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Despite his duties as the Kamisato heir, Ayato could only look back at his childhood with fondness. 

Ayato grew up busier than most as a noble, sure, but he was lucky enough to have a kind family. Perhaps it was because they were the only ones who understood each other's burdens that he and Ayaka never fought. He could never sympathize with other boy's complaints about their sisters, not when he considered his own little sister one of his best friends. 

The passing of their parents was devastating, and though that hole in their hearts could never be filled, there was soon a new addition to their family. Ayato would never forget the first time Ayaka introduced him to Thoma . His first impression of the outlander was, 'Ayaka's brought home a stray.'

It didn't take long for Ayato to come to love Thoma. The boy had brought a fresh wave of freedom to the Kamisato estate, pulling Ayato away from his duties to assist him in harmless pranks. After a long day of handling matters for the Yashiro Commission, there was nothing that relieved a young Ayato of his stress like sitting on a rooftop, using his vision to see how far he could throw a hydro bomb, the Mondstadter laughing next to him. 

And each time they'd sneak back into Ayato's room, Thoma would give him that sunshine smile. Sometimes he missed when Thoma didn't know enough about Inazuman culture to be polite, when he'd grin wide and ask, ' Ayato, did you have fun?' with no honorifics for his title as a Kamisato. 

Ayato learned to hide his mischievousness over the years, though it never fully disappeared. Far into his adult years now, Ayato still loved teasing Ayaka, loved playing hide and seek with Sayu, and he especially loved watching Thoma bite down whatever Ayato forced him to. 

And that brought him here, sitting in the Kamisato estate's dining room, watching his housekeeper tremble while holding his chopsticks. Red cheeks, drool running down his lips, and green eyes filled with tears, Thoma's face looked borderline erotic as he swallowed down the soup. 

"Young Master," Thoma's voice was uneven. "What… what is it today…?"

"Onikabuto!" Ayato answered cheerfully. His grin only grew wider when Thoma paled, his hand immediately covering his mouth. The bowl full of multicolored chunks was already halfway empty. 

"You're almost done," Ayato encouraged the man, stroking his hair not unlike how he pet Taroumaro at the teahouse. 

As if emboldened by his words, Thoma sucked in a deep breath and picked the dish up, surprising Ayato when he chugged down the rest of the contents. The housekeeper's face was a concerning green when the bowl hit the wooden table, the man collapsing onto the floor with a groan. 

"Good boy," Ayato praised, his hand returning to Thoma. It was a rare moment of peace, Ayato playing with Thoma's hair in the quiet of the evening. He could have sat there all night, running his fingers through the blond's soft locks if there wasn't a mountain of work waiting at his desk calling his name. The amusement of watching Thoma gag on whatever Ayato ordered him to eat was becoming more and more seldom with how little time he had to himself these days. 

The colour in Thoma's cheeks was returning to a healthy pink when the man closed his eyes, leaning into Ayato's touch. The idea of tearing himself away from this tender moment sent an ache to Ayato's chest. 

"I'll return to my room now," Ayato broke the silence. 

Thoma opened an eye, looking over Ayato and then nodding. Ayato pushed his hair back one last time before getting to his feet. 

He was relieved to find no encounters on the way back. He cared for everyone at the Kamisato estate, but he knew the work ahead of him would be draining enough. He didn't need to spend more energy giving practiced smiles inside his own house. 

The window in his room was open, letting in air with a floral scent- no doubt Thoma's work. The thought lightened a weight in Ayato's chest as he sat down. 

The monthly briefing was thicker than he'd ever seen. No surprise, after everything that had happened with the shogun and the traveler. Kujou Sara was diligent as always when it came to her outline of the war. 

Ayato was nearly done glaring holes into a proposal for a new legislative strategy by the Kanjou Commission when a familiar knock interrupted the silence of his room. 

Knowing who was on the other side, the words were out before he could think. "Come in." 

The housekeeper stepped in. "I've brought tea," Thoma stated, as he always did. 

It was late, Ayato knew. He'd have to tread this conversation carefully- telling Thoma to get some rest would mean getting called out for his hypocrisy, and he loved Thoma too much to simply dismiss the care that he put into the action. Carefully choosing his words, Ayato smiled at the other man. "Thank you, Thoma, but I'm fine. Why don't you find Ayaka and ask her if she'd like some?" 

"My lady is asleep," Thoma answered without missing a beat. "As you should be."

Damn! He was never going to be able to get away from Thoma's worrying, was he?  

Ayato's eyes were heavy, and it felt as if there was a fog rolling in his brain, making all his actions sluggish. He didn't even realize Thoma had taken a seat at the table until the blond flipped a paper onto its back and grabbed a pen. "What are you doing, Thoma?"

"Summarizing these agreements for you." Thoma's sweet smile almost seemed to pour energy into Ayato. Looking down, Ayato blinked tiredly as he read the jotted notes, pros and cons of each contract listed out easily for Ayato to read. Ayato couldn't help but smile at the neat and organized writing. He wordlessly turned back to a letter, Thoma taking his lack of refusal as a go ahead. 

They worked side by side into the night, and Ayato had to admit, Thoma's help made things exponentially quicker. Ayato didn't have to worry about his groggy mind missing some sinister loophole or trick, grinning when he noticed every flaw in a contract written out plainly. What was a chore of reading and rereading multiple pages of one settlement became a quick glance over of the main points summarized beautifully for Ayato, and soon Ayato's hand was cramping as he signed off on the last document of the night. 

"I'm… done," Ayato said to himself, stunned. He was finished. He'd actually caught up on everything! The exhilaration of being free from any work ahead of him was one he hadn't felt in too long. 

Thoma could barely keep his eyes open as he pushed himself to his feet, stretching his arms over his head. "That's good…" 

Ayato didn't hesitate to get up as well. "Thoma," he leaned on Thoma's back, wrapping his arms around that firm waist. "You are an angel . I could marry you." 

"Aha, I didn't do much," Thoma's smile was tired when he turned his head to look back to him. 

"Nonsense." Their noses were close enough to touch. "I couldn't have done this without you, and there's no one else I could trust with this." Ayato would have given anything to kiss that happy grin, but (fortunately) a yawn interrupted him. "We should get some sleep… come on."

"Young Master?" Thoma looked confused when Thoma grabbed his hand, dragging him to the large bed. "I- I can't join you!"

"Shh," Ayato moaned softly when he fell onto the bed. He could practically feel his back recalibrating itself after the long day. Ayato weakly flipped himself onto his back, pulling on Thoma's gloved hand until the blond was politely sitting on the bed next to him. "Take off that jacket and get in." 

"My lord, there is no need for this," Thoma insisted. Ayato could hear the sleep in his voice, and he knew the housekeeper's room was across the very large estate. 

When it came to the two of them, Ayato saved his title for rare situations. Seeing Thoma blink erratically to keep his eyes open, it was clear now was one of those moments. "Are you disobeying me, Thoma?" 

"Never," Thoma immediately straightened. Ayato frowned when Thoma pulled his hand away from his. "I simply don't want to trouble you-" 

This was going to go nowhere. Thoma yelped when Ayato pulled him down, the blond falling on top of him, their chests pressed together. 

"You're no trouble," Ayato mumbled sleepily into soft hair. "Just sleep already. I want you here." 

Thoma was silent in his arms before he breathed out a shaky, "I see." Ayato didn't resist when Thoma pushed himself off the bed, silently shrugging off his red jacket. 

"You're always wearing this," Ayato mused as the other man untied his belt. "I should buy you one of those maid outfits from Fontaine…" 

Thoma didn't rise to his teasing, grabbing the folded blanket at the foot of the bed to spread it over the heir before crawling under it himself, his back to Ayato. He was still wearing that black t-shirt, and those pants didn't look comfortable to sleep in, but it wasn't like Ayato could say anything- he'd been too tired to change out of his clothes as well. And he didn't mind- there was no better feeling than wrapping his arms around Thoma, no matter what they were wearing. 

Ayato had heard that pyro vision bearers had a warmer body temperature than most. He liked it, Ayato decided, when he melted against the cozy bundle in his bed. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been so relaxed when he nuzzled his face into Thoma's neck. Ayato breathed in, but instead of the familiar scent of sakura blossoms that followed Thoma, there was something… fresher. "Are you wearing perfume?"

"Hmm?" Thoma's attempt to turn around was stopped by Ayato's firm hand on his hip. "No?" 

"You smell different."

