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Professional Boundaries

Chapter Text

She has an incoming call.

Eve stares at the screen, the unknown number blinking mischievously at her.

And Eve just knows it is her. She knows.

She shouldn’t answer, she shouldn’t answer, she shouldn’t answer…

She doesn’t answer. (In fact, the incoming call cuts out just as Eve was reaching for it, but let her have this small victorious moment of self restraint, please. There have been so few, lately.)

Eve sighs once, smiles once despite herself, and then flips off her phone in a sudden, furious gesture.

Goddamnit, she’s on the run and wanted for murder in every country to have a law against that sort of thing, and yet Villanelle is still calling her? How does she know that there isn’t a whole police IT unit here ready to trace the call the second Eve answers?

Eve lies back on her hotel bed, absorbing the silence, the loneliness, and the complete lack of a police IT unit.

She picks up her phone, and passes it from hand to hand a couple of times, before placing it on her chest. Just above her heart.

I think about your eyes, I think about your mouth…

Her phone buzzes twice, vibrating.

The message from Villanelle just says Also rude.

…..

It’s probably not sensible to update the contact info to reflect the new nature of the situation.

Besides, what should she call her? Villanelle? Oksana? Psycho? Baby?

In the end Eve just leaves things as they were. The contact remains unknown.

….

She could text her back, maybe?

“Please stop contacting me” seems a bit redundant. Besides, its not as though “please stop” can have much of an impact on her.

Besides, it’s not as though Eve actually wants her to stop.

….

There is another text, four days later. It arrives when Eve is in the shower.

Anyway, I am alive. By the way.

Eve clamps down hard on her automatic reaction, which is to apologise.

I know. I managed to find the doctor who stitched you up, before I was removed. You scared him half to death.”

The return text takes only a moment.

But I didn’t kill him. You should be pleased.

Eve doesn’t answer.

……

Three days later, Unknown Number is calling again.

Eve has had two glasses of wine already, but that isn’t why she picks up.

“What?”

“Have you seen the show Silent Witness? Because I’m watching it and it is shit.”

None of Eve’s imagined conversations with Villanelle start like this, and she is momentarily at a loss. Villanelle carries on after a few seconds.

“Are you not familiar? It is… there is this blonde woman who pokes the dead bodies to decide who killed them. But she is extremely nosy and I wouldn’t be surprised if she is killed soon for being annoying.”

Eve manages some words.

“Uh, yeah. I know it. She oversteps her professional boundaries. But, she never dies. I mean, I’ve never seen her die.”

“Oh.” Villanelle sounds vaguely disappointed, and mutters something in an unknown language. She sighs heavily, and the tv that Eve can hear in the background is switched off.

“Where are you?” Eve surprises herself with the question. For half a second she panics that Villanelle might say “next door.”

“In a hotel. There is… a great deal of purple. Where are you? You aren’t at your house.”

Panic clutches at her.

“How do you know?”

“Oh, I have been calling your house number. Using a different voice each time, you know, for fun. Your husband is not very consistent about where you are. Sometimes you are at work, sometimes you are on holiday, sometimes you are with family, sometimes you no longer live there…”

Eve gulps at the idea of Villanelle talking to Niko.

“Please don’t kill him.”

Villanelle snorts.

“Why would I do that? I have not been paid to kill him? And he no longer has anything that I want.”

Eve tries to pick apart that sentence. Does that mean Niko no longer has Eve? Or that Villanelle no longer wants Eve?

“Anyway. I am not yet well enough for anything like that. No killing. Another two weeks without any strenuous activity, according to the very scared doctor. Or my intestines will rupture.”

This time Eve does apologise, she can’t help it.

“I’m so sorry - is it bad?”

Villanelle laughs, a small, choking laugh. “Yes, my god. It looks like someone stabbed me. I will never wear bikinis again.”

Eve bites her lip hard to avoid laughing, or apologising some more, she doesn’t know which is worse. Villanelle falls quiet, and there is a long moment of nothing.

“I used to look good in bikinis.” It is said with a mournful, wistful tone, as though Villanelle is remembering her best friend who was stabbed to death in a nightclub for no real reason.

Concentrate, dammit.

“Well. It can’t be the first time someone has tried to stab you.”

Villanelle clicks her tongue, and then says “No, lots of people have tried. You were the first successful one. Well done, I will make you a certificate, maybe? You see, I thought we were going to have sex. I thought you liked me. And then you stabbed me, which was extremely rude and also extremely painful.”

Eve closes her eyes, although that is somehow worse, because now she can imagine the look in her eyes, the way her mouth is moving…

“Are you going to kill me?”

Villanelle doesn’t say anything for a moment, and then says “No, I don’t think so. I thought I might want to stab you back, you know, just for balance, but I’m not sure. So I thought maybe we should talk on the phone first, so I can decide. I can’t stab you through the phone.”

“I don’t want you to stab me at all. I’m sorry, I don’t… I mean, I do like you. I didn’t mean to stab you- well, I did, but then immediately after I realised I hadn’t wanted to, not really, I was just trying to show you, oh I don’t know-”

There is a heavy sigh from the other end of the phone, and then Villanelle says “Okay, I am tired, and that was too many tenses at once for me to figure out what you are saying. You accidentally stabbed me? You slipped?”

“Don’t be a dick.”

“You stabbed me, but I’m the dick? Okay, okay…”

Eve lies back on the bed, exhausted. “You are exhausting.”

Villanelle says “I know. But at least I don’t over step my professional boundaries.”

And then the call cuts off.

….

Two days later, in a new town, in a new hotel room, Eve is staring at her phone.

She’s been completely cut off from her work. Eve doesn’t even know if they are still tracking Villanelle, or going after bigger fish.

She worries that they will find Villanelle before… before she is well enough to run. Before Eve can find her again.

It is a combination of these worries that encourages Eve to pick up the phone.

“Yes?”

“Are you safe?”

Eve can imagine Villanelle shrugging, looking around in an exaggerated manner.

“Yes? For now? I am changing my location regularly. Why, are you worried?”

Eve sighs, and then grumbles “Yes, but I don’t know who for, you, or the person who finds you. And, and… how do you know I haven’t given this number to the police?”

“Because you like me.”

It’s said so simply. Eve’s breath catches in her throat.

“Although that’s probably over stepping your professional boundaries.”

“Well, haha, I don’t know if this is my profession any more. I think I’ve been fired again. After I went awol and visited you in Paris. So that’s three times I’ve been fired because of you.”

“Tch, the third one doesn’t count. You can’t be fired from a job you didn’t have.”

Eve sighs heavily. “I’m not sure, I think Carol managed it.”

Villanelle mumbles something incomprehensible, and then says “Are you safe?”

Eve glances at the hotel door. It is locked.

“I guess so. It depends on whether you come to stab me.”

“I’m not going to kill you. I promised.”

“But you might stab me.”

Villanelle sighs restlessly. “I don’t know. I still haven’t decided. Probably not. Because you are being nice to me. Checking I am safe. It is nice.”

Eve blinks several times. “Well I am nice. Usually.”

“When you aren’t stabbing people.”

“When I’m not stabbing peop- wait, no that makes it sound like a regular occurrence, rather than, you know. A one time accident.”

“A deliberate accident.”

“An accidental accident.”

Villanelle grumbles “oh, sure” to herself, and then falls quiet.

Eve… Eve wants to know where she is, has she eaten, what she’s wearing, the exact rhythm of her heartbeat, whether she drinks her coffee black, what she sounds like when she-

“What do you want me to call you? Villanelle or Oksana?”

“Oh!” Villanelle humms to herself for a moment in consideration, and then says “I do not mind. You can call me what you would like.”

“Oksana is more normal.”

“Would you like me to be normal or not normal?”

God I don’t know. I would like almost everything to be different.”

Villanelle laughs, and then says “Oh dear, I am sorry about that. Me too.”

Eve rubs at her forehead, and briefly considers turning on her tv and suggesting they watch a movie together, over the phone. Villanelle clicks her tongue a few times, as though silence is difficult.

“I wish you had kissed me.”

Eve exhales heavily.

“Yes.”

……

Chapter Text

……

It becomes daily.

Eve doesn’t notice when it happens. But they start to speak every day.

Eve spins herself a web of bullshit, about how she is keeping track of Villanelle. She is monitoring her. It’s practically surveillance.

(But it isn’t.)

……

“What did you do today?”

Eve shrugs at herself, struggling to fill her day with anything other than the dull.

“Walked around a bit. Spoke to strangers. I um, I briefly considered stealing someone’s dog. And then I read a book.”

Villanelle hums down the phone, as though Eve has just made a well thought out point in a classroom debate, and then says “You like dogs.”

“Well, yeah. You?”

“I prefer cats.”

“Of course you do.”

“Yes, but you don’t know why I like them.”

“Surprise me.”

Villanelle stays quiet for the longest time, and Eve half wonders if she’s accidentally stumbled into deep and meaningful territory, as though Villanelle is going to reveal that all of the murder can be traced back to the tragic moment in her childhood when Mr Floofelles was hit by a car.

Villanelle lets out a long, heavy sigh, as if it is all too much, and then says “I just like their little feet.”

Eve laughs, and its the first time she’s laughed today. How tragic. She ends up grinning to herself, and walks to stand in front of the mirror. She looks happy. She wonders if Villanelle is happy.

“What did you do today?”

“Oh, well…” There is some background rustling that Eve doesn’t understand, and then Villanelle says “I spent three hundred and seventy six pounds in Primark.”

Eve laughs again and watches the way her own eyes brighten, and how she runs a hand through her hair, even though there is no one here to see.

“Oh my… how is that even possible?”

“I know, it was hard work. And there… there is not much space in my room at the moment.”

“Why… oh my god… the clothes in there are all a couple of pounds max, what were you doing?”

Villanelle’s laugh is always slightly chaotic, and this time she sounds exceptionally pleased with herself.

“Well, I needed more underwear, and then… there was someone who was rude to me when I asked for assistance, so I waited until she was on a cash point and took several armfuls of underwear for her to bag up. I made a number of trips. I asked her to fold them nicely. I was very polite.”

“You spent three hundred and seventy six pounds on underwear?”

“In Primark, yes. I only needed a few but…” Villanelle trails off, as though the whole situation was entirely out of her hands. “She shouldn’t have been rude.”

Eve realises that at some point in the conversation, she’s sat down on her bed, and now she lies down on it.

“Is it nice underwear?”

“No, for sure. I am going to ask the hotel to take it to a charity shop. I am a philanthropist.”

Villanelle’s accent bounces awkwardly over ‘philanthropist’. Eve has a hand half over her mouth to prevent laughter escaping. “How are you… how do you have that much money?”

“I have been leaving cash in safety deposit boxes for some time. Just in case. You? How do you have money?”

“Oh god, I’m just, burning through my savings.”

“Do you need money? I have a lot of money if you need some.”

“No, that’s….” Eve cannot imagine the new and terrifying ways in which Carolyn would manage to fire her again if she discovered that Eve had been taking money from Villanelle. “That’s very kind of you, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a good idea.”

“Yeah, you are probably right.” Villanelle sounds like she stretches, and then sighs. “And I shouldn’t give money to people who stab me, extremely mixed message.”

Eve cannot believe that this conversation topic has become old news, and yet.

“I have no further plans to stab you, regardless of whether you give me money or not.”

“No further plans, ooh, how romantic.” Villanelle deadpan drawls this at her.

“Don’t be a dick.”

Villanelle makes a small petulant noise.

“Why am I always a dick? I am just existing, and you keep dick titling me.”

“Because… you are?”

Villanelle huffs at her.

“I was just trying to give you money. Ok. Ok. Goodbye.”

The dial tone is abrupt. Eve stares at her phone in half disbelief, and then presses it to her forehead.

She aches.

…..

Later, that night, Eve is staring at her phone, deciding.

God, this is ridiculous.

I’m sorry I called you a dick.

Nothing.

Eve waits.

She waits.

Why is Villanelle always there when she doesn’t want her, and never there when she does want her?

Because Eve does want her, god she doesn’t yet understand the shape or the substance of the want, but the scale of it scares her. She just wants.

Eve stares determinedly at the ceiling for five minutes, counting to three hundred in her head.

And there’s nothing on her phone.

…..

There’s a noise, sudden and jarring and Eve sits bolt upright and grabs for the glass bottle she keeps by the side of her bed.

It’s nothing, there’s no-one here, she’s not about to die.

After half a second of confusion, Eve realises that her phone is buzzing and vibrating loudly against the frame of her bed.

“Christ - you scared me. What… what time is it?”

“Mmmhhm - oh, oh, it is late. It is quarter to three. I didn’t notice… I was in the bath for a long time, I didn’t have my phone and then-”

Eve groans a little bit, and presses a hand to her heart, trying to smooth out the rhythm.

“No, it’s okay, it’s okay…”

There is a quiet.

“You apologised. For calling me a dick. People do not apologise to me very often. People seem to expect me to apologise to them. And then get mad when I don’t.”

Eve eases herself back down into the bed, chasing the warmth.

“Well. I am sorry. You were just being generous. I don’t know why I called you a dick.”

“Because you are also a dick.”

Eve chuckles, and rolls her eyes at nothing.

“Okay, fine.”

Villanelle doesn’t say anything. Eve catches herself wondering what Villanelle is wearing. If anything.

“Okay, well. I’m going to masturbate now, so-“

The sentence crashes into Eve's brain like a chandelier onto the floor.

“I-”

“You should too? It’s very relaxing.”

“Oh god you are so-”

“Don’t say anything about dicks, I am not needing dick imagery right now.”

Eve is blushing.

“Okay, well I’m going to hang up the phone now.”

“You can listen if you would like to?” Eve can tell that Villanelle is teasing her, joking with her, but there’s an under current there, as though…

The problem is, she would like to. Very much.

“No thank you.”

“Okay, well maybe next time.” And Villanelle’s voice hitches slightly, on the last word, and-

Eve hangs up the phone.

….

Chapter Text

It’s been two weeks.

Two weeks since Villanelle said that she had to rest for two weeks. No strenuous activity for two weeks.

Today is the day when murder can become an activity again.

Today could be the day when Villanelle arrives to kill her.

Eve sighs, and pulls her hair down from the loose pony she had been wearing it in. A pigeon near her feet coos once and then half flutters away, startled by the sudden movement. A cyclist sails past, speeding up the canal tow path.

Maybe that’s why she’s been talking so nicely on the phone with Villanelle. There was a small time frame, a window of opportunity, in which to convince her to not come and return the favour. To not arrive, and kiss Eve, and stab Eve just as their bodies were pressed together.

Eve takes a hasty gulp of her coffee, and it is too hot, it scalds the roof of her mouth.

She’s playing nice with a murderous psychopath. Eve digs her nails into the palm of her hand, willing herself to remember.

The text on her phone this morning had said It is sunny here today. Is it sunny where you are?

Eve fights off the image of Villanelle on the BBC weather website, trying to track down Eve through vague allusions to the possibility of sunshine.

It is sunny here. Maybe Villanelle is staying in the same town. Maybe she’s about to turn the corner, and stroll up to Eve, and sit next to her, and put her arm around her, and whisper low in her ear that it is still Eve who she thinks about when she touches herself, it is still Eve who she wants to put her mouth upon, it is still Eve, it is still Eve-

Eve stands up abruptly. She tosses her coffee into the canal, and crumples the cardboard cup in her hand.

She should change town again tonight. Just in case.

….

The problem-

Ha.

There is more than one problem.

One of the many problems, is that despite how clearly and firmly Eve reminds herself that Villanelle is a psychopath who claims enjoy killing people, the moment she speaks to Villanelle it all seems to drain away…

She’s fun to talk to, Eve admits to herself. Even when Eve tries to remember the body count.

“Did you steal any dogs today?”

“No, um. Slim pickings, on the dog front.”

“You would look good dressed as that woman, what is the name…. she steals the dogs and wears them?”

Eve’s brain spins the roulette, and then finds the answer.

“Cruella De Vil?”

“Yes! All the spots, my god…”

“I don’t want to wear the dogs, just pet them and pretend they’re mine.”

“Well sure, I’m sure that’s how you’ll start, and then one thing will lead to another, and the next thing you know you’re skinning a puppy.”

“That’s awful, don’t say that.”

“It’s a slippery slope, I assure you.”

Eve bites on her thumb for a moment, wonders how hard she’ll have to press to draw blood.

“Did you kill anyone today?”

“No” replies Villanelle, as sharp as a whip. “Did you stab anyone today?”

Eve sighs. “Also no. I, uh, I only asked because, you know, it’s been two weeks since you said you had to rest for two weeks.”

Eve can imagine the look in Villanelle’s eyes, darkly amused.

“Aww, did you mark your calendar?”

“Well, you might still want to murder me. I thought I’d at least keep an eye on the date.”

“I’ve told you, I’m not going to kill you.”

“But you might stab me? Sure, how relaxing. Also… you might be fibbing.”

“Fibbing?” Villanelle explodes with laughter. “That’s such a cute word for… yes okay, I might be fibbing about wanting to murder you. How could you figure it out?”

Eve shrugs. When did she become this blasé?

“I probably couldn’t.”

“Mmm… must be alarming.”

“Do you miss killing people? Have you killed anyone since Konstantin?”

“Uhh, a bit. But, I’m not stupid. I’m not going to just kill random people for a bit of fun, because it’s harder for me to disappear in the current circumstances. Also, I didn't kill Konstantin.”

Eve pulls a face.

“Okay, you really did. You shot him in the stomach.”

“Yes, I was there. You think that I shoot people in the stomach when I want them dead? If I’m killing them it’s head or heart. I shot him in the stomach. Probably not even his stomach, he is fat. I shot him in the side. For old times sake.”

“But…” Eve pauses, confused. “But he’s dead.”

“Oh. Well, if he is dead then it isn’t my fault. Someone else finished him off. I shot him in the side. He was in the city, fifteen minutes away from a hospital. He should be alive.”

“Carolyn says he is dead.”

“That bitch? You believe her?”

Eve has a headache. And she has to trust something in this world, and god help her if it is going to be Villanelle.

“Yes. I do.”

“Huh? Okay. Maybe who ever told Carolyn was fibbing?”

Eve sighs heavily, and concedes “Yes, maybe.”

“He’ll be alive” Villanelle says cheerily. “A flesh wound, maximum. I was supposed to kill him. He should be grateful. You know he hit me with a log? I had personal and professional motivation to kill him, but I took the moral high ground.”

“Why did he hit you with a log?”

Villanelle pauses, and then says “Okay, I was about to kill him. And I’d kidnapped his wife and child. And, uh. I’d called his wife fat. That was probably what did it.”

Eve misses aimless conversations about Silent Witness.

“I’m going to go. Do you promise not to murder or stab me tonight? Or do I need to stay awake all night?”

Villanelle laughs.

“Eve, I do not even know what town you are in, because you will not tell me! I promise. No fibbing.”

“Okay. Um. Bye.”

“Bye Eve.”

……
Eve stays awake all night anyway.

After midnight, her phone lights up.

Have I killed you yet?

Eve snorts.

No. You want a sticker?

Yes.

Eve doesn’t know where to go with that.

Ten minutes later her phone lights up again.

Do you still think about me all the time?

Well, you aren’t really giving me much choice.

Good.

This is when Eve should go to sleep.

Instead she texts back.

I do still think about you all the time.

I know. I like it.

Eve groans to herself, and she’s back on the bed in Paris, and god this time she’d do things differently.

Do you still masturbate thinking about me?

Eve winces the second she’s sent it, but Villanelle doesn’t give her time to regret it.

What do you think I’m doing right now?

Eve grins for a second, and then flushes red, because the thought of it.

What are you doing now Eve?

Nothing.

I don’t believe you

Eve inhales a deep breath through her nose, and then turns off her phone. And then… her hands go lower.

It’s not her fault. She’s just tired.

Her hands… they could belong to someone else.

……

Chapter Text

It’s more fun this way, Oksana decides.

She likes chatting to Eve like this. It is chit chat. It is pleasant. Eve is more relaxed when she isn’t right in front of her. The imminent threat of death does tend to reduce the conversational powers of most of the people she talks to. And Eve is no exception, although she was pretty relaxed the last time they talked face to face. 

Before the stabbing.

Oksana winces in memory, as she always does, and strolls over to the mirror, lifting her top to inspect her stomach.

It’s ugly. Oksana swears, as she always does, swears at the two inch mark on her lower midriff. It’s bright red, and insulting.

She didn’t like being stabbed. She has other scars, but no-one has managed to stab her like that. Not as deep as that.

Fuck, it had hurt. Oksana has no intention of ever letting that happen again. 

Worse, she’d been tricked. She hates that. It’s more galling than when Konstantin blind sided her with the log - Oksana had been about to kill him. She can understand a determination to live. But Eve...

She’d promised that she wouldn’t kill her. And she’d meant it, god damn it and fuck everything. Fuck. Fuck.  She had meant it.

Eve had stabbed her. Doesn’t matter that she tried to help her afterwards (although pulling out the knife had not been helpful at all and had made the scar worse). None of it matters. Eve had tricked her. Oksana is furious about it.

So yes. It’s nice to not be face to face with Eve. Just for a while. Just to hear how a conversation might go if Oksana wasn’t busy trying to figure out when the most surprising moment was to stab Eve.

Because yes, she has been fibbing. A bit.

What? It’s only fair.

.....

She is playing nice. Maybe, if she plays nicely enough, Eve will relax enough, and then maybe Oksana can visit her.

“Did you know that excessive masturbation leads to blindness?”

Oksana grins, staring out of her hotel window at the passing walkers below. 

“Says who? Did these authorities give any ideas on what counts as excessive? I am averaging five, maybe six a day.”

Eve doesn’t say anything. Oksana follows with her eyes the young man who looks like he’d be the most  fun to kill. 

“You’re joking.”

Oksana nods, and then says “Yes, of course, but you took some time considering that, didn’t you?”

“Only because I was worried about you getting carpal tunnel syndrome”

“Don’t worry, I alternate hands. I am ambidextrous.”

“Oh please.”

“No, seriously! Also, I have perfect vision. Maybe I should masturbate more.”

Eve laughs at her. Oksana imagines the look in her eyes. The way they go wide when she surprises her.

Her knife is on the dresser top. Oksana watches it, as though it might move. Imagines the noise it could illicit.

“Okay, can we just... say masturbate less? It is not a fun word. Particularly this early in the day.”

Oksana would have Eve's blood all over her hands.

“Sure, if you would like? But I do not know any other English word for masturbate other than ‘wanking’, which is-“

“Ew, no.”

Oksana smiles, and turns away from the knife. “Ew” she replies, genuinely. “So what? Never talk about it?”

“-No...” and Oksana enjoys the effort Eve puts into sounding nonchalant and disinterested about the whole thing. “You could say ‘fucking myself’, or-“

“Hmm, yes. I like that. Is that how you describe it Eve? Do you fuck yourself?”

Eve clears her throat awkwardly. Oksana realises that she is leaning against the wall. She rolls against it, presses her forehead to the wallpaper, imagines Eve is between her and the plaster.

“I -“ Eve sounds like she is struggling with herself, and then abruptly gives up. “Yes, I fuck myself.”

The fantasy floods Oksana’s mind, and there are no knifes in this scenario, just Eve, naked on the bed, one hand on her tits and the other working between her legs, and she’s fucking herself, and she’s fucking herself, and her hips are arching up off the bed as Eve says her name, her name-

Oksana sighs, and this isn’t acting. “That is a very lovely thought, thank you.”

“Okay, don’t-“ Eve laughs, sounding flustered, and Oksana imagines licking her neck, dragging her teeth over her collar bone. “It is too early for this, and I have stuff to do.”

And Oksana would run a hand down Eve’s thighs, and spread her wider, and press down into her, and-

“Too early? Okay, maybe later. Go do your stuff.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

.....

Oksana likes the conversations. In their conversations, her emotions line up, she can feels emotions other than betrayal. 

It’s the before and after that she struggles with.

She’s furious with Eve, obviously. Because Eve stabbed her? People don’t just get free passes for that. People don’t get to stab her without there being consequences.

Eve had said that she would find the thing that Oksana cared most about, and then she would kill it. Oksana had smiled at that, at the time, because it was a little bit like being threatened by a baby chicken. 

Besides, what did Oksana love? Nothing. 

But, it turns out that she was wrong, and she had loved something. She had loved the idea that Eve could want her. That someone could know all of Oksana’s criminal record as well as Eve did, and still want her.

And Eve had stabbed that very well indeed. Oksana’s skin is healed but her ego is still dripping blood.

She’d thought about killing Eve’s husband. But, no, that wouldn’t quite make the right point. Besides, he is not important.

Oksana has a plan. It is vague. But. She will make Eve want her. Just want her. Not pretend to want her, just to get her defences down. And then Oksana will stab that idea. Somehow.

She is hazy on the details.

Besides, and this is annoying, Eve still is all the things that Oksana was drawn to in the first place. It is fun to make Eve want her. It is sexy.

So she pretends. She fibs. She pretends that she is fucking herself whilst texting Eve, or talking to Eve. And the idea of getting Eve wet... well it’s not exactly unappealing.

God, she needs to find a woman, and fuck her. Maybe that’ll help her think clearly about what she needs to do next.

…..

It takes four hours, but she does find a woman.

This lady is the wrong height, although Oksana supposes it doesn’t matter if they are on the bed.

She has good hair. Oksana runs her hands through it, and it feels the same. It isn’t the same colour, but it’ll have to do.

“My name is Samantha.”

Oksana glances at her, once, and her eyes aren’t the same colour either. Oksana almost gives up this entire venture now, because it isn’t going to work.

“Okay, okay, I am going to call you Eve, okay?”

It isn’t really a question, and she replies to the expected question with “because I want to, okay?”

It still isn’t right. This Samantha is the wrong sort of excited, and she isn’t scared enough, and her laugh is wrong, and this is all wrong.

But still. Never mind. She is a woman. She is wet when Oksana drags her finger tips lower. She moans in a way that could be Eve, she supposes.

“Can you do an American accent?”

This woman who is not Eve goes still, and then very cautiously says “Howdy?”

Okay, okay, this isn’t going to work at all.

Oksana ushers the very confused Samantha out of the room as politely as she can manage, and then lies back on her bed.

Fine, she is just going to fuck herself. And fine, she is just going to fuck herself thinking about Eve fucking herself. It’s just the way it is.

She doesn’t need the knife in the fantasy.

…..

Chapter Text

Eve doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do.

Nico isn’t speaking to her, aside from acknowledging her emails and texts with one word answers so that she knows he is alive.

It had been… difficult. Trying to explain why she had lost her job (again) by refusing to follow direct instructions, but instead going on a one woman mission to Paris.

“Did you fuck her?” was the incredulous question he’d yelled at her.

“No, for god’s sake Nico, she killed Bill. I hate her. I stabbed her.”

But for some reason that was just as bad? Nico had looked at Eve like he had no idea who she was. Although, to be entirely fair, Eve had also been extremely confused about who she was, ever since she’d lain on the bed in Paris and looked Villanelle directly in the eyes, and seen nothing but softness.

Oh god, she aches. Her heart is aching.

She misses Nico. She misses the easy comfort, the shape of the crook of his arm, his smile when he hip checks her around their too small kitchen.

And she misses Bill. God, each time she remembers it’s like a fresh stab. Bill, who let Eve be twenty percent stranger than she could allow herself in front of Nico. Bill, who tried to sing both Timon and Pumba during the Disney karaoke. Bill is gone, and it’s because of Villanelle, and all Eve can do is think about the shape of her lips, and how they would taste.

Eve should be doing something. She’s just in a directionless void. She should be in a safe house, or applying for jobs, or something, but she’s just out here, in the world, waiting for Villanelle.

At this point, she doesn’t mind if it is a kiss or a knife. But the waiting will kill her eventually, she is sure of it.

….

It’s later in the day. In fact, the last rays of sun are just disappearing from the sky, as the day folds in on itself, promising to try harder tomorrow.

Maybe later, Villanelle had said. 

Eve doesn’t know what Villanelle does all day. Before, in the two week window, Eve could imagine her resting up, letting the wound heal. She would be watching shitty youtube videos about cats and their little feet, or reading up on a new language, or researching how to poison people with lipstick.

Now, Eve has no idea. What does a healthy Villanelle do? Go to the gym? Fantasise about killing people? Actually kill people? Eve presumes that she is moving location frequently, as the mysterious Twelve are unlikely to let their best asset go awol after murdering her handler. Or maybe she’s working for them again. Eve doesn’t know what the terms of the contract would be for a contract killer.

Eve has a list of questions for Villanelle as long as her arm, but the fact of the matter is that there’s only one that she needs the answer to.

Do you still think about me when you fuck yourself?

It’s a narcissistic, terrible thought, but Eve runs hot and cold when she thinks about it. And it’s not her fault that their conversations keep circling around to masturbation, she’s almost certain that it is Villanelle’s fault. It certainly isn’t Eve bringing up the topic.

It’s not like Eve wants to listen to Villanelle fuck herself. That’d be not a very good thing to want. She’s married (apparently). On top of that, Villanelle is probably just toying with her. Toying with her until Villanelle finds Eve, and then stabs her twice in the side, once for equality and once for luck. 

But Eve still wants to know everything about her. And Eve doesn’t know if she’d put the phone down next time. If Villanelle started touching herself.

(She can’t decide if Villanelle would be loud or quiet. She can’t decide if she’d whimper or moan. She can’t decide if-)

Eve picks up the phone.

“Good evening.”

Eve clears her throat.

“Are you looking for me?”

Villanelle doesn’t say anything for a moment. Eve can imagine her grinning, the cocky little tilt of her head.

“You would like me to, wouldn’t you? You would like me to find you.”

“That depends on what you are planning to do to me when you see me.”

“What would you like me to do to you?” 

Eve sighs. This isn’t getting her anywhere.

“Do you still think about me when you masturbate?”

“When I fuck myself?”

“Yes. When you fuck yourself.”

“That’s a very personal question Eve.” 

“I think we are past the niceties, don’t you?”

Villanelle says “hmm” in a totally non-committal way, and Eve’s going to turn inside out from sheer frustration.

“You shouldn’t still think about me. I stabbed you.”

“Yes, I remember.”

There is silence for a very long time.  And god, Eve wants to see the scar she made, run her fingers over it, put her mouth upon it.

“I do still think about you.”

Eve groans a little bit, she can’t help it. Villanelle yawns elaborately, and Eve is clinging on to her sanity by mere threads.

“It’s quite a specific fantasy now though. I have to perform a strip search of you to check for concealed weapons. Check that you have not got a garrotting wire hidden up your butt, you know.”

Eve cracks, she can’t help it, and fuck her for making Eve laugh like this.

Villanelle laughs too, sounding delighted that she’s made Eve laugh. Eve laughs some more, and then sighs, lying back on the bed.

“Oh, fuck you.”

“Eve, you shouldn’t speak to me like this, I am an extremely scary and dangerous person.”

“Fuck you anyway.”

Eve can feel the sharpness of Villanelle’s grin, she can feel which part of her neck that Villanelle would press it against.

“You should fuck me. You should let me fuck you. I am an extremely good lover.”

“I believe that.”

“What are you wearing?” It’s an abrupt question, and Eve suspects that Villanelle didn’t entirely mean to ask it.

“Uh, clothes.”

“Well, that isn’t very helpful” Villanelle grumbles. 

Eve laughs nervously. She’s too hot, and fidgety, and god. Craving a bit of contact, or pressure, or anything.

Villanelle sighs, and then says “I’m just going to imagine you wearing whatever I would like then, okay?”

Eve almost can’t breathe, there’s a pressure on the base of her throat that she’s having to fight against.

“Are you going to- are you about to-“

Villanelle’s voice slouches into her eardrums, its all so casual, it’s infuriating.

“Yes. Why, you want to listen?”

No. She should say no.

“Yes.”

Chapter Text

She has had a pleasant day.

After almost Samantha and her terrible grasp of sexy talk, Oksana had fucked herself in an efficient manner, and then gone to the hotel gym and worked off the rest of her remaining energy on the treadmill.

And then, such a delight, she had discovered that the evening receptionist spoke with the same accent as Eve. So she had spent a nice hour chatting with her, making friends, you know. Normal stuff, just like Konstantin had told her.

After that she had taken a taxi to the most expensive restaurant in town (those were her specific instructions to the driver), and she had eaten alone, staring at a couple who were clearly significantly uncomfortable with her gaze. And that had only heightened her enjoyment.

And now, here she is, chatting to Eve. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, using tweezers to pluck her eyebrows.

Oksana knows what she is doing, of course. Eve is uncomfortable with Oksana’s attraction to her, so Oksana is going to have it front and centre in all of their conversations. Oksana had been extremely uncomfortable with Eve plunging a knife into her. The least she is going to do is enjoy Eve’s discomfort with her frequent references to self fucking.

It’s all very easy, very light. Oksana thinks that this conversation will end quickly though, because this time it was Eve who referenced masturbating first, and Eve never stays on the phone long once that topic is in the air.

“I’m just going to imagine you wearing whatever I choose then, okay?”

Eve doesn’t speak for a moment, and Oksana thinks that she really could imagine whatever. It doesn’t matter, Eve is usually naked pretty quickly in all of her imaginings. She could start off with a ski suit this time, for fun.

“Are you going to- are you about to-”

Oksana makes a sad face to herself in the mirror, because she really didn’t want this conversation to end so quickly. But she’s playing a part here.

“Yes. Why, do you want to listen?”

Eve is unusually quiet. Oksana decides that tomorrow she will have a nice conversation with Eve about something other than fucking herself, because she misses chatting to Eve without her going all quiet and nervous and solemn.

The bathroom light is in slightly the wrong place. Oksana cranes towards her reflection, tweezers in hand.

