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Making a Cake

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“Are you sure it worked?” Caitlyn asked.

 

Viktor nodded “Yes, one hundred percent certain Sheriff Kiramman. The procedure went off without a hitch, congratulations are in order”

 

Caitlyn let out a deep, relieved, sigh.

 

Vi collapsed on the chair next to her hospital bed, the normally composed and self-assured woman shaking.

 

She took her partner’s hand in hers and felt every nervous shiver.

 

She felt them too.

 

“It’s...happening” Vi whispered, grey eyes gazing at the ceiling in wonder, in fear, fascination, a whole gamut of emotions running across her face.

 

Caitlyn knew, because she felt them too.

 

The pair didn't notice when Viktor quietly made an exit, leaving them on their own.

 

“Yes” Caitlyn said, voice higher pitch than she intended “Yes, it is isn't it?”

 

One of them, probably both, started laughing.

 

It was a nervous laugh.

 

A hopeful laugh.

 

Soon Caitlyn was caught in a tight embrace, held by strong, powerful, protective and safe arms.

 

She melted into Vi, laughter and tears flowing freely as the realization finally hit.

 

---

 

It was a long while after, when the pair were in their riverside home, that Vi brought up an important point.

 

“Jinx has to know”

 

Caitlyn’s first instinct was to deny it, to question her partner’s sanity and to never bring the topic up ever again.

 

She didn't though, because Caitlyn knew Vi was right.

 

Jinx always had to be considered.

 

Vi’s hellion of a sister that, for all that Jinx had done, Vi still loved.

 

Because family was everything to her.

 

And she had promised to be more understanding.

 

Besides, the girl was part of their lives whether Caitlyn wanted her to be or not. As much as Vi had managed to bring her sister back from the brink in that cursed, abandoned factory, it did not mean she didn't stop causing trouble or was any less sane.

 

Almost with the exclusive aim of getting Vi to come to her, Jinx had become the Loose Canon, causing havoc in Piltover and Zaun with nearly random acts of wanton destruction.

 

It had to be Vi that came, anyone else would end up dead or horribly maimed, only Vi would even be able to come back.

 

“What do you think her reaction would be” She asked.

 

Vi grit her teeth and looked at the ground.

 

It was a rhetorical question. Both of them knew.

 

“She still has to know” Vi said in lieu of answering.

 

They both knew that too.

 

Better than Jinx finding out on her own, the girl hated surprises.

 

“Vi”

 

Her partner turned to her, wonderful grey eyes conflicted and hesitant.

 

Caitlyn cupped her cheek, felt a jaw that could cut steel “If...If she doesn't take it well…”

 

“She won't hurt you!” Vi spoke indignantly but her voice cracked, eyes trembling.

 

Even Vi, Jinx's one and only true supporter, couldn't be sure.

 

It still hurt to cause such distress to her partner though. Vi had so much heart and so much love for her and her sister that she would try and make that uncertainty go away.

 

“Worst case scenario my love…” She said as a way of apology.

 

Vi closed her eyes and leaned into her touch, shivering.

 

“I need to talk to her” Vi said after a while “I...I need to make sure. Do everything I can until it’s done...until I know you’ll be safe”

 

The tone of her voice, the distant look in her eye, the stillness of her body terrified Caitlyn.

 

The thousand, unspeakable, implications.

 

“Vi!”

 

Her partner took the hand on her cheek and moved it away, squeezing it firmly “I have to...For you and for her. She has to know and you have to be safe” she closed her eyes, other hand drifting to Caitlyn's stomach “For them”

 

Caitlyn couldn't speak.

 

She can't be...She wont,surely? She can't!

 

Her hand gripped Vi’s, her own strength considerable even against the brawler “Vi! You don't have to! We can find another way, if worst comes to worse I-”

 

A kiss on her hand interrupted her, Vi giving her a forced smirk “This day had to come at some point, when the games would stop and me and her have to be serious” Her look turned hard, stony.

 

Underneath Caitlyn could see the pain even thinking about this brought about and she so wanted to make it all go away.

 

“Vi…” Caitlyn repeated, voice trembling.

 

The woman sighed, kissing her hand again “We haven't really...fought, not since that night at the old factory. Maybe it won't be so bad, maybe it’ll just be us shouting at each other again”

 

Caitlyn so wanted to believe and she knew Vi felt the same.

 

But they each knew Jinx. Unpredictability was to be expected from the girl.

 

Vi squeezed her hand again “It’ll be a long talk. A very long talk”

 

Caitlyn sighed, loosening her grip “You have a habit of talking with your fist” she said admonishingly. 

 

Vi grinned that cheeky grin she loved so much.

 

“Then I'm very good at talking”

 

Caitlyn gave an exasperated sigh, then she laughed, because it was the only thing she could do.

 

Vi was the only one who could bring her sister around. They had no alternatives.

 

Vi kissed her goodbye and Caitlyn watched as her partner made her way out of their house, their home.

 

A hand hovered over her stomach.

 

“Good luck” She whispered.

 


 

Usually, finding Jinx was an arduous and difficult task.

 

The girl knew Zaun as much as Vi did. Perhaps even more so. Thus, if she didn't want to be found, she wouldn't. Vi only ever caught up to her when Jinx let her, usually after a dangerous ‘game’ of tag and/or hide and seek, or other games when Jinx was in a playful mood, all of which always involved copious amounts of explosives.

 

But, Vi did have a way to get Jinx’s attention, to get the girl to come to her.

 

She stood atop a clear platform just outside of the Undercity proper, in one of the old fissures that once hosted busy mines but now held abandoned equipment and scurrying rats.

 

She held a flare in one hand aimed up in the air and with the other she held the string coming out of the bottom.

 

Vi paused for a moment, sorting out muddled thoughts.

 

Mostly, it was a matter of thinking how bad could it be?

 

A hex-tech empowered missile came to mind and Vi bit her lip.

 

That had been a disaster averted but that Jinx could and would have was a terrifying thing.

 

But Vi still hoped, because she knew a Jinx that could smile without pain, that could laugh without causing misery and when it did happen it was beautiful.

 

Besides, she was never going to exclude Jinx, not from something as monumental as this. 

 

The cord was pulled and the flare burst into life with a whizzing sound, red smoke bursting forth and drifting into the air forming a thick cloud all around her.

 

Vi waited, heart hammering, the only sound the fizzing of the flare.

 

The seconds ticked by into minutes, the flare losing it’s juice but the red smoke still rising thick.

 

All the while Vi still couldn't figure out what to say.

 

Clink. Clink . Clink.

 

A shadow appeared as the smoke dissipated. Shorter than her with two long braids trailing down to the floor.

 

“Hey” Vi said to the blue haired girl emerging out of red smoke.

 

Jinx looked around, then spent a moment taking her in.

 

Vi didn’t have her gauntlets or any armour and only came in her street clothes.

 

Jinx came as she always did: armed and loaded with explosives.

 

The elder sister smirked “Thought red smoke meant no weapons”

 

Jinx gave her a suspicious look “First time we tried this…” she said, fingers jittering.

 

She was nervous, Vi could tell.

 

This was new. Unusual, even if they had agreed to it in principle before.

 

Jinx hated surprises. At least, ones that happened to her.

 

So Vi was careful to make herself seem as harmless as possible “How are you?”

 

Jinx eyed her again “Fine...You didn’t call me here to just ask that right?”

 

Vi sighed “No, but I do mean when I ask. Are you okay?”

 

Jinx crossed her arms and huffed “I’m fine, alright? I can take care of myself…”

 

Vi smiled, chancing a step forward and was glad when Jinx didn't take a step back “Glad to hear, and I know you can. Doesn't stop a sister from worrying you know?”

 

Jinx rolled her eyes, body relaxing just a bit “This another try getting me to move in with you? Told you already, get rid of the freeloader and I’ll think about it”

 

Now it was Vi who rolled her eyes, carefully and casually walking over to Jinx “You still have a room there, I keep it clean every day. Even got a workbench for you”

 

Jinx huffed again and Vi caught the moment of violent eyes darting to her direction, the briefest look of is she telling the truth? before Jinx shook her head, taking a step away from her.

 

Vi paused.

 

“So, what do you wanna talk about?” Jinx said, annoyed.

 

Vi sighed and rolled her shoulder.

 

She missed Jinx narrowing her eyes.

 

“It’s something big”

 

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, that came from Jinx.

 

The girl was looking at her with narrowed eyes, suspicion back to the fore because as much as Vi knew her sister, it was the same the other way around. Jinx could read her just as easily as she could read Jinx.

 

“Yeah” Vi admitted, tongue feeling thick and heavy.

 

No beating around the bush with this one.

 

Vi sighed again “There's...been something big, between me and Cait”

 

Instantly all of Jinx’s attention was on her, violet eyes staring with an intense focus as the girls’ body went still. A flurry of emotions ran through her eyes and she started breathing heavier.

 

Vi swallowed.

 

“You’re going to be an aunt, Jinx”

 

Dead silence.

 

Everything seemed to stop.

 

None of them breathed.

 

It went on for an eternity, a silence so all-encompassing Vi could hear a pin drop.

 

Because, Vi realized with widening eyes, it did.

 

Jinx held a grenade in one hand, it’s pin on the floor beneath.

 

“Jinx!” Vi called out, managing mostly by instinct not to shout, not to leap and reach out and spook her sister.

 

Jinx looked up at her with tears in her eyes.

 

Tears and pain.

 

“Jinx no! It’s not-”

 

The grenade was thrown at her and Vi cursed, batting the thing away and diving the opposite direction.

 

It exploded in a puff of smoke.

 

“DAMMIT! JINX!” Vi shouted as the demolitionist used the distraction to surge away in a blur of blue and violet, Vi following after.

 

The narrow fissure very quickly turned into the outskirts of the Undercity, Jinx bursting through people, stalls and carts with Vi following and doing much the same, leaving chaos behind. Soon their chase transitioned to the rooftops, Jinx bounding across gaps with empowered ease while Vi had to rely on more natural acrobatics.

 

It was only experience that let her keep up.

 

When Jinx truly didn't want to be caught, she wouldn't.

 

“JINX!” Vi found the spare breath to shout but it was to no avail, the blue haired girl simply jumped another gap and Vi decided to risk it, leaping with both legs and landing on the edge, quickly transferring her momentum into a roll just as the roof edge collapsed.

 

“JINX!”

 

The girl slapped something to a chimney and ran on.

 

A second later it exploded just as Vi reached it, showering the brawler in bricks.

 

Vi had to punch her way through, bricks shattering against fist and face.

 

She emerged on the other side just in time to spot Jinx falling down to the street.

