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Generated: Nov 08, 2017 11:49 PM
Post last updated: Jul 09, 2017 11:03 PM
All part of the plan I just made up
Jinx & Mark in Runeterra
Permalink Mark Unread

Jinx yawns and stretches, shivering a little in the cold night air. Maybe one of these nights she should wear more than a bikini top and a pair of leather shorts... Then again, she's already got more than enough weight to carry. 

Brushing blue-dyed hair out of her face, she surveys the vast brass dome of the roof, picking out the faint edges of wires and charges. Her thumb slides across the glass cap of the detonator. Not yet. Tempting, but not yet.

She can't help but smile a little. 

... still, rigging all this up in the cold took a lot out of her. She can take a moment to sit on the roof's edge and look out across the city lights, can't she? She says so, so she can. Don't worry about the night guard, he doesn't patrol this high. Nobody ever looks up, anyway.

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Something drops onto the roof next to her.

It's a girl, young, in strange clothes. She seems totally unaware of her surroundings, whimpering quietly with intense pain, although she is not visibly injured.

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Jinx looks over at the sound, and stares for a long moment. 

"Uh. Are you okay?"

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She's kind of too busy whimpering to notice or respond, but she does not look super okay, no.

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Okay so she needs to get this girl down off the rooftop and to a safe place where she can recover from whatever is making her be in intense pain, and she should probably try to keep her from screaming in the meantime. But she has nothing to stuff in her mouth and anyway that would be too dangerous SO let's just leave quickly.

Walking over, she casually hefts the strange girl onto her shoulder - the one that's not occupied by her rocket launcher.

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The girl is small and light, easily liftable. She's very tense but doesn't actively struggle, just squeezes her eyes shut and makes quiet pained noises.

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Alright then! Pull her Zapper! Hold on to the girl! Stairs! Downdowndowndowndowndown. Night guard still safely out of the way?

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Night guard: still out of the way. Small whimpering girl: still small, still whimpering.

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Downdowndowndowndowndowndown! Out! Into the alley! Down the street! Left, left, right, left, down into the sewers annnnd here's her bolt hole. Anybody following her?

 

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Nobody following her!

Whimpering girl actually managing to look around! Seems confused and frightened by her surroundings!

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Okay, let's put the whimpering girl down on the less-stained futon, because 1: She can't be comfortable up there and 2: it's kind of awkward to talk to her like this. 

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She grits her teeth and stops whimpering, then says something in a totally unfamiliar language, with visible effort.

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"Uh. Hello. I have no idea what you're saying." 

Jinx digs around in one of the piles of books and ammo and random bits of gun: she comes up with a small vial of deeply red fluid, which she offers. 

"Healing potion?"

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...She looks at the healing potion with confusion and mild suspicion, then tries a handful of other languages, none of them recognizable.

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Jinx shakes her head in reply to the various other languages. She scratches her forearm with her nails, then takes a sip of the potion, still showing her forearm. The red welts vanish almost instantly. 

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...okay, she still has no idea what's going on, but that's a strong argument in favour of drinking the mystery liquid! She reaches for it and takes a sip.

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Jinx waits, and arches an eyebrow. "Any help?"

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Well, she does noticeably relax. And half-smiles and hands the vial back to Jinx.

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Jinx smiles, then holds up a hand and darts out of the room. 

(That one fence she knows still has a translation charm in stock, right? She sure hopes so. Stealing one off a noble could take a while.)

If all goes well, she'll be back in five minutes.

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...okay, sure, she'll just. Stay put, then.

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A few minutes later, a rather more dishevelled-looking Jinx appears, a wide smile plastered across her face. She holds up a little silvery charm. "Hey! Can you understand me now?"

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"Yes I can!" she says, looking and sounding much more chipper. "Where am I?"

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"Sweet! I wasn't sure if this thing —" she pings the charm "— was a load of bunk. Welcome to Piltover, most boring city in the world. Excepting yours truly, of course. Feeling better? Healing potion do the trick? I would've given you a more specific remedy but I didn't know if you were cursed or poisoned or sick or what."

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"'Cursed' is probably closest. I just collapse in unbearable pain for no reason sometimes, usually at really inconvenient moments like when I'm about to inexplicably appear in midair in a city I've never heard of. It lasts a few minutes and then lets up and I'm fine until the next time it comes around. Do you know how I got here? Because I definitely don't know how I got here."

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Jinx shrugs, fingers dancing across a shelf of tossed-together glass vials. "I've got no more of a clue than you. As for your curse or whatever — just pain, you said?" 

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"Yeah. I usually don't bother with painkillers, by the time I'm together enough to take something it's not that bad anymore."

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"Still, if you have another attack — here, take this." She offers a tiny ampoule filled with amber liquid. "That's the good stuff. My supplier says it's based on one of Singed's formulae, a real Noxian soldier-drug. He's probably bullshitting me, but I can tell you from experience that it kills pain dead. No side effects I ever met, either. Great for when you've gotta stitch yourself up — which let me tell you was a really shitty experience before I had this." 

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"Thanks." She accepts the gift. "I, uh, have never heard of 'Singed' or 'Noxian'."

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"Huh. You must be from really far away. Noxus: Big badass dictatorship, strong rule the weak, cull the herd, yadda yadda, not my style but pretty powerful, constantly at war with Demacia, their shiny stuckup rival: Singed's their head alchemist, makes most of their chemical weapons, also fights in the League as one of their Champions." 

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"...Yeah none of those places exist where I'm from. The Eivarni Empire is all there is."

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"Huh. Okay." 

Jinx shrugs. 

"Whaddyagonnadoaboutit?"

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"I'm really not sure! ...What's an alchemist?"

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Jinx taps on the bottle. "Someone who makes magic potions like this. Like Hextech, but for chemistry."

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"Aaaand Hextech...?"

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"Uhhhhh. Magic engineering. Like Fishbones, here." She pats the shark-toothed rocket-launcher affectionately.

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"That's also something we don't have in Eianvar!"

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"Huh. Okay. I don't really... Know much about this stuff? I just use it, I don't build it." 

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"Magic where I'm from isn't very... engineer-y, in general? If I said I'm a Light mage, would that make sense to you...?"

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"Sounds Demacian. Like Lux. Lux is definitely a light-mage. No clue if they work the way you do, though."

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"There's Light and Earth and Air, and Fire and Water and Wood, and then gods," she says. "And those are all the kinds of mage it's possible to be, where I'm from."

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"Yeah, we definitely have more types than those. Like, Swain is probably a mage of like, birds or doom or something."

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"Well. I'm Light, so I can manipulate light and heal people and that's - mostly it. I could do more impressive things if I had more practice."

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"I see. Still more than most people here can do, I'd say."

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"More than most people at home too. Mages aren't common."

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"Congratulations on the awesome magery! Hopefully that means you won't starve to death. Cause, y'know, I am not rolling in so much cash that I can afford to support you full time forever." 

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"I can probably figure something out."

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"Just a warning — there's not a lot of legit jobs around here for foreigners, not that I'd want one. Piltover's prob'ly the most stuck up town on the whole planet. If anybody would refuse awesome light-Mage healing, it'd be them."

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"And what about non-legit jobs?"

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"Oh, there are plenty of those. I'm personally fond of theft and prostitution, at least on the money-making side of things. They might be a bit of a waste of your talents, though." 

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"Never done either. Not sure how good I'd be."

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"Well, personally I don't find you half bad-looking, but you'd probably make more as a back-alley doctor. I've had to patch up more than a few people in my time here, though I've never tried to charge for it: genuine healing magery would probably be worth more than a little."

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"I can do back-alley doctoring. At least in theory. I could use some help with the details, I'm sure."

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"Fortunately for you, I've got a bit of a name for myself in the shadier parts of Piltover. If I put the word about, you'll get plenty of clients. Space and equipment might be more tricky, but..." She grins. "Five-finger discount. When that doesn't work, rocket launcher discount. If you need it, I can probably get it — and I definitely don't mind helping you set yourself up."

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"Really good healers don't need much in the way of equipment. I'm not that good, yet. But I don't know the first thing about what doctors here even use... well, it'll be an adventure."

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"I should have some spare supplies I can give you: while you're learning, you're welcome to stay with me. Though, uh, you should know this isn't where I like, live. Just a convenient bolthole." 

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"I am happy to take you up on your kind offer."

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"Alright then! If you wanna stay here and rest for a bit, feel free, or if you wanted to ask more questions that's also good, or we could head to my place right now, or maybe there's something else I'm forgetting? I do that a lot." 

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"Hmm, let's see, questions - what's this League you mentioned somebody fighting in?"

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"Huh. You really must be from far away: the League of Legends is kind of a big deal. I don't know the details, but I can fill you in on the basics." 

Jinx sits down on the free futon, and absently counts on her fingers. 

"Alright so, magic is a big deal, it's scary, hextech is badass. There are spells and enchanted things out there that will fuck your shit up. If you're a nation, you get your hands on as much of it as possible, because the other side has magic too and if you don't fight magic with magic, things are gonna go badly." 

Jinx cracks a small smile. 

"Except actually fighting magic with magic tends to go badly. It only took one or two magical wars before people started realizing that we were running out of places for people to, uh, live. Things were crawling out of cracks in reality, an entire kingdom is a blasted hellscape now... Yeah, it wasn't good. So the League came in to replace all that. Magical trial by champion, wagering Nexus crystals on the outcome - they're intensely magically powerful, one of the big wars was over a place that's now called the Crystal Scar, three guesses why and the first two don't count, you get the picture. Some of the champions fight for a nation, some of 'em are mercenaries, a few are Things That Should Not Be left over from the bad old days... should I keep going? Want any examples?"

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"Wow, that makes so much more sense than just continuing to fight each other until the continent you're fighting on is under the ocean and covered in horrible monsters," she says.

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"We've still got a whole kingdom of pissed-off dead people, so I wouldn't say we did perfect. But yeah, the League's probably better than that." 

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"A kingdom of pissed-off dead people? Where'd you get one of those?"

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"They call it the Shadow Isles. I dunno what happened to it - my money's on 'too many people being killed and resurrected' - but nothing there stays properly dead anymore. The whole place is covered in the Black Mist, which so far as I know is basically a giant cloud of hate ghosts, and occasionally the Black Mist goes and attacks Bilgewater on the coast, and they call that a Harrowing. S'part of why I don't live in Bilgewater. Anyway, the League uses parts of it as a dueling ground sometimes - nothing there that anybody would mind destroying, and it adds to the tension of the match when a five-story-tall spider could come crashing into the middle of it." 

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"Sounds exciting."

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"Oh, it definitely is. A good chunk of the matches are just so's you know who's got the toughest champions nowadays: they play up the drama a lot. There's this one guy Draven who basically runs on showboating, he throws these enchanted axes that bounce into the air and then he runs and catches them and when he gets 'em going let me tell you it's a sight to see, and of course there's the void beasts and the Shadow Isles representatives and so on. Nobody dies permanently though."

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"People die temporarily?"

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"Yeah! If the Champion dies, then their Summoner just calls them back in a few moments... Okay, this could get complicated. Should I, like, go over it from the top? I'm pretty sure I've got the collectible board game over here somewhere..." 

 

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"Sure, let's hear it. Collectible board game and all."

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"Okay!"

Jinx fishes around in the pile, and retrieves a case of dark wood. She unfolds it and spreads it open, revealing a heavily-forested miniature battlefield. Three sharp paths have been cut through the trees, linking a red jewel in the upper-right corner with a blue jewel in the bottom-left.

"So the basic setup is that most of the dueling terrain is very difficult to move through — dense jungle, usually — and inhabited by monsters. The three paths between the red and blue nexus crystals are called the 'lanes', and they're where most of the fighting happens. They're guarded by towers." Jinx taps a little stone figure placed in one of the lanes, which holds a glowing red crystal high above its head. "The towers can smash visible enemies flat with deadly magical projectiles, and they also sustain defensive enchantments that make attacks on anything further in from them futile. Your team of five champions needs to destroy all the towers in a lane in order to expose the enemy nexus, and then make a final assault and shatter the crystal — all while preventing the same thing from happening to your own Nexus. With me so far?"

