On second thought, fighting five ruin hunters by himself isn’t a good idea, after all. Even if it’s for powerful artefacts.
The makeshift medical tent is abuzz with healers who scurry from one bed to another, tending the patients lying on them. Kaeya is on the one at the very end and the healer that gets assigned to him is none other than Barbara, whose hands move as fast as the worry-induced rants that slip past her lips.
“Sir Kaeya, what were you thinking going into that domain alone?” she scolds, “Even as someone as powerful as you couldn’t possibly fight off five ruin hunters at once.” Her hands emit a warm glow on one of his wounds - a deep stab wound at his side where a piece of metal is embedded into the flesh after a particularly powerful blast -, stopping the bleeding temporarily.
“I didn’t know there was a -,” Kaeya winces as pain lances through him, “A trap.”
“It’s an abandoned ruin filled with treasures ,” Barbara says flatly, “One would assume there is at least one, Sir Kaeya.”
Kaeya doesn’t really have the energy to continue arguing. His body aches everywhere. It’s really no surprise considering just an hour ago he had been thrown left and right from the ruin hunters’ rapid attacks, and he suffered burns from trying to dodge the missiles thrown at him. By the time Jean and Lisa miraculously came to his rescue, Kaeya had been so winded he collapsed - rather ungracefully and undignified, at that - in front of the women, before waking up and finding himself in the makeshift tent.
“You’re lucky that some members of the knights happened to be on dispatch near where you are and sensed the rumbling underneath their feet,” Barbara continues, her hands now moving to heal the burns on Kaeya’s legs, “You’re lucky Jean and Lisa were among them.”
Yes, yes. Kaeya supposes he could count himself as lucky. It’s not as if he’s making a habit of willingly walking towards danger and tests just how much he can escape with his life before fate begins to tire of him and sever his string once and for all.
In any case, by the time Barbara leaves him alone, mostly healed and bandaged, Kaeya is already quite delirious. Barbara’s healing magic also acts as some sort of a sedative when used at a certain amount. Considering the extent of his injuries, the girl ended up using quite a bit of her magic, which now weighs down his limbs like lead, and making his thoughts slightly fuzzy around the edges.
Barbara has the potential to be really dangerous if she knows the full extent of the effects of her powers. Kaeya decides not to tell her for his own sake.
Kaeya, being Kaeya, instead of giving into the lull of the magic trying to coax him to sleep so his injuries can heal properly, decides to stubbornly stay awake on the bed. He takes the time to observe his surroundings, moving his head and a bit of his body so as to not jostle his wounds and possibly risk Barbara’s wrath, to look at the other end of the tent. Most of the beds are filled with injured knights, though their wounds are not as severe as his. Some broke their legs, some needed stitches. Some merely had a flesh wound from a moment of carelessness against hilichurls.
Being a knight sure is tough , he thinks wryly, Maybe it’s high time I quit and become a farmer in SpringVale.
“It wouldn’t suit you,” a voice drawls out, “You’d probably kill the crops before they could even grow.”
Kaeya smiles, unconcerned at the knowledge that he must have at least said the second part of his thoughts out loud.
“You can’t knock it till you try it, as they always say,” he answers, “And how kind of you to visit me, Diluc. I think my heart just skipped a beat at your act of kindness.”
Diluc stands beside his bed, having just arrived at the tent while Kaeya’s thoughts were temporarily astray. He rolls his eyes. “I had something to give to Jean,” he says, “Heard you were causing trouble again and wanted to punch you in the face on Jean’s behalf.”
“You still spoil your juniors, don’t you?” Kaeya sighs, “Jean this. Jean that. Where’s the “how are you, Kaeya? Are you hurting anywhere, Kaeya? Do you want me to kiss it all better, Kaeya -?” -”
“Go look in the mirror and kiss yourself better,” Diluc replies with a sigh.
Kaeya chuckles, only to regret it when the movement makes his broken ribs sore. “Are you calling me a narcissist?”
