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Mondstadt has plenty of stray animals. From Timmie’s pigeons to the various dogs and cats that can be all around town, there is no shortage of furry (and feathery!) friends. They were prone to following anyone around begging for scraps or pets but this wasn’t a sight Kaeya had ever expected to see. He alerts the other person by performing his signature clapping entrance startling the hooded figure in front of him.

“Well well, the fearsome Darknight Hero’s protection extends even to our furry citizens, huh?” he teases and he leans slightly to the right as a dagger goes flying past him. Diluc stands up from where he was crouched feeding a couple stray cats and aims a burning glare at him.

“Don’t call me that, it’s a stupid name. What are you doing here, Kaeya?”

“I recall someone always disparaging the Knights and so I am here to show them that we do indeed work.” he pauses, “Sometimes.” Diluc scoffs before angrily saying,

“Don’t you dare say anything about this to anyone.” Kaeya has to smother his laughter at how nonthreatening Diluc looks, a blush spreading across his face as the cats below him starting purring and weaving between his legs. Diluc does not take kindly to his mockery and summons his claymore and Kaeya hurriedly puts a hand over his heart.

“I promise I will not reveal our precious savior’s nightly excursions.” he quickly and solemnly says. Satisfied, Diluc waves away his weapon and marches right past his lover. Kaeya scrambles to catch up with the other. “No need to be so cold.” he whines. Diluc huffs and continues walking, but the fact he didn’t bodily threaten Kaeya with harm is a small victory. They’re silent as they continue walking, Diluc pauses and shoots him a look as Kaeya continues to follow him even as he walks out the gates. Kaeya shrugs and motions Diluc to continue walking and reluctantly he does, Kaeya trailing him the entire way to the Winery.

He finally stops when the Winery is within view and Diluc stops and looks at him. They say nothing but Kaeya sighs and walks forward to give Diluc a gentle kiss. Diluc hums happily before patting him on the cheek and walking to Winery without any more ceremony. The captain watches his lover walk away with fondness before heading back to Mondstadt. Inefficient many knights were, but Kaeya had a patrol to finish.

He’s not sure how he never noticed it before but watching Diluc enter town he sees some cats instantly run up to him. He snickers and Diluc, ever aware of Kaeya, whips his head in his direction to send him a scathing glare. Kaeya shrugs and walks over to him and accompanying him to wherever he’s heading, accompanied by some smaller friends as well. He spares a glance behind him to find most of the cats had walked away but one continued to follow them. He nudges the Pyro user and he sends a glare at him before Kaeya tilts his head to their furry companion, Diluc following his gaze. He sighs and kneels down to give the black and white cat some scratches. Kaeya’s heart stutters at the sight, who knew Diluc would look so cute petting a cat. The look on his face reminds Kaeya of how Diluc would show off his tortoise to him when they younger, eyes soft and bright, a genuine smile beaming at him. Diluc stands and the cat runs off, he faces the frozen captain.

“Kaeya, are you alright?” Kaeya blinks and coughs before placing his fake smile on his face.

“Of course.”

“You had the dumbest look on your face.” Kaeya gasps and Diluc snorts before making his way to Good Hunter. “Do you not have anything better to do?” he snaps as Kaeya continue to follows him. He hums noncommittally.

“Do you really insist on following me around?”

“If some cats can I don’t see why I can’t.” Diluc turns red in anger and he takes a step towards the smirking captain but Sara, the archonsend, calls out Diluc’s name and he turns to grab his food before walking away. Kaeya laughs but lets the other go for fear of his own safety and it was about time he started work.

Work wasn’t terribly exciting. It had started out fine with some requests to get rid of some hilichurl camps and slimes nearby but the rest of the afternoon was filled with paperwork. While being Quartermaster and Calvary Captain certainly had it’s perks, the amount of paperwork was atrocious only made worse by the fact Kaeya hated being still. He twiddles the quill as he starts on the 2nd pile of paperwork. He signs off on yet another time-off request and enviously wishes that he was signing off his own leave. He pushes back from his desk and stands, stretching a bit when he finds he has a curious visitor by the window. Kaeya locks eyes with a black and white cat. He walks over and carefully unlatches the window so as to not startle it. It, (he she?) blinks at him with bright eyes. It happily lets itself in and Kaeya watches with amusement as it takes confident steps around his office. Kaeya crouches down and it comes over to him rubbing it’s head against his legs, purring happily.

“You’re a cutie, I can see why that grouch feeds you.” it meows loudly in agreement, or so Kaeya thinks, and he scratches it behind it’s ears. It lets out another loud purr at that and Kaeya smiles picking it up. “While I would love for you to keep me company we have a strict no animal policy.” He thinks back to that incident and shudders, Klee is often too smart for her own good. He puts the cat back on the windowsill making shooing motions and it leaves with a meow. He sticks his head out the window to see the cat staring back at him from below. He waits a moment and it doesn’t move, he sighs and looks at his closed door. Maybe Jean wouldn’t mind him taking an impromptu break, afterall he’d made more headway through his paperwork in this one day then all week. Kaeya weighs the pros and cons and ultimately climbs out the window.

