“I need to tell you something.”
Villanelle could feel Eve thinking before she said a word, and could literally hear her mind buzzing before any sound left her pretty mouth.
She was pleasantly warm, her lower half aching slightly from their frankly mind blowing sex (Villanelle knew it would be good, she had thought so many times) and her head nestled comfortably into Eve’s chest.
In the aftermath it was odd, feeling the juvenile urge to be held, cuddled , but Eve had done it anyway, wrapped her up without a single piece of judgement.
Which is why Eve’s nervous tone in her voice is making her nervous.
Villanelle hates being nervous.
“Hmm?” she hums, hoping that a nonverbal answer will give off a comforting aura of nonchalance. For her or for Eve, Villanelle isn’t sure.
Eve shifts slightly, and Villanelle takes the hint that she wants her to look her in the eyes. So she does, grudgingly, her heart thumping faster. If Eve breaks it again, god, Villanelle already knows that she will single handedly pitch herself off this boat. Eve worries her bottom lip, a trait Villanelle has already identified as a nervous habit Eve picks up when she’s feeling unsure.
“It’s about… you know, when this all ends,” Eve says quietly, her eyes flitting downwards.
Off the boat it is then.
It was truly bold of her, to assume she finally had a good thing. People like Villanelle don’t deserve them - to get anything permanent - and it’s just like the universe to curse Villanelle with an open heart stuck on an unavailable woman.
The thought burns in her mind as Villanelle steels her face, and forces the lump down into her throat until it hits her stomach. She won’t cry. She’s tired of crying, it hurts and it makes her nose run. Her eyes get puffy, and she is not as beautiful as she normally is, which is even worse.
No. What’s worse is that Eve makes her cry, and Villanelle doesn’t even care.
Eve takes in a breath, tucks a loose curl behind her ear, and looks Villanelle right in the eyes.
“When we dock in New York, I want to get off with you.”
She says it with such conviction, such steel in her voice that Villanelle almost forgets to process what Eve is actually saying.
Eve wants to what ?
Time must stop a little too long for Villanelle, because soon Eve is shaking her head, apologizing profusely, rambling about how she’s so sorry, that she must’ve assumed too much, that she didn’t mean-
She doesn’t get to finish, because Villanelle kisses her square on the mouth.
Eve wants to stay. She actually wants to stay with Villanelle, after the ship gets to their destination. Which means that there doesn’t have to be an ending to this crazy, horrid affair they’ve gotten themselves into. No one in the many years Villanelle has been alive has chosen her before. But Eve has, even if it might not be easy, but it means she at least wants to try. The lump in her throat dissipates, her lips pressed softly into Eve’s as Villanelle cradles her face in her hands.
“Are you sure? I cannot give you much, it will be hard,” Villanelle tells her between kisses, savoring the sweet smile on Eve’s lips as she does.
“I don’t care, I don’t care,” Eve murmurs into her lips, her arms wrapping around Villanelle’s shoulders, deepening the kiss and eliciting a happy hum from Villanelle’s throat.
“But you’re sure ?” she asks Eve, pulling away slightly to give Eve what she hopes is a serious sort of look. “We have only known each other a little while, and you are comfortable. I do not know what kind of work is waiting for me in New York, you’ll have to give up everything-”
“Villanelle,” Eve interrupts bluntly.
Eve sighs, exasperation seeping into the sound.
“If you remember, I am no stranger to living rough,” she says, Villanelle’s mind trailing back to everything Eve had told her on the deck mere days ago, of how she and her family had struggled before Niko had come along. It’s a jarring reminder, and it fills Villanelle with a heavy sort of feeling. She should have remembered that Eve has experienced more than she often lets on.
“If I come with you, I’m going to figure out a way to put a roof over our heads too,” Eve continues. “I’m not going to sit away at home while you play breadwinner.”
There’s a fierce sort of look in Eve’s eyes, and Villanelle can’t help but gaze in wonder. Niko was a fool to try and temper the fire that is Eve Park.
