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when flowers fail

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It was at an unfortunate hour of the early-spring evening that the young master of Dawn Winery was woken from his sleep.

“A visitor,” explained Adelinde with a weary, apologetic expression, which was all that indeed needed to be said.

“Send him away.”

“Oh, but Master Diluc . . .”

“Tell Sir Kaeya that he must have lost his way home in a drunken stupor, and that he is not welcome—”

“Ah, I'm hurt!” An unscrupulously-dressed man with flowers in his hair and wine in his breath sauntered into the young master’s bedroom as if it were his own. “Now, Master Diluc, is that any way to treat a guest in your home?”

“. . .”

With a finger rubbing his temple, Diluc buried his face into his hands. Adelinde glanced between the two men with a jaded resignation. “Should you need me, I'll be in the foyer,” she said, and with that, quickly took her leave, closing the door behind her.

For a moment after Adelinde had gone, there was only the sound of quiet, controlled breathing, as if Diluc had really gone right back to sleep, intent on ignoring whatever loathsome things the night had dragged in. And then Kaeya knelt by the side of his bed, shaking him just slightly over the covers, and just like that, all patience was lost.

“Just what is it?” Diluc snapped. “What did you expect, seeking me out at this hour of the night?”

Humming pleasantly, Kaeya laid his head into Diluc’s lap and groped absentmindedly for his hand. “Hm. I missed you.”

Diluc scowled, slapping Kaeya’s wandering hand away. “You reek of alcohol.”

“It is Windblume. It is pieous to drink.”

“Pieous? Is getting raucously drunk with the sisters of the church your idea of piety?”

“Does it bother you that I like to drink?” Kaeya gazed up with mock-disbelief. “Or are you just upset that I haven’t had the time to spend with you all week?”

Unphased, Diluc crossed his arms. “You've drunk so much you've lost your senses. Go home and rest. You’ve work in the morning.”

“I work hard,” Kaeya complained, trying to climb into bed. “You don’t know how hard I work. I’m beside myself with stress, I tell you.”

“Get off,” Diluc demanded, half-heartedly kicking his legs. “Enough of your rambling. I don’t care to hear it.”

But Kaeya was insistent. “Oh, don’t be mad. I’ve been out all night, it’s true, but don’t you know why? Windlbume is almost over, and I still haven’t a present for you. I’m wrought with guilt, I swear. Barbatos, forgive me. May you have pity on a man of faith.”

“The festival? That’s what this is all about?” Diluc sighed, although it was not a displeased sound. “I don’t need anything. Does that ease your mind?”

“My mind can not be eased while my heart still aches,” said Kaeye, now attempting to crawl under the covers. “I’ve racked through everything. Wine, which you despise, flowers, which die after a day, even poetry, which I possess no aptitude for. I fear I’ll go crazy trying to please you.”

Diluc picked a flower out of Kaeya’s hair, a sad, wilted bulb of lampgrass that had long since lost its light. “I appreciate the thought,” he assured. “No further efforts will be necessary.”

“It’s too late,” murmured Kaeya. “I think I’ve already lost my mind.”

Feeling Kaeya shift against him under the covers, Diluc’s face flushed. Kaeya’s body was warm against his, and his hair carried the fragrance of wildflowers. The air was still. Pressing even closer, Kaeya slid a gloved hand over Diluc’s thigh.

“What are you doing?” Diluc asked under his breath, although his body subconsciously leaned into Kaeya’s touch as if it already knew the answer.

“I know what to give you.”

Diluc turned red with outrage. “Wipe that grin off your face. Who asked you t-to—”

“Hm? What's this? Are you sure you don’t want me to stay?”

Although Diluc had had every intention of throwing Kaeya out the window and going right back to sleep, he couldn't help that his breath caught in his throat as Kaeya palmed him over the fabric of his night clothes. His cock was already half-erect from how Kaeya kept pressing against him, and it only grew harder as Kaeya massaged it over the thin layer of cloth between them.

“Kaeya,” Diluc breathed, legs stretching to rock into his touch.

“Extraordinary,” Kaeya observed slyly. “I only need to do this, and you become perfectly agreeable.”

He slipped another hand under Diluc’s shirt, feeling the smooth curves of his stomach and chest, slowly and carefully as if he’d lost something precious and was searching for it in every corner of Diluc’s body. His other hand tightened around Diluc’s cock, gripping it firmly over the fabric and sending shivers down Diluc’s spine.

“I’ll be good,” Kaeya promised, head hanging over Diluc’s face and trapping him in with his ardent stare.

In the light of the moon, Kaeya’s eye shone like silver, and Diliuc’s head spun from how it dazzled him. It felt unfair that anyone could look so dashing in the dark, and yet Kaeya was in front of him, beautiful and warm and touching him all over. When had he fallen in love so hard? Surely, Kaeya wasn’t always this handsome. And yet, Diluc couldn’t seem to recall a time when Kaeya had ever failed to make his pulse quicken, to turn his blood hot, and to catch his breath in his throat.