"Ah, do I…?" Thoma squirmed in his grasp, and Ayato allowed him to free an arm. Thoma sniffed his wrist and gasped. "Oh! That's right, it's the windwheel asters! They've been in my room for a week now." Ayato smiled at the excitement in the man's voice. "Aether- the traveler brought me a bouquet from Mondstadt. Oh, it was so touching…" Thoma let out a dreamy sigh. "Oh, Mondstadt…" 

The traveler. The one who saved Thoma from the shogun when Ayato was away. Who Thoma was on a first name basis with. Who gave Thoma bouquets of flowers from Mondstadt. 

If he noticed the way Ayato's grip on him tightened, he didn't say anything. 

 


 

It had been a long time since Ayato had the spare time to wander the town, stopping at stalls to try street food with Thoma excitedly showing him around. 

The more he spent time with Thoma, the more it became absolutely inconceivable that anyone could dislike him. So what if he was an outlander? The man knit sweaters for strays , for goodness sake. 

No one paid Ayato any heed as he followed Thoma around the city. A straw hat was all he needed to hide his white hair, and in simple clothes, Ayato was basically invisible. He was lucky- he was the Yashiro Commissioner, yes, but he was also the older brother of the Shirasagi Himegimi. Ayaka was the star of the family, the one the public adored, and Ayato was the aloof head of the clan that rarely left his work. He had a freedom that Ayaka could never have, and on a lucky day, he could have an entire outing without anyone recognizing him. 

"Try this," Thoma offered the dango, holding the stick for him to take. This is why Ayato didn't go out much. How was he supposed to deal with sunny weather on top of Thoma's bright smile? 

He didn't bother trying to take the snack. Instead he leaned forward, tilting up his hat to allow him to maintain eye contact with Thoma while he pulled a piece off the stick with his teeth. 

"It's good," was Ayato's offhanded answer. He snickered when Thoma seemed frozen in place before blushing fiercely and looking away. 

"I- I'm glad!" Thoma's eyes were frantic until they landed on the Adventurer's Guild front desk. "Oh look, it's the traveler!" 

If it was anyone else, Ayato would have jumped at the opportunity to tease Thoma for his sudden topic change. But...

Ayato had heard a lot about him. The famous fighter who defeated a dragon, saved Liyue from a God, and could go toe to toe with the very electro Archon herself. All that and yet… the man, no, the boy was the same height as his little sister Ayaka. " That's the traveler?" 

"I was surprised too," Thoma laughed. "He's much younger than the rumors make him sound, isn't he?" 

Too young for Thoma, Ayato's mind helpfully supplied as he nodded. Well. That was a weight off his shoulders! 

"You're done shopping, aren't you?" With his mood lifted, Ayato grinned and took Thoma's hand, happily pulling him back to the Kamisato estate. "Let's get home! I know just what I want you to eat today…" 

"Thoma!" 

The two men turned back to see a woman in purple running up to them, waving excitedly. Ayato couldn't deny it hurt when Thoma pulled his hand away to greet her. 

"I'm glad you're here," the woman sighed. "I'm really sorry, Thoma…" Her hands gripped each other over her chest nervously. "The shipment for the materials got delayed, and I can't finish your commission!" 

Thoma crossed his arms. "So in terms of the deadline..."

"It won't be possible," she replied apologetically. "I'll need three extra days at the least." 

"Hmm," Thoma hummed. "Is there anywhere nearby where you can get what you need?" 

"There is a man in Ritou, but his prices are far too extortionate…" 

"I'll sort it out," Thoma's smiles always made Ayato feel like everything would be alright, and judging by the way the woman's shoulders relaxed, he wasn't the only one. "If you wouldn't mind accompanying me tonight to visit him? I'll treat you to dinner for your trouble." 

Ayato felt dread pool in his stomach when she giggled, fluttering her lashes. "Anything for you, Thoma." 

"Thoma?" That was when a second stranger made his entrance. Ayato didn't care at all for the way he took Thoma's hands, nor the way his eyes lit up at the sight of his housekeeper. "You're here! Oh, I can't thank you enough for yesterday!" 

Ayato waited patiently until a third arrived, and then a fourth. It wasn't long until Thoma was crowded, humbly rubbing the back of his neck while everyone sang his praises. 

It made sense. With Thoma's easygoing charisma, his kind personality, and that sunshine smile, Ayato really shouldn't have been surprised that the man had managed to wrap all of Narukami Island around his fingers in the time Ayato was gone. 

By the time a fifth man appeared, shyly handing Thoma a box of chocolates as thanks for who knows what, Ayato had to pull his straw hat down further to hide his disgruntled face. 

 


 

Ayato wasn't too stubborn to admit he'd gone a bit overboard. 

The room was completely bathed in white, to the point Ayato could hardly make out the brown of the wooden floor. The strong scent of thousands of flowers in such a close proximity had sent Thoma into a coughing fit that couldn't be stopped until Ayato threw the windows in the room open. 

"Why?!" Thoma demanded the second he could breathe, hunched over a chair. 

Ayato couldn't give him any answer besides a sheepish chuckle. To be fair, he had been the one to say, 'I need romantic flowers from Mondstadt, and as many as you have.' He just assumed the merchant would realize that wasn't meant to be taken literally instead of stuffing Thoma's entire room with Cecilias. "You said you wanted more flowers from Mondstadt, so…" 

Thoma wobbled out of the room, shutting the door behind him with his body weight, leaning on the wood. "Thank you, young master," Thoma stated wearily. Then, much quieter, "I'll have to set up another room for myself." 

An opportunity! Ayato slammed his hands on each side of Thoma's torso, caging the man in front of him. "You can stay with me!" 

Thoma furrowed a brow. "We have guest rooms…?" 

Ayato was not going to let go of a chance to sleep with Thoma in his bed every night. "But you're not a guest, so-" 

"Ayato? Thoma?" The two men turned to see the lady of the house studying them. "What are you two doing?" Ayaka eyed their position before covering her nose with a sleeve. "And… what is that strong scent?" 

"A few thousand cecilias from Mondstadt," Thoma answered. He still looked a little sick when he smiled at Ayato and slid away from his grasp. "Thank you, young master. I truly do appreciate them, but I have to get my quarters ready." With a polite bow of his head, Thoma left the two siblings alone. 

Ayaka sighed. "There are better ways to get one's attention, brother." 

Before Ayato could ask what that meant, his sister was already walking away. 

 


 

Raiden Makoto.

When Yae Miko invited the head of the Yashiro Commission to the shrine, he didn't think he'd learn about the shogun's history. 

The previous shogun, Raiden Makoto, left her sister all alone after her untimely death. Poor Ei was overcome with a want for eternity, and thus the vision hunt decree came to be. 

Ayato gave Lady Yae a sympathetic condolence and stated that of course, as he loved his own dear sister so much, he could understand. By the priestess's amused grin, he knew she didn't fall for his act at all. 

At her excusal, he practically stomped his way home in fury. 

Watching the cherry blossoms fall, Ayato thought of his mother, who had left him too soon. Thought of long nights spent desperately trying to understand the work of a Kamisato heir, juggling work and a funeral. 

He thought of Ayaka, who had to be forced to mature at such a young age, who just wanted to be a normal girl no matter how hard she tried to hide it. Ayaka, who had no choice but to turn her grief into strength for the good of the Yashiro Commission. 

He thought of his childish, selfish Archon, who threw a fit and decided the only way to cope with the death of a loved one was to hole herself up for years, killing the hopes and ambitions of the innocent in order to achieve her warped sense of eternity. 

Ayato's eyes stung as he recalled hearing the news about Thoma's narrow escape from having his memories torn away from him. She'd never suffered any consequences for any of it. It didn't matter to her that Thoma's sweet smile could have been lost forever. 

He took a deep breath, calming himself before greeting the guards at the Kamisato estate. Whether he was furious, melancholy, or just plain bored, there was one person to go to. 

Maybe Thoma knew Ayato needed the stress relief. Maybe that was why he didn't put up a fight at all when Ayato forced him to down slime condensate at dinner. Maybe that was why he brought tea and cookies to his room afterwards, gently insisting that Ayato have some before falling asleep at his side. 

 


 

Breakfast was always a happy affair for the Kamisatos. Ayato couldn't help his pleased smile as he sipped on Thoma's signature miso soup. It had to be magic, how delicious a simple recipe turned with the man's touch. 

"Brother," Ayaka frowned at an envelope in her hand across the table. "There's another proposal for you."

The grin slid right off his face. "What family?" 

"The woman herself isn't anyone I've heard of," Ayaka turned the front of the envelope to him. "But she's being recommended by the Hiiragi clan." 

Ayato resisted the urge to slam his head onto the table. Now he'd have to actually take the time out of his day to meet this stranger and reject her. Didn't anyone know he was busy!? 