“Yes.”

Oksana blinks.

She… what?

Oksana blinks some more, and then puts down the tweezers.

“You… you will stay on the phone?”

Eve says yes more quickly this time, as though the second yes was significantly easier than the first. Oksana turns away from the mirror, trying to decide what to do.

She has sex easily with people. She’s not a prude, sex is fun, it’s whatever.

But… she wasn’t expecting Eve to say yes. Not now. Not in a long time really, if ever.

“Why? I thought you would… not want to listen. In case I go blind?”

It’s lame rejoinder, but Oksana is having to think on her feet. She kind of wants to say ‘But Eve you are married, think of your husband”, but that would spoil this whole game that she’s been playing.

“But I do want to listen. So fuck you and your eyesight.”

Oksana raises her eyebrows at this, and bites her lip to avoid laughing.

“You want to listen because you are mad with me? That’s not healthy.”

“None of this is healthy.”

Oksana sighs.

She’s not ready to be vulnerable in front of Eve. It is hard to admit it to herself, but it is true. She’s cautious.

But…if she backs down now, it ruins the whole game she has been playing. And the game is so much fun.

She can pretend. She’s played pretend in weirder scenarios before.

“But it’s good, isn’t it? It’s not healthy, but it is good.”

“Yes. God-”

Eve cuts off, and Oksana wonders what the rest of that sentence was going to be. She grins, imagining Eve’s discomfort. She lets her voice go a little slower, a little darker.

“Do you wish you could be here to watch?”

“Fuck you.” Eve whispers it, but the whisper is tight in Eve’s mouth, fighting against her own tongue. Oksana smirks. And then she says, in an entirely normal voice “Ok, hang on one moment, I need to put you down so I can take off my bra.”

Oksana does nothing of the sort, just stays quiet on the phone, listening to Eve’s reaction. She’s rewarded with a frustrated groan, and then a muttered ‘oh god, oh god…what the fuck am I doing”

Oksana sits down on her bed, and this is now excellent, very enjoyable. Her momentary discomfort has passed.

“Would you watch, if you were here? Or would you close your eyes?”

“I don’t know, I don’t know-”

Oksana lets herself moan, and Eve swears, and the fuck sounds different to every other time she’s said it, this time it sounds dirtier, and Oksana knows that Eve is turned on.

“I think you would watch. Mmmph, and want to do more. Want to do things to me.”

Eve laughs, a half gasping laugh, and then says “What are you doing?”

Oksana grins at herself in the mirror opposite.

“I am playing with my tits, imagining it is you. Would you be gentle, or rough?”

“I, god, I don’t know.”

Oksana moans again, and then says “Okay, well, I’m imagining gentle for now, okay? I think you’d put your mouth on them.”

Eve moans slightly, and this is now back into dangerous territory, because an obvious side effect of Oksana letting Eve listen to her, is that Oksana gets to listen to Eve's reactions.

Okay, it is hot. Oksana gulps a couple of times, and then tries to focus.

“Do you like that?”

“Yes. God, yes.”

Oksana bites her lip, wondering what to say next. Eve decides for her.

“What are you wearing?”

Oksana looks down at herself. She’s fully dressed, this is ridiculous. She’s even wearing a jumper.

“Nothing but underwear.”

“Where are your hands?”

“Uh, one is on my tits, the other is… holding the phone?” Oksana nearly swears at herself, because of course, what the fuck? But now she can feel her own body reacting, and this is getting away from her, this is getting too much.

Eve moans again slightly, and its a distracted sort of moan, and Oksana is losing this fight, she can tell.

“Where are your hands?”

“Same place as yours.”

Really?” Oksana didn’t mean for her voice to jump up by about two octaves, and Eve laughs at her, and then says “Did you think this would be spectator only?”

Oksana lies down on the bed, and now her hand really is on her tits, jumper be damned. She squeezes, hard.

“Imagine it is my hand, imagine I am there.”

“Fuck” Eve says. “Fuck.”

Oksana bites her lip, and then unzips her pants, and slips her hand into her underwear, and god, fuck, of course she is this wet, fuck.

“I’m touching myself.” Her voice has become rough, and she’s finding it difficult to pretend that she’s telling Eve these things just to see how she reacts.

“God yes” Eve mutters, and then says “Are you wet for me?”

Oksana moans then, genuinely, and raises her hips from the bed, trying to yank down her own pants to improve her angle at least slightly.

“Fuck, Eve-”

“Don’t stop-”

“Are you touching yourself? Eve?”

“I’m… I’m not telling you that.”

Oksana moans, and since when does Eve get to choose things like that?

“I think you are.”

“You want me to touch myself, don’t you?”

Oksana presses two fingers into herself, and moans. And this isn’t fair, this is going to happen really quickly, and she’s still wearing a jumper for fuck’s sake.

She gets angry.

“No. I want to touch you. I want to put my mouth on you. I want to fuck you with my tongue until you can’t see, and then I want to climb on top of your face and ride your mouth until I-”

Eve swears, and then moans, and then says ‘“oh god don’t stop”, and fuck and fuck and fuck and fuck and fuck and fuck and-

“God I want you inside me Eve, I want you to fuck me so good, I want you here, I want you here, I want your tongue on my body, I want-”

“Oh god baby-”

It overwhelms Oksana all at once, and she arches up into the pressure of her hand, and then moans, long and hard. And it’s the same high pitched moan that she always makes when she comes, except this time Eve is listening to her, she’s listening, and Oksana is giving away all of her secrets.

“Fuck baby, you sound so good, I’m going to come-”

“Do it” Oksana says breathlessly. “Do it.”

Eve makes a strangled little noise, and then a longer, breathier gasp, and Eve’s coming, and god, now, Oksana’s whole body is screaming at her. Now.

Now would be when Oksana grabs the knife.

Fuck.

Oksana hangs up the phone.

…..

Chapter Text

Now.

Now would be when she grabs the knife.

Oksana hangs up the phone, and then throws it so hard across the room the case shatters on impact.

“Fuck!” she yells, and then “Fuck!” And then she is flinging the pillows about, yanking off the duvet and the sheets and flipping the side table and breaking the side lights and-

“Fuck. Fucking, stupid-” And then she’s ripping off the fucking jumper and pulling off her trousers and she hates how wet she is, how just pressing her legs together causes lingering jolts of pleasure, so good they hurt.

She peels everything off, eventually, and stands in the shower, running it colder than is really comfortable. She leaves the knife on the side of the bath, watching it, watching it as though it can see her.

She presses her fingers into her scar, presses until it hurts, and remembers Eve on top of her, the shattering way in which she broke her heart.

She cries.

…..

The next morning Oksana wears the best clothes she has, makes sure she is looking immaculate, and then goes to McDonalds and orders twelve Big Macs for breakfast.

“Uh, we don’t serve those until eleven thirty.”

Oksana could kill this girl, this denier of Big Macs. She could leap over the counter and stab her in the eye with the plastic forks. She could stick her head in the deep fat fryer.

“Okay, I will come back for them.”

See, another person successfully not killed? Oksana doesn’t know why she has always been denied a normal life, seeing as she is so good at not killing people? She was only killing people because Konstantin was sending her to do it. She was only following instructions. It was just a job.

Eve doesn’t like her because she stabs people? Well, Oksana doesn’t like Eve because she’s ripped her fun job away from her, made her leave Paris and her nice life, and fucking stabbed her. Eve has done worse. Oksana officially decides that she is more angry with Eve than Eve can possibly be with her.

The memory of how Oksana had whimpered over the phone, and had asked Eve to fuck her, had begged her to fuck her, floods her brain again. Oksana grips the knife handle hard, and desperately wonders how to stab shame.

She probably sounded pathetic. Eve probably thinks she sounded pathetic.

…..

When she returns to her hotel, the receptionist who sounds a lot like Eve is waiting for her.

“Hi, um, I’m afraid we need to discuss the damages to your room, the cleaning staff this morning-”

“I am leaving today. I will pay for the damages along with the rest of my bill. How much?”

Not Eve grows wide eyed as Oksana pays the thousand plus bill in cash, and Oksana now has a plan.

“What time do you finish work today?”

Oksana makes a note of the time, and then leaves. She locates a library, and reads several books on self care, mental illness, and mindfulness.
She completes a sudoku.

She then returns to the hotel at the correct time, and smiles a hello at Not Eve.

“Would you like me to book a room for us? Or we could go to your house?”

…..

See, people are stupid.

Not Eve takes Oksana back to her house, even though she does not know anything about her and Oksana’s half formed plan to kill her.

Oksana turns off all the lights, and makes Not Eve talk as she undresses her.

“But…oh god, what do you even want me to say?”

“Say…I am scared of you.”

Not Eve half laughs.

“Well, I am a bit scared of you.”

“Okay, good, now say, I want you to fuck me.”

“I do want you to fuck me.”

“Good, excellent, you are really good at this. Okay, I am going to call you Eve.”

“Sure, if you would like to.” Oksana raises her eyebrows slightly at that in approval, because if there is one thing she cannot cope with it is discourse on motives before fucking. Not Eve carries on.

“What should I call you?”

Somehow, somehow, the fake name doesn’t come.

“Oksana.”

“Oksara?”

“No, Oksana. Say it.”

Not Eve says her name very well this time, and then moans it even better when Oksana starts biting her neck.

…..

Not Eve allows Oksana to undress her completely, despite Oksana not removing a single item of her own clothing. And then she spreads her legs for her very prettily.

“Oh god, Oksana, god, please-”

This trails off into a long moan, and Oksana feels herself get wet, because with the lights off, this could be Eve. Oksana bites at her inner thighs, and then places her mouth over her wetness, licking long and slow.

“Oh fuck, god, baby, yes-”

Oksana looks up. “Yes, that is good, call me baby some more.”

Not Eve complies, and Oksana lowers her mouth again, and imagines, and imagines.

The knife is in her pocket.

…..

When Not Eve comes, Oksana grips the hilt of the knife tightly.

But she doesn’t need it.

“Okay, thank you, I am going to go now.”

“What? Do you not want- wait, why are you going?”

Oksana smashes a picture frame on the way out, plucking it off the wall and smashing it against a door frame. But that’s it, very self restrained.

Self care.

…..

She heads for the train station, and catches the final train of the day. She gets off when it terminates, and walks to the front of the station.

The taxi rank is empty.

“Okay” she says, and puts her hands on her hips.

It has been over twenty four hours since she has contacted Eve. She is pleased with this. This will demonstrate to Eve that she does not need to speak to her if she is not inclined, and she is very much not inclined.

Her brain presents her with the highlights reel of their last conversation, but this time Oksana finds it easier to remember only Eve’s noises, and the ways in which Eve had moaned, and the ways in which Eve had allowed herself to be vulnerable.

She wants… Oksana doesn’t know what she wants. She wants Eve to…. to go fuck herself. But, maybe, fuck herself whilst Oksana is there? She’s not sure. But she’s on edge and sweating and nervous, whenever she thinks about speaking to Eve again, and these are awful emotions which she is not enjoying at all.

Fuck, how is this somehow worse than being stabbed?

“It’s a bit late for someone as pretty as you to be out here alone?”

Oksana turns, and there is a man here, late forties, in a suit, looking at her like he’s thinking terrible thoughts. He grins slowly at her.

“Unless you are waiting for customers?”

Oksana sighs, and then smiles happily.

At least now she has found someone she can kill.

……

Chapter Text

The next night, the night after she had listened to Villanelle for far too long and done far too much, Eve calls Niko. (She doesn’t juxtapose the call with her not calling Villanelle, she doesn’t, she doesn’t.

They’ve not spoken since that conversation which spiralled into an argument, nearly a month ago, when she returned from Paris. They done short texts, and curt emails, but they haven’t spoken.

Eve wonders if he has been lonely. She has been lonely. This is her only excuse, and she is sticking to it, as inadequate as it is.

Niko is eating. He sounds distracted, and seems to want to treat her as only a passing acquaintance.

“Are you coming home yet? Or are you still having a gap year?”

Eve sighs, and tries not to go completely mad, an achievement she has to concentrate on second by second.

“You know why I’m staying away.”

Niko chuckles dryly. “No, but, tell me again. For fun.”

“You know.”

“Because she might turn up and chop my dick off? Yes, that was a great line Eve, that’s really been helping me sleep at night.”

Eve grits her teeth.

“For god’s sake Niko, what do you want from me? If she thinks that I’m with you… the only reason she is staying away from you is because she thinks that you don’t matter to me.”

“Hmm, convenient, that is.”

Eve sighs, and covers her eyes. This isn’t her fault, apart from every single way in which it is. She listens to her husband chew.

“Anyway”, he says. “Nothing has been heard from her right? This killer who you stabbed? Maybe you killed her. When they find her body, you can come home. Return to earth.”

“I can’t come home yet.”

“Oh come on…” Niko scoffs. “You said that she was obsessed with you. Are you telling me that she’s going to go a month without contacting you, if she’s still alive?”

“Well, I did stab her. Maybe she’s not obsessed with me anymore.”

“I’m not sure that’s how psychopaths work Eve.”

Eve can remember the exact pitch of Villanelle’s voice, when she said I might be fibbing.

“Eve. Has she contacted you?”

Eve can imagine Niko’s face getting longer and longer, as her silence stretches.

“Yes.”

Niko says “Yes. Yes? You… what?”

“Yes.”

“Yes, she has contacted you?”

“Yes.”

Niko laughs, a startled laugh containing no air or joy at all.

“When? When did she contact you? What are the police doing about it? Are you safe?”

“I… I don’t think she wants to kill me.”

“When did she contact you?”

Eve closes her eyes. It sounds insane, it is insane.

“About three weeks ago.”

”Three weeks ago?” Niko swears. “Three weeks ago, she what? Called you? You found her in your cupboard? Christ, what are the police doing about it? MI6, or 5? Who ever is supposed to deal with this sort of thing?”

“I haven’t told anyone. She doesn’t know anything about me. She doesn’t know where I am. And I don’t know anything about where she is, so there’s no point me telling the police.”

Niko swears again. “Eve, listen to yourself. What the fuck are you doing?”

She doesn’t know.

“I need to keep talking to her.”

“Why? Jesus Christ, why? She kills people, are you trying to get yourself killed?”

“She’s not going to kill me.” Eve doesn’t know where the certainty is coming from, but she feels it in every bone. “Not yet, anyway.”

“Are you… have you actually gone fucking insane? Where are you, I’m coming to get you, and then we can go to the police, and then go into a safe house, and-”

Eve snorts, she doesn’t mean to, it just happens. Niko cuts off abruptly.

“Safe houses do not work. If she wants you dead, you will be dead.”

Niko asks again, low and dangerous. “Eve. Where are you?”

“I’m fine Niko. It’s safest this way, safest for both of us.”

“Eve. Where are you?

She sighs.

“I’m not telling you.”

……

So, obviously, that went really well.

Eve thinks that she might now be on the run from the police. If Niko contacted the police (as he has every right to do, as a sane human being), and explained the situation, would they get involved?

Yes officer, my wife stabbed a murderous psychopath, and now she’s run away from home, and the psychopath keeps talking to her, but my wife refuses to report it or do anything to keep herself safe, so please can you find her for me.

The police would probably write Niko off as a madman, or at least someone wasting police time. Probably.

But if he managed to get in touch with Carolyn…

It’s not as if Eve knows where Villanelle is. She gets the impression she is in the UK still, but beyond that she has no idea. It’s not as if she is going to visit her, it’s not as if they are having regular face to face contact. Eve doesn’t know if she can cope with any kind of face to face contact.

Eve can just imagine Carolyn’s expression if she discovers that Eve has been talking to Villanelle on a regular basis.

It isn’t a good expression.

…..

It’s only talking, for goodness sake. Villanelle isn’t putting Eve on hold to stab people. It’s just talking. Mostly, it’s just Eve listening. Where’s the harm in that?

(Oh god, how she had listened.)

She could spin herself some bullshit, right now. About how she had just been bonding with Villanelle. About how this was all some elaborate ruse to get Villanelle to trust her again. For Queen and Country, Eve had fucked herself whilst Villanelle had fucked herself, and sure it was seedy and terrible, but by god Duty Must Come First.

It would all be bullshit though.

…..

Eve doesn’t contact Villanelle for three days. Villanelle doesn’t contact her for three days.

On the morning of the fourth day, Eve succumbs, and touches herself, imagining that Villanelle was listening, Villanelle was watching.

She comes too quickly, and god, this isn’t anywhere close to acceptable any more, Eve is desperate. Desperate to look at her again. To hear her voice. To hear the little gasps, the moans, the way she said fuck, over and over again, God I want you inside me Eve, I want you to fuck me so good-

Eve gets up abruptly, and goes to take a cold shower.

She tries to remember the hospital room, with blood everywhere. She tries to remember Frank’s corpse, pale and lifeless on the bed. She tries to remember Bill, god, Bill.

She should go to the police.

Eve reaches for her phone.

There is a message already waiting.

Would you like to know where I am Eve? So you can come and find me?

Chapter Text

Would you like to know where I am Eve? So you can come and find me?

Oksana presses send, and then lies back on her bed, pleased with herself.

Deciding how other people are feeling is not always straight forward for her; Oksana has heard of empathy, but has concluded that it is something mainly for other people. It takes her time to figure out how other people are feeling. She does understand eventually, but she needs space, time, and sometimes a sheet of paper to map it all out if it is particularly complicated scenario. It’s even harder when they aren’t right in front of her, with their emotions on their face.

Oksana had been so busy dealing with her own issues, that she couldn’t concentrate on anything that Eve might be feeling.

…..

In fact, it had been the evening of day three since their last phone call, before Oksana was motivated to think about Eve’s emotions at all.

It had been a nice day, day three. Oksana had arrived early, checked into a hotel, walked along the beach for a little while before remembering that she was violently opposed to sand and all it stood for, and then she had gone shopping.

She’d returned her items to her room, and then gone out again. She tried to read a novel whilst sitting on a bench, because that was the sort of thing that people did. But fiction never held any appeal for her, and so she had just stared at the water, at the mess of small pretty boats bobbing up and down in the estuary.

Oksana feels that she is maybe trying out a different life. This could be what she does every day. She could sit on a bench at the end of the day and watch the sea.

It is… not terrible.

Swifts fling themselves past her. They are also not terrible. The late afternoon sun plays on the water. It is good, this is nice, Oksana likes it.

A couple comes to sit on the next bench along from her, and they talk loudly about where they will eat this evening, and when was the last time they went to this restaurant or that, and the steak was over done in which ever place, whatever, and they are terrible. Oksana imagines sitting in between them, and she decides which artery would cause the most efficient death. And then she leaves. She smiles at them both as she goes.

She returns to her hotel, and says hello to the receptionist who neither looks like Eve nor sounds like Eve (because he is a man), and then makes her way up to her room.

Konstantin is in her room, sitting in the only chair.

Oksana raises her eyebrows at him, and then smiles, easy in the knowledge that she has a number of weapons within arms reach, whilst he has neither the guts nor the motive to kill her, despite the gun in his hand.

“Oh, hello.”

“Hello Villanelle.” Konstantin says this flatly, and then gestures at all of her new clothes in the shopping bags. “Are you planning to start a pop up boutique?”

“A what?” Oksana wrinkles her nose at him. Konstantin sighs, looking exhausted already.

“It’s a… I was reading an article whilst I was waiting, people make temporary shops, people buy things, you know. It is a thing.”

Oksana shrugs, because she has knowledge of several things, but that does not sound like a thing she needs to trouble herself over.

“Oh. No. No plans. How did you find me?”

“Because I am clever.”

Oksana laughs at that, and chucks her book on the bed. She leans on the wall, and eases her shoes off.

“Yes, okay, you are. Do you not want to impress me with your brain workings?”

Konstantin looks at her for a long moment, and Oksana grins. It is nice to see him.

“You have lost some weight.”

“I lost some weight whilst recovering from multiple gun shot wounds.”

“Ah. So I did you a favour?”

Konstantin’s hand tightens on the butt of the gun, but Oksana knows he is full of bullshit.

“You killed someone. That is how I found you. You have a very distinctive style.”

Oksana bobs a mock curtsey at this, and then gestures for him to continue.

“Go on.”

Konstantin sighs, and then rests his chin on his hand, looking weary.

“You killed someone. I knew you would not stay in the same town as the murder, because you know that someone must be looking for you. You had mentioned wanting to visit this town before, and it was so close to the murder, I guessed you would come for a visit. I waited outside the most expensive hotel in this place. I saw you. I waited in the most expensive room. Here you are.”

Oksana pouts. “Okay, you make it sound so easy.”

“You are easy.”

Oksana frowns for the first time.

“So you are here because… you still want me to kill you? Is this a suicide attempt?”

Konstantin chuckles.

“Irina says hello. She wants to know if you have been practicing, I do not know what she means.”

“Tell her to shut up.” Oksana grins, and then says “She is very smart, are you sure she is yours? Your wife does not have an affair?”

“No” Konstantin says levelly. Oksana pulls a face.

“True, her opportunities must be limited.”

“Okay”, and Konstantin stands up. “Do you not want to know why I am here?”

Oksana shrugs. “I had assumed you would get to the point, after, you know-” she gestures back and forth between them “The usual foreplay.”

Konstantin looks at her steadily.

“There’s been some rearrangements in the Twelve. New leadership. They want you back, and they seems to think that only I can manage you.”

Oksana raises her eyebrows.

“Aww, that is nice. Does it make you feel special?”

“So have you had a pleasant enough holiday? You have visited this place enough? Because it is now finished.”

Oksana opens her mouth, and nearly says this was not a holiday I have been recovering from a stabbing, but then it strikes her that Konstantin does not know that Eve stabbed her. She is so used to Konstantin being omniscient she had almost given it away.

So she says instead “No I have not finished my holiday, my tan is not yet complete.”

Konstantin hands her a postcard, and Oksana feels her blood turn into something else, because she does love it, she shouldn’t, but she does.

“We need you to kill her.”

“Who?”

“Your woman. Your fan. Eve.”

Oksana nearly fumbles the card, almost gives the whole game away.

“Eve?”

“Yes, she knows too much. Can you do that? We have been having trouble locating her, she has disappeared, but I thought you would be able to manage.”

Oksana takes the postcard from him. She can feel Konstantin watching her.

“We can send someone else to kill her if you do not want to do it? Or send someone with you?”

Oksana smiles brightly, and then says, “No, it is okay. I can do this.”

Konstantin nods once at her, and then points a finger under her nose.

“Don’t fuck it up, or someone very unpleasant will peel your skin off, I have no doubts. The new leadership is… efficient.”

Oksana nods simply.

“Okay, bye.”

“Remember that the only way you get to stay alive is if you are with us.”

“Okay okay, goodbye.”

“We can watch you again, remember.”

“Yes, yes, bye.”

Konstantin leaves. Oksana stares at the postcard.

She has to kill Eve.

The postcard stares at her.

…..

All night, Oksana scribbles on a piece of paper.

Eve has a husband. Eve would think that Oksana is obsessed with her. Eve would know that she killed Anna’s husband through jealously. Eve would want to protect her husband.

So she is not going to go home.

Eve did the opposite of what she was told to do, in Paris. She said that she had gotten fired again. So she is probably not in contact with that woman, Carolyn.

The Twelve have already looked for Eve but have not found her. Eve must be being clever then. Oksana smiles briefly. She likes that Eve is clever.

Oksana has Eve’s phone number. The Twelve must not know that she has it. Therefore she has an advantage.

With a sigh, Oksana accepts that she is going to have to consider the interpersonal now.

Okay, so Eve wants to know everything about her. And Eve wanted to stay on the phone to listen to Oksana fuck herself. And Eve… enjoyed it. Oksana could hear her enjoying it.

Her blood runs hot and cold. In her memories, the stabbing and the orgasm happen within minutes of each other.

Eve will still want to know everything. There’s no way that just listening to Oksana fuck herself was going to be enough.

Oksana won’t be able to find Eve. But maybe Eve will come to find her.

Oksana reaches for her phone.

Would you like to know where I am Eve? So you can come and find me?

Chapter Text

So you can come and find me?

Eve feels her heart slow for a second, and then speed up.

The police. She was going to call the police.

It would be better if she could contact the police with more information.

(Eve can visualise Villanelle’s fingers, the slow smirk of her smile as she types out the message.)

(Eve can hear Villanelle’s whimpers and little sounds of want, and the choked off moan when Eve had refused to tell her if she was touching herself.)

(Fuck)

How do you know I won’t tell the police where you are?

(Eve imagines kissing her, imagines the sensation of Villanelle’s fingers sliding between her legs, just as the knife slides between her ribs.)

You can if you want. But I will just kill them when they arrive.

But you won’t kill me?

I want to do other things to you Eve.

Eve takes a deep breath, and places the phone on the bed.

This is fucked up. This is so fucked up.

But she just can’t help it.

She picks up the phone again. Her fingers hover, inarticulate.

As she hesitates, Villanelle starts typing again.

I want you to do other things to me Eve.

Eve gulps hastily, and then starts typing.

Where are you then?

And then Villanelle tells her where she is.

Eve doesn’t know what to say, and then Villanelle is typing again.

By tomorrow, okay?

……

After some furious googling, Eve gets on a train.

Trust Villanelle to be somewhere hopelessly inaccessible by public transport, it’ll be four connections and taxi ride before she is arrives, and late in the evening.

Eve blows through even more of her data allowance researching hotels, and then swears out loud when she realises the prices of accommodation. The couple opposite her on the train give her a disapproving look, and she holds up a hand in apology.

Sorry, my psychopath is determined to bankrupt me as well as kill me.

She sighs, books the cheapest room she can find, and then tips her head back on the chair, and tries to relax.

Ha.

She doesn’t even know if Niko will have time to divorce her before she is dead.

Stupid. This is stupid. Stupid.

…..

After two connections, Eve sleeps, but it is a fractured sleep, as she wakes up every couple of minutes to check that she hasn’t missed her stop, and that she isn’t dead.

She reaches for her phone.

Why are you in Rock? Do you have any idea how expensive it is?

But it is nice here. I have always wanted to visit

But in the school holidays??

I don’t know what you mean. But okay Eve, nice talking to you, see you soon.

She’s been dismissed.

God she’s so angry with her.

oh wait, you mean the prices go up in holidays? It’s okay I will give you some money, okay bye.

Eve could kill her, will kill her, will be killed by her, will press her up against a wall and just make her shut up, kiss her just to shut her up, kiss her and kiss her and touch her because she sounds so weak when she comes, and Eve would just do that, just to make her weak, just to hear her moans again.

She takes a deep breath, and then bites her lip.

This is going to be a long journey.

…..

The hotel, when she finally gets to it, is still too expensive for the likes of her. She gets a look from the proprietor, and she can’t really blame him, because she looks tired and too hot and too whatever other visible signs appear when you are contemplating your own death.

Eve finds a shop that is still open, and eats half a pasty, all the time remembering that the last time she ate a pasty she swore she would never eat one again. And then she showers. And then she goes to bed.

Her room is small, still, and quiet. The door locks, but it wouldn’t be enough, not to stop Villanelle.

Besides, Eve admits to herself, if Villanelle knocked on the door, Eve would probably just open it.

…..

She thinks that she shouldn’t sleep. She might be dead tomorrow. She should be clinging to each conscious second.

Funny, how the notion of being dead has become a minor worry. Eve is reminded of how she feels whilst eating too much ice-cream, all the while knowing that lactose doesn’t treat her well.

She’s so tired.

Villanelle is probably less than a mile away.

It’s.…not a bad thought. It doesn’t terrify her in the way it should.

Eve quits lying to herself, just before she falls asleep.

It’s a good thought.

…..

There’s a noise. There’s a noise- why is there a noise? Why is the noise still happening? Why-

Eve curses, and then fumbles under her pillow until she finds her phone. She accepts the incoming call without thinking about it too much and holds the phone to her ear, collapsing back on the bed.

“I was sleeping, you horror.”

“I know, I wanted to wake you up. I couldn’t sleep. I was bored.”

Eve groans, and then squints at her phone screen briefly. 3:14 am.

“You wake me up at 3:14 because you were lonely?”

There is a pause, and then Villanelle says carefully “I said I was bored.”

“Am I that entertaining?”

“No.” Villanelle sighs, and Eve can visualise her shrugging, as though she doesn’t understand either.

They don’t say anything for a long moment.

There’s something about after midnight conversations… Eve is warm, but wants more warmth.

“Why do I like you so much?”

It’s out there before she can really grasp hold of it, but it’s a fact. Eve feels like she can only face down her increasingly bizarre life with truth wielded as a weapon.

Villanelle doesn’t say anything for a long time, and Eve could fall back asleep, could fall asleep gripping the phone so tightly.

“Anna used to say something like that to me. She used to say ‘I wish I didn’t like you so much.’”

Eve murmurs “Well, you are annoyingly likeable.”

“But Anna hated liking me. Do-” Villanelle cuts off, and then sighs something in another language, and something about the way she sounds makes Eve think that she is in bed, that Villanelle wants more warmth as well.

“I don’t hate liking you. God help me, I like liking you.”

“I like you too.” It’s just a whisper, and if Eve could just touch her…

She’s a murderous psychopath. Eve tries to hold on to the thought, but it’s like a fish in water, visible yet never where she expects.

“I mean, I think I might hate that I like that I like you, but… you have to go out quite a few layers before you get to the hate part.”

Villanelle chuckles slightly. “Well, I am annoyingly likeable.”

Eve smiles, and then says abruptly “I wish I had kissed you.”

“I wish that too.”

There’s a long silence. Eve can hear Villanelle breathing, and god she wants…. impossible things.

“I should get some sleep. You should get some sleep.”

Villanelle makes a half sound in reply, and it is so soft it is barely there. Eve smiles, and her heart is aching, aching with… something.

“Goodnight.”

“Good night baby.” Villanelle whispers it, and it reaches Eve’s heart faster than any knife.

……

Chapter Text

The next morning, Eve wakes up to a set of GPS coordinates on her phone.

She groans, because of course things cannot be simple. She cannot remember the last time anything was simple.

Eve showers, and tries to trace back in time when she should have done something different. At some point she must have made a choice, and that choice could have been different, and then things would be different.

She feels beyond choices now. She’s just free falling, wondering how far away the ground is, wondering how much it is going to hurt.

As she dresses, Eve realises that there is another message on her phone.

I thought you would like to see some of the countryside.

Eve swears.

…..

Three hours later, and she is struggling to the top of a hill in the too hot sunshine.

She will kill her for this unnecessary exercise. Eve is actually going to kill Villanelle this time, she will smite her with a fucking log, Konstantin had the right idea.

She hates the countryside, which is unreasonably full of large animals and golfers and fucking pollen.

Eve sneezes three times in a row, and swears. And she’s too angry to even feel any worries about what will happen at the top of the hill, because by god as long as she can call Villanelle a dickhead to her face at least once before she dies, then she will have no regrets.

“Fuck off!” she yells at a bee. The bee, bastard that he is, essentially tries to dive bomb her face, and then is when she, Eve Polastri, tries to punch a bee.

She misses.

Eve sits down on the ground. God, she needs a drink.

She reaches for her phone.

I should warn you that I am in an extremely bad mood with you today.

The text comes back as quick as a flash.

Do you have a weapon? I like it when you think you are about to kill me.

No, I am weaponless, but full of rage and hay fever.

Okay, well, please don’t sneeze on me.

Eve sighs, and sucks in a couple of lungfuls of air, trying to compose herself.

It’s maybe five minutes more effort to the top of the hill. She can do this.

…..

She feels dizzy at the top.

Fuck, this is why she likes cities. No hills in cities.

Eve wipes the sweat out of her eyes, and looks around her with her hands on her hips.

There’s no one here.

She checks the coordinates on her phone, but no, this is definitely the correct place. The GPS coordinates have led her to a rock. Eve sits down upon it, and waits.

I am here. Where are you?

Why aren’t you scared of me?

Eve sighs, and looks around herself for inspiration.

I am, but I have several other emotions for you as well, and they are all fighting for position.

You should be more scared of me, maybe. You came to meet a serial killer because I asked you to. That is not smart. Don’t do that.

Eve hasn’t got the energy for this. She calls her.

“Hello Eve.”

“Hello dickhead, thank you for making me climb a fuck off hill in fuck off heat. I just tried to punch a bee, so fuck you.”

Villanelle snorts at her, and then laughs. “Okay, maybe I should be scared of you. Do you like the view at least? Look at it, it is nice.”

Eve rubs her hand over her face, and then looks, looks properly.

The sky is blue. The sea is blue. The hill she is standing upon is at the mouth of an estuary, and there is a pretty boat with a red sail making it’s way up stream. Wrapped around the hill is a beach, with a wider stretch of golden sand to her right, and a narrower trail of sand all the way inland as far as she can see.

Across the bay, there is a pretty pile of roofs, sitting along the opposite shoreline, which is such as golden, just as sandy. Eve can see indistinct figures strolling around, walking their dogs on their own wide beach.

Everything she can see is bright blue, or bright green, or golden, and Eve is no artist, but someone could do a great job up here.

She sighs.

“Yeah. It is nice. It’s beautiful.”

“See? Worth the climb.”

“No, it is absolutely not.”

Villanelle laughs at her again, and then casually says “I can see you by the way, Eve Polastri.”

Her heart soars and clenches in panic at the same time. Eve stands up abruptly, and then looks around. The hill is deserted.

“Where… where are you?”

Villanelle laughs, and then says “Oh, I am on the other side of the river. It’s lovely isn’t it? It is called the river Camel, I have no clue why.”

What?

“What?”

“The river Camel, it’s ridiculous isn’t it? There are no camels.”

“No… what the fuck do you mean you are on the other side of the river?”

“Oh, well, you see, I wanted to see you, but not be too close to you. Just in case you mistook me for a bee.”

