The truth is that Keyleth doesn’t understand how the others can be okay with working with Raishan. After all she has done not only to her people but to their city… how can they even be thinking about that?
“It’s a matter of priorities,” Percy tries to explain to her. Dear Percival, always looking logically about everything.
Sometimes Keyleth wonders if there’s any space left in him for emotions, or if he had to burn them all away when he run away from the slaughter of his family. Sometimes she regrets her own thoughts.
But it’s not only him that believes that working with Raishan is the right move, and Keyleth really can’t understand them. It’s so plain to see, for her, that she will betray them all the moment they turn around and allow her the opportunity.
She smiles at them, trying to make herself looking less threatening, but it’s not her physical form what has Keyleth scared and wary at the same time. She’s not a fighter, she’s a schemer. She’s much more like Percy than anyone else of Vox Machina and it’s probably why she knows so well what to say to manipulate her.
Keyleth is more surprised about Vax. Not because of what they are to each other, even if she can admit that his refusal to take her side stings more now, but because Vax is everything Percy isn’t. He’s passionate, guided more by his feelings than anything else.
He leaps before looking and is always true to his own heart. How can he not understand why Keyleth is so against this? “I do understand,” he tells her, but he’s resolute in his decision, “but we have to defeat all the other dragons before taking care of her. And I promise you, we will take care of her. We won’t let her get away with what she did.”
He believes it too, she can tell, but Keyleth doesn’t know if they’ll survive teaming up with her. Not that she has much of a choice, she thinks. Her friends, her family, is convinced this is the right decision and so she will follow them, protect them where she can, and avenge them where she can’t.
It’s hard for her to understand that this, too, means being a leader. Sometimes it’s putting your foot down and forcing everyone to do what you want, but other times (most, from what she has understood) is standing behind her people, supporting them and protecting them as best as she can.
It’s for that exact reason that she advances towards Raishan while she’s leaving the room. The dragon stops and looks at her, surprised and amused at the same time. Keyleth smiles at her, putting into that expression all the hate she’s capable of feeling.
“Know this, I vow to my people and my friends that if you ever betray us, I’ll kill you myself,” she promises, making sure her words are heavy enough. “And believe me, I only need so little to kill you.”
Raishan smiles and then looks at the rest of her friends. “Well, Vox Machina, are we ready to hunt a dragon?”
Shotor; Choice; 500
Shiro doesn’t really know what to think about Lotor. The Galran prince had surrendered to them at the end of the battle, and immediately he started giving them reliable information.
Every lead he sends them to investigate ends up being beneficial for them and Voltron and as it appears, he’s really changed. Of course, Shiro hasn’t arrived at his position by believing someone without proofs.
The problem is that Lotor continues to give them proof of his good will, and it becomes harder and harder to justify keeping him in a cell.
Everyone else doesn’t agree. Lance is one of the most vocal about the need to keep Lotor locked up for as long as possible, that they can’t trust him in any way shape or form, but Shiro can see that he’s clouded by jealousy. It makes it harder to trust his instincts when it’s so obvious that for him it’s personal, and not for the sake of their mission.
So, when they receive the message about Pidge’s father and the exchange, Shiro has to make a decision and he doesn’t have much time to make it.
He finds himself in front of Lotor’s cell, with the Galra looking at him, curiously. “Are you here to send me to my father, then?” Lotor asks him. He seems resigned now, almost uncaring. It’s a basic tactic, of course, and Shiro can recognize it immediately, but he doesn’t care.
“I should,” he says, looking at him, “the rest of the team wants to, anyway. And we need to save Pidge’s father, there’s no other choice.”
“You’re just playing right into his hand,” Lotor says, shaking his head with an annoyed huff. “Do you even realize this? I really thought you were smarter than this.”
“Of course, I realize that,” Shiro calmly replies, before adding, “And I also know that you have a hand as well. I don’t trust you, not really, but at this point I think that whatever you want aligns more with our objectives than your fathers.”
