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The Binary Nature of Death

Chapter Text

They meet in the street outside Villanelle’s old apartment.

Eve is wearing her coat, and she hates that she is wearing her coat, but normal humans do not have the time to go shopping in between crossing borders and breaking into apartments and hastily googling ‘bear spray’ on their phones. Besides, she is now in Paris, which is hardly the cheapest place to get a wardrobe overhaul unless she is willing to take out another mortgage.

But she has tried to wear something nice underneath her coat, a soft white blouse with hints of silver in the seams, that Eve knows she looks good in. And she’s worn her hair down, and spritzed herself with perfume before she left, because-

Because?

They arrive at almost the same time. That makes it difficult. No one is waiting for the other. No one gets to announce a welcome. No one sees the other, and keeps walking forward anyway.

Eve barely registers Villanelle until she’s almost walked into her, she’s so pre-occupied with looking up at the building, checking for a street name to try and track whether she has found the correct place.

“Hey”

“Oh shit!… Hey.”

Villanelle looks guarded, and barely smiles, just motions that Eve should follow her down the entrance alley.

“I have keys” Villanelle says, patting her pockets. She’s wearing a black bomber jacket, one that Eve hasn’t seen before, but then again Eve has never seen Villanelle in the same outfit twice. She doesn’t know how she does this, but has long consigned it to a unexplained mystery of Villanelle. Everything else Villanelle is wearing is also black. Eve wonders if she is in mourning, or if this is more of a covert operation than she had initially anticipated.

“You do?”

“I had them copied, as a back up, and I would be very surprised if they have had the locks replaced…” Villanelle tries the key in the front door, and it opens easily. “Ah, see? No common sense. I don’t know how the Twelve work, but I think they must rotate through leaders once a week, there is no sign of any kind of joined up thinking. They are all stupid.” All of this comes tumbling out of Villanelle abruptly, as though she’s been holding on to it for a while. Eve snorts in sympathy.

“Flawed middle management is a universal problem, it would seem.”

Villanelle gives her a dark look over her shoulder.

“I would do things better. I know that you all think that I am some kind of moron, some kind of chicken without a head, but-”

Villanelle starts climbing the stairs, leaving Eve spreads her hands.

“Whoa, I am not thinking that, who is this ‘all’ that you are grouping me in with?”

“Konstantin. Dasha, fuck Dasha. Carolyn, Carolyn is another one who thinks I am incapable of anything except the most direct instructions, step by step, spoon-feeding a baby-”

Eve realises now that Villanelle is almost shaking with rage, and she thrusts her hands into her pockets with odd, jerky movements, as though willing herself to go through the motions of normality rather than just kicking the door in. Eve watches her in alarm.

“Are you sure it is empty?”

“No?” Villanelle opens the door, striding in as if trying to get something painful over and done with. Eve lingers in the doorway for a moment, suddenly apprehensive.

“So what is your plan if there are people here?”

“I will ask them to leave or make them leave-” Villanelle crosses from one side of the apartment to another, from kitchen to bedroom, and then ducking into bathroom. Eve can tell she is trying to absorb as much information as possible, and she can hear Villanelle making tiny of sniffs of disapproval, as she processes whatever changes have been made.

There can’t be anyone else in the apartment. Eve wonders where the occupants are. It is definitely lived in. She eyes linger on the small side table by the door. It has a yellow china bowl on top of it, which contains all the items not allowed to make it further into the house, small change, contact cards, complimentary restaurant sweets, miscellaneous keys and buttons and junk.

Next to it there is a coat stand. It is covered in many, many coats, and one hat.

This was not a good idea, she realises abruptly.

“We should go somewhere else Vill.”

Villanelle appears, and gestures at the floor.

“No. Here is good. Why are you waiting in the doorway? Please come in.”

Eve steps cautiously forward, approaching Villanelle.

“I was waiting for an invite.”

“What, are you a vampire?”

“No, just… being polite.”

Villanelle puts her hands on her hips, looking away from Eve again and making a show of casting around the apartment. She’s frowning now.

“Someone with bad taste is living here now.”

Eve doesn’t feel qualified to make any comments about taste, particularly if she remembers what her current ‘home’ looks like.

Something about the air in this place feels familiar. Almost comforting. Which is insane considering the only time she has been in here before was a time that involved stabbing and screaming. Great job subconscious.

“We’re lucky that they aren’t here at the moment.”

“Mmm” Villanelle says noncommittally, and there is an unexplained story here, but Eve isn’t sure she wants to know. Villanelle walks away from her, walks into the bedroom, and opens the wardrobe. She stares at the clothes for a long second, and then turns back to Eve.

The deja vu doesn’t so much hit as it does clothesline Eve. Villanelle blows her cheeks out.

“I think we should call a truce Eve.”

“But we aren’t fighting?”

“That’s true. But this is neutral territory, okay?”

“This used to be your home, how can it be neutral if you literally used to live here-”

Villanelle blinks at Eve, and then presses her fingers to her forehead for a moment, looking frustrated.

