“Oh giant piltie bed, how I’ve missed you!”
Violet Kiramman falls on the mattress with a groan of satisfaction, her arms sprawled out and hair still wet from her scalding shower. She can feel the exhaustion of the day weighing on her chest and a headache starts to blossom behind her eyes.
“I’m almost going to become jealous of our marital bed at this rate darling.” answers Caitlyn from the other side of it, sitting against the headboard, not looking up from her book.
Vi rubs the heel of her palms against her eyes as if it could make the mild pain go away. She turns her head towards her wife and takes her in in the warm glow of their bedside lamp. She admires the shadows curving on the lines of her face, the slight lopsided grin on her lips showing her adorable tooth gap, the straight line of her nose, the first early wrinkle on her forehead from a life of expectations and overwork, and the messy bun of midnight hair on top of her head. Thinking of all those years by her side, a familiar warm feeling of giddiness blooms in Vi's stomach. She smiles and thinks of how fucking amazing that feeling is. She loves that woman as much as the first day. Well … second day if her memory is correct, and it always is.
Vi’s gaze drops from her partner’s face to her round belly, showing the curve of a pregnancy of six months. Her giddiness morphs into something deeper, an overwhelming feeling of love and pride and wonder and fear at the idea of their child to come. Vi lets the buzzing swirl of emotions settle in her guts, her breath catching in her throat. A beat passes before she breathes out.
The pink-haired woman lazily climbs up the bed towards Caitlyn, an enamored smile on her face. She puts a hand on her book, pushes it downward, and nuzzles against her, putting a light kiss on her cheek in the process.
“Well … you know what’s better than a giant piltie bed?”
“A giant plitie wife” she answers in a husky voice.
Caitlyn rolls her eyes but accepts the long tender kiss offered by her partner. In moments like this, the blue-haired sheriff feels all of the anxiety and stress lift off her shoulders, and her non-stop train of thought finally calms down. She reaches for her smaller wife’s face, running her thumb against the VI inked in her skin, forever thankful for her presence in her fast-paced life.
In the silence of their bedroom, they rest their foreheads against one another, basking in the peacefulness they so rarely get to enjoy. Vi lets out a groan of displeasure at the headache that won’t leave her alone like she silently asked it to. Caitlyn can feel her wife’s forehead crease against her own and the most renowned detective of all of Piltover makes quick work of this mystery. Pulling away from her shameful looking wife, she puts her book down on her nightstand and asks:
“Vi, have you been wearing your glasses … at all?”
There is a beat of silence as Vi dodges her wife’s gaze.
“Well I mean sometimes it happens that I probably- not at all.”
Cait lets out a sigh and reaches over Vi to the drawer of her wife’s bedside table where she finds an untouched pair of red rectangle glasses, covered in a thin layer of dust, just as she expected. She grabs them and starts cleaning them with her night shirt.
“Violet, we talked about this, you need them! We even went together to pick the ones you liked the most. Prison and fist fights weren’t kind to your eyes, you need to take care of your eyes or it’s going to get even worse.” Her tone is more concerned than admonishing, but Vi still looks a bit ashamed.
The pink-haired woman grabs them out of her wife’s grasp, puts them on with a scowl, and gestures at her face.
“I know, I know … but look ! Glasses make me look like a fucking labrat.”
“Vi, language.” snaps Caitlyn with the tone she normally reserves to her subordinates at work. Vi scrunches her nose and slightly pulls away. Caitlyn’s face softens and she tenderly brushes away strands of pink hair stuck in the frame. “I think they look great on you darling.”
Vi chases the touch with her cheek, sighing lightly when her wife cups it once again.
“Tsk we’re not at work right now Cupcake, I can swear however I want.”
“Not anymore darling, the baby can hear you, I think it’s a bit early to teach them that kind of … vocabulary.”
Vi giggles softly and straightens back up, stretching the knots out of her shoulders.
“Yeah no that excuse wont work Cait, they’re not even born yet!”
Caitlyn frowns and tilts her head, grabbing her wife’s chin to turn her face back towards her.
“Vi, you do know babies can hear before they’re actually born?”
