When Percy stumbles away from the group, it’s…mostly by accident.
Camp has been struck for the night, though there is no fire to mark its center – Keyleth’s encounter with Nala has made them all wary. Garmelie has thrown down next to a passive Trinket and seems to be allowing the apex predator to groom his hair. Scanlan and Grog are too busy making up stories about the Feywild’s less than pleasant inhabitants to pay anybody but themselves mind; Keyleth is – somewhere, though Percy can’t recall the details.
The only people with the sense to pay him any mind are the twins. Percy, bent over his pepperbox and swearing under his breath, divides his glances between the machinery and the two of them as they settle down together. Vax absorbs himself with his sister’s unruly hair, favoring the act of rebraiding over the ever-shifting wilds. Vex catches Percy’s stare once and throws him a wink.
Percy ducks his head with a frown and forces himself to focus on his work.
(He’s lucky, there, turning away quickly enough to hide the flush on his cheeks. He’s still working on a way to keep that at bay, but there’s something about the Feywild that makes a solution more difficult to find.)
With the attention of the party elsewhere, it’s easy for his tinkering to give way to pacing, then to a combination pacing-and-tinkering that leaves his hands shaking and his work shoddy. By the time Percy manages to look away from the jammed pepperbox, he notices that the tree cover above him has grown thicker and that his friends are nowhere in sight.
Swears aside, he doesn’t worry. Percy gives the pepperbox another cursory glance over, then holsters it in favor of his short sword. He doesn’t unsheathe the weapon, but he keeps his hand on the hilt as he begins to walk forward. It may relax him to walk, but they’re in the Feywild, and few people have been able to call Percival Fredrickstein von Musel Klossowski de Rolo the Third a fool.
He wanders on.
The sky above him, in its perpetual dusk, seems to shift, its colors bleeding as he goes deeper into the forest. Something calls out above his head, but Percy doesn’t flinch. While the dangers of the Feywild keep his mind off of the less than pleasant things he and Vox Machina have had to deal with of late, each step remains a cautious one. His eyes, untrained but wary, dart over foliage that he doesn’t recognize but instinctively doesn’t trust.
A voice calls out through the woods. Percy lifts his gaze from the ground, hand tightening on his sword hilt. The muscles of his arm grow tight as he looks around, not seeing anyone hiding in the dusky darkness.
His name floats on the wind, too thin, but determinedly present. Percy unsheathes his sword and stares into the nothingness, his heart pounding but his breaths slow.
“Where are you?” he demands. He adjusts his position with care, following the tree line as he waits for a response. A gentle wind tousles its fingers through his hair. Percy snarls at it and brings his sword down before moving in the direction he believes camp to lie.
He doesn’t stop moving. The pink-yellow light that manages to sneak through the trees shines into his eyes for a moment, and he blinks, the breath catching in his throat. He hears something snap behind him and whirls, half-blinded, bringing his sword up and pressing it to Vex’ahlia’s pale throat.
She smacks it away instinctively, through Percy feels it drag over the fabric of her armor.
“What do you think you’re doing out here?” she demands. Percy stares at her, blinking, as she rests her hands on her hips. “You didn’t tell any of us you were leaving or anything about where you were going," she says. "Do you know how lost you could’ve gotten?”
“Easy, mother.” Percy takes a deep breath, then smiles at her as he sheathes his sword. “I will admit, it didn’t cross my mind to check in with you. I have wandered by myself before, you know.”
It’s not the right answer, but then again, it doesn’t appear unexpected. Vex’ahlia huffs, blowing a loose strand of hair away from her eyes as she rolls them. Percy can’t help the pounding of his heart; he wants to reach out and move the strand away, himself, though the saner half of his brain warns him against it.
“Well, if you’re going to walk,” Vex’ahlia says, interrupting his thoughts. “Then I’m going to walk with you.”
