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Two Dozen Ways To Relax

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“Still working, are we?”

Lisa loves the view from Jean’s desk onto Mondstadt, but she prefers the view from the door more. The sight of a lovely, diligent knight, currently hunched tiredly over a pile of papers, stings deep in her chest.

“These reports need to be approved today,” sighs Jean. “I should be done in a few hours.”

A few hours. By then, the silver starlight that pours through the massive windows behind Jean would turn golden, trembling with the freshness of the morning. This is the fourth time this week.

“Why won’t you join me in enjoying a cup of tea, as is befitting of a lady?”

“My duties as a knight are more important than the actions of a lady.”

Jean’s attention has gone back to her reports, as expected. It’s not going to be as simple as that, but she can be just as stubborn as the Acting Grand Master where it counts.

“Then what about your duties as a friend?”

Blue eyes meet hers defiantly over parchment, but Lisa holds an airy smile. It’s a dirty move, but she doesn’t care. Jean’s been hunched over that desk for hours, and Lisa will be damned if Jean wastes away in this office.

Jean sighs. “I know what you’re doing.”

“What am I doing?”

Lisa ignores her stern look, opting instead to keep smiling. It’s a familiar conversation between them, yet something fiercely protective charges through her chest.

“I cannot, Lisa. There’s so much to be done.”

“Ah, I’ve forgotten that the duties of the Acting Grand Master don’t include taking a break.”

“Lisa.”

“Jean.”

“We’ve been over this.”

“We have, haven’t we?”

Jean scowls at her for a moment, before sighing in defeat.

“I appreciate your concern. And I know I should rest more, if I want to work better in the future. It’s just-”

The blonde bites her lip and looks away. Lisa rounds her table to gently touch Jean’s shoulder.

“What is it, darling?”

“Promise you won’t laugh.”

“I promise.”

“I-” Jean sighs, exasperated. “I don’t know how to relax.”

Lisa bites back the smile that threatens her lips. Of course Jean would have this problem.

“Luckily for you, cutie, I’m an excellent teacher.”

“I wouldn’t want to-”

“You wouldn’t be bothering me at all.”

Jean goes quiet, watching her carefully.

So Lisa says, “I could teach you at least two dozen ways to relax, just off the top of my head.”

Two dozen?

Lisa giggles and flicks Jean’s nose playfully. “There are even more, can you imagine?”

Jean shakes her head, and Lisa cannot hold back her laughter any longer.

“So when shall we begin the coaching, dear?”

“Um- Let me just finish these reports, and then there’s a mee-”

Lisa sighs. She has her work cut out for her.

-

Cider Lake is beautiful at this time of the year, all still waters and calming blues. Lisa spots a pair of cranes on the other side of the lake, dots of white against the verdant grass shuddering with Mondstadt’s blessed winds.

Jean’s fingers restlessly tap on the checkered blanket beneath them.

The air smells of dandelions and sugar, the former from the flowers all around them, and the latter from the Tea Break Pancakes courtesy of Noelle’s incredible cooking. Lowering her cup of tea, Lisa closes her eyes and drinks up the peace around her.

Jean coughs, a high-pitched and anxious sound.

Lisa cracks open an eye to see the beautiful blonde tensed all over, somehow clutching a teacup stressfully.

“Is there something wrong?”

“Kaeya was supposed to give in a security report that still hasn’t been filed.”

“No, no.” Lisa grasps Jean’s strong shoulders firmly. “No thinking about work when you’re relaxing.”

Jean blinks.

“It’s a common activity, darling. You’d best learn it.”

“What… Are we supposed to just...do nothing?”

“Yes, precisely. You were always so clever.”

“Lisa, don’t tease me.”

“I would never. I merely comment on your many fine qualities. Of which relaxing is not one, it seems.”

Jean sighs. “I’ve never been less relaxed in my life.”

Lisa giggles at the sweet frown on Jean’s face. “Here, I’ll show you. Close your eyes, sweetie.”

