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Diluc originally thought it a senseless errand, an impression that only deepened when he discovered with whom he was to be partnered. Squeezing in nighttime vigilantism and a precious few hours of sleep between his responsibilities to the winery was a convoluted routine already. Generally Diluc preferred to make his own life easier beyond this scope, free of pretension whenever he could. Captain Kaeya Alberich was not known for his penchant for the simplistic.

But Jean had insisted—called it a “huge favor,” even—and anyway, Diluc had grown restless oscillating between work and home for weeks without interruption. He would have been lying if he said he wasn’t interested in revisiting Liyue. The only other time he had been was over ten years ago. Diluc remembered it well because his father had whisked him back to Mondstadt just a week before Kaeya first came to them, rain-soaked and painfully shy and lovely still.

Lovely still, Diluc thought with no small amount of resentment. Kaeya was crouched across the room tossing the last of his things into light luggage for the journey. He was ruffled from the departing traces of winter chill outside, the fluff of his cape grazing the perfect vector of his jaw as he stood. “Ready to go, Master Diluc?”

“Yes,” said Diluc, like swallowing a stone.

“Such enthusiasm,” Kaeya said. “You could try to seem a little more excited, you know. Dozens would jump at the chance to spend days traveling beside me.”

“You should have asked one of them instead.”

Kaeya smiled, a light in his eye. “But they’re not who I wanted.”

Diluc ignored the shiver that rippled down his spine to his tailbone and pivoted on his heel. “Let’s go,” he said, just barely on this side of polite, and that had been that.

They reached Wangshu Inn within the week, where a new problem arose.

“Once again, I’m so sorry,” says Verr Goldlet. “We’re booked heavy this time of year with everyone traveling down for the Lantern Rite. I wish I could offer you another room, but this is really all we have left. We’ll do our best to meet any other accommodations you may require.”

Diluc looks at Kaeya, who looks back at him with the first hint of something like discomfort since they left Mondstadt. Though he tries to mask it, Diluc knows something in his own eyes mirrors the sentiment. “It’s fine,” he says anyway. “We understand. Thank you.”

It feels decidedly less fine when they take the elevator up to their quarters and see for themselves the size of the single bed. The room itself is spacious enough, decorated sparingly but tastefully in burgundy and neutrals, and the late afternoon sun hits the center of the floor in a warm, pleasant arc. But the bed—this narrow frame for the both of them—together—

Swiveling away to hide the color rising to his cheeks, Diluc sets his belongings down next to the side table. “You take the bed. I’ll sleep on the floor.”

Kaeya’s voice floats to him, lilting. “You sure you don’t want to share for old times’ sake?”

Diluc stoops and pretends to rummage through his bag. His cheeks are by now several degrees short of steaming.

“I likely don’t need to remind you that sleeping with me is a coveted opportunity—”

“That’s right, you don’t need to. I said I would take the floor, and I will. Gratitude is a virtue, Sir Kaeya.”

So the first night passes like this.

Kaeya spreads a roll of documents flat against the small table provided by the inn and marks paragraphs of use in red ink. Diluc watches from the corner, reluctant to admit his interest in schemes as base as Treasure Hoarder activity, but there is a certain allure to studying Kaeya’s work. Kaeya had been unsettlingly perceptive even as a child, but these days he seems to think entire leagues into the future, twirling his pen absently as he hums.

For a tortured, delicious second, Diluc imagines walking up behind him and maybe—hooking his chin over Kaeya’s shoulder—or winding his arms around Kaeya’s lithe waist—

But in the end he gives the papers a cursory skim before laying out his bedroll on the woven floor, and Kaeya goes to sleep some hours later without bothering to argue the matter of the bed again.

 

+

 

“Master Diluc, I’m sorry to trouble you,” Verr Goldlet begins once more, and Diluc sighs, picturing how the rest of the day will take shape.

The commission brings them to a reedy stream winding through Dihua Marsh, where a camp of hilichurls zealously guards an overflowing chest. Kaeya grins when a band of Treasure Hoarders appears across the clear water of the ford, eyeing the chest just the same. “As expected,” he purrs and draws his sword. “Two birds with one stone.”

“The Captain is easy to please,” says Diluc, contemptuous. He summons a wreath of flame to his claymore and charges in first, with no intention to wait for Kaeya to finish his mastermind spiel. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, Kaeya decides he has no intention of standing around and talking, either.