 

Where is she even going?!

 

Vi doubted Jinx even knew but she followed regardless.

 

There was no alternative.

 

The drop wasn't directly down, there were balconies and handholds which made it relatively safe.

 

Once on the ground Vi looked around and cursed when she didn't spot a hint of blue hair, but even as the adrenaline was pumping through, a part of her felt an odd sense of familiarity with the street.

 

Then she turned around and found out why.

 

“Powder…” Vi whispered as she stepped over the broken window, adrenaline dying down to be replaced by a sense of melancholy.

 

It was as Vi remembered. To her left was the punching machine with it’s multi arms and padded body, though it no longer had as many limbs as it had before and all the gloves had been removed. The scoreboard was still above it though, still showing her name at the top.

 

But there was something new: Jinx’ name was just below hers.

 

Vi sneezed, nose itching as she smelt dust.

 

Ahead was the old shooting gallery, targets long abandoned and mostly scavenged, but as she approached she could see some were still there, still bearing marks of pink paint and faded drawings on their faces.

 

Alongside were fresh boot-prints in the dust.

 

Vi followed, walking slowly over the range, feeling as if she was walking on something sacred.

 

A noise from the back room spurred her on though where she eventually found the storage closet that once held all the replacement parts; paintballs and everything the arcade needed.

 

The door had disappeared but there was still light in the room, dim though it was.

 

Carefully stepping inside she saw an array of boxes and crates strewn about, almost all having been opened and tipped over leaving valueless junk on the floor.

 

Jinx sobbed, huddled at the very back, surrounded by grenades with her minigun haphazardly thrown into a pile of crates.

 

She appeared to be tinkering with something.

 

“Jinx?” Vi said softly as she took a step forward.

 

The girl jumped, head snapping towards her and dropping what she had been working on.

 

A small monkey toy rolled towards Vi, it’s design so deeply familiar, but this one had some rough carvings made into its back.

 

FOR VI it read.

 

She swallowed and slowly leaned down to pick it up “What’s this?” she asked gently

 

Jinx sobbed again and the sound pierced Vi’s heart, the girl’s expression one of absolute pain.

 

“I...I can’t…” Jinx sniffled, voice and body shaking “I can't compete…”

 

Vi took the monkey in hand, cradling it “Jinx, baby, it’s not a-”

 

“IM NOT YOUR BABY!” Jinx screeched, a great heaving sob following after as the girl hugged her legs and cracked her head against her knees, blue and purple nails digging into her flesh.

 

Vi resisted the urge to just lunge for her.

 

“Im not your baby…” Jinx repeated, quieter, tone utterly defeated.

 

“You're my baby sister!” Vi said firmly, swallowing down the tears and ignoring the tightness in her chest “Please Jinx, no one will ever take you away from me or replace you. I won't ever leave you again, I promised. I told you and I will say it again a thousand times NO ONE will keep us apart again!”

 

Vi had chased her sister over the golden domes of Piltover right down to the deepest fissures of Zaun. It was their game, their moment to just be together in lieu of living in the same house.

 

Because Jinx loved her enough not to put Caitlyn in danger, because her sister knew there were parts of her that she couldn't always control.

 

Vi, in turn, always came when Jinx called (via explosion) come rain or shine.

 

So when Vi said those words she meant every bit of it and she hoped Jinx could hear.

 

The girl raised her head again, expression tired and broken. “You won't come anymore…”

 

Vi shook her head and took a step forward “I will”

 

“You won't love me anymore...”

 

She took another step forward and gave another shake of her head “I ALWAYS will”

 

“You’ll forget me…”

 

Another step. Another shake of the head “Never”

 

Jinx’ lower lip trembled and Vi was so close, just a few more steps.

 

The girl's pistol came up, barrel resting on a head of blue hair.

 

Vi froze.

 

Not one muscle moving.

 

Silence pervaded, deep and heavy.

“It’ll be a pretty baby” Jinx said after a moment with a small smile on her face “Has to have your girl’s face though, yours gets punched too much”

 

Vi couldn't speak, her eyes focused entirely on the gun on her sister's head.

 

“It’ll live a good life” Jinx continued “It won't ever go hungry, it won't ever be cold, it won't ever have rot-lung and it’ll fight like it grew up in the Lanes”

 

Vi couldn't breathe “Jinx, no”

 

She tried to be confident, project her older sister voice but she couldn't hear herself, couldn't hear how quiet she was, how her voice trembled.

 

“It’ll have the prettiest grey eyes and mom's hair” Jinx was smiling fully now, looking up at the ceiling, tears falling freely and unnoticed, her expression one of a person content with their decision. “It’ll be perfect…”

 

Jinx closed her eyes.

 

“NO!”

 

The shout was powerful, echoing from the room and into the street outside.

 

It was enough to jolt Jinx out of her head, violet eyes looking at Vi and wondering why.

 

“You can't, Jinx” Vi spoke between deep breaths, between shivers.

 

Jinx blinked, then she laughed a little “I’ll just be getting out of your way Vi, cant have distractions when you’re taking care of your baby”

 

Vi shook her head “I’ll need you Jinx”

 

“For what?” Jinx replied with a defeated chuckle but Vi caught that brief moment where she was interested.

 

“I need someone to teach them how to make stuff” Vi started, clearing her throat to get rid of the quiver  “What better than showing all the other snooty Piltie babies your own dancing monkey that your aunt helped make? Imagine it, turning up to the playground and bringing that thing out. Talk of the town they’ll be”

 

Jinx seemed to think about it, then she smiled and chuckled “Yeah, that would be funny…”

 

Her gun arm relaxed, just a fraction.

 

Vi latched onto that opening “And I need you to be there for them when me or Cait can't. I need someone I trust to protect them. You know Cait’s not popular with the old enforcers that she’s been locking up? Well, there’s people in Zaun that don't like me too much either. Sevika’s still around, still running what's left of Silco’s gang. I need you there for them, I trust you Jinx, you’re the only one I would ever ask”

 

That seemed to have hit something in her younger sister, Jinx looking at her with wide eyes.

 

Wide, hopeful, eyes.

 

“Really?” She said nervously.

 

Vi took a step forward as she nodded “Yes, yes of course. There’s no one else in this world I’d trust more than you to look after my child”

 

Jinx’s bottom lip trembled “Really?”

 

Vi nodded again “Really”

 

The gun was still there, still too close but Jinx’s hold on it was loose, her expression in the here and now rather than another place.

 

Then Jinx shook her head, eyes widening and hold on her gun tightening, making Vi pause “I...I can't be around them Vi. I can't. I’ll hurt them, I’ll kill them!”

 

The gun was jittering and it took all of Vi’s will not to dive and get it off Jinx’s hand.

 

“You won't Jinx” She said, trying to convey the confidence she felt, trying to convey the assurance she wanted Jinx to feel.

 

Her little sister shook her head, body shaking, eyes unblinking and expression shocked.

 

Vi didnt know what she was hearing in her head, couldn't speak to her in her mind.

 

“I know you won't” Vi said, taking a slow step forward “Because I know you’d never hurt me. Never”

 

Jinx continued to shake her head, more frantic with each step Vi took. “I cant Vi...I can't!”

 

“I know you love me” Vi pressed on “I know you care. You won't go away Jinx, you can't. You know why?”

 

Jinx’s head stilled, body freezing as Vi leaned down in front of her and gently cupped her cheek.

 

“Because the worst thing someone can ever do to me is take you away”

 

Violet eyes stared into grey, trying to find lies, to find any cause for doubt.

 

Vi rubbed her sister’s tears away with her thumb.

 

The pistol clattered to the floor and Jinx was swallowed into a tight embrace, Vi kissing her forehead as the younger girl let loose a great river of tears.

 


 

Caitlyn eyed the dark hallway with suspicious eyes, scanning the dark corners and crevices which could hide the enemy.

 

Slowly, quietly, she advanced with her back to one wall and each step careful and measured.

 

No attack came.

 

The room on the other end was as dark as the hallway and, unable to risk the lights, she brought her torch up.

 

Target sighted.

 

The spotlight shined on a piece of almost miraculous hextech technology and she carefully, quietly approached, reaching out a hand to open the device.

 

Cool air hit her in a brief wave and she shivered.

 

There was a handy internal light within the device which helped identify her mark.

 

Yes!

 

Reaching in she pulled out a brown paper bag, slightly stained with grease, residual aroma tickling her nose and making her mouth water.

 

Come to momma!

 

Putting the bag on the table and closing the fridge, Caitlyn excitedly tore it open.

 

To reveal a monkey toy with an expression that could only be described as disappointed.

 

Caitlyn slumped and groaned.

 

The light flicked on and her tormentor stood in the doorway eating the last bits of an absolutely delicious looking burger, licking her pale fingers as she cruelly taunted her.

 

“”How much for a burger?” She asked, trying to speak authoritatively but it was unlikely that she in her dressing gown with a protruding belly looked particularly authoritative.

 

Jinx raised a brow and wiped her fingers with paper towels (It had taken months for the girl to stop wiping her hands on any ready surface)

 

“I can get into Jayce’s lab, maybe nab a hex-stone or two. How ‘bout it huh? Didn't you always want a new explosive? It’ll be the biggest boom this side of the river”

 

The younger girl smirked and took her hand by the wrist, firmly but gentle all the while as she started dragging Caitlyn back down the hall.

 

“New bomb casings? I know Viktor is working on some kind of alloy for his hextech arm, it wouldn't take much for him to ‘donate’ a few samples of material”

 

No response, only the damning footsteps away from the kitchen and back up into Caitlyn and Vi’s bedroom.

 

“Come on Jinx, please!” Caitlyn begged, because at this point trying to reason with the girl was clearly not working.

 

Jinx paused mid stairs to look over her shoulder at her and Caitlyn jumped on the opportunity, grasping the girl’s hand with her own.

 

“It’s been months Jinx. Months! I don't even know what grease tastes like anymore! Please, please, just get me one burger, that's all I ask! Anything but healthy” She spat the last word out like the poison it was.

 

Jinx seemed to consider her request for a moment.

 

Only for a moment, before she was firmly but gently pulled back up the stairs.

 

Caitlyn groaned and cried, hanging limp on Jinx’s hold and having to be dragged, an act of petty defiance against Jinx’s tyrannical management of her diet.

 

It had been months of this, ever since Vi had carried her sister home and put her in her own bed Jinx had taken it upon herself to ensure that Caitlyn was as healthy as possible.

 

And just as equally miserable.

 

If I knew it was going to be like this Caitlyn cried in her mind as Jinx dragged her into her room I would have never agreed!

