40 and Luc and Essek platonic ship? I just think their reactions would be hilarious and/or cute
Pairing: Essek & Luc
40: tummy kisses
A/N: I know this probably isn't what you wanted, op, but I literally could not think of anything for this pairing in this specific circumstance. I hope you still like it!
Essek took a deep breath, more nervous than he had ever been before. More nervous than when he had stolen the beacons right under the Dynasty's nose. He felt as if he were staring into the jaws of death itself.
He shook himself. He was being ridiculous. And every second he was late would just make it worse for him.
Steeling his nerves, he knocked on the Brenattos' door. Immediately, the door swung open to reveal a ginger wizard. Oh thank the Light! Essek didn't know if he'd have been ready to see Veth first.
"Caleb." Essek hoped his nerves were being translated through that one word.
Caleb Widogast's eyes softened. He leaned in and kissed the corner of Essek's mouth. "Hullo, Schatz. She is waiting in the dining room."
Essek gulped. "Oh, Light..."
When Caleb offered him an arm, Essek hung onto it almost like a lifeline. They walked into the Brenattos' home and made their way to the room of judgment.
Perhaps that was too dramatic of a suggestion.
When they enter the dining room, Veth is sitting at the table, sharpening a crossbow bolt menacingly.
Never mind, Essek thought. 'Room of Judgment' was a fair assumption.
"Veth," Caleb chided.
"What? I'm not doing anything, Caleb," Veth said. She placed the bolt in her crossbow and cocked it. "We're just here to talk, right?"
"Yup!" Essek's voice sounded abnormally high, especially to his sensitive ears.
He cleared his throat and called upon a century of court etiquette. "May I sit, Mrs. Brenatto?"
She just inclined with her crossbow.
Essek gingerly sat in the seat across from her, conscious of every movement.
Caleb made to sit down as well, but Veth clicked her tongue. "Ah, ah, boy. Why don't you go help Yeza in the kitchen?" She narrowed her eyes at Essek. "Hotboi and I are going to have a little one on one chat."
Caleb looked nervously at Essek before he pushed his chair in and left the room.
Veth kept looking at Essek several minutes after the human left. Essek was starting to sweat in his seat, which is very difficult when one's body temperature is lower than normal.
Abruptly, Veth said, "Look nervously to the side. Are they looking at us?"
Essek glanced to where she indicated, not putting up much of a façade of nerves. Indeed, both Yeza and Caleb were glancing anxiously into the room. Upon noticing Essek's attention, they both scatter and disappear further into the kitchen.
"Not anymore," Essek whispered, "though their attention may still be focused on this room."
"Good." Veth leveled the crossbow at Essek's face. She waved a hand when he flinched a little. "Don't worry, it isn't cocked anymore. I undid it as Caleb was leaving."
"It does not change the fact that having a weapon pointed at your face is unsettling."
Veth chuckled. "Fair enough. Did you bring it?"
Essek looked back once more at the kitchen, and when he was sure no one was looking, he pulled out a small, black velvet box.
Veth all but dropped the crossbow and snatched up the box. She gingerly cracked open the lid and gasped. He knew what she looked at for he'd had the same reaction when he'd first seen it.
It was a relatively simple silver band but there was a beautiful smooth stone of amber sitting in the center. There was also etching along the sides of the band.
"If you would repeat after me, Mrs. Brenatto." Essek cleared his throat. "Slyannen lueth chath ak'uech lil' ulin."
She repeated it, and while the pronunciation was a little rough, it still worked. The writing on the ring flared a bright white and a series of images projected upwards.
First, was a picture of Veth and her family, surrounding Caleb in a warm embrace. Next, a picture of the Empire siblings: Beau's arm was slung over Caleb's neck, knuckles rubbing into his head, but he was smiling. The third picture was of a little blue tiefling with small tusks propped up on Caleb's shoulders, her parents, Jester and Fjord, smiling fondly in the background.
Fourth, a picture of Caduceus and Caleb as they worked side by side in the Blooming Grove while tending to the graves of the dead. The fifth was a picture of Yasha getting Caleb to try the finest Xhorhassian cuisine, made entirely of bugs. Caleb Widogast looked rather disgusted but tried one for his friend. The next photo had Kingsley Tealeaf leaning flirtatiously over a counter as Caleb mildly blushed.
But the last and final picture was a moving picture of Caleb and Essek slowly swaying to a silent slow song, arms looped around each other, cheek to cheek. That was the first time Essek had asked Caleb to dance. It was a fond memory for the two.