Percy sputters. His voice betrays him as Vex loops their arms together, spewing nonsensical gibberish that even he can’t understand. Vex, with the same class he’s come to affiliate with her, politely ignores him, instead opting to drag him forward until his steps are less awkward and he can properly breathe again.
“Fool man,” she murmurs, just loud enough for him to hear. Percy scoffs but does not correct her.
Their walk is quiet, for the most part. The violets of dusk hit the angles of Vex’s face and make it seem as though she’s glowing whenever Percy looks at her. He glances, every seven breaths or so, to better watch her, though his gaze always makes its way back to the forest floor.
Beside him, Vex’ahlia giggles. Percy glances at her just in time to see her look away.
“What is it?” he asks.
“You’re thinking too hard.” It’s not quite a chide; there’s too much amusement in her voice for that. Vex brings up the hand that’s not on Percy’s arm and touches him right between the eyes. Percy wrinkles his nose, but this only makes her laugh again. “You’re going to wrinkle early,” she says, pulling her hand away. “The white hair suites you, but I don’t think you want to look so distinguished yet.”
“I’m sure wrinkles would come in handy, somehow,” Percy says, more to himself than to his companion. Still, he hears her snort again.
Something shuffles near her foot. Percy stops, then stoops, inadvertently dragging the huntress down with him.
“Are all members of the court of Whitestone required to be wrinkly?” Vex asks, her tone light as she follows his gaze.
“It’s not a prerequisite, no,” Percy says. Some of the underbrush, he sees, is shifting, though the source of the movement is so small, the dusky light makes it impossible to see. “Though when I was a boy I did wonder.”
He hears Vex’ahlia stifle a chuckle, and the corner of his mouth twitches upward. Some of the light catches in her hair, and he finds himself staring again. He gives the ground a cursory last glance before bringing himself up to his full height. He itches to reach out, touch her, but he brushes off his coat, instead.
“I don’t think we should stay in one spot for long,” he says, voice cracking mid-sentence. “Perhaps we should start heading back towards the camp?”
No response. Percy frowns, then turns about. Vex is already some several meters away, wandering through the undergrowth, chasing something unseen.
She turns back to him, licking her lips. Percy swallows and tilts his head, the picture of composure.
“I want to find out what this is,” she says, motioning him forward. “There’s something…different about it.”
“Well, we are in the Feywild,” Percy says, but it’s not an argument. He takes a few loping steps and soon finds himself walking beside her.
Vex stays low to the ground as they move forward. Her occasional twitches send Percy’s hands towards his still-damaged gun, but he always rights himself in the same moment Vex relaxes. His glances at her, however, become more and more frequent. Several times, Percy has to force himself to look away from the swell of her ass or the curve of her back. Her braid is coming loose, and he longs to reach out and correct it. He tucks his hands behind his back, instead, and focuses his attention on the ground.
Then, Vex is standing. Her head bobs up right around his shoulder; Percy nearly stumbles into her, she’s stopped so quickly. They’re close enough that he can feel the warmth of her radiating through her armor, through his shirt and down to his skin.
“What is it?” he murmurs, leaning down so he can whisper in her ear. Vex’ahlia shudders and leans back for a moment, so much so that Percy reaches forward, catching her by the shoulder. When she looks back at him, he lets go and is surprised to see that she almost looks disappointed.
Then, she nods forward. “Look.”
Percy follows her direction and glances forward. A clearing has opened up in front of them, lit by the violets and reds of dusk. It appears to be abandoned, save for a lavish sprinkling of blue and purple flowers.
Something suspicious seizes in Percy’s stomach. He moves to step away, only to find Vex’s warmth disappearing from his front as she continues forward.
“Vex’ahlia!” he hisses, glancing about. “What’re you doing?”
Vex’ahlia looks back at him, her eyes wide and clear. “I’m exploring,” she says, offering him a trademark grin. “Aren’t you coming?”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Percy says. Vex hesitates for a moment, then looks towards the clearing again. Percy sees her look back at him once more and nearly groans as her grin widens.
