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The Sewer Alligator of Zaun

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“What should we do with her boss?”

 

Silco sent a disinterested glance down at the small sobbing figure below him, giving a dismissive hand wave as he turned to leave without a word. His men took that as their signal to reach for the child, who offered no resistance at being picked up, seeming to just accept whatever was going to happen to her.

 

“…you wanna do it?”

 

“…I did it last time, all you.”

 

Both men only grew more awkward as they continued to share a look, the sobbing only having grown more intense the longer they held her. Even if the pair were cold-blooded killers something about the mournful wailing made them both pause.

 

“….feels like I’ll be cursed or some shit y’know?”

 

“….yeah…”

 

“We gotta do something or the boss will flip…Ah! How about we just throw her in the water over there? Whatever’s in there can deal with her!”

 

The other man gave a relieved nod at his suggestion, quickly carrying the child to the questionable looking water and tossing her in with a grunt. They watched quietly as the figure flailed for a bit before sinking down into the depths, leaving only when she didn’t rise up again after several minutes.

 

“…that should be good enough I guess?”

 

—--—-—--—--—--—--—--—-—---

Some time later, in the Sewers of the Sump 

 

“Ohohoho, so many goodies washing up tonight! What an absolute thrill! I knew this spot was worth haggling for from that three armed snake!”

 

Twitch couldn’t contain his giggles as he plunged his arms deep into the murky run-off that spewed from the corroded pipe across from him. He hadn’t been able to resist after hearing that the pipe connected with enough places above that some of its treasures would make it all the way down to the lowest parts. 

 

“Hmmm, I think that’s enough for tonight. It seems like I’ll have enough for—Oh what a big feeling bag!”

 

He had been just about to pull his hands out when something rather big had brushed against his paws, unable to stop himself from rapidly grabbing at it before it was sucked down into the pipe on the other end. It being so big either meant a nice big haul of something or—

 

“…Oh it’s just a body, pity I thought it was something useful. Drowned ones aren’t even good for gnawing with how they bloat and get all yucky. Bleh, back in yo—Woah!”

 

A sudden coughing fit from the supposed corpse made clear the small shaking figure was still alive, at least for a little bit going by how battered their body was. 

 

“My my, now isn’t that a miracle! Going through all those pipes and coming out alive and only slightly mangled in the process. I would shake your hand, but one seems to be missing and the other I can’t tell where it is with how twisted the arm is!”

 

Twitch gave a loud giggle at his joke, but only received a weak response that brought a frown out. With an annoyed huff he placed his free hand against his hip.

 

“Well it looks like someone is a little too serious for their own good here and it isn’t me! Kids these days…hmmm what’s that?”

 

He pulled the figure closer to his ear, even with his hearing better than most he was only able to faintly pick up the whispered cry for help that escaped the child’s mouth in between whimpers of pain. It made him pause slightly, eventually ending in a groan of frustration.

 

“Oh now you’re making me feel bad, my little rat heart just can’t take it you know? I’d feel awful just throwing you back now after you’ve managed to survive all that…”

 

Twitch stomped his paw with another huff as he tried figuring out exactly what he could even do, scratching his head aggressively before giving a gasp as an idea came to him.

 

The Chempit!

 

With another giggle he threw the child onto his back, strapping her on with one of his many hooks and buckles he used when carrying his treasures. Running on all fours was the far faster means of travel for Twitch as he began darting down a familiar sprawling series of pipes.

 

“Oh Kid are you lucky that it’s close by! Why that Chempit fixed me right up after that cursed mangy cat had its way with me all those years ago! Not only did it fix me right up, but it made me the giant rat I am today! It’s really a rather moving story, perhaps I’ll tell you it if you survive hehehe!”

 

It didn’t take him long whatsoever to arrive at his destination, a large bubbling neon green mass of slightly too thick liquid that would have made his eyes water something fierce if he didn’t have his goggles on. He felt a wave of nostalgia hit him as he surveyed the irradiated mass that had been down here as long as he or anyone else could remember. Twitch’s eyes naturally fell onto the several floating masses of some unfortunate lizards that had tried taking a swim, having likely not understood the memo that this was a place to avoid in most cases.

 

“Well, this’ll either fix you right up or have you floating belly up like those unlucky lizards! Only one way to find out HAHAHA!”

 

With a manic laugh he chucked the girl into the Chempit, watching her sink into its depths without any means to struggle. The area around where she sank began to glow ominously as the surface bubbled furiously, churning the floating corpses down below. Twitch couldn’t help but let out an astonished gasp at the display, the pits reaction to something new being thrown in never getting old to him. He lay down on the ground, propping his chin up on his front paws and letting his legs freely swing above him, waiting to see what the results would be.

 

Lucky or unlucky.

 

Most things he threw in sadly fell into the latter category much to his disappointment, but he never gave up hope that something fun might come out instead. He continued to lay there long after the bubbling and glow had stopped, having gotten excited at it lasting far longer than normal.

 

“Looks like unlucky were the results, pity. I think they would have loved my harrowing tale of escaping that mangy cat and getting my much deserved revenge!”

 

Twitch was about to pull himself up to leave when sudden movement out of the corner of his eye brought his attention back to the Chempit. Whatever was causing the displacement seemed to be getting closer, causing him to jump up into an excited dance.

 

“Oh oh, maybe lucky after all! What fun form will you take I wonder? The three armed snake from last time was so much fun.”

 

He didn’t have to wait long as a large clawed arm covered in thick dark blue scales came roaring from the pit, forming deep marks into the ground in front where it crushed down. Quickly following it was a similarly huge scale covered arm with a pair of just as powerful claws. Such symmetry was rather rare from things he’d thrown into the pit, meaning the human must have been extra lucky.

 

“Ohohoho, that’s it! Claw your way out my dear and let ol’Twitch get a good look at you!”

 

Beckoning her forward with his hands the figure slowly crawled its way out, revealing just how much had been changed by her time in the Chempit. Her hair mirrored her dark scales and had an almost metallic sheen to it, with her eyes now vertical slits on top of an almost glowing yellowish green colour. A large gasp for air revealed sharp deadly teeth that looked capable of easily crushing even the toughest material.

 

“Just a little further, you’ve got this!”

 

His cheering seemed to snap her out of the stupor she’d found herself in, making her crawl the final stretch and exposing the thick long tail coming from her tailbone and churning the water. Thick scales mixed with small spikes ran down her back, joining with that powerful looking tail. With shaky movements she attempted to pull herself onto her equally large clawed legs, bent in a similar fashion to Twitch’s own legs, only to fall with a groan into his outstretched arms.

 

“Woah easy! I made the same mistake trying to stand up too soon, it’ll take you a bit to get used to it! How’d you feel my dear, right as rain or in excruciating pain?”

 

She just groggily shook her head at his words before a low grumble escaped.

 

“Feel tingly….”

 

“Hmhm, that’s a new one I’d say! Oh, since you actually survived could you tell me what your name is? Humans usually have one of those right?”

Her mind fog seemingly still in full force she sat there in a stupor for a while, her brow furrowed deep in concentration as if struggling somewhat to recall what it was.

 

“Think….it’s Powder…maybe?”

 

“Powder is it?”

 

The girl just gave a slow nod at his words, as if not fully certain herself of the fact. Realising that he likely wouldn’t get anything else out of her for a bit he bent down to pick her up, struggling almost immediately at how heavy she had become compared to before. With wobbling steps he slowly began to make his way back to his hideout, it seemed only right to let her stay there until she’d fully recovered.

 

His recounting of his origins would have to wait as well, knowing that at that moment she wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate its epic tale with how foggy her mind seemed to be at the current time.

Chapter Text

“Aaaah, no no! What have I told you Powder!? You can’t just eat random things you find, spit it out this instant!”

 

An annoyed growl was her only response, crunching down hard on whatever she’d found while they’d been out scavenging for supplies. Twitch let out an exasperated sigh as he watched her happily chew away at whatever poor thing had caught her attention, using her large claws to shove the rest of it greedily into her mouth.

 

‘Now I hope it wasn’t the two armed snake, I’m still sad about the three armed one even if it did cheat me out of my hard earned scraps!’

 

It had been many years since Twitch had picked up Powder, unlike in most cases he’d let her stick around instead of immediately shooing her out to find her own place in the community. There had been something quite charming about her, helped by how freakishly strong she had become, getting him out of many sticky situations that he would have struggled to without her.

 

He’d been a little scared for a short while in their relationship with how she’d stare at him, making him feel similar to when he was a small rat being watched by a cat sizing up a meal, which wasn’t helped by the drool that went along with that gaze. Powder had never done anything past stare and eventually stopped that as well once it seemed she’d wrestled her new instincts under control, but it had been a stressful several weeks for Twitch all the same.

 

“Powder, didn’t I tell you to let me know if you were hungry? I packed extra mouldy sandwiches just for you and everything! Even if you have an iron stomach some things down here will make you sick! Remember that long-necked frog?”

 

She gave a jolt at his words, likely remembering the un-fun experience of being unable to hold down any food for several days after she’d popped it in her mouth without a care. Powder scratched her cheek in embarrassment, getting up from her crouched position.

 

“….should I puke it up?”

 

“No no, that would be a waste of valuable nutrients! You’ll just have to deal with it if anything happens and I’ll laugh while saying I told you so!”

 

Powder groaned, her teeth giving a loud gnashing sound as they slammed shut in annoyance.  Twitch gave a mad laugh as he got back to work clawing his way through built up muck that was blocking their way. He made short work of it and quickly pulled himself through, Powder following close behind.

 

“…we going up?”

 

“Yes! You haven’t been up since arriving down here have you? We’ll of course be skittering around in the dead of night to avoid all the annoying screams of horror, but it’s still a good idea to be sneaky.”

 

He gave a loving pat to the sewage pipe above him, motioning Powder closer with a wave and pointing towards an etched mark next to it. She squinted at it trying to recall what that mark meant, Twitch having been teaching her the common information markers used by Sewer Folk.

 

‘That one was….good scavenge spot I think.’  

 

“This pipe here will lead us directly to the Slum outskirts which is a prime dumping ground for people and also a great digging spot for us! You wouldn’t believe the amount of perfectly good supplies people just throw away!”

 

She gave a quick nod as he confirmed she’d been correct, readjusting the pack on her back with a grunt, ready to follow behind him whenever he decided to go up. Twitch gave a quick cackle as he began to climb, but came to a sudden stop as he turned around to ask a very important question he’d just thought up.

 

“…..Powder…do you know if you’d eat…people by any chance?”

 

Powder tilted her head with a hum, the amount of time it was taking her to answer not being a very good sign towards what her answer was going to be.

 

“…..If I was hungry….?”

 

“Hmhm and are you currently hungry?”

 

Another pause that stretched on far too long for Twitch’s liking.

 

“….No? That two armed snake filled me up real good.”

 

“….oh, I see. That’s good to hear then….”

 

‘So it was the two armed snake then….what a pity even if it was likely to cheat me too. Never could trust snakes, especially ones with arms….’

 

“Just remember this time to tell me if you get hungry alright? There are at least four mouldy sandwiches with your name on them and I just bet we’ll find more wonders like those in our digging!”

 

She just rolled her eyes at his cooing, using her great claws to pull herself up into the pipe with little effort needed. The pair quickly arrived at their destination, Twitch navigating the winding path with ease and pausing right outside the exposed grate to give a survey of the area.

 

“Looks like we’re in the clear my dear Powder! Going by that delicious smell I think we’ve also come at the perfect time! You won’t be going hungry for a while I think!”

 

A wide smile stretched across her face at his excited chatter, growing even wider as the pair crawled out and basked in the large mounds in front of them.

 

“….There’s so much stuff and it looks barely picked through unlike the stuff in the sewers….”

 

Twitch gave a knowing waggle of his finger at her words.

 

“That’s what you get for coming to the source that few in the sewer are brave enough to go for! Mostly what we end up dealing with is a couple straggler humans that have a similar idea to us, but most will run screaming as soon as they see us rather than try attacking.

 

“You don’t have to worry about them bringing more?”

 

“Powder, who would believe someone wildly exclaiming he just saw a giant talking rat?”

 

“Ohhh….”

 

“Right, enough chatter and more digging! We have a limited window of time here.”

 

They both split off to cover more ground, any large pieces or ones they weren’t certain about put into a small pile between them to be sorted through later. It was largely silent work, neither wanting to draw attention to what they were doing and risking the chance of anyone showing up to cause trouble. A distant noise caught Twitch’s attention and made him pause, realising that the sound was growing closer.

 

“Powder! Someone’s coming! Over here to me, we’ll see if we can hide until they leave!”

 

She immediately dropped what she was doing to snake her way over, making no sound as she did and coming to a stop to lie down beside the prone figure of Twitch. He eyed the direction from which he heard the noise, waiting patiently for the several figures he had heard to appear.

 

“What do you see Powder?”

 

He had learned fairly quickly that her eyesight was far superior to his own, especially when it came to her night vision. She squinted and stared hard for a bit before answering.

 

“…looks like some kind of drop off or something. Oh! It’s for that purple stuff that tasted nasty!”

 

“…Powder you drank it?”

 

“Yeah, like I said it tasted nasty and gave me indigestion. I don’t know how humans can deal with that stuff….”

 

Twitch turned to plant one eye onto Powder with a look of bewilderment.

 

“Powder, aren't you technically human even if you are heavily mutated?”

 

She sent him a mystified look.

 

“Huh? Wait am I?”

 

He didn’t have a chance to answer as the group had grown close enough he feared they’d hear him if he did. Twitch mimed a shushing motion and pointed downwards, Powder taking the hint to shut her mouth tight.

 

They watched cautiously as the group went about their transaction, but relaxed as they watched it begin to grow to a close with nothing exciting happening. That was up until the sudden whirl of something filled the air right before a bunch of masked humans on boards descended onto the group.

 

Chaos erupted as the two groups clashed, leaving Powder and Twitch in a stunned stupor as they watched it all unfold. It didn’t take long for the masked group to take out the other group, having trapped them all in some kind of crystal substance and knocking the majority of them out as they did.

 

‘Alright they’ll probably leave soon, though it looks like we’ll have to stop for the evening anyway….’

 

Betraying his expectations the group seemed to hang around as if waiting for something, made clear when a pair came down from the sky after one on the ground had set off a flare. The two jumped off their boards, moving towards the one that had set off the flare to talk before walking over to the trapped figure they were pointed towards.

 

‘Ooohh, this will take forever won’t it?’

 

He stole a glance at Powder who was looking both bored and annoyed, which was a dangerous combination when it came to her. Ever so carefully he pulled one of the sandwiches from his back satchel and handed it over to her, which seemed to distract her from her boredom. 

