pro bono (adj.) denoting work undertaken without charge, especially legal work for a client with a low income.
He fucked up.
But Childe is smart enough to know how this will go. They’ll find nothing at his apartment, and his parents are too experienced to let the likes of police sniff around their home so he doesn’t have to worry about that.
The problem, then, is the living witness. The testimony of a woman in her twenties, no medical problems or otherwise to impede her judgement, her eyes that can put Childe at the scene of the murder.
The murder he’d so flawlessly executed, mind you. He’s quite annoyed at being caught.
How was Childe supposed to know he’d left a trail for a detective to pick up on? For his garbage to be rummaged through? His brother used to tell him little mistakes like this would cost him, and now, sagging against the uncomfortably uneven metal chair of the chilly interrogation room, he finally understands why Anthon was always insistent he cleaned up properly after himself.
A good hour has passed since they hauled him in, but the steely-eyed detectives can’t question him just yet.
Childe glances up as the door opens to a cop gruffly saying, “Your lawyer’s here.”
His face breaks out into a grin when he sees the older man appear in the doorway. Zhongli shoots him a look somewhere between scathing and indulgent as he moves to gracefully seat himself opposite Childe.
He fidgets under that amber stare, avoiding his gaze entirely, already feeling thoroughly chastised the same way a child would for having their hand caught in the cookie jar. “You look great,” he tries, furtively glancing at the older man. Zhongli always looks good outside his job attire, but inside it—black hair carefully slicked back, dark three-piece suit and matching briefcase—always manages to rile something in him.
Zhongli crosses his arms in a no-nonsense manner, directing all of his attention to staring down the detectives across the steel interrogation table. “We’re in the middle of a murder case, Ajax.”
They both know he did it, but Childe has the job of playing the unknowing suspect and Zhongli isn’t inclined to commit perjury whether or not he’s fond of his defendants.
“The best-case scenario: the witness can’t properly ID you,” he eventually says, reviewing the case with Childe once more. “The prosecution might pressure you to take a plea bargain, and a reduced charge with a substantially lower sentence might seem appealing, but—”
“—have I ever told you how hot you are when you use your professional lawyer voice?”
Zhongli sighs, “Just don’t take any deal they offer.”
It’s admittedly a little weird to be standing in a lineup with other redheads that look vaguely like him. His father used to tell him he learned best by just experiencing things for himself—and now, the exposure of being a suspect in a police investigation only motivates Childe to get better at his craft. Next time, he’ll kill witnesses.
He doesn’t exactly mind spending a few years in prison, but thinking about it already felt exhausting. Locked in a concrete cage with another man for the foreseeable future? He’d probably end up killing his cellmate.
Zhongli is suspiciously smug after the lineup. Not an overt kind of cockiness, it’s subdued—a shy hint of a smirk along the edges of his lips. Childe has known the man long enough to put together that his lawyer has smelled blood in the water.
“The eyewitness the prosecution so heavily relied on had been at a party earlier and was intoxicated at the time of the murder,” Zhongli eventually explains, though it did feel too good to be true. “Her testimony can be immediately thrown out, all that’s left with is to deal with the situation of the victim’s DNA in your apartment.”
Childe winces. Maybe he should stop killing people he made friends with too. Or at least do a better job of cleaning his home up.
“I hope you aren’t hiding anything else.”
“Me?” Childe feigns hurt, a hand over his heart. “Never.”
“...Ajax. I need you to be honest with me in order to win this case.”
He fidgets a little in his chair, unable to quite meet Zhongli’s eyes suddenly in shyness. “If honesty is on the table, there is one thing…” Childe continues to affect a nervous demeanor, playing with his handcuffs, but a smile twitches at his lips.
“You know you can tell me anything in full confidence.”
He finally giggles, leaning up into Zhongli’s space with his pupils blown wide. It’s a little inappropriate but the disapproving look doesn’t stop him, “Fuck my face and pull my hair later?”
