Ginevra Mancinelli

Mitternacht

Conditioning.

Conditioning was the most important prerequisite to what he was about to do, and even as he got off the Piltoveran train, Garen wasn’t one-hundred percent sure he had enough. His cobalt eyes glanced around, scanning the many unknown faces of passengers and the relatives that accompanied them. The last thing he needed was someone who would recognize him, although he highly doubted that was possible. Noxus Prime was the heart of the Noxian district and it was on the opposite side of Valoran City. The capital was so massive that he had left the Demacian district with sunlight hitting the back of his head, and the weather was completely different, he noticed, as he walked out of the train station.

Noxus Prime was cloudy, and even slightly chilly.

Garen zipped up his hoodie, shoving his hands in his pockets. He hadn’t used it since his Royal Academy years, and he had graduated a long time ago. He walked past a rather small supermarket and came to a halt. Patting the back pocket of his jeans, he then retrieved his phone, typing his secret code to unlock it. He quickly scanned the notes he had saved—he couldn’t afford to forget a single detail. His free hand reached for his front pocket, and he felt the round shape of his foldable knife. He had been tempted to wrap it in a balaclava he had used for the last Harrowing party his friend Jarvan hosted, but then he would have had to bring a bag, or to shove it in one of his pockets. The bulge could have gotten some security officer’s attention.

His hood concealed his hair and forehead already, and his thick indigo scarf could easily cover the other half of his face. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t done it before—coming in uninvited, taking what he needed, but there were many reasons why this time, Garen thought that things could easily go downhill. The list he had received was too long, and the orders were brutal to say the least. He had to stick to the plan.

Garen walked for another hour until he reached his destination, blue eyes narrowing at the size of the mansion before him. It oozed history, power, money and arrogance.

He shook his head, a small smirk forming on his lips.

He didn’t need any conditioning.


The jingles that played on the radio were annoying on a whole new level. Katarina leaned back in her seat as the driver pulled in the driveway, never turning off the engine. The red-haired woman grabbed her briefcase next to her, not waiting for the driver to open the door for her. She didn’t need to hear the beginning of another Snowdown song. It had been a long day already.

“Have a good evening, Miss Du Couteau.”

“You too, Malcolm,” Katarina replied, waving at the brown-haired man who sat in the driver’s seat and pretending she didn’t see him light up a cigar in her father’s car as he drove off.

Her high heels clicked on the marble floor and the sound only added to her headache. She didn’t bother to lock the door right away, preferring to turn off the alarm first. Katarina threw her briefcase on the nearest piece of furniture, knocking over an empty vase in the process. It fell right on the burgundy carpet, and Katarina raised an eyebrow. She almost wished it would break. Her sister had bought that horrendous vase at a fair and wouldn’t put it in her room.

The redhead stretched her arms and cracked her neck, unbuttoning her black blazer before sauntering to the fumoir. She checked her Blitzermails on the way, sighing deeply when she read that her father would be gone for another week, along with her brother Talon. Apparently, their conference in the Dutchy of Ionia had been delayed. That would leave her alone with Cassiopeia, assuming her sister would even bother coming home during the weekend. Her younger sibling was enjoying all the cringeworthy partying that took place at the dorms of the Bleak Academy, but it was her first year, so Katarina figured it was nothing to worry about. She hated fussing anyway.

The peace and quiet of her mansion was interrupted when she heard a loud scratch echoing from upstairs, and as she was about to lock the front door, Katarina remembered that she had forgotten to let the balcony doors open. Her father’s cat was probably dying to get out.

It was on days like these that she hated being the one to look after the family business. The Du Couteau Foundation was the one actively restoring the monuments and values of Valoran history, but it also owned several museums across the capital. She had spent the entire day dealing with two siblings who liked to call themselves the Blood Brothers and sook to purchase some of the ancient artifacts her own father had retrieved from the Ionian ruins. Katarina considered Darius and Draven to be new money, with the way they swaggered around thinking they could own the world and buy historical weapons like Executioner’s Calling. When they didn’t get her to agree, Katarina had to call in the Director of Valoran City’s Museum of War, but Jarvan Lightshield III was old and stubborn, and not diplomatic at all.

She didn’t need to look after pets too after such a day.

“Here you go, Shadow,” Katarina whispered, unlocking the balcony doors in her father’s office. “Don’t you dare pee on the chair.”

