。A LITTLE MORE THAN A… ‘PRESSING CONCERN’
━━ INCLUDES: albedo, kaeya, tartaglia, thoma
━━ SUMMARY: it doesn't matter what everyone else says. heaven on earth exists and it's when the space between you two grows so scarce that even your heartbeats bleed together.
━━ CONTAINS: established relationships, suggestive themes, innuendos, my horrible attempts at flirtation
。 ALBEDO — “ princeps cretaceus | chalk prince ”
though perhaps obtuse when it comes to love and feelings and whatnot, albedo, at least, has an idea about certain actions that were meant to make a significant other's heart flutter.
he understands the 'why' and the 'how' of most of them. hugs can indicate support and affection when words cannot and as do kisses. this term, however, that he saw once in passing at the illustrated novel that amber was reading was one he can never fully decipher.
how is pressing someone against a wall romantic in any sense? this... odd show of dominance and aggression doesn't seem to sound very pleasing to him. if anything, he finds the act to be quite brutish and unnecessarily rude.
albedo was sure that he'd never do such a thing to you as respect and other gentlemanly aspects seemed to be ingrained in his being. his downfall, however, was the same curiosity that introduced him to the subject.
he meant it when he said he wants to uncover all that you have been hiding. your quirks, your flaws, your natural tendencies — your reactions. still, it's not something he'd do all too often, regardless of how pleased he was with his experiment's results.
the kreideprinz was hardly someone who'd justify his actions with half-baked excuses but this time, you had it coming.
being his lab assistant during the day meant that you were constantly by his side when he busied himself with experiments that carried its fair share of dangers. he had reminded you multiple times before to always be alert and yet here you were, dozing off into your land of daydreams as you held a glass vial over the burner. granted, this substance, in particular, wasn't dangerous but what if it was? albedo subconsciously pinches the bridge of his nose in exasperation — the sinking feeling in his gut settling despite being one of the emotions he desperately avoided as he found it to be undesirable. worry was something that he hadn't been used to feeling as the genius was always prepared for all the different ways a situation can unfurl. his backup plans never stopped at 'b' and you were right to look up to him for that.
an out-of-character smile slides on his lips before it was gone and as was the small twitch in his fingers. though he was concerned over your lack of environmental awareness, albedo couldn't help but find the situation to be a brilliant opportunity to conduct a particular... experiment that only you could help with. it was never his intention to do this but after a few calls of your name (upon which he received no reply), he thought that a little lesson was in order.
carefully, he steps around his table, keeping his footsteps light as he approached you even though he was certain that you didn't notice his irregular movement. it happened all too fast for anyone to register what was happening but most especially for you who was abruptly snapped out of your daze. in one fell swoop, the amused alchemist grips your wrist; pulling it closer to him just in case you accidentally flinch and pour the boiling contents while simultaneously pushing his body close to yours. instinctively, you took a step back and he followed, again and again until you were staring at him with wide, confused eyes as your back hits one of the many bookshelves in his home office.
"a-albedo? is um... is something wrong?" a nervous chuckle slips out of your lips as you shift your weight from one foot to the other when you found no means of escape from his undiverted attention.
with you being so close, the tell-tale signs of your shyness were hard to miss and albedo couldn't help the sudden racing of his heart. you were truly a sight of wonder and it fills him with a strange, sense of pride to know that he was the one who was eliciting such straightforward responses from your body. slowly, the hand that was laid firmly beside your head dropped to cup your cheek. the hitch in your breath was unmistakable as he gently draws a stripe over your cheekbones. knowing albedo and his freakish observation skills, he'd long noticed the goosebumps that trailed over your arms and your shifty eyes much to your further embarrassment. you were right of course. he noticed and to be fair, he notices almost everything about you — the proof of which being the low rumble in his chest as he surprisingly delights in the flustered state you were stuck in.
