Vi didn't quite know what to think of her temporary partner yet, other than the fact that at the moment she wanted to find out how to antagonize him. Finnegan just seemed too good a target to pass up, and a cheeky nickname would be a great way to start. "So Finny," Vi couldn't help but smirk at the butchering of Finnegan's surname. "What're we gonna do while we wait for patrol to start?"
Finnegan's expression didn't change, but the corner of his right eyebrow twitched noticeably. He retrieved a timekeeper from the pocket of his brown trenchcoat and checked the time. It was half past eleven. "Grab an early lunch, I suppose." Finnegan closed the watch with an audible click and tucked it back into his coat.
"Good idea," Vi realized she was hungry, now that he mentioned it; nerves had made her skip breakfast that morning and she was really feeling it now. "Any ideas on where to go?"
"There's a good sandwich shop nearby, we'll be able to eat on the go if we have any left over," Finnegan didn't wait for her reply and continued on to the main entrance.
Vi had to admit that a sandwich would be pretty good right about now, not that she was going to let him know that. She pretended to be uninterested as she trailed behind him. Maybe he would be more fun on patrol.
One hour and a few bad jokes later, Vi and her new partner were on their way to their designated patrol route in one of the less friendly districts of Piltover. It was an area in the far southern half of the city, one of the places where criminals fresh into Piltover tended to gather. Vi remembered it as one of the areas she used to frequent while stealing from other criminals; somehow they'd never figured out that reinforcing their vault doors to withstand triple the normal breaking force was a good idea.
The police techarriage dropped the pair off just outside the South-side boundary and drove away. He would be back in five hours to pick them up and take them back to headquarters, where the two would spend the rest of their evening doing any paperwork they may have acquired through a hard day's work. It all depended on how busy things got while on patrol.
"This place familiar to you?" Finnegan sounded like he was trying to be cordial as he unfolded the map of their patrol route, though the comment could be seen as a veiled insult of sorts. Vi would have to keep an eye on that, since Finnegan looked like he might be a little too clever for his own good.
"Yeah, I've bashed a few faces in around these parts before," Vi shrugged, as if the notion of smashing someone else's face in wasn't very important or exciting at all. "What's it to you?"
"Just wanted to know if you could point out any potential problem areas," Finnegan offered the map to her and adjusted his glasses. "This is a new route to me, so I don't know which places I should be more wary in."
Vi took the map in one massive glove and gave it a quick look. Yeah, she remembered some of these places. One or two were hot spots for fights and brawls, another notorious for the thieves that sold their stolen goods there... She leaned over so Finnegan could see the map as well and pointed out the problem areas. "Here, here, and here. First two have a lot of brawls, at least once a day, and the last one is a favorite for thieves."
Finnegan reviewed the locations that Vi had pointed out twice before he folded up the map and put it away. "Would you care to lead?"
"Of course," Vi smirked and took the lead. At least Finnegan now understood the pecking order to some degree. "Right this way, Finny."
The first sign of trouble showed itself as the pair neared a series of pubs. Even at this early hour there were those who wanted nothing more than to drink their time away, whether it was because of their troubles or because they simply no longer cared about anything else. Vi eyed the crowd, and spotted the beginnings of a brawl in a bar patron that was getting a tad too aggressive with his fellows. She sauntered over and allowed her heavy gauntlet to fall onto the man's shoulder. "There a problem here, buddy?" Vi gave him a frighteningly toothy grin, and false sweetness dripped from her voice.
Even through his drunken haze the would-be brawler was wise enough to know a whole heap of pain when he saw one. "N-no, ma'am," he stumbled away, suddenly turned off the thought of booze for the day. Vi snickered when he walked into a pole and hurried off to his home.
Vi turned back to Finnegan in time to spot him seizing the hand of a pickpocket who had decided to try his luck on him. Finnegan sighed. “I suppose we’ll have to stop our patrol here until someone can pick him up,” he held the struggling youth in an iron grip, a show of surprising strength for someone so thin. Vi had to admit she was somewhat impressed. Somewhat.
A techarriage from the nearest station arrived within ten minutes to take the pickpocket away, and Vi and Finnegan continued on their route. The second pub yielded no problems, since word of their presence had apparently raced on ahead of them and troublemakers had decided to lay low for the moment. Vi was just beginning to feel bored from the lack of action when a dark figure emerged from an alley and followed them.