The calico cat hissed at her before scurrying away, only to stop dead in its tracks, its round green eyes darting around. The cat pointed its ears backwards, and Katarina frowned. She turned heels, exiting her father’s study room. She paused before entering the bathroom, glancing downstairs.

“Cassiopeia?” she called, receiving no answer. “Stupid cat,” she muttered with a hint of affection, before locking herself in the bathroom.

Katarina kicked off her heels and removed her red button-down shirt along with her pencil skirt and tights. She undid the messy bun that kept her long hair in place in a heartbeat and jumped in the shower after quickly relieving herself. She washed off the sweat off her body and the heavy makeup from her face with the finest products she had—unscented shampoo, salt-free conditioner and sulfite-free gel. The water was warm and soothing against her skin and she rested her head against the tiles for a few minutes, keeping her eyes closed. There was no way she would be going to the office the following day, she told herself. There was no way she would work on a Saturday.

She tiptoed her way out of the shower to dry her feet on the wooden mat, loosely wrapping a towel around her body. She detangled her hair slowly, staring at her reflection with heavy eyelids. Katarina patted herself dry, applying some moisturizing lotion here and there, before picking the comfortable home clothes she had left near the sink that morning. She yawned as she exited the bathroom clad in a black tank top with lacey straps and a pair of black shorts. Quickly fetching her ballerina slippers, Katarina felt ready to just sprawl on the couch to either listen to some music or watch one of those bad cooking shows such as Pantheon’s Kitchen.

Katarina was already downstairs, remote control in hand and about to pounce on the couch when she realized that something was off.

Her briefcase was on the coffee table when she knew she had left it in the hallway.

She inhaled slowly. “Cassiopeia?” she called once more.

Again, she received no answer.

Katarina clutched the remote in her hand, refusing to look around. She felt the air around her grow colder, or maybe it was her body that was getting hotter with the way her heart beat faster. The smell of aftershave reached her nostrils, but it wasn’t Talon’s, nor her father’s. The redhead was about to turn around when two large hands grabbed a hold of her, one covering her mouth and the other keeping her shoulders in place. Katarina’s scream was muffled, her eyes widening and glancing around, hoping to catch the reflection of the man who had just broken in.

Well, not exactly, she realized. She hadn’t locked the doors. Her mind retraced the events that led her not to lock it, going from her awful day at work to her father’s cat, then to—

“Stop fucking squirming,” the man behind her ordered, his own voice muffled by a fabric she couldn’t see. “Scream and I pull your tongue out,” he growled, his breath ghosting over her ear even through the cloth that covered his face.

He readjusted his hold on her, his left arm securing her upper body against his much larger frame, while his right hand left her mouth to pull something from his pocket. Cables dangled in front of her, along with a pocketknife.

“The cameras don’t work,” he informed her.

She could hear the smirk in his voice. “What—” She gulped. “What do you want?” she asked, hating the way her voice sounded so small and weak. “This isn’t the thirty-second century—people keep their money in the bank and valuables in safes, not at home,” she tried to reason out loud.

The man laughed quietly in her ear, choosing to finger the golden chain around her neck rather than giving her a worded reply.

“It’s my mother’s,” Katarina whispered, one of her hands reaching out.

The cold steel of his sharp blade against her cheek froze her in place. “See, not all valuables are kept in high security places,” he commented dryly. “Take it off,” he ordered. “It’s too pretty to break, isn’t it?”

Katarina shook her head, only to feel the tip of his knife draw blood. Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes, and with trembling hands, she undid the clasp of the chain, letting the remote she had been holding fall to the ground.

“Good girl,” he coldly whispered in her ear, tugging on her jewelry and shoving it inside one of his pockets. “I suggest we keep up this little collaboration we’ve got going on,” he went on, “and I know you’ll shut up about it and won’t even call the sheriff on me once I’m done here because you don’t want any headlines mention how the successful daughter of Marcus Du Couteau, who is basically in charge of our national patrimony, can’t even deal with one burglar.”

It clicked then. Katarina’s jade eyes widened, and she struggled against him, trying to turn around but he prevented any further movement by pressing his knife against her neck. On instinct, she raised her hands in front of her, breathing heavily through her mouth.

“Who sends you?” she asked, gritting her teeth.