“Are you….” Eve realises that she is nearly shouting. There’s another couple up here now, enjoying the view and looking at her strangely. She lowers her voice to a near whisper.

“-are you fucking kidding me? I downloaded a fucking GPS app, just to be led to a rock on the top of mount Everest, so you can see me? How the fuck can you even see me?”

“Oh, I have binoculars.”

Eve very nearly throws her phone at the sea.

“You can see me? Can you see this?”

Eve flips off the opposite shoreline expansively, and to hell with the other couple’s strange looks.

“Fuck you. Fuck you.”

Villanelle sighs happily.

“Oh, I have missed you. Look, can you see me? I am on the beach, just for you, even though I hate sand. Look, I’ll wave.”

Eve stares at the opposite shore line, and there, on the beach, there is a tiny figure, completely indiscernible from everyone else on the beach asides from the fact that it is waving.

Eve sits down on the rock again, exhausted.

“Fuck you.”

“Yes, I would like that.” Villanelle says simply, and Eve sighs.

“So, why am I here?”

“Oh, I left you some money, under that rock. If you needed some. I said I would give you some. You can leave it if you do not want it.”

Eve pinches the bridge of her nose.

“This is… not how normal people do things.”

“Why are you still pretending that you are normal Eve? … Anyway, you can leave it if you want. I’m leaving now, would you like me to steal a dog for you by the way? There are several here.”

“No. Thank you.”

“Okay. Good bye.”

Eve sighs, and then presses her phone against her forehead for a moment. Then she checks down near the base of the rock, and sure enough, there is an envelope, looking ridiculously thick.

She picks it up, because why the fuck not, at this point, really?

Her phone rings again.

“What?”

“Hello, sorry, I was so excited to see you I forgot what I was calling you for! So, Konstantin is alive, which is fun. And he has given me my next job, which is to kill you. So, I need to decide what I’m going to do about that. Goodbye Eve. See you soon.”

Chapter Text

This town, this Padstow, is extremely nice.

But extremely crowded.

And there are… dogs everywhere, and people, and children, and noise, and brightly coloured plastic spades.

Oksana stops abruptly as a man in red trousers pushes right past her, with no concept of personal space, basic politeness, nor any reference to not getting yourself fucking killed on the fucking pavement at all.

Oksana realises that she is swearing more in her internal monologue.

“Oh Eve” she mutters. “You are a bad influence.”

Maybe she would like Padstow more if it was entirely deserted.

She swats at a seagull which was just swooping to steal a child’s ice-cream, and scares it off. The kid stares up at her. Oksana shrugs.

“Be more fucking alert, okay?”

The parents pull their child away from her, eyeing her darkly. Oksana follows them for a step or two.

“What, you would like me more if I was wearing red trousers? Rubber boots?”

People mutter at her.

Okay, she is done with Padstow.

Oksana carefully and methodically doesn’t kill anyone, and then heads back to the foot ferry to return to Rock.

…..

When she returns, Oksana goes to sit on the bench again, this time without a book because she doesn’t try something twice if it didn’t work once.

She breathes in deeply, and then sighs.

She felt like this about Anna. And she had hated every second.

Oksana… is being nice to Eve because using Eve’s morbid curiosity is the fastest way to ensure that Eve presents herself to Oksana, all ready for death.

Or, maybe Oksana is being nice to Eve because she likes her.

Oksana cannot tell, and it is frustrating.

Her personal life is now neatly aligned with her professional life. She wanted to kill Eve, and now her job, her route back to her old, perfect life, wants her to kill Eve. It’s perfect.

Except, it isn’t. Because she’s no longer sure if she wants to kill Eve. Mainly because, if she does, then she has to stop having fun with her.

Oksana isn’t even sure if she wants to stab Eve. She just wants… oh.

She balls her fist, and punches herself hard on the thigh.

She wants to ruin Eve’s life. But… objectively, she has probably already done that.

Besides, now Oksana wants to continue ruining Eve’s life, but for Eve to be happy about it.

She sighs, and closes her eyes, remembering the feel of Eve’s hair under her finger tips, the way Eve’s voice had curled around the word baby.

She doesn’t want it to stop. She wants to keep this pinprick of peace forever. She wants to annoy Eve forever. She wants to wake her up in the middle of the night. She wants to imagine what Eve tastes like, know what she tastes like.

Oksana concedes that maybe she likes Eve a little more than is sensible or useful right now. Despite the barely healed stab wound and the fact that Eve has ruined Oksana’s life. Or maybe because of it.

A bee bumbles past Oksana’s face. Oksana pictures Eve trying to punch it, with the reflexes of an inanimate object, and smiles.

Okay fine. She doesn’t want to kill Eve. But maybe she will have to. Regretfully, of course. But Oksana is wise enough to know that she is probably on her final chance with The Twelve, whoever the fuck they happen to be. So she has to kill Eve, because she likes her life in Paris.

Because she likes being alive.

Oksana sighs, and rests her chin on her hands, staring blankly at the view. And then she says “Fuck, shit, and fuck” loudly to herself, to the general alarm of the pensioners nearby.

She’s trapped. She hates being trapped.

Oksana checks her phone. She has….twenty seven missed calls from Eve, and a lot of text messages. Oksana skims through a couple in confusion, but the main theme seems to be a generalised ‘what the fuck’-ing. Oksana raises her eyebrows, perplexed, and then reviews their previous conversation.

Oh, sure. The killing thing. Oksana tries to think of something reassuring to say.

I’m not going to kill you today, promise xx

OH MY GOD I MIGHT KILL YOU

Oksana stares at the screen for a little bit, and then smiles.

Oh.

…..

After eating, drinking, and generally concluding that she has finished with this place, Oksana returns to her hotel room. 

She feels...anxious. Oksana casts around, trying to figure out the source of the emotion. She rarely feels anxious, even when she is about to attempt something high risk.

It’s because she doesn’t know what to do, Oksana realises. She usually only deals in certainty. But the future at the moment is...unknown. There’s too many factors that she is trying to smooth out. Trying to make decisions about.

She opens her door. And-

Eve is in her room.

Oksana’s immediate reaction is to roll her eyes, and hold up her hand in a resigned gesture. 

“Oh no, not you - I am not ready for you yet. You shouldn’t be here.”

Eve crosses her arms, looking irritated.

“Yeah, well, you don’t get to tell people that you have been contracted to kill them, and not expect some kind of follow up.”

Oksana shrugs, and pulls a perplexed face. “Well, yes, that is how threatening people should work, they should stay away. And, I promised I wouldn’t kill you today. You, on the other hand, have made no such promise. So I should be scared of you, right? You are the crazy lady who keeps appearing in my rooms.”

Eve doesn’t say anything to that, but instead just looks at her. And she looks... furious, and tired, and... 

Eve sighs, and says “If you are going to kill me, please just do it now, I can’t cope with all this waiting. Here I am. Get on with it, you dick.”

Oksana puts her head on one side, and half smiles.

“You are extremely strange to me.”

Eve shrugs, and then says “I am. You are too.”

Oksana should kill her. But she doesn’t want to.

God, she wants her.

Oksana gulps, and tries to put that unhelpful thought to one side, because she has to concentrate.

“How did you find me?”

“Because you are increasingly easy to predict, that’s how. Also it is amazing what you can get away with when you are a middle aged Asian woman - I don’t look very threatening.”

Oksana remembers the pain of the knife, and smiles ruefully. “They are not aware of all the facts.”

Eve breaths out slowly. “No, they are not.”

Oksana looks Eve over a couple of times, but it is hard to tell if she is carrying any concealed weapons. So she asks.

“Are you carrying any concealed weapons?”

“No. Are you?”

Oksana gives her a little look, because duh, and then pulls her gun out, and then produces her knife. Eve looks at them, askance.

“Okay, and you are sure that you aren’t going to kill me, because-“

Oksana hates this, she realises. Hates holding weapons when Eve hasn’t got one. It is…imbalanced.

“No, I am not… would you just- look, I am putting them down, though if you stab me again I will stop worrying about whether or not to kill you…”

Eve looks at the weapons on the bed, and then looks at Oksana.

“Why are you working for the Twelve again?”

Oksana shrugs, and then pinches the bridge of her nose. And suddenly, all the stresses catch up with her at once, and the words come tumbling out.

“I don’t know if I am, I haven’t figured it out yet. They want to kill you, and if I don’t kill you then they will send someone else to do it once they find you. Someone who doesn’t like you as much as I do, and they will not kill you nicely. But the Twelve can’t find you at the moment, and they think I can. So…so- I don’t know, I guess I have to pretend I am looking for you whilst I try to figure out what to do, but if I don’t kill you then they will probably kill me, so the whole thing is….I don’t… I don’t know what to do.”

Oksana’s voice wobbles abruptly on the last few words, and she clamps a hand over her mouth, furious with herself.

Eve stares at her. “Are you-?”

No” Oksana bites out. She gestures at Eve, at all of it, and then rubs her eyes briefly. “It’s just… you have made my life very difficult and I do not like it.”

Eve blinks a couple of times, and then says “I’m sorry.”

Oksana sighs, inexplicably weary.

“You cannot be here, Konstantin just appears sometimes, you cannot stay. I cannot pretend to be looking for you, if he has just found you in my bedroom.”

Eve glances once towards the door, and then back at Oksana.

“I know, I just… I wanted to tell you in person that you are a dickhead for making me climb that hill. And-” Eve sighs, and makes a small gesture of nothing with her hands. “And- I missed seeing you. You got to see me, and I didn’t see you.”

Oksana feels her heart stumble, and god how she wants, how she wants…

“You should go.”

Eve nods once, and then cautiously makes her way to the door, skirting the weapons on the bed gingerly. But heading for the door takes her past where Oksana is standing, and some how, some how, this is too close. Oksana knows that she mustn’t.

But it is Eve who steps too close, Eve who comes up to her, until Oksana has to back away, fall against the wall just to maintain some kind of faint distance between them.

Eve is breathing hard, and looks like she can’t quite believe what is happening. Oksana can’t stop looking at her mouth. Eve licks her lips.

“I just… I need you to know that you have made my life difficult as well, and I also don’t like it.”

Oksana nods a couple of times, and why is she so powerless?

Eve looks down between their bodies, and her eyes are dark. She glances at Oksana once, and bites her lip.

“Can I- is it still-?”

Oksana realises what Eve is asking after a moment, and nods weakly. She reaches for the hem of her own top, and lifts the corner of it until her scar is exposed.

Eve breathes deeply, and Oksana wonders for a half second if she is about to get stabbed again. But then Eve reaches out a finger tip, and touches it, touches her. Oksana gulps.

“Eve-“

But Eve is remorseless, and runs her finger over the scar, and then slowly presses the palm of her hand to it, as though Oksana is still bleeding and Eve has to apply pressure to stop her from dying.

Oksana can’t breathe.

“Eve-“

Eve repositions her hand slowly, and the movement over Oksana’s scar drags Eve’s fingertips below the hem of her trousers, until Oksana can feel them resting on her hip bone. And god she wishes Eve would stab her, this is agony, this is too much, this is too much-

“Eve, please, let me- god, I need to kiss you.”

Eve’s eyes darken, and there’s a flicker of, something, Oksana cannot understand the emotion, but she’s pinned to the wall by someone she could kill fourteen times over, so there are many things she does not currently understand.

Eve nods slowly, and then Eve kisses her.

And Oksana whimpers once, before kissing her back, once, but god it could be enough, this could be enough.

Eves lips are soft, but her emotions are clearly not, and the kiss becomes a bite quickly, and Eve’s other hand is on her face, pulling Oksana towards her, with her fingers curled behind her ear.

“Fuck you” Eve whispers into her mouth, and Oksana cannot tell if it is an insult or a request or a prayer or-

“Please, Eve, oh god, please-”

Oksana doesn't hear the noise of the door opening until almost too late.

Shit.

Chapter Text

Eve doesn’t quite know what has happened to her.

Her impulsive tendencies used to mean that she would bring a chicken home as a pet, for Niko to look after. She would overstep an administrative line at work, and get a slap on the wrist.

And then it meant that she was breaking bus shelter windows, and threatening people with guns, and stabbing people.

And now it means kissing the psychopath who is supposed to kill her.

It’s just... oh Jesus, there are no justifications any more. Villanelle had looked so soft and helpless, even whilst describing her half baked plans to murder her. And then... Eve had wanted to press her fingers to her scar and her mouth to Villanelle’s lips, and so she’d just... done it.

And then she’d wanted to fuck her, and fuck it, fuck it-

Her mouth was so gentle, and she had let Eve kiss her, and it had just made Eve want more…

Somehow, for some upside down reason, it was Villanelle who managed to keep them both tethered to reality, and to life. Because in one second Eve was sinking into Villanelle, just ready to drown in her darkness, and the next second Villanelle was bundling her into the bathroom.

“Hello, Villanelle? Do you ignore my instructions just so that I have to come and have another chat?”

“Konstantin, I have told you it will take longer than a day to find Eve, what miracle do you expect from me?” Villanelle somehow says this lightly, with half a laugh bubbling in her voice, even as a shriek is clawing at Eve’s throat.

Eve manages not to swear, or scream, by the skin of her teeth. Oksana presses her up against the bathroom sink, and rests one hand against her chest in a silent command to stay still. And then she presses a finger to Eve’s lips, all the while managing to maintain her conversation with Konstantin.

“But I do not understand why you are still here?”

Oksana rolls her eyes, and sounds genuinely frustrated with him, as though he is just a minor inconvenience.

“Because I like it here? It is very nice. Why can you not find her yourselves? She is not that clever.”

Eve, stupidly, opens her mouth to defend herself from this character assassination. Villanelle makes an incredulous face at her, and presses her finger against Eve’s lips harder. She continues.

“In fact, I sometimes think that she is really is very stupid indeed. Anyway, wait there. I am naked.”

Konstantin grumbles something in Russian at that, and then says, “Why are you naked so often?”

Villanelle reaches past Eve, and turns on the tap, running the water through her fingers and wetting her face. Then she reaches down, and takes off her trousers.

Eve blinks. Villanelle doesn’t even look at her.

“It is called personal hygiene Konstantin, you should do some research into it.” Villanelle flushes the toilet, and moves close to Eve. She whispers in her ear, under the sound of the cistern re-filling.

“Get out when we go.”

Eve nods a couple of times, and Villanelle backs away, holding her trousers in both hands and spreading them out in order to put them on. She exits the bathroom without a single glance.

“Oh, look, you can finish getting dressed in there-”

‘But I wanted to show you my tan… anyway, here I am. Have you found her yet? You have a place to send me?”

Eve realises that she is gripping the sink hard enough to crack porcelain. She tries to relax her hands, tries to just be still, tries to not make any noise, as her heart pounds in her chest.

“No” Konstantin says shortly. “She is nowhere obvious, we have checked her home, friends, and family. That is why we need you to actually look for her. Did she mention going anywhere?”

Villanelle snorts. “What, in all our little chats? She was always pointing a gun at me, or I was about to stab her. It was not small talk time.”

“Villanelle-”

Villanelle yawns, loudly, and then says “Oh, you are boring me. Look, she will come to me. I will kill someone, nice and dramatic, she will come to find me. She is too interested in me to resist.”

Eve flushes red at the thought of this, the casual way that Villanelle is discussing her as an obsessed fan. She grits her teeth.

“You are too casual about this.”

Villanelle laughs.

“You are too stern. So cross and angry. Have I upset you?”

“You shot me.”

Villanelle makes a dismissive noise. “Pfft, yes I did, because I had been told to kill you. And yet, you are alive! You can buy me a drink to say thank you; come, come, I will show you why people like it here…”

Konstantin says “Oh, no, I cannot”, but Villanelle ignores him, and Eve can hear her conversation all the way to the door, and then out into the corridor.

“Yes yes, grr, so serious. Look, if you come, I will tell you what Carolyn Martins said to me, whilst I was in jail, huh? She said some nasty things about you, very rude-”

Konstantin’s voice is fainter now.

“You will tell me that or I will kill you.”

“Oh sure, very scary, no, you will buy me a drink and I will tell you…”

She cannot hear them any more.

Eve clutches at her chest, and then presses her hands to her mouth.

She’d just nearly died. Eve has no doubt that, if Konstantin had found her, Villanelle would have killed her in front of him. Regretfully, maybe. She would be irritated that Eve had gotten them into such a position. She might even be sad. She would probably call her stupid as she plunged the knife in.

Eve waits for five minutes, and then cautiously creeps to the window. And there, disappearing down the road towards the shore line, are Konstantin and Villanelle. Villanelle is gesturing expansively at a tree, possibly explaining to Konstantin what a tree is.

Eve giggles, a hysterical little giggle, and then clamps her hand over her mouth.

She’s going to die.

Eve leaves the room.

…..

Later that day, Eve calls a taxi, and puts herself on a train.

She just travels, further and further north as the evening sun sets. It doesn’t really matter where she goes.

Villanelle will find her.

…..

Much later, in a northern town, Eve drags her suitcase into yet another hotel room.

She showers.

She lies on the bed.

Villanelle is calling her. Eve sighs as she answers.

“Please don’t call me stupid again.”

“But you are, oh my god do you have a death wish? I said I had been told to kill you, and you just present yourself?”

Eve smiles.

“You aren’t going to kill me unless you really have to.”

Villanelle sounds furious with her.

“No, but other people will kill you easily, because you are extremely easy to kill.”

Eve smiles even wider.

“Are you worried about me?”

“Yes” says Villanelle, grouchily. “You shouldn’t do things like that.”

Eve ponders for a moment, and then says “But you are glad I came?”

Villanelle doesn’t say anything for a long time, and then groans.

“You are going to get both of us killed.”

Eve smiles at the frustration in her voice, and god help her, it is nice to annoy her like this, after what feels like a lifetime of Villanelle annoying Eve.

“You wish I was there now, don’t you?” she teases. Villanelle laughs once, and then sighs.

“I wish you were kissing me now.”

The abruptness of it does something to Eve. She feels as though there are whole compartments of her brain opening up for her, showing her brand new things about herself.

She licks her lips.

“Are you touching yourself again?”

Villanelle pauses for a long, inscrutable moment. When she speaks again, her voice is lower, softer.

“Do you want me to? I will if you want me to. I- I liked it last time, although I did not mean to. I really liked it. I want to do it for you again.”

Eve imagines her eyes, her mouth, her scar, the shape of her, the feel of her, the taste of her…

It’s the power. Eve has power over the most powerful person she has ever known. She feels… everything.

“Yes. I would like that too.”

Chapter Text

The morning creeps slow and soft. Oksana’s room fills slowly with the dawn light.

As Oksana comes to consciousness, she realises she is hugging a pillow.

Oh she is fucked, she is well and truly fucked.

She half sits up in her bed, and glances at her phone. Nothing from Eve. Oksana sighs, and collapses back onto the bed.

It’s... not the usual kind of sex that she has. Usually, Oksana fucks someone, and then leaves, and and fucks herself later, to the memory (if it had been good).

Or... if she really likes someone, if she really feels alot, she fucks someone, and then lets them reciprocate, but on her terms. Oksana will choose the how, the when, the fast or the slow, the hard or the gentle…

With Eve, it doesn’t happen like that. With Eve...

Once again, last night, Oksana had touched herself whilst Eve had refused to tell her anything. And god, it had felt so good.

This time Oksana wasn’t thinking about the knife. This time it was just Eve, just Eve, Eve whose lips she could still feel, Eve who should hate her but just can’t seem to manage it.

Tell me everything, Eve had whispered. And she had, she had, every detail she had recounted, and Eve had said you sound amazing, and Oksana had felt amazing, and when she came Eve was coming as well. And Oksana would have given anything for any detail, any fragment of truth to pivot her imaginings around. But Eve had refused.

And it had just made Oksana want her more.

Someone clears their throat.

Oksana sits bolt upright, and the gun is in her hands without her even noticing it.

She points it levelly at Konstantin’s forehead.

“Why the fuck are you in my room?” she shouts.

Konstantin looks baffled, and spreads his hands.

“Why the fuck didn’t you notice me? What is wrong with you?”

Oksana brandishes the gun again, and aims, and aims again, and the gun shot is screaming in her ears already even though she hasn’t even pulled the trigger. It’d be easy, it’d be simple, and this time it wouldn’t be the stomach. And then he’d be dead, and Oksana would be free.

Her hand is shaking.

Konstantin blinks, and then spreads his hands wider, until he is surrendering. He raises his eyebrows at her.

“It would be a very bad idea to kill me. Don’t do that.”

Oksana can visualise the way his corpse would slump in the chair.

“Why would it?”

Konstantin looks up at the ceiling, and then back at her.

“Because that would be the end for you. The Twelve would send someone to kill you.”

Oksana bites her lip.

“Ah, but I would kill them.”

Konstantin nods a couple of times, and says “I have no doubt you would. You would probably kill many of them. But you would have to be lucky all the time. They would only have to be lucky once. And then, you would be dead. And that would be very sad for me.”

Oksana tips her aim slightly to one side, so she can look him dead in his stupid face.

“But you’d already be dead, so…?”

Konstantin looks as though he’s debating a discussion about the afterlife, but then surprises her.

“Very sad for Irina. She was asking if she could go to Euro Disney with you this summer.”

Oksana lowers the gun, incredulous.

“You think I believe that? I shot her Dad in front of her.”

Konstantin rubs his hand over his beard, and looks away, out of the window. He sighs. “I know, I have a…very strange child.”

Oksana believes that he is full of shit. But… if she kills him, then this whole timeline accelerates. Oksana is trying to make time slow down, not speed up. She needs time to figure out what to do.

She puts the gun down on the bed.

“Okay. But you must stop appearing in my rooms. I no longer like it.”

One of the things that she does admire about Konstantin is the blasé way that he faces his own death. She can see absolutely no change in his demeanour, other than mild confusion.

“But you told me that you did not mind me doing it, in Paris. You said you had no secrets.”

“I still have no secrets, but I also no longer wish to be surprised by your face. I have gone off it.”

Konstantin sighs, and shrugs.

“A compromise? No more early morning visits. After nine am only.”

“That is still early” Oksana grumbles. Konstantin rolls his eyes and shakes his head.

“You are a teenager.”

Oksana stands up, and pulls on the hotel dressing gown. It is made of a cheap sort of material, and it itches against her skin.

“Okay. If you appear before nine am I will shoot you. In the head. You will bleed all over the carpet.”

Konstanin says “Fine” in an exasperated sort of way. Oksana heads for the bathroom, fills up a glass of water, and drinks. As she looks at herself in the mirror, she remembers Eve standing there, ready to die but not ready to be called stupid.

She bites her lip.

“Why are you here? To tell me to leave this place, because do not worry. I am leaving, I have got bored, all the people here are strange.”

Konstantin makes a noise of agreement, and then says “Yes. But I do like the cream teas, that is very nice. You know they let you choose your own cake ratios? They give you cream, and butter, and fruit jam, and a hot drink? That is very good, very civilised. More snacks should do that.”

Villanelle returns to the bedroom during this treatise on a cream tea, and pulls a bag out from under the bed. She starts putting in items.

“So, are you here to help me pack?”

Konstantin shrugs.

“No. I am here to tell you that we agree with your plan to find Eve.”

Oksana scoffs.

“Oh, well, seeing as you have no other plan and have so far failed to find her with any of your own plans, I would say that is something you do not have much choice about.”

She can feel him watching her. Oksana tries to remember how she always behaves. She turns to look at him, eyebrows raised.

“Is that it?”

Konstantin stands up, and comes to stand close to her. He is watching her face carefully.

“However, we think that just generalised murder might take too long. Create too much attention.”

Oksana deliberately keeps her face blank, and plays dumb. But then she remembers that she never plays dumb about this sort of thing.

“You think I should kill her husband?”

Konstantin makes a small gesture of nothing with his hand. “Yes. Make it look accidental. But she will know. And she will come. To the morgue, or the funeral, which ever. It does not matter. But we will have her then.”

Oksana sighs.

“He is a good cook.”

Konstantin nods slowly.

“Mmm. Really? Well, that will be a loss.”

Oksana thinks that her life might be mocking her.

“Okay, I will see what I can do.”

…..

Chapter Text

Eve wakes up in her hotel room, and this is normal, now. It is normal to be waking up in hotel rooms. She has lost count of how many she has been in.

She can’t even remember what it was like to have Niko make her coffee in the morning.

(Although she can, and it is stabbing at her heart, digging the knife in and twisting)

Her old life was good. Passable. She could have carried on like that forever, and it would have been fine. She would have been happy.

It’s too late. She can’t… not want Villanelle. Villanelle, who allows Eve to be in charge of how much, and how fast, and where, and god Eve don’t ask me to stop, I don’t think I can stop-

She might be acting. But, Eve has given Villanelle her chance to kill her, and she didn’t take it. She presented herself for death, and Villanelle put down her weapons.

If she is acting, Eve doesn’t care any more. If this is just a game they are playing, then Villanelle can win. She deserves to win. Lord knows Eve can’t keep up any more.

Eve showers, and then opens her curtains to study the skyline of this place.

She is presented with a brick wall, and a hand breadth’s view of a carpark, and isn’t that just the way her life goes…

Her phone buzzes. Eve reaches for it, and answers.

“Do you still think I’m stupid?”

There’s a long pause, and then Niko says “Hello?” Eve nearly drops the phone.

“Oh god, Niko, I… I thought you were someone else” she finishes lamely.

“Who?”

Eve cringes.

“Uh. No one. I mean. No one you know. An old friend. From, uh. Stoke.” Eve makes a face, because she’s shit at lying, and Niko knows it.

Niko sighs. “Why are you lying?”

“Because…I’m allowed to have secrets.”

“You have lost your mind.”

“What? Why am I not allowed secrets?”

“Bullshit, I haven’t known where you are for over a month, you have secrets whether I like it or not.”

“I’m doing this to protect you.”

“That’s…such a load of shit Eve.” Niko sounds tired, and emotional. “You are doing this because you couldn’t face how boring you were, so you are renting excitement from some psycho bitch in a perverted game of hide and seek.”

Eve raises her eyebrows, because all of this may be true, but he doesn’t get to just say it like that.

“I am not boring.”

“You are. You are boring, and you are stupid, and you are going to get killed, but you are so boring and so stupid that you think death by psychopath might be exciting.”

This is too much.

“Fuck you Niko, you think you are exciting? You run a bridge club, for fuck’s sake.”

“No, Eve, I know I am boring. There’s nothing wrong with a life that is boring. That’s what life is like.”

Eve lapses into silence. Niko clears his throat, and continues.

“So, I’ve been through your work files in the office.”

Eve flushes hot, because she knows how Niko is going to interpret some of her work.

“You can’t do that. They’re…classified.”

“But I did. And… you’ve been obsessed with this psychopath for nearly two years.”

“It was my job-”

“No, it was your fantasy. And you are living it out. You think I don’t know that you are talking to her all the time? Your ‘friend from Stoke’?”

Eve blinks.

“That’s… not true. She’s trying to kill me.”

“And you want her to.”

“I don’t” Eve says sharply. “I want-”

She cuts off, but it’s too abrupt. And it’s too obvious. And Niko knows her better than anyone else.

He doesn’t say anything for a long time, and then mutters “unbelievable” to himself.

“Look, Niko-”

“I need you to come home. If you come home today, we can try and figure it out. If you won’t, then we’re done. I deserve better than this. I have done nothing but be a good husband to you and-” Niko’s voice suddenly wobbles all over the place, and he swears to himself.

Eve rubs a hand over her face, trying to hold on to some sliver of reality, of sanity. If she could just make him see

“Niko, if I come home to you, I really don’t know if she’ll kill you or not. I don’t know what she’ll do.”

He laughs. “But you like her anyway. She might kill me, but you can’t help but like her.”

“I didn’t say that I liked her.”

“You do, Eve. Stop bullshitting me. You do.”

Eve doesn’t say anything.

Eventually Niko sighs.

“I’m going to pack up your stuff. I don’t think we should be together anymore, this isn’t going to work.”

Eve brightens slightly.

“Oh, you know, don’t take this the wrong way, but if we got divorced then I could stop worrying about if she was going to kill you, so this might not be the worst idea in the world.”

Niko is silent, giving Eve a chance to review her previous statement.

“I mean-”

“Fuck you Eve. Fuck you. Enjoy your new exciting life.”

…..

She cries, for a while.

She doesn’t want to know how stupid she is being, she doesn’t want to know how boring she is…

Niko had always made her be sensible. He’d encouraged her to settle down, encouraged her to buy the house, encouraged her to get married. And so she’d reduced, and reduced, and reduced, until she was tied to a life that didn’t feel like hers. But it was a good life, and leaving it was too scary to contemplate, and so she plodded along, all the while hoping that one day soon her life would feel good enough for her to stop considering ‘what if”.

Eve had made herself boring for him. And now…

And now she is being stupid. But at least it isn’t boring.

Her phone rings. Eve picks up.

“What?” she says grouchily, because although it isn’t Villanelle direct fault, it kind of is.

There is a silence for the moment, and then Villanelle says “Okay, I will call again later”

“No, no, I didn’t mean…sorry, I’m just… things are difficult. I’ve just spoken to Niko, and- well. Things are difficult.”

“Yes” says Villanelle simply, and then clears her throat. “Yes. Um. Okay. I have a question to ask you. But I think you will probably need to be in a good mood to be receptive to it. So, what can I do to put you in a good mood? I could tell you a joke?”

“No, it’s…fine. What’s up?”

“Knock knock?”

“No, I’ve said it’s fine.”

“Knock knock?”

“Oh… who’s there?”

“Eve.”

“Eve who?”

There is a very long pause, and then Villanelle says “Okay I did not think of the end of the joke before I started it.”

Eve pinches at the bridge of her nose.

‘What is the question?”

“Maybe we should talk about it face to face - where are you?”

“No, just… what’s the question?”

Villanelle sighs.

“Okay, so, I was wondering if there was someone in your friends or family who I could kill? And you would be okay if I killed them? Konstantin thinks that I should kill your husband, but I thought you would probably be quite angry about that, so… any suggestions?”

Chapter Text

Frankly, Oksana would prefer to just kill her husband.

That’d be simpler. Neater. Oksana doesn’t like the fact that Eve has a husband, it is an unpleasant thought. Eve might remember that she has a husband at any moment, and go back to him, and where does that leave Oksana? Sad and alone.

He can make a good shepherds pie, but that is pretty much the extent of his value, as far as Oksana can make out.

And she’d kill him nicely. Oksana has learnt from past experience that wives can get a bit agitated if their husbands’ dicks are cut off. Oksana could kill him in his sleep, he wouldn’t even know about it.

But, she is ninety five percent certain that Eve would be unhappy with her husband being killed, no matter how convenient it was for Oksana, nor how gentle the death.

So, filled with generosity, Oksana offers to kill someone else for Eve.

Eve laughs for a moment, and then stays quiet for a long time. Oksana checks her phone screen to ensure that she is still connected, and bites her lip.

From Oksana’s experience of families, there’s always at least one relative that would be better off dead. Just for group harmony. Or for inheritance reasons. There’s always one.

Eve still isn’t saying anything. Maybe she has several who would be better dead. Maybe she can’t choose.

“Eve? Hello? If it is difficult, it can be more than one person, I don’t mind.”

When Eve does speak, her voice is pitched at a slightly peculiar level.

“You... why are you offering to kill someone?”

Oksana sits on the bed, making herself comfortable.

“Oh, well. The Twelve want me to find you and kill you, but I have decided that isn’t convenient for me. But I am pretending that I don’t have to look, because you will come to me. But they think that will take too long, so they think I should kill someone in your family, and then you will come to the funeral, I can kill you there, and so on and so on.”

There is another long pause whilst Eve absorbs all of this. Villanelle listens to her breathe.

“I mean, they think I should kill your husband, but I know you would not like that.”

Eve makes a noise of agreement. Oksana smiles.

“So, I kill someone for you, and then they expect you to go to the funeral, ah ha but you don’t go, and that must have taken up two week’s time.”

“And then what?” Eve whispers. Oksana shrugs to herself. Two weeks is a long time. Anything could happen.

“Well, I guess I could kill someone else for you afterwards. You could nominate someone else. We could start the whole thing again.”

“That’s… oh jesus.”

Oksana waits.

Finally Eve says “Are you fucking insane?”

Oksana blinks.

“Uh… no. I am problem solving. Do you have a better idea?”

”Than killing one of my family?” Eve yells. Oksana holds the phone away from her ear.

“Okay shouty, what is your plan?”

Eve doesn’t say anything to her, but instead just mutters jesus christ over and over again. Oksana cannot tell if she is swearing or praying.

She sighs.

“Look, they want me to kill you. If I don’t at least pretend that I am working on it, they will send someone else to kill you. So I have to… I don’t know. Look busy?”

“By killing my family.”

Oksana makes a face. “Not all of them. Just one. It can be one you do not much like.”

Eve does not say anything. Oksana struggles to decide what she can say to help the conversation.

“And, I promise I will not kill your husband. As a favour to you.”

“Fuck you.” It’s cold, this time. There’s no smile behind it. Oksana goes still.

“Why-”

“Oh… fuck you. Fuck, I’m so fucking stupid.”

Oksana clenches her jaw, and then says “Well, yes, you often are.”

Eve takes a deep breath.

“Well at least I’m not an unhinged murderous psychopath who expects treats for not killing people. At least I don’t end up surrounded by the bodies of anyone who has ever shown me a crumb of affection. At least I don’t live alone because everyone is too terrified of me to come close. At least I don’t get off by fucking myself for the last person who stabbed me. At least I don’t stab people for money, or fun, or whatever the fuck is going on in your head.”

Oksana stops being able to breathe.

And suddenly, she’s incredibly aware of the knife, just in her bag, next to the door.

