- Fuck you, Lumine:
Yes, you can tell him how fitting his title is by the tantrum he's currently having in the middle of the Golden House, but swear to the Tsaritsa, Childe does not back down.
"What do you mean I'm a shameless pain connoisseur? Miss Lumine, I'd think you'd be the last of my comrades to wrongfully accuse me of such debauchery." He dramatically pats his uniform of dirt and cement, really who keeps on bothering with the ceiling? Then again, that explains why Katya sighs a lot when it's payday.
Back to the source of his sudden defensiveness, Lumine gives him a flat look of unsolicited judgement. Despite it all he still wears the same smile, unsurprised of the fearless comments from the traveler who beats his ass every week.
"I don't think you can say I'm wrong when you go out of your way to find the most deadly battles, Childe." She says, wiping away stray dust from her sword. Paimon chose this time to pop out from wherever she dissapears to to give her own commentary.
"Yeah, with how much you talk about fighting, Paimon's starting to think you like getting beat up!" He laughs, wiping the blood dripping from his forehead.
"I'm surprised you know what the word even means, with your limited vocabulary."
"Hey! Paimon's smart!" Lumine snorts from the back of her hand, still polishing her sword as her flying companion grumbles something about wanting to stuff her mouth full with chupsuey.
"Back to the apparently obvious topic at hand, who else thinks I lust for pain?" He asks, sitting at a space on the floor which isn't covered in dust. Lumine follows, her sword dissapearing to gold dust as she thinks.
"Well, Xiao was the one who refused to fight you even though he really wanted to, he says that that might have made you happy instead. And Xiangling told me once that she overheard you talking about spear fighting with Mr. Zhongli, and she thought it was a weird idea for a date. Earlier one of the Millileth guards told me-"
"Wait, wait, wait, c-can you backtrack?" He blunders, sweat running down his back for a different reason then the beat down he just got.
"Xiangling thought it was weird that you wanted to fight your boyfriend?" A brow lifts on her face, as if Childe was the one who just said something out worldly.
"I'm just gonna ignore the whole masochism thing. Just- Boyfriend? Professor? But-" He swivels his hands around looking for the right words to explain why he would never date his very attractive friend "He's, y'know, uh- old." He finishes lamely, Lumine fixes him with that look again. He fears that her face might get stuck like that, forever judging him.
"Yes. I'm aware that Rex Lapis, a 6000 year old god, is old." She smirks, the type of shit-eating grin Childe always has plastered on his face whenever he holds his hydro blades. But, he doesn't want to think about that lest he wants his face to be mauled by his embarrassment. He just chuckles, but Lumine isn't finished stomping on his dignity.
"Another thing I noticed, you already asked me before how strong Mr. Zhongli is. So I told you he'd mastered the spear the most and that you'd be better off fighting with swords instead, just to heighten you're chances." She's building up her ruthless punch to what left of his ego, Childe thinks.
"So why, pray tell, did you ask for a spear fight if you weren't looking for immense pain?" She finishes, and Childe quickly waves his hand in dismissal despite the sweat on his throat.
"I mean, it's only obvious that I asked him to use his most mastered weapon, what is the point if he isn't at his best? That would make for an uninteresting battle."
"Mhm." She hums, standing up to find her way out of the bank.
"You don't believe me do you?" Childe comments, watching her walk away.
"Mhm." She turns back to him, her eyes crescent in fondness like she was looking at a child. He did feel like one; vulnerable and small.
"We're off to Inazuma, I hope you get your wish of fighting him and then some." She turns and waves off, Paimon appeared to stick her tongue out at him, which he returned with just as much annoyance.
"Best of luck, Comrade!" He shouted to her back, and soon he was alone, thinking of the words she said as they parted ways.
He found himself missing a tough opponent, but not as much as he thought. His unsatiated bloodlust had been, hushed. He pretends to wonder why.
Seriously, Damn you Lumine.
- It's all about the battle, not the pain
Honestly, does everybody think he likes getting wounds bruises? He couldn't care less of the taint it brought to his porcelain skin but they prevent him from fighting again, and that brings all the fun out of life for the few days he's recovering.
