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i’ll hold you close (so don’t cry now)

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“Wait, was that young Master Diluc I just saw?”

“Oh yeah, I heard he’s returned. He was away for a while right? But anyway, did you hear that last night the Guardian of Mondstadt—”


After four long years, Diluc was finally home. He had officially taken over the Dawn Winery, and was settling back into the city that once held all his dreams. Adeline informed him of all the important changes: Eroch was removed from the Knights of Favonius; Grand Master Varka left for an expedition; Jean Gunnhildr was Acting Grand Master. And… Kaeya Alberich was now Cavalry Captain.

Diluc’s eyebrow twitched at that, though he made no comment.

He thanked Adeline for all her work these past few years, and made sure to express his gratitude to all the other workers as well. To Charles especially, for working tirelessly at Angel’s Share, he said he would forever be indebted. He also informed the man he would tend the bar every now and then so he could have the night off.

Might be a while before then though, Diluc added.

True to his word, Diluc spent most of the first few weeks following his return at the Dawn Winery Manor. He had valid excuses—he needed to know the status of the vineyards and how the business was doing, as well as learn all the transactions that had occurred while he was gone. The Dawn Winery and Ragnvindr family essentially represented the entire Mondstadt wine industry, and Diluc intended to uphold its renowned reputation.

The other part of it was that he genuinely had no desire to be in the city.

There was nothing for him there, he had no commitments to fulfil, and he didn’t want to deal with the whispers and stares that would no doubt follow him wherever he went.

During his second week at the estate Jean came to visit. As soon as Diluc saw her he knew what she would ask, and he knew what his answer would be.

‘I’m not asking as Acting Grand Master, but as a junior who has the utmost respect for you. I know what you’re capable of and there is no denying the assets you would bring to the Knights of Favonius.’

‘Jean, I won’t change my mind. I’m sorry, but I am never going back there.’

She left with a polite bow of the head and wished him well, saying she hoped to see him in the city soon.

Diluc could tell that she still didn’t fully believe him and was still holding onto hope, but there was nothing to be done about that. In due time, she would come to accept the situation.


The city of Mondstadt was always full of surprises.

For example, Diluc was pleasantly proved wrong when he stepped past its stone walls and discovered that no one cared. There was no grandiose reaction, no crowd forming, not even a single gasp of shock. They all just carried on as if nothing had changed, and Diluc thought maybe he should give the city another chance after all.

But then he found out why he went unnoticed. They were all too preoccupied with the ‘Guardian of Mondstadt’ instead. Diluc scrunched his nose whenever he heard the name and speculations that followed. It seemed that though he avoided attention in one way, he had instead picked it up in another.

The other surprise—though a more unpleasant one—came the first night Diluc worked at the tavern.

He had looked up at the sound of the door opening, and was met with none other than the person he once thought would always be by his side.

Kaeya appeared shocked as well, but he hid it well. He walked up to the bar with indifference and sat on one of the stools.

“So, the rumours are true then,” he said. “Young Master Diluc is home.”

Diluc ignored the comment. He intended to treat Kaeya like he would any other customer.

“What do you want.”

Or, well. If he was more detached and sounded colder than usual, no one had to know.

Kaeya held his hands up in surrender and flashed Diluc his teeth. He replied in an easygoing voice, “Nothing. I’m just here for my post-work drink. You will serve me, won’t you?”

He would. He poured Kaeya his wine and set the glass on the table with perhaps more force than necessary. He watched as Kaeya drank, noting all the changes that had taken place over the past four years.

Kaeya grew up. That was obvious—so had Diluc. His maturity was visible in the way he held himself, seemingly laid-back but in actuality paying close attention to his surroundings. He didn’t seem as carefree as before.

And his hair was longer, tied into a low ponytail which reached his hips. Diluc was struck with a sudden urge to run his fingers through it, and then felt horrified at himself for having such a thought.

He looked stronger too. Thicker in the thighs and arms, broader in the shoulders, though his waist remained as narrow as it was when they were kids. The muscles on his chest in particular kept drawing Diluc’s attention.