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"Yeah," she says, studying the tiny battlefield thoughtfully.

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"Okay, so that's the basics. But it gets better! This isn't just duelling, this is a little simulated war. Each side gets a whole bunch of conjured soldiers - they're extremely dumb, and just run down a lane, attacking anything from the other team. Both sides' soldiers are exactly the same, so any battle between equal forces is largely a matter of luck..." 

Jinx grins. "Until the champions get involved, that is. Their job is to clear a path through the opposing forces so their own minions can attack the tower — and both sides' champions earn additional personal enchantments by the impact they've made, so even close stalemates don't tend to hold for long." 

Jinx taps one of the Nexus Crystals. "Now, your question about people dying temporarily. Sometimes, a Champion kills another one. It comes with the game - and it's worth a lot towards your side's progress through the match. That said... Nobody wants to actually lose a Champion in a ritual duel, right?"

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"Right. Wouldn't want to run out of Champions and have to go back to fighting wars."

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"That's where the Summoners come in. The actual Champions never venture out onto the battlefield: instead, they're Summoned into conjured bodies by dedicated mages. The Champion and their Summoner essentially share that body: sometimes it's an even split, sometimes the Summoner is just along for the ride, and sometimes the Summoner's the one in charge. That last one is how the Void Beasts are controlled, incidentally. If somebody dies, that Champion and their Summoner are going to be disoriented and hurting - they just 'died' - but in a few seconds, a new conjured body is ready and the fight continues." 

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"Huh."

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"Yep. Real luxury version of ressurection magic: most of the other ones don't work nearly that well. On one hand, it sucks that I don't get to come back like that when I die: on the other hand, watching the matches is seriously fun. They're part of the reason I came here, actually: the local sheriff and her deputy both serve as Piltover's Champions in the League." 

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"And, what, you're a fan?"

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"Yeah, you could say that. Every day I'm not arrested, it means I'm better at my job than a proper League Champion."

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"Congratulations."

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"Gotta get my kicks from somewhere, right?" 

Jinx grins, her fingers flicking through tossed-together game pieces in the other half of the case. "Annnnd here she is! Caitlyn, the sheriff who always gets her man!" She holds up a little figurine: Caitlyn's fascimile looks resolutely down the sights of a bolt-action rifle, seemingly unbothered by the voluminous purple top-hat she's wearing.

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...she giggles. "What is that she's holding?"

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"Hextech rifle - it basically throws little pieces of metal really, really fast. Hat lady won her place in the league by being an absurdly good shot with one. She's famous for knocking weapons out of criminals' hands, hitting moving targets through thick underbrush, you get the idea. It's almost impossible to get anywhere near her in the League: when a bullet like that pangs off your helmet's defensive wards, you turn around really fast."

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"Huh."

She studies the figurine thoughtfully.

"Who even decides who fights in the League?"

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"There's a governing body, like the Summoner's Council or something. If you wanna apply, I'm pretty sure there's some mystical mumbo jumbo involved. Most places of any size get to pick at least one or two Champions of their own: Piltover's got four, last I checked."

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"I don't think I want to fight in the League but I think I might want to entertain myself thinking about fighting in the League."

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"I can get that, there's too much politics and rules and regulations and all that crap."

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"Yeah. Politics is not my favourite thing."

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"Congratulations, one more thing we have in common. Less concerned about the whole 'might die in creative ways' thing?" 

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"Well - temporarily die is not at all the same as permanently die."

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Jinx grins. "I agree completely. And that's part of why I carry these." Her fingers tap the shark-toothed tube on her shoulder, the pink metallic blob at her hip, and the blue-glowing tube of her Zapper on her other hip. 

She frowns. "... Now that I think of it, I should give you something. You're probably safe so long as you're with me, but there are enough footpads and asshole nobles around that it makes sense for you to have a weapon just in case."

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"I wouldn't know the first thing about using a weapon like that... do you have anything that's particularly learnable?"

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"Yeah, I was thinking of lending you my Zapper." She takes the luminescent blue tube from its holster, and offers it to her guest handle-first.

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She very tentatively takes the tube. "And how does it... zap?"

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"Trigger's here, just at the top part of the inner bit of handle. Aim the pointy crystal end at the thing you wanna zap, then push the button." 

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She studies the Zapper.

"All right. And what happens to zapped things?"

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Jinx spreads her arms out wide. "Zap me, find out." She grins.

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...she looks at Jinx. She shrugs slightly, a well-you-asked-for-it sort of shrug. She points. She zaps.

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A flash of cyan light, and a yelp. Jinx flops over backwards, her spine arching, and shakes and shudders violently on the futon.

A few moments later, a weak voice drifts up from the floor. 

"... that was dumb."

 

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Ruava looks down at her with a wry smile. "You okay? Need me to get you anything?"

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"Nah, it's my own fault. Forgot how much of a kick these things have. I'm fine."

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"All right."

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Jinx sits up again, and blows an errant bit of her bangs out her face. "So yeah, anybody you shock with that thing is going to have a hard time chasing you for a while. If you have to, kick 'em while they're down."

Jinx tilts her head. 

"... Y'know, if I'm lending my gun to you, I should probably know your name first." 

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She laughs.

"I'm Ruava."

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"Jinx! Nice to meetcha, Ruava. You should know I'm famously bad company and being near me is gonna complicate your life. Last chance to back out?"

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"I don't mind a little complication," she says. "You seem all right so far."

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"Glad to hear it! Anyway, it's late and I should really sleep. On to the apartment?"

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"Sounds good."

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Jinx stands up and stretches: she yawns, and shakes out a slight twitch in one arm. 

"Alright. Stick close: even if a couple girls out late in a bad part of town might make a tempting target, any footpads'll turn around fast when they realize it's me."

 

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"Will do."

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Jinx shoves aside the bookcase that acts as a makeshift door, and turns her head away from the sewer-stench that rolls in. 

"Ugh. Okay, here we go."

And out she goes into the darkness.

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Ruava follows. She decides not to make any light to see by.

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Jink shoves the bookcase back into place, and sets off into the darkness. 

... It really is very dark. The Zapper sheds a little light, but nowhere near enough to really navigate by. 

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Well.

Ruava is a Light mage. In theory she doesn't need to see the light; if it's nearby she can just... tell where it's going. Right?

So she pays attention, and tries to feel the shape of the space in the movement of what little light there is. It works reasonably well, and it's kind of fun, and it lets her keep up with Jinx no problem.

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And before long, they're outside in an alley beneath proper starlight. Jinx sets a fairly brisk pace, threading her way between the verdigrised buildings: the crammed-together townhouses seem to have settled into stately decay, marred here and there by scrawled graffiti.

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It sure is an interesting place.

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It seems to be getting a bit less awful as Jinx leads onward. The buildings are certainly getting younger and taller and shinier, with less graffiti. 

Jinx turns in at the door of a building that, while not exactly respectable, can at least see respectable from where it's standing. 

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Just telling which things are respectable is a fascinating challenge - it's not that hard, but it's very different from what she's used to.

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There is a lobby. A metal marionette of a person looks up, then waves the pair of them through when it sees Jinx. She goes by without even a glance at it. 

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Well all right then. Ruava follows Jinx some more.

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Jinx walks into the hallway beyond, presses a button on the wall, and a little light blinks on above a pair of double doors. She stands there, looking at the light. 

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Okay, sure. This is definitely going to start making sense at some point.

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The doors open, revealing an empty closet on the other side. Jinx steps in, and pushes another button on a panel by the door.

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Ruava follows her into the closet and awaits sense.

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The doors close, and there's a momentary feeling of weight.

Jinx looks bored.

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"...huh," says Ruava. That's motion, is what that is. A moving closet. Handy for getting from place to place.

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And then there's a moment of lightness, and then the doors open to a completely different hallway. 

Jinx takes three steps down the hall, and fishes a key out of her shorts. She tilts her head at the apartment number. "503, in case you need to get back here again on your own."

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"Good to know."

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Into the apartment! Fairly simple but nice: a kitchenette and entertaining space with a little table at a window and a rather ancient-looking couch. Stove, sinkful of dishes, fridge. Big squashy beanbags on the floor. Piles of magazines, a heap of tossed-together jewellery on one of the counters, metal boxes stacked against one wall. A disassembled Zapper sits on the window table, atop what looks like a half-done schematic or maybe a piece of abstract art. 

Jinx's gaze flicks through the corners of the room, then she turns to Ruava with a smile. "Welcome home. It's got running water, central heating, and electricity seven days of ten. Don't trust the fridge unless it's got a block of ice in it, but otherwise the place is pretty decent."

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"It's a nice place," she says. "And I wouldn't know what to trust a fridge with anyway."

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"It's supposed to keep things cold, but it's not very good at it. Anyway, for tonight you can sleep on the couch, or I should have a spare futon I can toss down in the middle of the room if you think that'd be more comfy. I have a ton of spare blankets, do you want like a heavy quilt or something.... Oh, you kind of just appeared, are you even tired? I have no idea what time of day it was where you came from." 

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"It was a little after sunset, but I might as well start sleeping on a local-ish schedule, right? Couch plus blanket works fine."

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"Do you want a heavy comforter, or something lighter, or...?" 

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She considers the temperature. "Yeah, let's go with the heavy blanket. I like to be cozy."

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"One heavy blanket coming right up!" Jinx darts into the bedroom for a moment. 

The blanket is indeed heavy and voluminous and snuggly, in a deep burgundy color that definitely doesn't match the couch. 

"Here you go."

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"That is an amazing blanket," says Ruava, accepting it. She is rather engulfed. "I love it."

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"Big snuggly blankets are definitely on my list of things that are great. Want a second one? They've got down in them, they are just the best." 

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"Just one of them is already almost more blanket than I can handle," she says, laughing. "Look at me. I'm the coziest person alive."

She flumphs on the couch and nestles in the blanket so only her face pokes out.

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Jinx giggles. "Okay, that is amazingly cute. Careful, or I might decide to keep you."

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Ruava grins. "I'm not necessarily opposed to being kept."

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Jinx blushes. And retreats into her bedroom, trailing a string of 'nope nope too tired for this shut up fishbones yes I know she's cute!' 

Her voice drifts in from around the corner. "Goodnight!" 

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"Goodnight!" giggles Ruava from her blanket nest.

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"Yep, goodnight!" 

There's a sound of rustling covers, and then the lights go out. 

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Ruava curls up in her wonderfully cozy blanket nest and goes to sleep.

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Eventually, morning arrives.

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And Ruava remains cozy. She should maybe get up or something, but actually she thinks she will just snuggle this glorious blanket until she sees Jinx.

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Jinx sits at the window table, staring out into the city with a pen in one hand. She doesn't seem to have noticed Ruava's awake yet. 

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There's Jinx! Ruava pokes her head out of her nest. "Good morning."

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Jinx blinks. 

"Sorry, what?"

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She giggles. "Good morning!"

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"Good morning! Sorry, was lost in thought. You need a lot of sleep, don't you? I had time to build an entire gun while you were out." 

Jinx grins, and picks up her spare Zapper from where it was sitting on the table. This one glows pink!

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"They're that quick to build? Wow, now I want to learn how to do that."

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"Well, most of the work is in getting the right parts, and I had this one mostly done already. But yeah! If you want someone to help you learn to make guns, I am totally your girl. Pow-Pow is one hundred percent mine. Now that I think of it, have I shown you her?" 

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"I don't remember being introduced!"

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Jinx picks up the pink blob of metal and sets it on the table with a weighty thunk. Then she presses a button, and the table groans as more gun unfolds - far more than the pink blob should have been able to hold. The resulting contraption is bright pink, three-barrelled, bunny-eared, and almost as large as Jinx's torso. 

"Ruava, Pow-Pow. Pow-Pow, Ruava. Pow-Pow is a gun that can saw through trees. I don't think I need to tell you that building her broke, like, all the laws."

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"She's adorable!"

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Jinx leans in and whispers. "But deadly."

