‘The cold air when the night comes.’ (Flashbomb AU, part 7 of ?)
AO3 Link for previous chapters
Here we go, the longest part yet! Everyone’s going through it, folks. Enjoy the emotional roller-coaster, with a bit of a surprise towards the end...
Song inspo: ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful’ by MorMor
TW: the usual mental health shenanigans, lots of swearing, and mature, sexual content
Given Jinx’s less than glowing first impression of her new roommate, Ekko hadn’t expected her and Lux to get on so well. At Jericho’s, seeing them so entranced by each other, he couldn’t believe it. He watched them from the kitchen, stole glances when service slowed. The pair were so at ease together, like they’d known each other for years. Nothing about how they interacted seemed forced or out of place.
Jinx was being true to herself, not like with Evelynn. Her eager smiles and animated mannerisms ebbed and flowed organically, spurred on by whatever she felt. Ekko imagined Jinx looked like that around him, too.
Funny, how comfortable she was with Lux after so little time. She already seemed attached. What if Lux ended up hurting her like everyone else did?
The worry gnawed at him. Stopped him from sleeping.
Hardly anyone in Jinx’s life stuck around. Even Vi chose her girlfriend in Piltover over her own sister. Ekko would never forgive Vi for that. Jinx had him, the asshole formally known as Silco, and no one else. No one.
Friends came and went, rarely more than acquaintances. Most people grew sick of her after a while. Sick of the chaos and the unpredictable mood swings, mostly. Even his best friend had never warmed to her. Scar wouldn’t say it outright, but he didn’t understand Jinx’s appeal.
People didn’t get her. It made Ekko rage just thinking about it. Her spark was wasted on them. But Lux…
It was early days, but Lux seemed different.
They hadn’t spoken much about why Jinx had grown so infatuated, only that she had, and wanted to do something about it. Lux’s looks were the most obvious starting point, but for Jinx to be so enamoured so early on, it had to run deeper than that. There was real chemistry there.
‘Jinx…’ Ekko’s voice rasped into the quiet of his bedroom. He sounded like he had a bug in his throat.
It was early morning, barely seven a.m. Soon, he’d have to get ready for work, and Jinx would return to her dorm room. If he didn’t speak to her now, he’d lose his nerve and end up stressing about it for the rest of the day.
She stirred next to him. The parts of her face not covered by her blue tresses revealed the frown of a girl rebelling against consciousness.
‘Jinx,’ he said again, as he brushed the hair from her face and cupped her cheek.
She smiled and leaned into him, hands finding his waist and squeezing, like she was checking he was really there.
Now that he somewhat had her attention, he could ask what he needed to.
‘You and Lux,’ he began, already nervous of her answer, ‘nothing’s… happened… between you two… right?’
‘What…?’ Her tone was groggy and nonchalant. She sat up a little, strained to open her eyes so she could look at him. ‘What d’you mean?’
He propped himself up on his elbow, held her gaze.
‘Straight up,’ he said, and continued stroking her cheek so she understood he wasn’t angry. ‘I can tell there’s something going on with her, beyond you thinking she’s hot… I saw how you were with her before I joined.’
‘Hey, I don’t mind,’ he said, trying to reassure her. ‘I mean, isn’t that kinda the point of exploring all this stuff… to be open to falling for other people? Open with each other?’
‘I just like her is all,’ she said. ‘It’s not like… it’s not the same as with you. It’s new and… and it doesn’t have to be a big deal if you don’t want it to be. We haven’t kissed or done anything. But I guess… I think she wants to, maybe? I definitely want to.’
‘Okay,’ he said. ‘Just, uh… just let me know if anything happens. And be careful. Lux seems cool but, I don’t know, I guess I just don’t know her that well yet. I don’t want you getting hurt.’
‘Pfft, don’t worry,’ she scoffed, like she was unbreakable.
He wished he didn’t know better. Wished he hadn’t seen her broken.
Lying back on his hard mattress, he pulled her down with him. With a giggle, she happily snuggled into place as the little spoon.
‘Tell me about her,’ he said, as he traced circles along Jinx’s body, following the curves of her hips, along her tattoos and ridges.
Goosebumps speckled her skin. She sighed and bucked her hips into him, encouraging him to keep feeling her, to deepen his grip.
‘Hmm…’ She met his hands with her own and squeezed. ‘She’s like… Bizarro me.’
He frowned to himself, nuzzled into Jinx’s neck like it would help him think. Her statement didn’t compute. Jinx and Lux seemed like polar opposites. He could try to decipher what she meant, but he wanted her to explain.
‘What d’you mean?’
‘I dunno,’ she grumbled, sleepier than before. ‘ND things…’
Okay, maybe now wasn’t the time for big brain questions. That phrase was all he needed to hear, anyway. ND things. Gotcha.
He stilled his stroking, loosened his grip around her, and closed his eyes, relaxed into the moment.
‘Y’know, it’s funny,’ he said with a faint smile. ‘I really thought we’d do it this time. The whole bye for now thing.’
‘Yeah,’ Jinx said, half asleep. ‘Me too.’ She turned to face him. He squinted his eyes back open as she kissed him on the cheek. ‘…Ekko?’
‘Does it bother you?’
‘Does what bother me?’
