The first thing she hears are voices.
It’s piercing, almost painful as it hits her eardrums and makes her temples ache.
“ Hurts… ” she mouths.
To whom, she has no idea.
For a moment, it’s like she’s a ghost. Formless, boundless. She feels nothing for a long while, and she wonders if she is actually dead. As soon as the thought passes through her mind, she feels a prickle.
It’s small, barely there, but it’s in her toes.
Ghosts don’t have toes , she thinks.
She hates ghosts.
She tries to wiggle her big one, and the prickling intensifies. It spreads from her toes, down to the heel of her foot, and up her ankles. It's slightly uncomfortable, like her whole body was getting poked with stubby needles, and it only irritates her further when her legs refuse to move.
But then, just as she’s becoming aware of herself in her own body, she hears something.
Not something. Someone.
“Ah, I think she’s waking up.”
“She doesn’t look too good.”
“For the last time, Kenny, I recognize that the woman looks a little peaky , but she just survived a maritime disaster and almost froze to death in the process.”
She knows that voice, and the name it belongs to. She knows, she’s sure, but the memories aren’t coming.
Why can’t she remember?
“Kenny, maybe you should call Eve in. I’m sure the poor lass is worrying herself sick, and will want to know if her condition is changing.”
Yes. Yes , she remembers that. Dark, big hair. Beautiful.
A soft feeling begins to grow in her chest.
“You saved me.”
What had happened to her?
“Every time I think of my future, I see your face.”
Who is she?
"Villanelle, open your eyes.”
That’s her name.
Memories begin to flash underneath her eyelids.
“Wear it down.”
“May I escort you to dinner, Miss Park?”
“I am going to take you to a party.”
“Now we walk... and we never look back.”
“I want you to draw me like one of your french girls.”
“When we dock in New York, I want to get off with you.”
“This is where we first met.”
“I love you.”
She remembers the ship. The water. The cold. So much death. Konstantin. Oh god, Konstantin . His face was so white, his eyes pale and unmoving. The way her limbs began to fail her, the way her eyes couldn’t stand to stay open. Feeling herself slowly slip away.
She had been dying.
Fuck, she was gone .
Villanelle wakes up.
Villanelle shoots up in bed with a shout.
She gasps for air, hands flying to her throat as she forces herself to take deep, gulping breaths. In the ocean it had stripped her of the ability, suffocating her while it froze her from the inside out. Now, as her chest heaves, Villanelle teaches herself how to live again.
She’s currently swaddled in almost every kind of blanket imaginable, and it’s stifling to the point of making her sweat through the loose dressing gown wrapped around her body. Villanelle presses her hands to her face, just to make sure that she’s real , and finds clammy skin and a tiny bandage across her cheekbone.
Her mind flashes to the iceberg, and the chunk of ice that had cut her there.
Villanelle needs to get to Eve.
Her body is weak, unbearably so, but somehow it's still functioning as Villanelle rips the blankets off of her legs and swings them over the bed. A wave of nausea hits her hard, forcing her to grip onto the bedpost so she doesn’t topple over. Her vision swims, becomes blurry around the edges as she gingerly stands and leans fully onto the frame of the bed.
The last thing Villanelle remembers is Eve pleading with her to stay, and Villanelle had left her. Left her cold and alone on a shoddy piece of wood, and gave her the monumental task of getting them both out alive. Villanelle’s heart clenches painfully at the memory, remembers the sheer terror in Eve’s eyes as her vision was beginning to fail her.
She shakes herself from the darkness creeping into her mind.
Eve is out there somewhere, and she needs her.
From here on, that will take precedence in Villanelle’s brain.
Villanelle has no idea how she’ll manage to get out the door, but there’s no use in waiting to see what will happen. She’s been banged up badly before, many nights spent closing up open wounds or icing blue bruises. But this?
This sucks .
Villanelle has never felt such exhaustion in her life. It seeps into her bones, her muscles, her face , even. Since when has her face been exhausted?
Well, there was that one girl from the boutique in Paris that did that crazy thing with her-
No. Focus, Villanelle.
Maybe Eve would like it if she used her tongue to-
Even when she’s half-frozen, Villanelle is relentless.
She slowly pads her way to the door, her feet making soft little slaps against the wood of the flooring as she reaches to grasp the handle.
That is, until it swings open to smack her in the head.
