“It has been a while since I had stayed here,” Zhongli said.
“Pretty place,” Childe remarked. “Good location for an inn financially, although the view could be better.”
Aether didn’t say anything. After the amount of walking uphill they did today, he was eager to just find a room and go to sleep. Besides, he’d already visited the inn not that long ago, chased a ghost child around the place, then got almost killed by a ruin hunter right outside. Been there, done that.
Verr Goldet seemed to be out, because only her husband was behind the counter. Zhongli walked up without hesitation, and Huai’an eyed him curiously. At first glance, Zhongli had a professional, authoritative, and not to mention rich air about him - although after seeing him forget his wallet several times, Aether was less impressed by this than most people.
“We would like your largest room please, on the top floor,” Zhongli said. Childe sighed, presumably thinking about how the largest room is likely the most expensive, and Aether hid a smile. But Huai’an wasn’t smiling. He was now nervously glancing between the three of them.
“I’m sorry, sir, but that won’t be possible. The top room is occupied. However, I assure you that our second largest room is equally fine, and will be more large enough for you and your guests.”
Zhongli shook his head. “No, we must have the top room. I’m sure we can come to an arrangement with its occupant.”
Huai’an glanced at Aether, his eyes pleading for help. He likely recognized Aether as the traveler who came by sometimes and helped him fix the stairs, and thought he could influence his friend to be reasonable.
As if Zhongli was ever reasonable when it came to having the shiniest thing at no cost to him.
“Zhongli, I’m sure the other rooms are also fine. Besides, Childe is the one paying,” he said pointedly, “so he should be the one to decide.”
“Me? Decide?” Childe shook his head theatrically. “Please! I’m just here to be a living wallet to the both of you, and the hungry little lady you left in the port. Surely you don’t expect me to have opinions on your purchases.”
Zhongli looked at Childe fondly, and Aether thought he might be considering another room, but then he turned back to Huai’an. “We must have the top room, please. If you can just put us in touch with the occupant, I’m sure we can enter a mutually beneficial contract with him.”
Aether felt a prickling sensation at the back of his neck, like somebody with… a presence was standing behind him. Huai’an’s eyes flickered to behind them as well, and he looked even more nervous.
“I will take it from here,” Xiao said. Aether turned around to look at him, being struck silent by the other man’s beauty just like the first time, only this time Paimon wasn’t here to pull on his ear and make him snap out of it. He did think Xiao looked prettier in the moonlight outside on the balcony, his green tattoos almost glowing against his skin, but that didn’t mean he was any less beautiful inside. Aether’s muscles still remembered Xiao lending him his swiftness, moving quick as the wind with the adeptus power singing on his skin.
Xiao eyed the three of them impassively, his gaze staying on Zhongli longer than the other two. Then he turned around and walked away, up the stairs, and Zhongli followed. Childe coughed a little, and when Aether looked at him, he could see Childe raise his eyebrows in a questioning gesture. Aether shrugged. He had known that Xiao and Zhongli knew each other, but simply knowing didn’t give him much of an idea about the nature of their relationship, or the thousands of years of history they must have shared.
“Fancy decorations,” Childe murmured as they followed the pair up the stairs, all the way up to the very top of the inn. When they stepped inside, Aether had to take a moment to look around and take everything in. It was less of a room and more an entire floor, with a little stove and even a bathtub along one of the walls, a round stairway that led up to the roof, and large windows to let the sun in. But the most striking part of the room was the largest bed Aether has ever seen in any world he visited, almost as big as a smaller room elsewhere.
“That is a really big bed,” he found himself saying before he could stop it.
Xiao shot him an annoyed look over his shoulder, then he sat down on the edge of the large bed, crossed his arms, and looked at Zhongli expectantly. “What made you think you can show up out of nowhere, bringing your new lovers into our bed, and be welcome?”
Aether’s face felt warm. He was quite sure that Xiao’s assumption was correct when it came to Zhongli and Childe, but despite Childe’s flirty comments and the way he sometimes thought he saw Zhongli look at him, he was very far from being the lover of either of them.