"nothing's wrong. in fact, i'd say that everything is going perfectly well," the innocent smile he wore contrasted the brief flash of mischief in his eyes, "would you mind keeping still? it's vital for myself to carefully observe the results of my experiment."
you nodded in reply albeit squirming as a sudden heat falls on your cheeks and ears and in actuality, nearly every inch of your skin exposed for his eyes to explore. he gives you a stern look as a warning and the small squeak of 'sorry' was involuntary. you don't know how long he held you like that but he eventually steps back with a pleased nod. suddenly, you could breathe again and you were mortified to know that you wished you couldn't. you'd much rather inhale the comforting scent of pinewood and ethanol into your lungs until you suffocated in the pleasant feel of him.
"you're dozing off again," the amused twinkle in his eyes was more prominent this time.
"sorry i—" you awkwardly cleared your throat as you discreetly adjusted your disheveled clothing, "how did your... experiment go?"
"hm? oh yes... it went well. i arrived at a satisfying conclusion."
you blinked, curiosity piqued at the sincere glow of his skin, "that is?"
"this... thing you call a kabedon isn't without its charms. i appreciate the opportunity to hold you at such close proximity and it makes admiring you much easier.."
you felt your entire body tensing at the 'as-a-matter-of-fact' tone he used and gods... albedo just might send you to an early grave. now free from his hold, you could lift your hands to cover your flushed face and, to his pleasure, giddy smile. you knew that he probably wasn't flirting with you — merely curious and factual as always but the happy hum of your heart didn't pay that much heed. the last thing you expected to hear from him was his chuckle but that was what you received and you abruptly looked up when you saw his shadow hovering over you again. like before, he barely gave you time to react before the familiar touch of his lips grazes against yours fondly and admirably gentle for your blanking mind.
"wh—" albedo pulls away to watch you sputter something that didn't make sense. rest assured, however, as your sentiments reached him well enough if the lively flap of the wings of a hummingbird that has nested in his heart ever since he first laid his eyes was anything to go by. he lets himself enjoy the view of your lovely visage for a second longer before he was padding back to his table with a nonchalance that you wouldn't expect on someone who just sent their significant other into a swooning madness.
"well then, shall we resume our research? pay attention this time around."
。 KAEYA — “ pavo ocellus | peacock eye ”
perhaps the complete opposite of the chief alchemist, kaeya lives for when he gets under someone's skin. the small stutters, eyes that couldn't return his sultry gaze — all the tell-tale signs of being flustered all go straight to stroking his ego.
the lack of exclusivity used to mean that more than half of the population were victims of his low-key flirtations. however, now that he was happily in a relationship, all that attention was given to his significant other, for better or for worse.
kabedons with kaeya happen less than you'd expect it would but it is still a regular occurrence. rather than pushing you against the wall, he much prefers to pull your body against his chest, lips muttering something in-between sweet and teasing before he nuzzles into your neck. the smirk he dons is palpable and you feel each curve of it against your skin.
when he does do it though, they almost always end up with both of your lips swollen with a distinct sheen and your clothes rumpled eerily close to being indecent. the cavalry captain is slick and the only time you'd catch him acting this aggressively without underlying concern for his carefully crafted persona is when he's feeling needy.
kaeya was clearly the more smitten one in your relationship, you thought with a chuckle as you feel his breath against the delicate skin of your neck. you had half the mind to tell him off as his hair tickled more than what you could stand but knowing him, he'll only nuzzle further into you, purposely displacing his annoyingly soft hair to force a giggle out of your form. he's surprisingly childish like that and you both simultaneously adored this side that he only shows to you and hated the way he seemed to thrive whenever he manages to pull out a reaction from you. who could fault you, however, for responding so eagerly when this perfectly crafted man was willingly giving his all to you?
"come now, play nice and give me your undivided attention."
"we're at work. have some professionalism, captain."
"captain?" he hadn't expected that but the dark chuckle that slips out of his lips was something so natural — primal if you dare say so yourself — and you knew that you had just dug your own grave, "my, i quite enjoy that coming out of your pretty lips. would you do me the honor of calling me that again?"