Jean does, and Lisa takes the opportunity to admire her beautiful eyelashes.

“Now hear the sound of rustling grass, and take in the smell of our surroundings. Feel the air on your skin. Listen to the ducks swimming in the lake, and remember the taste of these delicious pancakes.”

Eyes closed and brows frowned, Jean nods. Lisa hums, drawing her hands down to her calloused palms and drawing senseless patterns there. There’s nothing but the sound of nature around them, calming and steady, just like the woman before her.

“How about now?”

“Those reports were due yesterday , Lisa.”

Lisa can’t help but break into a laugh, and Jean joins in ruefully. The sound tingles across her skin and electrifies her fingertips with a different kind of magic.

“I will work on my relaxing, I promise.”

“Oh, darling.” Bless Jean’s noble heart. “That’s alright. We still have so many more ways to get you to relax.”

“These methods, uh-”

“No, they aren’t going to be like this.”

“Oh, thank Barbatos.”

-

So Lisa decides to work with Jean’s strengths, and that brings them to her library right after afternoon tea. Jean loves romance novels just a bit more than training manuals, and she decides to exploit this fact.

Gesturing to the shelves of the Romance section, Lisa says, “Pick any one.”

Jean blinks at the books, and then at her. Round eyes, furrowed brow, adorable pout. Lisa would eat her up, if she could.

“There’s nothing better than relaxing with a good book, isn’t there?”

“Very true.” Jean reaches for the spine of a novel. “I’ve read most of these, thanks to your recommendations.”

“Oh, you haven’t read all of them.” Lisa picks out a book and waves it in front of Jean.

Taking it, Jean only has to read the title before a beautiful pink blush spreads across her face.

“Lisa,” sighs Jean. “This is an inappropriate novel.”

“Oh, yes. That’s why it’s hidden away by invisibility magic. We can’t have anything tarnish the reputation of the Knights of Favonius, now, can we?”

Jean smiles at her then, and Lisa begs her heart to still.

"We are lucky to have someone so discerning as our librarian, then."

The sparks smart her cheeks, so she instead flicks the tip of Jean's nose.

"Thank you for the flattery, darling, but you still need to return it on time."

"Of course. But, um. Perhaps there is a book that is less...uh…"

Lisa laughs, and lets Jean pick whatever she pleases. They settle down in a quiet corner of the library, and Lisa alternates between focusing on the historical documentation of Old Mondstadt architecture and the angle of Jean's jawline.

Minutes turn into hours, and when the clock strikes four, Jean snaps her book shut.

“I must be going, now.”

Lisa hums and rises with the blonde, saying, “Well? Are you relaxed?”

“Very much so.” Jean’s eyes soften, like cottony clouds on a clear afternoon sky. “Thank you, Lisa.”

“You’re welcome, sweetie. Now, you can take the book, but remember it’s due in two weeks. There are no exceptions, not even for the Acting Grand Master.”

“Of course, I understand.”

Jean bows slightly, and really. If she keeps this up, Lisa’s going to be more charmed than she already is. But when the knight rises, her teeth worry her lower lip, eyes darting around the empty library. Lisa covers Jean’s hand on the novel with her own, and catches her gaze.

“Lisa, I… You are a great librarian, perhaps the best the Knights have been blessed to have.”

“Thank you, sweetheart. I try.”

Jean laughs awkwardly. “Your work here is indeed commendable, make no mistake of the fact. I am truly grateful to have you so close to me, especially on the days where things are difficult.”

The knight swallows.

“I am aware that you have turned down Grand Master Varka’s request to be a general. But should you ever wish for that title, you need only ask me. I can make it a reality.”

She means well, Lisa reminds herself. Jean sees things plainer than she does, and that simplicity is what makes her so good.

So she smiles and teases, “I thought you just said I was the best librarian for the Knights.”