"You're keeping it?" Ayaka sounded shocked when Ayato took the letter from her, and rightfully so. Thoma stayed strangely silent beside her. 

"I can't just throw it away, as much as I'd like to," Ayato poked at a piece of perfectly cooked chicken with his chopsticks. "The head of the Hiiragi clan is unbearable. If I don't read it thoroughly and turn her down gently, he'll throw a fit." 

The table was suffocatingly quiet. "You are at that age where you might need to look for a wife," Ayaka finally muttered quietly. Ayato only shrugged. 

"Why would I need a wife when I have Thoma?" The man in question finally looked up from his lap, blinking in confusion. "He cooks and cleans for me," Ayato continued. "And he's more beautiful and loyal than anyone I could wed." 

Thoma's cheeks pinkened happily at Ayato's words, a small smile breaking out on his handsome face. 

Ayaka gave him a pointed look that Ayato chose to ignore. 

 


 

Ayato found Thoma in his room. Not the guest room he'd been staying in, but the one overflowing in white flowers. 

Ayato melted at the sight of the blond holding a cecilia in his hand, gazing at it with pure adoration. Thoma's eyes gently fell closed, and he brought the cecilia closer to his face, breathing in the scent with a pleased sigh. 

Ayato hated to interrupt, but he didn't have all day to stand around watching his housekeeper like a creep. He knocked on the open door, watched Thoma's long lashes flutter open. Thoma's face flushed immediately upon laying eyes on him, and for some reason, he hid the flower in his hands behind his back. Strange. 

"I see you're enjoying the cecilias after all," Ayato stated smugly. "But I have something to talk to you about. Are you available?"

"Of course," Thoma straightened immediately. "How may I assist you, my lord?"

"I have a deal for you," Ayato tried desperately to keep his voice level and uninterested. The last thing he wanted was to pressure Thoma, or even worse, come off too eager and have to suffer the humiliation of acting like he wasn't affected by a rejection. "I think we could reach a mutually beneficial agreement." Ayato handed Thoma the document. "Sign this, and you'll have the same authority as Ayaka or I. You'll be recognized as a full-fledged Kamisato, and you'll be able to sign papers on my behalf without waiting for me to return from my travels." Ayato swallowed before he continued. "And I… will no longer need to worry about marriage proposals reaching me, because I will have a spouse." 

Thoma's eyes widened to the point it was almost comical. He seemed frozen as he looked down at the marital contract in his hand. "You… you must be joking."

"I'm completely serious."

Thoma stared down at the paper in his hands as the seconds ticked by. The tension in the room was more suffocating than the sweet scent of a thousand cecilias while Ayato watched Thoma read over the document. 

Finally, the man sighed. "Ayato… you can't throw away your marriage for a reason like this." 

"I have no interest in marrying anyone else for love," Ayato clarified. Technically, that was true. Thoma was the only one he would marry for that reason. 

"Ayato," Thoma repeated, and Ayato knew that he was speaking as a friend, not a housekeeper. "I… I'm not the right person for this." The sad smile on the blond's face was devastating to see. "If you truly want a spouse for convenience, you should choose a noble who can aid you properly." 

Thoma always put the Yashiro Commission before anything else- usually an admirable quality in anyone else, Ayato found it quite frustrating at times. Sometimes he just wanted to shake the pretty blond in front of him and yell, "Thoma, you idiot! Can't you see I'm in love with you!?" 

"Thoma," Ayato placed a hand on Thoma's shoulder. "There's no one better I could ask for." When Thoma averted his eyes, Ayato didn't hesitate to cup the blond's face gently, bringing his gaze back. "You care for my sister like she's your own, and you'll do anything for the Yashiro Commission." Ayato couldn't help but smile at the pleased blush Thoma was displaying at the praise. "You're practically family already, and you do more for us than you could ever know." As much as he wanted to stand there all day telling Thoma how wonderful he was, the strong smell of the cecilias was making him dizzy. "It's your choice and we will forget all about this if you say no. But know that there is no one I'd rather have by my side." 

"P-please," Thoma's face was a bright red when he scrunched his eyes closed. "Let me think about it…"

"Of course," Ayato ruffled Thoma's hair before stepping back. "Take as long as you need. 

As long as Thoma would need ended up being only a week. The housekeeper couldn't look Ayato in the eye when he handed him an envelope and scurried off. As soon as he was in the privacy of his bedroom, Ayato opened the document, his blood singing when he saw Thoma's signature at the bottom of the page. 

Overall, not the most romantic beginning to a marriage. But Kamisato Thoma did have a nice ring to it. 

 


 

"Brother," Ayaka spoke up one morning. Ayato's mouth was too full with Thoma's delicious cooking to reply, so he simply hummed. His sister held a letter with the familiar seal of the Tenryou Commission. "Why did Kujou Sara just congratulate the family on your marriage?"

Thoma stilled at the table. Ayato continued eating. "To be polite, of course," he answered. "It's what one does when an acquaintance gets married."

"And you are married?"

"She wouldn't be congratulating me on my marriage if I wasn't."

Ayaka had mastered the art of staying collected under pressure a long time ago. And yet, Ayato could tell the young woman was losing patience with his antics quickly. "There was no wedding." 

"I don't have time for such a thing."

The letter crinkled in Ayaka's hand. "You spent two hours feeding Thoma fish bait yesterday!" 

Thoma whimpered, as if just the memory was enough to pain him. Ayato couldn't help but smile when he reached for Thoma's hand under the table and squeezed reassuringly. "And that was time well spent," Ayato replied firmly, leaving no room for arguments. Whatever it was they were arguing about, anyway. 

"Is this a joke? How could you get married without telling me?" Ayaka didn't sound hurt , only annoyed. Ayato thanked whatever deity that was looking out for him for that. She was all he had and he couldn't bear to imagine her being upset with him. 

"My spouse wishes for their identity to remain confidential," Ayato frowned at his empty plate. "Do we have more egg rolls?" 

"You expect me to be fine with knowing nothing about my in-law?" Ayaka demanded. She turned to Thoma. "Do you know anything about this?"

"Not a clue," Thoma denied. Liar! 

Ayaka opened her mouth, no doubt to scold Ayato further, when a cheery "AYAKAAAA, I'M HERE!" sang out through the house. 

Ayaka flushed before she leveled a look at Ayato, getting to her feet. "We will continue this conversation later." 

"Have fun on your date!" Thoma called sweetly. Oh?

"It's not a date!" Ayaka cried out before running out of the room. 

The two of them alone now, Ayato turned to his housekeeper. "She has a date?"

"Well, officially speaking, my lady is only meeting with Yoimiya to arrange fireworks for an upcoming festival." Thoma grinned and shot Ayato a wink that made the man's heart skip a beat.

"And unofficially?" 

"It's definitely a date!" Thoma squealed happily, clearly very excited to be gossiping with Ayato about his sister. "I can't wait for them to get together! Ayaka gushes over the Naganohara fireworks after every festival!" 

The daughter of the Naganoharas… that's right. Blonde, cheery, commoner. Beloved by all. A pyro vision bearer. 

His housekeeper raked his eyes over Ayato. "Something on your mind?"

"Just thinking," Ayato gazed out their window, watching leaves flow down in their garden. No doubt Thoma would have it all tidied soon. "Ayaka and I truly do have similar tastes."

"Do you think so?" Thoma furrowed his brow, crossing his arms in thought. "Because I've always felt she enjoys simpler meals in comparison. Oh, are you talking about clothing? I agree, you do dress similarly- Master Ayato! Why are you laughing?" 

 


 

Not much changed after their agreement. Ayato grinned every morning sorting through his mail, finding no more propositions for his hand in marriage. Thoma accompanied him in his bedroom more often late at night, helping Ayato sort through work, which left him with time to wander the town with his husband. 

Not much changed, indeed. Ayato was left to hide his frustration behind his hat every time someone flirted with his spouse, and it happened often

"Please keep this a secret, " Thoma had requested. "Being with an outlander will only bring you backlash and having a high position will restrict my methods." 

Ayato understood, he really did, and he knew their marriage was only out of convenience. But that didn't mean he approved of strangers eyeing his husband. Perhaps Thoma noticed his grumbling on the way home, because he had a confused smile on his face as he tried to cheer him up with stories of the strays he fed. 

Ayato was at his desk, overlooking a public service announcement that was yet to be posted when a knock rang out through the room. 

"Come in," Ayato called, already aware of who was on the other side. Sure enough, Thoma stepped through, holding a tray with a tea set. He wasn't sure why Thoma bothered. The tea always ended up forgotten on some surface of the room. Ayato took off his reading glasses with a smile- Thoma had that effect on him. On his most draining days, just the sight of the man was enough to give him energy again. 