 

The masked pair, the one in front, likely the leader going by how the others acted, seemed to be arguing something with one of the bound men. What exactly was being said he didn’t know, nor did he really care since it was likely some boring human centric drama. Twitch gave a low scoff as he pulled out a sandwich of his own, making sure to hand Powder another one as he did.

 

They ate in silence as they watched, both finding it painfully dull as the seconds ticked by while the silly human drama carried on down below. Eventually, after what felt like a ridiculous amount of time the masked group went to leave after setting alight the purple liquid. Twitch rose with a groan after waiting a little longer, Powder giving an annoyed huff as she stretched herself out and got to her feet.

 

“They took way too long if it was all over that stupid nasty tasting drink, I don’t get it.”

 

“Neither do I Powder, bunch of human centric drama that doesn’t really matter to us. I can’t bring myself to care in the slightest.”

 

“So does that mean I ain’t human then if I also don’t care?”

 

Twitch stood in silence for a bit as he contemplated her question, giving a quick nod after thinking it over which earned him a satisfied snort from Powder.

 

“Good, now I won’t feel bad if I end up eating any of them.”

 

“…try to avoid it if you can, okay? Best not to draw attention to ourselves if we can help it.”

 

“Guess that makes sense….”

 

“Let’s gather what we can and leave quickly in case they come back.”

 

She gave a quick nod while gathering what she could in her large backpack and making sure the straps were all done up tightly. Powder gave a quick wave to Twitch as a signal she was good to go with him giving a return nod to say he was finished as well. The pair was about to set off, reaching about halfway to the pipe before they once again heard the whirling sound of those boards approaching.

 

“For crying out loud, will these humans make up their mind!?”

 

Twitch let out an exasperated whisper as he and Powder again hid themselves, though unlucky for them this time they were far closer than he would have liked. Powder looked incredibly annoyed at having to stop again, but to her credit immediately snapped her jaw shut.

 

The only ones to touch down were the leader and his partner, angrily walking back over to the still bound man. Again, they seemed to argue about something that neither of them cared about, likely the same thing they’d previously talked about. He could feel the irritation radiating from Powder as it dragged on, which if he was being honest he was beginning to feel as well.

 

‘How much longer must we suffer….’

 

It didn’t take long for the pair to leave again, which made Twitch wonder why they came back in the first place. He just shook his head, not wanting to waste any effort in trying to understand why humans did the things they did.

 

“Alright now we should be good to go!”

 

“Finally….it isn’t always this much of a hassle up here right?”

 

Twitch just gave a shake of his head at her question as he made his way to the pipe that would lead them home.

 

“Think we just got unlucky this time with it being a drop off point for something stupid.”

 

Powder followed close behind, making sure to close the grate that had been placed onto the pipe to leave no trace they’d been there. She only gave the outside world a single look back before pushing it out of her mind with the thought that, even if there was a lot of neat stuff up above, she still liked the sewers more.  Even if the residence of it were a chaotic bunch, it was overall a much more understandable place for her.

 

“Are we going to wait a while before going back up again just to be safe?”

 

“That’s the idea, can never be too safe!”

 

Twitch gave a mad cackle to her question, which caused her to release a sigh of relief at not having to deal with the above world for a while.

Chapter Text

Powder was currently enjoying her time floating idly in the Chempit, an activity she’d grown to enjoy much to the concern of Twitch. He of course was worried she’d mutate even further or just die at some point, but Powder was never really worried about it. If anything, it was always a pleasant experience that filled her with energy and left her refreshed, loving the feel of letting whatever was in there dry on her scales.

 

‘The tingly it causes every time is just a bonus.’

 

“Fancy seeing you here Powder!”

 

“Hmmm? Hey, if it ain’t Zac! What are you doing this far out?”

 

She tilted her head back with an excited giggle to spot the lumbering figure of the giant oozy green man himself, who had stopped to crouch beside the pit with a happy wave. Using her tail she swam back to shore, brushing back her long wavy blue hair out of her face and sending a spray of chem liquid onto the floor with an audible hiss upon contact. The best Powder could do with her messy mane was to use her long claws as a makeshift comb, which could only do so much in the face of so much hair.

 

‘Twitch is right, it’s getting way too long….but I can’t bring myself to let him cut it for some reason…’

 

“I thought I’d stop in the area since I heard from Twitch you’d like to take a dip in the Chempit every so often. Can’t really understand why you do, even I’m a little nervous to touch that stuff.”

 

“Hehehe, just like how it feels is all. Enough about me, any fun stuff happen with you? You’re always bouncing around everywhere, so I bet at least one neat thing has happened since I last saw you.”

 

Zac rubbed his chin, giving a little hum of thought.

 

“Well, it’s been pretty wild outside the sewers for a while now so I’ve been keeping busy. It is hard trying to help out while also sticking to the shadows….”

 

“Hmmm? The humans up to something weird again or is it just the undercity being the undercity?”

 

He only gave a light chuckle at how Powder had so quickly separated herself from “the humans” even if she still for all accounts was one in his mind. 

 

“Things have been ramping up for a while with Shimmer, ah that purple stuff you said tastes bad, but then everything went a bit funky with sudden attacks on the Chembaron largely producing it. Not only from the Firelights, but also by the sudden appearance of some raging demon of a person ripping through his men.”

 

“That so….Firelights are those masked jokers right?”

 

Powder lay on the floor next to Zac to allow for the stuff from the pit to dry, only half interested in his discussion of what was going on outside.

 

“Right, they target Shimmer shipments. That demon person seemed to have some connection with the topside since they also ended up getting involved and now it’s stuck at a stalemate because of it. Chembaron is keeping his head down for now to regather his strength and the demon is staying topside.”

 

“So what have you been doing then?”

 

“Mainly been repairing all the damage to the infrastructure that’s been caused by the uptick in fighting, there’s been too much going on for me to really feel comfortable doing much more. Keeping busy outside that helping out Sewer Folk and the odd person from the undercity.”

 

“Probably for the best, nothing good comes from getting involved in that human centric drama as Twitch likes to call it.”

 

“Well, I still like to keep an ear out since it seems like I’m the only one in these sewers that does. You and the others would have no idea what’s happening out there unless I did….”

 

Powder giggled as she gave Zac a light poke on his blobby leg at his concerned tone.

 

“And we all love ya for keeping us up-to-date even if it’s just so we know not to go out for a bit.”

 

Zac looked down at her with a slight frown, shifting slightly so that he sat down beside her and gave her a light poke back.

 

“Powder have you ever thought about….going back up? You technically are originally from there you know….”

 

“I know you’re saying it out of concern for me and I do appreciate it, but I don’t have much interest. That isn’t even factoring in all this that I’m sure would make me about as welcome as Twitch taking a daytime stroll in the middle of the market.”

 

She motioned down to her scaly form with a light chuckle.

 

“Plus, everyone I know is here so what’s the point? Anyone that I did know in the past….doubt they’d want me now.”

 

“Powder….”

 

Zac’s concerned voice was cut short by a single wave from her, setting him with an amused gaze.

 

“Plus, I doubt they’d enjoy my habit of grabbing whatever I can to eat when I get hungry enough. I’m largely able to handle my instincts, but sometimes my lizard brain just snatches control y’know?”

 

“….I know it from personal experience after you took a big chunk out of my leg that one time…”

 

“C’mon Zac, it was one time!”

 

“Yes, but who was the one that commented after the fact how good I tasted? What was it? Just like what you imagined a fancy topsider dessert was what you said if I recall.”

 

Powder let out a loud laugh at his light teasing, glad that he had taken the hint to change subjects and joined in. She understood it was just Zac being a worrying busybody, something he couldn’t help really, but it was still a topic Powder didn’t have much interest in. It had largely been said as a joke, but it was mixed with the truth that sometimes it was harder to think as clearly as she wanted. 

 

Hunger wasn’t always the cause, just the easiest to notice and do something about, other times she had no idea what’d set her off. She still remembered how much she’d struggled in the first several weeks after becoming what she was to wrestle control back, having to do everything in her power to resist that urge she’d had to jump Twitch. Now she didn’t have to worry about going after him whenever that brain fog hit, having trained herself not to see him as edible, but that was only with him.

 

‘I don’t know what’d happen with others….Zac can shrug it off as no big deal, but most couldn’t…’

 

Rather than just a lack of interest and largely enjoying her time in the sewer, the fear she felt whenever her thoughts turned to the subject of leaving or reconnecting with what little was left of the past also factored in. Powder was acutely aware that her strength would easily tear apart the average person without much difficulty and how little they could do to stop her.

 

To her, staying down here away from them was the best idea. Here there wasn’t a chance she could hurt them and that was even if they’d have wanted her in the first place. Not just because of what she’d become, but with what her last memories of them had been especially when it came to Vi. Powder would only mess up whatever happiness Vi had gained from leaving her if she showed up, ruining everything like the jinx Vi had claimed her to be all those years ago.

 

Powder had nightmares about meeting her again like she was, Vi’s face different each time, but always ranging from disgust to fear and never ever positive. Sometimes, when it was a particularly bad nightmare it was a mocking smirk, one that told her it was everything a jinx like her deserved.

 

‘Making myself depressed with all this…..the reason I hate thinking about it in the first place.’

 

She gave her head a light shake to clear her thoughts, finally feeling that the pit gunk had dried enough for her to leave. Getting to her feet with a large stretch she finally reached for her scattered clothes, rough and durable yet nothing stunning, but good enough for her needs.

 

“Are you leaving now Powder?”

 

“Hmmm, yeah. I have to go help Twitch out with sorting out our recent loot since we grabbed some big heavy stuff this time.”

 

With a soft sigh she looked down at her large hands that had made the delicate tinkering of her past practically impossible, something she had missed greatly upon first realising. Now it was just a dull ache that was largely replaced with annoyance at having to make Twitch do everything that required a delicate touch. She had learned how to still tinker with her claws, even if it had taken quite a bit of struggling, but it still frustrated her to no end how she wasn’t able to do everything herself like in the past.

 

“I’ll see ya around Zac, always enjoy our chats.”

 

“I do too Powder, know that you’ll always have someone to talk to if you need it. I’m keenly aware that Twitch isn’t the best at certain types of discussion.”

 

“Aww, ain’t you a sweetheart!”

 

“I try.”

 

She left him there with a parting wave, quickly making her way down the familiar series of pipes that marked the way home.

Chapter Text

“Are you really going back up so soon after our last attempt?”

 

“Powder, it’s been several weeks, it should be fine now and I’m not even going to the same spot this time! It’s actually a new spot!”

 

“Is that the spot Zac talked about?”

 

Twitch just nodded as he finished his packing with a cackle, gesturing wildly as he scampered around. Powder was currently lounging across her makeshift bed that she’d constructed over the years to keep her nice and warm even on the coldest days. Idly she ate away at a pile of mutated little fish from Jericho who fished as a hobby inside the sewers. She remembered back when she was a kid and had gone to his stall, so it had surprised her to see him casually fishing one day. 

 

Apparently the surprise had been mutual as Jericho had bolted up immediately after spotting her and wrapped her in a crushing bear hug, refusing to let go for the longest time. Since then she'd drop in on the spot just to sit and chat with him, something about her mutation letting her understand the gist of what he was saying somehow. He'd always give her a bag brimming with whatever he'd caught that day unfit for stall use with a wink and an insistence to come stop by some day.

 

‘Always gives me it without asking for much of anything, ain’t he nice.’

 

She watched Twitch prepare to leave, still having zero interest in tagging along this time. Powder had a rather good idea of where he planned to go even before he said it.

 

“Yes Yes, it was apparently a factory for the Shimmer stuff which was attacked by topsiders and has since been left abandoned it seems.”

 

'Bingo.'

 

A large grin appeared on her face as she lazily rolled to prop herself up on one arm.

 

“…wasn’t that the place Zac said to avoid if we could?”

 

She watched with a hint of amusement at how Twitch froze, seeming not to have realized she’d known that part too. He turned to face her with a nervous chuckle, wringing his hands aggressively.

 

“O-oh! Isn’t that so!? My, I must have forgotten, silly me!”

 

“….not fooling anyone, just spill why you want to go there.”

 

He visibly deflated at her words, knowing she wouldn't let him leave without an answer.

 

"I just assumed there would be a lot of fancy tech stuff left for the taking…"

 

"You know it's already picked clean of the good stuff Twitch, whatever's left isn't worth the risk."

 

She almost felt a bit bad about crushing his hopes after watching his usually perky ears droop. His excitement over possibly getting nice tech to fiddle with had blinded him to the reality of the situation.

 

"You are the one that said to stay out of human centric drama and that place is almost guaranteed to be teeming with it."

 

"Mmmm, you’re right….I don’t know what came over me."

 

Powder gave a shrug at his words as if to say it wasn't a big deal.

 

"Happens to everyone sometimes."

 

Twitch gave a sad huff as he flopped down beside her, taking the offered fish she held up without a word. He fell into thought as he munched on it.

 

"Now I don't know what to do, my plans for the day are all up in flames."

 

"Hmmm, maybe just lounge around like I have planned?"

 

He sent her a squint.

 

"That can't be all you have planned? Didn't you do the same yesterday?"

 

"And your point?"

 

A groan escaped him as he took another fish offered to him.

 

"....these are quite good, I didn’t know the sewers had stuff like this."

 

"Jericho just knows how to find them somehow, says it’s instinct. Same way he finds the stuff that he sells at his stall."

 

"Oooh, that's it!"

 

".....?"

 

Twitch turned to her, his once drooping ears back up to their usual excited state. She had a sinking suspicion she wouldn’t like what he was about to suggest.

 

“How about we go out to Jericho's place? Hasn’t he been pestering you to go?”

 

“Yeah and I keep telling him it ain’t happening, no way I’m going out in broad daylight to sit at a food stall. Have no interest in getting gawked at or run the risk of snapping and tearing some of them in half.”

 

Powder gave an annoyed snort while turning her back to him.

 

“Hmmm, maybe it’s just because I’m a rat that’s used to the looks of disgust from humans, but I don’t really get bothered all that much by it…”

 

“…..”

 

“Do you really think Jericho would let anyone start anything my dear Powder? I have a feeling he’d get at them long before you had a chance to tear them in half. Imagine how excited he’ll be seeing you crawl on up from the sewer grate, one that I happen to know is quite close to his stall.”

 

“….you’re being weirdly comforting Twitch.”

 

He gave a gasp of indignation at her only comment on his words, poking at her in between annoyed huffs.