They were just so… prominent. And they were right in Diluc’s face, with the way Kaeya’s shirt was cut so low. The desire to touch came back, and Diluc quickly turned around, not wanting anyone to see whatever expression he was wearing right now.

One mixed with frustration and longing, probably, though he didn’t want to think about that.

Kaeya downed one drink and then another, before attempting to speak again.

He tried to make small talk, which Diluc found ridiculous, but more ridiculous was the fact that Diluc played along.

“Are you enjoying the city? Not a lot has changed since you left, has it.”

“It’s nice I suppose. Makes me feel like I still belong here, like I wasn’t gone for years. That, and the fact no one made a fuss about my return.”

Kaeya chuckled at that, and oh how Diluc’s heart picked up at the sound. “Didn’t get the big welcome home you were hoping for?”

Diluc shrugged. “Did I think it would be some big event? Yes. Am I upset that it wasn’t? Not at all.”

“Fair enough.”

The conversation hit a lull after that, and then some knights showed up and Kaeya joined them at a table. Now left alone with his thoughts, Diluc considered their interaction.

It ended up being… more pleasant than he anticipated. Their last conversation before that had been absolutely terrible, just the thing to top off the worst day of Diluc’s life, but maybe four years had changed things.

Diluc was no longer filled with the same anguish and anger looking back on the memory, and whilst he still hadn’t fully forgiven Kaeya, maybe they could move forward from it.

But then Kaeya approached him after closing, with an expression that Diluc, despite not seeing it in years, could still recognise like the back of his hand.

“What say you and I head back to the Dawn Winery, have some fun just like old times?”

It felt as though Diluc had been doused in cold water. Kaeya may as well have reached into his body and chilled his blood with his vision himself. Diluc suddenly felt disgusted, and terrified, and wanted nothing more than to get away.

He noticed Kaeya swaying slightly on his feet then realised he was drunk, which only made him feel so much worse. Still, he took a deep breath and managed to say, “You’re drunk Kaeya, go home.”

“Come on!” Kaeya whined. And then he leaned close and whispered conspiratorially, “No one’s as good a fuck as you.”

Diluc jumped back against the wall, as far from the bar counter and where Kaeya was leaning over it as possible. He tried to calm his breathing as images flashed across his mind, of a time where he was much younger and much happier and so, so naive. He saw the first time Kaeya touched his cock, the first time Diluc gave Kaeya a blowjob, the first time the two of them had sex.

All of it, every time they had gotten naked and under the covers, fumbling at first and then skilfully after. All the noises Diluc had made and the ones Kaeya followed with. The way Diluc had called out, moaned, screamed Kaeya’s name. The way Diluc had given everything to Kaeya, laid his entire soul bare.

And then the way Kaeya crushed it, in a manner as cold as his ice.

Amongst the many discoveries Diluc made during his time away was the realisation of how wrong their relationship was.

“We’re brothers, Kaeya.”

It should’ve said everything. Yet it didn’t seem to deter Kaeya one bit.

“I never took your father’s name,” he pointed out. That much was true, but…

And then he said something that felt like a spit in the face. To both Diluc and his dead father. Diluc thought the worst of it had passed that rainy night years ago. He didn’t know it could sink even lower.

But it clearly could, because with a simple, “We were merely boys who grew up together,” Diluc felt like he was reliving that day all over again.

“Is that all our relationship was to you?” he seethed. Kaeya flinched at the tone of Diluc’s voice, blinking his eye and suddenly appearing much more sober.

He must’ve realised just how furious Diluc was, because he started trying to placate him. “What? No of course not. We had that bond that brothers do but we’re not actually—”

“You will never touch me again.” Diluc managed to say it in an assertive tone and not stutter once, which he was proud of himself for, considering how close he was to shaking with anger.

“Please, wait, Luc, I didn’t—”

“Stop.” Diluc didn’t want to hear any of it. He especially didn’t want to hear that name from Kaeya’s mouth. He didn’t deserve to use it. “You said so yourself, right? We’re just two boys who grew up together. That’s all. There is nothing between us anymore.”