“You are. But with your talent, perhaps you could be the greatest--”

Oh, Lisa has enough talent. Enough talent to end the summer warmth in Mondstadt and bring forth endless thunderstorms, enough talent to create potions that can control mind and muscle separately. Enough talent to rid Teyvat of pumpkins forever, and a little leftover to create a gadget that creates perfect tea every time.

The thoughts buzz around her head, charged by the memory of her studies and the strength of her knowledge. The lightness that fills her head is dangerous, she knows this.

“Lisa?”

She smiles, patting Jean's hand absently.

“Let’s get this book into the borrower’s register, shall we?”

The pages of the Borrower’s Register are thick and heavy. Logging in the book comes with the knowledge that if it isn’t returned in a fortnight, the librarian will go to pick it up. Simple and uneventful, as any common librarian in Teyvat would do.

“Lisa, I-”

“You have two weeks,” smiles Lisa. “Three, if you promise to leave the office before six.”

Jean smiles at that, nervous and apologetic.

-

"What do you normally do to relax?"

"I play with Gregory."

"Your pet tortoise?"

"Yes."

"...Jean."

"What? He's good company."

"You need to go out more."

-

Jean, Lisa quickly learns, cannot let herself relax unless it is for the greater good.

She curses the Acting Grand Master’s handbook for not having a chapter on designated breaks, because if there was, the knight would rest as earnestly as she works. As things currently stand, Lisa has to weave a complex patchwork of resting and working to convince Jean to take things easy.

So method #3 had been catching Jean after her morning runs with Amber, and forcing her to eat without cluttering the dining table with official documents. Method #7 had been to drag her out shopping under the ruse that an Acting Grand Master must dress the part. And method #9 had been to ask Jean to ‘test’ some muscle-relaxing bathing salts that supposedly helped injured knights recover faster.

Jean hadn’t agreed to Lisa joining her in the bath to truly study the effects of the bath salts, and she’s still smarting from the injustice of it all.

Either way, Lisa is exhausted from being so productive in her resting. It’s time Jean truly learned the joys of unwinding after a long day, so she drags the Acting Grand Master away from her desk and papers and to Angel’s Share.

While squinting at the menu under the dim golden lights of the bar, Jean shyly whispers, “I’ve not had these drinks before.”

“Mondstadt’s famous Dandelion Knight has not had Mondstadt’s famous Dandelion Wine?” whispers back Lisa, faux-scandalised.

“I must set a good precedent for the knights.” To drive home her point, she gestures to the many knights seated in the bar currently, all eyeing their boss with shocked curiosity.

Something protective jolts her stomach, and Lisa smudges her frown with a teasing whisper of, “Well, you’re not working now, so there’s no need for any precedent.”

And before Jean can argue, she asks Charles to bring over their best bottle of Dandelion Wine.

Wide-eyed and worried, Jean takes her first sip, and Lisa laughs at the displeased hiss that escapes her lips. Dandelion Wine is earthy and dry to taste, and the unenlightened have compared the taste to a mouthful of sand. However, like any other liquor, the true taste of floral spice only runs along your throat after a few glasses.

And surely enough, Jean’s unimpressed grimaces turn into lazy grins as the bottle empties.

Lisa quickly learns that Dandelion Wine, apart from contributing to Mondstadt’s financial strength, also has the ability to transform straightlaced knights into social butterflies. Face pink from the wine, Jean spots a knight and calls her over to join them, and soon two more join, and then three more, and suddenly the whole tavern is Jean’s friend.

José the six-fingered bard lifts his harp and strings a typical Mondstadt four-step jig, and Lisa finds herself being pulled onto her feet and into Jean's strong arms.

Jean dazzles so bright when she smiles like this, and Lisa simply drinks in the intoxicating glow of the taller woman’s laughter. She drops her head against Jean’s shoulder with a laugh, inhaling dandelion and wine as she’s guided firmly across the dancefloor.

Ever the gentlewoman, Jean breathes against her ear, “Are you alright, Lisa?”

“Of course.” Lisa is warm just from looking at Jean’s blush. “I’m always alright when I’m with you.”