She giggles. 

"I'd offer to test-fire her for you, but I like this apartment."

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"I absolutely want to learn how to make things like that."

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"Probably not going to start with something like Pow-Pow, though. She's my baby: I've been building her out and modifying her for years now. I should have a basic kit kicking around here somewhere, though." 

Jinx presses the button again, and Pow-Pow compresses back into her handy carrying case.

Permalink Eye

"I can start with something smaller," she agrees. "But hopefully just as adorable."

Permalink Eye

"I can do custom art for it! I mean, if you want custom art on it. Do you want custom art on it?"

Permalink Eye

"Sure!"

Permalink Eye

"Custom art of what, though, that is the question." 

Permalink Eye

"I dunno!"

Permalink Eye

"I'm sure we'll think of something. In the meantime, I guess I'm going to have to find some parts for you. Would you prefer to go shopping, or to 'go' 'shopping'?" 

Permalink Eye

Giggle. "I don't know, what's the difference?"

Permalink Eye

"One involves money, the other doesn't." 

Permalink Eye

"Aha. Well, all else being equal I generally prefer not to steal stuff, but if there was a good reason I could make an exception."

Permalink Eye

"Guns are expensiiiiive and if I buy them it's gonna be with less than legal cash anyway, so I don't see the big difference, but sure, whatever. We can get something relatively more legit rather than knocking over one of the arming-posts for the bots." 

Permalink Eye

"Arming-posts for the bots...? What bots?"

Permalink Eye

"Most of the police force around here are bots - not people, just machines operated by remote control. Tougher, stronger, faster than normal humans. Makes it hard for your average criminal to evade or escape them... But I think we've already established that I'm not exactly average." Jinx grins.

Permalink Eye

"You're definitely something special," Ruava agrees. "And stealing from the police is kind of tempting..."

Permalink Eye

"My own Zapper's police-issue. Well, it was before I started fiddling with it."  

Permalink Eye

"I am increasingly tempted."

Permalink Eye

"I mean, it's not as if they can't spare a Zapper or two. But it's your call! After all, I maintain a strict division between my criminal work life and my criminal fun life."

Permalink Eye

Ruava giggles.

"Sure, let's steal from the police."

Permalink Eye

"Alright! Do you wanna do it the smash-and-grab way, or the sneaky silent way? Either is fun: smash and grab's always about as dangerous, sneaky's more unpredictable." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm not sure I'll be much use either way..."

Permalink Eye

"I can alllllways use helpers. Are you absurdly clumsy or terrible under pressure?"

Permalink Eye

"Well, now that you mention it, no and no."

Permalink Eye

"Then if nothing else, you can be a lookout."

Permalink Eye

"Sure."

Permalink Eye

"That said, I do still want your opinion on sneaky or not sneaky. Do you wanna see Pow-Pow in action?"

Permalink Eye

"...Hmm... sneaky, I think."

Permalink Eye

"Aw. Okay. Give me a sec, I gotta change." 

Jinx vanishes off into the bedroom, and there's a sound of running water.

Permalink Eye

Okay then.

Permalink Eye

A few minutes later, Jinx returns from the bathroom. Loose chestnut-brown hair spills down her back: she wears a shapeless sweater top and a pair of jeans, her gunsmoke tattoos almost entirely hidden by the dark fabric. She's not carrying Pow-Pow or Fishbones, but there's plenty of room in that top for her to hide her Zapper. 

"Alright. Let's get going, then."  

Permalink Eye

"Nice," says Ruava. "All right."

Permalink Eye

"I've got to at least be able to fake normalcy, right? Or did you think electric blue was my natural hair color?"

Permalink Eye

"It might've been!"

Permalink Eye

"Oh, right, other world. Nah, it's dye. Takes forever to maintain, but it's worth it."

Permalink Eye

Ruava looks at Jinx consideringly.

Now Jinx's hair is electric blue again! ...And glowing slightly.

"Wow, doing that with light manipulation is even harder than I thought..." She lets it go; the colour fades.

Permalink Eye

"Cute!" 

Permalink Eye

She grins.

Permalink Eye

"That could definitely be a useful trick if you practiced it. Disguise without the disguise."

Permalink Eye

"It's really hard. I might be able to figure out an easier way, but if I did it wouldn't work on myself, because I'm Light."

Permalink Eye

"... Could you maybe explain that a little more?"

Permalink Eye

"Sorry. Um—"

Now Ruava's hair is electric blue and glowing slightly. Now it's bright violet and glowing slightly. Now it's sunny orange-yellow and glowing slightly. Now it's ordinary black again.

"I can do that with lightshaping, because I'm a Light mage," she says. "But most of what a Light mage can do is magic that works on other people. So if I figured out how to do a disguise that wasn't insanely difficult and didn't make you glow, it would be from the works-on-other-people part of my magic, and I wouldn't be able to use it on myself."

Permalink Eye

"Huh. Weird. I guess that makes sense... and it does kinda explain why you can heal people with your light powers. Can you do other stuff?" 

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, but I don't know what yet."

Permalink Eye

"Wanna bet you're gonna get a lot of chances to find out?" 

 

Permalink Eye

She giggles.

Permalink Eye

Jinx smiles back. "Anyway! We should get moving. Oh, and take this." She holds out the silvery translation charm. "It makes a lot more sense for the person who needs translating to have the charm, right? You're probably gonna want to talk to somebody who isn't me eventually. Kinda hard to talk your way out of a jam when nobody can understand you, right?" 

Permalink Eye

"Good idea. Thanks."

She puts on the charm.

"All right, let's go steal stuff."

Permalink Eye

"I thought you'd never ask." 

Back down to the lobby, out through the double doors past the bot, and off we go down the alleyways! Left, right, left, right... 

(There's a poster over there with Jinx's face on it, electric-blue hair and all. "WANTED", yells the poster. "JINX", "REWARD". There's a lot of smaller text beneath the picture.)

Permalink Eye

Well, that's... unsurprising, all things considered.

Permalink Eye

The Jinx on the poster grins at Ruava. She can just about make out the top line of charges below "REWARD": Murder, Unprovoked Assault, Disturbing the Peace, Public... something?

Permalink Eye

Hmm. Something to ask her about later, maybe.

Permalink Eye

Jinx looks back at Ruava. "Hey, what's so interesting? I get it, everything's new, but... Oh, hey!" 

It seems she's noticed the wanted poster.

Permalink Eye

"It's got your name on it," she observes.

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, it does!" She grins. "Read the charges for me, would you?"

Permalink Eye

Now that Ruava's a bit closer, the list of charges is big enough to make out. 

"Murder, Unprovoked Assault, Disturbing the Peace, Public Indecency, Murder Again, Unauthorized Property Recoloration, Unflattering Impersonation of an Officer, Reckless Hexplosive Detonation, Destruction of the Peace, Really Petty Larceny, Exorbitant Weapon Size, Some More Murders, Inciting Mass Hysteria, Making Fun of the Peace, Aggravated Jaywalking, Forging of Official Wanted Posters."

Permalink Eye

Ruava obligingly reads them. When she gets to 'Murder Again', she raises her eyebrows. Somewhere around 'Really Petty Larceny', she starts snickering.

Permalink Eye

"I'm pretty sure this isn't even one of mine! I'd remember 'Unflattering Impersonation of an Officer', that's a good one. Check the bottom left corner for me, wouldja? My tag's there on the ones I made."

Permalink Eye

"Well there's something there..."

Permalink Eye

"X with a line under it?"

Permalink Eye

"Doesn't look like it."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, not one of mine then. Still no way it's legit though." She grins. 

Permalink Eye

"Who's going around making fake wanted posters for you?"

Permalink Eye

"I dunno, I guess it caught on. You said there was something in the lower left - what was it? It's probably the artist's tag."

Permalink Eye

"It's a letter with a line through it, I don't actually know what the letter is called," she says.

Permalink Eye

"I guess translation charms don't substitute for everything, huh? Let me have a look." 

After a moment's inspection, Jinx makes a thoughtful little noise. "Hm. Not one I recognize. Guess I'll have to ask around later."

Permalink Eye

"Guess you're pretty famous, huh?"

Permalink Eye

"Guess so!"

Permalink Eye

"Onward?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, at this rate we're never gonna get anywhere."

Streets streets streets. Occasionally people, minding their own business. And here is a building with a sign out front that marks it as a constabulary arming-post.

Permalink Eye

Goodness. What are they going to do with it?

Permalink Eye

Jinx looks at Ruava.

"Hmm. How good are you at climbing?"

Permalink Eye

"Pretty good. What do I need to climb?"

Permalink Eye

"Well, option one is like, tenth-story work or higher. Option two is 'go in the front, bluff our pants off'."

Permalink Eye

"At home I'd be better at bluffing than climbing, but around here I don't think I'd know what to say. I bet I can make the climb, though."

Permalink Eye

"Alright then, let's go. Follow my lead."

... Her lead, apparently, is a vertical scramble directly up the dilapidated wall of the building right next to them. She seems to be aiming for a balcony about four floors up. 

 

Permalink Eye

Ruava follows.

Permalink Eye

Jinx makes it to the balcony, not even breathing hard. She looks back at Ruava, and grins. 

"A woman of many talents, aren't you?" 

She leans in, and presses her ear to the balcony door.

Permalink Eye

She beams. "I get by."

Permalink Eye

Jinx tries the doorknob. It rattles, but doesn't give. 

"Here's one of mine." 

Her palm thuds into the doorknob, and the next time she tries it, the door opens easily. Beyond lies another apartment, not so different from Jinx's own - though perhaps less cluttered.

Permalink Eye

"Nice trick."

Permalink Eye

Jinx crosses to the outer door of the apartment in three long strides, and looks out through the peephole.

"The trick is knowing a shitty lock when I see one." 

Permalink Eye

"Useful!"

Permalink Eye

"It helps that barely anybody shells out for a decent lock on an exterior door four stories up."

Jinx slips out into the hall.

Permalink Eye

Ruava follows, laughing very quietly.

Permalink Eye

Jinx stops in front of another elevator, and pushes a button. A little up arrow flashes on.

Permalink Eye

What a convenient way to go up!

Permalink Eye

Certainly better than climbing. 

Elevate elevate elevate. Top floor. 

"Now, where's the staircase to the roof..."

Permalink Eye

Ruava still isn't used to the way buildings work around here and won't be much help looking.

Permalink Eye

Fortunately, there aren't many places to search. The stairwell with the roof access door turns up quickly. 

Jinx looks at the padlock on the door, and makes a little 'tsk' noise. 

Permalink Eye

"I don't think this one will give up if you punch it," remarks Ruava.

Permalink Eye

"I was just thinking it's a shame they made such a nice lock, and then used a shackle on it that's only as wide as my pinky."

Jinx pulls a chisel from her hoodie. Bracing it against the lock with her left hand, she puts the butt of her Zapper against the end of it. 

"This'll be loud."

Permalink Eye

She giggles.

Permalink Eye

One sharp tap, and the lock is no longer a problem. Jinx walks briskly out onto the roof, over to the edge nearest the arming-station.

Permalink Eye

Ruava traipses cheerfully after her.

Permalink Eye

Jinx leans out over the edge, and considers the gap between this roof and the arming-station's. 

"... Alley's pretty narrow. This is an easy jump for me, but I've got a lot of practice not flinching from long falls. I don't recommend trying from ten stories up if this is your first time."

Permalink Eye

"I could jump that in my sleep."

Permalink Eye

"Alright. It's just that novices say that and then balk halfway through, trip on the ledge, splat. S'your own fault now if you turn into a street pancake."

Permalink Eye

"I'll be fine. Heights are not a problem I have."

Permalink Eye

Jinx doesn't reply: she just vaults the gap.

Permalink Eye

So does Ruava, as casually as if she does this every day.

Permalink Eye

The door to the station roof is predictably locked from inside. Jinx produces a set of lockpicks with a sigh. 

"Ugh. I hate these things, they're so damn fiddly. Least I've got some decent kifers now." 

Permalink Eye

"Your locks are different here, or I'd offer to help."