Essek laughed. That one was one of his favorite.
Veth had tears in her eyes as she looked from the pictures to the drow. She opened her mouth to continue but before she could, another, smaller, voice piped up, "Oh cool! Is that for me?"
Tiny Halfling hands reached up, snatched the box from his mother's hands and took off running. Essek, in a fit of panic, cast Hold Person on the child, temporarily forgetting that there may be arcane repercussions for it. Thankfully, nothing terrible seemed to happen to Luc, though he seemed a little irritated.
"Uncle Essek," the child whined, "let me gooo!"
Essek easily plucked the box from Luc's hands and vanished it into a pocket dimension before releasing him from the spell. "My apologies, Master Brenatto, but that present was not for you unfortunately. I have something much better for you. Would you like to see it?"
Luc's eyes widened. "Would I ever? Show me show me show me!"
Essek chuckled and summoned another item from his pocket dimension. It was a necklace that seemed fairly bland in visual until he placed it over Luc's head. Then, the drab leather becomes the finest gold. The boring, simple pendant becomes encrusted with jewels. All a simple illusion, but Luc doesn't need to know that.
"Now, speak a wish out loud," Essek requested.
Luc looked at himin disbelief but closed his eyes and said, "I wish toooo... see a giant dinosaur!"
"Okay, now open your eyes."
There was nothing in front of Luc physically, but the wizard knew that he saw a giant dinosaur towering above him. It was a very intricate illusion magic that allowed the user to view anything it wished even though it wouldn't appear in the real world. Almost like a... virtual reality...
The illusion only lasted for roughly a minute each time, but it was more than enough to keep the youngest Brenatto entertained.
Once Luc's eyes focused once more in reality. "Whoa! That's so cool, Uncle Essek! Thank you!" Luc ran up and threw his arms around Essek's waist and kissed his stomach, because that was the highest Luc could reach.
Essek was so shocked by this act of affection that he just froze. This shouldn't face surprised him as much as it did because this was how Luc always showed affection, but it had never been turned on Essek. He didn't hate it, but it was definitely new and sudden. Luc, not paying Essek much mind, ran off to go play with his new toy.
The drow remained frozen until Veth came over to pat him on the back. "Thank you for taking care of my boy, hot boi."
Veth nodded approvingly. "Yeah, except now we won't ever get him off that thing!"
Essek shook himself slightly. "Of course! It is always wonderful to see children excited about new things."
"Not to worry. I added a failsafe specifically for this. The necklace stops working after five illusions and resets after a long rest."
Just as he said that, they heard an "Aw man!" in the distance of the house.
Both wizard and rogue laughed out loud at that.
Veth placed a hand on the small of Essek's back. "While I am also grateful for you entertaining my kid, I was talking about Caleb."
"... Oh." Essek could feel the tips of his ears grow warm.
She moved so she was now in front of him. "The Mighty Nein may have brought him out of his shell and helped him heal himself, but you're the one who finally convinced him to let go."
Her eyes were unflinching in their sincerity. "I believe you were the one who finally allowed him to loosen his hold on the past and look forward to his future.
"I've seen the shift in him in these years you've been around. He's more playful, more joyous. Less grim and morbid. So thank you, Essek Thelyss, for taking care of my boy."
Essek's vision blurred as he tried to swallow around the lump in his throat. "Thank you, Veth Brenatto, for entrusting him with me. He has been a gift for me as well."
Veth hugged him tightly, the way only a mother can. "So when are you going to propose to him?" she asked.
"Well I was thinking tonight, at dinner. Would that be amenable to you?"
"After all these years of you being lovesick fools? Hell yeah that's 'amenable' to me!"
Essek laughed and squeezed once more before letting go. "I am glad. I wouldn't want to do it without you here."
Veth rubbed her hands together evilly. "Just wait 'til Jessie heard about this. She's going to be so pissed that I knew first."
He shook his head. Always making mischief these two.
He summoned the box into his hand once more and thumbed the opening. Of course, he was nervous about tonight, but Essek wouldn't dream of doing it anywhere else. Caleb deserved to be surrounded by the love of his family on a night like this. And... Essek would be surrounded by his family as well for they had adopted him as their own. He smiled down at the box. Yes, tonight would be good indeed.
Slyannen lueth chath ak'uech lil' ulin: Stars and fire forge the future
Send me a number and a ship!