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butterfly (take me on your wings and fly)

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Nights in the oriental city, Liyue Harbour, is definitely one of the most beautiful and peaceful sights to behold. Hugged by tall, rocky mountains followed by the hypnotic murmuring of the waves was truly something that even outsiders could appreciate. This night specifically though, felt a little different and it is safe to say that most of the Liyue habitants can feel it as well.

 

People in Liyue rarely ever get worried if their city was in danger as they believe that their well-loved city is attentively guarded by the Millelith and of course protected by the Liyue Adepti, the latter constantly performing their duties despite being invisible to the human eye.

 

One certain adeptus tonight however, had taken what these mortals would call a “day off” from his eternal duties and considered Morax’s words, “You are not a weapon and your sole purpose in this word is not to kill, but to protect, Xiao. You are no longer tied to a lifelong contract. Have a taste of freedom and live a mundane life. You deserve it, Guardian Yaksha.”

 

Freedom. Freedom tastes better compared to those bitter dreams that Xiao used to consume and he after a long few months–as well as frequent visits from the traveler– had decided that he indeed enjoys the days where he’s able to walk around Mt. Aozang with the traveller and his companion in silence or listen to the boy with stars in his eyes try his best to sing to the glaze lilies. Either way, he truly does enjoy the freedom that comes with Morax’s retirement, as much as he hates to admit it.

 

The traveler. The golden human whose eyes shine brighter than the sun in Teyvat and smile that can lit up the whole harbour, (okay maybe Xiao’s the only one who sees it that way) is exactly the reason why the mighty Adeptus finds himself wandering aimlessly in Guili Plains instead of watching over the city and hear the troubles of citizens. Tonight is different because Xiao isn’t here to do his eternal duties like he usually does.

 

He’s here to look for leaves.

 

See, for eons, mortal celebrations had always seemed foolish in Xiao’s eyes. Why are these humans celebrating their birth when they’re walking closer to death? That question had always been lingering in his mind but after a few hundred years, he concluded that it’s just something that an Adeptus would never understand. Ganyu mentioned that it’s just him but of course he refuses to accept that.

 

It had been a while since Xiao felt the breezy wind touching his pale skin. While he strolls, keeping his eye out for what he’s actually here for, he reminisces the days where he would spend his time with the only person he considers a mother figure, Guizhong. The goddess would often pat his head and play with hair back when he still kept it long as she told him stories about the mortal realm. As the evening sun cast long shadows on the ground, they would find themselves picking flowers and making flower chains. Occasionally, Morax and the other Adepti would join them in their adventures.

 

The goddess was not afraid of the Guardian Yaksha, and maybe that’s the reason why it was so easy to be around her. She would take his bloodied hands and caress them gently as she cleans his battle scars. Guizhong did not treat Xiao as Alatus the weapon. She was gentle and caring and always put everything else over power.

 

Merciless during battle, tamed and serene with the Goddess of dust. Xiao never thought he’d feel the same as he did back then after Guizhong was forced to suffer the consequences of the Archon War.

 

That is, until the traveler came to Liyue.

 

Despite the amount of times Xiao had pushed him away, (he hated himself for weeks after seeing the sad look on the traveler’s face) he would still firmly state that he enjoys Xiao’s company and would like to stay with him whenever he has the chance to. Most of the time, the adeptus would keep his presence hidden, preferring to just stare and wonder what the boy’s actual reason to visit him was. There were times where he wanted to give in and indulge– most of the time it was when he sees the look of disappointment etched on the other’s face after realising that Xiao wasn’t there like he had expected him to– but the Adeptus was able to hold back.

 

Thousands and thousands of years of fighting demons and monsters, yet the only thing it took for Xiao to give in was the loss of shine in the traveler’s golden eyes during his fourth visit at Wangshu Inn. He could handle the sad sighs, the loud and shrill voice of his companion complaining, the upset looks whenever Xiao isn’t there, but nothing had prepared him for seeing the golden shine and sparkles in the traveler’s eyes disappearing because Xiao wasn’t at the balcony.

 

The longer they spend time together, the stronger their bond gets. Of course, Xiao would from time to time avoid the traveler, Aether, not wanting to take any chances and corrupt the other with his karma. He’d turn down Aether’s invitations and would spend more time than he usually does defeating the demons in Liyue just so that he wouldn’t have to get close to the other.

 

The message through the wind from Barbatos found him 2 days later, passing on a message that made him use his Anemo vision powers to get to Wangshu Inn and meet Aether as his chest filled with regret. It was short and simple.

