There he was again, standing there gawking at her like a damn fool, no doubt she already heard him coming. So without any more hesitation, Garen approached her from the side, giving her the chance to see him. “The party already wearing on you I take it?” He asked with a faint smile, noticing the glass of champagne she was already sipping upon. “Guess you won’t be needing this one…” He chuckled, shaking his head as he took a sip himself and seated himself right beside her. “It’s gorgeous out here, so calm, so relaxing… easy to get lost in.”
It was rare for her to be quiet, to think about things and what will become of her. She stared at her glass and stirred it with her right hand. A gush of wind passed by, good thing her hair was tied up to a bun to prevent her from messing her hair up. Katarina crossed her legs, not used to the heels on her shoes but she knew how to walk with it. She let out a long sigh, her heart beat felt like a drumroll. Why was she thinking about him? It couldn’t be helped for there was nothing on her mind at the moment. But; on all people, why him? She looked up into the night, her gaze at the stars interrupted when she sensed someone was near her. Her heart thumped when she saw the person who was just in her head moments ago. Little did she know of his arrival but she knew he would come. Somehow startled she regained her composure and waved her left hand at him. As he approached, her eyes cannot stop looking at him, like it was locked and there was no key. It took a while for the assassin to see him in his gorgeous tuxedo again. He looked better than ever when she last saw him like that. She couldn’t help but flash a grin at him. When he finally spoke, she replied “I didn’t even know it has started”. She shook her head slowly and a slight chuckle escaped her red lips. A bit touched to see he brought a drink for her, she smiled again. “No, please. I’d like that drink,” she said and set down her first glass, reaching out for the one he brought. The usual sassy, self-centered woman was not there. She left it back at home for a while. Liking his company, her body faced him and quickly she nodded. “I’m trying to keep the tension away from me. Yeah, I know. Katarina, the bold assassin who’s ready to kill anyone is afraid to dance in-front of a crowd with a muscle-head,” she teased him.
He noticed how she was staring at him, in truth it brought a smile to his lips and a light blush to his cheek. She looked so different off of the field of battle. Her body, her face, she looked so feminine. It was nice to see her in a different way, and not her trying to stab his heart out. Handing the glass over, he took her empty one and placed it by his freshly polished dress shoe. “A muscle-head huh?” He knew she was only kidding, but it didn’t hurt to play hurt by it. “I’ll have you know that this muscle-head is well educated and cultured, unlike the brutes of your lands.” And thus he poked back, much like little children with a crush, they teased one another. “But in all seriousness, you have nothing to worry about, Lady Katarina.” Shifting his body to face hers, Garen rested his arm up against the backrest of the bench, stunning blue eyes meeting her own in a tender gaze. The light from the moon only emphasizing his handsome and we’ll defined features. “I’m more worried about disappointing you out there, the last thing I want to do is make a fool out of you and myself…” He shook his head, taking another sip of his drink. Sterling baby blues shifting over towards her, perhaps trying to catch a peek of her ample cleavage she presented ever so perfectly. Yes, Garen was like a kid in a can shop and Katarina’s body was a vast selection of sugary goodness.
Katarina released a chuckle and covered her mouth, her legs still crossed as one arm rested on her knee, the other held the glass of liquor. “You’re calling me uneducated and a brute, hmm?” Katarina acted as if she was sad and showed an unhappy expression on her face. She could hear people cheering in the halls, it surprised her how much the people enjoyed the party they made. With her rarely able to attend to parties she stands up and walks around, her being careful not to fall in heels and embarrass herself in front of Garen. “You say you’re educated but do you know how to dance?” She asked calmly and faced him for a minute. “Because, you just said you did not want to embarrass yourself. Does that mean that you do not know how to dance?” Katarina shrugged. It was just a speculation.
“Th-that’s not what I meant!” Garen protested when he saw her with a disappointed look. His head looked to the ground out of shame of what he said. Not all Noxians are like that, especially her. With Katarina being a noble she must have received education. Who knows she probably knew more than him. He heard her speak and he furrowed his brows as she spoke slowly, her face was too beautiful for him to handle. As Katarina walked back and forth infront of him he couldn’t help but stare behind her, curves seemed too flawless, he felt blood rose to his cheeks as he stared, hopefully he won’t get stabbed for looking at such beauty that lay upon his eyes. “Well, I have been to dancing lessons as a teen but did not pay that much attention for something might be on my mind before. Don’t fret, I can still remember, I won’t step on such pretty toes.” How bold for him to say so, yet deep inside he felt so scared to do a wrong move. The thought of Katarina disappointed at him must never come to reality.
