"I would like to proffer an arrangement," Zhongli declared.
Childe simply blinked, looking up from the chopsticks in his hand. The utensils held at an awkward angle as he continued struggling with them. He turned to the consultant, a polite smile immediately present on his face but he blinked again, surprised and curious at the unmistakable trace of mischief in the other man’s golden gaze. Usually he was the one with playful suggestions of mischief due to his penchant for chaos. How interesting.
Childe gently placed the utensils down along with the bowl of rice back on the table. It would seem that this negotiation would require his utmost attention with the way Zhongli was patiently looking at him. The man nodded and finally explained.
‘Mutually beneficial’ as Zhongli had put it. Childe had only snorted rather ungracefully, which the other had ignored. Listening to Zhongli's …fascinating proposal nearly had him laughing out loud especially when the man presented his idea as if he was only laying down a simple trade deal. Well, Childe shrugs inwardly, being in Liyue ruled by the God of Contracts, it is indeed apt that this arrangement merely felt as such . Not to mention that he had yet to meet anyone who personified Liyue’s ideals as much as Zhongli. Perhaps the Qixing, but Childe had yet to meet them personally.
He knew he should have declined politely, but how could he resist something so...enticing, especially when it's being offered by an intriguing man such as Zhongli. Ever since they’d met, Childe knew that he was denying the pull he felt towards the ‘mere’ consultant. Childe didn’t pry, but it was easy enough to be suspicious of Zhongli’s true identity. Zhongli was refined, eloquent, and insightful; but there was more, something that Childe couldn’t quite put his finger on. What was it? Who was this man, really?
Zhongli ends his proposal, silently waiting for Childe’s response. Well, he was never one for things such as self-control, why should he begin now? Childe’s smile widens, “I’ll gladly accept your offer, Xiansheng.”
Childe's not one for romance or poetry, but he would admit (though perhaps not verbally) that his first night with Zhongli was unforgettable.
It was the first time Childe had felt...dare he say it? Revered, treasured even. Even when he was still clothed, each caress from Zhongli's hands made him feel like a fragile, exquisite prize. The precise, deliberate movements of his fingers removing every button on Childe’s clothes, the stiff fabric dropping to the oaken floors.
He would have laughed to himself remembering the man's penchant for the exquisite. Too many times had he paid for Zhongli's ridiculous purchases, but he never minded. His pockets are deep, and the other man's taste and keen eye for quality made up for it. Not to mention his genuine fascination with the conversations that seemed more like lessons on history, art, economics, and various other subjects. His mind would have wandered further; but when Zhongli finally leaned in to kiss him, Childe could have sworn time momentarily stopped. “Since when have I conceded to such idyllic thoughts?” was but a fleeting cognition as he tried not to melt against Zhongli’s stance. Zhongli's kiss was firm and gentle, yet demanding the same intensity and reverence from Childe. He didn't demand dominance, but he didn't relinquish it either. A trade. Passion for passion. And Childe was willing to pay him back.
He shoves his chest against Zhongli's torso, fingers tangling through those long, silken locks. “ Soft…” Childe thinks as he gently pulls at the tie around Zhongli’s hair. It never gave away completely, only loosening even more black strands. The long hair framing the man’s sharp features, strangely making him even more intimidating. Childe shut his gaping mouth, wondering why he felt so strangely awed.
It annoyed him how the pounding of his heart and the lurching in his gut makes him feel like the blushing virgin of some crude, romance novel. Trampling down on his nervousness, Childe surged forward to ferociously kiss Zhongli back, trapping the man against the wall, roughly tugging his hair to angle his head and kiss him even deeper.
Zhongli lets Childe shove him down the bed, only grunting as the Fatuus impatiently yanks his clothes open. The tearing of the fabric was a shame, but nothing irreplaceable. He merely grunted, enjoying the sight of his lover (or soon to be lover) hurriedly strip and throw the offending garments off the bed.
Childe shivers as Zhongli traces his side with a gentle hand. “Beautiful,” the man breathes out from under him, gazing at him so softly it brought Childe’s nervousness back in full force. He wrenches his gaze from those pools of amber, shaking himself out of a trance.
He quickly grabs a vial of oil on the bedside table, already interrupting before Zhongli can even offer, tone clipped and businesslike, "No, I'll do it."