Villanelle yelps, her hand flying to her forehead as she falls to a knee. Where there was once dizziness in her head, there’s now only aching pain and a bump she can already feel forming along her brow.
She groans, rubbing her throbbing head as she squints upward.
“Villanelle…” she breathes.
In that moment, Eve is nothing less than an angel.
“Hi sweetheart,” Villanelle winces, taking a moment to look at her lover.
She looks tired, the whites of her eyes bloodshot and dark circles tracing paths beneath them. Her dress is soft-looking, white and plain as a pretty red shawl curls over her slim shoulders. Considering everything they have gone through, Eve looks as beautiful as ever, and it makes Villanelle’s heart twist.
Eve quickly drops to her knees with a gasp, throwing her arms around Villanelle’s neck with a soft ‘thank god .’ She peppers gentle kisses on Villanelle’s jawline, her neck, and her face, and the feeling makes Villanelle’s cheeks burn deliciously.
"Don't ever do anything like that again, dammit," Eve mumbles into her shoulder, wet tears seeping into Villanelle's nightgown. "I could've traded spots with you, we could have done anything else, but you're just so fucking stupid you didn't let me-"
Villanelle pulls Eve up and silences her with a kiss.
It doesn't seem real to be warm again.
But somehow she is here.
Eve is here.
They’re swaddled in bed when Villanelle musters up the courage to ask her.
Eve had spent the past hour explaining all that had happened to them, how she had blown the whistle as loud as she could, how Carolyn had somehow taken over a lifeboat and had found them half-dead, and how the navy doctors aboard the RMS Carpathia had told Eve to not expect Villanelle to wake up again.
But Eve, in her beautiful stubbornness, had clung onto Villanelle’s chilled body and had promptly told them to piss off.
Carolyn had offered a first-class cabin to the two of them, using her infinite influence to make sure that Villanelle was cared for despite the odds.
Interesting, to say the least. Villanelle almost misses the woman, and the unrelenting wittiness that comes with her.
Unfortunately, it is now silent. Which means that Villanelle has nothing to distract her from the flashes of memories shooting through her skull. She presses her face into Eve’s chest, gripping the bed sheets into white-knuckled fists.
“Is he actually gone, Eve?”
She feels Eve stiffen. Villanelle knows she doesn’t need to say Konstantin’s name for Eve to understand. They are past that now.
“Yes, he’s gone.”
A tear escapes Villanelle’s eye.
“I figured. I just didn’t know if I had imagined it, that’s all,” she whispers brokenly into Eve’s skin.
A gentle hand runs through her hair. Brushes it from her face, tenderly tucking errant strands behind her ear. It only serves to loosen the tight barriers Villanelle has tried to construct over the years, to stop herself from revealing too much pain. One by one, the tears fall. Each a memory of Konstantin, of his laugh, his stupid jokes.
He was a traitorous bastard. But Villanelle loved him nonetheless.
Eve doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t coo and baby Villanelle through her tears - her sobs, now - just holds her tightly, and in the process reminds Villanelle that she’s still able to feel. She doesn’t flinch when Villanelle grips her shoulders a little too tightly, when she cries out a little too loudly, when she shudders and leaves wet tear tracks into the softness of her dress.
For once, the silence is comforting. She used to hate it before, and sought out loud music to drown out whatever was troubling her at the time. It had been a blissful distraction. But now, as she lies helpless in Eve’s arms, the silence has become the most bittersweet of remedies.
It lets her think. To process. Little by little, her sobs subside as her thoughts remain.
Villanelle wonders if she should have gone with him in his lifeboat. She wonders if she should have ignored the nuances of Konstantin’s deal-making and tried to ensure their survival. Would Eve have gone into her own lifeboat then? Would they have been able to make it out alive without their close encounter with death incarnate?
She feels Eve trace a swirling pattern into her flesh of her shoulder blade.
Eve is here.
If things had been different, there would be no guarantee that they would be together now. Either one of them could have died. Konstantin hadn’t made it, even with the promise of safety, and if Villanelle had gone with him, she could have suffered the same terrible fate.
Villanelle presses a kiss to Eve’s exposed collarbone. Her skin is warm to the touch, like the sun, and it makes the pain in Villanelle’s heart subside for a moment.
“You still want to live with me when we get to New York, yes?”
She feels her voice waver at the question. Villanelle knows the answer, they have been through too much already for her not to. But she feels like she has to, just to be sure. To remind herself that there is a tomorrow. That her life did not end in the Atlantic like Konstantin’s and so many others did.
