Even in Piltover, the City of Progress, they resorted to the more time honored, traditional methods of memorialisation for their dead. The cemetery was located near the rim of the city limits. The contrast was obvious with modernized buildings on one side while plains and mountains stretching into the distance on the other. Gravestones and memorial statues of various sizes lined the ground row upon row, as if they were waiting for someone to call their name. Jayce’s golden boots crunched along a gravel path, kicking up dust on their polished surface. His Mercury Hammer was securely strapped to his back, swinging ever so slightly with each step. Each time the hammer lightly tapped the back of his thigh, it gave him a sort of reassurance simply for the fact that it was there. He held a single sunflower delicately in his hands as he made his way purposefully along the gravel walkway.
His light brown overcoat, with a fur trimmed collar, while a protective golden breastplate was strapped over top of the coat. On this breastplate a leather vest was fitted, right beneath a large golden badge. The badge was adorned with the emblem of Piltover, a cogwheel, and was bordered by a sanguine color. This gold and red color scheme matched every other metallic section of his outfit: From his knuckle duster gloves to his shoulder pads, to even his boots. The only difference in color came from his coat, and the brown cargo pants he wore.
Ever since his retaliation against the Zaunite scientist, Viktor, he had been made a hero of Piltover. He became famous overnight, with the public falling in love with his image while the government gave him commission upon commission for new inventions and gadgets. They even begged him for the schematic for his mighty Mercury Hammer, to which he politely declined to give out. He was a symbol of Piltover, and subsequently dubbed the Defender of Tomorrow.
Still, even heroes had their beginnings.
Jayce stopped before a grave. It was small, plaque sized, but carefully cleaned and cared for. Jayce knelt down and placed the flower in front of the stone.
“Mom’s still good. You know how she worries about me, but I’m watching her now. Sorry it’s been so long, just got a bit busy. Ah...” He scratched the back of his head, “I guess I’m sounding silly. You weren’t much for words ever, but you always were a good man. So...Thanks, dad. For raising me right. Dunno if I got to say that often enough, but thanks.”
He patted the top of the grave, “Hope I made you proud.”
Jayce got up and brushed his knees off. He was about to take off when a shock of pink hair caught his eye. Several rows and columns down, Vi stood in front of a petite grave, completely silent. Her gauntlets, which he had almost always seen her wear, were attached to a metal power pack that was snugly strapped to her back.
He hadn’t seen her in quite some time. Ever since his house arrest was rescinded, they had not met again. During his house arrest, he had found out many things about her. She was enthusiastic, overly cocky, sarcastic, mocking, rude, constantly in motion, constantly talking and keeping him busy, but she always had time for fun, even if it meant breaking the law ever so slightly. In the off moments when he actually had the time to think about it, he realized that missed her presence. She was breath of fresh air, and surprisingly, no matter how fierce their arguments were, she never resorted to her fabled fists of fury.
To see her quiet at all was more of a shock than seeing her in a cemetery, but not quite as shocking as seeing her bare arms. They were not frail twigs, as they sported an impressive amount of muscle, but it did remind him that there was still flesh underneath the metal.
The woman nearly leapt out of her skin. She spun around and jabbed her hands behind her, slipping her hands into her gauntlets. They became active as she stood ready to strike him. He could see the edges that he helped smooth out on her gauntlets, as well as the new gauges and the new wiring they had done together. Her facial expression, however, was completely foreign to him. No egotism, no cockiness, none of her usual flair. She looked almost...sad.
Upon realizing who it was, she let out a sigh of relief and waved Jayce off, “What’re you doin’ here, Capt? Shouldn’t you be signing autographs for your adoring crowd?” Vi’s eyes flitted about and she frowned, “Are there more weirdos I need to punch? I could punch a few of them for ya.”
The memory of the many people at his door, and Vi shoving past all of them to create a pathway for him to go to his courtroom hearing popped to the front of his mind.
“No no, nothing like that. I was visiting my father’s grave. May I ask wh-”
“Still have time for that, huh, Mister Hero?” Vi tried to keep the subject off of her with her fast talk and mocking tone. “I’m surprised since you never came by to say, ‘hey Vi, thanks for babysitting my dumb ass,’ or, ‘sup Caitlyn, thanks for not putting me in jail with all the other pleasant convicts who would like t-”
“Why are you here, Vi?” Jayce interrupted. He was genuinely curious to know why she was here of all places.
