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A Prayer From A Sinner

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Barbatos hears a prayer. 

It's nothing abnormal, he receives them every morning and every night. They often all flow through the wind, passing the Archon as a fleeting thought. He listens to all of them in his subconscious, yet they usually just go in one ear and out the other. Most of them aren't too important.

But this one is.

The voice calling for help, calling for the aid of his Archon, it's familiar. Despite recognising the voice, Barbatos is sure he has never heard it before in this context, in a prayer.

Kaeya Alberich does not pray.

Barbatos knows who he is, where he's from. Barbatos knows that the nation of which Alberich's son hails is that of where no Archon has peacefully entered. 

Gods are not prayed to in Khaenri'ah.

But this is not Khaenri'ah, this is Mondstadt, land of the Anemo Archon. His prayers will be heard here, or so that's what Kaeya likes to think. He is truly hopeless at the moment, nobody to turn to, nobody to help him, nobody except the god who so hungrily tore his home apart five hundred years ago.

It's Barbatos's fault that his family lived in famine, despite their so-called 'nobility'.

It's Barbatos's fault that his ancestors are forced to live with the curse.

It's Barbatos's fault.

And yet.

It's Barbatos's help that he needs right now.

"Please Barbatos. Please let me hold on for just a little bit longer,"  he starts his prayer.

Venti's eyes widen, his glass of wine pausing its journey towards his lips. His body goes stiff when he hears the sullen whispers of a plea. 

"I... I promised to take Klee out on a picnic with her brother tomorrow... She'd be real sad if she woke up with the news that I've had passed away, y'know?" 

Kaeya's words are slurred with exhaustion. The amount of blood staining the once pristine grass of the Whispering Woods becoming increasingly concerning. His palms are pressed together, fingers linked in the position of prayer as he stumbles through the forest towards the city. He looks rather ridiculous, actually, but he doesn't care. 

On any other day, Kaeya would laugh at the mere thought of praying for the aid of a god. But imagining the trauma his little Spark Knight would have to go through if he were to die here was just heartbreaking. A child should never have to deal with such a thing, especially not a child of Mondstadt.

"Just... let me get to the gates before I pass out... Thank you," Kaeya finishes.

Diluc stares at Venti with confusion. The atmosphere around the bard had completely changed, just a minute ago he was smiling and laughing with the other patrons. But now his lips are pulled into a thin line, eyes full of worry as he stares into space. 

After losing his Gnosis, Barbatos has struggled to keep his energy, a lot of his initial power has been lost and there is only so much he can do. 

But he can't just let the Captain die, not after everything he's done. Kaeya has helped Mondstadt, has saved it from peril multiple times despite knowing exactly who looks over the place. Kaeya, despite being a sinner, is still determined to protect this sacred land. Barbatos will forever look at the boy with stricken bewilderment. He would never have thought that a child of the nation he slaughtered would ever fight for the Anemo Archon's own land.

So he has to try, despite his limited power, he has to try. For Kaeya.

Venti sets his drink onto the bar, closing his eyes, brows furrowing in concentration. He can see Kaeya, barely hanging onto consciousness as he slowly saunters closer to the bridge of the city. He channels his energy, the winds carrying his blessing to the man.

Kaeya smiles. His posture straightens when he feels a light gust of wind flow over his body, the cool breeze soothing the excruciating wounds through his tattered clothes. He can feel the gale of Anemo energy filling his lungs with hope. Today is not the day that Kaeya Alberich dies.

"I'm touched, Barbatos. Helping little old me? " he chuckles. "Thank you, my Archon," Kaeya speaks up to the sky, watching as the Pavo Ocellus constellation twinkles away in the vast darkness.

My Archon.

Kaeya considers himself a child of Mondstadt. The idea alone lights up the Archon's aquamarine eyes. Venti's shoulders slump, tension fading from his muscles as he sinks back into his barstool knowing that Kaeya is no longer in grave danger. 

"You alright?" Diluc asks, polishing another glass.

The bard smiles softly, eyes not meeting the other's gaze, staring into his half-empty wine glass.

"Right as rain, Master Diluc," he responds, tone gentle.

 

Kaeya takes Klee and Albedo on that picnic he promised the next day, Barbatos looking down at him as the blonde girl places a flower crown on his head.

 

Thank you, Barbatos. Kaeya acknowledges the Archon's efforts in his head as the soft winds flow through his blue hair, a rare genuine grin on his face.