“What, and you? You just stab people to show them you can? You just stab people because you think it’ll make you interesting? You just stab people because kissing them wouldn’t prove a point?”

“Fuck you Villanelle. Fuck you. You have ruined my life, and you know what? It’s not worth it. You aren’t worth it. So come and kill me if you like, that’d probably be the simplest solution for all of us. I’m in the Holiday Inn in Crewe. Room number 37. I’ll text you the fucking postcode.”

Eve goes quiet suddenly, the way people do when they are pushed from a cliff.

Oksana stands up, and reaches into her bag. And here is the knife.

This is it. And maybe it would be simpler.

Anyway. It probably was always going to end this way. Oksana had hoped for longer, had aimed to fight against Konstantin and the demands of the Twelve and the hopeless, impossible nature of the situation.

But if Eve has turned against her, then there’s no point in choosing the difficult choices. She can just get on with the easy ones.

She smiles. And here is the anger, the inspiration, the clarity.

“I’m not going to come and kill you.”

Eve sobs, once. Oksana smiles again.

She’ll miss it, of course. Miss the way Eve would speak to her as though she cared. Miss the way she’d moan in tandem with Oksana. Miss the memory of her lips, and everything that might have been.

But this is Eve’s fault. Not hers.

“I’m going to go kill your husband. And then I’ll come and find you.”

…..

Chapter Text

Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit-

Eve runs to the train station, swearing internally, externally, and whatever other methods are available.

Shit shit shit she throws herself at the ticket desk, and books a ticket for the next train down to London. The desk attendant looks at her in alarm.

“Tough day?”

“My husband is about to be murdered”

He laughs, and then sobers when Eve doesn’t laugh back.

“Oh, uh. By you?”

The ticket printer whirrs. Eve swears.

“No, you fuckwit, by a murderer.”

The attendant stares at her, and then points at a sign next to his elbow.

Our staff are entitled to work without fear or intimidation…

Eve rolls her eyes, and then slaps her hand on the counter.

“Please give me the ticket. My husband is genuinely about to be murdered. I’m sorry I forgot my manners.”

The attendant prints the ticket out in silence, and then proffers it to her. As Eve reaches out, he jerks it away.

“Have you called the police?”

Eve wonders if this is the moment she becomes a serial killer.

“Not yet because you won’t give me the ticket!”

He hands it over. “Platform two. Fifteen mins. Maybe grab a sandwich?”

“Fifteen minutes? This is an emergency!”

He sucks in air noisily past his teeth.

“And we are British Rail. Next time your husband is getting murdered, plan ahead.”

...

The train is delayed by five minutes. Eve can feel every second dragging over her skin.

No one is answering their phones. Why is no one answering their phones?

Niko isn’t picking up. Eve panics that he is already dead, but Villanelle can’t possibly have travelled from Cornwall to London in this time, even if she stole a Ferrari.

Niko is probably just ignoring her calls. That seems the most likely.

She texts him, and oh god, she has to save Niko’s life via text message.

Niko, you have to get out of the house, as soon as possible. Just be somewhere else. Call me when you get this.

It takes two hours to get from Crewe to London by train. It’s got to be… at least three hours from Cornwall to London, whichever method Villanelle uses. Eve has to be ahead of her. Surely?

Villanelle isn’t answering her phone. Eve doesn’t know what she would do if she did answer. Yell at her some more? Beg? Beg for Niko’s life?

Apologise?

Her hands are shaking.

God, she’d been so angry? She’d been spitting all the worst things she could think to say at her at once, because her life had collapsed, and it was her fault, it was Villanelle’s fault. Because if Eve had never heard of her, then she would have just kept on keeping on, and everything would be…normal.

And now it wasn’t.

She feels more guilty than when she stabbed her, somehow. And that’s when Eve knows that she delirious, because that’s insane, but also true.

And Villanelle can apparently forgive a stabbing, but not an angry, overly emotional tirade.

Fuck her. Fuck her.

Eve sighs, and covers her eyes with a shaking hand.

She knows exactly why an angry, overly emotional tirade is worse for Villanelle.

Because Eve’s just spent nearly six weeks acting like she cares for Villanelle. And then she just…

Eve sighs, and tips her head back on the headrest behind her. Outside the train, buildings flick past her window like so many maybes.

She ripped it all away from her. Scattered it into the wind.

She does care about her. She cared about her so much that she knew the perfect things to say to hurt her.

And fuck it if this isn’t exactly what Eve knew would happen. Of course Villanelle would lash out in the most obvious way possible.

Maybe Villanelle isn’t going to London at all. Maybe she’s just sitting somewhere, entirely relaxed, laughing at all the anguish that she knows that Eve must be going through.

…..

After ten blank minutes of blankly eating a blank sandwich and imagining all the possible ways that she could say sorry, Eve remembers that she hasn’t called the police.

“Oh, oh god, what the fuck is wrong with me-”

There are so many people in this carriage, and despite the whole ‘imminent death’ situation, Eve can’t actually bear the thought of other people listening to this conversation.

She hides in the toilet.

“Which department should I connect you with?”

“Uh….police.”

There’s a moment’s transition, and then a calm female voice says ‘What’s your emergency?”

“My husband is about to be killed. Maybe.”

“Where is he?”

“He’s… I don’t know.”

“Why is he in danger?”

“Someone has threatened to kill him.”

“Are they with him now?”

“I… no, I don’t think so. Not yet.”

There is a pause, and Eve can hear typing.

“Are you with the person who has threatened to kill him? Are you currently in danger?”

“No, I’m… I’m on a train.”

There is more typing.

“Who has threatened to kill your husband?”

“A…friend.” Eve covers her hands with her eyes. “It’s complicated… look, could you send an officer to our house, and just…check? I used to work for Mi5, and- actually send more than one officer, it could be dangerous.”

There is more typing.

“Could you… is there a credible threat?”

Eve pictures Villanelle holding a gun. She remembers Frank’s corpse.

Yes there is… could you send an officer to my home? And if my husband is there, tell him to answer his damn phone. His name is Niko Polastri.”

“M’am, we must reserve our resources for credible threats…”

“Oh my god this is a credible threat, please, just, send someone?”

She reels off her address. The dispatcher types it down.

“Someone will go to check on your husband.”

“Tell him to answer his phone! And tell the officers to be careful!”

The phone disconnects. Eve holds it to her forehead for a moment.

That… did not go well.

Someone bangs on the door. Eve jumps.

“Can you hurry up, some of us actually need to use the toilet?”

…..

When she returns to her seat, someone else has taken it.

Eve nearly starts crying.
…..

The tube is packed, and too hot, and smelly, and Eve is on the verge of a panic attack.

There’s no signal. Eve rehearses in her head the various things she could say to Villanelle.

Please, please, please…

I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean any of it-

If you kill him then we can’t do this any more-

If you kill him then I don’t know how I’m supposed to-

Eve blinks several times.

If you kill him then I can’t be happy because of you any more

And I want to, I want us to keep doing this forever

I never want to stop-

She’s going to throw up.

Chapter Text

Oksana spends the first ten minutes of her journey imagining how Eve’s husband will die.

Maybe he would run away from her. Throw things?

Or cry, and beg, and go very still and small, like some people do when they think death is upon them. They try to make themselves unthreatening, as though Oksana would eventually decide that they just aren’t worth the effort. As though she is killing for fun, when most of the time it is just a job, just an activity that she does in order to earn money, whether it is fun or un-fun.

Some of them try to fight, but not many. Most people don’t actually remember that they have their own body, which can do all the things that Oksana’s body can, if only they’d let it.

He will run away from her. Maybe?

“Have you been on holiday then?” Her taxi driver glances up at her in the rear view mirror. He has nice eyes, and a slow broad accent.

“I will pay you double if you do not talk to me at all for this journey.”

He shrugs.

“Fair enough. Do you mind if we pop the radio on though? It’s going to be a long drive.”

Oksana nods once in agreement. The radio gets turned on. She does not recognise the song.

He probably would run away from her. Maybe cry?

Or maybe he’d just shrug, and stand there, resigned. Because maybe he always knew this would happen. That Oksana would always turn up to kill him.

That’s what she does. She gets angry, or jealous, and then she lashes out.

Oksana sighs, and rests her head against the car frame.

How predictable she is. How sad.

…..

Oksana remembers the first time she’d heard the word psychopath in reference to her.

In fact, it had been the phrase ‘psychopathic tendencies’.

She’d been nine, and listening at a door when she shouldn’t have been.

Outside, the kids on the playground were screaming. Oksana did not like the noise. It was playtime, but Oksana never understood why fun had to always been so loud.

Besides, they’d just finished the class drama project, and Oksana knew that she had done a great job. She had dominated it. She’d laughed, she’d cried, she’d played weak, she’d been scary.

So obviously her teachers would be talking about how great she was. And Oksana was desperate to hear, and not in that fake way when they tell everyone they had done a lovely job.

She wanted specifics.

She wanted to hear the awe in their voices.

Her teachers, however, are talking about politics, she thinks. Something about taxes. It is boring.

Oksana nearly gives up, nearly goes outside again to find her friend, the only other girl in the school who doesn’t scream to indicate happiness, but then one of her teachers says “It’s slightly scary how good Oksana is at acting.”

Oksana perks up, this is what she came here for.

Her other teacher says “Slightly?” in a strange voice. “She’s completely convincing. She could fool us about anything.”

Oksana smiles gleefully, and bites the inside of her cheek. ‘Completely convincing.’ That sounds good. She’s obviously way better than everyone else, and that is important, because how else is someone supposed to be successful?

Her teachers don’t say anything else for a while. Oksana frowns, willing them to keep talking about her.

And then one of them says “You know that we are supposed to keep an eye on her. After last year’s incident.

Oksana rolls her eyes, because she knows exactly what they are talking about. Honestly, people had talked to her about that for ages, and it was only a pencil. She’d said sorry afterwards, even though she’d told them all it was an accident.

And he’d been calling her names.

And it wasn’t even that close to his eye. They should be pleased with her. She could have done worse.

“Yes, I know. But what are we supposed to be looking for? The ability to deceive?”

The other teacher lowers her voice. Oksana has to press against the door even harder.

“Anything that falls under the category of psychotic tendencies... I can’t remember all the indicators that we are supposed to be watching for. I’ll have to re-read the guidance they gave us...”

…..

After ten minutes, Oksana stops thinking about killing Eve’s husband, and instead thinks about Eve discovering his body.

She’d scream. And cry. And curse her, curse Oksana and all of her stupid, fucked up ways…

Her fingertips are aching. Oksana clenches her hand tightly, trying to forget the sensation of touch.

”…Unhinged, murderous, psychopath…”

She’d never much cared for the word psychopath. It was… it was used to describe people who were mad. Oksana isn’t mad. She makes decisions that other people might not, but that doesn’t make for mad. That doesn’t make crazy. That just makes… unusual. She is unusual. Quirky. It is charming, most of the time.

When she isn’t killing people.

Eve is unlikely to find Oksana charming if she’s just killed her husband.

But.

”Unhinged, murderous, psychopath…

That’s how Eve feels about her. Oksana breathes in deeply through her nose, and blinks several times, refusing to allow a single tear.

And god, it was only yesterday that Eve had kissed her. It was only last night that Oksana had let Eve listen to her fuck herself.

It was the most of herself she had ever trusted to anyone. Ever.

unhinged, murderous, psychopath

Sure, maybe she was all those things. Or behaved like that description. But she didn’t want Eve to say it. She just wanted Eve to tell her how to touch herself, where, and when, and how fast, and how slow, and god don’t ask me to stop Eve, I don’t think I can stop-

Great, now she is sad and turned on, that’s a healthy mix.

She sighs.

If she kills Eve’s husband, then there is no return.

unhinged

If she kills Eve’s husband, then Eve’s description of her would be correct.

And that doesn’t really prove any point at all.

….

After listening to that curious conversation between her teachers, Oksana had taken herself to the library.

It was difficult to convince the librarian to give her access to the correct books. Oksana had to play her most precocious version of herself. She was charm and politeness personified.

“Psychopathic tendencies” she’d mumbled to herself, dragging her finger down the page of the heavy textbook.

The first thing that she’d discovered was that it was very unusual. Hardly anyone was a psychopath. That was good.

The rest… wasn’t so good.

Irrational aggression. Extremely low empathy, if any. Single minded obsessional behaviours. Unbalanced. Evil.

Oksana knows how she is supposed to behave. She understands what is good and what is bad. It’s just that, sometimes, it is inconvenient for her to be good. Particularly if she can get away with it.

Unbalanced. Evil.

If this is what they think of her…

There would be a grim satisfaction of proving their worst fears right. That would show them that they shouldn’t say bad things about her.

…..

When the cab pulls up outside Eve’s house, it is almost dark.

There’s a light on in an upstairs room.

Her taxi driver pulls on the hand brake, and stretches his back.

“Oof, bloody traffic, can’t be doing with all of that…. here you go love.”

Oksana pays him double as promised. His eyes go wide.

“Here, I thought you were only joking.”

She shrugs. “It is tip. You were very good at being quiet. Very soothing. Allowed me to think.”

“Well, thank you very much. Do you need any help with your bag?”

“No, I am fine. Thank you.”

The taxi trundles away from her slowly, down the one way street.

Oksana looks up at the house. At the light in the window.

She sighs.

She can’t be nine forever.

Chapter Text

When Eve arrives at her home, weeping and with only three percent battery life left on her phone, she checks the front door with half hysterical care.

No signs of forced entry. That’s good. She cannot imagine that Villanelle would do anything but kick the door down, she is rarely subtle.

But then Eve remembers the way that Villanelle just materialised in her house, that time when she chased her to the bathroom and then undressed her. So maybe she is inside. Maybe she’s sitting on her couch, watching television, waiting for Niko to return.

Niko’s bike isn’t here. He must be out.

And Villanelle…. she can’t have arrived in London before Eve has did. It’s not physically possible.

Eve unlocks the door.

There isn’t blood everywhere.

Eve takes a deep breath, and tries to employ some calming breathing techniques she vaguely remembered from a podcast, once upon a time.

Part of her brain is fighting for her attention, trying to tell her that Villanelle wouldn’t actually kill Niko. The problem is that, whenever Eve gives that part of her brain any space to talk, there are no actual reasons behind that certainty. Just a solid gut instinct.

She wouldn’t, she wouldn’t… Eve can’t reconcile the Villanelle who she kissed yesterday (god, only yesterday?), with a Villanelle who would murder her husband.

But wishful thinking is dangerous when life and death decisions are being dealt with.

And just because Eve wants to believe Villanelle wouldn’t hurt her like this. That doesn’t actually mean it is actually true.

Eve enters her own house as though she is invading Siberia. She catches herself tiptoeing. She almost crouches.

Annoyingly, the house is in perfect order. It is significantly tidier and cleaner than Eve can remember, which somehow only serves to make Eve angrier. The sink is clean and empty. The cushions are fluffed. There is a distinct absence of dust.

Eve sits on every cushion to squash it, and remembers trashing Villanelle’s apartment. She wonders if it is still in that state. If it’s all there, waiting for Villanelle to come clean it up, two months later.

Eve doesn’t actually know what to do. She picks up an apple, and takes a bite of it, trying to think.

Villanelle will come here first.

So… she guesses that she should just wait? And if Niko comes, send him away?

She heads upstairs, and peers out of their bedroom window. There’s no sign of a police car anywhere. But… Eve doesn’t know if greeting Villanelle with a police car is a great idea. It just confirms that Eve believes Villanelle is an unhinged murderous psychopath, even though…well god, she knows that Eve has read her file. It’s there in black and white.

Eve doesn’t know what to think any more. Her head hurts.

She sits down on the bed.

Out of the window, she can still see down the street. Some commuters are making their way home.

God she’s tired.

…..

Someone nudges her foot.

God she’s tired.

Someone nudges her foot again, and then waggles it from side to side.

Eve blinks herself awake.

Villanelle is sitting at the foot of her bed.

Eve’s first instinct is to smile, and then she remembers everything with the shock of a car crash, and scrambles herself up into a sitting position.

Villanelle looks at her cooly.

“You fell asleep?”

Eve gulps, and asks “Where’s Niko?”

Villanelle shrugs as though that really isn’t important, and then presses on “You fell asleep? You wait for an unhinged murderous psychopath by falling asleep?”

“I don’t think you are-”

Villanelle interrupts her, and she’s biting out the words, and the frustration is just bubbling beneath the surface. “Yes you do, it is written about me. You already know it. You know what I have done. But you aren’t allowed… you aren’t allowed to suddenly discover that about me. Like it is brand new information. Oh my gosh you are a psychopath. You already know what I am, and you like me anyway! So don’t fuck me up like that.”

Eve bites her lip, and Villanelle looks away from her, and rubs a hand over her face.

“I do know all that about you. And I- I do like you anyway.”

Villanelle glances once at her, and shrugs.

“Yes. Because you are a fuck up too. And stupid.”

“Okay, I’ll accept the fuck up part gladly, but I am not actually stupid, they don’t let stupid people work for MI5-”

“Eve, you even left the door unlocked.”

“I was… not concentrating.”

Villanelle snorts, and then mutters “You are going to be so hard to keep alive.”

Eve bites the inside of her cheek, just at the notion of Villanelle caring about her, and adjusts her position on the bed slightly.

“Do you… do you know where Niko is? I’ve been calling him, but-”

Villanelle looks up at the ceiling.

“Why, you worried that I will kill him?”

“No” Eve says, and as she says it she realises that she believes it. Sleeping must have helped her mind come to a conclusion.

Villanelle must hear the certainty in her voice, because she glances at her curiously.

“Why not? I have done it before, you know?”

Eve breathes out slowly.

“But you won’t, because you want me more than you want to hurt me. And, you must know that if you kill him, then you can’t have me in the way that you want.”

“Because I will break your heart? Because you love him?” Villanelle is quiet.

Eve sighs. “Because… I can’t love someone who would hurt me by killing someone I care about.”

Villanelle stares at Eve for a long time, and then she bites her lip.

“He is at a dinner party, I think. ‘Dinner at Geoff and Angela’s’, is what it says on the calendar downstairs.”

“Oh-” Eve snaps her fingers, realising. “Of course, it must be the first Saturday of the month…yeah, we do dinner parties in rotation with some of our friends.”

Villanelle makes a face.

“You like that?” she asks, incredulously.

Eve shrugs.

“Well, no, not exactly. We did it a couple of times, and now I’m just trapped in this cycle of obligatory couscous. Niko likes it.”

Villanelle looks baffled.

“Sounds extremely boring.”

Eve nods, conceding the point. “It is. The worst is when they try to do Asian food.”

Villanelle presses her lips together.

“You are pleased that he is not here? So that I cannot kill him?”

“No, I’m pleased that he is not here because I would struggle to explain why you are in our bedroom.”

“You should be worried that I will kill him.”

“But I am not.” Eve says this slightly too firmly, and then sighs. She puts her head in her hands. “This is a mess.”

Villanelle doesn’t say anything for a moment, and then concedes.

“No, I am not going to kill him. I thought I would, for the first ten minutes, but… you are right. About…what I want. So I just thought that I would hurt you by making you think I would kill him. For a whole day.”

Eve glares at her. “Well that was a dick move. That was… you can’t do shit like that and expect me to forgive you. You can’t go from being… oh god, just, being everything I want and everything I think about to some prick who wants me to panic about the death of my husband. My emotions don’t work like that, I can’t switch between one and the other without-”

Villanelle interrupts her angrily.

“Why the fuck are you shouting at me, you are the one who started all this by calling me bad names?”

Eve gapes at her.

“No, you started this by suggesting you would kill one of my family!”

“To protect you, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

“Well it’s a shitty idea!”

“Do you have a better one?”

They stare at each other for a long moment. And then Villanelle puts her head in her hands.

“I can’t figure out how to get us through this” she whispers. “I can’t figure out what to do so that we both end up alive.”

Eve clenches her jaw.

“Well, if it’s any help, I’m not expecting to get out alive, so… you don’t need a perfect plan.”

Villanelle stares at her, and her eyes are watery.

“I don’t deal well with less than perfect.”

“Okay, but, as a tip, sending me panicking half way across the country about the imminent brutal murder of my husband is a long way beneath perfect.”

Eve thinks she could drown in Villanelle’s eyes. Because god, she’s so angry with her, but she also just wants to make her feel good, just wants to take her somewhere and revel in everything that is fucked up about them, because Villanelle is right. They are both fucked up, and that’s making it okay, somehow.

Villanelle blinks.

“I’m sorry” she whispers.

Eve points a finger at her. “You don’t get to do it again.”

Suddenly Villanelle is outraged again.

“I just said sorry! Do you know how many people I have said sorry to in my life? And- you don’t get to tell me what to do.”

“Yes I do.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes I do.”

“Fuck you Eve. Fuck you.”

Villanelle is breathing hard. Eve realises that she is doing the same.

“You want me to tell you what to do.”

“No I don’t, god, you’d get us both killed.”

Eve bites her lip.

“Not in everything. But in some things. You like it when I tell you what to do.”

Villanelle’s eyes go dark, and suddenly she looks threatening.

“You don’t know what the hell you are doing.”

Eve breathes out slowly. “You want me to tell you what to do right now. You want to not be in charge, just for a second.”

“Fuck you.”

“No. You can’t. Not until I say.”

Suddenly Villanelle is on top of her, and has straddled her waist. She pins both of Eve’s arms down to the mattress, and glares down at her.

“I don’t listen to you if I don’t want to.”

“But you do want to.”

Villanelle is breathing hard, and watching Eve’s mouth in the same way cats stare at movement.

“I don’t.”

“You do.”

“I could kill you. I could kill you.”

“But you won’t.”

“I could shoot you with my gun. Stab you with a knife. Choke you. Drown you in the bathtub.”

“But you won’t.” Eve has never felt so calm, it’s like she found the eye of the storm, somewhere just beyond the horizon of madness. Villanelle tightens her grip around her wrists.

“You don’t get to tell me what to do.”

Eve smiles, and then licks her lips.

“Take off your clothes.”

Villanelle swallows suddenly.

“I could kill you.”

Eve nods once.

“I know you could. But you’re going to take off your clothes.”

Villanelle stares at her for hours. Days? And god, the pressure of Villanelle against her stomach? The fact that she has imagined this before? The certain knowledge of the fact that she’s just made Villanelle wet? The sight of her, the smell of her-

“Take off your clothes.”

Villanelle licks her lips.

“So you can watch?” she asks, curiously. Eve nods once.

“Take off your clothes.”

Oh god she wants her, she wants her, she wants her-

Villanelle releases her wrists, and pulls her own top over her head.

…..

Chapter Text

It’s cold, in this house. Oksana thinks that she should be cold, straddling Eve without her top on.

She’s never been warmer.

She’s burning, in fact. Burning under the caress of Eve’s gaze. She needs to take more off, take off her bra, take off her everything, just to avoid bursting aflame.

It becomes too much, suddenly, and Oksana leans forward to kiss her, despite her anger. In fact, she’s determined to kiss her, she’s determined to crush her breasts to Eve’s and just show her that she isn’t in charge.

Eve turns her head away.

“You can’t kiss me.”

Oksana hisses in frustration, and hovers her open mouth over Eve’s neck, dragging her lips across soft skin. Eve doesn’t react, which infuriates Oksana.

Oksana stills, and tries to think, tries to do something other than ignoring all of Eve’s instructions.

But… but-

This isn’t the same frustration that makes her angry.

This is the sort of frustration that turns her on.

“What can I do?”

“I’ve told you - you can take off all your clothes.”

Oksana sits back, and stares down at Eve. Eve looks…her pupils are blown, but that’s the only sign that Oksana has that she isn’t entirely disinterested in the entire thing.

“Are you going to just stare at me the whole time?”

Eve shrugs.

“Maybe. I haven’t decided yet.”

It’s… god Oksana doesn’t want to find it a turn on, but she does.

She reaches behind herself, and undoes her bra. Eve doesn’t react, but her eyes do flicker down, for just a second.

Oksana bites her lip, and tilts her head to one side, wondering how she can win.

“You like tits?”

Eve presses her lips together once, and then there’s a smile ghosting around her mouth.

“I honestly don’t know.”

Oksana’s nostrils flare, and she says “Okay, well let’s find out” as she pulls her bra off her shoulders, and drops it off the edge of the bed.

Eve breaths out a shuddery breath, and Oksana allows her hips to do what they actually want to do for a moment. She gently rides into Eve’s midriff a couple of times, pressing herself down into friction.

Eve is staring at her. Staring at her tits.

Oksana stills. And…. she wants to know what she can do next.

“Do you want me to kiss you now?”

Eve drags her eyes back to Oksana’s.

“No. You… you need to take off all your clothes. And lie down on the bed.”

Oksana feels herself grow even wetter, even as she resents being told what to do. Not being allowed to do whatever she wants.

She rolls sideways, and lies down on the bed. She looks back at Eve, who props herself up on her side to maintain eye contact.

Oksana sighs, though, really, it’s closer to a moan.

“Are you going to touch me at all?”

Eve grins, and oh how she hates her, how she hates her-

“No. Not when you are so good at touching yourself.”

Oksana is going to pass out from sheer frustration.

“Well, that is very lazy of you.”

“Touch your tits.”

It’s annoying, how quickly her own hand darts towards her breasts. Oksana realises that she was waiting for permission.

Fuck, she’s turned on; just grazing over her nipples has Oksana’s hips arching off the bed, and she hates giving Eve the satisfaction, but she just can’t help it.

She manages to gasp out “Are you going to stay fully dressed?”

Eve is actually grinning now, this is intolerable.

“Yeah, I think so.”

Oksana groans, and then whimpers. Eve watches the rub of Oksana’s fingertips, and then licks her lips.

“Wet your fingers.”

Oksana pinches her nipples involuntary, and hisses. Eve frowns. Oksana stops, and reaches her hand towards Eve’s mouth, wondering, wondering…

“No, you make them wet.”

She bites the inside of her cheek.

“How would you like me to do that?”

“You can start with your mouth.”

Oksana actually moans at that, and then says “Please Eve, please-”

Eve is watching her with parted lips.

“God, you look so good…”

That tiny bit of validation has Oksana moaning again, and she licks her own fingers slowly, wondering if Eve is as desperate to touch her as Oksana is desperate to be touched.

This time when she touches her tits, she imagines Eve’s mouth on her, and she is actually writhing on the bed now, pressing her legs together just to create some kind of pressure between her legs.

“Are you wet?” Eve asks, and it’s so different, face to face, Oksana can actually see the shallow way Eve is breathing, the way her hand is clenched into a fist because maybe her palm is aching for skin as well.

“Yes Eve, god, what else can I do?”

“Take everything off.”

Oksana complies, and she is actually shaking with want. And god, it would be so easy to flip Eve, push her back down into the bed, and kneel on her arms, and press herself against her mouth, and fuck herself against Eve’s face, against her mouth, against her tongue-

“Fuck… okay. Okay.” Eve actually seems lost for words. Oksana blinks steadily at the ceiling, and then turns to her.

“Can I touch myself?”

Eve makes a little croak of assent. Oksana slides her fingers down until she finds wetness, and-

“Oh god” she groans. Eve sits up a little, and stares down at her. Oksana bites her lip.

“Look at me. Look at what I’m doing. Look at how- look at how wet I am for you. Look at what you do to me.”

And then Eve’s gaze is between her legs, and Oksana feels it like a physical force. She groans, and then forces her fingers to still.

“Wha- what do you want me to do?” she gasps. Eve licks her lips, and then swears softly.

“Fuck… I want you to… I want you to fuck yourself.”

Oksana almost has the presence of mind to roll her eyes.

“Yes, obviously, but… how?”

Eve doesn’t say anything for a moment, and Oksana manages to focus on her face.

“Are you… blushing?”

Eve swallows.

“Keep doing what you were just doing.”

Oksana picks up her previous rhythm, and god she is so wet that she’s almost slipping uselessly across her own clit.

“Eve, Eve… tell me.”

“Put your other hand on your tits.”

Oksana does as she is told, but this time she wets her fingers by dipping them between her legs, and Eve groans in frustration. Oksana arches up towards the ceiling when she drags her fingers across her tits this time, and swears nonsense in any language that’ll do.

Eve moans, and when Oksana looks at her, she’s looking at Oksana’s face.

“Do you want to touch yourself?”

Eve swallows, and then says “Yes. But I’m not going to.”

Oksana presses slightly harder involuntarily, and gasps.

“You can. I want you to.”

“That’s why I’m not going to.”

Oksana feels herself twitch, and god she’s going to come, it’s going to happen soon.

“Eve, please, please-”

“Close your eyes.”

Oksana is almost weeping with arousal, and she nearly refuses, because this is too much. But she does as she is told, and now she can’t even see Eve anymore. She feels the mattress beneath her shift slightly as Eve rearranges herself, and now her voice is much closer, almost whispering in her ear.

“Imagine it is my hand. Imagine I am fucking you.”

“Oh god” Oksana manages to choke out, and she’s on the verge, she’s so close. Eve mumbles “you look so fucking good, god baby, I just want to fuck you forever…” Oksana arches up off the bed again, and Eve says “Put your fingers inside yourself”.

Oksana is raging against her own eyelids, because she is desperate to see. She almost weeps as she pushes her fingers into herself, because she was so close and god she needs to come now, if she doesn’t come she’ll die.

“Please Eve, let me look at you, please talk to me-”

“Oh god, Villanelle-”

The urge to open her eyes is so strong Oksana nearly bites through her lip fighting it off.

“No, fuck, call me Oksana.”

“Oksana” Eve breathes immediately, and Oksana needs to touch her clit again, because she feels amazing, but this isn’t going to make her come in the way that she needs to.

Suddenly Eve is touching her, her hand is on Oksana’s wrist, and she is pulling Oksana’s hand away from her tits, and pushing it downward, down to join her other one.

“Touch your clit at the same time.”

Oksana whimpers, and then nearly jerks herself off the bed when she touches her clit again. And oh god, she is seconds away, she just needs-

Eve touches her, and this time it is her mouth on Oksana’s breast. She clamps her lips to Oksana’s tit, and pinches the other with her fingers. Oksana can feel the warm wetness of Eve’s tongue on her skin.

“Oh fuck Eve, Eve, I’m, oh god” the rest of the sentence gets lost, as Oksana slides upwards into bliss with a cry.

She comes hard, harder than she can ever remember. She doesn’t even know what she says, she doesn’t even know what language she uses, because Eve, Eve… Eve.

And then there’s the aftershocks, and Eve keeps murmuring how beautiful she is, how amazing she is, and if Oksana could keep this moment forever she would, she doesn’t know if she will ever deserve a better one.

Slowly, slowly, her breathing evens out.

“Oksana, you know you don’t have to keep your eyes closed.”

Oksana nearly gasps when she realises that she was still following Eve’s rules.

And god, she feels…

“I might have died for a little bit then.”

Eve bites her lip, and then smiles shyly.

“That was…that was pretty incredible.”

Oksana wonders if Eve had touched herself as well, when Oksana’s eyes had been closed. Maybe, but it seems unlikely that Eve can have come, there surely wasn’t time.

Oksana is just trying to figure out how to ask permission to touch Eve, when there is a noise outside, and Eve half sits up, looking ashen.

And then there is a key in the front door, and Oksana is upright, trying to find her gun.

“Eve? Are you in here?”

Chapter Text

Eve automatically glances at the clock. And, shit, it’s quarter past eleven, of course Niko is due home.

Somehow, Eve doesn’t even know how she has done it, Oksana is holding her gun. She freezes when she hears Niko’s voice, and looks to Eve for guidance. And, it must be a hangover from the way she had just been so submissive to Eve’s instructions on the bed, but Oksana genuinely looks like she is waiting to be told what to do.

Eve flaps a hand at her, and Oksana lowers the gun. Eve flaps her hand at her again, increasingly agitated, and Oksana shrugs at her, raising her eyebrows in confusion. I’m not going to kill him she mouths at Eve, and Eve is going to pass out, because Oksana is extremely naked and seems to have forgotten about it.

Eve gestures frantically at Oksana and then at the clothes on the floor, and realisation dawns on Oksana’s face.

“Eve?”

She can’t pretend to not hear him any more. Eve clears her throat, and tries to pitch her voice towards whatever tone would be normal for this situation.

“Niko, hi, I’m just… hang on.”

Oksana makes a face at her, as though to say great job, that’ll work, and gestures at her, pointing at the doorway. Eve steels herself, and walks out into the corridor.

Niko is standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at her. And…oh god.

“Why are you here?”

And…Eve says the first thing that she can think of that isn’t the absolute truth.

“I…was collecting some stuff. I figured that you would be out with our friends. I didn’t want to, you know. Make it awkward.”

Niko stares stonily at her, and then turns away from her, and walks into the kitchen.

Eve…honestly the whole situation might be beyond her. She glances towards the bedroom, where Oksana is standing just past the door way, doing up her bra whilst listening. She half gestures that Eve should follow him, and then rolls her eyes at the panic on Eve’s face.

Act she mouths at her, and then disappears further into the room.

Niko is placing tupperware in the fridge, when she goes downstairs. He glances at her.

“It’s funny, all our friends insist on giving me food at the moment. It’s like they think I’ve forgotten how to cook since you left me.”

Eve bites her lip.

“It’d take more than that for you to forget how to cook.”

Niko glances at her, and she can see his pride, his bruised ego, his determination to show Eve that he can be distant too.

“Yeah, it would.”

Eve sighs, and leans on the door frame. It used to be so easy…

“So this is why you told me to stay away from the house? So you could avoid awful conversations like this one?”

Eve doesn’t know what he is talking about for a moment, and has to wrack her brains. Niko stares at her curiously when she doesn’t answer.

