The first time you go down, it's because of betrayal.
It's your own genius you've kept close taken from you, it's every academic accomplishment and every fake smile from your teachers as they tried to match your enthusiasm and discoveries with the same fake light reflected off steel buildings - it's all of that, taken, when you hear the wrong name spoken with the right invention.
You created him. You were the one who made him. You were the one who put every bit of blood and bone and steel you had against the gold to create the perfect creature. You're the one who gave him a name.
It's every nail in your mouth and every tooth loose and every doubt you've ever had, every demand you always kept away - if you demanded something, you were talking out of place, so you made sure to never to step out of line, fitting a humbled scientist niche to a t, the t in your name, the name nobody ever spelt right -
It all came out of you as you pointed to the golem and called him yours. Viktor, Viktor, calm down, Viktor, Stanwick designed it, Stanwick created it, Viktor, Viktor, he is not yours, Viktor, Viktor, Viktor.
It's a fucking court case and he still isn't yours, and people talk, and you're the one in the wrong for starting the problem.
It's everyone wondering why you didn't shut up, and it ends with you ripping your work up when they kick you out. It's sown seeds, it's hatred that sits in your stomach and sprout like evergreen up into your throat. It's a new purpose. It's your disgust with every wrong thought you've ever had, and it's also you, the prodigy, breaking your fingers until you craft the perfect creation, until there is nothing of the failure before, only the perfection you know you are capable of.
The first time you rise back up, Viktor is dead.
The second time you go down, it's because of your own hubris.
You've learnt how humans work, even without any smile or a soothing voice.
You've learnt what pulls the strings in their hearts and what makes them pause and consider. You are above them, now - but you know what makes them tick. Spending so long pretending to be one helped.
You cut out the emotional sickness that clung to your ribs, and you feel free. More free.
You gave Piltover too much credit. You gave the wrong set of eyes too much to see, and you wonder why he believed in you so hard.
He was a part of the crowd telling you to let it go, after all - but you approached him for his mind, because you knew he would hold on to a memory like it was proof of your purpose, of who you really are.
He held on to college days and old projects, but his disbelief in Zaun is what ultimately kept you apart. You're certain that your mechanical perfection is not what soured him with disillusion.
He doubted you again. He believed, and doubted, and you want to tell him he's playing the wrong role, the fake hero for a fake city that never appreciated his efforts. Zaun's cold and dark and feels like awful acid, but it's better than Piltover.
He had such a black and white manner of thinking. You realize now that is not how a man of science should perceive the world - account for variables, look for solutions and then look for more.
( viktor, viktor. viktor. viktor. )
Another plan taken from you. But when he destroyed the crystal, thrumming with energy, he saw what you created - new life in Zaun, life that threatens Piltover. A revolution sitting even further beneath Zaun, like cancers in limbs, like the sickness you once harboured.
Machines are perfection, but expendable. The dead can be repurposed. Piltover only mildly acknowledges the threat. You laugh on this, low and hollow, when he crushes your lungs with the hammer. Organs are frail. They bleed too easily. Blood is a liability. You will cut your lungs out next, split your veins and replace everything inside of you with acid.
( he was one of the few who could spell your name right. )
The second time you rise up, Viktor is dead, and you are fucking pissed.