The silence that followed was absolutely deafening. It was as though all the air had stilled and they were frozen in time. Diluc stared Kaeya down and watched as he took the words in and considered his options.

Finally, after what felt like eons, Kaeya said, “Alright.”

He was nodding his head, stepping away from the bar as he did. “Alright,” he repeated, walking towards the door. “I hear you loud and clear. Message received.”

And then he was gone.

And Diluc could finally breathe again.


It’s not often that Kaeya gets visitors, so he’s surprised when a frantic knock sounds at his door.

He gets up lazily and walks to the door at a leisurely pace, despite the increasing frequency and force of the raps. Anyone who knows him should know that he’ll answer the door whenever he wants to answer the door, and if they don’t like that they can just go right on and leave.

A greeting is on his lips when he pulls the door open, but it fails to get anywhere when he sees that it’s Diluc.

Diluc, who is crying, which is a sight Kaeya hasn’t seen in years. In fact he can’t remember if he’s seen Diluc cry this hard ever. It might be the first time Diluc is crying this hard, period.

He looks like a mess—his hair is hastily tied with stray strands all over the place, there’s a steady stream of tears falling from his eyes, and he’s only wearing a thin shirt with his pants.

It’s… a shock to say the least. Kaeya has no idea what to say, but it turns out he doesn’t need to say anything, because Diluc just walks on through like he owns the place.

“I hate you,” he says. “Don’t think this means I don’t hate you.”

The words feel like a punch to the gut. Kaeya had his inklings following the unfortunate situation that occurred at Angel’s Share, but it still hurts more than he cares to admit. It’s one thing to know that you’re hated, it’s a different thing entirely to hear it.

Especially from the one who was the dearest to you. Him and Diluc against the world. That’s how it was supposed to be. But look at where they actually are.

Kaeya wants to laugh at the cruelty of it all.

Before he can ask what the occasion is, Diluc suddenly raises his head and the sheer desperation in his expression knocks Kaeya back and throws him off-kilter. “Please, Kae.”

Hearing the nickname makes Kaeya’s heart clench. It’s been so long he never thought that… He turns his face away. He doesn’t want Diluc to see how much this affects him.

“I need you.”

And Kaeya snaps his head right back. Diluc needs him? Just a week ago Diluc was telling Kaeya how he would never touch him again, how they were nothing. He looked sick from even the mention of it, and now he was begging for Kaeya and saying he needs him?

There’s a part of Kaeya that wants to call him a big fucking hypocrite but there’s another part that’s wanted this for so long he doesn’t even care about Diluc’s back-and-forth and will take what he can get.

That’s the part that wins over, and Kaeya holds out his hand for Diluc to take.

Diluc is so warm. He always has been. Compared to Kaeya who is permanently cold, Diluc runs hot like a furnace. It’s a good reminder of how dangerous this all is, but Kaeya doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about anything except having Diluc again, in his arms, in his bed. Who cares if he gets burnt in the process?

The date isn’t lost on Kaeya either. As he leads Diluc to his bedroom he recalls a time when they were kids and Kaeya, with Master Crepus’ help, threw Diluc a big surprise event for his birthday.

It involved a scavenger hunt which yielded treasure chests filled with everything Diluc wanted, countless monsters to fight, and a picnic at the tip of Cape Oath.

There, sitting on the green grass with the gentle breeze blowing and the vast blue ocean in front of them, was where Kaeya made his promise.

‘I’m going to spend every birthday of yours with you. Every single one!’

It’s been four years since the last time Kaeya was there for Diluc’s birthday, but he hasn’t forgotten the promise. It seems as though Diluc hasn’t either.

At some point, Diluc had stopped crying. He lets Kaeya take off his shirt and gently push him back onto the bed. He removes his own pants whilst Kaeya undresses himself.

There’s a weird atmosphere around them. The rhythm they take is both familiar and strange, as if relearning a skill. Kaeya is hesitant in all his movements; he doesn’t know how far he can take things, whether they’re meant to pick up right where they left off and pretend nothing has changed, or if it’s something they’re acknowledging.