Furiously and helplessly, Diluc brought Kaeya’s face down to press their lips together.

Kaeya’s mouth tasted of wine, but stronger than wine was the heat and strength of how Kaeya so-thoroughly consumed him, nipping at his lips, pulling at his hair, as hungrily and senselessly as a wild wolf starved for meat. Grabbing him by the collar, Diluc brought up a knee to press between Kaeya’s legs, noting with satisfaction that his arousal was already starkly evident. Thinking about how Kaeya was like this for him and nobody else, a strange sense of possessiveness came over Diluc.

“Those years I was gone,” said Diluc, grinding his knee into Kaeya’s straining erection, “did you spend your Windblumes like this with anyone else?”

Rolling his hips, Kaeya unbuttoned Diluc’s shirt, kissing down his chest with each undone button. “A gentleman doesn’t tell,” he mumbled, a smile in his voice. “I’m shocked a man of esteem such as yourself would even think to ask . . .”

“It’s a simple question,” said Diluc. He narrowed his eyes and hooked a leg around Kaeya’s back to pull their bodies together. “Tell me the truth.”

“Of course not,” Kaeya finally answered, voice laced with such affection it would have been a feat not to believe him. “You’re everything. How could there ever be anyone else, when anything but you is only nothing? Ridiculous. Frankly, I’m concerned for your intelligence.”

Diluc studied Kaeya’s face, unimpressed. “All you do is talk out of your ass.”

“You don’t need to believe a word I say, if you’ll believe only this,” Kaeya mumbled, loosening the front of his own shirt. “I’ve been thinking about you all day. It’s consumed me. So much so that I have to drink just to distract myself from how I want you. Do you think anybody but you could do this to me? I ache in every sense of the word. Look at me. I couldn’t lie to you even if I wanted.”

And because Kaeya always had a way with words that knew how to touch Diluc exactly where it mattered, Diluc couldn’t bear to hold back any longer. He kicked the covers off their bodies and rolled over to better tear at Kaeya’s clothes. Shirts, trousers, gloves, and belts fell hastily to the ground, recklessly abandoned until they were both completely bare before each other, at which point, without hesitation, Diluc kissed Kaeya, forcefully and needily, half-wanting and half-fuming that he couldn’t help from kissing Kaeya no matter what time of the night he came calling, no matter how is breath reeked of wine, no matter all that had happened between them, all the terrible and unspeakable things that surely meant it was a bad idea to be kissing him right now.

And yet, Diluc could never help himself; not when it came to Kaeya.

His thighs were straddled on each side of Kaeya’s lap, and the head of his cock rubbed against Kaeya’s stomach as Kaeya grabbed him by the hips, fingers digging into his skin, gently urging Diluc to grind into him. Diluc had always liked that Kaeya was needy, that Kaeya held onto him like he’d wither and die if he ever let go. As they kissed, Diluc lifted his fingers to trace Kaeya’s jaw, feeling how it clenched as he swallowed, vibrated as he groaned, and fell slack when Diluc pressed down against his length at just the right angle.

It was usually around this point that Kaeya would lose his patience and pin Diluc down to do just as he pleased, saving Diluc the mortifying effort of any real work. It was a style of love-making that suited Diluc just fine, being able to whine and protest and take it all he wanted without having to admit that Kaeya knew exactly how he liked it. Tonight, however, Kaeya pulled away just as Diluc’s breath began to quicken, and seemed content to merely sit languidly against the headboard.

“Well?” Kaeya asked, lips curled into a teasing grin. “What now?”

Diluc rolled his hips down, as if to suggest quite reasonably the next natural step, but Kaeya only stared back drolly, not moving a muscle.

“Did you drink too much?” Diluc asked irritatedly. “Or did you just forget how to use it?”

“How brutish of you,” Kaeya sighed. “You are always complaining that I do it too rough, and since Windblume ought to be celebrated with labors of love, I thought to myself, ‘Why not give him something to do for once?’ But it seems perhaps I overestimated you.”

Diluc glowered. “I do a lot.”

“Is that so?” Kaeya leaned back with pleasure. “Let’s see it, then.”

Although Diluc’s face burned so hotly he was nearly on the verge of combusting, Kaeya was so pretty in the moonlight that he couldn’t bring himself to care. The head of Kaeya’s cock was already pressed against him, leaking with precum until Diluc’s entrance was slick enough that it would take just the barest push to send him inside. Gritting his teeth, Diluc grabbed Kaeya’s length firmly by the hand, stroking him just once, roughly and rather unromantically as if merely to make sure the whole thing was working, then, inch-by-inch, carefully guided it inside.

When Diluc lowered himself enough to bottom out completely, Kaeya’s throat bobbed just barely-perceptibly. Thinking the reaction insufficient for all he’d been through, Diluc pressed down even deeper, rolling his hips forward to grind into Kaeya’s cock, which earned him, at the very least, a sharp inhale of surprise.