"I've brought-"

"Tea, yes, I know," Ayato patted the empty chair next to him, and Thoma didn't even bother hiding his intentions, setting the tray down and joining him. Ayato leaned back in his seat. "You don't need to keep doing this, Thoma." Thoma didn't stop Ayato from patting the top of his head. "You've helped me enough. Thank you." 

Thoma didn't light up at the compliment like Ayato expected. Instead, the man shyly kicked at the wooden floor, avoiding Ayato's gaze. "To be honest," Thoma admitted. "I just- I was hoping-" Ayato waited patiently for the flustered man to string the words together. Finally, Thoma took a deep breath before continuing. "The kitchen is empty so… if you'd like to make something for me to eat…"

"Thoma?" It wasn't often the head of the Yashiro Commission was caught by surprise like this. "Are you really such a masochist?" 

"No!" Thoma buried his face in his hands, causing Ayato to laugh at the sight. "You've done nothing but work for weeks." Thoma's emerald eyes were as captivating as ever when he finally looked up at Ayato again. "I was happy you joined me this morning but…" 

"Ugh, don't even bring up this morning," Ayato agitatedly ran a hand through his snowy hair. "It was annoying watching everyone flirt with you." 

He shouldn't have said that. Having Thoma's pretty face within an arm's reach when he was this tired was making Ayato stupid. 

"They weren't flirting with me," Thoma insisted. "It's only business. They're polite to me because I work for the Yashiro Commission." 

Ayato couldn't contain a scoff. 

It was startling hearing Thoma's next question without an ounce of his usual polite formality. "Why would it matter to you in either case?" 

What kind of question was that? "When I see people flirting with my husband…" Ayato pushed back his seat, moving towards the other man. Thoma let out a squawk when Ayato leaned down, folding his arm behind Thoma's knees and back before sweeping him off his chair. Thoma didn't hesitate to cling to Ayato, leaning into his chest. "I want to just carry you away from everyone so they know you're mine!" 

Between stress, little sleep, and hours on end sitting in a chair, Ayato wasn't oblivious to his recent muscle reduction. Which is why he was pleasantly surprised to find he could still twirl Thoma in his arms as effortlessly as he could years ago, before his title had taken its toll on him. 

"My lord!" Thoma cried out. "Please, put me down!" 

Ayato pouted before he lit up again at the opportunity. "If you insist," he chirped, and promptly walked over to his bed, dropping Thoma on the mattress. "Is this what you want?" 

When Thoma tried to hide his face behind an arm, Ayato was happy to take the chance to grab each of his wrists, pinning them at the sides of his face. 

"You're free to leave," Ayato stated nonchalantly. "Here, I'll make it easier for you." Ayato brought the arms together above Thoma's head, gripping both wrists with one hand, leaving him with one hand free to stroke the soft blond hair. "Surely you can break free from just this?" 

Ayato didn't have time to run around like Thoma- but at the end of the day, Thoma's weapon of choice was an elegant spear while Ayato was used to swinging a heavy greatsword. Clearly he figured out Ayato wasn't going to let him go without a little entertainment, because soon Thoma was struggling under him, grunting every time he pushed upwards. He was just so cute when he looked up at Ayato with those pleading green eyes. How was he supposed to see the tears building up in such a beautiful face and not tease him more? 

"Thoma," Ayato whispered into the man's ear, relishing the way Thoma's body shivered at the action. "You look quite nice under me. Don't you think it's time we consummate our marriage?" 

Ayato expected Thoma to stutter and cry to be let go. He didn't expect a firm and determined, "I do." 

Thoma beamed at catching the heir by surprise when Ayato's mouth fell open. 

Ayato instinctively let go of Thoma's wrists, his face burning when the other man pushed himself up to lean closer to him. "Well?" Thoma grinned. "What are you waiting for?" 

"You…!" The nerve! Acting all cocky as if he wasn't at Ayato's mercy a second ago!

Thoma smirked smugly. "Getting cold feet?" 

"Thoma," Ayato grabbed Thoma's shirt, pulling the man into his lap. He felt a bit of control come back to him when Thoma gasped at Ayato's breath against his ear once more. "You're really asking for it now." 

"Asking for wh- ah!" 

The hands on Ayato's chest tightened their grip on his shirt. "Don't play coy after all that," Ayato whispered. He could barely hear his own words over the pounding of his heart when he stroked the clothed bulge between Thoma's legs. 

"Mhm… Ayato…" Thoma bucked into his hand, his head falling back, giving Ayato a perfect view of his neck. 

He must have fallen asleep at his desk. That was the only explanation for what was happening, his daydreams so real under his touch. 

"How often do you do this?" Ayato licked up the sensitive skin, drinking in the moans that fell out of Thoma's pretty mouth. "How many men have you seduced like this? You slut ." 

By the particularly desperate thrust against his hand, it was clear Thoma enjoyed the little nickname. Interesting. 

"No…" Thoma moaned. Ayato had to pull his head back to enjoy Thoma's watery half-lidded eyes. "You're my first…" 

Ayato stilled, his hand jumping away from Thoma's crotch as if he'd been burned. "What?"

"I've never… with anyone else…" Thoma reached out for Ayato's hand, trying to bring it back while Ayato's mind spun. 

That's right, Mondstadt was famous for quite a few things. It was the city of freedom, wine, song, and romance . Ayato couldn't help but groan. Of course the man he'd roped into marrying him was a hopeless romantic. 

Ayato had already selfishly taken Thoma's hand in marriage. He couldn't take this as well.

"Aya- Master Ayato?" Thoma looked like a kicked puppy when Ayato pulled away.

"I was only teasing you, Thoma," Ayato lied smoothly. He returned to his desk, picking up his pen once again, as much as his hand protested at the action. "Go retire for the evening. You've done enough." 

It was all for show. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't register a single word he was reading, his mind focused on Thoma. He was growing antsy pretending to work waiting for the man to leave. 

Finally, he couldn't take it anymore. He looked back to find Thoma bundled up in his blanket, his back turned to him. "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to sleep," Thoma answered stubbornly. "Isn't it common for a married couple to sleep together?"

"We aren't a couple," Ayato was thankful the man couldn't see him- the words were painful to force out. "This was a contract of convenience." 

"And it's more convenient for me to sleep here than walk back to my room," Thoma rebutted. "Goodnight." 

Ayato sighed out a deep breath. Thoma didn't move when Ayato lifted the covers to join him. Soon enough, Ayato's chest was pressed up against Thoma's back, the Commissioner's arms tight around him. 

Thoma tried to squirm out of his grasp, stilling immediately when Ayato grabbed his hip firmly. "Goodnight, Thoma."

It seemed as though the housekeeper was hoping to say something. Ayato waited patiently for the words, his eyelids growing heavier and heavier until he couldn't keep them open. 

 


 

Ayato could get used to waking up every morning with someone in his bed. 

His window was open, letting in the morning chill along with the songs of chirping birds. Ayato couldn't keep himself from pulling Thoma closer. A sweet, soft bundle of warmth pressed up so nicely against him. 

Curling up to the man, it took Ayato about a second to come to his senses and jump away, his face burning. 

Ayato was a healthy young man. It was normal for him to wake up in… the state he was in. He pressed a hand to his heated face, trying desperately to calm down as he staggered out of his room, closing the door behind him.

Always swamped with work, Ayato didn't have time to pleasure himself often, and it left him a little… pent up. The air was freezing when he stepped outside the estate, his arousal dying as soon as he splashed cold water on his face. He got lucky, Ayato decided as he wiped at his wet face with a sleeve, that his body didn't betray anything more than it had. He'd never be able to face Thoma again if he woke up rutting against the man after the dreams he frequently had about his housekeeper. 

"Young Master."

"Ah!" Ayato could have jumped out of his skin. He pushed his hair out of his face before turning to the woman- she had a habit of sneaking up on him. Perhaps his panic showed on his face, because the elderly butler smirked slightly. 

"For you," Furuta held out an envelope. Just looking at the seal of the Tenryou Commission doubled his headache. 

"Thank you," Ayato replied, always one to mind his manners, even on less sleep than any human should ever have to suffer. It was a struggle to contain his groan when he read the request, calling him to Archon knows where to discuss the future of Inazuma. It would be the perfect moment to bring up abolishing the sakoku decree, which meant Ayato had to set off as soon as possible. "Furuta, please pack me a bag."

"How long will you be gone?"