The camp is clear in minutes, the offending Treasure Hoarders restrained by their wrists and chests with coarse rope. Kaeya sinks the point of his sword into the damp earth and shifts his weight against it, leering. “Which one of you wants to talk first?”

Diluc’s mouth pinches. He could lie and say it leaves a sour taste on his tongue to observe Kaeya in his slippery element, but it’s mostly just attractive. The afternoon light wreaths Kaeya in gold. His stance is deceptively casual, predatory, bare fingers curled over his sword grip so that the pommel rests in the cup of his gloved palm. Diluc doesn’t miss the shift of his shoulders, the tension there; a recent injury, maybe.

The remnants of adrenaline still sing in Diluc’s body. His teeth ache replaying the synergy of their Visions, singeing the horsetails and frosting the stream, melting in tandem. Against his will he recalls a time where fighting at each other’s sides meant rolling in the grass afterwards, Kaeya laughing over him, pinned beneath him, the most vulnerable part of his wrists locked against Diluc’s lifelines—

So the day passes like this, too.

On their way back, Kaeya whistles a tune from their childhood that swells gently in the wind. Wangshu Inn blooms on the horizon. He kneels to pick a silk flower, concealing it somewhere under his cloak.

“Wasn’t much of a favor,” says Diluc quietly. “That was the threat Jean was so worried about?”

Kaeya’s whistling tapers into silence. After a beat, he answers. “She was worried about something else, I think.”

Diluc glances at him from the corner of his eye. He’s beginning to understand now.

“I’ll go report back to the boss,” says Kaeya when the path deposits them in front of the inn. He brushes a finger against the Xiao lanterns bobbing at the entryway. “Tell her that the threat is resolved and whatnot.”

“Right,” says Diluc faintly.

“We’d best leave tomorrow if we want to make it down to the harbor in time to watch the Mingxiao Lantern release. I’ve heard it’s quite the spectacle.”

Another beat. “We…?”

The corner of Kaeya’s mouth lifts. “I’m aware that mixing business and pleasure isn’t your priority, but we’d be remiss to head back early. The Lantern Rite festival only happens once a year, you know.”

Diluc casts around inside himself for an excuse to argue and finds nothing. “I suppose I’ll start packing.”

 

+

 

When Diluc emerges from their room, Kaeya is standing before the uppermost balcony with wisps of hair escaped from his ponytail blowing softly around his face. The clasp of his collar and the delicately formed chain underneath glint against the sun-licked brown of his chest as Diluc steps closer. For a moment, silence persists.

“You don’t look thrilled to have an excuse to celebrate.” Kaeya does not turn to Diluc when he speaks. His line of sight is fixed straight ahead over the railing, embers of sunset catching his profile in slivers.

Diluc shifts his weight, leaning against the balcony for lack of anything to do with his hands. “The lanterns are beautiful.”

“They are,” agrees Kaeya. “You haven’t touched a single one.”

“I don’t know what I would wish for.”

“Really?” Kaeya turns. A startling new focus in his gaze drills Diluc to the core. “I have a couple ideas.”

“Don’t,” says Diluc, half-desperate. He’s unsure what exactly Kaeya was going to say, but any reminder of those bygone years feels as though it would stretch the flimsy seams of this moment to tearing. He can’t explain this, either. The upright fury that Diluc still carries within him has nothing to do with Kaeya anymore—it hasn’t for a while now.

A handful of children chase each other in meandering trails across the inn’s ground-level deck, their laughter carrying up on the breeze. Diluc thinks of summer grapes and petrichor, two pairs of trousers soiled at the knees and cuffs from vineyard soil and river mud, the tang of licking blood off skinned palms. Hands clasped from the moment they stepped off the winery patio, swinging between them as they ran. Making wishes was easy then: he had wanted only simple things. A bloom of calla lilies to twist into a crown. Crystalflies to catch in jars. Another day to spend with Kaeya, as easy and wondrous as all the sunny ones that came before.

“Alright,” Kaeya says, not unkindly. “I’ll see you downstairs.” His ridiculous cape flutters behind him as he leaves.

Diluc curls his fingers around the railing to resist the urge to watch him go.

 

+

 

For their last night at Wangshu Inn, Kaeya tells Diluc to take the bed instead, reasoning that a trade-off would only be fair. Diluc stubbornly refuses. “You’re injured.”