It had to be because of the way she refused to sell several artifacts that week. It had to be some sort of warning, or threat. It had to, because she couldn’t be just another one of those airheads who got robbed right on the one day they forgot to lock the doors behind them.

She felt him shift his weight behind her, and he sounded amused. “Send me? Why would you think that?” he asked, proceeding to move her across the room, guiding her steps by pushing his booted feet against her bare ankles. “I mean, I did have to study your house a bit, with all the maids’ shifts and other nonsense such as cameras and alarms. But I didn’t think you would actually let the door open when you’re home alone.”

Her throat tightened, and she never found it harder not to cry. “Well, I hope you rented a train if you plan on taking everything in this house that is worth more than your pathetic existence,” she spat, the words coming out before she even had a chance to think about it.

It happened in an instant. Katarina was spun around so fast that her head reeled, and when she was aware of her surroundings again, her eyes catching the blue color of the intruder’s orbs, a resounding slap hit her so hard across the cheek that she was sent flying several meters behind, the back of her head hitting the wall. The red-haired woman dropped to her knees, tasting her own blood in her mouth, and she cradled her bruised cheek with one hand, the tears finally spilling from her green eyes. Her damp hair clung to her body, but before she could recollect her thoughts, she felt a sharp tug on her scalp.

He was using her hair as handles to pull her up again.

Katarina screamed, her small fists pushing against his chest. That was when she took in his appearance. He was a foot and several inches taller than her and built like a Shuriman statue. She didn’t know what felt harder—the stone wall behind her or the muscles that were shoving her against it.

“Stop—!” she shouted, her nails digging in his wrist. “You’re hurting me!”

“Am I?” he hissed back in her ear, forcing the side of her face against his arm. “I have a problem with bullies,” he told her, keeping her face in place with two fingers. “I think it’s because of my mother. Stupid bitches like you who think they can step all over your ego just because they have people at their beck and call with a bat of their lashes.”

Katarina tried to jerk her face away, but he pressed harder.

“My bicep alone is bigger than your head,” he pointed out with a cold chuckle. “Pull another stunt and I turn that pretty swollen face into one big pool of applesauce.”

She sobbed in the fabric of his sleeve, eyes tightly shut.

“Look at me,” he growled through his indigo scarf. “I said,” he punctuated with another tug on her hair. “Fucking look at me.”

Dark green eyes peeked at him, and she quieted down for a second, until he stopped tugging on her red strands to push down on her shoulder.

“On your knees.” He glared down at her panicked look and fisted the waistband of her shorts. “Did the slap cause your ears to ring so hard that you turned deaf?” he sneered, ignoring her complaints as he slid the shorts down along with the panties he didn’t even bother to look at.

“No, don’t—please don’t,” she sobbed out, scratching his hand as she tried to push him away. “Take anything in here—just don’t ,” she begged shamefully, keeping her eyes shut.

He stopped, taking a small step back as if to consider her offer. Katarina blinked, catching her breath and releasing his wrist, her body going limp against the wall behind her.

The blue-eyed assailant forced her to look up, his hand firmly locked around her jaw. “I’m afraid I didn’t rent a train,” he mocked her, letting the words sink in before he held her by the waist, ignoring her screams.

He twirled the knife in his right hand and used one of his knees to push her thighs apart. He pressed the hilt of his blade against her outer lips, and Katarina stiffened against him, her cheeks wetter than her hair with the way tears poured from her eyes.

“Keep struggling, bitch,” he taunted, “keep moving and I slice you a brand-new hole.”

Katarina sobbed harder, letting her forehead lean against his shoulder as he positioned the hilt against her entrance and pushed quickly in. She cried in his ear, and he licked his lips as he let the pocketknife dangle between her legs.

“Get on your fucking knees,” he ordered her again. “And you’d better keep your legs open or else the blade will slice every little stretch mark you got on those fleshy inner thighs.”

Katarina nodded weakly, sliding down and using one hand to keep her balance. Her knees were shaking too hard for her to rely on her leg muscles. The monster towering over her unbuckled his belt and undid the button of his pants slowly, as if to either savor the moment or see if she would fall to the ground at any given moment.

He pulled out his semi-erected cock and his cobalt eyes narrowed when she looked away. He fisted her hair again, tilting her head backwards while he stroked his swollen member against her bruised cheek.