 

Despite all the (wholly justified) complaints though, Caitlyn couldn't be anything but glad for the demolitionists’ presence.

 

Jinx may not have cared about her per se, but she loved her child and damn anyone who even looked at them funny.

 

Thankfully her position as Sheriff allowed her some leeway in keeping Jinx, still technically considered a dangerous terrorist, under house arrest in their home so the girl faced little danger.

 

When Caitlyn needed to go outside?

 

Well, Jinx was a dangerous terrorist, who was going to threaten her when the Sheriff of Piltover seemed alright with her presence?

 

Was it a gross abuse of her power and possibly corrupt? Yes, definitely yes.

 

Was it for a good cause in getting Jinx reintegrated into society? Yes.

 

Most importantly, was it helpful to a ten months pregnant Caitlyn who found it incredibly tiring doing anything?

 

Hell yes.

 

So, for all that Jinx may have been a terror in keeping her eating healthy and still didn’t like her, Caitlyn very much appreciated the girl’s presence.

 

Not that she could show it now though as she forced Jinx to basically carry her to her and Vi’s bed, her partner pulling a night shift to cover Caitlyn’s missing presence at enforcer HQ.

 

“Comfy?” Jinx asked as she settled Caitlyn down and put the covers over her.

 

“Two hex-stones Jinx. TWO! Just for one burger, best deal in your life”

 

Jinx chortled, lips curving into a faint smile. Then she looked at Caitlyn’s belly, silently mouthing ‘I love you’ before taking off.

 

The Sheriff took Jinx’s hand and the girl paused, whipping her head around.

 

Caitlyn put it on her stomach, to Jinx's surprise. 

 

“Lean in, listen” Caitlyn said softly.

 

Giving her a complicated look of both thankfulness and mistrust, Jinx leaned in and put her ear to Caitlyn’s belly.

 

Both felt a kick.

 

Jinx jumped back, gasping, then she smiled and leaned in again.

 

There was another kick and this time Jinx stayed, smile widening into a grin as she felt the life inside Caitlyn start to make itself known.

 

The new mother’s eyes widened as she felt pressure.

 

“Jinx!” Caitlyn gasped, grasping at her stomach.

 

Violet eyes widened and instantly she understood.

 

Caitlyn flew over Piltover that night, carried along by a blue-haired girl that was far stronger than she looked.

 


 

Jinx rarely felt nervous 

 

What was the point? Life was about….

 

Well, she didn't know.

 

At one point she thought she did.

 

And then Vi came back and they had a fight, she had to kidnap her sister and her sister’s girlfriend, had to kill the man who raised her as a daughter after her sister had left her.

 

You know, the usual.

 

She had thought that that particularly complicated part of her life was over, that she could just...enjoy it now.

 

By making things explode mostly, because that was fun.

 

And it was, but not because of the explosions.

 

Well, somewhat because of the explosions.

 

But mostly it was because Vi came out and played with her and that was the fun part.

 

Entire days spent with just the two of them, chasing each other around and making things blow up.

 

Laughing and smiling like Vi and Powder had done so long ago.

 

But this time it was Vi and Jinx that were laughing and smiling and she couldn't have been happier.

 

Then, because Vi was her sister and she just had to have an enforcer girlfriend, she had to complicate things again.

 

But, looking back at it now, Jinx was glad she hadn't pulled that trigger.

 

Glad that she hadn't moved on to be a voice in Vi’s head, as funny as that would have been.

 

Because living with Vi was the best thing in the world and, with some reluctance, she could admit Caitlyn turned out alright.

 

Oh, she was still a sister stealing bitch don't get her wrong, but she was the baby carrier for Vi’s child.

 

Her niece and/or nephew!

 

As Caitlyn screamed in the other room Jinx tried to think about those happy thoughts, tried to think about what she could do for the baby, how she was going to rig the baby’s room to be intruder proof and how she was gonna teach the essential life skills like making bombs and bullets.

 

She ignored how she was curled up into a ball, tightly hugging her own legs and shivering and crying because she couldn't do anything.

 

Even Mylo and Claggor were silent, though they had been much nicer to her since she had moved in with Vi and Cait so them talking right now wouldn't have been too bad.

 

As another scream came from Cait’s mouth and Jinx shook, hugging herself tighter as a reaction, she tried to remember Vi, now in that same room with her partner. Tried to remember her comforting embrace and how, despite all that they had gone through and how much she changed, she still felt safe in her sister’s arms.

 

It was almost an eternity before Jinx felt something other than her own nails digging into her legs, a touch on her shoulder that had her jolting out of the seat.

 

Vi caught her, her older sister exhausted and sweating.

 

Jinx realised she was panting, probably having forgotten to breathe somewhere along the way.

 

“Come on” Vi pulled her along into the room.

 

A part of Jinx wanted to turn and run, to get away and forget everything that had happened the past year.

 

Mylo and Claggor helpfully locked that part of her away and she followed, legs heavy.

 

Inside the room was Caitlyn, sweaty and tired like Vi.

 

But smiling.

 

At a little bundle in her arms.

 

Jinx didn't hear her own gasp. Didn't hear much of anything .

 

But suddenly she was beside the bed, on her knees, looking at a newly born baby with a tiny tuft of purple hair.

 

“...-ing her Powder…”

 

Jinx blinked for the first time since coming into the room “What?” she said quietly, unable to raise her voice above a whisper because she might do something to the baby someone get ear muffs!

 

“We were thinking…” Vi said, sitting on Caitlyn’s bed with an arm over her partner, looking into Caitlyn’s eyes “Of naming her Powder. Powder-Abigail Kiramman. What do you think Jinx?”

 

Jinx may have made a noise, she couldn't really tell. She liked it though.

 

She loved it.

 

“Jinx” Caitlyn called and suddenly her arms were on Jinx’s and Baby Powder was in her arms and she was looking down at her niece who was in her arms and her niece had the prettiest grey eyes and prettiest purple hair- 

 

Jinx didn't move. Couldn't move. Didn't dare to move.

 

She couldn't hear either.

 

Couldn't hear how she kept repeating “I love you. I love you” to the small bundle of life she held.

 

Because Jinx was an auntie and there was nothing more important to her in that moment.

Chapter Text

Little legs plodded forward, one unsteady foot after the other in a vaguely straight line.

 

Grey eyes were set at a target, the rich and bountiful cookie jar just sitting on the counter, well within reach of stubby little arms.

 

Powder focused as she built up speed and wobble, feet pounding on the table as she readied herself to jump.

 

Three steps, four, five, six and she leapt, little legs propelling her little body forward.

 

Too short!

 

Big grey eyes widened as the realization came too late, the gap between table and counter too big to cross.

 

Thin, pale arms swept baby Powder up from the air and the child was brought up to stare into a pair of very unamused violet eyes.

 

“Shababu” Powder said, pointing a tiny finger at Jinx, tickling the young woman’s nose.

 

The look did not change.

 

“Bupootoo” Powder said, poking a finger into the tip of Jinx’s nose. Then the baby girl pointed to the cookie jar on the counter “Bubu”

 

Purple eyes remained unamused.

 

Powder pouted.

 

Jinx continued to stare.

 

Powder pouted some more and crossed her little arms.

 

Jinx’s eye twitched.

 

Powder’s lower lip trembled, grey eyes looking mournfully at the cookie jar and then at Jinx.

 

Jinx swallowed, tiny whine coming through her clenched lips.

 

A while later found Powder happily munching on a delicious sugary, chocolatey treat as Jinx held the little child on her lap with one hand while holding a cookie with the other.

 

“Mrmmmph!” Powder mumbled happily as she chewed the cookie down, smacking her aunt’s arm as she finished off the treat.

 

Jinx dutifully began flying airship Choco-Chip into landing point Powder.

 

“Phewwww” Jinx added sound effects as she guided the cookie in “Beep. Beep. Choco-Chip coming in for docking. Pewwww”

 

Powder giggled, clapping her palms on Jinx’s arms as she bounced on the spot.

 

The ‘spot’ being Jinx’s legs.

 

“Phewww-oof, getting heavy there Pow-Pow” Despite her words Jinx made no move to stop the girl as she continued to guide the cookie-ship in “Oh no, P.S Choc-chip is having engine troubles, it’s spinning out of control!”

 

Powder gasped as the cookie flew away from her mouth, little hands reaching out as Jinx mimicked exploding engines and erratic piloting.

 

“Wheewwww! Mayday! Mayday! Choco-chip coming in hot!” Jinx made one last whooshing noise, flying the crashing airship cookie temptingly in front of Powder before suddenly changing course and slotting half of the small disc into Powder’s mouth.

 

Much to the little girl’s surprise as she paused, brain taking a moment to process the unexpected sensation.

 

Jinx giggled at the wide-eyed and confused blinking.

 

Then Powder’s brain caught up and she giggled as she chewed.

 

Jinx hugged her tighter, pressing her nose into the baby girl’s smooth purple hair, like how her sister had done for her so long ago, like how she still did it sometimes.

 

Powder loved it as much as she did, going by her cheery giggling.

 

“Powder-Abigail!”

 

Both Jinx and Powder jumped at the shout coming from the doorway, the little girl dropping the cookie in her mouth, spilling crumbs and chewed cookie bits onto her bib and aunt.

 

Jinx tried to hide behind the baby.

 

Neither impressed Caitlyn whose fingers were massaging her forehead.

 

“Jinx, it’s nine in the morning, this is NOT the time to be feeding Powder sweets” She said, exasperated.

 

Jinx and Powder looked to each other, purple eyes to grey, then both looked to Caitlyn.

 

Both pointed a defiant finger.

 

“BOOM!” both of them said at the same time.

 

Caitlyn groaned, then went about taking Powder from Jinx’s hold (which the younger woman released only very reluctantly) and cleaning her up.

 

All the while Powder kept thrusting her finger forward, repeating “Boom! Boom! Boom!” every time.

 

“I hate you so much for this Jinx” Caitlyn muttered, not at all silently as she wiped Powder’s mouth “My baby’s first words and it has to be ‘boom’? Ughhh…”

 

Jinx chuckled, completely unapologetic as she made faces at baby Powder from over Caitlyn's shoulder, to which the child responded by laughing, not helping her mother’s attempts at cleanup.

 

“Jinx-” Caitlyn growled, before a knock on the door made them all pause.

 

Jinx was at the door in an instant.

 

Pistol at the ready.

 

The enforcer on the other side had to step back when an oversized barrel was shoved into their face.

 

“Down Jinx” Caitlyn commanded as she came to the door, though she did hand over Powder for Jinx to take and step out of sight with.

