After the Storm
aka, my hope for ep 84
(Also on AO3)
Spoilers: Critical Role, Episode 83
Vex drinks silently at the bar. Alone.
For a while, she’s glad that the tavern in Kymal is so raucous. The discord of loud, drunken voices and mediocre bar music is a welcome distraction. It drowns out the panic pulsing through her.
Were her friends performing the resurrection rights? Would Kaylie be able to reach out to Scanlan? Would her words, as Percy put it, ‘cut through’? Had this trip, had all this effort, made any difference at all?
From somewhere out in the aether, a smooth voice fills her senses. Familiar and kind.
Vex’ahlia, it’s done, Allura tells her. The others have revived him. Scanlan is alive. We will retrieve you as soon as we can. Be safe, and please, rest. You’ve more than earned it, my dear.
In the back of Vex’s mind, a tightrope snaps. She’s been wavering between what was and what could be, between hope and dread. This horrible day could have been so much worse. Not for the last time that night, she desperately wishes Percy were here. If only to watch his chest rise and fall in his sleep. Reminding her that they had been gifted a few more precious moments.
For now, the world feels almost settled. So many people died, but her family is still alive. Cities continue to burn and suffer, but the dragons are gone. Vox Machina risked everything to save the world, and they all came out the other side. And by retrieving his daughter, Vex helped to save her friend.
A ghost of a smile manages to claw its way out of her. She bites back on the sob that follows it. Scanlan is alive. Percival is alive.
Vex nearly weeps right there at the bar, but resists just long enough to over-tip the barkeep and stumble out into the night air. Eskil had wandered up to their rooms hours ago. But for her, there’s no hope for rest, even if she wanted to try.
Percy fights the sleep of the dead for as long as he can. The overwhelming ache in his body is horribly familiar. His thoughts dwell on Vex’ahlia, too far away for his comfort. He vows to be awake and ready as soon as Allura’s magic returns to her, but his restless vigil ends as his body gives out from sheer exhaustion.
They don’t wait for the sun to rise. As soon as Keyleth wakes, she seeks out their friend with the scrying stone. In her vision, she sees Vex outdoors, huddled against Trinket at the front steps of a tavern, roughing up the bear’s fur and snuggling into him for warmth.
Allura finds that she isn’t the only one who will travel to Kymal to retrieve Vex’ahlia. Vax and Keyleth follow in quick step behind Percival. The sight of Whitestone gives way to the small, dingy streets of Kymal. It doesn’t take them long to find directions to the sole tavern. Vax nudges Percy to run on ahead to check on Vex. His sister would want to see De Rolo first.
The sun barely begins to peek over the mountains when Vex catches the familiar shock of white hair down the road. She scrambles to her feet, bleary-eyed. Rushing to his side. “Scanlan’s really alright?”
“Yes.” Percival smiles, already expecting her embrace.
Vex’ahlia breathes out every pain and ache that has built up in her chest. She throws her arms around Percy’s neck and pulls him tight against her. For the first time in hours, everything is as it should be.
Hands trace the muscles of her back in calming circles. Percival speaks softly into her hair. “You did brilliantly,” he murmurs, holding her close. “You did so well.”
She smirks up from the soothing velvet of his coat, her eyes shining with unspent tears. “You look exhausted, darling.”
He rubs at dark circles behind his glasses. “You know I died yesterday?”
Vex presses her fingers over his crooked smile, her expression faltering at too many memories of his still, cold eyes. “Can we go home?” she sighs. “Can we go home and just sleep for ages?”
He leaves a kiss on the fingers at his lips. “As you wish, My Lady.” Percy slips an arm around Vex’s middle. Out of affection, yes, but he’s leaning a bit of weight against her for support. “Your place or mine?”