Featuring: Childe/Tartaglia x reader [Gender-neutral]
Warnings: Death mention, blood, angst, spoilers for Childe’s story
You love Ajax. But the person in front of you is not Ajax, no matter how much he resembles him.
Ajax was a peculiar kid, even as a child you had heard of the rumours circling him of being a bloodthirsty kid who liked the pick fights because he wanted to fight someone, anyone.
But he also loved his family and the ones near him so dearly, as often as you would see him beat up other kids, you would also later find out the reason as to why, which would usually be tied to his younger siblings or someone tarnishing a name of one of his loved ones.
The first time you met Ajax was on an icy lake a bit away from the village you were both residing in, where you were being picked on by a few of the older kids for being alone. Their teasing was all too loud that they couldn’t hear the incoming footsteps, nor the sound of a heavy tin bucket being thrown straight at the person in front of you. The bottom edge of the bucket hitting his skull, the contents spilling out onto the girl next to him. Ice cold water along with fish raining down on her
“Picking on someone you clearly can see can’t fight, how stupid,” the high-pitched tone didn’t show a hint of any fear, and you stared in disbelief as the boy with dark ambered tousled locks stared down at the two bulky kids with a grin: “So why not pick someone on your own size? I’m sure I can give you thrill you two seek.”
The two children paled upon seeing him, glaring down at you before scurrying past him. The boy just huffed, “Running away just like that, how boring,” he remarked, before turning to you, making you jolt. Jogging up to you, he stared down at you before giving you a bright smile, reaching down his hand to you, “Are you okay there? It doesn’t look like you suffered any wounds. Good for you!” he said, his smile breaking into a grin.
And his eyes were mezmerising, a deep blue with a gentle sparkle that reminded you of the night sky of Snehznaya the few times it wasn’t covered by the white clouds and the stars could shine through.
They were beautiful.
And so full of ambition and pride.
After that Ajax would come visit you often, asking you to either join him to fish in the lake where the two of you met or take a stroll downtown. He would also make sure you were a safe distance away if he was about to pick a fight, and then come running back to you with bloodied fists and a smile: “Wasn’t I amazing back there?! See with me by your side, you don’t have to be so scared anymore!”
At the age of 14, Ajax had suddenly disappered for 3 days.
You were greeted in the morning by his frantic mother and sister, asking if you had seen him since he wasn’t in his bed that morning, and past them you could hear the distressed voices of his siblings and father as they yelled his name out loud.
For 3 days your world was crumbling. For 3 days you were screaming your lungs out deep in the woods or near the frozen lake for your friend to no avail. On the third day, you saw the dark ambered locks through the pure white snow and ran towards it.
There stood Ajax, dried blood on his clothes and a rusted shortsword held tightly between his fingers, knuckles white from the sheer strength he was gripping it with. He was facing you, but his eyes were scanning his surroundings in confusion, “Ajax...?” you muttered in the deafening silence, not knowing whether or not to yell at him or run up to hug him.
But the first step you took was also the last step you would take towards the boy. The boy had faced you, staring straight into your eyes and, ah.
The sparkle in his eyes were gone.
The eyes brimming full of confidence and ambition had disappeared. In their stead swims the darkest sea of blue void of any light or sparkle, but a yearning for an unending battle for power and strength.
That wasn’t Ajax.
“[Name]? What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” he states, taking a wary step towards you, a hand reaching out to touch you, but you feel yourself take a step back.
Even his voice has changed.
Before he could take another step towards you, the relieved cry of his name by his mother made him turn his attention towards her instead. After being engulfed in a hug and interrogated on where the blood came from and how worried she was for 3 days, they set out towards the village again.
“[Name], you aren’t coming?” you hear the boy ask, and you turn around to see him smile at you.
But that’s not how Ajax smiles.
For the next few weeks, all you hear is Ajax causing more disasteres, borderline murders with how much he wants to fight. Anyone who stares at him gets beaten up because: “They looked like they wanted to fight, so I just started it.”
It became too much, his lust for blood and battles was too much that his father ended up giving him to the Fatui, and even then you could hear the pained screams of the agents there as they became subjected to Ajax’s battlelust.
