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That bruise mottled around the cut above the corner of Villanelle's mouth is oddly cute. Endearing in that it reminds Eve of a child with a chocolate milk mustache, though heaven fucking knows Villanelle isn't a child. But there's something childishly innocent about her nonetheless. Innocent in the way that Adam and the other, biblical Eve were, before the apple taught them shame. And impulse control, and whatever the fuck else.

But it's not as if Eve, modern, currently unemployed, notably non-religious and angrily lonely Eve, has impulse control which is all that fantastic, either. It's why she went through with so many poor spur of the moment decisions. Why she trashed Villanelle's flat instead of just leaving while she was ahead and waiting for word from the old lady turned helpful informant next door.

It's why when Villanelle, when Oksana, says, “Will you stay for a bit?” Eve turns onto her side to look into Oksana's bruised, beautiful face, and says, “Sure.” And she means it.

She means it, and she knows that she is going to kill her. The mother-of-pearl handle of the knife is solid in her hand, the blade unfolded like a delicate viper uncurled from a bouquet of hothouse flowers, its forked tongue licking and pricking at the slightly glittery pink fabric of Oksana's shirt, and Oksana is brushing Eve's hair away from her face, her fingers cool as they skim over Eve's temple, as they trace around her ear. Her thumb strokes smooth and perfect and reverent along Eve's cheekbone and she is staring as if memorizing Eve's face, as if she has already tasted Eve's mouth in her dreams and knows it to be nectar.

“I've never done anything like this before,” Eve admits. The down comforter is thick and soft beneath them. Eve's tired skeleton wants to sink down into its cushioned depths and become one with the goose feathers. Wants to drift away on a cloud until all she feels is somnolent bliss and another woman's warm embrace around her.

But Eve's going to do to Oksana what she did to Bill. She's going to make sure Oksana knows what's coming, and it cannot yet be sleep. Cannot be so impermanent and lovely as another one of Oksana's flights of fancy. There is no ambrosia here.

“It's okay,” says Oksana. She hikes herself up higher onto her elbow and shimmies closer. “I know what I'm doing,” she says, until she shimmies into the knife and cuts her own reassurances short, her last syllable fading out into a little huff of a sigh and her eyebrows raising until her forehead creases. Not so much surprised as disbelieving, as disappointed.

“Wow,” she breathes, the sound of it almost lost within Eve's breathing, with how Eve's respiratory system suddenly wants to shudder out of whack, wants to suck in at the air as if scared of drowning. Oksana glances down to double check, her brow pinching for a moment before smoothing again, the ripples dispersing from the surface of a pond as the insignificant pebble plinks and then sinks into the encompassing stillness of its golden, mirrored waters, Eve holding her breath now to keep from drinking her in, and she laughs, once, lightly, when she confirms the threat for what it is. “That's rude,” she says, perky and joking, and she smiles at Eve with absolute fearlessness. Seeing only the bouquet and not the snake. Letting Eve see only Villanelle.

“Yeah,” Eve agrees direly, because it is rude. Rude like stealing Eve's suitcase or stabbing Eve's best friend or then comforting Eve by saying that the dead best friend had only been slowing her down, anyway. Only holding her back.

Bill probably would hold her back from coldblooded murder, so in a way Villanelle was right. And what do you know: Bill's not here. Not here to hold her back.

Villanelle laughs again, or just continues to do so, her laughter as much a deflection as anything she ever finds humor in, as any prank she pulls or thing she says. She's fragile enough to feel her weakness within herself, but not fragile enough to ever have to intellectualize it, or even confront it. She's all incredible strength ruled by the haphazard pursuit of instant gratification, and she is overconfident investment in her own sense of invulnerability, and she is petty, reactionary fury at any offense which contradicts the armored construct of her arrogance, anything which would be so contrary as to dare foil the hedonistic short-term happiness which she so usually and so effortlessly gains through her blithe disregard of social mores and morals and lives.

