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Alone Together

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Xiao was having a very bad day.

Of course, it was not uncommon for him to have bad days; it was quite the opposite, actually. But today, he felt even worse.

More than ever, he felt alone. He felt so alone that he felt like throwing up.

"How ironic," he muttered to himself in a low voice, "it's funny how commoners always say the Adepti are so graceful and heroic. But even we fall under the influence of those damned human emotions."

Sighing, he continued walking through the many trees of the Whispering Woods that was located just outside of Mondstadt. To be honest, Xiao didn't know how he ended up here. After all, Mondstadt was far away from Liyue, but it also didn't surprise him greatly. He didn't really pay attention to his route in the last two days - which was actually quite uncommon for him. He always payed attention to his surroundings since one could never know when someone - or something - would attack. He had picked up that habit a long time ago, while he was fighting during the Archon War.

"How bothersome..." Xiao growled as the headache he has had for the entire day seemed to grow stronger and stronger with every step he took. Even his eyesight suddenly got somewhat blurry. It might be better if he took a break. Something he rarely did.

Letting out another sigh, he let himself glide down a tree and fall into the grass. Much better, he thought as he looked up at the reddish sky. Was it already so late? He hadn't even notice that the sun was already going down. Damn, what the hell was wrong with him? This wasn't like him at all!

"I'm so pathetic."

"That's a very bad thing to say to yourself, you know." Another voice suddenly called out to him.

As if something had hit him on the head, Xiao flinched violently and immediately jumped up, taking out his polearm and looking around with an alarmed look on his face.

He relaxed, however, as he spotted a familiar bard with a teal cape. He had a stupidly big grin on his face - that didn't fail to make his heart beat faster. Tsk, how bothersome.

Venti slowly made his way over to Xiao who let his polearm fall onto the ground next to him.

"Oh my, you look even more grumpy than usual. Have you had your almond tofu today? If not, then it's about time that you get some!" Venti teased him and came to stop directly in front of him.

"Very funny." Xiao rolled his eyes. But now that he mentioned it, he did feel a bit hungry. And almond tofu would have been perfect. Stupid Venti. Stupid Venti with his beautiful eyes. Ugh.

Out of the corner of his eye, Xiao watched Venti as he plopped down on the grass and leaned his back against the tree, stretching out his stocking clad legs. Patting the grass beside him, Venti mentioned for Xiao to sit down next to him while giving him an expectant look. Xiao eventually gave in and sat down beside Venti, respectfully keeping enough distance between them. Venti rolled his eyes playfully, but didn't comment it. He knew that Xiao sometimes could be a bit... stiff. 

"Having a bad day?" The bard asked, looking at the hilichurls dancing in the distance. 

Xiao let his gaze wander to the same direction. "You could say that." He admitted. Venti nodded, still looking at the hilichurls. "Wanna talk about it?"

The Yaksha thought about it for a moment. "Maybe another time."

Venti hummed.

They both stayed silent for a moment; they rather listened to the melodic chirping of the birds, the soft howling of the wind and... the rumbling coming from Xiao's stomach.

While Xiao immediately turned red, Venti let out a laugh, turning is gaze towards Xiao. Though his laughing turned into a soft smile as he saw that even his ears had turned red. How cute. The sight made him want to tease his companion more, but he knew how short his temper was - especially on days like this- which is why he rather kept silent.

Instead, he laid a hand on top of his shoulder, causing the Yaksha to flinch for a second time and turn his head. His face was a blushing mess. Venti loved it.

"I'm afraid that almond tofu is not as common in Mondstadt as in Liyue, but I'm sure we can find you something else to eat. Wanna join me?" 

Just as Venti wanted to get up, Xiao suddenly grabbed his wrist. Venti turned his gaze towards Xiao, wanting to let out a playful comment, but couldn't get himself to say anything as he listened to the following words Xiao let out with a blush still present on his face: "...No. I'd rather be alone with you for a moment longer."

It was at this moment that Venti suddenly felt a strange, yet exciting feeling in his stomach. Was that those butterflies humans keep talking about?

Xiao let out a shaky breath, not daring to look up at the bard's face. However, after some moments that felt like several minutes, he still had not received a reaction which made him slightly uncomfortable. Damn it, why did he say that? He probably sounded like a fool.

He finally turned his head to catch a glimpse of Venti's face - only to freeze as soon as he did so.

His face suddenly felt even hotter. No, not just his face. His whole body was on fire.

The look Venti had on his face was one of pure warmth and understanding. It made him all tingly. No one had ever looked at him in that way.

"I... uhm... I mean..." Fucking Hell, stop stuttering like a fool, you idiot!, Xiao thought to himself, feeling a bit embarrassed. 

He blinked several times as Venti freed his wrist out of his grip and fully turned his body towards Xiao, a determined look in his aqua green eyes.

"What...-" Xiao wanted to ask him, but got cut off by Venti's hands suddenly grabbing his cheeks. Before he knew what was happening, he felt the bard's forehead  pressing against his own.

Xiao's face was possibly burning now. Their lips were just inches away from each other.

"Yes, let's be alone together." Venti whispered with a soft smile.

Feeling a funny feeling in his stomach - and no, he did not mean the hunger for several plates filled with almond tofu -, he also managed a small smile.

Maybe his day was not so bad after all.

"But let's go eat something after that, the rumbling of your stomach destroys the beautiful melody of the abyss mage over there."

"Shut up."