Xiao sighs, staring at the large door before him as Zhongli and Childe stood behind him. Xiao pulled himself together and walked over, but craned his neck back just to stare at the golden handle.
“Are you sure that you’re able to open the door, Xiao?” Zhongli asks, Childe trying to smother back his laughter.
Xiao just grumbled under his breath and reached up, his fingers barely brushing the loop. Xiao just stared before sighing harshly and jumped up slightly and was able to grab onto the loop, and tried to push or pull on it, but realized something. He looked down and saw that he was barely touching the ground.
Zhongli watched in slight amusement of the scene before him, a fond smile on his face. “Do you need help there?” he asks.
Xiao just sucked in a deep breath and laid his head on the door with a loud thud and an annoyed sigh. He stiffened and gripped tightly at the loop handle when the door opened, and Zhongli fixed his posture as Ganyu pushed open the door.
“Oh! I thought I heard a knock.” Ganyu greets, and Zhongli nods his head but Childe couldn’t hold it anymore and bursts out laughing, trying his hardest to hide his laughter in his arm and mask it as coughing.
Ganyu stood there confused and flinched when she looked to her left to see Xiao standing there, a glare piercing at Childe as his face was red in embarrassment, his Primordial Jade-Winged Spear clutched in his grip.
Zhongli just stood there, hands behind his back and he silently walked over and stood beside Ganyu as Childe regained his breath before laughing again. And Ganyu sucked in some breath, glancing at Xiao as she could see him just fuming . Zhongli coughs into a fist, catching the Harbinger’s attention but he stiffens to see Xiao glaring at him, dawning his mask upon his face.
Ganyu gave him a look that shouts, “Don’t provoke him.”
But Childe being Childe, he just smirks at the shorter adeptus and his final words were, “Too short to reach the door, by chance?”
“You do realize that you shouldn’t have started fighting in front of the pavilion, right?” Lumine sighs as Qiqi helps heal a gash on Xiao’s arm.
“Lumi, if you were to be in Xiao’s shoes, you would roundhouse kick Childe in the shin. Possibly in the gut if you wanted to.” Aether comments.
Lumine opens her mouth for a moment before just closing her mouth, murmuring something under her breath and Aether just grins. “To be frank, if I were to do that, Childe would at least be around my height afterwards.” Lumine smirks, and Childe just looks overdramatically betrayed as Zhongli helped with his injuries.
“Ojou-Chan, so mean.” Childe comments.
“Are you both alright in here?” Ganyu asks as she peeks inside the pavilion from her office.
“Xiao’s already finished. Childe is just almost covered head to toe with injuries.” Lumine explains.
“So basically Xiao won?” Beidou asks, also looking over at them.
“Yeah. 1 out of a few 15.” Paimon grins, and Xiao just sighs.
And they all flinched when the doors were kicked open, and they all looked over to stare at a certain bard wielding their Skywards Pride. Zhongli stiffens, standing up.
“Venti, lower the claymore.” he warns, his hands raised to try and stop the bard.
“Who was the one that offended us short people?” Venti glares, bringing the sword over his shoulder.
“WHEN IN CELESTIA COULD YOU CARRY A CLAYMORE?!” Aether asks in a panic, Lumine’s jaw agape as Paimon just stared in bewilderment.
“You don’t know other things I’ve carried that’s bigger than me.” Venti responds.
“And that's fair.” Lumine comments.
“Yeah. Anyways, back to the question at hand.” Venti swung his claymore and stuck it to the ground, a sudden uneasy aura coming off from the usual bold and excitable bard. “Who was the one that offended us short people?” he asked with a tight smile on his face.
Zhongli sucked in a deep breath slightly and pulled Ganyu back when he noticed the bard’s aqua tipped braids began glowing.
“Childe did.” Aether answers, him and Lumine stepping back as Xiao seemed to be contemplating something in thought.
“Oh?” the Archon asks, Childe stilling and nervously smiling, standing up and hiding behind Zhongli, but saw that Venti wasn’t there at the doorway, and had somehow snatched Childe from behind Zhongli, Anemo feathers and remnants left in the bard and Harbinger's wake.
“Wh-Where did he go?” Lumine asks, and Zhongli just sighs, shaking his head.
“It’s best that we don’t question it at the moment.” Zhongli says.
“Welp. He’s dead.” Lumine shrugs, and Aether taps Xiao’s head as he still looked to be having a...
“Is he having gay panic?” Aether asks, tapping the adeptus’ shoulder.
“To be frank, Venti just waltzed in here with a claymore and ready to wreck Childe’s career for dissing short people.” Lumine comments.
“That seems about right.” Aether grins, and the twins high fived.
“Is Xiao going to be okay?” Ganyu asks.
“He might be fine.” Lumine responds.
"His ears are red." Paimon comments offhandedly.
And all they could hear from the adeptus was a loud muffled scream.
“Oh. Childe. Where were you?” Zhongli asks when they saw the Harbinger at the door.
“Remind me not to mess with that kid.” he whispers, and internally the twins winced, glancing at each other as they shared the same thought. He's older than you by a few centuries of years.
“What happened?” Paimon raised an eyebrow, her head tilted and hands folded behind him.
“He tried forcing me to hug Scaramouche.” he whispers, and it made Aether stifle a giggle behind a hand.
“I’m no kid, Harbinger.”
Childe screeched like a girl and hid behind Zhongli and Venti laughed as he walked through the door.
“Wait, so the claymore was a prop?” Aether tilts his head.
“Oh no. That was real.” Venti grins, waving a finger.
“I can vouch, unfortunately.” Zhongli glances away.
“Anyways! I should probably head back.” Venti said, walking over to Xiao and picking the adeptus up effortlessly.
“I’ll take what is mine and head off. Till we meet again, travelers and Emergency Food!” Venti grins.
"YOU TONE-DEAF BARD, PAIMON'S NOT EMERGENCY FOOD!" the pixie screeches as the other cackles like a gremlin, racing out of the room as Xiao was completely flustered, having to hold onto Venti tightly when he started running.
“Venti!” They heard him shout and looked with each other.
“Wait. Are they-” Ganyu pauses before smiling brightly behind her hands. “Awwww.” she squeals.
“Somehow the sight of Venti, the ever going and good lucky bard, traumatizing Childe, the trigger-happy fighting Fatui Harbinger, amuses me.” Lumine smirks.
“Ojou-Chan, don’t be mean.” Childe frowns with a pout, and Zhongli sighs and pats his head with a gloved hand.
"I never knew him and Venti were a thing!" Ganyu squeals, hands clapping as Beidou just blinked, holding her own bottle of sake.
“Wait, you’re telling me that that bard doesn’t use a claymore?” she asks, looking at them.
“No, he uses a bow. And I think you both might get along as drinking buddies.” Lumine says, making Zhongli inwardly facepalm all while Aether tried to stop Paimon from charging after the mischievous bard and Anemo Archon.