Those who called the area home started to hurry off the street; they knew trouble when they saw it brewing. Vi and Finnegan came to a halt as a group of ten thuggish men surrounded them, emerging from the surrounding alleys and the doorways of several shops. Vi was practically shaking from anticipation, she'd been aching for a decent fight for a few days now. Finnegan was unmoved by the interruption, and he eyed the group from behind his large glasses.
"Looks like you pigs are lost," one of the thugs took a step forward and hefted his shotgun. "The Sheriff's lost her edge, this is our turf now."
Before Vi could even think up a reply, Finnegan spoke up. "I wonder how much you'll cry when we take you in," the smirk that appeared on his face was one after Vi's own heart, and his eyes flicked between their current targets as he pushed his glasses further up his nose.
The lead thug roared with anger at the notion and took aim as Vi shot forward. With one blow she shattered his shotgun like a cheap toy. Oh yes, this was definitely something she missed. During the heated violence of conflict was when she felt most alive, when she could live purely in the moment and forget everything else, if only for a little while. She slammed one metal fist into the leader's gut as he gaped at his broken shotgun. He dropped like a stone and she whirled to find her next target. Vi charged the accelerators on her left fist and took aim as he hit the ground. Two more thugs were thrown into the air as she bowled through them to get to her newest target.
A glance at Finnegan revealed that he was holding his own quite easily against their enemies. He had been trained in street fighting and was successfully dodging and blocking each physical attack that came his way, then hitting each attacker with his handheld taser. One thug raised a gun, and Finnegan beat him to the draw with a mid-range taser that had been holstered on his belt.
In a matter of moments Vi had taken down five thugs to Finnegan's four, and the last was making a run for it. The man dashed back the way Vi and Finnegan had come, and the two cops gave chase. He whipped down an alley, where the sound of falling crates and barrels could be heard soon after.
Vi and Finnegan were slowed by the obstacles and for a moment it looked like their quarry might escape. She cast about for a plan—and settled on Finnegan. Spur of the moment, no time to think unless they wanted the criminal to get away.
"Wha—hey!" Finnegan squirmed as one of Vi's massive fists closed around his waist and lifted him off the ground.
With a precise flick of her arm, Vi sent Finnegan flying after the fleeing criminal.
Rather than flailing around like a worthless dweeb, Finnegan unholstered his mid-range taser as he drew level with their quarry. The taser hit the thug in the torso, and the man seized up and fell to the ground with a loud thump. Finnegan himself continued past his target and hit the ground in a roll, then slid into a stack of wooden crates with a loud crash and disappeared from sight.
"Oh cr*p," Vi didn't like the thought of having possibly broken her new partner on the first day and hurried after him. Caitlyn would be so angry if he was hurt... Maybe throwing him hadn't been the best plan after all.
The demolished stack of crates shifted as Finnegan got to his feet, and a box slid off his back with a loud clatter as he straightened. "Well," Finnegan coughed from the dust that had been kicked up by his collision. "Never done that before. It was fun, at least," the statement was accompanied by an amused half-smile and another cough as he dusted himself off. His coat and clothes were quite dirty now, but otherwise he had suffered no harm.
Vi breathed a mental sigh of relief and grinned at her temporary partner. "You gotta admit that was pretty awesome," she laughed at the memory of Finnegan flying through the air. It had just been too fun.
Finnegan climbed out of the debris pile and walked over to the unconscious criminal that he'd been hurled after just moments before. "I suppose that's a good word for it," he took the man's coat in one fist and started back toward the alley entrance. "We'd better call this in. They might be part of a bigger group, and by the way people cleared off when they saw them, those thugs must've been terrorizing them for a while."
"Yeah," Vi did her best to calm her amusement and followed Finnegan out of the alley, passing him just before he reached the entrance. She had to remind him of her higher rank, after all.
The band of thugs were still unconscious and collapsed where the pair had left them. A few of the locals passed the scene in a hurry now that the fighting was over, but otherwise the street was empty. Finnegan contacted the local station again and a police techarriage was soon clanking down the street to meet them. Vi smirked when she noted that the lead thug was tearing up a bit. Finnegan had been right in judging his character.
Now that Vi thought about it, she was grateful that it had been Finnegan next to her rather than Caitlyn. She wouldn’t have had the courage to throw Caitlyn like that after what happened between them. Finnegan, however... He’d reacted at the right moment and hadn’t berated her for throwing him in the first place. He’d even laughed about it, in his own way. Caitlyn probably wouldn’t be out on patrol, either. She’d been shut up in her office doing paperwork between the infrequent big jobs when they were still partners, something that Vi found so horrifically boring that she’d thought she would die.
