Pairing: Yandere!Wanderer x Reader (Genshin).
Word Count: 2.0k.
TW: Unhealthy Relationships, Obsessive Behavior, and Financial Manipulation.
You’d been working at the false god’s bedside for three months by the time he woke up.
That was your first mistake, really. You’d already taken care of your daily responsibilities (limited to cleaning his always-spotless room, monitoring his always-stable vitals, and watering the small pot of always-blooming padisarah sprouts that Lesser Lord Kusanali had insisted that you keep on his windowsill) when he began to show signs of life, and it would’ve been a lie to try and say you didn’t consider it - slipping out before he could fully regain consciousness, attempting to contact the Lesser Lord or, if that proved impossible, a scholar who looked more eager to garner favor with the young goddess than you were. If nothing else, you could’ve just left, moved on to your next patient, feigned ignorance if anyone asked if you’d noticed anything and pretended not to mind the rumors of incompetence and medical neglect that followed. It wasn’t as if they’d be able to prove that you had.
You might’ve, if you’d had a few seconds longer to mull it over, but by the time you turned towards the door, a pale fist had already caught the corner of your uniform. You cursed softly under your breath before glancing over your shoulder, a soft smile already painted across your lips.
You moved to greet him, but he spoke first. “Who are you and where am I? Answer before I reduce you to a pile of ash.”
Your response was immediate, rehearsed. “I’m your nurse, and you’re in the Akademiya’s medical wing. Lesser Lord Kusanali tasked me with looking after your health until you regained consciousness. It's only been a few months.”
It wasn’t not the truth. In reality, she’d asked all the nurses on staff, and when no one had stepped forward to accept the position, she’d offered to double the hourly wages of whoever accepted the role. Even then, you’d still been the only one to volunteer. There weren’t many people who wanted to fraternize with a manufactured deity, waking or otherwise.
But, he seemed satisfied. With a shallow sigh, he released you, falling back onto his bed and shutting his eyes. “Who does that brat think she is? I don’t need a fucking--” He cut himself off, shaking his head. Eventually, he looked toward you, already narrowing his eyes. “Why are you still here, nursemaid?”
It was a particular feeling - caring for a comatose patient who didn’t need to eat or drink or do much of anything that required your assistance. On good days, it was a thankless job, but a necessary one - a show of dedication to your goddess after so many betrayals. On bad days, it felt useless, patronizing, like you were being asked to dust off the same lamp once a day because no one else could be bothered to. Which, to be clear, you could take. As long as Lesser Lord Kusanali kept your wages as high as they were, you could take just about anything.
But, it was one thing to dust off a lamp once a day, every day, for ninety days straight.
It was quite another to have that lamp suddenly grow a mouth and immediately start to swear at you.
“I’m not a nursemaid.” You were mumbling, admittedly. You might’ve assumed he hadn’t heard you at all if not for the way his frown quirked, how much effort he was clearly putting into ignoring you. “Those are for children. Unless you’re truly as immature as you’re starting to sound, you should just be able to get by with me.”
You watched as his scowl deepened, his posture tense. He opened his mouth, and…
And immediately closed it again, pursing his lips and rolling onto his side, away from you. You waited for a second, then another, before bowing your head. “If that’s all, then I should alert the--”
“Are you as stupid as you look?” And then, before you could even attempt to respond. “I was in a coma. Get me something to drink, and--” He hesitated, but not for very long. “--and don’t tell the brat I’m awake. I don’t need to deal with her, right now.”
Another shallow bow, a slight smile. “Of course.”
If nothing else, he was more interesting than a lamp.
You made a half-hearted attempt to request a transfer a few days later, when it became clear you were wrong to assume that you’d only be caring for the false god until he regained consciousness. Through one of her green-eyed ambassadors, Lesser Lord Kusanali informed you that since your current ward had already proved to be, in her own words, ‘remarkably less hostile’ with you than she’d predicted, it would be best if you continued to hold your current position. You hesitated, but not for very long. With everything you'd taken from the Akademiya, everything you had yet to return, it wasn’t as if you could afford to protest.
Currently, he was perched on the edge of his bedroom’s window, one of the small ribbon-wrapped boxes you’d brought for him in his lap and the other half-dozen lined up at his side, replacing the flowers he'd demanded you get rid of a few weeks ago. They hadn’t been hard to smuggle past his doctors, but you’d rambled on about hiding your packages from the other nurses, bribing the guards posted outside of his room, going against the instructions of your superiors just to bring him a few homemade, half-baked dishes of candied nuts and rose custard. While you’d made far more than two mistakes by that point, that was the second one you could remember so clearly. He liked it when you went out of your way just because he'd asked you to, and you’d been short-sighted enough to indulge him.