 

“I can be plenty comforting when I want! Who was it that comforted you that time you’d gotten separated and couldn’t find your way back home that one time!?”

 

“Zac.”

 

“Oh!…..right it was him wasn’t it….well my point still stands anyway!”

 

Twitch gave a hum of thought, scurrying over to one of his many mounds of stuff and began to dig through it. Before Powder could even ask what he was looking for, he’d already thrown a thick heavy cloak at her.

 

“There! That should cover you up enough that no one will pay you any attention compared to me, the giant talking rat. They’ll still find it strange to see us sewer folk out in daylight, but at least you won’t be the focus.”

 

She turned to give a look over of the cloak he’d flung at her then slowly fixed her gaze up at him, a smirk of knowing spreading across her face.

 

“…you just don’t want to go by yourself.”

 

It wasn’t even a question, just a statement that Twitch immediately proved true with his upset stomps.

 

“I just want to try it after someone made it seem like the tastiest thing ever with all her reminiscing!”

 

“And…?”

 

“…if you go with me it’s likely Jericho will give us extra….”

 

Loud cackling tore through their makeshift home as Powder was unable to control herself at his pitiful revealing of the actual reason he was so insistent she came as well. Something about how Twitch the reasoning was relaxed her. It was enough that once she’d gotten her laughter under control she got up and threw the cloak on, her earlier hesitations far too small to care about.

 

She strolled over to him with a smug stride, wrapping one arm around his shoulder and pulling him close with a toothy grin.

 

“See if you were honest from the start I wouldn’t have laughed so much, but all your bullshitting made it way funnier.”

 

He just gave a grumble as Powder made a grand show of getting him to lead the way, but trudged along anyway since he really did want to try the food something fierce. They walked in silence for a while as Twitch navigated the chaotic pathways of the sewers, something that Powder was only half as good at most times.

 

“This should be the tunnel we’re looking for….”

 

Twitch came to a stop in front of a pipe that looked exactly the same as the last they had passed, but had a sewer marker noting [Friendly Store] likely referring to Jericho. He quickly plunged forward, Powder only a beat behind him not letting her nerves get the best of her by pausing too long. 

 

Even then, she could feel them building the closer they grew to the chatter of the world outside the sewers. Powder gave one final check over of herself, making sure her hood was pulled down as far as it could even if it was unable to contain a good chunk of her hair from spilling out.

 

None of her nerves seemed to be shared with Twitch who popped open the grate with a loud cackle and scurried out, causing a wave of gasps and shrieks to erupt from those outside. Using the chaos he caused as an opportunity she quietly pulled herself out, squinting as her eyes adjusted. Before he got too far ahead she caught up, trying to ignore the gazes she was getting for the simple fact she was sewer folk.

 

‘You’d think the undercity of all places would be accepting of the real freaks….’

 

Powder scoffed at her thoughts, sending Twitch a side eye as he wrapped one of his arms around her shoulder and pulled her towards their target. 

 

“Oh~ Two free seats with our name on it! Aren’t we amazingly lucky my dear Powder?”

 

“….right.”

 

Twitch happily hopped down onto his seat, letting it spin with a cackle before bringing it to a stop with his hand and giving the spot beside him a pat. She sat down with a sigh, noticing the concerning sound the seat made at her added weight even if it made no signs of breaking.

 

“Right he seems rather busy…..”

 

Powder gave a nod, seeing how Jericho seemed swarmed with people all clamouring for a filling lunch before going about their day. It would likely take a bit for them to even get his attention to order.

 

“I remember it being busy around this time a lot in the past….”

 

She found her gaze wandering, taking in the numerous stares they were getting from those around them. The fact that the group they had sat next to made clear their disgust, in how they pulled as far away as possible along with a look, didn’t go unnoticed either.

 

Finally, Jericho seemed to have spotted the pair out the corner of his eye as an incredibly wide grin tore across his face. Dropping whatever he was doing he rushed over with a loud belly laugh to come over to them, fixing Powder in particular with a warm look.

 

[You come!]

 

"Hmmm, Twitch wanted to try what I was always praising and thought bringing me would get him extra."

 

"H-hey, you know you're just too much sometimes!"

 

She barely moved at the shove Twitch gave her, joining Jericho in laughter. He tapped the counter with a wink as his laughter subsided.

 

[For my fshpmf anything, extend to friend]

 

Powder couldn’t help but smile at his nickname for her, one she had no idea the meaning to, but assumed it was something affectionate based on how he said it. Once Jericho had moved to begin making their meals she felt Twitch give her a soft nudge.

 

".....so was that a yes to free extra?"

 

".....yes, you scheming little rat."

 

"Powder….I am deeply offended by that statement. It should be scheming giant rat!"

 

His fake outrage got a chuckle out of her, their banter continuing until Jericho came back with two bowls absolutely stuffed with food. After a quick thanks the pair was about to dig in only for a loud voice from beside them to make them freeze.

 

"Oi, you can’t be serious about letting them Sewer Folk eat here!?"

 

“Yeah! It’s one thing to give em something to eat after scurrying back down, but actually having them freakshows stay will make everyone else’s food go bad!”

 

It seemed that the people who had made their disgust clear upon them sitting down couldn’t stand the idea of them actually also eating beside them. Nobody else said anything, but she could tell none were upset by their words, even noting how some nodded in approval.

 

‘Great….just what I thought would—’

 

*CLANG*

 

The sudden sound of one of Jericho’s large knives landing inches from the first man’s hand after having spun dangerously close to the second man's face froze everyone present. Jericho’s face, usually always beaming with a wide smile, now sported an incredible look of rage that likely few had ever seen.

 

[Out!]

 

With a loud bellow he heaved both men up and tossed them out onto the street behind them, shrieks of passerby almost hit drawing even more eyes to the strange development at his stall. Jericho gave the men aggressive shooing motions, both scampering away without a sound. His attention then turned to sending a glare at the surrounding area before moving  towards the pair with an upset look.

 

[My fshpmf no mind. Always welcome. Eat Eat.]

 

He motioned towards the two bowls, hovering over them with an anxious gloom that didn’t suit the usually jovial Fishman one bit. Powder couldn’t bear to see the big guy look so miserable and pushed back her negative thoughts to simply focus on setting to work clearing her bowl. She couldn’t help but freeze up as the nostalgic goodness washed over her tongue, a deep grin appearing on her face as she reached for another bite.

 

“Just like I remember from all those years ago….Thanks Jericho.”

 

An ear to ear grin split across Jericho’s face at her muttered praise, his previous sadness gone in an instant as a loud roar of laughter ripped through the air.

 

[Praise I happy take!]

 

He tapped the counter with one hand.

 

[On house.]

 

Jericho left before she could offer any protest, heading over to his other customers who now seemed far too scared of what he might do to even bring their eyes near their general area, much less raise any complaints.

 

“Ohhh, Powder this is amazing! Now I do understand your glowing praise on multiple occasions!”

 

“….and Jericho said it was on the house this time, guess to make up for the disturbance.”

 

“What an upstanding Fishman! Finest in all the land!”

 

Twitch gestured with an intense vigour as he sang praise for Jericho in between shovelling in mouthfuls of food. She could only laugh at his exaggerated theatrics, knowing he was doing it on purpose to draw the focus onto him rather than her.

 

“Y’know I gotta praise you Twitch, this was a lot better than just lounging around at home.”

 

“Of course it was!”

 

Twitch continued to chatter away with her about random topics as they finished up their meals, taking as much time as they wanted. The gentle sway of her tail was all she needed to know she was enjoying her time out, much more than she had originally expected.

 

‘Guess everything ain’t bad above the sewers….’

Chapter Text

Piltover (Vi PoV)

 

She found herself staring blankly out of the large window of her room, an activity she’s taken up while being bed bound at Caitlyn’s place. No real thoughts occupied her mind, focusing instead on how the world simply moved on outside, but she’d rather that than anything else. She couldn’t stand the pain her own mind would bring her, even if it was still eating away at her in the background.

 

Ever since she’d found out the fate of her poor baby sister a general numbness had settled over her, almost as a defence against the crushing sorrow it had originally brought her. Inside Stillwater she’d always held onto the vain hope Powder would still be alive even if her last memories of that night painted a different picture.

 

 Her anger at what had happened to them had only built inside there and when Caitlyn had come to give her a chance of getting her revenge she’d gladly taken it. Vi had raged through the undercity, destroying as much as she could of Silco’s pathetic empire in a hope it would bring her the satisfaction she thought it would. Believing that if she burned it all to the ground, Silco along with it, she’d finally be able to move on from the pain of that night.

 

Yet there she sat, having been unable to accomplish that goal in one go and without the willpower to start it up again. 

 

Empty and numb. Unable to bring any power into her fists that had long since healed.

 

It had been a mistake, looking back on it, to demand from Sevika at their fight inside the Last Drop to tell her what had happened to her sister. She’d been confused at first who Vi was even talking about, Powder so insignificant to her that her fate mattered so little she laughed while giving it. 

 

“You mean that brat always clinging to you? Dead, thrown into that shitty polluted water by the cannery the night of explosion. Done by some of Silco’s goons long dead by now, he never took kindly to mess ups. No way the boss would waste his time taking care of some brat like that personally.”

 

Her ugly laughter had been cut short by the rage filled punch Vi had landed on her face, knocking her out cold. She had felt gravity slowly pull her to the floor, offering no resistance to it, too busy with the mounting sobs that escaped her as realisation kicked in.

 

No body to bury, no way of cracking in the skulls of those responsible, and the small hope that had driven her all those years locked up revealed to be a pathetic daydream. Not even the idea of going after Silco personally brought her anything, she couldn’t even will herself to stand in that moment and continued to let out howls of pained cries.

 

She had failed, both Vander and her sister, unable to accomplish something as simple as keeping her safe. Guilt ate away at her, not helped by the knowledge of what her last words to Powder had been all those years ago. 

 

What was even her purpose anymore?

 

A sudden knock roused her from her thoughts, knowing that it could only be one person.

 

“….Vi are you up? I’ve brought lunch…”

 

“I’m up Cupcake.”

 

The quiet creak of the door took Vi’s eyes away from the window, seeing Caitlyn trying her best to smile as she brought over a tray with two plates on it. She sat down on the seat beside her bed after passing a plate over to Vi and began to eat herself. Vi couldn’t help the soft smile that ghosted across her face for a second at how blatant she was being about not wanting to leave her alone with her thoughts.

 

She hadn’t known why she’d decided to drag her battered body back topside, nor why her legs had taken her to Caitlyn’s place. Maybe she had just been desperate for comfort or a warm touch, but she still remembered how she had broken down in Caitlyn’s arms after she had come rushing out to see her. It had taken her a while to get anything out of Vi, but when she did she had pulled her into a soothing hug and rained down words of comfort.

 

After that, Caitlyn had quickly brought Vi to her parents and rather fiercely demanded that she could stay at the mansion to recover. Even her mother could offer little form of argument in the face of the raging Caitlyn, while her father had only commented that she was her child after all.

 

“Oh Vi! Ekko said he’d be stopping by again around this time.”

 

“Hmmm, little man is? Come to share more daring tales of him and his Firelights I can only assume.”

 

Ekko also was clearly concerned about her current quiet state, so different from how she normally was that he made sure to drop in whenever he could in an attempt to cheer her up.Typically it was all stories of how his Firelights had kicked the butt of some Chembaron, but other times it was just odd tales from the undercity he’d heard about.

 

“It ain’t that this time!”

 

Ekko’s sudden voice from the window caused Caitlyn to jump in surprise, sending him a glower upon recovering.

 

“Must you always come through the window like that?”

 

“Yeah, you always gonna jump like that?”

 

“It’s good to see you too Little man.”

 

He pulled himself inside with a chuckle, grabbing the chair beside Caitlyn like he always did with an exceptionally excited look on his face.

 

‘Must think it’s something good if he’s already beaming like that….’

 

“What you got for me this time then?”

 

“Something that I know is gonna surprise you! Apparently while one of my guys was running errands he witnessed Jericho getting pissed off and throwing some customers out!”

 

That actually did catch her off guard, Vi leaning forward in interest as she just couldn’t believe the usually jolly Fishman could even get angry.

 

“Any idea why?”

 

“Supposedly the guys were causing a scene because Jericho was serving some Sewer Folk and they didn’t like the fact he was letting them stay to eat.”

 

Caitlyn furrowed her brow at the term Sewer Folk, having no idea what it meant besides the obvious.

 

“Pardon me but….people live in the sewers of the undercity? And somehow that’s of concern enough for others of the undercity that they treat them differently?”

 

Seeing her confusion Vi couldn’t help but offer up an explanation.

 

“Sewer Folk mainly keep to themselves so it’s hard to know much about them, only thing is that most of them are heavily mutated.”

 

“Hang on…mutated? Like what happened to those Shimmer addicts?”

 

“No, like have three arms or are half cat kind of mutated. It freaks some people out, though mostly it just means a side eye, but with some it means getting aggressive or denying service to shops.”

 

Ekko chimed in before Caitlyn could voice her obvious upset at Vi’s causal statement.

 

“We know it sounds bad to you, but it’s just how things are down there. Sewer Folk know how people react around them so they usually only ever come up at night to scavenge or meet with traders that have developed a good relationship with them.”

 

“Sewer Folk also aren’t very welcoming to those outside their community, for obvious reasons, so anyone stupid enough to wander into the sewers is likely to not come out again. Even the Chembarons don’t touch the place.”

 

“Ah! There was one a bit ago that thought it’d be a great way to smuggle goods and sent a bunch of men in to clear out the place. None of them came back and no one knows what happened to them.”

 

“….right.”

 

Caitlyn had become slightly overwhelmed at all the new information on the undercity that she only really half understood, deciding to just leave it there so that Ekko could continue on with his story.

 

“Anyway, it was apparently this giant talking rat and someone covering up with a big cloak. Soon as Jericho spotted them he apparently got super excited, even giving them enough extra that their bowls were brimming.”

 

“Holy shit, Jericho almost never does that unless he really likes the customer. Any ideas on who they were?”

 

Ekko paused for a beat, enough that Vi squinted her eyebrow in suspicion, but he seemed to recover before she said anything.

 

“No idea! Just that Jericho got upset on their behalf and let them eat on the house after everything that happened.”

 

“Hmmm, honestly that is a better story than all your Firelight ones even if it’s really vague.”

 

“I take some offence to that, but whatever….”

 

They continued to chat away for awhile, seeming to just want to keep her company which she did appreciate how it kept her thoughts focused. Eventually however, Ekko had to return to his responsibilities as leader of the Firelights and was about to head out via window again until Caitlyn stopped him with a stern look.