“If you’re worried about having another mouth to feed, I get it alright, but I’ll pull my own weight. The last thing I want to do is be burden-”
Villanelle places her index finger over Eve’s lips, her heart expanding at the pair of brown eyes blinking curiously at her.
“You’re not a burden to me. I don’t care what anyone has told you otherwise,” Villanelle tells her. “I want you to come with me, more than anything. I just wanted to make sure you know what you’re getting into.”
“I’m not a good person, Eve. I have made many mistakes, you know this. I will continue to make them, I will be difficult at times, and I most certainly will make you angry at some point.”
She pauses, takes in a breath.
“But I want to give this a try with you. Because you make me feel things, and you make me want to be better. You already mean more to me than the best the world has to offer. I want to give you everything, and what I can’t promise you in money, I can promise you in love and support.”
Eve grins - a gleaming bright thing - and presses a kiss to Villanelle’s lips, sweet and chaste.
“So you’re saying you want me?” Eve asks her softly, her fingers scratching gently against Villanelle’s scalp. It’s soft and soothing, similar to the way Eve makes her heart feel, and Villanelle unabashedly melts in her arms.
“More than anything.”
The bliss ends, eventually.
They reason that Frank will find them eventually, and that being caught naked, tangled with one another - in another person’s cab, no less - would not be ideal. So they grudgingly dress, easier said than done within the small space, and sneak their way through the decks until they reach open air.
The night is cold, wind cutting into them sharply, but the stars are bright and beautiful. They hang in patterns and constellations so bright, that they reflect perfectly off the surface of the water. Everything is so clear, so peaceful, that they almost forget that Frank is still looking for them.
They make their way to the railing on the portside, looking out into the horizon as the moon cooly shines down on them. Eve intertwines her fingers with Villanelle’s, resting them on the cool metal. The night looks good on her, Eve thinks. The wind causes tendrils of her blonde hair to escape her haphazard looking ponytail, bits of it framing her face prettily.
Her face is soft, dreamlike in the way that it conveys nothing, yet everything at once. She looks like she’s in love, and it makes Eve want to kiss it all off her stupid, beautiful face.
So she does, turning to face her lover and wrapping her arms snugly around Villanelle’s torso before pressing her lips to hers.
Eve feels Villanelle smile, her hands gently resting against Eve’s cheeks as the pads of her thumbs trace gentle patterns along the contours of her face. Despite the cold air, her lips are warm and soft, caressing against Eve’s in the sweetest of ways.
For a moment, Eve forgets where they are, pretends that they are in America with a small, but nice house. That they are at ease, carefree, with no Franks, Nikos or Konstantins to worry over. All that exists is them, and the world that they’ve built.
She pulls away for air, her eyes slowly opening to meet deep hazel. For a moment, the sight is almost distracting enough for her not to notice it, at first. But, like the stupid fool she is, Eve lets her eyes drift past Villanelle’s shoulder.
It’s an iceberg.
A looming, enormous iceberg.
Which the Titanic is heading full speed towards.
Villanelle’s eyebrows scrunch together confusedly, and it’s only after Eve taps her repeatedly on the shoulder and points that she turns and sees it too. Eve hears her gasp softly, the fingers still in hers tightening.
“ Madre de dios ,” Villanelle whispers.
The iceberg is dark, almost camouflaged in the horizon if one wasn’t paying enough attention, and it’s sheer size makes Eve want to vomit. She’s no shipbuilder, but Eve already knows that despite the Titanic’s unsinkable status, the iceberg will make quick work of her before she reaches New York.
“Villanelle, why aren’t we turning,” Eve whispers, panic slowly creeping into her throat. “ Fuck , Villanelle, we’re going to hit it- hey!” she whips around behind them to the lookout nest, ripping her hand from Villanelle’s as she sees the two officers dozing off despite the clear and existential threat right in front of them.
Eve marches below the nest, Villanelle hot on her heels, and hollers at them above her head.
“There is a fucking iceberg , you idiots!” she screeches, her head whipping back around to see the hunk of ice grow increasingly larger. “What the actual shit are you doing up there?!”
If the circumstances were different, Eve thinks Villanelle would be proud of her crassness.