The judge gives him a hard look, understandably so, considering Childe looks nothing like the ruthless, unrepentant, psychotic murderer the prosecution seemed intent on framing him as.
Childe was valedictorian, the youngest son in a loving family of five (soon to be six!), and it certainly helped that his professors only had good things to say about him. All qualities of a good citizen; a victim in this scenario to the law enforcement who were eager to close the case, regardless of whoever went behind the bars.
Zhongli paints a contrary picture.
His clear tenor seems to reverberate around the room, face unreadable as he verbally punched holes right through the opposition's arguments, hard enough the prosecutor looked progressively closer to blowing his lid the longer Zhongli spoke.
It’s a treat for Childe, who’s rarely ever seen this exclusively professional side of Zhongli. He only has their less than innocent trysts to go off on, and the reminder that the same voice speaking in his defence was twice as dirty in bed makes him rub his thighs together uncomfortably, doing his best to quell the arousal.
Zhongli would never let it go if he got horny in the middle of a courtroom.
The judge eventually dismisses the case, not enough evidence to even indict him.
“The cheque must be nice,” Childe idly mentions after. He knows Zhongli is on retainer for his family, and what he got must be a hefty sum considering his parents tended to be more than generous.
Zhongli’s only response is to flash him an enigmatic smile.
“The sentencing range for first-degree murder is a minimum of 15 to 25 years in this state.”
Zhongli languidly explains, rolling his hips in time to Childe’s moans—pulling out and then unhurriedly pushing his way back inside, filling Childe completely. His legs have become jelly, tortured by the sweet satisfaction of the thick cock brushing past his prostate, suffering from the slow pace Zhongli seemed intent on keeping.
“If you were convicted after the trial, you could have been looking at life without parole.”
He whines, trying to fuck himself back onto the older man’s cock in the hopes of something changing, but strong hands keep him in place. It forces him into a position to just take, submit, no better than a warm hole for Zhongli to rest his cock in when he feels like it.
His toes curl, ass clenching around the hard, heavy length inside him as he chokes on the hazy pleasure. The syrupy headspace is a heady mixture made between the smooth baritone of Zhongli’s voice, and the sharp sparks he feels each time that fat cockhead presses against the spot that could make stars dance behind his eyelids.
“Are you listening to me, Ajax?”
A particularly hard thrust makes him yelp, burying his face into the pillow to muffle his sobs as he nods vigorously. Zhongli pulls out, and it’s a moment of reprieve for him to breathe, the thick tip just barely kissing into his puffy rim. Childe doesn’t enjoy the emptiness, and he’s quick to whine his displeasure to Zhongli above him, his hole fluttering, begging to invite him back in.
“What would we do if you ended up jailed?” The older man murmurs, gently kissing his shoulder and licking at Childe’s salty skin. They’ve been at this for at least a few hours now, nearly from the moment of his release. Childe is certain the sun has set outside. “Would you have come back to me, hole loose and pumped full with another man’s come? A needy little prison whore?”
The idea sends a shiver down his back, and Zhongli chuckles. “Ask nicely.”
“Please—” Good lord he sounded wrecked, “—pleasepleasepleaseplease.”
He screeches as Zhongli rams in, stuffing him full once more and starting a brutal pace. Pistoning hips snap forward to bottom out completely in Childe, the kind of bite-the-pillow-grab-the-headboard kind of sex he’s always fantasized about—but he’s not sure if he going to survive this. He’s drooling into the pillow, trying to gain leverage on his coltish legs, to scramble away , just a slight reprieve from the mind-numbing friction, but Zhongli bares down over him, grabbing his wrists and pinning him down to keep him still as he ruts into him.
Was this the definition of getting fucked stupid?
The white-hot pressure builds, culminating in an orgasm that makes him come so hard he shakes from the aftershocks of it, letting out a punched out whimper of a moan, twitching as his spent dick manages a few weak spurts in time to Zhongli’s thrusts—the older man fucking him through the orgasm.