So, politics it is, the boring bargaining he'd rather get done with blades but again, recovering.
He swears that it was just a debt collection. But he already feels the smug aura radiating off of a certain traveler about his apparent masochism, as he fights one out with the amateur treasure hoarders.
He winced, the effects of Foul Legacy became apparent as he twisted his limbs that screamed at him to rest. Oh, what doesn't kill him will try again, he grits.
"He's weak! We can take him!" One of them chants to the group. He smirks at the boringly obvious way the group tries to tackle him all at once. He swipes them all away like dirt with his hydro staff.
An arrow grazes his already bruised arm, he clicks his tongue in annoyance and throws a hydro arrow in the direction of the archer without looking. He ignores the later moans of pain they let out as the arrow punctures their shoulder.
"Keep that as a message to your boss of the debts you have from the Fatui." He says over his shoulder. Running steps echo from Jueyen Karst, whimpers and whispers fail to reach his ears as he kicks a nearby pebble in irritation.
Sitting on damp grass he runs a finger on the wound from the badly aimed arrow, his bruise caused more blood to flow from the puncture. He uses his vision to rinse the blood and dirt, then proceeds to leave it like that in the hot sun.
He'll feel hell for that later, but for now he seeks some childish violence as he's sure any animal would be more of a fight than what he just experienced. The red slash on his arm annoys him, so he aims to get a worse one.
(Not because he enjoys the pain, he swears)
He slid his steps with hydro, thinking back to the numerous hilichurl camps reported to have spawned all across Teyvat. Surely there's not going to be much trouble in finding one.
He whistles as he skips his steps, he's probably going to be scolded if he's ever seen lazing and taking his time like this. Though it's not like he never excused himself for taking up a random expedition for the thrill.
His main mission as a Harbinger is done after all, though it was more of a deliberate prank for him in the end.
Okay, great. Now he made himself angry for a stupid reason.
He seeks to fight anything seething with geo energy, for reasons he won't disclose, thank you very much. He agitates a group of Geovishaps nearby, blades by his sides as he tries to accommodate glowing amber to something other than calculating golden eyes.
He practically growls as his face turns red, and he doesn't tire easily.
- Feeling inferior isn't exactly sexy
It wasn't like Childe and Zhongli aren't on good terms. Childe was angry, but he soon accepted that he was tricking the former Archon as well, and he'd be a hypocrite to be irritated when he'd almost drowned the harbor that the god built for Eons.
Still, he couldn't help but feel small next to the man. So they're friendship- Companionship?- felt strained. Meals were mostly quiet and rare, as Childe tried to seem more busy than usual. If Zhongli noticed, he chose to stay silent.
Childe thinks about that a lot too, why Zhongli chooses to try and invite him to meals as he did before.
He clicks his tongue, wiping at a bruise on his cheek, he winces. Really not a good idea to fight when he's still recovering from Foul Legacy, but debts must be paid....and thinking about feelings suck.
He runs into a statue on his aimless wandering, a statue of Morax to be more precise. It glows blue from whatever Lumine has done to it, blue that mirrors Childe's eyes. He approaches it, despite the lingering thoughts of the man sculpted on stone.
He doubted that the Zhongli he befriended truly reflected who the Lord of Geo was, because the statue before looked down as if he was insignificant and feeble. Childe was, in comparison to this incomprehensible being, this god, he has to remind himself.
Childe can't find himself to speak as freely as he used to around Zhongli, a part of him thought it pointless. What was his time and company to an immortal? Surely nothing, and it's dangerous to think otherwise.
Yet he can't imagine a look as cold as the statue on Zhongli's eyes, even as he was deep in thought, they were soft.
He thinks back to when he invites Zhongli to fight. Grimacing at the silence they were drowning in. He looked at him at seriously as possible, because somehow he thinks the other would laugh at him. It really is laughable, a mortal, an ant pointing a sword at the being who threw spears as large as mountains.
But Zhongli just smiled the way that made his breath hitch, like he expected his proposition. Well, it was more of a threat.
"I'll let you know when I've prepared." He tells him. On any normal day Childe would have pushed him to battle right at that moment, but he was just surprised that Zhongli humored his strange request.