The woman laughed and shrugged, her tone unchanging, “What? Is it so hard that people die for others too? Come on, Capt, that’s a dumb, insensitive question and you know it.”
Jayce stared at Vi. He leaned over and looked at the grave. In almost intelligible letters, it read, ‘Holly. For the flowers that never bloomed. Though others may forget, I will always remember you. ~Violet'
Vi instantly turned red with anger and hissed at Jayce. Her eyes narrowed with a murderous glint. “Who told you that name?!”
“It says Violet on the tombstone...Wait, Violet? Your name is Violet?”
Vi snorted and looked away, crossing her arms in frustration.
“I thought you said Vi stands for vice?” Jayce said with a slight smile as he remembered those conversations. “Or was it for vicious? Or for violence?”
Vi did not reply. She looked away from Jayce in complete silence. It was unnerving to see her like this.
“Vi, are you alright?”
“...Yeah. I am. It’s none of your concern, Jayce.” She waved him off, “Nice seeing you, drop by sometime at headquarters. You look dumb in all that stuff, and your gloves look like they need some calibrating or something.”
Jayce called out to Vi as she started to walk away, “You can talk to me, Vi. You know that, right?”
Vi stopped. She chuckled and threw Jayce a half grin, forcing her usual brash tone, “What were we doin’ just now? Were we playing vocal charades?”
Jayce stepped towards Vi, “I’m not joking, you can talk to me, Vi. I mean it. There’s...” He looked around and scratched his head, “Uh...I think south eastwards...a nice Ionian noodle place. Good food, good price, all that. They have real Ionian rice wine there too. Want some lunch?”
Vi snorted and burst out into a fit of laughter, “The hell is wrong with you? You feelin’ sorry for me or somethin’? Relax Jayce, I got this...” Her laughter died down as she shook her head, “This time, I got it.”
Vi blinked, realizing what she had said, and held her hands up while she attempted to justify herself under Jayce’s scrutinizing stare, “Wait, that sounded ominous and foreshadowy. What I meant was...” Her voice trailed off as she failed to find justification in what she had just said.
The two stood in silence for what seemed like an eternity. Jayce made the first move and took a step away from Vi. “If you do not want to talk, that’s alright. I’m going to the restaurant. I’d like it if you joined me, so we could talk, and catch up, but...” He began to walk away, “It’s your choice, Vi.”
He suddenly stopped and slapped the side of his head, “I forgot to do something. No wonder you’ve been so disdainful towards me!”
“Yeah? What’d you forget?” Vi grunted.
“I forgot to say thank you, for...Well, for being you,” he laughed awkwardly. “Cheesy, I know, but thank you. I wouldn’t have preferred anyone else’s company, especially your partner’s. No offense to him, but he’s almost insufferably boring sometimes, y’know? Can take a joke, can barely dish one out, right? And don’t get me started about talking to him about Quantum Magical theory, his left eye would start to twitch as his brain tried process...” He coughed in an attempt to cut himself off as he was getting off topic. “Anyway, thank you. I wouldn’t choose any other officer to watch over me during house arrest. Especially not Finnigen.”
Jayce waved at Vi, whose red face could be taken as either obscene amounts of anger, or obscene amounts of embarrassment. “I suppose I’ll see you later.”
Jayce had managed to take only five steps when the sound of Vi’s voice stopped him, “Her name was Holly.”
He stopped and turned back to Vi, who looked to one side and refused to meet his eyes. “I never had anyone. I’m an orphan. No ‘rents or siblings or anything like that. Grew up in a rough crowd. I learned a lot from ‘em. They were the closest thing to family I had.”
Jayce wanted to point out that he had heard this before, but she had said it with much more enthusiasm than how she was retelling it now. He went with his better judgement and stayed quiet.
