Warnings: SFW but potentially triggering. Violence, near-death experience (drowning) implied panic-attack/claustrophobia, disorientation, medical usage/needles mentioned
(Pre-Slash) Silco X GN!Reader
Note: Requested anonymously, this is probably my favorite work yet. I do honestly apologize for the wait for Timer (Pt 3), but I loved this concept so much that it needed it's own full day of recognition. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.
Someone out there would surely congratulate you.
Might even earn you a medal, or at least a free, one-way ticket to Topside so the Piltover Council could shake your hand in-person. Bless you for a job well done, a true thank you at your non-actions sparing them from the bane of their existance.
You shouldn't be joking, not when the last pocket of air you have is brushing dangerously against your chin, splashing the disgusting water up to your lips even as you tilt your head back to suck in as much air left as possible. And certainly not when your boss has still yet to resurface.
But your racing, panicking mind just can't seem to shake the idea of it, a part of you musing coldly, clinically at the idea of just... letting it happen.
Letting the Eye of Zaun simply... stay down in this flooded basement.
Letting Silco... drown.
You suspect the Firelights, when the building above the two of you shook, and the glass window burst open with the strain of the dark water it peered out into. Sevika had left to grab the carriage for a ride back to base, leaving you and Silco alone in the basement of the warehouse. A bit awkward, for you at least, as you were still relatively fresh in his gang, and he had to made note of it.
"Rookie still, aren't you?" You were wise enough to not jump at the sudden question as he held out a fresh-clipped cigar, patiently waiting without look at you. You didn't smoke yourself, but the first tip you'd been given was to always have a light on you, and soon the man was pulling a small, shallow drag into his mouth. "You're still quiet. Keep to yourself, stick to the sidelines. Unless you're just being pitifully shy."
The mild mock in his tone was not missed, but you nodded casually, giving a small shrug, "Seems like the best course to survive, boss. Just keep my head down and do my job."
"Huh." The sound he makes after exhaling a mouthful of smoke is unimpressed. His steps are slow, deliberate and yet still carefree. The confidence in his smooth swagger is immeasurable, and yet totally unsurprising. "That's a flimsy answer. You could do that anywhere in the world, yet you come to the lowest of low, the darkest depths... the place where monsters are born, and get to play freely." He turns back to you, and even though he's now several feet away, you can feel the intimidation as if he were breathing the dark smoke directly into your face as he spoke. "So. Why did you pick to work here?"
"... You seemed like the best option." A brow raises; waiting for you to continue. "I mean... you've got a plan, other than the typical 'don't die' most fissure-folk have around here-" "Zaunites." Your confused blink is met with a small sigh and shake of his head, as Silco shortly comments, "You're new still... fissure-folk is to one day be a term of the past, in our nation of Zaun. The least you could do is show some confidence in what we'll be building, in refraining from referring to our brothers and sisters in Topsider terms."
He looks unimpressed as you answer him with a show blink, "What.... 'we'll' build, sir...?" The look only deepens. "Yes. As my subordinate, you'll have some impact and handling in the goals of my empire... don't flatter or delude yourself by thinking you'll be directly linked into the progress." The murmured apology escapes your lips as you glance away from that piercing red-eye, face burning slightly at your misunderstanding.
Had this been anyone else, you would've promptly told him to piss-off, storm back up to groundfloor and head home for the night.
But you had had a front-row seat to what he'd done to others for even smaller insults, so you wisely kept yourself quiet as the man sighed again, bringing the cigar back to his mouth for another inhale after tapping out the ashes. "... Deckard. You heard the story?" One of the first, of course. Veterans in the gang seemed to fall over each other in the effort to be the first to tell it, equal parts smug at watching your face pale with all the details, and equally unnerved by the story they were telling.
"Tell me." You let out a silent breath at the cool order, tapping fingers quietly along the seams of your pants-pockets. "Deckard was... an old lacky of yours, from before you got to the top. Talked big, got into trouble, that kind of thing..."