 

“Uhm, Ma’am-” The officer stammered, caught off guard.

 

“Take a breath Officer, what is it?”

 

The way Caitlyn spoke was enough to get the officer to steady themselves “Uhm, Officer Vi is requesting your presence at the Founders Quarter, it is a…delicate political matter”

 

The Sheriff of Piltover sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose "I suppose it's not a request I can get out of?"

 

The officer shook their head.

 

Caitlyn groaned "...Fine. Let her know I'm on my way. Dismissed, officer”

 

“Ma’am!” The Officer saluted and turned about, their pace perhaps a little faster than dignified.

 

“Baa?” Powder said off to the side, looking at her mother.

 

Caitlyn sighed and took the little girl from Jinx, who gave her easily “Sorry my darling, we’ll have to go visit Grandmummy and Grandpappy another time”

 

Powder furrowed her brows and shook her head, a frustrated whine coming through her lips “Mmmmmm!”

 

Caitlyn kissed her forehead “I know, I know” She said consolingly “Next time I promise”

 

Powder’s whine didn't stop and only got louder as Caitlyn reluctantly handed her over to her aunt “Take care of her for the day won't you?” She asked, knowing the answer.

 

Jinx hugged Powder tight, partly in comfort and partly to quell the child’s increasing wriggling “Yeah”

 

She said the word softly and her look was almost apologetic.

 

Caitlyn smiled, rueful “Thanks Jinx” She bent down to the now crying Powder and patted the girl’s soft hair “It’s alright honey, you get to spend the day with Auntie Jinx!”

 

Big blue eyes looked at her, red with tears “Maaaa!” Powder cried, reaching out with her little hands.

 

“Shh, shhh” Both Caitlyn and Jinx said at the same time, Jinx gently bouncing Powder in her arms.

 

“See, up and down, up and down” Caitlyn tickled Powder’s chin with comically large eyes and wide smile “Powder likes to go up and down”

 

Though clearly reluctant, a small giggle was eventually coaxed out of Powder through her sniffles.

 

“There we go honey, it’s alright” Caitlyn kissed Powder’s head once more, then stood to look at Jinx.

 

“Food’s in the fridge, first rack. Reading books in your room and bring her to the park at four” Jinx recited.

 

The mother smiled and nodded, thankful but unable to hide her disappointment “Thanks Jinx”

 

Jinx felt awkward, unable to meet Caitlyn’s eyes for long so she flicked her head towards the door “Go on, longer you stay the more she’s gonna cry”

 

With a reluctant sigh Caitlyn acknowledged the point and went about getting herself dressed.

 

Jinx watched the woman go, a part of her overjoyed she would be with little Powder for the day, but another part of her feeling strange; awkward and uncomfortable.

 

A feeling that Powder seemed to pick up on, smart little child that she was, as she soon started wriggling and whining in Jinx’s hold.

 

“It’s alright” Jinx repeated Caitlyn, even using the same comforting tone of voice, to much the same effect as Powder continued to wriggle and whine

“Come on, let’s play with some toys!” Jinx said as she turned the girl around and smiled at her.

 

That at least seemed to calm Powder down somewhat and Jinx took full advantage, sprinting to her room and kicking open a well graffitied chest. Within was an eclectic collection of various devices which she started rummaging through until she found one in particular that she put in Powder's hands, putting the little girl down to let her play.

 

It only lasted for a short while though as even the Explodarama-1000 wasn't enough to hold little Powder's attention, the girl soon showing more interest in the door than the repurposed grenade in her hand.

 

Jinx sighed, disappointed.

 

Even trying to blame Caitlyn for this felt...wrong.

 

Soon enough, gentle knocking announced Caitlyn's arrival, Jinx opening the door while holding Powder's hand.

 

Caitlyn was in her enforcer uniform, with full lapels and the shining gold badge that marked her as the Sheriff of Piltover, rifle folded and put in a shoulder-holster.

 

It had taken Jinx a long time not to flinch at the sight.

 

Powder started to cry, loudly and sincerely, because she was a smart baby and recognized the outfit and knew what it meant.

 

Jinx grit her teeth and flinched at the sound, her whole soul wanting to do anything and everything to make it stop, to make her niece smile and laugh.

 

Caitlyn bent down and took Powder in her arms "Shhh, now now, it's okay my darling, shhh" she laid some kisses om Powder's head as the girl cried on, clinging tightly to her mother's uniform "I know, I know, its sad. I'm not happy either, I want to go to grandpappy and grandmummy's house. But it's okay my darling, it's just for today. Tomorrow I promise!"

 

The words didn't seem to have the calming effect she desired; Powder only cried harder.

 

With a reluctant sigh Caitlyn pulled back, having to pry Powder's clutching hands off her uniform.

 

"Do you really have to go?" Jinx asked quietly, eyes looking to the side, her expression a controlled blankness.

 

Caitlyn sighed again, then she gently put a hand on Jinx's shoulder and slowly pulled her into a soft, one arm hug when the younger woman did not resist "Unfortunately. Thank you though, for being here"

 

Jinx shrugged, still looking away "She wants you"

 

Powder punctuated the statement with a cry, Jinx and Caitlyn each patting her head.

 

"I know" Caitlyn said, the words like the weight of a chain "I know. She doesn't see us as much as she should right now, busy time at the station, prep for Progress Day does that"

 

"...She'll remember this you know" Jinx muttered.

 

I remember this her body seemed to say,

 

She didn't see how Caitlyn winced "Yeah…" She bent down and gave Powder a big kiss on the forehead, the little girl's crying only intensifying when she pulled back.

 

"Thank you Jinx. At least you're always here for her when me and Vi can't be"

 

Jinx should have felt happy about that, and she did, a pleased trill that made her feel smug and satisfied. But she also felt a great sense of wrongness.

 

"Don't make it a habit" She warned and for the first time in the conversation she looked at Caitlyn, piercing purple on sad blue.

 

Caitlyn nodded and with a last tusle of Powder's hair and a kiss goodbye she left the room, little legs plodding forward to chase after her.

 

Jinx's hold was gentle on Powder's hand as the girl tried to run for her mother, but she held all the same.

 

"Waaaaa!" Powder wailed and Jinx sat down, nearly collapsing, pulling Powder into a close hug as the girl cried.

 

"Maaa! Maa!"

 

"Shhh, shhh" Jinx gently rocked herself side to side, Powder moving with the motion "It's okay, she's coming back. It's only a few hours"

 

Powder whined, smacking her hands on Jinx's arm "Maaa! Maa!"

 

Jinx sniffed, throat feeling tight as Powder's cries died down, the girl losing energy.

 

But not the grief.

 

"She's coming back for you" Jinx said, pulling Powder closer so she was speaking into the girl's hair "Your mommies are coming back for you. They won't leave you. They will never leave you"

 

Powder turned around to look at her aunt, big round chubby face red and streaked with tears.

 

She pointed to the closed door "Mama! Mama!"

 

Jinx nearly let her go, arms slacking and face dropping onto the little girl's hair so she would see her aunt's tears.

 

 


 

 

It took a good hour for Powder to calm down enough that Jinx felt safe leaving her to play -to distract herself- with the homemade toys, the toymaker herself going down the stairs and checking on the fridge to pull out a few items.

 

"Green baby food, yellow baby food, red baby food...Who the fuck made blue baby food? Eugh" She threw the small container into the bin and continued rummaging, avoiding the colorful array of baby food altogether and taking out other items.

 

Jinx closed the fridge and turned around, assessing the contents on the table in front of her: various vegetables and cuts of ham, with sauces brought from distant Ionia.

 

On the stove was a large, wide metal bowl, its base stained black with use.

 

With a flick of a switch, Jinx turned on the burner and got to work making actual food.

 

Her movements were precise, accurate. She had no need for measurements, trusting in her experienced eye.

 

So different than the first time she had tried this, when she had nearly burned the kitchen down.

 

But she had a year to practice, as little Powder was fed by Caitlyn, and if Jinx was anything, she was a perfectionist.

 

So she made the perfect Ionian stir-fry (practical in their naming, those Ionians) in only a few minutes.

 

“And top-hat says I need to buy baby food. Pah, load a crap that shit is” She muttered as she plated up and brought the plates upstairs.

 

Using her elbow to open the door she came to a stop.

 

Powder was playing with the Explodarama-1000 and had, somehow, opened the device up, little hands pinching wires and poking at the internals.

 

Jinx had a brief scare of the thing hurting her niece, but Claggor had helpfully reminded her that she had thoroughly scrubbed it clean of explosive material and replaced it with a homemade battery.

 

Mylo helpfully reminded her that electricity existed.

 

“Pow-Pow, come here” She called, successfully diverting attention away from potentially live wires as she put a plate on her worktable, clearing away bits and bobs with her arm.

 

Powder, like every child, adult and animal, was drawn by the smell of food and came wobbling over, clambering the jungle-gym highchair Jinx made for her and securing herself in the seat.

 

Jinx tickled her nose making her giggle “Good girl. Eat up, we have a…day ahead of us”

 

Are you really thinking of doing this? Mylo asked Vi and Cait might get pissed.

 

Better for Powder to spend time with her other family. She sees Jinx every day and Jinx is getting worried-

 

Can it She thought, a light admonishment and Claggor mimed zipping his mouth up.

 

The pair had been much friendlier since she started living in Vi’s house, their barbs and taunting replaced with helpful advice and pointers.

 

It was a heavy moment, Jinx remembered, when she confessed to Vi that she was still seeing them. She remembered how her sister took her in her arms and told her she would be there for her when they got too loud, and she was.

 

Anytime Jinx snarled at a shadow in the corner, at a face that appeared at the edges of her vision, Vi was always there.

 

Jinx had been so scared of hurting Powder because of them, but Vi still trusted her and that was…

 

It was everything.

 

“Baa?” Powder held a spoon up to her.

 

Jinx blinked, then snickered.

 

Somehow, the little baby had made a mess in the short moment Jinx lost herself in her thoughts.

 

“Why thanks” Jinx said as she leaned forward and chomped on the offered spoon “Mmmm, vegetables, mmm” she said while chewing, watching as Powder scooped up another morsel.

 

“Baa?”

 

Jinx chuckled, leaning forward again, mouth open with an “Ahhh” making Powder mimic her.

 

At the last moment Jinx pushed the spoon into the baby’s mouth, to her apparent surprise.

 

“That ain't workin’ on me pipsqueak, now come, chew nice and good”

 

Powder pouted while she chewed, her tricky plans foiled once again.