Zhongli only nods, hiding his mild disappointment, hands clasping and moving back to rest on his chest. Despite his nakedness and throbbing erection, he looked calm as ever. Childe would have thought he looked bored, but the intense gaze directed at him obviously said otherwise. The fire in Childe's stomach grows, taking in the sight of the dignified man lying naked and wanting before him. The world truly is unfair for the man underneath him to be as perfect as he is. Golden eyes piercing, shooting electricity through his nerves, a single hair not out of place despite his earlier clutches, the toned muscles showcasing the strength of Zhongli's frame, and his already leaking member ready for Childe to take and worship.
There's a flutter of excitement as he anticipates the sensation of Zhongli stretching him, filling him up. Childe vaguely wonders if he'd be granted to taste him. What would he taste like? What would it feel being filled up by him?
But composure was the last state Zhongli would describe himself to be in. His blood was roaring and his body incredibly tensed. Only through strict discipline was he able to hold back from pinning Childe down to ravage him. Patience. He will submit soon enough. He will be mine.
He wasn't that surprised when Childe had accepted his offer, he sensed the curious looks thrown his way, the way those blue eyes lingered a tad too long, roamed over his form too thoroughly to be considered polite. But he was surprised at himself. The inkling of relief that washed over him at Childe's cocky assent was an unexpected sensation. The quiet, bubbling eagerness in his chest when his hands finally were able to hold him was another rare sensation Zhongli found himself having. He wanted to savor Childe, to fully take pleasure in everything the man has to offer. To trace every inch of his skin, to hear every lovely sound he can possibly make, and to make him chant Zhongli's name like a prayer.
But over all that, there was a roaring possessiveness, a sensation he hadn’t felt for decades. A rushing in his ears that reminded him of battle and blood. The call for Zhongli to take, to subjugate, and to rule.
Zhongli’s hands grip together so tightly his nails leave deep marks on the back of his hands. Even with centuries of discipline, maintaining composure still proved to be a challenging feat. Especially now with Childe confidently offering a lewd display as he prepares himself, Zhongli finds himself biting back a growl. Pale, muscular thighs slightly quivering, pink nipples erect looking ready to be bitten, and a beautiful leaking cock for his taking. Zhongli’s breath hitches when Childe lets out a lewd moan, the fingers in his ass brushing a delicate spot.
“Fuuuckkk,” Childe drones out, forgetting about his audience. The digits inside him move faster, stretching his hole as his other hand tugs at his cock. “Shit– fuck, yes. Right there.” His loud moan turns into a keen when Zhongli suddenly grabs his wrist, warning him not to forget.
“Sorry,” Childe gasps out, hissing slightly when he removes his fingers from his ass and his hand from his leaking cock. He lathers his palms with the oil, spilling a little on Zhongli’s chest. Zhongli only grunts, tensing as Childe’s hands follow the oil, reaching for every inch of skin he could.
“Didn’t forget you,” Childe adds unconvincingly, voice cheeky but breathless. His hands knead Zhongli’s muscles, appreciatively groping the broad expanse of skin. Childe carefully notes that this is the form of a warrior – the strength in these muscles and the confidence from experience. He smirks feeling the abdominals under his hand tense as he reaches further down, spreading the oil everywhere.
“You look good,” Childe huffs out, eyes drinking up the sight of the glistening skin. His hands finally encircle Zhongli’s shaft; rubbing in quick, experienced strokes. A lowly laugh escaping him when Zhongli groans.
“Feels good?” Childe cheekily asks, but before Zhongli can reply he shifts his hips grinding their cocks together. Zhongli throws his head back on the soft pillows, closing his eyes as he revels in the pleasure. The oil on their cocks and thighs making Childe’s movements careless, and the precum leaking made it even filthier. It’s too warm, like bathing in fire even. Zhongli lets out another groan imagining what it will be like to finally be inside Childe. He’s a patient man, he repeats to himself, but right now he desperately wanted – needed – to claim Childe.
Zhongli grips Childe’s hips, halting their rhythm. He didn’t say anything, but Childe nearly smirks in glee as a harsh glare is pinned on him – a silent order, “Hurry up.” Childe debated teasing more, but he couldn’t wait any longer either. He was already feeling incredibly hot but if he was going to cum, he’d rather do it having Zhongli’s cock fucking him.
Childe steadies himself on his knees, a hand reaching behind him as he lowers his hips. His eyes fall shut, as the tip comes in. Fuck, that’s big. The stretch deliciously burns even with all the preparation. He bites down on his lip, tampering down any whimpers he might have made. Fuck, fuck, fuck–
He feels a squeeze on his hips, and he sneaks a peek at the man under him. Worried golden eyes watches him, and the ridiculous emotions that bubble in Childe’s chest makes him laugh breathily as he slowly lowers himself further. It felt like he was being split open, but fuck if it wasn’t exactly what he wanted. Zhongli groans, his usual calm facade now strained and tensed. Childe would have teased the man, but he’s finding it hard to breath himself.
