“So...let me get this straight.” Caitlyn rubbed her eyes in frustration. ‘The paperwork for this is going to be abysmal...’ was the first thought that crossed her mind. She folded her hands on her desk, and stared at the man that sat before her.
The man was in his late twenties. He was taller than her, had a chiseled jaw, had blue eyes that shined with intelligence, finely coiffed, dark hair and a lean body type that was covered by his thick clothing. It would be hard to guess that he was one of the most prolific scientists in all of Piltover. At least, it would be, if it were not for the large hammer he carried with him. It was no ordinary hammer, one could see the sleek design it carried with the buttons and gears that were streamlined along the shaft and the head of the hammer. The gold and silver that decorated it were to simply enhance how it looked, while the real, more hardy metal could be seen peeking out from hairline cracks along the top of the hammer. It looked like it was meant to transform into something else.
His handsome features were marred by large, swollen black right eye. His nose was slightly twisted out of order and dried blood could be seen on his upper lip. If it were not for his coat, the extent of the damages would have been seen much more easily. What was visible of his shirt displayed obvious signs of battle: charred edges, burn wounds that were blistered and a ugly pus filled pink color that oozed with liquid, as well as various lacerations from whatever shrapnel or edged weapons that may have struck him. His left leg visibly twitched every now and then, as if it were reacting to the pain he should be experiencing from the wounds he suffered.
“After Viktor attacked your lab, you asked the government, and the police force, to do something. We cannot since he is out of our jurisdiction. It would be up to the Zaunite government to judge and punish him, as we explained to you, and you still went after him, yes? You still remember the conversations that we had?”
The man nodded, “Yes. I remember it, and you’re recalling it perfectly fine.”
“Then you went in and...destroyed his lab, as well as the crystal power source which you were contracted to study and to document by said government, which caused the laboratory to explode.”
“And you caused hundreds of thousands worth of damage, you antagonized a champion of the League, and the Zaunite government is now screaming for justice to be done to you, which we cannot let slide. You’re following this, right?”
The man nodded once more, “I am.”
Caitlyn dropped her head onto her hands and groaned. Her fingers hit the rim of her violet top hat, pushing it backwards so that it almost fell off her head. “Jayce, you...I understand why you did what you did, I truly do. It was a mockery of justice what he did, your workers should have proper justice, but what you did was and is very illegal.”
“That’s why I’m here, sheriff,” Jayce replied. “And not at the hospital for medical treatment. I’m turning myself in.”
“Jayce, luv, that’s great and all, but you’re looking at a ridiculous fine, you’re looking at jail time, and you broke the law. I-”
“Woah, hey now,” a new, brash voice cut in. The door to Caitlyn’s office banged open, causing it to strike the bookshelf directly next to it as a woman strutted through the doorway.
Her bright pink hair was short, save for the bangs that drooped down in front of her right eye and the several braids of long, neon pink hair that trailed down her back. A pair of goggles barely gave her messy hair a semblance of order. Her blue eyes had glints of arrogance, mischievousness, and intelligence to them, which matched the smirk she always seemed to wear on her thin lips. Along her face were a modest amount of freckles while underneath her left eye was a tattoo, reading, ‘VI’. Her lithe, yet muscular, figure was covered by modest clothing and practical pieces of armor. The most characteristic feature about her were the large hextech gauntlets that twitched with a dexterity that was nearly a perfect match to the real thing. They were easily four to six times the width of a normal man’s arm, and they fit snugly and comfortably onto her forearms.
“Vi.” The annoyance in Caitlyn’s tone was obvious. “What is it?”
“Those gauntlets...” Jayce looked at them with far too much curiosity. He wanted to analyze them thoroughly. “Wh-”
Vi crossed her arms and her smirk grew wider. She acted as though the chair Jayce was sitting in was completely empty, as she did not spare him even a glance while she spoke to the sheriff, “Come on, Cait, let’s be honest. What did he do so wrong?”
“For one thing, he acted like a vigilante and the common person is condoning his action. Secondly: The damage. He’s going to have to pay for them.”