‘That I can’t leave you the fuck alone.’ Her tone was a little cocky and abrasive, cloaking her vulnerability.
‘Jinx,’ he kissed her lips, tender and secure, ‘I never want you to leave me alone. Ever.’
‘Nope, shut up,’ he said, and kissed her again.
‘But we were trying to be sensible,’ she urged. ‘Now we’re being idiots.’
‘Okay, so we’re being idiots,’ he said. ‘I don’t care.’
‘But your job’s full time now, and—’
‘Nope,’ he insisted, his heart bounding leagues beyond his head. ‘We’ll make it work, okay? No more trying to push ourselves apart. If neither of us want to do it, then why the fuck are we trying to, huh? Why not just… just be together?’
His chest tightened at the thought of Jinx disagreeing, but her soft eyes and perky grin calmed his concern.
‘…I have literally no idea,’ she beamed. ‘Why d’you always talk so much sense, boy saviour?’
‘Because I’m awesome.’
‘Sounds about right,’ she snickered and kissed him deeply. Swirled her tongue with his. Grazed her open palm against his crotch.
‘Fuck…’ He moaned into her mouth.
‘By the way,’ she said, sultry and low, ‘I know you like her too.’
‘Lux…’ She grabbed his bulge through his boxers. Squeezed back and forth. ‘I’m not the only one intrigued by her, am I?’
‘No,’ he gulped, struggling to contain the heat twisting in his gut. Fuck. She knew exactly how to touch him the way he liked. ‘You’re not the only one.’
She kissed him hard and bit down on his lip, making him yelp in glorious pain. He groaned, his cock yearning to be free from his boxers, to be inside her.
‘Knew it!’ Brimming with pride and lust, Jinx moved her kisses to his neck, sucking and licking, enjoying him as she pleased. ‘I saw the way you looked at her in our room, and at Jericho’s…’ She spoke in hastened breaths as she licked down his torso, hands grabbing and stroking him all over. ‘She’s special, Ekko.’
‘I believe you,’ he said, and he meant it, but his lover was clouding his mind. ‘Maybe we should… hang out with her… again… sometime…’
‘Mhmm,’ Jinx mumbled her agreement as she kissed down his snail trail. ‘For now, though…’ His throbbing erection tasted the air and then the warmth of her mouth. She enveloped him with her tongue and popped him out a second later with a cheeky grin. ‘I get to enjoy you all on my own.’
Oh, gods. Yes.
It was nearly midday by the time Jinx traipsed back into the dorm room. Lux’s bed was empty, made up, and adorned with fluffy cushions. The t-shirt Jinx had lent her lay on top, neatly folded, as though Lux had never worn it at all. Ouch. Jinx assumed—hoped—Lux would keep it as a memento, or at the very least, still be there wearing it. Instead, Lux had fucked off somewhere and left the t-shirt behind, like it meant nothing. Like the whole night meant nothing.
Too exhausted to deal with the pangs of upset pummelling her chest, she kicked off her shoes and slumped into bed.
Hours later, Jinx tossed in and out of sleep, unaware of the time and unbothered by the concept. In the stubborn bliss of her afternoon nap, she rolled over and stretched out her limbs as wide as they would go. The sheets were soft on her bare skin, and she hummed in contentment. Imagined Lux there with her, warm and irresistible under the covers…
A wave of frustration escaped in a strangled groan. Her eyes cracked open and wandered to Lux’s sterile bed.
Where was she?
The room was dead without her.
Suddenly bored beyond belief, Jinx picked up her phone. Ekko had messaged a while ago. A suitable distraction.
this morning was… wow.
can’t stop thinking about it
u get home safe? how’s our fave blondie?
i know ;) <3
home safe xxx
no sign of blondie… beginning to think u like her more than i do ;) xxx
She chuckled to herself, but as she moved onto the other message in her inbox, her face fell to a scowl.
Good job last night, Jinx. Still making me proud.
Proud. She hated when he used that word. Hated the twinge of validation it gave her even more. Like she needed Silco to approve of her. Pfft. She already knew she’d done a good job. She’d sold out of shimmer, just like she promised. No more needed to be said.
Her angry thumbs shot out a sharp reply.
Thanks. Would’ve sold nothing without your favourite little helper, though… x
You alone are more than capable. See you next week.
Before she could dwell too much on Silco’s words, Ekko replied. He must’ve been on his break or something.
fr? did lux not get back safe last night?
Ugh. She should’ve known he’d respond like that. He was such a worrier.
relax hero, she’s fine.
Her words were more cutting than she’d intended. It wasn’t Ekko who had annoyed her. Lux was the one who’d made her indifference towards her perfectly clear, not him. Never him. He rarely annoyed her. Not in any way that mattered.
She followed up:
sorry, been a weird day i guess <3 xxx
okay, if you say so
i have her no. if u wanna check up on her?
gotta get back to jeri in 5 but can u give her a call or sth?
srsly, ekko? >:( xx
tell her i insisted
i hate you <3 xxx
That morning, the campus map led Lux out onto a sprawling sports field of fading green, dying grass. There were people here and there, strolling or cycling past, sat in groups, soaking up the September sun.
She settled herself at the base of a broad oak tree. Cross-legged under the cool shade of the canopy, she retrieved her sketchbook and pencil case from her satchel, and stared at the first, blank ivory page. In a handful of days, she wouldn’t have the luxury of drawing or painting without scrutiny from her lecturer and peers. This sketchbook, she decided, was for her alone to do with as she wished.