Xiangling, at that exact moment, thought they were- no, that train of thought wouldn't go anywhere and he didn't want to explore it.
Childe had found his hand on the pillar bellow the statue, the stone was cold and grey. His wet gloves made water trickle down the pillar, and he had the distinct thought that he tainted the image of a god whose land he still wandered on.
But, a part of his mind unhelpfully supplies, he knew deep down that Zhongli won't mind because he didn't see himself as a god anymore, and he was Childe's equal.
Though Childe can never agree with him, because he sinfully views Zhongli as a god beyond his worship.
The consultant may be his friend, but Morax and Rex Lapis are deities he wishes punishment from.
His feelings and longing are crimes.
If only the Tsaritsa can hear his thoughts now.
- He ain't no bottom bitch
At least, he didn't think so. And no, it's not that he's never had any escapades. He is a young man after all. Childe Tartaglia isn't a fan of surprises and unpredictable outcomes. As reckless as he may be, he likes to think he's entitled to what happens to his ass, thank you very much.
But, as stated, he might be considering it. Just a lingering thought.
A lingering, burning thought.
"I was under the impression that you'd be immune to light stinging pain by now." a honey smooth voice crumbles his inner turmoil, Childe almost jumps. Zhongli continues the rhythmic light touches to his bloodied back. (He's using a towel and he's still wearing gloves, ah- but what does that matter to an adult who's being pampered by an individual he can distinct by smell?)
"Ah, sorry Professor." He attempts to laugh off the ever increasing tensity. Childe waves off the stab to his pride "I'm just not used to being taken care of this way." He chuckles at the double meaning, not catching the way Zhongli's brows furrow almost instantly in distaste. The silence strikes again, which Childe both appreciates and loathes.
Because now all he can focus on are the dabs of cotton on his skin, and the medicine that brings a sting that singed more than water did. He inhales sharply through gritted teeth, which the other definitely hears but chooses to comment on.
The pain is addictive, because he knows the scars won't heal well after.
They'll leave marks.
Marks from Rex Lapis.
Childe groans (Internally). The heat does nothing for his growing, misplaced arousal so he removes his gloves to try to cool off the sweat on his person. They were wet of blood and dirt as well, he places them just beside the med kit Zhongli always has ready in his home. His hands weren't scarred, but they had bruises from the reckless shower of arrows he rained on the god behind him.
The ministrations on his back got progressively lower and lower, now that he noticed. Archons, how many new ones did Zhongli ingrain into his skin? Well, he honestly won't mind, makes for a good souvenir when he eventually gets home and needs some good material.
Childe holds a noise back as his back straightens like a pole. The towel, freshly cleaned and ice cold compared to the rest of his body, touched the exposed skin of his hip.
"Apologies, the blood seems to trail all the way below your hip area. I should've asked." All Childe knows is that all the blood in his body suddenly rushed towards both north and south. His face felt warmer than the room, and the hand pulling on the waistline of his pants left but still held his hips, asking for permission. He didn't remember beings this thin, or were Zhongli's hands just that big?
He swallows when his throat suddenly becomes dry, he fears that whatever comes out of his mouth would be between a whimper and a beg. For what? He knew, but didn't somehow.
He hasn't looked at Zhongli ever since the man suddenly carried him back to his room at the parlor.
"You've already broken the contract by fighting me while you're still recovering. You will not have a say in this, Tartaglia." Okay, so that's not helping him cool off. The look in Zhongli's eyes spoke of absolute command and divinity, it was as if he knew how to control the monster that was Childe with just his presence alone. Maybe it was the horny taking over but Childe swore that he heard the underlying growl Zhongli had in his voice when he spoke his given name.
What would it be like if he said his actual name?
It was probably good that Zhongli picked him up, or he would have collapsed on his knees right then and there. But he still hated the moment when that look melted into a soft gaze at Childe's injuries and reopened wounds as he was bridal carried, he wanted that blinding pain again, but it was over way too quickly for Childe's taste.
Now it was all gentle caresses, as if he was being thoroughly loved to madness.