 

“You may enter through that window, but you will be leaving through the front door Ekko.”

 

“Right….”

 

He trudged after her towards the door, leaving with one last wave at Vi before rushing forward to catch up with Caitlyn walking at a rather fast pace.

 

“What was it you were going to mention to her, but decided against Ekko?”

 

“Straight to the point huh? Thought I hide it pretty well…”

 

A single exasperated look was all he received in response as she nudged him to spill the beans.

 

“Fine….there was a short description of the one in the big cloak.”

 

“And….?”

 

“….Long blue hair and from the snippets of conversation my guy overheard they were a girl….”

 

Caitlyn froze in place, realising what Ekko was getting at.

 

“If it was her it’d explain why Jericho was so nice to her, he always had a soft spot for her….”

 

“But Ekko, Vi got confirmation she was thrown into the—”

 

“Yeah and that likely connects to the sewer….look all I’m trying to get at is maybe it would be worth paying Jericho a visit to ask.”

 

The frustration was clear in his voice, made even clearer by his aggressive ruffling of his hair. 

 

“I just don’t want a what if okay!? Hearing what happened to her from Vi…..I-I…don’t want to accept it okay!?”

 

Her expression softened, knowing that he had been close with Powder when they’d be younger and how he’d never stopped searching for her either.

 

“….but you said yourself that Sewer Folk are heavily mutated…and if Powder’s been living with them then—”

 

“I don’t care. If it means she survived…..it doesn’t matter.”

 

“Ekko…..she could be a completely different person. That’s even if this is Powder.”

 

“…..”

 

He had no means of responding to her logical points, the strained silence only broken by a long sigh coming from Caitlyn.

 

“…Alright, how about we head down to Jericho and question him. If Vi asks I’ll just say we got lost in discussion or something.”

 

“Wait we !?”

 

“Yes we , I’ve become annoyed at being left behind on these sorts of things. Come now Ekko, no time to waste on this.”

 

Caitlyn walked quickly to the entrance, Ekko not even able to sputter out a word before he was forced to chase after her determined stride.

 

—--—--—--—-—---—--—

 

Their walk together was largely in silence, common for the two when Vi wasn’t around to be the nucleus of conversation. While Ekko understood that Caitlyn did genuinely care far more than his image of a Piltie, it didn’t mean he was entirely accepting of her either. It was hard to separate her fully from his general feelings towards them.

 

On Caitlyn’s end, she was just never the best at small talk and had trouble finding a common topic with Ekko outside of Vi. Silence was a far less stressful state to be in then struggling to start up a conversation that would last more than a few seconds. She gave a small sigh of relief once they arrived at their destination, Ekko quickly grabbing Jericho’s attention not wanting to waste any time.

 

He came over with a wide smile, beckoning towards the board behind him as if wanting to know what they wanted even if most simply ordered the daily special. Ekko just gave a shake of his head as he leaned in closer.

 

“No food this time big man, just here for information that I know you can provide. That story about you getting angry on behalf of Sewer Folk….was the blue haired one Powder?”

 

‘Cutting straight to the point it seems….’

 

She almost admired the blunt approach, noticing the shift in expression on Jericho to what looked like an anxious one. He seemed uncertain on what to say, as if debating something inside his head. 

 

‘Now is when I should jump in…’

 

“Please if you know anything we would be grateful, even a simple yes or no. We’re just worried about Vi and if there’s a chance her sister is still alive we want to know.”

 

The mention of Vi’s name seemed to bring him pause and ever so slowly he nodded his head with a solemn look.

 

“Then…..Powder’s alive…”

 

“Do you know where we can find her?”

 

Jericho vaguely motioned towards a sewer grate, doing nothing more as if telling them it was up to them to find out for themselves.

 

‘He’s being weirdly protective about this information…!’

 

“Jericho….do you think we’re going to hurt her?”

 

The way he looked away all but confirmed it for them.

 

“Why do you think we’d—”

 

“She’s mutated….probably pretty bad. He’s worried about what we might do or say to her if we met her….I’ve seen it happen before too and it can get ugly….”

 

Ekko wore a pained expression as he spoke, Jericho’s sad smile saying he’d guessed right. He left the pair there, making it clear he wouldn’t say anything more on the subject.

 

“Then what are we to do….should we tell Vi or….?”

 

“She deserves to know, Powder’s her only family left and I couldn’t keep this info to myself seeing how much pain she’s in. She’ll have the final call on what we do.”

 

At Caitlyn’s words Ekko just gave a nod, his brain still struggling to process the whole idea of Powder being alive after all these years. His face scrunched as a thought occurred to him.

 

“If Jericho isn’t willing to tell us where in the sewer she is, how are we supposed to find her? It’s toxic down there, even us undercity folks need respirators if we’re down there long and that isn’t even factoring how easy it is to get lost in those pipes.”

 

“If Vi agrees to it I do have an old friend who’d likely be perfect for the job, she’s an expert tracker and mage even if she keeps that latter part secret.”

 

“…Alright.”

 

Once again the pair headed back up, not wanting to waste any time in delivering the news that would hopefully be something positive for Vi. 

 

—---—--—---—--—--—

Vi PoV

 

After the pair had left it had taken a bit to work up the willpower, but eventually she dragged herself out of bed to begin working out. Caitlyn’s father had made clear she shouldn’t do anything too strenuous, but that a light workout would be good in keeping herself in relatively good shape. Mainly, she just did it as a form of distraction as it was one of the few activities that allowed her to simply focus on moving .

 

She never went on for too long, just enough to work up a decent sweat and to get her heart pumping. Vi was still not feeling completely recovered from her rampage in the undercity, having pushed her body far too hard in such a short period of time.

 

The sound of the door opening caused her to turn in surprise, sending a questioning look at the panting figure of Caitlyn who was usually pretty consistent about knocking in order to be polite.

 

“What’s the hurry Cupcake….Ekko? Didn’t you have to leave?”

 

“V-Vi…..we have something important to tell you….um maybe you should sit down just in case.”

 

Her nervous tone was weirding her out, not helped by the equally anxious look on the silent Ekko’s face. With a small chuckle she plopped down on the bed with a wave of her arms, confusion likely clear on her face at what the important thing was.

 

Caitlyn slowly walked over to sit down beside Vi, carefully placing a hand onto her shoulder.

 

“Vi….we went to talk with Jericho about those Sewer Folk Ekko told you about to confirm something.”

 

“Confirm what? That the story was true?”

 

“When I was telling the story I intentionally left out some details about the hooded one….didn’t want to get your hopes up over nothing.”

 

“What are you—”

 

“She had blue hair.”

 

She froze rigid at his words, quickly switching to a look of anger.

 

“Ekko please don’t fucking do this to me! She’s dead, don’t get my fucking hopes up over—”

 

A squeeze of her hand brought her attention back to Caitlyn wearing a stern expression.

 

“Jericho confirmed it was her Vi, but he wouldn’t tell us much more besides that she lived in the sewers. He was too worried about what might happen if he told us exactly where to find her. You understand what that means right?”

 

“……”

 

The words weren’t sinking in, it felt like someone had just punched her square in the ear with how they were currently ringing.

 

Powder was alive.

 

Her baby sister.

 

“Vi please listen. Your sister is likely mutated and by how unwilling to talk Jericho was it’s likely quite severe too. She might not be the same person as you remember—”

 

“She’s my fucking baby sister Caitlyn! Nothing will ever change that.”

 

A renewed vigour had returned to her voice, absent since she’d originally heard about her sister’s death. She could feel strength begin to swell inside her, begging her to race out that minute to track down her sister even a second sooner. Vi practically leapt from the bed and raced to the wardrobe where her clothes had sat collecting dust as she’d sat around in nightgowns.

 

“Fuck, I can’t keep idly around here now that I know where I can start looking for her.”

 

“Vi! Has your brain stopped working from the excitement? You know you wouldn’t last even 30 minutes down in those sewers with how toxic that air is, not even accounting for how easy it is to get lost in them.”

 

Ekko chimed in as the voice of reason, instantly bringing Vi’s frantic movements to a halt and causing her to slump. Caitlyn took that as her chance to rush over and place a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

 

“Don’t worry Vi, I know an old friend that will be able to help. I had a feeling of what your answer would be so I sent off a communication letting her know it was urgent. Knowing her, it should take around a week or so for her to get here.”

 

“Where the heck is she coming from?”

 

“Demacia.”

 

Vi gave a suspicious squint.

 

“How the hell will someone from Demacia cut it in the undercity, much less find my sister in the sewers?”

 

“She’s an excellent tracker and her abilities as a mage give her a leg up. I doubt there’s anyone with a better chance of finding your sister.”

 

“Okay so that’s about as much as I know too, but who’s this girl you’re praising so much?”

 

At Ekko’s question Caitlyn seemed to realise she’d never given a name, a flash of embarrassment appearing on her face.

 

“Silly me, It’s Luxanna Crownguard though she typically goes by Lux. I met her several times when going to diplomatic social events with my mother over the years and we hit it off.”

 

“Oh~ Is it what I think Cupcake? Should I be worried?”

 

While Caitlyn was overjoyed at the return of Vi’s playful nature she hadn’t seen in many weeks, she didn’t appreciate being the target and frantically offered up a rebuttal too flustered to stop and think about what Vi had implied.

 

“No No, nothing of the sort! She never showed an interest in that kind of stuff in the first place, far too busy in her hobbies involving animals. Most of our interactions were her discussing new facts she’d learned in her studies or around hunting if I could catch her interest.”

 

“….Seems pretty obsessed.”

 

Fascinated , but…yes. That is where her passions were. I remember her mother always had such a tired look when talks of relationships came up regarding Lux….” 

 

“…..”

 

“B-But she is perfectly reliable for something like this, she’s recounted numerous times where she'd gone hunting in Demacian sewers to track down animals after learning of sightings.”

 

“….You sure she isn’t going to try dissecting Powder….”

 

Vi’s tone was completely serious as she asked her questions, which made Caitlyn proceed to launch into a detailed defence of her friend.

 

‘Gods Lux, please don’t weird them out too much when you arrive!’

Chapter Text

Lux took in the Piltovean dock her ship had stopped at with a wondrous look, unable to contain her excitement at seeing all the wildlife she’d only gotten a chance to read about. Even if her parents were accepting of her hobby and let her wander around the capital, including its sewers, they firmly drew the line at her leaving it. She knew it was just out of concern for her getting into trouble somewhere they were unable to keep a watchful eye on her, but it was still such a pain.

 

Her explorations of the capital and the forests in close proximity always included escorts, mainly to keep an eye on the time for her or let her know when she was getting close to the perimeter she was allowed. That was the only way her parents had agreed to her going out and that hadn’t changed no matter how old she’d gotten.

 

‘The only reason they agreed to me coming to Piltover by myself was Caitlyn’s guarantee of her family taking care of me….’  

 

It hadn’t stopped her mother in particular from worriedly fussing over her, giving her endless advice and warnings, right until her ship had to leave.

 

‘It’s like they don’t trust me t—AH a Piltovean seagull!’

 

Her thoughts immediately shifted to taking in the large bird that had settled nearby with a loud call, naturally pulling out her notebook to jot down a quick sketch along with quick observations.

 

“Hmmm, its plumage is rather dark compared to the Demacian variation….”

 

“Lux.”

 

“I wonder if it dives into the waters here for food or if it’s more of a scavenger type…Oh! What gorgeous feather patterns on the wings!”

 

“Lux.”

 

The seagull took off with a flurry of movement, Lux springing up from the crate she’d used as a makeshift seat to follow it with her eyes. She watched excitedly as it used the air currents to lazily hang in the air, before rapid scuttling below caught her focus.

 

“Oh a crab! How—”

 

“Lux!”

 

She gave a yelp at the sudden touch that accompanied the loud call of her name, turning around to spot the figure of Caitlyn staring down at her crouched position taken to get a better look at the crab.

 

“Ah, hello Caitlyn! Do you happen to know the name of this crab?”

 

“No, I unfortunately do not Lux…”

 

“What a pity…”

 

“…..Cupcake you sure she’ll be able to help?”

 

Lux spotted the figure of a red haired girl appear next to Caitlyn watching her with a concerned look, behind her a boy with a similar expression. She gave one last look down at the small crab before pulling herself up, holding out her free hand towards the girl.

 

“My name’s Luxanna Crownguard, but you can call me Lux! What’s your name?”

 

“It’s Vi….that’s Ekko behind me.”

 

“Sup.”

 

She gave a happy giggle, moving to collect her things with a small gasp after almost forgetting about them before giving Caitlyn a questioning look.

 

“You never did tell me what exactly you needed my help with Caitlyn.”

 

“It wasn’t really something I felt comfortable sharing in a letter, once we get back to my parents place we can discuss it.”

 

Caitlyn quickly beckoned to the carriage they’d take over, her coachman taking Lux’s bags before she could say anything as the group approached. Vi gave a low grumble as she pulled herself into the carriage, with Ekko looking rather annoyed as well.

 

“Still can’t get used to this thing no matter how many times you get me to ride in this thing Cupcake.”

 

“Same, thing always hurts my butt no matter how short the trip is. Would rather just walk like a normal person.”

 

“Out of the question given that Vi is still recovering.”

 

“M-Miss…”

 

The trio looked up at the nervous call from Caitlyn’s coachman, following his pointing to a happy Lux petting the horses attached to the carriage. Both horses seemed equally pleased given their excited tail flicks and light pawing of the dirt as they crowded close to her.

 

“Oh my, aren’t you two so big and strong! You both look to be a cross between a Noxian draft horse and a Shuriman sandstrider. My Starfire would struggle to keep up with you if it became an endurance run even if in speeds—”

 

“Lux, please get inside the carriage!”

 

“Huh? Oh right, sorry! I’ll talk to you two later alright?”

 

Both horses gave a sad snort as they watched her rush inside the carriage, dropping down awkwardly beside Ekko who was sharing some kind of eye conversation with Vi across from him. The carriage lurched to a start and slowly began making its way towards Caitlyn’s home. Silence filled the air, Lux making sure to keep especially quiet given her past experiences meeting new people not going well when she didn’t.

 

A sigh from Vi brought everyone’s attention to her, an annoyed look clear.

 

“Look, I’d rather get this whole explanation thing done so we can immediately get into looking for Pow-Pow instead of wasting time.”

 

“Vi you can’t just expect her to go diving through the sewers of the undercity right after arriving can you?”

 

“You were the one to say she’d be our best shot at finding her! If it was up to me I already would have been searching for myself rather than wait weeks for her to show up!”