Vi’s face scrunches up with confusion, her nose tilting upward, her lips raised unevenly. Caitlyn loves when she makes that face.
“You’re fucking with me sweetie, right?”
“What did I just say?” Her grasp tightens on Vi’s chin before letting her go and climbing her face to play with her hair. “I didn’t know that you weren’t aware, I should have told you before love, pardon me.”
But far from the concern or frustration Caitlyn expected, Vi’s face blooms into wonder and amazement, sparkles dancing in her eyes. Her gaze flickers from her wife’s face to her round belly.
“You … you mean they can really hear me now?”
Caitlyn nods, a soft smile spreading on her face, infected by the contagious radiance of Vi’s excitement.
“Like I can … talk to them?”
Cailtyn nods once more. She watches her wife go through a rush of emotions before settling onto nervous wonder. Vi asks a question with a silent look to which Cailtyn answers : “Go ahead.”
Vi repositions herself on the bed, cross-legged, facing Caitlyn’s pregnant belly. She nervously runs a hand through her hair, readjusts the glasses on her nose when it isn’t needed, and clears her throat.
“Uh … hey, I … I’m your mom! I mean your other mom because you have two moms and … uh yeah I’m Vi, hello!”
Cailtyn softly puts a hand on her thigh and squeezes, reassuring her with a smile. Vi feels her heart beating fast in her chest, the words getting scrambled in her mind and then scrambled once again in her mouth. She spends her days fighting crime, running after bad guys, risking her life, and somehow, the quick-witted hero of Piltover becomes undone faced with the realization that she can talk to her child.
“I’m sorry I guess I … wasn’t expecting to talk to you so soon. Caitlyn, your other mom, and I, we … we love you so much already.” She reaches out and delicately places her palm against the curve under her wife’s night shirt. “And I have so much to tell you.”
Two weeks later, the married couple is enjoying the warm spring sun and fresh breeze in the garden of the Kirraman Mansion.
They always make time in their busy life to visit Tobias in the big and mostly empty estate. Caitlyn is in all honesty worried for him for he truly never recovered from the grief of losing his wife. She remembers the Kirraman Mansion as once a lively house where a numerous staff attended to its occupants every need, and parties took place not less than once a month. Now, only a few employees are still keeping it habitable, and no festivities have resonated through its thick walls in years.
Each time they visit, like clockwork, Tobias makes tea while they exchange empty pleasantries. Then, he and his daughter sit in front of the old and imposing family portrait of a young Caitlyn with a rifle too big for her tiny frame, the hand of Cassandra Kirraman resting on her shoulder while holding the hand of her husband. And they drink tea, silently. They never talk about how thin Tobias' frame had become from a lack of proper nutrition. They never talk about his hair now as white as ionian snow. They never talk about the woman who could not join them for tea anymore, the door of her office permanently shut. But they drink tea, finding what contentment they can in the presence of family and an old familiar ritual.
After that, they join Vi in the gardens, the best kept part of the estate. The Kirraman gardens are one of Vi’s favorite places in Piltover. It is isolated from the constant gaze of others judging her every action through the spectrum of her origins. And more importantly, it’s filled with nature, trees and flowers and bees and squirrels.
Her deep love for nature started with the firelight’s tree. Deprived of it for most of her life, the zaunite finds wonder in the power of small inconspicuous seeds growing into powerful and fruitful trees. So one day, she went and asked Tobias to teach her how to garden. He was delighted to share one of his few remaining passions with his daughter-in-law, and found in her a very receptive though impulsive student.
On this particular day, Vi has been learning the name of a few new flowers blooming beautifully in the warm spring weather, replanting them, and helping Tobias take care of overgrown bushes. Taking a well deserved break, the sweaty woman trots through the gardens looking to join her wife. She finds her resting under an oak tree, her back against the trunk, sitting on a picnic blanket with a tray of lemonade next to her and a book on her lap.
“Hi gorgeous!” she says, tossing her gardening glove on the blanket.
“Hello handsome” answers her partner, putting down her book. Vi had quickly picked up that Piltover’s finest detective was using crime novels to cope with the imposed maternity leave the pink haired woman had forced her to take.