That's another thing they have in common. They both like to be right. They like coming out on top. They're rebels; they're selfish; they're perverse.

And Eve knows that if Villanelle tells Eve that she cannot stab her, with Eve holding the knife against Villanelle's stomach and with conviction coursing through her veins, Eve will.

Eve will stab her so hard, she swears to fucking Christ.

But she remembers the way that Villanelle had cradled the gun over her heart for a moment, as she had settled in on the bed beside her, and how Villanelle had promised not to kill her in the little rhotic trill and the clipped, sibilant precision of her accent, and the adorable, self-effacingly awkward way she had pressed her lips together, cheeks bulging just an abashed bit, as she had reached away to set the gun down on the floor, and the way she had turned to orient her body to Eve's body when she no longer had anything to shield herself with.

Eve remembers this like it just happened because it did just happen, fucking seconds ago, but she's already replaying the minutiae of their interaction over again and again in her head, as if the analytical side of her brain can't keep up with reality, as if her subconscious is rewinding the tape and tripping her up and begging her to realize something horrifically, ridiculously obvious which she's missed. As if she's about to make a grave goddamn mistake.

Villanelle opens her mouth to say the thing which will spur Eve to make that mistake and Eve crashes her mouth gracelessly into Villanelle's before she can.

Is Eve panicking? Distracting Villanelle? Buying herself time? None of the above?

Does it matter?

Villanelle's lips are soft and tender and Eve sucks Villanelle's upper lip sloppily in between her teeth and worries it until the scab over that bruised cut breaks open and she tastes blood. Villanelle's hot, slick tongue slides against Eve's lower teeth, urges Eve's blunt mouth open until Eve relents and releases the bite and their tongues meet and twist, savory and sour and wet and it isn't nectar, it isn't sweet ambrosia. It's something else entirely. Something addictive, treacherously frictionless, the scorching rush of adrenaline accompanying the dive off a glacial cliff.

This is a hard truth and a gentle lie all at once, the way that Villanelle herself is. The way that she's too honest to be a hypocrite even with how her word is only worth anything for as long as it is uttered because Villanelle lives more in the moment than anyone else Eve has ever known, because Villanelle is a different breed, a creature of carefree immediacy, an elegantly simple yet infuriatingly unsolvable riddle. One of those fairies of old. The otherworldly sidhe with their arcane motivations and their glassy eyes and stone hearts and their mounts of fire and air.

She is stroking Eve's face again, creeping on desperate even though Eve is giving her everything she wants, and Eve wants to kick herself for that, for indulging in this. Curses herself to the beat of her own pulse pounding in her ears, the room silent but for the rustle of the clean, crisp sheets beneath them. There is the bracingly fresh scent of laundry detergent, and expensive skin creams, and cheap hotel shampoo, and the fizzy, delightful aroma of all those bottles of chilled champagne which Eve had smashed, tacky where it has splashed and dried on her skin, sticky against mother-of-pearl and metal. There is numbingly flat chemical gloss on Villanelle's lips and deep-fried fast food on her breath, and there is a purr in the back of her throat, a pleased moan spilling straight from her mouth and into Eve's like half-chewed rose petals, pulped and mangled and bitter and dewy. Chokingly floral against the fatty grease.

Eve recoils, breaking the kiss so that she can gasp, and Villanelle is shaking with joyful laughter, her teeth bright and her gaze even brighter, nigh-on incandescent with smug satisfaction, and Eve is still holding that knife.

“You still think you can do it?” Villanelle asks, teasing. Goading Eve with her certainty that Eve will not follow through.

“You still think I can't?” Eve says.

Intrigue flickers in Villanelle's expression and is dismissed just as quickly in favor of her typical unfaltering hubris and a daring, devil-may-care grin.