“Good,” huffs Jean, smiling proudly. “Good. Now spin!”

And she twirls away from Jean’s warmth towards another knight, switching places to continue the flow of the dance. Yet Lisa’s eyes swim back to Jean, and Jean finds Lisa everytime, her secretive smile making her soar until time passes in a blur of music and movement and mead.

Much later, when Jean’s arms circle Lisa’s waist and she bids their newfound friends farewell, groans of protest drown out the music. But Jean waves it away with a gentle, “We have another day of work ahead of us, my good knights. I must be prepared, as always, and I hope you all rest soon as well.”

Lisa lets herself lean against Jean as they walk into the night, cold air smarting against warm cheeks. Giggling, they maneuver across blue stone, streaked silver from the moonlight. Jean laughs breathlessly against her hair, and Lisa thinks that this should be enough.

Chivalrous to a fault, Jean drops her at her doorstep, wobbling out a bow as Lisa leans against her door frame.

“Thank you for the wonderful night, Lisa.”

“You’re welcome, darling. But I must say, I never expected you to dance so well. I’m impressed.”

Jean laughs, suddenly shy, and Lisa feels herself leaning back into her arms.

“So much for precedent, huh, Acting Grand Master?” teases Lisa.

“I think I stand corrected, there.”

“Oh? Do elaborate.”

“Earlier, I had thought that drinking was improper for a leader to indulge in.” Jean frowns, swallowing thickly, and Lisa can feel the movement against her body. “However, I now realise that this seems to be an excellent way of raising troop morale. Such activities will break the barriers between knights and captains so that th--”

Lisa cannot help but laugh in exasperation.

“Really, Jean? Even at the bar?”

Jean’s laughter bends her into Lisa, the sound tingling up her throat and stinging her lips. She is beautiful, and so very warm. But this has to be enough.

-

When Lisa enters Jean’s office in the afternoon, Jean’s eyes snap to the invention in her hand.

“Ah, is this-”

“My Special Heating Cauldron,” smiles Lisa triumphantly. “Shall we test it out by making some tea?”

“Tea? You said that it could make anything.”

“Yes, and what is more difficult to make than a perfect cup of tea?”

Jean frowns. Lisa banishes away all the paper on her desk with a flick of her hand, lowering the cauldron gently.

“You drink too much coffee to appreciate the merits of a good cup of tea.”

“I really do,” sighs Jean. “I need to cut down on it. I know I say it every time, but…”

“Maybe you’ll become a tea person after this,” hums Lisa, pulling the lever once.

According to her calculations, the tea should be ready in 30 seconds. Water pours in from the automatic ingredient inserter into the main cooking segment, and the heating mechanism lights up to boil the water to perfection. The tea leaves she had bought from Liyue fall into the water then, followed by milk. The benefits of a perfect cup, without any of the effort.

“You are remarkable,” says Jean, when she pours out two cups of tea.

“Thank you, cutie. I know.”

Jean laughs, accepting her cup gingerly so as to not spill hot liquid. Lisa takes a sip, and watches Jean’s eyes waver to the papers on the side of her desk.

“This is the problem with you coffee drinkers.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your drink of choice is so rooted in efficiency. Tea, on the other hand, is only about the ceremony.”

“I value efficiency more than ceremony.”

“Mondstadt is luckier for it, but I don’t appreciate having to fight with Kaeya’s intelligence reports for your attention.”

Jean rolls her eyes at her melodramatic sigh. “I always have time for you, Lisa. It’s just…”

Lisa lowers her cup, and watches Jean bite her lip worriedly.

“Of late, there have been an increase in monster sightings near the city. It is a very significant jump.”

“At least you’re aware of the problem before it has transpired. I’m sure you can employ the right countermeasures now.”

“You’re right. You’re right.”

Jean thumbs the white porcelain handle, quiet.

“I worry,” she sighs finally. “We don’t have enough knights to fight off an all-out assault on the gate.”

