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PB&J

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Caitlyn is up late burning the midnight oil when she hears scuttling along the rooftop. At first, she’s ready to shrug it off as rats, before she remembers that she’s in Piltover, not Zaun, and at her parents’ estate at that. There are no rodents inhabiting the Kiramman residence, unless you include the occasional visit from Professor Heimerdinger. 

 

Cautiously, Caitlyn reaches over to palm her custom-made HexTech revolver. With a smooth flick of the wrist, she checks that there are bullets loaded in the barrel, then flicks her wrist once more to click the barrel in place. 

 

Loose sheets and parchments — all related to the latest case regarding Noxus’s involvement in the sabotage of the Hexgates — are quickly pinned to the table by whatever paperweights she can find, and then she’s up on her feet, taking care not to make any undue noise that could potentially scare away the would-be-burgular.

 

Caitlyn slowly creaks open her bedroom door, peeking through to look for any sign of movement or abnormality. She finds none. The door swings open in earnest then, once she knows it wouldn’t make any more sound, and she begins her careful search of the premise. 

 

The first thing she considers is of her parents and their safety; did they hear the noise as well? Or are they fast asleep? She should make sure they’re alright first. Even though her mother is an ace with the rifle, Caitlyn still worries, especially since the noise outside has stopped. 

 

Given that the Kiramman estate is isolated by a few thousand square feet of land, there’s no doubt in Caitlyn’s mind that whoever is here came with a purpose. And she wouldn’t put it past a malicious, power-hungry Piltover aristocrat or a spiteful Zaunite with a grudge to have planned an assassination attempt on her mother. 

 

With that thought fueling her anxiety, Caitlyn renews her focus and carefully begins inching towards her parents’ bedroom. 

 

Halfway down the hall, she hears the floorboard creak from behind her. Spinning around, Caitlyn cocks the hammer back and readies her gun. 

 

Nothing.

 

“That was pretty slick, Big Hat.”

 

‘Shit,’ Caitlyn thinks, but before she can fire her gun at the speaker, they swoop down from the ceiling rail they had perched themselves on and knock Caitlyn to the floor with a well-aimed kick. 

 

The next few moments happen in a flurry of movements; Caitlyn rolls onto all fours just in time to dodge the bullet to her head, then scrambles to her feet, closing the distance between herself and the assailant with an instep Vi had taught her. 

 

“What are you doing here Jinx?” Caitlyn hisses, levelling her revolver to the criminal’s head. Likewise, Jinx has her gun pointed at Caitlyn, positioned near her heart. 

 

“Just thought I’d drop by and say ‘hi’, it’s been too long,” Jinx replies with a shit-eating grin.

 

And hasn’t it? It’s been approximately three months since their Vi and Caitlyn last saw her, when she had gone on a joyride that spanned both Zaun and Piltover and devastated at least one-quarter of all pre-existing infrastructure with a series of coloured explosives that — quite literally — painted the town red. 

 

“Didja miss me?” Jinx asks, pressing the cold barrel of her pistol against the side of Caitlyn’s breast. The thin fabric of Caitlyn’s nightshirt did little to hide her body’s reaction to the chill.

 

Jinx giggles. “Ooh, someone’s getting excited~”

 

“Shut up,” Caitlyn growls, returning the favour by pressing her revolver harder against Jinx’s temple. “Answer my question, Jinx.” 

 

“Can’t it be because I missed you?”

 

“As if I’d believe that.” 

 

Jinx laughs, and the oddly staccatoed sound makes Caitlyn wince. This moment of hesitation is enough for Jinx to duck away from the barrel of Caitlyn’s gun and headbutt her hard in the chin. 

 

“Fuck!” Caitlyn grunts, then freezes in place once she realises that Jinx is in control now. She eyes the gun levelled at her forehead nervously. 

 

“You want my honest answer, Big Hat?” 

 

Caitlyn grits her teeth and readies herself for the inevitable. She knew what she signed up for when she took the job as Enforcer, and she’d be damned if she allowed herself to go down screaming and crying because she found herself on the wrong foot. She just wishes that she could have told her parents she loves them one last time. And Vi… she wishes she told Vi—

 

“—I dunno,” Jinx says seriously. 

 

“You— you don’t know ?” Caitlyn blusters. “You break into my house, threaten me with a gun, because you— you don’t know ?”

 

Jinx shrugs. “Thought it’d be fun. It’s… eh, it’s okay.” 

 

“Unbelievable,” Caitlyn hisses. The indignancy, the rage, the sleep deprivation, it all boils over as Caitlyn reaches up to knock Jinx’s gun aside. It fires and blasts a chunk of the house open, raining sparks, wood, and concrete all around them. “You!—”

 

“You…” Caitlyn trails off, wide eyed. Because in the light, now she sees that Jinx is deathly pale, and the lithe, almost too-thin body is turned around just enough that Caitlyn sees a slapdash patch job near Jinx’s kidney, already speckled with a growing blotch of fresh blood. “You’re injured.”

 

“Heh,” Jinx says, reaching around to delicately brush her fingers against the wound. “Hi injured, you’re dad.” 

 

“That doesn’t even make sense,” Caitlyn berates without heat. She tries to reach forward, but Jinx recoils back, muscles tense like a cornered animal. “Jinx… you need care. Urgently.” 

 

“No, what I need is a sandwich,” Jinx retorts. She tries to raise her gun again, but her arm is too shaky, and instead, it goes limp by her side. “Dammit.” 

 

“Jinx, let me help you. It’s what you came for, right?” 