She sees one of the officers’ heads pop up, a terrified yell escaping his mouth before he blows his whistle, yelling to the helmsman to turn starboard left, that there’s an iceberg in their path. Panicked yelling from both sides follows suit, as Eve feels the deck shudder and shift under her feet.
Officers are spotted running across the upper levels of the control deck, shouting frantic orders as they attempt to turn the large vessel away from what is certainly a watery grave. Eve hears the lookout men curse, one of them whipping around to scream curses at the helmsman.
Villanelle’s eyes are still trained on the iceberg, her mouth parted slightly as she braces herself on the ladder next to the lookout nest. The ship turns, but all too slowly as the iceberg becomes an icy mountain above their heads.
“We’re not going to miss it,” Villanelle whispers.
The nose of the ship slowly clears its cold, jagged edges, and Eve almost lets herself breathe.
The ship drifts to the left of the iceberg.
And then they hit it.
It’s like an earthquake, a rapturous shaking that has both Eve and Villanelle falling to the deck as an ear piercing screech of metal and ice stabs into their ears, dragging like a knife against skin.
The iceberg drags along the ship’s side, pieces of it falling heavily onto the deck as Villanelle pushes them both backwards as chunks of ice shatter in front of them. It feels like the end of the world, Armageddon incarnate as Eve scrambles away from the falling debris.
As soon as it begins, it’s over, a slight shudder replacing the earth-shaking thunder of before. Eve gasps heavily, her brain struggling to grasp everything that had happened in the past few seconds, her ears ringing painfully as her head throbs behind her eyes.
She turns onto her side, the deck cold and wet beneath her as she looks at Villanelle.
A shard of ice must have just nicked her cheekbone, scarlet red already blooming in the small cut. If it hurts, Villanelle doesn’t show it, her eyes still trained on the retreating form of the iceberg. Eve reaches out, brushes the blood away from the cut with delicate fingers as Villanelle fixes her gaze to Eve's.
“Eve,” she begins, her accent rough. “I think it pierced the hull.”
Purpose replaces panic in Eve’s mind.
If the iceberg pierced the hull like they believe, they only have so much time before the ship sinks entirely.
“We need to find Mr. Pargrave.”
The passengers of the Titanic are remarkably calm.
They still are having dinner in the parlor when Villanelle and Eve run through, asking anyone and everyone concerning Mr. Pargrave’s whereabouts. Most look at the two of them in disgust, their noses turning up at Villanelle’s clothes and Eve’s disheveled state before snootily commenting that they are in a first-class area, and ‘should return to the third-class cabins before an officer is called.’
It makes Eve want to scream, to shake them out of whatever daze they must be in because there is a very good chance that this ship is going to sink, and all of them are going with it. She whips her head to and fro, her hands gripping handfuls of her own hair as the room begins to spin.
“Eve. Eve stop, look at me!” Villanelle grabs her wrists and holds them firmly to her chest.
Her face is concerned, worry tracing lines into her smooth face.
“We will find him, okay? We are going to find your architect and figure out what to do, I promise.”
It’s frightening how Eve actually believes her.
Just as her heart is beginning to slow its pace, just when Eve is beginning to soothe the torrent of existential dread swirling in her brain, she hears a voice.
“There! There they are!”
Villanelle’s eyes widen comically large as she turns and sprints across the dining hall. Eve whips around to see her fiancé and fucking Frank in a dead sprint after them. She runs after Villanelle, her still bare feet smacking against the soft carpet until she trips over a gentleman’s shoe. She feels her chin painfully smack the ground as her eyes lift to see two pairs of shoes bolt past her after Villanelle.
Villanelle pushes past a classily dressed couple, her overcoat flying behind her as she vaults herself over a dinner cart. She is doing quite well, almost to the exit in fact, until she looks behind her and slams straight into the adjoining wall.
She falls flat on her back, unable to get up fast enough before Niko and Frank are hauling her up by her arms and stripping her coat off of her. Eve races to her feet, her blood boiling as she runs and snatches Niko’s arm away from Villanelle. He growls, his eyes flaming in fury as he bats her away and slams Villanelle face-first onto a table.