Eve holds her a bit tighter. When she speaks, it is with total conviction.
“I’m with you. Always.”
“I’m thinking that I could do something with design, when we get to New York.”
Villanelle is leaning against the railing of the ship, her blonde hair floating softly in the wind as she smiles softly at Eve.
The past days had been awful without her, not knowing whether she would make it out or die in her sleep. Eve was restless, batting away the medics who attempted to pry her from Villanelle’s bedside.. Her pulse was too faint, they had said. Best to let go now, so when she passed it would be easier.
They were fools to think that Eve could ever leave.
She had held Villanelle’s chilled hand, had whispered sweet nothings into the Russian’s ear and pressed gentle lips to her forehead. Eve told her everything, from the most mundane moments of her life to the deepest, darkest desires in her heart.
It had taken Carolyn and Kenny - Carolyn’s shy, mild mannered son who just happened to be serving on the RMS Carpathia - both to pry her from Villanelle’s side, citing that Eve needed to eat and that when Villanelle awoke, she would want her to have her strength. When Villanelle finally woke, it was as though someone had finally lifted a ton of bricks off of her chest.
Despite everything, she feels light.
“Don’t tell me you’re giving up on art, now,” Eve smiles. “You can’t let all that talent go to waste.”
Villanelle laughs - the first time she’s done so since the sinking -and it's so pure and genuine, it’s bliss to Eve’s ears.
“I think you’re biased,” she teases, nudging Eve’s hip with her own. “You are my muse, and I did some very good work in sketching you.”
Eve feels her breath catch in her throat at that.
She turns to face Villanelle fully, taking in her rustled yet perfect appearance.
Her cheeks have regained their color, her hair soft and her posture stronger than before. She had managed to change into some proper clothes, but her shirt remains unbuttoned at the very top, suspenders hanging loosely by the waistband of her trousers. Her forearms rest exposed along the railing, the sun already working to tan them into a golden shade. Bed rest alone had done wonders, and Eve marvels at the woman’s sheer strength.
Then again, there was no way that they could have kept Villanelle contained for much longer.
She pushes forward, wrapping her arms fully around Villanelle’s neck, pressing their fronts together. Eve watches as Villanelle’s gaze flickers to her lips, before slowly making their way back to Eve’s eyes. Her arms wrap securely around Eve’s waist, enveloping her securely into the safety of her chest.
“I’m your muse?” Eve whispers softly, smiling as she sees a faint red flush coat Villanelle’s angular face.
“More than that,” Villanelle breathes, so faint that Eve almost has to strain to hear her at all.
“I think that you are art.”
Eve presses her nose into the sun-kissed skin of Villanelle’s collarbone, smiling as her heart pounds like a drum inside her chest. She feels young, foolish and in love, and head over heels for a woman she met mere days ago, but would die for, regardless.
“What does that mean?” she asks quietly.
Villanelle’s hands work their way up her back, blazing trails of fire in their wake before burying themselves in Eve’s hair, strands twisting through her deft fingers.
“It means you are precious and eternal, my darling. Art exudes something intangible, and makes us feel things,” Villanelle says gently, pressing a kiss to the top of Eve’s head. “Out of all the paintings and sculptures I have seen, you are the work that has made me feel the most.”
Eve responds by lifting her head, and kissing Villanelle senseless.
She gasps when Villanelle tilts her head back, exposing Eve’s throat as she licks into her mouth. The sigh quickly turns into a soft moan, Eve clutching Villanelle’s shoulders as she takes her bottom lip in between her teeth. Villanelle growls quietly, chest heaving as Eve sinks her teeth into it, hands gripping Eve’s hair in tight fists. Eve basks in its sting, letting herself be consumed as Villanelle trails her tongue along her lips.
Her lungs burn, begging for air as Eve runs her hands along the smooth skin of Villanelle’s neck, working downwards under her shirt to press against her collarbones.
Villanelle breaks away first, but barely so as she mumbles against Eve’s lips.
“Take me to bed, Eve.”
They barely make it to their quarters before Eve is smashing her lips into Villanelle’s.
Villanelle feels herself throb painfully between her thighs, moaning obscenely into Eve’s mouth as the shorter woman roughly yanks her shirt from her trousers, pushing her to lie down on the bed.