“You called me? Several times? And then sent a text message telling me to basically get the fuck away from my own home? I’m not sure you have the right to do that Eve.”

Oh god. Eve had half forgotten. She tries desperately to remember exactly what she had said via text.

“I- I guess it was a bit tactless.”

Niko snorts, and puts something in the microwave. It whirrs remorselessly.

“So this isn’t you coming home so we can work something out? This is you coming home to get some stuff?”

Eve’s lip nearly wobbles, because suddenly she just so tired of running, and lying.

“I can’t stay. I’m…I would put you in danger.” But it sounds pathetic now, it sounds an excuse, because it’s been nearly two months and there has been no sign of danger for Niko. He rolls his eyes.

“Okay.” He puts some cutlery on the table, and then the microwave dings. He takes the portion of food out the tupperware, and pushes it across the table, towards Eve.

“Here. You should eat. You look like you’ve been living on crisps again.”

Eve battles with herself for a moment, and then sits down. “Thanks” she murmurs, hating herself for how she is treating this man, who is nothing but decent, when you get right down to it. Niko stares down at her for a long moment, and then pushes a hand through his hair.

“You should stay here tonight.”

Eve nearly stands up. “Oh no, I can’t, I mustn’t-”

“Eve, I’’m not… it’s nearly half eleven, where else are you going to sleep? You can sleep upstairs. I’ll sleep on the couch. Okay? I’ll just go get some stuff.”

Eve fumbles the cutlery, nearly drops her fork.

“No, uh, I should sleep on the couch-”

“It’s fine, you always moan about the couch…” Niko is already disappearing upstairs, and Eve almost follows him up, although what she thinks she is going to do, stand in front of Oksana and hope that Niko doesn’t see her?

She just trusts to Oksana’s hiding abilities, and grips her fork hard as though that could tether her to sanity.

Niko returns without any sign of alarm, and slumps on the couch. He turns on the television, flicks until he finds a rerun of a home improvement show, and settles into silence.

Eve eats quickly, somehow forcing the food past her hammering heartbeat. Niko still says nothing. And Eve… Eve doesn’t want to know anything. Doesn’t want to ask how his mum is doing. Doesn’t want to hear anything real, because she’s no longer allowed to touch reality with even one out stretched fingertip.

It’s better that way.

…..

Upstairs, in her old bedroom, the window is open, just a fraction.

Eve knows that Oksana must have climbed down the drainpipe, but that doesn’t stop her from checking under the bed, checking inside all the cupboards, behind every door.

Just in case.

But no, she’s not there. The window is open, and she must have slipped away, like a ghost.

Eve realises that there is even a random pile of her clothes on her bed. Oksana must have heard her excuse to Niko, and tried to help her out.

Eve smiles.

How considerate, she thinks.

Now would be a time to cry, she wonders. Maybe?

But, as she slides between the sheets, she can’t help but remember the way Oksana had bitten her lip as she struggled to keep her eyes closed, as she touched herself.

Just because Eve had told her too.

…..

Eve does sleep, she thinks. But it is a light enough sleep that she wakes when her phone illuminates with a text message.

You can’t stay in there.

Eve frowns, and then rubs a hand over her face.

Where are you?

I am outside your house

Blinking, Eve sits up in bed. And ridiculously, Eve hadn’t even thought about where Oksana would go. She had just assumed that she would evaporate, somehow. Be safe and warm and exist somewhere, until the next time their paths crossed.

Why?

Because, if someone from The Twelve comes to kill you, I will kill them first. I don’t think they are watching your house constantly any more, but they would be stupid to not check every now and then.

Eve swears, and glances at the window, half expecting to see an assassin creeping in at this very second. And fuck how did she forget that? Maybe she is stupid.

Tell me what to do.

Leave tomorrow. Rush hour. Get on a train. Go somewhere. I will figure out what next.

Eve is filled with a surge of… oh no. Not that feeling.

She texts back Remember that I am not expecting perfect

The reply is almost immediate.

But I want more. So I’m going to figure out how to get it.

Chapter Text

Eve leaves early the next morning.

She does so as quietly as she can. But her floor boards always creak, and the door always closes with a shuddering thud, and Niko cannot have slept through her departure.

But he doesn’t try to stop her. He just lets her leave.

Eve can’t really process that though because she is too busy concentrating on not being murdered.

She wears a hat to cover her hair, for all the good that it’ll do. She almost finds herself creeping along like she is in stealth mode on a terrible computer game, before realising that trying to be inconspicuous is probably the most conspicuous thing she can do.

…..

She makes it to Kings Cross station without being murdered.

She buys a ticket north without thinking too much about the destination, ultimately deciding that Newark has always sounded nice. Eve doesn’t verbally abuse the station staff who she deals with, which she thinks should count as a mark in her favour, in this cosmic game of snakes and ladders she seems to be playing.

Her train tickets are always one way now.

No return.

As she heads away from London, Eve can’t help but feel like she’s leaving for the last time.

Although, in a way, she feels like she left her life behind long ago. Whenever she tries to remember the normal things, it’s like looking at a distant memory.

Maybe she’s already dead. Maybe this is what it feels like to have your life flash before your eyes. Maybe this is all just a dream.

Oksana feels like the only real thing that she has left. And Eve wants to hold on to her forever, even though forever might turn out to be a few days.

She reaches for her phone.

How long do you think we’ll have? Before the Twelve kill me?

When no answer comes for a few minutes, Eve sighs, and puts her phone back in her bag.

She closes her eyes.

And god she can’t help but go back to it.

She knows she should feel guilty. On her and Niko’s bed, for gods sake. But all of her emotions seem to be drowned out by… joy? She doesn’t even know what is wrong with her.

Maybe she has always been like this. Maybe this person has always been inside her, hidden underneath her cardigans.

Want to hear about her tits? she remembers saying, about a million years ago. God, wow, how unprofessional, etc.

Eve had nearly combusted, trying not to touch her. Trying to show Oksana that she would be in charge of some things, by god. And Oksana had fought it, initially. There were times when something had flashed in Oksana’s eyes, and Eve had thought that it was over, Oksana would stop playing, and demand back control.

Eve had felt like a lion tamer. And then, by the end, when Oksana was whimpering and touching herself right in front of her, just because Eve had told her to…

Eve had been beyond turned on. Oksana would have probably only needed touch her once, maybe twice, and Eve would have come undone completely. And she would have let her, gladly, desperately, in the same way she needs oxygen.

She hadn’t meant to touch her at all. Eve doesn’t know what point she was trying to prove. One of self restraint, probably, although god knows nothing about her life screams impulse control any more.

But then Oksana had been so close, and her breasts had been right there, and Eve hadn’t been able to help herself at all.

That’s what they can write on her tombstone, she decides.

‘Eve Polastri. She just couldn’t help herself…’

…..

After half an hour into the journey, her phone chimes.

I’m assuming that you are asking for an estimate on the basis that I don’t kill anyone in your family?

Eve sighs. Life is ridiculous.

Yes.

Well, in that case… I don’t know. You managed to hide from them for a month without even trying. You could disappear again.

Eve bites her lip, trying to search for the right words.

But I’d have to stay away from you, for that to work?

Oksana doesn’t answer for a few minutes, although Eve can see that she is typing.

Yes.

Eve frowns.

But if you don’t kill one of my family etc then won’t they realise what is going on, and try to kill you?

They can try. I will not be very easy to kill.

The train pulls into a station. Eve is suddenly hyper aware of her fellow passengers. If someone tried to kill her now, would she be able to defend herself at all? Probably not, the worst she could do is try to fling her handbag at their head.

Do you think I should start carrying a weapon?

God no, you will only stab yourself in the eye or something

I managed to stab you didn’t I?

Yeah, but only because I let you. I didn’t realise how impolite you were.

Eve snorts. The train pulls away again. Eve realises that one of the reason that her heart is aching so much is because every minute she travels takes her further away from Oksana.

I don’t want to stay away from you. I want you to come after me.

Then we will not stay alive for very long.

I don’t care.

You should.

Eve aches.

I’m going to Newark. Come after me?

God you are so stupid. How do you know I am not one of the Twelve? I could be dead, they could have my phone, texting you. And you tell them you are going to Newark?

I know it is you. No-one else is as rude

Eve wonders if she is winding Oksana up deliberately. She enjoys it too much, she notices. She wants to keep winding her up, because now she knows that when Oksana cracks, all she will do is want to kiss her, just to get Eve to shut up.

I will come and follow you. But I am going to wait for Konstantin to turn up first. He will.

What will you do then?

Talk through my options.

Eve bites her lip, although whether to avoid laughing or crying she isn’t sure. Because they do not have any options, as far as she can see.

Be careful.

……

Chapter Text

She has always liked Konstantin.

There is in English word, what is it… ah yes. Banter. She has good banter with Konstantin. He arrives, they chat, maybe he threatens to kill her, maybe she holds him at knife point for a few minutes, just to remind him that he would find it very hard to kill her… it is the closest thing that Oksana had experienced to friendship in a long time.

He helped her escape from prison. He was not happy about it at the time, granted, but he definitely helped her, in a begrudging sort of fashion.

And then… he had made her life better. She was given a place to live in Paris, where she had always wanted to live. She had money. She had nice clothes. An interesting and diverting occupation.

“Did you want any sauces with this?”

The waitress slides her breakfast towards her. Oksana lifts the lid of her bacon bap cautiously, and inspects what is underneath. Acceptable.

“No thank you.”

She does not know why the waitress gives her a dirty look. Oksana was very polite with her pleases and her thank yous.

Shrugging to herself, Oksana sets about eating.

Konstantin would always just appear, give her something to do, subtly check that she wasn’t completely insane, and then grump off again. It was nice.

Oksana doesn’t have a very good understanding of friendship. She has never fully grasped the concept of liking someone enough to enjoy their company, but not liking them enough to want to have sex with them. She has tried, of course. But friendship always ended up with Oksana wanted too much from her friend, or the friend wanting a version of intimacy that Oksana was not willing to give, or it all just becoming a little bit boring.

Konstantin was almost her friend, she muses. He would come to see her regularly. He said nice things about her sometimes. She liked him. They had fun.

Of course, she had shot him and kidnapped his daughter and etc etc etc. But he had hit her with a log. Besides all friendships go through rocky patches; she had read that in a magazine once.

She checks her watch.

Konstantin should be arriving soon. This is what he does when she isn’t behaving herself. She will get a day’s grace, and then he will appear to tell her that she isn’t behaving herself.

She is just considering ordering another espresso when Konstantin arrives. She raises a hand in greeting. He sits opposite her.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

She points at her plate, incredulous.

“Eating my breakfast?”

Konstantin turns around in his chair, and beckons to the waitress.

“I see that. I am wondering why you haven’t killed her husband yet.”

Oksana shrugs. “I was travelling all day yesterday. It was a tiring journey. Also… I need sustenance. I cannot kill on an empty stomach, you know that. You should pay for this meal, okay? Do I have an expenses account?”

The waitress appears next to them. Konstantin rubs a hand over his face, and flips open a menu.

“I will have…do you have gluten free bread?”

The girl nods. Oksana sighs hugely, like a child, just to piss him off.

“Oh my god, you don’t even have a gluten problem, what the fuck is this?”

He glares at her. “I am trying to be gluten free to see if it makes me feel better, my stomach is…”

“Oh sure, it might be the gluten, or it might be the bullet I put in your stomach that’s making you feel bad, so hard to differentiate…”

Konstantin laughs at her, and then says casually to the waitress “She’s joking.”

“What a chuckle.” Oksana tags on, gazing blankly at the girl, who shifts from side to side, looking uncomfortable.

“Do you need a couple more minutes to decide…?”

“No, I will have… black coffee, and a ham and cheese omelette.”

Oksana snorts. “Oh so no actual bread with that? You need gluten free eggs?”

Konstantin thanks the waitress, and then turns back to Oksana.

“Are you okay? You seem… is everything okay with you?”

Oksana glares at him, and this is why she sometimes confuses Konstantin for a friend. Because he asks her the right sort of friendship questions, but he is only doing it because he is being paid to do it. And also he would have left her in that jail again if he had the chance. This is not friendship behaviour.

“No, I am not. I want to go home. I want to stop seeing your shitty face. I want… you all to just leave me the fuck alone.”

Konstantin stares at her for a long time. Oksana stares stonily back at him, but under the table she is pinching her inner thigh, just to stop her eyes filling with tears.

“We can get someone else to kill the husband. We can get someone else to kill Eve. If this is too tricky, we can give you a different job. Someone different. Fresh start.”

Oksana rolls her eyes, and jesus now on top of figuring out how to keep Eve alive, she has to make sure that her husband stays alive as well.

“No, it is not necessary. I know where Eve is. So I will just go to her. Cut out the middle man.”

Konstantin raises his eyebrows at her.

“You know where she is? Then why are you still here?”

Oksana snorts, exasperated. “I have already told you, breakfast. No killing on an empty stomach.”

Konstantin grunts in recognition. Oksana takes a big bite of her bacon roll, even though she does not want it. She chews slowly and deliberately, staring at Konstantin.

After a minute he says “Where is she?” Oksana gestures at her full mouth, indicating that she cannot answer. Konstantin narrows his eyes at her.

“How do you know where she is?” Oksana points at her own mouth again. Konstantin sighs. The waitress comes over with his coffee. Oksana manages to say around her mouthful “The coffee is shit by the way”, and that earns her a glare from both Konstantin and the waitress.

“How do you know where she is?” Konstantin asks again. Oksana points at her full mouth again, exasperated. Konstantin sits back in his chair, and looks at the ceiling, waiting.

Eventually, when she cannot maintain the pretence of chewing any more, she swallows, and dabs at her mouth with a napkin.

“I know where she is because I am clever. And no, I am not telling you.”

Konstantin sighs wearily.

“You know that we will just follow you when you go to find her.”

Oksana shrugs flippantly. “I know. But it will be more of a surprise if you do not know where you are going. Also, it is a bit weird that you follow me around all the time. Why are you so obsessed with me?”

Konstantin dumps a spoonful of sugar in his coffee, and stirs noisily.

“When you have done this you can go home. We will put you in a better apartment.”

Oksana shrugs. “Okay.”

Konstantin takes a sip of his coffee, and then pulls a face. “Oh wow, that coffee is shit. You were right.”

It is a shame really, Oksana would have liked him as a friend. Konstantin has the same casual attitude towards other people’s deaths that she has. They could have bonded, braided each others hair, friendship bracelets, that sort of thing.

“What happens if I don’t want to do this any more?”

Konstantin glances at her, surprised. Oksana widens her eyes at him, briefly.

“What? I want to know my retirement options.”

“Aren’t you a bit young to retire?”

“Maybe I want to pursue a different career. Give back to the community, you know.”

Konstantin laughs abruptly at this, and then just grins at her for a while. His omelette arrives. Oksana sticks her fork into it, and steals a mouthful. Konstantin shoos her away like she is a fly, and then takes his own mouthful.

“We can talk about this once we have you back home, okay? Talk through your promotion options.”

“Why can’t we talk about it now?”

“Because my omelette will go cold.”

Oksana sits back in her chair, and sighs.

She has a feeling that she is going to have to kill Konstantin soon. Just to buy a few more days worth of time.

It will be a shame.

Chapter Text

Eve waits.

Each minute that ticks off seems to drag over her skin. She feels their physical passing, and each one that disappears into the past with all of the importance of whisper feels like a missed opportunity.

It’s hard to feel scared. She knows, abstractly, that an international gang of murderous assassins is working hard to track her down in order to silence her for good, but that fear doesn’t really register. It’s hard to be terrified for your life whilst browsing for new underwear in Marks and Spensers.

(She’s not buying new underwear for any particular reason, you understand? It’s just… she needs to fill the time and… it’s a treat. For staying alive. Nothing to do with anything else whatsoever.)

If she really digs deep down into her emotions, she is concerned to find that the main emotional response she has to the threat against her life is… to feel flattered?

International crime organisations want her dead? That’s kind of cool, in a stupid, stupid way. She’s surprised that they think she’s important enough to kill, particularly as she knows very little about the Twelve, barring the fact that they employ Oksana, Konstantin, and there are twelve of them (probably).

This blasé attitude towards death is probably why Oksana thinks she’s stupid. Eve tries to concentrate, and scan everyone near her for signs of their being a potential threat, so that she can fling her handbag at their head. But she stops doing this when her focus on spotting assassins means she almost gets knocked over by a cyclist who was not following the rules of a zebra crossing.

“Dickhead!” she yells after him, and receives some disapproving looks, because Newark is a gentile place with a higher density of polite unassuming tea rooms than she had anticipated.

It’s also smaller than Eve had assumed - she does three laps of what feels like the entire town before she eventually settles on a bench in the shadow of the castle.

God, she’s bored out of her mind, she thought that being on the run for her life would at least be slightly stimulating. Diverting.

She’s not heard from Oksana in over a day and a half.

There’s no way that she can be dead. She’s not the sort of person that death happens to.

Eve is worried about her.

When her phone buzzes in her pocket, Eve nearly cries out in relief.

“God… where have you been?”

“Oh…” Oksana sounds frustrated, and she groans a little bit, before saying “I have been trying to figure out how Konstantin always knows where I am. Because I cannot be carrying on with him turning up all the time like some kind of disapproving teacher. I am bored of him.”

Eve lets an elderly couple move slowly out of earshot before she answers.

“Has he got someone watching you?”

“Possibly. I tried to follow him after the last time he appeared, but he just kept on turning around and asking me if I was enjoying the tour of London he was giving me. He took me around the Tate Modern before I gave up.”

Eve snorts despite herself. Oksana mumbles “It was quite nice actually.”

“Are you changing phones often?”

“Yes. I thought that must be it, because before you tipped my life over I would always just use the phone he gave me. But now I’m on burner phones, and he still has me.”

“Are you-” Eve pauses, because the line of questioning is just too sci-fi, just too ridiculous “I mean, could there be a tracking chip in you, somehow?”

“No” Oksana answers, entirely serious. “I have just been to the hospital to check. I made them x-ray me.”

Eve bites her lip. “You… please tell me you didn’t kill anyone.”

“Not one.”

“Or threaten anyone, Christ they get enough shit without you turning up and-”

Oksana sounds annoyed. “No, I didn’t. It was a man. I flirted with him.”

Eve’s train of thought immediately jumps track and ploughs through several buildings.

“You… wait, what?”

“I flirted with him. You know. Used my tits.”

“That… okay. Okay.”

“Are you jealous?” Eve can tell that Oksana has a smirk on her face, and god, Eve had forgotten how relentlessly annoying she was.

“You wish.”

“Oh, yes.”

Eve closes her eyes, and breathes out a sigh.

She’s done with playing this game with herself. She’s done with waiting.

“When are you leaving London?”

There’s a pause, in which Eve can feel Oksana reading her mind.

“If I come to you, you become easier to find. I do not know how Konstantin does it, but he is never more than one day ahead of me. And then the Twelve will know where you are.”

“But if I’m going to get killed, I don’t want to spend my final days alone in a Travelodge.”

Oksana doesn’t say anything, and then asks “Do you get a free breakfast there?”

“Not really the point.”

Oksana sighs slightly. Eve wonders if she is feeling just as lost.

“What do you want to happen next?”

“God, I just...” Eve swallows suddenly, because this question doesn’t really give any her space to play around. This is getting into black and white territory.

She bites her lip. They’re beyond black and white territory now, who is she kidding?

“I wish you were here. I just feel like we haven’t had any time to... exist. Just, I don’t know, be in the same place, you know? We-“

“We could watch a movie together!” Oksana says brightly.

Eve thinks she feels her heart creak.

“Yeah, we could.”

There is a moment’s pause, and then Oksana says “I would let you choose which movie.”

Eve smiles, and imagines an entirely different universe, in which everything that surrounds this conversation is altered.

“I have terrible movie tastes, FYI.”

“Good.” Oksana says firmly, as though she’s talking about something far more serious.

No-one speaks for a long moment after that. Eve wonders where she is, how long it would it would take in hours and minutes for her to arrive in Newark.

Oksana clears her throat abruptly, and her tone of voice is different now. Eve wonders if they’ve been having matching thought processes.

“If I come to you….I mean….do you know how many times we have touched? In a way that isn’t, you know, violence. Stabbing, and such.”

Eve blinks, surprised. “Uh…no?”

Oksana breathes out slowly, and then begins to list.

“You have touched me five times. Once to stop me bleeding, once to touch my scar, once to kiss me, once to move my hand lower so I would touch myself, and once to put your mouth on my tits.”

That’s… that was a pretty clinical list. Eve gulps, and Oksana takes advantage of her silence.

“And do you know how many times I have touched you?

“No?”

“It is four times. Once to stroke your face, once to kiss you back, once to save us from Konstantin, and once to wake you up. But I’m not sure if the last one counts. It was only your foot. And you were wearing socks.”

Eve swallows nervously, because Oksana doesn’t sound irritated, necessarily. But she does sound...focused.

And god, is that it? Eve has lost her mind in a grand total of nine touches? She’s not even sure she could lose at chess in nine moves, not if she was playing to win.

Eve concedes that she hasn’t necessarily been playing to win.

“So what you are saying is... I owe you a touch.”

“Yes” Oksana says brusquely, as though she is barely holding herself together. “Yes, you do.”

Eve can picture the way Oksana is looking. She will have fire in her eyes, and her fingers will be flexing restlessly. It reminds Eve-

“You forgot one.”

Oksana makes an impatient noise.

“No.”

“Yes” Eve says gently, and god she’s blushing as though referencing something really intimate, rather than borderline violence. “The last time we saw each other, before...everything. You held my wrists. You pinned me down onto the bed.”

Oksana exhales. In the background Eve thinks she can hear crockery rattling - where is she? In a cafe somewhere?”

“So we are even, is that what you are saying Eve?”

“Yes. Five touches each.”

Oksana barks out a short laugh.

“Well, not exactly. ‘Even’ would happen if I tell you how to fuck yourself, and you follow instructions.”

Eve bites her lip, and then grins to herself despite everything. And god, she wants so much.

“I’m not sure if that is ever going to happen. Besides, I’m not sure you want that to happen.”

Oksana clicks her tongue impatiently.

“Irrelevant.”

The minutes are still dragging on her skin. And they haven’t got time for this bullshit anymore.

“I don’t care about whether you bring the Twelve with you. You can figure that out. I just… I want to see you.”

Oksana doesn’t say anything for a moment, and then asks “And you will touch me? Because-”

Eve can barely get the word out fast enough.

“Yes.”

Eve can hear Oksana swallow.

“Okay. I will figure it out. Where are you?”

Chapter Text

Oksana buys a car.

It is a cheap one, an old thing that was not fashionable at all. She gives some man child with with a baseball cap on his head a grand and a half, after giving the car a thorough check to determine that it wasn’t going to fall apart. She’d even laid on the floor, had a look underneath.

She needed it to survive the journey.

Driving out of London, she watches the traffic behind her. No sign of anyone following her, and yet…?

She pulls up abruptly when a cyclist veers out in front of her to change lanes, and mutters “arsehole” to herself. And god, humanity exhausts her. She needs to go live in a cabin somewhere, in a forest, next to a lake, and see nobody for at least six months, and catch fish, and, she doesn’t know. Whittle things?

Oksana bites her lip at the idea of Eve trying to wash her hair in the lake, and then frowns to herself as she realises that she’s now including Eve in her fantasies about the future.

Oh, this is going to hurt. It will hurt, and Oksana doesn’t enjoy pain, and this is why she doesn’t do this sort of shit, it never ends well.

She sighs restlessly, and crunches her way up into fifth gear as the motorway stretches out before her.

…..

Oksana has to stop for fuel, and this is why she doesn’t like reality, because she has to do mundane things like stop for fuel when this should just be a dramatic montage of driving to Newark with cool music in the background.

She texts Eve whilst she’s at the pump.

Find details of the last train that goes far north today - send them to me.

Oksana buys an energy drink and several bags of crisps, plus four chocolate bars. The cashier rings them up along with her fuel without comment, even though Oksana is desperate for her to comment, desperate to be seen, for some sudden, alarming reason. But no, the cashier is politely distant, and makes only glancing eye contact.

Oksana wants someone to notice her, wants someone to ask, wants someone to tell her that what she is doing is stupid and maybe if she has plans to stay alive, if she wants Eve to stay alive, then this is a bad idea.

No-one comes.

She gets back into the car, and checks her phone.

19:46, Newark Northgate - terminates in Edinburgh.

Oksana sighs, and tips her head back onto the headrest.

Be on that train, all the way to Edinburgh, okay? And buy me a ticket as well - I’ll pay you back.

It’s all just bullshit anyway. She should still be in that hellhole prison in Russia. Everything else that she managed…. well, it has been a bonus.

But it was never going to last forever.

She turns her key in the ignition.

…..

She can’t arrive too early.

She ends up driving up aimlessly around the Nottinghamshire countryside for about an hour, through places that have peculiar names and all seem to be slightly detached from the outside world.

It rains.

The radio does not work.

Oksana pulls over for a while, in a lay-by on a single carriage road, and eats two bags of crisps.

No point debating maybes, she decides. She’s made all of her decisions.

She shakes the last few crumbs of the crisps into her mouth, and tosses the packet into the back. She then does some mental calculations, and decides that she has to leave now, if the timings are going to work out correctly.

The car doesn’t start on her first attempt, and panic clutches at her. Oksana breaths out, nice and slow, and tries again.

“Come on you absolute piece of shit if you do not start I will kill all of your famil- okay there we go.”

She indicates, and pulls away smoothly.

…..

There are unexpected road works, which nearly throw all her timings off, but Oksana manages to pull up at Newark North Gate station at 19:44.

She throws all of her remaining chocolate bars and crisps into her bag, and leaves the car. She doesn’t lock it, there is no point.

Oksana is jogging now, the train is at the platform. She nods casually at the ticket office, and thank god this station doesn’t have those ticket activated barriers yet, otherwise she would have to vault the barrier and that would prompt unhelpful questions.

There’s a whistle. Oksana dashes around the corner, and waves at the train conductor at the other end of the train whilst running towards the nearest carriage. For half a heartbeat she thinks he is going to wave the train on, but then he gestures at her to jump on, the whistle still raised to his lips.

The train is cool inside. Oksana leans on the wall for a second, and catches her breath as the doors click close behind her, and the carriage judders forward.

She hates trains. It’s hard to escape a train. Oksana has had to jump out of a moving bus before, that had hurt like a bitch.

Jumping out of a train would probably kill her.

Oksana inspects the emergency door release instructions carefully, committing them to memory. Although there is no way, there is zero chance that she’ll need it. Konstantin can’t possibly have followed her in time to catch the train, and he still thinks she is behaving herself. She should have at least half a day to spare. He, or anyone else in the Twelve, can’t possibly get to Edinburgh before morning.

She’s nervous. Because keeping herself alive has always been relatively straightforward. Keeping Eve alive, however....

Oksana makes a conscious choice to stop thinking avoid it.

.....

The train has more people on it than Oksana is really comfortable with, more than she can track easily. And god, she’s stressed, this is the worst.

Oh. And here is Eve.

“We should move, this isn’t a good place to sit.”

Whatever greeting Eve has on her lips dies instantly. Oksana gestures for Eve to move down the aisle, which she does so with halting confusion.

She ushers Eve away from the centre of the carriage, and indicates that she should take a seat at the back corner. Eve grouses at her.

“This doesn’t have a window.”

Oksana shrugs. “It will be dark soon anyway. And here, no-one can sneak up behind us, and I can watch more people.”

Eve blinks at her like she didn’t even think of that, and sits down. Oksana slides in next to her.

They don’t say anything. Eve’s fingers flex a couple of times, and she clasps her hands together, as though preventing any further movement.

Oksana glances once at Eve’s profile, and feels her heart lurch. Great. She’s become attached to someone as vulnerable as Eve. Stupid, stupid…

She leans out into the carriage aisle, and tries to take stock. No obvious threats, but the way that man is sitting is suggestive of someone who is in good physical shape.

Oksana has her gun in her jacket pocket, her knife in her bag. If someone attacks them, she will shove Eve down onto the floor between the two seats, pull the emergency stop handle, and probably be able to shoot the attacker before they can shoot her. It would be better if it was a man, men tend to under-estimate her, however if it is a woman-

“Oksana. Are you okay?”

Oksana blinks widely at Eve, and the frustration comes bubbling up again.

“No, I am not, I am concentrating on not allowing either of us to die, and it doesn’t leave me with much mental brain space for chit chat.”

Eve looks carefully at her, as though assessing something, and then says “When was the last time you slept for more than a couple of hours?”

Oksana shrugs. “I don’t know. In Cornwall, maybe.”

Eve sighs, and suddenly reaches out to her, and strokes her fingers down the side of her face, more gentle than anything Oksana can remember.

“You should sleep. We’re not going to get attacked on the train.”

“Oh great. You know that for sure? Great, I’ll relax.”

“Oksana… it’s the last train north. They didn’t know where I was. There’s no way for them to know, or to reach us before morning.”

“Sure, but there is no way for Konstantin to always find me, and yet he’s always arriving, how do I know he hasn’t done something to my phone, he could have been reading all our messages-”

‘Well, then he probably would have reprimanded you for flirting incessantly with your target a while ago, wouldn’t he?”

Oksana breaths out steadily, and then tilts her head in half agreement. Eve smiles at her.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to trust that no one is about to kill you, and I like to think I have some experience in that area, seeing as I keep allowing you to turn up.”

Oksana pouts at that.

“You want me to turn up.”

Eve nods solemnly. “I do. I’m glad you are here. But you should get some sleep, you are not much use sleep deprived.”

Oksana hesitates.

“I need to watch the aisle.”

“I’ll do it.”

“No, that-” but Eve is already clambering over her, and Oksana allows herself to be forced into the window seat through Eve’s good natured prods.

“Okay, there. You sleep, I’ll watch for assassins.”

Oksana bites her lip.

“And you’ll wake me up?”

Eve rolls her eyes.

“No, I’m going to fight off the assassins myself whilst you nap, of course I’ll wake you up.”

Oksana grins despite herself, and then melts a little bit, because Eve is smiling at her so softly and she is not being vigilant at all, but Oksana finds that she doesn’t care that much.

Maybe she does just have to trust that they are not about to die.

“Can I sleep on your shoulder?”

Eve nods silently, and pats her shoulder. Oksana leans into Eve’s warmth, and closes her eyes.

She feels Eve press a kiss to her forehead just before she goes to sleep.

…..

Chapter Text

Eve jolts awake when someone shakes her shoulder.

“Hi, sorry to wake you, this train doesn’t go any further.”

Eve inhales deeply, and blinks at the train conductor, trying to relocate reality.

‘Wha-”

“Oh, fuck me, sorry, we’ll be getting out of your way.”

Eve realises that she had been holding Oksana’s hand as they both slept. Oksana nudges her upright, and suddenly they’re stepping off the train into the cool night air.

“Ah’cannee believe you fell asleep, thought you said you’d be okay, sorry for the inconvenience-”

Eve realises that Oksana is speaking with a broad Scottish accent, and how does she even do that? Unconscious to Scottish in half a second? Eve was so deeply asleep she isn’t sure she could have told someone her surname in half a second.

Oksana nudges her all the way down the platform, maintaining an accent so broad Eve can barely understand her.

“Oh and of course there’s gonna be no shops open, I could murder a haggis-”

Eve snorts.

“Okay, I think that is borderline offensive…oh shit I left my bag on the train-”

Oksana drops the accent.

“Yes you did, but I have it. You are not a very good look out, can I just say? You fell asleep, leaving us vulnerable to murderers and pick pockets and such like. And my Scottish accent isn’t offensive, it is an homage.”

Eve takes her bag from Oksana, trying to look something other than highly incompetent.

“Right. Thanks. But, please don’t be too Scottish at people, you might start a fight.”

Oksana squints at her.

“But I am charming?”

“No, you are… jesus can we just get in a taxi?”

…..

The taxi driver takes them to a hotel on the edge of central Edinburgh. The night staff gives them a blank look, but deals with Oksana’s request for two separate rooms on the opposite side of the corridor easily enough.

“She snores terribly, you see. Like someone trying to chainsaw a mattress stuffed with kazoos.”

Eve deals with this injustice, and Oksana’s new, bizarrely royal accent, with good grace.

When they are alone in the elevator, she asks “Should I be changing accents as well? I presume you are trying to throw off any one asking after us.”

Oksana smiles at her in the mirror, and then she leans on the wall, looking… Eve tries not to gulp.

“Well, that, and sometimes it is just fun. Can you do different accents?”

Eve shrugs. “Uh. Not really. I can go more…Asian?”

Oksana smirks.

“Great, so when they come looking for an Asian lady with amazing hair, you sounding Asian as well is really going to help us…how?”

Eve rolls her eyes, even as she fights off the blush that starts when Oksana compliments her. Oksana watches her for a moment, and then comes to stand next to her. Side by side, they watch each other in the mirror.

Oksana is taller than her, although not by a great deal. And she’s younger, and sharper, and god, so beautiful, and-

Oksana turns her head, and presses her face into Eve’s hair, whispering in her ear.

“My life would be easier without you.”

Eve gulps once, and nods.

“Mine too. But-”

Oksana’s lips are brushing over her ear, and Eve is filled with such want that she needs the elevator to break down, she needs to have Oksana against her, she needs-

The elevator doors open.

…..

“Okay, which one do you want?”

Eve stalls, because she doesn’t expect the question.

“I, uh. I thought we’d be in the same room. I thought you booked two so that-”

Oksana shrugs.

“If Konstantin arrives in my bedroom tomorrow, it would probably be for the best if you were not also in there, no?”

“Oh, sure.” Eve glances between the two identical doors, and then gestures at the one closest to her. “This one I guess.”