Finnegan watched the techarriage containing the thugs trundle away, his hands braced against his hips. "Hmph," he gave the criminals a disdainful jerk of his head and turned back to Vi. "Did you see the big one tearing up? Knew that would happen."
"Pfff yeah, just a big baby in the end," Vi grinned at the memory as the two continued their patrol. "He went down real easy, too."
"I saw that," Finnegan pushed his glasses up his nose yet again and fell into step with Vi. She noticed that he still allowed her to walk slightly in front of him, as if he were subconsciously submitting the mantle of leadership to her. In all honesty it was something she appreciated, and another perk she wouldn't have been able to enjoy had Finnegan been Caitlyn instead. Caitlyn was a born leader, and she and Vi would have been subconsciously fighting for the lead during the entire duration of their patrol.
Vi's grin faded to a confident smile as she led on. The pair passed two more streets and were three blocks from the next problem spot that Vi had pointed out when she stopped in front of an out-of-the-way alley. Finnegan walked past her less than a foot before he noticed she'd halted, then hurried back to her as if drawn there by an elastic band.
"What's wrong?" Finnegan peered down the street from over Vi's shoulder and waited patiently for her reply.
"Oh, I remembered that the next street is another place that has a lot of black market deals going on most of the time," Vi spoke from experience; she'd sold loot there in the past herself, though such instances had been infrequent due to her dislike of most of the shop owners and customers who used it. Just too dirty for her taste, even before she went legit. "This alley is where most of their goods are brought in."
Finnegan whipped out a small pocket book and jotted down the alleyway name and reason for significance. He would let headquarters know about it once they got back for the day. "I'm sure we can deviate from our route just a little bit to see what's going on," he tucked the pocket book away and looked up at Vi.
"Alrighty then," Vi gave a causal roll of her shoulders and started down the alley.
The alley was grubby and lined with two-story buildings that somehow managed to block out most of the sunlight despite their relatively small size, its cobblestones dusty and worn from use. Vi recalled that it tended to get horrendously muddy when the weather became damp and rainy, and the mud tended to be mixed with whatever trash the dealers here left behind. Shop owners usually kept their back doors and store rooms shut when not purchasing from their suppliers, and the first few buildings they passed were closed. The fifth building, however, was open and actively doing business with a group of men who were handling various pieces of hextech machinery.
Vi spotted the men before they noticed her, and she managed to saunter right up to one of the haulers without them noticing. "So where'd ya pick these up, buddy?" she lifted the crate of parts out of the man's arms with one hand before he had a chance to protest.
"Hey what're—who are you?" the man tried to snatch the crate away, but Vi easily held it out of his reach. "Give that back!"
"Just passers-by," Vi shoved the man aside one more time and popped the crate's lid open with one hand. "Ooh and what's this? Techarriage components?" she glanced back at Finnegan with a grin. "Didn't we hear about a robbery involving some of those a few weeks back?"
"Actually yes, I do remember that," Finnegan gave the group a cold smile and adjusted his glasses again. "I wonder if these might be the same," he managed to make it sound like an innocent musing, which worried the group of men all the more.
The other workers had stopped now, and a distressed mutter could be heard running through the group. "They're cops," one whispered. Some began to back off, while others put a hand on their concealed weapons.
"You can't prove anything," a man whose authoritative air declared him the leader of the group stepped forward and separated Vi from the worker she'd been talking to. "The newspapers said it was the work of a gang near the docks, so get lost and let us do our business."
"My gut feeling's proof enough," Vi tossed the box to one of the workers, who was knocked off his feet when he caught it. "So I could just beat the truth outta you if you prefer that," she slammed a fist into her open palm with a loud clang and grinned at him.
"We both know that's against your rules, cop," the man seemed completely unafraid despite having Vi and her massive gauntlets itching to give him a few good lumps. "So like I said before, get lost," he turned to glare at Finnegan, who was examining the parts in the crate that Vi had tossed earlier. "And you too!"
"Rules schmules," Vi's outward demeanor didn't change, but the man's protests were getting her rhiled. She wanted to lay into him more than anything right now. Still, the thought of disappointing Caitlyn again on her first day back didn't sit well with Vi and was enough to make her hesitate.
Finnegan rose and dusted his knees. "It is my understanding that you must have a permit to buy or sell these parts," he turned to the leader and tucked his hands into his trench coat pockets. "May we see it?"
