Ever since you’d taken him into your service as your retainer after finding him wandering in the depths of Chinju forest, his expression had been made of ice. Breath-taking, other-worldly . . . But a blank slate, devoid of emotion, even as you’d tried your hardest to break through those cold, vacant eyes.
His mask finally cracks one evening as you’re enjoying a steaming bowl of hot pot with your older siblings and Tohma. Your brother is merciless, and ruthlessly quick to exploit any hint of weakness; the moment Tohma opens his mouth for a bite of food, Ayato picks up a slimy, overripe piece of Lavender Melon, and transfers it into Tohma’s mouth with an angelic smile. Privately, you think that Tohma’s dramatic wail is loud enough to be heard back in his hometown of Mond.
“Pfttt.” At first, his snort of laughter is so soft that you chalk it up to a wistful figment of your imagination. But when you turn to look at the boy seated by your side, you can see the hint of a smile still lingering upon his face. “What are you, an idiot? You insisted on adding it in.”
Instantly, the chatter at the table dies away.
“W-What?” Scaramouche looks up with a defensive frown, slapping a hand over his mouth to cover the remnants of his smile and his laughter. You don’t think it’s possible for your heart to break more, but it does.
Relief colours your voice and the brightness of your smile, the full force of it directed at him. “You finally smiled! I’m so glad!”
And though Scaramouche averts his eyes with a scowl and a glare, it doesn’t escape your notice how his ears are tinged with red.
I like to think that in a modern au, Venti would just somehow be in every groupchat. He'd be in the one for the knights of favonius, the one for the church, you name it. Would he ever talk in them? No, the only time Venti actually contributes to any conversation is when he is telling one of the groupchats about the private conversations another one had. Everyone would question why he is in a lot of these chats, especially when no one invited him, his presence in them just materialized one day.
It'd go something like this, I feel:
Venti, after not talking in the knight chat for 3 days: Yeah so Rosaria said she wants to punt Kaeya into the ocean.
Childe, still tracking down Scaramouche and the missing gnosis, comes to visit you at the Kamisato estate after hearing that you formerly had a retainer who bore a striking resemblance to Scaramouche. It’s only after your firm insistence that you don’t know the man he’s talking about, that your retainer was named Kunikuzushi that Childe finally leaves ━ but not before some thinly veiled threats are directed your way.
Your heart is still pounding a wicked tempo hours after Childe leaves, but you’re only slightly comforted by the assumption that he won’t soon return. Childe’s visit had brought with him the feeling of fear, but more than that, he had ripped open the wounds of grief once again, when you think of how your retainer had left you just like that, as though you had meant nothing at all to him.
But at night, just as you’re drifting off to sleep, you hear the sliding door to your room being pushed open. You stirr sleepily, wondering if it’s your older brother or older sister, come to say goodnight. But you feel a rough pair of hands shake you into wakefulness, and that familiar voice, laced with urgency, is enough to chase wishes of sleep to the very back of your mind.