It was rare for Caitlyn to feel like a complete idiot, but then again it was rare for her to stand outside Vi’s house waiting.
Well, it wasn't really waiting. More like delaying, postponing, idling and all manner of synonyms that basically meant she was waiting outside her partner’s house.
Work partner! She clarified to herself Just a work partner…
She squeezed the flowers in her hands and thought of the dinner reservation she had arranged for tonight.
Caitlyn, decorated police officer and sheriff of Piltover, hesitating.
She took another long breath, not for the first time, and let it out, trying to summon all her courage.
What could go wrong? She tried to reassure herself The worst that could happen is that she says no.
A moment went by.
Then she rejects you completely and cuts you off from her entire life and leaves you alone like the idiot you are.
“Oh for gods’ sake brain, why can't you just cooperate for once?!”
“...And they think I’m the crazy one” A young voice spoke out from the doorway ahead of her.
Caitlyn jumped, letting out an embarrassing squeal.
Powder stood in the open doorway, lazily spinning a pair of keys in one finger as she looked at her with a raised brow.
The Sheriff of Piltover cleared her throat and tried vainly to muster up what bits of shredded dignity she could get “Ah, Powder. Nice to see you” She said, far too fast and not at all lying “I was-”
“Hanging around our house like a creepy stalker?” Powder suggested oh so helpfully.
Caitlyn fought down the indignation because by all the gods that annoying little brat was right “Ahem, ehm. Well. In any case, is Vi-”
“She’s out buttercup”
Caitlyn felt the wind taken out of her “Oh...oh, uhm”
“Pow? There someone at the door?” Vi called out from inside the house.
Caitlyn’s eyes narrowed into slits.
Powder stopped playing with the keys.
There was a moment of silence.
Caitlyn launched herself at the door just as Powder made to shut it.
Her booted toe jammed into the gap just in time to stop it from closing. “Powder gods dammit!” She growled, trying to keep her voice a mutter despite her anger “Open the door!”
“Fuck off, she’s not interested!” Powder’s voice was also barely above a murmur and just as equally angry. “Sister-stealing bitch!”
“I am not stealing anything!”
“Fuck off already!”
“Vi!” Caitlyn called out “Hey Vi!”
“Fuck! Shut-” Powder was about to stamp on her toe but Vi, thankfully, came down the stairs just at the right time.
The little hellion did suddenly open the door though and Caitlyn nearly fell over.
Then she did when Powder swept her leg while she was trying to recover her balance.
“Oof!” Caitlyn groaned as she face-planted the ground, then aimed a glare at Powder who whistled far too innocently.
Even Vi wasn't buying it “Powder! Don't be rude” she admonished as she reached down and helped her partner up, brushing the dust off her clothes.
Caitlyn eyed Powder from the corner of her vision and saw the girl glower at her. Ha, take that!
She really shouldn't have been relishing a ‘victory’ over a girl several years younger than her, but Powder had it coming!
“You alright there partner?” Vi asked.
Taking her eyes away from Powder, Caitlyn's reply was caught in her throat as she saw Vi.
Vi, who looked like they had just come out of a shower with her wild, wet hair, a plain tank top and a towel around her hips that did not hide abs that could grind rock.
Oh momma. Caitlyn see. Caitlyn like.
“Cait?” Vi’s fingers snapped in front of her “You okay?”
Caitlyn swallowed “Uh-yeah, yeah i'm good” she shook her head.
Well, now or never.
“I just came by to ask-”
“Hey Vi, you ready to go?” Powder slid in between them, literally, pushing her and Vi away.
Vi raised her brows at her younger sister, missing the death-glare Caitlyn sent at the back of the young woman’s head.
“Go where?” Vi looked confused.
“Go” Powder pointed outside “You know, to that thing, that we do, at this time” The youngest woman among them continued to gesture outside, fingers nearly slapping Caitlyn and the Sheriff did not think it was an accident.