Vi squats down next to her, directly grabs the jug of lemonade and downs half of it in a few big gulps.
“You could have used a glass” says Caitlyn, voice tight.
Curious about the tone of her voice, Vi looks down at her wife and finds her biting her lower lip, staring at her glistening muscles and the way her throat moves with each mouthful with a look of lustful shame.
“Damn. I thought I was the thirsty one.”
“I may be pregnant but I’m still a lesbian, and married to a hot mess.”
“A hot mess?” She pretends to be offended.
“You’re covered in sweat and dirt and you have lemonade on your chin, I think it’s perfectly fair to put you in the hot mess category.”
“You win this one.” She pauses a moment. “Can a hot mess have a kiss?”
“You can have more than one.”
Vi leans in, a hand on the tree trunk to stabilize herself, and Cailtyn reaches up to meet their lips. It’s a long and soft kiss, Cailtyn reaching her hand to gently scrape her undercut, Vi lovingly running the pad of her thumb over her wife’s cheekbone. Cailtyn pulls away, leaving a quick parting kiss on the line of Vi’s jaw to fulfill her promise. She leans back against the tree and pats her laps.
With an enamored smile, Vi shifts around to lay on the blanket, her head on her wife’s lap who’s more than happy to softly caress her hair. She rubs her tired eyes and her partner wordlessly pulls out her wife’s glasses with her free hand. Vi thanks her with a kiss on the knuckles and puts them on, scrunching her nose. She’ll never get used to them.
The pink-haired woman sighs contentedly , taking in the fresh spring breeze, the few light rays peeking through the foliage, and the comforting presence of her partner next to her. And their baby.
“Okay so this one time, I was like 12 I think ? It was during summer and it was hot as f- heck. We were playing around in the Lanes, but Powder was getting tired because of the heat, like I could see she was not doing great at all. And of course Mylo was an a- aaabsolute jerk about it-” Cailtyn chuckled, not her best catch. “-which was annoying, she was like 8 I think?” She paused for a moment, looking out at nothing. “We don’t really know our birthday after- well that one’s for another time. Anyway I told him to can it and I put her on my back -she was so small- and we all went to-”
Since that night a few weeks ago, this had become a habit. Sometimes, when they have a moment, just the two of them alone, Vi will start telling a childhood story for their baby. Caitlyn already knows some of them, but most are new. She relaxes, closing her eyes, and let the soothing voice of her wife fill her senses.
“- and that’s when we found it ! I tell you little baby, it was super well hidden. It was a small lake in the middle of some old buildings! The water was about as clean as you could get in Zaun and we were so excited. I literally threw Powder in it, and she was NOT happy about it but then she got to splash me with water so I think it was fair. Mylo kept trying to show us how fast he could swim, and lemme tell you a secret …” she whispers “... he was very bad at it! He swallowed too much water and Claggor had to pull him out of there.” She chuckles and then becomes silent for a beat.
Caitlyn opens her eyes to see a distant look on her wife’s face, the one she gets when she gets lost in the memories of her life before Stillwater. Cailtyn doesn’t talk but resumes the caresses in her hair, a silent reminder of her presence. After an instant, Vi gets back to her senses and pushes up against the hand to encourage her wife to continue.
“It … it was truly an awesome day. Powder laughed so much! When she got enough swimming in, she curled up on a rock in the sun to dry out and fell asleep, and that was f- hecking adorable. I … I hope one day me and your mother can take you to play in a lake too. I’m sure you’d love it. And if you’re too tired, I can even carry you home on my back, like I … like with Powder. I have a very strong back.”
“I can confirm'' murmurs Cailtyn smugly.
A comfortable silence stretches between them, filled by chirping birds and rustling wind in vibrant new leaves. For a moment Cailtyn thinks Vi has fallen asleep when suddenly :
“And then there was that one time Mylo threw up in Benzo’s shop -”
Caitlyn watches a young child run ahead of their parents to be the first one in the bathysphere, quickly followed by their dads running after them. She sighs from content as the familiar bell of the transit station rings through the fresh morning air.
