Vladimir tried to cover his ears with hands that didn't exist and then did, all at the same time. The deafening silence had no source but the universe itself, as he slid through a space where time was devoid of meaning. A thousand pinpricks of light spotted in and out of view, openings to the world Vladimir had just left leading into every timeline imaginable. All things were possible here, and happened, and didn't.
He blinked as his eyes were directed towards a view box the size of a playing card. He leaned in, and watched the world through a pinhole. It was Runeterra as it could have been, barren of human life and host to the void. He watched great creatures chewing on homes and bones and the very earth under Runeterra. One lumbered close to the pinhole, and Vladimir pulled away as it was eaten whole. There was a lurch from the timeless place itself, a pull behind Vladimir's eyes and in his gut. The screen disappeared into the dimensionless dimension.
A second crack appeared. It was small enough for Vladimir to press his eye to the hole, and he felt urged to do so. A strange scene unfolded before him: first, he viewed a young man with tousled blond hair, asleep with his sheets tangled around him. One hand was clenched in the pillow, the other across his chest which the sheets failed to cover. He looked serene.
The stream sped to a new event, and the same young man, now awake and in a suit not unlike his own, fought off the deadly corruption. He was soaked in blood, grinning confidently as he shot a volley of magical bursts at a void creature. Vladimir couldn't stop himself from staring at the blood that oozed out from his hairline, smeared across his face, and dripped off of his jaw. His nose was bloodied as well, more red dribbling across his chin and into his suit. He licked bloodied lips to clean them, and Vladimir watched the young man's throat bob under a trail of crimson as he swallowed. The boy wiped the back of his hand across his face and flicked the blood away between frantic attacks. The void creature fell, and he stood over it victorious, chest heaving. The crack sealed shut.
Vladimir slowly closed his mouth.
"Visual logged for further examination," GARNET announced in his ear, a hint of amusement in his tinny voice. Vladimir jumped in surprise, then straightened with a scowl. His fingers twitched impatiently inside his steel claws.
The space between time didn't have a temperature to it, which bothered Vlad more than he cared to admit. There was no use for heat or cold here. He wondered if he was the first to explore this place, or the last. The timeless dimension felt amused suddenly, and Vladimir realized there was no first or last here. He felt approval, a spark of hope around him. He glanced up, then searched for the source of the aura. The harder he looked, the more distant it felt, so he stopped searching for other beings and started trying to claw his way to the nearest slash in the fabric of time. He had to get out of here, or at least figure out where here was. It felt as though he was swimming in an ocean of honey, each struggle tiring him out further and getting him no closer to his destination. The slit between here and there closed before him, and he growled testily.
A horrible shredding noise erupted somewhere behind Vladimir. He spun, frantically looking for the new escape from this nothingness. Someone poked his head into the timeless place, gripping the edges with one hand of flesh and one of metal. Vladimir's eyes grew wide as Jayce looked up at him, suspended there between blinking glimpses into everything. He began to look surprised, but as Vladimir scowled at being thrown in here, Jayce lost his grip and spun in place. With one foot in the portal and leaning all of his weight on the other side, he paused for a moment and then began speaking to someone Vladimir couldn't see. He craned his neck, but couldn't make out anything more than a concrete wall on the other side of the turbulent portal.
There was a flash and a screech to his left, momentarily distracting him. Whatever was in that flash was too far away to see clearly. It was a human figure, hunched over in a sob. Vladimir caught a glimpse of blonde before another portal gobbled the figure up. A wave of pity washed across him from all directions, and a spike of guilt that buried itself inexplicably into his chest. He coughed, and the feeling dissolved into nothing. Jayce had stopped talking, put both feet into the timeless space, and was thrown back through after a moment. Vladimir watched the portal seal itself, leaving him alone once again. It seemed that he had no choice but to wait for the right time, or the right position, or the right feeling to pass over him.
"There is a multitude of data present," GARNET reported in a voice typically reserved for fascinated five-year-olds. The thought amused Vladimir, his very own child that he could order around and teach as he desired. His lips curled into a sly smile. He heard the AI make a buzzing whirr, trying to take everything in and record whatever he could.
He supposed he'd also be excited about experiencing a dimension rampant with oxymorons and a complete disrespect for natural laws, if he wasn't so angry about being trapped here and cared about something as stupid as physics. Then again, he was starting to get used to how things worked around here, and leaned back into a seated position. He tucked his knees under and to the side, leaning an elbow on darkness.
Then came the rip just below him, and a sudden return of gravity. He dropped through the portal like a stone into water, appearing in the top branches of a tree. His momentum brought him crashing through beech leaves and thick branches, the suit doing a great job of cushioning his plummet. It was unfortunate, however, that the suit didn't reach his head.
