⠀⠀ dainsleif⠀ [lost stars]

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Dedicated to NamelessNameless5, who I cant find :(

I haven't read up too much on the lore and theories around Da Sleeve and Khaenri'ah so take everything here with a chonky grain of salt. All I know is that he's kinda hot-

The distant chatters of mythical bats hovered overhead, an addition to the already eerie forest. You could barely call it a forest - overrun by creatures of chaotic creation and the flames and winds of the war that had now been embedded into history. Nature had always been dry and lacking lushness within Khaenri'ah. Brambles and twigs, small amounts of moss from the trickles of water. Desire of flora led to a focus on life's creation. Interest became obsession and obsession became a flaw that destroyed any purity that had remained. What once was a fantastical land had turned into hell.

You winced as you pushed through the tall bushes and trees, their branches scraping your exposed skin. You toppled forward, searching around for tracks left behind by someone who easily lost track of themselves. A sigh of relief came when you caught sight of a navy cloth that had been torn by something sharp.

"Dainsleif!" you called out, whipping your head around to catch sight of any movement. When there was no response, you hissed in a small voice, "Where the hell are we?"

Despite having been in the realm of Khaenri'ah since you first entered the world, this place was unfamiliar to you. There were probably reasons for that. The density of dead plants was rather high, hardly appealing for exploration. Yet here you were, searching for Dainsleif who had vanished when you had been asleep. He had always seemed to be drawn to this spot, so you figured he had traversed here. By figured, you meant travelling around the entirety of the area until there was no other option.

You continued forward, holding an arm above your eyes to push through. Eventually, the closed space became more open, and you could see a wide space. Spaciousness greeted you with a breeze of air, relieving you of the tense suffocating feeling lingering in your limb. Your gaze trailed up to the top of a large rock and you spotted the silhouette you were looking for. As you dragged yourself up to Dainsleif, you started to take notice of your surroundings.

Soft and lime green grass met your palms, silky compared to the stone and gravel. White flowers dotted your peripheral vision as you scaled higher, glowing with a faint sky blue. When you reached the top, you pushed yourself up, brushing residue off your clothes. Plants tickled your ankles gently as you tread further to stand behind Dainsleif, who was staring up silently.

Any words that had been in your mouth immediately got lost to sea as you followed his restful gaze. A large tree that rose into the air with sprouted flowers, surrounded by all sorts of plants you had never seen before. Ethereal branches spiralled up high above, reaching out to a vast navy blue sky. Lights twinkled above blanketing everything in quiet light. The tree was surrounded by mountainous walls leading to an opening to the universe.

You stepped up beside Dainsleif, lost in a trance to what you were seeing. "Where on Teyvat?"

Dainsleif turned to look at you at the sound of your voice, starry blue eyes blank as usual. "Ah, Y'N, you found me."

"That's right," you muttered, eyes still glued to the view. "Who knew a place like this existed here."

Suddenly, he fell back beside you, arms falling outwards as he hit the bed of grass around him. You couldn't quite understand him, but the way his eyes flickered to yours was enough to signify that he wanted you to join him. You also fell to your back, sitting down first so as to not break your spine or neck on accident. His hand reached out, wisps of light swirling around the tips of his fingers.

"You're so reckless sometimes," you said, recieving a huff as a reply. "It's not funny, you know. I was worried. I know you've seen it all for how many years you've been around but..."

No response came for a while, until he asked in a barely audible voice, "Because you fear being alone?"

You turned your head from the stars blinking at you to look at his face. He turned at the same time and you swore his eyes reflected those very stars, gleaming with comfort. This disoriented you, leading you to shake your head in an effort to recover.

"I understand that," he assured, shuffling so that his arms were behind his head. "I wonder how they're doing sometimes."

"Who are they?" you queried, curiosity quick to come. He seemed to be hesitant to reply, so you added, "If you're okay with telling me."

A frown danced upon his already stoic face, eye brows furrowing in confusion. He admitted almost shamefully, "I don't know, to be honest. I'm just always searching for these people who have a trace in my missing memories. People who I may have had agreements with, and plans. And theres this person I quite can't understand - I just know I have to rescue them, but from what? I don't remember a thing."

You pushed yourself up, supporting yourself with your palms as you looked absentmindedly towards the tree. "You certainly remember the purposes you want to fulfil. That's not nothing."

As soon as the words left your mouth, you wanted to bite your tongue off. Although it had not been so cruel, it was still bitter and harsh enough that you knew it could affect him negatively.

"I think that's why you've never left my memories," he disclosed, bringing your attention back to him. "I don't think many people challenged me in the past, if any at all. That terrifies me slightly."

"Why so?" you asked cautiously, fingers digging into the flora to relieve the somewhat tense atmosphere.

"It must mean that I was someone of power, and we all know power never leads to anything good," he explained, moving to copy your posture, "take Khaenri'ah for an example. What we know of it is a more treacherous version of what is was before it became corrupted by hubris. And I know for a fact that what happened is associated with me and the people I'm searching for."

You struggled to find a response, mainly because it felt like he was narrating the life of someone else, despite referring to himself. He sighed, looking at you directly with a piercing gaze.

"I hear the voices of the a kingdom sometimes. They are calling to me in raspy voices that send trickles of fear down my spine. Whatever I was, whatever I wanted, I fear myself at times. The stars give me peace, they watch me without pessimism. What are they saying? Life comes with death?" His voice was uncharacteristically small and you could see from his expression that he was having difficulty. "I'm not one to shed tears, I don't think. But if I were to, I think I would."

A million options scurried past. You could offer him comfort, tell him it was okay. You could give him advice, tell him to move on. You could support his goals, allow him to reach for what he wanted. But none of those seemed right. Everything was too vague for any sense of stability.

"You know," you began, sending him a small smile, "pondering over these things hasn't gotten you anywhere for the past years. I think I'm starting to get wrinkles."

He blinked, the cloud hanging over his head vaporising into night air. He turned to you, starry eyes gleaming and a smile matching yours.

"That's true. Nevertheless, thank you for listening, Y/N."

"Don't run off again without me," you ordered, standing up and offering a hand to him.

He reached out in acceptance. "I won't. After all, two unfortunate souls have to stick together in a world determined to rid all darkness."

You laughed, even though you knew his words were true. It was like the blind leading the blind, but somehow managing better. He hummed a unknown song as you pulled him up. It brought tones of nostalgia and longing in such a mesmerising way, that you didn't notice he hadn't let go of your hand. All of a sudden, he cut the melody short, giving the sky one last glance as the two of you turned to the brambles and chaos again.

He took a deep breath, murmuring loud enough so you could hear, "I would say we are more like lost stars. Like the ones above. They stay at standstill, until the day finds them again."

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