liv 🔞 PO 📌 CF16 E34-E35

liv 🔞 PO 📌 CF16 E34-E35



#ZhongChi with a slight #haichi ft jealous zl . "If anyone sees us right now, the Matras will think that we are colluding for personal gain, Sir Harbinger, so let’s make this quick." In hindsight, perhaps approaching Zhongli’s contact in Sumeru was a bad idea to begin with.

But Childe had no option. Out of all possible people who Childe could make a contact with, the acting grand sage was the most potential out of others "No, as I've told you, I'd like to keep tonight casual." Childe let out his usual sheepish laugh. "No talk about jobs and such."

That was what Childe said, but tonight's occasion was intended for him to show his personal gratitude towards the Scribe slash acting grand sage for easing the process of Sumeru's Northland Bank opening as planned. Of course, he couldn't say that out loud.

"Casual," Alhaitham nodded, though he couldn't seem to hide his smirk—more like, he intentionally showed it. Perhaps as a show of interest. "That is quite an interesting word you use there. Are you sure that is all there is to it, Sir Harbinger?"

No one would believe his reasoning, but hey, sometimes the intention was more important. After all the incident involving the Dendro Archon situation, mistrust towards the Fatui and especially to Harbingers would make anyone wary. So to see Alhaitham's reaction, well…

Childe could only shrug. This was not the first time it happened; Childe had his own fair share of experience in Liyue. He dealt with it fairly well previously, and he'd hoped he would deal with this one quite well, too.

At this point, getting shunned across the Seven Nations of Teyvat was more like a rite of passage. The reason why Childe went to Sumeru was because Pantalone sent him. After all the ruckus the Doctor had made, the opening process of Sumeru's Northland Bank went behind schedule.

It went smoothly before Dottore was there and sort of incited something close to a coup. To quote the Regrator, verbatim, 'business is business, my dear Childe. Surely, you don't expect that just because Dottore happens to be in Sumeru, everything had to stop, no?'

Or, well, at least that's the gist of information that he pieced up from scattered puzzles of clues and hearsays. "Yes." If there's one thing that Childe hated from his coworkers was how they could be unnecessarily secretive at most times.

Ah, Childe sighed when he first heard of his assignment. He had a fair share of experience in taking down a country, and it was the easy part, really. "Purely casual." But the diplomacy afterwards? Not so much.

Which was why Childe never got involved in it. It was boring and overly complicated. But that brought him to his first reason why he contacted Alhaitham. Childe had done his research on the entire Sumeru incident from various sources.

He'd heard about the role that Alhaitham played in the sort-of-coup that happened a while back, and deduced that he could ease the opening process by sharing his own research to the acting grand sage. Childe knew that approaching Alhaitham would be a high-risk, high-reward game.

But hey, it was worth a shot, right? Childe didn't like negotiating or such. Diplomacies bored him. He'd rather be on the battlefield, fighting mobs and feeling the rush of adrenaline. Alas, Childe had a job to do. "What sort of personal matters that you'd like to discuss?"

At the very least, he should have a considerably amiable relationship with this man if he wanted this job done well. "You seem to be in a hurry." "Yes, I am. I have to meet… an acquaintance, in a bit." Second, Alhaitham had been Zhongli’s friend for quite some time.

During Childe's time in Liyue, he had heard of Zhongli mentioning his friend in Sumeru. From the tidbits of their conversation back then, Zhongli seemed fond of this Scribe person and mentioned that he was looking forward to meeting with him. 'A vacation in Sumeru sounds nice.'

Childe said that to Zhongli one morning, long, long ago. When they were both still in Liyue, sleeping in the same bed at the consultant's flat after a passionate night. 'Sumeru is not too far from here.' 'Which is perfect, right, xiansheng?' Childe giggled.

'We can have more time to spend on Sumeru rather than spending it on the road.' 'Childe,' Zhongli asked. 'Are you sure?' 'Yeah. I really, really need a vacation or two.' Childe said. 'Let's go, xiansheng.' 'Perhaps once my job is done.' Zhongli thought briefly.

'My acquaintance is knowledgeable on all matters related to Sumeru. He may give us recommendations for our trip.' 'And when would it be, xiansheng?' 'In a bit.' Zhongli said, with a smile that seemed rather solemn at that time. 'I hope by then, you'd still consider the trip.'

'Why wouldn't I be?' Zhongli didn't answer him, instead he only gave Childe a kiss on his lips and went away to make breakfast for two. It was only later on, just two weeks afterwards, that Childe discovered the nature of Zhongli’s all-so-secretive job. His true identity.

And the betrayal that, well, should've been expected. How dare he to think all those nights where he was loved, and the mornings where Childe could taste those gentle kisses, were all genuine. It was never been; and Childe was but a pawn in his beloved's grand scheme of things.

"Alright, sorry. Let me get straight to the point." Getting back to the matters of a certain scribe slash acting grand sage in front of him, and related to his unwanted reminiscence of the sweetest and most bitter moments of his life, well… brought Childe to his third reason.

"I'd like to discuss something about our mutual… acquaintance." Childe would like to know Zhongli from another person's point of view who knew him in a personal capacity. Ever since that day at the Northland Bank, the thought came and went from Childe's mind.

In the days where he went on fishing, his head assessed whether all those times with xiansheng were a lie. "Oh? What a small world, isn't it?" The scribe chuckled. "To think that I have a mutual acquaintance that also knows Sir Harbinger…" "You'll be surprised." "Who is it?"