Ayato glared at the letter in his hands. It stated that everyone was expected to come to a unanimous decision in a week- which actually meant it would take a month at the least. "Two month's worth should do." 

With Furuta dismissed, Ayato rubbed his hands over the goosebumps rising on his chilled arms as he made his way inside once more. The warmth of the estate was heavenly when he closed the sliding door behind him. 

Thoma was still in his bed, cocooned in the cozy sheets when Ayato took a seat by his side. Thoma was usually awake at this hour, bustling around the kitchen to prepare breakfast, but clearly Ayato kept him awake quite late last night. 

"Thoma," he ran his fingers through the blond's hair. "I have to go. Please take care of Ayaka and yourself in my absence." Giving into temptation, Ayato leaned down, pressing a soft kiss to Thoma's cheek. "I'll miss you, my love." 

Was Thoma's face a shade redder than usual? Ayato stroked his cheek, and yes, it was definitely hotter than it should have been. 

He'd have to ask Furuta to watch over the man. The last thing Ayato wanted was for his housekeeper to come down with a fever. 

 


 

The other officials were unbearable. As much as Ayato wanted to gloat about Thoma, he'd made a promise to keep him a secret, and it was clear none of them intended to leave him alone without anything that could fuel their gossip. 

As soon as their first meeting ended, Ayato fled from the extravagant housing and to a hidden inn by the road. 

He'd been right. There was no way to get through every issue with the current government in Inazuma quickly, much less agree on a solution. Ayato's days were packed with debating, reports, and contracts. 

After two months, pent up energy had manifested in him excitedly offering to clear out monsters in the area when the elderly woman running the inn mentioned the problem over breakfast. 

It was shameful how refreshing it was to slash at enemies with his claymore, but he needed to let off the steam he'd been holding back for so long, trapped at his desk and between meetings. 

(There was another hydro user clearing out hilichurl camps, an outlander with a manic look in his eyes as he swung swords made of water in his hands. When he saw Ayato panting from his own battle with the monsters, he smiled and waved. Somehow Ayato felt a bit offended that the unhinged redhead found them similar.) 

"Strong, reliable, and handsome!" The old innkeeper pulled on his cheek at his return. "If only my son could be more like you!" 

"Everyone has their talents," Ayato rubbed his sore face. "If you've raised him, I'm sure he's a very special man." 

"Ohhh, and a flatterer, too!" Oh, how Ayato regretted opening his mouth. Now there were two cheeks that ached. "After all that exercise, you must need a big helping of food! No excuses!" 

Ayato didn't have the heart to tell the woman he wouldn't be able to eat everything. He was certain the outcome wouldn't change even if he did anyway. 

"This is karma," Ayato stated to himself as he stared down the massive plate in his room. "This is what I deserve for bullying Thoma all these years." 

Despite his grumbling, Ayato could feel warmth unfurling in his chest with every spoonful of the simple rice. Thoma was an excellent chef, and Ayato would never get tired of the man's cooking. But there was something about a meal made with a mother's touch that made Ayato hesitate to waste even a bite. Seeing the innkeeper beam at him when he returned the empty plate with a bow only confirmed that he didn't regret eating every last grain, even if his digestive system was paying the price for it. 

His stomach rumbling quietly, Ayato collapsed into his chair, his shoulders drooping at the neverending stack of documents. He breathed in, breathed out. Picked up his pen and got to work. 

This needed to be signed. This paragraph was no doubt intentionally vague, and Ayato needed to write back for clarification. This proposal was outright outrageous, and Ayato needed to shoot the idea down immediately. 

Ayato squinted at the words in front of him until a squawk caught his attention. Right on his windowsill, a black sparrow flitted around, eyeing him. Ayato hadn't even realized it had gotten dark until he had to light a candle to see it properly. 

"Hello there," Ayato called. The bird did not reply. 

"Sorry I can't welcome you properly," Ayato continued, gesturing to the pile of paperwork. "I'm a bit too busy to entertain you at the moment." Talking to a bird. He was going to go insane if he didn't go home soon. 

He longed to go home so desperately.

"Why am I here?" Ayato asked the bird. "Ayaka is the one who's good with people." He sighed deeply, weariness weighing him down. "Ayaka's the one who's good at everything." 

The sparrow's beady eyes studied him quietly. 

"I miss her." Ayato admitted. "And I miss Thoma. I messed things up with him, I think.

"What should I do, little bird?" Ayato whispered. "I love him. But I can't tell him that, can I?"

The bird ruffled its feathers. Ayato wondered if it was truly going to speak to him when it spread its wings- but no. It simply left a dropping on his windowsill and flew away. 

Ayato's head thudded against his desk, a stray piece of paper falling to the floor. "Thanks, little bird." 

Knowing that he had an early meeting tomorrow, Ayato dragged himself to the small bed, his mind swirling with thoughts of his family. 

Ayaka had a girlfriend now, and according to Thoma, she got along quite well with the traveler as well. Thoma himself had mentioned visiting Mondstadt now that the vision hunt decree was over. 

As the Yashiro Commissioner, Ayato was irreplaceable. But as the weird shut-in who was too busy for his sister and bothered his housekeeper far too much, how long would it take for him to become irrelevant in their lives? 

The restless sleep that came to him was one he was familiar with. 

 


 

Three months. It had taken them three months to work out every issue that Inazuma had been left with after the end of the shogun's dictatorship, though it was an unwritten rule that no one could call it that. 

Ayato could have cried tears of joy when he saw Ayaka waiting for him at the front gate of the Kamisato estate. After the long journey, there were only two things Ayato wanted to do to recharge: catch up with his sister and watch Thoma's adorable face gag on fried lizard tails! 

He restrained himself in front of the guards, giving his sister a bow and a hello. Once they were alone in the dining room, he wrapped his arms around her. "I missed you."

"And I missed you as well, Ayato," she replied, returning the embrace. Her cool skin was refreshing after months of being alone. When they parted, Ayaka gestured to the table, a spread of food prepared. "Thoma said he wasn't feeling well, so he finished dinner ahead to get some rest."

Ayato frowned at the delicious looking feast in front of him. Thoma always waited for him at Ayaka's side when he returned from a long trip, lighting up happily like a puppy awaiting its master whenever Ayato set foot on their property again. Was he avoiding him after what happened? 

Ayaka had a too-knowing expression on her face. "Do you want to find him?" 

"I couldn't let this go to waste," Ayato took a seat, picking up a pair of chopsticks. He did not like the smug look on his sister's face as she watched him eat, Ayato decided. "Tell me how you've been."

"Things have been going well!" Ayaka started excitedly. "The recent festivals have boosted morale in the city, and because the traveler is close to the shogun, she spared me some time to discuss some decrees that could benefit the people." 

Ayato tried desperately to hide the plummet in his mood. Why did they talk about work so often? After months away from his only sibling, Ayato just wanted to know if she was happy, what her friends had been up to, if there was anything she needed help with. 

At Ayaka's expectant eyes, he realized he'd misread the situation. This wasn't talk about work. At the end of the day, he was her older brother and she'd always want his approval. 

"Well done," Ayato smiled across the table. "I'm very proud of you, Ayaka." 

The young woman beamed happily, a genuine smile mirroring itself on Ayato's face as well. 

"You should see him," Ayaka surprised him with the words. Ayato didn't know how to feel about the way she narrowed his eyes at him. "You should tell him how you feel." 

Clearly, it was too late to play dumb. Ayato sighed, resting his head down on the table in front of him. "How did you know?" 

"'Why would I need a wife when I have Thoma,'" Ayaka quoted, making the man burst into a furious blush. "'He's more beautiful and loyal than anyone-'"

Ayaka giggled when he interrupted. "Alright, alright!" 

It wasn't often that Ayaka looked so… content. When Ayato looked back at his sister, he was surprised by a gentle grin, and a dreamy look in her eyes. 

"There's no better feeling than being with someone who makes you happy," she said quietly. "I don't want you to miss out on that." Her snowy eyes were determined when they locked with Ayato's. "We deserve love too, do we not?" 

When did his sister grow up so fast? "We do," Ayato agreed, getting to his feet. He looked back at Ayaka one last time before opening the wooden sliding door to the hallway. "Bring the Naganoharas over sometime." 

"I will," she reached for the dango, and that was that. 

Ayato didn't even realize he'd started running until he was in front of Thoma's room, panting lightly. 

"Thoma?" Ayato knocked gently on the door. "Are you alright? It's Ayato." 

There was no answer. 

"I know we didn't part on the best terms, but I'd like to speak to you. Please open up." 

At the lack of response, he felt his eyes water. 

