To say Kaeya is surprised is an understatement. He definitely did not expect Diluc to be so updated about new trends when it comes to leisurely entertainment activities. Still, the whole setup is here, the green felt surface still soft and smooth, the heavy polished wooden body of the table still shiny, the cue sticks lined up in their own rack, and all fifteen of the balls forming a perfect triangle on top of the table. The only one missing is the white one.
Regardless, it must have cost Diluc a pretty penny to have the whole thing imported all the way from Fontaine. Or maybe he has some connections there instead. After all, he did go globe trekking for years.
Kaeya lets out an appreciative hum and swiftly approaches Diluc who is bartending at the moment.
“Hello, Master Diluc. I see you’ve got a new toy installed.”
“… what’re you ordering?”
“Ah, so cold. One Death After Noon, please. And the white ball if I may.”
“No drinking when playing. No playing if you’re drunk. If you broke anything, you pay for the repairs. And no hustling.”
Kaeya pouts at all the rules. Ugh, why does Diluc has to be so strict?
Still, the redhead hands him the white ball that had been kept by the bar and Kaeya plucks it out of reluctant palm eagerly. It has been so long ever since he has the opportunity to play this game. He will need to refamiliarize himself before he got too rusty.
Kaeya walks towards the billiard table confidently, basking in the curious gazes from the other bar patrons that follows his every movement. Before the night ends, he is definitely going to have a new method of getting information in his hands.
The solid red ball grazes the side of a solid orange one, moving it slightly. The orange ball tethers precariously near the dip of the pocket, rolling slightly, and then stops. Kaeya wants to curse, but Diluc has been steadily giving him warning glares throughout the night so he settles for a pout instead.
Ugh, it is not his fault that nobody else in Mondstadt ever heard of billiard. Or that they all suck at it. Honestly, he is even adhering to the rules Diluc sets up. There has been no Mora exchanging hands despite how easily he wiped the floor with anyone confident enough to challenge him. And not a single drop of liquor had passed his lips. All he does is just wrangling words out of defeated Treasure Hoarders.
The door of Angel’s Share swings open, signaling the entrance of another patron, and Kaeya takes a peek from the end of one eye as he lined up for another shot, feigning nonchalance.
It is a familiar freckled face. And a familiar mop of unruly ginger hair. And that sinfully ugly red mask. Although that sliver of exposed skin that shows toned abs does more than make up for it.
A sudden loud delighted whoop surprises him enough that Kaeya actually misses his shot, his cue glancing off the white ball. He turns around in annoyance just to be face to face with an excited puppy.
“Oooh, a pool table. I didn’t know you guys play this here too.”
“Hello there, Tartaglia,” Kaeya greets the Fatui Harbinger with exaggerated pleasantness. “Fancy seeing you here.”
“Hello, Sir Kaeya. I see you playing, are you any good?”
A lightbulb turns on in Kaeya’s head. He has not managed to get a single one of the Fatui members skulking around to join him for a little game, so his well of information on the Fatui’s goings on has been scarce tonight. And here the whole fountain just drops into his lap.
“I’m afraid I’m still learning. I’m just practicing here.” Kaeya can see some of the Fatuis he had been keeping his eye on for the night fidget in their seat, undoubtedly bothered by his bald-faced lies. He gives them pleasant smiles and they settle uneasily into their chairs. He turns back to see Tartaglia checking out the placements of the remaining balls on the table. “You sound like you’re good at this. Why don’t you give me some pointers?”
Ginger head turns to face him and he is given an entirely too bright smile. A little guilt tugs at Kaeya’s heart at how he is playing with the Harbinger’s needs to constantly impress him or get his attentions or do all of those big little gestures to show his fondness to the Cavalry Captain. Still, information is information, and he has his reasons to collect them.
“Sure, just let me rack the balls and then we can start.”
Kaeya smiles. Everything is going according to his plan.
Okay, maybe asking for his plans to go off with absolutely no hitch is a bit much. But can’t the world be nice to him at least once?
He had not expected the Harbinger to be mediocre at the game. It is something that needs a lot of hand eye coordination and as a frequent fighter, the Harbinger is pretty good at that. However, Kaeya had absolutely not expected the ginger to be such an expert. To be perfectly honest, Kaeya actually does learn how to play better under his instructions.
If this goes on, he will end up the one being hustled. Maybe it is time to change tactics?
