Fandom: League of Legends
Characters: Twisted Fate, Graves
Pairings: Graves/Twisted Fate
Word Count: 2,075
It’s a lie and you know it, and Fate’s poker face breaks into a small grin when you open your mouth to say so, egging you on, daring you to call his bluff. For a moment, you want to punch him, but you curl your fists at your sides instead, pluck the nine of hearts from your hand, and slap it face-down in the center of the table.
“Nine,” you growl around the cigar in your mouth.
You don’t know the third person at the table. It’s a lady, no older than eighteen, her hair in two braids, a demented grin plastered to her face, and you wonder how and why Fate chose her of all the bar’s patrons to swindle into a game of bullshit. She’s childish, at best, and you’ve stopped calling bull on her; she bluffs every other turn with the same maniacal laugh, seemingly to Fate’s amusement.
“Three eights,” she giggles now, slamming three cards against the table. You glance at Twisted Fate across the table. He meets your gaze, his eyes glowing cyan, his cards resting against his bottom lip, and offers a small smile.
Cheat, he mouths.
This is a waste of time, you think.
“One eight,” Fate says.
You narrow your eyes. There are two eights in your hand.
“You ain’t told the truth all game, have you?” you ask, letting your gaze drift from Fate to the girl and back again. Fate sets his cards on the table in front of him and cracks his knuckles.
“I never bluff,” he says.
“That’s a bluff ‘n its own right,” you mumble. You reach over and flip Fate’s card over. Eight of clubs.
“Told ya,” he says. You swear under your breath and take the cards into your hand. It’s the middle of the night, and you’re drunk but not wasted. There are plenty of things you’d rather be doing than playing cards with a psycho and a cheat, and truth be told, you can’t wait for this game to be over with. If losing means speeding things up, then you have no desire to win.
You flip through the cards and your suspicions are once again confirmed: this girl hasn’t told the truth once.
“Ace,” you say. You set the ace of spades on the table and sift through your hand.
“Two kings.” The girl puts her last two cards down and grins.
“Bullshit,” you say. You don’t have to check, and she knows it. She pouts and scoops the cards up.
Fate brings his cards to his lips again like he’s thinking hard about something. You watch for longer than you’d care to admit as he runs the hand slowly from his top lip to his chin and back to the corner of his mouth again, then pulls a card away from the rest with his teeth.
“One ace,” he says, holding the card between his middle and index finger. He makes a show of setting it down, running one slender finger across the edge before he pulls his hand away and rests his thumb on his cheek.
“Two aces,” you say. You’d deny it in a heartbeat, but the card sharp looks almost attractive, his feet propped up on the table, his fingers drumming boredly on the wood, one hand tangled in his own hair. Scratch that: there’s no “almost” about it, and when Fate looks up and his glowing eyes meet yours, you look away quickly and pretend to sort your hand.
“Take a picture,” he remarks, pulling his hat down over his eyes. “It’ll last longer.”
“Shut it,” you say.
“A two,” the girl says.
It’s Fate’s turn to call bullshit. He flips the top card. It’s an ace. It takes all your willpower not to groan. Fate laughs and brings one hand to his forehead.
“Nice try, little lady,” he says. The girl looks irritated. You catch her start for her gun, then think better of it, and you tighten your own grip on Destiny under the table.
“It’s gettin’ late,” you say. Twisted Fate looks unconvinced, raising an eyebrow as if to say “you can do better than that,” but the pigtailed girl yawns as if in agreement and leans back in her seat, steadying herself with a foot on the table. Her combat boots look brand new, and you wonder if Fate’s planning to steal them. You doubt they’d fit him, and anyway, they’d be impractical, but they’d fetch a decent price, in their condition.
“It’s only midnight, partner,” Fate protests. “Tired already?” He smiles and pulls his bottom lip deliberately beneath his front teeth, worrying the skin until it breaks, lapping at the blood when it does. You swallow and try to will away the heat pooling in your stomach.
“Places to be,” you reply, setting your cards down. “You win.”
Fate glances at the girl as if hoping she’ll object, but she’s already snoring. He sighs and stands.
“We just gonna leave her?” you ask as he turns to walk away.
“It’d be rude to mug her in her sleep, wouldn’t it?” he asks.
“That ain’t what I meant,” you sigh.
There’s a different boy working the tavern bar than when you first came in; he’s a blond kid, short and soft and blue-eyed, and he offers you and Fate a nervous smile. Fate drops a pouch of coins on the bar and says a few word to him, then starts for the stairs.
“Deck’s rigged,” you say, catching up.
“You have five aces,” you say.
Fate turns on the top stair and smiles that Cheshire Cat smile of his; he produces an ace of spades seemingly out of mid air and taps it against his hat.
“Is this your card?” he jests, slipping it into his pocket.
“You’d better not pull somethin’ like that when it matters,” you grumble, following Fate down the hall. He stops at the last door on the right, pulls it open, and bows dramatically.