"Thoma… I apologize deeply for my behavior that night. It was never my intention to hurt you." Ayato leaned his forehead on the wooden door. "You're one of the most important people in my life, Thoma. Please don't ignore me like this…" 

Wait. 

No matter what Ayato did, Thoma was far too loyal to the Yashiro Commission to do something like this. 

The guilt slowly transformed into a jumble of anxiety that sent his heart racing. "You're okay, right? Ayaka said you weren't feeling well. Just tell me you're fine- oh, Archons, Thoma, I'm coming in!" 

The doorknob jiggled uselessly under Ayato's hand, and after about ten seconds Ayato decided he'd had enough. He didn't have time to relish the feeling of finally having his sword in his hand again, using his vision to strike the lock open and running inside. 

"Thoma! Are you- oh."

The room was empty. 

The sword vanished at his side, Ayato's face burning in humiliation. Peeking into the hallway, he thanked the Archons that no one had seen him talking to himself before destroying his family's property. Why did he always turn into a complete mess whenever Thoma was involved? 

Ayato closed Thoma's door behind him, wincing when the doorknob slid right off and clanged to the floor. So Thoma didn't hate him too much to talk to him. But where was he? 

The kitchen staff hadn't seen him since he finished making dinner for Ayato's return, they claimed. The guards stated they hadn't seen him leave the estate, and the butler's answer was far too cryptic to bother unpacking. 

In a last ditch attempt, Ayato made his way to the guest room Thoma had been staying in months ago, but of course it was empty. 

Thoma was a vision bearer, Ayato knew that. He could take care of himself. Still, he couldn't help nibbling on his lip with concern for the man's safety when he opened the door to his room. 

Was he seeing things? "YOU!" 

Thoma yelped at the shout in surprise, nervousness evident on his face. 

"Do you know how worried I was!? Ayato scolded. "I have been looking everywhere for you! And here you are, on my… bed…" Ayato's eyes finally looked away from Thoma's nervous face and took in the rest of him. "What are you wearing?"

It was a redundant question. The frilly white apron over the short black skirt made it quite obvious. The only thing out of place was the collar around the man's neck, a pretty rope that could only be called a leash hanging from it. 

Thoma shyly crossed a leg over another, the maid outfit riding up to show Ayato where a garter connected with a flimsy looking stocking. "Welcome home, young master."

Ayato couldn't do anything but wordlessly walk over to the blond, every step making his face burn hotter. Trying desperately to find words, only to come up with nothing. 

"Do you like it?" Thoma seemed pleased to leave Ayato speechless in front of him. "It was your idea." 

"Is this a new housekeeping uniform?" Ayato lifted the skirt, though Thoma pulled it back before Ayato could get much of a look. "I'm not complaining, but I'm not sure I want you wearing this around guests…" 

"It's not for anyone else," Thoma's lips trembled. "I wanted to surprise you."

How was he supposed to reply to that? "Well, I am surprised." Ayato fell back onto the bed next to Thoma, sighing at the comfort of finally being back in his bed after so long away. "Though I'm more tired after you made me run around for you."

"You were looking for me?" 

Ayato nodded. "I heard you were feeling unwell-" 

"It was an excuse." 

Ayato couldn't keep in the gasp when he felt weight straddling on his lap. 

"Young Master," Thoma breathed out on top of him. "I'd like to continue where we left off." 

Ayato had dreamt about this moment for years. He'd played this scenario out in his mind countless times. He knew exactly what he needed to say. 

"Huh?"

Unfortunately, that was what came out instead. 

Thoma took his inelegant response in stride "You keep playing with my feelings," Thoma replied coldly. "You buy me flowers, tell me you love me, and ask for my hand in marriage," Thoma rubbed his thigh against Ayato's crotch, making the man flush under him. "And then you try to tell me it's all for convenience ?"

Well. If it's put like that. 

Ayato hid his face behind his forearm. "Am I really that obvious?" 

"Yes," Thoma pulled his arm out of the way, smiling down sweetly at Ayato. "And… I love you, too." 

He had to be dreaming. He had to be. "Thoma…" 

The housekeeper leaned down, closing his eyes. Ayato didn't wait a second to pull him down and connect their mouths. 

It was hard to believe- those lips were even softer than they looked. 

Thoma was inexperienced, it was obvious. He barely moved while Ayato practically attacked his mouth, sucking on his lip. Ayato didn't mind. Far from it, he couldn't think of anything better than having Thoma submissive on top of him.  

Ayato's hand snaked its way up Thoma's back, coming to rest in those lovely soft locks. Thoma's moan against his lips when Ayato pulled him back roughly was enough to have his cock straining against his pants.  

He'd have to teach Thoma everything- and he was more than okay with that. "Open your mouth," Ayato ordered. Thoma blinked his eyes open in such an adorably confused way that Ayato had to restrain himself from pushing the man onto his back. 

Thoma nodded weakly, his jaw dropping open obediently. 

"Good boy," Ayato purred into Thoma's lips. "Don't close it until I say so, okay?" 

Thoma whimpered when Ayato licked into Thoma's mouth, intertwining their tongues together. Thoma was a quick learner it seemed, because it wasn't long before he was pushing back, his eyes closed as his tongue explored Ayato's mouth awkwardly. 

Ayato chuckled at the needy whine when they broke apart, eyeing the tent in his skirt. "So hard already?" He was the same, though Thoma didn't have to know that yet. "All we've done is kiss… Thoma, have you always been such a pervert?"

"No! I'm- umph!" Two fingers jammed into Thoma's mouth shut him up. 

"Ah, is it because of this?" Ayato could feel his heart pounding against his ribs when he stroked up Thoma's leg, watching the man's eyes flutter shut when his hand reached the end of the stocking and onto his bare thigh. "Do you get off on wearing dresses? I had no idea our housekeeper was so dirty..." 

The skin under his palm was more toned and muscled than he'd imagined (and he'd imagined this many, many times) but it was still soft and warm, inviting Ayato to squeeze it. 

"Young Master?" 

Ayato's voice was hoarse to his ears. "Get on your back." 

Thoma nodded obediently. Ayato barely had time to miss the warmth on top of him when Thoma distracted him again by laying down on the bed, crossing his legs at the knee. There was little resistance when Ayato sat up, grabbing each of Thoma's ankles to part his legs. 

"Ayato," Thoma called weakly. "I'm ready- I.. I prepared myself." 

Ayato groaned, hiding his heated face into Thoma's thigh. It wasn't fair. Ayato could have watched Thoma touching himself, maybe crying out his name while he fingered himself open… "I'm never leaving you alone, ever again," Ayato said firmly. Thoma made a noise of confusion when Ayato ducked his head lower, burying his face into the soft inside of Thoma's thigh, right where the see-through stocking ended. 

The light of the bedroom reached under Thoma's skirt when he raised his hips, giving Ayato a view of what lay underneath. Thoma was wearing panties . Lacy and snug, hiding absolutely nothing. 

Tonight was gonna be the death of him. 

Thoma's trembling hand tangled itself into Ayato's hair when he pressed a soft kiss to Thoma's inner thigh. The scent of sweat and cum was making everything hazy as Ayato nibbled on the soft skin, Thoma's moans encouraging him to suck one bruise after another where his face was buried. Thoma's pained shout was like music to his ears when Ayato bit down roughly into the fragile skin. The hand in his hair retreated back to Thoma, covering his mouth to hide his weeping as Ayato licked over the imprint of his teeth before moving onto the opposite thigh and biting down once more. 

"Thoma…" Ayato could have stayed between Thoma's legs all night, worshipping those thighs but his pants were already tight enough that it was painful how badly he wanted to be inside Thoma. Pressing one final kiss to the onslaught of hickeys and bite marks he'd left onto the soft skin, Ayato finally slid off the bed. 

Thoma's eyes were wet with overflowing tears when he looked up, his cheeks stained with what seemed to be a permanent red. "Where…?"

"I'm right here," Ayato squeezed Thoma's hand gently before letting go. He smirked when he saw Thoma push himself onto his elbows when Ayato delicately untied his outer robes. Letting the expensive fabric fall to the ground, he made his way to a cabinet, pulling out the bottle of oil. 

Thoma was shaking as he held himself up. The collar around the base of his neck combined with those wide eyes awaiting him conjured up the image of a loyal, obedient puppy. 

"Come on," Ayato whispered, climbing back onto the mattress. Thoma gasped when he pulled on the leash. "Bark for me like a good dog."

Heavy breathing filled the room as Thoma's eyes watered. Oh, Ayato adored seeing Thoma so flustered. It took a moment, but Thoma obeyed, averting his eyes as he forced the word out. "W-woof."