“… keep your stance as stable as you can, and… there,” the loud thwack of the white ball hitting the solid yellow indicates another game wrapped, the yellow ball rolling straight into a pocket.
Kaeya hums as he watches Tartaglia re-rack the balls. The gears inside his brain turns. A peek to the side to see that Diluc is now glaring at both him and the Harbinger gives him another idea. He cackles inwardly.
“Thank you for the lesson, Tartaglia. Still, I wonder how well I’m doing now after all of the illuminating instructions.” Kaeya injects as much gratefulness into his voice as he can, laying it on thickly to pave way for what he is going to do next.
“Then maybe we can play a proper set together,” Tartaglia answers, the sheer eagerness Kaeya is showered with is nearly blinding in its intensity, and he almost feel bad for turning it down. Almost. The ginger is still a Fatui Harbinger regardless of the familiarity the Traveler shows him or how harmless outside of battles he had appeared to be.
“Ah, but you’re my instructor, so it’ll be hard for me to gauge since you’re better at this than me. Maybe playing against someone else will be a better choice? Let me get more experience too.”
“Well, if you say so. But I don’t know if there is anyone that might be a good enough player to give you a challenge.”
“Oh, I have just the right person,” Kaeya retorts as he turns towards Diluc. “What do you say, Master Diluc?”
Diluc’s face remains impassive, his scowl still present, but Kaeya can easily see one red eyebrow quirking upwards in the universal Diluc speak of, ‘What’re you planning this time, Kaeya?’
Kaeya just grins at the bartender and gives him three blinks in succession, Kaeya’s own version of a wink.
“No,” is the outright refusal Kaeya gets.
“Come now, Master Diluc. Didn’t you want to show your stuff too? See what the both of us can gain from a little game?”
‘See what information on the Fatui I can dig out tonight and I’ll share them with you if you help me out,’ is the unspoken agreement.
A beat. Then Diluc sighs.
“Fine, but only one game,”
‘You’ve got exactly one game.’
Kaeya’s grin shifts into a small secretive smile. It is agreed then.
Diluc moves out from behind the bar counter, leaving the place unattended. It is fine though; nobody would dare to do anything bad for the duration that Diluc is gone. The Angel’s Share is too famous and well-loved for that.
The redhead takes up a cue stick from the rack, and after rubbing the tip with chalk, approaches the duo by the pool table. Kaeya smiles as Diluc near, flipping a coin in the air at the same time. “Heads or tails?”
“Heads,” Diluc answers curtly and Kaeya takes away one palm to reveal the coin flat on his other hand’s back.
It shows heads.
Kaeya can see the end of Diluc’s lips twitches, most likely trying not to smirk at him. He in turn resists the urge to stick out his tongue at the redhead. He can show his childish side some other time when it is just the two of them. At the moment though, he has to keep up the act of the suave, charming, and mature Cavalry Captain in the eye of the public.
And pockets two balls straight away. Kaeya’s lips twitch. Diluc better cooperate or this one game will be done before Kaeya can fish for anything from the Fatui Harbinger. Diluc fouled his next shot, blatantly on purpose. Kaeya twitches again. Diluc really need acting lessons despite his poker face.
“So Tartaglia,” Kaeya calls as he surveys the balls scattered around the green felt, voice slightly lowered as his tongue curls the end syllables of the Harbinger’s name. The hand not holding the cue stick runs along the side of the table, fingers skimming lightly. He noted triumphantly that Tartaglia’s eyes are glued on that action. “I’m thinking of taking this shot. Is it a good decision?” Kaeya gestures towards his intended shot, the Harbinger’s eyes still following his fingers ardently.
“Oh, uh, well if you’re sure that you can reach that far,” is his slightly faltering reply.
Kaeya leans down on one side of the table to take his shot, purposely jutting out his ass further than necessary. He spies Diluc rolling his eyes in a corner. Kaeya ignores the redhead. It is not his attention that Kaeya is trying to catch after all.
He draws the stick back with one hand and with a smooth motion, thrust it forward along with his body. An aborted choked off noise can be heard just from beside him, on the opposite side from Diluc.
The cue ball hits another ball just next to a pocket and sinks it. Kaeya turns to Diluc and blinks three times. Diluc rolls his eyes again. Kaeya pouts slightly. The redhead is such a killjoy.
He huffs and turns to the ginger instead. The Harbinger is more fun anyway.
Kaeya smiles at Tartaglia, the end of his lips curling into something more sensuous, more teasing. “Did I do well?”