Eve stares deeply into Villanelle's eyes and pushes the knifepoint against Villanelle's stomach until it pierces the weave of Villanelle's shirt and scratches ever-so-faintly against her skin, and not once does Villanelle's certainty waver, not even when Eve rises to straddle Villanelle's hips, slinging her leg over Villanelle's body in a surge which triggers Villanelle's tripwire reflexes and makes her grab onto Eve's wrist, but Villanelle doesn't try to disarm her; she only holds on. Allows Eve and the blade free reign over the vulnerable expanse of her, over the delectable feast of her, laid out and pliant as if presenting herself on a silver platter for Eve's pleasure.

“I trust you,” says Oksana.

Eve's head swims so extremely that she barely keeps from reeling, dizzy at the sudden switch in position, or perhaps at the power trip. Probably at both.

Villanelle might be lying. Or manipulating. Fuck, also probably both. But goddamn does it ever work on Eve anyway.

“I still think you're a prick,” says Eve, and she bends to kiss her again, kissing away the rusty smear of blood from Oksana's lip and kissing the dark, puffy bruise along her jaw and kissing down the slender swan's queen length of her neck, her hair dragging over Oksana's face, Eve's own face fitting perfectly in the humid, shadowed, sublime space tucked against Oksana's throat.

Oksana keeps her hand around Eve's wrist, Eve keeping the knife between them, and Oksana raises her other hand and buries it in Eve's hair, her fingers spread across the back of Eve's skull. Her fingernails scrape against Eve's scalp and send shivers skittering in their wake like comet tails trailing stardust. Eve licks the little scooped-out hollow at the base of Oksana's throat and then gnaws at her collarbone, sucking skin in between her incisors until she can nibble it livid, and Oksana writhes in approval.

“Lower,” Oksana says, pushing at Eve's head insistently. “Lower, please, I want your mouth.”

The words send an unadulterated shock of lust through Eve so strongly and suddenly that she's sure Oksana feels the heat of the blush which floods her cheeks. Oksana definitely sees it when Eve sits up, judging by the cat-which-got-the-cream look she's wearing. Oksana's cheeks are also feverishly flushed, though, and more wisps of her hair have come loose from her bun, fuzzing out over the dove-white duvet like spun sugar, crackling and honeyed.

The soft light makes of her hair a hazy halo and sparkles in the broken glass and detritus littering the floor all around the island of their bed. Nowhere safe to walk.

Two opposing sides of Eve are warring within her. One wants to put all her weight behind the knife and drive it into Villanelle's guts and twist it. And the other wants instead to twist her tongue into Oksana, wants to claim a different sort of victory, wants so devoutly to devour. She wants to possess and to protect as much as she wants to hurt her.

She wants to protect Villanelle. The assassin. The murderer. The person who ripped Bill away from his family and put him in the ground. Who ended him alone in a crowd of strangers in some nightclub in Berlin as Eve screamed.

Oksana. The woman who froze upon first seeing Eve as if she'd been struck dumb by Eve's beauty or some shit. The woman with the lost, inaccessible look lurking beneath the honed focus in her feline eyes. The woman who promised not to kill Eve when she'd asked her to do so, and who would probably try to break that promise the moment that Eve broke her heart, the moment Eve shatters it the way that she had told Eve not to, because she really cannot handle a taste of her own medicine.

“I can't believe you,” says Eve, but, god help her, she says it almost fondly.

Oksana beams beatifically at her. Her arm moves with Eve's as Eve slides the knife up her torso, and her grip does not tighten even when the point travels up her neck and makes her lift her chin, her hair rustling loud on the sheets as she tips her head up, bares her throat to the glinting edge. Her eyelashes lower with blatantly sultry intention and outside a cloud passes, dreamily dimming the room further. A car alarm starts blaring somewhere far away.

“You promise you won't kill me?” Eve presses. Even though it's useless. Pointless. Even though there's no way to know if anything will ever be enough. If there is any way to really survive her.