Permalink Eye

"You sure are a convenient sort of person to have randomly dropped on me! Just a minute here, I think I've almost got this..." 

Click. 

"THERE we go."

And there goes Jinx again, darting off down the stairwell. 

Permalink Eye

Fun and excitement!

Permalink Eye

Jinx isn't descending this stairwell in a safe or sane manner, unless you consider leaping down from one landing to the next to be both safe and sane. Definitely faster, though, if you don't mind the high chance of a very nasty fall.

Permalink Eye

Ruava pauses for a second at the top of the stairs, observing how the game is played, and then follows in the same manner.

Permalink Eye

That landing is not as close as it looks. How the hell did Jinx make this jump?

Permalink Eye

It's exactly as close as it looks, thank you very much, at least when Ruava's doing the looking. She has to pay attention, but she doesn't have trouble keeping up.

Permalink Eye

And here is a door with the word 'Armory' on it and Jinx has her chisel out and she's not even bothering with the reinforced lock: A few sharp blows and the door sags on one hinge. Jinx pulls her Zapper and sweeps the room, then nods to Ruava.

"Grab everything you can carry, anything that glows is probably valuable, move fast." 

 

Permalink Eye

So Ruava does that. What's the highest available concentration of glowiness? Looks to be those racks of crystals, time to grab a bunch! She's small, she's not going to haul around many of those big weapons by herself, she's better off picking up the smaller stuff.

Permalink Eye

Jinx comes in, takes a brief scan of the room, and then lets out a stifled whoop. She picks up a thing that looks like a grenade with teeth, and shows it to Ruava. 

"Flame Chompers! I didn't know they had these here yet. These are crowd control grenades, you activate 'em and then they leap at the nearest person that's not you, bite 'em, and then they apply a really heavy magic restriction that basically leaves you on the floor unable to move because it feels like a ton of bricks on top of you. And then maybe they explode, depends if you set 'em that way. I've seen these things used in the league, they're that cutting-edge!"

Permalink Eye

...She giggles. "Isn't it a little pointless to grab somebody and pin them to the ground and then explode?"

Permalink Eye

"And then explode is optional!"

Permalink Eye

"Well all right then!"

More glowing crystals. Goodness she's efficient. What even are these.

Permalink Eye

Jinx stuffs crystals into her hoodie pockets, along with a Zapper body. She slips a longer rifle over one shoulder, and then looks around appraisingly one more time. 

"Anything in particular catch your eye?"

Permalink Eye

"Mm..."

Of the available things-that-are-obviously-weapons, most range from 'big' to 'intractably big', but some are small. Ruava-sized, you might say. She darts over to a rack and picks up two little pistol-things.

"There."

Permalink Eye

Jinx gives Ruava's weapon selection an approving smile. "Nice. Alright, let's go."

She throws the door open on its remaining hinge - right into a lurking robot. 

"Oh, hi!" 

Permalink Eye

Goodness. Whatever will they do.

Permalink Eye

Kick the robot through the banister and listen to it smash against the floor five stories down, apparently. 

"And that's our cue to run."

Permalink Eye

Ruava can run! Ruava can totally run.

Permalink Eye

Stairs stairs stairs stairs stairs! Robots with Zappers on the ground floor taking potshots! More robots coming down the landing hallways to investigate the noise! 

Permalink Eye

Running running running dodging running -

- what happens if she surrounds a robot in total darkness?

Permalink Eye

The leader of the group coming down the side hall makes a distressed beep, and goes down in a tangle of limbs. Its followers trip over it almost immediately.

Jinx grins, pulling her Zapper from her hoodie pocket as she runs. "Nice!"

Permalink Eye

Cool. She darkens more robots, particularly any that are trying to shoot at them. The darkness takes a little concentration to maintain, but not a ton.

Permalink Eye

Great, robots on the landing in front of the door to the roof. Zapper bolt to the chest of the closest one, kick it into the second, shit the third one's got a bead on her -

Permalink Eye

Not anymore it doesn't!

Permalink Eye

And now it has a boot in its face as well. Door's still unlocked good out out out - 

Permalink Eye

Out they go! Back to the other roof or what?

Permalink Eye

Back to the other roof and back down the stairs! 

Permalink Eye

Whee!

Permalink Eye

Back to the apartment they came in through! Annnnd stop?

Jinx closes the door behind them and sits down. 

"Okay, we've got a few minutes, they'd have to check every door and there's no sign of forced entry here, they probably know we're in this building but I don't think any of them got a good look at us, if we quickly break down the bigger items so we can stash them then we can probably walk right through them before they form a proper cordon."

She pulls the rifle on her shoulder into her lap, and starts disassembling it. 

"Enjoying my life so far?"

Permalink Eye

"Your life is great."

Everything Ruava picked up is already in her pockets. This makes for some suspiciously bulgy pockets, but she redistributes a few things and then it's not so bad.

Permalink Eye

"You're not half bad either. Light magic there, blinding them?"

Permalink Eye

"Yep! It seemed helpful."

Permalink Eye

"It definitely was!" 

Jinx grins, and absently stands up to wander around the room as she sets to work disassembling the bulkier of her pistols. Yep, this sure is someone's apartment. Much tidier than Jinx's, though. Neat pile of paperwork on the central table, long leather coat thrown over a chair... She absently opens a door and looks into the bedroom. Deep blue dress laid out on the bed, along with a purple top hat. Jeez, who has a sense of fashion like that? I mean, there are lenses attached to that hat, what a weird fashion statement.

Permalink Eye

Wait.

Jinx points at the hat. 

"Hat." 

Permalink Eye

...Ruava last saw that hat on a game piece.

"...hat," she agrees. "Um. Do we need to be out of here."

Permalink Eye

"Uh fuck let me think. Good news, the person who lives here is almost certainly out on business. Bad news, when she hears that this building has us in it she's going to be coming straight here in case somebody's targeting her. Really bad news is that this is gonna look a thousand percent like we just deliberately broke into the chief of police's home. Uuuuuuuuuhhhhh should I leave a note and say 'sorry accident'? That would be dumb she wouldn't believe us so yeah we'd better runAt least I don't look like me?" 

Permalink Eye

"I bet I could make the note believable but running immediately seems safer."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah I'm gonna leave this chunky pistol as a gift for Cait and just go."

Permalink Eye

"Sounds good!"

Permalink Eye

Out onto the balcony! Any bots inconveniently looking this way? No? Okay, down down down down - 

Permalink Eye

Down down down this part is kinda fun really.

Permalink Eye

And casually out of the alley, we are just two everyday citizens, good morning officerbot, what is all the shouting and beeping about?

Permalink Eye

Ruava does a remarkably good impression of someone who is actually completely innocent.

Permalink Eye

Officerbot seems rather preoccupied. Perhaps his police chief is breathing down his neck about something? He hardly even looks away from the doors of the building, just waving this pair of fine upstanding citizens on through. 

Permalink Eye

Good officerbot. Well done.

Permalink Eye

Casual stroll casual stroll turn a corner run for it!

Permalink Eye

Ruava can do that.

Permalink Eye

And three or four blocks later they can return to a casual stroll, now that they're probably not going to be spotted by Caitlyn Herself.

"... Well. That was interesting." Turn left, not back towards the apartment. A few more blocks this way there's another one of her boltholes. 

Permalink Eye

"Fun and excitement," Ruava says cheerfully.

Permalink Eye

"That it was! Anyway, we're not gonna sleep in the apartment tonight: turn in here, basement door, one sec let me get out the key..." 

Jinx fishes in her pocket, and turns up a little piece of twisted glass. As she touches it to a spiderweb of copper by the handle, the heavy metal door swings open, revealing a cramped room with two futons and a few cartons labelled "food", "meds", and "drinks". 

"Not my best bolt-hole, but better than risking Cait following us home." 

Permalink Eye

"Makes sense."

Permalink Eye

"Well then, let's have a look at the haul! What've you got?"

Permalink Eye

"Lots and lots of glowing things!"

So many glowing things. She turns out her pockets. Many glowing things emerge.

"And these," the two small pistols.

Permalink Eye

"Nice! A ton of mana crystals - they use these to recharge the guns, but they're a lot more general purpose than that, you can run just about anything on them if you've a mind to. Heck, maybe we could convert the fridge over so it would work more reliably. The vials'll take a bit more inspection, but I'm willing to bet we can add a few of those to our medical supplies. Those pistols look nice too - mind if I have a closer look? I'm not sure if they're slugthrowers or Zappers from this distance." 

Permalink Eye

"Sure." She hands them over.

Permalink Eye

"Hmm. These look like pretty standard Zappers to me, but this one has a toggle I'm not familiar with... and some extra size to its charge pack, it's subtle but I can see it goes all the way into the handle. Maybe you can set it to be lethal...? Nah, doesn't make a lot of sense, slugthrowers are more efficient at that. Still, both of these are nice pieces: even if you decide not to hang onto them, we can probably sell them for a decent amount of gold."

Jinx rubs her chin.

"Between those, my slugthrower rifle, and the extra crystals, we've definitely made more than enough on this that even if you're missing some parts we can buy them easy." 

Permalink Eye

"Oh good."

Permalink Eye

"Not bad for one job."

Permalink Eye

"It was kind of fun!"

Permalink Eye

"Glad to hear it!" 

Jinx yawns and stretches.

"Heck of a thing, accidentally breaking into the house of the Chief of Police. Trust me when I say that usually doesn't happen." She grins.

Permalink Eye

"I believe you! Maybe I'm - well, not a bad luck charm or we would've gotten caught. A weird luck charm?"

Permalink Eye

"Hee! Something like that. You're successfully managing to complicate my life, and let me tell you, that's not something other people usually do to me."

Permalink Eye

"Should I be proud?"

Permalink Eye

"You definitely should. I think you're the very first not-boring person I've ever met." 

Jinx looks at Ruava contemplatively.

 

Permalink Eye

"Best compliment."

Permalink Eye

...Okay, fuck it. She's going to kiss Ruava and the rest can sort itself out later. 

Permalink Eye

What a great idea!!!

Permalink Eye

Oh good. Good! She's very glad that this was one of her better ideas. More kissing? More kissing. 

Permalink Eye

Definitely more kissing. More kissing is such a good plan.

Permalink Eye

Mmmmmmmm. Kissing. 

... She will probably have to come up for air at some point, but that point is not yet now. 

Permalink Eye

Breathing while kissing is a skill! It is a skill Ruava possesses!

Permalink Eye

She's truly a woman of many talents. It's one of the many things Jinx loves about her. 

Permalink Eye

Awwwwwwwwwwwww.

Permalink Eye

Mmmmmmmm. 

She is tempted to just keep kissing Ruava for forever, but other options are coming to mind and they are things she should probably actually consult her on.

"... So. We're stuck in this little room for the next, mmm, few hours at least. However will we entertain ourselves."

Permalink Eye

"I'm liking your ideas so far. Got any more?"

Permalink Eye

"Small room, underground, middle of the day, one tiny window that lets in the sun... We're gonna sweat through everything we're wearing after a couple hours cooped up in here. I should probably take off this jacket at least."

Permalink Eye

Ruava grins.

"Very logical."

Permalink Eye

"My deductive skills put all the cops here to shame."

No more jacket: just a dark t-shirt with some artistically placed slashes through it.

Permalink Eye

Ruava continues to grin.

Also kisses her again, that seems appropriate to the situation.

Permalink Eye

Kisses! Yes, kisses are good. 

"... It, mm, occurs to me that we're both girls, so there's," kiss, "no reason anyone'd see anything new to them..."

Permalink Eye

"True," Ruava agrees. "So it would be totally reasonable to take off all our clothes right now, is that what you're saying?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh no, your piercing insight has seen right through my cunning plan!"

Permalink Eye

Ruava giggles. And kisses Jinx. And commences taking off all her clothes.

Permalink Eye

Jinx can definitely help with that. The kissing. And also the clothes part. Which happens to reveal new areas for kissing.

 

Permalink Eye

What excellent ideas Jinx has!!