Vi stared at her sister for a long moment, trying to figure out what puzzle she was being asked to solve before eventually giving up “Uh huh. Right...Hey, I'm getting a bit chilly, let me put on some clothes and I’ll be right with ya Cait”
Oh no, we can talk just like this Caitlyn's embarrassing mind helpfully thought as she watched Vi go back up the stairs.
“Hey, eyes down here perv!” Powder slid into her vision and Caitlyn glared.
“Powder, why don't you outside and play with your crayons, the adults need to talk”
Powder scoffed “You look like you’ll do more than wag your tongue, or maybe that's exactly what you wanna do, you perv!”
Caitlyn hated how her cheeks heated up “Powder!” she nearly screamed, though it came out as a near whisper “I have no untoward intentions for your sister!”
“You’re damn right you don't! She is right outta your league!” Powder whisper-shouted at her face
Caitlyn growled “I am her partner-”
“-work partner!” Powder clarified
“Her partner!” Caitlyn threw back, letting her rage fuel her as she pressed her forehead against Powders' “I’ve known her for years, I've fought alongside her, I’ve bled with her, I’ve carried her from the deepest fissures of Zaun to the highest tower of Piltover, so I damn well know I am the right woman-”
“Nice to see you guys getting along” Vi commented with a snicker from the top of the stairs.
Powder and Caitlyn drew back, realising how close they had been, then glared at each other.
“So, what you here for partner?” Vi asked a while later as they all sat in the living room “Trouble at the station?”
Caitlyn took a moment to shake her head, eyes roving around at the decoration, mostly the pictures of Vi, none of which the brawler was ever alone in. She was always with Powder, sometimes Ekko and a lot of them were with her as well.
She tapered down the satisfied smile at that last bit “I was just wondering if you had any plans for tonight”
“We’re going to watch a movie!” Powder cut in, putting her arm around Vi and glaring from behind her sister’s head at Caitlyn.
Vi laughed “Tomorrow Pow. Gangs of Zaun comes out tomorrow”
“Tonight?” Caitlyn asked before Powder could say anything else.
“I think I'm free, what did you have in mind?”
Vi was looking at her with curiosity which Caitlyn took as a good sign “I made dinner-”
A frantic knocking of the door caught all of their attention, though Caitlyn checked Powder just to make sure the little devil hadnt somehow engineered this.
Doesn't look like it.
She did not wipe her suspicions though.
It was Vi that answered the door “Yeah?”
“Vi?” Ekko asked “There's some trouble brewing down in third fissure, could use your talking skills”
Listening in, Caitlyn could have screamed.
WHY NOW?! WHY HER?!
Powder sighed, even she didn't look happy at the news.
“Dammit” Vi cursed, then looked back over at them “Cait, could you look after Powder for me? Don't think it’s a good idea either of you going down there”
Caitlyn furrowed her brows “Vi, you’re an enforcer too technically” she pointed out.
“What you mean you’re going down there on your own?!” Powder questioned at the same time.
Both looked at each other, then scoffed and looked away.
“I mean Pow I do not need heavy fire support against angry miners and it may make them take out the dynamite if they see you, both of you. I still have rep here and Ekko will keep me company”
Said man nodded towards them “She’ll be alright girls don't worry”
Both Vi and Powder sighed.
“I don't need a babysitter” Powder complained as Vi was preparing to leave, glaring at Caitlyn.
Vi laughed “Cait, could you take Pow and shop for some supplies? Been meaning to do it but kept putting it off”
It was a thin excuse to keep Powder from following and Caitlyn was very tempted to say no, but she knew better than leaving the little demolitionist unsupervised. Plus, it was a request from Vi.
She was hardly going to turn that down.
“Okay, can do” She said with as much fake enthusiasm as she could muster.
Vi gave her a beaming smile that melted her heart and sent flutters in her stomach “Thanks, partner” the brawler said, putting a hextech gauntlet gently on her shoulder.
“No problem, partner” Caitlyn replied with a smile of her own.
Meanwhile, she ignored Powder gagging in the background.