Jayce’s face fell at the mention of paying the damages. “Oh...bugger...”
The woman looked over at the man for the first time and let out short, condescending grunt, “What’s that look for?”
“Paying for the damages is...it’s going to be a lot of money,” Jayce replied. It was a ridiculous sum, since he did destroy the entire lab, and he most certainly did not have the cash to pay it back.
Vi moved her lower lip forward and puffed out an exasperated breath, shuffling her long bangs into a more visible position. She glared at the man, “Oh wah wah. If that was your concern then you shouldn’t have done something that awesome. Go to your sad corner and cry if you wanna be all remorseful and regrettin’-”
“I regret nothing,” Jayce interrupted. “It’s just going to be a sizable bill to...pay back. I don’t have the funds-”
“Which leads me into how you plan on paying for these damages, because you are going to pay them... Or you would, if the Piltover government wasn’t offering to help pay for a large portion, and if the people out in Piltover weren’t rejoicing your name.” Caitlyn let out a long sigh, “Jayce, Vi, this is a really hard position I’m in. I need to take you, Jayce, before a court, and I need you to go on trial for vigilantism and for causing damage because two wrongs do not make a right.”
“So he shoulda just let jerkface get away with what he did?” Vi snapped. “Come on Cait, you know-”
“That is not the law, Vi. That is not how it works,” The sheriff interrupted with a combination of her finger tapping her desk dramatically along with a sharp reply. “What Jayce did was what he perceived to be justice. And despite going against the law, despite all of this, I don’t condemn him for what he did. He needs to take responsibility for his actions though, and we have to maintain a positive image about law and order. This means that the law has to be seen through and through.”
Caitlyn looked over at Jayce, “Luv, I’m going to make some recommendations to the judge. It will be a more lenient sentence, especially with how the government is viewing your actions, but we both know that this is why you’re here. You want to see that the law is carried out, to dissuade others from pursuing your path.”
“Yes, sheriff,” Jayce nodded sluggishly, as though the movement was painful to him due to injury. “To dissuade others, but I’m not going to stand by and let Piltover be stepped on because of what others think is right and wrong. Viktor attacked me, he killed my staff, he took my work and expected me to to lay down and not retaliate. I’m not going to stand back and let him create whatever monstrosity for the glorious revolution he was intending. I’ll take the punishment, but I’m going to continue to defend Piltover.”
Caitlyn raised an eyebrow. A smile spread across her face as she quickly came to a conclusion, “So that’s why you’re here. You want to join the League, don’t you?”
Jayce nodded a bit more quickly this time, his eye twitched as the movement made the injury twinged. “I do.”
“That would severely reduce your sentence, pay for a vast amount of the damages, and you would be allowed to exercise a little bit more freedom in your... line of work.” Caitlyn nodded her head, pleased with Jayce`s decision. “You wanted to see justice done, but you came here to consult me about this.”
Vi looked over at Jayce, her smirk widening into a toothy smile. The man was clever. Very clever. And that hammer looked so interesting. She had to ask him about it.
“I believe in a brighter tomorrow, Caitlyn. So I can work with you, and the rest of Piltover, or I can be put in the background. If I’m on the forefront, I promise you, I won’t stop defending Piltover. I understand the consequences of my actions, and I’m willing to take the punishment for them. I want to continue defending Piltover, hammer in hand. I want you to help recommend me, and I want you to legally punish me for my actions. I may be called a hero, but not even I am above the law.”
Caitlyn tapped her chin, contemplating about what he said. A small smile played across her lips.
Vi quickly grabbed the sheriff’s shoulders and shook her out of her contemplation, “Take a break, relax, think about it, and I’ll come talk to ya afterwards and tell you my recommendation for what to do with our lawbreaker.”
Caitlyn rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh, “Your recommendation is going to involve punch-”
“Nope. No punching, I promise.”
The sheriff blinked. She looked over at the bruiser of a woman and raised an eyebrow in utter confusion. “...What?”
“Come on cupcake, take a break, relax, let me talk to him. I’m sure we can come up with a solution together.”