The patrons of the table gasp and scatter, their eyes wide as Niko takes a pair of handcuffs from Frank, and cuffs Villanelle’s hands behind her back. Her nose is bleeding profusely, rivers of red running down her lips and reaching her chin, staining the white of the tablecloth beneath her. Niko grabs a fistful of her hair and yanks her up, pushing her roughly into Frank.
“Niko, what the hell are you doing?!” Eve yells, pulling on his arm. It’s too brutal, even for him, especially to make such a scene in front of so many people. Villanelle says nothing, only wincing slightly as Frank painfully tightens the cuffs around her wrists.
Niko ignores Eve’s cries, turning to Frank.
“Put her down in D Deck Frank, I don’t want to see this scum on this ship again,” he mutters through gritted teeth, brushing off the lapels of his coat.
Villanelle, to Eve’s horror, doesn’t resist. She doesn’t try to get out of Frank’s grip, only looks Eve in the eyes and doesn’t dare break it. Her gaze is calm, a strange softness present that contrasts starkly to her bloody face. Eve sees her silently mouth ‘I love you,’ before the valet grips her by the shoulders and carts her from the room, out of sight.
Eve can only watch before she turns on her fiancé with sheer rage coursing through her veins. She shoves, punches Niko’s arms, his chest, anything she can get as she curses and screams.
They took Villanelle, and Eve will kill them for it.
“You-you, you piece of shit !” she hollers, before Niko catches a punch and swiftly yanks her to his front. His grip is tight, painful as she feels his fingers dig harshly into the skin of her hand.
He whips a piece of paper out of his suit jacket, and Eve feels herself go pale.
It’s the drawing.
“Do you know what I learned today, Eve?” he snarls, his voice low enough not to be heard by anyone else but them.
“I learned that Miss Astankova is a wanted criminal,” Niko whispers conspiratorially. “A bonafide fugitive in at least three countries, a thief no less and accused of attempted murder.”
He looms over her, his face so close that Eve has a full view of his slightly crooked teeth.
“A criminal, that has made a slut of my wife.”
Eve spits in his face.
Before she can even get a word out, she’s being carted by the shoulder out the doors of the dining hall into a secluded passage.
Niko shoves her away, and as Eve begins to face him, a hand collides solidly with her cheek, the impact jarring her neck to the side. Her face stings with it, and Eve can already feel a welt forming along the side of her cheekbone.
“I saved you from that sewer, and this is how you repay me?” he shouts, his palm shooting forward to snatch her jaw in his hand. “You would’ve died there, poor and hungry if it wasn’t for my charity . ”
“My mother pawned me off, Niko,” Eve spits. “I would rather die than accept your charity .”
Niko releases her jaw, looks her up and down in disgust. Spit still coats his ugly face, and pure hate radiates off of him.
“You will marry me, Eve. Even if I have to drag you to the altar myself.”
Villanelle didn’t think that this was the way she was going to go.
Granted, every possible outcome she had thought of was violent and sudden. For example, dying alone in a Venician alleyway. Getting beaten to death in a boxing ring. A bullet through the heart, et cetera, et cetera.
Never like this, handcuffed to a pipe in the lower levels of a ship that is slowly flooding with water. She scrambles on top of a desk, cursing under her breath as the water touches her ankle. It’s freezing, and Villanelle already knows that if she doesn’t drown, the sheer cold will kill her either way.
Either way, it seems that she’s in quite the pickle.
Villanelle lets herself smile at the phrase. Such an odd expression.
She could have resisted and fought back in the dining hall before all this had transpired, of course. There are many ways that she could have twisted her way out of the valet’s grip, perhaps even choked the life out of both him and Niko. But she didn’t, her mind drifting back to a small Russian kitchen when another man had tried to lay his hands on her. It hadn’t gone well, and Villanelle had lived with the consequences.
Besides, she promised Eve that she would be better. And as much as she hates Niko, she knows she can’t touch him.
Life has taught her that trying to kill someone's husband is not a good move, and this time she is going to listen.
Even though it’s a lesson that is probably going to kill her.