"Of course no—ah?" the man stumbled over the unexpected question and lost confidence for the first time in their conversation.
Vi turned to him with a renewed grin. "Yeah, where's the permit?" she pretended not to notice the workers who were edging around behind them and kept her eyes fixed on the man she was talking to. It was always more fun when they thought they'd gotten the drop on her. "You must have one, you bein' legit and all."
The man was obviously flustered now. "Well, ah. Sure, let me just go get it," he started toward the techarriage truck that the group had been unloading the parts from, and climbed into its open back when he reached it.
At that same moment the group sprung into action, unholstering weapons and kicking crates of merchandise away to keep them from getting damaged during the fight. It was eight to one, the odds should have been in their favor. The Sheriff had grown weak, it was only a matter of time before her accursed police force fell and surrendered its power to the criminal underbelly of Piltover once again.
"Seriously?" Vi laughed. The nearest worker came at Vi with a knife and she sent him flying into the man behind him with a single blow. Two down. She grabbed another attacker with one hand and glanced to her left to see how Finnegan was doing.
Apparently one or more of the men had managed to catch Finnegan off-guard. Two held him while a third drew back a fist armed with brass knuckles. It looked like Finnegan would soon receive a lump of his own—right on the bridge of his round glasses.
Well, there would be no standing for that. Vi tossed the man she was holding over her shoulder and dashed to Finnegan's aid. The surprised scream he let loose as he flew would have made her chuckle if she were still paying attention to him. Her fingers closed around the third man's fist before he could swing, and he looked over his shoulder to see who had grabbed him.
Vi's hextech gauntlet and ruthless grin filled his field of view. "Awww, brass knuckles? That's just too cute," she swung outward, catching a man who was charging her from behind in the torso with his captive comrade. The two of them flew into the closest wall as Vi let go and turned on those who still held Finnegan.
One was about to bring his knife to Finnegan's throat when Vi's fists whipped forward, one on either side of her partner’s head, and knocked both men flying down the alley. The strike was close enough for Finnegan to feel the wind coming off Vi's fists, and violent enough to make the crooks release him out of pure shock. "Nawp, can't have that," she withdrew her fists and elbowed yet another attacker in the face as he tried to sneak up on her. "Come on, you didn't learn from the last guy who tried that?" Vi picked him up and spotted the last man, who was in the process of escaping toward the shop.
The man made it only a few feet before his body seized up and collapsed into a twitching heap on the cobblestones. "Had to redeem myself at least a little," Finnegan quipped. He holstered his taser and walked quietly to the back of the truck, where the leader was probably still hiding. He stopped short of the open end and waited for Vi to approach.
Vi didn't need to be told the reason for Finnegan's caution; the man inside might have a gun on him, and the cover of the truck gave him an advantage. She would have to use her deflectors again, but this time she would be more careful about how she protected her own with them. Without a word she put a hand on Finnegan's shoulder and gestured for him to get behind her, which he did immediately and without question. She then charged her left gauntlet and held it between herself and the open truck as she walked behind it.
A revolver shot bounced off of Vi's glowing gauntlet and embedded itself in the inside of the vehicle's storage cubicle. Five more followed before the gun's owner had to stop to reload, and even he knew what was about to happen as he scrambled to load the revolver again. He even screwed his eyes shut just before Vi's fist hit him in the face.
"Was hopin' you guys would give us a better fight," Vi grabbed the man she'd just knocked out and tossed him into the alley. "It was fun anyway." She jumped to the ground and turned to Finnegan, who was feeling the back of his head as he climbed down himself. "You alright?"
"One of them got me on the back of the head," Finnegan's fingers brushed the injury and he winced. "I'm feeling alright now, though."
"Sure," Vi could see that he was walking steadily enough, but she would keep an eye on him regardless.
The shopkeeper insisted that he didn't know that the techarriage parts were stolen when Vi and Finnegan confronted him over it. He couldn't give them a permit for buying the parts either so he would be in for a hefty fine, but no jail time since he hadn't purchased anything yet. Another police techarriage arrived within ten minutes to pick up their haul, and a second to confiscate the techarriage parts that Vi and Finnegan had seized from the group. There was even an ice pack ready for Finnigan when they arrived, which Vi had insisted that he request in the interest of not having her new partner suddenly pass out on her while on patrol.