Caitlyn shrugged and broke away from Vi and made her way to her door, “Alright, alright, fine. Five-”
Caitlyn’s eyebrow could not go any higher. “...Ten minutes.”
Caitlyn left the room, clicked the door closed, and took three steps before she slapped her forehead, “They’re in my office! Why did I leave my office?!” She stormed back in and pointed out her door, “You two! Her office! Go!”
Vi was already sitting in Caitlyn’s chair and reaching over to grab the Kinetic Balls that Caitlyn kept on her desk.
“No touching my stuff!”
Vi rolled her eyes and stood up from the seat, “I wasn’t gonna touch anything. You’re too wound up!” She walked over and grabbed Jayce’s arm, making him wince in pain. “Come on, big boy. You and me got some talking to do. Grab your hammer and let’s move.”
Caitlyn watched the two leave her office. She made her way over to her chair and sank into it, only to find herself almost as low as her desk. “She touched my chair...”
Once Vi and Jayce were alone, Vi walked over to her window and stared dramatically at it. She seemed to be watching the people that crossed the streets below with an intensity few had ever seen on her face before.
Jayce cleared his throat and attempted to speak, “I wasn’t aware of your name, but I remember you, Miss Vi. You were one of the officers that came to my lab after the incident. Helped lift some of the wreckage off of me.”
“Yeah. I did,” She did not look back at him yet.
“You, ah...you told me that if the government doesn’t do something, I should. I suppose I should thank you for the advice, Miss Vi,” Jayce said while his eyes wandered around the room. “So...thank you. For inspiring me to do what’s needed.”
“I know how you can thank me,” The devious tone of Vi’s voice overpowered any playful undertone she may have intended to exhibit. She twitched and rolled her gauntlets’ fingers against the palms of her gloves.
Jayce waited for her to give the rest of the answer. He did not sit there long as she lunged across the room and grabbed his hammer. She ran her fingers along it, her eyes glistening with a devilish curiosity.
“What’s the power matrix that you use for this hammer? What other features does it have? Does it accelerate, and if so, what engine design did you use to give it its accelerant properties?” She was obviously excited, far more than a normal person would when speaking of mechanics. She clicked a button before Jayce could say anything, which made the hammer click and whirr. In less than a second, the hammer’s head split apart, reconfigured itself, and revealed a tube that crackled with magical energy.
“...Is...Is that a gun?”
“Yes, yes it is. It’s a-”
“.40 caliber barrel but...” Vi stuck her nose close to the mouth of the barrel and sniffed it, “Uses no gunpowder, therefore no ammunition. It’s all powered via its magical core, meaning it creates its own self sustaining ammunition. How?”
Jayce straightened himself in his seat, suddenly much more haughty. “The crystal that Viktor managed to steal? Well, he didn’t steal the designs or the majority of my research for it. The magical matrix of the crystal was hard to replicate and is a tad complicated for the average person, but...”
“But? But what?” Vi shook the hammer at him, “Tell me!”
“But with how you designed your gauntlets, I cannot say you’re average at all, Miss Vi. I’m sure you can understand-”
“Just Vi. Now you got me all curious: Tell me what you see about my babies.”
Jayce got up from his seat and limped over to her. He took off his gloves and started to poke and prod her gauntlets, “I can see how you incorporated the Quantum Matrix Transformation equation in your gauntlets to change your power source into a fearsome kinetic output. Absolutely impressive, I have not seen anyone else manage to harmonize and amalgamate it into a proper generator, never mind a pair of gauntlets. What’s the maximum velocity they can reach?”
Vi grinned, “Technically speaking or can I sound like a badass?”
“First one then the other,” Jayce laughed.
“I can hit ya faster than you can blink,” the brash woman stated.
“Is that the technical or the badass sounding term?” Jayce raised an incredulous eyebrow. “Because what you’re suggesting is that you can punch faster than the average blinking speed of a human, roughly three hundred to four hundred milliseconds.”
Vi’s grin only widened in response.
“I can make it faster.”
“Bullsh*t you can!” She snapped.