Eve crawls on top of her, straddling her hips. She looks predatory, wild and untamed as her hair spills over her shoulders and face in inky black waves, lowering her face to peck Villanelle’s lips in the ghost of a proper kiss.
“Do you trust me?” Eve says, shifting her hips into Villanelle’s. The friction is almost there but not enough, wetness seeping into the fabric of her pants as Villanelle feels herself buck roughly into her lover.
“ Yes ,” she whispers raggedly.
Villanelle feels wrecked already, barely touched but already coming apart at the seams. She fists the sheets into tight hands, gasping as Eve leans down and drags her tongue along the column of her throat.
“Baby, please ,” she moans pitifully as Eve clasps her breast.
“Shhhh,” Eve coos in her ear, her warm breath coasting along the shell of it and making Villanelle shiver under its touch. “I’m going to take care of you, just be patient.”
Villanelle nods weakly, her hands relaxing as Eve plants wet, open mouthed kisses from the juncture of her neck to her clavicle. She works quickly, unbuttoning Villanelle’s shirt and letting it fall open to rest at her sides. The air is cool along her skin, goosebumps rising in its wake. Villanelle gasps and arches when Eve takes her nipple into her mouth, her hands flying to Eve’s hair, pushing her head forward as Eve drags her teeth over it.
“Jesus,” she moans, rigid under her lover’s touch and Eve licks her way across her chest to give her other breast the same treatment as before.
She releases it with a pop, her hand gliding forwards to wrap securely around Villanelle’s neck, cutting her breath off sharply. Villanelle flushes under it, gasping as another wave of wetness floods between her legs. There is no fear in her mind, only lust and awe as she flushes beneath her lover's gaze. She isn’t used to relinquishing control, to having someone else take the reins, being helpless and vulnerable. With Eve, her dark eyes flashing and her hand around her throat, Villanelle cannot imagine feeling anything like this before. It's new, dangerous to let go. But there is something powerful in it, and Villanelle cannot help but indulge.
“That’s not my name, darling,” Eve growls.
Villanelle feels a whimper escape her throat. An irrational desire to please Eve sits heavy in her chest, and she wraps her hands around Eve’s wrist to push harder into her neck.
“What’s my name?” she asks Villanelle, her fingers tightening to the point where Villanelle actually begins to see stars.
“ Eve .”
“Eve, please .”
A sob tears its way from her throat.
“Please, Eve. Take me, fuck me, do something, I can’t take it-”
The hand around her throat disappears and shoves roughly into Villanelle’s pants.
Villanelle gasps as Eve’s fingers trail along slick wetness, teasing her entrance and coaxing a guttural moan from Villanelle’s throat. As soon as her fingers arrive, they’re gone, Villanelle groaning in protest as Eve makes quick work of her pants.
Her hand reconnects, and thus all's right with the world.
Eve palms her, the heel of her hand pressing deliciously into her clit, and Villanelle arches into the firm touch. She shifts her hips, desperate to alleviate the aching pressure as she chases friction.
“Ah, ah,” Eve smirks, and Villanelle’s brain goes blank as she removes her hand. “You’ll take what I give you.”
Eve shifts on top of Villanelle, their breasts brushing together sinfully as she bites into Villanelle’s jaw.
“Understand?” she whispers.
Villanelle can only nod, her breaths coming in ragged gasps as her eyes squeeze shut.
She’s not used to being edged like this, taken to the point of insanity and left to wait. Villanelle likes to take, and has never in her life been made to beg, squirm and be at the mercy of another being. Now, she is a slave to her desire, to Eve’s hand that brushes its way down her torso before making contact with hot, wet skin.
“Be good for me,” Eve whispers, their noses nudging together.
She then proceeds to sink two fingers into Villanelle’s cunt.
Villanelle gasps, the distinct feeling of fullness muddling her brain as Eve connects their mouths. She’s greedy, swallowing her moans as she drags her fingers out and in again, punishing Villanelle slowly in the best of ways. There's little residence between them, Villanelle wet to the point that Eve's fingers slip out easily.
"Please Eve, more-" she begs into Eve's mouth, hissing as Eve quickly adds a third finger.
Her hips move in tandem with Eve’s fingers, obscene, wet noises filling the room and Eve picks up her pace. The pad of her thumb reaches up to rub tight, fast circles into her clit as Villanelle throws her head back in ecstasy, her hand flying up to grip one the beams of the headboard.