Zhongli blinked in surprise, like he genuinely didn’t consider Xiao would disapprove of his decision. Aether remembered Zhongli saying that he suggested to the adepti that he was alive, but it didn’t sound like he sent any heartfelt messages. “We are staying away from the port for a few days, and this inn was the best place to stay,” he said. “I thought you would be happy for the company.”
“Besides, that is a very large bed,” Childe said, and there was something mischievous in his voice that sent a shiver up Aether’s spine. “Lots of space for four people. To do all kinds of things.”
Xiao turned his gaze onto Childe, although it would have been more accurate to say glare.
“I learned how to make almond tofu,” Aether said quickly to salvage the situation. Xiao looked at him, and his glare seemed to soften back into a gaze, so he kept talking. “I’ve gotten quite good at it. Xiangling helped me - she is a renowned chef back in Liyue Port. She made all kinds of exotic modifications to it too, but I can just do the standard one, if it’s what you prefer.” He didn’t set out to be a cook, but after the Knights of Favonius tricked him into catering that surprise party for Jean, he decided to accept his new role. And Xiangling was a very enthusiastic teacher.
Xiao sighed. “So be it,” he said finally.
Zhongli nodded, content. “Almond tofu by Aether, as much as you’d like, in exchange for all three of us staying here for the week,” he specified. “Is this an agreeable contract for you?”
Aether had half the mind to make a comment about how if it was up to Xiao, he would likely ask for more almond tofu than Aether can make in a year, but he decided against it. He was already used to Zhongli making outlandish deals and letting somebody else pick up the bill.
“I do hope you have more to offer than the tofu,” Xiao said, and the way he looked at Zhongli, Aether thought he might have forgotten the other two were in the room. “But yes. It is acceptable.”
Aether took a deep breath. He really didn’t have the energy for another conversation about Zhongli’s financial habits. “I’m glad we sorted this out, because I can barely keep myself awake.” He took a look around the room, just in case he missed it the first time, but - no, there were no other beds. It was unlikely that another bed would have fit in at all, given how Xiao’s bed looked more like two of them pushed together.
Zhongli made his way to the bed and leaned over Xiao, capturing the other man’s lips in a kiss. Aether blinked, then glanced at Childe to see his reaction. The Harbinger looked more curious than upset, and Aether saw him run his tongue along his lips. Zhongli and Xiao exchanged a few murmured sentences, then Xiao sighed again and looked straight at Aether.
“Well? You said you were tired.”
After that, there were no words for a while. It was somewhat awkward to dress down for bed with the other three men in one room, and Aether once caught Childe looking at him. The man only winked when he was discovered, and Aether felt himself flushing. Maybe if Aether had been more awake, it would have been stranger to get in bed with three other men - even as large as this one -, but in his current state, he was the first one to fall down on the bed and stay there as soon as he hit the comfortable mattress. Zhongli settled in next to him, lying on his back, and when Aether opened his eyes for a moment, he saw Xiao lying down with his head against Zhongli’s chest, his arm thrown over the other man.
He felt the bed dip behind him and knew Childe must have been settling in, but he didn’t expect the arms that came around his waist. Childe pressed against his back, breathing in his ear, holding him close. Aether was too tired to question, and he certainly wasn’t going to protest. It was likely a way to get back at Zhongli for holding Xiao like that, perhaps to make him jealous, although it didn’t seem to be working. But having Childe warm against him like that was enough of a benefit that Aether didn’t mind being used.
“Hold on a second,” Aether said. “I think there is a geoculus up there.”
Childe squinted up at the top of the stone pillar. “You’re kidding, right? You’re not seriously about to climb up there?”
Aether shrugged. “I’ve done it before.”
“So eager for the blessing of the gods?” Childe glanced back to where Zhongli and Xiao were leaning against a half-collapsed wall, talking. Earlier, Aether caught some of their conversation and figured Zhongli was filling Xiao in on everything that happened since the day Rex Lapis fell from the sky. “I don’t think this is the most effective way to get them, Aether.”