 

“He purified Dvalin’s tears and is holding onto a cursed sword corrupted with Durin’s poison. Is that enough for you to make a choice, Xiao?”

 

That night, they spend hours talking about everything and nothing. Xiao opened up more easily than he expected and for some reason felt safe in the traveler’s presence. Gone was the scared feeling and instead it was replaced with prickling and deep humming within his chest.

 

That night, Aether told him that his hands were made for much more than destroying and murdering. See, Xiao had always thought he liked the night sky better.

 

But that night, he found himself slowly falling in love with the sun.

 


 

Dawn Winery was very far from Wangshu Inn. Despite being able to use his vision powers, Xiao told himself that he’d be wasting all the energy he spent on traveling to Mondstadt and in the end caved in as he trudged slowly to the mansion on sight.

 

He felt a slight regret for not accepting Morax’s invitation to travel to the City of Freedom with a few more other ones who were also familiar with the traveler, but he decided that it was for the best because Archon knows he would not be able to handle his master’s partner and his habit of calling everyone comrade.

 

With right hand gripping his spear, and the other gently holding an amulet he had made out of leaves he had collected the prior night, the Guardian Yaksha slowly walks towards his destination. Colourful lights were hung around the building while chairs along with a few chairs and tables, reminding him of that time the golden boy had set up his own festival down at Wangshu Inn because Xiao had insisted of not attending the rite. He ended up watching it from Mt. Tianheng anyway but he still enjoyed the little alone time they had.

 

“You’re our last guest, I presume? Please come in and let Master Diluc serve you a drink. The celebration had only just begun”

 

‘Had only just begun ?’ He was quite sure he took his time contemplating whether it was worth to spend a night with other mortals or just hand over the gift another day to avoid interaction.

 

One glimpse of a redhead choking a blue haired man with an eyepatch was all it took for Xiao to regret coming and turn around to make his way back to Liyue. He would rather be patrolling all the way from Dihua Marsh to Tianque Valley scoping out demons of his debt than be at a get together with people who he clearly would not get along with.

 

This kind of commotion was unusual for Xiao, seeing he spends most of his days alone and away from the crowd.

 

The thought was there; to turn around and just meet the golden traveler some other time like when he has a commission in Liyue but clearly the odds are not in his favour because one step back and he already changed his mind. It’s clearly Aether’s fault.

 

“Xiao! Xiao!” The familiar cry rang in his ears and in just a second, the taller was already clinging onto the Adeptus’s arm, his cheek rubbing against his shoulder. “You made it” he whispered softly and Xiao was so glad he did not leave.

 

Aether was just as beautiful as when Xiao first saw him, he concludes to himself. He was simply just a shimmer at sunset.

 

“Do you really think so low of me, foolish traveler?” he grumbles and uses his free hand to push the other’s face away, looking anywhere but him. Aether giggled and let go of his arm but made no intention to step away from him. He can feel a few stares coming from the other guests and in a moment of weakness, backs up to move away; not wanting to corrupt anyone with his karma.

 

“You won’t. I promise, silly yaksha” the taller of the two whispered, as if he knows what Xiao’s thinking. Aether was a creature that sends millions of questions to Xiao’s brain, curious to why he didn’t seem to be affected by his karma no matter how long the time he spent around him was but Xiao trusts him. If the foolish little traveler said he won’t be corrupting the mortals in the mansion with his karmic debt, then that is that.

 

He nods hesitantly and grips the small amulet in his hand, careful not to crush the masterpiece he had spent all night making as he follows Aether into the room. Everyone else seemed to already ignore his sudden presence and resumed with the party. Not like he cared. His only purpose here was to see the traveler after weeks of not meeting each other. Distance makes the heart grow fonder , apparently.

 

“I know you don’t like to eat human food so I took it upon myself and made some almond tofu for you” he smiled beautifully, his golden eyes glinting even under the bad lighting in the mansion and Xiao tries his best to not give into temptation and hold the boy in his arms.

 

“There really was no need. I came here for you, not for food” he huffs, but accepted the plate of the sweet delicacy Aether had made specially for him anyway. Xiao used to not understand the unfamiliar feeling of heat he got a few months back when he was still in denial with his emotions and feelings, but he had to thank Barbatos for explaining what needed to be explained because now he is fully aware of what’s happening. He’s miserably blushing.

 

“I know that, silly yaksha. That’s just so that you have a reason to stay” he responds cheekily.