“You’d better be good at this,” he warned her, raising an eyebrow at her. “Gag once and I swear I’m going to break your back, pull on your hair until the back of your head touches your ass while I fuck it relentlessly.”

The tip of his cock grazed her lips, coating them with precum, and Katarina turned her head away. He moved to the side, and before she knew it, he hit her straight in the stomach with the side of his boot, as if he had just kicked a ball across a football field. Katarina felt the air being knocked out of her and she nearly vomited, but he was quick to hold her up by the hair, and he pushed his cock past her parted lips as she tried to breathe again. He was fully erect by then, and both hands were on the sides of her face to position her the way he pleased.

He thrusted in slowly, groaning in his thick scarf and drowning in the feel of her tongue against the underside of his cock. He let the tip of her tongue graze his balls. She was breathing hard through her nostrils, her entire body shaking as she tried not to lose her balance. He laughed when he realized she was struggling with trying not to sit on her heels, else the pocketknife would fully thrust in and tear her apart.

He gave a sharp thrust, his swollen head hitting the back of her throat and he pushed further in, making it impossible for her to breathe. He moaned loudly, ready to give in and go for deeper and faster thrusts, when she gagged and sputtered all over the floor.

“Fucking,” he pushed her away, grabbing the waistband of his pants to slide his belt out of the loops. “What the fuck did I tell you?” he roared, twisting his fingers in the front of her tank top to pull her up.

Without a warning, he pulled the pocketknife out of her pussy, scratching the skin of her thighs and dragging her around as if she was an empty bag made of plastic. He tossed the bloodied blade away and came to a halt when they rounded the corner of the hallway, sending her face-first into the stairs, blood running freely down her legs.

Katarina’s elbows hit the wooden stairs first as she tried to brace herself, but she slipped on the carpet and was about to break her teeth with the impact when he held her body. She still scratched her knees, and she cried frantically as her entire body stung. He was already reaching out for her wrists, her bloodshot eyes widening when she realized he had been holding her to tie her wrists behind her back with his belt.

“Don’t worry,” he said menacingly. “We’ll break these white pearls of yours later, hook them on one of those beautiful red strands you got to replace the necklace you so kindly gifted me.”

Katarina kicked behind her, her foot landing straight in his knee and for a split second, he lost his own balance. She tried sliding up the stairs to stand up and run while her wrists weren’t tied, but she lost her slipper and twisted her ankle as she tripped over the pair of shorts that dangled from her left foot. Her assailant straddled her back, securing her wrists together and chuckling at her feeble attempt at an escape.

“Very cute,” he told her. “You are, really,” he repeated in a softer tone that send more shivers down her spine than his venomous words. “It’s a shame you’re such a stuck-up, snobbish bitch that isn’t even worth fucking. Isn’t that why you’re home alone, anyway?” he spoke in a deep, calm voice, and she felt his lips against her ear. “No fucking wonder. If someone actually gave even a tiny little shit about you, you wouldn’t be in this position.”

Katarina cried silent tears, shaking her head and fighting against the leather that cut off her blood circulation. She nearly twisted her shoulder by doing so, and it changed nothing.

The man on top of her chuckled. “I know what women like you say,” he confessed. “I have no time , right? I work a lot, or sometimes you even dare say that it is too hard to find someone genuinely interested in you when you come from a family like yours. Bullshit,” he spat, a droplet of saliva landing on her cheek. “You just think that no one can ever get on your level, that you’re way out of everyone’s league.”

She felt his hands forcefully grab at her ass, pushing her cheeks apart as his cock slid between them. Katarina wiggled away, only to be tugged by the hair yet again, but harder, until she felt her hair tickle the skin of her rear. His previous words echoed through her mind, and she sobbed inaudible words. She felt her spine stretch and crack, but even though she begged him to stop, he was too engrossed in his own monologue.

“Well, you know what men in your league do?” he asked her as he positioned the tip of his cock against her puckered hole. “They go for women who are worth the time and effort,” he chastised her. “They don’t stick around little girls who give them attitude and half a blowjob.

“But don’t worry, I’ll stick around enough to make it very clear in your tiny little brain that you reside on no one’s fucking pedestal,” he promised, pushing the tip of his cock inside, earning another cry from her. “And from now on, there will be nights,” he breathed out, fighting against the clenching of her hole, “when you wake up sweaty and crying because you will have dreamt of what is going on right now. Of the day that a man just flung you across the stairs of your elegant home to fuck you in the ass.”