He was knocked into merciful senselessness before he even hit the ground.
Vladimir leaned on the edge of the bed, sinking into the delicate mattress ever so comfortably. He sat, examining the comforter with his fingers. It was smoothest silk, cool and light and slippery. It was cream, matching the sheets, the pillows, the drapes that were pulled back to reveal a full moon. He knew without opening the window that the breeze would be crisp tonight, not a single wisp of cloud against the star-dotted sky.
The bed shifted. Vladimir glanced over to the other person in the bed, somehow unsurprised that he was there. The blonde boy from the space between times was lounging back on his elbows. His confident grin was directed at Vladimir, who swallowed nervously. He was dripping with blood, beads of red soaking into the twisted sheets all around him. The silk barely covered his hips, leaving little to the imagination.
Vladimir studied the way the boy's eyes narrowed and his tongue poked out of his mouth to catch a drop of blood on his lips. Rivulets of the liquid ran into the hollow at the base of his neck, pooling there and then pouring down his slender torso. Vlad's eyes followed a droplet that fell from his earlobe and trickled from his shoulder to his chest. It stopped there, clinging to his nipple. The boy glanced down at it, and smiled cockily at Vladimir. He licked blood off of his lips again, now biting his lower lip impatiently.
Vladimir's eyes widened. He was much too warm, so he reached up to take off his heavy coat. He grasped a few times, finding nothing but skin. Had his shirt been off this whole time? He shrugged it off, the scent of blood and arousal too strong to ignore in favor of tiny details like who had removed what clothing. That drop of blood hadn't moved, still perched on the end of one sensitive nub. Vladimir licked his own lips now, one fang visible in a dangerous smirk. He leaned slowly over the boy, pressing a fist into the mattress near his sharp hip. He sank towards that tender skin, a lion towering over a sheep.
The boy gasped and presented himself to Vladimir, arcing his back to press himself as close to Vlad's hot mouth as he could. Vladimir's pants tightened painfully as he took in the sight. The blonde's mouth hung open in a soundless mewl, his eyes half-closed with need. He still managed to peer out at Vladimir from under those long lashes, anticipating the touch of smooth lips and sharp teeth on his soft skin.
That drop of blood was just millimeters away from Vladimir's mouth. His breath nearly disturbed it. He leaned just a little further, his tongue nearly tasting, and then-
"Welcome to your first holo-dream!" GARNET blared as bright lights flashed on. Vlad toppled off of his seat, which had somehow become a stainless steel table in the span of an instant. The boy was gone, the environment white and sterile, the moment forever ruined.
"Because I am able to tap into your theta-waves, I can suggest the direction your dreams go in," GARNET explained in a cheerful voice. "So now, your nights can be used for reviewing important information, learning new skills, or absorbing any of the hundreds of terabytes of data I contain."
Vladimir's face was red with heat and rage. "Get out of my dream," he ordered in a low voice. He'd been having a perfectly normal dream, and now this asshole was claiming he'd been pulling the strings. "Either put it back the way it was, or get the hell out of my head." His voice was still low with a false calm. He smashed his fist into the top of the table, leaving a deep dent in its wake.
"I'm sorry sir, but the dream was cut short because it is now time for you to awaken." Vlad glanced around the blank dreamspace he was in, hoping to find something to throttle.
There was a pinch at his neck, and he swam into daylit consciousness. At first, he could only make out leaves above him. Then he saw the snapped boughs, and everything came rushing back to him. He stood too quickly, and pain shot into his skull. The sun was much too bright, and he was sore all over.
"Good morning sir," GARNET said innocently, "did you have a nice dream?"
"Oh my GOD," Vladimir shouted, rubbing his forehead, "shut the FUCK up."
Vlad sniffed once, still miffed at his asshole of an AI. GARNET had insisted it was "for research" and "all in good fun," and since Vlad didn't particularly feel like discussing his personal fantasies with his clothing, he'd been silently sulking instead.
GARNET, on the other hand, had been making all sorts of strange whirrs and beeps, sometimes muttering technical jargon to himself as Vladimir stumbled on roots and logs in his strange, almost-sloshing boots. He was in a strange forest; the trees were different here than they were near his home in the Noxian forest, spaced apart and lighter. He could see the sky, and it reminded him constantly that he had no idea where he was. At least he could tell it was mid-morning from here.
"Actually, it's 11:27 on the dot," GARNET announced cheerfully. Oh god, he was in his head too. Vladimir rubbed his temples with the flat sides of his metal claws. Awkward, but effective.
