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be my sunlight

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There is only one problem with working with Jayce. 

Of course there are minor annoyances: Jayce's messiness, his tendency to fling anything he's finished with halfway across the room, and his booming voice, bordering on overwhelming for Viktor sometimes. Viktor doesn't necessarily consider these problems though. They are a part of the research process, and he knows that he himself is not faultless as a coworker. 

There is, still, one problem: Viktor is falling in love with his research partner. 

If he thinks about it long enough, he can convince himself it's not actually true. He can analyze the force of Jayce on his heart, the angle of his descent into the pit of his emotions, the acceleration of his body as it meets nothing but air resistance. No, he calculates, he isn't in love with the man himself, per se. He's just experiencing a fondness for his mannerisms that makes something soft and sweet flutter in his chest. He's just experiencing an impulse that, as a man of science, he never should be considering: the desire to take the "research" out of "research partners."

For example, despite the fact that sunlight is steadily slithering closer to his desk, Jayce is still snoring merrily at his desk, stubble-studded cheek squished against his notebook. Near his mouth, a half-turned page crumples and flutters with his deep, even breaths. Craning his neck to read the page, Viktor recognizes Jayce's heavy and blocky handwriting as it mingles with Viktor's lighter, more intricate script.  

Almost involuntarily, Viktor gives a small puff of fond laughter. Leave it to Jayce to fall asleep in the midst of turning a page. As morning creeps towards Jayce's slumped form, Viktor tiptoes over to Jayce and drapes a quilt over him. This exchange of comfort—the indirect warmth of touch—is more than habit, at this point. It's become ritual, something that Viktor secretly looks forward to, despite the stiffness in his neck and the protestations of his joints every morning after a long night's sojourn at the laboratory with Jayce. 

Although he typically doesn't allow himself such indulgences, Viktor leans against the desk for a moment to watch the city stir to life below the glass walls of their laboratory. He massages his leg idly, already mentally sorting through the work they must accomplish today. The list he is drawing up is too ambitious, he knows, which will only result in another late-night work session as he and Jayce become wrapped up in their discoveries. Jayce prefers the predictability of a regular sleep schedule, but there's nothing Viktor loves more than digging deeper into the math and falling deeper into the pools of sunlight in Jayce's eyes, despite the bruised shroud of night around their little haven in the clouds—

Near Viktor's hip, Jayce huffs sleepily, as if in unconscious protest at Viktor's hectic mental schedule for the day. Viktor feels the breath pause in his lungs, every muscle tensed in an effort not to wake him. Thankfully, Jayce turns his head a little, snuggling into the mess of papers on his desk, and promptly resumes his regularly scheduled snore pattern. 

(Viktor's not so far gone that he doesn't recognize how ridiculous this sounds, but he's starting to grow attached to the little noises Jayce makes in slumber. It's almost cartoonish in its predictability—Caitlyn once described it as a "honk shoo snork mimimi" sequence— but Viktor can't bring himself to care, not when Jayce's lips are parted ever so slightly against his desk, early light smoothing itself onto him, and Viktor's fingers itch so badly to touch him, to pull him close.)

It is still early, Viktor knows, even without glancing at Jayce's little handmade radio clock. Despite how he hungers to return to his work, he watches the sun settle softly into the planes of Jayce's face, the tangle of his hair as it falls onto his forehead, the swell of his cheekbones, the ridge of his jaw. Viktor commits every bit of him to memory, drinking in every detail like a man dying of thirst before a well. 

Jayce is softer in sleep, the hard edges built from a mix of stress and passion for their research smoothing into something more vulnerable, something Viktor wants to keep safe. Viktor doesn't really have a preference for either version of Jayce—in fact, he adores Jayce's overabundance of energy and endearingly complicated rants about hextech—but it's a different kind of ease, when he is free to look at Jayce like this: to behold him tenderly, without fear, without the electric sorrow of distance and the knowledge of the chasm of space between them. Just being in Jayce's presence washes over Viktor like a salve for wounds he didn't know he'd been healing until Jayce's easy, sun-bright smile had traced over the faint scars.

For it is new to Viktor: the mortifying ordeal of being loved. Despite how Viktor had tried to shut Jayce out, closing his eyes to the persistent press of Jayce's sunlight against his eyelids, he cannot deny that a bit of the warmth has gotten through his barriers. Every day, he is realizing, Jayce lets a little more sun into his life, persuades him to open the windows in his heart a little wider and let the new dawn pour in. Viktor is a little bit afraid of how grateful and how indebted he is to Jayce, but he's finding that he doesn't mind it at all, not when the morning is warm against his face, not when Jayce is right there beside him, not when the achingly, endlessly blue sky lies just beyond the horizon. 

As the sun rises over Piltover, Viktor returns to his desk with a smile on his face. He lets Jayce sleep a little longer.