"Pfft-" Ayato hadn't meant to snicker like that, he really hadn't. "Ahaha, you actually did it!" 

Thoma's pretty face looked so beautifully mortified when the tears pooling in his eyes threatened to spill over. The blond wasted no time in grabbing the blanket at the foot of the bed, throwing it over himself and hiding his face. "You're teasing me!" 

"No, no, Thoma, come out," Ayato cooed, pulling on the covering. "Please, my dear?" 

Thoma finally lifted the sheet. "No more making fun of me!" 

"I can't promise that…" Ayato kissed the top of Thoma's head, breathing in the familiar scent that lingered in his silky hair. Thoma gasped when Ayato pulled him onto his lap, peppering his face in kisses before roughly pulling on the leash once again. Thoma's breath hitched when the man turned him around, forcing him to face the large mirror next to the bed. "Look at how pretty you are." Thoma barely glanced up before shutting his eyes in embarrassment. It was cute, but not what Ayato wanted right now. He tugged on the collar again, grinning when the man in his lap coughed from the treatment against his throat. "I said look." 

It was a struggle for Thoma, Ayato knew, to see himself in such a debauched state. The poor man sniffled when Ayato pulled down the dress's lace neckline, revealing his chest. Thoma sobbed beautifully for him when Ayato pulled on a nipple gently, flicking it between his fingers. 

"You're quite fragile, aren't you?" Ayato wasn't gentle when he bit down into Thoma's neck, enjoying the pained gasp that made its way out of the man. He nosed happily into the deep bite mark. "Oh, I can't wait to break you…" 

To his credit, Thoma didn't take his eyes off his reflection. Going by the way he was grinding against him in his lap, Ayato would wager Thoma liked it, as much as he'd refuse to admit it. 

He didn't pull away from Thoma's neck as he uncapped the bottle and squirted some oil onto his fingertips. The blond tensed the second Ayato's hand wandered under the skirt to pull Thoma's panties to the side, Ayato taking it as a cue to pepper another set of soft kisses under Thoma's ear. 

Thoma's stiff shoulders relaxed slowly when Ayato circled at the entrance, the pads of his fingers gently rubbing against the skin. Ayato wished it could have been his tongue causing Thoma to sigh softly, but that could wait for later... 

"What are you so nervous about?" Ayato whispered. He looked to the mirror, Thoma's half lidded eyes catching his attention before Ayato's eyes wandered down. He wondered if Thoma felt him harden even further at the sight of his legs spread for two fingers to play with his hole, his leaking cock caught under the lacy soiled lingerie. 

Thoma didn't answer, only gasping out nonsense at Ayato's touch. 

When Thoma was properly boneless in Ayato's arms he finally pushed the fingers in, forcing himself to go as slow as possible. Even after Thoma's own preparation, the man was so tight around him Ayato was relieved he'd ignored his assurance that he was ready. "Feeling okay?" 

Thoma could reply with nothing but a pleased groan, causing Ayato to chuckle. How did someone so sensitive thrive in a cutthroat place like Ritou? 

Ayato was snapped out of his musings when his fingers brushed over a rough texture, making Thoma throw his head back in a full body gasp. Perfect.

Ayato's fingers brushed over the bundle of nerves again, making Thoma thrust desperately into the air with a whine. "How does it feel?"

"G-good…"

"Just good?" Ayato curled his fingers, relishing in the way Thoma's mouth fell open in a silent scream. 

"Really good…!" Thoma was meeting him halfway, bucking his hips onto Ayato's fingers, desperate for the touch. He'd been indulging Thoma too much, hadn't he? Ayato added a third finger, making sure to avoid the prostate as he continued working the man under him open, enjoying Thoma's disappointed groans. 

Where to go from there? He could add a fourth finger, refusing to fuck Thoma properly until he begged for his cock. But he could also stop right now, leave him ill-prepared and enjoy the sounds of Thoma sobbing through the pain of being fucked open anyway. How to choose...

"Please..." In the end, Thoma chose for him. "Please, master, I need you..." 

Ayato couldn't deny those beautiful green eyes anything. 

It seemed as though Thoma couldn't decide if he was relieved or disappointed when Ayato pulled out his fingers. Ayato's hands cupped Thoma’s ass, pulling him up from his lap and onto his back once again. 

"I'm sorry, Thoma," Ayato pulled the panties down until they were hanging over Thoma's ankle. It was a shame, but they were already drenched with precum and he couldn't imagine Thoma would be comfortable in tight, damp underwear for long. “I’ve selfishly made you go along with all my whims-”

“I don’t mind,” Thoma managed to string the words together quickly before the embarrassment set in and he had to turn his face away. “I like everything you do to me…”

Perhaps Celestia was not so cruel after all, to allow Ayato this life. 

He couldn’t wait a second longer. Ayato hissed as his pants brushed up against his forgotten erection, but he didn’t bother removing any of his clothes further than sliding down his underwear enough for his cock to spring out. Thoma had dressed up for him… it wouldn’t be fair for him to be the only one naked. 

“The second you don’t like it,” Ayato pressed a kiss against Thoma’s lips before carrying on with his words. “You tell me to stop, understand?” At Thoma’s enthusiastic nod, Ayato took a deep breath before continuing. 

It was difficult to control himself when he poured the oil in the palm of his hand, lubing up his dick. He would have loved to see Thoma’s reaction to Ayato finishing himself off on his face, and then leaving him unfulfilled on his own after all that teasing. Maybe one day he’d carry the thought out, but for now Ayato simply held his cock straight by his base and pushed the head into his entrance. 

Both of them groaned immediately- Thoma whining from the tight fit while Ayato gritted his teeth at the sensation. It had been a long time since Ayato had last done this (not since he’d fallen head over heels for his housekeeper, in fact) and Thoma in particular was so hot around him. 

Ayato gasped when he felt Thoma’s hand stroke his cheek, the man in question looking dazed. “Are you alright?” 

“Me?” A chuckle burst out of him before he could stop it. It wasn’t fair. Why was Thoma so endearing? “I should be asking you that.”

Thoma’s sweet sunshine smile revealed itself. “We can both ask each other?” 

Ayato couldn’t help but beam back as he ducked down to press their lips together. “I love you, Thoma.”  

“And I love- ah!” 

Ayato couldn’t spend all night just staring at Thoma’s beautiful face. He had to move, had to make Thoma his as soon as possible . To Thoma’s credit, he barely whimpered when Ayato pushed himself, Thoma’s insides constricting his cock with how tight they were around him.

"You're taking me so well, Thoma," Ayato kissed a stray tear away from the blond's cheek. He stilled once he was fully sheathed inside his husband, trying to think of anything but the fact that he was finally inside of the love of his life. He wanted to last more than two minutes, but at this point he wasn’t sure he could. 

"Please- unh, wait," Thoma pleaded weakly. 

"I'll wait as long as you need," Ayato sighed into Thoma's hair. "You're always taking care of us," Ayato intertwined his fingers with Thoma's, bringing his hand up to kiss the back of his palm. "Let me take care of you now." 

Ayato found himself a distraction until Thoma could decide he was ready- the exposed pale neck available right there for Ayato’s mouth. Thoma let out a cry when Ayato bit down roughly once again, taking pride in the clear mark that would display his ownership for days. “Maybe this will show everyone you work with that you’re not available.” 

A hiss answered him. “You’re still hung up on that?” 

Well.

He’d been patient enough. 

Thoma looked confused when Ayato pulled his hips back. Satisfaction and pleasure burst into Ayato’s stomach when he pushed forward in one swift thrust, causing Thoma to wail in surprise. 

“It’s like you’re just asking me to punish you,” Ayato panted. “You whore.” 

There were no words to describe the ecstasy Ayato could feel growing in his stomach when he began moving. He swore he could feel fireworks exploding when Thoma's mouth fell open at a particular drag against his walls, so tight and wet from a mixture of lubricant and Ayato's precum. 

Ayato splayed his hand over Thoma's throat, gently squeezing the sides of the man's neck with his fingers. He could have laughed when Thoma went completely pliant under him.

"Come on," Ayato whispered. "Put up more of a fight, won't you?" 

Thoma's grip on the sheets loosened, his movements slowing down while Ayato repeatedly thrust into him. He was like a doll, just taking whatever Ayato had to give, and a new surge of arousal grew in Ayato knowing no one else had ever seen Thoma like this. 

"You're like a fucktoy made just for me..." Thoma whimpered under him when Ayato tightened the grip on his neck. Perhaps Ayato was being cruel when he poked a finger inside a stocking, pulling it back by the elastic and watching it snap against Thoma’s thigh. “All dolled up for me like a good cum dumpster.” 