Diluc pulls over a chair, taking a seat next to the bed. He raises one elegant eyebrow. “Aren’t you?”
“Harsh,” Kaeya whines, “I can’t be a narcissist for one simple reason, Diluc.”
“Oh? And what’s that?”
Without missing a beat, Kaeya looks at Diluc straight in the eye before he speaks. “I don’t think anyone else - even myself - is more beautiful than you.”
Diluc stares at him.
“Barbara’s healing magic must have loosened all your screws,” he mutters quietly, his cheeks lightly dusted with pink.
“I’m serious - gh!” Kaeya winces when another shot of pain lances through him. He collapses fully on the pillows, gasping for his breath. Barbara’s magic might have healed a lot of his wounds, but ‘a lot’ doesn’t equate to ‘everything’. He could feel his muscles and bones protesting, and suddenly there are hands pressing against his chest to urge him to lie down properly.
“Honestly,” Diluc tuts, “I heard you went ahead and fought five ruin hunters by yourself. You’re just asking for a death wish.” His voice is clearly displeased. Kaeya finds it funny that the only times Diluc is honest with him is when he’s less than happy at Kaeya.
But then, on the flipside, Diluc’s been less than happy at Kaeya quite frequently these days. Granted, it’s probably Kaeya’s fault most of the time, but if he looks at it that way, wouldn’t that mean Diluc’s honest with him a lot nowadays?
“You’re smiling like a fool,” Diluc says, “What is playing on your mind this time?
“A lot of things,” Kaeya says. He takes Diluc by surprise - and honestly, himself - when one of his hands raises to touch Diluc’s cheek. The edges of his mind are still a little blurry, but ironically, and perhaps even paradoxically, he has never felt this clear-headed than he is now. “But mainly how happy I am.”
Diluc blinks, more confused at Kaeya’s words than the hand on his cheek. “Of what?”
Diluc stares at him some more, looking increasingly confused. “I should go ask Barbara if she overdid it and -,”
“Wait,” Kaeya says, his fingers closing around Diluc’s wrist, “Diluc, stay for a bit. We haven’t seen each other for so long.”
“Kaeya, we saw each other last night,” Diluc deadpans, “At your house, I might add.”
“I want to see you more,” Kaeya protests.
Diluc flushes a little, looking around to see if anyone is listening. Either the knights and healers did not, or pretended not to. Either way, no one is looking at them, mercifully.
“Why are you suddenly so clingy?” Diluc hisses, sounding more embarrassed than angry.
“We’re seeing each other!” Kaeya whines louder, his words beginning to slur. Damn, Barbara’s healing magic is stronger than he thought. “I want to see you more. I want to see you all the time.” If Kaeya had any semblance of a word filter before, well, the effects of Barbara’s healing magic is now shredding it to pieces. “Diluc, what can I do so I can see you more? So I can have you running to my side if I get myself in trouble like throwing myself at ruin hunters for no reason?”
Diluc hears a cough in the background. Kaeya’s becoming more and more delirious and it’s starting to attract attention. Even Barbara seems to waver between standing back or running over to finally knock Kaeya out from sprouting more nonsense.
Kaeya suddenly finds himself being pressed against the bed again, with Diluc undoing Kaeya’s grip on his wrist so they can properly hold hands. Kaeya looks at their joint hands with some sort of wonder, before he looks at Diluc.
“How often do you want to see me, Kaeya?” Diluc suddenly asks.
“All the time,” Kaeya answers immediately, the numbing magic not only getting rid of his pain but also his inhibitions. Or perhaps merely amplifying his shamelessness.
“I don’t want you to attract my attention by throwing yourself into danger, Kaeya,” Diluc sighs, “There are other ways to -,”
“Then marry me.”
There is a collective gasp across the tent. None of them is Diluc’s, who blinks at Kaeya like at owl instead.