Lisa touches Jean’s knee, soft and assuring. “Don’t be. We have Amber, Kaeya, Klee, Albedo, and Razor with us. Even Diluc wouldn’t hesitate to help.”

Jean nods, covering Lisa’s hand with her own. She entwines their fingers and squeezes gently.

“All you have to do is ask, darling.”

Jean looks up at her then, and Lisa sees the roaring pride of the Gunnhildr Clan glitter in blue eyes.

“We want to help,” she says, soothingly, “to keep Mondstadt safe. To keep the people free, and to keep you from drinking four pots of coffee a day.”

A soft huff of laughter, and Jean says, “Maybe it’ll only be three pots.”

“We can only hope.”

Soft smile still on her face, Jean carefully drags her thumb along Lisa’s hand, watching the goosebumps that tickle her skin.

“Thank you,” she breathes. “You always keep me grounded.”

Lisa can feel the tips of her ears burn. “It’s the tea, darling. I told you it was the superior drink.”

Jean laughs out loud then, a carefree and lovely sound. “Then we should make these afternoon tea breaks a regular activity. Barbados knows I need a moment before the evening reports pour in.”

“Of course.”

“I wouldn’t be bothering you?”

“You’re never a bother, darling.”

Jean smiles, her open gaze and warm grip electrifying Lisa’s skin dangerously.

“Now drink up, before it gets any colder. Clearly, I have yet to educate you on the finer aspects of drinking tea.”

-

“Let’s go on a vacation. I hear Springvale is beautiful this time of year.”

“I can’t leave the city, Lisa.”

“Fine, then. We can stay in Mondstadt, eat good food, go on walks, whatever you want. A week of vacation.”

“A week?!”

“Is that all you heard in the sentence?”

“I can take a one-day vacation in five months.”

“...”

“We can go then, if you want?”

-

Method #16 is Lisa’s favourite.

Firstly, because this is what she’d do all day if she was allowed. There’s nothing Lisa loves more than skincare, and the recent magical activity all around Mondstadt has affected her skin severely. There are two lit scented candles in her room, with a whole assortment of flowers and oils spread out on the bed. Jean had refused, but Lisa had slipped into a bathrobe for the full effect.

Speaking of Jean, the taller woman sits uncomfortably on the bed beside her, watching her mix a facemask nervously.

“What is in that?”

“Whooperflower Nectar, Celicas, and one petal from a Mist Flower.”

“Oh.”

“It won’t hurt, darling. It’s going to make you even more beautiful than you are.”

And secondly because she loves the rosy blush that races across Jean’s cheeks.

“Now, look at me. Let me put this on you.”

Jean twists to face Lisa, and Lisa begins patting on the facemask on Jean’s cheeks. The woman flinches away.

“It’s cold.”

Tilting Jean’s face to face her again, Lisa says, “That’s the point, sweetie.”

Jean’s eyes flutter shut, and Lisa takes the opportunity to admire the sharp angles of her jaw and cheekbones. It’s only when she goes to scoop up more of the mask does she realise Jean has been holding her breath the entire time.

Giggling, she says, “Why are you holding your breath? It’s not going to hurt!”

“I know, but I can’t help it. It’s a fight-or-flight reaction.”

Shaking her head with a laugh, Lisa goes in to apply more along Jean’s defined nose and her sweet cheeks. She holds her breath the whole time, despite Lisa’s objections.

“This is going to help you with your dark circles, and with the dryness. Your skin is going to sparkle as brightly as you after this, my dear.”

“There’s no need for flattery.” Unfortunately, the mask has covered her cute blush.

“Why not? You should also be admired for your looks, not just your dedication and strength.”

“You are far more beautiful, Lisa.” Jean opens her eyes, defiant. “You command the eyes of all those you meet with your grace and charm.”

She pushes through the heat rising up her collar. “Well, why did you stop? Go on, sweetie.”