 

“Bribing an Adeptus? You are just begging for bad luck now, foolish traveler”

 

“Stop calling me foolish! When will you refer me to my given name, Guardian Yaksha?” The human stomps his feet and pouts, and Xiao was pretty sure he was obviously blushing furiously again because in a second, he heard small giggles and snickers coming from behind. The familiar sound makes Xiao roll his eyes in annoyance. Of course, Barbatos.

 

“Your presence is very hard to just ignore, Liyue Adeptus. I’m pretty sure I would easily sense it all the way from my lab, don’t you think so?” the appealing voice that interrupted them didn’t fail to make Xiao look away from the golden boy, his eyes landing on another blonde making his way towards them.

 

“The gremlins have come together to finally put an end to whatever it is that made me and Zhongli here broke and penniless” the drunk god continues to spew nonsense, as everyone around them laughs at the Liyue consultant trying to take away the bottle of wine Venti was holding.

 

“Albedo! This is Xiao, th–“

 

“The Guardian Yaksha. Yes, I’ve heard about him. The last out of five to survive after the God of Contracts, Rex Lapis, created order and summoned the Yakshas to aid him in battle. You are now held back by a karmic debt and only see yourself as a weapon. Quite tragic I must say. Nice to finally meet you. I’m Albedo, Chief Alchemist of the Knights of Favonius”

 

A hand was held out for him to shake, but Xiao was taken aback– and maybe a little upset that they were interrupted– that all he ended up doing is glare at the person who seems to know the story behind him.

 

“Do you still have more of that, Aether? I would love to try some almond tofu” the alchemist, Albedo, simply ignored the Adeptus’s glare and got closer to Aether. Too close for Xiao’s liking.

 

“I will be at the balcony, traveler” a sigh escapes his throat, the butterfly amulet made out of leaves stays hidden in his hands as he walks away, the words of protest coming from Aether goes into deaf ears.

 

Xiao didn’t want to ruin a special mortal celebration just because he felt a stinging feeling in his chest, and wanted to rip the Chief Alchemist away from his traveler. No, it was better for him to walk away than let these new found emotions get to him and ruin everything.

 

The laughter he heard coming from the other man didn’t go unheard, and if Xiao didn’t know better, he would just use his vision to get out of here and get back to Wangshu Inn, where he truly belonged, but atlas, he decided to stay, not wanting to upset Aether.

 

At least he has almond tofu to keep him company.

 

Staring at the night sky, Xiao lost himself to memories of the past as he fiddled with the leaves of the amulet. More like nightmares, if he could even call it that because they were real. The dark, cold and bloody scenes he had witnessed were real and would forever stain his mind and like always, his thoughts would stray back to the years he spent with the goddess who would waste her divine time putting Qingxin flowers in his hair and introduce him to mortal traditions.

 

It was always hard for Xiao to understand why one would show such kindness to a rude and cursed Adeptus.

 

‘Just like Aether’ he thought.

 

Too caught up with his thoughts and the bittersweet memories flooding his mind, Xiao failed to realise that he was no longer alone under the beautiful and starry night sky. Instead, he was accompanied by the celebrated sunshine, Aether.

 

“I miss this. Looking at the stars with you” Aether sighs, not offering any explanation to why he is by the Adeptus’s side instead of enjoying the birthday party downstairs. Xiao hums in acknowledgement and moves the plate of half-eaten almond tofu in between them.

 

“Your companion, the little fairy,” he started, turning his head slightly to look at the boy, “I have not seen her at all. Is she not invited?”

 

A chuckle was all Xiao got for an answer, and he didn’t mind that one bit, continuing to stare at Aether. The light from the moon shone on Aether’s face so wonderfully that Xiao thought he dreamt it. It was clear that Aether is not just a creature from Teyvat yet Xiao can’t help but to think that his beauty is still out of this world.

 

“I want to see the Glaze Lilies. Will you take me, Xiao?”

 

And who was Xiao to say no? (A Guardian Yaksha that’s who he is)

 

“The mortals are celebrating this day for you and here you are wasting it on a socially inept Adeptus. You really are a foolish, idiotic and stupid traveler” Xiao shook his head, but there was no bite in his tone. He’s a selfish immortal who would instantly take up any chance that flew his way as long as he gets to spend one more second with the beauty that is Aether. Mortals fear the Guardian Yaksha, he found out, after hearing about it from one blue haired boy who was sparring with his companion using what seems to Xiao was martial arts practiced by the fallen Guhua Clan.