 

They ate their meals between bouts of half conversations and Powder’s further attempts at trickery, the little girl eventually conceding when Jinx threatened to take away her plate and feed her by hand.

 

Once the plates were cleaned up and Powder was happily suckling on her warmed milk bottle, Jinx began laying out various devices on the kitchen table.

 

A modified baby “harness” that carried an armoured shell shaped like an egg that could be fully sealed and was proofed against small caliber rounds. The harness also came with webbing for ammunition, grenades and other devices.

 

Not that she was going to take her full arsenal on a trip to visit Powder's grandparents, but it was always handy to carry some grenades around.

 

There was also Powder's earmuffs and goggles, protection was important after all.

 

“You know Pow-Pow, Vi and Cait still don't want me visiting your grandparents” Jinx said as she started putting the harness on, Powder turning to her with a curious look as she drank.

 

“I mean, I get it, I did try to….blow one of them up”

 

“Boom!” Powder said excitedly, spilling milk onto her bib and chin.

 

“Boom!” Jinx made finger guns at her niece “Exactly, yeah. I don't mind, I don't really care, but that shouldn't mean you won't be able to see them" she poked Powder's nose making her giggle.

 

"So that's what we can do for today, I'll just...drop you off here, hang around and then we go home before your momma's notice"

 

"Baa?" Powder questioned.

 

"Yep!" Jinx nodded with a wide grin, then she leaned down to clean Powder up, expression turning much softer "So it’s not just auntie Jinx all the time" she said with a whisper, words coming through a thick tongue.

 

"Anny Jii, Boom!" Powder poked her nose making Jinx grin.

 

"Boom, Pow-Pow” Jinx said softly, trying to ignore the clawing in her stomach “Boom"

 


 

 

Travelling via rooftop had never been a “normal” thing, not even in Zaun.

 

It had been, funnily enough, their little gang’s specialty, what made them such effective little thieves.

 

“Weeee!” Powder laughed as she flew through the air, secured in her harness and goggles over her wide eyes.

 

Powder loved it though, so traveling via rooftop it was.

 

Piltover wasn't an overly expansive city, more “tall” with jutting towers and buildings that scraped the sky. Almost a parallel of Zaun, which dug deeper into the earth. Much like how in Zaun the closer to the surface you were the better off you were, in Piltover the higher you were the richer you were. A physical representation of one's social and economic status.

 

No wonder then that the seat of government, the vaunted Hall of the Founders, was so ridiculously easy to spot.

 

So easy to get a bead and shoot at, too.

 

Jinx puffed, focusing on Powder’s cheers, letting the girl’s unbridled and innocent joy wash away her bitterness.

 

She often wondered what things would have been like if she had fired that rocket, if Vi hadn’t stopped her.

 

Vi, too stupid, too stubborn for her own good.

 

The only person in this world who could love her.

 

Caitlyn trusts you too Claggor pointed out Would never leave you alone with Powder otherwise.

 

What the big man said Mylo chimed in, because he always had to get a word in.

 

“Weeeee!” Powder cheered as Jinx landed on a golden domed roof, then slid down to peer over the edge.

 

Across the way was the Kiramman Household, a large mansion surrounded by gardens and ringed by a decorative fence.

 

It was rich, ostentatious and impractical.

 

Basically everything Jinx despised about Piltover’s elite.

 

It was a strange disconnect seeing that place and then thinking about Caitlyn now.

 

They didn't get along one hundred percent, Jinx didn't think she ever could and for all that Caitlyn was head over heels for her sister, the woman also had her own reservations.

 

But they made it work, for Vi’s and Powder’s sake, they would make it work.

 

A big step forward, considering their first face-to-face in the very house Jinx now stood in front of.

 

Would have been funny to come in the way you did the first time Mylo laughed.

 

Jinx agreed but didn’t voice it. Instead she helped Powder off the harness and put her down in front of the door, removing the girl’s goggles.

 

“We’re here” She announced and Powder wobbled over, trying her best to reach a doorbell that was three times as high as she was tall. Eventually the girl gave up and turned around, pointing at the button.

 

Jinx hesitated, arms crossed and groaning a little inside. 

 

Just drop her off, she’ll be fine and safe. Top-hats parents are hardly gonna be dangerous.

 

She thought that, yet she struggled to make herself move.

 

“Ba, ba” Powder called, hopping up and pointing at the bell.

 

It’s fine. Just for a few hours. I’ll be around, not like this place is dangerous or anything.

 

Jinx swallowed, her limbs feeling like lead all of a sudden.

 

It’s fine. Just a few hours. Powder’s with her grandparents. She won't be alone.

 

“Anny?”

 

Purple eyes looked to grey, such familiar and lovely grey.

 

FUCK WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

 

The door opened, not by her hand.

 

A strict, regal looking woman stood on the opposite side with her arms crossed.

 

Jinx froze, hand hovering in the air about to press the bell.

 

“GAMAMA!” Powder cheered, running and flopping onto the woman's dress, clutching onto it and attempting to climb up.

 

Mrs Kirammann smiled as she picked her granddaughter up and gave her a kiss on her nose “Powder-Abigail, you grow so much every time I see you"

 

The girl giggled as she had her cheeks pinched "Gamama!"

 

"Yes it's your grandmother, good girl!"

 

"Is that our dear granddaughter that I hear?" A male voice called out and in a blink a tall, thin man came from almost out of nowhere.

 

"Gandada!" Powder cheered.

 

"Oh it is!" Mr Kirammann cheered, taking the girl from his wife's offering arms and rubbing his nose to hers, much to her joy "Oh I’ve missed you so much my dear!"

 

He saw her last week, come on Mylo grouched He’s not even holding her properly, she likes being cradled, not held up!

 

That elicited an amused snort from her, which in turn brought Mrs Kirammann’s attention as the elder woman gave her a rather cold glare.

 

She smirked, more out of instinct than any actual desire to annoy the woman.

 

Though it was a close feeling.

 

“And I suppose you are…Jinx?” The name sounded strange to her it seemed, tumbling out of her tongue “Vi’s sister, yes?”

 

Jinx looked to the left, then to the right, then down at a finger pointing at herself, then back up again “Oh, I guess I am”

 

She hoped the display was enough to cover for the fact that she kept looking over the woman’s shoulder, towards Powder and her grandfather who was happily throwing the baby in the air and catching her.

 

The Matriarch raised a fine eyebrow “...I can already see the resemblance in attitude, if not in body” The woman sighed and Jinx caught the moment she seemed to be resisting rolling her eyes “Very well, welcome to the Kirmamann Household”

 

Jinx blinked.

 

“Well, come on” Mrs Kirammann said as she turned around and walked back into the house giving Jinx a look over her shoulder “And please wipe your boots on the welcome mat, your sister already tracks mud, let’s not emulate a bad example”

 

Oi bitch only Jinx gets to badmouth Vi! Mylo shouted indignantly.

 

Jinx snorted again “Why not Old Lady” she said as she made a show of doing exactly the opposite, striding forth and looking around.

 

The woman’s eye twitched, just a fraction and she did actually roll her eyes.

 

---

 

To say that things were awkward was a slight understatement.

 

Only slightly, as Powder laughing and playing in the background helped alleviate the strange air between Jinx and Mrs Kirammann as the two stood to the side watching the baby and her grandfather play on the floor.

 

“Caitlyn and Vi are very tight-lipped about you” The elder woman started.

 

“That so” Jinx said, keeping her eyes on her niece.

 

“I wondered why, so I did a bit of asking”

 

“Uh huh”

 

“And it was fairly easy to find out”

 

“Was it now?”

 

“Indeed, even though Caitlyn buried it, a detractor of hers managed to unearth your criminal records”

 

“Huh…” Jinx inspected her nails, their coating recently applied.

 

Blue, for her.

 

Pink, for Vi.

 

Purple, for Powder.

 

Her other hand tapped at her leg, near her holster.

 

“I had it destroyed and the one who found it is no longer…employable”

 

She turned her head towards the matriarch, the woman also looking at Powder and her husband playing.

 

“If all I had to work on was that record, I would have you locked up far away, nowhere near my granddaughter” Fierce blue eyes pierced the younger woman, a shade lighter than Caitlyn’s, pinning her in place with just a look.

 

“...Why don't you?” Jinx asked quietly, her limbs numb again but for a whole different reason, thoughts flitting between fight or flight.

 

Powder’s cheery laughter calmed her, focused her, allowed her to see that this wasn't a trap even if things took a very sudden turn and her old instincts were firing up.

 

The older woman was silent for a very uncomfortable moment.

 

“Because I notice that you are the only person aside from her partner that my daughter would trust with her care”

 

Jinx didn't know what to feel.

 

Smugness. Pride.

 

A deep, deep gratitude for the woman that gave birth to her niece.

 

It said a lot about her changing mental state that she even trusted the word of a stranger.

 

Her numb arms and teeth gritted behind tightly closed lips spoke of how much she stayed the same.

 

“The only one” Mrs Kirammann repeated “Not Jayce, her childhood friend. Not any of her Academy friends or Enforcer colleagues. Not even us”

 

There was a hint of annoyance in the last bit of her sentence but it was the exasperated kind of annoyance, not one with any real bitterness to it.

 

“Huh…” Was all Jinx could muster, focused more on controlling her swirling thoughts, telling herself again and again that this wasn't a trap

 

“So, who are you Jinx?”

 

It took a moment for the words to register.

 

It took a second to come up with an answer.

 

“I'm her aunt” Jinx said, watching as Powder jumped on top of her grandfather, the man letting out an ‘oof!’ but laughing all the while.

 

“Is that so?” Mrs Kirammann asked, tone more serious than Jinx expected.

 

“Yeah” Jinx said honestly, because there was no other answer at that moment.

 

“Hm”

 

That turned out to be the end of the unexpected and unexpectedly intense interrogation as Mrs Kirammann, satisfied or not it was difficult to tell, joined her husband in playing with their grandchild.

 

Jinx remained nearby, watching her niece enjoy herself, trying to think on what just happened.

 

 


 

Jinx was washing the dishes from dinner when she looked through the window and noticed the sun had gone down.

 

Being summer, it was already quite late.

 

“Mama?”

 

And Powder had definitely noticed their absence.

 

“They’ll be home in a bit pipsqueak” She tried to assure her but Jinx wasn't sure herself so the attempt was half-hearted at best.

 

She had tried to distract, Powder helping out by going for a nap after playing with her grandparents and then having dinner, but the little girl knew this was usually the time Caitlyn and Vi came home and spent time with her and she was getting anxious.

 

Big grey eyes hadn't stopped looking at the door or out the windows.

 

To be fair to her, Jinx hadn’t as well and Powder was ever so good at copying her aunt.

