“Would you join me for one last dinner before you depart Liyue?” Zhongli had asked so stoic that Childe half doubted how genuine the offer was. Then he remembered that this was Zhongli, a man who never spoke careless words.
“I’m not leaving for a couple days so I suppose I could.”
Childe had not expected that dinner, which was ever the usual get together for them, to lead to Zhongli being at his apartment.
A lump formed in Childe’s throat. He had wanted to skip out of Liyue, trek back to Snezhnaya and deal with whatever complicated feelings had developed when he could think with the proper head. For all his efforts and drowning his feelings and urges with the same intensity he had tried to drown Liyue Harbor, the moment his eyes landed on glowing Cor Lapis, it was a lost battle.
Is...is his hair glowing?
Childe hadn’t turned on any lights yet, the room basked in shadows except for a faint golden glow around Zhongli.
“I believe this is the first time you’ve actually come home with me. Even though I offered countless times.” Childe scratched at his neck. Thoughts were rushing his head already. He had the Consultant alone...it would be so easy to shove him into a wall and let loose…
“Yes, this would be a first. Shall we say I had hesitation previously.” Zhongli’s eyes dropped to the side.
“Trying to say you trust me now more than you did before?” It was a hopeful wish, everything considered.
“The degree of my trust towards you remains unchanged, however,” he paused to press a hand against his chest “without my gnosis, and presumably resulting from my desire to live as mortally as I am capable of, I am beginning to experience human emotions more acutely.”
“Deciding to indulge in the finer pleasantries of human life huh? Well I can recommend you some—”
“Do not misunderstand. My desire is not to simply seek pleasure with any accepting human. If that were my goal, I would not require your assistance specifically.”
Every thought in Childe’s head came to a crashing halt. Him specifically? That would mean— no, no he had to be overthinking it.
“Sensei, you can’t mean…” Childe’s throat went dry. If he finished that sentence he really would be asking for the one thing that would tie him to Liyue even longer. Not that he would mind particularly, Liyue was a beautiful place with some stunning sights, but Childe also missed his family.
“I neglected to study how humans go about these sorts of matters.” Zhongli...had a blush creep across his face, and Childe swore his heart would burst out of his chest. Despite the bone crushing beats, he strode forward until he were a hair away from Zhongli. All he had to do was lean in a little and their lips could meet.
“So you wouldn’t be doing this with anyone?” Childe spoke low as he traced Zhongli’s jawline with a knuckle.
“I...If anyone would do I could have this experience already.” To hear Zhongli stutter even slightly could drop Childe to his knees.
Childe went silent, in words and thoughts, as he continued to trace Zhongli’s features. Down his neck, over his shoulders. His imagination was nothing short of racing, but he burned to know how close to reality he was.
When his eyes flicked back to Zhongli’s, that were glowing ever more and directed slightly downward, Childe’s remaining self control vaporized. He pushed that small distance to press his lips against Zhongli’s. Whatever shred of patience Childe had for this also went out the window quicker than he could kick a man out one.
His hands coiled around Zhongli’s waist and pulled him close as he shoved his tongue past Zhongli’s plump lips. Soft gasps and moans were swallowed between their lips as Childe set the pace. It took a while before Zhongli started to move on his own even the tiniest bit. His hands had brushed Childe’s hips only to dart away before they came to rest on his shoulders instead.
When Childe broke their kiss to dip into Zhongli’s neck there was a slight whimper that echoed in his ears.
“No need to be nervous. You can touch me wherever you want.” Childe licked a stripe along Zhongli’s neck.
Perhaps, a tad more forethought would have benefitted Childe, he hadn’t planned on having a former Archon asleep in his bed. While there was technically enough room for two...who could have guessed the ever composed Zhongli would be a massive bed hog?
Childe sighed to himself as he made sure his exhausted guest was at least sufficiently covered before he went to settle on the couch.
That had not been the best rest of his life to say the least. It had been a long while since he woke up before sunrise. He would have pegged Zhongli as the type to be up bright and early, yet he was still very much curled up in Childe’s bed. After futile attempts to fall back asleep, Childe gave up and decided that since he had the time and wasn’t alone, he could cook a proper breakfast for once.
“Proper” used lightly as he simply scraped together what he had available. Which came down to fish and rice. Eating at home wasn’t a particular hobby of Childe’s with how often his work kept him out and about.
The fish had only started to sizzle when he heard light footsteps behind him.
“Childe?” The voice was groggy, hoarse, and barely above a whisper.
“Ah, you...awake…” Childe looked over his shoulder to see Zhongli had his button up shirt with only a couple buttons done, and nothing else. Red marks decorated his skin from neck down to his inner thighs where they barely peeked out past the hem of the shirt.
“Food is almost ready. You a coffee person? Or tea?” Childe focused on the fish which was getting dangerously close to being overcooked.
Zhongli groaned softly as he sat down.
“Tea would be appreciated.” Zhongli seemed to struggle with words. That felt like an accomplishment to Childe.
There was hardly another word between them as Childe continued to cook while also preparing two cups of tea. Averting his gaze from Zhongli had been difficult at best, and once he had sat down at the table, it became impossible.
Their eyes met as they both took their cups in hand, but neither said anything. Zhongli glowed still. Not literally, not as he had last night, yet he still glowed somehow. It puzzled Childe, but it was far too captivating to question.
“You depart in two days time, is that correct?” Zhongli’s voice broke the silence once his gaze had dropped to his half empty plate.
Childe looked down at his still half full one,
“Well I hadn’t paid for any fares so technically I can stay longer.”
“I would not wish to tie you down.”
“If it’s for you, I don’t mind. What were you thinking?” Childe managed to shove another bite of rice in his mouth before he said too much. His mind was racing despite how calm he appeared.
“I would like it if I could experience more of the intricacies of human courtship with you.”
Childe dropped his fork.
Had he heard that correctly? Had he been asked out by Zhongli ??
“Uh well,” Childe swallowed hard “We’ve sorta...skipped some steps if you wanted to have a proper experience.”
“Perhaps my phrasing led to an incorrect assumption. I do not seek a ‘proper’ experience so much as I would like to further our personal relationship.”
This was far, far, far too much for Childe first thing in the morning, yet his mouth had it’s own opinion.
“Well, I would be hard pressed to say no. But are you sure that’s really what you want?” Childe forced himself to meet Zhongli’s solid gaze.
“I wish not to live a lonesome mortal life, however, there is no one else I would rather spend my days with.”
Was this asking him out or a marriage proposal? No, Childe would not say that. He doubted his frantic heart could handle that.
“Well then, I guess we’re...a thing.” How eloquent of himself, Childe thought.
“Would you allow myself to share this space with you permanently then?” Zhongli’s head tilted slightly, and Childe knew that he wouldn’t survive.