Jean huffs a laugh. “Your magical talent is a boon for us here in Mondstadt, and your wisdom is greater than any other on any matter. Yet you are humble and kind to all you meet, especially with Amber and Klee and myself. Truly, I...I think there is no-one as lovely as you, Lisa.”

Jean’s eyes burn with an intensity that Lisa has only seen when she is in battle. Some of the mask is dripping off her chin and falling on her tunic, and Lisa knows she should do something. But she’s shocked silent, face burning, throat trembling.

“Oh, my…” Her voice is a weak whisper. “When did you become such a smooth talker?”

Jean finally looks away, and Lisa realises that she's been the one holding their breath all this time. Something tugs at her fingertips, begging her to cup Jean’s jaw and taste her rosy blush.

“Perhaps I’m learning it from you," Jean whispers back.

#16 is definitely the favourite.

-

Lisa remembers the moment she had received her Vision very well.

She had just completed an intermediate tome on cloning and transfiguration, and had wondered how the practical application of the spells would look like. Magic beyond human understanding and spells powerful enough to break continents into two - all very clear in theory, but what could unlock ancient power better than a Vision?

And just like that, electricity had poured down her arms and crackled at her fingertips, surging through her chest and crystallising as a chain around her neck.

It had been very simple, at first. Electric power would fuel her magical research and knowledge, and soon enough, she could make buildings crackle apart with a simple snap of her fingers. But Lisa wanted even more knowledge, the knowledge that defied all laws of nature and created both abomination and miracle alike.

So when she moved to Sumeru, there was no doubt that the naive eyes and eager fingers of a budding mage would attract the warmth of mages far and wide. When Lisa began displaying talent and power stronger than any seen before, that warmth began to burn with expectation, searing her in the crushing magma of accolades and praise, until Lisa’s skin opened raw at their smiles.

She could sense an ominous darkness within the thunderclouds of her power, but she chose to ignore it, for the trade had been complete, after all, and she must see through this course.

When the title of grand mage is bestowed on her, she notices them - the maddened mages in the woods, mirthful on but magic. Magic that manifested as a waterfall of flames from their eyes, as a cloak of thorns that stained foliage with blood, as skin harder than stone and completely inhumane, insane with power.

The woods held the crazed, and the mage-councils held the crippled - sages that tempered their power to sit in comforts of the flesh, content to let their magic and knowledge fester away for political sway and social grace. Lisa had watched their eyes glaze as problems continued to fester in council gatherings and meeting minutes.

And that was when Lisa learned the cost of knowledge was a power beyond human reckoning - her Vision.

The sound of Jean’s breathing brings her back to the present.

The blonde is sprawled across a sofa in the Grand Master’s Office, head on Lisa’s lap, fast asleep. Their tea sits on the table before them, having gone cold much before the sun dipped below the horizon. Lisa softly runs her hand through Jean’s long blonde hair, watching her brow remain steady even when asleep.

Jean hadn’t the choice Lisa had, and Lisa doesn’t think Jean had even seen it as a choice. Duty runs stronger in Gunnhildr blood than their Vision, and Lisa wonders, briefly, if Jean had ever considered a life without the wind that circled her sword.

A soft voice in her mind scoffs. Jean had accepted the Vision given to her as gracefully as she had kneeled to be knighted, for there was no difference between the two in Jean’s mind. Of course her Vision would bind itself to the strongest part of the blonde’s being, a trade that demanded equal sacrifice.

There is no Jean without duty, and no duty without Anemo, and despite all her years in Sumeru, Lisa still has no answers on wind and lighting and fire and ice and grass and earth and water.

“Muh?”

Jean jolts as her eyes snap open, body tensing and ready to leap forward.

Lisa presses a gloved hand against her shoulder, whispering, “Easy, my darling.”

“--mages. Near Wolvendom--”

“Shh.” Lisa gently rubs the length of her arm. “I’ve sent Kaeya and Amber to take care of it.”

“B-But...that was my…”

“That doesn’t matter, darling. Mondstadt will be safe.”