 

“And she still is, but that doesn’t mean we rush her into the sewer without any proper preparation!”

 

“Guys! Can you not just start bickering? At least do it when we aren’t stuck having to listen to it—Woah! What’s with the glowing hands!?”

 

All eyes followed Ekko’s surprised shout down to Lux’s hands that had begun to glow as she fidgeted with them at the sudden attention. She tucked her head down with a timid look, pulling her hands close in an attempt to hide them somewhat.

 

“S-Sorry, when I get nervous my magic….”

 

“It ain’t gonna blow us up right?”

 

She rapidly shook her head at Ekko’s question, curling up even further in her spot to cover them. The sound of something hitting cloth followed by a light grunt from Vi was the only sound that filled the strained air.

 

“Vi, we’ll talk about this later. Lux please try and forgive her, she’s not upset with you okay? She’s just frustrated, though that still doesn’t make it okay to take it out on you.”

 

Lux flinched slightly at Caitlyn’s gentle touch on her leg.

 

“We really do appreciate you coming all the way here to help up with so little in the way of explanation, I can’t thank you enough for it."

 

She just gave a small nod at Caitlyn’s words, focusing on trying to get her magic back under control so that her hands would stop glowing. It took her a bit, but eventually she unfurled with a soft sigh, immediately spotting an apologetic looking Vi watching her.

 

"....I'm sorry. I've been kinda on edge after finding out my baby sister is actually alive and has been living in the sewers till now. I just wanna…"

 

Vi looked down at her hands laying in her lap.

 

"I just wanna hold her again. Even just a second sooner…"

 

She gave a sad scoff as she aggressively ran her hand through her hair.

 

"Still doesn't make it okay to lash out at you just cuz I'm stressed, have a bad habit of doing that to people…."

 

"U-Um, may I ask why your sister is living in the sewers? From my experience in the sewers of Demacia’s capital they aren't very hospitable."

 

The trio shared a look, confusing Lux slightly, until they seemed to decide Vi would be the one to answer. She seemed somewhat hesitant as she spoke.

 

"....From our source she’s heavily mutated, what form she’s taken we have no idea. Most people that end up like that live in the sewers to avoid those that don't take kindly to them."

 

"How awful, though admittedly Demacia isn't much better to people like me either. May I ask what you mean by mutated?"

 

"Ah, most known cases are stuff like extra limbs or varying levels of animal. Like one person might get something like cat ears while another could just become a giant human shaped cat."

 

'Animal! Oh I hope it's that, especially if it's a lizard mutation! I love lizards!'

 

Lux had enough sense to keep her excited thoughts to herself after noticing the slight frown on Vi’s face at how she perked up at the mention of animals.

 

"Do you have a rough description of what Powder might look like?"

 

"We know she still has blue hair, really long though. That's about as much as Ekko’s guy could make out with the big cloak she was wearing."

 

She gave a hum of thought at the incredibly vague description, hoping it would be enough to go off of. 

 

"....If you'd like I could do a preliminary survey of the sewers just to see what I'm dealing with. Would only be a couple hours or so depending on how well my magic along with a respirator lasts."

 

Vi practically jumped at her words in excitement, Caitlyn’s stern arm quickly calming her back down as she sent a concerned look at Lux.

 

"Are you sure Lux? We can wait at least a day or so for you to recover from the long trip."

 

She just shook her head.

 

"I don't mind really if it's just for a short time. It'll give me a good idea of what I'm up against when it comes to navigation. Where's the entry point you were thinking of?"

 

They all shared a look before Vi once again started to speak, a slightly bitter look on her face.

 

"....The last place I saw her, near the docks by the old cannery."

 

"Then we can head over there once I drop off my things and switch into my exploration gear.”

 

If Lux was being honest she was also incredibly excited about the idea of exploring a location so far removed from her typical haunt of the Demacian capital. Practically brimming with excitement over what strange new animals she’d be able to find, sewers in particular excellent sources for the bizarre.

 

This buzz hadn’t left her even after the rather long time it took them to arrive at the docks, struggling desperately to keep it contained so as to not ruin the serious atmosphere of those around her. She was waiting impatiently for Caitlyn to return her exploration bag, having said something vague about wanting to make sure of something.

 

“Alright, you can have this back now Lux.”

 

Eagerly she grabbed at it, thankfully for her goggles and respirator largely hiding the glee she was surely showing at finally being able to descend into the sewers. Giving a single bow to the three of them, knowing her voice would betray her excitement, she darted towards the entry point and rushed inside without a single look back.

 

‘OOOOH, so much fun to be had! Ah, alongside finding….Powder of course! Right, remember the main goal Lux! It’s to find—OH What was that!’

 

Her steps immediately veered to follow after the scuttering that had come from her left, taking her down a side tunnel as she tried to find the source of the sound. Giving a delighted squeal at finding out it was another crab and a massive one at that, coming up to a little past her ankles.

 

It took all of 30 minutes for Lux to forget her original reason for entering the sewers, Caitlyn having underestimated just how easily she could shift off focus without someone guiding her. 

Chapter Text

Even if Lux had set out with a specific goal in mind that had largely been forgotten about during her exploration of the undercity sewer systems. It was all far too fascinating, all the colour patterning she’d never seen before or the completely bizarre shapes and sizes she was finding animals in. Her sketchbook was practically brimming with new entries and she’d only been exploring for…..how long had it been again?

 

'Not that long….maybe. That's not important right now!'

 

“Oh, I almost don’t want to go back up!”

 

Lux walked with a spring in her step while surveying every nook and cranny for new discoveries to unearth, hearing movement she pivoted to the left, pointing her light orb over with rising anticipation.

 

‘Oh Oh, it sounds rather big….maybe a large mammal or even lizard if I’m—’

 

Her thoughts cut out as the source of the sound was revealed, the crouching figure of a woman largely obscured by bellowing messy hair. Glowing red eyes slowly turned to stare back at Lux, the figure stiffening as it focused on her. Neither made a move, as if gauging what the other would do, but upon the smallest movement closer by the red eyed woman Lux released a scream and rushed back from where she came.

 

A Ghost!

 

“No No No, I hate ghosts!! They don’t make any sense, I don’t understand them!!”

 

For Lux nothing was worse than things she couldn’t understand and ghosts topped that mental list. She couldn’t wrap her head around them and it wasn’t like she could even use her magic against them, much less use physical means of repelling them like a well placed punch.

 

“Why did it have to be a ghost, now my fun’s all ruined!”

 

She could tell from the noise behind her that the ghost was chasing her down, quickly gaining on her as it raced across the floor. 

 

‘Hmmm? Wait, don’t ghosts typically float? Is it not a ghost then…’

 

Her fast run slowed to a light jog, turning slightly to shout at the set of red eyes that were practically on top of her at this point.

 

“Pardon me, are you not a ghos—OOOF”

 

Lux’s question cut short as the figure tackled her to the ground, pinning her head between two massive scaled arms. Staring down at her was that pair of glowing eyes and a wide set of sharp teeth glistening in the low lighting. The girl's hair tickled what little skin was exposed on Lux’s face between the goggles and face respirator still secured tight.

 

Rather than panic, Lux stared up in interest at the girl and without thinking brought one of her hands up, curiosity pushing past any logic. Her actions did little more than make the girl flinch back, but upon Lux plunging her hand directly into her slightly open mouth she froze entirely. Distress was clear on her face, but Lux was far too busy scratching the inquisitive itch that had taken hold.

 

“Oh! They’re actually rather blunt, perfect for crushing and holding onto prey! It must have been a trick of the light then….”

 

Lux chattered to herself, relieved to solve that mystery, now switching her focus to take in the figure as a whole. Her intrigue only grew the more she observed, radiating outward to such a degree it brought out a look of confusion from the girl. Needing a better view, Lux pushed upward and with surprising ease switched their positions, now pinning the girl down while straddling her stomach. 

 

Not taking her eyes from their new interest, Lux unclipped her notebook and began jotting down her observations with a wide smile. Starting from the top, Lux ran her fingers through the wild mane of hair that messily lay splayed out, its sheen appearing almost metallic in the low lighting.

 

"Oh, is the colour and waviness of your hair to help camouflage while in the water?"

 

".....huh?"

 

It was Lux’s turn to freeze up, not having expected any answer to her mutterings, having never received any in the past much to her disappointment. Removing her gaze from the rapidly increasing series of notes she brought it up to stare intently at the figure below her.

 

"....Hmmm? Hmmm!"

 

A short yelp escaped the girl's mouth as Lux leaned incredibly close to her face.

 

"You can talk…..what's your name!? I'm Luxanna Crownguard, but you can call me Lux!"

 

"....It's Powder."

 

She tilted her head to the side in thought, feeling like she had heard that name before but unable to place where . With a quick shake of her head, Lux pushed aside the feeling of deja vu, far more important things needed answers instead.

 

"Oh I have so many questions since I have the ability to ask you! What prompted you to chase me? How do you typically move around, two or four legs? Do you know your top speeds in land and water? How strong is your bite strength? How about your--mmph"

 

Lux’s barrage of rapid fire questions was put to a stop by Powder's large clawed hand delicately covering her mouth. Rather than fear at the powerful claws so close to her face it only caused renewed excitement to build inside. It felt exactly like the underbelly of a lizard, cool and surprisingly soft, making Lux wish she could cuddle closer.

 

"......One at a time and I'll let you go okay? And I don’t know if I can answer them all since I'm not sure myself."

 

Powder waited until she nodded in understanding before pulling her hand back, Lux wasting no time in starting up her questioning. She refused to waste any time getting the information her brain was craving!

 

"What made you chase me? Was it a prey drive? Territorial?"

 

".....you smelt nice…"

 

"Hmmm? In that I smell tasty? Like you want to eat me?"

 

Much to Lux’s disappointment, rather than answer, Powder simply looked away with a light blush instead of elaborating. The silence that followed made clear the information dead end of that questioning, quickly deciding to shift her focus down onto Powder’s arm that awkwardly hovered in front.

 

"The patterning and colours of your scales are gorgeous, what a unique shade….”

 

‘I wonder what they feel like against bare skin…’

 

Given that her gloves hadn’t melted from the brief touches against the scaling, it likely meant it was safe without them. She quickly pulled off one of them, beginning to lightly glide her fingers along the arm. Every so often a twitch would run through Powder, but Lux ignored it, favouring her desire to get a full understanding of how her scaling worked. It was rather dense and hardy on the hands themselves, outside of the soft underside, continuing to follow that pattern all the way past her shirt sleeve.

 

‘.....Does it continue past that or petter off at the shoulder blades….’

 

Before she could explore that area, Powder suddenly grabbed hold of her and without a word placed her to the side, curling away from Lux’s light. It had all happened so fast, leaving Lux in a bit of a stupor as her mind tried to refocus, blinking rapidly at the now shadowy figure of Powder in front.

 

“Powder….?”

 

“....Just give me a second okay?”

 

“Okay…?”

 

Lux, not too clear as to the issue, still waited patiently and  took the chance to jot down more notes with a happy smile. Shuffling noises from in front let her know Powder had recomposed herself, deciding to come close again with a curious look.

 

‘Ah, maybe she wants to see her entry!’

 

“What do you think!?”

 

With a giggle she held up her notebook, bringing the light orb close enough that its pages were lit up enough to see properly. Powder quirked an eyebrow while staring intently at the page, turning her gaze to look down at Lux after several moments of silence.

 

“Is that supposed to be for me?”

 

“Yup! They’re only cursory notes, but you seem to share many characteristics with an alligator! I’m rather curious to know how much however….”

 

She trailed off upon noticing the strange expression Powder had begun to wear, unsure of what it meant. Had she bored her? Weirded her out like so many others? Lux desperately hoped that wasn’t the case, having been enjoying her time quite a bit up till then.

 

“Drawn me rather flatteringly haven’t you?”

 

Now she was lost, Powder’s question sending her for a solid loop, unable to understand what she was getting at. She stared down at the quick sketch she’d drawn up, a hasty affair that she felt did a rather poor job properly showcasing the beauty of the girl in front. Likely, it would require a redraw some time later when she had the time to give it the attention required.

 

“But that’s just how I see you? If anything I feel like I wasn’t able to fully capture your splendour with how quick this sketch was done…”

 

“.....”

 

* BZZZT*

 

A sudden loud sound from Lux’s bag caused her to jump up with a startle and frantically begin pawing through it. She eventually grabbed on to what looked like a little alarm clock that was the source, shutting it off with a click to the top.

 

“Hmmm, I don’t remember packing that….Ah! Caitlyn must have to let me know when I needed to head back…”

 

“How long have you been wandering around here?”

 

Lux froze at Powder’s question, squinting deeply before giving a shrug.

 

“I don’t know?”

 

“Ah….it’s probably a good thing that whoever Caitlyn is left you that timer then. Hmmm? There’s a note stuck to the back.”

 

“Is there?”

 

She turned the timer with an interested look, giving a little gasp at seeing the small note with her name stuck there. Quickly she unfolded it and began to read outloud.

 

“Dear Lux, this is Caitlyn. I know you have a habit of losing track of time so I decided it would be a good idea to include this timer to let you know when to return. I also know you can be a bit forgetful at times when it comes to tasks so I thought I should mention again your goal of tracking down Powder…..”

 

Lux trailed off, shifting her focus back up to Powder, staring blankly at her for a while until a look of realisation dawned on her.

 

“So that’s why your name sounded so familiar!”

 

Powder immediately pulled away into an alert position, ready to attack if needed, which only caused a gleeful squeal to come from Lux.

 

“Oh Gods, an alert position! Woah, you look so intimidating as if you were seconds away from tearing me apart!”

 

“....You’re making this really hard, you know that…. Who is getting you to look for me and why ?”

 

The beginning of her sentence was a whisper almost too soft for Lux to hear, the second half being with a forced growl. Lux tilted her head, struggling a bit at recalling the details herself.

 

“Ummm, Caitlyn asked me to come to Piltover…ah I’m originally from Demacia! And then…they wanted someone experienced with tracking and sewer exploration like I am, from all my exploring for animals. Uhhh…”

 

She poked her forehead to try and squeeze out more details, always struggling to pull back things like that once they’d slipped her mind.

 

“They were looking for you because umm…oh gods what was it?....Sister! Right! Your sis–Woah!!”

 

Lux cut off as Powder picked her up in her claws to draw her closer with an anxious, almost frightened look.

 

“Wh-why is Vi looking for me!? She knows what I look like right!?”

 

“Vi…? Ah, your sister! No she doesn’t, only I do! She just knows you’re mutated I think.”