Childe jerks in surprise when he’s finally fully seated on Zhongli’s lap, the cock inside him reaching too deep. “F-fuck,” he gasps out. “Fuck– you’re fucking big. Fuck. It’s so deep.”
“Slow,” is all Zhongli says before sitting up, a hand pushing away the bangs sticking to Childe’s sweaty face. Take your time. He leaves a trail of light kisses from his temple, down to the corner of his lips. I am not going anywhere. Childe closes his eyes, breathing evening out, muscles relaxing slightly.
His eyes flutter open, deep azure meeting gold. Childe decides to test the waters, slowly moving his hips, feeling incredibly full. Every ridge of the cock inside him seems to hit every spot that makes him shudder. With a groan, he lifts himself up until only the tip remains and grinds back down. He couldn’t stop the loud moan that he let out even if he wanted to. Zhongli let him take control of the pace, carefully watching how Childe savored every inch of his cock. “Beautiful,” he thinks. Childe’s iron control – the furrowed brows, how he tensely bit his plush lips – is slowly slipping away until he's moaning openly, eyes clenched shut and mouth hanging open. He moves his hips faster and faster until he’s slamming himself down on Zhongli’s cock.
Zhongli groans, drinking in the wondrous sight before him. He dared not touch Childe, fearing that he’d shatter the moment. Instead, he watches. Gazing at the proud, arrogant man reduced to desperation. His ginger hair in disarray, his scheming azure eyes fluttering open to meet his, his nipples hard and aching to be bitten, his abdominals and thighs tense with all the work, and his leaking cock bouncing in time with his movements. Absolutely breathtaking.
“Fuck,” Childe gasps, looking at Zhongli. He hopes that he doesn’t seem needy, desperate, but he gasps out a plea, “P-please, Xiansheng, fuck– Fuck– I need more please.” They kept their gazes locked on each other, a silent confrontation. One pleading as much as he could with pride, while the other gauges with interest. A quiet moment to examine each other as if they were strangers. With all the secrets they kept, perhaps they were.
Childe felt his breath hitch when Zhongli took his hand in his, never breaking eye contact, and grazed his lips upon his knuckles. What could it mean or imply Childe never knew. For in that moment, Zhongli had wrenched the control from Childe, suddenly flipping them over. He thank the gods no one was nearby to hear the shamefully lewd moan Zhongli tore out from him when the man had finally started to fuck him thoroughly.
Each thrust was hard and deep, hitting his prostate, as his moans got even louder. Zhongli only pushed Childe further down the bed, nearly folding him in half as he spread his legs even further. The next thrust felt so deep Childe could only choke on a scream. His hands clawing at Zhongli’s back as the man uses him like a toy.
“G-god, fuck. So deep. Yes– Xiansheng,” Childe can only babble, drool sliding down his chin, shivering at Zhongli’s intense gaze. The long, dark locks falling beside his cheeks like a curtain, as if all of him is just meant for this man’s eyes. In all his years dancing with danger and surviving from death, it’s the first time such a stare made him small and powerless. So why, why did it feel good? Why did this man make him want to surrender and be devoured?
“Xiansheng,” Childe breathlessly calls out, and Zhongli almost smiled at how reverent he sounded.
“My name,” he replies, voice still calm and deep.
“I’d prefer to hear my name.”
“Zh– Oh!” Childe clenches his eyes shut when Zhongli picks up the pace. The grip on his hips hurts, but he barely noticed with how fast he’s approaching his climax. “Zhongli!” Childe screams.
“Please,” Zhongli curtly returns Childe’s plea to him. He almost missed the deep voice directed at him.
“What?” Childe gasped, nails sinking into Zhongli’s shoulder as the man keeps fucking him.
“Would you...touch yourself?”
Childe wordlessly answered by grasping his leaking cock, hands quickly moving up and down with practiced haste. Zhongli only grunts in approval, biting back a growl as he marvels at the lewd display. His eyes dart to Childe’s pale neck when the man throws his head back, chanting Zhongli’s name. Leaning forward, he sinks his teeth into Childe’s neck, pleased to hear another scream of his name. He feels a stirring in his gut and a possessiveness welling up in his chest to hear Childe whimper his name like a prayer.
“C-close! Close! Please don’t stop– Zhongli! Close!” With a wordless shout, Childe squeezes his cock as he finally reaches his peak, clenching tightly around Zhongli, his back almost arching off the bed. Zhongli groans, biting hard on Childe’s shoulder as he finally spills himself inside Childe.