Kaeya’s easy smile falters. “What?”

“I noticed earlier. Your left shoulder, isn’t it?”

“So what,” says Kaeya. “Rest assured that I can handle a few scrapes here and there.”

“I wouldn’t be able to rest at all,” says Diluc, scowling. “I’ll take the floor again. Good night.”

Kaeya arches his brows. “You seem awfully invested in my wellbeing, Master Diluc.”

“It’s only basic courtesy. Don’t make something of it that it’s not.” Diluc squawks when Kaeya loops an arm around his waist before he can stomp off, hauling him backwards and plunking him down on the bed’s edge.

“Sleep here with me,” says Kaeya, infuriatingly calm. His smile makes a full reappearance at the scandalized look on Diluc’s face. “I don’t bite. It’ll be absolutely nothing untoward, knight’s honor.”

“That’s not—” Diluc catches himself before he admits that’s the least of his worries. “I’m not made of glass. I’ll be fine on the ground.”

“And you’ll be even better up here.” Kaeya pulls back the blankets and tucks them back up around Diluc in a way that’s likely meant to be ironically chivalrous or something, but instead it makes something winged and quivering unfurl in Diluc’s breast. “I hope you don’t still kick in your sleep.”

“I was twelve,” snaps Diluc, curling in on himself and glaring into his pillow.

Kaeya hums from somewhere behind him. There’s a rustle of fabric. Diluc recalls with sudden, piercing terror that Kaeya prefers to sleep shirtless, or fully nude when it’s warm enough. He scrunches his eyes shut and thanks each one of the Archons that this evening is still cold. Then Kaeya tugs his side of the blankets back and climbs into bed beside him, and Diluc loses his ability to formulate coherent thought entirely.

The bedframe is small enough that Kaeya is just about pressed up against him even when he keeps close to the edge. Diluc holds his breath while Kaeya shifts back and forth, adjusting and readjusting his long legs and finding no relief. “You can move in closer,” he says finally. He’s still too petrified to open his eyes.

The shifting stops. “You’re sure?”

“I won’t say it twice. Come here before you fall off the bed.”

Kaeya laughs, sweet and low. He’s near enough that his breath stirs the fine hair at the nape of Diluc’s neck, skating down the loose collar of Diluc’s overlarge nightshirt like a proposition. “And if I touch you?”

Diluc buries his face deeper into his pillow. The hazy awareness of Kaeya’s body just behind him is electrifying. His heart races despite himself. “I thought you said nothing untoward would happen. See how much a knight’s honor is worth.”

“I’ll have you know I take that personally,” says Kaeya. His bare shoulder brushes featherlight against Diluc’s clothed one when he draws a final inch closer. “Good night, Luc.”

No, thinks Diluc. It stopped being a good night when Kaeya stripped and climbed into bed with him. Now he’ll have to lie here silently consumed with lust until sunrise.

Except that’s not precisely what happens because after an hour or so, Kaeya’s breathing evens out and his arm makes its way across the dip of Diluc’s waist. The heaviness of it, Kaeya’s cool skin and lean muscle, is reassuring in a way that leaves Diluc bereft of words to describe it. He hasn’t been held like this since they still lived together. And when he relaxes enough to drift off, he finds that he sleeps better than he has in just as many years.

 

+

 

In Liyue Harbor, they find lodging at a guesthouse on Feiyun Slope before Kaeya drags Diluc out into the streets. “We should make the most of the festivities while we’re here,” he declares. “Not a minute to waste.”

“You are an exhausting individual, Sir Kaeya,” Diluc says, but there’s a smile prodding at his inflection. Kaeya’s childish excitement is endearing. When they were younger, he had loved Ludi Harpastum the same way, leading a much taller Diluc from stall to stall by the wrist—but back then it had been Diluc’s responsibility to protect Kaeya from the jostling elbows of strangers and getting lost among the masses. Diluc rolls the idea of Kaeya looking after him now around in his mouth and decides he doesn’t hate it.

“The Mingxiao Lantern this year is dedicated to an adeptus who martyred himself for Liyue’s sake,” Kaeya informs him, tugging him along. “Romantic, isn’t it?”

