Fandom: League of Legends (but in name only)

  • Gaslamp Fantasy
  • Time Loop
  • Alcohol
  • Various Characters but in name only
  • Does this count as Osmosis Fic?
  • Crack? Crack Treated Seriously?
  • Ziggs and Heimerdinger are exes and you cannot stop me

Length: 2.2k, Oneshot

Date Posted: 2021-12-20

Collections: We're Punished Like Failures: We Deserve Less Fun

Portrait of Someone You've Never Met


"The cards told me to come to you," the man with the low-browed hat explained as he took the final empty seat at the table. Ekko slid him the last mug, which he accepted. "I find they're often right."

"Are we just picking up every goddamn weirdo in this tavern tonight?" hissed Ziggs, making good on his minute of progress by knocking his mug directly off the edge of the table in one frustrated gesture.

"Aw, you wound me," said Rumble. "There's only like, three new people here, tops. And that guy's your ex, right?"

"No," replied Ziggs, at the same time as Heimerdinger said, "Yes, unfortunately."

Or, "when the league is legendary idk ive never played it", timeloop edition.


Written for robot_drawings

The short context: We Die Like Fen is a very silly exchange.

Longer context: the tag prompt for this was "100 percent made-up league of legends based on what you think the character portraits are like", and this fic sort of spiraled from there.

I have never watched/played/etc any League of Legends content in my life (unless being in the room for a few minutes while someone else watched Arcane counts), and at the time of writing, the only information I gave myself was the profiles visible when hovering on the front page of the League of Legends wiki. My current osmosis tells me I like these versions better, tbh.

Under most circumstances, Ziggs would be a tricky man to track down. Unlike Heimerdinger, who had stayed in academia instead of disappearing off into the night with spare parts and shady figures until he dropped out of university with hardly so much as a note saying not to look for him, Ziggs did not appear to have a permanent place of residence -- not that Heimerdinger would have known the address if he did, or if Ziggs was even under his own name these days (and by all appearances, he wasn't.) It wasn't as though he would have been asking, either. Old friendships aside, they had no reason to meet.

Naturally, the telegram came as a surprise.

The message arrived by morning, with not so much an explanation as an entire bundle of questions Heimerdinger couldn't even start to unravel, dropped on his doorstep like a cryptic note in an infant's cradle. Honestly, he wasn't sure if the message was an invitation or a threat -- a stranger to him sending it on Ziggs' behalf didn't bode well, but even now... he couldn't stop himself, he supposed. He needed to know.


At least if Heimerdinger was walking into a trap, someone would notice his disappearance. A man like him didn't go missing without leaving a hole behind. Before leaving, he arranged all his things in order -- unfinished inventions sorted and properly labeled Do Not Touch, workshop doors locked, blueprints collated and hidden, the assistant who brought mincemeats from the little place down the street informed that her employer would be away on business for a few days, and so on and so forth.

Whoever sent the telegram had been hurried, but not too much; it would take only half the day by train to reach the nearest town with a station, and an hour or so to make the trek to Piltover, a frontier town so small it wasn't even on the train station's cheap fold-out paper map. Far less warning than Heimerdinger would have liked for a day of travel and all the ruckus, but wherever Ziggs was, he could wait overnight, it seemed.

The bundle of questions only got more tangled. Heimerdinger could follow the thread all he liked, but he had his suspicions it wasn't leading anywhere good.

Entering Piltover, the first thought that struck him was, well, this certainly looks like a place Ziggs would hide.

The next minute or so of meandering down the street on his stubby overburdened legs did nothing to prove that impression wrong. Inhabitants walked the streets with regular glances over their shoulders. Lamplights guttered in their spots by evening, the flame elementals inside probably well underfed. The town, despite its size, sported an impressive number of suspicious dark alleyways, and Heimerdinger actually found himself hurrying up, just a bit, when an imp leaned outside the tavern walls pulled out their cigar to sneer in his direction.

The doors were proper saloon doors, clearly sized for humans and their ilk, so Heimerdinger instead found himself pushing aside a makeshift curtain hung from the bottom as if specially added for patrons his height. His overfull knapsack clipped the doorway and rattled, drawing eyes from around the room. Heimerdinger tried very hard to pretend it hadn't happened, and soldiered on into the tavern.