“We did a job at a mine, screwed over a buncha good folks, and caused the mine to collapse. My gang wanted to leave ‘em behind, it didn’t sit right with me. I went in, improvised my gauntlets, and saved ‘em. Suddenly, I went from petty jobs to being able to level entire cavern walls, y’know? Got to my head. I was bloody invincible. People crumpled like paper before me, one good punch and they’d kiss the clouds. I wanted to make a difference, so I started helping out the good folks, stopping the scum from being scum and all that. Caitlyn found me, gave me a chance to be more. I took it, and I screwed up.”
Vi let out a single laugh in an attempt to calm herself. She brushed back her hair, her nerves starting to take effect as she bit her lower lip. “I didn’t follow orders. I never did, still don’t really unless I absolutely need to. I always did what I thought was best, and it worked. It always worked. I didn’t follow Cait’s orders, and she nearly died. Never seen her that bad, save for a few League matches. The scumbags that we were supposed to be after? They had a little girl. Name was Holly. She was...”
She laughed once more and shook her head, “She was a bloody little genius. The stuff she knew about explosives? Never seen from a scientist, never mind a little girl. She...Heh, she had no parents, no siblings, nuthin’ either. She was taken in and used for her talents.I felt bad, y’know? I wanted t’help her. She was forced t’make explosives for them.”
Vi turned her gauntlet downwards. She pointed at the various scratches that littered its sides. “I wanted to get her out, job almost complete, but me being me, I thought I could bust my way out. I did. I went head first, bullets everywhere, didn’t scratch me. They scratched Holly’s head.”
A loud, metallic clang rang out as she snapped her fingers, “Like that, there goes a little girl and her dreams of being something more than a two bit criminal making explosives. All she wanted was to light up the night sky with fireworks. She deserved to have that chance. Faster than I could react, she’s dead. All her hopes, all her dreams, everythin’ about her, gone. And that? That coulda been me in a heartbeat. I screwed up. I screwed up so hard, I got a little girl killed. And that coulda been me one year ago, ten years ago, fifteen years ago.”
Vi let out another laugh, but this time it matched her morose tone, “I’m surprised Caitlyn ever gave me a second chance. I wouldn’t have. I’d have my dumb ass carted off to jail for that. But...Caitlyn gave me another chance. Even gave me a partner that can put up with my ****. Despite what I say to her, I’m never gonna forget what she did.”
Vi looked behind her at the petite grave. With a slight nudge of her chin, she pointed at the tombstone, “Or her.”
Silence fell upon them once more. Jayce had noticed one peculiar habit of Vi’s while she was his “monitor”. Every now and then, once or twice a month, she’d disappear without a word and seemingly without a reason. The only reason he even noticed this was because there were a few times when she was supposed to be monitoring him, when she would suddenly become angry. As if she had forgotten to do something that day. But she would never say what it was she had to do, and then she would leave in a rush without another word. Whenever she returned, she played it off as if she had never left in the first place.
Jayce, once again, broke the silence. “...Still up for lunch?”
Vi raised an eyebrow, “Eh? What for? You got what you wanted.”
“I wanted to know why you were here. Thank you for telling me. I could tell it was hard,” Jayce replied in a soft voice. This quickly disappeared as he coughed and attempted to sound a bit more masculine, “However, I have missed...being around you. Want some lunch? I’ll pay.”
“What am I, a hooker?” Vi’s usual demeanor returned. “You tryin’ to say you can buy me with lunch?”
“Wait, what? No! I didn’t mean...No!” The Defender of Tomorrow raised his hands defensively, his hammer bumping off the back of his thigh. He spoke in a panicked tone now, “I meant I feel like I owe you for not coming to see you more often and I am now sticking my foot in my mouth and I really don’t want to be punched for this! I mean this in the nicest way-!”
“Yeah yeah, I know what ya mean. Gimme a sec.”
Vi walked over to Holly’s grave and reached into her breast pocket. She took out a small, conical object with a stick and a fuse, and placed it on top of the grave. She snapped her fingers which let out a spark and ignited the fuse. Vi took several steps back and watched as the fuse disappeared. The firework took off into the sky, and exploded in a mess of colors, resembling a bouquet of flowers.
“Heh...Getting better at this. Hope you saw that.” She gave a single wave at the grave, “Later, kid.”
Vi walked up to Jayce and grabbed his shoulder. She half dragged him as she took off in a fast walk, “And now we move.”