“Marry me, Diluc,” Kaeya repeats, his free hand moving to cover their joint hands. “Marry me and live together so we can see each other and you can pull me out of trouble and we can have amazing se -,”
Diluc coughs loudly to interrupt Kaeya’s words. His cheeks and the tips of his ears are flaming red - almost the same shade of his hair. He turns to Barbara, looking at the young healer helplessly. “I really think you should knock him out before he -,”
“Diluc, my veins may be full of drug-like magic right now that I can barely move my body and am sprouting possibly more nonsense than usual,” Kaeya says in one breath, “But I meant what I said.”
Diluc looks at him, his flush not receding. “The pro -,” He pauses, his embarrassment clearly growing. The people in the tent are quiet, not so subtly listening into the conversation. “The p-proposal? Kaeya, you -,”
“Marry me, Diluc,” Kaeya repeats, “I want to be together with you forever and ever.”
Diluc stares at him and Kaeya stares at him back, unrelenting. The air in the tent is suddenly tight with tension with the rest of the patients and the healers holding their breath.
In the end, Diluc lets out a breath.
“You should ask me again when you’re not high on healing magic,” Diluc says, “But since I know you’re incredibly stubborn even when heavily drugged, I’ll tell you one thing.” He allows himself a small smile. “Don’t throw yourself so recklessly at danger, and I’ll marry you in a heartbeat.”
In the background, someone squeals in glee. It sounds suspiciously like Huffman.
Kaeya’s gaze brightens. “You mean it?”
“Only if you promise.”
“Diluc, I will keep this promise so faithfully that you might think I’m cheating on you with this said promise and -,”
“Okay,” Barbara intervenes loudly, “Time for you to go to sleep, Sir Kaeya.” She presses a glowing palm on Kaeya’s chest, letting it stay there until Kaeya is finally knocked out. As he lies there sleeping, a smile still playing on his lips, Barbara turns to Diluc with a sigh. “I’m sorry. I should have done that earlier.”
Diluc brushes away the strands from Kaeya’s eye. The corner of his lips lift.
“It’s quite alright.”
When Kaeya wakes up, the first thing he remembers is the proposal.
“I’m an idiot,” he says to the ceiling.
“I’m glad you finally realized.”
Kaeya nearly jumps out his skin at the sound of Diluc’s voice, turning his head to see Diluc idly reading by his bedside.
“D-Diluc? You’re still here?”
“You’ve been asleep for a few days. They’ve moved you back to your home.”
Huh. That explains why he sees the ceiling instead of the tent fabric.
“Listen, Diluc,” Kaeya gingerly sits up. The soreness in his muscles and bones are mostly gone, as well as the fuzziness in his mind. “About what I said the other day -,”
“Your house is a little small, but I suppose we can make it work for the first few years,” Diluc suddenly says, “Might need to get a new bed. Can’t possibly share such a small one.”
Kaeya pauses. “...huh?” Why is Diluc suddenly criticizing his house?
“Or if you want, you can move to the Dawn Winery with me. But you have to promise you won’t tease the servants too much.”
“...Diluc…?” Kaeya looks at him. “M-moving? You sound as if we’re going to live together.”
Diluc tilts his head. “If we’re going to get married, wouldn’t it be ideal if we do?”
“Diluc,” Kaeya breathes, “That day, you really…”
“What? Are you going to take your word back now?” Diluc asks with a teasing smile, “After I accepted your proposal? You’re a cruel man, Kaeya.”
“N-no! I...I…” Kaeya laughs, sounding a little out of breath. “I was just...wow, I’m...I’m really happy, Diluc.”
Diluc looks at him fondly. “As am I, Kaeya.”
Kaeya swings his legs off the mattress to face Diluc fully, taking his hands in his. “Diluc,” he says in a quiet murmur, “Since I wasn’t really in my best state when I asked it, can I do it again?”
He presses their foreheads together, feeling the warmth of their skins touching.
“Will you marry me, Diluc?”
Diluc smiles. “In a heartbeat.”
Kaeya would have said something more to express his happiness. He doesn’t, in the end.
He’s too busy kissing his new fiance.