Aether was already analyzing the stone pillar for the best places to grab to pull himself up to the top. He was about to start when Childe grabbed his shoulder. “Here,” he said. “Stand on my hands. I’ll boost you up at least halfway.”
Aether smiled at him gratefully. “You’re a pretty nice guy for a Harbinger.”
Childe winked at him, and for a moment, Aether remembered the wink from yesterday. He could barely keep himself from flushing again. “Maybe I just have a soft spot for you,” Childe said, and then he was linking his hands together. Aether grabbed onto his shoulders and stepped on his linked hands, and Childe boosted him upwards. Aether stretched to reach the top of the pillar and pull himself up.
“I don’t have any complaints about the view,” Childe said from below him. “But can you please hurry up? You’re heavier than I thought you would be.”
“You’re weaker than I thought you would be,” Aether shot back, then he grabbed onto the top and pulled himself up. He almost missed his step and fell down when he felt Childe’s hand on his ass, pushing him upwards. Once he was sitting on top of the pillar, with the geoculus safely tucked away, he looked down at Childe. “I didn’t need you to push me,” he said.
Childe shrugged. “Didn’t look like that from here.”
Aether rolled his eyes, then looked back at Xiao and Zhongli, and his heart skipped a beat. Xiao was looking right at him while whispering something to Zhongli, who looked at Aether too, then nodded in response to whatever Xiao was saying. The man was too far away to really see his eyes, but Aether still felt heat climb up his spine at the gaze.
Then movement drew his eyes away, and he frowned. “Don’t look now,” he said. “But a lawachurl is coming this way.”
Childe perked up, as he always did at the sound of a fight. “Oh, fun. Aether, you spoil me.”
Aether shook his head and jumped down from the pillar, the power of Anemo already gathering around him.
“I think that’s everything Albedo wanted me to get,” Aether murmured, frowning at the scroll in his hand. Childe sighed and pulled it away from him.
“Aether, I understand you’re very popular and… helpful to all kinds of people.”
“It’s called having friends,” Aether said before he could stop himself.
Childe smiled at him and kissed his cheek. “Put the grocery lists away and come dine with us instead, will you?”
“I’m not very hungry,” Aether said. “But I will. Just let me take these upstairs.” Childe nodded in agreement and walked over to the table where Zhongli was already sitting. Xiao was standing with his hand on the back of Zhongli’s chair, and Aether was surprised to find the man was looking at him. He felt himself flush, and turned away quickly to go upstairs to their room. He would drop off the scrolls and the ingredients he collected, then come downstairs and spend time with his… friends.
It was unlikely that they would ever be anything else.
He heard footsteps follow him up the stairs, but he didn’t turn around. Maybe one of the others decided to grab something from the room, too. He stepped in quickly and went straight for his backpack, putting his collection away. When he straightened up, he felt a light touch on his lower back that made him jump and turn around.
Xiao was standing right behind him. “Hey,” Aether said. “Did you need some--”
And then the other man was kissing him. Aether froze, not out of disinterest, rather the opposite - there was no way this was actually happening in real life, and not in one of his several fantasies since he first saw the man on the balcony of this very inn. He decided that questioning it would only break the illusion, so he kissed back enthusiastically and let himself be pushed down onto the bed.
Xiao’s hands slid under his clothes, and he let out a small moan that was more due to the anticipation than the sensation itself. Xiao smiled faintly.
“I’ve barely touched you,” he murmured into Aether’s ear.
“But you’re going to, right?” Aether asked hopefully, and Xiao laughed, and then his hand was working its way into Aether’s trousers and closing around his half-hard cock, and Aether was vaguely aware that Childe and Zhongli would eventually wonder where they went and come upstairs, but he was a bit too busy to think about consequences.