“It ain’t illegal if nobody notices,” he says.
“Hm,” you grunt. Illegal’s got nothing to do with it.
The room’s small and slightly more well kept than the one at the last tavern you slept in. You set Destiny down by the window, and Fate drops his boots unceremoniously by the door.
“Who’s sleepin’ on the floor?” he asks. There’s one bed against the far wall, its sheets fresh and free of wrinkles, and you eye it longingly.
“I’ve got a gun,” you say at last.
“I’ve got our money,” Fate replies.
“I’ve got a gun,” you repeat.
You won’t pull the trigger on him, and he knows it. The first time you encountered him in the League, a gold card twirling in the air above his left hand, a confident smile on his lips as he pushed up mid lane, you were all too happy to leave your support to fend off the enemy AD carry in favor of putting a bullet hole in Twisted Fate’s chest. Somehow, it’s different when you know he won’t be back half a minute later with a cocky grin and a flick of a red card to exact his revenge. You can’t kill him here, even if your fingers do twitch at the sight of his exposed neck when he shrugs off his coat and drapes it over the bathroom door.
“Guess it’ll be me, then,” he says. He’s got another card in his hand — blue, this time, and you wonder idly what he’s up to — and he runs it across his lip. “You let me have the bed last time we slept in one of these,” he adds.
“Was that before or after you abandoned me?” you hear yourself ask.
“Malcolm,” he says, and your fingers twitch again at your name on his lips, “you aren’t still —”
There’s something satisfying about punching the other thief in the jaw. His head snaps back, and his beloved hat falls to the floor dejectedly. His eyes flash red so quickly you aren’t sure if you’re seeing straight, and before you can hit him again, he pulls a gold card from his pocket and flicks it at your chest.
“Easy, hotshot,” he drawls, walking a slow, thoughtful circle around you. In that moment, you want nothing more than to lunge at him, to bash in his skull with the barrel of your gun, but you can’t move. When the stun wears off, you turn to grab Fate’s throat, but he’s quicker; the next thing you know, he has you pinned against the wall with a red card dangling lackadaisically from his lips.
It occurs to you that he could kill you, if he wanted to.
“You wanna try that again?” he asks around the card. He’s close, dangerously close, and you can feel his breath on your face, warm and ragged and laced with blood and booze, and his knee is pressed against the front of your jeans and —
The card drops from his mouth and hits the floor, forgotten.
His lips are on yours before you can protest. They’re rough and bloody and familiar, and you don’t push him off until he slips his tongue into your mouth.
“Fate,” you hiss. He grins sheepishly, but he’s unsteady on his feet. He sways a bit, and you seize the opportunity to reverse your positions. His eyes widen in drunken surprise as you slam him against the wall, pinning his wrists above his head.
This is a bad idea and you know it, but you can’t bring yourself to care.
“You bluffed,” Fate breathes.
“You didn’t play any aces last round,” he says. He struggles against your grip, but you hold him firmly to the wall. Leave it to Twisted Fate to be concerned about cards at a time like this.
“Funny,” you growl. You pull him into a kiss, rough and urgent and angry, and when he pulls away, gasping for air, you bite his bottom lip. “I recall you bluffin’ that round, too.” Before you can remind yourself there are at least half a dozen reasons you shouldn’t do it, you’re pushing Fate onto the old, creaky mattress and starting on his belt buckle.
“You ain’t too tired, partner?” he mocks.
There are bloody crescent moons on your shoulders from Fate’s nails when you’re done, and Fate’s throat is dappled with bruises.
“You gonna be around come mornin’?” you hear yourself ask. You let Fate have the bed in your beer- and afterglow-induced haze, and you’re starting to regret it; your back aches enough without being squashed against the hard wooden floor.
“Course,” Fate replies. He throws his hat in the air, catches it, and sets it down on the bedside table.
“Bluff,” you mumble so quietly that you aren’t sure if you actually said it. You must have, because Twisted Fate peers over at you from the bed, and for once, you can see his eyes, dull green and full of hurt that looks almost genuine.
“I never bluff,” he repeats.
“You didn’t play an ace,” you reply. “You had one. You played the four of diamonds instead.”
Fate sighs and rolls over so his back his facing you.
“I love you,” he whispers. Your throat tightens at his words. “And that ain’t a bluff.”
The bed is empty when you wake up. You tell yourself that you aren’t surprised, that you were expecting this to happen, but you can’t deny that it hurts all the same. Fate’s clothes are gone from the floor, and his hat isn’t where he left it; the only indication that he was ever there at all is a Jack of hearts lying on the bed atop the sheets, smiling sadly back at you.
You want to call Fate’s bluff, to yell “bullshit” to the empty room until your voice gives out, but you don’t. You busy yourself polishing Destiny’s barrel instead. Maybe, you think, and of course it’s the hangover talking, but maybe if you don’t call bull, then Fate’s lie will somehow be true.