 

They are late sometimes she tried to reason.

 

But they hated being late, being away from their home and from Powder and Vi had already pulled two extended shifts and she made it very clear there wouldn't be a third.

 

Her cheek twitched and she had stopped washing the dishes in case her tense fingers cracked the plates.

 

She watched as the clouds moved lazily across a sky increasingly lit up by bright stars.

 

“Mama?” Powder called and Jinx turned around to see the girl pointing at the door, looking to her like she could solve the issue.

 

Jinx bit her lip, saying nothing as she dried her hands and lifted the child off the high-chair, cradling her.

 

It’ll be fine she tried to say, but she couldn't lie, not to her face like this, not to her at all.

 

Powder grumbled, growling and pointing at the door again “Mama” she said more forcefully, almost as if she was giving an order.

 

Jinx sighed, trying to decide how to go forward.

 

Powder grumbled again and crossed her arms, trying so much to look like Caitlyn when she was in her ‘bossy mode’

 

Jinx smiled a little and poked her on the nose.

 

Unexpectedly, Powder grabbed onto her finger and made a face, sticking her chin out and looked for all the world like Vi going for a brawl.

 

Jinx’s jaw dropped, then a smirk made its way onto her face and she laughed.

 

“Alright, fine” she crumbled like a house of cards, slotting Powder into the harness on the table, much to the baby’s delight, and putting said harness on like a backpack.

 

“Let’s go see what your mom’s have been up to”

 

Before that though, Jinx loaded up on grenades.

 

Smoke, concussion and general explosive grenades along with flashbangs and other useful tools.  

 

There were also Powder’s toys of course, mainly the Explodarama-1000, the current favorite among the myriad she had.

 

Hopefully it’ll be enough to distract you if shit turns out to be serious.

 

She knew it wouldn't. Powder could be very attentive when she wanted to be.

 

As she was about to leave the house something caught her eye, a glint when the light outside hit a piece of glass.

 

A familiar pair of goggles hung on a coat hook near the front door, old and slightly worn but still serviceable.

 

Jinx picked it up, a confused note of emotion playing in her head.

 

She felt Claggor laugh, an amused chortle that carried a feeling of…

 

Nostalgia.

 

“Baba?” Powder reached up and grabbed it while Jinx was distracted, inspecting the new gadget with childish curiosity.

 

Jinx let her for a few moments as she was distracted by strands of pink hair left in her hand.

 

She must've forgotten it Jinx noted absently.

 

"Mama Vi!" Powder cheered, apparently having recognized them.

 

Jinx smiled "Want to put them on?"

 

Powder nodded enthusiastically and gave a happy giggle as Jinx did just so.

 

"They look great on you" She said with a smile, struggling to keep the smile on her face as she looked on.

 

It was a different time, so far away. On a different person, that she loved so dearly.

 

Claggor was silent but she felt his presence.

 

It was a heavy one, but it wasn't judgmental or harsh.

 

So different from before.

 

"Boom!" Powder poked at one of her grenades and she swatted the probing finger away by instinct.

 

"No boom" she said automatically.

 

Jinx blinked, coming to the here and now as Powder pouted, then the little girl pointed outside.

 

"Eh, eh" she said, thrusting her finger with every word.

 

Jinx chuckled, patting her hair and putting her back into the backpack "Alright pipsqueak, let's go find your Mama's"

 

"Mama! Boom Boom!" Powder cheered.

 

They travelled by rooftop once more, Jinx heading towards the Founder's Quarter, once the original city center but growth and changing attitudes had turned it into another middle class district.

 

Still affluent, still retaining some symbolic prominence with the Museum of Piltover based there, but it had long lost its chief status.

 

Jinx only knew all this because she had snuck into said museum a few times with Powder on some of their days out, refusing to pay the extortionate entry fee for a glorified and easily explodable marble building.

 

It was also, Jinx remembered, a place full of the kind of clowns Caitlyn had fired from the Enforcers, or their supporters when she sent them to Stillwater.

 

The kind of corrupt, heartless monsters that could shoot unarmed Zaunites and still think they were in the right.

 

She and top-hat disagreed on many things, but on that topic they were united: the bastards had to go.

 

All of this made Jinx highly suspicious when they arrived at the border between Founders Quarter and the adjoining Greenfield Heights and found an enforcer cordon blocking off the roads.

 

There were normal people milling about, some talking with the masked and armoured enforcers manning the barricade and most seemed to come away disgruntled. Interestingly, there were lightly armoured enforcers around as well, the normal ‘beat patrollers’ and they too seemed very unhappy and they too were on the opposite side of the barrier.

 

Jinx narrowed her eyes and brought out a spyglass.

 

“...Those motherf-”

 

“Mama?” Powder inquired.

 

“-udgers” Jinx finished, patting the girl gently as she zoomed in on the particular details of the “enforcers” manning the barricades.

 

They wore older uniforms both in age and style, with discontinued badges of merit proudly pinned on their chests or shoulders.

 

It wasn't unusual to find such ware, it had only been a relatively short time since Caitlyn had taken office and started her reforms and it was far from finished, so some departments and some individuals still had their old uniforms.

 

No, what added to make them motherfudgers (up from being enforcers) were the hidden weapons kept out of sight behind the road barriers.

 

Enforcers didn't have a habit of arming up within Piltover, not even when prepping for Progress Day, until the actual day itself. Even then arms were issued to Firearms Officers; not every Sam, Joe and Billy as the ones manning the barricades seemed to be.

 

“This smells like a weekend in Zaun and I don't have the alcohol to drown it out” Jinx said quietly.

 

“Baba?”

 

“Exactly Pow-Pow, exactly”

 

“Baa!”

 

Jinx tapped her niece’s lips gently “Shh now, gonna need you to keep quiet okay?”

 

Powder put a finger to her lips “Shhhh!” she said, quite loudly.

 

Jinx snickered “Exactly”

 

She kept out of sight on the rooftops, crossing the close gaps between the tightly packed buildings with ease. Past the barricade there were handfuls of armed enforcers and once she got a little deeper into the district she saw how quickly the neatly pressed uniforms transitioned to standard civilian wear.

 

And how the guns came out as well.

 

“Now, I aint your mother, but I'm pretty sure she wouldn't let any rando civvie have Enforcer pattern rifles”

 

“Bah!” Powder whispered.

 

Jinx nodded as she put away her spyglass “Exactly. Now, quick question Pow-Pow, how long has it been since Cait was called out here?”

 

“Buhba?”

 

“Good guess! It’s been nearly eleven hours. Now, you and I know enforcer shifts are stupid and redicolous but Vi and Cait basically run the place, they can come fudging home on time whenever they damn well want!” She raised a finger to punctuate her statement.

 

“Bah!” Powder raised a fist in agreement.

 

“Exactly!” She fist-bumped her niece “So, that means, whatever’s tying them down is probably related to this display of very uncivil organizing. As far as I know, this ain't the place to be cordoned off and unless this is a surprise exercise, this aint supposed to be happenin’”

 

She huffed, adjusting the straps on the harness-come-backpack to treble make sure it was secured “Alright Powder, time to get down to business. Remember how to do it?”

 

“Anny Jii!” Powder cheered as she grabbed hold of Jinx’s braids and started putting the long tails into the shell with her, grabbing one in each hand like a horse’s reins when she was done.

 

Jinx giggled “Okay Powder, now you gotta shhh”

 

“Shhh!”

 

“That’s my girl!”

 

With a grin Jinx leapt down from the roof, swinging down balconies and windows to reach the street below. Once her boots hit cobble she swiftly dived into the alleys and side-streets, keeping there as she stalked some of the patrolling armed bands trying to listen to their conversations.

 

“The Kirammann recruits are getting antsy, we need to get this done NOW!”

 

“Tell that to Command, they’ve been dark for hours

 

“What the fuck could they be doing? Shoulda gotten rid of them already”

 

“Hah, fat chance. The Zaunite bitch is there too”

 

“Peh”

 

Though her eye twitched with annoyed rage, Jinx managed to extricate herself from the eavesdropping without blowing the pair up, making her way to another larger group.

 

“We get our old jobs after this yeah?”

 

“Yes! For the last time, yes! Once the Kirammann girl is out of the way, ol'e Mason will have to be put in charge”

 

“Ol’e Mason seems to be taking his damn sweet time! Been hours now, we can't keep this up forever”

 

“We can if you just shut the fuck up and stop grouching! Do YOU wanna be the one that shoots the first bullet against fucking Vi? Go ahead!”

 

“Tch…”

 

Hmm Jinx processed that tidbit as she jerked her head one way then another, getting a corresponding response from the baby in the armoured shell on her back.

 

She was vaguely familiar with the name Mason, one of the more notable firings in recent times but she only really heard it when Caitlyn was complaining about shit-stirrers in the ranks.

 

Now, if I were to assassinate and overthrow Top-Hat, how would I do it and where?

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

You’ve thought about doing that for ages-

 

Shut it She cut Mylo off Besides, I would have blown something up by now. No, they need to make it look like an accident and even better, have Vi take the blame

 

But where could one enact such a plan that wouldnt implicate anyone? Certainly not anyone's house, which was an issue in a mostly residential area. There were also no convenient places like abandoned warehouses or factories in which they could store a kidnapped enforcer and their girlfriend.

 

Chalk that up on the Zaun vs Piltover scoreboard.

 

Which left the shops, all of which appeared to be closed and no one suspicious looking came in and out of them, or the few public buildings.

 

Like the museum.

 

“I mean, if you wanted to be fancy about it?” She thought aloud.

 

“Bah bah” Powder’s whisper was barely audible, Jinx jerking her head in acknowledgment.

 

“Alright, let’s check it out”

 

Climbing back up to the rooves, it was only a hop skip and a jump to the large, onate building that was Piltover Historical Museum.

 

Fitting for such a prestigious place, it basically had its own block, protected by a fancy stone and metal fence and surrounded by a number of small square gardens where ponds and statues had been fitted in the middle. The building itself was one huge structure with adjoining buildings branching off at various points, all made out of the white marble Pilties loved so much. The fanciest part, and what made it so damn explodable, was the enormous glass roof over most of the central structure with a golden-roofed dome rising out of the very middle that shined with an obscene brightness.

 

It was rich, ostentatious and incredibly impractical.

 

If it wasn't for Powder liking the pretty pictures inside, after Caitlyn and Vi had taken her out on a day trip, then Jinx wouldn't have thought it even existed.

 

She wasn't bitter about that at all.

 

Not like Auntie Jinx drew a whole mural especially for Powder.