 

“I didn’t come for no help,” Jinx petulantly responds.

 

“Yes you did.” For every step Jinx takes back, Caitlyn inches forward, until the former is pressed up uncomfortably against the end of the hallway. “Please, I can help.” 

 

Jinx snarls. “Bullshit. Why would you want to?” 

 

“Because no one else will,” Caitlyn replies earnestly. She reaches a hand out for Jinx to take. 

 

Jinx ignores the hand, choosing instead to meet Caitlyn’s eyes. 

 

“Jinx,” Caitlyn implores. “Please.”

 

“I…”

 


 

“... can’t believe you can make a damn good sandwich, Big Hat!”

 

Caitlyn sighs. She leans against kitchen counter, carefully watching Jinx as she devours the stack of sandwiches (“PB&J!”) she had made her. Next to her is the medkit she had used to treat Jinx’s wounds, and beside that, the bread and butter knives she used to make Jinx’s supper. In the far corner, Caitlyn has put aside all of Jinx’s equipment, having thoroughly searched her body for any miscellaneous bombs, knives, or various other devices of destruction. 

 

Caitlyn’s been promised that her parents are safe; merely sleeping, with the effects to wear off by morning. “Like Sleeping Beauty,” is what Jinx had said, ad verbatim. And while Caitlyn doesn’t trust Jinx with a lot of things, she does trust her to keep her word. Oddly enough, Jinx is very good at keeping promises. 

 

As Jinx gorges herself on the sweet and savoury meal, Caitlyn takes the opportunity to really examine Jinx in full. Three months is a long time, after all. However, the only noticeable difference she spots — other than the glaring wound on her back and a few more scuffs and scars Jinx can’t hide under her skimpy outfit — is that Jinx is painfully undernourished. 

 

What were once well-corded muscles now look almost bony, and when Jinx breathes, Caitlyn spots the faint shadow of sunken ribs underneath her halter top. Caitlyn is sure that if she tried (and if Jinx let her), she could easily wrap the entirety of Jinx’s waist with a single arm. 

 

Caitlyn frowns. “How long has it been since you’ve had a proper meal?” 

 

“Hm?” Jinx hums, then starts trying to talk through a mouthful of food.

 

“Swallow first, Jinx.”

 

Jinx giggles. Swiping the carton of milk Caitlyn left on the counter instead of the glassful she poured, Jinx takes a swig. “‘Swallow first’, haha!” 

 

“Oh my God, it’s like I’m talking to a teenager.” 

 

“Anyway, I dunno, last month I had a potato and some jerky? It was crunchy.” Jinx’s face scrunches up in distaste at the memory. “Bleh.” 

 

“That’s it? What about recently? You haven’t had a hot meal in the last three months?” 

 

“I haven’t had a hot meal in the last year , Big Hat,” Jinx retorts, licking the leftover peanut butter and jam from her fingers. 

 

A year? So all this time Vi and herself had spent chasing down Jinx, she had been living on the run, never settling down, never having a moment of reprise to enjoy a nice warm meal? 

 

Jinx seemingly reads the expression on Caitlyn’s face because she continues, “Not like ya need to sit down and eat when there’s no one to eat with.” 

 

Caitlyn doesn’t know what to say. How does she reply to that? How can she, when she’s partially responsible for Jinx’s situation? 

 

“S’fine,” Jinx says. She reaches over for the jar of natural peanut butter Caitlyn’s father particularly loves and begins scooping it up by the fingerful. “Means more time to plan for fun stuff!” 

 

“Jinx…”

 

Jinx’s expression sours. “I don’t like that tone, Big Hat. I don’t need your pity ,” she spits, jumping to her feet. The chair clatters loudly to the floor. 

 

“It’s not pity—”

 

Jinx slams the peanut butter jar onto the table. “ Anyway , thanks for all this; I can see why Fat Hands calls you Cupcake.”

 

Caitlyn practically foresees what happens next and tries to reach forward to stop her. “Jinx!—”

 

With a snap, something explodes and fills the room with smoke. Caitlyn’s lungs quickly grow full with the acrid substance, and she coughs and hacks, eyes watering as she clambers forward to try and feel for a window. 

 

When she finally finds one, she throws it open and then dives forward, desperately sucking in the fresh air that’s being exchanged for noxious fumes. She ducks back into the room to try and find Jinx but—

 

“Dammit,” Caitlyn curses under her breath. “She’s gone.”

 

As is all her gear and gadgetry. Left on the table is a letter with a crudely drawn image of herself (and her hat, which is not that big) in paint. 

 

‘THX I GUESS xP’

 

Caitlyn can’t help but laugh at the almost innocuous note. “When did she have time to do this?” If she showed the note to anyone else, they might have thought that she received it from a child, not Piltover’s Most Wanted Criminal. 

 

Caitlyn sighs.

 

She just helped Piltover’s Most Wanted Criminal. The bloodstains were probably still in the hallway, and the medkit next to her is in disarray. There were bullet holes in her house, and she has to find a way to explain to her parents how and why they slept through such a ruckus without incriminating herself. 

 

Caitlyn looks at the clock hung up on the kitchen wall. 4:31 AM.

 

She looks at the half-eaten jar of peanut butter Jinx left on the countertop, as well as the jam and bread she had left to the side in case Jinx had wanted thirds. 

 

Her stomach rumbles.

 

Caitlyn reaches down to grab the chair Jinx had knocked over, then sits herself down. She reaches forward to start assembling another sandwich. 

 

She has time.

 

She’ll figure something out.

 

‘And maybe fit in a hot meal for Jinx too.’