“I am not expressing myself very well here… I mean I think we should put current circumstances behind us, the circumstances where Konstantin and I are going to the Twelve and you and Geraldine are doing I don’t know what… we should forget that, and just be you and me.”

“Okay” Eve says cautiously, unsure what she is committing to.

It doesn't help to remember that she is standing where Villanelle was lying on the floor, looking like she was about to bleed out at any second. Eve wants to check the floorboards for blood stains.

Villanelle clears her throat.

“If the Twelve give me an offer of a better job, then I am going to take it.”

Eve returns to the now with the abruptness of a floor giving way.

“What? Why… why would you do that?”

Villanelle spreads her hands, looking determined.

“Why not? I have worked hard for them, they should want to reward me. It’ll be a good reward, and I want it?”

“But this-”

“And I’m not involved in all of your shit, I don’t care about tracking the Twelve, they can do what they want, and if I like what they offer, then I’ll do what I want.” Villanelle is frowning at Eve now, daring her to challenge her, and Eve doesn’t even have time to formulate her thoughts before the next explanation is tumbling out of Villanelle’s mouth.

“But-”

“I can’t keep killing for a living, it’s gone” Villanelle starts tapping at her temple, and her eyes are abruptly full of tears “something has gone in my head Eve, I’ve lost the-”

“What are you even-” Eve tries to interrupt, but Villanelle keeps getting louder, and Eve doesn’t even think Villanelle is talking to her, she is trying to have an argument with someone else, someone else who isn’t here.

“You can’t make me carry on doing it, you don’t know anything about me-”

Eve fills her lungs, and tries to match Villanelle’s pitch and urgency.

“Why are you trying to have an argument with me, I’m just trying to talk to you! Save the yelling for the people who are actually trying to make you kill for a living, if that’s the problem.”

Villanelle looks away, deflating instantly. She shifts her weight, and the floorboards creak underneath her.

“This isn’t going to work, I don’t know why I thought-”

Eve laughs. It’s probably not the best response, but it’s the only one she’s got, because she had thought she was coming here for… well. She doesn’t know. Not this.

“What the hell has Konstantin been saying to you that’s made you this… mad with me?”

Villanelle sits on the stool by the dressing table. It is disconcerting, and Eve rages with every fibre of her being to stay standing, to avoid going to sit opposite her, at the foot of the bed. Villanelle looks sadly at her, and then holds her head in her hands for a moment, leaning her elbows on her knees. When she lifts her head to make eye contact again its with a deep breath, as though she is breaking the surface after a spell underwater.

“You are going to be mad with me. You don’t know all the things-”

Eve doesn’t mean to sound dismissive, but she does scoff slightly, because she already knows everything, and that’s the point, isn’t it? Eve already knows everything, and she still likes her.

“I know you have killed many people, I’m not sure what worse things you can reveal?”

Villanelle looks at the floor. She doesn’t say anything for a long moment. When she does speak, it’s so quietly that Eve has to strain to hear.

“Is this what you meant? When you said we would consume each other before we got old?”

Eve has to stare at her for a moment before she remembers what Villanelle is referring to. In Eve’s mind, this had just been a throw away comment, but Villanelle has clearly been turning it over in her mind for some time.

“I didn’t think we’d start consuming each other in this first minute.”

“Why did you kiss me?”

Eve drags herself from a ballroom to the back of a bus. If she closes her eyes, she can still feel the pain on her forehead.

“I don’t know.”

Villanelle looks up sharply. “You don’t know? How can you-”

She cuts off.

They stare at each other.

Just some peace and quiet, Eve thinks. Just the ability to have a normal conversation. To talk about their favourite movies, or what they do for fun, anything other than this constant, constant-

Villanelle’s eyes are shining, but Eve is incapable of attaching a recognisable emotion to her. Villanelle huffs out a short laugh.

“Did you want to kiss me, or do you also not know that either?”

Eve spreads her hands wide, before dropping them.

“That is basically the same question - look Villanelle, I thought… ha, when I suggested we meet up, I thought we’d maybe go get some food together, or… I don’t know. Talk about small things? I don’t know if I have the energy for-”

Villanelle stands up, smoothes her hands over her thighs in apparent attention to any creases, and then looks up at Eve, shoving her hands in her blazer pockets as she does so, and they haven’t even taken off their coats, why does this whole things feel so ridiculous?

“You are going to find something out.”

“Hmm?”

“Listen to me. You are going to find something out.”

“I am?”

“Something you will not like. Something that you will hate me for. So I’m going to tell you here, when we are face to face.”

Eve can feel her stomach dropping away from her. But then she thinks.

“I don’t know if….if I can hate you? All the things that could have gone wrong… they’ve already happened, and I don’t hate you for any of it. Niko, Kenny… god, Bill, I should hate you, but-”

Villanelle sighs shortly, and then motions slightly with her hand.

“Get on the bed.”

Eve blinks. Her head is suddenly filled with a roaring, the warning of an oncoming train.