Permalink Eye

Any idea that gets Ruava to smile like that is definitely an excellent idea! Let's see if she can come up with a few more on short notice.

Permalink Eye

Today is going to be a very smiley day.

Permalink Eye

Yesssssss.

... well, Ruava ran out of clothing quickly. One or two more kisses, and then Jinx supposes it's her turn?

Permalink Eye

Definitely.

Permalink Eye

Excellent.

Contrary to what Jinx said earlier, Ruava might actually be learning a few things. Particularly about the extent of Jinx's tattoos and what body parts can be pierced. 

Permalink Eye

Goodness.

Well, Ruava does like to learn new things.

Permalink Eye

Jinx does love to be surprising. Let's reward her bold discoverer with an extra kiss...

Permalink Eye

Kisses! Kisses are so good!

Permalink Eye

Kisses are wonderful! Let's see, what kind of kisses are best? Kisses on the mouth? Kisses on the shoulder, the neck? Kisses on the collarbone? Kisses... lower than that? 

Permalink Eye

All of these kisses. All of them.

Permalink Eye

It's a good thing that Jinx has unlimited stock. 

Permalink Eye

Yes. Very good. An inexhaustible supply of kisses is a valuable resource.

Permalink Eye

It is! But what about an inexhaustible supply of kisses and caresses?

Permalink Eye

Even better!!

Permalink Eye

And in exchange, an inexhaustible supply of those wonderful smiles. How perfect for her. 

Permalink Eye

Yes.

 

Ruava, it turns out, also has an inexhaustible supply of kisses.

Permalink Eye

Oooooh. And Jinx certainly has some areas of interest to kiss.

Permalink Eye

They're very interesting! And kissable!

Permalink Eye

And you know, Jinx doesn't strictly need to stop kissing or caressing Ruava while she's kissing her. 

This leads naturally to the both of them ending up snuggled together rather closely.

Permalink Eye

A positive development!

Permalink Eye

What's Ruava's opinion on the subject of friction?

Permalink Eye

It is a positive opinion!

Permalink Eye

Let's see if we can get her to express that positive opinion more strongly.

Permalink Eye

This is an eminently achievable goal.

 

Actually she's glowing faintly lavender now?

Permalink Eye

Glowy cute wonderful kissable firm Ruava. She gets Jinx the best surprises.

Permalink Eye

It's good to be a nice surprise!!

Permalink Eye

It is! Let's see, can Jinx be as nice a surprise? Perhaps she has something from her other criminal enterprises to repay Ruava with.

Permalink Eye

...Ruava may be tempted to get slightly competitive in the realm of being nice to each other.

Permalink Eye

Oooooooh. Well, if it's a competition then Jinx sees no reason not to bring in that thing she learned from that one madam a few years ago...

Permalink Eye

Ruava is astonishingly knowledgeable. They are going to have such fun together.

Permalink Eye

Oh gosh, is she going to lose to an amateur? 

... Best. Surprise. Ever. 

Permalink Eye

Ruava does aspire to be spectacular.

Permalink Eye

Jinx isn't giving up just yet, though. 

... Maybe it's for the best that they're in a thick-walled concrete basement.

 

Permalink Eye

Ruava is very determined.

...Yes, yes it is.

Permalink Eye

Yes, yes it definitely is.

Jinx seems to be having difficulty keeping up.

Permalink Eye

Victory!!

Permalink Eye

That definitely sounds like victory, yep.

Permalink Eye

Ooh yes it does.

Permalink Eye

... That seems to be keeping Jinx down for rather longer than the Zapper bolt she took to the chest. Good job, Ruava.

Permalink Eye

Ruava is smug. And tired. Perhaps she will have a victory nap.

Permalink Eye

Jinx is also very tired, but not so tired that she can't snuggle a Ruava. 

Permalink Eye

A cozy victory nap.

Permalink Eye

The best kind of victory nap.

Permalink Eye

So cozy and victorious!

Permalink Eye

Jinx could get used to snuggling naked Ruavas amid loot from their heists.  

Permalink Eye

Yes. It is good. Cozy and sleepy and nice and good.

Permalink Eye

Jinx thinks she will softly pet Ruava until one of them falls asleep. That feels like the best plan here.

Permalink Eye

Yes it is.

Ruava dozes off and victory-naps for half an hour or so.

Permalink Eye

Jinx naps as well, on and off. When Ruava wakes up, she's still asleep. 

Permalink Eye

Aww. Ruava snuggles up and lies there, smiling contentedly.

Permalink Eye

Jinx starts a little as she wakes - then giggles, and kisses Ruava softly. 

"Well. Hey there." 

She smiles.

Permalink Eye

Kiss.

"Hi."

Permalink Eye

"... I'm gonna have to get you to teach me that thing one of these days." 

Permalink Eye

"Oh, definitely."

Permalink Eye

"It's a date." 

Jinx runs a hand absently through Ruava's hair. 

"...Much as I'd love to just stay here for the rest of the day, the bed in my apartment is a lot more comfy. Wanna get going?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, good idea. Let's."

Where are her clothes, there are her clothes, now she can get back into her clothes.

Permalink Eye

That is a nice view. 

... But there are also clothes of her own to get into. She should do that. Let's bundle up the loot in the coat and carry it, she's still all sweaty. 

Permalink Eye

Can't imagine how that happened.

Ruava can fit a bunch of stuff back into her pockets, which is useful for not overburdening the coat.

Permalink Eye

Yes, good, clothes are on. Don't want to add another count of public indecency to her wanted poster. 

Jinx runs a hand through her hair, and opens the door, letting in cooler afternoon air. She stands there for a moment, just appreciating the wind on her skin.

Permalink Eye

It's a nice feeling.

Ruava smiles at her.

Permalink Eye

"... Alright, let's go." 

Permalink Eye

She happily follows Jinx home.

Permalink Eye

Apartment 503, home sweet home. Jinx does her habitual sweep of the front room as she steps inside, then tosses her jacketful of loot onto the sofa with a sigh of relief. She flops into the window chair a few moments later. 

"... Gotta say, this day's definitely in my top ten. Sweet adventure, sweet loot, sweet new... girlfriend? I guess you're my girlfriend now, I was going to invite you to sleep in my bed tonight and I don't think I'm going to be in any hurry to kick you out anytime soon."

Permalink Eye

Ruava turns out her pockets onto the loot pile and goes over to lean on the window chair and ruffle Jinx's hair.

"I guess I'm your girlfriend now! This is going to be fun."

Permalink Eye

She has a girlfriend and her girlfriend is petting her and everything is right with the world. 

(Shit, she's nuzzling her. Get a grip, Jinx.)

"Yes! It's wonderful!"

(Okay, maybe not the most reserved agreement ever. Screw it.)

Permalink Eye

Pet pet giggle. "You're really cute, you know that?"

Permalink Eye

"I try!" 

Jinx grins, and tilts her head back to kiss at Ruava's wrist.

Permalink Eye

She giggles. And sits in Jinx's lap and kisses her.

Permalink Eye

mmmmmm excellent

Ooh! She has an idea!

... Once the kissing is done. 

... It takes a little while for there to be a break in the kissing.

Permalink Eye

The kissing is just so good!

...But there is eventually a pause, yes.

Permalink Eye

"So I was thinking - I need to get back to being recognizably me at some point, and usually that's a real pain because I've got so much hair. Wanna help me rebraid it all?"

Permalink Eye

"Sure!"

Permalink Eye

"... I should probably shower first, otherwise it'll be really awkward with the redyeing."

Permalink Eye

"Sensible."

Permalink Eye

"... You're welcome to join me if you like."

Permalink Eye

"What an excellent idea."

Permalink Eye

"Thought you might like it!" 

Now then, off to take a long shower. With kissing. And ooh, she's at home now. What's Ruava's opinion on the contents of her bedside table? Particularly... what about this item that makes low, rumbly noises?

Permalink Eye

...goodness. They don't have those in Eianvar.

Permalink Eye

It's so nice to see that she still has a few things Ruava doesn't know about. Let's have a lesson in its proper application, shall we?

Permalink Eye

Ooh, let's.

Permalink Eye

Jinx is pretty sure she's going to win this round.

Permalink Eye

...yep.

Although Ruava is a very quick learner...

Permalink Eye

Jinx expected nothing less. And honestly, it's kind of a win/win situation for her anyway.

Permalink Eye

Isn't it just!!!

Permalink Eye

Everybody wins!

Permalink Eye

Yes, yes they do.

Permalink Eye

They are the winningest couple ever. 

Permalink Eye

 

"So," says Ruava, "was I going to help you with your hair?"

Permalink Eye

Jinx smiles. "Yeah, we should probably get around to that before we totally exhaust ourselves." 

Permalink Eye

Giggle. "Yeah."

Permalink Eye

Alright then! Towels towels towels... Clothes? ... Jinx thinks she'll follow Ruava's lead on that one. 

Permalink Eye

Clothes make interacting with furniture more comfortable! Ruava puts on clothes.

Permalink Eye

That's a good argument for clothes. Clothes it is, then!

"So would you like me to sit in a chair for this, or lie down on the bed, or...? I'm just considering the ways you can get at my hair, here."

Permalink Eye

"I think sitting in a chair that I can stand behind is probably the optimal hair-braiding position."

Permalink Eye

"Mmm, I can think of some tradeoffs. But sure, let's go with that." Jinx smiles. "The window table probably has the best light."

Permalink Eye

"Sure, window it is."

Permalink Eye

Jinx blinks. "Oh! But, uh, I should probably dye it first. That was technically the reason for the whole shower thing, after all."

 

Permalink Eye

"Yes, I was sort of wondering when that was going to come up."

Permalink Eye

"This shouldn't take too long: it's a really convenient dye to work with, just so long as I don't get rained on." 

Jinx shifts around the mess of combs and brushes and bottles on her bathroom counter, and turns up a bottle in the same electric-blue as her hair. One drop of herringy liquid onto her dark-brown locks, and a wave of shimmering blue spreads across her hair. 

"I gotta say, it's worth every copper for this alchemical stuff just so I don't have to work it in for a fricking half hour. Even with the fishy smell."

Permalink Eye

"That does look really convenient," Ruava agrees.

Permalink Eye

"It's a great bit of alchemy! Too bad there's nothing like that for hair braiding."

Permalink Eye

"That's what friends are for!"

Permalink Eye

"Or girlfriends." Soft kiss.

Off to the window seat! 

Permalink Eye

And now, hair-braiding!

Permalink Eye

"Mmmmmmm. So then, let's see, plans for the evening..." 

Jinx closes her eyes and leans into Ruava's hands a little.

Permalink Eye

"Hmmmm. At some point we should eat something, I'm kinda hungry," she says. "And then maybe you can teach me how to build weapons."

Permalink Eye

Jinx nods, as much as she can nod with Ruava's hands in her hair. "Mmm, now that you mention it I'm pretty hungry as well... Did we have breakfast? Or lunch? I don't think we did. That would probably explain that."

Permalink Eye

"Well, can't do much for myself on that count, but—"

She kisses the top of Jinx's head. There is a faint glow, and a feeling of pleasant comfortable warmth.

"Better?"

Permalink Eye

Jinx blinks. 

"Whoa. That helps. That helps seriously a lot. What did you just do, everything's brighter and more vivid -"

Permalink Eye

"I healed you! It works on stuff like skipped meals! Not perfectly, but it helps!"

Permalink Eye

"But, but - this feels like more than just being less tired, seriously. I mean, it's hard to pin my finger on, but... Like, does your vision usually get sharper when you're less tired? I mean, I guess that's a thing that happens, but..." 

Permalink Eye

"...I mean, if I stay up for three days straight and then get a good night's sleep, or something..."

Permalink Eye

"Well, I do forget to eat sometimes... And I probably don't get enough sleep... But really, I had no idea it was this bad!"

Permalink Eye

"Good thing you're dating a Light mage, then."

Permalink Eye

"Definitely." 

(It's very annoying that this position is awkward for kissing.)

"... Say, do you have pizza in your world?"

Permalink Eye

"No, what's that?"