Oksana passes her the key card, and opens her own door, smiling cheerily at her.

“Okay then. Goodnight.”

Eve blinks at her for several seconds, and then says “Sure. Uh. Goodnight.”

Oksana closes her door, and Eve is left in the corridor.

Oh-kay.

Eve fumbles her door open, and stomps in, feeling all sorts of put out. She tosses her bag on the bed, and rubs her hands over her face.

Jesus. This is not how she had imagined things. Eve digs out her toothbrush, and brushes her teeth, staring furiously at herself in the mirror.

What had she imagined?

What did she want?

Did she want Oksana to kiss her, or did she want to kiss Oksana?

Christ, she’d nearly pushed her up against the wall in the elevator and pressed their bodies close just for any kind of contact, and Oksana would have let her, Eve knows that she would have…

She…. Eve puts the toothbrush down.

Oksana would have let her. She would have wanted Eve to do it. And she would probably wait forever for Eve to kiss her first.

And now she gets it.

Eve picks up her phone.

This is not what I want right now

The reply is almost instant.

What do you want?

Eve bites her lip.

I want you.

Each second feels like a year.

Then come and have me.

…..

Oksana opens her door without saying anything, and then meekly goes to sit on the bed, and this…. is an out of body experience.

Eve leans on the wall behind her, and just watches her. Oksana bites her lip after a moment.

“Okay, but you know that you can’t fall asleep here.”

Eve nods, and tilts her head slightly, trying to judge if Oksana is blushing.

Oksana looks away, and presses her lips together.

“So…”

Eve smiles.

“So… what?”

Oksana gives a little half laugh, and then rubs a hand at the back of her neck.

“So… what now? You said that you wanted… what do you want?”

Eve looks at her, and suddenly remembers that this girl could kill her. That this girl has killed people, in an easy, effervescent fashion, killed and killed and god, she wants her anyway. She wants to have her, and keep her, and not let anyone else in…

“I want you to take off all your clothes.”

Oksana gulps a little at that, and it’s becoming a tell, Eve knows now how Oksana is feeling when she gulps in that way.

She holds up a hand though, and looks enquiringly at Eve.

“Okay, but can I just check, you are actually going to touch me this time? Because-”

“Oh, you bet” Eve says assuredly, as she walks forward, and she’s climbing onto Oksana’s lap, and she’s running both hands through her hair, and she’s kissing her.

Oh god she’s kissing her.

Oksana moans into her mouth, and clutches her hands to Eve’s sides, and she’s kissing her.

She will have her. Because she wants this.

Chapter Text

When Oksana closes the hotel door behind her, having left Eve standing confused in the corridor, she drops her bag next to the side of the bed, and takes off her jacket. She retrieves her gun from the side pocket, and places it carefully on the side table.

Okay. She checks the window, which has the usual lock feature on it. She understands that these are there to stop someone from plummeting to their death, but it has the added side feature of not allowing anyone to sneak in through her window.

She then returns to the door, and inspects sign detailing the emergency exit options available to her. There’s a fire exit at the end of the corridor, if she turns left.

She then drinks a glass of water, and sits easily on the bed.

It had surprised her, how quickly she had fallen asleep on the train. Fell asleep on Eve’s shoulder.

It had been so easy. And Eve had been warm, and Oksana had felt safe, which was stupid, because they’re never in more danger than when they’re together.

She lies back on the bed, with a sigh, and turns her phone over in her hands a couple of times.

She waits.

After another few minutes, her phone vibrates. Oksana smiles.

This is not what I want right now.

Oksana feels the want settle low in her belly, because she’s still not used to the idea of Eve wanting her without Oksana really having to work for it. Eve wants her now regardless of whether Oksana is trying to seduce her or not. It is different to every other sexual encounter she has had that meant anything to her.

What do you want?

God, she feels so…. alive.

I want you.

Oksana is flooded with the thought of Eve having her, of Eve reallyhaving her.

Then come and have me.

…..

Oksana had never noticed how much she had always taken.

And she likes taking, taking is fun. She gets to choose when, and how. She gets exactly what she wants, when she takes. She makes sure that the other person is happy to give of course. She’s never taken more than is offered. But she has always taken.

She had never before never considered the possible gratification involved in allowing someone else to take. It’s always felt like second place. The winner magnanimously gives to the loser. Second place is not something she is interested in.

Eve is kissing her neck, and Oksana is letting her, wanting her to take more.

God, it feels so fucking good.

“Eve... yes.”

Eve’s mouth is... Oksana tips her head, and allows her better access. Eve’s breath is just ghosting over her neck, and then it’s her tongue, and Oksana’s breath is hitching in her throat.

She didn’t know it was possible to feel this much of anything.

Oksana realises that she isn’t touching Eve in any meaningful way at all. She’d reached out to grab at Eve’s hips, when Eve had first straddled her, but that was more to steady her, and help her balance as Oksana had pushed herself further back on the bed.

Now, though, Eve doesn’t need her to hold her, and, oh. Oksana feels her heart nearly stop.

She doesn’t know if she’s allowed to touch Eve. She moans.

“Eve, Eve... wait.”

Eve’s eyes are wide, and she looks… dazed. Oksana stares at her, and Eve blinks a little, before becoming self-conscious, and reaching up to adjust her hair.

God, now Oksana doesn’t even know if she’s allowed to kiss her, she’s going to snap in half with indecision.

“Can I… what am I allowed to do?”

Eve blinks, and then she smiles. She reaches out to cup Oksana’s face, and everything is so gentle it almost stings. Eve kisses her, softly, and then just lets her lips rest against Oksana’s.

“You can kiss me. But nothing else.”

Oksana groans in frustration, but does as she is directed, kissing Eve eagerly, and Eve allows her to control the pace of the kiss for a moment, submitting to the demands of Oksana’s lips and tongue.

For one second, maybe two, Oksana is in control, but then Eve pulls away, and puts her fingers over Oksana’s mouth, and Oksana is groaning again.

“Why… why can I not touch you?”

Eve looks steadily at her.

“Because…it’s a turn on when you do what I say.”

Oksana swallows down a sound, and she doesn’t know if it was going to be a laugh or a moan.

“Okay, but… maybe you could give me something else to do? Maybe I could… sing throughout, or speak in a stupid accent, or - oh god” The last words comes when Eve pushes her back on the bed. Eve stares down at her, and then leans down to kiss her, and god the pressure of Eve’s body against her own completely ruins Oksana, and she’s whimpering and trying to lean upwards into pressure, even as she loses herself in Eve’s kiss.

Both of Eve’s hands are on either side of her face, and she’s clinging to her like some needy teenager, and fuck it’s hot, it’s hot.

Oksana feels Eve half laugh into the kiss, and she’s confused until she realises that Eve’s laughing at Oksana’s hands, which have drifted up into the air, and are hovering around Eve like they are fighting a forcefield.

Eve takes one of her wrists, and presses it firmly to the bed, giving a little squeeze.

“This one stays here, and this one…” she takes the other, “Stays here. Okay?”

“No” says Oksana, baldly. “Absolutely not okay, I do not-”

Eve kisses her again, deeply, and her tongue is in Oksana’s mouth, and Oksana’s chasing a dream of something to pure to be seen, as her eyes drift shut and she flexes her fingers at nothing.

Eve leans away from her, and glances once at Oksana’s hands, which have remained meekly on the bed. She smiles, and traces her finger tips over Oksana’s mouth.

“Good girl” she whispers, and Oksana is going to die.

…..

The pattern repeats itself, until Oksana is naked again, and Eve is fully clothed.

And it would almost be unfair, except this time Eve is touching her, oh god she is touching her, with her fingers and her lips and rhythm of her heart beat…

Eve pushes herself away from Oksana, and rests on her side. And her hand is tracing smooth circles over Oksana’s skin, along her clavicle, around the sides of her breasts, over the softness of her stomach and the contrast of her scar and down, down, until her finger tips are resting at Oksana’s hip bone.

Oksana does her best to stay still, although her breath is coming in shuddering gasps. Her turns her face to Eve, who relents, and gives Oksana her lips, kissing her softly, as though Oksana would break if she kissed too hard.

Oksana’s breath hitches, and her hand flexes suddenly, as she is overwhelmed by the impulse to grab Eve’s hand and press it between her legs.

She presses the impulse down instead, and makes eye contact with Eve.

“Please.”

Eve hesitates, and then blinks, looking down Oksana’s body and then back at her.

“I… uh. I’ve never- I mean. I don’t know what to- I don’t know how to make you feel good, and I don’t want for it not to be- oh jesus.”

Eve’s words reach Oksana eventually, through the haze of her own arousal. And… what is happening?

“You must have done it to yourself? Just… do the same to me.”

Eve bites her lip, looking nervous.

“That’s different, and I don’t want to be terrible, and-”

Oksana sighs, and then smiles softly, leaning over and kissing Eve.

“Okay, you get one tutorial, okay? And then you have to go back to being bossy, because I like it.”

Gulping, Eve nods, and then breathes in sharply when Oksana grabs her hand.

Oksana pauses.

“Can I?”

Eve nods, and Oksana arranges Eve’s fingers so they are as she wants them.

“Keep these strong okay?”

Eve nods again, watching their hands as though hypnotised. Oksana takes a deep breath, and then kisses Eve, whilst moving Eve’s hand downwards until her fingers are touching her oh god

She hisses slightly, and bites at Eve’s lip. Eve moans.

“Okay, so, this is my clit, I like it when you move your fingers over it like this.”

Eve moans again, and breaks the kiss, shifting herself downwards slightly so that she can watch what her own hand is doing. Oksana takes advantage of Eve’s distraction to place her own free hand on her breasts, because she physically cannot ignore the urge any longer.

She moans. Eve glances at her, and then says “Tell me more.”

Oksana sighs, and then presses her hand lower, until she is pressing Eve’s fingers into herself.

“And, oh god, I like it here too, but I only really finish when you are…” she pulls Eve’s fingers upwards again, until they are once again circling her clit. “…when you are here.”

Eve lets her control the motions of her hand for another long moment, and Oksana thinks that she would only need a few minutes of this to be able to come, because she never has any self restraint.

And then Eve stills her hand, and suddenly she’s back in charge again.

“Did I say you could touch your breasts?”

Oksana grins, suddenly impish.

“No, I took advantage of your distraction.”

Eve moves her fingers in a certain way, and Oksana’s eyes nearly roll back in her head.

“Don’t do that again or I’ll have to stop touching you.”

“Okay, I’m sorry, please don’t stop, please don’t stop, oh god

……

Eventually, after long minutes with her fingers, Eve moves down, and puts her mouth on Oksana.

Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Oksana’s almost at the point of complete incoherence, and she’s swearing filthily in any language she can make words in, as Eve’s tongue undoes her and undoes her and undoes her-

And then Eve’s fingers are sliding into her, and she’s picking up a rhythm, and Oksana is about to fly, but she wants something, she realises, she wants something-

“Eve, Eve, oh, fuck, Eve, can I touch your hair?”

Eve looks up at her, and her mouth is wet and shiny with Oksana’s want.

“Yes”, she says, after a second, before lowering her mouth again.

It’s like finding oxygen, when Oksana frees her hands from the mattress, and immediately drops her hands to Eve hair, winding her fingers tightly into the waves and gently tugging. This time it is Eve who moans, but Oksana is gasping, and gasping, and fuck, she’s going to, she’s going to-

She does. The orgasm hits her like a thunder bolt, and she arches up onto Eve’s mouth, finding the perfect moment and staying there. And she doesn’t know how hard she is pulling on Eve’s hair but it doesn’t seem to be too hard, not from the way that Eve is moaning with pleasure.

Fuck. Fuck.

And then Oksana collapses, and relaxes, and fuck.

She….oh. It’s too good.

It’s too good.

Eve kisses at her again, but Oksana is too sensitive for anything like that, and she pushes Eve away from her weakly. Eve chuckles to herself, and comes crawling up her body, kissing at Oksana’s thighs and stomach and breasts to clean her mouth. But Oksana doesn’t want her to, so she pulls Eve all the way up, and kisses Eve’s mouth clean herself.

Eve sighs at that, and then lowers herself downwards, until she is just lying between Oksana’s spread legs with her head on Oksana’s chest, and Oksana is completely spent.

Eve mumbles “That was really good. You were excellent.”

Oksana laughs slightly, and kisses at Eve’s temple.

“Thank you. So were you, you are a quick learner.”

Eve smiles, and reaches upwards, kissing her again gently.

“Okay, I’m going to go now.”

Wait, what? Oksana blinks at her, and then says “No, you are not allowed. You have to stay here and let me touch you.”

Eve grins, and says, “No, I have to go to my bedroom and touch myself thinking about you, and soon, because otherwise I am going to implode.”

“That’s…” Oksana frowns. “That’s not fair.”

Eve kisses her her, and then kisses her again, and again, until Oksana is almost wrapping her arms around her.

“No, I am going to go. You said yourself that I can’t fall asleep here, and I barely have the energy to leave this room as it is.”

“But, but… don’t you want me to fuck you?”

“God, yes” says Eve heavily. “But not yet.”

Oksana pouts.

“But when?”

Eve grins.

“I’ll decide. Think of this as motivation to keep us both alive for a little bit longer.”

Oksana tips her head back and sighs.

“You are awful. I hate you.”

Eve laughs, and kisses at her jaw line. Oksana grabs at her, running her hands through her amazing hair.

“But I don’t hate you. I really like you.”

Eve smiles in a way that looks almost shy, and presses a kiss to the corner of Oksana’s mouth.

“Me too.”

Chapter Text

There’s a knock on her door.

Eve groans, and then panics, and then groans some more.

She is not ready to be awake, what time even is it? Jesus. Her body is shrieking at her.

Oh god, she’s not ready to be awake, and she’s certainly not ready to be murdered. What if this is it, what if five assassins are about to backflip into her room and kill her to the tune of Russian opera? This is unacceptable.

Assassins probably wouldn’t knock.

“Eve? Come on we have to go.”

It’s Oksana. The person stopping her from being brutally murdered. Eve grabs one of her pillows in a fit of pique, and throws it at the door. Oksana knocks on her door again.

“Let’s go.”

Eve checks her phone. And then checks it again, because why the fuck does it say six fifteen in the morning?

She manages to find vertical, and traipses over to the door, opening it with a grunt.

Oksana leans on the door frame, and she raises her eyebrows at Eve.

“Okay, why are you not ready?”

Eve blinks at her.

“It is… the only evidence I have that I fell asleep is that I just woke up. Otherwise, I am pretty sure I haven’t slept, and I’m tired, and-”

Oksana’s eyes rove over her, and then she grins.

“You are not a morning person.”

Eve rubs a hand over her face.

“Jesus I barely feel a person right now, can I… I need five minutes. To like, put on a bra. I cannot run from death braless.”

Oksana bites her lip, and then nods.

“Okay. But, be quick.”

…..

They have breakfast in a tiny cafe. Oksana eats hungrily, wolfing down sausages and eggs and fried bread. Eve sips at her coffee and wishes for a bed.

It’s raining heavily outside. Eve sighs.

“We don’t have an umbrella.”

Oksana shrugs, and nods to the small pile of umbrellas in a stand by the door.

“I will take one of those.”

Eve closes her eyes.

“Those belong to other people.”

Oksana quirks an eyebrow at her, and leans forward slightly.

“I am a criminal” she confides, and then sits back in her chair, looking pleased with herself.

Eve bites the inside of her cheek in an effort not to smile, and then says “What’s the plan? After you have eaten everything in here?”

Oksana waggles a fork airly.

“I have no plan.”

“Great.”

“Plans are too predictable, we must be casual, easy going, flexible, you know.”

Eve rubs at her temples a couple of times.

“Okay, that’s all very…romantic. But I like fixing things, so…”

Oksana picks up a piece of toast, and chews thoughtfully at the end.

“We should be doing romantic things. This is not romantic. I am sorry.”

Eve smiles despite herself, and shrugs. “I like it anyway.”

Oksana shakes her head. “No, it is not enough. When this is all over, I will take you places. Show you things you have not seen before.”

When this is all over…

Eve puts the thought out of her head.

“You showed me things I had not seen before last night.”

Oksana raises her eyebrows, and Eve almost blushes, because since when has she been so shameless?

“Yeah? Did you like those things?”

Now Eve is blushing.

“I, uh, yeah, I liked them a lot.”

Oksana tilts her head, watching Eve carefully. “Me too”, she murmurs.

Eve runs hot and cold. Oksana looks away from her, and then takes an enormous bite of toast. She gestures with her head towards the back of the cafe, and struggles to speak around her mouthful.

“You want to go fuck in the bathroom?”

Eve snorts. “No, that would not be romantic.”

Oksana shrugs at her, and then grins. “I was joking. Mainly. It would be unhygienic.”

“For sure.”

Oksana nods, and then swallows. “Come on. We have to go.”

…..

They find an open top bus, and get on it for a tour of Edinburgh. Oksana pays the confused bus driver enough for four tours of the city, and then takes Eve to the back seat.

“Okay, if Konstantin does have a signal on me, this will keep us moving for a while.”

Eve frowns, and says “What will you do if he gets on the bus?”

Oksana shrugs. “Improvise.”

The bus moves off, and the audio commentary starts.

The Royal Mile is a world famous-

Eve fiddles nervously with the edge of her jacket. And then she reaches for a hair tie, and pulls all her hair up.

“Okay,” she says “If we want to stay alive, how do we do that?”

Oksana shrugs.

“Keep moving.”

Eve sighs. “That isn’t… that’s not going to work as a long term plan. How long do you think before Konstantin knows that you are not doing as you should?”

Oksana makes a face. “He probably already knows now, he wanted me to tell him where you are.”

“So, how do we know he hasn’t sent other assassins after me?”

Eve remembers to lower her voice for the word ‘assassins’, but only just. There are hardly any people on this bus, but she still probably shouldn’t talk loudly about assassins. Oksana gives her a look.

“I don’t know that. I don’t really know how the Twelve operate. It was always just me and Konstantin and postcards.”

Eve rubs her hands across her face, and tries to fight through the sleep deprivation to focus.

“Well… okay let’s assume Konstantin has sent other people after me. And the only reason I am not dead is because they can’t find me yet.”

Oksana chuckles dryly.

“That is a pessimistic world view.”

“I like to prepare for worst case scenarios.”

“Sure.”

Eve presses her lips together thoughtfully.

“So, they can’t find me. But they can always find you. So…”

Oksana’s fingers flex restlessly, and she slouches down in her seat, looking mournful.

“So I should leave you.”

Eve glances at her, and she looks so soft Eve almost wants to hug her. She shrugs instead.

“Well, yes, or we could try and figure out how Konstantin always knows where you are. He isn’t… a wizard. There must be a logical explanation. If we could figure that out, we could both disappear in a slightly more permanent fashion.”

Oksana looks at her as though she hadn’t even considered the idea of Eve trying to fix her problem.

“But it isn’t my phone. And… it isn’t, I haven’t got a tracking chip on me. So, I don’t know.”

Eve sighs, and tries to think. And she must have the skill set to do this, if she had the skill set to find Oksana then surely she must be able to flip that skill set and help her disappear.

Oksana is watching her face carefully.

“I thought it might be CCTV?”

Eve bites her lip, and shakes her head, because that doesn’t sound right…

“No. The resources involved in tracking a person across a country from just CCTV… and they’d need access to the surveillance systems… I can’t imagine the Twelve have that much scope. Not from the targets they were sending you after. Those were significant people of influence, but they weren’t… top tier, you know? It doesn’t feel to me as though they have limitless resources.”

Oksana shrugs. “Okay. So what, then?”

“Did Konstantin give you anything else? When he set you up in Paris?”

“No. My phone, an apartment, some money-”

A thought strikes Eve. She blinks.

“How did you get your gun?”

“The first one…a courier arrived with it.”

Eve raises her eyebrows.

“From Konstantin?”

“I never thought about it. I needed a gun. A gun arrived. But this one, I took from the man who was going to be my handler. My new Konstantin. But I didn’t like him, he was rude.”

Eve holds up a hand, unwilling to receive any more information about what happened to the new Konstantin.

“Let me see your gun.”

Oksana briefly looks scandalised.

‘Eve, we are on a tourist bus.” Eve waggles her hand at her.

“Just… you know. Subtly.”

Oksana makes a face at her, but then opens her jacket and pulls out her gun, holding it low down beneath the tops of the seats in front of them. Eve breathes out slowly.

“Okay… okay…is this… is this a normal gun?”

Oksana makes a face.

“Well, it kills people when I shoot it at them?”

Eve peers a bit closer to the gun, and motions at Oksana to turn it over, which Oksana does.

“Does it have a make and model? Like, a brand name?”

Laughing slightly, Oksana shakes her head.

“Uh, no, guns don’t really…”

Eve sighs, and reaches for her phone. “Okay, I’m going to need to be somewhere safe with good wifi for a couple of hours, where do you think we should go?”

Oksana chews on her lips for a moment.

“I will have a think, okay?”

Eve nods, and sits back in her seat.

She feels better, surprisingly.

Because now she has a problem to solve.

Chapter Text

There aren’t a million choices, and they end up in Central Library, which is a grey, impressive building, full of people avoiding the rain.

It has multiple exits. Oksana guides Eve to a desk with a computer on the edge of the main hall, and motions for her to sit down.

“Will it really take a couple of hours?”

Eve shrugs. “It might. I’m trying to identify if you have a standard issue, or if your gun has been modified.”

“Okay, okay” Oksana nods, glancing around fretfully. “But, do you have to keep the gun with you? Can’t you just… take a photo?”

Eve chews on her lip. “Well… it’s hard to get the details on a photo-”

Oksana nods, and then says “Okay but you could start with a photo, and then if you need more details you could come and look at it?”

Eve looks seriously at her.

“You think that he’ll be here soon?”

Oksana shakes her head.

“I think that he’ll send someone to kill me. I think that he must know at least part of what’s going on. And if it is the gun that they’re tracking, I don’t want it in your lap, you know? And there’s too many exits, I can’t watch everyone all the time-”

Eve grabs her hand, and squeezes once.

“Lots of exits means lots of places to run. And just… I’ll be quick. Besides I probably can’t try and research guns online for that long without the librarian coming to check on me.”

“Well as long as the librarian doesn’t try to kill you.”

“You wouldn’t let them- look, the sooner I start…”

Oksana closes her eyes for a moment, and breathes deeply.

“Okay, half an hour. And then we move.”

…..

They need to leave, they need to leave, it’s been too long in one city… Oksana is pacing restlessly back and forth between the rows of books, and she’s on the verge of giving herself an aneurysm by trying to keep track of everyone within a hundred foot radius of Eve.

And in the middle, there is Eve. And she’s not looked up from the screen once, she’s just focusing on her job and expecting Oksana to do her job.

Oksana has never worked in a team. The last time she worked in a team the other team members both ended up dead. It doesn’t usually end well.

She will not allow anyone to end up dead this time.

After twenty eight minutes she returns to Eve.

“Okay, we have to go, I don’t like it.”

Eve sighs, and nods. “Yeah, we need a different way of doing this, it’s going to take longer than I thought… we need an expert or something, I can’t just google-”

Eve stops mid sentence looking past her. Oksana looks around, but there’s no one obvious there.

“What?”

Eve shakes her head, and blinks.

“Sorry, I thought I… recognised someone, for a second-”

Oksana turns around more fully, and stands in front of Eve, talking to her over her shoulder.

“Who? And how did you recognise them?”

“It was a man, but he… walked past that way. And- uh. I don’t know how I recognised him.”

Eve used to spend a lot of her time flicking through images of suspected serial killers, Oksana remembers.

“Get your stuff. We’re going.”

…..

She holds Eve’s hand as she leaves, tugging her along through the bookcases and out of a side exit that is in the opposite direction to where Eve’s half recognised person was.

Oksana feels like she should run, even though running is never a good idea, but Eve is with her and it’s an impossible challenge to keep her alive, and they shouldn’t still be here, she should have insisted that they leave this city hours ago, and-

Konstantin steps in front of her.

Shit. Shit.

“Hello Villanelle. I see you have found Eve.”

Oksana smiles at him, positively grins, and then points her gun at his head. Konstantin looks blankly at her, and then points his gun at Eve’s head. Someone screams.

“Do you want me to kill her for you? Or Xander here can do it.”

Another man, an unassuming, sinewy man with a scruff of beard and slightly mismatched eyes appears in her eye line from behind them, and also points his gun at Eve’s head. Some more people scream, and the humanity that had surrounded them suddenly recedes.

Eve mutters “Oh jesus”, like she’s just spilt her coffee.

Konstantin raises his eyebrows at Oksana, and she should have killed him the last time he arrived in her bedroom, that was the moment, she realises. Hindsight. What a bitch.

“No, I would not like you to kill her. Or… this man, who is this? Introduce us, please.”

Konstantin gives a half shrug, with the arm that isn’t pointing a gun at Eve’s head. “This is Xander. I have been given him to handle now.”

Oksana pulls a face.

“What about me? I thought you only had one pet killer at a time?”

Konstantin nods.

“This is true. But the Twelve sensed that you would soon need to be replaced.”

Oksana glances at Xander, who glares at her. Rude.

“Okay, he does not seem as fun as I am.”

Konstantin twist into something that seems close to a smile, and then says “I’m hoping he will liven up a little.”

Xander adjusts his grip on his gun a fraction, and Oksana switches all of her attention to him. Konstantin she can predict. Xander is an unknown quantity.

“If you kill her here you will have a problem. There are cameras and witnesses. It would not be very subtle.”

Xander sneers.

“Do not give me advice.” He has a very French accent.

Oksana shrugs, and then lowers her gun. “Okay, I won’t. But now you are just two scary men threatening unarmed defenceless women, and the police will be here soon. So…?”
Xander switches his aim to her head. Oksana grins.

“If the police come, I will shoot them as well.”

Konstantin growls “No you won’t.” Oksana makes an awkward face, and whispers loudly to Konstantin “He still needs some training.” She can tell from the set of Konstantin’s jaw that he agrees.

Konstantin doesn’t want to kill her, she realises. He doesn’t care about Eve, but he’ll avoid killing Oksana if he can.

Somewhere a siren starts. Oksana rubs at the back of her head, and glances at Eve. She’s very still, and looks back at Oksana calmly. What are you going to do about this?, she seems to be saying.

Xander speaks.

“Give me your gun.”

Oksana sticks her tongue out at him.

“No. Shan’t”

Konstantin snorts slightly, and then says “Okay, everyone get in the car. Just here, I’ve parked just here. Nice and simple. Xander, you drive. Eve in the front. Villanelle, you get in the back with me. Let’s go somewhere slightly more private to continue this little catch up.”

Chapter Text

Eve still isn’t dead. And it has been... thirty seven minutes since Konstantin first pointed his gun at her head. That’s almost a success story.

In a way, it’s a borderline miracle that they aren’t all dead, thanks to Xander’s manic driving through Edinburgh. He’d screeched sideways through a number of red lights, whilst Oksana had given helpful instructions from the back on how to spare the clutch.

“Will you shut up!” he’d yelled after five minutes, but Konstantin had smacked him around the head and pointed over his shoulder.

“Concentrate. That way, it’s there.”

Xander had driven into a multiplex carpark, and they’d driven up and up until Konstantin had said “Stop here.”

And then Eve had been pushed out of that car, and then lead over to another car, whilst the police sirens had wailed in the distance, but they weren’t getting close enough fast enough, and then they were in a new car, and Konstantin had grumbled “Drive like a normal person this time, it isn’t a go-kart.”

And now here they are, leaving the outskirts of Edinburgh behind them, driving towards… god knows what. Death?

She’s not panicking, she realises. Well, she is, but she has another couple of gears that she could go up into. And it is because Oksana is chatting away in the back like everything is exactly as she wishes it was.

“I have never been to Scotland, you know? It seems very nice. Bit wet maybe. But nice. Have you ever visited before?”

Neither Xander nor Konstantin answer her. After a moment, Eve glances around, and makes direct eye contact with the barrel of Konstantin’s gun, which is still pointed at her. She looks forward again hastily.

“Uh, yeah, once. Niko had wanted to visit the Isle of Skye.”

Oksana grunts at this, and then says “Of course he did.”

It’s brightening up, Eve realises. It could be a lovely afternoon.

“Where do you want me to go?” Xander asks, completely ignoring both Eve and Oksana. Eve glances sideways at him, trying to judge how she could hurt him if she needed to, but he looks mean and hard to hurt.

Konstantin sighs.

“Just drive for an hour, and then find somewhere empty.”

Eve doesn’t want to die. She doesn’t want to die. She doesn’t want to die.

She glances up to the rear view mirror, but the angle is all wrong for her to see Oksana, and instead she is just presented with Konstantin glowering at her. Oksana is sitting behind her.

She doesn’t want to die.

Eve reaches back with her hand, through the gap between the two seats. After a moment, Oksana takes it, and wraps her fingers around Eve’s, and squeezes gently. Eve sighs.

Konstantin mutters something quietly in what sounds like Russian. Oksana replies in the same tone of voice. Xander looks up at them in the rear view mirror.

“What is she saying?”

Oksana answers.

“I was asking how his daughter is” she says shortly. “Have you met her?”

Xander scoffs, and then returns his focus to the road. “No.”

“She is very annoying” Oksana says, matter of factly. Konstantin grunts in agreement.

“Yes, very.”

…..

They end up in a car park, on the edge of a forest. It’s empty. Eve thinks, abstractly, that maybe she should be screaming.

“Okay, let’s go.”

“Why not just here in the carpark?”

“Because the body? You want to just leave the body in the carpark? We need to be tidy.”

Her body, Eve realises. They’re talking about her body.

Xander is holding his gun loosely, but it is still in his hand. Konstantin has his gun. Oksana’s gun is nowhere to be seen.

Konstantin gestures at Eve and Oksana with his gun, and then motions at a path.

“Let’s go.”

…..

Oksana walks next to her, with her arm slung around Eve’s shoulders.

She really doesn’t want to die.

“Do you have a plan?” she murmurs in Oksana’s direction.

Oksana grunts, and then shrugs slightly.

“I’m in improvisation territory.”

That… doesn’t do anything to ease Eve’s heart rate, which remains pitched at a steady four thousand beats per minute.

She glances back. Konstantin and Xander are both pointing the guns at their backs, as they walk deeper into the forest. Xander grins evilly at her.

She looks forward again.

“Shouldn’t you have your gun in your hand?”

“Mmmm, no, holding a gun usually escalates a situation like this in ways that I do not want.”

Despite everything, Eve smiles.

“You have been in this situation many times before have you?”

Oksana presses a kiss to her cheek, and then says “No. I am guessing and improvising.”

It could have been worse, Eve decides. At least she got to kiss her. At least they had this walk together.

There’s a bench. Oksana sits down on it.

“Okay, there is no point walking further. Here will do. If you are doing this, do it here.”

Xander looks at Konstantin. Konstantin shrugs, and then nods. Oksana pats the bench, and motions for Eve to sit next to her. Eve complies, with a body that does not feel like her own.

Konstantin is looking at Oksana, with a face that Eve hasn’t got the capacity to understand.

“So, I do not need to kill you.

Oksana shrugs, and leans forward on her knees. She tilts her head to look up at him. “No, but you probably should.”

Konstantin clears his throat. “Why?”

Oksana gestures at nothing dismissively. “If you kill her then I will kill you.”

Eve watches Xander, who is looking at her with a hungry look in his eyes. Konstantin’s voice is coming to her from a distance now.

“…. she is like Anna, to you?”

She never visited Ireland, Eve realises. She always planned on going, but she just never managed to find the time, or book the tickets, or pause life for long enough to-

Oksana’s voice breaks, and that is when Eve knows she is going to die.

“She is more.”

Konstantin shakes his head once, and looks resigned. ‘I wish it was not like this.”

“Me too.” Oksana whispers. “I like her.”

Xander swears impatiently, and gestures violently at Eve with his gun.

“Enough of this shit. You want to say goodbye?”

Oksana nods, and Eve realises with horror that her eyes are full of tears. Oksana’s hands grab for hers, and she knots their fingers together.

“I’m… sorry” she chokes out. “This is… this should not be happening. I should have found a way…I should have been smarter.”

Eve can feel each breath expanding in her chest. She can feel her heartbeat in her finger tips.

“Shhh, shh, it’s okay, it’s because of me, I- I wanted you too much…”

Oksana nods, and then reaches out to her, stroking her face for the last time. Eve gulps.

“I should have stayed with you last night.”

“Yes” says Oksana bitterly. “You should have. Stupid…”

Eve loves her, she realises. She’s in love with her.

And… well. It could have been worse. Overall.

“Kiss me” she whispers, and Oksana’s mouth is on hers, and her lips taste of tears, and now Eve thinks. If it has to happen, do it now.

There’s a gunshot.

And Eve’s lips jerk away from Oksana’s.

Chapter Text

There’s a gun shot.

Oksana blinks.

And… Xander is on the ground. Dead.

She leaps up, and punches the air.

“Yes! I knew you couldn’t do it, you sentimental bastard! I knew!

Konstantin rolls his eyes, and then spits on Xander’s corpse.

“He was unpleasant. I did not wish to work with him.”

Oksana puts her hands on her hips, and sways slightly on the balls of her feet. “Yes, he was. You can do better, Konstantin.”

Konstantin glares at her, and then points his gun at her chest.

Oksana laughs.

“Oh shut up. Whatever.”

Konstantin gives a grunt, and then holds his hands up.

“Fine, okay. You got me. You surprised me by having real emotions. Although what she sees in you is beyond me.”

Konstantin looks towards Eve, and Oksana glances around after a moment as well.

Eve is sitting on the bench, with her hands covering her face. After a few seconds, she groans.

Konstantin looks at Oksana, with his eyebrows raised. Oksana clears her throat awkwardly, and sits next to Eve.

