It was being a pleasant evening in Mondstadt. The city itself was calm, some knights patrolled the streets while others split between Cat's Tail and Angel's Share with the citizens after a long day of work, however, the real excitement was concentrated in the high part of the city, at the Goth Grand Hotel, where all the high society of Mondstadt and the surrounding area gathered in celebration of the anniversary of the master of the winery, Crepus Ragnvindr.
The bright lights of the lounge occasionally caused a reflection in the wine glasses or when they hit a medal or decorative ornament in the guests' clothing. The last glass on the silver tray was picked up, making it glow slightly when handled, the waiter leaving.
Kaeya held it below the bowl carefully, swaying its contents and taking a light sip, just enough to wet his lips, making a face as he pushed the container away. This was not the ideal type of glass for such a refined wine, it was almost a waste in his opinion.
After a few seconds of watching the liquid sway slightly, he looked around, being easy to find the red hair he was looking for. His lips twisted in disapproval. It shouldn't be surprising that Diluc is surrounded by beautiful ladies, managing to be the center of attention, even when it is his father's party. A sigh was taken and the wine was finished by one sip.
He couldn't tell how much time had passed since he handed the empty glass over to a waiter who passed until Crepus arrived at his side. The man called out to him with his typical smile on his face, asking for help with something. Without thinking much, Kaeya followed him silently.
The hotel had provided a room in the basement, normally used as a storage, so that some supplies for the party could be stored for easy access. Few people had access to the room, Crepus being one of them. The key was turned on the latch and the light was on.
“What exactly are we looking for?” commented Kaeya still going down the steps.
“A wooden box, small, but big enough to be held with both hands.” Crepus replied when he touched the feet on the floor of the room and started walking around the place.
“A jewelry box, then?” his gaze started to roam the place
“It's a way to view .”
Kaeya ran his eye over a set of shelves that mimicked a shelf, soon noticing that the objects present belonged to the hotel. He stood on tiptoe slightly, trying to see some object hidden behind those who occupied the front, and occasionally removed his hand from the pants pocket to move something, without much success in the search.
“Kaeya...” The man seemed to be holding a box, his back to the boy.
“Yes, Master Crepus?” He didn't turn around either, almost finishing his search for that specific place.
A laugh through the teeth was given by the man.
“After all these years, won't you call me father? Even on my birthday?”
Kaeya froze. His body became immobile for what seemed like several minutes, even though he was aware that only a few seconds had passed. His shoulders dropped and he let out a breath.
“Sorry... It's not that I didn't want to... I just...” There was a pause, he wanted to look at the man over his shoulder, but giving up halfway and looking back at the shelf, without focusing nothing specific “I just can't...”
“It's okay.” Another laugh through his teeth was given. Crepus turned, walking towards the boy, his feet crackling a little on the stone floor. “You know, Kaeya...”
The approach of the voice startled Kaeya, not realizing how close the man was. He felt trapped, with his instincts screaming for him to run, however, his feet refused to move. The movement made was a turning of the head, looking at him with the good eye. It all happened very quickly after that.
Kaeya's body was pushed against the shelf, his right wrist gripped tightly and without knowing where the weapon came from, he found yourself with the fingers gripping a dagger.
“I wouldn't mind to die by your hands. Right here. Right now” Said the master of the winery slowly, the tip of the dagger sinking into his chest to the point of wrinkling his clothes, but still unable to hurt.
Kaeya's eye fluttered as he stared at the man who created him, grabbing his wrist with the free hand, trying to get rid of his grip and thanking all the gods that Crepus wasn't pulling his wrist toward himself. The last thing he wanted at that moment would be a tug of war.
“There are several ways to make a city collapse, starting at the bottom is always a good option, but the status you have now... It would be easy to target a big fish.”
The way that phrase was said even made Kaeya's spine shiver. The calm tone was more desperate than it seemed and even had a smile on the man's lips.
“Mondstadt or Khaenri'ah. Regardless of which one to choose...” he paused, squeezing Kaeya's wrist “I want you to promise me something.”
Another pause made. Kaeya swallowed hard, being able to see the movement of the muscles in her neck. His fingers tightened in both Crepus's wrist and the dagger, waiting for him to continue speaking.
“Promise you will take care of Diluc.”