 

Not like she spent months on it, only for it to apparently remind Powder how much the pretty pictures in the museum were better to look at.

 

She wasn't bitter at all.

 

Uh, Jinx, the grenade… Mylo pointed out.

 

Jinx cleared her throat, putting the pin back into the grenade and putting that back in the pocket it had come from.

 

“Any-way” she huffed, undoing part of the backpack so she could swivel it around and look down at Powder.

 

Her niece sat comfortably within the padded armoured casing, idly chewing on her aunt’s braid.

 

Powder looked quizzically at her, mouth full of blue hair.

 

Jinx chuckled “Gonna need you to stay safe and secure Pow-Pow”

 

The little girl clapped “Esh n Esh!” she said with a full mouth.

 

Jinx smiled “That's right, S and S. Could you do that for me Pow-Pow? Just like we practiced?”

 

The child nodded and, like a turtle in her storybooks, drew her limbs within the shell. Jinx shut the holes for her legs and arms by lowering the covers, the shell large enough that Powder had room to be comfortable even when wearing her coat, having her limbs tucked in with her and having Jinx’s hair pool inside.

 

The thing weighed an absolute tonne, hence why she left her main gun behind.

 

The aunt patted her niece’s head “Good girl, I’ll leave this in there with you to play with” she dropped the Explodarama-1000 in the shell, the “grenade” lighting up with multicoloured lights.

 

Powder didn't even look at it, focusing on her instead.

 

Jinx blew her a kiss “Safe and secure, okay?”

 

“Esh en esh!”

 

“That's right”

 

Making sure her arms were properly tucked in, Jinx gave a final pat to the head before closing the shell’s cover.

 

Two holes allowed her braids to flow in and after a moment Jinx got a couple of tugs.

 

“Good girl” she said as she slung the thing on her back again.

 

Then she unholstered her pistol and checked to make sure it was fully charged.

 

Sparky lit up with a beautiful whine.

 

Surveying the museum grounds once more Jinx could make out a couple of patrols, both a mix of uniformed and non-uniformed people all of whom were armed.

 

Lotta people gathered here and at the barricade, that must be most of them or else the entire fucking district decided to be part of this shindig.

 

Usually, Jinx’s standard operating procedure was to simply blow them all up and she was very tempted to do so, but with Powder with her and with Caitlyn and Vi potentially somewhere inside, it wasn't a practical idea

 

Instead, she decided to blow up a shop nearby, because something needed to distract the guards.

 

A broken widow and a couple of well-placed high-explosive grenades later, Jinx stood across from a blooming fireball that threw up a cloud of dust, broken masonry and glass.

 

"Boom Boom!" Powder cheered from behind her, her voice a metallic hollow within the shell.

 

Jinx laughed "Boom boom Pow-Pow, boom boom"

 

The armed people below were quick to spring into action, or at least some of them, mostly the uniformed ones while the ones in civilian clothing almost all ran away.

 

The mixed reaction was a bonus though as the more disciplined and organized people had to split their attention performing crowd control and dealing with the subsequent fire the explosion caused, ensuring that neither was done well and chaos was the only result.

 

Well, no time like the present.

 

Jinx took another second to appreciate the chaos, before she jumped down to the street and made a relatively easy journey across fairly open space to get to the museum. It was fairly easy avoiding the chaotic mass of screaming and shouting people and hopping the fence.

 

The garden on the other side was clear and Jinx followed a straight course to the far too grand steps up to the entrance, statues lining both sides of the steps.

 

She had to dive and hide behind a statue when a number of guards came out, rushing towards the scene and wondering what was causing such a commotion.

Once they were passed, she jogged up the wide steps.

 

The lights were on inside despite it being long past closing, which was convenient for her.

 

It was also completely empty, which was even more convenient.

 

"Vi, Top-Hat?" She called out.

 

"Mama?" Powder answered her.

 

She shook her head and received a tug in response.

 

"Worth a try…" she muttered, eying the map behind the welcome desk.

 

Main hall, Founder’s Wing, Discovery gallery, Art gallery…

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

Claggor cleared his throat and Mylo scratched the back of his head.

 

…Alright fine, find them first Jinx reluctantly caved.

 

…Enforcer’s Wing her eyes settled on, one of the smaller adjoining buildings.

 

“They can't be this obvious right?” she muttered, thinking for a moment.

 

“...Fu-dge it, not like they’re being subtle anyway”

 

The path towards the wing, and to most of the museum, was through the main hall and into the large indoor courtyard that was roofed with the ornate glass roof. In the very center was a circular tower supposedly marking the very spot Piltover was founded, with various status and knickknacks all around the room to gawk at.

 

It was a little dark but the indoor lamps had been turned on, helpfully only the ones that led to the Enforcer’s Wing which created a convenient path to follow.

 

Jinx made sure to check in on Powder every now and then, receiving either a not-so-whispered burble or a tug on her hair.

 

Soon enough, she stood in front of the large entrance towards the Enforcer’s Wing, the closed doors flanked by statues of stern looking enforcers, one armoured and holding a rifle and the other a regular patrol officer with a baton in hand.

 

She tested the door and found it was locked.

 

Unholstering her pistol, Jinx knocked.

 

Once, twice, then a third time with each round being more insistent than the last.

 

“You’re supposed to use the codeword idiots!” Someone shouted from the other side.

 

“Er, I forgot” Jinx said, lowering her voice “There’s a fire outside by the way”

 

“What?!” there was the sound of a mechanism being worked and the gate was opened, a large man with a bushy mustache coming out.

 

He froze when he saw Jinx.

 

Or maybe that was because she had shot him with Sparkie, the bolt of electricity surging through his body locking limbs and frying nervous systems until he collapsed.

 

“Sarge?!” Someone shouted from inside.

 

Multiple someones.

 

Jinx clicked her tongue and readied a smoke grenade.

 

When a small group ran out she dropped it at her feet, a cloud of thick smoke bursting as soon as it made contact with the ground.

 

“Ah!”

 

“It’s Jinx! I saw the hair!”

 

“Fuck, shoot into the smoke!”

 

Bullets pinged and whizzed, shattering lights, statues, busts and every bit of furniture.

 

None of them hit Jinx, who had taken cover behind a statue.

 

“Stay safe Powder” she said with a serious tone of voice, rarely used when speaking to her niece “And put your ear-muffs on”

 

She waited until she received a tug on her hair in response, then she stepped around the statue and took aim at the dark shadows in the smoke.

 

Bolts of electricity cut through thick grey clouds and she heard someone shout for them to scatter, stirring the thick smoke and creating even more confusion.

 

She also heard one of her shots finally land, someone’s scream cut off as their muscles seized and they collapsed.

 

“Kerry’s down!”

 

“Fall back! Fall back!”

 

Jinx switched batteries and kept shooting, aiming where the voices were coming from, letting instinct take hold.

 

She was rewarded with two more cut off screams, two more bodies collapsing.

 

“Mason! Mason!” The last woman standing shouted somewhere in the smoke.

 

Jinx concentrated, trying to find the voice.

 

A gust of wind had her moving.

 

Something whooshed close-by to where she had been, impacting and making a crater on the ground.

 

As the smoke cleared she saw the head of an overly large wrench, tracing its origin to a fairly large man in full enforcer battle-gear.

 

“Thought the worst I had to prep for was your sister” A broken voice came through the mouthpiece “Almost forgot about you”

 

She raised a brow “Shame”

 

A bolt of electricity impacted against his armour.

 

It crackled and he grunted but it did nothing more.

 

“Shame” Mason repeated as he charged.

 

Jinx was used to sparring against Vi though and while it was evident Mason had good fighting skills, his style was more practiced than experienced. He was formulaic in his attacks and soon enough he became predictable, unable to land a hit.

 

Not a bad thing however, considering Jinx couldn't get through his armour.

 

At least, not with Sparkie.

 

With a grenade on the other hand, well, anything was possible.

 

She just had to disengage and the man, for all that he was swinging and missing, had enough endurance and managed to keep close.

 

Perhaps he too knew the danger.

 

But it was a stalemate that had to end.

 

Noting the gauge on her weapon showing it starting to run out of juice, Jinx turned up the dial and fired off two quick snapshots that drained the last battery.

 

One impacted against his chest and though his shoulder rolled, he continued his advance.

 

The other hit his stomach, forcing him to stumble a little, just for a moment.

 

She took advantage of that brief time to leap back and throw three chompers at him, the grenade’s metal chattering teeth finding purchase in armour plates.

 

It took Mason a second to realise his situation.

 

Unfortunately for him, those were short-fuses.

 

The explosion was large enough to crater the ground, sending marble chunks flying, breaking more statues and furniture and creating more mess.

 

It also broke part of the roof in a beautiful display of shattering glass.

 

That started to rain down.

 

“Woopsie” Jinx giggled as she dived and managed to find cover under a table, jerking her head to make sure Powder was still there.

 

“Boom boom! Boom boom!” The metal shell behind her excitedly shouted.

 

“Boom boom!” She repeated with a laugh.

 

Once the rain of sharp glass died down Jinx got out from under the table and inspected the damage.

 

The courtyard floor was cracked and splintered, the shockwave of the explosion breaking the stone a good distance from the initial crater, which itself was a considerable size. Above, the ornate and probably too expensive glass roof was absolutely shattered, even the frame warped and bent.

 

All around was evidence of a great disaster: broken marble and destroyed artworks, with the floor coated in broken glass that crunched under her boots.

 

So enamoured with the damage Jinx took a moment to realise it wasn't just her boots.

 

“Hands up!” The last ex-enforcer standing shouted, rifle trained at her back.

 

Jinx froze, eyes widening. 

 

“That’s not a good idea” she said, voice as hard as steel.

 

“I don't give a fuck, turn around and put your hands up!”

 

Jinx jerked her head, twice to the left and once to the right, then turned around.

 

The woman aimed, raising the tip of the barrel to Jinx’s head.

 

Powder popped out of the shell.

 

“Bah!” she shouted as her little arms threw the Explodarama-1000 as hard as they could.

 

It landed between Jinx and the ex-enforcer.

 

The latter of which saw a grenade with bright lights switching between green, blue, then red.

 

She reacted as she had been trained to: by diving and covering her head with her hands.

 

The Explodarama-1000 switched its pattern to blue, red and green.

 

Jinx made sure the ex-enforcer wouldn’t be getting back up for a while.

 

After surveying the area thoroughly, and finding Mason’s out cold body slumped against a wall, Jinx took her niece out of the shell and smothered her in kisses.

 

“Aww well done Pow-Pow! You’re so good! Who’s a good girl!”

 

“Bah!” Powder giggled.