Diluc grunts. It doesn’t help that most everyone they’ve passed on the street so far are couples, some clearly in the honeymoon stage and others older, perhaps married, a few trailed by small children. This entire affair is beginning to feel distinctly personal in a manner that Diluc had been keen to avoid when he first signed onto traveling with Kaeya. A week ago, he’d been able to justify it to himself in the context of a business trip, an international extension of his vigilantism—a favor to an old friend most of all. Except now that he sees Jean for the well-intentioned but chronic meddler she is, there’s nowhere left to run.

Kaeya’s grip is firm, if nervous. Occasionally his studded glove twitches against the knob of Diluc’s wrist like he wants to interlock their fingers, and Diluc’s starting to suspect that after a few more attempts, he’ll allow it. It’s a gorgeous night, the sky heavy with stars. Cheerful bustle drifts around them, and each block they walk is washed in colors of prosperity. Kaeya’s hand in his own wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

They settle on a vantage point at Yujing Terrace. Kaeya won’t rest until they’re squarely ahead of the crowd, and even then his hand stays at Diluc’s wrist. A sudden desire to shuck his gloves off and press their bare palms together, skin to skin, seizes Diluc by the throat. The idea is disproportionately thrilling for how innocent an action it would be, but Diluc also hasn’t been touched in years. Hasn’t wanted to be, either. There’s only Kaeya—there’s only ever been Kaeya. Diluc can’t remember a time when he didn’t want to be near him.

“Look, I think it’s starting.”

Diluc follows the line of Kaeya’s arm to a subtle glow in the distance. The crowd around them clamors forward, straining to get a better look. Ultimately, the view is wasted on Diluc, who can scarcely remember to tear his eyes away from what’s beside him.

The Mingxiao Lantern is lovely, probably. Diluc tries to glance back at it whenever the cheering grows especially loud, and he definitely recalls admiring the craftsmanship, but once it’s all over and they’re preparing to head back to the guesthouse, the most vivid image behind his eyelids is the soft openness of Kaeya’s face. His visible eye reflecting orange and brilliant white, regal profile tilted up. That prismatic earring resting at the ninety-degree junction of his jaw, where the skin is warm and thin. Diluc wants to kiss him so bad it hurts.

Then Kaeya turns, and the want is so plainly echoed in the curl of his lips that Diluc can’t not lean in, can’t resist the pull of Kaeya’s hands, always cool, always outstretched. Diluc leaps without looking to meet him there.

 

+

 

“The walls are thin,” Diluc gasps into Kaeya’s mouth. “We have to be quiet.”

“I can do quiet,” Kaeya agrees, skating his fingertips up under Diluc’s shirttail. “Keep busy in other ways.”

Diluc sighs and arches into the wet suction of Kaeya’s mouth against his collarbone. The lamp in their room remains unlit. Only the candle they’d left burning hours earlier is still working hard; a waxen pool collects on the nightstand. Its amber glow burnishes Kaeya’s hair as steel, gliding bright across the slope of his nose. The long fan of his lashes is briefly translucent when he kisses down the open V of Diluc’s neckline and looks up, smiling, a tender curve pressed to Diluc’s chest.

“Kaeya,” says Diluc, overcome by some strange tide. His hands wrap around the back of Kaeya’s head, cradling him there.

Kaeya is easily close enough to hear Diluc’s heartbeat thundering through his ribs, but for once, he chooses to spare the comment. Instead, he closes his eyes and kisses again over rumpled satin. “I’m here. I’m yours for as long as you’ll have me.”

It’s all Diluc can do to keep his voice from shaking. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

“I won’t,” says Kaeya, deftly unbuttoning Diluc’s shirt the rest of the way. “I never have.”

Diluc cards his fingers through Kaeya’s unbound hair. Now is hardly the time to bring up old wounds, but every warm feeling he’s ever had towards Kaeya was supplanted by fear for too long for them to return unscathed. He speaks before he can restrain himself: “And back then? When you said you loved me—and then you—it was all just—”

“The truth.” Kaeya’s hands pause at Diluc’s belt. He releases a long, measured exhale. “Luc, would you look at me for a second?”

The roaring in Diluc’s ears crescendoes, but still he does.

“I loved you then,” says Kaeya. “And I love you now. I wish I’d had the sense not to.” His lashes drop. “The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt you.”

“I hurt you back,” Diluc admits. “I threw you out.”

The line of Kaeya’s mouth tightens. “Yeah.”