Xiao let go of his now-exposed cock to caress his thighs and then his chest instead, his mouth on Aether’s neck, and Aether whimpered at the feeling of cold air on his naked skin. The window was open. They were up high enough that it was unlikely anyone would hear them downstairs, but there were rooms closer than that, and he didn’t know much sound would travel…
“Now, that’s a surprise.”
Aether felt his heart skip a beat at Childe’s voice. He moved his hand to cover himself up, but Xiao only grunted and bit down on his neck, and that made him forget about trying to stop.
“I’ve had my eye on him for far longer than you, you know,” Childe said, and his voice was suddenly much closer as the man settled on the man beside them. It took Aether a moment to recognize that he was talking to Xiao.
“And yet, you didn’t make a move,” Xiao said, and his hand was back on Aether’s cock now, stroking him. “I’d say you’d missed your chance.”
“No, I don’t think I did,” Childe said in that tone that made it clear he was planning something. He pressed a kiss to Aether’s collarbone, then his neck on the opposite side from Xiao. “Do you think I missed my chance, Aether?”
“No,” Aether breathed without thinking. He must have died and went to Celestia, because with Xiao stroking him and Childe’s hand caressing his inner thigh, this had to be what paradise felt like.
“See? He doesn’t think so,” Childe said, then he changed his position. Aether was lying completely on his back and looking at the ceiling, so he wasn’t sure why until he felt a wet sensation around his balls. He clapped a hand over his mouth to muffle his moan, and Xiao frowned at him disapprovingly.
“None of that,” he said, pulling Aether’s hand away and forcing it down on the bed. Not that he had to force it - Aether didn’t even think of protesting as his eyes fluttered shut, whimpering helplessly as Childe sucked his cock.
“Thank you, my lord,” Xiao said, and Aether opened his eyes in confusion to see who he was talking to. Zhongli had just put a small pot of ointment down on the bed, then, as Aether watched, he settled into the nearby armchair comfortably. He poured himself a glass of wine, then as one of his hands held the glass, the other one gripped his own crotch. Their eyes met, and Aether thought he might pass out from the intensity of his gaze.
Then he thought he might actually pass out when Xiao pushed himself up on the bed to first pull Aether’s trousers down properly, then to open the little container and dip his fingers in it. Xiao started to gently turn him to his side, but Childe caught his hand and shook his head.
“The other way,” he said, then Xiao nodded, and the two of them turned Aether around so he was now lying on his side, directly facing Zhongli. And oh, Zhongli was watching him. He watched as Xiao pressed his slick finger against Aether’s hole, gently massaging the rim before pushing inside. Aether stopped trying to cover his moans long ago, and only hoped that sound would not travel too far through the open window.
One of Xiao’s hands was still holding his down on the bed, but there was definitely more than one hand with clever fingers working around his ass. Then he felt a tongue pushing against his hole, pushing its way inside, and knew that it had to belong to Childe.
“I go first,” Xiao said, or at least he must have said something similar. Aether had trouble concentrating as the tongue disappeared and multiple fingers took its place, pushing in and out, working him open.
Back when he first came here, Verr Goldet told him that he had to practice on a ghost before he could face one of the adepti. Xiao had an air of power around him, an air of authority. But Aether already knew Childe enough to know that he wouldn’t simply submit to authority without at least being a brat about it first.
“Hey, Aether,” Childe drawled. “Do you think you could take two of us at once?”
Zhongli let out a loud moan at the question, as if he had been the one pushed down onto the bed and worked open by an adeptus and a Harbinger together.
“I don’t know,” Aether answered truthfully, because he really wasn’t sure how much more of this pleasure he could take without exploding.
Xiao brought Aether’s hand up to his mouth and kissed it, and Childe pulled his fingers out, pressing a gentle kiss to his hip instead. “Do you want to try?” he asked.