"They spared you the gory details?"
Your mouth growing dry, you give a hesitant nod. He smiles without his teeth, and the red-eye seems to glow brighter. He answers correctly for you. "No. They didn't."
"He was already a monster; there isn't one alive who isn't." The exhale slips out as soon as he turns his gaze away, once more walking with measured steps over towards the window, outlooks into the darkness of open-water. There is no storm this night but the basement lights give a trembling flicker every few moments, signs of disuse in one of these older, lessused warehouses. "I simply coaxed it out. Honed it, harnessed it, let him truly come to know himself as what truly he was, and what was created to be, on the inside... a monster."
Another slow drag, and smoke smudges the window before him as he exhales. "And it ate him alive. But it impressed me, the eagerness, the drive... the will one has, to let their inner-demon consume them. Light every nerve with the will to fight, thrash and battle against that part of you that remains human... the part of you that overshadows what you truly are."
You should keep your mouth shut. You open it anyways, quiet but might as well be shouting with how loud your voice is in this quiet room, "But... he still died." There's a scoff, as if it was an obvious observation, which it was. "He died long before Vander killed him, and that was his choice. What impressed me isn't that he died a monster, no... he allowed a part of him to die in order to become one."
Silco turned, and the shadows of the room outlined his inperturbable face, the eye of darkness and hellfire glowing in the dark as the lights flicker again from above you. "Sevika did the same, accepting the possibility of death to save me. She's now my second. Jinx did the same, and is now stronger than ever because of it."
Slow, slow steps. Until you're merely a foot away from the man, and his bored gaze remains on your eyes as he pulls another mouthful in, slim and scarred cheek puffing out with his fill of smoke. It curls and coils through the air to your face as he muses, faint dark-clouds still dripping on his teeth and tongue, "Those are the three that impressed me. And they rose higher than ever for it."
"Except Deckard," You point out, managing not to cough or flinch from the face-full of smoke. Silco merely smiles again, without teeth, and still manages to look like a shark. "Two out of three isn't so terrible."
His eyes spoke the rest, looking upon you with such disregard, such boredom. Your method of survival, to follow the lead of the deadliest and most dangerous, was not a gamble he admired. No, Silco looked at you like he would all the rest beneath him, unless you gave him something to work with.
Unless you proved willing to sacrifice something for him, those eyes would only ever look through you with complete, utter disregard as if you were any other lacky. Which, because you were, the thought shouldn't sting as much as it did. And yet, the sting persisted.
Seemingly done with the conversation, he turned on a heel, glancing back to the side as he brought the cigar back to his mouth for another inhale, and you opened your mouth to, probably stupidly, ask that he not blow it in your eyes this time.
You never got the chance. The two of you felt the the thud, before hearing the distant boom and the cigar went crashing to the ground as a seafoam eye widened, bracing his legs under the sudden shaking of the building. You were not so lucky, losing your balance and stumbling back steps until you slammed beside the closed metal-doorway. A large crackling sound cut through the room, lights faltering entirely for several, painfully long beats, the only light being the dying embers of Silco's abandoned smoke on the ground.
When they sputtered back on, Silco had taken a knee, and immediately fixed his gaze on you with gritted teeth, as if it were somehow your fault. Any assurances from you that it wasn't, or any barked orders from him, died as soon as the heart-stopping crackle in the air.
The crackle of breaking glass.
Silco didn't even manage to turn in time, but you lunged forward anyway in an attempt to do something, anything, as the window behind him shattered open, and sent the dark waves of the harbor flooding into the basement room.
As one can imagine, things became complicated, and the world moved very, very fast after that.
You felt your bosses body slam into you from the force of the roaring water, and by the time you had both righted already-soaked bodies, you needed to be swimming. Lights faltered for longer than a few seconds, and stayed for only heartbeats, discombobulating as you moved in tandem, angling up to the uppermost corner of the room with your twin panting swallowing and sucking in as much air as possible.