 

“Yes you are!” Jinx smooched her again “Im so proud of you!”

 

Powder laughed “Boom!”

 

Jinx hugged her close, suddenly remembering how a different Powder felt when someone special to them had said they were proud of her.

 

“Boom boom Pow-Pow” Jinx said softly “Boom boom”

 

 


 

Vi had not been having a great day.

 

Nor really even a good day.

 

Pulling two late shifts back to back made anyone grouchy and now it had nearly been a whole day since she had seen her own damn child.

 

What was worse was that she had had to endure hours of tedium being shown around the Piltover Museum when all she wanted was to deal with some protesters and go home. Apparently, Cait’s handiwork had pissed a few people off and their bright idea was to gather in the museum and…shut it down.

 

Vi didn’t get it, but the people had lodged a complaint and protesters were genuinely intimidating civilians, so they had to be dealt with.

 

She didn’t know when it had all went wrong.

 

Probably around the time when she agreed to “have a talk” with the protest leader and then somehow that talk morphed into a lunch that they just had to have with Caitlyn, then that lunch morphed into an hours-long tour about the “great traditions” of the Enforcers.

 

It was the longest moment in her entire life and at points Vi was reminded of counting water droplets in Stillwater as a way to pass the time and how good that looked.


She had (only half-jokingly) suggested they just break up the protest but Caitlyn saw a chance to finally put to bed an issue that had been causing her no end of stress, so “talking” it was.

 

What a grand mistake that had been.

 

It was when she started feeling slightly ill that part of her thought this wasn't the mind-numbingly tedious but ultimately harmless event that it seemed to be.

 

When Caitlyn expressed the same discomfort, her hackles had been raised.

 

When the ringleader Mason expressed concern, Vi’s bullshit detector flew off the charts.

 

Confronting him, over Caitlyn’s light objections, had apparently sprung the trap they had laid out far too early.

 

It was still a trap though, her and her partner having been brought to an isolated room within an isolated wing in the museum that was now their prison, the walls thick and the doors barricaded and reinforced from outside.

 

To the point that even her fists could punch through.

 

And she damn well tried.

 

All the while, whatever poison they had been fed with was acting up, Mason himself admitting to having an “antidote” he would give them if they would just give up and stop resisting.

 

But, perhaps to his surprise, whatever concoction she and Cait had been laced with was not enough to really bring them down.

 

Vi had grown up in the worst of Zaun, she literally breathed poison for most of her life and it was a common joke Zaunite drinks might burn a hole through soft stomachs. She worried more for Caitlyn, but it seemed her partner’s constitution was also enough to stave off poisoning.

 

“You know” Caitlyn said as she inspected the door for the thousandth time, looking over the gouges and dents they had made in their first attempts at escape “I…might…have to thank Jinx for this”

 

Her voice was a little pained, they were both feeling sickly but it was mostly a nauseous and stomach churning sickness, rather than any real danger.

 

“Heh” she chuckled “Why?”

 

Caitlyn eased a spear they had made from a table leg into a soft part of the door, the wood parting and splitting only to reveal something metal and heavy blocking the outside.

 

“I think, her horrible little diet plan…might have helped with this poison”

 

Vi snorted, because she was afraid she would throw up if she laughed “You still stick to it you know, sometimes”

 

Caitlyn grumbled “It was a forced habit for a whole year Vi. It concerns me that I no longer look at food the same way I did before”

 

“Heh” Vi smirked, then grunted as she felt something churn in her stomach “No luck?”

 

Her partner sighed “No corners or anything, it’s fully covered”

 

Vi sucked in a breath through her teeth “...Someone has to realise at some point right? I mean, most of the new people aren't that clueless”

 

Caitlyn tapped her nails on the door “I hope so. Hopefully Jinx can keep Powder occupied”

 

Vi sighed “Yeah”

 

They were like that for a moment, taking just a little time to rest and rethink, until they heard and felt a thud and a small shake.

 

“What was that?” Caitlyn asked, feeling the walls around them.

 

“Felt like a tiny earthquake” Vi answered, putting her ear to the ground “No aftershock though, so…might have been an explosion”

 

Blue eyes looked to grey.

 

“...It could-”

 

Someone banged on the door, or at least the metal barrier outside.

 

“-ey! You…ere?!”

 

The voice was muffled.

 

Caitlyn was instantly on the door pounding back “Were here! We’re trapped! Let us out!”

 

“Top -at? That you?”

 

Vi sighed in relief “It is her”

 

Caitlyn pounded on the door again “Intercom Jinx! Near the door!”

 

“-at?”

 

“Intercom!” Caitlyn shouted again.

 

There was a moment of silence before they heard Jinx’s voice come through the room’s speakers “Oh yeah, didn't see. Woops”

 

“Can you get us out!?” Caitlyn still had to shout into the door, Vi having broken the intercom on their side in a fit of rage.

 

An escape attempt, she tried to justify afterwards.

 

“Just stand back from the door-oh, hang on” they heard shuffling, Jinx apparently keeping her finger on the button “Come on Pow, ah! Shoulders Pow-Pow, use my shoulders not my hair”

 

Caitlyn’s jaw dropped, then she hammered on the door “DID YOU BRING POWDER WITH YOU?!?!”

 

“Mama!” They heard through the speakers “Mama!”

 

Vi joined Caitlyn by the door “POWIE! IT’S ME!”

 

“Alright alright” Jinx spoke up again after some shuffling “Get back in Powder and put your earmuffs back on, we’re gonna make a boom”

 

“Boom boom!”

 

“That’s right!”

 

Caitlyn slumped against the door and groaned “...Why is she your sister Vi…”

 

The brawler laughed and nearly regretted it as her stomach protested the sudden movement “Because she’s the best” she answered with a grin.

 

“Stand back! And get behind a barrier if you can” Jinx warned them “Gonna need to make this big”

 

They did, setting up at the farthest corner away from the door behind a thick table.

 

Because when Jinx said it was gonna be “big”, it was best to believe her.

 

Salvation came in a thundering wave.

 

Neither of them could hold their stomachs against it, but that was the worst of the damage.

 

---

 

It was with great satisfaction that Vi slapped the cuffs around Mason’s wrists, making sure to make them extra tight as she handed the disgraced former Captain to one of her subordinates.

 

“No one’s to talk to him” she said to the officer “Unless it’s the Sheriff or me, no one gets to have a chit chat”

 

The officer nodded, respect and a little reverence in their eyes as they took the ex-Captain away.

 

Not that he can do much talking anyway Vi thought, watching as the man was basically carried by two enforcers and loaded onto a prison wagon, half stumbling and unable to form words or probably even see clearly.

 

Vi sighed and took another drink of water, only now starting to feel better after expelling the contents of her stomach.

 

Probably should have done it before she thought idly but that would have been real fun in a confined and airless room for a few hours.

 

Putting the thoughts away she approached her little family, the word still sounding strange and amazing to her.

 

Family.

 

Something she had so dearly missed for so long.

 

Something she had lost not once, but twice.

 

Something that made her feel whole.

 

Caitlyn was busy writing down a quick report, the junior officer waiting to receive it standing a little stiffly and awkwardly.

 

Perhaps because of inexperience.

 

Perhaps it was also because Caitlyn was cradling Powder and the “reformed” terrorist Jinx was just to the side, arms crossed and angry expression on her face.

 

Vi came up behind her little sister and embraced her, kissing the top of her head.

 

“Thanks for the save”

 

Jinx relaxed into her with a sigh “Don't do it again” she grouched “Or maybe do, then I can have Powder all day. Like yesterday. Or last weekend. Or last Tuesday and the Wednesday-”

 

Vi cut her off, hugging her shoulders tighter “I know sweetie, I know. No more overworking, I promise”

 

“...It’s not me you need to say this to” Jinx muttered.

 

Vi kissed her head again “Sure, but you need to hear it too. You’re her guardian angel after all”

 

Jinx muttered something Vi didnt catch but it sounded like a very embarrassed “thanks”

 

She laughed a little, then she hugged Jinx a little tighter than was comfortable “And I know you had it all in hand, but please try not to take Powder to dangerous places”

 

Jinx grumbled, then looked up and glared at her “Im not leaving her on her own”

 

The tone was slightly indignant but the steel behind her eyes was nothing but a promise.

 

And Jinx took her promises very seriously.

Vi kissed Jinx’s forehead and loosened her hold “I know. I trust you, I do. I was just worried, about both of you”

 

Now Jinx’s look was truly indignant “Pff, against these amateurs? Please…”

 

Vi laughed and made her way to Caitlyn, her partner handing over the report to a relieved junior officer.

 

“Powie!” She said as she took her daughter in her arms.

 

Her daughter.

 

How strange that still sounded.

 

How amazing.

 

“Mama Vi!” Powder cheered, raising her little arms up to pat Vi’s cheeks.

 

Vi grinned and brought the little girl close so she could hug her face, Vi rubbing her nose into Powder’s stomach as she did so, eliciting some happy giggles.

 

“How was your day?” She asked as she cradled her baby again “Did you have fun with Auntie Jinx!”

 

“Boom boom!”

 

Vi snickered.

 

Caitlyn groaned next to her.

 

“...If this isn't a sign…” her partner muttered.

 

Vi smiled as she tickled powder’s chin “A sign for what?”

 

“That we don't spend enough time with her. She’s learning to be Jinx Vi. Jinx!”

 

“Hey!” Jinx shouted “Im right here you know”

 

“I know!” Caitlyn replied “And while I do appreciate your commitment to my daughter, I do wish you’d get a job!”

 

“Oh please, so you can hire a nanny to take care of my niece like some stuffy Piltie brat?”

 

“So I can give Powder to my parents without having to worry about you being upset!”

 

“Yeah well I took her to them today so have that top-hat!”

 

“You what?!”

 

Vi dismissed the enforcers still hanging around after they had finished clearing up what they could and they seemed to be glad for it.

 

Few wanted to get between the Sheriff and the Loose Cannon after all.

 

When they were gone and Jinx and Cait were still arguing, Vi looked towards the museum.

 

“Well, wont be having days out there again Powie”

 

“Baba” Was her reply, Powder too interested in the arguing.

 

Vi laughed softly “Do you want braids or a hair straightener when you're older?”

 

“Ba?” Powder looked up at her.

 

Vi brushed her hair over to one side “...Nah, this looks good”

 

Her daughter was clearly trying to understand what she was saying, and it was adorable the way you could actually see the gears spin, until eventually Powder gave up and just poked her on the nose.

 

“Boom!”

 

Vi laughed, loud and happy.

 

Powder laughed with her.