Permalink Eye

"Okay, pizza break, you gotta try it - the box is on the top shelf of the fridge." 

Permalink Eye

"I'm in the middle of something here!" She kisses the top of Jinx's head again. "I will try pizza when I'm done."

Permalink Eye

Jinx giggles. 

"Alright, alright. I mean, it's not like I'm not enjoying this."

Permalink Eye

Giggle.

Braid braid braid.

Permalink Eye

mmmmm. She's just going to get nice and comfy here. 

(No, asking Ruava to braid her hair was not just an excuse to make Ruava pet her. It's a wholly practical measure that'll let her look more badass sooner.)

Permalink Eye

Braid braid braid braid braid. There is so much hair. And it is all getting braided.

Permalink Eye

This could take a while, and it gets a bit more boring once Ruava's a bit further from her head. 

"So... What was the world you came from like, anyway? I take it you don't have," she waves a hand vaguely at the apartment, "things like this, but I know basically nothing about what life was like for you before you came here." 

Permalink Eye

"Mm... well, I grew up in Akaiet, the capital of Eianvar, on the Lake of Gold in the Godscrest Mountains. The Lake of Gold is ridiculous. It's magic, and it glitters so bright you can't look at it in full sun. There's two rivers coming off it, the Sekni going south and the Nisemi going east, and the gold takes miles to dilute enough that you can't see it anymore."

Permalink Eye

"That sounds very pretty. I'd love to see that sometime... Too bad it's so far away."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah."

Braid braid braid.

"It is pretty, it's just also kind of inconvenient. It's best at night, I think. I used to climb the palace wall and sit on the roof and watch the lake in the moonlight."

Permalink Eye

"So that's where you learned to climb like that! And let me guess, you had to sneak past a bunch of guards on the way?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. My best friend's the imperial prince, and I hate nearly everyone else in the palace, so I sneak in to visit him a lot."

Permalink Eye

"Why am I not surprised at all by your interesting life?"

Permalink Eye

"Probably because you've met me."

First braid done, on to second braid.

Permalink Eye

Ooh, that's getting distracting again.

"mmm, wouldn't have pegged you for nobility though."

Permalink Eye

"I'm complicated. My family was noble but they're all dead and their lands were seized by the Emperor and I'm only still around because the Emperor's mistress had a soft spot for my mother."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, that sounds like about the level of noble bullshit I'm used to."

Permalink Eye

"Some things are the same everywhere, huh?" Braid braid braid. "The Emperor's also really fond of torture, like, entirely too fond, if you get my meaning, which is why I hate him and most of his court, but Korva - my friend the prince - actually has a conscience unlike the rest of those fuckers and is just waiting for his dad to die so he can make everything less horrible."

Permalink Eye

Jinx sighs. 

"I'm almost sad that they're so far away because it means I can't go fuck them up."

Permalink Eye

"I'd be really worried if you went up against Emperor Siurek's court, honestly, he's got some terrifying people on his side."

Permalink Eye

"And I have Pow-Pow." Jinx pats the minigun. "You still haven't seen her in action, have you?" 

Permalink Eye

"I haven't, no. But, well - the issue isn't so much whether you'd lose as what would happen if you did."

Permalink Eye

"... Yeah, I get that. I grew up in Zaun, remember?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't remember you mentioning a place by that name, actually."

Permalink Eye

"It's Piltover's shitter cousin and Noxus' dumping ground for all the shit even it finds politically toxic. The air tastes like death. You couldn't pay me any amount of money to go back to that shithole."

Permalink Eye

"Sounds charming. Remind me not to go there."

Braid braid braid.

Permalink Eye

"I mean, not everything and everyone's awful. I knew some good people back in Zaun. Getting some of them out and into Piltover is part of how I got my rep here. On balance though, really rather would've been born here."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah."

Braid braid braid.

"I really like your hair."

Permalink Eye

"Thanks. I take a lot of time on it. Reminds me... Reminds me I'm me."

Permalink Eye

"Well, it's very pretty. And soft." Braid braid braid.

Permalink Eye

"Flatterer."

Permalink Eye

Ruava giggles.

Braid braid braid done!

"There you go!"

Permalink Eye

Jinx flips the braid around to examine it, and smiles. "Nice! You're good at this. You're good at everything. Guess it's time to add another skill to your long list, huh?"

Permalink Eye

"I like being good at things!"

Permalink Eye

"I mean, who doesn't? But yeah, take a seat and I'll give you that Hextech gunsmithing lecture."

Permalink Eye

"You have my attention," she says, sitting down.

Permalink Eye

"Alright, let's start with the basic components. Power crystal, grip, rails, trigger mechanism. When you pull the trigger, it jars the crystal and makes it release a bit of stored mana, which escapes down the enchanted rails which shape it into essentially a pulse of controlled ball lightning. The range of the piece is dictated by how long the containment holds, and longer, chunkier rails mean you can contain the pulse for longer and aim it more accurately, but obviously the longer and fatter the Zapper the more of a pain it is to haul around, so there's a tradeoff there. You can try upping the power to compensate, but that can make your Zapper have inconsistent results where it's neither a properly nonlethal weapon or a properly lethal one 'cause it depends on the range you hit your target at. I've got some custom tunings on my own that outperform the stock design, but they're pretty complex 'cause it's a balancing act between range and consistency and accuracy and size and not something we wanna start with. For your first one we'll just put together a kit." 

Permalink Eye

"Ooh," she says. "Engineering."

Permalink Eye

"More like kitbashing. I don't know how the rails and crystals work, I just know which ones do what and how to massage 'em a bit and jam 'em together to get them to do what I wannem to. That's why I dunno what's up with your special piece with the switch." 

Permalink Eye

"Amateur engineering. Still fun," she says with a shrug.

Permalink Eye

"Still fun! Watch closely now, I'm gonna disassemble this and then you can try and put it back together. Locking pin for the crystal is here, they're designed to be replaceable when the old one runs low, but to separate the rails from the trigger and the trigger from the body we're gonna need a screwdriver." 

Jinx frowns. "Wait a second, I just had a thought. Speaking of the weird Zapper, can I see it again?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, sure—" Here it is.

Permalink Eye

Jinx looks for the locking pin, and finds a screw. 

"... This Zapper's built so that you have to disassemble the entire thing in order to reload it. What the hell." 

Permalink Eye

"That... seems insane? Why would they do that?"

Permalink Eye

"Well, the crystal is built into the handle, so maybe it was a compromise in order to save on space... But that still doesn't justify it. It'd be a really shitty design if that was the reason." 

Jinx frowns. 

"Do you mind if I disassemble this? No promises I can get it back together again, it's a very strange piece, but I'm just dying to know what the hell is up with it." 

Permalink Eye

"Sure, go ahead. I'm curious too."

Permalink Eye

"Alright!" 

A few minutes of work with various screwdrivers, and the handle breaks in two, exposing a intricately-engraved crystal. 

Jinx blinks. "Holy shit, that's brilliant."

Permalink Eye

She peers at it. "What'd they do?"

Permalink Eye

"They've extended the rails onto the crystal itself, which means that at the very least this gun's got the accuracy and range of something a foot longer than it looks."

Permalink Eye

"Oooh, clever."

Permalink Eye

"Of course, the drawback is that you can't use regular, unengraved crystals... And if you put the has-to-be-symmetrical engraved crystal in upside-down, the gun'll generate a pulse of ball lightning in the grip that'll slag the rails and probably cost you a hand. Which is why you can't replace the ammo yourself as a grunt because you can't tell which way's up."

Permalink Eye

"Ouch. Well."

Permalink Eye

"It's perfectly safe so long as you get it reloaded by a pro, and the crystal's big enough that you can probably go a month between reloads. I might make that trade for an extra foot of gun, especially since I do know which way's up."

Permalink Eye

"How do you tell which way's up?"

Permalink Eye

"The rail design needs to match, and this symbol here -" she points "- needs to be at the start of the rails, which means the bottom of the grip. It's not actually that complex, but I wouldn't trust every single constable in the entire police force to be able to get it right ten times out of ten."

Permalink Eye

"Lucky me, falling in with an expert."

Permalink Eye

"Lucky us, more like. Anyway, let me just reassemble this and then we can start messing about with kits."

Permalink Eye

Ruava bounces excitedly.

Permalink Eye

Kits! Kits kits kits! It shouldn't take long for Ruava to have a few basic Zappers on the table.

Permalink Eye

She is, as ever, a quick learner. And it's really fun.

Permalink Eye

It is! Kits kits kits kits. Is the sun going down? Who cares, we have electric lights here, we were just getting into real customization - 

Permalink Eye

Ooh, customization!!

Permalink Eye

Whoa, these are some nice pieces for an amateur. Then again, she learned from the best...

Permalink Eye

She diiiiiiiiiid. Celebratory kisses?

Permalink Eye

The best kind of kisses.

Permalink Eye

Eeee.

"...So what's this 'pizza' thing you were so excited about a while ago?"

Permalink Eye

"Oh. Yes. Food! Food is important. We should remember food. Uh, top shelf of the fridge, let me get a pan going on the stove..."

Permalink Eye

She retrieves the mysterious artifact from the top shelf of the fridge.

Permalink Eye

The mysterious artifact is a large, flat cardboard box with something inside it. 

Permalink Eye

A food, presumably.

Permalink Eye

Jinx is still preoccupied heating up the stove. Will Ruava dare to open the arcane container?

Permalink Eye

She's very courageous. What's in the box?

Permalink Eye

There appears to be some form of cheese-and-meat-laden flatbread in the box. Its friends call it pizza. Pepperoni pizza.

Permalink Eye

Well all right then.

Permalink Eye

"Pass me a slice of that, would you?"

Permalink Eye

She separates one section from the rest and passes it to Jinx.

Permalink Eye

Annnnd plop into the frying pan. Jinx hums a little tune. "Dum dee dum dum, dum dee deeee..." 

Permalink Eye

"You're very cute. I should not kiss you while you're cooking."

Permalink Eye

"Mm, it's not like this takes a lot of attention..." 

Permalink Eye

"Well now I'm tempted."

Permalink Eye

"Don't be."

Kiss! 

Permalink Eye

Kiss! Giggle.

Permalink Eye

And now there is a smell of cheese and Jinx needs to get a plate down and serve Ruava her first slice of pizza ever. Reheated, but you can't have everything.

Permalink Eye

Goodness. What an event.

"...okay, I can see why you were so excited," she says.

Permalink Eye

"Told you so." 

Jinx kisses Ruava's shoulder, so as not to get in the way of the pizza event. And another slice can go onto the frying paaaan...

Permalink Eye

The pizza is such an event.

Permalink Eye

Ruava's expressions are so fun to watch.

Permalink Eye

Aren't they just.

Permalink Eye

They are!

And she should probably eat some pizza as well, that should also be a thing.

Permalink Eye

 

"Well. That was an experience."

Permalink Eye

"... Honestly, I'm still hungry. Hazards of not eating all day, I guess. Wanna order another one?" 

Permalink Eye

"That sounds like a great idea."

Permalink Eye

"Alright! Oh, and they come with different toppings - do you want one with something more than pepperoni on it? Veggies? Different kinds of meat?"

Permalink Eye

"Sure! Pick something interesting!"

Permalink Eye

"Hmmm. I think I'll get a Supreme." 

Jinx steps over to a blocky, brassy object, turns a dial a few times, and holds a smaller cylinder up to her ear. 

"Hey. Yeah, I'd like a Supreme. Apartment 503, complex 18 on Brass? Yeah. Thanks!"

She sets the cylinder back down.

"Pizza's on its way." 

Permalink Eye

"Clever invention."

Permalink Eye

"One of the better ones, I guess. Someone'll be over on a bike in fifteen minutes or so... And you know, we probably shouldn't leave all our loot out in the open for when they get here. I mean, I'm not trying very hard to hide here, but showing off obviously illegal shit to some random delivery guy is probably not the brightest idea."

Permalink Eye

"Okay, let's hide stuff."

Hiding stuff!

Permalink Eye

It's easy enough to just toss everything into the bedroom for now. 