Jean nods slowly, sluggish and bleary. Lisa pushes her back down, and Jean goes down easy, blonde hair pooling on her lap once again.

“Go to sleep, sweetie. It’s okay, it’s just for a little while.”

Weakly, “Five minutes.”

“Yeah,” hums Lisa, threading her fingers through Jean’s bangs and pushing them away from her sweet face. “Five minutes.”

Jean had accepted the exchange as she had received it, but Lisa had peered into the depths of her power and grown fearful of the darkness that festered there. She had seen how deep the tunnels of madness could go, how the price of a Vision could ruin a woman at her purest.

“You’ll wake me up?”

At the very least, she knows enough to protect Jean from herself, from her Vision, from the duty it leeches on.

“Of course, darling.”

It has to be enough, she thinks desperately. It must be enough.

-

Of course Jean loves meditation.

Once before she starts working, and once after the day’s work is done. Jean says it helps clear her mind and keep her focused, and honestly, Lisa’s not a fan, but gives Jean company nevertheless.

She dozes off during meditation, and wakes up against Jean’s strong shoulders.

“Mm...good morning, Jean.”

“Good morning, Lisa.”

“Feeling relaxed?”

Jean nods, and says teasingly, “Somebody also seems very relaxed.”

Lisa hums grumpily and closes her eyes again. “Some of us don’t need to be coached to relax, sweetie.”

Jean laughs.

-

Lisa notices how Jean looks at her when she sings.

Mondstadt follows the whims of the wind, not the Gods, no matter how indebted the city is to Barbados. So the church is unfamiliar to the protectors of Mondstadt's freedom, save for the one day in the year the knights do visit.

It's mostly for show, a ceremony that depicts Barbados handing the power of Mondstadt's future to the people. The leader of the knights accepts the Lyre de Himmel from a member of the church, and then keeps it for a day. The power of gods in people's hands, a yearly reminder lest they forget.

Jean wears ceremonial armour that makes her look absolutely ravishing, a perfect knightly protector of the city. Lisa walks behind her as their band of select knights walk through the courtyard and into the cathedral.

Barbara holds out the Lyre, and Jean kneels down on one knee to accept it. She returns to stand with her knights, and the choir erupts into song, led by Barbara herself.

Lisa joins in to the song, an ode to the Archon of wind and wine and music. The chorus dances with the beats of the organ and tumbles through stained glass stained air, carefree and caring.

Jean's head snaps around to her, but Lisa doesn't notice.

It is much later, after the Lyre is safely kept in Jean's office and when Lisa barges in to scold her for working through the night again, does she understand.

"Darling, what have we discussed on working so la-"

"You never told me you sang so well," interrupts Jean, rising from her chair and rounding her desk.

"Hm?"

"At the Cathedral today," Jean reaches for her hands, "you sounded beautiful."

“Why, thank you, sweetie.”

Jean watches her with an intensity that rattles her throat, eyes sparking with something that shivers along their entwined palms.

“Will you sing again?” she asks softly.

“My, I didn’t realise I had won you over so quickly.”

Jean chuckles. “If that’s alright with you.”

“For you, darling? Anything.”

So Jean simply leans against her desk, still holding Lisa’s hands, as she sings the same evocation as the choir had. Perhaps it’s odd, to have one voice in an ode dedicated to praise to the Archon and the winds and pastures and wine.

But her audience is only one, watching her as she was the Archon and the winds and pasture and wine.

Jean’s eyes glitter as she sings, sky blue watching over grassy green as though it was the only sight that matters, despite the whole Earth standing before it. She smiles, entranced, attentive, adoring.

And that adoration brings a lump to her throat, cracking the note and killing the lyric, because Lisa realises now what it could mean.

“Why did you stop?” murmurs Jean, soft.

Lisa is paralysed with knowledge, once again.

“You were lovely, Lisa. Won’t you continue?”

There’s really nothing she can say, so she breathes out a laugh and a plea, “Jean.”