 

“Then why…? She should be happy up there without me…”

 

At the slacking of Powder’s hold Lux took the opportunity to wiggle her arms out to place one against the pale girl’s face. Thankfully it seemed she wasn’t annoyed by Lux’s attempt at comfort, born from remembering how her mother did so whenever she was feeling down, instead pulling closer to her touch.

 

“I…I’m a freak that would only mess up whatever happiness she has right now. The minute she sees what fucked up monster I’ve turned into she’ll either run away screaming or disgusted….”

 

“But I think you’re really cool looking! How could anyone hate your gorgeous scales or how perfectly your lizard and human aspects merge together!?”

 

“I think you’re the only one that thinks that….”

 

“Then people have no taste! If your sister doesn’t want you then I’ll keep you all to myself! We’ll march right over to them and I’ll tell them I won’t stand them being mean to you! I’ll even fight them if I have to, my brother said I pack a mean punch!”

 

Lux’s rapidly flailing around combined with her mimed punches caused a burst of laughter to tear through Powder, pulling her into a tight hug as she did. Her actions caused Lux to short out, stiffening even further as Powder snuggled closer. 

 

“You’re really sweet, you know that?”

 

“I-Is that so!”

 

Powder held her like that for a little longer before putting her down with a sigh, slumping down onto the ground.

 

“Any way you can just lie and say you couldn’t find me?”

 

Lux stood quietly for a little before giving a sheepish shake of her head.

 

“There’s no way I could keep secret someone as special and cool as you. I’d likely let it slip without even noticing…”

 

The worried look of Powder pulled at Lux’s memory, reminding her of a similar looking one from earlier.

 

"Umm, if it makes you feel any better I seem to recall Vi being a nervous mess when I was getting ready to go. Your look right now reminded me."

 

Lux observed how Powder’s tail began to sway back and forth ever so slowly at her words. As if betraying the hint of hope she was feeling.

 

'Really cute behaviour I'll have to note down later.'

 

"Wh-why was that?"

 

"I think…she wanted to go down to find you."

 

"E-even knowing I'm mutated…."

 

More information was slowly resurfacing in her mind the more she talked with Powder about it. Lux slowly moved closer to her, the alert pose of before long gone.

 

"From what Caitlyn told me she's been rather….depressed after being told you had died. So finding out you aren't has made her rather frantic."

 

"Thought I was dead….um Lux?"

 

Powder’s tone had grown awkward as she pulled herself closer, lightly gripping onto Lux’s sleeve.

 

"I-I know it's weird to ask, we've only just met, but…i-if I go with you…"

 

"Ah! Do you want me to stay by your side?"

 

She just nodded, blushing softly. Lux gave a soft giggle at the display and held out a hand that was gingerly taken so as to not hurt it. With confident strides Lux began to pull Powder down the path she’d come, stopping suddenly as realisation hit her. Currently, she had no idea where she was, unlike the sewers of Demacia which she had memorised the layout for with all her trips into it. Feeling incredibly embarrassed she turned back to a questioning Powder with a burning red face.

 

"I don't know where I am sadly or how to get to the meeting point…."

 

She watched Powder stifle back a laugh at her words, causing her to blush even further.

 

"Can you tell me at least what the meeting place was like? I know most of the common entry points into the sewer and know how to get to them.”

 

“Ummm, it was in a back alley near a burnt down building by the docks. They decided on that location given it was the last place they had seen you and thought you might have been close to it. Jericho’s place was too populated so it was decided against.”

 

She happily listed off the information, growing curious at how Powder’s face clenched.

 

“Is something wrong Powder?”

 

“.....I know the place, but I don’t have many fond memories of it….”

 

Lux scrunched her face in thought, trying to figure out the best way to comfort her as she slipped further into gloom.

 

‘Oh Gods, Garen always made it look so easy when he’d comfort me….ummm.’

 

She agonised further as she continued to draw a blank, falling into silence as her focus grew.

 

“Lux are you–”

 

“Did you know that Freljord Wildclaws have six legs, four of those being front legs?”

 

Powder’s slightly concerned question was cut off by an excited one from Lux who almost immediately began blushing in embarrassment at the confused look it received.

 

“Ah….”

 

“Lux….?”

 

“S-Sorry, I’m not nearly as good as my brother is when it comes to comforting someone. H-He always seemed to cheer up when I’d tell him an animal fact I’d just learned, s-so I just….”

 

“.....You were trying to comfort me?”

 

“....Terribly I know…I don’t have much practice since I don’t really…”

 

A small laugh escaped her as she looked away from Powder off to the side. 

 

“Don’t really what?”

 

Lux continued to look away, starting to spin in circles as Powder tried to make eye contact rather aggressively. With a loud huff Powder eventually just picked her up and held her in front of her, Lux keeping her gaze off to the side even then.

 

“.....I spend most of my time alone you see, ever since I was a child, so I don’t really have much experience dealing with others. Caitlyn is probably the closest thing I could consider a friend and even then she can only tolerate so much of me at a time.”

 

“.....”

 

“E-Even my brother, as much as he tries to spend time with me, is often away on missions. So I just…..Gods, I must be a bother to you….”

 

Powder drew close with an apologetic look.

 

“No! I just….it surprised me is all, you comforting me. It being in the form of an animal fact did confuse me a bit, but I didn’t mind it.”

 

“....You didn’t find it annoying?”

 

“Why would I find it annoying?”

 

“Because most people do….”

 

“I don’t! I uh…don’t really know that much about outside the sewer so it’s kinda interesting hearing about that stuff….”

 

Slowly she looked up to spot the sheepish looking Powder watching her.

 

"I-I'd love to hear more facts Lux, you can tell me more while we head over okay? Maybe it'll help with my nerves a bit…."

 

"Really!?"

 

Lux couldn’t help but perk up at someone besides her family actually wanting to hear her talk about her interest. Powder seemed to think about something, deciding to continue holding onto Lux and simply shifted her hold. Now Lux sat cupped by one of her large clawed hands which was startlingly soft, like the plush chair she’d always make use of while reading in the palace’s library.

 

“There, I’ll focus on navigation. Ummm, why don’t you tell me more about those wildclaws you mentioned. Are they really big?”

 

“Oh, they’re massive! Typically they live in packs, but because of how much power they produce sometimes people train them as mounts to….”

 

Her happy chatter filled the sewers as Powder began slowly walking them to their destination, a constant look of interest on her face as she listened to Lux describe a wide plethora of creatures she’d never heard of. Sometimes even interrupting to ask further questions about something that caught her attention, Lux alway happy to elaborate more if needed. 

 

Upon reaching the exit she was almost sad that it would bring an end to the lively conversation they'd held up until then. It seemed Powder felt similar given the noticeable droop of her tail previously moving excitedly.

 

".....Y'know I'm still not sure about this Lux…."

 

She felt the slight tightening of the girl's grip on her, vision filled with her nervous expression as Powder stared down at her.

 

"Um, might it make you feel any better if I cast my magic on you? It would make you invisible to them until you gave me the okay to release it."

 

"You can do something like that?"

 

"Yup! My specialty is light magic, so something like invisibility is easy. I've used it countless times to escape the pursuit of visual hunters. See?"

 

With a flourish of her hands Lux disappeared from sight. It was likely bizarre to hear her begin speaking again while still invisible.

 

"It doesn’t help against other means of detection, likely you can still feel my weight correct? Same with my unique smell right?"

 

Powder stiffened again at the mention of unique smell , nodding with a light blush that made Lux endlessly curious as to why . Lux blinked back into view, staring up at her waiting for whatever her decision would be.

 

Eventually, she gave a small nod while pulling Lux in for another hug, this time her stiffness lasting a much shorter time after having gotten used to Powder’s love of hugs.

 

“.....You really are too sweet y’know that Lux?”

 

“O-Only towards people I like and I like you a lot Powder!”

 

“.......”

 

Her grip tightened at Lux’s words, pulling her in close enough for Lux to notice the faint sound of an almost guttural purring coming from Powder. She desperately wanted to mark it down in her notes, but knew it was best to wait. It didn't help that her arms were trapped either, making it physically impossible to as well.

 

After a little while she noticed an end to the purring, whatever state Powder seemed to have found herself in stopping with a light gasp. She quickly put Lux down, awkwardly unable to make eye contact, looking almost apologetic about what happened.

 

Lux tilted her head as a thought occurred to her, something that might properly explain Powder’s behaviour.

 

"Powder, do you happen to like me as well? You're giving off the same characteristics as an alligator would when wanting to mate…."

 

"M-Mate, Wh-What–"

 

"Ah! That would explain why you thought I smelled nice! You like the natural pheromones I give off! Hmmm, what’s wrong Powder, were you not aware?"

 

Powder rapidly shook her head, face the same shade as the crimson shelled crab native to Lux’s home country.

 

"It’s nothing to get embarrassed over Powder, it just means your libido connects quite strong with–"

 

"Pl-Please make me invisible now."

 

"Alright? Ah! Don't worry I'll still be able to see you just fine! Would be rather silly if my own magic worked against me right?"

 

“.......”

 

Rather than relieved like Lux had thought she would be to hear that, Powder’s face grew even redder, going so far as to cover it with her claws. Before she could ask her anything Powder seemed to recompose herself, pulling her claws away to look down at Lux’s perplexed expression.

 

“Let’s get going before I lose my nerves.”

 

“Okay!”

 

Still not entirely sure what had happened, Lux complied anyway. With a soft hum of concentration, needing it when using her magic on others, Lux wrapped Powder in a thin shimmering layer that would obscure her from being seen by anyone else.

 

"We're good to go now Powder, are you ready?"

 

"......As much as I can be…."

 

Taking the lead, making sure Powder’s hand was held tight, Lux began making her way outside the sewer. 

Chapter Text

The longer time passed without the reemergence of Lux from the sewers the more anxious Caitlyn seemed to grow. Vi and Ekko had tried to play cards on a makeshift table, but neither could really focus with the intense pacing that only grew faster.  Their waiting had continued for so long that eventually Ekko had to leave to attend to Firelight business, looking incredibly apologetic about it, but unable to put it off any longer. Now it was just Vi and Caitlyn waiting, the hour promise from Lux having long passed.

 

“Cupcake, you’re gonna burn a hole through the ground at this rate. Just relax, you said she was an expert we could trust. What’s there to worry about?”

 

“An international incident if anything should happen to her….maybe even war with Demacia…”

 

She couldn’t help laughing at Caitlyn’s absurd answer, though that quickly died at the serious look she was sent.

 

“…..You serious?”

 

“Vi, her family is incredibly protective of her. I only managed to persuade them using the backing of my family and having Lux plead with them to let her go. They would rain hellfire down if she has so much as a scratch.”

 

Caitlyn cradled her temple.

 

“I still remember the time I attended the Royal Demacian Gala on Lux’s invitation, this was several years ago mind you. An older nobleman made snide remarks about her, something in the vein of being willing to take the burden off their hands by marrying her off to a noble he knew with less than good morals. That night he died, not even making it home and any investigation halted after coming to the quick conclusion of it being an unfortunate carriage accident.”

 

Her anguish only seemed to grow as she went on.

 

“Then there was the time when we were children walking around the Demacian capital, someone had pickpocketed Lux and stolen her notebook. She had a full on meltdown, her guards unable to stop her crying no matter how they tried soothing her…..”

 

“Lux’s aunt happened to be in the area and came racing over on horseback, after hearing the details she ordered her elites to scour the city and to lock the gates so none could leave. She held the sobbing Lux atop her horse the entire time as they ransacked the city in search of her missing notebook, only stopping upon finding their man. Her aunt promised fitting punishment while hauling him away…”

 

Vi took a nervous gulp, having been drawn into the morbid picture Caitlyn was painting.

 

“Wh-What happened to the guy?”

 

“…..I don’t know, but let’s just say the criminal underbelly of Demacia was quickly cowed into submission afterwards. Even the worst scum on their best behaviour whenever Lux was around, eager to always help her if she asked…”

 

“……Cupcake..”

 

“I-I know Vi, but she was our best—”

 

“Hello you two! Did I make you wait long?”

 

“Oh thank the Gods!”

 

“…..?”

 

Relief flooded the both of them upon hearing the chipper filtered voice of Lux, both pivoting to spot her crawling out of the sewer pipe she’d descended into. At Caitlyn’s loud exclamation she cocked her head to the side in confusion, before seeming to forget as she scampered onto the ground with excited giggling.

 

“Oh Caitlyn, I had so much fun down there! I found so many different species of animals I’d never seen before, my notebook is practically full after only a short while and—”

 

“Lux, it's been three hours since you left. Th-There’s no injuries right!? You’re okay!?”

 

Caitlyn pulled close to Lux, giving her a quick check over as the girl once again tilted her head in confusion, at least going by the questioning hum.

 

Three hours? ….Ah, I’m fine Caitlyn. My exploration gear is reinforced with dragon scales and coated with special chemicals to counteract fire or acid, I’m very well protected!”

 

Lux proudly held her arms wide to show off the likely incredibly expensive gear, no doubt having been given by her family. With weary eyes Caitlyn finally seemed to relax somewhat, making light tapping motions at her face while wobbling back towards Vi.

 

“Your mask Lux.”

 

“Hmmmm? Oh! Silly me.”

 

Not seeming to notice Caitlyn’s current state, Lux got busy unclipping her head gear, still busy chattering away about the things she’d seen without a care if anyone was actually listening. Vi couldn’t help her stare, the girl truly incomprehensible to her, making her seriously doubt if she was human. If Lux had revealed herself as a being from outside Runeterra, Vi would have believed her without a second thought.

 

 Trying to steer back their conversation, Caitlyn, while massaging away a headache, began to ask the questions Vi had almost forgotten about with all the shocking reveals.

 

“What did your exploration turn up, Lux? Any sign of her?”

 

“Hm? Oh I found Powder just fine, honestly I thought she was a ghost at first and I can’t stand ghosts! Ah, you remember that time—”

 

“Lux please focus.”

 

“Right! I had a rather lovely conversation with Powder and managed to convince her to come up with me.”

 

Vi bolted upright at her words, surveying the area with a frantic energy, turning a confused look to Lux at spotting nothing.

 

“….I-Is she hiding in the sewer pipe?”

 

“No, she’s right behind me. She’s rather nervous about the whole idea so I volunteered to cast invisibility on her until she felt comfortable.”

 

Sudden shuffling from behind Lux and the slight straining of her clothes as if something was gripping them let Vi know she was telling the truth. Slowly she drew closer, stopping as Lux’s figure suddenly pulled backwards, carried by her cloaked sister in an attempt to move away.