"oh bug off, kaeya. you're missing the big picture..."
the cavalry captain highly doubts he could miss something he's pointedly trying to avoid. doing paperwork for the knights was such a tiresome matter and he had come to regret agreeing to jean's request of taking her place while she joined the expedition team in checking out a rumored abyss order's base near mondstadt's doors. at the time of his agreement, he had assumed that he'd have all the time to fool around with you but you were, unfortunately, being uncooperative. expecting a shower of affection from your end when you entered his office, he was instead met with a pile of even more paperwork. he was never that dramatic but he was truly finding this situation to be absurd — even more when you moved to leave when you hadn't even spared him a single glance.
perhaps you wouldn't be stuck in this predicament if you had only given him what he had asked for though you can't say that this was entirely unenjoyable either.
"haha, loosen up. if there was anything urgent, there'd be a knight barging through the doors uninvited."
you shook your head in defeat, much to kaeya's amusement who only pulled you closer to his chest so you wouldn't dare run away, "i really ought to send amber after your head."
"your cruelty knows no bounds... she's still mad about me missing last week's meeting. she might actually see it through this time."
"uhuh and whose fault is that?"
he pauses before a mischievous grin makes his demeanor look the slightest bit sinister. if you weren't going to play along well... that shouldn't mean he shouldn't have his share of fun anymore. the small idea that popped in his head was an idea he was sure you weren't going to be against — that is, if he does his job well enough which he can assure you, in this subject, kaeya alberich would never fail.
"yours," kaeya suddenly twirls you to face him and with steady ease, pushes you against the door of the grandmaster's office. ah, how scandalous... the thought only spurs kaeya, "why are you so irresistible, hm? you're going to end up killing me, darling."
and when he says things like that, how can you pretend to be unbothered when you were anything but that? your first instinct was to put some space in between you two. maybe then he wouldn't hear the thundering sound of your heart that deafens you with each deep pulse. you didn't know why you try, tilting your head back while weakly (because a part of you thoroughly loved the lack of distance between you and your lover) pawing at his chest when you knew full well that absolutely nothing can deter the man when he wants something nor can you move his wonderfully built body even if you actually tried. your next feeble attempt at looking unaffected which, upon further thought, only displayed the full extent of your flustered state for him to feast on, was to avert your eyes. kaeya's eyes — eyes — were always beautiful but whenever he was being like this, they become a shade deeper, highlighting the million and one stars that sparkle against the heat of his gaze.
wow... you're really in love with this beautiful man, weren't you? your fingers feel electrified as the intensity of the situation settles in your bloodstream, charging it with a magnificent ardor and desire that fuelled your excitement. you knew exactly how this would unfold and though it has happened far too many times to count, a part of you still feels like this was the first time, and truthfully, you doubt that part of you will ever die. nothing beats this — beats him.
"oh? you're awfully flustered when all i did was press my body against yours... are you implying that you want to kiss me, sweetheart?"
a breathy laugh exits you — an unspoken affirmation — and the small click of the lock was unmistakable right before he slots his lips in between yours.
。 TARTAGLIA — “ monoceros caeli | narwhal sky ”
the young harbinger loved the sensations that came with being touched. he delights in the feeling of a fist coming into contact with his face; lives for the little cheek taps that his mother gives him as thanks whenever he helps cut down pieces of firewood. more importantly, he adores the feeling of your hand slotted in his as he brings his face close until you were but a breath apart.
he's playful and young and so full of lovely energy that you best expect that being pressed against the wall is a norm in your relationship. the feeling of your chests pressed together sends him to a high he couldn't get down from and to be frank, it wasn't a feeling he wanted to escape from in the first place.
however, it doesn't happen too much in public — contrary to popular belief. he has his own possessive tendencies and the vulnerability of the situation; the way your lips would part in surprise as your eyes dilate in sloppily hidden excitement... those are things he'd much rather keep for his eyes only.
