(My lord this took a long time to write. Sorry sorry sorry! Here it is. Next one will be posted in five days. Thanks for the patience!)

A Will and a Shadow

Days With No End

Talon awoke to Irelia sitting on the lounge next to his partially asleep body. She was smiling and stroking his hair softly as his eyes fluttered open. She leaned down and kissed him. Talon thought in his mind that this was officially the best way to wake up in the entirety of sleep and mornings.

Talon sat up and stretched as Irelia hugged him. She nuzzled into his chest and he put his hand on her back and rubbed it gently. They stayed that way for a few minutes before Irelia stood up and shooed Talon out of the room so she could get dressed. He left with a smile and walked back to his room.

Talon got to his room quicker than he thought he would. He went into the room and smiled to himself at the warmth he felt. He was genuinely happy. He was almost taken aback by how happy he was that he laughed softly. Talon quickly dressed in his casual attire and left for the Grand Hall for breakfast.

He found the stone table in the east corner to sit in and waved to Irelia when she walked in. She smiled and lightly jogged over to him. She sat down next to him and they placed their orders with the servant who came by their table. Irelia and Talon lightly chatted while ate. Through laughs and smiles, they would lightly kiss each other.

Some time passed before others began to funnel in to the Grand Hall. Shen and Kennen both had a League match to fight in, so they were not present. However, Irelia's other friends, Lee Sin, Karma, and Yi found their way to the table to sit and eat.

Karma and Irelia drifted in to their conversations about philosophy like they do, and Lee Sin and Talon spoke quietly and with friendly words. After a few minutes Yi looked up and said,

"What good do you see in this thing, Lee?"

Lee Sin looked over to Yi, almost like he was looking at him. He snorted a little in his laugh and remarked,

"Just because he got Irelia and you didn't doesn't give you the right to be a pain, Yi."

That really set him off and Yi growled. Talon smiled and took a sip of his beverage. So that's why he was so grumpy.

"We shall see," Yi said.

"Oh grow up," Irelia remarked all of a sudden. She must have been listening after all.

"He is a villain, I know it. All Noxians are," Yi said bitterly.

Lee Sin put a hard hand on Yi's shoulder and whispered, "We all lost something in that war, friends, family, even honor. But Talon is not to blame for that."

"How do you know?! He could have killed some himself," Yi barked.

"So what if he did? We killed his kinsmen with the same tenacity as his," Lee said softly.

"But..." Yi trailed.

"No," Lee cut him off, "It's done. You've won the war, but lost against him for her heart. Let it go."

"Alright enough about my heart," Irelia remarked, annoyed, "Can we just eat without the boys ripping each other apart?"

"You said it," Karma said under her breath.

The rest of the meal was much friendlier. Yi was more talkative, but still didn't look Talon in the eye. Lee told jokes that made all of them laugh. Even Yi told a funny story about his training that they all shared a chuckle. Lee was the first to depart with Master Yi following close behind. Karma bid farewell. Talon and Irelia got up and and left the Grand Hall. They found themselves wondering what to do. After realizing that neither of them were busy that day, they just decided to spend the whole day together.

They made their way outside. It was sunny and warm. Talon and Irelia went for a walk around the grounds. They laughed at talked the whole time.

"So Knives," Irelia said as they strolled through the west gardens, "Have you been making friends here?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I mean besides Lee have you actually found any chums here in the League?"

"I suppose Teemo is a friend, though he is often away," he concluded.

"Okay, so Teemo and Lee. Anyone else?"

"Uhm, I don't think so. Plenty of enemies though," he laughed.

"You should socialize more. You are such a great guy, people deserve to know you," she said smiling.

"Oh stop," Talon smiled embarrassed.

"No I'm serious! You make me so happy! And Lee talks about you a lot too, and he is usually pretty no nonsense. You bring light to people," she said.

Talon flashed his mind back to a job he had back in Noxus. Corrupt magistrate. The General Du Couteau wanted him dead, and sent Katarina and Talon to go and do it. They sneaked into his house at night and tied him to his bed. Katarina poured oil over his panicking, gagged face and told Talon to 'bring the light.'

Talon couldn't help but feel odd at the memory and what Irelia said. He made a living and sharpened all of his skills bringing darkness and pain. Talon shook the memory from his head and said he didn't want to talk about friends anymore.

Talon just wanted to think about Irelia. She was everything to him now. Talon stroked her silver hair and smiled at it's softness. They walked for an hour or so before they got to the lake outside the grounds. The same lake Talon had visited before.

Irelia exclaimed she didn't know it was even here and quickly made her way to the beach. She stripped to her undergarments (still very modest) and ran into the water. She dove under it's sparkling blue surface for a moment before rocketing out of the water and yelling at Talon who was still on shore,

"Come on in! The water is so warm and nice. Come for a swim, Knives, come on!"

Talon grinned and took his boots and shirt off. He elected to keep his pants on, however. Talon dove into the water and swam out to meet Irelia. She laughed when he grabbed her leg from beneath the surface. They wrestled in the water and swam around for over an hour.