Like the scars running all across Diluc’s torso, for one. Is he allowed to touch? Or is he meant to act like he can’t see the lines of raised bumps?

When Diluc puts his hand behind Kaeya’s neck and pulls him down for a kiss, Kaeya immediately slips into that place of comfort. Kissing Diluc used to be one of his favourite things—they could spend an entire day lying in bed and just lazily making out, and he would have no complaints.

He lets himself close his eyes and savour the touch, the swipe of Diluc’s tongue along his bottom lip, the way Diluc grips his hair.

Kaeya never imagined that just kissing would have such an impact on him, yet here he is with the first person whose lips he ever touched, the first person whose lips ever touched his, and he feels like he’s becoming whole again.

He starts moving his hips and grinding against Diluc. Diluc moves with him, and they fit together so well. There are no awkward pauses, just skin gliding against skin, cock rubbing against cock. It takes no time for them both to become hard, and soon their kisses become more spaced apart, making room for gasps and moans to spill from their mouths.

They do nothing but lie together like that for a while, becoming reacquainted with each other’s bodies and catching up on all the changes. Kaeya could and would honestly be willing to come from just this—it’s enough for him, anything Diluc is willing to give is enough for him.

But soon Diluc takes Kaeya’s hand in his own and moves it from his cheek down, down, until the tip of Kaeya’s finger brushes against his hole. Diluc’s hips buck up at the touch, and Kaeya takes back his earlier sentiments.

What he wants is to be inside Diluc, and he needs that now.

He momentarily moves away from Diluc—and doesn’t miss the sound Diluc makes—to grab the lubricant. When he comes back he takes a proper look at Diluc for the first time since they started this, and gets distracted by how beautiful he is.

His muscles look perfectly sculpted, and his pale skin blooms red in all the right places. His cock, standing hard and at attention, makes Kaeya lick his lips. And his hair, fanned out around him, a stark colour against Kaeya’s white sheets. His face, most of all, is a sight capable of rivalling the brightest stars in the universe. The way his eyes focus intently on Kaeya, the way his teeth bite on a finger, the way his lashes move when he blinks.

Kaeya commits it all to memory.

The first finger slides in easily. Diluc lets out a gasp and tightens his grip on Kaeya’s shoulder. The second meets more resistance, but Kaeya kisses him through it, soothes the frown between his eyebrows.

He tastes salt moments later, and jerks back with horror. Diluc has started crying again, and it tears his heart out. Worst of all is the fact he covers his eyes with an arm, clearly not wanting Kaeya to see.

After how far they’ve come tonight, to suddenly take a step back like this… It hurts. It really fucking hurts.

But Kaeya ignores it, pushes down the disappointment and hurt swirling in his chest, and starts to pull his fingers out.

Almost immediately, Diluc clamps his hand around them. Kaeya is beyond confused, unable to think clearly through his emotions, so he just waits.

Eventually Diluc takes a breath and says, “This is the last time. Just— Just to get it out of our systems. No more, after this.”

Kaeya doesn’t accept it. He’s going to at least try and see if he can get Diluc to think differently. He thought he would be okay without him. With four years gone and all that distance between them he was managing. Doing well, even. But now that he has Diluc so close he’s come to the realisation that he can’t go back to that. He can’t hold him at arm’s length again, or ever. He just can’t.

He does it to try and cheer Diluc up too, because he doesn’t want to see Diluc so sad. He hated it when they were kids and he hates it even more now, knowing that he’s the reason why.

“Hey, who says? We can do whatever we want. No one has to know.” Kaeya tries to speak in a playful tone, but it comes out more strained and pleading. He can’t hide the anxiety in his voice, nor the way it trembles.

Diluc shoves him and laughs, though there’s no warmth in it. “Shut up. Just shut up and fuck me.”

So Kaeya does.