Obviously, with the water rushing in too-fast and too-harsh, swimming out via the dismantled window was no good idea, as you'd only succeed in tiring yourselves out with swimming against the current. The sole exit before the break, the door, was your only solution, and Silco realized that too. In the split-second cuts of darkness and light, you felt leather and fabric being abandoned as he tore his now heavy coat from his shoulders, and a final, haggard intake of breath before you were alone, bobbing in the corner of the room while you forced your racing chest to be still, taking your time filling your lungs.
The water now up to your chest, with your hair brushing the ceiling top, you were quick to realize that single breath the crimelord had taken was simply not going to be enough. And with the door only being able to open inward to the basement, he would certainly be receiving a pummeling from the ruthless current of the flood, trying to open a door pressurized into remaining closed.
It would be a nearly hopeless effort, one that, you realized, he could be losing this very second.
Silco could die right here in this flooded room, while you waded and took slow, somehow measured breaths in order to calm your racing thoughts.
Silco could die.
And with that, you closed your eyes, took the deepest inhale you possibly could with water lapping greedily at your chin as they thieved at your air pocket, before diving under.
Light flashed, and you found him immediately, the current doing half the work for you as found yourself tossed beside him at the doorway. Again the lights flickered, and the pure, animalistic drive in every swing of his knife at the hinges of the door was, though not literally, breathtaking.
And horrid, sole-green eye stretched wide in pure apoplecticness, as if the fact that he was stuck in this situation was a personal, grave insult on his very being. Red streaked through the water where he'd mindlessly sliced too the hand he had braced against the door as he hacked at the single hedge that would free into the stairway, to air that he was so desperately running out of...
Because even in the cuts of black, you could see the slowing of bubbles. The way his wide-swings were beginning to grow sluggish, like wading through increasingly thicker and thicker mud.
He realized it too, because you saw that fury, that hunger for survival, begin to show traces of true, honest to the gods, terror.
Seeing his mouth open, bubbles escaping into the water with his unheard, instinctive roar, and you didn't think.
You just acted, surging forward to grasp his chin, nails biting harsh into his cheek as you drew him forward to firmly slam your open-wide mouth into his.
You knew, in that exact instant, that you surely just signed your death-warrent.
The raw pain of the knife, now turned on you in what he surely thought of as an attack, sliced across your cheek as a fist curled instantly onto your throat. But you didn't dare pull back or allow him to shove away, nails digging into his chin and surely leaving bruises as you pushed your air into his mouth, forcing as much as you could flowing through the salty water and into his lungs.
Granted a split-second of light, you ignored the flash in the seafoam and red an inch from your own gaze, hand reaching out, wrapping a steel-muscled hand around the loosening grip on the knife, raised your joined grip, and struck hard on the hedge to your freedom.
An unheard thud in the water, but you both felt the ripple of the force race up your interlocked grip, and the feel of the door faintly jerk, weakened from the current water battering against it with your two forms.
Another raise, this one strengthened as life begins to return to him with the sweet air you forced into his mouth, had the door jerking again.
Blackness started to ebb at your vision between the light, and this time the one frantic, you brought the grip of the knife between you up, and crashing against that one damn joint keeping you from freedom, from life...
Lungs were on fire now, a fire that raced through your body with every downward motion of the knife you jammed into that juncture. His grip had strengthened, given life with the one you were giving, and for a moment, you really, really hoped this bid had worked.
Then your palm gripped his chin even tighter, hand releasing the knife he had a secure grip on to grab his shirt-lapel, before you forcibly shut his mouth closed as you pulled your airless-mouth off of his.
Silco's free hand released your throat, now gripped at your shirt-collar as static started entering through the total-silence of water. Water raced down into your lungs, and only a small, handful of bubbles appeared in your vision before your body became spasmodic as your lungs filled with the harbor.