Aether nodded without hesitation. He couldn’t deny being nervous, but he trusted Childe not to hurt him despite knowing how dangerous he was in other ways - in fact, the thought of the otherwise murder-happy Childe making sure he was safe and felt good just made it all even hotter. He didn’t know Xiao too well, and he knew that the man was even more dangerous than Childe, but Aether still didn’t get the impression that he had anything to worry about - especially not under Zhongli’s watchful eye, who would stop either of them if they went too far.
“Yes,” he said out loud to leave no second thoughts. Xiao nodded, then laid down on his back and pushed his own trousers down. He took his own halfway erect dick in his hand.
“Sit in my lap,” he said to Aether, who pushed himself up to climb over Xiao. He wasn’t quite a virgin, but he was still fairly sure that he was the least experienced of the four. He hesitated for a moment with his thighs on both sides of Xiao, then he felt Childe’s hands at his side as the man pulled Aether’s top over his head, freeing him from the last of his clothes. Then Childe’s hands went back to his hips, and they were holding him steady as he lowered himself onto Xiao’s lap.
He closed his eyes, and he simultaneously felt Xiao’s dick filling him up and the man’s nails digging into his thighs. Childe was peppering kisses along his shoulder as he moaned, the burning sensation somewhat painful, but so welcome.
“Just like that,” Xiao whispered, and Aether saw that he was looking not at them but at Zhongli, adoration clear on his face as he looked for the man’s approval. And there was no doubt about him - them - having it. Aether could hear Zhongli moan with his hand around his own cock as Aether moved with Xiao inside him, the wine glass abandoned on the nearby table. Zhongli’s other hand was now gripping the arm of the chair, and Aether couldn’t help but let his eyes travel between his legs, swallowing hard as his eyes took in the Geo Archon’s length.
“Lean forward, dear,” Childe whispered in his ear, and Aether forgot about Zhongli for a moment. He obeyed without a word, and as he leaned over Xiao, the man pulled him down into a kiss. Aether whimpered when he felt Childe’s fingers push inside him next to Xiao’s cock, the stretch almost too much even with all the preparation. Xiao kissed him through the pain, and Childe kept peppering kisses on his back, on his hip, on his ass, everywhere his mouth could reach, murmuring reassurances, I promise this is going to feel good, you’re doing so well, Aether, you’re beautiful.
And yet, he couldn’t stop the tears gathering in his eyes. It was an involuntary reaction - he couldn’t have been further away from being upset. Xiao reached up and wiped the tears away with his thumb. “Cry for me, if you’d like,” he whispered. “I bet you’d look even more beautiful if you cried.” Aether gasped, and he let the tears Xiao didn’t wipe away fall down his cheeks. This time, Xiao raised his head and licked them from his jaw with a content hum.
After a while, Childe pulled his fingers out and there was barely a pause before his dick took their place. Aether’s nails dug into Xiao’s shoulders, and the man hissed in response, then kissed him again.
“Heavens, yes, please,” Aether breathed into Xiao’s mouth as Childe moved and moaned against his back.
“You feel divine,” Childe murmured in response after a moment. “Wow. Never shared an ass with another man like this before.” He drew back a bit, then pushed back deeper, drawing twin moans out of Aether and Xiao. “Xiao, you’re a bit of a dick, but you feel great against mine.”
Xiao snorted. “You should be honored to have your dick touching mine.”
Aether couldn’t see Childe, but he imagined he must be rolling his eyes. “Dear, I’ve been fucked by an Archon before. You’re not that special.”
That drew a snort that might have been a laugh out of Zhongli, and the sound made Aether look at him. Getting fucked by two men at once was already a novelty, and he could barely keep his eyes open against the mix of pleasure and pain, and yet, looking at Zhongli sitting in the armchair with his hand on his dripping member, seemingly content to watch… there was a crazy thought forming in his mind.
“Come over here,” Aether said, barely recognizing his own voice. “Please?”