He leaned closer, tightening his fingers around her throat.

“And you will want it again.”

Katarina’s scream died in her lungs as his fist tightened around her neck and he pushed all the way in, spreading her apart. His loud groan rang in her ears, and he gave her no time to adjust as he began pounding relentlessly, his even heavier balls slapping against the flesh between her pussy and her violated hole. He let go of her throat to push her head against the carpet that covered the stairs. His hips pushed against her butt fast, and she felt her own hips hit the edge of the stairs with each thrust. Her skin was burning and bruising from the way her ribcage and hipbone met the carpeted wood over and over again.

Katarina chewed on her own hair as it got sucked in her mouth every time she sobbed, but whenever she told him to stop he pushed an inch deeper in, and every time she fell silent the large palm of his hand met her ass cheek, leaving the skin red and swollen. He kept up with the momentum until he let out a pained, animalistic groan and rested his entire weight on top of her, thrusting at such a deeper angle that she felt the bulbous tip of his cock stroke the backwall of her pussy. Katarina screamed into the carpet at the sensation, her body stiffening.

The man above her laughed so hard in her ear that she cried what was left of her tears as he used both hands to pull her against him, giving up the thrusting motion to use her as a ragdoll. “You even feel wet,” he kept laughing. “Raw, yet wet. Are you horny, you little slut, or are you just bleeding down there?”

If she answered his question, he never heard it. His mind went black as his balls tightened and he emptied himself deep inside her, his cock twitching and his body shuddering over hers. His forearm pressed against the back of her head, muffling her sore cries into the carpet that was wet with her tears. His other hand was grasping her ass firmly, his blunt nails leaving crescent moon marks on her already bruised skin.

Katarina felt him pull out but didn’t see the way his hot seed mixed with the blood that spilled from both her ass and thighs. He rolled next to her on the stairs with a thud, ragged breaths leaving his lips while she sobbed uncontrollably. She couldn’t even feel her legs, let alone her arms. She knew she was shaking from head to toe, but she couldn’t feel it. She knew she was filled with his semen, but she felt empty.

He was still laughing. “I fucked you,” he stated in a tone that was a mixture of mockery and cockiness. “I fucked you and I have your mother’s necklace,” he added cruelly before standing up, using the adjacent wall to balance himself, but not without nudging her away from him with his boot.

Katarina let out a weakened whine, her face twisted in pain and profound shame. She felt him undo his belt, and her hands immediately went to her bruised cheeks and swollen eyes. She covered her flushed face entirely, her chest still rising and falling with muted sobs. She was chewing on her bleeding lip and feeling her wrists when she was suddenly lifted off the stairs, and she opened her eyes.

The cobalt eyes were still peering down at her, but his indigo scarf was no longer there. Neither was the over-washed hoodie.

“It’s over,” he said. Another sob rocked her chest, and he hushed her. “It’s over, Kat.”

Katarina reached out with one hand to trace his cheekbone, and he pulled her closer, placing her forehead in the crook of his neck. “Garen, I need to—”

“I know.”

He carried her to bathroom with little effort, even though she could hear the strain in his breathing. He kicked the door open, going straight for the shower and turning it on with a push of his elbow. He carefully put her down, holding both her hands to help her stand under the water while he worked on removing the remaining pieces of clothing they wore. He slid inside the shower right after, rinsing off the blood that had collected between their legs.

Garen’s large hands went to her face right after, checking the bruises he inflicted and wincing when he noticed how fast her skin swelled. “We need ice,” he whispered, brushing his thumb across her face and lips.

Katarina remained silent, preferring to keep her eyes on his face now that she could see him fully. She was still crying. She had never felt so fragile before.

He had never seen her that broken before.

Garen licked his lips, running his fingers through her now tangled hair. The cuts were mostly shallow and had already stopped bleeding, but he didn’t want her face to be swollen for the next couple days. The ice would have to wait though, he reminded himself. There were more pressing matters.

Katarina held on his bigger arms as they left the shower and he grabbed a couple towels from the rack, making sure she was completely dry before checking once again that she had stopped bleeding. His movements were slow and caring, and whenever she glanced up at him, he made sure that he looked right back at her. Garen picked her up, letting his lips graze hers, before carrying her to her bedroom.