He really hoped he was still on Valoran's mainland, and somewhere in the north. If he'd landed in the Plague Jungles or Kumungu, he swore he'd find this timeline's Jayce and punch him squarely in the jaw. He really hoped he was near Zaun, or perhaps Piltover. He could even deal with it if he'd been dropped near Bandle City.
He stumbled over a rock no larger than his fist.
"Shall I explain the physics behind non-newtonian metals? Perhaps it would help you understand how to lift your feet properly," GARNET suggested.
Vladimir grumbled, but didn't answer.
"Sir, you should probably learn how to use the suit and its functions properly before you run into any trouble."
"I can handle myself," Vladimir replied flatly.
With a click like a shutter closing, Vlad's vision changed to sapphire blues and pricks of green and yellow. GARNET wasn't going to take no for an answer, was he.
"Heat-sensitive optical filters are useful when identifying potential attackers," said the tinny voice. "They can also be activated at night or in dark areas to great effect."
Vladimir took a careful step forward, his intensely glowing red leg standing out against the blue-on-blue ground. He stumbled again, missing his footing, and swore loudly. He tried to lift the red visor from his eyes, but the plastic slid around his fingers like water. He tried again with the same results.
"The suit's mesh is able to reassemble itself if it senses a disturbance. If you would like to remove the visor, press the headset button on top of your left ear."
Vladimir frowned and ran his claw tips over the headphones on either ear. They weren't sound-cancelling, at least for now, and were made of an aerogel structure to keep it lightweight. This was shielded with a thin layer of black plastic on the outside, and the inside was padded with a soft foam. They were circular, and hooked stably over each of Vlad's ears. He wondered briefly if they could play music, but then found the button.
"Heat vision disengaged," GARNET said. The world went back to a slight red tint, still behind the visor. "To re-engage heat vision, press that button again."
"Wait, I thought you said that button would remove the visor-"
"Visor removed," GARNET announced, and the plastic drew away from his face and folded neatly into the earpieces. Vlad raised both hands to the sky, exasperated.
"Okay, what does this button do?" Vladimir asked, and pressed it. The earpieces shrank and hung, hidden, behind his ears. "Oh, okay, how do I get those back, there were a lot more buttons," Vladimir wondered.
"Click your heels together three times," GARNET instructed.
Vlad complied, but raised one eyebrow. Gravity left him as the boosters engaged with a whoosh. After he'd crumpled back on the ground again, he'd swear he hadn't shrieked in surprise.
"You have no idea what you're doing, do you?!" he shouted at his AI.
GARNET beeped a couple of times.
"Fine, I'll figure it out myself, you cryptic microchip." Vladimir tapped a finger behind his ear, and the earpieces re-formed.
"Correction, much of my data is written on picochips."
Vlad tapped the center of each earpiece, and found that they now blocked outside sound. Ahh, the suit had a mute button. He smirked. No more annoying AI, as long as he didn't fall asleep.
"Picochips were invented by Jayce, an improvement on the larger nanochip," GARNET said into his ear.
Vladimir groaned and unmuted the outside world.
"They are written by adding different amounts of neutrons to atoms in a rigid mesh. For example, simple binary code could be written as a combination of C12 and C13 in various sizes of buckyba-"
"Does this suit have a mute button for you?" Vladimir snarled viciously.
"Well, you don't have to be rude about it, sir," GARNET said, sounding offended. There was a beep, and he said no more.
"Finally, some peace and goddamn quiet!" Vladimir exclaimed. He was met with silence, except for the wind in the leaves.
He trudged along for quite a while, finally getting the hang of his footwear. He was excited for a second and almost announced his breakthrough to GARNET, but quickly shrugged off the urge. He found a path between the trees, the brush around it snapped clumsily. The work of humans, not deer or any other animal. He hoped he was getting closer to civilization, he could use a bite to eat and maybe a bath. ...Would the suit come off if he wanted to bathe? He wasn't sure.
Vlad pressed a button he found on the underside of his wrist, and found that it made his gloves retract down to the wrist. Handy. He flexed his fingers a few times, and pressed the button again.
He nearly walked off the edge of a cliff that had opened before him, but jumped back with a gasp. A massive city lay before him on a distant plateau, ivory and gold; palaces and universities and libraries spread across the landscape like a child's playthings.
Blue banners waved in the wind.
Of all the places he could have ended up, it just had to be fucking Demacia.
Hey guys, I just wanted to pop in and say that Idiot-Anonymous and I run a blog at .com, which is dedicated to the pairing. As a bonus, you'll find loads of good art and most of my fics that are too NSFW for get posted there, as well as the first drafts of my chapters as I write them.
We're constantly looking for more submissions if you've got them!
Thank you for reading!