Lotor doesn’t reply for a second and just studies Shiro. He seems interested, and he seems to be catching on.
“So, what do you propose, Black Paladin?” Lotor asks him, standing up.
Shiro takes this moment to study him: Lotor had been a fearsome opponent, and that he had been playing with the others every step of the way. Shiro has never battled against him directly, and he’s not stupid enough to think that they’re completely on the same side, not yet.
“I will give you my bayard,” he tells him, because his decision was made the moment he stepped inside this cage, he knows that well. “It will give you a way to defend yourself. Anything else will be on you. There’s nothing more I can do for you. What do you say?”
Lotor seems surprised for a second before nodding. “I think you might be the first intelligent one around here.”
Shiro disagrees, but there’s nothing to do about that.
Stony; Sleepy head; 598
Tony pulling an all-nighter is such a common occurrence around the tower that Steve isn’t even surprised when the other enters the room at seven in the morning and beelines for the coffee pot like a man on a mission, or someone who isn’t able to focus on anything else.
His hair looks wild, going in all directions and there’s a smear of something on his cheek. Probably oil, but with Tony it was hard to know. He gulps down the coffee like it’s personally giving him life. It’s a… rather adorable and yet worrying sight at the same time.
Steve understands that Tony’s mind works in different ways from his, and that sometimes it’s impossible to contain. It’s something that helps make Tony so special, and Steve has nothing but admiration for the way Tony’s mind works.
Does that mean that he would appreciate a boyfriend that comes to bed at a decent hour at least a couple of days a week? Sure, but he’s not going to complain too loudly about that. What he’s going to complain about is that Tony is reaching their pre-approved numbers of hours he’s allowed to spend without sleeping.
“You have two hours left, you know that right?” Steve asks him and, predictably, Tony jumps into the hair. When Tony is so sleep deprived it’s really difficult for him to notice anything but coffee.
“Steve? Since when have you been there?” Tony asks him, looking at him owlishly.
Steve tries not to laugh in his face too broadly, but he has the sensation that he fails. “Since the beginning, actually. I was reading,” he explains, picking up the newspaper he was reading and showing it to his boyfriend.
Tony squints at the newspaper like it’s the biggest mystery of the universe and then shrugs, giving up. He takes another generous gulp from his mug and then walks towards the sofa where Steve is sitting and plops down beside him.
“Has it already been 34 hours?” Tony asks, almost surprised and at Steve’s nod, he gets pensive. “I swear I had Jarvis set up an alarm that would tell me something after thirty hours. Didn’t we do that together?”
“I did,” Jarvis picks up, sounding a little offended, “you just decided to ignore me, Sir.”
Tony blinks again and then murmurs, just for Steve: “I have no memories of this.”
Steve sighs, but he smiles at the same time, amused. “I think it’s time for you to leave the coffee behind and go to sleep,” Steve tells him. Tony gasps, offended, and clutches the mug closer to his chest.
“Have I taught you nothing, Steven?” Tony asks, in shock (Steve can’t help but point out “My name is still not Steven”) “we never leave a cup of coffee behind! I’m sure it’s written somewhere in the Avengers rules.”
“It’s not,” Steve tells him with a smile, “I would know. I wrote them.”
“You’re killing me, Steve, really. I have to rethink our entire relationship. Everything is a lie!” Tony sighs, dramatically, before putting his head on Steve’s shoulder.
“Bed?” Steve asks him, watching the suspicious way that his boyfriend’s eyes were dropping.
“Later. I’m comfortable, read to me. Something boring,” Tony mumbles, getting more comfortable on Steve’s shoulder and kissing his neck softly.
“There’s this interesting article about an interesting art show,” Steve starts, knowing full well that Tony has no real interest in art.
“Perfect,” his boyfriend sighs, content, “I’m bored already.”