“Hi… hello. You aren’t dead. It’s okay.”

Eve’s voice sounds weird.

“Sure. Okay. Just…give me a minute.”

Oksana observes her for a couple of seconds, and then rubs a hand over the small of Eve’s back, vaguely. She looks back up at Konstantin, too happy to have predicted his actions to really do anything other than gloat.

“I knew you liked me too much. Ha!”

Konstantin puts his gun away, and then dusts off his hands.

“Here, help me move this off the footpath.”

Oksana gingerly grabs Xander’s wrists, and between them they manhandle Xander’s lifeless corpse into the undergrowth, weaving their way through trees until they’re amongst dense foliage. Konstantin grunts as he drops the body.

“That’ll do, no time for anything elaborate. Check his pockets.”

There’s some keys, a passport, a knife, and a wad of money. Oksana holds up the money questioningly, and Konstantin shrugs.

“Keep it if you like. Come on then.”

When they return to the path, Eve has taken her hands away from her face, although she still looks…. Oksana struggles for an appropriate word. Shaken, she decides. She bites her lip when she remembers that Eve probably doesn’t do life and death situations quite as often as Oksana does. She maybe isn’t that used to it.

However Eve seems to have found something to concentrate on. She’s holding Xander’s dropped gun, and is turning it over in her hands, inspecting it carefully.

Oksana puts her hands on her hips, and then turns to Konstantin.

“I’m handing in my notice. Metaphorically. I’m not working for the Twelve any more.”

Konstantin eyes her curiously for a moment, and then glances at Eve, who still isn’t making eye contact with either of them.

“But what will you do for fun? You liked working for us.”

Oksana shrugs.

“I’ll figure something out, I guess. Recreationally. But their assassination targets are incompatible with what I wish to do.”

Konstantin rubs at his beard.

“I will say that you shot Xander, and I had to run for my life. But I will not be able to convince them to not come after you.”

Eve speaks.

“But it won’t be easy to find us, if Oksana doesn’t have her gun, right? There is a tracker, in these guns?”

Konstantin appears to struggle with himself momentarily, and then concedes.

“Correct. They modify the guns before they issue them, so they can keep track of their assets.”

Oksana sighs heavily, and then says “Oh great, where am I going to get another gun from, up here?”

Eve looks at her as if she’s grown an extra head. Oksana doesn’t understand, and she spreads her arms questioningly.

“What?”

“Enough of this” Konstantin says. “Go put the guns with Xander’s corpse. Let’s go.”

……

Konstantin drives them to a bus stop. Oksana pouts.

“A train station is too much effort?”

Shrugging, Konstantin puts on the handbrake.

“I decided not to kill you. That’s the effort. I’m giving you a head start, that’s the effort. Appreciate those things.”

Oksana is about to argue the point, but then Eve gets out of the car without saying a word, and inspects the timetable.

Eve hasn’t spoken to her once. Oksana clears her throat awkwardly, and glances at Konstantin.

“I do not understand… she is mad at me because she is alive?”

Konstantin’s lips quirk, and then he grins at her.

“Oh, you are going to have so much fun trying to figure out how normal people react to things; I wish I could stay with you just to watch.”

Oksana snorts. “Sure, because you are very normal.”

“Well…” Konstantin runs his hands around the steering wheel, suddenly thoughtful. “I have a wife who has tolerated me for over fifteen years. I believe I have some experience in normal.”

Eve taps on the car window. Konstantin rolls it down for her.

“Yes?”

“Hi, there’s a bus heading for Sterling in ten minutes. We can catch a train from there. Thanks for the ride. And for… not killing us.”

Oksana nods enthusiastically at this, mainly because she’s trying to direct some positivity at Eve. Eve resolutely ignores her. Konstantin nods once.

“Not a problem. Maybe one day we can have a conversation that doesn’t end up in guns being drawn.”

Eve smiles briefly, and then nods.

“Maybe. One day.”

“So I leave you here?” And there’s a half question in his tone, one that Oksana cannot trace the root. Eve snorts once.

“Yes, god help me.”

Konstantin chuckles, and then turns to Oksana.

“It has been a nice catch up. I am sorry that we will not be working together any longer. Maybe one day you can threaten to kill me again, you know. For old times sake.”

Oksana grins at him, full of the usual bullshit because she shies away from anything too real, when it comes to Konstantin.

“I could shoot you in the stomach again, if you would like?”

Konstantin winces, and his hand flinches to his midriff, momentarily.

“Ah, no. No thank you. That will not be necessary.”

Oksana eyes him, suddenly serious.

“Can you make it so that the Twelve forget about Eve?”

Konstantin grimaces. “Ahh, no. Not really. Particularly as they will know you are with her, now. It is… too messy for their liking, they will want you both. But - they will struggle to trace you now. You can disappear for a while, at least. If you stay clever.”

“I am always clever.”

“No, you are often clever. Not always. So concentrate.”

Oksana snorts, and looks at Eve, who seems to be determined to commit the bus timetable details to memory. She sighs.

“Can you give us half an hour, before you notify the Twelve?”

Konstantin chuckles, and pats her on the knee twice, before holding a finger under her nose.

“I will give you half a day. But only because you were nice to Irina, okay? Not because I like you.”

Oksana smiles unwillingly, and give a half salute.

“Understood. Thank you. You need another haircut, by the way.”

“Get out.”

Chapter Text

Eve still isn’t dead.

She’s not dead. She isn’t going to die.

She isn’t lying on the ground in some godforsaken forest, with her body slowly cooling as blood and brains coagulate in her hair.

She isn’t dead.

She’s on a slow bus winding its way to Stirling, and although this may feel like she is slowly dying, Eve very much is not.

She leans her head on the bus window, and sighs.

“Okay, I give up, can you please explain to me why you are being extremely sad? Because, I don’t see how I could have made that go any better? But you are killing my good mood, you know?”

Eve turns to look at Oksana, and she’s incredulous. Because even though she knows it couldn’t have gone much better, and even though she knows that she’s been blithely suggesting that her inevitable death isn’t something she was particularly concerned about-

It turns out that she doesn’t much like having guns pointed at her head for protracted lengths of time.

And she doesn’t much like how easily Oksana shrugged off their near death.

“You think that went well? We were about to be shot.”

Oksana widens her eyes, as though Eve has just revealed something, and then nods easily, as if everything makes sense.

Oh… No, see, I know Konstantin better than you. He wouldn’t have let Xander kill us. Not when I was being all emotional at you. Konstantin has always wanted to me to feel normal emotions. It would have been like feelings porn to him.”

Eve keeps her face still and steady, because she can’t raise her voice, not on a slow bus to Stirling. Elderly ladies with neat hair clouds and shopping bags restrain her.

She whispers instead.

“Oh, so it was an act?”

Oksana shrugs with one shoulder, pulling a face.

“Uh… yes? To make Konstantin save us? I’m not doing real emotions in front of Konstantin, ew.”

Eve remembers the gun shot, and the way Oksana hadn’t even hesitated before leaping up to gloat at Konstantin. She hadn’t had a flicker of doubt, not even enough to check that Eve wasn’t shot, not for a half second.

You already know what I am, and you like me anyway! Oksana had yelled that at her, on Niko’s bed, in a previous life. Eve isn’t allowed to suddenly discover that Oksana is a psychopath. She already knew this.

God, she is so stupid.

“We can’t have this conversation on a bus.”

“Why, I’m not sure any of these people can hear us? I’m pretty sure that one over there is dead.”

Eve is tired, and feeling…. some version of every emotion she has ever felt. It’s exhausting.

“I’m going to try and sleep.”

Oksana looks at her for a moment, and then pats at her own shoulder, enquiringly.

Oh, she’s so tired, and… well. She’s alive. Maybe she can start there.

Eve leans her head on Oksana’s shoulder, and closes her eyes, and tries to relax.

After a moment Oksana presses a kiss to Eve’s forehead, and whispers “I’m sorry that you were scared.”

And, for the first time in a long time, Eve isn’t sure if it is going to be enough.

…..

They catch a train from Stirling to Glasgow, and change. Eve just lets Oksana guide her through the station, because she’s feeling weird and disconnected and maybe only one more moment away from giving everything up and just making a new life for herself, here, on that train station bench.

Oksana unveils her best Scottish accent again, as she talks to the ticket booth attendant, and Eve can tell that she is trying to make her laugh, but Eve has disappeared too far into herself for that.

She’s in shock, a small section of her brain decides authoritatively. It had felt like this after Paris, after she’d trashed Oksana’s apartment and stabbed her, several decades ago.

They arrive in Carlisle just as the last of the light fades from the sky. Eve zombies her way through the check in process, barely noticing that Oksana books them two rooms again.

And then they’re in a hotel bedroom, and Oksana is gently guiding her to a bed.

Eve can’t believe that she woke up in Edinburgh. She can’t believe that all this happened in one day.

“I’m going to sleep” she announces.

Oksana shakes her head abruptly, and produces a packaged sandwich Eve doesn’t remember her buying.

“No, you should eat something; here. You haven’t eaten anything all day. It’s not okay.”

Eve takes the sandwich from her silently, and weakly smiles her thanks. Oksana stares at her for a long moment, and then rubs her hands over her face, looking exhausted.

“Please tell me what is happening in your head? I don’t… I’m sorry, I’ve been trying to figure it out but I am stuck.”

Eve gulps, and suddenly discovers that her emotions, so articulate and powerful, don’t actually correspond with any words. She stutters.

“I just…I guess I’m just finding it hard to- I mean. Oh, I don’t know. When I was with Niko people didn’t point guns at my head.”

Oksana’s face immediately shuts down, and Eve watches her flare up, suddenly frustrated.

She’s not scared of her. It’s a relief.

“Oh, so what, you’ve decided that-” Eve holds up a hand, interrupting her anger.

“No, I didn’t say anything like that, it’s just… this is a lot for me to deal with, and I would like a version of existing with you that wasn’t quite so… traumatic. But you… you like the trauma. You want it to keep going.”

It’s almost an accusation. Oksana looks perplexed, as though nothing makes sense.

“No, what? No I don’t, I do not want you to be in danger, what the hell do you think I have been doing all this time? Trying to protect you.”

Eve smiles at that, because yes, on face value, the fact that she is still alive means that Oksana has achieved that. She gestures gently at Oksana.

“I know. And you did a great job. But you want to keep living a life like that. You want me to be safe, but for you to be in danger. Sometimes.”

Oksana shrugs.

“I don’t know, I guess, things would be very boring, no? If-”

Eve interrupts her again, because she’s remembered the other issue, the one that she can’t get away from.

“Why do you even need a gun?”

Oksana looks at her as though Eve has just asked why she needs food.

“What? Of course I need a gun, I can’t just stab everyone, it isn’t efficient.”

Eve closes her eyes, and breathes out slowly.

“No, I mean, why do you even need to kill people?”

Oksana frowns and then shrugs, looking increasingly sulky.

“I need a gun for protection.”

“No you don’t, most people don’t have one, and they don’t ever end up needing one.”

“But people keep trying to kill me?”

“No, you keep trying to kill people.”

“That’s not fair, it was a job, and I haven’t killed anyone in three weeks…”

Eve’s frustration boils over.

“But…. oh my god. Why are you saying that as if I should be pleased with you? Do you want an allowed quota of murder? No more than two a month? Because I know that you miss it! Most people don’t kill other people!”

Oksana’s eyes narrow, and she whispers her response slowly, as though Eve is failing to understand.

“I am not like most people, and you know that.

Eve looks up at the ceiling for a moment, and then returns her gaze to Oksana.

“So what, what does the idea of you and me look like in your head? I go to work and do something mundane, whilst you wander around killing people recreationally?”

Oksana rubs her hand across her mouth, and stares at her for a moment.

“I don’t know, okay? I don’t know. But I thought… I thought you were okay with that. With this. With me. You knew all this. I thought…” Oksana sighs heavily, and then shrugs, looking defeated. “I thought you liked me.”

Eve presses her lips together, and remembers, remembers the feeling of holding Oksana’s hand in her own.

“I do, I just… I don’t know. I’m….I don’t know if I can do not normal forever. I feel like… I want to be working back towards a life where I’m safe, where we’re safe, when we can relax for more than an hour at a time, and…I don’t know if that’s what you want. I think that you think it would be boring.”

A vague look of distaste passes across Oksana’s face, only for a fraction of a second, but long enough for Eve to know that she agrees. Oksana clears her throat.

“Well, I mean. I could try it.”

“But you’d hate it, and so you’d eventually hate me.”

Oksana bites her lip, and then shakes her head firmly.

“Never.”

There’s a silence. And it stretches, and how it stretches, and Eve thinks she might have just discovered reality again. That all of this has just been fantasy, a crazy fantasy. But it was never going to last forever, it couldn’t, not with reality sucking her back to earth.

Oksana looks as though she is about to start crying, and she wipes furiously at her eyes.

Eve’s heart breaks.

“Oh, sweetheart, come here, just, come here.” And she scoots back on the bed with her arms outstretched to Oksana, who comes towards her after only a moment’s hesitation.

Eve wraps her arms around her, and squeezes tight, just to try and feel real again. Oksana lets out a little half sob.

“I wish I was not like this. I wish I was different.”

“But you are like this, you can’t be something else. I’d like you less.”

Oksana snorts slightly through her tears, and then says “Well then, you are very hard to please.”

Eve sighs, and pulls them both down, until they’re lying on the mattress and Oksana is curled into her side.

And she’s warm, and alive, and did Eve really think that it would be any other way?

“Stay with me tonight. Here, just… sleep here tonight, okay? We can figure it out in the morning.”

Oksana nods slightly, and then she’s reaching for Eve’s hand, and she’s knotting her fingers through Eve’s as though sheer will power can prevent them from breaking loose forever.

…..

Chapter Text

Oksana wakes suddenly, inhaling air into her lungs in a panic.

She sits upright quickly, and blinks around for her gun. She wasn’t supposed to sleep here. She should be in the other room, away from Eve, waiting for the inevitable knock on the door and the moment when she has to bullshit her way out of another bad dream scenario…

Eve’s hands reach for her.

“Hey, whoa, you’re okay.”

“I can’t find… where’s my gun?”

Eve rubs the small of her back.

“It’s…. in a forest somewhere. Remember? It had a tracker on it, so you hid it in the forest.”

“Okay, then my knife-”

Eve sits up next to her, and cups her chin. “Oksana. You don’t need a weapon right now. The Twelve haven’t got a trace on you any more. You can relax.”

Oksana rubs at her eyes, and slowly the memories organise themselves into a coherent thread.

They’re not in immediate danger. It’s a peculiar feeling… and one that Oksana doesn’t fully recognise.

“We should get up, go, we have things that we need to do-”

Eve groans, and then scrabbles around underneath her pillow until she locates her phone.

“It’s… uh, it’s only ten past seven. We really don’t need to get up.”

“I need to find a gun.”

“In Carlisle at ten past seven in the morning? Okay, good luck with that.”

Oksana turns to look at Eve, and her hair is next level everywhere, it seems to have passed beyond the normal dimensions available.

Her heart clenches, and clenches, because Eve is the centre around which her happiness is orbiting, and Oksana cannot allow anything to happen to her.

“No, you don’t understand, I can’t just wander around with no way of protecting you.”

A grimace passes over Eve face, but then it smooths out, and Eve is tugging Oksana back down into the mattress. Oksana allows this, and then rolls on to her side, looking at Eve fretfully. Eve smiles, and strokes her face.

“Okay stress head, I know that this is an alien concept for you, but sometimes, having weapons…makes things worse.”

Oksana groans, and rolls sideways into her pillow, just to avoid looking at Eve for a moment.

She doesn’t know how to tell her that she is never going to feel normal without weapons, it isn’t something Oksana is ever going to be able to do.

Instead she says “At least I still have my knife.”

Eve snorts, sounding borderline amused.

“Exactly. And if that doesn’t work, I’ve already decided that I’m going to knock any assailants out with my handbag so-”

Oksana lifts her head, and glares at her. “No, do not be ridiculous that would not- oh. You are joking?”

Eve’s lips work for a second, and then she smiles.

“I’m going back to sleep. Come here. And be big spoon again, I liked it.”

“Mmph, okay, if I must.”

“Oh shut up, you love it.”

……

Carlisle has a reddish glow to it, in the mid morning sun.

Oksana tries extremely hard not to be reminded of blood. But she’s feeling… out of sorts. She’s seen a version of the future, and it is one in which they don’t survive, but not because they get killed. Instead, it is a version in which Eve eventually leaves her, because she can’t cope with who Oksana is and what she does.

The killing is fundamental to her. Oksana can’t imagine not doing it. She already feels restless. It has been too long.

Eve is in a different sort of mood; she’s all productive and goal orientated. She chooses a cafe for them to eat in, and orders them both a coffee.

“What do you want to eat?”

“I’m not hungry.”

Eve eyes her as though she doesn’t believe her, and then shrugs. She produces a notepad and pen from her bag, and looks eagerly at Oksana.

“So, what do we actually need in order to stay alive?”

Oksana chews her lip.

“Food, water. Somewhere to sleep. A way to keep the Twelve distant. Protection.” Eve writes each of these down diligently, as though the action can bring them into existence. Oksana clears her throat. “And I will need a gun.”

Eve looks at her. Oksana looks back.

“If you expect me to be able to sleep at night, I will need to know I can shoot the assassin that will eventually come to kill us.”

Eve looks as though she is thinking about contesting the point, but then writes down ‘gun?’ She mumbles ‘I don’t think you can get those in Tescos…”

Oksana doesn’t say anything, just stirs some sugar into her coffee. Eve push some hair away from her face, and smiles cautiously at Oksana.

“Okay, so what do we need to be happy?”

Oksana swallows, suddenly fighting a lump in her throat.

“Just… you. Liking me.”

Eve looks down at her list again and smiles.

“Okay, you charmer, that’s… I’m going to need a job, and uh. The ability to see my old friends. An internet connection. Spare money, which means a job of some sort. A good range of take out options. And… a home that I can stay in, I am not going to be able to live out of a bag forever. To feel safe from the Twelve.”

Oksana knows that her eyebrows have been rising higher and higher on her forehead as this list goes on.

She clears her throat. “That is not a short list.”

“No, it isn’t. Bordering on Quixotic, some of these requests. But I figured that we needed some honesty.”

Oksana takes a slow sip of her not very good coffee. She pulls a face.

“Ew, okay, for me to be happy I am going to need a coffee machine. And… to not live a boring life. And… I like killing people. I’m not going to be happy if I have to stop.”

Eve stares at her for a long second, until Oksana flinches, and looks away from her, out of the window at the people passing by. She tries to keep her voice even.

“What? You said we needed honesty. Or did you expect a different form of honesty from me?”

Eve doesn’t say anything, and after a moment, Oksana looks back at her. Eve expression is… one that Oksana doesn’t recognise.

“What?”

Eve shrugs.

“Sometimes… I remember all over again that you killed Bill.”

Oksana almost says “who?” because she’s feeling petulant, but she bites down on the impulse. She sweeps some sugar grains off the table top, focusing on not moving too quickly.

“You… this is not news for you. Why are you talking about it?”

“Because - oh, I don’t know.”

Oksana can feel her own irritation rising, because this is all just pointless, she is never going to be a version of herself that Eve likes. Now her voice is sarcastic.

“What, you only like me if I’m killing people that you don’t know? That’s a fucked up sort of morality, at least I’m consistent.”

Eve sighs, and puts down her pen.

“Why are you being a dick?”

Oksana bites her lip, and looks down at the table.

“Look, if you are not going to be okay with me… I would prefer it if you would just leave now. And I promise I won’t kill Niko, or whatever whatever, but if you are going to decide that actually you want a normal life with your old friends and take away menus and no murder, then you should stop whatever the fuck this is and just… go.”

Eve looks at her incredulously.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, how did you reach that conclusion from what I had just been saying?”

Oksana rolls her eyes, and now she’s warming to the theme.

“You know what the fuck is wrong with me. You read my file. You were a big fan of my work. So please stop with this false… bullshit about normal this and normal that. I don’t want to wait for you to leave, I would prefer it if you just left me now. I don’t want a version of us in which you are always disapproving and disappointed. I had that with Anna, and it was shit.

Eve throws one of her hands up in the air, and then stuffs her notepad back in the bag. She glares angrily at Oksana.

“Why are you making us have an argument?”

Oksana scoffs, because of course this is only her fault.

“Because I feel like suddenly you don’t know who I am, and you don’t trust who I am, and you don’t like who I am!”

People in the cafe glance at them, and then glance away. Eve bites her lip, suddenly quiet.

“Can we not do this here?”

Oksana folds her arms, refusing to moderate the volume of her voice.

“Why, am I embarrassing you?”

“Jesus, what is- is this about last night?”

Yes, Oksana realises, it is. Eve announced that she could basically never be happy with Oksana, and then they went to sleep after Oksana cried? They didn’t finish the conversation.

“Yes. It is. So-”

Eve throws some money down on the table, and stands up.

“Come on. We’re going.”

“I don’t want to, I am enjoying my coffee.”

Eve grabs at her hand, and tugs her upright.

Outside, Eve pulls her down a side street, and then pulls her close. She whispers angrily at her.

“You think that I don’t like you? God, you think that I survive any of this chaos without being madly in love with you? Because in that case you are as stupid as me, I can’t even-”

Oksana doesn’t wait for permission, she just kisses Eve hard.

Eve moans into her mouth, and parts her lips, and presses her body against Oksana, as though no space at all would be too much space.

Oksana’s breath hitches, and she runs her hand up Eve’s body, cupping her breast greedily.

And Eve gasps, and moans again, and whispers into her mouth.

“I need you to fuck me.”

Chapter Text

They’re in an elevator. They’re going up.

Eve leans on one of the walls, and Oksana leans on the wall opposite. They are exactly opposite, facing each other totally.

Oksana is staring at her, staring and staring, and the anger is still there, the insecurity, but it has all been distilled into something more primal. Eve can feel her body thrumming with want.

The elevator dings.

It’s the same hotel room as last night. And it is… christ, not even the afternoon yet.

Eve has no idea what day it is.

Oksana closes the hotel room door behind her with certainty, and then Eve is on her, practically climbing her as she presses her mouth against Oksana’s and moaning at the feel of her.

Oksana nearly stumbles, but recovers, and then she has picked Eve up, and has pressed her against a wall. Oksana leans into her, jolts her hips forward in a sudden, unchecked movement. Eve gasps, and wraps her legs around Oksana’s waist, and god she wants, she wants, she wants…

Oksana’s tongue is in her mouth, and god she needs to be naked, this isn’t okay any more.

Eve gasps as Oksana’s hips press into her again, and again, in uncontrolled motions, and the thought of Oksana losing control and taking whatever she wants is almost unspeakably sexy, no matter the anger that is still lingering in the air.

“God, baby, I want you so much, I need to you fuck me, just… I need it to happen now-”

Oksana’s tongue licks at her own, but then Oksana is slowing, in an act of considerable self restraint.

She places Eve back on the floor, and even manages to check that Eve’s legs are going to work, before releasing her entirely.

Each step Oksana takes away from her feels like a physical pain, even though Oksana only goes as far as the bed, and sits down.

She stares at Eve for a long moment, and then puts her head in her hands.

“I need…. I need you to tell me this isn’t you saying goodbye. I’m not going to… if you have just been waiting for this so you can leave me afterwards and go back to normal, then I’m not going to do it, I won’t, I won’t-”

Eve can barely understand her words, and comes forward, cupping Oksana’s face and raising her chin so Eve can look at her.

“No” she says simply. “It isn’t.”

Oksana closes her eyes for a moment, and breathes in a shuddery breath.

“Are you sure? Because I can’t… I don’t want this to be the only time I touch you, and I don’t want you to just want me this way, god, I want you to want all of me, all of it-”

Eve leans down to kiss her, and then she’s climbing onto Oksana’s lap, and Oksana’s hands are on her hips, pulling her closer.

“I am sure. And I do want all of you, god help me” Eve whispers, and then she’s pressing herself even closer as they kiss, and Oksana’s arms are wrapped around her, and Oksana’s hands are in Eve’s hair.

Eve rises slightly in Oksana’s lap, and presses herself down on to nothing with a frustrated whimper, and she can hear how Oksana is almost choking with desire. And Oksana’s hand is grabbing at her outer thigh, and Eve can tell that she is desperate to press her hand against Eve, to give her some of the friction and pressure Eve is looking for, but she’s hesitating.

“What’s wrong?”

Oksana blinks at her with wide, conflicted eyes, and Eve suddenly understands.

She doesn’t know how far she’s allowed to go, she doesn’t know how much of her own desires would be too much for Eve. The recent arguments mean that Oksana doesn’t know how much of herself Eve actually wants.

And Eve feels terrible for giving Oksana the sense that she is uncertain about any of this, because she’s never been more certain about something in her life.

But the idea that she could cross a line, go too far and break this fragile bubble, has Oksana groaning with a tremulous fear. She presses her lips together anxiously before she speaks.

“What can I do? I don’t want to… I don’t want to break any rules.”

Eve sighs, and kisses her again, so sweetly, its too sweet, it’s too good.

“You can do anything. I want you to do anything you want to.”

“But… but…” and Oksana is still hesitating, still vulnerable to the fears of being too much for Eve. “Do you want me to take my clothes off, or-”

Oksana’s voice trails away, conflicted. Eve understands.

Eve stands up, stands in front of Oksana, a mere foot away from her. And with trembling fingers, she starts to take off her own clothes.

She’s never felt that certain about her body. It’s… okay, Eve has always concluded. Could be better, but could be worse. Her body takes her from room to room. Niko had liked parts of her well enough, well enough to smooth away Eve’s insecurities for long enough for her to feel good.

She’s never done anything like this. Never slowly and deliberately removed all her clothes in broad daylight for someone, whilst they watch, and watch, and watch…

Oksana swallows in that way that she always does, when Eve undoes her bra. And she’s barely glancing at her now, as though even looking would violate some boundary in Eve’s head. She’s watching her face, her shoulder, the wall behind her, even as Eve can tell what she wants.

God she feels incredible.

And now she’s naked, and she knows that the wetness between her legs must be visible, because she’s never felt this aroused in her life, Eve needs to invent new words just to cover the feeling.

Oksana is looking at her face, even as an obvious internal battle rages. Eve smiles softly, and reaches out to touch her face.

“You can look.”

Oksana’s gaze drops immediately, and Eve feels her gaze like a pressure on her skin, and it is difficult to stand still, to stay upright. Oksana bites her lip, and then looks back at Eve’s face.

“You are beautiful” she whispers, in a choked, reverent voice. Eve’s heart does something.

“What do you want?”

Oksana breaths in deeply through her nose, and then exhales.

“I feel like I have wanted you forever.”

And Eve remembers - I think about your mouth, and your eyes, and what you feel when you kill someone…

“So have me” Eve whispers.

Something seems to break in Oksana, and she reaches out for her, as Eve climbs back onto her lap.

And this is more than kissing now, this is sharing a breath, as Eve moans against her lips and Oksana rises to meet her, pulling Eve towards her with selfish hands.

But is still isn’t….enough, and after a second Oksana is breaking the kiss, gasping out her question.

“Wait, wait. What can I do?”

Eve moans, and almost grabs at one of Oksana’s hands to show her, because she’s going to die if she doesn’t have contact soon.

“Just touch me. Please.”

Oksana swallows, and swallows again when Eve drags her fingertips across her mouth, because they’re there and she’s desperate for her lips.

“Oh god” she moans, and then asks “Where?”

Despite the arousal washing through her brain, Eve grins and tilts her head to one side, because this cautious version of Oksana is suddenly very cute indeed. She bites her lip.

“Surprise me.”

With no hesitation, Oksana reaches up to touch her. Oksana runs her fingers down from her neck, over her breastbone, over her stomach, until she is between Eve’s legs.

Eve gasps, and then moans, and rests her forehead against Oksana’s.

“Oh fuck, you don’t fuck around.”

“I feel like I have wanted you forever” Oksana explains again. She leans into Eve’s neck, and licks a line up her throat, as her fingers start to gently, gently... oh god.

And jesus, Eve already feels like she is teetering on the edge of an orgasm. Oksana’s mouth is on her collarbone, and she drags slow teeth over it, as she spins Eve’s entire world on two miraculous fingertips. She moans.

“Oh god, oh no, of course you’re good at this, you’re going to be way too good at this, you’re going to make me come in a couple of minutes unless you stop…”

Oksana looks up at her, suddenly smugly delighted with herself. Eve somehow has the presence of mind necessary to coordinate one of her limbs, and she flips Oksana off, pressing her middle finger to Oksana’s face in a futile gesture of mock resistance.

Oksana laughs at her, and then kisses at her hand, and her fingers slide lower, and then into her, and Eve cries out softly, and drops her head onto Oksana’s shoulder.

Oksana presses her mouth to Eve’s ear, and whispers “And so I will fuck you again, and again, and again…”

Eve whimpers, and god all of her thoughts have become detached, there’s just Oksana, and Eve’s unholy desire for her, for Oksana to have her in every way that Eve can give herself.

She’s clenching around Oksana’s fingers now, and she’s so close, and that’s when Oksana’s thumb finds her, and works slow circles that are sending Eve higher, and higher-

Oksana fists her spare hand in Eve’s hair, and tugs her head up, kissing her greedily.

And then she is whispering words against her mouth, even as Eve whimpers, and cries out.

“I am in love with you too. So all the... problems. It doesn’t matter. We are lovers. We will make it work.”

And Eve believes her, as she tips over the edge.

Because it is true.

Chapter Text

Oksana has always had weakness for poetry.

She’s always liked words, and translating, and the way that every language has gaps. Missing words that are needed to cover certain specific emotions, but the language falls short, because the emotion is too specific, too powerful.

And learning other languages meant that Oksana could fill some of those gaps, as other languages sometimes did have the missing word. And Oksana could neatly overlay language after language until nearly every missing word was no longer missing. Each annoying gap between emotion and articulation could be filled, as long as Oksana had kept learning languages.

Anna’s classroom had had a quote written on the wall.

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world

Anna had laughed at her, when Oksana had declared this as one of her primary reasons in her goal to learn every language.

“Okay darling, you are good, but you cannot be that good. No one can.”

“I refuse to be limited.”

“I’m not sure that Wittgenstein had intended for you to take his words literally.”

And then Oksana had leaned across Anna’s desk and kissed her, for the first time. Anna had gasped, and pushed her away, but two days later Oksana had her, in the store room, moaning under her touch.

That’s when Oksana had first felt like maybe she could win. Maybe she could break out from the limitations.

But it had always been a compromise too far with Anna, and Oksana had needed to hide too much of herself for Anna to like her, and in the end it was just another set of limitations.

She had not forgotten the quote though.

And the poetry she could write, if she just knew every word.

…..

Sex reduces people’s vocabulary.

It’s a weakness that Oksana loves inducing in people. Stripping away the wide limits of their world until they’re just left with half sentences and simple fragmented phrases, trying to articulate their emotions with obscenities and noises.

“Oh god, oh god, oh god, fuck, yes, oh god yes right there, oh fuck yes, oh baby, oh fuck, oh, fuck…”

Eve moans into Oksana’s mouth, the second time she makes her come. She moans into Oksana’s mouth, and grabs at her, curling her fingers into Oksana’s hair with a whimpering sigh.

Oksana kisses at her lips, and at the pulse point beating wildly at the base of her neck.

Eve doesn’t say anything for a good few minutes, just breathes deeply.

And then she murmurs “Are you going to let me get off your lap now?”

She is still far too articulate for Oksana’s tastes. Oksana grins, and moves her fingers slightly, enjoying the way Eve shudders.

“Yes, but only because I can’t put my mouth on you from this position…”

“Oh, god.”

…..

Oksana loses count.

She can’t count the number of way she wants to kiss her, the number of seconds she wants to hold her, the number of heartbeats until it is enough, the number of tongue strokes it takes before Eve falls apart beneath her, crying out her name and arching up onto her lips.

It doesn’t matter. She’s never liked numbers. She can’t do anything with numbers.

…..

“God, are you trying to kill me?”

Oksana grins.

“La petite mort.”

“What?”

“It’s French, for orgasm. But it translates directly as ‘a little death’.

“Fuck, some of these have felt pretty big.”

Oksana leans over her, and noses her way along Eve’s jaw bone, to the space behind her ear. She slips her hand between Eve’s legs, enjoying the way Eve’s legs fall open for her, even as Eve groans in mock frustration.

“It is my revenge. For you stabbing me.”

Eve gasps as Oksana’s fingers find her. She mumbles out “Fuck, maybe I should stab you more often…”

“No, you really should not.”

“Yeah, okay, that was a stupid thing to say- oh jesus

…..

Words. She can do things with words.

“You are so beautiful.”

Eve smiles shyly at her, and turns her face away, embarrassed. And Oksana created that reaction, made it happen in a way that numbers never could.

“You are too much.”

Oksana laughs a little at that, and then sits up, and straddles Eve on the bed.

“Not for you I’m not.”

Eve looks up at her, and there’s a whole world in her eyes, and this is better than murder, she realises with a shock. Oksana has never found that before.

“No, not for me you’re not.”

Oksana licks her lips once, and then succumbs to her own needs, because she can’t ignore herself forever.

“I’m going to take my clothes off now, okay?”

“Oh god, finally, I thought you’d forgotten you have your own body.”

Oksana grins at the thought, and pulls off her top easily.

“Well, yours is very distracting…”

Eve stares at her, and then stares some more when Oksana removes her bra. And then she lifts herself up a little, and puts her mouth on Oksana’s breast, and Oksana loses all of her words, for a moment.

“Oh….. okay, can you tell me what to do for a little bit?”

Eve leans away from her, and glances up at her, amused.