“It’s illegal to shoot off fireworks in Piltover, within the city limits. Thought you’d know that, Mister Genius.”
Jayce whipped his arm up and about Vi’s bicep. Before she could react, he flipped his arm around hers and interlocked her arm with his, “Then, as a certified genius, I suggest we move very quickly.” He shot her a quick smile as they both took off into a light jog.
Vi caught his smile and could not help but blush.
Once again, thank you KuzAnn, and go check her work out!
Let's try a hard bump.
A few months later, day before Snowdown
It was a League sanctioned match between champions of Piltover. On the Fields of Justice, they would not die, at least, not permanently. This was just one way for them to train, an enthusiastic spar if anything. They had to practice somehow. It was a simple three versus three team deathmatch. It was slightly different from other League matches, since it involved no Nexi to destroy, just a time limit and how many times one team could best the other.
Caitlyn checked her rifle. She made sure the magazine was loaded, she double checked the firing mechanism, the sights that she kept affixed on her top hat were lowered over her right eye and the lenses were cleaned of any smudges. She knelt down in the brush, took aim, and flicked her safety off.
Vi stood behind her, impatiently pacing and drumming her metallic fingers against her gauntlets. “Can we go now?”
“...How about now?”
“No. Wait for Janna.”
The lithe wind mage floated into the brush and announced her presence with a simple, airy sounding statement, “I have arrived.”
Caitlyn took aim.
She took a breath.
She exhaled, and fired.
The bullet tore across the field, and seemingly curved in order to correct its trajectory. Vi laughed and clapped Caitlyn’s shoulder with a bit too much enthusiasm. “Boom! Headshot! Ha ha!”
Vi took off running, following the bullet’s path.
Janna looked over at Caitlyn and pointed at Vi as the overzealous woman quickly disappeared through some trees. The wind mage’s voice sounded like it was echoing throughout a mountain range as she asked, “Is she always like that?”
The sheriff reached up to her shoulder and gave it a painful roll. A loud click of bone could be heard. “Yeah. She is.”
Heimerdinger was nearly a kilometer away, setting up his turret nest. The Yordle’s ridiculously large head bobbed about to the rhythm of his song while his spectacles twitched on his nose every other note. “There's antimony, arsenic, aluminum, selenium, and hydrogen and oxygen and nitrogen and rhenium, and nickel, neodymium, neptunium, germanium, and iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium, Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium, and lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium, and gold and protactinium and indium and gallium...”
He took a deep breath in, and was about to continue his song when a large steam golem stepped in front of him. The bullet shattered on the stomach of the golem, denting its steel exterior. The resulting shrapnel sounded like a small, brief hailstorm as it hit the ground in front of Blitzcrank.
Heimerdinger’s moustache twitched as he thanked the golem, “Blitzcrank! That timing was absolutely impeccable! Wondrous!”
“- IT - WAS - OF - NO - CONCERN - FOR - ME - - - YOU - ARE - WELCOME - PROFESSOR - - - ”
Heimerdinger twirled his moustache about, “Yes well, now we know where they are! All we need to do now...” He stopped and tilted his head, then readjusted his spectacles and squinted of into the distance. “Is...is that a woman running to us? Her trajectory suggests we are her target. Should we brace for impact or contact the mortician?”
Vi was tearing down the field, running at a ridiculous speed. Where her companions were, one could only guess, but the current main concern was that a woman with fists big enough to make even a golem envious was barreling straight toward them.
Blitzcrank readied its mighty fists, stepped out to meet their challenger, and took off in a puff of steam. With every step it took, one could easily mistake the sound of the golem gaining speed to the metallic clamor of a train.
Vi grinned as the golem sped towards her. She was expecting someone else, but this would be a good warm up. The golem’s hand twitched once, and shot out in a burst of steam. The large hand hurtled towards her, open and ready to grab her. The size of the hand made it easy enough for the golem to wrap its steel fingers around the waist of even the fattest League champion.
The imagery of Gragas being reeled in popped into Vi’s head. The thought of a fat man flying through the air made her laugh. With a sniffle and a grin, she barrelled head first towards the speeding hand.