Steve laughs, but starts reading out loud anyway and he’s not really surprised when he hears Tony’s breathe even.
Stony; Mission; 788
When they find the little cottage in the forest, Steve thinks it’s a mirage for a couple of seconds before Tony coughs and says “Please, tell me I’m not imagining that house. I need to figure out what’s wrong with the armor.”
In all honesty, Steve could tell Tony what was wrong with his armor at a pretty quick glance since there’s a hole in the abdomen. Thankfully it seems that the armor took much of the blunt from the hit, but Tony has been getting weaker and weaker every second they’ve been walking. Right now, Steve is basically dragging Tony and his armor and he’s getting tired.
So this cottage? It could be the saving grace they were looking for. Steve nods and starts walking towards it, finding a little more strength now that he has an attainable goal in front of him.
The door gives in to his super strength easily and the next second they can both look inside the cottage. It’s small, and pretty bare. There’s a bed, and by the looks of it only one bed, and a fireplace. A basic kitchen and a couch.
Well, it will have to do, really.
Steve pushes inside and puts Tony down in front of the fireplace. While the other starts removing his own armor, Steve searches for stuff to burn in the fireplace. It’s getting colder fast now that the sun is setting, and if they don’t find a way to warm each other, they might have to spend a night in below freezing conditions. Steve has already done his time in the ice, really.
He finds enough dry wood to get the fire going and when he turns towards Tony he sees that the other has gotten a screwdriver and he’s deep at work. Steve would like to tell him to stop, but the truth is that they need their communicators up and running again if the other Avengers are to find them.
Also, it seems that working is putting Tony’s mind away from the pain that the other must be feeling.
Steve isn’t really that lucky, but he’s less worried about his own injuries. The super serum will take care of them, he knows, and anyway he much prefers being the one in pain than watching Tony suffer.
It takes the other another couple of minutes before he huffs and throws the communicator to the floor. “Fucking fried. Everything is useless.” He’s frustrated, and his hands are trembling slightly. Maybe the pain is getting to him more than he thought.
Steve sighs and inches closer. “I think you should sleep, Tony. I have some bandages. I can fix your wounds and then, after a night of sleep, we can decide what to do. You can try the communicator again, or we start walking again.”
“Walk how?” Tony almost growls, glaring in his direction. “With you carrying me all the way? Don’t think I haven’t noticed you’re hurt as well, Steve. I’m not going to be the dead wright that drags you down.”
Steve blinks, surprised, and then shakes his head. “Tony, no. We wouldn’t even have escaped the Hydra facility if not for you,” Steve murmurs, getting even closer, “you saved both of us. And I’m fine, it barely hurts. So why don’t we just sleep and then everything will appear better tomorrow?”
“Nothing appears better in the morning for me, Steve, we’re not all crazy morning persons like you,” Tony murmurs but it’s an half-hearted protest at most. “Also there’s only one bed.”
Steve blinks surprised and raises his eyebrows. “Since when is that a problem?” he wonders, surprised.
Tony huffs, but he seems amused. “Since you’re hurt, Steve, take your mind off the gutter. It’s going to be uncomfortable.”
Tony is probably right, but Steve is okay with risking it. “It’s going to be warmer at least. And that seems more important now.”
“You’re just using me for my body, aren’t you?” Tony wonders, with an amused huff, and Steve shrugs.
“That and the money, never forget those,” he jokes standing up and taking the other with him towards the bed. “Also I don’t really want to sleep alone. I’m... I’m glad…” he stops because Tony stops him with a kiss.
Steve doesn’t like to think about the past week, prisoner alone inside the facility. And it seems that Tony doesn’t like to think about it as well. “I can’t wait to sleep in our actual bed. I’m thinking about chaining you to it, what would you say?” he asks, while they both lie down into the too small bed.
It really is uncomfortable, but Tony is warm and familiar at his side, and Steve doesn’t care. “Whatever you say, really.”