Jayce raised his hands defensively, “I can shave a few milliseconds off quite easily because of the rough edges, help streamline the overall design. It looks like you almost cobbled this together at first and improved from the initial design over the years.”
The woman’s grin returned in a blink of the eye. “I did. I improvised it years ago. Never took away the basic foundation of it.”
Jayce started to point at the rougher edges, “Just literally shave these areas here, here, aaand here, and a few milliseconds can be subtracted. We can make it more energy efficient as well, I can see how to better divert the power. Maybe we can look at the materials of your gauntlets and augment their strength with some-”
“Or we can make it more efficient and divert the additional power to help create a mana shield!”
“A mana shield? Around the gauntlets?”
“Around the entire person. That way I don’t have to raise my arms every time I need to block some jerk or debris flying at my face. What if it were to activate from kinetic build up to add to the magical energy, combine the two?”
“That sounds very theoretical, but...” Jayce’s brow knit together. “Hm...Kinetic build up...So whenever you punch someone it would grow in strength?”
“Or something!” Vi wagged a finger at him, “Can’t forget about punching stuff. That’s fun too!”
“I suppose it can be done...with my help. I am a genius after all,” he replied with a gracious helping of egotism. “I think if you let me work on them I c-”
“Uh huh, genius, sure. You know your hammer has some big flaws I can see from here, right?”
“Has some big...It’s the pinnacle of weaponry!”
Vi rolled her eyes and let out a condescending snort, “Yeah, sure. If you say so.”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing, Mr. Genius. You would know, wouldn’t you?”
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
“You really want me to tell you?” Mischievousness hung in her voice, as well as a flirtatious undertone that was not usually expected from someone like Vi.
“Reaaaaally want me to tell you?”
“Just tell me!” Jayce snapped.
Vi raised her hands up defensively, letting the hammer tip over. Her voice took on a mocking tone as she replied, “Oooh big man, yelling at an officer of the law. Whatcha gonna do when your hammer’s center of balance is off kilter by a few millimeters and you miss your target? Or when the weight distribution can be better diffused, or gee I don’t know, maybe the gun portion can do something more than shoot energy? Maybe it can create an acceleration field to help increase the power and range of your energy projectiles? Go overkill, y’know? Maybe you can adjust it so it can use the more magical aspect to positively affect you, recharge your own batteries, y’know?”
Jayce barely caught his hammer in time and glared at Vi, “I’ll have you know that it’s...” He shifted the hammer slightly in his grip and switched it from one hand to the other. He groaned, “Son of a...the fight did make it off balance.”
“How’d you know?”
“‘side from being able to feel the weight was off? It’s ‘cuz my gauntlets are pretty awesome. Tells me everything from the weight of something to the measurement of force bein’ exerted by me. I record it all on these little gauges, each record something different.” She tapped one of the many circular gauges. It looked like it was meant to measure temperature or pressure rather than anything else, the sort of measuring tool one would see for checking the status of a boiler. It looked like it was quickly cobbled together and thrown on the gauntlet hastily, but never swapped out, which contrasted with the rest of the gauntlet’s sleeker design.
“I could improve the recorders, or even put a measuring tool to help show when it gets close to overheating as a safety precaution. Modernize them a bit more. Maybe create a failsafe for said overheating?”
“How do you know it didn’t have a failsafe, huh?”
“Because that would mean you’re careful, and from what I’ve seen? You are quite the dangerous woman,” Jayce said with a smile. “Beautiful, strong, quite spirited, and intelligent? Please, that’d be an insult to call you intelligent. You’re beyond that.”
When Jayce smiled at her, an unfamiliar feeling rose in her chest and her stomach. She’d seen people smile before, but his smile? It made him look...the best way she could put it, was ridiculously handsome. Despite his bloodied and bruised face, she could definitely say he was handsome. Or hot. One of the two. Mostly both.
“Oh please, you’re flatterin’ me waaay too much,” she laughed in response, her freckled face turned slightly red while smacking his chest. She did not notice the wince and the silent gasp of pain as he tried his best to look as masculine as he could instead of going with his gut instinct to vomit from pain.