Vi fell back and slid on the ground, barely missing the outstretched fingers of Blitzcrank. She went with her gut instinct and tumbled forward as she got closer to him. When Vi was close enough, she launched herself into the air, her fists ready to make first contact. The golem took an offensive stance, ready to meet her fist with its own, when the flash of an electrical current caught the corner of Vi’s eyes. A figure rushed forward, the glint of gold ever brighter from the electricity that crackled from its source: A hammer.
Vi raised her left arm up to her chest as the hammer slammed into her gauntlet, throwing her back and away from the golem and the new challenger. She lowered her gauntlet, her grin now an honest to goodness smile.
Jayce had appeared. He patted Blitzcrank’s side and said in a confident voice, “Leave her to me, golem.”
“- ARE - YOU - SURE - JAYCE - ? - - -”
“Watch out for Caitlyn and Janna. Cait used the wind to alter her bullet’s path so we can’t expect them to come from this way, they’ll probably go around and try and take the professor out quietly. Go look after him.” Jayce swung the hammer about his body for a bit, showing off a few simple tricks before he stopped and tightened his grip on its haft. “I’ll deal with her myself.”
“ - IF - YOU - SAY - SO - - - I - WILL - LEAVE - YOU - TWO - BE - - -” The golem walked away, apparently happy beyond reason. That is, one could assume such a thing if the golem had any facial expressions whatsoever. “- MY - CALCULATIONS - ARE - CORRECT - - - MY - EQUATION - HAS - BEEN - TRULY - PERFECTED - - -!”
Vi readjusted her gauntlets, smiling at Jayce. She fluffed her hair back and cricked her knuckles, “I was wondering when you’d appear, Capt! Come on, bring the golem back.” She wiped the tip of her nose with her knuckles, her tone mocking him, “It’s the only way you’ll have a chance. I’m a one girl wrecking crew, and you’re...Well, you’re you.”
Jayce tested the weight of his hammer. His face twisted into the appearance of mock fear as he shrugged, “Hm...A one girl wrecking crew versus the future of weaponry and technology. What should I do...? Ah!” He flicked the side of his head as though he had come upon a great revelation. “I know! I’ll give you a choice!”
Jayce clicked a button which made the bottom of the hammer’s shaft explode in a burst of fire. It sent him propelling several meters to the sky when it abruptly stopped. He plummeted to the ground and landed with a thundering crash. The landing was perfect, his hammer in front of him, the scorched earth around him, and that smile on his face. “Feel free to give up now.”
Vi placed one of her gauntlets beneath her chin. She seemingly stroked it as her smile widened, as though she were lost in thought. “Hmm...You know, I really do like your smile.” She took off running directly toward him. Her fist crackled with energy as she flew through the air, aiming at the chest of the Defender. A slight change in trajectory made her nearly take his head clean off with an uppercut. If it weren’t for the fact that Jayce blocked the strike using his hammer, he would have been messily decapitated.
“Gives me something to aim at,” she laughed as she leapt back to gain some distance. Vi readied her fists again, a devilish glint in her eyes.
The Defender rushed forward, fire and electricity roaring out from his hammer as he swung at her. Her fist rocketed forward, aiming straight at his jaw while his hammer aimed at the side of her head. They both thought they were faster than the other, that if they had managed to land the hit, the impact would push their opponent away and leave the victorious one unscathed.
The two called out in unison, “Power slam!”
The hammer connected with Vi’s face while her fist connected with Jayce’s jaw in the exact same moment. Instead of flying back, they just stood in place, the whites of their eyes seemingly staring at one another. Neither of them moved, that is, until Janna floated by, screaming, “AHHHH!”
Blitzcrank thundered behind her, shooting its fists wildly at her in its attempt to grab her. She was barely able to dodge the onslaught of grabby hands.
“Stop that you awful, pervy robot!”
“-HAH-HAH-HAH- - - I - HAVE - NO - IDEA - WHAT - THAT - MEANS - - - BUT - IT - ACTIVATES - MY - LAUGHTER - BOX - - -”
“You don’t have a laughter box!”
“- I - INSTALLED - IT - - - JUST - A - FEW - DAYS - AGO - - -”
Janna stopped and tilted her head in confusion for a brief moment. “Huh...That makes no sense...”