If Kaeya was one to genuinely apologize for something, he might consider apologizing to Diluc for making fun of him last night. He gets some well deserved odd looks as he follows around this one cat. He just waves and continues to follow his furry companion all the way to Angel’s Share. The cat jumps on one of the outside tables and Kaeya is finally hit with some recognition. This cat is often seated outside Angel’s Share, he always found it amusing with it sitting on a table next to a tankard as if it was a customer. Kaeya leans down to look it in its seemingly mischievous eyes.

“You’re a sneaky one.”

“Finding the Calvary Captain in kinship with a cat is truly an unexpected sight.” comes a voice to his right and he nearly breaks his back with how quickly he stands up. Diluc is standing there in his usual bartending outfit complete with his stoic face but Kaeya can see the amused and fond glimmer in ruby eyes.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” he declares and Diluc snorts before heading back into the bar, Kaeya trailing behind. It’s too early to be open, but Diluc doesn’t say anything opting to go back to taking inventory. Kaeya helps himself to some liquor left on the bartop and looks around at the empty bar. It’s an odd sight, he hadn’t been in the bar when it was in this state in a long time, he now mostly visited when it was at its fullest. Neither spoke content to be in each other’s presence. Kaeya takes a sip of his stolen alcohol wondering just exactly when they were able to be like this without wanting to kill each other. It had been a while since they reconciled and even longer since they were able to tolerate each and potentially even seek to be next to the other in any possible way. A newer occurrence then, Kaeya decides and finds he doesn’t mind it. Words, he thinks, have always been tenuous territory for them, often flickering back and forth between barbed to gentle.

He examines the back of Diluc. He thinks back to him feeding the stray cats last night and he smiles. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile that imagine with the one with piles of dead bodies around him, red eyes shining with fiery passion, blood on staining his hands and clothes and not a single sign of remorse. Diluc, afterall, is a man of morals. What a strange thing to be able to see both sides and be treated with gentleness rather than the point of a sword. He’d once been on the opposite end and it had been a horrible experience. Ah, well no point in reflecting on the past when they had already made such much progress.

He reaches out for the bottle once more only for it be snatched away from him and he whines as his empty hands falls onto the bartop.

“Are you going to continue to leech off of me?” Diluc asks without turning around as he continues to arrange and count bottles. Kaeya huffs.

“It was only a sip or two.” He can’t see it but Kaeya can just feel how the other rolls his eyes. “Hey Luc, you ever thought of owning a pet?” Diluc turns at that a strange look on his face.

“Not particularly, I have my falcons anyway.” Ah, right, Master Diluc was truly a learned gentlemen. Kaeya gets up and leaves the bar and Diluc turns fully around at that. “Kae?” he calls out confusedly, did he say something wrong? He didn’t think a pet was that sensitive of a topic. Seconds later, Kaeya returns with a ball of fluff. Diluc’s worry dissipates in a second. “We don’t allow pets inside the tavern.” Kaeya holds the cat protectively.

“Aw, don’t be like that, Luc. This is one of your most loyal customers. You can’t tell me you haven’t noticed this sweet fellow occupying one of your tables outside before?” Diluc’s lips tighten into a thin line unable to dispute. It’s clear what Kaeya is asking and Diluc does nothing except stare at the cat blinking at him. He really shouldn’t he already had to take care of his falcons, horses, and Kaeya himself.

“Suppose I agree. What happens then?”

“Why, it’ll be a mouser for the Winery.” Sometimes Diluc regrets telling Kaeya he is welcomed at the Winery at anytime.

“And you’ll come over to take care of it?”

“On my knight’s honor.” Diluc almost laughs at that. He holds out his arms and Kaeya gently hands over the heavy creature. Diluc brings it close and looks at it closely. It blinks at him before meowing then purring. Damn it, he can feel his resolve crumbling and he berates himself for being so easily manipulated by a cat. He basically throws the cat back at Kaeya before crossing his arms and turning his head resolutely away.

“Fine, we can keep it.” Archons, he truly is the adult in this relationship. Kaeya looks like he just died and saw Celestia and Diluc has to rein in the urge to slap that silly, cute expression off his face. Kaeya continues to be ridiculous, cooing and talking to it like a child and so Diluc turns back around to get ready to open since he actually does his job.

The cat is a hit. It seems a cat is all a drunkard needs to be entertained. Kaeya watches with amusement as all the patrons fawn over the cat like it’s a child. He cuts his eyes over to Diluc, irritation becoming more and more visible. He shoots back the rest of the drink and slams it down on the counter catching the bartender’s attention. Diluc wordlessly begins mixing him another drink and Kaeya avidly watches.

“Don’t be so uptight, it’s just a cat. It’s causing less harm then some of your patrons.” Diluc frowns and decidedly says nothing. He couldn’t really argue with that, in fact it seemed the bar today was less rowdy with everyone’s attention on the cat instead of goading each other to do increasingly stupid dares. Still, he can’t lose face to Kaeya about how within the span of a couple of hours the cat was growing on him. He shoves the new glass of Death After Noon at Kaeya and he takes it with a grin and small toast. The Pyro user sighs and spares one more look at the cat. It really was too similar to Kaeya. Diluc sighs, he guessed his would have to get used to taking care of two children now.