Just as his breathy mewls take on a hurt tone, Zhongli follows after him with a grunt, and Childe squirms from the tight hold. A hand presses against his belly as the feeling of hot come continues to fill him, just enough pressure to make him uncomfortable considering the load Zhongli always managed. Childe’s well-trained hole milks him through it, unable to control the spasms regardless of how sore he is. They stay connected that way for a while, Zhongli draped over his sweaty back, his cock gone soft but a familiar warm weight keeping Childe full and sated. Their breaths evening out slowly, filling the humid air of the room.
The older man moves first, pulling out of Childe completely and releasing the bruising grip on his hips. Childe shudders at the loss, his unsteady body slumping to the side—still convulsing, biting his lip at the feeling of cum that dribbles from his spent hole. He knows he’s going to feel Zhongli for weeks now, and he’s certain that was the intent, if not a deliberate reprimand for this incident.
“And for the record,” Zhongli gently cards a hand through Childe’s matted red hair, “I work pro bono for your family.”
Despite his fucked-out state of mind, Childe snickers. “Pro boner .”
ALTERNATIVE AU: Childe does not know Zhongli, no established relationship. This alternate AU belongs to wifey! I only own my interpretation of what she told me ehe.
The feeling of the warm, wet blood doesn’t leave his hands—long after it’s been scrubbed off. He stares at them blankly, recalling the feeling of the weakening pulse against his fingertips; desperately trying to hold the wound close as the man had bled out slowly under him. He doesn’t worry, his family would’ve gotten the news by this point.
Childe’s attention snaps up as the door opens to a cop gruffly saying, “Your lawyer’s here.”
...except the stranger that walks in is most definitely not their family lawyer.
For starters, he’s far too handsome to be the white-haired, middle-aged old man Childe knew that represented their family if they ever got into trouble. The stranger’s black hair is carefully slicked back, wearing a dark three-piece suit that screamed ‘professional’ just as much as ‘daddy’ , briefcase under his arm he sets down—and then proceeds to introduce himself politely.
“I’ll be your lawyer for this case. Please call me Zhongli.”
And oh god that voice, a low rumbly timbre that fit the face perfectly. It’s so easy to imagine what he would sound like in bed, harsh grunts while they f—Childe blinks owlishly, “My … lawyer?”
He seats himself across Childe, fingers threading atop the table. “Court-appointed, seeing as you did not have one on file.”
“Right.” He replies, still trying to process the sentence. That couldn’t be right. “Sure. Court-appointed.”
Zhongli sets out the documents silently, gesturing at them as he says, “Shall we?”
Childe honestly has no clue what pit of lawyer hell Zhongli had crawled out from, but the man is ruthlessly efficient.
It’s to the point he almost pities the prosecution, to have whatever dredges of their case mauled to pieces and then spat on. But then again they were trying to pin him as the suspect.
“The victim had been found with his throat sliced, the autopsy report will confirm a swift death—my client, knowing the deceased, had found the body, panicked, and then reached to cover the wound with his own hands hoping to mitigate the injury.”
It’s not far from the truth, he’d made sure the death was quick, it’d felt needlessly cruel to treat a friend the same as the others.
The case is dismissed, the prosecution let off with a stern warning from the judge not to bring in people without proper evidence.
“The Tsaritsa admires your work,” Zhongli says evenly, soon after he’s set free considering the police no longer had any evidence to keep him in.
He frowns, “You work for her?” No one got away in the city without knowing the Fatui, Childe isn’t sure how he feels about being noticed by their leader.
The older man barks an amused laugh, “Certainly not. She has, however, provided me with assistance in the past. I am simply repaying the boon owed.”
“What does she want?”
“You, most likely.” Zhongli replies easily, smiling, “Though admittedly I did take the case of my own accord. Personal curiosity if you will.”
Childe stares at Zhongli, trying to smell the lie, “...then how much do I owe you?”
He waves a gloved hand, “Pro bono. A favour for a favour.” The older man chuckles, “Although if you wish to do something for me, how about dinner?”