“-YES - - - YES - IT - DOES - - - ” Its arm rocketed out again, “- I - WILL - GET - YOU - AND - YOUR - SMALL - ELEMENTAL - PET - TOO - - -”
Janna shrieked in mock terror as she held up her staff, “EEEEEE!” A vicious gust of wind roared out from her, sending the golem tumbling through the air.
Blitzcrank’s body sailed far too easily for something its weight. “-THIS - MAKES - NO - SENSE - - - HOW - AM - I - FLYING - LIKE - THIS - - - ?”
The golem could see Vi and Jayce rapidly approaching. It waved its large hand at its teammate, “- JAYCE - - - I - AM - AN - INCOMING - PROJECTILE - - - MOVE - OUT - OF - THE - WAY - - - !”
Blitzcrank plummeted to the ground, its steel body skipping from the force of the impact and spun through the air. It eventually landed mere feet away from them, sliding closer and closer. The golem’s head touched the heel of Jayce’s boot, which made the Defender of Tomorrow, along with his opponent, collapse at the same time.
A loud voice called out, “FIRST BLOOD! BLITZCRANK HAS SLAIN JAYCE! BLITZCRANK HAS SLAIN VI! DOUBLE KILL!” The announcer could be heard attempting to stifle her laughter of what had just occurred.
“- - - WHAT - - -”
After the match had ended, Vi stormed into the lobby. She grumbled aloud, “I can’t believe Blitz took the credit for that first kill. Friggin’ cheating robot...” Her eyes flitted about, trying to find the man she was looking for. She found him quite easily due to his large golden hammer towering over everyone’s head. She raised a gauntleted hand and waved wildly at him, “Hey! Jayce! Hey!”
The Defender seemed to be already looking for someone when he spotted her. He smiled that damn, handsome smile of his and made his way over to her. He pushed past the other champions that were also occupying the lobby. Jayce waved back at her, “Vi, that first kill with you and me-”
“Hitting each other at the same time?! That was a-ma-zing!”
“And we both yelled at the same time-”
The two of them laughed in unison. Vi slapped Jayce’s arm humorously, leaving a large bruise.“Then the next fight! Bwa ha ha! I totally got your spleen! You were all, ‘oh no my spleen! My precious organ!’ And then Janna took the kill and I was all like, ‘The ****, Janna?! Why do you gotta steal my kills?!’” Vi laughed once more, “What’s with the damn support taking all the kills?!”
“You seem to be forgetting what happened after that!”
“Please, that makes you seem important! We’re talking about me here!”
Jayce raised an eyebrow. “It’s not my fault you grabbed the end of my hammer when it was in mid transformation!” He burst out laughing, “Although I have to admit that it was really funny when you flew into the tree!” Jayce’s demeanor instantly darkened as he grumbled aloud, “Except the tree took my kill...Damn, stupid tree...”
Vi pressed her fingers on her ear as she mimicked the voice of the announcer, “A TREE HAS SLAIN VI. JAYCE SUCKS TOO MUCH TO DO IT HIMSELF.”
They both burst out in another fit of loud laughter, unaware of the disturbance they were causing. They were drawing annoyed looks as other champions started to move away from the rambunctious duo.
Jayce wiped a tear away from the corner of his left eye, reining himself in for what he wanted to say. “Hey, Vi? Can I ask you something?”
“Sure ya can, Capt!” Vi let out a sharp breath of air in an attempt to blow her hair away from her face. “Whatcha want?”
“Can you come with me? Just for a minute, I won’t-”
“Yeah sure.” She clicked her heels together and saluted him, “I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth, oh captain my captain!”
Jayce laughed and started to walk away. Vi easily kept his pace and walked alongside him, wondering where he was going, and where he was taking her.
Blitzcrank, however, was attempting to gather the attention of its fellow champions as it spouted something about having finally perfected its equation. It would prove it by using Ezreal as an example to find his perfect match. An idea that the young, blonde explorer found to be absolutely abysmal.
“Blitzcrank! I said stop!”
“- BUT - I - MUST - FIND - IT - FOR - YOU - - -”
“No! No spoilers! I want to find out myself!”
“- AND - HOW - HAS - THAT - WORKED - OUT - FOR - YOU - - - ?”