Childe can only whimper as he comes down from his high, his ass feeling sore and yet the warm and wet feeling pleased him rather than disgusted him. His own cum splattered on both of them felt sticky, and yet it was so satisfying to see Zhongli marked by his own seed.
Zhongli slowly pulls out, gently kneading Childe’s thighs when he hisses. Cum starts dripping out of Childe’s still clenched hole, soiling the sheets even further. He felt like he should be embarrassed, but being exposed like this to Zhongli felt oddly right. As if he wanted to present himself, “Look what you did to me.” The rare smirk that crept up on Zhongli’s face as the man takes note of the mess made Childe’s eyes widen in surprise; but it’s gone almost immediately.
Childe lies there boneless, watching Zhongli grab a towel and wipe the more obvious evidence of their activities. The man shifts to stand, perhaps to prepare themselves a warm bath, but Childe lunges forward and shoves Zhongli down on the bed, nails lightly scratching down his torso. Zhongli only raised an eyebrow at him. Childe smirks.
“If I recall correctly, our 'arrangement' was all night, yes?”
“The moon has only come out. We have plenty of time to...get more acquainted, as you put it.”
And that was their first night. A night that lasted well until the morning of the next day. Wherein even with his years of combat experience, Childe felt he no longer had the strength to even push himself up. It’s interesting, he notes, how even with all their activities, Zhongli didn’t even seem slightly exhausted the day after. Childe wonders if he’s lacking stamina. Perhaps he needed more training? But he’s also pretty sure that the ‘consultant’ simply has an inhuman amount of energy, adding even more to the suspicions and theories in his head. The man even had the courtesy to change the soiled sheets so they could rest comfortably.
Childe had expected to be ushered out after a bath and perhaps a nap. Their arrangement didn’t talk about anything afterwards, and he was sure that they’d both prefer for...whatever this is to only be a casual and beneficial exchange. Yet to his surprise, he spent the night dozing off on soft pillows and clean sheets. The morning after, realization of spending the night in Zhongli’s arms hit him like an angry boar. It felt strange. Strange because he should feel that it was wrong or maybe he should feel nothing at all, but why did he enjoy it? Enjoy the strange comfort and warmth from a man he barely knew.
There was no awkwardness when they both awoke. Zhongli politely greeting him a, “Good morning.” His deep voice and rumbling chest almost flustering Childe. Almost. Childe only raspily replying a greeting, throat a bit sore from his screaming last night. He curiously watched Zhongli leave and return with a tray of breakfast, pouting when he noticed that there’s only chopsticks for him to use. Zhongli only softly huffs, but Childe could use some practice anyways.
After a fulfilling breakfast (Childe wonders if it was Zhongli who cooked it or if there were servants nearby), Childe found himself lifted like a princess, much to his embarrassment, and carried to the baths.
“I can walk, you know,” he protested, but obediently stayed still in Zhongli’s arms.
“Somehow I very much doubt that.”
Everything afterwards felt normal. Business resumed, and they both went about their days. They didn’t talk about it. It was their dear secret, only remembered with a fond smile or smirk.
But one night easily became more. Childe craved Zhongli’s touch – the way he felt breathless when they kiss, the pounding of his heart when their bodies clashed, how Zhongli stretched and filled him so well, the gentle but firm grip on his hips when he orgasms, and the intense golden gaze that made him tremble in excitement. He felt starved, and Zhongli was the only meal that could sate him. No one else had made him feel like this – ravished and desired as if nothing else mattered.
It’s not like Zhongli denied him too. To Childe, it seemed like the man was just as starved as him, perhaps even more. And he was right, Zhongli also yearned. Yearned for Childe’s sweet cries, how his name sounded when it fell from those lips, pale skin that begged to be bitten and marked, and the beautiful sight of Childe under him with his hole dripping his cum. Everything Childe had offered him made all the treasures of Liyue pale in comparison. Zhongli knows it’s unfitting for someone like him to crave a man like this. But Liyue is changing, has changed; and he himself also covet that change.
Their nights were spent together so often, it was now easier to count how many nights they weren’t together. So much was their desire for lust and perhaps even more that even the long nights at Zhongli’s abode weren’t enough anymore.
It started with a chaste kiss from Childe in an empty room of Xinyue Kiosk. A kiss out of nowhere that even had Zhongli pause as Childe just walked out like nothing happened.
Childe feels the questioning look Zhongli throws at him as they walk down the streets of Liyue.
