It's amazing how yard work and pulling weeds out of a rose bush would inspire such a story. So, here I give you a tragic story about my favorite ninja, and my not so favorite ninja.
Chapter 1: A Turn for the Worse
Akali found herself to be the first one awake. Slowly, she turned to see Shen’s chest lifting slightly with each breath he took. She planted a kiss on her sleeping partner’s cheek before stretching, trying not to disturb his rest. Silently, she got out of his bed and dressed herself. As she began to reach for the door, she took one last look at Shen. A smile played itself across her lips before she left the small apartment the institute provided.
Although this act was not common among the two colleagues, there was still the fear of getting caught that lingered in Akali’s mind. What would she say if someone found her leaving Shen’s quarters? What would they think? Perhaps mission details would be a good excuse. Important mission details; finding herself tired and it being late, she stayed the night at Shen’s. Akali nodded to herself, satisfied with her excuse.
It wasn’t long before she found her own quarters. The morning was only dawning. All the champions that woke up early were already awake and doing whatever it was they did in the morning. Her muffled movement was flawless as she reached her door. Though a high-pitched raspy voice spoke up whom she recognized instantly, causing Akali to curse herself silently.
“Akali?” Kennen asked, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “Where were you last night? I came by to ask you something but you were gone,” Kennen said, yawning afterwards.
Akali’s mind fumbled for the excuse she had come up with earlier. “Shen and I, discussing mission details. I was too tired to come back and slept over there. I’m sorry Kennen, I didn’t think it would take all night,” She explained. Despite the nervousness she was feeling, she had pulled off her excuse almost perfectly. Internally, she congratulated herself. “What was it that you wanted to ask me?”
Kennen shook his head, “It’s nothing. I’ve already taken care of it. I was just curious about something, but now it’s all ok. Just make sure to tell me when you’re going to Shen’s please?”
“I’ll make it a point,” Akali replied before entering her small apartment. The room had grown cold with her absence, forcing her to slightly shiver upon closing the door behind her. It was a complete contrast from waking up in Shen’s heated room. Immediately, she headed for her shower, slipping into it and turned on the water.
As the liquid ran down her skin, she began to think of how her and Shen’s charade had started. What was it that caused her to seek him out to calm her urges? We’re they honestly urges, or needs? It hardly seemed to matter anymore. The two had already done what was done and there appeared to be no sign of it stopping. As she began to wonder why she had even started going to Shen for her needs, she began to ask herself why she hadn’t earlier. He was wise, strong, selfless, insightful, and could weather even the worst of attacks. To her, he was the epitome of what every man should be.
Though that was far from love. She couldn’t tell herself that she ‘loved’ Shen. To do so would certainly impair his judgment and that was not an option. Shen had a strong responsibility; her companionship would only get in his way. Realizing this, Akali was simply satisfied with her uncommon visits and his willingness to give her what she needed. As long as they kept this under concealment, there would be no way it could take a turn for the worse. They could easily go on with their lives without any real repercus-
Akali’s body heaved as her stomach wretched, forcing her to double over in pain. A small torrent of fluids flowed from Akali’s mouth and swirled into the drain of her shower. She stood there, body heaving in periodical moments. When her episode was finished with, she stared down at her shower floor, shocked at what had just happened. She stayed looking down, taking deep breaths to calm her body. Could she have caught a virus? It wouldn’t have been the first time any of the trio had become ill. During their missions, they were almost constantly exposed to microbials that could have caused such a reaction.
She turned off the water to her shower and slipped on a robe before lying down in her bed. She wrapped the thin sheets around herself, feeling her strength sapped from her body’s violent affair. Sick, that’s what she was, or rather, that’s what she believed. There couldn’t have been another explanation. It was funny, she felt fine just before her shower. Perhaps she was too distracted in her thoughts to feel the symptoms her body was giving.
She curled up within the sheets, closing her eyes and letting the natural exhaustion take effect. Her occurrence in the shower told her to call the League offices and tell them she had contracted a virus and would be unavailable for summoning. That seemed like the right course of action for the day.
When Shen awoke, he noticed the absence of Akali’s body heat. He looked behind him and saw that she was gone. He never once cared that she left before he woke up; he understood her actions for doing so. Akali was the one who came to him; he felt no need to keep her longer than what she wanted. He hadn’t seen Akali as a companion, though he had slowly grown fond of the woman. Not once had it ever interfered with his duties, but the feelings were still there. It wasn’t his job to be void of emotion, only to be unbiased in his judgment. Those were his duties, and he had not wavered in it.
Shen stood up from his bed, taking in a deep breath before heading to his shower and getting dressed. He was about to start the trio’s training regimen. They all knew to meet in the mess hall and start their routine. After their five mile run, then they were treated to breakfast. After breakfast were arms and tactics training with a break in the middle for lunch. The regimen ended with another three mile jog before they were released to spend the rest of the day however they pleased. It wasn’t meant to improve their skill, it was made to keep them in shape and it had done its job.