But Childe's gut feelings confused him, raising the question of whether those moments were the truth all along, at times. "He's a consultant from Liyue named Zhongli." Childe eyed on the slight expression change in Alhaitham's face. "You've exchanged correspondence with him."

"You know a lot more than I expected. Are you sure he's just an acquaintance?" Childe could feel his breath stop for a bit. They were definitely more than just a couple of acquaintances back then.

They were friends, then into something indescribable, before they grew apart and back with each other's businesses. "Well, he…" Childe was lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice Alhaitham had shifted his seat a little bit closer to Childe.

And, oh, when Childe's azure eyes met with Alhaitham's teal, he almost broke down. Fortunately, Childe had a knack for acting. He'd gulp down his tears well and put the sweetest smile that would fool anyone. Voice calm as the still water in a faraway lake.

"What is it?" And wasn't it even more embarrassing and cruel if Childe said that Alhaitham, in this very moment, reminded him of Zhongli? It must've been his stupid thought of recalling those moments. Or perhaps it was the realisation that Childe was here all alone.

Childe was here, at the place where they planned their vacation. The supposed place where he intended to confess to Zhongli that he… He really felt like the consultant was the one and that Childe wished that their relationship could grow into something more.

Clearer. Firmer. Putting a clear label to their ambiguous relationship. One that may never happen now. "… alright, that was way too casual and personal." Childe blinked, realising that he had blurted it all out to Alhaitham.

Of all people in Teyvat that Childe could dump his feelings to, it had to be a mutual acquaintance of Zhongli that may tell that man everything should he feel like it. "Sorry, that was… unsightly." "It is." Damn, Alhaitham didn't have to be so blunt either.

"Let me settle the bill now—" "Halt." Alhaitham reached to Childe's wrist, and in one swift, forceful movement, Childe sat back on his chair. So it seemed those muscles weren't only for show. "I get what you want, Sir Harbinger, so let me ask you. What will I get from you?"

"Huh?" "If Sir Harbinger still doesn't understand, then let me clarify." Alhaitham's grip on his wrist wasn't that tight, but it sure was strong enough to restrain him. "You consider me as our fellow acquaintance's replacement. Childe wanted to protest, "But—"

"For whatever it was that happened between you both, it ends with unresolved matters. You didn't settle it right and that bugs you. Perhaps out of cowardice, or shame, you can't say it outright." The way Alhaitham read him made Childe felt like an open book. Stripped naked.

"And then you thought that you can get something from me about him, but that's not all, isn't it?" Childe gulped as he felt Alhaitham leaned closer to him. Dangerously close. "What you wanted is a closure, eventually, but it seemed nigh impossible for you to reach."

"It's—" "So you wanted to get it off your chest with a stranger." No, that— "You may convince yourself that it wasn't your intention to begin with. It might be, but admit it, it has changed into a desire to release your pent up emotion to some stranger."

Alhaitham pulled Childe closer to him—wait, was that a smirk that Childe spotted? "Tell me if I'm wrong." And why did Alhaitham turned into some sort of mind reader all of sudden? "I—" "Stop talking in a roundabout way and admit it." Alhaitham's voice went a tone lower.

"As I said, I have to meet… an acquaintance, in a bit." "Okay!" Childe yelped once Alhaitham was way too close to him. If he can smell the musky scent of Brightwood undertone, it was a clear sign that they were way too… intimate. "Alright, geez."

"That's better, now moving on to my next question." There was something about Alhaitham's tone that made Childe shudder. He had faced plenty of enemies before and underwent tough negotiations. But Alhaitham was… different. "What are you to him now?" "What—?"

Curse him for reminding Childe of Zhongli. "Perhaps that was too difficult for you to answer." Alhaitham brought his face closer. Only a few inches apart before their lips brushed on each other. "Does he still own you?" "The hell do you mean by owning?" Childe hissed.

Not only that this Scribe was way too blatant, but also downright rude. "I belong to no one." "Is that so…" Childe sighed before trying to push Alhaitham away. This had gone way too far from what Childe had intended. "Didn't you say that this isn't appropriate?"

But instead of relenting, Alhaitham pulled him back closer. This time was way more forceful than before, so much that Childe stumbled and clung onto Alhaitham's shirt. "Then let's make this transactional." Woah. This was so wrong of Childe to feel,

but when his hands touched on the firm muscles… Childe couldn't help but feeling distracted. "You promised me your research on the Sigil of Adepti and its many applications, in exchange for my advice to hasten the Northland Bank's Sumeru branch opening process."

When Alhaitham put it that way, it made Childe felt like he had done a dirty work. But eh, it didn't hurt anyone in the process. This much dirty work would be fine. Right? "Yes, but this is personal matters of mine and you said it yourself, way too casual and personal."

Childe smiled. "And who was it that was afraid of the Matras accusing us for colluding for personal gain?" "Oh? I believe the Matras wouldn't be so curious as to what matters we discussed on our bedroom. So tell me, Sir Harbinger." Alhaitham smirked.

this time their lips did brush on each other briefly. "If I follow this matter thoroughly, what else can I get from you?" Childe could feel his heart was about to explode, but it was all replaced into a sudden shock when someone yanked and hugged him from behind.

"I suggest that you do not do that, my friend." Childe knew who that voice belonged to. Someone that he hoped wouldn't meet soon. But oh, if there was a goddess of luck existed in Teyvat, it must have been because of her. Or else, why would Zhongli be here and not in Liyue?

"Hello, Sir Zhongli. It has been a while." "Yes, it has." Zhongli smiled. "By chance, I met your acquaintance, who was looking for you all over the city. It will not do to make your acquaintance worry."

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