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Solving Riddles

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The decision itself had been much easier than Keyleth had expected. Truthfully, that probably said quite a bit about her in general, if she was honest with herself.

Keyleth had never really thought all that much about love or romance or any of the things that came with it. Not like she suspected most people did, at least. Oh, the thought crossed her mind from time to time, quiet daydreams that she never expected to amount to anything. But she'd never thought of it in definite terms, as if it was something that would actually happen to her. It just hadn't seemed all that important.

And then Vax had announced to the world that he was in love with her.

She hadn't seen it coming. Looking back, she expected no one had. Yes, maybe he'd flirted from time to time, but he did that with everyone. Besides, she'd assumed he was interested in Gilmore, considering... well, considering a lot of things.

But that was the thing about Vax. He loved everyone, at least a little bit. His heart was much too big to love just one person. Oh, it wasn't always romantic love, Keyleth knew that much. She could see that every time he pulled Vex's hair or teased Scanlan or pressed a kiss to Percy's cheek or tried to play a trick on Grog or smiled at Pike or fed Trinket a piece of chocolate.

But sometimes it was. She could see that every time he so much as looked at Gilmore, his face lighting up in the same way it did whenever he looked at her. And the worst part was that Keyleth didn't even think that Vax realized it.

No, the decision hadn't been a difficult one. Not for her. Once she understood what she was seeing, what it meant, she hadn't hesitated for even a moment. What kind of person would she be if she had? She wasn't selfish, not when it came to her heart.

Of course, convincing Gilmore and Vax that it was an option had been another story.

*

Keyleth had never understood why other people would get so upset about the idea of sharing someone's affections. As long as you knew how they felt about you, why did it matter if they felt the same way about someone else? The heart wanted what the heart wanted, and nothing could change that.

Love was a gift, one that was meant to be given freely. Why would you want to take it away from someone else?

Then again, there were a lot of things she didn't understand about relationships in general. Or, at least, some of the more physical aspects of them. It had never seemed important to her, not until Vax had made his confession in Whitestone. And then, just like that, it was something she had to consider.

Maybe that was why she didn't mind, knowing that she wasn't the only person who Vax loved. If she wasn't able to give him what he wanted, at least not all of the time, then maybe Gilmore could. In a way, it made things easier, knowing she wasn't the only one who held a piece of Vax's heart.

Besides, Vax deserved to be happy. And she didn't think that she could give him that, not by herself.

"What did you just say?" Vax asked slowly, his brow furrowing a bit as he stared at her.

Keyleth smiled at him. "I said," she repeated, "that I don't mind sharing, as long as Gilmore doesn't. I don't want to make you choose, not if you don't want to."

In all the time she'd known him, Keyleth didn't think she'd ever seen Vax at a loss for words. There was a first time for everything, she supposed.

*

It had taken quite a bit of time, not to mention alcohol, but the tension in the small room they were sitting in had finally faded. There was still a hint of awkwardness in the air, but it wasn't like before, when she and Vax had first made their way to Gilmore's door. It felt almost normal.

Well, for their definition of 'normal', at least.

"This wine is really good," Keyleth said, her voice a little louder than she'd planned for it to be. Or maybe it just sounded that way since nobody else was talking just then. "Where did you get it?"

Gilmore startled, sitting up a little straighter in his chair. The living area of the home he had claimed in Whitestone was small but comfortable, filled with a cacophony of bright colors that made it feel much larger than it actually was.

"It was a gift," he said, his eyes darting to Vax for just a moment.

He didn't have to say who it was a gift from. That flicker of his eyes said it as clearly as words ever could.

"Oh," Keyleth said. It wasn't eloquent, not by any means, but what else was there to say to that?

Beside her, Vax's mouth twitched. "Scanlan picked it up somewhere," he said, glancing over at her. "I learned a long time ago not to ask any questions when it comes to anything he does."

Gilmore chuckled. "A wise idea, from what I've seen."

Vax shot him a grin, the same one that he gave Keyleth sometimes that made butterflies appear in her stomach. Then it faded and he glanced over at her, almost guiltily.

He wasn't supposed to be guilty. Not about this. That was the whole point.

Keyleth sighed, clasping her hands together in her lap. "This isn't working, is it?" she asked quietly, not quite meeting either of their gazes. She started to push herself to her feet. "Maybe I should go. I could leave the two of you to—"

She cut herself off abruptly as Vax shot his hand out and grab her by the arm. His eyes had gone wide, and Keyleth wasn't quite sure how to read the look on his face.

"Keyleth—" He said her name and then trailed off, as if he wasn't quite sure what else to say.

She gave him a weak smile before glancing over at Gilmore. He was halfway up out of his chair, eyeing both of them with an intensity that surprised her.

"If I may?" Gilmore said carefully. "I believe I have an idea."

*

Keyleth had never really noticed before, but Gilmore and Vax made a very handsome couple.

The corners of her mouth turned upwards into a smile as she shifted slightly, her head resting in Vax's lap. Above her, Gilmore let out a soft groan as Vax seemingly deepened their kiss. It was an interesting angle to watch them from, one she had never quite imagined seeing.

This hadn't been what she had in mind, not when she had first made her suggestion. It had the potential to work, though. Keyleth couldn't help but admit that much.

It had seemed like an odd idea at first, moving to Gilmore's bedroom. Especially considering how awkward it had been earlier, sharing conversation and tea in the main room of his home. For some reason, though, it had made things easier. The three of them carefully arranging themselves on the bed, that is, in a way that was comfortable but not inappropriate.

Keyleth hadn't realized how comforting it would be, tucked against Vax's side as the three of them talked about nothing of any importance.

They had been hesitant at first, all three of them, none of them quite sure what to do or when to do it. As the minutes passed, though, they had slowly picked at the pieces of the puzzle they were trying to interpret.

It was surprising how much of a difference intent made. Keyleth had never realized its importance until just then.

Gilmore's hand resting against her shoulder was a reassuring weight, a gentle reminder that she wasn't alone. But when he moved that hand to rest against Vax's arm, it made Vax's breath hitch and his eyes suddenly go wide. Her head resting in Gilmore's lap cause no more than a smile as he ran his fingers through her hair, but shifting her resting place to Vax's lap sent a shiver through his entire body. A kiss pressed against her cheek from Gilmore made her laugh, while a kiss from Vax burned like flames against her skin.

It was a riddle, but it wasn't unsolvable. All they needed was time and patience in order to solve it.

Well, and love. But Keyleth couldn't help but think that maybe, just maybe, they already had that part of it figured out.