“Y-yes. You’re doing well. Very good.”
Kaeya almost laugh at the slight stutter. The poor boy is too easy.
He walks around the table, chalking the stick tip, making it seems like he is thinking, trying to pick his next move. A little swerve and his shoulder bumps lightly with the Harbinger’s. “Oh, sorry,” Kaeya apologizes, giving the ginger another of his patented cat smile. He is given a nervous nod in return.
Kaeya walks to the side opposite of both Diluc and Tartaglia, and bends down to line up his shot. If the front slit of his shirt slips down further to show off more of his chest, well, he can always chalk that up to gravity. He spies the ginger swallowing visibly, the line of his sight blatantly ogling at Kaeya’s generous assets. Kaeya giggles to himself and take his shot. Another ball successfully pocketed.
“Oh my,” Kaeya acts surprised, “I can’t believe I got it twice in a row. You’re such a good teacher, Tartaglia.” He flutters his eyelashes for emphasis, well the one eye that is not under his eyepatch that is.
“You’re just a good student, Sir Kaeya.”
Oh, the wide grinning smile he is given is so genuinely happy that it actually melts Kaeya a little. Just a little mind you, he still has an image to uphold.
From the side of the table, Diluc rolls his eyes again. Kaeya huffs internally. Really, if Diluc keeps on doing that, he is going to sprain his eye muscles or something.
Kaeya leans at the side of the pool table, curving his back invitingly, his shapely bottom out in full display.
Kaeya drops down, trying to line up another shot, then sits back up, changing his mind. He turns sideways, long legs in skintight pants drawing graceful arcs as they cross over, wide ocean blue eyes tracking their every movement.
Kaeya leans down more confidently this time, but once again he gets back up to shift position, changing into the standard pose with his ass out. After a few seconds of dithering, where he wiggles his ass around, he lets out a loud annoyed huff.
Peeking back from his position, he can practically see the saliva threatening to drip from the Harbinger’s gaping mouth. Kaeya very nearly giggles out loud and breaks his act at the adorable look the ginger is sporting.
Maybe it is time to end the poor puppy’s sufferings and wraps up the games he is playing proper.
“Tartaglia,” Kaeya calls out. That catches said man’s attention and the roaming eyes snaps back to his face. The sudden flush of red on pale freckled cheeks completes the expression and Kaeya actually giggles this time. The Harbinger is just way too cute for his own good.
“I can’t seem to get this shot right. A little help maybe?” Kaeya’s voice is low, lips forming into a sultry pout.
The Harbinger is by his side within a blink. On the far corner of the table, the sides of Diluc’s lips are actually twitching into a smile despite the way his eyebrows are still scrunched up in disapproval. And it took nearly everything Kaeya has not to just break down laughing right away, and then maybe kiss the ginger stupid in apology. Oh, he is so bringing a puppy home with him tonight.
“Is this the right position?” Kaeya asks as he looks up from his position lining up the shot towards the Harbinger standing right beside him. He arches his spine like a cat, showing off graceful curves accentuated by the tight leather corset-belt he wears on his waist.
“Or should I do it from this position?” Kaeya shifts so he is facing sideway, one elegant leg brushing grey pants seemingly on accident.
“Eh? Ah, no, no, I mean yeah, I mean, the previous position looks better on you- I mean you’ll be able to look at your shots better.”
“Like this?” Kaeya shifts back into his previous position, purposely tightening his stance and making himself unbalanced. “But I can’t seem to get a good shot in,” he pouts up at Tartaglia, puffing his cheeks up a bit for emphasis.
“Uh, let me check,”
Kaeya gets up from his position, allowing the Harbinger to take his place and check out the table. The ginger bends down, eyeing the placements of the scattered balls critically. Kaeya smirks. All according to plan.
“You should be able to get this one,” Tartaglia says as he turns back around, and Kaeya takes his chance to crowd in on the other man, stepping so close the toes of their boots are actually touching.
“This one?” Kaeya asks, voice practically dripping with honeyed sensuality as he leans further inside, both of his arms trapping the Harbinger within them as he reaches up to put the stick on the table.
Tartaglia shifts backwards further and further as Kaeya keep on crowding into his space until his back hit the side of the table and he is splayed out on the green felt. His hands reflexively come up and grab onto Kaeya’s thighs for balance and Kaeya takes this opportunity to slip one foot in between the Harbinger’s own.