kadedons with tartaglia are rarely more than a childish attempt at making your heart flutter but sometimes, they were also expressions of adoration and vulnerability on his part.
the truth was, tartaglia was a nuisance and even more so in the privacy of your shared home. it was as if all the pent-up youthfulness in his body explodes at the mere sight of your unassuming form. sure, you love him. you love the stupid little smile he wears whenever he randomly challenges you in a tickle fight and the dopey look on his eyes as you laugh and in between deep breaths, demand that he let you go from his firm hold (as if he'll ever do that). you love the guttural laughter that spills out of him whenever you accidentally stub your toe on your dining table and you, unfortunately, love the way he walks over and pulls you in a hug as he asks you if it hurts just as much.
you love him so much that you let him do whatever he wants even if it costs you your pride and dignity eight times out of ten because you knew that childe, eleventh of the fatui harbingers, never smiles and laughs the same way he does when he's alone with you in the cozy home you crafted together. when he was at home, he's ajax and ajax was young and reckless and clumsy and incapable of distributing his energy properly but he's not all too bad because he grins madly with just the faintest bit of light in his eyes once more whenever you forcibly sit him down on the toilet seat as you cover his recent cut with a cartoon bandaid that was, according to his blatant lie, a gift for teucer.
maybe that's why you didn't do anything but sigh with an equally lovestruck smile as you felt his arms wrap around your waist from behind, his curious eyes peering over your shoulder as he watches you bring the knife up and down the chopping board, "whatcha cooking?"
the teasing lilt of your voice pulled a small giggle from him because he knew. he knew you were cooking his favorite and he was once again reminded of the fact that he was very much deeply in love with you that it hurts to even imagine his life before you were with him every step of the way. the sudden urge to kiss you senseless comes to him tenfold but he waits. he waits until you drop the knife, until you cover the pots and pans, and until he was sure that you were free to steal away while you wait for the food to cook.
tartaglia calls your name and you hum, eyes moving to find his only to find your back pressed against the wall that was separating the kitchen and the living room. he's close — too close — and you could almost feel the pleasant thrum of his thoughts from how close you were. the idea sends a flurry of heat towards your cheeks and unknowingly, a small whimper slips out of you much to his delight. neither of you knew it was possible but the cheeky grin on his face intensified greatly and you would've cursed him out if not for your mind preoccupied with counting the tiny freckles that littered his skin like a work of art.
he calls your name again and this time you didn't respond. not like he took offense, if anything, it only fuelled him on — the oxytocin in his bloodstream bordering 'too much.' it was nice to know that you were just as enamored with him as he was with you. he's far too gone, you see, and he didn't know what he would do if he found out that the intensity of his emotions wasn't reciprocated by the one he gives his all to.
"you love me, don't you?" that snaps you back to reality and you roll your eyes, ignoring the flustered feeling you got at hearing the truth spelled out just like that.
"someone's being presumptuous..."
tartaglia's lips twist into a faux pout, batting his eyelashes that to your disdain, caught your attention and grappled at it without any intention of letting go anytime soon, "at least tell me that when you're not staring at me hungrily. makes you just a little bit more believable"
"wow," you drawl as you pull back, hands moving to cover your face but unable to stop yourself from taking one last glance at his appealing lips, "how about you tell me that when the sentiments aren't oh so obviously returned?"
"wait! don't hide from me just yet... i want to savor this moment just a little bit more..."
one of his hands retreats from the side of your head to pull at your wrists to which you obliged. when he was sure you weren't going to be hiding away from him anytime soon, tartaglia's grin grows — this time, muddied by the more intimate desires that he also hides away from public scrutiny — and uses the same hand to softly grip your chin so you were looking at him and nothing but him. you've known him to have beautiful eyes, even when they were seeking something animalistic in a fight and even when he knew you only as an acquaintance of the traveler. it was a small world, an incredibly small world that kept on bringing you together during the best of times that ultimately allowed you to see the side of him that wasn't just bloodthirsty and battle-hungry.