“You know you don't have to do this right? You could just say I got out from under you. And not the way you’re thinking, perv”
Caitlyn, Sheriff of Piltover, rolled her eyes for about the thousandth time the last hour “No, Powder, I will not lie to my partner and I am very sure I won't let you go”
Powder blew her a raspberry “Boooringgg….”
The pair certainly drew their fair share of looks from the citizens of Piltover but Caitlyn’s presence was reassuring enough that they did little more than stare.
“So, what else do we have to get?” The sheriff pushed on, because as much as it was an excuse to keep Powder away the household did actually need supplies.
“Errr….” Powder checked the list Vi handed them “We got the food, the cleaning stuff, what else...oh, ‘get something nice for each other’”
They stared at each for a long moment, both having the same questioning expression.
It was a long, long moment.
To Caitlyn’s surprise, Powder broke the incredibly awkward silence first “Sooo….” She dragged the word out “....what ya feelin?”
The older woman couldn't really think of anything as a reply “Uh...you first?”
Caitlyn wouldn't admit it, but it was a cute face.
“Don't cop out on me...hehe, cop out. Get it?” The demolitionist elbowed her “‘Cus you’re a cop?”
Caitlyn stopped herself from rolling her eyes.
She sighed instead, then snorted a little when Powder continued to elbow her saying “Eh? Eh? Eh?”
“Come on! It’s funny!” Powder threw her hands up and rolled her eyes theatrically.
Caitlyn gave her a smile and a light chuckle “It was bad”
“Yeah it was awful” Powder readily agreed.
Before the recently cleared air could turn into thick awkwardness again, something caught Caitlyn’s eye.
“Huh…” she muttered as she approached.
“What caught yer eye?” Powder slid up next to her, then looked at where Caitlyn was looking.
It was a three piece suit with a light-blue jacket, ivory-white vest with pants and a shirt matching the jacket. A gold mantle was mounted around the shoulders with a perfectly matching gold tie completing the set, with a deep-red rose in the breast pocket adding just the perfect contrast to the rest of the colours.
“Huh” Powder repeated “Looks fancy”
“I think Vi would look good in it” She admitted without thought, caught up in inspecting it
It was a few seconds later that Caitlyn realised Powder hadn’t made a joke about her less that hidden desire for her partner, so she looked up to see the younger woman was looking at an array of belts, what looked like a matching set.
Full leather with fine-worked silver buckles and various silver clasps, it looked like a set suited for a person who wanted to carry a lot of small things.
The sheriff considered for a moment, looking between the suit and the belts.
“You really didn't have to…” Powder said quietly, running her new belts through her hands.
They were fancy, even the leather having been worked to depict images of beasts and forests and the engraved silver buckles polished to a shine.
Caitlyn sighed “You...deserve them, Powder. I apologise for insinuating, but I assume you didn't receive many gifts growing up”
Powder bit her lip and shook her head after a moment “No” she said simply.
She was surprised to feel Caitlyn’s hand on her shoulder, though the woman pulled it back when she jerked away by instinct.
Caitlyn was shocked, but she soon smiled and didn't comment on it.
“Vi talks about you a lot when we’re on the beat” She said a while later as they found a park to sit down in.
Powder eyed her, trying not to sound too interested “Oh? What she say? That I'm the coolest person ever? That I make the biggest bangs?”
“That she’s proud of you”
The jokes died in Powder’s mouth and she suddenly felt very uncomfortable.
But not enough to just leave.
“That she regrets a lot of things, but she will never regret the pain in getting you back”
Powder coughed in lieu of saying anything, taking a moment go gather herself “Huh...You guys talk some deep shit then”
Caitlyn smirked “We do. We talk about Piltover and Zaun, how to mend bridges and make a future both can look forward to. We talk about us and what we would like to do in the future”
The awkwardness was palpable, or was that just her? Caitlyn seemed like she wasn't feeling it going by her relaxed posture on the bench while Powder herself was almost curled into a ball.
Despite that though, she couldn't help her curiosity. “What...would you like to do in the future?”