“It’s not my fault people are all like, ‘Vi why are you so cool oh no my face why are you punching my face?’” Vi attempted to change the topic, “Anyways, your hammer’s cool, I suppose. I can give you a few tips about how to improve it if you wanna supervise my work on my twins.”
“Is something wrong, Vi?” He held one hand over his chest, as if it would protect him from another swat from Vi. “You seem to be a bit flushed.”
"Me? Flushed?” She waved him off, her gauntlet barely missing his chest as she swung it aimlessly. Her face reddened a bit further, “It’s just that I like your smile.”
Jayce thought about what she said. Before he could say anything, she pumped her arm up and down dramatically as she replied in a cocky tone, “Makes a nice target." Any sign of red quickly dissipated from her face and was replaced by her trademark grin.
The inventor’s smile widened as he burst into laughter. He reached over and patted the back of her gauntlet, near her elbow, in an attempt to be friendly. A surge of energy crackled out, singeing the ceiling of the office.
Jayce instantly drew back and held his hands against his chest. He most likely did something to damage her gloves, and from the spark that was issued he could only assume the worst. He slowly started to inch away from her, in his futile attempt to keep himself out of harm’s way. He was in no condition to do much, save for limping away at a relatively quick pace.
Vi scowled and slammed her other gauntlet over the area that he had touched. “You’re lucky you’re good lookin’ and in a police station, or else I’d have to kill you for doing that,” she growled. Vi attempted to repair what Jayce had accidentally knocked out of place, ultimately pointless due to how huge her fingers were.
“That seems to be a design flaw if anything. I could probably look into that too.” He was in this deep, might as well try to mend the rift he made.
Vi rolled her eyes and gave him a condescending snort. She was about to reply when her door swung open to reveal a still annoyed Caitlyn. The sheriff glared at the two, “I smell burning. It’s been nine minutes and fifty seconds. A new record. Vi, out here, now. Jayce, luv, stay there for a bit, please.”
“Comin’, cupcake.” Vi walked toward the door and gave Jayce a joking wave, “Later, Captain Hammer.”
Vi closed the door behind her and looked at Caitlyn. The woman jerked her large thumb at her office, “In my defense, he started the f-”
“I don’t care,” Caitlyn interrupted. “Nothing’s badly damaged and you’ve done worse. I just wanted to speak to you out here and not have you question me or delay me for time.”
“Yeah yeah, I know the codeword: a new record. I’m not forgetful.”
“You have a very selective memory.” Caitlyn shook her head, “However, not the point. I’m going to see to it that he serves a few months in jail at the very least, pays his bills, and I’ll put forward the paperwork to make him a League champion.”
“Sooo can we talk about me joining the L-”
“It’s not up to me. I can’t force the League to let you, or him, in, Vi. We’ve been over this.” Caitlyn waggled a finger at Vi, “You still have to pass the psych test.”
“But I’m perfectly sane! You know that, I know that!”
“Says the woman who refuses to take the psych test and the same woman I found in the process of strangling someone.”
“I know I’m sane! I don’t need the stupid test! And besides, I had a good reason to strangle him!” Vi crossed her arms, her lower lip quivered in a pout as her cheeks puffed out. “I attempted to strangle him because he had attempted to mug a little ol’ lady. I had to ‘strangle’ him so the geezer would let him live. Mean old bat, she was.”
“Not the point. I’m putting the paperwork ahead because he dealt with a League champion, meaning he has a better chance of joining due to the possible rivalry that the League would love to bank off of and I would be able to help him in that sense, in accordance to the law.”
“I wouldn’t even put Jayce in it if it were up to me, but mother always did say he was incorrigible once he got a thought in his head.” She let out a sigh, “Seems like he didn’t get any better with age.”
“So...uh...Sheriff Caitlyn? Can I make a suggestion?” Vi cricked her metallic knuckles. Despite her calm attitude, only did this when she was on an adrenaline high or when she was unsure of something.
It was also incredibly disconcerting to hear Vi call her by her rank and name.
“What is it, Vi?”
“Can I make a suggestion about his sentence?”