“Get on the bed. Where I was.”

Eve knows exactly what she means.

Her legs don’t seem to want to move, but she manages it. She perches on the mattress, and then shifts herself upwards, until she is lying half back on the bed, propped up on her elbows.

Villanelle is staring at her. Eve’s fingers are twisting slightly in the smooth sheets, and she tries to still them.

This is where Villanelle had looked up at her, gasping, with a knife in her guts, and Eve had been holding the knife, and regretting, regretting-

Villanelle stands up. And Eve knows what is going to happen, but it is still completely horrifying when Villanelle comes to the bed, climbs on top of it, and then climbs on top of Eve.

Horrifying? Her heart is racing like she’s scared, and the adrenaline spike is so intense that she back feel it at the back of her teeth, but…

Horrifying is the wrong word. Language hasn’t yet invented the correct word.

Villanelle touches her.

She makes a pointer by pressing her index and middle finger together, and then drags the tips from the bottom of Eve’s ribcage downward, until they are resting in the right place.

“You stabbed me about here. Mainly because I killed your best friend, and you were mad with me.”

Eve feels like she’s swallowed a sofa. “There were other elements involved-” she manages, but her sentence dies, because Villanelle abruptly looks so sad.

“I wish I didn’t know you so well.”

“What?”

“Some people would take what comes next as good news, but you-” Villanelle gives a hollow laugh, and shakes her head. “You will hate me.”

“Seriously, I need some kind of context clue here-”

Villanelle leans down, and kisses her.

Eve is so torn in every direction that she does nothing, she can’t seem to tip one way or another. Villanelle’s lips are soft, and she holds them against Eve’s for two seconds, maybe three, before breaking away, and sighing quietly. She stays close, nudging her nose against Eve’s cheekbone like she’s waiting for reciprocation, begging for reciprocation, and then leans away again. She looks down at Eve’s body, at the place where her two fingers are still pressing lightly into Eve’s stomach, and echo of a memory of a revenge of a rebalance of a-

Villanelle opens her mouth to speak.

Eve grabs at her sweater, just beneath her neckline, and bunches it in her fist. She tugs on in slightly.

“Don’t tell me yet.”

When she pulls Villanelle down, the kiss lasts half a moment, before Villanelle is moaning, and that opens her mouth, and Eve cannot take enough, will never feel stated by anything that happens next-

She’s so beautiful.

Eve just wants to drown in her.

Villanelle kisses her, and kisses her again, and Eve is barely aware if she is kissing back, she’s just taking, because she deserves this, she’s earned this. Villanelle moans again, and Eve replies in kind, and her hand is holding at Villanelle’s chin, and then gripping at the back of her head, because it can’t be allowed to end, she doesn’t want whatever comes next to arrive.

God she’s so warm, and real, and-

Eve moans when her brain stops having joined up thoughts, and moans again when the pressure against her waist increases for a moment, and Villanelle is moving her mouth against Eve’s, and the softness of her lips has Eve desperate for something sharp, something to counterbalance the sweetness. It can’t be this sweet, it can’t be.

Villanelle is breathing hard in her ear now, and Eve is grabbing at her clothes, trying to pull her even closer. She bites at Villanelle’s neck, and maybe she is a vampire, she could get behind it as a lifestyle choice if Villanelle makes that noise every time Eve drags her teeth over her neck.

It’s easier, knowing something is about to happen to ruin this. It’s just like old times. Eve isn’t sure that she is made for easy romance any more. Blood and death and fury but god if she keeps moving like that?

After a particularly firm press of Villanelle’s hips down into Eve’s body, Eve whimpers. Villanelle stills herself.

Don’t stop, Eve thinks, don’t stop now, don’t leave again.

Villanelle bites once at her lip, and then rests her forehead against Eve’s.

“I have to go” she says, sounding regretful.

“No you don’t? No you… where are you even going to go?” Eve says all this as Villanelle picks herself up, hops to the edge of the bed, and then stands.

“Away from you.”

Eve is abruptly furious. She sits up on the bed, and now her hands are gripping the sheets for a different reason.

“Oh, back to Konstantin? Off to investigate your new life? Well that’s just fucking bullshit, what about-”

is what she nearly says, but she breaks off. Eve swivels her legs to the edge of the bed, feeling embarrassed at the way Villanelle just shut down the whole moment. She runs her hands through her hair, irritated that she hasn’t got a tie to haul it all back with. Villanelle looks at her.

“What about..?” she prompts.

Eve is not going to answer honestly.

“What about Kenny?”

Villanelle snorts.

“I didn’t know Kenny. This is…” Villanelle sighs, and then passes a hand over her forehead, before tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She appears to reach a decision.

“This is about your other one.”

“What?”

“Your other friend. We never talked about him. Bill.” Villanelle says his name with a roll of her eyes and sarcastic quotation fingers.

Eve feels like she is struggling to find anything higher than second gear in her brain.

“What?”

“He isn’t dead.”

…..