|Gilmore (Gloriously) (runechild) wrote in valloic,|
@ 2020-09-27 22:59:00
|Entry tags:||!action/thread/log, -player: jamie, critical role: shaun gilmore, critical role: vax'ildan|
Who: Vax and Gilmore
What: So you rolled a 38.
Where: Greyskull Keep
When: The very last Dino Day, late.
Shaun Gilmore, for all of his flash and bravado and charisma, knew what his role was in the world. His wasn’t meant to be the hero, he was meant to be the support. A stopover for the intrepid adventurers to pick up supplies, have a listening ear for their woes, and glean some information on where their quest should take them next. And then left to wait and wonder and hope for the best. Gilmore was good at that, he found hope and optimism where there was none, he looked at a rusted, hidden item and saw the magic inside of it, he saw an empty storefront and turned it into a thriving business, a ragtag group calling themselves the Shits came through his door and he saw heroes.
Not saving the day seemed like it would be the easier thing to do, resting in physical safety, trusting that in the end, it would all work out. No one talked about this part, the part where one particular hero returned battered and beaten and bloodied and spared only by quick spellcasting and sheer determination from his twin sister. Gilmore’s contribution had been before the conflict, to transfer charged runes onto Vax’s skin with a shrug as if he did it all the time, but that didn’t do anything for healing, only lessened the damage received from blows. Healing magic wasn’t something sorcerers typically had, and even with Gilmore’s creative twists on spells, it wasn’t the right type of magic.
So instead, here he was a Greyskull Keep, half paying attention to the book in front of him, mostly paying attention to one very reckless rogue who was certainly not “fine.” Worrying did not suit Shaun Gilmore. It caused wrinkles in his robes and on his forehead, and smudges in his pristine eyeliner that no amount of Prestidigitation seemed to be able to clear up. He watched. He waited. He warmed up his tea for the tenth time, only to let it grow cool again. And then Vax stirred from the slumber.
“Hello, darling,” he said, rising to press his lips to Vax’s forehead. “I’d say you should imagine me saying something entirely scandalous to you about being in bed and being worn out, but I’m not sure having your heart race is exactly what you need at this moment.”
"It's too late," Vax replied, his words thick from sleep even as he lifted an arm, wincing slightly from the sudden movement, to reach out toward Gilmore so his fingers could curl into the fabric of his sleeve. It had dual intent, to both keep the other man near and also just prove to himself that he wasn't dreaming. "I'm already thinking about it."
They were teasing words, an imitation of their usual flirtatious waltz that they danced together, but it was lacking the usual fanfare from the half-elf. Vax closed his eyes for a moment, drawing in a deep breath that hurt in a way that reminded him not so gently that he had fallen from the sky after having been attacked by a flock of flying dinosaurs and had only gotten out in one piece because of quick thinking from his wonderful sister. He swallowed hard, then opened his eyes once more, letting them focus on Gilmore. For as much as his entire body hurt in that moment, from his toes to, he could swear, the tips of his long hair, Gilmore's presence was like a balm to his heart. It didn't fix the injuries that divine healing hadn't been able to touch, forcing his body to finish the job the good old-fashioned way (with a great deal of rest, in other words), but it did much for Vax to just know that he was there.
It occurred to him that while Vax had been in this position plenty of times, it would be a first for Gilmore. He'd told him the stories of the adventures that he and Vox Machina went on, many of them involving close calls, but the tales were always regaled long after the healing had happened. That warmth cooled, turning into something more akin to guilt.
Pushing that aside for the moment, because Vax knew himself well enough to claim that he could forget it forever as he would instead surely dwell before long, he released a soft sigh. "I look like shit, don't I?"
The bed dipped under Gilmore’s weight as he propped there, his hand starting to gently comb through Vax’s dark locks. “You look like shit,” he confirmed. “Still pretty, though, thankfully.” The words were Gilmore’s blend of tease and affection but the tone lacked joviality. His heart was twisted into a complicated knot of sadness, fear, and anxiety, all of which came with caring about Vox Machina as he did, but that this newer territory with Vax made that much more entrenched. He didn’t know what to do with any of it.
“Vax,” Gilmore started, carefully, as if he wasn’t sure what to say-odd, Gilmore always knew what to say, always had a clever turn of phrase, always had a cheeky remark or a moment of inspiration. “I’m not going to tell you not to do something, I think I know you well enough to anticipate how doing so would end up, and in fact, I don’t want to tell you to stop doing heroic things. One of the things I’ve always admired about you is that drive you have to do the right thing, regardless of anything else. You want to make the world better.”