With a freshly sharpened pencil, she made the preliminary sketch of the picture in her mind’s eye: Jinx and Ekko, arm in arm, walking away from her under the harsh glow of The Lanes’ neon lights.
It needed paint to bring it to life, but that required a proper setup, and with Jinx coming and going from their room, it made sense to wait until lectures started before finishing it properly. That way, she could make use of the art studios around campus and stay out of Jinx’s hair. She didn’t know where the studio was yet, but that was a problem for another day. For the time being, the important thing was keeping it from Jinx.
The last thing she wanted was for Jinx to find out that she and Ekko had inspired a painting. It seemed… inappropriate, somehow. Like it crossed an invisible, unspoken boundary.
In holding Jinx’s hand, Lux had already overstepped. If she wasn’t careful, she’d alienate them both completely.
By the time the sketch was complete, the warmth of the day had faded to a cold, cloudy grey. The breeze under the tree grew bitter, and Lux shivered through her coat and layers of clothing. Wondered about going back. Back to the room she shared with Jinx…
Oh, gods. Lux couldn’t face her. Or Ekko. Not yet. Their night at Jericho’s was surreal and wonderful and intense, and she didn’t know how to process any of it. Until she’d figured it out, she needed to keep her distance from both of them.
The wind picked up pace, sending her blonde locks flailing about her face and assaulting the pages of her sketchbook. She packed away her supplies and huddled up, tucked her hands under her arms to warm them up a bit. Another hour outside wouldn’t do any harm, she supposed. Maybe she could find a nice café somewhere to kill some more time?
Was Jinx home yet? Had she noticed Lux wasn’t there? Did she care?
From somewhere deep in her coat pocket, her phone buzzed. Quiet at first, then louder with each chime. The number was unfamiliar, so she ignored it, but it rang again, and again, and again.
Lux groaned. Who was it, and why, oh why, were they bombarding her phone? Why couldn’t they get the hint? She would never answer.
Seconds later, a text popped up from the same number. She didn’t need to unlock her phone to get the message, loud and clear, typed out in pissed off capital letters:
BLONDIE! IT’S JINX!!
Okay, Jinx was awake after all, and had definitely noticed her absence. Was she angry? Was it about last night?
Maybe Jinx had finally realised that Lux was nothing but a loser. Beneath her.
Or maybe Ekko didn’t like how quiet she was around him?
What if she’d offended them by going home early? Sure, Jinx said it was okay, but what if she only said that to be nice?
Sometimes people lied in an attempt at kindness (another of Garen’s pearls of wisdom). Jinx didn’t seem the type, but what did Lux know? She never knew with people. And people never understood. Why would Jinx be any different?
She’d ruined it, hadn’t she? If she’d stayed out with them, if she’d faked it and pushed herself to breaking point, maybe she could’ve kept them close. Kept them as friends. But they were too cool for her, way too cool, and last night confirmed it. There was no way Jinx and Ekko liked her. Not really. Not the way she liked them.
Her chest constricted and she bit her bottom lip bloody, as she typed out a response.
Sorry! I don’t really do phone calls, especially if I don’t know the number. Is everything okay? Xx
No, too wooden. Why was she talking to Jinx so formally? No, no, no. It was too awkward. Too much exposition. She deleted it and started again.
Whoops, didn’t know it was you! All good? Xx
Much better. But were the kisses too much? Jinx didn’t add a kiss to hers… Lux sent it with the kisses removed.
It showed up as read almost immediately.
Breathe. Just breathe.
whatever dude i’m bored af, where are u?
Hiding from you…
Sports field. Why?
Huh. Should she have lied and led Jinx astray? If Jinx wanted to look for her (for some unknown, unfathomable reason), there were a dozen other places she would’ve looked before the sports field.
Maybe Lux wanted to be found…
She shrugged off the notion; best not to hope for something so unlikely.
sports field ahhahahahahhaaa wtfff
lol okay blondie, whatever does it for you i guess
k but srsly i’m losing my mind here lol
What was Lux supposed to say to that? She was losing her mind, too.
Back soon :)
That settled it, then. She had to go back and face reality. Meltdown, be damned. She’d plaster on a smile and act like Jinx’s bestie for the rest of the day until Jinx inevitably grew bored of her and left to see Ekko, or the many other friends she surely had on campus or in Zaun.
At least Lux had finished the sketch; the mess of the last twenty-four hours wasn’t completely in vain.
Jinx couldn’t figure it out. Why had Lux spent the best part of her day on the sports field, of all places? She wasn’t the sporty type. Maybe she was there to people watch, or… Oh. She was there to get away from their room, wasn’t she? To get away from Jinx. Of course. Why else would she have left that t-shirt behind and disappeared before Jinx came home?
Lux was done with her. That was quick. It usually took a few weeks, at least, but a couple of days…? What happened? Was Jinx too intense, too keen, too excitable? Was it because they’d held hands? Lux initiated it, but still… should Jinx have pulled away? Was it too much? What if it freaked Lux out and she couldn’t process it? Was she even out?
Fuck, was Lux even queer?