 

The people feared him, yet here stood the golden human adorning a smile so bright it would put all the lanterns in Liyue Harbour to shame, a glitter of hope in his eyes as he silently pleaded for Adeptus to take him see the Glaze Lilies. It was honestly a shame how easily weak Xiao is when it comes to the outlander. With no warning, he stood up, pushed the plate of half-eaten almond tofu aside and put the handmade amulet in his pocket before hoisting Aether up and into his arms. Like a bride , he thought.

 

“Hold on tight, traveler” he whispered tenderly. If the way Aether covers his face as he turns red makes his insides tingle, then he ignores it. He took the hand looped around his neck as a sign, and with no time to waste, uses his Anemo powers to teleport them back to Liyue, Qingce Village, where the Glaze Lilies mostly grow. The villagers there had grown to expect random night visits from Aether and Xiao that they even made it their mission to grow more of those beautiful flowers Aether adores so much.

 

Xiao didn’t make any move to set the traveler down even after landing, liking the way his body radiates warmth that Xiao had long felt since the death of the goddess, Guizhong. He appreciates the way Aether buries his face deeper into Xiao’s chest as the Adeptus slowly strolls the quiet land, the hands on the traveler’s waist would occasionally tighten. Aether is just so dear to him. 

 

To each cold night, one would be given a sun to radiate warmth, Xiao once heard from one of the storytellers who once resided at Wangshu Inn. Be it a son, a daughter or even a parent. To the Guardian Yaksha, the cold night gave him Aether.

 

“Are you gonna sing to the flowers again, foolish traveler? You might just wake the whole village up” he teases, setting Aether down so carefully like he’s made out of fragile glass. The empty feeling he felt when he lost the warmth from Aether’s skin doesn’t feel right, but he pushes it aside for now. He watches as Aether turns to him to pout, “Not all of us are blessed with Barbatos’s sound, oh mighty Yaksha”

 

The taller of them two – clearly it’s Aether– sat down on the cold grass, leaning against the stone wall behind him, and Xiao follows in suit, leaving only a small space between them as they stare at a single Glaze Lily illuminated by the night sky.

 

“I have a gift for you, traveler” he broke the silence as Aether continued to look at the flower in front of them. Taking the soft hum as a positive sign, he hesitantly holds out the butterfly amulet he made out of leaves he personally picked towards Aether, the other softly taking it from Xiao’s hold.

 

‘This is it. He accepted it. He accepted me’ was what he thought.

 

“You silly yaksha. You know you didn’t have to get me anything, right? You coming over to Mondstadt to celebrate with me was already enough to last a couple more birthdays. Though, I do appreciate this a lot. Thank you, Xiao. You’re a great friend” he grins brightly and caresses the leaves, not noticing how the Adeptus beside him tense up.

 

Friend.

 

Of course that was what the traveler saw him as. Just another companion to fight alongside with. How could he be so foolish to think that someone like Aether, would have mutual feelings for someone like Xiao. An Adeptus who strayed himself away from everyone, and spent his nights alone after slaying demons. The yaksha who still felt like his existence was chained to the aching past. Xiao’s nature was destructive. He was created to destroy and kill. Despite Aether constantly being nice to him, there’s no way he would ever accept someone like Xiao.

 

“I will take my leave now.” he says, his tone ice cold, making the other beside him flinch slightly. If Aether’s cry of protests were loud enough to wake the whole village up, then Xiao pretended he didn’t hear it. The voices in his head were louder anyways.

 


 

Xiao finds eating and fighting alone foreign now.

 

A week of avoiding places that the Adeptus was sure he would bump into Aether was tiring, he had to admit. Xiao always had his guard up, of course, but to have it up because of the traveler he’s very fond of is a little upsetting to say the least.

 

A week is a long time, he realises, and soon manages to persuade himself – and get rid of his massive pride – to seek for his Master, Morax, or what he’s famously known as, Zhongli the consultant. Consultation. That’s exactly what he needs after all that.

 

Xiao was so used to hearing Liyue’s wishes that he wondered who was there to listen to him? (If you ask the old Xiao, he would say that a weapon like him doesn’t deserve a voice to be heard, but Aether changed him for the better. Or should we say love?)

