at all worth it to see the pained look on his face as he flopped back against the bed. 

Brushing sweaty hair back, Xingqiu conjured cool water to temporarily replace the cold towel that laid upon Chongyun’s forehead. “I know, the servants are currently preparing the medicine your parents told me about. Although, it’ll only help bring down your general sickness as opposed to your condition. Xiangling also brought you some soup to help as well. I won’t leave until you’ve recovered, okay?”

Chongyun could only manage a weak nod, surprisingly not questioning when Xingqiu had ever talked to his parents without his knowledge. “Nothing…hot.” He murmured, finding Xingqiu’s free hand to hold onto. 

Part of Xingqiu wondered if the reason his sickness lasted so long was because he never had any warm liquids, but decided that was for another day to ask. Instead, he breathed a laugh. “Nothing hot.” He confirmed, giving a gentle squeeze to his hand. 

It continued like that for the next few hours. Xingqiu let him rest for a little while longer whilst the soup cooled down, then woke him up for him to eat what he could manage. Sometimes, the boy looked as though he was close to bringing it back up but after multiple heaves, he thankfully managed to keep it down. 

Chongyun would drift in and out of consciousness, after that, each time searching for Xingqiu in some way or another (which made the rich boy feel warmer than he should have). His fever would fluctuate at times, something Chongyun’s parents told him was normal, until eventually the redness of his face gradually lessened and Chongyun looked more at peace when he slept. 

All the while, Xingqiu stayed right by his side.

 

It was safe to say the sick stage truly was, by far, the worst stage for them both. So, Xingqiu took it upon himself to also diligently ensure Chongyun rarely experienced sickness like that again.

 

Thinking back on it, creating the scale of Chongyun’s congenital positivity was certainly a journey. A journey that started with an unknown growing crush, and secret glances. 

Xingqiu could write a novel of his own, a novel of how the mischievous hero gained the heart of Angel to stay forever by his side. A story about what it meant to be free, much like the people of Monstadt. Whether it was gained by being by the side of your beloved or your condition letting your guard down for a short while. Or, perhaps to be free was to simply be two boys in Liyue experiencing new forms of love every day.

Xingqiu smiled, tapping the end of his pen against his lip. Maybe he would write a story. 

A story about a boy named Chongyun, whose excessive yang energy brought them together under the sun’s hot rays.