The mother, now eight months and a week pregnant, sits on a grassy patch between Vi’s legs and resting her back against her wife’s chest. The enforcer, now on leave too to prepare for the baby’s arrival, rests her chin on her partner’s shoulder, softly caressing her round belly under her shirt. She even sometimes picks it up to offer her some momentary comfort.
“Do you remember the first time we were here together?” Caitlyn asks, looking distractedly at the spot where Vi jumped out of her sight a few years ago.
“You know I never forget anything, Cait. Yes of course I do. I especially remember that I thought you were a stupid enforcer bringing me here without cuffs on, and that maybe I could lose you if I ran fast enough.”
Caitlyn slaps her forearm.
“I’m happy I didn’t though!” Vi chuckles and kisses her wife’s jaw.
Caitlyn tries to pretend to be offended but ends up melting in her partner’s embrace.
“You’re lucky you put a ring on my hand” she grumbles.
“Oh sweetie, we both know you still can’t get enough of me after all this time.”
“That is true” she answers honestly.
Caitlyn grabs her wife’s forearm and turns her head to face her. They share a string of long tender kisses, Caitlyn running her free hand in her partner’s overgrown hair. Vi pulls her closer to feel their bodies as one, overwhelmed by the memories of every moment they’ve shared on that special cliff over the years.
The wives settle back into peaceful contemplation of the sprawling city-state of Zaun, comforted by each other’s presence. Vi adjusts her glasses on her face and loses herself in the familiar but ever changing sight of what Zaun has become. Since it gained its independence, it quickly evolved and grew into a more stable and healthy environment. Despite technological changes offering clean air and water and societal changes offering new jobs and a stable political system, it’s still good old zaun, dressed in neon and metal, bursting through the depths like tentacles reaching for every space to fill in, alive. It’s home.
Vi had spent a lot of time jumping between her two worlds of Piltover and Zaun, trying to fix every problem an emotionally damaged brawler could tackle. But year after year, she finds herself growing more and more distant from her birthplace. The visits are growing further apart, and the city-state is not waiting for her to grow and change with it to the point where she can hardly navigate it anymore. It is eerily familiar. A feeling that has been haunting her for years, that latched onto her when she stepped out of Stillwater, first with Zaun, then with her sister. It is terrifying.
“Hey little baby, I got another story for you. It’s an … important one. I talk to you about your aunt a lot but you know you-… you’ll never get to meet her and it’s kinda my fault.”
Vi feels her partner’s hand land on her thigh and squeeze it softly.
“Darling, are you sure?”
A moment of silence stretches between the three of them, words brushed away by the breeze.
“No, not really. But I want to.”
Vi takes a huge breath and gets lost in the memories of her youth bursting forward from the sight of her old home.
“I was not … good to your aunt, not when it really mattered. I tried to be the best sister I could but I had no idea what I was doing. I was the main person looking out for her down there, and she trusted me so much but I … I let her down. I told her again and again to trust her own strengths but that’s not what I showed her. She felt out of place and unimportant and- well Mylo certainly didn’t help but it was my fault too, she was my responsibility. I was her hero, her guardian.”
“You were a child, Vi.”
“You know that didn’t use to mean much down there.” Vi replies, emotion clogging her breath.
She picks up : “And when our world turned to shit, I pushed her away, told her she wasn’t good enough or strong enough to help. But the truth is I’ve never met anyone as strong as your aunt, I was so wrong. And we … I … she …” words catch in her throat. She pushes through it : “we lost everyone. Your grandpa, your uncles, we lost so much that night. Powder she… she was crying. And I ran away. She was my whole world, what was left of it, and I hurt her. I ran and left her alone with the monster I was supposed to protect her from.”
Vi doesn’t realize she’s crying until Caitlyn’s hand runs against her cheek, futilely trying to brush the tears away. She suddenly crashes down violently and breaks into choking sobs tearing through her throat. She feels the bottled up emotions of a lifetime of mistakes rage in her chest making it painful to breathe. Vi’s guilt burns in her mind, holds her throat tight, and twists every coherent thought into a jab of self-loathing between her ribs.