Villanelle decides to think about Eve, because in doing so she’ll die somewhat happy thinking about the Asian woman with amazing hair. She thinks about how if things were different, they would find somewhere in America and make a nice little life for themselves. Something normal, maybe even a fun job. Maybe they could even watch one of those new picture shows at a theater?
It’s a nice idea, and it makes her warm despite the deadly water rising up the desk.
God, she hopes Eve hasn’t done anything stupid.
Eve has done something incredibly stupid.
Slipping away from Niko hadn’t been hard in the masses of passengers currently struggling to get onto the lifeboats on the top deck. They were loading via class - women and children first - and as soon as Niko had turned from her to barter for a spot on the next boat, Eve had managed to disappear out of sight.
If there was something to be grateful for, considering the present circumstances, it was the long blush coat and flat shoes they had taken from her quarters before heading to the lifeboats, her cold toes voicing their appreciation as Eve made her way below deck. Pargrave could be anywhere, a needle in a haystack, and all Eve had to go on was a feeling that he would be in the lower levels.
Eve hopes that a feeling is enough.
She pushes past cleaning staff and officers, jogging down the white-painted halls until she hears a recognizable voice.
“Mr. Pargrave?” she hollers, her pace picking up as she makes a sharp left to sprint down another corridor.
Pargrave is directing the staff to the upper decks, a white life vest strapped securely to his chest as he pleads with a maid to flee. He turns at the sound of Eve’s voice, his face pale and clammy as his fearful eyes bore into hers.
“Eve? What in the bloody hell are you doing down here, you need to get to a boat-”
“Mr. Pargrave, there’s no time. My friend has been arrested and taken to D Deck and I need to find her before it’s too late.”
Pargrave huffs, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“Eve, D Deck is most certainly flooded by now. I promise you, this ship will sink and there will be people stuck on it when it does.”
He pauses, tears filling his eyes. It’s the most guilt-ridden, wrenching look Eve has ever seen, and she knows that it is going to haunt her for the rest of her life.
“You remember what I told you about the lifeboats, correct?” he whispers.
Eve nods, her throat closing up.
“Half of us aren’t going to make it,” she says quietly.
It’s a statement, not a question. There aren’t enough lifeboats, even if they were filled to capacity, virtually condemning over a thousand men, women and children to an icy grave.
That isn’t going to stop her from getting to Villanelle, though.
“Mr. Pargrave, I am going to D Deck,” she states firmly, planting her feet to the ground and crossing her arms over her chest. “With, or without your help, although with it I’ll be much quicker.”
Pargrave seems to contemplate this, and must realize that Eve actually isn’t going anywhere, before he gently touches her arm.
“Fine, alright. You have to go all the way down using the lift, then take a right, then a left, and then another right. Then there should be the room that they hold potential deviants in. You have to be quick Eve, do you understand me? Otherwise both you and your friend are already dead.”
And with that, he gives her arm a gentle squeeze and makes off down the hall.
If Eve is going to save Villanelle, she needs to do it now.
She runs to the nearest lift in the opposite direction, and snaps her fingers in front of the terrified bell boy's face.
“Take me to D Deck, now .”
“B-but ma’am, the lifts are closed-”
“Do it!” she snaps, sliding the cage-like door closed behind her as she forces the bell boy inside. He nods quickly, pushing the brass lever forward as they slowly descend. Eve feels her heart begin to palpate, Pargrave’s words about the flooding sticking themselves permanently in her mind.
She shakes them from her conscience.
Eve is not leaving this vessel without Villanelle.
As if on cue, water begins to flood through the bottom of the elevator, the bell boy letting out an undignified screech as they finally reach D Deck. Eve hisses as the freezing waves reach her shins and soaks the bottom of her dress.
She steps out, ignoring the bell boy’s cries for her to stop before she hears him lift the elevator without her. It should frighten her that she is effectively trapped down here, but all Eve can think about is getting to a certain blonde Russian who needs her. The water is to her mid-thigh, cutting into her harshly until she can’t feel her legs any longer as she wades down the flooding hallway.
From here on out, Eve’s on her own.