The Melted Popsicle

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It was a quiet and awkward walk from the rest of the party, Chongyun was basically leading you to the middle of nowhere. It was a little frustrating not knowing what part of the nation you were in. Honestly, it was much easier just following Scaramouche wherever he went.

Now, you just felt lost and vulnerable to the terrible weather system here (as well as the monsters that lurked). The rain was finished, you were amazed at how quickly the dark clouds rolled away and how rays of sunshine gently cast down on the earth.

You reluctantly followed the exorcist and stopped behind him once both of you reached a more secluded area. He took the heavy claymore from his back and effortlessly lifted it over his shoulder, sticking it into the dirt next to a fairly large stone. It was like he was marking the spot you were in, which didn't really make sense to you but decided not to question it.

With a long frown, you stared at the back of the Cryo user's head and finally spoke up, "Did you bring me here to ridicule me more?"

He seemed to have paused his movements as he took in your question. There was a small breeze of wind that swayed his clothing, icy blue hair, and the knotted tassel on his belt. His fingers tapped along the handle of his weapon and then stopped when he finally turned around to face you.

"No," Chongyun had a guilty look in his eyes, his hands fidgeting nervously as well. "I just wanted to apologize for what I said earlier."

As surprised as you were, confusion outweighed your curiosity. In all honesty, you couldn't tell if he was joking or not. After all, he was never this considerate to you before. So why the sudden change in heart?

"I'm, uh..." He sighed heavily, owning up to his mistakes. "I'm sorry for prying... and sorry for calling you a coldblooded killer..."

"It's not necessary for you to apologize for things that are true."

Chongyun seemed to cringe at your rebuttal to his apology, but tried not to show it too much on his face, "Would you like to talk to me about your family? Get whatever problem you have off your chest?"

"No. Not with you."

The young man only picked at his claymore handle, trying to place his attention elsewhere. It seemed he didn't know how to respond to your responses. It's a surprise to you that Chongyun was trying to reconcile with you, after everything that happened.

You felt your eyebrows furrow out of resentment, "What you said about my brother really offended me. I have never felt more embarrassed admitting my family's personal life to a bunch of strangers. I know you've never liked me from the moment we met but please know, I'm just trying to go home."

"Let me be honest," Chongyun leaned against the giant rock, arm outstretched as his hand was wrapped around the claymore. "When I saw you kill that Cicin Mage... I felt like I saw the real you."

A hot flush was spreading along the back of your neck as you remembered that very moment. You were too self-conscious to even think about it. You thought the opposite, that person who senselessly slaughtered that poor soldier was not you. It can't be. It's probably another one of Scaramouche's programming things he implanted into your brain.

Chongyun continued, "You threatened to kill me if I didn't shut my mouth before you 'lose control'. I didn't get it. But what I do know is that I don't want my friends around someone like you."

Someone like me. Of course. Since when has anyone genuinely liked me.

"But, for some reason, I want to know more. I feel as if I'm being drawn in like a fish on a hook." Chongyun tilted his head upwards, grumbling bashfully. "So, Fatui girl, don't see me as a stranger anymore. I want to know about the real you."

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