It was Keyleth's idea, when it all came down to it.
"Are you sure?" Vax asked for what he suspected was probably the dozenth time. He watched her face for any sign of doubt or any indication whatsoever that she wasn't completely and utterly certain.
It wasn't that he didn't trust her. He trusted her with his life and his heart and absolutely everything else that was his, but... he just wanted to know that she was sure.
Keyleth laughed, the same bubbly giggle that never ceased to push straight through his defenses. Then she leaned in and kissed him, just a quick peck on the lips. Her eyes were shining as she pulled away a moment later.
"You love him," she said matter-of-factly, as if she was stating something as plain as day. The sky is blue, grass is green, and Vax'ildan loves Shaun Gilmore.
There wasn't a hint of jealousy in her eyes.
"I do," Vax agreed. There wasn't any point in lying, not when she'd clearly seen more than he'd wanted her to see. "But I love you."
She rolled her eyes, and the look that appeared on her face was a mixture of fond amusement and exasperation. "Vax, it's not a competition," she said, reaching out to tuck a lock of hair behind his ear so that it wasn't hanging in his eyes. Her hand lingered there for a moment, brushing against the side of his face. "It's not your fault that your heart is big enough to love more than one person."
Vax wasn't entirely certain how to reply to that, if he was honest. So he didn't. He just leaned in and kissed her, trying to push a thousand and one different emotions across to her without saying anything at all.
He'd always thought that actions spoke louder than words.
That was the first thought that went through Vax's mind as Gilmore opened the door, a flash of surprise flickering across his face for just an instant when he saw Vax standing there. There were circles under his eyes that were a shade or two darker than the rest of his skin, and lines at the corners of them that added at least a few years to his appearance.
He was still as handsome and glorious as ever, but he looked... well, human.
"Vax'ildan," Gilmore said, his mouth twisting into a tired-looking smile. "This is a pleasant surprise."
Vax shifted uncomfortably, not entirely certain what to say. It had always been like that, when he was around Gilmore, his very presence somehow stealing the words from Vax's tongue. "We need to talk," he blurted out. Then he grimaced, because even he knew that sounded pretty damn ominous, considering some of their conversations over the past few months.
Gilmore apparently agreed, because something that looked suspiciously like trepidation flashed across his face. Still, his smile didn't fade. "I see," he said, taking a step back so that he wasn't standing in the doorway any more. He held out his hand, gesturing for Vax to come inside. "In that case, please come in."
Vax stepped inside, shuffling in place as Gilmore shut the door behind him and locked it. "Would you like some tea?" Gilmore asked, raising his eyebrows as he glanced in Vax's direction. "I can—"
"Do you remember that talk we had?" Vax blurted out, cutting him off. His gaze dropped from Gilmore's face to the floor. "Back in Emon? Just a day or two before the dragons?"
There was a long, awkward pause. Neither of them said anything, the only sound in the room a sharp intake of breath from Gilmore and Vax's somewhat ragged breathing.
Gilmore finally cleared his throat. "I do," he said slowly, his voice carefully blank. "Vax, what is this about?"
Vax closed his eyes, still not meeting Gilmore's gaze. "It was Keyleth," he said. "The person I was talking about. Who I loved."
There was another pause. "I'm aware of that," Gilmore said gently, something in his tone that Vax couldn't quite read. Plus a fair bit of confusion. There was also some definite confusion mixed in. "Vax—"
"I love you too," Vax said, finally opening his eyes and looking back at Gilmore.
Gilmore was staring at him with an unreadable look on his face. "You've said as much," he said slowly, as if he was cautiously weighing each word. "Several times."
Vax took a shaky breath. "As more than a friend."
Several emotions flickered across Gilmore's face, there and gone so fast that Vax didn't even have time to recognize them. The one that stayed was resignation. "Be that what it is," Gilmore said carefully, "as you just said, you love Keyleth."
"I do," Vax agreed immediately, nodding his head. "With all of my heart." He met Gilmore's gaze straight on. "She's the one who suggested I come here."
Gilmore stared at him, his eyes widening somewhat. There was no hiding the surprise that was all but radiating from him. "Oh," he said faintly.
Vax gave him a weak smile. "Yeah," he agreed, "oh."
"I think I need some tea," Gilmore said, his eyes not moving from Vax's face.
It took Vax's breath away as his back hit the wall behind him, Gilmore's hands on his hips and their lips pressed together. It was completely different from kissing Kiki. She was tame and mild, with a hint of wildness shining through from time to time. Gilmore was the opposite, his kisses like fire and his touch like lightning, with a promise of something deeper and calmer just under the surface.
Sugar and spice. Calming and exhilarating. Two sides of the same coin, complete opposites but still complementing each other.
Gods, he loved them. He loved both of them.
"Are you sure about this?" Vax asked breathlessly as Gilmore broke their kiss.
Gilmore let out a huff of laughter. "Vax'ildan—"
"I mean it, Shaun," Vax said, cutting in. He wanted nothing more than to lean forward and kiss him again, but he needed to be sure. "It's not exactly fair to you, either of you, and I'd get it if you—"
He was cut off by another kiss, hard and desperate and electrifying. It only lasted a moment, but it said more than words ever could. As Gilmore pulled away, Vax grabbed him and held him in place.
After a moment's hesitation, Gilmore leaned forward again so that their foreheads were resting against each other's. Vax could hear the beads in his hair clicking slightly as they swung back and forth.
"Vax," Gilmore said softly, fond amusement written all over his face, "come to bed."