Permalink Eye

Very reasonable.

Permalink Eye

And after not very much extra time, someone knocks at the door.

Permalink Eye

Is it pizza?

Permalink Eye

It's a Supreme pizza!

Permalink Eye

Jinx smiles and pays the delivery biker.

Permalink Eye

Ruava inspects this novel offering. It's so... pizza.

Permalink Eye

And this one's fresh!

... Speaking of which, Jinx should really turn off the stove. Let's not burn down the apartment.

Permalink Eye

Wisdom.

...she tries the new pizza.

It's interesting, all right!

Permalink Eye

"Feel free to toss any toppings you don't like, I just got the most toppingest pizza available because why not?"

Permalink Eye

"So far I haven't met any I didn't get along with!"

Permalink Eye

"Good to hear it!"

Nom. 

Permalink Eye

Nom nom!

Permalink Eye

Yep, this pizza is going to vanish fast too.

Permalink Eye

All gone!

"Well, that was tasty. Time to sleep?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, probably a good idea. Do you want to stay on the couch, or...?"

Permalink Eye

"Given the option, I think I'd prefer your bed."

Permalink Eye

"I agree a thousand percent with your preferences." 

Permalink Eye

Ruava giggles. And kisses her. That was a kissable sentence.

Permalink Eye

Ooooh, kisses. 

Yes, sharing a bed would be a nice place to be.

Permalink Eye

It would! Ruava makes good decisions! They should go make good decisions together. In Jinx's bed.

Permalink Eye

This has been a day of great decisions, but that one's definitely way up there.

Permalink Eye

Kisses! Great decisions!

And, eventually, sleep. Cozy cuddly Ruava.

Permalink Eye

Tired snuggly Jinx. Featuring absurdly cozy blanket. 

Permalink Eye

Jinx's blankets are the best blankets.

Permalink Eye

Jinx makes an effort to make sleep worth having.

Permalink Eye

So cozy!!!

Ruava sleeps for a reasonable amount of time. This probably means Jinx wakes up before she does.

Permalink Eye

She does! 

... But Ruava is very cozy and she does not want to disturb her. She will stay very still for now.

Permalink Eye

Then she will be rewarded with cozy sleepy Ruava snuggles.

Permalink Eye

Aww. So cute. 

... But there's only so much interest that she can get from any sleeping person, no matter how cute. And she is rather tangled up with her. 

...soft kiss?

Permalink Eye

Sleepy snuggle.

(—and then she freezes up for a moment, the merest instant, hardly noticeable at all—)

She blinks awake with an adorable yawn. "G'morning."

Permalink Eye

Soft soft pet. 

"... Sorry. It's earlier than morning, and I think I startled you..."

Permalink Eye

She smiles. "Yeah, I didn't know where I was for a second. No big deal."

Permalink Eye

"... And waking up with someone in your bed when you're used to other people... Not being on your side..." 

Jinx presses her forehead against Ruava's. 

"... I know it. Happened to me yesterday, back in the basement."

Permalink Eye

"...Yeah."

Hug.

Permalink Eye

Hug. Snuggle. 

Ruava is such a good girlfriend. 

Permalink Eye

Snuggle!

Jinx is pretty great too.

Permalink Eye

"... So yeah, this happens to me a lot. Waking up in the middle of the night, never getting back to sleep. Maybe you shouldn't actually share my bed if I'm just going to keep waking you up like this..."

Absent snuggle.

Permalink Eye

"I can just go back to sleep," she says, shrugging. "I wake up in the middle of the night once in a while too, and I go back to sleep afterward. Or climb the roof of the palace. Either one."

Permalink Eye

"More the latter than the former for me, but for some reason I'm feeling kinda reluctant to get out of this warm snuggly girlfriendy bed."

Permalink Eye

"Can't imagine why."

Snuggle.

Permalink Eye

Snuggle kiss pet pet.

"...Hmmmm."

Permalink Eye

"Mm?"

Permalink Eye

"I was just considering the short list of tiring activities you can do without having to get out of bed."

Permalink Eye

...she grins.

Permalink Eye

And there are soft kisses (everywhere) and soft pets (also everywhere) and cozy snuggles (with a little added friction.)

Permalink Eye

What a great way to react to waking up in the middle of the night.

Permalink Eye

It even helps everyone get back to sleep.

Permalink Eye

It does! Useful and fun!

Permalink Eye

For once, Jinx wakes up after the sun. 

She kisses Ruava sleepily, and smiles.

 

Permalink Eye

Yawn.

"Good morning again!"

Permalink Eye

"Good morning!" 

Jinx snuggles in a little more.

"... You're a really good sleep aid, you know that? Maybe we should make this a habit..." 

Permalink Eye

"That sounds like a great idea."

Permalink Eye

"Thought you might approve."

Now. It is time to vacate the extremely snuggly bed with the extremely snuggly girlfriend.

... later.

Permalink Eye

So snuggly!

...Also hungry.

"Do you think we could make breakfast happen?"

Permalink Eye

"... Yeah, I guess so." 

Flop out of the extremely snuggly bed. Ugh. Why is not everything as snuggly as her bed. This is a crime.

Permalink Eye

Hmm.

How about Ruava wraps herself in a cozy blanket and follows Jinx out of bed and hugs her? Perhaps this will mitigate the unsnuggliness of not-bed.

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... She is going to keep her Ruava forever. But for now she will thank her with a kiss and a making of breakfast. 

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Ruava beams triumphantly and plops cozily on the couch.

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Breakfast breakfast breakfast. 

"Bagel? Egg sandwich? Cereal? ...Actually you know what, I'm gonna make pancakes, this is a pancakes occasion."

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"Ooh."

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"I know, I'm too good to you." 

Jinx giggles, and proceeds with pancakes.

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"You're great."

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"I really am, aren't I?"

She grins. Pancakes pancakes.

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Cozy girlfriend smiling adoringly at pancake girlfriend!

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Lingering glances across the apartment! Pancake girlfriend appreciating snuggly girlfriend! Pancake girlfriend making pancakes!

"Hmm. Blueberries? Cinnamon?" 

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"Blueberries sound tasty!"

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"Alright, blueberry pancakes it is then!"

And here they are, delivered hot right to cozy girlfriend on the sofa. What excellent service.

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Cozy girlfriend is so happy. And well-fed. Nom nom nom.

"You're really great, you know that?"

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Her girlfriend is obviously fishing for kisses, but Jinx sees no reason not to bite. Kiss!

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Eee, kiss! Adoring smile!!

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Ruava is the best girlfriend. And she even tastes of blueberries!

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Cozy girlfriend is extra delicious today!

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All because of pancake girlfriend's help, of course. Kiss kiss.

(Oh gosh they're making each other better girlfriends eeeeeeeee)

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Kisses kisses this is so good. Best morning.

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Kiss kiss okay more pancakes, she must make sure cozy girlfriend does not starve.

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Pancakes!

"These are so good. You are so good."

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Grin grin grin grin!

(And nom some pancakes herself. She needs to keep herself from starving too, so she can make Ruava more pancakes in future.)

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Yes. Pancakes are very important.

Other things that are very important: Adoring gazes from Cozy Girlfriend.

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Jinx miiiight just position herself nicely for Ruava's best appreciation of her jewellery. The dawn light coming through the half-closed blinds lends a rather nice effect, doesn't it? It's all glinty. 

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She's so pretty!!!!!

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She tries! 

(More blueberry kisses! It seems appropriate that she tastes how her hair looks.)

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Blueberry kisses are good. Jinx is good. Everything is good.

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Everything is good and she is just going to hold Ruava for a long moment and snuggle her on the couch.

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Ruava is small and huggable. This is an excellent plan. Very cozy.

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Coze coze coze. 

... Alright, good, Ruava is solid. She can stop squeezing her now.

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Ruava is solid. And grinning at her. It is an absolutely unquestionable grin.

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It is a grin that deserves kisses! 

"... Ummmm. Just in case it wasn't totally obvious, I'm like ninety percent sure I'm falling for you hard." 

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"...yeah, same here," she admits.

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"... Gotta say, not regretting it at aaaaaalllll so far." Kiss, kiss.

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"Me neither!" Kiss.

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Kiss! 

"... Okay, either we need to decide that we're not going outside today or we need to get some clothes on. Penny for your thoughts?" 

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"Well, if we were going to go outside, what would we do there?"

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"... Can't think of anything." 

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"Then I guess we're staying in!"

Kiss.

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Kiss!

"Okay, I mean... we could go another round, but let's not just now. I was actually kind of thinking you might wanna have a look at some of my art?"

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"Ooh, art!"

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"Graffiti art! I mean, you've already been admiring some of my work, the gunsmoke-and-bullets piece -" she gestures to her rather extensive tattoo "- is mine, but of course I've got more to show you. Let me see, where did I shove my artbook..."

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"That tattoo is really pretty."

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"I think you might be biased 'cause it's attached to a pretty girl, but I'll take what I can get." 

Artbook! Lots of abstract designs with X-shaped motifs in them. Lots of gunsmoke and lightning. And... A landscape of Piltover, done in a sketchy, impressionistic style, from the top of a roof at dawn.

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"These are lovely," she says, hugging her. "I'm not nearly that good but now I almost want to try drawing Godscrest."

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"If you wanna try, I've got some art supplies... And another sketchbook you might want to see."

She lapses into silence.

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"Hmm?"

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"... Sorry, didn't want to kill the mood. It's... the Zaun sketchbook." 

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"Ah."

Hug.

"I can look at that."

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"You really don't have to. It's just. If you want to. And I guess I'm sort of explaining that I'm not expecting all the things you might want to draw to be happy."

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More hug.

"Yeah. I'm - I do want to see it, I think."

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Jinx hands her a sketchbook. The sketchbook. 

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And what is in the sketchbook?

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Smoke. Gunsmoke. A lot of gunsmoke. Struck through with crosses. And then faces. People Ruava doesn't know, but that look about Jinx's age. A lot of them look hollow, eaten out from the inside. Some of them have wounds that definitely aren't survivable. Gnarled smoke like grasping hands. Acid-green sludge and blue lightning amid the sky. Weapon schematics. She recognizes Pow-Pow. It wasn't always pink, nor did it always have bunny ears. Here's a portrait of a chestnut-haired girl. Smoke clings to her tattered clothes. She sits in an awkward heap, amid a pile of debris. Blue lightning seethes behind her eyes, reflecting in/from the barrel of the Zapper she holds in one hand. Here's a skyline of a city that's probably Zaun. It doesn't look like the kind of place anyone wants to visit. There isn't a sun.

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Yeah. That sure is a place.

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It sure is.

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Hug.

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Hug.

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"All the landscapes in Akaiet are pretty," she murmurs. "The nasty stuff happens indoors."

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"That's... Part of it, almost. Sometimes I'm not sure how much of it is Zaun being awful and how much is smaller me being a scared little kid with nobody to turn to. I mean, I know for sure that some of these people that I've drawn... With the wounds... are still very much alive, nothing like that happened to them."

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More hug.

"...The Emperor's mistress... if she wants somebody alive, they stay that way. She could do things like that to somebody and the next day you wouldn't be able to tell they'd ever been hurt."

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"... That's an awfully cheery thought. Especially in a world with healing potions." 

Jinx shudders. She's going to lie her head on Ruava's shoulder and close her eyes and hold her close and just not think about all this for a moment.

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Yeah. Good plan.

Hugs.

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Hugs hugs hugs. 

... This seems to be helping!

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Hugs are good.

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Hugs don't exist in Zaun, so she's definitely doing a hell of a lot better than she was. 

...nope, not done clinging to her girlfriend. 

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Cozy girlfriend is very huggable. This is a fact about cozy girlfriend.

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... She is! 

Snuggle snuggle snuggle. What a good world this is with cozy huggable girlfriends in it.

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Yes. Yes it is.

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Mmm. Contented snuggle. 

... She is going to kiss her girlfriend for being so nice and snuggly and real.

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Good plan!

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Oh good. 

Kiss kiss kiss. 