A wild jerk of your body as you saw darkness truly leech your vision, eyes rolling back as legs uselessly jolted out. Strands of red cut during the instances of light from the slice along your cheek, the last true color you knew not to be a figment of your drowning mind, before colorful spots began dancing in front of your eyes. Even in the dying light around you, you kept your grip tight on Silco's collar, a lifeline as you feel life draining...
A flash, cutting though your dying mind and dragging out a memory, and you feel a parents soft touch.
Another, a warm summer's night as you gazed over the roofs and the bridge to a city of brightness and hope, still with dreams in your head
Flash; drunken laughter and warm bitters dripping down your throat, filling your body with the warmth of alcohol.
Music. Loud, heavy and body-pumping, the green icon of an eye embedded in your memory as you cut through a crowd-
The last thing you are aware of, in the split-second of lights around you before your eyes roll back, and your clawed fingers begin to loosen and drag down from your death-grip on fabric, is seafoam and a haunting, glaring fiery red cutting into you from the depths of a dark you believe you won't be freed from...
The last sensation you feel, before you are truly lost, is the feel of a door giving into to the pressure, and coming crashing down.
"Story of opposites... I truly thought I fully appreciated what that meant a long, long time ago."
Awareness. Hell has a strange sense of humor, for the first thing your bleary eyes come to, is your boss, standing over you with a lighter and no cigar.
It's a rather strange image of Silco.
The seafoam and red remained locked on you as he mindlessly flicks the lighter wheel. He swallows, subtly; the dark bruises in the shape of your fingers along his jaw still ripple with the faint reaction.
"The need to fight. The thing lighting your senses with the urge of survival... I never could figure out the name for it. Never... not until I saw it face to face..."
If this is hell, it's very comfortable. The surface beneath you would be hard, if not for a soft cover over it, and another one over your body. The underworld of mortality isn't the boiling you thought it would be, but certainly warmer than the waters you had died in.
"Not until I saw it in your face." The lighter clicks on, and the overlord of the undercity finally managed to pull his gaze from yours, watching the flame dance on the tip of the lighter. "... Fire. That light in your eye, that demand, the rage and the madness in a fight for life, survival... all ignited. All howling. All-consuming... beautiful, really, in the death-defying way it glowed like magma in your eyes."
The gaze returns, and if you were able to move a single muscle in your body, you would've flinched at the intensity of his unyielding gaze.
"We will never have enough, will we?" He asks softly, a question only you and he could ever truly understand. For you, it will take time to answer, as you can barely hold your eyes open. Silco smiles, and this time, you see teeth. It's somehow less-sharp than those he previously gave you. "Fire in water... truly, of opposites. Thank you..." You blink, feeling a burst of shock under that cloak of numbness at the thought of Silco showing you any sight of gratefulness.
Your eyes falter as you feel the brush on your cheek. Eyes lightly closed, he runs a careful thumb over the slice he left behind on your skin, growing ever darker by the passing days as you recovered.
"Thank you..." Silco murmurs again, your eyes cracking open to see his thoughtful expression as he gazes down on you. Indecipherable now, but you imagine you would struggle to put a definition on the way he looks at you, even if you were at full awareness. "... thank you for showing me."
The thumb tracing over your new scar pulls away, and he glances at something just out of the corner of your vision, intangible in your current state. "Put them back under," He orders, quiet as if not to startle, before his eyes drop back to you. You're lost in the green and red again, numb to the prick of the sedative, infused with barely-traceable specks of purple, being carefully jabbed into your veins.
Your vision begins to melt into blacks, but the green and the glowing red stay locked onto you. Before, disinterest was the sole thing you saw in them, and now, as one of the last things your mind is aware of as you drift back into the void, you see emotions that you have no hope of reading right now.
"Oh. And before I forget..."
Eyes slip closed, the final half of his sentence growing distant, but words still smooth and unyielding on the attention it has on your hearing before you are again lost once more...
"Congradulations. You impressed me."