“Relax, tiger. I was only kidding.” She replied to his first sentence with a short laugh as she walked slowly, sipping from her drink. Teasing Garen always seemed to be a hobby of hers when Garen himself was around, but only when he’s around. It felt lonely how she was happy at first and the next thing you knew when he left it all felt empty again. Now her instincts felt the need to cherish the moment right now. “Hmm. I see. Well…” she paused and approached him, almost too close as she leaned to match his eye level. “We should go back. We’re the ones hosting it apparently. To be frank I don’t want to go back but I would hate it if such a beautiful party would get ruined if only you led it.” Her crimson bangs flowed to cover her eyes for a second as the wind passed by, emerald hues stared at him, waiting for a clear answer. She noticed he grew red, was he sick? Probably because of the work he also did, preparing the party and all. Katarina ignored what she saw and leaned back to her normal posture, her arms crossed, she also finished the drink. “Dancing lessons? Nevermind.” She started to walk and motioned Garen to come along.
As she leaned in front of him, Garen already lost himself as she stared at his eyes. She always had the way of attracting him in many ways the soldier didn’t even know. Slowly his eyes looked lower from her eyes to her neck and even lower. Garen quickly shifted his ocean eyes away from her. He knew the woman noticed and it was too much of a dead give-away. He stood up and walked towards her. “We should go back.” It was too much to tell but he hoped her to stay by his side the whole time. He offered an arm to her and said, “I never thought I’d say this Katarina, but, you look stunning.” Again, his blue eyes couldn’t stop staring at her form, almost too beautiful to be true. What would his sister think when he tells her she is attracted to a Noxian? To be straight forward, the women in Demacia are beautiful as well but why would someone this beautiful live in such a brutal place? Probably because she’s like them as well, Garen thought as he looked to another side of thinking. What if Katarina was just talking to him to gather information about Demacia?
“Thank you, Garen. If I can say so myself, you as well, look very fancy.” Meanwhile, Katarina thought the same. If this man just plays nice to her to gather information as well? Katarina gathered her composure. It was not like she’d fall for him. Spilling secrets from Noxus will never happen. Though he looked more than a spy, she decided to stay alert. But; she needs to act natural so she slipped her arm around his and they walk back to the hall.
As their feet entered the room, all eyes suddenly gazed up at them. The hall was brightly lit, the chandeliers made it look more magnificent of a ball. They walked to the pedestal and Jarvan IV along with Shyvana was already there. As they went up the stage Jarvan started to talk aloud. “Good evening fellow Demacians.” And the Demacian crowd clapped their hands. “Noxians.” Jarvan said, and the Noxian crowd also clapped their hands as loud as the Demacians. “We are gathered here today to unite two nations through a glorious ball. Please refrain from arguing and try to establish friendship among each other.” The crowd went silent as they stared at one another. Shyvana, Jarvan, Katarina and Garen all knew the people begged to disagree. “Alright…” Jarvan paused. “We will now begin this celebration with a dance. I strongly suggest you find someone of the opposite nation to dance with.” And again, the people refused to move. As Garen moved to touch Jarvan’s shoulder, Jarvan spoke once more. “To prove that, I and Lady Katarina, the representative of Noxus, will share a dance.”
Katarina and Garen exchanged glances, both with a look of confusion. Before Garen could say a word, Jarvan offered a hand to Katarina and they immediately went to the dance floor. Music suddenly filled the room and the two dancers knew it was their queue to show the compatibility of their dancing skills. Garen just stood there and watched emptily at the two, and decided to join in the dance by inviting Shyvana to dance.
He approached Shyvana and spoke calmly. “You should dance as well, Shyvana.”
“I’m only here to protect my- our prince in case a fight starts. You know of this, Garen?” Shyvana spoke strongly.
“I only thought he wasn’t coming.” Garen replied, and scratched his head. “So, are we dancing or not?”
“Alright, we will. We must stick close to the prince. I absolutely have no trust with that Noxian dancing at him. Look at her, she’s smiling at him. Obviously plotting a scheme.” She took his hand, her face almost inflicted with rage. Though, without her armor and helm, her curls showed so elegantly. The mark of her being a half-dragon is still in her skin. It was not jealousy, but carefulness. She didn’t want anyone to harm someone who has given her a new life. At least, she thought she was being careful.
Garen’s only reply to her words was a chuckle. “You’ve grown fond of him.”
“Say what you want. It’s not what you think.” Her voice was cold. It seemed that both of their supposed to be partners are not with them. “Besides, Lord Jarvan not appearing here would leave you to dance with her. Be thankful. He’s taking the risk of dancing with some Noxian assassin. He could get killed instead of you.”