“Come on, Percy,” she says, moving forward. “What’s the worst that could happen?”
“I hate it when you say that.”
Vex’ahlia, if she hears him, doesn’t respond. Percy watches as she stumbles into the clearing, her face awash with light, and sighs. The undergrowth creaks as he steps over it. Each of his breaths are measured as he breaks through the surrounding circle of trees.
He pauses. Nothing happens. From the center of the grove, Vex’ahlia snorts.
“Oh, shut up,” Percy says. Vex’ahlia sticks her tongue out at him, then kneels, burying her calves and knees into the flowers beneath her. She doesn’t pick any, but she traces her fingers over their petals.
When she pulls her hand away, Percy sees a dose of colored pollen resting on her skin. His brow furrows, and against his better judgement, he kneels next to her, careful to keep his skin from touching hers.
Vex’ahlia lifts it underneath her nose and sniffs it. “I can’t smell anything,” she says, after a moment. “But they are lovely.”
She holds her hand out, offering the pollen to Percy. He lifts his eyebrow at her, and she chuckles, pulling her hand away and brushing the pollen onto the ground.
Her smile is enchanting. Percy catches himself as he begins to lean forward, chasing her as she moves away. Vex’ahlia, still cleaning her hands of the pollen, looks back to see him correcting himself. Her eyes, he thinks, look glassy for a reason he cannot name.
“Are you alright?” he asks, careful to keep his voice soft.
“Hm?” Vex’ahlia blinks at him, taking him in with care. “Yeah, I’m fine. I’m really fine.”
The wink she offers him throws him, even though it shouldn’t. Percy feels the blood rush to his face and tries to look away from her, but she’s smiling again, and the best he can do is look at the ground.
Her hand is on his cheek before his gaze has hit the dirt. “Percival,” she murmurs, leaning forward. Her skin burns against his, dragging against a day’s worth of stubble, and Percy gulps. He lets her guide him forward until their foreheads are resting against one another. Vex’ahlia sighs, and her breath blushes warm against his mouth.
“Vex’ahlia,” he murmurs, glancing down. “What are you –?”
It’s not a surprise when she interrupts him, pressing their lips together, but Percy still melts. They’ve kissed before – tender brushes against cheekbones and noses – but the intent of her, now, is not just of friendship. She moves to the core of him, shifting so she can cup his cheek. Percy leans into the touch, letting her guide him until she breaks the kiss.
“Don’t stop.” The words leave his mouth without his consent, and when he flushes, it burns. A hand still on his cheek, Vex’ahlia grins, wide, dangerous, and gleaming.
She pushes him down into the flowers and kisses him again.
Heat rushes into Percy’s head like a wave of fire. Vex’s teeth are gentle against his bottom lip, but he presses up against her, his hands holding onto her hips and moving her as the kiss deepens. Her hair brushes against his forehead, but he pays it no mind; he winds one of his hands through the swath. He’s hard in a moment, feeling her wiggling above him. He chases her as she breaks away, gasping.
There’s a smear of pollen in her hair and some sprinkling down onto her face, but Percy barely notices. He supports himself on his elbows and groans as their lips meet again.
Her hands trail over him with a distracted desperation, moving from his face to his chest to the angle of his hips. He feels her begin to tug at the outer layer of his clothes and shrugs his coat off, on a whim. Vex’ahlia purrs, delighted, and pushes him back down into the flowers, letting the blue fabric spread out beneath them.
In turn, Percy reaches upward, forcing himself to pay attention to her body as her fingers drag lower, lower. He does his best to work through the buckles of her armor, though his hands are shaking. It comes off, at last, and gets thrown to a side of the clearing he has no interest in seeing. The clothes Vex’ahlia wears beneath are soft to the touch. Percy drags his hand over her now-exposed collarbones, down to her sternum, brushing between breasts he almost hesitates to touch.
Vex’ahlia swears in Elvish and leans down to kiss him again. “Touch me,” she orders, grinding her hips down against his. “Percy, I need you to touch me.”
