She despises him.
She despises him like she has never despised anyone in her whole life.
She despises the way he struts around like a constipated peacock, the way his hair stabs from his scalp like a phalanx of spears, the way his laugh sounds like someone set a mile of chalkboards and tugged five rows of fingernails down them—everything about him sends a shudder down her spine and bile up her throat.
So, after the Demacian scrim against Piltover (in which Piltover barely won, which makes her grind her teeth and stomp her foot, because her damn brother *knew* that she hated Ezreal, but apparently he'd had too much to drink because he wouldn't take the scrim seriously and stop *spinning*), she makes sure to sidle up next to Ez, nice and close, because the only thing that trumps her hatred of Ez is his hatred of her.
"Nice game," she says sweetly. Sugar-sweet. Slathered with honey. It'll make him choke.
He doesn't budge, but the lines around his eyes are tight with annoyance. "Heh, of course it was," he says, with his signature cocky grin. She wants to cut off his lips and burn them. "I was in it."
She laughs, high-pitched, right in his ear. He doesn't flinch. "The upcoming Demacia-Piltover vs. Noxus match lists both of us! Isn't that wonderful?" *I will make your life hell.*
"For you," he says. "You just have to stand there and you'll be carried to victory." He laughs in her ear. It scrapes against her eardrum but she doesn't budge.
She keeps her face placid, but inside, she is seething. He's won this round, and they both know it. Nothing remains but to back off... and win another day.
"Well, I *do* wish you the best of luck," she says with the most exaggerated curtsy in the history of Valoran. "Don't forget the training tomorrow!"
And she skips out, humming the tune that they were playing in the lobby on repeat for 3 hours while Ezreal had to wait there. His hands instinctively come up to his ears.
Maybe it's a tie after all.
During practice, she and Ez are forced to lane together in bot. She rushes a Mejai's and steals every bit minion gold she can.
They end up losing. But it was a worthwhile loss. Seeing Ezreal scowl and sulk made anything worthwhile.
The match comes before she knows it, and her summoner marches up to her with a dark scowl on his face.
"You're laning with Ezreal," he says. "Stay in the lane, poke and peel, and *don't *cause any trouble."
She twirls her baton and sets it on her shoulder. "But of course," she says with a wink. "We're facing Noxians."
Because she knows. The only thing that trumps her hatred of Ezreal *and* Ezreal's hatred of her is their shared hatred for the Noxians.
And that's saying something.
There seems to be some sort of tacit agreement between them as they play the lane with unmatched concentration. There is only one thing they can both agree that they share skill in: being an annoyance.
They crush the lane. By pure force of will. And spam laugh in the enemy fountain.
A brief thought passes her mind: *Too bad. Perhaps in another life, we would have made an unstoppable team.*
He despises her.
He despises her like he has never despised anyone in his whole life.
He despises the plastic way she smiles, the way her laugh sounds like a cheese grater against shards of glass, the way she tosses her hair so it reflects the sun and blinds him, her stilted kangaroo stride, her beady, unnatural eyes. Everything about her just makes him say fake, fake, fake, and he doesn't want to be within a mile of her because he feels like he's being infected with whatever's gripped her.
But fate, or at least the League High Command, appears to be wholly unsympathetic to this, and thus sets Lux as his regular training partner.
"Natural lane synergy," they say. "Harmonious kit design. Personality traits hint at a fruitful partnership."
Sure. Fruitful partnership. He knew what they meant; they wanted him to sort out the problems with Lux. It reflected badly on the League.
Unfair. Unfair. Unfair. You didn't see them trying to do that with someone from Noxus and someone from Demacia. But because Piltover and Demacia are technically allied? Whoops, better make everyone into saints with each other.
At least Lux seems about as pleased with the arrangement as he is. She stares at the roster, her arms folded, and although her face is placid he can see that her shoulders are tenser than Jax's. He smirks and leans over.
"Don't look so excited," he whispers in her ear.
To her credit, she doesn't jump. Or even turn around.
"My apologies. I just can't help myself." She flashes a megawatt smile at him that makes his eyes hurt. Is it natural for teeth to be that freakishly white? "I'm so looking forward to having an excuse to beat you up."
She says it aloud. Venomously. Hmm, this must be her way of protesting against the League. He can side with that. "What's this," he says, obnoxiously. "The kitten's grown some claws."
It takes her three seconds to find a reply, which she covers with a shrill laugh. "Doesn't matter if it's a kitten's claws or a lion's claws. If there's enough poison on the tips, you'll die."
They're attracting significant glances now; enough to make him feel noticeably uncomfortable. He won't back down though. Not when Lux is here.
"So, you're gonna try to scratch me? How cute."
A devilish grin lights her face. "Oh, trust me, Ezreal, it'll be my genuine pleasure."
There's a lot of light and prisms and bolts of energy flying in the training room. Spectators swear that the duels are so intense that it seems they haven't even turned down the power levels. Of course, that's impossible. The League wouldn't allow a fatal injury. Right?
Then one of them gets hit. It takes two weeks in intensive care before recovery.
"How lovely of you to visit."
Ezreal says this placidly, but if he could, he would be shooting lasers out of his eyes.
Lux takes a seat by his hospital bed, dumping an airtight container on his stomach. He twitches instinctively at the contact.
Lux examines him, expressionless. "Food."
"You can check."
She's not even surprised at his query.
He pops the lid. It's a hearty soup of some kind and it sends a heavenly scent drifting to his nose.
"It looks good."
"It *is* good."
He takes a sip, not bothering to check it for poison.
"That's what I said."
He takes another sip. It settles against his throat, warming his body to the tips of his fingers.
He says it plainly. No ulterior motives.
Her face seems open. He takes her words at face value.
*Thanks. You're welcome.* Such casual words.
As Ezreal continues to sip at the soup, reveling in the warm trickle that permeates his body, an alien thought crosses his mind: *Too bad. Perhaps in another life, we could have been good friends.*
***(The story is too long to fit in one discussion, so if it catches your fancy, please read it [here](https://www.fanfiction.net/story/story_backup.php?storyid=10568530). Hope you enjoyed.)***