“Do you like it when I do that?”

Oksana swallows, and nods.

“Yes. Very much. Please.”

…..

Eve’s hand finds Oksana’s scar, and then her mouth finds Oksana’s scar.

“I’m sorry I did this” Eve whispers onto her skin.

Oksana runs her fingers through Eve’s hair, and shrugs.

“I have forgiven you.”

Eve’s other hand runs lower, until it is just stroking up and down Oksana’s inner thigh. Up, and down. Up…..and down.

Oksana groans in frustration.

“Ask me why I did it.”

Oksana already knows the answer.

“Because I had said that you couldn’t. And you couldn’t bear the thought that I didn’t know your capabilities.”

Eve looks up at her, and Oksana can see that she’s given her the right answer.

And then Eve grins.

“No, it’s because you were annoying.”

Oksana snorts, and then laughs loudly. Eve smiles, and then kisses at her scar again.

And her fingers go up… and down.

Sighing as her laughter subsides, Oksana tips her head back on the bed, exhausted by the waiting.

“God, will you just fuck me already?”

Up… and down.

“Only when you admit that you are extremely annoying.”

“Okay, yes, fine, extremely annoying, that is what I am, the most annoying person in the world- oh god.”

…..

Eve doesn’t let her come for a long time, until she does, and Oksana cries out, wanting more even when she has everything.

And then, in the immediate aftermath, Eve touches Oksana again, this time whilst touching herself in tandem.

And she refuses to allow Oksana to touch either Eve or herself, so Oksana’s hands are on the mattress again, and she’s gripping at the sheets because she has to hold on to something.

She is allowed to use her words, though she is hardly at her most articulate.

“So good baby, it’s so good, you’re so good, keep going, keep going, god you make me so wet.”

Eve seems to lose herself for a second, and then she’s curling into Oksana’s side, and the hand that had been working between Oksana’s legs drops the rhythm. Eve starts to make the noises that Oksana has discovered she makes just before she comes, and the hand between her legs picks up the pace.

Oksana kisses her distracted mouth, and she is perfectly content to watch, but then Eve manages to choke out “get on top of me.”

And then she’s on top of her, and Eve’s hand is still working at herself, and Oksana can’t help herself, she straddles her thigh and bucks down onto her, hard.

Eve’s eyes fly open for a moment, and she moans.

“Yes, god, do that, but quick, I’m going to-”

Oksana doesn’t need any further encouragement, and she almost whimpers, as she does it again, and again, and again, grabbing at the back of Eve’s neck and bracing herself against the mattress and fucking her, fucking her, fuck, fuck-

And then Eve’s hand is there, and it is just a fist, just knuckles and tightly curled fingers, but it is the more specific pressure point that she needs to work herself over.

Eve moans, and arches up into her, and there are no words any more, it’s-

She-

It’s-

Oh

…..

She fell asleep.

Or passed out post orgasm, she isn’t sure.

Eve isn’t next to her. Oksana blinks sleepily, and pats down the duvet, checking that Eve somehow isn’t hiding, but then her ears register the noise of the shower.

She gets up, and pads over to the bathroom door, which is just ajar.

Eve sees her after a moment, and smiles shyly, wiping the water away from her face.

“You want to get in?”

Oksana nods once, and steps into the steam. Eve turns away from her coyly, and Oksana wraps her arms around Eve from behind, and places kisses on her shoulder.

“I’ve never felt like this before.”

Eve turns her face towards Oksana, and kisses her cheek.

“Try not to sound so worried about that.”

Oksana frowns slightly, because she is worried.

“But, you are making me feel like my words are not enough. I’m never going to be able to tell you how I feel because the words don’t work any more.”

Eve turns into her, and reaches up a hand to her face, stroking gently and kissing at the corner of her mouth.

“You don’t need words to tell me. You do it with your eyes.”

Oksana blinks, and smiles at her, and that’s when she remembers.

Eve must see the change on her face, because she tips her head to one side, and raises her eyebrows.

“What?”

She’s found a solution. One that might actually work.

Eve smiles at her, curiously. “What?” she asks again.

Oksana grins.

And Eve is just going to have to wait until after.

She kisses her.

Chapter Text

Eventually, eventually, they leave their room.

Thankfully the hotel’s bar is open twenty four hours, and they manage to order some food just before the kitchen closes. It’s a relief, because Oksana is on the verge of passing out from lack of sustenance, and Eve can’t be in a much better position.

They find a seat in the corner of the bar, and just…exist. They eat, and talk, and drink, and Oksana realises that Eve is looking more relaxed than she has ever seen her. The difference between Eve running for her life and Eve having a nice time on a date is a marked one, and one that Oksana finds she quite likes.

They talk about Eve’s family, and then Oksana surprises herself by talking about her family, such as it is, and that she can remember. It’s a fragmented, hazy set of memories, tinged with darkness and betrayal, but Oksana proffers some of it up for inspection. Eve listens carefully, and nods compassionately, and Oksana has never had someone show this much interest in her who wasn’t being paid to try and fix her.

Even better, Eve doesn’t come anywhere close to trying to fix her, just listens and absorbs and never pushes for details that Oksana is unwilling to give. And so when Oksana changes the subject, having abruptly reached her limit of sharing for now, Eve goes with it, and they’re talking about which movies they should watch instead.

Eve truly does have terrible taste, and a baffling penchant for movies in which nothing seems to happen. Oksana is delighted by this.

But, she has her own topic that she wants to talk about, and eventually she can’t help but bring it up.

“So, what’s stopping us from being safe?”

If Eve is thrown by the abrupt change of topic, she doesn’t let it show. She looks at her over her glass of wine, and then smiles.

“Didn’t we just try and do this yesterday? Didn’t we nearly end up getting a divorce in a cafe?”

Oksana shrugs. “We also ended up fucking for about ten hours?”

Eve chuckles, and then raises an admonishing finger.

“Okay, but please don’t try and instigate more of that, I will need at least twenty four hours before-”

Oksana nods sagely.

“Yes, that is true, you are walking like Captain Obvious right now.”

Eve looks like she is considering flicking a coaster at her, and Oksana grins into her gin and tonic, feeling lighter than she has ever felt. She holds up her hand in apology.

“I’m not trying to instigate anything. It’s just… instead of listing what we need, why not try listing what we need to avoid? I’m far better at avoidance tactics.”

Eve looks at her curiously for a long moment, and Oksana knows that Eve has spotted that she is holding something back. Oksana smiles innocently, and Eve chooses to play along. She leans forward on her elbows, and ticks off the points on her fingers as they come to her.

“We need to avoid... The Twelve. Or at least, a way to be safer from them. More secure. And we need. I don’t know. Somewhere to be able to live discreetly. We need to avoid being completely destitute, somehow. And…well, I’m pretty sure you are still on the run from the police here. MI5 aren’t going to go away any time soon. So, a way for that to go away, if we are going to be realistic.”

Oksana sits back in her chair.

“Hmmmm…” she says. “Difficult. Very tricky.”

Oksana rubs at her chin thoughtfully. Eve watches her stoically, and then takes a sip of her wine. Oksana taps her lips slowly, mimicking deep thought to an almost ludicrous degree.

Eve looks away from her, and takes another amused sip of wine.

“Okay, if our recent bedroom activities have taught us anything, it is that you have no self control or patience, and I have a lot.”

Oksana isn’t going to be beaten that easily.

“Well, it has also taught us that you prefer it when I use both my fingers and my-”

Eve clears her throat hurriedly, and looks back at her.

“Okay, okay, I give up. What is your idea?”

“So, do you have a way of getting in touch with your old boss? The lady with the face?”

Eve’s eyebrows flicker momentarily, and then she says “…I do? But, I mean, if your masterplan is to throw yourself on Carolyn’s mercy, then I’m not sure that that is exactly the solution that I was hoping for-”

“What, you mean you would not visit me in prison?”

Eve stares stony faced at Oksana, who relents after a moment.

She visited me when I was in prison.”

Eve nods, motioning for her to get to the point.

“I know, I saw the video footage.”

Oksana makes a face.

“Okay, stalker. Anyway, there was a lot of things happening and I was not sure if I was about to be killed and I hadn’t had any sleep… but I think that she was half asking me whether I’d ever considered… what’s the word… I think she was hinting at me that maybe I should defect. And work for her. So maybe we should look into that some more.”

…..

It’s so late, there’s almost no point in going back to bed.

They stay in the bar for another hour or so, and then catch the earliest train heading down to London instead, a sleepy, five am in the morning train. All the other passengers seem to be struck with a mute sort of horror at having to exist at this unreasonable hour, and so the carriage is extremely quiet.

Eve, on the other hand, is all animation, and Oksana finds herself shushing her frequently, to avoid being overheard talking about spies and murder.

“So, wait, I still don’t understand, what did she say exactly?

Oksana shrugs, because at the time she hadn’t really been concentrating. Once she’d established that she wasn’t about to die and that the Carolyn woman wasn’t offering her anything she had been interested in at the time, she’d pretty much just fell asleep with her eyes open.

“Oh, I can’t really remember. She complimented my unusual skill set. And then said something about discretion and transition, and had then talked shit about Konstantin for a while, that was fun. She called him a faithless arsehole, and then asked me if I’d considered any opportunities to expand my range… I don’t know, it was all a bit, elaborate, and she didn’t actually say anything definite, you know?”

Eve nods, and then says “She’ll have been maintaining deniability.”

“Well, she was not maintaining my interest very much, and so I stopped listening. However, if the opportunity arose to chat again, I would listen very carefully.”

Eve chews on her lip thoughtfully.

“She hired me to find you. But she didn’t… say why she wanted to find you. Not exactly. I’d always assumed it was to stop you, but that doesn’t make much sense on reflection, because you hadn’t been operating in the UK for nearly all the time that she was looking for you. You should have been someone else’s problem.”

Oksana grins at that.

“I am everyone’s problem.”

Eve snorts slightly, and rolls her eyes towards Oksana.

“Truly. So…what? You think that Carolyn might… might hire you?”

After a moment, Oksana leans across, and kisses her.

“Maybe. I don’t know. But it might be something to look into. If you could call her, we could arrange somewhere to meet?”

“Oh, I never had her phone number, that was restricted intel.”

Oksana frowns, puzzled.

“Then how are we going to-”

Eve grins.

“We’ll have to just drop by. I know where she lives.”

Oksana feels her eyebrows rise, and then she smiles delightedly.

“That’s a very stupid idea.”

“Well, I do have form.”

Oksana kisses her again.

Oh, this is going to be so much fun.

Chapter Text

“Okay, okay, I’m just….brainstorming, but- what if she immediately calls the police? Or presses a panic button, or something like that?”

Oksana shrugs, taking a bite of the panini she’d insisted on buying. She tosses one of her spare napkins in the bin as they pass it, and glances at Eve.

“We run away? Besides, we are in… nice London. There won’t be police instantly available, we’ll have a few minutes. Which way?”

Eve indicates down a street to their right, and then asks another question, because she’s nervous.

“There could be police instantly available, I’m pretty sure that she’s senior enough in the security services to have protection and some kind of watch over her. And anyway, where do we run to? ‘Run away’ is not a helpful plan for me.”

“I’ll make it work. Besides, we won’t have to run away. She’ll want to turn the situation to her advantage, and she can’t do that if she alerts the authorities and makes everything official.”

“Yeah, I guess” Eve says fretfully. She rubs at the back of her neck, and tries to breath deeply.

Oksana reaches out, and grabs her hand, tugging her to a halt.

“Listen. I can just go and speak to her by myself, if you would prefer? If you are nervous? And then if I need to run, I can run, and then we can find each other later?”

Eve winces slightly, because that still sounds like a terrible idea. Oksana sighs, and rubs her thumb over the back of Eve’s hand.

“This is the best plan we’ve got. And the benefits… it’s worth the risk.”

Eve nods.

“I know. I know. I just… if she sees you standing on the doorstep she’s probably going to call the police first, without even opening the door. And if you break in you’ll probably trigger some kind of alarm, and if you point a gun at her head when she comes out to empty the bins you aren’t exactly going to get the meeting off to a great start.”

Oksana stares at her, saying nothing. Eve swallows, and then nods, certain.

“I’ll meet with her first. She’s hardly going to call the police or trigger an alarm at the sight of me.”

…..

Okay. Okay.

The last time Eve had turned up at Carolyn Martins house, it had been because Villanelle had broken into her house, broken down her bathroom door, eaten half of her shepherd’s pie, threatened Eve at knife point, and (on reflection) almost made out with her.

But now Villanelle is Oksana to Eve, and the whole situation is… somehow more ludicrous.

Do you want to offer my girlfriend a job? She’s in the market, and has promised only to kill the people that you ask her to…

Christ, do the British Intelligence Services even have an ‘assassins’ department? Surely that sort of thing only happens in unrealistic tv dramas?

Eve takes a deep breath, and presses the doorbell.

When Carolyn appears in the hall way, she only hesitates for half a second, before opening the door and gesturing Eve inside with an impatient motion.

“You’ll have to follow me in, I’m at a very delicate part of the icing process. Close the door behind you.”

…..

The kitchen looks as though it has been ransacked. Every cupboard is open, each flat surface is covered with dirty bowls, utensils, and ingredients. In one corner there’s half a bag of flour dropped in a white static explosion, with careless footprints walked through it.

On the table that Carolyn leans over, there is a lopsided cake of three tiers.

“It’s Kenny’s birthday tomorrow” Carolyn says by way of explanation, and motions for Eve to sit on a stool. The stool, on inspection, is covered in sugar, but Eve brushes a discrete hand across it, and then perches nervously on it.

“It’s nice of you to bake him a cake.”

“Yes” says Carolyn shortly. “Well. It seems to be what I do. Each birthday. Can’t seem to find a way of extracting myself from the tradition, though I’m certain that he’d prefer one from Sainsbury’s.”

She blinks owlishly at a piece of paper on the table, and then rests her hands on her hips, glaring around the kitchen.

“It says here I need a palette knife, can you see one? Check that drawer, would you?”

Eve does as bid, and extracts the required utensil. Carolyn beckons at her.

“Come on, this chocolate is going to set…. okay, if you pour, I’ll spread. Ready?”

…..

After ten minutes of struggle, in which Eve somehow gets flicked with chocolate multiple times, Carolyn eases the cake into the fridge.

“Worst job of the year, every time.”

Eve wipes her hands across her brow.

“Maybe next year you could just…buy a cake and pretend you made it?”

Carolyn looks at her, and narrows her eyes.

“But he’d know I hadn’t.”

“But…would he really call you out on it?”

After a thoughtful pause, Carolyn seems to remember who Eve is, and abruptly changes the subject.

“Anyway. We need to talk. I’m going to put the kettle on - do you still take black coffee?”

…..

Carolyn walks away from the state of her kitchen easily, and closed the door behind her. She motions at Eve to sit on the couch, and perches herself at the other end. After sliding a coaster towards her, she puts down her cup of tea, and sits back.

She looks at Eve, and then says mildly. “So. Here you are.”

Eve nods. “Here I am.”

“I had specifically told you to not go to Paris.”

“Yes.”

“And yet you went.”

“Yes. You have already fired me for that. And, I should let you know that I have done more things that I shouldn’t do since we last spoke.”

Carolyn appears to file that for later inspection, and then folds her hands in her lap.

“And then you came back to the UK. We traced the use of your passport.”

“Yes.”

“And then you… felt the need to disappear.”

“Yes.”

“You did not satisfactorily explain why. Equally, you have not yet explained what happened in Paris.”

Eve gulps, and then plunges into it. “I had… I had to hide from Villanelle. I had reason to believe she would want to hurt me.”

Carolyn gazes blankly at her. “Why?”

Eve closes her eyes for a moment. “I uh, I had stabbed her.”

“You had stabbed her?” Carolyn’s voice only registers a flicker of surprise.

“Yes.”

“But not killed her.”

“No.”

Carolyn doesn’t say anything for a moment, and then reaches for her cup of tea. She blows on the surface a couple of times, before taking a cautious sip. She then puts the cup down again, and turns back to Eve.

“So, you are here because… you no longer believe yourself to be in danger from her?

Eve bites her lip. “No.”

“And how do you know this?”

Eve… hesitates. Carolyn is watching her face carefully, and her voice now contains a hint of eagerness.

“Has she contacted you? Are you in touch with her?”

It’s ridiculous, how shy Eve suddenly feels about the exact nature of her relationship with Oksana. “Yes. She is… we are…. she is now protecting me from the Twelve, who have decided to try and kill both of us.”

Carolyn absorbs this, and then sits back in her chair again, never taking her eyes from Eve. Eve clears her throat nervously.

“We were hoping-”

“We?” Carolyn interrupts.

“Yes” says Eve firmly. “We were hoping that you would still be interested in hiring her. Having her work for the service.”

Carolyn’s eyebrows flicker momentarily, and she refolds her hands.

“I have never expressed an interest in hiring her.”

“Not to me. But you did to her. And… why else try to track down an assassin not operating on British soil, who had not murdered any British subjects?”

“She was operating on British soil. And she has murdered British subjects”

“But you had been tracing her long before that. You had that office set up for at least a year before I arrived, and that is a year before she should have started to be of interest to you. You were trying to… head hunt her.”

Carolyn looks away from Eve for the first time, and then takes a slow sip of her tea, and then cradles the cup in her hands. She clears her throat.

“Konstantin and I were lovers, for a while.”

Eve blinks, because although she suspected, she didn’t expect Carolyn to-

Carolyn continues. “A long time ago. I was supposed to be extracting intelligence, but- we lost sight of that, for a while. It didn’t work out, ultimately, but we knew… in different circumstances…”

Eve doesn’t say anything. Carolyn puts down her tea, and now looks back at Eve steadily.

“You are lovers? You and her?”

Eve spreads her hands, and she’ll be damned if she starts blushing about this.

“I know it isn’t… orthodox.”

Carolyn gripes slightly, and then says “No. I would say it is highly irregular.”

Eve presses on, eager to not dwell on irregularities, because lord knows if she allowed this to get knotted up in irregularities they’ll never escape. “Would you be interested in meeting her? To discuss… possible employment opportunities?”

Carolyn looks at her for a long moment, and then says “How do I know that this isn’t some elaborate ruse to enable her to kill me?”

Eve smiles, and she could suggest that Oksana is a changed person, but she knows that such a line of defence would not be believed by Carolyn.

Besides, Eve is fairly sure that Oksana isn’t changed at all.

She shrugs instead.

“Because you can give her things that she wants.”

…..

Chapter Text

Oksana is drumming her fingers on the cafe table.

She stops them, and breaths out slowly.

Being nervous is never a helpful emotion.

Oksana is never nervous during the moment of crisis. She does dangerous things with simple ease, and they do not go wrong because nobody can really believe that anyone would do things so flagrantly. She gets away with it, every time, because she doesn’t hesitate, she just does.

But one of the reasons that Oksana is so efficient is because she cannot abide waiting. That’s when she gets nervous, that’s when the possibilities of failure creep at her, twisting in her hair and underneath her fingertips.

She doesn’t like to fail. She’ll cope with death, if and when it comes. But failure…

The cafe owner brings her croissant over. Oksana nods her thanks, and then tears into it with anxious fingers, keen to have them do something else other than want to tap restlessly at the table.

It’s been over an hour. Oksana cannot understand what is taking Eve so long. She’s already finished one coffee. Her phone remains determinedly silent.

This is why she is hopeless at working in a team, Oksana worries that a part of the plan not directly overseen by her with fall down somehow.

She just has to trust that Eve knows what she is doing.

It comes as a relief, when Eve walks into the cafe with Carolyn. Because at least now she can stop waiting and start doing.

Oksana stands up, in a pantomime of politeness, and says “Hello again” to Carolyn, who still looks as though she has just dropped her phone in soup. She pulls out a chair for Eve, and then looks at Carolyn, who motions towards the serving station.

“Anything for anyone?”

Eve shakes her head, and Oksana points at her croissant. “No, I am fine, thank you.”

Carolyn nods, and then moves away. Oksana can hear her order a sparkling water.

“Well?” she murmurs in Eve’s direction. Eve shrugs.

“She seems… willing to talk to you. Although I think she half believes you might try and kill her. So. Don’t do that please.”

Oksana shakes her head.

“No, obviously, bad first impression.”

Carolyn looks pretty cool for someone who believes death might be coming, and she sits at their table as though this is a routine meeting that she expects little from.

“I’ve never been in this place before; strange considering I live just around the corner.”

Oksana shrugs. “It is nice. The coffee is-” she glances at Eve, and then stops. She frowns.

“Wait, what do you have on your-” Eve’s face flickers, and she reaches up to her own forehead, self conscious. Oksana pulls a baffled face. “Is that…chocolate?” When Eve nods, Oksana wipes it away gently with the pad of her thumb. She proffers her thumb up for inspection.

“Why do you have chocolate on your head?”

Eve stutters slightly.

“We, um. Carolyn needed help decorating a cake.”

“It was a crucial moment” Carolyn explains, as though this is any explanation.

Oksana tips her head to one side. “And you didn’t bring me any?”

Eve rolls her eyes, and then motions slightly with her hands.

“Okay, can we just get down to…business.”

……

It takes a while. For the first ten minutes, Carolyn is unwilling to even admit that the British secret service might have a role for someone like Oksana.

But Oksana can play bullshit with the best of them, whilst Carolyn and Eve talk aimlessly about protocol and professional boundaries.

She taps her fingers on the table once, decisively.

“Okay, if there is no role here, I will go else where. Another country in Europe without such an impressive moral backbone.”

Carolyn’s lips flicker, and she looks at Oksana for what feels like the first time in a while.

“But London is your first choice.”

Oksana shrugs.

“No. I am easy.”

Carolyn indicates at Eve.

“But it is her first choice. And her choices have become yours.”

Oksana shifts slightly in her seat, and glances at Eve.

“Very well. But we come to you first because you came to me first. You know what I can do. You have been watching me for a while, and not just out of a morbid fascination. If I went to another agency, I would have to prove what I can do.”

Carolyn takes a sip of her drink, and then puts it down carefully. The condensation pools on the table.

“You do have… a very particular skill set. You are good at what you do.”

“I am excellent at what I do.”

Eve is nervous. Oksana tries to breathe through it for her.

Carolyn says “If there was a…role. It would be specific, and discreet, and… we’d need to know that you weren’t going to lose focus. And, hypothetically speaking, if you got into difficulties whilst on an assignment…there would be no public support from us. You would be on your own.”

Oksana shrugs. She would not expect to operate any other way.

Carolyn continues to talk.

“Equally, we’d need unquestioning compliance. And, at some point, you may well be asked to act against your previous employers.”

Oksana smiles slightly.

“Yes. Although I would not be willing to kill Konstantin.”

Carolyn nods once, and her face betrays nothing.

Eve speaks. “And in return?”

“There would a house. In London. Designed to be safe. There would be regular pay, on a level fair to your abilities and experience. We would provide you with the means to be discreet, and a means to take out the targets we request. We could make you disappear again. We would make you…difficult to access by your former employers. More difficult than you could achieve alone.”

Eve murmurs “hypothetically?” Carolyn looks at her, and then nods once. Oksana rubs her chin.

“And Eve?”

Carolyn looks steadily at her.

“I’m sure we could figure something out. Some kind of… separate role.”

Oksana sits back in her chair, and then nods, once. Carolyn doesn’t return the gesture, and then clears her throat.

“Explain to me why I should employ someone who has already killed two of my other employees?”

Eve goes very still, because she’s spotted that this is the crucial moment.

Oksana could say ‘Because they were not very good at their jobs, and I will be twice as useful.”

She could say “Because I will become an even bigger problem for you if you do not employ me.”

She could say “I nearly killed three, be grateful.”

Instead she sighs, and says “I’m sorry.”

…..

Carolyn leaves Oksana with a phone number.

“Call this tomorrow. It will put you through to a removals company. They will be moving you into your new home. All the necessary documentation will be waiting for you; I would suggest that you read it extremely carefully, and commit to memory.”

“How are you going to keep Eve safe? I can look after myself if necessary, but Eve…”

Eve hauls her handbag slightly higher on her shoulder, and clears her throat, irritated. “Hello, I’m right here?”

Carolyn smiles.

“From what I am hearing, the Twelve are a little… overworked right now. A little overstretched. And they’ve lost their best asset. I think they may well be entering a period of consolidation. We can make it so that killing Eve is more trouble than it is worth for them. You should both be reasonably safe.”

Oksana turns to look at Eve, eyebrows raised. And she’s asking the question, before she even realises.

“This is the best I can do. Is it enough?”

Eve bites her lip, and reaches out to her, stroking her thumb across her cheek bone, just for a moment.

“Yes.” she says, certainly.

Chapter Text

It takes about three weeks, all told.

The house that they are presented with is an old Georgian terrace, on a quiet street lined with trees.

A serious man with a neat hair cut greets them, and starts to show them through the security features of the house. He is full of clipped sentences about the qualities of the doors and windows, and the alarm system, and which button summons an armed response team within a couple of minutes.

Eve leaves Oksana to stand with the serious man and absorb all of this, confident in her abilities to re-explain it to Eve later.

She wanders through the house. It has wooden floors, and high windows that flood each room with light. Each room is white, but the walls have a faded quality, and need a fresh coat.

There’s a kitchen, small yet serviceable, and a tiny back garden, almost entirely overgrown.

Eve lets her fingertips drag over each wall, as though unwilling to believe it is real unless more than one of her senses confirm the situation.

Almost every room is entirely empty. But there’s a bed frame, in the room at the top of the house, and next to it an old brown leather chair.

Eve sits down with a sigh, and closes her eyes. She smiles, when she hears the front door close.

After a few minutes, Oksana finds her. She leans on the door frame, and observes her. Eve is again reminded of a cat, watching, and perfectly content and unabashed to be caught staring.

Eventually Oksana says “You love it, don’t you?”

Eve smiles slowly.

“I do.”

…..

Of course, not every moment can be filled with a joyful unreality.

There is a soul destroying, brain numbing morning spent in IKEA, during which time Oksana literally sits on every couch and touches every throw and cushion, whilst Eve is trying to measure up wardrobes.

Eventually, Oksana appears next to her, and just says ‘You know that there are design companies who would do this for you? I will call one, and they can do the boring stuff. Come and choose a cushion, and also I have seen a lampshade that speaks to my soul.”

After two more nights of essentially camping in a house, that company arrives in the form of a couple of designers. Oksana, unsurprisingly, has very specific ideas about interior design, and Eve leaves her to lay out her ideas to them. She wades out into the garden, and sets about hacking away at the long grass and brambles.

She spends a number of hot, sweaty hours out there, seemingly making no impression on the thicket of vegetation whatsoever. Once, when she straightens up and looks up at the house, she can see Oksana watching her through a window. When Eve pushes her hair out of her eyes, Oksana is gone again.

The design company leave in the late afternoon. Eve rests her hands on her hips, eyeing the enormous pile of vegetation she has managed to gather in the centre of the garden, and cautiously grappling with the notion that she has no idea what to do with it next.

Oksana appears in the doorway, and she’s gotten changed, into a silk robe that Eve has never seen before.

“You know that there are companies who do that, as well?”

Eve nods and rubs a hand across her forehead, no doubt smearing dirt across her face.

“I know. I just wanted to… take ownership. Show it who is boss.”

Oksana doesn’t say anything for a moment, and then clears her throat.

“Do you want to shower?”

“Yes, ugh, that sounds amazing.”

Oksana smiles at her.

“And then… do you want to seduce me?”

Eve laughs slightly.

“Seduce you…. are you planning to play hard to get? Are you even wearing anything under that robe?”

Oksana smile turns into a different sort of smile, and she shrugs with one shoulder, causing the robe to fall open a little more. And Eve will never know if it is deliberate, she will never know…

“No. I am not wearing anything.”

“So you are playing hard to get by…?”

Oksana grins. “By insisting that you shower first.”

…..

In another few days, the furniture arrives.

Oksana is… a quite highly pitched version of herself, and Eve can see the restless perfectionist coming through. And there’s a resigned look in the workers eyes, as they know that they have encountered the client from hell.

Eve weighs up the possible dangers of her leaving, vs the possible dangers of her staying. Carolyn has reassured her again that there is no sign of the Twelve performing any operations any further west than Berlin. Besides, she has to start reclaiming normal somewhere, and she can’t continue to use Oksana as an omnipresent bodyguard forever, they’ll both suffocate. She picks up her phone and her bag, and presses a kiss to Oksana’s cheek.

“I’m going out. Have fun. Don’t kill anyone.”

“What, and get blood everywhere, are you insane- no, that doesn’t go in that room…”

…..

Much later that day, Oksana messages her.

You can come home now.

Eve has never had much of an eye for interior design beyond functionality, but even she can see that Oksana has achieved something beautiful.

Oksana is lying on their new couch, dressed in a t shirt and comfy jeans, looking exhausted. It’s the weirdest version of Oksana that Eve thinks she has ever seen.

“Please tell me you like it.”

“Of course I do.”

Oksana blinks seriously at her.

“A message arrived from Carolyn today. I am expected to report for orientation and clearance checks tomorrow. I will not be around so much.”

Eve nods. And then she glances at the television.

“Does it work?”

Oksana nods, Eve motions at Oksana.

“Move up then. I think we are due a movie.”

Oksana arranges herself whilst Eve turns on the tv, and Eve sinks into her side, moving Oksana’s arms until she has her head on her chest and she can hear Oksana’s heartbeat, low and steady and reassuring.

Oksana sighs a couple of times, and then says “This is good.”

“Yes” Eve agrees.

…..

The three weeks come to a certain end when Oksana comes to find her in the kitchen, one sunny morning.

“I have been cleared. Officially. I start work today. I will not be here for a few nights, I don’t think. And I will not be able to contact you.”

They haven’t talked about this really, but Eve knows that this means Oksana has been given someone to kill. Eve thinks that she could have guessed it, just from the air of repressed excitement Oksana is carrying with her.

“Are they a bad person?”

Oksana looks cautiously at her.

“Yes? Your bosses seem to think so.”

“Would you tell me if they were a good person?”

Shrugging, Oksana says “I guess you will just have to trust that your government is only interested in making bad people disappear.”

There’s something twisting at the pit of Eve’s stomach, but she finds that it isn’t disgust.

It’s worry.

She presses a soft kiss to Oksana’s cheek.

“Be careful, okay?”

Oksana grins.

“I will. I always am.”

…..

She calls Niko.

There is one, terrible conversation in her old kitchen, in which Eve explains that she is very sorry, but she is never coming back, and she will be seeking a divorce whenever he is ready.

Niko’s jaw works for a moment, and then he shrugs.

“I have started seeing someone else, by the way. Someone from work. I had started seeing her before you fucked off to do whatever you did.”

“Oh?” Eve doesn’t really know what to do with this information, so she just stands there, waiting for more. She understands that Niko needs to feel like he has won at least some part of this.

“We had been on the cusp for a while. I knew she was interested, but… well. She doesn’t think I am boring” he continues after a moment, sounding like a sulky teenager.

Eve swallows, because she probably deserved that one.

“I wish you joy.”

Niko looks at her for a moment, and then nods.

“Are you happy?”

Eve smiles despite herself.

“Yes.”

“And I’m not going to get killed any time soon?”

“No.”

Niko laughs abruptly, and runs his hands through his hair, in the way that he always does.

“Well. I suppose that that’s the best we could have hoped for.”

……

Carolyn gives Eve her old job back.

In fact, it isn’t really her old job, because god knows what that was. This time it is a task force set up to try and determine the links between the various known victims of the Twelve, because, as Carolyn says, “if we could just figure out what their aims are, we could maybe get a bit closer to figuring out who the devil they are.”

It’s surreal to be back in this building.

She’s even sitting across from Elena. And Kenny is there as well, blinking like he’s seen a ghost.

Bill used to walk down these corridors. But Bill… Eve hopes he’ll forgive her. He’d understand, even if she doesn’t fully understand herself. Bill knew way before Eve knew.

After an awkward first morning, Elena brings Eve a coffee.

“So, just between you, me and the Ken doll over here…” she murmurs, “are you fucking the psychopath?”

Eve glances at both of them, and then rolls her eyes.

“Yes.”

Elena’s mouth drops open with an amused gasp, and Kenny nods at her, saying “Told you” baldly. Eve pulls a face.

“Okay, this is highly unprofessional.”

“We’re unprofessional? Oh my god Eve you have lost your head…”

Eve laughs. “Yes, quite possibly.”

…..

Oksana comes back to her after three nights, and crawls into the bed in the middle of the night, still wet and naked from the shower.

Eve gives herself to her willingly, and doesn’t mind the thought that Oksana showered to remove any trace of murder from her body before touching Eve.

Oksana’s mouth is between her legs, but her eyes are staring up at her. And Eve knows everything that Oksana has seen, and everything that Oksana has done, and it doesn’t matter, because Oksana looks at her like this.

Afterwards, Oksana climbs up her body, and Eve kisses her mouth clean, running the palms of her hands over the muscles in Oksana’s back.

Oksana whispers to her, and her hips work gently over Eve’s thigh.

“I remembered, sometimes, in order to do my job, I have to make people think that I want them. Not sleep with them, but… flirt, I suppose would describe it. Do you mind?”

“No” says Eve, surprising herself with the simplicity of her emotions. “I don’t mind work. As long as I am your only pleasure.” She says this as her hand slips lower, until she find the wetness between Oksana’s legs that she is rapidly coming to think of as home.

Oksana groans, and rolls onto her back. She gasps when Eve murmurs “good girl” into the skin of her neck.

“You are my only pleasure.”

Eve smiles down at her.

“This might take a while. But I know you can be patient.”

Oksana moans restlessly, and then forces a stillness upon herself.

“For you? Yes.”

…..

The End