His fingers deftly worked on a snarl, easy as picking a lock. “I only ask that you remember that I may have engaged in hyperbole with pining, but the sentiment is very true. I worry about you, darling.”
Ah, yes -- there was the guilt. It wasn't necessarily an unfamiliar feeling for Vax. He had his regrets, just as anyone else did, and the lingering feeling of guilt that was attached to those regrets were what helped direct him toward the person he wanted to be. Vax knew that he had a tendency to act brashly, letting his heart guide him far before his mind had a chance to even dream of catching up, but he likewise was quick to learn from those actions and at least try to be better.
Now, though, it was a whole different lesson. Vax was not unfamiliar with people caring about him. It was just that the people who cared about him tended to be at his side, getting into situations that called for defying death with him. He knew that Gilmore had always cared for him, but it was different now that they had taken that step together into exploring their feelings and a relationship. It was the first time that Vax had truly had someone waiting for him, hoping that he would come home in one piece. He had this time, but they both knew it had been a close thing.
Vax's hand dropped, but still reached for Gilmore as his fingers came to a gentle rest on his leg. Though he glanced away by instinct, he forced his eyes back to Gilmore. "I know you do. And I -- I'm sorry, Shaun. I don't intend to make anyone worry, least of all you."
“Loathe though I am to break it to you, I’m always going to worry, regardless of your intention,” Gilmore responded with a shrug that bordered on a touch too casual to be authentic. “That burden comes with being so endlessly fond of someone, as I am of you, and fortunately, my shoulders are incredibly broad so as to bear that weight.” His hand found Vax’s and squeezed, once, reassuring. The worry was a burden, yes, but worth it. And he would not be shaken or scared off.
His fingers found another snarl and, once that was smoothed out, he simply continued combing through Vax’s hair, mindful of any lumps or bumps that had occurred from, oh, literally falling from the sky. “I want you to act when you feel called to act, because you know you can make a difference for people. I want you to be proud of the work you do, and find what it is that makes you happy. I want you to realize you deserve that happiness, darling. If you want to go out and fight dragons, dinosaurs, demons, whatever the hell, that’s what I want too, but most of all, I want you to come back to tell me all about it.”
Gilmore smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling. “I want so many things, you see. I’m simply overflowing with avarice.”
Despite the general predicament, Vax wasn't too surprised when he smiled at Gilmore in return. "I don't think it counts as avarice when so much of what you want is for me, you know."
But Vax knew that he wanted just as many things for Gilmore, for his sisters, for his friends. So much of what he did was for them, even if he deep down knew they would never ask him to do those things. Throwing himself into the direct line of danger had become almost instinct for him; if he did it, it meant that he was keeping someone else from doing it. But it had been words from Vex'ahlia and Gilmore himself from months ago that had first resonated, especially in the general absence of the almost daily dangers that they faced back home; his life was worth more than to be treated as something that could just be thrown away and his choices impacted more than just himself.
Vax let his fingers tighten gently around Gilmore's, his other hand lifting to ghost over his arm and shoulder before settling there. "That last one is very important to me, especially now. I'll admit that I didn't think about the future very much until recently. The present seemed more important and I wasn't all that convinced I'd get to see much of a future anyway." His hand moved once more, his thumb trailing along Gilmore's jawline. "But now I have all these ideas and I very much want to see that future."
Again, Vax smiled. It was a small smile, but one he hoped conveyed his sincerity as he continued, "So I won't promise that I will always come back, because I can't do that. But I can promise that I am going to fight my damn hardest to come back to you, every single time."
“Well if that’s what it’s going to take, darling, I have a plethora of ideas. Ideas, plans, machinations even,” Gilmore said, eyebrows wagging. “Your future has the potential to be tremendously scandalous, so I’d very much appreciate your most ardent effort towards healing.” Eh, it was a method worth trying, at least. For as well as he thought he knew Vax, there was still plenty to learn. He had a guess as to what ‘supposed to be recovering Vax’ was like, but could have been entirely wrong. Something else to discover and store away for later, he supposed.
He settled back on the mattress, gingerly shifting while watching Vax’s face for any twinge indicating uncomfortable. “I’m going to hold you to that promise, you know. I have plenty of potions, I’m an excellent enchanter, I’ll add them to your tab and make Vex’ahlia’s head spin around with the total.” The ultimate threat, obviously.
“Why wouldn’t you have a future?” Gilmore asked, after a moment of reflective quiet. “The dragons notwithstanding, you’ll beat those.”
The question hung in the air for a few silent moments, Vax hesitating before even beginning to come up with a solid answer. He stalled, shifting as best he could to edge in closer to Gilmore, pausing only once to grimace and hold his side as a less healed wound protested before he settled in once more.