Zhongli seemed surprised by the request, but Xiao was smiling, and judging by the oh, finally Childe murmured against Aether’s back, neither of them were against the idea. Then Zhongli got up and stepped closer, and Aether gestured for him to put his knee on the bed. He took Zhongli’s cock in one hand and guided it into his mouth, gently sucking on the head at first, then taking it in deeper as Childe pushed into him from behind. Xiao pushed himself upwards - the act pushing his cock deeper into Aether, which earned him a moan around Zhongli’s - so that he could raise his head enough suck Zhongli’s balls into his mouth.
The two of them worked together to please Zhongli, and he rewarded them both with his hands tugging into their hair, pulling gently, sometimes harder. Aether’s mouth met Xiao’s around Zhongli’s dick and they kissed again, then Zhongli’s dick was in Aether’s mouth again, and gods, neither Childe or Xiao were particularly small, especially together, but Zhongli was so large in his mouth that the idea of him taking Aether from behind the same way almost made him come right there and then. And yet, he wanted it so much it almost hurt.
“Now I’m getting jealous,” Childe said, his hand reaching around Aether to stroke the traveler’s cock. Aether moaned helplessly, the sensation from three directions too much to bear.
“It would be rather unfair for you to get jealous,” Zhongli said, his voice shaking a little. “You’ve gotten most of my attention for the past months.” And yet, he leaned over Aether to kiss Childe, at least judging by the sound. And judging by Zhongli’s hiss, Aether guessed that Childe bit down. “And you will get more of it later,” Zhongli assured him.
“You’d better,” Childe murmured, but it sounded like he was increasingly having trouble talking, his pushes becoming more urgent until he cried out and came inside Aether. Aether had to take a moment to close his eyes and get used to the warm, sticky feeling, his face still pushed against Zhongli’s crotch. After a few moments, Childe pulled out of him with a content sigh, and squeezed Aether’s ass with one hand. Aether pushed down against Xiao’s cock, taking it as deep as he could, and the adeptus moaned under him. Childe’s hand was still stroking his cock with hard strokes, and it wasn’t long before Aether himself came spurting onto the intricate green tattoos on Xiao’s stomach. Xiao moaned and muttered something that sounded like a curse in a language that was too ancient for Aether to understand. Zhongli leaned down to kiss Aether’s forehead, and he responded by sucking his dick even more enthusiastically.
Perhaps it wasn’t very surprising that Xiao and Zhongli, the immortals among them would have more stamina than Childe and him. Xiao was still pushing into him from under, and Zhongli’s cock was still hard in his mouth despite Xiao also working on him. Then Childe moved around Aether to sit on the bed next to them, and joined the fun claiming one of Zhongli’s balls for himself.
“Couldn’t resist getting a taste of you,” Childe murmured, and Zhongli let go of Aether’s hair to push his fingers in Childe’s instead, then rested his palm against Childe’s cheek in a gesture that was almost too tender to watch. The three of them took turns taking Zhongli’s length into their mouths, but when Zhongli sighed and warned them he was close, Childe firmly grabbed Aether’s head from behind to guide his mouth around Zhongli’s cock and keep him there. Zhongli responded by cupping Aether’s jaw in his hand, and then he was coming into Aether’s mouth, almost the same time as Xiao let out a sigh and finally came inside him as well. Aether swallowed without thinking about it, Zhongli’s warm release going down his throat and filling him as surely as the other two did.
Childe cupped his cheeks and pulled him closer, and then they were kissing on the mouth for the very first time, Childe sucking Zhongli’s taste from his lips and his tongue. Then Zhongli leaned down to kiss him as well, and Aether felt his head spinning, exhausted and spent and loved , because nothing about this felt like a casual, one-time thing. Even Xiao caressed him with affection, and Childe put his arms around him to pull him close as he buried his face in Aether’s neck.
Soon they were all laid out on Xiao’s absurdly huge bed, Aether completely naked, with the other three in various states of undress. Zhongli was the one who kept most of his clothes during the act itself, but Childe was now busy pulling them off of him, just to even the scales.
Aether fell asleep in a tangle of bodies and limbs, and it was only for a second that he wondered how the hell he’s going to tell Lumine this story when they see each other again.