Cognitive Dissonance @hexmage
Epilogue And now, a more Zaunite point of view.

Jayce has been sent off with a stiff wave - the man was practically grinning ear-to-ear as he went, for reasons Viktor couldn’t quite deduce. Was it the other man’s apology that had caused such a lightening of spirits? Perhaps Jayce had needed to “get something off his chest”, or whatever the phrase was. It didn’t particularly matter if he was happy or not, did it? The thoughts and emotions of others were inconsequential to the Glorious Evolution.

Viktor cleans up the kitchen area quickly enough, washing both teacup and samovar by hand. Something feels different about his home, now, something more than the pile of papers he had to disturb to give Jayce a place to sit. It is as if the world has shifted, slightly, and he didn’t move with it. He shoos that thought away with a small shake of his head. It is simply Jayce’s unexpected appearance that caused this difference, a break in his routine and nothing more. It will be fixed.


It is a very human room, unfortunately. It contains the artifacts of his childhood to his college days, if an observant eye knows where to look. Viktor reaches beneath his small bed, drawing out a small box covered with a substantial layer of dust. His hands leave asymmetrical prints on its lid and sides. Why, of all times and places, is he compelled to revisit this now? It is something best buried and forgotten, if not burned. But he’s never had the heart for this sort of destruction.

Something in Viktor (one of the last damnable dregs of emotion left in him, if he had to specify) is telling him to go upstairs to his room. The urge is one he would usually cast aside with ease - logically, it is a desire to retreat to a self-defined sanctuary - but everything else is askew enough that it is an idea he decides to indulge. He leaves his mask on the kitchen table before ascending the stairs, their faded carpeting hardly giving beneath his metal feet. His room is just as he left it, of course, bed still somewhat unmade and a medical textbook still open on the nightstand.

It is a very human room, unfortunately. It contains the artifacts of his childhood to his college days, if an observant eye knows where to look. Viktor reaches beneath his small bed, drawing out a small box covered with a substantial layer of dust. His hands leave asymmetrical prints on its lid and sides. Why, of all times and places, is he compelled to revisit this now? It is something best buried and forgotten, if not burned. But he’s never had the heart for this sort of destruction.

He opens the box, and his face stares up at him. Not just his own, of course, there is Agata and Mikhail and Jan and the rest of the doctoral team, faces beaming with pride and youth. His is just the same. Viktor shuffles through the photographs and newspaper clippings, through the scribbled notes of progress. A team leader is in charge of preserving documents, obviously, and the court had deemed these too unimportant to be admitted into evidence. No one had asked for them - and, truthfully, Viktor would not have given them up so easily.

These are the faces and writings of the people who betrayed him. They had taken what Pididly had offered: a letter of recommendation to compliment their doctorates, money to alleviate their debts, and gone on to work at the cutting edges of their fields. It would be easier if this were his version of a bounty board, faces ready to be blacked out once he had exacted his revenge, but Viktor’s life is not a story. These people are not the villains in a tale in which he is the hero - perhaps that would be an appropriate fiction for Piltover, one man struggling against an evil cabal.

It's really done! The credits have rolled, the mid-credits hidden scene has played, all of that good stuff... Onto the acknowledgements. Thank you to MEGA and Arcy, who sat through the very first drafts of chapters one and two. Those were rough days, to say the least! The fact that you two kept reading - and wanting more, no less - is something very nice. Thank you to Ikley, for your feedback on a few chapters (especially the epilogue)! Also, for being one of the longest-running Viktor fans that there is. Thank you to Chris for beta'ing most of these chapters and putting up with many conversations about the nature of Jayce as a character. Also for being a big help with Blitzcrank's characterization and how to apply a consistently non-human way of thinking to our favorite steam-powered robot, even if he only appears for one chapter! Thank you to Tyelp and Jock for reading the final chapter and helping make this epilogue become a reality! Also for general Viktor and Jayce discussions, of course. Finally, thank you to all my other readers that I haven't named individually! Again: your support has meant a lot to me. It's always fun to write, but it's even better with an audience.
1. Prologue 511 0 0 2. Chapter One 2197 0 0 3. Chapter Two 3090 0 0 4. Chapter Three 2314 0 0 5. Chapter Four 2635 0 0 6. Chapter Five 2371 0 0 7. Chaper Six 1845 0 0 8. Chapter Seven 1291 0 0 9. Chapter Eight 1188 0 0 10. Chapter Nine 2996 0 0 11. Epilogue 667 0 0