“God, I said so already, didn't I?” Oksana says, rolling her eyes and then flicking them back to Eve and widening them guilelessly as a mockery of earnestness transfigures her delicate features. Peter Pan looking out from a Wendy Darling face. “Do you want it in writing? I can put down my signature and everything, very official.”

“I don't believe you,” says Eve, very sternly. Very differently from how she said I can't believe you.

Oksana's features rearrange again, her mask going from one of sarcasm to one of opacity. Then she shrugs, her shoulder shifting up. “I do not want to kill you,” she says. “It might happen, but I do not want to.” She pauses, searching Eve's face, and then adds, with a hesitance bordering on bashfulness: “I really like you.”

Something in Eve's chest expands. Something yearning and selfish. Something which wants to not give a single shit beyond her own base happiness. Something which wants to make impulse decisions, to live like the future can go fuck itself, something which wants to fuck up in the now and accept the obsession. Accept that Eve can be so desired and desirous in turn, against all odds and all common sense. She wants to have Oksana whole.

Eve clenches the collar of Oksana's shirt until it's pulled taut, flips the knife around in her hand, and then slices straight through the stretched-out cloth with one quick, reckless cut. Tears it apart the rest of the way with her hands and with the snarl of tough, reluctantly parting fabric, ripping it open down to Oksana's waist and then tugging it up to saw through the last of the hem.

Oksana laughs and releases Eve's wrist to shed her sleeves. She grabs the bottom of her sports bra and wriggles herself out of it, deft and sinuous, and then flings it clear off the bed along with the mangled remains of the shirt, and then Oksana is bared and her breasts are amazing and Eve is in awe.

“Wow,” says Eve.

“I know, right?” says Oksana.

“Just. Wow,” says Eve. “Your tits are. Wow. There they are.”

“You can even touch them. You know, if you want,” Oksana says, jerking her chin down at her own chest and waggling her eyebrows.

Eve does, but not with her hands. With the flat of the blade. Cold, on the underside of Oksana's breast, on the red pressure mark left by the band of her bra.

Oksana shivers. Her stomach twitches as the knife traces upwards, circuitously spiraling around the swell of Oksana's breast until it reaches the wrinkled edge of Oksana's taut areola. The faint, wispy trail of downy hair which bisects Oksana's navel prickles to attention as the goosebumps sweep up her arms, and with her free hand Eve follows their pebbled progress, rubbing Oksana's shoulder, the outside of her upper arm, her lower arm, all the way to her strong, slim wrist, and then Eve holds her there as Oksana had held her. Gentle. Her callouses chafing on the softness of Oksana's inner wrist, enveloping tendons and veins and that little knob of bone. She squeezes until Oksana's empty hand falls lax, and then she slides it up, dragging Oksana's arm until it is pinned above her head with her palm facing the ceiling. Her heartline is carved very long and deep.

“I can't tell if I hate you or not,” Eve says. She traces Oksana's areola with the knife, then meanders downward, skimming the tip along Oksana's ribs. Oksana giggles, ticklish. “But I definitely want to... I want to like you, too.” She wants Oksana more than she wants to kill her.

“That is all right for now,” says Oksana. Nothing if not accommodating.

Eve snorts, and curves the knife's journey until it ends again on Oksana's stomach. Presses just hard enough for the edge to sink against the flesh without actually cutting. Not yet.

“I really hope I don't fucking live to regret this,” she mutters to herself, and then she leans down and seals her mouth over the tight pink peak of Oksana's nipple.

Oksana jerks. “I can make sure you don't,” she says, sweet and solicitous, and Eve hopes to fuck that she's just teasing again.

Eve still bites Oksana's nipple in retaliation, until it must hurt, until Oksana groans and weaves her fingers through Eve's hair again and pulls until Eve lets up and switches to Oksana's other nipple. She sucks and circles her tongue and scrapes with her teeth and chafes Oksana rosy and Oksana tugs at her hair in time with the suction which Eve lavishes her with, winds Eve's hair so tightly in her fist that Eve's whole scalp starts to ache in reward, the pinprick pain of every root blending and pulsing together as one.