“I suppose. He’ll be a marvelous king… with you being the queen.” He teased as they went to the dance floor, and began their steps. Though what she said may be true, Garen did not believe the words she said. Katarina was more than that, he said in his thoughts.
Shyvana ignored him and stared at the prince, carefully observing Katarina’s moves which only made her angry. It seemed heart-breaking to see him enjoying himself, dancing with someone else.
As the song ended, Jarvan bowed and kissed the back of Katarina’s hand and she replied with a nod. They made their way back to Garen and Shyvana who already finished their dance. “I must say, Lady Katarina has exceptional dancing skills.” Jarvan said as the four of them were given glasses of wine.
“Indeed, your grace.” Shyvana replied with a small smile only directed to Jarvan, then returning back to her usual self.
“The next song will be played. How about we switch partners? I’d like to see how our captain dances. Shall we, Shyvana?” Jarvan reached for her hand and they left Garen and Katarina.
Finally the two were left to dance together and Garen was relieved that Jarvan’s charm didn’t work so easily on her. He had to admit the prince’s looks made women swoon over him. As they looked around, the ball seemed like a great success. Noxians and Demacian alike are entering civilized conversation, some were dancing, the others drinking. Everyone looked happy and Katarina sighed in frustration.
“Katarina, are you alright? You seem troubled or some sort or did you already miss me?” Garen smiled and went closer to her.
“I’m just disappointed, that’s all. Though I danced with the prince of Demacia, I’d rather see how you dance.” She chuckled. “I missed you? Who was the one looking at Jarvan and I while we were dancing?”
“So you were looking at me as well?” He returned the chuckle and offered his hand. “Anyway, since the prince took you from me earlier, may I have this dance?” It took all the strength in him to say those words. He already felt butterflies fluttering inside his stomach. He hoped she’d touch his hand already and dance with him.
Katarina took his hand and flashed a smile at him. She set down her glass and they went to the dance floor. The music was slow and steady. His hand slipped on her waist and they locked hands. She placed her hand on his shoulder and they started to dance. What was this happiness she started to feel as they started and danced flawlessly in the halls of the institute? Their eyes locked for a moment and Katarina felt so alive in her empty world. She felt blood rise to her cheeks as he stares intently at her. They glided carefully through the song. Garen felt the same. He stared at her eyes and completely ignored everything else around him. He didn’t care what anyone thought, someone he already knew that he’s falling for those emerald eyes that looked back at his hues. Not knowing what’s happening, a lot of people were already watching the two of them. Noxians and Demacians started to whisper, both negative and positive. The men stared at the dazzling Katarina and her tight dress, the women felt jealous that Garen was dancing with such a beautiful woman. Garen felt lucky yet frightened. He was falling for her and he thought of the fact that she might be using him. But; the eyes that stared at him seemed too real. Is she falling for him as well?
Meanwhile as they pass the mountains, Riven, Talon and Irelia arrive at Piltover. The place was open to them and just when they arrived they already rented an inn for them to stay for the evening. Their horses were in the stables and they were finally given a room. As Irelia talked to the counter, Riven and Talon heard her when she said “two rooms.” Obviously Riven thought that she and Irelia would share the room because they were both women so she felt a hint of comfort inside her. When Irelia finished talking to the man on the counter she went over to the two.
“Apparently there are only two rooms.” Irelia scratched her head. “So, you two will stay in one room.”
“Listen, lady.” Talon said. “Why the hell are we in the same room?” He growled as she went closer to Irelia and peered down on her.
“The owner of the inn said that him and his wife are willing to let people use a room for free if the people sleeping in the room is a couple. Since I was the one going to pay, I figured I’d lie and tell them that you and Riven are a couple.” Irelia insisted and waved her hands in front of Talon. “Plus, it’s a big room with a big bed, and again, it’s free.”
Talon sighed. “You could have asked me for money, not just act on your own.” He put his hands in his pouch to look for some gold but failed to do so. It seemed as though he left his money back in the mansion. He then withdrew his hand from the pouched and sighed in defeat. Talon turned to Riven who stared at the two of them arguing. “Riven, you seem calm. Do you really want to stay in bed with me so badly?” He grinned.
“I’ve slept with men before. It’s not a problem.” Riven shrugged and faced away from the two and grabbed the bags. “Let’s go.”
Irelia agreed and Talon stood there about to say something but refrained himself instead. What did she mean she slept with men before? Maybe just slept together… or something else. Talon felt as though what he thought of Riven was wrong. He shrugged it aside and tagged along behind the two ladies. They achieved to walk to their neighboring rooms and Irelia left the keys to Riven and Talon.