Jinx had assumed Lux’s sexuality based on body language, intuition, and fucking vibes, but what if it was bullshit? What if Lux was just another pretty straight girl who was only being friendly with Jinx because they were stuck sharing a dorm room? Lux was on the spectrum and their brains were wired in similar ways, but so what? That alone meant nothing.
Plus… well… Lux clearly preferred Ekko. That much was obvious. She clammed up and went all shy the second he joined them at Jericho’s, like a schoolgirl face-to-face with her crush.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. How had she gotten it so wrong? Lux liked Ekko, not her. Lux liked Ekko, and Jinx was someone she had to endure if she wanted to get close to him. It made so much sense. How could she have thought different? What a fucking idiot.
Jinx paced back and forth between the two beds, eyes on that damn t-shirt. After seeing Lux in that thing, how it clung to her in all the right places, she swore she’d never listen to The Smiths in the same way again. And now that she knew her feelings weren’t reciprocated… FUCK. She wanted to set it on fire, along with the whole room. Maybe the whole goddamn campus while she was at it.
Okay. No. That wasn’t her. Not anymore.
She carded her fingers through her hair. Gripped onto the base of her braids and pulled. Twisted each braid around the corresponding arm like constricting pythons. Pulled and pulled and pulled. Head arched back, arms outstretched, the roots of her hair growing sore with each tug, she closed her eyes. Groaned hopelessly. Breathed in deep. Held it a while. Let the air settle in her lungs. Exhaled slowly.
Okay. It was okay.
Maybe Lux was interested in her, and maybe she wasn’t. Either way, she was okay. Everything would be okay. She had Ekko. She had her degree to focus on. The world wouldn’t end if Lux didn’t like her. She really fucking hoped Lux liked her, but if not, she could live with it. She had to.
Her eyes fell back to the t-shirt, and her breaths grew ragged. Fuckkkk. She couldn’t do it. No fucking way. She couldn’t just sit around, waiting, not knowing how Lux felt. Especially when she knew exactly where to find her.
Zaun Metropolitan’s sports field was about half a mile from their dorm. Jinx ran it in two minutes. As she slinked along the hedge-rowed path towards the main body of grass, she slowed to a steady stride and looked out for a shock of blonde amidst the grey of the late afternoon. It was ten minutes since Lux’s last text, and given her sloth-like pace, if she had left since then Jinx would’ve already bumped into her. She knew Lux was still out there, doing whatever the hell it was that she was doing.
Squinting out upon the horizon, Jinx erupted in a giggle as she finally spotted Little Miss Sunshine sat with her spine propped up against a tall oak, staring at the cross-section of leaves and sky above, oblivious to the world around her.
Jinx’s long, strong legs made short work of the distance between them. Lux didn’t stir as she approached.
‘Blondieeeee,’ she sang out obnoxiously loud, and crashed down next to Lux. Spread herself out on the grass, gangly limbs splayed in every direction.
‘Jinx!’ Lux whipped around to the source of the disturbance. ‘I was just about to—’ She cut herself off to examine the t-shirt hanging off Jinx’s frame, ‘—is that…?’
Jinx smirked and put her hands behind her head, stretching out her torso to allow Lux a full view of the t-shirt she’d left behind. The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow. Well, if Lux wasn’t interested in wearing it anymore, what was the harm in showing it some love?
It was a slightly petty move, but Lux’s reaction made it worthwhile. Her frown deepened, and she swallowed heavily as though holding back tears.
With her head cocked at an uncomfortable angle, Jinx’s gaze drilled into Lux’s semi-upside-down profile. The soft angles of her jaw, the elegant slope of her nose, her grey-blue eyes twinkling in the twilight. If all Lux wanted was friendship, Jinx wasn’t sure she could deliver. Not when she looked like that…
But blondie’s expression wasn’t quite that of a friend. Her pupils dilated, flickering all over Jinx’s form, like nowhere was safe to linger too long. Her cheeks grew rosier by the second. Was… was Lux checking her out?
A fire lit in her belly at the thought, and she licked her teeth, imagined gliding her tongue over Lux’s lips.
‘Why’re you wearing that?’ Lux’s voice was timid. Embarrassed, even. Something about Jinx wearing that t-shirt made her all kinds of overwhelmed.
She cared. Jinx wearing that t-shirt meant something to her. Last night meant something.
Jinx’s fire spread to her core, and she rolled onto her side, facing Lux with her legs pressed tightly together.
‘First thing I grabbed,’ she shrugged, and peered up at Lux with a questioning smile. ‘What’ve you been doing out here all day?’
‘Um, I don’t know… Getting some fresh air?’
Lux’s intonation was a dead giveaway. She was hiding something.
‘In Zaun?’ Jinx probed. ‘Why?’
‘Seemed like a nice day,’ Lux said, as she picked at the grass around her feet.
Jinx didn’t reply. She felt like running straight back to their room and locking the door. Gods, people were fucking impossible sometimes. Even the cute little princess. Why couldn’t she just cut the bullshit and be direct? She had spent her day avoiding Jinx. Why?
Why, why, why!?
‘So, um…’ Lux ripped a buttercup off of its stalk and began prizing its petals off, one by one. ‘How’s Ekko? What’d you guys get up to when I left last night?’
Of course, Lux was asking about Ekko, the only one of them she cared about.