“...Shut up!” Ezreal promptly stormed off, leaving Blitzcrank to find some other poor, lonely soul to use his lovely equation on.
Jayce eventually led Vi to a balcony. It had a thick layer of snow blanketing it. He didn’t seem to mind as he stepped out, his boots crunching the white underneath. His outfit kept him warm, while the combination of Vi’s clothing and the residual thermal energy from her gauntlets kept her warm. Vi looked around, “Mm...I can see what’s going on here.”
“You...You can?” He almost seemed dismayed at such a thought.
“Yeah, you brought me out here to murder me.” Vi looked around, scanning the scene about them. She frowned playfully, “It’s a terrible place to do so. The League would totally know, and-”
“Vi, I’m serious.”
“Oh you’re going to seriously kill me? Eh, I knew it had to be you or that Yordle, Timo, or whatever the little shnook’s name is. Creepy little b-”
Vi cringed. She looked at Jayce with a glare that would make even the most hardened criminals soil themselves, and actually had several times. “Got my attention. What is it.”
“Ah...It’s a little early, but I wasn’t sure when I’d see you and it is Snowdown Eve, so...” Jayce reached into his coat pocket. He took out a small box, perfectly wrapped in violet colored wrapping paper with golden bow. “Happy Snowdown.”
Vi reached out to grab it, only to realize her gauntlets were far too large to grab a delicate gift such as this. She reached over at her left gauntlet, clicked a few buttons and flipped a few switches. The sound of metal churning was suddenly heard. She slipped off her left gauntlet, and attached it to her backpack. A solid click was heard. The same sounds were heard as she repeated the same procedure on her right gauntlet and affixed it beneath her other glove.
It was still strange to see how small her arms truly were when compared to the size of her gauntlets. She reached over and took the present from Jayce.
“What is it? What is it?!” She bounced up and down with excitement, as if she were a child who had just woken up for Snowdown. “Can I open it? Can I? Can I?!”
“Well, you’re supposed to wait for tomorrow, but knowing y-”
Jayce did not have a chance to finish his sentence as Vi tore the carefully wrapped gift apart. She flipped the box open and her smile widened as her eyes lit up.
“Is...Is this what I think it is?”
“It is...and it isn’t,” Jayce admitted.
Vi reached into the box and lifted a blue crystal out of it. The spherical crystal’s circumference easily fit in the palm of her hand. She turned and twisted it every which way, “It’s one of your power crystals, right?”
“Yeah, it is. Based on the research and the matrix of the original one, the one that Viktor stole.”
“Heard these went into mass production, but...” Vi continued to analyze it, her tone lit with excitement and curiosity. “They’re only as big as a coin, those ones. Rectangular, too. Not meant for a huge output, easily overloaded if you’re not careful with how you’re using them. Why is this one-”
“I formed it myself. After figuring out the energy matrix, it is a simple manner of replication into a magically infused crystal during the growing process. Though it’s nowhere close to the original, it should help improve your backpack’s power output by fifty seven percent at the very least, and it will keep a charge for longer periods of time than your current setup.”
Vi placed the crystal back into the box, “Thanks, sweetie. That was nice of you.”
“You...” Jayce fixed his collar nervously. “You missed the other gift. Underneath the crystal.”
Vi raised an eyebrow in suspicion. She reached for the padding that the crystal rested on, and pulled it upwards. Before anything else, she took the crystal out of the box once more and pocketed it. She pulled the padding off, and let out a light, uncontrolled gasp. It was very hard to surprise her, but she was legitimately surprised.
Underneath the padding were two pairs of small, silver ringed earrings. Simple and elegant in design, and had been polished to a brilliant shine.
“I, ah...I thought that they would suit you. Not that I don’t mind how you look, you look fine to me, but I thought you’d-”
Vi patted Jayce’s cheek, “Give me a minute, kay, Jayce?”
A silence fell upon them. Vi stared at the earrings for what seemed like an eternity. Then she finally spoke and simply asked, “Why?”