"Tartaglia." Ah right, current Zhongli was still waiting for an answer. He swears the glove might as not well be there with how much he's feeling it between 3 layers of fabric.
"Ah- Just do what you gotta do." He answers in fear that his thoughts have been somehow heard. Zhongli hums, a low rumble that effects Childe more than he'll ever admit.
"What's troubling you so much?" He was asked suddenly, Childe looked at the older man. The paper lamps made it look like Zhongli's eyes were glowing, maybe they were. Childe stared, he looked ethereal, but way too soft for a god that ruled over boulders and mountains.
Childe wanted to be hurt, he wanted to be torn apart.
Because what Zhongli does to him is so indescribable, and he hates not knowing anything.
"I wanted you to stab me." The hand on his waist tightened its hold, Zhongli's thumb digging into a healed scar above his hip. Childe hisses, but Zhongli interrupts any incoming comment.
"Elaborate." Childe practically hears the heavy swallow he does when he hears the low growl Zhongli does in irritation.
"When I asked for a spar, It was more for my blood than yours."
- Does it really count when it's not painful at all?
Silence was common for Childe, he reveled in it even. The silent but loud winds of his home, the silent victory after a heavy battle, the quiet helplessness that was the abyss.
He chose to embrace anything that made him uncomfortable, and adored anything he had familiarized himself with.
In those 3 unforgettable months he fell into the dark, Childe learned to forget anything that made him warm, anything that made him overthink. He learned how to be anything and nothing.
A hand reached out to grab his chin in a light grip, Childe was staring at the floor without realizing it. His eyes, which were blurred and hot for reasons he thinks he should know, face soft amber.
"Oh, Tartaglia.." Something inside Childe just screams wrong, wrong, wrong. Where's the addicting pain? Everything feels so new and raw and unfamiliar.
Vulnerable, a sensible voice picks up.
He jerked his head away from the warm hand. He aimed to get away but Zhongli, who made him honest and compliant in less time than it took for the Abyss to shape him, took his hand to trace the scars on his knuckles.
"I won't stop you, if you truly wish to leave." He says, bringing up the hand to his chest. His pulse hit Childe's skin like a jackhammer. "But know that your welcome to stay."
Childe, turns back to him with a stuttering sigh, letting his gaze linger to the hand Zhongli now intertwined with his. He blinks and his sight becomes clearer, taking in the look of utmost adoration Zhongli had.
His vision blurs again.
"I don't think I've ever seen you cry, let alone this many times." Zhongli chuckles, kissing the tears away from Childe's cheeks. Crying, right. He'd been used to taking care of his younger siblings when they cried but he's never cried since, well..
"I never thought I'd feel this way again, and I'd never thought you'd- I guess, let me?" Childe suddenly yelps when Zhongli carries him to settle on his lap, Zhongli leans against the headboard, admiring him. Archons, this man killed him and brought him back to life just to kill him again.
"Why made you think so?" Zhongli prompted, his fingers circling on wet patches of freshly cleaned skin. Childe visibly swallowed, eyeing the way Zhongli's amber hued pupils dragged down and down.
"When you finished your business with signora, I thought that Zhongli was fake, a persona you made just to..." His breath hitched as those hands snaked down, one playing with the black belt that wrapped around Childe's left thigh.
"I assure you that I'm as real as you see me. The same goes for my more commanding persona." He says, intentionally ignoring Childe's growing arousal to give more attention to his inner thighs. There were bruises there, and the addictive pain was more comforting.
"Ah- You..You noticed my interest huh?" Childe laughs nervously, he sees Zhongli smirk and press his thumb into a bruise he somehow knows is there on Childe's thigh. Childe lets himself moan softly.
"Hm, you aren't the first I've seen. In my six thousand years I've seen my fair share of brothels-"
"Yeah, we get it, you're into old school se- Ah!" Zhongli cups his hand on the bulge in his pants, rubbing it tortuously slowly. Zhongli continues to rant as if it was just another sunny day.