“I wasn’t any good to you, either. I won’t be good for you now. You know that we can’t ever go back to what we were, even though I’d do anything to fix it—”

“Hey, hey,” says Kaeya, collecting his hands and brushing his lips across Diluc’s knuckles. “We can be happy without going back.”

Diluc bites his lip. “I can’t forget.”

“I know. I won’t ask for it.”

The candlelight sways and dims. Soon they’ll be cast into darkness, but maybe the moonlight will be enough for Diluc to engrave Kaeya’s sincerity into his memory for permanent safekeeping. Maybe moving forward is enough, without punishing himself over the closets and the bones, because Kaeya will be there, too. Kaeya is trying, too.

“Let me take care of you,” Kaeya whispers. “For you, I’m learning to be good.”

 

+

 

Diluc shivers at the breeze wafting in from where they’d left the window cracked. He’s been fully divested of clothing, left ass up on the sheets while Kaeya searches the room for something they can repurpose as lubricant. He wants to crawl under the sheets and be forever hidden from Kaeya’s clever eye; he wants Kaeya to spread him open and take everything. His cock is hard and leaking against his stomach, and grinding down against the bedsheets feels like losing a competition he doesn’t remember agreeing to.

“Hurry up,” he snaps, trying for authoritative. It emerges entirely needy, if Kaeya’s soft huff of laughter is anything to go by.

“Coming, baby. Give me just another second.”

The pet name sends a jolt of heat to the pit of Diluc’s stomach, reverberating all the way through to the soles of his feet. Kaeya kneels behind him, and the bed dips. Diluc shivers again, anticipation crawling across his skin. Being exposed like this is just short of unbearable.

“You’re perfect,” says Kaeya, smoothing one hand down Diluc’s arched back. “We don’t—if you’re uncomfortable, we don’t have to—”

“I want your cock,” says Diluc flatly. He takes some satisfaction in the groan this draws from Kaeya, breathless and eager.

“Have you done this before?”

Diluc maintains a pointed silence.

“I’m your first?” wheezes Kaeya. He sounds faint for just a moment. “Lord Barbatos in Celestia.”

“This isn’t about him,” says Diluc, frowning at the headboard.

Kaeya laughs, but it tapers off prematurely. When Diluc turns his head, Kaeya is staring back at him in a way that cannot be described as anything but hungry. His eyes are dark, liquid. Maybe even—possessive? Just thinking the word makes Diluc whine and shift his hips, greedy for something he’s never experienced, can’t name.

“Tell me if it’s too much,” says Kaeya, Diluc’s last warning before a cold, oil-slick finger trails all the way down his spine and over his hole.

Diluc’s breath stutters. Still he keeps quiet, curious what Kaeya might do next. He’s really never been with anyone; for all the shit Kaeya would give him about the young master being uptight and so on and so forth, he was right about mostly all of it. Every touch is thrilling and nerve-wracking in its foreignness. The pad of Kaeya’s finger rubs over his rim for a long moment, equal parts gentle and sure, letting him get accustomed to the sensation. He opens his mouth to ask for more, readying the words underneath his tongue, and chokes when Kaeya pushes the finger into him.

He feels full, somehow, and this is nothing. At least, he suspects this is supposed to be nothing compared to what they’re about to do, but it’s unexpected anyway. Kaeya’s other hand trails over the outer curve of Diluc’s hip, digging his thumb into Diluc’s asscheek and—holding him open, although this feels dirty to admit to himself, even in the privacy of his own mind—and then there’s another finger resting at his rim. It hasn’t really started to feel good yet, so Diluc squirms a little against Kaeya’s grip.

“Hold still,” says Kaeya in a voice that Diluc has never heard before but makes his cock drool a string of precome immediately.

He’ll never move again in his entire life. Well, he’ll move a little, just so Kaeya will talk to him like that. Diluc fights the urge to close his legs. Every few seconds he regains enough consciousness of his surroundings to remember how embarrassing it is to be held like this, looked at like this, wanted like this. How much he likes it.

Kaeya nudges the second finger in and Diluc’s entire body shakes. “Too much yet?”

He sounds a little amused, which Diluc cannot have. “Give me another,” he demands.