Riven opened the room and the look was spacious but there was only one bed. She said she slept alongside her crew in their camp as they waited for battle. Though, she thought she said it in a very wrong way. Quickly her spirits went down, how idiotic of her. She placed the bags down and Talon also went inside.
“Riven, you can sleep on the bed. I’m not sleeping tonight.” He muttered and dropped the bags harshly as he sat on a chair provided.
“I’m sorry if you’re upset for having me as a room partner, you can sleep beside me if you ever-”
“You don’t get it do you?” Talon sighed. “I said I didn’t want to sleep.” He only said the words for he respected Riven and did not want to sleep beside her, also because of the thought of her “sleeping” with other men. He did not want to be a part of it.
“If you insist. I must freshen up before I sleep.” Riven said as she scanned through the cabinet near the bed for towels. She found one and she headed for the bathroom, closing the door as she entered.
Talon, once more, released a long sigh. “She really doesn’t get it.” He stood up and took off his outfit and changed to a more comfortable shirt and pants.
Moments later there was a knock on the door. “Excuse me, I’m the innkeeper’s wife. Would you mind if I came in?”
Talon quickly stood up and opened the door and saw a short, old woman whose hair was already started to turn white. She smiled politely at him and Talon was still his usual self, the cold and empty man that he was around other people. “What do you need?” Talon asked.
“Are you the couple that ordered a room not too long ago?” The woman smiled as she spoke.
“Yes. Again, what do you want?” Talon stared coldly.
The woman replied. “Oh please, if I’m intruding anything excuse me. If not, may I come in? Where is your wife?”
“Err… in the shower. Come in.” Talon had no choice but to agree.
“Thank you, thank you. Rujin is my name.” She said as she sat down the chair.
“Talon. My wife’s still in the shower. She just got in.” He said. Calling Riven his wife seemed to amuse him.
“You see, me and my husband agreed to always keep one free room for couples. If the room is not occupied, we are glad to house couples who travel here.” Rujin explained to him as she folded her arms. “How did you meet your wife, young sir?”
“My job had a meeting. I met her and the first thing we did was fight.” He replied as he too sat down the chair.
“Oh my, how did you two end up together? Do you often fight as often as you did before?” Rujin gasped in curiosity.
Talon sighed. “Mrs. Rujin, we don’t fight as much as we did. If you ask if we still fight on the bed, we do so a lot.” So much for respect for Riven, here he was thinking that the two of them bond with each other every night.
Rujin chuckled. “Oh- oh my.” Just as she said it, Riven went out the room. “Ah! You must be Talon’s wife. Come, please sit down.”
Riven went dumbfounded but played along, she still wiped her hair with the towel and she already put on her clothes when she got out. “You must be the woman the innkeeper was talking about. Good evening and thank you.” She bowed down and took a seat.
“Your husband and I were just talking about you. He just mentioned that you two always have fun before you go to bed.” Rujin chuckled softly and covered her mouth. “If you do know what I mean.”
Have fun? Riven glared at Talon for a moment and returned her look to the old lady. “Is- is that so? My husband can get carried away some times. Right, Talon?” Her voice seemed too sweet but deep inside she felt angered.
“You’re right, sweetheart. Sorry.” He scratched his head and faked a smile, too afraid to talk about it later.
Rujin continued to chuckle. “I’m so sorry for intruding. I know you must be exhausted so do make yourselves feel better by getting rest.” The woman stood up and went to the door, opening it. “It is a pleasure to have you as guests. Please tell me if you need anything. I’m Rujin. I will check on boh of you tomorrow.”
“My name is Riven. Thank you for your kindness.” Once more she stood up and bowed to the lady. The lady said one more goodbye and closed the door. Silence filled the room for a moment as they both waited for the old lady to leave. The sound of the woman’s footsteps were gone and Riven immediately faced Talon. “Having fun? What do you mean by that?” She clenched her fist.
“It’s the second time I’ve seen you with your hair like that…” He did not mean to say it, and he turned away from her out of embarrassment. Dead give-away, he thought.
“Tsk. Forget it.” Riven’s cheeks grew pink as she looked away from him. Why does she feel this way around him? She went to the bed and sat down, still drying her hair… After she regained her composure, she spoke “I’ve never been to Piltover before, have you?”
“Many times.” He gave a nod in response. “You’re more interested in Ionia, I take it.”
“Yes, I am. Isn’t it peculiar?” She looked at him with amber hues.
Talon nodded again. “Yeah. I won’t judge. Although, you did try to invade Ionia.” He chuckled.
Riven gave no response.
“Hey, I’m just messing.” Talon added to keep her from thinking about anything bad.