Their patrol route came to an end behind schedule, and Vi found herself wishing the crooks hadn’t gotten wind of their presence and laid low until evening. It had been a highly successful day in the end. Now for the dreaded paperwork, which there would be a heap of since they’d seen a lot of action on their first patrol. The pair stopped at an Ionian cuisine restaurant on the way back to headquarters and took their dinner to their shared office, where they would work on their paperwork until eight in the evening.
Paperwork was as boring and irritating as ever, though it came at the end of a fun and productive day rather than the heaps and heaps that Caitlyn always had to deal with. The Sheriff had never asked Vi to do it for fear of the bruiser messing up some vitally important form or case file. That meant Vi had been left to amuse herself in the office since she had been stuck with Caitlyn as her partner and wasn’t allowed to take cases on her own. It was these long periods of tedious inactivity that caused her to go more wild than usual when they actually did take cases, in fact. There was just too much pent-up energy for her to act any other way.
At least this stuff was her paperwork, dull as it was. It even brought back a few memories of the day she had. Vi set a completed form aside and drummed her fingers on the desk. Her hand was starting to hurt from all this extra writing. She glanced up at Finnegan to see how he was doing.
Finnegan already had a large stack of paperwork piled in the 'finished' basket on his desk, and he reached up to touch his head injury just as Vi looked at him. She probably should've made him get another ice pack once the first had thawed, but she was quite impressed that he'd been able to keep quiet about the bothersome injury. It seemed that Finnegan had a much higher tolerance for pain than she'd expected. The thought made her wonder just how careful Caitlyn had been in selecting a temporary partner for her. Such resilience was a pretty important requirement when working with Vi, given her brash and impulsive attitude and reckless fighting style.
"Hey," Finnegan looked up at Vi immediately after she spoke. She pointed at his head, "Make sure you ice that again when you get home."
"Oh, right," Finnegan seemed a bit embarrassed over her noticing his discomfort and promptly buried himself in his paperwork again.
By seven in the evening Finnegan had finished his paperwork, whereas Vi still had some ways to go. He pushed his chair out from the table and stretched his neck and shoulders as he got to his feet, working out the kinks after the hours spent slaving over paperwork. Finnegan pushed his chair back under the table and strode over to Vi's desk to check her progress. "Need some help?" he leaned over Vi's desk to get a look at the form she was working on.
"Nah, I can do it," Vi tapped her pen on the desk without looking up at him. "You can get me a drink if you wanna help."
Finnegan didn’t reply and instead walked over to the nearest bookshelf, where he removed a book that Vi had never bothered to look at before. He then set the book on her desk and took his leave.
Vi opened the book once she was sure Finnegan was gone and thumbed through its table of contents. The table of contents revealed that the book would help her with the information that she had been trying to write down from memory. She finished several forms in the time it took Finnegan to return with her drink, a cup of coffee to keep her sharp until the paperwork was done.
"Thanks, Finny," Vi accepted the drink and took a sip. The coffee was strong and dark, without any milk or sugar added to change the flavor. She was about to consider asking Finnigan if he'd gotten any sugar when he set a napkin with a few sugar cubes on her desk, followed by a small cup full of cream and a spoon to stir the coffee with. Vi dropped three sugar cubes into her coffee and stirred it before taking another sip. Much better.
Despite the fact that he'd already helped Vi a great deal with her work, Finnegan sat back down at his desk and waited for her to finish. It was nice of him, though Vi felt a little annoyed that he thought she needed to be babysat like this.
At ten minutes to eight Vi set the last piece of paperwork in her 'finished' basket and stretched her arms. The paperwork had been boring, but all in all it had been a satisfying day for her. She got to her feet and Finnegan rose from his own chair as well.
"Well, I'm outta here," Vi stretched again and picked up her power pack and gloves. "See you tomorrow, Finny."
Finnegan nodded and followed Vi out of the office. The two split up at the main entrance, which was just being inundated with the officers of the night watch. Twenty minutes later Vi was sitting comfortably on her own couch and going over the day from start to finish. She hadn't gotten the lecture she thought Caitlyn would lay into her with, and that was a relief. Vi had definitely deserved it... With that being the case, she wondered what Caitlyn might be playing at by not even bringing the issue up.
An entertaining day indeed, and Vi hoped tomorrow would be just as fun. She leaned forward and lifted Holly's journal from its place on her coffee table. Maybe she could work on the fire flowers this weekend, and visit Holly too. Vi wasn't much for explosives and the like herself, but she could always learn. She could do that much at least.
Little over a week had passed, and things were looking up.