Most of bar's patrons weren't much to write home about, but a handful stood out -- a dark-skinned human boy arguing with the bartender, some girl in blue braids and an outfit that would have made Heimerdinger blush if he was human and actually cared (humans did get cold without fur though, right?) flirting with a waitress, a man with a low-angled hat shuffling a deck of cards alone in the corner, and a drinking contest between several humans and a creature he would call a felid like himself, if it actually looked anything like one. The mystery patron's mechanical parts felt like an unfair advantage in the contest, though whose advantage was anyone's guess.

It was exactly the sort of bar Ziggs would've taken him to, back in the day, and sure enough, there he was: the man himself.

He'd pulled a hat low over his goggles, but Heimerdinger could picture the old tin-lined flight cap underneath -- the same that he wore on those sneaking-out-of-the-dorms-at-night missions all those years ago, back when whatever he'd gotten himself into was still a scientific endeavor with some drinking buddies and not the reason they hadn't spoken in almost half a decade.

Finding a table wasn't a problem, at least. Ziggs had already sat down at an otherwise empty one, and the nearest neighboring patron, another human, looked too drunk to remember anything she might overhear.

Ziggs looked up as Heimerdinger shoved his baggage under the table and climbed onto the chair beside him. He seemed more surprised than Heimerdinger expected of him, though already hiding it -- surely, he must have noticed him entering the tavern, though. Perhaps Ziggs just hadn't expected him to actually make an appearance.

"Heimer," he said. His breath already smelt like valerian and cheap alchohol, like he'd been trying to steel his nerves. Funny that he'd need it, with his line of work, but one supposed demolitions was a more controlled business, perhaps, than conversation.

"It's Professor Heimerdinger to you," Heimerdinger replied, trying to keep his voice low, "or Esteemed Inventor--"

"You don't need to rub it in," snapped Ziggs. "Not like that position's a secret to anyone. Gods above, I always forget how insufferable you are when you're not around."

"There's no need to be so hostile," said Heimerdinger, restraining his ears from folding back in annoyance. "I came here to help." He paused. "Where's your friend?"

Ziggs' teeth came out half-bared, uneasy. "Don't remember telling you about her."

"The one who sent the telegram," Heimerdinger clarified. "I was rather concerned for your well-being when I received it."

The teeth bared themselves a little further. "... what telegram?"

Heimerdinger blinked rapidly. "The telegram? The one telling me to come to Piltover and bring my things?" That had to be a joke. He couldn't have just forgotten. Calming his nerves was one thing, but forgetting why he'd shown up was another. Unless his friend hadn't told him about the arrangement? "Believe it or not, I was actually worried about you! Admittedly, I was half expecting this would be some kind of trap, but--"

"Heartwarming as that sounds, I didn't send you a telegram. You sent me a telegram," said Ziggs, with a slow, forced deliberation that said he'd already come to a conclusion. An irritating habit of his. "Which means we've been set up." His eyes darted around the bar behind his tinted goggles, and Heimerdinger could see the paranoia setting in, a hand tensing at his belt for whatever Ziggs kept in his pockets. Bombs, probably.

Before the conversation could get any farther, the human boy who'd been arguing with the bartender settled down abruptly at their table with a double round of drinks.

"Hello," said the boy, with a weariness like he'd gotten off a shift behind the bar himself. "Before you ask, I know who you are, and I can explain everything. Drinks?"

"So, lemme make sure we're all getting this straight--" The blue-haired girl, Jinx, leaned over the table so far Heimerdinger expected her to tip over, poking the air in front of the boy's face. "You're from the future?"

"Twice, but I'm just gonna leave that at yes." The boy who'd introduced himself as Ekko shrugged, vaguely nonchalant, while Ziggs eyed an untouched ale with undisguised suspicion. "Basically, I came from the future, and then I broke time trying to go back, so instead of going home, everything just keeps repeating from the day I got here. This is like, loop number four."

"And you need my help because..." Heimerdinger began.

"You and him helped me make the time machine in this time the first time," Ekko finished.

"That's a lot of times," said Jinx.

"Yeah. Also, there's a bunch of other stuff that's going down starting from about a week from now, and it's good to be prepared, because some of it sucks."