Percy does as she commands. Her breasts fit into his hands with ease, and her whines get lost in the kiss he presses onto her. He sits up, sending her tumbling off of his hips, then chases after her. She hits the ground, and the clearing’s flowers tangle in her hair; their pollen smears over her face in the same moment Percy settles over her. She gasps, and he sees some of the pollen disappear into her mouth. Before he has a moment to think about it, though, she’s kissing him again, and every thought in his head is lost to the wind.
Their clothing comes off in a mad scramble. The moment Percy slips his hands beneath Vex’s shirt, he feels the enter clearing shudder; the moment she drags her hands over his bare back, down the curve of his ass, his world narrows, darkening everything that is not her. She squeezes and drags him down for another kiss, chuckling into his mouth. His cock bobs, hard against her stomach, and shudders at the feel of her grinding up against him. He tries to speak, to reassure, to cajole, but the words are lost in his throat, reduced to a mindless groan.
“Percy.” His name sounds like a prayer when it leaves her mouth. Percy opens his eyes and finds Vex staring up at him, her pupils blown wide and her mouth bruised and red. “Percy,” she says again, pressing up against him. Percy gasps and tucks his head between her breasts, relishing the feel of the wet heat between her legs.
“Percy,” Vex says, one last time. “Fuck me, please.”
“Of course,” he murmurs, pressing kisses to one breast, then the other. “Of course, Vex, anything.”
She shivers as he pulls off of her for a moment, readjusting above her. His lack of glasses blurs the rest of the field, though she remains crystal clear; he kisses her again, fierce, and brushes his hips against hers as they come together.
Vex gasps against his mouth, wet and tight and wonderful. Percy moans as he enters her, deepening their kiss as he slides in to the hilt. He wants to wait, wants to ensure she’s alright, but his hips are already moving, a stuttered rhythm that he has no power to stop. Vex moans something, tight and desperate, but her voice is no more than nonsense.
One of her hands drifts down between them and presses against her clit, gentle but demanding. Percy, eyes open, watches as her head falls back, framed by the clearing’s flowers. Her mouth drops open, and he groans, pressing himself harder and faster and her breaths grow shallow.
When Vex’ahlia comes, it’s like his world explodes. She shivers around him, tight, and it becomes impossible to look away from her face. Percy feels the muscles of her arms tense as she grips the ground, her back arching, then settling, leaving her moaning his name like nothing he’s ever heard before. He drives into her, feeling her aftershocks, and comes in the same moment she opens her eyes.
It’s like dying, or what he thinks dying must be like, only so much better. Still shaking, Percy slumps, burying his face in Vex’ahlia’s hair. Her hands wander onto his hips and stay there, massaging his lower back until his breaths have slowed.
He waits for his erection to soften so he can better slip out of her, but finds that he doesn’t. After several long moments of waiting, Percy pushes himself upward, frowning and looking down at himself. Vex reaches after him, a disappointed frown on her face as she winds her fingers into his hair.
“I don’t think I’m done yet,” she says, and again, Percy sees pollen disappear into her mouth. He goes to comment, but then she’s kissing him again, and the world goes blissful for a little while longer.
He manages to pull out of her, sometime after her second orgasm, and finds himself soaked with her. Vex’ahlia chases after him and pins him to the ground, then brings him to climax by letting him rut between her breasts. Some of his come ends up on her face, and she mixes it with the flowers’ pollen before licking it off of her fingers. Percy growls at the sight and is on her in a moment, pollen spattering across his own face as he moves to bury himself between her legs. When she comes for a third time, it’s with his name on her tongue and his tongue on her clit.
Time blurs. The world covers with a haze that smells like sex and wilderness, and Percy’s vision reduces to Vex’ahlia and the flowers. He doesn’t know how long they’ve been there before the two of them are forced apart, but eventually, a pair of hands clamps down on his shoulders. Percy finds himself pulled off of Vex’ahlia’s body and thrown out of the clearing, stark naked save for the glasses he had managed to retrieve. He reaches out for Vex again, only to find a goliath standing in his path. Percy pulls back, almost instinctively, before the pollen returns to his system.