 

“Wh-Why are you nervous Pow-Pow?”

 

There was no answer, Lux tilting her head back to stare at something before giving a soft gasp.

 

“Ah, do you want me to speak on your behalf Powder? Hmmm, alright I’ll try my best!”

 

Nodding at that something, which looked rather tall given how even Lux had to crane her neck somewhat, she turned back towards Vi.

 

“Powder is rather nervous over how you’ll react upon seeing her. I don’t really understand the fuss since she’s the perfect blend in my mind, but she thinks you’ll care. If you do, I’ve decided to fight you for not understanding how cool she is.”

 

She was finding it incredibly hard to understand what Lux was even trying to get at, her words so disconnected from each other it was impossible to keep up.

 

“Wh-What do you mean blend!?”

 

“Hm? Powder is the absolute perfect blend of an alligator and a human! Oooh, I could talk for hours about how beautiful she is in her scale patterning or her powerful claws that could easily—Umpfh!”

 

Lux stopped her ramblings suddenly, mouth pressing shut as if someone had placed a hand over it, confirmed by the quizzical look she sent behind her. Silence followed outside of the brief sound of shuffling as Lux floated upward slightly, her outfit wrinkling around the waist showing Powder had wrapped an arm around her.

 

“….You’ll hate me, I know you will…"

 

The voice that came from nowhere almost made Vi collapse on the spot at the all too familiar undertone of Powder she still remembered after all their years separated. Even with the guttural overtone that layered on top of it and the natural deepening of age, Vi knew it was Powder.

 

"How could I possibly hate you Pow-Pow!? You were the only thing keeping me going all those years stuck in Stillwater!"

 

"Stillwater? ….W-Why would I when I ruined everything !? They all died because of me!"

 

A low guttural hiss came from Powder as her upset built, grip tightening around Lux who offered up zero struggle at that fact. Vi struggled to maintain her cool, knowing getting too emotional would make things blow up in her face, a fact that always haunted her.

 

“That wasn’t your fault Pow-Pow, you just wanted to help! I should never have yelled at you like that, least of all hit you and walked away without saying anything!”

 

Another low hiss came from Powder.

 

“You–”

 

Incredible, I can feel my dragon scale reinforced gear creaking underneath the pressure of your grip! What amazing strength Powder! Oh, I’d love to measure it more thoroughly, but I doubt my armour could take much more than this and then I’d be crushed…pity that.”

 

Their increasingly emotional talk was interrupted by the excited cry of Lux, Powder dropping her instantly, circling around her going off the sound of shuffling.

 

“O-Oh Gods, I’m sorry Lux! You aren’t hurt right! I-I just i-it’s hard to–”

 

“Hmm? I’m fine Powder. Like I said, my suits reinforced, there’s no need to panic. I can also protect myself further with a light barrier…”

 

“O-Okay, I was just…”

 

Powder’s panic was easily soothed by Lux’s carefree tone, the girl giving a wide grin to where her sister apparently was.

 

“But thank you for the concern, Powder. It reminds me of my family, always fussing over me, not that I hate that mind you. Ah, I’d love to introduce you to them, I think you’d hit it off! Especially after I explain to them how beautiful you are, really your scale patterning is breathtaking, the most gorgeous I’ve seen for any being!”

 

“R-Right…”

 

Something about Powder’s expression made Lux pull closer with a curious look.

 

“What’s up Powder? Your face is growing flush are you–”

 

“I’m f-fine!”

 

Further shuffling filled the brief lull in silence, Powder eventually speaking again.

 

“W-Were you being serious about beating them up if they were mean?”

 

“Totally, I’ll knock them out in one punch!”

 

Vi sent a confused look to Caitlyn who had drawn closer, whispering horrifying words with a solemn nod.

 

“She’s not lying Vi. I once saw her knock out a Demacian soldier with a single punch, broke his jaw and left a fist-sized dent in his helmet. Her family kept it as a little trophy while praising her over how strong she was.”

 

“Wh-What….Cupcake, you sure Lux is human?”

 

“.....Yes.”

 

“.....”

 

While their short side conversation took place, it seemed like Lux and Powder’s discussion had come to an end, with words Vi had been praying for being spoken.

 

“....W-Would you release the invisibility then? Just get it over with….”

 

"Alright then, I'll be ready to attack as soon as you say the word then Powder!"

 

Lux batted the air with her fists, snapping her fingers after, finally revealing her sister.

 

Vi wasn't sure what she had expected given Lux’s hard to understand descriptions, but it didn't prepare her for actually seeing her. Powder was tall, easily making Vi need to crane her neck to see her face. Far more bulky than she would have expected too from her memories of how skinny she used to be.

 

Large clawed arms nervously fidgeted in front, covered in tough looking blue scales which also coated her similarly lizard-like legs. A long tail twitched rapidly behind, for whatever reason Lux was staring intently at. Her hair, while slightly shiny, was still the same blue she remembered, just long and messy.

 

"Pow-Pow… "

 

"F-Freakish right? I-I know–!"

 

Whatever she was about to say was cut off by Vi rushing over and wrapping her in as tight a hug as she could, sobs beginning to escape her at finally being able to hold her sister after so many years of yearning to do so. The countless nights she’d only managed to make it through letting herself fantasise about getting out and tracking down Powder, being able to speak the apologise she’d run through endlessly in her mind.

 

“....I-Is it really okay?”

 

Her question was barely above a whisper, a deep fear of rejection painting it, melding with an unspoken guilt that she’d carried since that night. Vi snuggled closer, noticing how Powder’s claws hovered behind her, desperate to return the hug, yet unable to.

 

“....I’ve wanted to hold you in my arms like this for years and make sure to tell you something important. I love you, no matter what form you take. It’s okay now Pow-Pow, the past doesn’t matter, not if holding onto it hurts our chances of being together in the future.”

 

“.... R-Really?”

 

“Really, Pow-Pow.”

 

With sniffling sobs Powder finally returned her hug, incredibly light at first before slowly increasing in strength until she had pulled Vi tightly against herself. Nuzzling into Vi’s shoulder her crying grew even louder, greedly accepting the gentle soothing of her big sister.

 

“...Just seeing you has made me the happiest I’ve been in years , Pow-Pow. Though I gotta say….you being taller than me wasn’t something I expected. Hard to call you little sister anymore…”

 

Vi’s attempt at lightening the mood with a poor joke seemed to work wonders, Powder’s sobs turning into fits of laughter, lifting her far up from the ground with ease and spinning with her.

 

“You just didn’t grow enough!”

 

“You just never stopped!”

 

They erupted into a giggling mess at each other's jabs, Powder finally putting Vi down to wipe the tears that had built up in her eyes, sending down a sharp toothed grin that revealed her teeth had also gone through some transformations of their own.

 

It was only then that Vi noticed the absence of Lux, who had disappeared off somewhere after having stuck close for so long. Turning she noticed Caitlyn had herded Lux off into a distant corner, sending a subtle thumbs up before returning her attention to the girl loudly chattering away about something from her notebook, making sure to ask questions to keep her going.

 

‘Thank you Cupcake….’

 

She didn’t mind Lux, but right at that moment she wanted to fully enjoy some alone time with her sister for the first time in a long time. Vi noticed Powder’s curious gaze to where she’d looked, first landing on Caitlyn, making a mental note to introduce the two of them, before focusing on Lux. 

 

‘Hmm? Is Pow-Pow….purring? While looking at ….Lux?’

 

A truly horrifying thought dawned on her, squinting up at her baby sister who continued to stare intently at the girl, her eyes having even narrowed to slits.

 

“....No way… Pow-Pow…”

 

“H-Hm! Wh-What is it!?”

 

Powder broke her focus with a jolt, nervously staring down at Vi with a light blush.

 

“N-Nothing!”

 

‘Oh Gods, Oh Gods, Lux of all people might end up my sister-in-law….’

 

Her internal panic didn’t show on her face, just sending up a wide grin instead that hopefully didn’t look too strained. She couldn’t even begin to imagine the reaction of Lux’s family if it went beyond a light crush on Powder’s end. That was even if Lux would realise it, Vi incredibly doubtful of the girl being very…. perceptive in that area.

 

‘I’ll have to strategize with Cupcake….hopefully it’s not too big of a headache…’

 

Shaking that thought from her mind, Vi pulled Powder close again, internally relieved that she leaned into it. They had way too much catching up to do to worry about Powder’s future love live, even if the possibility of it being Lux planted a huge ticking time bomb in their path.

 

“Ah!”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“E-Ekko, I gotta tell him we found you!”

 

“Ekko! H-He’s still around! Oh man, I’ve really miss–”

 

The excitement that had clearly built at learning her old friend Ekko was still around dropped just like her tail, nervously turning back to Vi.

 

“D-Do you think he’ll hat–”

 

“If he makes you cry I’ll be joining Lux in beating his ass, you got my word Pow-Pow.”

 

“O-Okay…then I guess I gotta introduce you to my f-friends too at some point…”

 

Noticing how panicked Powder was getting, likely overwhelmed at everything that was happening, Vi placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

 

“Pow-Pow, we can take it slow if you want. We’ve been apart for so long that there’s a bunch to catch up on. I have zero plans of leaving you again, so we have all the time we need to take it easy alright?.”

 

Reassured at her strong tone, Powder relaxed somewhat, giving a nod of understanding. Stealing a glance over at Lux again, Powder’s blush returned, leaning down to whisper into Vi’s ear.

 

“U-Um, is Lux s-staying for long? I-I just..um w-we still had a lot of animals I was curious about…she knows so much Vi! I could listen to her talk for hours, she makes even the most boring sounding topic interesting!”

 

Her eyes drifted down at the excited swishing of Powder’s tail increasing the more she spoke.

 

“Th-That so Pow-Pow…you’ll have to talk with Cupcake – Ah! – Caitlyn over there about that, she’s the one that originally invited her.”

 

“D-Do you think Lux would stay longer if I a-asked her?”

 

“M-Maybe?”

 

“Hmmm. I-I’ll have to ask then…it would just be too – um – sad after just meeting and all…”

 

“R-Right….”

 

‘Oh Gods, she’s entirely smitten!’

 

“Pow-Pow….um did you get a lot of talks from your friends in the sewer? Stuff on like relationships or on how they might progress for example?”

 

The entirely clueless look she received was all the answer she needed, pulling her sister close again with a serious gaze.

 

“We have a lot to go over then once we get a chance Pow-Pow, see exactly what knowledge you’re missing out on okay?”

 

“O-Okay…umm, they did teach me how to tell what was edible or not! Only took a couple nasty stomachaches to never have those problems again! Um and Jericho taught me how to fish, though I just liked diving in myself ....”

 

“Th-Those are good things to know Pow-Pow…”

 

Perking up at Vi’s encouragement she spread her arms out wide to the side with an excited grin.

 

“One time I found a fish this big, that had like six arms, which I fought for about an hour until eventually getting it by clamping tight to it and spinning it really fast which tore it up. Was super tasty and a good workout!”

 

“W-Wow!”

 

“Oh, then another time I–”

 

Vi let Powder continue her excited chatter about the incredibly strange things she’d done down in the sewers, relishing the fact she was even able to do so in the first place. Watching her wide grin as she described her time over the years made a warm feeling spread through Vi that she hadn’t felt in a long time.

 

She was content, finally having reunited with the last piece of family she’d craved for all those years. 

Chapter Text

The sky had grown dark before any had noticed, Vi was so intent on her conversation with Powder that it took a slight prompting from Caitlyn to realise the time. She had long exhausted her hold over Lux, yet she’d rather surprisingly kept away to allow the two alone time to converse. 

 

It had made a warm feeling well in her chest that even Lux knew how to read the mood, one that immediately came crashing down at noticing her keeping away was because she’d found something of interest underneath a crate. Vi didn’t have any idea what it was , but Lux maintained a laser focus on it and simply ignored everyone else. Powder, somehow, found the whole thing adorable going off her muttered comments while awkwardly stealing glances her way.

 

She still couldn’t wrap her head around Powder’s crush on Lux of all people, outside of it being a case of her lack of experience and exposure making her latch onto the first person she’d met that was nice to her. If that was the case Vi had to be wary of people attempting to take advantage of her sister that way.

 

“Pow-Pow, how about we continue our conversation up topside and run you through a quick check up. It’ll be with people you can trust, plus Caitlyn’s dad is a mean cook who I’m sure will make you something delicious.”

 

“I’d have to tell Twitch where I’d be going first or else he’ll worry I got stuck in a pipe somewhere….”

 

Twitch, Vi had quickly learned, was the person…or rat that had saved Powder all those years ago….and also thrown her into a Chempit for the fun of it. He had shown her the ropes and seemed like a reliable partner over the years, but some of the things Powder told her made her sometimes doubt his goodness .

 

“Right, we can wait here for you and then we can head up. That sound good to you?”

 

“S-Sure….”

 

With a quick wave, Powder descended back down into the sewer, leaving just the three of them. Turning towards Caitlyn, Vi sent her a questioning look.

 

“....Do you think your parents will be okay with Pow-Pow coming so suddenly?”

 

“I did tell them in advance where she would be coming from and what that could mean, I think with a little prep it shouldn’t go too badly. Rather, I think just their relief at Lux being unhurt will make them more agreeable, especially if we can get her to vouch for Powder.”

 

They both turned to stare at Lux, unmoving from her crouching position facing the wall, something she’d maintained for the last hour if not longer. Her gaze was still intently fixed on whatever she’d found hiding behind the crate propped up against it.

 

“Cupcake….”

 

“L-Let me try…Lux?”

 

“......”

 

Lux?”

 

“......”

 

She sent a defeated look at Vi, about to get up and physically get the girl's attention when Powder jumped back out from the pipes with a curious look.

 

“What are you guys doing?”

 

“Pow-Pow, that was fast! We’re…uh…trying to get Lux’s attention to ask her a question, but…”

 

“She’s ignoring me….”

 

Powder tilted her head in confusion, coming up beside the pair to stare at Lux.

 

“Is it really that hard?”

 

Caitlyn gave a quick nod of her head.

 

“When Lux gets focused like that you typically have to tap her on the shoulder or similar to get her attention back.”

 

“Hmmm, can I try?”

 

“Be my guest.”

 

Her tone made it clear she didn’t expect any different results than their previous attempts, but knew it was best for Powder to see for herself rather than just be told it. Giving a nervous gulp Powder pulled forward slightly, fidgeting with her large claws.

 

“L-Lux, what did you find?”

 

“Hm, Powder? Ah, I found this!” 

 

Without any delay Lux held up a large slimy lizard by the tail, that clearly wasn’t the happiest about being picked up by its hissing. Powder pulled even closer with an excited look.