No. Lux checked her out. The t-shirt meant something. It showed that Lux cared about both of them, not just Ekko. It was tangible proof of a connection. A fond memory between just the two of them. Getting ready together. Their night at Jericho’s. Talking about whatever came to mind, not worrying if it made them sound stupid. Exploring the differences in where they were from, their frames of reference, their shared scepticism and taste in alcohol. Making eyes at each other over their drinks. Holding hands…
Geez. Who was she kidding? Jinx was just being Jinx. Delusional. Getting carried away, like she always did. Idiot.
She needed Ekko for a second opinion. What time did he finish work, again? All she wanted to do was escape to his place and snuggle up on his bed. She never should’ve left it that morning.
‘Jinx?’ Lux prompted her with a little nudge to her leg.
The contact stung more than it should have, especially when Lux followed it up with a dimpled smile. Fuck.
‘What’d you guys get up to? Have fun?’
‘All the fun in the world, blondie,’ Jinx drawled. Circulated the clubs, got high, sold some cold hard drugs, made some cold hard cash, and then went back to Ekko’s where he fucked me senseless until we passed out. Jealous? ‘Ekko missed you, though.’
‘Really?’ Lux’s pretty grey-blue eyes lit up.
Ugh. Rejection pierced Jinx’s chest and tugged at her features, but she forced it down and pushed out a toothy grin instead. Rolled back onto her back with a thud.
‘Yup!’ She accidentally yelled.
Grey clouds blanketed the sky, gearing up for a night of rainfall. Jinx closed her eyes and wished for a storm. Anything to detract from the fire ripping her insides apart. Lux’s rejection had accelerated the flames, sent them blazing straight to Jinx’s heart.
It hurt, and there was nothing Jinx could do but endure it. If Lux wanted Ekko but not her, she had to accept that. In her head, she repeated the same mantra as before: she had Ekko, she had her degree to focus on, the world wouldn’t end if Lux didn’t like her.
Life would go on like it always did.
With her fire suppressed, Jinx sat up and mirrored Lux’s crossed legs. They met each other’s eyes fondly, then both turned their focus to the grass and foliage surrounding them.
‘Ekko asked about you, actually,’ Jinx said. ‘Gave me your number so I could check on you.’
‘Duh,’ she huffed, and couldn’t stop herself from rolling her eyes. ‘Ekko’s good like that. He didn’t get to hang out with you as much as I did, so, I dunno… Guess he wanted to make sure you were alright after you left early.’
‘Oh… right.’ Lux tossed Jinx a fragile, unconvincing grin, and tore up a huge clump of grass. Rolled it in her palms until the chlorophyll inside bled onto her skin.
Shit. Jinx had said the wrong thing, hadn’t she? Sure, she was in pain, but that didn’t mean she wanted Lux to feel it. Lux ended the night early for her own mental health, Jinx understood that. It wasn’t fair to imply otherwise, or to try and make her feel bad about that.
A wide patch of the field in and around Lux’s lap was roughly cropped and growing bald, like she had attacked it with a pair of jagged scissors. Jinx’s focus flickered from the grass’ bad haircut to Lux’s trembling fingers, and sore, nerve-bitten lips.
Shit, shit, shit. Jinx was so wrapped up in her own messy emotions that she hadn’t properly considered how Lux must’ve felt. That girl was out there imploding, and Jinx was too selfish to notice.
Shit, shit, fucking bastard shit.
‘He gets it, don’t worry, it’s totally fine that you left, you know, no hard feelings.’ Jinx spluttered the words out, mind racing over tongue. ‘He’s used to dealing with my bullshit, believe me, nothing you ever do or say around him will ever be as fucked as some of the crap I’ve put him through.’
She took a breath before she said too much. Recalibrated.
‘I just mean, uh… Ekko’s a really good dude, you know. He gets it, so please just… don’t worry about it. I think he wants to get to know you a little better, that’s all. And like, we’re roomies, so, obviously he’ll—’
‘He wants to get to know me…?’ Lux asked, taken aback. ‘Why?’
Gods, it was like nothing else Jinx had said mattered. Fine. It was fine. She’d need to set fire to something later, but sure, it was fine. Blondie had boy saviour on the brain. Lucky him. She met Lux’s grin with her own.
‘Have you seen yourself? You’re fucking hot, that’s why!’ Once again, Jinx yelled without meaning to. Couldn’t quite control what she said next, either: ‘Plus, he knows I like you, so he’s curious.’
Whoops. That was probably too much information.
‘What?’ Lux asked. ‘I’m hot, and he’s curious…? What’re you talking about?’
Of course, Jinx told Lux she liked her, and Lux focused on the parts about Ekko. Cast aside, once a-fucking-gain.
Time to try a slightly more direct approach…
Toes twitching in her boots, she brought her knees up to her chest and cuddled herself. Chewed on the inside of her cheek like it was her dinner.
‘Blondie,’ she cooed sweetly. ‘Do they have polyamory in Demacia? Like, is it a thing there?’
‘Erm…’ Lux laughed awkwardly, like she didn’t know what else to do. ‘Yeah, it’s a thing, Jinx. Why?’
‘What d’you think of it?’
‘Like, as a concept, or…?’
‘Sure, yeah. As a concept. Whatever.’