He goes to make a run across the clearing only for Grog to send him sprawling backwards again. “Pike!” he hears a distant voice yell. “Keyleth? Can one of you Greater Restoration this bitch?”
Percy goes to fight off the next person who touches him, but the goliath’s hands are back on his shoulders, and he finds himself incapable. Someone – tall, ginger, with antlers coming out of her head – whispers words above his head, then buries a hand in his white hair.
The world snaps back into place.
Percy sputters. He takes one deep breath, then another, and then one more, before Keyleth pulls her hand out of his hair.
“Oh, good,” she says, her voice forcibly light. “I thought I might have to use a higher level spell. I’m kind of burnt out today.”
Behind him, Percy hears Grog chuckle.
“What happened?” he demands, shoving his glasses up on his nose. “Where’s Vex’ahlia?”
“Oh, she’s fine.” Grog waits a moment longer to release Percy’s shoulders, then goes to stand at Keyleth’s side. “Pike had to go to her, though. She’s worse off then you were.”
“What do you mean, ‘worse off’?” Percy demands. When Grog only shrugs, he looks over to Keyleth.
The half elf refuses to look at him. She keeps her gaze locked skyward, and it takes Percy a moment to realize that the redness on her cheeks isn’t just from the dusk light.
“Keyleth,” he says, his voice tight. “What’s going on?”
Keyleth sputters, glances at him, then looks away. “Well,” she says, voice cracking. “You’re kind of naked, and you were kind of…”
“Having mad rabbit sex with Vex,” Grog says, when Keyleth doesn’t finish her sentence. “Pike says it’s the flowers that did it. Kind of like the instruments, ‘cept a lot sexier.”
Blood rushes back to Percy’s face in a moment. With a deep sigh, he closes his eyes and rubs his temples. The world is still dark when he feels something soft land in his lap. When he opens his eyes, he finds that Grog has thrown one of the party’s fancy robes into his lap.
“We think we’ll be able to get your coat,” Keyleth says. “But we’re gonna have to dunk it in one of the rivers. Just to make sure it’s safe.”
“Of course,” Percy says, far less magnanimously than he means. He shrugs on the robe and covers himself, as best he can. Keyleth reaches down to help him as he goes to stand, but he brushes her hand away.
“Scanlan hasn’t happened to sleep yet, has he?” he asks.
Keyleth shakes her head.
“Well, damn.” Percy glances down at himself and silently takes stock. There are scratches down his chest amongst the rest of his scars, though those are as likely to be from the foliage as they are Vex’ahlia. He flushes at the thought and carefully tucks it away. “I could’ve used a shower.”
“Damn right, you could,” Grog says. Keyleth laughs, and for a second, it almost sounds genuine.
They leave the forest around the clearing slowly, waiting for Pike to call over the earrings and let them know that everything’s fine. Percy hears Keyleth mutter something in reply and subtly removes the piece in his ear. He tucks it into the pocket of Grog’s robe and walks on, silent.
Grog nudges his arm more than once, but Percy pays him no mind. Even Keyleth, her muttering done, receives no words when she slips her hand into his.
Camp, when they return, is subdued. Percy and Keyleth part, leaving Grog to move back to Scanlan’s side. Across the way, huddled up in shadow, Percy sees Vax, scowling and dragging a whetstone over one of his daggers.
Vex’ahlia is curled up next to him, one of his cloaks draped over her shoulders. Percy’s breath catches, but he doesn’t let his gaze linger. His face burns.
He only freezes when Vex catches his eye. The shadows cling to her, almost managing to hide her, but Percy still feels it when she pins him down. Slowly, and only once her brother seems suitably distracted, the archer offers him a wink.
Percy swallows, hard, and turns, trying to forget the taste of pollen and her where they still rest in his mouth.