Tears were flowing freely down Thoma's face as Ayato fucked into him. He really had to get his mind off of how tight and warm Thoma was if he wanted to last long, but the urge to push Thoma around was too strong to resist. "I wonder how the rest of the Yashiro Commission would think of you like this," Ayato pulled on a nipple, causing Thoma to let out a low whine. “Or does everyone already know the retainer of the Kamisato estate is this easy?”

“I’m not-” The poor man didn’t seem to know what to say. “I don’t- master, please… ” For all his travels over Inazuma, Ayato couldn't think of a better sight than Thoma's half-lidded eyes, drool flowing down his parted lips. 

"Don’t worry," Ayato grunted out. “I'll make sure you can't live without my cock.” Thoma moaned helplessly when Ayato manhandled those legs over his shoulders, making the skirt fall further back onto his belly and showing off his leaking dick. 

“Ayato!” If Ayato had half a mind anymore, he’d think about how loud they were being. “Ayato, you’re- you- Ayato!” 

Ayato . His name sounded so nice when Thoma moaned it, no titles or honorifics necessary. "Say my name again," Ayato's voice was hoarse as his grip on Thoma's thighs tightened. No doubt there would be hand shaped bruises on him tomorrow.

"Ayato," Thoma's eyes rolled back when Ayato's thrusts picked up speed. "Ungh… Ayato, Ayato, ah... Ayato ..." 

"Fuck," Ayato tried to make himself slow down, tried desperately to think of something else, anything but Thoma helpless under him, with his pretty legs spread apart, ready to take anything Ayato would do to him-

He couldn’t keep his hips from stuttering, an erratic rhythm overtaking him as he filled Thoma up with his cum. Everything felt too hot, like his blood had come alive for the first time in his life. 

There was no telling how long he rode out his orgasm, but it was refreshing, his mind cleared for the first time in months. His body felt drained in a delightful way, leaving him with a relaxing high. 

“Master?” Thoma called weakly. Ah, that’s right, Ayato still had a job to finish. 

“I’m here,” Ayato replied, as dazed as he still was. He pulled his now-soft cock out, wincing at the stimulation. Thick white discharge flowed down Thoma’s thighs, distracting Ayato with the beautiful image of the love of his life, ass gaping and brimming with his cum. 

“Master, please!” 

“Sorry, sorry!” Ayato shook his head, coming back to his senses. His fingers slid into Thoma easily, the ejaculate still surprisingly warm against Ayato’s fingers as he looked for what had left Thoma so sated the last time he did this. It didn’t take long- soon Thoma was squirming once more, crying out with every brush against his prostate. 

Ayato would have loved to wrap his hands around Thoma's pretty neck while his fingers fucked the gorgeous man under him, but he'd teased Thoma enough for his first time. His free hand made its way to Thoma's neglected dick, Thoma practically shouting out at the sensation.

"Thoma," Ayato breathed into the blond's neck. "You're such a good boy for me…" His hands moved in a steady rhythm, milking Thoma's prostate at the same speed Ayato stroked his cock. 

"Please- ungh!" Thoma's voice choked off at the drag of Ayato's fingers dragging against his walls. "Ayato… faster, please Ayato…!" 

It was so tempting to do the opposite, to slow down so he could hear Thoma whine under him. But even he wasn't that cruel. "Be patient, my love." Ayato pressed a soft kiss to the top of Thoma's head, continuing the even pace. 

"Master!" The desperation in Thoma's sobs sent a fresh wave of butterflies to Ayato's stomach. "Please!"

How Ayato wished he had a kamera… Thoma's face wet with tears and drool would be the perfect picture for him to keep on his person during his travels. 

“Thoma…” Ayato had to praise him after how obedient he’d been. “You were perfect.” Thoma moaned softly at the words. “You were absolutely lovely, my dear.”

“Ayato…” Thoma surprised Ayato by bucking his hips up into his hand. Ayato didn’t stop him from interrupting the pace. He’d earned this. 

With the doubled efforts of Ayato’s fingers both wrapped around Thoma’s cock and stroking inside his hole, Thoma was moaning and shaking through his own peak in no time. Ayato didn’t stop his hands until the last spurts of cum made their way out. 

His hand now covered in the blond’s cum, he waited until Thoma came down from his own high, wordlessly forcing a dirtied finger into his mouth. Thoma licked at it absentmindedly for about three seconds before gasping and hiding his face behind his arms, making Ayato laugh above him. 

“You were so good,” Ayato pushed the hair back from his sweaty forehead, planting a gentle kiss there. “How do you feel, my love?”

“Tired,” Thoma melted into the bed, sighing contently. “I don’t think I can move.”

“Hmm? But we’ve only just started.”

“But…” The poor man stilled, his eyes going wide. “We’ve done everything.”

"Oh, Thoma," Ayato beamed. “That was far from everything .” 

There was no better bliss than watching the blood leave Thoma's face. "B-but-"

"You can't possibly think I'll be satisfied with just this," Ayato's hands slid up Thoma's stomach, the man shivering under his touch.  "After all the years you've kept me waiting…" Ayato's heart fluttered at the new set of tears making their way to Thoma's eyes. “Onto the floor like a good dog, now. Get on your knees.” His husband’s body trembled helplessly when Ayato yanked at the leash, forcing him up. "I'm going to enjoy stealing all your firsts tonight..." 

 

*

 

" Brother!" Ayaka threw open the door to the kitchen, startling him into dropping the egg in his hands. "Thoma's been attacked!"

Every nerve in Ayato's body seemed to kick into alert as he rushed to the dining room behind his sister. How could that be? He left Thoma less than five minutes ago!

Thoma was right where he left him, though sprawled on the floor using a cushion as a pillow rather than sitting on it. Ayato almost cried from relief to see Thoma alright. 

"My lady," Thoma's voice was scratchy after screaming all night. "Told you… fine…" 

"You're not fine!" Ayaka fell to her knees in front of him, grabbing Thoma's shoulders. "Look at what happened to you!"

Well. 

Ayato cringed as he looked over the man. Between the exhausted bags under his eyes, the bruised handprints around Thoma's neck, and the groans escaping him everytime he tried to move, it certainly did seem like something was wrong. The collar in particular had left a nasty ring of deep red and purple below the handprints. 

"Oh, uh, Ayaka- Thoma is- he wasn't attacked." How was one supposed to explain this to his younger sister?

"They tied him up and kidnapped him!" Ayaka sniffled as she tenderly took Thoma's hand in hers, eyeing the rope marks burned into his skin. "Who could do such a thing? He can't even move..."

Well. She was right about most of that. 

Ayaka was a young woman. As awkward as it would have to be, he'd have to explain what happened to get her to stop worrying. He could do this. 

"I'll find who attacked Thoma," Ayato stated instead. Thoma opened his mouth to clear up the situation no doubt, but his words failed to deliver after the rough treatment against his throat. The poor thing couldn't even resist as Ayato scooped him up in his arms. "Our first priority is making sure Thoma gets some rest. I'll take him back to my room and we'll get some food in him." 

“Right!” He dutifully ignored Thoma's judgmental glare when Ayaka nodded in determination. "I'll pick up something from outside and be right back!" 

The sound of Ayaka's shoes clacking against the wooden floor disappeared after a few seconds when she ran to the estate's entrance. Ayato sighed, making his way back to his room. He really wanted to cook Thoma breakfast since the man couldn't do it himself today…

"Just… tell," Thoma forced the hoarse words out. "Lady Ayaka... worries..." 

"Not a word out of you," Ayato denied. Thoma let out an amused puff of air when Ayato kicked the door open, gently placing him on top of the covers. Ayaka would insist on spending the rest of the week hovering over Thoma, and soon enough Ayato would be swamped in the work he'd caught up on. At least they were alone together right now. He leaned down, stealing a soft kiss from Thoma. "I love you," Ayato whispered against his lips. 

Thoma had a content smile on his face as he slipped into sleep once more, Ayato's fingers running through Thoma's hair adoringly. 

 


 

When questioned about his mysterious spouse, the head of the Yashiro Commission always gave the same answer. 'I refuse to show off my lover- I can't help wanting to keep such beauty to myself.'

Exasperation soon turned into amusement as people watched Ayato dodge every inquiry without fail. Questions about their first meeting were met with a vague, "Through a mutual acquaintance." When asked about his spouse's clan, Ayato simply answered, 'They're a Kamisato now. Anything else is unimportant." 

The total number of those who knew about Ayato's dear husband was a small three: Kamisato Ayato, Kamisato Ayaka, and Kamisato Thoma.