‘Uh, I’m not sure. I’ve never really thought about it, to be honest.’ Lux plucked another buttercup and twirled it round and round in her fingers, creating a hypnotic spiral of rich, vibrant yellow, still bright under the darkening sky. ‘I suppose, as a concept, it’s… I don’t know… It seems complicated, but relationships are complicated anyway, so… who’s to say which form of complication is right or wrong, you know?’
‘It probably depends on the person,’ Lux continued, and met Jinx’s gaze with a small grin, ‘or… people… I’d have to look into it more to form a real opinion.’
Huh… okay. So, Lux wasn’t totally against the concept, at least. That was… something.
‘Why’d you ask?’
‘Just wondering,’ Jinx said. ‘Ekko and I have always kinda liked the idea of opening ourselves up to it, but, uh… not gonna lie, it’s fucking hard to meet people who’re worth risking it over.’ People like you.
‘Is that why you don’t call him your boyfriend?’ Lux asked. ‘It’s like you’re not… claiming him as yours… or something? Like, if you don’t claim each other, other people can have you, too?’
Oh, blondie, so keen to understand but saying all the wrong things.
‘Other people can have me?’ Jinx derided with a chuckle. ‘What? Like dating or fucking someone makes them your possession? Sheesh, tell me how ya really feel.’
‘Ah, well, you’ve got me there.’ Lux spoke dryly, but her eyes sparkled with mischief. ‘Beneath this shy, artistic exterior beats the cold, shallow heart of a traditionalist. Never mind becoming a professional painter, oh no. Just like any woman worth their dowry, my ultimate dream is to be owned by a man.’
‘What a confession!’ Jinx cackled. ‘So glad you could finally own your truth.’
‘Right?’ Lux crinkled her nose, almost breaking her composure. ‘Here we both are, owning our truths, no judgement. What a time to be alive.’
‘Okay, but seriously, though…’ Jinx swayed playfully into Lux’s side, knocking her a little. ‘Ekko and I have definitely claimed each other. Don’t need words to do that.’
Lux blushed, like she was imagining what claiming each other without words entailed. Jinx could’ve shown her, but she needed to know how Lux felt first.
Tentative, she unfurled and straightened her legs back out onto the grass. Leant forwards, stretching her back and extending her arms so that her fingers reached the tips of her Doc Marten’s. Mid-stretch, she rested her face on her knees. Considered her next moves. Next words. How was she supposed to navigate this? What would Ekko do?
No, fuck that. What Ekko would do was right for him, not her. What would Jinx do?
Jinx would go for it. Fuck it all to hell.
She looked back, and Lux’s breath hitched. Eyes fixed on hers before they flickered away. So, the princess was checking her out again, huh? Seemed like a pretty fucking clear sign. Yep. Difficult to doubt that one, even for Jinx.
‘So, Lux,’ she smirked. ‘If it depends on the person, what kinda person might tempt you?’
‘Tempt me into what?’ Lux asked, clueless as ever.
‘Seriously?’ She teased. ‘Come on, you have to know what I mean. Think about it for like two seconds.’
Lux’s eyes shifted and she bit her lip as she mulled it over. The second she caught on, she sunk into herself with a sheepish, ‘oh… I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know?’ Jinx pressed. Spit it out, blondie. ‘You don’t have a type? Gender preference? Nothing?’
‘Um… not really…’ Lux perked up with a small grin, ‘as long as they’re not like my ex, it’s all good.’
‘Oh, yeah?’ Jinx snickered. No gender preference, huh? Promising… ‘What was your ex like?’
‘A dick, mostly,’ Lux sighed. ‘Ezreal was just… I dunno. We were on very different wavelengths… Take your question about polyamory, for instance. No way would he have answered that with anything other than some smart-arse comment about it being greedy or weird or something. He was so closed-minded. Wouldn’t have even tried to understand.’
Noted: Lux didn’t seem to think polyamory sounded greedy or weird. Also promising.
‘It was like, in his eyes, there was one way of doing things—his way, or no way—and if someone disagreed with him, instead of accepting that and welcoming a different perspective, he’d completely shut them down and argue his point until he’d railroaded them into submission.’
‘Charming,’ Jinx interjected. ‘Dude should run for office; sounds like a Piltovan politician.’
‘Yep,’ Lux giggled.
She had the sweetest fucking laugh.
‘How long were you with him?’ Jinx pried further. ‘And what possessed you, exactly?’
‘Nearly two years,’ Lux lamented. Snickered at the second question. ‘My current theory on the possession front would have to be Pazuzu.’
‘The demon from The Exorcist.’
Lux grinned, and Jinx kicked herself for not recognising the name. Pretty damn cool that blondie knew it, though. That caught her off guard. She’d have to screw her horror brain on around Lux in future, just in case.
‘My brother Garen forced me to watch it as a kid, fully knowing I’d think it was real,’ Lux explained. ‘Have you not seen it? You have all those horror posters back in the dorm; I just assumed you’d get the reference.’
‘Duh, it’s The Exorcist, of course I’ve seen it,’ Jinx insisted, her ego a tad bruised. ‘I even have a t-shirt of it buried in my closet somewhere.’
‘Ah, of course you do,’ Lux jibed. ‘You and your never-ending clothes pit… how many of those have you even worn in the past year?’