his eyes were like precious stones gathered from the deepest parts of the chasm first before it became the vast, deep ocean that you'd gladly drown in. they were hell first before it became the heaven you aspire to reside in forever. they were interested in anything and everything first before they finally landed on yours. when it did, they tell you a story of a boy whose wild imagination lead him to grow up too quickly; only finding the last shard of innocence whenever he's staring deep into the warm eyes of someone he'd come to associate to the world — the same exact world that he wishes to conquer although this time, he's quite certain that he'd do it slowly, tenderly, beautifully. this time there is no bloody battle to be won; just a small push and pull between the two parties involved that revolves around the topic "who loves who more?"
"you love me," he says without any room for argument this time.
without warning, his lips land on the juncture of your shoulder and your neck before they land on the crown of your head, then on the tip of your nose, and finally, to where it needed to be. you feel the softer version of his smile against your lips, pleased with your reply — an arduous reciprocation of his romantic action.
。 THOMA — “ rubeum scutum | red shield "
the chief retainer of the kamisato household was someone who dons a gentle soul. sure, he can be fiercely protective when pushed to the edge but to the ones who truly know him, thoma has always been a person who is half a wind blow away from collapsing into a flustered heap of mess — this one even more applicable to you, his beloved sunshine.
kabedons with thoma are impossible because, between the both of you, the embarrassment that comes from the reality of the situation was likely to smack him in the face. sure, your heart would race but you don't know if it was from his body close to yours in a seemingly domineering position or if it was from the shy flutter of his lashes as his lips trembled — flirtatious lines that were so kindly crafted by the kind miss ayaka (who secretly loved reading romantic light novels) forgotten at the back of his mind.
but who knows, maybe someone getting too close to you was enough to bring out the intensity of the fires dormant in his heart. when that day comes, be sure to relish the way his voice dips an octave lower, eyes dangerously dimming to show a sacramento green.
thoma thought he knew what love was.
he loves taking walks and feeding the strays and he loves accompanying the young lady of the kamisato clan whenever she had her own share of errands to do. he loved playing hotpot games and he most especially loved it when rice cake soup was used as the base. he loved cleaning houses and embroidering little designs on handkerchiefs that he always ends up giving away to the children he passes by. he loved many things in his relatively simple life as the chief retainer of one of the most influential households in inazuma and honestly speaking, who was surprised? thoma had a big heart that often came with blazing bright optimism and warm hugs. he's a simple man who dislikes conflict but is all too ready to be the first one to point his spear should things go awry so for him to assume that he knew love like the back of his hand was not entirely absurd. after all, how can you mistake something that you have so much to give?
it turns out that thoma didn't know love. he adores the strays and he likes keeping ayaka company. he enjoys hotpot games and his preference leans towards rice cake soups. he feels content whenever he's cleaning or giving things for absolutely no reason aside from making someone's day but he loved none of those things. rice cake soup doesn't make his eyes gloss over nor does it elicit a dreamy sigh. embroidery doesn't quite make his limbs jelly and he has never had to place a hand on his chest in a feeble attempt to slow his racing heart whenever he spots a sale during one of his many walks with his friend. he doesn't squeal or roll around his bed at night with a giddy grin whenever he remembers the disgusting taste of a mist flower's corolla in his soup but he does know that he does all of that and more whenever he recounts a memory that includes you. it didn't have to be an elaborate interaction because even a passing whiff of your perfume was enough reason for him to place himself on a timeout.
"you're doing it again," you playfully jabbed a finger to his side, lips turning upward despite the deep frown that was on it just a few seconds ago.
"ah—? what do you mean?"