The phrase made Kaeya's shoulders fall in surprise, also easing the grip on his fingers. Initially, the answer was just a small shake of the head, but he managed to gather his courage and utter a sentence, after slightly moistening his lips. The voice cracking a little.
“I promise that Diluc's blood will never run down my blade.”
Crepus smiled, letting a little air out through his teeth and letting go of the boy's wrist, as well as removing the dagger from his hands and touching his shoulder. An affectionate gesture, which he always shared with both boys.
“I'm proud of you, son.”
Kaeya's feet faltered a little when the distance opened between them, his hands gripping a low shelf automatically as she felt her spine run between them.
The dagger had kept in a small wooden box, but large enough to need to be carried with both hands and really resembled a jewelry box. It was never lost, then. He thought.
It took a while for him to recover, Crepus didn't rush him, and they both went back to the party as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately, for Kaeya, for the first time, he was unable to pretend that nothing had happened.
He spent the next few minutes in a corner, away from general attention, but still on a route where a waiter would occasionally pass, it wasn't as if his presence was so much missed in the conversation circle. Regardless of mixing red and white wine, he always took a glass when a waiter appeared and emptied it in almost a single sip.
Thoughts didn't leave his mind as alcohol ran down his throat. When his adoptive father discovered his secret or how, it was something that haunted him in that short time, which lasted until his arm was grabbed. It didn't take long for a head to lie on his shoulder and unruly strands to tickle him.
“Where have you been? I missed you...”
Diluc's voice came out a little slurred and even though he sank part of his face on Kaeya's shoulder, it was possible to smell the alcohol coming from his lips.
“Well, well” Kaeya smiled a little “It is not every day that you see the Captain of the Cavalry drunk, especially being a minor. What have you been drinking?”
The question was rhetorical, after all, only the winery's wines were being served at the party, however, even though all the guests were of the highest class, a twinge of concern reached Kaeya. He wouldn't be surprised if someone tried to drug Diluc given the situation he was in, ironically, that was never something he needed to worry about in the tavern.
“It's our father's birthday, I can...” He moved his head more on Kaeya's shoulder, seeming to find a comfortable position to lie down without letting go of his arm.
The emphasis he gave came to create a tightness in Kaeya's chest, but that feeling was soon swept away when he saw a sleepy Diluc, almost asleep on his feet. Angel’s Share was no more than a few minutes walk away.
“Come on, I'll take you to a better place to rest.”
The sentence seemed to remove any sleep that fell on Diluc's body, causing him to lift his face and tip it slightly to the side when trying to focus on Kaeya, a mischievous smile appearing on his lips.
“No! I'm the one who'll take you somewhere!”
There was no time for objections and, as usually happened, Kaeya let himself be guided by his brother, even in that drunken state and not knowing where exactly they were going, despite creating an idea when he noticed the path taken.
A back door was Diluc's target, the cold air hitting them, contrasting with the warm ambience of the inside the building. It was dark, the outside lights didn't illuminate well in that area and the surroundings were deserted.
Kaeya's body was pushed against the wall, arms were entwined around her neck and a hot breath was blowing against her skin as the words were spoken through some silly laughter.
“It's so good to hug you...”
“I can say the same.” He grabbed Diluc's waist to make sure he didn't fall to the floor and sinking the face slightly in his red hair.
They stayed there until Diluc's murmurs started to become incomprehensible, almost as if he was still forcing himself to speak. Despite the drowsiness of his voice, his hands were still held tightly around his brother's neck. Kaeya was still a little disturbed by what happened in the storage, but Diluc's body heat made him slowly forget about everything.
“Shall we get some rest?” Kaeya suggested when noticing the absence of sounds produced by Diluc.
The answer was a hushed whisper, and he took it as a positive answer. There were rare times when Kaeya had to be the “responsible brother”, but in a way, he liked that. Being able to take care of Diluc sometimes was good and very nostalgic.
Before long Kaeya was walking through the empty streets with his brother on his back, Diluc was too torpid to pay attention to anything around him. The red strands fell gently against Kaeya's face. Bright and vivid red, like fire and blood.
There were several ways to complete his mission, and he would ensure that none of them involved Diluc. Even though he was the Captain of the Cavalry and a confrontation against the Knights of Favonius was almost inevitable, he would keep his promise, no matter how long it delayed his goals.