‘Pfft, like you’re one to talk,’ Jinx retaliated with a menacing chuckle. ‘Were any of the clothes you own manufactured within the last fifty years?’
‘Shut up…’ Lux tried to play the insult off with a laugh, but her voice wobbled, and her eyes lost some of their shine.
‘Fuck,’ Jinx grimaced. ‘Gods, I’m such a fucking idiot. I’m sorry! You dress so cute; I don’t even know why I said that. I—’
Out of nowhere, Lux lay a hand on Jinx’s outstretched thigh and gave her a reassuring squeeze, touching her skin through the rips in her jeans.
She stared at Lux in consternation, head empty, mouth agape. Any attempt at reading blondie’s expression was scuppered by the burning heat of hand on flesh, stroking in circles, tickling the soft skin around her kneecap.
What did it mean? What was Lux trying to say, or do? What was her angle?
They sat like that for a while. Side by side, bumping shoulders, Lux’s hand in Jinx’s lap…
Jinx couldn’t tell how much time had passed. Lux’s touch felt too good. Way too good. Ten minutes or ten seconds felt the same under the spell of her soft, lingering fingers.
‘It’s okay,’ Lux said, after gods knew how long. ‘I’m not exactly the most stylish person on campus. You can say it.’
‘No, that’s…’ Jinx shook her head and instinctively found Lux’s hand, lifted it from where it rested on her leg and laced their fingers together.
There they were, holding hands again. It felt like the most natural thing in the world, and the bashful smile gracing Lux’s face seemed to say she agreed.
‘That’s not true, blondie,’ Jinx squeezed Lux’s hand. ‘Everyone has their own style, right? Yours is just… you.’
‘Except it isn’t,’ Lux scoffed, and gazed down at their conjoined digits. Her thumb caressed Jinx’s knuckles, just like at Jericho’s. ‘Honestly, the only thing I’ve ever worn that’s really felt like me is that t-shirt—’ She gave a forlorn nod towards Jinx’s top ‘—and it’s not even mine. How pathetic is that?’
Pathetic!? There was nothing cooler! The t-shirt really fucking meant something! Lux really fucking cared! Holy fucking shit!
Jinx flashed Lux a maniacal grin and broke away from her grip.
‘What’re you doing!?’ Lux giggled, as Jinx sat up on her knees, quickly pulled the t-shirt off and threw it into her lap. ‘Jinx, it’s freezing and you’re now half naked!’
‘So?’ She wrapped her arms around her exposed torso and looked Lux up and down with a sly smirk. ‘Top exchange.’
‘Take it off, blondie!’ She commanded, holding back the urge to chatter her teeth.
Aptly concerned for Jinx’s welfare, Lux shook off her coat and stripped away the lilac chenille jumper she’d worn beneath it, revealing a black vest top clinging to her breasts and stomach.
Even in the dark, Lux shone. She was so, so gorgeous. Jinx lilted on her knees, staring shamelessly. All the things she could do to that perfect body…
‘Here—’ Lux tossed the jumper for Jinx to catch. It landed on the grass as she donned the precious t-shirt and sunk back into the warmth of her coat.
Trance broken, Jinx finally looked away and tugged the jumper over her head. It hung off her, not nearly as flattering as it was on the princess, but Jinx could rock it out. An oversized jumper was always a good look.
The crucial fact? It was Lux’s jumper. It was soft and warm from her body heat, with sweet perfume clinging to every fibre. Each breath of blondie’s scent rushed straight to Jinx’s head, down to her throbbing core.
Jinx grinned wide and bounced to her feet, too giddy to contain herself.
‘Get up, get up, get up!’ Jumping up and down on the spot, she giggled as she held out her hands for blondie to hold onto.
‘Are you still cold? You’re shaking.’ Lux pouted, understandably worried, as Jinx helped her to her feet.
‘Fuck the cold,’ she beamed. ‘Let’s go somewhere! Anywhere! You choose!’
‘Ugh,’ she groaned, crestfallen. ‘Boring!’
‘Maybe next time?’ Lux proposed. ‘I kinda need to psych myself up for going out again after all this.’
Jinx nodded her approval. So, blondie wanted there to be a next time…
Lux parted their hands, brushed herself down and began buttoning up her coat. Enraptured, Jinx hardly realised she was helping until her fingers weaved the final, chunky wooden button through its slot in the fabric.
Jinx pulled away and folded her arms over her chest. Chewed on her thumb a little. Resisted the urge to keep touching.
‘Thanks,’ Lux smiled. ‘Those buttons are always super fiddly, so…’
‘Sure. Yeah. Of course.’
‘Um…’ Lux looked to her feet, sunk her hands into her coat pockets. ‘Why’d you just… give me your t-shirt like that?’
The question was so earnest and raw. Jinx melted.
‘Why wouldn’t I?’
She inched closer.
‘I mean, it’s yours, are you sure?’ Lux rambled, barely making eye contact. ‘You look way better in it, too. Like… way better… which, okay, kind of goes without saying because you’re you; you’d look incredible in literally anything. Seriously,’ she let out a flustered giggle, ‘you even make that gods awful jumper look good! I mean—’
Fuck. It. All. To. Hell.
Before Lux could get another stupid, adorable, self-deprecating word out, Jinx made the final step into her personal space. One hand landed on her waist, while the other tenderly held her cheek. Lips millimetres from colliding, she hesitated. Breathed in more of that sweet perfume.