"Masochists aren't a surprise to me, but I seem to doubt if your interests solely lie on the pleasure of pain." His hands suddenly stop, moving to cup Childe's tear streaked face. The 11th had whiplash with how Zhongli switched from overwhelmingly dominating to maddeningly gentle.
"Ajax, my birth name." Because he knew that whatever Zhongli had to tell him was really important. If it was possible, Zhongli's expression softened again, thumb stroking across Ajax's cheek.
"Ajax, I love you." He said, his hands sliding to hold the others' slack hands. Ajax held his breath, and released it in a whisper.
"Zhongli...Gods, you're so unfair." Ajax kisses as much of the ex-gods' face as he can. And the other giggles, like actually giggles. Maybe Ajax was sent to Celestia.
He continues rambling while kissing the life out of Zhongli's face,
"You're the only man I know-" Kiss to the cheek. "-who'd talk about rough sex-" Kiss to the other cheek. "-then right after-" Kiss to the nose. "-confess and get away with it."
The Adeptus laughs as Ajax kisses his forehead, pressing his lips onto the others' when he came down eye level again. Zhongli's sight then zoned onto the bulge still present on Ajax's pants, though half obvious.
"I suppose I'll have to take back what I said about you 'getting away with it'" The Fatui comments, following his line of sight.
Zhongli brings his lips to his chest, kissing pink nubs gently, reveling in the soft noises he hears above him. He then brings his tongue to circle around one, then sucking.
"Fuck, way more vanilla than I'm used to." Zhongli flips him onto his stomach, letting himself stare at his clothed ass before inserting his fingers to where he thinks the buttons of his pants are. He drags an arm under Ajax's stomach, pushing him up.
"On your knees."
"Mn, Don't have to tell me twice." He promptly raises his hips, his ass on display. Only for Zhongli to slide his head under his legs, breath warming right on Childe's dick.
"P-Professor? How am I supposed to-" Zhongli mouths at the bulge, and Ajax's knees buckled. Zhongli slid his hands to push his knees up on the sheets again, continuing to lap onto Ajax's clothed arousal.
"Ha- You better stop or I'll come in my pa-Ah!" The older brought his hands to stroke around the bulge, teasing the younger into oblivion. The 11th does end up finishing while he still had his pants on, not noticing the older man had unbuttoned his pants until a bare hand caressed his bottom.
"I don't wish to harm you, Ajax."
"You just killed what's left of my dignity, Zhongli." He mumbled into the pillow his face made home onto. He hears a fond chuckle before he's moved onto his side and his face is pushed onto a warm chest.
"I just mean if you don't wish to continue, that's fine." He says, even though Ajax is pantsless and is raring to go again.
So he straddles onto Zhongli's lap as the older man lays down, mesmerized. He clears his throat to regain any control.
"Your Injuries-" Zhongli groans as the man above him grinds his bare cheeks onto his clothed shaft.
"You can just push me down onto you if I get tired. Mmph- C'mon, make love to me." Sighing, Zhongli puts his hands onto Ajax's hips, then ran his hands across the scars on his stomach lovingly.
"Sap." The younger laughs, but lets the other take his time. "I don't think I can think of anyone else touching me now."
- He likes it when Zhongli's involved but not in any other situation
Childe liked being right, like most normal people. Which is why he reasonably writes Lumine a letter conveying of his discoveries once he learns they planned on staying at an inn in Inazuma for a while. Just to prove his superiority.
I hope your stay in Inazuma proves fruitful! I know I wouldn't fair as much treading the same grounds as Scaramouche. So hats off to you !
Of course I wouldn't be sending a letter unless it was of utmost importance. In this case I regret to inform you and your companion were wrong of the assessment of my interests!
Truth is, My only interests are Zhongli.
Sincerely, Childe the 11th
He sent that letter only a few days ago, so he was surprised to accept a letter from Ekaterina when he turned in at Northland Bank.
It looked innocent enough, he ripped it open once he was at his office.
To The 11th Harbinger,
Lumine and Paimon
Suffice to say the guards at Northland Bank have only heard their boss guffaw in laughter when they saw him fight the Lord of Vishaps. They were, justifiably, terrified.
Ekaterina just stayed as straight faced and tired for another normal monday morning.