“She suggested that I accompany the matra on their next mission outside the city - ‘to get used to the region’, she said. As if I wasn’t a few seconds away from ruling over that child and the rest of her bug-infested nation.” You hummed, only half-listening. He’d been meeting with Lesser Lord Kusanali regularly despite still being in the midst of his recovery, but his opinion of her was a volatile thing - begrudgingly appreciative one day and as rotten as his attitude the next. To try and make sense of it would be a fool’s errand, but all he seemed to need you to do was smile and nod while he ranted. “And accompanying the matra - I used to have my own legion in Snezhnaya. I’d sooner dive head-first into the abyss than ‘accompany’ a group of fragile mortal soldiers.”
You finished spreading the crisp, white sheets over his bed and took to folding in the corners. “You know, it’s said that the Archon of Dendro is supposed to be benevolent and all-knowing. I don’t think you would’ve been very suited to the role… I’m sorry, what am I supposed to call you today?”
“Kunikuzushi,” He replied before falling silent altogether. He waited for you to glance toward him before holding up a silver tin, and it took you a moment to recognize its contents - panipuri, steam still rising off the top. “You didn’t make this.”
It wasn’t a question, but you still nodded, starting to soften. You had to pass through one of the more tempting sections of the marketplace on your way to work, and while you could usually stop yourself from spending more mora than you made in a full day on something that’d last maybe five minutes, you just hadn’t been able to resist. Because of your own growling stomach, if nothing else. “I figured you might be getting tired of desserts. If you ever do want to get out of the Akademiya, there’s a lovely stall down in the bazaar with--”
You were cut off quickly - not by anything he said, but a sudden change of his demeanor, an abrupt flick of his wrist and the resulting crash of metal against stone as he let the panipuri fall out of his hand and onto the pavement stories below. Immediately, something in your chest cracked open. “Your mediocre cooking is the only reason I haven’t burnt down this city, yet. Don’t try to feed me that garbage again.”
You started to frown, but caught yourself quickly. With an airy sigh, you squared your shoulders, steeling your resolve. “Of course, Kunikuzushi.”
He was only a patient, after all, and all patients would be discharged eventually.
When Lesser Lord Kusanali summoned you to her sanctuary, the false god was already waiting in front of her meditation chamber, dressed in swabs of black and blue fabric, a vision against his chest. He greeted you with a grin, a nod, but you didn't have the patience to return his misplaced pleasantries.
“I… I’m afraid I don’t completely understand why I’ve been asked to come here, Your Grace.” You’d never met the Lesser Lord, never spoken to her without an intermediate. Despite her youth and the kindness apparent in her smile, you couldn’t help but wither under her gaze. Most people went their entire lives without ever coming face-to-face with an Archon. You couldn’t imagine what you’d done to be so unlucky as to have to be in the same room as both a goddess and her imposter. “Have I done something wrong?”
She took a moment to clear her throat, to gesture towards the false god. “Our dear friend, the Wanderer, has decided that he’ll remain in Sumeru for the time being and aid the Akademiya in our ongoing investigation into the Fatui.” ‘The Wanderer’ straightened, crossing his arms, and you braced yourself as the Lesser Lord went on. “In return, he’s asked that you continue to provide him with your companionship during his travels.”
You couldn’t restrain yourself, this time, snapping towards him. He only simpered, meeting your eyes with the arrogance you’d come to dread during your time at his bedside. He looked unabashed - no, he looked proud, as if he had no reason to feel ashamed of himself. As if he had any reason to think you wanted this.
You tore yourself away from him, turning back to the Lesser Lord. You tried to maintain your composure, but your hands curled into fists at your sides, and it took you an embarrassingly long amount of time to unlock your jaw, to remember how to speak through the haze of anger and confusion. “But, my work--”
“--is very important, as is ensuring the Wander’s continued cooperation.” She offered you an apologetic smile, and you couldn’t help but wonder why you hadn’t fled the city the moment you received your assignment. “I know how much I’m asking of you, but please. Consider this an extension of your duties to the Akademiya.”
“But, I can’t just--”
“Buer’s promised to forgive your debts, as well,” he chimed in, his tone dripping with something cloying and smug. “I mean, if you’ll come with me willingly. I don’t know what might happen to you if I have to use force.”
You opened your mouth, then closed it again. That was your third and final mistake. Maybe, if you’d screamed and cried, if you’d clawed at his face and foughten back when he stepped to your side, taking your hand in his just a little too tightly - maybe then, the Lesser Lord would've changed her mind, maybe you would’ve been able to get away from him. You would’ve had a chance of living a life that included something beyond worshiping a god who’d never really been a god, in the first place.
But, instead, you shrunk into yourself, allowing the Wanderer to intertwine your fingers with his, to press a quick, fleeting kiss into the corner of your jaw, his pointed smile burning into your skin in a way you’d never manage to forget. “Of course,” you mumbled, your voice only half-audible. “Right. Of course. Anything I can do to help.”
It wasn't as if you’d ever truly had another choice.