Caitlyn rolled her hand about, fully expecting a typical Vi suggestion that involved punching something or someone. “Go ahead.”
“Community service and house arrest. No prison time, but he’s gotta do stuff for the community of Piltover, and he’s gotta stay home.”
“...That is a terrible idea, house arrest. Then it’s not really a punishment, now is it?”
“But he wouldn’t last in prison,” Vi retorted. “Look at him. He’s so squishy and intelligent that the inmates would go, ‘hey free punching bag let’s make him taste the pain!’” She slammed a clenched fist into the palm of her open hand, sending out a loud ringing clang. “Or even worse, he’s ‘purty’ enough that if he dropped the soap...”
Caitlyn shuddered at the thought. Her nose twitched and turned upwards as her face contorted into an expression of utmost disgust, “And that was imagery I could have lived without imagining for the rest of my life. Thank you for that, Vi. I truly needed it.”
“Come on Cait, he’s a scientist and an inventor! Putting him in prison you might as well give him a noose! He’s gotta do things with his hands and other sciency stuff, he’s going to go crazy with boredom otherwise!”
“Vi, that sounds good and all, but he lives by himself. There’d be no one to watch him, and I’d have to assign people to monitor him and so forth. It’s not that simple.”
“Doesn’t he have a girlfriend, a wife, maybe a boyfriend, someone to watch him? We could just delegate it to them and boom, problem solved! Free monitor there.”
Caitlyn palmed her face in exasperation, “What does...? No, even if he did have any of what you just mentioned, we wouldn’t delegate that responsibility to civilians. That would be unprofessional and lazy.”
“So what’s wrong about having someone watch him?”
“He doesn’t seem particularly dangerous, and it seems to be a bit overkill. Who would have the time to make sure he doesn’t leave his house, or do his groceries? His assistants were all killed, he hasn’t had much time to rebuild, and-”
“Maybe I can volunteer. Y’know, keep him in line, and it’ll be good training for me!”
Caitlyn’s eyes went wide with shock. She tried finding the proper words to express her sentiment. She eventually settled on one: “What?”
Vi cracked her knuckles again, her grin reemerging, “Think about it, sheriff. You want me to try and be more controlled, I can watch him, and who knows if the Zaunites won’t retaliate, right? Who better to watch Captain Hammer there than me? I can grab his grocery ****, keep an eye on him, make sure he doesn’t leave the lab, and he’s got the best bodyguard in the world. It’s perfect!”
“...Then prison would serve as a better deterrent against the avenging Zaunites than-”
Caitlyn shuddered again, “Gah! Why? Why must you invoke that image again so soon?”
“Because we also have some Zaunites in prison. They could easily try something, and then what? Would we isolate him completely? How would the people see a hero being treated like a murderer, or worse? He didn’t kill anyone, right?”
“So come on, Sheriff! It’s a good idea! You gave me a chance, no prison time involved, so why shouldn’t you give him a chance? And besides, didn’t you used to be a bit of a vigilante yourself back in the lawless days of Piltover?”
Caitlyn tapped her lips in deep thought. She wasn’t exactly sure, but Vi did bring up valid points. For once.
“I’ll do whatever you say for half the time of his sentence, no questions asked, and no grumbling. I’ll even address you by title. Come on cupcake! No reason to be so mean to him, I know you don’t want to look soft, but...” Vi laced the fingers of her gauntlets on one another, waiting for her response.
“...Starting today, you will call me Sheriff Caitlyn.”
“And your partner will also be holding shifts with you over the watch. If I need you, he will watch Jayce for you, alright?”
Caitlyn nodded, “I’ll make the suggestion to the judge, on one final condition.”
“Name it, cup...” Vi faked a cough and straightened herself, “I mean, sheriff.”
“Take him to the hospital. He looks like he went ten rounds in the brush with Annie and Tibbers. I’m not even sure how he’s still breathing.”
Vi scoffed as she walked toward her office, “Please, him? He’s Captain Hammer! I wouldn’t expect any less!” She chuckled as she reached for her door knob, “And if he’s passed out here in my office he’s gonna totally ruin my point.”