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Unpunished

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His first mistake is to take a nap.

They’ve been adventuring for a few days, and, well, Xiao is not bored exactly, but Zhongli is keeping watch outside of the tent, and dinner was just had so he doesn’t have a meal to look forward to before the next morning, so he doesn’t think it matters if he lays down until one of his traveling companions nudges him awake.

It was his first mistake, to assume that an innocent indulgence would stay unpunished.

His second mistake is to not close the tent’s flap— he wants to be able to jump out to aid the others if they are attacked after all, and he could easily take out any foe stupid enough to sneak in, so why would it matter?

And his third mistake, perhaps, is simply to have agreed to this trip in the first place.

He awakens not to violence, but to a comfortable warmth. Nuzzled against his face is something soft and exuding gentle heat, like a pillow that’s been warmed by a fire. A fire. Was there a fire in the camp? Xiangling’s little pet must have started it. His thoughts are sluggish and sleepy still, even for all his warrior experience (there is no danger, or so he believes), so he does not immediately register the awful, awful picture that he makes.

He drifts in and out of consciousness, gently rocked by the lull of his companions’ voices outside, until a gentle, high-pitched coo rings the alarm bells. Xiao’s eyes snap open for good, ready to register any foe—

There are none, but the rest of their little party is gathered at the tent’s entrance, their expressions painted with varying degrees of cooing ooze. 

The warm, soft thing in Xiao’s arm stirs, and Guoba gently licks his face, as if to tell him go back to sleep, but it is too late. Xiao is mortified. If he must sleep again it will need to be eternal. 

Paimon is sneering, just a little.

Lumine’s face reflects aloof endearment, which suits her just fine.

Xiangling’s hands are clasped and she looks just about to squee again, large smile on her face.

Zhongli just looks like he wishes he could commit the sight to history, to be told about for thousands of years to come.