There, it was a good try right?
“I want to be with Vi”
Rage surged in her, a familiar and almost comforting feeling.
Along with it came fear as well.
She leapt up and faced the enforcer, face set in a snarl.
“Vi says she’ll go wherever you go”
Powder's heated words failed to come through and she was left staring dumbly at Caitlyn.
Caitlyn who, now that Powder was closer, was holding herself a little too tight, a little too rigidly to be comfortable and clearly forcing her hands to stay on her knees.
Who looked like they were as uncomfortable and as afraid as she was.
“Whenever I ask her about the future, Vi cant see one without you” Caitlyn continued, face set in stone but one that was cracking, with how her tongue was nervously moistening her lips and how she coughed and cleared her throat every now and then.
Powder didn’t know what to say.
What could she say?
I wont ever let you go again. She remembered the promise made on that dark night, on their reunion after so long, after so much suffering.
Powder swallowed the tears and sat back down.
Caitlyn, without a word, gently placed a handkerchief on her lap.
“She’ll say yes” Powder said suddenly as they approached her house.
It took Caitlyn a moment to understand and when she did she paused.
“Oh” Was all she said.
Powder continued on to unlock the door, not daring to look back “She likes you too”
It hurt to admit. It hurt a LOT, but she felt like she had to say it.
“Vi talks about you like you’re the only thing in the world sometimes” Powder continued as she placed down the groceries, still refusing to look at the older woman behind her.
“Oh” Caitlyn repeated.
“She gets worried if she doesn't hear from you and panics if you’re gone for more than half a day”
Powder focused on sorting the food and storing it in their fancy hex-tech powered ice-box “She thinks about you all the time, how she can take more work off your shoulders so you don't get stressed, how she can make sure you get to see your mom and dad-”
Powder froze as Caitlyn put a hand gently on her shoulder.
Slowly, arms wrapped around her from behind and she was pulled into a warm embrace.
“I’ll never take her away from you Powder. I promise”
Powder couldn't stop the tears.
Vi came home earlier than expected, just as Caitlyn and Powder were cleaning up the last bits of shopping.
“You okay Vi?” Caitlyn was the first to ask.
“Yeah yeah I'm fine” Vi waved her away, taking off her gauntlets “Just a couple of’ people needed talking to is all, plus a foreman who needed a little convincing to listen to his workers” Vi shook her head “Anyway, still got an evening, you said you had something planned?”
Caitlyn was surprised, almost having forgotten why she came here in the first place. “Ah-”
She cut herself off, then looked at Powder.
The younger woman met her eyes, then looked away and nodded, almost like she was resigned.
Caitlyn looked back at Vi “...Yeah, I said I’d make dinner. For you. All of you”
Vi gave her a surprised look but Caitlyn was focused on Powder.
It took a moment for the younger woman to register the words, at which point she looked up at her, confused.
Caitlyn smiled “How’s Demacian chicken sound?”
Powder leaned back with a happy sigh, patting her full and warm belly. “Mhm, didn't know you could cook, Copper”
Vi gave her actions to that effect, diving in for the last bits. “Arh, sho gewd” she said around a mouthful.
Caitlyn laughed and Powder could admit it was a pretty laugh. “I’ll have to make it some more in the future”
Vi swallowed the food in her mouth in one go “I, for one, would love that. Powder?”
Powder looked up to see Vi and Caitlyn looking at her.
She met their eyes in turn, from Vi’s familiar grey-blue to Cait’s clearer sky blue.
Caitlyn looked nervous. Hopeful, but if a look could say “It’s okay if you say no” then hers was it.
Powder bit her lip.
“Well, you better make more next time, gotta feed an ox” She said, gesturing to Vi.
Caitlyn looked shocked, unable to help the smile forming on her face.
Vi lunged at her and tried to tickle her to death.
“Vi! Dammit! Hahaha! Vi! Hahaha!”
Powder could hear Caitlyn’s pretty laughter alongside her’s and Vi’s.
It sounded like it fit.