Diluc can practically see Kaeya’s eyebrows shoot up. He works those two fingers for another long moment, stroking at Diluc’s insides in a way that makes his legs feel jellied and his throat tight. But then he complies, and it doesn’t feel good at all until Kaeya curls his fingers some mysterious way and Diluc feels like he’s dying. It’s better than good. His mouth falls open and he’s panting aloud like—like a who—

“You’re unreal,” says Kaeya, something like prayer, and then he fucking spits right above Diluc’s hole and keeps working his fingers in and out until the spit is inside Diluc, too.

It’s the filthiest thing Diluc has ever experienced and he figures he should hate it. Instead, he moans long and loud, the most shamelessly wanton sound anyone’s made in the whole of Teyvat, probably, and it came from him. He collapses face down in the sheets and gives up on self-control, on winning whatever competition he started in his head. He grinds his cock down against whatever is within reach, mindless of the stickiness, the slick feeling of Kaeya still stroking him, liquefying him from the inside out.

The fingers withdraw. Kaeya says, “Turn over.” Says, “I want to see your face when I’m inside you,” and Diluc can’t flip himself face up fast enough.

Diluc had started to think, foolishly, that three fingers inside him were as much as he could humanly take. Kaeya’s cock proves him wrong. Kaeya pushes in carefully, so slow that time becomes syrup and then fog, and every other sensation is secondary how to full Diluc feels, like the burn of this stretch will never end.

“Still alright?” Kaeya asks. He’s backlit by moonlight alone, his mouth still turned up at the corners. Diluc wraps his legs around Kaeya’s waist and kisses him dizzy. Even the sound of their mouths is obscene now because Diluc knows what they were doing a moment ago, what’s been inside him. He thinks he wouldn’t mind pulling Kaeya inside him with his mouth, too, kissing him hot and open until the lines of their bodies can’t be distinguished from each other.

Kaeya’s eye is alight with joy when they separate. Diluc’s fingers wander up to the edges of his eyepatch.

“Can I?”

The silence extends so long that Diluc drops his hands, thinking Kaeya must want to refuse. Instead, Kaeya shifts his weight to one arm and pulls it off himself, blinking at the sudden adjustment.

“Oh,” says Diluc, quiet, reverent. Somehow this feels more intimate than anything else they’ve done.

“I meant it when I told you I’m yours,” says Kaeya, mouthing at Diluc’s jaw, bathing him in the full focus of mismatched, starry eyes. “Say the word and I’ll give it to you.”

Diluc strokes his hair. “Fuck me first,” he says. “We’ll see about the rest later.”

Kaeya kisses him one more time, letting their lips catch and rub, their breathing settle into sync. He drags his cock out until the crown is barely sheathed, and then he slams his hips forward so hard that Diluc can’t contain his shattered wail.

Were he even a tenth more collected, Diluc would have clamped his mouth shut out of courtesy to the other guests on the floor. As it is, however, he can’t muster up the presence of mind to do a thing besides clutch Kaeya’s shoulders for dear life and keen as Kaeya drives him further and further up the bed, compromising no strength for speed, trailing his parted lips across Diluc’s cheek and underneath his eyes and down his neck.

“Diluc, Diluc,” sighs Kaeya, gasping, into the dip between Diluc’s collarbones, the midline of his chest. “I’ve loved you so long. I want you always.”

Diluc’s spine bows up, his cock sliding deliciously against the plane of Kaeya’s abdomen. He’s shaking apart. He’s never felt so full, felt so much and enjoyed it. “Me too,” he manages. “I… for you, too.”

Kaeya buries his face in the crook of Diluc’s neck and comes with a bitten-off moan, his hips grinding slower circles into Diluc until Diluc is fairly trembling out of his skin. He gets a hand around Diluc as he comes down, jerking him in a tight, slick ring and whispering soft encouragement until Diluc shudders and follows.

They’re quiet for a long while. Kaeya rubs absent patterns into the jut of Diluc’s hip, lips at rest against Diluc’s jugular. “Don’t leave me this time,” he says finally. “When we wake up. Let me stay beside you.”

Diluc blinks up at the ceiling, grateful that Kaeya can’t see the wet gloss collecting at his lashline. A yellow blur floats past the window—one of the last lanterns sent off to greet the sea. Diluc wonders if there will be any left tomorrow, if there’s still time for him to make a wish. There is one that he can think of now. “Of course I want you to stay.”

“Good,” says Kaeya, and Diluc can hear his smile. “I’m planning to stick around for a long time.”