He strapped on his ninjato and left the small part of the institute that was called his. At the mess hall, he found Kennen but there was no sign of Akali anywhere. Shen was confused. Not once had Akali ever missed out on the regimen.
“Kennen, where is Akali?” Shen asked his voice deep and his tone commanding. The yordle was taken back by the question and cocked a confused look at Shen.
“I saw her go into her room earlier. She told me she spent the night at your place, said something about mission details,” Kennen replied. Shen nodded his head slowly, deciding to go and find her for himself.
“Start your run. Akali and I will catch up later,” Shen commanded. Kennen nodded an understanding and left the mess hall. Shen, however, headed towards Akali’s quarters.
The ninja knocked on his colleague’s door. For a moment, there was nothing but silence. It took a while and repeated knocking till Akali answered it. In Shen’s eyes, she didn’t look well at all. Her eyes showed fatigue and her skin was slightly pale.
“Yes?” She asked once she opened the door.
“We have a routine to do, but I can see you aren’t feeling well,” Shen replied.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know where it came from,” She said, rubbing her temples. Shen pondered for a moment before deciding what he believed was the best decision.
“Take a day off. Tomorrow, you will give me twice the normal running distance,” Shen responded, his voice giving a strong amount of authority.
“Without question,” She said, closing the door.
It didn’t take long for Shen to catch up to the yordle. Even though Kennen was full of energy and fast, his height disadvantage worked against him. When Kennen first saw The Eye of Twilight, he searched for Akali, but found her missing.
“She is feeling ill,” Shen said, answering Kennen’s unasked question. “She’ll join us tomorrow if she is able.” Kennen felt content with the answer, not seeing a point in continued questioning.
The two finished their run and ended up back at the institute. Kennen had immediately headed to get his breakfast, eager to eat. Shen on the other hand, barely even touched the food he had gotten. He seemed focused on something, but Kennen knew not what it was. He could almost see it on his leader’s face. Something was occupying his mind. The yordle shrugged it off though. If he needed to know, Shen would tell him.
The two began their arms training. Kennen’s accuracy with his shurikens was almost unmatched by anyone else. He could hit a bullseye on a target three times in a row. Shen had become so quick with his Ninjato, only a twitch of his muscle left slashes in the dummy he practiced on. The trio was equally skilled in their respective weapons. Shen’s Ninjato was fast, Kennen never missed his mark, and Akali was swift in her slashes.
As Shen slashed with his ninjato, a kama stuck straight into the dummy next to him. It was perfectly placed in the middle of its target’s head. Shen turned back to see Akali standing a good distance away. She walked over, approaching the dummy and pulling her kama from it.
“Nice of you to join us,” Shen said to the woman.
“I started feeling better,” She replied.
“Then I expect those miles done by sundown.”
As the day went on, so did the normality of the trio’s training. Not many words were exchanged between them. Shen was confident enough in his two associates to let them train on their own without his guidance. They knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing and they had not failed him once. Once their three mile jog was over with, the three of them sat down, taking deep breaths to relax themselves. Kennen was the first one to depart, leaving Shen and Akali alone. As Akali stood up, Shen stopped her.
“Wait,” He said. Akali stopped dead in her tracks, looking back at him. “You still owe me five miles.”
Akali started running without hesitation, knowing that Shen would not allow her to go without finishing her training. To her surprise, Shen was running right next to her.
“Why are you coming with me?” She asked.
“I’m entitled to make sure you finish. Also, these roads are dangerous if you are to go alone,” He responded.
“I can handle myself.”
“I wasn’t questioning your abilities.”
The two ran in silence. So many questions appeared in Akali’s head but she refused to ask Shen any of them. She felt feelings for the man, but couldn’t bring herself to tell him. Only during her visits was there any sort of passion between them. Other than that, it was simply business for him. He showed no favoritism for either her or Kennen, which was good. At times, she had even forgotten he was human with the way he behaved.
At the end of their run, Akali felt considerably more tired than what she normally did. Why was that? Shen seemed perfectly fine despite having to run twice the normal amount of miles they did daily. She on the other hand, was practically gasping for air. Shen cocked an eybrow at her. This was not the way she was usually.
“Is there something wrong?” Shen asked lifting her up from her doubled over position.
“I’m just…so tired,” She replied, taking deep breaths. “I don’t know why.”
Shen placed his hand on her shoulder, “If tomorrow you feel ill, don’t bother coming to train with us. I suggest you find out what’s wrong before morning. I’ll give you one day, but I will still expect you to double anything you miss,” Shen explained. Akali nodded her understanding. With that, Shen walked away, heading straight for the institute's entrance.
Author's Note: I'm trying my best to replicate the dialogue of the characters and how they act. If somehow I do mess up something, I'm completely sorry.