"It's hard to put into words," Vax admitted, voice quiet as he considered. "To be clear, it's not that I didn't want a future. I did, quite badly. I think -- perhaps it was more that I did not believe I deserved a good one, however much I wanted it." He paused, considering that as well, before his mouth twisted into a sad sort of smile. "I think that was a lesson learned from my father and too many years in Syngorn, whether he intended it or not." It was a part of his life that he didn't like to consider or talk about much, not even with Gilmore.
"I feel differently about it now, though," he continued, his tone a bit lighter, albeit still tired after everything his body had gone through in the last few days. "I want to continue having birthdays with Vex'ahlia and eventually become a doting uncle to whatever brood she and Percival end up with. I want to see the person that Velora will grow up to be. I want to keep protecting people from dragons and dinosaurs and demons, but I also want to retire someday, knowing I made a difference in at least one person's life. I want to grow old with you, for as long as you'll tolerate me." Smiling again, Vax shrugged one shoulder. "It sounds like a good future."
GIlmore lifted his arm and draped it around Vax while humming an encouraging, nonspecific tune. Although Vax had never been entirely forthcoming with his and Vex’ahlia’s background, all half-elves tended to share similar stories of discrimination. Now wasn’t the time to push for more than that small glimpse, of course, and Gilmore himself had never readily shared his past. He’d long ago left that behind, down to his very name. They had time to talk about those things, he thought, kissing Vax’s temple with another hum. Later.
“Don’t tell either of them you’re planning for nieces and nephews, darling,” Gilmore said, chuckling. “Although,” his voice dropped, conspiratorially, “I am in agreement, and that would be quite the brood of ingenious, charismatic children. In due time and if they choose, of course. And as far as tolerating you, I have always prided myself on my seemingly endless reserves of patience, so I suppose you could quantify that as ‘the long haul.’ I’m not exactly keen to go grey anytime soon, but when it happens I’ll make it look incredibly sexy and won’t you just be the most fortunate.”
Teasing set aside, he laced their fingers together and brought them to his lips. “It’s a beautiful future, Vax. I’m quite enamored with it, myself, so I plan to share it.”
Gilmore’s nonsense hum continued after a moment. “What do you need, darling? I’m a bit tapped out for any large spells because of that barrier, so no teleporting anywhere until I sleep and I’m willing to face Vex’s potential wrath, but short of that?”
Vax thought at that, turning in even closer to Gilmore a bit experimentally and settling with a cheek resting on his chest when his body didn't complain too loudly. This was different, he thought, than the aftermath of previous encounters that had left him ridiculously injured. Normally, he would take enough potions and accept any magical healing that was offered to him, then drag himself along with the rest of Vox Machina to the nearest place that sold alcohol, no concern over quality so long as it was available. It was a good way to numb any lingering pain, as well as celebrate the fact that they were alive. They had scars and a harrowing story to tell, but they were alive.
This had a similar feeling, Vax thought as he settled in. Even if it was without the raucous conversation, the obscene bar tab, and the potential for someone to get into a bar fight. It was quiet and his friends were elsewhere, but he had Gilmore and they were alive. For as common as it was to allow melancholy to seep deep into Vax's very bones, it was almost easy to keep at bay in that moment. He may have had yet one more close call, but he had lived and now was in the arms of the man that he loved, even if he had only told him as much with every equivalent of the word so far. Even if he still felt the shadow that was his guilt for making Gilmore worry, it was hard to be anything but optimistic for the future in that moment.
Letting out a soft hum of his own, Vax's arm snaked around Gilmore's front. "I might hope you'll take pity on me enough to bring me food later," he admitted with a wry smile, "but this is all I need for now, if you don't have anywhere to be for a bit."
Gilmore chuckled, his true reaction, not the weight of the world heavy, dramatic sigh that followed. That comfortable, easy teasing came with being close with someone, and being friends first. “Oh, the heart could be persuaded, I suppose. Once I find the mental, emotional, and physical fortitude, of course. All this pining does terrible things for said fortitude, you know.”
He squeezed Vax, carefully, gently because of the injuries, but still solid and sure. Certain. Yes he was intentionally over the top and much of what he said was flirtatious and playful, but when Gilmore spoke from the heart it was always true. He had told Vax he was certain of him, and he was. He was as certain of Vax as he was that Vox Machina would defeat the dragons, as he was that they would confront dangers here and succeed, as he was that Vax would make it back, as he was that he himself would be there before and after to offer support and comfort. A steady place to land.
“I have to be right here, my darling,” he promised. “I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”