He pulls his fingers out and lines his cock up with Diluc’s entrance. Then he starts pushing, easing bit by bit into the tight heat. It’s hard to restrain his pleasure, and a low, guttural groan falls from his lips. On the other hand, Diluc clenches his teeth through it, whole body lined with tension. Only when Kaeya is all the way in does he relax, letting out an exhale. He’s still crying, but it’s less intense now. Maybe he can’t stop it even if he tries—maybe the tears are just escaping of their own volition.

Kaeya waits a moment more before properly starting to fuck him. He doesn’t try to hold back or be gentle, he doesn’t think either of them wants that. Instead he pulls back as far as he can without his cock slipping out before slamming back in with enough force to rock the bed. There is nothing soft about it, no easing himself or Diluc back into it. Kaeya fucks him like he did every Friday night, once they left the Knights’ Headquarters and had the whole weekend to themselves.

Diluc doesn’t hold back his cries and Kaeya is grateful for it. Anything to distract him from how this is meant to be their last, how this is supposed to be the final time Kaeya will experience Diluc’s walls clenching around his cock.

At first the sounds are obviously from pleasure. Diluc has one hand wrapped around his cock and the other pinching his nipple, looking absolutely debauched. But then he brings the hand from his nipple to his mouth and starts sounding like he’s choking back sobs, and it becomes harder and harder for Kaeya to tell which ones are happy and which ones are not, as they become melded into one.

Diluc shows no signs of wanting to stop though, working his cock even through his tears, so Kaeya doesn’t back off either.

And he wants to say something. Contribute to the cacophony of noises filling the room; make some dirty talk just like old times.

But how could he?

How can he do anything but watch as Diluc takes his cock, eyes scrunched closed as a steady stream of tears runs down his cheeks.

How can he do anything but listen as Diluc moans not his name, but Dīdi over and over, between pleas and swears and apologies Kaeya doesn’t deserve.

How could he?

Kaeya fucked up a long time ago. He fucked up again not so long ago. This is his retribution.

It’s overwhelming. Of course it is. As much as Diluc looks like a mess Kaeya feels like one. This is going to fuck him up later, he knows it. Once Diluc leaves him again and Kaeya is all alone, there’ll be no arousal clouding his mind, and this is all going to come crashing down. He’ll drink his sorrows away, no doubt, but this time Diluc will be there to witness it.

He wonders whether he would do anything about it.

Offer to comfort him? No, that’s not them.

Stop serving him? Possible, but there are other ways to obtain alcohol.

Let him fuck him?

Kaeya so desperately wishes for that. It’s toxic and it’s unhealthy, but Kaeya hopes to the gods that Diluc would once again fall into his bed to stop him from spiralling.

He was always so self-sacrificing, after all.

The more Kaeya thinks about this being the end the more he can’t stop. It’s all that occupies his mind and he starts to go a bit crazy from it. He tries to drink in all the details, from the way Diluc looks to the way he sounds and the way he moves. He needs to memorise every part about it, how he feels against Kaeya and how he makes Kaeya feel.

He already lost his brother once, he’s not going to lose him again.

Because that is what Diluc is to him.

Blood related or not, adoptive siblings or not. Diluc will always be Kaeya’s brother. Someone he looked up to. Someone he always wanted to be with.

Someone he still wants to be with.

Kaeya is so caught up in his own thoughts that Diluc’s orgasm completely blindsides him. All of a sudden he’s watching Diluc arch his back and he’s listening to his moan of pleasure, feeling his heart seize up in return. Kaeya knows he’s supposed to follow, but he wants to draw this out as long as he can. He’s not ready yet, he’s not.

But he’s unable to hold on for long, not when Diluc rocks up against him and lies there all pretty and says breathily, “Kaeya.”

It’s like a command, and Kaeya comes immediately, spilling inside of Diluc.

He hunches over and puts his head on the pillow beside Diluc’s right after. It’s both to allow himself to catch his breath and also to hide the hot tears spilling from his eyes.

He whispers into the now-soaked fabric, and his voice comes out all broken, and he isn’t even sure if Diluc hears it, or whether it’s intelligible in the first place, but he forces the words out of his mouth anyway.

“Happy birthday, Gē.”