"And why, exactly, are we supposed to believe you?" Ziggs demanded, nudging the ale mug half an inch closer to the edge of the table. Heimerdinger considered telling him was being indiscreet, but decided he probably knew.

Ekko sighed. "Let's see. Jinx's full real name was Jinkies but she hated it and burned some government documents to get it changed. You've told me she's like a niece to you but if someone else says that she'll say she just thought you were a dirty old man. You and the inventor were an item in university like twenty years ago and you never really got over him. One time you got in trouble with some mob guys and actually chewed your way out of a locked traveling trunk blindfolded, and you told me about it once because we got stuck in a pitch-dark cave in the abyss and started telling stories to pass the time."

"I-- you--!" Well, that settled it. This Ekko was either psychic, incredibly skilled at digging up dirt on strangers, or an actual time traveler, and so far only the third explained his decision to bring them together with the request to make a time machine.

"Wait, you and the inventor are exes?" Jinx exclaimed, a little too loudly. "Demoman, you never told me you had a lost love!"

"Because I don't, and it's staying that way," Ziggs growled, "and it was none of your damn business to know."

"Well, secret's out," she said, grinning ear to ear. "Man, Rumble and Tris are gonna love hearing all about how you--"

"Just shut up and tell me how much you want for your silence," Ziggs interrupted. Jinx smirked and opened her mouth.

"Too late," a new voice declared, and without much warning, the half-mechanical mystery patron joined the table, casually dropping itself into a spare seat. "I've heard everything, and also I want in."

Ziggs put two fingers to his brow and sighed. "And now he's in this, too?"

"Hey Rumble," said Jinx, who had at no point stopped grinning. "We're talking time travel."

"Don't worry," said Ekko. "I got enough drinks for all of you."

"Still got two left," Rumble observed, already swiping one and taking a swig.

"You're still having more after that?" asked Jinx.

Rumble shrugged. "Contest shots are small. The other guy only managed eight, anyway. So what's this about time travel?"

"My name's Ekko. I'm from the future," Ekko explained again. "And also stuck in a time loop. I need these two's help for making a time machine, and everyone else for the stuff that happens before that."

"Which somehow involves us getting lost in the abyss," Heimerdinger noted, a little hesitantly.

"And you believe this guy?" At Jinx's shrug and the rest of the table's vague agreement, Rumble sighed and let out a short, rough laugh. "Welp. Could be weirder. So who's the last drink for?"

"Eh, you'll see," said Ekko. "Any second now."

The whole table managed five seconds of silence before the sound of shuffling cards interrupted it.

"My apologies," came a voice from directly behind Heimerdinger's back. A glance at the corner confirmed the table there had emptied. (Blasted busy places, the noise of patrons was making it far too difficult to hear things coming.) "I couldn't help but notice the five of you having a conversation about something very, very interesting."

"Right on cue," Ekko murmured, quiet enough the table's humans probably didn't hear.

"The cards told me to come to you," the man with the low-browed hat explained as he took the final empty seat at the table. Ekko slid him the last mug, which he accepted. "I find they're often right."

"Are we just picking up every goddamn weirdo in this tavern tonight?" hissed Ziggs, making good on his minute of progress by knocking his mug directly off the edge of the table in one frustrated gesture.

"Aw, you wound me," said Rumble. "There's only like, three new people here, tops. And that goggles guy's your ex, right?"

"No," replied Ziggs, at the same time as Heimerdinger said, "Yes, unfortunately."

Ziggs glared at him. Heimerdinger rolled his eyes. "He's already heard, hasn't he?"

"Oh, no, that was a lie," said Rumble, "but by all means, continue!"

"I will not, thank you very much," spat Ziggs, raking thin scratches in the table's cheap lacquer.

"Anyway," said Ekko. "Time loops. Abyss. Stuff we need to discuss." He nodded to the man with the hat, who hadn't put down the cards, still deftly shuffling one-handed like a nervous tic while his other hand gripped the mug handle. "You'll pick it up as we go, right?"

"I can try."

"Right, good." Ekko took a deep breath in, and Heimerdinger got the feeling they were all going to be there a while. "So, it started when the gods tried to chain up a dragon in the abyss, like a thousand years ago..."