Eve lets go of Oksana's wrist to fumble at the zipper of her trousers, and Oksana's other hand meets her there, intertwines clumsily and meaningfully with Eve's for a moment before helping her to open the placket. She must put her boot heels on the bed to gain some leverage because her hips buck up, Eve rocking to keep her perch, and together they shove Oksana's trousers and underwear down far enough for Oksana to kick everything off and then Eve is kissing her way down Oksana's breastbone and stomach and scrambling to get down between her legs and Eve still has the knife there against Oksana's side but that doesn't even matter anymore because Eve's nose is against the crinkly thatch of Oksana's hair and she's putting her tongue to Oksana's clit, curling under the hood, quick and dirty and too much too soon and she's lapping and pressing and flicking and Oksana is so wet already, she's dripping, she's shining, and the taste and smell of her is all around Eve, musky and rich and going straight to Eve's head and she only thought she was dizzy before because now she's flying, swooping high as a goddamn kite, and she never ever wants to come down.

“Yes, yes, Eve, thank you Eve, thank you,” Oksana is saying, and what the fuck, because Eve is supposed to be the heartbreaker here, and she doesn't know why Oksana fucking gets to her, why something terrible and tender continues to unfurl within her chest.

She sticks her hand down her own pants to distract herself from the overload of questionable, compromising, downright gooey emotion and her own dry touch sends a jolt through her, the pad of her finger sticking slightly against her throbbing clit with a static electric little shock before she slides down to wet it and brings it back slippery and sets up an erratic rhythm to complement the ravenous, worshiping, relentless tide of her mouth against Oksana's silky brine, against the sensitive pearl of her, and it is all so very, very good, and so very fucking agonizing.

Oksana eventually comes with a high, soft, mewling sort of wail which Eve wouldn't have expected, the shameless volume of it muffled by Oksana's thighs around Eve's ears. Eve nurses Oksana through it as she stiffens and grinds up against Eve in longer, drawn-out jerks, her wondrously smooth, toned thighs flexing and clenching stiffly around Eve's head and her hand buried deep and inordinately careful in Eve's hair, cradling Eve's skull to her sex as she had earlier cradled the gun over her heart, and then, slowly, she relaxes, her legs falling open and her hips twitching away from Eve's mouth instead of into it.

Eve turns her head to the side and gasps in air and devolves into humping. She's wearing all her layers, still, and sweat is pooling at the small of her back, stinging her eyes, mingling with Oksana's essence where it's slicked all around her cheeks and down her chin and god does her jaw ache. She's still tired. Running out of energy, cramping in too many places, and she can't get enough speed and enough finesse to get herself off with the hand she's stuck with using.

“Here, my darling,” Oksana murmurs, and she's taking the knife from Eve's dominant hand, and Eve is letting her. Letting Oksana serve as a balm to her frustration before it builds.

There's a small scarlet arc above Oksana's hipbone. Eve must have nicked her at some point without realizing it.

“I'm sorry,” Eve pants, but Oksana shushes her. Her hands are somehow still cool as they come back to frame Eve's face, pulling her forwards to rest her cheek against Oksana's soft, flat stomach. She's toying with Eve's hair again as if she can't help herself. Combing through it with her fingers, soothing the mess she's made of her.

“That's it, Eve,” says Oksana. “For me. Come for me.”

Eve finally touches herself as she needs to with her right hand, her gun hand, her knife hand, the hand which didn't kill Villanelle, and she moans as her orgasm washes over her.

The afterglow settles heavy and golden in Eve's sated, slackening body, pouring smooth into her creaky bones and oiling every aching joint and making it too much trouble to even think, let alone talk. But somewhere she finds just enough willpower left within herself to mumble, “We're having a serious conversation when I wake up.”

The hands in her hair continue to soothe and stroke and lull her into heavenly rest. “Of course, Eve. When you wake up.”