“I haven’t cried in a while.” Riven suddenly said at him.
His eyes widened and then he looked down to the table. “I see… have you cried to anyone else?”
She shook her head. “No one. It was actually only you who saw me cry.”
“That was a long time ago.” He muttered as his arms rested on the table, remembering the time that Riven cried over to him. “Remember our first battle?” Talon asked. He really did want to keep up a conversation.
“How could I forget? I beat you.” She smiled softly as the memory touched her mind.
He took a deep breath. “I never told you. You’re the second one to beat me.”
“I see. Who was the first one?” Riven replied and shifted her body to his direction. There was a hint to Talon she wanted to talk more.
“General Du Couteau, Katarina’s father. The first time I got bloodied up too badly.” He shrugged. “Also; it was the first time I realized that I need to do better and not get beaten up by some old timer.”
“Heh… I’ve met the General a few times-” Suddenly a massive amount of pain came from her shoulder. “Gah!” She groaned and held her shoulder. As she felt like she was about to fall, arms with a familiar warmth held her. “Talon…”
“Riven, stay awake. I’ll call Irelia.” He helped her sit up and rested her back against the wall connected with the bed.
All that’s left for Riven was to keep her eyes open as long as possible. Every second passed and the pain grew and grew, as if it spread across her whole body. She felt unable to move for the pain will quicken to increase. As for Talon, he ran to Irelia’s room and knocked as if he was breaking the door. Irelia answered only to be dragged by Talon to their room. They arrived only to see a pale Riven, whose shoulder was bleeding rapidly that the blood started to drip on the bed. She was still awake but her eyes were barely open. Talon quickly went outside to look for medicine. Irelia stayed and took all the towels she could find and placed them on Riven. The Ionian ran back to her room and grabbed a bottle of water from the pool of the sacred Lotus Garden in Ionia, said to have healing capabilities. Irelia offered it to Riven and she drank from it, some dripped from her mouth, the pain made it hard for Riven to do the simplest tasks.
“This will ease the pain, you’ll heal as well. Just, hang on.” Irelia whispered softly at her.
Minutes have passed and Talon arrived with a bottle of remedy for the poison. He approached quickly and poured the liquid on Riven’s shoulder. She groaned in pain as soon as the liquid touched her skin. Soon after, Riven closed her eyes and fell asleep. Talon sighed in relief. “That will do it.”
Irelia nodded in agreement. “Indeed. I’m glad.”
A knock on the door was heard and Irelia opened it. It was Rujin, the woman from earlier. “I heard a commotion, is something the matt—Oh dear! Is she—”
“She’s alright.” Irelia smiled at the old lady.
“Thank goodness. Is there anything I can do to help you?” Rujin insisted, really wanted to help.
“Some water and a clean cloth, please.” Irelia bowed in respect and Rujin agreed to get some.
“I’ll be back then, Sir Talon, and you are?” Rujin faced the Ionian.
“Irelia.” She smiled widely.
“What a wonderful name. I’ll go get the water.” Rujin returned the smile and opened the door once more, only to close it behind her.
Irelia faced Talon. “Talon—”
“I can handle it on my own. You can leave.” Talon replied as quick as lightning, his look on Riven’s face looked as if he was a husband that cared for his wife. Talon grabbed a chair and placed it on the side of the bed and he sat there. “I’ll watch over her for tonight. She’ll be fine in the morning.”
“With your antidote and the sacred water from the Lotus Garden, she’ll wake up as if nothing happened.” Irelia approached him and pat his shoulder and left as well.
What’s left in the room is Riven and Talon in the well-lit room, the silence inside was all that covered it. Although, as you listen further you can hear people outside in such a late hour. Piltover was a busy place. Talon, who stared intently at the sleeping Riven, put his hand on her forehead and brushed off the hair that covered her pale face. She was recovering and she slept uncomfortably, Talon could tell when she always furrows her brows every while that passed. He wondered if she had a bad dream. The only thing left for him to do was inch closer and plant a kiss on her forehead as lightly as he could to prevent Riven from waking up. As he did, the door opened only for Irelia and Rujin and saw Talon kissed the sleeping ex-Noxian. It seemed as though he did not notice.
“So, prince charming, is she alright now?” Irelia said as she approached the bed and tilted her head and saw Riven, who was still asleep. There really is such thing as miracles, Riven had pierced Talon’s icy heart and turned it toasty warm. Is this what love is? Irelia thought.
“Hmm… yeah. She’s warmer than earlier.” His voice was cold yet caring and he went back to the chair he sat on earlier. He crossed his arms as if nothing happened. Talon decided to stay by her side tonight.