Jayce laughed and smiled, continuing to readjust his collar nervously. “Well...I thought...You’d like them. From a friend to another friend. I thought they they suited you, and I wanted to show that you mean a lot to me. As a friend, you know? We have one another. I mean, as friends of course.” He became increasingly flustered the longer he spoke, “And I know you’d appreciate a good power crystal, good source of energy and I thought maybe I should also get you something a bit more personal but I wasn’t too sure how personal-”
“Jayce?” Her tone was alien to him. He could not put his finger on what it sounded like. From almost anyone else, he would say it sounded...amorous.
“...Yes?” He readied himself for some sort of strike, some sort of sharp tongued thing for her to say.
“Shut up already.”
Vi leaned over and gave him a quick peck on his lips.
Jayce felt as though Vi had just slapped him. Actually, he would have preferred that. He would know how to react. Jayce would have to approach this very carefully, and very suavely.
The two sort of stared at one another, looking off to the side and not quite making eye contact, unsure of what to do now. The sound of a clock ticking filled their ears. They turned to the door and stared at the source. Both of them went as pale as death.
A clockwork girl stared at the two of them. Her glistening silver and gold gilded body mechanically clicked and moved constantly. It was as though it attempted the organic movements of a delicate youth yet failed to do so with every twitch and jerk of her limbs. Her soulless eyes seemed to bore into their own. Held in her arms was a large, metal ball that had a lens of some sort embedded in its center. The clockwork girl asked in an eerily robotic voice, “-What-are you doing-out- here? Is it not- cold - for you?”
Vi and Jayce looked at one another, not exactly sure how to respond.
Jayce decided to try and speak to the robot girl, “...It’s a bit cold, Orianna. But-”
“I have-heard that - by hugging - you are able - to share -body - heat - - - Is that not - right - Ball?”
The lens in the sphere popped out via a telescopic arm. It swiveled and swerved about and nodded happily.
“See? You - should - hug one another - - - Keep one - another - warm - - -”
This caused Vi and Jayce grab one another in a tight, frightened embrace. Jayce could not wrap his arms around the entirety of Vi’s gauntlets, and had to hug her by her waist. Perhaps too low for comfort of most people.
Orianna’s robotic, monotonous laughter filled the air. Her shining metal face cracked as her silver lips bent upwards into an artificial smile. “That is - a pleasant - scene - - - You look - like - you really - like - one another - - -” The Ball in her arms bobbed up and down excitedly once more. “It is good - to see - Cait-Lyn’s - friends happy- this Eve - - - I am - sure - Cait - Lyn - would - agree - - -”
Orianna politely curtsied to them. Her legs bent themselves in a seemingly impossible manner, save for perhaps the most flexible, double jointed ballerina. “Have - a fair - night - friends of - Cait - Lyn - - - I shall - go - home and - celebrate Snowdown - with my - father and - the Ball - - - The Ball - is - happy - tonight - - - It does - not wish - to flay your - skin - - -”
She let out another round of mechanical laughter, “- That was - a joke - - - A - fair night - - - Friends - of Cait-Lyn - - - A - fair night - to - the - both of - you - - -”
With that, the clockwork girl walked away. She hummed aloud in a single note in what she thought to be a Snowdown carol and leaving the severely creeped out couple alone on the balcony.
“Your hands are on my butt.”
“Hm? Oh. Oh!”
Jayce was about to lift them off when Vi tightened her hug around his arms.
“I didn’t say stop.”
Vi leaned forward once more, and gently kissed Jayce. He thought it was strange for a woman as brash and abrasive as Vi to be so gent-
Then he found himself swept off his feet. Jayce was nearly suspended in midair as he was tilted back while Vi deepened the kiss between them. Several seconds passed before she released the two of them and allowed the Defender of Tomorrow to stand on his own and to catch his breath. His hammer had almost slid out of its case from the severe angle that she had tilted his entire body down to.
Once she helped him back to his feet, Vi grabbed his hand and started dragging him. In her other hand, she securely held the box with the earrings.
“Where are we going?”
“My place? For what?”
“For Snowdown. I’m staying the night,” Vi stated. The tone in her voice made it sound like a finalized decision, a point that could not be argued in any shape or form.
Jayce decided to go with his better judgement and stepped in pace with Vi. He walked hand in hand with the violent, brash girl that he had come to find as more than a friend.
Once more, a big shout out to Kuz for all of her work, her editing, her influence and all of her being able to put up with me! A late Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best!
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