Kaeya pointedly looks at where the foreign hand is placed and then back up to gaze into ocean blues as his lips form into his best seductive smirk. The adorable shade of red the ginger is turning is so tempting that Kaeya almost forgets that they are still in public place.
Their chests touch, Kaeya’s partially exposed one with Childe’s coated one. Kaeya giggles, the sound trilling and the vibrations travels between their bodies.
Kaeya lines up his shot. The hands on his thighs travel up towards his ass.
He takes his shot. And the hands squeeze down, gloved fingers clutching greedily at plump meaty globes.
The white ball hits the side of the table with a loud thwack and promptly bounces straight into a pocket.
“You lose,” Diluc’s rough voice is full of contempt. “Now get out and get a room. I run a respectable establishment here.” The redhead did not even bother to look at them as he turns, almost running to the bar.
Kaeya looks at Diluc’s retreating form, and then back at the Harbinger still below him. He pouts again as he petulantly says, “You made me miss.”
“Sorry, sorry. Let me make it up to you! How about-,”
“How about we continue this somewhere else? Master Diluc seems like he is about ready to summon up his claymore and use it to chase us out of here. I have some wine stashed away at my place,” Kaeya flutters his eye, lips once again pulled into flirty smile.
“Yes!” the overly eager response pulls a nice warm feeling blossoming within Kaeya’s chest. He gives a genuine smile this time as he turns and walks towards the exit. He can easily imagine a ginger colored wagging tail behind him as the sounds of boots followed his.
Maybe, if the night goes well, he will even keep the puppy.
Kaeya walks into the still empty Angel’s Share to find Diluc already behind the bar, polishing glasses in preparation of opening up for the night. He moves towards the bar and sits down on a stool there, right in front of Diluc.
“One Death After Noon, please. I never get my ordered glass last night,”
Diluc sighs exasperatedly, but stops what he is doing and mixes the drink nevertheless. Once his order comes in, Kaeya sips at his drink slowly, savoring his favorite beverage. Diluc resumes his previous cleaning.
And the both of them fell into familiar silence, Kaeya enjoying his wine and Diluc working on silently. Yet, something is not sitting quite right for Kaeya. The air is somehow heavier, the silence full of expectations.
Halfway through his glass, Kaeya sighs and decides to just take the plunge. “Okay, what did I do wrong this time?” he asks Diluc, voice kept carefully flat.
Diluc quirks an eyebrow at him and then scowls. “Had your fun last night?”
Kaeya grins, impish. “Oh, yes I do indeed. The Harbinger is surprisingly good with his hands you know. His aim and posture might be horrendous, but he definitely knows how to handle his bowstrings,” Kaeya adds three blinks just for emphasis.
Diluc scowls deepened. “Good for you then,” he brush off brusquely, turning around to fiddle with something, giving Kaeya his back.
Kaeya eyebrows rise in surprise. Why is Diluc so irritated at him? What did he do wrong? The redhead is never this bothered with the people he spent the night with before. Is it because Childe is a Fatui Harbinger? But he has had liaisons with some of the Fatui agents before and Diluc did not even blink at him. Granted, those never go anywhere further than drunken groping, but he is only doing it for the information that he might fish out of them and it is nothing like… -
Wait a minute. Kaeya’s eye widens as realization hits him. Shit. He forgot. He totally and utterly forgets about the initial reason for him giving the puppy some attention.
“I played your game, now spill.” And just right at that very second, Diluc finally decided to enlighten Kaeya to the very same thing he is realizing.
Kaeya gulps audibly. Diluc turns around to face him, eyes narrowing at the sight of Kaeya’s expression.
“Sir Kaeya…,” Kaeya is not entirely sure how Diluc manages to express so much worry on his face while still maintaining such menacing aura.
“Oh, ehehe… you see, I- well…,”
“Please tell you got something out of that Harbinger,”
“Well, look at the bright side. I agreed to meet him again for dinner tonight.”
And Kaeya bolts away from his seat, not even bothering to turn back as he heard his name being screamed out in frustration, the door of Angel’s Share slamming loudly behind him.
Good thing he has decided to keep the puppy around. He can always digs for more information later. Well, if Childe did not make him forget his name again, that is. Anyway, he still has a dinner date to enjoy. Oh, he is definitely going to have so much fun with his ginger Harbinger.
And Kaeya smiles and hums happily as he walks towards his next destination.