“Fuck!” she cries as Eve curls her fingers, running them along her upper wall as she continues to thrust into her. Pressure builds in her lower stomach, and Villanelle can feel herself getting closer to sweet release, white noise thrumming in her ears.
“Are you going to cum for me, baby?” Eve grits out roughly.
“Fuck, yes! Please don’t stop Eve, I’m so close already, please-”
Eve cuts her off by grasping her chin with the hand not currently fucking into her, tilting her head to rest against Eve’s.
“Look at me. Please, I want you to look at me when you cum,” she says, softer now as her thumb makes another pass along her throbbing clit.
Villanelle nods quickly, her eyes straining open to look into Eve’s dark ones. Her pupils are blown, her lips parted as they move together.
For a moment, Villanelle feels herself fall into them, lets herself succumb to the darkness until nothing else remains but Eve - Eve, who makes her feel more than anyone, who makes her feel like this .
The band inside Villanelle pulls tight, and she’s almost there, just a movement away from hurtling off the edge into euphoria. A part of her brain resists though, needing Eve to tell her it's okay, that she is allowed to cum, to fall apart into Eve's waiting arms.
Eve leans forward and presses her lips to Villanelle’s.
It’s all the permission she needs.
The band snaps inside her, and she stills, wave after wave passing through her in shuddering jerking motions, Eve fucking her through her orgasm without so much as a pause in her movements.
Finally, the tension dissipates, leaving her limp and heaving as she slowly comes back into herself. She feels alive - living and breathing - as Eve kisses her gently, before slowly moving to rest between her legs.
Villanelle barely registers her movement, before jolting suddenly as Eve licks a long stripe against the front of her, lapping up the evidence of her work. She spreads her lower lips open, pressing her tongue flat against her as Villanelle inadvertently tightens her thighs around Eve’s head.
Eve licks into her, her tongue prodding and firm as Villanelle tangles her hand in dark curls, her hips lifting into Eve’s mouth. The moans that come out of her are soft, desperate, and Eve is nothing less than attentive, grabbing hold of Villanelle’s free hand to tangle their fingers together.
It grounds her, holds her steady as Eve works her again with her silver tongue, her teeth grazing Villanelle’s clit before taking it into her mouth. Eve sucks, drags her tongue firmly over it, and squeezes Villanelle’s hand as she whimpers.
The next orgasm isn’t as intense as the first, but doesn’t lack pleasure in the slightest. Instead, it’s warm, flooding through her and coating Eve’s lips and chin, who doesn’t hesitate to clean her dry. It relaxes her, fills her with a feeling of pure saturation as Eve climbs back up to rest her head upon Villanelle’s chest.
It’s silent for a moment, the two of them simply basking in the afterglow, and enjoying the simple presence of each other. Eve lifts her head, brushing Villanelle’s damp hair from her face.
“You were so good for me, sweetheart,” she whispers gently, kissing her lips as Villanelle’s mouth curls into a bright smile.
“I most certainly was,” Villanelle replies cheekily, chuckling as Eve scoffs and flicks her nose playfully.
“Asshole,” Eve mutters sourly, although the gentle smile on her face and the absence of worry lines on her face tells Villanelle otherwise.
She looks calm, content as she traces aimless patterns along Villanelle’s shoulders, her biceps. It’s soothing, and for once in her life Villanelle feels safe. It makes her wonder how out of all the billions of people on the planet, she was able to find the one who matched her perfectly, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
It makes her think about the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, of the strings of fate that tied one person to another. Soulmates, two people who were made together but forced apart, only to come together again.
“Do you think we are soulmates, Eve?” she asks.
Eve’s eyebrows scrunch together, and Villanelle holds back a grin as she watches Eve visibly think, the curly-haired woman running a hand through her wild hair before answering.
“I used to not believe in them, actually,” she replies, holding up a hand when Villanelle begins to protest. “But I think now, I’m warming up to the concept,” Eve continues, cupping Villanelle’s cheek into her palm.
“I think I met someone who’s challenged me, and has helped me be the person I’ve always wanted to be,” she says softly, her eyes flickering along Villanelle’s face. “And I think if soulmates do exist, it would only make sense if you were mine.”
“So you do think we’re soulmates,” Villanelle smiles, leaning up to peck Eve’s cheek as her lover sighs into the contact.
“I suppose I do,” Eve replies gently, her smile brighter as the sun as she kisses Villanelle again, and again, and again.