“I just felt like it,” he shrugged, already wondering where his next business would take him.
Then it was Zhongli grabbing Childe by the arm, pulling him behind the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor to shove his tongue down his throat. Childe wonders if they should be doing this when the parlor’s employees could discover them, but a harsh bite to his lips had him quickly forgetting as he growls and returns the kiss with as much fervor he can muster.
They pant at each other, mouths fighting for dominance. The loud pattering of the rain thankfully hid all their noises and dissuaded any nosy busybodies to wander about. Childe bites back at Zhongli and found himself shoved against the wall. He gasped when Zhongli roughly tilted his chin up, arm suddenly wrapping around his waist, bumping their chest together and making his knees stagger. Childe’s furious at how he grasped Zhongli’s shoulder to steady himself, but he knew he was losing this battle. Zhongli’s tongue against his, steadily dominating the kiss until Childe can only whimper.
Under the presumption of a “meeting”, they ended up in a dark, deserted alleyway of Liyue Harbor’s Southern Wharf at night. Grateful for the debris of ongoing construction and the loud waves crashing against the harbor’s walls, they rest their foreheads together, Zhongli growling and panting as Childe holds their cocks against each other, hand expertly rubbing them together. It was only with extremely good luck that the Millelith hadn’t caught them, a guard shouting at another trysting couple at a street just a block away from them. A frustrated Zhongli had immediately dragged Childe on the deserted outskirts of the city to fuck him thoroughly against a rock wall. Childe’s back was sore with bruises days after.
“You are loud,” Zhongli whispers by his ear, tone flat as if they’re just talking about the weather. Childe wanted to bite back a response, but only keened when he felt the burn of the stretch as Zhongli’s cock entered him.
They had ran off to the outskirts of the harbor when the Millelith arrived. Thank god, for a couple of horny teenagers attracting the guards’ attention as Zhongli audibly growled at him when he stopped his ministrations on both of their cocks. Childe soon found himself dragged against a secluded area, pants harshly yanked dow, gloved hands grasping at the rough rocks for support, and an impatient Zhongli quickly preparing him with adept fingers. Childe idly wonders how long they’ll be fucking at the base of this cliff or if Zhongli would graciously drag him back to his quarters for several more rounds.
It still wasn’t enough.
Childe knew they would have to talk about it as Zhongli bends him over a table in one of Northland Bank’s private rooms. He’d have to tell him to back off a bit. His Fatui subordinates were already taking note of Zhongli’s constant presence. Yet when Zhongli slams in and hits his prostate, Childe decides it can wait and focuses on keeping quiet instead.
Childe knew they should talk about it when Zhongli wordlessly whisks him away from a group of flirting courtesans, smiling and batting their eyelashes at him, eager to please and even more eager for his mora. He’d have to tell him to back off a bit. A couple of residents of the Harbor are starting to murmur and gossip about the constant business of the ‘funeral consultant’ and the ‘Snezhnayan Fatui’. Yet when Zhongli rips his coat open and bites down hard on his shoulder, Childe can only hope no one would stumble upon them in the dark alleyway.
Childe knew, and he knew Zhongli also knew.
Zhongli knew exactly what he was doing and he knew exactly that he just couldn’t stop. How he would hum in satisfaction when he crowds Childe, his hand innocently brushing against the other man’s wrist when he guided him with the chopsticks. How Childe would minutely tense when their shoulders brushed together when they would walk, or when he leaned a bit too close when he talked about another craft or another piece of history. Seeing Childe’s polite smile with the slightest hint of strain, the little twitch of his hand as if holding back to urge to grab at him, when Zhongli puts a hand on his shoulder when he introduces an acquaintance. Zhongli only laughs to himself at finding these little things fascinating.
Zhongli knew that these sensations clashing in him are unsuitable and inexcusable for someone like him, especially with the future of Liyue and his place in it about to be decided. But he cannot help the thrill that coursed through him – his lust for battle may have abated but it would never disappear. And Childe, he was a fine warrior if Zhongli ever saw one. Their clash was not of swords and not on the battlefield, it was more an intimate dance that Zhongli found himself immersed with. He relishes it. But he also knew that their time together would soon come to an end.
The Traveler had finally arrived in Liyue.
One spare glance at the young, golden-haired Traveler and his floating companion from his perch atop the overlooking Yujing Terrace, and Zhongli knew that it is time for the gears of fate to turn to the next phase. The Rite of Descension is due soon. The adepti shall be disturbed once more, and it is time for the Liyue Qixing to prove their will. Without further ado, Zhongli leaves to prepare for his role in the grand play.