When Lisa crumbles against Jean’s shoulder, she stays steady, holding her close and tight. Her smile tingles against her temple, and Lisa doesn’t know what to do.

“Would you sing if I told you it helped me relax?”

“Cheeky girl,” breathes Lisa.

Jean laughs, and Lisa feels it deep in her chest. She’s always been afraid, but Jean is warm and sturdy, and the voice whispers that perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...

-

Lisa knows, you see.

She knows how her fingertips crackle with electricity at Jean's touch, how Jean smiles her name so sweetly.

They're too old to be dancing around it like this, but Lisa is afraid and Jean is reserved, so they go stargazing instead.

Jean watches the stars, neck kissed with sparkling silver, and breathes, "Wow."

Sitting on an old carpet on the roof of the Headquarters, pretending to watch the stars as either one plucks up the courage to say it out loud. Lisa knows better than this, but she is afraid.

"Wow," agrees Lisa.

"So this is what Mona does. I must admit, it is quite soothing."

"Very much so." Lisa tilts her head back and finds a constellation. "Do you see the Trifolium, just over the windmill?"

"Oh…yes." Jean sighs tiredly.

"The workshop is fine now, Jean. Don't hold it over the poor child."

"Alright. She apologised too, after all."

Lisa giggles.

The lights from Mondstadt aren't bright enough to blur the night sky, and they wink down at them knowingly. Jean knows, but she still asks if she can hold her hand. Lisa knows, but she only says yes.

"Look over there."

"Ah. It's the Tempest Flourish."

"Look at you go, sweetie. Mona should be worried."

"Oh, no, I couldn't do what she does."

"Don’t you want to take a shot at it? Tell me, darling, what is in my future?"

Jean frowns. "I doubt stars will tell you that. The future is yours to take, and I have no doubt you will carve yourself a path forward."

"Oh, my," sighs Lisa. "How pragmatic."

"It's simply the truth, Lisa. No star can foretell your future, only you can."

Lisa swallows as her gaze burns her up, and Jean knows.

"Then answer me this."

Jean blushes when she moves closer, and Lisa knows.

"Will you be in my future, Jean?"

Lisa isn't sure if it's a question or a request. But Jean's answer is immediate.

"Of course."

Lisa runs a thumb along the sharp line of her jaw. Jean swallows thickly.

"Forever," she says, hoarse and low. Jean's lips move uncertainly, words stolen away by fear.

"What is it, darling?" murmurs Lisa.

"When I am with you, I feel calm,” she whispers. “The world is quieter with you in it, and warmer. So, please…”

Her voice trembles along Lisa’s throat, warm and electric.

“Would you be in my future as well?”

Lisa has known all this while, and so has Jean, and so have the stars. But now there is no fear nor reservation.

"Of course," breathes Lisa. "Forever."

And at last, Jean kisses her.

Electricity thunders through Lisa’s hands as she cups Jean’s jaw and pulls her closer, threatening to break her apart at the seams. But Jean’s lips are as steady as a guiding wind, catching her before she soars away and holding her so close and so firm. She kisses as thoroughly and meticulously as one would expect, and Lisa accepts her tongue with a breathless giggle.

Jean’s shoulders are firm under her fists, but her tongue dances along hers sensually and teasingly, and really, Lisa shouldn’t be this weak to her but she is, shivering against her lips and gasping against her breath.

When Lisa sucks on Jean’s lip, the knight melts against her, and Lisa pauses. Jean trembles against her as she waits, watching blue eyes waver so close.

Maybe there is something dangerous lurking in both their veins, blowing against armour and crackling along parchment, but Lisa knows now. She may not have the answers, but there is a solution.

And she sits in her arms, watching and trembling with anticipation, so Lisa catches Jean’s lips and forgoes her fears.

-

“My love?”

“Yes, sweetie?”

“We have completed the two dozen methods, have we not?”

“Would you look at that? We have.”

“Does this mean that the coaching is over?”

“Oh, darling. The fun part has only just begun.”

“A-Ah.”