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Cozy girlfriend is, it turns out, also very kissable. Imagine that.

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... That helps a lot. 

Fortified with kisses, she says: 

"So I guess you're probably wondering about the tattoos now, right?"

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"What's the deal with the tattoos?"

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"It's kinda complex. Reminds me where I'm from. Tells everybody else where I'm from. Especially tells people from Zaun where I'm from. Gives me a bit of Zaun's... aura, I guess. I mean, everybody knows you don't fuck with a Zaunite. But..." 

She rests her head on Ruava's shoulder.

"... I guess it's also about reminding me where to keep Zaun. Skin-deep. It ain't going to go away, but I can make it into something... Beautiful and mine, I guess. The hair's sort of like that too." 

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Ruava smiles and hugs her.

"It's a beautiful tattoo. Beautiful hair, too."

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"Awwwwww." 

Kiss.

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Kiss!

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"The hair's actually a lot happier. Reminds me I'm not in Zaun anymore."

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"It's great hair!"

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"It is! I'd never have been able to keep it this long in Zaun."

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Snuggle. "And it's really fun to braid."

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Snuggle.

"It's really fun to have braided!"

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She grins. "That works out nicely."

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"It dooooooes!" 

Snuggle snuggle.

"One moment, let me grab my sketchpad."

Sketchpad!

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And now Jinx has both a sketchpad and a cozy girlfriend!

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Snuggle snuggle sketch sketch. 

After a few minutes of cuddles, Jinx has a fairly decent outline of a pair of hands in a braid of hair.

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Cute!

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"Hmmmm. Not quite right for on a gun. And I mean, are you a tattoo person? And even if you were, not sure you'd want just like the first thing I thought of." Jinx giggles. "...Cute though." She flips a page and starts doodling something else.

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She giggles softly.

"I don't know if I'm a tattoo person."

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"Yeah, it's kind of a big commitment. Want me to draw anything particular? Oh, or did you wanna have a turn?"

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"Mm... sure, I'll try drawing my mountains."

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Here is a sketchpad. It comes with a kiss!

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Eee, a kiss!

Okay. She takes the sketchpad and starts drawing. A valley, a lake, mountains... no, that's wrong. She starts again on a different part of the page. The lake, the way it shines... the mountains, and the sun... no. Start again. The sun in the sky, wrapped in a blanket of clouds, and the mountains, and the lake... nope, start again.

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Jinx seems to have decided to kiss Ruava every time she starts over.

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Well that's adorable.

Draw draw draw. These mountains aren't right. These mountains aren't right either. She has to get the mountains right. And the lake. And the sun.

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This is important. Jinx will provide kisses and watch with fascination.

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Kisses are a positive contribution to this enterprise!

After a few pages, she has something she's willing to work on for longer than thirty seconds. It really is a beautiful lake. It's hard to capture the way the light shines off it, but she manages pretty well.

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It's a nice lake! 

(Jinx visibly restrains herself from taking the pencil.)

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"Mm?"

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"Sorry, I just. I feel like I know how to do the effect you're going for?"

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"Okay, let's see." She hands over the pencil.

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"I didn't actually mean hand me the - okay, sure, I'll do it." 

Sketch sketch sketch?

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"Hmmm." She looks at the result. "Yeah, that's... closer..."

She takes the pencil back and tries again on the next page. It's a little clearer what she's going for, this time - wow, that lake is shiny.

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Oooooooo.

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It's so shiny!

Next page, next attempt. Now she's really getting somewhere. This one positively glows.

"I think that's as close as I can get."

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"That's very nice. Would color help?"

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"Yeah. It's not the same without the gold."

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Annnd off to get some colored pens and pencils! 

Rummage rummage rummage. 

"Aha! Here you go."

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"Time for me to learn to draw all over again."

Now with colour!

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"It's really hot how you just pick up new skills on the fly like that." 

Kiss! ...Long kiss. Then perch over Ruava's shoulder to watch her work.

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Giggle.

Draw draw draw.

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Snuggle snuggle watch. 

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The lake is gold; the mountains are a hundred different colours, blue-grey, pink, rust-red...

"I'm sure I'm not getting all the colours in the right places, but that's what the view across the Lake of Gold looks like. The Godscrest Mountains are kinda crazy." She flips the page and starts another version.

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"It's beautiful."

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Ruava smiles. "Yeah."

Draw draw draw. No that's not quite right, start again.

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Kiss!

... Mmmm, maybe she shouldn't kiss Ruava when she starts over, it's rather a perverse incentive.

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But it's so much fun!

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It iiiiiis.

Jinx thinks she will grab another sketchpad quickly and sketch Ruava sketching her lake.

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Well that's adorable.

Draw draw draw. It's a very pretty lake, and very pretty mountains, and hmm, she thinks she's done the best she can on the daytime view, time to try drawing it how it looks at night...

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Uuuuugh she just can't get Ruava's smile right. Start over!

(That is a very pretty landscape though. Very very pretty.)

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Hmm no she's got the light all wrong. Start over.

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Kiss! Must not forget the kisses. 

(Why are expressions so hard.)

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Eee, kiss!

Draw draw draw. Hmm, she can't tell what's wrong with this one but she can tell there's something - she sticks with it so she can figure out what the problem is. Something about the light, it's always the light, light is so hard. Which is hilarious when you think about it. What specifically is it about the light, though... oh, it's the way the moonlight reflects back onto the mountains from the water. Which is particularly hard to capture because it moves, and she cannot make the drawing move.

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Jinx watches and draws. Expressions are still really hard and trying to capture a smile like Ruava's on paper is like trying to... do something really hard, Jinx doesn't have the spare brain for metaphors right now. 

She tries anyway.

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She flips the page and starts over, trying to capture the shimmer.

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Distracted kiss sketch sketch nope flip sketch sketch.

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Hmmm... nope, this iteration isn't quite getting it either. Flip (kiss?) draw draw draw.

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Kiss! Very kiss! 

(Wait, did Ruava just kiss her when she started over? ohgoshohgoshohgoshohgosh... Okay she's just put a line right through sketchy Ruava's chin. ...Flip?)

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Draw draw draw - no, she's still not getting the light...

Maybe a different approach is required. She closes the sketchbook and closes her eyes and remembers the view from the palace roof and tries to build it out of light, a ghostly image floating in the air.

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Oh gosh.

... she has the best girlfriend.

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Even working with light directly like this, it's still hard to get it right. She builds it slowly, starting with vague blurry shapes and then filling in details and tweaking them and she made this mountain too short, why did she do that, no the skyline still looks wrong, oh it's that other mountain... and then she has to figure out how to get the movement right, and that's a whole new problem...

But eventually, she points at the floating landscape and says, "That's what the Lake of Gold looks like at night."

Moonlight glitters from the water, throwing thousands of faint ever-shifting reflections onto the mountains above. Every rippling wave makes its own contribution to the fountain of light. No wonder she couldn't get it down on paper. It's breathtaking.

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Sorry, Ruava, if you were looking for comments: Jinx busy being enthralled.

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Awwwwww.

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... Kiss. 

(Jinx is still out of words, but she has remembered Ruava exists.)

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Kisses are distracting. The image dissolves. Ruava hugs her adorable girlfriend.

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Snug snug snug snug snug. 

Wonderful beautiful talented girlfriend.

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Eeeee snuggles.

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Yessss.

"You're really wonderful, have I told you that recently?" Kiss.

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"Awww, thanks. You're pretty great yourself." Kiss.

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"... Okay, I need to give you something beautiful in exchange for that. Want to do some work on that custom art?"

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"Sure."

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"Any themes you'd like?"

Doodle doodle doodle. Rose? Braid? Cat? Brick? Crystal? 

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"...I dunno."

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"Hmmm, how about..." 

Crescent moon... Half-submerged beneath waves... No, not right. Beautiful, but Ruava isn't exactly a moonlight person. 

Sunlight, then? No, the classic straight lines of sunbeams don't suit her either. Something... Fluid and beautiful and dazzling, like quicksilver, but gold. The lake seems fitting, but it has too many associations with painful things. A snake? No, for the same reasons as the moon. Flexible, filled with life, beautiful, strong... Vines? Vines seem better than anything else she's come up with so far. With dew on the leaves...? No, that seems off somehow. Sketch sketch sketch?

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"It's all so pretty," says Ruava, snuggling her.

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Jinx smiles. "Aw, thanks. It's beautiful because it's you." 

Sketch sketch. Vines are close, maybe another plant? A willow tree, something that bends in the wind but doesn't break...? No, no, willow trees can have switches cut from them... Oak seems sort of right, Ruava does seem to have a sense of... not solidity, but unconquerability about her somehow, but too stiff and has the same problems as willow. Stone is right out. ...sand? She's not very good at dunes, but sand flows, sand seems eternal, but again it's not right, too harsh. Ruava is green and growing and full of life. A flower would be too delicate, a bush too undignified. Maybe an animal? Sketch sketch sketch sketch...

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Snuggle snuggle. Admiring the lovely sketches.

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Mmmmm. Maybe a hart or a stag? That feels even closer than the vines, harts are graceful and nimble and deeply interlinked with nature... But on the other hand it just feels utterly wrong to cast Ruava in the role of prey. Stags are more regal, lords of the forest, less associated with being hunted... Yeah, no, way too stiff and masculine. A hart is really close though. Hart, hart. Heart? She doodles a little heart-shape and grins at Ruava. Alright, okay, swift, graceful, beautiful, but not something you hunt. A feline...? Lioness? No, again too stiff. A bobcat is closer but not close enough. Oh! She should try a bird. Swan? Nah, swans are too vicious and also cliche. A raven would be too dark. ...a magpie? Yes, a magpie. Iridescent feathers, cunning, insightful, free to flit from place to place... But not quite enduring enough, there's some superstition there but that sense of inconquerability doesn't quite come through. Magpie on a vine? No, they don't quite go together do they. It feels right to have the magpie perched on... Something to represent the troubles Ruava's had. Not a skull, skulls are cliche. A willow branch. Yes. 

Sketch sketch sketch. If she can't capture Ruava's smile on paper, she can at least think of the way Ruava's smile makes her feel, and put that into the way the magpie's feathers shine...

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"Wow," she says, watching the magpie take shape.

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Jinx doesn't hear her: she's too focussed on getting the iridescence exactly right. Ruava deserves all the talent she can bring to bear, here.

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So pretty!!

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Jinx is going to make this the best magpie she's ever drawn.

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Eeeeeeee.

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... This could take a while.

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Ruava is content to snuggle quietly and watch Jinx draw for at least a few hours!

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Then after about an hour and a half, Jinx will finally be finished with her piece for Ruava. Or at least making changes so small that Ruava can't really see any difference. 

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"It's amazing," she says.

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Jinx looks up from the detail of the beak that she's been trying to get just perfect for the last minute.

"...sorry?"

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She laughs. "I said, that's amazing."

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"Aww. You're too kind." 

Kiss! 

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Kiss.

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Yes, kiss! And art. There is also art.

"... Now that I look at this again, it's probably too big to fit on a gun."

Jinx sighs.

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"It's still gorgeous."

Kiss.

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Kiss!

Snuggle snuggle. Ow, her hand has a cramp. Massage massage.

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Snuggle snuggle snuggle.

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... Spending the rest of the day snuggled up with Ruava wouldn't be so bad. Let's just go with that until further notice.

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Mmmmm, cozy.

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Coze coze kiss kiss.

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Cozy kisses are one of the best kinds of kisses!

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They aaaaaare!

...Okay, either they need to do a new thing, or the default is going to be even closer more friction-y snuggles.

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...that's a pretty good kind of snuggles.

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Jinx thought so!

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Jinx is very smart.

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And also snuggly and firm and some other things as well.

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Goodness. Yes she is.

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'Dexterous' comes to mind.

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Definitely.

How about 'delicious'?

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Ooh, yes. That's definitely one of her better attributes.

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It iiiis.

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"Appreciative" is also on the list.

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Oh good. Ruava does love to be appreciated.

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She deserves it: she has so many good attributes to appreciate.

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Eee.