A month later, he’s knocking on your door. Adorned with a black coat and a mask on the right sight of his amber coloured hair, he gives you a smile: “[Name], guess what, I’m a high ranking officer within the Fatui now!” he says, the words laced with glee: “I can finally meet worthy opponents out in the world under the protection of the Tsartisa!” he says with a laugh, “They even gave me a codename, Tartaglia! With this I can travel all around Teyvat and find even stronger people to fight!”
And that’s when you finally accept and realize that, ah...
Ajax is dead.
In those 3 days he was gone, Ajax had died. Your lovely Ajax whose eyes sparkled like the stars was dead.
And in his stead, stood this man with the name of Tartaglia, a fatui harbinger with Ajaxs’ face and voice, with eyes void of any emotion but a lust for battle.
And you finally feel your world crumble and die along with the person you treasured so much.
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Beau’s reaction to Yasha’s letter has been on my mind a lot lately, and I think I can finally explain why it is a supremely and universally relatable moment, and not just some weird thing Marisha decided to do.
So you’re at a real low point. You’re impossibly depressed, and you’re really not sure you’re going to make it. But somehow, with a grim determination, you pull through. You do it not because things are suddenly all sunshine and rainbows, but because something inside of you decided you just needed to get through it. To see the new season of your favorite show. To watch your brother graduate. To help your friend move next month. To meet your soon to be born niece. To have at least one more Halloween. Whatever the reason, you decided it was time to, albeit temporarily, put aside this existential crisis to be solved at a later date. Nothing is fundamentally better than it was at your low point. But you’ve still got shit to do, so you bury what you can, and begin your steady march back into the land of the living.
And then you receive a phone call, or a voice mail, or a text message, or maybe someone bumps into you at work or school, or maybe even shows up at your house. The thing is, you really love this person. To you, they are one of the few little beacons of light in what is a rather dark and dreary moment of your life. More often than not you probably feel inadequate to the warmth of this person. You question how you could repay them for the dearth in your contribution to their life, compared to theirs to yours. They are supremely important to you, far more than you could ever consider yourself being to them.
And they say something that to them must feel so innocuous. So simple. They say they miss you. That they love your laugh. They ask if you remember something you did together that is still one of your fondest memories. They pay you some totally unexpected compliment. They ask you for your help with something that they clarify that you are just wonderful at. They force you by accident to consider how much of a presence you have in their conception of their life.
And a regular person would bask in this warmth. Or not even acknowledge it due to the banal regularity with which they have experienced this feeling from others. But for you, something cracks. The sweetness, the warmth, the tenderness, all feels to your skin like fire. And suddenly you want to hide, to cry in secret, to deny to yourself the reality of being known and loved while feeling so unworthy of such strength of feeling.
It’s a lot like getting so used to the cold of a winter day, that when you finally make it back to the warmth of indoors, your teeth begin to chatter so much you feel like they’ll crack.
Beau went into reading that expecting to just be continuing the playful, subtle courtship between her and Yasha. She was expecting a cheesy little poem. Think of her getting her wine and cocoa, settling into a comfortable bath, ready to accept a little harmless and sweet gift from Yasha. But instead what she got was a laser accurate counterargument to every single one of her major insecurities, and the knowledge that she makes the object of a battle between a Storm God and a twisted Demon, the person who lost both her romantic and platonic great loves, feel safe and strong.
She’s finally pieced herself back together after the hag, finally found a task with which to focus her mind and give her a drive to move forward, and maybe sometime in the future, she considers the possibility that she may be loved like she never thought possible. But she never in a million years expected that future to be so present, to already be right there for her to take for herself at a moment’s notice. How absolutely terrifying. Because suddenly, this seems like it’s actually real to Yasha, and Beau has to acknowledge that it’s just as real to her, too.
Consider the lonely life Beau has lived, her struggles with what to her mind is the temporary nature of the Mighty Nein, and her recent decision to commit herself to seeing it to its conclusion. And out of nowhere, an Angel decides to give her the rather novel idea that maybe her loneliness may never return, that maybe someone else has found strength in her the way she has in her friends, and that maybe they weren’t exactly keen on ever letting go of that new found source of strength.
I’m practically looking for a tub to drown in just thinking about it.
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