 

That’s exactly how he finds himself walking through the bustling city of Liyue Harbour, busy as ever, buzzing with people chatting and having fun among themselves. It was already approaching night by the time he had arrived, and he appreciates the fact that no one tried to stop him despite looking like he didn’t belong there at all. (It was rare for him to leave the top of Wangshu Inn, of course he didn’t belong here in the city)

 

Of course, he was also wary of his surroundings because no one knows when the traveler would randomly show up in front of him. A few minutes later found him appearing by the opened window of the consultant’s office, the view of Zhongli sipping on tea clear from Xiao’s position.

 

“Morax” he bids, calmly moving from the window frame and joining the ex-Archon at the table, a cup of tea ready for him even though the god knows he doesn’t consume anything other than the familiar taste of dreams from almond tofu.

 

“Xiao, please have a seat. Is there a reason you reach out to me? Usually it is I who would summon you for,” he pauses, sharp golden eyes locking with Xiao’s amber, “duties.”

 

“I have a situation that I am unsure how to find a solution to. You are much more familiar with mortals’ emotions and behaviour considering how you manage to bond with that low life Fatui. Master, tell me how to have the foolish traveler to reciprocate whatever I am feeling. You are a consultant, correct?” he finishes, eyes never leaving the one who used to have all power over him– he still does, of course, but they had mutually agreed to act more casual now – as he lets out whatever he has been holding in his chest.

 

The former Archon only raised an eyebrow, quite surprised at the fact that he is experiencing what usually only fathers would experience. An unfamiliar and odd sense of pride floods his body seeing the self-sacrificing and selfless Adeptus showing such emotions.

 

“Xiao, this is a funeral parlour. I’m a consultant, correct but a funeral one. I do not expertise in love, unfortunately.” the older starts, eyeing his former servant carefully from his seat. “However, I presume that you have expressed your feelings for the traveler–“

 

“Foolish traveler” he cuts off, a small pout adorning his face.

 

“Ah yes, forgive me. Foolish traveler and got rejected. And you are now seeking love advice from me in hopes to have Aether accept you and your love, correct?” Zhongli leans forward, tea long forgotten and Xiao swears that he notices a hint of amusement in his former Master’s eyes. Brushing that off, he nods stiffly and looks anywhere but the older, finally realising how desperate and maybe silly that he did all this. Silly yaksha , Xiao hears in his head.

 

“Am I allowed to know what you did? How did you confess?”

 

“I-I made a butterfly out of fresh leaves that I picked myself and shower it with Adepti magic to protect him. The message was clear, young love of a young heart. He obviously did not reciprocate my feelings considering he called me a friend after accepting it” the young adeptus explains, his heart heavy as he remembers the fresh memory of being rejected. His first try to experience love, and he got rejected. What an embarrassment.

 

With a sigh, Zhongli got up and walked to the window as the Yaksha’s eyes slowly followed his move. “Xiao,” the older starts, a quiet and low chuckle following after.

 

‘What was the saying that mortals always use? Like father, like son?’  Zhongli wonders to himself, amused at the situation.

 

“Do you remember when I gave Ajax those chopsticks and he refused to accept them because he didn’t have the basic knowledge on how to use them? Do you remember that, Xiao? I think,” Zhongli mused, turning around to catch Xiao’s stare before continuing.

 

“I think our situation is quite similar, don’t you think so too?”

 

“How is it similar? That stupid Fatui did not accept your proposal because he wasn’t aware of our…traditions. Oh.”

 

“Now do you understand why he is called The Traveler?”

 

The Adeptus didn’t reply. He felt stupid, for assuming that Aether would reject him so coldly like that. He is the epitome of sunshine and smiles, even if he refuses to accept Xiao’s feelings, he would be nice about it. 

 

For the nth time that night, Xiao becomes one with the wind.

 


 

If anyone pays enough attention to the night sky today, they would probably catch a glimpse of green and black threads of hair and the unique cloth worn by the adeptus as he dances along with the wind. After realisation dawns upon him at Wangsheng Funeral Parlour, courtesy of the former Archon, Xiao frantically makes his way back to the rooftop of Wangshu Inn to start on making something new for Aether.

 

If Aether didn’t know the customs and tradition in Liyue, then maybe Xiao just had to make a more obvious approach. And what’s better than giving the traveler something that is a part of Xiao? Literally nothing.

 

That’s how he finds himself sitting on the large tree facing Dihua Marsh, his shining jade polearm that was gifted by Zhongli in his hand. With no hesitation, Xiao uses all the strength he has left– he had slay some demons on his way to Wangshu Inn– and breaks off the smallest pike from his beloved jade weapon. ‘ This should work’ he thinks to himself, satisfied.