 

“A four armed snake!”

 

Lux blinked, but otherwise seemed unfazed.

 

“It’s a large salamander actually, you can tell by the round snout and the short legs.”

 

She stood up, cupping the salamander in her hands carefully, walking over to where Powder had stopped with a wide grin.

 

See? If it was a snake you’d see a lot more muscle movement and the snout would be different, plus it wouldn’t be this slimy.”

 

“Oooh, thought it was related to the three-armed snake I saw…”

 

“What happened to it?”

 

“I ate it.”

 

“Oh…. pity, I would have liked to see it first…”

 

“U-Um, if I see another I’ll make sure you get to see it before I eat it!”

 

“That’s rather kind of you Powder! I’ll look forward to it.”

 

Powder blushed at the smile Lux sent her, the two of them completely off in their own little world as they continued their observing of the salamander. Vi turned to the stunned Caitlyn, mouth slightly agape, looking like she’d taken a devastating blow.

 

“....Her first try got Lux’s attention….like it was nothing…..”

 

Feeling that she needed to give Caitlyn a moment to recover, Vi quietly approached Powder. She was attentively listening to Lux ramble on about salamanders with an enraptured look, her tail moving so fast little dust clouds were being formed behind her.

 

".....They have fairly long tongues that– Powder how long is your tongue? For that matter, is it more similar to an alligator than a human?"

 

"I never thought to check umm….."

 

"Let me see if I have something to measure with in my bag–"

 

"H-Hey guys!"

 

Before Lux could begin…. whatever she planned to do, Vi cut in with a slightly panicked tone. Both turned to look at her, Lux with her hands still shuffling through her bag.

 

"Is something the matter, Vi?"

 

"We were going to start heading up."

 

"Are we coming back to see Powder tomorrow? I really have a lot more to talk with her about…."

 

"Huh? Powder is coming with us Lux."

 

She tilted her head.

 

"To Piltover? Just like that without any proper testing? That seems rather irresponsible don't you think?"

 

Vi had zero understanding of what Lux was going on about.

 

"We were gonna have her checked out once we went up—"

 

" Completely irresponsible!"

 

She could only freeze in stunned surprise at Lux’s sudden furious outburst, a frown taking the place of her previous smile.

 

'Why is she angry now?'

 

"Wh-What’s the matter Lux?"

 

Caitlyn seemed to have recomposed herself at Lux’s yell, rushing over with a confused look.

 

"Your care towards Powder! It’s like taking an animal out of its natural habitat without proper care!”

 

“Pow-Pow isn’t some animal Lux!”

 

“That’s not the point I’m making at all!”

 

Her own flare up at Lux’s choice of words only seemed to frustrate the girl more, the tension growing so high that Caitlyn went to physically place herself between the two of them. 

 

“Lux, maybe explain what you’re meaning. Why exactly is it a bad idea for me to go up with everyone?”

 

Powder jumped in with a nervous tone as the silence stretched out, Lux’s stern look softening as she turned to address her.

 

“Powder you’ve been living in a highly toxic habitat that we need to wear masks just to enter for a couple of hours, yet you can breathe the air like normal down there. It likely means your body, more specifically your lungs, have adapted to deal with it specifically.”

 

Without any warning she pulled in front of Powder, placing her hands onto her chest, an act that made her freeze up entirely with a wild blush.

 

“There’s also the matter of whether or not your lungs are also taking after an alligator or not….Powder, how long can you hold your breath underwater?”

 

“......”

 

“Powder?”

 

“U-Um! I don’t know the specifics!It’s just a while, depending on what I’m doing. If I’m actively hunting or fooling around it’s less than 30 minutes, but if I’m just relaxing at least an hour ....”

 

“Alligator lungs….”

 

She pulled even closer to Powder, placing her ear against her chest which further increased the blushing mess that she was developing into.

 

“What about when you’re outside of the Sewers, like with us right now? Do you notice any differences? Is it harder to breathe after a bit?”

 

“U-Usually it just gets a bit uncomfortable is all, nothing I can’t handle!”

 

“Uncomfortable how?”

 

“P-Pressure in my ch-chest…ah! U-Um….breathing sometimes feels a little heavy, like I’m sucking too much in at a time even if I take small breaths.”

 

It took her a second to refocus at the mention of chest , Lux still resting her ear against hers completely oblivious to the reaction she was causing. She couldn’t help but give a sigh of relief when Lux finally pulled away sporting a satisfied look.

 

“.....Bringing Powder up to Piltover might be deadly in the worst case scenario.”

 

Everyone froze in shock at the gravity of her words, Vi rushing to grab her in a panic only to be stopped by Caitlyn’s strong grip on her shoulder. She asked the question that was burning on the tip of Vi’s tongue, doing her best to keep her tone calm.

 

“Wh-Why is that?”

 

“Her lungs have developed to efficiently pull out oxygen from an oxygen starved environment that is also teeming with toxic chemicals. It allows her to live comfortably in a habitat that should be inhospitable. But, that same efficiency can make it delicate when interacting with different environments.”

 

Understanding dawned on Caitlyn first.

 

“The air in Piltover might be too clean for her….”

 

Exactly, it might be too oxygen rich for her lungs to handle. Powder already mentioned light signs of that just in the Undercity, I can only imagine it would be far worse for her moving to the clean air up above…”

 

Once again she drew close to Powder, gently grabbing at her hand with a stern look.

 

“That isn’t even factoring in the impact direct sunlight might have on both her skin and scales, likely she’d burn rather bad. There’s also the fact that her eyes are attuned to low lighting, so it might be too bright in Piltover…”

 

She trailed off into a mutter, staring hard down at Powder’s held hand, clenching it tight.

 

“.....You’ve put a lot of thought into this Lux….”

 

“Hmmm? Of course I have! I care a lot about you Powder!”

 

“M-Me too Lux! I c-care about you a lot too!”

 

Powder had evolved into a boiled lobster, cupping Lux’s hands with a frantic energy made worse by the soft smile set her way at her confession. Vi had to sidestep to avoid the sudden whirl up of Powder’s tail again, taking the moment to attempt to calm herself.

 

"S-So what can we do then?"

 

"Powder would require a breathing apparatus that either filters clean air through toxic chemicals to lower the amount of oxygen or carry a tank that's full of air she can breathe. Some sort of suit to block the sun's rays would also be good, along with sunglasses."

 

Lux’s rapid fire assessment earned a groan out of Vi while Powder gave a soft hum, having calmed down with the shift in focus.

 

"Twitch and I can probably rig up the breathing apparatus if we get the supplies we need….tools too."

 

"I can ask Ekko, he might be able to help build it too."

 

"Right, Ekko was always good at that stuff. He's probably even better now…."

 

Vi relaxed somewhat at the nostalgic look that crossed Powder’s face at her talk of Ekko, hoping that the two of them would be able to meet soon.

 

“Oh, I know someone that can make us that outfit then! I had meant to visit her anyway to discuss another pair of pyjamas in a similar style to ones she previously made me…”

 

“Who might that be Lux? Is it someone we could trust in this situation?”

 

“It’s Barbara Holmes.”

 

Caitlyn’s eyes bulged at her simple answer, Vi immediately nudging her for an answer.

 

“B-Barbara Holmes is the top tailor in all of Piltover…”

 

“Mother heard about her prowess and called in her services for my birthday last year, we ended up hitting it off and she made me a special pair of silk pyjamas as a parting gift. She made it look like a giant lizard, with a hood and tail to match the large claw attached gloves!”

 

‘Of course she’d have pyjamas like that….’

 

She wasn’t even surprised at this point, Vi sending a side look at Powder to gauge her reaction, which of course was just one of yearning. Likely wanting to see Lux in those pyjamas for reasons Vi couldn’t begin to understand. It seemed that, at least to Powder, Lux could do or wear literally anything and she’d love it.

 

‘Pow-Pow…..’

 

“I’ll just need to grab Powder’s exact measurements, that along with a sketch should be enough for her to work with.”

 

“Y-You sure she won’t freak out or be…. disgusted?”

 

Powder’s nervous mutterings received a warm smile of reassurance from Lux.

 

“Barbara isn’t that kind of person Powder, she’s someone that has no problem listening to me rant on about animals for several hours and never once made me feel like I was bothering her. She….”

 

Trailing off, Lux finished her sentence at a low whisper.

 

“....treated me like I was normal…

 

Not giving anyone a chance to comment on that , Lux quickly yanked a measuring tape from her bag and began taking Powder’s sizing without a word. Making sure to jot them all down in her notes, Lux only pulled back after finishing.

 

“That should be good enough for her to make what we need. How long do you think it will take you to make that breathing apparatus Powder?”

 

“I-It depends….maybe a week, if not a little less depending on outside help and supplies.”

 

“Then until everything is prepared I think we should keep meeting like this at a specific time and location. I’ll go and see Barbara tomorrow and discuss making your suit, which hopefully won’t take too long for her to complete.”

 

Lux refused to make eye contact with any of them, instead staring in the direction of the exit.

 

“We should get going soon or your parents will begin to worry Caitlyn.”

 

“R-Right, I’ll go fetch the carriage then…”

 

Caitlyn sent a single look back towards Vi before hurrying off down the alleyway they’d come from, leaving the three in an awkward silence. Powder had her gaze fixed on Lux, but seemed unsure of what to say.

 

“L-Lu–”

 

“I should start heading back too.”

 

Before Powder could muster up her words, Lux started down the alleyway after Caitlyn, pausing at the mouth of it without turning back.

 

“....It was really nice to meet you Powder. Let’s talk more later alright?”

 

Disappearing into the darkness before Powder could respond, Vi watched her sister visibly deflate watching the spot Lux just was, looking like she’d had her heart ripped out. 

 

“Pow-Pow that wasn’t your fault alright? Lux just….made herself think about stuff she’d rather not. From what I heard from Caitlyn people weren’t always the nicest towards her because of how she …. is.

 

“How could anyone be mean to Lux….”

 

“Some people are just like that Pow-Pow, they lash out at what they don’t understand. It’s just like how people here treat Sewer Folk–”

 

“I don’t care how they act around me, but the thought of them being like that  towards Lux I–!”

 

Powder bristled, a low hiss escaping her.

 

“Them doing it while I’m around, I’ll tear ‘em to pieces! Being mean to my –”

 

It was clear that Powder was working herself up into a frenzy, her eyes thinning to slits glaring at an imaginary enemy. To anyone else she’d look monstrous with how she held herself at that moment, like a beast seconds from pouncing on unsuspecting prey.

 

“Woah Pow-Pow, try and calm down alright!? No one would be stupid enough to do something like that towards Lux given her position!”

 

“But people do anyway! You just said that!”

 

She advanced on Vi, fury clear in the guttural hiss backing each word. Vi had to figure out some way to calm her rage that only seemed to be blindly building, making Powder battle against what she could only assume was her more animalistic side. Feeling way out of her depths and wishing Caitlyn or even Lux was here to help, Vi struggled to find the right words to soothe her sister.

 

“Wh-What would Lux think about you doing something like that Pow-Pow!? That would likely only isolate her more! It’s one thing to be protective, but tearing someone to pieces for an insult!? Do you think that would make her happy?”

 

Her words seemed to somewhat get through to Powder, the tension dropping from her even if it was slow.

 

“Pow-Pow, Lux wants to be treated just like everyone else, not put on some pedestal. The way to make her happy, really happy, is to do just that!”

 

“Wh-What about when they insult her!? When they’re mean!?”

 

“Then you tell them to piss off and if that doesn’t work you serve ‘em a beating until they do. Killing them doesn’t enter the equation unless they try something real bad Pow-Pow. Remember what it was like growing up, when someone messed with the group?”

 

“...T-Told them to piss off….”

 

“And when that didn’t work?”

 

“Beat them up….”

 

“But what did we never do?”

 

“....K-Kill them….”

 

Right. That’s not to say it’s never an option, but it shouldn’t be your first!”

 

Vi was largely talking out of her ass, having no idea what Lux would actually think of the situation, maybe she’d even like Powder tearing people to pieces. What was most important to her in that moment was to calm her sister down somehow, anything else coming secondary.

 

Powder visibly relaxed, clarity returning to her eyes that drifted back into a more neutral state, her posture slumping.

 

“I-I just….”

 

“I know you care about Lux Pow-Pow, that isn’t a bad thing. You just need to learn how to properly deal with the negative things that might bring out of you. I had to go through the same thing with my rage, tore through most of the undercity and almost killed myself before I figured that out.”

 

Wrapping her in a tight hug, one that Powder clung to, Vi gently rubbed her back.

 

“But unlike me back then, you don’t have to deal with it alone okay? I’ll be there for you every step of the way, we’ll deal with this together. Trust your big sis alright?”

 

“O-Okay…..it’s just so overwhelming all these new emotions I’ve never… felt before, coming out every time I think about her. I-I don’t know why Vi, but I’m scared. Wh-What’s wrong with me!?”

 

“There’s nothing wrong with you Pow-Pow, it’s just….you’re first time dealing with a crush is all. The first one can be super overwhelming, especially if no one’s given you any of the talks before.”

 

“C-Crush?”

 

She couldn’t help her quiet laugh at Powder’s lost sounding voice.

 

“It means you like her Pow-Pow, in the love kind of way. You’re head over heels for her and I’ve been able to tell since the moment I saw the way you look at her.”

 

“L-Love!? M-Me towards Lux!?”

 

“Pow-Pow any more strength and you’re gonna start crushing me.”

 

“S-Sorry Vi!”

 

Pulling back like she’d touched fire Powder fidgeted with her claws, her blush so strong it was even tingeing the colour of her scales.

 

“I-I love Lux? That’s….”

 

The fact seemed to be dawning on her, even if it was incredibly slow, a wave of sympathy washing over Vi at the high hurdles her love would probably face. The biggest of course being Lux herself, Vi unable to figure out how that talk would go with the girl, much less when it came to her parents.

 

“V-Vi, what am I supposed to do?”

 

Her pleading pained Vi, a lost look full of misery that didn’t suit her little sister's face. She could only give Powder’s claws a tight squeeze of reassurance.

 

“We’ll figure that out together alright? And if that’s not enough I’m sure Caitlyn will help us too, just like she’s always done for me in cases where I frankly didn’t deserve it. She knows more about Lux than either of us, so I’m sure she can give us some insight.”

 

Powder leaned into her again, giving a weak nod. The two of them stayed like that for a while longer, Vi not caring if it delayed their departure back topside. She was sure Caitlyn could forgive her for it, especially after knowing the reason why.