Vi is overwhelmed by the mistakes of that night and all the other nights before that. She was not a good sister for Powder, nor strong enough to make good on Vander’s last words. Powder never broke their family, she did. And from her mistakes, Jinx was born.
Caitlyn doesn’t talk. She knows there is nothing to say she hasn’t said before. She soothes her wife back to her slowly, stroking her hair, acting as the anchor to the physical world she knows Vi needs right now. The sobs erupting from the brawler’s scared lips calm down with each deep breath she forces herself to take. Silence stretches between them, interrupted by Vi sniffling, the ringing bell of the bathysphere barely piercing through their bubble of intimity.
“Your aunt, she's … gone now. She doesn’t want me in her life. I don’t even know if she’s still … out there somewhere. I’m so sorry you’ll never get to meet her. But I’ll be better, I promise I’ll be better for you.” She rests her hand on her wife’s pregnant belly. “I won’t let you down little one, not you too.”
Caitlyn pulls her into a comforting kiss and it tastes salty. Like a promise.
As the last hues of twilight disappear from the bedroom window, Vi is laying her 6-weeks old baby in their crib. Shushing them, she lets them cling onto her pinkie finger while singing a song in a hushed voice.
“Dear friend across the river, my hands are cold and bare …”
She stifles a yawn. These first few weeks of motherhood have been hard on her sleep schedule. Piltover’s finest moms are still trying to find a balance between raising their newborn child and their responsibilities towards Zaun and Piltover. Of course it only took a week and a half after the birth before Caitlyn went back to her work as a sheriff, despite her wife’s best effort to have her rest.
“... my fortune it will be. I ask you without envy…”
Vi still gets emotional each time she gets to stare at their child. Lavender is full of vitality and sports a thin fluff of bright purple hair that makes their mothers melt. Their eyes are blue-gray and full of curiosity, and most people say they already look like Caitlyn. Not Viktor, though, he says they look “like every baby”.
“... so come across the river, and find the world below” she finishes with a raspy voice.
A soft smile spreads on her face upon seeing her baby fast asleep, their tiny hand barely holding on her finger anymore.
“Goodnight Lav. I love your little baby face, but don’t you dare wake us up at two in the morning again.” she says in a light loving tone.
The pink-haired mother falls quietly on the big bed and groans, taking off her glasses and getting lost in a jumble of thoughts about Lavender, her present and future as a mother and enforcer, and all of the things she has left to accomplish.
Vi is woken up at two in the morning by the wailing of tiny Lavender’s powerful lungs. The exhausted mother groans and sits up in the bed where she’s now apparently tucked in. With a quizzical noise, she realizes she fell asleep waiting for Caitlyn, who is now rolling over in the bed with a displeased grunt, to come back from her shift.
“Don’t worry babe I got it.” Vi whispers in a hoarse voice.
The mother rises from the bed, grabs her glasses off her bedside table, puts them on, and suddenly stops as something feels wrong. The glass door leading to the bedroom balcony is wide open. It wasn’t when she went to sleep, and she knows Caitlyn can never leave unattended windows open ever since the shower abduction all those years ago.
Hearing the worry in her wife’s voice, Caitlyn jumps on her feet, grabs her rifle and chambers a round in the same breath. While Vi approaches the source of the cold summer night breeze creeping in the bedroom, Caitlyn circles the bed to stand next to the crib, a finger hovering over the trigger.
Vi finds a cardboard box sitting about a foot from the door inside the bedroom. It’s plain and about fifteen inches wide. She can feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins, burning in her hands as she’s ready to fight any intruder. Vi’s heart beating in her ears, she picks up the package and finds the flaps free of any tape. She gulps.
“Watch out darling, it may be trapped.”
A nod answers Caitlyn’s worried tone. Catching her breath, Vi slowly opens the box, ready to send it flying through the open glass door at the first sign of a hidden mechanism.
Inside, she finds a familiar spray painted monkey face, and a folded note. She takes it out and silently reads:
“Don’t fuck this up, Fat Hands”
Underneath the note, she finds her old bunny plushie.