"you know... that cheesy, lovesick look you give me..."
he painfully knew that he was far from being slick but being called out, by you of all people, sent a fresh wave of heat to his cheeks. sheepishly, thoma rubbed at his neck, hoping that the uncomfortable rouge that somehow managed to stain even that would go away, "i mean... it's kinda sweet, y'know? it's not every day that someone sticks up for me and while completely unnecessary, it still warms my heart."
memories of your recent encounter made your frown resurface as you angrily bit off the final piece of the dango thoma bought to placate you and your foul mood. the nerve of some people, really. your lover has been nothing but sweet and caring and helpful ever since he came to inazuma but they still dare to speak ill of him? how absurd! you had ought to teach that unreasonable merchant a lesson but your thoma being thoma, held you by the waist firmly and apologized — apologized! how unbelievable...
"hey, stop frowning..." a tender smile graces his lips as he absentmindedly brushed over your knuckles, "you know how i feel about comments like that. as long as it doesn't harm the kamisato clan, all's fine and peachy!"
"and you know how i feel about them! gosh, i swear... you should be more selfish sometimes. there's a very big difference between being impolite and defending yourself."
"i guess but... if we let these kinds of things sully our mood then who's really biting the shorter end of the stick? i mean, look at this lovely weather! it'll be a shame if we spent it all on a few meaningless comments, right? so how about it?"
a beat passes and your pout only intensifies because as much as you argue, you knew he was right. the defeated sigh that comes out of you only makes thoma beam as he playfully ruffled your hair with pride, "see? not so hard, right? i don't really let things like this get to me so whenever i overhear some, i can still focus on the things that actually matter like for example... our date!"
"alright, alright... thanks for the lesson on philosophy. now, where to next?"
he hums, gaze caught by a small stall that sold festival masks, "let's go there! we can buy some now while it's cheaper so we can go to the festival for our next date!"
"next date?" the teasing lilt of your voice made the housekeeper shake his head in subtle amusement, "we aren't even finished with this one and you're already thinking about the next...'
thoma only grins wider, tugging you closer to him so you were shoulder to shoulder, "what can i say? i'm always looking forward to our future."
"w-well, what are we waiting for?" the nervous laugh slips out of you easily and you pulled at his clothes to shimmy out of the subject that was making you unbelievably flustered.
"ah wait! you have something on your cheek. hold on, i'll get it for you."
what can you do but freeze as thoma suddenly leans closer, eyes narrowed in an intense show of focus that seemed displaced for such a measly act? whatever the case, the firm hand-laid beside your head was making it hard to think of anything but the fact that thoma was even more handsome when he was up-close and personal.
"you know... i never thought that you were somewhat a messy eater but i guess there's still a lot to learn about you. hang on for a sec, the stain's harder to remove than i expected... hm... aha! i got it," was he always this charming? the tiny victorious smile that made his complexion seem brighter made your heart do equally tiny dances and the urge to pull him into a kiss became almost unbearable, "is something wrong? you haven't spoken in—"
the words got caught in his throat as his eyes met yours. he didn't even recognize that he was already this close to you or that the reason for your slightly labored breathing was his chest pressed against yours. the thought had him reeling back into the same lovesick daze he found himself trapped in earlier and he immediately pulls away despite the loud complaints of his inner mind. it wasn't as if he wanted to because — oh, gods forgive him — if he had the choice, he'd never part from you. how could he when every little thing you do, from minuscule lip nibbling to exhausted little sighs, leave him feeling so positively winded? oh, he was in deep, he thinks as he attempts to laugh the situation off.
"uh, my bad i um... i kinda... yeah, i—" too busy looking at everywhere but your eyes, thoma missed the way your face morphed into the same lovesick look he donned because this man was easily the most endearing man you've ever met. seeing him so flustered comforted you a little but it didn't really help in easing your heart. if anything, the adorable expression he wore made it throb harder.
"it's fine... shall we hop back to our date?"
"right! i... just let me... do something real quick... please stay here. i-i won't take long!" a confused sound leaves you but ultimately, you shake your head with a content smile as he runs off before you could say anything. for his sake, you'll ignore the abnormally high pitch he spoke in and for both of your sakes, you'll pretend that you didn't hear him curse before melting down... positively of course.
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