Lux trembled. Her cheeks burned hotter than ever, as her throat bobbed up and down in anticipation. Her hands fell to Jinx’s hips and pulled her even closer, pressed their bodies together.
Jinx pulled back a little. Focused on Lux’s wet lips, those grey-blue eyes almost black with lust. Her heart hammered against her chest, and she sensed blondie’s was doing the same.
Lux nodded, her expression a mix of exhilaration and terror. With a half-smile, Jinx stroked Lux’s cheek, and placed a delicate kiss on her mouth.
She wanted more. Wanted to devour every inch of that beautiful girl right then and there. But she couldn’t lose herself with Lux, not yet. It wasn’t like kissing Ekko, where things could escalate as quickly or as slowly as they wanted. Kissing Lux was new, and it called for restraint. Patience. That it was happening at all was astounding enough. She had to pace herself. If she could.
Her touch gravitated to the sensitive skin around Lux’s jaw, behind her ear, her neck. Lux gulped, and Jinx felt it.
‘Jinx,’ Lux spoke in a jagged breath. ‘What about Ekko? Won’t he mind if we—’
Gods, she was so fucking cute.
Jinx shook her head and shushed Lux’s worries with another kiss, deeper than the first. Reached for her hands to grip onto. Fingers intertwined, Jinx lurched forwards, sending Lux stumbling into the robust tree trunk behind her. Her back hit the bark, and she laughed into Jinx’s mouth, leading Jinx to slip in her tongue. With a surprised moan, Lux responded in kind.
Their fingers untangled and found new places to roam, as their kisses fell into a natural rhythm. Lux allowed Jinx to assert her dominance. Met her probing tongue with light licks, soft caresses. She gasped and groaned with her arms around Jinx’s shoulders, as Jinx held her against the tree with force, hands all over her waist and lower back, under her coat but not under her clothes. Not yet.
Jinx broke away from Lux’s mouth, planting kisses along her throat. Lux yelped at the switch up and her hands dropped back to Jinx’s hip bones, explored the bare skin beneath the borrowed chenille, scratched up and down Jinx’s back.
Okay. That was that.
Restraint was overrated, anyway.
With vigour, Jinx thrust her knee into Lux’s crotch. The princess squirmed beneath her and bucked her hips, pulled Jinx’s lips back to hers. Lux’s kisses grew in urgency as she continued grinding on Jinx’s knee, hotter than a furnace, eyes closed, lost in pleasure.
Oh, gods. Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck.
In those heightened moments, something clicked. Jinx couldn’t say what. Maybe it was Lux’s intensity. How Lux wanted her. Needed her. Maybe it was the cloying passion frying her nerves, her bones, her brain. Whatever it was, it was suddenly too much.
Too much, too much, too much.
Breathless and quivering, Jinx staggered a meter or so away from the tree. Away from Lux.
What the fuck had they done? They’d gotten too close. Much too close. She’d lost control. She was supposed to have patience. Restraint. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
With her arms wrapped tight around her chest, Jinx kept her eyes on her feet. Balanced on her ankles. Hummed a comforting tune under her breath, one of her and Ekko’s favourite songs.
‘Jinx?’ Lux crept forward, about to bridge the new, extremely necessary gap between them.
‘Could you not!?’ Jinx urged, stepping further back. Great, more yelling. ‘I’m sorry, I just, um… I’m sorry!’
With that, Jinx fled into the night, leaving Lux in free fall. She ran, and ran, and ran, and didn’t stop until she reached the comfort of Ekko’s faded green door.
Guided by the campus lamplight and her crumpled map, Lux stumbled back to the dorm room in the dark. With each step, it grew harder to focus on the path. Her thoughts drowned in Jinx, her core vibrating in the glow of Jinx’s urgent, heavy kisses. Heart torn by all the pain and uncertainty that followed.
What did it all mean? Their conversation leading up to their tryst was so strange, so disjointed. Why had Jinx asked about polyamory? Was that what she wanted between them? How did Ekko factor in? How did arrangements like that work? And why…
Why did Jinx leave like that?
What did Lux do wrong?
She quickened her pace, taking multiple wrong turns as she tried to get her bearings. But she was lost.
Ekko came home to Jinx curled up on his couch, wearing a jumper that wasn’t hers, and he knew his fears had come true. She’d barely messaged him since he’d given her Lux’s number. He hoped they were hanging out, having a good time while he was working, but that clearly wasn’t the case. Something, somehow, had gone wrong, and Jinx had gotten hurt. Deeply hurt.
They had a code for these things. She hadn’t broken into his place in months; usually rode her pain out in private like a sick cat. Her collapsing at his place with no warning meant only one thing: she wouldn’t have felt safe alone.
Leaving his takeaway dinner from Jericho’s on his kitchen counter, he knelt at Jinx’s side. She didn’t smile or look at him, didn’t even flinch, as he lay a hand on her cheek. It was damp with recent tears.
The cold, bitter drip of anger and betrayal lodged at the back of his throat. He ignored it as best he could; he didn’t know the facts. Until Jinx was ready to tell him what happened, he needed to remain calm. Rational. Supportive.
He kissed her forehead and returned to the kitchen, took out two plates from the cupboard instead of one, and dished up the food.