Shadow meowed at the entrance of her room, and he gently brushed his shin against the cat, the tiny animal sniffing him and going inside first after recognizing his scent. Garen placed the petite woman in his arms on the bed, immediately climbing on it and facing her. She sighed peacefully against him, a faint smile grazing her lips as he wrapped one of her plaid blankets around them. Katarina tucked herself against him, her eyes having yet to leave his face.

Garen kissed her gently, wrapping his arms around her small body. She would usually tangle her legs with his, but he figured she still hurt from the rough treatment. He didn’t rush any touch across her skin.

The plan, he reminded himself. He had to stick to the plan.

And the plan was to avoid any type of blues.

“You were great,” he whispered against her lips. “Really, you were,” he repeated when she rolled her eyes. “That was… not the good kind of sick,” he joked.

Katarina smiled, her eyes tearing up from exhaustion rather than pain by then. “The hard part was not being able to see your face,” she confessed, her fingers tracing his lips and jawline. “And your voice came out all muffled and,” she sighed. “I almost used the safe word. I almost said ‘Shadow’ when you started—”

“I know,” Garen interrupted her with a nod. “I’m glad you trusted me until the end. Especially with those instructions you left on my phone—the things that go through your mind, woman.”

Katarina laughed, the sound relieving him from the mental struggle he faced as he repeatedly violated her while she cried her lungs out. She wrapped an arm around his neck, pressing their lips together. He moved softly against her, following her lips and letting her play with his brown locks. She licked his lower lip and it was his cue to deepen the kiss just a little bit. His hands moved from her small waist to her ribcage, traveling up to her neglected breasts. Her erect nipples were pressing against his chest, and he figured it was both from the play and the shower that followed. He tweaked them, smirking into the kiss when she sighed and threw a leg over his hip.

Garen broke the kiss, raising an eyebrow at her. “Hey, I need a moment,” he pointed out.

“That’s not true,” the redhead countered, her other knee brushing against his growing erection.

“You need a moment,” he tried to argue.

Katarina shook her head against the pillow. “That’s not true either.”

Garen repositioned her leg so that he had better access, and slowly slid his length inside her pussy, stretching it very slowly, although he was quick to notice that she was still rather wet from the rough anal stimulation. He kept one arm around her body while his free hand roamed her skin, fingers tracing and locking, lips exploring and soothing every bruise. Katarina arched her back only slightly, feeling sore from the previous romp, but enough to slide more of him inside. She gasped in his neck, teeth nibbling and nails scratching. Her hips set a rather slow, enticing pace, and she was more than grateful for the way he remained mostly still, occasionally thrusting upwards. Her backwall still hurt.

Katarina rubbed against him to feel his length on her outer lips and clit, tilting her hips to pull him back inside when she wanted. His hot breath against her neck indicated that it was a rather torturous pace for him, but he was usually the one to request that she would slow-ride him.

Garen flipped her on her back, keeping himself sheathed and staring down at her. He kept his weight off her body using one muscular arm, his other hand coming to rest between her legs. His hips were nearly still, not moving to thrust into her, but he asked her to wrap her legs around him nonetheless. He spread the palm of his hand on her lower stomach, his thumb toying with her clit like a pendulum, moving from left to right and spreading her wetness over her swollen outer lips. Slowly at first, then faster the moment she tightened her legs around him and closed her eyes, her tongue darting out to lick her upper lip. It didn’t take long for her to reach her orgasm, her soaked walls sucking him in and clamping around his cock like a glove that was too small.

Garen let her ride it out with small, short thrusts of his hips, hissing when she managed to squeeze out more cum from him. His cock was starting to feel a bit too sensitive, and he pulled out, cradling her against his chest so that she would lie at least partially on top of him.

“Don’t let it ever get into your head,” he whispered sleepily against her forehead.

“Hm?” Katarina frowned, her eyes already closed.

“Of course, you’re worth the time and effort,” he elaborated lazily, yawning into her crimson mane. “And as much as I like calling you a slut and a bitch, you aren’t any of that. I mean, you can be a bitch, especially when you steal the last pancake on the kitchen counter—” Garen felt her slap his chest and he snickered. “And I do hope you have dreams of this in the future,” he added with a hint of pride.

Katarina snuggled in closer, using his upper body as a pillow. “Garen?”

“Hm?”

“Stop talking,” she ordered. “I love you too.”

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