Talon looked towards the treeline by the shore when he felt that feeling in his gut whenever Kayle was watching him. He saw a brief little movement in the trees but nothing solid. He frowned at the thought. Irelia sensed his anxiety.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Nothing, just getting tired. Want to rest on the beach?" Talon said planting a smooch on her lips.

She reluctantly agreed. They swam out to the beach and laid down on the sand.

"Ick," Irelia remarked wiping sand off her wet arms, "I'm going to be sandy for days!"

Talon turned his head and looked at her with her face scrunched up in annoyance. He rolled over and put his hand on her stomach. She looked at him and smiled. They kissed. More passionately than before, their kiss lingered for several long moments. Irelia turned to face him and they embraced on the ground.

After a few more hot seconds, their pace began to quicken. Talon's heart was racing as he felt her hands run over his bare back. She suddenly stopped though, and Talon's breath caught in his throat.

"Talon, I," she began, "I um, I've never done this..." she whimpered.

Talon realized what she meant and pulled her into a hug instead. She wrapped her arms around him warmly. They stayed quiet for a few moments before Irelia pulled away and spoke to Talon softly.

"Sorry, Knives, I just get a little nervous when you are all over me like that," she smiled.

"It's fine dear," Talon reassured her, "We don't have to do anything if you don't want to."

"No it's not that. I mean, I want to... I've wanted to since the Festival. I just don't want to scare you off or mess something up or disappoint you or-"

Talon cut her off, "Shush sweetie, it's okay."

They held each other and Irelia whispered in his ear. "Are you sure it's okay?"

"Of course I am," Talon whispered back, "Take as much time as you need."

Irelia and Talon sun dried for a few minutes before getting dressed and heading back to the Institute grounds. After a brief stroll, Talon and Irelia went back to the Grand Hall for an early dinner. All Irelias friends were there. Kennen, Shen, and Karma waved them over and sat them both down with them.

Karma started the conversation,

"So, Rels, I have a bit of a confession to make."

Shens face, even when unmasked like now, never changed. Part of his discipline. Talon saw the creeps of a smile on his face however.

"Yeah? What's going on?" Irelia asked.

Karma looked at Shen and locked eyes with him. She took his hand and held it as they sat there. She looked back over at Irelia and just giggled.

Irelias eyes lit up, "No way! You two? Wow! Good for you, when did this happen?"

"We were spending some time together with meditations and the like, and we just got to talking more and more all the time," Karma said happily.

"We decided to just go for it and take things slowly," Shen said in his deep voice.

"I'm happy for you both," Irelia remarked.

"I am as well," Talon said genuinely.

"So, what about you two? When can I get out my nice robe for the wedding?" Kennen joked with Talon and Irelia.

The whole table erupted in laughter. After the laughing died down, Irelia spoke up,

"Nothing planned yet, we haven't even had-" she bit her tongue and coughed.

Everyone just looked awkwardly at each other without much noise. After a few moments they all took a drink at the same time. The act made them laugh lightly again, but the ice wasn't broken until Lee Sin came up and slapped Irelia on the back and said,

"Don't worry about it, I haven't had- gerghegehr with Talon either."

They all howled with laughter again and silently thanked Lee for clearing that awkward mess out of the way. The rest of the meal was excellent and very pleasant among the friends. After they ate and dispersed, Talon walked Irelia back to her room. He led her in to the dorm and quietly kissed her goodnight.

She said she'd stay up and wait for Talon to come back. Talon left and made his way over to another dorm room. He pushed open the door without knocking and stepped inside. There was a figure sitting at the desk and Talon quietly crept up to it.

Talon was stealthy as a shadow. He halted behind the figure and cleared his throat. The person he had visited flinched at let out a growl.

"What are you doing here, Talon?" Katarina whispered.

Talon didn't speak but instead grabbed her by the mouth and hair and levered her to her feet. Katarina wailed through her muffled mouth and thrashed wildly about. Talon threw her to the ground and delivered a solid punch to the side of her face. He then got on top of her and punched her a few more times, then pivoted his knee so it rested on her neck.

She coughed a few times and gasped for air. Talon held a finger to her lips and spoke softly, words dripping with venom,

"Irelia is the love I have always sought. She is the light I navigate my dark life by. I have ended my life ending lives for you and your missing father. Today was the best, most joyful experience I have ever had, and I will be damned if it is ever taken from me. If you ever, ever threaten her or her friends again, I swear by all that is dark that I will end you violently. Never speak to me again."

Talon got up off of her and Katarina coughed and clutched her neck. She rolled onto her stomach and grimaced as Talon moved to leave.

"Mercy does not befit you, Talon," she spat. He closed the door curtly behind him.

Talon made his way to the lavatory and washed the blood and bits of Katarinas face from his knuckles. He frowned hard. He knew she'd retaliate. He knew she'd send assassins after both of their heads now. But Talon was good at being paranoid. It saved him his whole life, and now he got to use it to save someone else. He'd be ready.