“Very good,” Kaeya praised under his breath. “So you do have it in you.”

Still somewhat feeling like he’d been tricked into something terribly unfair, Diluc resolved not to make it the least bit easy for Kaeya. He moved slowly and shallowly over Kaeya’s cock, resisting his own urge to ride it fully for the sole purpose of watching Kaeya squirm. Truthfully, it cost Diluc such concentration just to hold back that he wouldn’t have noticed even if it was working, but that didn’t stop his stubborn resolve to give all the effort he could.

“Do you mean to tease me?” asked Kaeya, raising a brow in amusement. “I’m impressed.”

He swiped his thumb across Diluc’s lips, then urged open his jaw to stick a finger between his lips. Because it felt so natural to submit to Kaeya, Diluc accepted the finger without question, letting Kaeya poke and prod at the insides of his mouth before promptly biting down when he realized what he’d done.

Kaeya withdrew his hand with an unoffended laugh. “Oh, you cruel thing.” With a sharp tilt of his hips, he thrust his length up to drive it in as deeply as it would go, to which Diluc responded with a strangled moan.

“H-Hah!”

“Hm? You like that?” Chuckling, Kaeya repeated the motion, grabbing tightly onto Diluc’s waist to increase the force of it.

The sudden roughness was simultaneously much too intense and maddeningly inadequate. As each drive of Kaeya’s cock dragged against his prostate, Diluc felt only painfully incomplete with unfulfilled want, the want to hold Kaeya as close as possible, to be filled and embraced and kissed all over, to merge their bodies together and never part for anything. What did it matter that Kaeya pissed him off until he’d lose his mind, when Kaeya also made him feel so good he could hardly breathe? Nothing could feel more right than this, and nothing in this moment could come between them. In the darkness of the night, face buried into Kaeya’s hair, Diluc didn’t care how loud he cried, and so, without meaning to, the words slipped from his lips in a shattered breath.

“What was that?” Kaeya murmured, kissing up his neck. “Say it again.”

But the thing had already been said, and it hung in the air as obviously as the moon did in the sky, and there was no need to say it again, and so Diluc didn’t.

What he did do, however, was grab onto Kaeya tightly, feeling the muscles of his back and the scars that Diluc had memorized by touch, and whisper into his ear of the things he could only say when his heart beat too fast for his head to keep up.

“I need you,” Diluc breathed. “Kaeya . . . S-Stay with me. Forever. Okay? F-Fuck. Do it again. I can’t stand you. Ah! N-No!”

Kaeya’s cock pulsed inside him, pressing right up against that spot that made Diluc scream. The sound must have reached every room and hall in the winery manor, but Diluc didn't care, because nothing at all mattered besides Kaeya groaning softly into his shoulder, one hand pulling on Diluc’s wild hair, the other wrapped around his cock, stroking nice and fast, holding and crumbling all of Diluc’s pride and spite and pretenses of resistance between his fingers.

“Diluc, you're too sexy,” Kaeya assured, pressing his face into the crook of his neck. “I couldn't leave you . . . Don’t even suggest it.”

At those simple words, that trace amount of genuine vulnerability, an intense warmth washed over Diluc’s body, and he came with a cry, jerking desperately into Kaeya’s embrace like it was the only steady thing keeping him from collapsing into pieces. His mind swirled. His back hurt. There was something warm inside of him. Kaeya. It was Kaeya inside of him.

Even after all the times they’d done this, it never became any less strange, and yet there was nothing in the world that felt so natural.

Diluc’s breath returned slowly and quietly. Kaeya’s body was heavy collapsed over him, but he didn’t mind the weight. The house was quiet, so quiet that chirping crickets could be heard just beyond the open window, which let in a cool breeze from the night outside.

“I should go,” Kaeya mumbled, idly stroking a lock of Diluc’s hair.

“Hmph,” Diluc replied tonelessly.

Kaeya shifted as if intending to do so right this moment, but Diluc grabbed him tightly by the arm and pulled him back into bed, unwilling to let go.

“What’s this?” Kaeya asked, relenting with a chuckle. “Aren’t you worried what the house staff will think?”

“I imagine you’ve already woken half the house with your ridiculous screaming,” said Diluc quite seriously. “You might as well stay.”

“Are you aware of what time I need to be at work tomorrow?” Kaeya sighed, although he pulled Diluc close to hold in his arms. “You’re not allowed to complain if I wake you up in the morning.”

Diluc did not comment, but only nestled his head against Kaeya’s chest, listening to the dull thud of his heart.

“This isn't a present,” he said after some while.

“I know, I know. I’ll be by again tomorrow with flowers and poetry.”

“There’s no need.”

“Still not good enough? Ah, the young master is so hard to please . . .”

“Stop that.”

“I’m not doing anything.”

“. . .”

“Oh, don’t look at me like that. Come here. Why are you so hot? You’re absolutely burning up. No, no, don’t move. I like it. I promise, I do. It’s alright; close your eyes. Just for a bit. I’ll be gone in the morning.”