 

Slowly, the Adeptus takes out a long enough string from his pocket as he carefully loops in around the small jade pike. The upturn of the corners of his mouth indicates the satisfaction and happiness in him. Why was a fire ignited within him just at the thought of Aether walking around wearing something that screams Xiao just makes him so giddy.

 

If pre-Aether Xiao ever meets the present Xiao, he would surely have a lot of questions.

 

Gripping the jade necklace tightly, he jumps down from the tree and makes his way to his room– a space that Verr Goldet had specifically provided from him, invisible door and such so that no human can enter– to grab another item that he always keeps in his room.

 

Fresh Qingxin flowers.

 

“Perfect” the Adeptus whispers to himself, taking one out from the vase he had gotten from Zhongli during the rite , “I thought you might want something to keep as a memory” was what he said.

 

Just as his mind was about to fall into a trance from the white flower thriving in beauty, his thoughts were shaken by a voice so soft and familiar, calling out for him.

 

“Xiao!”

 

Aether. Aether was calling out for him. He’s in trouble. Snapping out of his daze, he frantically uses his vision to get to the traveler. In seconds, he finds himself landing in Mt. Aozang and tackled into what he assumes is a hug. The hint of marigold eases him as he realises that it is none other than the foolish traveler himself. He’s here.

 

Aether’s here and he’s safe. And he’s hugging Xiao, the feared Adeptus. Xiao had been hugged before soft and gentle hugs from Guizhong – but never this tightly before. Aether is hugging him so tight as if it’s the last time he’ll see the Guardian Yaksha. There was something urgent about this embrace, yet so warm. It felt and smelt right. Slowly, Xiao lets his muscles become loose, his hands finding their place on Aether’s exposed waist as he gently caresses the cold skin.

 

“I love you, Xiao” Aether whispers in his ear and before the almighty Yaksha can even react, the traveler cups his face and pulls him down for a kiss. Their teeth clashed awkwardly and the angle wasn’t exactly right or comfortable, but Xiao didn’t hesitate to immediately melt into the kiss, and of course kiss the other back.

 

Warmth bloomed in his stomach. What felt like butterflies flying around in his body makes him feel tingly all over. The hand that was on Aether’s hair moved down to his small waist– Xiao’s favourite part about him–gripping and pulling the blonde closer. He felt Aether jump slightly from the cold jade that Xiao had in his hand but paid no mind, deepening the kiss. The feeling was unlike anything he had ever felt before, and it made him smile slightly as Aether slowly pulls away to catch his breath.

 

They stared at each other with looks of adoration, panting and red in the face. The adeptus opens his mouth to say something, anything, but nothing comes to mind. Aether was the first to say something– okay he giggled adorably– and Xiao can’t help but to steal a quick peck on his red lips, making him blush harder.

 

“I’m sorry it took me this long. Cloud retainer explained it to me and I can’t wait any longer to look for you. Did I scare you?” he tilts his head in question, eyes shining and shimmering beautifully.

 

Stars don’t shine as bright as Aether’s eyes, Xiao concludes.

 

“Don’t apologise. I was foolish and forgot that you’re not from here. I assumed that you would not return my feelings and avoided you like a child. I’m the one who should be sorry” he looks down, refusing to meet Aether’s eyes, feeling guilty. The whole week he was sulking because of his stupid assumptions, Aether was probably feeling hurt and confuse.

 

“I made you this. I figured this would make my feelings for you much more obvious than that stupid bundle of leaves” the Adeptus grumbles, shyly holding out the jade necklace he made.

 

“I-Is this? Is this what I think it is?” the human gasps, slowly taking the handmade necklace from Xiao, a small smile adorning his face. Nodding, he summoned his spear and silently pointed at the part he broke the small pike from.

 

“I want to always be with you, even if you leave Liyue to do commissions or to continue your travel and look for your sister. It’s long enough to rest just near your heart, so you’ll know I’m there with you every step you take” if Aether notices the angry red bloomed on Xiao’s cheeks, he didn’t mention it, which Xiao is really grateful for. With a trembling hand, he lifted the flower he was holding and tucked it behind Aether’s ear, whispering, “Beautiful”

 

“Put it on for me?” and who was Xiao to refuse, taking the necklace he made and tying it securely around Aether’s neck.

 

“I love you, Aether”

 

“Oh so it’s Aether now?” the mortal grins cheekily, making him roll his eyes in fake annoyance.

 

“I love you, my silly yaksha”